Volume 59 Number 65 
      Produced: Tue, 26 Oct 2010 14:43:12 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A good way to learn mishnah? 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
A punctuation question 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Discussing intelligence at Shalosh Seudos and a sense of humor 
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
Girls (2)
    [Batya Medad  Orrin Tilevitz]
Halacha for Special agents (2)
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
Hechsher on the Label (2)
    [Shayna Kravetz  Michael Rogovin]
Inviting deceased relatives to a wedding 
    [Aliza Silverstein]
Prohibition of entering a church 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Special Agents / Women and Language (2)
    [Leah S.R. Gordon  Orrin Tilevitz]
The end of Kedusha 
    [Haim Snyder]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 18,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

In MJ 59#57, David Ziants replied to my points:

> Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote (MJ 59#56) a
> response which I do not find comfortable, especially as it presents
> initial reactions that are negative and not at all in line with the
> facts. I thus feel that I have to answer each of his points:-

That was my *initial* reaction especially since you said your daughter
did not like it.

>> The tune (is it "v'karaiv pezurainu"? - I couldn't get anything to
>> play at the link) is probably too fast - and bouncy too maybe - for
>> any kind of comprehension. Which probably doesn't matter to the

> Correct. The first mishna is the tune to this. Each mishna has a
> different tune.
> I am sorry that your access to the web page did not go so well. Do you
> judge everything that does not give you good web access, badly?

No, I don't. I don't think I use the best computers anyway. At worst,
I would only judge the web site badly - but then I had to go on what
you wrote. It sounded bad.

>> The first thing I thought is: they start Torah off with Pirkei Avos?
>> That can be described as the sacred scripture of Reform Judaism. It
>> may tell you something about the school's Torah learning.

> Has V'Shalom [G-d forbid]!
> A school that insists, for even its first grade girls, socks up to
> "here" and sleeves down to "there", is far from the label that is being
> given in your response.

I didn't know this, but that would not establish anything because we
are talking here about Hashkofeh [outlook on life --Mod.], not practice.

DZ> Do you think that first grade girls should be learning Baba Metzia
DZ> [name of one of the tractates that talks about technical/legal
DZ> monetary matters]?

Of course not! Nobody should. It says in Pirkei Avos - 10 years old for
Mishnah, 15 years old for Gemorah. Ten-year-old boys should not really be
studying gemorah. At least not more than general exposure. Let them
learn the Mishnah - the basic rules. Later on you can deal with the
complications. How can someone attempt to teach complications before
the basic details are understood?

What they should be learning maybe is the Siddur or Chumash or maybe
Bircas HaMazon. That's where you start. This what you have here does
not strike me as a logical program of instruction with a goal.

> In any case, if the Reform learn about "Moshe receiving the Torah
> from Sinai", maybe they are not such apikorsim [unbelievers in the
> Divine revelation] as they make us "frummers" [a derogatory usage of a
> Yiddish word irreligious people sometimes use for religious people]
> think they are!!

I think what they really like is the sayings of Hillel and I don't
think they so much study it, as quote from it. I think it would be fair to say
that they don't quote things from Tanach very much.

What they really like from Hillel is "What is hateful to yourself
don't do to others" and "If I am not for myself, who should be for me,
and if I am only for myself, what am I, and if not now, when."

>> school, since it isn't interested in comprehension anyway and it is
>> not treating it like something that is supposed to be understood.

> Exactly the opposite. A lot of classroom activity, so 6 and 7 year olds
> can understand the mishnah pretty well.

No, that doesn't help to understand it. That just uses up a lot of
time. That sounds like the school is covering the least amount of
ground with the most amount of effort. It's maybe all right to do so,
but don't call this studying Mishnah exactly.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 24,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: A punctuation question

Elazar M. Teitz said (MJ 59#59):

> The very last Tosafos [Talmudic commentary] in Maseches [Talmudic tractate]
> M'nachos brings both opinions, and does not decide between the two. The Gr"a
> in his commentary to Shulchan Aruch prefers the first version.

Actually Tosfos does decide (by implication). At least anyway, Tosfos tells you
what the majority position is. Tosfos is clearly siding with the first way of
saying it, or at least indicating the second way is a minority practice.

The Tosfos does not have a "yesh omrim" for the first possibility, but says
instead simply that that's what we say. If the two sides were equal, there
would be the words "yesh omrim" for both possibilities, as there is for the two
ways of explaining Rav Gidal's statement about Micha'el.

