Volume 53 Number 80
                    Produced: Mon Jan 15  6:03:08 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Buses, bias and Japan
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Electricity - R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach vs Chazon Ish
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Japanese Railcard segregation
         [Carl Singer]
Kattan saying kaddish (3)
         [SBA, Leah Perl, Meir Shinnar]


From: Yeshaya Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 00:04:16 -0600
Subject: Buses, bias and Japan

Shalom to All (Especially Those Whom I Think Go Way Overboard):

SBA's post in m-j #77 is, I think, indefensible - and I can't sit on the
fence here. Please lend an ear - even if it means considering the rights
of a <gasp> female ear.

He leads off with 
> There are cases in halacha (and I am not saying that bus travel is
> exactly the same matter) where Chazal say regarding a man walking past
> women doing their washing on the river - when they could have gone an
> alternative way, ["ikka darka achrina"], then he is considered a
> rasha. Yes I realise that in that case the onus is indeed on the man
> to detour - not the women. But it shows us that that where there is an
> opportunity not to get up too close - one should.

Firstly, is this gender-based, back-of-the-bus type bias the undisputed
and accepted halacha (Jewish Law)?  If it is, I honestly think the vast
majority of Jews, even Torah observant ones, ignore it. A "halacha"
ignored by the great majority of (even Orthodox) Jews tells us
something, and what I hear tell is that it ain't necessarily halacha at

OTOH, if you claim this unpracticed (by the majority) law still is
halacha, you're accusing most Jews - who ignore it - of being
sinners. And that, sir, is egregious.

It also logically leads to the conclusion that all women and girls must
wear burqas, lest we poor males lustfully catch a glimpse of the female
face. Ain't gonna happen, folks.

Of course, there is room for argument that this is _not_ halacha, and
instead falls into the misogynist and rejected category of, say, "Ten
measures of witchcraft descended into the world - and women took nine."

Then SBA claims 
> Separating in busses is obviously not a halacha (otherwise unmixed
> ones and even airplanes would be banned). But it is obviously
> preferable.

Well, maybe SBA prefers it, but that dog won't hunt. I'm not even sure
it lays any claim to working logic, either.

> Remember that these innovations are for people in communities where
> the sexes rarely mix,

Right. They never see each other in the street, at the store or bus stop
or any other public place.

> And most, would not lower themselves to make scene - just to prove a
> point. After all how long is that bus trip? 10 or 20 minutes?  Is it
> worth the hassle? I don't think so.

But we, the majority of humanity - including B'nai Torah - will most
definitely "make scene" if you foist fifth-class, Taliban law on the
population, just as we don't think slavery is permissible even though
the Torah allows it.

> And while I certainly don't wish to be mekatreg on Jewish women
> opposing the separate busses, Japanese women have long ago complained
> about being squashed up against men on trains.  Nowadays on certain
> main lines have their 'ladies only' carriages.

The Japanese situation came about **ONLY** because too many Japanese men
were pinching women and doing other too touchy-feely things while on
public transport.

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 07 15:28:00 -0400
Subject: Electricity - R' Shlomo Zalman Auerbach vs Chazon Ish

Bernard Raab, in Volume 51 number 99 in a post dated Mon Apr 17 asked:

BR> If those MJ-ers who enjoy poring through the halachic literature will
BR> research how we got to where we are now with regard to electricity use
BR> on Shabbat, I will seek to answer the questions regarding the different
BR> forms of lighting we now have available to us. (Starting right after the
BR> chag.) Deal?

Apparently this fell through the cracks.

In Volume 53 number 76, in a post dated Friday January 12 you now asked:

BR> .....There have in fact been some fairly sweeping opinions in the
BR> past that would mutar the use of many forms of electricity, i.e; by R.
BR> S.Z. Auerbach, but he was a "yachid" in these matters and was
BR> overwhelmed by the bulk of rabbinic opinion which took the easy way
BR> out. I have even heard it argued that we have a "mesorah" which bans the
BR> use of electricity on Shabbat. A practice which is less than a hundred
BR> years old, however, should not qualify as mesorah.

BR> I am sorry that my filing system is in such disarray that I cannot
BR> produce the exact citation to R. Auerbach's position. Hopefully, one of
BR> our more organized posters will do so, and we can get into a discussion
BR> which might "shed some light" on the matter?

