Volume 28 Number 23
                      Produced: Sun Nov 15  8:38:58 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bais Yaakov movement
         [Daniel D. Stuhlman]
Bais Yaakov; co-education
         [Gershon Bacon]
Ketubah Settlements
         [Martin Edelstein]
M-F Equality
         [Zvi Weiss]
Male and Female Souls
Nursing in Public (3)
         [Yisrael Medad, Jordan Hirsch, Dov Teichman]
She'asani kirtsono
         [Arnie or Linda Kuzmack]
She'asani kirtzono
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: Daniel D. Stuhlman <ssmlhtc@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 15:44:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Bais Yaakov movement

Etan Diamond wrote:

> Does anyone have a reference to any articles or books about the
>history the Bais Yaakov school movement, in Europe or the United States?

Here's one book from our catalog : Bais Yaakov movement and Jewish rebirth
/ by Miriam Dansky.      Mesorah Publications, 1994.

Daniel D. Stuhlman
Hebrew Theological College - Saul Silber Memorial Library
7135 N Carpenter Road - Skokie, IL  60077
847-982-2500  -  <Mailto:<ssmlhtc@...>


From: Gershon Bacon <gbacon@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 06:07:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Bais Yaakov; co-education

On the history of Bais Yaakov: see the master's thesis of Deborah Weissman
on the subject, done at NYU in the late 1970s. She has subsequently
published several articles in various volumes on Jewish women's history in
which she summarizes her findings.

On Rav Soloveichik and the Maimonides school: Seth Farber is doing a
doctoral dissertation in the Jewish history department of Hebrew University
on this very topic. Those interested should contact him for sources.

Gershon Bacon
Bar-Ilan University


From: Martin Edelstein <martin_edelstein@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:29:16 -0500
Subject: Ketubah Settlements

This is my first submission, although I have been reading with interest for
a while.  For the last ten years or so I have been a calligrapher and
artist of ketubot.  I have been impressed with the care with which rabbis
defended the text.  I have been instructed to square off the text or put a
line around a circular text so that changes may not be made.  I have been
requested to make it letter perfect, since there is no way to tell if
changes took place before or after the ceremony.  There have been other
similar requests, with different rabbis requesting different things.  I
have learned to take the ketubah very seriously and to treat the text with
care.  For this reason I was shocked when a rabbi friend of mine told me
recently that in a divorce the provisions of the ketubah are ignored, even
by haredi.  We have had a dearth of divorces in my family to use as models
so I always assumed something was done, even though I could never figure
out the modern equivalent of zuzzim.  At last to the point -- are the
provisions of the ketubah ignored, or are there those (who?) who carry them
out?  And if the provisions are ignored, what is the purpose of the ketubah
to begin with?

Martin Edelstein


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 10:09:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-F Equality

> From: Janice Gelb <janice.gelb@...>
> Frank Silbermann <fs@...> wrote:
> > Feminism does not complain about women being insufficiently valued, but
> > rather about women having fewer social options and opportunities for
> > leadership (i.e. less power than men).  The feminist ideal of treating
> > women as being completely interchangeable with men is incompatible with
> > Judaism.  (On the other hand, we need not limit women's roles any more
> > so than that which halacha makes absolutely mandatory.)
> I have been *desperately* trying not to respond in this thread but I
> really must correct the above misapprehension that "the feminist ideal"
> is "treating women as being completely interchangeable with men." The
> feminist ideal, as I and other women understand it, is that neither
> women nor men should be limited by their gender to certain social roles.

 A critical point is: should people do simply as they feel their talents
and inclinations "indicate" or is there a notion that the Torah *wants*
us to assume certain roles (within reasonably flexible parameters).  If
the latter is true, then it is indeed correct to assert that there can
be limitations based upon gender regarding "social roles".

> Therefore, if some women are inclined by their nature to create a home
> and raise children, feminists say kol hakavod. If other women are not so
> inclined, they should not be told that these are things they *should*
> want just because they are female; if they have other talents and
> interests, they should be able to pursue them. (Ditto if a man wants to
> stay home and raise the children.)

