Volume 37 Number 23
                 Produced: Tue Oct  1  5:50:24 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Leah S. Gordon]
Flipping Switch
         [Carl Singer]
Genderized Eiruv
         [Chaim Mateh]
"Males Only" -- and segregation
Men vs women (Boro park)
         [Akiva Miller]
Norman Lamm's hesped for the Rav
         [Robin Cohen]
Seating and Muslims
         [Akiva Miller]
"Seating for men only" sign
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov (2)
         [Wieder, Maurice, David Charlap]


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 19:21:49 -0700
Subject: Childcare/Eruv/Shabbat

> not carry within an eruv, one can be lenient as far as women are
> concerned because not carrying on shabbat forces them to stay secluded
> at home during the whole shabbat with their infants. Men who are
> obviously not in the same position should be stringent and not carry in

I question the phrase "Men who are obviously not in the same position"
as well as the phrase "forces them [women] ... the whole shabbat with
their infants".  Both of these phrases presuppose that the father is not
an active parent.  Surely, we do not want this to be the case or think
that it is.

In my own experience, even for very young nurseling babies, the mommy
goes, if not to shul, then at least for a walk, while the daddy manages
for a couple of hours.  Furthermore, for the most needy babies, just a
mommy may not be enough, especially if she is going stir-crazy...so
daddy sticks around much of the time too.

Certainly, at the least it is an overly broad generalization; at the
most it is a pretty offensive anti-father statement.

--Leah Gordon


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 15:48:09 EDT
Subject: Flipping Switch

      Is it halachically acceptable to open or close a switch when there
      is no spark, and no measurable current passes, and what's gained
      is a return to a quiet sabbath or yom tov?  I'm guessing that this
      would be okay.  If so, which is the best choice?  Covering the TV?
      Knocking off the antenna (when that's trivially easy)?  Or is this
      a case where I have to leave the room until after yom tov?

Brings to mind another related question -- are there issues of muktzah
in these cases -- presuming the object has no useful purpose on Shabbos.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 16:31:40 +0200
Subject: Genderized Eiruv

I had written:  
<<Hilchoss Eiruvin apply to women just like they do to men. However, there
are families (that I know personally) wherein the Eiruv is Hallachically
OK, but the men of the family are machmir on themselves and don't use it.>>

To which, in v37 #19,  Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> replied:: 

<<While Chaim is undoubtedly correct in that there are families like that,
I think that what he meant to say, in describing that reality, .... was
that there are certain men who will not deign themselves to do certain
physical labors like pushing baby carriages or carrying pots of hot food
from one apartment to another and so on that are better left to women to do.>>

That is absolutely NOT what I meant.  I meant _exactly_ what I wrote,
and that is that in some families, the men want to be machmir on
themselves while not imposing those chumros on their wives.  I actually
find this quite laudable.  Were I one of those men/families, I would
have taken Yisrael Medad's remarks (that attach negative ulterior
motives to being machmir but not imposing chumros on others) quite

<<Or am I being too machmir?>>

No.  Perhaps too intolerant?

<<and this should not be construed as applicable to Chaim himself>>

Just for the record, I rely on the eiruv in Rechovot.  And my wife is
not machmir either.

Kol Tuv,
Visit Beit Chatam's website at:


From: Chihal <chihal@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 13:51:25 -0500
Subject: "Males Only" -- and segregation

Shalom All:

	I am sorrowfully puzzled by something written by Chaim Mateh
regarding the restaurant which allowed only men to sit and eat, but not
women. I know Chaim was not saying women are second class citizens: he
was just presenting the restaurant owner's point of view. My problem is
with *how* he presented that view.
	Shayna Kravetz noted that <<This means that a man cannot take
his family out to eat there.>> Chaim replied <<Correct.  It seems that
the majority of the patrons of that store, who come from that community,
want it that way.>> When Shayna said << It means that a mother and
daughter who wish to eat a meal together or two female friends who wish
to spend some time together are not welcome in such an establishment.>>
Chaim replied <<They are welcome to buy but not to sit and eat.  You got
it right.  As I wrote above, that's the norm in that neighborhood.
Should they compromise their religious principles because some people
don't agree with them?>>
	How does this differ from what American segregationists say
about blacks? Segregationists also say, "We want it this way. This is
our communal norm in the South (or even in the North prior to, say, the
mid-1950s)." And yes, many segregationists base their views in religion,
even on warped interpretations of the Torah.
	Lest we forget, not so long ago Jews were also excluded from
jobs, housing etc. because it was "the communal norm."
	Since the Torah and even Chazal (our rabbis, of blessed memory)
do not say women are forbidden from eating in the same room as men, how
can anyone say the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) restaurant and its customers
are acting according to halacha?
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 21:44:58 -0400
Subject: re: Men vs women (Boro park)

Regarding carrying in an Eruv, Emmanuel Ifrah writes: <<< ... one can be
lenient as far as women are concerned because not carrying on shabbat
forces them to stay secluded at home during the whole shabbat with their
infants. Men who are obviously not in the same position should be
stringent and not carry in the eruv... >>>

It may be <<< obvious >>> to you, but it is not obvious to me.

The only ones "forced to stay secluded at home for the whole Shabbat"
are the infants themselves, and single parents of either sex. Where both
parents are available, why can't the father stay home with the baby
while the mother goes out? Unless this intereferes with the father's
shul (or other) obligations, I don't see the problem.

