Volume 30 Number 52
                 Produced: Tue Dec 28  8:00:48 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Warren Burstein]
Kids at Risk (4)
         [Chaim Shapiro, Debby Levi, Stuart Wise, Chaim Wasserman]
Negiah (2)
         [Eliyahu & Sarah Shiffman, Chaim Mateh]
Not letting people know a woman is a nidah (was Negiah)
         [Jacob Klerman]
Women and Mayim Achronim (4)
         [Shlomo Yaffe, Lee David Medinets, Steven Oppenheimer, Andy
Women not washing for Mayim Acharonim and German Jews
         [Rachel Smith]


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 12:26:11
Subject: Re: Anakim

>From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...>
>The anakim basically died out along with all the other man-like homonids
>like the "Adnei Hasadeh" (possibly Neanderthals?) mentioned in mishnah
>Kilayim, perek 8, mishnah 5.

Why would the Mishnah contain a ruling concerning an extinct species?
Albeck explains "Adnei Hasadeh" as a type of monkey.


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 23:37:16 EST
Subject: Kids at Risk

Aviva brings up a good point re: children at risk. I do agree with her
assessment, at least partially.

This past week, I spent some time in NY with some boys who have fallen
prey to the drug/sexual perversions.  It seemed to me that for many frum
children, the 1990s represents the equivalent of the 1960s for Non Jews.
For many reasons, Frum kids feel that they have more freedom, and seem
intent on using that freedom to the fullest extent.

American society has affected us all.  Like it or not, children in our
schools understand the messages their communities send all too well.
When their Yeshiva honors the family that everyone knows is dishonest,
when they hear their Rebbeim referring to these individuals as Tzadikim,
the children know that it is nothing more than pandering for money.  Why
would a child willing give up the freedom that is there for the taking,
if their very role models trade their integrity for money? If my yeshiva
can trade their Judaism for money, why can't they trade theirs for
sexual pleasure?

An additional problem, it is no longer possible to fully insulate our
children from American society.  Frum youth know American culture all
too well, and they love it.  What is a Yeshiva to do?  Accept parts of
pop culture which are the antithesis to Torah in order to keep children
engaged, or allow thousands to slip through the cracks with the blinders

A most perplexing problem indeed

Chaim Shapiro

From: Debby Levi <Tebby2@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 17:23:17 EST
Subject: Kids at Risk

 In a recent post, Aviva Fee wrote about children at risk.. Her
contention that nothing is being done is not true as there are several
programs for these kids, including the Agudah's own Project Y.E.S.  In
addition it is not an issue that can be solved with a simplistic
approach.  There are now quite a number of Yeshivos for boys who have
"problems" as well as for boys who are not going to spend the rest of
their lives in learning.  Ner Yisroel in Baltimore is known as a Yeshiva
where boys can learn and go to college.  In fact, many of those boys go
on to get degrees in law, medicine, etc.  The Yeshiva in Silver Spring
is another that comes to mind.
 Additionally, there is a new Yeshiva in Monsey for boys who can't sit
and learn all day.  They learn two Sedorim and in the afternoon are
going for technical training. This school is for boys right out of High
School.  The Yeshiva in Bradley Beach is for High School aged boys who
don't necessarily fit the "mold".
 There is a tremendous need for more schools like this, and we have to
remove the stigma attached to some of them, but this is definitely a
step in the right direction.

Debby Levi

From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 12:22:12 -0800
Subject: Re: Kids at Risk

I think you've taken a black-and-white approach.  There are still plenty
of young Torah scholars who at some point decide (while they're still in
their early or mid-20s) that they either want to need a livelihood, then
they attend or post-college and maintain a learning seder.  After all,
there is no great challenge to sit and learn while you are in yeshiva;
it's being dedicated to learning AFTER LEAVING yeshiva that will impress
the smart young woman looking for a husband.

