Volume 16 Number 4
                       Produced: Mon Oct 24  0:52:29 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Halloween (2)
         [Yisrael Medad, Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Is Opera sinful?
         [Ellen Golden]
Lakewood Kashruth Organization
         [Joshua Proschan]
Love at first sight?
         [Freda B. Birnbaum]
Love Before Marriage?
         [Isaac Balbin]
Marath Hamachpelah
         [Philip Ledereic]
Men and Women in the Workplace
         [Robert Klapper]
Moderation in the Permitted
         [Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank]
Repeating Words
         [Philip Ledereic]
security of mechanical vs electronic locks
         [Seth Ness]
Women & Careers
         [Barry Freundel]
Women wearing tefillin
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Women's Intuition
         [Seth Gordon]


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 09:39 IST
Subject: Halloween

Without entering into the debate whether Halloween is a Christian
religious holiday or a secular American cultural event, I do feel
that it was and as far as I read still an annual celebration with
strong Anti-semitic overtones.

In Yeshiva High School in the mid-60s (the old Chofetz Chaim in Forest
Hills), we always stored eggs and bottles on the roof in anticipation of
the local yokels attacking the Yeshiva building and seeking to break
windows or worse.

On other occasions, Christians neighbors, knowing when the Jewish kids
would come around, would limit themselves simply to "trick", whether
squirted ink or worse.

In my childhood memories, I couldn't think of a more anti-Jewish holiday
than Halloween.

Yisrael Medad

From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 15:36:51 -0800
Subject: Halloween

Surprisingly, the discussion concerning Halloween so far has omitted one
of the strongest objections to any participation in its observance.  The
prohibition against Chukos Ho-Akum bans any practice whose source is not
well established, where the rationale for the practice is not terribly
compelling.  In such circumstances, we fear the admixture of "Darkei
Emori [the ways of the pagan Emori] and that there is in it a BIT
(emphasis mine) of pagan practice [inherited] from their forefathers."
(Ramoh, Yoreh Deah 178:1)

In other words, the Torah calls for us to eschew not only activity that
is still of religious nature, but any practice sufficiently arbitrary
that we statutorilly SUSPECT a connection with some ancient pagan
practice.  Without opening a whole new can of worms, some readers will
recall that this is one of the objections (yes, I know there are
counterarguments, but that's missing my point!)  Rav Moshe zt"l had to
turkey on Thanksgiving.  He reportedly found both the insistence on
turkey on the menu, as well as picking one particular day to give thanks
to G-d for our freedoms in America, as arbitrary enough to be covered by
this injunction.  And this in spite of R' Moshe's well documented
feeling that American Jews ought to feel and express much gratitude to
their host country.  (For more on Thanksgiving, check the old article by
R Zvi Teichman in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.)

Given that most of us would be hard pressed to come up with any
compelling argument for donning funny costumes with pictures of
carved-put pumpkins on them, knocking on doors and mumbling the required
mantra to receive handouts, it would seem that Chukas HaAkum is yet
another issue to take up with your local posek.


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 23:01:27 EDT
Subject: Is Opera sinful?

Jules Reichel writes:

    The singing of an expert cantor is very similar to opera singing.
    While the cantor is applying his talent to Torah, we must be accepting
    of this kind of voice training and musical discipline.

Richard Tucker and Jan Peerce, to name only two (I'm not enough of an
Opera Buff to give any sort of list), were renowned tenors at the
Metropolitan Opera and also Cantors.  My son had a number of albums by
the latter of Cantorial Music.  Perhaps the prohibition for a woman is
more related to the prohibition of a woman singing alone (an aria, for
instance) in mixed company (i.e. before an audience).