Akiva Miller


From: Robin Cohen <robin@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 10:03:32 +0100
Subject: Norman Lamm's hesped for the Rav

Could someone please point me to where I can get hold of a transcript of
Norman Lamm's hesped for the Rav.

Ariel Cohen


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 22:08:26 -0400
Subject: re: Seating and Muslims

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi wrote:

<<< IMHO we are obligated to raise a similar question regarding the
restaurant in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood that excluded women as
sitting patrons.  Do those men really feel that just looking or
listening to women talk will set off base urges? Lead them to sin? If
they truly feel that way, what is the difference between them and
Muslims who force women into chadors and bourkas when the women leave
their homes? >>>

You could take the same question further, and ask regarding the
synagogues that exclude women from the men's section. Do those men
really feel that looking at women will set off base urges or lead them
to sin?

Or ask about the Jews who force women to cover their arms and thighs --
and even their hair! Do those men really feel that looking at a woman's
arm or bangs will set off base urges or lead them to sin?

"What is the difference between them and Muslims?" I'll tell you. The
difference is very simple: It's just a matter of degree. Some go further
than others.

I'm not saying who's right and who's wrong. I'm not saying how far is
too far, and how far is not far enough. I'm just pointing out that the
difference is only one of degree.

He continued: <<< Remember, those Muslims are also driven by what they
honestly believe is piety, but the rest of the world -- including
mainstream observant Muslims and the great majority of Jews -- deems the
Taliban and Saudi take on women repulsive. >>>

Be careful not to generalize. Their "take on women" has various aspects.
Some might be less objectionable than others. I agree that, as you
suggest, some of what they do might *not* be based on piety, but on more
objectionable motives. If you can separate all this into several
details, then you can make some progress. For example, what their women
are allowed to *do*, as opposed to how they're required to *dress*. Some
of their "take on women" may be repulsive, but not necessarily all of
it.  Gotta be more specific.

Akiva Miller


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 22:15:32 +0200
Subject: Re: "Seating for men only" sign

In reading this exchange:

> << It is embarrassing that an Orthodox Jewish establishment would
> completely exclude women.>>
> To the secular Jew, the entire issue of separation, including in Shul 
> etc, is embarrassing.  Does that mean that separation is wrong? 

> <<This means that a man cannot take his family out to eat there.>>
> Correct.  It seems that the majority of the patrons of that store, who
> come from that community, want it that way.

I was reminded of discussions I have every year, when I take my annual
few days of hotel vacation with my family.  I always seem to get into
conversations with some non-observant co-worker, something along these

He: So, Shimon, where will you be for your vacation?
Me: At hotel <such-and-such>.
He: Oh? why do you go there?
Me: It is a religious hotel, the food is glatt kosher, the pool 
       has only seperate swimming... etc.
He: *WHAT*??? You mean you can't go swimming 
        with your wife??? 

So, I side with Chaim. While the rules of that establishment (at least,
before the sign apparently was recently removed) are not mine, I think I
can understand their motives.

Moadim lesimcha,
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://shimonl.findhere.org/PGP/


From: Wieder, Maurice <maurice@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 08:41:32 -0400
Subject: RE: Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov

I live in a suburb of NYC and many members of our community commute using
the LIRR.  Our LOR (about 35 years ago) ruled that if one were stuck in the
system and Shabbat was approaching that they may board a train and even
change trains to arrive at their destination after Shabbat.  Subsequent
rabbis in the community have reaffirmed this ruling; each had slightly
different views on what to do with your briefcase, wallet, etc.

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 23:44:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov

Anonymous wrote:
> Afterwards, I discovered that not only had one train been cancelled, but
> that the next 3-4 trains had also been cancelled. My friend was left in
> a situation where he would either have to find food, lodging, and a shul
> at the very last minute, or violate Shabbat & Rosh Hashanah. After
> speaking with somebody who he trusted, he was informed that as long as
> he boarded the train and paid his fare before Shabbat, he might be able
> to rely on a kulah (halachic leniency). This is what he did, and when he
> arrived, he walked from the station.
> I'm curious to hear what the possibilities are for a situation like
> this. What kulah (if any) was he relying upon? What are the different
> halachot which apply?

I'm no expert here, but this sounds like something similar to the 
"shabbos elevator" concept.

Use of a shabbos elevator is permitted for those who have a need because
the rider is not causing any work to be done.  The elevator goes where
it goes whether or not somebody is riding in it.

This sounds similar.  A train is going to travel to its scheduled
destination whether or not there are Jews aboard.  It's possible that a
lack of passengers might cause the trip to be cancelled, but nothing is
going to make it leave ahead of schedule.

So as long as the ticket is pre-paid (so business transactions won't be 
performed) and you're seated (so you don't cause the train to be 
delayed) and the conductor has already punched your ticket (so you don't 
cause him to do work on shabbat), then I don't see how simply sitting on 
the train will cause any melacha to be performed.  The arguments against 
using vehicles like bicycles and cars don't apply because you're not in 
any way in control of the train's operation and you would not in any way 
be involved with the repairs if it should break down.

But I'm no rabbi here.  I could be wrong.

-- David


End of Volume 37 Issue 23