Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Misnagdim vs Chasidim Part 2

The Rav of my minyan sent out an email today with a brief list of Erev Rosh Hashana Halachos. Of the Halachos he sent, the following caught my attention as it does every year. That halacha is the following :
The Rama cites a custom for men to immerse in the mikva on Erev Rosh HaShanah to spiritually purify themselves in preparation for the Day of Judgment.

The fist thing that bothers me is the following. Misnagdim, mock Chasidim who go to the mikveh on a daily basis or before Shabbos or the other Yom Tovim claiming that we are all Tamei so going to a mikveh is a waste of time when you can be learning instead. If this is true, why do misnagdim make it their business to go before Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? If you believe you are going to be Tamei during the rest of the year so you don't go, why do you go now?

My next question is price gauging at the mikvehs on Erev Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The mikvehs I go to charge anywhere from 1 - 3 dollars during the week and 5 dollars erev shabbos. On Erev Rosh Hashana and Erev Yom Kippur the price can jump anywhere from 10 dollars to 30 dollars. Why does this occur? How does the local Vaad allow this to occur? What if you can't afford it? Yes the mikveh needs to raise money, but women pay a higher price when they go which should cover the costs. These are things that I hope someone can explain to me to help justify these two problems I have.

26 comments:

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

It's interesting how these things bother you so much.

FrumWithQuestions said...

Its not that these things bother me, its just that these things are hypocritical. Something you are agianst the whole year you can just forget about and go to the mikveh Erev Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur? It just doesn't make sense, so I am asking why this is.

rescue said...

Rabbi Reisman gave a shiur (I think about 2 years ago) about men & mikvah. He said that the mikvah is something that can add kedusha. (Some misnagdim go every Shabbos)So even if you are opposed to mikvah evryday erev R"H and Y"C are different as they are the holiest days of the year and by going to the mikvah you are trying to add a tosefes kedushah.

joshwaxman said...

I believe I read in Sperber (minhagei yisrael) -- but I might be misremembering (in which case ignore all this) -- that this custom developed with relation to a stringency of not blowing the shofar while a baal keri. which would then be how this specific minhag took root at this point in the year, as opposed to in general. and if so, it would not be hypocrisy - it would be following the specific stringency, or following the specific minhag that developed from it, and not following a different minhag because it was not your community's minhag.

joshwaxman said...

"Misnagdim, mock Chasidim who go to the mikveh on a daily basis or before Shabbos or the other Yom Tovim claiming that we are all Tamei so going to a mikveh is a waste of time when you can be learning instead."

Maybe it's because misnagdim have no interest in learning astronomy, which, according to Mar Shmuel, he only did (and could do) in the bathhouse.

;)

FrumWithQuestions said...

Josh- The custom of going to the Mikveh every day and before Shabbos and Yom Tov goes as far back at least to the ARizal. I am not sure who Sperber is. If it in regards to being a Baal Karei the same would apply to everyday not just blowing the shofar. You would not be able to put on your tefillin as well as read from the Torah so I am not sure what you are quoting.

Who said Chasidim study astronomy? Your starting to sound like Litvak.

Rescue- You still didn't answer how Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur are different from the rest of the year. It is important to add kedusha every day, isn't it?

joshwaxman said...

alas, you misunderstand what I say. In terms of astronomy, this was a joke, and a reference to the gemara about whether astronomers can merit to succeed in Torah. I also did not state that this was not an old custom, just that this was a *different* custom. And that this one by Rosh HaShana was a separate custom which would have arisen specifically in terms of blowing the shofar, for reasons that he gets into in the book. (again, if I recall correctly. beli neder, I'll try to look it up.)

In terms of Sperber, this should be required reading before commenting on minhagim. See here.

joshwaxman said...

BTW, for some flavor of Sperber in terms of Rosh haShana, check out this post I made this morning about egoz and gematria chet.

rescue said...

I don't know if you need to add kedusha everyday. Maybe that is what the machlokes is about. Chassidim say everyday and litvaks say Shabbos is nice but more important R"H & Y"K since they are the high HOLY days.
Also, maybe the fact that someone may go everyday or every week that reduces the feeling of what one should experience when comming out of the mikvah, therefor REMA says that the minhag is only for yomim nora'im when the extra feeling could be more imprtant, and it is better not to cheapen it by going more often.

FrumWithQuestions said...

It may be true that RH and YK are holy days, but so is Shabbos. You cannot put levels of Kedusha on different days. You can make the case with any Jewish holiday saying that it is the holiest. Women go to the mikveh the rest of the year dont they?

Noone has answered my question about the price gauging that occurs

Litvak said...

FWQ -

1) You are revealing yourself to be pretty Hassidic, as evidently you are a regular mikvah goer, since you know the prices so well. You should be up front with that, don't pretend you are not. Now I understand why you are so Hassidic in your outlook.

2) There is a difference between going all year and going before yomim noraim. See a post about this by your fellow blogger at http://mazel123.blogspot.com/2006/09/going-to-mikvah-on-erev-rh.html

3) There are some Litvaks who go during the year too (I think that would be people who follow teachings of the GRA zt"l). I think (lihavdil) Rav Chaim Kanievsky may hold that way as well, following his father zt"l

Litvak said...

"You cannot put levels of Kedusha on different days."

What ?

Chassidim call Yom Kippur 'yom hakodosh'. Are you going to rebuke them now ?

FrumWithQuestions said...

Litvak - I am not revealing that I am pretty chasidic in anyway. Whether or not I am is irrelevant to the questions that I am asking. I am going to read that article later. I have seen many Litvaks go to the Mikveh. When I was at YU there was a car load of bochurs from Telse as well as YU Rabeim that would go to the one in the Heights.