Although, if there is  no difference in the *wording* of the two nusachs (which
I didn't realize at first, thinking that words yesh omrim that occur later in
the Tosfos meant there had to be something different being said so that there's
no reason for a yesh omrim after the words "B'shemonah Esrei B'avodah, because
the difference can also be a different way of saying it and the dispute is over
HOW you say it)  it is still true that the fact that there is only one yesh
omrim in the Tosfos means the first position is standard. If Tosfos meant that
both versions were equally valid, there'd be two yesh omrims after the first
quotation, i.e.  it would say: Some say V'Ishai Yisroel is linked to what is
before it, and some say V'Ishai Yisroel is linked to what is after it.

Now there's another issue. This whole thing is a big mistake. There never was a
problem with the brachah. Both ways of understanding it are wrong, and Nusach
Sephard (with the additional of theword Mehareh) makes clear what the
brachah means.


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 25,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Discussing intelligence at Shalosh Seudos and a sense of humor

In thread "Halakha for Special Agents" (MJ 59#60), Russell Hendel wrote:

> Third:  Even Rabbis can have light moments. Say at Shalosh seudos, some
> people are discussing intelligence. Maybe someone said something in a light
> moment. That doesn't mean they would pasken that way. Of course, if women
> were around it would be offensive but I think some women on this list should
> get used to the fact that men do make such remarks and if they are not made
> in a woman's presence in a light atmosphere I wouldn't object (Personally I
> never make such comments but I will not impose my frumkeit (religiosity) on
> other people).

Russell, you shock over-emotional me! The above makes me see you in a whole 
new and not so flattering light. Which intelligence are you talking about  
here? Male intelligence or Mossad actions? Seems to me if it's male  
intelligence, we are talking about total lack of it.

Why should we get used to the idea that men can make stupid sexist remarks
about women at ANY forum -- whether we are there or not? That has ZERO to 
do with frumkeit, everything to do with hypocrisy -- think Carl Paladino and 
the emails he sent around....So if you don't insult them to their faces, you  
can insult women (gays, Jews, Goyim, whoever) behind their backs and make 
fun of them? Is that any way to treat any fellow humans?

Ask any gentile who has been sued for sexual harassment how it feels. 
Being a man doesn't excuse being crude and rude. We have wars because of men
who suffer from testosterone poisoning and ego mania...why should we women 
let men be less than the best they can be and do so at our own expense?

Do you really mean, Russell, that if you are frum and male it's ok to be a 
male chauvinist pig and we women should be used to it by now? 

I am 63 and I will never, ever get used to it or excuse it. And it has  
nothing to do with religion and everything to do with basic human decency. 
If you insult people behind their backs, even in jest, it basically means you
have no respect for them and that they are fair game for bullying and  

Jeanette  Friedman  


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Girls

David Ziants <dziants@...> wrote (MJ 59#64):

> Even when some of these girls are married, they would still naturally
> feel part of the same collective of their framework, and would not take
> offence.
> In England, my mother, z"l, even into middle age, would refer to the
> "girls" of her Wizo group or the "girls" who worked with her in the
> solicitor's office.

Between "the girls" we're girls, but when a man refers to grown women, 
middle-aged women and older as "girls" he's being sexist and insensitive.
fishtande vu?

And translation is not math.  One must think for the right broader meaning.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Girls

In MJ 59#64, David Ziants writes:

> Although in the end this is not relevant for the responsa on sting operations
> as the author used the term "isha" [woman]>

Actually, the author in question uses the term "bnot yisrael" in the second
line, and in his conclusion uses the term "yisraelit". The term "bnot yisrael",
though, while it can mean "girls", is used in the Talmud as a collective term
for for observant women, as in "bnot yisrael hechmiru al atzman". And while the
author also does use the term "isha", in the halachic/academic context in which
the author is operating, that term is more correctly translated as "female". 

But otherwise I agree with David's post.


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 22,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Halacha for Special agents

Russell J Hendel wrote (MJ 59#64):

> Rav Shvat does cite many sources. I disagree on three methodological grounds:
> When push comes to shove the sources cited base themselves on Talmudic texts
> which base themselves primarily on the Ester and Yehudis stories. But it is
> clear that Ester and Yehudis were rape victims. Achasveirosh ORDERED all virgins
> to his harem.

But its unlikely that Esther as a married woman was a virgin so she voluntarily
went to the harem and then voluntarily made herself look nice to be picked as
the queen.

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 24,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Halacha for Special Agents

Over Shabbat I talked to my other daughter, who had Rav Shvat as a teacher three years ago. (First daughter had him 6 years ago.) Daughter #2 reported that R. Shvat had told them that a former student of his, a beautiful American-born female, had been approached by the Mossad about such a mission, and she had asked him, her former teacher, for halachic advice. So whatever R. Shvat says in the article, it doesn't seem to have been entirely theoretical.


