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Lyr Add: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig

DREMLEN FEYGL (Drowsing Birds)

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Rabbi-Sol 07 Jun 04 - 05:49 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 07 Jun 04 - 05:58 PM
Rabbi-Sol 07 Jun 04 - 06:09 PM
Bill Hahn//\\ 07 Jun 04 - 07:12 PM
Rabbi-Sol 09 Jun 04 - 02:22 PM
Herga Kitty 09 Jun 04 - 05:00 PM
John Hindsill 10 Jun 04 - 12:49 AM
Rabbi-Sol 10 Jun 04 - 01:25 PM
Rabbi-Sol 10 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM
John Hindsill 11 Jun 04 - 12:52 AM
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Subject: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 05:49 PM

As some of you may or may not know, their is a tradition among ultra-orthodox married Jewish women, that they must keep their hair covered at all times. Most have chosen to wear wigs as opposed to snoods, hats, or kerchiefs. The less affluent wear synthetic wigs, while the more affluent and ostentatious can spend between $3,000 and $7,000 for an expensive designer wig made from human hair. One source for this hair is from the Far East and India in particular. It has recently come to the attention of Rabbinnical authorities on Jewish law, that a large supply of this hair was coming from Temples, where in the Hindu religion, young women were cutting off their hair and offering it as a sacrifice to the god Vishnu. The high priests of the Temple were in turn selling this hair to wig makers The fact that this hair was used for idolatry immediately rendered all wigs made in India non-kosher according to Jewish law. Not only were they not allowed to be worn, but no benefit at all was allowed to be derived from them. According to biblical command anything used for idol worship had to be burnt. 3 weeks ago, the New York Times carried a front page article on the huge bon-fires that were set up in the Hasidic neighborhoods of Brooklyn for the purpose of destroying these wigs. As a result someone using the pseudonym of D. Turner wrote the following song. He did not want to use his real name for fear of being ostracised by the community in which he lives. There are 3 Jewish words that appear in the sing requiring translation. They are as follows. Sheitel = Wig. Avoda Zara = Idol Worship apikores = non-believer. The different names in the song (including Chevy) refer to famous brands of wigs. The melody is to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands".

   If you're Jewish and you know it, burn your wig
   You love God and want to show it, burn your wig
   Unless your instincts are prophetic
   And your sheitel is synthetic
   Go ahead, you won't regret it, burn your wig

   Semi-custom, fall or box, burn your wig
   Avoda Zara's in those locks, burn your wig
   Be it a Frieda,Ralph or Clary
   Might as well be Mother Mary
   So be very, very wary, burn your wig

   If it's blond or black or brown, burn your wig
   Don't be the apikores in town, burn your wig
   Take it off and don't go near it
   Wear a snood ? You'll have to bear it
   Drive a Chevy but don't wear it, burn your wig

   Do what's right, don't be heretical, burn your wig
   Just stay calm, don't get hysterical, burn your wig
   Your whole life is still ahead
   Go put butter on your bread
   But no Buddha on your head, burn your wig.

A friend sent this to me by e-mail, and that is how the song is being clandestinely distributed in the orthodox Jewish community. SOL ZELLER

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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 05:58 PM

Very clever piece.   I must say that rather than burning donating them to a charitable cause (i.e. Cancer groups, etc;) would also not give a benefit to the owners of the wigs but, at the same time, benefit those in need----a "mitzah".

Would that I could compose I would have liked to add a verse that says that--with humor---in song to go with the above melody.

Bill Hahn

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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 06:09 PM

Bill, This very same question was raised by many in the community. The decision of the Rabbis was that even a "thank you" or a feeling that you did a good deed was considered "derived benefit" and thereby prohibited. The laws of idolatry are among the harshest in the Jewish religion. It is on an equal plane with both, murder and adultery, in that one is obligated to sacrifice his life rather than transgress. SOL ZELLER

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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Bill Hahn//\\
Date: 07 Jun 04 - 07:12 PM

Well, looks like Tom Paxton is right again---though you are talking Talmudic scholars---1 Million Lawyers and Other Disasters.   

I would also say the same thing re: Papal pronouncements and many others.

