Volume 51 Number 62
                    Produced: Wed Mar 15 20:57:23 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Agunah answer (3)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Tzvi Stein, Jeanette Friedman]
Jewish vs. non-Jewish Calendars
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Kitzur not halacha (2)
         [SBA, Frank Silbermann]
Molech vs. Baal
         [Frank Silbermann]
Reading Aloud Of The Ten Sons Of Haman


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 08:56:11 EST
Subject: Agunah answer

      Could any lawyers on the list comment on this thought I had?
      Would it not be possible for an agunah to sue her husband in civil
      court for the damages he has caused her by depriving her of such a
      basic right as the right to remarry?  Especially for long-time
      agunos, it would seem feasible to come up with a dollar value for
      each year that she was not able to date and marry and claim
      monetery restitution for that damage.  She would *not* be asking
      to court to compel the husband to give a get.  Rather she would be
      asking for a judgment that financial compensation is due from the
      husband for the damage he has caused her.

The Silver Get Law in NY does exactly that. Reb Moishe Feinstein
paskened that you can go to civil court for your divorce, esp. if you
couldn't get your get. (That was me, in 1969-70) In the decree it makes
very clear that if the person doesn't give the get, there is no
distribution of property and splitting of custody. If the husband is the
recalcitrant one, he gets NADA until he gives the get. In my case, Reb
Moishe had the lawyer put into the decree that if he didn't give me the
get, he would be held in contempt of court. He was. Then the decision
was appealed and overturned based on sep. of church and state. Then
Shelly Silver sat down with Reb Moishe and the Silver Get Law was born,
and copied in other states and in Canada.

This is why Halachic prenups are so important. The RCA document is
enforceable in a civil court of law and forces the husband to pay for
every day that he doesn't grant the get.

What would be even more interesting is to criminally charge the
recalcitrant husband who holds out for money with extortion, because
that is what all these guys are up to in the first place.  No one is
forcing him to give the get. But at least he goes to jail for being a

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 18:46:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Agunah answer

But what about if there is no Get Law in the state and no prenup?

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 19:04:26 EST
Subject: Re: Agunah answer

>>But what about if there is no Get Law in the state and no prenup?<<

then I would go with criminal prosecution, because that's extortion in
the first place, and that CAN be proven....because once the divorce is
granted in civil court and the get isn't given, the only reason for that
is because the husband demands something for what should just be handed
over. And what he demands is most often exorbitant amounts of money for
the sole purpose of causing deep emotional pain and physical hardship as
a form of revenge. That's when "recalcitrant" (ugh what a misnomer)
husband with the power of "The Torah" holds it over the head of his
ex-spouse. If she is to remain an observant Jew who wants to get on with
her life, she has zero options. She MUST give him what he wants or her
life is ruined.

That's extortion, and THAT is a criminal act.


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 07:37:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Jewish vs. non-Jewish Calendars

There has been much discussion about the calendar and calculation of the
molad.  I am not in any way an expert or even knowledgable about these
matters.  So (disclaimer): don't shoot the messenger.

For many years, I worked with a man named Robert Newton.  He was, among
other things, an expert on ancient astronomy.  His interest was
practical: he was using ancient observations to calculate the
accelerations of the moon's revolution and earth's rotation for
navigational purposes.  In the course of his studies, he became
interested in the works of Ptolmey.  To make a very very long story
short, he came to the conclusion that Ptolmey was a fraud and never
actually made any observations.  Rather, he calculated the positions of
celestial bodies using older theories such as those of Hipparcus.
Newton published several books and papers on this subject, such as one
called "The Crime of Claudius Ptolmey."  There was intense controversy
about his work, but I must say that those parts that I have read seem
very convincing.

Anyway, the point of all this is that I asked Newton about the Jewish
calendar, and he said it was the most accurate calendar he knew of.  He
claimed that the "Hebrews" could not have gotten the length of the
synodic month as accurately as they did from information in the
surrounding culture, since it was not know to this accuracy.  When I
asked him how they got this figure, he said (literally): "they were

Now -- again -- I am only reporting on his views.  I assume that some of
the readers here might have other views?????

-- Andy Goldfinger


While writing his first book, Newton came into my office to ask my
advice about a title.  I told him I thought "The Crime of Claudius
Ptolmey" was a bit abasive, but he chose it anyway.


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 01:58:09 +1100
Subject: Kitzur not halacha

From: Michael
>>While some may consider a Mechalel Shabbos a 'tinok shenishba', does
>>that extend as far as making him acceptable for a minyan?
>>Check out the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 72.
>>The heading of that chapter says it all
>> "...one who desecrates Shabbos is is like an Idol-worshipper.."
>>So should we be so quick in condemning a person who was simply following
>>the halacha?
>I know of no halachic authority who considers the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
>a practical source of halacha.  Ever Rav I know states the Kitzur should
>not be used for practical halachic rulings and often confilicts with
>actual practical halacha.

I think a strong macho'eh is due here.

The KSA probably is the most widespread halacha sefer in history.  It
was reprinted many times during the lifetime of the author Rav
ShlomoGantzfried zt'l and is still being republished regularly.  see
attached article.

RSG was the Rosh Beth Din in the Ir ve'eim beYisroel, Ungvar in Hungary.
and author of many other seforim as well - inluding the Kesses Sofer on
the halachos of Stam. The Chasam Sofer in his Haskama states that in
furture no sofer should qualify for a kabolo until totally conversant
with this sefer.

And you tell us that "no halachic authority who considers the Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch a practical source of halacha".

I heard a prominent posek once say, that just as one cannot drive a car
without first studying the road laws, so too can a Jew not begin to know
how to live his life without first completing the KSA.

