Volume 54 Number 66
                    Produced: Fri May 11  4:52:35 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Corporal Punishment (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Jeanette Friedman]
Lag Ba'Omer Parade and Celebration
         [I. Balbin]
Orthodoxy and Feminism
         [Aryeh Frimer]
The rise and fall of the bimah
Shidduch system
         [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Shidduch System (2)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Tzvi Stein]
Unmarried Women and Kippot
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Very rare Birchas Hachamoh soon
         [Mr L Reich]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 09:49:01 EDT
Subject: Corporal Punishment

Dr. Josh Backon  (MJv54n65) bring many sources that either permit or
prohibit corporal punishment of children.

I thought that a footnote in Mendele Mocher Sforim (Shalom Yakov
Abramowitz, 1836-1917) book Mishpat Shalom (Vilna, 1860) in the chapter
dealing with the issue at hand, namely: Is it necessary to strike
children on the behind and to denigrate them in front of their friends?
is relevant to the discussion. It introduces the reader to the
prevailing customs of eastern Europe in mid-late 19th century.

Page 78 in a footnote: "and among the Jews the custom had become
widespread to strike them on the eve of each holy Shabbat, that is the
last of the six days of creation, as is written "a wise man afterwards
praises it" (Prov 29:11) [a pun on the Hebrew "ve-Hakham be-ahor

This quote suggests that children's education included using leather
belts or similar instruments, and the verse "spare the rod and spoil the
child (Prov 13:24) was a guiding light for educators, and part of the
societal norms of the time.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 07:45:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Corporal Punishment

      While classical Jewish sources permit chastising one's child
      (Midrash Rabba Shemot) there were severe limits (MEIRI Bava Batra
      21a) such as only using a very light strap and hitting very
      gently, not hitting one's child in the month of Tamuz. The RITVA
      (Moed Kattan 17a) recommended that a parent verbally reprimand
      rather than hit. The Shulchan Aruch YOREH DEAH (Hilchot Melamdim)
      Siman 245:10 delineates the permitted parameters of a teacher
      giving corporal punishment to a pupil. A teacher who physically
      abuses a pupil can be dismissed (the MEIRI in Bava Batra 21a calls
      this abuse a "peshia" [major offense]. See also the Pitchei Tshuva
      YD 245 #4. The Nishmat Avraham CHOSHEN MISHPAT 424 # 2 brings down
      the opinion of Harav Rabinovitz (Sefer Halacha u'Refuah I 336)
      that a parent (and teacher) who hits out of anger not for
      "educational" purposes, or has severely hit his child even for the
      sake of *chinuch* (education) has carried out an *aveira*
      (sin). One is halachically required to report the abusive parent
      (teacher) to the police.

      Josh Backon

Bravo. But this point is pointless in certain communities, where sparing
the rod spoils the child, who is brainwashed into thinking it is for
his/her own good--and whose complaints go unheeded, and who is shunned
as a result. Personal experience speaking here.

"I love you, therefore I punish you for your own good."


From: I. Balbin <isaac.balbin@...>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 09:39:21 +1000
Subject: Re: Lag Ba'Omer Parade and Celebration

> From: SBA <areivim@...>
> From: Jacob Richman <>
>> On Sunday, May 6, there was a Lag Ba'Omer parade / celebration in
>> Ma'aleh Adumim. ..sponsored by Chabad of Ma'aleh Adumim, included an
>> acrobatics / juggling show....I was "volunteered" to participate in
>> the "cut the carrot in the mouth/sword throw" and a balloon / fire
>> torch stunt.
> And the connection between carrots, balloons and Reb Shimon ben Yochai
> is...

It is also the Yohr Tzeit of the Ramo and we commemorate that the Ramo
ate carrots on Pesach and balloons are permitted even though Chodosh
Ossur Min HaTorah.

Is there something halachic about ingredients of a parade needing to
have each facet connected to Rashbi?


From: Aryeh Frimer <frimera@...>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 22:13:40 +0200
Subject: Orthodoxy and Feminism

Dear Mail-Jewish readers,

    My review  "Guarding the Treasure" of Tamar Ross's book Expanding the
Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism, [Brandeis University Press,
Waltham 2004, xxiv + 342 pp.]  has just been published in BDD - Journal
of Torah and Scholarship, 18, English section, pp. 67-106 (April
2007).  I would be happy to forward a copy (as the published PDF file
and/or as the submitted  Word.doc ) to anyone who is interested.  I hope
that it will be available on the net shortly.

Kol Tuv
E-mail: <FrimeA@...>


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 23:58:29 EDT
Subject: The rise and fall of the bimah

I recently heard a recording of a shiur on the topic of 'the bimah of
the Shul' by Rav Binyomin Shlomo Hamburger, mechaber of the Shorshei
Minhag Ashkenaz series, given recently in the UK.

The main focus of the brief shiur was a survey of reasons and sources
for having a (raised) bimah as opposed to just a shulchan on ground
level for the Torah reading. A source allowing the latter exists also
and was cited as well.

It got me thinking -

It seems to me that the situation in the Jewish world presently is as
follows, to generalize -

1) large Ashkenazic Shuls usually have raised bimahs, which, however,
can vary significantly in various ways, among them height and area.

2) smaller houses of worship, whether Chassidic 'shtieblech', Yeshiva
minyonim or other types, generally do not have them.

3) some Chassidic shuls do have them (there seem to be more larger
Chassidic houses of worship going up in recent years and they may be
more likely to have them).

4) large Yeshivas generally do not have them, with some exception.

5) perhaps we can say that they are more usually seen in a beis
haknesses and less so in a beis medrash.

