Volume 61 Number 33 
      Produced: Mon, 10 Sep 2012 07:31:45 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Davening on an airplane 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Immersion in mikveh of single women (4)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Rose Landowne  Meira Josephy]
More on the obligation of Public Prayer and B'Rov Am 
    [Chana Luntz]
Rabbi Doniel Neustadt 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Rosh Yeshiva Pasuls Chupah Eid Because of iPhone (2)
    [Martin Stern  Eli Turkel]
Tzitzit during Shema 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 6,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Davening on an airplane

Martin Stern (MJ 61#31) quoted Rabbi Neustadt's Halachah Weekly Discussions for
Ki tavo in which he stated:

> Question: What should one do if he stood up for Shemoneh Esrei and
> while davening the captain turned on the seat belt sign ordering the
> passengers to return to their seats?

> Discussion: He should finish the brachah being recited, take three steps
> back and then walk back to his seat and resume davening.

I assume he means continue davening while sitting, but he doesn't say so. Why?
Or does he?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Immersion in mikveh of single women

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 61#32):

> The Center for Womans Justice is petitioning the court on this issue
> because of their own anti-rabbinical agenda, but the question itself
> is not new. I know of a case where  a chief rabbi of a city in Israel
> when asked by a young unmarried woman whether she should immerse in a
> mikvah before having relations answered that while she is committing
> b'ilat zenut and he in no way condones this, b'ilat niddah is a much
> more serious offense.

David is is quite right that this issue is not new. If I remember correctly
it was raised in a question to the Paad Yitzak who was Rav and physician
in Ferrara at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

In those days, the prevailing sexual laxity of Italian society was
influencing the Jewish communities and young men were frequenting the local
brothels. In order to avoid the resulting problems, including the
possibility that such liaisons might lead to them apostatising due to their
attachment to the ladies involved, the community elders thought to run a
communal brothel under strict supervision where the girls would all immerse
in the mikvah when necessary. He opposed this idea strenuously as opening
the flood gates to even greater promiscuity.

Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose!

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Immersion in mikveh of single women

Gilad J. Gevaryahu wrote (MJ 61#32):

> The extramarital sexual activity is not zenut in the case of concubine.
> Concubine can be a regular and exclusive lover of a married man, or a regular
> and exclusive lover of an unmarried man, and these relationship are not viewed
> by Chazal as zenut.

Whether concubinage is something currently permissible is questionable. See
Rav Getsel Ellinson's book Nissuin SHELO kehalachah.

> Nisuei bia'ah, or marriage performed by a rabbi or any other Jew which were
> not sanctioned by the state is another example where the couple is married
> according to halacha, but not registered by the state. It is expected of these
> ladies to go monthly to the mikveh just as married women do.

I suspect that this is a red herring. As I understand it, the bar on mikvah
attendance is applied to those not deemed to be properly married in halachah
and state registration is irrelevant. In any case does the mikvah attendant
ask for proof of marital status?

> Many people view the above relationships as less than ideal from halachic
> point of view, and I am not in favor of them either, but they are there, and
> in certain societies they were and are common.  Rabbi Yaakov Emden (Teshuvot
> Yaavetz 2:15) dealt with this issue at length, and wrote that these
> relationships need to be absolved, with a Get.

Again, this is a red herring. Such 'common law marriages' may create a
safeik kiddushin [doubtful marriage] and lechatchilah [in the first
instance] require a get in order for the 'wife' to remarry. However Rav
Moshe Feinstein ruled that bedieved [ex post facto] the children of a woman,
previously in such a relationship not terminated by a get, from a second man
should not be classed as mamzerim.

Rav Henkin, I believe, held otherwise but current practice is, I believe, to
follow Rav Feinstein's leniency even in cases where the woman had been
previously married in a civil ceremony or, a fortiori, in one conducted
under Reform or Conservative auspices.

