Volume 61 Number 49 
      Produced: Sun, 04 Nov 2012 16:44:14 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Battle of the sexes! Women should not join Israel's fight (3)
    [Yisrael Medad   Daniel Cohn   Menashe Elyashiv]
Calling the Kohanim 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Difference in waiting time to have chalavi after meat vs. chicken 
    [Avraham Friedenberg]
Entering a church 
    [Martin Stern]
Mechitzah In Shul: Why and How? 
    [Martin Stern]
Siddur hageonim vehamekubbalim 
    [Martin Stern]
The Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim 
    [Martin Stern]
Torah Scroll Falling 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Women being instructed in martial arts 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 27,2012 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Battle of the sexes! Women should not join Israel's fight

On the opinion of Rabbi Kanterowitz (in MJ 61:48), I would just wish to

(a) while there may have been no female soldiers in Joshua's army or in King
David's, there was a Yael.  There was a Devora.

(b) not mentioning pro-Rabbis or such institutions as a female Mechinah
yeshiva, Tzahali is being, as Chana pointed out, elipsing. See


(c) I don't understand him writing "we now have to send" when he specifically
noted it's a voluntary enlistment for religious girls?

(d) would he advocate self-defense training including use of arms so as to
assure a girl's safety if he is so concerned for her safety?

P.S.  I do not think it necessary to stipulate "I shall not give my own
personal views on this matter so as not to prejudice discussion" as the act of
selecting the matter is, in a strict sense, an act of prejudice.

Yisrael Medad

From: Daniel Cohn  <4danielcohn@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 28,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Battle of the sexes! Women should not join Israel's fight

Regarding the "women in the army" thread (MJ 61#48), it seems that the
discussion centers around combat roles. However, most women in the Israeli army
serve in non-combat positions, like instructors, intelligence gathering or
clerical positions. How would this change the answers? At first glance it looks
like any other civilian job!

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 28,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Battle of the sexes! Women should not join Israel's fight

As a long time soldier (3 years of regular army & over 30 reserves) I do 
not see any reason for a religious girl to join the army. It is not easy 
for religious men, all the more so for women. It seems that the women's 
service today is more because of politics than neccesity. The population 
of Israel has grown, the drafts are large, the army is oversized in the 
non-combat units, and could save money by outsourcing non-army activity.


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 27,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Calling the Kohanim

Why does the gabbai call the kohanim for duchaning?

Why is the gabbai silent when there is only one kohen?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 3,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Difference in waiting time to have chalavi after meat vs. chicken

Shavua tov.

My daughter tells me that some of her sherut leumi roommates wait a
shorter time to eat chalavi after eating chicken than they do after eating
meat.  I am aware that chicken was originally considered parve, but I've
never heard of having a time difference between chicken and meat.

Has anyone ever heard of such a minhag, and if so, can you tell me what the
basis is?  (My daughter does not know what the family background is of her
roommates, except they're not Sfardi.)

Avraham Friedenberg
Karnei Shomron


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 26,2012 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Entering a church

In his weekly "Ask the Rabbi" column, Rabbi Chaim Kanterowitz, answered
another question which might be something which might form the basis for
debate on Mail Jewish. As previously, I shall not give my own personal views
on this matter so as not to prejudice discussion of Rabbi Kanterowitz's

Q ON a tour which I recently led, many observant Jews would not enter a
church. Is there a prohibition involved?

A THIS is a very sensitive and touchy subject. However, keeping in mind
that, thank God, we live in a multicultural society - a western democracy
where freedom of religion, faith and belief is protected by law - I will be
as direct and clear as possible. In general, our sages adopted an approach
where the separation between religions is clearly marked and kept. This is
for various reasons - some known, others less so.

The main rationale is that the threat of assimilation and foreign worship
existed throughout history. In one form or other, it is as prevalent today
as it has ever been and, accordingly, the poskim (halachic authorities) have
never deviated from their approach.

Rambam, in a comment in his commentary to the Mishnah Avodah Zarah, states
that it is forbidden to even live in a city of idolators or those who engage
in foreign worship. From the perspective of Rambam, Christianity is deemed
foreign worship in all its forms and falls under the categorisation of this
prohibition. However, he recognises that Jews have always lived in cities
and towns where foreign worship is the prevalent dominant ruling practice
and attempts to excuse this by stating that this is only because we have no
choice but to dwell there. However, to choose to enter into a house of
worship even for the sake of tourism, one is - according to Rambam -
prohibited from doing so.

