Volume 65 Number 61 
      Produced: Tue, 19 Jul 22 08:25:25 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Abortion (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Joseph Kaplan]
Abortion and chemotherapy 
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Israelis Don't Turn Up for Reserve Duty, and the Consequences (2)
    [Haim Snyder  Menashe Elyashiv]
Israelis Living Overseas 
    [Joel Rich]
Observant Jews 
    [Chana Luntz]
Rav Yosef Breuer on marital duties 
    [Martin Stern]
Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life? 
    [Chana Luntz]


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 18,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

We have been discussing the ramifications of the US Supreme Court's decision on
abortion since MJ 65#44 (Sunday, June 26) when Martin mentioned it very
casually. We are now at MJ 65#60 (Monday, July 18) and we are still talking
about this issue -- that's almost an issue a day so kudos to Martin for all the
heavy lifting during this period. I offered my two cents to the discussion back
in MJ 65#45, including my observation that Evangelical and Catholic positions
have replaced what should be a private decision between the woman and those
whose counsel she seeks. But I did want to offer some additional observations.

1) My first job out of RIETS (the yeshiva part of Yeshiva University) was as
Hillel director at the University of Rhode Island. The on-campus health services
estimated that they refer 5% of all female students for an abortion every year.
Planned Parenthood in Providence (the statewide chapter) said that they refer
another 5% of the URI female students for abortions. They told me that they
didn't believe there was an overlap in their numbers. If that is true, then
roughly 10% of the 6,500 female students on campus had abortions during the
year. Both's staff after counseling these women were left with the sad reality
for these women, abortion was their primary and only form of birth control.
Abortion was a problem back in the 1980s and it is a problem that has not gone away.

2) Many of the people who are against abortion are also against teaching sex
education to junior high schoolers and high schoolers as that will "encourage
them to engage in sex. I will never understand why those people reject both the
ikkar (main thing) and the tafel (the secondary thing) when the tafel could
prevent so many unwanted pregnancies and thus reduce the number of abortions.
Kids (Jewish and gentile) are going to engage in intercourse behind their
parents backs whether or not they have been prepared and educated accordingly.

Perhaps the following story could help illustrate this point. One of my fellow
chaplains at URI was a Catholic nun. Prior to working at the university, she
worked at a high school. A girl there once asked her if it was permissible to
pray that one is not pregnant. My colleague said yes. The girl came back to her
later to say, whew, she wasn't pregnant. So, my colleague asked her why didn't
she use birth control? The girl responded, "Sister, birth control is a sin!" 
She was willing to ignore the tafel as if the ikkar didn't exist whatsoever.

3) Martin in MJ 65#60 made mention of a New York Times article sent to him by
Leah Gordon about how doctors are now reluctant to treat miscarriages as the
procedures for its medical treatment is like abortion treatment and they are
worried that they will run afoul of anti-abortion zealots (both political and
lay). Martin expressed some skepticism about this story ("... at least if one
believes a recent article in the NY Times...").Well, my Google News roundup has
comparable stories from around the country. 


So, it is fair to say that it is a real concern that some women throughout the
US may not get the emergency medical care they need on a timely basis. 

4) On NPR this past Sunday, July 17, 2022 (for the Brits and other non-Americans
amongst us, NPR is the closest thing we in the states have to the BBC), there
was the story about the abortion provided to the 10-year-old Indiana rape victim. 


I encourage the readers of this post to listen to the report, especially between
3:28 and 4:25, where there is a clip from Pam Whitehead (who heads a Christian
organization named Pro-Life Ministries) who comes out against all abortions even
if the mother's life is in danger. She will get her way in at least half of the
fifty states. I believe that most people reading this post will agree with me
that there are times when the halakha permits abortion. Given her druthers, Pam
Whitehead would overrule the halakha.

