Volume 58 Number 20 
      Produced: Fri, 28 May 2010 17:31:10 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

are the burkas on back order? 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
ayin harah / halacha / aliyot 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
burkas etc. 
    [Frank Silbermann]
    [David Tzohar]
gabbais and yahrzeit (4)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Haim Snyder]
influence of the zeitgeist on halacha 
    [Yisrael Medad]
inviting couples over (was "are the burkas on back order?") 
    [Russell J Hendel]
marriage and separation (2)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Elazar M. Teitz]
taharat hamishpaha 
    [Carl Singer]
tefillin bag 


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: are the burkas on back order?

Done right, it is not so wierd.  My standard gift to the newly engaged is the
River Kettle and the Bird by Rabbi Feldman currently Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel.

One issue he dicusses in that sefer is the mitzvah for newlyweds not to have
guests over.  A new wife is getting used to running her home for the first time
and it takes time for her to be comfortable enough to have guests over without
having too much stress.  He reminds husbands (who the sefer is addressed to)
that in addition to the obligation they have to perform chesed [kindness] to
others in the community that they have an obligation to perform chesed towards
their wife which can take the form on not having guests over.

We didn't invite guests over our first year of marriage and giving my wife that
time to learn how to be a wife gave her the ability to become comfortable enough
that we frequently have quite a few over today (often last minute when we get a
Friday morning call from a single when she is at work)  That doesn't mean
newlyweds should be alone every shabbos it means we older marrieds better be
inviting them out.


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Wed, May 26,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: ayin harah / halacha / aliyot

As gabbai of my minyan I recently went through contortions one shabbat to avoid
father/son/son/ successive aliyot. Did I do the right thing avoiding ayin harah
[the evil eye --MOD]?

What other areas of halacha/minhag do we act to avoid the "evil eye"?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Mon, May 24,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: burkas etc.

About the hassidic girl to be married within days who still knew nothing about

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.

Russell J Hendel V58 N16:
> 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.

Our rabbi gave a shir a few weeks ago discussing the history of views on this.
He cited one Talmudic sage who recommended teaching daughters Torah because the
merit of Torah study would postpone the horrible death if ever she sinned and
had to drink the waters of Sotah.  Another sage, horrified by that, said that
women should be forbidden to study Torah lest it teach them licentiousness.  The
rabbi quoted later positions, pro and anti, but he didn't quote anyone who
raised your point.


> 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)

Point taken.  However, a few exceptions would not dispute a Haredi assertion
that it has always been the _norm_ for girls to go into marriage completely
ignorant of sexual matters.  Shoshana Boublil's objection is I think more

Shoshana L. Boublil wrote:
> 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 today...
This is a good argument that it was never the norm for girls to enter marriage
completely ignorant of sexual matters.  On the other hand, given that people
could figure things out for themselves merely by noticing the behavior of
livestock would be consistent with a Haredi assertion that it is traditional
never to talk with children about such things.

(Of course, the estrangement from animal husbandry in the last century would be
a good defense of the _innovation_ of providing sex education to today's young

Frank Silbermann         Memphis, Tennessee


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, May 25,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: concubinage

The halacha is based on the dispute between Rambam and Raavad. Rambam says
that there is no halachic legitimacy without kinyan kiddushin [aquiring a
wife by giving her the ring under the chuppa in front oif two witnesses and
proclaiming harei at mekudeshet li (you are hereby sanctified unto me)]. The
Raavad on the other hand disagrees and says that if a man sets aside one
woman and they are faithful to each other and live together at least some of
the time, anan sahadei [it is clear as actual eyewitnesses] that they are
having relations in the context of Ishut [conjugal intent]. The Shulchan
Aruch decided in favor of the Rambam, along with RIF and ROSH, therefore the
halacha is that today concubinage is prohibited, and is considered
znut [harlotry].

David Tzohar


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: gabbais and yahrzeit

Harry Weiss wrote:
> There are numerous rules on this (some are listed in the Artscroll siddur
> quoting the Mogen Avraham  Shulchan Oruch - Orech Chaim 282 and the Beur
> halcaha Orech Chaim 136).  There is also the Sefer Hagabai out of Kiryat
> Arba which is very good.

Sorry to nit pick but, though the publisher is based in Kiryat Arba, the
author, Rabbi Spektor is rav of Beit Shemesh.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: gabbais and yahrzeit

Harry Weiss wrote:
>> b. Does the yahrzeit bump an avel's [mourner in the year after a parent's
>> death] right to daven on the preceding motzaei shabbos?

> Strictly speaking no, but many shuls do give that to someone with a Yahrzeit
> in the coming week.

If so, they are acting incorrectly. Someone with a Yahrzeit in the coming
week should only have this privilege in the absence of a genuine aveil.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: gabbais and yahrzeit

On Mon, May 10,2010, Daniel Wiener <ppman@...> wrote:

Subject: gabbais and yahrzeit

> Not being a baal tefila [melodious], I have never asked to daven for the amud
> on shevi'i of pesach and yom kippur- my yahrzeits for my parents.

