Volume 20 Number 13
                       Produced: Tue Jun 20  8:09:39 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

(1) Civil Marriage in Halacha (2) Annulments
         [Mottel Gutnick]
12 spies in Israel
         [Jonathan Katz]
And the moon was a yod
         [Gil Winokur]
Child Bride Victim
         [Joshua Hosseinoff]
Child marriage TAKKANAH of Israeli Chief Rabbinate
         [Josh Backon]
Female Bathing Attire
         [Ira Robinson]
Minors Marriage
         [Ralph Zwier]
Naming children
         [Ronald Greenberg]
The Fathers Ne'emanut
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Mottel Gutnick <MOTTEL@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 1995 02:28:36 GMT+1000
Subject: (1) Civil Marriage in Halacha (2) Annulments

In v20n7, 15 June, Jerome Parness writes, under the heading "Civil
Marriage in Halacha":

 > In Vol. 20 #5, June 15, 1995, Mottel Gutnick wrote:
 > "It should be noted that, in general, Halacha recognises civil
 > marriages as legally binding because "chazaka ein adam osei beilato
 > beilat zenut". (This is a reasoning which serves to validate such a
 > marriage halachically by assuming that the consumation of the
 > marriage constitutes a Biblically valid means of effecting a
 > marriage.)"
 > ...
 >         This halachic klal (general statement) is not necessarily
 > the halachically binding one and is the subject of a mahloket between
 > Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l, and Rav Henkin zt"l.  ...

Jerome is quite right. The question of the applicability of this
principle is also discussed in several of the Law reports of the Israeli
Battei Din which I referred to. *I think* the general trend is to regard
civil marriages as legal for the purpose of requiring a Get when such a
marriage is ended. However, where this would result in undesirable
consequences such as the conferring of Mamzerut status upon existing
offspring or making the woman an Aguna, and there are grounds for
arguing that the principle should not apply, the marriage is not

Note that in the post which Jerome was responding to I used the words
"in general". The reason I mentioned this at all is that I was citing a
Psak Din which dealt with a case of civil marriage and I wanted to
forestall any mistaken arguments that what they said there could not,
therefore, be applied to other marriages.

In any case, the wording of the Psak-Din itself made it quite clear that
they were speaking of all kinds of marriages when they ruled,
explicitly, that a Beit-Din may grant an annulment ("Psak-Din shel
Hafka'ah") and note: this was on appeal from a similar ruling by another
Beit-Din, and the appeal was turned down.

Mottel Gutnick, Melbourne, Australia.


From: <jkatz@...> (Jonathan Katz)
Date: Sun, 18 Jun 95 10:19:46 +0300
Subject: 12 spies in Israel 

An interesting question was raised this past shobbos regarding the
incident of the 12 m'raglim (spies) in Israel, as recounted in parshat

According to tradition, the day the spies came out and told B'nei
Yisrael that they should not attempt to conquer Israel was 9 Av. In
fact, that event is supposed to be the seminal event which caused 9 Av
to be a day on which bad things happen to the Jewish people over and
over again.

However, looking at the plain meaning of the verses in the Torah shows
that the spies were not in Israel at this time. It says clearly that
they were in Israel at "the time of the harvesting of the grapes" (to
paraphrase roughly) which is _after_ 9 Av. So, if this is indeed true,
there is no way they could have come out of Israel (or told the people
what they saw) on 9 Av.

Does anyone know how this is/can be resolved?
-Jonathan Katz


From: Gil Winokur <gil@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 17:59:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: And the moon was a yod

In v20n8, Mike Gerver writes:

> In v18n85, Mordechai Horowitz quotes a poem of Shmuel Hanagid ... 
> what I found jarring about the poem was the astronomical
> imagery: "And the moon was a yod drawn on the cover of dawn-- in gold
> ink". To anyone in the northern hemisphere, a crescent moon in the dawn
> sky will appear not as a yod, but as a backwards or upside down
> yod. ... It's hard to believe that he didn't purposely get it backwards
> in this poem. But why? What was he trying to convey?

