Volume 51 Number 36
                    Produced: Sat Feb 25 20:58:59 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birth Control
Hinduism and Idolatry
         [P.V. Viswanath]
Kaddish Service
         [Yosi Fishkin]
Rashi question on Pigyon
         [Simone and Earl Maser]
Temp to perm (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Perry Zamek]


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006
Subject: Birth Control

In response to Tzvi Stein's posting on a woman who was given a heter to
use an IUD after having several children of the same sex.  I am trying
to understand what is meant there was a time limit to it and now she
refuses to remove the IUD.  Firstly, what is the status of the woman's
physical health and emotional health?  What if she can't handle another
pregnancy but in a year or two will be ready or may never be up to that
point?  Does one divorce a woman who has given them several children
because she can't handle another child at the exact ruling of when the
IUD was to be removed?  Should there be another evaluation of the
overall picture?  Women are not animals who conceive constantly nor are
they breeding machines.  Its not just the pregnancy that is a concern
but the next 18 yrs. of the child's life they must raise.  If a woman is
not up to having a child one must really listen to her because the child
who would be conceived as well as the rest of the family can be badly
afftected by an overburdened woman especially if she has no solid
support systems in place.  In previous generations, women had to
conceive many children because few actually made it to adulthood.  B"H,
due to modern medicine most of our children reach adulthood.

Secondly, the IUD can't be placed permanently.  A physician must insert
it as well as remove it.  Some are only good for 5 yrs. and others up to
10 yrs..  It is not a permanent sterilization of the woman and the
second it is removed the woman can become pregnant.

I don't think this is an out of control woman who does not want to
adhere to her Rav's posek but what she is saying is she can't handle
it. Maybe the reason she has not asked the Rav to reeval. the situation
is that he will not rule in her favor. There are many women in the frum
world who are using birth control on the 'sneak' because of this reason
or going to mikvah not on the correct night in order not to get
pregnant.  Somehow the current system of evaluating has left women in
dispair and somehow things need to be overall reevaluated on all fronts.


From: P.V. Viswanath <pviswanath@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 11:03:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Hinduism and Idolatry

      First Meylekh states "Russell often has interesting points of
      view." to which I would respond that this is IRRELEVANT to
      deciding halacha.

Since my words may have sounded harsh, I wanted to say up front that I
had nothing personal against Russell or his intellectual probity, in
general.  That is why I prefaced my statements with that observation.  I
almost decided not to send in my posting, figuring that we had both said
all that needed to be said.  Russell seemed to believe that he had a
solid point of view that I didn't appreciate and I felt that Russell was
sidestepping the issue.  However, I see that we're really talking at
least partly about different things.

The issue I'm talking about is "Hinduism and Idolatry" and not "how to
pasken."  Paskening has other sociological factors to take into account.
If Russell were a rabbi (it sounds like he is; I am not), and he
paskened that "Hinduism is idolatry," I wouldn't say -- that guy doesn't
know what he's talking about; he's pulling things out of thin air."

The issue here, for me, is to try and get at some kind of essential
underlying truth about "avode zore," about Judaism's relationship to
other religions and non-Jews, and the nature of God.  There are
different points of view and there are a lot of makhloyksim in halokhe
le-maaseh, and each party can have a valid halakhic point of view.

      Next Meylekh states that "he simply has a result that he desires
      and looks at/for data that is consistent with his conclusion." to
      which I would respond that IT IS PART OF THE HALACHIC DECISION

I didn't mean a "result consistent with biblical and halachic reasons."
I mean a result which was personally most appealing to Russell.

      Meylekh next states that "Russell has not been able to show that
      rishonim hold that non-Jews are not allowed physical

I don't see where Russell has shown that the Rambam has said that
"Non-Jews are not allowed to have physical representations of God."  The
case of the golden calf has to do with Jews.  The case of Moab in
Numbers 25 also has to do with Bnei Yisrael.  Yisro, once again, is God
speaking to Bnei Yisrael.

It seems to me that Russell is inferring the Rambam's halachic position
vis-a-vis non-Jews from his general stance regarding how one should
relate to God.  First of all, that's indirect evidence and not
compelling.  Second, Rambam is very concerned with keeping God as an
"changeless" Being.  As such, he probably thinks that it's optimal (in
some optimal world) to not have sacrifices, not to use the language of
tefillah that suggests a responsive (and hence changing) God.  But he's
not going to change halakha.  So unless Russell can show me that the
Rambam explicitly paskens that non-Jews are not allowed to have physical
representations of God, he will not have made his point.

I am, in any case, not questioning the validity of Russell's paskening
that "whoever asks him a shayle should treat Hinduism as idolatry," only
whether it is so in fact.  I believe it's not -- based on actual
prohibitions on actions of non-Jews and what Hindus actually do.  I am
not aware of actual statements of rishonim on that issue or on whether
it's actually permitted for a non-Jew to have a physical representation
of God.  In my ideal world, it would not be desirable for non-Jews to
have physical representations of God.

