Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 175

Saturday, December 11 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 14:26:47 EST
From: Pawshas@aol.com
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,
Mordechai Torczyner
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
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: prenups, lawyers, and Bach

In a message dated 12/10/99 10:41:13 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
driceman@WORLDNET.ATT.NET writes:

   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 <yblau@idt.net>

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.
Yosef Blau

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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 15:01:00 EST
From: TROMBAEDU@aol.com
Re: Hazzanim and the mimetic tradition

In a message dated 12/10/99 11:53:43 AM Eastern Standard Time, 
clarke@HUGHESHUBBARD.COM writes:

<< 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
From: Michael.Frankel@dtra.mil
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?
Rich Wolpoe>
nope. slonimers are quite independent of and almost as old a line as
lubavitch. not sure what your article could be referring to.
Mechy Frankel 

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Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 12:49:04 -0500 (EST)
From: alustig@erenj.com (Arnold Lustiger)
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
From: Chidekel@aol.com
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 
their members.  

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.
Meir Shinnar

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