Volume 18 Number 33
                       Produced: Tue Feb  7 21:50:06 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can archaeology help define Shiurim?
         [Joe Slater]
Cohen marry a divorcee - visited by the Israeli Supreme Court
         [The Gevaryahu Family]
Feminism Definitions
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Halakhic Times (candle-lighting etc.)
         [Zal Suldan]
Kashrut Hashgacha
         [Melech Press]
Motivation, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
Women, Men & Observance
         [Cheryl Hall]


From: <jds@...> (Joe Slater)
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 95 17:49:27 +0000
Subject: Can archaeology help define Shiurim?

There is great debate over the modern equivalents of Halachic measures.
I have seen a number of artifacts from Israeli excavations that have 
been described as being weights, and there are probably other artifacts
that can tell us about measurements of length, volume and so forth.

Has anyone investigated this? The Halachic measurements we use are very
badly defined, and there is often a discrepancy of 100% or more between
the lowest and the highest estimate.



From: <gevaryah@...> (The Gevaryahu Family)
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 22:53:13 -0500
Subject: Cohen marry a divorcee - visited by the Israeli Supreme Court

REPORT FROM THE ISRAELI PRESS (Ma'ariv, February 5, 1995 by Shmuel

The Israeli Supreme Court gave the Government of Israel 45 days to
explain why it does not recognize a marriage between a cohen and a

The Supreme Court of Israel (Bagat"z) gave the Government of Israel 45
days to answer why it would not recognize Ro'ee Kahana and Anat Ben
Dror- a cohen and a divorcee- as a married couple, and explain why the
Ministry of the Interior would not recognize their marriage, which was
performed by a reform rabbi in Israel.

The couple, residents of Kefar Vitkin, petitioned the Court last week,
against the Supreme Rabbinical Court, the District Rabbinical Court of
Netanya, and against the Ministry of the Interior. They said that they
decided to get married with the assistance of a reform rabbi, because
the Orthodox rabbis will not perform marriage between a cohen and a
divorcee.  Ro'ee and Anat got married on May 4th, 1993 in a private
"kiddushin" ceremony. Ro'ee gave his future spouse a ring and said to
her: "harei at mekudeshet li ke'dat Moshe ve'Israel". The ceremony was
done in the presence of "eidim" and under the supervision of a reform

All their efforts, since their marriage, to register as a married couple
with the Ministry of the Interior were to no avail. The Rabbinical
courts determined, without an explanation, that "this marriage was not
performed according to the law of Moses and Israel, and we do not
recognized them, and therefore, the two petitioners are single and
allowed to marry others..."

Some of my notes.

The Israeli Supreme Court, especially in the last two years, has ruled
on more and more issues that the Rabbinical courts believe to be their
domain, and by Israeli civil law are allowed to be decided only by
Rabbinical courts. The Supreme Court appointed itself, de facto, and
some say de jure, as the Court above the Rabbinical courts. This
situation was brought to a confrontation last year when the two Chief
Rabbis (who are the avot Batei Hadin) said that they would not follow
the Supreme Court in a specific religious decision.  It is only a matter
of time before there will be another showdown between the rabbis and the
Court. The Supreme Court judges have minimal or no training in halacha,
no experience in the field of religious law, and to the best of my
knowledge, do not have even a basic Jewish library.

The law in Israel is clear on how people from each religion are to be
married, and even addresses the issue of people from two religions, but
does not address the issue of "pesulei chitun" (e.g., marriage of a
mamzer to a Jew or of a cohen to a divorcee).  Historically, if a cohen
wanted to marry a divorcee in Israel, he left for Cyprus, got married
there, came back to Israel with the papers, and was recognized as a
married couple. It was rumored that one of the early Supreme Court
judges, who was a cohen, did just that himself. Their children were
Chalalim, and they did not care. The Supreme court has already ruled
that a marriage performed in a foreign territory (such as an embassy) is
the same as one performed abroad, and as such must be recognized. If I
had to guess, the court will decide this time that the Ministry of the
Interior MUST register them as a couple.  Are we slowly moving to a
secular country status, or maybe to a country with a private registry
for "pure" Jews?

