The Invisible Woman

“I am an invisible man. No, I am not a trace or a special effect. I have at least a physical referent. I have bone and flesh and sinew and gristle. I have angers and passions… I am invisible, then, not because of some accident of biology, some genetic mishap, but because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of the people who look at me.

I would often bump up against people who, surprised at being bumped and jostled by an invisible man, would cry out and shove me. I cannot blame them, when you think you know where someone stands, of course you get angry when they turn out

to be somewhere else and you trip over them as you go about your business.”

The Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison

“EDITORIAL CLARIFICATION: From our first day of publication, Mispacha following the ruling of Gedolei Yisrael, has implemented a policy of not publishing the pictures of women even if there are no breaches of tznius associated with the picture. We are sensitive to the feelings of readers who wish to avoid looking at pictures of women in all circumstances. We feel it is appropriate to honor their wish so that they too can enjoy Mispacha magazine without lowering their level of observance.”

Mispacha Magazine

Sensitive. Feelings. Gedolim. What a great mix of modern SensitivtySpeak (TM) and FrumFallback (TM). Of course there’s no need to be sensitive to half the Jewish people who may not want to be turned into invisible people just because some readers don’t want to look at them or remember that they exist. They don’t matter. As usual only the InsaneChumra (TM) crowd does. Everyone else must accommodate their insanity.

It’s not about Tznius. It’s about the existence of women, period. It doesn’t matter how she’s dressed. Her crime is being a woman. And woman = sin. There’s nothing a woman can do to escape that, her very presence apparently causes sin, in those oversensitive souls. Once upon a time people like that would have gained a reputation for holiness by never leaving the house. Today they want to leave the house, and expect everyone else to stay home or stay out of their way.

This same warped thinking brings us separate sidewalks and shopping hours. Because if you can cut a woman out of a photo, why not cut her out of real life too?

And so we get the Invisible Woman, you’re not supposed to see her, but she’s there anyway. After all someone has to go out and work while the sensitive souls learn in Kollel and someone’s family has to pay for the house and buy the watch and the Tallit with the silver atarah. Someone has to raise the kids until the boys are old enough to spend all their time in Yeshiva and the girls can be put on the fast track to being married off to underwrite another Kollel family. She has to do all this and be invisible too.

“I am invisible, then, not because of some accident of biology, some genetic mishap, but because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of the people who look at me.”

It’s a truly sad state of affairs when the Charedi world not only has to treat half  its population like crap but demands that they be invisible too. Because just their walking down the street or standing in a kitchen inspires sin.

These pretzels are making me thirsty. This woman is making me sinful. I’m not the one doing it. This photo of Laura Bush is. Funny that the Aseret HaDibrot only mentions married women, but coveting goes on anyone’s property. If we followed that reasoning, a picture of someone else’s house should be assur in a magazine, not that of an unmarried woman or a 10 year old girl. But we don’t follow the Aseret HaDibrot, we follow the rulings of Gedolei Yisrael, whichever of them rule something or supposedly rule it, or are intimidated by Kanoyim into ruling it.

So bring on the Lifestyles of the Machers and Rebbes, but don’t you dare show a woman in your paper.

Anyone who really can’t look at a picture of a woman should be consistent enough never to leave the house or go anywhere where he might encounter women. He either has a massive Yetzer Hara or is a Chassid Soteh. Or both. But if you’re going to drive into Manhattan, and then claim that your frumkeit prevents you from being able to tolerate women in a magazine, you’re full of crap.

“I would often bump up against people who, surprised at being bumped and jostled by an invisible man, would cry out and shove me. I cannot blame them, when you think you know where someone stands, of course you get angry when they turn out

to be somewhere else and you trip over them as you go about your business.”

It really is a sad state of affairs when women are reduced to reading something like The Moon’s Lost Light which makes the controversial claim that yes, G-d made women stupid, but since Moshiach is coming soon, they might just be getting smart enough to open a Gemara if they really want to.

Fantastic. You know that Ve’Ahavta Le’Reacha thing, it doesn’t apply to women. How about Hillel’s rule? Nope, doesn’t either.

But for a moment imagine if a non-Jewish magazine published that Mispacha photo, but instead of cutting out Laura Bush, they cut out the two Rabbis, and explained that some of their readers prefer not to look at pictures of Jews, and they want everyone to be able to enjoy their magazine.

What would that be? Right. Anti-Semitism. How does that apply to the current situation? Look up Hillel, maybe he can explain it to you.

Women are not sin incarnate. Men are not animals. If we can all agree on that, maybe we can start treating each other like human beings for a change, instead of photoshopping the First Lady out of the White House’s Kosher Kitchen while dressing in black and heading to certain private apartments in Manhattan to satisfy your yetzer hara. It’s just a thought, but who knows what could come from it.

Peace, out.

A Guide for Interfaith Families Celebrating the Holidays

It’s that time of year again. Holiday Season. What holiday? Don’t ask too many questions. The devil is in the details, also on parts of Fifth Avenue and hanging around loitering suspiciously in the Wall Street area.

It’s that special Holiday time when families composed of a mommy and daddy who believe in different Gods (or more likely don’t believe in one at all) have to decide how many holidays they’re celebrating, in what order and why the Jews nailed Santa to a giant Menorah.

