Volume 55 Number 19
                    Produced: Tue Jul 10 20:06:22 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Agunah Statistics
         [Aliza Berger]
Authorship of the Zohar
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Congratulations and pictures of the new olim
         [Jacob Richman]
Meticulous and strict
         [Carl Singer]
Washing Hands between Mincha and Maariv


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 10:23:43 +0300
Subject: Agunah Statistics

At this week's Kolech (Religious Women's Forum) conference here in
Jerusalem, Dr. Ruth Halperin-Kaddari presented statistics from research
comparing how the religious courts (batei din) calculate the number of
agunot versus the way the women's organizations do. The research method
was studying actual bet din case files. This study is brand new and has
not yet been published anywhere. Dr. Halperin-Kaddari is director of the
Ruth and Emanuel Rackman Center for the Advancement of Women's Status in
the Faculty of Law at Bar-Ilan University. She had many examples,
including the following:

The statistics presented by the batei din show that there are
approximately as many females who refuse to accept a get (Jewish
divorce) as there are male refusers. However, a category they present
that is almost as large as these two is called by the batei din
"[disagreement over] mezonot (child support)," e.g., the woman is asking
for child support and the man refuses to give it. The women's
organizations' statistics take into account that many of these mezonot
cases are actually cases of men who are offering a get only if the woman
will give up her right to child support.  The batei din allow this
blackmail to go on, and cover up this fact by using a misleading title
for the category that makes it sound as if the two sides are equal.

Even if you do not agree with the previous example, here is another type
of manipulation. Besides the different halakhic categories that the two
groups count differently, administrative categories are also used
differently. The most egregious example is that the batei din do not
include in their calculations any cases in which there has been "no
activity" for the past six months or more, e.g., no hearings. Naturally,
such cases are often the difficult agunah-type ones that drag out. *This
manipulation of categories accounts for most of the huge difference
between the statistics presented by the two groups - the difference
between mere hundreds (the batei din) and tens of thousands (the women's

By the way, I have a PhD in applied statistics.


Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD


From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 09:35:11 -0400
Subject: RE: Authorship of the Zohar

> From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
> Some time ago there was a link posted here to an excellent 
> article about the authorship of the Zohar, which I am unable 
> now to find again.  I would greatly appreciate it if someone 
> who still has it could send it to me offline.  Thank you

I happen to be in the middle of an article about some of Moses de Leon's
other pseudepigraphal activites and so can provide a couple of citations
from the reference list of the article - I'm not sure if these were the
ones mentioned specifically before:

Gershon Scholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (pp 156-204 in the
most recent softcover edition, published by Schocken)

Yehuda Liebes, "How the Zohar was written" in J. Dan, ed., The Age of
the Zohar (Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Though vol 8)

Surprisingly, there is actually a decent piece at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zohar which cites the above as well as R.
Menachem Kasher's arguments against Scholem's dating.

Incidentally, Stanford University press has made available online
several versions of the underlying new Aramaic critical edition of the
Zohar that Daniel Matt has created for his English translation and
commentary: http://www.sup.org/zohar/aramindex.htm (only for the first 3
of the anticipated 12 volumes).  Matt's description of his methodology
for revising the standard printed text based on manuscript evidence is
summarized in his introduction: http://www.sup.org/zohar/transintro.pdf.

Hope this is helpful.



From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 02:13:29 +0300
Subject: Congratulations and pictures of the new olim

Hi Everyone!

Congratulations to the 220 new olim who made aliyah today from 
North America to Israel.

I was at the airport and took pictures of the exciting event.
I posted the pictures online at:

When the first page appears, press the F11 key 
to view the full length of the pictures. To move from page to page, 
use the navigation buttons on the bottom of the screen.

May the aliyah from North America (and the rest of the world) 
grow and bring more Jews back to their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

Have a great day,


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 07:13:31 -0400
Subject: Meticulous and strict

I thank both SBA and Eliezer Wenger for their replies.

I was aware of the Kitzur's position -- unaware of Rabbi Rabinowitz's
Pskei Teshuvos.

The latter has a phrase that has always stuck in my craw: "Meticulous
and strict."

I am not speaking in terms of measurables.  One could conjecture that if
Shabbos ends at, say, 8:00 according to one of the "standard" halachic
calculations and at 8:20 according to another then we have a "no
brainer" -- the "meticulous and strict" would wait until 8:20.  Or maybe
8:22 because altitude and atmospheric issues and perhaps clocks aren't
quite right.  If the halachic heating temperature for ....  If the
halachic required wait between meat & milk ....

I AM speaking in terms of one's self assessment of their own halachic
observance.  One's halachic observance focuses on belief and action (or
refraining from action.)  One establishes parameters and, through growth
and learning, may from time to time adjust those parameters.  Many of
these "parameters" (as I've chosen to call them) are not externally
observable or measurable -- they are innate and belong to the actor
himself (or herself) and the Aybhishter.

Where does "meticulous and strict" play here?

It's difficult to come up with a nontrivial example -- but consider
this: If one has a seder by which he washes his hands thoughtfully and
without rushing then enters into the sanctuary focusing on davening with
kavuneh (vs. the business day he has just left behind.)  How does
"meticulous and strict" reflect on this act and attitude?  Would washing
a second time (before Ma'ariv as in the original post) have any positive
impact -- could it even be a distraction?

As I hop onto my soapbox, I believe that the external "meticulous and
strict" has little positive value.  It essentially focuses mostly on
quantitative rather than qualitative.  Do more (or less) vs. do better.

I realize this is subject to gross misinterpretations -- but let the
games begin.



From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2007 12:02:18 EDT
Subject: Re: Washing Hands between Mincha and Maariv

>> davens mincha / maariv b'zman - hence somewhat contiguously --
>> depending on when mincha ends and shkiah.  I noticed recently that one
>> of our balabtim exits and washes his hands (a second time, as it were)
>> before maariv....same between shacharit & musaf.  ...what's the
>> halacha and what are the minhagim- and where are they stated?

> Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 69:4 clearly states that if there is no hafsaka
> between the tefilos there is no need to rewash.

    The real question is just what do the people washing their hands do
during the interval


End of Volume 55 Issue 19