Volume 59 Number 03 
      Produced: Wed, 25 Aug 2010 01:47:08 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

    [Mail-jewish team]
"Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality  (3)
    [Lisa Liel]
A techinah [domestic prayer] for our era? 
    [Leah S.R. Gordon]
Dishwashers (2)
    [Martin Stern  Chana]


From: Mail-jewish team
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject:  Administravia

There have been a few comments that Melech Press's referring to an "expert"
as an "ignoramus and a fool"  (MJ 58#98) was language that they would have
hoped would be unacceptable on MJ.

While we sympathise with these comments, we feel that, on balance, though
Melech's language was somewhat intemperate, it was not entirely
inappropriate when referring to an anonymous "expert". It would have been a
different matter if the expert had been named and referenced so that
others could check his/her views in context.

Using unnamed sources is as much an unfair debating technique as rubbishing
their credentials as done by Melech.


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality 

On Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 11:01 PM, Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> 
wrote (v59n01):

>a) I believe that practicing homosexuals can repent;

So I take it you're retracting your statement that gay *orientation* 
requires repentance?


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

On Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> 
wrote (MJ v59n2):

>Lisa Liel <lisa@...> stated in mail-Jewish Vol.58 #98:
>> Homosexuality is not an illness, and there is absolutely nothing in 
>> Judaism that says it is.
> The practice of homosexuality is referred to in halakha as mishkav 
> zakhur and is a very serious infraction of Torah law.  So it can 
> rightfully be called a sin.

No, sir.  Mishkav zachor refers to anal sex between men.  I assure 
you that I have never engaged in such a thing (obviously), and yet I 
am homosexual.  Acts are forbidden.

> While the psychiatric community (for, among other reasons, political
> correctness) has removed homosexuality from its lists of illnesses, there
> is still a minority of mental health professionals who not only classify
> this as an illness, but also claim to have positive results in their
> treatment of such individuals.

I hear this claim very often.  Yes, it is true that there was a big 
political fight about removing homosexuality from the diagnostic 
manual as an illness.  But the issue isn't so much why it was removed 
as why it was ever in there in the first place.  There was never any 
scientific rationale given for including it; only primitive, 
pre-scientific prejudices.  The extent of the fight when removing it 
from the DSM says much more about the ingrained prejudice that fought 
having it removed than anything else.

> See the following description of the politics involved in 
> reclassifying the pathological nature of homosexuality
> http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html :
> "In 1973, the weight of empirical data, coupled with changing social 
> norms and the development of a politically active gay community in 
> the United States, led the Board of Directors of the Psychiatric 
> Association to remove homosexuality from the Diagnostic and 
> Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Some psychiatrists who 
> fiercely opposed their action subsequently circulated a petition 
> calling for a vote on the issue by the Association's membership. 
> That vote was held in 1974, and the Board's decision was ratified."

Do you know what empirical data is?

> Clearly, the majority, who do not regard the practice of 
> homosexuality as treatable, are not going to try to treat it.  Hence 
> the relatively low number of reports of successfully treated ex-homosexuals.

It isn't that it's a low number.  It's a low percentage.  Like 
zero.  There've been cases of bisexuals who had been functionally gay 
becoming functionally straight, but very few of those were due to 
"reparative therapy".

>> That belief is an artifact of late 19th and early 20th century primitive
>> attempts at psychology and psychiatry, and has no place in any discussion
>> about Jewish norms.
>See also http://www.equip.org/PDF/DH055-1.pdf :

Socarides was a quack.  And paranoid, to boot.  He got in a lot of 
trouble when he falsified documents to make it look like the APsaA 
agreed with his views on homosexuality.

>Now I shall duck while all the enlightened PC people here attack.

I assume that any argument contrary to you on this issue will be 
considered a PC attack.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Russell Hendel wrote (MJ 59:01):

> That is called science. Now let us return to homosexuality. Has
> anyone found neurons forcing a person to have a homosexual
> orientation? Has anyone produced a mathematical structure
> accounting for it. Has anyone produced experiments showing
> orientation is hard wired. As far as I know the answer is no
> to all 3 questions!!

