Volume 51 Number 38
                    Produced: Tue Feb 28  6:01:49 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Citation of trees/wedding
         [Gershon Dubin]
Kaddish Service
         [W. Baker]
Menopause = Mandatory Divorce? (4)
         [Martin Stern, I. Balbin, Stu Pilichowski, Shoshana L. Boublil]
Paid kaddish
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Rabosay . . . . . mihr velen NIT bentchin
         [Martin Stern]
Rashi question
         [Martin Stern]
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Talmud Trees and Chuppah
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Valentines and Avoda zara
         [Rabbi Meir Wise]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 02:17:40 -0500
Subject: Citation of trees/wedding

It is in Gittin, 57a.



From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 21:37:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Kaddish Service

> From: Yosi Fishkin <Joseph@...>
> 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?

>From what I understand, these Kaddish services-where you pay someone who
will say Kaddish for a departed loved one, is not so much for those who
are chiuv, but to enable someone who has died without any obligated male
descendents or parents to have Kaddish said for them.  Often, this is
the case with those who leave behind "only" a wife and daughters.  In
many Modern Orthodox congregations, there are some women who take on
this obligation, whether they have brothers or not, but some still think
it "does not count."

Wendy Baker


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 10:41:48 +0000
Subject: Re: Menopause = Mandatory Divorce?

On Sat, 25 Feb 2006 21:23:29 -0500 Anonymous wrote:
> An anonymous poster responded as follows to Tzvi Stein's "temp to perm"
> post that described a woman given a short-term heter to use an IUD but
> not prepared to conceive again as of the end of the time-limited heter:
> In a partly related matter, I'm hearing increasingly among my friends
> and acquaintances of husbands who divorce their wives immediately upon
> realizing that wives have hit menopause, or have to undergo hysterectomy
> for medical reasons, and, therefore, bederech hateva (in the natural
> course of events), cannot be expected to produce more offspring.  In the
> cases of which I'm thinking, wives have produced variable numbers of
> offspring (maximum, I believe, was 12).  At least one of these husbands
> has claimed that his "rebbe" insisted he couldn't stay, let alone
> continue a normal sexual relationship, with a wife who would "bear" no
> more and must seek a new, young, expectably highly fertile wife with
> whom to continue to procreate as long as he is alive and physically
> capable.  Granted, I'm hearing this second- or third-hand, but
> apparently the rebbe in question cited a ruling, supposedly from the
> Rambam (I don't have more detailed bibliographic information), that it
> is never permissible not to be trying as aggressively as possible, by
> all halachically permissible means, to procreate.

This is absolute rubbish! There is no halachic objection to having
marital relations with a wife who is not fertile. Though the halachah
was that someone who was married and did not have any children for ten
years should marry a second wife (and therefore for Ashkenazim divorce
his first one) the Rema writes that we do not enforce this nowadays. So
long as one has had the minimal number of children, one boy and one
girl, divorce purely on the grounds of one's wife's inability to have
more children is certainly not approved.

The reference to the Rambam is probably a garbled version of the
Gemara's advice that, even if one has many children from one's first
wife, one should remarry a woman capable of bearing children in order to
fulfil the mitsvah of la'erev. However this is advice rather than
obligation and one would not be prohibited from marrying one who could

Such submissions are a slur on halachah reminiscent of anti-religious
propaganda and have no place on mail-jewish! (Sorry if this 'flaming'
but I feel it has to be said)

Martin Stern

From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 21:39:51 +1100
Subject: Re: Menopause = Mandatory Divorce?

I realise this is a 3rd or 4th hand story and probably (hopefully)
apocryphal, nonetheless, no get is needed in this case, it would
seem. The Husband is seemingly a Shoteh (fool) and it was Kiddushei
To-us (mistaken marriage). I feel for any woman who is married to a
creation that would behave in such a way. As to his Rebbe who allegedly
advised him ... the mind boggles.

From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 07:23:10 +0000
Subject: Menopause = Mandatory Divorce?

This posting is more annoying and embarrassing than anything else.

Personally, I don't believe this is happening because it is SOOOOOO
against any kind of Jewish hashkafah.

I also don't see it happening. We, in the larger community, would hear
of this were it to be a fact of life or if it were coming into vogue.

Thank God.

Finally, while I am usually in awe and admiration for the moderator,
does everything that has a "halachik" or "source" related bent to it get

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 09:35:33 +0200
Subject: Menopause = Mandatory Divorce?

I am shocked and amazed.  After over 2500 years of Torah, including over
1000 post Cherem DeRabein Gershom, how could anyone possibly reach such
an idea?!!!

Where are all the Rishonim and Achronim who regularly divorced their
wives on hitting menopause?

How about all the Gedolim of the last 100 years who didn't have
children?  Were they divorced?

Evidently, none of the Rishonim or Achronim or even the many childless
Gedolim of the last generation considered this a reason to divorce their

One basic reason is that children are not the purpose of marriage --
they are one of the duties that a married couple undertake to carry out
to the best of their ability.

What is the purpose of marriage?  It is the same as all the mitzvot --
to bring us closer to Hashem.

Let's go back to a famous Tanna -- Rabbi Akiva.  What are the 2 keynote
items associated with him?

a) His loving relationship with his wife Rachel

b) His study and explanation of the sentence "VeAhavta Et Hashem
Elokecha BeChol Levav'cha U'Vechol Nafshecha U'Vechol Me'Odecha".

And this great rabbi, famous for loving his wife questions his own
ability to love Hashem sufficiently to comply with "Me'Odecha" -- Even
if he takes your life.

