Volume 53 Number 88
                    Produced: Wed Jan 24  5:47:30 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Back to the back of the bus (2)
         [SBA, Lawrence Feldman]
         [Joseph Kaplan]
Kavod HaRav
         [Martin Stern]
Lots of Questions (3)
         [Meir Shinnar, Janice Gelb, E Sherer]
Modesty edicts


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 2007 01:55:59 +1100
Subject: Back to the back of the bus

From: Lawrence Feldman
> Ms. Luntz's point, and its relevance to your post, is in fact quite
> clear: only a chassid shoteh would embarrass, intimidate, and bully a
> woman into sitting in the back seats of a bus, thus committing a grave
> sin, in order to indulge himself in the chumrah of not having her in his
> line of vision.

Thanks and I agree 100%.

BTW, it may interest those here who still have an open mind about the
story, here is a letter that I sent last week to Daphne Berman, the
Haaretz journalist who wrote the original story:

Dear Ms Berman

It is now almost 2 months since your story of this woman being 'beaten
up on a bus' appeared.  According to the story, there were witnesses, a
camera crew, police reports etc etc.

How come nothing further has happened?  Nothing.

Not a word from this woman - who had previously posted emails and called
to anyone who would listen.

Not another word in Haaretz (which as we all know, generally takes much
pleasure in reporting on Charedi scandals).

No arrests, no charges, no nothing?  Why?

Could it just possibly be that the whole thing was a load of crock -
orchestrated by a woman with a reputation for being a loudmouthed

And - seeing that the only people to appear bad in the story were
Charedim - you and the Haaretz fell for her story, and were quite
prepared to publish it - without seeking any corroboration at all?

Well it seems to me , that you have been well and truly 'had', and in
turn, so too have your readers.

But, as a journalist at a mainstream newspaper, wouldn't it be
newsworthy of a follow-up?

And seeing that your article has been fodder for dozens of ant-Charedi
and anti-semitic blogs worldwide, spouting thousands of 'hate' comments
(not to mention the 500 or so - on Haaretz's site), wouldn't it have
been the correct and decent thing to check up the facts and to have a
follow up?

Isn't such an important story worthy of another look?

And would it be cynical to suggest that you have indeed researched it
and come to the conclusion that the episode was nothing like you
originally claimed?

I would appreciate your response to these comments.


No reply, of course.


From: Lawrence Feldman <lpf1836@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 22:28:52 +0200
Subject: re: Back to the back of the bus

Dear SBA,

As a matter of fact, there was a follow-up article:


and the event was reported soon after it occured by other Israeli news
media (Maariv) as well:


(And on what basis do you characterize the woman involved as someone with
a reputation for being a loudmouthed troublemaker?)

In any case, as I indicated in a previous MJ post, the main issue is
that this incident aside, cases where "chassidim shotim" harrass and
embarrass women over the bus-seating issue are unfortunately
commonplace, and this behavior apparently is not condemned by anyone of
authority in the haredi community.

Lawrence Feldman


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 14:09:25 -0500
Subject: Extortion

Akiva Miller is, of course, correct, that intelligent and reasonable
people can sometimes disagree what is a sensible and proper demand in a
divorce case.  And in the normal type of divorce case, there would not,
of course, be any claim of extortion since both sides would present
their positions to an impartial decision maker (judge, beit din etc.)
who would decide who is right and who is wrong and what should be paid.
But what makes these types of demands in a withholding of a get
situation "extortion" is the unequal power; IOW the man is improperly
using his power to withhold the get in order to get money that may not
be deserved.  If the husband truly believes it is deserved, then let him
go through the normal judicial process without any threat to withhold
the get.  But by using his power to withhold a get, what might, indeed,
be a reasonable request is turned into extortion.

