Volume 49 Number 48
                    Produced: Wed Aug 10  5:16:29 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Disengagement ethics (3)
         [Yisrael Medad, Arie, <ERSherer@...>]
Gender and Sex
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Jew, Jewish, and Jewess (was: Gender and Sex)
         [Mike Gerver]
Personal Status / Polygamy
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Polygamy and the rabbis of the Talmud
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Visitors in Shul
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Yoledet Lighting Candles
         [Batya Medad]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 22:17:50 +0200
Subject: Disengagement ethics

If I may add my personal amazement in this matter:

Just two months ago, no more than maybe 200-300 (or even less perhaps)
Hareidim demonstrated against the planned continuation of Highway 6 in
the north because it would run over (or near) graves.  Minister Sheetrit
went bonkers.  Nevertheless, within two weeks, the construction closed
down and they went back to the drawing boards.

Yet despite the fact that 46 graves which for sure contain dead Jews
will be disinterred from Gush Katif and not one Hareidi is actively
protesting this.

Yisrael Medad

From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 2005 00:11:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Disengagement ethics

 Eliyahu Shiffman wrote in mj 49/45

>One questiion I have with respect to the disengagement is, given 
>all the current halachically-based objections to the 
>disengagement plan, why was there little or no halachic objection 
>publicly expressed when PM Ehud Barak took Israel out of 
>southern Lebanon in 2000?  I would have thought that, if leaving 
>Gaza presents a halachic problem, all the more so would leaving 
>southern Lebanon present one, since its status as part of Eretz 
>Yisrael is more definite than is Gaza's.  Is the reason based on 
>the fact that only the IDF was in control of southern Lebanon (that 
>there were no civilian settlements)?  Or is this inconsistency 
>based on emotional and/or politically factors?

No inconsistency - you HAVE to take into account official, 
accepted, political borders. Lebanon is (theoretically, at least) a 
sovereign state, one we went into in order to rid it of terrorists who 
made life hell for the upper Galil settlements, since the Lebanese 
weren't doing it. 

Gaza was a protectorate, sort of, that Egypt never "owned", really 
didn't want and actually refused to take "back" when we left Sinai,
and was an area  which Hashem returned to our control in the six 
day war.

(For the general information of you all out there - yehuda veshomron 
had no real status either - they were annexed illegally by Jordan in
the early 50's, and no one but two countries ever recognized that 
annexation. Since these areas had no status, and we took them - 
b'siyata diShmaya - in 1967, in a defensive war, we have the better 
legal right to them under international law - but who cares...)
Oh - and I don't think Gaza's status as part of Eretz Yisrael is in 
doubt - other parts of Sinai, yes, Eilat and southern Negev yes, but 
not Gaza.)


From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 22:28:04 EDT
Subject: Re: Disengagement ethics

> little or no halachic objection publicly expressed when PM Ehud Barak
> took Israel out of southern Lebanon in 2000?

    (1)This was Labor in power at the time, and ready to give away any 
reminder that Israel. Do these people know what halachah means?
    (2) What happened to Ehud Barak in the next election?


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 12:59:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Gender and Sex

Meir says that the use of "gender" used for "sex" is misplaced modesty
as opposed to an attempt at political correctness.  Avi quotes the
American Heritage and Compact Oxford dictionaries to support his use of
"gender" that way.

Meir is not necessarily too far off; the widespread use of "sex" to
connote sexual activity is relatively recent (in the Webster Second, it
is the third definition, labeled "psychol"), and some people's use of
"gender" may be a reaction to that.  But I think the term "gender" came
in to "official" use because those advocating "equality" between two
groups who are biologically very different wanted to downplay these
differences, to get away from characterizations like "the weaker sex" or
"the fairer sex", and to get people into the mindset that that the only
difference was a grammatical one. Subliminally, it might be perfectly ok
to make distinctions based on sex, but not based on "gender". So that's
why it's pc, not merely prudish.

As for Avi's point, he might add to that the third edition of Fowler.
But that does not sway me.  There is an old debate between people like
Theodore Bernstein who believe that there is such a thing as proper
usage, and that a dictionary should reflect that; and those who believe
language is what it is, and that a dictionary should reflect only how
people use words.  I know I am caricaturing Avi's position, but the
logical extension of the second position is Ebonics.


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 17:09:23 EDT
Subject: Jew, Jewish, and Jewess (was: Gender and Sex)

Meir (<meirman@...>), in v49n44, gives an excellent analysis of a
phenomenon that surely all Jews, at least those of a certain age range
who grew up in English speaking countries, are aware of, viz. that it is
somehow embarrassing to use the word "Jew," and better to use a
circumlocution involving the word "Jewish." In the 1960s Broadway revue
"Beyond the Fringe," someone (I think it was Jonathan Miller, but
possibly Peter Cooke or Dudley Moore) utters the very funny line, "I'm
not a Jew. I'm JewISH," with the stress on the last syllable.

