Volume 58 Number 09 
      Produced: Thu, 06 May 2010 12:51:19 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Ari Trachtenberg]
are the burkas on back order? 
    [Carl Singer]
candle lighting time 
    [David Ziants]
canola (2)
    [Martin Stern  Robert Israel]
cohabition ourside of marriage (was marriage and separation) 
    [Avraham Etzion]
follow-up on "kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?" 
    [Gershon Dubin]
Israel independence day 
    [Yisrael Medad]
marriage and separation 
    [Elazar M. Teitz]
mikveh (was marriage and separation) 
mikveh for unmarried women 
    [David Tzohar]
spelling and grammar 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 29,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject:  Administravia

Just a short note that I have set up a "Reader contributions" section
on the new mail-jewish web site:
paralleling the old web site.  It contains documents supporting 
mail-jewish discussions.  We will accept a limited number of relevant 
documents, per reader, subject to explicit permission from the author(s) 
of permission to publish.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, May 3,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

I'm seeing a disturbing trend -- and don't know that is furthers halachic
observance or is heading us toward burkas ...

I was helping one of my sons set up kiddish at shul when in walks a young
man (mid-20's) and states -- "Will you set up a separate table for the
women, many won't be comfortable ...."

Since (here) kiddish isn't by any stretch of the imagination a crowded
subway car or a feeding frenzy -- I was wondering if there is an halachic
basis for such a mandate?

Another congregation in town has a mehitzah in the social (kiddish) hall --
men on one side, and women on the other -- children tending to the woman's
side.  I see the point -- keep the women on one side so they can tend to the
children and babies, thus freeing their husbands of any parental
responsibilities and allowing them to eat and drink undisturbed.  (Some of
the men to venture near the mehitzah to make kiddish for their families --
how kind.)

Whereas in the last few generations women have been afforded and thrived on
both secular and religious educational opportunities -- it seems that in
some quarters social practice allegedly based on halacha is fighting a
resistance movement.  We read of the young married man who wouldn't take out
the garbage because he was "learning" and other examples of a retrogression
of roles.

Going from the specific (women's roles) to the general:

To me the tendency towards  restrictive -- at least in some halachic
"categories" bayn Adam L'Makom [mitzvot between man and G-d --MOD] is obvious
over the past decades.

I almost wrote "machmir" in lieu of "restrictive" in the above sentence --
is the problem that there are those who feel the two terms are synonymous?
Is more restrictive necessarily more (properly) observant?



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Apr 21,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: candle lighting time

Menashe Elyashiv wrote: 
> > One has to light before sunset   However, if one brings in Shabbat at Plag
> > before time  The question is how much time before sunset is needed?
> > Lighting too early can have a situation that the candles are lit but work in
> > the house continues by everybody except the mother.

Martin Stern wrote:
> I know this is an old thread but I saw the summary of the dinim [laws --MOD]
> below in the issue of Daily Halacha on Friday 16 April:
> When making an early Shabbos one should remember the following;
.... Snipped ...

> 5. Members of a household are independent of each other. Therefore if the
> husband accepted Shabbos early for convenience sake (and not for the Mitzva
> of Tosafos Shabbos [adding to the Sabbath --MOD] ) the wife may light candles
> until Shkiah [sunset --MOD]. Likewise, when the wife lights candles early this
> does not require her husband, sons, or even daughters to accept Shabbos early. (5)

> (5) Igros Moshe 3:38, SA 263:10
> See also Sefer 39 Melochos

Here is a case where we, as a family, have changed our practice after 
moving neighbourhoods and communities. In both places we are talking 
about a number of shuls that some of which have during the summer months 
- in addition to a normal time kabbalat shabbat at sunset with arvit 
when fully dark - an early minyan with kabbalat shabbat and arvit just 
after p'lag mincha [= a halachic time which in our locale is approx 90 
mins before sunset].

