Volume 16 Number 46
                       Produced: Thu Nov 10  7:19:06 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Army and Benefit of the Doubt
         [Shaul Wallach]
Baz trial
         [Robert Bindiger]
Chukot Hagoyim
         ["Ezra Dabbah"]
Gemara's use of "tav l'meitav"
         [Jeff Mandin]
Husband is obligated to his Wife
         [Marc Shapiro]
Monsey Bus controversy
         [Yaakov Kayman]
         [David Charlap]
         [Marc Shapiro]


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Nov 94 15:13:41 IST
Subject: Army and Benefit of the Doubt

    It is a pleasure to read Zvi Weiss' posting dated 27 Oct, and it is
indeed gratifying to see that we can discuss the issues on the basis of
the halachic principles of Limmud Zekhut (giving the benefit of the

    Nevertheless, insofar as the discussion pertains to the army, I
still do not fully understand Zvi's remarks. In particular, after twice
rereading my own posting dated 20 Oct (on women working outside the
home), I fail to see where I said that Haredim learn Torah in order to
avoid the army. I said precisely the opposite - that the army is a
threat to Jewish observance and that the Haredim avoid the army in order
to learn Torah full time.

    As for the charge of "defaming" the army, I think that we can apply
the same principles of Limmud Zekhut as before. Given the nature of the
founders of the state, as well as its current rulers, there is no Mizwa
at all to give them the benefit of the doubt, but rather we must be wary
of them and anything they do. And since there actually was a conscious
effort on the part of many of its officials during the first few decades
of the state to uproot religious observance, there is no need to
demonstrate that the army was used explicitly for this purpose.  For us,
insofar as it obliges us in practice, the army was - and is - an
instrument of a secular state with all that this entails.

    It may be true, as Zvi says, that religious people enjoy respect in
the army for their observance and that their needs are seen to. My own
experience in the army is too limited to allow me an adequate appraisal
of this. However, I have seen too much laxity in other areas, especially
in the matter of Zeni`ut (modesty) to place much value on such respect.
A Haredi spokesman told me once that if the army were run according to
halacha, then there would be no objection to serving whenever halacha
should require it.

    If there is interest in the whole matter of army service for yeshiva
students, I have on hand a translation of the letter by Ha-Rav Kook ZS"L
dated 20 Adar 5677 (1917) on the matter (in "Iggerot Ha-Rayah", Mossad
Ha-Rav log mljewishlem, 1965, pp. 88-92) as well as a discussion of the
circumstances of the letter and why I believe his ruling exempting them
from service is of universal applicability.




From: Robert Bindiger <rbindige@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 12:23:46 -0500
Subject: Baz trial

I would like to remind all subscribers in the NYC area that the Baz
trial (the man accused of shooting the van of Lubavitch students on the
Brooklyn Bridge) is currently taking place. It is very important that
the jury see how concerned the Jewish community is. Many people feel
that a poor showing of spectators during the Lemrick Nelson trial (the
boy acquitted of killing Yankel Rosenbaum) was a major factor in the

The Baz trial is taking place at
	100 Centre Street
	11 Floor
	Part 31
	Room 1111
	INFO:	(212) 374-4984
	  or	(212) 374-4985
	Monday to Thursday starting at 9:30 AM
	There is a break for lunch from 1 PM-2 PM

Please make a serious effort to be there and spread the word to as many 
people as possible.


From: "Ezra Dabbah" <ny001134@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Nov 94 20:02:57 -0500
Subject: Chukot Hagoyim

If the Christian religion declares a day of thanks to G-d...

1) Is this called Chukot Hagoyim?

2) If the underlying reason for Christian prayer is based from Judaism
   does this change anything?


From: Jeff Mandin <jeff@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 94 14:33:15 -0500
Subject: Gemara's use of "tav l'meitav"

Shaul Wallach's post surveys the gemara's use of the principle that
women believe "it's better to sit two together than to sit a widow".