5) Prior to the rapist being arrested, much of the conservative media and
politicians poo-pooed the possibility that a 10-year-old Ohio girl was raped
twice and that she had to go to Indiana for medical treatment.For example, see
They refused to believe such a story. After the rapist was arrested, the focus
of the right was to go after Dr. Caitlin Bernard, the Indiana doctor who treated
the girl. That NPR story above has a clip from Indiana Attorney General Todd
Rakita who called Dr Bernard "an abortion activist acting as a doctor..."  Maybe
I missed it but I heard no sympathy in that clip from the Attorney General for
the girl. Now, let me ask: How many readers of this post believe that the poskim
(rulers of halakha), either contemporary or from previous generations, would not
permit an abortion for a ten-year-old girl who was raped? I hope none.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL
Neve Mikhael, Israel

[We are now closing the discussion of this topic after over three weeks - MOD]

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 18,2022 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Martin Stern writes (MJ 65#60):

"It appears to me, writing from the other side of the pond, that some people
view pregnancy as a particularly dangerous kind of venereal disease (STD),
which needs to be cured before it ruins the lives of those 'infected'. I
find this very sad."

I'm sure there are some people who think that "on both sides of the pond" since
there are people who think all sorts of things. And that is, indeed, sad. But if
you think that's relevant to the discussion about abortion, Roe or Dobbs on
this side of the Atlantic, then you are missing the nuances of this difficult
and complex subject that is causing so much fear and angst to many.

He also proposes a federal law dealing with gray areas of abortion to make it
easier for doctors to know when abortions would be legal and adds: "I am not a
lawyer but I am sure such a law can be drafted".

I am a lawyer and I agree that a law could possibly be drafted though it would
be quite difficult to do so. But what Martin misses from his side of the pond is
that such a law cannot possibly be passed in the current political situation,
and it is highly unlikely that one will be passed for many years. So women who
would have lived under Roe (and coincidently under halacha) will die under Dobbs. 



From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 17,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Abortion and chemotherapy

Sammy Finkelman wrote (MJ 65#60):

> Joseph Kaplan wrote (MJ 65#58):
>> Sammy Finkelman writes (MJ 65#57):
>>> And probably it wasn't so much their sense of ethics and values but that
>>> they didn't want to be sued.
>> I'm not a doctor but I have plenty of friends and family who are and I
>> object on their behalf. Many doctors angst over difficult ethical and value
>> issues the same way  ... He should withdraw the slur against the medical
>> profession. 
> I wasn't speaking so much about the regular doctors but gave my feelings about
> hospitals and medical practices, who indeed, I think pay attention to lawyers.
> It's too institutionalized but I can't find an example of something I read 
> that would go to my point.

There's no question that doctors, hospitals, and medical practices don't like to
be sued and that they pay attention to lawyers. As a practicing litigator for 46
years I appreciate that feeling. But I have no reason to believe that any of
them are acting with respect to abortions without concern for the difficult
ethical issues involved but simply because they don't want to be sued, and Sammy
admits he can cite no sources to the contrary. So I think it's wisest to drop a
'blame it on the lawyers' approach and present our arguments on the assumption
that all sides are acting based on their understanding of their ethics and
values. I certainly assume that for most of the pro-Dobbs supporters. I just
think, for reasons I've been explaining, that they're wrong. 



From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 19,2022 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Israelis Don't Turn Up for Reserve Duty, and the Consequences

Yitzchok Levine (MJ 65#60) quotes an article from Haaretz which says "A mere 4
percent of the eligible population continues to serve in the Israeli army reserves."

>From this, he leaps to the following conclusion, "Apparently, it is not just
boys learning in chareidi yeshivas who do not serve in the IDF."

>From which I gather that, despite being a Professor, he doesn't understand the
difference between reserve duty and service in the regular army. Please note the
"continues to serve" in the above quote. These people put in their 3 years in
the IDF, doing whatever they were assigned to do. To compare them to those who
refuse, in many cases, to even report to the induction center to formally
receive their exemption from service and certainly don't wear an IDF uniform at
all is insulting to them and defies reality.

