Volume 15 Number 77
                       Produced: Mon Oct 17  0:58:17 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Orthodox Rabbi of Conservative shul (re: Synagogue Position)
         ["Neil Parks"]
The Netziv...
         [Zvi Weiss]
Torah vs. Psychology
         [Shaul Wallach]
Women and the Workplace
         [Jules Reichel]
Women and...
         [Freda B. Birnbaum]
Women Working
         [Harry Weiss]


From: "Neil Parks" <aa640@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 94 13:47:26 EDT
Subject: Orthodox Rabbi of Conservative shul (re: Synagogue Position)

> : Arthur J Einhorn <0017801@...> says:
>I have heard of a position for a traditional/orthodox rabbi in a
>"conservative" synagogue in the Los Angeles area. A friend of mine hopes
>that the right traditional/orthodox rabbi could be found to turn the the
>congregation onto the darech hatorah. There are obvious halacha
>ramifications which I have discussed with the local rabbinic
>authorities. If there are any potential candidates please send resume
>and salary requirements plus how you will handle the halacha question of
>entering to such a position(preferably a heter or hascama from a Gadol
>allowing this should be included).

I don't know how a Gadol (leading authority) would rule on the halacha
of this question, but I can cite a precedent.

When I was a child in Queens, NY, we belonged to a conservative temple
with microphones, mixed seating, Conservative prayerbooks, and an
Orthodox rabbi.  His purpose was very clearly to be mekarev the
congregation (bring them close to Torah).

The faculty of the afternoon Hebrew school consisted of young Orthodox
rabbis and rabbinical students who taught from an Orthodox viewpoint.

At my bar mitzvah in 1963, the rabbi preached against driving on
Shabbos!  I know Orthodox rabbis of Orthodox shuls who won't do that for
fear of alienating congregants who drive to shul.  But this rabbi had no
such fear, and he was still there more than 15 years afterward.

What kind of results did he get?

Some of the teenagers formed their own Shabbos minyan at which they had
a mechitza and used Orthodox siddurim.  Some graduates of that afternoon
Hebrew school went on to Yeshiva University High School.

There was one who went through YUHS, and then YU.  He learned at Itri
for awhile, got smicha (ordination), and is today a Young Israel rabbi.
Where would he and I be today if the mentor of our formative years had
been a Conservative rabbi instead of Rabbi E.Y. Simon?

NEIL PARKS   <aa640@...>


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 1994 10:11:33 -0400
Subject: The Netziv...

I believe that Shaul Wallach has totally misunderstood me and ALSO
interpreted the Netziv in an untenable fashion.
1. For some reason, he assumes that when I speak of women "getting out
   to mix", I imply some non-tznius anti-halachic philosophy.  I use the
   term in direct opposition to "staying in the house" and not being
   able to get out.  It seems clear to me that a reading of the Netziv
   does not contradict this idea.
2. The statement by Shaul that the "feast of friendship"... pertains to
   Yom Tov, not to Shabbat (these are Shaul's words).  is untenable
   since (a) The statement that the Netziv is discussing clearly refers
   to Shabbat -- It can also INCLUDE YomTOv -- but certainly appears to
   be primarily oriented towards Shabbat; (b) Given the heter of
   "mitoch" to carry, the need to institute an eruv is much less (if at
   all) for Yom Tov than for Shabbat.
3. I did not specifically refer to "going to the Synagogue" as much as
   to the fact that w/out an Eruv (as many other posters have pointed
   out) a woman can often not get out AT ALL.  When Shaul appears to say
   that such a situation should not be a consideration in determining
   the status of an eruv, I believe that the Netziv appears to say
4. Shaul speaks of the eruv that the Yerushalmi "had in mind" was for
   apartment buildings and condominiums for socializing with the "close
   neighbors".  I wish to remind Shaul that, for those of us who do not
   live in B'nei B'rak (or Yerushalayim), there are entire neighborhoods
   where people live in single family homes (examples include Skiokie,
   Ill, sections of Queens, NY, Edison/Highland Park, NJ...).  The only
   way that these people can get to their "close neighbors" is to set up
   an eruv that encloses the block or neighborhood -- or town!  Thus,
   one can argue that our "city" eruvin DO satisfy the sort of eruvin
   that the Gemara had in mind....  Unless Shaul wishes to assert that
   we are all supposed to live in Chtzerot exactly as people lived in
   the time of the Gemara...
5. I fail to understand how Shaul draws a distinction between my use of
   the term "getting out and mixing" vs. his use of "getting
   together"... In both cases, SOMEBODY is going outside to meet someone
   else -- as opposed to everyone staying closed in because they cannot
   transport various necessary items.
6. I do not believe that when the Nitziv used the term "friendship
   between man and his fellow" that he meant to imply that women were
   not entitled to similar friendship (although, given Shaul's eralier
   posts, that is a distince (opps: distinct) possibility).  as I
   understand that section -- certainly supported by the earlier
   commentary where the Netziv states that the purpose of the Mitzvot
   listed in the context of Kedoshim (I know that this is NOT the ONLY
   purpose of these mitzvot) is to increase "peace and dometic
   tranquility " (those are my terms) within the Jewish society... and
   that in that context, the peace and tranquility of Shabbat is that
   people can "get together" -- a process GREATLY enhanced by the
   availability of an Eruv...
7. Finally, once we realize that our housing (outside of B'nei B'rak) is
   no longer the same as the Chatzerot of the Gemara, it becomes pretty clear
   that the idea that the Netziv refers to (that of people "getting together"
   [I will use that term since Shaul misunderstands my earlier terminology]
   can certainly include meeting each other on the street.



