Volume 38 Number 91
                 Produced: Wed Mar 26  4:29:04 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Danny Skaist]
"feminists"--Gemara for women
Kitbag Questions
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Making of a Godol
         [Aharon Kotler]
Modern Orthodox (3)
         [Joel Rich, Emmanuel Ifrah, Jonathan Baker]
Rabbi and Congregration
         [Harlan Braude]
Tircha D'Tsibura (3)
         [Joel Rich, Danny Skaist, Perry Zamek]
Women and Gemara
         [Ben Katz]
Women and Talmud Study
         [Rabbi Y. H. Henkin]


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 12:59:15 +0200
Subject: Divergance

> If anything history illistrates the oposite. Before Hillel and Shamai
> there was no such thing as hallachik dissent! The Sanhedrin decided
> everything. 

By a majority rule.  Why bother to vote if there weren't any different
opinions ?



From: <yitz99@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 12:34:55 +0200
Subject: Re: "feminists"--Gemara for women

> Some of the more famous seforim such as the "Kol Bo" in the
> twelth century are claimed to be written by women. But women
> of such calibre can be counted perhaps on one hand.

Interesting.  Is there a source for this claim?  Similar claims are said
about the scholarship of Rashi's daughters, but I suspect that this
might be akin to urban folklore.


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 13:35:53 +0300
Subject: Kitbag Questions

In Israeli army terminology, there is a concept of a "kitbag
question". It comes from a scenario where the soldiers are told to go on
a run, and one of the soldiers asks the commander if they also need to
bring their kitbags (duffel bags). The commander replies that since he
asked, they should bring the kitbags. It is used to refer to situations
where one brings upon oneself obligations that he would have been able
to avoid had he not asked the question in the first place.

What is the Jewish approach to "kitbag questions"?

a) In general, is one required to ask questions that he thinks someone
would want asked but didn't mention them? For example, if I borrow
something from someone, and they don't make a certain condition, am I
required to ask if a condition that I think of should also apply? If I
don't, is it considered lying? What if a parent asks a child to do a
task for them - is the child required to ask for additional requests
that the parent didn't suggest (but might also want)? I'm sure there are
many other possible examples.

b) Is there such a concept as a halachic "kitbag question"? Is one
required to ask his rabbi if he should act in a certain way, even if
there is no previous statement in halacha or by that rabbi that requires
it? With the general leanings towards humrot today, should one be
concerned about asking these types of questions? Here are a few examples
(I'm not interested in the actual examples, they're just questions that
I assume if asked, many rabbis would say, "Why not? It can't hurt",
thereby bringing additional restrictions on the asker): Should I buy
food in a supermarket that sells only kosher products or can I go to a
store that sells both kosher and not-kosher food? Should I spend one
hour a day visiting people in the hospital, even ones that I don't know?
Should I spend all of the holidays in Yerushalayim?

Anyone seen any reference to these types of questions?

David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Aharon Kotler <pro_musar@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 05:02:18 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Making of a Godol

> After my last post on this topic I got about 30 e-mails from people
> asking me to buy my copy of the book. I am not selling it. Although I am
> thinking about putting some of the more interesting parts of the book on
> the web for free. This will effectively nullify the ban.

Well, it seems that I have become witness to the realization of "Tzadik
gozer--v'HKB"H meqayem(!);" as I have just performed a search on Kazaa's
search engine - and lo and behold - I successfully downloaded a PDF
document with EXTENSIVE sections of Making of a Godol. The name of the
document is Making of a Godol and the file contains the following
keywords to plug into the search engine: Godol, Gadol, Harav Yaakov
Kamenetsky, Aharon Kotler, Volozhin, Brisk, Hayim Soloveitchik, secular,
studies, herem, cherem, book (along with the same keywords in Hebrew and
the author's name with Yiddish spelling).

In addition, the following description appears in the document's details:

"These are portions of the book put into herem (condemned ) by Harav
Elyashiv, shlit"a and can no longer be purchased. These sections are
being disseminated for those interested in reading this important book
and cannot get a copy."


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 07:16:38 EST
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodox

<< Surprisingly, the place we seemed to be furthest apart (and though I
 write about this in the charedi/MO sense, perhaps it is fair to say
 that this is really where the two of us were furthest apart) was in the
 understanding of a woman's role in Jewish society. The charedi world
 sees the essentially non-academic role of the European bubbie as an
 ideal. The modern orthodox world does not. For the charedi that permits
 women's academic Torah study (of any kind), it is mostly a compromise
 with the reality of the modern world. The charedi world sees the loss
 of the non-academic example as a real and important loss. The MO world
 sees the introduction of academics for women as a positive
 development. It is essentially the spreading of Torah to one more part
 of the world. It is progress. >>

As a charedi M.O. (ie I like to humor myself into believing that I shake
at the word of HKB"H) I think we have far more in common than sets us
apart and I agree there are many shades within both camps.  One thing
I'd like to better understand is why the objection above to academics
but no objection to (and maybe my premise here is wrong) a wholesale
movement of women into the workforce to support kollel learning(this is
not meant to be derogatory, just to understand)

Joel Rich

From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 06:03:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Modern Orthodox

> M.O. is more than just religious Zionism.

Let's not forget that the founding father of Modern Orthodoxy (or
Neo-Orthodoxy), R. Samson Raphael Hirsch, was a staunch opponent of
Zionism.  On the other hand, members of the "traditional" orthodox camp
at the same time were in favor of Zionism.

