Volume 29 Number 62
                 Produced: Wed Aug 25 16:31:46 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Girl's school uniforms
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Hate and Murder
         [Warren Burstein]
Israeli Rabbinate
         [Eli Turkel]
Pop Culture and Slavery
         [Shalom Krischer]
Second Class Yeshiva Students
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Sh-asani Kirtzono
         [Stan Tenen]
Similarities in Niggun
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
         [Yeshaya Halevi]


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 08:38:35 -0400
Subject: RE: Girl's school uniforms

Dr. Berlin raises the interesting question of whether "copying" uniforms
for school girls runs into the prohibition of dressing and acting like

I don't have an answer for this, but perhaps I can amplify the question.
What about wearing a jacket and tie? (Note that some chassidim
deliberately do not wear ties, and that they dress with long coats
rather than short jackets.)  (Also note -- I am writing these words
while sitting in my office wearing a tie!)


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 14:35:42
Subject: Re: Hate and Murder

>From: Mayer Danziger <mdanziger@...>
>	First Amendment (free speech) advocates claim that hate
>mongering is protected under our Constitution and that there is no
>correlation between hate proliferation and violence. The Torah tells us
>otherwise. Hate will ultimately lead to murder and the two are directly

I don't think that the Torah tells us anything about what the US
Constitution says.  It may agree with some of its provisions and
disagree with others, but doesn't affect what it says.

Nor does the Constitution express an opinion on whether there is or is
not a link between hatered and violence.

So I'd like to suggest a course of action rather than a message.  You
(each individual reading this) can't do much about what people who you
never meet say.  But you may, from time to time, hear someone you know
spreading hatred.  You may have disregarded it, sure that person didn't
really mean it (it's inconcievable, after all, that a frum person could
commit violence), was kidding, exaggerating, whatever.  Next time you
hear someone you know speaking hatefully, encouraging violence, or
applauding a frum murderer, tell them what the Torah says about hate and


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 09:37:20 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Israeli Rabbinate

    Carl Sherer presented a lengthy post demonstrating that many secular
Jews in Israel have no interest in religion and that it is not the fault
of the rabbinate.

    I have no fault with his statements and have personally seen much of
the anti-religious feelings in Tel Aviv. Nevertheless, I feel that it is
important to state that this is still a two-sided problem. While having
no sympathy for Meretz and their anti-religious atitude this problem
rarely appears in the U.S. and is mainly an Israeli phenomena.  One of
the reasons for this is the religious laws that the religious parties
pass by dint of their being a swing vote in the knesset.

   Most secular Israelis would concede the need for religious control
over marriage and divorce and I think that Metetz and Shinui form a
small minority on these issues.  However, the issues that affect
Israelis on a regular basis are the shabbat laws.  It is difficult to
explain why a shopping complex in the middle of nowhere on kibbutz
grounds should be closed on shabbat. After all the shoppers are driving
anyway and it certainly does not affect any religious communities. Laws
that prohibit selling chametz on Passover merely force those interested
to freeze their bread for a week.

   Jewry is still living with the old concept that observance can be
enforced by passing legislation. Instead these laws merely cause hatred
and were the main reason for Shinui getting 6 seats in the
knesset. There is no law requiring Brit Milah and something like 97% of
all Jewish boys born in Israel get a circumcision. There was once a
comment that if such a law was passed the percentage would drop to 90%.

The question is not of forcing the rabbinate to marry a couple against
halacha but rather should civil marriage be allowed. I personally am
against civil marriage but on the other hand I see absolutely no reason
not to allow "civil" burial.

Kol Tuv,
Eli Turkel


From: Shalom Krischer <shalom_krischer@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 15:28:35 -0400
Subject: RE: Pop Culture and Slavery

On Fri, 13 Aug 1999, Joseph C. Kaplan wrote:
> ...
> I believe that had slavery existed in the Jewish community in the year
> 1000, Rabbeinu Gershom, or some other equally luminous leader and scholar,
> would have included a cherem (prohibition) against it together with the
> cherem against polygamy.  While both may have been moral at a ceratin time
> and under certain conditions, they no longer were at that time. Since
> there was a need to ban polygamy which was still practiced, the cherem
> against it was issued; the point was moot about slavery, though, since it
> was no longer an exisiting institution. Therefore, no explicit prohibition
> was necessary.
> ...

Wait a minute!  If memory serves me right, the cherem against polygamy
was not instituted for "moral" reasons, but rather because the jews it
targeted lived in a christian country (and, as such, the "natives" were
forbidden many wives), and therefore the fear was that the non-jew would
think that the jewish religion was immoral.  In fact, the jews living in
islamic countries did not have the cherem applied to them (and, I
believe that polygamy may still be found in a few such cases).  Now, are
you going to tell me that monogamy is not a case of "pop-culture"
morality if we had it applied only under christian rule?!?!?  (In fact,
there might even be found a case to "require" polygamy, if for not other
reason than monogamy could be construed as "chukat-hagoyim" <customs of
the non-jew> :) ).

Now, I've been avoiding speaking on this thread because any argument I
could think of (one way or another) has certainly been mentioned by
other (more educated in this area) readers.  However, as far as your
belief in the lack of slavery in the jewish world, I must point out that
(in the US) jews certainly owned slaves (perhaps non-halachically, but
certainly not immoral by the laws of this <christian, despite
"separation of church and state"> country) well more recently than 900
years ago (the import of slaves became illegal in 1808, just 15 years
AFTER the passage of the "Fugitive Slave Act" which made it illegal to
aid a runaway slave!  The Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863
and the 13th amendment <which made slavery illegal in the US <<except as
a punishment for crime!!>> > was ratified in 1865.  Other countries

Today (in all christian countries) we are trained that slavery and
polygamy are immoral.  But, if nothing else, this thread has certainly
convinced me that before any resolution can be reached, we have to
explore history, other cultures, and, yes, the definition of slavery (in
common use vs halachic use).

