Volume 59 Number 15 
      Produced: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:36:42 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Carrying in an Eruv 
    [Josh Backon]
Entering a church 
    [Josh Backon]
When are MJ Digests produced - Shabbat 
    [Guido Elbogen]
Women Davening (2)
    [<rubin20@...> Chana]


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Carrying in an Eruv

Dr. Mark Steiner wrote (MJ 59 #12):

> Those familiar with the language of the Arukh Hashulhan and his general
> approach will understand that he thinks that women have a perfect right to
> follow their minhag of not davening all the tefillot, once an established
> minhag relies on major rishonim.  (Otherwise, nobody could carry in an eruv,
> since the established minhag to do so contradicts the view of many rishonim
> that one does not need 600,000 travellers daily to creat a "public domain."

   The problem is definition of a public domain (reshut ha'rabim m'doraita).
   The following decisors ruled that a public domain must be 16 amot wide
   (about 24 feet) and 600,000  traverse it daily: Rashi in Eruvin 6a; ROSH
   Eruvin Perek Alef Siman 8; Tosfot Shabbat 64b; RAAVYA Siman 216;
   R. Sar Shalom Gaon in Tshuvot haGeonim  Chemda Genuza Siman 70;
   TUR OC 303 and 325 and 345; Rema;  TAZ OC 345 s"k 6; Magen Avraham
   OC 345 s"k 7; GRA in OC 345 s"k 11; Chayei Adam Klal 49 Din 13.

   The problem? The Rambam didn't require 600,000 people traversing the
   area but any street 16 amot wide is reshut harabim d'oraita.  Ditto
   for the RIF, the Ramban Shabbat 57a; Ramban on Eruvin 59a; the RAN
   Shabbat 57a; Tshuvot haRashba Chelek Alef Siman 724; the Meiri; and
   the RIVASH Siman 7. And that's the consensus in the Bet Yosef TUR
   Orach Chaim 345 as well.

   That's why Sefardim don't "hold by" the eruv.

   Josh Backon


From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Entering a church

Jeanette  Friedman wrote (MJ 59#12):

> I had to attend her funeral service in a black church in Bed-Stuy. I also
> had to attend the funeral service for the guard who was murdered at the
> door of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in a black church
> in Virginia, and my best friend's mother's funeral in a Catholic cathedral.

As much as I can commiserate with the tragedies of non-Jewish friends,
it is strictly forbidden by halacha to even enter a church. See: TZITZ ELIEZER
XIV 91 who not only prohibits entering a church but also a mosque. See also

The subject is also discussed in the Minchat Chinuch 213.

The source of the biblical prohibition is *meshamshei avoda zara* [things used
for idolatry - MOD] (Talmud Avoda Zara 37b in the Chidushei haRamban). See also
Rambam in his Peyrush Hamishnayot to Avodah Zara 1:1. One is prohibited from
even to come 4 *amot* [6 feet) near a church (see commentators on the
gemara in Avoda Zara 17a). In addition to the above, there is also a prohibition
of *mar'it ayin* [giving the appearance of doing something prohibited - MOD]
where one would assume the person is participating in a church service. One is
biblically prohibited from any benefit whatsoever from *meshamshei avoda zara*.

To reiterate: it is a biblical prohibition of at least 1 (if not 3 items)
to so much as enter a church, even if not in use for services. Needless
to say, participating in a Xtian service even passively is categorically

There is 1 lenient position (in Asei Lecha Rav) that permits entering an
*empty* church that hasn't been used for services for many years (e.g
a museum). And even that is on a need for one's livelihood (e.g. a student
of architecture or art history).

And as for how guests are "greeted" in church, this reminds me of the following

It's the High Holidays. Irving doesn't have an admissions ticket and the usher
adamantly refuses him to enter the shul. Irving says, "I only want to speak to
Murray my business partner who sits in the 3rd row just for 5 minutes". The
usher says, "OK, but DON'T LET ME CATCH YOU PRAYING !!!" :-)

Shana Tova

Josh Backon


From: Guido Elbogen <havlei.h@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: When are MJ Digests produced - Shabbat

The permit to mail letters on Fridays is presumably only relevant in Chutz
LeAretz where the handlers are generally goyim. However if there is a big
chance that the mail will arrive Saturday and opened by a non scrupulous Jew
then presumably it would be a mitzvah to refrain from Erev Shabbat posting
(inclusive of emails!).

In Israel there is no mail delivery on Shabbat but the sorting offices are
sometimes mehallel Shabbat.

