Volume 29 Number 85
                 Produced: Thu Sep 16  6:01:35 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alternatives to Kidushin
         [Steven Pudell]
         [Tzvi Roszler]
Pilegesh as an alternative to marriage?!! (4)
         [Yeshaya Halevi, Nosson Tuttle, Moshe Feldman, Janet Rosenbaum]
Previous Generations
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Tzniut Discussion
         [Sheri & Seth Kadish]


From: Steven Pudell <Gmachine9@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 11:24:21 EDT
Subject: Alternatives to Kidushin

The secular marriage issue arose in the Yale 4 case.  One of the women
decided to get a secular marriage in order to be able to live off
campus.  Rabbi E. Kanarfogel (Beth Aaron Teaneck) briefly discussed this
aspect of the case, noting that secular marriage is NOT a nullity
according to most opinions and may necessiate a get.


From: Tzvi Roszler <TzviR@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 16:48:43 EDT
Subject: Kinyan

A similar interpretation to the Ravs "kinyan as creation" may be found
in the sefer Emunot Vedeiot by Sadya Gaon (The Book of Beliefs and
Opinions)translated by Samuel Rosenblatt. On page fifty three he brings
several examples of the words:"Kone,Kanani,Kinyonecho. All refering to

Gmar Chatima Tova,Tzvi Roszler <TzviR@...>


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 11:38:14 EDT
Subject: Re: Pilegesh as an alternative to marriage?!!

Shana Tova, All:
       Mark Feldman writes<< ...according to the Rambam Hilchot Ishut 1:4 
(other than as interpreted by Ramban quoted by the Kesef Mishneh) any
 non-marital relationship violates the prohibition of harlotry [lo
 tih'yeh k'deishah]; in Hilchot Melachim the Rambam says that a pilegesh
 is permitted only to a king.  Rava'ad (hil. Ishut 1:4) disagrees with
 Rambam and permits a pilegesh to a commoner; the forbidden k'deishah
 according to the Ra'avad is one who is available to anyone for sexual
 relations, unlike a pilegesh who has a relationship with only one man. >>

As any Mideast anthropologist/historian would tell you, a k'deisha is
different than a zona (harlot/prostitute).  A k'deisha was a "sacred
prostitute," an institution common to ancient Israel and the surrounding
lands.  The term k'deisha falls into two main categories: firstly, there
was the woman who had sex with anybody, under temple auspices, with the
money going to the temple.  The second type of k'deisha was a woman who
had sex with the king, high priest or a chosen commoner to "ensure"
healthy crops and general properity.
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)

[Note here: This may be a somewhat touchy topic, we'll see what
happens. It is fairly clear to me that there may be differences with how
a term is used within the halachic framework than with the meaning of a
term based on contemporary sociological and historical context. Thus I
view Yeshaya's comment mainly of interest from view of understanding the
pesukim from a historical perspective. From a halachic perspective, what
will define the terms is how the are used by the classical poskim, which
is what Moshe's post referes to. Avi Feldblum, Mod.]

From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 13:06:40 -0400
Subject: Pilegesh as an alternative to marriage?!!

Moshe Feldman's response to a submission regarding alternatives to marriage
by Janet Rosenbaum prompted me to respond to a section of the original
posting which he did not take issue with but I felt compelled to comment.

She wrote:
> I just meant to ask whether the intents of the parties that this
> relationship was pilegesh and not kiddushin would be sufficient not to
> require a get.

Apparently, there is a misunderstanding here.  The concept of Pilegesh
is a marriage without Ketuba.  It is, however, as binding as Kidushin,
inasmuch as a Get would be required to terminate such a relationship.
Considering that without a Ketuba a women's rights are not protected at
the termination of a marriage, and the marriage could then be terminated
at any time by dropping off the Get in her possession without any
financial consequences, this type of marriage is not desirous today (nor
was it considered so throughout most of Jewish history).  It is
certainly significant that the sages prohibited husband and wife living
together without the presence of a Ketuba, and one must only look at the
recent "Pilegesh solution" of a group of sick minds (the Hebrew term is
"Navalim Birshus HaTorah") who came up with extended play for males
during the off-season of their legitimate wives in the guise of "Shalom
Bayis" (I believe that this novelty was discussed in a previous
mail-jewish issue before Avi's break) to realize that normative Orthodox
Judaism (to say nothing of other groups) would not even consider
"Pilegesh" as a likely candidate for marriage alternative today.

