Volume 61 Number 65 
      Produced: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 12:11:40 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Abnormal Relations (3)
    [Chaim Casper  Josh Backon  Gadi Simcha]
Chanukah Candle Conundrum 
    [Poppers, Michael]
Correct Times for Reciting Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei 
    [Martin Stern]
Harsh rhetoric? 
    [Frank Silbermann]
Status of Masorti 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 2,2013 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal Relations

Gadi Simcha (MJ 61#62) and Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 61#64) discussed
"Limitations on sexual activities."

Neither quoted the RaM"A (Rabbi Moshe Isserles) (EH 25:2) on this issue,
where the RaM"A offers a liberal ruling of what is acceptable in marital
relations.  Whereas the M'haber (Rabbi Joseph Caro)(OH 240) is very
conservative in marital relations, the RaM"A seems to take the view that
whatever a couple does in the privacy of their home in a committed
relationship is acceptable.   

For example, the M'haber insists on the man being on top (what is called
the "missionary position").  But the RaM"A allows both "k'darkah v'sh'lo
k'darkah" (conventional and unconventional bedroom activities).   The
main comentator on the Even Haezer, the Beit Shmuel (Rabbi Samuel ben Uri
Shraga Phoebus), takes issue with the RaM"A, but the RaM"A is certainly a
reliable source to rely on.

The RaM"A hedges his ruling a bit by saying it is better to strive for
sanctity in the bedroom, but to me it is clear simply by the large
verbiage he uses that what a couple wants to do in the bedroom is their

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

ps.  My apologies if my post offends or appears to be tawdry.   My intent
is only to discuss the halakhah.

From: Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 2,2013 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal Relations

Gadi Simcha wrote (thread "Limitations on...", MJ 61#62):

> I'd like to know what issurim might govern BDSM ... practices.

Though the Mechaber (Choshen Mishpat 420:1) indicates "assur l'adam l'hakot
chaveiro" [roughly: "it's forbidden to cause physical damage to someone else"],
the Rambam (Chovel u'Mazik 5:1) qualifies this as "derech nitzayon" [intent to
hurt] or "bizayon" [humiliation]. The question thus revolves around whether BDSM
between a married couple who AGREE to BDSM is or isn't *nitzayon* or *bizayon*.
This eppis [something] is a question for Dr. Ruth, not a posek :-). If the
chabala [injury] is "l'tovato" [for his benefit], there's no issur.

Josh Backon

From: Gadi Simcha <lhavdil@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 2,2013 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal Relations

In response to my posting on BDSM practices, Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 61#64):

> Assuming, for sake of argument, that this is a sincere question (and not
> just part of a masochistic desire for rebuke):

I should have been clearer that this is not fictitious. This question is
one that has troubled me for years.  I do not ask it lightly.

I'll also add that I am not seeking tochecha [rebuke] nor mussar [admonishment].
I am seeking clarity or at least more knowledge in what (to me) is a murky
halachic area.

Some may respond that this is a matter for my LOR.  That may be the case,
and someday I may find the courage to initiate that conversation, but for
now, I am asking the folks here for input and discussion.

> My understanding is that viewing pornography is a Biblical
> violation of lo taturu (in the sh'ma) [do not follow your hearts
> and eyes that you prostitute after them].

Does this come from a larger opinion? If so, I'd like some background (i.e.
what constitutes pornography in this opinion, whose opinion is it, when
published, and how widely accepted).  I'd also like to know whether this
issur d'oraita [Biblical prohibition] applies in these situations:

(a) the use of pornography as a marital aid by a couple.

(b) the use of pornography in pedagogy (i.e. BDSM-oriented sex manuals)
where the purpose is to learn.

(c) the incidental exposure to pornography where the pornography is an
advertisement on a site primarily designed for discussion, where the
person's reason for being on the site is for discussion, not the

(d) private pornography shot and viewed by the couple for their own

> Having relations with a woman married to someone else is a
> clear violation of the decalogue prohibition against adultery.

I believe this was in response to my question about a couple "opening"
their relationship to a third.  If this woman was married, or the third was
a male (having relations with my wife), this issur [prohibition] would apply. 
So let's say the third is an unmarried woman.

>  Though I do not know what exactly is permitted within a
> married relationship, physical abuse is clearly a biblical
> violation of pikuah nefesh [saving a life].

I'll restrict my area of questioning to the presumption that any BDSM
activity referred to is consensual, and that all reasonable precautions are
observed to prevent any injury.




From: Poppers, Michael <Michael.Poppers@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 2,2013 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Chanukah Candle Conundrum

In MJ 61#64, Yisrael Medad responded:

> Yes, deliberately setting up the chanukiah with less than the amount of fuel
> sufficient to meet the minimum time measure would disqualify the situation
> as a mitzva, which is what I wrote.  That is not the conundrum, however.
> I wanted to know "why?".
> ...
> There are many other elements, all based around pirsumei nisa (publicizing the
> miracle)...

As I thought I explained (perhaps not well enough, or perhaps Yisrael
disagrees...) but will now rephrase: yes, the mitzvah is pirsumei nisa, but
there is no pirsumei nisa until there is hadlaqah (i.e. "hadlaqah oseh mitzvah"
[the lighting literally makes one succeed in performing the mitzvah]), and the
definitional mandate of "hadlaqah" includes a particular minimal timespan
(related to the optimal time for hadlaqah described in BT Shabbos, i.e.
mishetishqa hachamah ad shetichleh regel min hashuq, and see 21b, esp. RaShY
d'h' l'shiurah) and, as per my previous response, supplying sufficient fuel for
the neir [that night's light] to last at least that timespan.

