Volume 16 Number 30
                       Produced: Wed Nov  2 20:45:47 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

clarification on wife-beating
Ethiopian Marriages (was Re: Divorce in Israel)
         [Michael Shimshoni]
Israel and assimilation
         [David A Rier]
Judaism and Vegetarianism responses
         [David Charlap]
Levirate Marriage and Vegetarianism
         [Zvi Weiss]
Linguistic Nuances as Cultural Indices
         [Sam Juni]
Ordering of Events in the Torah
         [Arnold Lustiger]
Rachel's Descendants
         [Shaul Wallach]
Rachel's descendants
         [Alan Mizrahi]
Women Working and Kollel
         [Mike Grynberg]


Date: Wed, 02 Nov 1994 06:49:18 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: clarification on wife-beating

Janice Gelb takes issue with the fact that I see no need to beat my 
wife. I hope that the rest of the posting, which apparently she 
doesn't disagree with, demonstrates that I can see no circumstances 
where wife-beating can be condoned however much the husband thinks 
she deserves it (and certainly if she doesn't deserve it).


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Nov 94 15:42:44 +0200
Subject: Ethiopian Marriages (was Re: Divorce in Israel)

In Volume 16 Number 22 Yosef Bechhoffer wrote:

>I would like to raise a "quick and dirty" rabbinical solution. Just as
>there is currently one Beis Din and one Chief Rabbi (in Netanya, I
>believe, Rabbi Shloush, a student of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef) that registers
>Ethiopians for marriage, why doesn't the Chief Rabbinate set up a
>"Sefardic" or "Yemenite" Beis Din that will follow the Rambam's ruling
>and force a husband whose wife has simply claimed that she finds her
>husband disgusting to divorce her?

Unfortunately  Rabbi  Shloush has  stopped  his  great work  with  the
Ethiopians.   The reasons  he  gave for  stopping were  administrative
rather than  halakhic.  This  is a  great pity as  he had  performed a
great service for these Jews.

 Michael Shimshoni


From: David A Rier <dar6@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 07:03:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Israel and assimilation

I am sorry that Josh Cappell feels I was "unfair" and "unjust" to
Zionist leaders regarding the absorption/assimilation/what have you of
immigrants. I try very hard not to slander my fellow Jew (even if
they're not religious :-) ).  Honestly, I thought I was being pretty
fair, by attempting to build the case from their perspective, something
which others don't always bother to do when attacking the government for
what happened.  One need only look at Amos Elon's "Israelis: Fathers and
Sons" to remember the extent to which mainstream secular Zionist
ideology has its roots in romantic Russian nationalism; it is also not a
secret that the same ideology often stressed "normalization" of the
Jew's anomalous position.  For contemporary echoes, see the very
perceptive (if, for the frum Jewish reader, totally misguided) account
of modern Israeli life by Ze'ev Chaifetz (now a columnist in the
Jerusalem Report): "Heroes, Hardhats, Hustlers, and Holy Men"(--or some
mix of these words; my dad's borrowed it).  Some strands of Zionist
ideology sought to build a "New Israeli Man/Woman", with only a
sentimental nod to the whole of Jewish law, culture, and tradition.
About assimilation, you might see Lova Eliav's "No Time for History",
which details the terrible problems of absorption faced by the young
State (I'm citing from memory here), and the need to create a common
identity, even if it involved painful steps.  Josh is right to observe
that the language (Hebrew) that the immigrants were taught was a Jewish
one, etc.  However, along with shedding the Arabic, or Polish, etc.
language, a lot of the observance was trampled.  Frum kids were taken to
secular kibbutzim, where they were actively encouraged to abandon
observance, etc.  Anyway, I actually was somewhat sympathetic to the
problems of absorption the State faced, but my comments were grounded in
my readings of their own writings, and the history of what happened--not
my opinions.  David Rier


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 11:34:06 EDT
Subject: Judaism and Vegetarianism responses

Richard schwartz <RHSSI@...> writes:
>     In response to David Charlop, as "rachamim b'nei rachamim"
>(compassionate children of compassionate ancestors), can we ignore
>the horrible treatment of farm animals, because the factory farms are
>run by non-Jews?

