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The Worst Tznius Robocall of All Time

Robocalls are almost always annoying. Obsession over tznius is usually obnoxious. Attributing good fortune to particular acts is often offensive. Lying is immoral. This recording is a toxic mix of those four poisonous ingredients.

A gathering of women teachers in Lakewood was held on May 14, 2014. The topic was tznius, of course. Apparently, the rabbis suggested that the teachers of Lakewood shorten their wigs to make them look less alluring.

Pause.

Rabbis are instructing women to cut their $2000 wigs. The wigs are expensive because they look nice. So the rabbis say that the women should chop the hair that won’t grow back on their costly wigs which look nice so that the women won’t look as pretty. Sounds wasteful to me. It seems somewhat reckless to demand that others spend money to devalue their wigs because a new edict has been issued regarding wig length. It’s obviously not mandatory if it was okay until the present moment. So maybe it would be more compassionate to demand that the next wig purchase be a shorter cut. And if you insist that women cut their wigs, perhaps it should be sponsored by the rabbis and they can reimburse the women for losses incurred?GCGPEtHvhmmUcxi-556x313-noPad

Pause again.

Why can’t the women of Lakewood look pretty? Why do they have to cut their wigs to a length that is specifically chosen because it doesn’t look as nice? Why are rabbis making decrees about wig length? Why is an unappealing wig length considered tzanua? Why is this an issue? Why is this the issue? Why did so many people attend the event?

Anyway, the gathering ends and I have no idea if anyone actually went to cut their wigs to comply with the rabbinically sanctioned recommended wig length. Let’s assume that hundreds of women shortened their wigs.

A robocall congratulated the women who attended the “haya machanecha kadosh” asifa for cutting their wigs to a shorter length. The voice announced that because of the great merit of the righteous women who shortened their wigs to the new appropriate lengths there were (Baruch Hashem) no Hatzalah (local ambulance corp) calls in the entire Lakewood. This is truly historic as it was the first time ever that there were no Hatzalah calls for a few days. The voice urges women to keep Lakewood safe by cutting their wigs ensuring that there will be no Hatzalah calls ever again. Oh, and if you’d like to make an appointment with a wig salon professional press 1 now!

When I heard this recording I almost lost my lunch.

It’s a near certainty that shortening wigs has no effect on health and safety. I say near certainty only because I am not certain. Anything is possible. But I am 99.9999999999% certain that the wigs and Hatzalah have no relationship. To make this audacious claim requires a tremendous amount of hubris, naiveté, guts, and foolishness. Another toxic mixture.

Worse yet, there were Hatzalah calls in Lakewood this week. Several calls in fact. Some of them were rather serious too. The claim itself is ludicrous. But when combined with the fact that it’s a bald-faced lie the claim rises to the level of nefariousness that we must protest this abomination and distortion of Torah and Judaism.

This is my protest: “My dear brethren of the robocall, you are perverting Judaism. I beg of you to stop your insidious campaign of fear mongering and vicious lies. Short wigs don’t save lives. They don’t do a thing other than make their wearers look worse. Lying to the public to convince them to use your wig cutting service so they can conform to this ridiculous stricture under the guise that health and safety is at stake is obscene and unacceptable. This is not Torah. Please ask the public to forgive you and start the repentance process immediately.”

We can’t stand by idly and fiddle while our religion is hijacked by crazy extremists who are bent on crashing us into a giant monolith. Don’t just ignore these idiots. Say something. Thank you.

Click play at your own risk:


83 Comments
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  • unconscionable idiocy

    I recall a year or two ago, there was a leaflet claiming that, due to some other brief period of tzniyus hyper-over-observance, there had been no hatzalah calls in all of Lakewood. So now I have a few questions:

    1) does this add to the lie of the current call because they claim it’s the “first time ever”?

    2) are they simply calling out the writers of the earlier leaflet as being liars?

    3) if they honestly checked through the hatzalah records and found that one or two calls somehow slipped through during the previous period, shouldn’t they publicly announce the mistake?

    4) I betcha the haircuts are cheaper than maintaining all the ambulances, training, etc. Is it time to go on a wig-cutting binge abd disband hatzalah?

  • Dovid Klein

    Fink, get a grip and just openly declare yourself as formerly Orthodox/OTD, instead of your continued pretension as being frum so you can influence and bring down the true Bnei and Bas Torah.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Yes, clearly I am the problem here.

