Volume 58 Number 86 
      Produced: Thu, 19 Aug 2010 16:46:28 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Agunot as "victims" (3)
    [Jeanette  Friedman  Jeanette  Friedman  Jeanette  Friedman]
Denial is not a river in Egypt. 
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
Mental Illness 
    [Ed Greenberg]
Who married Cain? 
    [Bernard Raab]


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

Frank Silberman wrote (MJ 58#83):

> However, it is legal to use a comparable level of force in self-defense.
> If an aggressor is using (or, like an armed robber, seriously threatening)
> force that can cause death or grave bodily harm (e.g.  a broken bone or
> loss of an eye), it is legal (in America) to defend even  with deadly force
> -- provided you stop using force as soon as the aggression  ends.  You cannot
> continue to beat (or shoot) someone who is down and  cowering.
It would never work. Battered women in the  "real" world have a problem 
using self-defense as a defense, too. I like bringing criminal charges of
extortion and racketeering better. Blackmail is what these recalcitrant husbands
are doing  with the assistance of their rabbis. That's conspiracy and the RICO
statutes can be imposed...if a DA has a good sense of how to get it done.

From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

Jack Gross wrote (MJ 58#83):
> Jeanette  -- I see you've read your RMB"M, but your memory is selective.
> Yes, Bet Din  may coerce a Get, but only after it has established that the
> husband is  halachically obligated to sever the marriage.  If the husband
> is not legally obligated (per Halacha, as opposed to public sentiment) the
> coerced  Get is totally void, and B.D. in effect becomes a party to adultery
> if the  woman remarries.

> The crux of the issue is that the burden of proof (establishing objectively
> that conditions exist obligating the husband to  grant a Get) is a very high
> bar.  It is rarely met, so B.D. is almost  always precluded from applying
> coercion (whether physical or  financial).

Ok, then -- does beating a woman regularly while the husband commits  
"adultery" with men constitute legitimate grounds for a get? Is Pikuach Nefesh 
(beatings and STDS) not important here? Or does it always have to be the  
wife's fault? 
Oh yeah, if it's another GUY instead of a women, I guess it wouldn't be  
considered adultery...when it really is. 

From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Agunot as "victims"

Stephen Phillips wrote (MJ 58#83):
> When a  marriage is unfortunately over, it is a question of "ve'ahavta
> l're'acha  kamocha" [love your neighbour as yourself] that both parties
> should accede to its formal ending. 

The real translation is "love your neighbor because s/he is like you." Not  
"as you love yourself."  Many people hate themselves. And if you don't love 
yourself, how you gonna love anyone else?


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Denial is not a river in Egypt.

Sammy Finkelman  <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 58#81):

> 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.

Number one: Don't shoot the messenger. Denial is not a river in Egypt.
I didn't initiate the survey, I didn't write the article. I read it and 
sent it, knowing full well that my children were excoriated when they brought 
their cousin with Down's Syndrome to their son's bar mitzvah and his 
sister threw a fit about how it would destroy her kids chances for a shidduch.. 
(similar case also mentioned by someone else on the list). 
Number two: Modern technology and communication  has made it possible to 
diagnose problems that were never diagnosed before.  Cancer rates have risen 
astronomically, physical diseases have risen  dramatically, etc. Are some of 
these people over-diagnosed? Yes. Perfect  example, ADHD and PTSD.  Too many 
pills for too many kids.
These are relatively new "diseases". In the old days, a person would be 
told they had no "Zitzfleish" or had "Shpilkes" and would be thrown out of 
class, given bad marks and generally labeled a troublemaker, with ensuing 
punishments leading to depression and post-traumatic stress. This also 
includes kids who had undiagnosed Asperger's, dyslexia  and other learning 
disabilities. There were no excuses. You had to produce or be tossed out of 
school. I know. I have dyslexia, as does my brother. I have gross motor issues 
(didn't know it then) and prefer to say east, west, north and south instead 
of left and right because I still have to check which hand my ring is on. (I 
can say it publicly because all my kids are married and you can't hurt me  
anymore, not for lack of trying.)
PTSD would be a vile temper, lack of self-control, the last angry 
man/woman syndrome and everyone would just hate  that person, say they are
verbally and physically violent and have them locked  up or worse.(electroshock,
prefrontal lobotomies)
Anxiety attacks? Who knew what they were 50 years ago? They were labeled 
as hysteria.
Depression? Dismissed in people with "miserable, unhappy characters, stay 
away from them, they have negative thoughts."
So, while you may hate the survey and its results, that's just too bad.  
Ask Jewish Family Services in Boro Park what kinds of cases they have in 
their dockets. Pretty scary stuff, including incest, sadism, pedophilia and 
other lovely symptoms -- and Ohel doesn't have enough facilities and money to 
treat all the kids who have been molested in the yeshivas. Don't believe me? 
Ask David Mandel and Moishe Hellman. They need tons of money. When was the 
last time anyone on this list gave Ohel money? They are OVERWHELMED with 
cases, and have to warehouse the perps.
Check with the ER docs at Maimonides Medical Center about some of the stuff 
that comes in on a regular basis.
Example: True story:  when a 10 year old boy commits suicide after his 
chassidic classmates raped him because his mother was a convert and his father 
was a returnee (a giyoret and a BT), then I believe there is a deep, deep 
sickness in the community, esp. when the kids who did it weren't properly 
treated or punished. Just think about this:  the three perps who did this 
about 10 years ago had this stuff buried by the shadchanim and are now 
"happily" married.
Would you want YOUR kid to marry such  people?  I wouldn't. But you will 
never know the truth about who your kids are marrying because families lie 
about the physical and mental conditions of their members to the shadchanim, 
and keep people locked up in attics or state  homes.
So you can say everyone is healthy and blame the messenger, but that's not  


