Volume 58 Number 81 
      Produced: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 03:37:51 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"statement of principles" regarding homosexuality 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Agunot as "victims"  (4)
    [Avraham Walfish]
doctors, TB, and Zionism. 
Domestic Dishwasher On Shabbath 
    [David Ziants]
For everyone's information. (Study: Mental health needs of Orthodox Je 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
    [Ben Katz]
    [Mark Steiner]
    [Wendy Baker]


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: "statement of principles" regarding homosexuality

Avie Walfish in mail-jewish Vol.58 #78 Digest wrote:

> When I signed the statement of principles, it was clear to me - and I think
> to all signatories and most readers - that if a person's open practice of a
> serious transgression is regarded by community as grounds to deprive them of
> membership in a shul, then they certainly wouldn't be accorded any form
> of honors in that shul. Since Orrin did not understand this point, perhaps
> the document should have spelled it out.

Why do we need this statement on principals giving how obvious they seem to be?

A Chabad shul I used to daven in used to have a Shaliach Tzibur (prayer leader)
who lead Musaf after driving to shul.

The Young Israel, with a Chofeitz Chaim Haredi Rabbi, I daven in used to have a
gabbai for the daily minyan who drove to shul on shabbos.

So open transgressions don't automatically ban people from shul honors.  However
other groups, like Agudas Israel I believe, denies membership at all to anyone
who isn't Shabbas observant.


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

Harlan Braude (MJ 58#80) wrote:

> I'm no halachic authority, but, as I understand it - now, I'm focusing
> strictly on the legal issue, not the ethical one (and  yes, I can imagine
> receiving some flak for suggesting legal is not  automatically ethical) -
> the husband must be willing to grant the divorce; it cannot be compelled.
Really, then why is it ok to beat a guy half to death into giving the get, 
and it is not a forced get? Problem is in the US, beating a guy to within 
a inch  of his life is a major felony. That's why there aren't many Frum 
recalcitrant  husband rolling around in wheelchairs with broken knees. Because 
we are law-abiding. And if it is Jewish Law, it has to be ethical or forget 
it, it ain't Judaism. "The law is an ass."

From: Avraham Walfish <rawalfish@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims" 

Harlan Braude wrote (MJ 58#80):

>In MJ V58#77 Digest, Avraham Walfish wrote:

>> years without a *get*, when more forceful rabbinic leadership could
>> easily have produced a halakhically valid divorce much much earlier.

> I think Avie may have answered his own question.

> I'm no halachic authority, but, as I understand it - the husband must be
> willing to grant the divorce; it cannot be compelled.

> that requirement essentially ties the hands of the court. Strategies to
> compel the husband to grant the divorce employing pressure (financial,
> social, physical, etc.), while emotionally satisfying, don't address the
> underlying legal issue.

> An obvious question, then, is what about the procedure cited by the
> Rambam of flogging the man until he states: "I am willing"? Perhaps,
> that only works in a case of a man in a Biblically prohibited marriage
> (e.g., a cohen married to a divorcee).

No, it works in a whole range of cases outlined in the Mishnah Ketubot, and
further developed by classic sources of pesak - see Even Ha'ezer 154. Even
in cases where the halakhah does not grant the court the authority to flog
the man until he says he is willing to grant a divorce, there are often ways
in which emotional and social pressure can be employed to persuade him to do
so - and forceful rabbinic leadership can play a major role here (especially
in Israel). My complaint is about cases - some of which I have personally
witnessed - in which the court has authority to compel a divorce, and
sometimes has even issued such a ruling, but shies away from enforcing it,
due to exaggerated fears of *get me'useh* (a divorce compelled illegitimately,
hence void).

Avie Walfish

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

In Mj 58#80: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...> wrote

>An obvious question, then, is what about the procedure cited by the
>Rambam of flogging the man until he states: "I am willing"? Perhaps,
>that only works in a case of a man in a Biblically prohibited marriage
>(e.g., a cohen married to a divorcee).

It still works from a halachic standpoint. In Israel they will imprison 
people who refuse to give a get when instructed to by a bet din.  The problem is 
that civil authorities will arrest someone for beating someone.  This was done 
in those communities where there was sufficient autonomy.  I don't know of 
anywhere other than Israel where that exists today.