      • MarkSoFla

        Kill the messenger. That always works, especially for long-term solutions.

    • Milton

      I’ve been reading this blog for a while and yes I do believe that the author crosses into unacceptable areas for the sake of being open-minded, but please tell me you’re not actually defending this robocall.

    • yoni the yogi

      Dear rabbi Klein, i have few questions. First, it seems to me that you are a chashuv ben Torah ,Yirei Shamayim,ohev Israel. Correct me if I’m wro.g.
      So how can you be on the internet going against the psak of your rabbonim?
      Second of all, do you consider muttar to insult a fellow religious Jew in public? Rema zatza”l in OC,says that we don’t have to forgive someo.e who spread motzi shem ra about us even if this person apologizes.
      I hope you will be kind to answer those questions, please.
      Thank you, bracha vehatzlacha.

      • sarah

        as such a good chashuv guy yourself Yoni, why are you on the internet attempting to rip apart a man who is not only correct in what he’s saying, but by saying will probably help so many questioning jews at risk realize that theres more to judaism than the crazy extremists!
        if you’re so great that you can criticize someone and sentence him to hell simply because he’s trying to improve society by pointing out a wrong and trying to make it right, than why are you exempt from the same psak that you claim should keep him off the internet…you clearly have no basis for your words except, correct me if i’m wrong, to start a fight. so kindly shut up!

        • yoni the yogi

          Sarah, i don’t consider myself being a chashuv.guy, just a dude who.so someone insulting rabbi Fink. I’m pn the internet because my rabbonim didn’t assur it.
          Second of all, the one who rip apart was not me but rabbi Klein whp accused rabbi Fink to be a faker and to bring down the true bnei and bas Torah. So i assume that you too think the same about rabbi Fink. In this case, i will take his defense, even if i dont agree with him everytime.
          The post of rabbi Fink has to do about a robotcall , npt about all orthodoxy. To accuse him to have a bad influence on orthodox Jews is a lie, it’s motzi shem ra.
          So i didn’t want to start a fight, but defend a nice guy who has been dragged in the mud for no reason.
          My question are legitimate and I’m open to discussion, civilized of course.
          So sorry, but i won’t shup up. If you see a problem, ypu have two choices: be part of the problem, or be part of the solution.

    • Chana

      If Rabbi Fink would call himself otd, would this problem magically cease to exist?

    • Hiding behind a blog

      Look Klein. Bashing the writer does nothing to promote your agenda. Furthermore, if you disagreed with the writer, you may want to fill us all in. We are waiting to hear your opinion. Until you present one, we will all assume that this is just a personal attack.

    • Janice Amrani

      Excuse me, Dovid Klein, but you do realize that you are giving the impression that *you* think this robocall was truthful, reasonable and just fine. Is that truly what you think?

      Furthermore, this obfuscation is a well-known tactic to keep people from paying attention to the real issue. Is a personal attack *really* the way you want to go?

    • Obi

      The author is obviously not orthodox. He should go to a reform “temple”, with female rabbis and no mehitsa.

  • rf

    I can’t believe you have the audacity to stereotype and bash an entire community and it’s Rabbanim because of 1 phone call – and on a blog nonetheless.

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      I can’t believe you can’t read English.

    • Rachel

      I can’t believe you don’t know how to use apostrophes.

  • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

    This is brilliant marketing. Create a need, fill the need. Was the gathering by any chance organized by local shaitel machers?

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      Nope. Big name rabbis with big name poskim attached to it. That whole story deserves its own attention.

    • RAM500

      I’m reminded of people who try to organize fear-the-Internet campaigns and gatherings that just happen to channel people toward favored filter providers or filtered service providers closely tied to the organizers.

    • cuz

      they offered a free cut. it’s not a money maker

  • heavenhelpus

    This is awful, dishonest and embarrassing. That being said, I do believe that a) these people wholeheartedly believe everything they are saying. The robocaller DOES state that the wig cut is free, so this is obviously meant sincerely B) there are communities which I wont name that do have a serious tznius/immoral behavior problem. It’s ridiculous and hypocritical to act super-religious and elitist (sons with long peyot, kids in “best” schools, etc) while wearing skintight clothing, waist-length wigs and garish makeup. I think the overall mindset is pretty sad, though. Magical thinking prevails…

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      I don’t doubt the sincerity of believing the magic. But it’s a verifiable false claim that Hatzalah had no calls.

