Volume 26 Number 14
                      Produced: Fri Mar 28  0:31:26 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Adar Sheni affects when Pesach occurs
         [Ken Miller]
Chat Law and it's Sources
         [Eliezer Diamond]
Pigs' carcasses (was Unkosher pets)
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Rape and "precautionary measures"
         [Alana Suskin]
The Female Chat Enactment of the Great Assembly
         [Janice Gelb]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 00:27:00 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello all and I hope you have had a very good Purim!

My apologies to you all in my not getting the link up properly for the
Purim Speil. It should now be working, so please take a look. The team
did a great job on all, and I'm very sorry that I missed the boat by
about a week.



From: Ken Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 15:14:00 -0500
Subject: Adar Sheni affects when Pesach occurs

Nowadays, the Jewish calendar is fixed, and we know many years in
advance whether or not a given year will have one Adar or two. But when
the calendar is determined by the court, it is done only one month at a
time, and according to the Mishna (Eduyos 7:7), the court can decide to
have a second Adar at any time during the first one. Thus, if this
decision is made early in Adar, people will have considerable notice
that Pesach will not occur until 3 months after Tu B'Shvat. In contrast,
when there is only one Adar (in which case Pesach occurs only 2 months
after Tu B'Shvat), no one will really be sure of it until Rosh Chodesh
Nisan is declared, just two weeks before Pesach.

I am curious how this uncertainty manifested itself in the Yom Tov plans
of the average person back then. As an example, let's take someone who
lives about two weeks away from Jerusalem. To get there in time for the
holiday, he needs to leave home by Rosh Chodesh Nisan at the latest. But
the news coming from Jerusalem is two weeks old. On the average, 7 years
of each 19 have a second Adar, and in half of those seven years, this
person will not find out about it until after he has already left home.
He may be a full week into his trip when he hears the news that on the
last day of Adar, it was decided to have a second Adar. What will he do
now? Home is a week in back of him, Jerusalem is a week ahead, and
Pesach is not for another five weeks!

Or someone who lives three weeks from Jerusalem: To get there by Pesach,
he needs to leave home by around Adar 22. But since he lives 3 weeks
away, the decision about Adar 2 would have had to been made on the very
first day of the month in order for him to find out before leaving home.
Seven times out of 19, it will happen that at some point in his
pilgrimage, he will learn that his Estimated Time of Arrival will be a
full month early. What is he going to do?

The most obvious answer is this: We know that somehow, Jerusalem was
able to accomodate gigantic throngs of men who arrived at random points
during the other pilgrimage holidays. (For the other holidays, they
could arrive at any time during the week, offer their sacrifice, and
leave.) But for Pesach, not only did the women and children come as
well, but all had to be there the same day, the day of the Seder. What
we learn now is a still greater miracle: Seven times out of nineteen,
Jerusalem was somehow able to support the entire Jewish nation for a
full month BEFORE Pesach!

There is another possibility as well. It is not at all miraculous, and
not too complimentary either, so I hope others may come up with other
ideas. You may have noticed that my previous paragraph didn't mention
that people who were tamay stayed home and did not come for the first
Pesach, but came instead for Pesach Sheni a month later. In fact, if I
am not mistaken, anyone could simply choose to be out of town for the
first Pesach, and then come for Pesach Sheni instead. So I wonder if
those who lived far away might have been tempted to stay home an extra
month, and schedule their pilgrimage to arrive in Jerusalem *three*
months after Tu B'Shvat, for that day would certainly be either Pesach
(if there had been a second Adar) or Pesach Sheni (if there wasn't).

Some last notes: I am sure that there are many halachos related to all
this, of which I am unaware. For example, *IF* we are not allowed to
have a second Adar two years in a row, then 7 times out of 19 we will
know that the current year has only one Adar, because last year had two.
If so, then my entire discussion above applies only to the other 12 of
19 years. One last question: what about the people who stayed home for
Pesach? If they held two days of Yom Tov because they don't know when
Rosh Chodesh Nisan was, then they very well might not know whether or
not it is Nisan to begin with! Is it possible that they observed Pesach
in two separate months because of not knowing which month was Nisan?