I know of one instance of two children from a very large family who
attended Mirrer, and when they decided to pursue professional careers
they adjusted their learning to anew environment and pursued their
careers.  Unfortunately, it seems that yeshiva students want to blame
the pressure when they always have the option.  Not every wonderful,
religious young woman is looking for a husband who will continue to
learn in the yeshiva.

It seems, however, that Orthodox society in general wants us to believe
that the only religious, learned people are those sitting in yeshiva for
an endless amount of time.  But in reality, from what I can observe,
those who decide to leave yeshiva -- but maintain a Torah study time --
appear happy and well-adjusted to their new status.

From: Chaim Wasserman <Chaimwass@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 23:55:16 EST
Subject: Re: Kids at Risk

Aviva wrote [Vol 30 #48] that despite the Jewish Observer's 75 pages
dedicated to the topic of youth at risk they haven't a clue of how to
solve the problems

While I have not yet had the chance to view that issue, the following
questions compel me to write:

[1] Is one of the solutions that every single yeshiva have a trained
staff of guidance professionals (plural) who are in touch with the youth

[2] Is one of the solutions a network of professionally trained teams
working with the parents in need of special services?

Should one care to argue that these are not the classical functions of
yeshivos, well fine. Then, are there agencies available to the schools
from which such necessary services in life-skills and counseling can be

Until such time, the problem will become more widespread and chronic.

chaim wasserman


From: Eliyahu & Sarah Shiffman <shiffman@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 22:32:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Negiah

Daniel Israel <daniel@...> wrote:

>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"!

My understanding is that while this is true in the Ashkenazi world, the
Sephardi world does not view it as immodest for a woman to imply her
nidda status. I have been told that the extreme concern for secrecy
surrounding a woman's visit to the mikva is also an Ashkenazi-only

Eliyahu Shiffman

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 1999 22:16:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Negiah

In Vol 30#43, Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>

<<For many women at least, touching is not automatically nor always
sexual in nature. A momentary touch can be an expression of comfort,
reassurance, friendship, or merely shared humanity. IMHO, barring us
from that forever with any member of the opposite gender who is not an
immediate relative makes life colder and harsher than it needs to be.>>

Um isn't Mars different from Venus <G>?  AFAIK, men and women react
differently to these things.  I also think that most if not all the
harchakos (distancing) are to protect men from themselves.

Didn't someone once say that if we compare men to women vis-a-vis these
things, man is the weaker sex.

Kol Tuv,


From: Jacob Klerman <klerman@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 12:41:15 -0800
Subject: Not letting people know a woman is a nidah (was Negiah)

Daniel Israel wrote: 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"!)

The only discussion I have seen of this is in Hil. Niddah by Harchakos
(separations during niddah period), where some authorities that fear a
woman's concern (apparently not a halachic concern) that people will
learn that she is a niddah is NOT enough to relax harchakos.  If my
memory is correct the issues is discussed by R. Wosner at the S.A.'s
halacha about wearing different clothes when nidah.  It appears from
there that women used to wear old clothes (blaos?)  while niddah and
nicer clothes when not niddah.  Perhaps it is an issue of the quality or
the absence of tampons?

This claim is often made in conversation.  Can anyone bring a printed
source and explain?  I jsut completed a (light) review of Dinei
Harchakot (laws of separation while a woman is niddah) and I did not see
any discussion of this (maybe I missed it, maybe it was in a peirush I
did not look at).

It seems obvious that in the time of the temple everyone needed to know
if a woman was niddah -- men and women.  She made food tamei.
Presumably she ate at a separate table.

It was my understanding that a Niddah would not eat from the korban
pesach.  Even assuming that they did not hold like we do (don't start
counting until day 5, require 7 clean days), that would still mean that
a quarter of all women would not eat the korban pesach.  Note also that
since Pesach Sheni falls a month later, regular period (30 days) would
imply that most of those women would not eat korban pesach at pesach
sheni either.  (Is Pesach Sheni an obligation for women too?  Or just
for men?)


