Volume 8 Number 92
                       Produced: Wed Aug 25  0:20:52 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David Novak]
Giving up on Orthodoxy
         [Freda Birnbaum]
Jewish Fiction (3)
         [Anthony Fiorino, Barry Kingsbury, Esther R Posen ]
MOSHIACH list advertisement
         [Rabbi Benzion Milecki]
Tefila k'vatikin
         [Rick Turkel]


From: David Novak <novak@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 18:02:10 -0400
Subject: Agendas

In mail-jewish volume 8 #86 Anthony Fiorino replies to my comments, in
which I pointed out that Rav Moshe, like every posek, had an agenda when
he issued p'sak on certain issues.  Anthony takes issue with my argument,
as if I were actually strengthening his argument, by saying that these
agendas are really "halachic inyanim", etc.  No.  In a purely intellectual
discussion, as any student of philosophy knows, one may run around in
circles by arguing about categorical definitions:  is an agenda a halachic
inyan, etc.  I say that Rav Moshe had an agenda in that he wanted to help
agunot, and so he found leniencies to do so.  Unfortunately, not every Rav
had this "halachic inyan" of helping agunot on his agenda, so it was in
the hands of the young Rav Moshe to help them.  The principle of helping
agunot is universal and halachic.  That Rav Moshe in particular chose to
be, so to speak, the champion of these agunot means that Rav Moshe had an
agenda which differed from that of others.  Poskim have agendas and the
agendas have an effect on the p'sak that they give.  I think this is very
straightforward and I hope it is clearly stated, and that we can discuss
the point rather than the intricacies of definitions.

Then Anthony says:
>As for his concluding sentence [We are fortunate indeed when the great
>Rabbis of the generation have such agendas] I wonder if Rav Moshe's
>stringent teshuvot would provoke the same comment, or is it only the kulot?

I will restate in other words what I believe was already clear in my
previous post:  We are fortunate indeed when the great Rabbis of the
generation take the needs of people into account in their p'sak, and find
the leniencies which are needed to meet those needs.  If taking people's
needs into account in this way means kulot, then I applaud the kulot.  If
there are stringent teshuvot, too, that is fine.  If we are to live in a
world of stringent halacha only, a world where the inner logic of halacha
governs, a world where the "halachic dialectic" is more important than
people's needs, all may rest assured that I will be crying rather than
applauding.  Indeed, isn't this one reason among many to mourn the loss of
Rav Moshe?

                                 - David Novak


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 07:31 EDT
Subject: Giving up on Orthodoxy

Anthony Fiorino, in V8N88, re "Giving up on Orthodoxy", had what was a
well-developed argument against those women who leave Orthodoxy because
it doesn't "suit" them, up to a point.  I kept waiting for the "however"
which never came: IF there is so much pain and anguish and
dissatisfaction being presented by otherwise serious, committed, women,
WHY isn't the community listening and WHY when HALACHIC solutions are
proposed which would alleviate some of this pain, is there so much
resistance from the "Orthodox" community??  The uproar over women's
davening groups and women learning Gemora!  You'd think they were
studying Christianity, or something.

Anthony said, in referring to the WOMEN's leaving Orthodoxy:

>I feel a little bit that this is an attempt at strong-arming.

Many of us have been feeling lately that the strong-arming is coming
from the kinds of Rosh-Yeshiva-as-distinct-from-Av-Bet-Din mindsets (see
David Novak's excellent comment a few issues back) which we see a great
deal of on mail-jewish these days, from men who are unable or unwilling
to try to see how it feels to be a woman in this religion.

Anthony complained about women wanting to be rabbis.  The impediments to
women being rabbis are more social than halachic.  And I'm sure I can
find you a good-sized "tzibbur" (sic) of women who would rather take
mikvah shailas and birth-control shailas to a woman rabbi than to a male

Leah Reingold said, in the same issue:

>Women are not insensitive to
>the silent message that they receive from many Orthodox minyanim
>that they are welcome as long as they keep the children quiet,
>don't sing too loudly, and do not try to participate in any
>public roles.  This message is precisely what gives many Orthodox
>girls the idea that they don't really need to daven at all (a
>depressing phenomenon noted earlier in this list)
>[...] the lack of respect, encouragement, or recognition makes one's
>endeavors far more difficult--in some cases, too difficult to continue.
>Women are not respected in Jewish learning even enough to be able to
>purchase religious texts without smirks from the cashier; the lack of
>respect is a real force, and cannot be ignored even by those who believe
>that all learning is for the sake of learning itself.

