Volume 53 Number 95
                    Produced: Thu Feb  1 20:15:49 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Back to the back of the bus
Guterman survey
         [Art Werschulz]
Heter Meah Rabbanim
         [Meir Shinnar]
Modesty Edict
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
more on seperate seating
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Talmidei chachamim increase peace ?
         [Heshy Summer]
Those bad, bad Charedim
         [Janice Gelb]
tlush - etymology
         [David Curwin]
Tzvi Dovid ben Avigayil Aviva
         [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Update on separate seating buses in Israel
         [Sarah Beck]


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 23:23:20 +1100
Subject: Re: Back to the back of the bus

From: Warren Burstein 

> I would like to suggest that anyone who does not believe the Haaretz
> reporting take a look at an entry on the Cross-Currents blog by Jonathan
> Rosenblum from Dec. 12, 2006, which can be found at

I have emailed JR several times asking him if he still stands by that
version of the story.  I haven't had a reply yet.

Neither has Daphna Berman, the writer of the Haaretz story, responded to
my queries about a follow-up.


PS:  I am again cc-ing both of them 


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 09:58:49 -0500
Subject: Guterman survey


Mark Guterman <mark@...> wrote:

> My name is Mark Guterman.  I am a Clinical Psychology PhD student working
> with Orit Avishai of the University of California at Berkeley.
> We are doing an internet survey of Jews of all denominations.  The survey
> is for both singles and married couples.

Mr. Guterman has posted a similar request to
soc.culture.jewish.moderated (a Usenet newsgroup).  Before deciding
whether you'll participate in this survey, you might want to check out
the scjm discussion, which may be found at the URL

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l++ u+ P++ e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t+ r- 
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7050, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:20:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Heter Meah Rabbanim

> >woman goes to a secular court first, the bet din may give the husband a
> >heter meah rabbanim, without giving the husband a get.  There are
> >documeted cases of husbands remarrying a second time with a heter meah
> >rabbanim - without the wife being able to receive a get.  Rav Moshe and
> >most major poskim held that for a heter meah rabbanim to be valid, the
> >get had to be deposited with a bet din and the wife had to be able to
> >get the get at her pleasure (dealing with cases where the wife refused
> >to receive a get).  There is no classical case of a heter meah rabbanim
> >for a man's divorce that did not allow the wife to remarry if she
> >wanted.  This is clearly playing with the laws of gittin.
Yossi Ginzberg

> Something is wrong here, I think.
> AIUI, a heter meah Rabbonim is a letter authorizing a husband to write a
> get and deposit it with the Bet Din for the ex to pick up at her
> convenience/ return to sanity/ whatever.  It is NOT a replacement or
> substitute for a get. So how is the above possible?
> There was a well-publicized case here in NY a few years ago where the
> ex-wife made a lot of noise about this, and asked people to pressure the
> Rabbi's involved. Since I knew one of them well, I did ask him why and
> what, and he offered to give her the get the very next day if I'd bring
> her to pick it up, claming that her whole fuss was simply a case of her
> being angry and trying to get public sympathy.
> Is there or is there not a halachic way to get a heter without a get,
> and is there a way to refuse to later give it to the wife?  My own
> learning says no to both. Can anyone show the above- quoted to be
> actual?

There was a case where I knew some of the family, where the father lived
in Monsey with his new wife, and the old wife was desperately trying to
get a get.  many rabbanim were involved on her behalf.

I am glad that you agree that when this happens, you consider it
indefensible.  The problem is that the position I described has been
attributed to Rav Klein by reliable sources.

I don't know which case you are talking about, nor the truth behind it.
However, if a rav was involved in such an indefensible behavior, I would
expect him to say that it was nonsense and deny the problem.  The
question is, did you then contact the woman and offer to go with her to
the rav to pick up the get?? Why believe the rav over the woman, when
the truth can be easily checked?

Meir Shinnar


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 12:57:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Modesty Edict

Edict 4 states:
> 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.

So it turns out that this edict appears in the January 17, 2007 issue,
and reads like a new edict.  I am confused; am I missing something?  As
pointed out previously, segregated buses with women boarding and staying
at the back are a fait accompli, and have been for several years at
least.  Is this edict simply giving halachic cover to practices that
have previously been going on without rabbinic blessing, in response to
statements on this list (and I assume elsewhere) that there is no
responsum endorsing the practice? If not, what is going on?
(Incidentally, a couple of weeks ago I took a bus from Jerusalem to
Rehovot.  A charedi couple boarded, he sat in the front, and it
eventually dawned on me that the woman was sitting in the back.  I was
sitting with my daughter in the front, and there were other males in the
back.  The charedi male signaled to the female when to get off, and they
got off together.)


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 08:47:07 +0200 (IST)
Subject: more on seperate seating

Yesterday's Hamodia had an article on the changing the bus company in
Beitar. The Rabbis demanded the use of the back door for women. However,
the ministry of transportation has not yet approved, manely because of
security problems.


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 17:09:22 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Smoking

Call me naive, but I think we can safely assume that R' Moshe understood
the Rambam a bit better than Dr. Hendel. To be sure, "kach hi darka shel
Torah" (this is the way of Torah study), where kavod chachamim, our
respect for greater Torah authorities, doesn't -- and shouldn't --
prevent us from using our own understanding to analyze and question what
they say. But there does have to be that basic respect present: it makes
all the difference in the world whether one says "I questioned what
Rabbi X wrote on the basis of Y," or "I found it difficult to understand
Rabbi X's statement, since it seems to contradict Y" (both of which
still suggest that the fault may lie in the writer's understanding of
what Rabbi X wrote, or of Y, or both), versus "I basically refuted Rabbi
X's statement on the basis of Y" (which implies a claim that the
writer's understanding of Y is definitely correct, and that Rabbi X is
definitely incorrect).

