Volume 62 Number 77 
      Produced: Tue, 12 Apr 16 02:01:48 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aylonit (2)
    [Martin Stern  Robert Israel]
Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah? 
    [Chana Luntz]
Halachically married without civil marriage 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Single Parenthood 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Under age Marriage (3)
    [Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Mark Steiner]
When someone unintentionally disturbs davening (3)
    [Martin Stern  Yisrael Medad   Joel Rich]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Aylonit

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 62#76):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#75):

>> I very much doubt if this could be done for an aylonit since, although
>> this condition involves a lack of fertility, one of its crucial
>> aspects is a failure to show any signs of puberty.
>> I have always been puzzled by how an aylonit would be described in modern
>> terminology and the nearest I could find was a genotypical male (XY) with
>> congenital androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) who would appear at birth
>> to be female. This happens because, in the absence of androgens or changes
>> produced in reaction to them, a foetus will develop female characteristics
>> even though it may have male gonads. It would appear that this condition is
>> caused by the mutation of a gene carried, surprisingly, on the X chromosome
>> and so is transmitted from the mother.
>> Perhaps there are some paediatricians on our mailing list who might be able
>> to shed more light on the matter.
> I am certainly no paediatrician, but I am fairly confident that this is not
> the only reason for a failure to show any signs of puberty.

Of course there are other reasons - I was merely asking if this particular
one might correspond to the Talmudic aylonit.

> The reason I am so confident is that a girl I was very friendly with at school
> was failing to show signs of puberty, and her parents took her off and got her
> "fixed up".  I never felt able, despite our friendship, to ask her for the
> details, but she went on to have children (and I don't think they were even
> test tube, it being a bit early for that to be common, and I am pretty sure I
> would have been told).  She certainly had a (actually more than one) normal
> birth.

Clearly this young lady was not an aylonit. Though Chana does not specify
the specific nature of "failure to show any signs of puberty", I suspect
that it might have been her failure to commence menstruation rather than the
absence of "two hairs". The former can be the result of many conditions,
some anatomical and as relatively simple to correct as an imperforate hymen.

> I suspect therefore that the category of alyonis covered a multitude of
> scenarios, from XX who for some reason had the puberty hormones failing to
> fire, to the genetic situation you describe.  And, from what I have read,
> hormonal treatment can now alleviate (in all categories) the lack of physical
> signs of female puberty.

A course of hormones to "kick start" the process will only work if the
problem is essentially hormonal - not all categories. Where a girl has
Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH), resulting in the congenital
absence of the uterus, or the CAIS I mentioned previously, obviously hormones
will never induce menstruation though they may lead to the classical simanei
gadlut [pubic hair] or bagrut [breast development].

An aylonit is not merely an infertile female but, rather, infertility is a
consequence of this condition. There are other characteristics (principally
no pubic hair development but also husky voice, pain during intercourse
etc.) which do suggest CAIS but there may well be other conditions which
give rise to these. Paediatricians to the rescue!

Martin Stern

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Aylonit

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 62#76)

> What I don't believe they can do currently is provide a womb when there isn't
> one to allow carriage of a baby inside it. But then again maybe womb
> transplants are not as much science fiction as one might suspect.

They are not at all science fiction.

>From <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uterus_transplantation>:

In October 2014 it was announced that, for the first time, a healthy baby had
been born to a uterine transplant recipient, at an undisclosed location in
Sweden. The British medical journal The Lancet reported that the baby boy had
been born in September, weighing 1.8 kg (3.9 lb) and that the father had said
his son was "amazing". The baby had been delivered prematurely at about 32
weeks, by cesarean section, after the mother had developed pre-eclampsia. The
Swedish woman, aged 36, had received a uterus in 2013, from a live 61-year-old
donor, in an operation led by Dr. Brnnstrm, Professor of Obstetrics and
Gynaecology at the University of Gothenburg.

The woman had healthy ovaries but was born without a uterus, a condition that
affects about one in 4,500 women. The procedure used an embryo from a
laboratory, created using the woman's ovum and her husband's sperm, which 
was then implanted into the transplanted uterus. The uterus may have been
damaged in the course of the caesarian delivery and it may or may not be
suitable for future pregnancies. A regimen of triple immuno-suppression was 
used with tacrolimus, azathioprine, and corticosteroids. Three mild rejection
episodes occurred, one during the pregnancy, but were all successfully
suppressed with medication. Some other women were also reported to be pregnant
at that time using transplanted uteri. The unnamed mother, who received a
donated womb from a friend, said that she hoped the treatment would be refined
to help others in the future.

