Volume 15 Number 49
                       Produced: Mon Oct  3 23:13:31 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

changes in Halachah
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Binyomin Segal]
         [S. H. Schwartz]
         [Susan Slusky]
Women and Eruvin
         [Zvi Weiss]
Women and the `Eruv
         [Constance Stillinger]
Yonah and Segulahs
         [Chaim Schild]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 94 15:57:51 +0200
Subject: changes in Halachah

     Shaul Wallach in his discussion on marriage continually stresses
than one should remove oneself from the influence of the twentieth
century.  I have heard from many rabbis that the true Torah values are
independent of society and the real Torah giant is not influenced by
non-Torah values.

     However, in reality, Halachah has continuously been affected by
contemporary society. In medieval Spain more than in Poland but some
influence at all times. If someone thinks he is not influenced by the
outside world because he reads only Torah books he is mistaken. Rambam,
most rishonim and many examples in the Talmud are already influenced by
the outside world.

Some examples of changes during the centuries:

1.  The rabbis abolished the Sotah waters and also capital punishment
    sbecause ociety had changed and murder and adultery became

2.  S.A. Orach Chaim 2: (Magen Avraham) talks about changes because the
    clothing we wear today is different than that of Talmudic days.
    Hence, we are not careful about certain prohibitions.  Similarly, we
    do not wear tzizit on our clothing today because they don't have
    four corners. We do not wear togas because that is what the Tannaim
    wore. I never really understood why some people insist on wearing
    bekeshes and other such garb. Especially in Israel during the summer
    such clothing is not appropriate. It comes from Russia and was
    certainly not worn by Rashi. Why freeze time at that era and wear
    those clothing and not that of other eras. Certainly some Sefardic
    rabbis wear very different types of clothing.

3. S.A. Orach Chaim 3:11 discusses what material can be used to clean
   oneself in the bathroom. Again Magen Avraham discusses why these
   prohibitions are no longer observed.

4. The customs of mourning have changed considerably from talmudic days
   with the discarding of ancient customs and the introduction of new
   customs.  We no longer mourn together with a husband/wife who is

5. The law gives preference for a Talmid Chacham who appears in court.
   The Semah states that today we no longer apply this law (CM 15:1).

6. YD 123:1 states that wine of gentiles (Stam Yeinam) is no longer
   prohibited in benefit, just for drinking, because gentiles today do
   not usually dedicate wine to idolatry.

7. A baby born in the 8th month of pregnancy is treated like a normal
   baby even though the Gemara states that a healthy baby is born in
   either the 7th or 9th month of preganancy but not the 7th.

8. OC 173 states that many of the prohibitions in the Talmud because of
   danger no longer apply because of the change in taure that these are
   no longer dangerous.

9. EE 2: states that if one is called a mamzer (bastard) then one should
   be suspicious of his lineage. However, this no longer applies today
   because of frequent fights and foul language.

10. EE 1:2 We no longer force a couple to get divorced if they are
   childless for 10 years and similarly for other laws concerning which
   shidduch is appropriate (i.e. between a young man and an elderly
   woman etc.)

    In summary as society changes Halakhah has always changed with it.
Sociologists have pointed out that those groups that seek to recreate
the European shtettle in Israel or America are really deceiveing
themselves.  Society has changed and that world can no longer be
recreated. Bnei Brak or Willimsburg is not Vilna or Belz or Satmar of
Europe both for good and for bad.


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 12:08:35 -0600
Subject: Eruv/Chumra/Women

I'm about to get on a soap box, sorry if the language is a bit strong, but
this is one of my "buttons".

Shaul Wallach writes:

> The Rambam's ruling, based on the plain sense of the Mishna and the
>Talmud, expresses the virtue of the Jewish mother who stays home to
>raise her family. No halachic opinion based on the Talmud requires her
>husband to let her leave the home in order to attend services at the
>synagogue. I would kindly advise any Jewish woman who feels that staying
>home is an "unnecessary hardship" to discover from the Jewish sources
>just what her ideal role in life is.
> In any case, the question of whether to hold by an `eruv must be
>settled on its own merits; namely, whether the eruv itself is valid or
>not. It would be a most unworthy motive for the community to decide the
>matter on the basis of the irrelevant desire of women to compromise
>their position of sanctity in their homes.

Though I don't disagree with much of the content of Rabbi Wallach's
statements, I think the implications and tone stretch it a bit. I am among
the first to tell women not to bother going to shul _however_ "staying home
to care for the kids" does not mean "staying indoors".

It is not unusual for a family to have children of different ages, say a 5
year old and an infant (and whatever else). Should the 5 year old, who
wants to play with friends - but needs supervision - be confined to the
house because mom needs to stay home with the infant?

Does the mother need to have no adult conversation (besides the small
amount her husband is allowed to speak with her - see pirkei avos) because
she must stay literally at home?

And even if we could say that that was indeed the intention of the Rabbis
and the Torah as a "best case scenario" ;)  do we not take shalom bayis
into account? Wont that 5 year old whose at home all day shabbos get on
mommy and tatty's nerves? Wont mommy start to sound like a child to tatty
making her less suitable as his soulmate?

