Volume 40 Number 73
                 Produced: Wed Sep 24 21:43:52 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bare Midriffs (4)
         [Shaya Potter, Gershon Dubin, Janet Rosenbaum, Martin D Stern]
Unsupervised Bars (2)
         [The Rogovin Family, Bernard Raab]
Wearing Tefillin While Driving
         [Aliza Berger]
Women's Role Under Chuppah
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 22:01:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

> From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
 <snipped discussion on possible reasoning>
> My impression was that similarly when mini skirts were in fashion, quite
> a few frum women would just wear the longest mini-skirts they could
> find.

The question that strikes me, if the halacha is that this dress is not
considered tznius, and therefore it's assur to wear it, doesn't it show
some contempt (or at least not caring) for the halacha to wear clothes
just because they are in fashion.

People wouldn't say it's in fashion to eat not kosher food, so they are
just going to eat the most "kosher" food available (they won't eat pork
or shell fish for instance, but perhaps just some non kosher beef).

If kashrut is important, why isn't tznius?  Or is the argument that
those mini skirts are "tznius enough".  Being from before my time, I
really have no recollection of them.

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 23:00:43 -0400
Subject: Bare Midriffs

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
<<For what it's worth, I think it's the accidental result of the change
in fashion --- there are only a limited number of place for young women
to buy clothes, and if these places are all making skirts that are
designed to start below the waist, those are the skirts that these women
will wear>>

I have NEVER heard of anyone wearing midriff-baring skirts because that
is all they can find.  I can understand unwittingly buying shirts that
are too short or skirts that start too low, but it not believable that
no other clothes can be found.  Plenty of people in all geographic areas
are walking around with their bellies covered.

If you bought a skirt that, when you got it home, turned out to have a
stain, or a hole, or not to fit, you'd give it back; why is this any


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 10:30:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

To be clear: I'm being dan l'chaf schut on the issue raised.

Second, my benefit of the doubt was not that fashion itself is a value,
but rather that fashion dictates what is sold in stores and makes other
clothes difficult to find.  My mother's pictures of Mea Shaarim in the
late 1960s shows girls in above the knee skirts --- only exposing the
knee, but certainly nothing that girls of the same age would wear today.

Third, since the cases raised were apparently inadvertent, it's hardly
fair to compare them to outright treif or even to claim that women
themselves are aware.  Women don't stand in front of the mirror when
they reach up to a high shelf to make sure that their shirt and skirt
stay put.


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 04:01:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

In a message dated 18/9/03, Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...> 

<<For what it's worth, I think it's the accidental result of the change in
fashion --- there are only a limited number of place for young women to
buy clothes, and if these places are all making skirts that are designed
to start below the waist, those are the skirts that these women will
wear.  While one can leave the house with the skirt at one's waist, the
skirt will eventually settle where it was designed to be.  Likewise for
shirts, which are slightly shorter than they were previously.  It's not
a substantial enough difference that one would notice when trying the
clothes on.>>

    Could she, or any of our other female members, explain to me as a mere 
male why so many women seem to need to uncover their bodies in public. In the 
hottest weather, I might not wear a jacket or tie out of doors, but I do not 
feel uncomfortable with a long sleeved shirt and long trousers (pants to our US 
members).  Perhaps this would be different if I worked on a building site or 
was doing some similarly heavy physical work but women are not usually involved 
in these activities. Is women's apparent need to bare themselves in public 
because of some physiological difference, perhaps connected with their metabolic 
rate, or is it, as one always suspects, an attempt to get male attention and, 
therefore, prohibited as an accessory to gilui arayot (immorality)?

    Martin D Stern


From: The Rogovin Family <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 22:46:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Unsupervised Bars

Frank Silbermann writes
>Perhaps it's because non-kosher wine has no non-kosher ingredients.  It
>was as a fence against intermarriage that we are forbidden to drink it,
>not because of its contents.  Therefore standard issues relating to the
>kashering of utensils might not apply.

I have read (can't recall specifically where, but I suspect on the
Star-K site) that some ingredients used in non-kosher wines and in
liquors may be problematic beyond the issues of stam-yayin or yayin
nesech (flavorings, clarifiers, colorants).

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 18:07:56 -0400
Subject: re: Unsupervised Bars

>From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
>I asked <<< If they're serving treif at the bar, wouldn't that treif up
>the glassware when they all get washed (in hot water) together? >>>
>In MJ 40:60, Bernard Raab wrote <<< My former Rav, a Gadol B'Torah and
>Rosh Yeshiva, was once asked about this problem in connection with
>"unkosher" wines which were sold at the bars of some kosher hotels
>... he was asked about the possibility that a guest would bring such
>wine into the dining room and accidentally spill some onto your plate.
>His answer was, (to praphrase): Wipe it off your plate! ... From this I
>learned that there is no issue of "treifing up" dishes or glassware from
>"unkosher" wine or liquor. With all due respect to that Rav, did he explain 
>*why* he held this way?
>I understand that if you see the nonkosher liquor in the glass, since it
>is cold, it will not get absorbed into the glass and you can simply wipe
>it off. But if that glass is not emptied, when it goes back to the
>kitchen and is filled with hot water to wash it, doesn't this allow the
>non-kosher ingredients to get absorbed into the glass?
>>Furthermore, I strongly disagree with your last sentence. It may be true
>of various types of scotch and whiskey, but that's far from the only
>thing served at a non-kosher bar. Liqueurs have all sorts of
>unsupervised colorings and flavorings. Mixed drinks use tomato juice,
>maraschino cherries, and other things that we would insist on buying
>only with a hechsher.

