Volume 29 Number 52
                 Produced: Fri Aug 13  6:48:57 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Previous Generations
         [Ken G. Miller]
Rich vs Poor Tuition
         [Susan Shapiro]
         [Chana Luntz]
Ulechaporas Posha (2)
         [Ezriel Krumbein, Gershon Dubin]


From: Ken G. Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 15:58:42 -0400
Subject: re: Previous Generations

It is all too easy to misunderstand our elders. I'd like to comment on MJ

Zev Sero wrote:

<<< It was a well-known 'makat medina', or more accurately 'makat hador'
that the women dressed as they pleased, and not always in accord with what
the men would have liked.  Even R Akiva Eger wasn't able to get his wife and
daughters to dress in accordance with the highest levels of tzniut. >>>

Richard Wolpoe had a similar observation:

<<< FWIW, according to my Mom, her maternal grandmother told her daughter
(my maternal grandmother) that once in the USA, hair-covering was no longer
needed, etc.  As if to say, "Yes keep Shabbos and Kosher, but hair covering
was just a "minhog" tied to Eastern Europe, and therefore no longer
applicable here in America." I am not saying this was a scholarly
perception, but it was probably a popular one nevertheless. >>>

These posters seem to feel that the scholarly men were correct, and that the
women were not. I would like to question that attitude, echoing the words of
David I. Cohen, who wrote:

<<< Were our parents (or grandparents), many of whom studied at yeshivot and
received semicha just plain wrong? Frankly, I don't get it. >>>

In the Summer 94 issue of Tradition, Rav Haym Soloveitchik's article
"Rupture and Reconstruction" attempted to teach us (who follow the "textual
tradition") about the lamented loss of the "mimetic tradition" of previous
generations. In footnote 18, he writes:

<<< The traditional kitchen provides the best example of the neutralizing
effect of tradition, especially since the mimetic tradition continued there
long after it was lost in most other areas of Jewish life. Were the average
housewife (bale-boste) informed that her manner of running the kitchen was
contrary to the Shulhan Arukh, her reaction would have been a dismissive,
"Nonsense!" She would have been confronted with the alternative, either that
she, her mother and grandmother had, for decades, been feeding their
families nonkosher food [treifes] or that the Code was wrong or, put more
delicately, someone's understanding of that text was wrong. As the former
was inconceivable, the latter was clearly the case. This, of course, might
pose problems for scholars, however, that was their problem not hers.
Neither could she be prevailed on to alter her ways, nor would an
experienced rabbi even try. There is an old saying among scholars, "A
yidishe bale-boste takes instruction from her mother only." >>>

Several years ago, I asked here on Mail-Jewish (in 22:08 and 22:18) how it
has been possible for Jewish women over the centuries to make decisions
about kashrus without learning the subject inside the way men do. Sure, they
will bring their questions to the rav, but without learning the subject in
depth, they will not know which questions to ask. The mothers teach the
daughters, and the fathers teach the sons, and centuries could pass before
we realize that the men and women have held opposite opinions for

It is entirely possible that a certain problem in a slaughtered chicken was
rejected as nonkosher by male scholars centuries ago, and that for the same
time period, pious women accepted it as kosher and never had reason to
question it. The men unknowingly ate for dinner the same chicken which they
had discussed a few hours earlier, and had declared to be non-kosher. Now,
let's say by chance that two men were discussing what they learned, and the
female cook overheard it. What would happen next? Would the men refuse to
eat it? Would the cook be upset that her mother taught her wrongly? Rav
Soloveitchik answered this conundrum with the quote above: <<< This, of
course, might pose problems for scholars, however, that was their problem
not hers. Neither could she be prevailed on to alter her ways, nor would an
experienced rabbi even try. >>>

May I suggest that a similar thing may have taken place in the area of
women's dress. Nowadays, when the women learn tznius in the textual
tradition, it is not surprising that there is more agreement between the men
and the women regarding what is and is not proper to wear. But if <<< R
Akiva Eger wasn't able to get his wife and daughters to dress in accordance
with the highest levels of tzniut >>> (as Zev Sero wrote), maybe that's
because they had a *legitimate* machlokes with him on what was required!

