Volume 19 Number 78
                       Produced: Tue May 30 22:42:56 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Michael Lipkin]
Mixed Dancing (3)
         [Jeff Woolf, Ari Shapiro, M. Linetsky]
Sex Change Operations
         [Akiva Miller]
Transgendered persons
         [George Max Saiger]
Women's Finances
         [Yaakov Menken]


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Tue, 30 May 1995 13:04:44 +0500
Subject: Coed

>From: Meir Shinnar
>One more point.  R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l tshuva on coeducational
>schools is often cited.  It should be remembered that R. Moshe had a 
>consistent educational philosophy.  He opposed the teaching of girls 
>Torah she bealpe (the Oral law), and he opposed college education for 
>men.  The ban on coeducation is but one part of this philosophy.  

Actually, he had several teshuvas on the subject of coeducation.
Notwithstanding Meir's attestations to know Rav Moshe's total philosophy
in education, one of those teshuvas specifically permitted a coed
situation rather than have the girls go to public school.  Further this
teshuva dealt with ADDING girls to an already existing boys elementary

Meir's use of the term "ban" in reference to Rav Moshe's philosophy is
illustrative.  You generally ban something that is already in existence.
Were coed yeshivas really an issue in the early part of this century?
Maybe rather than ban coed, Rav Moshe (and other poskim) were being
called upon to affirm the halacha in a relatively new frontier.  The
teshuvas which I've seen were asked from the vantage point of a school
administrator who was looking for a heter (exemption) to the norm of
separate SCHOOLS.  If, in fact, separate was the norm then (contrary to
an assertion made by Aliza Berger some time ago regarding a "dearth" of
teshuvas on the subject) the burden is squarely on the shoulders of the
pro-coed camp to provide responsa from reliable poskim supporting
coeducation as a l'chatchila method of yeshiva education.  To date
nobody has answered Tzvi Weiss's plea for such responsa.



From: Jeff Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Mon, 29 May 95 15:44:39 IDT
Subject: Re: Mixed Dancing

It is quite true that in a series of Takkanot issued by R. Judah Mintz
(d.1507/ Grandfather-in-law of R.Meir Katznellenbogen of Padua), there
is explicit acceptance of mixed dancing and careful regulation of how it
should be done. There are, moreover, very clear responsa of R. David of
Corfu (RaDaKh) and others describing dances held on Shabbat. The issue
at hand in the latter case was the abuse of authority of the dance
master but not of the dance itself. HOWEVER, the type of dance involved
is a stylized, group affair such as the gavotte or the minuette in which
lines of men and women are directed by a 'maitre de la danse' and in
which physical contact between men and women was minimal (with some
handholding). This was accepted by Italian Ashkenazi Poskim from the
fifteenth century onwards. With the creation of the Waltz, which
involved one on one exclusivity (remember, you need to 'cut in' to
change partners?) the situation changed as did the normative
ruling. There is a contemporary discussion of the issue in ShUT Benei
Banim by Rabbi Yehudah Herzl Henkin (volume 1).

                                                  Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R Woolf
                                                  Department of Talmud
                                                  Bar Ilan University

From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Mon, 29 May 95 13:22:16 EDT
Subject: Mixed Dancing

<It should be understood that mixed dancing is by no means
<clearly wrong.  There are tshuvot from noted poskim (I believe the
<Maharam miPadua among them - I will check the sources) who permit mixed
<dancing between singles and between people married to each other who are
<tahor.  While some Poskim objected strongly (I believe the Maharshal),
<others permitted.  Indeed, the main objection of some poskim was dancing
<by people married to others.  Even that was permitted around Purim.

I think it is clear that the majority of Poskim prohibit mixed dancing.
I don't think you will find a single posek nowadayas who permits it.
There are many positions taken by Rishonim and early Acharonim that are
categorically rejected such as the Ra'ah holds that you only need one
set of dishes for meat and milk l'chatchila, how many people do you know
who follow this Ra'ah, and so and so on.  I think this opinion about
mixed dancing falls into that category.

< Though he correctly quotes the Shulchan Arukh I have severe doubts
<how much this is observed in most communities.

I know this is not observed in most communities.  I quoted this to make
a point that Chazal were very worried about interactions between men and
women and tried to limit these interactions as much as possible.

Ari Shapiro

From: 81920562%<TAONODE@...>       (M. Linetsky)
Date: Tue 30 May 1995 10:17 ET
Subject: Mixed Dancing

In vol 72 someone stated that the prohibition of mixed dancing is not an
unequivocal one and seems to ellicit some proof for permitting it.  It
may be worth mentioning that Rav Kook wrote sharply against the early
practice of Benei Akiva of mixed dancing comparing it to the light
headed way of the gentiles. This was his position dispite that
mixed-dancing conceivably may be used for the sake of Qeruv and that we
are dealing here with the unmarried youth. What ever way we look at, if
it was at one time permitted, if the specific conditions of the
generations denounce it as dangerous, we must resort to higher standards
and it is not unknown in Judaism to prohibit something if it becomes
exceedingly popular among the Gentiles. True, Rabbi Abraham Maimonides
argued against this point in much vigor and claimed that imitating
Gentiles is prohibited only if there is a Biblical prohibition, (He
permitted by the way to bow to the ground during qedusha) since we must
know where to draw the line and should we not pray because gentiles pray
he exclaims?
 However, this opinion does not seem to be too popular today. Raising
one self to a higher level of standard is not unknown either. It is a
well know Talmudic statement that a pious man should wear a over garment
that covers his legs. This does not necessary mean that he should wear a
long coat but should have his legs covered, but in the days of the
Talmud it appears men wore Roman apparrel (?). However, covering the
legs has become a norm since Jewish social standards demand it and when
all of Israel (if this the case) accept a higher standard, it becames
the norm. This may be said of mixed-dancing.