Without getting into the issue of chazal's view of marriage, let me 
comment on a couple of Shaul's interpretations:

> 1. Yevamot 118a:
> Since she has a dispute with him, is it an asset for her; or perhaps 
> is she content since being with a body is preferable?
> ..
> From this we see she views the divorce as a liability even though she
> has a quarrel with her husband, and she would not be considered divorced
> until she actually receives the Get.

The gemara's question considers the possibility that the divorce is
an unqualified "zechut" [asset].  The gemara's answer, then, is that
in fact the woman _might_ view it as a liability, so that "zachin
l'adam shelo b'fanav" does not apply.  There is a statement about
psychology here, but I don't think it is as sweeping as you make it
out to be.

> ...
>4. Qiddushin 40a (The Mishna says that either a man and a woman can
>   send a representative for the Qiddushin. 
>	...
>Here also we see that what Reish Laqish said is being applied to a
>woman getting married, that she is not required to see her marriage
>partner herself, since she is content with any husband at all.

The gemara does _not_ state that she is content w/ any husband at all:
Tosefot there demonstrates that the point is that while a man must
see his bride before the marriage, lest he come to violate "you shall 
love your neighbour as yourself", the woman is considered more readily 
able to accept a flaw in the person that she has accepted.

- Jeff


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 16:41:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Husband is obligated to his Wife

With reference to the recent discussion re. the place of women, and the 
Haredi writers who like to speak of women being "subjugated" to their 
husbands, just today I learnt the Maharsha to Bava Batra 58a where he 
says that in truth the husband is called a slave to his wife, because of 
all he has to do to provide for her sustenance.
							Marc Shapiro


From: Yaakov Kayman <YZKCU@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Nov 94 08:17:18 EST
Subject: Re: Monsey Bus controversy

As the Orthodox Monsey Bus regular who regularly sat directly behind
Sima Rabinovicz and her (male) friend, let me try one more time to place
the entire "controversy" in its proper perspective.

The conflict, in my opinion, based on observation over a very long period
of time, is over manners. Not gender discrimination or religious rights,
but just plain civility, or more properly, its absence.

Regarding the mechitzah there are three camps, as it were, among the
regulars: 1) those who want a mechitzah at ALL times, whether or not
there is a minyan (quorum of ten men) davening (praying), 2) those who do
not want a mechitzah at ANY time, and 3) those who understand that while
davening a mechitzah is required, and so have no objection to its use at
that time. The third, understanding, "camp" also is aware of the simple
fact that many people who ride the Monsey Bus do so in order to save time
by davening on the bus. This is more the case in the morning than in the
evening, when the conflict arises/arose.

The problem occurs when one or more "mechitzah at all costs" people

 (and in all fairness, I have been given to understand that the Rebbes
 (Grand Rabbis) of both Skver and Vizhnitz, the two groups accounting for
 most of the Monsey Bus's ridership, have ruled that there should be a
 mechitzah on the bus at all times, though I do not understand from where
 they have the authority to make such a ruling for the general (Jewish
 and non-Jewish) community of bus riders)

get on a(n at least!) half-empty bus in the evening, where the mechitzah
is already down in the front (for anyone who requires it), and move to
the very rear of the bus, dragging the mechitzah with them to the con-
sternation of those people sitting in the rear for the express purpose of
escaping the mechitzah's presence. This has been done repeatedly, when
there is NO minyan davening, and I must say I view it as no more or less
than obnoxiousness.  Also, on occasion in the mornings, when there are
both minyan and non-minyan buses (some people DO daven in shul; others
are either not Orthodox Jews or are non-Jews), some "mechitzah at all
costs" person, rather than sitting in the back of a non-minyan bus to
daven by himself (as I have had to do on occasion, having missed the
regular minyan bus), will insist on sitting in the middle of the bus
and will then drag the mechitzah to him, thereby subjecting those people
who are often on that non-minyan bus to escape the mechitzah, to its
unwelcome presence. Again, this is obnoxious behavior.