Up till approx. three years ago we lived in the upper (main) part of 
Ma'aleh Adumim and our Ashkenazi shul there, follows the ruling of the 
city Rav who sees the above ruling from Rav Feinstein very questionable 
("nidchak" is the word he uses I think on the city guide lines), says 
the household unit cannot be independent and the whole family has to 
follow the husband and the wife has to light the candles before  the 
husband receives Shabbat in shul (but of course after p'lag). Thus the 
shul would announce not just the time of p'lag, but also the upper limit 
time to give a 15 min (or maybe 20 min - cannot remember now) gap for 
the ladies to light candles.

After moving to Mitzpeh Nevo neighbourhood (this religious neighbourhood 
is still formally under the auspices of the city Rav but in practice 
there are other Rabbanim of high enough stature that they can rule 
independently), I tried to continue follow the above as this makes 
sense, but this year, having already read the guidelines put out by one 
of the neighbourhood Rabbanim which supports the position of Rav 
Feinstein and consulting with one of the other Rabbanim (who is 
receiving this posting as a "bcc") , we have started following the more 
lenient position , and that my wife can light candles any time before it 
is sunset (or approaching sunset as there is another separate issue 
concerning the skyline of Ma'aleh Adumim) and before we make Friday 
night kiddush. I found the need to be lenient as the shuls here do not 
formalise the time the minyan will reach the end of "l'cha dodi". This 
also becomes easier on  my wife, and as I am just now studying the 
situations as are discussed in Sh'mirat Shabbat K'Hilchato by Rav 
Neuwerrt 46:7 see footnote 42, I am realising that perhaps this is the 
more normative position but the city Rav, because of his halachic 
perspective and possible preference for the poskim [= Rabbis that rule 
on Jewish law] of the Land of Israel, needed to rule differently.

So how is the line drawn between "convenience sake" and "tosephet 
shabbat" [= adding more to shabbat to enhance shabbat]?
Surely, even if it is more convenient for me to bring in shabbat early 
because of the children, I also benefit from tosephet shabbat? In view 
of now following the more lenient position, must I now have in mind:- 
"don't want spiritual benefit of tosephet shabbat"?

Although, often my wife manages to light candles before I return from 
shul, this is not always the case. I find it strange to come back from 
shul and it is not yet shabbat in the house. This seems to be even more 
"awkward" than the scenario of Menashe Eliyashiv above.

Am interested to hear how others feel about this situation.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 30,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: canola

Rose Landowne wrote:
> Canola is not a crop.  It is an acronym that stands for CANadian Oil Low Acid.
> The canola oil comes from rapeseed.

Perhaps we are a little uncomfortable with calling the plant by its correct
name 'rape'!

Martin Stern

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 30,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: canola

Rose Landowne  wrote on Apr 28:

>> when canola oil is prepared, they
>> collect with the canola, cuttings of sheaves other grains ...
> Canola is not a crop.  It is an acronym that stands for CANadian Oil Low Acid.
> The canola oil comes from rapeseed.

Not quite.  It is true that this acronym was the origin of the name 
"canola", but the name is used for the particular varieties of the 
plants Brassica rapa, Brassica napus and Brassica juncea that are 
cultivated for the oil, as well as the oil itself.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Avraham Etzion <atzion@...>
Date: Tue, May 4,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: cohabition ourside of marriage (was marriage and separation)

The learned discussion of Medieval texts on the alleged permission of 
major Jewish legal authorities on intercourse with a concubine fail to 
mention one important fact.  According to everyone it is a Biblical 
prohibition to have intercourse with a Nida [menstruating woman --MOD].
Consequently the whole discussion in the last weeks is purely academic as
it is hard to imagine that in [the] case mentioned this would be observed.

Avrahan Etzion


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, May 4,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: follow-up on "kid inadvertently treifs grape juice?"

