Volume 20 Number 31
                       Produced: Sun Jul  2 23:12:49 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gadlus Ho'odom
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Negiah and Physical Therapy (2)
         [Michael J Broyde, Gerald Sutofsky]
         [Binyomin Segal]
Physical Therapy
         [Nachum Chernofsky]
Separate Seating at a Wedding
         [Lori Dicker]


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 03:23:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Gadlus Ho'odom

    I posted some of this privately to a poster but I felt the need to 
post it publicly as well.
    Those who studied in "black-hat" (interesting stereotype) yehivos
are familiar with Reb Chaim's derech.  This means Rav Chaim
Soloveitchik's strategy for learning Torah.  It is not possible to go
into it at length but it is well known that he developed a unique style
of learning and he applied all of Torah to this method.  By doing so, he
was not close-minded.
     In regard to aggadic Torah material the "black hat" yeshivos follow
as well a certain method.  Since the great Rosh Hayeshivas of these
yeshivos (e.g. Rav Aharon Kotler, Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Yaakov
Kamenetzky, Rav Yitzchok Hutner, Rav Reuven Grozovsky, Rav Yaakov
Ruderman) all were students of that great Torah center called Slabodka,
it is reasonable to trace their view on Aggada to that great center.
Slabodka is famous for their motto of "Gadlus Ho'odom", "the Greatness
of Man".  This philosophy expressed itself in many ways.  However, the
relevance here is that in Slabodka personalities in Tanach were held in
very high esteem to the point that it was impossible to measure them
against standards of the present generation.  Even Eisav was seen in a
special light.
     Rav Reuven Grozovsky once explained how each of the five sins which
Eisav did on the day of Avraham Avinu's death, can be shown not to have
been as bad as they are painted.  Just that our sages were able to
understand what spiritual level Eisav was on and for his level it was as
if he actually committed those sins with their full magnitude.
     He explained that the killing of Nimrod was certainly not outright
murder as Nimrod was liable to death for convincing the world to serve
idolatry.  Before Sinai, and certainly by Gentiles, there was no concept
of betrothal in Jewish Law.  Hence, Eisav did not actually live with a
married woman.  But given his potential for greatness, it was as if he
murdered and committed adultery.
     Hagar saw an angel by the well and was not bewildered because she
was used to seeing angels in Avrohom's house.
     The Kuzari says that people who lived at the time of the Nevi'im
(Prophets) were on a high level virtually only because they saw
prophets.  This raised them spiritually.
    The question then remains: How are we to learn Torah lessons from
these lofty individuals.  The answer is by examining the wisdom of our
Sages.  By delving into their words and applying their words and
thoughts to our level, we cn learn valuable lessons.  By trying to
develop our own ideas of what they were like is fruitless and possibly
     This is the derech, the method and strategy that our great Torah
leaders learned and absorbed in Slabodka and have endeavoured to pass on
to our generation.  It is not only for elementary school children, as
someone wrote, it is for life.



From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 1995 17:32:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Negiah and Physical Therapy

One of the writers asked about physical theraphy involving physical
contact between a man and a woman.  There is no substitute for asking a
shela, and sexuality questions particularly require talking to a person
about there own feelings.  However, Rama, EH 21:6 states that in a
situation where a person is doing their job, and they are not Jewish,
physical contact between a Jew and Gentile that would otherwise be
prohibited is permitted when it is clearly asexual.  Many people rely
on this to, for example, have their hair cut by a woman (when they are a
man).  This is even more true for physical theraphy.  Michael Broyde

From: <gerald.sutofsky@...> (Gerald Sutofsky)
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 95 19:27:35 EST
Subject: Negiah and Physical Therapy

While i greatly appreciate all of the responses to the problem posed, i
still am concerned if not confused by them. i can appreciate the
responses that explain that I need not be concerned because the
therapist is doing her job and is not sexually motivated (at least not
at the very start, but it could progress to something like that and if
so the rubber gloves suggested by A.M. Goldstein on 6/26/95 won't really
help). So , accepting the fact that negia is really attributed to sexual
motivation then why do we have to have separate seating at forums,
lectures, and concerts and yes at weddings too. I can hardly imagine
anyone sitting at a lecture or participating in a forum or clapping his
hands at a concert while seated next to a young or older female doing so
because of sexual motivation.  Certainly one can't say that when they
are seated at a table at a dinner or wedding that their mode of eating
or taste is affected by sexual motivation regardless of their
neighbor. i have been to many of these functions where I was told it
must be so because of negiah. This appears to be contrary to the replies
given me. At all of the described affairs, every person attending, male
and female, are all religious and so they are all dressed modestly so I
don't believe the Tzniut is being violated.  Please explain.


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 16:09:11 -0500
Subject: Ngiah

With the discussion of ngiah around, I thought the following might be
helpful. It is an excerpt from an essay I wrote a while back. In this
excerpt I discuss & attempt an explanation of Rav Moshe Feinstein's
position re Negiah. The standard disclaimers apply....

Although in the bottom line halacha everyone (all the poskim) seems to come
very close to agreement, the reason seems to be unclear or debated. To
develop this further, one needs to consider specific tshuvos. As an
example, Rav Moshe has four tshuvos specifically related to this issue.
	1. Orach, vol. 1, tshuva 113
	2. Even, vol. 1, tshuva 56
	3. Even, vol. 2, tshuva 14
	4. Even, vol. 4, tshuva 32, par. 9

The third tshuva states clearly that any touching that does not involve
"chibah" is permitted. Rav Moshe here is specifically talking about bus
rides, but on a cursory reading this tshuva might suggest that hand
shaking, even some hugging, might be permitted. However, reading Rav
Moshe's earlier tshuvos (#s 1 & 2) make it very clear that Rav Moshe held
that even shaking hands was forbidden. [Lest one suggest that Rav Moshe
either contradicts himself, or changes his mind, see tshuva #4 where he
makes it very clear he feels they co-exist.] To understand the distinctions
a serious reading of #2 is necessary.

