Volume 56 Number 94 
      Produced: Tue, 21 Jul 2009 17:47:01 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Ari Trachtenberg]
Agunot and JOFA 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading (3)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Stuart Feldhamer  Mordechai]
Distancing The World, Part 1 of 2 
    [Harlan Braude]
Following Rabbi X through thick or thin 
    [Carl Singer]
JOFA - Request for Proposals 
    [Rose Landowne]
Translations of the sh'ma yisrael statement 
    [Bernard Katz]
Women Rabbis 
    [Rose Landowne]
yuhara (2)
    [Yossi Ginzberg  Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Administravia

We will be collecting submissions for a special issue related to
Tisha B'av, which will be published, G-d willing, a couple days
before this mournful date.

If you would like to make such a submission, please put the prefix
"Tisha B'av:" in the subject heading of your submission.


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Agunot and JOFA

Any woman who doesn't see herself bound by halacha certainly has the 
ability to ignore her status as an Aguna [literally "chained woman", whose
husband refuses or cannot give her a divorce --MOD] can remarry in the non
halachic jewish manner.  I don't see how JOFA changes that.

The issues with agunot are complex.  I had an issue several years ago 
with a friend of mine who is an aguna.  I saw her husband at shul and 
confronted him in front of his friends about his refusal to give his 
wife a get [Jewish divorce --MOD].  He responded by attacking me with a whiskey

After the Yom Tov his wife asked me not to confront him again on the 
issue because she was worried he would kill me.  She had a point.  I'm 
not sure how JOFA could make him less likely to try to kill me or his 
wife more willing to have me confront him (or organize a confrontation).

This is an issue for the halachic community.  We all need to be willing 
to speak up on this issue, confront those who refuse to give their wives 
gets (and those women who refuse to accept a get from their husbands).

Certainly there are good starts to this issue such as the halachic 
prenuptial agreement.  Here is one by the mainstream Beth Din of 
American http://www.jlaw.com/Forms/PNA_2003.pdf not JOFA.

There is no magic bullet for this issue.  Just like other issues the 
community has (such as spousal abuse) it will ultimately only need to be 
addressed by local communities.  We all need to take responsibility for 
these issues.  Indeed if these issues seem to be part of agenda driven 
non halachic organizations like JOFA it will give strength to those who 
wish to deny the seriousness of these issues.  I for one am not willing 
to leave these issues to an organization like JOFA I believe it is all 
of our responsibility.


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sat, Jul 18,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading

> This Kaddish is said only on days in which you read the Torah but
> there is no Musaf, so it can't be a very important one for a mourner
> or anyone. It only occurs on certain days and never on Shabbos, Yom
> Tov or Rosh Chodesh. (Basically, Mondays and Thursdays. You can also
> add most of the days of Chanukah and a Ta'anis Tzibur. These are all
> days in which only three men are called to the Torah.)

     Surely the writer was guilty of an oversight.  Kaddish is said _every_ time
the Torah is read: on weekdays, following the last aliyah, and on days with a
haftara, right before maftir.
     Even at Mincha, on Shabbos or a fast, when it is not said immediately after
the Torah reading, it is said before Sh'mone Esrai.  This is not the normal
pre-Amida kaddish; that one is said prior to the reading of the Torah.  It is
the post-reading kaddish, deferred slightly so as to immediately precede Amida.
However, in a situation where davening will not follow the Torah reading -- for
instance, where there was no Torah until after the davening was complete -- the
kaddish is then said after the k'ria [Torah reading -- MOD].

From: Stuart Feldhamer <stuart.feldhamer@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 19,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading

>This Kaddish is said only on days in which you read the Torah but
>there is no Musaf, so it can't be a very important one for a mourner
>or anyone. It only occurs on certain days and never on Shabbos, Yom
>Tov or Rosh Chodesh. (Basically, Mondays and Thursdays. You can also
>add most of the days of Chanukah and a Ta'anis Tzibur. These are all
>days in which only three men are called to the Torah.)

What tradition are you from?

As far as I know this kaddish is said every time the Torah is read at
Shacharit.  I am Ashkenazi.


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] after Torah reading

Sammy Finkelman wrote:

> This Kaddish is said only on days in which you read the Torah but
> there is no Musaf, so it can't be a very important one for a mourner
> or anyone.