Joseph Kaplan


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 14:08:37 +0000
Subject: Kavod HaRav

On Thu, 18 Jan 2007 11:22:55 +0000, Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>

>> At the end of Massekhet Berakhot, the Gemara states "Talmidei chachamim
>> marbim shalom be'olam - Talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world",
>> something we quote every Friday evening after Bameh madlikin and after
>> every time we say Ein Keilokeinu.
>> In discussion with a prominent rav recently, I suggested that this
>> implied that where someone was a cause of discord, it was a proof that
>> he was not a Talmid chacham, something with which the rav found it
>> impossible to disagree.

> Sometimes "peace" can only be "increased in the world" after much strife
> and pain. Sometimes even wars.
> So I see no contradiction when talmidei chachamim "cause" discord.

He obviously has not witnessed the result of the efforts of such a
'Talmid chacham' in our shul which have resulted in about a third of the
active membership being driven out and no new faces coming in.

Martin Stern


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 10:11:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Lots of Questions

>       And questions I have remain unanswered: Who can and should respect
>       Torah leaders who have created situations of pikuach nefesh for
>       hundreds, if not thousands, of women and children by playing with
>       the laws of gittin and putting the ketubah above the rules of
>       pikuach nefesh?
> Here is where in my view you begin getting into much shakier grounds,
> and I for one strongly disagree with your position and methodology. I
> think there is a major difference between "created situations" and "not
> done enough to change the situation". I also take strong offense at the
> use of the terminology " playing with the laws of gittin". I do not see
> any evidence shown of piskei halacha that are "playing with the laws of
> gittin", and if you want to make these claims, I would chalange you to
> give us such references. A reference would need to be to a psak halacha
> from any of the major posking you are claiming no longer should have our
> respect.
>       If theJewish lives at risk, especially frum women and children who
>       actually are trying to be pious, why did the rabbis cancel the
>       agunah conference and and why do their rulings vis a vis gets
>       stand?

WADR to our esteemed moderator, while I have substantial problems with a
suggestion that the sole problem of aguna is rabbanim - and that if
there is a will there is a way - what Jeanette Friedman is saying is
quite easy to document - and by many major rabbnaim.  The fundamental
claim is that that the rabbanim refuse to view the problem seriously -
and if they did, they wound function differently - solving many, even if
not all, problems.

One can start with the case of the proposal of R Eliezer Berkovits to
prevent agunot, based on a form of tnai.  Now, there may be valid
reasons to reject the proposal.  However, he circulated this to rav
feinstein, who replied that there was nothing halachically wrong with
the proposal, but that he saw no need for such a proposal (I have seen
the letter).  The rationale for the psak is not on the intrinsic
halachic issues, but a determination of the public need - clearly a
legitimate factor for psak - but here, a lack of recognition of the
problem of the modern aguna.

Shoshana Boubil can document the fact that in Israel, where kfiyat get
is possible, there are many bate din and dayanim who refuse to do it -
because of some chashash.

In America, the problem is different.  There is general recognition that
most bate dinim are corrupt (with some notable exceptions), so that most
only pay lip service to the notion of going to a bet din (in igrot
moshe, it is said that rav moshe feinstein, from a certain time on,
refused to sit on a zabla bet din - where each side chooses one dayan,
and then they choose a third - because of the tremendous corruption that
he saw).  This is something well known.  However, the community at large
keeps quiet - and there is no general outrage at the dayanim and the
institutions they serve.

In psak, there is a wide latitude - but not complete freedom.  However,
in the traditional aguna, there was a tradition of being trying to find
some heter, based on some kula.  There is a reluctance to rely on such
kulot today- and indeed, people look to be machmir.  Eg, wrt to secular
law enforcement, rav moshe was in favor the NY get law.  When people
who, in most issues, would yield to rav moshe, here insist on being
strict, clearly it isn't halachic issues - and they are playing with the
laws of gittin.  I don't know what the answer is, but there needs to be
wider communal outrage - and lack of respect for rabbanim and
institutions that they serve that are part of the problem.  Perhaps
makim oto ad sheyomar rotze ani should be extended not just to the
ba'al, but to the dayan...  

