Volume 32 Number 13
                 Produced: Sun Apr 30 10:41:47 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conversion questions
         [Jeanette Friedman]
"Kosher" Prenup (7)
         [Sam Saal, Carl Singer, Batya Medad, Jeanette Friedman, Jordan
Hirsch, David Cohen, Chana Luntz]
Sheva Brochos under the Chupa
         [Ezra Tepper]
Time Bound Mitzvos (2)
         [Yisrael Medad, Carl M. Sherer]
Women and Curriculum
         [Nina Butler]


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 23:52:28 EDT
Subject: Re: Conversion questions

<< better for humanity to have been created, Beit Hillel concluded that it
 > > was better if humanity had never been created since humanity will never
 > > completely succeed in fulfilling the mitzvot, which is why we say "shelo
 > > asani nochri/nochria shifcha/eved isha" >>

We say shelo asani isha because humanity will never completely succeed
in fulfilling the mitzvot? Is that what you are saying?  That's what you
wrote, and I am asking for clarification....please....

thank you

Jeanette Friedman


From: Sam Saal <saal@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 15:55:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: re: "Kosher" Prenup

Michael Feldstein <MIKE38CT@...> wrote:

>I guess one could say that if there are no agunot who signed pre-nups,
>that the concept is working--although the universe size of those who
>signed pre-nups is still very, very small.  The problem is getting all
>Orthodox rabbis to refuse to perform weddings unless the bride and
>groom sign a pre-nup, which will be difficult, if not impossible.
>Until that happens, I'm not sure we'll really be able to measure its
>effectiveness.  But I think we should all support it--this is clearly a
>step in the right direction, which will at least raise consciousness
>about the agunah problem, if not help to solve it completely.

If all Rabbis demanded prenups, I'd hope the same Rabbis, at the end of
marriages (R"L) would exert influence on Batei Dinim for the divorce, or
on the community where one side refuses to honor the prenup (or ignores
the Bet Din).

Sam Saal            <saal@...>
(<saal@...> may also work)

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 09:27:14 EDT
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

<< 'm always especially amused when I hear the line read out about how the
 wedding will take place at a time and place to be negotiated between the
 two sides, in complete oblivion to the fact that it's way too late to
 change anything now!  The wedding will take place right outside, in
 about half an hour, or there'll be hell to pay, and nobody's going to
 negotiate anything, but that's the standard line, so that's how it's

 Zev Sero                              Harmless Historical Nut >>

I believe that the "standard line" is to allow for "slippage" -- If, for
example, the document said "in 1/2 hour" or "on Tuesday Afternoon
(before Shkia)" - and it started raining and the chupah was delayed to
be moved inside -- or someone reading the ketubah found a mistake, or
the caterer hadn't set up the room in time - Or the chusan faints from
hunger and needs to be revived --- THEN the wedding might take place
after shkia, etc. -- the document's lack of specificity is by design.

Carl Singer

From: Batya Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 12:48:32 +0300
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

There are reasons besides divorce for a "pre-nup," or "post-dated" get.
If accident, injury, illness, etc, happens to the husband, and he would
have wanted his wife to be able to marry again, but not due to any
malicious intent she is halachikly unable.  I remember a neighbor of
mine telling me that he felt obligated, out of love, to have some way of
depositing a "get" for G-d forbid such an eventuality.

Chag Kasher V'Sameach,

Batya Medad 

From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2000 23:56:16 EDT
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

<< Does anyone know whether any current agunot have signed a pre-nup,
and whether the pre-nup has been tested in the courts?  >>

One agunah I'm aware of. Left after two weeks, so far waiting 7 months
for the get. don't know if it went to court yet. Grapevine source.


[I also received one email not for publication at this point that
identified a specific woman who had a pre-nup signed between the two
parties, and currently the husband is challanging it in court (here in
the US, I think). See also Chana's posting below. Mod.]

From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 01:14:57 EDT
Subject: Re: "Kosher" Prenup

Efraim Davidson wrote:
<< When I served as m'sader keddushin at a wedding a few years back, as
 part of my preparations for the chuppah I looked into the matter of a
 prenuptual agreement.  I consulted with one of North America's
 pre-eminant halachic authorities and was told that under no
 circumstances should I arrange such an agreement or agree to it's
 inclusion at the wedding.  If the couple wanted one (they did), they
 could arrange it with another Rav, as long as it was not done at the
 scene of the wedding.  The posek made clear that it was a suspect
 procedure, and while it would not prevent a Rav from serving as m'sader
 keddushin, it was not preferable. >>

This is a very surprising story. R' JD Bleich, an eminent Halachist, and
R' M. Willig, a well know R'Y at RIETS, among others, have supported
Pre-Nups. A number of other Rabbonim in the US, including many R'Y at
RIETS have supported, or at least not assured the Pre-Nup.


From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Apr 2000 08:54:30 -0400
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

Efraim Davidson wrote (see above):

Who was this pre-eminent halachic authority? What was his basis for
saying that it was suspect? Suspect of what? Does it invalidate the
kiddushin? If not, what problem is there? How does he square his opinion
with that of such prominent poskim as Rav Willig?
David I. Cohen

[Similar comments from michael horowitz <michaelh1@...> and a
few others. Basically, without any additional information, it is not
possible to further discuss Efraim Davidson's comments above. Efraim, if
you are able to give either a name or a source to a written statement,
please do so. Otherwise, the clear position that has names and sources
applied to it is that as long as the pre-nup is written properly from a
halachic perspective, it can be used. Mod.]