Perhaps the readers of this august forum can help me out here. I am
curious about significant exceptions to my above generalizations, e.g.
Chassidic and Yeshiva minyonim that do have them. Are there any specific
Chassidim or Yeshiva groups that are more makpid on a raised bimah ?
What is the situation in the non-Ashkenazic world in this regard ?

Also, I have seen photos of old Shuls with giant bimahs with canopies.
Have any of those been made in recent years or are they a thing of the
past ?

I would appreciate if anyone can shed further light on the matter.

If anyone would like more information on the shiur, they can e-mail me.



From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 02:19:25 EDT
Subject: Re: Shidduch system

My late father zatza'l decided to marry my mother a'''h on seeing her
without even speaking to her. They were happily married for 39 years
until death parted them.

I decided to marry my rebbetzin within 5 minutes and we have been
happily married for 27 years - we have 4 children - and 2 grandchildren
with a 3rd on the way.  My oldest son rented a room whilst studying in
Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem - and married the girl who sat on the balcony
of her house which was opposite his flat.

We are 3 generations without a human shadchan - Hashem zoveg zivvugim -
but Perets Mett should be careful of using the words ANYONE or EVER.
Whilst logically I should agree with him - our hearts know what we want
- and in my family we have never had a divorce!

Wishing everyone who is looking great siyata de'shamaya

Rabbi Meir Wise, London

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 08:19:50 EDT
Subject: Re: Shidduch System

The shadchan system is what it is. Money changes hands. How much money
changing hands depends, usually on the thoroughness of the background
checks--which are also no guarantee of anything. Where I come from
everything changes after the wedding night. Once that door closes, and
you don't have to be on your best behavior, the relationship will depend
on how these people's families treated them at home.

Abused people usually become abusive. Addicted people (whether its
drugs, sex, food, tv) manifest their addictions. There is no more reason
to supress any mishigassin. On the other hand, if both people are
putatively normal, they will get along, especially if they have learned
that whoever they marry, the idea is mutual respect and teamwork.

If there is no training or preparation for marriage beforehand, if
people are taught that men are from Mars and women are from Venus--or in
the case of certain communities, that women are only good for a few
things, like going to work, taking care of the house and having babies,
and otherwise can be treated with contempt because they cause Kallos
Rosh and are Tumah, and they gossip (as if men don't) and are evil
incarnate because they may cause sexual desire, I don't see how any
happiness can come of it. I think that happiness is important in a
marriage. But what the hell do I know?

I have had people in my own family date people for a year in the
conventional way and get a divorce after 8 months.

I know people who went through the shadchan system and were divorced in
a matter of WEEKS

I know people who dated for three months via shadchan system, got
engaged, were married for a few days, and fists started flying. (me)

I know people who dated for six years conventionally and married (now
going on 40 years together) and would rather murder each other than get
a divorce.

I know people who were married for more than 20-40 years, and then boom.

I know of one couple who met once, didn't see each other again until the
wedding, and had seven kids.

So basically what I am saying is that every case is different--but that
in new matches, before there is a marriage there should be some kind of
course or socialization process that deals with the realities of
marriage, discusses expectations from both sides (what does a wife
expect from a husband, and a husband from a wife) In sidduch marriages,
the machatonim should also make an expectation list.

Both sides need to examine that list of expectations, which should
really cover everything--from setting the table and taking out the
garbage, and getting up in the middle of the night to take care of the
baby, and what happens on Shabbos morning, all the way to making money
and spending it, as well as what they expect the meaning of LOVE to be
and how it is supposed to effect them.

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 09 May 2007 06:56:52 -0400
Subject: Shidduch System

First of all, regarding the person who said that it is outrageous to
make a life decision based on 5-10 minutes, I don't think they
understood that the 5-10 minutes is for a *negative* decision / veto
only, i.e. they are not interested.  They don't make *positive*
decisions after 5-10 minutes.  I hope that is less outrageous to you.

And regarding the background checks... I think all these checks do is
make it *less* likely that there will be a good shidduch.  These
"exhaustive" checks are 99% to fulfill the expectations and requirements
of the *parent*.  Very little of it has anything to do with what the
actual single person wants.  And even if the single person is consulted,
their *stated* desires to their parent or shadchan will be highly skewed
toward what they are expected to want... i.e. the "frum" expectations.
Their real desires for a mate will remain unexpressed, their only
permitted expression being in the veto power.

Letting the person choose for themselves would seem to be a more likely
formula for success, but that won't happen at long the parents insist on
being in control of the process.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 14:53:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Unmarried Women and Kippot

>From Josh Backon:

> Since "gilui rosh" (uncovered hair) in a married woman isn't *erva*
> (something lewd)due to the laxity of women who don't cover their hair
> (which is actually required to prevent "periat ha'rosh") as per the
> Aruch haShulchan OC 75 #7, I find it hard to imagine that "kisui rosh"
> (headcovering) is required by women for making a bracha or praying
> while fully dressed.

How do you explain the minhag (I have no idea how widespread it is) of
married women covering their hair when they light candles or during


From: Mr L Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 11:54:09 +0100
Subject: Very rare Birchas Hachamoh soon

In less than two years we celebrate birchas Hachamoh, the ceremony which
occurs on a Wednesday once in 28 years.

The last occurences were in 1981, 1953 and 1925. (A acquaintance of mine
still remembers the 1925 one !)

The 1925 event and the forthcoming 2009 one share a feature which is
extremely rare. The Tekufas Nissan, according to Shmuel, and hence the
Brachah coincide with Erev Pesach.

Such a conjunction had not occurred earlier for several hundred years
and will not occur again before the end of the Hebrew sixth millenium,
i.e.  before the A.M.  6000.

Elozor Reich, Manchester 


End of Volume 54 Issue 66