Volume 53 Number 98
                    Produced: Wed Feb  7  5:44:52 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Drug abuse in the frum community
         [Jonathan Baker]
Heter Meah Rabbanim (2)
         [Meir Shinnar, Joseph Ginzberg]
Speaking in Shul
         [Daniel Geretz]
Talking in Shul (4)
         [Joshua Goldmeier, Martin Stern, Orrin Tilevitz, Eitan Fiorino]
Traif Cheese Pierogen
         [Martin Stern]


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 07:41:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Drug abuse in the frum community

Yeshaya Halevi:

> No distinction was made among Modern O, haredim or any other flavor of
> Judaism. Rav Schwartz's drasha (scholarly remarks) likewise was
> predicated upon this being a problem facing all aspects of
> Orthodoxy. The forum dealt with alcohol abuse, Ecstasy, pills, reefer
> etc.

> SBA should heed the words of Mark Twain: "Denial ain't just a river in
> Egypt."

It's not necessarily denial.  It becomes denial if one generalizes one's
absence of experience to others, in the face of counter-testimony.

I went to a Mod-O school, and then a secular college, along with 3
classmates from high school.  One evening, one of my classmates let on
that about 1/3 of our class had tried pot during high school.  I was
amazed - I had never seen any of it.  But then, I wasn't close inside
the circles that would have been doing so.  Another fellow, a couple of
years younger, told me that he couldn't have gotten through high school
without drinking.

Up till then I would have said there wasn't a drug problem in my school.
But my eyes were opened.  And I'm sure the administration were aware of
such things.  They wouldn't have said anything about it, as one of the
vice-principals was very concerned with public image.

By the way, 1/3 is (or was at the time - early 1980s) the national
percentage of people who have tried pot.  So if there was a problem, it
was no worse or better than in the rest of the country.  Further, is it
a "drug problem" if people are using, or if people are overdoing to the
detriment of their schoolwork, health and life?

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: <jjbaker@...>     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 22:29:00 -0500
Subject: Heter Meah Rabbanim

Someone emailed me the following

>From what I know Rabbi Abraham (Baddichov Beis Din) has issued nearly 75
heter meah rabbanim w/o leaving a get for the wife. I think, all 75
gittin are in his house or Beis Din (assuming a get was even written).

In addition to R. Menshae Klein, there is also R. Shlomo (not Avraham)
Blumenkrantz who is very involved in promoting the modern day heter

It is a big problem.

Meir Shinnar

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 22:02:36 -0500
Subject: Heter Meah Rabbanim

>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 venture to say that it is hard to believe that any intelligent person,
let alone a talmid chacham, would allow the husband to remary without
freeing the woman.  As you said re the case I cited, I'd have to know
the details before I could believe this.

>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

In the case I cited, I did in fact a day later at a wedding meet the
representative of the woman, the fellow who had been handling her P.R. I
told him the story and asked for an answer.  He excused himself, said
he'd be right back, and left the wedding.  If you'd like, offline,
contact me and you can follow up yourself, but I have very good reasons
to believe the much-maligned Rabbi over the woman who chose to make a
huge chilul hashem for no benefit to her.


From: Daniel Geretz <danny@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 09:53:32 -0500
Subject: Speaking in Shul

In my daughter's high school bet midrash, there was a sign posted (she's
graduated, don't know whether it's still there) in Hebrew.  I have been
liberal in my translation (BTW, has anyone else seen this or know where
it comes from?):

"My friend, if you come to shul to speak to your friends, where do you
go when you need to speak to G-d?"

This, for me, sums it up in one pithy statement.  Regardless of whatever
theological rhetoric you want to assign to talking in shul, individuals
who talk in shul don't understand what shul is all about, and they
thereby forfeit the ability to understand themselves and to make any
sense of what is happening to them in their lives (remember: lehitpallel
is a *reflexive* verb!).  Thereby, they also forfeit the ability to do
anything about it.  Kind of like crossing a busy street with a blindfold
and earplugs.


