Volume 42 Number 98
                 Produced: Fri Jun 11  4:22:31 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Curse Of Eve
         [Jay F Shachter]
         [Jack Gross]
Duchanen on Shabbos
         [Gershon Dubin]
Duchaning Every Day
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Erev Iyun: Art & Hinukh
         [R. Jeffrey Saks]
Israeli perspective
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Kabbalah and Halacha
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Mikva Night and Invitations
         [Eliezer Diamond]
Requirement to braid or cover hair
         [Eliezer Diamond]


From: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 11:52:22 -0600 (CDT)
Subject: The Curse Of Eve

The recent articles on this mailing list concerning female modesty
recall an exchange that appeared in v41n24.

Leah S. Gordon, discussing the asymmetry of the Jewish modesty laws, had

> Since I can't believe that there would be such widespread lack of
> awareness [that women, like men, can be aroused by sight and sound],
> is it possible that instead, there is no halakhic 'problem' with
> women getting aroused?

to which Bernard Raab replied:

> Certainly, the Rabbis understood that women could be aroused by
> sight or sound, but relied on the assumption that they are far less
> likely to act on this feeling than are men.  I suppose this has been
> a valid assumption for centuries (any anthropologists out there?),
> but is rapidly becoming, or has already become, a falacious
> assumption in our day and age.  It is my distinct impression from
> today's media that the roles are being, or have already been,
> largely reversed in the last 20-30 years.  Perhaps less so in our
> more traditional society, but is this only a time lag phenomenon?
> If I am correct in this analysis, then perhaps the Rabbis need to
> react to the new reality.

This is a very serious charge, though perhaps not for the reasons that
Mr. Raab suspects.  The seriousness lies not in the suggestion that
Rabbinic laws of modesty be changed -- Rabbinic laws are meant to
change, in response to changing circumstances -- the seriousness lies in
the idea that human nature changes and that men are infinitely
malleable.  Or (and this may be the same thing in different words) that
human nature is a relatively weak determinant of the human condition,
compared to habit, that habit is ten times nature.

This is a serious charge, because, in addition to the Rabbinic law, we
also obey a Divine law, which, like the Divine Lawgiver, we believe to
be eternal and unchanging.  In addition, we read and revere the stories
of people who lived thousands of years ago in a culture very different
from our own -- a culture where people kept slaves, performed animal
sacrifices, annointed their hair and their body with oil, lived in
tents, practiced polygyny, and for the most part could neither read nor
write.  There is no reason why we should read the Torah, unless we
believe that the people for whom it was written are identical in every
important way to ourselves and to our children.

Unless Mr. Raab, I do not believe that women, or men, are any different
now than they were 20 or 30 years ago; I believe that women are the same
today as they were under the Pharaohs, and they will be the same when we
colonize Andromeda.  They will always be less likely to act on their
arousal than men are.  People often think that the world has changed,
when in fact the world has remained the world, and it is only they who
have changed.  Mr. Raab may simply be noticing things now that he did
not notice 20 years ago, because 20 years ago, he was, like all young
men, clueless.

I had an illustrative episode of acute cluelessness, once, when I was
still a graduate student at Stanford.  She was telling me, on our way to
her home, about the I.U.D. that had been implanted into her.  I couldn't
understand why she was telling me this.  It was interesting enough, I
suppose, but it didn't seem to be apropos of anything.  After we got
into her home she stood there for a bit and it seemed like she was
waiting for me to do something.  Then she asked if I wanted a tour of
her home.  Sure, a tour would be good.  She gave me a very quick tour,
and the last room she brought me into was her bedroom.  That's just how
it worked out.  I had never seen a canopied four-poster bed before.  No
wonder she was proud of it, and wanted to show it to me.  She stood
looking at me.  She had a pleasant smile on her face, but somehow I was
still getting the impression that she wanted me to do something, though
I couldn't figure out what it could possibly be.

