Volume 19 Number 25
                       Produced: Mon Apr 10  1:41:14 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

About Men
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Co-ed, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
Just Imagine... Women
         [Yaakov Menken]
Nashim Daatan Kalot
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Nashim Daatan Kalot - v19#18
         [Yehudah Edelstein]
Nashim Daitan Kalot
         [Mike Grynberg]
         [Michael J Broyde]
         [Ari Shapiro]
Women's Roles Today
         [Miriam Haber]
Zimun and Women
         [Howard Reich]


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 11:29:45 +0500
Subject: Re: About Men

  >From: <jekorbman@...> (Jeff Korbman)

  The reason why I ask is because I found myself trying to get to shul to
  daven with a minyan this past shabbos, and my daughter, Aviva, was
  really not in the mood to put on her clothes and leave.  (She wanted to
  eat M&Ms) As a single father, it felt a bit funny. 

  Now I know, that you can not tailor make halacha for each individual,
  and ultimately I can accept that once a man, always a man; or once a
  woman, always a woman, but I wonder: Can one's obligation in this regard
  change based on life circumstance?  Is there any discussion about stuff
  like this, or is "Lo Plug, ask your Rav" what it comes down to?

There is a general rule that one who is occupied with one mitzvah is
exempt from all other mitzvot until he finishes.  Obviously, there are
defined exceptions.  I would now ask about (1) the "mitzvah" nature of
(a) getting your daughter dressed, or more generally, (b) caring for
your daughter, and (2) whether any one of the mitzvot of (a) kri'at
sh'ma, (b) tefillat amidah, and (c) tefilla b'tzibbur is a defined
exception in this case.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 1995 13:01:52 -0500
Subject: Co-ed, etc.

One of the posters was critical of the criticism that Ari Shapiro
leveled toward Co-ed.  After noting some material floating around in the
Iggrot and also reading the Nefesh HaRav (as authored by R. H. Schachter
SHLITA), it seems pretty clear that co-ed is AT BEST a sort of B'dieved
-- i.e., if it will be impossible to establish a school otherwise, then
co-ed can be accepted...  Maybe RAMAZ satisfies that situation.
HOwever, I -- also -- fail to understand how any school can be described
as an "ideal" when it is involved with matters that are clearly not
considered "suprerior" from a halachic viewpoint.

I would be most interested in any citations of p'sak that treat co-ed
set-ups as (a) desireable or (b) as a "Le'Chatchila" ...



From: <menken@...> (Yaakov Menken)
Date: Mon, 03 Apr 1995 15:46:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Just Imagine... Women

Yisroel Rotman asks us to...
>Just imagine if one day all the Rabonim got together and realized that
>they had made a mistake - men were exempt from "time - related mitzvot"
>and the like; women had to do all the mitzvot.

Why is this relevant?  Our entire Torah, written and oral, was given by G-d
Himself to Moshe on Mount Sinai.  That's one of the obvious fundamentals of
our faith.  It is G-d who did not obligate women in Talmud Torah and
positive, time-bound mitzvos.  No modification can be made in Torah Law.
[I'm tempted to ask us to imagine the Rabonim getting together and realizing
Shabbos is actually on Sunday...]

Freda Birnbaum writes:
>I believe this is a misunderstanding of the drive for more participation.
>As a friend of mine said years ago, on being asked, why did she want to do
>X, Y, Z things which usually only men do, she replied, "Because these
>things ARE the holy things of this religion!" [...]
>May I suggest that it is a serious question and not a flame, to ask, what
>is the motive behind the motive when men get SO upset and SO critical of
>women doing things which are clearly permissible [...]

It is certainly true that every woman may perform Mitzvos which the Torah
did not require her to do - and she is doing Mitzvos and gets reward for
them.  However, this is only true if her desire is to perform the Mitzvah
despite her recognition that she has no obligation - not if she wants to do
the Mitzvah because of some complaint against the Torah system as it stands.
The Sanhedrin's Rabbinic pronouncements (Torah readings, Davening, having a
Chazzan lead services) are themselves a response to a Divine Command that
they make new prohibitions and obligations (with a clear declaration that
these are Rabbinic rather than Torah mitzvos) where appropriate.