From: Joshua Goldmeier <Josh@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 09:21:19 -0600
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

I am going to take a very unpopular approach here, but it is not meant
in jest.  I expect quite a few angry responses, but here's my thought
anyway.  I believe the reason for the increased amount of talking in
shule is simple.  It is indicative of the larger problem that we as frum
Jews have of making every issue an "all or nothing" rule.

    Talking in shule halachot should be broken up into 2 categories.
The halachot of talking during tefillah, and respect for shule.  Now,
the fact is that despite all the quotes people have brought down prior,
those are all mussar - which are beautiful, but not halacha.  The
halacha is simple, there ARE times and places in the tefillah where
talking IS permissible (not preferable, just allowed).  The word
haftorah itself means "a break/pause".  We've turned the haftora into
this great aliyah, but it's really a consolation prize for the maftir
aliyah.  Look in a Mishne Berurah - there are places in the tefilla
where you are allowed to talk.  If there weren't places where you can
talk, why keep saying "here you can't talk", just say from the beginning
to the end - no talking.

    Now, we have to qualify that with the halachos of respect for a
shule, with what type of talk (topics/language).  Business, "oovdah
Di'Chole", loshon horah, etc, all need to be considered.

We need to remember that the concept of shule was twofold when it
started and developed throughout history.  The first is a makom tefillah
to replace the korbanos.  The second is a gathering place on shabbat,
where the Jews who all week worked with the goyim, had a place to gather
as yidden, with other yidden.  They could daven, learn, catch-up with
each other in a setting that was not "goyish" or with goyim.  While
times have changed, and more of us around Jews more often, the need for
shule has changed as well.

    Of course it'd be better for all the quoted reasons not to have ANY
talking in shule, unless absolutely necessary.  But just maybe, if we
really follow the halacha to start and teach people where they can and
cannot talk, maybe they'd come to appreciate not talking at all.
Instead, we just dump the all or nothing rule of frumkeit on people and
expect them to follow.  I believe this rule does more to hurt than help.

    PS, in my view, the shushers are much more obnoxious than the
talkers.  The shushers stay in their seat and LOUDLY shush across a
room, disturbing even those who didn't hear or pay attention to the
talkers.  There are issues of "Boosha Bi'rabim", which is a di'oraysa,
as opposed to talking in shule which isn't.  What happened to "Dan
li'kaf zechus"?  Do you all just assume the conversation is one of
nothingness?  Maybe this particular instance is a necessary, QUICK,
discussion.  Don't be so quick to jump down their throats.  We must
remember ALL the halachos if we are going to enforce some.  I can
tolerate a small amount of talking in the permissible places, as one
gets used to ignoring sounds and noises during your everyday living.
shushing is not a normal noise though and is impossible to ignore.  I
have a harder time stomaching certain people getting aliyot and
kibbudim, much worse than a few talkers.

    Let the yelling begin - :)

Shaya Goldmeier

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 16:39:42 +0000
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul

On Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:18:42 -0500 Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
> Typically, people feel more "at home" in the synagogue and that is
> potentially a good thing. But, sometimes a good thing can be taken too
> far.  That's what I think is happening here.

Perhaps, but should we behave that way at home ignoring our parents in
front of them?

Martin Stern

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 08:57:10 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

>From Shayne in Toronto:
> The more interesting question to a curmudgeon like myself is, why the
> decline in consideration and respect in general?

>From Harlan Braude:
> Typically, people feel more "at home" in the synagogue and that is
> potentially a good thing. But, sometimes a good thing can be taken too
> far.  That's what I think is happening here.

