Volume 22 Number 87
                       Produced: Wed Jan 17 23:51:29 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

: Charedi poverty
         [Roger Kingsley]
Mikvah Ladies and Wife Abuse
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Responses to Chareidi and Dati.
         [Shlomo H. Pick]


From: Roger Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Jan 96 23:32:13 +0200 (IST)
Subject: RE: : Charedi poverty

A quick correction to Shmuel Himelstein's posting:

>> d) What added to this was the fact that until the present 
>> government changed the law, the family allowance granted per 
>>month for children under 18 had two separate scales: one for 
>> those who had completed army service and one for those 
>> (generally Charedim and Arabs) who had not, with a very marked 
>> differences in the scale once people had three children or more. 
>> The law has since been changed, so that all families now 
>> receive the higher amount.

 In fact, neither the previous government attitudes nor Charedi
political pressure would have allowed that situation.  The "army
supplement" was also paid to men in full-time Yeshiva study, on the
basis of a contribution from the Ministry of Religion to the National
Insurance Institute.
 In fact, the only people who don't get it are Arabs and Olim.  Olim
used to get it until about eleven years ago, on the basis of a similar
contribution from the Jewish Agency to the NIS.  Then an argument
developed as to whether the Jewish Agency or the Ministry of Absorption
should pay; the Agency stopped paying, and the Olim lost out.  So
Charedim do better than Olim who are about to go in the Army, but
haven't yet been called up.
 This is the Middle East.  Keep smiling.

Roger Kingsley


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 1996 08:37:14 -0500
Subject: Mikvah Ladies and Wife Abuse

I am really sorry that Ms. Levi  misses the point.

First of all, there are very Ortho rabbis who have endorsed the practice
of mikvah ladies checking for bruises.  And women who are afraid to go
to the mikvah because their husbands beat them...well, I rest my case.

It is more important to save lives than it is to consider whether
someone is who is not battered is uncomfortable.  By not giving women in
battering situations gets, the battered women's lives are already at
risk. It is bad enough that the rules governing of pikuach nefesh are
being ignored. We don't have to add to the problem by ignoring the
bruises on women who are already being battered.  Besides, the mikvah
lady is NOT the person doing the counseling, she is the one doing the

If you think this reporting is loshon hora, guess again.  I will quote
here from the Ohel brochure involving children, but the halacha applies
to a woman whose life is at risk as well.


As observant Jews, we are also concerned about the Halachic implications
of reporting and what the consequences may be to the children and their
families.  Pikuach Nefesh is one of the foremost mitzvohs of the Torah.
Even when there is no risk to life, significant emotional damage can
occur.  We are further obligated by the negative prohibition Lo Samod Al
Dam Reyecha (do not stand idly by while your brother's blood is being
spilled).  Halachic consultation should be on an individual basis and
mine, jf.)


Obviously, reporting for the sake of harassment or idle gossip is
prohibited.  However, if there is a sincere and serious concern that a
child (woman, man) is being harmed and the reporter's motivation is
purely for a TOELES (constructive purpose), to help child and family,
reporting becomes an obligation.  Although reporting will not always be
sufficient to bring necessary help, it is a first step in making sure
that the matter receives the attention it requires.  This is especially
important when the family is not cooperative, does not acknowledge its
problems, and refuses to reach out for help. Under these circumstances,
reporting is not considered Lashon Hora. Cases which involve threats to
a child's life fall under Pikuach Nefesh and therefore do not fall into
the category of Mesirah.>>

The problem is more pervasive than we would like to think.  The latest
statistics from Jewish family service is, "one in seven cases involves
domestic violence." That is across the board denominationally in Jewish
families. And Orthodox women, with limited access to helpline
information, stay in these terrible situations longer than anyone else.

If we want to delude ourselves into thinking this is NOT a problem, then
we can continue on the path we've followed for the last 50 years, which
have seen an ignoring of the problem by most rabbis (who are
ill-equipped to deal with the issue) and an increase in verbal and
physical abuse in all Jewish families. There has also bee a dismissal of
the problem by sending wives home to " have another baby and try

One note: If a husband is hitting and verbally abusing his wife, if the
wife is verbally abusing and hitting her husband, what do YOU think is
happening to the kids?

My question is: When will all this stuff stop? Before or after we
destroy each succeeding generation?


