Volume 40 Number 92
                 Produced: Sun Oct 26  6:54:44 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Batya Medad]
Golden Calf Episode
         [Michael Kahn]
Hair Covering (2)
         [Batya Medad, Carl Singer]
Shidduch Alternatives (4)
         [Anonymous, <Smwise3@...>, Janet Rosenbaum, Leah S. Gordon]
Urgent - Borrowed Shofar Needed in Toronto Area
         [Leslie Train]
Where did Simxat Torah originate?
         [Jay F Shachter]
Women's Clothing over Time


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:40:52 +0200
Subject: Re: Clothing

      Surely, in a society where many, many women made their own clothes
      (true well into the 70's for middle-class America, at least),
      there would have been longer skirts made if anyone really wanted
      to wear them.

I have no idea of how old you were in the 70's, '60's, 50's, etc.  I was
around and aware then, and I wouldn't put even one "many" in front of
women making their own clothes.  Fashion strictness was very different
from today, certainly '60's and earlier.  Maxi and midi skirts started
late '60's, and since then there's more flexibility in skirt lengths.

Again, please, if you weren't there, you have no idea how inflexible and
difficult things were.  Don't put people down.  In general people do the
best they can, taking things into account that you'd never, and need
never, know of.  This generation you're criticizing preserved Torah
Judaism, and they developed the Orthodox communities, schools, mikvaot
you enjoy today.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 11:11:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Golden Calf Episode

I once heard that there were male Moroccan Jews who wore earrings
because they had a mesora that they descended from Jews who hadn't
sinned in the Chet Haegel. This was their way of showing it.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 16:15:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Hair Covering

      halachic aspect was realised this had become so widespread that it
      was almost impossible to reverse the trend since hair covering had
      come to be associated with backward peasant ways from which
      urbanised 'better class' women wished to distance themselves."

It has been reversed.  A higher percentage of women, who consider
themselves religious, cover their hair today than fifty or even twenty
years ago.  Some circles have "tichel parties," where the Kala gets all
sorts of hair coverings.  Hair covering is something many look forward
to.  It's fun!


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 11:14:32 -0400
Subject: Hair Covering

> I have been puzzled by the prevalence of otherwise frum married
> women who go out without covering their hair, considering that the
> Gemara considers it so serious an offense that she can be divorced and
> not receive her ketubah.

I find this construct a bit troubling.  The implication of "otherwise
frum" is absurd.  There were and are frum people who do not hold by
everything that one reads / learns in the Gemara.  Times changes,
interpretations change, etc.  Specific to hair -- it was only a few
generations ago that wives of very choshev Rabbanim & Roshei Yeshivas in
certain communities did not cover their hair.

Judging people (stam) is a problem.  Judging their frumkite based on
their outward appearance and OUR own interpretations of halacha is
devisive.  How can he be frum, he davens without a gartel?  How can he
be frum he doesn't wear a black hat?  How can he be frum, he davens in a
sports jacket?

Carl Singer


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 19:55:26
Subject: Shidduch Alternatives

    I am a frum, "older", single woman who divorced an abusive husband
13 years ago. I have 2 children and several grandchildren. I am active
in community activities. I have attended "shidduch happenings," have
tried the websites and dated men who other people have recommended. (I
once had a frum woman approach me in shul and ask if I would like to
meet a man. I said sure, what's he like? She described him. Is he
religious? No, but he might learn to be!  What could I say but "no, but
thank you for thinking of me".)

    The results:

   1) most men over 60 want 40 year old women, the 80 year old men want
60 year old women---I am interested in someone closer to my age.

   2) especially to go on the internet, I take my life in my hands ie.
the prospective gentlemen are as in #1 above OR when their references
are checked out with a local rabbi, the rabbi will not say anything
negative about the man due to it being "lashon horah". I have also been
on the other side of this---seeing a women dating a man I KNOW is
abusive, etc and the rabbi has forbidden anyone from saying anything to
the unsuspecting woman.