Akiva Miller


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 1999 19:22:54 EDT
Subject: Rich vs Poor Tuition

<<  how does the second-class attitude manifest itself. >>

Being that I work in a school, and am on a large scholarship, and have
been for years, I can tell you that the attitude thing is in some ways
part of the attitude of the families receiving scholarship.  Only in
part, mind you.  I don't think the Administration (in general) realize
how humiliating it is to ask for scholarship in the first place.  But,
after the situation has settled, I found that there are many many
scholarship families who, when asked to help in KIND, rather than in
money, are never available. Even if they're working, there are things
that can be done at home, on the weekends, etc.

I know, also, that most people on scholarship are not sitting at home
twiddling their thumbs, but I, as a mom with lotsa little kids, was
always able to find something I could do, like things on the computer,
or just BEING there, even with little kids.

So, we need to hold our heads up high, even though it is humiliating not to 
have enough money.

Susan Shapiro


From: Chana Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 20:05:29 +0100
Subject: Tevila

Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...> writes:

>>Ruth T. wrote:
>> How can TeVilat Nashim not be a mitzva if you SAY- BARUCH ATA....
>According to most minhagim, the blessing that is said is "Vetzivanu 'al
>ha-tevila"  and NOT "'al mitzvat tevila".
>Presumably, the different minhagim depend on the disagreement among the
>poskim about whether going to the mikveh for a woman is a mitzvah in its
>own right, or if it is a "matir", an act which enables the woman to be
>permitted again to her husband.  If it is a "matir", then the act of going
>into the mikvah is similar to the covering the blood of a slaughtered
>animal.  We are not commanded at all to slaughter an animal, but if one
>wants to eat the meat of the animal, he (or she - another topic) must
>first cover the blood and say the blessing of "'al kisui hadam".
>Similarly, if a woman wants to be permitted to her husband she must go to
>the mikvah first, but there is no commandment for a woman to go to a
>mikveh after her seven clean days just for the sake of going.

While this opinion that going to mikvah is merely a matir is one extreme
of the rishonic spectrum - in that it is the opinion of Rabbanu Tam (see
tosphos s'h "dkuli alma" Yoma 8a) , I do not believe it is widely
accepted.  The reason being that, if one holds this, it is, as also held
by Rabbanu Tam (see the Mordechai at the end of Nida quoted by the Bach
in Yoreh Deah siman 197) assur [forbidden] to go to mikvah on shabbas
(ie Friday night after dark) (The only tevila being permitted on shabbas
being tevilas mitzvah) - and the Rema explicitly holds that one can go
to mikvah on Friday night (Yoreh Deah Siman 197 si'if 2).

At the other end of the spectrum, the Rabbanu Chananel (see tosphos s'h
"v'shma mina" Nida 30a) and the Smag (with support from a Yerushalmi)
hold that it is a specific mitzvah to go to mikvah on the date on which
one is first permitted to do so (there is some discussion about whether
that applies today when women wait 7 clean days always, and not the
d'orisa periods, see the Bach quoted above, but the position seems to be
that when one is first permitted to is extended to mean when one is
first permitted to via the chachamim, which includes after the 7 clean
days).  However, such a position means that a woman should go to mikvah
even if her husband is not in the city (and presumably that single women
should also go, although that is not brought by the commentators as a
nafka mina).  That is not a widely accepted position either, and is
similarly rejected by the Rema in the siman and si'if quoted above.

Rather, an intermediate position is taken which says that it is indeed a
mitzvah to go to mikvah, but that is because of the consequent mitzvahs
of pru u'rvu and onah (it is noted for example that Yehoshua was
punished for keeping klal yisroel away from pru u'rvu for one day).
Hence if one's husband is not available, there is no mitzvah.

Thus the language of the Shulchan Aruch in siman 197 si'if 2 is "if her
husband is in the city it is a mitzvah to go to mikvah b'zmana [ie at
the time one is first permitted to go] so as not to nulify from pria
v'rivya even for one night.

