Volume 18 Number 24
                       Produced: Wed Feb  1  0:51:29 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Conservative Mikvah Use
         [Susan Hornstein]
         [Elizabeth B. Stein]
Moshzor, Mesegs, and More.
         [Mechy Frankel]
Non-mamzer Slave Children
         [Sam Juni]
Patriarchal Names
         [Stan Tenen]
Women and Observance
         [Zvi Weiss]
yishuv haaretz
         [Eli Turkel]
YU and Homosexual Clubs (2)
         [Michael J Broyde, Binyamin Jolkovsky]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 00:40:36 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

I would like to ask the list members to please try and follow the
guidelines of the list. The YU and Homosexual Clubs issue is clearly one
that can generate a good deal of emotion. I ask everyone to think
carefully before posting. I would also remind all, that I can not and
will not be able to check the validity of statements that people
make. Especially in sensitive areas, please read carefully what you
write and make sure that if you say something in an absolute sense, that
you are convinced it is absolutly correct. More usually than not, it is
not. There are many topics about which people have no problems saying
that the Halakha is X, when there are extensive disagreements about this
issue in the reashonim and acharonim. Most likely what was meant was
that "in my area/circle/etc the current practice is X", which is much
different from the first statement.

A second area that I believe has crossed over the line of being a topic
of discussion for this list if the issue of what the Conservative
position on Mikveh is. There is a large part of the discussion that is
clearly "in bounds", and an example of that is Zvi Weiss' post in this
issue. The issue of how Rabbi Roth's responsa may impact the Orthodox
community would seem to me to be a valid topic of discussion, but
getting closer to the "slipery slope". A detailed refutation of the
Conservative position; that appears to me to be already well on the
sliding down the slope or already outside the bounds. We do not want to
fight the Orthodox-Conservative portion of the OCR wars here on
mail-jewish. It was the OCR wars that first let to the creation of
mail-jewish, and somewhat later mail.liberal-judaism.

Another point: Please do NOT send submissions to more than one of my
addresses. So do not send it to say, <mail-jewish@...>
and <feldblum@...> In the end, they go to the same place. If
you think that one address is not working for you, then you may resend
to a different address, but please clearly state that this is a
retransmission of the submission.

Avi Feldblum
Shamash Facilitator and mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: <susanh@...> (Susan Hornstein)
Date: 30 Jan 1995  14:43 EST
Subject: re: Conservative Mikvah Use

With respect to use of the Mikvah in the Conservative movement...
I have close ties to a number of Conservative communities, including
a shul begun by my family in my childhood, that now has many thousands
of members.  Many of these shuls are constructed with Mikvahs in them.
Some Conservative shuls have considerable numbers of regular Mikvah-goers,
most notably the Conservative shul in my (current) town.  However, *most*
Conservative shuls are populated largely by people of widely varying
levels of observance, from nil to a lot.  Many of those people
make great strides in observance over time, especially in areas such
as Kashrut, Shabbat observance, and Talmud Torah.  *Most* Conservative
shuls do not make Mikvah observance a primary issue of adult education.
Most people who belong to Conservative shuls do not use a Mikvah at
all, not under Conservative psak or any psak.  Now, I did say that many
Conservative shuls have Mikvahs in them.  *Most* of these are used 
primarily for conversions.  I applaud all the Conservative rabbis and
educators who emphasize Mikvah education, and all the members of
Conservative shuls who are actively engaged in this mitzvah.  However,
I fear that all this talk of Rabbi Roth's psak, and Conservative Mikvah
use in general might cloud the fact that it's a pretty sparsely observed
mitzvah among the general membership of Conservative shuls in America.

Susan Hornstein


From: <ebstein@...> (Elizabeth B. Stein)
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 14:56:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mehitzah

As part of an undergraduate thesis I am writing on Orthodox Jewish 
women, I am exploring the changing attitudes/architecture of Orthodox 
synagogues in America vis-a-vis the mechitzah.  Most sources I have 
encountered (from Litvin's book _The Santity of the Synagogue_ to 
Bernstein's _The Renaissance of the Torah Jew_ and essays from various 
sources) are in agreement that the "mechitzah congregation" is on the 
upswing and has been for more than 30 years, and that the nominally Orthodox 
congregation without a mechitzah is an extinct or at least doomed 
creature.  What I need, however, are numbers.  Does anyone know where I 
can find *statistics* on the subject?  Maybe some UOJCA publications or 

					Elizabeth B. Stein


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 16:54:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Moshzor, Mesegs, and More.

