Volume 57 Number 67 
      Produced: Wed, 30 Dec 2009 11:29:07 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Baby Boy! 
    [Elana Bloom]
    [Nathe London]
Chareidi Internet 
    [Stuart Wise]
Haftara custom 
    [Avi Heller]
Kosher Internet 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Minhag Eretz Yisrael - Baruch Hashem Leolam 
Palliative Sedation 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Rav Soloveitick Notes on Gemora Berochos from Moriah 
    [Frank Smiles]
Solution to agunah problem (2)
    [Jeanette Friedman  Martin Stern]
Spousal (divorce) abuse 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Spousal Abuse 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Vigilante Judaism (was Chareidi Internet) 
    [Bernard Raab]


From: Elana Bloom <elana.bloom@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 29,2009 at 01:01 AM
Subject: A Baby Boy!

We thank Hashem, and want to share the wonderful news with you, our family
and friends, on the birth of a son, a bechor, to our dear children, Michal and
Reuven Garrett.

May we continue to share simchas together, in good health, happiness and in

Elana Bloom and Jeffrey Garrett


From: Nathe London <nathelondon@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 26,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Abuse

Does anyone know of an explanation as to why Adam did not disarm Chava  
to stop her beating him?



From: Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 27,2009 at 03:01 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?

Akiva Miller wrote:
> 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?
> 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.

A rav once told me (and maybe others have heard the same) that it takes  
nothing to be machmir to assur something; what is really difficult is to find  
how something can be muttar k;halachah. As far as I can tell, these 
rabbonim  just threw out the entire chareidi internet without actually trying to 
find a  way that will satisfy them. Your examples cited above dealing with 
specific  halachic issues; with the Internet it is far from clear what exactly 
they find  objectionable and why. Is there any real halachic issues involved 
or just an  offense to their sensibilties? A Rav should make sure people 
keep halachah; not  invent new ones. It is presumptuous to ban something 
without really knowing how  it is being used and what impact it would have on 
Stuart Wise


From: Avi Heller <rabbiaviheller@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Haftara custom

Is anyone familiar with a custom of saying the blessings of the haftara out
loud (both before and after) but having the congregation read the haftara
itself quietly to themselves? Thanks
Avi Heller


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Kosher Internet

There is an excellent discussion in the Maharshdam on Yoreh Deah as to  
whether everything is permitted except that which the Torah (and the  
Rabbis of the Talmud) banned or is everything forbidden except that  
which the Torah permitted.

A practical application would be say if you went to the Amazon and  
discovered a new fruit. What would be the status?
The conclusion is that everything is permitted except that which is  
forbidden. The Talmud in Beitza says the power of the rabbi who  
permits is preferable and the Chida in the Laws of Pesach writes that  
he who wants to be strict should be strict on himself within his own  
four walls and not on the public. Also see the comment of the Or  
Hachayyim on Numbers 26:3 ( I cannot remember the number of the  
comment but it's between 4 and 7).
This is philosophy of the Beth Hamidrash in which I studied in my  
youth and of the great Rabbis whose sweet souls repose in Eden, who  
taught there.

Hence when it comes to banning I am generally against it. And I have  
written that one cannot put a cherem on a cheftza. Kitchen knives have  
not been banned although people are being stabbed in London on a  
weekly basis. They are a kli shemelachto leheter ule'issur. Although  
their sale is restricted and one is not allowed to carry them in the  
street any longer.
I am changing my mind as I write this!
Perhaps that is the paradigm for Internet access and usage. The rabbis  
certainly have the right, nay, the duty to warn against the dangers.

But that leads me to a disturbing incident on the radio last night. I  
am enjoying israel no end but having had a sleep during the daytime of  
fast of tevet I couldn't sleep at 2am this morning. Usually I listen  
to the radio - kol chai or kol berama for content and music. But the  
reception was poor and fuzzy and so I started to adjust the tuner. I  
got to Galei Zahal (which one hears on many buses and in taxis) which  
is the main army channel. I though I would give it a try.
You can only imagine my shock and outrage when the Jewish broadcaster  
suddenly announced (it was already 28th December) that the next two  
hours would be devoted to Xmas songs old and new! After all Xmas is  
celebrated in Haifa and Jaffa and why not here on the radio. Xmas is  
such a beautiful festival that we all want a part of it! It is so  
colourful it is a pity that the Jewish festivals are not as nice. They  
have large stockings into which they put sweet things (sic) and they  
exchange presents.