The only exception to the rule about going to mikvah on Friday night
brought by the Rema is that if it was possible for the woman to go to
mikvah previous to the Friday night (eg her husband wasn't in the city,
but she could have gone Thursday night) some people forbid her to go
Friday night (although others permit).  Such a ruling seems to suggest
that there is more of a mitzvah in going on her night of tevilla than on
any other night (even if it will mean putting off pru u'rvu for another
night) (the other explanation that springs to mind, that it is a knas
[fine] on her for not going earlier does not seem right, as, at least in
relation to pru u'rvu the mitzvah is her husband's, not hers, and it is
not clear why he is being further punished - if there was no mitzvah of
pru u'rvu in the circumstances, and only onah, then such a position
would make more sense).

Kind Regards



From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 23:17:47 -0700
Subject: Re: Ulechaporas Posha

Dovid Medinet's answer, relating to the disharmony between the Solar and
Lunar year is given by the Mahara"m Shick Or Hachaim (vol 3) 184.  The
Maharim Shick does not follow all of the same reasoning of disharmony
and sin; The Maharam Shick relates it to miraculous and spiritual on one
side and natural and physical on the other side. When an extra month is
added to create the harmony between the two is a time of opportunity for

In the kisavim of the father of the Rav of my Shul, Rav Rutner Z"L,
another facinating answer is cites from the Arugas Habosem in his perush
on Chumash parshas Bo. There he says, to paraphrase, that it is 
incumbent on each person to make a chesbon hanefesh each day or each
week and to rectify that which has not gone right.  However there are
some people who are not able to do so on a regular basis. The end result
is after a while there is a large pile of thing that need righting.  A
person in such a situation could give up hope and despair.  To prevent
this, Hashem created the example of the Moon and the Sun each month the
Lunar and Solar year are falling out of kilter and it could be corrected
at that point by a small change yet we wait until it requires a whole
month to set things in balance again. Now things are in harmony.  So too
with a person, it can reach a point where it will take major steps to
get back in harmony, but it is acheivable!

To answer the original question about the reason of the Taamei Hminhagim
that it is because the Sanhedrin will have caused Klall Yisroel to sin
by eating chometz on Pesach, I propose the follow difficult but posible
solution.  Another source for this idea is the Boruch Sheomar. There he
says: It is possible to explain [adding lechaporas pesha] according to
the gemora in R"H 25a on the topic of extending the month, that even if
Beis Din erred and extended the month when it was not necesary even
still the month is extended. ... and since it is possible for many
pitfalls to comeout of this, for instance chometz on Pesach and fasting
on Yom Kippur, since by the extending the year the month of Nisan and
Tishrei will be pushed off 30 days. And if they will err in these
actions Pesach and Yom Kippur will occur not in their proper time. And
the results of this are very great that touch the basic of the mitzvot
of the Torah - therefore we ask that our prayer will  protect "lchaporas
pesha zot".

Now if you understand that the Boruch Sheomar means to protect against
make an additional month when it was not supposed to happen and not to
atone for the fact that an additional month occured when it was not
supposed to happen it makes sense that we add "lchaporas pesha" up until
the the extra month and not after. However if you understand that it is
to atone for a sin that may have beed commitED then we should add
"lechporas pesha" after the additional month. To futher explain, I do
not think that The Boruch Sheomar means a literal sin in that the
chometz will be eaten on Pesach.  What I believe he means is that it
will upset the heavenly order that what was meant to be, which did not
come to be and is not be observed in it proper way.

Kol Tov

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 1999 23:53:20 -0400
Subject: Ulechaporas Posha

While discussing this topic with my father, he shared with me an
explanation that he had heard from Rav Hutner, z"l. As was mentioned in
one of the recent digests, King Chizkiya was criticized by Chazal for
making the thirtieth day of Adar into Nisan, when the decision to make a
leap year should have been made prior to then.  Rav Hutner said, that
when we add the additional month well before the thirtieth day of Adar,
we are in effect "rectifying" the "pesha" (transgression) that Chizkiya
did in adding it so late.



End of Volume 29 Issue 52