Volume 19 Number 62
                       Produced: Sun May 14 10:26:49 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Al Hamikhya
         [Lon Eisenberg]
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Slippery Slope
         [Zvi Weiss]
The Slippery Slope
         [Janice Gelb]
Torah, et al.
         [Zvi Weiss]
When is a Psak needed?
         [David Kaufmann]
Women's Obligations in Tefillah and Blessings
         [Naftoli Biber]


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 15:16:09 +0000
Subject: Al Hamikhya

I believe Shimon Schwarz is mistaken in believing that one should say
"borei nephashoth" after eating one small cookie; no after blessing
should be made when not eating the "shi`ur".

BTW, Rabbi Rubanowitz [Har Nof] (in his Friday morning halakha class)
once calculated (with the help of us all eating the cookies his wife
baked!) the actual shi`ur of meznonoth needed; it's not as much as you
think: Just a little more than one "standard"-sized cookie will do it!

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: <hayim@...> (Hayim Hendeles)
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 10:44:31 -0700
Subject: Re: Coeducation

Quoting from a recent post:
	I assume that by "the halacha" Zvi Weiss is referring to
	opinions in responsa that have explicitly been against
	coeducation (e.g. Rabbi Feinstein).However, such opinions do
	not constitute "the halakha";rather,they constitute the
	halakhic opinion of individual decisors.  

This poster then quotes Tzvi Weiss:
	> I will repeat my call: Will someone PLEASE cite authoritative
	> material that atates that "Co-ed" is (a) desireable or (b) at
	> least considered "LeChatchilla".

And responds with the following:
	Perhaps Zvi Weiss' call stems from the point of view that an
	opinion other than Rabbi Feinstein's and permitting
	coeducation, would have to respond to Rabbi Feinstein.  But
	since Rabbi Feinstein represents just a portion of the halakhic
	community, perhaps other portions don't, and need not, feel the
	need to respond to him.  They are coming from a different
	world-view which does not include the sociological concerns
	raised by those who oppose coeducation on "halakhic" grounds.

Previous postings quoted Rabbi Feinstein zt"l as saying that according
to *ALL* authoriities, co-education is forbidden. Tzvi Weiss repeats a
call for a valid halachik source permitting co-ed. To which this poster
responds, that Rabbi Feinstein is not the halacha - but just a "halachik
opinion" (sic). When pressed for authoritative sources, this poster clearly
has none, yet states that there must be - they just don't feel a need
to respond to Rabbi Feinstein. 

Therefore, this poster concludes, that co-ed must be permissible.

Am I missing something? Because if I understand this line of reasoning,
then why stop here? The entire Shulachan Oruch with its commentaries
are also just "halachik opinions". For that matter, so is the entire
Torah just the "halachik opinion" of G-d, who is coming from one
world-view. Certainly there are others who do not accept this world
view ... but they are another religion.

Clearly Rabbi Feinstein zt"l was not aware of any opinions permitting
co-ed. Unless this poster (or any other poster) is aware of any *valid*
halachik opinions disputing Rabbi Feinstein's claim and knows something
that Rabbi Feinstein zt"l did not (in which case we would love to hear
from you) then Rabbi Feinstein zt"l is not just a "halachik opinion" 

Hayim Hendeles


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sat, 13 May 1995 23:38:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Slippery Slope

While I believe that Haim Hendeles raised very serious points in his
posting, I have a minor quibble with one point... He stated (if I
understood him correctly) that the decisions of Gedolim such as R. S.Z.
Auerbach ZT"L were meant for people willing and able to live like the
wives of such gedolim (or in that sort of environment) and were NOT
necessarily meant for the situation of the women asking and that,
therefore, it may very well be harmful to follow those responses.  I do
not believe that this is an accurate or fair presentation of how gedolim
respond to issues.  There is no evidence (or at least non adduced by
Hendeles) that R. Auerback was not aware of the general social /
environmental milleau.  There is no reason to suspect that his response
was limited to one "circle" and I feel that this -- in effect --
denigrates the posek AND alienates the person posing the matter.  As
such, it only diminishes from the cogent points that he DOES raise.


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Fri, 12 May 1995 17:22:37 -0700
Subject: Re: The Slippery Slope

In mail-jewish Vol. 19 #57 Digest, Hayim Hendeles says:

> 3) In a post, which IMHO, was the most alarming, we read about a group
> who have chosen to break away from their established synagogue and
> Rabbi, and form their own "minyan" to promote their feminist ideals.
> This group has publically declared that they do not *want* a learned
> rabbinical Torah scholar to lead the congregation. Instead, the Rabbi's
> job is shared equally among the men and women of this "minyan".
> (Although the post did imply they have a "Rabbi on call" to render
> "halachik decisions", the post did not specify whose job it was to carry
> out the most difficult role of a Rabbi - that of rebuking the
> Congregation.)

