Volume 62 Number 67 
      Produced: Mon, 07 Mar 16 01:41:14 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah? 
    [Martin Stern]
Chief Rabbi Comments 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Concubinage relationship (2)
    [Elazar M. Teitz  Susan Buxfield]
Greetings on a Yahrzeit 
    [David Olivestone]
Haftarat Mishpatim: Yitzhak/Yishak 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Inane Expression 
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Of samech, tsadeh and shin/sin 
    [Martin Stern]
Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Tircha d'Tzibbura (2)
    [Martin Stern  Susan Buxfield]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 28,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah?

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 62#65):

> Martin Stern (MJ 62#61) and Aryeh Frimer and Avy Dachman (MR 62#62) disqualify
> a woman who has undergone a gender reassignement surgery and become a man from
> receiving an aliyah.
> I believe that Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg, the Tzitz Eliezer, would disagree.
> In a fascinating study of R` Waldenberg's work, Alan Jotkowitz in Hakirah
> Vol 19, Summer 2015, pg 113 says ... "A child born with female external
> genitalia is halakhically considered a female even if his genetic phenotype
> is male (Tzitz Eliezer Vol 11, 78).   The fact that the child has a Y
> chromosome is irrelevant to R` Waldenberg because the Talmud was concerned
> only with external appearance, not genetic makeup."

While this is undisputed in cases of clearly phenotypically female or male
children, it may not be so where there the child's gender is somewhat ambiguous
(a tumtum?) where genotype may be a deciding factor in deciding what corrective
surgery (if any) should be performed.

> He goes as far to suggest that a woman who undergoes a sex change operation
> becomes halakhically a man as reflected in the external genitalia (and vice
> versa) and does not need a bill of divorce (i.e. a get) from her spouse
> because a man cannot be married to another man (Tzitz Eliezer Vol 10, 25).

I find it difficult to believe that he makes such a sweeping statement and
presume that it is a consequence of Chaim's "apologies for not quoting R`
Waldenberg directly as I couldn't locate the relevant teshuvot Online".
There is a world of difference between surgery to remove ambiguous gender in
neonates and plastic surgery to change someone's appearance from male to
female, or vice versa, in those whose gender is clearly established. Such
surgery would almost certainly be Biblically prohibited as castration, at
least for male-to-female surgery.
> If she becomes a he, that would mean that "he" would be eligible for an
> aliyah.

A very big IF which is probably halachically impossible!
Martin Stern


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Chief Rabbi Comments

Did anyone else hear the announcement (I heard it on the BBC) that former UK
Chief Rabbi Sacks received a major award for Spiritual Growth [the Templeton
Prize - Mod.]?

That had big potential to be a kiddush Hashem, but I was alarmed to hear the
"sound bite" - the only thing American listeners heard about this at all -
something about how Rabbi Sacks blames Western society and secular values for
the rise of ISIS and terrorism.  Could this possibly be what he said?

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Concubinage relationship

Susan Buxfield took issue (MJ 62#64), at great length, with my comment that it
is the majority opinion that the concubinage relationship is not permitted.   

The gist of her remarks appears to be that those who hold it Biblically
prohibited are a minority. However, this is irrelevant to what I wrote.  

Whether those who prohibit it hold it prohibited Biblically, rabbinically, or
because of fear that the woman would be embarrassed to observe family purity
laws, they nonetheless prohibit it, and they are certainly the majority of the
authorities who expressed an opinion. 

The degree of prohibition is relevant only to the consequences of violation, but
not to the fact; and we have no right to enter into a forbidden relationship,
whatever the degree of prohibition. 


From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 4,2016 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Concubinage relationship

Dr Russell Jay Hendel (MJ 62#66) wrote:

> 3) There is a very subtle fallacy here. The way the Rav (Rav Joseph
> Soloveitchick) explained it to us (I learned Gemarrah with him and we did
> kiddushin) is as follows. According to the Rambam there are two prohibitions
> of intimacy outside marriage. 
> a) The prohibition of kedesha (roughly, prostitute); 
> b) The prohibition implicit in the positive commandment (issur asay) requiring
> kiddushin. 
> The Rav illustrated this with the sphere of eating. If I eat non-kosher meat I
> violate the negative prohibition of eating carcasses (Nevaylah) and I also
> violate the positive prohibition requiring ritual slaughter before eating.
> So, Josh is perhaps correct that the woman isn't in the category of kedesha (I
> am not certain). But the woman and man are violating the prohibition implicit 
> in the positive commandment requiring kiddushin (according to the Rambam)
> ...
> Bottom line: I don't see any heter according to any Rishon to have a
> permissable live-in relationship without kiddushin.

Is there a documented source for the "fallacy" as understood by Rav Joseph

The RaMBaM in Hilchot Ishut does not refer to the issues of Pilagshut much to
the chagrin of the commentators but rather to the issur of prostitution. However
in Hilchot Melachim, the RaMBaM does permit pilagshut for the general population
with an Amah Ivriah, and for kings without any condition.