I do believe that, in at least some cases, homosexuality is indeed hard-wired,
and in this post I plan to show my evidence why I believe this is so. Some may
choose to dismiss my story as apocryphal, but my understanding of scientific
method is that one only needs a single case in order to prove that something
*can* occur.

About 15 years ago I was on a Jewish discussion group on AOL. The topic of
homosexuality came up. At that time, my belief was that homosexuality was an
"acquired taste"; that is, certain people experimented and found that they
enjoyed homosexual acts, and acted accordingly. Other people - Jewish but not
observant - tried to convince me that it could be hard-wired. They tried hard to
convince me, but it was like they were speaking another language. I truly tried
to understand what they were saying, but we reached an impasse and both sides
gave up.

Then, a new voice entered the conversation. He described himself as a frum
yeshiva guy; he spoke my language. I found that I could relate to him easily,
and I felt he was sincere. He wrote about his pre-teen and teenage years in an
all-male yeshiva, and about how difficult it was to concentrate on his prayers,
when he was on the male side of the mechitza in shul. He found some shuls where
no women attended services during the week, and preferred to go to the women's
section of such shuls, so that he could pray with the minyan, and not be
distracted by them.

I have memories of when I was five and seven and ten years old. I remember
several times when I (and my younger brother) came across a copy of Playboy
magazine. We knew (somehow) that it was socially acceptable to be attracted to
the pictures and to giggle at them. The odd thing, though, is that my body
reacted to those pictures as well. This was well before I knew anything about
the biology of boys and girls or birds and bees. Yet my body did react, and
instinctively so. To me, the inescapable conclusion is that I was hard-wired to
be attracted to females.

But I did not reach that conclusion until after I got to know this guy on AOL.
He spoke about the thoughts that went through his mind --- no, scratch that. It
wasn't thoughts in his mind, it wasn't that clearly defined. Rather, he spoke
about the feelings that went through his body. They were feelings that I
understood and could easily relate to. But while I had those feelings around
girls, he had those exact same feelings around boys.

He spoke about how those feelings were difficult enough in an all-men yeshiva or
shul, but were amplified so much at the gym and at the pool. Certain body types
affected him more than others. But girls didn't affect him at all. He understood
what his rabbis taught him about the distractions of looking at improperly
dressed women, and he was astute enough to realize that he was in a real
minority. He was the exception to the rule, because while most men are attracted
to women, he was attracted to men.

And, most importantly for this post, he reached these conclusions before ever
having any sort of improper contact with a man; it was all visual and social and
emotional. Just as I was turned on by women before I ever had any real knowledge
of what a woman is, so too was he turned on by men. It was not an "acquired
taste" for either of us.

That is my understanding of the concepts of "hard-wired homosexual" and
"hard-wired heterosexual", and why I believe that they are real.

NOTE: The only purpose of this post is to illustrate why I believe that this one
individual was "hard-wired" for same-sex attraction. I do not mean to suggest
that he had *only* same-sex attraction; it is possible that he was attracted to
women also, but to a much smaller degree. I also don't want to speculate on
whether or not he might have been able to work on himself, and possibly have a
successful relationship with a woman. And I certainly don't want to suggest that
*all* homosexuals are hard-wired in this manner; it is certainly possible that
for some it is indeed an "acquired taste".

Akiva Miller


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: A techinah [domestic prayer] for our era?

In the dishwasher discussion, I was reminded of something.  I hope it won't
damage my angry-feminista cred. too much when I say that every time I run my
dishwasher, or washing machine, or dryer, or answering machine, or any of my
host of household robots, it is a spiritual experience for me.

I can't push the "on" button without thinking, "thank you God for taking me
out of Egypt and sparing me hard labor when I accomplish these tasks!"  I
really believe that God enabled the invention of labor-saving devices, and that
they free people, statistically more often women, to accomplish more intellectual
and practical things in life.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Dishwashers

Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...> wrote (MJ 59#01):

> David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 58#99):
>> In response to Chana - MJ 58#84:
>> ...
>> 4-Washing the dishes at home is tircha (exertion). Washing the dishes in a
>> Yeshiva for 200 bachurim is tircha yeteira (great exertion).
> Hm.  So if young, strong, not-otherwise-occupied men would be washing the
> dishes in some kind of organized rotation, *that* is more of an exertion
> than the wife in the kitchen washing a family/guests-worth of dishes?  (I
> assume here that unlike in my family, it does in fact fall on the wife much
> of the time in y'all's households - I base this on statements from M.J'ers
> implying that their wives usually shoulder household burdens.)