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 1995 01:25:59 -0800
Subject: Feminism Definitions

Mr. Eliyahu Teitz quotes from my post:

"The only universally agreed-upon meaning of 'feminism' is 'belief
that women should not be discriminated against based on their
sex.'  This stance can include those who do not see a different role
as discrimination, though that is not my personal opinion."

He responds:

"contrary to what leah [sic] writes, most other rabbis...fully agree with
her definition...the problem they, as well as i, have with it is exactly her
last point - a different role for women is _not_ discrimination...."

I fear that Mr. Teitz may have missed my point; my statement was meant to
imply that people who believe, as he does, that a different role is not
discriminatory, could easily be deemed feminists, and therefore the term
is used sloppily when it is used by people like him to refer to people like

Incidentally, while I respect Mr. Teitz' view that a different role for
women may not be discriminatory, I do not feel that any person can make
such an unequivocated statement that it is not.  Other people (myself
included) have the equally valid opinion that much of the allegedly
halakhic "role" frequently described as "women's" is in fact
chauvinistic and not based in halakha.  Women's roles within Judaism
have changed with time and space, and have always been extensively
influenced by the surrounding societies.

Leah S. Gordon


From: <z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan)
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 09:42:14 -0500
Subject: Halakhic Times (candle-lighting etc.)

>From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
>There is also a calendar program (by my father, Dr. Edward M. Reingold),
>on gnu-emacs, that can be used for calculating any halakhic time given
>any longitude and latitude.  I'm not sure of how to get that program
>and so on, but if anyone wants to email me, I will forward the responses
>to my father, who I am sure would be glad to help.

I'm curious as to how accurate many of these programs are (no comment
specifically intended about Leah's father, it's just that her post was the
most recent one).

In the days when I was more active as an amateur radio operator, I remember
using an algorhythm to calculate sunrise/sunset times around the world via
the longitude & latitude. It worked well enough to figure out reception
conditions, but when I compared it to sunset times published on Jewish
Calendars and sunset times published by the navy, I found there was
variation of anywhere between zero and ten to fifteen minutes.  Not too bad
for figuring out radio conditions, but probably not too good when dealing
with isurei torah -- Shabbos! (BTW, this is why I recommended several
months ago when the talk of calendar programs last appeared, that people be
careful about relying on the times calculated too precisely).

I'm still rummaging through my piles of junk and QSL's to find that
algorhythm (scribbled on a piece of scrap paper somewhere!!), but if there
are better algorhythms than the one I used to use, I'd love to see it and
play around with it myself!


Zal Suldan
Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program - Department of Cell Biology and Genetics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center / Cornell University Medical College
Replies to: <Z-Suldan@...>    or   ZSuldan@Stud.Med.Cornell.edu


From: Melech Press <PRESS@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 00:58:26 EST
Subject: Re: Kashrut Hashgacha

Ben Yudkin refers to the case of a mashgiach who won't eat in an
establishment under his care and discusses it as an illustration of
personal choice in religious scrupulosity ("chumrot").  While I agree
with his general stance on the theory I would raise serious questions as
to whether this "diyun l'kaf zchus" is true in fact.  I have generally
found over the years that when I ask a mashgiach or rav hamachshir why
they won't eat in their establishments they usually respond with much
more serious objections than subtle chumros.  The most telling story I
recall was when I consulted the Rav Roshi of a major Israeli city as to
where I should eat in the community in which he was nominally in charge
of all kosher restaurants.  He sent me to the head of the Machleket
Hakashrut who pulled out a list of several legal sized sheets and
checked off about three or four places among those under his supervision
that I (presumably a moderately yeshivishe American) could eat in.  When
I expressed my amazement at the omission of all the rest he simply said
that they were not for someone like me.  Needless to say, the incident
left me both sad and angry.

Melech Press
M. Press, Ph.D.   Dept. of Psychiatry, SUNY Health Science Center
450 Clarkson Avenue, Box 32   Brooklyn, NY 11203   718-270-2409


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 16:09:12 -0500
Subject: Motivation, etc.

