Volume 18 Number 55
                       Produced: Tue Feb 21  1:16:46 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bride and Seven Circles
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Male Chauvanism in Halakha (2)
         [Aleeza Esther Berger, Avi Feldblum]
Mikvah when husband and wife are apart
         [Rachel Rosencrantz]
Niddah-5 days
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Role Innovation (2)
         [Binyomin Segal, Avi Feldblum]
Seven and the chuppa
         [David Charlap]
Shortening the time prior to 7 clean days
         [Chaya London]
Voluntary vs Obligatory
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Women and Kiddush, Zimun (2)
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz, Avi Feldblum]
Women and Men differences
         [Ari Shapiro]


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 12:59:29 -0500
Subject: Bride and Seven Circles

i heard an interesting explanation, for which i have no source.

the bride circles the groom seven times similar to b'nei yisrael
circling jericho seven times, after which the walls sank.. the bride is
breaking down the barriers between herself and her husband or in another
sense she is conquering him for herself.

eliyahu teitz


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 20:54:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Male Chauvanism in Halakha

To add to Leah Gordon's list:

Mechitzot (partitions) that put women in the back or way off to the side.

Her kiddush argument (that the one who hasn't heard it in shul has a 
greater obligation) applies to havdalah too.

The wedding blessing: "asher asar lanu et ha-arusot v'hitir lanu et
ha-nesuot lanu" - [who forbade us women who are betrothed, and permitted
us women who are married to us] Why not a parallel blessing that has the
woman as a subject rather than the object? (Cf. the commandment before
the giving of the Torah against sexual relations: "Do not go near a
woman".) Women are responsible for our own sexual behavior as well as

aliza berger

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 00:20:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Male Chauvanism in Halakha

Aleeza Esther Berger writes:
> To add to Leah Gordon's list:
> The wedding blessing: "asher asar lanu et ha-arusot v'hitir lanu et
> ha-nesuot lanu" - [who forbade us women who are betrothed, and permitted
> us women who are married to us] Why not a parallel blessing that has the
> woman as a subject rather than the object?

I understood and agree with Leah's list and your earlier item. I am a
bit puzzled by this last one. Where is your source that we may introduce
new blessings into the wedding ceremony, especially with Shem v'Malchut
(G-d's Name)?

Avi Feldblum


From: <rachelr@...> (Rachel Rosencrantz)
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 95 09:18:45 EST
Subject: Mikvah when husband and wife are apart

On Feb 16,  7:18pm, Robert A. Book <rbook@...> writes:

Well... actually some poskin that the woman should delay going to the
mikvah until she returns (or assumedly the night before she and her
husband will both be back together.)

I forget how the count is changed (Do you just keep counting clean days?
Do you wait until 7 days before you both will return to start counting?
etc.)  I got this information from _The Secret of Jewish Femininity_
which gives a pretty good overview of the subject.  I believe it is
published by Feldheim (but I'm not 100% sure.)  Tehilla Abrahamov(sp?)
wrote the book.

And of course, if this situation should arise, CYLOR.



From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 09:00:43 +0000
Subject: Re: Niddah-5 days

Danny Skaist wrote:
>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.

I agree that it is not simple, but we are not NECESSARILY talking deoraitah!
 Also accordinfg to what R. Leff said, the average niddah today seems to
be rabbinic [my interpretation of what he said]: there are three
specific sensations he tried to describe, any of which can transform a
woman into a niddah (deoraitah); just blood is not necessarily
deoraitah!  R. Leff also did recommend asking about waiving the 5 days
on an individual basis; however, I believe that was particularly for the
case of abstention for medical reasons.
 Another point R. Leff made was that in issues of family purity, one
should not go after all the stringencies; they just cause stess between
the people involved.  Yes, you should ask a poseq; he recommended
himself, since he doesn't know any in Har Nof (where the lectures are
being given) who he considers suitable (those he knows are too

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


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 15:39:26 -0600
Subject: Role Innovation

There seems to be one reason why a woman had to justify her motivation
more than a man in dancing with the Torah. It's called change.

Jewish Practice - even those parts not encoded in Shulchan Aruch have a
real kedusha (holiness) in fact at times they can determine the law.

