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The most screwed up things we do as Orthodox Jews

I used to love it in high school when the Rabbis would go on tirades against the all the other religions, they would talk a lot of smack about how Judaism made the most sense. Admittedly Judaism makes the most sense, but that’s not too great because Judaism as it is practiced by us orthodox folks makes us look completely insane. I never understood how someone could mock the other religions, when we had things like eruvim, tefillin and bris milah, but hey 600,000 people supposedly saw the revelation at Sinai and every other religion doesn’t make such outlandish claims – so there!

1)Kaparos: Everyone wants to rid themselves of their sins every now and then, but swinging a live chicken over your head is just downright crazy. I always wondered why no one ever pointed out the great similarities between chickens dying for our sins and our good friend Jesus. Sure, they didn’t kill Jesus with a super sharp knife to the jugular, but those chickens really only count for one family and not a whole religion of people.

2)Hot Sheitles: I’m fairly certain that the hair covering thing was a periodic thing that stayed with us through the ages, I’m also fairly certain that whoever jotted down the laws pertaining to married women covering their hair and “saving” it for their husbands didn’t have the Hot Chani thing in mind. I can’t imagine that anyone in their right mind thinks it makes sense for a women to save her ragged hair and sometimes shaved head for their husbands while everyone else gets to see their sexy new wig, but this is the social norm of the frum community.

3)Bug Obsessions: If you look at the list of vegetables that kosher mafia organizations don’t provide protection to it looks very similar to the list of veggies that anyone who wants to maintain a healthy diet should eat a lot of. Leafy Greens, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and those pesky berries. God forbid we should eat a bug that cannot and will never be seen by the naked eye unless you hold it up to a very bright light and then douse it in soap to rid it of these pesky insects. I’m of the opinion that whatever can be made into business by the kosher mafia and its henchmen will be made into a business.

4)Bedika Cloth Shayala’s: I’m not exactly sure why the frum community, which is obsessed with tznius and keeping women in the home will not do away with the embarrassment of a women showing her bedika cloths to a rabbi. Did you know that some women send bedika cloth samples in the mail for review. It’s completely insane that there are no women inspectors in the frum community. God forbid the women should have any halachic knowledge, lest they overthrow the gedolim.

5)Shatnes: It makes no sense and it never will, I vote taykoo, but at least everyone acknowledges that it’s completely insane. At least we are giving some folks a living, because there’s always that one guy who has a shatnes lab set up in his house and he’s always interesting to talk to because he looks like a shlub, but knows more than any metrosexual about fabric and suit styles.

and the list goes on….

Encouraging people to report molestation and sexual abuse to the rabbis who covered it up in the first place

Tefillin: I do it every day and try not to think about the logic

Lulav: Just another homoerotic experience for men in shul, kind of like kiddush clubs, hakafos and making sure to catch every second of the bris

People who daven everyday and have no idea what they’re saying (many people even have kavannah and have no idea what they’re saying)

Accepted organ donations from goyim yet refusing to donate our own

Segregating the sexes from preschool onward and stunting them socially so that they must rely on a go-between and “kallah/chosson teachers” in order to interact (and have physical relationships with) with their future spouses.

Calling people who don’t support the most radical right wing views on Israel – anti-Israel

Claiming to be authentic

Shidduch system in which a 25 year old man must call up his mothers friend to tell her that he won’t go out on another date with the girl – the woman than explains it to the girl – all in the name of modesty or insanity, you choose.

Complain about tuition prices when we can just send out kids to public schools and they would probably turn out more respectful and smarter than many of their yeshiva counterparts, it also may do a better job at keeping kids on the derech – God forbid we even have the hava mina.

Eruvim in the modern city

Kosher toilet paper

Violence against women in the name of modesty







{ 89 comments… add one }
  • Elly miller January 6, 2013, 8:14 PM

    Love this, on a side note we don’t refuse to donate organs. The only issue is it being done in a halachically acceptable way. They can even be donated to mon Jews. http://Www.hods.org

    • A. Nuran January 12, 2013, 5:18 AM

      In other words, you’ll donate a kidney, even to a non-Jew. But hearts, livers, corneas, lungs, so on and so forth, no. You’ll take but not give.

