Volume 29 Number 92
                 Produced: Wed Oct 27  7:00:15 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alternatives to Kiddushin
         [Zvi Weiss]
Kinyan of a Woman for Marriage or Yabmut (levirate marriage)
         [Jay Rovner]
Mimeticism vs. Textualism
         [Zilberberg, David]
More on Chumrot and Previous Generations
Prominent rabbi
         [Paul Shaviv]
Rabbi Rackman
         [Joseph C. Kaplan]
Secular Marriage
Secular Marriage (was Alternatives to Kiddushin)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
The title 'Chaver"
         [Paul Shaviv]
Titles (and Transliterations) in Calling up to an Aliyah
         [Jonathan Grodzinski]
Using titles in calling up to an aliyah
         [Binyomin Segal]
Using titles in calling up to an aliyah (v29 #88)
         [Neil Parks]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1999 23:23:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Alternatives to Kiddushin

Regarding alternatives to Kiddushin: Rav Yosef Shani ( a Mekubal living
in J-m) has written that the Pilegesh relationship is indeed a "viable"
one -- he notes that it is prohibited now-days ONLY because of the
conern that the woman will not follow the laws of Mikvah -- leading to
some serious Issurei Karet issues... However, he clearly sides with the
opinions that permit Pilegeh to a commoner and states that in taNaCh, we
find NON=KINGS who had Pilegsh.  He notes quite candidly that this
approach will never have an aguna problem and that ibn a pilegesh
relationship, the woman is "equal" to the man...  He then explains -- al
pi kabbala -- WHY the institution of Kiddushin is so important and what
its ramifications are...



From: Jay Rovner <jarovner@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 1999 14:51:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Kinyan of a Woman for Marriage or Yabmut (levirate marriage)

it would be helpful to know that the mishhah realizes that the language
of kinyan ("niknet") does not really apply to the situation of
marriage. it uses instead "mitkadeshet" ("is betrothed") everywhere else
(kidd. 2:1, Bava metz. 4:7, eduy. 4:7, and nidda 5:4)

the reason that kidd. chapter one uses "niknet" is stylistic.  there is
a symmetry to first few mishnayot in the first chapter of mishnah
kiddushin, effected in part by structuring the beginning each as "x is
acquired by "y" (and this is further balanced for some by saying how the
acquisition can be reversed). each "x" differs in nature from the
others.  the purpose of the mishnah is to compare and contrast them. to
this end, it subsumes each "x" under the same overall formula in order
to specify their differences.

acknowledging my source, judith hauptman recently told me, but i think
that this explanantin goes back further. the general topic of lack of
specificity in the formulation of tannaitic sources has been noted by,
among others, shamma yehuda friedman in many places. i think that yosef
tabory mentioned this phenomenon in his pesah dorot, towards the end
(alternatively, perhaps it was in one of his articles on pesah).

jay rovner


From: Zilberberg, David <ZilbeDa@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 10:44:45 -0400
Subject: Mimeticism vs. Textualism

Moshe Feldblum's posting regarding the "move to the right" was right on
target.  He echoes and amplifies the points R. H. Soloveitchik makes in
his oft-misunderstood article.  Soloveitchik's point was that the
transition from nineteenth century Europe to modern day America
necessitated the transition to a textual tradition because the mimetic
tradition was no longer viable.  I don't think that he necessarily
frowns upon this shift -- he views it as necessary.  Although he does
stress that something is lost in the shift away from mimeticism.

I would argue that the shift to textualism does not entirely account for
"the move to the right." Many practices associated with this "move,"
such as the wearing of a hat and jacket by males, has little basis in
text, and in any event seems more mimetic in nature, albeit mimetic of a
certain sector of Orthodox society -- that of Lithuanian roshei yeshiva.