There are _very_ rigorous standards needed to change that practice. If a
group come with a change in the way its been done it must be clear that
their motivation is clearly for the sake of Heaven. Once that innovation
has been accepted to deviate from _that_ requires the same rigorous

Throughout history various practices have undergone this scrutiny eg
weddings in shuls, yeshiva education, seminary education, chasidic
practice etc.

Since Torah comes from Sinai the assumption is that innovation (even
within the bounds of the written texts) is suspect.

For innovators this can seem unfair especially since they know that
their motivations are good and they see the benefits they have to offer
- but historically speaking placing the burden of proof on the innovator
has insured that only those innovations that will ultimately help the
Jewish people are accepted as part of normative practice.


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 23:05:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Role Innovation

Binyomin Segal writes:
> Since Torah comes from Sinai the assumption is that innovation (even
> within the bounds of the written texts) is suspect.

Binyomin writes this and various other similar statements as if this is
a clear and well established historical fact. It is far from clear to me
that this approach to innovation is fundimental to the halakhic process,
and has indeed been the normative approach over the last two thousand
years. I would suspect that it may be true for the last hundred, maybe
for the last two hundred, but has it been true over the long run? I
invite some of our more halakhic historically oriented readers to reply
to this issue.

Avi Feldblum


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 95 13:07:31 EST
Subject: Re: Seven and the chuppa

I've seen much discussion here regarding the reason for seven brachot
and seven circles around the groom, etc.

I learned years ago that seven is considered the "natural" number for
this world.  Eight, being one beyond seven is supernatural.  Similarly,
49 is also natural (seven sevens) and 50 is supernatural (one beyond
49).  The reasons for this are kabbalistic, and I don't know the
original source.

Anyway, this is why we see sevens everywhere in Jewish tradition:
7 days of the week
7 years of a shmitta cycle
the bride circles the groom 7 times
7 brachot for a newly-married couple
7 shmitta cycles before Yovel (with Yovel on the 50th - supernatural - year)

Shalom Kohn brings up more sevens:
7 circles around Jericho with 7 kohanim blowing 7 shofarot.

Gilad Gevaryahu mentions:
7 chupot built by God for Adam and Chava in Gan Eden

There are plenty more sevens in the Torah, Halacha and Minhagim as
well.  I think they all (or most of them anyway) stem from this
kabbalistic thing about seven being natural.


From: Chaya London <CGREENBE@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 1995 09:52:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shortening the time prior to 7 clean days

Leah Gordon asked about menstrual extraction to shorten menses:

I am only conjecturing here, but once a woman is on day #5 of menses, she 
is permitted to do as much washing, and take as many bedikah cloths as she 
wants before getting a clean cloth to begin counting 7 clean days (the next 
day being the start).  It would seem to reason from this that on day 5 or 
later that she could undergo menstrual extraction.  In fact, in the class 
that I took, all the women made a big point of how it was in one's best 
interest to take a bath and be rather aggressive about cleaning out.  This 
cannot occur before the minimum 5 days.  However, when couting days, we use 
the hebrew calendar, so if menses starts in the afternoon (prior to sunset) 
that is still day 1, even if sunset is 2 hours later.

Anyone know what Rabbi Bleich would say about this?

-Chaya London


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 1995 14:58:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Voluntary vs Obligatory

> >From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
>  Additionally, I would suggest that because men have an intrinsic
> obligation of Talmud Torah as a stand-alone obligation (not simply
> because one must study in order to know what to do), the dancing that
> men do is a celebration of that *obligation".  This is in clear contrast
> to women where the halacha is quite explicit that women do NOT have such
> an obligation.  Since men are dancing in celebration of their
> obligation, the question of motivation does not apply -- just as we do
> not inquire into people's motivation (in general) for any obligatiory
> acts that they perform.

Could you provide a source for inquiring about motivation for a
voluntary act, but not for an obligatory act. Seems to me that as long
as an act is permissible, why is there some need to inquire?

