Volume 16 Number 20
                       Produced: Sat Oct 29 23:14:10 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Average dates for men and women
         [Gary Fischer]
         [Shaul Wallach]
         [Janice Gelb]
Women in the Workplace (2)
         [Esther R Posen, Abe Rosenberg]
Work Relationships
         [Dr. Mark Press]


From: Gary Fischer <gfis@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 14:23:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Average dates for men and women

Dr. Juni asked a question of Yossi Halberstat.  Dr. Juni (I think) 
originally made the claim that more "frum" women marry the first person
that they date than "frum" men.  Yossi responded that if this were the 
case, "some women are dating more frequently than the men."  Dr. Juni
replied, "I am not sure what the constant is featured in Yossi's formula
to arrive at this conclusion."  Unfortunately, this challenge awakened
the latent mathematics-major in me to try to answer Dr. Juni's question.

First of all, it isn't clear what Yossi meant, but if he meant that there
must be a woman who has dated more frequently than ANY man has, this is
clearly not the case (it is easy to construct a counter-example).  
However, what IS true is that if you look at all of the women who DID NOT 
MARRY THE FIRST MAN THEY DATED, and look at all of the men who did not
marry the first woman they dated, then the average number of dates per 
woman IS GREATER THAN the average number of dates per man.  (I am 
using "dates" as shorthand for number of people dated.)

The only assumptions you need to make are these:  there are the same 
number of men and women (clearly if there are more women than men,
--ignore that, unfortunately I can't erase, and I'm not sure that what
I was about to write is true) and "conservative" men only date 
"conservative" women and vice-versa.  Clearly, if "conservative" men
date "modern" women, say, and eventually marry "conservative" women
(I make NO CLAIMS that this is true -- I actually have no idea)
then the above statement does not have to be true.

I will spare you the proof, but will supply it upon request.


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 14:39:12 IST
Subject: Rachel

     Harry Weiss writes:

>The exile in Egypt was in no way due to Rachel, Yaacov or Yosef.

     Shabbat 10b:

     And said Rava bar Mehesya, said Rav Hama bar Gurya, said Rav:
A man should never treat his son differently from among the sons, for
due to the weight of two sela`im of silk that Ya`aqov gave to Yosef
more than the rest of his sons, his brothers became jealous of him
and in the end our fathers went down to Egypt.

The Rambam brings this to halacha (Nahalot 6:13).

>His description of Yosef's "affair" with Photiphar's wife in
>contradiction to the traditional interpretation of what happened.

     Rashi on Genesis 39:6 ("... and Yosef had a nice nature and a
nice appearance"): When he saw himself a ruler, he started eating
and drinking and curling his hair. (Bereishit Rabba) Said the Holy One,
Blessed be He, "Your father is mourning and you curl your hair? I'll
incite the bear upon you!" Immediately (39.7): "... and his master's
wife raised her eyes..."

>There have been many great leaders descended from both Yosef and
>Benyamin.  Yehoshuah was a descendant of Ephraim.  Shaul, Yonatan and
>Mordechai were all descendants from Benyamin.

     And Rabbi Yohanan was a descendant of Yosef, too.

     All this, however, does not detract from the message that was
being made. It is precisely because the Patriarchs and Matriarchs were
all righteous people that our Rabbis subjected their deeds to the most
exacting criticism - "the righteous are dealt with exactly to a hair's
breadth." Even the Ramban, for example, found fault with Avraham Avinu
and called his behavior with Pharoah a "great sin." Likewise, our
Rabbis said that Sara was punished for what she said to Avraham in
Gen. 16:5 (see Bava Qama 92). To point out these faults is no
denigration at all; on the contrary, it is their praise since we can
be sure that they had no other faults besides these. Judaism is unique
among the religions in that its heroes are human, and in that we can
learn a lot from their faults as well as from their virtues.