1.  Moshzor: 
 While I agree with Ben Yudkin's bottom line assertion (Vol 18 #10) that
the kometz in "moshzar" in this week's parsha is a short one, I would
take some mild issue with his suggestion that the absence of a meseg
(short vertical line) under the mem is a sure indication that the vowel
is short and the syllable closed. The situation is considerably more
complex and application of such a simple grammatical algorithm would
lead to incorrect conclusions in many specific instances.

2.  Mesegs: 
 a) While a meseg on an open syllable is the most common form found in
most prevalent tanach editions, in fact mesegs (or "ga'yah" in older
terminology) may appear with either long or short vowels and in both
open and closed syllables. Indeed, early masoretic literature identifies
a whole category of mesegs in closed syllables as the "small"
ga'yah. (see e.g. Shemos 15/20 "chol-hanashim", Bereishis 41/3
"va'taamodenah"). Nor should lack of a meseg appearance be automatically
assumed to indicate a short kometz (devarim 30/14 "bilevovicha").

b) Meseg rule development has been a cottage industry from very early on
with contributors including ben Asher himself (dikdukei hataamim- 10th
century) and Yekusiel HaNakdon (12th century), and various conflicting
lists have been drawn up by both earlier and later masoretic scholars
and academicians.  Unfortunately, the Masoretes themselves neglected to
provide a complete set of vowel-cum-meseg rules probably because a) it
never occurred to them to think they were in the grammer business, and
b) they never reached any general consensus. see below.

c) Rule developments are confused by the fact that early Torah codices
display a wide variation in degree and form of meseg use. The
availability of tanachs today based on the original Ben Asher text
(under the occasionally disputed assumption that the Keser Aram Tzoavoh
is such, and that the Leningrad/Firkovich text is closely related) casts
further doubt on historical meseg rules developed, apparently, without
recourse to this most authoritative textual source (I believe I can
demonstrate that this specifically includes the Minchas Shai), and its
differing treatment of the meseg.

3.  More:

Mostly kvetching. Issues of "proper" pronunciation seem hopelessly
entangled in modern academic studies. e.g. Yeivin asserts that the
proper masoretic vocalization of almost ALL shevas within a word was
meant to be a "nach" sound, even where it follows a long vowel, (and
thus might seem to be an unambiguous "na". with a number of limited
exceptions e.g. where marked with a chataf, or in the first of a double
letter following a meseg) I don't at this time follow this prescription
myself, preferring for the present to distinguish between "nach"s and
"na"s in mid-word, but really, what's the poor leiner without a lot of
time to keep up with some pretty arcane literature to do?

4.  If anybody's still reading this a) yeyasher koach, and b) I'd be
interested if any of the leiners out there have run into any of this and
how they may have resolved it. i.e. if aware of these sorts of
assertions, what do they vocalize with a mid-word sheva na?

Mechy Frankel                                        W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                                  H: (301) 593-3949


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 95 11:43:23 EST
Subject: Non-mamzer Slave Children

Avi Feldblum mentions the option of a Mamzer purchasing a non-jew and then
liberating the resulting children who are then not Memzeirim.  I remember
the word in Yeshiva years ago that Rabbi Yaakov Kimenetsky recommended this
venue for a boy in Torah Vodaath who discovered that his mother had remarried
to his father without a legitimate divorce from her former husband.

                                                  Sam Juni


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 1995 18:06:58 -0800
Subject: Patriarchal Names

A speculative query: Might not the lack of patriarchal names among our
earlier sages have something to do with the presence of the names of
many sages in the equal interval letter skip patterns in Torah?  Perhaps
there is a common cause or understanding that we no longer know about
but which our sages, in avoiding patriarchal names, did know about.



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 14:40:55 -0500
Subject: Women and Observance

[In the future, I would appreciate if things like the first three lines
here not be included. I think this is going outside of the borders we
have drawn for the list. Not by much, maybe. But I would ask people to
be careful. The rest of the posting is something that I think we should
deal with here. Mod.]

Cathleen London's posting that the Conservative have "dropped" the
halachic requirement of "7 clean days" does not surprise me as this
appears to be a common Conservative theme that "Rabbinic Ordinances" can
be dropped now..  However, I would like to know: if as she states, HER
intro to the observance of Mitzvot was because of her exposure to ritual
(e.g., Aliyot) and, as she progresses in her shmirat Hamitzvot, she
MISSES such ritual, what -- if any -- support is the ORTHODOX community
providing for her?  While R. Moshe's Response was very critical of those
who did things for "political" reasons, it was clear that there was
understanding of those who wished to do something "because they wished
to do it" -- i.e., because these women felt a personal sense of
fulfilment.  My question is: do we focus only on PART of the responsa
(i.e., the part castigating those with the "wrong" motives) or do we
focus on the ENTIRE responsa?



