Volume 53 Number 61
                    Produced: Sun Jan  7 14:13:58 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aguna legislation in Maryland
         [Joseph Kaplan]
Assault & Battery
Chumrot (2)
         [Batya Medad, Avi Feldblum]
Impostors in Hassidic Garb and Murder
         [Saul Davis]
King Saul
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
A radical but sane proposal
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
the SF Bay Area
         [Shoshana Ziskind]
Yefas To'ar (and vegetarianism) (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Avi Feldblum]


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 13:58:28 -0500
Subject: Aguna legislation in Maryland

The legislation proposed to help agunot in Maryland is already the law
in New York (Domestic Relations Law, Section 253).  However, one serious
problem (aside from constitutionality) is that it only works when the
husband wants the civil divorce.  If, as happens in many cases of igun,
he does not and it is the wife who is seeking the civil divorce, the law
doesn't help.

Because of that, about 10 years, later the legislature added another
provision to the DRL (Section 236B(5)(h)) which allows the court to take
"the effect of a barrier to remarriage" into consideration in making a
decision about equitable distribution.  That, at least, gave some teeth
to the law about removing barriers to remarriage (i.e., a defendant
husband could lose money by failing to remove a barrier to remarriage,
that is, give a get).  However, sadly and perhaps not surprisingly, many
prominent rabbis said that a get given as a result of this latter
section would not be valid under Jewish law since it would be a "forced
get."  (Thankfully, there are other prominent rabbis who disagree.)

In my opinion, this simply shows that we cannot turn to secular courts
or legislatures to fix what is, at essence, a halachic problem.

Joseph Kaplan


From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 10:10:47 EST
Subject: Re: Assault & Battery

      A "battery" is any harmful or degrading contact on the person of

      Actually placing a scarf on someone would be "battery" and holding
      it over them would be "assault".

    An "assault" is the attempt to physically attack some one or put the
other person "in fear"; the "battery" is the actual physical contact
made on the victim.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 17:24:39 +0200
Subject: Re: Chumrot

To be exact, chareidi chumrot do not "enhance" halacha or Judaism, they
distort it.  I consider myself "Torah observant," or "dati."  I don't
look to be "modern," so I reject the label "modern" orthodox.  I think
it insults good Torah-loyal Rabbis who aren't chareidi, to be considered
second class.  Let's get our priorities straight, Torah, without the


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 17:24:39 +0200
Subject: Re: Chumrot

Batya, I do not understand how you can make such a broad statement as
saying that "To be exact, chareidi chumrot do not "enhance" halacha or
Judaism, they distort it." There may be specific chumrot that you feel
belong in that category, but there are many others that do "enhance"
halacha. By making such a generalization, you loose credibility when you
want to discuss those chumrot that may be a distortion of Halacha,
rather than a valid chumrah.



From: Saul Davis <saul.davis@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 19:22:04 +0200
Subject: Impostors in Hassidic Garb and Murder

I have been following the discussion regarding the NKniks with some
interest. (The call for murder is totally out of place. Avi beware that
in many jurisdictions the publishing of a call to murder may constitute
a criminal offence.) I am not sure why, but it seems that the demonizing
of NK is very popular (in the Israeli press for example). We love to
hate them. But their real influence and actions do not warrant the time
and effort put into this demonization.

Firstly, please be sure of one thing: NK is a very small (tiny), sect
and within it there are maybe a few "real" crazies like those that went
to Tehran. I do not have statistics, but I would guess that NK is about
100 families. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neturei_Karta there is an
estimate, without a citation, of between 1,000 to 5,000.  The real
crazies number maybe no more than a dozen. They are self-appointed, have
no authority but, of course are masters at provocation and publicity. I
would be pleased to see real figures of the number of NK or at least
other people's estimates.

Secondly, read/hear what they said at the conference at
http://www.nkusa.org/activities/Conferences/2006Dec12Iran.cfm. Yes, to
befriend the Iranians, who call for the end of the State of Israel is
evil. But, unlike their hosts, they did not deny the Shoah. They did
denounced the political use of the Shoah. I for one agree that it is not
moral to use the deaths of so many Jews for political purposes,
including Zionism. My conclusion is that we have a right to a state
regardless of the Shoah, but I guess NK or the anti-Israel/Semitic Arab
do not agree to that!

Unfortunately I am doing just what I want to criticise: I am talking
about and bringing attention to the NK. Their numbers do not warrant the
amount we talk and write about them. Their aim is to draw attention to
the silly things they do, and we have thus fulfilled their aim. Enough

I am looking for answers to 2 questions: Why do we love to hate them?
and How many NKs are there?

Saul Davis

 " ... and why did you say such a thing to me." Samuel I 9:21


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 09:36:28 EST
Subject: King Saul

Brandon Raff (MJv53n56) says:
> The Gemara  (Yoma 22b) relates:
> 'Saul was a year old when he began to reign.' R. Huna said: Like an
> infant of one year, who had not tasted the taste of sin. R. Nahman
> b. Isaac demurred to this: Say perhaps: Like an infant of one year old
> that is filthy with mud and excrement? R. Nahman thereupon was shown a
> frightening vision in his dream, whereupon he said: I beg your pardon,
> bones of Saul, son of Kish. But he saw again a frightening vision in his
> dream, whereupon he said: I beg your pardon, bones of Saul, son of Kish,
> King in Israel.  (Yoma 22b)

King Saul was one year old when he was appointed king (I Samuel 13:1),
but he was already taller that the average person before he was anointed
(I Samuel 9:2), probably already a father of children (14:49). Obviously
these two pesukim cannot co-exist. It is the Gemara cited by you above
attempting to make the "one year old" into an allegory. Some LXX MSS
have the age as 31, suggesting that the word "sheloshim" was missing
from the text.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 21:15:55 +0200
Subject: Re: A radical but sane proposal

From: Charles Chi Halevi <c.halevi@...>
> Since the G'mara (Talmud) clearly states that - ha'ba li'hargicha,
> hashkem u'dihargo - if you know someone is coming to kill you, you
> should arise early and kill him first - shouldn't we apply this
> principle to such vermin as those Jews and Gentiles who participated
> in the Iranian conference that denied the Holocaust...

