Volume 40 Number 42
                 Produced: Tue Aug 19  4:43:25 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"abstain from any involvement with half of this list"
         [Leah S. Gordon]
"abstain from any involvement with women"
         [Batya Medad]
B'tai din and surrounding issues
         [Batya Medad]
B'tai din and surrounding issues - Chezkat Kashrut
         [Yael Levine Katz]
Chumras and Religiosity
         [Yakov Spil]
Contract between Jew and Gentile
Genealogy (2)
         [Edward Ehrlich, Mike Gerver]
Help needed to find place to get heavy duty mayim achronim
         [Avi Frydman]
New S'ridei Eish publications
         [Joshua Kay]
On-Line Torah
         [Joseph Rosen]
Religious Figures
         [Saul Mashbaum]


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 19:24:48 -0700
Subject: "abstain from any involvement with half of this list"

Regarding the discussion of whether one [the default male] should
abstain or not from interactions with women, I beg the posters on m.j to
remember that this is a mixed-gender e-community.  It is offensive to
women to read posts that can only be interpreted as men talking
exclusively for a male audience on the list.

Therefore, please don't discuss "whether or not to speak...with women"
etc., but rather whether men and women should speak with each other.
The semantic difference is a real one when you're the person who is

I would extend this request to discussions about gender issues in
general, e.g. whether it is appropriate for "us" to see women's bodies,
or whatever the subject may be.  Remember that "us" is 50% women.

Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:28:37 +0200
Subject: Re: "abstain from any involvement with women"

One must define terms.  What's involvement, and what's women?  Does this
"law" mean that one shouldn't notice that the pregnant woman on the bus
needs your seat, or giving your mother a kiss, or helping an old lady,
so she doesn't fall in the street?  Getting back to your big/little
mitzvah, are we talking about one of the ten "biggies" or the 613
m'd'raita or halachot or chumrot or minhagim, or just guidelines, advice
on how to live a proper, Jewish life?

Judaism is the one religion that is based on the various needs of human
beings.  It combines kodesh and chol, the spiritual and the physical.
One can easily repent and be forgiven for the sins "bein adam l'makom,"
but the sins "bein adam v'chareiro" are much more complicated.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:39:53 +0200
Subject: Re: B'tai din and surrounding issues

      pikuach nefesh have todo with anything?  See the Mail Jewish
      issues from a few weeks ago that a one in six chance (%16.6) of
      danger is called piku'ach nefesh.  The odds of HIV, especially as
      her husband probably was not philandering with... you know what I
      mean, but rather with somebody in his social stature, are
      considerably less than that.

"social stature" does not prevent HIV.  Considering that the virus can,
not only, infect the mother, but can infect an unborn child and nursing
baby, and there is no cure for the illness, a philandering husband has
no right to his wife.  A pregnancy can be aborted according to Jewish
Law if the mother's life is endangered, which is much more serious than
telling a husband that if he wants to return to his wife, he must be
tested and declared clean, and of course, he must "clean up his act."

A wife is not her husband's sex toy.  Also, the ktuba is not a contract
between husband and wife.  It is a signed pledge by the husband, to be a
good husband according to Jewish Law and to pay her compensation (what's
known as ktuba) if he fails.



From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 18:00:24 +0200
Subject: Re: B'tai din and surrounding issues - Chezkat Kashrut

My following post has to do with the chezkat kashrut of individuals
concerning which I am interested in hearing about its halakhic
guidelines and parameters in general and in the circumstances I describe

A recent conversation with a friend led to the topic of prostitutes in
New York whom she claimed that some go to the mikvah. My initial
reaction was that even if such women would go, they cannot be trusted or
relied upon to have kept or have been makpid on all the halakhot. Then
recently, it was brought to my attention that in the local Jerusalem
paper Kol ha-Ir there was an article on a place of ill repute in
Jerusalem. The owner said that a haredi man requested a woman who had
been to the mikvah. The reporter asked if there were such women, and was
told that none of them ever saw a mikvah, but if someone asks he will be
told, erroneously of course, that the woman did go.

