Volume 41 Number 25
                 Produced: Sun Nov 23 10:34:25 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Abuse and repentance
         [Alana Suskin]
         [Carl Singer]
Chofetz Chaim and Bars (3)
         [Mordechai, Yisrael Medad, Stephen Phillips]
Knowledge of the Surname Color Law of Germany
         [Marilyn Tomsky]
Male Life Guards
         [Batya Medad]
"Out of Fashion" Halachos
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Spousal Abuse
         [Shoshana Ziskind]
Women & Men Shaking Hands


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 10:35:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Abuse

Several posters have said something of following:

Ken Bloom <kabloom@...> wrote:
 >Abusiveness is not the fault of a particular woman, it's his problem...

At the risk of controversy, I'd like to ask if there is a Jewish source
for such a statement.  Does not the woman have an obligation to stop the
abuse (e.g. by leaving the abuser or through police intervention) and,
by not doing so, does she not violate "pikuach nefesh" and thus share
part of the fault for the abuse?  Alternatively, does not "lo ta'amod al
dam re'echa" (do not stand idly while a neighbor's life is in endanger)
apply, a forteriori, to one's own life?

I am not trying to judge a woman who does not stop the abuse, for
certainly this is an extremely difficult thing to do ... merely trying
to determine if there is a halachic imperative (and consequent fault in
the violation) to stop one's own abuse.

Kol tuv,


From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 06:40:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Abuse and repentance

Since it seems to me that the subject is nearly exhausted about whether
or not a woman could somehow cure an abusive partner of their
abusiveness (No. It's just not possible), I only want to tag on a short
note about the posts that keep mentioning the possibility of the abuser
having done tshuvah:

Doing tshuvah, as a number of people pointed out, must always remain a
possiblity. However, having done tshuvah doesn't mean that a person is
obliged to put themselves at risk in the event that the sinner might
have done tshuvah. INdeed, in this particular case, where 1. the
particular action is from the beginning deliberately hidden (the abusers
who do their abuse in public are actually *more* dangerous than those
who hide it, becasue it means that public shame doesn't move them, they
feel they have the *right* - this makes in even more likely that they
will continue with their behavior and *not* ever cease from it,
statistically speaking) and therefore the sin is often unknown by
others, and set up in a way that there will always be some doubt as to
whether they actually did it or not. In fact, often the situation is
such that it's set up to blame the victim, or she takes blame upon
herself because of her embarrassment. 2.the risk to the woman's life is
increased by pregnancy or attempts to leave and 3. the actual success
rate of curing the behavior is very low-it seems to me that becasue of
those factors, women should be extra cautious about anyone for whom
there is even a rumor of abusiveness.  The fact that a person may have -
even actually has done- tshuvah doens't mean that there are no
consequences to his former actions. Certainly, we hope that a former
thief who has repented has the opportunity to get a job. That doesn't
mean that their first job will be as an armed guard for a Briggs truck,
or handling large sums of money for a company on their computer. We
certainly wouldn't put a child molester who has repented incharge of one
or two children alone in a room for several hours
unsupervised. SImilarly, repentance from an abuser, however unlikely, is
surely to be hoped for, but because it is so unlikely, and because the
behavior is so risky to others, that may mean that despite repentance,
that person may not be suitable for marriage, and may have to live on
their own for many years, perhaps forever. Since women in marriage are
paricularly vulnerable - and Jewish women in particular, since men have
the power to refuse them a get, marriage really ought not to be the
proof of their repentance.  God has forgiven their sin, that doesn't
mean humans are obliged to put themselves at risk of their lives, and at
risk of their children's lives.

Alana Suskin


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 08:21:41 -0500
Subject: Cheese

> I'd go a step further in terms of the ma'arit eyin questions that arise
> for me. Kosher cheese, at least in my experience, is more expensive,
> poorer quality, worse tasting, or some combination of the three.

I can't talk to taste, but to cost and quality (poor, not poorer) --
COST -- I've an acquaintance who told me that the WHOLESALE price for
bulk kosher (chalav yisroel) cheese is ridiculously low (so low that
when a pizza manufacturer gave him a (5 pound?) block of cheese, he
refused payment.)

Perhaps someone with industry knowledge can answer the following:

1. Specifically, what price does a bulk buyer of kosher pay -- I.e., can
someone follow the cheese from the manufacturor thru the distributor (?)
to the retail store pricewise.

2. Why the extreme cost difference (over 2 to 1) in per-pound cost for
bulk block cheese and same sliced and packaged -- is it because the bulk
cheese is so inexpensive that the cost of slicing / packaging is, by
comparison, great?

3. Similarly, Why the significant cost difference between, say, shredded
parmesan cheese and grated.

4. Why the cost difference between kosher cheese and halav yisroel
cheese from same manufacturer (different brand names), same packaging

5. Why about a 4 to 1 price difference between non-kosher & kosher
brands.  It can't all be economies of scale.

I realize that laws of geneiva don't apply at such low ratios, but its
still of interest.

Remember also -- that if it were economically viable, most varieties of
cheeses could be made using kosher, artificial rennets.  (I have that
from someone who observed the process at a "model dairy" at a major
U.S. university -- they made many varieties of cheeses, never using
animal rennets.)

