Volume 39 Number 37
                 Produced: Wed May 21  5:34:23 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conservative and Intermarriage
         [Alana Suskin]
Conservative and Orthodox Shuls in 1960's (2)
         [Batya Medad, Carl Singer]
Daas Torah
         [I Kasdan]
Jewish attitude toward labor
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
More on Pants and Skirts
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Re-purchase of Chametz
         [Jack Gross]
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 10:32:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Conservative and Intermarriage

Normally, as a guest, I don't post on this list, and remain a lurker,
but I do want to support Douglas' post below: I can say with certainty
(as someone about to be ordained a Conservative rabbi) that Conservative
rabbis may NOT intermarry and remain part of the Conservative
movement. Not only that, they may not *attend* OR officiate at
intermarriages - thus either Douglas is correct that the person to whom
the rabbi was married was converted by Conservative ruling (which is by
the way, requiring the acceptance of ol mitzvot, going to the mikvah,
and milah for men - and thus rather different from Reform conversion,
which does not require any of these things, although many do include the
latter two). I know that probably no one on this list will agree with
me, but I actually think that Orthodoxy and Conservativism have far more
in common - at least in theory, and amongst the clergy-then Reform and
Conservativism do.  Or, the person who said that they were intermarried

am echad...
Alana Suskin


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 13:34:50 +0200
Subject: Re: Conservative and Orthodox Shuls in 1960's

      aware of before moving to Chicago) is Traditional synagogues.
      Apparantly Rav Regensberg from the Skokie Yeshivah allowed
      "American" (ie mixed) seating as long as shuls maintained their
      Orthodox affiliation and rituals (eg duchaning) to combat the
      rising popularity of the Conservative movement in the 50's and
      60's.  I do not think it has been systematically studied, but my
      reading of the present day situation is that, from an Orthodox
      perspective, this leniency was an unqualified success.  All of the
      Traditional synagogues that I am

Some were associated with the OU (orthodox) and others US
(conservative).  Holliswood was OU and today is a vibrant Orthodox
community, while Oakland Jewish Center (in Bayside) was Conservative is
dying out, even though in the 50's OJC was the larger one.  Linclon
Square Synagogue began as an OU without mechitza.  Rabbi Riskin agreed
to conduct services while dovening somewhere else for a limited period
of time.  After that either they had to become fully Orthodox or he'd
leave.  Well, as they say, the rest is history.


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 07:28:58 EDT
Subject: Re: Conservative and Orthodox Shuls in 1960's

      Holliswood Jewish Center in Queens also had that in the '60's.
      But at the same time in the mid-west USA the orthodox shuls
      frequently had mixed seating.  I remember stories of NCSY events
      where the dovening couldn't be with the congregation.  (There's at
      least one lurker on mj who can give us more info on that.)

Having grown up in what is still considered the Midwest (Cleveland,
Ohio) -- perhaps anything west of the Hudson is midwest to New Yorkers
-- I find the "frequently" above to be extremely misleading.  If we're
speaking of a community with multiple shules we're talking of a small
fraction.  If we're speaking of a one-horse town, we're speaking of a
completely different phenomena.

Carl Singer


From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 06:30:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Daas Torah

For those interested, Rabbi Alfred Cohen's article from the the RJJ
Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society (Spring 2003) is now posted
as a PDF file on "Jewish Law" -- www.jlaw.com -- with permission from
the author and the Journal.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 13:23:31 +0200
Subject: Jewish attitude toward labor

For those who are not aware of it, Dr. Simon Federbush, a Religious
Zionist Leader, published an excellent book entitled "The Jewish Concept
of Labor," in 1956. It was jointly put out by the Torah Culture
Department of the Jewish Agency (headed at that time by my late
father-in-law, Rabbi Zevi Tabory) and by HaPoel HaMizrachi of America.

