Volume 18 Number 44
                       Produced: Thu Feb 16 19:18:06 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

5 days
         [Danny Skaist]
Aliyah for Levi in the absence of a Kohen
         [Yitz Etshalom]
Are men and women really different ?
         [Chaim Stern]
Beit T'shuvah & Kevin Mitnick
         [Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund]
birkath hagomel
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Circling the Groom
         [Chaya London]
Feminism definitons
         [Zvi Weiss]
Mikveh and travel
         [Robert A. Book]
Question about the Chupa
         [Shalom Kohn]
Surrogate Motherhood
         [Eli Turkel]
Wedding Minhag
         [Gilad Gevaryahu]


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 95 12:02 IST
Subject: 5 days

>Lon Eisenberg
>If I've made any mistakes in understanding or transmitting what Rabbi Leff
>said, I appologize.

>2. A bride counts only 4 (not 5) days [one of the 5 days is related to having
>   relations before the period began, which is not applicable to a bride].
>4. In the case of abstention due to halakha before the start of the bleeding,
>   the 5 days are completley waived!  Counting the 7 days begins whenever the
>   bleeding stops.  Examples:

The prime example of "abstention due to halakha before the start of the
bleeding" (case 4) that comes into my mind is the case of a couple not yet
married where the bride has never been to the mikve (case 2).

It is not that simple.  We are talking D'orysa and sphekot, chumrot abound,
which are now accepted as nominal hallacha. IMHO Any changes in the "5 days"
require a posek and not a LOR on an individual basis.



From: Yitz Etshalom <rebyitz@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 07:21:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Aliyah for Levi in the absence of a Kohen

The approach of the Rov zt"l, not to call a Levi at all if there was no 
Kohen, is based upon the Rashi (Gittin 59b s.v. Nitparda), quoting his 
rebbeim and R. Amram Gaon. This is also the formulation of Rambam 
(Tefilla 12:19). 

Yitz Etshalom


From: Chaim Stern <PYPCHS%<EZMAIL@...>
Date: Tue 14 Feb 1995 12:32 ET
Subject: Are men and women really different ?

I was at a shiur the other night and the speaker quoted the Maharal of
Prague who said that men and women think so differently that they can never
really understand each other completely.

Chaim Stern


From: sg04%<kesser@...> (Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund)
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 95 14:29:12 EST
Subject: Beit T'shuvah & Kevin Mitnick

Today's NYT (2/16/95) on the front page has a story about Kevin Mitnick
who is accused of being the most wanted cyberthief in the US. Allegedly
having stolen millions in software and codes.

{Nebbich, it is always sad to read about the difficulties that any Jew
might stumble into, and that is not why I am mentioning this story}

Towards the end of the article it says that he was previously paroled
on a prior charge, to a program in L.A. called Bait T'shuva.

What do people know about this program?

I do know that Chabad runs a program for run-aways and other homeless
people (esp. the young) but not sure if this is the Beit T'Shuva
program, or what the contents of this program is.

Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund		 	            <sgutfreund@...> 
GTE Laboratories,Waltham MA      http://info.gte.com/ftp/circus/home/home.html


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 08:35:01 +0000
Subject: Re: birkath hagomel

>The Tzitz Eliezer [20], however, rules that hagomel is required only after a
>lengthy flight, such as one longer than 2 hours, irrespective of whether the
>journey is over the sea or not.  Shorter flights do not require hagomel
>since the chance of danger is small.

What is special about 2 hr.?

I have never noticed women saying birkath hagomel after a flight.  Why?

BTW, there is an opinion brought (which we don't follow) in Shulkan
`Arukh that we don't say birkath hagomel after a dangerous experienc,
only after crossing the sea or dessert, recovering from an illness, or
being released from prison.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5658438 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: Chaya London <CGREENBE@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 10:14:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Circling the Groom

Erwin Katz asks about the bride circling the groom.  This is what I had 
found out before my wedding:

The Seven Circles: After she arrives at the Chuppah, the Kallah circles
the Choson seven times.  There are many explanations for this custom.
One author suggests that a woman is a protective wall for her husband,
guarding him from harmful influences: "A woman encompasses a man"
(Jeremiah 31:22). Another interpretation is that the Kallah makes
invisible walls: a separation from the rest of society.  It signifies
that no one may step into that circle to invade their privacy or
interfere with their lives.  It is also a demonstration of the
fundamental verse of marriage in Genesis: "Therefore shall a man leave
his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they shall be one
flesh" (2:24).  It is a new family circle within society.

 Sheva Berachos: The benedictions cover many themes - the creation of
the world and of humanity, the survival of the Jewish people and of
Israel, the marriage,the couple's happiness and the raising of the
family.  It puts the state of marriage into a dynamic relationship with
the beginning and end of history - the Garden of Eden and the
expectation of the Messiah.  As to it being seven, as I am sure many
people more knowledgable than I can tell you, seven is a number with
much significance (creation plus shabbat - number of days of the

-Chaya London


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 15:21:52 -0500
Subject: Feminism definitons

Leah Gordon states that (in her opinion) the halakhic role frequently
described as "women's" is in fact chauvinistic and not based in halakha.
She provides no source material to back up her statement AND at face
value, this statement is dangerously close to the sort of statement that
R. Moshe considered heretical.

