Volume 16 Number 6
                       Produced: Mon Oct 24 23:04:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Human Soap-Holocaust
         ["Joseph M. Winiarz"]
Kol Kevudah bat melekh penimah
         ["Prof. Aryeh Frimer"                       ]
Monsey Bus
         [Yaakov Kayman]
Role of Women
         [Marc Shapiro]
Women Working Outside Home
         [Shaul Wallach]


From: "Joseph M. Winiarz" <100274.1301@...>
Date: 18 Oct 94 16:13:27 EDT
Subject: Human Soap-Holocaust

A while back there was a discussion on this list about the manufacture
of human soap during the Holocaust.  I found the following reference to
the subject on the soc.culture.jewish.holocaust newsgroup.

<karlpov@...> (Charles R.L. Power) writes:
> I think you'll find information as good as is to be found anywhere by
> using Ken McVay's listserv Holocaust archive.  Unfortunately, his articles
> still give no definitive answer as to the truth of the stories; the story
> remains in dispute.  To get the articles, send the following message to
> <listserv@...>:
> get holocaust soap.1
> get holocaust soap.2
> get holocaust soap.3
> get holocaust soap.4
> get holocaust soap.05
> The articles will be emailed to you shortly after you send the message.
> This is an automated process, so don't put anything more in the message 
> than the above.  The articles are taken from the alt.revisionism
> conference, and include pointers to print sources.


From: "Prof. Aryeh Frimer"                        <F66235@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 94 09:04 O
Subject: Kol Kevudah bat melekh penimah

    Many of the respondants to Shaul Wallach's discussion of a woman's
place, correctly indicated that the concept "Kol kevudah" is a relative
concept according to many many poskim. I will give a long list below,
but allow me to merely quote the noted halakhicist Rav Shaul Yisraeli
Shlitah who writes:
   "It would also seem that the Boundaries of Kol Kevudah bat melekh
penimah depend on local custom and only in communities where women never
leave their homes is behavior to the contrary to be considered improper.
However, in our generation religious women work in offices, hospitals,
kindergartens and schools and yet no one objects."
    R. Shaul Yisraeli, editors note 4 (p. 226) to R. Moshe Dov Vilner,
Ha-Torah ve Hamedinah, 4 (elul 5712) p. 221. See also R. Issacher Halevi
Levin, ibid, 5-6 (5713-5714), p. 55, section 12 (p.61); R. Aryeh
Binovsky (Bina) ibid., p. 62, sec. 14 (p. 70).(These three articles have
been reprinted in be-Tsomet ha-Torah vehamedinah (Tsomet Yerusshalayim,
1991) vol. 3). Resp. Mikveh ha-Mayim, III, YD sec. 21; Resp. Bnai Vanim
(R. Yehudah Herzl Henkin) I, sec. 40; R. Asher Eliach cited in Resp.
Rivevot Ephraim (Grunblat) VI, sec. 68.
     These Poskim discuss the issue of kol kevudah head on. However, the
issue comes up in a variety of other ways in our integrated society.
Thus, to the above add the poskim who allow women to assume community
leadership positions (elected or otherwise): R. Chaim Herschenson, Malki
ba-Kodesh, II and subsequent discussion in volumes III and VI; R. Jacob
Levinsohn, ha-Torah ve-hamedinah, pp. 22-54;  R. Ben-Tsiyon Meir Hai Uzi
el, Resp. Mishpetei Uziel, HM III sec. 6; R. Shimon Federbush, Mishpat
Ha-Melukhah Be-Yisrael, p. 69; R. Samuel Turk, Hadarom, 41 (nisan 5753)
p. 63 and Resp Pri Lakah sec, 67-71; R. Bakshi Doron, Torah she-be-Al
Peh 20 (5739) p. 66 and Resp. Binyan Av, sec. 65; R. Joseph Kapah, cited
in ha-Ishah ve-khinukhah (Amanah, 5740) p. 37; R. Shlomoh Goren,
interview in Ma'ariv, April 1, 1988, second section, p. 3; R. Hayyim
David Halevi, Tehumin, X (5749) p. 118 and Resp. Mayim Hayim, sec. 70.
    The collection of Poskim above represent all "Eidot" in Israel -
Ashkenazi and Sefaradi; Rav Kappah is perhaps THE leading scholar in
the Yemenite community!
       I don't deny that there are many poskim who would be happy to
turn the clock back. But for Shaul to present his view as representative
of THE halakhic view is simply far from accurate.
     Shaul is not even accurately presenting what is going on in haredi
circles. To be perfectly honest, in light of twentieth century realities
and the unchallenged integration of religious women - Haredi, modern
orthodox or otherwise - into all walks of life, the literal
interpretation of kol kevudah presented by Shaul simply does not ring
true. See G. Kranzler Tradtion 28:1 (fall 1993) p. 82-93; T. El-Or, Mask
ilot u-Vurot am-Oved 1993; J. Rotem, Ahot Rehokah, Steimatzky 1993 - for
discussion of the role of women in the Haredi world of the 20th century.