Then there was mention that the use of a pre-set Shabbos timer is permitted.
But presumably that is only relevant for turning on lights - since the light
is permitted but not it's manual turning on/off.

However if the timer would be able to sow seeds and then irrigate - would
there not be a problem with that.

The problem raised in the original posting has far reaching consequences in
the commercial arena of the global village.

Does a profit making transaction web site located in the USA serving global
customers all the way from the extreme East to the extreme West and owned
by say a UK based resident, have to close it's portal for approximately 50
hours every weekend?

 All of the above is when the the initiator's actual physical involvement
terminates erev Shabbat, however he is earning profits by both the machine
working on Shabbat and by mehalel Shabbat Jews actively trading?


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 1,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Women Davening

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote (MJ 59#12):

> However, there is a tradition in the Lithuanian world that the Chofetz
> Chayim's son said that his father z"l told his wife that she didn't have
> to daven while raising small children, since doing one mitzvah exempts one
> from another

What he said, as related to me by the Chofetz Chaims grandson is that the 
Mitzva of takeing care of children has priority over the mitzva of davening. 
Not that there is no obligation, but that in the event of a conflict, child 
care has priority. 

From: Chana <Chana@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Women Davening

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> writes (MJ 59#12):

> I am a little offended by the absence of any other but Lithuanian
> poskim -- after all we Galitsyaners, Hungarians, and other proud
> citizens of  Franz Josef's empire, produced the "real" poskim of
> Ashekenaz, the ones that the Mishna Berura doesn't mention. 

Fair enough and indeed there are other opinions.  In Mark Steiner's honour
(although I am somewhat surprised that as a Galitsyaner he is so willing to
be lumped in with Hungarians, but since he does so) I will point out that
the Chatam Sofer not only does not appear to require women to daven, but
holds that it is assur for them to do so during the period of their
menstrual flow (See Chatam Sofer Orech Chaim siman 88 si'if katan 1).  And
indeed even in relation to the Rema's heter [leniency] in Orech Chaim siman
88 si'if 1 (from the Trumat HaDeshen) to allow women to go to shul on the
Yamim Noraim [high holidays] even when having their period because they will
feel sad if everybody else is there and they have to stay outside - the
Chatam Sofer (contrary to the Magen Avraham) argues that while this may
extend to them being permitted into the building, it does not extend to
allowing them to actually pray (see si'if katan 3) [Reminds one of the joke
that I am sure others on this list can tell better than I can, about
somebody who needs to attract the attention of one of the congregants on the
Yamim Noraim at one of these fancy synagogues where admission is only by
expensive ticket, and where after much arguing security at the door only
lets him in with the words "you can go in, but don't let me catch you

[And I will further note that Rav Ovadiah quotes the Chatan Sofer (ie the
Chatam Sofer's grandson) as holding that even according to the Rambam women
need to daven three times a day, although Rav Ovadiah merely dismisses his
argument as not logical)

> The "yeshiva world" has brainwashed all of us.

I agree, but the example given above (not to mention many others, such as
the Chatam Sofer's trenchant position on the requirement for married women
to shave their heads) explains why I confess I am not terribly dismayed by
this.  And, if the matter is dependent upon minhag and what people refer to,
then I am afraid that the minhag today is towards not looking to these
poskim (with, it must be said, the possible exception of the Chatam Sofer
and the R' Akiva Eiger and a couple of others).  

> Codes aside, what did women actually DO?  All the major poskim in
> Ashkenaz state that women did NOT normally daven,

Agreed, and indeed it would seem that the general minhag was not to say any
form of the Shem HaShem, or daven, or go to shul during their period of the
menstrual flow.  Admittedly this minhag was a step too far for the Magen
Avraham (see Orech Chaim siman 88 si'if 2)  (even though he was the one who
provided the justification for women not davening that I discussed in my
previous post) at least in relation to reciting grace after meals and
Kiddush on shabbas - because these obligations are from the Torah.

> After a discussion in which, as Chana says, the Ashkenazic rishonim
> (Rashi and Tosafot) are understood by the Arukh Hashulhan as requiring
> women to daven (even three times a day), as distinguished from Rambam and
> the Rif (all of this is clearly elucidated in Chana's post), he then says
> something, in Rashi script:
> "...And according to this it is difficult to justify the practice of
> our women not to daven three times a day -- according to Rashi and
> Tosaphot, but according to the Rambam and Rif it is fine [proper, all
> right = ati shapir]."
> Those familiar with the language of the Arukh Hashulhan and his general
> approach will understand that he thinks that women have a perfect right
> to follow their minhag of not davening all the tefillot, once an
> established minhag relies on major rishonim. 

