Volume 41 Number 23
                 Produced: Thu Nov 20  5:50:24 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abuse and Repentance
         [Ken Bloom]
         [Carl Singer]
Abusive Husbands in Orthodox Society
         [Bernard Raab]
Abusive men
         [Alana Suskin]
Abusive potential spouses
         [Carl Singer]
Gyms (3)
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, Batya Medad, Yisrael Medad]
Spousal Abuse
         [Marilyn Tomsky]
Women seeing Men in Pants
         [Kenneth G Miller]


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 13:46:30 -0800
Subject: Abuse and Repentance

Rise Goldstein wrote:
> Russel Hendel wrote:
> > More could be said....bottom line...do tell prospective dates about
> > RECENT abusive pasts...however you MUST include details and
> > degrees...you must leave a way out for repentance. It is our faith and
> > tradition.
> "Leaving a way out for repentance" is one thing.

Leaving a way out for repentance is one thing, saying that a woman
convince an abusive husband to stop his abusiveness is another thing. It
seems to me that if one wanted to leave a way out for repentance without
advising the woman that she could end his abusiveness, then the way to
say it would be along the lines of:

* Explaining how he has an abusive past.

* "It is possible that he *has* repented from this and that it won't 
  happen again, however, I have no evidence of this either way."

* Suggest ways that the woman could investigate this possibility 
  discretely. (I personally can't suggest any such ways.)

* "Please put due diligence into this, and don't try to rationalize it
   away. Be particularly careful not to decide that *you* can convince
   him to end his abusiveness. Abusiveness is not the fault of a
   particular woman, it's his problem, and there are very few cases
   where a woman can convince a man to stop his abusiveness. *He* has to
   want to change, and you're not going to be able to do anything about
   it. Moreover, if this is the case, you will be putting your life in

This expresses that repentance is possible, but that you should not get
involved if it hasn't alreay happened, because in those cases you'll be
the victim of the high recidivism of this averah.

--Ken Bloom


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 12:21:07 -0500
Subject: Abusers

Kudos to Rabbi Teitz for escalating abuse to where it belongs -- as a
life and death issue -- and treating it accordingly within an halachik
framework.  Abuse isn't one of those "does his mother use paper plates

Carl Singer


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 14:43:02 -0500
Subject: Abusive Husbands in Orthodox Society

There are elements of the spousal abuse issue which are specific to
orthodox society which makes this subject even more vexing and
heartbreaking than in society in general, and which should make orthodox
young women doubly or triply attentive to this possibility before they
get very deeply involved with a potential marriage partner: 

The first is the issue of shame, which in a small closed society such as
ours, can be a powerful influence to delay or prevent a woman from
seeking help.

The second, even more powerful factor, is the frequent and early
accumulation of children, which can act as a trap for a woman in an
abusive relationship.

Young women (and their parents) also need to be aware that emotional or
verbal abuse can be as corrosive, or more corrosive to a relationship,
than physical abuse. These are truly heartbreaking cases which are very
difficult to unravel once there are children.

Parents: The detection of a potential abuser in the pre-marital period
is difficult at best, but being dazzled by "money" or "family" can be a
severe handicap to this detection.  Needless to say, as many have
already remarked, any history of abusive behavior should be revealed
rather than hidden. There is too much at stake here, particularly in
orthodox society, for the reasons noted above.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...> 
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 07:23:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Abusive men

Since Dr. Goldstein did an excellent job of refuting the (as she put it,
and I agree) "homocidally naive" idea that a woman could have any effect
on an abuser's behavior, I just want to add that one of the prime
factors of danger from an abuser is both - as she mentioned- if she
threatens to, or actually does, leave, but also when she is
*pregnant*. A significant number of miscarriages -and murders of women-
in this country are caused by violent husbands during
pregnancy. Violence (except, as Dr. Goldstein pointed out, when it is
caused by rather unusual medical factors) is about control, not
respect. NO woman can do anything about the abuser's behavior because in
his mind the behavior is justified (even as he denies doing it,
sometimes) and it is about internal fears and dynamics, not about her
behavior. It is not comparable to teenage misbehavior, even when that
behavior is somewhat more than the usual.

Alana Suskin


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 12:13:47 -0500
Subject: Abusive potential spouses

We seem to have gone from (halachik) questions re: loshan horah in
regards to responding to the "suitability" of a potential spouse to
discussion of whether an abusive spouse can be "cured" (for want of
better terminology.)

Let me ask a more "operational" question -- given knowledge that someone
has a history of being an abusive spouse -- why would a potential mate
(or a well meaning shadchun) not look elsewhere for a shiddach?  I
imagine that an abusive personality is a major flaw -- this isn't the
superficial "he's too short" or "her teeth are crooked" -- this is a
core issue.

The choice that a would-be shadchun or would be "dater" has to make is
not the binary choice: Is or is not this "formerly abusive" person a
potential mate?  The choice is given a menu of choices (which includes
seeing no one at this time) who should I choose to see.

Does this mean that the formerly abusive person is now tainted and will
not be choosen from among a group of potential spouses -- YES.  On a
much less important level, would you hire someone who's been fired from
his/her last 10 jobs?  You might try to paint a scenario where the
answer to my question is "yes" -- but it's not the right answer.

