Volume 55 Number 21
                    Produced: Mon Jul 30  5:30:56 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Agunah Statistics (3)
         [Joseph Kaplan, Shimon Lebowitz, Daniel Geretz]
Authorship of the Zohar
         [Russell J Hendel]
Can a Kohein go to medical school to become a doctor (2)
         [Dr. Josh Backon, Dr. Ben Katz]
Days of Awe --- liturgical question
         [Simcha MacIntyre]
Involuntary Servitude
         [Marc Wilson]
Mayim Achronim "Shpritzer"
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Need a referral for a psychologist in the Northern NJ area
         [Alan Goldberg]
Pet boarding
         [Jaye Sutton]
White Fast & Black Fast
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
         [Y Medad]


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2007 22:40:35 -0400
Subject: Agunah Statistics

Akiva Miller writes:

>> So he says something like, "If I don't get to see the kids, then you
>> don't get any child support.
> *IF* this sort of case is included in the above category, is it really
> fair to label it as "blackmail"?

Such a statement is not blackmail.  But if he says "If I don't get to
see the kids, then you don't get any child support AND YOU DON'T GET A
GET," that is blackmail.

Joseph Kaplan

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 13:13:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Agunah Statistics

>      Bear in mind that Jewish law does not provide for divorce by
> unilateral demand.  Neither the wife (by Biblical law) nor the husband
> (by enactment of Rabbeinu Gershom) can demand a get when the spouse
> wants to continue the marriage, except under certain specific
> conditions.

Even if she wishes to forgo payment of the Ketuba, and simply wants to
be free of him?

From: Daniel Geretz <danny@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 11:44:55 -0400
Subject: Agunah Statistics

Shoshana L. Boulbil wrote about "anonymous'" posting of the Yated
article on agunot/mesuravot get.  Although I agree with Shoshana and a
number of other posters that the tone of the Yated article is shocking,
I am not sure what motivation that "anonymous" had in posting it to Mail
Jewish.  Consequently, I'm not sure whether Shoshana is saying that
"anonymous" in engaging in lashon hara or the Yated is - or maybe that
they both are.

Be that as it may, it's a fairly minor point.  I agree with Shoshana on
the whole, and also with I. Balbin. I am shocked that *during the three
weeks*, no less, an article with this tone can be published.

Whatever point anyone wants to make here, or anywhere else, is totally
lost the minute that they decide to engage in ad-hominem attacks on
anyone.  That goes for the right, the left, and anywhere between.  Ad
hominem attacks belie the essential weakness of any underlying argument
and are a clever way of changing the subject away from issues that
really matter.

The "progressives" lambaste the "ultra-orthodox" for cancelling an
agunah conference, and the "ultra-orthodox" lambaste the "progressives"
for overstating statistics.  It makes for great entertainment, if that's
what you want.  That's not what I want.  That's not what a woman who is
an agunah/mesurevet get wants.

I agree with Rav Teitz that even one woman denied a get to which she is
entitled is one too many.  When are we, as klal Yisrael, going to get
the message that we somehow need to set aside what are essentially petty
differences to work toward relieving the situation of that one woman?

Every year, at this time, we have an opportunity to reflect on the
destruction of the Bet Hamikdash due to "kamtza/bar kamtza" behavior and
to learn from it.  There's a lesson here that we do not seem to be


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2007 13:21:27 -0400
Subject: Authorship of the Zohar

I always find remarkable the endless ink on WHO vs WHAT. Here the issue
is WHO wrote the ZOHAR vs WHAT the ZOHAR says. I suppose some would
argue "If the person who wrote does not deserve respect then you really
don't care about it--that is why WHO is important."

I disagree on several accounts. WHO wrote the Zohar is a function of
what the ZOHAR says. If you dont understand it you can see it as saying
symbolic things which are irrelevant then refute its authorship. That is
most unscientific.

