Volume 6 Number 8

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beged Eish/Eisha
         [Neal Aumen]
Earrings for a Man (2)
         [Robert A. Book, Avi Weinstein]
Earrings for a man
         [Ron Katz]
Maple Syrup
         [David Sherman]
Mesorati is not Conservative
         [David Kramer]
Pierced ears for men or women
         [Rena Whiteson]
Reading Lists
         [Daniel Faigin]
Why No Brocha for a Get?
         [Jonathan B. Horen]


From: TKGOC03%<EZMAIL@...> (Neal Aumen)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1993 10:10:20 -0500
Subject: Beged Eish/Eisha

> ..it is forbidden to a man Mid'oraisah, from Torah law, to dye even
> one hair of his head! ... most Posekim still forbid women to wear
> pants, even though today most women wear pants in our society end even
> though the design of women's pants is different from men's pants.  I
> would be much surprised if you could find an Orthodox rav anywhere in
> the world who would give a heter for a man's earring.

Does it specifically say in the Torah that a man may not dye his hair,
or that a woman may not wear pants?  As far as I know, it says that one
should not wear clothes of the opposite sex.  Society determines which
clothes are appropriate for men and which clothes are appropriate for
women.  Isn't it society who determined in the first place that dying
ones hair was a "women's thing" to do, and that pants are "men's
clothing" ?  If the practices of society (which is what I believe the
psak is based on) change, shouldn't the psak go along with these

Neal Auman


From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 14:25:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Earrings for a Man

Charlie Abzug writes:
> I am not aware of any issur on the performance of cosmetic surgery.
> And secondly, do not almost all women have pierced ears?  If this
> practice were prohibited on the basis of its being cosmetic surgery,
> then presumably the same prohibition would apply to women!

I know several women, including most women on both sides of my family,
who have not pierced their ears due to a belief in such a prohibition.
I also know one rabbi in Houston, Texas who holds this way.

Mecheal Kanovsky writes:
> The torah only mentions earrings for men when a slave wants to continue
> his bondage for more than the six year limit. The only halachik problem
> will be "lo yilbash gever kli ishah" i.e. a man is not allowed to dress 
> in womans clothing.

The common explanation of this is that the slaves ear is pierced to
symbolize that he has (unwisely) chosen to *hear* the command of his
master instead of the command of his Creator.  Even if this does not
introduce a halachic prohibition on ear-piercing, the symbolism
involved would seem to me to indicate that it should be discouraged.

--Robert Book

From: Avi Weinstein <0003396650@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 12:55:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Earrings for a Man

It is my impression that the men contributed their "Nezamim" to the
golden calf.  It did not seem to be a problem to wear them then, or are
"Nezamim" not earrings, but maybe nose-rings.

From: <katz@...> (Ron Katz)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 10:21:46 -0500
Subject: Re:  Earrings for a man

The statement in Vol 6 #6 
>then presumably the same prohibition would apply to women!  No, the
>relevant question, I think, is whether piercing of the ears is a
>practice that should be prohibited specifically to men, because of the
>issur of "Lo yilbash gever bigdey 'ishah", a man must not wear the
>clothing of a woman.  Under this issur, for example, it is forbidden to
>a man Mid'oraisah, from Torah law, to dye even one hair of his head!

I agree, but not with the example.  I do not think it is clear that dying 
one's hair for a man is a Torah prohibition.  I remember hearing from 
my Rav that once something is no longer exclusively done by women, but 
also by men, then it is not considered "Lo Yilbash" (wearing a womens garment).
Now that there are specific male hair dying products, this would not
be forbidden, as for example, it is not forbidden for men to wear rings, etc.
The prohibition varies with place and time, as for example, wearing a
kilt in Scotland.   (I do not dye my hair, nor do I intend to if any
is left by the time it goes gray.  I just want to cast some doubt as to
the certainty of the example given).

Similarly, If I recall correctly, for women to wear pants is more a problem
with "tzniut" (modesty) then "Kli Gever" (a man's garment).  Just to be
clear, most authorities feel that pants are immodest for women, regardless
of the fact that it may no longer be prohibited as "kil gever".
(needless to say, I don't intend to convey halachik decisions, ask 
your LOR).


