Tsniyus Makes an Unexpected Appearance
At one point, she also once declared that she listens to Hidabroot every day. "EVERY day!" she emphasized.
(This is again an iconic celebrity spitting in the face of the Erev Rav Establishment, which mocks everything Hidabroot stands for.)
During a performance in her younger days, she started singing about Hashem and "Shema Yisrael."
At that point, fans in the front row passed Sarit a large Israeli flag, which she hesitantly accepted before wrapping it all around her and holding it closed with one hand under it in the front. This covered her entire upper body.
As she did this, Sarit stopped singing and bowed her head for a pensive moment, then raised her head and continued singing, but with more seriousness, keeping the flag wrapped around her.
Initially, I didn't understand what was going on.
At first I thought the flag-passing was a patriotic thing, but her facial expression and body language didn't reflect the yahoo!-enthusiasm that usually accompanies patriotic displays.
Also, there was a flash of discomfort on her face characteristic of one receiving rebuke.
It took me a minute to realize that it was all a display of tsniyut.
Sarit was singing a profoundly religious song while wearing a completely immodest top.
Her fans passed her a flag (presumably because it was something large enough to cover everything and also it's less offensive to Sarit. An Israeli flag makes a different statement than, say, a large black shawl of the same size—although I would personally prefer the shawl. But this is a case of relating to a person ba'asher hu sham—where he is right now, not where I am or where I want the other person to be).
The fact that fans cared enough to hear the song sung in a more modest state and the fact that Sarit accepted a very public rebuke (lovingly given) right in the middle of a performance—right in the middle of a song!—says something.
I cannot imagine this happening with the pop stars or their fans in America or Europe.
Even the gospel pop singers...many church-goers do not dress modestly. Have you ever heard of their fans trying to get them to cover up in the middle of a performance?
And have you heard of them having the humility to accept it?
And no, I'm not ignoring the very real transgressions of the Jewish singers regarding kol ishah or immodest dress & behavior in videos and on stage (which the male singers can be guilty of too).
But at the same time, you see the pinteleh Yid when you least expect it.
The Jews of Eretz Yisrael are moving in a certain direction, and hopefully, everyone will keep on growing stronger in Torah & mitzvot.
(For contrast, please see How would You Like to Take Your Poison: Scrambled or Sunny-Side Up? The cultures of modern Western society are moving in exactly the opposite direction in which the Jews of Israel are moving.)
An Unexpected Bombshell
They chatted about who would be returning in the next season of the series.
And then the host mentioned one of the star actresses of the series (whose name I can't remember, but let's say it was Shiri Goldberg).
"And Shiri Goldberg, of course," said one of the hosts.
The guest squirmed and smiled self-consciously. "Ah, no, actually," he said. "Shiri...isn't coming back."
The hosts did a double-take. "Not coming back? Shiri Goldberg? But—but—how—? What...why?"
The guest looked at them a moment, preparing to drop the bomb.
Then he said, "Shiri Goldberg chazrah b'teshuvah." (Shiri became religious.)
The hosts tried very hard to resist doing another double-take, but they stared wide-eyed at the floor for a moment, blinked, then looked back at their guest, who gave them another self-conscious smile and a shrug before saying, "Yeah. That's uh...what happened."
I do not know why they were so stunned, whether it was because Shiri Goldberg was the last person they'd expect to do teshuvah or whether they were stunned that someone would give up all that fame & glory for Torah at the height of her career.
"So..." they said. "Shiri Golberg chazrah b'teshuvah."
They looked at each other.
"Okay," they said, nodding their heads as they adjusted to the bombshell. "Okay. All right. Yafeh! Nice. Shiri Golberg chazrah b'teshuvah. Very nice. Okay. Good for Shiri!"
Then they continued with the interview.
But I was stunned because I'd been used to American talkshows.
These 2 Israeli hosts were jesters. They were popular comedians in addition to being talkshow hosts.
I fully expected them to start making fun of Shiri Goldberg.
But they didn't. In fact, they seemed careful not to.
Since when are leitzim so careful about their leitzanut?
I don't know their motivation for responding respectfully, whether it was their own appreciation or whether they wanted to be careful not to offend their viewers (the majority of whom, whether they were religious themselves, would respect Shiri for her decision).
Watching them, I got the feeling it was both.
They were concerned about how even the slightest mockery might come off to their fans, and they also weren't comfortable with making fun of someone who decided to start keeping Torah, which they really should be doing too—and I think they knew it.
I can't prove it, but that was my perception at the time.
Anyway, I cannot imagine their American counterparts resisting the opportunity to make some kind of joke.
And again, the fact that a star at the height of her fame & glory would drop it all for Torah & mitzvot, and the fact that her co-star and a couple of popular comedian-talkshow hosts would discuss her decision respectfully...
...again, even though this occurred years ago, it's still connected to the increasing wave toward Torah we're seeing now.
We see that so many Jews feel some kind of connection.
It's hard because there is so much ugly gunk and tumah clogging up this generation. There is a lot of deterioration.
But the forward-upward movement is still there, baruch Hashem.
And that movement is even more impressive in the face of the tremendous force seeking to destroy it.
Refusing to Live by Rote
But at the same time, so many people are seeking to deepen their relationship with Hashem and deepen their mitzvah observance.
Whether they are people from secular backgrounds looking to become more religious or whether they are FFBs looking to rejuvenate their lifelong commitment to Torah and mitzvot, there is a strong movement in a good direction.
For example, I came across a question from an FFB woman who decided to daven in a whole new way than she'd been davening her entire life, a more authentic and meaningful way.
It was going well, but she needed to know how to find the halachic balance in her increasingly busy life, and therefore she turned to the rabbis at Din Online.
Please see here:
I must say that I was deeply moved by her renewed commitment to tefillah b'kavanah, which brought her to an over-90-minute Shacharit, a 45-minute Mincha (!!!), and a 45-minute Ma'ariv...every single day.
This is someone who is choosing to move forward & upward. She could coast along, living a frum life by rote, but she's too much of a spiritual seeker for that.
She sounds like a wonderful person and it's so inspiring to read the words of a regular unknown Jew who is giving Hashem exactly what He wants: her heart.
Understanding What Bat Mitzvah Really Means
Her hair used to almost reach her waist.
Anyway, her new haircut looked nice and when I saw her mother, I told her how nice her daughter looks, knowing she'd probably pass it on to her daughter. (The girl has a more reserved personality & gets uncomfortable when I address her directly—although later, when she came by to borrow a book, I told her directly how nice she looked.)
Anyway, her mother smiled and said, "Yes, she did it in honor of her bat mitzvah. She decided to donate her hair."
(She means the hair-banks that enable bald children suffering through chemotherapy to have the most natural-looking wigs possible.)
My jaw dropped.
It was absolutely stunning to hear how such a young girl has such as strong sense of what it really means to be a Jewish woman, and to want to perform such a powerful chessed now that her mitzvot really count.
We all know how the girls who choose to grow their hair out value their hair. It was such a beautiful act of giving on her part.
And just to emphasize: This girl is growing up in a very run-of-the-mill non-chashuv Litvish family.
This isn't, say, Rebbetzin Kanievsky's daughter or someone like that.
But the holy Jewish neshamah keeps shining through.
You don't need to be someone obviously important or special in order to do important & special deeds.
Everyone is important. Everyone is special. Everyone possesses a pristine & lofty neshamah.
It's just a matter of bringing it out.