Today, looking back at this event, my sympathies are all with the poor
frustrated woman, and I would apologize to her if I could, but she died
later in a fire, so I will have to apologize to her when I meet her in
Paradise.  There is not the slightest doubt in my mind that that is
where her beautiful soul was gathered up.  She was not religious; but
she was kind and affectionate and sweet and if there are any heavens,
she will have one.

Like Mr. Raab, I read women better now than I did, but unlike Mr. Raab,
I do not think it is the women who have changed.  Young men are
clueless, and young Torah-observant men, prior to marriage, are acutely
clueless.  The woman in my story would surely be considered "forward" --
not just in our more traditional society, but in any society, and in any
generation, including the current one.  But she would have torn her eyes
out of her head sooner than tell a man in clear language what she wanted
from him.  As our law recognizes (Eruvin 100b; Ishut 15:18; Magen
Avraham on Orax Xayyim 240:1, note 14), it is unusual for a woman to
bring up such matters in clear language even with her own husband,
though of course once the topic has come up that is something else
entirely.  It is the curse of Eve.  It has to do with what in the
English language is called being the "aggressor", though it has nothing
to do with aggression.  As God said to Eve in Genesis 3:16:

  "Your desire will be for your husband,
   but he will be the aggressor with you."

There isn't a woman in the world who is not the granddaughter of Eve.
Eve would at times desire her man, ache with amorous love for him,
according to the law of God written in her heart, and every
granddaughter of Eve would do the same, but she would never be able to
proposition him with the same cheerful and insouciant abandon that men
enjoy when propositioning women.  There would always be something more
diffident about it for her, and there would always be a wish on her part
that he notice her and make the first move.  This is not something that
morés of sexual equality can either change or conceal.  And as long as
this is true -- which will be as long as our restless race endures and
the blood of Eve runs through our daughters' veins -- men and women will
be different, and asymmetrical laws of modesty will be needed.

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


From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross2@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 20:58:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Directions

<...Indeed, to get oneself "Oriented" meant facing the East. East, where
the sun rises, was the natural known direction, pre compass northern
"orientation."  ...>

The sun rises in the East because the Earth's rotation is to the East
(i.e., counterclockwise when viewed from above the North pole.)  Since
we are all constantly in motion eastward, that is the "forward"
direction.  Apparently that was ancient knowledge, at last among


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Jun 2004 18:19:33 -0400
Subject: Duchanen on Shabbos

The reason for the lack of singing during duchanen on Shabbos is as

The singing is meant to allow the tzibur to say the Ribono Shel Olam
asking for their dreams to be "fixed".  On Shabbos, when we don't ask
for our personal needs, the Ribono Shel Olam prayer is omitted and
there's no reason for the singing.



From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 23:33:25 +0300
Subject: Re: Duchaning Every Day

Benschar, Tal S. <tbenschar@...> said:
> (Parenthetically, we should also duchan at Minchah, except that we are
> worried that he Cohanim may have drunk in the meantime and not be allowed
> to duchan.  On a fast day, when there is no such worry, then most nuschaos
> have duchaning in the last brachah, and indeed in Israel the Cohanim
> duchan at Minchah on a fast day.  In fact, on Yom Kippur, they duchan four
> times: Shacharis, Musaf, Minchah and Neilah.  

On fast days I believe only the minyanim that daven mincha ketana (close
to sunset) duchen.

I am quite sure that I have never seen a Mincha duchening on Yom Kippur,
just Shacharis, Musaf, and Ne`ila.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: R. Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Jun 2004 09:40:49 +0200
Subject: Erev Iyun: Art & Hinukh

ATID and Michlelet Emuna invite you to an EREV IYUN on 


Rabbi Chaim Brovender
    President, ATID; Rosh Yeshivat HaMivtar
Artist Israel Hershberg
    Director, Jerususalem Studio School
Respondents: Sylvia Bar-Am (Artist), Shira Breuer (Principal, Pelech
School), Dr. Nadine Shinker (Michlelet Emuna), Rabbi Yehoshua Weider
(Michlelet Emuna), and other artists and educators.
Moderator: Amos Safrai (Head, Michlelet Emuna).

