Yesterday I had a busy morning facilitated by miraculously convenient rides and buses. Yes, siyata d'Shmaya, G-d's handy transportation system was very efficient. It even provided me with some entertainment.
After getting rather, B"H, easily to the pool in Neve Yaakov via a "tremp" (ride) and bus, I caught the 25 to Pisgat Zeev and bought some things in the mall for my father (and mother for when she makes aliyah, G-d willing.) Then just as I got to the bus tremp stop, a 143 pulled up. Since my tentative plan, depending on what G-d was to offer me, was to buy a couple of things at the Rami Levi discount supermarket in Shaar Binyamin, that Kochav Yaakov/Tel Zion bus was perfect.
As I was paying the driver, I heard a man's voice:
"Young women should sit in the back, to honor and not to distract the male passengers."
Obviously, he wasn't addressing me. I quipped to the driver that women sixty-plus deserve their own honor.
Then I heard a woman reply to that man that he should stop staring at women and mind his own business. Their argument got louder and I even joined in a bit. It was very entertaining listening to them shouting out various rabbinic statements.
The young woman, who had obviously caught his attention, had no problem putting down his demands, and I gave her the stage. He ignored me and my even older female friend. We sat very comfortably in the front of the bus. The young woman was the lightening rod for his anger. His parting shot was:
"You're a disgrace to chareidi women."I guess she wore that "uniform," at least as far as he could discern.
There's one important thing she should have replied to his "the rabbis say." In Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of the Fathers, it is written:
"Rabban Gamliel said, make for yourself a rabbi, remove yourself from doubt, and do not give extra tithes due to estimation."To that she could have added:
"Your rabbi isn't my rabbi. I follow the Mishna in Pirkei Avot and chose my own. My rabbi says that women should sit where convenient, and men should mind their own business. Try looking out the window or in a book."That man in the bus has no right to judge others and force his or his rabbi's opinion. It wasn't requested.