Carl Singer


From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 10:32:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Gyms

> From: Anonymous
> >But surely on fitness machines chances are you'd be surrounded by all
> >women and you'd wear whatever you want?  When I go to the woman's gym
> >across the street I change into very non tsnius workout gear because its
> >all women there.
> >      -Shoshana Ziskind
> And what about the issue of homosexuality?  How do we know that dressing
> so will not attract/stimulate/arouse those with latent homosexual
> tendencies (which might otherwise just as well staying
> undiscovered/untriggered/unstimulated) much less present a
> conveninet/meeting place for the less latent.  At the mikva there are
> individual changing rooms and minimal exposure during these 'less
> tzniut' moments. 

It's halachah, isn't it, that Jews are not suspect of homosexuality?
"Ainem nechshad al mishkav zachor," or something like that. And, that
goes on men.  Women, one would reason a priori, are even less suspect,
given the rationale that women can (in general) see men's exposed flesh
and not vice versa.

I thought the reason that women had separate rooms, etc. in the mikva
was for a different reason: so Mrs. X would not know Mrs. Y was going
tonight.  Also tznius, but nothing to do with homosexuality.

> Perhaps we should err on the side of (reasonable) caution and greater
> tzniut, not less, given the general society's pull in the opposite
> direction.

The trouble with this argument is that it proves too much. You have to
draw a line *somewhere*.

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://ziskind.us
Economic Group Pension Services         http://egps.com

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 20:36:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Gyms

      And what about the issue of homosexuality?  How do we know
      that dressing

In most of the world that's the clientele of same-sex gyms and pools.  I
remember someone (a frum guy) who moved from wherever to NY and was so
happy to see an ad for an all male pool.  In his naivete he expected it
to be filled with frum guys like himself, but...


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 2003 21:11:29 +0200
Subject: Gyms

      Shoshana Ziskind wrote: Not sure about the situation in Israel
      with gyms

My offices are in the Binyanei HaUmmah in Jerusalem and downstairs is
the Jump Gym which has separate facilities and by the number of Haredi
men and women going in and out, I would say it's quite popular and
obviously "kosher".  Seems also a great place to get a self-shidduched.

Yisrael Medad


From: Marilyn Tomsky <jtomsky@...>
Subject: Re: Spousal Abuse

[Note: This posting is stronger than I would usually send through
without looking at possible editing, however, this is a topic that may
need this kind of response so people understand it's impact on all those
around an abusive person. As such, I am sending it through to the list
with no editing, but with this introduction. Mod.]

If a husband is abusive to his wife, often he will be abusive to his
daughter or his children as well.  I am glad that my father is dead.  My
husband and I had to endure 35 years of my father's violence and
harassment.  In his courtship my husband had to endure so much that it
was a true testing of his love for me that he never gave up.  Our
children, his parents, his relatives, his friends and mine, his
employers and our neighbors had to face my father's abuse almost
unending, even when we moved away as far as we could.  He would find us
and come around or call the neighbors at all hours.

We are all scarred from it.  But in the few years since with my father
gone we are finally beginning to live our lives in peace.

My maternal grandfather really warned my mother against marrying her
second cousin - my father.  But she would not listen.  So all of us
suffered for her selfishness.  The years of living with daily abuse hurt
me as nothing else.  He used me as his scapegoat.  He beat my brother.
We lived in fear of him.  As a three year old I was very afraid of the
sea but my father grabbed me suddenly and threw me in deep water and
somehow I made it to the shore.  The shock caused me to lose my hearing.
It was swim or drown.  This woman should be told the truth and if she
chooses not to care then this is her problem, but hopefully not a
another generation of children and families have to endure the

With my father finally dead I thought my mother would be happy.  Safe
and free and what did she do, but cry and mourn him.  She even tried to
commit suicide.  I have nothing left for her.  She repeated his words of
abuse and became more and more abusive like him to me, when I was
growing up.  If it wasn't one it was the other.  I don't know how I
survived.  They could have gotten themselves psychiatric help but they
never did.  I have no respect for either of them.

Marilyn Tomsky


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 2003 09:16:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Women seeing Men in Pants

Leah S. R. Gordon asked <<< Since I can't believe that there would be
such widespread lack of awareness, is it possible that instead, there is
no halakhic 'problem' with women getting aroused? >>>

Sort of. There *are* halachic problems with women getting aroused, but
it is *not as serious* as for men.

As I wrote a few weeks ago (MJ 41:09): <<< According to Rav Moshe
Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Even Haezer 1:69), both men and women are bound
by the prohibition of "Don't stray after your eyes" (Num. 15:39), but
the prohibition of "Guard yourself from any bad thing" (Deut 23:10)
refers to nocturnal emissions, which only applies to men. The result of
this is that there are some things which both men and women are
forbidden to look at, but there are other cases where women may look but
not men. To see what cases are in each category, I recommend seeing that
Igros Moshe (especially the last paragraph there), or see the discussion
of Gemara Avodah Zara 20 online at http://tinyurl.com/tlqq (especially
the bottom half) where these two prohibitions are discussed and
contrasted, and several views (including the Igros Moshe above) are
explained. >>>

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 41 Issue 23