Aliza Berger


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Feb 1995 16:44:40 -0500
Subject: Women and Kiddush, Zimun

  > Case 1:  Kiddush (specifically Friday night)
  > Halakha:  Women are obligated in kiddush, equally to men, and are therefore
  > permitted to exempt them.  Furthermore, if a man has davened in a shul on
  > Friday night, he has thus partly fulfilled his kiddush obligation, making
  > it preferable in such a case for his wife to make her own kiddush.
  > (source-Mishna Brurah)
  > Status Quo: On campuses around the country, Hillels have a history of
  > not allowing women to make kiddush for the community (as opposed to
  > men).  Furthermore, it is almost unheard of in Orthodox households for
  > women to make kiddush for the family. [...]

  A number of years ago, the Rabbi of my (Orthodox) shul gave a Shalosh
Seudos shir regarding this, and stated that there is absolutely nothing
wrong with a woman making kiddush for her entire family. When I inquired
about why this is not permitted on campus, I was told that there is some
type of Halakhic differene between making kiddush for a family and
making kiddush for a large group of people. Might anyone know what
difference was referred to, and what the halakhic consequences of it

  > Case 2:  Mezuman
  > Halakha: Women are obligated in mezuman if three of them eat bread
  > together and there are fewer than three men present.  Furthermore, they
  > have the option of separating themselves and making their own mezuman
  > even if there are three men present.  
  > (source-Mishna Brurah)

  The first time I heard about this was when I was the only male present
at a meal. A friend of mine explained the halakha to me, but also
mentioned that in order to hold a women's mezuman, she needed to ask
permission of any males present in the room at the time who also needed
to bentch.  Also, I was told that I could not respond to the Mezuman and
would have to bentch on my own.

Eric Jaron Stieglitz    <ephraim@...>
Home: (212) 853-6771            Assistant Systems Manager at the
Work: (212) 854-6020            Center for Telecommunications Research
Fax : (212) 854-2497    http://www.ctr.columbia.edu/people/Eric.html

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Tue, 21 Feb 1995 00:09:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Women and Kiddush, Zimun

Eric Jaron Stieglitz writes:
>   The first time I heard about this was when I was the only male present
> at a meal. A friend of mine explained the halakha to me, but also
> mentioned that in order to hold a women's mezuman, she needed to ask
> permission of any males present in the room at the time who also needed
> to bentch.

I have heard this, or some minor variations of this in the
past. However, when I have asked for source material, I have come up
empty handed. Does anyone have a source for this, or is this a "halakhic
urban legand"? By the way, I have also heard that the Shulchan Aruch
HaRav paskens that if three women eat together, they are obligated (not
just permitted) to form a zimun. I do not have a copy of the Shulchan
Aruch HaRav, anyone with it who can check this up?

Avi Feldblum


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 19 Feb 95 15:21:45 EST
Subject: Women and Men differences

> It is my understanding, however, that G-d has no trouble understanding
> the prayers of supplicants, no matter the language or style.
> So why is it necessary to limit the prayers of women to a form
> which they find more constricting or less expressive or less joyful?
> As long as they are acting in accordance with their LOR, what can be
> accomplished by questioning their motivation?  I have been taught that it
> is only G-d who can see into the heart and mind of any individual.

The Bais Halevi in Parshas Ki Tisa explaining the chet haegel is very
appropriate for this discussion. He says that the sin of the chet haegel
was that when they thought Moshe had died they tried to invent a new
way to worship Hashem.  What they didn't understand is that the only
way to worship Hashem is the way that he has told us, any other way
is meaningless. And this explain why in Parshas Pekudey on every detail
of the mishkan it says as Hashem commanded to emphasize this point that
the Mishkan comes to atone for the Egel, the Mishkan where every detail
was exactly as commanded.  He also explains the medrash in parshas 
chukas that the Parah Aduma is a kappara(atonement) for the chet haegel.
What is the connection? The parah aduma is the ultimate chok(mitzvah
for which there is no understandable reason) the reverse of the sin of the
egel.  By the egel their sin was to innovate based on their own thinking
the parah aduma is just the reverse, a total submersion of the person's
intellect to Hashem's will.

I think that we should keep this in mind when we discuss innovations in
practice.  While we may have the greatest motives (like the Jewish people
at the time of the egel) it can lead to great tragedy. 

Ari Shapiro


End of Volume 18 Issue 55