Volume 29 Number 88
                 Produced: Wed Sep 22  6:02:43 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chumra or Ikar hadin
         [David I. Cohen]
First Haircut at Three
         [David Lloyd-Jones]
free sukkah
Giving a name to oneself
         [Ed Ehrlich]
Mi Shebearach' for Cholim
         [Carl Singer]
P'shat and drash/"Mature love"
         [Gitelle Rapoport]
Previous generations
         [Meir Shinnar]
Shidduchim and Lashon Harah
         [Chaim Shapiro]
         [Ron Wiseman]
Using titles in calling up to an aliyah
         [Aviva Fee]
Virtual Beit Midrash
         [Ezra Bick]
Women and Angels
         [Ira Robinson]
Women and Mitzvot
         [Eric W Mack]


From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 13:56:44 EDT
Subject: Chumra or Ikar hadin

>>Instead of labeling this a move to the right, I would label this as part
>>of the ascendancy of textualism over the mimetic tradition.  (See
>>Dr. Hayim Soloveitchik's article in Tradition regarding this issue.)

    Is this a positive development? That certainly was not the tenor of
Rav Chayim's article. Textualism, divorced from the practical day to day
develops dogmatic answers to complex situations. Saying that the Gedolim
in the 50's and 60's took less stringent opinions because Orthodoxy was
not strong at the time is just theoretical apologetics. It is just as
credible to say that maybe the Gedolim of that era were not as afraid of
being vilified for taking more lenient halachic positions on issues. And
lest one think that it's fantasy, just look at what happens to any Rav
today who takes any lenient positions,--- the vituperative rejections
and rhetoric issue forth instead of respect differing positions within
the halachic framework. At least thirty years ago, a lenient position
didn't automatically put you outside the pale.
    Maybe there is something to the "good old days".
    G'mar chatima tova,
    David I. Cohen


From: David Lloyd-Jones <icomm5@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 03:04:14 -0400
Subject: Re: First Haircut at Three

 Neil Saffer writes:

 > In South Africa, and other parts of the world, it is customary to allow
> a boy's hair to grow, uncut, until the age of 3. At this time, it is cut
> in a small and happy ceremony, where the boy is presented with his first
> pair of tzitzis and kippah. While I have heard some lovely explanations
> for this and view it as a chinuch landmark in the child's life, I have
> never seen a source for this minhag. Does anyone know where it
> originated and have a source for its continued practise?

[I think] this is the same in all the cultures where it occurs: it is
the attempt to convince the Evil One that the child is a girl, and hence
not worth taking away. It is a superstitious attempt to protect the
child's life during what have always been the most dangerous months, the
first few.



From: <MIKE11205@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 00:01:35 EDT
Subject: free sukkah

I have moved recently and therefore my sukkah is available for the
taking. It is quite old but is in servicable condition needing some
minor repairs. The size is 6 x 10 feet (narrow) and comes with bamboo
schach. You must provide means of removing it from my property in
Brooklyn, NY ( a van or station wagon should do). If you are interested,
please contact me at


From: Ed Ehrlich <Eehrlich@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:00:36 +0200
Subject: Giving a name to oneself

Ray Well <harhas@...> wrote:

>Someone jewish, who grew up without having been given any jewish name,
>upon growing up and becoming acquainted with Judaism, gave himself a
>jewish name.  His secular name is Tom, and gave himself the name of
>Moshe, because it appealed to him.
>What would be his legal jewish name, for example, in a get, would it be
>Tom or Moshe or both. If both, which one is the main one, how would the
>name be written.

The get lists ALL the names which the husband, wife and their respective
fathers are known by.  The dayanim are very insistent on making a full
list of all names or "nick names" that a person uses.  So in the case of
people with both Hebrew and non-Hebrew names, the get can read something
like: Yosef dkraita (sp?) William dkraita Bill ben Yitshak dkraita
Irving dkraita Irv.  Since the full names of both the husband and wife
are read out several times during the course of the handing over of the
get (in order to ascertain that it's being done freely), in the case in
which the husband and wife have both Hebrew and English names, it can
come out to quite a mouthful.

In my experience at a Jerusalem rabbinical court, a person's legal name
was listed first, although I don't know if there was any halakhic
justification to this.  I can also personally confirm that the
transliteration of English names, particularly if the dayanim are not
familiar with the language, can be quite difficult.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 08:39:07 EDT
Subject: Mi Shebearach' for Cholim

One Shules I attend has recently gone to the "silent pause" method under
the guise of speeding up the services -- I find it rather cold.

For many people there's an important emotional element to going up to
the Bimah and beseeching the Aybishtar on behalf of a Choleh.  In many
congregations, it is the Rabbi, not the Gabbai, who is the Sheliach.
<Any sources on minhag (I presume) of who's "at bat" during the Mi

One point that I've found troubling is folks who come up with kvitlach
containing long lists of names of cholim that they do not personally
know -- and therefore whose status (ill, cured - BH, or deceased - chas
v'halilah) is uncertain.  Considering the several issues re: the gravity
of illness of the Choleh being mentioned, it seems that one may be
making a mi shebearach (a bevakaysh on Shabbos) that is M'votel.

Chuneh Avrum Singer


From: Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 15:43:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: P'shat and drash/"Mature love"

>Mature love is never lewd. However the *publicization* of (so-called
>mature) love (e.g. movies, love songs, etc.) is always lewd.  Actually,
>it is the publicization which removes the maturity, resulting in simple
>lewdness.  Mature love is by definition private.

