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Friday, May 27, 2011

Rav Mutzafi on the Supposed Ben Ish Hai Heter for Uncovered Hair

Jacob Sasson has an article where he quotes a book in Judeo-Arabic written by the Ben Ish Hai called Qanun-al-Nissa.  This book was translated into Hebrew by Rav Ben Tzion Mutzafi, Shlit"a, in a book called חוקי נשים.  See the article inside, where it quotes a passage where the Ben Ish Hai supposedly considers uncovered hair to not arouse sexual thoughts in men, and that is what the author of the article attempts to prove.

Rav Mutzafi himself was recently asked about this and he gives his answer.  I'll quote you the Hebrew and give my translation:
שאלה - 80730

שלום בלוס אנג'לס יצא פסק ע"י רביי שמותר לאשה נשואה ללא כיסוי ראש ומסתמך מספר חוקי הנשים להרי"ח שכתב כן על נשות גרמניה והפסק עושה רעש ורבים נגררים אחריו, נא מכת"ר לעורר על זה בתודה מראש קהילות הספרדים לוס אנגלס וקנדה.


אוי לעיניים שכך רואות , ואוי לאזניים שכך שומעות, כי שני חטאים נוראים חטאו המתירים בזה, האחת להוציא דיבה ועלילה על קדוש ישראל רבנו הבן איש חי שכאילו התיר הדבר חלילה, והשנית לעקור דבר מהתורה, ולפרוץ את חומת הצניעות השומרת עלינו מכל רע, ולגרום שהשכינה חס ושלום תסתלק מישראל. אוי לדור שכך עלתה בימיו, והרי כיסוי ראש לאשה לדעת רבים מהפוסקים הוא מהתורה, וכדאיתא במסכת כתובות עב, א. וכן הוא במדרש רבה נשא ט . טז. שהוא מהתורה. וכן דעת המאירי כתובות שם, והרשב"ץ מ"ע קלז, נב. וערוך השלחן עה, ז. ועוד רבים מגדולי הפוסקים. ומי הוא אשר יהין להתיר איסור נורא של שער באשה ערוה, כנזכר בברכות כד, א. וכן נפסק בשלחן ערוך אורח חיים עה, ב. ועוד בשלחן ערוך אבן העזר כא,ב. אסר על האשה ללכת בחוץ גלויית ראש בסכינא חריפא. וכן לו בסימן קטו , ד. שההולכת אפילו במבוי או בחצר משותפת גלויית ראש נקראת עוברת על דת משה ויהודית, ועליו לגרשה מיד ללא כתובה . והאם לא די לנו בצרות והאסונות הנוראות המקיפים אותנו מכל עבר, ואויבינו מכל העולם מדמים להשמידינו, ועל הכל היצר הנורא אורב בכל חלק ופינה להחריב כרם בית ישראל, והדור הצעיר נחלש ביראת השם, והמסורת הנתונה לנו מדור דור הולכת ומתדלדלת, עד שקמים אנשים מקרבנו להרוס גדר הצניעות ??? ועל הטענה המופרכת שכאילו הבן איש חי התיר, מעולם לא היה כדבר הזה, אלא הוא דיבר לגבי קריאת שמע מול שיער של מי שרגילה להתנהג בפריצות ובעלה רגיל בכך, וחלילה להעליל על קדוש ישראל שהתיר את הדבר. והדברים ברורים ואינם צריכים הסבר לכל ישר דעת ונבון. היה לא תהיה, גורו לכם מפני התורה הקדושה, גורו לכם מפני החבלה בצניעות ובקדושת ישראל, אל תמרדו באבינו שבשמים, אל תמרדו בגדולי הדור, אל תמרדו בתורה הקדושה. והשם יתברך יגדור פרצותינו, וישכין שלום במחנה ישראל, ונשמור על חקי התורה ומצוותיה עד בא גואל לציון בב"א. החותם בדמע ובכאב נורא בן ציון מוצפי. היום כ"ב באייר , ל"ז למטמוני"ם התשע"א.
Question #80730
Hello.  In Los Angeles, a Pesak Halacha was issued by a rabbi that it is permissible for a married woman to be without a head-covering, and he based it on the book "Hukei Nashim" by Rav Yosef Hayim who wrote this about the women of Germany.  The Pesak Halacha is making noise and many are being pulled along after him.  Can the rav please enlighten us about this?  Thank you - from the head of the Sephardic communities of Los Angeles and Canada.

Woe to the eyes who have seen this and woe to the ears who have heard this - for those who permit this have sinned two terrible sins in this.  The first is to spread false rumors against the holy one of Israel  - our rabbi the Ben Ish Hai - as if he permitted the matter - G-d forbid.  The second [sin] is to uproot something from the Torah and to breach the wall of modesty which guards us from all evil and to cause the Shechina to be removed from Israel - G-d forbid.  Woe to the generation that this has arisen in its days. 