1) Not correct. It is said on Shabbos and Yom tov for example. 2) Something 
can still be important, even if not said daily.  Would you say that musaf is 
not important because it is not?

> In the shul where I daven it is usually said by the Ba'al 
> Koreh.......Very occasionally, it could be somebody who didn't get the last
> aliya and who is not standing right next to the Torah at the time he recites
> the kaddish.

> This should not be a big issue. The Ba'al Koreh [Torah reader --MOD] says it,
> unless somebody in charge more or less wants to give it to somebody else, and
> remembers or decides in time.....
> It could maybe be considered the prerogative of the Ba'al Koreh, and
> some people have this attitude, but in almost all cases the Ba'al
> Koreh would readily be mochal [forgiving --MOD], if that is necessary. It 
> is probably not the prerogative of the Ba'al Koreh in any way, it is just > >
that he has a Chazakah (presumption) that he is going to say it, and a lot of
> people like to say Kaddish, so people don't like to take it away
> without permission.  That applies also to davening before the Omud,
> too, you know.

Once again, as in my post on this in an earlier issue of Mail-Jewish, I 
wish to cite the comprehensive study on this which appeared in Yerushoseinu I 
(Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz, Bnei Brak 5767), p.113-125, in the form of a 
responsum to the query of the Rav of a Shul in Eretz Yisroel, written by Rav 
Binyomin Hamburger (I realize that not everyone has that fine volume handy, so 
likely not many have seen it. If it is not too difficult, I will beli neder, 
scan it and send it on request).

Anyway, in the very wide ranging study, it is clearly shown that this 
kaddish in the Ashkenazic tradition is said davka (specifically) by a shliach 
tzibbur, as opposed to a private individual. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach z"l 
(Halichos Shlomo I, 12:27) explains that it is not said by an individual 
private aveil [mourner --MOD], who is not a shliach tzibbur, because it was put
into place mainly for the deceased who do not have someone saying kaddish after

Finally, my personal thought is that it is clear that this is not a kaddish 
like any other kaddish yasom [Mourner's kaddish --MOD], because only one person
says it at a time.  Have you seen more than one person/all kaddish zogers
[sayers --MOD] say it simultaneously,  as it done in most places with other
kaddeishim, e.g. after aleinu? I don't recall seeing such. That seems to be a
tip-off that shows that it is a different type of kaddish.



From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 16,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Distancing The World, Part 1 of 2

In MJ V56, #92,Russell J Hendel wrote
> Yaakov Schachter addresses the notion that "it is better to introduce a
> non-observant male friend to a non-Jewish woman than to introduce him to a
> Jewish woman who will not practice the laws of nidda (marital 
> separation)".
> I find this concept offensive for several reasons.
> First: It is a cardinal principle of Judaism that people can change. ...
> Second: Judaism believes that the wedding day erases all sins. ...
> Third: Rabbi Manus Friedman points out in his book that many cultures 
> observe "separation periods" in marriage. ...
> But to go so far as not wanting to introduce people UNDER THE 
> ASSUMPTION THAT THEY WONT CHANGE is contrary to Jewish law.

While I accept that there are dangers of pigeon-holing people with our 
assumptions, I think this response fails to address the original question.

The larger question, the way I read it, is how does one approach difficult 
issues in Judaism, where the alternatives seem equally troublesome. In this
case: can a balance be struck between the laws of Niddah and that of not
marrying a non-Jew?

That's an extremely difficult, painful and perhaps impossible choice to 
face, but it's worthy of discussion if for no other reason than to better
understand the halachic thought process.

To essentially substitute the details of the case that give us trouble 
(i.e., that the laws of Niddah won't be observed) is akin to the debate
technique called the Straw-Man (essentially, disingenuously rephrasing an
opponent's argument in a manner easier to refute.)


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 19,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Following Rabbi X through thick or thin

Closest (IMHO) is Hillel Markowitz's:
> If you say that, 'I follow Rav Y who
> does not agree in that situation" then that should be OK. Of course you
> need to follow what Rav Y says both when he allows or forbids. One
> should not pick and choose as even if always choosing the stricter
> decision, one can easily fall into a contradiction and wind up doing
> what is forbidden.

