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Rabbi Accuses Baci Weiler of Hypocrisy

Rabbi Zvi Drizin, a Shliach in Dallas, TX, published on his blog the following open letter to Baci Weiler, a woman whose photo of her putting on Tefilin with a Lubavitcher Bochur – who thought she was a male – took social media by storm:

Dear Baci,

Must be a great day for you? You got 66 shares on your recent public Facebook post. A family member sent me the article about it in the Times of Israel telling how you suckered this poor naive Chabad boy into putting Tefillin on with you, a female, against what he believes. That poor boy who doesn’t have “any concept of fluidity in gender expression” didn’t realize that not only are you really a woman but you had already put on Tefillin that morning.

The idea of gender sensitivity and fluidity seems to be of importance to you, but the concept of being honest in your interactions are not?

Your friends on Facebook (at least 121 of them by last count) seem to love what you did, but what about that boy? What about the fact that this boy was just a nice guy who trying to help out another Jew in his way. Did he deserve the embarrassment of being a public sucker?  He is a real person with real feeling living amongst real people.

A good friend of yours recently reminded me of the importance of being sensitive to others who are perhaps not the mainstream when I had used, Caitlyn Jenner’s previous name.  A “Chareidi” man is no less worthy of sensitivity than anyone else in society and our tradition is very clear about what the values of sensitivity are.

Baci, I don’t know the boys name but he deserves an apology. Fast.

Zvi

43 Comments

  • 1. CHT wrote:

    “Fast”? The apology should come from her own. Any type of forcing serves no purpose.

  • 3. Yanki wrote:

    This is great. Webby, not sure though if this should go on CH.info as it can embarrass the bochur more… pls get his approval.

  • 4. Milhouse wrote:

    The article says that she hadn’t yet put on tefillin that day.

    I don’t understand what complaint you have against her, or why the bochur would be embarrassed. Sure, he could have asked her whether she was a man, just as he could have asked her friend whether she was a woman, but he went with how she looked, just as anyone would. We don’t go around asking people their sex, we just go by what they look like. If someone dresses and looks like a man, it’s normal to assume she’s a man, and there’s no shame in it. On the contrary, she clearly wants to be seen as a man.

    So in what way is the bochur a sucker? He did a mitzvah. And it’s not as if there’s any actual issur in a woman putting on tefillin; at the end of the day, she did a mitzvah too, and he gets zechus for helping her do that. The fact that it’s not a mitzvah he’d have helped her do had he known, because for various reasons the minhog is that women don’t wear tefilin, doesn’t change the facts. He gave the Rebbe nachas, and should feel proud, not embarrassed.

    • 5. TOI wrote:

      The TOI article clearly reads:

      “But unbeknownst to the Chabad rep in Union Square, not only was Weiler not male, but she had already put on tefillin that morning, a ritual she made part of her routine 10 months ago.”

    • 6. Milhouse wrote:

      No, it doesn’t say that at all. Why don’t you actually read the article instead of making things up?

    • 7. TOI wrote:

      Actually it *DOES*, and it seems TOI edited the article without mentioning the edits… which is dishonest on its own.

      Here is a link to the archived copy of the article: http://web.archive.org/web/20150623081507/http://www.timesofisrael.com/chabad-rep-lays-tefillin-on-woman-in-ny/

      Baci is a flat out liar and was caught and skewered over it. I believe that she *DID* put on Tefillin that morning, and neither TOI or her own initial statement had any reason to be dishonest about such a ‘minute’ detail, which usually means that after the fact is what was thought out (after the public rebuke) and therefore must be a lie. (Think ‘excited utterance’)

      What we have here is Baci (feminist, egalitarianism, destroy orthodoxy etc etc….) and TOI who both have competing agendas and this is the result.

    • 10. Milhouse wrote:

      I see that the TOI originally had an incorrect story, and corrected it without noting the change, which is against journalistic ethics. Shame on them.

      But Mr or Ms “TOI”, by the time I commented at 5:47pm, and certainly by the time you replied to my comment at 5:52pm, the new story was already in place, and my comment was correct, and yet you went out of your way to quote the old article, and pretend that it was still there. Why did you do that?

