Volume 16 Number 40
                       Produced: Tue Nov  8  6:17:29 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arba Imahot - Four? Mothers
         [Stan Tenen]
Chukpt Hagoyim
         [Zvi Weiss]
Jewish Paranoia
         [Barry Graham]
Levirate Marriage and Vegetarianism
         [Art Kamlet]
         [Yisrael Medad]
Ordering of Events in the Torah
         [Eric Safern]
         [Jules Reichel]
UK Shul goes on-line
         [Rafael Salasnik]
Women's Housework
         [Shaul Wallach]


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 1994 16:32:58 -0800
Subject: Arba Imahot - Four? Mothers

Subject: Arba Imahot - Four? Mothers

Ellen Krischer asks why "there are 3 Fathers: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 
and 4-Mothers: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah?"  I cannot shed any 
light on her curiosity about Bilha and Zilpa, per se, but, based on the 
geometric forms we (Meru Foundation) have found, it is possible that the 
3-Fathers and 4-Mothers are seven in-the-flesh representatives of 
Tetrahedral symmetry.  Tetrahedral (or, actually Triangular) symmetry 
is, perhaps, the most basic symmetry.  The tetrahedron represents the 
most basic "tent" or "house" or container.  The initial Bet of B'reshit 
can be taken to specify this "house", the fundamental distinction 
between inside and outside.  Mathematicians have shown that all of 
formal logic can be derived from this distinction.  

The basic tetrahedral form (a pyramid all of whose 4-faces are 
equilateral triangles) has two kinds of symmetry axes. There are 4-axes 
of 3-fold symmetry that connect the centers of each of the 4-triangular 
faces to each of the 4-opposite corners of the tetrahedron.  There are 
3-mutually perpendicular (like x,y,z coordinate axes) axes of 4-fold 
symmetry that connect the centers of the 3-pairs of opposite edges of 
the tetrahedron.

Thus the 3-axes represent the 6-edge, 4-fold frame-structure of the 
tetrahedral "tent", while the 4-axes represent the 4-surfaces that form 
and encompass the "vessel" (or womb) of the tetrahedron and the 4-
corners of the tetrahedron represent the "seeds" or eggs in the "womb."  
The 3-axis frame structure can be considered masculine and thus it can 
be represented by the Fathers.  The 4-surface-vessel-womb and 4-"seed" 
corners can be considered as feminine and thus they can be represented 
by the Mothers.

(Because the 3-axes have a 4-fold nature and the 4-axes have a 3-fold 
nature, the above analogy can also be understood in the opposite sense.  
The 4-fold, 3-axes can be represented by the Mothers, and the 3-fold, 4-
axes by the Fathers.  This model specifies complementarity, but the 
choice of which complement represents inside and which outside can be 
made either way as long as it is held consistently.)

I doubt that this kabbalistic-geometry analysis is what Ellen Krischer 
had in mind <grin> but I thought it might be helpful to demonstrate how 
kabbalistic-geometric concepts can help to illuminate the structures, 
persons, events, and places in Torah.

Stan Tenen                     Internet:    <meru1@...>
P.O. Box 1738                  CompuServe:  75015,364
San Anselmo, CA 94979 U.S.A.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 01:00:17 -0400
Subject: Chukpt Hagoyim

Re Joshua Sharf's comments:

1. There is no prohibition of "imitating" in terms of a food product per
   se.  The fact that "Bacon bits" [allegedly] taste like Bacon is
   irrelevant [except MAYBE for a Mar'is Ayin issue.... -- i.e., that
   someone may think you are eating the real stuff].
2. The basic issue with his whole analysis is that there appears to be
   general disregard for the basic halacha of "Chukot Hagoyim".. This
   [using a greatly simplified definition] can be described as
   prohibiting (a) practices of Goyim which are clearly rooted in
   religious origin or (b) practices that have no rational basis [which
   raises some interesting questions regarding how closely we can follow
   secular fashion trends....].  However, the halacha is very clear that
   we may adopt "customs" of the Gentiles if such were im- plemented for
   rational reasons and did not have a religious basis.  A brief
   discussion can be found in the Torah Temima (or even RASHI) on the
   verse of Chukot Hagoyim (in leviticus -- Parshat Acharei Mot) and the
   citations there can be followed for a fuller discussion.  However,
   given the definitions involved, I fail to see how anyone can justify
   ANY sort of Haloween observance -- unless they received a clear
   halachic p'sak...
3. Citing I.B. Singer is somewhat irrelevant -- to be polite about it.
   Singer is not exactly a halachist with great religious sensitivity
   and I would hardly think that his ideas should form definitive
   Philosophy for any sort of halachic community.


From: <barry@...> (Barry Graham)
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 94 14:17:21 EST
Subject: Jewish Paranoia

I have been speaking to representatives of a computer company because
one of their products had a programmable button. One of the icons which
you could use to customize the button was a six pointed star.

In their latest release they removed the star.  When I called to inquire
why, I was told the reason was because people of other faiths had
complained that the Jewish religion was unfairly represented.

Mindful of the Monsey Bus and London Eruv situations, where Jewish
people had imposed their religious paranoia on the rest of us, I probed
a little further and today I was told by the software company that the
reason for the star being removed was because a lot of Jewish people had
complained because they felt that the star in a money program created
the stereotypical view of a Jew.  In fact the star was not even included
for religious purposes and furthermore I doubt whether most non-Jewish
people seeing the star for a fraction of a second would even think the
word "Jew".

When will this paranoia stop?


From: <ask@...> (Art Kamlet)
Date: 4 Nov 1994  17:11 EST
Subject: Levirate Marriage and Vegetarianism

Zvi Weiss <weissz@...> writes:
>. 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.