On the other hand we might spend a little time viewing some of the
exegesii of the Zohar. Here are one or two examples but there are many
more. Dont get me wrong -- I have nothing against discussing WHO but if
there is no discussion of WHAT it doesnt make the conversation very

Example 1: A few years ago I was writing my article on Genesis 1
(http://www.Rashiyomi.com/gen-1.htm) It is very important to show that
the well known saying "God created many worlds before this one" is
INTRINSIC to the text and not an apologetic afterthought that came after
scientific discovery. Finding this statement in a midrash is not
enough...you have to prove it is part of the text.

I was in Texas at the synagogue of Rabbi Scheinberg's son who lent me
his library. I finally found what I was looking for in the Soncino
translation of the Zohar: Gn01-02 is translated "And the world HAD been
formless ...with darknesss....and God said let there be light" The
translation as PAST PERFECT ("had been formless") clearly indicates that
there had been worlds BEFORE this one (just they had no light, which ala
Rashi, means worlds without the light of prophecy).

The above is a clean grammatical justification of an otherwise
philosophical Midrash. The translation of the past conjugation as PAST
PERFECT is a sound principle (to indicate the simple past you use a

But here is the catch. In reviewing controversies between Rashi and
Ramban, I find Rashi uses this principle (Past conjugation means past
perfect) while Ramban does not. Even many modern grammarians avoid this
principle when translating the Bible. What does the Zohar's use of this
principle then tell us about its authoship.

Example 2: Example 1 is grammatical. Example 2 is symbolic. It has to do
with the Parshah of tefillin which we recite everyday. Roughly: "People
must redeem the jackass in their personality for it they don't redeem it
in the end they will have to crack down and destroy it."

Hmm...The above sounds more chasidic placing the authorship in the 18th

You get my point. Whoever the author is conjectured to be we must make
this consistent with the principles (grammatical or symbolic) that he
uses. In other words the questions of WHAT and WHO have to be studied

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d.; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 13:09:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Can a Kohein go to medical school to become a doctor

>Can a Kohein go to medical school to become a doctor (that necessitates
>being exposed to the sin of Tumas Meis ie., dealing with cadavers and
>body parts). Are heterim given to Kohanim and by whom? Can a copy of
>the heter or article dealing with this subject be emailed to me at
><adbarcoh@...>? Thanks.

This is discussed in the Nishmat Avraham Yoreh Deah 370 #2:1. It is
forbidden for a Cohen to study medicine (because of the necessity for
learning anatomy on cadavers). See: Kol Bo Aveilut p. 81; Gesher
haChayim Chelek Alef 6:1 s"k 4; Lev Avraham II p. 21 quoting Rav Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach; Iggrot Moshe YD III Siman 155.

[I should mention as someone who teaches at a medical school that there
*are* programs that teach dissection *virtually* e.g. using interactive
DVD's, for example at the online (!) medical school at Brown University,
or in some Arab countries] If this option is available, then it may be
permitted for a Cohen to study medicine even if in the course of his
career he may come in contact with a dead body (see; Rav Wozner in Shu"t
Shevet haLevi YD 164).

If a Cohen did come in contact with a corpse or cadaver he isn't
permitted to *duchen* [nesiyat kapayim] nor is he entitled to get an
aliya to the Torah as a Cohen. See: NishmatAvram Orach Chayim 128 #8
quoting: Shu"T Chatam Sofer YD 338, Mahari Aszad 47, Shulchan Aruch OC
128;41; Ktav Sofer 16.

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

From: Dr. Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 12:15:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Can a Kohein go to medical school to become a doctor

         My recollection of this issue is that Jonathan Sacks discusses
this in his book on Jewish Medical Ethics, and that there were kohanim
who were physicians in the time of the gemara.


From: Simcha MacIntyre <simcha.macintyre@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2007 10:17:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Days of Awe --- liturgical question

Each of the qedushas of yom kippur and also the musaf of rosh hashannah
is followed by a series of paragraphs or groups of sentences.  These
begin chamol, bayin, 'od, and uvchayn yitqadash.