I am _not_ saying that halacha should be violated. I am saying that yes the
feelings of people can affect the psak in a situation where there is "on
whom to rely".

In fact, quite the contrary, as not carrying is a chumrah (I know this is
debatable - however for all that there are reasons to differentiate europe
from now - bottom line is that for generations most of our zeidis and
bubbys carried in eruvs not much different from the bnei brak eruv), you
need to be able to justify why you are allowed to be machmir. A chumrah
which adversly affects another area of halacha (yes, even the bein adam
l'chavero of how your wife will feel) is probably a chumra dasi leday kula
(a stringency which brings a leniency) and is thus forbidden.

BTW just to be clear, I'm not saying that one should carry in an eruv
either. I am merely pointing out that psak halacha should not seem so
simple here. There are real issues in taking on a chumra and even more of
an issue on imposing it on someone else - "even" if that someone else is
your wife or child.



From: <schwartz@...> (S. H. Schwartz)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 13:24:28 +0500
Subject: Re: Eruvim

> From: <traum@...> (Jonathan Traum)
> These are very real concerns. I was with a cousin of mine who has lived on
> Long Island all his life while we were visiting relatives in a town without
> an eruv. We set out for shul on Shabbat afternoon, and since it was rather
> warm, he was about to carry his suit jacket instead of wearing it. His aunt
> and I noticed just in time to prevent him from being m'challel Shabbat. I
> have also heard of a case of a religious Israeli who had never even heard
> that carrying on Shabbat is wrong, since in Israel, every town has an eruv.

My local rav has publicly paskened that one MUST assume that 
the eruv is down, UNTIL one has heard reliably that it is up THAT SHABBAT.

One who conducts himself in this manner will find out that there is no eruv
-before- Shabbat.    :-)


From: <segs@...> (Susan Slusky)
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 94 11:51:09 EDT
Subject: Marriage

After reading Shaul Wallach's stunning "Marriage - Part 3," I can only
say, "Thank you, Shaul, for reminding us of the traditional view of
women and marriage and of how far many of us have diverged from that view."

And having read in Rick Turkel's posting that in such a traditional
society that intelligence (brightness was the word he used) is not seen
as a plus for a bride, I should think not! Not if she is to assume the
role laid out by Shaul. It would just make for a malcontent. No, for
such a role you want to look for docility, submissiveness, and tractability,
not intelligence, which tends to bring with it the tendency to question.

Susan Slusky


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Oct 1994 09:19:55 -0400
Subject: Women and Eruvin

While Shaul Wallach's overall analysis of the fact that one can be
"stringent" re an eruv is well-done, there is a certain "bombastic" tone
that disturbs me.  To state that the desire of women to "get out on
Shabbat" -- whether it is to go to Shule -- or just to visit is somehow
a corruption is simply inaccurate.  Shaul quotes the Rambam -- but seems
to minimize the matter that one is expected to allow his wife to visit
SOMEWHAT.. the gemara at the end of Gitin has a pretty strong opinion of
a person who "keeps his wife locked up".. and it is not a positive
opinion either...

This is especially puzzling as Shaul, himself, demonstrates that it is
possible to be most considerate of one's wife -- even when an eruv is
not available -- or one does not accept the eruv for some reason.  It
seems to me that a more appropriate approach to this matter would be to
state that even if a community chooses to be strict re Eruvin, the women
need not be "disenfranchised" as simple consideration and courtesy can
greatly alleviate the whole problem...  I know of cases where husbands
would go to "minyanim b'hashkoma" so that they would then babysit while
the wife went to Shule... similarly, in our community, before there was
an eruv, there was a women's shiur every shabbat -- and the men were
expected to stay home and babysit....

In short, the issue of having an eruv or not having one should not be
considered a barometer of consideration for women.  It is quite
possible to be most considerate of women when no eruv is around and
quite possible to be an obnoxious boor even when there is an eruv.



From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Oct 1994 22:48:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Women and the `Eruv

Shaul Wallach <F66204@...> wrote:
>      Dr. Stillinger appears to assume that mothers with small children
> who stay at home on Shabbat because their husbands are required to pray
> with the community are being "unnessarily confined to home", and that
> this is an "unnecessary hardship."
>      With all due respect, I would very much like to know what the
> source for this feeling is - is it the Torah, or is it America? 

Try spending the day in the house with one or more small children
sometime.  Try doing it when one or more of them is sick.  Try doing it
when you're sick, nursing, or pregnant.

It doesn't matter where or when you live or how observant you are, being
a shomer-Shabbos mother is a tough row to hoe.  You should at least
acknowledge that.

Our tradition provides for community eruvim.  It is perfectly legitimate
to investigate the practical consequences of *not* using them and then
to ask where Torah stands on the refusal to use them, in view of those
practical consequences.

But I don't plan to discuss this with someone who believes that women
shouldn't learn Torah in the first place.

Dr. Constance A. (Chana) Stillinger    <cas@...>
Research Coordinator, Education Program for Gifted Youth
Stanford University


From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 03 Oct 1994 12:55:58 -0400 (EDT)aa
Subject: Yonah and Segulahs

While I do not know the source, I would like to add to the question.
Where is it stated that opening the ark/parochet (p'sicha) is a segulah and
what for ????



End of Volume 15 Issue 49