Volume 60 Number 61 
      Produced: Thu, 19 Jan 2012 12:41:37 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

I guess it won't end yet - the saga of Beit Shemesh 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Jewish superiority? 
    [Marshall Gisser]
Kol B'Ramah Radio and Feminine Exclusion 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Mateh Moshe and King Arthur's Excalibur (2)
    [Yisrael Medad  Robert Schoenfeld]
Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing) (2)
    [Gershon Dubin   Martin Stern]
Pinchas Kehati Picture 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Sins and Cohanim 
Straw (2)
    [Michael Poppers  Michael Mirsky]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: I guess it won't end yet - the saga of Beit Shemesh

It seems that there are no limits to what one must go to in looking for
tzniut - modesty. 

It seems that for women to sit outside on a bench - a rather common practice
in most of the world - is looked at askance by the "holy warriors" (known as
"sicarii") in Beit Shemesh Bet. First there were signs asking women not to
sit on the benches - for "the glory of a woman is inward," and when that
didn't work they employed a simple device to defend all the "God-fearing
men" from being corrupted by the sight of a woman (heaven forfend!) and
simply removed the "offending" benches.

Don't women know that their place is in the home, except for the monthly
Mikveh visit?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Marshall Gisser <mgisser@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Jewish superiority?

2 important Jewish Times magazine issues:

The current issue addresses the equality of all humans; 
debunking the "Jewish" theory of Jewish "superior" souls:


Last week's issue addressed the Torah's view that there is 
no dress code, and that it actually violates Torah:

Subscriptions are free by emailing:  <subscribe@...>

Mesora.org is an orthodox organization dedicated to 
presenting accurate Jewish positions based on authentic 


Marshall Gisser


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Kol B'Ramah Radio and Feminine Exclusion

Re Shmuel Himelstein's "Another nail in the coffin?" post in MJ 60#60:

They wouldn't even allow women to read out recipes.

In my other life, among many, we published a whole column, Rachel is
Weeping, on this here in October:



...women are barred from its programming. While Kol Hai Radio does not have
women singing, in accordance with the accepted custom in haredi circles,
Kol Barama outdoes it. Women are not allowed to be program hosts or
anchors, they cannot be interviewed, and they cannot call in to the
station. They are allowed to work behind the scenes. This includes
schoolchildren: Boys may express their responses on air, but girls are
relegated to the fax machine or text messages.

Is this legal? Does the concession given Kol Barama include permission to
ignore and silence half of the population? Of course not. The Second
Authority law states that the authority will "foster good citizenship and
will strengthen the values of democracy and humanism." Israel has a law
that forbids discriminatory practices in public services. Is this in
accordance with Jewish law? It is sufficient to note that the Sephardi
rabbinical leader Ovadia Yosef has been cited as saying there is no Jewish
prohibition against women being heard on the airwaves. His daughter, Adina
Bar-Shalom, appears on television.

What is the Second Authority's response? Israel's Media Watch petitioned it
to impose equal rights for women on the station almost a year ago. The
authority, however, is dragging its feet. After some pressure from the
Attorney-General's Office, the station grudgingly agreed to allow limited
women's broadcasts. It suggested one weekly program, in addition to
allowing women to be heard in "special cases." The chairman of the Second
Authority, Dr. Ilan Avisar, noted that he "did not understand what the
difference is between women not being allowed to recite the blessing over
the Torah in the synagogue and women not being allowed to talk on the

Dalia Zelikovitch and Dr. Aliza Lavie, members of the authority's
executive board, were appalled by the comparison. They have been
demanding equal rights, to no avail. The attorney-general has not found it
necessary to intervene any further. One wonders why the owners of Kol Barama are
so insistent on this issue. It would seem that thus far, society has shown a
deep respect for haredi feelings, by accepting that women's singing is
considered by some rabbis to be halachically prohibited.

Society has not yet demanded equal rights for women singers on these
stations. But if Kol Barama continues to insist that women do not
participate fully in its vocal broadcasts, it will ultimately find itself
facing a petition to the Supreme Court.