  • Ender

    I don’t think halacha was meant to keep up with a band of high and mighty Rabbis who can’t keep it in their pants after seeing a wig that runs a couple of inches too long. If we let these guys continue to dictate what is halachic and what is not, then the women of lakewood will undeniably be walking around bald by the end of next year, the latest.

  • http://voiceproctor.com/ Eli Adler

    Interesting comment on the above mention mentioned post about the asifa,

    “The original intent of the asifa was to implement a series of new takanos for teachers with serious consequences for those not in compliance. Due to timely intervention, the message was toned down and changed to chizuk and tznius suggestions.”

    Can this be verified?

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      I can confirm that the person who intervened told me that this is what transpired.

      • http://voiceproctor.com/ Eli Adler

        I can accept “well meaning’ chizuk. I have a hard time with takanos

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          It’s really just semantics. People who would listen to takanos will also listen to “suggestions.”

          • http://voiceproctor.com/ Eli Adler

            Correct, although the other way around is not necessarily true.

  • Noam Greenberg

    Oddly, what struck me was who gets to tell people what makes them attractive or what to be attracted to? Nobody looks better in short hair? No man finds short hair more attractive?

    Someone might want to tell Charlize Theron. Or Emma Watson. Or Keira Knightley. Or Halle Berry.

    • skeptic

      I feel bad for these women. They are told how to dress, how to style their hair, how to manage their menstrual cycle, when and how to touch their husbands – all dictated by men in beards. So the one aspect of self image they can control, the length of their fake hair, that allows them some individuality and control, now that has to be taken from them as well. I long for the day when religion is cast aside and mocked as it should be. It has been ten years since I learned my last blatt in yeshivah and I could not be happier.

      • Joe

        Skeptic,

        You do realize that the people that would even care about this, also tell men what to wear and how to behave.

  • Elon

    I never understood this. Why would there be no calls. Even if you say God smiled upon the city and averted the plague he would have sent the long-wigged, would there be no old people? Would there be no pregnant women who need help. It’s a city. Of course there were calls for an ambulance.

  • sydney pfeiffer

    I’m shocked (not really)
    You mean that all the mussar (known as drivel) that the world will be saved by watching tznius, short sheitels, refraining from lashon hara, putting filters on computers, not talking in shul, and the chumra of the month club isn’t true. (Have I left out a chumra or other shtus/nonsense? sorry, space doesn’t allow)
    Is my sarcasm showing?
    I tell people that 40 years ago I was a right-winger and now I’m a left-wing and I haven’t changed anything. The world has changed thanks to the mussar mafia.
    No wonder some leave or become OTD. Or as I heard recently, the reason they are OTD is that the Derech isn’t wide enough.
    All we can do is sigh and ignore the idiots–or better yet, take away the microphone and the soap box they are standing on.

  • Shlomo

    I love how “the rabbanim have even permitted you to cut your sheitals during sefira.”

  • rikki

    I also think that this “shorter hair being more tzniusdik” argument is ridiculous. There are plenty of women who manage to look slutty enough in Bobs and pixies. It’s about how you carry yourself.

    • Ora

      Yes short hair is actually very trendy right now. A short cut can look pretty damn sexy on some women. I bet if the rabbis knew that they’d say we should all wear our wigs longer than the Amish.

      • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

        Or there’s an askan in Lakewood who has a fetish for women with short haircuts, got some prominent names to sign off, and is now going to thoroughly enjoy himself every time he goes to the supermarket.

        • tesyaa

          The real answer is that there’s a female motivational speaker hailing from Lakewood who has made wig-cutting her crusade. I tried to post her name and info yesterday but my comment was blocked or deleted. Basically, she had a dream in which her sainted ancestor came to her and told her to help improve tznius, and she came up with this wig-cutting scheme. She goes to bais yaakovs all over the country speaking about it. It’s pretty scary since the dream sounds almost like a psychotic episode.

          • ksil

            wow. that is truly disturbing.

          • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

            That would be hilarious if the consequences weren’t so disturbing.