Moshe writes, seeming to support her position:
> ...Clearly at the time in Jewish history (i.e., that of Tanach) where
> concubines [pilagshim] were prevalent, the anan sa'hadei of sexual
> relations did not cause the pilagshim to become married; otherwise,
> there would be no such thing as pilegesh!

As previously mentioned, this is not a proof since the difference
between Pilegesh and Kidushin is the absence of a Ketuba.  There is no
proof from Torah that Pilegesh does not need a Get (or death of spouse)
to remarry.

I think that what both Moshe and Janet may be referring for is the
so-called "common law marriage".  This differs from Pilegesh, but Rav
Moshe Feinstein's nullification of some Reform marriages aside,
considering that a consummation of marriages occurs via intercourse also
(one of the 3 options for Erusin), if there were witnesses that such
intercourse occurred, and many say that even living together is
sufficient proof, most cases of this type of marriage also require a

From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 15:28:51 -0400
Subject: Pilegesh as an alternative to marriage?!!

Nosson Tuttle writes:

> Apparently, there is a misunderstanding here.  The concept of Pilegesh
> is a marriage without Ketuba.  It is, however, as binding as Kidushin,
> inasmuch as a Get would be required to terminate such a relationship.

As I wrote in my prior posting, there are a number of reasons that pilegesh
should not be used as a solution to Janet's query.  However, I disagree with
Nosson's contention that a Pilegesh (were that to be permitted) requires a
get (according to most commentaries).

1.  Nosson argues that "Pilegesh is marriage without ketuba."  However, this
is the position of Rashi in chumash (on the pasuk in Bereshit 25:6 "v'livnei
hapilagshim asher l'avraham"), but Ramban (ad loc.) disagrees on the basis
that ketubah is rabbinic and therefore could not be the distinguishing
factor between marriage and pilagshut.  Instead, Ramban holds that a
pilegesh does not have kiddushin (the husband does not "acquire" her).  This
is also the position of Ra'avad (Hil. Ishut 1:4) and Tshuvot HaRashba
ha'myuchasot l'Ramban 284 (which is quoted by the Kesef Mishneh Hil. Ishut

The psukim requiring a get begin: "Ki yikach ish isha."  Since pilagshut
does not need a ma'aseh kinyan [an act of acquisition], the parsha of gittin
should not apply.

2.  R. Yaakov Emden in She'elat Ya'avetz 2:15 states numerous times (in a
very long tshuvah!) that a pilegesh does not require a get.  He brings a
proof from Tshuvot HaRashba ha'myuchasot l'Ramban 284, who states "if [the
man] desired that she should be for him a pilegesh, so that she will not be
acquired to him and not forbidden to others, he may do so."  R. Emden
suggests that the words "not forbidden to others" cannot refer to the period
during which they maintain a relationship, but rather that as soon the man
verbally dismisses the pilegesh she is permitted to others.

Nosson Tuttle also writes:
> Considering that without a Ketuba a women's rights are not protected
> at the termination of a marriage, and the marriage could then be
> terminated at any time by dropping off the Get in her possession
> without any financial consequences, this type of marriage is not
> desirous today

As I wrote in my prior posting, I agree that pilagshut is not desirable.
However, I disagree with the above quote.  So long as women have the
*option* of full marriage with a ketubah (and there are no market or other
forces restricting that option), Judaism has done its part to ensure that
women's rights are protected.  If, with full knowledge of the consequences,
a woman wishes to enter into a non-ketubah relationship, she may be making a
decision which may make the most sense for her.  For example, what if she
doesn't feel ready to marry and doesn't desire a long-term relationship with
the man?  