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Hechsher on the Label

In reply to Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> (MJ 59#64):

I am unaware of any explicit policy by OU on the issue of misleading 
labelling.  But the OU is not a general warrant for the moral 
behaviour of the producers of the certified product.  It says: 
What's in this container is kosher, as that is defined by the 
opinions we follow.  Period.

The Conservative movement has begun to pursue the idea of a hechsher 
tzedek (I think that's the name they're using), in which the hechsher 
would certify that the product was produced in consonance with 
halachah on issues such as treatment of workers, treatment of 
animals, etc. and not just ingredients.  I presume that a company 
that engaged in fraud on its consumers would not receive such a 
hechsher on the basis of ona'at dvarim (oppression through words), 
even ignoring the repercussions in civil law of such behaviour.  But 
that is not what a normative hechsher purports to certify.

Last, as anyone who watches the kashrut announcements knows, there's 
enough accidental mislabelling to explain Orrin's experience without 
any malign intent by the maker or mistake by Orrin.  I receive the 
email alerts from the local kosher authority (COR) and every week or 
two there's a note referring to some certified product saying, "Don't 
use X" or "Y should be treated as dairy" because of mislabelling.

Kol tuv,

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 21,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Hechsher on the Label

Orrin Tilevitz asks (MJ 59 #64):

> what would happen if the OU (or, for that matter, another supervisory
> organization) found out that a label was false -- a lie; not that
> the label doesn't mention added ingredients that the government didn't
> require it to list -- but the ingredients that it should have listed were
> kosher?

This was, I think, precisely the issue with Beechnut back in the 1980s.
Beechnut Apple Juice (OU) was actually a mix of water and sugar, no apples
were harmed in the making of this mislabeled product. There were no unkosher
ingredients. AFAIK, the OU never stated whether they knew of the fraud and
stayed silent since no kosher rules were broken (query as to whether that
makes the OU a party to fraud or whether they have a ethical duty to report
such fraud), or if they, like the FDA, were fooled (which would say
something about their level of supervision). After the Agri scandal, I
believe the OU took a position on how they would handle non-kashrut-related
legal violations that they are aware of, though I could not find this on
their Web site.


From: Aliza Silverstein <lsilverstein@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 22,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Inviting deceased relatives to a wedding

I remember seeing the following statement (or something to its effect) on a
wedding program -  if one really wishes, one can invite deceased relatives to a
wedding and they will attend. Does anyone have a citation for this?  

Aliza M. Silverstein


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 22,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Mark Steiner wrote in MJ 59#55:

> Chana (MJ 59#51) argues as follows: it is true that the Tosafot and Rishonim
> hold that wax candles lit as part of a worship service are forbidden to be
> used if blown out by a Jew (if the priest himself blows them out, this might
> be called "bitul" [nullification] of the prohibition).  Yet Tosafot to 50
> a/b rule that the loaves ("wafers"?) that are offered during a Christian
> service are permitted.  Given the obvious sacrificial nature of the mass
> ceremony, which Chana explains in detail, and the law that "tikrovet"
> (sacrificial offerings) are strictly forbidden (and in fact the wafer can be
> regarded as the flesh of their divinity itself, and therefore an a.z), one
> needs to explain this heter.  Chana concludes that the Tosafot on 50 a/b
> were written by scholars who believed that Christianity is not idolatry for
> Gentiles, and thus the loaves were not sacrificed to a.z.  To the question:
> why then are the candles (so long as they do not undergo bitul by the
> priest) forbidden, Chana replies that Tosafot are not talking about
> Christianity at all, but about another 13th century religion which was
> indeed idolatry.  Or if they are talking about Christianity (since Chana
> understands that there is zero evidence for such a 13th century religion
> outside Christianity), this is not the mass: the mass is not a.z., lighting
> candles on candlemas is.

I've bene doing a lot of research on this. Nobody is understanding the
Tosafos right. The loaves are not from the Eucharist and the candles
were gifts that had been lit and then they turned around and sold them.


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Special Agents / Women and Language

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 59#62):

> I should point out that the article being referenced is in Hebrew and
> would therefore not have the usage difference of "girls" and "women"
> as in the English. There are also usages of the term "girls" that are
> different from the connotation "children" and would not be an insult
> in the context being discussed. I would suggest that we treat this
> particular issue as similar to the the word "pants" in British and
> American usage and make the appropriate mental "translation" to the
> connotation that was meant by the writer.

