Volume 15 Number 89
                       Produced: Thu Oct 20  0:52:18 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Marriage -- Temptation..
         [Zvi Weiss]
         [Danny Skaist]
Women and the Workplace
         [Shaul Wallach]
women at prayer
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Women in the Workplace
         [Binyomin Segal]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 1994 15:56:30 -0400
Subject: Marriage -- Temptation..

Ellen Krischer is upset when Shaul Wallach discusses the "price" of
professional activity.... 
 Perhaps, we all have to go back and review the haskafa behind the
halachot of Tzniut/yichud/etc. (I am NOT attempting to do ANYTHING like
a p'sak here -- CYLOR!!).  It seems to me that rules of Tzniut tell BOTH
men and women that they have responsibilities not to "turn on" the
opposite gender...  These halachot tell us that we cannot say: I am not
doing anything and it is the OTHER person's problem...  A second point
is that rules of "histaclut" and minimizing conversation also imply to
us that we are not always aware of how our environment affects us.  I
think that the idea is NOT that we will be overtly tempted but that we
will be "affected" in some way at a more subtle level.  By being alert
to minimize "unnecessary" (a term that I will not attempt to define)
conversation, WE maintain within ourselves the needed sensitivity that
will allow us to "live properly".

That said, I think that we can look at some of Ms. Krischer's issues:

- Speaking to a bank teller... I do not think that the issue is that
   work relationships are more prolonged than those with a teller --
   rather that once the conversation is "unnecessary" -- we should not
   do it...  In this context, the issue is NOT the "temptation" from the
   Teller (or Milkman) rather the issue is that we are not being as
   sensitive to our surroundings as we should be...

- Re what women should do if they DO NOT go "out" as per Shaul's
  suggestion (which I do not agree with -- but that is not the point).
  I think that he means to point out that there are many rewarding
  activities besides the standard "professional" ones... Besides Bikkur
  Cholim (see my comments above why I do not believe that "temptation"
  is the issue), there are women who meet to study together, there are
  other "Chessed" activities, there are "telecommuting" activities.  In
  all of the above, the interaction with a potentially hostile outside
  world is minimized.  As I said, I do not agree with that approach --
  but it is not deserving of the unreserved scorn heaped upon it..

-- In this context, I think that what Shaul means in admonishing the
   husbands is that THEY should value the wives for their activities
   EVEN if they are not "professional" in the traditional sense.  That
   is, not only should they value the child-raising activities (which
   women do more [and mor skillfully, in my opinion] than men, but ALSO
   that men should value the contributions of their wives in terms of
   Chessed, Bikkur Cholim, etc. etc. even if such activities do not put
   extra money in the bank...  Clearly, if a husband is going to show
   that HE values traditional "professional" activity and little else,
   that will be an encouragement to a wife to "go out" in order to gain
   her husband's esteem -- even if she has other alternatives that would
   be just as fulfilling to HER.  On the other hand, if the husband
   shows that he values his wife for her achievements even if they are
   not "salaried" activities, that will serve as a positive
   reinforcement for her.

As I noted above (and elsewhere), I do not agree with this approach.  I
think that whatever we do -- we will always face "halachic/personal"
challenges and the role that we have is to maximize our potential in
areas where we can successfully overcome the challenge.  At the same
time, we should not minimize the fact that the Torah IS concerned about
"going out" (hence the various halachot...) and we should amke every
effort to be fully familiar with them and follow those halachot (based
upon Rabbinic guidance) as carefully as possible.



From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 11:02 IST
Subject: Women

>Janice Gelb

>>Binyomin Segal says
>> Men are given mitzvos to constrict their ability to fall too
>> low. Women - with binah - can be trusted to "stay the course" without
>> the mitzvos.

>1. It assumes that all women are basically the same. While it is true
>that many women are maternal and intuitive, it is also true that many
>women are not: they may tend toward being more intellectual and
>primarily logical vs. emotional.  This, of course, is also true of men
>-- that is, of people in general.  To lump all women together into a
>common psychological profile cannot help but cause problems because

Recent (3 or 4 years) research into "women's intuition" indicated that
wonem "see" things with both sides of their brain, while men use only
one side.  This, it is claimed, is the source of the "intuition", which
is really no more then greater "processing" and understanding (bina) of
what they see.

Since this seems to fit into my concept of the world, I accept it as
fact.  It seems to explain why women are excluded from being witnesses,
since we really don't want greater "understanding" from a witness, we
merely want a relating of dull unimaginative visual imprints.

It explains why women can daven with kavanah while looking at men but men
cannot daven while looking at women.

Tzitzit are prescribed as the remedy for he shortcoming of "following
your heart which follows your Eyes that you lust after". [Num
15:39]. Women are exempt from tzitzit IMHO because their visual inputs
are always accompanied by the bina which men lack.



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Oct 94 10:30:07 IST
Subject: Women and the Workplace

     Danny Skaist writes:

>The examples brought are restrictions on the man, not on the woman.
>A MAN should not work where he comes in contact with women.  There is
>no restriction on the woman whatsoever.

