Volume 51 Number 12
                    Produced: Fri Jan 27  5:57:53 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Covering the Bride's Hair
         [Batya Medad]
Covering the Bride's Hair after the Wedding
         [Louis Finkelman]
         [Tzvi Stein]
Does Torah Study Prevent Forbidden Thoughts (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Russell J Hendel]
Forbidden Thoughts
listening/incorporating nonsexist language?
         [Leah S. Gordon]
         [N Miller]
Reasons for not saying Tachanun
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Tumas Ohel
         [Perets Mett]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 20:44:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Covering the Bride's Hair

>>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
>Um...I'm not sure I know *any* brides who reliably go along with their
>future-MIL's opinions for dress.   ;) 

This isn't a "dress" opinion; it's a halachik issue.  If the bride has
trouble with the chatan family's psak, she has no chance of a happy
marriage.  Of course all families are different, but I'm referring to a
specific one which is very "chardal."



From: Louis Finkelman <louis.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 21:57:14 -0500
Subject: Covering the Bride's Hair after the Wedding

The Mishnah (Ketubot 2:1) records the custom that a woman at her first
marriage would go out in "hynuma" at the time of her wedding.  This
practice had such authority that Witnesses who saw it could testify that
she had not previously married.

By the time of the Talmud, scholars had cometing definitions for the
meaning of "hynuma." One definition involves her appearing with her hair
exposed after the ceremony.  I recall Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik
tracing the line from that interpretation of the Mishnah to current
practice of having the bride at a first wedding begin to cover her hair
only at some point after the wedding feast.


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 22:59:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Davening/Gender/Language

> From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
> Tzvi Stein writes, in part:
> >[he attended an Egalitarian service with some language changes
> >that seemed jarring because of their gender-neutrality/adjustments]
> >[...]
> >was quite distracting and jarring.  It seemed a bit ironic, because one
> >would expect such a "non-traaditional" service to me more "accessible"
> >than a traditional one and it seemed quite the contrary.
> I would fully expect that it was distracting/jarring to you, since you
> had never before (and judging from your Rabbi's response, never since)
> gone to one of these services.  I doubt it was as distracting/jarring to
> the regular crowd there, to whom highly-gendered texts might be more so.

I should make it more clear that the main reason for the distraction is
that the words being said by the prayer leader (chazan?) were not the
same as were in the siddur provided.  The siddur was an Orthodox one if
I remember correctly and every few words I would be hearing something
different than what I was reading.  Maybe that part would have become
easier if there were egalatarian siddurim, or if there indeed are such
sidurim, that they would have provided them.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 13:25:03 GMT
Subject: Re: Does Torah Study Prevent Forbidden Thoughts

Russell Hendel wrote 

> For those who may recall about 40 issues ago I attacked the Rashbam
> for being not challenging and hurting Judaism. ... There are rishonim
> who simply dont "challenge and turn you on." ... My point here is to
> emphasize that WE (The Jewish community) DO have a problem --- people
> do leave because lack of challenge. To put it another way...the
> purpose of learning is not only to expose to holiness ... it is also
> to challenge the mind and we are simply not doing it. I could go into
> HOW I THINK learning should be done today but then the postings might
> become personal. So let me simply say that (a) people are leaving for
> lack of challenge

I don't really disagree with any of this. If there are people who are
leaving Judaism because it is not challenging to them, that is very sad,
and perhaps it is something we should be trying to fix.

But I do think that this is only one side of the story.

Surely there are also people who have left Judaism because it is TOO

There are many things in Judaism which do not make sense at first
glance, or even after one has tried to study and understand them. There
are many people who point to such problems as the reason why they gave

The standard retort to such people is "You don't have questions! If you
had questions, you would have come to yeshiva to find the answers! These
aren't real questions - they are excuses which you invented to justify

But I believe that response to be inappropriate, at least in some
cases. Yes, there probably have been some cases where a lazy person
wanted to leave Judaism so he invented some excuses. But far more
frequent is the case where a person had a sincere question, and was
unable to find an answer.

You might respond that his answer does exist out there somewhere, and
can be found if only he would search hard enough.

Ah, there's the weasel words: "if" and "enough". How hard must one look?
How motivated must one be to find those answers? If a person does make
some effort at finding an answer, and then comes to a dead end and
doesn't know where else to look, how dare any human complain and say
they are guilty of not looking harder!!! This is a determination which
only G-d can make. He will know whether the person was being lazy or
sincere. No one else can know this.

Russell concluded: 
> I would like to hear (1) other people's opinions about what is
> challenging and what is not (2) How they think learning should take
> place. ...

"Challenging" is in the eye of the beholder. In other words, one size
does not fit all. We need a variety of places, at a variety of levels,
so that each person will be able to find something which is at a level
of challenge appropriate to the individual. And I think that we do have
that now, to some extent or another, though it may be difficult for
someone to find the perfect match.

Akiva Miller

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 23:01:02 -0500
Subject: RE: Does Torah Study Prevent Forbidden Thoughts

Ari writes in response to my call for more independent Torah study and

> Russel, in my not-so-humble opionion, you are missing the point.  To
> translate pirkei avot - Whoso is intelligent, one who learns from
> everyone.  The simplest form of learning is simply to absorb the
> pre-digested thoughts of a great thinker; it is ultimately not so
> satisfying (many people fall asleep).  To the contrary, it is much
> more challenging (and meaningful) to tease apart greater meaning from
> what appears initially to be mundane ... and that, in my opinion, is
> what Jewish learning is about.