I didn't say ignore it.  Please read what I write more carefully.

I said that such practices are wrong, and should be stopped.  But you
can't go using halacha as the basis for your arguments.  Halacha is
never used as a basis for non-Jewish behavior.

I'm saying that if you want to demand such a change, then do it.  But
don't go claiming that God demands it unless you've got some proof.
The only laws God gave to the non-Jewish world are the seven Noachide
laws.  If a non-Jew isn't violating those 7, then you can not use a
Halachic argument against it.

Tell me, if cruelty is the main reason for your push to vegetarianism,
why don't you (and a group of similarly-minded activists) raise money
and buy a farm?  You can run it humanely and sell your meat to people
who can eat it with a clear conscience.  In all the years I've been
reading about this "farms are cruel places", I have never once seen
any group take positive action to do something about it, only
protesting and occasional illegal actions aginst existing farms.

(As a side note to everyone: please read articles carefully before
 responding.  Many times the person you're arguing with agrees with
 your idea, but doesn't agree with the argument you're using to make
 your point.  This article is one such case.)


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 17:12:44 -0400
Subject: Levirate Marriage and Vegetarianism

Re Art Kamlet's questions:
1. Levirate Marriage ("Yibum") was NEVER required by the Torah.  There was
   ALWAYS the alternative of Chalitza (i.e., the "Shoe-removal" ceremony that
   dissolves the tie between widow and brother-in-law).  In the Talmud in
   Yevamot, we already find a discussion as to which of these two options is
   to be preferred.  The Ashkenazim simply have adopted the opinion in the 
   Gemara that Chalitza is the preferred option and, for that reason, Yibum
   is not performed.  Since the Torah, itself, provided BOTH alternatives,
   we are simply choosing one over the other.
2. The cutting off of the woman's right hand was never permitted in the 
   Gemara.  Like the other  instances of "limb for limb", our CHAZAL state
   that this refers to monetary payment.  I fail to see what this matter
   has to do with "prohibiting something permitted" as it appears that it was
   NEVER permitted to cut off the hand.

In general, I fail to see how either of these issues relates to my
point: that it is inappropriate for US to state that something the Torah
explicitly per- mits is to be considered INTRINSICALLY harmful and/or
bad.  In effect, I am finding that vegetarians are proclaiming that they
"know better" than our Rabbis, Scholars, and Teachers...  All in the
name of vegetarianism.  I am not complaining about people who think that
meat should not be eaten because it contains antibiotics or other toxic
matter.  Indeed, I believe that the halacha states that one is not
allowed to eat contaminated meat.  Nor, am I focusing upon people
concerned with how meat is RAISED (although I think that more concern
should be focused upon how HUMANS are raised....).  But, to state that
meat is "bad" for you despite the Mitzvot associated with meat, despite
the pronouncement that [for men, at least] there is no celebration w/out
meat, despite the fact that Hashem explicitly TOLD humanity that they
can eat meat seems to represent a certain arrogance that is



From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 94 00:23:15 EST
Subject: Linguistic Nuances as Cultural Indices

I received some private posts regarding my hypothesis that the relative
sophistication of the question words (e.g., how many, why, etc.) in
different languages indicate the sophisticatiion of the culture
respectively in these areas.  Several posters assured me that Eskimoes
do not have specialized words for different snow features. So much for
that classic example which is to be found literally everywhere. Too
bad. However, I did think of others:

   a. The dearth of detailed Hebrew words in the entire domain of sexuality.

   b. Congruent with the poor marketibility of the "Famous Jewish Sports
      Heros", there is a lack of specialized Yiddish language vis a vis
      body parts.  Very few Yiddish speakers know the word for chin, there
      are no  words for pinkey or thumb, Yiddish speakers generally will
      not distinguish arm from hand or leg from foot, and there are no sep-
      erate words for eyebrow vs. eyelash.

   c. Expressions of different emotions are far richer in English, say, than
      in Yiddish or Hebrew (I'm not sure about Hebrew, though).  It is
      worthwhile speculating that these entail cultural implications.  Perhaps
      living under the gun does not give one the luxury of experiencing
      nuances of affect.