Kol tuv,

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 23:58:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Pilegesh as an alternative to marriage?!!

> Apparently, there is a misunderstanding here.  The concept of Pilegesh
> is a marriage without Ketuba.  It is, however, as binding as Kidushin,
> inasmuch as a Get would be required to terminate such a relationship.

I was under the impression that pilagesh could be terminated by either
party, its conditions were flexible and could be determined by a
document, and the requirement to terminate it by a get only came after
the rabbis began to try to eliminate the institution to decrease

I haven't rechecked the sources, so you could be right, but I am pretty
sure of the above.

[The above is also the clear impression I get from my fathers
article. In his definition of Pilagshut he writes:

Pilagshut is a relationship between a man and a woman, in which the
woman commits herself to have intimate relations with no other man,
but reserves the right to end this commitment at will. 

To me, this is clear that it does not require a get. I will try and get
further clarification from him, but does not yet have email, so it will
take a bit. Avi Feldblum, Moderator]



From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 22:52:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Previous Generations

Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...> writes:
> Technically, one might justify the 60's position by arguing that less
> than a tefach (3 inches) of ervah [nakedness] is permissible (assuming
> like the Mishnah Brurah that the knee = "shok"; see Rav Mordechai Willig
> in "Am Mordechai" who disagrees with this position).  However, I can see
> reason to disagree; after all, when women sit down, more than 3 inches
> would show.  What halakhic justification could you provide to allow more
> than 3 inches to show?

There's obviously no halachic justification for allowing more than 
a tefach.  The point is rather that the public opinion today is such 
that even a skirt which was no more than a tefach when sitting down 
would be looked askance at.  

> This is even more difficult to justify.  If a women is a niddah, then
> all touching which gives pleasure to the man is forbidden (Rambam,
> Issurei Bi'a 21:1) based on the pasuk of "lo tikrivu l'galot erva" [you
> shall not come *close* to sexual intercourse].  Perhaps not all mixed
> dancing comes within that category, but it sometimes does.  

This is also a case where something prohibited is taken farther.  Today, 
when almost all mixed dancing doesn't even involve any touching at all,
mixed dancing is still not done.

> How about a third possibility: There are many opinions within halakha
> regarding these matters.  The lenient opinions are halakhically
> legitimate, but nevertheless in the minority.  In the 50's and 60's,
> when it shmirat shabbat and attending yeshivot were not necessarily a
> given in modern Orthodox households, the rabbinate decided not press the
> "grey" areas, where there was room to be lenient, so that it could
> concentrate on the main issues.

I agree that circumstances have changed, but isn't there also a concern of
being able to attract people into the halachic fold?  Certainly, there
are many people who are not Orthodox and keep many of the mitzvos, but 
were they within a halachically normative community, they might keep more
of them.  Such people may not feel comfortable entering the game of
going well beyond the letter of the law (skirts well below the knee,
e.g.), but might be willing to modify slightly their activity (take
down skirt hems an inch or two) to remain within the halacha.  

As it is currently, most people have no idea that anything other than the
stereotypical frum-girl skirt is acceptable, and so wouldn't even bother
trying to meet any standards at all.  (And possibly rule out frumkeit
entirely on the basis that it requires people to behave within a narrower 
band of acceptable behaviour than it actually does.)

This issue is, however, incredibly complicated and general, so perhaps
not worth discussing in this forum.



From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1999 22:45:14 +0200
Subject: Tzniut Discussion 

Recently there has been much discussion of issues like mixed dancing and
kol isha, in our time as compared to previous generations.

Anyone interested in the topic should take a look at the following:

1)  Yoske Ahituv's article in issue 4 of "Deot" (published by Ne'amanei
Torah va-Avoda) on humrot regarding tzniut, and their roots in the ideology
of the "Mercaz Harav" segment of religious Zionism.

2)  Rav Shlomo Aviner's response to Ahituv, and Ahituv's response to the
response, in the most recent issue of Deot (#5, Elul 5759).

Shanah Tovah!
Seth (Avi) Kadish


End of Volume 29 Issue 85