 I think that it is incorrect to state what someone should "want" to do.
But it seems legitimate to state that this is what G-d *wants* of one --
even if the person (him/herself) does not so want...


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander_Heppenheimer)
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 14:27:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Male and Female Souls

Jeanette Friedman wrote:
>How could women's souls be superior if men make a bracha every morning
>saying "she lo asani eisha?" Wouldn't it be logical that they would ask
>to have the souls of women?

I can offer a Chassidic explanation, based on various ideas that I
learned in my Yeshivah days (any errors of fact or understanding are my
own) - it's a little long, though, so please bear with me:

Consider the case of the baal teshuvah versus the tzaddik. Each one has
an advantage over the other: the tzaddik always has done - and always
will do - exactly what G-d wants, meaning that he takes every
permissible resource - material, mental, etc. - available to him, and
uses it to serve G-d; on the other hand, that leaves an awful lot of
areas of G-d's creation unelevated and untouched. The baal teshuvah, on
the other hand, started off violating G-d's will, whether knowingly or
unknowingly; but when he does teshuvah, not only does the "rebound
effect" bring him closer to G-d, but all of his past life - including
the forbidden resources he used, such as the non-kosher food he ate -
becomes elevated as well, and the sparks of G-dliness in it are able to
be extracted, though this never could have been done according to the
"standard operating procedure." (Which doesn't mean that a person can
deliberately sin in order to later become a baal teshuvah and redeem his
past: the Mishnah (Yoma 8:9 (85b)) specifically warns that if a person
does this, "he will not be given the opportunity to do teshuvah.")

We find this contrast between tzaddik and baal teshuvah in other areas
of Torah and of Jewish history as well, including:

* Adam and Eve before the sin (tzaddikim - living in the Garden of Eden,
untouched by, and not touching, the outside world) vs. after the sin
(baalei teshuvah - having to go out into the big bad world and utilize its
resources to serve G-d);
* The Jewish People in the time of King Solomon (tzaddikim - living in the
Land of Israel and having the outside world (such as the Queen of Sheba)
come to them for guidance) vs. in later times, particularly in our present
exile (baalei teshuvah - living among Gentiles and teaching them, both
verbally and demonstratively, about G-d and His Torah).

In each of these pairings, the second situation, though a far lower
level compared to the first one, has its own advantages. In this vein,
R' Shalom Ber Schneersohn, the fifth Lubavitcher Rebbe, said: "When
Moshiach comes [and we will be on the level of tzaddikim], we will look
back with longing to the time of the exile [when we are on the level of
a baal teshuvah]."

Applying all of this to the difference between men's and women's
mitzvos, and the berachah "shelo asani ishah": I would venture to say
that, in this sense, women are on the level of a tzaddik, and men on the
level of a baal teshuvah. So women have fewer positive mitzvos, because
their job is not so much to elevate the material world from within, but
rather to influence it from above, like Adam and Eve before the sin;
like the tzaddik, they are created "kirtzono" - in strict accordance
with G-d's standard operating plan. Whereas men, whose job is to
"conquer" the world (Bereishis 1:28) and therefore to "get down and
dirty" with it, need more positive mitzvos; theirs is, so to speak,
G-d's "riskier investment." My thanking Hashem for "not creating me a
woman," then, is an expression of gratitude that He gave me the
advantage that a baal teshuvah has over a tzaddik - the fact that more
areas of G-d's creation are open to me to "conquer" and turn into
vehicles for His Presence.

Jeanette also wrote:

>After all, the explanation for why women make that bracha differs--one
>of them being that the men are thanking God that they don't have to go
>through the pain of childbirth because Chava was the one who offered the
>apple to Adam--which is a form of punishment for Original Sin.  (And
>isn't that a Catholic concept to begin with?)