Martin Stern

From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Immersion in mikveh of single women

Avraham Walfish wrote (MJ 61#32):

> Martin wondered (MJ 61#31) why single women would want to immerse in a
> mikveh, if not in order to engage in illicit sex. One reason could be to
> ascend the Temple Mount, and I have given a shiur to the Women of the
> Mikdash ...  Btw some mikvaot have prevented married women from using the
> mikveh if they suspect that the reason for the immersion is to ascend the
> Temple Mount. I don't personally know of such cases, but I can imagine that
> some single women would want to go to the mikveh for spiritual reasons, much
> as many hassidic men - and neo-hassidic youths of male persuasion - immerse
> themselves weekly or even daily.

Or maybe they are members of a chevra kadisha and want to be able to participate
in pouring the 9 kavim of water.(We do have younger single women on our chevra
in Manhattan).

Rose Landowne

From: Meira Josephy <mjosephy@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 10,2012 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Immersion in mikveh of single women

Regarding Martin Stern's question (MJ 61#32) regarding why is this relevant:

1. Some balaniyot (mikvah attendants) have been known to request seeing a teudat
zehut from women going to the mikvah and bar entrance to single women. There was
a time that my T.Z. indicated that I was single when I wasn't for various
bureaucratic reasons  but I was lucky not to encounter any of these balaniyot.

2. A single woman could be going to the mikvah not specifically for niddah
tahara purposes. 
For instance, I know of women in Shaarei Chesed who wish to go for spiritual
reasons, one of whom is single and felt going to the mikvah helped her for
meditative/kavana reasons. she no longer goes due to the carding at the mikvah.
I believe the case in the article was raised because of this issue rather than
an issue of licentiousness.

3. There are single women who want to go to the mikvah for niddah issues. There
are also many women in Israel who are not shomer shabbat or kashrut but still go
to the mikvah. While I would like to be dan lekhaf zechut I would guess that
many secular Israeli women are involved in relationships with men who are not
their husbands and that some of them would still go to the mikvah if they have
the opportunity. A question to ask is which is worse - to go to the mikvah as a
single woman or to prevent a single woman who will still be in a relationship
from going to the mikvah.  

It may be that Eden Center (http://theedencenter.com )founder, Dr. Naomi Rosen
Grumet will be discussing this in her discussion tonight in Jerusalem regarding
her dissertation research whether women want to, have to or are happy to go to
the mikvah. For more information see https://www.facebook.com/theedencenter


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Sep 10,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: More on the obligation of Public Prayer and B'Rov Am

I wrote in (MJ 61#27) regarding the conclusion of Rav Moshe (in
Iggeros Moshe Orech Chaim chelek 2 siman 27) and the Aruch HaShulchan (in
Orech Chaim siman 90) - as well as the Mishna Brura (more briefly in 90:52)
that there is a chiyuv [obligation] for an adam (which, although adam can
often be used to include women, would seem to mean men in this context) to
daven b'tzibur [publically] ie that there is an obligation to daven in a
minyan.  This Rav Moshe derives primarily the fact that there is a
measurement set for the distance one needs to go for public prayer which he
argues shows that there is an obligation to go.  He then further derives an
obligation from the statement that Hashem does not despise the prayers of
the many, noting the Rambam's formulation that one's prayer is not heard at
all times except in a Synagogue.  Rav Moshe argues that this itself creates
an obligation because if the prayer of a person is not able to be accepted,
it would seem it is as if he has not prayed at all - because it is only
because prayer is able to be accepted does a person fulfil the mitzvah of

The Aruch HaShulchan (Orech Chaim siman 90 si'if 20) further states that a
person is not permitted to go out from a city which has a shul even before
it is light for a dvar reshus, and the only reason that we are not careful
about leaving a city with a shul and hence avoiding tefila b'tzibur is
because we go for our livelihood and this is considered a dvar mitzvah since
it is a mitzvah to sustain one's wife and children - there being an absolute
obligation to sustain one's wife, while his children are considered a matter
of constant tzedaka (as per Kesubos 50a).

