Volume 30 Number 44
                 Produced: Fri Dec 24  9:18:07 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Havdallah wine and women (4)
         [Deborah Wenger, Oren Popper, A.J.Gilboa, Stephen Colman]
         [Daniel Israel]
Separate Seating (4)
         [Robert A. Book, Zev Sero, Shoshana L. Boublil, Lawrence M.
Shiur from R. Frand on Kiddush Hashem
         [Stuart Wise]
Women's hair covering
         [Janet Rosenbaum]


From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 99 13:52:56 -0500
Subject: Havdallah wine and women

In Vol.30#41, Ari Kahn wrote:
>The Shl"a Hakadosh writes that since Eve sinned with the Tree of
>Knowledge which was according to the Zohar grapes - she showed that she
>could not differentiate between which fruits can be used and which could
>not, subsequently it is inappropriate for a woman to make Havdala or
>drink from the wine, being that Havdala is a ritual of "distinctions"

So where does that leave single women, or any women who do not have a man 
to make Havdala for them? Certainly they should be able to make Havdala 
for themselves, no?

Deborah C.K. Wenger
E-mail: <dwenger@...>
Phone: 212-313-9018 
Fax: 212-481-8161

From: Oren Popper <opopper@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 22:31:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Havdallah wine and women

<Dagoobster@...> wrote:
 <<...is there a halachik source for women not drinking that wine?  If
so what is the reasoning? Chaim>>

As far as I know, no-one drinks havdalla wine except for the person
making havdalla (unlike kiddush). I do not know the reason for this. The
only exception to this is when the havdalla wine was also used for Kos
Shel Brocho, in which case it is shared, and I have seen women as well
as men drink from it.

On a similar note, I have never seen women wash their fingertips with
Ma'yim Achronim. Does anyone know the reason for this?

Oren Popper

From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:51:32 -0800
Subject: Re: Havdallah wine and women

> From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
> The Shl"a Hakadosh writes that since Eve sinned with the Tree of
> Knowledge which was according to the Zohar grapes - she showed that she
> could not differentiate between which fruits can be used and which could
> not, subsequently it is inappropriate for a woman to make Havdala or
> drink from the wine, being that Havdala is a ritual of "distinctions"

Interesting! But this goes diametrically against the Bet Yosef, who
states uncategorically that a woman makes kiddush and havdala.
(Furthermore, men who hear and answer "Amen" are thereby considered to
have fulfilled these mitzvot.) Since Mara"n makes no mention of the
woman refraining from drinking from the "kos bracha", I assume that
drinking the wine would be the appropriate thing for her to do.

From: Stephen Colman <stephen.colman@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 23:16:59 -0000
Subject: Havdallah wine and women

See Taamei Haminhogim Tof Yud Zayin (page Kuf Peh Ches) who brings
brings various reasons, & Kuntras Acharon at the bottom of the page who
quotes the Remo (Simon Resh Tzadi Vov Seif Ches) who suggests that as
there are various opinions as to whether women have an obligation to
make havdoloh at all, they should therefore not make havdolloh for
themseves. In fact Mishna Bruro (35) discusses this suggestion and then
says that according to what the Mogen Avrohom says that 'women should
not drink from the havdolloh wine', therefore how can they make havdollo
for themselves if they can't drink from the wine...


From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1999 15:23:05 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Negiah

The objection that I have heard to public physical contact between
husband and wife is that is amounts to a public statement that the wife
is not niddah, and that such a statement is not tznius.  (Certainly no
frum woman would announce "I am tahor today"!)  I would respectfully be
interested in Rabbi Henkin's (or anyone else familiar with his position)
response to this.  (With apologies for taking his time, and dragging him
into this discussion.)

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 00:49:48 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Separate Seating

Eli Turkel <turkel@...> writes:
> One simple example:
> It is well known that at the wedding of Rav Moshe Tendler to the
> daughter of Rav Moshe Feinstein there was mixed sitting even though
> both sets of fathers were roshei yeshiva. The obvious conclusion is
> that Rav Moshe did not feel there was any issur involved.
> On the other hand I have heard from family that if the same wedding
> were held today it would be separate sitting. For whatever reason,
> the families felt that given life in NY many years ago that a separate
> sitting wedding would cause difficulties. Since no issur was involved
> they had mixed seating. However, both families felt that ignoring
> societal pressures that separate seating would be better.