But I think Meir is off base when he says,

      We should also start using "Jewess" whenever it fits the sentence.
      That appears to be another word the antisemites have given a
      negative meaning to in the ears of many, but even if this can't be
      proven, it's a good word and we should use it.

I think "Jewess" sounds odd for the same reason that words like
"sculptress," "stewardess" and "chairwoman" sound odd now, although they
didn't sound odd 40 years ago--because they imply that a Jew, a
sculptor, a steward, and a chairman are archetypically male, and need to
be specifically identified as female if they are female. By eliminating
the "-ess" words, and using the generic words for both men and women, or
replacing them with new generic words like "flight attendant" and
"chair," if it is too difficult to dissociate the old words from the
archetype, this assumption is avoided. If there is some reason to
identify the sex of the person in question, this can be done with
adjectives, for both men and women.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 09:06:16 -0700
Subject: Personal Status / Polygamy

>polygamy have always been presented to me as exceptionnal.  When
>families with 2 wives immigrated to Israel, they were recognized as
>legal based on the "personal status" rules.

Suppose a woman with two husbands immigrated to Israel from a country
where that is permitted?  Suppose (more realistically) that a gay
married couple immigrated to Israel from Massachusetts, USA?  What then
of "personal status" rules?  I have the creepy feeling that the only
wiggle room is for Polygamy.



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Aug 05 21:16:00 -0400
Subject: Polygamy and the rabbis of the Talmud

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
> Two things come to mind.
> The story of the guy who was bald because his young wife pulled out
> his white hairs, while his old wife pulled the dark ones.

I heard or read about that story many times. I don't know where it is
from. I never heard a name associated with it. It is my impression that
that does not concern a Rabbi - or even any particular person at all. It
is more like a mashal - a simile.

> The tana or amora who married many women in a famine year, so that as
> wives of a kohen, they could eat from truma.

That was Rabbi Tarfon, one of the most famous Tannaim. I read about this
only a little while ago. That source did not say where it comes from.
The context of the article was that Rabbi Tarfon was critizied for not
giving Tzedakah. He said he did but the reply was not as much as he
should. This was so even though he had done this.

The two talmedei Chachamim boki b'shah wouldn't think of this because
these weren't real marriages, although they were legal marriages, and
The Jewish Encyclopedia of course says "mentioned as having lived in
polygamy" - and it may have picked that phraseology precisely because of
Rabbi Tarfon.

Maybe given the name Rabbi Tarfon somebody can find the exact source and
more details.

These were all widows. The question could be raised, why did Rabbi
Tarfon marry all these women himself, instead of maybe getting other
Cohanim to do this? The answer would be in order to make sure this was
done properly and that nobody took advantage of the situation, and then
he would have been trusted more. If he divorced them, neither he nor any
other Kohen would be able to remarry them, so it also would be
important not to divorce them too soon, nor too late (if they had
someone they actually wanted to marry) one

Another thought: Probably in many cases these women also had children
and I think they would have been covered too, as members of his

I think this could have been after the destruction of the Temple - we
still had ashes opf the Parah Adumah or a supply of them for quite a
long time. The ashes could be diluted and mixed with other ashes iof I
am right. So people really ate Terumah.

Nowadays terumah can only be eaten by animals in a Jerusalem zoo
(where it has been arranged that they technically belong to a Kohen)
While a Kohen must be tahor to eat terumah, that does not apply to an
animal belonging to a Kohen. (I think it may have bene Rabbi SLifkin who
arranged this)


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 2005 12:25:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Visitors in Shul

Bernie Raab writes about being required to wear a hat as a condition of
getting the amud, and ultimately declining the honor after being
presented with a beautiful one as a loan.

Although the situation is a bit different, there is a well-known and
popular mincha minyan in downtown Brooklyn, NY.  While regulars
substantially outnumber transient visitors, the amud is awarded strictly
according according to the priorities in the MB.  (Every day, the
gabbai--a Yekki, although the minyan davens nusach sfard-- calls out:
"Does anybody have yahrzeit? Is anybody in shloshim? Any other chiyuvim?
Any volunteers?) The only requirement is that the sheliach tzibur wear a
jacket--I remember that a hat is optional.  A couple of times when the
prospective shatz didn't have a jacket, the gabbai offered his.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Aug 2005 21:51:40 +0200
Subject: Yoledet Lighting Candles

It has been a long time, decades, since I was a yoledet, and not all of
the births necesitated being hospitalized over Shabbat, but I do
remember lighting candles.  My Israeli kids were born in Shaare Tzedek.



End of Volume 49 Issue 48