Talking at inappropriate times and about inappropriate subjects during
davening is nothing new, judging from the routine condemnations of the
practice in seforim about communal prayer (as in "tzoa rotechet al eleh
shemidabrim bish'at tefillah", a judgment I shall not translate.)  The
Mishna Berura states that a woman should not go to shul to hear the
megilla - her husband should read it for her - because in shul, with the
attendant noise, she'll never hear it.  40 or more years ago, long
before the relatively recent general decline in "consideration and
respect", services at the Orthodox shul I attended, with increasing
reluctance, in NYC were accompanied by a dull roar, particularly during
the layning, a roar that increased during kaddish yatom.  One of the
gabbaim used to joke that the way to solve the problem was to institute
mixed seating, requiring husbands to sit next to their wives.  I
observed at the time that one could hear a pin drop in conservative
synagogues (I believe that has changed), which I think bears out Harlan
Braude's observation.  And while I'm really not into theodicy, I believe
that talking inappropriately during davening and so treating shul as an
extension of one's living room is a very serious offense, a denial of
Hashem, because it denies that prayer has any meaning.

However, for anyone who is interested, I have in my files a dvar torah
explaining why talking in shul is required, based in part on "terem
yikra'u vaani e'eneh, od heim medabrim va'ani eshma".

From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 2007 18:11:43 -0500
Subject: RE: Talking in Shul

> From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
> With respect, Eitan, would you dare talk if you had an audience with
> President Bush and were directly in his line of sight & hearing? How
> about if you had an audience with Queen Elizabeth? Now, what kind of
> punishment would you be liable for in monarchic days of yore if you
> had dared utter a word out of turn in the King/Queen's presence? Take
> these thoughts and run with them :-).

First, I don't think going to shul is analagous to having an audience
with the president or Queen (I guess this is a kal v'chomer that if I
wouldn't act this way in front of a secular human king then certainly
not in front of hakadosh baruch hu).  A shul is NOT the beit hamikdash
and mystical speculation about God's immanence aside, I don't believe
hakadosh baruch hu is more "present" in a shul than anywhere else.  A
shul is a place where people convene to fulfill the mitzvot of tefila,
kriat hatorah, etc - I'm not saying there is not kedusha in a shul but
that does not mean that God is any more present there than anywhere
else.  I know people are going to quote a million pieces of agadata at
me, but to me these are not prooftexts, they are drush.  After all, the
gemara says that after the the churban God has no chelek in the world
except for the dalet amot of halacha.  I might be willing to concede
that while one is engaged in actual tefila (ie, the amida) then one is
in a sense communicating directly with God; I have to say that I have
never heard or seen anyone interupt their amida with casual chatter.

Second, if a Medieval monarch would have someone executed for talking
out of turn in his or her presence, I hardly think we ought to endorse
that as a good role model and example for how God ought to behave!



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2007 12:05:55 +0000
Subject: Traif Cheese Pierogen

On Thu, 1 Feb 2007 09:16:40 -0800 (PST), Orrin Tilevitz
<tilevitzo@...> wrote:
> The following is very much a CLOR question, but I'm curious how people
> would approach it, what other considerations they would take into
> account, and what sources they would consult:
> <snip>
> Aside from the question of what to do about the roommate - a question
> I'm not asking here - what, if anything, must you do about the pan and
> the plate?  Possibilities that occur to me range from (1) nothing - the
> only real chshash (doubt) is the cheese, but cheese isn't "traif" to the
> extent that it would make dishes forbidden even if, for various reasons,
> our practice is not to eat it; to (2) even if you should kasher the pan,
> you needn't throw out the plate because at worst there is a sfek sfeka
> (doubt within a doubt): maybe the cheese is kosher, and if not maybe the
> food wasn't hot enough when it hit the plate to make the plate traif; to
> (3) kasher the pan and throw out the plate.

This is not a problem for mail-jewish but should definitely be submitted
to a CLOR as Orrin says. I suspect that option (1) would be the ruling
with the proviso that the pan should be kashered lechumra if it could be
done without causing it any damage. The plate is in any case a keli
sheini which we hold is eino boleia, and this would be a case of nat bar
nat where the belias were at most safeik issur.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 53 Issue 98