Perhaps it is the fundamental lack of respect, the lack of being
listened to or taken seriously, that those women who finally leave, have
experienced, that makes them leave, not the height of the mechitza or
the lack of an aliya.  I have talked to female baalei teshuva who have
told me that they have been made to feel more welcome in Presbyterian
churches than in Orthodox synagogues.  What a shame on those synagogues.
What a loss to everybody.

Freda Birnbaum


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 15:24:04 -0400
Subject: Jewish Fiction

Rebecca Goldstein is a contemporary Jewish writer who runs a bit
anti-Orthodox at times, but her books are delightful nevertheless, and
very intelligent (she has a PhD in philosophy).  Her _The Mind-Body
Problem_ is one of my favorite novels (just back in print too!).  She has
2 other novels, and a collection of short stories.  Also, there is an
anthology of Jewish fiction called _Gates of the New City_ (or something
like that) which I have seen but not read.

[Rebecca is also a Highland Park resident and known to many of the
"local" mail-jewish readership here. Her husband is a theoretical
physicist (I know that is not relevant to anything, but as a physicist
myself, it's always nice to have another around). Mod.]

Eitan Fiorino

From: <barryk@...> (Barry Kingsbury)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 12:32:55 EDT
Subject: Jewish Fiction

I found Bernard Malamud's <The Fixer> to be one of the most unrelenting
depressing books I've ever read. I would not recommend it at all.

Barry Kingsbury

From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen )
Date: 24 Aug 93 15:39:25 GMT
Subject: Re: Jewish Fiction

There is a new book published under the pseudonym B. D. D'eahu titled
"With All My Heart, With All My Soul".  It contains a stronger dose of
Jewish philosophy than it does of Jewish fiction, but the plot is quite
intriguing as well.

Esther Posen


From: <benzion@...> (Rabbi Benzion Milecki)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 22:57:36 -0400
Subject: MOSHIACH list advertisement

8th Elul, 5753

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From: <rmt51@...> (Rick Turkel)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 93 10:30:09 EDT
Subject: Tefila k'vatikin

Danny Skaist (DANNY%<ILNCRD@...>) asks in m.j 8#86:

> Does anybody know the rationale behind why tfilla "k'vasikin" is
> preferable to tefilla be-tzibbur.?

If I'm not mistaken, the idea of tefila k'vatikin [lit. prayer like the
ancients, i.e., with the sunrise] is discussed in Talmud Brakhot,
Chapter 1 (Me'eimatai).  The earliest time for saying shma` in the
morning is when it is light enough to recognize a friend at a distance
of 4 amot (about 6 feet); that for the amida, however, is somewhat
later, at sunrise.  Now the ideal is to pray as early as is permitted,
but it is also mentioned there that one should be 'somekh geula
latefila' [attach the brakha of geula, which immediately precedes the
amida, to the amida itself].  So the vatikin would rise early and time
their davening so as to get to the beginning of the amida just at
sunrise.  I believe tefila k'vatikin takes precedence over tefila
b'tzibbur because of the idea of davening as early as possible.

Rick Turkel         (___  ____  _  _  _  _  _     _  ___   _   _ _  ___
(<rmt51@...>)         )    |   |  \  )  |/ \     |    |   |   \_)    |
Rich or poor,          /     |  _| __)/   | __)    | ___|_  |  _( \    |
it's good to have money.            Ko rano rani,  |  u jamu pada.

[Similar explanation given by <dic5340@...> (David Charlap) and
Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth <METH@...> . One thing that I have heard is
that according to the Rambam, the basic zman (halakhic time) for
reciting the Shema is BEFORE sunrise, so only Tefila K'vatikin performs
the mitzvah of Shema in its best manner. Mod.]


End of Volume 8 Issue 92