If only everyone had the sense shown by Daniel and realised that acting a
shliach tsibbur [prayer leader] is a privilege conferred by the congregation
and NOT a right to be imposed on it by those who have a yahrzeit but are not
able to do so to its satisfaction.

Martin Stern

From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: gabbais and yahrzeit

In mail-jewish Vol.58 #10 Digest, Elimelekh Milton Polinsky asked three
questions on davening priority for yahrzeit:
>1 - Scenario: yahrzeit bo bayom [on that Shabbos] is on shabbos: 
All of my answers are from the book "Mourning in Halachah" by Rabbi Chaim
Binyamin Goldberg. It is a translation of that author's "P'nei Baruch"
>a. Does the yahrzeit observer have the right/priority to daven for the omud
>[act as prayer leader] or get an aliyah or maftir on the shabbos before? 
Chapter 44 deals with The Yahrzeit. The first paragraph under "The Sabbath
Before the Yahrzeit" states, "The custom is that a man who will observe a
yahrzeit (anniversary of his parent's death) during the week is called up to
the Torah-reading for maftir on the preceding Sabbath. Even if the yahrzeit
is on the Sabbath, he is called up on the preceding Sabbath."
The second paragraph deals with leading the prayer services. Apparently
there are a number of different customs re the other prayers, but the
leading of the Mussaf prayer has a definite positive status, even if he did
not get maftir.
>b. Does the yahrzeit bump an avel's [mourner in the year after a parent's
>death] right to daven on the preceding motzaei shabbos?
In the paragraph "Leading the Maariv Service", in a footnote, he quotes the
Ner Eliyahu as saying that R' Shmuel Salant opposed this practice on the
basis that the conclusion of the Sabbath is the time when the wicked return
to Gehinnom. By leading the services [at the Sabbath's conclusion], one
gives the impression of considering one's parents wicked. Thus, one should
not lead the services then, just as one does not lead the services after the
first eleven months.
>2 -Does a yahrzeit observer for a grandfather, father-in-law, uncle or 
>any other relative, that would not qualify him as an avel, bump an avel 
>from >the omud [have higher priority to act as prayer leader]? What are 
>the >minhagim [customs --MOD]
There is a section in Chapter 44 entitled "Grandparents' Yahrzeit". In it he
states, "Some have the custom of leading the services and reciting Kaddish
on the yahrzeits of their grandparents, both paternal and maternal. But a
person doing so has no rights of precedence whatever over any other mourners
who may be present."


Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, May 17,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: influence of the zeitgeist on halacha

In the past, as far as I can recall, most of the discussions the List
has had on the issue of whether contemporary customs, behavior patterns
can/should influence the Halachic norm, have centered on the lessening
or relaxing of strictures such as mixed seating, covered hair and the
I suggest that here is an opposite-direction case:  On the Orach Chayim
(OH), Pesach, Siman 690, on Shavu'ot customs, Rav Moshe Isrelis notes
the practice of bringing grass into the synagogue and home, Para. 9.  In
the Mishneh Brurah, Sub. Para. 10, a custom is mentioned of bringing
trees into the synagogue but states that the Gr"a, the Vilna Gaon,
prohibited that for the following reason "because now it has become a
non-Jewish custom to set up trees on their holiday (the reference, one
can assume, is Yuletide - YM)".
So, can we assume that: a) there was such a custom of trees in
synagogues and it was alright for a long time; b) the Gr"a, late 18th
century, invalidated it based on the reason that now the non-Jews do it,
so Jews shouldn't.  But, obviously, trees have been a symbol of Yuletide
for a very long time previously to the Gr"a, one source has it beginning
in the early 16th century, another in the early 8th century and another
in the late 15th century.  So why was it okay previous to the Gr"a's
time?  Was it only so bothersome to the Gr"a that he made his decision
whereas other Rabbis presumed that a tree in a synagogue in late spring
can in no way be thought of as copying a Yuletide tree?  Was there
something of the time in the late 18th century - or maybe just the
place: Lithuania?  One source has the tree custom at Yuletide starting
in nearby Estonia and Latvia.
To return to my surmisings:
a)      is it the time?
b)      Is it the place?
c)      Is it the Goyim?
d)      Is it the Rabbi?
e)      And, can the custom be reinstated and why or why not?  In other
words, if it works one way, why can't it work in the other direction?


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: inviting couples over (was "are the burkas on back order?")

In v58n16 I criticize the wierd practice
> 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.

Mordechai demurs:
> Done right not so wierd.
> One issue Rabbi Feldman dicusses in the sefer is the mitzvah for newlyweds
> not to have guests over. A new wife is getting used to running her home for
> the first time and it take time for her to be comfortable enough to have
> guests over without having too much stress.  He reminds husbands (who the
> sefer is addressed to) that in addition to the obligation they have to
> perform chesed to others in the community that they have an obligation to
> perform chesed towards their wife which can take the form on not having
> guests over.

If you compare my comment with Mordechai's response you will see (I hope) no
contradiction. Mordechai is addressing the situation where the husband imposes
Chesed on an overburdened wife. This is wrong. By contrast, I discuss the
situation where BOTH members of the couple want to invite people over (for
example if they live in a rural area). My point is that a Rabbi should not be
"enacting" new enactments that contradict Jewish practices that fulfill
important Jewish values and commandments.

