Volume 23 Number 20
                       Produced: Thu Feb 15 23:06:23 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Noachide laws
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Noahide Laws
         [Israel Nebenzal]
Pesach and list of Days
         [Steve White]
The days of Pesach as pointers
         [Roger Kingsley]
Thoughts on Childhood Abuse
Translation Newsgroups
         [Akiva Miller]
Wife Abuse and the Mikveh Lady
         [Heather O. Benjamin]


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Wed,  14 Feb 96 13:52 +0200
Subject: Re: Noachide laws

>From: Moshe Stern <MSTERN@...>
>Could someone provide me with information on the specific definition of
>the Noahide laws.

Rambam, Laws of Kings, Chap. 9 discusses Noachide laws.
9:1 lists them:
1) idolatry
2) cursing hashem
3) murder
4) adultery
5) robbery (including not paying debts)
6) law and justice (esp. enforcing this list)
7) eating part of a living mammal

9:14 states:
A descendant of Noah who violates one of the seven is to be put to the sword.

10:2 states:
If forced to transgress, he is not punished.



From: Israel Nebenzal <nebenzal@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 23:06:52 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Noahide Laws

Moshe Stern asks in MJ Vol. 23 # 18 about Noahide Laws.

This subject is treated to a great extent and details by Rabbi Elijiah
Benamozegh who lived in Italy in the later part of the last century, in
his book "Israel and Humanity" translated into English by Maxwell Luria
and published Paulist Press, NY, 1995.

I don't know to what degree the philosophy of Benamozegh and his
approach to Jewdaism is accepted by modern Orthodoxy.  But I do know the
translator, who is an orthodox coleague from Trenton NJ.

It's not an easy reading, but since sees the final recognition of the
whole world, not by becoming Jewish but in observing the 7 laws of Noah,
he develop this concept in great detail in this book.

Dr. Israel D. Nebenzahl
School of Business Administration
Bar-Ilan University

I can be reached at <nebenzal@...>


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 1996 11:09:36 -0500
Subject: Pesach and list of Days

In a message dated 96-02-14 09:05:13 EST, Neil Parks<nparks@...>

>Jonathan Katz  <frisch1@...> wrote:
>First day (aleph) points to (tav) Tisha B'av
>7th day (zayin)         (ayin) Atzmaut
>(I only learned the list of days from him.  The idea that Ha-Shem reserved 
>the day of Atzmaut for us is my own.)

I'm not sure Atzmaut is your own; I don't even remember where I heard it
from, but I've used that for years.  :-)  PS especially to Highland
Park/Edison folks:  I'm about to start working on this year's AA Yom
Ha-atzmaut program.  Any ideas, please write.

Anyway, perhaps Mr. Katz refers to 8th day (het)?  But that's the same
as the 1st day, so I think the calendar is pretty exhausted, at least
for Pesach.

Steve White


From: Roger Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 96 23:05:15 +0200 (IST)
Subject: The days of Pesach as pointers

Neil Parks in V23#16 provided a list which included:
> 4th day (daled)  points to (koof) Kriat Hatorah (Simchas Torah 
>                                                  outside Eretz)

Actually, we don't like to go outside Eretz Yisrael for our chagim.  
The way I have heard it is that the koof points to "Kehal" (though I 
suppose Kriah would do as well), the public reading of the Torah 
which is to occur once every seven years on the second day of 
Succot. (Devarim, 31, 10-13; Mishne Sotah,  ch.7, 8)

Roger Kingsley


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 1996 17:28:03 -0500
Subject: Thoughts on Childhood Abuse

	I have been following with interest the discussion about the
effects that verbal and physical abuse have on children.  I was one of
those children, but the effects are not only limited to children when
they are young, they effect children throughout their adult life.  As a
child living in a home where my father was verbally and physically
abusive primarily towards my mother, and my mother in turn being
verbally abusive to my sister and I, I remember always living in fear.
Fear that the abuse would come in my direction, fear that either of my
parents would find fault in my behavior.  As a child I could not
understand the dynamics of the situation.  I believe that my father, an
only child, was frustrated in his business activities and was somewhat
emasculated by his mother, also a strong and domineering woman.  Even
after her death, I don't think he was ever able to get out from under
her control.

