Volume 32 Number 16
                 Produced: Mon May  1  6:54:24 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Corporal punishment (2)
         [David Herskovic, David Herskovic]
Curriculum and Syllabii
         [Esther Zar]
Halachically Approved Prenuptial Agreements
         [Rabbi Howard Jachter]
Kitniyot - Bateil Berov
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
"Kosher" prenups (2)
         [Isaac A Zlochower, Jeanette Friedman]
Spanking Children
         [David Riceman]
Why Do we Keep on Ignoring Chaiims Question on Drugs and Yeshiva
         [Russell Hendel]
Women at Funerals
         [Freda B Birnbaum]


From: David Herskovic <crucible@...>
Subject: Corporal punishment

It is very unfortunate that in their zeal to uphold tradition some
groups cannot differentiate between traditional education and
traditional educational methods.

While one can argue on the merits of an almost exclusive religious
curriculum, traditional educational methods have little to recommend for
themselves. Corporal punishment is only one part of it albeit a very
important one. Seating tiny kids for hours in front of a rebe, making
them chant chimush that they hardly comprehend, relatively little
interaction and all the other methods that are still being used in
chadorim can hardly be described as up to date. Unfortunately, this will
continue so long that melamdim are not professionally trained and are
chosen without a proper selection procedure. People must realise that
melimdus is not a parnose but a skill.

And the problem runs deeper, to the whole attitude to children. While
striving to maintain the traditional respect of the young to their
elders the basic humanity of the child is often forgotten. That a child
too is able to hold an opinion worthy of consideration; is worthy to be
spoken _to_ in an inteligent manner and not spoken _at_ in a patronising
moronic way at best or constantly snapped at or shouted at at worst;
that a child is hurt by being frightened, teased, and pinched and all
the other things that some adults think children _must_ like. Is the
only way to get a child to do something to tell him 'vest khapn tsvay

If only the yeshivos that spend so much time on mussar, hashkofe and
lomdus would allocate some of the time to parenting and bringing up
children there could be hope for future generations.

If I can cite one small example of something that points to what
children are thought of. I have two young boys and a baby girl and we
have a collection of cassettes and cd's to entertain them, some
Jewish/chareidi, others non-jewish fairy tales and nursery rhymes etc.

Both are for a similar age group. So why is it that almost without
exception the English recordings all narrate or dramatise their stories
in an intelligent manner with clear diction and a suitabale vocabulary
while too many of the Jewish ones seem to think that unless you shout
and sound semi retarted the children will not grasp?

Dovid Herskovic

From: David Herskovic <crucible@...>
Subject: Corporal punishment

See Igroys Moyshe vol 8 Yoyre Deye simon 30, heading 4

He believes that a teacher is permitted to hit a child only with an
instrument that is incapable of injuring when used forcefully; he may
never give a severe beating with anything and he may only hit for the
child's failing to learn or obstructing others to learn but not for bad
habits or traits.

The simon immediately after the above deals with the obligations of
melamdim to be punctual and to give a sound education. If only those who
advocate corporal punishment were as passionate about the latter simon
as they are about the former.

Dovid Herskovic


From: Esther Zar <ESTABESTAH@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 02:26:38 EDT
Subject: Re: Curriculum and Syllabii

<< The question becomes however, how do we BEST implement the above goals
 suggested by Alexis. Or, to use an operational term, what CURRICULUM and
 SYLLABII (for K-12) will help the community best implement the above
 goals for women. Will teaching them Gmarrah help or hurt? Should we
 emphasize Tnach? Which parts of the Shuchan Aruch (code of Jewish law
 are best) >>

