Volume 19 Number 41
                       Produced: Mon May  1  6:35:47 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

About Men
         [Ellen Golden]
G-d's name on a Computer Screen - v19#33 [Mark Kolber]
         [Yehudah Edelstein]
G-D'S Name on Computer Screen (2)
         [David Charlap, Rachel Rosencrantz]
Woman's Finances
         [Eli Turkel]
Women and Mayim Achronim
         [David Brotsky]
Women Wearing Pants
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Women's Roles Today
         [David Neustadter]


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 95 00:50:36 EDT
Subject: About Men

    >From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)

      >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, 

Err.. if this gentleman is a single father, what is he supposed to do
with his daughter?  Not everyone can afford a governess or a housekeeper
(or even a babysitter) to take care of the kids.

  or more generally, (b) caring for
  your daughter, and

She's with him, should he ignore her?

  (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.

This I can't speak to, but he has a REAL dilemma, and Halacha should
have some answer here.  [Just an opinion, I'm not qualified.]

- V. Ellen Golden

Not a Ba'al T'shuvah, but the Mother of one.


From: <yehudah@...> (Yehudah Edelstein)
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 20:33:46 +0200
Subject: G-d's name on a Computer Screen - v19#33 [Mark Kolber]

I was told that this issue has been discussed in the past. Reading this
last post leads me to ask what about Shabbos, where 39 AVOT MELACHA are
forbidden, including writing 2 letters (characyers). If I'm not mistaken
the prohibition includes any 2 signs that mean something, as the source
is from the building of the MISHKAN (tarbanacle). When assembling the
Mishkan, the beams were stood up into bases (ADANIM). The beam was
marked and also the base with the same identical sign (i.e. aleph), each
set using a different sign. From this it leads me to think in Mark
Kolber's direction, that any 2 signs are concidered writing something
permenantly, so just as on Shabbos it is forbidden to write any signs,
so to it should be forbiden to write Hashem's name in any sign such as
binary signs. Is just Lashon Hakodesh forbidden? On the other hand, can
we read the binary marks with our naked eyes or do we need some
interface to interpret the holes in a paper tape, or punched card, or
magnetic marks on a tape or disk, or reading laser etchings from a laser

Yehudah Edelstein "<yehudah@...>" Raanana, Israel


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 95 11:35:55 EDT
Subject: G-D'S Name on Computer Screen

Mark Kolber <MKOLBER@...> writes:
>2.    Can we erase the record of the word G-d on a computer disc? 
>In my opinion this is the destruction of information analogous to
>erasing  the  word  written  on   a  paper.    I   feel   it   is 
>irrelevant  whether the storage medium is a clay  tablet,  stone, 
>paper  or  magnetic  disc and likewise it is  irrelevant  if  the 
>language is  Hebrew, English, Braille or Binary.

Do you realize the can of worms you open if you believe this and act on
the logical consequences of that belief.

For intance, you can not delete this e-mail message.  It contains the
string "G-d" in it.  This is God's name.  It's in English, and a
letter's been changed, but the meaning is absolutely clear.  Similarly,
if I type "H'" or "***" or any other string in the appropriate context,
they would clearly be a reference to God, and hence be His name in some
language.  You claim language is irrelevant.  I assume this means all
languages, including informal ones, like when you deliberately
substitute the string "G-d" for "God".  Would you say that erasing any
of them is forbidden?

And WRT medium, it's the same thing.  For instance, the string "God" has
the ASCII values 71, 111, 100.  Do you mean that this pattern of numbers
should be preserved wherever it might appear?  If I write a program,
it's likely that my compiler will generate this string of numbers
somewhere along the line - in that context they're nothing more than
parts of a program.  Would you consider their mere existance sufficient
to render the program holy, and prevent it's deletion.

And it gets worse.  Suppose you "move" this holy binary file from one
medium to another (say, from an old hard drive to a new one).  File
moving on computers is usually done by copying the file and deleting the
old one.  According to your logic, this would be prohibited.

Furthermore, the process of viewing the binary data always involves
copying it into your computer's memory.  Would you say I'm not allowed
to ever alter the contents of that part of memory?  In the course of
running any program, the information will be moved (that is, copied and
deleted) all over memory, making such a requirement a near

These are not like the computer screen, which is a projection.  This is
an actual recording of God's name in a permenant (or semi-permenant)
medium (RAM or magnetic storage).  If you honestly believe God's name
has equal holiness regardless of medium, language, or encoding, then you
would have to forbid use of computers altogether, because it would be
impossible to avoid accidental erasure of these patterns as they may
randomly come into existance during the computer's normal operation.

The rabbis knew (and know) that if you forbid the destruction of God's
name in all contexts, languages, alphabets, etc., you end up with an
impossible situation where nothing may ever be destroyed for fear that
it might contain some instance of God's name.  So they ruled that only
certain names, in Hebrew, have holiness - making it forbidden to erase
them.  Other names are not forbidden, although it is customary for many
to be careful with them - not because it's a requirement, but out of
respect for the One who the names refer to.  (notice how I just used the
word "one" as one of God's names?  See the problem?)

From: <rachelr@...> (Rachel Rosencrantz)
Date: Wed, 19 Apr 1995 11:48:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: G-D'S Name on Computer Screen

From: Mark Kolber <MKOLBER@...>
> Subject: G-D'S Name on Computer Screen
> I would like to offer my views regarding G-d's name on a computer
> screen.
> 2.    Can we erase the record of the word G-d on a computer disc? 
> In my opinion this is the destruction of information analogous to
> erasing  the  word  written  on   a  paper.    I   feel   it   is 
> irrelevant  whether the storage medium is a clay  tablet,  stone, 
> paper  or  magnetic  disc and likewise it is  irrelevant  if  the 
> language is  Hebrew, English, Braille or Binary. I would  suggest 
> that    the  rules  regarding  context  and  purpose  might    be  
> appropriate here and here I defer to the experts.

