Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Modesty gone mad

Yediot Achronot's weekend magazine included a fascinating interview (no link) with
Yaffa Benizri, whose husband, Shlomo, a former Shas minister, is due to enter prison in September for (amongst a long list of things)
accepting bribes.

Two things stand out in the interview.

First, the description of their apartment in Sanhedria in Jerusalem, which is, according to the article, dirty, falling apart and neglected. This does not mean he didn't take the bribes - she as much as admits he did, though she insists they weren't bribes - but it is unusual to read of a minister living in such conditions.

Second, Yaffa's weird relationship with her husband. (Translation mine.)

"She is careful to call her husband 'Rabbi Benizri', not only when she is being interviewed for the paper but also when she is alone with him, and that is 'because of the respect, love and appreciation which I feel towards him,' she explains. 'Sometimes he calls be 'the rebbetzin', and I think he does it so that I will carry on calling him 'Rabbi Benizri'.

"She also says that her husband has never seen her without a head covering. Even at night, in the shared bedroom, she covers her hair, and does not allow even one hair to stick out."

Since when is it forbidden in Judaism for a wife to show her husband her hair when they are alone? Sorry, but this does not make Mrs Benizri any more pious than any other woman. We can only speculate what might make a woman decide never to reveal her hair to her husband, or call him by his first name, but halachah has nothing to do with it.

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