      (PS: Our comments appear out of order, so that your comment from 9:08 this morning appears before mine of 10:33 last night, so it appears that I ignored your link to the wayback machine. Strange.)

    • 11. TOI wrote:

      I did not go out of my way, at the time of the my comment that is exactly as it had appeared on TOI.

      IMHO the original TOI article was correct, and now after the edit it is a lie. If she indeed has been putting on tefillin for 10 months (as she states), why on THAT morning had she not?

      She is a liar and a fraud who got caught and was exposed for her dishonesty – taking advantage of an assuming young man – all for some feminazi agenda and now she feels bad. Boo hoo.

    • 12. Milhouse wrote:

      In any case, even if she had already put on tefillin that day, so what? What’s wrong with putting them on twice? It’s a mitzvah every time someone puts them on. Even a woman, although the minhag is not to.

    • 13. Milhouse wrote:

      TOI, the story changed before I even read this post, well before I made my original comment. Your comment was a reply to mine, therefore it was made after mine. Therefore the story had already been changed. To find the original story you must have gone out of your way.

      And it makes no sense that the original story was correct and the later correction was wrong. Lots of people who aren’t that frum don’t daven first thing in the morning. They try to get to it some time during the day, and if once in a while they miss it they miss it. It makes sense that this woman has been putting on tefilin daily for the past 10 months, sometimes early and sometimes late, and perhaps sometimes after shkia, and that day she hadn’t yet got around to it.

    • 14. yid wrote:

      What you completely fail at here is seeing your moral inversion. He did not give the Rebbe nachas. Your trying to justify this is morally convoluted and only causes more problems. You demonstrate a complete lack of understanding, awareness and respect for Jewish tradition. Please, go away.

  • 15. Ch'er wrote:

    Rabbi Drizin as of 45 minutes ago she posted a public apology we need to embrace her and accept her strength for doing so, we always accept repentance and in public on her page was the right thing for her to do this is a copy paste of that apology

    Two days ago, I posted a couple of photos of myself putting on tefillin at a Chabad stand in Union Square. Watching these photos spread, I’ve had time to reflect on their implications. These thoughts are still not fully formed, but I hope both my critics and supporters read them carefully and charitably.
    The encounter itself was brief, shocking, and personally significant. Being seen as a man, despite being a woman, was paradoxically validating: for just a minute, I was no longer an Other – the mechitza that has frustrated me for years dissolved. As he carefully wrapped the tefillin shel yad around my arm, I felt connected – to him, to God, to tradition, to the Jewish people. It was a powerful moment, but also painful and wrong – because it was under false pretenses. Though his mistaken assumptions instigated the encounter, I let it continue without correcting him. Though I didn’t force him to do something wrong, I allowed him to do something he presumably would have been uncomfortable doing given complete knowledge of the situation. Despite our ideological differences, I owed him this basic level of respect as a fellow Jew and as a human. For that I am sorry.
    Beyond this, my post was interpreted as personally mocking him, and for that I am also sorry. This was not my intention. My goal was dual: on one level, I was knowingly making a sharp, ironic political statement – one that transcended the human interaction and presented us as caricatures of our respective religious identities. But I don’t want to be lauded for encouraging that kind of dehumanization. On another level, and more importantly, the photo is powerful because it depicts an instance of accidental pluralism and of shared joy in the mitzvah of hanachat tefillin. It is a serendipitous glimpse of the world I wish I lived in: a world where both he, a bearded chabadnik guy, and I, a buzz-cut egalitarian girl, could be “frum”, regardless of gender or labels, equally bound by mitzvot. I’ll end as I did before: Bimheira Beyameinu.

    • 16. CHT wrote:

      Deep inside me I had a feeling that she is, in the essence, a nice girl and that this statement is going to come out. I feel weird, I feel some prophetic abilities inside me. And my feelings are she wants to make a real return. She is just very sensitive. Let’s just be very gentle if she comes your way.

  • 17. arthur yanoff wrote:

    as it is said, honesty is the BESHT policy. it would equally be inappropriate for us to disrespect other religions. obviously she knew something about halacah and minhag. we don’t feed trefidica meat to a yid who keeps kosher. remember what hillel said.

    • 19. Um?? wrote:

      Exactly where in the torah are we “commanded” to “disrespect” other religions?

