Volume 57 Number 63 
      Produced: Thu, 24 Dec 2009 18:40:56 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses (2)
    [Yael Levine  Martin Stern]
Spousal Abuse (3)
    [Rabbi Meir Wise  Meir Shinnar  Elozor Reich]
Spousal Abuse and Peshat (2)
    [Leah S. R. Gordon  Ira L. Jacobson]
Upcoming at WebYeshiva 
    [Jeffrey Saks]


From: Yael Levine <ylkpk@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 23,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

Yael Levine stated in mail-Jewish Vol. 57 #51 Digest:
>It is obviously not my job to compose prayers on all topics.
Ira L. Jacobson wrote:
<I wonder why Yael thinks that it is her job to compose prayers on any 
<topics.  It seems to me that even greater Torah scholars, posqim and 
<rashei yeshivot did not see such a need for themselves to compose 
<such prayers (or did not regard themselves as able or qualified).

Contrary to what Jacobson wrote, the fact is that many Gedolei Yisrael wrote
"Tefillot Reshut". Some of them are compiled in the monumental volumes "Otzar
Tefillot Yisrael". The Ramchal, the Shlah, and many others wrote such tefillot.
Rav Kook wrote such tefillot, and I devoted an extensive article to them. 

Additionally and most important to note is that the Besht composed prayers as
well R. Nachman of Breslov, as well his foremost disciple R. Nathan Sternhartz.
In the intro to "Likkutei Tefillot" by R. Sternharz, which has become a classic,
he refers directly to the position articulated by others that he perhaps was not
worthy of composing tefillot reshut, refuting this notion. Jacobson is invited
to read the intro to the work itself, or he may refer to the new volume edited
by myself, "Sim Shalom".
Jacobson wonders who endorsed the prayer I composed and how widespread the
recitation of the prayer is. I will reiterate that the prayer has been printed
in many places, and is recited worldwide. I mentioned only a few of the places
in which it has been printed. Jacobson wrote that it was published in a hoveret
which I published, info he found in my article provided in the link. However, he
failed to mention that in the very same article, I explicitly wrote that the
prayer was first published in Ha-Zofe. This newspaper was extremely accepted
among all the Zionist Rabbanim. Rav Soloveichik used to publish articles in the
holiday issues. My prayer was first published in the section of Divrei Torah.
Yael Levine

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 24,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Prayer Concerning Women who have been Murdered by their Spouses

Is this title not a bit inconsistent. Surely it should be either

Prayer concerning women who have been murdered by their husbands


Prayer concerning people who have been murdered by their spouses

Perhaps the originator was just trying (and failing) to be politically
correct. It would be invidious to assume that s/he thinks that we should
only be concerned that women get murdered.

Martin Stern


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 23,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

Joseph Kaplan has missed the point!

Reb Malkiel deposited a get zikkui in the beth din of bnai brak! What  
more did his mother-in-law and now Joseph Kaplan want?
because of her malicious campaign it left him an agun for years for no  
In the case of reb yichye mowjami zatzal even a pre-nup wouldn't have  
helped. The mother took his house, took his money, ruined his life,  
had him imprisoned (by the chareidi controlled rabbinate) and caused  
her own daughter to be an aguna out of sheer avarice.
At least the daughter was free to enjoy the spoils of her mother's  
war. Who was going to give reb yichye back his lost years and his life  
even had he written a get?

The Torah requires reciprocity when contracting a marriage and  
reciprocity when terminating it. If Joseph Kaplan thinks he has a  
higher system of morals then I truly feel sorry for him.

Rabbi Wise

From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 23,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

WRT to REMT and Rav Wise's postings
1) It is true that Jewish law does not recognize a right to divorce -
albeit, IIRC there is a machloket rishonim about a takkanat geonim
that would seem to recognize such a right by takkana (even though
current ashkenazi psak is against it)

2) However, while  there isn't a right to divorce - in the sense that
the bet din can not compel a divorce - still, once a marriage is over
- and once a get has been fought over (say, for a year) , by all
criteria the marriage is functionally (f not halachically) over -
refusing a divorce is an immoral act - a naval bireshut hatorah, to
use the ramban's phrase, and the community should treat him (or
her...)  in that sense.  (TTBOMK, there is a responsa of rav feinstein
that deals with the inappropriateness of refusing a get once the
marriage is over...)

3)  I am sorry that RM Wise's wife's greatuncle's wife wanted to leave
him - but once that was a fait accompli, what moral value was there in
refusing the divorce?? I have no independent knowledge of the case
outside of what Rav Wise says, but from his own portrayal of the case,
 the uncle was no tzaddik - even if the wife was completely
unjustified in leaving him.  It is the lack of recognition of this
issue is that is so problematic (and far more endemic in the
community) - even if the wife was, as Rav Wise says, doing it because
of her mother, and for not good reasons - what is the justification
outside of spite for refusing the get???

