Volume 48 Number 52
                    Produced: Mon Jun 20  6:01:17 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Accepting Psak without reviewing sources
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Asking Multiple Rabbonim a Sheilah
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
Feminism and men (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Leah Perl]
Kiddush Levana on Yom Tov and Shabbos
Leave a Shul
         [Stuart Pilichowski]
Lo Tachmod (Don't Covet)
         [Yisrael Medad]
Personal Responsibility
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Relying on the Mashgiach?
         [Gershon Dubin]
Responsa re spouse who converted to Christianity
Shabbos -- Guests
         [Carl Singer]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005 09:27:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Accepting Psak without reviewing sources

> From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
> But if you ask without such qualification, you are bound by the rov's
> response, and need his permission to seek a second opinion.  To ask a
> sheilah with no intention to be bound by the response (or to pose a
> hypothetical question as though it is of immediate practical concern) is
> real g'neivas daas, and disregards the effort that may be expended in
> coming up with a responsible decision.

This all comes back to a question I had a long time ago on mail-jewish
- where do these rules come from?  Where is the *halachic* authority
of modern rabbis established ... and who qualifies *halachicly* as a
rabbi capable of p'sak din? (again, I'm not interested in a variety of
personal opinions ... I'm looking for a halachically-supported answer).

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy49@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 16:28:21 -0400
Subject: Asking Multiple Rabbonim a Sheilah

Yerachmiel Askotzky wrote:
>But if you ask without such qualification, you are bound by the rov's
>response, and need his permission to seek a second opinion.

This approach is not necessarily the correct one.  In a published
responsum (Shu"t Divrei Chachamim, by R. Aryeh Ginsburg), Rabbi Chaim
Pinchas Scheinberg writes that one may ask a sheilah of different
poskim, even if one is looking for a kula (lenient opinion).  He bases
his p'sak on the Beit Lechem Yehuda (see Rema, Y.D. 242:31 and Beit
Lechem Yehuda, d.h. katav HaRama Figo) and essentially writes that a Rav
is not mechadesh (does not innovate) any laws today but merely goes to
the sources (gemara, rishonim and acharonim) and gives a p'sak based
upon those sources.  The sources have already been published and the Rav
knows where to look.  Moreover, not every Rav is a qualified posek,
writes Rav Scheinberg (quoting the Beit Lechem Yehuda ), so one is
allowed to seek a p'sak from more than one Rav.

It would be nice, but not necessary, according to Rav Scheinberg, to
tell the Rav that you are going for a second opinion.

I wanted to make sure that the responsum published in Divrei Chachamim
was accurate, and so I wrote to Rav Scheinberg, who wrote back a letter
expounding on the original p'sak and confirming its accuracy.  The
letter was written in 1994.

Clearly, there are bona fide opinions that allow one to ask multiple
Rabbeim a sheilah.  One is not, therefore, bound by the opinion of only
one Rav.  As for Siyata D'Shmaya not working, one may make two

1) When you ask the sheilah, you do not know in advance that you will
look for another answer.  So, you are asking in good faith.

2) One might suggest that not everyone subscribes to the idea that every
Rav is imbued with special Siyata D'Shmaya when asked a sheilah.  It may
be comforting to believe this, but it may not be reality.  Read the Beit
Lechem Yehuda cited above, who clearly disagrees with this idea.

Steven Oppenheimer, DMD


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:01:02 GMT
Subject: re: Feminism and men

Chaim Shapiro wrote <<< I was referring to the Yalkut who was obviously
speaking of European marketplaces. >>>

I do not understand how the Yalkut could possibly have been speaking of
European marketplaces. When did Dinah visit Europe? The pasuk (Bereshis
34:1) says that she went out to see the girls of "the land". Is this
"land" somewhere other than Eretz Yisrael?

Leah S. Gordon wrote <<< Anywhere that a man feels free/safe to travel
should be just as accessible/safe/expected for a woman to go. >>>

I agree that it *should* be just as safe, but in the real world, there
are some places which are more dangerous for women than for men, just
like there are some places which are more dangerous for whites than for
blacks, for blacks than for whites, and for Jews than for non-Jews.

Leah S. Gordon wrote <<< And, I stand by my point that a ("the")
marketplace is not a place that most people avoid. >>>

In most places nowadays, I totally agree. But the observation of the
Yalkut is that Dinah went to a place that she went to a place which most
women *did* avoid, and/or she went there more frequently than other
women did.

Chaim Shapiro wrote <<< I love my wife and daughter and advise both to
avoid dangerous places.  And although it is to a slightly lesser degree,
I do the same for myself. >>>

Please explain what you mean by <<< to a slightly lesser degree >>>,
because it sounds to me like you DO have different standards for men and

Akiva Miller

From: Leah Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 2005 21:44:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Feminism and men

> I have been saying nothing else but that women and men should be able
> to go to the same places and be as safe as each other.

I don't know about you, but I have never heard of a female rapist.  Men
walking in dark alleys don't become nervous if a strange woman is
walking behind them.  Whether we like it or not, there are neurological
and biological reasons for this.  Shechinta begaluta means that in our
times the female "side" of Hashem is in concealment, ergo femaleness in
general is likewise concealed, hidden, not equal.  That is an outcome of
galut.  In the future, nkevah tesovev gever -- then we can all go to the
same places and be as safe as each other.  Until then; not so.

