Volume 31 Number 91
                 Produced: Thu Mar 30  7:02:56 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Halachic Precedent solution for Female Invisibility
         [Russell Hendel]
Invisability and Shul Attendance
         [Wendy Baker]
Invisibility and Funeral Customs
         [Shlomo B Abeles]
Invisible Women
         [Batya Medad]
Praying among Minyan vs without Minyan
Source for a Kallah - a Queen
         [Yael Levine Katz]
         [Stephen Colman]
Woman Hesped
         [Eli Turkel]
Women and exclusion
         [Alexis Rosoff]
Women at Services - Unseen or Not Seeing?
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Women Pray with Minyan vs without Minyan
         [Janice Gelb]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2000 23:20:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: A Halachic Precedent solution for Female Invisibility

A small comment on all the postings in v31n72 on women davening with a
Tzibbur and feeling invisible.

Rebbetzin Rivkah Slonim who has written extensively on women issues from
a halachic point of view.

Rivkah has pointed out in a lecture that in the middle ages (when women
in the women's section could not hear the chazan) there were female
chazanoth who would echo what the Chazan in front were doing --this way
the women could follow.

It would follow from Rivkah's comments that it is perfectly permissable
to CONSTRUCT a shule where the women's and men's section have equal
space and where women chazanoth help lead the women's section. In such a
situation there would be no invisibility.

In other words the 'invisibility' problem is not a HALACHIC problem but
a SOCIAL problem created by those who do not seek halachic solutions to
existing needs.

Russell Hendel; phd asa <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 14:35:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Invisability and Shul Attendance

One of our posters made a off-hand remark about how he hopes that the
couple don't arrange or plan to alternate shul attendance on Friday
Night and Shabbat Morning.  I know of many families who do arrange to
both attend Shabbat morning services.  The husband goes to the early
Haskama minyan and goes home to infant sit whi]hile the wife attends
much of the regular service.  This prevents a great deal of the
isolation fromshul that some women feel duing the period of their
children's infancy and young toddlerhood.

Wendy Baker   


From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 05:35:02 +1000
Subject: Invisibility and Funeral Customs

>Freda B Birnbaum wrote:
>This past summer, I was at the funeral of a dear friend, ... standing
>next to an elderly lady... she said to me, "Maybe they don't want the
>women up front?"  .....IMHO, people (especially women) need to reclaim
>their rights and not let well-meaning or even not-so-well-meaning
>people tell them what they "can't" do at a funeral.

There is a very harsh warning (Sakono CV) in Kitzur Shulchan Oruch (198:10)
against men and women seeing each other during and after funerals.

Biz 120..



From: Batya Medad <yisraelm@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 15:05:45 +0300
Subject: Re: Invisible Women

There's no problem with women being invisible to the men; the problem is
that the "ritual" is invisible to the women.  Dovening "blind" deprives
the women of knowing what's going on.  Is the Aron Kodesh open, or
closed?  Is a Sefer Torah out?  Is the person who is holding it standing
or sitting?  Females who are raised "blind" have a much more difficult
time learning the halachot of tfilah b'tzibur.


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 02:24:10 EST
Subject: Praying among Minyan vs without Minyan

From: Catherine S. Perel <perel@...>
<< One more query: If Hashem listens/hears the prayers of a minyan, better
 than those of an individual, why pray?  How can you have the proper
 kavannah knowing that?  If you're a shut-in, or the shul is not
 wheelchair accessible, or you are too ill to walk to shul but not to
 pray, would your prayers be heard as well as or not as well as those, of
 and in the presence of a minyan. >>

I believe that not always is prayer with a minyan more effective
necessarily.  A high - level prayer of an individual would seemingly be
more powerful than a low quality / mediocre group prayer. The gemara
(Brachos 8) states only that Hashem does not reject the davening of a
tzibbur with disgust (eino moeis bitfiloson shel rabbim) - it does not
say that it is always completely accepted. This is expounded upon by
Rabbi M.Z.Gerlitz in a sefer that came out a few years ago (I believe it
is called Tefilas Rabbim or so).

A parable sometimes given to explain the power of a minyan is that if a
group is visiting somewhere it is often easier for them to gain access
than an individual and that when someone is part of a group they are
often less scrutinized than when alone.

However, I think that we must concede that davening with a minyan is not
always ideal. A minyan can sometimes have a negative effect on prayer -
e.g.  if it is noisy, if it 'davens' at a too quick pace, if people
speak loshon hora in the Shul, etc. I believe in some cases davening
alone can be better and is to be preferred. Of course, one must be
careful not to go too far in this direction...Looking at the topic in a
logical manner, one would say that the power of a tzibbur normally
strengthens anything - including tefillah.  However, if we see
otherwise, I don't think one should ignore what we are seeing....Of
course, it would be best to find a minyan that improves one's individual
davening - rather than dragging it down...



From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 15:38:33 +0200
Subject: Source for a Kallah - a Queen

In various sources a hatan is likened to a king. This notion appears,
among other places, in Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer, and was further
developed in the later rabbinic literature.  I am interested in written
sources concerning the concept of a kallah as a queen, an idea which
seems to be presupposed, though I did not come across it in my scrutiny
of works on marriage and marriage customs, among them "She-ha-Simhah
Be-Me'ono" and "Birkat David".

Yael Levine Katz


From: Stephen Colman <stephen.colman@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 09:51:45 +0100
Subject: Tanoim

I am currently investigating the minhag of writing a Shtar Tanoim
(document of agreement [or stipulation/condition]) before a Chupa, and
would welcome comments from our learned contributors.

