Volume 9 Number 43
                       Produced: Mon Oct  4 17:41:52 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Changes for Women's Prayer Groups
         [Michael Allen]
Havara (Pronunciation)
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Infant Formula
         [Pinchus Laufer]
Kashrus Standards
         [Warren Burstein]
Priestly Blessing and a Moom
         [Lorne (L.R.) Brown]
Women leaving Orthodox Judaism
         [Martin London]
Women's Prayer Groups - Rav Soloveitchik's Opinin
         [Aliza Berger]


From: Michael Allen <allen@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 93 10:25:49 -0400
Subject: Changes for Women's Prayer Groups

In regards to women's prayer groups in particular, and changes to
accepted practice in general:

The statement, "the Chafetz Chaim said so-and-so, therefore I say
such-and-such (which seems similar to so-and-so)" is, I believe, a
mistake.  The statement should rather be "it took someone with the
status of the Chafetz Chaim to say so-and-so, therefore it will
require one of our leading authorities to even propose


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sat, 2 Oct 93 23:07:55 -0400
Subject: Havara (Pronunciation)

Moadim L'Simcha!

I have just spent the first days of Yom Tov at my in-laws in Detroit,
and the Davening over the Y.T. reminded me of an old pet peeve of mine
which it is high time I voice on MJ! It is, in my opinion, one of the
several flaws in the modern Orthodox day school elementary educational
system that they teach some quasi-modern Israeli pronunciation to their
students. Aside from the fact that every single Ashkenazic Posek -from
Rav Kook zt'l who held that it is possible that an Ashkenazic Jew who
davens in a Sephardic (modern Israeli) havara might not even be
fulfilling his chiyuv [requirement - Mod.] even b'di'eved [after the
fact - Mod.] - to the Seridei Esh and Reb Moshe zt"l (those who have
heard Reb Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt"l know that even his conversational Hebrew
was Ashkenazic!)  holds that it is forbidden, or at least improper to
deviate from one's anscestors' havara except in a case of an obvious
mistake. Worse - the average American day school kid simply comes out
with an Ashkenazic havara minus a distinction between tov and sov.

As I said, even modern Israeli pronunciation is improper, because they
do not distinguish between komatz and posach, but this is worse.  I know
someone will bring up that Reb Nosson Adler switched to Sephardic
pronunciation, but a) his is a da'as yachid [single/lone opinion - Mod.]
; b) he switched to REAL Sephardic pronunciation which distinguishes
between ches and chaf and pronounces ayin's, and I would indeed have no
qualms if someone switched to Yemenite pronunciation which seems the
most accurate of all, but that's not happening!

When i brought this up at the table, people who studied in such a day
school noted that in fact they were erroneously led to believe that Ben
Yehuda's Hebrew is more accurate, whereas all it really does is
incorporate everyone's shortcomings!

I will happy to provide sources for ongoing debate if necessary, but
perhaps this may serve as a catalyst for rectifying the problem.


From: <plaufer@...> (Pinchus Laufer)
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1993 17:10:41
Subject: Infant Formula

I had an exchange about infant formula with someone through mljewish a few
months back. I don't remember the name of my correspondent and I "owe" him
information which I had no luck in retrieving.  Fortunately, there is a
small piece in the latest isue of Consumer Reports touching on the issue
we discussed: advertising.  I hope this is helpful.



From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 93 07:34:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Kashrus Standards

>5.  On the bright side, he told of one case in which a large company
>received an ingredient that did not have the usual hasgacha on it. 
>They called the Rav MaMachsir and told him that without this ingredient
>they would have to shut down production and incur a substantial
>financial loss.  There was room to be maikeil (lenient) on a halachic
>basis, but the Rav nevertheless said that he could not allow this to be
>done under his supervision.  Rabbi Kaganoff gave this as an example of
>a hasgacha that could indeed be trusted.

If there is room to permit something, why would a rabbi say "that he
could not allow this to be done under his supervision"?  Is he
applying a chumra [stringent ruling]?  Finding a reason to not apply
a kulah [lenient ruling]?  Does he mean that if a different mashgiach
permitted it it would OK, but for some reason *he* doesn't want to?

Wouldn't an example of a hashgacha that can indeed be trusted be one
where the mashgiach both forbids the forbidden as well as permitts the

/|/-\/-\       The entire world		Jerusalem
 |__/__/_/     is a very crowned mathom.
 |warren@      But the okra
/ nysernet.org is hungry.


From: Lorne (L.R.) Brown <lorne@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1993 14:26:00 +0000 
Subject: Priestly Blessing and a Moom 

I have been asked to post the following question by a person in my city.
I will forward copies of all answers to him.

I am looking for information on the Priestly Blessing, specifically
problems and solutions on how to deal with a moom [blemish/deformity -
Mod.] .  Any information on source material, practical and actual
solutions used would be appreciated.