Reserve duty, at least when I was in the reserves, consists of 2 weeks of active
service unless called up for a specific mission. By the way, the IDF knows how
to contact these people and will do so if it has an operational need for them.

I request that Professor Levine apologize to the people he maligned by his
malicious comparison with those who refuse to serve and defend their country at all.


Haim Shalom Snyder

Petah Tikva

From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 19,2022 at 04:17 AM
Subject: Israelis Don't Turn Up for Reserve Duty, and the Consequences

In response to Yitzchok Levine (MJ 65#60):
Ha'aretz is an anti-everything paper. Times have changed. One time, the army was
small and had to call many reservists for service. Today, the army is overfilled
with soldiers, and in general, does not need reserve duty, except for some
professions, like doctors, drivers for heavy trucks, etc. I was on active
reserve until 45, even with 8 children, because we were needed. Today, calling
reserves costs a lot, it's bad for the economy.


From: Joel Rich <joelirarich@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 17,2022 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Israelis Living Overseas

Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#60):

> Joel Rich wrote (MJ 65#59):
>> Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#58):
>> ...
>> To me the question was: What will I answer HKB"H when he asks,"Why didn't you
>> try to come home? Was I unclear about the centrality of eretz yisrael?"
> As I have pointed out more than once, Rav Dovid Kronglass told me: "One does 
> not just go to EY. One has to be on the proper spiritual level to live in  
> this land that has Kedusha."

Excellent example. I would not feel comfortable answering HKBH with "I didn't
come home because I didn't have the proper spiritual level.

> ...
> WADR to RMMS, did RMMS put himself in the situation of never having children? 
> If he did, then he violated a mitzva D'Oreisa!
> Did I put myself in the position of having to bury a 15 year-old son?
> ...
> I think not!  The Ribbono Shel Olam runs the world, doesn't He?  Isn't it true
> that Ha Kol Biydei Shamayim Chutz may Yiras Shamayim

The written word often does not do justice to the underlying thought I don't
know how to communicate my sincere wishes of comfort for your loss.

I have often wondered about your question concerning RMMS.  One can never know
anyone elses story or narrative. I'm pretty sure that he held a very stringent
position concerning adoption which could be the subject of a different set of posts.

The tension between free will and predestination is well above my pay grade.  I
pretty much go by R Chaim's insight which is loosely translated from the
Yiddish, ours is to try, the results are up to HKBH

She-nireh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu (may we see the
consolation of Jerusalem and its rebuilding speedily in our days )

Joel Rich


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 18,2022 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Observant Jews

David Tzohar (MJ 65#51) wrote bringing two opinions regarding women's learning.

First, that of:

> The Rabbi, Rav Avraham Tzuriel chief rabbi of Nes Tziona and our rosh Kollel,
> was quoting the gemarra which said that he who teaches his daughter Torah is
> teaching her tiflut(heresy).

Heresy is not a great translation of tiflut - Rashi's understanding of Rabbi
Eliezer's statement (Sotah 21a-b) appears to be closest to "cunning to engage in
sexual immorality", whilst the Rambam's understanding seems to be more one of
intellectual worthlessness or foolishness (see Perush HaMishna LRambam Mesechet
Sotah Perek 3 halacha 3, Mishna Torah & Rambam Hilchot Talmud Torah perek 1
halacha 13), Presumably Rav Avraham Tzuriel's daughters do not say birchat
haTorah [the blessings over the Torah] in the morning since they have never and
will never learn Torah.

Second, that of

> Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook said that women can learn Torah, even gemarrah if it is
> lishma, to give them a better understanding of things they need to know like
> shabbat, kashrut, yom tov, niddah etc. What is forbidden is for women to
> learn halacha to decide halacha in place of the rabbis (or their husbands).
> This is a line that can't be crossed.

However there are many other modern (and historic) poskim who take a different
view. The most that can be said is that there are sections within Orthodoxy that
hold like both the opinions set out above.