     This is the epitomy of negligence in the rabbinical

    My deduction therefore is: all the GOOD men are either married, dead
or Kohanim (and unable to marry a divorced woman). I refuse to go
through the rest of my life with another man who a rabbi has "approved"
and because he won't tell the truth about the man, I am the one who must
live with the results---think again. I'll remain unmarried, thank you!

    My heart cries for my sisters who have not found a mate and had
children. If these conditions could be addressed, maybe there would be a
chance of appropriate marriages, not just let's put a man and a woman
together and who cares if they are compatible.

From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:42:34 EDT
Subject: Shidduch Alternatives

As someone who got married relatively late (35-1/2), I can well
empathize with people who are still single and looking.  There are
obvious reasons why people would not rely on an online dating service
and there is no need to state them here.  It probably doesn't hurt to
look into it, but societally people would be concerned of anyone who
date so anonymously without knowing how "real" those on the other end
are.  There is also the perception that people aren't trying hard enough
for singles (Rebbetzin Jungreis often makes this observation and urges
greater involvement).  But I also know my frustration in trying to set
up people and meet resistance with irrational reasons.  Of course,
everyone has his/her own standards for knowing when the right one comes
along, but sometimes, as a cousin of mine observed, one needs to make a
leap of faith, when not "absolutely" sure--as if anyone really can or
should be. I made that leap 15 years ago, and BH, it was the best chance
I have ever taken.

Often when talking to singles, and asking what they look for, it sounds
simple enough but when faced with actually accepting a name or going on
a second date, it's a different story.

One must have patience and faith and believe that Ha-kadosh Baruch Hu
will lead you to your bashert.

Piska Tovah


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 10:41:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shidduch Alternatives

Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...> writes:
> I think have an amazing potential if used properly.  Some examples are
> orthodate, frumster, and frumdate.  Many people have had great success
> with these and similar sites.  Why are so many people reluctant to use
> them?  

The online sites have a stigma attached to them.  Although people in
their 20's have quickly destigmatized them as jdate and frumster have
become nearly universally accepted and used, I think this acceptance is
due to the fact that 20-somethings have used computers as a social
medium since high school or college.  People older than their 20's
didn't use computers socially and so still find online sites a bit
distasteful.  That was my experience, anyhow, in my attempt to encourage
a friend to create an online profile.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 05:01:41 -0700
Subject: Shidduch Alternatives

Tzadik Vanderhoof recounts some of Anonymous' concerns about being an
"older single" in the religious community.  I would like to ask a
related question--

Suppose a woman gets to be 33, 34, whatever without being married.

Wouldn't it be a good idea for her to go ahead and have a baby anyway,
so that she won't "miss out" on at least that much?  I know four single
Jewish women who did just that (three by donor (nonJewish) insemination,
one by international adoption)...but none of these four are as
Traditional as most on this list.  One of them did get a p'sak from her
rabbi, but I don't know the details.

To me, it seems that having a baby on one's own, while difficult, is
better than waiting for the elusive Prince Charming and becoming
increasingly aggravated with life.  It seems that this is more of an
issue/option for women, because of the availability of goyish sperm
(obviating a mamzer problem?) and because of the limited childbearing
years in females.

I have been most fortunate in my own life to have a more traditional
set-up, but my heart goes out to those who might want to have a baby
even if they have been unlucky enough not to meet their beshert in time.
What are others' thoughts?

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Leslie Train <ltrain@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2003 09:14:21 -0400
Subject: Urgent - Borrowed Shofar Needed in Toronto Area

A large shofar that plays in the key of 'D' is needed for the premiere
performance of Oratorio Terezin
(http://www.ruthfazal.com/oitinerary.htm) in conjunction with Holocaust
Education Week (http://www.holocausteducationweek.com).

