Volume 62 Number 92 
      Produced: Fri, 10 Jun 16 05:55:12 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Concubinage Relationship 
    [Susan Buxfield]
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Some Thoughts on An'im Zemirot 
    [Martin Stern]
Technical vs Broad approach to Religious Questions (was Some Thoughts  
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Why were people angry/offended? (frum teenager performance) 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]


From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Sat, May 28,2016 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Concubinage Relationship

Dr Russell Jay Hendel (MJ 62#89) states:

> Also, it was not an interpretation of Ishut 1:4 but of Ishut 1:1 and 1:4.

Ishut 1:1 is just defining that Jewish marriage requires a kinyan vis-a-vis
goyim. There are virtually no commentaries on Ishut 1:1

> there are two prohibitions against extra-marital sex, the prohibition of
> prostitution (Ishut 1:4)

But extra-marital sex is not necessarily prostitution. She has to be Mufkeret
(available to anyone) and Mezumenet (for pay) to be a prostitute.

> the prohibition implied by the obligation to perform a marital acquisition
> act, (Ishut 1:1)

Yes if you want a marital acquisition

> I clearly pointed out that the Raavad is silent on Ishut 1:1 showing 
> agreement.

Silence does not necessarily infer agreement

>  I reported this argument as an oral transmission I heard from the Rav

Since he is no longer with us, oral transmission cannot be accepted as a valid

> Hence Raavad would hold a Pilegesh prohibited.

Raavad on Ishut 1:4 does not seem to hold that Pilegesh is prohibited.

> I never addressed Amah Ivriah, a female minor sold as a slave because of the
> poverty of the family. But the Rambam explicitly says that she is treated like
> any other female. She does require a marital act of acquisition and consent.

DeOraita, there is no kiddushin.

> The initial money transfer (when she was sold as a slave serves this purpose,
> like our modern ring) (Rambam Avduth, 4:7-8).

Kinyan Avdut and not Kiddushin.

> Susan seems to indicate that there are ways a Mamzer (illegitimate) can live
> with a Shifchah Kena'anit (non-Jewish female slave). I don't see that any 
> place in the Rambam (Since this is new I would be happy to answer it if there 
> are sources).

Issurei Biah 15:4


From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Sat, May 28,2016 at 09:01 PM
Subject: Homosexuality

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#91):

> Dr Russell Jay Hendel wrote (MJ 62#90) in response to me (MJ 62#89):
>> The Anglican theologian's suggestion, which he is trying to counter, seems to
>> be that the three prohibitions
>> i)   passing your children through fire
>> ii)  male homosexual relations
>> iii) female bestiality
>> form a new paragraph with some other theme: idolatrous vs. sexual.
> I find Dr Hendel's restriction of the prohibition of bestiality to females
> somewhat perplexing. As far as I can see Lev. 18:23 refers quite clearly to
> both males (first half of the verse) and females (second half of the verse)
> having sexual relations with an animal. Perhaps I have completely
> misunderstood the passage. Can anyone enlighten me on why it only refers to
> females?

Correct. I inadvertently overlooked the 4th prohibition (probably because I
was writing from memory). They are:

i)   passing children through fire

ii)  male homosexual relations

iii) male bestiality

iv)  female bestiality.

Although this was an error, my basic thesis remains the same. All 4 prohibitions
are rare in the sense that you don't expect the majority of society to be
engaged in them. I might therefore, not expect destruction of the land because
of the sins of the minority. Therefore the Torah informs us that these
abominations would merit destruction of the land even if done by a minority.

Russell Jay Hendel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 29,2016 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Some Thoughts on An'im Zemirot

Dr Russell Jay Hendel wrote (MJ 62#91):

> Also based on ideas of the thread to date, I suggested that women could lead
> the congregation if they didn't sing and if the items they were leading in
> were not mainstream prayer like Shmoneh Esray or Shema. I gave as an example a
> woman making synagogue announcements. Martin responded:
>> This last example is quite correct but hardly relevant, since making such
>> announcements has no religious significance -- even an adult woman could make
>> them though, in certain circles, this would be frowned upon as contravening
>> "kol kevod bat Melekh penimah". Whether it could be extended to any formal
>> participation in the Sabbath service is much more controversial.
> Why is it controversial? I previously gave examples of women, in one of the
> synagogues I go to, leading responsively in Av Harachamim and Ashray. The
> 'controversy' has to be based on something. If we avoid women singing and the
> prayers which have a status of holiness what is the problem. The objection of
> "controversy" has to be backed by specificity.