If you would like some more classic sources, rather than modern day ones, that
contradict the position of Rav Tzvi Yehudah Kook as set out here see, for
example,  Sefer Ha-Chinuch Mitzvah 152:

"The prohibition of coming into the temple drunk in the time of the temple
applies to men and women, and [refraining from] ruling on halachic matters in
any place and any time by males. And so for a wise woman who is suitable to
pasken [rule on halachic matters]."

and Birkei Yosef Choshen Mishpat Siman 7 letter 12

"*Even a woman is invalid to judge* In any event a wise woman is able to pasken
halacha [rule on halachic matters].  And so it is clear from the Tosaphot
(Yevamot 45b d.h. Mi, Gittin 88b d.h. Velo and more) from that which is taught,
that Devorah taught them the laws.  And so we see in the Sefer Hachinuch in
Siman 83, that he agrees that a woman is invalid to judge, and in siman 158 in
the matter of being drunk he writes that this prevents her from ruling etc. and
so a wise woman is fitted to pasken halacha etc. "




From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 19,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Rav Yosef Breuer on marital duties

Further to my posting (MJ 65#60):

> Perhaps the young man was not as sharp as he might have been. He could have
> replied "Bikhvod haRav, he has missed out one word. In the kesuba, I promise
> to feed and sustain my wife 'bekushta'. While this is usually translated 'with
> faithfulness', in this case it means 'in Constantinople'. What I am promising
> is that, in the unlikely case that we were to live in Constantinople, I will
> work to support her but, as we intend, I am going elsewhere to learn in
> kollel, I make no such commitment and she will go out to work to support us."

Perhaps I should have added that the young man should have told Rabbi Breuer
that his prospective wife was aware of this meaning and agreed to it. Otherwise,
it could have been construed as a ha'aramah [deceitful act] like the case of the
person who put the money owing to his creditor in a hollow walking stick and
asked him to hold it while he made a neder [judicial oath] that he had returned
the money to him.

Also, does this explain where there are no kollelim in Constantinople (Istanbul)?

Martin Stern


From: Chana Luntz <Chana@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 19,2022 at 05:17 AM
Subject: Where Does A Woman Find Happiness in Life?

> Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 65#42):
>> To answer the other implied question, women are no more and no less likely to
>> be happy exclusively because of a marriage than men are.  The reason it seems
>> that women are more reliant on a marriage to be happy is because of the
>> historical economic exclusion of women from life except as adjunct to a
>> father, husband, son, etc.

And Yitzchok Levine wrote (MJ 65#44) replied:

> What is the basis for this assertion? Does she have any data or studies to
> back it up?

Actually, this has become something of a hot topic in modern sociological and
psychological research and there is now quite extensive literature out there
that attempt to measure the relative happiness of both men and women in and out
of marriage. Perhaps the findings that have been most widely publicised in the
English press are that it is men, rather than women, who are happier in marriage
- see below (apologies for a Guardian link, but the the Times and the Telegraph
are behind paywalls):


This seems also to be reflected in the Australian study reported here (seems not
to be behind a paywall):


Other studies are not so clear - for example, a random google search just gave me:


And here is one considering marriage and cohabitation (and also gender) in the
United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Norway:


And here is one quoted in a newspaper in (and about) Taiwan:


But there are many more out there (often focused on health as well as happiness,
i.e. does marriage bring longevity), As mentioned, it is a hot button topic and
people are trying to scientifically measure it.

Regarding Orthodox Jews - again from a quick Google search it appears that the
only survey that was done was done by the OU in 2010 but it has been reported
across multiple news sites see:




or for the English amongst us, here is the JC on it:


It does seem mostly to agree with Leah that there is relatively little
difference between men and women (74% to 72%).

If anyone wants to update the OU's survey or ask more detailed questions (or do
it outside of the OU, as a survey commissioned by the OU no doubt could be
perceived to be less accurate), I suspect their might be a degree, even a PhD,
in it.




End of Volume 65 Issue 61