From: Shlomo Yaffe <hyuli@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 22:15:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Women and Mayim Achronim

OTOH, I have been at the homes of several Dayanim I know the women do
wash Mayim Achronim. When I asked at one home I was told that "there is
no hint at all in Shulchan Aruch and nosei Kaylim that Womwn Shouldn't
wash. Either you wash MA or don't wash but there is no difference
between men and women in the Sefarim.
  Shlomo Yaffe

From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 03:01:03 -0500
Subject: Women and Mayim Achronim

As I understand it, the fundamental reason that we wash mayim achronim
is halachic.  That is, to wash to remove shmutz (particularly the
caustic "salt of Sodom") from our fingers before benching.  Women are
specifically permitted, but not required to wash mayim achronim, but
they don't do it.  I believe, but cannot prove that the reason for this
is that women, as a group, take pride in the fact that they eat more
neatly and meticulously than men do, and it is therefore something of an
embarrassment to a woman, or to her sex as a group, to imply that they
should make a particular show of cleaning their hands at the end of a
meal.  Mayim achronim seems to be an acknowledgement of the comparative
coarseness of men and therefore contrary to any feminine mystique, which
Orthodox Jewish women certainly feel to be worthy of preservation.

Dovid Medinets

From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 22:03:34 -0500
Subject: Women and Mayim Achronim

There are many poskim who hold that women should wash mayim acharonim -
Torat Chayim, Salmat Chayim, Aruch HaShulchan, Halichot Bat Yisrael (in
the name of Rav S. Z. Auerbach, zt"l).

Mor U'Ketziah suggested that someone who is sure that his fingers did
not touch the food need not wash mayim acharonim.  Since women are more
fastidious than men, they do not need to wash mayim acharonim.  However,
if they are not careful to eat with utensils and do soil their hands
with food, then they should wash mayim acharonim.

The Shevet HaLevi says that since in our time the main reasons for
washing mayim acharonim are kabalistic, we do not require women to be
stringent in this area and they do not wash mayim acharonim.  This idea
is echoed by Rabbi Yisrael David Harfeness, shlit"a in VaYivarech David.

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch, shlit"a writes that women can wash mayim
acharonim. He writes that he has seen Chasidische women in important
families who do wash mayim acharonim and so if a woman should wash mayim
acharonim she would get sechar ( reward ) for doing so.  However, since
the prevalent custom is that women do not wash mayim acharonim, it may
seem like Yuhara - i.e. the woman would appear conceited.

I hope this sheds some light on the subject.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.

From: Andy Levy-Stevenson <teafortwo@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 14:46:51 -0600
Subject: Re: Women and Mayim Achronim

Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...> wrote:
> While I can't supply the reason, I can with good authority confirm the
> Minhag that women do not to wash Mayim Acharonim. Way back when, when I
> was a bachur learning in MTJ on the Lower East Side, I had the occasion
> to serve as a waiter at a Feinstein family simcha. Although
> unfortunately the Rosh Yeshiva was not in attendance, Reb David and his
> Rebbetzin were attending.
> When it came time to bring out Mayim Acharonim, I asked Rebbetzin
> Feinstein (Reb David's Rebbetzin) whether I should put out Mayim
> Acharonim on the womens' tables. (Sidebar: yes, the seating arrangements
> were separate.) Rebbetzin Feinstein informed me that women do not wash
> Mayim Acharonim.

This would run counter to my memory of a tshuva by Rabbi Feinstein that
I read in which he was clear that women should wash Mayim
Acharonim. Since my learning isn't great, and I don't have the book to
hand, I would assume my memory is faulty. Perhaps someone with more
knowledge (or the book!) could clarify this? Thanks.

 Andy Levy-Stevenson                  Email:   <teafortwo@...>
 Tea for Two                          Voice:              612.920.4243
 A Design and Communications Company  Fax:                612.920.4436


From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 1999 06:14:59 -0800
Subject: Women not washing for Mayim Acharonim and German Jews

I've heard the same reason given why German Jews don't wash mayim
acharonim - Chas V'Shalom (Heaven forbid) that a proper German would eat
with his fingers!



End of Volume 30 Issue 52