Volume 29 Number 23
                 Produced: Wed Jul 28  6:27:00 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kol Isha
         [Yossie Abramson]
Lifnei Ivair & Glatt Yacht
         [Warren Burstein]
Mixed Dancing
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control" (7)
         [Steve Bailey, Levi Keil, Zvi Weiss, Avi Feldblum, Steve White,
Jordan Hirsch, Stuart Wise]


From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 10:52:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Kol Isha

> I'm sure its been discussed before but... where are the "halachic    
>  opinions" that permit "kol isha"? 
>> (I've seen the Sairedai Esh but he for sure is not talking about the 
> Glatt Yacht)

I remember learning in Bais Medrash that there is a "halachic opinion"
concerning kol isha (ladies singing) if the ladies are in a group. The
reason that the singing of a group of ladies would be permitted in front
of men, is that you can't diffrentiate the voices in a large group.  I
really don't remember who said this, but I do know it was a mid 18-19th
century acharon. 



From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 14:13:02
Subject: Re: Lifnei Ivair & Glatt Yacht

>From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
>In the case of Glatt Yacht, it seems that since there would NOT be any
>other "opportunity" of "mixed dancing", to enable to event *would* be (at
>the least) a serious problem of Lifnei Ivair. (This -- in addition to the
>other factors already cited.)

I don't know how much of a clientele there is for (glatt) kosher food
followed by mixed dancing (which is why I'm surprized that someone tried
to set up such a setting in the first place), but I would suppose that
they could eat a (glatt) kosher dinner at a restaurant and then go
somewhere else to dance.

>BTW, I am not sure that there is a heter for public mixed dancing even if
>it is restricted to married couples... One item that comes to mind is that
>some of the women may not be tehoros at the time -- but be a bit
>"ill at ease" publicizing their status by sitting out all of the dances...

They could go another night?

>Also, what happens if a husband asks another woman to dance ... would the
>dancing be halted??

If a patron fails to wash or say berachot before eating, should the food be
taken away?


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 99 12:36:21 PDT
Subject: Mixed Dancing

>While we need to keep some perspective i.e. that mixed dancing may well
>be yehoreg ve'al yaavor...

As far as I know the gemara says that the only cases which are yehareg
ve'al yaavor are idol worship, bloodshed and gilui arayot, sexual
transgressions of a very specific nature (Sanhedrin 74a).  Not only do I
see no way that mixed dancing can be categorized as gilui arayot but
there didn't seem to be any persecution happening on the Glatt Yacht
which would warrant even the use of this terminology.  Now a little
political commentary, if hashgahot are going to be the moral authority
of kosher establishments then how about they start with the cash
register, i.e. are the books legally in order, do they pay taxes
properly, treat employees properly-i.e. on the books and on time with
Soc. Security,etc. Often people can be very selective as to what is a
transgression, and more often than not (IMHO) real transgressions which
not even open to differing interpretations are often somehow overlooked.

Name: Michael Menahem and Abby Pitkowsky
E-mail: <pitab@...>


From: Steve Bailey <zilbail@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 11:17:39 +0200
Subject: re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

 Gitelle Rapoport notes that there is a problem with kashrut
organizations taking the role of moral police (my term, not hers) on
matters not related to food supervision. I think she is right on the
 Here in Israel, the Rabbinate has succeeded in turning off thousands of
"traditional" Jews because of their methods of religious coercion in
areas not mandated by their government role. Thousands of secular
Israelis are open to reason and meaning in Jewish ritual and practice,
but are rejected by the rabbinic establishment who want to control their
lives by insisting on ritual without attempting to make it reasonable to
the non-observant, who would otherwise be open to compliance. Halachic
practice is critical in areas of marriage, divorce and kashrut, but the
manner in which it is presented is just as crucial. The insensitivity
causes hundreds of couples to avoid the Rabbinate by running to Cyprus
to get married and avoid having kosher affairs where mixed dancing
disqualifies kashrut certification.
 On Dev. 6:18, Rav S.R. Hirsch quotes the homiletic explanation of Rabbi
Akiva: "Do that which is `good' in the eyes of heaven and `right' in the
eyes of your fellow-man". For example, when you do that which is
religiously correct it should be done in a way that finds approval in
the eyes of people. When an observant person wishes to be meticulous in
his/her observance, he needs to be sensitive to how such behavior will
appear to one's fellow-Jews. This is similar to the saying of Rabi in
Pirkei Avot (paraphrased by Hirsch), "the way we do things must
primarily be laudable in itself, but must also take into consideration
the impression it makes on people."