The case of RM Kotler documents something else - the intrinsic
asymmetry of the system - because R M Kotler was able to get remarried
in spite of his wife's refusal, due to a heter meah rabbanim.  (Rav
Soloveitchik is reported (IIRC, by Rav Wurzburger)  to have refused to
participate in any heter meah rabbanim precisely on the basis of the
immorality of this asymmetry).

3) REMT is right about the potential power of the Israeli bet din.
However, I think that he underestimates the recent changes that have
occured in the Israeli rabbinic court system to the detriment of
women, and what he decries as an insensitivity is actually far worse.
There is a recent article in techumin by a recently retired member of
the Israeli Rabbinate Supreme Court (IIRC rav Daichovsky), who
documents and decries some of the recent changes that have occured.
Yes, the courts have the power, but, unfortunately, they rarely use it
even when it is appropriate, and they have now adopted halachic
shittot that they used to reject, that essentially allow blackmailing
of the woman for a get even when she is entitled to one (see his

Meir Shinnar

From: Elozor Reich <ereich@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 24,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

Allow me to correct a small historical error made on this forum by
Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>

He wrote  

>"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.

Reb Malkiel was not married to daughter of the Brisker Rav. It was his
mother-in-law, the wife of of Reb Mechel Feinstein, who was a daughter of the
Brisker and it was this daughter who contributed to the big fuss. The Brisker
Rav's Rebbetzen passed away before the Rav came to Eretz Yisroel and he did not

Elozor Reich (whose nephew R' Uren is married to Reb Malkiel's sister), Manchester


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse and Peshat

Thank you to Rabbi Roth, who did check with me before his post:  he
accurately presented
what I meant in describing the "commentary" as "not universally-established".
I meant the gloss on that particular phrase, i.e. that it is not
universally established in Jewish tradition that the peshat is a beating
by Eve of Adam.  I in no way meant to say that any particular commentator
was in general not to be read.

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 23,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Spousal Abuse and Peshat

David Roth stated in mail-Jewish Vol.57 #60:
> There seems to be some controversy about the Baal haTurim's
> interpretation of Breishit 3:12 and whether it reflects peshat.

I believe that the commentator himself says that this is the
> Leah wrote that the Baal haTurim's commentary was not
> "universally-established."  I asked, and she confirmed that she
> was referring to this particular comment.  I think she was
> therefore justified in claiming that this comment was not
> universally-established; I see no similar comment among the
> interpreters in Mikraot Gedolot.

I still do not understand what "universally established" (no
hyphen) means, nor what Ms. Gordon was trying to proclaim.  Ba`al
HaTurim explains the verse.  He is not establishing any
"universe."  What Ms. Gordon says, "We could say that the first
sibling relationship resulted in fratricide - this does not mean
that most brothers kill each other (!)."  Nor does the phenomenon
of spousal abuse -- whether by the husband or the wife -- mean
that all spouses are abusive.  Nor does anyone claim so, so that
there is no need to beat a dead horse.
> but now that Leah has clarified matters, I think we can now all
> agree that the author of this commentary, Rabbi Yaakov ben Asher
> (= the Rosh)

Actually, R' Ya`aqov ben Asher was the third son of the Rosh. 
The first two died young.

> Luckily, I am not alone.  If one refers to Hamaor Vol. 54 No. 2
> (http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=28120&pgnum=19),
> one will find Rabbi Mordechai Shemuel Yonatan Berkovitch's
> discussion of the Baal haTurim's interpretation of this verse.  I
> translate loosely: "The words [this comment] of our rabbi [the
> Baal haTuri] are very surprising (tamu'ah me'od), and many have
> struggled with it.  Rabbi Reinitz in his publication here brings
> in the name of R. Emanuel haRomi that it is a mitzvah to erase
> it, for scoffers inserted it into the words of our rabbi, but he
> [R. Reinitz] writes that because he checked all the manuscripts,
> and in all of them this comment is brought, he therefore left
> them [the words of the comment] - even though the wording of our
> rabbi when he wrote here 'according to the peshat' is very
> surprising ..." R. Berkovitch then goes on to elaborate on the
> difficulties with this comment before then providing evidence for
> a source for the comment and his explanation for why he now
> believes it to be correct.  R. Berkovitch succeeds in showing how
> this interpretation can be based in the words of the Torah (as is
> all midrash), but I (based on what I presented above) cannot
> accept it as peshat.

My recollection of R" YK Reinitz' endnote is that the comment of
R' MSY Berkowitz is a forgery and therefore should be ignored. 
His endnote was only to inform us that he was aware of this
comment and that he rejects it.  This seems to me to be the
opposite of what Mr. Roth is claiming.



From: Jeffrey Saks <jeffreysaks@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 23,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Upcoming at WebYeshiva

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End of Volume 57 Issue 63