Volume 58 Number 99 
      Produced: Tue, 24 Aug 2010 04:02:50 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Abnormal People and Women 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Changing one's seat during availus (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Martin Stern]
Changing the world 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
domestic dishwashers on shabbat 
    [David Tzohar]
even more jewish homosociality? 
    [Prof. Reuben Freeman]
    [Aryeh Frimer]
Get suggestion 
    [Batya Medad]
Is Minyan Biblical or Rabbinic 
    [Robert Schoenfeld]
Jeanette Friedman  
    [Russell J Hendel]
Kaporot with chickens and darekei emori 
    [Michael Goldrich]
Reish Lakish (2)
    [N. Yaakov Ziskind  Menashe Elyashiv]
To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 
    [Akiva Miller]
Using Subsequent Editions 
    [Shayna Kravetz]
Women saying Kaddish 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal People and Women

Chi (Charles) Halevi on "Abnormal people and women too" writes MJ 58#97 that:

> women are almost never permitted to be witnesses in a bayt deen (ecclesiastic
> court) -- and are lumped together with deaf peopel, idiots/mentally handicapped
> people and children when it comes time to testify. 
But this article: http://www.daat.ac.il/encyclopedia/value.asp?id1=3589 
notes the instances that a woman can testify including one of the most
severe spheres of Halacha, the permitting of a married woman to remarry
by releasing her from aginut (status of unknown fate of her husband as
dead or alive); being also able to provide but one testimony when
usually two are required such as kashrut of food, shechita, niddah,
etc.; yibbum and chalitza (levirate marriage and undoing of same);
martial relations; testifying if another woman taken captive was raped
or not; attesting to whether a young girl has become an adult; and
whether possessions belong to their owners.

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From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Changing one's seat during availus

Yisrael Medad (MJ58#96) notes: 

> no one mentioned that the seat change should be backwards, not 
> forwards in the synagogue seating plan.

When my father was in aveilut, he changed his seat and noted to me that he
was moving to a row farther back in order to be farther away from the aron
kodesh.  So when I was in aveilut for him I did the same, although I
couldn't find (though I looked) anything in print saying to do this.  But as
is often the case, being in a new situation I began to notice things that I
had never noticed before, and what I noticed in my shul was that while most
men in aveilut did change their seat in shul, most did not move farther away
from the aron kodesh; some made a lateral move while many moved closer. 

Joseph Kaplan

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Changing one's seat during availus

Carl Singer <carl.singer@...> wrote (MJ 58 #97):

> Yisrael Medad (MJ 58#96) notes:
>> no one mentioned that the seat change should be backwards, not forwards in
>> the synagogue seating plan.
> I would add that some also prescribe a minimal distance from their normal
> seat.

If I recollect correctly, this should ideally be about 4 amot (6 feet/2
meters). Also re Yisrael's comment, IIRC, one moves sideways away from the
aron hakodesh as well.

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Changing the world

Stuart Pilchowski kindly attributes to me the statement that:

"If we spent less time trying to make this world a better place to live in,
and more time trying to make ourselves better persons to live with, the
world would be a better place to live in." 

Actually, it's from a book entitled "A Candle by Day" by Rabbi Shraga
Silverstein. I used that quote recently in a small mailing list I have, entitled
"Sometimes Daily Quotes."

Shmuel Himelstein

P.S.  I'm always willing to add people to my list - absolutely no strings
attached. Just drop me a line.


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: domestic dishwashers on shabbat

In response to Chana - MJ 58#84:

1-Activating the microswitch by closing the door is not a classic psik
reisha since there are two stages in doing the melacha. First you close the
door and later the time clock completes closing the circuit, activating the
heating element and the incandescent light. This is really a case of Echad noten
hakdera (one puts the pot on the stove (and one lights the fire)) MB253:100,

2-SSK forbids use of water that was heated on shabbat by use of a shabbat
clock or timer. SSK 1:43, SA245:5 and Rema

3-Most commercial dishwashers do not have a door but have an open line
through which the dishes go through.

4-Washing the dishes at home is tircha (exertion). Washing the dishes in a
Yeshiva for 200 bachurim is tircha yeteira (great exertion).

David Tzohar


From: Prof. Reuben Freeman <freeman@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: even more jewish homosociality?

Perhaps MJ'ers could address the question whether predominantly
homosocial behavior is a desirable and necessary consequence of a Torahni

For those like me who were unfamiliar with this sociological term, homosociality
means same-sex relationships *that are NOT of a romantic
or sexual nature*. It is different from "homosexuality" in that
homosociality need not involve sexual attraction or sexual interaction
between members of the same sex. A heterosexual can certainly have
a homosocial lifestyle.