Sure, once you know that, you may go on to study the Mishne Berura which
is more in depth and of course Mogen Avrohom and Taz. But all that will
take a long time. The entire KSA, OTOH, can be studied - even by younger
students in 12-18 months, giving one a grounding in the entire 4 chelkei
Shulchan Aruch.

Hundreds of thousands of Jews for the past 140 years or so lived and
live according to the psaking of the KSA. The recently niftar Kashau
Rav, Rav Refoel Blum zt'l - one of the leading post-war rabbonim and
poskim - regularly paskened according to the KSA.

Here is something I just found on the Net re the KSA

Rabbi Ganzfried's two million Kitzurs -
Shlomo Ganzfried's book 'Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh
Judaism,  Fall, 1997  by Jack E. Friedman

The week my grandfather died my grief-stricken mother, perched on her
low shiva bench in our living room, urged my father to make certain that
her parent's tombstone included the line: grandson of the author of the
Kitzur Shulkhan Arukh. I was only six, but old enough to recognize the
reverence in her tone when she mentioned the well-known work by her
nineteenth-century ancestor, Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried.

The Kitzur, the Abridged Code of Jewish Law, was a peripheral presence
when I was growing up: a staple of classroom instruction in the yeshiva
I attended and a frequent companion in our family's quest for the
religious, ethical, and social norms of everyday Jewish life.......I had
underestimated the staying power of the Kitzur. One hundred and thirty
years after its publication in 1864 in Ganzfried's home town of Ungvar,
the Kitzur remains the halakhic handbook of choice for Orthodox Jews
worldwide. The fourteen editions seen through the press by the author
before his death in 1886, plus about a half dozen pirated reprints, have
been supplemented by some hundred reissues in the century since, the
original Hebrew complemented by translations into Yiddish, English,
French, Hungarian, German, French, and Spanish, many with glosses and
commentaries by their respective editors.(1) As a visit to any Jewish
bookstore will confirm, new editions continue to proliferate. Recently,
the Kitzur became available on CD-ROM.  ...., Rabbi Joseph Buchsbaum,
Director of the Institute, estimates that over two million copies of the
Kitzur have come off the press since its initial printing.(2) That
figure, probably close to the mark, needs to be increased by several
score thousand to account for the flourishing Kitzur "industry" in the
years since 1989. With the exception of the Bible, the prayer book, and
perhaps the Talmud and the Passover Haggadah, no Jewish publication has
approached that record.  SNIP

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 07:08:59 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re:  Kitzur not halacha

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> V51 N59:
> Well, not only the Qitzur Shulhan `Arukh, but also the Mishna Berura,
> pasqen that the halakha is not to count such a person in a minyan.
> Thus, even if we need not accept the Qitzur as the final word, we
> still have the Mishna Berura to contend with.

In other words, though we may disagree with the decision not to count a
shabbas violator in a minyan, considering the prestige of the Mishna
Berura we cannot conclude that a person who takes that view is violating
halacha -- for he has something upon which to rely.

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> V51 N59:
>       and Michael brings a number of sources that do not hold by the
>       aforementioned Kitzur's position, including some from YU, NCYI,
>       Aish Hatorah and Chabad,
> These are not exactly halakhic sources.  I did not see that Michael
> brought any pesaq halakha that counters the Mishna Berura. ...

No, but apparently they exist, and seem to be generally accepted.

Frank Silbermann		Memphis, Tennessee


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 06:57:03 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Molech vs. Baal

> Melachim 2, chapter 23:
> 	...
> 	10 And he defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the son
> 	   of Hinnom, that no man might make his son or his daughter
> 	   to pass through the fire to Molech.
> 	...
David Charlap <shamino@...> V51 N59:
> If I remember my Rashi from high school, it mentions that parents would
> burn children to Baal, but "merely" pass them through fire to Molech.

Archaeologists digging in the Phoenician colony of Carthage (present day
Libya) have uncovered great masses of charred bones of children from
infants to puberty, confirming the legends of frequent human sacrifice
of children to Molech.

I don't know whether archaeologists have found anything similar in the
valley of Gehinnom, whose Molech worship the Prophets denounced.  When
Phoenician queens of Hebrew kings introduced idolotry into ancient
Israel, it is conceivable that the Hebrew version of child sacrifice to
Molech might have been merely symbolic.  Alternatively, Rashi and his
sources may simply have been following the principle of assumming the
best about his fellow Jews (how much moreso to assume the best about
Jews from an earlier generation much closer to the revelation at
Mt. Sinai).

Nevertheless, in the context of previous discussions of polemic rhetoric
versus reasoned halacha in discussions of Valentine's Day, one must
still ask whether the Carthaginian practice of sacrificing children was
indeed no worse than today's gifts of heart-shaped chocolate candy (the
implication of taking literally the claim that "Valentine's Day is
Avodah Zara of the worst kind").

Alternatively, perhaps the claim "I can assure you that Rav. Rabinowitz
does not engage in rhetoric when discussing idolatrous practices" was
itself just rhetoric.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 00:19:37 +1100
Subject: Re: Reading Aloud Of The Ten Sons Of Haman

From: Elazar M. Teitz <>
>> where has the custom in some congregations arisen for the Reader to
>> pause before the names of the ten sons of Haman and for the congregation
>> to read them aloud before the Reader does so?
>The Rogatchover (R. Yosef Rosen of Dvinsk) writes that it _is_ an
>obligation for all to say it. 

Meanwhile the Mishneh Berurah, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and Chayei Adam all
say that it is not a 'minhag nachon'...



End of Volume 51 Issue 62