Rav Malinowitz On The RBS Mikva Controversy


[This article is published with kind permission of Catriel Lev; I publish it here in order to encourage an open debate on this issue, with all sides of the current dispute being fairly represented]

Rabbi Malinowitz's Opinions on the Mikvaot Controversy, as reported by Catriel Lev

I met with Rabbi Chaim Malinowitz on Monday, the 26th of April, 2010, to hear his opinions on the Mikvaot controversy.

I request that those people interested in the situation read all of his opinions (which are listed below) carefully, and not be deterred by whatever they do not agree with; since, though I am quite certain that some of his outlook is mistaken, it seems to me that most of the disagreements are about what happened in the past, but that there are many points where his opinions as to what should be in the future are identical with what the Dati-Leumi community feels should be in the future.

So, since Rabbi Malinowitz is certain that what he has stated is absolutely the way the Mikvaot should be run, there should be a way to work with him to ensure that this is what occurs in practice, even if it has not been occurring until now, though Rabbi Malinowitz disagrees about the past and is certain that everything has been done properly even in the past. 

Here are Rabbi Malinowitz's opinions as he has told them to me and what, to his knowledge, is true:

Since RBS-Alef is at least one half Chareidi, and based upon the last election probably at least 60% Chareidi, that segment of the population deserves to have the nihul of at least one half of the Mikvaot in RBS-Alef done by its Rabbis, as indeed is anyway the case in much of the country (that the mikvaot are under the nihul of Chareidi Rabbonim).

All that the Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are demanding now is to have the nihul of one half of the Mikvaot in the neighborhood as per the signed agreement; no Chareidi Rabbi, to his knowledge ,  is pressuring the Mayor to give total control of the Mikvaot to Chareidi Rabbis. He does not know if Chareidi politicians are doing something like that or not, but to the best of his knowledge the Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are not applying such pressure.

What is happening is that certain non-Chareidim are demanding annulment of the existing signed agreement. What needs to be investigated is: who is the source of the statements that Chareidi Rabbis want total control of all Mikvaot, and the other lies. These lies are being orchestrated, in his opinion, in order to annul the existing signed agreement.

He agrees ,and all the Chareidi rabbonim agree, that one must be very careful not to cause women to stop keeping the Mitzvah of being tovel in a Mikveh. All Mikveh ladies (balaniot) in the Chareidi-run Mikvaot of RBS-Alef are instructed to accept whatever a woman says is a Psak from her Rabbi (whether he is Chareidi or not), not to coerce her into things which are against that Psak, not to touch a woman's body without her permission, and not, chas veshalom, to refuse her the use of the Mikveh because of these things.

Rabbi Malinowitz expressed that he wants to know about any case where a Mikveh lady did not follow these directives, so that he, and the other Rabbis, can ensure that it will be corrected and not happen in the future. If a woman does not feel comfortable discussing these situations with him, he requested that she have her Rabbi contact him with the details, so that he, and the other Rabbis, can ensure that whatever objectionable behavior occurred will not be repeated.

When women contacted him regarding the Mikveh situation he never asked them for details of incidents which they claimed occurred to them, he only told them that Email is not an appropriate way to discuss such matters and that they should meet.

The Chareidi Rabbis of RBS-Alef are making great efforts to have the Mikveh built which is planned for Nachal Luz; but the recent financial problems in the world have made this very difficult, and the ground has yet to been broken for the building of that Mikveh. It is planned to be a Mikveh with American-style amenities that will attract women to be tovel in the Mikveh, and will be under the auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz whose directives, as mentioned above, are to accept whatever a woman says is a Psak from her Rabbi (whether he is Chareidi or not).

According to the present signed agreement, after the Mikveh on Nachal Lachish is renovated ,  it will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Spector, and the Mikveh on Nachal Dolev will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz until the Mikveh on Nachal Luz is completed. After the Mikveh on Nachal Luz is completed, the Mikveh on Nachal Dolev will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Spector, and the Mikveh on Nachal Lachish, in addition to the one on Nachal Luz, will be under the sole auspices of Rabbi Davidowitz.