In Volume 33 Number 53, in a post dated Wed, 06 Sep 2000 13:39:32 EDT
Steven White <StevenJ81@...> gave a summary  of Rabbi Michael Broyde's
summary of Sh. Z. Auerbach ztz"l on electricity.

[R' Broyde's original article was published in the RJJ Journal of
Halacha and Contemporary Society:
The Use of Electricity on Shabbat and Yom Tov; Rabbi Michael Broyde &
Rabbi Howard Jachter; 
Journal of Halacha & Contemporary Society, No. XXI - Spring 91 - Pesach 5751
The full article can be found here:


This is my summary of Steven White's summary of Rabbi Broyde's summary of
Shlomo. Zalman's. Auerbach position:

1) The Chazon Ish is wrong about binyan.

2) There could be an issue of fire in the case of incandescent lighting,
but it doesn't really matter, since heating something beyond Yad Soledet
Bo is anyway prohibited.

3) Other uses of electricity are not prohibited d'oraita. Actually we
should say It all goes down to whether the underlying Melacha itself is

4) But we prohibit derabbanan because it is difficult for most people to
tell what is esh and what is not (we're not used to this) and it is the
the established custom and we respect the Chazon Ish's opinion.

In Volume 33 Number 56 Reuben Rudman added that he had from Zev Lev of
the Hebrew University, who used to be known as W Low when he was in
America, that he taught Rav Shlomo Zalman all about electricity while R
Sholmo Zalman taught him Gemara and halacha (so Rabbi Shomo Zalman
Auerbach had a real understanding of electricity, as it was understood
by top-level physicists about 50 or 60 years ago)

More recently, in Volume 53 Number 13, Jonathan Baker wrote, in a post
dated Mon, 20 Nov 2006:

JB> IIRC, R' SZ Auerbach in his correspondence with the Chazon Ish
JB> demolished every argument that using electric current ipso facto
JB> violates a melacha; he only deferred to the Chazon Ish's authority in
JB> the end, even though it contradicted halachic reality.

JB> It seems to me that today, since both parties are gone, contemporary
JB> poskim could take RSZA's positions and make them into current law.
JB> Halacha kebatrai (following the later decisor) should allow this.
JB> Social pressures alone mitigate against this.

By the way, we are really not following the Chazon Ish. The Chazon Ish
also prohibited the use of electricity generated on Shabbos if it came
from the grid. Other Rabbis reasoned that since this could be done to
save a life and it is pikuach nefesh to have the grid supplied with
electricity, electricity could be used (just like outside of Israel,
where we assume no Jews are involved, and we only have to turn it on
before, or use a Shabbos clock etc.)

The Chazon Ish's ruling was only accepted among certain people, who
lived mainly in Yerushalayim and Bnai Brak.

In recent years however, the idea of adherence to this Psak has been
spreading, and all kinds of social pressures and whatever are pushing
people into it.

What happens now is that people buy generators. This is apparently not
legal in Israel but it is done anyway. the sound of these generators is
generally muffled.

All this I have from an article in the (Sephardic) Jewish Voice from a
few weeks ago. I wanted to wrote about it before but I probably don't
have the article any more.

the article went on to day that Israel Electricity (the official company
for delivering electricity in ISrael) had hired someone to find a
Halachic solution to this. they didn't wnat people doing this because 1)
They lose money and 2) There is a danger of shocks - so far none fatal -
because the people hooking up these generators don't all know all that
much about how to do it right and 3) The people doing this spend a lot
more money for electricity on Shabbos than if they used the grid.

The article said that this effort had the endorsement of Rabbi Ovadia
Yosef for the Sephardim and it named two other rabbis, one for the
Ashkenazim and one for the Chassidim.

It did NOT have the support of the Edfah Ha-Cheredit, but they were
hoping to get it somehow. (maybe their best hope really is simply to
stop this practice of using generators from spreading.)

The basic idea they were working on was to hire non-Jewish employees to
supervise the generation of electricity on Shabbos. One advantage this
would have for Israel Electricity is that they could meet their
affirmative action quotas that way (apparently Israel has that too, and
it would be more legal there) The non-Jews they have in mind apparently
are Arabs, not Russians or others.