The chapters of the book are:

Judaism's Economic Law
Collectives: the Jewish View
Sages, Society and Socialism
Labor - Blessing or Curse
Evaluation of Labor
Slavery and its Prohibition
The Jewish Labor Law

The book is replete with quotes from basic source materials.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Joseph Mosseri <joseph.mosseri@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 08:36:51 -0400
Subject: More on Pants and Skirts

I'm the one who initially opened this subject and while some of you have
responded, I'm more confused now than I was before we started.  Most if
not all of you are giving your own opinions but none of you are
stating/documenting any sources, be it pro or con. Where are the laws of
modest clothing detailed? HaRaMBaM????? Shoulhan Aroukh???  What are
"modest" pants that some of you have referred to?  Why does a skirt need
to be below the knee to be considered religiously modest?  Where does
Rabbi Obadiah Yosef of Rabbi Soloveitchik or any other Torah giant write
about these issues????

Somebody sent me this piece on the subject. Is there any merit to it???

There are four prohibitions, which have to be discussed in this context:

" None of you shall come near anyone of his own flesh to uncover
nakedness" (Leviticus 18:6). The sages interpreted this to mean that one
should distance oneself from "nakedness". Furthermore, one should not
bring himself into a situation where he has lewd thoughts about a
woman. "Rav Sheshet said:"...whoever looks at the pinky finger of a
woman, it is as if he looked at her genitals" (Shabbat 64b). The Tur
adds: "One should stay very far away from women. He may not motion with
his hands or wink at one of the 'arayot' (forbidden sexual partners) and
he may not laugh with her or... look at her or even smell her
perfume. And it is forbidden to even look at the colored garments of a
woman he knows" (Even Haezer 21). These laws stem from the fact that in
the eyes of our sages a woman is first and foremost a person and not a
sex object.

There are two trends in the sources. One trend says that the prohibition
of looking at or touching a woman stems from a person's intentions. If a
man has no intention to arouse himself, there is no prohibition. This is
the approach of Rav Aha bar Abba (Kiddushin 81b), Rav Giddell (Berakhot
20a) and Rav Aha (Ketubot 17a) as well as aharonim such as R. Moshe
Feinstein. The other trend says that a person cannot trust himself. He
must therefore never look at or touch a woman because, even when he has
no intention of sinning, his "yetzer harah" may get the better of
him. This is the approach of a Beraita in Eruvin 18b and of Ula in
Shabbat 13a. But even in those cases some of the later rabbis
(Maimonides, Rema, Shakh) stress that if he did not do it out of
affection but for other reasons it is permissible. These two trends
compliment each other and one has to search for the happy medium between
them. Normal social contact does not arouse. On the other hand, looking
at a half-naked woman does arouse even if the person looking has no bad

"Let your camp be holy; let Him not find anything unseemly among you"
(Deut.  23:15). This prohibition demands that we may not look at a
person's nakedness when reciting the amidah or the shema or a blessing
or studying Torah. In this case the halakhah spells out exactly which
types of nakedness are forbidden (Berakhot 24a) and they are forbidden
regardless of the intentions of the people involved.

"A woman must not put on man's apparel nor shall a man wear a women's
clothing" (Deut. 22:5). There are two explanations for this prohibition:
Some dress this way in order to arouse licentiousness and some do it as
a form of idol worship (Maimonides, Sefer Hamitzvot, Negative
Commandments, no. 40). This prohibition is not relevant to women's
clothing today for four reasons:

The definition of men's and women's apparel is based on local custom
(Tur).  Since in our society pants are a common form of women's garb, it
is not appropriate to call them "man's apparel".

In most cases women's pants have a special style or color different from
men's pants so they are clearly not "men's apparel".

Unisex clothing such as jeans are not prohibited as is illustrated by
the Talmudic story about Rabbi Judah and his wife who took turns wearing
the same garment (Nedarim 49b).

The prohibition applies only when the intent is to appear like the
opposite sex (Sifrei Devarim, par. 226).

