Volume 50 Number 87
                    Produced: Tue Jan  3  4:47:35 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Changing pronounciations / words
         [Carl A. Singer]
Chinuch field
         [H. Goldsmith]
Common Law Marriage
         [Rabbi Meir Henoch Hakohen Wise]
Contribution to Judaism
         [Tzvi Stein]
Homosexuality (2)
         [Martin Stern, Avi Feldblum]
is Avoda Zara immoral?
         [David Curwin]
Labels --   was  Frum and unconventional
         [Carl A. Singer]
Not dressing like goyim
         [Carl A. Singer]
Opposition to upshirnish
         [Frank Silbermann]
Rabbi Greenberg's view
         [Daniel Nachman]


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Jan 2006 17:36:45 -0500
Subject: Changing pronounciations / words

Of late I've heard some Ba'al Kore's pronounce the "cheereek" (the
single dot under a letter) as an "i" (as in "it") rather than an "e" (as
in "be") when it is not followed by a yud.  One Rabbi told me that this
is a "more authentic" pronunciation.  On the other hand another Rabbi
told me, "my zayde didn't pronounce it like that."

Similarly, wording variations -- we had someone during brochas say
"shelo asahni nachri" rather than "shelo asahni goy" -- also likely a
more authentic wording -- BUT not the wording in the siddur that our
shul provides the Ba'al Tefilah.

I don't want to rehash the linguistic issues -- what I want to discuss
is change.  How have other congregations dealt with these issues from
the change aspect?

Personally, I find the first change to be a bit more dissonant,
especially when there's extra emphasis on this pronunciation.  I find
the second intolerable as the shul has its minhagim and someone who
knowingly substitutes their own wording is, to me, out of line.

But I do want to hear what others have to say.

Carl Singer


From: <HHgoldsmith@...> (H. Goldsmith)
Date: Sun, 1 Jan 2006 12:07:42 EST
Subject: Chinuch field

Can anyone offer some insights into the following - What are principals
looking for when hiring rebbeim for their schools, what is it like to be
a rebbe in today's classrooms, what is the average financial picture for
a rebbe, and how does his profession impact on his family life?

Thank you.
H. Goldsmith


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Henoch Hakohen Wise)
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 08:00:09 EST
Subject: Re: Common Law Marriage

In reply to Marc Dver: On the mishna in kiddushin, the Talmud says "Rav
mangid" - Rav would flog anyone who affected kiddushin by bi'ah!

The question remains then as to why this is in the mishna.  All this is
discussed in Rav Ellinson's books which I quoted earlier.  One solution
is that the mishna allowed for an emergency situation where jus
primonoxus (droight du seigneur) was in vogue for example during the
chanukah period (see hayei adam and kitzur shulchan arukh hilkhot
chanukah 1 ). It also explains why the ceremonies if Eirusin and Nesuin
were brought together with no time gap.

Rabbi Meir Henoch Hakohen Wise


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Jan 2006 11:04:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Contribution to Judaism

> From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
> >Hasiddim are often the most reactionary of all Jews and as a movement
> >(with the usual exception of Habad) have not made any new contribution
> >to Judaism in recent years (about a century). Eg today the hassidik
> >yeshiva is hardly any different from the litvishe yeshiva and the roots
> >of the movement, outreach to the simple Jewish masses, is all but lost.

> Outreach does exist amoung the Litvish community, although it may not
> exist to the extent that you may feel it should.

I think what the original poster was saying was that one of the roots of
the *Chasidish* movement was outreach to the simple Jewish masses, and
that has been lost.  You seem to be addressing outreach among the
*Litvish* community.  I don't see how that is a relevant response.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 16:12:50 +0000
Subject: Re: Homosexuality

on 2/1/06 9:52 am, Lisa Liel <lisa@...> wrote:

>> I would be interested in sources either supporting or refuting your
>> claim that homosexual thoughts may be permitted in separation from
>> (male) homosexual actions.
> With all due respect, don't you have that backwards?  Ha-motzi
> mi-chaveiro, alav ha-raayah.

