Volume 58 Number 19 
      Produced: Thu, 27 May 2010 20:43:05 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Martin Stern]
burkas etc. (3)
    [Avinoam Bitton  Elazar M. Teitz  David Tzohar]
burkas etc. - The Shiddach Crisis 
    [Carl Singer]
electronic stuff, etc. (4)
    [Martin Stern  Wendy Baker  Ari Trachtenberg  Ira L. Jacobson]
halacha influences 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Hazal & science 
    [Binyamin Lemkin]
mikvah (was "cohabitation outside of marriage" 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
more on adding up the numbers 
    [Tal S. Benschar]
numbers matter (or was that a typo?)  
    [Freda B Birnbaum]
Vashti (2)
    [Martin Stern  Frank Silbermann]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: adultery

On Thu, Apr 29,2010, Stuart Wise wrote:
> A popular Jewish newspaper recently ran a series of columns dealing with a
> married Orthodox man who was cheating on his wife with a married Orthodox
> woman.   The woman acknowledged that if her husband found out, they would be
> forced to divorce. My question is whether that is actually the halachah --
> that if her husband is unaware, or there were no witnesses, that she is not
> considered an adulteress.

There are several points involved in this question.

Firstly there is a general principle ein adam meisim atsmo rasha [a person
is not believed when he says s/he is an evildoer] so she could never have
been sentenced to death on the strength of her admission.

However there is another principle that she has placed on herself a chaticha
de'issura [a bit of a prohibition] so she would be assur leba'al [forbidden
to live with her husband] as if she had made a neder [oath to make him an
object of issur - prohibition] to that effect. She would also have been
assur lebo'el [forbidden to live with the man with whom she claimed to have
consorted] and would not be allowed to marry him subsequent to her divorce.

Whether she is technically an adulteress is not really halachically
significant though it would not be unreasonable for her to be considered as

Martin Stern


From: Avinoam Bitton <kislev@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: burkas etc.

>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 

Unfortunately, this is prevalent among more than a few YU couples.  AFAIK, it is
not limited to the first year of marriage.  Single guests, however, are
permissible invitees.  This leads to the (to me) perplexing situation of
opposite-sex young singles being acceptable, while married couples are not.

I guess I'm missing something.

Avinoam Bitton

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: burkas etc.

The statement was made that: 
> 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.

This is not quite what happened.  When she formulated the idea of formal Torah
schooling for girls, Sarah Schenirer consulted with the Chafetz Chaim, who gave
her his approval and encouragement.  Only then did she proceed with her program.

> We have to be careful against making cliches.

We should also be cautious about rewriting history.

From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, May 25,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: burkas etc.

To compare burkas with a separate table for women, our married women's head
covering, or sleeves down to the elbows is a little over the top. Modesty in
the pursuit of holiness is no vice. Where it gets out of proportion is when
you talk about separate sidewalks for men and women or separate hours at
stores (which exist in Jerusalem and Bet Shemesh.

David Tzohar


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: burkas etc. - The Shiddach Crisis

Dr. Hendel's post mentioned mixed seating.

Without belaboring the term (to me as the norm, it should be "family
seating") -- let me explore a tangent.

As we talk about the "shiddach crisis", etc, -- there are, within many
communities, fewer and fewer - perhaps NO -- socially acceptable, safe and
sniusdik [wholesome] venues for boys and girls to meet.

Perhaps some communities feel that there is no need for such meetings or
that such meetings would contravene the shiddach system.

I recall taking my family to a popular restaurant in Manhattan -- there was
a "sports bar" that we had to pass by en route to our table -- there
were frum singles having drinks at a bar.  To me (personally) that's a bit
much -- but, clearly to others that's OK.

Since I interact with many WW-II vintage Jewish War Veterans, I've heard
more than once how they met their wife because a male friend invited them to
Shabbos dinner at their parents' home and they eventually married a sister
or cousin who they met at this Shabbos dinner. Apparently, today, in many
communities such mixed gender dinners would be verboten.

In Northern New Jersey where I currently live, some restaurants seem to
attract a significant number of singles at night -- not sure if such "hang
outs" are within acceptable boundaries to many.

But apparently, many communities are uncomfortable with singles socializing
at a bris, a kiddish, a wedding ....   They are uncomfortable with singles
socializing, stam.  Yet they expect these same singles to emerge from gender
isolation and to form healthy, everlasting marital unions.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, May 14,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

On Sat, May 8,2010, Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> Carl wrote:
>> [Ari] Trachtenberg said that solar water heating may be permitted on
>>> 2- Does the cold water enter the already heated water directly thereby
>>> "cooking it"?

