Volume 51 Number 70
                    Produced: Wed Mar 22  5:14:02 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aguna question
         [Martin Stern]
Can an agunah sue? (2)
         [Martin Stern, Jeanette Friedman]
Dialects vs. mispronounciation (2)
         [Ben Katz, Avi Feldblum]
Dunkin Donuts
Hillel and Shamai
         [Goldfinger, Andy]
Neturei Karta
         [Nathan Lamm]
NK and others
         [Carl Singer]
Rabbi Reuven Agushewitz
         [Ben Katz]
Reason for mitzvot versus meaning of mitzvot
         [Michael Feldstein]
Wine in Talmudic Times
         [Mark Steiner]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:17:31 +0000
Subject: Aguna question

On Thu, 16 Mar 2006 08:52:19 -0500 Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>

> This is a pretty well-known case in Illinois--maybe some lawyers on the
> list are familiar with it--in which a woman sued her husband for a get
> through the court system. I know only the outlines of the case because
> my daughter and her daughter were friends.
> It ended up in the Illinois Supreme Court, which found for the wife,
> requiring the husband to give the get.
> After the verdict, the husband, who was himself an attorney, whispered
> to her, "You'll only get a get over my dead body."  The wife told me
> this story at his shiva--he died suddenly about two weeks after the
> verdict.

If he had given her a get because he was ordered to do so by the
Illinois Supreme Court, would it not be a get me'useh (forced get) and
thereby invalid? His death saved her from the resulting problems.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 11:22:00 +0000
Subject: Can an agunah sue?

On Mon, 13 Mar 2006 22:24:10 -0500 Arnie Kuzmack <Arnie@...> wrote:
> If the issue has come up, I'm sure it's discussed in R.  Breitowitz'
> encyclopedic book, Between Civil and Religious Law: The Plight of the
> Agunah in American Society (Greenwood Press, 1993).  I do not have it in
> hand to check, but I don't recall it being discussed.
> I do recall discussion of contracts at the time of marriage where the
> husband would commit himself to pay the wife a very large amount of
> money if he does not give her a get in case of a civil divorce.
> R. Breitowitz presented some very technical arguments why such a
> contract would not be valid; I remember not understanding them when I
> read the book years ago.

Surely the problem basically is asmachta, where a person makes a promise
to pay something in circumstances which he does not really believe will
arise, similar to gambling debts which cannot be collected in Beth Din
because the person never really believed he would lose the game.

Martin Stern

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 08:20:22 EST
Subject: Re: Can an agunah sue?

      If the issue has come up, I'm sure it's discussed in R.
      Breitowitz' encyclopedic book, Between Civil and Religious Law:
      The Plight of the Agunah in American Society (Greenwood Press,
      1993).  I do not have it in hand to check, but I don't recall it
      being discussed.

vs. Nemtzov in NY that opened this can of worms thanks to Reb Moishe and
Judge Irving Saypol (who signed the original decree) that said if my ex
wouldn't give me the get, he gets held in contempt of court. That
decision was overturned because of church vs. state, then Shelly Silver
sat down with his neighbor, Reb Moishe, and they did the legislation,
which the Agudath Israel of America then tried to repeal.

Too bad. It didn't work for the Agudah (I think I blistered Zweibel's
eardrums at the time-if it was good enough for Reb Moishe, what gives
the Agudah the right to vacate his decisions?), although other states
might have dumped their versions of that law. I know there was a problem
in Canada and then again in New Jersey and I do not know how it is being
resolved, since in NJ there are definitely cases pending.

(BUT....there is yet another alternative to getting these "recalcitrant"
guys--the UN Bill of Human Rights, enforceable in the Hague, says that
women have the right to marry and divorce. If the right to divorce is
removed, she can sue for violation of human rights in the Hague--and
wouldn't that make a statement about the rights of women in the Jewish

The go to guy on this is Harry Reicher at U of P and an Agudist.

(and there is STILL no resolution in most cases.)


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 11:01:20 -0600
Subject: Re: Dialects vs. mispronounciation

>From: SBA <sba@...>
>From: Carl A. Singer <>
> > We had a gentlemen in our shul whose pronunciation of
> >the brachas for an Aliyah was "elokaynee ... ha-oy-lum" (To me) from him
> >that was fine -- it reflected the authentic dialect that he grew up with
> >some 70 years ago in Europe.
> >The judgmental me would find this same pronunciation improper coming
> >from a twenty-something who grew up and was educated in a main-stream US
> >yeshiva.

>Unless, that is the nusach of his father.

And if his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were too poor 
to attend yeshivah, would it be his family minhag not to?

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 
Subject: Re: Dialects vs. mispronounciation

Ben, I do not understand your question. SBA points out, I think very
correctly, that there are communities where the way certain vowels are
pronounced corresponds to what Carl had brought as an example of what
was the dialect in Europe 70 years ago. The assumption of Carl's
statement, at least to me, was that this dialect was not actively taught
/ used today. I understood SBA's point as being that it was. I can
confirm that when I grew up here in America, we went to a summer colony
in the Catskills. Right down the road from us was a place that was taken
over for a few years by a Chassidishe group (I no longer remember
which). One time after davening there, which was fully in the dialect
that Carl refers to, my father was speaking with one of the members and
was discussing early cheder years. It was clear that the dialect /
pronunciation that was being taught to kids from the earliest ages was
exactly what they had in Europe, and as referenced in several of the
posting as "mis-pronunciations". I do not think it is valid to comparing
the pronunciation system they use as something that is equivalent to
being "too poor to attend yeshivah".



From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 21:33:56 EST
Subject: Re: Dunkin Donuts

> In the 1980's, I met perhaps a dozen people from all over the Eastern US
> who assured me that there were exactly three kosher Dunkin Donuts
> places.  I always asked them which the three were, and I always got
> different answers!