    • 20. Milhouse wrote:

      Just a few examples:
      Shemos 34:13
      Devarim 7:26
      Devarim 12:3
      Megillah 25b
      Sanhedrin 63b
      Avoda Zara 46a

    • 21. This wasn't easy wrote:

      Shmos 34 14: כִּי אֶת-מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן, וְאֶת-מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן; וְאֶת-אֲשֵׁרָיו, תִּכְרֹתוּן
      A: is not talking about all religions, it’s talking specifically about idol Worships (in your comment you made a blanket statement about “religions”.
      B: this posuk is talking about in eretz Yisroel when it is under the rule of the sanhedrin.
      Devarim 7:26: “Nor should you bring an abomination into your house, lest you are to be destroyed like it, but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it; for it is to be destroyed” .
      A: This posuk is speaking to the individual how he/she shall lead his/her life not a commandment to force or mock others based on your INDIVIDUAL way of life.
      Devarim 12:3And you shall tear down their altars, smash their monuments, burn their asherim with fire, cut down the graven images of their gods, and destroy their name from that place.
      A:Refer to the first posuk has the same meaning.
      Megillah 25b.
      A: I don’t know when the last time you looked it up, but all I’m reading is that is PERMISSABLE, not that it is a commandment like you state, B: it is referring to idolatry not all religions as you have started.
      Sanhedrin 63b.
      A: here its talking about how you should refrain from swearing or making anyone else swear in the name of an idol, again it is referring to your Judaism nothing to do with criticising others.
      Avoda Zara 46a
      As I’ve touched upon earlier this gemara is again only talking about idolatry and in the time when we are living under the sanhedrins rule.

      I went through all this trouble so that no one should read your comment and think “wow this guy really knows his stuff, look at all the pesukim and gemara he quoted”. Any one can put quote without putting the substance in your case you bring very nice references that have zero connection to the conversation at hand.
      In the world we live in (a world without the sanhedrin) in the country we live in (America) which is a free country we have no right to mock disgrace or disrespect other religions or other people for that matter (like the LGBT community), now we don’t have to agree with what they are doing but to day that we are COMMANDED to disrespect them is just absurd.

    • 22. to: this wasnt easy wrote:

      Wow! if each time milhouse brings his/her proofs and you’ll bring yours, NOW WE ARE TALKING! keep it up!

    • 23. Milhouse wrote:

      1. Pretty much all other religions are avoda zara.

      2. Even with regard to Islam, which is not avoda zara, we are still forbidden to respect it and commanded to disrespect it. Respecting a false religion, even if it’s not avoda zara, violates the prohibition against chilul haShem.

      3. The absence of a sanhedrin has no effect on our individual obligation to hold avoda zara and all false worship in contempt.

      4. The pasuk “shaketz teshaktzenu” is not restricted to Eretz Yisroel, it’s what we say (and all our ancestors said) whenever we pass by a tum’ah. It’s a positive commandment to despise avoda zara and be disgusted by it. If you do not despise it you are violating this positive commandment in the Torah.

      5. The gemara in Megilah and Sanhedrin doesn’t just give permission to mock avoda zara, it gives examples of the nevi’im doing so, and of the amora’im themselves doing so. We are commanded to emulate them.

      6. The gemara in AZ understands the pasuk as a command to make up derogatory names for avoda zara.

    • 24. Stop inventing new commandments we have enough wrote:

      1. Um no they aren’t, if you will be making such statements please specify which ones, and how.
      2. No one said anything about respecting, I said that it is not a commandment to DISrespect any religion and as you wrote in my previous comment all your marai mekoms say nothing about it being a mitzvah.
      3. Exactly my point how observant of you to pick it up! We as torah fearing Jews can and should hold these practices in contempt, but you my friend are saying to take it a step further and disrespect them in public, this has no place in torah in the time and place we live.
      4. The translation of שַׁקֵּץ | תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ וְתַעֵב | תְּתַעֲבֶנּוּ “is but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it”. No one ever said that someone in the comfort of his home or in a place that agrees with what the torah says the way he understands it (ie a shul base medrash etc) can’t utterly detest avoda Zara or anything that is against torah, we are speaking here about the action of disrespecting which implies out in public to which there is no commandment to do.
      5. Now that’s a stretch to say that the neviem did it there for we should. And besides the point the gemara says שרי which means it is permitted not חייב which would have meant he must
      6. The gemara says to make up derogatory names for them true, does the gemara say to tell them the names you made up for them, maybe the gemara means that when you are talking about them between one another you should use such names.
      Bonus. There are vary few religious that are doing avoda Zara according to halacha.