I think you are being a little too strong here (although on looking over it,
I certainly was too.  It is interesting, I have always heard the three time
a day obligation being quoted in the name of the Aruch HaShulchan, so I
confess that is what I was expecting when I looked at the words the other
night. And indeed I note that Rav Ovadiah also understands him to be
requiring three times a day davening even according to the shita of the
Rambam, despite rav Ovadiah disagreeing, and Rav Ovadiah further quotes
others as arguing (pushing away with both hands) the position of the Aruch
HaShulchan, suggesting they understood him this way as well.  But I do agree
it is somewhat out of character given his general support for minhag and the
language that I have would support your contention as well).  

But carrying on the discussion above about women's permissibility to say the
HaShem's name and daven during the period of their menstrual flow, at the
end of Siman 88 the Aruch HaShulchan, after quoting the Rema in full and
clarifying (again based on the Magen Avraham) that the permission to go to
shul during their periods commences from the first day of Slichos, he notes:

"and when they go they are able also to pray [l'hitpallel] ... and even in
the days of her period she is obligated to recite the grace after meals
which she is obligated in from the Torah ..."

So what happened to this idea that a woman is obligated to daven once a day
from the Torah?  

That is, the Magen Avraham (and the Aruch HaShulchan following him) appears
to be willing to allow this minhag of women not to recite Hashem's name or
to daven or to go to shul where (but only where) this minhag involves
violating a d'rabbanan (as would be the case with making brachos, for
example) but not where it involves an obligation from the Torah.  If in fact
women are following the opinion of the Rambam and the Rif that davening is
from the Torah, then this too would need to be objected to.  You can't
really have it both ways.  [There are other places as well where it seems to
me that the Aruch HaShulchan makes is clear that the dominant position in
Ashkenaz is to follow Rashi and Tosphos and not the Rif and the Rambam on
the source of tephila, to the extent that the consequences differ, but one
might argue that those other cases are dealing with men, and that women have
a different minhag and rely on different rishonim, which is what makes this
case so on point].

> Otherwise, nobody could carry in an eruv, since the established minhag to
> do so contradicts the view of many rishonim that one does not need 600,000 
> travellers daily to create a "public domain."

This is not a fair comparison.  The need for 600,000 travellers goes beyond
minhag.  It is listed as a yesh omrim [there are those who say] in the
Shulchan Aruch (Orech Chaim siman 345 si'if 7).  That is, the Shulchan Aruch
itself lists the dispute amongst the rishonim as to whether or not one needs
600,000 even if it brings the view that one does not as the stam [ie first
unqualified opinion].

> Typically, the Mishnah Berurah urges his readers to go beyond the minhag
> and not carry in any eruv which includes a wide street. 

Ie what the Mishna Berurah is doing is to urge people not to follow the yesh
omrim of the Shulchan Aruch but rather the stam, and so not surprisingly his
language is softer.  Here there is firstly a tradition (perhaps you could
call it a minhag) in Ashkenaz to take the view that tephila in totality is
d'rabbanan, and secondly, the only basis for leniency is an achronic
derivation which suggests that maybe you can read into the words of the Rif
and Rambam something that up until the achronim nobody had suggested was
there.  It is much easier to take a dim view of the davening case than the
eruv case.

> In other words, what has been omitted in the discussion of "halakhic
> reality" is the concept of historical reality or minhag; we don't assume
> that my grandmother and two thousand years of frum women did something
> wrong by not davening the formal prayers,

This is of course a fascinating aspect - although one does wonder how long
it has really been going on.  Why is it that the first reference (at least
that I am aware of) discussing this is the Magen Avraham in Ashkenaz in the
17th century?  What happened before then?  Why are none of the rishonim
jumping up and down and clarifying this (Tosphos as we know seems more
concerned about women making brochos from which they might be exempt than
the other way around - although there is their reference as to why women do
not make zimun)?  Even in this discussion by the Ravya and the Trumat
HaDeshen regarding women not saying the name of Hashem and davening and
going to shul, why is this not brought in relation to the general question
of women davening and the gemora on Brachos 20?