     Thus when it was said that Ya`aqov's marriage with Rachel produced
"little of lasting value", the intention was not to point out any "lack"
or to "lessen the greatness" of Rachel or her descendants. It was only
to show that in the long run it produced less than his marriage with
Leah. The inner message is that one should keep his sights long and not
get discouraged in the short run from his marriage or any other of his
affairs in life. There are 70 faces to the Torah, and no Derash
conflicts with any other. Even the opinions of Beit Shammai are called
"the words of the living G-d", and all Divrei Torah have meaning in
their own right.




From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 09:47:43 +0800
Subject: Roles

In Volume 16 #5, Binyomin Segal says:
> Janice Gelb questions the ability to generalize about women's & men's
> roles. Her problems are, 1.the exception will be treated poorly as they
> either have to do something they can't or are looked at as weird for not
> doing it. 2.It suggests that a divorced husband is unable to raise his
> family well.
> The gemara tells us that just as each person's face is different, so their
> thoughts are different. 

All different from every other person, not just from people of the 
opposite gender.

> We all see that there is an infinite variety of
> faces, yet there are certainly trends that bear description - 2 eyes &
> ears, 1 nose &  mouth. 

Please note that these are the same for all humans, men and women.

> We have all seen men that natuarally sound or look
> "feminine" and women that sound or look "masculine" - similarly we can find
> men that have some binah, or women who have daas. The description of
> "women" or "men" is a generality, a direction. The "average woman" has more
> binah than the "average man", etc.

And yet the rationale for the laws that mandate specific roles and 
activities for males and for females does not provide for the men that 
have more binah, or the women who have more daas, even though you yourself 
state that these conditions occur.

> Consider - Why did Hashem create male & female at all? Why not a single
> sex. Every satisfactory answer that I've ever heard includes the assumption
> of meaningful differences (non-physical). If those differences are there,
> it is clear that they should express themselves in the life the Torah
> expects from each.

Biological differences can be accounted for by the reproductive 
necessities. And it is certainly true that women are built to succor  
children. But not all women are driven to reproduce and, indeed, are 
not required to do so by halacha.

And what if God has given a person talents in learning, or in expression 
of prayer? Why should those talents not be expressed in the life granted 
to that person?

> Imagine a math genius marries. The mathmetician has a lucrative position to
> support the family nicely. The mathmetician dies, and the now poor spouse
> approaches the employer and asks for a job. Would that spouse be insulted
> if they only got a secretarial position for which they barely qualified?
> Would they demand the salary the mathmetician got? I'm sorry to insult you,
> but bottom line - each spouse - man & woman - brings unique advantage into
> the marriage. Giving either up may sometimes be the only option - but it is
> a sacrifice, the other spouse will indeed be "handicapped" (or spousely
> challenged?)

I find it interesting that you use the word "unique" while at the same 
time encouraging roles that assume that men and women are not unique 
but are naturally like every other man or woman.

Take the example above: I would of course not expect a non-mathematician 
to be automatically given a mathematician's job just because s/he was 
married to a mathematician. Mathematics is a talent that is not given 
to everyone. By the same token, I would also not forbid a talented 
mathematician from practicing math just because of that person's gender. 
Talent in mathematics should be recognized no matter what the gender of 
the person who has been given that talent.

The same with any other talent or activity. One cannot assume from the 
gender of a person what natural abilities they may have been given. A 
person should be able to use those talents to the best of his or her 
ability. If a man is naturally a nurturing, caring, domestic person, 
he should be able to stay home with his kids. If a woman is naturally 
talented in the sciences or another area where having a professional 
career is the fullest expression of her talents, she should be able 
to do so. And the same with religious expression: God-given talents 
and abilities should be allowed to grow and flourish without taking 
into account the biology of the person who has been given them.