There are jewish sectors that advocate and follow more and more stringencies
that separate and segregate between men and women. For example, gender
segregation in public transportation.  The declared motivation for increased
jewish homosociality is to facilitate observing certain mitzvoth and to avoid
situations that may slide into violations of prohibitions.   Non-infant
males are educated by males, males are discouraged from unnecessary social
contact (including friendship) with females, male torah learning is in
the exclusive company of males. Male friendships are almost exclusively with
other males, higher education in mixed gender universities is usually off
limits.  There is corresponding but not entirely parallel manifestations of
jewish female homosociality.  Does this tendency to ever-increasing  homosocial
behavior really stem only from  religious motivations? Should tendencies to
increased jewish homosociality be viewed as positive, necessary means for
strengthening Torah ideals?   

If YES, then how are jewish males who develop from early boyhood through
adulthood in an predominantly homosocial environmement (to which there is
attributed an  idealized sanctity) to  function appropriately in increasing
bi-social (social relations involving both sexes) modern society?   

If NO, how can important Jewish values be fostered without increased jewish
homosocial behavior?   Lest I be misunderstand or misrepresented, I am NOT,
even implicitly, advocating or criticizing  here all jewish homosocial
practices (some of which are essential elements our our tradition). The
question is one of degree - is more and more jewish homosociality
inevitable and a positive development or unnecessary and a negative
development or what?  

Since modern society is growing more and more bi-social (for good and  for bad),
if one advocates increasing homosocial practices in the name of  safeguarding
Torah values then how does one prepare a  homosocial jew to function reasonably
in an increasingly bi-social society.  On the other hand, does limiting jewish
homosocial behavior (by not increasing it even more) put at greater risk or even
undermine maintaining important Torah values?



From: Aryeh Frimer <frimera@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: firzogerin

Records show that throughout the Middle Ages, certain women were noted because they led groups of women in prayer.180  This institution continued in Europe, and the female precentor later became known as the firzogerin (foresayer), foreleiner (forereader) or zogerke (female sayer). The latter were generally educated and highly literate women who chanted or sang aloud prayers, Psalms and tehinot (supplications), some of which were original compositions. 

180. See Israel Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, (London: E. Goldston, 1932), p. 26; Shlomo Ashkenazi, HaIsha beAspaklaryat haYahadut, I (Tel Aviv: Zion Press, second edition, 1979), p. 138; Shlomo Ashkenazi, Dor Dor uManhigav (Tel Aviv: Don Press, 1977), pp. 209-210; Emily Taitz, "Women's Voices, Women's Prayers: Women in the European Synagogues of the Middle Ages," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, Susan Grossman and Rivka Haut, eds. (Philadelphia, PA: The Jewish Publication Society, 1992), pp. 59-71; Shoshana Gelerenter-Leibowitz, "Growing Up Lubavitch," in Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue, ibid., pp. 238-242; Shoshana Pantel Zolty, And All Your Children Shall Be Learned: Women and the Study of Torah in Jewish Law and History (Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson, Inc., 1993), pp. 173-176; Macy Nulman, "Prayer and Education in the Life of Jewish Women," Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy 19 (2000); David Sperber [son of R. Daniel Sperber]
 , haNashim haMefallelot leAtsman, De'ot, 11, Elul 5761 (August 2001), pp. 30-33; David Sperber, haNashim haMefallelot leAtsman (Jerusalem: Orhot Press, 2002); David Sperber, "Tefilat Nashim," in Daniel Sperber, Minhagei Yisrael, VII (Jerusalem, Mosad haRav Kook, 5763/2003), pp. 68-81; David Sperber, "Nashim haMitpalelot leAtsman - Ezrat Nashim beAshkenaz beRe'i haUmanut haYehudit," in Lihiyot Isha Yehudiya, II, ed. Margalit Shiloh (Jerusalem, Kolech and Urim Publications, 2003), pp. 361-378; R. Daniel Sperber, Darka shel Halakha - Keri'a Nashim baTorah: Perakim biMediniyyut Pesikat (Jerusalem: Reuven Mas, 2007), pp. 199-202. These volumes cite the epitaphs of Urania of Worms (d. 6 Adar 5025 [1275 C.E.],) who "with sweet tunefulness officiated before the female worshipers to whom she sang hymnal portions"; Rechenza of Nurenberg (d. August 1, 1298), Guta bat Natan (d. 1308), and Dulce of Worms (d. 1238, wife of R. Elazar of Worms, author of the Ma'ase Rokei'ah).