From: Shlomo H. Pick <F12013%<BARILAN.bitnet@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 96 12:13 O
Subject: Responses to Chareidi and Dati.

I knew that what I wrote would elicit some response, and i guess that i
should react to those postings from mail-jewish 22:78 Carl Sherer wrote
the following:

> I suspect that it's a bit more common than you think, and given that Arabs
> are highly unlikely to read the want ads in the Hebrew newspapers I can't
> imagine who else the "bogrei tzava" (army graduates) only notices could be
> directed at excluding.  Except for security guard positions army service
> doesn't strike me as a job-related qualification!
> The army has reached the conclusion that they have more people coming in
> than they can reasonably handle and therefore they have started not taking
> people they would have taken (or been interested in taking) in the past.
> This includes adult olim (who if they are taken at all are taken for four
> months and in many cases only for six days) and yeshiva students who might
> otherwise have gone "shlav bet" (second stage - generally for people entering
> the army beyond the age of 23).  Thus students who leave the Yeshivas may
> in fact legally be in the job market (and often are) without having served
> in the army.

At this point, all I can state is that without real statistics, this
discussion will be academic and probably in the "luft".  The requirement
for "bogrei Tzava" may be geared against olim from the soviet union and
other such countries also.  I don't think that it is against chareidim
alone.  furthermore, what jobs are being discussed.  most Israeili
chareidim don't even have a high school diploma, can not write a decent
sentence, have no knowledge of geography or high school mathematics, and
no real computer training.  Do you know of chareidim who want to do road
work and pick oranges?  How many of them have a high school diploma or
equivilency for English?  This of course ties up with my original
thesis, the chareidim voluntarily do not serve in the army nor do they
any or almost any secular or general education.  So what jobs are we
looking for?  in the modern Israeli job markets, people are looking for
MBA's and BA's and that's why there are so many such students at Bar
Ilan - to get a good job in a shrinking job market.
 I admitted to a certain number of Yeshiva students who leave the
yeshiva after a number of years and/or babies, and then try to get into
"shlave bet", and they have been postponed and even turned down.  But
that also includes young men of questionable backgrounds (due to
socio-economic factors - usually) who until ten years ago were drafted
and now also are turned down, and they are also looking for jobs.  In
short, we need true reliable numbers to continue this aspect of the

Zvi Weiss then quoted me and then went on to criticize:
>  While the Pirkei Avot indeed states that one who *begins* the study of
> Torah should expect a difficult life style, It is not at all clear that
> OTHERS should placidly state that those who devote themselves to Torah
> should "expect" to be poor...  At least, I think that it would be worth
> while discussing with ANY of the current Poskim whether that is a proper
> outlook for ANY Ben Torah to have.

First of all, my position is based upon Maimonides and not just his
source or better yet, his take off point in Pirkei Avot.  And if you
have read the statements by Maimonides, then it is clear that he is not
referring to beginners at all, but to Rabbis and Dayanim who are
accomplished scholars.  He does admit that they have certain releases
from certain taxes. But there is no obligation upon the public to
support them, and they certainly cannot demand support.
 Now I will quote the English translation as found in "Living Judaism,"
p. 114:
 "...Thus they imposed taxes on themselves, on individuals, and on
communities and caused people to think in complete foolishness that it
was their logical and moral duty to support scholars and students, as
well as men whose exclusive occupation is the study of the Torah.  All
this is a mistake!"
 In this edition Maimonides goes for four more pages making his point.
Moreover, according to Maimonides, the scholars etc. did not and do not
"expect" to be poor, but impose taxes to make sure that they won't be!
And this thinking is what Maimonides labels a mistake.  Once again, I am
aware of those who disagree and they add up to a majority, but when it
comes to taking money out of my pocket, I first say "kim lee".  As far
as discussing with the Posekim etc., in all due respect, but wouldn't
you think that they are all "nogeia bedavar" that is they are all have
personal and non-personal vested interests.  so how can there be an
objective pesak?  Furthermore, in the specific case in Israel, you
obligate secular anti-religious Jews to support institutions that feel
foster draft dodging, due you think that this fosters understanding
between the two camps? (in light of recent developements here, i realize
the weakness of the arguments, but from a dati - chareidi point of you,
I understand the morality of the dati- mizrachi arguement and sense of
outrage, not the chareidi one).  Finally in light of many of the
scandals and other interesting side developements in the past four
decades, one gets the feeling that not all money allocated for the
ministry of religious affairs got to public institutions, no matter what
your ethnic persuation is.

