Volume 35 Number 80
                 Produced: Mon Dec 31 20:25:14 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hair Conditioner and Mikvah
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
         [Saul Savis]
Kaddish by a non avel(mourner)
         [Meir Shinnar]
Kissing Cousins, Yakov and Rochel: Vayishak - Vayashk
         [Avi Rabinowitz]
Yaakov kissing Rochel (4)
         [Wendy Baker, I. Balbin, Gershon Dubin, Hillel (Sabba)
Ya'akov Kissing Rochel
Yakov and Rachel
         [Leona Kroll]


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 19:31:07 +0200
Subject: Re: Hair Conditioner and Mikvah

> From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
> I'm married over 30 years, and I specifically remember learning that
> hair conditioner was not to be used before tvila, because it coats the
> hair.

Recently I discussed this with a senior rabbi, and he said that as the
hair conditioner makes it easier to comb and therefore less likely to
have knots in the hair before Tevilla than maybe it should even be

Of course, we should remember that even 20 years ago there were
discussions on the use of shampoo before Mikvah (specifically we were
warned not to use too much) b/c they could leave a residue.  Nowadays,
regular hair conditioner does not leave a sticky residue.  When the hair
is dry, unless you know that someone uses hair conditioner, you don't
see anything to indicated its use.

On the issue of coating, anything that is permanent or recurrent --
stays.  So, perhaps if you always use hair conditioner, it is like a
woman who always colors her hair (she doesn't remove the color before

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: <davis@...> (Saul Savis)
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 23:57:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Kaddish

Regarding the qaddish discussion that has been going on.

The strict halakha is that only 1 mourner says the qaddish for all the
others.  This 1 person is like a shliax tsibur for the other
mourners. In GGBH ( = 'Munks' of Golders Green, London one of the last
bastions of the Yekess) 1 mourner is indeed chosen and he goes forward
and says it out aloud. GGBH is the only place I have seen/heard this
although I heard a story of a mourner at another shul who committed a
faux pas by saying qaddish at the top of his voice without being invited
to say it!

I could not find the rules of qaddish yathom in the Mishna Berura, maybe
because it is not in Orax Xayim. The Qitsur Shulxan Arukh (section 26)
and the Xochmath Adam (section 127) both have lengthy discussions over
precedence and qaddish without actually stating what the precedence is
about. I assume that the Qitsur and the Xochmath Adam assumed that we
all follow the custom of choosing 1 mourner to say qaddish. Having only
1 person saying qaddish inevitably leads to arguments (which, amongst a
fair minded people, like us Jews, inevitably leads to rules)! The rules
are extensive, eg a regular takes precedence over a guest etc. One
solution - when two or more have equal precedence - is to draw lots!

The Qitsur appeals to our tolerance "yesh beinyan haqadishim cama
xiluqey dinim al-pe haminhagim" (= in the matter of the qaddish there
are different laws according to the customs). Knowing that saying
qaddish is a very sensitive issue he later writes: "if there are many
mourners, God forbid, then it is not good to get into fights and
arguments, in many places it is customary that 2 or 3 can say it
together".  This must be the source of the more widespread,
contemporary custom of everyone saying it together.

I wish I had a Shulxan Arukh (full version) at home to check this up as
I was told many years ago not to rely on the Qitsur as it is a book for
youth and is maxmir ( = strict). I anticipate criticism over this last

Regarding standing up for qaddish. It is common for sefardim to not
stand up specially for qaddish but not to sit down if one is already
standing. This is attitude is mentioned by the Mishna Berura (section
56, note 7) but he says we should be maxmir and stand. In my shul, Eshel
Avraham in Beer-Sheva, we all sit down for all qaddishim except for
those saying it, I like this as I think the more we sit down in shul the
less talking and milling around there is.