-- Shalom Krischer (ok, flame suit is on)


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999 23:14:23 EDT
Subject: Second Class Yeshiva Students

    I must apologize.  I missed at least one response to my original
question about social classes in Yeshivas.  I did see the quote in a
follow up by Susan Shapiro inquiring as to how this second class
citizenship manifests itself.
    As a response, I could name hundreds of examples of heard or seen
over my years.  Again, I would like to repeat that I do not mean to
implicate any school per se.  However I have heard stories of girl
schools forcing poorer children to go home and change clothes for school
uniform violations, while ignoring richer students who were wearing the
same clothes.  I have heard further stories of richer kids receiving a
blind eye to NCSY involvement and dating while children with similar
backgrounds were punished/expelled for similar involvement.
    I have heard stories of students receiving drastically different
punishments for the same offense, when their school records are similar.
I know personally of an event in which two poor kids were caught
destroying school property 2 weeks before graduation and were expelled,
without a second thought.......until it was found out a week later that
two of the classes' "better connected" students were involved in the
vandalism as well.  (the punishment was mitigated to a short suspension
and all were allowed to graduate).
    I know of schools in which most or all awards from science fair to
valedictorian go to richer students if there is any competition at all.
    I spoke to a boy from a poor family who had returned from Israel on
scholarship.  I asked him about his experience at his Baal Tshuvah type
Yeshiva.  He told me how wonderful it was beside one thing.  It seems
that all scholarship boys were required to waiter for the full paying
boys every in Shabbos!  He expressed dismay at never having a Shabbos in
yeshiva in which he did not have to scarf down his food to wait on the
full paying boys!

    As one last example, I know of a school that for some G-d forsaken
reason decided that on alternating Fridays, they would drop off kids who
lived furthest from the school first.  Of course, they neglected to tell
the parents that they were going to do so until after it was done.
Several parents waited on street corners for over two hours for the kids
to come home!  One of the school's wealthiest families took the bus.  It
was great for them, as they were closest to the school, they were picked
up last and dropped off first.  As for those Fridays, the bus took a
detour from its route to drop off the kids in the boonies to drop off
these children first!
    I have more examples but I believe everyone gets the point.  I don't
know what are schools are teaching if this is the example they set.  I
believe a yeshiva should close its doors before it has a poor student
feel he has to be waiter to his richer peers.  Let another Yeshiva do
its job if a rich student is lead to believe that he is superior to
everyone else because the Rosh Yeshiva tells him so.  I am afraid that
to many administrators at yeshivas are more concerned with their next
paycheck than teaching Torah.
    If you don't believe me, by all means don't take my word for it.  Go
out and ask Yeshiva students.  Most will confirm what I am saying.
 Chaim Shapiro


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Aug 1999 08:57:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Sh-asani Kirtzono

I don't have a reference to cite, outside of my own research, but it
appears that the women's version of this blessing "Having made me
according to His Will," is a Kabbalistic statement.  Kabbalistically,
there is a geometric form representing Adam Kadmon (and including both
male and female principles).  The female component has exactly one more
"rib-like feature" than the male component.  I believe that this is the
source of the pshat with regard to forming woman from the rib of Adam.

The actual geometric form of the female component (in the Kabbalistic
metaphor) is also the projective form of Hashem's Will.  So, literally,
from a Kabbalistic perspective, woman is made according to His Will.  

The blessing is in no way a put-down, and is not even derived from the
physical/social world.  It's Kabbalistic.  Not knowing it's Kabbalistic,
and not knowing what it refers to, can mislead us into thinking that
real men and real women are not considered equally.  In my experience,
it's sometimes the case that reams of (sometimes misleading and
sometimes intellectually insulting) halachic apologia can be dispensed
with by simple reference to the underlying Kabbalah which is of course
the ultimate source of halacha in the first place.  (When I say
Kabbalah, I'm not referring to modern understanding, which I believe is
hopelessly corrupt.  I'm referring to the Sood, letter-level, of Torah.
The geometric metaphor of Adam Kadmon is explicitly specified in the
letter-sequences of the first verse of B'reshit.)

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:30:13 +0300
Subject: Similarities in Niggun

The melody used for Akdamot on Shavu'ot is identical to that used to
call up the Chatan Torah and Chatan Bereshit on Shemini Atzeret
(Israel)/Simchat Torah(elsewhere). Does anyone know what (if any) the
connection is?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 14:27:28 EDT
Subject: Weapons

Shortly after the Chicago and LA shootings, I took my son to a gun shop
so he would begin familiarizing himself with weaponry.  Interestingly, I
met another customer and he was wearing a kipa.  I asked him if the
Chicago and LA shootings motivated him to purchase a gun for home
protection, and he answered, "Absolutely."  He said he worked in the
ghetto, and if anyone there held him up he would merely surrender his
cash.  But to protect his family, his home would now be armed.

My cousin Malkiel in Cleveland, however, says he knows of no Shomer
Shabbat people who have rethought their positions on guns to the point
where they actually bought one.

As a writer, I'd like to ask the members of mail-jewish if they too have
now rethought their positions on guns to the point where they actually
bought one.  I welcome responses both via mail-jewish and/or sent
directly to me at <Chihal@...>
     Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


End of Volume 29 Issue 62