Avodah Mailing List
Volume 04 : Number 175
Saturday, December 11 1999
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:26:47 EST
Subject: Re: abortion for "them" and for "us"
Someone asked how abortion could be more serious for a Gentile than for a Jew.
Sanhedrin 57b learns that Gentiles are prohibited from aborting a child based
on the Torah's use of "Dimchem leNafshoseichem." The Gemara does not apply
this to Jews; it appears that a Jewish fetus is not a "Nefesh" until birth.
(There are a number of interesting points to be made on this, as to the
development of a Nefesh and the question of different stages during
gestation. This is a long issue.)
You might want to take a good look at Tosafos Niddah 44b on "Ish Ki Yakeh;"
he says that abortion of a Jewish fetus is "Mutar." The Sedei Chemed (Peas
haSadeh 1:52), the Achiezer (3:65) , the Chavos Yair (31) and Mishpitei Uziel
(EH 79) have different ways of dealing with this.
For some more references, you might wish to see my page at:
http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor/ishus/abort.htm. I am, of course, welcome to
additional Mekoros to put there.
(Parenthetically, you might also note that it seems the official Christian
idea was, at one point, that males get a soul after 40 days and females after
80, in an apparent warped reading of Parshas Tazria. I forget where I saw
this, but the source was reputable. I'll have to dig it up.)
Have a good Shabbos/Chodesh/Chanukah,
HaMakor! http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor Mareh Mekomos Reference Library
WEBSHAS! http://www.aishdas.org/webshas Indexing the Talmud, Daf by Daf
Cong. Ohave Shalom, YI of Pawtucket, RI http://members.tripod.com/~ohave
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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:53:04 EST
Subject: Re: prenups, lawyers, and Bach
In a message dated 12/10/99 10:41:13 AM Eastern Standard Time,
I'm not sure what this means - whether you think Bach's music seems to
have been Divinely inspired, or whether you think it could have been
improved by Divine inspiration. In either case, though I too greatly
enjoy Baach's music, I find the statement puzzling.
Doesn't divine inspiration have moral or intellectual content? I
hardly think that theory of counterpoint, as fun as it is, is
sufficiently abstruse to require Divine assistance.
Yes, I think that his music is divinely inspired, and second, Theory and
counterpoint as practiced by Bach is certainly of an intellectual level to
require divine assistance. Besides, there is something beyond the execution
of species counterpoint at play in the music of Bach, and that is Genius,
which certainly is some kind of divine gift.
But you're missing my point. I was merely trying to wax poetic about my love
for his music, and my regard for his unique genius. We spend so much time
trying to say lomdus, that we forget that sometimes things said on this list
do not require textual or halachik analysis. Unfortunately, some of the
people on this list who need to hear this most delete my postings, so they
are doomed to live in their litvish ghetto.
And since I know I am going to hear about this from my good friend R' Moshe
Bernstein on the way home from shul tonight, let me just remind everybody,
(tongue in cheek, of course) that lomdus is just a tool.
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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:56:50 -0500
From: Rabbi Yosef Blau <firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are ways to reduce the number of agunot which do not involve any
halachic innovations. However they require an Orthodox community
willing to work together and to adopt standards of professional conduct
for Batei Din. Social pressure is ineffectual when the siruv of one
Beit Din is ignored by another and when there are shules ready to
welcome the recalcitrant spouse.
At the present time any three Rabbis can proclaim themselves a Beit Din
and there is no accountability. Some unfortunately are corrupt. In
America, many Batei Din allow toanim, a position with no requirements,
and if they prove dishonest or incompetent without a bar association to
discipline them. Until Batei Din demonstrate that they will use
trained psychologists to assist them in evaluating children in custody
disputes and claims of abuse and forensic accountants to discover hidden
assets, women will go to secular courts.
If the differing parts of the Orthodox community can jointly declare
certain Batei Din as trustworthy and professional and demand that those
who ignore their rulings be rejected by the entire community then
existing tools will at least reduce the problem.
Reference was made to a women who recently received her get after
waiting more then fourteen years despite the support of many prominent
Rabbis. The minority of Rabbis manipulated (or purchased) by her
husband who helped him delay all those years and remarry himself while
his wife could not, were never publicly criticized and are available for
the next recalcitrant husband. We focus so often on ideological
differences we forget the basic distinction between people of integrity
and those, even with the title Rabbi, who unfortunately lack it.
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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 15:01:00 EST
Subject: Re: Hazzanim and the mimetic tradition
In a message dated 12/10/99 11:53:43 AM Eastern Standard Time,
<< R. Natronai Gaon wrote of "Hazzanim who appear to be punctilious, but in
fact diminish and supplement the formula established by the Hakhamim,
and change it." (Cited in Y. Ta-Shema, Tarbitz 53:2 (1984), 285ff.) >>
Was there a specific practice to which this citation refers?
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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 12:34:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Slonimer Yichus
<Subject: Slonimer Yichus
We were recently discussing the background of the Slonimer Chasssidim, etc.
just read an article in a synagogue newspaper that the Slonimer Chassidim
descended from the "rebbes" of Lubavich. Does Anyone have any details?
nope. slonimers are quite independent of and almost as old a line as
lubavitch. not sure what your article could be referring to.
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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 12:49:04 -0500 (EST)
From: email@example.com (Arnold Lustiger)
Subject: The Rav on the Rackman approach to Agunot
-for the Rav's repudiation of the Rackman approach to agunot.
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Date: Sat, 11 Dec 1999 22:02:41 EST
Subject: Bate dinim and corruption
Previous posters to avoda have written:
: While I agree with Mrs. (Ms.?) Ragen's viewpoiny, I also have a more basic
: desire as well; for many rabbis involved in Gittin to cease being corrupt.
>The overwhelming majority aren't -- not that Daniel claims they are, I
>just want the obvious stated.
This opens up a very painful topic, which most are reluctant to address, and
concerns about lashon hara make it even more difficult. I have no personal
knowledge of bate dinim, and many bate dinim are known for the integrity of
However, see the biography of rav moshe included in the hakdama to the last
volume of igrot moshe (pp 23-25). The story is told there that in the 1940s,
when rav moshe was dan l'amito shel tora, rather than for the people who
hired him, he was called "m'shune" by leaders of the Agudat Harabanim, and
this incident received much publicity. This suggests that at least at that
time, such integrity was not viewed as commonplace.
Later in life, because of corruption, he and Rav Kotler decided not to sit
with many dayyanim (most of whom were from Europe)in z"bla bate dinim, and
indeed, Rav Feinstein almost stopped sitting in bate din altogether.
This suggests that the extent of corruption was far greater than we are
willing to admit, and was not just a few, rare cases. I hope that the
situation has improved since then, but R Schwart's comments from "the
battlefront" suggest otherwise.
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