With all due respect to Lisa, this principle only applies to monetary
matters (mamonot) not religious prohibitions (issurim).

Martin Stern

From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 16:12:50 +0000
Subject: Re: Homosexuality

Martin, while technically you are correct, I think that Lisa's point
still holds. At least as I understand things, halacha generally
prohibits action and speech. The nature of thought in halacha is more
complicated, I think. There is definitely a concept of "machshavos
assuros" / "forbidden thoughts", although, even given that something is
a "forbidden thought", the status of someone having that thought is not
clear to me. A request for sources here sounds reasonable to me.



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sat, 31 Dec 2005 21:39:57 +0200
Subject: is Avoda Zara immoral?

Avoda Zara is often portrayed as the antithesis of Judaism. But I've
recently wondered - what exactly is the Torah's problem with it? Is it
simply nonsense - there's only one God, and therefore to believe in an
other gods is foolish? In other words, is Avoda Zara equivalent to
believing the sun revolves around the earth?

On the other hand, it often appears that the practice of Avoda Zara is
not just nonsense, but immoral. The Torah often discusses the immoral
practices of the Egyptians and Canaanites, but the Avoda Zara of all
peoples is forbidden. In fact, it is one of the 7 Noachide laws. But
while the rest seem to be based around morality, what is inherently
immoral about Avoda Zara? Was a Native American 600 years ago or a
Chinese citizen 1000 years immoral simply because he practiced Avoda

David Curwin


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 06:36:51 -0500
Subject: Labels --   was  Frum and unconventional

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>From: Carl A. Singer:
>>Even when it's something as simple as "I eat salads at Denny's" -- When
>>you say this, what response are you expecting from me?  Why did you say
>>this?  Should I ignore your statement?  Do you want me to give you
>>mussar?  Do you want me to say that understand?  Should I hug you  :) 
>Somehow, I doubt that such a confidante is looking for mussar from you
>(unless that's your reputation). I think he is probably trying to gauge
>how far out of the mainstream he (or you) are. Why not just tell him
>"yes so do I" or "no I won't even take a coffee in their mug", or
>whatever. If you don't want to be so engaged it's easy to avoid a direct
>response, but why take offense?

Good points.  

However, if this person wants me to be their confidant (one to whom
secrets are intrusted) -- (1) why should I accept that role and its
responsibilities and (2) why should I reciprocate?  My eating habits are
none of this stranger's business -- any more than his, mine.

I believe one might "take offense" to either.



From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 06:19:52 -0500
Subject: Not dressing like goyim

> Which demonstrates that (at least on yom tov) they are obeying the
> halakhic rules about not dressing like goyim: etiquette forbids the
> wearing of formal evening clothes (e.g. a dinner jacket aka "tuxedo")
> before 6 p.m.

(aside: What about a morning coat, which may be the garment in question?)

I've always had issues with this general concept -- it's perhaps chicken
and egg.

I believe the issue is "not emulating goyim."  That is not to CHANGE
one's derech in order to copy or imitate what other nations wear or do.
We may, however, find ourselves independently (or because the other
nations changed) dressing in the same garb or doing the same actions
(such as giving charity - there are many Christian communities that
tithe.) -- E.g., if goyim (in violation of etiquette) start wearing
tuxedos to their Sunday morning worship -- would we have to stop doing

emulate \em-ye-lat\ emulated emulating [L aemulatus, pp. of aemulari,
fr. aemulus rivaling] (1582) verb transitive

1	a : to strive to equal or excel
	b : imitate; esp : to imitate by means of an emulator
2	: to equal or approach equality with

(C) 1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated



From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Jan 2006 07:44:07 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  Opposition to upshirnish