Rav Moshe distinguishes between two classes of issur. There is an issur
which comes from "giluy arayos" and there is an issur that comes from
"hirhur". "Giluy arayos" is a prohibition of having contact with a person
of the opposite sex who is forbidden to you. (Today, since non-married
women are nidos, this includes females over the age of 9 or 11 [see Rav
Moshe's tshuva Orach vol. 1, #26]. There is a special heter from the gemara
that applies to father, mother, grandfather, grandmother, and to some
degree brother and sisters.) This issur has some startling consequences.
"Giluy arayos" is one of those prohibitions for which we are obligated to
give up our lives.  Rather than touch a person when this prohibition
applies you are obligated to give up your life. "Hirhur" is an issur that
generally applies only to men. (Although in some situations it might be
relevant to the woman since she would be responsible for allowing the man
to transgress--a situation of "lifnei iver") It is a prohibition from
generating any type of sexual excitement (except in the obviously permitted
situation in private with ones spouse). Although this prohibition is a
Torah prohibition it does not carry with it the obligation to martyrdom.

The first, more stringent prohibition (giluy arayos), applies whenever the
action is both mutual and one that normally implies "chibah"--even if this
time is no "chibah". (This prohibition seems not to be limited to touching.
Certain conversations might fall into this category. see the gemara i
believe in sanhedrin) The second prohibition (hirhur) applies any time
there is "chibah" or desire. Anytime there is "chibah" and mutuality there
are both transgressions.

Each class of issur has rabbinic and Torah cases. The prohibition of "giluy
arayos" has a few requirements to be considered a Torah prohibition: any
touching that implies "chibah", and actual "chibah". If either of these
factors is missing i.e., there is no touching, or there is no "chibah" the
action would still fall into this category of issur, however it would be a
rabbinic prohibition. It is important to stress here that even for a
rabbinic prohibition of this category halacha requires martyrdom. The
second prohibition requires only one thing to be a Torah prohibition:
intent. If a man accidentally notices something which brings sexual
enjoyment, that is a rabbinic prohibition.

Any touching that implies chibah, even if there is none presently, is
forbidden. Any touching which does not imply chibah is permitted, as long
as there is in fact no chibah.

Perhaps an extreme example will help illustrate. Is a man allowed to save a
drowning woman from dying? His prohibition is one that requires him to
surrender his life, perhaps he should let her drown rather than touch her.
Rav Moshe explains that since the action of saving her does not imply
"chibah", this issur does not apply. The second issur might apply, if the
man was excited by this woman. However, that issur doesn't require him to
give up his life, and therefore he is indeed required to save her.

Kissing and hugging are always forbidden because they imply "chibah".
Therefore they are forbidden even if there is actually no "chibah". (This
prohibition is one of giluy arayos and requires martyrdom rather than
transgress.) Bumping into someone on the bus is permitted, if indeed there
is no "chibah". Since that touching does not imply "chibah" there is no
prohibition--unless in fact there is real chibah (i.e., you brush up
against someone because you "want to").

Hand shaking is perhaps a middle ground. Rav Moshe does in fact forbid hand
shaking--similar to kissing and hugging--on the grounds that it implies
"chibah." However, he does state that there are those who  permit it (only
where the other extended their hand first). It would seem that here there
might be room to suggest that in as much as handshaking is a social motion,
there is no "chibah" implied. But even here Rav Moshe is unwilling to
accept this.


From: F5E017%<BARILAN.BITNET@...> (Nachum Chernofsky)
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 95 16:14 O
Subject: Physical Therapy

Regarding the recent posts about the "problem" of negiah in a doctor -
patient, nurse - patient, etc. relationship let me relate a story I
heard just last week from Rabbi Hirsch, the assistant chaplain at
Sha'are Tzedek in Yerushalayim.  A Rosh Yeshiva patient called him over
one day to complain that he was being taken care of by a female nurse!
Rabbi Hirsch asked him: "You have many males in your family, sons,
grandsons and nephews. How many of them did you encourage to go and
become male nurses?"

Let me just ask all mj readers to pray extra hard for Hashem to save
us here in Israel.  We need it.


From: Lori Dicker <ldicker@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 1995 18:04:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Separate Seating at a Wedding

> In Volume 20, #27, Jeffrey Woolf wrote:
> While there is certainly no prohibition against separate seating at a
> wedding, there is no absolute need for it either, halakhically. . . .
> Of course mixed dancing is a different issue. Given the general mayhem 
> at weddings, I can't see why anyone would feel self-conscious dancing. 
> But then I'm a man... 

One of the practical reasons I've heard for separate seating at weddings
is because many people are careful to not only have separate dancing,
but a mechitza for dancing (this serves an additional purpose when there
are non-observant friends or family members attending the wedding).  In
such a case, it simplifies matters to have men sitting on the side of
dance floor set for men to dance, and the women sitting on the side on
which they will be dancing; I've seen three sections for sitting too;
men, women, and mixed.

Another potential reasons (in circles where "mixed" Shabbos tables are
not a common occurence) would be to avoid single men and women sitting
at the same table and socializing - no, I really don't mean to open up a
whole 'nother can of worms.

- Lori


End of Volume 20 Issue 31