The transplant is intended to be temporary - the recipient will undergo a
hysterectomy after one or two successful pregnancies. This is to avoid the need
for her to take immunosuppressive drugs for life with a consequent increased
risk of infection.

Robert Israel


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Sat, Apr 9,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Can a woman become a man and get an aliyah?

Harlan Braude wrote (MJ 62#74):

> Having said that, let me respond to the question whether I think my
> suggestion that visual evidence be the primary guide in the case of the
> married woman who "turns into a man" (whether natural, accidental or
> intentional) or how to treat the infant who is assessed to eventually suffer
> that fate.
> Yes, I think the same, consistent standard should be applied. I don't think
> technologically enhanced vision should affect the outcome.
> As to the heart-rending question of "Is that the right approach for this
> kid?", I'm not a parent and, perhaps, that makes me incapable of imagining
> the parental pain for an ailing child. But, neither am I indifferent to it
> nor to the potential suffering of this child.
> However, I am also not convinced that surgery will protect this child from
> some fairly intense, emotional and psychological issues as his/her
> self-awareness awakens with age, despite all our Herculean surgical,
> counseling and educational efforts to do so.

> Consider that puberty with all the changes - both physiological, emotional
> and psychological - that take place can be fairly traumatic even for
> physiologically "normal" children. Hence, we must discount this as a factor
> that can help us render a ruling.

We may have to agree to disagree on this one.  While I fully agree that puberty
with all the changes that take place can be fairly traumatic, even for
physiologically normal children, and while I also agree that surgery will
unquestionably not protect the child from some fairly intense, emotional and
psychological issues - they will have to have them, regardless of the surgery, -
 having been myself been in an all-girls high school  and having a husband
(historically) and son (currently) in an all-boys high school - my only reaction
is No, just No.

To take somebody who has been socialised within the intense "best friends"
giggly, emotionally charged (often boy obsessed, but even when not boy obsessed,
individual relationship obsessed), highly verbal girls school environment and
throw them into the pack like, hang around with your mates and make friends on
the football field or, alternatively, in the beis hamedrish (those being the two
hang-out places at my son's school) is just horrific.  This child would have no
tools to deal with the beis hamedrish, because their learning has been severely
restricted to (at best) Tanach only, whereas the prestigious learning in the
beis hamedrish is all gemora, nor will this child have tools to deal with the
football field, having no exposure to the physical rough & tumble or the hours
of training that even those who are not particularly motivated to play in teams
inevitably get.  In an environment where there are boys and "non-boys" - the
"non-boys" being the reason the school won't let the boys do sailing enrichment
on long Friday afternoons - because the "non-boys" do sailing enrichment on long
Friday afternoons - and you never know, a boy might catch sight of a "non boy"
across a lake!  I just cannot imagine what is likely to happen to someone who
was a "non-boy" and became a boy, and how these boys (some of whom are walking
out or bringing ear plugs to the reproductive unit in science, because they or
their parents don't believe in it) would treat this poor child who has been
given none of the tools to deal with an environment completely alien to the one
in which they were brought up.

All I can say is - like No!  If you can use science to help predict the need for
some such transition, and help prepare the child for this, or avoid this child
having to make this horrendous transition, I just can't see how you could
possibly leave it be.




From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Halachically married without civil marriage

It seems that the most recent discussions have strayed far afield from the original.

In the common cases within contemporary communities those "halachically married
without civil marriage" are by no means "single mothers."   They are for all
intents and purposes within their community married and living within what we
might consider a normal family / marital relationship.

The key point is that by eschewing a civil marriage they have self-positioned
themselves as single and unwed in the eyes of civil government and thus they are
reaping myriad financial benefits under a wide umbrella of social programs
meant to subsidize unwed mothers.



From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Single Parenthood

In response to the issue of single motherhood (MJ 62#76):

The focus was that women have a biological clock and if they can't find the
right man, why should they be denied the joy of having a child.  It is certainly
understandable that women (and men) would like to have children.

Is there any discussion about what is best for the child?  Do folks honestly
feel that the the nuclear family (father, mother, child) is not preferred?  Is
there something missing when a single person, male or female, says I *want* a
child irrespective of what is best for the child?

It is hard to honestly argue that having a father and a mother (in a stable
relationship) is not the better situation for a child.

See Dennis Prager's argument here:


and here:


*Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.*


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Under age Marriage

Robert Schoenfeld wrote (MJ 62#76):

> I remember reading that in Yemen to avoid orphans from being converted
> to Islam children as young as a few months if orphaned were married off. They
> were allowed to get a get when the attained bar or bat mitzvah status.