    In the 1980s, In know there was a kosher Dunkin Donuts in Skokie
(Chicago area). The store was a 24-hour/seven day operation, and had the
highest gross receipts of any Dunkin Donuts store in the Chicago area.


From: Goldfinger, Andy <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 08:22:37 -0500
Subject: Hillel and Shamai

The argument is over -- Hillel and Shamai finally agree!
Check out this web site:


It is clear that a perutah now costs over $25.  This is certainly more
than the value of a dinar.

So -- Bais Shamai would now agree with Bais Hillel that a man can be
mekadesh a woman with a perutah!

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 13:32:29 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Neturei Karta

Martin Stern wonders why the Neturei Karta seem to draw much more
opposition than the left in Israel, and wonders if there's an
anti-religious undercurrent at work. I think there are at least two
perfectly legitimate reasons:

-The pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel left, for the most part, are pacifist
leftists, perhaps influenced by anti-Semitism, but not quite
anti-Semites themselves.  They honestly believe that their ideas are the
best for real peace in Israel. Many do not even profess the destruction
of Israel. They may be misguided, even dangerous- not the least because
they often provide excuses and cover for those like Hamas and Iran who
actually do want to destroy Israel and kill Jews, and who exploit the
leftists' naivette.

The Neturei Karta, on the other hand, openly wish for the destruction of
the state of Israel, and see it as a stumbling block toward their
eventual vision of Redemption. (Exactly what that vision is, of course,
they never admit to their Arab friends and perhaps not even to
themselves.) I don't think they actually want Jews to die- they probably
haven't thought their beliefs out sufficiently to realize that that is
the logical result- but they come very close.

So yes, the first group may be more dangerous. But the Neturei Karta
have much more of a scent of actual evil about them.

-I don't think that anti-religious leftists spend much time condemning
the Neturei Karta. I think most of the condemnations come from people
well to the right of the spectrum, from traditional Israelis to
Religious Zionists and Chareidim. After all, there are a number of
groups who agree completely with the Neturei Karta view of the nature of
the State of Israel and its status in halakha. They do not, however,
conspire with the State's (and the Jewish people's) enemies. (I can't
imagine the Brisker, for example, acting like this, or even the
Satmar. And yet their views are identical.) There are those who are not
Zionists, but have made their peace, to one degree or another, with the
State, such as the Aguda and most Charedim. And, of course, there are
many, many Jews who fully accept the State and many who even see it as a
part of the process of Redemption. And all of these groups are shocked
by the Neturei Karta and sickened by the thought that there are those
(and yes, there are those) who would brand all religious Jews with this

So perhaps these groups' condemnation of the Neturei Karta may be a bit
overblown and out of proportion to the size and influence of the
group. But it's perfectly understandable.

Nachum Lamm


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 08:45:03 -0500
Subject: NK and others

Let's put into context the impact of the minority (even a minority of
one) when there is a hostile or biased or lazy or ignorant press.  We
live in a world of mass media -- I believe this is why such incidents as
flag burning are so popular -- it makes great camera footage.

A couple of years ago there were a handful of anti-Israel Jews with
"professional" banners at the Israeli Day parade in NYC.  Amazingly,
although the photographer was behind the throngs lining the streets of
the parade route -- these protesters had their posters facing - not the
parade - but the back of the crowd, so the photographer could catch them
-- coincidence?  Not hardly.  Context? .01 % anti, 99.99 percent pro --
front page photo -- the .01%

As a minority within a minority ....  just about anyone can make up an
organization name, say outrageous (or at least non-centrist) things and
get quoted as "the voice of the Jewish people" or "a Jewish source today
said ...."  or "In Israel today, protestors ...."

Face it, that's the dynamics of today's media.  And we're not going to
change it.



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 10:45:05 -0600
Subject: Re: Rabbi Reuven Agushewitz

I want to publically thank Dr. Steiner for the fascinating account

It is wonderful to read about an autodidact and a talmid chacham who was
also a social activist AND interested in secular knowledge.
Unfortunatrely that species is becoming endangered.  Whereas a
generation ago educated rabbis would often sprinkle their divrey Torah
with appropriaet secular refences, nowadays it seems that it is a
(misguided in my opinion) sign of frumkeit NOT to do so.  (I remember
noticing in an ArtScroll publication that actually quoted a line from
Shakespeare [I believe it was] prefacing it with "as a wise man once
said", violating the rabbinic dictum derived from Megillat Ester about
giving credit (quoting things beshaym omram).

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 07:07:06 EST
Subject: Reason for mitzvot versus meaning of mitzvot

>RYBS and the Brisker's in general claim that one cannot ask "why" about
>mitzvot but only "how".

The reason why we do mitzvot is because Hashem commanded us to perform
them.  So I would agree that we cannot ask the "why" question.

However, that's different than delving into the "meaning" of mitzvot.
By understanding their meaning, one can gain a much better appreciation
of the mitzvot--and fulfill them more deeply.

While one may technically fulfill a mitzvah by learning exactly how to
perform it, one misses an important an element without understanding its
meaning and significance.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 12:50:21 +0200
Subject: RE: Wine in Talmudic Times

In Saul Davis' informative posting, he writes:

> in ancient times pottery vessels were coated with clay but the clay
> would absorb as much as 20% of the liquid stored in them, thus it was
> wise to store better, ie older, wines, in old, second-hand,
> vessels. This seems to be the origin of Pirqey Avoth Chap 4 Mishne 28
> "al tistakel baqanqan ...".

	This is corroborated in the Talmud, tr. Avoda Zara, which
records that the Roman soldiers used to carry around pieces of pottery
suffused with wine.  They would then soak the pottery in water...


End of Volume 51 Issue 70