Volume 23 Number 04
                       Produced: Wed Jan 31  0:49:56 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Change in Halacha and Change in Times
         [Esther Sutofsky]
Doctrine of the Mean, Preventive Detention, Warning Gedaliah
         [David Riceman]
Halacha on Terminally Ill Patients
         [Steve White]
How do certain Halakhot get ignored, halakhically ?!
         [Robert Kaiser]
Learning for Ones Own Benefit
         [Esther Posen]
Possible Abuse and Mikve Attendants
         [Moshe Stern]
Purim is coming
         [Sam Saal]
Who represents the single mother for a wedding?
         [Marc Joseph]
Wife abuse
         [Chaya London]
Women In Judaism
         [Zale L. Newman]
Women Working in Kosher Restaurants
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: <Edgm1@...> (Esther Sutofsky)
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 1996 18:54:57 -0500
Subject: Change in Halacha and Change in Times

 In Vol 22 #91, Michael J. Broydes discussion of incidents where Halacha
remains constant but visible results change, he specifically describes
where in an observant society we could understand that men could only
wear skirts and be in full compliance with Halacha.
 Thus it appears that society makes these determinations through what it
approves as being in full compliance with Halacha.
 If, assuming, that we can imagine a society where men only wear skirts
then what objection is there today for girls and women to be wearing
slacks and yet be Halachically correct.
 Society, practically worldwide, has approved the wearing of slacks by
females. Certainly no one can validly argue that they are doing this to
impersonate their male counterparts. Such attire is worn for comfort,
for warmth where practical and yes, can certainly in most instances be
more reflective of modesty and "Tzniut" There is absolutely no part of
the female torso or body exhibited at anytime by the female wearing
slacks. This is even more so than if she is wearing the longest
skirt. Any female wearing the longest skirt, when sitting, will
definitely at least reveal her ankles when sitting even when she has not
crossed her legs in front of male company. No such revelation occurs
when wearing slacks.
 Today we have, more than ever before, established the custom of married
females wearing hats. There doesn't seemto be any restriction as to
types of hats. We accept the wearing of caps, sailor hats, sea captain
headwear and even felt hats with upper portions that closely resemble
menswear - or do we feel that men only wear black hats. Certainly in
this practice of wearing slacks there is no attempt to mislead any
observer as to the sex of the person. It is worn for style, for warmth,
for personal gratification or yes, for religious observance.
 Thus it appears that the alleged prohibition for female wearing of
slacks is based upon a misunderstanding of halacha rather than an
implementation of same.
 Incidentally I asked my LOR a number a years ago about wearing pants to
which he answered if the pants are specifically designed for women are
are loose fitting he saw no problem with wearing them.


From: <dr@...> (David Riceman)
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 10:35:29 EST
Subject: Doctrine of the Mean, Preventive Detention, Warning Gedaliah

1.  I observe that R. Chaim Vital in Shaarei Kedushah rejects the
doctrine of the mean.  What I don't know is whether he has a generic way
of distinguishing virtues from vices, or whether he categorizes
individual traits based on individual rabbinic sayings.  Any
explanations or references?

2.  Halacha does have a concept of inui hadin, which loosely translates
as "justice delayed is justice denied", only the rabbis were much more
strict about it than modern courts are.  I don't recall that halacha has
any form of prison as punishment (though I have a nagging suspicion that
I'm forgetting something) except in the case of extra-judicial death

3.  I vaguely recall (Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews would have the
reference) that Jeremiah did warn Gedaliah, and Gedaliah ignored the
warning because he had an over-strict understanding of the prohibition
of lashon hara (slander).

David Riceman


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 13:20:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Halacha on Terminally Ill Patients

In #96, Eric Jaron Stieglitz writes in response to my earlier posting:
>  I'm pretty sure that this does not mean that we should withhold food
>and medication from the person, but instead means that if the only thing
>keeping a person alive is a machine (which can never be removed), then
>we are permitted (and sometimes required) to remove it.

I don't disagree at all.  I'm concerned about situations where frum
doctors, in consultation with their poskim, feel that it's not
halachically justifiable to remove someone on a respirator, but the
patient insists anyway.

Steve White


From: <KAISER@...> (Robert Kaiser)
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 1996 16:30:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: How do certain Halakhot get ignored, halakhically ?!

	I had asked about the source of banning musical instruments on
Shabbat, and was informed:

> The prohibition against musical instruments on Shabbat is not based on
> mourning for the Temple.  It is a fence regarding repair, as you noted.  

	Ok, this makes sense.  I also wanted to know if this prohibition
had to do with mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem,
and I was informed that:

>     The prohibition which IS based on mourning for the Temple is the
> prohibition against ALL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC AT ALL TIMES.  This prohibition
> does not apply to music in divine service, such as at weddings, nor to
> practicing by professional musicians.  In any case, this prohibition is
> (obviously) not observed by Ashkenazim. 

	I've heard of this, but never understood how the law was
revoked.  What Orthodox rabbinical body decided that it could be
bypassed?  I know that sometimes the (Conservative) Rabbincal Assembly
(hundreds of members) sometimes votes to lift a stringency, but that
sort of thing is based on the consensus of dozens of rabbis, debating
for months, or even years.  Such a ruling I can live with.  But the
Rabbincial Assembly is new.  Ashkenazi Jews, on the other hand, have
ignored this ban for centuries at least) Or have they?  Was there in
fact a large and respected Halakhic Bet Din that at one point lifted the

	If not, what are we to make of this?  In my schooling, I have
been taught that Halakha can only be changed by a Bet Din, and
preferably a larger and more learned one than the Bet Din which made the
ruling in the first place.  Yet this is only one example of dozens of
explicit Halakhot that are no longer followed, yet no Bet Din has
publicly revoked them.  I was always taught by Orthodox rabbis that this
sort of thing was explicitly forbidden, yet the more I read - the more
examples of this sort I find!

