Volume 39 Number 30
                 Produced: Thu May 15  6:51:55 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adam and Chava's wedding
         [Reuben Rudman]
Pants and skirts
         [Leah Aharoni]
Pants or Skirts?
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Size of Kezayis, Candles, Danger
         [Akiva Miller]
When wearing pants is obligatory and meritorious (3)
         [Yehuda Landy, Russell J Hendel, Janet Rosenbaum]
Why pants are immodest
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 07:06:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Adam and Chava's wedding

In spite of peoples opinions regarding the "wedding" of Adam and Chava
(see Mail Jewish Vol. 29, #4), the fact remains that it is discussed in
several places in the Midrash and referred to in at least one place in
the Talmud.  In Midrash Braishit Rabbah in Part 8, Chapter 13, we find
the following: Rabbi Abahu said, the Holy One Blessed Be He took a cup
[of wine, as used in the wedding ceremony] and blessed them.  Rabbi
Yehuda Bar Simon said, [the angels] Michael and Gavriel were the
attendants (shushbinav, meaning those who assist the groom at his
wedding) of Adam HaRishon.  In Part 18, Chapter 1, we are told that the
Holy One Blessed Be He dressed Chava in the manner of a bride and
brought her to Adam (many details are given).  In Midrash VaYikra Rabbah
(Part 20, Chapter 2) and in Kohelet Rabbah (Part 8, Chapter 2) we are
told that He prepared the bridal canopies (chupot) for them in Gan Eden.
Some say there were 13, while others have different numbers, all of
which are based on the interpretation of verses in the Tanach.
Reference is also found in the Talmud, Shabbat 95a (near the top of the
page), again based on verses in Tanach.  It should be clear then that
the subject of the wedding of Adam and Chava was a subject which Chazal
considered, expounded on, and used as a (Midrashic) source for
procedures we use even today in our wedding ceremonies.

Reuben Rudman


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 21:10:15 +0200
Subject: Pants and skirts

1. Rambam in Mishne Torah makes numerous references to women's pants. If
I am not mistaken, it is clear from the context that he is talking about

2. Rav Ovadiya Yosef specifically ruled that "tzanua" pants are
preferable to mini skirts (as a provisional measure for women who refuse
to wear longer skirts).

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian Translator
Telefax 972-2-9971146, Mobile 972-56-852571
Email <leah25@...>


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 14:21:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Pants or Skirts?

Anonymous writes:
> Unfortunately, the only skirts she seems to own end at least six inches
> above the knee. This past Pesach my teenaged yeshiva student son asked
> me to please request of her that she wear pants instead!

This is the time to ask if she'd like a just-past-the-knee skirt that
you realized was the wrong size after you bought it on clearance.  Kmart
and Target have some nice ones for ~$10.

> I know this is an old line "pants are more tzanua than some skirts", but
> I think it is really true, halacha lemaaseh!

This is in fact the opinion of Rav Ovadia.  He then goes on to use some
very strong language against pants.

Btw, the Avnei Tzedek(?)'s language in 19th c Hungary about the modest
women who would wear pants to protect against cold contrasts drastically
with Rav Ovadia's, and for that matter many other contemporary poskim.

I imagine that opinions about pants may have evolved differently if
pants, particularly those common to Israel, were generally looser.  (As
my visiting friend remarked about the chayallot's dress uniforms,
"They're just like the women on Star Trek --- attractive but impractical
uniforms, and no guns!")



From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 09:11:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Size of Kezayis, Candles, Danger

The recent bunch of postings regarding fires which result from Shabbos
candles has caused me to think deep and hard about my own practices, and
I am seriously considering a move to use tea lights only, at least for
when we eat dinner at friends, and perhaps for all occasions.

But I've been thinking about historical aspects of this situation as
well. There are innumerable halachos and minhagim which got started
because it was observed that a certain activity was dangerous. Eating
fish and meat together is one example. Another would be how at first the
kohanim would race to the mizbe'ach and the winner would do the service,
but when one kohen fell off the ramp and died, a lottery system was
instituted instead.

