Volume 58 Number 62 
      Produced: Wed, 11 Aug 2010 01:42:22 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bring "The Jewish Observer" Back 
    [Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
Certification Of Scotch Whisky - Copyright. 
    [Immanuel Burton]
When a mechizah becomes obligatory 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Who is a Posek? (4)
    [Carl Singer  Aryeh Frimer  Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Women Saying Kaddish 
    [Russell J Hendel]
Women's learning (4)
    [Batya Medad  Orrin Tilevitz  Martin Stern  Mordechai Horowitz]


From: Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer <rygb@...>
Date: Fri, Aug 6,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Bring "The Jewish Observer" Back


Please join us to discuss how we can convince the Agudath Israel of 
America to bring The Jewish Observer back into print. Even if you don't 
have any ideas to share, your joining the group is tantamount to signing 
a petition to see the JO brought back to life!



From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 9,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Certification Of Scotch Whisky - Copyright.

In Mail.Jewish v58 n51, the following was written in response to a posting that
I had made in which I quoted from the London Beis Din's kosher food guide (and
attributed the quote to them):

> I have not reproduced the original post because I do not wish to breach the
> London Beth Din's copyright. I did not reply to Immanuel Burton's earlier post
> for the same reason.

I am glad that this important question has been raised, and delighted that the
poster is treating the issue of copyright with the seriousness it deserves. 
However, I am a little concerned that by associating my post and my name so
publicly with this discussion, this post may have inadvertently given the
impression that it was accusing me of breach of copyright.  It obviously puts
posters in an awkward position if they appear, even unintentionally, to accuse
others of law-breaking.  I think it would be really helpful for the sake of
harmonious discussion if we could all make a particular effort to be respectful
of other forum members.  (Incidentally, as many posters will know already, my
short quotation for the purposes of discussion was permissible as it fell within
the fair dealing terms of the Copyrights Designs and Patents Act, 1988.)

Immanuel Burton.


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: When a mechizah becomes obligatory

Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...> claimed (MJ 58#59):

> Nine men can pray in a room containg women, but if there is a minyan,
> a mechizah becomes obligatory.

>>If there is a temporary minyan in a beth avel [house where morners are observing
>>shiva - MOD] or where people get together at a function - there is no need for a
>>mechitza. All that is necessary is a physical separation. The Mechitza is
>>derabbonon - while mede'oraito all you need is a separation. This was minhag
>>Yisrael everywhere when we were in the States in the 60's. If I am not mistaken,
>>this was also the view of Rabbi Soloveitchick. It is a fact that according to
>>the Gemara the Mechita was a takkana instituted in Beth Hamikdash (Second Temple).

>>Avraham Etzion

Am I missing something? My weekday morning minyan and shabbat afternoon minyan has no mechitza because women never attend. Is my bet knesset not kosher?

(Friday night and shabbat morning we pull out the portable michitza.)

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Who is a Posek?

Both Meir Shinnar and Michael Rogovin thoughtfully address these related
(but different) questions (MJ 58#59)

Although this may seem trivial to many within this discussion group it may
be worthwhile to review the *process* of getting a psak halacha:

Briefly one has a question which has halachic implications and one then
seeks an answer from their Posek. (Presumptively, one has previously found for
themselves a Rav / Posek.  -- these are NOT equivalent terms, btw.)

In responding to the question, the person to whom the question is addressed
(the Rav / Posek?) then may choose to (1) ignore, (2) answer, (3) research,
(4) seek assistance from others.

This may be stretching a point - but is there such a generic position as
Posek -- is it "who is *a* Posek" as opposed to "who is *my* Posek"?

I've long beaten the apparently dead horse that many issues / questions that
involve one's community should by asked of the Rav of said community --
e.g., if one has a question about the status of the mikvah in one's
community, one should address it to the community Rav -- not via a phone
call to their Rosh Yeshiva who is hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Another key issue (to me) is that a psak halacha is in response to a query.
One can issue statements allowing or forbidding or otherwise interpreting
halacha -- but a psak is a response.  This brings up the question, who asked

Reiterating, Rebbeim may issue statements, bans, etc., -- And one may be
obligated to adhere to some depending on the circumstances.  But a psak is in
response to a question. 

As long ago cited - if a someone approaches you and says that your Shabbos
key (say a tie tack in the form of a key) is nonetheless carrying on Shabbos
(according to them), you might politely reply to the effect of "who asked you."  

Certainly, someone might inform you that that way of 'wearing' Shabbos keys is
not used within their community -- but this is not a psak, per se.