	I think I'm missing something *big* here.  Could someone please
explain what is going on?

Robert Kaiser


From: <eposen@...> (Esther Posen)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 11:01:00 -0500
Subject: Learning for Ones Own Benefit

I do not understand the notion of learning for ones own benefit.   
 Learning Torah is the purpose of our existence, it keeps the world
going.  In fact, people learning torah may be learning it for your

Somehow, not nearly as much learning goes on in any other Orthodox
system.  (And yes there are many "centrist" orthodox who learn as well
as many kollel students who don't take money from anyone.)  Our
generation may be at the point where for the majority you have the
kollel society that learns all day and lives off OPM (Other People's
Money) and the centrists who work all day and come home and watch TV.

The individual members of each social system have the choice of not
"succumbing" to the ills of the system!  Many succeed.  The only purpose
of these discussions is to encourage more such success!



From: Moshe Stern <MSTERN@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 96 09:29:00 CST
Subject: Possible Abuse and Mikve Attendants

My wife, who serves as a mikve attendant here, saw one or two items of
the recent discussions and asked me to post an inquiry.  She would be
very interested in knowing what groups exist for support of abused wives
in the Orthodox community.  She is also interested in getting an idea of
how widespread a problem this appears to be.

If there are any policy statements adopted by specific mikves, etc.
This would also be of great help.

Please direct these to me at the following address:


or my s-mail to

Sydell Stern
11 Coralberry Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R2V 2P2

or by fax to <204>339-1370.

Many thanks!!

Moshe Stern


From: Sam Saal <saal@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 07:20:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Purim is coming

Last year the Purim edition of mail.jewish did not include a detailed,
truly memorable - or truly forgettable - Purim Spiel. I'm talking about
a detailed analysis of some obscure, often Purim related,
pseudo-Halacha. Previous years included such greats as "The Four
Cornered Hamentash," "The Ultimate Egg Cream," and "the Halachah of
M&Ms" (each of which is available in the mail.jewish archives).

Can we top them? Can our collective Halachic exegetical and analytical
genius come up with something more interesting, and, more important,
more humorous?

I realize that this call should go out only at the start of Adar
(mishenichnas Adar, and all that), but if we wait till then, will we
have enough time for a truly classic piece of narishkei - er - Purim
Spiel? This is my challenge to the mail.jewish readership. Lets come up
with a topic and let the discussion ensue.  Ill moderate and produce,
but I need writers! Those of you who have participated in the past,
join us again.

Time is of the essence. Let the games begin!

Sam Saal       <saal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Peah haAtone


From: <mjoseph@...> (Marc Joseph)
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 18:52:59 +0000
Subject: Re: Who represents the single mother for a wedding?

> details. The wedding of another relative's daughter about 15 years ago
> then required a dowery in excess of $50,000, but then, the father was in
> a position to afford this amount.
>  /~~\\       ,    , ,                             Dr. Howard M. Berlin, W3HB

Please elaborate on the practice of giving a dowery. Is this still 
the custom today?



From: Chaya London <londonc@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 23:21:55 -0800
Subject: Wife abuse

I was not going to enter into this conversation, but I have to say
that I agree with Linda Levi.  The mikveh is not the place for
scrutiny re abuse, nor where such questions should be raised.  I also
think that it would keep women from going to mikveh - as it is, women
who are abused often do not seek medical attention because of fear of
reporting.  They should not then be afraid to go to mikveh, if their
marriage has anything worth saving.  

While Miriam brings up good ideas about training, I think rather than
have a mikveh lady mention anything to the woman, it is better to have
resources readily available in the rooms.

We keep cards in the patient bathrooms with all the local shelters
and other resources for abused women, including 24 hour hotlines. 
This way, she can discreetly take what she needs rather than be
further embarassed and afraid.  Most of the silence comes from fear
(being imposed by the abuser).  

I think the mikveh should remain a private, unscrutinized place.

Chaya London
Department of Family Medicine


From: Zale L. Newman <ce125@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 1996 15:05:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women In Judaism

Someone requested information on this topic. A woman in Toronto named 
Shoshana Zolty completed her PHD on this topic and published the book 
with Aronson Publishing.

The author is very approachable and can be reached directly at 416-7838989.


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 12:12:50 -0800
Subject: Women Working in Kosher Restaurants

Last night, my family and I went out to eat at "Kabob & Chinese Food," a
glatt kosher meat restaurant on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles.  My
grandmother noticed that there were no women working in the restaurant,
so I asked the waiter if there were any women employees.  He replied
that there were not, but referred me to the owner because he did not
know why.

After we finished eating, I went to the cash register and asked the man
there if he was the owner.  He said 'no,' but asked me what I wanted to
know.  I repeated my query about women working for the restaurant.  He
said there were none, and when I asked why, he said, "Because it's a
glatt kosher restaurant."  I told him that I had never heard of that
being a kashruth requirement, and asked if the mashgiach made the rule.
He said 'no,' and referred me to the owner.  The owner (in response to
the same questions), merely asked me why he should have women working in
the restaurant.

Now, I realize that it is possible that all 30+ employees were men by
accident, but it seems to me that there is serious discrimination going
on there, possibly under the rubric of Orthodox Judaism.  I have eaten
at dozens (perhaps hundreds) of glatt kosher restaurants, and I am quite
certain that there were women working at nearly all of them.

Has anyone else heard of such a restriction?  I assume that issues of
tzniut or negiah could be adequately resolved by appropriate workplace
guidelines.  I am interested in any responses.

Leah S. Gordon


End of Volume 23 Issue 4