Volume 44 Number 48
                    Produced: Fri Aug 27  6:08:57 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Following the minhagim of the husband
         [Chana Luntz]
Follow-Up on Clothing/Sleeves
         [Gershon Dubin]
New mother
         [Perets Mett]


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 23:06:07 +0100
Subject: Following the minhagim of the husband

Martin Stern  writes:

>There is a slight confusion here. A woman is expected to follow her
>husband's minhag and not her own family's when she marries, whether it
>comes out a kullah or a chumrah. For example a Sephardi woman would
>have to abstain from kitniot on Pesach on marrying an Ashkenazi and an
>Ashkenazi woman would be permitted to consume them if she married a

The position cited by Martin Stern here is that held by both Rav Ovadiah
Yosef (See Yabiat Omer volume 5, Orech Chaim siman 37) and also Rav
Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe Orech Chaim Chelek 1, siman 158).

Martin further states:

>However this only applies to communal customs NOT private chumros which
>he may have accepted. Thus the eruv problem does not come into the
>category of following his custom

This is also in accordance with the position of Rav Ovadiah Yosef in
publication "Or Torah" (Iyar Taf Shin Nun aleph) (this is all as quoted
by the Bene Banim Volume 3 siman 29) who interestingly brings three
cases to illustrate this,:

a)where a husband has accepted on himself not to eat the products of
Tenuva (the dairy company in Israel - about which I believe, although I
do not know the details, there is a chalev Israel chashash) saying the
wife does not have to take that on this chumra (which I believe is close
to a case that was cited on this list);

b)where the husband has taken on himself not to rely on the heter
mechira in relation to Shmita products; or

c)where the husband insists on only eating products with a Bedatz

And he further holds there that the husband on discovering that his wife
does not want to keep these chumras can do hetarat nedarim
[nullification of his vows] for the sake of shalom bayit [household

>With his agreement she may be allowed some leeway in these matters so
>long as it does not lead to conflict between them. For example he may
>agree that she continue to use for her private davenning the nusach
>hatephillah to which she is accustomed.

I am not sure of Martin's source for this, because based on the
underlying position of both Rav Moshe and Rav Ovadiah, I am not sure how
they would get to this conclusion.

But you should also know that the Rav Yehuda Herzl Henkin (Bene Banim
(Volume 3, siman 29) has a somewhat different take on the matter, which
leads to somewhat different conclusions.

To understand what is under discussion here, I think it valuable to
spend some time examining the underlying reasoning in these teshuvas.

Rav Moshe bases his teshuva on the established halachic concept that
somebody who moves from one place where the minhag is a certain way to a
place where the minhag is different, where he does not have any
intention to return back to his original place, changes his minhag, both
for chumras and kulas [stringencies and leniencies].  This is found in
the gemora (see eg Chulin 18b).

Rav Moshe likens a woman marrying from moving from the place of her
father to the place of her husband, without the intention to return, and
hence hold that she is obligated in the minhagim of her new place,
namely those of her husband.

However, Rav Henkin writes that he does not understand Rav Moshe's
position. This is because there is a being that there is a maklokus
between the Rabbanu Tam and R' Meir M'Rottenberg regarding if the
husband and wife have a dispute over where the couple are to live, her
home country or his home country who can force who to move. With Rabbanu
Tam holding that the position of the woman is stronger, and she can
force the man to move to her place and R' Meir holding to the contrary.
[Part of the reason behind this dispute relates to the statement in
Bereshit 2:24 that a man "leaves his father and mother and cleaves unto
his wife" - with the implication that he follows her to her hometown.]

Now while the majority of the Rishonim hold like R' Meir MiRottenberg,
because we are choshesh for the opinion of Rabbanu Tam, the Rema poskins
in Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer Siman 154 si'if 9 explicitly that "we do
not force her to go after him".

And says Rav Henkin, if this is true regarding changing actual place of
residence, which will of necessity change the minhagim that are
followed, it seems odd to be using the idea of going from place to place
as the basis for this discussion.