Shulchan Aruch YD 142:15 takes this idea further, stating: "One is
prohibited from looking at the beauty of foreign worship since he enjoys and
benefits from their sight". Chochmat Adam Kllal 84:16 rules that it is even
prohibited to walk within four amot (wide steps) of the door of such an

In the early Ashkenazi source Sefer Chasidim 435, written by Rabbi Judah the
Chassid around 600 years ago, it is related that a priest owing a Jew money
would always hide in the church so that the Jew could not get at him to
repay his debt. 

Indeed, the current leading posek Rav Ovadia Yosef in Yabbiah Omer 7 Y.D:12
as well as Yechaveh Daat 4:45 rules that it is forbidden to visit a
Christian church. This is also the position of Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot
Moshe YD:3: 129:6) and poskim such as Rav Waldenberg, Rav Shlomo Zalman
Aurbach and my teacher Rav Avigdor Neventzal.

To conclude: Besides an extreme case such as representation of the community
in certain specific cases and in consultation with major halachic
authorities or security related issues such as may come up in IDF operations
in Israel, entry into a church is prohibited even when only sightseeing.


Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Mechitzah In Shul: Why and How?

Here is another, hopefully controversial, Weekly Halacha Discussion
by Rabbi Doniel Neustadt:

The halacha that requires men to be separated from women while davening in
shul has its origins in the procedure followed in the Beis Hamikdash. Our
Sages in the Mishnah (1) report that a major adjustment was made in the
Beis Hamikdash during the festive holiday of Succos. The Talmud explains
that the adjustment consisted of building a balcony over the mens section
so that the women could witness the festivities of simchas beis hashoeivah.
Had they stood where they normally did the mingling of the crowds and the
festive holiday air would have led to kalus rosh  excessive frivolity. The
Talmud attests that the need for a balcony was so pressing that its
construction was approved even though it is generally prohibited to expand
or modify the original structure of the Beis Hamikdash. The Biblical source
for the separation of men and women, says the Talmud, is found in the verse
in Zechariah in which the prophet foretells the eulogy of Mashiach ben
Yosef, where men and women will be seated separately. If separate seating is
required even at so solemn an affair as a eulogy, how much more so must
separate seating be required on a joyous occasion!

Following the example set by our Sages in the Beis Hamikdash, the age-old
tradition has been to make a clear division and a separation between the
main sanctuary and the womens section. Some shuls built a balcony like the
Beis Hamikdash had, while others constructed a thick wall that completely
separated the two sections. This arrangement was so taken for granted, so
undisputed, that it is not even explicitly cited in the Shulchan Aruch as a
requirement (2). About a hundred years ago, when some shuls in Germany and
Hungary began to question the need for a mechitzah, all the leading rabbis
(3) strictly prohibited davening in any shul that lowered or removed the
traditional separation between the two sections.

With the mass immigration of Jews to the United States in the late 1800s,
many modern synagogues did not insist upon a mechitzah that completely
blocked off the womens section. First Reform and Conservative temples and
then even more traditional ones began to openly defy our hallowed tradition
and gradually lowered or removed the barrier which separated the men from
the women. The following questions were then posed to the venerable poskim
in the United States: Is this practice justified? Is a mechitzah
halachically required? How high does a mechitzah have to be?

Reason for the balcony in the Beis Hamikdash:

In order to answer these questions correctly we must first examine what,
exactly, was the purpose of the balcony in the Beis Hamikdash. We explained
earlier that a balcony was constructed to prevent kalus rosh  excessive
frivolity. The Talmud does not however, elaborate on how the separation was
effective in guaranteeing that kalus rosh did not prevail. There are two
possible ways to understand this:

A) Kalus rosh prevails when the men can freely gaze at the women. It
interferes with their concentration and profanes the sanctity of the Beis
Hamikdash. By seating the women on a balcony over the mens section, the men
can no longer view the women (4). To accomplish this purpose the balcony was
constructed in one of two ways:

1) The mens section was directly underneath the balcony, hidden from the
womens line of vision. The women were nevertheless able to see a small
clearing in the middle of the mens section where the few dancers would
perform (5). The majority of the men did not actively participate in the
festivities; they were merely spectators (6).