In this case I fear Leah has let her feminism lead her astray. Obviously the
Yeshiva in question employed staff to wash the dishes and it was to avoid
their tircha yeteira (great exertion) that the ruling was given.

Martin Stern

From: Chana <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Aug 24,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Dishwashers

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> writes:

> 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,
> the heating element and the incandescent light.

Well, I would have put it, that it is not a psik reisha at all.  Psik reisha
v'lo yamut means [talking about a chicken] when you cut off its head will it
not die?  Ie is it not inevitable?  The usual example of psik reisha is, for
example, somebody dragging a bench (because they want to use the bench
elsewhere) from one place to another but inevitably and as part of the
dragging process causing a furrow in the ground.  Here there is no such
inevitability, as there is plenty of time for somebody else to come open the
door of the dishwasher, preventing the heating element being activated.  As
I said in my previous post, I think this is more usually characterised as

It is also of course noteworthy that had the dishwasher not been touched all
shabbas, the heating element and any incandescent light (are there any, most
dishwashers I know have LEDs if any lights at all) would have come on
nevertheless (albeit that there may have been no dirty plates that got
washed).  So that, when somebody opens the door and then shuts it, in fact
all that is being done is that it is being returned to the state of
preparedness that it was already bein hashmashos.

> This is really a case of Echad noten hakdera (one puts the pot on the
stove (and one lights the fire))
> MB253:100,  SSK12:35

The case of Echad shofet et hakadera [Beitza 34a], is indeed applied here by
some poskim, including the SSK.  

The Braita says there - One brings the fire and one brings the wood and one
places the pot and one brings the water and one adds the spices and one
stirs they are all liable [chayav], but it was taught [in another Braita]
the last is liable [chayav] and the rest are exempt [patur].  This is not
difficult this [the first] Braita is talking about where the fire was
brought first, and this [the second] is talking about where the fire is
brought last. 

Now there appears to be a machlokus rishonim as to whether in fact when it
says patur here (ie in the case where the fire was brought last), it means
patur aval assur [it is exempt from a korban, ie not a d'orisa, but it is
forbidden drabbanan] or whether in fact means patur and muter [completely
permitted].  This appears to result in, at least from Rav Ovadiah's
writings, yet another machlokus between Ashkenazim and Sephardim (the Rambam
only brings two of these as being liable, and ignores the rest, suggesting
that he holds that what they did was permitted and it seems that Rashi holds
that in the earlier cases it was patur and mutar].  However the Trumat
HaDeshen in siman 66 brings this Braita to prohibit a Jew from taking a pot
on Shabbat of which had been stored in an oven and placing it on the top of
the oven, knowing that a non Jew was going to come and then light the oven
(although note that he did permit the non Jew to take out the pot and place
it on top before she lit the oven, in circumstances where the oven was being
lit to provide heating in cases of extreme cold).  And the Rema in Orech
Chaim siman 253 si'if 5 brings this ruling of the Trumat HaDeshen, and hence
by implication holds by this understanding of the Braita (the Mishna Brura
reference you brought merely explains this).  

However, it should be noted that the dishwasher case is an extension over
the Trumat HaDeshen's extension which is already and extension of the
Braita, even if the Braita is understood to be saying that the one who
brings the empty pot and places it on a place where somebody else is going
to come and light a fire on Shabbat is violating a rabbinic prohibition.
Because in the case of the Braita, there are two acts taking place on
Shabbat (the placing of the pot and the lighting of the fire).  The second
one is clearly a violation of Shabbat (from the Torah), and the first one
while otherwise a permitted act, could be understood to be rabbinically
banned because he was taking advantage of (and aiming to get benefit from)
his knowledge of a coming Shabbat violation.