The Rema paskens that pilagshut is permissible, with a caution of a "Yesh Omrim"
(the RaMBaM).

Also the RaMBaN, Beit Shmuel and Ya'akov Emden see no problem with pilagshut.

The practicalities of such a relationship is not just a consideration of the
ease of exit. The woman cannot expect without prior agreement her partner's
financial support in times of illness or child-raising.

Thus especially in the days of the Rishonim when most women were more
impoverished than men, unable in the main to be financially independent and
together with the prevalent Christian theocracies in the West and Islamic
theocracies in the East whose mores saw premarital relationships as fornication
and post-marital (widows etc) as adultery, pilagshut was not a viable proposition.

Even today, a real pilagshut (no civil marriage) relationship is not common
since most authorities do not recognize a civil union between heterosexual
couples leading to a forfeiture of tax relief.

The corporal and capital punishments which are still inflicted by Israel's
Muslim neighbors for non-marital relationships has lead to a sharp decrease from
9 children per Islamic wife in the 1950's to less then 3 in this decade.



From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Sat, Mar 5,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Greetings on a Yahrzeit

David Feiler wrote (MJ 62#66):

> When I made aliya I received a pleasant surprise.  One of my ex-US friends
> wished me "May your aliya have a neshamah" which I thought was particularly
> apt for  the situation.

That's a really nice turn of phrase. I, too, am from England originally, and
also lived in the USA for many years, but when my wife and I made aliyah just
over three years ago, I had a slightly different experience. The guys in the
morning minyan I used to attend in Teaneck gave me a l'chayim send-off one
morning. One man who happened to walk by, assuming this was a tikun for a
yahrzeit, casually said: "May the neshama have an aliyah." Of course, this set
off gales of laughter, and someone told him that this was a case of a much
happier type of aliyah.

Just to add a comment on the related topic (Subject: Inane Expression) of "boker
ohr": This phrase is not usually said in Israel as a first greeting, but is very
commonly said as a very pleasant response to "boker tov." I find it very
appropriate and uplifting.



From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Haftarat Mishpatim: Yitzhak/Yishak

Russell Jay Hendel (MJ 62#66) wrote:
> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#65):
>> Russell Hendel (MJ 62#64) wrote:
>>> ...
>>> I would like to argue that this is a deliberate misspelling with intent to
>>> nuance subtleties via the literary technique of the pun. 
>> Puns are all well and enjoyable but as the Hebrew l'tzachek possesses a 
>> sexual connotation: 
>> 1) in the matter of Yishmael it being homosexual (Genesis 31:9), 
>> 2) as regards Potiphar's wife simple licientiousness (Genesis 36:17), or 
>> 3) even orgy romping (Exodus 32:6), not to mention idolatrous worship,
> ...
> Bottom line: Tzachek means mocking, teasing, derision. It doesn't mean murder,
> idolatry or sex per se. However, it does connote behavior that can lead to 
> these things. 

While that position can be supported, to be fair, there is enough material to
justify my approach that the word is more inclined, in those cases I noted, and
in the context of the actions in those cases, to suggest sexual activity rather
than pre-sexual teasing activity, as I understand Russell.

For example, Rabbinic midrashic commentary, much closer in time than Rav Hirsch,
indicates that she was a bit more than a tease. For example, the occasion when
some noble ladies of Egypt came for a get-together and she had her maid give
them oranges and sent Joseph in to wait upon them; the women, unable to turn
their eyes from Joseph, cut their fingers while peeling the oranges. She told
them: "What would you do if, like myself, you had him every day before your
eyes?" According to Genesis Rabbah 87, 5 she told Joseph that she was ready to
kill her husband so that he might marry her legally.

On the other hand, closer to our time period, the HaEmek Davar writes she said
"he came make fun of us, to lower our self-prestige" while another commentary
has her openly relating to her husband during conjugal activity that 'just like
this Joseph wished to do with me'. Some tease.

Yisrael Medad


From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Inane Expression

Regarding the expression "boker ohr", Yisrael Medad (MJ 62#66) considers it:

> an adaptation of the Arabic greeting "sabach a-chir", or "abul khayr", meaning
> "good morning" which is responded to by "sabach a-nur", meaning "[may it be a]
> a morning of light

whereas Shalom Parnes considers it (MJ 62#66):

> related to "boker ohr" as praise to G-d and an acknowledgement to Him for
> creating light and bringing the morning.

Actually, it is a biblical phrase (Gen 44:03) which corresponds to the English
idiom at "the crack of dawn"  It connotes zerizuth [diligence]. Its use on the
kibbutz is an apt way of looking forward to a full day of work starting at the
crack of dawn.

Note: THe mention of boker [morning], occurs (besides Gen 1) about a dozen times
in the Torah. Rashi frequently says it indicates diligence. For example, by the
Akaydah, "Abraham got up in the morning" (Gen 22:03) connotes that Abraham
looked forward enthusiastically to doing God's command (Rashi).

