Volume 53 Number 71
                    Produced: Wed Jan 10  6:42:11 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ban on Higher Education for Charedi Women
         [Samuel Groner]
Explaining catastrophies
         [Leah Aharoni]
"gedilm stories"  was Rabbeinu Tam Time
         [Ari Z. Zivotofsky]
Kiddush HaChodesh
Rape as a War Crime (2)
         [Carl Singer, SBA]
Sefer Dedication / Sponsorship Request
         [Rabbi Ari Enkin]
Shopping Halacha
         [Carl Singer]
Tikkun Chatzot
Translation of 'nehora Maalya' in 'Yekum Purkan'


From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 12:56:00 EST
Subject: Re: Ban on Higher Education for Charedi Women

      (I'm thinking along the lines of the recent ban on higher
      education for charedi women).

Who imposed that?


From: Samuel Groner <samgroner@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 10:18:32 -0500
Subject: BT's

Sarah Beck already noted that it was inappropriate for the actions of
the haredim on that bus to be blamed on BT's, a statement with which I
agree, since we don't have any idea who the attackers were, nor whether
they were BT's or not.  I just wanted to briefly respond to SBA's
statement referring to "crazy BTs who take matters too far (a la Baruch
Goldstein)."  I'm not sure if SBA was just using Baruch Goldstein as an
example of a person who took matters too far, or whether he intended to
imply that Baruch Goldstein was a BT who took matters too far.  If he
intended the latter, I believe that that statement might be mistaken.

>From wikipedia: "Goldstein was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Orthodox
Jewish family. He attended the Yeshivah of Flatbush religious day
school, Yeshiva University and Albert Einstein College of Medicine."
Although wikipedia is certainly not a definitive source in determining
whether a given family was orthodox or not, absent further evidence to
the contrary it seems fair to assume that Goldstein was one of those
crazy FFBs.

Sammy Groner


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 11:30:14 +0200
Subject: Explaining catastrophies

Carl Singer wrote:

The "Buses were blown up because" is as stupid as the "Holocaust occurred
because" claims alleged to be have been made by certain Rabbiem.

While I understand Carl's position, I think there is a lot of validity
in our tradition to finding spiritual reasons for catastrophes.  For
example, for chazal, the second churban was equivalent in scope to our
perception of the shoah (besides the loss of the temple and the exile,
there were actually millions of casualties.) Still, chazal had no qualms
with finding spiritual reasons for the churban (lack of blessing on
Torah study, judging according to the letter of the law, senseless
hatred, etc).

I can't think of a specific example right now, but I think that the
rishonim had the same attitude and assigned various tragedies to
specific sins.

So why are we aghast at people blaming our tragedies on sin today?  

Leah Aharoni
Hebrew/Russian/English translator
Email:  <leah25@...>


From: Ari Z. Zivotofsky <zivotoa@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 19:46:28 +0200
Subject: "gedilm stories"  was Rabbeinu Tam Time

In Volume 53 Number 66 as part of a proof for his position, Sammy
Finkelman wrote ... "Now the thing here is, after his wife died, Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein used to light the candles at home and the take the bus
to shul. Did he light very early? I don't think so. What is going on is
that, in principle, we could do Melachah way after Shekiah."

Bringing a proof from a posek's behavior is OK. But only if the story
could at least have happened. The problem here is that Rav Moshe
Feinstein pre-deceased his rebbetzin Sima by 7.5 years. Rav Moshe was
niftar Ta'anit Esther 5746 and his wife 10 Marcheshvan 5754. This
information can easily be found in Igerot Moshe vol. 8, pages 34 and 41.

This "gadol story" was easy to disprove. but the question it raises is
where do they start and how many of those that don't have an obvious
hole are also pure fiction?

Ari Zivotofsky


From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 13:05:47 EST
Subject: Re: Kiddush HaChodesh

      sighting the new moon. Normally it did not take them so long and
      they arrived much earlier in the day.

If they don't arrive on day 29, doesn't the Bes Din automatically
declare day 30 to be Rosh Hashona? And, isn't that why Rosh Hashona was
made two days (always) so the 29th day witnesses became superfluous?


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jan 2007 06:50:13 -0500
Subject: Rape as a War Crime

It is close to impossible accurately see the world through the cultural
norms that existed in the time and place of the Torah.  Hence any
assertions about the rape victim wanting / needing (or not wanting / not
needing) to marry her attacker, etc., are all speculative.

"Civilized Society" continues to wrestle with how those in power -- in a
specific instance Soldiers -- deal with / treat the powerless --
civilians and prisoners of war.  The Geneva Convention specifies what
must and what may not be done -- and provides punishment for those who
disobey.  Those who are veterans may recall that the back of their ID
cards listed their Geneva Convention Category -- essentially a function
of their rank.

Consider, for example, the photos of Sadaam in his Jockey shorts when he
was first captured -- if Sadaam were classified an enemy combatant then
these photos (which exploit an enemy prisoner) would be against the
Geneva Convention and punishable by law.  (But I'm straying onto
political thin ice.)

Of interest to me is that halacha recognizes problems related to war and
is responsive to same.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired 

From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 03:28:56 +1100
Subject: Rape as a War Crime

From: Leah S. Gordon
>>     The Torah's institution of Yefat Toar is to correct the
>>bediavad circumstance of a soldier raping a woman in the heat of a
>>battle.  This is not proper behavior, but it happens all the time
>>unfortunately.  The Torah thereby instituted a way for the woman to
>>become the wife of the soldier>Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
>I have always found unfathomable that the Torah would even allow the
>"marriage" of any rape victim to her attacker.  I realize that it isn't
>just in this rape case that the Torah provides for such an option.