It is also possible that nowadays it is societal pressures that make
separate seating preferable.  Don't you think that if roshei yeshiva
of that stature today held a wedding for their children and had mixed
seating that it would "cause difficulties"?  Imagine, for a moment,
what *YOU* would think.

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 18:09:46 -0500
Subject: Separate Seating

The Sefer HaMinhagim records that the minhag in Cracow (before gezerot
Tach veTat) was that the second sheva brachot was mixed, and therefore
`shehasimcha bimeono' was not said.  This shows us two things: the
halacha that a mixed gathering cannot be called Hashem's `maon', which
is about as close to `not permitted' as you can get; and that even
though they acknowledged that halacha, the custom was to sit together
anyway, and bear the consequences.

Zev Sero                Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day;
<zsero@...>       set him on fire and he'll be warm for the

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 13:50:20 +0200
Subject: Separate Seating

> It's quite clear that the trend is towards separate seating -- parents
> including Roshei Yeshiva, who had mixed seating at their own weddings,
> are now opting for separate seating at their children's weddings.  I'm
> not quite sure what to make of this, whether it has anything to do with
> halacha or simply a change in customs or worse yet the "frumer than
> thou" pressure that seems to prevail and pervade decisionmaking.

I would like to share a personal story relevant to this.  I had the
honor and pleasure of studying in Rav Ellinson's (ZT"L) classes while at
Bar Ilan Midrasha.  As he was also a family friend, he joined us at my
engagement party (not Eirusin!!!).  We had family (only parents,
brothers and sisters), rabbis from both sides and a few very close
friends.  The rabbis had come without their wives, and so it worked out,
without pre-planning that at one end of the long table sat the women,
and at the other end the men.

When it was Rav Ellinson's turn to speak, he first addressed me,
admonishing me (jokingly) that "This is not what I taught you Shoshana:
At a Se'udat Mitzva there is no need for separate seating" <g>.  For
further halachic details IIRC, they appear in one of his books.

He stated that at a Se'udat Mitzva there is no need for separate
seating, but a buffet does need a separation, especially when the buffet
is set up for the friends of the Kalla and Chatan, as was customary for
a while among the Hesder/Bnei Akiva set.

I would like to observe that I can understand setting up a half-hight
mehitza (plants or the like) to prevent the circles of dancing men and
women from colliding, though there are halls where if they just
rearranged a few tables, they could have 2 dancing areas so this
wouldn't be a problem.  Generally at our family Simhas, rabbis who were
present (family, friends and colleagues) always sat with their wives, or
at the rabbis' table if they came alone.

> I'd like to offer one observation -- "mixed" seating was once "family"
> seating.  Maybe it's economics (the high cost of weddings) or ease /
> difficulty of travel, maybe it's the length and late hour of so many
> wedding (don't you just love eating dinner at 11PM?) -- but today with
> the exception of the Chosen & Kallah's immediate family, children (and
> thus families) are often not invited.  In contrast, my Mother recalls
> that this was not the case in Pre-war Europe.  When a cousin had a
> wedding, her entire family was invited.  (She mentioned receiving
> material from this cousin so that her Mother, ztl, could sew dresses for
> all of the girls.)  When a family is invited, it seems to make more
> sense that they sit as a family unit, so that both parents can supervise
> the children, etc.

At the Sephardi weddings and Simhas I've been at -- this is still true.
Not only are first cousins (complete family) invited - but all the
inlaws, 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation relatives as well.  I always have a
few teenagers over to act as "baby-sitters" so that the parents will
have a chance to do some dancing and schmoozing without worrying.
Usually special tables with special "kid menus" (lot's of potato chips!)
are set up for them as well (this is usually much cheaper!).  I always
enjoy this.