The members of the "no mechitzah no matter what!" camp are not lacking,
to be sure, in their own "bedavka-niks" (people acting out of spite), and
often enough their responses to the first group also amount to "In your
FACE!", but to call this strictly a civil rights matter is exaggerated.

>From a strictly legal standpoint, I can't see how any company can accept
public subsidies, which in this case amount to over $600,000 per year,
I understand, and still mandate a mechitzah for all, but I'm not a law-
yer. The company itself is far from neutral on this issue.

Still, I can't help but wonder whether this whole suit would have come
about at all had some of the passengers, and the company's representa-
tives treated Sima Rabinovicz with some civility. While her male friend,
whose name I will not mention, *may* very well belong to the "no mechi-
tzah no matter what!" camp, I don't believe Mrs. Rabinovicz is.

The only clear religious issue I see here is how one keeps those mitzvot
bayn adam lechaveiro (commandments regarding interpersonal relations).
Sadly, as regards this matter, they have not been kept very well at all.

Yaakov Kayman (<yzkcu@...>)


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 94 11:52:58 EST
Subject: Roles

<JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel) writes:
>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?

It sounds kabbalistic to me.  There is a general concept in kabbala
that this world mirrors the "upper" spiritual worlds and vice versa.
For example, when you do mitzvot, your "upper-world" analogue (your
soul?) benefits.  When you do aveirot, it suffers.  Similarly, when
God causes something to happen (reward or punishment) to your soul,
your body feels it.

I'd guess that Mr. Segal's theory is derived from this concept.  Since
the two worlds mirror each other, people with different souls would
HAVE to have different bodies.  Similarly, different bodies would have
to have different souls.

Now, if you'll ask "what kind of body corresponds to what kind of
soul?" I wouldn't be able to begin to formulate an answer.  That's a
question for the heavy-duty kabbalists, if anyone alive today could
answer it.


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Nov 1994 09:37:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tertullian

Someone correctly pointed out that my citation of Tertullian was
incorrect, but it was incorrect because of a spelling error. Obviously
impossible is not Latin but I should have written certum est quia
impossibile. I don't know how it came to be that Tertullian was quoted
as using the word absurdum. In fact, the Rav in Halakhic Man p. 10
actually quotes Tertullian as such, although in his note he admits that
the saying does not appear in any of his writings. I don't know if the
Rav was aware of De Carne Christi chap. 5 where Tertullian writes
"certum est quia impossibile" (referring to Jesus' incarnation) which is
based on a certain form of argument found in Aristotle's Rhetoric,
namely that it is likely that unlikely things shoud happen (perhaps
bearing some similarity to Hatam Sofer's famous "most forced answers are
correct".) Actually, some Jewish thinkers did adopt a Tertullian-like
approach. In the appendix to one of Louis Jacob's books he discusses
R. Nahman's approach which has similarities (I think it is Jacob's
Seeker of Unity).
						Marc Shapiro 

P. S. Since I write this on election day, and my friend Hillel Besdin
wonders how someone as young as I can be so conservative (with a small
c), I should point out that Churchill never said that which is
attributed to him "One who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart and one
who is one at 40 has no head." Actually Clemenceau is supposed to have
said a similar comment. In general, Churchill is often misquoted. For
example, he never said "I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and
tears." He said, "blood and toil, tears and sweat." Popular imagination
likes to create such quotes since they sound better than the original
(just like some song remakes are better than the original) Witness
"Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" which is a reworking
of a Santayana passage not nearly as striking. At another time I can
give examples of many traditional Jewish passages which have come down
to us in corrupted fashion, not to mention the many whose origin is
Christian or Muslim but are quoted by Jewish scholars or those whose
origin is unkown but are quoted as if they appear in the Talmud e. g.
"Those who commit suicide have no share in the world to come"


End of Volume 16 Issue 46