Trips to visit the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov in the Ukrainian city of Uman have long become a phenomenon crossing all sectors, common among celebrities and the average Joe alike, but this year, those waiting to boards the flight to Ukraine were privy to an unusual sight – Hasidim in veils.
Some Hasidim were wearing a scarf under their traditional hat, with nothing but the slimmest of slits for their eyes, while others made original use of airlines' sleep masks. The move, Yedioth Ahronoth reported, was meant to "protect" their eyes from immodest views, i.e – women.
The Hasidim went through the entire airport security check with the covers on, or briefly off and looking down, followed by what can only be descried as a mad dash towards the safety of the plane.
The makeshift blindfolds were taken off only when they were seated on the plane. They were put back on when the flight attendants began making the rounds with the food carts.
"The point is to be as sanctified as possible," said one of the passengers, adding that for some, one of the points of the trip was to atone for looking at immodest women, which explained the radical measures.
The Kiev Airport saw a repeat performance, to the surprise of its security personnel, especially those of the female persuasion.
Flyers warning of the immodest ads plastered across the Kiev airport were distributed throughout haredi neighborhoods in recent months, and a special tent, for men only, was apparently supposed to be waiting for the those arriving, but the plan did not pan out.
The situation at Rabbi Nachman of Breslov's gravesite was much simpler, as it is dominated by male visitors.
One of the Israelis visiting Uman said that the "men in veils" phenomenon is part of a recent rabbinical campaign, adding that the area was riddled with flyers detailing specific instructions as to the veil's length and promising great benefits for those most ridiculed for their actions, along with tales of great rabbis who have made the practice their own.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the death of Rabbi Nachman and thousands are expected to visit the gravesite.
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