The Trumat HaDeshen's case is an extension, because while there are indeed
two acts on Shabbat, the second one, that was done by the non Jew, was
permitted.  On the other hand, it was only permitted because of the extreme
cold, it would not have been permitted for the Jew to place the pot and for
the non Jew to put on the fire in order to cook the pot (unless the food was
intended for a sick person) and indeed if the non Jew had put on the fire in
order to cook the pot, the food would be forbidden, rabbinically, until the
time it took for such food to cook after Shabbat.  Thus there is a certain
intuitive logic to say that the fact that the non Jew lit the fire in order
to heat the house should not allow the cooking of food as a by-product, and
what is some ways is more interesting is the heter if the non Jew does all
of the actions involved.

Now the dishwasher case is an extension again.  Because here there is only
one act on Shabbat, that of the person closing the dishwasher door, and that
is and of itself not a melacha.  While the dishwasher may go on at a later
time due to the timer, we do not hold like Beis Shammai that our utensils
cannot work for us on Shabbat, and the only other act vis a vis the
dishwasher is the setting of the timer, which took place on erev Shabbat.
So this is not a case of an act done in anticipation of a shabbas violation,
nor even of an act done in anticipation of an act done on shabbas by an non
Jew in a way that may have been permitted but which has necessary
consequences which if intended would not have been permitted.  It is an act
done in the knowledge of what has already been set up from erev shabbas.

So I don't think it is that hard to see whywhile some people might feel that
the Trumat HaDeshen/Rema's case is extendable to the dishwasher, as the SSK
does, and yet others might feel that we should not extend it that far.

Note an additional factor in the case of a dishwasher is the question about
what melacha is involved.  If you hold like the Chazon Ish that completing a
circuit is boneh [building], then yes you have an analogous case to that of
cooking. But if you hold that in fact completing a circuit is less than
that, given that my guess is that most dishwashers if they have lights at
all, have LED lights, you may be talking about a derabbanan, at most, even
for the direct action.  So then you would have at most an extension of a
rabbinic ban to a situation of a possible rabbinic ban.

> 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

I am not sure what Shulchan Aruch and Rema you are intending to quote here,
I do not have a Rema on 245:5.

There are at least three different cases here (and that is before we get
into the question of use: the dishwasher "uses" hot water, but so too do
most heating systems at least in the UK, which tend to be heated via  timer
- and there people tend to say, well if you can get a non Jew to do it, kol
sheken [even more so] a timer controlled heating system), although I tend to
agree with you, I think the SSK would forbid all of those related to food in
any case.  But it is worth enumerating them.

a) water which is heated by way of a time clock on a construction that would
not be deemed garuf v'katum [lit: raked and covered but it is a technical

b) water which was placed on a cold blech or shabbas platter (depending on
your view of a shabbas platter) before Shabbat, so in fact no action at all
was done by a human being on Shabbat;

c) water which was placed on a cold blech or shabbas platter on Shabbat, and
where the time clock then came on.

The last is the one most analogous to the Trumat HaDeshen/Rema case.

An even more interesting case is that of b), because it is hard to see how
anybody could analogise echad shofet et hakedera when no placing on shabbas
is taking place at all.  The Tzitz Eliezer argues that one should not do it,
as a gezera [rabbinical fence] lest one come to do this on Shabbas.  Rav
Ovadiah is not very keen on this reasoning (arguing that we are not
permitted to institute new gezeros).  In addition, the Tzitz Eliezer argues
that the prohibition of doing it on shabbas is not so much because of echad
shofet but rather lest one come to stir it (Rav Ovadiah doesn't agree with
this either, see Yabiat Omer volume 10 Orech Chaim siman 26).
> 3-Most commercial dishwashers do not have a door but have an open line
> through which the dishes go through.

I confess I am having trouble visualising this, but this may be because I
have never seen it.  I am imagining a sort of conveyor belt and a kind of
dish car wash, but I can't quite see how that works.  Are the dishes placed
in/near the dishwasher before it starts working, or once it begins to work?
If the former, how does one fit 200 dishes on the conveyor belt?  If the
latter, are then not other issues.

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

Unless of course each Yeshiva bachur washed his own ... 

> David Tzohar


Chana Luntz


End of Volume 59 Issue 3