[The use by Rav Ovadiah of the same logic is more understandable, since
the references to allowing for the position of Rabbanu Tam are brought
only explicitly in the Rema (see also Shulchan Aruch siman 75, si'if 1)
- although it might seem that that Rema in EH siman 154 si'if 9 is
explaining not contradicting the Mechaber]

Rav Ovadiah brings a second reason for the wife following the husband's
customs, based on a teshuva of the Tashbitz who holds that the reason is
because of the concept of ishto k'gufo [a man's wife is like his own

Rav Henkin, in commenting on it, finds this concept difficult, as we
generally do not say ishto k'gufo for chiyuvim [obligations] - ie we do
not say that a woman can go and fulfil the obligations of the husband
[my example, laying tephilin] because of ishto k'kufo, nor [Rav Henkin's
example] fulfilling his nedarim [vows](Rav Henkin there has a discussion
about the one case where it might appear we say this, namely Channukah
candles, see there, if interested).

But rather, Rav Henkin seems to suggeat that the minhagim we have to day
fall into the category of nedarim [vows] (he brings the Chatam Sofer as
stating to this effect).  And therefore it would seem that this is the
governing halachic concept in this matter.

As background, one of the things you should know generally about nedarim
is that a husband has the right (stated expressly in the Torah), on the
day he hears of a vow made by his wife, to nullify that vow - although
this is limited to the case of two kinds of vow, one a vow of "inuei
nefesh" [affliction of the soul] (for examples of which see Shulchan
Aruch (Yoreh Deah 334, si'if 59 and 60 which include a vow not to wash,
or not to eat a certain fruit) and the second a vow which relates to
matters "beno u'vena" [between him and her].

Rav Henkin (and here I am expanding a little and interpreting what he
has said) appears to understand the situation where husband and wife or
chossen and kala have different minhagim as following the same
guidelines as apply to the more classic types of nedarim referred to
above.  Thus he concludes "that in matters which are not beno u'vena and
that do not have in them innui nefesh she is able to continue according
to the minagim of her father".  Although he also states that "One should
not push away the custom of the world that a woman departs from the
minhagim of her father and goes according to the minhagim of her husband
*if she wants* [emphasis mine]".  He also states "it is possible for her
to stipulate with the husband before the marriage that she will continue
to follow her minhagim".

But in any event, Rav Henkin would seem to be concluding that by rights
the right of the husband to demand that his minhagim be followed should
only apply to matters which purtain either to innui nefesh or beno

This would, it seems to me, given the Shulchan Aruch's discussion
regarding a vow against eating a certain fruit as being innui nefesh,
logically to extend to something like the wife not eating kitniot on
Pesach, and it would seem to come into the category of beno uvena in the
case of cooking for him where he expects to eat rice on pesach - but in
the reverse case, while it might extend to her not cooking or possibly
even bringing kitniot into the house, it would not seem to extend to her
eating kitniot outside eg at her parent's house - and would not seem to
relate at all to matters like what nusach she used in her personal
davening and benching (while Rav Ovadiah and Rav Moshe would seem to
require her to switch her davening and benching, because that is what is
done in the "place" of her husband and similarly not eat kitniot even in
her parents' home because she has changed places.  And even though both
would agree that one can stipulate prior to the wedding that the wedding
will only occur if one lives in a certain place, as that is clear from
the literature, the kind of half way house that Rav Henkin is allowing
for would not seem to be possible under their philosophical position).

And what Rav Henkin also says regarding the wife and husband agreeing
before they get married that the wife will retain her minhagim (or
presumably some of them) again fits within the philisophical construct
of husband and wife nedarim, where although the husband *may* nullify
his wifes nedarim, he is not *obligated* to (but if he wants to do it,
he must do it at the first available opportunity, on the day on which he
hears about it).  (Rav Henkin does not fully explain how he brings this
case within that of the classic husband/wife nedarim rule (which
generally does not extend to nedarim made by the wife before her
marriage although he refers to this concept, although it may be from his
last paragraph that he is suggesting that she is making a neder "from
anew" on the day she is married).