From: Joshua Proschan <0004839378@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 94 22:20 EST
Subject: Lakewood Kashruth Organization

About a month ago Sherman Marcus <mernav@...>

>Subject: Kashrut of Herbalife
>In preparation for becoming a sales person of Herbalife here in Israel,
>my daughter was given background information, including a letter from
>Lakewood Kashrus Organization which certifies that products sold by
>Herbalife Israel Ltd. are kosher and pareve.  I have two questions:
>1. Can anyone provide information about this certifying organization?
>2. One of the products listed in the letter as kosher-pareve is "Drink
>mix fortified with vitamins and minerals in the chocolate, strawberry
>and vanilla flavor".  This contains calcium caseinate and sweet dairy
>whey in both the English and Hebrew lists of ingredients.  Is the pareve
>certification incorrect, or is the ingredients list incorrect?
>Sherman Marcus
The Lakewood Kashrus Organization was started by Rav Yitzchok Abadi.
Rav Yitzchok, who now lives in Har HaNof, is the rav hamachshir 
(certifying authority).  Rabbi Yosef Tesler is the administrator.

I asked Rabbi Tesler about the ingredients, and he said that the product
is pareve.  The reason is that the whey and caseinate are pogum
(foul tasting), and are therefore classified as not fit to eat.  Thus
the product does not become dairy, even though those ingredients are
derived from dairy sources.
Sorry for the lateness of this response, but I kept forgetting
to call him.  Rabbi Tesler does not have net access, and I don't
read mail lists in anything near real time, so I cannot undertake
to pass on any further discussion that develops from this.


From: Freda B. Birnbaum <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 15:41:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Love at first sight?

Shaul Wallach has a very interesting post on the Yaakov-Rachel-Leah
story in V15N99.  There's a very significant omission in the Biblical
account, one which Shaul hasn't picked up on in his post.  Have you
ever noticed that nowhere in the Biblical account does it say that
RACHEL loved YAAKOV?  [BTW, nowhere in the Bible does it say that DAVID
loved JONATHAN, either, but that's another story.]  What conclusions
may we draw from this, especially in light of some of the points Shaul
has made about consequences?

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


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 08:47:38 +1000
Subject: Re: Love Before Marriage?

  | >From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
  |      We see, then, that Ya`aqov's marriage to Rachel, that came from
  | love at first sight, produced in the end little of lasting value. Leah,
  | who was hated at first but was motivated by sincere piety, gave us all
  | the treasures of our people - the priesthood, the kingship and the
  | Messiah, the Torah scholars, and above all our good name as Jews.

Rabbi Wallach draws a long bow. Whilst his analysis supports the view
that Leah's marriage to Rachel was `better.' It does not support the
view that it was love at first sight that was behind the inferior Rachel
marriage. It is just as easy to deduce that character weaknesses in Rachel
made her marriage `less succesful' and that love at first sight was
simply ancillary to this matter.


From: Philip Ledereic <ledereic@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 94 21:36:51 EDT
Subject: Marath Hamachpelah

I was wondering if anybody had information as to the closing the
Ma'arath Hamachpelah in Chevron, Israel.

I heard a rumor that it was closed to all Jews at all times, I do not
know if that is true; Anybody have any info?

Pesach Ledereich


From: <rklapper@...> (Robert Klapper)
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 1994 07:27:13 -0400
Subject: Men and Women in the Workplace

Married men with single women is perhaps a violation of a
neg. commandment, perhaps only a violation of cherem d'rabbeinu Gershon,
perhaps (if it's an exclusive relationship from the woman's side) ok
halakhically.  Married women with single men is adultery.  This itself
warrants discussion, of course.


From: Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank <Alan.Cooper@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 14:43:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Moderation in the Permitted

Yes, as Jeremy Nussbaum says, "God has permitted us many
harmful things," the three most famous of which are enumerated
in the wonderful Ramban to Lev 19:1: sex, wine and [n.b.] meat.
The right path, according to Ramban, not only avoids those
things that are prohibited (illicit sexual relations and for-
bidden foods), but also seeks moderation with respect to the
permissible.  I leave it to others to argue over whether
strict vegetarianism leaves the path of moderation in favor of
a different sort of extreme.

Alan Cooper


From: Philip Ledereic <ledereic@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 94 18:59:28 EDT
Subject: Repeating Words

> >From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
> 2) In general, prayers are repetitive. For instance, why is it acceptable
> to repeat "l'ayla ul'ayla" in kedusah between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur,
> but not acceptable to repeat in general.

Here the meaning is different.  Beacause it is said during the time of
repentance, Tsuva, the heavens are open to our prayers and they go
l'ayla ul'ayla - higher and higher than the rest of the year.