From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 09:45:06 -0500
Subject: yishuv haaretz

      Rav Moshe Feinstein states that the mitzvah to live in Israel is a
voluntary mitzvah (reshut) and compares it to wearing tzizit wear one
who wears them accomplishes a mitzvah but one is not obligated to wear a
four cornered garment in order to wear them.
     Rav Shapiro (former chief rabbi of Israel) disagrees. He says that
there is no such thing as a voluntary mitzvah. One is not obligated in
any mitzvah if one does not have a four cornered garment and so one need
not buy such a garment in order to become obligated. However, there is
an obligation to live in Israel (according to many/most/all) rishonim
wherever one currently lives. Once there is such an obligation it cannot
be voluntary such a concept does not exist.



From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 14:58:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: YU and Homosexual Clubs

Dear Collegues,
	I did not, and still do not, consider my posting to be improper 
in any way shape or form.  The original poster made a number of highly 
contreversal claims and he subsequintly backtracked on all of them.  
The laws of lashon hara, particularly lashon hara shel rabim, are equally 
applicable to mail.jewish.  Any one who wishes to discuss the details of 
the halachic calculus that lead me to post as I did -- twice -- should 
feel free to contact me to review the material that I have and that I 
considered before posting.  My history is not as a rash or polemical 
poster, and it was only after a considerable amount of internal debate 
did I write the post that I did.
Rabbi Michael Broyde

From: Binyamin Jolkovsky <bljolkov@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 1995 02:33:04 -0500 (est)
Subject: YU and Homosexual Clubs

[This posting has been somewhat edited by the moderator. The poster was
informed of the changes before this going out. Mod]

	I have been accused here of being self-serving. Though that was not 
my intention, it now seems that there yet maybe some grounds. I'm now 
being told by Rabbi Broyde that I have a "reputation" as well as a 
"forte." :)
	All I wrote is what I was told by a senior Rosh Yeshiva at RIETS. 
Again, not what I may or may not remember -- what I was told! If, in 
fact, that Rosh Yeshiva erred, then I have as well. And, if in fact, that 
is the case, then, yes, I fully retract.
	Dear rabbi, I suggest that it be *you* who needs to re-read 
what I wrote. There are two very distinct issues here. One is the issue 
that an individual raised about why our media has ignorded the topic. The 
other, Dr. Lamm's reasoning and explanation for his continuing to allow 
the clubs to exist.
	The Jewish Press editor, Julius Leibb, told a caller that YU is a 
valuable source of income to the JP. Both as far as advertising as well 
as in reader allegiance. It was he who indicated the financial reasons 
for ignoring the issue. 
	That is not to be confused with Dr. Lamm's position.
Though Dr. Lamm believes that he would be sued, and, in turn lose 
considerable funding if he boots the gay clubs, my reporting has found 
that not to be the case. The one exception may be in the area of tax 
exemptions. That issue is merky. Several experts in the field have told me 
that if YU ever goes to court, then it is likely the school would win.
	YU, as I wrote in my Forward piece, as the Jerusalem Post wrote 
on Jan. 20, as the Chronicle of Higher Education wrote, etc. is facing an 
identity crisis. They must decide once anf for all what they want to be. 
And if, in fact, they are not the "largest school under Jewish 
auspices" then they may not have the right to truthfully make that 
statement in fundraising efforts. 
	Indeed, the issue has been raised regarding as to why the symbol
of the school's rabbinic program -- complete with its name and slogan of
Torah Umada -- is on the doors of every one of the school's affilates. To
quote Rush Limbaugh: "Words mean things." 
	Several Roshei Yeshiva, both on and off the record, told me that
if YU refuses to ban the gays from meeting, then they should remove the
school's emblem. The fact it is there, said Rabbi J. David Bleich, a
Cardozo professor and author of several books on Halachic issues,
bestows a sort of "Good Housekeeping" stamp of approval on a way of life
that is clearly in contradiction with the Torah. Rabbis Tendler,
Bronspiegel and Parnes told me roughly the same.
	Though my gut tells me that it need not be said, I'll play safe 
anyway: I have nothing against YU. I'm a reporter who reports news, not 
one who makes it up! There is a serious story here. One, I'm sure, that 
will be included in the institution's history the next time it is written. 
(There was already one book, The Men and Women of Yeshiva.)
	-- Binyamin L. Jolkovsky  


End of Volume 18 Issue 24