Bill Hahn

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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 02:22 PM

Bill, now that you mention Tom Paxton and his song "One Million Lawyers", I think that he had a song on the same album entitled " The Perfect Bomb". One line from that song said something like " It can turn a Yasir Arafat into a Danny Kaye". Perhaps this post would have been more appropriate to the "Palestine My Palestine" thread. But since you mentioned Tom Paxton it jogged my memory. I think that if Tom Paxton were Jewish and familiar with Jewish tradition, he would have written this "Burn Your Wig" song. It is precisely his type of satirical humor. SOL ZELLER

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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Herga Kitty
Date: 09 Jun 04 - 05:00 PM

I saw a report on this in the UK press (The Guardian, I think). The proclamation that all Indian wigs (whether made from hair offered as part of a Hindu devotional oblation, or for strictly commercial reasons)are non-kosher was a bit drastic, but intended to prevent inadvertent transgressions by orthodox Jewish wig-owners. There's been a run on snoods, but because this rabbinical ruling has seriously adverse commercial implications for a multi-million dollar industry, I understand that consideration is being given to the question of whether hair harvested in India for non-kosher religious purposes can be distinguished from strictly commercial and possibly kosher supplies.


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Subject: RE: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: John Hindsill
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 12:49 AM

Rabbi Sol, if I were a Hasidic or other highly observant Jew (I'm not), would it be permitted to use "The Clapper" to turn lights on and off on Shabbat? Would I be affected by the strobe effect whilst ecstatic dancing and clapping? Would I have to say an Al Chayt (Hebrew for Mea Culpa) on Yom Kippur for doing it?
Also, would it be permitted to answer a voice activated cell phone on that same Shabbat?
But seriously, I have never quite understood the concept of Glatt Kosher, which I translate as more Kosher than Thou.
I await your Responsa.---John

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 01:25 PM

First, to answer Herga Kittys' question, this ban was not put into effect without careful research. It was proclaimed by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv of Jerusalem who is universally recognized as the supreme decisor of Torah law (Halacha in Hebrew), after sending Rabbi Aharon Dunner, who is the chief of London's supreme rabbinical court (beis din in Hebrew) to India to carefully investigate the situation. What he found out was that the hair from the Hindu temples was being purchased by wholesalers and mixed in with the other Indian hair, thereby rendering all Indian hair as non-kosher. What was also disturbing was that even wig makers who advertised all European hair in their wigs, were mixing in some of the cheaper Indian hair in order to lower costs. As a result the Rabbinical law as it now stands states that "All wigs containing human hair, no matter what their origin is, must carry a certificate of endorsement from a reliable Orthodox Rabbi, certifying that it is free of Indian hair", just like food products do. This ruling does not apply to wigs that are 100% synthetic. SOL ZELLER

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 10 Jun 04 - 02:01 PM

In response to John Hindsill, any electric device that is triggered by a conscious action of the person deriving benefit from it, would not be allowed on the Sabbath even though that person is not in physical contact with the device. Hence sound activation, such as the Clapper, or a voice activated device, such as a cellphone, or an electronic beam which activates automatic opening doors, would fall into the prohibited category. What is allowed is a timer that has been pre-programmed before the Sabbath to turn lights or thermostats on & off at specified times. I do not know what you mean by "the strobe effect". If you define the term for me and the context in which you are using it, I will be glad to answer your question. As far as Glatt Kosher goes, yes; it refers to the very highest standards of Kosher. The word "glatt" is a Yiddish word which means smooth. The term originally was used for meat only. After the animal is slaughtered according to Jewish ritual, it is opened up and examined for any physical imperfections that would render it non-kosher or "treif" (in Hebrew). The most common of these imperfections is a leision on the lung which if it penetrates the wall, would automaticaly render the animal treif. When a leision is noticed, the supervising Rabbi would inflate the lung. If the lung held air the animal would be considered kosher. If the air leaked at the location of the leision, then the animal would be non-kosher. Glatt meant that the lung was completely smooth and their was never a question on it to begin with. Today however, Glatt Kosher means that the supervising Rabbi abides by the very strictest standards of Kosher for all products, not only meat. SOL ZELLER

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Sheitel Song: Burn Your Wig
From: John Hindsill
Date: 11 Jun 04 - 12:52 AM

Rabbi Sol: Strobe effect--Strobe Lights are lights that flash on and off extremely quickly, causing a stop action visual effect. They are used in photography and at rock concerts, amongst other uses. Strobe lighting has occasionally been blamed for causing epileptic seizures, and this was my allusion. Whilst dancing and clapping the lights under clapper control would wildly go on and off creating a strobe effect. A feeble joke on my part. And thank you for your answers to my questions. I once asked a cantor (of a Conservative congregation) about the cell phone. He demurred on that one, suggesting I ask a a Rabbi...I now have.

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