Volume 30 Number 26
                 Produced: Tue Dec  7  6:10:45 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Joseph Geretz]
Concentric Dancing Circles
         [Akiva Miller]
Hair Covering after Kiddushin/Yichud
         [Rachel Smith]
Negiah (2)
         [David I. Cohen, Akiva Miller]
Origin of Maoz Tzur tune
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Previous Generations
         [Deborah Wenger]
The Ideal Community To Live In
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Tzniuth vs Other Middoth
         [Russell Hendel]
What can override the sexual prohibitions
         [Mark Steiner]
Where Would I like to Live
         [Carl Singer]


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 19:57:08 -0500
Subject: Ashkefard

Perets Mett wrote:
> Eh?  for many (most?) Ashkenazim the choylem and qomats sound nothing
> like each other. the use of one symbol to represent both is an eternal
> source of confusion.

I grew up in Philly and I never saw a 'choylem' until I met up with my
friends from the far East (as in NYC, east of the Hudson) when I started
high school. Until then, we used a cholam which is indeed similar to a
komatz, so similar that you would often be hard pressed to distinguish
between Kol with a cholam, and Kol with a komatz.

And if someone could show me how to accurately transliterate Kol with a
cholam, as opposed to Kol with a komatz, I'd really appreciate it :-)

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:53:02 -0500
Subject: Concentric Dancing Circles

In MJ 30:23, Chaim Mateh wrote <<< Another puzzling thing in Rav
Henkin's tshuva is when he says that two concentric dancing circles (one
being men and the other being women) are not permitted because the men
will look at the women (whether the women's circle is inside or outside
the men's circle).  However, he goes on, if the two circles are
separate, even without a mechitza, then it's OK because the men won't
look at the women.  If there is no mechitza, then the men are capable of
looking at the women dancing, and if I know men, they _will_ look at the
women dancing.  I don't quite understand the distinction that Rav Henkin
makes between concentric circles and separate circles, vis-a-vis men
looking at the women. >>>

I suggest that the difference between concentric circles and separate
circles is this: In concentric circles, in order to avoid bumping into
each other, or even simply to continue going in the same direction,
looking at the women is inevitable, it is forced, it is definitely going
to happen. With separate circles it is "merely" very tempting, very
likely, and almost inevitable. When judging these situations from a
moral and hashkafic perspective, the difference might be negligible, but
from a legal and halachic perspective, the difference could very well
make or break the decision on assur/mutar.

In addition, I think that the looking would be almost constant in
concentric circles, but intermittent in separate circles, and this would
be significant even from a hashkafic perspective.

Akiva Miller


From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 06:26:59 -0800
Subject: Hair Covering after Kiddushin/Yichud

Apropos the current discussion of hair covering among the wives of the
gedolei Lita, has anyone seen any sources justifying the widespread
practice of the kallah's not covering her hair right after kiddushin (or
after yichud at the latest), but rather waiting until the next day?

Kol tuv -R.


From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:49:01 EST
Subject: Negiah 

In vol 30 #23 Chaim Mateh goes to great length to disparage the tshuva
of Rav Henkin.
    While I do not know Chaim's status as a posek himself, the language
he uses to disparage the halachic opiniuon of a Torah authority with
whom he disagrees is unsettling, to say the least, especially on a list
such as this one.  language such as <<He made so many hairsplitting
distictions, >> is frankly offensive, especially if one is not on Rav
Henkin's level.
    << The latter is indeed chibah and taavah, and IMHO would be a Torah
prohibition even according to the Rambam.>> Says who? Other authorities?
Fine, but doesn't Rav henkin have the right to disagree, and who says
your statement is THE halacha.??
     << I don't quite understand the distinction that Rav Henkin makes
between concentric circles and separate circles, vis-a-vis men looking
at the women.>> I could very easily come up with a distinction.  The men
are facing inward to their own circle and are hopefully caught up in the
ruach created by their own dancing. I'm not sure that that's what rav
henkin had in mind, but at least I'm open to the possibility. If you
start with your own assumptions as to what is "correct", you never see
the other possibilities.
    David I. Cohen

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 09:52:53 -0500
Subject: Negiah

In MJ 30:23, Chaim Mateh refers to <<< not-so-pareve hand-holding (as
when the boy strolls through the park holding his girlfriends hand, or
even dancing in a circle with many boys/girls).  The latter is indeed
chibah and taavah, and IMHO would be a Torah prohibition even according
to the Rambam. >>>

There is a famous story which occurred when I was at YU in the mid-70's.
Rabbi Heshy Reichman was giving a talk to a number of students about
these subjects, and one of them claimed that this sort of hand-holding
was indeed "pareve" (to use Chaim Mateh's terminology). The student
asked something to the effect of "Do you really think I'm going to have
inappropriate thoughts just because I'm holding my girlfriend's hand
while we walk down the road?"

Rabbi Reichman's response was, "If you can walk down the road with your
girlfriend, while you're holding hands, and *not* have inappropriate
thoughts, then you need a new girlfriend!"

The entire room cracked up. But the point was brought home very
strongly.  All too often, we describe a certain situation as *not* being
sexually enticing, and we think that it should therefore be allowed. The
Torah teaches us that this is not the solution, rather it is the
*problem*! Our senses have become dulled from the contant attacks of the
culture around us. We need to do what we can to resensitize ourselves to
these things, and I believe that the result will be a more proper - and
more enjoyable - life with our spouse.

Akiva Miller


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 15:59:54 +0200
Subject: Origin of Maoz Tzur tune

Does anyone know the origin of the common tune for Maoz Tzur? I might be
wrong, but it never sounded very "Jewish".