	My father acted as a bully and a coward.  I remember worrying as
to what kind of a mood he would be in when he came home from work.
After commuting in traffic for approximately 90 minutes, stewing about
various business matters, he would arrive home.  My mother, also living
at a relatively high level of frustration, would typically immediately
start haranguing him about the events of the day which were gnawing,
bothering or otherwise making her life difficult.  Unless one is
familiar with the goings on within this type of family environment one
can't imagine it: parents striking each other, screaming at each other,
trying to kill each other - screaming at the children because grades
were not good enough, rooms weren't clean or neat enough, the telephone
ringing too frequently, dinner was too late, dinner was too early, or
music was too loud.  Most often, however, it was merely a choice as to
where they were going to direct their rage.  I believe this rage
emanated from their own social and behavioral incompetence.  These
situations provided an outlet for their anger. I think that if this
anger were controlled and redirected, the quality of life that my
parents have had for the past 40 years would be much more fulfilling and
satisfying than they have been.

	As for me, I was shortchanged.  I did not have a supportive and
nurturing family environment that is so important for a child.  I never
had the opportunity to learn from my mistakes as I always took the path
that would help insure that there would not be another "incident."  As a
result, I became withdrawn, introverted and unsure of my ability to make
decisions.  Even today I sometimes suffer from having to make a choice.

	There were also many areas of incidental abuse. My father would
think nothing of spending $300 for fuel for his cabin cruiser, yet would
deny me money for a new pair of shoes or some new clothes.  We weren't
poor by any stretch of the imagination, but my parents priorities always
came first.  They were selfish with their love, with their money and
with their time.  I have no memories of ever having meaningful
conversations with either of my parents.  How could we?  We had no
relationship.  There was no mutual respect, and other than all of us
living under the same roof we were hardly a family.

	Generally, my parents were anti-social.  They had a very limited
number of friends and virtually no outside interests or hobbies.  What
was important to them was having a clean house and a well stocked
refrigerator.  Today, 25 years after I left home, telephone
conversations between my mother and I (they live 1200 miles away) are
limited to discussions of the weather.  During this time they have not
changed their habits to any significant degree. They still have no
interests, hobbies, friends and have become bitter old people just
biding their time.  What's terribly sad is that my two children have no
relationship with their grandparents.  I am not surprised that they
haven't changed because I know that in their own minds and for their own
reasons they believe that they were model parents.

	Unless a person lived through such situations I doubt they any
of you could truly understand.  Imagine as a young girl seeing your
father on top of your mother choking her; imagine seeing your father
strike your mother and then for days being able to see black and blue
marks on her face and arms; imagine as a young girl having all your
bedding, clothes, books, and other possessions thrown out your window
into the back yard because your father felt your room was just not neat
enough to suit him; IMAGINE MY FEAR!  These were not isolated
instances. I had to live through years of such repeated behavior.

	Growing up in this type of environment has had much impact on my
life as an adult.  For a fair number of years I avoided thinking about
my early years at home and was content to fulfill my role as mother,
homemaker and wife.  I think that upon reaching a certain age and
economic level I was able to refocus on my years at home.  Needless to
say, this created some level of friction in my household as to some it
seemed that I was obsessing on the past. My family counseled me to
accept the fact that I was shortchanged, to put it behind me once and
for all and to get on with my life.  This was not as easy as it seemed
as I was angry that this happened to me.  Why me?  It took a long time
for me to become confident in normal everyday decisions one makes in the
normal course of living.  I no longer worry about how my actions and
decisions are going to be perceived by others.  I have become
comfortable with my own actions, but yet I really cannot free myself of
the pain that I carry with me.