Further I touched on the distinction brought by the Bnai Banim in Chelek 2
siman 10 p. 42 between tefila and tefila b'tzibur - with tefila being based
on either the Avos or korbanos (as seen from Brochos 26b) while tefila
b'tzibur being based on "and I shall be sanctified amidst the sons of
Israel" (Vayikra 22:32) as seen in Megilla 23b.  But this formulation again,
along with that Rav Moshe and the Aruch HaShulchan, clearly sees tephila
b'tzibbur as being a mitzvah, in this case an independent mitzvah of "and I
shall be sanctified amidst the sons of Israel".

I thought it worthwhile, therefore, to bring those who tend towards a
different perspective on tefila b'tzibbur.  The Yalkut Yosef, in chelek
Rishon, in the section under Hilchot Tefila letter 3 brings that if a person
is able to daven at hanetz hachama or after, he should not daven with a minyan
of workers who are davening before hanetz - even if that is the only minyan in
town, and even if they need him to make up the minyan (since it is enough
that he answers to kaddish and kedusha and borachu, he does not need to
daven with them).  This is despite the workers themselves being allowed to
form this minyan because of their need to earn a livelihood.

In the footnote to this halacha he further brings: - the reason for this can
be explained that the mitzvah of tefila "b'tzibbur" "aina ele mitzvah min
hamuvchar" [is only a matter of doing the mitzvah in the choicest way] and
is not such a big mitzvah [v'aina mitzvah kol kach] like the Maharil writes
in the halacha of eruvei tachumim, "that which the Sages permitted an eruv
in the place of a mitzvah, this is like going to a house of feasting [for a
wedding] or a house of mourning, but this is not true of going to pray with
ten as this is not such a big mitzvah since he is able to make his prayers
in his house, that we do not find that the Sages allowed this to make up a
minyan of ten".  And similar to this writes the Chavot Yai'ir (Siman 115)
that he forbade to go in the boat of a non Jew on Shabbat in order to pray
with ten, even though it is a shvut d'shvut [a rabbinical prohibition on a
rabbinical prohibition] ... in any event to pray with ten is not such a
mitzvah [aina mitzvah kulei hai].  And he brings a proof to this from the
Maharil that we quoted before.  And the Mehabit in the book Beit Elokim
(shar chasidut perek 38) writes that from the time of Moshe until the men of
the great assembly every one prayed individually in his house, and Israel
was not gathered to pray in public in a place specified etc  And see in the
Shut Yad Eliayahu Melublin (Siman 7) that in a situation involving the loss
of money there is no need to pray b'tzibbur.  And even the Magen Avraham
(Siman 416 si'if katan 2) who disagrees with the Maharil (and see Yabia Omer
chelek 6 Chelek Orech Chaim siman 10 letter 5), all agree that it is a only
a mitzvah min hamuvchar [a matter of doing the mitzvah in the choicest way],
but tephila before hanetz hachama [sunrise] after amud hashachar is only
tephila bidieved [after the fact] and it is not the law to daven before its
time in order to have tephila b'tzibbur ...

Similarly in the following paragraph (letter 4) the Yalkut Yosef brings that
if the tzibbur is davening after hanetz but in the correct time, and the
individual has a choice whether to daven with the tzibbur after hanetz, or to
daven at hanetz (which everybody agrees is the best time if you can) but
without a minyan, there are those who say davening with a minyan is
preferable, and there are those who say that davening at hanetz is preferable.
And it seems l'halacha [ie according to Rav Ovadiah Yosef] that if the
individual is able to concentrate well [have kavannah] in their prayer, it
is better for him to daven at hanetz hachama alone, rather than tephila
b'tzibbur, but if not, then tefilla b'tzibbur is better.

This appears rather different from your Rav Moshe or your Aruch HaShulchan
or your Bnei Banim with his separate mitzvah (Presumably these three would
disagree with the Maharil based on the Magen Avraham - although the Magen
Avraham appears to understand the Maharil as being mesupik [doubtful] which
is not how the Yalkut Yosef/Rav Ovadiah Yosef reads him, - and it is not
clear to me how much of the Magen Avraham's permissiveness is based on him
being more generally permissive regarding making an eruv - or for that
matter of moving bodies, the question comes up again in Orech Chaim siman
311 si'if katan 2 in the Magen Avraham and elsewhere regarding whether or
not cohanim can force their relatives to move a dead body in a shul (a
question of muktzah) in order for them to come in and daven - with most
people seeming, if I am reading this right, not to permit, except in ways
that they would permit movement of such a body anyway).