2) The balcony was built above the sides of the mens section but it was
enclosed with a curtain or a one-way mirror. This permitted the women to
watch the men from above but completely blocked the mens view of the women

B) Kalus rosh prevails when men and women are free to mix socially with one
another. By relegating the women to a balcony and physically separating them
from mixing with the men, the proper decorum and sanctity of the Beis
Hamikdash was duly preserved (8). According to this understanding then, the
balcony did not completely block the mens view. Rather, it separated the
two sections and prevented the men and women from communicating or
interacting with each other in any way.

The question then, as it applies to present day mechitzos, is as follows: Do
we follow the first interpretation and require a mechitzah that completely
blocks the mens view or is it sufficient to have a mechitzah that divides
the two sections in a way that prevents frivolity?

The two views of the poskim:

There are two schools of thought among contemporary authorities as to the
practical halacha. Many poskim (9) hold that the purpose of the mechitzah is
that the men should not be able to view the women (A).


1) The mechitzah must be high enough to completely block the entire womens

2) The mechitzah must be made entirely from an opaque material. Glass,
flowers and decorative wood slats are not acceptable for any part of the

3) Even a balcony must be completely encircled by a curtain, etc.

As stated previously, this practice was universally accepted, wherever Jews
davened. The womens section, whether in the balcony or at the back of the
shul, was totally separated from the mens. Such a separation was a
fundamental feature of shul architecture, as basic as positioning the amud
at the front of the shul and a bimah in the middle. It was and still is part
of the standard model for a Jewish place of worship.

Rav M. Feinstein,ZTL, (10) however, after establishing that the basic
requirement for separating men and women during prayer services is a
Biblical obligation, holds that the basic halacha follows the second
approach (B) that we mentioned earlier. Although he agrees that it is
commendable and praiseworthy to maintain the age-old traditional mechitzah,
he nevertheless rules that the widespread practice of many shuls to lower
the mechitzah somewhat is permitted according to the basic halacha. As long
as the mechitzah is high enough to effectively block out any communication
or interaction between the mens and womens sections, it is a halachically
valid mechitzah. 


1) The minimum height for a mechitzah is shoulder-high, which the Talmud
calculates to be 17 to 18 tefachim high (11). Allowing for a difference of
opinion concerning the exact size of a tefach, Rav Feinstein rules that a 66
inch (1.68 metres) mechitzah is permitted (12), while in extenuating
circumstances 60 inches (1.52 metres) will suffice (13). Any mechitzah lower
than that however, is not considered a mechitzah at all.

2) A balcony does not need to be encircled with a partition or a curtain. It
is preferable and recommended however, to do so if possible (14).

3) Although technically, the upper part of the mechitzah may be made out of
glass since it serves as a physical barrier between the sections, it is
self-defeating and inadequate to use glass as many women unfortunately, come
to shul improperly dressed and or with their hair not covered properly (15).

4) A mechitzah which has sizeable gaps towards the top is not acceptable
since it does not effectively guard against kalus rosh (16). A mechitzah
which has tiny openings in the lattice work is permitted (17).

5) The mechitzah must reach the minimum required height (60 inches or 1.52
metres) in both the mens and womens sections. Raising the floor of the
womens section, which in effect lowers the height of the mechitzah, defeats
the purpose of the mechitzah (18).

1 Succah 51a.

2 Tzitz Eliezer 7:8.

3 Led by Rav Shlomo Ganzfried, author of Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and Maharam
Ash, disciple of Chasom Sofer, and countersigned by the Divrei Chaim. The
proclamation is published in Lev Haivri. See also Maharam Schick, O.C. 77
and Zichron Yehudah 1:62 who also voiced strong objections to any tampering
with the traditional mechitzah.

4 Rambam (commentary to the Mishnah Succah 5:2)

5 Tosfos Yom Tov (commentary to the Mishnah Succah 5:2).

6 Rambam Hilchos Lulav 8:14.

7 Piskei Rid Succah 51; Meiri Middos 2:5; Korban Eidah (Yerushalmi Succah
5:2) as explained in Divrei Yoel 1:10.

8 Rambam, Hilchos Lulav 8:12 and Hilchos Beis Habechira
Yisroel Succah 5:6; Aruch Hashulchan Haasid 11.

9 Maharam Schick 77; Rav E. M. Bloch (Taharas Yom Tov, vol. 6); Divrei Yoel,
O.C. 10; Shevet Halevi 1:29.

10 Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:39 and in various other responsa; Seridei Eish 2:14.
See also ruling of Rav Y. E. Henkin (quoted in Teshuvos Bnei Banim, pg. 12).