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 94 22:02:41 IST
Subject: Torah vs. Psychology

    Louis Rayman is amazed at a suggestion of mine on the relation
between Torah and psychology:

>>     I would suggest looking at things in reverse - when the Jew
>> sincerely devotes himself to living by the Torah, in which everything
>> in his life is governed by the halacha, he will need have no recourse
>> to "psychological matters," because his whole personality is governed
>> by the Torah. But if his devotion is incomplete, then at least in part
>> he will need the "enlightened human perspective" to deal with the part
>> of his personality that is not governed by the Torah.
>This statement amazes me.  (Or, as Tosfos always puts it, "Vetayma!")
>If a person would be 100% shomer Torah Umitzvos, blev tahor vshalem,
>then he would never get depressed, angry, <fill in your favorite
>negative emotion here>??!!??  What if the same person had undergone
>some physical or emotional trauma that needed to be worked out?  He
>wouldn't need to talk it over with someone, to come to grips with his
>emotions and learn to deal with them?  (Even if the person he talks
>with is a Rov instead of a psychologist, in a case like that they are
>serving a similar function).

     True, but the person who talks it over with a Rav is treating
himself from within a Torah perspective, while one who goes to a
psychologist is using an "enlightened human perspective." Look at the
Rambam (Hil. De`ot 2:1):

    ... And what is the cure for the mentally ill? They should go to
    the wise men, for they are the psychiatrists, and they will cure
    their illness through traits which they teach them until they
    bring them back to the good path...

Now just because a wise man has learned some modern psychology doesn't
mean that he is not treating people from a Torah perspective. For that
matter, the Rambam himself borrowed much of what he wrote in Hilkot
De`ot from the Arab philosphers of his own age, such as Al-Ghazali and
Al-Farabi. But this doesn't mean it's not Torah. Whatever is true, is
itself Torah, provided it is guided by Torah principles. And in his
Epistle to Yemen and his Epistle on the Sanctification of the Name, we
see that the Rambam was well able to help people in distress through an
understanding of their psyche.

     It is important to stress here that people with psychological
or emotional problems should be careful to go only to genuine Torah
scholars for help. Even Jewish psychologists can be very harmful if
they are not thoroughly versed in what is permitted and what is not.
This includes in particular the laws of speech, since a psychologist
can easily injure a person through Ona'at Devarim (incorrect speech),
especially when such a person is in distress. At the same time, the
Torah scholar must also be well versed in Torat Ha-Nefesh (psychology)
as well, in order to know just what will help the person in need. But
he need not necessarily have to learn psychology directly from sources
outside Judaism. In another posting, we have noted how Mrs. Miriam
Adahan and Rabbi Zelig Pliskin have successfully integrated the methods
of cognitive psychology into their program of treating emotional
problems. Their books are well worth study by anyone in need.