> just as I assume that my grandfather didn't do anything wrong
> by standing for kiddush (like millions of Galitsyaners)

Again though, this is not really a fair comparison.  The argument for
sitting for Kiddush does not go back to an explicit Mishna and the straight
reading of all the rishonim.  The women davening case is one where the
problem is that the halachic texts going all the way back when and the
practice are so divergent. A better case would be something like clapping
and dancing on shabbas (and in that case too I would say that the halachic
reality is that it is forbidden, although there are numerous limudei zchus).
I am not disputing the need and desire for a limud zechus here.   The issue
was that the original poster posited a "science fictiony" idea - how would
women feel if suddenly they discovered they were actually obligated in three
times a day davening?  Are they not quietly relieved that this is not the
case?  What I was trying to point out is what I called the halachic reality,
rather than the historical reality, is that this science fictiony idea is
actually a fact.

> I will add here that the Arukh Hashulhan didn't mention that actually
> the Rambam changed his mind on women's tefillah. 

No he didn't although Rav Ovadiah does.

> In his Commentary to the Mishnah, Kiddushin 1:7, the Rambam states that
> prayer is a time based commandment and DESPITE THIS FACT, women are
> obligated to pray.  This seems to indicate that he had "our" text, that
> tefillah is "rahamei", so that women are obligated nevertheless.  He lists
> prayer together with other mitzvot like matzah, simcha on festivals,
> hakhel, megillah and hanukkah candles which are time based, but women
> are obligated to do anyway.  He changed his mind in the Mishneh Torah
> and said simply that tefillah is NOT time based -- perhaps he decided to
> emend the text.

Indeed, and like you, Rav Ovadiah just says that there are many cases where
the Rambam says something in his commentary on the Mishna and then changes
his mind in the Mishna Torah, and this is yet another case.  But on the
other hand if one is of the school that prefers harmony to contradiction,
this statement in his commentary on the Mishna could similarly be used to
provide support for a Shagas Arieh type approach - ie the Rambam held that
the essence of tephila was from the Torah and not time bound, but that the
rabbis added a time bound element which they also instituted as applying to
women.  Indeed, the order of the Rambam's listing in interesting:  matza
[d'orisa], simcha on festivals [d'orisa according to the Rambam] hakel
[d'orisa], tephila [arguably under this essentially d'orisa with the time
bound element d'rabbanan], megila [d'rabbanan] and channukah candles

> But, as I said, the Rambam got rid of this word in time to write the
> Mishneh Torah....

So this last has to be said to be supposition.  Perhaps he never had it in
the first place, perhaps he got rid of it, or perhaps he was actually
intending a form of Shagas Arieh type resolution.

> As for R. Ovadia, it might be mentioned that he forbids women from
> making the blessings before and after kriat shema 

Oh quite, and this is again based on a machlokus between the Rambam (as then
followed by the Shulchan Aruch) and the Ashkenazi school as to whether
something is from the Torah or from the rabbis, in this case as to whether
if you say a bracha which does not need to be said you violate an issur
d'orisa [Torah prohibition] or not.  Tosphos says that the reference to an
issur d'orisa in the gemora is an asmachta b'alma [rabbinical support from
the Torah but not carrying Torah weight] and indeed this is one of the key
understandings Tosphos uses need to justify the Ashkenazi practice of women
making brachot on mitzvos such as lulav from which all agree they are

> I have been told, however, that he does not reflect the
> consensus of all the communities from the "Mizrahi" groups.

No he does not, although I am still looking for a written version of the
Chida's dream, which I have been told orally is the source most commonly
cited for the alternative Mizrachi position (and in addition have yet to
find a cite for Rav Ovadiah's apparent response to this which is "lo
b'shamayim he" [it is not in heaven] ie we do not posken from dreams).

> Let me end with a "chumrah" instituted by a woman, which was adopted
> by all the gedolei hador: a story is told about a widow who used to
> daven in R. Yochana's bais medrash in Tiberias.  When he asked her why she
> walked so far when she had a shul next to her house, she answered: but
> what about the reward of pesi`ot (each step towards a shul is itself a
> mitzvah).  R. Yochanan loved this answer, and it was of course published
> in the Talmud as a model for how a person should approach davening. 
> I assume furthermore that if there were no mitzvah for a woman to daven
> in a shul, i.e. public prayer, there would be no concept of the reward of
> "steps."  Thus we see that a woman's prayers are counted as part of the
> tefilah of the minyan, even though she herself is not counted for the minyan.

It is a great reference, but is it clear that she was coming for the
davening, rather than the chance to respond to kaddish (and/or other
blessings) and/or krias haTorah?


Chana Luntz


End of Volume 59 Issue 15