Volume 31 Number 57
                 Produced: Mon Feb 14  6:51:54 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Alan Davidson]
A baby after 8 months
         [Aaron-Joseph Gilboa]
Boruch "Shepatrani" Brocha
         [Felise P. Katz]
Feeling Invisible (2)
         [Adina Levin, Joseph Geretz]
Historical Authenticity of the Artscroll Siddur
         [Stephen H White]
Rabbi Miller and Mikvah (4)
         [Daniel Katsman, Jonathan Grodzinski, Boruch Merzel, Joseph C.
Sexual Abuse in Frum Community
         [M. Press]


From: Alan Davidson <perzvi@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 16:24:45 -0500
Subject: Artscroll

Is Artscroll trampling local minhagim cause or effect of the vanishing
influence of local minhagim (especially outside of larger communities in
general?  In my couple of months in New York thus far I have seen (a)
shuls that do the complete festival pesukei D'zimra including Nishmas
and Shochein Ad on Hoshanna Rabba; (b) shuls that do Hakafos not just
both nights of Shemini Atzeres/Simchas Torah but both days as well; (c)
shuls which do not say Tachanun from Yud-Alef Adar until after Purim,
etc.  Outside of New York you don't see these things so there is little
threat to local minhagim via Artscroll -- if anything the Artscroll
Nusach Sefard is more problemmatic as both Nusach Chabad and Nusach
Bobov make very clear departures from the version of Nusach Sefard
offered in Artscroll.


From: Aaron-Joseph Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 22:27:40 +0200
Subject: Re: A baby after 8 months

Halacha is a dangerous thing! 

 I hope that nobody gets the impression from Chaim Shapiro's post that
the current halachic view ignores the fact that an eight month baby is a
vital human being. I do not believe that any reputable poseq suggests
that, nowadays, one may not desecrate Shabbat to save the life of such a
baby or to care for all its needs.
 There are, in fact, many instances where posqim have "overturned"
previous halachic decisions on the grounds that biological, or other
facts, are no longer in accord with what they were (or were believed to
be) in ancient times. R. Neriah Guttel, whose name I have mentioned
before, is the author of an important book "Hishtanut Ha-tva`im
Ba-halacha" in which he deals with a wide spectrum of such cases. He
also discusses the important issue of just when such an argument is used
to overturn previous halachic decisions and just who is qualified to do

Yosef Gilboa


From: Felise P. Katz <felise.katz@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 16:53:44 -0500
Subject: Boruch "Shepatrani" Brocha

I have 2 sons who will be Bar Mitzvah a''h shortly and am interested in
finding sources where this Brocha is discussed. Additionally, has there
ever been a discussion regarding the mother and why this would or would
not apply to her as well. Thanks! Felise


From: Adina Levin <adina_levin@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 16:19:17 -0500
Subject: Feeling Invisible

An example of insensitive language:

"We don't have a minyan, there are only nine PEOPLE here."

If there are women in the room, this statement might make the women
present feel invisible.

A small change "we don't have a minyan, there are only nine MEN" makes
the point, doesn't imply that women are invisible.

From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 18:16:59 -0500
Subject: Feeling Invisible

Ellen Krischer wrote:
> Nice try, Joseph.  But with all due respect, I don't
> "imagine" that some Orthodox women sometimes
> feel invisible behind a Mechitza.  I *know for a fact*
> that some do.

I'm sure. I'm also sure that there are men who feel left out when it is
their wives who have the priviledge of lighting the candles to usher in
the Shabbos every Friday evening, while they stand by 'feeling
invisible'. What does that say?

Orthodoxy defines in essence, different roles for women and men. A
woman's role is no less important than a man's role, just
different. However, today, among some segments of Judaism, it seems
popular to stereotype Orthodoxy as being discriminatory against women,
which attempts to put Orthodoxy on the defensive.

In fact, Orthodoxy discriminates *between* men and women, it does not
discriminate *against* either men or women.

Consider, if I raised the following question on the mail-group: 'How do
we deal with men who feel left out, while their wives light Shabbos
candles each Friday evening?' Every last member of the group would think
to themselves, 'What in the world is this guy talking about??!!' Yet if
someone raises the question, 'How do we deal with women who feel like
invisible 2nd class citizens behind the Mechitza?', immediately people
begin to prepare defenses for the proposed problem, where perhaps none
exists. And even if a problem does exist, why is the onus is placed on
the defense of Halacha?  Let's first accept our Mesora and Halacha as
sensible, and then we can examine how subjective feelings toward the
Halacha are what are off the mark.

