Volume 49 Number 38
                    Produced: Thu Aug  4 20:52:24 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Pidyon-ha-Ben Question
         [Leah S. Gordon]
come-and-hear.com: avoid it like the plague (3)
         [Art Werschulz, Perry Zamek, Nathan Lamm]
Making Threats you dont intend to keep
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Marriage of a rape victim
         [Perry Zamek]
Mishebayrach for the Isha Yoledet
         [Martin Stern]
Pidyon haBen
         [Immanuel Burton]
Polygamy and the rabbis of the Talmud
         [David Curwin]
Pressure to Get Married (3)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Meir, Russell Jay Hendel]


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 09:56:44 -0700
Subject: Another Pidyon-ha-Ben Question

Does a firstborn son born to a Jewish mother need a pidyon-ha-ben
if there is no father, or if there is a nonJewish father?
(When I say no father, you may variously consider:
1. deceased father
2. divorced father
3. unknown father
4. sperm donor "father"



From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 11:19:51 -0400
Subject: come-and-hear.com: avoid it like the plague

Hi all.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...> said:

> A google search on Cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom polygamy finds
> http://www.come-and-hear.com/editor/polygamy-orthodox/

Please avoid Carol Valentine's come-and-hear.com website.

(1) It uses the Soncino translation of the Talmud, without permission of
    Soncino.  Valentine's protestations to the contrary notwithstanding,
    this is a violation of copyright law.

(2) It's antisemitic.  Valentine starts with "America Under the Talmud:
    Will It Work for US?", a series of articles that claims that
    Talmudic law is coming to America, with all its laws being enforced
    on all Americans.  She then goes on to include "The Jewish Religion:
    Its Influence Today" by Elizabeth Dilling. If you want to know more
    about Dilling, you can go to
    http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.cgi?path=2802894487938 Suffice
    it to say that she was pro-Nazi during the Bad Old Days.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:56:28 +0200
Subject: Re: come-and-hear.com: avoid it like the plague

The come-and-hear site is, in my opinion, virulently anti-Jewish - in
spite of the fact that it has the bulk of the Soncino Talmud there. The
articles use selected quotes from the Talmud to prove all sorts of nasty
things about the Jews and their practices, in a sort of "see for
yourself in their own words" approach.

Perry Zamek

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 08:14:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: come-and-hear.com: avoid it like the plague

Hillel Markowitz cites the "Come and hear" webpage.

This is a viciously anti-Semitic webpage, well disguised. It basically
pulls whatever extreme views it can find off the net (or out of the
Talmud) and passes them off as mainstream. I wouldn't be surprised if
much of it was written by the author.

At the Yeshiva University Museum's excellent Talmud exhibit (closing
soon!), there's a section with computers showing webpages about the
Talmud. This one is included, as it has much of the Soncino translation
online. I assume the curator didn't realize the source- or perhaps we
can say it's in keeping with some of the old editions and translations
on display elsewhere in the exhibit that were published as a tool to
attack Jews!

Nachum Lamm


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 05:32:27 GMT
Subject: RE: Making Threats you dont intend to keep

Over and above Davids point that sooner or later someone will call you
bluff there are legal problems (in certain situations). The Rambam (Laws
of Plaintiff and Defendant, (TOAYN VENITAN) Chapter 16, End) states that
the verse STAY **FAR** AWAY FROM FALSEHOOD applies to certain court
situations: e.g. If your friend owes you $100 and is reluctant to pay
you shouldn't sue for $200 so that he will confess to half. Similarly if
3 people are owed money, then two of them should not claim to be
disinterested witnesses to a loan to the third party so that they can
back the money that is rightfully theirs To be fair these items apply to
courts but perhaps we can learn from them in other situations 

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:47:39 +0200
Subject: RE: Marriage of a rape victim

Bernie Raab referred to Nicholas Kristoff's op-ed piece in the NY Times,
regarding the treatment of Pakistani women who have been raped.