"Original sin" is a Catholic concept, but "original capacity for sin" is
a Jewish one. Meaning: The Jewish conception (pardon the pun) of Adam
and Eve's sin, and its result, is that before the sin they didn't "know"
evil - "know" in the sense of "intimate contact" (cf. Bereishis 4:1:
"Adam knew his wife Eve, and she conceived...") - meaning that, as in
the earlier comparison to a tzaddik, doing good was instinctive to them,
and doing evil - i.e., what is against G-d's will - was not. (They
could, and did, still do wrong, just as a person can stick his hand into
fire; but that's not an instinctive reaction, nor a normal one.) This is
why the Evil Inclination came to them in the guise of a snake - a
creature external to them. Whereas after the sin, people's natural
inclination is to "look out for Number One" rather than for G-d or the
common good. The penalties that G-d placed upon Adam and Eve, then, were
meant as correctives for this natural tendency to selfishness and
arrogance: the pain of childbirth, for example, forces a woman to
realize that she needs G-d's help. (It's noteworthy that our Sages tell
us that the righteous women of our People, such as Sarah, gave birth
painlessly - because she didn't need that reminder.)

All of this is completely different from the Christian concept, which
basically says that every person is full of *actual* sin (as opposed to
potential) just by having been born, and that even a lifetime of being a
100% tzaddik (or, conversely, dying as an infant (G-d forbid) without
having committed any sin) does nothing to erase this.

Kol tuv and Good Shabbos to y'all,


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 98 17:53:45 PST
Subject: Nursing in Public

Rav Aviner of Bet El published during the summer a response to that
question which basically said that, if necessary for the baby, nursing
can be done as long as the woman is modestly covered.

I suggest you contact Nina Manne who is the editor of the journal for
further details at <hmanne@...>

From: <TROMBAEDU@...> (Jordan Hirsch)
Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 12:29:37 EST
Subject: Re: Nursing in Public

<< What does the tradition say about women's modesty while nursing an
infant?  I've heard that nursing in public is not a problem, but I'd
like more concrete sources.  >>

I cannot offer any sources at this time, but when we asked the sh'ailah
we were told that it was no problem, ( in the words of one Rosh Yeshiva
we spoke to,' any man who is sexually aroused by the sight of a woman
nursing ought to have his head examined') However, that does not include
in the sanctuary of the shul itself, nor I suppose in the Beis Medrash,

Jordan Hirsch

From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 15:15:03 EST
Subject: re: Nursing in Public

Frank Silberman wrote:
<<What does the tradition say about women's modesty while nursing an
infant?  I've heard that nursing in public is not a problem, but I'd
like more concrete sources.>>

I remember seeing in one of the Breishis volumes of Meam Loez (I think
Vol. 1) a long section where the author rebukes women who are not modest
while nursing, and he writes what a terrible sin it is.

Dov Teichman


From: Arnie or Linda Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 23:09:05 -0500
Subject: She'asani kirtsono

>>For that matter, how come we don't all say, She Asani Kirtzono, since
>>all of us, and all our souls, are different, and some men's souls are
>>better than some women's and the other way round as well, and this would
>>cover everyone.
>A man cannot say "he made me according to his will", because when a
>Jewish boy is born, he is "unfinished" until the bris milah.  But a
>girl is complete at birth, already made according to Ha-Shem's will.

LAD that does not follow.  It was the will of Hashem that I be circumcised,
so there had to be something to circumcise.  Therefore, He made me
according to His will.

Kol tuv,


Arnie or Linda Kuzmack


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 17:54:58 -0500
Subject: Re: She'asani kirtzono

 	I remember once hearing an explanation of "kirtzono" (according
to His will) as referring to G-d's original intention of creating the
world according to the trait of strict justice, which only later was
"changed" to temper it with kindness.  Thus, "according to his will"
refers in this interpretation to His original will in creating the
world.  Has anyone heard this-it fits with the interpretation of the
Talmud's statement in connection with Rabbi Akiva that "this is my
intent" (when Rabbi Akiva was being martyred)?



End of Volume 28 Issue 23