Saul Davis


From: <Chidekel@...> (Meir Shinnar)
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 00:29:38 EST
Subject: Kaddish by a non avel(mourner)

When I was gabbai at Princeton (mid 70s) , we had a woman who wanted to
say kaddish. We got a ruling from Rav Pinchas Teitz zt"l that she could
say it if a man also said kaddish at the same time.  If there was no
male avel (mourner), someone who was an orphan, and therefore sometimes
says kaddish, could say it.  If there was no orphan, then a man could
only say kaddish (so the woman could say kaddish) if he got permission
from his parents, and Rav Teitz zt"l added that he would recommend not
giving the permission.  Clearly, there was an issue of disrespect (
possibly also ayin hara?) towards the living parents, although the
precise rationale was not explained.

Meir Shinnar


From: Avi Rabinowitz <avirab@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 22:27:42 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kissing Cousins, Yakov and Rochel: Vayishak - Vayashk

The chumash has many plays on words, and extremely interesting /
insightful sometimes non-PC stories. So whereas I do not think that one
should assume that Yakov did not kiss her, the juxtaposition of words
can be read to give the following interpretation: Vayashk es tzon lovon
= Yakov waterd the sheep, vayishak (exactly the same letters)
 ... rochel. rochel of course also means lamb. so one can read the pasuk
as: Yakov watered the sheep from the well and "watered" rochel with his
tears. (and of course tears, water, wells etc, carry much symbolism)


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 22:48:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Yaakov kissing Rochel

Not being FFB (frum from birth) and not having been educated in
traditional Jewish sources from early childhood I find this distressing.

Of course, it is fine for an elderly man to kiss his 5 -6 year old
cousin, but it does not seem fine to me to have an elderly, or even a
young man "fall in love" and want to marry his 5-6 year old cousin.
There is also the problem of these babies bringing the flocks to the
well to water them.  Rivka supposedly at age 3!! and now Rachel at age
5-6.  I do recognize that childhood was shorter in those days, but
still, these are very young ages.  Is there no room for common sense and
common decency in these analyses?

Wendy Baker

> From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>
> 1) A man in his 70's kissing his 5-6 year old cousin is really no big deal.
> 2) As at that time she was under the age of 12 she was indeed a 'ketana'.
> However 7 years later she was no longer a 'ketana' but Lovon's younger
> daughter - ''hatzeiro'.
> 3) At the age of 5 she was simply too young to get married - and that is why
> Yaakov agreed to wait 7 years, however
> 4) 7 years later - she was of a marriagable age and there was no reason to
> wait any longer.

From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Subject: Yaakov kissing Rochel

> From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>
> Here is something I posted last year on the Areivim list about the same
> topic:

> However, now that we know that Rochel was a still a young child at the
> time of their meeting at the well - everything falls into place
> beautifully...
> 1) A man in his 70's kissing his 5-6 year old cousin is really no big deal.
> 2) As at that time she was under the age of 12 she was indeed a 'ketana'.
> However 7 years later she was no longer a 'ketana' but Lovon's younger
> daughter - ''hatzeiro'.

A few comments.

A) I am unaware of a halachik precedent which relaxes the rules of Ervah for
someone who is seventy or more. There is halachik discussion about an older
woman who is no longer menstruating and who is presumed to have gone to the
mikvah the last time, but I am not aware of age as a factor for males. The
Pasuk in Kedoshim (I think its 18:19) talks about an "Isha B'Nidas Tumoso".
It does not seemingly qualify the male. Furthermore, given that our Avos
were capable of fathering children at ages post 70, the age of 70 or more
would seem to be irrelevant to any male age argument.

B) The criteria used in many circles with respect to young girls and their
obligations in respect to Ervah as far as Chinuch is concerned relates to
MATURITY and UNDERSTANDING, and not to 12 years of age. Clearly, Rachel's
physical and developmental maturity and understanding were such that Ya'acov
considered them advanced enough to want to marry her immediately. Rishonim
argue as to whether Kirvah to Aroyos is a Rabbinic prohibition or
Mideorayso. I think it is a Machlokes between the Rambam and the Ramban.

C) There is no particular leniency for cousins that I am aware of. Achronim
talk about Brothers and Sisters and vary in their approaches to such.

