Volume 8 Number 58

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Change in Halacha and Curricula
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Dead Sea Scrolls -- sources
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Forbidden, Permitted, and Obligatory
         [Miriam Rabinowitz]
Ironic Aspect of Hair Covering
         [Rena Whiteson]
Stam Yainam (2)
         [Rabbi Benzion Milecki, Yosef Bechhofer]


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 14:11:48 -0400
Subject: Change in Halacha and Curricula

        Arthur Roth makes two points i would like to address:

a) Reb Moshe didn't CHANGE Halacha - the standard of HEFSED MERUBEH -
relying in Yoreh Deah (Kashruth) questions on lenient opinions which
ARE found in the previous Halachic sources, just not normally relied
upon, except in cases where the alternative is substantial financial
loss - is an accepted methodology of psak halacha, noted quite
frequently (in this case as well) in the Shulchan Aruch.

b) I agree, we are teaching far too much Gemara and far too little
Tanach, Emuna and Mussar to the boys. That is why we have an
unfortunate phenomenon (from an educational standpoint) of girls
finishing High School with a solid grounding in these topics plus a
good literacy in Hebrew reading and writing, whereas many of our boys
are functionally illiterate in Hebrew (this is of course not
applicable to Israeli HS's) and ignorant as to the foundations of our
religion and our History. The Boys yeshiva high school curriculum is a
living dinosaur.


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 14:12:13 -0400
Subject: Dead Sea Scrolls -- sources

Hoenig, Sidney.  "Halachic impplications of the Dead Sea Scrolls"
Tradition vol 1 #1, fall 1958

Baumgarten, Joseph M.  "The dead sea scrolls: a threat to halachah?"
Tradition vol 1 #2, spring 1959

Hoenig, Sidney.  "Scroll Idolization"
Tradition vol 1 #2, spring 1959.

Lawrence Schiffman is an Orthodox scrolls scholar at NYU/Annenberg
institute, ho has published widely on the topic.  He had an article in
Jewwish Action a year or two ago.  He also has at least one book on the
scrolls: _Sectarian law in the dead sea scrolls_ published by Scholar's
Press (Atlanta, Ga).  His approach is very interesting -- by evaluating
the complaints that the qumran sectarians raised against the Jewish
authorities in Jerusalem, one can learn out some of the halachot which
were in place at the time.  Thus, he has been able to demonstrate a
pre-mishnaic origin for certain rabbinic enactments.  This may come as no
suprise to those of us who have faith in the chain of mesora, but it is a
issue which has traditionally been denied in scholarly/historical analyses
of the emergence of rabbinic Judaism.

There was recently published an anthology of dead sea scrolls stuff by
Random House _Understanding the Dead Sea Scrolls_ -- stuff collected from
Biblical Archeology Review.  One may have to do a bit of sifting, but
there is much interesting stuff there.

Additionally, several articles have appeared in Tradition throughout the
years regarding the halachic implications of newly discovered manuscripts
(ie, the Cairo geniza and so on).

On this topic, I noticed that ktav is now publishing a ninth chelek to the
aruch hashulchan -- apparently, there was a manuscript never published (on
hilchot nedarim) which was recently discovered in Israel.  Does anyone
have information on this?

Eitan Fiorino


From: <miriam@...> (Miriam Rabinowitz)
Date: 23 Jul 1993  11:21 EDT
Subject: Forbidden, Permitted, and Obligatory

In Mail.Jewish, Volume 8, Number 42, Anthony Fiorino writes:

>I find it hard to believe that women uniting to form a mezuman, which is a
>din in the shulchan aruch, or women saying kiddush for themselves, which
>is clearly permissable, would have been considered "blasphemous," but then
>again, I wasn't there.  I do not know of anyone who would consider either
>of these cases a "halachic stretch."

Blasphemy may be a strong word, but I do know of individuals who would
consider a mezumenet to be bordering on the blasphemous.  I regularly
have Seudah Shlishit [the third meal on Shabbat] at my house with a
group of teenagers, ranging in ages between 14-17.  I usually have
between 8 and 15 girls and guys.  (Better that they be socializing in my
house under supervision than to be out on their own.  At least at my
house, they partake in a seudat mitzvah, listen to some Divrei Torah,
and then daven Mincha [afternnon service].  The guys go to shul with my
father.  The girls daven in my house b'yichidus.  We do not have a
women's tefillah group.) One Shabbat, only girls showed up.  Upon
completing the meal, I suggested that we say Birchat Hamazon [grace
after meals] with mezuman.  One girl objected, saying that her teacher
told her that IT SHOULD NOT BE DONE!  I almost fell off my chair, so to

If the teacher told her that she should not don Tefillin, I would agree.
If the teacher told her that she should not participate in a woman's
tefilah group, I would agree.  If the teacher had instructed her to use
a Mishnah Berurah or a Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchata, rather than a Talmud,
to learn issues relating to Shabbat, I would not object (although I
wouldn't necessarily agree).  But I did object to what this teacher told
her about Mezumen, because the issue of a women's Mezuman is not like
the issues of a woman doning Tefillin, praying in a women's tefilah
group, or learning from a Talmud.