Akiva Miller
now at both <Keeves@...> and KGMiller@DatacorInc.com


From: Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 97 14:19:31 PST
Subject: Chat Law and it's Sources 

Dear Russell,

	I am responding to your discussion of the so called "Chat Law."
First, for the purposes of clarification it should be noted that while
the Yerushalmi (Megillah 4.1) attributes this ordinance to Ezra the
Bavli (Sanhedrin 19a) attributes it to R. Jose of Sepphoris, a
considerably later authority.
 	Second, I find your interpretation of this ordinance tendentious
and unconvincing. You say that the purpose of this ordinance is protect
these women from molestation. Although there is nothing in the
Yerushalmi to contradict this interpretation - there is also nothing to
support it - the Bavlis is explicit in explaining the ordinance as being
"because of yihud."  Presumably this means, as Rashi and others explain,
that the women are preventing an unsuspecting man of entering the privy
while they are there and thereby violating the prohibition of yihud. The
purpose of this ordinance, then, is to protect another as much as it is
to protect the women themselves.
	Finally, It is certainly noteworthy that R. Abba (Berakhot 62b)
thought it immodest to speak at all while in the privy; Rambam includes
in his catalogue of modest behavior to be practiced by the Torah scholar
(De'ot 5.6). How does this square with the above ordinance? Of course,
one could posit a distinction between the Talmid Hakham and the average
individual, or that the need to avoid yihud trumps a lesser form of
modesty. See A. Sofer's notes to the Meiri to Sanhedrin, p. 64 n. 3, who
argues that the Meiri's remarks address this problem.
	I agree that we owe Hazal and their words the greatest respect.
First and foremost that respect should consist of attending carefully to
what they are and are not saying.


Eliezer Diamond


From: Michael J. Savitz <MSAVITZ@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 1997 17:49:43 -0500
Subject: Pigs' carcasses (was Unkosher pets)

Robert A. Book <rbook@...> asked (Vol. 26

> 2) Related question: Is it permitted to wear pigskin shoes, carry a
> pigskin wallet, and/or touch a pigskin football? One the one hand, one
> is not supposed to come in contact with that carcass of a non-kosher
> animal, but most people swat flies, and many wear pigskin shoes, etc.

To which Zev Sero <zsero@...> replied:

> It is permitted to do all of these things.  I don't know where people
> get the idea that one shouldn't touch the carcass of an unkosher
> animal.  Such contact does impart tum'ah, but so does the carcass
> of a kosher animal.  In any case, there is no prohibition on becoming
> tamei.

Perhaps people get the idea from Vayikra 11:8: "Mib'saram lo tocheilu
uv'nivlatam lo tiga'u; t'mei'im heim lachem." (From their flesh you
shall not eat and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are tamei to
you.)  The pasuk appears immediately after the discussion of the gamal
(camel), shafan, arnevet and chazir (pig), in that order.

Or perhaps from Devarim 14:8: "V'et hachazir ha mafris parsah hu v'lo
geirah tamei hu lachem; mib'saram lo tocheilu uv'nivlatam lo tiga'u."
(And the pig, which has a split hoof but does not chew its cud, it is
tamei to you; from their flesh you shall not eat and their carcasses you
shall not touch.)  This pasuk appears after a similar discussion of the
gamal, arnevet and shafan, in that (slightly different) order.

It would appear that these verses could not be more explicit.  "Their
carcasses" seems to be referring to the four land animals with only one
of the two signs of kashrut, the gamal, the shafan, the arnevet and the
chazir (pig).  Or it could be referring to all land animals lacking both
signs.  At a minimum, it refers to the pig, which is mentioned in the
immediately preceding pasuk (in Vayikra) or earlier in the same pasuk
(in Devarim).  The prohibition on touching the carcass seems to be the
same as the prohibition on eating the flesh, i.e. it is a prohibited
act, not just a source of tum'ah.

I find it interesting that despite not one but two clear statements
prohibiting touching pigs' carcasses, we are (apparently) permitted to
touch pigs' carcasses, to wear pigskin shoes, carry a pigskin briefcase,
etc., whereas, merely from the statement "lo t'vasheil g'di b'chalev
imo" (you shall not cook a kid in its mother's milk), twice in Shemot
and once in Devarim, we get the prohibition on eating _all_ meat and
meat-derived products, as well as _all_ poultry and poultry-derived
products, together with, at the same meal as, on the same plates as, or
even within __ hours of, _all_ dairy products whatsoever, or cooking
them together, or even deriving any benefit from a cooked mixture of
meat and milk.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?