In a discussion about straimels worn by mitnagdim in Jerusalem,
<Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai) V50 N85 adds:

> The perushim community is actually heterogeneous - while some are
> descended from talmidei haGR"A, others are from other backgrounds, such
> as Chasam Sofer followers and fervently orthodox others, who found the
> group to their liking. As I touched on in a recent post, this community
> was/is not totally immune to other influences in their minhogim, as can
> be seen in some of their davening which shows some Sephardic influence,
> as well as some of them adopting a controversial custom of the mustarbim
> (arabized middle-eastern Jews) to cut the hair of their male children
> only at three years of age, with a special ceremony. This custom is not
> Ashkenazic in origin and has been questioned and opposed on various
> grounds. Maybe I will post more on it in a subsequent post, iy"H.

The practice of not cutting thei hair of male children until a special
ceremony at three years of age is widely practiced by Askenanzi
hassidim, as well, so I am curious about those who have questioned and
opposed this practice.

Generally, any custom common specifically to Hassidim and Sephardim, I
would assume to originate in the study of mysticism and kabalah.
(Askenazim other than the hassidim have tended to downplay mysticism --
at least since the Shabtai Zvi debacle).

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 10:36:47 -0600
Subject: Re: Rabbi Greenberg's view

On 12/29/05, Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> wrote:

> Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...> wrote:
>> .. only davka mishkav zachar is forbidden,
>> but other kinds of sexual intimacy between persons of the same sex are
>> not.  This is a controversial claim made by Rabbi Steven Greenberg and
>> others - that only this particular sexual act is assur, and that other
>> types of same-sex acts, by virtue of not being specifically addressed in
>> the rabbinic literature, are in fact not assur.

> Are you sure?  I thought Rabbi Greenberg in fact held that the act we
> think of as "mishkav zazhar" is in fact *not* assur!  When I spoke to
> him, he said his view is that the act that is forbidden by the Torah is
> a homosexual act by which one man subjugates / humiliates another man,
> and thereby makes him "lower".  This is how Rabbi Greenberg interprets
> the phrase "as with a woman", meaning you make the other man lower than
> you, in a way that a woman is lower than you, in the context of the
> culture of the time.  He holds that healthy homosexual relationships
> where the two partners are equals is not included in the prohibition.
> Apparently it is explained fully in his book, which I haven't read.
> Has anyone read the book who could shed more light on Rabbi Greenberg's
> view?

I've read the book.  Rabbi Greenberg is very careful NOT to assert that
the act under discussion is permitted.  He does bring in the
interpretation that you mention - that the Torah might be referring to
an act of subjugation/humiliation performed in those societies rather
than an act performed out of mutual desire.  One interesting point he
brings is that the Torah adressess its "toevah he" prohibition to the
active partner, whereas other societies considered the perpetrator of
this act normal, but considered the one violated contemptible.  The
Torah seems to reverse this.  It's as if the Torah acknowledges that the
victim in this act has no choice (as per the incident in S'dom), so the
Torah addresses the perpetrator to prevent such practices.

However, Greenberg is very careful to state that he is aware that this
reading is not the traditional one, and that halacha is formed by a
consensus of poskim rather than from re-interpretations of the Torah.
He is very clear that al pi halacha the act under discussion is
prohibited d'oraita.  At least, that is the position of his book; I've
never heard him speak.

Rabbi Greenberg's book and Rabbi Rapoport's books are very similar in
their halachic essentials.  A major point of departure between them,
though, is the extent to which other acts of masculine homosexual
intimacy might be prohibited.  Rapoport clearly forbids all
sexual/intimate contact between men (again, I apologize for not being
able to provide his references), while Greenberg seems to accept the
idea that no such prohibition exists on acts other than mishkav zachar.
Another point of departure is whether unmarried homosexuals (or
homosexual couples) may adopt or parent children.  Rapoport forbids it,
and provides no references.

D. Nachman


End of Volume 50 Issue 87