I immediately wrote a strong email in ivrit protesting in which I said  
that one of the reasons I visit israel at this time of year is to get  
away from all that! besides asking if they knew how many Jews had been  
killed throughout history in the name of that persons birthday whose  
birthday we were invited to celebrate!
So far haven't even had an acknowledgement.
I am beginning to understand the "chareidim" in israel more and more.

Rabbi Meir Wise
on my way to my nephew's wedding in Bethlechem Hagelilit tonight.


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2009 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Minhag Eretz Yisrael - Baruch Hashem Leolam

>>I am not so certain that the Gr"a intended, or would have agreed, to
>> recital of "Baruch Hashem Leolam..." (the "fifth Beracha" of Arvit now
>>almost universally omitted throughout Israel), as his student proceeded
>>to do.

> It has always puzzled me why the so-called Minhag Sefard omits BHL on
> Motzaei Shabbos yet says it on other days of the week. This is pure
> conjecture on my part, but the tefillah is preceded (in "sefard"
> siddurim) by the letters: bes ches, vov, lamed which, of course can mean bechol,
> i.e. on weekdays. Or is it perhaps possible that some printer, somewhere along
> the line, missed out the " between the vov and the lamed, and rather than
> meaning that it is said on weekdays, it should really mean "bechutz
> la'aretz", as it is commonly omitted in Israel.

In case this wasn't responded to yet,
if `Baruch Hashem Leolam` was put in in order that the late comers from
the fields would be able to say the Amidah with the minyan, then it would
not be needed on Motzei Shabos/YomTov when no workers would be in the


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2009 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Palliative Sedation

I found this in the NYTimes, Dec. 28, would this Rabbinically authorized
or not?
"Mr. Oltzik's life would end not with a bang, but with the drip, drip,
drip of an IV drug that put him into a slumber from which he would never
awaken. That drug, lorazepam, is a strong sedative
pics/sedatives/index.html?inline=nyt-classifier> . Mr. Oltzik was also
receiving morphine, to kill pain. This combination can slow breathing
and heart rate
=nyt-classifier> , and may make it impossible for the patient to eat or
drink. In so doing, it can hasten death.   Mr. Oltzik received what some
doctors call palliative sedation and others less euphemistically call
terminal sedation. While the national health coverage debate has been
roiled by questions of whether the government should be paying for
end-of-life counseling, physicians like Dr. Halbridge, in consultations
with patients or their families, are routinely making tough decisions
about the best way to die."
Yisrael Medad


From: Frank Smiles <fsmiles@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Rav Soloveitick Notes on Gemora Berochos from Moriah

A student of Rav Yosef Soloveitick zl is looking for anyone who attended
the Rav's class on Gemora Berachos at the Shul Moriah.
He is willing to trade notes or pay money for these notes.
thank you
email: <ravnotes@...> 
if you have information or know someone who
went the shiur about 40 or 30 years ago.
be blessed


From: Jeanette Friedman <friedmanj@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 25,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Solution to agunah problem

Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...> writes:
> My solution would be as follows.
> We all agree that  the husband is obligation to keep his wife all the  
> time that they  are still married. This clearly stated in every ketuba  
> I have ever  seen. This includes housing, food, clothes etc etc.
> As long as he has not  given a get he is married and has these marital  
> obligations.
> The  pre-nup should set the support at a high level in the case of   
> abandonment say 1,000 a week. This would concentrate the minds of   
> most recalcitrant husbands. It could be enforced by the secular  courts  
> and would not create a forced get as the secular court is  only  
> enforcing the ketuba NOT forcing the husband to give a  get.

The RCA does exactly what you propose--a court enforceable pre-nup that  
would cost 76K a year, at least, plus fines, where needed.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 26,2009 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Solution to agunah problem

On Fri, Dec 25,2009, Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...> wrote:
> We cannot act on Maimonides ruling that we flog him until he says I
> want to give a get! The explanation being that every poor Jewish man
> really deep down inside wants to do the right thing. It's just that we
> (oops Freudian slip I should have said they) are weak and the yetzer
> hara gets in the way!

I thought that Maimonides ruled that we flog him 'ad sheteitsei nafsho -
until he dies'. In the vast majority of cases, the husband would probably
agree to give a get before expiring but, either way, that would certainly
solve the wife's problem. Perhaps those of us living outside Israel are
prevented by the local criminal law from following this ruling but, if
Israel is a Jewish state and even the non-religious really care for the
plight of agunot, then it should allow its implementation.

> But a modern form of public beating is most acceptable and has worked
> in London.

How was it implemented?

Martin Stern


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 29,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Spousal (divorce) abuse

Meir Shinnar:

MS> that essentially allow blackmailing of the woman for a get

Here you have put your finger on the reason why there is an aguna
problem where there wasn't in previous generations.

