Sunday, November 9, 2014

Poppies for Remembrance Day


Is wearing a poppy for Remembrance Day prohibited as chukot akum?

It is certainly appropriate for a Jew to demonstrate gratitude to the Canadian armed forces, by memorializing those who lost their lives in defense of others. This fulfills the mandate of hakarat hatov (recognizing the good provided by others) and darchei shalom (promoting a peaceful society).

The law of chukot akum prohibits wearing clothing which mimics the styles of non-Jews, but it is specific to articles of clothing which (1) violate the Torah's moral standards or (2) are worn for reasons that might trace back to idolatry. The poppy does not violate the Torah's moral standards, and the reason for wearing it is well-known: to evoke the imagery of a World War I poem, In Flanders Fields. Therefore, chukot akum would not prohibit wearing the poppy.

One who wears the poppy might consider removing it for davening; halachic authorities discourage introduction of eye-catching distractions in a shul.

One who will don the poppy on Shabbat should be careful to follow the rules regarding "stitching" on Shabbat, being careful not to pass the straight pin through the garment more than once.

(Chukot Akum: Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim 11:1; Maharik 88; Rama Yoreh Deah 178:1; Chashukei Chemed Ketuvot 104b; Davening distractions: Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 90:23; Mishneh Berurah 90:70; Shabbat stitching: Shemirat Shabbat k'Hilchatah 15:70)

Have a great day,

No comments:

Post a Comment