This was in reply to Zvi Weiss' comment that one should not prohibit
something (meat eating) which is expressly permitted buy Torah.

The answer that Chalitza has always been the alternative to Yibbum, of
course true, does not answer the original issue:

Yibbum is expressly permitted by Torah, and the rabbis have prohibited
it.  Zvi Weiss says we are just choosing one over the other.  That seems
to deny that the rabbis have prohibited Tibbum.  Is there a rabbi who
permits it today?  No?  Then it is prohibited.

Moreover, Chalitza is designed to be a humiliating alternative, a
ceremony of loosening his shoe, spitting, and proclaiming to all that
this (humiliation) is what is done to a brother who refuses to honor his
obligation of Yibbum.  Saying there are two alternatives, and the rabbis
have simply chosen one over the other does not capture that the
Torah-preferred alternative has been prohibited in favor of the
humiliating chalitza alternitive.

Art Kamlet   AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus   <ask@...>


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 6 Nov 94 09:15 IST
Subject: Opera

My wife, Batya nee Spiegelman, recalls a raffle at Stern 1967-69 for
the box seat of one of the Rabbis for either opera or concert (I left
her not at home and my apologies to her).  It was quite an honor to
win the seat.

Yisrael Medad


From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 94 12:17:56 EST
Subject: Re: Ordering of Events in the Torah

Dr. Lasson wrote:
>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.

A fascinating article in the latest Torah U-Madda Journal, published
by YU, addresses "omnisignificance" in the Torah.

"Omnisignificance" means, simply, that *everything* in the Torah -
spelling, vocabulary, plot, character development, etc. has significance.
The issue of 'ain mukdam' is an important part of this discussion.

				Eric Safern


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 1994 21:58:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Roles

Binyomin Segal offers a theory of roles and Zvi Weiss praises it. The
essence of the theory is that physical differences between men and women
point us toward the spiritual differences, which then become role and
ritual differences. There's no doubt that men and women are different.
That's not new news. But what does this mapping from the physical to the
spiritual mean? Among men, for example, do some believe that tall and
short, fat and thin, straight and bent, were made that way by Hashem to
signal to us that these people have different spiritual dimensions?
What's the basis for such unusual speculation? Not only are men and
women physically different but they seem to often have different
personalities and task aptitudes.  That seems like bio-chemical stuff to
me. But spiritual differences? Do some say that God is closer to one
gender than the other, or more internalized by one gender than the
other? What's the basis for this strange speculation?  IMHO there are no
such universal links of the type that Binyomin and Zvi are
imagining. Yes, there are physical differences. Yes, men and women
sometimes have different roles in society. But there is no universal
field theory of linking everything together by imagining separations in
spirit.  Jules


From: <Rafi@...> (Rafael Salasnik)
Date: Sat, 05 Nov 94 21:40:23 GMT
Subject: UK Shul goes on-line

B R I J N E T    British Jewish Network  -  UK branch of Shamash

- Creates awareness of the internet in the community
- Helps organisations & individuals to participate in the Jewish internet
- Creates/maintains a useful quality communal electronic information database

From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Nov 94 23:19:10 IST
Subject: Women's Housework

     The discussion over wife-beating broke out over the ruling by the
Rambam (Ishut 21:10) that a wife who refuses to do any of the labors
which halacha requires her to do may be forced to do them, even by a
whip. It was most anomalous to see, precisely over this issue, how even
the women were quick to look up halachic sources in order to back up
their opinions, something that I haven't seen much in this forum in
other issues.

     While I certainly encourage people to go back to the sources in
order to learn the halacha, we must not forget what our Rabbis told us
in Avot: "the learning is not the main thing, but rather the action."
This pertains all the more so for such a sensitive issue as this, where
people are quick to pass judgment on the basis of even a single opinion
without checking first to see whether anyone actually follows it in

     In another posting I have presented a digest of real life cases
involving wife- (and husband-)beating that were dealt with by the
rabbinical courts in Israel. Here I would like to go back to the
original question of what actually happens in our age to a woman who
refuses to do her housework. For this also I did a search of the
responsa database here at Bar-Ilan. In contrast to the case of
wife-beating, I came up with only a single case in Pisqei Din
Rabbaniyyim which dealt specifically with forcing a wife to do her work.

     The case in question is found in Pisqei Din Rabbaniyyim, Vol.
3, p. 208 (Appeal 5718/167). In this case, the husband did not even ask
the court to force his wife to do her chores, since he had them done
anyway. All he asked was that his expenses for taking his clothes
to the laundry and for eating out be deducted from his payments
for his wife's support. In its opinion, the Beit Din did quote the
Rambam cited above, but quoted also the opinion of the Rashb"a in
a responsum (brought in the Beit Yosef, Even Ha-`Ezer 77) and of the
Ram"a in the Shulhan `Arukh (Even Ha-`Ezer 70:12 and 80:15), based
on the Magid Mishne and the Rashb"a, to the effect that the husband
is entitled to withhold his support from his wife until she does
the work she is required to do. In the end, the court adopted the
view of the Rashb"a that as far as the chores she is required to
do for him, he deducts the expenses from the support he gives her.
However, in practice the case was returned to the lower court to
establish first just what labors she is supposed to do according to
her economic status.

     While great caution must be exercised in trying to learn from a
single case, a close reading of the decision does reveal that the Beit
Din is more inclined to resort to economic sanctions (such as reducing
her allowance) than to outright force in order to get a rebellious
wife to go back to the job.




End of Volume 16 Issue 40