> Re: #2 -- is the heated water hot enough that one might consider cold
water (or food) that comes in contact to be cooking?
> Carl, ...  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.

If the water in its storage tank heated by the solar panbels is sufficiently
hot, cold water entering will be heated beyond yad soledet bo [scalding
temperature] and this is considered to be cooking as far as Shabbat is
concerned.The fact that this water is not meant for cooking is irrelevant.

Martin Stern

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

> 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 Rabbincally 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.

Wouldn't this actually forbid the use of any faucet, even for cold water, 
on Shabbat requiring the drawing of pots and bottles of water for shabbt 
use (even rinsing hands for a Bracha) and filling the bathtub with water so 
toilets could be flushed?   Would filling a pail of water from the 
aforementioned bathtub also be some kind of melacha?

Wendy Baker

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

Sam Gamoran wrote:
> 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 Shabbat).

This is a cute idea, but I think that it is mixing metaphors.  Data is
not a physical object, in that transmission does not typically involve
movement of the data, but rather transmission of a wave correlated with
the data, followed by regeneration of the data at the receiver side.

In other words, when you read this submission, you are actually reading
a copy of what I had sent.  This makes distance traveled very hard, and
maybe even impossible, to quantify.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, May 24,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: electronic stuff, etc.

This is the corrected version of my previous post, which suffered 
from a seemingly minor error in editing, which made the text less 
than comprehensible.

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.

In fact, there are posqim who permit the use of solar-heated water on 
Shabbat and those who prohibit.

Some considerations are as follows: heating the (cold) water already 
in the dood [water tank] to a certain temperature; ur [direct heating 
by the sun] vs. toledot ur [indirect heating]; 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: Joel <familykorn@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: eReaders

Before I start, I just want to say I've been reading this mailing list for  
years, and enjoy it a lot! I don't usually have a lot to contribute, but  
have a list of questions to ask whenever I get the time.

Anyway, I wanted to put my 2 cents worth in on the discussion on eReaders.  
The issue of writing was mentioned and glossed over very quickly, but in  
the case of eReaders specifcally, I don't think it is so simple. The whole  
reason they are so easy on the eye and don't cause a headache after reading  
for hours is because they don't flicker and refresh constantly. The display  
is permanent.  Only when a button is pressed to get to another page does it  
refresh. Even some devices with eInk displays (like the soon to be released  
iPad competitor, the Adam) continue to show the contents of the screen as  
it was last, when the power is turned off. They are all great devices, it  
saves power, but does it change the status of the display on the screen  



From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, May 8,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: halacha influences

Responding to my colleague Joel Rich who wrote, in response to my
pointing out that a supposedly magic element or what could be perceived
as a magic element of getting married near the full moon is in the Yoreh
Deiah at the chapter on magic, that 

> AIUI [As I understand it] it is viewed as good advice to take into
> account with other factors.

That well may be.

Nevertheless, my point was that if such behavior is included in a codex
of Halacha, then our definitions of such themes as 'magic', 'luck',
'good fortune', etc. may need to be either reclassified or rethought or
we need to reconsider exactly what is Halacha.



From: Binyamin Lemkin <lemkinrealty2@...>
Date: Wed, May 26,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Hazal & science

Here's a link to an interesting letter which Rav Natan Slifkin sent to
Rav Yisroel Belsky on the subject of Hazal's falliblity regarding 
scientific matters:


                               B Lemkin


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, May 27,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: mikvah (was "cohabitation outside of marriage"

Avraham Walfish attempts to defend women's relatively frequent menstruation
in modern times [and hence the fact that they may attend mikvah without
being in violation of having zillions of babies and putting careers second].
I personally *agree* with him that the quoted poster made wild and sexist
assertions about how the good Jewish wife retires to the suburbs to take
on an exclusively maternal role.  However:

> As far as nursing is concerned, even women who don't work during their
> nursing months rarely experience cessation of menstruation throughout
> their nursing, as was true at the time of Hazal.

Likely true.  However, this varies significantly by woman and also by
how many babies she has had, her age, etc.

> Moreover, current child-rearing wisdom does not recommend, and certainly does 
> not require, nursing for a full two years, as was the case in the pre-modern
> world.

Completely incorrect.  The World Health Organization (WHO) and the
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) are hardly pre-modern, and they
recommend (and strongly urge) babies to be breast-fed as their primary
nutrition for two years, and then as long *after* that as seems mutually
beneficial to mother and child.  Solids are to be introduced along
breastfeeding during the latter part of the first year, in this model,
and make up an increasing portion of the child's diet.

What Mr. Walfish could have said, reasonably, is that relatively few
modern American pre-schoolers (ages 3-5) are nursing, though certainly
it is permitted/encouraged by halakhic Jewish sources under various
health/family circumstances.