Chasidim might call Yom Kippur Yom Hakadosh (according to you) but they also say the same about Purim, Yom KiPurim and the same about other Holidays as well. When you are in the time period of that Holiday they are always deemed by somone whether Chassidic or Misnagdic as the Holiest Holiday. But like I said you cannot put levels on the Kedusha. The only one who can do that is Hashem.

The Litvaks that go to the Mikveh I guess are knoweldgable and are not real Misnagdim because they understand and know that real Chasidim do not do anything contrary to regular halacha.

I just want to reiterate that I don't have any particular oulook on anything. When contradictions come up between different practices amongst Jews or things don't make sense, I ask questions so I can get answers to try and make sense of things. Still no one can come up with a good answer as to the price gauging during RH and YK

FrumWithQuestions said...

Litvak - I just read the article on Ricardos blog and what the Rabbi is saying can relate to Rosh Hashana as well as relating to everyday. We are constantly doing teshuva or should be and every day we should start clean just like going into shabbos we should have the same feeling. There is an interesting explanation in the Shabbos Secrets book about some of the Minhagim about going to the mikveh if you are interested.

Litvak said...

"you cannot put levels on the Kedusha. The only one who can do that is Hashem."

Hashem has already done that and revealed it in his-our Torah. So if we repeat what the Torah says that there are different levels, that is correct and not called 'making it up'.

Litvak said...

"what the Rabbi is saying can relate to Rosh Hashana as well as relating to everyday."

No - he said that it related to the birth of the universe, which does not apply every day.

Litvak said...

"The Litvaks that go to the Mikveh I guess are knoweldgable and are not real Misnagdim because they understand and know that real Chasidim do not do anything contrary to regular halacha."

Not true. One day your eyes may be opened up. If you would live in a more Chassidic area, and see things some of them do, you might not say that.

FrumWithQuestions said...

Litvak- When have you spent time in a Chassidishe neighborhood? I actually went to Borough Park for a Shabbos and found everyone aroundme including the people around me all within the proper zmanim and there was no talking in the shul. I would like to know where you get your misguided observations from because I get the impression you have never spent time in a Chassidishe environment. Right now I live in a Litvishe area and I see what people do and many of them are wrong in the things they do.

Litvak said...

"I actually went to Borough Park for a Shabbos and found everyone aroundme including the people around me all within the proper zmanim and there was no talking in the shul."

Obviously you didn't see too much of the neighborhood. Perhaps your hosts shielded you from certain things.

"I would like to know where you get your misguided observations from because I get the impression you have never spent time in a Chassidishe environment."

Incorrect.

Litvak said...

"Right now I live in a Litvishe area and I see what people do and many of them are wrong in the things they do."

There is room for improvement on all sides.

FrumWithQuestions said...

Litvak- You still did not answer me about where you get your info from All you said was incorrect. Thats not an answer. And i did not have a host. I stayed in the hotel with my wife. I went to a few shuls that Shabbos and everyone was very friendly. Noone shielded me from anything either. Like I said, I only post about things that I observe from and objective perspective not from one side or the other.

joshwaxman said...

Hi. I just wanted to let it be known that I was wrong about what I said before about what Sperber said. As I feared, I misremembered it, because it was a while ago and because of proximity to one that was about Rosh haShana. He was actually talking about the practice of some kohanim to refrain from tashmish haMita on the nights before they are going to do birkat kohanim (that is, Yom Tov), which is related to a position not to perform birkat kohanim while a baal keri. And how this was perhaps related to a practice not to do birkat kohanim except during these times of year.

So, this custom of specifically before Yom Tov or before Rosh haShana is not necessarily related to that (though I could see where I made the connection). The historical development of this minhag is quite possibly something else entirely.

Kol Tuv,
Josh

yitz said...

Here in Eretz Yisrael, many "Litvishe" types go to the Mikveh on a daily basis.

Price gouging - simple: supply & demand. They know that more people, just about everyone, wants to go, so they raise the prices.

Solution? 1)Go on a daily basis, you pay for the month [or year] and EVERY DAY is included, no extra fee for Shabbos or Yom Tov.
2) Find a place that doesn't gouge and go there.

Bahaltener said...

About astronomy and mikve.

What problem did you find in astronomy, saying that chasidim don't learn it? All our great sages knew astronomy. Look in Ramba"m and try to understand his halochoys without some knowledge of astronomy and you'll see how hard it is. Astronomy has a integral part in Halocho (and Nistar by the way), the simpliest example being calculation of zmanim which is of a high importance for many everyday mitzvoys.

Now about the mikve. Mikve is not exactly a bathhouse! There are special kavonoys for the mikve from Ari za"l for example, and from Baal Shem Tov as well. Obviously it is not as a bathhouse, where the astronomy is the only option so to say.

Normal litvak don't mock chasidic practices, because they know what they are based on. Only either amaratzim, or those who dislike chasidus per se.

misnagid said...

chassidim are nuts!!!
that said, let me correct the notion that its assur to learn or daven while tamei keri, NOT TRUE!!
also tvila is brought in shulchan aruch ONLY on erev y"k, that is itself the end of the story. there is no other way to be a good jew other than following shulchan aruch, is that simple enough for you kugel fressers?
chassidim let emotion run their lives instead of clinical cold HALACHA. i once heard of a rebbe who toivels his chicken before kapparos!!! such ameratzus!! a baal chai CANT be tamei!! a mikva CANNOT have ANY effect on it. i think all that alcahol must have gone to the brain.

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