From: Seth Ness <ness@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 01:42:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: security of mechanical vs electronic locks

the mechanical system at columbia could easily change the hole pattern
needed if neccessary. And its not easy to copy the key, i tried and

As for security in general, i'd bet that most electronic locks can
easily be automatically picked with appropriate portable equipment. The
mechanical system would take real skill to pick.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Fri, 21 Oct 1994 00:49:18 -0400
Subject: Women & Careers

 Our Rabbis taught: He who looks to the earnings of his wife ... will never
see a sign of blessing. 'The earnings of his wife' means [when she goes
around selling wool] by weight....But if she makes [e.g., woollen garments]
and sells them, Scripture indeed praises her, for it is written, she maketh
linen garments and selleth them.
This quote from Pesahim and indeed the entire Aishet chayil should settle the
question of women and careers in the affirmative as long as the career
carries a certain dignity. For some reason that I do not understand it


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 17:28:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women wearing tefillin

In reply to Zvi Weiss:

1) The  minimum requirement to wear 
tefillin is to put them on and take them off.  If one does this, one has 
fulfilled the commandment.  (The Lubavitch vans do not ask the 
people to pray the entire shacharit.) In view of this, to argue that 
women can't wear tefillin because men wear them "only" during prayer, is 
very tenuous. 

I believe the "minimum" argument against women wearing 
tefillin was first raised by the Arukh HaShulkhan (early 20th century, I 
think) - correct me if there 
is an earlier citation.  Interesting that a new argument argument against 
women wearing tefillin is raised just in an age where the "clean body" 
argument lost its force.

2) It is correct that Rabbi Feinstein only addresses the question of 
tallit in his responsum where he says that permission would depend on 
whether the woman is doing it for feminist or religious reasons.  I did 
not mean to imply that Rabbi Feinstein would apply the same reasoning to 
tefillin, rather that in theory one could do so.

3) Where the Rama does not clearly indicate "permitted (mutar) or 
"forbidden" (asur), and maybe even in some cases where he does,
there is room for basing one's ruling (psak) on particular circumstances 
which differ from those in place for the Rama (or posek X).  One example 
off the top of my head, which deals with differing circumstances, is that 
the Rama rules that one may not eat (some kind of salt, or salted fish, I 
do not have it in front of me)on Passover  because the processing of it 
involved bread.  Since today the process is different we would rule 
differently.  Clearly the reason given by the Rama's sources (Maharam) for 
women not wearing tefillin is the "clean body " issue.  Today , hygiene 
being what it is, this is no longer an issue. Since the reason no longer 
exists, there is room to rule differently.

(Thanks to Jonathan Baker for listing the spectrum between 'asur' and 
'mutar', which is crucial here.)

4) Re "Rabbi Berman is not considered a posek." and "a shiur is not 
psak".  We have been through the "gadol" (great person) thread already.  I 
was at the shiur.  It seemed to me that Rabbi Berman considered 
himself a posek, and that it was meant as psak for whoever there and 
anyone else who considers Rabbi Berman their posek (which many people do, 
Zvi Weiss' opinion notwithstanding).

aliza berger


From: <sethg@...> (Seth Gordon)
Date: Sun, 23 Oct 1994 22:28:45 EDT
Subject: Women's Intuition

/ >From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
/ 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

No.  *Some* neurologists believe that *on average*, women have more
nerves connecting the two halves of the brain than men do.  The effect
of this difference--if it exists--on the behavior of men and women is
far from clear, since many skills involve brain activity in both
hemispheres, and regions of the brain are not *strictly* specialized for
certain activities.

Carol Tavris discusses this and related research (and many other similar
pop-psych claims about gender) in her excellent book _The Mismeasure of
Woman: Why Women Are Not the Better Sex, the Inferior Sex, or the
Opposite Sex._

/ 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.

There is a long and embarrassing history of people using shoddy research
on biological sex (and race) differences to justify whatever the
prevailing roles for men and women (and blacks and whites) were at the
time.  I don't think we should add to that history, especially since
some of the basic halakhot about sex roles will remain the same no
matter what scientists discover about men's and women's brains.

--Seth Gordon <sethg@...>


End of Volume 16 Issue 4