Volume 59 Number 86 
      Produced: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 01:15:14 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Divorces for battered women   
    [Naomi Graetz]
Extent of Rabbinic Authority (3)
    [David Tzohar  David Ziants  Mordechai Horowitz]
    [Michael Frankel]
Halachic sexism (2)
    [Alex Heppenheimer  Perets Mett]
Ho Chi Minh Yeshivot 
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
Levush for missing parts of Aruch Hashulchan (available online) 
    [Dovi Jacobs]
Pikuah-Nefesh on Shabbat 
    [Abe Brot]
Stipends for Torah students 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Was Yael a Soldier? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Naomi Graetz <graetz@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 28,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Divorces for battered women  

Meir Shinnar wrote about divorces for battered women (MJ 59#83) referring to
what Jeanette Friedman wrote (MJ 59#80):

"That is why I can never, ever understand rabbis who absolutely refuse to grant
divorces to  wrote battered women"

and to which Mordechai Horowitz responded (MJ 59#82):

"Well then I suggest you start by learning the Gemorrah Gittin as a starter. 
You can then follow that up by learning the Rambam, the Shulchan Aruch and the
Aruch Hashulchan. Rabbis have no authority in the Jewish religion to grant
divorces to anyone. A divorce is given by a husband to a wife."

Meir Shinnar correctly responded: 

"While Mordechai is correct that Rabbis can't grant divorces, Jeanette is right
that many rabbis refuse to do what is within their power to try and compel
husbands to give divorces - and this insensitivity is something that the Jewish
community needs to speak up about."

To which I respond: The Jewish community does speak up about it and the rabbis
willfully choose to ignore (or vilify) those who do protest. In my book, Silence
is Deadly: Judaism Confronts Wifebeating (1998), I devote 3 chapters to
different responsa that describe  

1) those rabbis who would force husbands to divorce their wives if they beat them; 

2) rabbis who consider it legitimate for husbands to beat bad wives for
"educational" purposes; and 

3) rabbis who would like to force wifebeaters to divorce their wives, but are
evasive in their responses because they are afraid that the slightest taint of
force could nullify the get and would produce mamzerim if the wife remarried.

The responsa literature is clearly not monolithic on this issue. And as Blu
Greenberg famously once said, if there is a rabbinic will, there is a rabbinic way.

Naomi Graetz

Ben Gurion University of the Negev 


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 27,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Extent of Rabbinic Authority

Tifrach is a small agricultural community in the nortwest Negev near
Netivot. Students from Yeshivat Azzata set up a large kollel there. I know
someone who funds his learning from a small etrog orchard.

As to the question of rabbinic authority that Stuart Wise brought up (MJ 59#85).
Such authority goes only as far as those who accept it. If the residents of
Tifrach want to let their Rav decide for them what flavor of yogurt to eat,
gezinde heit (may they live and be well).

I know chareidim who go to their Rabbis to decide for them on the most
trivial and personal questions. On more important questions they completely
abdicate their personal responsibility and let the "Rav" decide for them. For
me it is more complicated. I think that this is one of the important differences
in the outlook of the chareidim as opposed to the datiim and chardalim.

David Tzohar

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 27,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Extent of Rabbinic Authority

Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...> (MJ 59#85) asks about the community in 
Israel called Tifrach, as his daughter's seminary is planning a 
Shabbaton there.
He states from his daughter that :-

> ...it is a very plain, non-materialistic place, so much so that the local
> rabbis banned shopping in a certain supermarket because it offered more than
> one flavor of yogurt, since they felt that a person doesn't need more than one
> choice.

See link (in Hebrew):-


The moshav, labelled as dati-hareidi on the above page, is associated 
with the socialist PA"I  (Poalei Agudat Yisrael), and was established by 
holocaust survivors from Hungary, in 1949.

I guess this is what one gets when mixes an extreme chareidi outlook of 
Hungarian extraction peppered with a parallel Moroccan outlook (I 
actually thought the sephardim from Morocco were more relaxed in their 
attitudes) and with the early State of Israel socialism... <smile>

In the 1950s, there might have been a similar type of attitude 
concerning the level of materialism in some of the kibbutz hadati 
(Religious Zionist kibbutzim). Kibbutz HaDati is far from chareidi - but 
unlike chareidim, Kibbutz HaDati has changed a bit with the times by 
giving more independence to its members. Even with a slightly lax or 
lenient attitude on a few aspects of Torah observance, Kibbutz HaDati 
always saw themselves as endeavouring to live a full Torah life also 
encompassing a social environment that idealises the ben adam l'chavero 
[mitzvot between man and his fellow] aspects of the Torah. If I have 
exactly the same lollipop as my neighbour, I cannot be jealous of his 
lollipop. Maybe Tifrach are still succeeding to live by this ideal, 
within a chareidi context.