Yisrael Medad


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Mateh Moshe and King Arthur's Excalibur

There's this version at the Jewish Encyclopedia 

Moses was imprisoned in a deep dungeon in Jethro's house and received as
food only small portions of bread and water. He would have died of hunger
had not Zipporah, to whom Moses had before his captivity made an offer of
marriage by the well, devised a plan by which she no longer went out to
pasture the sheep, but remained at home to attend to the household, being
thereby enabled to supply Moses with food without her father's knowledge.
After ten (or seven) years Zipporah reminded her father that he had at one
time cast a man into the dungeon, who must have died long ago; but if he
were still living he must be a just man whom God had kept alive by a
miracle. Jethro went to the dungeon and called Moses, who answered
immediately. As Jethro found Moses praying, he really believed that he had
been saved by a miracle and liberated him. Jethro had planted in his
garden a marvelous rod, which had been created on the sixth day of the
Creation, on Friday afternoon, and had been given to Adam. This curious rod
had been handed down through Enoch, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to
Joseph, at whose death it came into the possession of Pharaoh's court.
Jethro, who saw it there, stole it and planted it in his garden. On the rod
were engraved the name of God (Yhwh) and the initials of the ten plagues
destined for Egypt. Jethro asked every one who wished to marry one of his
daughters to pull up the rod; but no suitor had yet succeeded in doing so.
Moses, on being set at liberty, walked in the garden, saw the rod, and read
the inscription. He easily pulled it out of the ground and used it for a
staff (see Aaron's Rod <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/5-aaron-s-
rod>). Jethro thereby recognized Moses as the deliverer of Israel and gave him
the virtuous Zipporah as wife, together with much money.

Yisrael Medad

From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 19,2012 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Mateh Moshe and King Arthur's Excalibur

I believe there is an even older legend with a similar idea that a hero 
removes a sword from a rock and then does good deeds (maybe even from 
Homer). It was probably a common idea around the Mediterranean area, and 
the legend of Arthur dates from around 300-400 CE and was from Roman 
legionnaires in Wales.



From: Gershon Dubin  <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing)

Michael Rogovin wrote (MJ 60#60): 

> I suspect that this is yet another case of hareidi rabbis (and their yeshivish
> compatriots) attempting to impose their sexual chumrot on everyone and claiming
> that it is THE halacha. 

The soldiers who left the ceremony in protest over the women singing were not
charedi, but religous zionist.  Many rabbis, including the chief rabbi of Israel
and the head of the Bnei Akiva movement, took their side, indicating that this
is not a "sexual chumra" but a halacha as interpreted by those rabbis and
(correctly) by those soldiers. 

It should also be noted that ALL agree that there was no security reason for the
singing to be included in the ceremony.  Those who wanted the officer cadets
expelled claimed the reason as insubordination to Army discipline, not any 
wrongdoing per se.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing)

Michael Rogovin wrote (MJ 60#60):

> I do not understand the issue in the IDF. The women singers use microphones
> so it is not their natural voice. That is then once removed from the kol
> and would be a chumrah. Many poskim also state that it is only forbidden if
> you see the singer, which is unlikely in a large concert, so that would be
> another chumrah (one could also close one's eyes). There are other reasons
> to suggest that this might not qualify as kol isha.

These are all factors that might mitigate the problem according to some
rabbis, but others do not accept these leniencies.
> It would be wrong for the army to force soldiers to do something clearly
> against halacha.

It is a matter of dispute as to the precise halachic requirements. I think
everyone would agree that the leniencies might be used in a bedieved [post
facto] situation but I doubt if any rabbi would allow them lechatchilah
[before the fact].

> Having soldiers attend official ceremonies is part of being in a unit.

But these 'entertainments' have no military necessity so why take such a
heavy-handed approach?

> The state could and should be sensitive to differing degrees of observance,
> and make reasonable accommodations, but I suspect that this is yet another
> case of hareidi rabbis (and their yeshivish compatriots) attempting to impose
> their sexual chumrot on everyone and claiming that it is THE halacha.

In the cases which caused the furor, the soldiers were from the national
religious rather than the chareidi camp, so Michael's comments seem not to be
to the point.

> The state is not obligated to conform to the strictest viewpoint on halacha
> and there are good reasons to be lenient here.

But, equally, it has no right to impose its leniencies on those who disagree
with them unless there are overriding reasons to do so, which is not the
case here. The result will be that those who object to being forced to hear
women sing will try to avoid military service altogether. To make my point
more strongly, would Michael support the IDF if it insisted on mixed
showering in isolated places where only one shower in the open was
available? At least this might be argued to have some military necessity!