  • Tamar January 6, 2013, 8:21 PM

    Actually there are women for #4- do a search for yoetzet halacha

    • The Mrs. January 6, 2013, 8:53 PM

      I think I’d be way more creeped out showing it to a woman. Can’t really explain that.

    • Telz Angel January 6, 2013, 9:43 PM

      You’d think there could be an app for this. Take a picture, compare it to the color chart, email via two-way blind message it in case you need a second opinion. (Then outsource the stain comparison activity to someone in India.)

      • Yerushalmi January 6, 2013, 10:05 PM

        This is made of win.

      • A. Nuran January 7, 2013, 2:23 PM

        Clever. Make a $5 app. Get a bunch of “Gedolim” to require it. Profit!

        • Telz Angel January 7, 2013, 2:33 PM

          Tell the Underpants Gnomes (in South Park) that we found their missing phase #2

          • Sara January 12, 2013, 5:19 PM


    • Aaron January 6, 2013, 11:49 PM

      This is a very modern orthodox concept that does not exists in most communities

      • nachy January 7, 2013, 10:29 AM

        There are anonymous drop boxes in 5towns/rockaway

        • Heshy Fried January 7, 2013, 7:21 PM

          I hear they also sell these things in vending machines

          • Anonymous January 10, 2013, 3:06 PM

            only in japan

  • Eli Lebowicz January 6, 2013, 8:29 PM

    1)”If your child is a boy, on the 30th day, you must have your child redeemed by a local priest”
    2)Covering the bread so it doesn’t get embarrassed… then taking a 14 inch knife and cutting it into pieces
    3)Yelling at your wife for not covering the challah when you’re not wearing pants
    4)Making a specific commandment to remember that you have to erase the memory of Amalek
    5)Singing it’s great to be happy during the month of Adar (coincidentally Black History month) to the tune of an old slave song
    6) Needing help with unscrewing the lightbulb in your fridge on Friday night but having have to play a ridiculous game of 20 questions because you can’t ask them to do it directly

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:04 AM

      “2)Covering the bread so it doesnt get embarrassed then taking a 14 inch knife and cutting it into pieces
      3)Yelling at your wife for not covering the challah when youre not wearing pants”

      Aren’t you supposed to learn not to embarrass others, especially your spouse, by the challah-covering rule?

    • G*3 January 7, 2013, 11:07 AM

      > 2)Covering the bread so it doesnt get embarrassed then taking a 14 inch knife and cutting it into pieces

      Mystifying perfectly reasonable practices. IIRC, we cover the challah because the proffered order for brachos has hamotzi first, then hagofen. On Shabbos we make Kiddush before motzie, so we cover the challah so that it technically isnt ready to be eaten and we can make hagofen first.

      Apparently the legalistic nature of the above wasnt enough, so someone came up with the mystical notion that were trying to spare the challah embarrassment. Or maybe someone used covering the challah as a cute metaphor for the lengths we should go to to spare someone embarrassment, and it was taken literally by one of the listeners. Either way, once it was written in a sefer, it became official, and now were supposed to pretend that inanimate objects have feelings.

      • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 12:04 PM

        Wasn’t the Man* also covered.

        Hebrew for Manna. Not who the common people rally against.

      • Puzzled January 12, 2013, 8:48 PM

        Question on that “perfectly reasonable” bit – how is this artifically-created dilemma perfectly reasonable? Why not, I don’t know, do hamotzi first? Why is there a problem to be solved?

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 12:05 PM

      The pretend cut during HaMotzi. What’s up with that?