There has been debate on all four of these issues, but in the case of
the latter three, the issue was one of whether the action was permitted
or forbidden.  In the case of a Mezuman, the issue was whether the
action was permitted or OBLIGATORY.  The word "forbidden" never entered
the discussion.  Objecting to the latter three issues indicates one's
being somaich [relying] on those Posking who forbid it.  Objecting to a
women's mezumen and stating that it should not be done indicates only
one thing - am ha'aratzut [ignorance]!  Simply put, the law is not that
"it should not be done."  The law is that "it CAN be done."  In fact,
considering that there is an opinion that states that it is obligatory,
paricipation in a women's mezumen would probably be considered
meritorious.  THIS is what the teachers should be telling our daughters.
Instead, in their effort to "fight off Feminism," they have perverted
the law.

The problem is that am ha'aratzut is wide-spread in this area, and
probably in many other areas regarding women's issues.  I am not a
proponant of "bending" the law in order to satesfy women.  However, I do
assert that if the law permits a woman to participate in a mitzvah, such
a law should not be hidden from her.  How many other laws are similar to
that of a women's Mezumen?  What other Mitzvot have we been taught
should not be performed by women, when, in fact, it would be meritorious
for them to do so?

Miriam Rabinowitz


From: <rena@...> (Rena Whiteson)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 14:46:21 -0400
Subject: Ironic Aspect of Hair Covering

> From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)

> One of the more ironic aspects of women covering their hair so that
> only their husbands can see it in its glory is that in order to wear
> wigs comfortably, most women cut their hair very short. This means that
> if you accept the premise that long hair is an alluring part of a
> woman's appearance, these women look better to the outside world in
> a natural-looking nice wig than they do at home to their husbands.

Good point. And this situation is even more ironic in those communities 
in which married women shave their heads - something I could never

Rena Whiteson


From: <benzion@...> (Rabbi Benzion Milecki)
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 93 12:24:04 -0400
Subject: Stam Yainam

I have only caught the tail-end of the discussion on Stam Yainam
(whether a mechalel shabbos b'farhesiya (someone desecrating Shabbos
publicly) renders wine to be Stam Yainam) but would like to add the
following. If it has already been said please excuse me.

In the Gemoroh Eiruvin (69a) one learns of a person who carried
something into the street on Shabbos, but when Rabbi Yehuda Nesia
approached, he hid it. Such a person, says the Gemoroh, is to be
considered a mechalel Shabbos privately.  The Toras Chaim explains that
what the Gemoroh wishes to say is that even though he carried in public,
the fact that he was embarrassed to do so in the presence of the Nosi,
the head of the generation, renders it a private act.  It should be
noted that the Mishna Berura brings this, in the name of the Elyah
Rabba, as halocho (Laws of Eiruvin, chapter 385, para. 6.)

>From this it should be clear to everyone that the meaning of PUBLIC
desecration of Shabbos is that a person does so brazenly without any
shame whatsoever. Only such a person is to be regarded as a goy
rendering wine Stam Yainam, etc. I would suggest that very few people
fit into this category. How many times do I notice that people, upon
seeing me, their Rabbi, on Shabbos, hide their shopping behind their
backs, avoid my gaze, hide behind the steering wheel, etc. Such people
are not to be considered public desecrators of Shabbos!

Someone was once requested by a minyan of people to daven for them on
Shabbos. This was a "vosikin" (early) minyan, because the people wanted
to rush off to work. He asked the Lubavitcher Rebbe shlita whether he
should be their chazan as they were obviously mechalelay shabbos
b'farhesiya and as such shouldn't be counted as a minyan (Orach Chaim ch

The Rebbe explained that since they themselves understood that they, as
mechalelay shabbos, should not act as chazzen, and were therefore asking
him to daven, and if he didn't there would be no minyan and many
wouldn't daven at all, "my mind is not at all at rest from this
expression of zealousy in a totally inappropriate instance" (Likutei
Sichos Vol. 9, page 278).

Living in a generation such as ours when every effort must be utilized
to bring back our straying bretheren who do so more from ignorance than
anything else, isn't it more important to be machmir (stringent) in
Ahavas Yisrael (Love of one's fellow Jews) then in Hilchos Stam Yainam?
Imagine the massive alienation which would be caused if it became known
that Torah Jewry was treating people who didn't keep Shabbos as goyim!
We must look for ways to include, not exclude, chas v'sholom, especially
when we have the broad shoulders of Gedolay Yisroel upon which to lean.

Rabbi Benzion Milecki
South Head & District Synagogue
15 Oceanveiw Ave., Dover Heights. 2030. NSW. Australia
Tel: +612 371 7656  Fax: +612 371 7416

From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 14:11:57 -0400
Subject: Stam Yainam

     Sources which state that wine touched by a Mechalel Shabbos (A
desecrater of Shabbos) is rendered unfit for drinking even in our day
and age are noted in Dr. Abraham Abraham's Nishmas Avraham Yoreh De'ah
123:1 (pp. 34-35). I see that indeed, Rav Ovadia Yosef is lenient in
this matter in Yabia Omer 1 Yoreh De'ah 11.  Reb Moshe, however, is
stringent - his view there is quoted from Yoreh De'ah 1:41, and see also
Igros Moshe Yoreh De'ah 2:132 (p.216) d.h.  Ve'Teida. I see I was
mistaken, though -the Melamed L'Ho'il is lenient here. Again, to the
best of my knowledge, Ashkenazim in general are machmir in this matter,
and I believe that the policy of the major Kashruth certifying agencies
is to allow only Shomrei Shabbos to be in contact with the wine during
the production process.


End of Volume 8 Issue 58