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

A number of recent posts have used as their subject line:

Agunot as "Victims".

I find the use of the quotation marks around the word "victims" to be
utterly abhorrent and reprehensible.

How can anyone think that a woman who has been left in limbo - sometimes for
years on end, and often for no better reason than vindictiveness and pure
sadism - be anything but a victim? Surely, the quotation marks are totally
out of place.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: doctors, TB, and Zionism.

Daniel Cohen wrote (MJ 58#80):
> In fact, what's wrong at all with seeing a doctor, even when pikuach nefesh
> is not involved? Can Jeanette or anyone offer a rationale, or  historical
> background or precedent for such a bizarre story?
Her mother said it was a shanda [disgrace - MOD]. My Aunt Fruma caught TB from
the  Belzer's Rebbe's daughter, her close friend. The Belzer's Rebbe's daughter
went  for treatment. My aunt was not permitted to do so. And there was family
witness to that. The old rebbetizen said it would cause a shanda, so Fruma didn't 
get treatment.
If your aunt died from stupidity and superstition, you would be bitter too.
The ME didn't let his chassidim leave. I will find the email from his  
chassid  that says he said better to die than assimilate in the US or go to the 
treyf medina.
As for the statement of Orthodox Jews hijacking the secular Zionist  
movement, frankly I learned that from none other than the late great Rabbi 
Arthur Hertzberg, a very good man and brilliant scholar.
Jeanette  Friedman 


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Domestic Dishwasher On Shabbath

Although I do not have the ability to bring sources on this, I do know 
that many religious institutions, kibbutzim, hotels and such like run 
their commercial dish washes on Shabbat, using a timer.

Jews are typically loading the crockery and cutlery onto the racks that 
go around on a conveyor belt and unload the stuff at the other end. The 
Rabbanim, who head or are the mentors of such places, clearly permit this.

I think that shemirat shabbat k'hilchata does mean to make the 
distinction between a domestic dish washer, where the amount of stuff to 
wash by hand is manageable and the type of dishwasher above, where we 
are possibly talking about hundreds of plates to be used for another 
meal on Shabbat.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: For everyone's information. (Study: Mental health needs of Orthodox Je

Jeanette Friedman in Mail Jewish Volume 58 Number 69:

> The mental health needs of the Orthodox community  are not being sufficiently
> addressed, according to a new study from Yeshiva University.  Eliezer Schnall,
> a YU psychology professor who led the research team,... called the results
> a wake-up call, and said there is still a stigma in the Orthodox community
> attached to mental illness that prevents people from seeking help.

> Researchers asked approximately 250 Orthodox mental health professionals
> to assess the state of services offered to the Orthodox community today,
> compared to 25 years ago. The 100 respondents perceived little if any
> improvement, particularly among the Chasidim.

>  Schnall called the results a wake-up call,

I don't think you should accept these ideas at face value. It is
necessary to think a little bit independently.

First of all, I would say, if the Orthodox community has been spared
this (except for married couples seeking counseling) that's a good thing. there
is far too much overdiagnosis going on


(And not just that)

and it is harming people, to the point where now in the latest
generation there are fewer boys than girls going to college than

Of course you wouldn't find any skepticism at the meeting of a trade
group. Fewer Charedim use them - so they say it must be they are not
getting enough. The only thing is, they probably haven't been spared
so much.

Before we go further along these lines, I would like to call the
attention of the list to a recently published book:

"Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the
Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker
(Crown Publishers 2010)

The Amazon listing is here:

And customer reviews are here:


Pay special attention to pages 207-210..

He did not start out against psychiatry, or at least drugs.

He says that in the decade before the intrioduction of Thorazine,
roughly 70% of people admitted to a hospital with a diagnosis of
psychosis were discharged within 18 months and most never returned (or
didn't return over a long follow up period)  The same results were
reported by researchers later - for people never medicated, about half
would do fairly well if not medicated.

Now that drugs are the standard of care, only 5% of patients recover
over the long term.

In 1955, there were only 38,000 people hospitalized for depression,
and it was expected to remit.

Now (2010) it is the leading cause of disability for people aged 15 to
54, Claims are made that it strikes 15 million adults of which 60% are
severely impaired.