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Holocaust

Hillel Markowitz wrote (MJ 58#83):
> This reminds me of the story of Rav Yochanan Ben Zakkai and Vespasian.
> The Gemara asks, why did he not ask for Yerushalayim. Also, when
> Vespasian used the analogy of the snake wrapped around a wine cask,
> Rav Yochanan ben Zakkai could not answer. The Gemara gives an answer
> that could have saved Yerushalayim (or at least the Bais haMikdash)
> and considers why he did not give that answer. One answer is that
> Hashem had decreed the destruction and the Chachamim of that time had
> become "mixed up" so that they could not save the people. In one
> Tish'a B'Av drasha, this concept was applied to the Shoah. We cannot
> know what was going on in the world that it "merited" such a
> punishment as the second phase of the First World War (WW II was
> actually a continuation of the war between Germany and the rest of the
> world according to many), but once the destruction was decreed, it
> affected even the righteous. Note that we call those Jews killed in
> the war "kedoshim" [martyrs] no matter what their practice and
> affiliation while they were alive.

> The fact that we cannot understand this means that it was a chok
> [decree] and happened. We cannot know what would have happened "if".
> All we can do is expect to see the reason "after 120 years" or "when
> Moshiach comes".
I so much disagree with this, that anyone who has read my postings about 
the H. over the last 18 years on this list would  understand.  Hinting at, 
implying, inferring, suggesting, even a soupcon of such a hint that blaming 
the victims, saying this was in any way warranted, saying Hashem wanted it 
this way, absolutely blames the victims and  exonerates the perpetrators. I 
do not know the pasuk in Hebrew, but it does say that Hashem helps those who 
help themselves and that you don't wait around for miracles.
Would you say the genocide in Darfur was declared by Hashem or the  
Sudanese? Would you say that sentencing all gays in Uganda to death was Hashem's
decision? How about the murder of that Indian tribe that lives on a Bauxite
loaded mountain in India? Did Hashem decide they should be genocided? Or did the
 corporations that bought the mountain from the government? Did Hashem tell the
 Serbs to go after the secular and moderate Muslims in their midst? Or was it a
 bunch of haters led by Milosevic? Did Hashem tell the Hutus to go after the 
Tutsis? Or was the government corrupt and needed them dead 
for political  reasons?
People did these things to people. Whether in the Roman Wars (and go read  
who really set fire to the Beis Hamikdash and why). Jews were fighting with  
Jews. And Jews don't always have the right answers, not even during the  
Holocaust. Were I to start listing who did what against their fellow Jews or 
did nothing during the H., all your hair would turn white -- from the  
Chassidishe Rebbes to Ben Gurion, from Abba Hillel Silver to Stephen Wise and 
Co. etc. etc. etc. The Jews in America and the Yishuv and Switzerland, for the 
most part (and I can name the exceptions, starting with the Sternbuchs and 
Wiessmandl) did nothing or thwarted efforts at rescue.  
So PLEASE don't' hand me this "we don't get it." We do get it. People  
committed evil acts and they should have been resisted. Until almost the end,  
such evil was NOT resisted, because it was not politically expedient for the  
leaders of the world to do something about it.
I strongly suggest that people read this in Haaretz: 

People made choices. PEOPLE had to live or die by the choices they made.  
And people still make stupid decisions and act stupidly.
Jeanette  Friedman 


From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Mental Illness

Tzvi Stein<Tzvi.Stein@...> wrote (MJ 58#83):

> There seems to be credible evidence that lifestyle changes such as getting
> enough sleep, healthy diet and regular exercise are more effective than
> medication for some forms of depression.

