Volume 52 Number 26
                    Produced: Sun Jun 25 10:30:00 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Airline Meals During the Nine Days
         [Esther Posen]
All-Night "Learning"
         [Tzvi Stein]
Change, Halacha and Women etc.
         [Nathan Lamm]
Chassidic inovations
         [Batya Medad]
Reciting Kaddish Quietly
         [Stephen Phillips]
Staying up on Shavuot night - for women? (3)
         [Abbi Adest, Eitan Fiorino, Nathan Lamm]
Staying up on Shavuot Night for Women
         [Esther Posen]
Tikkun Leil Shavuot
         [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:31:41 -0400
Subject: RE: Airline Meals During the Nine Days

My advice is to bring your own food.  I actually had a meat meal served
to me during the nine days when I was flying with a Jewish non-religious
colleague.  When he realized I as not going to eat my food he looked at
me incredulously and said, "Esther, that is the most kosher looking food
I ever saw.  Why on earth can't you eat it?"  In his mind, levels of
kosher were determined by layers of silver foil.

Esther Posen


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 09:04:58 -0400
Subject: Re: All-Night "Learning"

> From: David Merzel <merzelmazl@...>
>    Tzvi, I believe you owe an apology to thousands of people for your
> ill-tempered and insulting remarks.  If you believe that you can
> accomplish more talmud Torah by sleeping most of the night, attending a
> regular hour minyan and then spending most of the day learn, by all
> means do so! I don't think anyone will find you guilty of any aveira or
> any trespass of divrei Chazal; quite the contrary -- the mitzvah is
> talmud Torah, not grogginess to the point of batalah. Just the same,
> however, what right do you have condemn so many people around the world
> who learn Torah all Shavuos night and manage to do so without any of the
> various infractions you cite?  The fact that your shul may have some
> (and I am certain it is SOME rather than all) people whose Shavuos
> behavior is less than exemplary or meaningful, is not cause for your
> swift and harsh remarks about them in contrast to the method you find
> best for yourself.

I never said I spend most of the day learning, but at least I spend some
of it learning.  My point was not to condemn anyone, but a reaction to
the disapproval I faced.  I just found it interesting that my sleeping
at night faced disapproval but the people who stay up all night didn't,
no matter if they even spent 5 minutes learning. If people condemn me, I
have a right to react to it.

This is similar to my remark a while ago regarding coming late to
davening, about what people focus on to criticize.  If someone never
goes to shul or even never davens at all, they will not be criticized.
But if they come to shul late on a regular basis, they will.


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 06:23:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Change, Halacha and Women etc.

Batya Medad recounts an incident when she visited a beit knesset with no
women's section. Prof. Jonathan Sarna, in his recent book on American
Judaism, points out that attendance of women in shul in many communities
was very rare, period, until relatively recently. He claims that to a
certain extent, shuls began building women's sections under the
influence of American Protestantism ("The family that prays together"
and all) in the early 1700's.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 13:44:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Chassidic inovations

From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>

      The Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim siman 339 si'if 3) (discussing
      hilchos shabbas) states that it is forbidden to slap one hand
      against the other, or to clap a hand against a thigh, or to dance
      [on shabbas] as a gezera [decree of the rabbis] lest one come to
      fix an instrument.

Thank you, Chana!  I had forgotten that hand-clapping issur, which I had
learned in my NCSY days.  (We never clapped, though we danced and would
shout: "yehee hedad" or something like that.)  It's the perfect "weapon"
against those who disturb by dovening by clapping, destroying my
"kavanna" and making me see "red."

Shabbat Shalom,
http://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/ ; http://me-ander.blogspot.com/          
http://samizdatblogfree.blogspot.com/ ; http://shilohpics.blogspot.com/ 


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 11:44:42 +0100
Subject: Reciting Kaddish Quietly

In regard to reciting Mourner's Kaddish quietly, I would like to bring a
quote from HaRav Yitzchak Tzvi Oshinsky, a Dayan in Yerushalayim and
author of a Sefer on Hilchos Aveilus:

"It should be pointed out that also when saying Kaddish quietly while
other mourners say it out loud there is benefit, and the Amen which is
answered by the Tzibbur for the others' Kaddishim also applies to the
quiet Kaddish (Halichos Shlomo, Perek 18, Seif 31, in the name of HaGaon
HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l)."

Stephen Phillips


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 07:27:11 +0300
Subject: Re: Staying up on Shavuot night - for women?


Since you acknowledged in your last post that rabbonim have permitted
women to learn in the Beis Yaakov system, it still mystifies me as to
why you consider women learning on leil Shavuot to be such a shanda. Did
these rabbonim only permit learning in daylight? Is there something
about learning by moonlight that crosses some invisible line of

Here in Yerushalayim, there were many wonderful shiurim taking place for
men, women and teenagers. I can't see how this was at all harmful to
anybody individually or as a community. There were actually shiurim for
women taught by women!

As for your red herring question about tefillin and mourning, I will
assume that, Thank God, you have both of your parents still living and
haven't had to deal with the crushing pain of losing a loved one. I will
also assume that you've never personally spoken to any of the sincerely
pious women who just want to perform a mitzvah that also,
simultaneously, helps to alleviate this pain. Otherwise, I'm sure you
would automatically know that this analogy is exceedingly inappropriate.

Dan l'kaf zchut, y'know.

Abbi Adest

From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 2006 23:02:50 -0400
Subject: RE: Staying up on Shavuot night - for women?

