Volume 50 Number 26
                    Produced: Mon Nov 28  5:47:18 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ketubah (3)
         [J. B. Gross, Chana Luntz, Orrin Tilevitz]
Ketubat non-Betulah
         [Nathan Lamm]
Obligation in Minyan
         [Aliza Berger]
Prayer for the State of Israel - one more time (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Joseph I. Lauer]
Where do you go to school
         [Chaim Shapiro]


From: J. B. Gross <yaabetz@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 20:29:38 -0500
Subject: Ketubah

Sholom Parnes wrote:
> ... It seems to me that once the couple has divorced, there is no need
> for the ketubah to remain intact as they are no longer living together.
> ... Similarly, the "get" itself, is destroyed once it has been delivered
> to the wife. ...

The get is essentially a "cancelled check" once given.  The ketuba, on
the other hand, records obligations that (in part) only come due upon
divorce, and so remains in force (and belongs in the wife's possession)
until settled.

Incidentally, a couple's kesuba should be in the wife's sole possession
during marriage.  If the document is entrusted to the husband (sits in a
safe deposit box to which he has the key, or sits in a dresser drawer or
hangs on a wall where he has equal access), the wife is basically
converting the written obligation to an oral debt, since she is trusting
the debtor (the husband) to protect the evidence she would need to
collect.  A solution is for a trusted third party to hold it on behalf
of the wife.

From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 22:06:10 +0000
Subject: Ketubah

Sholom Parnes writes
>Perhaps I have missed some of this thread.
>It seems to me that once the couple has divorced, there is no need for 
>the ketubah to remain intact as they are no longer living together. 
>Furthermore, the ketubah acts as a promissary note for the financial 
>obligations of the husband towards the wife. If we allow the ketubah to 
>remain intact after the divorce is over and it is in the hands of the 
>ex-wife, she can claim that she was never paid or that she was never 
>divorced. This way, we ensure that the Ketubah does indeed become a 
>"chaspa b'alma". (see Anonymous in MJ 50/19)

I think that what Anonymous is getting at is not so much that, but the
fact that it is common practice for the wife to waive her ketuba as part
of divorce proceedings, and if in fact she is required to so waive it
and for it then to be confiscated, without it being collected upon.

And, if you are a half knowledgeable wife, you know that on the day it
is given to you.  That is, if you know anything about gitten, at the
moment you are standing under the chuppah, and hearing all these large
sums of money being promised to you (and in Israel where I got married
they were pretty reasonable amounts of money) and taking the document,
you, if you are half knowledgeable, also know that those promises aren't
worth the paper/fancy parchment they are written on, at least vis a vis
divorce, because nobody but nobody is allowed by the beitei din to
collect (certainly in chutz l'aretz where we knew we were intending on
living, but from what I understand in Israel as well).

And I am not sure that the argument about validity on death holds much
water either, because I don't know of anybody who ever collected on her
ketuba on death either.  Most women inherit on death via some sort of
will (admittedly some people go to great lengths to ensure the halachic
validity of the will by having it vest moments before death or some
such, while others rely on those poskim who hold that, for dina
d'malchusa dina reasons or otherwise, a modern day will is valid) and if
there is no will, the woman usually inherits due to the intestacy
distributions of the local State.

So the question to my mind remains, if the expectation of the woman, the 
husband, and all the eidim is that this is not a document capable of 
being collected, because of the actions of the beitei din at the time of 
divorce, why does that not render it a chaspa b'alma from day one, 
meaning nobody (or at least nobody but the ignorant in front of the 
ignorant) could get married?

Chana Luntz

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 2005 19:35:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ketubah

My impression is that destroying the ketubah as part of the get is not
necessarily standard operating procedure so long as the bet din is
assured it's permanently out of the ex-wife's possession.  I know one
professional witness at gittin.  When he sees a ketubah he likes, he
asks to keep it.  The walls outside his apartment are decorated with
"expired" ketubot.  (By contrast, from what I've seen, destroying the
get is standard operating procedure.  The ex-husband and wife are given
documents from the bet din certifying the get.)


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 06:14:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Ketubat non-Betulah

Wendy Baker wrote:

> ...those converted before the age of three were permitted to marry
> anyone, even a kohane.

I'm fairly certain this is not the case. Does anyone know the halakha


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 19:28:16 +0200
Subject: Obligation in Minyan

I have been following this thread with interest and am glad Chana
brought it up. I have a few thoughts.

ERSherer wrote:
> How do you know, on any given day, that there will be a minyan without
> you.  The selfish one is he who "doesn't need" a minyan, because he's
> not saying kaddish and has no yahrzeit today, so he doesn't go to
> shul.

A rotation would solve this problem and might relieve stress (for those
families where the men go all the time, leaving the wives with all the
work) and/or guilt feelings (for those who for various reasons don't go
to minyan) on the part of husbands and wives.

The following true story could either elicit admiration or a feeling of
"this is going too far": A teenage male relative had a babysitting job, and
arranged for another boy to fill in for him for half an hour so that he
could go to shul for ma'ariv. He was not saying kaddish and there was never
any problem collecting a minyan in that particular shul. What do people
think of this?

It is interesting to note a ruling that, from my experience, is observed
more in the breach: The Mishnah Berurah (don't have exact source handy,
but it's probably in the laws of tahanun) states that a hatan
(bridegroom) should avoid participating in a minyan because he causes
the congregation not to be able to say tahanun. (Ari Zivotofsky
mentioned this ruling in an article in either Jewish Action or the
Jewish Observer, to make a different point that I don't recall.) Has
anyone had experience of following this halakhah?

