Volume 18 Number 92
                       Produced: Mon Mar 20 20:51:07 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jewish Observer Article on Internet
         [Joe Wetstein]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Pornography on the Internet
         [Gad Frenkel]
Putting the Cart before the Horse
         [Seth Gordon]
Shaking Hands
         [Chana Luntz]
Saying Kaddish
         [Josh Backon]
Use of hot water on shabbat.
         [Jonny Raziel]
Women's Role (yet again)
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]


From: <jpw@...> (Joe Wetstein)
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 1995 15:55:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Jewish Observer Article on Internet

My personal feelings are that the article was essentially correct, but 
there was one line that I didn't like.

The fact that it is up to the Rabbonim to decide what needs to be done.

It would seem to me that it is better to ask a frum computer/engineering 
professional what should be done, and not someone who has no idea what 
the net really is all about.

Just my $0.02. I'd be glad to discuss this off-line.



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 09:30:35 -0500
Subject: Mitzvoth/Mesorah

I am concerned by the tone of Jeff's posting which asserts that dinim
(at least those D'Rabbannan) are made by men -- and implies that is
where our problem lies.  The fact is that the Torah (in Lo Tasur)
explicitly gave these Chachamim the authority to enact (as per the
appropriate halachic guidelines and procedures) the various enactments
and "fences" that we refer to as Dinim D'Rabbanan.  To point to the fact
that "men" devised all of this stuff -- and we should not be surprised
that women are unhappy -- nay that if women had been "more involved",
the results would have been different -- appears to me to be an
assertion against the notion that our CHAZAL were the conduits and
maintainers of Mesorah.
  I certianly agree that sometimes women are treated shabbily but I
would assert that the problem is NOT with the halachot of CHAZAL but
with OUR behaviour.  To cite just one example, there is no indication
that CHAZAL intended the man to be able to hold his wife hostage in
terms of a Get.  It seems clear that Rabbeinu Gershom specifically
enacted that there can (with very limited exceptions) not be a coercive
get as part of the on-going protection of the woman.  Where the matter
breaks down is that all too often the KEHILLA (that usually means "us
men") does not follow through on its responsiblity when men DO act
coercively or abusively toward their wives.  Is that a fault of halacha?
Does it mean that Halacha is "anti woman"?  I would assert not at all --
it is rather an instance of people distorting the halacha for their own
ulterior motives AND a failure of the rest of us to respond to such
  I can certainly understand that Gedolim would find problems with the
NYC "Get Law".  What I cannot understand is why Gedolim have not been
more "public" in overtly condemning men who simply do "chain" their
wives.  I can understand the fact that Hareidim protest when the
(secular) Israeli Supreme Court intervenes in matters of Child Support
but I cannot understand why the Rabbinic Batei Dinim issue the sort of
"Child Support" that invites such intervention.  In all cases, I do not
see a problem with the HALACHA (both Rabbinic or Torah-level) -- I see
a problem with our ATTITUDES.



From: Gad Frenkel <0003921724@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 95 14:40 EST
Subject: Pornography on the Internet

Two recent postings state:

>When one hears what percentage of the Internet bandwidth is used for
>Immodest and indecent postings and traffic, one understands perfectly
>well what they are warning about:

>According to the author, those who study Internet traffic have concluded that
>the _majority_ of bandwidth is spent on pornographic photos and articles (I'd
>like to see verification of this)

While there is clearly a tremendous amount of junk that appeals to man's
basest nature to be found on the Internet, it's important to undersatnd
all things in their context.  Most of the objectionable material is in
the form of pictures, which require much more bandwidth than does text
material such as this. So the fact (if it is a fact) that pornography
uses a large percentage of Internet bandwidth, does not mean that the
Internet is largely used for pornography.


From: <sethg@...> (Seth Gordon)
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 1995 19:50:27 EST
Subject: Re: Putting the Cart before the Horse

Hayim Hendeles remarked:
/ a significant problem with the
/ so called "Modern Orthodox" ... [is]  approaching halacha with
/ preconceived biases and opinions.
/ There is a major difference between approaching the Torah from an
/ unbiased standpoint, vs. approaching it to find support for your beliefs.

