Avodah Mailing List
Volume 02 : Number 164
Monday, February 15 1999
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 99 08:32:25 PST
Subject: RE: Beis Din for Agunot
Based on this week's sedro it seems that it is very important that a beis din be
objective. Having any prejudice (literally pre-juding) consitutes subjectivity
and is begder shochad at least on a hashkofo level if not no a halachic level.
IMHO a beis din should view each case individually. Setting up a BD with an
agenda to free agunos makes about as much sense as setting up a BD to promote
any other "cause".
I probably want' clear, if you could reach such a conclusion from my post:
A. The Beit Din Agunot deals with both men and women who are actually Mesoravei
Get - and doesn't pre-judge which side is right, and I don't know how you could
reach such a conclusion. The only "pre-judgement" that exists is the intention
of the Beit Din to reach a speedy resolution, which actually is very much
according to Halacha with regard to the issue of Tzedek etc.
B. The Beit Din accepts only such cases as the Chief Rabbi (who is the Senior Av
Beit Din) feels need a new view. Cases that have been going on for many years;
or when a spouse left the country or other reasons which this is not the place to
I do think that part of the problem today is that sometimes there is an
appearance of lack of concern for Mesoravei Get - and this can be just as
devastating as acutual lack of Rachmanut.
Shoshana L. Boublil (nee Skaist)
Time: 08:32:25 AM , Israel
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 99 08:40:06 PST
Subject: RE: Avodah V2 #163
I am writing here from the pov of a woman married to a Boger of Bnei Akiva
Yeshivot (high school, hesder and kollel) and whose brothers and bil also
learned/learning in this system.
>I would like to explore this a little further. I am not familiar with the
>Bnei Akiva yeshivot, but having gone to the Philadelphia Yeshiva (and whose
>son goes there now) there is perhaps no better place to judge how allegedly
>cerebral the Litvak yeshivos are. If you happen to be in the Yeshiva around
>the yamim nora'im, the "aimat hadin" is almost palpable. The question is:
>the same feeling evident in the B'nei Akiva yeshivot around that time of
>year? Are students in Bnei Akiva yeshivot genuinely worried that they may
>not make it through the next year unless they do teshuvah immediately?
The feeling is just as great, and if you ever come to Israel, you can visit
any yeshiva or ulpana and see the intense preparations that go on. My
husband regularly gives lectures on Tshuva and related topics at many of
these yeshivot, during the weeks of Elul, as do many other gifted speakers.
3 of my daughters are now in Bnei Akiva Ulpana (equiv. of Yeshiva
high-school for girls), and I recall the discussion of Elul clearly. Of
course they have a daily Seder on Hashkafa/Jewish philosophy besides
learning Kuzari; Rambam; Ramchal etc. (besides regular high-school studies
My impression from the men in my family is that the they had regular
Hashkafa sessions and studies; advanced Tanach lessons both in High School
and later in Hesder etc. This follows the view of Rav Kook that now that we
have returned to Eretz Yisrael it is not sufficient to be knowledgeable in
G'mara & Halacha, but there is a need for expertise in all areas of jewish
As to the emotional component - the only thing to do is come and see. If
anyone wants a place to stay in Yisrael for Purim, I'm sure it can be
arranged. Shabbat Zachor coming up I know that my daughters are looking fwd
to it. <g>
Name: Shoshana L. Boublil (nee Skaist)
Time: 08:40:06 AM , Israel
This message was sent by Chameleon
Torah U'Madah Ltd. is developing a DB on the topic:
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 07:07:44 -0500
From: Harry Maryles <C-Maryles@neiu.edu>
Subject: The Prejudice of the "Right"!
> >I would like to explore this a little further. I am not familiar with the
> >Bnei Akiva yeshivot, but having gone to the Philadelphia Yeshiva (and whose
> >son goes there now) there is perhaps no better place to judge how allegedly
> >cerebral the Litvak yeshivos are. If you happen to be in the Yeshiva around
> >the yamim nora'im, the "aimat hadin" is almost palpable. The question is:
> >the same feeling evident in the B'nei Akiva yeshivot around that time of
> >year? Are students in Bnei Akiva yeshivot genuinely worried that they may
> >not make it through the next year unless they do teshuvah immediately?