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


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jan 7,2013 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Correct Times for Reciting Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei

Since Rabbi Doniel Neustadt's Weekly Halacha Discussion has proved
controversial in the past, I wonder what MJ members have to say about his
latest column (Va'eira);

In order of halachic preference, there are several time slots in which
Shemoneh Esrei may be recited:

1. Exactly at sunrise. This is the known as vasikin and it is the preferred
time for reciting Shemoneh Esrei.

2. After sunrise until a third of the day has passed. This is the time slot
in which most people recite Shemoneh Esrei lchatchilah.

3. From seventy-two minutes before sunrise until sunrise. When necessary,
e.g., before embarking on a trip or going to work or school, one may daven
at this time l'chatchilah (1). Otherwise, one is not allowed to daven at
this time (2). A retired person who was formerly permitted to daven before
sunrise due to his work schedule should now daven after sunrise only.
B'diavad, if one davened before sunrise, he has fulfilled his obligation and
does not need to repeat Shacharis (3).

4. After a third of the day has passed until chatzos. L'chatchilah, one must
recite Shemoneh Esrei before this time, as this time is considered after
zeman tefillah. But if one failed to daven earlier for any reason, he must
still daven during this time period, although his davening is not considered
as if he davened on time". (4)

5. After chatzos. It is no longer permitted to daven Shacharis at this
time.5 If his failure to daven Shacharis earlier was due to circumstances
beyond his control or because he forgot, a tashlumin (makeup tefillah) may
be said during Mincha. If he failed to daven Shacharis because of
negligence, however, tashlumin may not be davened (6).

1 O.C. 89:8; Igros Moshe, O.C. 4:6. Tallis and tefillin, however, may not be
put on until at least sixty minutes before sunrise.

2 This is the consensus of most poskim. A minority view rules that it is
permitted l'chatchilah to daven after the time of misheyakir (Peri Chadash).
Beiur Halacha 89:1, s.v. yatza, rules that although it is preferable not to
do so, (possibly) we should not object to those who are lenient.

3 Mishnah Berurah 89:4.

4 O.C. 89:1. See Mishnah Berurah 6 who recommends davening a tefillas
nedavah if his failure to daven until this time was intentional.

5 Rama, 89:1.

6 See O.C. 108 for more details.


Martin Stern


From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 2,2013 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Harsh rhetoric?

Eliezer Berkovits wrote (MJ 61#64):

> (Re: Rabbi Avigdor Miller's _Sing You Righteous - A Jewish Seeker's 
> Ideology_, p.201 and similar on p.39):
> "The Jewish imitators of gentile ways attributed the destruction of the Six
> Million to the ''failure to fight back'' or ''the failure to plan ahead''.
> ... That G-d planned the destruction in order to wipe out the sinful 
> tendencies of European Jewry, in accordance with the prophecies of the  
> Scriptures, did not occur to these misinterpreters. That the worst defection 
> from the Torah since the beginning of our nation's history had taken place in 
> Europe, and was therefore visited by the greatest retribution in history, was 
> not mentioned by any of the writers ..."
> I found these words to be very harsh - I was further surprised that Rabbi 
> Miller thought it was sensible to commit them to posterity in his book (some 
> things are better left unsaid, even if one believes them to be true).
> Does anyone know if a similar idea is expressed by any other Gedolim?

The late Rav Schach (the one who pronounced a Cherem on the late Lubavitcher
rebbe) said pretty much the same thing in the early 1990s.

As for Avigdor Miller, in his book _Rejoice, O Youth!_ he wrote that G-d did a
great kindness for the Jews in bringing about the Holocaust, opining that many
pious children who were murdered would otherwise have lost their share in the
World to Come by growing up to become Zionists or Bundists.  Because of the
Holocaust, they instead enjoy an eternity in Paradise.  That book throughout
reflects a faith that everything G-d does is for the best (a philosophy which I
believe was current among Christians in Voltaire's time, as represented by the
character Pangloss in his novel _Candide_).

Frank Silbermann      Memphis, Tennessee


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 21,2012 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Status of Masorti

Katz, Ben M.D. wrote (MJ 61#60) in reply to my posting (MJ 61#59):

> With all due respect, one cannot malign an entire movement based on a single
> incident.  There are plenty of Conservative/Masorti Jews who take kashrut
> quite seriously and plenty of Orthodox who are quite lenient.

While I would agree with Ben that one cannot generalise from a single incident,
in this particular case the rabbi/grandfather was the spiritual leader of the
whole Masorti movement in the UK and recognised worldwide as one of its leading
thinkers. In fact Ben refers to the said rabbi's opinions in his own book "A
Journey through Torah" several times (inter alia pp. 9, 32, 71, 81, 109, 111)
and includes four of his works in that book's Selected Annotated
Bibliography/Further Reading.

The UK Masorti movement claims to be "Orthodox but not fundamentalist" and
as representing "Minhag Anglia as it was before the right-wing takeover" in
its frequent press releases. If I am not much mistaken, the Israeli
Masorti movement makes similar claims.

Taking these factors into account, I think this incident is more significant
than Ben, probably being unaware of the situation in the UK, realises.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 61 Issue 65