As I assume that Ms. Gordon is NOT a heretic, I would appreciate it if
(a) she could more precisely clarify her statement as to what aspects of
a women's role are and are not based upon halakha and (b) she could
provide source material to support her views.



From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 12:47:27 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Mikveh and travel

Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...> writes:
> The following are some interesting facts I learned yesterday in the
> weekly family purity [tahorath hamishpahah] class given by Rabbi Leff in
> Har Nof, with respect to counting the additional days before counting
> the 7 clean days:
> 3. If the husband or wife is going on an extended trip (away from the other!)
>    only 4 days need be counted if 5 would delay relations till after the
>    return.

Allow me to ask a related question: Suppose that either husband or wife
is going on such a trip, and the correct day for the wife to go to
mikveh falls while they are apart (and this cannot be changed by
reducing the 5 days to 4; they will be apart anyway).  Does the wife go
to mikveh on the "correct" day, even thought they cannot be together, or
does she go on the first day that they can actually be together?

I had assumed the first was the case, but seeing the discussion of
unmarried women not going to mikveh, I wonder if there is a problem with
maaris ayin (public perception), i.e., it might be perceived that she
was going to mikveh for the benefit of another man.  (Chas v'shalom!)

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago


From: <skohn@...> (Shalom Kohn)
Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 16:04:00 -0800
Subject: Re: Question about the Chupa

On Erwin Katz' question about the chupa --

	One source I found for the bride walking around the groom is
Jeremiah 31:22 (or 31:21 in some versions) "nekai-vah ti-sovev gever"
the female will encircle the male.  It is not entirely clear why this is
pertinent; among other things, the posuk in Jeremiah seems to be
critical of the fact that the female pursues the male for marriage
rather than the opposite (see Radak, Rashi in Nach).  The posuk also
does not explain the 7 times, other than it is reminiscent of the
encirclement of Jericho 7 times (Joshua 6) by the people, with 7 kohanim
blowing 7 shofars (shofarot).  (Does this imply that the bride is
conquering the groom??  That would be bizarre indeed.).  Rashi in nach
does quote the comment of R. Yehuda Ha-Darshan referring to the bride
inheriting the property of seven nations (said to be a tenth of the 70
nations' property, although this could refer to the land of the seven
nations of Eretz Yisroel).  Perhaps the seven orbits builds on this
statement to suggest that the Jews are to inherit Eretz Yisroel, and
this is emphasized at every wedding.

	Many years ago, I officiated at the wedding of a classmate (not
frum) but conducted it according to halacha, including the walking bride
around the groom.  On only thing people asked about was the walking; I
explained that this symbolized that "the bride, while remaining in the
orbit of her husband, retains her own identity."  The questioners found
the answer acceptable; and perhaps it is not a bad paraphrase of the
posuk in Jeremiah.

	Apparently, however, the seven orbits are not universal.  Rabbi
A. Greenhouse's "Taamei Haminhagim" (which generally describes the
practices of the Belz chassidim) says the orbiting is because the groom
is like a king, whose soldiers are to surround him; and there are to be
three orbits, because the phrase "if a man takes a woman" appears three
times in the torah (some of these are not in the most favorable
contexts, so having them be the source of a minhag is again not
immediately comprehensible....)

	As for seven in sheva brachot, the number is apparently
coincidental.  See Ketubot 8a.  Note that one of these blessings was the
one over the wine, so it appears not integral to the concept of
marriage, and that each of the other blessings appears to have had a
particular purpose and there is no suggestion in the gemarah that the
rabbis who established these blessings were straining to attain a total
of seven.  Note too that there were some amoraim who deleted one
blessing ("yotzair ha-adam"), which the gemara initially discusses in
terms of whether there was one or two creations of men and women (itself
a profound philosophical and medrashic issue which regrettably is beyond
the scope of this response).


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 14:38:15 -0500
Subject: Surrogate Motherhood

   The following message appeared on israeline:

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau said Monday that the Chief
Rabbinate will approve the practice of surrogate motherhood, but only
under rigorous restrictions, HA'ARETZ reported.
  Some of the conditions spelled out by Rabbi Lau are that the mother
carrying the child not be married, careful records of the biological and
surrogate mother be kept, and each case be approved by a special
committee that includes a religious representative.
  The report noted that many rabbis believe the surrogate mother is the
child's real mother and are demanding that the biological parents go
through adoption procedures.


From: <gevarya@...> (Gilad Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 13 Feb 1995 09:37:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Wedding Minhag

Erwin Katz (MJ18#38)asks:
>Does anyone have the source for the minhag of a bride walking around the 
>groom seven times during the wedding ceremony?

The custom in Israel is to circle the groom seven times and it is based
on the seven chupot that God built for Adam and Eve in Gan Eden. Source:
Minhagei Eretz Israel by Yaacov Galis, Mosad Ha'Rav Kook, Jerusalem,
1968 p.  334. See additional references there. The original custom for
the encircling comes from Yirmiyahu 31:21 "A woman shall go around a
man". The first Jewish Catalogue suggested that the source of the seven
times seems to cerrespond with the seven times in the Bible where it is
written "and when a man takes a wife" (I looked in the Bible and
couldn't follow this explanation)

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 18 Issue 44