    • Full Hallel April 17, 2013, 8:14 AM

      Awesome. Man when you really think of our religion it makes your feel like a foolish clown to be limiting ourselves like we do. Destination OTD

  • Anonymous January 6, 2013, 8:42 PM
  • Jo January 6, 2013, 9:01 PM

    handing your wife the salt shaker by passing it on the table
    swimming in a pool of rain water and chabad hair
    giving head to a ram’s horn
    the Hillel Sandwich
    Praying into a wall

  • Scarpetta January 6, 2013, 9:17 PM

    1. Worrying so much about modesty, but having men and women wearing shabbas robes around strangers on Shabbat
    2. not letting women sing at the shabbat table
    3. making women sit in the back of the bus
    4. studying all day while your wife works and takes care of at least a half a dozen kids
    5. throwing diapers filled with poop at women who want to pray out loud at the Western Wall
    6. that one part of the brit milah.
    7. not touching (like hand holding) your wife because of marital purity laws
    8. Driving like a maniac and putting people’s lives in danger so you don’t break shabbat

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:05 AM

      Like. And guilty of #8.

    • G*3 January 7, 2013, 11:09 AM

      > 6. that one part of the brit milah.

      What, metzitza bpeh? Because cutting bits off newborn babies is reasonable? Its widespread in America, sure, but imagine explaining it to someone who had never heard of the practice.

      • A. Nuran January 7, 2013, 2:24 PM

        It might not be reasonable. But at least it doesn’t murder little children through HSV-1. MBP should be a felony.

  • Turd Degree January 6, 2013, 11:16 PM

    Praying daily for the re-institution of animal sacrifices on a scale that would make the Kaporos ritual seem quite progressive by comparison.

  • Eliyahu Konn January 6, 2013, 11:25 PM

    Calling Yom Teruah Rosh HaShanah when the Torah calls the first month the “rosh” head of months – consider Babylonian assimilation.

    Not opening an umbrella on Shabbat because it is like “building something.”

    Making seven equal to twelve for the days of makhzor.

    Dipping in a dirty pool instead of taking a shower to get really clean.

    Calling electricity fire.

    But it’s not funny because all of these examples are why “orthodox” Judaism is ridiculed and why sane Jews don’t want it. They are correct in rejecting all the BS.

    • Huh? January 7, 2013, 9:07 AM

      I don’t see the objection to calling it rosh hashanah and I don’t understand the 7/12 reference.

      • Telz Angel January 7, 2013, 9:44 AM

        We don’t call any of our holidays the name the Torah gives it. In each case chazal changes the name.

        • BZ January 8, 2013, 12:18 PM

          Shavuos? Sukkos? Shemini Atzeres?

          • Telz Angel January 8, 2013, 5:02 PM

            Shavuot is called Atzeret by chazal, whereas Atzeret is used in the Torah to connote the festival right after Sukkot and also the last day of the festival called Matzot (which we now call Pesach). What does the Torah call Shavuot?

            Sukkot is called Chag by Chazal, just Chag. Strange, don’t you think?

            The event which the Torah calls Chag HaMatzot is called Pesach by Chazal (and us). In the Torah, Pesach is an event that takes place on the day we call erev Pesach — the 14th of Nissan.

            Makes you wonder — how many Chaggim are there according to the text of the Torah? 3 or 4? What is the difference between a Chag and a Moed, or a Regel?

            Why are RH/YK not mentioned in Sefer Devarim at all? Who invented the term Yamim Noraim (it’s not found in the Torah or the Gemara)? and when Nechemia taught the Jewish people about the holidays they seemed to forget about, why did he skip teaching them about Yom Kippur? Why did he tell them to give Mishloach Manot on Rosh Hashanna?

            Simple questions that are never asked in a Yeshiva, or at least in my Yeshiva.

            • BZ January 9, 2013, 9:46 AM

              Well, that’s true enough, but *we* call them by the names in the Torah (the examples I listed, anyway).

              Also, the Torah doesn’t name the holidays per se. The names are just descriptive, the festival of matzos, of weeks, of booths, of assembly, etc. At some point it becomes useful to have short names for them, and they don’t necessarily evolve in a straightforward manner. Language is messy that way. Just like the Torah does not name months, so we took the Babylonian names. Yamim Noraim can be explained that way as well. A useful shorthand for a hard to explain concept.

              RH and YK are not mentioned because they are not Regalim.

              As fr Nechemia, maybe they remembered it? After all, Yom Kippur Jews are common today. And there was no Purim yet.