Comments

  1. This is unclear on many key points, it seems nobody asked important questions to the rabbi:
    1. Are there differences in halacha between the structure of the pool/well etc. of the current mikva pools on the DL and Haredi sides of the Dolev mikva, and if so, what ar ethe differences and is it important to go to the Haredi side in his opinion?
    2. Does R. Malinowitz believe mikva ladies should be doing these "super-checks" which are not done in the US, Bnei Brak, most of Jerusalem etc., or does he think the mikva lady should check for hairs ona lady's back, and check her nails, and make sure she is completely covered under the water?
    3. What system is in place for complaints against mikva ladies who DO NOT follow the guidelines - in all of life there needs to be accountability, so if a mikva lady acts in this nutty way, is there someone (and I think there should be a phone number of a WOMAN) to call? And is this sign with a number displayed in the mikva for all to see? I don't see women being comfortable sitting down with a rabbi and discussing how they felt when they were sitting around without clothes on and a lady came at them with a tweezer...

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  2. I have email proof, from RCM himself, that contradicts what was written above. I was asked for clarification on my story and was then told he found it "strange".

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  3. Your comments, information/facts and opinions are most welcome.

    Before you comment, please think twice. And then once again before publishing.

    Please respond with respect, and keep your comments on the topic of the mikva.

    Thank you.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Rav Malinowitz's claim that charedim run mikvaot in other places in the country is in direct contradiction to the law. The law is that all public mikvaot come under the auspices of the local Rabbanut- in our case, Rav Spector and Rav Bitton. I would like to know what proof R Malinowitz has for his claim.
    The Rav's claim that 60% of the neighborhood is charedi is, at the very least- disputable. Only about 30% of the residents of RBS A voted for Gimmel in the national elections. Either way, the numbers are irrelevant, and what is relevant are the numbers of women who tovel on either side of the Dolev Mikve. Since only about 1/4 to 1/3 of the women choose the charedi side, what basis do they have (assuming it were legal) to claim they need to govern a full mikva?
    And what basis do they have to claim that once the mikve on Luz is built- they should control 2 full mikvaot (Luz and Lachish)?

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  7. The last comment about controlling two mikvaot is a misunderstanding. Since luz will be privately built therefore it will be controlled by those that built it.
    What remains is the two public mikvaot which should be split half half.
    Since dolev is new and nicer, the end result will be that rav spector gets the nicer one. In the meantime, since he already has lachish, the new one on dolev will be given to the chareidim. However, since lachish is temporary closed for rwnovations, rav spector trmporary uses half of dolev until the renovations are complete.
    Pretty simple logic.
    Also you have to add the voters for shas which is considered a chareidy party and that is where the 60 percent comes from.
    To argue that it is not true is pretty amazing. Look at it this way:
    On uriyah, arugot, beginning of sorek, there are just about no dati leumi.
    Micha is at most half dati leumi (probably less and still changing over to more and more chareidi)
    The entire revivim and side dtreets there are chareidi.
    Lachish nachson is way more than half chareidi.
    What is left is yarkon a which has at least a third chareidim, luz which is almost completely chareidi.
    Dolev circle is mostly dati leumi but there are many pockets that are almost completely chareidi.
    When you figurre in that the chareidi areas are apartment buildings and the dati leumi areas are more houses and shorter buildings, the sixty percent is perhaps a lower number than the rreality

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  8. Don't Judge a Book by It's Cover28 April 2010 at 06:59

    Anon of 6:14,

    First off...you have excluded several densely populated streets that are mostly DL like: Katlav,Shvil Hagichon, Timna, Matta and HaBesor. In addition Hamaor has many DL. These streets represent hundreds of homes.There is but one or 2 small "pockets" on Dolev that aren't DL.

    Second many of the residents of Ramat Shlioh would identify (certainly in this issue) with the DL camp.

    Third (and perhps most important). Who is to say what and whom are Charedi? Agreed you will see many Charedi dressed people walking around RBSA but many of these people might sooner identify hashkafically with the moderate approach. This is why some of the very Charedi institutions have "softened" their look over the years to court the supporters who are more "middle of the road".

    So, no, the DL and Chardal/Charedi light are still here and should be recognized and respected for their contributions to the community.

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  9. The argument over how many DL and how many Charedim live here is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that regardless of what "side" they belong to, a vast majority of women are choosing to go to the Rabbanut side of the mikve.
    As for the Luz mikve- the iriya will be alloting the land for free, and funding about 50% of its construction, so I would not call this a private mikve. If all that really and truly matters is the women's needs, then what difference does it make if the mikve they go to is private or not- since only about a 1/3 of the women choose to go to the charedi mikve, then once Luz is built, that one will suffice. The Charedi Rabbonim claiming they should control 2 out of 3 because one is private and one isn't shows that they are not acting out of pure caring for their communitiy's needs, rather out of their need to prove who controls the neighborhood.