The jurisdictional jumble that enhanced communication has foist upon us
makes the "who asked you?" factor more relevant today.  While it's good to get
timely information such as "XYZ" candy is now manufactured on dairy equipment,
in contrast when a Gadol Hador in a distant community proclaims that something
is forbidden,  does this have any halachic impact on those who did not ask.  As
opposed to the strictures re: adhering to the response to an halachic question.


From: Aryeh Frimer <frimera@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Who is a Posek?

I'd like to point out that Rav Aharon Lichtenstein Shlita and Rav Nahum
Rabinovitch Shlita have extensive secular education. One was a Prof of English
Lit and the other a Prof. of  Mathematics. They both understand Modernity and
western culture and are considered to be in the Modern Orthodox religious
zionist camp.  

Since they get difficult shailahs all the time on a broad range of subjects
(Communal, women's, technology, education, life and death, health, Aguna,
mamzeirut, conversion, hitnatkut etc.), they are on top of the modern dilemmas
moderns face.  

I have always wondered why the supporters of women's aliyyot and Partnership
Minyanim haven't asked these first league Poskim what their stance is?  They are
accessible, forthcoming and "straight-shooters".   

IMHO, the fact that this has not happened speaks reams.

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University
Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Who is a Posek?

Harlan Braude <hbraude@...> wrote (MJ 58#61):

> In MJ Vol.58 #59 Digest, Meir Shinnar wrote:
>> The issue of acceptance is far more complex - as Rav Feinstein himself wrote,
>> one becomes an accepted posek by paskening, and then gradually one's psakim
>> either become accepted or not - so every posek goes through a stage of 
>> issuing psakim when he is not yet accepted....
> This is a fascinating step in the process. Who, exactly, does the accepting
> or rejecting?
> Is it up to the person asking his Rabbi for a halachic decision to, then,
> choose whether to follow that decision? Sure, the person has the ability/power
> to ignore it. But, I'm asking if this is considered acceptable practice in
> Jewish law?
> On the other hand, Do we monitor the acceptance/rejection of other poskim in
> that generation? That, too, would be a fascinating step. After all, some
> decisions of even Rav Moshe were in conflict with those of other poskim of his
> day (like the Satmar Rebbe etc.)
> Perhaps, then, it's a function of majority: the majority of the posek's
> decisions are agreed to by a majority of poskim in that generation.
> Is that the formula?

Once people start accepting the posek and then sending him questions,
the word spreads and he winds up being considered as "the" posek. My
rabbi used an analogy of a class. THere are some people in the class
that are considered at the top and everybody "knows who they are".
Similarly, the top people in the class tend to know who they are and
how they are ranked without "official" comparison of grades. The
ranking of poskim tends to be in a similar manner.

   Sabba  -     ' "    -  Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 
From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: who is a posek?

There have been a number of posts on this thread, and it reminded me of this story:

The story was told of the Eastern European horse keeper who was a very good
horse keeper, but not so much of a Torah scholar. One day his wife was preparing
to cook a chicken and found a needle in the chicken. She wondered aloud if the
chicken were kosher or not, - did the needle render the chicken treif? Her
husband carefully examined the needle and pronounced that: since there was no
rust on the needle, the chicken was indeed Kosher. The wife was so proud of her
husband's knowledge she bragged to her friends and the word ultimately got back
to the Rebbetzin and then, of course, to the Rabbi of the community.

The next day the Rabbi came to the man's barn and began to examine the horses.
He opined that the first horse was sick and needed care, and the second horse
was ok, and the third horse needed better shoes, etc. Finally, the horse keeper
said to the Rabbi, "Since when did you become such a maven [expert - MOD] on

The Rabbi responded: "At the same time you began to poskin Halacha." "Look" said
the Rabbi..".I'll make an agreement with you.....I'll stay away from taking care
of horses, if you stay away from making rulings on Jewish law."

So, on MailJewish, I think most here take great care to refer people with
Halachic questions to their local rabbinic authority, and I would suppose that
we all some local rabbanim who we know, trust and follow. We should keep doing
this and not diagnosing horses unless we are horse doctors.

I don't mean by this post to criticize anyone in particular, and whoever reads
this, please do not take this as criticism of you.

Chodesh Tov

Irwin Weiss, Baltimore

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From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Women Saying Kaddish

David Tzohar (v58n59) makes several assertions, which due to a subtlety, are not
completely accurate.

David asserts that
> there is a controversy between Rambam and Ramban on whether the obligation
> to pray is Biblical or Rabbinic.