From: Chana Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 20:55:44 +0100
Subject: "Kosher" Prenup

In message <20000418030520.18308.qmail@...>, Michael
Feldstein <MIKE38CT@...> writes
>I'd be curious if anyone has any statistics about whether Honey
>Rackman's theory is true.  Does anyone know whether any current agunot
>have signed a pre-nup, and whether the pre-nup has been tested in the

I don't know anything about the US, but in the UK, a) the London Beis
Din was offering them (I don't know if that means they were requiring
them, but offering them) and b) I know of at least one case where the
husband signed the prenup and then refused to give a get - and in fact
challenged the prenup in the English courts (which is how come I know
about the case).

The English courts held that the prenupt was invalid.  There is old
English law that any prenuptual agreement is void as it is in violation
of public policy (by contemplating the end of a marriage at the
beginning).  Many people have speculated that modern day courts would no
longer follow this law - and there has been a move for (non Jewish)
lawyers and couples towards prenupts (following the pattern in the US,
where I understand that, especially among the wealthy who are entering
second marriages, a prenuptual agreement vis a vis their assets is
common and enforceable).  It would seem from this judgement that, at
least this court, refused to overturn the old law.  However, given that
it was a judgement against all forms of prenupt, and not just one
relating to gitten, it is of limited applicability to the States, given
that more standard forms of prenupt appear valid there.

However, it does disprove the theory that *no* man who would be willing
to sign a prenupt would withold a get from his wife.

BTW Has anybody considered the fact that, under English law, it would
seem that a) if this case is followed, a Ketuba is void on the grounds
of public policy (it contemplates payment on divorce) and b) it would
seem to be illegal on the grounds of penalty (under English law, you
cannot impose in a document a penalty for failure to perform a contract,
you can only impose liquidated damages, which must be a reasonable pre-
estimate of damages suffered.  It it hard to argue that 200 zuz is a
reasonable pre-estimate of damages, given (i) that the figure is
standard from person to person and (ii) the gemorra makes it clear that
it was instituted as a form of penalty, ie to make it difficult for a
man to contemplate divorce.

We generally seem to hold dina d'malchusa dina [the law of the land is
the law] in respect of dine mamonos [monetary matters]- even where there
is a specific takana [rabbinical enactment] (eg regarding the need for
kinyan [form of contracting]).  Ketuba is (mostly) dine mamonos ((except
that a couple are forbidden to live with each other without one - so in
that regard it falls within the category of issur v'heter [forbidden and

Does anybody know of any writings in which such matters are considered?

Chag Kasher v'sameach

PS when I raised this with my husband, his response was, it is a good
thing we were married in Israel and so avoided these problems!
Chana/Heather Luntz


From: Ezra Tepper <tepperel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2000 15:52:05 +0200
Subject: Sheva Brochos under the Chupa

For the first time, I was invited to a wedding in which some of the
Sheva Brochos under the Chupa were recited by female relatives of the
bride.  Also the bride and groom walked down the aisle together. Other
aspects of the ceremony seemed to be standard.

Are these practices mentioned anywhere in our tradition?

Ezra Tepper 


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2000 14:19:52 +0300
Subject: Re: Time Bound Mitzvos

Going over this posting by Shimon Lebowitz in response to one of 
Carl M. Sherer's on Time-Bound Mitvot

>There is also the principle of 'Oseik beMitzva, Patur min haMitzva'. 

I recall being told my the Rav of Shiloh when we had an infant in
hospital and my wife stayed with him, that I need not feel obligated by
Mitzvot as I was in the status of "ones", i.e., "forced by
circumstances".  I could ahead with normal household chores and be
released from many time-bound mitzvot.

Yisrael Medad

From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 12:41:14 +0200
Subject: Time Bound Mitzvos

Shimon Lebowitz writes:
> Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...> wrote:
> > On the other hand, a man who is raising children on his own is still
> > obligated to perform all time-bound commandments. Yes, including
> > davening in a minyan every day.
> There is also the principle of 'Oseik beMitzva, Patur min haMitzva'. It
> seems to me that if watching a dead body is a valid reason to miss
> minyan (I have been told to do so!), al achat kama vechama (all the more
> so!)  watching over and taking care of his small children, who have a
> real need of his attention.

AFAIK ha'osek b'mitzva patur min ha'mitzva (one who is engaged in a
mitzva is exempt from another mitzva) applies only when one is entirely
absorbed in the mitzva he is doing and where there is no other
alternative. (The Gemara in the begining of the third perek of Brachos
talks about different people accompanying a body to the cemetary
breaking off to say Kriyas Shma if the time for saying it would
otherwise pass). I would be very hesitant about relying on caring for
one's children as an exemption from davening with the congregation on a
regular basis without first seeking the views of a competent posek.

Chag Kasher v'Sameyach!

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...> or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Nina Butler <nbutler@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 09:31:12 -0400
Subject: RE: Women and Curriculum

Before we can even open the curriculum discussion, we need to have
TEACHERS equipped to teach that curriculum.  Although males can continue
teaching women, our female students would benefit considerably from
female teacher/role models.  Women need opportunities to learn on the
highest levels... and then be encouraged to consider residential choices
other than New York and Israel!

Nina Butler


End of Volume 32 Issue 13