Volume 40 Number 80
                 Produced: Thu Oct  9  5:40:13 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bare Midriffs (5)
         [Joel Wiesen, Gershon Dubin, Rachel Swirsky, Jonathan Katz,
Batya Medad]
Equal Importance
         [Gil Student]
Jewish History
         [Michael Kahn]
LBD Logo
         [Batya Medad]
Men-Women equality || Happy New Year
         [Russell j Hendel]
Regel - Foot or Leg
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Ring for groom/men's jewelry
         [Ben Katz]
         [Meir Shinnar]


From: Joel Wiesen <wiesen@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 21:52:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

<< 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.

FWIW - I've seen my wife, when deciding on an outfit, very briefly
assume one or two poses to see if the garment remains modest, and hold
it up to the light to see if it is reasonably opaque.  And she is not
what most would call really frum in her dress.


Joel P. Wiesen, Ph.D., Director of Testing
APR Testing Services, 27 Judith Road, Newton, Massachusetts 02459-1715
(617) 244-7405

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 23:03:33 -0400
Subject: Bare Midriffs

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
<<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.>>

I, and I presume virtually everyone else who responded on this topic,
did not mean to impugn any woman whose shirt rides up when she reaches
for a high shelf.

The fashion being discussed is that of very obviously bare midriffs with
hands down, which is hands down (sorry) forbidden.


From: Rachel Swirsky <swirskyr@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Sep 2003 23:45:37 -0400
Subject: Bare Midriffs

>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,

Not that I do it, but sure I would be glad to explain.

>Is women's apparent need to bare themselves in public
>because of some physiological difference, perhaps connected with their
>metabolic rate,

Of course there are physiological differences.  Women run hot or cold
depending on hormone levels at different points in their lives.  Have
you never hear of hot flashes?  Women run hotter when they are carrying
another person inside of them.  Sweat in places men do not.  Try holding
a solid backpack against your chest for a whole day in the heat and then
ask your question again.

>or is it, as one always suspects, an attempt to get male attention and,
>therefore, prohibited as an accessory to gilui arayot (immorality)?

This in one of the most arrogant and inappropriate comments I have ever
read on mail-Jewish.  I know I am opening myself up to being "flamed"
here, but what would posses you to think that every woman out there has
nothing on her mind but attracting men?  You asked if there were real
differences than did not wait for an answer before going on to leap to
an entirely unfounded conclusion.  It seems to me that if you "always
suspect" that women is working to get male attention on even the hottest
of days, at least part of the problem might be on your end.

Rachel Swirsky

From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 15:34:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

Martin Stern writes:

> 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)?

I found this to be an odd comment since I (a male) much prefer to wear
shorts and a short-sleeved shirt (or T-shirt) in hot weather. I admire
Mr.  Stern's control of his "metabolic rate", as he puts it, but must
admit that I am not yet on that level.

I think a big difference is that for men, such dress is regarded as
"more appropriate" than it would be for women (and I am not refering
here to the halachic question of whether women may wear pants or shorts
below the knee, but to societal norms).

And I hope that Mr. Stern is not suggesting that women strive to get
male attention any more than men strive to get female attention. Or has
he not been to the Upper West Side, where plenty of attention-grabbing
on both sides is apparent? (I mean no disrespect to anyone living on the
Upper West Side, having met my own wife there a few years ago!)

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 05:58:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Bare Midriffs

      those mini skirts are "tznius enough".  Being from before my time,
      I really have no recollection of them.

Having been a teen in the '60s I can vouch for the fact that unless a
female was well under five feet, she couldn't find a dress or skirt past
her knees.  That goes for older women, too.  Today, you can find skirts
of any length.  "Everything goes."  It wasn't always like that.  The
designers and retailers dictated, very strictly, what women and teenage
girls wore.

In general, halachik tzniut, was on a level very different from today.
Even many of the frummest rebbetzins didn't cover their hair.  A little
lacey smatta was available from a box by the Esrat Nashim, like those
shiny kippot for the men.  Young, religious women in the mid, late 60's
began proudly covering their hair, like the men wearing crocheted kippot
in public.  I guess it was part of ethnic pride, not to be ashamed of
one's religion.  I was in NCSY then, and it was revolutionary.  If you
look at pictures of the OU dinners of the time, you'll be shocked by the
lack of sleeves and backs on the women's gowns.  People shopped in
regular stores, and they had to choose between sleeves and backs,
couldn't find both together.  Of course, the rare woman managed to find
a dress-maker.  My father's aunt, who had been a dress-maker in her
younger days, sewed sleeves on a couple of gowns for my 1970 wedding.

Please don't judge or condemn when you comment.  It was a very different
time, and people did the best that they could.  That's why today things
are easier.

Shannah Tovah,



From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 15:39:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Equal Importance

Ari Trachtenberg wrote:
>Where exactly does our tradition say that the two sexes are equally

I believe before answering this we must first clarify the question.
Equally important to whom?

Gil Student


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Sep 2003 15:07:10 -0400
Subject: Jewish History

I am a history major and I'm interested in writing a work of Jewish
history. How would I begin such an undertaking? I know that there are
some published mjer's among us and I would love their input. I was
considering translating the Chida's Shem Hagdolim. I'm open to other
people's ideas as to what there is a need for.

