Volume 58 Number 16 
      Produced: Sat, 22 May 2010 22:10:10 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

are the burkas on back order? 
    [Yisrael Medad]
electronic stuff, etc. 
    [Sam Gamoran]
are the burkas on back order? (4)
    [Shoshana L. Boublil  Russell J Hendel  Russell J Hendel  Freda B Birnbaum]
cohabition outside of marriage (6)
    [Ephraim Tabory  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Arie Weiss  Avraham Walfish  David Tzohar  Alex Heppenheimer]
electronic stuff etc 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
electronic stuff, etc. (3)
    [Carl Singer  Stuart Cohnen  Michael Mirsky]
solar heating 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject:  are the burkas on back order?

In our shul, there's a "women's table" (or tables) at the kiddushim, not
for any faux chareidi reasons.  There's no mechitza, barrier or
whatever.  It's simply to make sure the men don't hog all the food.

One shouldn't read all sorts of nasty things into the idea of a "women's
table."  And don't worry, nobody gets arrested or put in cherum if they
take from the "wrong" table.



From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject:  electronic stuff, etc.

Bernard Raab wrote: 
> ... I for one would be loathe to open the floodgates to unrestricted telephone
> or Internet usage on Shabbat, which is why I suggested that such
> microelectronic usage be restricted to local communications only; i.e., those
> applications which transfer information only within a local network. This
> would permit the use of keycards or ebooks, forexample, provided the book has
> been downloaded before Shabbat, of course, but would restrict any use of
> communications to the world at large.

I wonder if this would be a place for a novel application of an electronic
analogue to the concept of Techum Shabbat (the distance from one's location at
the start of Shabbat that one is permitted to travel [walk] throughout the 

E.g. if the data source is within 2,000 amot [cubits] - of the order of a
kilometer - then it may be accessed, otherwise not.  This would expand the
existing rubric to the use of microelectronics on Shabbat while still imposing
the sociological locality that is very much a characteristic of a traditional

You could also have a concept of a reshut harabim (public domain) e.g. the
internet vs. reshut hayachid (private domain) e.g. a local area network (LAN)
and only the latter maybe used to "carry" information for use on Shabbat.

Perhaps if more than 600,000 bits cross a wire during a single day then it
becomes reshut harabim d'Oraita (a public domain of Torah rather than Rabbinic
ordination)? :-)

[This last comment, intended to be more facetious rather than factual, refers to
the rule that a place traversed by more than 600,000 people in a single day is
deemed a Torah-ordained public domain that cannot be "converted" into a private
domain for the purposes of carrying on Shabbat by means of an eruv (halachic
symbolic enclosure).  The Rabbis extended the rules forbidding carrying on
Shabbat to public domains that are less-frequented and these are subject to
modification through the use of an eruv.]

Sam Gamoran

From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

Frank Silbermann wrote:
> Martin Stern Vol.58 #12:
>> Unfortunately, this sort of Victorian prudery has been spreading in
>> certain chareidi circles but has nothing to do with Torah values. The
>> Torah and Chazal [the sages --MOD] are quite open on such matters, where
>> they are relevant, even if they sometimes use circumlocutions to avoid being 
>> too explicit.

> People in those circles might claim that in the days when the Torah and
> Chazal were quite open on such matters, women were not permitted to study Torah.

People didn't need Torah to learn those topics in "those" days.

They raised chickens, and geese, and sheep etc......

When talking about the 'birds and the bees" it wasn't the euphemism it is

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

In v58n14 Janice and Mordechai decry the distrubing trend to engage in "separate
seating" at all Jewish affairs. I concur. They see this as an example of
right-wing extremism which is getting out of hand. I concur again.

I might add that besides emphasizing the "extremism" we should emphasize the
positive values that are being lost. For example, mixed seating (at Briths)
allows free mingling of singles encouraging a Jewish atmosphere where people can
meet without being ordered to marry someone that others select (Shidduch system).

I might also add that there seem to be other "wierd" practices arising. Someone
mentioned to me that in some circles young couples are prohibited from
socializing with one another (eating over at each other's houses) during their
first year of marriage (Allegedly to help curtail the large divorce rate) I
heard that this is particularly hard on couples in rural areas. I think this
unnatural and contrary to the Jewish standards of Chesed (kindness) which
encourage people eating over.

I would like to see this thread more fully developed.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.rashiyomi.com/

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

Frank, responding to the "openness" in Talmudic times, an openness that is
contradicted by the current case cited of an adult woman about to be married who
was ignorant of human physiology, states that
> People in those circles might claim that in the days when the Torah and
> Chazal were quite open on such matters, women were not permitted to study
> Torah.