              • Telz Angel January 9, 2013, 10:08 AM

                Nice, but apologetic. *we* don’t use the Torah names unless we are davenning (where we use the Torah names in ya’ale vi’yavo — and it depends on your nussach if you get shmini atzeret right). The Torah does give name, but Chazal gives other names, and we use other names too. The holidays evolved, not just in name but in meaning. Had it not been for chazal there would be little use for Shavuot, since according to the Torah it is about bikkurim (something we don’t do anymore). Nowhere does the Torah mention it having anything to do with mattan torah. But if you ask any Jew today what Shavuot is, they’ll say mattan torah. Strange.

                Strange indeed that we use the names of Babylonian gods to convey Jewish months. BTW, look up the story in Nechemia (perek 8) — no one remembered RH and YK, but only RH was restored that year. Funny, since many people would say it’s the most important day of the year.

                Again, strange, and not the subject of conversation in a day school. I bet teachers are afraid of asking questions when they don’t know the answers. Strange, since we try to teach students to ask questions specifically when they don’t know the answers.

                • BZ January 9, 2013, 11:13 AM

                  If you are starting from the point of view that what we practice today, what Chazal teach, and what the Torah says are not in contention (and are binding on us from G-d), you have to be “apologetic”. As long as the explanation is reasonable, it will be accepted. Otherwise, you can come up with any number of seeming contradictions.

                  That we use names derived from idolatry in our language is not that far fetched. Remember that Jews did not come up with Aramaic. The language had these month names (and according to some, personal names such as Mordechai and Esther) whose etymology was not necessarily researched by Jews before they came into widespread use.

                  How many English-speaking Jews do you know who don’t use English names for days of the week. Do you know where they come from? Sun, moon, Thor, Saturn, etc.

                  I agree with you that teachers should address questions that are asked by the students, but pointing out contradictions to (especially younger) students who don’t notice them (“hey look, here’s a contradiction and I don’t know how to answer it”) adds needless complexity and potential heretical conclusions.

  • Ex bochur January 6, 2013, 11:47 PM

    The list mixes up things that are authentically or debatably screwed up from a Torah perspective (wigs, organ donations) with mitzvot d’oraita like shatnez.

    OK lulav and tefillin look funny when viewed from a goy’s-eye view. So what?

    • Huh? January 7, 2013, 9:09 AM

      also the chicken thing is a custom, not a halachah

      big difference between that, and lulav and tefilin

      and what you do about child molestors, that’s also not a halachah

    • G*3 January 7, 2013, 11:12 AM

      > OK lulav and tefillin look funny when viewed from a goys-eye view. So what?

      So just like Heshys rabbeim made fun of Christianity and Islam, which look funny from a non-Christian/ non-Muslim eye view, so too Judaism looks funny from a non-Jews point of view.

    • neighbor of frum jew June 7, 2014, 7:55 PM

      you people need to get with the times..you look very strange in your wigs and covered up in 90 degree temps

  • Ex-bochur January 6, 2013, 11:50 PM

    Re: not knowing what you are saying but saying it with kavanah. Always amazes me to hear real frum people singing “mimelech malachei hamalachim ha kadosh baruch hu”

    • OfftheDwannaB January 7, 2013, 2:56 AM

      I’ve heard someonesay this is wrong before. Whats wrong with it?

      • Ex bochur January 7, 2013, 3:20 AM

        If you wanna go off the D, you need to try getting onto it first.

        • OfftheDwannaB January 7, 2013, 2:38 PM

          fuck you talking about? im asking whats wrong with milmelech malachei hamelachim?

          • neighbor of frum jew June 7, 2014, 7:59 PM

            wow a jew that says fuck? i knew they werent so great lol

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:16 AM


      Are you implying that they are saying “From the king of angels of angels”?

  • Michael January 7, 2013, 12:16 AM

    You mention sending Bedika cloths by mail – I know someone who did that while on vacation in New Zealand, they had to mail a bedika cloth to a possek in Australia. He had no idea what to write on the customs declaration that they needed for the outside of the package – how would you describe the contents of the package on a customs form?

    • Guest January 7, 2013, 5:42 AM

      “copper colored vaginal secretion.”