> Finally, Jay indicates that proper observance of halakhah requires
> engaging in marital relations every night, unless the husband has tiring 
> labor, orunless the wife's waiver of her conjugal rights indicates that the 
> husband has failed to properly express his marital love. The halakhot 
> governing frequency of sexual relations are, as he noted, designed to 
> safeguard the wife's conjugal rights, and are highly sensitive to changing 
> conditions and mores. There can be many legitimate reasons why a couple will 
> decide to have less frequent sexual relations than stipulated in the 
> halakhah. Adopting ajudgmental attitude towards this is unwarranted and 
> violates the Torah's injunction not to cast aspersions on observant Jewish
> communities.

Plus which, of course, the assumptions around this are mind-bogglingly
nosy.  Chana Luntz got it right on the money in her longer, detailed

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, May 24,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: more on adding up the numbers

"the fact is that in a healthy, Torah-observant family, the woman is usually
either pregnant or nursing for most of her childbearing years"

"Both legally and historically this is not true. Historically in each era and in
each land there have always been many Jewish marriages which only have a few

I think the poster, with all due respect, is missing the point.

A prior submission claimed that many Orthodox women were not keeping taharas ha
mishpacha because, statistically, the number of uses of the mikveh per month was
much less than the population of Orthodox married women in the town.  That
claim, to my mind, borders on Motzi Shem Ra, and ignores the reality that at any
given time, out of the population of married Orthodox women in a town, a certain
number will not be going to mikveh for legitimate reasons:  the woman is
pregnant, the woman is nursing, or the woman has hit menopause.

A simply thought experiment should prove the point.  Each married person should
think how long he or she has been married and multiply that number by 12.  That
is the number of months the person has been married.  Let's say a couple is
healthy and got married in their mid-twenties.  20years later, as the woman
approaches menopause, they have been married for 240 months.  In theory, the
woman might have gone to mikveh 240 times.  But I daresay that for the vast
majority of couples in most communities, the woman will have gone to mikveh far
less times than that in 20 years of marriage -- again due to pregnancies,
nursing, etc.

Whether this is true historically or legally are also beside the point.  The
point is whether today one can extrapolate from the number of times a mikvah is
used in a town in a month as to whether the woman are or are not keeping taharas
ha mishpacha.

Tal Benschar


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Tue, May 18,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: numbers matter (or was that a typo?) 

Jay, in his recent M-J piece "Adding Up The Numbers", said:

>> ... for every night of a sixty-year marriage (or, let's be reasonable, 
>> 3 or 4 nights a week)
> Again, there will be people -- less easily identified -- who will be
> pained by what they are about to read, and we must be sympathetic to
> their pain, but if you think that marital relations only 3 or 4 nights a
> week is "reasonable", then you have been speaking to people who do not
> know the halakha.  The halakha is that men who are healthy, who do not
> perform tiring labor, and who are able to come home every day for
> mealtimes (i.e., they don't have to work late at the office -- jfs) are
> obliged to have sexual relations with their wives at least once a night.
> It is true that this halakha only describes the woman's conjugal rights,
> which she may voluntarily waive; but if a man's wife halves her conjugal
> rights from >=7 down to 3 or 4, that is a sign that he has not been a
> loving and attentive sex partner, and that, too, points to an ignorance
> of halakha.

When Jay said:

> The halakha is that men who are healthy, who do not perform tiring
> labor, and who are able to come home every day for mealtimes are obliged
> to have sexual relations with their wives at least once a night. 
.                                                           ^^^^^

and proceed from there, was that a typo?

All of the numbers I have ever seen on this have been in terms of per 
week, not per night.  (Unless you meant to indicate, once a night = 

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Vashti

In M-J V58#12, Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...> wrote:

> Who said human life has value in the 21st Century? Are you kidding me?
> Human life and value in the same phrase? When pikuach nefesh [saving a
> life --MOD] is meaningless, esp. in cases of domestic violence?

Ms. Friedman's terrible experiences (of which many of us on mail-jewish
are aware) aside, I would hope that such cases are not as common as she would
like to think and that we all sympathise with anyone who might be subject to
similar ill-treatment.

Martin Stern

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, May 11,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Vashti

In Vol.58 #12 Digest Jeanette Friedman wrote:
> Who said human life has value in the 21st Century? Are you kidding me?  
> Human life and value in the same phrase? When pikuach nefesh [saving a
> life --MOD] is meaningless, esp. in cases of domestic violence?

This is an assertion that, for example, heads of government kill spouses as
commonly today as in those days?  Or is Ms. Friedman merely venting her anger
that today's much greater respect for human life nonetheless remains insufficient?


End of Volume 58 Issue 19