These might have been completely fictitious marriages arranged to 'fool' the
Muslim authorities in order that they should not seize these unfortunate
children. It is therefore probable that no get was even needed to 'dissolve'
the 'marriage'. This may, therefore, not be relevant to our discussion of
under age marriage.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Under age Marriage

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ 62#76):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#73):

>> Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 62#72):

>>> Just as an aside, there were more than a few Jewish men who were married
>>> before their barmitzvah prior to the 19th century.
>> This seems completely implausible since a minor cannot give a woman kessef
>> kiddushin [nowadays a ring] to effect the marital tie. It is possible that
>> there may have been shidduchin arranged for them but that is quite a
>> different matter.
> ...
> The Noda B'Yehuda's understanding however, by and large, does not extend to
> kiddushin being valid when given by a boy younger than twelve -  the halachic
> status of "samuch l'ish" [close to a man] at which point vows made are
> considered valid and binding.  Below twelve for a boy (and 11 for a girl)
> halachic vows are not considered binding, and the Noda B'Yehuda understands
> this fact to be crucial for the validity of the kiddushin - ie in effect the
> boy is making a vow to enter a state of kiddushin with the girl under the
> chuppah, which vow becomes "valid" as soon as he actually hits 13.  It was
> therefore crucial to the Noda B'Yehuda that the boy in question had lived with
> the girl until he was 14 (even if he hadn't had biah - as this was disputed,
> the girl apparently claiming it hadn't happened).

This sounds a possible scenario but is far more restricted than Yisrael's
apparent claim. Perhaps he could clarify whether he meant that the "few
Jewish men who were married before their barmitzvah" referred only to such
cases or involved much younger boys.

Marti Stern

From: Mark Steiner <mark.steiner@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Under age Marriage

I recently heard an interesting lecture by Rabbi Prof. Eric Zimmer, an expert in
the history of Ashkenaz.  He asserted that the custom of starting to wear a
tallit from the wedding derived from the pre-crusade custom of marrying before
Bar Mitzvah.  That is, the hatan started even before Bar Mitzvah if he got
married.  Nobody thought of delaying wearing the tallit till a "delayed"
marriage as today.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: When someone unintentionally disturbs davening

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 62#76):

> As I am currently saying kadish, I find myself davening in many different
> venues in order to always "chop" (catch) a minyan. In one such venue there is
> a gentlemen who davens
> (a) with great fervor
> (b) with great volume and
> (c) slightly out of synchronization with the kehillah.
> Nonetheless, I think it would be both inappropriate and rude to wear earplugs
> at a minyan.  (I keep earplugs in my car's glove compartment for use at
> weddings.) I'd be interested in comments both halachic and social regarding
> this situation.

This is an all too common problem for which there are no simple solutions.
Perhaps Carl should speak to the rav or gabbai and ask them to intervene and
ask the gentleman, as politely as possible, to reduce his volume. I would
not have thought wearing earplugs was either inappropriate and rude - they
are relatively inconspicuous - but that might make it difficult to hear
anything preventing responding amen to the sheliach tzibbur's berachot.

Martin Stern

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 02:01 PM
Subject: When someone unintentionally disturbs davening

In reply to Carl A. Singer (MJ 62#76):

First, you're a guest, it seems, so not much can be done.

But I would suggest a slip of paper surreptitiously placed at his place
with items culled from Halacha, like the Rambam, Tefila Chapt. 5, Halacha 9:

"Control of one's voice: What is implied? A person should not raise his voice
during his *Amidah*, nor should he pray silently. Rather, he should pronounce
the words with his lips, whispering in a tone that he can hear.

"He should not make his voice audible unless he is sick or cannot concentrate
otherwise. In such a case, it is permitted except when in a congregation,
lest the others be disturbed by his voice."

and from the Shulchan Arukh, Para. 18:6:

"He should take care to pray quietly, that only himself should hear [his own
voice], and that his neighbor nearby should not hear his voice ..."

and from Berachot 24B:

"One who says the Tefillah so that it can be heard is of the small of faith.
R. Huna said: This was meant to apply only if he is able to concentrate his
attention when speaking in a whisper, but if he cannot concentrate his
attention when speaking in a whisper, it is allowed. And this is the case
only when he is praying alone, but if he is with the congregation [he must
not do so because] he may disturb the congregation."

Yisrael Medad

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 10,2016 at 05:01 PM
Subject: When someone unintentionally disturbs davening

In reply to Carl A. Singer (MJ 62#76):

As an individual visitor, grin and bear it until you can discuss it with that
minyan's rav or gabbai.  As a congregant, each congregation is entitled to have
its own rules of the road so discuss it with your own rav etc.  If there are no
rules covering the situation, see if it would be appropriate to have some.

Joel Rich


End of Volume 62 Issue 77