      1. Um no they aren’t, if you will be making such statements please specify which ones, and how.
      2. No one said anything about respecting, I said that it is not a commandment to DISrespect any religion and as you wrote in my previous comment all your marai mekoms say nothing about it being a mitzvah.
      3. Exactly my point how observant of you to pick it up! We as torah fearing Jews can and should hold these practices in contempt, but you my friend are saying to take it a step further and disrespect them in public, this has no place in torah in the time and place we live.
      4. The translation of שַׁקֵּץ | תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ וְתַעֵב | תְּתַעֲבֶנּוּ “is but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it”. No one ever said that someone in the comfort of his home or in a place that agrees with what the torah says the way he understands it (ie a shul base medrash etc) can’t utterly detest avoda Zara or anything that is against torah, we are speaking here about the action of disrespecting which implies out in public to which there is no commandment to do.
      5. Now that’s a stretch to say that the neviem did it there for we should. And besides the point the gemara says שרי which means it is permitted not חייב which would have meant he must
      6. The gemara says to make up derogatory names for them true, does the gemara say to tell them the names you made up for them, maybe the gemara means that when you are talking about them between one another you should use such names.
      Bonus. There are vary few religious that are doing avoda Zara according to halacha.

      1. Um no they aren’t, if you will be making such statements please specify which ones, and how.
      2. No one said anything about respecting, I said that it is not a commandment to DISrespect any religion and as you wrote in my previous comment all your marai mekoms say nothing about it being a mitzvah.
      3. Exactly my point how observant of you to pick it up! We as torah fearing Jews can and should hold these practices in contempt, but you my friend are saying to take it a step further and disrespect them in public, this has no place in torah in the time and place we live.
      4. The translation of שַׁקֵּץ | תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ וְתַעֵב | תְּתַעֲבֶנּוּ “is but you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it”. No one ever said that someone in the comfort of his home or in a place that agrees with what the torah says the way he understands it (ie a shul base medrash etc) can’t utterly detest avoda Zara or anything that is against torah, we are speaking here about the action of disrespecting which implies out in public to which there is no commandment to do.
      5. Now that’s a stretch to say that the neviem did it there for we should. And besides the point the gemara says שרי which means it is permitted not חייב which would have meant he must
      6. The gemara says to make up derogatory names for them true, does the gemara say to

    • 25. 6 got cut off wrote:

      6. The gemara says to make up derogatory names for them true, does the gemara say to tell them the names you made up for them, maybe the gemara means that when you are talking about them between one another you should use such names.
      Bonus. There are vary few religious that are doing avoda Zara according to halacha.

    • 26. Milhouse wrote:

      Other than Islam, name a false religion that isn’t AZ, at least in principle. All Xians worship Yoshke, pray to him, and believe he is the Creator of the World. Since he is not Hashem, they violate “you shall not have any other gods”, even those forms of Protestantism which don’t do anything which is a technical act of avoda zara. And of course Catholic and Orthodox Xians literally worship a piece of bread, which is mamash AZ.

      Chilul haShem and Kiddush haShem are by their nature in public. “Venikdashti besoch benei yisroel.” The mitzvah is davka in front of a minyan of Jews (one purpose for which women count in a minyan!) So it’s not just in private.

      Of course one needn’t endanger oneself by going out of ones way to inform the idolaters what one thinks of their religion; but nor may one shrink from it when directly confronted. There’s no need to make a huge display of spitting when passing a tum’ah; one may do it discreetly, or even just think about it, but the disrespect must be there.

    • 27. to: milhouse wrote:

      Question: whats with all the frum yidden who handle money “its my strength” that bought them this money and worship it, maybe not as their creator but maybe INSTEAD of their Creator R”L and do all, shall i say wrong things to get it so according to u i have to disrespect “their” religion too? so where is “they shall have no other g-ds?” COMMANDED BY HASHEM HIMSELF!

