Volume 40 Number 63
                 Produced: Wed Sep 17  5:16:48 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Coverage (2)
         [Andy Levy-Stevenson, Batya Medad]
Relative and Absolute Erva (3)
         [Gershon Dubin, Michael J Broyde, Jeffrey Woolf]
Woman's Role Under Chuppah (8)
         [Yehuda Landy, Martin D. Stern, Esther Posen, Janet Rosenbaum,
chips@eskimo.com, Perry Zamek, Jonathan Sperling, Leah S.


From: Andy Levy-Stevenson <andy@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 13:21:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: Coverage

> Some years ago when my wife was teaching in a religious school a women
> walked into the lunch room severely dressed in a black and white
> outfit -- tight skirt and blouse, go-go boots, etc. -- a stunning
> outfit, long sleeved, covering that which needs covering, etc., but
> not a lunchtime school outfit -- my wife commented to a fellow teacher
> -- who's the [...] who just walked in.  She was informed by her
> colleague that it was the Rebbetzin such-and-such.

Since this was posted anonymously, I feel a little more free to comment
on this. What on earth was your wife thinking to say such a thing?

I would be far more concerned about a school where teachers indulge in
such nasty lashon hora than I would a school where visitors dress
stylishly, but not in line with "group norms".

Is it a "group norm" to speak that way in your community?

Andy Levy-Stevenson
Learn about the Minneapolis Hebrew Conversation group:

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 18:58:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Coverage

There's more to tzniut than covered knees, and there's covering that's
sexier than bare skin.  Besides the basic halacha, there are so many
social and societal norms.  When my kids see pictures of me in high
school they comment on the "short" skirts, which were about the longest
in Great Neck North at that time.

Here we are in chodesh Elul, a good time to get into the habit of
keeping our mouths shut and not to condemn other people so quickly.
Lashon haraah and motzei shem rah are addictive sins.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 13:37:05 GMT
Subject: Relative and Absolute Erva

From: Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf <woolfj@...>

<<I am somewhat bemused by G. Dubin's demagogic response to a legitimate
halakhic question.>>

I'm not sure what the nature of your bemusement is, but my response was
a legitimate halachic response, although perhaps a tad vehement.

It is halacha pesuka (agreed upon halacha, with no dissenting opinions)
that a woman's midriff is considered absolute erva. This means, clearly,
that a person who reads shema or says a beracha while facing that part
of a woman's body must repeat the shema or beracha. In any generation.

No halachic authority, repeat none, dissents; part of my post was a
challenge to Dr. Hendel to adduce a dissenting opinion (IIRC someone
else made the same challenge to him); he has been very quiet in

In response to my post, you then quote "I too heard from one of Reb
Aharon Soloveitchik's zt"l closest and reliable talmidim that
theoretically speaking, only 'maqom hatorpah' is absolute ervah"

Neither is the talmid identified nor the term "theoretically speaking"
explained as to its halachic import.  Nor, unfortunately, is Rav Aharon
here to take the stand.

So, you array, against unanimous halachic opinion throughout the
generations that a woman's midriff is absolute erva bedi'avad, an
anonymous quote that was made "theoretically".

You should have at least refrained from calling me demagogic.


From: Michael J Broyde <mbroyde@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 10:43:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Relative and Absolute Erva

My friend Jeff Wolf in his comment about Relative and absolute erva notes:

> This entire discussion, of course, is be-diavad. LeChatchilah there are
> certainly areas of the female and the male body that should be covered
> (though these are probably different in different contexts such as Shul
> etc.). A classic case is the often misquoted psak of the Arukh HaShulhan
> about women's hair. Be-Dia'vad it's not erva for qeiat
> Shma. Le'Chatchila married women should cover their hair.

I think he misses two things on this general discussion: The question of
whether a woman should cover specific body parts is not the same as the
question of whether it is erva for one who looks at it.  Thus, I would
word this as "The Aruch Hashulchan's view is that lechatchela hair is
not erva for kreiat shema, although it is be'edeved that married women
do not cover their hair while in public."  I do not think that the aruch
hashulchan is of the view that it is better (lechatchela) not to pray in
such situations. Indeed, in situations where a married woman does have
have to cover her hair (at home) the Aruch Hashulchan permitts a husband
to pray in front of his wife's uncovered hair, in my view.  The same is
true for the uncovered hair of a gentile, which is not ervah in our

Michael Broyde

From: Jeffrey Woolf <woolfj@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 18:11:03 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Relative and Absolute Erva

I thank Michael Broyde for rephrasing my comment. In fact, what he says
reflects my thinking exactly.

Jeffrey Woolf


From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 13:16:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

> From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> I have taken note of a new suggestion for equalizing the chatan and
> kallah in the wedding ceremony. The bride replies after her consecration
> by saying "Hareni mekudeshet lecha b'taba'at zo k'dat Moshe v'Yisrael"
> (Behold, I am consecrated to you with this ring according to the law of
> Moses and Israel).  It is presumed that there is no Halachic
> ramification by the statement and so, it means nothing except to provide
> a feminist feeling fulfillment.

	I'm not eactly sure what the case is. Did the husband say before
this "harei at m'kudeshet li etc" or not? If he did, surely her
statement doesn't add to anything since she is already m'kudeshet
beforhand. This is exactly why it is problematic. Rav Moshe Feinstein
zt"l (Igrot Moshe, sorry I don't have the exact source handy) forbade
the kallah giving a ring to the chatan after she received hers. The
major issue is that an observer might mistakenly think that in order for
the kiddushin to be valid both must give each other a ring. As a result
one might declare a couple not leagally married if she didn't do her
share by giving him a ring.