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 16:50:05 EST
Subject: Prayer for the State of Israel - one more time

We have discussed the authorship of the Prayer for the State of Israel
numerous times in Mail Jewish. Yesterday, November 25, 2005, the daily
Yediot Acharonot wrote on page 18 (Hebrew) that the original manuscript
was just acquired by Bar Ilan University at an auction for $2,800 and it
is in the handwriting of Nobel Laureate Shmuel Yoseph (Shai) Agnon. This
implies that we have now settled this ongoing debate and we have the
proof that Agnon was the only author. However, if one searches the web
and other sources for the authorship of this tefila, one finds the

<<The authorship of the prayer is unclear. Some say it was written by
Chief Rabbis Yitzhak Herzog and Ben Zion Uziel with the assistance of
other rabbis. Others suggest that the prayer was revised by the rabbis
after suggestions made by Nobel Laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon, one of the
pioneers of modern Hebrew literature. Still others are convinced that
Agnon wrote the prayer himself and that it was later adopted by the
Chief Rabbinate.>> 
Source: The above sentence appears in various Internet sites.

The Yediot Acharonot further states that it was Agnon who asked that the
names of the two Chief Rabbis be cited as the authors in order to make
it more palatable to the general public.

The prayer was first published in the daily Hatzofeh on September 20,
1948. (based on www - I did not examine this 1st publication myself).

A word by word comparison to this newly discovered manuscript will tell
us more about this prayer, but not necessarily the entire story as it is
quite reasonable that Agnon wrote the first draft, presented it to the
two Chief Rabbis (or even to the Chief Rabbinate as a group), who sat
with him and suggested some changes. Agnon re-wrote that final draft.

In MailJewish v38n74 (2003) Joseph I. Lauer wrote:

<<  The reference was in the first page of a long essay by Rav Herzog
dealing with the problem of a Get possibly given under coercion, "B'Inyan
Ch'shash L'Get M'Usah".  The essay was reprinted in Osef Maamarim Mitoch
Chovros HaDarom L'Tsiyun HeAsor HaRishon -- Collected Essays from
HaDarom in the First Decade of its Publication, p. 42 (RCA, New York,
5726/1966).  In the second paragraph of the essay, Rav Herzog refers, in
part (in Hebrew), to the State of Israel, "Shehi K'mo SheKinitiha
B'Nusach HaTefilla SheYasadti 'Reishit Tz'michat Geulatenu'" ["which is
as I entitled her in the text of the prayer that I established 'Reishit
Tz'michat Geulatenu'" (my translation)].  Thus, Rav Herzog claimed for
himself authorship of the phrase.>>

"SheYasadti" or "SheYisadti" could mean either he had [A.] written it
and [B.] established the practice to recite it, or that he had only
established the practice to recite it without a claim of authorship.
Running a search of "SheYasadti" on Bar Ilan CD/ROM shows that in
rabbinic style writing it is more likely that he meant "I have written
it", whereas a Google search of modern Hebrew suggests a more likely
translation is "established it". I cannot tell for sure which one he

So, who is the author of the "Tefila li'Shelom Ha-Medinah"?

We have several options:

1. The prayer was written by Nobel Laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon and Rabbi
Hezog (seating as the head of the Rabbinate or on his own) established
it but did not write it.

2.The prayer was revised by Rabbi Hezog (acting as the head of the
Rabbinate or on his own) after it was authored by Nobel Laureate Shmuel
Yosef Agnon. Agnon then put it together in a final form.

3. Chief Rabbis (or Rabbi Herzog himself) wrote it and Agnon put in a
final form.

What we do know now for sure is that both Agnon and the Rabbi Herzog had
a hand in the establishment of this prayer as the norm. Further research
on this newly discovered manuscript might reveal which of the 3 options
above is the correct one.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 18:00:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Prayer for the State of Israel - one more time

    To add to the mystery of who wrote the Prayer for the State of
Israel, last December (2004) The Jewish Week published an advertisement
from the Young Israel of Hollis Hills-Windsor Park stating that on
January 9, at 8:00 P.M., Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter would speak on "The
Contemporary Significance of the State of Israel : Messianism,
Nationalism, and the Religious Zionist Dream".

    The ad continued: "Come see Rabbi Schacter's archival discovery of
Chief Rabbi Herzog's original, unpublished version of the Prayer for the
State of Israel in his own handwriting".

    To my regret, I did not attend the speech or follow-up the ad by
seeking a copy of the handwritten Prayer from Rabbi Schacter.

    I would appreciate hearing details about the authorship of the
Prayer from anyone who did attend the speech or who has further
information on "Chief Rabbi Herzog's original, unpublished version of
the Prayer for the State of Israel in his own handwriting".

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 09:51:59 EST
Subject: Where do you go to school

In response to Carl's followup of my point regarding Orthodox Jews and
Orthodox schooling, I went to a private LD school as a young child
simply because there was no adequate place for me in the Yeshiva world
at that time.  It was a bold, brave move by my parents, as at the time,
such a move was unheard of.  I will attest to the fact that I would
likely never have made it through elementary school, let alone my
Ph.D. coursework, had I not been placed in a school that was geared for
children like me.

That being said, it certainly was NOT easy for me.  The environment
itself (which is worlds better than one can expect today) AND the fact
that I felt I didn't belong, ostensibly in that school environment as an
Orthodox Jew, but equally likely the notion that I had no place with my
friends and peers, was damaging to my well-being.

I have often said my passion for Jewish education, and my choice to work
in the secular administrate side of Yeshivas were born all those years
ago as I sat wondering why I couldn't be in school with all the other
kids in Shul.

Chaim Shapiro


End of Volume 50 Issue 26