This leads to the conclusion that the present state of MO -- in the US
at least -- as being a zionist camp, is unrelated to the essence of the
Neo-Orthodoxy.  Let's try to forget labels and just try to be good Jews
for starters: to much time wasted on these issues.

As Solomon Schechter noted, the fact of dedicating such importance to
the study of one's identity, rather than to the affirmation of this
identity in action, is usually a sign the identity is already lost.
U-shma' ha-emet mi-mi she'amarah.

Emmanuel Ifrah (Paris, France)

From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 08:52:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Modern Orthodox

R' Norman Lamm:  Some Comments on Centrist Orthodoxy

EDAH's vision statement: <http://www.edah.org/vision.cfm>

Lehavdil, my own dinner speech on Modern Orthodoxy, based on R' Avi
Weiss' article "Open Orthodoxy" in JUDAISM:

As others have said in this thread, and having been to the recent EDAH
conference, I would add the idea of rabbinic judicial independence to R'
Weiss' four emphases.


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 08:16:18 -0500
Subject: RE: Rabbi and Congregration

In V38#88, Avi Feldblum wrote:
> davening. At one point, one of the congregants told the Rabbi's wife: it's
> not that we don't understand what your husband is saying to us, but that
> we don't care. That is a very unfortunate place for a Rabbi to be.

That a congregant would say such a thing in a public forum (I'm making
an assumption about this incident, since it was apparently overheard by
other people) is unspeakable.

However, if, hypothetically speaking, that congregant accurately
described the feeling of the majority of the congregants, then one could
say that it is also an unfortunate place for a congregation to be.

A Rabbi, like any other leader or teacher, needs feedback from the
congregation to gauge the effectiveness of his efforts. Even a Rabbi
with a gift of exceptional insight into the needs of his congregation
can't operate in a vacuum.

Of course, there are appropriate as well as inappropriate ways of
providing this feedback.

I remember hearing Rabbi Berel Wein say on one of his Jewish History
tapes that a congregation gets the Rabbi it deserves and a Rabbi gets
the congregation he deserves. I thought that was pretty deep, if not a
little spooky. :-)


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 07:21:39 EST
Subject: Re: Tircha D'Tsibura

<< I suggest that the importance of 'kavod hatorah' takes precedence over
 the aversion to 'tircha d`Tsibura'.

The concept of 'kavod hatorah' is covered in mesechta m`gillah. Ayen Sham. >>

Bli neder I'll do some research but as a starting point kavod hatzibbur
is stated in the gemora as the reason we don't roll 1 torah when there
are 2 separate readings on the same shabbat - and rashi specifically(see
yoma 70a) states the reason that the tzibbur shouldn't have to stand
around quietly and wait!

KT Joel Rich

From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 13:09:50 +0200
Subject: Tircha D'Tsibura

<<I suggest that the importance of 'kavod hatorah' takes precedence over
the aversion to 'tircha d`Tsibura'. >>

The shulchan orech places "tircha d'tsibura" as more important than
"kavod ha'torah".  We leave the sefer torah uncovered (when there are no
me'shebaruchs) between aliyot, to avoid the delay of uncovering it.


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 15:13:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Tircha D'Tsibura

Carl Singer wrote:
>I wanted to introduce perhaps a different perspective on Tircha
>D'tzibura -- that is deviation from the expected.
>I believe that when there is a change from this (our?)  "expected norm"
>that we have the possibility of Tircha D'tzibura -- and it's not always
>longer -- if you're used to a melodic, well-paced Mussaf and the ba'al
>Mussaf is "machine-gun Cohen" that's no less a Tircha than the chazen
>who goes 30 minutes beyond your (fondest) expectations while introducing
>you to variations from Rigiletto.

Carl raises an interesting point, in that "faster" is also "tircha" (in
the sense of "imposition"). However, there must be a distinction between
that which is felt by the individual as "tircha" ("Machine-gun Cohen
davens too fast" -- "No, I get more shabbat shluf this way") and that
which is an "imposition" on the whole congregation. On the other hand,
these often overlap. Where is the line?

Carl's definition, however, can explain the reason why rolling a sefer
torah back or forward unnecessarily (say on Parshat Shekalim)
constitutes tircha, when the extra hagbahah and gelilah do not -- we
have an expectation that two separate readings have their own sefer
torah. Rolling clashes with that expectaiton, hence it is "tircha."

Is it "tircha", however, if the whole congregation chooses to act
differently from the norm, albeit within the confines of halacha? And if
the shule only has one sefer torah, does the issue of "tircha"

Just some points to ponder.

Perry Zamek


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 07:51:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Women and Gemara

>Gender discrimination in Judaism is not based on feminine
>sub-intelligence, but on a division of responsibility which has
>maintained Judaism extremely well over the last two thousand years.

         This is not completely accurate.  While not necessarily
representing a majority opinion (similar to the out of context and
oft-quoted "tov shebagoyim harog") there are comments in chazal to the
tune of "nashim datotayhen kalot".  Again, whether this is a function of
lack of education and sophistication in times past (a la Rav Kook) or
some more inherent difference is debatable.


From: Rabbi Y. H. Henkin <henkin@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 19:15:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Women and Talmud Study

See chapter one, Women and Talmud Study, in my "Responsa on Contemporary
Jewish Women's Issues" (Ktav, 2003). This is a complete translation of Resp.
Bnei Banim, vol. 3 no. 12.
    With Torah blessings,
    Rabbi Y. Henkin


End of Volume 38 Issue 91