From: <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 08:48:27 EDT
Subject: More on Chumrot and Previous Generations

    While Moshe Feldman (Vol. 24 #90) is correct in saying that
textualism does not by definition mean " a move to the right", in
reality and from a practical point of view, it does.  In many instances,
the so-called "right wing" uses text to justify their positions, or if
the text is at odds with their world view, ignore it as a "kulah"
(leniency).  This in turn leads to the making of yestedays extreme
practices into todays minimal standards.
    There is no question that certain practices of earlier generations
were flat out wrong halachically. No halachic authority condoned working
on Shabbat, for example, despite the fact that many people did
so. Working on Shabbat out of a perceived necessity was never part of
any mimtic tradition.
    So too, in the areas of tziniut, the mimetic tradition never
accepted the genrally sexually explicit and sexually provocative culture
and attire of the 20th century. But was "kol isha", for example, ever an
accepted tziniut norm prior to the triumph of the Yeshiva over the
community? From 1964 until approximately 1995, Camp Morasha, YU's
affiliated camp, had no problem with kol isha in the camp's singing and
other performances. Now that has changed.  Were all the Rabayim over 30
years on their staff just plain wrong and have only recently become
enlightened? Don't forget that kol isha is apparently an issue of ervah,
serious stuff. And this is the last 30 years, not the so-called
halachically challenged era before World War II.
    I am the son of a Rav, and can remember going to Rabbinical Council
conventions with my parents in the 50's and 60's (anyone remember the
old Pine View Hotel in the Catskills?) where the swiming was mixed, in
the presence of some of the greatest of the American Orthodox rabbinate
in attendance. And yet today, mixed swimming is one of the litmus tests
of a "frum" Jew.
    Moshe mentions the Jewish community of Hartford, where is father
grew up.  I am also familiar with that and similar communities. In the
50's Hartford had a thriving Jewish community (still does) with a number
of kosher butchers, not one of which sold "glatt" meat ( a standard
practically unheard of in the US until the 2nd influx of Hungarian Jews
after 1956).  Additionally, at that time, a large segment of the
Torah-observant community used electricity on Yom Tov (apparently an
opinion with antecedents in the Aruch Hashulchan). Today, glatt meat is
the only standard, and no one turns on the lights on Yom Tov. These
areas have nothing to do with 20th century secular morality, and yet
there they are, chumrot becoming normative.
    So, what do I perceive is going on? Instead of mainly educating our
children, parents teaching and showing their sons and daughters, witn
the Yeshiva a place for the advanced scholars, we have abdicated the
educational responsibility to a universal Yeshiva education (including
the now almost obligatory post high school two years in Yeshiva in
Israel), homogenizing our children into one uniform halachic thought
pattern, completely abandoning minhag avotaynu (the family
traditions). Since the education is the universal standard, the advanced
scholar who could appreciate the subtelties and nuances of halacha,
using a balanced approach, is rarely allowed to develop.  If one doesn't
have the ability to grapple with the text and tradition, well, there's
always Artscroll's instant halachic capsules to spoon feed you the
"correct" answer. And that, to my way of thinking, is a tragedy.


From: Paul Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 23:21:35 -0400
Subject: Prominent rabbi

Binyomin Segal wrote: "While I recognize the kindness inherent in Paul's
protecting the anonymity of this Rabbi, I cannot agree. First, from a
perspective of scholarship, this kind of accusation must have

The remark was made at a public lecture at which I was present. It was
not the only remark made by the speaker which shocked some of the
audience. However, since there is no tape of the lecture, nor did I take
notes at the time I don't feel justified in publicising a name.
'Prominent' is also not the same as 'eminent' ....

-- Paul Shaviv, Toronto


From: Joseph C. Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 07:01:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbi Rackman

Moshe Feldman writes that most people disagreed respectfully with Rabbi
Rackman and the calls him a halachic "lightweight." That doesn't sound
very respectful to me. Rabbi Rackman has been a respected leader of Modern
Orthodox Judaism for long over 50 years, and has been a major leader in 2
of our prime higher educational facilities (YU and Bar Ilan). He has
written many scholarly articles and has taught torah to thousands.
Whatever one may think about his position on agunah and get, one should
express such a position with respect. R. Rackman's life-long devotion to
our People has earned that. I believe an apology is called for.

