Volume 31 Number 62
                 Produced: Thu Feb 17  5:30:18 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baby after eight months; massada
         [Kalman Neuman]
Backup Copies
         [Carl Singer]
Bar mitzvah before becoming bar-mitzvah
         [I. Harvey Poch]
Collect call game, copying software for a friend
         [Gershon Dubin]
Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy (2)
         [Rose Landowne, David Kaye]
Feeling Invisible (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Rose Landowne]
Feminism, Candles and Harassment
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: Kalman Neuman <kneuman@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 22:49:18 +0200
Subject: Baby after eight months; massada

The question of the survival of eight month babies , as well as many
other similar halachic topics is discussed by Rabbi Neria Gutel in his
book "shinuye hatvaim bahalacha" (Changes of nature in halacha) and in a
recent article by the same author in the periodical BaDaD published by
Bar Ilan University.

The question of the historical veracity of the Massada story is old hat
by now. A book (in English) by the Israeli sociologist Nachman Ben
Yehudah studied the rise of the myth of MAssada and how is was utilized
by the Zionist movement in order to further their ideology.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:01:20 EST
Subject: Re: Backup Copies

You'll note that some software explicitly defines backup copies.  A
backup copy is not something you lend to a friend.  A backup copy is
something that you place into safe storage in the unlikely event that
your media goes bad.

Carl Singer


From: I. Harvey Poch <af945@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 21:18:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Bar mitzvah before becoming bar-mitzvah

The custom of becoming bar-mitzvah at 13 is based on the famous mishnah
in Pirkei Avos which says, in part "ben shelosh-esrei lemitzvos". I'm
not sure how this took on the force of "halachah". However, among
Ashkenazim it is certainly not unheard of for a boy to begin putting on
tefillin *as an obligation*, and undertaking other mitzvos, at 12, when
the boy's father has died.

And, of course, how many of us waited until we were fully 13 before
beginning to fast on Yom Kippur?

I. Harvey Poch  (8-)>


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 19:20:54 -0500
Subject: Collect call game, copying software for a friend

>From: Michael Kramer <mikek@...>

<<This validity of these conditions is an interesting halachic question -
my layman's opinion is that these phrases have no legal or halachic
validity. The idea of "Kal Tnai Shebimamon Kayam" (any stipulation in
monetary law is valid) here contradicts Dina D'Malchuta Dina.>>

	Unless and until a specific permission is granted as pe dina
demalchusa dina, any publisher/creator of any work which is sold is at
liberty to make such conditions as he sees fit. "kol tenai shebamamon

	If I write a book and I sell it to you on the condition that you
read it only on Thursdays, or read it any day but Thursday, I am
perfectly within my halachic rights.  If you buy the book, you may use
it according to my conditions or you may choose not to buy it. Buying it
implies agreement with the condition.

	The government may make specific stipulation that nobody may
impose such conditions on a sale.  If so, dina demalchusa
obtains. However, to the best of my knowledge, (I am not a lawyer, but
my interpretation of the halacha is directly from discussions with a
posek on this very issue.)  the current law on fair use governs only
cases in which NO stipulation has been made.  The government does not
step in to say you may contravene the conditions set forth by the owner
of the book/software/tapes, etc.

	Under those conditions, buying on my conditions (the only ones
under which the item is sold) and then contravening them is outright

	I do agree with your discussion of retail store wanting the
customer in the store even if he intends not to buy, since this is, in
their eyes, step one in getting you to buy.

	I do not agree on the collect call issue, since the telephone
company, as the owner of the network, is free to set their conditions
UNLESS AND UNTIL the government rules otherwise.

<<and not to give these big rich companies the benefit of the doubt>>

	The fact that the company is big or rich gives them no less
latitude to determine appropriate use of their product.  "Soak the rich"
is not a Jewish concept; stealing is stealing whether from a poor blind
person or Microsoft.  And until you have proof otherwise, buying their
products means using them their way, like it or not.



From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 20:41:50 EST
Subject: Re: Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy

    As someone who worked on the programming of the Conference on
Feminism and Orthodoxy, I can tell you that there are only four
speakers, from among seventy, who are not associated with the Orthodox
movement.  All four of these are identified as such in their sessions.
One session is called "Learning from our sisters".  This session deals
with the personal experience of scholars from each of the other branches
in American Judaism. The question they have been asked to speak on is:
Though your movement is egalitarian, do you find that feminist issues
still exist? We feel that this is of interest to our attendees, and that
the session will support the idea that egalitarianism is not the answer
to feminist issues.
    The fourth non-Orthodox speaker is Alice Shalvi, who very publicly
removed herself from Orthodox identification. In this case, we felt it
was important to deal head-on with the factors which lead to her leaving
the Orthodox movement, rather than pretend that they don't exist, and
opposite her on the program are two women who will state why they, in
the same situation, have chosen Orthodoxy. One is a woman who has faced
the same issues, yet feels that one must remain steadfast, and the
second is a feminist woman who was raised Conservative and chose to
become Orthodox.
    In no way is any part of the conference intended to support anything
other than halachik Orthodox Judaism.  I hope this clarifies the matter.
Rose Landowne

From: David Kaye <David.Kaye@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 12:30:48 +0100
Subject: Re: Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy

Several things should be noted:
1.	Not one Posek, Rosh Hayeshiva  support these efforts.
2.	Having personally spoken about this very issue with two prominent
Roshei Yeshiva at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanon, they, too, believe
my original comments to be in order.


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:26:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Feeling Invisible

In Vol 31 #57, Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...> wrote:
> 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. 