And in passing: Mordechai cites Rabbi Feldman as referring to the Mitzvah (??)
of not inviting people over. This is exactly what I am criticizing! There is a
vast difference between 

A) Advising husbands not to overburden their wives (whether in the 1st year or
in later years) and 

B) creating a new category of obligation that apodictally prohibits ANY couple
(even if both want) from having guests over. 

My point is that Rabbinic advice (which is always welcome) should not be turned
into enactment creation.

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


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, May 27,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: marriage and separation

This topic arose from a posting by an observantly-inclined Jew who
proposed having sexual relations, not necessarily leading to conversion
and marriage, with a non-Jewish woman. While I recognize that the
discussion has evolved, I would imagine that the anonymous poster is
still following this thread and so I have the following clarifying
questions, which may have been addressed before:

1. Can a non-Jewish woman qualify as a pilegesh? (Ignoring the case
of eshet yefat to'ar; when I told my rabbi about this thread, he
facetiously suggested that the anonymous poster start a war and take the
woman as such).

2. Does the status of "nidah" [menstrually unclean] apply at all to a
non-Jewish woman, and if so is it removed by her immersion in a mikvah?

3. Again if it applies, is having sexual relations with such a woman an
issur karet, as it is with a Jewish woman?

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, May 27,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: marriage and separation

Dr. Russell Hendel writes:
> Yaakov Shachter in v58n7 expresses the opinion that private sexual relations
> with a non-Jewish non-Canaanite woman are Rabbinic.
> I find this view shocking from several points of view.  First, I wish to
> criticize Jay for performing a classic mistake of people (such as Jay) trained
> in modern legal methods. The primary source for Jewish law is the Bible not
> the Talmud and responsa. The Bible at Deut. 7 (as I recently explained) makes
> it clear that premarital sex with a non-Jew results (1) in HIS (singular)
> deviating from Me and (2) THEY (plural) (the children) worshipping other
> gods. Jay undoubtedly reads this verse with "Talmudic eyes." The Talmud
> simply speaks about the children having non-Jewish status. BUT THE TALMUD DID
> FROM THE JEWISH PEOPLE And this is not a "joke" which one can call rabbinic.

   While the Torah is manifestly the primary source for d'oraisa (Biblical law),
the Torah's meaning can only be understood by its explication in Torah sheb'al
peh (the Oral law).  Thus, the criticism of Yaakov Schachter is completely
invalid.  The manner in which it was stated, too, is highly improper, in view of
the many times that Dr. Hendel himself has castigated others for straying from a
strictly scholarly manner of stating disagreement.

   As to the matter itself, the verse referred to is irrelevant to the matter at
hand.  It does not discuss premarital sex with a non-Jewish woman; it discusses
_marrying_ her, which (as Yaakov duly noted) is indeed prohibited at a Biblical
level.  If Dr. Hendel feels that the same is true of an extramarital
relationship, he will have to cite some other verse, if he can find one.  He
would also have to explain Rambam, who states explicitly what Yaakov wrote.

   Furthermore, contrary to Dr. Hendel's statement, the verse says nothing about
removal from the Jewish people for engaging in premarital sex, nor, for that
matter, for intermarriage. There is nothing in the verse about removal from the
Jewish nation; it speaks only of "turn[ing] away from after Me," which usually
has the meaning of causing a failure to worship G-d and keep His commandments. 
It is only in the Talmudic explication of the verse that there is any mention of
removal from (or, better stated, of non-belonging to) the Jewish people, and, of
course, it refers to the progeny rather than to the progenitor.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sat, May 8,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: taharat hamishpaha

Menashe Elyashiv wrote:

> Anonymous wrote:
>> over-the-elbow sleeves and with husbands in yarmulkes who take pride
>> in finding a mincha minyan at the office. But the mikva'ot, while not
>> empty, are not exactly filled to capacity.

> It seems the opposite in Israel: you can find woman who observe mikva, but
> their dressing is far from being halachikly correct. I doubt if their
> husbands even look for a Minha minyan.

In response to the above:

Please define halachicly correct dress for women -- there are significant
variants among Torah observant communities.

For example -- is a woman who wears a bright colored dress which is loose
fitting and covers to her wrists and ankles dressing in an halachicly
correct manner?
Is a woman who wears a black dress which is extremely tight fitting and
covers her wrists and ankles dressing in an halachicly correct manner?

>From where do we draw the conclusion that their husband don't daven mincha
with a minyan.



From: Chips <chips@...>
Date: Sun, May 23,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: tefillin bag

> For example, if I choose a particular design or picture for my
> tefillin bag, are my sons obligated to have that same picture on theirs?
> Certainly not! If their taste is for a different sort of design, surely
> they can use it, and we will all receive mitzvah-credit for enhancing and
> beautifying the tefillin.

I don't think I've heard this before. Why would a tefillin bag be a hidur?


End of Volume 58 Issue 20