    • 28. Shituf is mutar for a goy wrote:

      Christianity is shituf, shituf is mutar for a goy, see mammar ביום עשתי עשר 1979 the rebbe explains this.

  • 29. No name wrote:

    But can’t he hear when she made the Bracha a soft female type a voice ?

  • 31. wwd wrote:

    I hope she learned something out of all of this. The bachur may have been embarassed,but he can walk in the reality that he was doing what he thought was putting a tefillin on a man. She, on the other hand, needed a narcissistic high (look that one up).

  • 33. Surprised wrote:

    It’s quite understandable that a bochur mistakenly put Tefillin on her. The article and her response are interesting. But, posting the picture which is not tsniusdik and shows her wearing the Tefillin is not appropriate.

  • 34. Hmmm wrote:

    It’s a nice apology, & I feel it is sincere, but her intellectual dishonesty is still a reality. I just hope the bochur feels proud of what he does & is not put off by this travesty. Not his fault.

    It reminds me of an essay a student once wrote – the topic was, “Your most interesting encounter while doing Mivtzoim” or something like that. The student described approaching a woman to ask if she lit shabbos candles. A whole long discussion ensued & as my student was giving the person the licht pack, the recipient blurted out “I’m really a man.” Needless to say, this very naive girl did not understand anything that was going on. Clearly, when she wrote the essay, she still didn’t.

    The point is – this “person” Baci behaved totally inappropriately. Yes, her apology seems sincere, but she can’t undo what she did. Her dishonesty in the first place was appalling for someone who clearly professes to believe in “truth”. And to put on such a scam KNOWING the bochur is sincere & idealistic & is truly a religious person is even more abhorrent. Rabbi Drizen’s blog post didn’t go far enough.

  • 36. Interesting wrote:

    Looking at this “girl/Man” FB friends.
    you can find some of the AY activists and the Marchers for “agunas” like the loud mouth Dasi Fruchter from the march on Kingston ave.
    Interesting to see how ALL the Meshugoyim are from same School as said in the Talmud
    סדנא דארעא חד הוא.

  • 37. Pedant wrote:

    Not gonna read the article and CB browser doesn’t load images. What’s going on here? She-Man gets bochur to put tefillin on with it and that is very, very embarrassing for bochur amiright?

  • 39. Disrespecting other religions wrote:

    Does that mean that we should do like in old Europe, where you make a big display of spitting in front of a Bais Tuma?

    • 40. Milhouse wrote:

      Nobody in Europe made a big display of it, because it was dangerous; and there’s no need to make a big display of it here, even though it’s not dangerous. But yes, every time we pass a tum’ah we should discreetly spit and say שקץ תשקצנו ותעב תתעבנו כי חרם הוא. There are no special halochos for America.

  • 41. Whats the big deal? wrote:

    If you’re insensitive enough to go around asking if someone is Jewish or not, you might as well follow it up with are you a male or female as well!!!!!
    Its insulting to ask people if they are Jewish or not and when you find out they aren’t some become upset .
    Its no ones business if you are or not, we are all G-ds creatures and all important to His world and in His eyes.
    Better you set up a stand and have a sign that offers people to come and put Teffilin on so its an option – not an insult.
    What if someone agrees that they are Jewish and you end up putting Tefillin on a non Jew just because they wanted to ?
    How would you know ?
    The shliach that chewed her out about what she did- very unprofessional .
    Thought Chabad was supposed to be understanding and patient with those whom aren’t up to major frumkeit whatever??????
    Great way to turn off others that may be misguided !
    That snarky tone didn’t make me your fan!

    • 42. Milhouse wrote:

      It is not insulting to ask someone whether they are Jewish. Of course nowadays people take offense at all sorts of stupid things, but we have no obligation to cater to their changing whims.

      If someone says they’re Jewish we take them at their word. If a goy ends up putting on tefillin, it’s not the end of the world. I’m sure it’s happened many times, and if they meant it sincerely then tovo aleihem brocho.

  • 43. David Ariel wrote:

    This Milhouse seems to channel a previous Milhouse’s sense of what is right.

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