This makes me wonder: Did our ancestors never notice fire hazard?

Surely they did. Any sefer (classical or modern) about the laws of
Shabbos talks about what may or may not be done to put out a fire on
Shabbos, or what may be rescued from a burning building where there is
no eruv. In generations which had no electric lighting, such fires were
even more common than they are today, and occurred during the week as

So common, in fact, that one might think that they threw up their hands
and resigned themselves to such a state of affairs. Cement walls and
tile floors cannot be legislated! What do I expect them to have done!

It seems to me that a very simple solution was available to
them. Several posters here have recommended tea lights. This is an
extremely low-tech solution to the problem of falling candles. Why did
no one in the past 3000 years think of this?

Our rabbis and customs give many measurements for how to do things. For
example, the tzitzis must not be tied to close to the edge of the
fabric, but not too far from the edge either. The hadasim and aravos
should be placed so that the lulav extends higher than them. One must
give tzedaka, but there is an upper limit (except for the unusually

Why is there no custom or decree that a candle (Shabbos or otherwise)
must be shorter than a certain height?

Why is there no custom or decree that a certain amount of the candle
must be stuck into the candleholder?

When a candle is four inches tall and only the bottom half-inch is stuck
in the candleholder, is this not a recipe for disaster?

(And don't tell me about melting the bottom of the candle to make it
more secure. First, you're still dealing with something which is tall
and narrow and easily knocked over (unless you know of a custom which
*requires* a candelabra and *forbids* individual candlesticks). But more
importantly, even if the bottom of the candle *is* melted to make it
tight, this only tightens it into the small metal piece on top of the
candlestick. Not many people tighten that piece into the candlestick

I recall a minhag that for the beauty of the tzitzis, the loose hanging
strings should be at least twice as long as the knotted-up portion.
Couldn't there be a minhag that for safety reasons, the exposed part of
a candle should be *no* longer than twice as long as the part stuck into
the candlestick?

With that introduction, I'll end with my two questions:

1) Is anyone aware of any sefer or community which did try to suggest
any of the ideas I mentioned above? (It has occurred to me that
chandeliers might be an example of this, but I've gotten the impression
that chandeliers were a cultural thing in certain countries among both
Jews and non-Jews. If anyone knows of a source that they were adopted
because of safety issues -- rather than mere style -- I'd love to hear
it, and also why it did not catch on in other communities.)

2) If these ideas really are new, than could it be that we are wrong for
trying to institute them now? It is difficult for me to imagine a
reasonably safe tea-light holder that would be more beautiful than the
average candlestick. Is it possible that tradition's silence on this
subject is actually telling us that beautiful Shabbos candles override
the safety issue? (Such an attitude doesn't make sense to me, but I'm
grasping at straws to explain why no such safety-oriented customs have

Thank you very much for reading such a long-winded post.
Akiva Miller


From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Fri, 9 May 2003 17:43:43 +0300
Subject: When wearing pants is obligatory and meritorious

> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
> True there are people with rich lives who dont need the added physical
> stimulation that would come from women wearing pants....but there are
> also people who are emotionally poor and who just have their marriages
> to provide them with emotions. Such couples may need public wearing of
> pants to keep their marriage going.
> Not only is it not for us to intefer...IF that is what they need, then
> they are doing nothing wrong. It would be a grave sin to tell such a
> couple there is a higher ideal

I am pretty shocked at this suggestion. Even if this were true would
that permit a women to dress improperly in the presence of others,
merely because this would entice their marriage?

	Furthermore, where would you put a limit and what the woman may
wear (or remove) in public in order to accomodate her husband's

Also see Rambam Hilchos Sanhedrin chapter 24 Halacha 4 regarding married
couples behaving indecent in public.  

Yehuda Landy
(02) 5341813, 5341297, FAX 5341439

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sat, 10 May 2003 23:51:19 -0400
Subject: Re: When wearing pants is obligatory and meritorious

I thank Landy for pointing out a blatant omission in my posting on the
meritorious nature of wearing pants in certain situations.