This is really a side issue to my main point, which is below, but as
for "rebuking the congregation," I have friends who for years were
members of a synagogue whose rabbi insisted on giving sermons of heavy
musar every Shabbat, week in and week out, despite the congregation
asking that the musar be leavened with regular drashot of Torah
learning. The rabbi most of the time was rebuking the members of the
community who *did* show up for services and who *did* send their kids
to Hebrew school, and not actually achieving the end of rebuking the
members of the community who might have been in need of it. I was
shocked one week that I visited them to see over half the congregation
walk out after the Torah was returned to the ark, which was the time
for the sermon. Lesson 1 from this is not to overdo the musar; Lesson 2
is to rebuke those who deserve it.

> One need not be a genius to recognize the inherent danger behind a group
> of people who feel themselves so knowledgeable and capable, and so
> pious, that they have no need of a Rabbi. In yesteryear, knowledgeable
> communities went to great lengths to search out a Rabbi, who was a great
> Torah scholar, and who possessed great erudition --- but this community
> has already declared themselves sufficently knowledgeable and pious that
> they have no need of a learned spiritual mentor.

> How long will it be until they decide amongst themselves that not only
> are they "qualified" amongst themselves to teach each other words of
> Torah, but they are also qualified to paskin for one another?  Next
> generation, or perhaps even this generation down the road?

I find it very interesting that you say that the rabbi's most difficult
role is to "rebuke the congregation." I agree that this function is
certainly missing from a congregation that chooses to be run through
lay leadership rather than hiring a rabbi.

However, you jump from that one missing job to saying that the group 
feels it is so knowledgable and capable that it has no need of a rabbi, 
and that they consider themselves qualified to teach each other Torah.
Although you mention earlier that the congregation says it has a rabbi 
to render decisions, you later imply that it is just a matter of 
time before they feel they can do that too.

I think there is a very large distinction between a congregation and a
community, and that distinction may be causing the difficulty here.
For an entire community to decide they can do without a rabbi is one
thing, since they would have no source for learning Torah or for a
learned person to render halachic decisions. However, for a
congregation whose main concern is likely to pray together, and who
have access to a rabbi when learned decisions are necessary, to decide
to do without hiring one is quite another.

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 09:31:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Torah, et al.

I am not quite sure that I understand Ms. Krischer's point.  I think
that she is saying that it is inconsistent for us to prohibit women from
learning Torah and then expect them to respond coherently to the issues
raised.  If that is what she means, I agree with her.  However, I did
not state that I beleive that women should be kept ignorant.  And, it
appears that enough women on this list are well-educated enough
certainly to catch me up on any of my mistakes that it does not appear
to be beyond belief for me to request the necessary rigor when
discussing these matters.

In addition, I never objected to the raising of questions -- regardless
of one's background.  My objection has been when people (men or women)
claim to offer solutions and yet do not adhere to a degree of halchic



From: <kaufmann@...> (David Kaufmann)
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 10:59:04 -0500
Subject: When is a Psak needed?

>I assume that by "the halacha" Zvi Weiss is referring to opinions in
>responsa that have explicitly been against coeducation (e.g. Rabbi
>Feinstein).However, such opinions do not constitute "the
>halakha";rather,they constitute the halakhic opinion of individual
>decisors.It would seem that a halakhic opinion is needed to forbid an
>action (e.g. coeducation); in the absence of such prohibition, the
>action is permitted. Hence the dearth of opinions permitting
>coeducation: any rabbi who thinks it is permitted does not need to write
>an opinion permitting it. There is need to prove that "the halakha does
>not apply", when there is no "the halakha".

Without getting into the merits of the particular issue (coeducation)
(since I don't know enough about the issue), I find the logic of the above
paragraph rather fuzzy. If I understand correctly, the basic argument is
that any action not specifically prohibited by halacha is assumed to be
permitted. I wonder if in fact such a position is authoritative. It seems
it can be so only if either (a) there are sources for it or (b) it can be
proved that "silence gives consent" must mean that l'chatchila (we
initially assume) silence (of halacha) gives permission rather than silence
(of halacha) prohibits until proven otherwise. At the least, I would have
thought another rule would apply - "I don't know." That is, an unexamined
issue has no pre-determined halachic status. Thus, a ruling would
determine, at least temporarily, the status, requiring other poskim to
either agree or disagree.

(Then there's the famous Chassidic dictum that "that which is forbidden is
prohibited, and that which is permitted isn't necessary.")

There may indeed be halachic grounds for co-education under all
circumstances or specialized conditions. The paragraph quoted just doesn't
seem to provide the sources or make the argument.


From: Naftoli Biber <bibern@...>
Date: Thu, 11 May 1995 21:00:41 AEST
Subject: Women's Obligations in Tefillah and Blessings

For those of you following the ongoing discussions in mj on the topic of 
Women, the next issue of Prac-Halacha (Issues in Practical Halacha) will be 
on the topic "Women's Obligations in Tefillah and Blessings".
I will post it on Monday (bli neder) to give anyone not on the list time to 

        To subscribe to the Prac-Halacha list send the message:
            SUBSCRIBE PRAC-HALACHA <your first name> <your last name>
        to: <listproc@...>

[The Prac-Halacha list is produced by Kollel Menachem - Lubavitch of 
Melbourne, Australia and is an in-depth discussion of halachic topics in a 
clear and concise form.]

   Naftoli Biber                          <bibern@...>
   Melbourne, Australia                   Voice & Fax: +61-3-9527-5370


End of Volume 19 Issue 62