David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 99 08:18:50 -0500
Subject: Previous Generations

In v.30#25, David Charlap wrote:

>Similarly, we can expect that a rabbi, when making a decision for a
>specific person in a specific situation (which may include his own
>family) is _NOT_ giving his opinion on what everybody should be doing in
>every situation.

This may be going "off the topic", but I think this raises a very
serious question - when a rabbi makes a decision for a "specific" person
in a "specific" situation, is the rabbi, in some instances, thus making
his own value judgment about that person? If so, what gives him the
right to do this?

A number of years ago, for example, a food establishment in NY was cited
for violations of the state's kashrut laws (at the time there were civil
laws upholding kashrut standards; I don't know if the same laws are
still in effect). A woman I know asked her LOR if he was going to tell
the members of his kehilla not to patronize this establishment. He
replied that he would not, because it would affect the owner's parnasa
(livelihood). She then asked him if HE would eat the food there himself,
and he said no. To this woman, this response meant that the rabbi was
holding himself to a higher standard than the rest of his kehilla - or,
*allowing* his congregants to eat food that he himself considered treif.
Needless to say, this woman never went to this particular rabbi with a
question again.


From: Chaim Wasserman <Chaimwass@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:10:02 EST
Subject: Re: The Ideal Community To Live In

Carl Singer's quest for an ideal community (30 #18) in which to live
will first need an assemblage of people who are [1] secure in the style
of their daily lives [2] flexible people who can tolerate and even
understand nuances and differences practiced by others in their
environment and [3] thinking indiviuals who can fashion and innovate
public policy that is beneficial to the advancement of that ideal

For such a community to be frum (Jewish or otherwise) is tough, near
impossible. This, because: [1] The quality of frumkeit today does not
assure that its adherents are religiously mature individuals (Gordon
Allport wrote important things about the mature religious sentiment
which are vital for any thinking frum person.) [2] Frum - by definition
- are closed minded individuals who cannot be open to all sorts of
variations on their themes of life. (Milton Rokeach's classical study
The Open and Closed Mind is worthy of much consideration.)

chaim wasserman


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Nov 1999 23:58:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tzniuth vs Other Middoth

In Volume 30 Number 15 Yeshaya HaLevi writes
Russel Hendel writes:
 << if you don't normally say HELLO but you say HELLO to a married woman
we are not worried about sin or even arousal, rather we are concerned
that you have broken your borders of modesty >>

         But on the other hand, this removes this person from the chance
of improving his derekh ertetz (respect) and darkay shalom ("peaceful
path") to a fellow human being.

Ah...but that is the WHOLE point of Tzniuth--it takes precedence over
other nice values. That is why eg. you don't go to an opera even though
it is "good" to hear music, you abstain when your wife is a Niddah even
though it is nice to be caring thru intimacy, and you don't say Hello TO
use some improvement in social relations (indeed, if you had wanted to
improve your social skills why did you wait to improve them till you
found a married woman).

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 16:36:38 +0200 (IST)
Subject: What can override the sexual prohibitions

Here's a question for mail-jewish readers.  For many years I have
wondered about the Talmud's assertion (Tractate Megillah) that Esther
was married to Mordechai, and that when she went before the King to make
a plea for her people, she voluntarily committed adultery (previously,
she had basically been raped by Achashverosh).  The Talmud asserts that
she thereby became forbidden to Mordechai.  Yet the Talmud endorses
Esther as a righteous woman.  What considerations could justify this
behavior?  Does this mean that adultery is justified in order to save
the "klal"?

Rav Soloveitchik, of blessed memory, in a tape I heard, made the point
that Megillat Esther teaches the entirely new halakha that one may
sacrifice his or her life to save the "klal", which is what Esther was
prepared to do, according to the pshat.  But according to the drash
according to which she was prepared to sacrifice her married life, the
halakhah (if indeed it is an halakha) is much more puzzling.
	Any reactions?
				Mark Steiner


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 08:56:20 EST
Subject: Re: Where Would I like to Live

It was correctly observed that the discussion that I was involved in was
in a "negative" vein -- perhaps it reflects an overall negativism about
where many (should I say "some" or "most") communities (should I add
"New York-like", "big city", ....) are or have migrated.

Part of what's going on is an awareness, as a teenager growing up in
Cleveland, I was blissfully unaware of much of the politics.  Certainly
unaware of the responsibilities -- the schule was lit, the Rabbi paid,
the school(s) open; because balabatim worked and sacrificed to make it
so.  If you want a laugh ask your teenagers or young adults how much you
pay for schule / school / mikveh / tzedukah.  Ask them how much time you
take out of your busy schedule to attend meetings, etc.,

Part is a perceptible deterioration of Jewish communal attitude and
mechlichkite in some / many / most communities.

Yes, fortunately, there are wonderful balabtim and Rebbeim who have the
same tam (flavor) as their parents and grandparents.  But there are
others.  And the "others" seem to be winning in all too many cases.  I
see it all around, the little things like honking your horn at 7AM when
you're driving car pool (as opposed to the stories of Gedolim who
wouldn't use their alarm clocks lest they wake up a neighbor who
happened to be a Goy.)  The not saying Gud Shabbos (some tzadik told me
that probably they were in the midst of prayer and couldn't answer
 .... bulloney.)  And the big things (or maybe the little things are the
big things :) But this isn't the forum for such tirades.

I see the good, too -- but as they say, good news doesn't sell

Carl Singer 


End of Volume 30 Issue 26