Almost true! Ramban asserts that the Biblical obligation to pray ONLY applies in
a time of distress. But a woman wanting to say Kaddish IS in distress. So I
would argue that the Ramban would hold it a Biblical obligation to pray. The
recitation of Kaddish would then be a fulfillment (kiyum) of a Biblical obligation.

David further asserts that 

> they are not obligated to pray at certain times since halacha exempts them
> from time bound commandments

Almost true! Honoring one's parents during the year of mourning is not a time
bound commandment. There is a subtlety here. The commandment is not so much to
say Kaddish at a particular time but rather to say Kaddish in honor of one's
parents after certain sections of prayer are completed.

So bottom line? Women ARE AS OBLIGATED as men to say Kaddish. Their recitation
of Kaddish is a fulfillment of a Biblical commandment to pray in times of
distress and is also a fulfillment of a Biblical commandment to honor the
deceased. I would therefore warmly welcome any woman wanted to say Kaddish.

I might strongly add a comment from the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchick: 

> Kaddish was instituted during the crusades when entire communities were
> destroyed. Orphans were in danger of losing their ties to Judaism. To
> strengthen these ties the Rabbis of the day instituted (or strengthened)
> the saying of Kaddish to further bind these orphans to the community.

I can assure you that the women I see saying Kaddish in shules sometimes only
show up (like the men) during the 11 month (or 1 month) period. So the rationale
for the institution of Kaddish - to strengthen ties within the Jewish community
- would apply equally to men and women.

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


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Women's learning

I only know what's happening here in Israel, but there are some very
high level women's learning places, and mixed ones like Pardes.  Women
can learn everything from Talmud, Chumash, Tanach, etc.  Some are only
for women.  These places really teach/learn, not telling women how to
think.  Of course there are some places that teach down to the women;
obviously, no surprise, I don't go to them.

Matan has shiurim in a number of languages, not just Hebrew.  Men are
allowed to attend some of the English classes in Tanach and others.  

Some women who study Talmud do it because they love it, and others say
they study it so they can help their sons (and daughters) in school.

Batya Medad  

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Women's learning

Mordechai Horowitz wrote (MJ 58#61):

> I don't tend to think of Daf Yomi and high level learning in the same sentence.
> Maybe in other areas its different but where I am Daf Yomi is a bunch of men
> with Artscroll Gemorrah's sitting around for about an hour being entertained by
> a Rabbi explaining the daf they haven't even read in English and won't remember
> by the time they get home.

Daf yomi isn't close to high-level learning, but the breadth of knowledge one
gets by engaging in it (or an equivalent) seriously is necessary for high-level
learning. It's like a pyramid. If no women are doing daf yomi, how many can
possibly be engaged in high-level learning? If the pyramid has no base, how big
can the apex be?

We've all heard the jokes about about daf yomi. (Why did Hashem give us two
ears? For daf yomi, so that it could go in one ear and out the other.) But in
the daf yomi shiur I attended for 10 years, nobody had an Artscroll gemara, the
magid shiur was expected to have learned the Rashi, Tosafot, and other rishonim
on the daf because he'd get questions on them, and some (not all) people in the
shiur either were using it for review or had been through shas enough times that
they might as well be.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Women's learning

Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...> wrote (MJ 58#61):

> I don't tend to think of Daf Yomi and high level learning in the same
> sentence. Maybe in other areas its different but where I am Daf Yomi is a
> bunch of men with Artscroll Gemorrah's sitting around for about an hour being
> entertained by a Rabbi explaining the daf they haven't even read in English
> and won't remember by the time they get home.

Mordechai is being a bit hard on the participants in Daf Yomi. Would he not
agree that they are doing something more worthwhile than watching TV or
reading the sports column of their favourite paper?

I agree with him that it is hardly high-level learning, and should not be
viewed as such, but, rather, an attempt to obtain a bekiut [wide ranging
familiarity] with Shass. I have been going to a Daf Yomi shiur for about 28
years and often am surprised to find that the questions I ask are raised
later by the Gemara or one of the Rishonim, even though I had not prepared
the shiur in advance. Something obviously does rub off!

Martin Stern

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 10,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Women's learning

Menashe writes (MJ 58#61):

> Any better now? How much Nach, classical Torah commentaters, or even
> Mishnah outside of Moed does the average Yeshiva boy know? Almost any
> Beit Yaakov girl knows more than him in Nach or the classical Torah
> commentators.

A good example why it would be a disaster if women just adopted the learning
styles of men and why what we also need is men to learn more like women as well.

There is no mitzva to ignore the written Torah. Indeed we can't properly
understand Torah when we reject learning large parts of it


End of Volume 58 Issue 62