Anonymous wrote (Volume 58 Number 08):
> First, my shul rabbi, whom I consulted, said to throw out the juice
> (already done), and that the cup did not need kashering.  I don't fully 
> understand why it didn't need kashering.>>

The taste of a "treif" substance does not transfer into a cup or other
vessel unless it's at the heat of a keli rishon (vessel that is or was on the
fire) or of particularly sharp taste, or soaking in the substance for 24 hours.
 Given that we're talking grape juice in a drinking cup for a few minutes at
room temperature, kashering is not required.



From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Apr 20,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Israel independence day

> Why is Israel Independence day pushed off when Israel's day of 
> remembrance falls on Sunday?  I understand why you would move the day 
> when there is a conflict with Shabbat but when it falls on Motzei 
> Shabbat it doesn't make sense?
Preparation is the reason. When there's a Saturday night ceremony of
the importance and complications of a Yom Zikaron Memorial Day, the
entire day before leading up to it is spent preparing. That means
Shabbat, so to honor Shabbat, which is on a higher level than Yom
Haatzmaut; the holiday is put off a day. That's why it was celebrated
on Tuesday.
Batya Medad


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, May 5,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

In response to my mention of a prohibition of cohabiting outside of marriage,
Yaakov Schachter wrote:
> This does not conform to the majority opinion of medieval authorities
> in Jewish law.  The consensus of most medieval authorities in Jewish
> law is that a Jewish man is permitted to have sexual relations with a
> Jewish concubine (in Modern English a concubine is usually called a
> "girlfriend", but, although every concubine is called a girlfriend,
> not every girlfriend is a concubine, therefore the more precise term
> "concubine" should be used in situations where precision is desired).

     The term "pilegesh," which is translated as "concubine" and is what the
Rishonim (medieval authorities, to use his term) refer to, has no connection
whatever with "girlfriend" as that term is currently used.  A more accurate term
would be "mistress."  It refers to a woman who is in a relationship exclusively
with one man, and who is his wife in all but kiddushin (the halachic formalizing
of the marriage).  Indeed, probably the best translation of the term would be
"common-law wife."  In Tanach (the Bible), we find the pilegesh's father
referred to as the man's father-in-law.  The outside-of-marriage cohabitation of
the type inquired about is prohibited by virtually all decisors of halacha in
all generations.  In fact, the prohibition goes beyond cohabitation: there is a
rabbinical prohibition for a male and an unmarried female even to be secluded
with one another, let alone to cohabit.


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, Apr 30,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: mikveh (was marriage and separation)

> The comparison is hardly fair. A man (and ideally a woman according
> to many opinions) is obliged to daven [pray --MOD] minchah every day,
> a woman (and then only if married and not pregnant (usually) or
> post-menopausal) goes to the mikveh at most once a month; a factor of
> at least 30 to 1. But the answer may be that a mikveh is fixed and the
> woman goes to it whereas minchah occurs at an 'inconvenient' time of
> day so men do have to make minyanim on an ad hoc basis, which is much
> more noticeable.

Mr. (or Rabbi?) Stern, I say it with a friendly (and rueful) smile,
not, heaven forbid, with scorn: if you had been to as many women's
mikvaot as I have, as many times as I have, for as many years, you,
too, might well say "goodness--the numbers just don't add up." I do
not say this to disparage my brothers and sisters. Each person (or, in
this case, each couple) does the best they can in their avodas Hashem [worship
of G-d].  I am not perfect in any way.

But I am tired, sick and tired--and my ire, and this reply, is not
directed at Mr. Stern--at "outsiders" getting lambasted, loudly or
quietly, lovingly or abusively, for their shortcomings in intimate
matters, while married people who dress frum [observatly --MOD] are all but
guaranteed the khaf zechus [benefit of the doubt --MOD]. By outsiders I mean all
the usual suspects:  heterosexual singles, gay men, lesbians, intermarried
people, divorces and divorcees, halachic Jews married without an Orthodox
mesader kiddushin [betrothal arrange, normally the rabbi --MOD] --you know, all
those folks.