From: Lawrence M. Reisman <LMReisman@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 13:56:02 -0500
Subject: Separate Seating

With regard to what Reb Moshe Feinstein did or did not hold, a friend of
mine asked his son, Reb Reuven.  The reply was that Reb Moshe held that
it was halachically mandated, but that where family politics dictated
otherwise, one could have mixed tables as long as they were arranged in
such a way as not to be seen as an integral part of the wedding.  This
is what was done at Reb Reuven's wedding and at the Tendler wedding.  By
contrast, at Reb Dovid's wedding and the Shisgal wedding, all seating
was separate.


From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:21:05 -0800
Subject: Shiur from R. Frand on Kiddush Hashem

With your indulgence, I would like to report on a shiur I attended last 
Friday night given by Rabbi Yissocher Frand, rosh yeshiva at Ner Yisroel in
Baltimore.  His message, though not new, is worth spreading.

Rabbi Frand said our purpose is to be an a servant of Hashem and our
duty is to protect the name of Hashem.  This is done by performing acts
that sanctify Hashem's name (Kiddush Hashem), which he explained through
many examples, is anything that leaves the observer to wonder, "This is
person who follows the way of G-d."  And anyone can rise to that level,
not just the likes of Abraham or Moshe.

 This is not merely doing what is commanded within the realms of
halachah, but ANYTHING that gives the observer a good impression of what
it means to be frum.  One example he cited was a woman in a department
store who purchased a baby garment and returned to the store with his
sleeping baby because the clerk had inadvertently put two garments in
the bag.  The clerk said "You must be Jewish" because only Jews would
return something like that.  Kiddush Hashem can be manifested in our
every day dealings like giving another driver the right away or merely
being polite and saying thank you.

On the other hand, Jews are reinforcing a negative opinion when they act
improperly.  And as Rabbi Frand pointed out, the non-Jew does not
distinguish between Chasidim and the modern Orthodox.  To the non-Jew,
all Jews are alike.  And sadly, because of continuing examples of Jews
being caught running afoul in areas of money, Rabbi Frand quoting from a
letter he received, Orthodox Jews are being considered "high risk" when
it comes to borrowing money. Indeed, even frum people have been
victimized by other frum people who seem to borrow in good faith and
then don't repay their debts.

The final message: We should always look for ways to protect the name of
Hashem by doing a Kiddush Hashem, and we should avoid at all costs
desecrating His name.

I was very moved by this lecture.  Sadly, upon leaving, I heard one
younger man say to another, "It probably will go in one ear and out the
other," to which the other responded, "It probably didn't even go in one


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 15:21:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Women's hair covering

Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...> wrote:
> The question put to the Shvus Yaakov was whether a virgin who was raped
> must cover her hair. 
> And lastly, if anyone wants to somehow convert the Shvus
> Yaakov's posited pshat into a Hallacha lemmaseh psak (which it isn't),
> they would be compelled to hold like the Shvus Yaakov all the way,
> including his pshat that _unmarried_single_ girls are obligated by the
> Torah (i.e., Biblical Law) to have their hair braided (and pinned up?)
> whenever they go outside.

Unless there is something additional in the responsum (which I know only
through your explanation of it), wouldn't his ruling be that
never-married non-virgins are required to put up their hair, not all

There is a minority opinion to this effect --- at least theoretically,
some require nonvirgins to cover their hair, but in most (all?) cases
they are lenient for modesty.  Also, some in the Sephardic community
strongly recommend unmarried women to cover their heads; maybe one or
two actually require.  Specifically, I remember a responsum by R Ovadiah
Yosef strongly recommending that single women cover their heads (heads,
not hair) for learning, davening, etc.

This actually raises the question of how covering the head relates to
covering the hair.  e.g., Is it a leniency that single women do not
cover their heads (especially when davening, etc.), or does the
reasoning which applies to men not apply to women for some reason?

Also, even if women are no longer required to cover their hair anymore
because social standards have changed, why would they not still have to
cover their heads for the same reasons men do?  (Did the wives of these
roshei yeshiva cover their heads for davening, etc.?)



End of Volume 30 Issue 44