I don't think that this should suddenly be a matter that is put into our
own hands. There are a tremendous amount of tshuvot written on "kol
hamelemad et bito Torah ke'iloo melamda tiflut ( said by Rebi Eliezer
ben Horkonos) (One who teaches his daughter Torah, is as if he taught
her forbidden matters).This was accepted upon by his generation,
chochmei Yavneh and was nikva as Halacha by poskim including the Rambam
and Mechaber. (Why this was done is a whole diff't story - some say due
to her limitations in comprehension (see torah temima, devarim 11:48),
and others say that it will "corrupt" her innocent manner of
thought). Now what Torah is classified here as in terms of material -
the ikar issur is on Torah Sheba'al Peh (see Rambam hilchot Talmud Torah
1:13) (Oral Torah).  In terms of intensity - is on limud iyooni
(excluding things that she must learn in order to perform mitzvot that
apply to her - see sefer hamitzvot hakatan, hakdama;). Lastly, this
issur is on one who is melamed the girl, not on the girl learning
herself.  (All of this is discussed in Haishah Vehamitzvot by R'
Ellenson pp 142-165).  (Also look in Bavli, BB 119:2; Tosefta Kelim BK
perek 4 for where they show such examples of exceptional women who were
bekiot through their own efforts).  In our times, many poskim have ruled
a little more "leniently" in this matter but only due to the bedieved
times we are living in: As the Moznaim Lemishpat puts it (1:42)- not
like the days of old are today's times....due to our many sins... we are
forced to teach girls Torah so that she will know the proper path to
take..and we also find this in Chizkiyahu's time- since the Torah was at
risk.... Not only is it permitted to teach...but it is a chiyuv
gamur...(there are notes on this though that explain this only applies
to those sections of Torah Sheba'al peh that apply to her service of
G-D). Reb Moshe (Igrot Moshe, Yoreh De'ah 3:8) says that "in the beit
yaacovs the teachers want to teach the girls mishnayot. Rambam was
pasink like rebi Eliezer that you can't since mishnayot are torah
shebaal peh. only pirkei avot you cant teach them since it awakens them
to love for Torah and good midot, but not the rest of the masechtot". R'
Hirsch says (siddur, biur lekriat shma on the words "ulemadetem et
bneichem") those parts of Torah that bring one to stronger faith should
be learned by girls since both sexes are obligated in such matters".
Lastly the Chofetz Chaim (likutei halachot, sota 21) says that it used
to be that we could depend on our fathers for answers to whatever we
needed, however since nowadays they have weakened...it is imperative
that girls learn tanach and mussarey chazal especially those that learn
secular subjects in order to counter that knowledge.  So I ask you why
gemara would help women in any when it is clear that the mainstream
poskim differ? feminist shememinist, it won't get her anywhere.  So the
syllabus and it's limitations has been clearly outlined by our


From: Rabbi Howard Jachter <Hmjachter@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Apr 2000 19:09:55 EDT
Subject: Halachically Approved Prenuptial Agreements

To Whom it May Concern:

    I, the undersigned, serve as a dayan (rabbinic judge) on the Beth
Din of Elizabeth (affiliated with the Jewish Educational Center of
Elizabeth) and the Beth Din of America (affiliated with the Rabbinical
Council of America and the Orthodox Union).  I have been a mesader get
(Get adminisrator) since 1993 and have administered more than six
hundred gittin (Jewish divorces).

    I have attached an essay that I have written on the topic of
halachically approved prenuptial agreements that will be included in my
forthcoming book (co-authored with Ezra Frazer) to be entitled "Shades
of Gray - Issues in Contemporary Halacha". The forms can be obtained at
<www.orthodoxcaucus.org>. [The form is at:
http://www.orthodoxcaucus.org/prenup/prenupform.htm, see also
http://www.orthodoxcaucus.org/prenup/ for an outline (and most, if not
all the text) of a book on the topic offered by the Orthodox
Caucus. Mod.] It is a separate document from the kesuba. In short, Rav
Morechai Willig of Yeshiva University formulated a prenuptial with the
guidance and written approval of Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg and Rav
Chaim Zimbalist of the Beit Din Hagadol in Jerusalem with the aim of
ameliorating the Aguna problem.  The form has obtained the written
approval of Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav Yitzchak Isaac Liebes zt"l (author of
Teshuv ot Beit Avi who served as the Av Beth Din of the rabbinic court
of the Rabbinical Alliance of America), Rav Gedalia Schwartz (Av Beth
Din of the Beth Din of America), and Rav Hershel Schachter (Rosh Kollel
of Yeshiva University).  The Orhodox Caucus recently conducted a study
regarding the use of the prenuptial and found that more than half of the
rabbis who are members of the Rabbinical Council of America use this
document.  Most often this document is signed before the wedding which
explains why Mr. Meth has not seen one at the weddings in which he
officiates.  In my practice as a dayan I have seen numerous cases in
which an aguna problem was avoided or solved because the couple signed
this agreement.  My wife and I signed this agreement at our
wedding. Almost all of my rabbinic and lay friends have signed this
agreement for their own marriages.  Feel free to contact me if one has
questions about this agreement.

Rabbi Howard Jachter


From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 18:12:28 +0300
Subject: Kitniyot - Bateil Berov

A prominent Ashkenazic and Dati-Leumi Poseik in Jerusalem permits the
use of chocolates made with kitniyot on Pesach, on the basis of the fact
that it is Batel BeRov (the kitniyot are "cancelled out" by the majority
of non-kitniyot ingredients). I don't know whether he insists that the
chocolate be bought before Pesach, but it seems unlikely, as only
Chametz is not Batel BeRov during Pesach. This Poseik not only rules
that way, but practices what he preaches, and eats such chocolates on

Incidentally, using this logic, the number of products that would be
available in Israel for Askenazim on Pesach would jump geometrically
(jams, flavored yoghurts, cheeses, etc.).

