From Haroses to Neurosis — A Freudian View on the new Haredi “Personal Mechitza”

Who says religious people aren’t funny? Where is Jay Leno when you need him?

From the rabbinic savants who introduced separate sidewalks, segregated buses, and separate shopping hours for men and women in Israel, their rabbis are now encouraging Haredi airline passengers to hang a new type of mechitza – a halachic barrier to separate the sexes – around the top of their airplane seats, to shield their eyes from immodest clad female neighbors and in-flight movies. [1] From what I have read in the newspapers, there is a considerable marketing campaign to encourage the Haredi community to purchase the new and improved–Traveler Mechitza.

The designer of this new device, says that the Velcro and nylon mechitzah goes around the head and is mostly in front of the passenger’s face, protruding only a little to the sides. Look out Calvin Klein, there’s a new fashion designer in town!

By the way, I think I just found my new Purim costume!

I can just see the folks of Hamastan or the Taliban saying to themselves, “Why didn’t we think of that first?” Some psychologists might refer to it as either “Haredi envy,” or “Taliban envy,” as both of these fanatical groups compete in the never-ending game of, “I Am More Frum Than You!” One friend of mine wrote, “That’s why I call them the Tallitban. It’s exactly the same monstrous pathology. This reminds me of a saying I once heard from  one of my favorite religious teachers, “Mystics recognize each other. Fundamentalists see only themselves and sin.”

Personally, I think the Haredim are obsessed with sex, 24/7. Maybe the rest of the human race is also obsessed with sex, but the majority of our planet doesn’t seem to have a problem with at least admitting it–unlike the Haredim or the Taliban. Frankly, I am surprised the Haredim are not demanding separate planes with Haredi stewards (Oops, I almost said “stewardesses’) walking down the aisles praying.

We must wonder why did it take over 2000 years for our great rabbis to come up with a new device to keep the sexes apart?

Most modern psychologists and therapists probably are not deeply in love with Freudian psychology, but I have a pretty healthy respect for Freud’s view of religion as an obsessional type of neurosis. Unlike Jung, Frankl, Rodgers, Fromm, and others who saw religions as serving a potentially positive function in society and in the life of the individual, Freud only concerned himself with the pathological aspects of religion that constricts rather than liberates the human spirit from its shackles.

Continue reading “From Haroses to Neurosis — A Freudian View on the new Haredi “Personal Mechitza””

Posted in Uncategorized