As a side remark from what I observe, Kibbutz HaDati on the whole has 
become more Torani [give emphasis to stricter practice and Torah 
learning] over the decades.

David Ziants


Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 28,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Extent of Rabbinic Authority

Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...> wrote (MJ 59#85):

> My daughter who is in seminary in Israel told me that her school is planning a
> shabbaton in a community called Tifrach. From what she learned, it is a very
> plain, non-materialistic place, so much so that the local rabbis banned shopping
> in a certain supermarket because it offered more than one flavor of yogurt,
> since they felt that a person doesn't need more than one choice.  I would
> appreciate if someone familiar with the community can clarify if this is the
> case, and if this is so, isn't it overreach of rabbinic authority.

Sounds like the Rabbis don't like yogurt. The answer is silly Rabbi who should
be ignored and laughed at. By this logic should I be forced to only eat 1 type
of chicken all the time because we don't "need" different choices.

True I won't die but its boring.   And there is nothing in the Torah 
that requires me to eat the same thing all the time.

There is certainly nothing in the Torah that requires you and me to like 
the same thing.  Indeed my son's health requires him to eat a non-dairy 
soy yogurt. I guess these Rabbis would ban that and require him to eat 
the dairy one. But what if he just preferred it.

I hope it turns out this is just a nasty rumor but if its true then its 
a cult not a Makom (Place of) Torah.


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 27,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Ezrach

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote (MJ 59#85):

>.."Ezrah Tzarfati" is a French citizen.  "Ezrah" is a regular noun (in
> nifrad), and "Tzarfati" is an adjective.  As I said, the meanings are nearly
> identical. But the parts of speech differ.. 

I don't think so. while "ezrach" is indeed a noun in the construct state, the
stand alone non-s'mikhus form of the noun is "ezroch", with qomotz.  As in "kol
ho'ezroch ya'aseh kokhoh es eileh.." (B'midbor 15:13).  (And note that I chose
an example where ezroch is cantillated with a connective sign. Most of the other
chumosh references to ezroch are cantillated with at least minor pausal signs
such as pashtoh or zoqef qoton. Didn't want anyone claiming the base noun is
ezrach and ezroch is merely the special pausal form).

Perhaps we have here - at least for those of you who think ezrach with a patach
is, in some circumstance, a proper noun - another interesting example of an
atavistic linguistic survival from medieval times, before Ashkenazim stopped
speaking s'faradit and invented, well, ashkenozis. (what - you thought Rashi
said "Omein" after a b'rokhoh or Rabbeinu Tam said yisgadal v'yisqadash?)  there
are numerous such survivals from the earlier s'faradit speaking tradition of
ashkenazim (yad commonly mispronounced from yod, k'lal uf'rat vs k'lol uf'rot,
tal instead of tol,..etc).

Mechy Frankel



From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 25,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Halachic sexism

In MJ 59#85, Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote:

> For those of you who haven't seen it by now, here is the text of criminal
> defense attorney Bennett Epstein's request for a trial recess to attend the
> brit milah of his grandson and Judge Kimba Wood's response. 


> According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, which interviewed Mr. Epstein:

> "on the topic of having to ask a noted female judge for time off to celebrate
> the birth of a boy, but not a girl, Epstein minced no words: 'Look, the Jewish
> religion is sexist. It just is. But I didn't make the rules!"

The comments on this at http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/110133/ are very 
worth reading as a counterpoint, showing how unfortunately Jewishly ignorant Mr. 
Epstein is. (I'm curious, by the way: is the R' Zvi Hollander who gives the 
first response is any relation of R' David Hollander?)

Kol tuv,

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 25,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Halachic sexism

Orrin Tilevitz (MJ 59#85) wrote:

> For those of you who haven't seen it by now, here is the text of criminal
> defense attorney Bennett Epstein's request for a trial recess to attend the brit
> milah of his grandson and Judge Kimba Wood's response. 
> http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/111910woodorder.pdf
> According to the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, which interviewed Mr. Epstein:
> "on the topic of having to ask a noted female judge for time off to celebrate
> the birth of a boy, but not a girl, Epstein minced no words: 'Look, the Jewish
> religion is sexist. It just is. But I didn't make the rules!"

Attorney Bennett Epstein belongs to the wrong community.

In our community we do make a fuss of the naming ceremony for a girl.

Albeit the naming takes place on Shabbos, when the court is not in session anyway.