I don't understand this. Do you mean that any description/presentation
of human love between men and women is lewd? That would leave out an
awful lot of what is widely considered great literature, including
poetry, novels and plays. And although the vast majority of movies
today are forgettable entertainment, some films are inspiring and
uplifting. Do you distinguish between pornography and art? If you
object to any presentation of romantic love in any artistic medium
--although you certainly have a right to your opinion -- I would guess
that a lot of secularly educated "frum" Jews would disagree.

Gitelle Rapoport  


From: Meir Shinnar <meir_shinnar@...>
Subject: Previous generations

Levi Reisman asked, in response to my post:

>  I find this statement coming from a rav and dayan to be most
>perplexing.  In view of the large number of written sources who say just
>that, how would a rav and dayan slander so many rabbonim by calling them
>"am aratzim"?

The issue is not whether or not there are people who assur it to their
community or when asked.  The issue is the people who took it upon
themselves to impose their psak on other communities with a different
halachic tradition.  Thus, while many poskim may have assured mixed
swimming and opera, many others engaged in it (much of the rabbanut of
Hungary and Austria came to Trieste, where mixed swimming with modesty
standards similar to the 1950s was the norm.

To give an example of the difference between a halachic argument over
the permissibility and the nonhalachic amartzut of enforcing one's
opinion, in the 1950s Rav Feinstein and the Satmar rebbe had several
halachic arguments.  As part of this argument, Rav Feinstein's books
were burnt by the followers of the Satmar rebbe.  While no one would
doubt the learning of the Satmar rebbe, it is legitimate to call those
who burned the books am aratzim.  I think (although this is already
fourth hand, and I can not speak for my father's rav directly) that he
was talking about the followers, and would have had not problem engaging
in a halachic discussion with the rabanim.

Meir Shinnar


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 1999 13:30:09 EDT
Subject: Shidduchim and Lashon Harah

   I find myself in a terrible bind these days.  Being married, I am
often asked question regarding my friends or my wife's friends in terms
of Shidduchim.  I have seen the horror of divorce in my community.  I
have seen weddings that should never have taken place, weddings in which
one party has serious emotional and/ or physical problems which were not
relayed to the prospective match by shadchanim.  I have seen children of
these divorces, forever scarred by the fighting between their parents.
   But, what can be done?  Halachaiklally as I understand it, I can not
comment on an individuals problems unless I have seen them myself!
Second hand information or good detective work is not acceptable.  I
have been told that in case of a problem, I should simply tell people
that I don't know.  Another option is to not mention a word unless the
issue is asked about specifically.  Does he have cancer?  That I can
answer if I know first hand.  Anything less is a denial or an I don't
   Unfortunatly this is not working.  I feel an achrais to tell a person
infromation I may know about an individual if it will greatly affect
their staus as a married couple.  I personally know several individuals
who are already married and are hiding very important information from
their spouses!
   On the other hand, the shidduch system has serious problems itself.
Any hint of a problem and a person is dropped.  I know of people who hid
the fact that a sister had kidney stones out of fear that it would
prevent other siblings from getting married.  I understand that second
hand information can damage a person's ability to find his/her basheret.
   But, is the cost too high?  Aren't there already enough scarred
children of divorce from marriages that should never have occured (which
begs the question about the bashert nature of their births)?  I am
looking for any practical solutions or ideas?
 Chaim Shapiro


From: Ron Wiseman <wisemen@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 1999 20:31:08 +1000
Subject: Tachanun/Selichos

Why do we still have to say Tachanun during Shacharis on those mornings
when we say Selichos ?  Isn't it  repetitious ?

Ron Wiseman


From: Aviva Fee <aviva613@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 07:09:55 PDT
Subject: Using titles in calling up to an aliyah

I have found that in many shuls, the gabbai (sexton) will call up the
person for an aliyah with a title, such as HaBochur, Reb, HaRav, etc.  I
was recently at a minyan where a unmarried man who was over 40 was
called up as HaBochur so and so.  He was not pleased that he was being
called up with such a title.

I ask one gabai and he said that people must be called up with titles.

Is there indeed such a halacha or inyan to be called up with a title?



From: Ezra Bick <ebick@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 13:59:09 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Virtual Beit Midrash

The Virtual Beit Midrash has posted its new curriculum for 5760. Courses 
begin after Sukkot.

New courses this year include a shiur on the Haftora, Gemara Gittin, and 
a seminar on the philosophy of Rav Kook (actually a repeat from three 
years ago).



From: Ira Robinson <ROBINSO@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 08:29:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women and Angels

I was reading the Kizzur Shulhan Arukh dealing with Kol Nidrei Night and
came across the following (chapter 132, halakha 4):

There are those who stand on their feet throughout all the Arvit service
and all the day...the reason for the standing is to be like the angels
(ke-dugmat ha mal'akhim) and therefore women should not stand.

What is the source of this statement?

Gmar Hatima tova,

Ira Robinson


From: Eric W Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 1999 22:34:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Women and Mitzvot

Forgive me if this was addressed earlier; I'm 10 weeks behind in
reading MJ....

Did R' Broyde give any other examples of a "matir"?  E.g.,
is eating a "matir"?

If mikva is not a "mitzva", why is a bracha ("...asher 
kidshanu...") recited over the t'vila?

l'shana tova tikatevu

Eric Mack  <ewm44118@...>

>On niddah observance: It isn't a time-bound positive mitzvah in the
>precise sense that lulav, sukkah and shofar are. In fact, it is
>essentially a negative mitzvah (no sex during and for a certain time
>after menstruation and before expected menstruation, with many other
>additional rabbinic details). In fact, I once heard Rabbi Michael
>Broyde make the point that mikvah attendance by women is not a
>"mitzvah" at all. It is rather a "matir" -- i.e., a prerequisite
>activity to permissible marital relations after the woman's
>Gitelle Rapoport 


End of Volume 29 Issue 88