D) One has to consider the nature of the kiss. There are Achronim who
contend (perhaps as a minority view) that an action which is done as a form
of greeting, as opposed to a sign of affection, does not constitute the
prohibition of Kirvah Le-Arayos. What indeed was the nature of the kiss. Was
it a greeting? Was it on the hand? If someone kisses another's foot, what is
that halachikally?

Please note: I am not expressing my own views on this matter or the various
opinions indicating any leaning towards a particular approach. I am
questioning the analysis. Before any analysis takes place, I think it is
important to work out FIRST what the Issur _may_ be, and second whether it
is Rabbinic or from the Torah. From there, one can dissect further if one

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 19:21:36 GMT
Subject: Yaakov kissing Rochel

From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>

> 2. When discussing the marriage deal, Yaakov decribed Rochel to Lovon
> as - "Bit'cho HAKTANO", whilst later when Lovon was trying to explain
> his behaviour, he said - "Lo'seis HATZE'IRO lifnei hab'chiro".  Why the
> different description?

I saw one explanation that Rochel was yefas toar which means tall.
Therefore, while she WAS tze'ira (younger) she was NOT ketana (smaller)
which was Lavan's excue for the trickery.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 16:32:45 -0500
Subject: RE: Yaakov kissing Rochel

>From: Shlomo B Abeles <sba@...>
>Q 3. Why did Yaakov - no youngster by any means - agree to wait 7 years
>before marrying Rochel?  Why not marry first and then work off his 7 years?

Another answer that I heard was that when Yaakov first came he was a
penniless wanderer with no track record.  As a result Lavan (who judged
everyone by himself) did not trust him to stay and work once he had
maried Rachel After he married Leah and had proved that he would keep
his word, Lavan was willing to trust him to work the remaining 7 years.

Additionally, Lavan was afraid that if he turned him down, he would get
up and leave (since he did have a wife).  He was too valuable to take
that chance.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>

From: smeth <smeth@...>
Subject: Ya'akov Kissing Rochel

I saw the following in the Itturei Torah (I forgot in whose name):

Why did Ya'akov cry after kissing Rochel?  Because of all the people in the
future who would misunderstand his actions.


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Dec 2001 00:40:16 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Yakov and Rachel

Thanks to Shlomo for pointing out the (perhaps not so) obvious- Rachel
was quite young, and could not possibly be in nidah at that age, etc,
and she is his cousin, etc.- so according to the plain and simple
meaning of the verse it was certainly not a misdeed.  I also think that
it's important to realize- and this especially comes into play when we
consider the events of Yakov's life- that the avos were operating on an
entirely different level of spirituality (and since it is a Jewish
spirituality, that includes ethics, moral norms, etc., and is not merely
some hippie-dippie notion of feeling spiritual and feeling that you love
G-d, its a grounded spirituality), and so we have to understand that
where the text seems to point towads an error, we have to keep this in
mind and judge mitzad zchut, and I don't think that this alters the
simple meaning of the Torah- since pshat is not always literal, and
according to Chazal there are some pasukim which we are not supposed to
take literally (i.e., Let us make man...)- we shouldn't fall into some
LitCrit trap of insisting that literal and pshat are one and the same.

By way of example- i heard that once by an Aguda convention a Rav
commented that Yitzchak loved Esau for the hunt that was in his mouth-
as the pasuk says- and this means that Yakov loved Esau because he was a
real 'man's man', a hunter, etc., and another rav told him that he had
to go the maret hamachpela with a minyan and ask for Yakov's
forgiveness- because to have taken the verse so literally was to reduce
Yitzchak to a very base human being, and this is not how we look at the
Avos, and he proceeded to explain the verse in a way which is congruent
with the pshat (ie it refers to the 'hunt' in his mouth, a captive
entity which Esau had huntd and swallowed) but also congruent with what
we know Yitzchak Avinu to be, a spiritual being (the rav tiched, al pi
Reb Chaim Vital and the ARizal that the 'hunt' in question is the
neshomot gerim)- i'm saying all this now to suggest that in looking at
the avos, we have to be able to step back from being literalists- the
levels of pshat, remez, etc often work together. we're not protestants.


End of Volume 35 Issue 80