In the same digest, Mordechai Torczyner says:
> Janice Gelb writes, re the "Binah Yeseirah" discussion: [...]
> >to say that if a mother is missing a father is automatically incapable or
> >severely handicapped in raising his children by virtue of being male I
> >think is an insult.
>      Why should this be insulting? People are born with different abilities,
>  and yes, some of those abilities are sex-dependent. Does anyone honestly
>  believe that the two genders are equivalent in all matters? Is it insulting 
>  to declare that males will never be able to nurse an infant as well as a 
>  female can?

Nursing is a biological function; nurturing is not. You acknowledge 
that people are born with different abilities and say that some of 
those abilities are sex-dependent; others, though, are not, and *that* 
is the problem I and others have with assuming that all people of a 
specific gender have the same abilities.

>      This reminds me of the battle over female firemen, and the argument that
>  holding women to the physical standards of men is discriminatory. To quote
>  the oft-heard but still valid response, If I Chas V'Shalom am ever trapped
>  in a burning building with a 200-pound beam lying across my chest, I want
>  the male who was required to bench-press 200 pounds to come in and save me.
>  What good will the 98 pound woman do for me?

I do believe that physical requirements where they are applicable to 
a specific job should be taken into consideration. But I don't see 
where biology or physical requirements come into play when discussing 
being a shaliach tzibbur, serving as a witness in court, etc.

-- Janice

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this message    <janiceg@...>   | is the return address. 


From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 09:35:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Women in the Workplace

In response to Mandy's question about women in the workplace, here are
some reasons that the workplace may be different from going to the

1) There are many types of work that are done with a group (2 or more)
of people.

2) There are occasions where people work together for years and spend
much more time together than say with the "mailman".

3) Business trips where people can spend whole days and weeks with each
other away from their families.

Etc. etc.  Although most strong relationships should and do survive
these "temptations" lets not pretend that the factors present in the
workplace can never effect marriages.  This is just plain FALSE!!

Gedorim (fences?) are there because our chachamim felt that human beings
can be tempted.  Pretending that the secular workplace is "temptation
free" is intellectually dishonest.


From: <JacAbraham@...> (Abe Rosenberg)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 02:06:30 -0400
Subject: Women in the Workplace

It is rather narrow of mind to think of one's workplace as nothing more
than a place to perform the day's tasks, therby eliminating the
opportunity for temptation.

Unless you run your own one-person company at home, it just doesn't work
that way.

Ask around. Among Jews and non-Jews. The workplace is also a meeting
place.  Probably more people have met their eventual spouses at work
than almost anywhere else. (This is definitely true in the non-Jewish
and non-observant world). The reason is simple. On dates you're on your
best behavior. In bars you're bragging. On singles weekends you're lying
and roving. At work, it's YOU. the real you. Unadorned,
unembellished. What's more, you're there at least eight hours a
day...every day... plenty of time to get to know your colleagues and co
workers VERY well.

How to deal with the inevitable temptation that arises from this is a
legitimate point. Naively saying the temptation shouldn't exist, is not.

Abe Rosenberg


From: Dr. Mark Press <PRESS@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 23:22:10 EST
Subject: Work Relationships

Mandy Book observes that she "firmly believes" that the workplace is
no more tempting an environment than going shopping, etc.  I can only
marvel at her innocence and note that there is a significant literature
about the factors that influence the formation of intense and close
relationships, including frequency of contact, intensity of contact, etc.
There is no doubt whatever that close relationships are more likely to
form with colleagues in work situations than with the post office clerk
from whom you buy stamps.  Would that it were not so. I work in a medical
school and was horrified when I first came 25 years ago to discover how
many of my colleagues were committing adultery with each other. (A sign
of the corrupting effects of the environment is that I soon ceased being
horrified). There may be many justifications for working but let us not
be naive about the nature of the relatiosnhips that develop.

M. Press, Ph.D.                  718-270-2409
Dept. Of Psychiatry, SUNY Health Science Center At Brooklyn
450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 32       Brooklyn, NY 11203
Acknowledge-To: <PRESS@SNYBKSAC>


End of Volume 16 Issue 20