Volume 43 Number 57
                    Produced: Wed Jul 21  5:36:44 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brachot or Tefila with no Printed Text
         [Carl Singer]
Forty Year Rule
         [Andrew Marks]
Hannah Rachel Werbermacher
         [Yisrael Medad]
Rachav the Zonah (3)
         [Shayna Kravetz, Batya Medad, Martin Stern]
Visual Art (3)
         [Tzvi Stein, Michael Kahn, Gershon Dubin]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 23:31:19 -0400
Subject: Brachot or Tefila with no Printed Text

> Is anyone aware of halachic reference to what to do in a situation where
> one needs to make a bracha or say a tefila but doesn't have the printed
> text in front of him, and doesn't remember the exact wording? I know in
> some cases one can wait until the text is available or ask someone else.
> But what if that isn't an option? Is it better to try from memory, or
> not to say the bracha or tefila at all?

I recently received a wallet sized card with various Brochas (in Hebrew 
and in English)  for special occasions (such as seeing a rainbow.)  
It was printed in memory of Mikey Butler, ztl, and bears the title 
"Thank G-d, Day by Glorious Day" --
I am trying to determine where / how they can be obtained.

Carl A. Singer


From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Subject: Re: Forty Year Rule

The "Cherev Pifios" Cherem of 1756 actually prohibits the study of Zohar
until the age of thirty, and only prohibits studying the Kisvei Ha'Ari
until the age of forty.  To quote Schochet ("The Hassidic Movement and
the Gaon of Vilna", pp. 49-50): "The edict of communication...placed
restrictions upon the study of mystical literature by forbidding the
study of Zohar to anyone under 30 years of age, and the study of the
kabbalistic writings of the ARI to anyone not yet 40, for the
Frankists...venerated the Zohar as the only sacred text to be revealed
after the Bible and repudiated Talmud study."

I'm not sure how you drew the conclusion that it was tied to sexual
mores, but it seems more likely that the desire was simply to insure
that those studying Zohar and the like had a strong background in Talmud
and the like and would not simply toss it aside.


> From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> A while ago, the 40 year rule of not learning Kabbalah until then was
> raised.
> According to a source I have, Yosef Shapria's B'ishvilay HaGeulah, 1947,
> he claims that the Brody cherem against the Frankists from the summer of
> 1756, included an admonition not to learn Kabbalah until passing the age
> of 40 which would mean that they were more concerned about sexual mores
> than other Kabbalistic influences.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 06:59:52 +0200
Subject: Hannah Rachel Werbermacher

Re: Yael Levine Katz who wrote:

      Obviously, people chose to participate in the commemoration for
      differing reasons, and there was a wide spectrum of people. And
      incidently, there were quite a few men as well who attended.

Yishar kocheich on the article in last Friday's HaTzofe.  For those
wishing to review in Hebrew what basically appeared here last month, I
suggest reading it.

Yisrael medad


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 22:15:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Rachav the Zonah

Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...> asks:

>I don't have sources at hand, but isn't Rachav's former profession a
>machloket (dispute) between the commentaries?
>In any case, I believe a kedeisha is a specific type of prostitute, and
>that the simple pshat of "zona" is indeed a prostitute.  Is a zona
>*ever* used elsewhere in the meaning of inkeeper??

The same makhloqet arises in the reference to Yiftakh's mother in
Shoftim 11:1 as "ishah zonah".  Targum gives this as "pund'qita" = a
provisioner or, more broadly, an innkeeper, as he does for Rakhav at
Yehoshua 2:1.  Me'am Lo'ez adopts this interpretation as well.  RaLBaG
interprets "zonah" to mean a woman from another tribe whose marriage to
Gil'ad was seen as leading him astray.  RaDaK finesses the Targum to
suggest that, while the Aramaic does indeed mean "innkeeper", what the
Targum really meant, in the cases of both Mrs. Gil'ad and Rakhav, was
someone who was available to the public -- a concept that bridges both

>From a literary point of view, if it were the disgraceful truth that his
mother was a harlot, I would have expected Yiftakh's half-brothers would
have slung this allegation at him when trying to oust him from their
father's estates.  Instead, they refer only to "ben ishah akheret" --
the son of another woman (11:2).  Both RaDaK and RaLBaG point out that
the exclusion of Yiftakh from his father's inheritance by the brothers
was unjustified in Jewish law -- whether his mother was a concubine,
from another tribe, or even a harlot.  So they are providing emotional,
not legal, reasons to exclude Yiftakh.  However, Metzudat Zion suggests
that the other sons might have refrained from accusing Yiftakh with his
mother's low status in order to avoid casting shame on their father.

Kol tuv and a tzom qal to all.
Shayna in Toronto

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 06:54:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Rachav the Zonah

      Finally, the two women who come to Shlomo with the baby are called
      "zonah." Artscroll translates this as "innkeepers" (a la Rachav)
      when they almost certainly are prostitutes.

Artscroll's "translations" are sometimes rather Puritan, l'havdil, when
it comes to anything sexual.  There was some mj correspondence re: their
Shir HaShirim.  There are problems relying on their translations, making
it worse than my old Chumash, interlinear translated, with some passages
only in Hebrew.  At least it wasn't re-written.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 09:05:02 +0100
Subject: Re: Rachav the Zonah

on 20/7/04 1:27 am, Nachum Lamm <nelamm18@...> wrote:

> Martin Stern points out that in Rachav's case, "zonah" may mean
> "innkeeper."