The impression I received was that this shunning of such women was not
so much because of the Islamic context but because of the local cultural
context. One would have to see whether the official Islamic sources view
a rape victim as being impure or not.

That being said, Bernie's concluding paragraph makes sense - the Torah
seeks to promote the welfare of the victim - sometimes even at the
expense of the offender, IF the victim so chooses.

Perry Zamek


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 20:56:35 +0100
Subject: Re: Mishebayrach for the Isha Yoledet

on 4/8/05 11:11 am, Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...> wrote:
> I think it would be entirely inappropriate for anyone other than the
> husband/father (or, if possible the new mother herself) or a direct
> emissary thereof to mke such a mishebayrach ... just as tradition
> holds it inappropriate to enquire about a man's wife in his absense.

It is not uncommon for her father (or father-in-law)/grandfather to do
so but Ari is absolutely correct as regards a non-relative. IMHO it
would be even more than entirely inappropriate for someone to publicise
that he has been what used to be called 'living in sin' with the mother
to do so, as it would be a scandalous advertising of disdain for Jewish

Martin Stern


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 11:32:35 +0100
Subject: Re: Pidyon haBen

>>Does a Jewish man married to a geyoras [convert] and has a son who is
>>the first born to mother and father need a pidyon haben? Can you quote

The first born has to be the first born of the mother to be considered
for Pidyon haBen.  This is not affected by the father having had
children by another woman.  On a side note, the first-born with regards
to getting a double portion in the inheritance is the first-born of the
father, so it is possible that the first-born who has the Pidyon haBen
is not the same child as the first-born who gets the double portion.

A friend of mine knows someone who invited his children to a Pidyon
haBen, as his second marriage was to a woman who had never had children.
Rare as the ceremony of Pidyon haBen is, this must be an ever rarer type
of Pidyon haBen!

Immanuel Burton.


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Aug 2005 13:40:14 +0300
Subject: Polygamy and the rabbis of the Talmud

Mark Steiner wrote:

>I find it quite interesting that, as far as I know (and I
>checked this with two talmidei hakhamim who know "shas" backwards and
>forwards) there is no evidence whatever of polygamy among the Tannaim or
>Amoraim, despite the plethora of legal discussions of polygamy.  To put
>it another way, I (and, more importantly, my informants) cannot come up
>with a single Tanna or Amora who had more than one wife (at a time).

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia ( 
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=425&letter=P ):

"Of all the rabbis named in the Talmud there is not one who is mentioned
as having lived in polygamy. The general sentiment against polygamy is
illustrated in a story related of the son of R. Judah ha-Nasi
(Ket. 62a). A peculiar passage in the Targum (Aramaic paraphrase) to
Ruth iv. 6 points to the same state of popular feeling. The kinsman of
Elimelech, being requested by Boaz to marry Ruth, said, "I can not
redeem; for I have a wife and have no right to take another in addition
to her, lest she be a disturbance in my house and destroy my
peace. Redeem thou; for thou hast no wife."

Browsing around the internet, I found reference to an article that might
have more information:

Lowy, S.: The extent of Jewish polygamy in talmudic times. Journal of Jewish 
Studies 9 (1958), p. 115-138

-David Curwin


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 13:06:30 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Pressure to Get Married

>From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
--- cut to save bandwidth -----
>Whoever COVETS (Chamad)male or female servants or the house and utensils
>of his friend or any item that can be purchased from him,and he
>pressured him with friends and pestered him until he takes it---even
>though he paid him a huge amount, nevertheless, he violates a negative
>prohibition LO TACHMOD Ex20:13, Dt05-17. There are no lashes on this
>prohibition because there is no act. The prohibition is only violated if
>the object is actually taken as it says: and you chamad money and gold
>and take for yourself (Dt07-25)
>Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/

I think that you may misunderstand what is being said.