It is a pity and a shame (and a chillul hashem [descration of G-d's name --MOD])
for a Jewish man who knows halacha to sleep with a married non-Jewish woman. But
how often will he stumble? A dozen times? Fifty at most? But his sympathetic
neighbors, the ones who keep trying to set him up, decent people, no
worse than him, no worse than any of us, with a tichel [headscarf --MOD] down to
the eyebrows and tzitzis down to heaven knows where--this couple can
commit issurei kares [prohibition deserving excommunication --MOD], chometz on
Pesach, for every night of a sixty-year marriage (or, let's be reasonable, 3 or
4 nights a week) and no one will ever stand up on mail-Jewish, on the blogs, or
elsewhere to speak against them. "This is a private matter," people
will say. "These are frum people. Can't we assume she goes to mikveh?"

Does this excuse Anonymous? Of course not. But we all, individually
and collectively, should look to the basics.


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 30,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: mikveh for unmarried women

Martin Stern mentioned a suggestion that unmarried women immerse themselves
in a mikveh so that if they engage in premarital sex, they at least would
not be t'meiot niddah (ritually impure).

Ma'aseh shehaya kach haya (here is a real life story). A totally normative,
religious and observant young man aged 27 asked the Chief Rabbi of one of
Israel's cities the following question: I am in a serious relationship with a
woman but for many reasons we cannot marry at this time. The physical part
of the relationship is getting to the point of no return. Since we are not
willing to terminate the relationship, should she immerse herself in the
mikveh so that we will not transgress boeil niddah (intercourse with a
ritually impure woman)?

The rabbi didn't reveal what he told the young man but in the context of a
discourse in the bet midrash on Even HaEzer, he explained the parameters
within which the question should be discussed. It is clear that the sin of
relations with a niddah, punishable by karet (extirpation of the soul) is
much more serious than the sin of relations with an unmarried woman who is
not nidda. This would be defined znut (promiscuity), punishable by flogging by
a rabbinical court (no rabbinical court today has the authority to enforce

Even if we say that this behavior is naval b'rshut hatorah (disgusting behavior
which is permitted by the letter, not the spirit of the torah) this is a moral
statement that still ignores the fact that one sin is much more serious than the

The Gemara relates a case where someone who was lovesick came to the sages
and said that the doctors told him that if he doesn't have (forbidden)
sexual relations with this woman he will die. The sages said yehareig val
ya'avor (let him die and not transgress). He then asked - "perhaps if I just
touch her?" They said "let him die...", "perhaps if I just speak to her?",  
"let him die...", "If I only gaze at her from afar?" "LET HIM DIE AND NOT

 We see that for the sages, arayot (sexual misconduct) is a slippery
slope. Someone whose muddy face shows that they are already on the slide
should clean up before asking for halachic solutions for their complicated
(im)moral behavior.

David Tzohar


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 9,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: spelling and grammar

Francine Weistrop wrote:
> But I finally found a subject on which I can comment: the spelling
> used by a number of posters, particularly in relation to the use of
> the apostrophe, so I am taking the liberty of making a suggestion as
> to the rules about this.

As a Yekke and a pedant, I must agree with everything Francine wrote.
Unfortunately these lapses are becoming all too common not just on
mail-jewish but everywhere. I think that what we are witnessing is the final
decay of the inflexional system English has inherited from its Anglo-Saxon
antecedents and which now only exists with pronouns. People are forever
writing 'me' for 'I' or 'we' for 'us', and vice versa.  As for 'who' and
'whom', I have even had letters to the press 'corrected' by ignorant
subeditors who do not realise that the relative pronoun should be 'whom'
when it is the object of the verb in the subordinate clause and 'who' when
it is its subject, irrespective of the grammatical status of the person to
whom it refers in the main sentence.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 58 Issue 9