Ahh... but here's where the problem comes in.  If you write G-d's name
in Hebrew it is really those letters, and it means G-d's name.  In
English, and Braille the same thing holds true.  However, there is no
way to write G-d's name, per-se, in binary.  1011011110100111 could be
G-d's name, or could be Hi there, or could be 4+22, or could be some
picture.  It all depends on the program you use to interpret that bit of
data.  It is the program that turns the binary bits into G-d's name or
not, the binary bits in and of themselves are not G-d's name.  For an
example take a bitmap and view it using some bitmap viewer. Result: you
get a picture.  More/cat/page/pg/view the file and you get something
that looks like this:

#define new_width 16
#define new_height 16
static char new_bits[] = {
   0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x98, 0x37, 0x10, 0x24, 0x90, 0x04, 0x90, 0x04,
   0x80, 0x00, 0x80, 0x00, 0x80, 0x00, 0x80, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00,
   0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00};

 From the above could you tell that I wrote some hebrew letters?  And
you only get the "english" above because your mailer decided that the
bits involved were ascii.  od (the program named "od") the above and it
is even less apparent what it is.

However, I'm not a halachic authority, so I can't give you the final
answer, but I suspect that the bits themselves aren't G-d's name, and
the program itself isn't making G-d's name, so although we can get the
image on the screen that has G-d's name, it's not there without all the
pieces, and the right pieces at that.



From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 1995 14:00:21 +0300
Subject: Woman's Finances

    Yaakov Menken writes:
>>  A woman has two models to choose from:
>> A) The "Housewife" - accepts support from her husband.  If she happens to
>> earn money, she gives it to him in return for his support.
>> B) The "Independent Working Woman" - does not accept support.  Earns her own
>> money, and KEEPS IT.  No obligation EVER to support her husband.

     This is a misleading simplification. As a quick overview

1. A husband has the right to the "produce" of all financial holdings
   that his wife brings into a marriage ("nichsei melog" and "nichsei
   tzon barzel") with some minor exceptions. This is given to the
   husband in return for his (relatively rare) obligation to redeem her
   if she becomes a captive. The wife has no right to demand her own
   private property not subject to her husband's rights and to give up
   the right to be redeemed (Even haezer 85)

2. If a woman chooses option (B) of Menken she does not get to "keep"
   the money.  Instead it is used for investments and the husband again
   gets the "produce" of these investments. (Bet Shmuel in EH 80)

3. If the wife is the principal supporter of the family it is not clear
   that she has choice (B) (see EH80 in Beer hetev and Pitchei Teshuva).

4. If the wife finds something on the street it belongs to her husband,
   debatebly even if she chooses option (B) (EH84).

    Yaakov further states
>> If she's having a bad season, she says to her husband, "support me!"

   I couldn't find anywhere if she has the right to continually change
her mind between the two options. I would appreciate further sources for

    Finally, if a woman is well off financially and wishes to marry a
second time it is not a trivial matter to arrange things that her
children get her inheritance and not her second husband (see EH 90:7).
    In conclusion the rights of a woman over her earnings before and
during the marriage are severely limited.



From: <DaveTrek@...> (David Brotsky)
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 02:11:42 -0400
Subject: Women and Mayim Achronim

Why Don't Women Wash Mayim Achronim?

In the wake of the fascinating ( and hopefully productive) dialogue on
women's issues on the list, I've been thinking about certain practices that
women should participate in but don't. One which has puzzled me for a while
is mayim achronim, the practice of washing after a meal before benching (the
final blessing over bread). Whatever ones opinion on the practice is, or
whether its still relevant, for those who do engage in washing mayim achronim
why don't women EVER participate? The rational, from memory of the shulchan
aruch, is to stop blindness from the salt used on bread. As such,there is no
reason for women to abstain, nor has anyone evr given me a rational which
explains why women should not wash mayim achronim. Despite this fact,  I've
almost never seen this women join in the custom of washing mayim achronim.
Does anyone out their know a reason for this 'seeming' disparity?

David Brotsky
Elizabeth, NJ


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 11:05:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women Wearing Pants

I cannot resist telling about this occurrence.

I once overheard a woman asking a rabbi if she could wear pants. She
said that she was pregnant and was more comfortable in pants. He asked
her, "What do you do now?" She said, "Look!" She was wearing pants, he
hadn't noticed.

Maybe that is the key to the whole thing -- getting the beholders (men) 
to be less conscious of this type of thing.  After all, e.g., even the 
most religious men in the U.S. or Israel are used to seeing women wearing 
normal clothes rather than chadors.  The burden should not be all on the 
women, in my opinion. 

Aliza Berger


From: <david@...> (David Neustadter)
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 08:04:53 +0300
Subject: Re: Women's Roles Today

Miriam Haber claims that "nashim dayaton kalot" should not be
interpreted to mean that women can handle doing many things at once
based on the fact that women are ORDINARILY secretaries and housewives.
She says that: 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.

It seems to me that, despite his unclear wording, the important issue in
his theory is that women make better secretaries and housewives than men
do.  What other jobs women have, and what percentage of women are
secretaries and housewives is really irrelevant to the theory.

The fact remains that women are better at juggling many tasks at once,
and this does support the idea that that might be what "nashim dayaton
kalot" means.


End of Volume 19 Issue 41