Volume 51 Number 01
                    Produced: Thu Jan 12  5:16:29 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chupas Nida (2)
         [Judy Tudor, Bracha Sebrow]
gender biased language in mixed audiences
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Kallah Covering Hair After Chupah (3)
         [Menashe Elyashiv, Bracha Sebrow, Shimon Lebowitz]
Men Talking to Women
         [Carl A. Singer]
On a number of recent Issues
         [Rabbi Y. H. Henkin]
"talking to women" [sic] (4)
         [Shayna Kravetz, Shoshana Ziskind, Tobias Robison, Martin


From: Judy Tudor <judytudor@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 02:36:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Chupas Nida

In response to my posting, Martin Stern wrote:
>  I have never seen the chatan pass the kos to the kallah. The usual
>  procedure, in my experience, is for the mesader kiddushin to give it to
>  one of the parents who then gives it first to the chatan and then the
>  kallah, obviating the problem of his drinking from her cup if she were

and Yossi Ginzberg wrote:
>  Doesn't the Igros Moshe allow for sharing mitzva cups, i.e kiddush and
>  the like, where it is not specifically "derech Chiba" and is a mitzva?

Well, in all of the weddings I've attended (including mine) the first cup is given to the Kallah's mother - who gives her daughter the wine. The second cup is given to the Kallah directly by her (brand new) husband.

There is a difference between "sharing" a cup and actually handing it
over. The Halacha is that a man may not drink from the same cup his wife
drank from (if she is a Niddah), but she may drink from his, so sharing
the wine is no problem. However, *handing over* something is forbidden
in any case, so the Chosson can't give his Kallah the wine to drink if
she's a Niddah. Feeding someone with your own hands is probably one of
the most intimate acts there are!

This explains also why the first cup is given by someone else - the
couple is not married yet. The second cup comes after Kiddushin and they
are now husband and wife, so he may give her the cup directly.


From: Bracha Sebrow <brachasebrow@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:25:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Chupas Nida

>>They will also not walk away hand-in-hand to the Yichud room.

>This need not be too obvious if the kallah makes sure, for example, to
>hold her bouquet with both hands or something similar.

Many people have the custom of not allowing the chosson and kallah to
walk away hand-in-hand for precisely this reason, so that no one will
know if a kallah is a niddah or not, because every couple walks away
without holding hands.

To my knowledge, the only way to really know if the Kallah is a niddah
is to observe whether the chosson actually gives the kesubah directly to
her or not.  If he does not directly hand her the kesubah, then the
kallah is a niddah.

Bracha Sebrow


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 13:49:11 +0200
Subject: Re: gender biased language in mixed audiences

> From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
> > From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
> [Same quote as above]
> OK, but how do you deal with the seforim themselves, like the Mishna or
> Shulchan Oruch, that make similar male-assuming statements?  I think the
> Mishna says pretty much verbatim, "Do not talk much with a woman".

IMHO, there are 2 issues here.

First is language centric.  In hebrew, the language is gender specific.
So when it says "Al Tarbeh Sicha Im HaIsha", it is talking to a male
audience, and the gender indicates that the audience is indeed male.  No
women are present or involved in the discussion.

Translating this phrase into "talking to women" in English actually
leaves the question open, but then (as we are intelligent....)
immediately we are creating a boundary as the language assumes that the
men are at the center and the women are the "other".

This brings us to the 2nd issue -- that the present audience includes
members of both genders, and the members should be sensitive enough to
use language, especially in subject headers, that is inclusive rather
than exclusive.  We, men and women, are core members of the group.
There is no "us" and "others" that correlates with gender, at least it
shouldn't be present in this group.

So, while quoting a sentence is fine, the subject line should reflect
this sensitivity.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 15:38:27 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kallah Covering Hair After Chupah

As the Minhag Sefard is not to have a heder yihud, the bride remains
without a hair covering all the evening. See R.O. Yosef in Yalkut Yosef,
part sova semahot, ch.13. However, grooms who have studied in Ashkenazi
or Sefardi anti- R. Yosef Yeshivot, want to do the Ashkenazi heder
yihud, so the bride does wear a wig. If she plans not to wear a wig as a
married woman, she borrows one for the wedding.

