Volume 9 Number 17
                       Produced: Fri Sep 10 13:55:44 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Agendas and Halacha
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Agendas and Women
         [David Novak]
Giving up on Orthodoxy
         [Sol Lerner]
On-line Hebrew/English Dictionary
         [Elchanan Rappaport]
Rashi's Daughters
         [Ira Robinson]
Telephone Rates: U.S. to Israel
         [Howie Pielet]
Tephilat Shlom HaMidinah
         [Ophir S Chernin]
Two Questions on Ceremonies in Tishrei
         [Chaim Schild]


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 93 11:53:54 -0700
Subject: Re: Agendas and Halacha

	I would say that the concern which motivates the supporters of
	innovative form of women's worship is the quite halachic "tikun olam".


Wasn't that the identical concern voiced by the founders of the Reform
and Conservative movement? Not that ch"v I am equating the two, but
"halachik concepts" can lead to disaster, if not applied correctly.
And for that, we only have our Gedolim to advise us.

Hayim Hendeles


From: David Novak <novak@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 93 20:19:07 -0400
Subject: Agendas and Women

In volume 9 #10 Eitan Fiorino responds to my previous posting in a way
that seems very much to miss the point.  Once again, in new words and
without key phrases lost in the ..., I have merely tried to state,
contrary to Eitan, that halachic decision making is informed by external
agendas and not only by the internal "halachic dialectic".  The external
agendas may include meeting the needs of people, but of course the
agenda may be different, such as promoting more stringent observance of
halacha or protecting traditional observance from external threats.  The
agendas may be sociological or philosophical.  But they are agendas, and
are external to the "halachic dialectic".  Indeed, I say again that the
many cases in which Rav Moshe helped to free agunot show that, perhaps
contrary to other rabbis, he had an agenda in this matter: to emphasize
the halacic principle of helping agunot.  It is not helping agunot that
is an exernal agenda.  Helping agunot is a halachic principle.  It is
choosing to emphasize this principle that is an external agenda.
Similarly, it is not great monetary loss that is an external agenda; it
is choosing to emphasize this halachic principle that is an external
agenda.  Again, it seems extremely clear to me that halachic decision
making is informed by external agendas.  Obviously, although it doesn't
seem to me that Eitan is really serious in trying to suggest that we are
engaged in testing scientific theories here, one would not predict based
on my "theory" that all halachic decisions will be lenient.  To say that
my "theory" does predict this is to create a straw man.  Eitan shows
that this straw man is easily demolished.

Meanwhile, in the same issue, Dov (Bruce) Krulwich says:

>To put it another way, even if a Rav takes societal agendas, and
>personal ones, etc, into account in his decision-making, he will still
>sometimes have to say "no."  Even if a Rav tries to be lenient in order
>to fit the needs of his constituents, he will still sometimes have to
>say "no."  Perhaps before accusing Rabbaim of having a wrong approach to 
>psak, we should consider that they may be taking everything into account 
>that they can, and are nonetheless saying "no."

I very much like this formulation; compared to mine, it has the virtue
of simplicity.  But, if we accept in general that agendas are taken into
account and do not always generate leniencies, I still have a question
on the original subject:

Why is the agenda of helping women who are looking for certain forms of
expression through prayer subject to such energetic scrutiny?  Are
women's prayer groups really so bad compared to other things that go on,
even _possibly_ things that have some Rabbi's sanction?  (OK, I might as
well come right out and say it, I do not think that women's prayer
groups are bad at all.  I am only asking about all of the opposition and
why there is so much of it.).  It seems to me that there must be
something extremely special about this issue that brings up such
energetic opposition.  (Lest you suspect otherwise, I really want to
know the answer to this question and I do not have some preconceived
answer that I am hoping to hear.)

I do not often become involved in mail-jewish discussions and I hope
that the readers have not reached the point of having heard *too much*
(or too much from me) on this issue.

                                 - David Novak


From: <slerner@...> (Sol Lerner)
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 93 18:04:59 -0400
Subject: Giving up on Orthodoxy

I actually sent this to Avi a while ago, but it never was published-- I
assume that it was lost in the shuffle.  Anyway, it is even more relevent
to the current discussion:

This morning, Tisha B'av, I went to the shul of R. Yitzchak Twerski in
Brookline.  While discussing the Kinot (something he does for several
hours), he said something that made me think about the women's tfillah
group/response to modernity debate in a different way.  Since the Dvar
Torah is interesting in its own right, I will report the full discussion.

He quoted the Eish Torah, a book of Divrei Torah given by a Rabbi
(unfortunately, I don't remember his name) in the Warsaw Ghetto during the
holocaust.  In one of his Divrei Torah, the Rabbi quoted the verse Shir
hama'alot mima'amakim kiraticha (... from the depths I call you... ).  The
plural mima'amakim (depths) is used here where it could have said ma'omek
(depth).  The Eish Torah explains that the plural "depths" refers to one
who is placed into a pit and prays for salvation but is placed into further
and further depths.  Still he calls out for salvation.

A little later in the book, the Eish Torah says that when ones personality
is completely taken away (as it was in the Warsaw Ghetto), it's often hard
to pray from the depths because of the overwhelming sense of despair. 
Whose responsibility is it to prevent this despair?  According to the Eish
Torah, it's the responsibility of the leaders of the Jewish people.  For
example, in Egypt, when the Jews were exhausted from "hard work" it was
Moshe's job to prevent or at least to minimize that exhaustion.

