Of Autists and Sheitels

I must admit that I have read most of what Ben Golden and Daniel have said on their site www.dani18.com. The prospect of a blog that’s hooked up to what’s going on in shamayim is pretty interesting. They have even been right in some of their predictions (like the fall of the world economy). Some of the more dire predictions have not seemed to come to fruition, by the grace of Hashem, but one could still attribute that to either Klal Yisrael’s or some individual tzaddik’s positive deeds (see Mishpacha’s article on Rav Eliyahu) that have effected some change preventing “all of Israel being Sderot.”

In general, I also must say that I take what they have to say pretty seriously. (Yes, I have a two week stock of food prepared, we call it the ‘earthquake kit’ with a wink.) One of the things that I have had difficulty with is their blanket statement that sheitels are evil. While I could understand where they are coming from, and I have heard of such an idea before, I always found it difficult to believe that the sheitel phenomenon could be so prevalent in the yeshiva world if it was indeed so horrible.

Recently, when statements came out from Rav Ovadiah Yosef and Rav Elyashiv confirming the autistic view on sheitels, it gave me reason to pause. Perhaps this is indeed more serious than I thought. But again, how could all these serious yeshiva families, whose goal in life is to serve Hashem, be so misguided?

I was somewhat comforted when I saw Josh Waxman’s post on his parshablog where he brings Reb Moshe Feinstein’s teshuva as well as the Lubavitcher rebbe’s take. But I was still not satisfied.

Then a relative of mine who is engaged calls me. She is about to buy her first sheitel and her chosson, who is learning in Yerushalayim calls, telling her that perhaps she should not buy one because Rav Elyashiv just came out against them! Both I and she agreed that she should call her rav, a posek in Yerushalayim.

So she calls Rav Katz (name changed) and he says that she should absolutely still buy a sheitel! First of all, he asked her if she knows of any rabbonim whose wives wear sheitels. Her response was summarily affirmative. He also asked her if she waits six hours between eating yellow cheese and eating meat. She responded in the negative. He told her that Rav Elyashiv has many stringencies that are not per se accepted universally, and she need not worry.

The bottom line of this discussion is that whether an autist says something or lehavdil a gadol says something, it is a good idea to take note and take it seriously. In the end, Hashem guides us individually through the rabbonim that we choose to turn to for personal guidance. Whether the question is if the pot has become treif, or if the sheitel has become treif, whether we should move to Israel, or we should move around the block, we need guidance from those who know the Will of Hashem and they are our Rabbonim. The Torah applies to all people in all times, and in all situations, and being that there are a lot of people and a lot of times, and a lot of situations, Hashem gave us the means with which to deal with each issue as it is raised. We must know that He guides us through the people in our lives that we come to ask our Halachic questions, and we must also trust that by following their advice we are doing Hashem’s Will to the best of our ability. If we are sincere in our desire to serve Him, He will not lead us astray.

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