Sure they could have thought of this before they got married, but they were convinced it was going to be one of those simple little problems that could be solved with an affordable book from the STUPID LIFE DECISIONS section of the bookstore. And while there are no shortage of books, DVD’s and VCR instruction manuals on the subject… none of them get around the basic problem. Not even INTERMARRIAGE FOR DUMMIES or WORSHIPING DIFFERENT GODS TOGETHER FOR IDIOTS.

But we’re Americans. We want things solved quickly and we want them solved now. Like Iraq, or oil prices or TV dinners.

With that in mind, let’s harness the problem solving energy of an Iraqi TV dinner made out of Crude Oil with an IED stuck in the center… and solve this whole damn interfaith couple holiday celebration problem.

 

1. The Chanukah Bush

You’ve probably heard of the Chanukah Bush already. No it’s not what happens when George W. Bush lights a Menorah. It’s an attempt to combine an Ashera tree with a ceremony celebrating how the Jews drove the Greek Pagans out of the Temple. That’s right up there with trying to make a Black KKK. Sure you could do it, but it really misses the point.

But if you’re determined to degrade two sets of religious traditions in order to maintain the fiction that this whole mess is workable, here’s an easy guide to making your own Chanukah Bush.

First buy a Christmas Tree. Put lots of ornaments on it. Add a bunch of Menorah candles. Light them. Wait for the tree to begin burning. Try to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher. Stay close to the floor while crawling out of the nearest exit. Call the Fire Department. Collect your insurance money. Try to think of the experience as a metaphor for your marriage.

 

2. Talking to the Children

Sure you could go the circuitous route, but let’s cut to the chase. The best way to tell the children the truth is to be honest. Or we can just get it straight from the mouth of babes.

“Mommy and Daddy decided they loved each other more than God or their heritage, and so they got married. Except now Mommy calls Daddy a Kike, and Daddy calls Mommy a Shiksa, so that didn’t work out so well. Now at the end of every year we get a big batch of burned cookies shaped like Dreidels and Christmas Wreaths.”

 

3. Buy a Book

Everyone knows self-help books can surmount any problems. The Samurai Mohel recommends, Padre Rabbi Flannery O’Goldstein’s MOMMY IS A SHIKSA AND DADDY IS A KIKE. There are pop up pictures too, and an attached miniature fire extinguisher.

It doesn’t really matter because at 16 your kids will either become Zen Buddhists, Evangelical Christians, Orthodox Jews or Serial Killers. Or a few of those things at the same time. Don’t bother trying to fight it. It’s inevitable.

 

4. What the Hell Do We Do Now?

One of you could convert and repress your rage, while the other feels uncomfortable and begins to resent you right back. Or you could finally get that divorce you’ve been talking about. Or you could celebrate Festivus. Of course Festivus originated when a Seinfeld writer’s crazy father made them sit in the dark and traumatized them for hours, and like all childhood traumas eventually made for great comedy. You can also move to Easter Island, where every day is WORSHIP THE GIANT HEAD DAY.

 

5. I Don’t Have to Listen to This!

You’re right, you don’t. Close the page. It’s not that hard.

 

6. Judaism and Christianity are compatible.

Sure they are, just ask Rabbi Cardinal Shmuel Capistranno

 

7. I Wanted Useful Tips for an Interfaith Holiday

There is no such thing as an Interfaith Holiday. That’s an idea invented by marketing executives, just like using Holiday, instead of specifying which one you’re talking about.

Try telling someone you were born on a Holiday. Then when they keep asking you what Holiday, you keep repeating, HOLIDAY, WHAT ARE YOU DEAF?

There is no Chrismukkah or compatibility between Chanukah and Christmas except at the shopping mall where all holidays get rendered down into credit card debt and long lines. Chanukah and Christmas are not just traditions, they’re expressions of belief in two radically different visions and versions of history.

Christmas celebrates the birth of a deity the Jews supposedly killed, before the religion he spawned spread across the Greek and Roman world. Chanukah celebrates the Jews kicking the Greeks out of their country for trying to make them worship gods who were born, died and needed loincloths to cover up their embarrassing parts. Do you see the connection?

Chanukah and Christmas hate each other’s guts. If they were members of the same family, they would be in therapy. If you try to make your family celebrate both at the same time, you will be in therapy. Celebrating both at the same time is like trying to vote Democratic and Republican in one election. No matter how you try to make it work, eventually there will be a recount and your vote will only count once, if it’s even counted at all.

It’s possible to have an Atheist or Agnostic or Satanist family, but not an Interfaith family. If no single belief wins out, then what’s left is a big blank space.

 

20. What’s the Point of All This?

Suppose I have a Lexus and a Cadillac and I decide that they’re both such great cars that I want to drive them both at the same time. Now I’m obviously some kind of crazy rich Hillbilly, but that’s not the point. People try and tell me that I’m wrong, but I’m too drunk on moonshine to listen.

So I stick one foot in one car and one foot in the other. One hand in one car and one hand in the other. After a lot of acrobatics, I still can’t get either car started. Finally I decide that the only way to make my fantasy of a LexusCaddy come true, is by crashing one car into the other.

That’s exactly what I do. Two cars smash into each other in a crumpled mess of steel and leaking gasoline. Now I have an interfaith car.

Any questions? Direct them to Monsignor Rabbi Pierre Cohen at the Abbey of Our Lady of Perpetual Slivovitz. I’m done for for the evening.