I presume you are referring to a case where a man seduced a girl and
then must marry her.  However, the din is that he only marries her if
she agrees.  She is not forced to do so.

Re a yefas toar, it also isn't a simple case of wartime rape and

See the Rambam Hilchos Melachim chapter 8.

A few points:
1) He is only allowed to have relations with her ONCE, until she does
the whole procedure as described in the Torah and then only after she
converts and then they marry.  This period must be a minimum of 3

2) That first and only time with here may not be an 'on the spot rape'
in the battlefield.  He must take her into town (motel room?) and do it

3) Soldiers are only permitted maximum one Yefas Toar.

4) If she does not wish to convert, they try to convince her to do so
for 12 months and if after that she still refuses, then they make her
accept the 7 mitzvos Bnei Noach and send her away. No further

So really there is no forced marriage here. And even the 'rape' - is
minimal. (yes I know, there is no such thing, but the fact is that the
Torah permitted it. Though maybe the Torah isn't talking about rape as
much as consensual sex...Anyone know?)



From: Rabbi Ari Enkin <rabbiari@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 10:01:41 +0200
Subject: Sefer Dedication / Sponsorship Request

BS'D, January 9, 2007
Dear Friends:

As you know, I recently published a Sefer (Torah book) entitled "Dalet
Amot - Halachic Perspectives" which deals with over 100 contemporary
halachic issues in a unique and very readable manner and includes [now]
over 2000 references. The book was self-published, self-promoted and

I am excited to inform you that Geffen Publishers have taken a strong
interest in the book and have now signed a contract with me to be the
exclusive publishers and distributors of the book, and will be doing so
worldwide effective immediately.

As such, I am looking for a benefactor who would be interested in
sponsoring this project through a dedication in memory or in honor of

The sponsor would be given an elaborate dedication page to fill as
he/she sees fit which would be placed at the beginning of the book. In
addition the sponsor would receive 100 complimentary copies of the book
to distribute as he/she see fit.

The cost of this sponsorship is only $6,000 - which is truly an
attractive opportunity in the world of sponsorship of Torah books. The
book has been endorsed by many prominent rabbis worldwide, including
Rabbi Michael Broyde among others.

If you, or someone you know would be interested in becoming the
exclusive sponsor of this project, kindly contact me immediately.

Yours very truly,
Rabbi Ari Enkin
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 07:21:58 -0500
Subject: Shopping Halacha

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
> IMHO the aseh lcha rav is a bit overdone (after all the gemora itself
> tells you you can go to another rav as long as you tell him the psak of
> the 1st).  We also see many times in practical halacha poskim who defer
> to a particular opinion in one circumstance but not to other opinions of
> the same source.  IMHO (since I'm not a posek) it goes to the need for a
> mesorah and the development of a "halachik heart" to tell a posek how to
> pick and choose amongst the relevant sources.
>In this case, what do they lose by being more machmir than the din might
>be (other than mshum yuhara: and aggravating some others-))

My concern is beyond asking a 2nd posek -- or how a posek should
research / decide.  I am speaking of the individual NOT the Posek.  --
it is the individual independently picking and choosing for a vast menu
of published opinions without the benefit of a posek or rav.

With the age of mass publication and now the internet, one can find an
extremely wide range of historic and current psak on just about any
halachik topic.

Is it an acceptable halachik "model" for an individual to "shop" or
research halacha in the same way that one might do independent
scientific or political research (without the benefit of a teacher /

Carl Singer


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 03:43:56 +1100
Subject: Tikkun Chatzot

From: Yisrael Medad
> Here in Shiloh, they will be saying on Thursday nights the Tikkun
> Chatzot at midnight (23:45 local time).  Is this minhag observed
> anywhere in Galus?

Is this something new?  If so, what brought it on?



From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 23:15:47 EST
Subject: Translation of 'nehora Maalya' in 'Yekum Purkan'

In 'Yekum Purkan', said in Ashkenazic congregations on Shabbos, there
appears the phrase 'nehora maalya'.

I recently noticed that Artscroll translates it as 'lofty vision',
while, IIRC, the Metsudah siddur translates it as (I don't have it front
of me) something like 'healthy/superior vision', with a footnote stating
that some translate it as 'lofty vision'.

It seems to me that the second meaning (healthy/superior vision) is the
correct one.

Why do some, nevertheless, translate otherwise ?

It occurred to me, that perhaps they argue that it couldn't mean meaning
number two, which is a matter of physical health, as that is covered in
the immediately preceding expression of 'varius gufa' (bodily health).
Therefore, it must mean something else.

However, it seems to me otherwise, as 1) meaning number two is a more
accurate translation of nehora maalya (nehora really means light, and is
then extended to mean physical vision, which is related to light. To
extend the meaning further than that, to mean lofty vision, seemingly is
going too far) and 2) as to a question of why it would be repeated if
it's subsumed in 'varius gufa', we can say that sight/vision is so
important that it merits a special request by itself (and perhaps there
was a special reason for stressing it then as blindness was perhaps
rampant at that time and place, at least relative to now, perhaps due to
water-borne diseases, something which some may not realize).

Comments ?



End of Volume 53 Issue 71