With all due respect to Arnie Lustiger, and it is certainly not his
fault, but the very question he asks demonstrates the attitude fostered
by right wing Yeshivos about non right wing Yeshivos such as the ones he
asks about. There is no greater Aimat Hadin during the Yomim Noraim
than in Merkaz HaRav. My experience in Telshe Cleveland was that the
Roshei Yeshva used to denigrate Yeshivos like HTC at every opportunity.
One Beis Hamedrash Bochur told me at the time I was in High School that
it was actually better to go to a public school than a place like HTC
because at HTC the Hashkafos were so KRUM.
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 15:11:50 EST
Subject: hair covering inside home
>>>Who decided that just because a source was aggadaic that it doesn't play a
role in HAlach.<<<
See RAshba Megilla 15 - 'elah sheDivrei aggadah hein v'ain mityashvin
However, what Eli Clarke has not adequetly addressed (and I apologized if I
missed it in skimming) is even if we grant that the Zohar represents a chumrah
not supported by our reading of Shas/Rishonim, the fact that rov of the olam
has accepted the notion of hair covering inside the home may defacto force us
to accept it as binding - see Shut Chasam Sofer O"C #36 who makes this point,
(also IG"M EH"A 58 comments on this CH"S. )
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 17:23:04 -0500 (EST)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@IDT.NET>
Subject: Re: Avodah V2 #162
> Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 15:43:18 -0500 (EST)
> From: Dov Weiss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Subject: Re: Avodah V2 #161
> For the last 2 months I have been trying to help a woman obtain
> a Get. This 27 year old woman, (who by the way has a 4 year old child and
> is in her second year of medical school), is desperately looking for help.
> To my amazement some of his Rabbis have justified the recalcitrant's
> using of the Get as leverage in order to receive a better settlement. Some
> of these Rabbis argue that since she went to a secular court for the
> divorce settlement (custody, child support, maintence, child
> visitation...) she loses her right to demand a Get. (Even though her
> Orthodox Rabbi told her to go to secular court Lechatchila). One Rabbi
> told me that she is a "Gazlenes" and that unless she gives the husband
> back all of the child support and maintenance that she has received over
> the years (around$25,000) that the husband is under no moral obligation to
> give her the Get.
> 1) Is this an acceptable position?
> Does a husband have an obligation to give his wife a Get if she
> went to Arkaos -- even if she went with the advice of her Orthodox
==========> Need a bit more info here. If a person receives permission of
a Beis Din, then there is no longer a prohibition of Erka'os. Have to
know the precise nature of the permission received. BUT there is at least
a reasonable possibility that it is NOT a violation of Erka'os.
> 2) In this case a prominent Beis Din will be sending the husband a
> Siruv in a matter of days. What types of legal things should be
> done towards the recalcitrant husband???
===> Once it is clear that the husband is "recalcitrant", there are
sanctions known as "Harchakos of R. Tam" that can be applied, I think.
> 3) Are there any organizations that she should be turning to for
===> YES! And, I believe that R. Teitz can provide the necessary
> Thank you,
> Rabbi Dov Weiss
> Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 14:26:09 -0500
> From: email@example.com
> Subject: Pre-Nuptials
> Zvi Weiss writes:
> >>On the one hand, despite the various Pre-Nuptial Agreements (e.g., R.
> Willig and R. N. Goldberg), there are some hesitations as to their
> validity or "correctness to use". In one case, I know that a prominent
> Rosh Yeshiva told a Chasan NOT to use the agreement. <<
> Lemaase what is the objection to pre-nups? Is it the particular nusahc of a
> given pre-nup or pre-nups in general?
===> I have been told that R. Bleich (among others) has specific problems
with the TERMINOLOGY used...
> Rich Wolpoe
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Date: Mon, 27 Aug 1956 21:48:49 +0000
From: David Riceman <driceman@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject: missing data the Torah was a formal system subject to Goedelian contraints -- ie that it must be inconsistant or incomplete.
One point I played with was whether this meant that
the Torah was a formal system subject to Goedelian contraints -- ie that
it must be inconsistant or incomplete.
That would be an elegant explanation for why there are halachoth
l'moshe misinai - those would be the propositions that are true
but not provable.
OTOH I don't think Godel's proof could be extended to a language as
complicated as halachic dialectic - can you compose a diophantine
equation determining whether a word is myutar and can be used as a
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 23:38:37 -0600 (CST)
I had promised RYGB a further comment on the background of sheitlach
and the question of their historical acceptance as a mode of hair covering.