Just to set the record straight. Women ALWAYS learned Torah. What the Talmud
"frowned upon" were females being responsible for the organized memorization of
codes of Jewish law (such as the mishnah). This was frowned upon because
**sustaining** the memorization required continual review and continual review
was not always possible when women raised children. There was also frowning on
serious research, again because of the large time required to organize a
research study.

The Talmud is filled with women "answering learned Rabbis back" and showing off
their knowledge. There NEVER was a prohibition or frowning on women learning IN
GENERAL except in those two areas (and of course it was never prohibited just
discouraged/ frowned)

The most famous woman answering Rabbinic men back in modern times is of course
Sarah Schenirer who single handedly forced men to acquiesce to her demands for
female schools. When she was told "No" she answered them back: "But you men
study written texts of Jewish law even though originally it was prohibited to
write them down. The reason they were allowed to write them down is because of
the verse 'It is a time to do for God? They have changed your Torah.' This verse
applies to setting up female schools." And of course she prevailed.

We have to be careful against making cliches.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.rashiyomi.com/

From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Tue, May 18,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

Janice Gelb writes:
> I first ran across this a couple of months ago at the bris of a friend 
> of mine's son. I was never able to congratulate my friend, only his 
> wife, because the bris took place in shul with a mechitzah and there was 
> a mechitzah at the celebratory kiddush afterward.

In those circles, people are probably raising eyebrows at the idea that
you even HAVE such a friend, a MOTOS (Member Of The Opposite Sex).


From: Ephraim Tabory <tabore@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

re: "One doesn't need a hall, a caterer and a band to be married."

Right on! That's exactly what I told each of my 16 children.
Run away and elope! Live in a tent forever.
But no, they had to have a reception, and a dinner, and invitations that
weigh at least a Chazon Ish kezayit and take at least 18 minutes to open,
and to top it all, they want a regular roof over their heads.

The only consolation, as I sit in the pauper's house, is to know that they
relate to me like the Almighty himself.
"How will you manage?"
"G-d will help," they reply.

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> wrote:
>> 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)?*
> I'm a bit confused -- not an unusual state for me -- since one of the forms
> of marriage is "be-ah" [sexual relations] how do this young single man and
> his single female paramour remain unmarried if they are, indeed, having
> relations.
> One doesn't need a hall, a caterer and a band to be married.

It depends what they have in mind in before hand. If they have in mind
NOT to be "married" when having relations, then they are not married.
There are also cases in which people have married according to halacha
but were careful not to get "married" according to secular law (such
as getting a nonJewish wedding license). One of the reasons would be
someone who have given a get but has not yet finalized the secular
divorce. In some states, the divorce decree does not become final
until a certain amount of time has passed, but the couple being
married do not wish to wait.

   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: Arie Weiss <aliw@...>
Date: Sun, May 16,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

Carl wrote:
> ... since one of the forms of marriage is "be-ah" [sexual relations]  how do
> this young  single man and his single female paramour remain unmarried if they
> are, indeed, having relations.
> One doesn't need a hall, a caterer and a band to be married.

True, but you do need two witnesses to the biah.

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

Carl wondered how a man and a single woman can have sexual relations with
one another, without the relations resulting in a halakhic betrothal
(kiddushin), which renders them married. The simplest answer is given by the
Tosefta Kiddushin 1:3 (also cited in the gemara), which explains that
sexual relations produce kiddushin only when the man and the woman intend
the relations to create a marital relationship. If they have relations
absent intent for these relations to produce a marriage, then there is no
marriage. Additionally there is a question of testimony - an act of
kiddushin is effective halakhically only when witnessed by two valid
witnesses (in the case of *kiddushei bi'ah*, they stand outside the room and
witness the man and woman entering the room after the man declares his
intent to perform the marital act).

However, the mishnah towards the end of Gittin raises questions regarding
both of these premises, stating that when a divorced couple sleep together
in the same hotel room, they are presumed (according to Beit Hillel) to have
renewed their marriage, based - according to the gemara - on two premises:
(a) there were people who witnessed their entry into the room, and they are
considered to be witnesses to the presumed act of marital relations; (b) a
person who has relations with a woman is presumed to have intention for
legitimate marital relations and not for *zenut*. Based on this mishnah, it
is arguable that any man and woman who are known publicly to be living
together would be considered as married. This question is disputed by
rishonim and aharonim. Some argue that, indeed, based on this mishnah, any
couple known to be living together are considered as married and may not
separate without a proper divorce. Others argue that this mishnah is limited
to a previously married couple, but for a couple that has never been
married, one or the other of the presuppositions of Beit Hillel would not be
applicable. Regarding this hotly-debated issue, which has spawned an
enormous body of responsa, authorities have debated several issues,
including the nature of halakhic marriage and its relationship with social
legitimacy, as well as the correct way to interpret the behavior of couples
who have bent the halakhic rules in this way.