Certainly getting pretty far afield for MJ, but I feel the need to point 
out that effective sleep, control of one's eating, and the willingness to 
get regular exercise are frequently some of the first casualties of 
clinical depression.

Telling a depressed person to "just make these lifestyle changes" is 
probably not going to produce any results.

> However, have you ever heard of a psychiatrist advising a patient to try these
> before going on medication? Have you ever heard of a psychiatrist even asking
> questions about the patient's diet, sleep or exercise habits?  Is this anything
> to do with the multi-trillion dollar psychiatric pharmaceutical business?  Do 
> the pharmaceutical companies and doctors make any money from people who get
> better just by going to bed early and jogging every day?
I certainly hope that a good psychiatrist will address "diet, sleep and 
exercise." Certainly a psychologist or LCSW will do so.  If the patient 
can get a leg up on his depression, these lifestyle changes may be much 
easier to attain.

Ed Greenberg


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, Aug 19,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Who married Cain?

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 58#78):

> Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote (MJ 58#75):
>> Scott Spiegler wrote (MJ 58#74):

>>> I was having a discussion with a friend about the problem of who married
>>> Cain. I read somewhere that Cain and Abel each had a twin sister, and so
>>> each married the other twin. Whether or not that posed genetic problems, it
>>> seems to me that that answer only begs the question of who married Cain's
>>> children and so forth.

>>> I would be interested in hearing some discussion about this dilemma and how
>>> Chazal provides solution(s).

>> And who was Cain fearful of, that "they" would kill him? Rashi suggests the
>> animals, but would the animals have been able to recognize the mark which 
>> haShem gave Cain to protect him? And who did he build a city for, in the 
>> land of Nod? I asked these questions as a child in Talmud Torah and my  
>> rebbe then said that Gd had created other people which He didn't bother to  
>> tell us about. I asked the same question last year at a shiur by a prominent 
>> MO rabbi who teaches at YU, and he said that my rebbe's answer is correct. I 
>> was astonished, not at his specific answer, but at the thought that our 
>> rabbis still (again?) cling to the literal interpretation of "maase 
>> bereshit", even if it requires some creative embellishment. Is this further 
>> evidence of the overwhelming influence (or fear?) of the charedi community?

> To answer your last question, it is not "fear", it is logic. Given the
> definition of Hashem as omnipotent, and the definition of creation,
> this is a logical solution. 

Which is the logical solution? Is it the solution of my rebbe as confirmed by
the MO/YU rabbi? Your next sentence seems to deny that option:

> I do not think that there needed to be other "creations" as the other
> children of Adam could have been meant.

So who are these "other children"? The Torah only describes two children of Adam
and Hava, neither of them female. Since you claim that "we only know what the
Torah tells us" (below), we are kind of left at sea. We are forced to conclude
that either there were "creations" that the Torah does not tell us about, or
that Cain mated with undescribed sisters, (or his mother). Given these options,
it is clear why my rebbeim prefer the first, especially since Cain fathered
Henoch after his expulsion from Gan Eden. It is certainly true "that the Torah
is constantly only speaking about those things that are relevant to the
narrative", as you note below. But considering how much detail is provided about
the progeny of Cain, it would seem that this little detail (who married Cain?)
is hardly irrelevant. Nor has anyone suggested an answer to my original
question: Who is Cain fearful of when he is banished from Gan Eden? You might
say "the unknown" since he would not be expected to know what exactly is out
there. But rather than reassure him that the world is indeed devoid of other
people, who might do him harm, HaShem confirms that he needs protection, and
provides the mark to protect him.

> However, since we cannot "prove" that the Universe was not created 5
> seconds (or 5 billion years) ago, it is a possible answer. We only
> know what the Torah tells us. Without the Torah we cannot know when in
> the course of history the world was created. It could have been
> created with you reading this post and with all our memories intact.
> You cannot prove otherwise. In logic, this is called "reductio ad absurdum".

> I should also point out that the Torah is constantly only speaking
> about those things that are relevant to the narrative. For example, it
> quickly narrows the focus to the family of Avrahom, and the Bnai
> Yisroel. It does not speak of what was happening in the world outside
> of the focus that it wants to describe.

Exactly - which sort of contradicts that "we only know what the Torah tells us".
Our observations of the world can fill in much of what the Torah leaves out.
Since it seems that there may have been a whole world of "others" created at the
same time, (or much earlier or later?) can we then not conclude that the Torah
narrative is intended to introduce certain concepts needed for an understanding
of man's relation to the Creator, perhaps most significantly the concept of
"b'tselem Elokim" [in G-ds image] and is not intended be taken as the literal
totality of the description of creation?

Shana Tova--Bernie R.


End of Volume 58 Issue 86