I was raised Orthodox in a large family of 10 siblings, B'li Ayin Hara,
5 boys and 5 girls. I never heard any of my grandmothers, aunts, mother,
sisters, cousins or nieces complain about davening behind the Mechitza.
Never. We were not raised in a 'ghetto' atmosphere, we were raised
out-of-town, very aware of the world around us. Yet I never heard any
complaint from any of my female relatives in this regard. Perhaps, if
there are women who feel slighted or degraded, by Orthodox institutions
which are part of our Mesora, then it is the subjective viewpoints of
these women which are off the mark, rather than the institutions of
Orthodoxy themseleves. I think we can all agree that if a man feels
slighted by not being the one to kindle the Shabbos lights, then it is
that individual who needs an attitude adjustment, not the institution of
candle-lighting as defined by Orthodox tradition. So why should Mechitza
be different?

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Stephen H White <stephen@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 23:53:57 +0000
Subject: Historical Authenticity of the Artscroll Siddur

My previous posting on this subject (v31n40) received an interesting
answer from Carl Singer which points to the problems I had hoped to
discuss. He wrote:

<<Although the Art Scroll is a carefully researched and scholarly siddur,
it had to make several choices at various forks in the road.  It also
corrects several "typos" that have found there way into siddurs.  The
problem to me is that there is no "Nusach Art Scroll" pe se.  In sort of
a "might makes right" it's easier for a congregation to adopt the Art
Scroll nusach than paste pages inside the covers or include a series of
add-ins. >>

There are (at least) two issues. Firstly, what if these 'typos' have
become the minhag of a particular community. The word 'corrects' implies
mistakes, but sometimes these might be differences of opinion, or simply
different minhagim. For example, in the paragraphs Elokenu Vayloke
Avotainu in the Amidah for Shabbat Maariv, Shabbat Shacharit and Shabbat
Minchah, the Artscroll has respectively Vayanuchu Va, Vayanuchu Vo, and
Vayanuchu Vam. In the Authorised Daily Prayerbook of the United
Synagogues of the UK and Commonwealth all three have the same Vayanuchu

The second issue is one of instruction. The Artscroll Siddur is very
user friendly (hence maybe its popularity) because it tells not only
what to say but also how to say it. For example, it clearly advises ("it
is preferable...")  that the Kedusha in Uva L'tzion should be said aloud
and in unison. There is no such instruction in the United Synagogue
Siddur.  Indeed, in Chief Rabbi Hertz's (z"l) commentary on that Siddur
(not widely read by most of its users) he clearly states that the
Kedusha is not to be recited congregationally, and that was the United
Synagogue minhag until the Artscroll users began to make themselves
heard (literally).

My point is not 'which is right and which is wrong'. It is that the
Artscroll impacts on the existing minhag, and ends up changing it. To
some this might not be acceptable at all. The solution might be to jolt
the editors of the alternatives into making their product as
comprehensive and user friendly as the Artscroll.

On the other hand might it be acceptable for the Artscroll Nusach to
become the standard? IMHO that should only be acceptable to Kehillot
around the world if we know that the Artscroll Nusach has a good
pedigree, ie that it is not only verbally accurate but also historically
reliable, instructionally reliable, that it follows a recognised format
established in predecessor Siddurim, etc. If the Siddur does change the
minhagim of some of its users, at least they can be comfortable that
they are changing to something which is valid and time proven.

Mr Singer's last sentence above suggests that a 'cut and paste' attitude
to Nusach is acceptable. I am not against the Artscroll Siddur; indeed I
use one myself, but I am concerned that in a world where standardisation
is increasingly demanded by users, the Artscroll Siddur needs

Stephen White


From: Daniel Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 22:21:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Rabbi Miller and Mikvah

My father has a book of his , The Secret of the Jew, which I believe
discusses this matter.  I read part of it about 25 years ago but never got
to the chapter about actual mikve construction in the bathtub.

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva

From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 01:25:20 EST
Subject: Rabbi Miller and Mikvah

Yes, he wrote a book which my father (z"l) had in his library. That copy
is (should be) in our shul ( Ner Yisrael Hendon London ) library.

