Sunday, February 20, 2005

On Hot Plates and Torah-True Judaism

Picture this: about 200 women crowded into a room - some college students, some young married women, some older women, some with covered hair and shiny engagement rings, some with just simple bands and kerchiefs, some with hair uncovered completely - all ready to hear a halacha shiur and change their daily practices based on what they hear in the next hour.

I just came back from Rabbi Willig's shiur at Midreshet Yom Rishon and that was exactly the scenario. I was sitting across from three older married women who had their fingers crossed practically the whole time hoping against hope that Rabbi Willig would not deem their methods of heating up food on shabbos assur, and there was an audible sigh of relief in the room when warming drawers and hot plates were decreed acceptable. It was a little funny to watch these women so excited about hot trays and hear all these nitty-gritty questions about gravy and microwave-cooked food, etc. But really, it was beautiful. It was beautiful to see women who cared so much about halacha to come to a shiur at 9:30 a.m. on a Sunday and it was beautiful to see the fact that they really were willing to change their practices to comply with halacha.

I can only hope that someday when I'm married with a family, I will be so enthusiastic and dedicated to Torah and halacha.


At 2/20/05, 12:35 PM, Blogger Stx said...

And IY"H you will be.

The problem is, what would have happened had he declared that warming trays (or whatever those laides used) were assur? Do you think they would have been quite as accepting?

After being in a similar situation, but one where the Rabbi (of our SHUL, no less!) said that a certain practice that was often done in the community was assur, I was shocked--perhaps naively--at the reactions that I found. Although some took the information in stride, others struck back.

"But Rabbi X said that it's FINE to do that on Pesach!" said one.

"Yes, and we've been doing it for YEARS!" said another.

Very quietly, in his simple manner, our Rabbi looked them in the eye. "If you would like to listen to him, that's your decision."

" you hold like him?" asked one of the most verbal women, tentatively.

"If I did, I would have told you so in the first place."

"Oh. Right."

But then they all went home chattering about how they can't believe the Rav said that and didn't he know that THIER parents had been doing it this way for years and why does he bury himself in those halacha sfarim; the community knows about kashrus on Pesach because they've been doing it for years anyway.

So why did they go to that shiur again?

At 2/20/05, 1:04 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

WOW! That is really scary and I don't know what would have happened had he declared something they all did on a regular basis assur. (He did say that regular blechs were problematic.)

But what impressed me was that these women weren't blase about what he would say knowing that they would go home and do whatever they had been doing. They were nervous because they at least desired to be doing the right thing. And no, I don't know what they're going to go home and do one way or the other, but it's a start. Right?

(Stx, the tables are kinda turned here, huh? Me being the optimistic one and you being cynical. Interesting...)

At 2/20/05, 4:47 PM, Blogger EN said...

I'm sure you will :)

At 2/20/05, 9:00 PM, Blogger Stx said...

It's catchy.

At 2/21/05, 10:30 AM, Blogger G Green said...

I can't say you "will be so enthusiastic and dedicated to Torah and halacha" when you are married, but I can see you are at the moment.

At 2/21/05, 2:54 PM, Blogger Eli7 said...

Well, I would like to think of myself as dedicated to Torah at the moment BUT I have it pretty easy right now. (Though if you ask me in an hour when I actually look at the work I've been ignoring I might not say the same thing...). I'm in school, I have no responsibilities, I don't really have major financial concerns... I would say that my life right now is about as calm as it gets, what happens when life gets complicated? Am I still going to maintain it all? I really, really hope so...

At 2/22/05, 9:09 AM, Blogger Stx said...

We're all rootin' for ya, Hun...

At 2/22/05, 10:28 AM, Blogger Eli7 said...

So, who doesn't say 'hun'?

But thanks for the sentiment. You'll be there to keep me on the right track, right Stx?

At 2/22/05, 12:04 PM, Blogger Stx said...

Hmm depends on your definition of "right there"...

And yes, Hun, the hun was on purpose. Dear.


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