11 Shabbos 92a.

12 Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:31.

13 Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:23; 3:24; 4:30; 4:31.

14 Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:42.

15 Igros Moshe, O.C. 1:43; 3:23.

16 Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:29.

17 Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:32.

18 Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:23; 3:24; 4:31.


Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 27,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Siddur hageonim vehamekubbalim

I have all but two volumes of the Siddur hageonim vehamekubbalim by  Rav
Moshe Yair Weinstock and have been trying for years to get hold of the
missing ones. The volumes I require are:

5. Inyanei Shabbat Kodesh

8. Kriat Hatorah

Would anyone be able to help me obtain them?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 27,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: The Yehi Ratzon in Birchas Kohanim

Elazar M. Teitz wrote (MJ 61#48):

> Martin Stern wrote (61#47):

>> In German congregations the whole duchaning was chanted responsively by the
>> chazan and cohanim with a specific niggun for each festival and they
>> extended the niggun before the last word of each pasuk to enable the
>> congregation to recite these prayers. Unfortunately this beautiful custom is
>> becoming rare because of opposition in certain circles.

> Again, my experience differs vastly from his.  I have yet to daven in an
> Ashkenazi synagogue or Yeshiva outside of Israel in which the kohanim do not
> extend the tune prior to the last word of each b'racha, to allow the
> congregation to recite the Yehi Ratzon.  In Sefaradi congregations, the
> situation is the same as in Israel, since Sefaradim duchen daily.

Of course Rabbi Teitz is correct regarding the extended tune prior to the
last word of each berachah but that was not the custom to which I was
referring. In German congregations, the whole duchaning was chanted with an
extended tune in a responsive manner, not just the last word by the cohanim.
There are now very few places which maintain this custom.

In any case, I cannot understand why, in Israel, duchaning on Yom Tov should
be performed in the same perfunctory manner as on weekdays where time
constraints force it.

Martin Stern


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 4,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Torah Scroll Falling

During hagbaah (raising of the Torah) this past Shabbat the lifter lost control
of the left, heavy side of the Torah and the Torah fell to the ground (the
left part only). What to do?

We were advised by the Rabbi to proclaim a private fast, search and mend our
ways and it couldn't hurt to give tzedakah. Has anyone heard of this practice?

In falling, part of the seam opened. The sofer (Torah scribe) came after Shabbat
to repair the seam/stitch. He suggested making sure that for lifting the Torah
the seam is always in the middle when the Torah is lifted and raised for all to
see. The ritual committee decided from now on there would be back-up and a guard
to make sure this doesn't reoccur. Of course, the gabbai has to ensure he asks
only qualified, experienced lifters to perform hagbaah.
Any suggestions from the olam (world) at large?

Stuart Pilichowski


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 27,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Women being instructed in martial arts

In a related comment to the recent Battle of the Sexes topic, and whether women
should perhaps receive military training, or, at least martial arts training, in
one form (in the IDF) or another, I point us to the Mishnah Brurah 306:14 on the
prohibition of certain verbalizations on the Shabbat.  It reads: 

"One who was informed [on the Sabbath] that his daughter was removed/taken by
force from his house on [that] Sabbath in order to turn her into a non-Jew, it
is a mitzva to set out on the way in order to attempt to save her, even a long
distance of three parsa'ot [way beyond the permitted distance, about 12
kilometers or 7.45 miles, outside the enclosed city/village limit] and if he
doesn't do so, a Bet Din will judge him guilty [of not saving her]".  

A reason is that whereas she will perhaps be violating constantly the
prohibitions on idolatry, and even if perhaps he will not be successful, he will
be violating the Sabbath much less and that is a preferable situation.

The connection would be: in order to prevent this situation, would her being
trained in the martial arts have been a lesser prohibition and thus she could
perhaps been able to save herself?

Incidentally, the B'air HaTeiv there, note 19, based on the Knesseth Gedola
quoted by the RAMA and also noted at the end of the MN's 58,, permits going
outside the Shabbat city-limit in order to take revenge for his father's murder.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 61 Issue 49