Bipolar disorder, which used to be extremely rare, is now common (or
commonly diagnosed anyway) 6 mllion adults in the United States are
said to suffer from it. In the past, 85% of people diagnosed with it
used to go back to work. now only a third do - and those who stay on
medications are as bad off as people diagnosed with schizophrenia who
stay on medication.

And the numbers keep getting worse.

What's more, people taking these medications die more frequently (of
mostly non-psychiatric causes)  - on average 15 to 25 years earlier than

Disability is being promoted and maintained. And people are not being
led into a normal life. You might as well administer low doses of
carbon monoxide.

Another, which sort of takes the other side, is:

We've Got Issues : Children and Parents in the Age of Medication by
Judith Warner (Riverhead Books, 2010)

At Amazon:

Amazon customer reviews at:


Also dealing with overtreatment, although in that case mainly surgery, is:

Another book possibly worth reading (which deals with other kinds of
overtreatment, particularly surgery, is:

The Treatment Trap : How the Overuse of Medical Care is Wrecking your
Health and what you can do to prevent it by Rosemary Gibson and
Janardan Prasad Singh.




You can find them (and other books on the same subject) in libraries
at 616.89, 618.9289 and 362.1097 respectively.


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Hungarian

Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...> wrote (MJ 58 #77):

> Szighet was in the county of Marmarosh and technically this was
> Transylvania.  My maternal grandfather, A"H was born in Szighet into
> a Chasidishe family.  (My sandek was the Szigheter Rov who later became
> the Satmarer Rov).  As was common in Chasidishe homes, Yiddish was spoken
> at home.  However, education was financed by the government and so learning
> Hungarian was compulsory, even in Cheder.

> That is why so many Jews of Hungarian origin speak Hungarian among
> themselves, even if they also speak Yiddish.

When my grandfather got together with his Hungarian cronies, he spoke with
> them in Hungarian.  Furthermore, they all had Hungarian names in addition
> to their Hebrew names.

> A well known Rabbi in our community (very involved in the Hashgacha world)
> who was Hungarian and from a Chasidishe background also spoke Hungarian
> with his Hungarian cronies.

> This is different than my father, A"H who was born in Germany.  For the
> most part he spoke English, even with his German-Jewish friends.

> BTW, Maharam Schick wrote a teshuvah defending a rabbi who gave drashas in
> the vernacular and not in Yiddish.  He would hardly be considered radical
> or progressive.

> I lived in Cleveland from 1970-74 (I was in Dental School at the time) and
> davened at the YI in Cleveland Heights (known as the Academy since it was
> in the Hebrew Academy).  The Marmarosh Shul had closed and was being
> resurrected as the Green Road Synagogue.

> I remember people speaking English , Yiddish and Hungarian among themselves
> but to the best of my recollection, Rabbi Spero (who spent one Shabbos in
> Cleveland Heights and one in University Heights) gave his drashas in English.

Mr. Oppenheimer's summary of Hunagrian history is incomplete. When Hungary
emancipated Jews in the mid-19th century, most of her subjects were not
Hungarian (more were German). Thus the government began a program of
Magyarization.  Jews were a good group for this because they had no territorial
ambitions in Europe and were glad to be given rights.  Thus many Jews started
speaking Hungarian at home as their first language (they may have spoken Yiddish
too but Hungarian was primary) and they took Hungarian equivalents of Jewish
names (eg Cohen becoming Kovacks, Klein becoming Kis [both mean small]).  By
1900 Hungarian Jews were so free that the intermarriage and conversion rates
were each about 15%. 

As Yogi Berra used to say, "you can look it up".

Ben Katz


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Kolmos? 

Perets Mett wrote (MJ 58#79):

> Why do they call it Kolmos? Surely the word is kulmos!

Not necessarily.  The Kaufmann Codex of the Mishnah, an ancient
vocalized manuscript, considered extremely reliable has qolmos, Shabbat 8:5.


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Wed, Aug 18,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: WTGs?

Martin Stern (MJ 58#79) wrote:

> I have just one query: what does the acronym WTG signify? The only thing
> that came to my mind in the context of "adult daughters [who] are a little
> Modern" was "wearing tight garments" but that seems unlikely in the context
> of eleventh century Northern France!

WTG stands for Women's Tefilla Group, something I doubt existed in eleventh 
century Northern France, but does exist today.



End of Volume 58 Issue 81