	My father's pathetic behavior was not only limited to my years
as a young girl living at home. Two and half years ago, at the
conclusion of my daughter's Bat Mitzvah reception, my father called me a
harlot because I was dancing and having a good time.  What kind of a
father says that to a daughter, especially on such an occasion?  A
stranger would be treated better.  Several months ago my husband,
daughters and I went to Florida for my nephew's Bar Mitzvah.  We were
invited to stay at their house, but we made an excuse and stayed in a
nearby hotel.  Conversations throughout the week-end were at a minimum.
I had thought about and considered trying to have a discussion with my
father to exorcise the feelings that I've been harboring all these
years.  The final analysis was that I decided against it as I knew there
would be no resolution and just more heartache.  I expect that I will
continue in dealing with my past and I know that with the support of my
husband and daughters that I will succeed.  Sadly though, I often think
how things could have been.

	A final note of irony - 25 years ago during one of my parents
many fights I quietly packed 2 suitcases and flew to Boston to be with
my boyfriend (now my husband of 23 years) never to return to my parents
house to live.

	You can clearly understand my reluctance in giving you my name
and e-mail address.

Please forward any questions or comments to Avi Feldblum and he will then
forward them to me.


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 13 Feb 1996 23:46:53 -0500
Subject: Translation Newsgroups

I occasionally dabble in Hebrew-to-English translations as a part-time
hobby, and I would love to know if there is an Internet Newsgroup or
Listserv which deals in different aspects of translating. Any ideas,


From: Heather O. Benjamin <BENJAMIN@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 12:43:08 -500
Subject: Wife Abuse and the Mikveh Lady

This is an issue that understandably brings out emotions of anger and
fear.  However, this can also lead us to rely on stereotypes and media
falacies regarding domestic abuse.  We must never forget that behind the
statistics and the talk shows and newspaper articles lie individual
women (and of course to a lesser extent, men, but that's for another
time) who are frightened, but more than anything else, alone.

In Vol 23, #4, Ms. London mentions that cards and other resources should
be available for these women to voluntarily take.  My question is to
where do we expect these women to take them? Many abusive husbands leave
no stone unturned when invading the privacy of their wives. The abused
woman is well aware of her lack of privacy when it comes to her husband,
and that the mere taking of these well meaning brochures or pamphlets
could result in a severe beating. This is often the least invasive
method of outreach, but also rather uneffective.

One of the beauties of the Mikveh is that it is a place of women and for
women.  This can be a very comforting feeling, especially if the man you
love is the site of your agony.  I'm not male-bashing by any means - I'm
simply noting, assuming of course that your Mikveh lady is a warm and
caring person, the Mikveh is a safe place. A haven, if you will, from
for many women an abusive home front.

I disagree with Ms. London to a point. I do think that the Mikveh should
remain a private, unscrutinized place. However, it should not - not ever
- become a place where the abuser's damage is protected, and thus
legitimized. I do not think that Mikveh ladies should necessarily come
out and say "Well, now that's some bruise you've got there. Want to tell
me about it?"  That, I agree, would be to much for anyone to handle.
What I suggest is that Mikveh ladies be educated, to some degree, in
services that are available for the abused wife.  She should have
available a list of networks, and perhaps other basic communication
skills - but most importantly, new Kallahs should be made aware of this
fact during their kallah classes.

We can't force these women to get help, but we can, and should make
every effort to lead them towards help. Within religion that boasts of
community assistance, battered Jewish women should not have to look high
and low for helping networks. It should be as available as any other
service provided.

You may ask, "Why not a rabbi or rabbi's wife?" Because these people are
too close - too personal to the woman. The Mikveh Lady is specifically
distant. You are rarely even on a first name basis with them. They don't
know your husband. They don't know where you live, etc.

Some may argue that this is too much for Mikveh ladies to have to deal
with. But I argue this: Being a Mikveh Lady is a huge responsiblity to
be sure. But the social realities must not - cannot be ignored. Never is
ignorance the answer.

Heather Okoskin Benjamin
NYU Department of Sociology


End of Volume 23 Issue 20