Covering hair of a woman, according to many halachic decisors, is Biblical, as it says in Ketubot 72a.  And also in Midrash Rabba Nasso 9:16 - that it's Biblical.  And such is the opinion of the Me'iri in Ketubot loc. cit. and the Rashba"tz - positive commandments 137:52.  And the Aruch Hashulhan 75:7.  And many more of the great halachic decisors.  And who can dare permit a grave prohibition of women's hair, which is considered Erva, as is mentioned in Berachot 24a.  Similarly decided the Shulhan Aruch in Orah Hayim 75:2.  And also in the Shulhan Aruch in Even Ha'ezer 21:2, he forbids a woman to go outside without a head covering with a "sharp knife" [i.e. he's very strict about it].  He also says in 115:4 that a woman who goes even in an alleyway or a shared courtyard without a hair covering is called one who transgresses the religion of Moshe and Yehudit, and it is incumbent upon the husband to divorce her immediately without a Ketuba.

Is it not enough for us with the troubles and terrible tragedies that encircle us from all sides, while our enemies from the entire world imagine to destroy us, and above all, the terrible Yetzer Hara is lurking in every section and corner to destroy the vineyard of the house of Israel, and the young generation is weak in their fear of Heaven, and the tradition that was given to us continues to diminish, that men from among us arise to destroy the fence of tzeni'ut??? 

Now, regarding the false claim that supposedly the Ben Ish Hai permitted, there was never such a thing.  Rather, he was talking regarding [a man reciting] the Keriat Shema opposite one who normally accustoms herself to being immodest and her husband is used to it.  G-d forbid to accuse the holy one of Israel of permitting the matter. 

These matters are clear and do not require explanation to all who is wise and knowledgeable.  This [heter] never existed or will exist.  Fear the holy Torah.  Fear causing damage to Tzeni'ut and the holiness of Israel.  Do not rebel against our Father in Heaven.  Do not rebel against the great leaders of our generation.  Do not rebel against our holy Torah.

Hashem Yitbarach should fence in our breaches and cause peace to dwell in the camp of Israel, and we should guard the laws of the Torah and its Mitzvot until the redeemer comes to Zion speedily in our days, Amen.

Signed with tears and terrible pain,

Ben Tzion Mutzafi

Today, 22 Iyyar, 37th day of the Omer, 5771


At Sat May 28, 11:00:00 PM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, and forgive me everyone, but this just does not make any sense to me, what so ever.

First: If HaShem did not want women have hair when they are married, they would not have hair. However, they do, so we may deduce that HaShem put it there for a good reason.

Want to know what it is? It protects the scalp and one's head, while allowing the scalp to breathe.

Secondly, if a man cannot control his sexual urges upon seeing a woman's hair, then there is a deeper psychological problem that needs to be addressed.

Thirdly, making a woman cover her hair because a man has an abnormal sexual problem with it, is placing the responsibility for the man's mental problem on her, thus enabling a man to continue to have such an emotional problem without getting it resolved. If you cannot see a woman with hair without having such lurid sexual thoughts, you need to see a therapist. HaShem gave women very good brains, turn your attention towards them, instead.

Fourthly, covering of the hair is a health issue for a woman. When the scalp does not breathe, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and germs which in turn results in dermatitis, and other issues. All of which not only cause the woman discomfort, but can become a health problem as well.

When these laws were written, we did not understand what we do now regarding health issues. Why would you ever want your wives to be subjected to possible health problems because you do not take responsibility for your own emotional problems?

At Sun May 29, 04:33:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a grandmother who wears not one, but two head coverings outside and inside my home including when I'm asleep. My daughters and daughters-in-law, do the same, Baruch HaShem. We are all intelligent, educated women and none of us ever had skin problems due to our head coverings. When Jewish women serve HaShem with love, when we learn what is required of us from the Torah and we're guided by our Rabbis, we merit Blessings for out homes and for future generations. It's that simple.

At Sun May 29, 06:01:00 AM 2011, Anonymous Tali said...

The following is meant in a humorous vein (no offense intended): If God did not want men to have a foreskin, why would he put it there?

Also, hair-covering is meant for the woman just as much as the man. BTW, my hair has turned a lovely color in the years it has been out of the sun and wind.

Sexual purity is supposed to be mutual. Women are supposed to cover up in a dignified manner and men aren't supposed to look at or touch a woman to whom he isn't married, even if she is walking down the street naked.

Finally, we can't judge what turns men on. Their wiring is so different than ours. When I was in high school, quite a few guys were totally enchanted with the Seabreeze commercials in which girls' hair was blown around in tune to the jingle. They weren't abnormal, just into hair.


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