The performance will be taking place November 1st and 2nd at the George
Weston Hall at the Toronto Center for the Performing Arts (Toronto,
Ontario, Canada).

The shofar needs to be in the key of 'D' because it will be played along
with other music. If possible, it should also be fairly large so that it
can be seen by the audience.  You can check if the shofar can play in
'D' by comparing it to another instrument, eg. a piano.

PDF Flyer for performance:


Thank you!


From: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 09:45:13 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: Where did Simxat Torah originate?

In v40n87, a contributor reasons as follows:

> Originally [ Simxat Torah ] was never celebrated in Erets Yisrael
> which used a three yearly cycle of Torah reading and it is only
> through the influence of immigrating Diaspora Jews (many centuries
> ago) that it has displaced the Torah mandated festival of Shmini
> Atseret.

There may be independent evidence, which the contributor has not
presented to us, that the celebration of Simxat Torah originated in the
Exile; but the evidence given above is not convincing.  We know that the
Jews of Israel used to read the Torah in smaller weekly portions than
those that we now use, and that they completed the Torah reading in
three years, rather than in one year -- but this does not imply that
they did not celebrate Simxat Torah every three years.  In fact, if I
may be permitted some idle speculation not backed up by evidence, it
seems to me that an event that occurs only once every three years is
more likely to be celebrated, when it does occur, than an event that
occurs once a year.

Don Yitzxaq Abarbanel speculated that the celebration of Simxat Torah
may originate in the Torah commandment, not practiced since the Romans
abolished our monarchy, of reading the book of Deuteronomy every seven
years.  You will recall that this reading took place on Shmini `Atzeret.
Abarbanel speculated that -- although not required by the Torah -- the
books of Genesis through Numbers were read during the course of the
other six years.  Thus, the entire Torah was publicly read every seven
years, and it was completed on ... Shmini `Atzeret, hence our custom
today of completing the yearly Torah reading on Shmini `Atzeret.  Now,
it is entirely possible that Don Yitzxaq Abarbanel was talking out of
his turban, but if he is right, then the holiday of Simxat Torah
originated in Israel, and from there spread to the Exile, rather than
the reverse.

Incidentally, the public Torah reading on the night of Simxat Torah has
always interested me.  Simxat Torah is not mentioned anywhere in the
Talmud.  If it was a custom dating back to ancient times (which is an
article of faith to those who believe in the ancient origin of the
Zohar, which mentions it), our Sages never gave it any legal status.
People nowadays who object to public Torah readings on Yom Ha`atzma'ut
(Israeli Independence Day) are not thinking clearly: if we can read the
Torah publicly on the evening of Simxat Torah, an occasion not
authorized by the Talmud, then clearly we are able to read the Torah
whenever we want to.

	Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
	6424 N Whipple St, Chicago IL  60645-4111
	<jay@...>; http://m5.chi.il.us:8080

[For those interested in this topic, one required reading would be
Avraham Yari - Toldot Chag Simchat Torah. You will find there the
additional evidence you request that Simchat Torah as a holiday
associated with the end of the Succot holiday is indead Bavel based, not
originally Eretz Yisrael based. There are many more fascinating items
for those interested (including the interesting point that he does not
directly address, but comes out from his work, that in Israel, what are
called Hakafot Shneyot held the night motzoi Shemini Atzeret are
actually the correct hakafot, and those held the previous night are due
to an error in transmission of the custom.) I just checked quickly on
his chapter on reading the Torah at night on Simchat Torah, and I did
not see any reference to the Zohar as the source. However he does cover
the topic is some detail. Mod.] 


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 21:30:39 -0700
Subject: Re: Women's Clothing over Time

None of my sisters past the age of 6 wore above the knee anything while
they were in my Mother's house, and this covers the 50s through the
70s. My Mother wore a wig from the time she got married in the
1940s. During the 40s-70 the family lived in the midWest, far from the
major Frum communities.


End of Volume 40 Issue 92