It should be noted that even those authorities who regard the couple as
married do so only regarding the need for a *get* if they should decide to
separate. All authorities would agree that they may not continue to live
together without celebrating a proper *huppah* (and of course, in light of
the dispute, an act of kiddushin would also be required) and writing a *

Avie Walfish

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

Carl wrote "One doesn't need a hall a caterer and a band to be married."

That is correct. But one does need chupah v'kiddushin. According to the
Gemara there were originally three ways of kinyan kiddushin(aquiring a wife
in marriage) :

1-Giving the woman the monetary equivalent of a prutah (today a ring)
2-Giving the woman a shtar(promissory note)
3-Sexual intercourse with the inention of forming a permanent relationship.

In practice today the halacha only accepts giving a ring under the chuppa
(marriage canopy) along with giving a ketuba (marriage contract) and
according to the Ashkenazim also secluding the couple in a closed room to
symbolize consummation of the marriage.
Marriage by intercourse is considered znut (an act of promiscuity)

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: cohabition outside of marriage

In MJ 58:14, Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> asked:
>I'm a bit confused -- not an unusual state for me -- since one of the forms
>of marriage is "be-ah" [sexual relations] how do this young single man and
>his single female paramour remain unmarried if they are, indeed, having

>One doesn't need a hall, a caterer and a band to be married.

No, but you do need a declaration of intent, and witnesses. See Shulchan Aruch,
Even Ha'ezer 33:1: "With intercourse, how [is kiddushin, the first stage of
marriage,accomplished]? If he says to her in the presence of two witnesses, 'You
are hereby mekudash (betrothed) to me with this intercourse,' and then secludes
himself (yichud) with her in their presence, then she is betrothed, even though
it is insolent behavior to do so" (and, as noted ibid. 26:4, he is penalized
with lashes for this act).

Also, ibid. 26:1: "If he had relations with her outside of marriage (derech
znus), not with kiddushin in mind, then it is of no halachic consequence [i.e.,
kiddushin is not thereby accomplished]. Even if they had relations with marriage
in mind (lesheim ishus) in private, she is not considered his wife, even if he
made her exclusive to him [i.e., they are not promiscuous with others]; on the
contrary, we force him to send her away from his house." [Rema there goes on to
discuss whether this last clauseis due to the presumption of her not having
immersed in the mikveh and therefore remaining a niddah, or whether it is in
deference to the opinion of Rambam et al, that all extramarital intercourse is
prohibited by Deut. 23:18, "there shall not be any kedeishah (harlot) among the
Children of Israel."]

Kol tuv,

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, May 14,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff etc

Batya Medad wrote in Mail-Jewish Vol.58 #13 Digest:
>Carl, there are no batteries, electricity etc in the Israeli solar 
>water heaters.  The water isn't for cooking either.  I hope that 
>clarifies things for you.  It's like using the sun to heat your home 
>by well-placed windows building with material which stores heat naturally.

There are posqim who permit the use of solar-heated water on Shabbat 
and those who prohibit.

Some considerations are heating the water already in the dood ur [hot water
tank] vs. toledot ur [indirectly heated water], and whether the water drawn from
the tap has passed through the solar panels or has been warmed by heat transfer
from the water that has passed through the solar panels.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

With deference to the Raabs -- after taking quantum mechanics and
relativistic physics I felt that physics was becoming a new name for applied
mathematics so I stopped pursuing it.

I think we should consider an orthogonal approach -- not what is the
"physics" of the situation, be it magnetic card key, room thermostat or
electronic book -- but what is the impact on the "necessities" of life --
clearly I have omitted defining "necessity."

Consider specifics:

1 - It is necessary to walk to shul on Shabbos --  in many neighborhoods
doing so involves walking past security cameras (perhaps unknown to the
pedestrian) and more overtly past electronically controlled lighting.
Given this necessity, will a posek, a gadol haDor, find an halachic way to
accommodate walking to shul.

2 - Many modern appliances are controlled by microcomputers (not
computers in the sense of the PC), whereas the refrigerator of old had
issues related to a light turning on when the door opened, or a
compressor's turning on being hastened by the door opening -- today removing
the light bulb is insufficient.  Every time the door of the new modern
refrigerator is opened sensors recognize this event and the microcomputer
digests this data, makes algorithmic decisions and causes things to happen
(say, the compressor to start).  There are "Shabbos refrigerators" being
marketed -- but is there an halachic response.  Similarly, stoves that turn
themselves off after 24 hours (a safety measure).

3 - The magnetic hotel card key --  by now old news....

4 - Temperature controls in rooms / homes are now quite sensitive --
entering or leaving a room or home is, again, "sensed" and responded to by
the microcomputer that manages the heating and air conditioning.