We know his answer and his great Kiddush Hashem as one of 10 Harugei

So, one tool that Hashem gave us to use to learn how to love Hashem --
was by giving us a spouse to love -- and to learn to love (see Rav
Dessler in Michtav Me'Eiliyahu on "Ahava").  For those who don't have
access, to summarize "love" translates as the "potential power to give".

Hashem loves us -- so Hashem gives us: life, Torah, food, clothing, land

To go back to the topic: marriage is not a children factory.  Children
are given to us as a Pikadone to raise in Darkei Hashem, to learn to
love Hashem and keep the Torah.

The idea of divorcing a menopausal wife is IMHO a perversion of Torah.

Torah is about life.  Menopause is a fact of life.  Let's learn about it
and support women as they go through this very difficult time.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2006 22:11:20 -0500
Subject: Paid kaddish

>2. It seems to be acceptable, and even expected, to charge for this
>service - any sources for this idea?

If the concept behind kaddish is (as I believe most understand it) that
the child somehow has a spiritual connection to the deceased and shows
by saying kaddish that this person did teach his child Torah, it would
follow that a kaddish arranged by the child would also show that they
were concerned and learned/ observant at least to this level.

I always understood this to be the reason for this custom, and why so
many prepay to ensure that it gets said when the children won't or if
there are none.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 06:56:42 +0000
Subject: Rabosay . . . . . mihr velen NIT bentchin

On Thu, 23 Feb 2006 14:45:12, Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...> wrote:
> I'm sorry my only source is the fifth chelek of the shulchan aruch, but
> someone at the table who without warning or asking anyone present starts
> the zimun is an offender in my book. He's acting totally in an
> inappropriate way.

I thought we were talking about someone who asks a couple of others
whether they are willing to join him in a zimmun because he has to leave
early before starting, not the sort of arrogant boor Stu mentions.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 10:10:25 +0000
Subject: Re: Rashi question

On Thu, 23 Feb 2006, David Mescheloff <david_mescheloff@...> wrote:

> Lisa Liel asked:
>> Bava Metzia 84a.  In the 14th line of Rashi from the end, d"h "pagyon".
>> Rashi gives a single word as an explanation.  It's spelled
>> alef-shin-peh-yud-chupchik.  He doesn't say it's laaz, so I'm assuming
>> it's not, but the only weapon-oriented thing that starts that way means
>> quiver, and a pagyon is supposedly a dagger.
>> Does anyone have any idea what this means?
> The word is a "laaz", old French for a rapier, a relatively slender,
> sharply pointed sword, used mainly for thrusting attacks.  Apparently
> its modern form was developed in Europe around the 16th century, but it
> is just a variation on what chazal already recognized.
> A Google search for "rapier translation old French" leads to the
> explanation of this laaz in Rashi:
> French rapi're, from Old French (espee) rapiere, rapier (sword).

The modern French word epee (with acute accents on the initial and
penultimate 'e's), derived from espee, meaning a duelling sword used
mainly for thrusting attacks as opposed to a sabre used in a slashing
mode. The letter 's' is often lost in modern French and the preceding
vowel then takes an acute accent. However Dayan Gukovitzki in his
dictionary of Rashi's loazim (1985) suggests (336) that the word on Bava
Metzia 84a is a corruption of esped, modern French epieu (with an acute
accent on the first 'e'), meaning a hunting spear.

Martin Stern


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 12:42:26 +0200
Subject: Re: Tahanun

I wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 51 #35 Digest:

      Left-handed Ashkenazim fall on their left forearm, unless it has
      tefillin, in which case they fall on their right forearm.
      Right-handed Ashkenazim fall on their left forearm whether or not
      they are wearing tefillin.

Unfortunately, I made what could charitably be called a typographical
error and thereby described an impossible situation.  The last paragraph
should have read, "Right-handed Ashkenazim fall on their left forearm,
unless it has tefillin, in which case they fall on their right forearm.
Left-handed Ashkenazim fall on their left forearm whether or not they
are wearing tefillin."

(I hope now that all errors have ben removed.)

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 08:44:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Talmud Trees and Chuppah

> From: Michael Green <michaelchaimgreen@...>
> Does anyone know where the Talmud says that when a boy was born, it was
> the custom to plant a cedar tree; and when a girl was born, an acacia.
> When they ultimately wed, the tree (which one: acacia or cedar? ) was
> cut down and their wedding was enhanced by using the branches for the
> chuppah, the wedding canopy?

> Les Galler from Auckland, New Zealand wrote:
>     Dear Rabbi,
>     Could you please tell me about the ancient practices regarding
> tree-planting and the birth of a son and a daughter?  
> Dear Les Galler,

> In Talmudic times, when a boy was born they planted a cedar tree; when
> a girl was born they planted a pine tree. The poles of the wedding
> canopy were made out of the wood of the trees that were planted at the
> birth of the bride and groom. 
> Sources:
>     * Talmud Tractate Gittin 57a 
This continues with a description of the destruction of the Beitar

> The destruction of Betar, continues the Gemara, began in a similar
> manner. In Betar they would plant a cedar to commemorate the birth of
> a boy, and a pine upon the birth of a girl. The tree planted at birth
> would later be used for the construction of the youngster's wedding
> canopy. Once, the emperor's daughter cut down several cedars in order
> to fix her broken carriage, arousing the violent reaction of the
> inhabitants of Betar. A war thus ensued, and the city was destroyed.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore."
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water.


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
Date: Sun, 26 Feb 2006 03:04:51 EST
Subject: Re: Valentines and Avoda zara

I can assure Leah S Gordon that the Gaon Rav Rabinovitch does not speak
rhetoric when dealing with fundamental issues like those celebrations
based in avoda zara.

Rabbi Meir Wise


End of Volume 51 Issue 38