From: Bracha Sebrow <brachasebrow@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:37:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Kallah Covering Hair After Chupah

>I looked through the MJ archives and I don't see an answer to my
>following question.  I can only remember one frum wedding I've been to
>where the Kallah covered her hair at the reception after the Chuppa.
>Why is that?  Isn't she an Aishit Ish at that point?  Or does the
>requirement not apply until after that night?

I have often wondered about that.  Some people say that the veil counts as a 
covering, while others feel that the requirement does not apply until after 
that night.

That is why some people have the custom for the kallah to wear her wig from 
the start of the wedding, so that you don't have any problems with the hair 
not being covered when she becomes Aishet Ish.

Bracha Sebrow

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 13:49:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Kallah Covering Hair After Chupah

> Sometimes a wig is bought specially for the wedding and 
> never worn again.
> One of my friends is very makpid on it with her daughters and
> daughters-in-law, making a point of insisting even if the kalla's family
> hadn't known of its importance.  She says that yichud changes the status
> of the couple, therefore the bride's hair must be covered.

My wife's 'wedding shaitel' was borrowed, we saw no need to actually BUY
one. ;-)

We asked this shaila before we got married (in 1979) and the rav we
spoke to said the same thing, that after the yichud her hair needed to
be covered.



From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 06:05:35 -0500
Subject: Men Talking to Women

And Women talking to men?

Let's realize the cultural assumptions here.  In many societies until
perhaps a generation or two ago and (even) today in some societies there
was a great asymmetry in male / female roles, etc.

Let's not delude ourselves into some politically correct portrayal of
Jewish society a few hundred (or more) years ago.  It was clearly a male
dominated society and with some exceptions laws were written (at least
worded) for males.

I recall a story that my Mother tells of being in an Uzbek camp towards
the end of WW-II.  And how my Father, ztl, inadvertently found himself
briefly alone in a tent with an Uzbek woman.  This was a very serious
matter with the Uzbeks and could have had serious ramifications but for
their understanding that the Polish refugees in their midst knew little
of their standards.  My Mother adds that these Uzbeks were generous
hosts and shared what little provisions they had.

We read today of a father killing off all of his daughters because one
dared marry against his wishes -- and we see a reflection of what one
might consider a highly asymmetrical society.

Carl Singer
Yes, I am not a sociologist


From: Rabbi Y. H. Henkin <henkin@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 16:59:48 +0200
Subject: On a number of recent Issues


   From time to time questions are raised which are dealt with in Shu"t
Bnei Banim and translated in "Responsa on Contemporary Jewish Women's
Issues" (Ktav, 2003); see chapters on shelo asani isha and on Uncovered
Hair of the Bride at the Wedding Feast. On limiting conversation with
women and did Beruriah mean what she said (and if she did, is her view
halacha?), see "Equality Lost" (Urim 1999), end of chapter 9,  and at
greater length in Bnei Banim, v. 4, maamar 4. On kol isha in general, see
other teshuvot there and in the article "Contemporary Tzeniut" in
Tradition Magazine, Fall 2003, pp. 24-35.

    With Torah blessings,
    Yehuda  Henkin


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 08:37:12 -0500
Subject: Re: "talking to women" [sic]

Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> writes in part:

>How fortunate we are that female literacy has started to be
>addressed in the modern era.  Part of that solution is to make sure that
>everyone recognizes that women are now half of the reading, writing,
>learning Jewish population.
>Interestingly, there are some holy texts that seem to be addressed to
>all of us.  For example, in kiddush itself, there is the quote from the
>Torah about 'You, your son, your daughter, your man-servant and
>woman-servant..." and *not* 'You, your wife, your son, your daughter...'
>I would be interested in an analysis of which texts seem to be written
>in this gender-neutral way, and why that might be.

