Volume 57 Number 59 
      Produced: Tue, 22 Dec 2009 20:36:49 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chareidi Internet (2)
    [Akiva Miller  Batya Medad]
Chareidi Light 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Global Warming (2)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Susan Kane]
Litter in shul 
    [I. Balbin]
Spousal Abuse (2)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Rabbi Meir Wise]


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

Stuart Wise asked:
> but whom are we dealing with? Children? If not, then why
> aren't adults treated with enough respect to decide things
> for themselves?

Do you also think that the rabbis should treat adults with enough respect to
decide for themselves whether or not it's a good idea to eat chicken with milk?

Do you also think that the rabbis should treat adults with enough respect to
decide for themselves whether or not it's a good idea to play musical
instruments on Shabbos?

Do you also think that the rabbis should treat adult men with enough respect to
decide for themselves whether or not it's a good idea to say the Shmoneh Esreh
three times a day?

Do you also think that the rabbis should treat adults with enough respect to
decide for themselves whether or not it's a good idea to avoid eating food
cooked by non-Jews (also known as "bishul akum")?

My feeling is that it is the rabbi's JOB to watch out for our spiritual health,
and to warn us when we are doing things that are bad for us. We may not like it.
We may not listen to them. Sometimes they might even be wrong. But for them to
be silent on the issue? Why? What do YOU think a rabbi's job is?

Akiva Miller

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Chareidi Internet

Not only chareidim want to limit internet sites.  Many people here, dati
le'umi, chardal etc use the services, like Rimon, to restrict what their
computers access.



From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Chareidi Light

I've just had a revelation on the road from rosh haayin to ramat gan!  
After all these years I've realised what I am.
I was brought up in the Mizrachi but wear a frock and homburg on  
shabbes and yom tov but casual during the week. Sometimes tzitzis in  
sometimes out.

I was just returning from a visit to my brother-in-law in rosh haaayin  
and we drove through givat shmuel a nice suburb of ramat gan close to  
bnai brak.
My wife asked my sister-in-law if it was a chareidi neighbourhood?
"Chareidi light" she replied. And the light has gone on (pardon the  
pun). That's what I am. Chareidi light. And I have lost loads of  
weight in the last six months on the osem 10 calorie soup diet (email  
me offline for details). It's 2.20am here in israel so I'm going to  
sleep before I make another bad pun.

Rabbi Wise


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Global Warming

From: <leah@...>
> As to belief in Gd, surely taking care of our planet is like taking care
> of our bodies. We have a responsibility to use our resources as carefully
> as possible!

While your our last sentence is correct and we do have a
responsibility to act properly and avoid violating Bal tashchis (do
not waste), the three types of organizations that you use as
authorities have been accused (correctly in my opinion) of falsifying
data in order to promote a political agenda. However, this is not the
proper forum for such an argument. There are a number of places which
do discuss the matter.

It appears that what might be appropriate for this forum would be to
discuss when do political or scientific arguments turn into a type of
"avodas zara" (idol worship). In many places, the arguments seem to be
framed in terms of "believers" and "deniers". It would appear that
this is the reason for the political upheaval caused by the arguments
as well as the actions that the "believers are accused of taking. I am
trying to avoid a political viewpoint as that is not proper for this
forum, however it is difficult. In any case, the "believers" assume
that man is of course responsible and must act at once, while the
skeptics point out the flaws in the arguments, and the "deniers" say
that whether or not there is evidence man cannot be responsible for
such a massive change in the world.

Similarly, there are many other political arguments going on in the
world that people turn into a matter of "belief" rather than logic. We
should all be careful not to fall into that trap.

       Sabba     -          ' "        -     Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
 <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: Susan Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Global Warming

I think we know that Judaism does not reject science simply because Hashem 
created and still controls all things.  If this were the case, there would 
be no Jewish engineers, scientists, or doctors, etc.

Should the State of Israel not seek a way to desalinate water or not 
create new defensive weapons, because Hashem controls all things?  Will 
Hashem simply give us enough water (or food or security) without any 
effort on our part?

We know that this is not the case.  Hashem controls all things and yet we 
are supposed to manage the earth and the physical world for our benefit 
and for the benefit of the community and (I would argue) the world at 

Even if we believe that there will never be another Flood, that does not 
mean that we lack the free will needed to get ourselves into serious 
trouble and to cause ourselves tremendous suffering.