Though some might be tempted to write a flaming response (with blasters set
to "vaporize") for either of my comments above, before doing so it would be
worthwhile to read Reb Moshe's oft-mentioned Teshuva, Orach Chaim Chelek 4,
Siman 49 (page 80).  The English wording is obviously mine, but the ideas
are just as obviously his.  No finer asbestos suit could be developed.

For myself, I'm still trying to comprehend the above quote from Freda's
friend.  Am I wrong, or is she saying that the study of the Laws of Loshon
Hora and commitment to keep them is NOT holy?  That chesed groups, doing a
tahara, raising children - these things are NOT holy? Are there two Torahs,
ch"v?  The "Holy" Torah, consisting solely of a few "things which usually
only men do", and the "mundane" Torah, consisting of several hundred
"mundane" mitzvos?

Davening for the Amud, layning, receiving aliyos, dancing with the Sefer
Torah (!!) -- all of these are Rabbinic commandments and customs.  If
someone believes in "this religion" that renders those more "holy" than the
Torah commandments...

Yaakov Menken


From: <hayim@...> (Hayim Hendeles)
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 1995 10:24:58 -0700
Subject: Re: Nashim Daatan Kalot

	>The context of the quote from Chazal, "Nashim Daatan Kalot" is
	>in regards to the laws of men & women not being alone in a
	>private area (hilchot Yichud).  The Mishna in the 4th chapter
	>of kiddushin states ...

Before jumping to any conclusions as to the intent of the phrase, note
that the Talmud also uses it as the justification for Rabbi Shimon Bar
Yochai to go into hiding. When the Romans put him on the "10 Most Wanted
List - Wanted Dead or Dead", and launched an intensive manhunt searching
for him, he was afraid that the Romans (infamous for their barbaric and
hideous cruelty) might torture his wife and force her to reveal his

He used the phrase "Nashim Datan Kalot" to describe his fears of his
wife giving in to the torture that would be inflicted upon her by the

Obviously, it was not meant in a negative sense.

Hayim Hendeles


From: <yehudah@...> (Yehudah Edelstein)
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 1995 18:08:22 +0200
Subject: Nashim Daatan Kalot - v19#18

Some MJers were affended or just weren't willing to hear another
possible explanation, which I had heard and thought to relay it to
everyone. What I mentioned should come to credit women with attributes
that man may not have.  Mentioning examples such as a housewife or
secretary just demostrates that these tasks require functioning
successfully at several tasks simultaneously, and easily (Kalot) jump in
the middle of one task to another and back, etc. I did not think that a
woman cannot become a lawyer or physician. The fact is that 99% of
secretarial jobs in the USA or Israel, are held by women.

Peseach Kasher Vsameach. Remember! Dust is not Chametz and the husbands and
children are not a 'Korban Peseach'.
Yehudah Edelstein "<yehudah@...>" Raanana, Israel


From: Mike Grynberg <spike@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 1995 07:16:13 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Nashim Daitan Kalot

i believe the phrase is also used by the first line of tosfot in chulin
to expalin why a women should not be a schochet. (ritual slaughterer of

mike grynberg


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Sat, 8 Apr 1995 23:47:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pants

One of the writers questioned whether there were halachic authorties
that permitted the wearing of slacks by women.  For sources that permit
the wearing of slacks by women, see Shut Bena Baim vol 2, at page 211,
where Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin is quoted by his grandson, also a well
known posek, as permitting lose fiting slacks.  So too, Rav Aharon
Lichtenstein is quoted in Dov Frimer's dissertation on tzinuit as
permitting lose fitting pants.  Even my own rebbi, Rav Bleich, in his
article in Contemporary Halachic Problems II 144-147 is very ambivilent
about the issur and states "While there is little doubt that in many
instances the type of slacks curretnly in vogue do not conform with
halakhic norms of modest dress, it is difficult to agree that this must
necessarily always be the case."  He concludes that wearing pants is
something that wives of talmidai chachamim, and others who represent
torah, should not do.
	As with all postings of this type, people have to be careful when 
they post about unanimious opinions of halachic authorties.
Michael Broyde

From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 95 21:16:40 EDT
Subject: Pants 

<Why is a woman's wearing pants not tzanua?  Please supply sources that
<explain why, and not just make the claim that it is so.  Thank you.