Meir Shinnar

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 05:00:56 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Lots of Questions

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:
> But there are also other people, ordinary folk, who are *not* evil.
> Sometimes they feel that they are entitled to something which other
> people feel they're *not* entitled to. They appear to the other side
> like an extortionist, but in their own eyes and the eyes of their
> supporters, it is an entirely reasonable request.
> Thus, the truth is that rabbis do NOT insist that felonious behavior
> (extorting money from the other party for a get) is halachically
> permissible, but it is often difficult to tell the difference between
> extortion and reasonable requests.
> Again: If there is a case which appears to *you* like a very clear case
> of extortion, I am NOT saying that you are wrong in that particular
> case. I am only saying that there ARE SOME cases where intelligent and
> reasonable people on one side will call it extortion, yet the
> intelligent and reasonable people on the other side will call it
> sensible.

I don't see how this argument makes a difference.  Many, many
objectively bad things are done by people who are convinced that they
are being perfectly reasonable. That doesn't make the things they do
forgivable or halachically allowable.

-- Janice

From: <ERSherer@...> (E Sherer)
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 09:42:23 EST
Subject: Re: Lots of Questions

      cases which have been delayed time and time and time again,
      because one or two of the three rabbis has not shown up - no
      explanation given. Thus

"Jusice delayed is justice denied." It applies to the bais din   as it
does to the secular corts. 


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2007 08:50:41 
Subject: Modesty edicts

>From the Yated online:

Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight - NEWS

HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, local rabbonim and roshei yeshivos were on
hand at a gathering for hundreds of avreichim and bnei Torah in Beitar
Illit last Thursday, 21 Teves, to strengthen standards of modesty. The
event followed a number of similar gatherings in other locations in
Eretz Yisroel. Funding for the event was arranged by Mayor Rabbi
Yitzchok Pindrus and his office director, Rabbi Yosef Shetreet.

Speeches were given by HaRav Boruch Shapira, a ram at Yeshivas Kol Torah
Letzei'irim, the moro de'asra HaRav Aviezer Tewfik and HaRav Tzvi
Ordentlicht, HaRav Shalom Cohen, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivat Porat Yosef,
HaRav Aviezer Piltz, rosh yeshiva of Yeshivas Tushiyoh Tifrach, HaRav
Menachem Klein, the Gavad of Ungvar, and HaRav Shteinman shlita.

After reading aloud a letter of support from HaRav Nissim Karelitz,
HaRav Tzvi Braverman recited the decisions of the gathering.

1. There are families that do not meet modesty standards and when the
time comes to register their children in educational institutions they
encounter difficulties getting accepted at the educational institutions
and then they turn to Vaadas HaRabbonim LeInyonei Chinuch with various
pledges. We hereby declare in the name of Vaadas HaRabbonim that all of
these families must start conforming now at the beginning of the year
rather than crying out after the fact, for those who do not conform to
the directives of rabboseinu gedolei Yisroel forfeit their right to make
demands of the city's educational institutions.

2. The gathering calls on clothing stores not to sell clothes that do
not conform to the instructions issued by the rabbonim. Doing so
constitutes an act of causing the buyers and the public to stumble, and
they are accountable for the public's sin. As in other cities, this
should be buttressed by only patronizing stores that receive

3. Since the beis din is required to oversee public places to prevent
people from socializing improperly it has been decided to set up Agudas
Hashomrim, which will dispatch hundreds of avreichim to stand watch on
these matters.

4. Under the current set of circumstances on public buses it is very
hard to maintain proper modesty with women walking down the aisle past
the men, both in terms of the men and the women themselves, therefore it
has been decided to arrange to have women board via the rear door and
the public is asked to assist in upholding these arrangements. HaRav
Braverman then read the main takonos issued in accordance with gedolei


End of Volume 53 Issue 88