      • neighbor of frum jew June 7, 2014, 8:07 PM

        sounds pleasant doesnt it…yuck!

    • A. Nuran January 7, 2013, 2:25 PM

      Man-hole covers?

      • bratschegirl January 7, 2013, 3:14 PM

        Win, win, a thousand times win.

    • neighbor of frum jews June 7, 2014, 8:05 PM

      thats disgusting, why would someone send a bloody menstual pad to anyone else? you people are so strange and you have the balls to talk about other religions??? i thank god everyday that my family is not of your religion, i have orthodox jews as neighbors and they stick out because they have uncut grass and a filthy porch and a unkept home , you are nothing i long to be a part of

  • Joseph January 7, 2013, 3:07 AM

    I’m sorry, but I don’t really find this stuff humorous. Before someone tells me to “lighten up”, I have to say that I feel really badly that you have Orthodox Jews out there who really don’t understand or have an appreciation for the tenets of our faith. It’s really tragic that the only knowledge they seem to have is based on grade school. I bet most of the people here never studied much once they finished school. Such a shame.

    • Shragi January 7, 2013, 5:27 AM

      What part of this is a tenet of our faith? “Encouraging people to report molestation and sexual abuse to the rabbis who covered it up in the first place”

  • Child of the Mole Station January 7, 2013, 4:32 AM

    One should do an experiment. Take Bedika rags soaked in animal blood and send them to the rabbi for inspection and see if he can identify it as not menstrual blood.

    • Yehoshua Friedman January 7, 2013, 6:13 AM

      It was already done before to entrap a rabbi whose reputation was greater than his erudition as a posek. I’m not going to say who it was, of course.

      • efff you January 7, 2013, 8:00 AM

        i”ll say it was reb fishek hershkowitz of williamsberg

    • Anonymous January 7, 2013, 10:35 AM

      Yes he can.I personally was there when someone tried fooling a rav by putting blood from his scab on a Bedikah cloth.The rov told him it is blood but not from a women.A friend of mine had a rov tell him his wife is expecting before he himself know just by looking at a bedikah cloth.

    • Allen Roth January 7, 2013, 9:08 PM

      OK; this may sound stupid, but…your experiment reminds me of a spot on WCBS local news some years ago, a couple of years after cubic zirconium came out—you know, the stone that supposedly looks just like a diamond. This undercover reporter took a ring with a stone in it to 15 places on 47th street in Manhattan, and asked each merchant for an appraisal. Not one realized that the stone was a fake.

  • Challah Maidel January 7, 2013, 4:34 AM

    You forgot to mention gender segregation at social/communal events that were mandated fear that someone may get turned on by your snood or burgeoning cholent belly.

  • littleduckies January 7, 2013, 5:00 AM

    Some of these issues are related to Torah, and some are related to the chareidi world. The chareidi world is not authentic. Torah is.
    You want authentic Judaism? Religious Zionists.

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:18 AM

      The RZ world has it’s share of screwed-upness.

    • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:20 AM

      The RZ world has its share of screwed-upness.

  • Shragi January 7, 2013, 5:19 AM

    “I wear a kippah on this head of mine…..’cause I’m a Jew I do that too”

    • Huh? January 7, 2013, 9:11 AM

      • Telz Angel January 7, 2013, 9:42 AM

        It’s an old children’s song from the 70s I think.
        Trying to remember if it was Ruach, Diaspora Yeshiva Band, or on a JEP tape. Remind me, someone, or I’ll be humming Big Gedaliah Goomber all day.

        • Roch January 7, 2013, 10:09 AM

          its from country yossi

          • Telz Angel January 7, 2013, 11:30 AM

            … and the Shteeblehoppers. Thanks for the memories.