I supplied a source R' Ovadya Yosef among many others (Yabia Omer 6
Siman 14) says that pants are by definition not Tznius for a woman to
wear.  See also Halichos Bas Yisrael which quotes this Teshuva of R'
Ovadya Yosef and adds that R' Scheinberg and R' Elyashiv both agreed
with R' Ovadya Yosef that pants are not tznius.  The reason given is
that pants outline the lower half of the womans body.

Ari Shapiro


From: Miriam Haber <mhaber@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 95 10:32:11 BST
Subject: Women's Roles Today

I am writing in response to Yehudah Edelstein's posting regarding the
meaning of "nashim dayaton kalot".  I do not know if anyone else was
amazed by the examples he provided but I could not believe that in 1995
someone would write (other than in jest)- "A woman would ordinarily be a
secretary", or "a housewife".  I am an attorney.  I have female friends
who are physicians, engineers, computer programmers, seeking PhDs etc.
I think that perhaps the poster should consider whether he is thinking
about womens' issues in a realistic manner since he thinks that women
will ORDINARY be secretaries and housewives.  Many women ARE secretaries
and housewives but many others are not.  Since many women have the same
jobs as men, it is difficult to believe that his theory regarding the
meaning of that Talmudic statement has any merit.

				     Miriam Haber


From: Howard Reich <0006572811@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Apr 95 18:40 EST
Subject: Zimun and Women

R. Arye Frimer reported:

>      I met with Rav Dovid Feinstein last week and discussed two issues
>with him which the readership may find of interest. (Present at this
>meeting were my brother Dov and my Brother-in-law Noach Dear).
>     2) He saw nothing wrong with 3 women making a zimun in the presence
>of two men, but felt that since the men don't count toward the zimun
>they should reply like one who has not eaten - namely "boruch umevorach
>shmo tamid le-olam va'ed"

Rabbi Feinstein told me on the telephone this morning that women should 
not form a zimun.  I asked him whether it was because nowadays, women 
generally do not bench with a zimun and this can be compared to a minhag 
that one should not abrogate.  He answered in the affirmative.  When I 
referred to Rabbi Frimer's report above, he said "one thing has nothing 
to do with the other."  If one or two men are in the presence of women 
who have (nevertheless) formed a zimun, then the men should use the 
alternate phraseology generally used by those who have not eaten.

I am left with several questions.

1.   While there is disagreement among rishonim about whether women are 
obligated to form a zimun, at a minimum according to the shulchan oruch, 
orach chayim, 199:7 and the related mishne brura, women have reshus, 
permission to form a zimun.  None of the written sources I have seen say 
that women should not bench b'zimun.  The explanation given in the mishne 
brura for not requiring women to form a zimun is that women were 
previously not altogether familiar with the text of the zimun blessing, a 
condition that arguably does not exist today because basic Hebrew 
literacy is the same for both men and women among all shades of Judaism.  
Even so, it is fair to say, women today do not generally form a zimun 
when they eat together.  What are the parameters of elevating a minhag to 
be halacha today (as per Rav Feinstein), even though it appears to be 
contrary to all Rishonim?

2.   Could the "women shouldn't bench b'zimun" position be motivated more 
out of fear arising from the fact that those who advocate it tend to 
combine the issue together with other "women's issues" that are less 
sustainable halachically (see, e.g., Leah Gordon's posting in V18N50)?

3.   The alternate phraseology "boruch umevorach shmo tamid le-olam 
va'ed" "His Name is blessed and shall be blessed forever and ever," is 
appropriate for one who hasn't eaten and cannot respond with the standard 
phrase "boruch sheochalnu..." "blessed be He of Whose we have eaten..."  
Why would the alternate phraseology be more appropriate than the standard 
one for someone who *has* eaten?

BTW, in addition to Rav Dovid Auerbach approving of women benching 
b'zimun, I've been told by two independent sources that the women in the 
home of Rav Ausband, of Telz Cleveland, do bench b'zimun together.  As 
always, consult your own.


End of Volume 19 Issue 25