Then R. Twerski recounted a discussion he had with his grandson about the
sin of Moshe and Aharon in Mara (which is not clear from the Torah). 
Someone, I believe R. Chaim Volozhyn, listed 10 possible sins.  R. Twerski
asked the grandson which he thought was right.  His grandson, in typical
Jewish fashion, didn't answer but asked R. Twerski which he thought was
correct.  R. Twerski answered that he thought it was #9-- when Moshe and
Aharon saw that the Jews were suffering in Mara, they should have taken
immediate action to relieve the suffering instead of waiting for Hashem to
initiate action.

I think that this idea is pertinent to the discussion.  It IS relevant to
say that there are women who are distressed and may be leaving Orthodoxy. 
Furthermore, it is the responsibility of our leaders to search for ways
(within Halachic boundaries of course) to relieve that stress.

Sol Lerner
GTE Laboratories


From: <ELCHANAN@...> (Elchanan Rappaport)
Date: Thu, 9 Sep 93 10:05:28 IDT
Subject: On-line Hebrew/English Dictionary

I've received some friendly responses mentioning the carry-around
 translators available here in the $100-$200 price range.
They're very cute, and if I didn't already have a fancy workstation
 sitting on my desk I'd consider blowing money on such a toy.

Perhaps there's simply a raw text file of some such database, which
 I can cleverly use my own tools to index into?

I've heard there are such dictionaries (e.g. Alkalai) for the P.C.
Might they have an export feature for outputting the database?
(within the license agreement, of course)



From: <ROBINSO@...> (Ira Robinson)
Date: Thu, 09 Sep 1993 11:20:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rashi's Daughters

Regarding Miriam, wife of Rabbenu Tam, Efraim Urbach wrote in his
book, Baalei ha-Tosafot, that after his death, "scholars asked his wife
concerning his practices".  (Jerusale, 1968), p. 56.

This may be some indication.

Ira Robinson


From: <pielet@...> (Howie Pielet)
Date: Wed, 8 Sep 93 01:39:20 -0400
Subject: Telephone Rates: U.S. to Israel

[Cruel and unusual punishment - You are making a loyal AT&T employee
read and edit this. To be honest, I do not know what our rates are. I do
not view this as an advertisement, which I would probably reject, but as
a request for info on the best rates for something that I think is of
interest to mail-jewish readers, and laying down a stake in the ground.
If the reates you know are no better, then don't tei up our time with
it. So let's see who does have the best rates to Israel. Mod -

My current understanding of the best telephone rates from the U.S. to Israel:

Sprint + Sprint World + The Most International + UTAC 

Sprint World:  For $3/month, calls from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. are at $0.73/min;
calls from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. are at $1.26/min.

The Most International:  20% discount on calls to the two international numbers
that you spend the most minutes talking to in a billing month (i.e.

UTAC:  25% discount on weekend calls to Israel.  25% discount on calls for a
designated day before Rosh Hashanah and Chanukah.  (i.e. $0.55/min to
non-'Most' numbers, $0.44/min to 'Most' numbers)  Also gives 3% of your
phone bill to a tzedaka (charity) of your choosing.  (I don't know if that's
your entire phone bill or just the calls to Israel.)

Am I correct on these numbers?  Is there any better rate?

K'siva V'chasima Tova

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


From: Ophir S Chernin <osc4@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 1993 12:15:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Tephilat Shlom HaMidinah

   In regard to your letters concerning Tephilat Shlom Midinat Yisrael, I
must respond as any Frum Zionistic person should.  I was recently married,
so this was the first Shabbat that my Chattan and I davened in a new shul.
 I was very distraught by the fact that this Tefilla was not said.  I
think that the mere fact that Hakadosh Baruch Hu allowed the state to be
formed in 1948 is proof enough for me that it was His desire for there to
be a state.  I agree that we really don't know for certain that this is
Reishit Tzmichat Geulateinu, but how do we know that it is not.  With all
of the events hapening in Israel today, it needs as many of our Tefillot
as possible, before there is nothing left!

	My wife and I both spent time in Israel, she at Midreshet Moriah,
and myself at Yeshivas Kerem B'Yavneh.  I feel that all things which
occur, and especially the reclamation of Eretz Yisroel are part of the
geulah.  However I may personally feel about the State of Israel should
not be publichally enforced.  Until there is a clear psak halacha that
the State of Israel is infact the "reshit..." and there is a clear psak
that I should be said, how can we say it?  Have the g'dolei hador
sanctioned our saying of this?  If so, I have not heard the psak!! 
However, although I support the recitation of the Tephilas Shlom
Ha Midinah and the MiSheberach le'Tzahal, I find it unncessary to add
"resheit..." to the Tephila.  All things which happen fall into this
category; why do we make a special mention of it here?  By the same token,
I do not write BS"D at the top of all my papers (my wife does).

We both get along well, and have very similar hashkafa.
We will, im yirtze Hashem, make Aliyah together as a family when I finish
at Columbia Engineering.

In full support of both the State of Israel and the Land of Israel (NOT TO

kol tuv.
Ophir and Tami (<osc4@...>)


From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: 09 Sep 1993 08:33:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Two Questions on Ceremonies in Tishrei

I was reading in an anthology that claimed there was a custom to grow
"Egyptian beans" in a pot before Rosh HaShanah to swing around ones head
and toss into the sea.... It was in Hebrew and maybe I misunderstood.
Any references???

What is the motivation for using Willow branches in that ceremony in
the Temple on Sukkos (Gemara Sukkos) ??

CHaim Schild


End of Volume 9 Issue 17