From: Yaakov Kayman <YZKCU@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 94 08:32:12 EDT
Subject: Monsey Bus

Re "The "truth" about the Monsey Bus," reporter or no, I cannot let this
one pass unchallenged.

There is, in truth, more than a little obnoxiousness on BOTH sides of
this conflict, and it is a great exaggeration, if not a perversion, to
refer to a "Jewish Rosa Parks," but to say there is no harrassment of
riders who do not choose to sit separated by gender is untrue. Further-
more, to call the company neutral in the matter of the mechitzah is also
untrue even if there are no signs mandating its use as company policy.

I, as an Orthodox regular, and the one who regularly sat directly behind
Sima Rabinovicz and her (male) friend, have regularly witnessed
harrassment and verbal abuse of people wishing to sit unseparated, and
in case of the mechitzah, bus drivers, as company representatives, have
repeatedly stopped the bus until the mechitzah was put down -- at times
OTHER than when there was a minyan (quorum) of men davening (praying).

Yaakov Kayman (<yzkcu@...> or ...@cunyvm.bitnet)


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Oct 1994 10:16:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Role of Women

I thank Binyomin Segal for calling my attention to a passage of Maharal
which speaks about some sort of increased holiness for a woman. I will
have to examine it and compare it to other writings of his on the.
However, Binyomin is wrong when he says that I believe all traditional
sources have negative views of women. I do not believe this and have
never stated it. It is very easy to find a great number of positive
comments in Talmudic literature especially. However, what I did say, and
what I have no doubt is true, is that that the concensus of medieval
(and maybe even post-medieval) is that women are secondary to men in
God's plan and put on this earth in order to serve them and enable them
to better serve God. There are, to be sure, exceptions to this view
(Menachem Kellner has argued that Maimonides is an exception!) but this
is the view of many, and I have no doubt, the majority of medieval
sages. It is also found in many Haredi type works, although not usually
in English. However, in the book Gefen Puriah on Niddah there is a
lengthy passage in which this view is elaborated upon and women are told
to be content with their "subjugation." This type of language is never
used by modern Orthodox who are at pains to show that women are not
secondary or subjugated.
	As long as I'm on line I can respond to another posting of
Binyomin's in which he criticized me for not stressing that Rav Kook and
the Rambam were gedolim and that is why they were able to put forth
radical reinterpretations of the Torah. Abe Socher responded to this and
Binyomin responded back. However, I think Binyomin wrote his original
posting without having finished reading what I myself wrote. At the end
of my posting I am explicit that it is precisely because the Torah can
be interpreted in so many different way that the authority of the gadol
[who need not be a contemporary gadol] is crucial in order to prevent
anarchy and interpretations which are not consistent with authentic
Judaism. Binyomin's criticism of me is exactly the point I myself made
--Wise men, be careful with your words!
							Marc Shapiro


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 94 20:48:55 IST
Subject: Women Working Outside Home

     Dave Steinberg asks:

>I am somewhat confused about Shaul's position regarding women working
>outside the home.  In mj 15#65 he tells us that the norm in haredi
>circles is for women to work to support their kollel families as long as
>practical -- I assume from Shaul's posts that he considers haredi
>behavior as an ideal which we should attempt to emulate.

     Be careful here. It should be obvious by now that I'm an idealist,
and nobody's behavior in the real world, not to mention my own, is a
perfect example that I consider worthy of emulation. True, each person
has his virtues, and we can learn from every man, as our Rabbis said,
"Gadol Shimmushah Yoter Mi-Limmudah" (roughly: its service is greater
than its study), but in the final analysis only the Torah itself can
be the ultimate authority. Thus there are many things in contemporary
Haredi society that I find basically wrong, even though in other
matters I do consider Haredi behavior the closest to the Torah ideal.
On the matter of Haredi wifes working outside the home in order to
allow their husbands to study Torah I am quite ambivalent, as will
presently become apparent.