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Pinchas Kehati Picture

Re Andy Goldfinger's query (MJ 60#60):

> For quite a long time, I have been searching for a picture of Rav Pinchas
> Kehati.  I believe I have found one.  Can someone confirm that the picture 
> shown on this web site is indeed correct?
> http://www.geni.com/people/Pinchas-Kehati-Gechtman/6000000010705868317

That is the picture I saw in Sullam, the political-cultural monthly issued
by Dr. Israel Eldad, which might have been taken from Tidhar's Encyclopedia.
Kehati (I am not at all sure he had semicha [rabbinical ordination]) was
in Lechi and, as far as I know, worked as a bank clerk.

Yisrael Medad


From: Anonymous_resp01 <DoNotReply_resp01@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Sins and Cohanim

Anonymous asked in MJ60#60:

> In a discussion recently, the following questions were posed (but no one knew
> the answers, including the resident Cohen):
> -- What sins, if any, would bar a Cohen from duchaning (ascending to
> recite the priestly blessings on yom tov in the diaspora or every day
> in Israel)?
> -- Would any of the following be such a bar: eating non-kosher food, non-
> observance of the shabbat, carrying on illicit liaisons with a niddah
> or non-Jew (or engaging in other prohibited sexual acts), cheating on
> taxes, etc?
> -- Does it matter if any such acts are done publicly as opposed to in secret?
> -- Does it matter if the act was, however deliberate, giving in to
> temptation as opposed to a deliberate act of denial of God or Torah law?
> Thank you in advance for your thoughts.

Belonging to a community and neighbourhood which is not chareidi and on 
the whole is pretty open, I was quite upset when I saw a young Cohen 
being barred from the duchan for the "sin" of wearing shorts!!! (He  
stood outside during duchaning.)
The same thing happened in another shul, when a young person was about 
to receive an aliya but at the last moment was refused for the same reason.

We are in Israel, where it is quite normal for people (especially 
youngsters) to wear shorts, and many people of all ages - including 
myself - wear in the summer open sandals without socks. B"H, this is not 
yet considered a "sin" here, and I am still allowed to receive an aliya. 
(The last remark is though, not relevant for Cohanim, as they take their 
shoes off before ascending to the duchan.)

In the book Kedoshim Tihiyu by Shmuel Ka"tz, HaRav Shlomo Aviner wrote a 
responsa permitting shorts for davenining in places where this is normal 
dress, and I assume the same would also apply to kohanim duchaning. This 
was around 30 years ago and I don't know whether he has changed his mind 
since then.


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Straw

In MJ 60#60, Larry Israel asked:

> In the last Torah reading, the Israelites are told that they will no longer
> receive straw. Several sentences end with "straw." In Hebrew (pardon my
> Ashkenazic transliteration) the word "teven" is used. However, I wonder why 
> word is not pronounced "tawven," as it is the end of a sentence.

Excellent question.  Previous discussions of this question can be found online
via this shortened Google-search URL: http://bit.ly/yUtXhm .  In short, the two
answers I've seen are:

-1- This particular segolate word is not changed because the word "taven" (see 
Job 13:1) means something else.

-2- A class of segolate words may or may not feature a qamatz at a significant
pause in the verse -- grammarians call this class QITL because* the first segol
changes to a chiriq in the possessive form -- while re the other segolate words,
called QATL because the first segol changes to a patach in the possessive form,
the segol will change to a qamatz in the pausal form.  "Teven" belongs to the
QITL class.

Hope that helps!

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA

*) NB: I'm grossly simplifying the discussion (and the explanation of what 
delineates a particular class of segolates) -- if you want to delve into the 
details, you may be interested in papers like 
https://calico.org/memberBrowse.php?action=article&id=194 or books on Hebrew 
grammar by JBlau or by Jo√ľon & Muraoka....

From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 18,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Straw

Larry Israel wrote (MJ 60#60):

> In the last Torah reading, the Israelites are told that they will no
> longer receive straw. Several sentences end with "straw." In Hebrew (pardon my
> Ashkenazic transliteration) the word "teven" is used. However, I wonder why
> the word is not pronounced "tawven," as it is the end of a sentence.

This is one of the exceptions.  See




End of Volume 60 Issue 61