From: Alana Suskin <alanacat@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 11:05:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rape and "precautionary measures"

> Several local newspapers last Friday had a headline "RAPE" which focused
> on a daytime classroom rape of a high school girl.  The newspaper
> discussed "precautionary measures" which had already been taken among
> which were use of the buddy system when going to the bathroom.
> The reason I bring this up is because of the reaction I have received
> when discussing this inocuous law with people: For example, "Why should
> I have to chat to prevent "him" from molesting me," a common "I-him"
> criticism made by many feminists.

I think you missed the point of the criticism, which is that women are
not doing anything wrong in going to the bathroom alone: so why is it
that the "answer" to their violation is to make *the women* behave
differently, rather than the men, of whom at least one is the
responsible party for the violation? (cf Golda Meir's famous response to
the suggestion that rising rape rates should be answered by a curfew of
the women...they didn't do anything wrong, so instead we should curfew
the men, at which point the issue of curfew was, correctly, dropped)

> The point I am trying to clarify is that many Jewish laws have known
> reasons which are sound and accomplish their goal without much
> inconvenience and yet we are too ready to criticize them in a myriad of
> girls.  The law works! It is not an inconvenience for girls to chat! It
> does ward off molestors! The law is simple!  The law does not warrant
> any criticism.

It does warrant criticism: why isn't there a move to watch the men,
instead of making the women responsible for the men's behavior? This is
also why other laws (as you mention above) are criticised even though they
seem "simple" and seem to "work." The question, though, is simple for
whom? It's not simpler for the women who are now to be held responsible
for preventing rape, rather than have the authority figures do what is
appropriate and inconvenience
Those who are perpretrating the problem by 1. watching the men, asking
male students who seem to be out of place why they're there and refusing
to allow them access to places where they could be causing problems.
2.Instituting a long-term education program for all students showing that
violation of a woman's autonomy will not be brooked under any
circumstances and that doing so will be treated extremely severely, and
that every attempt to discover who the cause of the problem is will be
	In case someone thought of the response that most of the men
haven't done anything wrong, and so why must they be inconvenienced, I
would only point out that (at least) one  man  has created
the problem, and yet the suggested solution was to inconvenience all
women, when *none* of them were responsible.

		Alana Suskin


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 1997 11:22:14 -0800
Subject: Re: The Female Chat Enactment of the Great Assembly

In Vol. 26 #11, Russell Hendel says:
> I immediately recalled the Chat Amendment made by the Prophet-Sages of
> the so called Great Assembly of Ezra the Scribe, the second greatest
> assemblage of Jewish minds in human history.  Under this amendment women
> are asked to chat in the bathroom with each other so that possible
> molestors will infer that they are not alone. This rabbinical enactment
> IS a law and brought down in authoratative Jewish Lawbooks.
> The reason I bring this up is because of the reaction I have received
> when discussing this inocuous law with people: For example, "Why should
> I have to chat to prevent "him" from molesting me," a common "I-him"
> criticism made by many feminists.
> The point I am trying to clarify is that many Jewish laws have known
> reasons which are sound and accomplish their goal without much
> inconvenience and yet we are too ready to criticize them in a myriad of
> ways---does everyone hold that way? Is the reason reflective of Chazal's
> time? Is there a hint that someone is second class?...

Although the solution you mention does work, it implies that women have
to behave in certain ways in order to prevent an attack. The idea that a
woman has to bring a buddy to the bathroom with her (already difficult
since in most polite society one tries to be as unobtrusive as possible
about this) and also has to talk to the person while engaged in a very
personal activity in order to prevent some male from attacking her may
be effective but I think it is understandable that women would resent
it. The reason this solution is getting a negative reaction when you
mention it I would guess has very little to do with the fact that Chazal
proposed and implemented it. It likely has very much more to do with
what you call above "a common `I-him' criticism made by many feminists."

Women, I think understandably, resent having to change their behavior,
dress, or habits in order to prevent some man from attacking. Plus there
is the very big factor that this often gets turned around to a weird
logic that says that if they *didn't* do so, it is somehow their fault
that some man attacked them. There is unfortunately a history of
judgments made against the female victims of sexual attacks claiming
that the women dressed or acted in such a way that they were "asking for
it," to use a crude but descriptive phrase.

The fact that Chazal are a source for this particular recommendation
that falls into this category probably has little or nothing to do with
the reaction you've been getting.

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this     
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address.


End of Volume 26 Issue 14