Steve Bailey
6a Wedgewood St. Jerusalem 93108
02-563-1508 ( from US: 011-972-2-563-1508)

From: Levi Keil <leo_keil@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 14:26:47 -0400
Subject: RE: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

>> OK, where would YOU draw the line (this is also re a number of
>> postings saying religous orgs. can mandate dress codes, mixed
>> dancing, etc.) - "testing" everyone before they come into a kosher
>> establishment to see if they're dressed modestly, not letting married
>> women in if their heads are not covered, not allowing women in pants
>> or men without kipot, for instance, if people dressed this way might
>> "offend" other patrons?

I draw the line at the point where the establishment is violating
halachah or encouraging a violation of halachah. The female singer was
something provided by the establishment. It is very different than
something a customer does.

>> My point is that having a female singer on one night does not make
>> the FOOD treif.  (Your argument, of course, falls apart in that 100%
>> of rabbinic authorities would prohibit something as lewd as stripping
>> and lap dancing, but there are some who allow tasteful singing.)

If you really think there are rabbinical authorities who allow "tasteful
singing" by a woman in front of a male audience, then that should be the
rabbinical authority to give hashgacha to such a place. In this case
they got their hashgacha from an organization that does not permit
"tasteful singing" by a woman in front of a male audience. The
organization did the right thing by removing the hashgacha.

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 12:51:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

> From: dwenger <dwenger@...>
> Yasher koach to Gitelle Rapoport for bringing up the thorny topic of
> whether kashrut-supervising organizations are "mandated to control"
> anything else. IMHO, they are there to ensure that the food served in a
> restaurant that represents itself as kosher is, in fact, kosher. That's
> it.

 I do not understand why the poster here believes that the organization
that provides hashgacha has no responsibility for the prohibition of
Lifnei Ivair.  In brief, if -- because of my actions -- someone is now
able to violate an issur -- then there is the problem of Lifnei Ivair.
This is not an issue of "mandated to control" -- it is a reflection of
the fact that Jews are "responsible" for each other and we are NOT
expected to turn a "blind eye" to the actions of others.

>  I once lived in a small city that had one (count 'em, 1!) kosher
> restaurant. To attract clientele - as we all must admit, most kosher
> restaurants outside NYC must also serve nonobservant customers in order
> to keep their businesses going (another reason for serving meat during
> the 9 days, but that's another story) - it decided to feature live music
> one night a week. One time, the group it had featured a female singer -
> and the supervising organization immediately removed its hashgacha,
> thereby forcing the owners of the restaurant to close, losing their
> parnasa. My question: did this organization have the right to do this?
> If observant patrons objected to this form of entertainment, couldn't
> they still eat at the restaurant during the rest of the week? Did the
> singer make the food treif??

 *My* question is why did the restaurant deliberately choose to do
something that appears to violate halacha?  The point is NOT "observant
patrons" objecting, the point is that a restaurant under "Kosher
auspices" is choosing to violate halacha.  Why does the poster think
*that* is OK to do?  This appears to be much worse than the cases cited
earlier (e.g., mixed dancing at a wedding).  In earlier cases, the
caterer was NOT supporting the prohibited activity and the issue of
Lifnei Ivair is -- arguably -- much more tangential.  In this instance,
the owner is choosing to do a [probably] prohibited act.  The Hashgacha
agency is making clear that it cannot be "played with".  If you want
hasgacha, you follow the rules of that agency or else you look
elsewhere.  While the result sounds draconian, I suspect that the agency
tried to warn the owners that this was unacceptable and the owners tried
to play hardball -- and apparently lost.