There are several points here. I certainly agree THAT PART OF LEARNING
is absorbing predigested thoughts of great thinkers. I don't even
disagree that it is challenging to infer greater meaning from what
appears as mundance. But then Ari adds "and that in my humble opinion is
what Jewish learning is about."

Sorry...but the Rambam (Actually all rishonim) explicitly define 3
components to learning (Taking in thougts of great thinkers (Mishnah),
Biblical learning and Talmud...research and inference of methods).

To add to what I said originally as my own opinion and to the "cases" I
cited in my last email I can add the experience of the math community.

The "old school" of teaching math says whatAri says. Teach them the
basics. Tell them that if they go on to get a Phd life will become
exciting and they can model sophisticated applications.

It just doesnt work! When the math calculus scores reached 50% the
professors began thinking maybe we have failed (vs the students). The
result was the famous Tulane conference of 1986. Today the teaching of
math is revised. Students are taught sophisticated applications early.
Believe it or not even "traditional math like calculus" can now be
taught via "discovery" One math educator went so far as to say that
"students are never taught math concepts...rather they are given the
opportunity to reconstruct these concepts themselves and that is when
they learn" (He didnt just say this but has experimental literature to
support it).

So what I am saying for learning has already been stated and tested for
math. Students simply need the opportunity to do research and we are
currently depriving them. I mentioned my friend who had suicidal
thoughts till he started publishing his own chidush list. I also
mentioned the several cases of people leaving the Jewish community
because they weren't being fulfilled.

So the succinct answer to Ari: No one is DISPUTING that learning the
masters is important(Soplease dont make it into an issue). The issue is
whether this is sufficient. The evidence in math is that it is not. The
anecdotal evidence I gave is also that is not.

Russell Hendel; http://www.rashiyomi.com


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2006 21:29:48 -0800
Subject: Re: Forbidden Thoughts

>From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
>When my younger son was in high school (a cood dayschool), he played on
>the shul basketball team with many boys from an all-male school.  I
>remember his comment to me on returning from a ball game, when he said
>that he thought it was better to go to school with girls and to get to
>know them as people because all the boys from the other school could
>talk about was girls and in a very crude way.  (my rephrasing:-) I had
>often thought that this was the case for me, as well, as a teenaged
>girl.  I know that some girls in coed schools try to hide their brains
>under a bushel basket to appear attractive, but I never did.  Maybe I
>didn't think anything like that would help:-)
>This is an old issue that I don't think we will solve here, but there
>are differing views on this subject.

I went to all male schools in the '70s and when my schoolmates and I
used to play with guys who went to co-ed schools. We always cut short
our post game snacks because we couldn't stand the way the co-ed would
take about girls.  Further, one of our gym teachers used to bring his
female cousin when we played basketball.  When the year ended he
complimented us that we not once tried to flirt with her.



From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 07:20:11 -0800
Subject: listening/incorporating nonsexist language?

Regarding the issue of women and men talking to each other
"excessively," somehow Daniel's post escaped without a properly edited
subject line.  (*Please* don't leave it in that sexist terminology,
"talking to women" without a subject noun.)

In any case, Daniel writes in part:

>One poster mentioned that ''al tarbeh sicha im ha-Isha" is only
>applicable to men. I would put it to that person that it also applies
>to women : that engaging men in unnecessary conversation, they are also
>party to the aveira of the man.

I'm not sure how this concern (talking to men) is an example of "talking
to women".  Hence the need to fix the subject line, because this concern
*is* covered under "women and men talking to each other".  I.e. you
might as well title the post, "talking to you" as far as any of
female.Jewish are concerned.  Clearly I am now engaged in excessive
talking...so that's as much as I'll say.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: N Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 18:32:53 -0500
Subject: Monotheism

I appreciate Meir Wise's reply to my query:

>Our graves need to marked so that kohanim and for that matter others do
>not walk over them. (see Shabbat 33)

But that, with all due respect, is neither here nor there.  If by

possible and indeed from my perspective desirable to post some sort of
impersonal sign (poles, fences, etc.) so that kohanim and pedestrians
are warned off while avoiding the making of shrines.

I see this is a serious problem.  I don't think that observant Jews pay
enough attention--if any at all--to the way many practices are now
loaded with magical overtones (the mezuze for instance).  There is also
more than a whiff of pantheism in the way sundry beings other than the
riboyney shel oylem are summoned.

Noyekh Miller


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 14:46:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Reasons for not saying Tachanun

<aliw@...> (Arie) stated the following:
      To Ira - also Av Harachamim before Musaf is an indicator of
      yes or no tachanun.

I used to think that also.  It is often not said on such an occasion, but
not always.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 19:04:04 +0000
Subject: Tumas Ohel

I don't understand the question.
Who says that human skin is metamei in an ohel?


Someone wrote:

      The Daily Pennsylvanian, The independent newspaper of the
      University of Pennsylvania, reported on January 18, 2006, that
      some books in its library are bound in human skin. The article,


      At first I thought that cohanim should not enter these libraries
      because of tum'at ohel, but on a second thought, the likelihood
      that a Jewish human skin be in the binding is unlikely for the
      Jews in the 19th century were a tiny minority in the USA,
      especially the first half of the century, and second, Jews were
      more likely to insist on proper burial, and were therefore
      unlikely to end up on the shelf.  Only a Jewish body defiles in
      tum'at ohel, 


End of Volume 51 Issue 12