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  10. Shalom to All,

    I just want to reiterate that the report I produced, which is presented above, presents Rabbi Malinowitz's opinions, not mine. The only place which has my opinions, to a certain extent, is my introduction explaining that I met Rabbi Malinowitz etc.

    I advise any woman who has been mistreated at a Mikveh to work through HER OWN RABBI, or other professional whose integrity she trusts, to have the mistreatment dealt with, and to ensure that it is never repeated.
    Every person, especially one who has experienced such mistreatment, deserves to have her privacy respected; so I do not suggest that any woman directly approach Rabbi Malinowitz.

    Rabbi Malinowitz suggested, as stated in the report that I produced, that Rabbanim of women who have experienced mistreatment should contact him with the information about objectionable behavior; and he stated that he will operate so that "he, and the other Rabbis, can ensure that whatever objectionable behavior occurred will not be repeated". So that is a possible way to deal with these types of situations: Rabbanim bringing the reports of mistreatment to Rabbi Malinowitz's attention (without compromising the privacy of the women who underwent these traumatic experiences), and Rabbi Malinowitz working to ensure that whatever objectionable behavior occurred will not be repeated.

    I hope that this will help resolve the problems and ensure that no objectionable behavior by Mikveh personnel will occur in the future, whatever may have been in the past.

    Whoever wishes assistance from me in any of this (though I do not claim to be a big "mover and shaker" or anything like that; just a sincere, caring, and honest person trying to help whenever he can) can contact me via Email:
    clev@actcom.com

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  11. Shalom to All,

    Women who wish to contact another woman about mistreatment at a Mikveh can write to the following Email address:
    beyachadbs@gmail.com
    it is an Email address run entirely by a woman, who also does not want her identity disclosed because of the delicate nature of the situation, whom I know and trust who is dealing with complaints about mistreatment at Mikvaot (yes, she is Dati-Leumi and also involved in other Dati-Leumi issues as the Email address indicates).

    I am sorry that I cannot provide a name regarding the above Email address, but because of the delicate nature of the situation, people, especially women, are very concerned about protecting their own privacy.

    This is the best I can do for anyone who wants specifically to contact a woman. As I have stated previously, anyone who wants to contact me can write to my Email:
    clev@actcom.com
    If they so desire, people can also contact my mobile phone: 050-205-7867

    May we be Zocheh to greatly improve the atmosphere regarding this issue, and to correct any improper or malicious behavior which has occurred!

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  12. "who is the source of the statements that Chareidi Rabbis want total control of all Mikvaot, and the other lies."

    Rav Malinowitz - nobody has suggested that Charedidi Rabbis want total control of all mikvaot.

    To suggest that this is the allegation is deceitful.

    Rabbi Malinowitz, you know full well that the allegation is that some chareidim are trying to take control of the left (moetza) side of the Dolev mikva.

    That's it.

    Please don't throw dust in our eyes.

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  13. An Israeli guy phoned my home, said he was from machon somebody, who asked to survey about misradim mihamemshalah (Government Offices/Services), and then went on to ask specifically about misrad hadatot (Ministry of Religion), kashrut, and then several specific questions about the mikva.
    questions included:
    who runs kashrus, the mikva - the govt or the moetza?
    on a scale of one to ten: is the mikva clean, how do the balaniot treat me, who's in charge of the mikva, is the water hot, what's the most important thing on my mind about the mikva, how often do you go to the mikva, and other questions.

    Most peculiar.

    Has anyone else been contacted?

    If so, any idea who's ordered this survey??

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  14. HaRav Chayim, HaRav Chayim Solo, HaRav Chayim Soloveichik.

    The voice of truth in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The Action Committee for Integrity in Providing for Religious Services, which includes many of the most prominent Rabbis from Ramat Bet Shemesh, requested that I help the English-speaking public understand the issues encompassed in the struggle to ensure that Mikvehs provide any woman who wishes to utilize Mikveh services with amiable and Halachically-sound service which will promote Mikveh use.

    I may also write up some summaries in English of the material which has been publicized in Hebrew in the past several weeks; but, first of all, I wish to encourage anyone who wishes to hear the truth from someone who has studied this issue in depth, and whose purpose is simply to promote positive experiences relating to dipping in the Mikveh and other spiritual actions, to contact me by phone or Email for more details.

    Catriel Lev
    Mobile Phone: 050-205-7867
    Home Phone: 02-991-4332
    Email: clev@actcom.com

    ReplyDelete

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