December 1, 2004 | Issue 16

Skivvies Scandal Enters Spin Cycle

LAKEWOOD, NJ — [] The latest craze sweeping through Lakewood is well on its way to becoming a chiyuv, totally bypassing the minhag phase. Already, shidduch questionnaires and yeshiva admittance forms are being updated with intrusive interrogations about the ascending chumra. The edict causing all this fury? A requirement for separate washing machines and dryers for men's and women's clothing.

The hysteria began three week ago, at the Chumradika Shteeble's customary Shalosh Seudos tish. That's where the now-infamous shrayim-grabbing incident occurred. During the drasha, an overly-enthusiastic follower accidentally snagged the gartel of the Grand Rabbi while reaching for the last piece of herring. According to eyewitnesses, the Rabbi's pants dropped, exposing the fact that their leader was wearing women's lace underwear.

The notorious event was followed by a week of widespread confusion. Many of the Rabbi's followers observed their tradition of mindlessly mimicking the Rabbi, leading to the senseless damaging of perfectly good lingerie due to overstretching. Others, following the custom of ignoring scientific evidence, simply denied the incident, despite high-resolution time-stamped photos on the Internet of the Rabbi in flagrante delicto. Still more insisted that it's loshon hora to air the sect's dirty laundry. The confusion was reined in when the Rabbi ended his silence with last week's ruling, which blamed the whole thing on a laundry mix-up, and launched the psak that has appliance dealers in a frenzy.

From the ruling:
"The posuk which forbids Beged Isha (Devarim 22:5) mentions both men and women's clothing. Applying the Talmudic principle of making up a new rule when pesukim mention things close together (doiresh smuchim), we see that Halacha L'Moshe Misinai requires a mechitza between different genders' clothing."

According to the ruling, front loaders are a hiddur, as the transparent door lessens the chances of the sort of confusion that ensnared the Holy See. As put by the decree: "Those machmirim that care to make their household truly mehudar will make sure to allow all guests and passerbys to ascertain that it is indeed your wife's intimates that are currently being tumble-dried."

There was some initial argument about the meaning of the Rabbi's use of the terminology "drop a load in the washing machine" that was only settled when it was noted that his approved repair procedure for fixing a broken washing machine was given as "slap her." took to the streets to capture reactions to the ruling. One local hardware store owner said, "Oh man, do we love the Chumradika Rebbe! The water filter thing was a bonanza, but even that looks to be small potatoes compared to this. Can you ask him to assur combo units?"

"I'm already sorting dark and whites and that makes sense, so this must make sense too," said Blima Eigenbaum, homemaker. "The only question I have is in which machine to wash my Holy Sheet?"


Pencil Mordy Ovits did standup once. They laughed at him. They all laughed at him. You can email your laughter to him at


Commenting is disabled

search Search The Knish:

tool Article tools:

Print this article Print this article
Email this article Email this article
More by Mordy Ovits More by Mordy Ovits


Also In Issue 16

Random Stories


Did You Know?

Dyslexics have the minhag to graduate from rabbinical programs in Adar, as it says, "Mishenichnas adar, marbim b'smicha."

On This Day

On April 27, 1217, the first International Dreidel Championship was held in Stockholm. Chaim Spinower won with a masterful gimmel.


Bush II Do you like satire? Do you like the Bible? Do you like politics? Do you like them all together at the same time? Now, for the first time ever, you can kill all three birds with one stone. Bush II, Book I is the King James Version of the first term of George W. Bush. Buy it and multitask like never before.