When it come down to it, us Orthodox Jews have some pretty strange devices and items to help us ease the pain that comes with adhering to some stuff that the rest of the Jewish population may look with wonder at. I thought of this post while thinking about framing a chalitzah shoe and hanging it up on my wall, along with a signed an autographed copy of the Lipa concert ban and the cease and desist letter I received for posting a picture of a hot chani in Monsey who claimed I ruined her life. So while lulavim and menorahs may seem strange, they are quite normal because all Jews know what they are – the following list is really for items that many Jewish folks and people will never get a chance to see unless they go to their local seforim store (regular old Judaica stores in conservative shuls probably don’t sell the following items.
Bedika cloth: I wonder when some frum company is going to come out with halachically certified bedika cloths. For the unintitiated, women, besides for staying in the kitchen and producing ben Torah’s from their wombs, must insert a bedika clothinside themselves to make sure that there’s no blood or stains which may be blood before they go to the mikvah. If it’s questionable they ask their rabbi – which leads to just about the best reason to have yoetzet halacha’s (modern orthodoxy’s answer to women rabbis)
Lulav Cases: The big long green ones look like bazookas and the black ones can be mistaken for rifle cases, I have been told that many people do use actual rifle cases to hold their lulav.
Sandik Pillow: Your child is about to have his genitals mutilated before Foreskin man can get to the rescue, so why not place him on a special pillow to ease the pain.
Chalitzah Shoe: Lets say a woman’s married sister dies before she produces any children, she is supposed to marry her brother in law to continue the family name, if she doesn’t want to – she goes to court and spits in a shoe, I just learned that there is an entire thing to do with how much she spits and what shoe to use.
Portable shtenders: In frummy camps they make these things instead of lanyard and popsicle stick houses.
Blechs: Even the name is strange and I have non-frum friends who love saying it over and over again, whikle they pretend to be throwing up, but you do have to keep that kugel warm somehow and many frummies don’t have the skills to throw it in the cholent.
Shabbos light switch covers: tape just won’t cut it much of the time and the only way to let your guests know that you intent to utilize the lights on Saturday morning to read the Yated on the toilet is to literally cover them up. I wonder if anyone unhooks them and is a shabbos environmental activist about the whole thing.
Wine fountains: No one besides religious Jews would ever have a purpose for these things, mostly because no one has 8 kids and no one serves 8 kids grape juice in little cups. Wine fountains are a must have for any frum Jewish home and they even started making ones for poor folks that aren’t made from gold or silver.
Shabbos Lamps: Sure, it’s a waste of electricity and I always feel that one will catch on fire and burn my hosts house down, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the warm light from this genus shabbos invention.
Shabbos Tooth Brushes: A scam if you ask me, they don’t work and they are strange.
Silver Esrog Boxes: Can you imagine someone seeing another guy pull out a lemon from a silver case and cradling it like it were his child? Yes I think the same thing…
Havdalah candle extinguishers: Candles should be dipped in the havdalah wine, but some more modernishe folks have decided that to be too archaic.
Car Mezuzah’s: Someone gave me one of these once and I was at a loss about what to do with it, first off, which door was I supposed to put it and once I opened that pandoras box did I have to put a mezuzah on the trunk too? Was my car counted as a dwelling? What if it was leased, so I decided not to put it on and put it in the glove compartment as a good luck charm.
Light Boxes: I’m willing to bet that if some unknowing individual walked in on someone checking their leafy greens for bugs, they would mistake them for trying to find gold…light boixes are the shiznit, but they are still strange.
Shabbos Toilet Paper: First it was tissues, then it was toilet paper ripped in between the dotted lines, then pre-ripped toilet paper and finally for the truly moronic – shabbos toilet paper with its own dispenser and everything. I would love to see the commercial for that one, a bunch of rebbes sitting around and lying in the fluffy toilet paper, klind of like the michelin bears.