Volume 8 Number 14

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliyot for Women and Kavod Hatzibbur
         [Howie Pielet]
Giving Regards to Women
         [Shaul Wallach]
Organizations for the Physically Handicapped
         [Ron Katz]
Tanach Directory on Nysernet
         [Seth L. Ness]
Women's T'filah
         [Len Moskowitz]
women's prayer groups
         [Aliza Berger]


From: <pielet@...> (Howie Pielet)
Date: Fri,  2 Jul 93 12:13:24 CST
Subject: Aliyot for Women and Kavod Hatzibbur

Is the 'Kavod Hatzibbur' reason that stopped women having
aliyot that a woman reading from the torah embarrassed the men who could
not?  If so, should that reason still apply when we have a Ba'al Koreh read for
everyone?  Also, if we establish a congregation in which all the men _can_ read
from the torah, could women be allowed aliyot?

Given that some women find having an aliya important, what thinking can this
group contribute to _allowing_ it?

Howie Pielet   Internet: <pielet@...>  (East Chicago, Indiana, USA)


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 93 06:28:53 -0400
Subject: Giving Regards to Women

     Steve Edell, in giving advice on accomodations in the San Francisco
area, writes:

>The contact person who will find a place for you to stay is:
>     (Mrs.) Pat Bergman
>     1822 Comstock Lane
>     San Jose, CA  95124
>     (408) 264-3138
>Please give her my regards (P.S. - she's a Shadhanit).

     I've always wondered whether this is permissible, according to the
Talmud (Qiddushin 70a-b) and the Shulhan `Arukh (Even Ha-`Ezer 21:6),
which rule that "ein sho'alin bishlom isha kelal" (one is not to ask
about the welfare of a woman at all), even through her husband. From
the story in Qiddushin, in which Rav Yehuda even refused Rav Nahman's
request to "send Shalom" to his wife (Rav Nahman may have been testing
him to see if he was really a Talmid Hakham), it seems that even to
say "Shalom" to a woman is not considered proper (One is, however,
allowed to ask his friend how his wife is, as long as he does not
tell his friend to ask his wife in his name).

     On the other hand, the Rambam and other Rishonim were used to
finishing their letters with the blessing in I Kings 25:6 "And you
are Shalom and your house is Shalom ...", in which "your house"
means "your wife". The Rambam even wrote explicitly that sending
one's blessing to his fellow's wife is permitted. One of my rabbis
ordinarily greets women with the words "Ma Shelomeikh" just as a
courtesy without a thought as to the meaning of the words themselves.
So my question is whether "giving regards" is just considered a
courtesy or blessing, or whether it is considered "asking for the


Shaul Wallach


From: Ron Katz <71062.3011@...>
Date: 05 Jul 93 20:55:15 EDT
Subject: Organizations for the Physically Handicapped

Can somebody give me a list of jewish (preferably orthodox)
organizations for the physically handicapped? I have a physically
handicapped friend who I think could benefit from an association to such
a group. Also, if there is an individual you know of in a similar
position that would want to computer chat with this person. Send reply
to my mail address if possible. Thanks.	


From: Seth L. Ness <ness@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 93 13:17:05 -0400
Subject: Tanach Directory on Nysernet

hello all,
This is the periodical plug for the nysernet tanach directory. Now
accessible to the world via anonymous FTP to israel.nysernet.org in the
/israel/tanach directory. Or by Gopher to the new york-israel project of
nysernet under other gophers/north american gophers/USA/new york/new
york-israel project of nysernet/jews and judaism/devrei torah. Or you can
gopher directly to israel.nysernet.org port 71.

Now featuring the tanach in hebrew(minus some neviim)-please note that
some versions are not that masoretic text so read the README files. Also
available by special arrangement.. the biblia hebraica stuttgartensia.
again read the README files.

Also featuring myriad divrei torah by the likes of Rav Riskin, Rav Haber,
Rav Alter, Rav Levitansky,the students of Albert Einstein Med School, and
also A Byte of Torah, L'Chaim, beis chabad, the week ahead and the week in
review and now the Oxford University L'Chaim Society Judaism essays. With a
dash of miscellaneous divrei torah and shiurim.

If anyone out there is aware of more sources for these or any other divrei
torah please let me know so they can be added to the archives.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


From: Len Moskowitz <moskowit@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 93 09:03:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Women's T'filah

Eitan Fiorino writes:

> I happen to know R. Weiss' shul (I'm friends with the asst. rabbi), and
> they begin shabbat davening at 9:00 AM, and if sof zman kriat shma is
> before 9:30, there is no way they make it before that time.  