Note by the way, on another subject discussed on Mail Jewish recently, the
Yalkut Yosef writes in Hilchot Tephila in letter 17:

"It is a better mitvah to daven in a shul in which there is "rov am" than
davening in a shul in which there is only just a minyan [minyan metzamzem]
or even if there is just over a minyan, because "b'rov am hadrat melech" as
is set out in Rosh Hashana (daf 32b).  However if there is a minyan of bnei
Torah who daven with more kavana, or the shaliach tzibbur is more fitting,
or the shaliach tzibbur davens with a clearer accent or language or correct
pronunciation or more melodically then it is better to daven there, as a
person does not daven except in a place that his heart desires [ele b'makom
shelibo chafetz]"

Note that the Aruch HaShulchan also has a section on davening with b'rov am
(see Orech Chaim siman 90 si'if 15) "In a place in which there are many
people it is a better to daven with the many since "b'rov am hadrat
melech", but anyway if they talk at the time of tephila it is better to
daven in a little minyan in a place where they do not talk" (and see further
in the Aruch HaShulchan Orech Chaim siman 90 si'if 23).  Ie it is very
common to see this "better, but" kind of language in the sources, better
where b'rov am, but if .. then can/should daven elsewhere.




From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 6,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

Martin Stern (MJ 61#31) suggests:

> Since the previous few of Rabbi Neustadt's Halachah Weekly Discussions that I
> submitted seem to have generated some interest, I thought that members might
> like to discuss some of this week's topics (Ki Tavo)." 

And he drops off four such.

I, for one, find little interest in his hashkafa and I strongly suggest
that Martin simply provide the address for either registration/subscription to
receive his Halachic outpourings or a site location where those truly interested
can peruse them.
Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Rosh Yeshiva Pasuls Chupah Eid Because of iPhone

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#32):

> I would like to known the halachic basis for rendering the witness pasul?
> Can a rosh yeshiva do it unilaterally just like that? I have heard that a
> well-respected rav here in Brooklyn who last year before tekias shofar said
> anyone who has iphone or phone internet access is not yotzi shofar. I fear
> this  is not a trend; it is an abuse of halachah, using it to control and
> attain a specific goal.

Stuart's report seems rather strange. While I could understand (though I
would disagree with) the rav's disqualification of a ba'al tokeia' who used
an iphone or similar internet enabled device as being a rasha [wicked
person], I cannot see any way being what he considered to be a rasha could
affect a person's ability to be yotsi through listening to the kosher tekiot
of a kosher ba'al tokeia'. Perhaps Stuart should check his sources in case
the rav's ruling has been misreported.

Martin Stern

From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Rosh Yeshiva Pasuls Chupah Eid Because of iPhone

Stuart Wise wrote (MJ 61#32):

> I have heard that a well-respected rav here in Brooklyn who last year
> before tekias shofar said anyone who has iphone or phone internet access
> is not yotzi shofar.

To the best of my knowledge there is no halacha that someone who has
committed a sin is not yotzei hearing shofar. Does this rabbi announce that all
those that cheated other people during the year are not yotzei?

Eli Turkel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Sep 9,2012 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Tzitzit during Shema

Steven Oppenheimer wrote (MJ 61#32):

> The prevalent custom today is to kiss the tzitzit every time the word
> tzitzit is mentioned ...

There is just one minor point where I would disagree - when one comes to the
second occurrence of the word 'tzitzit' in 'al-tzitzit hakanaf'. Here, unlike
the other two instances, the word 'tzitzit' is in semichut, meaning 'fringes
of', and is joined the following word by the trop (mercha tippecha).
Therefore, it would seem preferable to kiss the tzitzit after the full

Martin Stern


End of Volume 61 Issue 33