And of course, Mr. Hendeles believes that he is approaching Torah from
an unbiased standpoint and his more liberal interlocutor is not.

Unfortunately, he does not give any *reason* in this article *why* his
opinion is unbiased, so the whole article strikes me as an elaborate
way of saying "I'm right because I'm right and you're wrong because
you're wrong."

--Seth "...the wrong side and my side" Gordon <sethg@...>


From: Chana Luntz <luntz@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 23:26:34 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Re Shaking Hands

In Vol 18 #87 Rachel Rosencrantz wrote:

> I do tend to find that in older companies that people
> tend to naturally assume you don't shake hands unless you are familiar
> with the person.  It's mainly with the younger company cultures that
> shaking hands seems to be the same as saying, "Hi, nice to meet you."

I think the reason you tend to find that older company is less likely to
shake hands with you is that older men are more likely to be aware of
the rule in (English) etiquette that it is the lady who should first
give her hand, and hence if you don't hold out your hand, they won't
either. (This derives from the even older rule that shaking hands was
something done between men, the correct interaction between a man and a
lady was that the lady gave her hand and the man kissed it). Younger men
tend not to be aware of these rules, just as they are less likely to let
a woman go first through a door or walk on the street side, rather than
the building side of the pavement/footpath.

Anyhow it is certainly not inappropriate, even in English etiquette, for 
a lady to simply incline her head rather than shake hands, so if you do 
this first, ie relatively quickly, while saying nice to meet you, then I 
find you rarely run into problems - also stand back just far enough so 
that you are out of handshake distance, ie so a handshake would require 
something of a lunge. Unfortunately this advice does not work for men, ie 
in English etiquette it would be considered rude for a man not to take a 
lady's hand, and if there is a gap it would be correct for the woman to 
close the distance - so I would guess it would be much more difficult to 
gracefully extract oneself from the situation. (Etiquette books can be a 
fun read - BTW did you know there was a jewish one? It was written 
anonomously at the end of the nineteenth century, but they think it was 
authored by the wife of Montifiore. It has some great bits such as 
remembering to bring one's personal shochet when going to bag partridge).



From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  14 Mar 95 13:41 +0200
Subject: Re: Saying Kaddish

Bernard Katz asked about the psychological significance of saying
kaddish. I once had a text in geriatric medicine that had a chapter on
bereavement counseling. The gentile author of the chapter had nothing
but praise for Orthodox Jewish bereavement practices and mentioned some
research that indicated that the shiva, the shloshim etc. had on
handling the grief. On a personal note, for 7 years years I was part of
a medical team that did its annual reserve duty in the army by breaking
the bad news to the parents/spouse of the fallen soldier.  I always
noticed that the more *frum* the parent/spouse was, the better they
could handle the grief. Most members of *Sayeret IYOV* burned out after
a few years.

Josh Backon


From: Jonny Raziel <JONNYR@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 09:52:25 GMT+0200
Subject: Use of hot water on shabbat.

The most obvious solution to this issue is the use of solar heated water
as commonly used in Israel.Here is some background: The gemara in
shabbat 39b forbids water heated up by fire or derivitives of fire
(toldot haesh) as being a torah prohibition. Conversely water (or any
foodstuff) heated up directly by the sun ('hama') is permitted even
rabinically (according to Rashi because this form of cooking is
completely out of the ordinary). There exists a dispute concerning
derivitives of the sun (such as frying an egg on a hot car roof!) and
the conclusion is that it is rabbinically forbidden in case on comes to
think that toldot haesh are permitted.

The following is a summary of the opinions of  a number of poskim 
regarding the use of solar water heaters:

1.Tzitz Eliezer (Rav E Waldenberg shlit"a) permits their use since he
considers the water to be directly heated up by the sun, and any cold
water coming in does not mix immediatly with the existing hot water
(which would be 'toldot haham'). He also brings his father in law, Harav
Zvi Pessah Frank z"l who permitted it.