I would appreciate observations on the issue of chezkat kashrut in
general, and in the case discussed with my friend.



From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 16:06:08 -0400
Subject: Chumras and Religiosity

>Thus this person was using stringencies in prayer when there were
counter-thrusts in charity. I dont know anyone who would think that the
Chafetz Chaiim is not ultra orthodox.  Yet he told this business man not
to be stringent.<

I am not clear about the term "counter-thrusts."  But what I get is an
idea that someone who is ultra-orthodox comes on a kula once in a
millenia.  Where did such a perception come from??

What is the whole system of halocho if not that when you cannot do what
is l'chatchila, how you go about it doing it the next best way, and that
is still with daas chachomim??  Nothing is outside the geder of halocho,
and the Mishna Brura of all the seforim shows how the gedorim to be
maykel and where we should be machmir etc.  I am certainly not saying
the MB is the only sefer, but just the Chofetz Chaim as an example.

>Some people think it ideal to abstain from any involvement with women
to the extent this is possible in our world. But what I pointed out is
that there are counter-obligations in Jewish law such as the obligation
to make ones wife happy...<

What is the connection between any involvement with women and THE woman
one is married to?? Obviously, one is supposed to be menschlich with
everybody, but he is supposed to love and cherish and honor his wife.
She is the only one he is supposed to treat like that.  THOSE are the
laws of modesty- that the wife not be attractive and entertaining to
anybody but her husband, and the husband is likewise not supposed to be
flirtatious, cholila with anyone, and save the nice words for his wife.

And by the way, "those" people who think that it's ideal to abstain from
contact with women, are acting according to the halocho when they say
good morning to their secretary or female co-worker because that is

>I was rather pointing out that modesty stringencies SHOULD be
overridden by requirements of marriage<

I really do not understand what you mean.  First of all who says they
should not be?  And when they do- what situations are they speaking
about?  We all know that a woman has her innate beauty.  But that is
supposed to be enhanced for her husband and no one else.  Ay, but she
has to go out, so we cannot expect her to go out if she herself is not
happy with how she looks.  That to me is the issue in this particular
case.  In issues of tzinus, there is always a balance of what is proper
and what is not, and what is in between.  But certainly we all agree,
that we do not throw these inyonim out the window just because we have
to work and deal with the outside world!  They must be adhered to.  It
would seem to me that a woman should look nice going out to the point
that she is comfortable, but saves something that she only does for her
husband because of this special relationship.

I just don't understand the thinking where some inyan in halocho is
overriden by a situation. I ask you- when one is maykel- are they
fuynctioning in the bounds of halocho or not?  The answer is if they are
following a legitimate opinion, right?  Does that mean they are ignoring
another issue?  Absolutely not. It means they are applying halocho to
this situation and what they should do depends on the circumstances and
who they are etc., which may not apply to another person in seemingly
similiar circumstances.

>I believe that we should all follow the Chafetz Chaiim and LOUDLY
PROTEXT [sic]those who in the name of stringency override
counter-thrusts in Jewish law.<

I think we should follow all of the gedolim.  The Chofetz Chaim being
just one of them that understood halocho sometimes requires one to be
machmir and sometimes it requires someone to be maykil.  But as long as
they are doing it according to daas chachameinu, then how can we go

But that we should protest when someone does something WE think is
inconsistent? I'd like to know which godol b'yisroel holds of such
behavior?  That is very subjective and I am sure this is not what you
meant.  Everything must be done is measure and we run into trouble when
we rely on our own sechel and not those of our revered poskim.