From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 02:11:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Maple Syrup

> From: Joe Abeles <Joe_Abeles@...>
> (Incidentally, I believe that maple syrup may only be available in the
> U.S. ...

Your chauvinism is showing, Joe.  We're still a separate country. :-)
Hint: what country's flag is the maple leaf?  What country's
semi-official national anthem was, until a few decades ago,
The Maple Leaf Forever?  What city's hockey team is named the Maple Leafs?

I don't believe I've ever tasted Vermont maple syrup, but that of both
Ontario and Quebec is superb.  I believe several different brands are
available with either the COR or MK hechsher.

David Sherman


From: <davidk@...> (David Kramer)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 02:11:22 -0500
Subject: Mesorati is not Conservative

 In m.j V6#4 Jonathan Stiebel writes
> I am renting an apartment belonging to Israeli-Conservative
> (Yeminite-type) Jewish people.  It belongs to an old woman who used to...
I'm not sure I know what Jonathan means by 'Israeli-Conservative' but I
suspect he might mean those here who call themselves 'mesorati' (traditional).
If so, let me clarify a point that might be misunderstood.

There is no relationship between the 'Judaism' of the American
Conservative Movement and the perhaps incomplete but deeply sincere,
authentic Judaism of Israelis (mostly of 'aidot mizrach' origin) who
consider themselves 'mesorati'. In general, they have great respect for
torah, Chazal, and Jewish ritual, and have very deeply rooted belief and
trust in the almighty. In some ways many of them have religious feelings
stronger than some of us who call ourselves 'dati'.

Despite this fact the Conservative Movement in Israel has adopted their
title - calling themeselves the 'Mesorati Movement'. They have used this
clever name to falsly claim that they have a huge number of followers

[  David Kramer                       |  INTERNET: <davidk@...>  ]
[ Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone (972-3) 565-8638 Fax 565-8754 ]


From: <rena@...> (Rena Whiteson)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 12:18:12 -0500
Subject: Pierced ears for men or women

Mecheal Kanovsky continues the discussion of pierced ears for men in the
context of "lo yilbash gever kli ishah" i.e. a man is not allowed to dress 
in womans clothing.
There may be another issue. Isn't there a prohibition against mutilating
one's body which would apply here?  Don't know the exact language.

Rena Whiteson


From: <faigin@...> (Daniel Faigin)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 11:07:39 -0500
Subject: Reading Lists

The following is a note I appended to the next edition of the m.l-j digest.

[I've sent Ellen a copy of the Reform Reading List, but this raises a good
question. I've got a Reform Reading List. What about the others? Rob Levine
once had a general Judaism Reading List, but it seems to have gone by the
wayside. I'm willing to post the beasts, and maintain them in our archives.
Would anyone on the list be willing to write up a Conservative Reading List? A
Reconstructionist Reading List? A Humanistic Judaism Reading List? I know that
the moderator of mail.jewish reads this list -- Avi, would any of your readers
be willing to write up either a general Judaism Reading List, or an Orthodox
Reading List? -- Daniel ([m.l-j] Moderator)]

Any takers? If any of you academic types out there have some good sylabi
(or however you spell the thing) and/or reading lists that you are
willing to share with the readership here, please let me know, we can
make it available on the archive server. A good general Judaism Reading
list, as well as a list that properly introduces the reader to halakhic
Judaism, is what I think we would like to have in response to Daniel's
request. Anyone interested in doing this, please let me know. Avi
Feldblum, your Moderator.


From: <horen@...> (Jonathan B. Horen)
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 93 02:11:09 -0500
Subject: Why No Brocha for a Get?

"Lichtov sefer kritut" (to write a Get) is a positive mitzva from the
Torah -- that is, in order for a husband to divorce his wife. However,
unlike affixing a mezuzah to the doorpost of one's house, or unlike
taking-up the Arba Minim, or washing one's hands, or, or, or... there
is no brocha to be said -- neither before, during, nor after writing
a Get (nor before, during, or after giving a Get). How come?

Also: why a brocha for brit mila, but not for the *act* of procreation?


End of Volume 6 Issue 8