 From a poetic standpoint, a reversed view of the "yod" of the moon would
imply that our viewpoint was on the other side of the drawing surface,
viewing the image from the rear of the "canvas".  The image may be meant
to be that of God drawing a "yod" in the sky, the implication being that
God drew it from a point above the dawn, and we are viewing it from below. 
A very powerful and humbling reminder that we occupy a small part of God's
creation, and that by virtue of our limited vantage point, are severly
handicapped in our ability to comprehend and understand God's creation. 

As to those in the Southern hemisphere, I am reminded of the tablets of
the Aseres Hadibros, which as I recall (I forget the source) were cut all
the way through, yet were equally readable from either front or back, 
with certain parts of the letters being suspended in mid-air, with no 
point of attachment to the rest of the stone tablets.

Just a thought...

Gil Winokur               <gil@...>


From: Joshua Hosseinoff <hosseino@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 00:30:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Child Bride Victim

I think that one fact that many people are forgetting is just how
important the right of a father to marry off his minor daughter was in
Jewish history.  No less than a hundred years ago it was the widespread
practice in Arab countries and in Iran for the father's to marry off
daughters at a young age, usually around 5 or 6 years old, and usually to
a boy a little older than that.  The practice was especially prevalent in
Yemen and in Iran and Afghanistan.  The reason for that was that otherwise
the Muslims in those particular countries would demand to marry their
daughters.  For all I know that may still be the case for Jews still
living in Yemen.  So this law is not quite as outdated as 3300 years ago. 


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Fri,  2 Jun 95 13:50 +0200
Subject: Child marriage TAKKANAH of Israeli Chief Rabbinate

In 1950, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate (Rabbanut Ha'Rashit) did come out
with a TAKKANAH forbidding kiddushin with a girl under the age of 16 and
also *forbidding the girl's father* to marry her off. So between this
Takkanah and the ability of the girl (if she's still a KETANAH) to claim
ME'UN before the BET DIN (Even Ha'Ezer Siman 155) the so called marriage
is annulled.

BTW one doesn't need *goon squads* to make the father an *offer he can't
refuse* :-) No physical violence at all is needed: 60 minutes in a
sound- proofed sensory deprivation chamber works wonders. The father
will tell you the name of the husband, the witnesses, in under 60
minutes. And if even this is illegal by US law then there is another
method that could be used; unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to disclose
details publicly.

Josh Backon


From: <ROBINSO@...> (Ira Robinson)
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 1995 19:12:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Female Bathing Attire

Now that summer is here, the issue of female bathing attire needs 
to be raised.
 My daughter attends Bais Yaakov of Montreal.  Today her class went to a
water park.  despite the fact that the group of girls will be by
themselves and the lifeguards will also be female, they were instructed
to put on over their bathing suits a model's coat or long nightshirt as
well as knee socks.
 What WILL be next?
All the best,
Ira Robinson


From: Ralph Zwier <zwierr@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 1995 00:40:11 
Subject: Minors Marriage

I would like to add my understanding to the situation of the father who
married off his daughter to cause trouble for his wife.

1. I mentioned it to my LOR who said that it has happened many times
before and that there are shaales and tshuvas about it. (He did not
quote any to me). He also said that the Torah gave a Koach (power, or
energy) to the husband to act thus on his minor daughter's behalf. It
may be -- he said -- that this Koach has been rendered inoperative
because all fathers have taken upon themselves not to use the Koach for
hundreds of years. So he doubts whether a father today still has the
Koach to bring the potential which Torah gives him, to actuality.

2. The importance of the point about the father's testimony being
believed is overstated. When the gemara says "so and so is believed" it
simply means that if you NEED to rely on it, you can. But the gemara
does not force you rely on the father's word. I think it is the same as
saying that "if someone says he is Jewish he is believed". This does not
mean you have to believe him. It simply means you can if it wil be of
benefit.  If, on the other hand, it does not help you to solve a
halachik problem it is not mandatory to believe him.