Thanks for any help.
Kasiva Vachasima Tova


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 17:17:04 +0200
Subject: Re: LBD Logo

      explicit hechsher (they have only recently started the American
      style OU system, using the logo "LBD", and it seems that it is not
      as widely popular as the American).  Thus I make sure that I have
      the latest

Don't forget that it's a business, and kosher consumers have to prove
that it's worth the expense to the manufacturers.



From: Russell j Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 10:12:08 -0400
Subject: RE: Men-Women equality || Happy New Year

First a Happy New Year to the entire Mail Jewish family with best wishes
for another year of fun dialogs, insightful novelty, informative
references and stimulating disagreements.

Let me kick off my postings of the new year with a clear response to the
issue of EQUAL STATUS FOR MEN AND WOMEN(A recent posting cited Rav
Hirsch's Chorev).

This equality is EXPLICITLY STATED in the Torah; EXPLICITLY noted in the
TALMUD; and stated in DETAIL Considering the heat of the womens issue it
is surprsing that this explicit Biblical statement is not more
frequently mentioned.

(In passing the contents of this posting first appeared 2 years ago on
the email group TORCH-D hosted by Shamash As pointed out there the
contents of this posting are found explicitly in the Talmud (I believe
Baba Bathra 15-16)

I shall delineate the statement of equality in steps.  In step 1 (The
database step) we point out the obvious fact that if we want to know the
Bibles view on equality one simple approach would be to make a query on
commandments with the phrase MAN OR WOMAN. Such a phrase indicates a
Biblical emphasis that the law applies equally to men and women. Such a
query can be performed by routine databases (Davka, Bar Ilon, MTR)

In step 2 (Query results) we see that at least 3 commandments use the
phrase MAN or WOMAN. They are Ex21-28 (When an ox gores a MAN OR
WOMAN...then the ox is excuted ..the owner pays ransom...etc) Lv20-27
(when a MAN OR WOMAN practices OV divination ..then there will be a
death penalty) Nu05-06 (When a MAN OR WOMAN commit sacrilege against God
(by lying under oath...) then ...they shall bring a sacrifice).

In step 3 (The analysis step) we CLASSIFY each of these commandments
with the phrase MAN OR WOMAN We easily see that the 3 commandments span
3 separate spheres of law: MONETARY WORTH/PAYMENTS/TORTS (Ex21-28),DEATH

In step 4 (Conclusion step) we use the Rabbi Ishmael rule of
GENRALIZATION FROM MULTIPLE TEXTS.  We easily see that the Bible
EXPLICITLY equates men and women in the three spheres of ATONEMENT,
PUNISHMENT, MONETARY WORTH. We conclude (using generalization) that the
Bible EQUATES men and women in all spheres.

I might add that in characteristic Talmudic pickiness the 3 examples are
analyzed for nuances by both the Talmud and commentaries. For example we
might argue that since married women generally do not own therefore
women do not have worth. Simiarly we might argue that since women are
not obligated in all commandments therefore they do not need sacrificial
atonement like men. To refute these arguments the Bible explicitly
stated MAN OR WOMAN in these commandments

There is a lot more that can be said but I think the above complete and
sufficient for now--it is important to emphasize that the equality of
men and women is not Rabbinic but rather is explicitly stated and
detailed in the Bible. (In particular any statements in Jewish law that
appear to the contrary must be harmonized to the above).

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


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Regel - Foot or Leg

>For the person looking at himself (or touching those parts, even with
>his/her foot; see Rambam, Keriat Shema 3.16-19), it is only the
>genitalia themselves that are sexualized; the rest are just parts of
>one's own body.

As I'm sure you know, the Hebrew word "regel" can have 2 possible
translations in English... "foot" or "leg".  It always amazes me that
people, and even seforim, continue to blindly translate the word "regel"
as "foot" all the time, even in cases where it clearly means "leg".
Just think about it... is it possible to touch one's own genetalia with
one's foot?  No, unless you are a contortionist.  With one's leg?  Very
easily.  So if the Hebrew word is "regel" and there are 2 possible
translations, and one makes perfect sense and the other makes no sense
at all, why do people and seforim consistently pick the one that makes
no sense?  Beats me.  Maybe someone on the list can enlighten me.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Sep 2003 12:08:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Ring for groom/men's jewelry

>From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
>As an extension of the thread about a groom obtaining a ring to mark his
>marital status, what is the status of rings of any type or any jewelry,
>for that matter, for men?  It seems that it is forbidden/discouraged for
>at least Ashkenazik men even now when many men in our society wear a
>variety of rings, bracelets, and necklaces.

         In the golden calf episode, it is pretty clear that both men
and women contributed their earrings and noserings.


From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 11:19:36 -0400 
Subject: Thrips

WRT to the question of thrips on corn, for those who have seen them,
	With the naked eye, can one tell whether the thrips on the corn are
actually insects, rather than merely small dots, possibly dirt?

Meir Shinnar


End of Volume 40 Issue 80