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


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Get suggestion

There are cases of men who after initiating religious, halachik divorce
then refuse to give a get once the wife wants the divorce.  Wouldn't it
be helpful if Batei Din would require men who initiate a divorce to
deposit a get with them as a condition?  The husband must also be
informed that by signing the Ketuba, he has legally pledged $X money to
his wife.  And some legal-financial procedure should be established to
compensate the wife according to Jewish Law, according to the Ketuba. 
This would prevent men from using divorce as a threat.  And yes, the
same can be required from the wife, some sort of legal pledge to accept
the get if she initiates divorce.  Property negotiation should be
separate from the get.

Premarital Jewish counseling by the rabbi should include an
expalnaintion of what the Ketuba, witnessed and signed, really means.
It's a chillul Hashem that the Batei Din don't enforce it.

Batya Medad 
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From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Is Minyan Biblical or Rabbinic

Another reason for ten men is a minyan is that Avraham Avino (Our Father 
Abraham) bargained with HaShem about the destruction of Sodom. The 
bargain got down to ten men but Avraham couldn't even find ten good men 
in Sodom



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Jeanette Friedman 

I thank Meir Shinnar for hitting the nail on the head. Probably not everyone
sympathizes with what Jeanette went through. I think we should.

Sometimes Jeanette's emotionalism gets on my nerves also but that is no reason
to accuse her of not being religious (Did she really say she no longer observes
anything or was it something similar - She just made sheva beracoth for her son
who got married....that is a minor rabbinical commandment...sounds too me like
she observes a great deal!).

As I told Rabbi Teitz the other day - I rarely make things up. In this case I
would like to cite the Chafetz Chaim. He was once in the town bar listening to
someone rant and rave and curse. He asked who the person was. They explained he
was taken into the Russian army as a child (Service was 25 years) and had
recently gotten out. They explained that he was not shomer shabbas and cursed
all day. The Chofetz Chaim was "advised" to ignore him.

The story ends that the Chafetz Chaim went over to him: He introduced himself.
He then said >>My friends tell me you are a saint -- they say you were in the
Russian army for 25 years and your sole expression of resentment are some curses
and descecration of Shabbos. How many people are on such a high level>>  And of
course the person repented. 

Bottom line: I think the people who insulted Jeanette personally should
apologize to her BEFORE they get judged on Rosh Hashana.

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


From: Michael Goldrich <michaelg25@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Kaporot with chickens and darekei emori

On Aug 23, 2010, at 3:59 PM, Mail-Jewish wrote:

Jack Stroh <jackstroh@...> wrote (MJ 58#96):

> We just had a talk in shul about how the Ramban was against using 
> chickens as "Darkei Emori." Does anybody have any details on this? 
> Unfortunaterly, I don't have the source either. Thanks.

His issur was regarding a ceremony for newborns erev yom haKippurim.  Assuming
he wasn't talking about Roman pagan sacrifices or, even less likely, true "Emorite"
practice, I was looking for a contemporary ritual he may have seen among their
Spanish neighbors.  I didn't see a Christian ritual from Spain to explain what
he was experiencing at the time but thought the Islamic ritual of aqiqa (see
below) might be relevant because of the Moorish influence.  The first really
significant Christian defeats of the Moors was around 1212 when the Ramban would
have been 24 though there was some victories by the Christians as early as the
late 11th century.


The aqiqa, which is the ceremony involved in naming the newborn baby is usually
involves a sacrifice of an animal if the parents can afford it. A sheep or cow
is usually slaughtered and the meat is mainly distributed amongst the poor and a
portion is cooked for friends who come to congratulate the parents. This not
only spreads the good news of the baby's arrival but brings prayers for the
health of the newborn from friends and strangers.


From: N. Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Reish Lakish

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote (MJ 58#96):

> You never can prove such things: But the following may be of support: a)
> Homsexuality was common in the Roman underworld b) The physical discussions in
> the river about "looks" sound very peculiar between two naked men, c) if Resh
> Lakish did not threaten him sexually why would Rabbi Jochanan be SO insulted
> many years later as to want him dead.
As I recall (from reading Meam Loez), Resh Lakish told Rabbi Yochanan, 
"Use your good looks for women." Hardly sounds like something a homosexual 
would say.

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Reish Lakish

In MJ 58/98 Russel wrote:

> By coincidence my answer to them was in the same digest. If 10 year olds
> are "being raped and pushed into suicide AND covered up it is our duty to
> expose all" sexual crimes so that people feel comfortable talking about them.

> We had such a story in Baltimore. Apparently one of the former Rosh
> Yeshivas was a child molester. There was I understand a Kiddush club of all
> who had been molested by him as children. They in fact tried to publish this.
> Rabbi Heinemann (who is certainly a respectable person) opposed the
> publication (actually he forbade it). But they went ahead and published it.