We presumably have no argument that in Oriental communities the wig was
never considered an acceptable mode of hair covering and was roundly criticized
in Poskim as a Western innovation. In Ashkenazic communities it is clear that
throughout the Medieval period Jewish women covered their hair with items
of clothing. Evidence of this is available in all sources of illustrations and
discussions of Jewish dress - see, for example, Rubens' History of Jewish
Costume, Castello and Kapon's The Jews and Europe, the Metzger's
Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, etc. The discussion of wigs in
Chazal never address the question of hair covering but other issues that
are not directly relevant to this discussion.
Wigs began to be part of the dress of non-Jewish women early in the 16th
century and as a result of that style penetrated the costume of Jewish women
in such modern countries as Italy (primarily) and France; even there, many
women did not wear them, as evidenced in extant paintings and illustrations.
The Shiltei Hagibborim, an Italian authority of the mid-16th century, thus
permitted (or justified) a practice of his community when he stated that wigs
were acceptable. A similar opinion is found in the works of Rav Yehuda Aryeh
De Modena, another Italian authority. The Remo also addressed this issue
in his comment on wigs and krias shma in Orach Chaim 75:2, but this has
nothing to do with the question of the acceptability of sheitlach as head
coverings for women. Not only were many non-Italian poskim specifically
opposed (posters have already quoted Be'er Sheva, Chasam Sofer, Sheailas
Yavetz, etc.) but the historical material makes clear that in central and
eastern Europe, including RYGB's German origins, wigs were not worn (at
least uncovered) by any "frum" women until the end of the eighteenth
Even after this period the illustrations and paintings that we have of Jewish women
from the nineteenth century from Lithuania, Poland, Germany and Russia uniformly
show that women covered their heads with various head coverings and that wigs were
not worn. Even the Pri Megodim who was quoted in the discussion says that
uncovered wigs are acceptable in those countries where they are worn, indicating
that this was certainly not a universal practice. Only in the late 19th and early 20th
centuries do you find visual material indicating that uncovered wigs were becoming
I cite these points not to assert that sheitlach are not acceptable at present (Rav Moshe
and others have already said that we cannot compel our wives to cover their sheitlach)
but to underline that the rejection of sheitlach as acceptable hair covering is a chumra
that is consistent with the majority of Jewish practice through the ages. It is surely
reasonable to assert that the refusal to wear an uncovered sheitel in a public venue
is consistent with the principle of safek d'oraisa l'chumra, even though clearly the
communal practice is to currently accept the lenient view.
M. Press, Ph.D. Professor of Psychology and Deputy Chair
Touro College, 1602 Avenue J, Brooklyn, NY 11230
Phone: 718-252-7800, x275 Fax: 718-645-1816
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Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 23:56:43 -0600 (CST)
From: "Shoshanah M. & Yosef G. Bechhofer" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Sheitlach
On Sun, 14 Feb 1999 email@example.com wrote:
> I had promised RYGB a further comment on the background of sheitlach and
> the question of their historical acceptance as a mode of hair covering.
> We presumably have no argument that in Oriental communities the wig was
> never considered an acceptable mode of hair covering and was roundly
> criticized in Poskim as a Western innovation. In Ashkenazic communities
> it is clear that throughout the Medieval period Jewish women covered
> their hair with items of clothing. Evidence of this is available in all
> sources of illustrations and discussions of Jewish dress - see, for
> example, Rubens' History of Jewish Costume, Castello and Kapon's The
> Jews and Europe, the Metzger's Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, etc. The
> discussion of wigs in Chazal never address the question of hair covering
> but other issues that are not directly relevant to this discussion.
I am sorry, but I do not accept the proof - which, to me, seems to be more
anthropological than halachic. As I previously noted, the simple fact is
that for much of recorded human history married women of all persuasions
and religions covered their hair - with bonnets, hats, etc. We would,
therefore, of course expect Jewish women to cover their hair in a similar
fashion - not because the halacha necessarily required it, but because the
practice was universal.
It was not until the time of the SG et al that R' Melech cites that the
issue even arose, and not until the 19th century that women began to
forsake en masse the ancient practice - throughout the Western world.
At these points, it first became apropos and relevant to objectively and
dispassionately review the sheitel issue.
