We have been fortunate that in the sea of licentiousness that
surrounds us there are still valorous Jewish women who carry
on the tradition established at the time of the Golden Calf
of not worshiping idolatry. They were privileged to sanctify
Hashem's name in public when they cast their `ornaments'
behind their backs and donned the true Jewish ornaments upon
their head. Even though garments are designed to distinguish
their wearers, they gave up their pride for the sake of the
honor of their Creator.
Thus does it say in Yirmiyohu, "Give unto Hashem your
G- d honor before it grows dark." I have no doubt that the
gates of heavenly mercy were opened, from which descended two
angels bearing two crowns, one corresponding to the
pronouncement of na'aseh, that is, the commandment for
a married woman to cover her head, and the other,
corresponding to nishma, that is, for obeying the
directives of the sages. And these sages are the worthy
messengers for a praiseworthy thing; whoever has yiras
Shomayim is obeyed.
Incidentally, I would like to remind the public that what
Chazal said that a tefach-measure showing from a woman
is considered indecent exposure, does not refer to the hair.
The measurement there is "even anything at all — even
in his own wife." In other words, what R' Sheishes said
(Brochos 22a) that the amount of hair showing by a
woman that is considered forbidden exposure really means even
less than a tefach: that is, anything. This is what is
written in Shulchan Shlomo, Orach Chaim, siman 72:2,
and his words are quoted in the abridged Mishneh Berurah,
At any rate, women who expose some of their own hair over
their wigs, even if it is only a little, have not gained
anything by the wig covering. The Zohar in
Nosso states that even one hair showing is regarded
Avodoh Zorah Per Se
Whatever I have written up till now relates to sacrificial
offerings to idolatry. I would now like to focus on the
prohibition of practicing idolatry itself. I am referring to
certain people in the secular camp who are `idolized,' as it
were, by a great many chareidim. What I mean is that
they believed in their heart of hearts, or even hoped, that
the eventual salvation would come through them. This is
virtual avoda zora, as Maran HaRav Elchonon Wassermann
Hy'd wrote in his work, Ikvesa deMeshicha:
Anything that appears to a person to be a factor independent
of the will or knowledge of Hashem, which can accomplish
something for the good or for the bad, is included in the
definition of avodoh Zorah.
Woe unto us. All the various forms of idolatry have
disappointed, fallen through. It is just as is written in
Talmud Yerushalmi (Avodoh Zorah 2:2): "All the forms
of idolatry are destined to come before their respective
worshipers and spit in their faces and humiliate them."
Yeshayohu Hanovi said, "And they shall pass through it,
greatly distressed and hungry; and it shall come to pass that
when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves and
curse their king and their G-d and look upward"
(8:21). In other words, whoever passed along that road
in order to pay tribute to the idolatry, shall suffer
misfortune and hunger. And they shall curse their king and G-
d, who disappointed them and forsook them. And then they
shall turn upwards and seek help from Hashem.
This is what Moshe Rabbenu said in Ha'azinu, "And he
shall say:`Where is their G-d, the rock in whom they
trusted?" In other words, Hashem shall ask: Where are the
idols in which they placed their faith, idols who, they
hoped, would protect them? Let them rise up and help them.
These verses establish that before the Redemption, the Jews
will embrace various idolatries and `isms', and for period
after period in history, they will place their false trust in
different things, only to be disappointed, time and again.
The truth is that were it not for our misplaced faith in this
or that false G-d, and our hope and belief that they would
bring around the redemption, we would have long seen the true
The Sifsei Kohen on the Torah says: "It is written in
Shemos (12:34): `And the nation carried its dough
before it could leaven . . . and they baked the dough which
they took out of Egypt, unleavened cakes, for they had not
leavened, for they were banished from Egypt.' The simple
meaning of the text is that the reason the Jews didn't bake
bread instead of matzos is because they were banished from
Egypt, or else they would have waited for the bread to
The Rishonim ask: But they were commanded not to have
any leavening in their possession altogether, that it "not be
seen and not be found!"
And several answers are provided and are to be found in the
commentary of the Ran, R' Yeshaya and the Ramban, etc.
I saw it written in Sifsei Kohen, a great kabbalist
from a student of a student of the Arizal, that where it says
that the nation lifted its voice . . . the Torah is
referring to the rabble (eirev rav). This is according
to the rule that when it says `ho'om,' the people, it
is referring to the most base element, the rabble. The Jewish
people themselves did not have time to occupy themselves in
baking, for they were busy with the command of borrowing
vessels and garments from the Egyptians.
The rabble, on the other hand, was not commanded against
having leavening in sight, or in their possession, so that
the reason they didn't bake leavened bread was because they
were being banished from Egypt. Otherwise, they would have
waited for the dough to rise . . .
He concludes his words thus: "And know that had the Children
of Israel not eaten together with the rabble from the same
pot, they would have been rewarded with manna before they
complained. But that eating together compromised and
entangled them. It made them consort and associate with them.
This subsequently caused them much suffering in the desert
— and this is what Chazal sought to prevent by
forbidding a Jew to `break bread' together with a non-
I remember that in the War of 1967, I went for a walk with
Maran HaRav Shach ztvk'l. We were all carried away
then with an overpowering sense of euphoria, which he tried
to cool off. "You have all become Zionists," he accused.
"How can it be different?" I countered. "Would we have wanted
the Arabs to win? Every fool know what would have happened
had they won!"
He then said to me, "I also wanted us to win, but not through
their [the Zionist] hands."
I also recall another time following national elections, when
one of the secular candidates won. Everyone knows that the
winning party always holds a celebration late at night,
attended by the winner's supporters and promoters, to
commemorate the victory.
The following morning, I went to Maran and found him
dissolved in real tears, just like a child. I was greatly
alarmed but he said to me, "R' Aharon, didn't you hear the
tremendous honor that they accorded the wicked last
What difference does it make if the wicked honor one
another? I thought to myself. And then I thought again:
It doesn't matter who is honoring the wicked, or whether he
be a leader from the Right or from the Left. It is still
honor accorded to the wicked, in the eyes of the Rosh
Yeshiva, and a manifestation of the Shechina in exile.
This is why he was weeping copious tears.
This should be our view regarding their leaders. We are
obligated to know that they seek only their own good; and if
we are permitted to politically align ourselves with them, it
is only under duress, to preserve whatever can still be
preserved, no more.
HaRav Aharon Yeshaya Roter is author of Shaarei