Monday, August 21, 2023

Rav Menashe Klein: Does sending girls to collect charity violate "the honor of the princess is to stay inside"

Rav Menashe Klein (4:125):Woe is to the girls school that sent them to collect money for charity Question: You want to know my view as to whether it is correct to send school girls from the higher grade with collection boxes (pushkes) into the stores and streets to collect money for Torah study or other worthy causes. Your view is that this practice violates the principle that the “The honor of the princess is inside” and also there is inappropriate contact with the people who pass by and this causes at times disgusting things. And I want to raise the additional question, “Why should this only be a concern for the higher grades? The question is definitely relevent also for the lower grades. Why should it be different because in both cases the girls are getting used to being amongst men? And the father of Shmuel did not let two sisters to sleep together to prevent them getting used to being physically close to another person. Everything depends on habit as is well known in this matter.

Nonetheless it is difficult to state a clear cut rule because it strongly depends upon the place and the time and the person. There is no question in a case where the girls who normally are in fact in the house the whole day that we say “The honor of the princess is inside”. But that is an unusual case. In such a case there would be no mitzva to send them out to collect charity and in fact it would be a mitzva accomplished through sin. However due to our many sins it seems that these present day girls do not in fact fulfill the verse of “The honor of the princess is inside” and they leave the home regularly for all sorts of things. For example they go to school everyday on the bus with various and strange drivers and joke with them or discuss issues with them or even with an ordinary non-Jew that gets on the bus and they greet them – and this is a problem even with a Jewish driver. They learn English in school with male teachers who might be non-Jews or Jews. And this is true not only for English but also they have male teachers for Torah - and many of the teachers are unmarried.

It was a long time ago that I spoke with one of the principals of a girls high school here concerning why they have unmarried male teachers? We know from Toras Moshe Rabbeinu that an unmarried male should not teach – even boys because of the mothers who come for them. So surely they shouldn’t be teaching older girls who are at the age to cause problems even for married teachers. Surely males teaching girls is not considered a clean and simple profession. In fact our Sages have said that a person should have a job that doesn’t involve interacting with females and surely not to be teaching them every day for the entire day! Can it be that a person will light a fire in his bosom and not be burnt? Who in today’s generation can say that he doesn’t have sexual enticements in these situations?

G-d forbid that I should be blaming holy Jewish girls and I am not not saying they are doing anything wrong because all of them are holy. And also it is certain that the teachers are pure and holy and I with my many sins and am the lowest of the lowest I have not merited to holiness like this. However for someone of lowly value such as myself it is certain that I need to protest. And perhaps in truth you will not find amongst the teachers someone as lowly as me – it should only be so.

The holy and learned Rav Hillel Kalamair occasionally gave talks to women concerning mussar and the halachos that they needed to know. When he entered into they synagogue to speak before them, he would first wrap his head with a talis so he would not look at them and come to sin. Are we greater than he? And I have said that if perhaps I had two other rabbis supporting me I would make a great protest against this practise. [see E. H. 1:3 and Beis Shmeul 1:4. My brother pointed out to me that the Lechem Chamudos said something similar. I am happy to see that I am agreement with such an elevated person.]

So to return to the original question. We see that these girls go into the markets and streets for walks, for jobs, for purchases and for all their needs. If so why should we be concerned specifically for the issue of going to collect charity? Is this worse than what they do for other needs? In fact the opposite is so because there are times when it is good for them to go and collect charity and not go to worse places than that e.g., to watch television or listen to the radio or sometimes they even go to see a movie or other entertainment which I don’t want to mention. So I am not speaking about the girls who in truth do not generally go out and they fulfill, “The honor of the princess is inside” and they are adorned with golden garments. A girl who spends her staying at home and not going out – they should be truly rich and their portion be successful and their forfathers rejoice – because this is true greatness for girls like these not to go out. For such girls the question of collecting charity does not arise.

Rav Menashe Klein (9:250): Question: Concerning the halacha principle that a Jewish woman is considered a princess and therefore it is more respectful for that status that she should remain in the home (kavod bas melech penima) – is it preferable that a wife leave the home for the sake of her husband to a place of immorality [in order to earn a living or other purposes]. Answer: It is difficult to give a clear written response to this question. That is because in modern time this principle that it is best that a Jewish woman should stay in the home is almost nonexistent – because of our many sins. If a woman does remain in her home and doesn’t go out for any reason– even if it causes her husband to lose Torah study - then this is definitely an example of the principle. Traditionally a woman did not go out of her house. However after the Holocaust (because of our many sins) – when we find ourselves a small minority amongst the nations of the world and earning a livelihood is difficult – it has become normative practice for women to leave their homes. However in places outside the home there is the possibility of immorality and no protection against sexual sins – therefore it depends on the nature of the society and the characteristics of the woman. In particular whether she would in fact remain in the house all day if she had the opportunity. (See what I wrote in Mishne Torah 4:125) concerning sending Beis Yaakov girls out to collect money for charity.)

 First we need to clarify whether we actually rule that this principle is the halacha. It seems that in fact that it is a dispute amongst the poskim - as we see from Gittin 12 that apparently we don’t follow such a principle. Similarly Mahari Bruno (#242) was asked regarding a maid servant who did not want to leave the home to do the shopping because of this principle. He responded that we don’t rule in accord with this principle. In contrast we see in Yevamos (77a) that this principle is cited as halacha [from the fact that Amonite and Moabite women were not punished for failing to provide the Jews with bread and water - since all respectable woman remain in the home] .

he Nimukei Yosef say there that the principle is halacha because all Jews are considered royalty. Shulchan Aruch (E.H 4) also rules like Yevamos (77a). See the Levush. Consequently we seem to have contradictory evidence as to whether it is halacha. Furthermore in Shabbos (111a), Rav Shimon says that all Jews are royalty and that is the halacha. On the other hand the Ran says that the Rif says that the halacha that all Jews are not considered royalty. However the BeHag and Rabbeinu Chananel rule like Rav Shimon...Rashi (Shabbos 59) writes that all Jews are royalty. Similarly in Mishna Berachos (1:2) says that they are royalty. However Rabbeinu Yona says normally they are not considered royalty but here we do.

In my chidushim I write that there are three different circumstances. In truth there is no question that the honor of a princess is to stay in the home. However in spite of that, we find with Ruth that she did go out to gather grain amongst the other harvesters – and she is praised for doing so. But look at Rashi and the interpretations of Chazal that say when she went out she sought out the company of proper people. If so we can state that when a person does need to go out of the home this principle requires finding a place where there are proper people. In such circumstances there is no prohibition.

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