To briefly review: In my posting I suggested that since there were
several Biblical prohibitions against inteferring with peoples
marriges-- Therefore if a couple REALLY needed eg that the wife should
wear pants in public it would be meritorious and forbidden for us to

Landy asks "Where do you draw the line". Is anything allowed to preserve
the marriage?

Good question.The answer is simple and based on a Shiur I heard by Rav
Aaron Solveitchick who pointed out that certain standards of modesty are
absolute while others are relative to the culture.

So eg it is forbidden to say Kriat Shmah in the presence of a (totally
)naked women EVEN if one had lived his whole life in a nudist colony.In
other words total nakedness is absolutely prohibited

By contrast Rav Aaron explained that the reason we can say kriat shma in
front of a married woman whose hair is uncovered (or eg has exposed
arms) is because hair and arms are subject to a relative standard of
modesty.  Since in our culture we are use to seeing such things it does
not intefer with saying the shma (Note: Rav AAron at no point blanketly
endorsed such dress).

Returning to our marriage-pants situation I would have to modify my
position as follows: It is meritorious to allow breaches of modesty THAT
wearing pants or having exposed arms) when such behavior is necessary
for a particular couples marriage.

Note: That my position does NOT blanketly allow people to wear whatever
they want---I only allow it when the couple has no other outlet for
their emotions and this is the only way they know to sustain their
marriage.  Furthermore I only allow it on things that are practiced by

What this means in practice is that if you are happily married and your
wife has never exposed her arms in public then it is forbidden for her
to so expose. However when you go to a social affair you should not be
shocked if you see other women like this and it may even be meritorious
for them.

I hope this clarifies my position on this touchy (pardon the
pun---hmm...is such a pun a violation of modesty) subject.

Russell Jay Hendel;

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2003 20:21:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: When wearing pants is obligatory and meritorious

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> writes:
> Janet Rosenbaum(v39n9) states that most Poskim who permit pants state
> that >they would really like to prohibit them.<
> The fallacy in such a statement is that sees ABSTENTION as a Jewish
> ideal while it sees INDULGENCE as a concession to the flesh without
> intrinsic religious value.

Not at all.  

They recognize that pants have merits for practicality, warmth, and even
sometimes safety, but that, like a kipah, a skirt is a statement of
religious identification that affects the way womeone sees themselves
within the religious community.  Particularly in a secular college
setting, a woman who always wears a skirt is putting herself within the
group of the "skirt wearers" which, for better or worse, is a real
category which affects how she sees herself and how others see her.

Also, generally speaking a woman who comes back from Israel wearing
skirts all the time and then stops wearing a skirt often becomes less
frum in other ways too.  Obviously, it needn't be so, since maybe it was
only because the weather got cold, but it does seem to be a pattern.

Frankly, I think it's terrible that there is such a large emphasis put
on women's clothing, but as long as the construct exists, a woman is
always either on one side of the line or the other even if she finds the
whole idea that it's frummer to wear a skirt to be nonsense.



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 09:11:26 -0400
Subject: Why pants are immodest

Bernard Raab(v39n16) discusses with Janet Rosenbaum the issue of
Pants. It is pointed out that the issue is not crossing genders in dress
but rather that pants are intrinsically not-modest (For women)

Just wanted to point out the source for this: It occurs in Pesachim 3:
It is pointed out (by comparing Lv15-09 vs Lv15-20. Both these chapters
speak about the same topic ( the ritual impurity of men/women with
issues from their bodies). The chapter on male zav-s uses the words IF
THE ZAV PERSON RODE while in the sister chapter of female-zavs the verse
speaks about THE ZAVAH SITTING (vs RIDING).

Thus even though both chapters (male vs female) share the same laws
nevertheless RIDING is only used in the male chapter since RIDING
contains immodest nuances for females.

The commentaries explain that any suggestion of leg-separation in women
is intrinsically immodest (and hence SITTING vs RIDING is more modest)

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


End of Volume 39 Issue 30