"Nor shall you follow their customs" (Lev. 18:3). Some say it is
forbidden for women to wear pants because pants are a non-Jewish mode of
dress and we must retain our own "original" Jewish form of dress. This
claim is easily refuted, since all of our clothing is borrowed from
non-Jewish sources (see EJ vs. Dress). Even the hassidim borrowed their
distinctive garb from the Polish nobleman of the eighteenth century.

In conclusion, modesty is an important aspect of Judaism, which reflects
a basic Jewish value - the holiness of every human being. Therefore we
must develop respect for the human body and for its attire. Some modern
rabbis have defined the laws of modesty in terms of centimeters and
millimeters.  But we have seen that the issue is much more complex than
that. On the one hand many rabbis allowed women to dress according to
the accepted norms of their society. On the other hand, there are a
number of types of accepted dress today which attract attention and
which primarily intended to attract attention and should therefore be
avoided. But in the final analysis every woman or girl must seek out the
golden mean between comfort and style on the one hand and modesty on the

Thus far regarding everyday life. But as we have seen, in the synagogue
we must be much more scrupulous about modesty. We must honor the place
and the occasion. The guiding principle must be to view the synagogue as
a "small sanctuary" and prayer as the standing of man before God. And
thus we must dress in the synagogue as we would dress to go to greet a
VIP - in dignified and modest clothing.

Thanking you all in advance,
Joseph mosseri


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2003 21:18:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Re-purchase of Chametz

Carl Singer wrote:

> I think this eventually is precluded in the contract.  As I understood it
> (many years ago) it's usually an all or nothing contract and the "all"
> and the price for same is prohibitive.
> The reverse sale is not automatic, and there's no penalty clause per se. 
> The contracts are written as if repurchase is not intended.  The other
> party purchased the property (chometz, chashash chometz, etc.), outright
> and in perpetuity and is stuck with the purchase (otherwise we're all in
> deep trouble).  We cannot even retain a security interest in the property
> sold.

Customarily -- in part so that we can find a buyer next year -- we
offer, after Pesach, to save all involved the trouble (and cost) of
evaulating fair market price for what was sold (not to mention the legal
fees...); the offer generally includes a modest profit for the
buyer-turned-seller-back.  BUT the selling back is a new transaction,
and the other party is under no legal obligation to sell back all or any
part of what he purchased.

If you take the terms (and gezel) seriously, it is reasonable to leave
it alone until you receive word that the meeting was held as scheduled
and the sell-back took place as predicted.  But IAOTIO.


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 14:13:02 +0200
Subject: RE: Tachanun

> The most likely reason why Tachanun is not said the afternoon before is
> because since, in a lot of cases, we are preparing for the Yom Tov during
> that afternoon, 

Preparing for Yom Tov? An actual Erev Yom Tov *never* is subject to the
rule of not saying tachanun at mincha before a day without it.

We say no tachanun in Nisan at all, so Erev Pesach doesn't need that
rule. Erev Shavuot is in Shloshet Yemei Hagbala, so there is no tachanun
said anyway either. And from Yom Kippur till Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan we
again say no tachanun, so we do not need the rule for Erev Sukkot

The rule only seems to apply to Shabbat and 'minor holidays'
e.g. Chanuka, Purim, Rosh Chodesh.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2003 12:07:59 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Tahanun

There are two reasons for not saying tahanun in Minhah on the before a
non-tahnun day:
1) because the holyness of the next day starts to appear from noon the day
2) to remind people that may not pray in public tomorrow not to say

reason #1 was meant for full holydays but was expanded to almost all
non-tahanun days, not including erev Rosh Hashana & erev Yom Kippur, and
Pesah Sheni.

Pesah Sheni - not only does it really start in the afternoon, but in
Ashkenaz tahanun was said, in Israel the Ashkenazim accepted the
Sefaradi minhag not to say. On the rare occasion that BHB fast falls on
Pesah Sheni, there are different ways to solve the problem.

Question - if so, should Viduy in the bedtime Shema be said on Pesah
Sheni? And what about Tikun Hasot?


End of Volume 39 Issue 37