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 1999 08:32:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

On Fri, 23 Jul 1999, Zvi Weiss wrote:

> ===> I do not understand why the poster here believes that the
> organization that provides hashgacha has no responsibility for the
> prohibition of Lifnei Ivair.

I believe this is incorrect halachik usage of the rule of Lifnei Ivair. It
may be a case of a Rabbinic level Mesaih ledevar averah (assisting one in
doing an aveira).

I no longer remember the exact details of the Glatt Yacht case, but, if
they supplied the music and the dance floor, and people choose to mix
dance, why is that different than supplying the food and people choosing
to eat without making a bracha and birchat hamazon. As far as public vs
private, that may be more involved in how to rebuke than in mesaih.

Avi Feldblum

From: Steve White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 13:23:26 EDT
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

In #16, Gitelle Rapoport writes:

<< Dear Chaim Wasserman,
 I don't understand what you mean by the statement that a religious
 authority that is supposed to enforce kashrut is also "mandated to
 control" mixed dancing on a boat? Mandated by whom?
<much snipped>
 reminders or suggestions are fine, but it seems to me that kashrut
 organizations that take on the responsibility of enforcing anything
 other than kashrut are setting a problematic precedent. Where does it

Well, since I was heavily involved in the discussion at the time
(whenever that was), I feel compelled to chip in.  I'd recommend looking
at the archives; there are substantial arguments in both directions,
once you consider the following ...

(a) whether the proprietor has the *right* to forbid mixed dancing (most 
likely yes)
(b) whether the supervising agency has the right to enforce the proprietor's 
decision (again, most likely, yes)
(c) whether the supervising agency has the right to enforce against the 
proprietor's decision (questionable, although whether they wish to continue 
supervising kashrut is another issue)
(d) how the supervising agency enforces (an absolutely critical issue)
(e) what the boundaries are (indirect kashrut issues, like making sure food 
is not cooked on Shabbat, vs. not-food issues, whether a microphone is used 
on Shabbat)

To my mind, (c) and (d) were really critical issues that were not
handled in the most appropriate fashion.  For example, with respect to

The way it was handled at the time, mashgichim went to couples on the
dance floor and asked them to stop dancing.  This is a fairly public
embarrassment (a violation of a d'oraita), especially since public
dancing is only d'rabbanan.  Things like this make non-observant Jews
hostile to the Orthodox world, and not without reason.

Much better, lechatchila (before the fact), to post signs prominently
asking mixed couples not to dance.  Much better, bediaved (after the
fact), to go to the couple when they sit down and ask them not to dance
together again -- much less embarrassment, done privately and
discreetly.  Maybe this is likely to *impress* the non-observant Jew,
not make him/her hostile.

Concerning (c), suppose you aren't willing to supervise a private
function where most of the family isn't frum and doesn't care, but a few
people are.  Then the likely result is that the function will use less
reliable supervision, or even treif caterers, and mixed dancing will
still go on.  So what have you accomplished?  Supervising that private
function, even with mixed dancing, accomplishes much more in the way of
mitzva observance and kiruv, and results in fewer violations of halacha.

Steven White

From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 10:47:21 EDT
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

R' Preil has made some very important points about how we discuss
halachic issues regarding Tzniut and Kol Isha.  However, he has not
answered the question.

It is the responsibility of a Kashrut supervision organization to
supervise the Kashrut of the food being served. It is no one's business
what happens in the dining room, as long as it has nothing to do with
the food. Period.

Jordan Hirsch 

From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 1999 11:06:03 -0700
Subject: Re: Religious Organizations "Mandated to Control"

I think the explanation is "treif by association."  Kashrus
organizations want to appeal to the strictest adherents of kashrus, and
one could imagine that those who would turn their nose down to what they
deem inappropriate entertainment would somehow feel, irrationally, that
it would reflect on the kashrus organization.

"Guilt" by association may not be fair, but one can understand that a
kashrus organization may feel that a restaurant that is lax in one
aspect of frumkeit (kol ishah) might also extend it to the matter at
hand (kashrus)


End of Volume 29 Issue 23