Sunday, August 3, 2008

The 9 days

When I was in HS one of the chassidish teachers told us that during the 9 days, you're not allowed to shower, and that you're only allowed to take sponge baths. Us girls were extremely grossed out, decided that no matter how frum we become later on in life, we'll still never keep the no-showering for 9 days thing. And then our next teacher came, and told us that not only are we allowed to shower, but since we're single and female, we're encouraged to shower. She said that we just have to make sure not to overheat the water, and she basically spelled out the rules. So we were happy, and felt extremely relaxed, considering that we WERE allowed to shower.


Years later I went to visit a camp for a couple of weeks, and one of the girls said that she was allowed to take hot showers, because she normally took cool showers, so for her, it was a bit of a discomfort to take a hot shower. She made all the girls jealous. And I just sat quietly in the corner thinking, "its the middle of the summer, we don't have air conditioning, its not the end of the world to take a cool shower." And so it dawned on me, that modern times do not exactly promote the "we forget the temple doesn't exist" type of a lifestyle, even on the 9 days.


For example. We have air conditioning. So if you don't take the greatest shower, you're still relatively clean, because you're not sweating nearly as much as you would 100 years ago. Secondly, the 9-day menu's at the restuarants don't necessarily make you forget about meat. Don't get me wrong, I LOOVE my meat. But I can definitly give it up and head over to one of the many delicious milchig cafes for the weekly meal I have out. Heck, going to Renaissance Cafe is a treat in most cases. Have any of you tried their Filet of Sole with Almond sauce (if you haven't you should do so!!)? Thirdly, the whole "not wearing clean clothes" thing is a joke. Its not like your clothes is literally dirty, its just stepped on, by your own clean feet, on your clean floor, OR was worn on top of your clean clothes for what, 5 minutes? It still smells fresh when you do wear it.


This whole 9 day hype thing is annoying. You either make yourself uncomfortable or stop pretending too. OR, just teach your kids that the fact that there is war, constant fear of danger, and anti-semitism. These are everyday signs of galus and your kids will understand. To fake out for 9 days is a joke. Especially these days.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping 9 days, its tradition, and its good for us to have days set aside to remind us of our galus. But to kid ourselves into thinking that we're really suffering during the 9 days, is something that should be discouraged.

13 comments:

Moshe said...

I find the whole 9 days special menu in takeouts and restaurants especially pathetic. Instead of a mourning period, it became more of a holiday. Celebrate the 9 days with our special parve and milcheg menus.

As far as showering goes, the idea of not showering was introduced when people didn't have a shower or bath at home and had to go to a bath house. For them, it was something special, for us, it's not, we shower daily.

I do love making havdala on beer though.

btw, eli tzion, to me, sounds like a revolutionary hymn or something. Every time we sing it in shul, I envision Jews marching together with tanks and artillery and just destroying and rolling over everything that's in the way.

Jay said...

My dear the whole thing is a matter of indoctorination. BTW have you compared the price of fish to that of meat? it's kind of more than double. So tell me what's more festive!Anyway orthodox Judaism is full of loopholes like if there is a siuum, the completion of a Talmudic tracate, you dinner can a seudat mitzvah so you can have your steak. A bris, wedding, pidyon haben also counts. But PLEASe don't fly during the 9 days as your plane will surely crash. And I almost forgot if you step on a crack you'll break your mothers back

Moshe said...

A wedding during the 9 days?! What have you been smoking?

shoshanat ha'amakim said...

the question really is what message was chazal trying to instill in us with these halachot? what comes out is that all of the halachot relate to the following three inyanim: (1)aveilut - mourning the churban (2)tshuva - tikun to bring about the building of bayit shlishi (3)zecher l'churban - after the churban there were lots of new halachot to "diminish our happiness" all the time such as leaving a square of the house unpainted, breaking the glass at a wedding etc. what comes out is that the 9 days are essentially an extension of these general halachot concerning "zecher l'churban"

I think the point that is most overlooked is #2 - tshuva. sure, you can go into the 9 days going through the motions - no eating meat, taking cooler showers and putting your chevra acapella album on repeat but you wouldn't really have fulfilled what chazal set out for us. the idea behind the halachot is to bring us to tshuva so that we become worthy of seeing the rebuilding of the beit hamikdash. maybe my kids will go to a school/camp where the reasons behind the halachot are taught as scrupulously as the halachot themselves...

it's interesting that no frum person would dream of setting the timer on his tv to watch the game on shabbos even though halachically it's permissible (we do it with lights!) because watching tv on shabbos is not in the spirit of the day. yet, the same person may eat in the classiest of milchig restaurants during the 9 days because technically they're not eating meat even though enjoying an especially nice meal during the 9 days isn't exactly within the spirit of the week. of course, there's a fine line between following every chumra and behaving in a way that is "lifnim meshurat hadin." considering that not following halacha "lifnim meshurat hadin" is cited by the gemarah as one of the reasons for the churban it is worth our while during the 9 days to examine our actions and behavior to ensure we do a little more than just "going through the motions."

Anonymous said...

You should become sefaradi. They do not observe the 9 days.

Anonymous said...

fs - how was the beach? You were seen (during the 9 days- tsk tsk).
fav anony :)

frumskeptic said...

fav anony: What's wrong with the beach during the 9 days? Swimming is the problem. Its not like you could swim in the ocean, and since I was seen IN it, I was in while watching a 4.5 year old, and then later just to get clean cuz I was all sandy from building a castle with her.

Ophir said...

Just do you're best and everything should be l'shaim shamayim. That is all G-d wants from us.

David said...

The most difficult thing about the 9 days for me is pretending that I not only care about the temple, but being part of a collective pretense that all of us really wish we were back sacrificing goats again. The hypocrisy of the whole business is almost unbearable. The only thing I'm sad about is having to fast.

Anonymous said...

david - i dont know abt you, but i cant wait to sacrifice a goat.

anony

DYS said...

Everyone's an istenis these days

The Babysitter said...

I agree with you so much on this one.
My family went to a 9 day menu restaurant place for my grandfathers birthday, and instead of having sesame chicken they had sesame mock chicken or sesame fish nuggets. I wasn't going to try it out though.
But its weird since I don't remember not eating meat in the 9 days when I was younger, only like last year did I realize that it might be a Halacha or something. I just assumed it was like Shvuous where it was optional to eat only dairy.
I saw a video by R' Orlofsky on this topic that you might find interesting and funny.

Lion of Zion said...

i find it amazing that people rush to eat out even more during the 9 days than they normally do.