>I am very curious why Mr. Raab deliberately used quotation marks in the
>phrase <<< "unkosher" wine >>>. Is there any question that if wine is
>made by a non-Jew, it is automatically nonkosher?

I started my original submission by saying that we tend to get into
trouble when we use the word "kosher" as a shorthand designation for
whatever we deem to be religiously acceptable, which of course
automatically leads to the designation of "non-kosher" or "treif" for
the opposite condition.  Coincidentally, just yesterday I saw a sign on
a building (in Queens, NY) that read: "Kosher Fitness Center". I hope my
friends will not find me (or my sneakers) unacceptable for social
contact if I work out in a "treif" fitness center.

The laws of kashrus and treifus of various foods are of course of biblical 
origin, while the laws regarding wine are of rabbinic origin and of a 
fundamentally different sort. For example, there is no restriction even 
today against eating any variety of grape, wherever and however grown. As I 
understand it, the vast majority of poskim agree that the restriction on 
wines today is one of "stam yanom", or wines of non-Jewish origin and not 
issues of "non-kosher ingredients". Good wines are typically free of any 
additives. Sulfites may be added to both kosher and non-kosher wines and I 
have never heard of non-kosher sulfites. What I understood my former Rav to 
say was that this takana of "stam yanom" applies to consumption of the wine 
but does not extend to "contamination" of dishes or glassware. I have yet to 
find anyone who disagrees with that position.

This is not to say that everyone agreed with him regarding the
acceptability of the hotels in question. There were several prominent
rabbis who, at the time, "assered" those hotels, presumably for some of
the other issues Akiva raised regarding unsupervised bars. But I trust
it was not for the reason of "non-kosher" wine "treifing up" the kosher
dishes of the dining room.  To extend this discussion further, or what's
M-J for, we have long-time friends who limit their dairy consumption to
cholov Yisrael, a situation not unlike the restriction on "stam yanom",
except not so uniformly accepted in MO circles. Although initially they
accepted this chumra because their children had become "yeshivish", we
now suspect that they would not eat in our house, even if we serve only
cholov Yisrael for their visit, possibly because our dishes have not
been used only with cholov Yisrael products, or possibly because it
signifies to them a general laxity of standards.  Needless to say, we
find this very disturbing on many levels, both national and
personal. Moreover, it is not a discussion we can have with them
directly lest we appear insensitive to their now-cherished beliefs, and
because they may feel impelled to deny their true feelings to spare our
feelings. This illustrates that "halacha that is carried too far" is not
a totally benign thing.


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 16:52:22 +0200
Subject: Wearing Tefillin While Driving

I had made the following observation:
> 	In the context of a discussion about whether women may wear
> tefillin, Arukh haShulchan (Orakh Chaim 38) reasons that one should wear
> tefillin only when absolutely obligated to do so, since tefillin "require
> an extremely high degree of care in order to maintain the requirements of
> bodily cleanliness." He  posits  that the only reason one is permitted to
> wear tefillin at all is that there is an obligation (whether or not one is
> wearing tefillin) to maintain bodily cleanliness while reciting Shema and
> Shemoneh Esrei. 

<chips@...> <mailto:chips@eskimo.com>  answered:
<<Is there any indication anywhere that frum Jews hold like this 
opinion? I've yet to see anyone put on tefilin after Yishtabach and 
then take them off right after finishing Amidah.>>

I agree that people wear tefillin for longer than absolutely obligated.
That's why I noted in my chapter "Wrapped Attention: May Women Wear
Tefillin?" in the book "Jewish Legal Writings By Women" (1998, Urim
Publications) that the Aruch Hashulchan's prohibition of women wearing
tefillin did not seem to be grounded in actual conduct of (using chips'
terminology) "frum Jews". I was just wondering whether others on
mail-jewish agreed with this.

By the way, someone might wear tefillin only between Yishtabach and the
Amidah if they feel they can only maintain bodily cleanliness for that
amount of time (e.g., they are suffering from some stomach ailment).

Based on the idea that body cleanliness (guf naki) is required anyway
for Shema and the Amidah, some decisors raised the issue that the Rema's
(on OC 38:2)(and others') ruling that one should protest a woman who
wears tefillin might not apply during Shema and the Amidah.


Aliza Berger, PhD
English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 15:45:15 -0400
Subject: RE: Women's Role Under Chuppah

>From: <jmarksmn@...> (Perry Zamek)
>Chana, I don't follow your question: Surely people who are using the
>services of a civil marriage celebrant are not going to also have a
>Huppah and Kiddushin. The usual reasons for Jews using a civil celebrant
>are based on some level of rejection of Jewish tradition (e.g. marriage
>with a non-Jew).

In many places (such as the United States), the rabbi is required to be
the "civil celebrant" as well, such as by signing the marriage license.
In my case, my rebbi (in shiur) had to sign the marriage license, with
two people from the shiur acting as witnesses.  This was because of the
waiting period rules in my wife's home town.  We had to take a neder to
actually get married with chupa and kiddushin and not to treat the
"civil" ceremony as if it made us married.  I think that the question
was based on the idea that a person must get "married" according to the
civil law or the state would not recognize the marriage.

> As a side comment, it seems gratuitous for "the English authorities
>who organise civil weddings" to comment on Orthodox Jewish practice,
>simply because they perceive our wedding practices to be "lopsided."
>Why not comment on the marriage practices of certain Asian groups,
>where the bride is also silent?

In this case, they probably would as it is a general rule being brought
up.  However, only the Jewish practice is relevant to us.


End of Volume 40 Issue 73