I also note that Israel is blessed with many biblical phrases which wind up in
conversations and in popular songs. I think that is good, beautiful and
wonderful (the opposite of inanity)

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA 


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 28,2016 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Of samech, tsadeh and shin/sin

Arthur G. Sapper wrote (MJ 62#65):

> Jack Gross wrote (MJ 62#64):
>> 5. The place of Shin/sin is occupied by a letter (S) whose shape appears to
>> be derived from our Tsadeh. (Perhaps they rejected the Shin shape, as too
>> similar to the W that was eventually appended)
>> It seems clear that, to their ear, the three symbols in Hebrew all
>> corresponded closely to their S sound, so two of the three were adjudged
>> redundant.
> The shape of the Roman letter "s" we use today was not derived from the shape
> of the tsadeh.  It was derived, going backwards in time, by the Romans from an
> Etruscan letter, who derived it from a Greek letter, who derived it from a
> Semitic (Phoenician/Hebrew) letter corresponding to our shin/sin, and which
> was originally derived by Semites from an Egyptian hieratic symbol (related to
> Egyptian hieroglyphs).

One point that Art might have mentioned is that the Semitic alphabet from
which the Greeks derived their notation was the Ktav Ivri found in early
inscriptions like the Mesha stele rather than the Ktav Ashuri we use
nowadays for Hebrew.

I would dispute his derivation of our "s" from the shin/sin. It is derived
from the Greek 'sigma" which more likely was derived from the Semitic
"samekh" as its name betrays despite metathesis (m-kh -> kh-m -> g-m). The
Semitic shin/sin gave rise to an archaic Greek letter "san" which dropped out of
use at an early stage of the language but was retained in the Greek alphanumeric
notation for 900.
> The tsadeh was not borrowed into Greek because it was not needed.  There was
> no sibilant sound in Greek corresponding to it.

The gutturals were adapted as vowels: aleph to alpha, chet to eta (and ayin
to omicron in the Western Chalcidic Greek alphabet from which, rather than
the Eastern Ionic, the Etruscan alphabet derived), as were also yod to iota
and vav to upsilon.

Similarly, quph became qoppa but was also abandoned as a letter though it was
also retained for the number 90. 

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Saying an extra kaddish unnecessarily

Martin Stern (MJ 62#66) quotes Rabbi Ganzfried:

> It is always better to give way than get into machloket [dissension]
> especially in these matters as clearly stated in the Kitsur Shulchan Arukh
> 26:22.

Just as an aside, I recently read this:

"This document relates to a controversy between R' Shlomo Ganzfried and the
R' Chaim Halberstamm, the Divrei Chaim. In his work Ohali Shem on Gittin,
R' Ganzfried took issue with some legal rulings of the Divrei Chaim. This
erupted into a series of small works from R' Weber, starting in 1882,
defending the honor of the Divrei Chaim. R' Ganzfried responded to one of
them in the back of the 1884 edition of his Kitzur Shulchan Aruch."

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 3,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Tircha d'Tzibbura

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 62#66):

> In my opinion there are many congregations who take the idea of tircha
> d'tzibura much too far. For instance the question of saying mishebeirach
> l'cholim between aliyot latorah. There are many minyanim who insist that every
> mitpalel say his own mishebeirach from his place, even though the idea is that
> the whole congregation participate in the prayer for the cholim. In my own
> shul (Young Israel of Armon haNetziv) the gabbai reads out the names of all
> the cholim and cholot from a prepared list and the congregation says Amen.
> This takes 5 minutes at the most and I think this does not cause any tircha
> d'tzibura.

Presumably David is referring to Shabbat or Yom Tov. On an ordinary Monday
or Thursday morning, 5 minutes is a significant lengthening of the davenning
time and almost certainly does cause tircha d'tzibura.

While on the topic, Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 62#36):

> In my shul, when someone needs El Maleh Rachamim recited, following layning the 
> gabbai takes the sefer torah and recites it aloud.  This procedure makes sense 
> to me; Sefaradim call it an "azkara", which implies something said aloud.  
> Where I davened today, the two yahrzeits in turn took the sefer torah and  
> recited it (I assume; it was inaudible) silently. 

Is this not also an example of tircha d'tzibura and would it not have been
better for the gabbai to have recited it once with both (or all) names mentioned

Martin Stern

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 6,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Tircha d'Tzibbura

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#66):

> And while we're on the subject, in my shul I've experienced two additional 
> problems.
> One is someone who insists on stepping out of his aisle seat, and davening
> Amidah in the aisle, blocking it so that people trying to pass coming in or 
> out can't.  I have taken to gently brushing past, ...
> The other is with Bratzlaver Hassidim in our shul.  I have publicly warned 
> them in my role a "presidenteh" that they get one clap per Amidah. 

An inherent right of a "presidenteh" is surely to warn the miscreant that even
one clap is forbidden in a shul that paskens according to the Mishna Brura and
that further disturbances will result in an official request to leave the shul
or be shunned by the other members by their refusal to daven together with him.



End of Volume 62 Issue 67