...and where do we draw the line -- the fellow who wants to put a timer on
his TV so he can watch baseball on Shabbos afternoon -- or who leaves a TV
going in the guest room.


From: Stuart Cohnen <cohnen@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

I wish to commend Bernard Raab for a most interesting and thought provoking
posting in V58#12. It is my humble opinion that LED lights are going to be a "game
changer".  Incandescent bulbs present problems on shabbos that LEDs simply do
not (aish [(creating) fire --Mod.], for one). However, the opinion of the Chazon 
Ish that opening and closing a switch is the melocha of bonei (building) still 
stands. Whether it applies to a electronic switch such as is found in most modern 
electronic equipment, as opposed to the light switch that the Chazon Ish saw, is 
best left to the gedolei hador [leading Halachic decisors --Mod.] to pasken
[issue a decision regarding --Mod.]. 

Chag Somayach,
Stuart Cohnen

From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

Bernie Raab has done a great job in his V58#12 post of summarizing many of the 
various halachic positions.  In particular, Ben Katz's statement that "Had 
the incandescent light bulb not been essentially the first electrical 
device invented, electricity may not have been seen as fire and hence 
prohibited on Shabbat" rings particularly true to me.

I am an electrical engineer specializing in power engineering (the 
electric power system - I work at an electrical utility).  From the 
various shiurim [Jewish-learning lectures --Mod.] I've attended, it seems that 
the only area where there is a universal acknowledgment that turning on 
electricity is halachically forbidden is switching on an incandescent light.  
Other than that, there seem to be refutations to each halachic objection.

The relevant melachot [Halachic categories of "work" --Mod.] I'm aware of are: 
boer (burning), molid (creating something new), boneh (building), and mak'e 
b'patish (putting the final finishing touch on a vessel to make it usable).

Based on my knowledge of the power system, I was sure that "boer" was 
the trump card.  The power system is in a constant delicate balance 
at every moment between generation and demand.  When you turn on an 
appliance, a generator somewhere in the system has to immediately 
increase its output or the frequency of the system (60 Hz) will drop. 
For most systems, fuel is burned for electric generation. So I 
thought it's a "psik raisha" (inevitable consequence) that when you 
switch on a device, you cause more fuel to burned - hence forbidden 
on Shabbat - even for an LED device!  (Maybe not a problem for systems 
that use hydroelectric power generators?)  But it was pointed out to 
me that it's NOT a psik raisha.  In a large power system, devices 
everywhere are constantly turning on and off. At the moment when you 
turn your device on at home, someone else could be simultaneously be 
turning their device of equal wattage off, leaving no net effect on 
electric demand, so no change in fuel consumption. At worst, it could 
be a "gramma" - indirect causation of increased burning of fuel.

I think in the end the reason for the "minhag haolam" [universal practice --
Mod.] to forbid most uses of electricity is in many cases less technical halacha
than just the issue of not wanting to turn Shabbat into Chol [see Intro., #3d at
WWWpage http://www.lookstein.org/integration/curriculum_shabbatelectric.htm --
Mod.]. Technically, you could leave a TV running (with sound off - noise would
be a halachic issue) and watch a show with closed captioning on Shabbat.  But is
it "Shabbosdik" [an appropriate Shabbos activity --Mod.] to do so?  But in
Bernie's case of an eReader, people already read books on Shabbat. The activity
would seem to still be in line with a Shabbat activity. You could even make it
turn itself on with a timer preset before if you're concerned about "boneh".

Also, the reason for forbidding switching on electricity for any 
purpose is the very real concern that people would not be 
sophisticated enough to differentiate between permissible uses and 
forbidden uses and come to turn on an incandescent light which is a 
clear "deoraita" (from the Torah) violation of Shabbat.

So in the end, I believe that there will be a gradual shift towards 
permitting uses which do not violate any technical halachot (eReader 
on batteries? hotel key cards?), which are consistent with being 
"Shabbosdik" and don't pose the risk of turning on an incandescent bulb.

Michael Mirsky


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, May 14,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: solar heating

> Batya wrote
> Carl, there are no batteries, electricity etc in the Israeli solar water
> heaters.  The water isn't for cooking either.  I hope that clarifies
> things for you.  It's like using the sun to heat your home by
> well-placed windows building with material which stores heat naturally.

This is true for the old type of solar water heaters. However, the new 
ones like we have on our building - are a Shabbat problem. It works like 
this - the sun heats the pipes, the water is heated from the metal. This 
is toladat hahama (indirect solar heat), which is Rabbincal not permitted. 
In large buildings, the system is not private, it belongs to all the 
apartments. Therefore, an electric pump is used for water flow. I asked 
lenient Rabbis - and they prohibited use on Shabbat & Yom Tov.


End of Volume 58 Issue 16