In the circles to which I alluded the concept of "kol kevod bat Melekh
penimah" would be sufficient reason for completely excluding women from any
public role whatsoever.

Outside such circles. The problem with "leading responsively in Av
Harachamim and Ashray" is that some element of chanting might be involved
(or a more militant woman might be tempted to push the boundary).

Even if not, the "controversial" aspect is that of innovation per se which
can lead to discord in the community. Where all members are happy and it has
rabbinic approval, an outsider could hardly object.

Martin Stern


From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Tue, May 31,2016 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Technical vs Broad approach to Religious Questions (was Some Thoughts 

I just read a rather emotional posting on another email group about a mother
whose daughter had completed a book of Navi she was learning as a special
project. The (minor) girl made a siyyum. She was eager to share what she had
learned. She only wanted homeschoolers at her party since in her opinion
ordinary schooled children don't enjoy their learning and wouldn't understand
her joy and exhuberance.

It was a nice story. After reading it I begin thinking how this might be treated
on mail-jewish. A siyyum is a technical halachic term. A siyyum has power; it
can exempt a firstborn from fasting on the eve of pesach. It has other halachic
consequences as well. For most halachic purposes a siyyum on navi does not have
the legal status of siyyum.

Therefore from a pure legal point of view it might be dangerous to allow this
minor girl to think she had the right to a siyyum. It might mislead people into
thinking that learning navi is efficacious on the eve of pesach. If this minor
girl had asked a question of a halacha committee she might be turned down.

This line of reasoning is similar to our current thread on whether minor girls
can lead the congregation in An'im Zemirot.

I already made the point on the thread (MJ 62#91) that besides the purely legal
question there was a broader question: What does the minor girl really want? Is
there a way of giving it to her? Is it important that we give it to her. Here is
the exact quote.

> When someone asks me a religious question, I always try and generalize it so
> as to be more flexible in answering. I hear not only a question about minor
> girls leading in An'im Zemirot but in participation with the service. So I
> suggested a group leading. (In one of the synagogues I go to there are groups
> of minors (all male) that lead in Ayn Kaylokaynu.) I think such a perspective
> involving generalization is appropriate.

My own thoughts on the minor girl making a siyyum are that it was emotionally
important for her. She will grow up and raise her own family and it is important
that as mother she instill in her children a love of Torah. The siyyum is
helping her do this. I think it is correct. There is no mentioning of God's name
in vain and there is a certain sense in which a siyyum, completion, is being done.

I reiterate that I think similar ideas hold to the minor girl who wants to lead
in An'im Zemirot. She will grow up one day and raise her own children. It is
important that she understand the honor of standing on the bimah and leading a
congregation. The congregation is not being dishonored in its obligation to pray
or say the shema. We are using a song to make the minor girl feel part of the
process. If we are worried about women's voice you can have a group of boys and
girls singing together or you can have responsive reading. In passing, I do not
know that a minor's voice is of any concern since boys and girls are
indistinguishable in voice at that age.

More importantly, I do want the minor girl to continue a long female tradition
of praising God. This tradition starts with Leah and continues through Miryam,
the prophetess, Devorah the prophetess and Chanah. It is simply a mistake to say
that praising God is not a women's thing. I want this tradition continued.

What bothers me is not so much whether I am right or wrong but the lack of
sympathy of other discussants to voicing opinions on the broader issue involved
here. Instead the discussion has become legal and technical (I am still giving
answers and believe I have found something overlooked in the multiple and
erudite sources in say Frimer's article). This is not the only time on
mail-jewish when a thread gets involved in legalism and avoids broader and
higher consequences.

I believe this point of view deserves consideration in its own right.

Dr. Russell Jay Hendel;


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, May 31,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Why were people angry/offended? (frum teenager performance)

I'm sure many of you heard of the "viral video" of two Orthodox Jewish young
women (often called "girls" in the articles, though they're clearly old enough
to be called women in the video).  In this video, which is widely available on


The women are rapping (spoken word rhyming) about a life in service to Hashem
including getting married, having children, supporting husbands in kollel, and
using the genetic matchmaking service Dor Yesharim.

As my own strident feminist self, of course I have various objections to the
situation.  And as a teacher/mother, it reminds me that teens should be careful
that they don't video things they may be embarrassed about in the future!  But
my question is, why is the Chareidi community up in arms about this video?  It
seems 100% benign to me from their point of view, unless they just don't like
female agency and/or openness about women's lives.


--Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 62 Issue 92