>  While the Rambam certainly emphasized the importance of not making a
> "living" by Torah study, I would like to remind all that (a) this view
> is somewhat countered by the approach of Chachmei Ashkenaz -- unless Mr.
> Pick is a Sephadi, it may be questionable for him to adopt this as
> *normative* -- I would strongly urge that he ask a Shaila before he
> claims "Kim Lee Kedivrei Rambam"....;
See below
>  (b) that the Rambam refers to the one who STUDIES... The Rambam DOES
> NOT discuss here one who may wish to SUPPORT such Torah Study.  On the
> contrary, from the Talmudic discussions re Yissachar/Zevulon and
> Shimon/Azarya relationships, it appears that it WAS a highly proper
> approach to support those who study Torah.  Further support can be found
> if one refers to the Netziv's discussion re Aser/T'aser (in his
> additional footnotes) where he cites Talmudic statements that
> specifically refer to the "custom" of the "merchant" supporting the one
> who studies Torah.  Further discussion is also in the Netziv when he
> discusses the "Teruma" that was taken off and given to the Kohen and
> Leviim after the War with Midian (end of Bamidbar).  All of these
> sources would appear to inidcate that it is indeed praiseworthy to
> support those who "take off" to study Torah.  In fact, from the Netziv's
> discussio in Bamidbar, it appears (unlike the other sources where it is
> seen to be more clearly voluntary) that there may be some obligatory
> aspect here.

I never said that one should not voluntarily support a talmid chacham.
and if i did, I will clarify myself now.
 There are two points over here.  Can the talmid chacham take money?
Maimonides says NO.  Other posekim allow it.  See the kesef mishna on
hilchot talmud torah, III:10, and the shach in Yorei Deiah 246:20.  For
that matter first see the ramoh y.d. 246:21 which quotes Maimonides and
then starts to find lenient positions for the torah scholars to take
money.  So if there are torah scholars out there who live off public
funds or charity etc., "yeish al mee lismoch"- they have upon whom to
rely.  It is clear that from the ramoh, that the Maimonidean
understanding is preferable, but sometimes circumstances disallow and
hence the latter (and even earlier) authorities allow for the talmid
chacham to take money to live on.
 The second point is my obligation to support these talmidei chachamim.
Now all the points drafted by zvi weiss refer to my voluntarily
supporting talmidei chachamim.  Should I want to draw up a
zevulun-yissaschar contract, I can.  But did moshe rabeinu or the tribe
of Yissachar force zevulun to sign?  In the mishkan, except for the
machatzit hashekel, was anyone forced to donate to the mishkan?  The
nesi'im because they procrastinated, they (almost) missed the boat (or
the mishkan)!  One may even grant that in almost all circumstances it is
even praiseworthy!
 However, does that mean that you can force someone to give money when
he does not want to? Can you levy taxes to support this? in the above
yoreh deah sources, the question that was taken up, can the scholar take
the money, but no one there said you must force people to support them.
and the original quotation by maimonides deals with that issue too!
 When you force someone against his will to expend money to a cause or
charity that he doesn't believe in, you don't foster love, respect, or
kiddush hashem. (I admit that this is reciprocal, I don't want my taxes
to go to abortions - i don't even know if it is permitted for my taxes
to go to that cause without some halachik authority viewing each and
every abortion.)  You do cause, hate, disrespect and chillul hashem
(especially if such funds are misappropriated).
 Now concerning myself, I certainly support torah scholars of all
persuations, but it is what i choose, not forced down my throat.  If I
prefer that scholar who did hesder and then stays on in koilel, that is
my prerogative.  aguda or degel or shass should not force me, or anyone,
to support their institutions if I don't want to.  When you force me to
support them, i.e. you take money out of my pocket to support them, then
the general rule is that in choshen mishpat situation, the defendent can
say "kim lee" and it makes no different which authority he is quoting,
rambam or rashi, sephardi or ashkenazi.  And taking money out of my
pocket against my will is a choshen mishpat situation!
 I hope i have clarified these points.
Bebirchat ha-Torah
shlomo pick


End of Volume 22 Issue 87