I somehow missed the original post.  I am responding b/c some things you
just can't keep silent about.  Lot's of people like to throw around the
issue of Rodef -- but few have actually studied it.

Rav Ya'akov Ariel published an article on it several years ago.  I
recall mention on the net. Perhaps someone can find it.

The most important factor is that Rodef is someone who is about to kill
you RIGHT NOW.  Not in a day or a month or a year.  Certainly not by
speach or any other method of disseminating information.

If you know of someone who intends to kill someone in the future -- this
gives you time to contact the police, the government, people who should
take care of preventing this.

To repeat: As wrong as these guys are -- they do NOT come under din
Rodef in any way shape or form.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 08:33:41 -0500
Subject: the SF Bay Area

> I feel obligated to defend the San Francisco Bay Area, where I lived
> for several years. I never had any feeling that people looked down on
> me or were intolerant of my being religiously observant there.  As a
> matter of fact, when I worked at a well-known computer company there,
> my Christian boss wrote a very nice note to me when my mother died
> unexpectedly. I had explained the shiva requirements to him and his
> note mentioned how lucky he thought I was to have a framework for my
> grief experience and how he wished he'd had a similar religious
> structure to fall back on when his own parents had died. The neighbors
> in my condo were also very understanding about the noise and number of
> visitors for the shiva minyanim, for example. Non-Jews in a hobby
> group I attended went out of their way to try to have meetings on
> Sundays rather than Saturdays, for another example.  > -- Janice

I guess this is a "your mileage may vary" situation but his email really
seemed spot on to me, and I spent the first 27 years or so of my life
there, although I primarily related to my twenties when I lived in Santa
Cruz and the people I knew there were young computer geeks and I
distinctly felt that to them, drumming circles and non institutionalized
religion equaled cool and institutionalized religion equaled not cool at
all.  Also many of them didn't understand why I didn't want to take part
in their activities saying Dec. 25th wasn't really a christian holiday
because it was mainly commercialized so why don't you join us decorating
the tree and so on and so forth. In general the town was extremely left
wing as well.  I think most of the people I used to hang out with think
I went nuts when I became frum. Even most of the Jewish organizations
there were a lot in left field.

Growing up though I don't know if I felt looked down or had more
annoying experiences than you might have any other place in the US due
to ignorance. One of the dental hygenists once asked me when I was a kid
what I was doing for the Dec. 25th holiday and I said I was Jewish and
she said "that doesn't matter, what are you doing for the holiday?"

What's interesting though is that I wasn't frum as a kid or in
college. I've gotten more respect from people on the "left" coast and on
the east coast now that I'm frum. I lived in Seattle briefly before
eventually moving to New York (via Tsfas) and although I had already
started taking on more mitzvos in the bay area I definitely took on more
there and everyone was extremely respectful. My boss, who was usually a
little brash seemed extremely impressed that I wanted to quit a job with
excellent prospects for promotion to learn in a woman's yeshiva in

-Shoshana Ziskind


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 10:28:09 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Yefas To'ar (and vegetarianism)

According to others on the list, the foreign woman captured as a spoil
of war (yefas to'ar) must convert before her captor marries her.

Warren Burstein cites Hilchot Melachim 8
(http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/e508.htm) 8:9 (8:7 in some editions),
saying that if she chooses not to convert then she is set free after
twelve months.

Obviously, not all slaves are required to convert (or there'd be no
concept of "gentile slave").  What is the status of a female slave's
children if she doesn't convert, but the master has children with her

Back to the original subject, how would the yafas to'ar convince the Bet
Din that her prospective conversion is purely for the sake of Heaven,
and not for the sake of marriage to a Jew????  (Or is this test not
actually a halachic requirement?)

Of course, if the captured woman converts to Judaism of her own free
will (with the alternative of going free), then we can no longer say
that the law of Yefas To'ar is a special permission to do anything.
Once she converts, how the soldier met her becomes irrelevant.  (Or is
the whole point of Yefas To'ar that _this_ woman, unlike all other
gentiles, _may_ convert for the sake of marriage rather than for the
sake of Heaven?)

The original discussion about meat-eating said that Jews _today_ should
despise meat-eating as immoral just as we are _now_ repulsed by the
immorality of Yefas To'ar.  Though one can question the wisdom of a man
who brings home a war bride, if the woman's conversion and marriage is
as voluntary as described -- then there is no reason for us to condemn
Yefas To'ar as being immoral by our modern senisbilities.

Therefore, it cannot be used to bolster the argument that meat eating
might _likewise_ be viewed as immoral by Jews today.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee	<fs@...>

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007
Subject: Yefas To'ar (and vegetarianism)

Frank, I think there are a number of factual errors in your posting, or
at least in what I understand you to be saying. I don't claim any
expertise in Yafas To'ar, but I do not think the assumed connection
between Yefas To'ar and a female gentile slave is valid. The statement
that the halacha is that a Yefas To'ar needs to convert before the
Jewish soldier can marry her, says nothing about a gentile slave being
required or not to convert. I also do not think that the question about
the status of the master's children with the female slave is meaningful,
since it seems to assume that a Jewish master is permitted to have
children with a gentile slave women, which I do not think is correct. If
he were to do so anyhow, in violation of halacha, I think that the
status of the child is that he/she would be an eved - a slave.

Avi Feldblum


End of Volume 53 Issue 61