  • Elijah the Prophet

    This is awesome! I have always wanted my wife to wear a shorter sheital because I think it will look BETTER on her. Now I can have my way and be considered super yeshivish as well! (Not to mention stop all tragedies!) Can we get them to only allow iphone 5s so I can upgrade as well?! Or how about only Lexus for bnei torah, I can definitely get used to that!

  • Ksil

    Hey fink, do you belive that what we (frum jews) do specifically affects the world around us. Ya know, like the torah tells us it does? If we keep the commandments our crops will grow and rain will fall, and if we act badly, we get slaughtered….why is this any different? Keep a commandment, earn a reward! Its not a lie and you are behaving badly

    • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

      The lie was the claim that there were no hatzolah calls.

  • M wintserky

    Dear Rabbi Fink,
    No one is arguing about the obnoxiousness of this story an the mispresentation of tznius portrayed by te robocall. After all, who is in position to judge why god chooses to save or punish Someone. However, I find it beyond pathetic that someone if your intellect don’t uses the “obnoxiousness and stupidity” of that particular robocall to validate your agenda that in actuality wearing shorter shaitels that are less flattering “does nothing for the wearer.” Every first grader knows that trick. Focus on one particular abnormality to avoid the issue at hand. Let me ask you a question. Are shorter shaitels more tznius? Do you remember when in this very article you wrote they make the wearer look less attractive? It’s hard to argue that they are not. And if they are indeed more tznius then is it possible, just maybe, that taking on a more tznius form of dress can actually bring bracha and health to your family? Do you believe in the concept of dressing modest and the fact that any mitzvah can protect us? Do you know for sure that modesty doesn’t help a persons self esteem and marriage. Yes, that robocall and and it’s absurd claim that the reason why there were no hatzolah calls was because of a rabbinic takana is ridiculous but please don’t insult my intelligence by using one crazy story to “character assassinate” an entire belief. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Dressing modestly is an important concept and potentially has physical rewards.
    I honestly expected more from you.

    • sarah

      you know i was actually taking a class on tznius today and do you know what i found out? the word “tznius” translated literally doesn’t mean “modesty”! in fact what it actually means is “allure”… my teacher gave an example “suppose you came from a community where all the women walk around toppless but their ankles are always covered, are the men in said community salivating over a woman’s breast? No! they can see that any time but what they are drooling over is ankles. ankles because that’s what they’re not allowed to see.” the thing that makes something alluring is that it’s hidden and saved only for a special moment. but making something special and making it less attractive are quite different…so stop preaching to women that they need to be ugly to be tznius! Stick to the baseline! Elbows! Knees! Collar bone! IF THEY ARE ALL COVERED I’M FINE!!!! so stopm thinking i have to be de-beautified in order to be a religious jew

      • M wintserky

        I’m sorry you have such a disturbed feeling of tznius. But I’m not saying you or me or my wife are on the level to take on themselves to look not good to be tznius. But even though we not be ready to jump to the highest level of tznius no one would argue that it’s more tznius to only wear baggy not so stylish clothes and I am not embarrassed of admitting that woman that do take that upon themselves are, if done for the right reasons, are acting in an honorable manner. Yes my self would not want my wife to act like that but that doesn’t create a angry response inside of me to ridiculously claim that there is nothing commendable to it. Unfortunately you are too insecure to realize that. Mrs Sarah, it’s not only about covering your knees. I’m sorry you can’t understand that. It seems pretty obvious to me.

        • ksil

          hey finkreposnder, that is so holy of you that you think you should cover up and dress a certain way – but leave us normal people out of it. its a personal decision, you think its holy? fine, its a free country, do whatcha like….but why you gotta drag me into this (and judge me, if i dont do your crazy things)

          just worry about your own olam habba

          • The FinkResponder

            Apparently you didn’t read what I wrote

            • The FinkResponder

              Take a moment. Calm down. Read what wrote. And get back to me.

              • ksil

                ” Are shorter shaitels more tznius? Do you remember when in this very article you wrote they make the wearer look less attractive? It is hard to argue that they are not. And if they are indeed more tznius then is it possible, just maybe, that taking on a more tznius form of dress can actually bring bracha and health to your family?”

                obnoxious

                • The FinkResponder

                  Yes. What’s your point. Did ou read were I wrote that I don’t think we need to shorten our shietel that in fact my wife wears a long shaitel. Did you convienently skip that part. Did you have trouble comphrenehding my point. Read it again an again until you get it. I have confidence in you.

