Volume 61 Number 66 
      Produced: Sun, 27 Jan 13 17:35:46 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Abnormal Relations (2)
    [Gadi Simcha  David Lee Makowsky]
Chanukah Candle Conundrum 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Gabbai questions 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Harsh rhetoric? (2)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Joel Rich]


From: Gadi Simcha <lhavdil@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 3,2013 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal Relations

Thank you Chaim for bringing Even HaEzer 25:2.  
The principle of "it's (possibly) kosher in the bedroom - so keep it in the
bedroom" has been discussed at length in Jewish online BDSM discussion groups,
and three objections are usually raised:

(a) Finding a compatible partner is challenging.  There are "codes" that
people use on Frumster and JDate, but those who've gone that route report
that they seldom result in matches because of their oblique nature.  Perhaps a 
schadhan [matchmaker --Mod.] could be a solution, but that's an institution few 
of us have access to anymore.  Instead, l'maase [practically speaking --Mod.], 
people come to the Jewish discussion lists on BDSM sites to find Jewish 
partners.  Right now, these are simply the most practical venues for meeting 
compatible mates.  This practice, however, involves exposure to pornography on 
these sites (thus my question in a previous posting [MJ 61#62]).

(b) BDSM can be dangerous unless one learns to do it safely.  It cannot be
safely learned in isolation from the "best practices" evolved within the
BDSM community.  So my original questions included questions about meeting
other people in a non-sexual setting to discuss BDSM practices, and
participating in online discussion forums for the same purpose, even though
exposure to pornography is unavoidable.

(c) For some of us, this is a lifelong affinity.  It has influenced our
choice of spouses, the company we keep, and it feels like a principal axis
of identity.  There may be people who have successfully operated a
committed BDSM relationship long-term without the support of an
understanding community, but I would submit that most of us couldn't.  In
particular, those of us who identify as religious come together for
community, friendship, communication, and support.   We celebrate each
other's simchas and mourn each other's losses.  It would be difficult to
live without this community of people who understand this aspect of
ourselves, which is kept private to the outside world.

These are some of the factors that influenced my original questions, which
were about the halachot that might govern BDSM activities outside the
bedroom, or that aren't strictly between the couple.



From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 10,2013 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Abnormal Relations

Chaim Casper (MJ 61#65) wrote regarding permissible sexual activities:

> But the RaM"A allows both "k'darkah v'sh'lo
> k'darkah" (conventional and unconventional bedroom activities).


> 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 business.

Are we to interpret the RaM"A as saying anything goes?  Even the limitation
of "it is better to strive for sanctity in the bedroom" is not the same as
one must have sanctity in the bedroom.

Assuming there is consent, no one will be physically hurt, and everything
remains private, I still don't see how there can be a blank check.

I am trying to keep the language here appropriate and I don't want the
discussion here to lead to something disrespectful or
otherwise inappropriate (I wouldn't want to have to edit the submissions on
this topic ...), but what would do you believe the RaM"A would say about
oral sex?  There are certain prohibitions directly related to that.

David Makowsky


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 10,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Chanukah Candle Conundrum

In MJ 61#65, Michael Poppers notes

> the mitzvah is pirsumei nisa, but
> there is no pirsumei nisa until there is hadlaqah

Yes. But after asking around, I have a better explanation: the pirsumei nisa
element is in the category of hiddur mitzva (enhancement of the commandment).

Yisrael Medad


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 10,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Gabbai questions

1. As the gabbai in an Israeli minyan I'm always giving aliyot to a mixed 
crowd - Ashkenazim and Edot Hamizrach/Sfardim. When I ask the Sfardim for 
their name they almost always offer their mother's name as opposed to the 
Ashkenzai custom of offering the father's name. Is it ok to proceed with the 
mi shebayrach that way, or is there some reason to specifically ask for the 
father's name?

I thought perhaps uniformity of custom in the minyan might be one reason to 
ask for the father's name. Does it really matter?

2. As opposed to calling people to the torah for an aliyah using their name, 
I hand out aliyah/kibbud cards prior to the Reading of the Torah and call 
up, "HaShlishi", "Reviee", . . . . "HaMaftir" -- any problem with this 

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 10,2013 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Harsh rhetoric?

Frank Silberman (MJ 61#65), referring to Rabbi Avigdor Miller's book, writes:

> 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_).

Rabbi Miller's source is much older than Voltaire's time, and is much more
Jewish:  its first mention is by R. Akiva, as cited in the Talmud (B'rachos
60b).  It is codified in Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 230:5): "One should always
be accustomed to say 'All that the Merciful One does is for good.'"


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 11,2013 at 10:01 AM
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 

For those interested, an excellent series on orthodox responses to the holocaust 
(YHE-SHOAH 5768-5769 "Faith and the Holocaust", by Rav Tamir Granot) can be 
found here: http://www.vbm-torah.org/shoah.html

Personally I often think about r" A. Lichtenstein's comment that there are 
obviously people who are more connected (or think they are) to the mind of HKB"H 
than I am.  I don't think people find solace in "we really don't know why HKB"H 
runs the world the way he does, that's way above our pay grade so just do what 
he told you and let him worry about the results", but in my own mind, I think 
that's the closest to the truth that I am capable of.

PFC Joel Rich

Thank you.


End of Volume 61 Issue 66