From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 1994 17:24:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women and the Workplace

Shaul Wallach argues that men are weak and subject to sin when they
interact with women. It may result, he speculates, in rising divorce
rates. The approach he suggests is for families to be less concerned
about financial gain and for the men to praise the women more for their
work at home. Where is the justice in such a position? Men are weak and
so women should be punished by not being allowed to fully develop their
capabilities and experiences in accordance with their talents and
dreams? Consider this analogy to clarify the logic. People are weak and
subject to criminal behavior. There is a rising rate of street crime and
such patterns have continued for many years. What we the innocent
victims must do to avoid this weakness is lock ourselves in our homes,
and give the joy of God's sunlight and the majesty of open spaces over
to the criminals. I see more justice in more vigorously locking up
criminals, and, in the case of men tempted away from their wives, more
emphasis on additional training and special prayers to correct their
corrupted behavior.  Shaul is quick to remind us that men are not
angels, but slow to remember that women are also humans with real
dreams, and worthy dreams.



From: Freda B. Birnbaum <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 12:57:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women and...

In V15N69, Shaul Wallach in "Woman of Valor" retells several very
touching stories from the book about R. Aryeh Levin (I regularly give
this book as a gift so I'm familiar with it). I'm just not sure what the
relevance of these stories is to whether women "ought" to be
participating in the world outside of the four walls of their houses.
In my experience, tzaddik stories are often told to intimidate children
(or congregants) into thinking that their own religiosity will never be
good enough or that their own needs are never important.  (This
phenomenon is not limited to the Jewish world.)  One of the things that
impressed me most about R. Aryeh's book was the story of how he used to
make it a point to go visit, on Yom Tov, the widows of Torah scholars.
Why?  Because before their husbands died, lots of people came to visit
them, now no one did.  One reason this story impressed me (beside the
fine-tuned sensitivity of R. Aryeh) was because mitzvahs of that kind
can be done without being a great Torah scholar or superhero frummie.
ANYONE can visit the sick, etc.  (Of course R. Aryeh's status was part
of the cheering up he did in visiting these particular widows, but you
get the idea.)

In V15N70, Joseph Steinberg, in "Women carrying Sifrei Torah", says

>I have been told in the name of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveichik A"H --
>from the  person who heard it directly from him -- that there is
>nothing wrong with  a woman carrying a Sefer Torah -- HOWEVER --
>he (The Rav) does not recommend starting a whole issue by giving
>women Sifrei Torah to carry.

Does Joseph know WHEN the Rav said that?  I recall in the mid-'70's,
Rabbi Riskin, another talmid of the Rav's, discussing the issue along
those lines; but Rabbi Riskin did in fact permit women to carry a Sefer
Torah (the issue of WHERE they were permitted to carry it got bogged
down in shul politics :-( but they DID carry it!  (I was there and
carried it.)  It may have been (I don't remember who suggested this to
me) that the Rav said there was nothing wrong with permitting it, but
the rabbi wasn't required to put his job in jeopardy over it (i.e., it
wasn't comparable to the microphone or no-mechitsa issue).

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 94 21:53:30 -0700
Subject: Women Working

I read with interest Shaul Wallach's numerous postings regarding women
and halacha.  It is obvious that considerable effort went into
preparation of these articles.  I found his positions regarding women
working particularly interesting.

Many women (my wife included) work to enable us to afford tuition to
send our children to Yeshivoth.  Have any of the Gedolim given a Psak
whether it is preferable to send children to public schools to enable
the wife to stay at home.  Are the Roshei Yeshivoth aware that most wive
of those in the Kolel work to support them.  (Perhaps I have misjudged
the Meretz run Education Ministry and they have increased Kolel stipends
so that women don't have to work.)

The standards of Tzniut (modesty) brought down were very interesting.
>From what I remember learning men have a responsibility to avoid places
where these standards are not being met.  Looking at Shaul's Email
address, I am glad to see that things have improved so much since I went
to Bar Ilan several decades ago.  It is great to see that now all of the
female student dress in accordance with strict Tzniut and that there is
complete separation between the males and females.



End of Volume 15 Issue 77