Perets Mett


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 26,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Ho Chi Minh Yeshivot

Jeanette Friedman stated the following (MJ 59#85):

> Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> writes (MJ 59#84):

>> I'm not very good at history, but it seems  to me that the Sho'a 
>> took place before the founding of the modern State of Israel, so it 
>> is not likely that MK Shlomo Lorincz and PM David Ben-Gurion were 
>> working out deals to avoid service in Zahal during the Sho'a.

> The deal was made with Ben Gurion in Mandate Palestine with the 
> Sachnut, Maybe we should call Rabbi Fabian Schoenfeld, one of the 
> last of the group, just to double check.

I fail to see that Zahal existed in mandate Palestine and I therefore 
do not understand Ms. Friedman's claim that future Israel government 
officials were making such deals about the IDF during the Sho'a.  Perhaps 
she refers to the Jewish Brigade?

But I would be pleased if Ms. Friedman follows her own suggestion.

She continues:

> or read about the deal for 6.7 of Palestine visas that the Agudah 
> made with the Sachnut in 1933,

While I don't know what "the deal for 6.7 of Palestine visas" might 
mean, I cannot see how that is connected with the assertion that "MK 
Shlomo Lorincz and PM David Ben-Gurion were working out deals to 
avoid service in Zahal during the Sho'a."  I would be pleased if Ms. 
Friedman could enlighten us.



From: Dovi Jacobs <dovijacobs@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 25,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Levush for missing parts of Aruch Hashulchan (available online)

For those who use the Aruch Hashulchan to teach, learn, and review halachah, I'm
pleased to announce that the Levush is now available online for the missing 
parts of Yoreh Deah. The AHS itself was styled after the Levush, and while there
are some very important differences between the two, learning the Levush is
certainly one good to review the chapters that are missing in the AHS. The 
Levush is also a wonderful work designed for the general study and review of 
halachah, though nowadays it is often neglected for that purpose. It would be 
wonderful if this might be a small way to revive its usage.

The digital online edition of the Levush Ateres Zahav on Yoreh Deah is similar 
to the online AHS, including simple and extremely convenient navigation, full 
punctuation, division into paragraphs, and direct hyperlinks to sources. 
Additionally, the digital edition of each chapter includes an image of the 
printed page from the edition published in Prague, 1609 (one of the early 
editions published during the lifetime of the author). Credit and thanks go to 
the wonderful HebrewBooks.org project for making that scanned edition freely 
available online.

The texts currently available are those parts of Yoreh Deah which do not appear 
in the Arukh Hashulchan:

1. The Laws of Aku"m (simanim 123-182), including Yayin Nesekh, Avodas Kochavim,
Ribbis, and Chukos ha-Aku"m. This important section of the Aruch Hashulchan was
never published and ultimately lost. 

2. Hilkhos Terumos and Ma`seros (simanim 331-332). These are purposely missing 
in the AHS, because the author decided to leave them out in order to fully deal 
with them later in the Aruch Hashulchan He-Asid. There is, however, some value 
in learning them in their context within Yoreh Deah (especially for those who 
want to complete Yoreh Deah), and thus their availability now in the Levush.

In the future I hope to complete two remaining projects:

1. Levush on Hilchos Nedarim and Shavuos (simanim 203-239). This part was 
missing in the original edition that appeared in the lifetime of the author (he 
apparently didn't have the opportunity to publish it). It was finally published 
in 1992 by Rabbi Dr. Simchah Fishbane from the author's manuscript. However, 
only one of the many editions of the Aruch Hashulchan contains it, so having the
Levush in a convenient online format would be a useful substitute for those 
(including myself) who do not own that particular edition.

2. Aruch Hashulchan on Hilchos Niddah. The AHS is very full on these halachos, 
and it would also of course be of great practical value.

Besides the above, the AHS on Orach Chaim has been available in its entirety for
some time already, as have large and significant parts of Yoreh Deah. Indices
for Orach Chaim and Yoreh Deah are at the following links:

http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH (Orach Chaim)
http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:YD (Yoreh Deah)
http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/LEV:YD (Levush on Yoreh Deah)

As always, the ultimate purpose of all these texts is to provide a tool that 
makes a serious review of halachah easier, more convenient, and more fruitful. 
The tool is free to use by anyone for any purpose.

Readers are of course invited to add their own texts as well. Even a single 
edited chapter is a welcome contribution towards the whole.

Also, I would like to make contact with Rabbi Dr. Simchah Fishbane. If anyone 
can provide assistance I would be grateful.