Thus the issue could perhaps be redefined as "Must one who adopts the
chumrot (stringencies) of Rabbi X also adopt his leniencies?"


The two above thoughts remind me that many seem to act as if Rabbinic
rulings form a menu from which they can freely choose.  A specific, oft
cited example, is Rabbeinu Tam.  So many conscientious observant Jews follow
several of his rulings regarding time -- perhaps I should say several of his
stringencies -- yet they ignore some of his leniencies -- for example re:
Glass dishes -- they are quick to form an argument that his "glass" is
different from our "glass."

Again, we stumble into an asymmetry - perhaps a personality characteristic
(note: I didn't say "personality flaw") that gravitates towards stringent and
away from lenient.



From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 19,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: JOFA - Request for Proposals

Mordechai Horowitz wrote:
> In what way can JOFA be considered an Orthodox Jewish organization?  
> From what I can tell, this organization rejects the idea that Jews are limited
> by the rules of Jewish law/halacha. ...

Here is JOFA's mission statement:

> The mission of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance is to expand the  
> spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women  
> within the framework of halakha.  We advocate meaningful participation  
> and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning  
> and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within  
> halakha.  Our commitment is rooted in the belief that fulfilling this  
> mission will enrich and uplift individual and communal life for all  
> Jews.

I think this makes it clear that the whole point is to work within  
Halacha to do what can be done in the social/political areas to make women feel
more welcome in the Orthodox communal world.

Rose Landowne


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 16,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Translations of the sh'ma yisrael statement

Ari Trachtenberg writes:

> As long as I can remember, I understood the sh'ma yisrael statement from 
> Dvarim 6:4 to mean:
> "Hear Israel, [the] Lord our God, [the] Lord is one."
> In this case, "our God" is an adjective modifying "Lord".  Our Lord is one 
> ... though the other nations may believe otherwise. ...
> Nevertheless, I recently came across another, apparently normative, 
> translation...:
> "Hear Israel, [the] Lord is our God, [the] Lord is one."
> In this interpretation, "our God" is not an adjective, but rather a 
> predicate noun, with a subtle, but very different, meaning.  Now the focus 
> of the sentence is split two statements, one statement of faith proclaiming 
> who is our God, and the other identifying Him as one.

I have encountered a number of different translations. The most common are 
the two that Ari mentions.  I note, however, that Artscroll translate the 
statement as: "Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our God, Hashem, the One and Only". 
I am not sure that I understand this, but I doubt that 'the One and Only' is 
the intend sense of 'echad' in this context. (I've encountered a Karaite 
translation which runs as follows: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the 
Lord alone". This makes sense, but again I find this translation of  'echad' 

I also have difficulty understanding the grammar of the first translation 
that Ari mentions, which is usually given in the following form: "Hear, O 
Israel: the Lord Our God, the Lord is one".  (I did a quick search and found 
this translation in the Hertz Chumash, the Koren Chumash, and the linear 
translation of Rashi. )

Ari is right that in the second translation the phrase 'Our God' plays the 
role of a predicate; but he is mistaken, I think, in supposing that in the 
first translation it is an adjective. The phrase always occurs as a noun 
phrase. It is not clear to me, however, what its grammatical role is in the 
first translation.  There seem to me to be too many nouns and not enough 
verbs. (I am talking about the English translation of course, not the 
original Hebrew text.)

Consider the sentence  "Moshe, our teacher, is humble". The phrase 'our 
teacher' is a non-restrictive appositive (i.e., it is a noun phrase that 
modifies 'Moshe' parenthetically without changing the scope of 'Moshe'). 
Notice that the sentence that results from the elimination of the phrase 
'our teacher' from "Moshe, our teacher, is humble" is just as grammatical as 
the original: i.e., the sentence "Moshe is humble" makes as much sense as 
"Moshe, our teacher, is humble".  If 'Our God' plays a similar role, i.e., 
if it is a non-restrictive appositive, then its elimination from the 
sentence "Hear, O Israel: the Lord Our God, the Lord is one" should result 
in a sentence that is just as grammatical as the original. But  "Hear, O 
Israel: the Lord, the Lord is one" makes no sense, in which case either the 
original is ungrammatical or I haven't correctly identified the grammatical 
role of the phrase 'Our God'.  But if it is not a non-restrictive 
appositive, I have no idea what it is.