I obviously don't know any of your female relatives but I wouldn't use
the fact that you never heard them complain about it as proof that they
were perfectly content behind the mechitza. Perhaps they were
content. But also perhaps they weren't content but didn't see anything
to be gained by complaining about it. Or perhaps they did complain about
it but just not in your hearing.

> 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?

This might not be as clear a case of universal agreement as you might
think. It assumes that all men get the same satisfaction out of the same
rituals as all other men, and that all women welcome the mechitza for
its modesty.  I'm sure you would agree that not everyone likes the same
food, is interested in the same things, or has the same
personality. Why, then, is it so difficult for you to grant that not all
men, and not all women, feel satisfied or spiritually fulfilled with the
role that has been assigned to them?

I don't mean to argue on this list about the halachic principles behind
gender-assigned roles, but I do want to point out that the assertion
that of course everyone must be satisfied with the roles assigned to
them solely because of their gender is contrary to human nature.

-- Janice

From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 11:15:27 EST
Subject: Re: Feeling Invisible 

 The problem is not the existence of the mechitza. No one is questioning
that.  There are mechitzas which allow the women to feel like they are
included in the davening and that their participation is welcomed and
valued, and then there are mechitzas which are designed in such a way
that the women can't see, hear, or participate, and thereby are made to
feel like their participation in tefilah b'tzibor is not valued in any
way. It really is a problem.  It causes women to take their own tefilah
less seriously (obviously, not all the women, but...), and as a result,
you hear all that talking from the women's section, which can interfere
with the seriousness of even the men's davening.
 Rose Landowne


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 21:48:08 -0800
Subject: Feminism, Candles and Harassment

A recent M.J posting suggested that it was wrong for women to feel
invisible, or to assume that such feelings exist.

First of all, let me assure the readers that there are many women,
within the Orthodox community, who feel conflicted about their supposed
"role" within that community.  While there may be nothing inherently
wrong with "separate but different" religious/social roles, the specific
definitions of those roles leave a lot of wiggle room.  This means that
some women--many women--do not match others' social expectations for

Note that I am not saying that women have a right to be anti-halakha,
just that some aspects of the current social expectations in parts of
the frum community may not match their legitimate feelings.  (For
example, in some communities it is expected that the women will leave
davening during musaf to fix the kiddush.  Is this required
halakhically?  Of course not.  Does it have implications that for women,
davening is less important than fixing food for the community
[especially the men]?  It sure seems to in my view.  Women who would
rather daven may well feel conflicted about this "role".)

So there is an issue of gender roles that are set, not by halakha, but
by [often sexist, IMO] community habits.

Distinct from that issue, there is a question of women who feel left out
of legitimately halakhic matters, e.g. the woman who is at minyan but
not counted as one of the ten men.  Clearly, here, there is little
halakhic justification for her to feel left out.  Yet we are not
claiming that the woman is asking to be counted, just saying that she
feels sad.

Who knows if she is feeling sad because she wishes she could solve the
minyan-numbers problem, or because her feelings were hurt when someone
said, "there are only nine people here" (instead of "men")...it is true
that her feelings were hurt.  It is incumbent upon all caring
individuals to reduce this sadness, rather than argue over her moral
right to feel sad.

A poster commented that if a man felt upset about not lighting candles,
that this would be not worthy of attention.

First, many men light shabbat candles, e.g. in dorm rooms or while
travelling, and indeed they are encouraged/permitted to do so by the
halakha, to the best of my knowledge.

Second, if a man did feel left out of this shabbat ritual, I, for one,
would think this complaint worthy of attention.  (I also might wonder
whether he'd gotten a good enough dose of pyromania at Chanukah.)

Third, it is a faulty comparison in any case.  We have a system of
halakha that definitely assigns many more mitzvah opportunities to men.
Describe it in any number of ways-- higher/lower levels (we've been
through that one ad nauseum on M.J already), mitzvot to keep men on the
straight and narrow, or whatever--the fact remains that it is not a fair
argument to build an argument about candle-lighting, when it is such a
drop in the bucket compared to the many religious activities that men

In other words, without ascribing any positive or negative value to it,
women have a regularly-experienced sense of non-inclusion.  Men do not.
Therefore even if the poster believes that the candle-envy is silly, it
does not mean that women's sadness at being invisible is equally silly.
The set-up is simply not parallel.

Conceivably, a parallel scenario might be if a man felt jealous of
bearing or breast-feeding a baby.  Those are part of a whole set of
mothering activities that generally only the mother "gets" to do.  Yet
in this case, I would still feel that the man's feelings were worthy of
attention, even if the basic situation was not going to change.
Actually, there is a whole literature to make men feel better about
their [in some ways lesser] fathering roles.

Personally, I think it is demeaning for people to ignore what religious,
committed (minyan-going!) women feel in our community.  We're not
talking, here, about someone who is out to challenge halakha--clearly,
if this invisible woman felt rebellious, she would choose another place
to daven.  Here is someone (and she has many sisters in this) who dearly
wants to embrace her role as an Orthodox woman, and is feeling
unimportant.  The community must be doing something wrong if this is the

On the subject of women feeling uncomfortable, I would like to second
the comments on harassment in a recent digest-- there is no connection
between "flirting" or sexual dress, and the continuum from harassment to
rape--which is an outlet for rage and aggression, not sexuality.  This
has been shown repeatedly in psychological studies.  (For example,
rapists notably say things during rape such as, "I'll show you that you
can't control me.")

--Leah S. Gordon


End of Volume 31 Issue 62