Michael Linetsky


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 01:25:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Sex Change Operations

In MJ 19:68, Joel Grinberg asks "How much respect am I obligated to show
to these individuals" who have undergone a sex-change operation. I agree
that such a mutilation of G-d's handiwork is abhorrent indeed, and I
would have difficulty referring to such a person as "she".

But please!!! Are we talking about murderers or Nazis here? We are
talking about people with a severe emotional problem, and they have
chosen castration as an attempted solution. Please show some
sensitivity. This is not a case of bein adam l'chaveiro (violence to
one's fellow human) nor is it a flagrant rebellion against G-d's system
of nature, but rather a desperate attempt to reconcile a masculine body
with a confused mind.

How do you treat co-workers who indulge in extra-marital sex? How much
respect do you show to co-workers who engage in homosexual activity? Do
you actively disrespect them as well? Woe unto us, who have chosen to
build ill will instead of setting a positive example. We have long since
lost the ability to effectively reprimand our fellows. Let us not
alienate them altogether.

Akiva Miller


From: George Max Saiger <gmsaiger@...>
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 23:07:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Transgendered persons

There was a reccent posting from Joel Grinberg which asked how much
respect he ought to show people who had done something he found
abhorrent sexually:

< Twice in the past all the emplyoees in my division were advised that
< some individuals have gone through a sex-change operation, and will be
< coming back as "women".

< Employees were ordered to treat these individuals normally and
< courteously. I wonder what Judaism's attitude is on the matter. This
< kind of thing is most abhorrent to me, and I believe that I would have
< difficulty in working with such persons. How much respect am I
< obligated to show to these individuals?

It is fortunate that the query comes just at Shavuos time.  In Emor,
just after the delineation of the Shavuos sacrifices, is a pasuk
(Lev. XXIII,22) regarding Peah (not harvesting corners of the field).
Peah and Shavuos are thus linked; and peah is the mitzvah par excellence
of showing respect to the poor (whose poverty might or might not seem
abhorrent to the hardworking entreprenurial landowner) by allowing them
to gather, indistinguishably from the paid workmen.  This mitzvah
teaches, among other things, that one is required to show respect to all
people--even if you don't like what they are doing sexually outside
business hours.

Life is hard enough for transgendered persons, and I would advise
Joel--indeed, I'd beg him-- to behave "normally and courteously" to

Hag Sameach to all MJ readers,
George Saiger


From: <menken@...> (Yaakov Menken)
Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 01:14:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Women's Finances

Eli Turkel wrote:
>    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.

Eli would have a good point, if he were right. But in reality, the
omission of extraneous details does not render a simplification

Though this may be too far back in m-j history to recall, my original
post was prompted by a writer's speculation that a woman cited in the
Talmud as "tzavcha" - crying in protest - was expressing frustration
because she could not control her earnings. The post specifically
claimed that the poor woman was forced to hand over her pay
envelope. The post was incorrect, and it was that specific issue that my
own comments addressed - accurately.

>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.

Yes, this is true, and if option (B) had been "the rich heiress" it
would also be relevant. However, option (B) is "the working woman", and
a woman's _earnings_ follow different rules. [Incidentally, my
impression of the independent "working woman" who wants to control her
finances is not one who lives off of Daddy's (or Mommy's) inheritance.]

>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)

Umm... no. If my description omitted the bathwater, Eli's omitted the
baby.  According to option (B) of the Shulchan Aruch, she keeps her
earnings and uses them for her expenses. If she makes more money than
she needs, the excess is effectively loaned to her husband (in return
for his obligation to redeem her from captivity) - and like any loan,
she cannot charge interest.  He can invest and keep the profits. The
earnings themselves... are hers.

>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).

I'm not certain what Eli refers to here.  There is a dispute in EH80
whether a woman must do certain "household tasks" even if she supports
herself - but supporting her husband is not a "household task", nor does
the above remove her control of her earnings.

>    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. 

My error - this is a dispute.  See 69:4 - the contrary opinion says that
this would give the woman total license to take advantage of her

>    In conclusion the rights of a woman over her earnings before and
>during the marriage are severely limited.

_This_ is a misleading simplification, because the husband _also_ loses
control over his earnings.  The Shulchan Aruch (EH69) says that when a
man marries a wife, he gains 10 obligations and acquires 4 rewards. He
writes the checks, but his new host of obligations amount to a lien on
his account.  Most importantly, he is given no options whatsover in
defining the husband/wife financial relationship - but a _wife_ can
choose to reduce those lists to 9 and 3 respectively.  By doing so, a
woman who so desires can retain full control over her day-to-day
earnings and expenditures.

We can play semantics for months, but no one would deny that the Talmud
creates a complex interdependency between husband and wife. A woman (or
man) who wants no financial obligations or rewards from the other
partner has only one option: don't get married. My own post was
carefully constructed as a response to a specific inaccuracy, not as an
attempt to create a myth of a financial "open marriage" in Halacha. Thus
I don't think the accusation of being "misleading" was fair or accurate
-- nor did the response do a better job of summarizing the several pages
of applicable laws.

Yaakov Menken                                            <menken@...>
http://www.torah.org/genesis/staff/menken.html             (914) 356-3040
Just Remember:  "LEARN TORAH!"           Project Genesis: <learn@...>


End of Volume 19 Issue 78