Volume 51 Number 40
                    Produced: Wed Mar  1  4:56:32 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Descendants of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein
         [David Curwin]
         [Joel Rich]
Menopause=Mandatory Divorce
         [Shani Thon]
Paid  Kaddish Services
Pru Urvu: (was Temp to Perm)
         [Bernard Raab]
Rabosay . . . . . mihr velen NIT bentchin
         [Bernard Raab]
Temp to Perm
         [Frank Silbermann]
Women's Bodies and Childbearing and Decisions...


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 08:05:43 +0200
Subject: Descendants of Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein

Does anyone know how to contact any descendants of Rabbi Yechiel Michel
Epstein, the author of the Aruch HaShulchan?


David Curwin


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 08:41:30 -0500
Subject: 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

The parent/child connection is aiui the original source (Rabbi Akiva
teaching child to say kaddish rather than R"A saying it
himself). However the concept of paid kaddish may actually be preferable
to having someone who is not required to say it, say it anyway for
free. The "paid" kaddish aiui should be said by one who needs the money
so the payer does the mitzvah of tzedaka in memory of the departed.  Any
mitzvot done with this specific intention redound to the credit of the
one no longer able to do mitzvot.  One exception to this specific
articulated intent rule is the child since everything a child does is
assumed to the parent (heard from R' Reisman in the name of R'

Joel Rich


From: Shani Thon <shani716@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 19:54:19 +0200
Subject: Menopause=Mandatory Divorce

On Sat, 25 Feb 2006 21:23:29 -0500 Anonymous wrote:
> 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.

   Sounds to me like the newest addition to the Chumra of the Month
Club!  It is not surprising to me that this might be happening, just
very sad.

   What's the "Halaka" on the color of a shirt or the color of a Shabbat
Tablecloth have to do with one's child's shidduch or the "glatter than
thou" folks have to do with kashrut or a wedding costing more than a
normal home?  And yes, it does sound far-fetched, but how far-fetched
did the above sound when they were first regarded as "law"? Obviously,
someone thought these should have lots to do with someone's "Halacha",
but not the Halacha we discuss here.

   Problem now is that there are lots of people walking around on
eggshells trying not to ruin their kids' chances of a shidduch and
possibly men who are going through their own "menopause" who want a
Halachic "out" of their marriages by listening to this narishkeit. Is
this an environment for living and raising children? Well, not in my
mind.  There are too many worthwhile problems to be solved in this crazy
world and that Rabbaim would expend energy and time attempting to create
further distance from each other---Beats me, but stranger things keep
appearing all the time!

    Shani Thon 


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 10:36:43
Subject: Paid  Kaddish Services

There are many worthwhile chariities that offer this service.  If it
makes the surviving relative(s) feel good and provides them an
opportunity to give tzedukah -- why not!

I have a more general question -- when / how does one take on saying
kaddish for someone when they are not a chiuv?  Especially when there is
someone else who could - but isn't - saying kaddish.

For example, when a friend's spouse passed away, he said for the 30
days, but having only daughters and since both his parents are living
there was no one to say for the remainder of the year.  [I'm skirting
the issue of women saying kaddish.]  He asked me if I would say instead.
I did.  I was "honored" and it helped me cope with the loss of a dear
family friend.

Similarly, I've seen many a husband say kaddish for an in-law when there
are no sons or those sons are unable / unwilling to say kaddish.  Does
one draw a distinction between no (male) chiuv and no willing chiuv?


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 19:38:24 -0500
Subject: Pru Urvu: (was Temp to Perm)

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>The mitsvah of Pru Urvu is to try to have children, at least one of each
>sex, not to actually do so, which is in the hands of the Almighty. So
>long as one continues to have marital relations one cannot be held to be
>at fault.

Is Martin writing a new halachic principle here, in which a good try is
deemed to fulfill the mitzvah? I have on more than one occasion sent a
check to a charity which was never cashed. I never before thought that I
would get "credit" for fulfilling the mitzvah of tzedakah with those
checks. Not so long ago I started for shul on Shabbat but had to turn
back because it was a blinding blizzard out there. I didn't think I
would be getting "credit" for davening with a minyan that morning. Was I

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2006 22:13:18 -0500
Subject: Rabosay . . . . . mihr velen NIT bentchin

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
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.

I don't wish to flog a dead (or dying) horse, but I feel compelled to
rise to Stu's defense. That "arrogant boor" was not a real person, but
was my invention, clearly labelled "hypothetical", designed to explore
another issue which was under discussion: The issue was whether one is
*obligated* to respond to anyone who unintentionally appears to invite
the diners to bentch, perhaps by saying something like, "Guys, what say
we bentch". It was suggested that such a person should be reprimanded. I
suggested that if such an informal statement does not in itself trigger
an obligation to respond, a reprimand would be uncalled for and clearly
out of order. In order to illuminate the issue, I invented the
aforementioned boor, since I reasoned that if a properly-worded
invitation from the boor did not induce an obligation to respond, then
from the principle of "kal vechomer", the informal and unintentional
invitation would likewise not trigger an obligation to respond.