Bizman Hazeh (Nowadays) there are people around who believed they were
Jewish and found out that they were not. Therefore no Rabbi today
chooses to immediately believe someone who says he is Jewish. He asks
for proof. The choice is his whether to ask for proof or not. If the
gemara had said that "a person claiming to be Jewish is not believed" he
would be forced to seek proof of Jewishness.

So with the father who marries off his daughter: if the beth din chooses
to rely on his word they are ALLOWED to. They are not FORCED to.  But
the Beth din would only rely on his word if it was to the benefit of all
to do so. Here the beth din is - as it were - trying to find a way to
INVALIDATE the marriage. Their first step would naturally be to examine
the witnesses and the father and the husband to try to find something
that was not Kosher. Now if the father cannot produce the husband and
the witnesses to the Beth din, then the worst you can say about the
daughter (and this is still pretty bad) is that she is in a state of
*safek* of being married.

Ralph S Zwier
Double Z Computer, Prahran, VIC Australia       Voice +61-3-521-2188
<zwierr@...>                        Fax   +61-3-521-3945


From: Ronald Greenberg <rig@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 14:59:03 -0400
Subject: Naming children

I just searched the index for the archives and was not able to find
much on principles for naming children.  The main things I found were
the following two ideas (without any precise citations):

1.  If you would like to name a child after a deceased relative with
the same name as a living parent or grandparent, the preferred
solution (for Ashkenazim) may be to use a name that is similar but not
quite the same.  It's not clear to me whether aunt/uncle should be
treated the same; one posting suggested asking such a relative if they
mind the use of the name.

2.  There is no problem with multiple grandchildren being named for
the same person.

I'd appreciate hearing anything more that anybody has to say about the
above as well as any comments on issues such as the following:

1.  Are there some opinions regarding the desirability of one name
versus two?  I seem to vaguely recall once seeing some discussion
about this, but I couldn't find it in the archives.

2.  Suppose you have a (deceased) relative you really want to name
your child after, you have a child of the opposite gender, and you
follow up on your intention by selecting a name that has some
(possibly vague) similarity of sound or meaning to the relative's
name.  Then suppose you have another child of the same gender as that
relative.  Would it be inappropriate to give that child the same name
as the relative?

3.  Does anybody have any other general principles to offer for
selecting names based on Orthodox sources?  (Of course, there is the
idea of naming after people with admirable qualities rather than evil
people, but can anybody offer any more extensive ideas?  I've got the
book by Kolatch that lists probably almost every name that one might
want to use and says something about the source/meaning, but the
introduction doesn't say a lot about principles.  Probably about the
only idea not mentioned above is a clearly unpopular suggestion by an
eighteenth-century Rabbi to avoid Biblical names that precede the time
of Avraham.)



From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Mon, 5 Jun 95 14:37 IST
Subject: The Fathers Ne'emanut

>Avi Feldblum
>[Even HaEzer 37 1]
>1a) The Mechaber says it is a mitzva not to do so, the Ramah says that
>under the circumstances where he lived (based on a Tosafot) the custom
>was to do so, because it was in the girl and family interest.

The Ramah needs a Tosafot to show the extenuating circumstances where it is
permitted because as Ari Shapiro pointed out

>Actually the Gemara in Kiddsuhin(41a) says it is a mitzvah drabanon(or an
>issur drabanon TO do this) not to marry off your daughter as a minor.

The rabanim must have created this issur after the close of the
mishna. The Rambam paskens that it in fact assur [not permitted/a sin],
as does the Mechaber and the Ramah (except in the most dire of
circumstances, where the rabbinic Issur may be put aside).

Regardless of the torah being for all time, the Rabbis HAVE prohibited a
man from marrying off his minor daughter. [like they prohibited yibum].

The father is therefore coming and claiming that he has violated a
rabbinic issur.  There is an iron-clad rule that we do not give
"ne'emanut" to anybody who claims to have comitted an issur, and made
himself a rasha.

We may not believe the father unless and until he brings witnesses.



End of Volume 20 Issue 13