As for the substantive issue, concerning the apparent contradiction
between the two statements of the Rambam: perhaps indeed R' Moshe
understood that the case with the coins is indeed one where the dirt
they carry may be lethal rather than simply unhealthy - note that on the
very next line the Rambam says that they may have come into contact with
perspiration, and that "all human perspiration is poisonous, except for
facial perspiration." Or perhaps the distinction that Dr. Hendel makes
(that the unhealthy fruits have both redeemable and harmful effects,
whereas sucking coins provides no benefit) is indeed valid, but R' Moshe
may have held that smoking does have beneficial side effects (see, for
example, http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_096.html) and hence is
more similar to the case of the fruit than to that of the coins.

Kol tuv,


From: <heshys@...> (Heshy Summer)
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 14:11:05 +0200
Subject: Talmidei chachamim increase peace ?

I have heard this story twice being attributed to R' Kook.

It goes something like this:

R' Kook was asked if there are any jokes in the talmud, to which the rav
responded, yes - talmidei chachamim marbim shalom ba'olam.

Heshy Summer

From: <edwardblack@...> (Edward Black)

> One of my rabbanim (who shall remain anonymous as I have not sought
> his permission to quote him here) suggested to me when I asked him to
> comment on the idea that talmidei chachamim increase peace in the
> world that the Gemara at the end of Massekhet Berakhot was that rarest
> of things: a talmudic joke.


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 03:32:37 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Those bad, bad Charedim

SBA <sba@...> wrote:
> From: Avi Feldblum
> > there is no question that there are "deviant perverted sex-maniacs" in
> > both the Chareidi and Daati-Leumi / Modern Orthodox communities (as
> > well as any other community that you want to pick). I know that there
> > is a significant problem of both Chareidi and Daati-Leumi / Modern
> > Orthodox kids who are serious drug and alcohol addicts.
> Kol yomai godalti ben hacharedim, I have never lived in a non-charedi
> community and I can assure you that we have NEVER had any drug problems,
> EVER, BH. (Kein yaazor Hashem leholoh..)  Furthermore, I spent 4 years
> in a Yeshiva with 200 students in the US and in that time NEVER heard of
> a drug problem. It is decades since I left, but keep in touch - and have
> yet to hear of such a problem.
> I have 3 sons who spent years in overseas yeshivos in Europe and Israel
> and never once has any of them heard of a drug related issue amongst the
> students.
> I may be naive, but I can only go by what I know or hear.  Yes, there
> are kids who have gone of derech and gotten involved with drugs (not
> that I know any personally), but that doesn't make it a leading issue
> for the mainstream chareidi world. It belongs to the experts and
> specialists who know how to handle these off-the-derech kids.

I am afraid that indeed, you are naive. Such problems are nearly always
swept under the rug so that the community does not look bad to outsiders
and so that other family members are not ostracized or their shidduchim

The attitude of "oh, well, there are kids who are no longer charedi who
do such things but it's not a mainstream problem" strikes me as callous:
how is it that children of charedim who go off-the-derech are not a
charedi problem? Are they not still your children?

Finally, your attitude merely confirms what some have noted: saying
"These problems might occur but they do not occur in nearly the numbers
that they do in the outside world" is a believable, realistic
assessment. Saying, "Oh, no, none of us would ever do anything like that
except for insiders who have rejected us" means that anyone who brings
proof that indeed, these problems do actually occur is often accused of
bashing or lying.

-- Janice 

P.S. You might be interested in a JEWISH OBSERVER special issue about
"Kids at Risk" from Jan/Feb 2006 that describes some cases and problems
in the Orthodox community:



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 21:57:04 +0200
Subject: RE: tlush - etymology

Eric W Mack <ewm44118@...> wrote:

> Is there any relation between the word "t'lush", meaning a 
> paycheck stub, and the t'lisha katana/t'lisha g'dola, of 
> Torah- and haftara- reading fame?

Klein (Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language says they
are likely related, but doesn't explain how or why. 

On my site I've dealt with the origin of a few such marks:


But I've never seen a source explaining how each of them got their name. 
If anyone is familiar with such a source, I'd be very interested. 

David Curwin
Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 14:02:24 EST
Subject: Re: Tzvi Dovid ben Avigayil Aviva

I am pleased to inform you of a slight improvement in the young boy

Tzvi Dovid ben Avigayil Aviva

The swelling of the brain is slowly receding and he is opening his eyes
more and trying to respond. Nevertheless he cannot speak yet and is bed
bound. Please continue prayers and tehillim for a refuah shlemah.

Rabbi Meir Henoch Hakohen Wise, London


From: Sarah Beck <beckse@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 19:22:30 -0500
Subject: Update on separate seating buses in Israel

SBA quotes a commenter on the Ha'aretz site...

"Crowded buses and trains with young male soldiers (intentionally???)
brushing against my daughters are a real problem for many. I suggest
offering male-only and female-only buses on certain routes."

Isn't this kind of rubbing is assur both halachically and civilly? The
rubbing ones need to be held accountable, not pushed "under the rug"
into a separate car! Try a loud "Will you please stop touching me?" or
whip out the camera phone.

WADR, SBA, you cheapen your own case by bringing up the ol' bump and
grind in a discussion about (misguided?) efforts at tsniyus.

Kol tuv,
Sarah Beck


End of Volume 53 Issue 95