                  • leah

                    you don’t seem to understand what tznius is.

    • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

      > Are shorter shaitels more tznius? Do you remember when in this very article you wrote they make the wearer look less attractive?

      So tznius = ugly?

      God help the Lakewood girl unlucky enough to be born pretty.

      > Do you know for sure that modesty doesn’t help a persons self esteem

      If your definition of modesty is making oneself as unattractive as possible, then it certainly won’t help with self-esteem.

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  • mcr

    “Oh, and if you’d like to make an appointment with a wig salon professional press 1 now!”

    If the recording actually said that, it raises a question: Did the wig salon pay for this feature? If so, how much was paid and where did the money go? Did it go to Tzedakah, or into someone’s pocket?

    And this raises the underlying question: Was this ridiculous robocall financially motivated to enrich a handful of influential people?

  • skeptic

    It is time for all of you to throw away this religion based on fear, intimidation, lies and ancient superstition. I left yeshivah 10 years ago and my wife and kids live a happy, god free life. I have never been happier in my life, free from these myths and lies being forced unto children the moment they emerge from the womb.

    • FSM Be Blessed

      Ramen.

  • A. Schreiber

    “This is not Torah.”
    Sadly, though, it is. The Gemara is filled with statements from Talmudic rabbis, ascribing events of all sorts to mitzvos or aveiros of one kind of another. It’s all over the map. One imagines the “scoffers” (the Talmudic term for people exactly like you) (no pejorative intended) laughing and saying “Gimme a break, does this rabbi know the root cause of everything?” Of course time and distance changes everything, and its easy for orthodox Jews to say that they had some sort of ruach hakodesh, exactly the way orthodox Jews 1500 years hence will speak of contemporary Rabbis.
    I do not advocate throwing the baby out with the bathwater and abandoning religion. That’s the mistake the OTDers make (despite you trying to lionize them, but a different topic.) But honest people have to recognize that nearly all of the flaws and problems we have with orthodoxy today were all in existence in Talmudic times also. Because our curriculum is based on the Talmud, our thinking and hence our outlook on life is exactly the same as those of the Talmudic rabbis. We view goyim the same way they viewed goyim. Our sermons are the same as their sermons. Their prejudices are our prejudices. Not saying there’s ben no developments at all, of course, but for all intents and purposes, we’re exactly the same. The Lakewood wig call is a direct heir of hundreds of similar Talmudic pronouncements.

    • ksil

      “That’s the mistake the OTDers make”

      that is codescending

  • Michael

    Im not fromf lakewood and my wife doesnt wear a wig but do you really think this was written by a woman from Lakewood who is being challenged to cut her wig?

  • Heshy Kaufman

    While there’s no arguing with the absurdity of this episode your response does highlight for me one saddening point (beyond the obvious.) After a run through Neviim it is fairly clear that in the times of active Prophecy we (as a nation) didn’t listen to them or their directive all that much. Presently without the distraction of active Prophets those who seek to offer any sort of communal guidance are both held to that standard and ridiculed when they don’t live up to it, this is a bit of an odd paradox with an obvious logical explanation.

    While the instigators of this “Call” are by no means prophets the visceral need to respond and the perpetual arrogant tone used in an effort to disprove (what is obviously preposterous) only reinforces a position were segments of the community become trained in the belief that its impossible for anyone to know or relay the will of Hashem. To be clear, I’m not saying either side is right or wrong but simply highlighting what to me is a very sad note. Everyone loves commentary, everyone loves to offer an opinion, and everyone loves to proves everyone else wrong, but taking a step back is it really necessary?

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      It is necessary. Because when the normal people stay silent, it emboldens the crazy ones. That’s why we are in this predicament in the first place. We just let the crazies do and say whatever they want. Take a stand. And who are you protecting by being silent? No one.

      • Heshy Kaufman

        Without debating the merits of your point (like asking the question When in the course of Jewish History has one person standing up against the crazy masses actually proven successful long term results.) Perhaps it’s time to do some root-cause-analysis and fix the problems and not attack the symptoms.

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          The whole point is that it should not be one person standing up to the crazy masses. It should be all of us! And yes, of course we should get to the root causes, but in the meantime we have to treat the symptoms too!