 I find it very interesting that those who perceive chareidi yidden to
be so black and white, do not realize there is a shikul ha-daas at all
times to be used of what is right and what is not, what is in-bounds and
what is out, but someone who does not see themselves as chareidi, sees
they have a blanket heter to act any way they want because they are in
the world and "what other choice do they have."  And they are the ones
with all their "freedom" who criticize chareidim for being black and

This is incorrect and an injustice to those who align themselves with
this group and the mesiras nefesh they have everyday in existing in the
world where NOTHING is black and white and everything calls for weighing
the situation according to halocho with all of its flexibility.

NOW, I realize I am opening up a can of worms here with the way I have
spoken.  I do not, repeat do not, mean to disparage anyone, and do not
mean to say that those who are chareidim have it all figured out.
THAT'S THE POINT!  The point is we are ALL trying to figure things out
in this topsy turvey world and weigh our allegiance to halocho with our
obligations b'olam hazeh.  We all want that our obligations to halocho
be with shleimus, but we are challenged from all sides.

What I object to is any characterization that one group has it more
figured out than another.  The truth is we are all walking blindly and
we are just praying for some direction that we are doing things l'shem
shomayim and that we have siyata dishamaya to handle all of the
challenges that we all must deal with.




From: <Aronio@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2003 20:46:31 EDT
Subject: Contract between Jew and Gentile

Does anyone know where I can find a sample agreement for partnership
between a Jew and a Gentile (regarding shabbos business) which complies
with Halacha?

Thank you.


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 19:21:08 +0300
Subject: Genealogy

Ilana Goldstein Saks wrote:

>I am looking for information about my paternal grandmother's family -
>Blechman.  They came to the United States from Odessa at the end of the
>19th century.  I'd be interested in birth/death/marriage records from
>the old country or family trees.  Does anyone know how would I go about
>searching for this info on the web?

There are many sources of information about Jewish genealogy both on the
web and off, but the best place to start is at:


Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 16:11:40 EDT
Subject: Genealogy

I don't know about this particular family or city, but in general a good
place to start researching any Jewish genealogy question on the web is
www.jewishgen.org. They have links to lots of other relevant sites. It's
amazing how much new stuff has been put online recently, and more is
available every day.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Avi Frydman <frydman@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 18:52:36 GMT
Subject: Help needed to find place to get heavy duty mayim achronim

I've pledged (b'le nedar) to supply my shul with 10 mayim achronim for
use at our Shalosh Seudos.  I'm looking for the kind made of stainless
steel or copper/brass etc.  They have to be heavy duty with the water
holder attached so that it isn't lost.  You've all seen them used in
shuls....but they are not an item available in Judaica stores (or E-bay
;^) ).  They usually have an oval base and a handle that has the water
"bucket" hanging from it.  Thanx for your help.


From: Joshua Kay <jkay@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 09:34:19 +1000
Subject: New S'ridei Eish publications

The "Vaad l'hotzoas sifrei haGaon haBaal S'ridei Eish" has recently
published Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg zt"l's responsa and "Lifrakim".

Someone told me this new publication is the "politically correct"
version of the responsa (which were originally published by Mossad HaRav
Kook). I noticed that the new "Lifrakim" includes the biographical note
about Rav Yitzchok Yaakov Reines, the founder of the Mizrachi movement,
indicating that the new publication is not "politically correct".

Does anyone know anything about these publications, their accuracy and
whether they differ significantly from the Mossad HaRav Kook versions
(other than layout, formatting, etc)?  Thanks.

Kol Tuv, 
Dov Kay
Melbourne, Australia


From: Joseph Rosen <rosenjoseph1@...>
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 2003 16:17:22 +0000
Subject: On-Line Torah

I recall seeing a website that had links to many Torah journals that are
now available on-line. For example, all of the issues of Machanayim were
there, as well as one of the medicine and halakhah journals, as well as
many others. I can't recall where I saw this. Does any know the URL?



From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2003 20:41:51 +0300
Subject: Religious Figures

To Play with Fire, by Tova Modechai, Urim Publications, describes the
spiritual journey of Tonica Marlow, an evangelical minister, to Orthodox
Judaism.  www.urimpublications.com


End of Volume 40 Issue 42