Our shul in Teaneck, NJ starts at 8:45 AM.  Our Rav (Yosef Adler) makes
a point of telling everyone to say all three parshiyot of Sh'ma in the
Sh'ma section before the korbanot.  Perhaps Rabbi Weiss does the same.


From: <A_BERGER@...> (Aliza Berger)
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 93 15:01:44 -0400
Subject: women's prayer groups

[In response to Eitan Fiorino:

> there are serious halachic questions about both the recitation
>of "asher bachar banu" and "asher natan lanu" in the context of women's
>prayer groups, as well as an issue even with the removal of the sifrei
>Torah from the aron.  It doesn't further the cause of women's t'fila to
>simply ignore these points -- in fact, from my perspective (as someone
>who tries to be sympathetic to women's concerns), I find the
>continuation of halachically questionable practices to be quite
>disturbing.  For me, it severely undercuts (read: eliminates) the
>legitimacy of the whole enterprise.

There is room for debate on these points, yes.  However, it is not fair
to say they are being ignored just because you are on the other side
of the debate.  Two women's prayer groups that I know of (Highland
Park and Skokie) studied the issues with rabbis for long periods of
time before they ever held a service.  No group operates withoug
a posek.  Also, to say that these points eliminate the legitimacy
of the entire enterprise is only correct from the point of view of 
someone who believes that the women's tfilah is "necessary" for 
"negative" reasons such as women's "needs".  If you believe that it
is a positive thing, not just necessary to fulfill someone's needs
that they would preferably be controlling in another way, then these
points remain just small problems; they do not delegitimize the entire

>Women's t'filah makes the claim to provide for the needs of women who
>are committed to halacha but do not feel completely satisfied with the
>traditional davening.  I will ignore for the time being the valid, but
>rather uninteresting response of, "So what;" ie, there is no
>halachically valid state of being "dissatisfied" with davening.  I'll
>simply leave it at this -- the Rambam, in the Guide to the Perplexed,
>expresses the idea that the halacha is not necessarily perfectly suited
>to every individual in every time period -- sometimes, a din may not
>feel comfortable, but it doesn't change the status of the din.  A
>trivial example, which will be expanded into a poor analogy: I may not
>be "satisfied" with the culinary options available to me, but I am not
>therefore entitled to violate even relatively minor kashrut laws.  I
>can't have ice cream after that chicken sandwhich, no matter how
>"unsatisfied" I feel.  Maybe the craving for women's t'filah is similar
>to my craving for ice cream -- very real, very genuine.  But "So what"
>-- perhaps women's t'fila too is simply a craving which can not be
>legitimately satisfied within halachic bounds.  And just as I feel like
>I am serving hakadosh baruch hu not for my own needs and purposes but
>instead in a more lishma fashion by skipping the ice cream, perhaps
>passing over a woman's prayer service can hold the same spiritual
>meaning in terms of avodat Hashem. .

We who follow halakha often have to control our desires for things that
lie outside halakha (e.g. ice cream after meat).  Would any of us say that
we "need" the ice cream, to the point where we would eat it?  Probably
not.  Since we can't have it, it's not a "need".  Similarly, the women's
tefilah is not a "need".  Rather, it is a viable, halakhic activity that
has many merits.  

Anyone who attends a women's tefilah service IS remaining within
halakhic bounds, so there's no point in comparing it to activities
that are outiside.

 R.  Weiss is extremely makpid about having one minyan -- members of
>the shul have pushed for an early minyan numerous times, and he is
>adamantly opposed and will not allow it, for the very reason of communal
>unity.  Yet he allows the women's t'filah.  I'm sure he would draw a
>distinction between these two situations, pointing to the need of the
>day overriding his concern for unity, but I can't help but see it as a
>contradiction.  If the shul already had 2 or 3 minyanim, fine.  This is
>not meant to be a personal attack in any way, but as the posek for many
>women's prayer groups, I feel that R. Weiss has no excuses for not
>having his own house in (halachic) order -- it completely undermines his
>quest for legitimacy.

I imagine that Rabbi Weiss allows the women's tefilah because he
views it as a positive activity, while he believes that an early minyan
has only negative aspects.

Aliza Berger


End of Volume 8 Issue 14