Volume 54 Number 23
                    Produced: Thu Mar  8 20:53:04 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Follow-up on Kiddush Clubs
         [Robert Israel]
Mixed Seating Desired (5)
         [Abbi Adest, Carl Singer, Eli Turkel, David I. Cohen, Tzvi
Placing Challa on table rather than handing it (2)
         [Richard Dine, <ERSherer@...>]
Regarding Torture in Warfare (3)
         [Shimon Lebowitz, Lisa Liel, SBA]
Talking in Shul, a postscript
         [Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld]
Torah-Centered Judaism (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Harlan Braude]
Working on Hol Hamoed
         [Richard Dine]


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 17:21:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Follow-up on Kiddush Clubs

Yisrael Medad wrote:

> According to a recent release of the British Medical Association, in
> Scotland "alcohol is cheaper than bottled water" (*).  As such, don't
> men who participate in Kiddush clubs and imbibe generous amounts of
> fancy brands of Scotch and whatnot feel maybe now a bit silly that the
> Scots are making such an enormous profit on Jewish social customs.

> (*) http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=63738

I'm not sure I understand Yisrael's point, or perhaps Yisrael doesn't
understand the BMA's point.  The alcohol that is "cheaper than bottled
water" in Scotland is not "fancy brands of Scotch", it's beer and cider.
I don't know how large a profit the Scots make on their sales to kiddush
clubs, but why would that make the consumers feel silly?  If they feel a
bit light-headed, it's a result of the alcohol...

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 13:22:20 +0200
Subject: Re: Mixed Seating Desired

      From: Yisrael Medad < <ybmedad@...>

      Re: the issue of mixed seating on buses, we have another opinion
      that was published in the Jerusalem Post which I think is relevant
      to the matter and I ask, is his premise correct?

      Haredi women don't want mixed seating

      Sir, - ... I understand that separate seating sections are not
      general on your buses, only in areas where there is a demand for
      it.  Has it occurred to those against segregated seating that
      religious women are not forced to sit apart but may not wish to
      sit with the men - just as men and women sit separately in
      Orthodox synagogues? I wonder whether at Reform temples in the US,
      with mixed seating, they have separate restrooms for men and
      women, or whether there is a single, unisex one.


      Any comments?

      Yisrael Medad

I'll post my response that was published the following day:

Sir, - Re "Haredi women don't want mixed seating" (Letters, February
25): I find it fascinating that your correspondent from London seems to
know exactly what the haredi women of Jerusalem want, or don't want. If
he has done some serious social research on haredim in Jerusalem, then
it behooves him to publish it for all to read and learn from.

His analogies simply don't make sense. Jerusalem's public buses are just
that - public buses. They are neither houses of religious worship nor
places that demand privacy, like restrooms. If haredim want to enjoy a
higher degree of separation between the sexes on public transportation
they should organize their own private bus lines. They have no right to
force their sensibilities on the larger public.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 06:51:02 -0500
Subject: Mixed Seating Desired

Clever -- but irrelevant -- how does one draw any conclusions re:
seating on buses or in temples from the use of restrooms?  Simply a ploy
for interesting arguments - something from Debate 101.

Religious women might well prefer separate seating.

Many people might prefer to sit alone, not next to anyone else -- but
not being able to afford a chauffeured limousine they need to compromise

-- but they might be willing to (or be forced to) compromise on some
comfort issues (like sitting next to someone of the same gender who has
reeks of cigarette smoke or perfume) but not on halachic issues (such as
bumping into someone of the opposite gender.)  If one wishes to extend
their halachic "boundary" to include not looking at and or not being in
the presence of (same part of bus, same bus, same room, same ....)
people of the opposite gender -- (1) is this extension within the bounds
of halacha or a perversion of halacha, or simply personal preference
(after all one can open up a Gemorah or a Tehillim and be oblivious of
anyone else on the bus) or (2) is this all some form of social /
political power posturing.

From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 13:14:18 +0200
Subject: Mixed Seating Desired

I would not be surprised if most charedi women do not wish to seat next
to strange men. I would be more surprised if a couple with small
children getting on a bus wanted to sit separately.

RYBS explains separate sitting in shul that when prays to hashem one
should feel completely dependent on hashem and this is not possible if
one sits next to ones spouse. This is of course irrelevant on a bus

Eli Turkel

From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 18:09:13 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Mixed Seating Desired

I think one of main issues is whether the women should davka be in the
back of the bus. the analogy would be: where to put the mechitza?

David I. Cohen

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 00:20:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Mixed Seating Desired

My only comment is what I have previously posted... this is not a men
vs. women issue but rather a struggle over Haredi vs secular power, in
particular in the areas where they hold a sizable majority.  Heredi men
and women are united on that issue.  The letter writer seems not to have
grasped that nuance.


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 07:43:34 -0500
Subject: Placing Challa on table rather than handing it

I do not have a Shulchan Aruch handy so maybe Gershon's citation covers
this, but I thought the reason we do not hand people Hallah (or any
food) is that we are supposed to hand food directly to aveilim, and do
not want to imply that anyone else is about to become an aveil. 

Richard Dine

From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 14:43:21 EST
Subject: Re: Placing Challa on table rather than handing it

      doesn't remember where. She said it may have to do with
      serving an avel

I have seen it in at least one house where I am a frequent Shabbos guest.