The book details precisely how to build this Mikva

Jonathan Grodzinski (fourth generation Master Baker - London, UK)

From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Feb 2000 16:18:06 EST
Subject: Re: Rabbi Miller and Mikvah

This was Rabbi David Miller (of Houston TX I believe) He wrote a book
entitled "The Secret of Jewish Happiness" (or something close to that).
Unfortunately my personal copy has disappeared from my library.  The
book contained various plans for simple personal mikvos that could be
built in private homes, at minimal cost.  Most definitely he did not
advocate using a bathtub.  His system however, did permit the use of
city water without requiring any other source of water, since he held
that the modern system of pumping water did not constitute "Mei sh'uvim"
(drawn water)

Sadly, Rabbi Miller was widely villified by those who did not take the
time or effort to make the extensive investigation that he did into
municipal water systems in the U.S.  Some 35 years ago I had occasion to
consult with Rav Nissen Telushkin Z"L (author of Taharas Mayim)---
considered at the time the pre-eminent expert on Mikvos in the
country--- concerning constructing a community Mikvah.  He told me
personally that he believed Rabbi Miller's thesis was unfairly scorned
and that he, Rav Telushkin, believed that Taharas Hamispacha would have
been far more widely observed in this country had the rabbonim not been
so quick to condemn Rabbi Miller.  In fact Rav Telushkin has a a rather
lengthy treatment in his Sefer of the New York City water system, and
makes mention of Rabbi Miller's ideas as having more than a little
validity, and refers to Rabbi Miller as "a great person (gavra rabba)
who dedicated his life to strenghtening the observance of tahars
hamishpacha in this country.  Given the climate in the frum world today,
there is no chance whatsoever that Rabbi Miller's ideas would be treated
with any measure of seriousness.  

Boruch Merzel

From: Joseph C. Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 11:29:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Rabbi Miller and Mikvah

I have a book called "The Secret of the Jew; His Life and Family" by
Rabbi David Miller. My copy is the 10th Edition with a copywright date
of 1930.  The title page adds that Rabbi Miller was the author of
"Mikvah-Israel."  The books notes both on its cover and title page:
"This book is not for sale. It is loaned by the author to whomsoever may
be concerned about the subject." In addition, on the coptwright page it
adds: Permission for translation or reprint asa whole or in part, for
the further purpose of fathering [sic] the cause, will be granted on
 The book is, indeed, all about mikvah, and a major section is called
"How to make a mikvah." It includes drawings on how to consruct a mikva
in many ways including "disguised as ferniture," "installed in a
bathroom," "utilizing closet space," and many more such suggestions and

The introduction to the book is by "B. Revel" who I assume is Rabbi
Dr. Bernard Revel, the first president of YU. Rabbi Miller lived in
Oakland California.

Rabbi Miller lived in Oakland CA. He has no listing in the Encyclopedia
Judaica, If anyone has an additional information on R. Miller, I would
be very interested.

Joseph C. Kaplan.


From: M. Press <mpress@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 02:08:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Sexual Abuse in Frum Community

[Sorry, I missed this one, it should have been included with issue
55. Mod.] 

Chaim Shapiro wrote
> I have recently read two extremely disturbing articles regarding child
> molestation and the Frum community. According to the first article in
> the Chicago Jewish News, the molesters were protected by the rabbinic
> leadership, in order to avoid a trial and the possibility of this Day
> School Rebbe going to jail.  The second molester, a Kosher butcher is
> still in business to this day!

I am pained to write this, but it is unfortunately true that such events
occur in our community and are consistently covered up.  I myself have
been consulted on a number of such incidents in which no public action
was taken and the perpetrator was allowed to move elsewhere.  In one
case I was astonished to enter a yeshiva and discover a faculty member
who had been expelled from another city for molesting students.  Of
course, I informed the rosh yeshiva immediately.  In that case there was
clear evidence of the party's guilt.  In many others the situation is
much more ambiguous and the Halakhic criteria for public action are not
met.  (I once had a patient who admitted to being molested by a yeshiva
faculty member but could not produce any one else who would confirm his
story.  One of the major poskim told me that I could do nothing in the
absence of evidence acceptable in the eyes of the Torah.)

Melech Press, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Touro College
<mpress@...> or melechp@touro.edu


End of Volume 31 Issue 57