Leah Perl 


From: HB <halfull@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 12:28:22 -0400
Subject: Kiddush Levana on Yom Tov and Shabbos

The possibility of saying Kiddush Levana on Shavos just passed and the
thought occurred to me as to why we do not say it on Yom Tov. (Since
Shavos is the only Yom Tov occurring in the first 1/2 of a month it is
also the only Yom Tov on which it might be possible to say it.)  In
addition, we dont say Kiddush Levana on Friday nights either.( unless it
is the last opportunity, in which case it may be said without a minyan
and even individually.)

A little research indicated that we dont say it on Yom Tov or Shabbos
because of Kabbalistic reasons. See Taz and Maharil etc. but the answers
all appear to be " schvach" to the point that the Ramah doesnt even
refer to them.

Can anyone explain the Kaballah or provide a different answer?

May the Moon shine down on you.


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Jun 2005 20:30:52 +0000
Subject: Leave a Shul

From: Ari Trachtenberg
>I would argue to the contrary that one has a responsibility ("arevut")
>to stay in such a shul and try constructively to improve it.  If all the
>"honorable and ethical" people leave, only dishonorable or unethical
>people will remain, feeding off each other's tendencies to the detriment
>of the Jewish people.

I believe the end of my posting suggested asking the Rabbi of the shul
what strategy he felt would be the wisest to take.

Additionally, at first glance I thought leaving the shul immediately was
the best tactic because it was unsafe (spiritually) to be in that
environment.  We were amidst a discussion of unsafe places to be around,
i.e. dark alleys, marketplaces, etc..... sinister shuls I thought should
be added to the list.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:20:50 +0200
Subject: Lo Tachmod (Don't Covet)

Mark Symons' duaghter asked:
>what might be forbidden is coveting something BECAUSE it belongs to
>someone else. Does anyone know if any of the Commentators say anything
>like this?

Of course, one could simply say that the Hebrew verb chet-mem-dalet only
refers to wanting objects that one has no ownership over but as to the
actual reasoning of the commandment, the Mechilta deals with the issue
of ownership and that you possess things because you have responsibility
over them because you purchased them.  Desiring objects you do not
legally possess, is the essence of coveting.  But, as I understand, the
question's origin is a psychological consideration, that normally one
would not want something if only because it doesn't belong to him; that
if he could easily have it, he wouldn't want it in the first place.
Maybe the following I found in the Torah Shleima might be helpful:-

a)  in the repeat version, Devarim 5:18, another Hebrew word is
used which represents the inner act of desire.  In other words,
it is not first the taking, but the irrational desire that first
creeps uo on you before the more evident covetness.
b)  the Rambam in his commentary on Mitzva #266 also notes that
in seeing a beautiful object, it is first the thought of wanting it
that begins the process.
c)  the Pesikta Raba notes that each of these Ten has a "therapy"
and that lo tachmod is balanced by lo tov heyot adam l'vado (Breishit

Yisrael Medad


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 00:22:58 -0400
Subject: Personal Responsibility

>Certainly you are correct that a woman who goes into a dark alley
>wearing a miniskirt is not to blame if a rapist attacks her; the rapist
>is to blame, 100%.  I was thinking more along the lines of "everyone,
>men and women, avoids dark alleys".

There is preumably no argument that could make the rapist less guilty.

However, doesn't the gemara say that those who enter dark ruins at night
are "miscgayev b'nofsho" (forfeit their lives) because they are entering
into a place likely to be inhabited by miscreants?

I know, the meforshim say that this may be referring to evil spirts,
etc., but the simple meaning would seem to place some blame on the lack
of judgement that leads one to enter a place where danger is likely.
The talmud's point seems to me to place at least part of the onus on the
one having poor judgement.

The story of Dinah, too, pointed out her violation of standards, and
makes the point that she had some small role in starting the whole story
off. Not to make rape "kosher" or even mitigate the blame- I do not
suggest that- but waving a red flag in front of a bull is just dumb.
Entering a dark alley in a miniskirt would appear to be equally so.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 13:36:11 GMT
Subject: Relying on the Mashgiach?

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>

<<P.S. For those curious about the stringency of having canned tuna only
if it has a hechsher, the reasoning I have heard for this is as follows:>>

For some good background and a feel for what CAN go wrong with tuna, see:




From: <hlsesq@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 11:03:57 -0400
Subject: Responsa re spouse who converted to Christianity

With respect to the question of various types of Jews and their
competence to give gittin or chalitzah, or whether it is even needed, I
know that there were several responsa dealing with this issue at the
time of the inquisition, where the spouse or brother had converted to
Christianity. For some reason I seem to recall a tshvat haradbaz on this


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 2005 07:55:55 -0400
Subject: Shabbos -- Guests

Rambam and others (Kesef Mishnah) speak to kovid Shabbos (focusing on
pre-Shabbos preparations) and Oneg Shabbos (3 meals, etc.)

Does anyone have any halachic sources re: guests on Shabbos (Hachnosos
Orchim.)  Again, I am looking SPECIFICALLY for HALACHIC sources that tie
Shabbos and Guests.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 48 Issue 52