Leah Gordon miscontrues what I wrote... I did NOT say that women who are
not fully observant should not do "optional" activities.  I *did* state
that I felt it proper to question the situation when a group of
not-fully- observant women form a group to do something that they are
NOT required to do while neglecting their mandated obligations.  Such
behaviour, it seems to me, is very suspect -- in effect, the observance
of Mitzvot become a matter of "ego" and "personal choice" rather than a
recognition that we do Mitzvot first and foremost because G-d has so
COMMANDED us.  In addition, I find Ms. Gordon's disregard of
"motivation" to be halachically flawed.  AS earlier postings indicate,
the question of motive is, indeed, considered in halacha.  For example,
the notion of "Yohara" -- display of excessive arrogance by assuming an
obligaiton that one is not required to perform.  A very gross example is
relating to the writing of a Sefer Torah.  As we know, there is a mitzva
to write a Sefer Torah.  Yet, a sefer Torah written by a heretic -- one
who disputes or does not accept certain funda- mental aspects of Judaism
-- is of questionable sanctity, to say the least.  I would like to point
out that *I* am not the one "deciding other people's motivation" as
Ms. Gordon points out.  Rather, I simply stated that *an indication* of
a less than acceptable motivation can very well be when a person (man or
woman) goes to do "optional activities" while neglecting the obligatory
ones.  Finally, as noted in theREsponsa from R. Moshe, it is simply
incorrect to assert that Humans are only responsible for whether an
action is allowed or not; is obligatiory or not...

Ms. L. Gordon is also concerned about the pejorative use of "Feminist".
While I do NOT recall that sort of usage in my postings, I would suggest
that -- to a certain extent -- that is the image currently appearing in
the media.  Women who are sensitive caring people who are concerned
about improper treatment of women in the MArketplce, the Office,
etc. are too easily overshadowed by the radical "feminists"....

I would also point out that I did *not* make "generalizations" about
motivation.  Citing source material does not seem to me to be a
"generalization" about anything.  Also, the Responsa from R. Moshe did
NOT make "generalizations" in this area -- it was quite specific and I
would suggest that Ms. Gordon consult it BEFORE casting aspersions on

If Ms. Gordon still has a problem dealing with the issue of motivation
in light of the various sources quoted, I would be most interested in her
citing solid material to back up her point of view.



From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 1995 01:17:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women, Men & Observance

I've been reading the discussion back and forth over the last month or so.
The real issues are not halakhic and not intrinsic to Judaism. Women and men
are different; they function in different roles; they act and react
differently. 'Different' is not 'better' or 'more valuable'.... however,
sometimes men forget that. Sometimes women come to believe they are
less valuable and valued, because the men, who forgot that being different
from women isn't being superior to women, treat them in that manner. Given
that we are all not yet tzadikim, we all must constantly contend with our
own egocentric drives to define what we do as "better than" what someone
else does; as my way or the wrong way. 

Regarding women's motivation for "extra" observance. Most of the observant
women I know, like myself, are from gentile antecedents, secular or
minimally Jewish religious backgrounds. They are primarily English speakers,
raised in the US coming of age in the 60's and 70's. These women, like
myself, came to Jewish practice and ultimately, observant lives from
immersion in Jewish literature: novels, poetry, short stories, history,
English bibles, guides to Jewish practice, guides on Jewish prayer and all
other kinds of genres.  It moved us. The imagery the authors brought to
life, binding oneself with HaShem, enwrapping us in sheltering wings,
dancing with love of the word, going beyond oneself to study and learn each
of seventy faces. They all said these are the joys and ways you experience
Judaism.  We spoke English a non-gendered language; we went to the best
universities to study law, medicine, sciences, engineering; we had careers
and dressed for success. We took all the images and metaphors to heart. You
see it never occurred to us you didn't mean all of us.  So we beginners read
them and were moved by them and needed to be a part of them. 

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


End of Volume 18 Issue 33