Meylekh Viswanath


From: Yosi Fishkin <Joseph@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 20:29:47 -0500
Subject: Kaddish Service

I'm interested in the concept of a Kaddish Service - i.e. how some
organizations offer to say kaddish for chiyuvim who themselves are
unable, for a variety of valid reasons, to say kaddish on their own.

1. What are the halachic sources that discuss/permit this?
2. It seems to be acceptable, and even expected, to charge for this
service - any sources for this idea?

Thanks in advance,
Yosi Fishkin, MD
www.GoDaven.com - The Worldwide Minyan Database


From: Simone and Earl Maser <semaser@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Feb 2006 14:33:59 +0100
Subject: Rashi question on Pigyon

Laazim are printed with the chupchik before the last letter, but the one
for pigyon on Bava Metsia 84a, if it is indeed a laaz, is an exception.

Are there any other exceptions?

A tip-off as to this one's being a laaz are the initial letters
aleph-shin which can indicate 'es' in old French, with the 's' often
dropping out in modern French. In our case, this points to the word
'epee' - sword.

Old French variants are 'espee','espet' and also 'espede' as proposed by
Rabbi Steinsalz.

Why the chupchik irregularity?

Perhaps merely a printer's choice, or a sign that 'espee' ends in a

However, there is another possibilty. The word 'epieu' in modern French
means a javelin or a stake.

The Old French origin of this word, coming down not from Latin but from
Old Frankish (as did several miltary terms including the abovementioned
epee) is 'Espiet' - a spit or skewer for roasting.  Note the similarity
with our laaz: a-s-p-i-. The two final letters might not have been too

It would fit the context better than "sword", already mentioned in the
context as 'sayyaf'..

A spit is called a 'spisse' in a 15th century German text, and a 'spyt'
in a Middle Low German text (no connection with the hebrew sh-a-pud, I
trust!). Note that the HaMetargem at the back of the Gemara (B.M.84a)
translates the laaz for pigyon into Yiddish as 'Spi-ess', pretty close
to 'spisse'.

Kol tuv
Yitschak Maser
Montpellier, France


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 13:43:23 -0500
Subject: Temp to perm

>From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
>A couple gets married and have several children in quick succession, but
>they are all the same sex.  The wife wants a "break" from childbearing
>and obtains a heter to have an IUD inserted.  However, since the husband
>has not yet fulfilled the mitzva of Piru Irvu (i.e. at least 1 boy and 1
>girl), the heter was only for a limited time.  After the time is up, the
>wife decides on her own she wants to leave the IUD inserted permenently
>without consulting any rabbi.  What is the halachic situation of the
>husband?  Does his wife's behavior make the husband exempt from Piru
>Irvu?  Does it make marital relations with her an aveira?  Is he
>obligated to divorce her?

I am sure the women on this list will have much to say about this,
deservedly. I would simply point out that the position of Beit Shammai
on this matter is that you have fulfilled the mitzvah with two boys. The
Beit Hillel position is to require at least one child of each gender.
While we pasken, as usual, according to Beit Hillel, and the odds
strongly favor the BH position, there is the BS position to consider as
well. If the couple in question has all girls, I advise them to bless
Hashem with all fervor for their good fortune, and to remember that no
method of birth control is totally reliable.

b'shalom--Bernie R.

From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 14:32:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Temp to perm

I find the case strange, for one reason - it seems inconsistent, on the
part of the wife, to go to the trouble of asking for a psak when she
wanted to use the IUD as a temporary measure, yet not to ask for a psak
when she wished to continue its use.

>What is the halachic situation of the husband?  Does his wife's
>behavior make the husband exempt from Piru Irvu?  Does it make marital
>relations with her an aveira?  Is he obligated to divorce her?

Without being a posek, I would answer the last two questions in the

1. There are two reasons for marital relations - one is for procreation,
and the other is to satisfy the wife's desire/need for intimacy. These
are independent of each other. To not have relations with her could be
possible grounds for her to demand a get.

2. I can't see why he would be obligated to divorce her - *she* has no
obligation of Pru Urvu, and there is always the possibility of her
changing her mind, thereby affording him the opportunity to try again to
fulfill the mitzva.

Regarding the first question:

3. Is the husband exempt from the mitzva? Not really, but, realistically
speaking, there are many families in which, for whatever reason, there
are only boys or only girls. What this means is that, despite the
husband's best intentions, he has not fulfilled the technical
requirements for Pru Urvu. Are these families lesser in status in the
eyes of halacha? I strongly doubt it.

Perry Zamek


End of Volume 51 Issue 36