This is usually explained by the idea that 'one's wife [sic] is like
oneself' and that therefore there is no 'need' to mention the woman, as
she is presumed to be included in the male presumably addressed by the

>As for how hard it is for us as women to read the texts that talk to
>other people instead, it is depressing and numbing, at least for me.
>Sometimes it is difficult to be able to think of ourselves as fully
>human, in a world that often ignores our existence without a second
>thought.  Some women go crazy trying to reconcile these issues.  Many,
>many, other Jewish women simply go off the Orthodox 'derech'.
>When Moshiach comes, Gd willing, and ancient/hallowed writers post to
>M.J, I will also explain to them that we are blessed in the modern world
>to have a fuller audience for Torah discussions.  I can imagine certain
>ancients supporting me and others flaming me.  ;)

Exactly!  I find that distinguishing in my own mind between what I think
of as 'incidental sexism' and 'deliberate sexism' helps.  Discussions
between men addressed to undescribed but /presumedly male/ others are
the former category, to me.  It is often an open question (one which
sometimes winds up being debated down through the centuries) whether, if
one could have tapped Rav or Abaye on the shoulder and asked "Do you
mean to include women?", he would have answered "Of course!  What kind
of ignoramus are you to think that this halachah doesn't apply to
women?" or the reverse.

Unless the question was asked at the time or unless the halachah in
question is one that is clearly sex-dependent (men don't get pregnant or
menstruate, women don't have seminal emissions or impregnate men), many
halachic discussions fall into the 'incidental' school.  For me, reading
this type of text is not so troubling and I no longer feel excluded.

It's like being the only woman in a class; nowadays, one usually doesn't
encounter overt sexism in Modern Orthodox circles B"H (covert is a whole
other discussion!) but there is still a discomfort for me in that
situation, the first few times the class meets.  On the other hand, at
this point in my life I've spent decades being the only woman in
classrooms, courtrooms, meetings, etc. and I'm better at handling that
feeling than I used to be.  So I summon that up to meet the incidentally
sexist text as well.

Kol tuv from
Shayna in Toronto

From: <shosh@...> (Shoshana Ziskind)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 10:17:58 -0500
Subject: Re: "talking to women" [sic]

I actually, and I am a women by the way, find it more offensive to say
that there's a problem with a quote from the mishna than to quote
something which assumes the reader is a man.

I find it very distressing to see a [sic] after a quote from our
sages. In fact I only included it in the subject line since it was there

Also there's an assumption in Leah's post that it used to be worse
because women weren't as literary; the thing is it's only when
assimilation became horrible is when women needed to go to school. When
women were learning everything from their mothers and grandmothers it
wasn't such an issue.  I guess I have a hard time thinking that for most
of Jewish history women had it badly off.

-Shoshana Ziskind

From: Tobias Robison <tobyr21@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 20:39:49 -0500
Subject: Re: "talking to women" [sic]

> OK, but how do you deal with the seforim themselves, like the Mishna
> or Shulchan Oruch, that make similar male-assuming statements?  I
> think the Mishna says pretty much verbatim, "Do not talk much with a
> woman".

Please excuse me, but I now feel deeply confused. I thought Leah
requested that THIS thread - the thread itself - be named "Men talking
to women" because that's what it's about. I think that would be a good
descriptive name for this thread regardless of whether we do - in this
thread - quote texts that are "male biased."

- tobias d. robison
Princeton, nj 08540 USA

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 2006 12:40:44 +0000
Subject: Re: "talking to women" [sic]

on 10/1/06 10:34 am,  Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> wrote:
> Interestingly, there are some holy texts that seem to be addressed to
> all of us.  For example, in kiddush itself, there is the quote from the
> Torah about 'You, your son, your daughter, your man-servant and
> woman-servant..." and *not* 'You, your wife, your son, your daughter...'
> I would be interested in an analysis of which texts seem to be written
> in this gender-neutral way, and why that might be.

Since there are only two genders in Hebrew, the Torah writes the
masculine whenever either males or females are concerned except where it
indicates otherwise - echad haish ve'echad haishah ... - there is no
gender-neutral option. Thus the word You - Atah - that so irritates Leah
includes both men and women. The son and daughter are his or her minor
children and the servants are his or her slaves, whom he or she is
obliged to restrain from violating the Shabbat.

I think Mark Steiner's submission in the same digest shows quite clearly
how absurd this feminist critique of our literature is.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 51 Issue 1