Tuesday evening, June 22, 2004 (3 Sivan 5764)
7:00 PM at Michlelet Emuna
104 Derech Beit Lechem (corner of Rivka St.), Jerusalem

For details, contact ATID at 02-567-1719 or <art@...> 
Participants in the evening will receive a copy of Rabbi Brovender's
Hebrew monograph, "Likrat Ahavat Hashem -- Omanut, Hinukh, ve-haHavvaya
ha-Datit" (new in the "Iyunei ATID" series). 
ATID's publications can be purchased from Amazon.com or directly from
our website catalog at www.atid.org/catalog0403a.pdf


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 23:33:24 +0300
Subject: Re: Israeli perspective

Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> said:

>  Apparently all "chareidi" Jews in Israel have accepted this psak and
> the walls are plastered with signs attesting to the psak, signed by
> all the gedolei haDor.

Let me assure you that the while many women have burnt them, the streets
of Yerushalayim are still full of chareidi women IN sheitels too.

Shimon (do you want me to send you digital pictures?) ;-)
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 20:46:29 +0200
Subject: Re: Kabbalah and Halacha

   Just for the record: the late Israeli historian Jacob Katz, who was
also a substantial talmid hakham, has an excellent book on this excat
subject, entitled "Halakhah ve-Kabbalah" (in Hebrew), full of valuable
information and sources about the topic.  Published by Magnes Press in

   Yehonatan Chipman


From: Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 12:00:47 -0400
Subject: Re: Mikva Night and Invitations

> > White lies are not such a great solution, in my experience.  Many
> > people just do not lie well, and whenever one lies, one must keep
> > track of the lies to avoid inconsistencies.  For example, if you claim
> > to have had a migraine, a friend months later suffering a real
> > migraine could ask you how you dealt with it and you might have
> > forgotten the lie and respond, "I never had a migraine".

> I seem to be missing a major point. Why can't the hostess simply be told
>"Yes, thank you but I will probably be a few minutes late" and if the
>hostess asks why just tell her there is a mikva appointment. Why can't
>the hostess (as opposed to the host) know?

I don't think that it should be necessary for a woman to share with
anyone, male or female, the fact that she is going to the mikvah. If
questioned as to why she will be late a woman can simply say, "I have an
appointment" or "I have to do something important." Better yet, she can
say "It's something personal." If I am convinced in my own mind that I
am entitled to protect my own privacy then I should be willing to ask
others to respect that privacy when necessary. When someone asks me an
inappropriately intrusive question I often reply, "Why do you ask?" This
usually puts an end to the inquiry. Keeping certain matters private and
respecting the right of others to do so is an important aspect of
tzniut. According to one midrash when Balaam praised the tents of Israel
he was referring to the fact that they were situated such that no one
could see what was going on in someone else's tent.

Eliezer Diamond


From: Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Jun 2004 11:48:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Requirement to braid or cover hair

> > The source of the mitzvah is that an "adulteress's" hair, as punishment,
> > is to be "loosened."  Considering hair care in Biblical times, the best
> > guess is that hair was normally braided.  A big question is whether all
> > females had braided hair, or just married ones.  It seems like "loose
> > hair" was used to signify a "loose woman."  The English idiom is
> > probably Biblical.
>As I recall from my study of Talmud several years ago, I remember that
>the virgin bride goes to her wedding with her hair loose about her.
>Perhaps she wore it braided for comfort and ease when working, but it
>wsa loose for the wedding.  This would imply that her hair did not have
>to be hidden prior to the marriage.
>Wendy Baker

Regarding the question of whether unmarried women are obligated to braid
or even cover their hair, as well as a careful analysis of the meaning
of the root pr' see R. Yehiel Yaakov Weinberg, Sride Esh, Part I,
Responsum 78.

Eliezer Diamond


End of Volume 42 Issue 98