	In the event that he gives her the rung and she makes the
statement, according to my understanding of the Shulchan Oruch (Even
Ha'ezer 27:8) it could be a valid be a valid kiddushin under certain

	I'm not going into all the other issues here, whether or not
this the right thing to do etc.

	Have a k'sivah v'chasimah tovah.
	Yehuda Landy

From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 05:59:29 EDT
Subject: Re: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

    Apart from the principle of 'chadash assur min haTorah' there
probably is nothing intrisically wrong with her statement so long as she
does not give another ring in return which might render the original
kiddushin invalid.  However any such pandering to feminism might be the
thin end of the wedge and lead to other practices which are definitely
anti-halachic. Judaism sees the two sexes as having equally important,
but essentially different, roles in G-d's pur pose which complement each
other. Any attempt to blur the distinction could be extremely dangerous.

    Yours sincerely
Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
+44 (0) 161-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>

From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 09:31:39 -0500
Subject: RE: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

The Orthodox Jewish religion does not equalize the chatan and kallah in
the wedding ceremony.  It may not be "with the times", but it's
timeless, and tinkering may make the ignorant feminist bride feel
better, but if she has any sense of Jewish law, she would know that she
is being patronized and the change to the ceremony assumes she is too
stupid to realize that her husband has just added her to his posessions.
Facts are facts, feminist feeling non-withstanding.

Esther Posen

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 15:29:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> writes:
> I have taken note of a new suggestion for equalizing the chatan and
> kallah in the wedding ceremony. The bride replies after her consecration
> by saying "Hareni mekudeshet lecha b'taba'at zo k'dat Moshe v'Yisrael"

Actually, a number of kallahs say beforehand, "Harei, ani muchana
v'mezumenet l'kabel et ha'taba'at zo k'dat Moshe v'Yisrael."  and this
establishes their kavana in taking the ring.

> It is presumed that there is no Halachic ramification by the statement
> and so, it means nothing except to provide a feminist feeling
> fulfillment.

Many would argue with that statement that there davka are halachic
ramifications to doing chukot ha'goyim by bowing to secular feminist
pressure.  I'm just saying that so that no one beats me to it.

Btw, there is precedent for providing "feminist fulfillment" in the
discussion of women doing smicha on animals in the beit ha-mikdash ---
their doing so had no halachic consequence, but it gave them "nachat


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 20:27:44 -0700
Subject: Re: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

many years ago the activity's of the bride under the Chupa were a hot
issue, or at least at the weddings i attended for a couple of years. In
all cases the m'Sader-Kedushyn announced that what she was saying was
basically meaningless and just a symbol of her devotion to the groom
and/or process.


From: Perry Zamek <jmarksmn@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:37:02 +0200
Subject: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

I think this ties into the issue of two-ring ceremonies, where the bride
gives the groom a ring under the chuppah, after he has given her a ring.
The problem there is that the bride may not consider the kiddushin to be
completed until she has given him the ring, which is at variance with
the halacha.

In Yisrael's case, and assuming that the bride makes the statement after
receiving the ring, there are two possibilities:

1) Negative: The bride may not consider herself "mekudeshet" (betrothed,
for want of a simpler term) until she has completed her statement, and
this may be at variance with the Halachic definition of the completion
of kiddushin, which is her acceptance of the ring in the presence of
witnesses. Or, in other words, her "gemirat ha-daat" (intent) to accept
kiddushin does not take place until after the point at which the
witnesses assume that it exists.

2) Positive: the statement is simply a verbal acknowledgement of her
acceptance of the ring, in place of the [traditional] silent acceptance,
and this would not constitute evidence of a "delay" in her intent.

Perhaps a variant of the bride's statement would be more appropriate:
"Harei kidashta oti lecha b'taba'at zo k'dat Moshe v'Yisrael" (Behold,
You have consecrated me to you with this ring according to the law of
Moses and Israel).

May we celebrate many more smachot together.

Perry Zamek

From: Jonathan Sperling <jsperling@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 22:39:51 -0400
Subject: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

Query whether her statement indicates a refusal of his 'harei at', and
thus transforms this from a case of 'natan hu v'amar hu' to a case of
'natan hu v'amrah hi.'  This is discussed in Gemara Kiddushin 5b, Rambam
Hil&#8217; Nashim 3:2, and Sh'A E'H 27:8.  The Rishonim on the gemara
there may shed light on whether her statement amounts to a renunciation
of his.

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 06:41:29 -0700
Subject: Woman's Role Under Chuppah

On the contrary, there is a definite Halakhic requirement for the bride
to accept the ring from the groom to make the marriage happen.
Furthermore, it is no small thing to "provide fulfillment" to the
participants in their own marriage ceremony.

In fact, I was one of the first people that I know (1994) to do this
before it was a "custom".  In consultations with several Orthodox
rabbis, we decided on this option because it was an authentic way
(possibly it is required, if you don't allow for silent acceptance being
binding) to include my voice in our ceremony.

We rejected a "double-ring" ceremony, because if one takes the "harei
atah" option, that is not authentic halakhically, and if one takes the
"ani l'dodi v'dodi li" option, that is not at all related to the actual
ceremony, and if one takes the do-nothing-special option, that is just
not appropriate in our modern feminist world (IMO).

By the way, I did give my husband a ring, at the bedecken.

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


End of Volume 40 Issue 63