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 13:29:57 +0200
Subject: Re: Regarding Torture in Warfare

> Question:
> What is the halacha AGAINST torture?
> thanks

Shouldn't such a question be phrased as "what is the halacha ABOUT (or
REGARDING) torture?", or do you already know the answer?

Shabbat shalom,

From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2007 14:05:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Regarding Torture in Warfare

That's sort of a leading question, isn't it?  Shouldn't it be "What is
the halacha REGARDING torture?  The halakha encompasses beating people.
Is that torture?  The Rambam says of a recalcitrant husband who won't
give a get to his wife that "makkim oto ad she-yomar 'rotzeh ani'".  "We
beat him until he says 'I want [to give a get]'".  That strikes me as an
obvious example of torture, no?  But it's in a good cause.

Saving lives is an even better cause.


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 01:47:56 +1100
Subject: Regarding Torture in Warfare

Tzaar baalei chaim, possibly?



From: Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 09:43:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Talking in Shul, a postscript

>  Perhaps dogs should be permitted to be brought to shul after Ein
> Kelokeinu, so that they can socialize as well.

Someone has already beat you to this punch. They call it a "bark mitzvah".


I wish I were making this up.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 11:26:03 -0500
Subject: Torah-Centered Judaism

>From: Chana Luntz

>  Andy Goldfinger writes:
> > But -- if I were truly a "Torah Centered Jew," I would not be as
> > bothered.  Of course, I would continue to believe in Torah min
> > HaShamiyim and follow halacha.  But, in addition, my moral values
> > would come from Torah and nowhere else.  If HaShem says that this form
> > of slavery (no euphemism) is within His will, then I will follow the
> > halacha and not be bothered by external concepts of morality no matter
> > how reasonable they may seem to be because of my upbringing.
>I think this is based on what might well be a false premise, which is
>that everything that is permitted by the Torah is necessarily within His

Another example to illustrate that halacha is not a "closed" system but
is influenced by secular trends is the ban against polygamy. From the
Jewish Encyclopedia: "Permitted according to biblical law, polygamy was
practiced throughout the talmudic period and thereafter until the tenth
century (Piskei ha-Rosh to Yev. 65a; Sh. Ar., EH 1:9)." Even though the
1000-year takanah of Rabenu Gershom has expired I am not aware of any
Gedolei HaDor acquiring additional wives, as thay would certainly rush
to do to live a "Torah-centered" life.

Slavery is certainly another such institution which we would find
abhorent if practiced today in the name of Torah-centeredness, even
without the concept of "dina dimalchusa dina" which saves our cookies in
so many ways today. So let us not kid ourselves or allow the right-wing
to oppress us over the concept of open orthodoxy. The door is open; they
like to pretend it's closed.

chag Purim sameach--Bernie R.

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 05:53:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Torah-Centered Judaism

> From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
> they redefine reality so that Judaism comes in different flavors, and
> it's up to the individual to choose which one he or she wants.  No
> ...
> But this is in completely opposition to the fundamental idea of Judaism,
> which is that we have Truth which was given to us at Sinai.  If what we
> hold to be true is, indeed, true, then the heterodox movements are
> false.  More than false -- they are harmful to themselves, to all Jews,
> and to Hashem's creation in its entirety.
> Their only mitigating factor is that most of them don't know any better.

I think this analysis gets pretty close to the crux of the debate. Yes,
the Torah was given at Sinai, but it's been transmitted to subsequent
generations teacher to student. The student then becomes a teacher and
the cycle repeats. In theory, there's no miscommunication between
teacher and student and the student's retention of what was taught is
perfect. I'll save you the suspense and admit that, at least in my case,
the exam grades "back in the day" do not reflect that experience.

Assuming that I'm not unique in that regard, one can imagine how
different levels of understanding of the same material can lead to
differences in, say, halachic decisions.

Pardon me if this sounds grandiose, but this is basically a discussion
of what, after all is said and done, is "true"? Our understanding of
what that term represents is a combination of what we learn in our youth
at home, at school, in shul, in our communities, the greater society in
which we live, what we read, what we see, etc. All of that experience
and information makes up what we come to see as our identity.

So, how do I, the layman, figure out what is true? That's a fairly tough
thing to do.

'Asei lecha Rav' - find a teacher. How does one choose? You just have to
do the best you can with whomever you have (or can make) available. As
you and your needs grow, you can move to a teacher who matches who
you've become, because you're not the same 'you' you were before you
learned all those wonderful things from your previous teachers.

We're all in he same boat. It's not just that 'most of them don't know
any better'. Neither do we.


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2007 14:45:19 -0500
Subject: Working on Hol Hamoed

Fortunately, at least for the moment, this is an academic question, so
its not a matter of consulting your LOR (mine happens to be on
sabbatical so I would rather not bother him anyway).  For those of us
who work in jobs where we get sufficient vacation days, must we use
vacation days for Hol Hamoed, or may we work on Hol Hamoed and use the
vacation days some other time.  Is the "loss" of work/vacation days
sufficient?  Also, the Mishnah Brurah (Hilchot Hol Hamoed, 1:1) seems to
imply that "loss" means not having enough food to eat, which is a
standard that probably does not apply to too many Jews nowadays (though
I suppose if you got fired it could lead to that) so MUST we take off
Hol Hamoed?

If possible, please provide some sources.  Since my library of teshuvot
is limited, please quote or summarize the substance.  Thanks.

Richard Dine


End of Volume 54 Issue 23