Carl Singer


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 11:33:15 EST
Subject: Re: Chofetz Chaim and Bars

<< From: <DTnLA@...>
Do you have any more information about the kind of bars the Chofetz
Chaim would frequent? >>

My recollection of the story is significantly different from that given
here recently, which elicited the above question.

I recall the story as being along the following lines -

The Chofetz Chaim was at an inn (like a hotel / motel of today - perhaps
he was traveling while selling his seforim or so, as he is known to have
done) (not a bar of the type the word conjures nowadays). He saw a man
there who was eating in a very unrefined and unJewish manner (it seems
that he may have been one of the Cantonists - Jewish boys who were taken
at a young age to serve twenty five year terms in the anti-Semitic
Czarist army) - in a vulgar way, without reciting the proper blessings,
etc. Some people there were quite upset at the man, harbored ill
feelings toward him and perhaps wanted to evict him from the inn or so.

The Chofetz Chaim then inquired about him after which he went over to
him and said 'is it true that you were in the Czar's army for twenty
five years ? ' The man answered - yes. 'And is it true that they fed you
unkosher food and forced you to desecrate the Shabbos and Holidays ?' He
said - yes. 'And they tried to make you convert to their faith and
abandon Judaism ? ' He said yes. 'And you still remained a Jew, despite
all the hardships and pressures ? 'Why, your nisoyon (ordeal) was even
worse than that of Chananya, Mishoel and Azarya ! ' (perhaps he meant
because of it's duration). Your portion is very great in Heaven due to
your withstanding the pressures and remaining a Jew and not deserting
your faith ! I envy your portion in Heaven ! These words caused the
hardened veteran of the Russian army to break down and cry and desire to


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 13:08:43 +0200
Subject: Chofetz Chaim and Bars

      Do you have any more information about the kind of bars the
      Chofetz Chaim would frequent?

Yes, his own.  That was his business and his wife ran it.

Yisrael Medad

From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 11:41 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Chofetz Chaim and Bars

I don't think it was a bar as such. I recall the story as being in an
inn where the Chofetz Chaim was staying.

Stephen Phillips.


From: Marilyn Tomsky <jtomsky@...>
Subject: Knowledge of the Surname Color Law of Germany

I've long been interested in how to recognize a Jewish surname and the
origins of Jewish surnames, a Jewish professor (long since retired) of
mine once told me, that Germany had created a law which divided the
country into color districts and all those in the Jewish districts were
forced to take surnames bearing that district's color - like "Green,"
"Blum" or "Blu" (means blue), "Schwartz" or "Black," "Gold," "Silver,"
"Roth" (means red), "Weiss" (means white) and such with their
variations.  Does anyone know the name of this law?  The date?  Anything
about it and where it can be found - book titles?  Many surnames were
also German words.  Stein means stone.  In America many Jews
Americanized their German names.

I may contact you from time to time and inquire about the origin of your
surnames.  I hope that you would not mind. Thanks in advance!

Marilyn Tomsky


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 12:09:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Male Life Guards

      nefesh once you have people in the pool. What gives these women
      the right to place themselves in a danger if it requires men to
      watch them?  Deal with the pikuach nefesh by not going swimming. I
      think I saw this objection too.

chicken or egg, which first?

If you want to raise a generation of female life guards, they'll need
lots of swimming time.  Thank G-d, at least in the pools I swim, there
are female life guards.

This is extremely important for the amount of females using swimming and
water exercise for health reasons.  Swimming for many females is not for
outdoor sunbathing, senseless splashing or even socializing.  It is to
prevent our being disabled, to prevent our reaching the level of
swimming by doctor's prescription.

But if the management finds itself without a female life guard on
occasion, since we know the psak (and hopefully he's not anyone we
personally know) we'll use the pool, because we know that it's
halachikly permitted for us.  I understand that the problem is more for
the male life guard who has to observe the females in bathing suits as
his job.  The women must have a life guard, so they don't have a
halachik problem.  The problem is the male's.



From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 06:58:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: "Out of Fashion" Halachos

Last night at my gemara/halacha shiur we were discussing halachos that
seem to have gone "out of fashion," for lack of a better term.  Two that
we discussed are:

1.  The Rambam states that tefillin r'tzuyos and batim should be black
on the top and the bottom.  I think we can assume that if he says it,
then that's what was done in his time.  Why don't we do this today?

(I should add that when our maggid shiur was 18, he had the opportunity
to ask this question to the Rav; the Rav answered that he did not know.)

2.  The Shulchan Aruch states quite clearly that people visiting an avel
should sit on the floor along with the avel.  Today, it seems to be the
custom that only the avel sits on the floor or stool, while others sit
on regular chairs.  If the Shulchan Aruch is so definitive in the
halacha, then why isn't this done today?

(Please excuse me for not quoting the sources directly; I'm at work and
don't have access to them.)

Alan Friedenberg


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 2003 09:21:37 -0500
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.]

I'm snipping the posting mainly for brevity.

I have one question:

In a situation as described by this woman how do you deal with the
mitzvah of kibud av v'em? What would an abused child need to do would
they be somewhat "released" from doing this mitzvah?

Shoshana Ziskind


From: <EG718@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Nov 2003 14:19:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Women & Men Shaking Hands

Rav Moshe clearly says in three places (I don't have the sources on me,
check out the index for the exact locations) that me cannot shake hands
with women.



End of Volume 41 Issue 25