I confess that, for what little it is worth, I find the reasoning of Rav
Henkin more compelling than that of Rav Moshe and Rav Ovadiah - and, in
my experience, more true to what really seems to be adopted by couples
in this situation.  Because, engagements tend to be relatively short,
there is usually little time for mastery of the intricacies of davening
and bentching according to a different nusach, and my experience is that
few manage that transition during that period where the nusach is as
diverse as Ashkenaz to Edot HaMizrach or vice versa.  And yet, according
to both Rav Moshe and Rav Ovadiah, her benching and davening post
marriage would seem to be extremely bideved, while according to Rav
Henkin since the nusach of davening and benching would seem to be
neither innui nefesh or beno uvena, it would not seem incumbent on her
to change (although she could)).

In addition, couples do seem to find their own way through the quagmire,
often with a little bit of this and a little bit of that, especially if
they have thought about the issues and considered how they will handle
such matters before marriage which fits much better with Rav Henkin's

I would however suggest that anybody contemplating a marriage in which
there are very diverse minhagim give thought to some of these questions
- including matters such as - how will you feel about not saying brachot
over a lulav?  Not saying half (or more) the brachot you currently say
in the morning?  How will you feel if your daughters don't do so?  How
will you handle the discrepancies between your parent's food minhagim
and your own, and will those lead to conflict in that direction?  Do you
know how to have warm food on shabbas the Ashkenazi way if you have been
brought up with the much more lenient halachas regarding food warmth
(chazara etc) on shabbas from a Sephardi household?  How much do you
really know about the many differences in halacha (no, it is not just
rice on pesach, believe me) and are you really equipped to run a
household kitchen (if that is what you are planning to do) according to
the minhagim of your husband to be (and why don't they teach any of this
in school/Sem and just assume that you will marry within your general

And all this at a time when you have a whole host of things to do and
learn about (you have all of taharat mishpacha to master and a wedding
to plan, and all the stresses and strains of that).  While a blanket
rule of "follow the minhagim of the husband" might seem on the surface
the easiest route to shalom bayis, I personally do not believe that it
is, but rather a more flexible framework following the guidelines laid
down by Rav Henkin is far more likely to lead you in that direction, and
in all honestly, more likely to avoid put up impossible barriers to what
can be extremely successful marriages.

Chana  Luntz


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 2004 13:17:33 GMT
Subject: Follow-Up on Clothing/Sleeves

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>

<<This still leaves open the question of what parts of men's bodies
should be covered when they are in front of women who might be aroused
by seeing their bodies.  This is not answered either by what a man must
cover for his private prayer, nor by what a man should not see of a

There is no requirement of men covering anything to prevent arousal by
women; they need only cover exactly the same areas that they need cover
for making a beracha when alone or in the presence of other men.

Women have the same requirement when they are alone and wish to make a
beracha as men do in that circumstance-the erva area only.  However,
even a woman may not make a beracha in the presence of a woman who is
not fully covered as the halacha dictates when in the presence of men.

IOW, once women have those requirements in the presence of men, they
extend to the presence of other women as well.  Alone, they have the
same coverup requirements as men.  Men OTOH have the same requirements
alone or with others, men or women.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 2004 23:40:51 +0100
Subject: New mother

Akiva Miller wrote:

> Martin Stern wrote <<< The custom among Ashkenazim, as I understand it,
> is that the new mother does not go out (except in emergency situations
> of course) until she has gone to shul at a time of kriat hatorah, when
> her husband is a chiyuv (entitled to an aliyah). >>>
> This is new to me. Do you understand this to be an actual Minhag (i.e.,
> one which we're obligated to follow), or simply the current practice in
> your community? Any idea what the reasons might be?

Martin is quoting the widespread minhog amongst Ashkenazim of all
shades, that a new mother's first outside visit is to shul.

> Also, could you please clarify what you mean by <<< until she has gone
> to shul ... when her husband is a chiyuv >>>
> Do you mean that (A) new mothers do not go out until the husband has a
> yahrzeit or has to say "hagomel" or other similar situation, or (B) the
> wife's recovery and arrival at shul is a big enough simcha to justify
> entitling the husband to an aliyah,

The wife's presence at shul (if it is an occasion when the Torah is
read) creates a chiyuv of quite high priority for the husband. The only
higher priorities are a choson or barmitsvo 'bo bayoim' or a choson on
the Shabbos prior to the chasene (Shaarei Ephraim 2:1 and 2:3)

Perets Mett


End of Volume 44 Issue 48