There is a lot of suffering and destruction possible between how things 
are today and the absolute destruction of the world and all of humankind. 
There's a lot of room for serious problems before the promise not to 
destroy the world kicks in.

The reactions that our planet has to increased global temperatures *are* 
the work of creation.  If temperatures rise and the icecaps begin to melt 
and there is consequent flooding or islands disappear or robins begin 
appearing in parts of Canada for the first time -- that IS the work of 
creation that renews each day.

Hashem does not suspend the laws of nature just because we choose to 
damage or overuse the good earth Hashem gave us.  Rather, we live within 
the work of G-d's creation and within its laws.

If we contribute to a global rise in temperature and do not work to 
counteract it, Hashem may save us from ultimate destruction but I do not 
believe we will be saved from tremendous suffering.

I suppose one could argue that there will be a miracle and that the 
current projected trajectory for temperature will somehow reverse itself.

But in my understanding, hoping for a miracle is now how we are Jews are 
supposed to act when other options are available to us.

Susan Kane
Boston, MA


From: I. Balbin <Isaac.Balbin@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Litter in shul

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote regarding "Litter in shul".

The word litter is ill advised in the context.

> The table on which the Sefer Torah is put for reading has the status of
> tashmishei kedushah [an accessory to a holy thing]. Surely it is not correct
> for people to use it as a dumping place for siddurim and other sefarim let
> alone hats, tallit bags etc.

If it was intended for both, then it's fine. Put another way, if the majority of
people in the Shule don't see any problem with it being used this way, then it's
intended for both. Is it the clutter perhaps that bothers you?

> Furthermore is not the practice of not returning siddurim, chumashim etc.
> after use, leading to the shul looking as if it were a junk yard,

Hardly a "junk" yard. It looks like a vibrant place where people are using
sforim at all times. A Beis Medrash anyone?

> not a
> slight on the honour that should be accorded to a place of worship?

The issue at hand is the waste of time that one may cause another person looking
for a sefer to experience by you not returning that sefer to its rightful place.
That being said, I'd suggest it might apply more to sforim for learning rather
than siddurim and chumashim. If they are on tables, then people can find them
easily. Each place is clearly different. Having a one size fits all rule doesn't
make sense to me.

PS. Don't forget that you can't put Sforim away between Mincha and Ma'ariv on
Motzei Shabbos.


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

To the comment:
> While we are on the subject the Rabbinate of Israel has published statistics
>  that there are many more women refusing to accept a get  
> (divorce) than there are men refusing to give one!

the response was made (with minor grammatical corrections),
> The Chief Rabbinate's numbers are not accurate. 
> Their numbers are based on the fact the charedi rabbis who now run the
> rabbinate refuse to order men who leave their wives an aguna to give them a
> divorce.  Therefore in their logic because the charedi rabbis have not 
> ordered the man to give his wife a divorce, she is not an aguna.  And as they 
> typically support the man's demand for the woman to give up her rights such 
> as child support they feel it's her fault for not giving in.

      The writer does not define "men who leave their wives an aguna." Does it
mean that the husband has run away? It is hardly possible to force him to give a
get in that case. (Incidentally, the batei din (rabbinical courts) have a
department which specializes in tracking down such husbands worldwide in order
to secure a get for the wife.)  Does it mean that the wife wants a divorce,
while the husband wishes to remain married?  The court lacks the halachic
authority to compel the giving of a get in most such circumstances, just as they
will not allow a get because the husband wants one, when the wife does not. 
Jewish law does not recognize get on demand by either party to a marriage; and
because a wife wants out of the marriage and the husband doesn't does not render
her an aguna. In those circumstances where there is halachically justified cause
for ordering the husband to give a get, and he refuses to do so, the Israeli
rabbinical courts have an increasingly harsher set of sanctions which they apply
to compel compliance: revoking the driver's license, revoking the business
license, where applicable, and finally, imprisoning the husband until he
complies -- and these steps are taken without hesitation.

     This is not to say that the system is perfect; it is not. There are some
members of rabbinical courts who display an insensitivity to the plight of a
woman trapped in a marriage to a husband who abuses her either emotionally or
financially.  (Physical abuse, if proven, is grounds for compelling the giving
of a get.)  However, they are a small minority.  Of course, it is of little
consolation to the woman whose misfortune it is to be assigned to such a court,
and would that steps would be taken to correct the situation; but to give the
impression that the problem is widespread in Israel is nothing more than vicious
slander. (Unfortunately, matters are different in the US, where rabbinic courts
are unregulated.)