I believe this is similar to R' Dessler's (4th vol, I believe, I am still
in Detroit, sorry) fundamental discussion of Tefillin d'RT, where he says,
true, minhag Yisroel Torah - but only Toras Minhag! Thus, a Posek - such
as RT - is entitled to reopen an issue with evidence and proofs, even
where there was an extant, hoary minhag (Rashi Tefillin). So much more so
b'nidon didan, where the minhag, IMHO, was not halachically based, kana"l.
Thus, while I believe that a woman may display greater Yiras or Ahavas
Hashem by wearing a hat, or a hat over a sheitel, I do not believe that
objective Halacha requires or even advises this as a norm, and, it would
seem to me, that such a standard may occasionally have a negative impact,
as stated previously. I note, in this vein, that to the best of my limited
knowledge, none of the major Poskim in the Lithuanian, German or Lubavitch
schools have recommended hats over sheitlach etc. - although, as always, I
am willing and eager to stand corrected if mistaken.
Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL, 60659
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Date: Mon, 15 Feb 1999 11:10:07 -0500 (EST)
From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@IDT.NET>
Subject: Re: Avodah V2 #163
> Date: Fri, 12 Feb 1999 13:42:36 -0500
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Beis Din for Agunot
> Based on this week's sedro it seems that it is very important that a
> beis din be
> objective. Having any prejudice (literally pre-juding)
> consitutes subjectivity
> and is begder shochad at least on a hashkofo level if not no a halachic level.
> IMHO a beis din should view each case individually. Setting up a BD with an
> agenda to free agunos makes about as much sense as setting up a BD to promote
> any other "cause".
===> I strongly reject that logic. The point of a B"D to free Agunot" is
NOT to say that the woman is "right". It is to assert that keeping a
woman as an Aguna is NOT a halachically *acceptable* way in which to
operate. As far as I am concerned, ANY "Rov" who states that this is an
acceptable tactic is so incredibly lacking in sensitivity and
menschlichkeit that one should not consider this "Rov" to be a posek. The
point here is that REGARDLESS of the disagreements between the husband and
wife, they must be resolved in a FAIR OBJECTIVE halachically acceptable
fashion where the *Beis Din* dispenses Justice rahter than the husband
dispensing thuggery. That is part of the reason why I was so horrified to
hear that ANY B"D would consider dispensing heter 100Rabbonim without a
Get Meshulash -- Such an action can only be viewed as an act of
vindictiveness against a woman who is to be "punished to the ulitmate".
Againm freeing Agunot is NOT a matter of "prejudging" anything -- it is
making a statement that WHATEVER the disagreement may be, the tactic of
Igun is unacceptable.
> Today the Senate voted WRT Clinton's impeachment articles. The
> more perceptive
> media'niks noted that the Senate is a political body and this is a political
> process NOT a judicial one. With 5 exceptions everyone followed a
> party line.
> I can't think of a better contrast of what a beis din should be.
> Being pre-disposed is not a merit. Hevu mesunim badin. Sit and listen
> with an
> open mind.
===> I expect ALL Batei Din to be "pre-disposed" against "Avel". I expect
ALL Batei Din to be "pre-disposed" against injustice.
> As far as R. Dov Weiss's case is concerned, I think that we do not
> have enough
> information to pass judgement one way or the other. Doesn't the halocho sate
> that we need to hear BOTH sides?
===> I fail to see how there is "another side" in terms of the Issur of
Erka'os if the woman was following (or thought that she was following) the
advice of a Rov.
> This does not lower my empathy for agunot. Having racmonis on evyonim
> does not
> change the possuk v'dal lo sehedar berivo. IOW empathy has no place in
> a beis
> din. Neither does deference to high officials. etc.
===> The issue is not one of empathy. The act of deliberate Igun is so
horrifying that it seems that we are mandated to make clear that it is an
act of thuggery -- not of Tzedek. this is not a case of V'dal Lo
Sehedar.. I am not declaring that "the woman is correct" -- only that
once she is prepared to go to a Legitimate Beis Din (and it is to our
great shame that there are absolute horrors that masquerade as Batei Din)
and follow the p'sak, the husband can no longer use the club of Igun over
> IMHO a Besi Din should be consituted to determine the din and emes, not
> to right
> social wrongs.
===> In my understanding, the B"D has ALWAYS had a responsibility to
ensure that all functioned properly and not simply "waiting for a
Claimant" to show up.... Besides, if the "social wrong" is a halchic
horror, it seems that the B"D would have the SAME responsibility as they
would have to ensure suitable supervision for Kashruth.
> Good Shabbos
> Rich Wolpoe
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