I guess this gets into the issue of Paralysis in Halacha.

Eli Turkel <turkel@...> wrote in Volume 39 Number 50 in a post
dated Sun, 25 May 2003:

ET> ....The general tendency today is to prevent disagreements with
ET> previous piskei halacha independent of reasons. When R. SZ Auerbach
ET> first came out with his psak about electricity there were suggestions
ET> to put him in cherem because he dared to disagree with CI. Others
ET> sharply criticized RM Feinstein for his chiddushin.

ET> Thus, while some poskim rise above the crowd the tendency in most
ET> yeshivot to is stress that one cannot disagree with CI, etc even with
ET> good proofs.  There are rabbis who are trying to "end" the era of
ET> achronim and claim that the MB is the final psak with some minor
ET> deviations for the poskim of the past 100 years but that in the near
ET> future disagreeing with achronim will be like us disagreeing with
ET> rishonim (they will need some imagination for the name of the new era).

Shtus, perhaps?  Really, just perhaps, Acharei Acharanim.

The one thing that occurs to me of course, is that if we are now after
the era of the Achronim, then all those people prohibiting or strongly
discouraging men and women sitting together on buses have no real
business doing so - and the Chazon Ish himself is too late. A more
logical cutoff actually is, lets; say with people who were given active
or at least given Semicha before 1940 - educated by people who were
themselves educated before World War I - but that would also include
Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach.

In any case we are anyway disagreeing with the Chazon Ish on electricity
- about the grid - unless the idea of Israel electricity is to do
something that would satisfy the Chazon Ish even if it wouldn't satisfy
many of the people who follow him. I don't know what the idea is here.

Not to mention not following the Chazon ish on other issues.

I should report another ruling about electricity. A woman who cannot
walk and uses an electric wheelchair was given permission by an Orthodox
Rabbi to use it to get out of bed and so on.

Complicating issues there I suppose might be: 1) I assume this uses some
form of batteries, which are not recharged on Shabbos, so this might be
llimited to this kind of thing and 2) Kovod Habriyos, which is Doche
Shabbos, or can be.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 22:40:47 -0500
Subject: Japanese Railcard segregation

> And while I certainly don't wish to be mekatreg on Jewish women opposing
> the separate busses, Japanese women have long ago complained about being
> squashed up against men on trains.  Nowadays on certain main lines have
> their 'ladies only' carriages.
> Just imagine the outcry here if Egged tried THAT?

This is a totally different context - and not relevant to the discussion
at hand.  The problem is that Japanese women are getting groped on the
very crowded trains.  (Trains so crowded that there are people who push
people aboard so the doors will close.)  The separate cars were
instituted to protect women from such deviants.



From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 15:08:04 +1100
Subject: Kattan saying kaddish

From: Yossi Berlin 
> And at the end of kabbalat shabbat, there was a mourners kaddish and
> the young boy said it.  .. can a katton fulfill this role?  ..I am
> curious as to whether this is a usual custom of a yekkish shul or
> whether this is more broadly observed

AFAIK, Kaddish yosom was compiled mainly on behalf of ketanim, who
cannot act as baalei tefilah. An adult, wherever possible, should be


From: Leah Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 22:47:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Kattan saying kaddish

Unfortunately I know of two separate families in this situation. Neither
is from a Yekkishe family, both follow the nusach Ari and pasken
according to Shulchan Aruch HaRav. One boy was 6, the other 12 at the
time that they said kaddish for their fathers.  Hearing it is a
heart-rending experience, and one you feel must tear at the Heavens,

Besuros tovos!  

From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 01:07:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Kattan saying kaddish

> If we can for a moment put aside our obvious concern that such a loss
> should befall so young a boy, can a katton fulfill this role?
> Especially at this shul given their custom, the kaddish-sayer truly
> does assume the role of the shilach tsibbur. I speculated at the time
> that since this was "merely" kabbalat shabbat and not a "real" service
> perhaps it didn't "count".

Some of the original descriptions of kaddish yatom in the middle ages
were very specifically of a kattan saying kaddish - in some sense,
because as a kattan he couldn't be a regular shliach tzibbur.

Meir Shinnar


End of Volume 53 Issue 80