Volume 19 Number 04
                       Produced: Wed Mar 29  9:10:54 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Isaac Balbin]
Homoerotic(?) poetry by Rishonim
         [Seth Gordon]
Is G-d Perfect?  (MJ 18 #98)
         [Ben Rothke]
Jewish Community in Kobe
         [Ellen Golden]
Kitniyot Passover List
         [Nechama Nouranifar]
Modesty and Korbanot
         [Aryeh Blaut]
Rabbi I. Porush of Sydney Australia
         [Marc Shapiro]
Seeking architectural plans for mikvah
         [Michael J. Cowen]
Torah and Roles...
         [Zvi Weiss]
Where should we focus? - v18#30
         [Yehudah Edelstein]
Women and Megillah
         [Uri Meth]
Women and Shofar
         [Danny Skaist]
Writing on a Computer Screen
         [Moishe Kimelman]


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 15:22:13 +1100
Subject: Re: Bathrooms

  | >From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
  | This brings to mind some interesting questions:
  | - What defines a room for these purposes.  For instance, if the toilet
  |   is behind a door (like the stalls in public bathrooms), is it
  |   considered in a separate room?  Could you wash in a bathroom where
  |   all of the "unclean" equipment is kept within stalls?

My understanding of these Halachos are as follows (I last read that
Tshuvo from Rav Ovadya about 3 years ago so ... ):

If it smells like a toilet then it has the din of a toilet irrespective
of walls etc. If it doesn't smell like a toilet then the Poskim are
divided as to what the din of the room is.


From: <sethg@...> (Seth Gordon)
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 1995 19:35:08 EST
Subject: Homoerotic(?) poetry by Rishonim

Many, many moons ago, I read an article in the _New Republic_ about a
genre of poetry popular among some Muslims, in which romantic terms were
used as a code for religious concepts, and thus a poem which seemed
(hetero- or homo-) erotic on the surface was actually expressing a
religious sentiment.  The late Ayatollah Rubollah Khomeini was one
modern author of such poetry.

Perhaps the steamy poems written by some Rishonim had a similar intent.
Of course, not having any reference materials at hand, I can't *prove*
that these poems were written with such motives.

--Seth "lust is a sublimation of the Torah-study urge" Gordon <sethg@...>


From: Ben Rothke <ber@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 95 08:52:03 EST
Subject: Is G-d Perfect?  (MJ 18 #98)

The problem w/ saying G-d is perfect, is that the word perfect can imply
that perfection was a goal that was attained, and that non-perfection
was feasable.

G-d, who has no boundaries, where a measure of perfection can be gauged,
is simply complete in the sense that he is limited by any sort of
limitation.  G-d cannot do anything that is limiting.  Such as:
corporeality, etc..


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 95 00:18:14 EST
Subject: Jewish Community in Kobe

Since the Japanese Earthquake was an issue (or part of an issue) on
this list, I have notice via a publication of the World Jewish
Congress that:

    "The synagogue and Jewish community center of Kobe, Japan, has survived
    the devastating January 17th earthquake intact.

    Kobe, which has the second largest Jewish community in Japan after
    Tokyo, is home to some 30 Jewish families."

source:  WJC, "Dateline WORLD JEWERY February 1995".


From: Nechama Nouranifar <nournfrn@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 07:47:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kitniyot Passover List

Does anyone know when the Sephardi (kitniyot) kossher for passover list
will be ready or how to get it.  Last year I got it too late to be of
much help.


Nechama Katan Nouranifar


From: <AryehBlaut@...> (Aryeh Blaut)
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 10:07:54 -0500
Subject: Modesty and Korbanot

Aliza Berger writes:
>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.

Various Mitzvos are always assigned to various people.  It may be assigned by
gender or not.  Based on what you said, why couldn't I, being a Yisrael,
bring korbanos?  Why should only a Kohen be "assigned" the opportunity?

Aryeh Blaut


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 11:14:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rabbi I. Porush of Sydney Australia

Does anyone know if the late Rabbi I. Porush of Sydney Australia had any 
children. I would like to contact them, or any other relatives he may 
have had, concerning some research I am currently engaged in.
					Marc Shapiro


From: Michael J. Cowen <MTHMJC@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 1995 09:03:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Seeking architectural plans for mikvah

The Buffalo Ritualarium, the only mikvah in the Buffalo, NY and Niagara
Falls area, is planning to erect a new mikvah to replace our current 40
year old structure.  We are seeking architectural plans for a facility of
no more than 2600 sq ft (including an apartment for a mikvah attendant)
with two mikvaot. We are a small organization, and our mikvah is heavily
used by tourists during the summer months.  If you have been associated
with building a small mikvah and are willing to share your architectural
plans (which we could then modify), please contact me by e-mail at: 



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 1995 20:00:04 -0500
Subject: Torah and Roles...

I find it difficult to support the notion of the Torah assuming that men
and women have identical roles when we see so many instances when the Torah
treats them differently.
1) A Woman cannot be a formal "Eid".
2) a Woman cannot initiate Kiddushin.. she is ALWAYS considered the "recipient"
  in some way.
3) A woman can never initiate a Get on her own.
4) A woman can be FORCED to accept a Get against her will -- i.e., a Get can
  be delivered coercively.
5) There is no mandatory mitzvah for a woman of abstract Talmud Torah.
6) Women are exempted from the vast majority of Time dependant commandments.