I did not see the article; did it use "nashim"?  Did it use "banot"?  The
fact remains that it is appropriate in a Modern English analysis [and I was
referring to Orrin's comments and not to the original article] to use the
word "woman" for an adult female.  Aside from the presumption that the
writer should accord respect instead of infantilizing one's subject, in this
case there is a creepy pederastic thing going on to use the word "girls".

And please remember, everyone - this "honeypot" business is less about sex
than it is about violence.  I don't care how promiscuous a person might be
in her own life; it doesn't make her a happy volunteer to be a rape victim.
And, though usually we disagree, I agree with Russell in this case that to
engage with a terrorist in sexual relations, under risk of death/torture the
whole time, is to be raped.

Rape is violence, with sex organs as the weapons.  It may be needed in a
war, but it needs to be contextualized.  It's far too easy to imagine some
James Bond (though I liked "Irving Bond"'s joke!) film with the dangerous
woman in black fishnet stockings.  But the reality is much grimmer.

I thought I wouldn't ask about this, but ok I will:  Has anyone investigated
using MEN (or by some of you, "boys") for "honeypot" sting operations?
Either with female terrorists or, far more likely, with gay male terrorists?

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 19,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Special Agents / Women and Language

In MJ 59#61, Leah S.R. Gordon wrote:

> In MJ 59#60, Orrin Tilevitz quotes me as saying that one should not refer
> to grown women as "girls," as well as other comments, and then states:
>> I have said this before, but it would be really helpful if people read
>> posts before they commented on them. As for Leah's comments, they should be
>> directed to Rav Schvat, not me.
> This is an unfair accusation ("not reading")...

I am astounded and appalled by this and the rest of Ms. Gordon's ad-hominem 

In MJ 59#55 (thread "Halacha for Special Agents"), responding to a post on Rav 
Schvat and honeypots, I quoted, _placed within quotation marks_, a statement by 
my daughter about a class she had attended with Rav Schvat in which, she said, 
Rav Schvat had stated that nonreligious girls should preferentially be used on 
honeypot missions if they were necessary. Ms. Gordon proceeded to attribute Rav 
Schvat's opinion, as well as my daughter's use of the term "girls," to me. She 
did this even though this passage was plainly within quotation marks. In short, 
she hadn't read what she was commenting on.

> And you, in addition to Rav Schvat or anyone else, should please refrain from
> language that objectifies women, as in "it is better to use [people]".

This is particularly offensive because personally I am troubled about the
preferential use of nonreligious girls for this work if, _as Rav Schvat
concludes in his published paper_, it is halachically permissible for women to
engage in it. In other words, this language was not mine, and that was 100%
clear in my post. (I did not see any reference in the paper to the preferential
use of nonreligious females, although I was reading quickly.)

Also, Ms. Gordon cannot possibly have any idea what words Rav Schvat used in
that class. For all she knows, it could have been bachurot, which could have
been translated girls. It could have been the English word girls. For that
matter, it could have been nashim or women. 

Ms. Gordon continues:

> [This is an unfair accusation ("not reading") especially in light of
> the fact that] Orrin goes on to do exactly what I asked him not to,
> in his own words: ...

I plead guilty to using my daughter's words.

> Orrin, let me be more clear: You, in addition to Rav Schvat or anyone else,
> should please be aware that "woman" is the proper term for any female old
> enough to be using her sexuality, going on Mossad missions, etc.

I will gladly forward Ms. Gordon's opinion to my daughter, although I would 
inform Ms. Gordon that my daughter does not take well to being bullied and that 
I do not view Ms. Gordon as the arbiter of proper language on M-J. 

It is a pity that Ms. Gordon evidently does not believe in citing sources, for
her argument would have been marginally stronger had she pointed out that
according to various midrashim, Esther was perhaps 40, perhaps 74 (the gematria
of Hadassah), or perhaps 80 when she became queen. By the same token, the Megila
identifies the candidates for queen as naarot, which Chazal generally understood
to be females between the age of 12 and 12 1/2.


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 25,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: The end of Kedusha

In Nusah Ashkenaz, after every kedusha and in Nusah Sfard, after kedusha for
musaf, we say "l'dor vador nagid gawdlecha." instead of "ata kadosh.". I've
looked in "World of Prayer" by Rabbi Dr. Elie Munk and in Dr. Joseph H.
Hertz's "Daily Prayer Book" and found nothing relating to this. Has anyone
heard an explanation?

Haim Shalom Snyder


End of Volume 59 Issue 65