The point I was trying to make was that it was not necessary to
translate 'zonah' as 'prostitute' and in the case of Rachav there was a
tradition that she was not one. Undoubtedly it sometimes has this
meaning but, unlike modern Hebrew usage, this was not its primary

This illustrates one major objection to the revival of Hebrew as a
spoken language, that by the very nature of language the meanings of
words tend to change over time. A simple example from English is the
verb 'to want' which originally meant 'to lack' but now almost always
means 'to desire'.  Unless one is aware of these semantic shifts one can
easily come to misunderstand classical texts as anyone reading
Shakespeare should realise.

> For hilchos kehunah, a "zonah" is not an actual prostitute, but a
> sexual history is certainly a factor.

In the same issue, Daniel Raye wrote:

> I have always found it puzzling why some of the commentators stress that
> in the case of Rachav "Zonah" means an innkeeper. I haven't checked all
> instances in Tanach but all those I can think of, in the Torah, at
> least, can only mean "prostitute" - e.g. why should a Cohen be
> prohibited from marrying an "innkeeper" (maybe this could be extended to
> any woman who is a good cook?). In fact, Rachav's being a prostitute would
> have been of help to the spies, given that she may well have had local
> leaders as her clients (cf. the Profumo affair in the UK in the 1960s,
> and countless other political scandals in recent years).

This case backs my objection in that a 'zonah' for the purposes of
'hilchot kehunah' is defined as a woman who has had sexual relations
with someone whom she could not marry, with or without her consent (note
emphasis) and does not necessarily reflect on her virtue. In the wake of
the pogroms in Russia some hundred years ago there were many sha'alot on
this point regarding women who were raped by pogromists but no one would
have dreamed of calling them prostitutes.

As regards Daniel's final point, an innkeeper would also probably have
have been aware of much the same information from overhearing the
conversations of customers in varying stages of inebriation, and so it
is not necesary to postulate that she was a prostitute for these

> Finally, the two women who come to Shlomo with the baby are called
> "zonah." Artscroll translates this as "innkeepers" (a la Rachav) when
> they almost certainly are prostitutes.

This is not nearly as certain as Nachum would seem to think though I am
inclined to find the translation inn-keeper somewhat questionable in
this context. However I seem to remember seeing an interesting
explanation of the incident whose source escapes me.

According to it, the reason for the women's strange behaviour was
explained that they were in fact a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and
the son/husband died but it was not certain whether this was before or
after the birth of the two children (an uncle and nephew). If the uncle
died first there were no complications but if the nephew died first then
the unfortunate widow would have been tied to the remaining child as a
yevamah. Because of the doubt as to whether her husband had predeceased
his birth she could not undergo yibbum but would require chalitsah which
would prevent her remarrying for at least 13 years. Because of the
traditional enmity between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law
(obviously not universal but certainly a factor in some cases), the
former wanted to ensure this should happen. Thus the problem was much
more serious than it appears at first sight.

Can anyone provide the source of this explanation?

Martin Stern


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 08:11:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Visual Art

>As to whether it would be permissable to view nude art in the context of
>art study.

I don't know much about the halacha of this, but I do remember a frum
friend of mine who was a very serious artist having a very tough time of
it, because he would refuse to participate in the sketch classes when
they would have nude female models in.  It seems that sketching nude
female models is considered an "essential" component of art education in
every art school for some reason.  My friend said that even with his
extensive background in art, he didn't really understand why the schools
endowed it with such importance.  He was willing to sketch nude male
models or clothed females but that was not enough for the schools.

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 14:18:51 -0400
Subject: RE: Visual Art

>As to whether it would be permissable to view nude art in the context
>of art study. It would appear that it should be permissable.  Though I
>have not found anyone that specifically discusses this, there is a
>similar issur that would shed light on this.  In the context of Avodah
>Zorah, which is just as strict as Gilui Ariyot, it is not permitted to
>even read about the variuos Avodah Zarahs.  However, if one sole
>purpose is to understand them, that is, to learn about them then it is

What is the definition of to learn from them? I think heads of Sanhedrin
were permitted to study avoda zara so that they might know how to
identify, and kill, someone who was ovad avoda zara. But otherwise, I
know of no instance when one may study avoda zara. To my knowledge,
there is no heter of studying avoda zara merely to study it.

>Therefore, in the context of nudes, where the prohabition would be
>gilui arious, if ones purpose is not to engage in licitoiusness or the
>like, instead, it is for another purpose, that is to study art it
>should be permissable.

Again, "studying it" is not a heter. Of course one may look at nudity
for a bona fide purpose, such as a doctor examining a patient. And even
in such a case, the gemara in Taanis tells us that there was a blood
letter who avoided seeing the naked body of his patients. He had some
type of garment with holes in it through which he would draw the blood.
But I can't imagine that one may study nude art.

I'll be honest. In my college you are required to take an art class,
with nude paintings and all. And I sat through it. Likewise, I was
required to take a philosophy course in which I learned kfira. But I
believe that it is important for me to refrain from justifying what I
did on hallachik grounds merely because I did it.

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2004 16:46:59 GMT
Subject: Visual Art

From: Roger Jefferson <rogerjefferson1975@...>

<<it is not permitted to even read about the variuos Avodah Zarahs.
However, if one sole purpose is to understand them, that is, to learn
about them then it is permissable.>>

You misunderstand that halacha.  The permission to study AZ in order to
know about them is ONLY for a dayan (judge) who needs to be able to
identify is something is actually AZ in order to acquit/convict someone
of engaging in this type of practice.

A contemporary example might be when a prominent rabbi was sent to India
recently to determine if the hair resulting from Indian tonsure
practices was in fact AZ and the wigs made therefrom forbidden to use,
or not AZ and permitted.

There is no blanket "academic" permission to study AZ. By extension,
your proof for nudity in art has no basis, since there is no application
where one would need to determine the status of a nude painting.



End of Volume 43 Issue 57