Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Yesterday was a beautiful, warm, summer-like day in the Holy Land, and already at in the morning, when I was taking the kids to school, I couldn’t help but notice that this year’s “Poopik Pageant” had started. Not only were poopiks and bellies in bloom, the competition was already underway to see who could expose the most flesh. Young women, and older, married women alike. You expect this kind of thing in Beverly Hills, Monto Carlo, Cannes. But here in the Holy Land! Gevalt!
Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming the women. It isn’t their fault. The younger women are trying to attract husbands, and the older women are trying to keep the ones they already have. The competition is fierce. As the Kabbalist, Rabbi Leon Levi, points out: these confused women are victims of the sick Western culture that is infesting our borders with a plague of immodesty that is far worse than locusts. In the meantime, the Holy One weeps to see how the Daughters of Israel have fallen. The sick Western culture is infesting our borders with a plague of immodesty that is far worse than locusts.
Several months ago, when homosexuals wanted to stage a “Parade of Pride” in Jerusalem, the religious community rose up in fervent protest. But now that summer weather is beginning, what about the daily “Poopik Pageant” of married and single women all over the Holy Land, a daily parade of unchastity on our streets, shopping malls, and buses - holy Daughters of Israel parading their nakedness in brazenly immodest attire and teeny, tight-fitting garments?
It can be argued that this flagrant lack of modesty on a day-to-day basis causes far more moral and spiritual damage than a two-hour “Parade of Pride.” Where are the protest posters and angry demonstrations? Where are the outcries of the rabbis against this unholy behavior? Is the silence because we have become accustomed to this state of affairs, or because we feel impotent to extinguish the fire? Or is it because our over-exposure to it has made us spiritually insensitive to the tragedy that immodesty brings to our nation?
In 1927, when world Jewry was gripped in economic hardship and widespread persecution, the famed Torah scholar, the Chofetz Chaim, wrote a letter calling on the rabbis throughout the Jewish world to save the situation by publicly decrying the decline of modesty throughout their communities. He writes:
“Behold, our Sages stated, ‘A handbreadth exposed in a woman, in a place that is usually covered, constitutes sexual unchastity’ (Berachot 24A).And today, due to our many sins, this matter has very greatly spread, and the evil inclination seduces women to walk around without covering their hair, and to go out with their arms exposed, with dresses without sleeves. And many of their garments also expose the chest. Everything is exposed so that in whatever place a man should look, he is confronted with licentiousness.”
This was in 1927. The problem is a thousand times greater today! The Chofetz Chaim continues:
“It is written, ‘For the L-rd your G-d walks in the midst of your camp to save you, and to conquer your enemy from before you’ (Devarim, ).
"The meaning of ‘to save you’ includes many things, to save you from the sword, and from hunger, from enemy captivity, and from humiliation. The verse continues, ‘Therefore your camp shall be holy, that He see no unchaste thing in thee and turn away from thee.’ The Torah explains the matter explicitly, that when we conduct our lives in a holy manner, then He walks in the midst of us to deliver us from every evil thing. However, if He sees in us some unchaste matter, He turns away from us, and this brings upon us all of the tribulations, G-d forbid.”
This is a quote from the Chofetz Chaim, not from Tzvi Fishman! Just a short time ago, all through the recent war in Lebanon, we learned the hard way that all of the great power of Tzahal was unable to stop Hizballah missiles from falling on communities in the north. The Torah teaches that our security depends on the holiness of our lives. It is not the Israeli Army alone that guarantees the security of the Jewish People in Israel - it is also the Blessed One Holy Be He. He has promised us in the Torah that we will live in security as long as we adhere to the laws of sexual chastity. Therefore, in the name of national security, the “Poopik Pageant” and all of its deviations and perversions should be permanently banned. Like the war against traffic accidents, a massive public educational campaign must be waged to make the Jewish People understand that our survival is at stake.
The Chofetz Chaim concludes:
“Therefore, every man has the obligation to extinguish this terrible fire, and to rectify the situation in his home so that everything will be according to Torah law, and not to allow licentiousness, G-d forbid. And in doing so, he will merit to have upright and exalted holy children.
“And more than anyone else, this obligation falls on the rabbis and on all those who are zealous to fulfill G-d’s words, that in every city and village, the importance of this matter must be publicly explained, in that it directly effects our survival and our success, both physically and spiritually, in this world and the next. Thus will the verse be fulfilled, ‘And your camp shall be holy.’”
After eighty years since his letter was written, it is time that we heed the words of the Chofetz Chaim and cry out against the day-to-day parade of immodesty that is polluting the holiness of our nation, and threatening the security of our people in our cherished Holy Land.