Assume Reuven owns the property.  What is forbidden is for Shimon to
pressure Reuven to sell it.  You seem to be saying that what is
forbidden is for Reuven to pressure Shimon to buy it (which is the
marriage analogy).  I do not think that is the case.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 18:02:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Pressure to Get Married

  Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...> said:

>Additionally (to everything else said) there is a Biblical prohibition
>of COVETING which the Rambam (Murder Chapter 1) defines as a
>prohibition of PRESSURING SOMEONE into BUYING SOMETHING(even if the
>price is right

Is this the only prohibition covered by the 10th Commandment?  What
about acts of coveting that I might do myself, wanting something for
myself, without anyone pressuring me into it?

Or things one doesn't buy, like someone else's success or charm or good
looks?  Surely it is possible to covet those.

>and even if no force is used and even if he consents).

This whole thing is not p'shat, is it?  Even as a d'rash, unless I want
a woman who is already married, how could wanting to marry be coveting
someone's wife.  Unless the person pressuring me wants me to marry
someone who is already married, how could pressuring me to marry be

>In other words this is a serious Biblical crime.

I have friends who would be happy to hear this.  ;)

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA

From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 2005 00:44:16 GMT
Subject: Pressure to Get Married

In Volume 49 Number 33 Rabbi Teitz challenges my assertion that
the COVET prohibitions Biblically prohibit pressuring a person
into marrying somebody. Rabbi Teitz states

>>the Rambam defines the prohibition of coveting as pressuring someone
>>into _selling_ something.  By what stretch of the imagination and what
>>torture of the language does coveting include >>pressuring someone to

First: Paradoxically, Rabbi Teitz has met me halfway and agrees in one
case. Indeed the act of marriage consists of the man buying (the rights
to have relations with the woman). Therefore the woman is the seller;
she sells the right to have relations with her. Throughout Jewish law
the marriage act is called an act of acquisition. It immediately follows
that it is prohibited to pressure a girl into marrying someone since
this is exactly what Rabbi Teitz considers prohibited: the prohibition
of pestering to sell.

Next: Perhaps a non-marriage illustration will clarify "what is
bothering me." According to Rabbi Teitz, situation (A), Say, Avi has
everyone on mail jewish email me to **sell** my computer to Rabbi Teitz,
would be a violation of coveting, but situation (B), say Avi has
everyone on mail Jewish email Rabbi Teitz to **buy** my computer would
not be a violation of coveting. Rabbi Teitz does have a point (The
prohibition is phrased in terms of pestering the owner to sell). But I
also have a point--after all situations (A) and (B) "look the same."
They are both pestering. They both result in the same transaction. Why
should one be prohibited while the other is permissable.

Finally, Rabbi Teitz's objection can be answered by citing several
BIblical examples where the Bible states a general law by focusing on a
typical case. For example (#1 Rashi Dt22-23a) the Bible describes "rape
in a field" even though the law applies to any rape (but rapes usually
happens in fields) (#2 Ex21-28a) Similarly the laws of torts are phrased
in terms of damages by Oxen but all Rishonim (following the Talmud)
apply this to damages done by any animal (but oxen were the usual
animals who did torts)

But then it is clear why I generalized the coveting laws to buying as
well as selling. In practice if a person wants to sell something (s)he
doesn't care to WHOM he sells it he only cares about the money.So the
usual situation of pressuring is when there is no wish to transact (the
owner wishes to keep the object) and he is pestered to sell it. But if
the COVET prohibition is a prohibition of PESTERING it doesnt seem
material to restrict the prohibition to selling vs buying (and the
language of the Bible dealing with selling is because pressure in
selling is the usual case)

I believe there is further room for discussion here. In passing I dont
see cause for Rabbi's Teitz's harsh language; I dont believe I have
"tortured language" or "stretched the imagination". My example above
using situations (A) and (B) clearly shows where I am coming from (I am
not arguing here I am right; rather I am arguing that my point of view
is reasonable)

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


End of Volume 49 Issue 38