> From: SBA <sba@...>
> As for studying all night Shevuos, it is with much difficulty 
> that rabbonim allow girls to study Torah in Beth Yaakov etc 
> mainly because of Chazal's concerns of 'ke'ilu lomdo tiflus'. 
> But they obviously permitted it as a horo'as sha'ah and eis 
> laasos laHashem.  But to mak a chiyuv of limud haTorah on the 
> level of men was never the intention.

My response to this is that while in the chareidi community, Torah
education for women may still viewed as an unfortunate but necessary
concession to modernity, the MO community takes a lechatchila approach
to the matter.  I would formulate it as follows - this may be a little
further than some are willing to concede but this is what I think is the
truth.  The academic achievements of women is no temporary phenomenon
that requires a transient heter for learning a little bit of Torah.
Rather, women have achieved a permanent state of academic egalitarianism
and it would be improper and detrimental to the community and to
individual women to deny them the opportunity to be involved in learning
to whatever level their intellectual capacity, interest and life
circumstances allow.  (And here's a big irony - given the obstacles to
advanced Torah study for women even in the MO community, the bottom line
is that most of the women who pursue such learning are, in my
experience, bright, gifted, singularly dedicated, and devoted to giving
Torah back to the community; the contrast with the number of
dull-witted, midot-lacking and communally unconcerned MEN learning full
time I have encountered over the years is striking.)

All that having been said, no one is claiming that women have a chiuv to
learn Torah on the same level as men.  But then again, that has nothing
to do with the tikkun leil Shavuot.  I think this is just rhetoric and
not genuine debate - after all, what does the chiuv of talmud torah have
to do with the tikkun leil shavuot?  I am frankly not even certain that
the primary purpose of the tikkun, as conceptualized by its inventors
(medieval kabbalists), is talmud torah.  Is reading the tikkun more of a
kium in talmud torah than, say, reading sefer tehillim?  Doubtful.  As
for the contemporary Ashkenazi practice of all-night shiurim or learning
- well, MO women engage in these activities during normal waking hours;
by what logic can one argue that engaging in these activies at 3 AM is
for men only?  I certainly don't see how men's chiuv of talmud torah is
relevant to the question, since that chiuv is not the reason the men are
learning at 3 AM shavuot night.

> Maybe what we should be asking, is, how far will MO rabbis 
> and their communities allow this to go?
> What do you tell a woman who has just lost her father and 
> says that it will help her emotionally etc if she can come to 
> shul and don his tallis and tefilin?
> I can already hear the many replies of 'Why not?"

Here too the logical flow escapes me.  Women want to say kaddish for
departed parents because kaddish is an accepted mode of mourning in
their world.  As a further example - I am certain that if women were
exempt from sitting shiva, there would be many many women who would feel
strongly that they ought to sit shiva because that is how one mourns.
SBA's example, of a grieving woman who wishes to wear a talit and
tefilin, is not a fair comparison - wearing tallit and tefilin has
nothing to do with mourning and this would not be an expected response
to the death of a parent.  Hopefully, in the unlikely event that a woman
responded to a father's death with a desire to wear talit and tefilin,
she will be fortunate enough to bring the issue to a MO rabbi who will
have the wherewithal and pastoral skills be able to respond to the issue
with compassion and dignity.  That I believe she is more likely to get
than from a non-MO rabbi.


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 06:18:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Staying up on Shavuot night - for women?

SBA writes (in a post whose tone, if I may be so bold, leaves something
to be desired):

> What do you tell a woman who has just lost her father and says that it
> will help her emotionally etc if she can come to shul and don his tallis
> and tefilin?
> I can already hear the many replies of 'Why not?'

Well, asking "Why not?" is always a good practice, as it forces us to
either concede the point or come up with good reasons not to. I'd like
to know SBA's reasons.

This is not to say there are no such reasons. I can think of at least

1. There is a famous story involving the Rav in which it is pointed out
that tallis and tefillin are not worn to make us "feel good." They are
worn because it is a mitzvah to wear them. Kaddish (or learning, on
Shavuos or otherwise) is not quite in the same category.

2. Many halakhic authorities, both past and present, have seen no
problem with women saying kaddish, and even encouraged it at times. The
same does not hold true here.

This last point, by the way, cannot be stressed enough. Women saying
kaddish, I daresay, is no more (or less) common today, even in the most
modern of surroundings, than it was in Eastern Europe 150 years ago. And
yet no one (on either "side") saw fit to make a big deal about it
then. The reasons it is treated as a big deal today are obvious, but
don't bear on pure halakhic discussion.

Nachum Lamm

From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 11:31:41 -0400
Subject: RE: Staying up on Shavuot Night for Women

I think the biggest issue the FFB Chareidi women have with this concept
is the "equal time" component.  If a woman can stay up all night
learning without infringing on her husband's and male offspring's
ability to do likewise, kol hakavod.  Equal time does not compute
religiously when women have no chiyuv of "toiling in torah day and
night" while men do.

Esther Posen


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 15:30:59 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Tikkun Leil Shavuot

I think that the Ben Ish Hai and Kaf Hahaim mean the same thing. The
base of studing all Shavout night is from Kabbala. It starts from the
first counting of the Omer, thru the 7 sefirot, ending in the
tikkun. Tikkun and not other studying. The closing being Kiddushat Keter
in Musaf. So, because women do not count the omer as a Misvah Asee
shhazman grama, kabbalisticaly, they do not have a reason to say
Tikkun. It seems that the Yeshiva type of Leil Shavuot started after the
Ari set up the Tikkun, not to say that the all night lectures are a very
late addition.


End of Volume 52 Issue 26