I live in a Haredi city. To our shame, stories like this come up many 
times. I know from first source, as my wife works part time in the welfare 
dept. What is worse, is the Rabbis' cover-ups. One family had a son raping 
his sisters. It was a known, covered up, and ended when one sister was 
taken to the hospital, and the police arrested him. I know of an other family
that the father does such things, but nothing is done about it. Two melamdim
(male teachers) teaching the 8th grade  were caught molesting their class boys.
This was also known, covered up, and when the police heard about it, they
arrested them. One of them was a known molester in his former city, the local
Rabbis solved their problem by sending him here. 

BTW, most of the victems dropped out of Yeshiva with in a short time
A story just came up about a teacher in a Haredi moshav, that had been a 
molster for 20 years! But the LOR would not allow going to the police. So 
they made him a fundraiser. He was in the USA when the story came out, and 
of course he never came back here. 

I agree with Russel, it is our duty to expose such things


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew

Meir Shinnar wrote (MJ 58:97):

> However,  what Akiva continues to miss is the following:  Whether
> a particular solution to the problem is appropriate or not may be
> reasonably discussed.  However, what is highly problematic is his
> continued insistence of speaking for those who have a problem -
> claiming that their problem can't be real, or that they should
> look on the "up side".

I apologize if it sounded like I did not believe their problem to be real. That was not my intention. I do understand that some people have real leadership strengths, and other strengths and needs, and I sympathize that they are frustrated in their inability to use those talents. My question (which I still have not heard them answer) was whether or not their negative feelings are dampened (even a little bit) by the privileges they have which men do not have.

> The rule that you can't judge someone until you are in his place
> should be remembered.

Again, I have tried very hard not to judge, but merely to ask whether or not my guesses match their feelings.

Akiva Miller

Obama Urges Homeowners to Refinance
If you owe under $729k you probably qualify for Obama's Refi Program


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Using Subsequent Editions

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> in a note about "Using 
Subsequent Editions" (MJ58#90) wrote about the evolution of Shmirat 
Shabbat ke-Hilchatah's position:

> As I wrote there, he DID include footnotes to explain his reasoning, 
> going from a terse 17 words in 1965, to over 11 lines in 1979. In his
> earlier work, the reasons are very cut-and-dried. But with continued
> learning over the following decade and a half, his later work gives
> reasons both pro and con, and I'm not surprised that his ruling became
> more... well, this is not a very respectful term, but I can't think of
> a better way to say it: His later ruling, which includes logic to be
> strict and also to be lenient, ends up appearing, by comparison, a bit
> "wishy-washy". His agenda was not to be strict, only to be as correct
> as he could be.

Instead of "wishy-washy", perhaps the word Akiva was looking for (but 
had temporarily misplaced) was "nuanced".

Kol tuv and shanah tovah,


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

Russell J Hendel writes in Vol.58 #96:
"The Rav actually (during his lecture on this) mentioned that he personally
studied old prayer books."
But Hendel previously claimed that Kaddish - as a special mourning text - was
instituted during the Crusades.  In the early Crusades, there were no printed
prayer books (until 1486).  Did the Rav study handwritten Siddurim like the
Machzor Vitry?
Moreover, the main textual elements of the Kaddish are Biblical.  The "Yehei
shmeih rabba mevarakh lealam ulalmey almaya, "May His great name be blessed for
ever, and to all eternity",  is the Aramaic translation of "Blessed be the name
of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever", found in the Jerusalem Targum on the
verses at Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4 and Daniel 2:20.  The end of the
Kaddish, "Oseh Shalom...", is at Job 25:1.
And I found this: "Shira Schoenberg observes that "The first mention of mourners
saying Kaddish at the end of the service is in a thirteenth century halachic
writing called the Or Zarua <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Or_Zarua> ."
Nevertheless, other sources claim that the Kaddish for mourners was already
instituted in the Siddur of Rav Amram Gaon (10th century).  In addition, the
story of the wood-carrier in Midrash Tanna D'Bei Eliyahu Zuta Chapt. 17, who met
up with Rabi Yochanan Ben-Zakkai and the requirement that his son say "barchu et
Hashem ha'm'vorach" so that his sinning soul be relieved of Geheinom (a story
found in Masechet Kallah Rabati 2) is viewed as the initial transferrence of the
prayer to serve the purposes of a mourner.  The KolBo as the Beit Yosef remarks
at Yoreh Deah 377 also pins on this story the origin of the Kaddish for mourners.


End of Volume 58 Issue 99