The Chassidishe minhag of writing Tanoim at the Vort/engagement, is not
my custom - although in a way it makes more sense than writing Tanoim
immediately before the Chupa - which seems to me to be a 'Yotzer zein'

Can anybody suggest any sources for this minhag - or any particular gain
or benefit that it provides - spiritually or practically.

Stephen Colman


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 21:43:03 +0300
Subject: Woman Hesped

> From: Janet Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
> Thank you, Frieda. I was finally able to be mekabed a met when I was
> allowed to pick up a shovel and help with the kevurah.
> At my father's funeral I was told I couldn't make a hespaid in Jerusalem
> because I am a woman. I was told I could not make a speech about my
> father at the seuda after the unveiling because it was in Jerusalem.

The funeral is governed by the Chevra Kadisha and one has to deal with
them in a funeral.  However, the stone setting is usually a private
affair and certainly a seuda after the unveiling. In such a case who
decided that you couldn't talk?  Certainly many other women in
Yerushalayim do make speeches in public

Eli Turkel


From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 14:20:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women and exclusion

I felt compelled to add something to this thread, because although I'm
not what most of you would call Orthodox, I do have an interest in women
and Judaism, especially as I am something of a feminist.

I don't view Orthodoxy as intrinsically anti-woman, the way many
feminists do. I believe in equality, but not interchangeability. Having
men do one thing and women another is perfectly fine and acceptable, as
long as those roles are valued equally. The problem arises when, often
through contact with non-Jewish society, one role or set of functions is
viewed to be somehow less important. In other words, it's not Judaism
itself, but the application of Judaism in certain circumstances.

Take the mechitza. I don't happen to pray at a shul with a mechitza,
though I don't have a problem with the concept (the nearest Orthodox
shul to me is Chabad which is not my speed). I have a problem with the
layout of the mechitza in certain synagogues. I find it near-impossible
to follow the service if I can't see the rabbi/cantor/ba'al tefillah, at
least enough to know what he is doing. The placement of women behind the
men, where they can see and hear least, does bother me.

In modern Western society, there seems to be an association with women's
work being less important. As much as we insulate ourselves from these
values, we can't isolate ourselves completely. There seem to be certain
functions in Jewish communities that are performed primarily by women,
even though they are mitzvot which are incumbent on all Jews.

Similarly, study seems to be the province of the man, and I find this
worrying. I don't mean smicha or kollel level study; I'm talking
ordinary yeshiva high school education, seminary, et cetera. Even if my
daughters never become rabbis (and I admit it, I'm a bad feminist, I'm
not comfortable with the concept of women as rabbis) I want them to have
the sort of Judaic education I didn't. I want them to be able to
understand a passage of Talmud and understand the process that brought
it into being and keeps it alive. Even women's shiurim are often on a
lower level, and I think it becomes a cycle of women not reaching the
levels needed for more advanced learning, so new shiurim aren't started,
so women stay at the same low-to-middle level.

I want daughters who are the intellectual equals of men--who understand
the halacha and the process that created it, who can lead the community
in their way. I've always felt Judaism was based on a partnership
between men and women and couldn't survive without the talents of

That's the sort of equality I want--not the symbolic equality of being
on the bimah. Sure, in Conservative and Reform women may get to lead the
service, but they've sacrificed real equality in many ways.

 Alexis Rosoff ---=--- http://www.mono.org/~alexis ---=--- Long Island, NY


From: Joseph Greenberg <jjg@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 14:12:18 -0500
Subject: RE: Women at Services - Unseen or Not Seeing?

<< Solving the latter does not require no new scientific discoveries. We
can simply go to the old architectural solutions: balconies. The
balconies provide all possible options for women: full view of services,
family members and potential marriage prospects; ability to talk if they
want and go in and out unobstructed. >>

Being very involved in my own shul's (a centrist orthodox shul) current
reconstruction efforts, I was going to simply respond to this with the
mention that while balconies afford a number of benefits, they are
generally substantially more money to build, and in the land of
barrier-free access (which I thoroughly support), are very difficult to
implement, given most shul's lack of money and/or space.

However, the notion that one of the primary purposes of a balcony is to
afford women the opportunity to talk, I found particularly insulting,
both to women, and to the men that must have to suffer thru the noise in
this poster's shul's ezrat nashim. It'd be nice to think that the
balconies of all those older, grander shuls actually echo the _teffilot_
of many single and married women, as I'm sure they do.


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 14:49:03 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Women Pray with Minyan vs without Minyan

Catherine S. Perel <perel@...> wrote
> On 15 February 2000, Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...> wrote:
> > Women are also required to daven (at least once
> > a day, short tfilla if they are busy with the kids, or
> > longer if not).
> I have often wondered what the case would be if, for some reason, a
> man's wife died, G-d forbid, and he becomes responsible for taking care
> of his children.  Is he exempt as women are for this reason, or will he
> need to insure his attendence at all services and tend to his children.
> What of hiring a baby sitter on Yom Tov?  This is not permissable.  So,
> what of his obligation?  Would it be the same which exempts women the
> daily services, from time bound mitzvoth?

The line is not as clearly drawn as this. If it were, other key
questions would be: what about women who have no family obligations,
because their children are grown and out of the house, or single women
who have neither husband nor children to take precedence? If the sole
reason for the exemption was because of family responsibilities, one
would think they would only apply to women who have those
responsibilities and not to all women.

-- Janice


End of Volume 31 Issue 91