The online edition of the Levush on these sections is dedicated to the memory 
Rivkah bat Yehashaya Halevi and Tirtzel of Har Homah, Jerusalem, whose shloshim 
will be this coming Monday (22 Kislev). May her parents, husband and children be
comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Dovi Jacobs


From: Abe Brot <abe.brot@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 26,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Pikuah-Nefesh on Shabbat

I would like to thank Akiva Millar and Meir Shinnar (MJ 59#84) for their
very enlightening comments on the above topic.

Meir Shinnar wrote:

 >When I was in Boston (1978-82), people in the Boston community had the
> following psak in the name of Rav Soloveichik z"l about what to do
> with the car.  The law is that one does whatever a woman in labor
> wants to be done, in order to put her at ease -  a somewhat broader
> heter than for standard pikuach nefesh - presumably because one needs
> the woman not to worry to be able to concentrate on labor.  The advice
> was to have the woman express her desire that the car be taken care
> off - so she is not worrying about the car - both before the event,
> but preferably at the hospital (honey, do you want me park the car...)
> - and therefore fulfill her wishes...

The Rabbi that I was writing about received his smicha from Rav Soloveichik
z"l at Yeshiva University in the late 50s.

If we analyze Rav Soloveichik's psak, it is very close to what my friend
(the Rabbi) advocates. Rav Soloveichik says that your job is to get the
person needing urgent medical treatment to the hospital as quickly and as
safely as possible, and in a relaxed frame of mind. Therefore, you should
concentrate on the big picture (getting there) and not worry about all the
details about how will you park afterwards, what about extinguishing the
engine and the lights, etc., etc. This is what Meir Shinnar called "a
somewhat broader heter", and this is what my friend the Rabbi advocates.

Perhaps he received this view from the Rav while he was studying for his

Avraham Brot


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 25,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Stipends for Torah students

Gilad J. Gevaryahu <gevaryahu@...> wrote (MJ 59#85):

> Rabbi Meir Wise (MJ 59#84) wrote:
>> Some of our correspondents seem to have forgotten that during the battle
>> with Midyan, Moshe Rabbenu had someone at the back studying Torah for every
>> soldier he sent to fight. Dovid Hamelech continued this practice. In our own
>> times Rav Simche Hakohen Kook together with the Bostoner Rebbe revived this
>> concept. Closing the kollelim is therefore tantamount to endangering the
>> lives of our soldiers.
> Please provide sources for: Moshe Rabbenu had someone at the back studying
> Torah for every soldierhe sent to fight [with Midyan]. I do not recall reading
> this in my Hebrew Bible.
> Please provide sources for: Dovid Hamelech continued this practice. I do not
> recall reading this in my Hebrew Bible.
> It sounds anachronistic to me. Where does this conclusion <<Closing the
> kollelim is therefore tantemount to endangering the lives of our soldiers>>
> stems from?

>From memory as I do not recall which commentator said this. Bamidbar - Parshas
Mattos 31:4 speaking of the war with Midian "Elef lamateh, elef lamateh"

The doubled language is explained (by some commentators) to mean that
for every soldier that went out to war, one talmid chacham learned in
his merit. This is not an explicit statement but is a drasha.

There is similar language in the navi regarding this. However, it is
also a drasha and not explicit.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 25,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Was Yael a Soldier?

Menashe Elyashiv asks (MJ 59#85):

> Was Yael a combat soldier?

Post facto, I'd give her a medal. Moreover, Devora praised her: "Blessed above
women shall Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, be; above women in the tent
shall she be blessed" which is as good as a medal

And, of course, why not ask about Devora as a military commander? As we read in
Judges 4:

*8*  And Barak said unto her: 'If thou wilt go with me, then I will go; but
if thou wilt not go with me, I will not go.'
*9*  And she said: 'I will surely go with thee; notwithstanding the journey that
thou takest shall not be for thy honour; for the LORD will give Sisera over into
the hand of a woman.' And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh.

Further to Menashe's queries:

> Why did she not cut off his head or stab him in his heart with his sword?

I'd guess she couldn't pick it up.  Those things were fairly heavy.
Have you ever tried to cut off a head?  As for Yehudit, either the sword was
lighter, or she was stronger or maybe not all the details are correct.

And as for this bit:

> I saw (but do not remember where) that she did not want to use a weapon,
> because of "klei gever" (woman using male-only thing)

Maybe she used a female thing as Niddah 55b may be hinting:

Come and hear: 'There are nine fluids of a /zab/. His sweat, foul 
secretion and excrement are free from all uncleanness of /zibah/; the 
tears of his eye, the blood of his wound and the milk of a woman convey 
the uncleanness of liquids^... 'the milk of a woman', since it is 
written, And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink.



End of Volume 59 Issue 86