This blackmailing is 100% against Halacha.  You cannot extort money


MS>  even when she is entitled to one

When you have something where it is not supposed to be a matter of discretion.

Now, while not that many people would do this blackmailing on their
own, now they are advised by lawyers to give a get only for money.

All such transactions should be ruled null and void and reversible. It
is possible that there are people who do not want to render such
transactions null and void because they *want* to be able to buy a get
(because some people - in the past especially - would not give a get
on principle for anti-religious reasons.)

The best way to handle this would be to allow someone to recover the
money - and if it wasn't returned soon, have the state pay the money
back, and then collect it from the party who got the money using the
tax system.

If someone still wants to permit selling a get let them set a small
maximum price, which is probably all that is needed to encourage the
granting of a get.

Now, my understanding is, in addition to their advice to men never to
give a get for nothing extra, lawyers in Israel have also found a way
for women to manipulate the system.

This is because whatever property the wife might be entitled to - so
long as the marriage exists, if she creates a dispute with the
husband, he can be ordered out of the house, and she gets to keep the
house and whatever else she might be in possession of. In other words,
she gets more than she would under a divorce settlement so long but
only so long as she doesn't accept the get.

So that's why some women will not accept a get.

From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 26,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Spousal Abuse

I am truly shocked and upset beyond words to read Jeanette Friedman's  

I have mercifully only been closely involved with two cases of aguna,  
one of which concluded successfully after a  strong campaign backed  
by many rabbis in London. The other, not so, but the lady was left  
very comfortably off and at least had children already.

Two of the  three cases of female spousal abuse ended in tragedy.
One young man whose older, larger wife regularly attacked him with a  
carving knife slashing his arms was such a sweet soul taught by his  
parents and teachers never to lay a hand on a woman now lies  
peacefully in the cemetary aged 25.

Another, a close friend of mine's larger dominant wife pushed him so  
hard that she broke his back. He was a gentleman from the old school.  
His own mother-in-law used to ask him if he was still with the  

He wouldn't divorce her until the children were married. He was a  
successful business man but is now a broken poor man who looks for  
somewhere to stay on shabbes.

The third also was skinny and married a larger lady (maybe there's a  
lesson there somewhere) and things that his wife did to him are so  
disgusting that unlike Ms Friedman, I hesitate to mention them here.  
Suffice it to say that Zeresh mistook Haman for Mordechai according to  
the midrash!

I'm surprised that Ms Friedman's posting got through. Mine often don't.
But one last time - let's stop trading horror stories (I've been a  
rabbi 34 years tomorrow!) and try to take an even handed approach,  
stop adding fuel to the fire, nitpicking about the facts of well known  
cases and attempt to find solutions.

When one of my teachers Chief Rabbi Lord Jakobovits zatzal retired, he  
said that of all his achievements, he wanted to be remembered for  
setting up the Jewish Marriage Council in London.

Lets go for more pre marriage counseling and a halachikly acceptable   

Shavua tov and a meaningful fast

Rabbi Wise
On the border of Ramat Gan and Bnai Brak

PS if I read the term chareidi Jews one more time.....
One Torah. One people. One Land.
(My Yemenite wife told me to tell you that she agrees and I always do  
what she says!)


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 27,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Vigilante Judaism (was Chareidi Internet)

> From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
> For that matter, and apropos of the holiday we've just finished celebrating,
> consider Matisyahu's killing of the Jew who was about to bring an idolatrous
> sacrifice. Were that to happen nowadays, no doubt the headlines would all be
> screaming about the fanatic, murderous Taliban-like Jew, and many solemn
> editorials would be written about the importance of religious tolerance! And no
> doubt quite a few Jews would also be uncomfortable at being tarred with this
> same brush. Yet Matisyahu's action was fully in keeping with Torah ideals, and
> it sparked the Chanukah revolt and saved Judaism for all time; so we recall his
> action gratefully, just as we do with Pinchas' killing of Zimri and other
> "vigilante" Jews.

Matisyahu "saved" Judaism for the relatively brief reign of the
Hashmonaim--Rabbinic Judaism saved Judaism for the long term. Pinchas' act was
never enshrined in halacha, wherein the Rabbis created and promoted a strict
legal system of due process.  Alex's reference to the Taliban is instructive:
they, like the Ayatollahs of Iran, feel that they are fully justified in
jailing, maiming, and killing those who don't accept their view of their
"torah", all without any true legal process. The Jews gave the idea of due
process to the world as enshrined in the Talmud--why would we yearn to emulate
the Taliban and the Ayatollahs?

Bernie R.


End of Volume 57 Issue 67