>                                                          Elsewhere
>(oops, no citation) he tells us kol kvoda bas melech pnima - that a
>woman's honor is enhanced by staying home.  And that women should not
>behave like Dina who was notorios for wandering outside of her home.
>Shaul, would you care to conform the two views?

     It is a matter of theory and practice. According to the Talmud a
man is required to support his wife and children, although she has the
exclusive option of choosing to support herself. The Talmud also rules
(Berakhot 35) that one should not spend all his time learning Torah and
expect his work to be done for himself by others. The Rambam was very
outspoken on this, and R. Yosef Qaro, while criticizing the Rambam at
length in his Beit Yosef, nevertheless ruled in the end in his Shulhan
`Arukh like the Rambam that one should engage in worldly pursuits to
support himself.

     This is, in my opinion, the ideal that most people should strive
to attain. There are a few very righteous people who can devote
themselves wholly to Torah study with great self-deprivation. I have
in mind, for example, the great Rabbi Aqiva, whose pious wife Rachel
sold her own hair and lived with him in a hayloft in order to let him
learn Torah. But this is obviously not something that we can expect
everyone to do today. The current practice of Haredi women working
outside the home en masse does not fit in with the Torah ideal, but is
rather a temporary measure (Hora'at Sha`a) that was forced on Haredi
society in the first years of the State of Israel.

    What happened was that after the destruction of European Jewry, the
Haredim in Israel and abroad were in a very weak position. The secular
Zionists had long since wrested control of the Yishuv in Eres Yisrael
and assimilation was rampant even in Benei Beraq. It was only due to
vision of such Torah giants such as Rabbi Kahaneman ZS"L and others
who located their yeshivot in Benei Beraq that the city did not go
the way of others like Petah Tiqwa (which was founded in 1878 - before
the Biluim - by religious Jews from Jerusalem). In the first generation
of the State of Israel, there was a very real danger that the Torah
would be forgotten because of the coercive tactics the Zionists used
to assimilate Jews from religious backgrounds - in particular, the
Oriental Jews - into the secular society that they built. Universal
army service, for example, is one of these tactics. The permissive
atmosphere which prevails throughout is such as to compromise seriously
the religious commitment of any but the strongest youth, as I can
testify from the cases of people I know personally. It was therefore an
act of Divine Grace that the Haredi leadership was able to obtain an
exemption for yeshiva students, and a supreme act of devotion by Haredi
women who went to jail rather than report for duty as the law passed in
the 1950's required. Thank to their steadfastness, the law was suspended
and today religious women obtain a complete exemption without having to
report at all.

     Due to the self-sacrifice of the men and women of the previous
generation, the Haredim were spared the fate that befell many of the
other religious Jews in Israel and were assured the opportunity of
studying Torah full time without being subject to military service
and all its attendant destructive influences. Due, however, to the
severe economic conditions of the times and the paucity of material
support for the yeshivot following the destruction of the Haredi
populace in Europe, coupled with their inability to accept employment,
a large part of the task of supporting the family devolved on the women.
Thus the Haredi rabbinic leadership had no choice to do but to permit -
even encourage - wives of yeshiva students to work, even outside the
home, in order to supplement their meagre sources of income.

    This is certainly not the place to pass judgment on the wisdom of
the Haredi leadership of the past generation at such a critical point
in Jewish history. They had no choice but to accept the lesser evil,
for the alternative would have meant the end of the traditional
European type of yeshiva and a real threat to Jewish observance in
Israel as a whole from wholesale attrition due to group pressures. The
army remains a threat to Jewish observance today, even to married
yeshiva students, as I was told recently by a prominent yeshiva head in
Benei Beraq. What we can ask, however, is whether they gave even tacit
approval to the general importation of affluent, Western styles of life
that we see encroaching today on even the conservative centers in Benei
Beraq and Jerusalem. It is clear that the demands being placed on us
to keep up with an ever rising material standard of living have brought
Haredi society to the breaking point, as anyone who has passed through
Benei Beraq during the last two weeks can see himself. In a posting
dated July 7, I have dealt with the economic problem at greater length.
As far as the question concerns the problem of modesty, I think that
from the guidelines published by Rabbi Shemuel Wosner and Rabbi Moshe
Klein, we can safely give the answer as no. The attendance at last
year's assembly for women at Or Ha-Hayyim and the demand for Rabbi
Klein's booklet are ample testimony to the desire of today's women to
renew their commitment to the Torah standards of modesty in our trying




End of Volume 16 Issue 6