2. Yabiya omer (Rav O Yosef shlit"a) permits their use. However he
considers the entire system to be toldot hahama, but since it is a 'psik
resha de lo nihe le bissur derabbanan' (translation ?) [A forced
consequence that he does not wish in the case of a rabbinic prohibition
? - Mod.] and an unintenional act, applying these halachic principles of
shabbat it is permitted to use this hot water.

3. Minhat Yitzchak (Rav Viess z"l) forbids the use, after his analsys 
of the gemara he concludes that toldot hahama is only permitted where it 
cannot be confused in any way with dervitives of fire. In the case of 
solar heated water, since during the winter the boiler is switched 
on and the hot water continues to exit from the same faucet as during 
the summer months, then this form of use would never be permitted 

4. Iggrot Moshe (Rav M Feinstein z"l) does not directly relate to 
this issue, but in his discussion of microwave ovens, implies that 
once an unusual form of heating/cooking becomes usual and the results 
are acceptable, then it becomes forbidden from the torah ! In this 
case it would seem that solar heated water might come under that 
category , and at the very least it would be rabbinically forbidden.

5. Shmirat shabbat khilcharta (Rav Neubert shlit"a) . This is very
interesting !  In the first edition, Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach z"l
permitted its use for all the reasons that Rav Waldenberg & Rav Yosef
brought. In addition, he added that since we are unsure that the water
already in the tank was hot enough to boil up any cold water coming in,
it was a 'safek psik reshe bissur derabanan' i.e. a doubtful twice
rabbinical prohibtion and is certainly permitted.  In the second
edition, Rav Neubert brought Rav S.Z who said 'tov lhimana' - its best
to avoid using it since perhaps one could become confused between the
use of the electric boiler which is forbidden.

                              I would be happy to supply the actual 
references if anyone wishes them.


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 20:06:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women's Role (yet again)

Hayim Hendeles responds to a post:

> >However, these explanations, it seems to me, beg the question...
> >Is it an absolute and eternal religious desideratum that the
> >religious roles of women be private, and private only? If so,
> >one cannot argue with the reasoning above. However, if one
> >believes, as I do, that the place of women in religious society
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> >is subject to modification based on the cultural nuances of
> >different times and places, ...

(Hayim writes):
> This statement underscores what is, IMHO, a significant problem with the
> so called "Modern Orthodox" - viz.  approaching halacha with
> preconceived biases and opinions.

No group is free from doing this.  It is part of the halakhic process.  
For example, if we all were free from opinions, we would still 
have the institution of slavery as set out in the Torah.  Application of
such statements as "all the honor of a king's daughter is within" ad 
infinitum, in places where previous rabbis did not make the application, 
is also an example of approaching a halakhic question with a preconceived 
bias. (This has come up in the discussion of women's mezuman.) The 
difference between religious groups is what the preconceived bias is. 

Aryeh Blaut writes:

> The answer that Rabbi Hoffenberg offers is that it is a remez (hint) to
> tznius ("modisty").  He devolpes this idea (much better than I could
> summarize).  He calls attention to how different things would be if it
> weren't for Sara, Rivka, Rachel & Leah as well as the women of Egypt,
> all of whom "worked behind the scenes".

What about Deborah and the daughters of Zelophad? These too are female role 

> "No wonder, then, that the Vilna Gaon said--as cited by Rav Elya Svei,
> Philadelphia Rosh Yeshiva, in his keynote message at the Agudah national
> convention two years ago--that for women, the equivalent of Torah tavlin
> (the antidote to the Yetzer hora given to men encapsulated in the study
> of Torah) is devotion to the middah of tznius."

Surely modesty is a great quality - but there is no need to "assign" it
just to one gender. Men have to be modest as well, in dress and manner.
Also, women are required to study too. The requirement to study "laws
which apply to women" - see Rama on Yoreh Deah 246 - can be a big
assignment depending on how one interpretes it.  Rabbi Svei's message,
like many of the "expansions" and "assignments" of the modesty issue to
women, is a reflection of a certain worldview (preconceived opinion, see
above) -- not a halakhic requirement.  Other worldviews (hashkafot) lead
to other interpretations of the issues of tzniut and Torah study.  To
each (group or individual) her or his own.

Aliza Berger


End of Volume 18 Issue 92