     I don't quite follow you here. Consider an occupation that is
exclusively a women's one, lile spinning yarn. Say the women had a
house where the women got together and spun together. Would it be
permissible for a man to go work there alone? Obviously not..

     Now take it in reverse. Look at an occupation traditionally
considered the men's - blacksmiths, perhaps. Say the men had a shop
in the blacksmiths' market and a woman wanted to come work as a
blacksmith. Would that be proper? Well, if she did, then according to
the Talmud and the Rambam all the men would have to quit their jobs
and leave the shop to the woman, and they would be deprived of their
livelihood. Technically, from the point of view of the laws of YiHud,
the woman might be justified. But from the point of the men's Hazaqa
(prior possession), I think the woman would be viewed according to
Yored Le-umanut Havero (depriving one's fellow of his livelihood) and
therefore her action would not be proper.

>Why would a mother bring her son to school ?  The mitzva of teaching a son
>torah is on the father and not on the mother.

     We cited previously the Talmud in Berakhot 17 which gives the
mother her reward for this. It is her part in her husband's mizwa of
teaching their son Torah.

>                                               Shouldn't the mother remain
>at home, inside the house and not go out to where she might meet the married
>man who teaches her son ?  Obviously there is no problem whatsoever with
>the possibilities of mothers meeting a MARRIED teacher.

     Yes, I agree on this. At the same time, I think we should be
looking for a balanced Torah perspective. There seems to be nothing
wrong with a woman leaving the house for a legitimate need - taking her
sons to school, visiting the sick, comforting the mourners and doing
acts of charity. We have seen that even in conservative Yemen the women
used to get together in the afternoon to work together, something that
required at least some of them to leave their homes. I think that the
Rambam in Ishut 13:11 is discouraging the woman mainly from staying
out in the street ("sometimes outside, sometimes in the streets"), as
opposed to being inside at work or doing mizwot. The Midrashim (eg.
Bereishit Rabba 8:12, Tanhuma Wayyishlah 5) also mention explicitly
"the market" and "the street" as places where the woman should not go
out to, since these are places where she can easily see and be seen by

      Taken together, it still appears to me that the Torah ideal
is to give the woman her fair share in the Torah, mizwot and her work,
while minimizing unnecessary interaction between men and women. If we
recognize both of these as legitimate concerns, I am sure that we
will find it easier to enable women to realize their maximum potential
and at the same time preserve the stability and sanctity of the family.




From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 20:17:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: women at prayer

>From Zvi Weiss:
> Re Anthony Fiorino's comments...
> Rabbi Avi Weiss' book was reviewed in TRADITION by the Av Beit Din of
> Chicago (Rab G. Schwartz) who pointed out some serious problems with
> R. Avi Weiss' presentation.  As a result, I would not consider that book to
> be definitive halachically.

First, one should not be relying on books/sefarim for psak; rather, one
should be asking a rav.  R. Weiss' book is certainly not written in a
shailot/teshuvot format, so I don't think anyone would ever consider it
to have been written as a halachah sefer; rather, it is an exploration
of sources.  Since his book and article bring together a number of the
primary sources regarding this issue, it is certainly worthwhile for
anyone interested in the topic to look at, whether or not one agrees
with R. Weiss' conclusions.

Second, the review of R. Weiss' book by R. Schwartz is limited strictly
to those sections of the book dealing with women's prayer groups.  His
criticisms of R. Weiss' halachic argumentation do not include the
chapter on women and sifrei Torah.

Eitan Fiorino


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 00:06:29 -0600
Subject: re: Women in the Workplace

<eposen@...> (Esther R Posen) writes:
>On another issue, I have long wondered why it is better for an orthodox
>man to join the secular work force than it is for an orthodox woman to
>do so. It has been my observation that men are more susceptible to the
>lures of the office (namely women) than women are susceptible to the
>availability of men.  I have observed many more married men taking up
>with single women than I have observed married women "getting involved"
>with single (or married men).  I have no talmud to quote on this, but
>this seems to stem from the differnces in the nature of men and women.
>Maybe the men should stay home and learn? wash the dishes? watch the
>kids? and the women should brave the trials (and I in no way intend to
>mitigate their significance) of the workplace.

At the risk of exposing quite a bit about me (and my relationship to my
significant other) I would heartily agree with Esther's observations,
and suggest that her question is indeed a very good one. The answer I
think has more to do with how a couple's time can be most productively
spent, then only with who can avoid temptation.

As a couple they generally have three tasks:
1. raise children
2. learn Torah
3. earn a living

The basic differences between man and woman suggest that generally
speaking the primary child raiser should be the woman and the primary
Torah learner should be the man. Now if these were the only two tasks it
would be easy, but earning a living is certainly nescesary (whether it
is good or merely nescesary could be debated, but its really besides the
point). Who should be the primary bread winner (if you can afford to
have only one spouse working - a cool trick these days) depends on what
other tasks will be compromised and how.

For example, as already noted, when the man is learning all day it is
not at all unusual for the woman to work. When however the time can not
be devoted to learning because of financial/family considerations, it
seems logivcal that the woman should be the one to raise the children
and the man go to work.

So esther
1.did i answer your question?
2. what did you learn about me? :)



End of Volume 15 Issue 89