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 12:18:18 -0400
Subject: "Kosher" prenups

Chana mentioned a case in England where the husband refused to honor a
prenuptual agreement and successfully challenged its validity in an
English court.  I assume that the prenup contract was under the auspices
of a community Beth Din.  In which case, could they not have formulated
the agreement in such way as to make it legally binding?  If not, then
the Jewish community must fully exercise its legal options through the
appeals process - going to the House of Lords, if necessary.  We do not
need the secular courts to enforce the traditional Ketuba which is part
of the religious wedding ceremony - it seems to be a toothless document
in any case, they should not, however, be in a position to overturn a
partnership agreement made between a man and a woman prior to their
marriage.  In any case, the fact that the husband elected to have a
secular court overrule an established Beth Din should be grounds to
issue a formal excommunication of the miscreant.  Since the UK has a
formal community structure, such action, I would think, would result in
serious social and economic consequences for the husband - if he still
wishes to maintain his connections with the Jewish community.

Yitzchok Zlochower

From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 10:24:12 EDT
Subject: Re: "Kosher" prenups

<< R' Y. Perr, as is his custom, very quietly had both chosson & kallah
sign a brief document agreeing to go to Beis Din , if necessary . . .
No one else saw these transactions. >>

R. Yechiel Perr, R. Avi Weiss, the OU, the RCA, and hosts of other
Orthodox rabbis are requiring this as a mode of protecting women. I am
quite sure that R. Menashe Klein, the Bobover, the Dinever, the Munkacer
and many other especially in the Chassidish world don't. But eventually,
they will have to in order to take care of their own daughters.

Jeanette Friedman


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 1956 00:50:07 +0000
Subject: Spanking Children

Deborah Wenger asked:

<<Has anyone out there ever heard anyone say "Thank goodness my rebbe
hit me when I was younger; it really set me straight" or anything to
that effect? To the contrary, if anything, such experiences seem to have
had just about a universally negative effect, >>

I heard one such story from a hospital chaplain in Toronto, who quoted
one of gedolei Toronto (alas, I don't remember his name).  I imagine, by
the way, that the original conversation was in Yiddish, so all
quotations are from when I heard the story secondhand.

This rabbi, as a child, lived with his grandfather and they used to stay
up all night every Thursday and learn in the Beith Midrash.  One
Thursday night he played hookey and slept, and his grandfather "whipped
him within an inch of his life."  My friend the hospital chaplain said:
"that must have been pretty traumatic."  The Rabbi replied:"No, no! It
was the best thing that ever happened to me!"

Autres temps ...

David Riceman


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 2000 23:31:41 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Why Do we Keep on Ignoring Chaiims Question on Drugs and Yeshiva

Chaiim Shapiro in v31n92 writes
> I also know of boys, who received their Rosh Yeshiva's highest accolades
> and praise, when the boys, in fact, were not virgins, and had been
> involved in the drug world for over a decade!

in fact Chaim keeps on asking this (and is ignored).

So let me ask: What **is** being done about drugs in the Yeshiva world?
How widespread is it? I concede to David Zwillenberg that the situation
is complex but there are still known concepts that can significantly
ameliorate such situations(eg education, other outlets, etc) Are they
being applied? And if not why not?

We have been discussing Aliyah, collect calls and invisibility for quite
a while. I would think that Yeshiva drugs are equally important.

Russell Jay Hendel; phd asa <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple

[If you are a parent of a child/teen who is "on the fringe / in risk"
and would be interested in joining a mailing list set up for such
parents, please contact me at <feldblum@...> In association
with MASK (Mothers Aligned Saving Kids), we have set up a moderated list
to give parents a place to obtain mutual chizuk. Avi Feldblum, your Mod.]


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 08:16:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women at Funerals

As you can probably tell by now, I'm very angry about some of the stuff
that's been posted here about women at funerals.  Obviously I do not
come from the kind of world where excluding women from funerals is the
norm.  Obviously others do.  I'm happy to stay in my world and let you
stay in yours, although frankly I would like to see some change in

However, in reflecting on this subject, I ask myself, why?  What was
considered so important about keeping men and women apart at funerals,
to the point where women are even excluded?  We would think, women bear
children, women do taharas; surely it can't be to shelter them from the
realities of life.  They're at least as in touch with many of those as
men.  After all, we hope that many more women will experience the pains
of childbirth than men experience the pains of war.

However, leaving the angel-of-death stuff aside, it is clear that at
funerals people may be at their most vulnerable, need more comfort and
support, etc. It is possible that the feeling that it is inappropriate
for the sexes to mingle at a funeral may be rooted in a fear that the
increased neediness people feel at funerals may lead to inappropriate
expressions of intimacy.

However, I would submit that it is cruel to insist on the
interpretations which exclude women, and an especial cruelty to deny
women the right to be at funerals when the service is at the graveside

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


End of Volume 32 Issue 16