     To say that "they typically support the man's demand for the woman to give
up her rights such as child support" is another calumny.  In fact, the rabbinic
courts _impose_ child support payments when applicable in the cases that come
before them.  And for the record, the one publicizing the statistics, who
happens to be the director-general of the rabbinic courts, is a kippa s'ruga,
not a chareidi.

     Incidentally, the original statistic was misquoted.  There are not  _many_
more women than men withholding get.  The difference was, if I recall correctly,
only five. 


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 22,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

Mordechai Horowitz's libel against the entire Israeli rabbinate with  
whom I have been in contact for over thirty years leaves me no choice  
but to reply despite ms gordon's deafening silence about the stature  
of the Baal haturim!

I would have hoped that every rabbi is chareid lidvar Hashem and  
stereotyping and using such terms in an abusive way should be a last  
resort when reasonable argument has failed.

Men who refuse the Israeli rabbinates order to issue a get are  
imprisoned. But I have not heard of one woman who refused a get being  

Let me tell you of two cases of agunim - yes my friends the plural of  
agun - we only ever hear of the plight of the agunah never the agun -  
with which I was slightly involved.

The first was non other than reb malkiel kotler - the grandson of the  
founding rosh yeshiva of Lakewood.
He was a chareidi rabbi who became an agun for many years!

He was married to the daughter of the brisker rov (reb velvel  
soloveitchik) zatzal of Jerusalem. The brisker rov left a will stating  
than non of his children should leave israel (a closet Zionist - I  
think not!)
When reb shneur kotler of Lakewood passed away, they called his son  
reb malkiel to lead the orphaned yeshiva.
The brisker rebbetzin stepped in. Her daughter was not going to leave  
israel under any circumstances.
reb malkiel consulted the gedolim. Rav shach zatzal, rav wosner, Dayan  
weiss, rav landau of bnai brak, the eida charedis.  Some rabbis  
couldn't get involved as they were related ( the feinsteins and the  
soloveitchiks by marriage) rav shapira of beer Yaakov.
In short it became a modern day cause clbre and split the Torah  
world into two.
reb malkiel was told to place a get zikkui in the beis dub in bnai  
brak and also to get a shtar meah rabbonim. To do this takes years,  
money and the signature of 100 ordained orthodox rabbis from 3  
different countries. He pleaded with his wife who he loved to join him  
in Lakewood.
But mother-in-law had different ideas. She started a campaign. and  
years later when he remarried and gad children she distributed posters  
saying that they were mamzerim!
this only died down when she joined her husband the brisker rov in the  
world of truth.

The second case dear readers you might have vaguely heard of. And  
although I don't tell mother-in-law jokes and my own mother-in-law was  
a saint and treated me like a son, it also involves a woman and her  
interferring mother.
It was non other than the case of my wifes great uncle of blessed  
he was happily married in Yemen at a young age. But a few years after  
arriving in israel his mother-in-law decided that he wasn't good  
enough for her daughter. She set her eyes on a wealthy man and told  
the young couple to divorce. Only problem was that there had never  
been a bad word between them and he loved her with all his heart.
But mother-in-law wasn't to be stopped. She started a campaign against  
him. Forced her daughter to ask for a get and blinded the rabbinate.
The poor simple Talmid chochom was imprisoned for years but refused to  
give a get.
The non-religious prison guards so loved this zaddik that they built  
him a shul in the prison and filled it with seforim. They he sat for  
decades. the chief rabbis visited him and begged him to give a get.  
but even they couldn't find grounds why?
Eventually he was offered to be released but refused. His life had  
been ruined and he was happy to spend the rest of his days in the  
prison shul praying and learning.
My wifes family used to visit him so I have eye witness accounts.
After mother-in-law had ruined two lives she left this earth.
When this gentle tormented soul eventually went to heaven the secular  
press had a field day. They heaped every kind of abuse on him and used  
language that I cannot repeat.
So dear readers don't believe everything that you read in the Jewish  
press. And spend a a moment in prayer for the poor agunim about whom  
we hear little and whose numbers far outweigh the agunot according to  
the entire rabbinate of israel.

Vehu rachum yechaper Avon.........

Rabbi Meir Wise
Holidaying in the holy city of ramat gan.


End of Volume 57 Issue 59