Unfortunately, I did not clearly explain my reasoning in asking this
question, and this might have led some to misunderstand my purpose.
Thus far, everyone who has taken the trouble to respond to my question
has agreed that my fictional boor is "inappropriate" and "offensive",
but nobody has yet answered my question: Does his inappropriate and
offensive invitation to bentch trigger an obligation in all those
present to respond?

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 10:16:46 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Temp to Perm

A family with sons only asked a rabbi for permission to to install an
IUD temporarily.  Since the mitzvah of procreation is on the husband, it
may have been appropriate for the husband to ask his rabbi for
permission to agree to the use of the IUD.  But since the wife was never
obligated to begin with, she had no need to consult with the rabbi in
the first place, and therefore does not need his permission to leave it

With respect to families who, despite their best efforts, do not produce
children of both sexes, Martin Stern (<md.stern@...>) writes in
V51 N37:

> The mitsvah of Pru Urvu is to try to have children, at least one of each
> sex, not to actually do so, which is in the hands of the Almighty. So
> long as one continues to have marital relations one cannot be held to be
> at fault.

Therfore, as long as the husband continues to have sex with his wife,
and prays for the IUD to fail (which is possible), then he is fulfilling
his obligation.

The husband may be forbidden to approve of his wife's use of the UID, but
that doesn't necessarily impose on him an obligation to do anything
about it if his wife defies him.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: Anonymous
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2006 06:08:15
Subject: RE: Women's Bodies and Childbearing and Decisions...

Leah S. R. Gordon wrote:

> Having children is wonderful, and perhaps the most significant thing
> that a person can do in life.  

I respectfully suggest that it may be appropriate to qualify both the
assertions (a) about "wonderful," and (b) about "the most significant
thing a person can do in life."  Both assertions may hit raw nerves with
segments of list readership, and the population more generally, such
that IMHO a bit more sensitivity is called for here.

In particular, regarding (a), there are people who are profoundly
unsuited to bear and parent offspring, let alone a new offspring every
year per the increasingly widespread norms of the observant world.  Some
so deeply loathe and despise children that if they never have to share a
galaxy with even one child, let alone double-digit numbers, let alone in
their households, it's too soon.  Individuals like these, of whom I know
more than a few, are not going to be good parents; even if they don't
display overtly hostile behavior in ways that reasonable adults can
readily discern, children of all ages, unless severely mentally retarded
and perhaps even then, *know* when they aren't wanted or loved or even
liked.  Most reasonable mental health professionals will acknowledge
that this knowledge has consequences for the offspring, even if the
offspring are not treated in ways that would qualify as obviously
abusive.  As well, most adults who deplore children to that degree are
at increased risk to abuse the offspring under the right, or wrong,
circumstances.  I've heard some of our coreligionists argue that, in the
interests of maximizing the yield of Jewish babies, even ones who abhor
children should be encouraged to bear them for others more suited to
raise, but IMHO that is barbaric from all angles.

Having children may also not be wonderful when it risks the physical or
emotional health of either the mother or the father, or when it happens
as the result of invasive, medically dangerous fertility treatments with
majorly adverse effects on parents or offspring, including high-order
multiple births, but those parameters have been well enough discussed on
other threads that I won't take further bandwidth on them.

As for (b), it may be taken to imply that individuals who don't have
children are somehow "lesser animals," whose lives are less valuable and
whose accomplishments mean nothing or at least far less, than those who
do "(re-)produce."  For a variety of reasons, I am not able to have
them, and have been repeatedly denigrated both in obvious and in more
subtle ways.  Some of the "milder" examples include (a) being told that,
in the event that both a parent of a large family and I were in need of
assistance, it is only and "of course" right that the parent of the
large family should take priority; (b) being told that it would be "more
OK" or "less tragic" for me than for a mother or father of many children
to die or be severely and permanently disabled, in the event, G-d
forbid, of a natural or human-made disaster (and, as a corollary, that I
should be lower on the priority queue for rescue or emergency care even
if more gravely injured and less able to do for myself); and (c) having
it stated or implied to me, as a member of various groups trying to
schedule times to meet for various purposes, that the only ones whose
scheduling needs are worthy of accommodation are parents trying to
juggle child care logistics, carpools, etc., with their spouses.
Suffice it to say that I've also had far nastier things said, implied,
and done to me, based on my nonparental status.

Apart from these sociological observations, there are famous, or
infamous, comments like the one by Rashi, in connection with Rachel's
demand to Yaakov that he give her children "ve'im ayin, meitah anochi"
(lest [she] die), to the effect that those w/o children are to be
regarded as if they were dead.

Given all of these considerations, how are those of us who don't have
children, for whatever the reasons, supposed to regard our lives, since
it is incumbent upon us as Torah-committed Jews to believe that the Holy
One, Blessed be He, put us on this earth for a purpose, and made us in
His image?  Is His purpose to allow others to denigrate us and to have
someone expendable to kick around?  I find it hard to believe, but the
abundance of offhanded, insensitive comments, and completely, coercively
pronatalist and parent-centric sociology of our world, that imply this,
also make me wonder sometimes.


End of Volume 51 Issue 40