The order of these sentences is the same in all instances on yom kippur,
with the exception of musaf which differs.  The sole instance on rosh
hashanah (musaf) is the same as that of musaf on yom kippur.

My question is why should the order of these sentences be permuted in
this way?

I note that in the case of the two exceptions, the set is followed by
vekhol ma`minim, and that the set of sentences ends with root mishpat,
as does the first phrase of the piyut.




From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 15:18:32 EDT
Subject: Re: Involuntary Servitude

> there cannot legally be involuntary servitude in the United States.
> The courts can find that the Thirteenth Amendment prohibits
> involuntary se

"except as punishment for crime for which the person has been duly tried
and convicted


From: <MarcWilson1216@...> (Marc Wilson)
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2007 11:15:18 EDT
Subject: "Konklet"?

I was wondering whether anyone has heard of "konklet" (sp?), a hamburger
breaded in matzo meal, fried in schmaltz with chopped onions --
occasionally served on a roll, but usually accompanied by mashed
potatoes bound by more schmaltz and gribenes.

We were/are Litvaks, referred to such hamburgers as "konklet" but have
not yet met anyone who knows the term.

Many thanks,

Marc Wilson (Rabbi Ribeye) 


From: Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2007 12:24:27 -0400
Subject: Mayim Achronim "Shpritzer"

I've looked far and wide for many years for a certain Mayim Achronim
"Shpritzer" that I saw in a Synagogue once.  I'm hoping that someone on
Mail-Jewish knows where to find such a device.  It was made out of
silver or stainless steel.  It had a small dish or bowl at the bottom
and a handle going up where a little cup with a cover was attached.
Underneath the cup was a little rod that was hanging down vertically.
If you pushed the rod up gently with your hand, you would get some drops
of water in your hand for Mayim Achronim.  I've looked in many Judaica
and Silver stores that carry Judaica items in America and in Israel and
have never been able to find a Mayim Achronim set like this one.  If you
know where to find something like this please let me know.

Josh Hosseinof


From: Alan Goldberg <agoldbergphd@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 11:58:10 -0400
Subject: Need a referral for a psychologist in the Northern NJ area


I need to refer a 50 year old Orthodox male to a psychologist (NO social
workers please) in the Northern NJ (Passaic/Teaneck) area. Can anyone
recommend someone?

This person is a BT going through some mild midlife/ marriage issues and
I need to refer him to a psychologist who is Orthodox, or very sensitive
to an Orthodox male, and related issues. Thanks much.

Please respond to <agoldbergphd@...>


From: Jaye Sutton <jayems3@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2007 21:09:43 -0400
Subject: Pet boarding

I am arriving in Israel on August 15, 2007 and am looking for someplace
to board my quaker parakeet for a short period of time.  Does anyone
here know of any such facilityin or near Raanana?  Please email me with
any information you might have as soon as possible as I'd like to make
arrangements prior to my arrival.

Contact me at <davidraphael1959@...> or jayems3@optonline.net.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2007 04:48:10 +0200
Subject: White Fast & Black Fast

Does anyone know the origins (i.e, an actual source) for the terms "white
fast" and "black fast," used respectively for Yom Kippur and Tisha b'Av?



From: Y Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 21:48:21 +0300
Subject: Zohar

I went to the site suggested for the Zohar 
(http://www.sup.org/zohar/...etc.) and yes, found it fascinating.

I found this sales pitch too:

>Imagine a miraculous source of power so profound, so powerful, that
>it's able to heal and transform not only your life but the world?
>Welcome to The Zohar, the sacred text and backbone of Kabbalah.  The
>Zohar is not merely paper and ink. It's the truth, and as such is alive
>with divine energy and is the ultimate instrument for generating
>miracles. An amazing number of people have reported them just from
>housing a copy of it in their home.  By simply possessing the books,
>power, protection, and fulfillment came into their lives. You may find
>that hard to believe, but that's before you owned a set.  Have one
>delivered today and see what we're talking about.

And actually, I do find that hard to believe



End of Volume 55 Issue 21