Lorne Brown, (613)722-9365, <lorne@...>


From: Martin London <mlondon@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 93 03:54:42 -0400
Subject: Women leaving Orthodox Judaism

My name is Moshe (Marty) London.  I serve as cantor of Kenneset Israel
of Sacramento, California, which is the only Orthodox synagogue between
Sacramento and Denver.  I attended yeshiva during my high school years
in the late '50's and studied under a hazan while attending UCLA in the
'60's.  I am also a professor of economics.  My command of "shas and
poskim" is limited but I always find time to study.

The subject of educated Orthodox women threatening to leave is one which
troubles me a great deal, because it even effects our little outpost
community of 65 families.

Whenever the subject comes up everyone becomes defensive and very little
understanding passes between the various sides in the discussion.

Women have asked both our Rabbi and other Orthodox rabbis of my
acquaintance why the halacha can be so flexible under one set of
circumstances and yet so unbending in other circumstances.  For example,
this year is the sh'mita year (sabbatical year when all the fields in
Israel are supposed to be left fallow).  We all know very well that the
fields of Israel will not go fallow.  Halachically acceptable means (at
least for 90% of the Orthodox Jews of Israel) have been found to keep
Israel's agricultural industry productive during the sh'mita year.  So
if qualified poskim can find a way around the sh'mita year which is a
"mitzvah d'oraita" (one of the 613 mitzvot of the written torah,) why
can't the many concerns which women express be dealt with with equal

Many of the restrictions on women which are in the halacha appear to
come from sources which are very oblique.  For example, the restriction
on teaching Talmud to women comes from what appears to be just a passing
statement of one authority in the Talmud, that teaching Talmud to your
daughter is the same as teaching her to be wanton or fallen (tiflut.)

Fortunately, my own wife and daughter have never questioned their role
in halacha, so the issue has never effected me personally.  Yet, many of
the women I know who have questions about their halachic role, are very
intelligent, and highly educated both Jewishly and secularly.  Their
questions trouble me and I have read at least half a dozen books on the
subject by great rabbis like rabbi Meiselman and others without finding
a clear statement concerning the lack of flexibility on women's issues
in the halacha, which contains such flexibility regarding other issues
of critical importance to our people.

If someone has a source in English or Hebrew on this topic which might
help me understand when the halacha is flexible and when it is not,
especially as regards the status of women, I would appreciate learning
about it.

Moshe (Martin) London 
Sacramento, California


From: <A_BERGER@...> (Aliza Berger)
Date: Sun, 3 Oct 1993 15:03:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women's Prayer Groups - Rav Soloveitchik's Opinin

I think part of a submission of mine was taken out of context by
Lenny Oppenheimer. He wrote:

>Aliza Berger writes:
>> Perhaps it is better to research what a rabbi actually said or wrote
>> before trying to extrapolate from other views of his. 
>> The following information is from the book "Women at Prayer" by Rabbi
>> Avi Weiss:
>> "In the early 1970's, Rav Soloveitchik indicated to some rabbis that
>> under certain guidelines, women's tefilah groups are permitted.  

>> "Yet Rabbi Kenneth Auman remarked that Rabbi
>> Moshe Meiselman quotes Rav Soloveitchik as being opposed to women's
>> prayer groups." ...

>I'm not sure what this quote proves, other than that there is controversy
>as to what Rav Soloveitchik held about this issue.

>Lenny Oppenheimer

Lenny omitted some content that puts Rav Soloveitchik's opinion in its proper 
context.  At the risk of being repetitious, here is part of my original 

"In the early 1970's, Rav Soloveitchik indicated to some rabbis that
under certain guidelines, women's tefilah groups are permitted.  On one
occasion, the Rav carefully detailed the format of women's tefilah
groups, and suggested substitute texts for the devarim she'be'kedushah
[portions of the prayers that can only be recited with a minyan present]
that women would omit in their prayer groups."...  Rabbi Moshe Meiselman
was told by Rav Solovietchik that he is opposed to the recitation of
birkot ha-torah [blessings before and after reading of the Torah] in
women's prayer groups... "Yet Rabbi Kenneth Auman remarked that Rabbi
Moshe Meiselman quotes Rav Soloveitchik as being opposed to women's
prayer groups." ...Rabbi Meiselman himself, who is opposed to women's
prayer groups, had been careful never to say that the Rav was opposed to
the groups, just to one specific practice.  However he is quoted by
others as the authority presenting the Rav's opposition to the groups
per se.

Part of the point being made here by Rabbi Weiss, which Lenny's extract
misses, is that Rabbi Meiselman, an opponent of women's prayer groups,
and rabbis who support the women's prayer group all agree on what Rav
Soloveitchik said.  These are the people who actually talked to Rav
Soloveitchik.  There is no controversy about what Rav Soloveitchik's
opinion was; just a further-removed rabbi (R. Auman) being imprecise.
Perhaps what Rabbi Auman meant to say was "Rav Soloveitchik opposes the
recitation of the Torah blessings at the women's prayer group.  I
understand that the women of the women's prayer goup actually do recite
these blessings.  This is not in accordance with Rav Soloveitchik's

Aliza Berger


End of Volume 9 Issue 43