Thursday, February 24, 2011
Protesting Vociferously Against Stupidity, or Responding to Rachel
That said, on February 9, "Chronicles of Crisis" editor Rachel Anonymous wrote something that would have made the haredi propagandists proud. I called her on it with a scathing letter, but she opted not to print it. Big surprise. I love that I can still publish it on the Internets.
Here's her ridiculous column, and here's my response:
Re: White shirts vs. colored shirts
I’m hesitant to waste time writing to you, but the opinions you expressed in your column of February 9 are not only misguided; they’re objectively wrong. I’m talking about your assertion that black-and-white clothing are preferable for yeshiva boys and men.
The Mishna in Masechet Megilla (4:8) states specifically: “If one declares, ‘I will not step before the Ark in colored raiment,’ he may not go even in white garments.” In other words, the clothes do not make the man, and colored garments are completely acceptable for those leading the services.
Elsewhere, the Talmud speaks harshly against people who wear exclusively black-and-white, accusing them of putting on airs. In Masechet Berachot (28a), we learn that Rabban Gamliel’s policy was to bar anyone from the study hall whose “inside did not match his outside.” In other words, anyone can dress like a yeshiva boy, but what really matters is what’s inside.
Your statement that white “exudes a purity of soul” is laughable. As is your assertion that colors in the beit midrash will distract Torah scholars from their learning. Honestly? Does the presence of color distract scholars in any other discipline, or just teenage boys and men in yeshivot? Did you conduct a study? Should we ensure that all seforim are a uniform black or brown, so as not to distract the learners? What about the colors on the parochet and the Torah covers? Distracting?
You state that you like white, personally. That’s your opinion. But don’t go making blanket statements based on your personal preference.
You also set up the ‘designer label’ red herring. I agree that materialism should not be a focus in yeshiva or in shidduchim. But if you notice, there are plenty of designer-label white shirts and dress slacks, not to mention high-priced hat brands, available to those whose souls are so ostensibly pure.
Please think about what you write, in the future, and take the correct stance on this issue: There’s nothing wrong with colored clothing, and people in the shidduch parsha who are hung up on ‘white shirts’ should have their mistaken prejudices corrected.
Thanks – Michael