    • ksil

      whats sad exactly? to protest when one sees absurdity, sheker, narishkeit? thats not our mesorah…our mesorah is to find truth, and uproot sheker, no?

      you should be happy! not sad! watch that farell video….

  • Bubbie

    Just for the record, I am opposed to extremism. And I do think there is plenty for the men to work on!

    But let me get this straight. You want us to believe that all the young women walking around with sheitels down to their pupiks are not trying to look sexy and make every man’s head turn? And that the husbands who encourage (or at least don’t discourage) this don’t want all the other men to stare at their wives? Or do you want to say that there is nothing wrong with it?

    (BTW I don’t think the sheital-machers are making money. It’s possible they are being paid by some askan but the women who get their sheital cut are not paying.)

    • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

      None of that is relevant to this issue. Here we are talking about arbitrary hair length of wigs being connected to safety from harm.

      • The FinkResponder

        Dear Rabbi Fink,
        No one is arguing about the obnoxiousness of this story an the mispresentation of tznius portrayed by te robocall. After all, who is in position to judge why god chooses to save or punish Someone. However, I find it beyond pathetic that someone of your intellect uses the “obnoxiousness and stupidity” of that particular robocall to validate your agenda that in actuality wearing shorter shaitels that are less flattering “does nothing for the wearer.” Every first grader knows that trick. Focus on one particular abnormality to avoid the issue at hand. Let me ask you a question. Are shorter shaitels more tznius? Do you remember when in this very article you wrote they make the wearer look less attractive? It is hard to argue that they are not. And if they are indeed more tznius then is it possible, just maybe, that taking on a more tznius form of dress can actually bring bracha and health to your family? Do you believe in the concept of dressing modest and the fact that any mitzvah can protect us? Do you know for sure that modesty doesn’t help a persons self esteem and marriage. Yes, that robocall and and it’s absurd claim that the reason why there were no hatzolah calls was because of a rabbinic takana is ridiculous but please don’t insult my intelligence by using one crazy story to “character assassinate” an entire belief. One has absolutely nothing to do with the other. Dressing modestly is an important concept and potentially has physical rewards.
        I honestly expected more from you.

        • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

          I reject that tznius and beauty have anything to do with each other. So it’s not my contention that shorter wigs are uglier and therefore more tznius, that was the thinking of the people behind the edict. But I really don’t understand why I or you or anyone should stand for this simply because we agree that there is a tznius concept in Orthodox Judaism.

          Wait. Do you think wearing a shorter sheitel does anything for the wearer? As in, protects her from harm?

    • Ksil

      Is there a concept in Judaism that women should try to look NOT pretty? Do we praise those who try to look uglier than they really are? Does uglier = modest? When did this happen? Do we want all our wine to look worse than the non frum and non Jewish women?

      • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

        It’s insanity. Read Tanach. Read Chazal. Beauty was valued and treasured.

  • Holy Yitz, Batman!

    How do these saintly rabbis even know about the lengths of wigs or what is considered an attractive woman? Have they been peering over their Gemaras again?

  • ej

    I want to say over a claim of Kant’s that would give a different spin to the robo call. Students of philosophy generally know that Kant held we cannot know what the universe is really like outside of our experience. Thus he held we cannot know what goes on in heaven, the relationship between what we do and the corresponding reward or punishment. To assert we do know is superstition and moves humanity back from enlightenment to the dark ages, etc.

    The flip side was that Kant said that morality itself requires us to believe as a matter of faith in an afterlife where there are just rewards and punishments . As he might put it morality requires us to imagine the way the world really is as one where good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds punished, if not during our life here on earth then in our afterlife. We need to imagine this because otherwise reason alone is insufficient to provide a motive to act morally, especially when we can get away with benefitting from doing something bad. He thought that such imaginings though not justified on the basis of reasons and evidence are a necessary part of a moral life. For him religion does not tell us about morality, rather morality provides a basis, however epistemically weak, for religion.

    For Kant when we see such claims as this deed leads to this reward, the objection should be to the claim that we know this, not to the exercise of the religious imagination as such. Reading Rabbi Fink I get the sense he objects to even “dreaming’ that a mitzvah might have a reward in this world.

    • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

      > I want to say over a claim of Kant’s

      That’s the first time I’ve ever seen yeshivish idiom and a non-Jewish philosopher’s name in the same sentence. :-)

      • ej

        LOL…yup that’s how I talk…somehow it has not been a problem over the years.
        German Jews held Kant in great esteem, with most German Jewish philosophers responding to Kant’s ideas, dsepite their recognition that he and the German idealists who followed were more than a bit anti Semitic. Today we have a more comprehensive reading of this great philosopher and an ability to sort out his ideas. Today it is possible to read him as a social contract theorist without buying into his pietist Pauline ideas about autonomy.
        A recent excellent book by the Orthodox philosopher Sam Fleischacker on toran min hashamayim is a variation on the Kantian idea that morality is more basic than halacha.

  • just wundrin

    Is it possible the claim of Hatzalah-zero was simply another fine example of “yeshivish exaggeration?

    would that make it ok?

  • Tzavoah

    Fink shaves during sefira but yells about women cutting their shaitel what a hypocrite.

  • Puke

    The robo call was referring to a asifa of several years back. Hatzola did confirm the veracity of the claim.
    Puke.

    • Lkwdwife

      I read through all the comments and was surprised it took until the end for someone to bring this up.

      The “historic vehaya machanechah kadosh asifa” was not this most recent one, it was a few years back, and like Puke says, Hatzalah confirmed that there were no calls for the next several days (don’t remember exactly how many). This robocall was asking attendees of this more recent asifah to recall the aftermath of the “historic” one and take that leap. By no means do I necessarily agree with this robocall, nor the concept behind it, but I feel that the people behind it were unnecessarily vilified because the call was misunderstood.

      The other thing that was misrepresented was what some other commenters picked up on – this is not for financial gain, the sheitels are cut for free.

      And while you and I may not agree that tznius and tragedies are linked, there is admittedly a big difference between saying if you don’t cut your sheitel, you will cause horrible things to happen and if you do cut your sheitel, you will merit shemirah. For all everyone feels that tznius is rammed down our throats with threats of scalding fires and flesh ripping exercises and what not, this was more positive and encouraging.

      Lastly, whatever your personal feelings on sheitel length is, the women of Lakewood are walking around with wigs that are growing increasingly more provocative by the day. Granted, Lakewood, like the rest of us, have many, many serious things to work on, and I may not agree that this should be top priority, but still, it is a tznius concern, for those who value modesty and refinement as virtues…

      R’ Fink, I usually agree with a lot of your articles, but here I feel that you were unfair to the people and rabbis of Lakewood.

      • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

        Thanks for your comments.

        First, I am not so sure that you are correct about the intent of this robocall. Second, I am not so sure that “last time” there were no hatzalah calls. Third, I disagree that attaching the merits of tznius to shmira can ever be positive. You want positive? Talk about something other than speculative spiritual protection. Talk about practical and tangible things. Fourth, the facts that I omitted from this post about the way this “positive” asifa came about and the private manner in which the “psak” was derived is more deserving of derision than the public things that I actually wrote about here.

        • lkwdwife

          Thank you for responding. You are probably right and sound like you know more than you initially wrote, and I am still under the influence of my Bais Yaakov education, hence less likely to see things for what they are…

          I guess I just wanted to clear up the misconception about the hatzalah calls – I can’t say I verified it firsthand then, only secondhand from a number of firsthanders, if that makes sense. It was a big story then and still being referenced now, not that anyone is saying that now there were no hatzalah calls.

          Also, it’s positive in terms of not going down the you’re gonna burn in gehennom and cause cancer, etc. road. And while saying that if you do this you prevent tragedy is a very short leap from if you don’t do it you cause tragedy, I personally maintain that it’s still different, and deserves distinction.

          • http://finkorswim.com E. Fink

            Okay, I just double checked my archives. The original Hatzalah claim was debunked at the time. I have documentation. So it wasn’t true then either. (Obviously.) So revisiting an old lie is no better. And sure, it is better to say you’re going to be rewarded than it is to warn of punishment, but they are both in the same category of education so I appreciate the incremental step, but it’s not enough, in my opinion.

      • http://2nd-son.blogspot.com/ G*3

        > the women of Lakewood are walking around with wigs that are growing increasingly more provocative by the day

        How is hair ever “provocative?” Pretty, sure, but provocative?

  • Hatam Sofer

    This article is pretty anti-religious.
    These guys you call extremists are stronger than us, they resist to the immoral atmosphere. They deserve our respect.