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 13:52:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Ordering of Events in the Torah

Elly Lasson asks:

>At the end of this past week's sidra, Chayai Sarah, the Torah mentions
>the death of Avraham.  In next week's sidra, Toldot, there is the
>midrash that the lentil soup which Yaakov was preparing was for the
>mourning period of Avraham.
>Since the death of Avraham was recorded before the birth of Yaakov, the
>chronological dilemma is obvious.  The typical explanation is one of
>"ayn mukdam u'meuchar b'Torah" (loosley translated as "the Torah as we
>have it is not necessariliy written in temporal order").  This rule is
>applied to reconcile many difficulties of time sequence.
>My question is simply "why not"?  Wouldn't the Torah be more easily
>followed if the evcents appeared in order.  I'm sure that someone
>discusses this.

Rabbi Soloveitchik indirectly addresses this issue in a tape that I recently 
heard. In Parshat Chayei Sarah, the Torah says that Avraham "eulogized Sarah 
and cried for her". The reason that Avraham cried after the eulogy is that 
he realized that without Sarah, his patriarchic covenant has ended. However, 
for Yitzchak to initiate his own covenant requires that he be married. The 
final narrative in the Torah involving Avraham was his instructions to 
Eliezer for finding Yitzchak a wife. Afterwards, the narrative centers 
totally on Yitzchak. Similarly, once Ya'akov gets married, Yitzchak is 
removed from the narrative, although Yitzchak himself lives past the 
incidents in Parshat Vayeshev. 

The Torah narrative in Sefer Bereishit is therefore not a strict chronology 
but rather centers around these three covenants. The "brit Yaakov", "brit 
Yitzchak" and "brit Avraham" are three separate entities.   

Arnie Lustiger


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 94 15:13:36 IST
Subject: Rachel's Descendants

     Adina Sherer writes:

>I hate to add to Shaul's problems, but:

     No problem at all - I welcome the criticism and the learned
contributions to this discussion for the sake of the Torah. May these
always be all our "problems"!

>Wait a minute.  What about Mashiach ben Yosef?  What about the fact that
>before Mashiach ben David can come and rebuild the Temple, a prior
>requirement is that the nation of Amalek ( what ever that means today,
>and there's a whole discussion just waiting out there about the purpose
>of creation and the Jewish nation and the struggle between us and them
>for the greater glory of G-d) be wiped out, and ONLY BY a descendent of

     See Sukkot 52, which says that the Mashiah Ben Yosef will be killed
in the war and eulogized, as the Prophet says (Zecharia 12). In fact, in
some Sefardic siddurim it says to pray for the Mashiah Ben Yosef that he
not be killed.

     Note, however, that the Rambam in his Mishna Torah doesn't mention
him at all, and strongly discourages speculation on how the Days of the
Mashiah will actually come to pass (Hil. Melachim 12:2).



From: Alan Mizrahi <amizrahi@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Oct 1994 19:37:31 EST
Subject: Rachel's descendants

Adina Sherer lists Mashiach ben Yosef as one of the great descendants
of Rachel.  I studied otiot hamashiach (signs of the messiah) a long
time ago and do not remember the details about Mashiach ben Yosef.  Can
someone fill me in?  I thought that he was not an active part of the 
Mashiach coming, he was just someone that would come along before the
Mashiach ben David.

-Alan Mizrahi


From: <spike@...> (Mike Grynberg)
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 09:15:43 +0200
Subject: Women Working and Kollel

I am quite intruiged with the discussion about what women should do with
their time; but I do have a question. It is my understanding that the
standard ketuba requires of the husband to support his wife. She has
no obligation whatsoever to contribute to their livelihood. I also
believe that rambam ( I am really not sure about this) speaks very
harshly about learning all day for years, with no end in sight. I 
vaguely recall learning that he also describes what sort of a lifestyle
this person should lead. But the point that brings up the problem is
that this is not a situation for the average person. Only the outstanding
scholars and talmidim have this option, the rest of us have to get a
job. How do we justify thousands of people in kollel letting their
wives support them? 
	Sorry i have no sources, mybe someone could help me out.


End of Volume 16 Issue 30