            • Shragi January 8, 2013, 5:12 AM

              Yeah, sorry Telshe I used to know all the lyrics, now I couldn’t even get the first verse out. Oh well….girsa d’yankusa ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  • Yehoshua Friedman January 7, 2013, 6:07 AM

    Tirades against other religions when the rabbi goes apedroppings and froths at the mouth are always bad and anti-educational, but they are the worst when the rabbi has only the vaguest awareness about what he is trashing. The “other religions” that he talks about are usually an inaccurate straw-man version of Christianity that he knows little about and certainly isn’t going to help when encountering Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or whatever. The rabbi should ideally admit to what he doesn’t know and refer to the Kuzari or whatever he does know. Hopefully he knows something. If he doesn’t know anything, well …

    • Ex bochur January 8, 2013, 4:16 AM

      Tirades against other religions when the rabbi goes apedroppings and froths at the mouth are always bad and anti-educational, but they are the worst when the rabbi has only the vaguest awareness about what he is trashing.

      So sneak to the back of the Beis Medrash and do shnayim mikra or something

  • Yochanan January 7, 2013, 9:12 AM

    Some of these things are more silly, than screwed up. Like Lulav or Tfilin.

    The organ donation thing is SCREWED up.

    Rabbi Dr. Moshe Tendler has referred to it as the “Blood Libel Psak”, since it basically confirms Medieval anti-Semitic propaganda.


    • Telz Angel January 7, 2013, 11:38 PM

      And for a moment break, here’s a serious plug for the Halachic Organ Donor Society (HODS.org) which you should visit, donate to, and register to get you donor card. Dying sucks, but saving a life or two sucks a lot less.

      • Yochanan January 10, 2013, 3:01 PM

        Or, you can follow science, in this regard, like Rabbi Tendler does*, and get a regular donation card.

        *He holds that ending of brain-stem function = death.

  • G*3 January 7, 2013, 11:19 AM

    > I always wondered why no one ever pointed out the great similarities between chickens dying for our sins and our good friend Jesus.

    Why single out Jesus? All karbonos were symbolicly having the animal die for the sins of the person bringing it. Which is the bigger theological problem kaparos is awfully similar to a korbon, and karbonos can only be brought in the Beis HaMikdash.

  • Not Actually Frum January 7, 2013, 12:39 PM

    It’s mentioned above, and in this category, it’s definitely the Winner:

    Metzitzah b’peh.

  • Name January 7, 2013, 8:56 PM

    How about chassidishe women that don’t drive because of tznius, so they have to get rides from strangers and cab drivers instead?

  • Name January 7, 2013, 9:00 PM

    Really yeshivish guys who refuse to say the word “women”, because of tznius, and instead call them “nekeivas”, which is arguably the least tznius thing to call a person. Yeah, let’s just call them by the hole.

  • Anonymous January 8, 2013, 4:19 AM

    “Name”: +1 for both of those

    • Portuguese Yid January 11, 2013, 4:17 PM

      +2 so glad that is not my tradition! “and you think we are the savages” LOL score one for the sephardim…

  • challah back girl January 8, 2013, 9:27 AM

    I honestly don’t believe that any one movement has it 100% right, and that Moshiach will set everyone straight. Btw, I don’t feel this out of spite, but it just makes sense to me that every Jew would be humbled before we could usher in Olam Haba. That being said, all of the reasons above and more are why I think Orthodoxy misses the mark.

    • BZ January 9, 2013, 2:11 PM

      What we do is right by definition because of the whole “lo beShamayim hee” thing.

      That is to say we won’t get punished because we didn’t know better.

      It really does matter how you say it.

  • Portuguese Yid (you know the jews u all hate) January 11, 2013, 4:10 PM

    All of you should use the energy u wasted on this site and help your fellows chad, levites, and orthodox…. btw what do you all have against us anyway? a sephard

  • Adam January 13, 2013, 3:48 AM

    Why on earth would anybody hate a Portuguese Jew?

  • Czerny April 15, 2015, 2:08 PM

    I read this article as a gentile – or “goy” – in an attempt to understand some Jewish customs, but it’s so full of unexplained jargon that I’m barely any the wiser.

  • M. Valentine October 6, 2017, 2:56 PM

    As a born-again (gentile) Christian who loves Israel and the Jews, I find this information absolutely fascinating. The comments here are riveting, too.

  • flicom.ru September 7, 2018, 9:09 AM

    Yes! Finally something about Πάτρα Ανκόνα.

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