All of the above are Torah-level halachot.  To attempt to disregard the
question of the distinction of roles in terms of Kohanim/Leviim by stating
that we should not make the Torah even "more" "undemocratic" demonstrates a
critical lack of understanding.  The Torah was NEVER given to us to foster
democracy.  It was never given to us in order that we should "feel good".  It
was given to us in order that we should be a "Mamlechet Kohanim" -- a "Kingdom
of Priests" and a "Goy Kadosh" -- holy nation.  The basic matters, then, are
what can we do to achieve this goal.  If the Torah appears to mandate differ-
ing roles, it is simply because the Torah is working toward the Goal of
"Goy Kadosh" -- not of ensuring that we all feel good and keep up with the
latest philosophical ideas of equality.

It appears to me that Aleeza is "playing a game" -- she admits that
CLEARLY Kohanim and Leviim have separate roles -- but only because G-d
EXPLICITLY says so -- while when we note Torah differentiations in the
obligations of women, she says that this is not real evidence of
anything -- because there is no explicit statement of a distinct role!
Of course, then one is left with the question of why would women have
such serious halachic differences if there was no different role

The reason that I am so concerned is that the next logical step in an
analysis of the sort that Aleeza is advancing is that our CHAZAL who
were the ones who maintained the Mesorah -- were just a bunch of male
chauvinists and that "really really" women SHOULD be allowed to initiate
Get, be "eidim" (eidot?), etc.  At that point, our halachic structure
breaks down.

R. Moshe writes in O.C. Vol.4 #49  that if a woman feels that she has been
"cheated", if a woman does not admit that fundamentally that it is Hashem's 
WIll  as expressed in the Torah that women be exempt from various Mitzvot
then these women have serious "theological" problems.  R. Moshe states that
it is legit. for a women to do actions that she is not commanded to do
if the basis for doing so is solely because she has a tremendous desire to
fulfill a commandment  -- even though she was not commanded to perform that
commandment.  However, note that R. Moshe makes clear that there be a recog-
nition that the obligation of the women is NOT identical to that of the men
AND that the performance of the Mitzva must not be viewed as some sort of a 
"protest" at being "excluded".

R, Moshe adds that while the SANCTITY of both men and women are IDENTICAL, 
Hashem chose that men and women should have different obligations.  Now, in
light of such a formulation, I would like to know how one can assert that
there is no difference in the roles of men and women.

In that light, I would strongly urge a reading of Pp. 53 - 82 in Concepts of
Judaism by Isaac Breuer (Israel Univ. Press, Jerusalem 1974) edited by
Jacob S. Levinger.  This is an approach that makes clear that the Torah is
NOT meant as some sort of democracy and that we should rethink what it is
that we are doing in our performance of Mitzvot.



From: <yehudah@...> (Yehudah Edelstein)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 22:56:53 +0200
Subject: Where should we focus? - v18#30

The term mentioned "Nashim Datan Kalot", I heard explained once as being
a praise of women. Usually a woman would be the secretary in a office,
coordinating all the phone calls, appointments, typeing etc., doing many
things all at once. Same thing by a housewife, cooking and cleaning the
house, on the phone and helping the children with their homework etc. By
men you won't find them doing several things simultaneously, but rather
in a queued order.  This idea was quoted from some source but I don't
remember the source. 
 Yehudah Edelstein "<yehudah@...>" Raanana, Israel


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 1995 10:06:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women and Megillah

In v18n74, Dr. Eli Passow asks why there is still a large opposition to
women's megilla groups.  I assume that he is referring to women reading
the megilla as opposed to having a separate reading for the women by a
man as many shuls already have.

In the Mishne Brura 689:2:7 he cites that the reading of the Megilla is
sort of like Krias Hatorah (reading of the Torah) and because of K'vod
HaTzibur (the honor of the gathered assembly) that a woman should not
read for men.  This rule of K'vod HaTzibur is used in many places.  One
simple example is that in Yeshivishe minyanim they require all men to
wear a Tallis and a hat/Tallis over the head when leading any part of
the service.   The Sha'ar Tzion brings on this Mishne Brura that where
we permit a woman to read for other women it is Chavertah (her freind)
but not for a large assemblage of women.  This could be why this reading
is not permitted in the shul.

Another reason that would be problematic for a women to read for men is
that there is a dissagreement over what Bracha (blessing) a woman would
make even when she is reading the megillah.  There are some oppinions
that even if she is reading the megillah that she should say the bracha
"Lishmoah Mikrah Megillah" and not "Al Mikrah Megillah" which is the
bracha that a man would make even if he is just hearing the megillah and
not reading it.

A Freilichin Purim

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100, Warminster, PA 18974


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 95 11:13 IST
Subject: Women and Shofar

>2. Why are women exempted from [most] time-dependent positive commandments if
>  there is no difference in roles?

Women are required to hear Shofar.  Women were exempt from hearing
shofar, but they took the mitzva upon themselves and now they are no
longer exempt.

1) How could they take a time bound mitzva on themselves ?
2) Who verified that all the motivations of all the women were indeed
3) Could such a thing happen today? and why not?



From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 13:17:02 +1100
Subject: Writing on a Computer Screen

I know nothing about the workings of computer screens, but isn't anything 
that we read written back-to-front on the inside of the screen.  Thus 
reading G-d's name on a screen would seem to be (at worst) the equivalent of 
reading G-d's name that was written on glass in mirror-writing, by turning 
the glass over.  Surely there would be no prohibition in erasing the 
"meaningless" mirror-writing... or would there?


End of Volume 19 Issue 4