On the other hand, the second translation seems to me pretty 
straightforward. Fwiw, Rabbi Hertz says in his commentary that Sifri, the 
Septuagint and "most Jewish translators and commentators" translate Devarim 
6:4 as  "Hear, O Israel: the Lord is Our God, the Lord is One". Clearly, 
this version contains two subordinate statements, as Ari says, but I would 
have said that the first identifies the Lord while the second describes Him.

Bernard Katz


From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 19,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Women Rabbis

Mordechai wrote:
> I will admit I've always felt that if we had used the sephardi tradition
> of calling Rabbis Chacham instead of Rabbi we would have less of a
> problem giving women a title.  The problem with calling women Rabbi
> seems to be twofold to me:
> 1) People confuse it with the Rabbi of the Talmud...
> 2) What I've heard called public policy and the belief that we can't do
> it because it would make us look like the heterodox movements that
> reject Torah...

Since the term Rabbi is used for all sorts of officiants who [one might
suggest --MOD] would not qualify for the title (Conservative and Reform, male
and female rabbis, etc.) why is it that we have not rejected the term totally,  
and found a different title for our male rabbis?

Rose Landowne


From: Yossi Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: yuhara

> I know nothing about the Streits situation other than it's welcome in my
> home. I recently read an article in a Baltimore paper that pretty much talks
> the politics of hashgacha [kosher supervision --MOD] -- it certainly doesn't
> put things into a good light.
> I recall many, many years ago when we were new in a town -- we invited
> someone to dinner and they responded "do you toyvel [ritually immerse --MOD]
> your dishes?" -- forget about the social aspects of that question and how it
> was asked. The reply was "No".
The above two separate quotes by Carl illustrate perfectly the question I was
asking about Yuhara- as well as what provokes the question.
In the Streit's case, certain Rabbis raised a question about another rabbi,
implicit in their questioning his hashgocho [supervision --MOD].  The Rabbi
maligned was never proven (or even accused) of Chilul Shabbos [desecrating the
Sabbath --MOD] or the like, anything even remotely possible of invalidating his
reliability.  How were they allowed to do that without themselves being in
flagrant and public violation of Halacha?
Likewise the obviously rude & ignorant guests, who apparently knew enough
stringencies to request ritual immersion of dishes but not enough to know that
plastics are exempt- from where did they have the hubris to ask the question? 
What yeshiva or outreach organization set them free on the streets to offend
people with such defective and selective knowledge of the Halacha? 
I am seeing this more and more often, and it pains me.  Most often, it is
benign. I saw this past Shabbat two men arrive late at services, and for lack of
halachic knowledge proceed to recite every word in order, thus missing
essentially the mitzvah of public prayer.  I saw a man miss Shema recently while
he donned his "gartel", I often see men going to mikva after the start of
Shabbat when it is not allowed (late Friday, not Sat morning).
Too often, though, it is offensive, as the cases above.  I recently heard a
speaker in a small shul lauding a groom for being so "Frum" despite his
background- his parents are modern Orthodox, Shabbat observers, the mother
covers her hair, but the young man went to a coed school.  How dare we damn with
faint praise, as the idiom goes?  From where comes this smug arrogance, this
attitude that more chumras mean a better Jew?
The mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem, sanctification of the name of G-d, and the act of
endearing Hashem to the world (Sheyehe shem shamayim misahev al yadcha) seem to
have been eliminated from the Orthodox vocabulary.  How and why did this happen,
and what can we do about it?
Yossi Ginzberg 

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 20,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: yuhara

> I recall many, many years ago when we were new in a town -- we invited
> someone to dinner and they responded "do you toyvel [ritually immerse 
> --MOD] your dishes?" -- forget about the social aspects of that
> question and how it was asked.   The reply was "No".

Frankly, I don't see the relevance of these people's question to the 
dinner.  As I understand it, toyveling is related to ownership, not
kashrut.  It would be the equivalent of coming to your house and
checking your clothes for shatnez [forbidden clothing mixtures] before
being willing to eat dinner.



End of Volume 56 Issue 94