Joseph C. Kaplan


From: <Gmachine9@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 02:21:44 EDT
Subject: Re: Secular Marriage

While I try to recall the details of R. Kanarfogel's words, I regret invoking 
his name for the fear of misquoting him.  Suffice it to say that as one 
poster suggested (and it is true) he used the Yale case as a springboard to 
discuss civil marriage.  How he would poskin given the facts of that case, I 
dont know, nor did he offer an opinion.  I hope this clarifies things and I 
hope Rabbi Kanafogel forgives me.

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 21:28:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Secular Marriage (was Alternatives to Kiddushin)

 From: Carl M. Sherer <csherer@...>
> Steven Pudell writes:
> > 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.

However, from the writeup of the case, the couple were careful to treat
the secular "marriage" as a nullity in order to avoid the problems
caused by the university.

> I don't recall all the details of the Yale 4 case, but it seems to me
> that secular marriage OUGHT to be a nullity so long as that is the only
> thing between the couple (i.e. that they are not living together).  I
> know several people who had secular marriages in the States (before a
> justice of the peace) before their actual weddings because they needed
> to be "married" so that a non-US spouse could apply for a green card. I
> don't think any of those people would have been considered halachically
> married for any purpose.

My wife and I did this in order to be able to get a secular license (in
New York) since we would otherwise have to arrange for the blood test,
state license, etc. in her home state.  My rebbe signed as a "licensed
clergyman" and several of the people in my shiur were the "witnesses".
This was done only made a neder to actually get married and to treat the
secular "marriage" as a nullity (as far as we were concerned).

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun


From: Paul Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 23:05:58 -0400
Subject: The title 'Chaver"

    In German communities, the title 'Chaver" was bestowed on eminent
lay people by -- I think -- community rabbis / communities as
recognition for exceptional and distinguished service to the
kehillah. It seems to have been the equvalent of calling someone an
'Elder Statesman'. In some places, the custom was to give the title at a
ceremony/festive occasion, and the recipient would be given a
certificate known as a 'Chovertittel' (= 'Chaver-title'). Way back, in
about 1976 or 1977, as a spare-time Hebrew calligrapher, I was
commissioned by Munk's shul in Golders Green, London (= the Breuers of
the UK) to write one.

-- Paul Shaviv, Toronto


From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 20:41:46 EDT
Subject: Titles (and Transliterations) in Calling up to an Aliyah

Why is American transliteration of Hebrew a mixture of Ashkenaz and
Sefard pronounciatiation? The original writer says "haChaver" (Sefard)
not "haChover" (Ashkenaz), and "haChasan" which is a mixture of
"haChatan" (Sefard) and "haChoson" (Ashkenaz).

Just to be pedantic, its not "haChaver" nor "haChasan", its "heChaver"
and "heChasan".
<Same point made by Stuart Wise <swise@...>>

Jonathan Grodzinski
London UK


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 14:38:10 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: RE: Using titles in calling up to an aliyah

 Aviva asked about titles 
  * 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?

When I was gabbai in Yeshiva (Chofetz Chaim in Rochester NY) back in
1984 or so, the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi M. Davidowitz was adamant that
everyone deserved to be called up with some title, as I recall his words
were something like, "Hey you, is just not the way we call people to the

Since then I have observed that most European "trained" gabbaim seem to
concur with Rabbi Davidowitz while more american gabbaim seem not to see
it as an issue. I don't know of any written sources, but it seems to be
a cultural/politeness issue.


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 15:22:40 
Subject: Using titles in calling up to an aliyah (v29 #88)

> 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.  

An additional question along the same line:  When a Bar-Mitzvah boy is 
called up, the usual title is "HaBochur Ha-Bar Mitzvah".

Wouldn't "HaBochur Bar Mitzvah" make more sense?


End of Volume 29 Issue 92