Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 136

Tuesday, April 1 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 00:46:03 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Zachor - Standing for Laining

In a message dated 3/25/2003 6:57:17 PM EST, cmsherer@fandz.com writes:
> On 25 Mar 2003 at 12:47, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
>> I have no RAYA to this, BUT we can show that there is a minhg to stand
>> DAVKA at the haftora of Shavuos which is the ma'aseh merkava. 

> I have never heard of such a minhag. How widespread is it? If you're
> going to stand for that Haftorah, why not also for the Haftorah of
> Parshas Yisro?

The minhag is brought down in Seforim but I have not seen it done in
practice. If you want I can research the source further, it's porbably
brought down in old Shavuos machzorim.

Haftaras Yisro is not quite the same as Ma'aseh Merkavah - and having
a Minhag to stand for Ma'aseh Merkava and not for Yisro is a kasha on a

Remember the salient chilkuk here is that the words of one piece of Torah
are not necesarily more chaushuv than any of the other words. Rather,
we stand out of respect for the underlying events being recounted.
It's similar to the minhag on Yom Kippurof crying for Nadav and Avihu's
death while reading the first passuk of Acharei Mos.

Kol Tuv - Best Regards
Richard Wolpoe <RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com>
The above post is dedicate to the Memory of My Mom 
Gertrude Wolpoe OBM, Gittel Bas Nachum Mendel Halevi A"H

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 12:52:52 GMT
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
not being a nudnik before G-d

On Fri, Mar 14, 2003 at 03:59:01AM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote: "There
is a related theme - Not bothering G-d with our personal requests. This
seems to have been a major theme of the Magid of Mezerich but Rav Chaim
Voloshner Ruach Chaim 3:2 has a similar point of view. We are only to be
concerned with the suffering of the Shechina - not our petty complaints."

The reason for this is that both R. Chaim Voloshin and the chassidim
view tefillah from a kabbalah viewpoint, i.e. the purpose of tefillah
is to fix problems in the heavens.

However, this viewpoint has several major problems. First, it is against
most rishonim second it implies that tefillah is really meant for major
gedolim who are on the level to apply a tikun.

However, most rishonim and achronim view tefillah as requests from humans
to Gd. The debate among the non-kabbalists is whether the main portion
is the shevach and that tefillah centers on what we can do for hashem
or conversely the major point of tefilla is bakashah and is man-centered
(the extreme of this shitah was RYBS)

 Prof. Eli Turkel,  turkel@post.tau.ac.il on 03/30/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 20:01:20 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: not being a nudnik before G-d

On Sun, Mar 30, 2003 at 12:52:52PM +0000, Eli Turkel wrote:
: The reason for this is that both R. Chaim Voloshin and the chassidim
: view tefillah from a kabbalah viewpoint, i.e. the purpose of tefillah
: is to fix problems in the heavens.

RCV's position is nisht azoi pashut. He spends the entire cheileq alef
of Nefesh haChaim arguing that people are the only beryos that can pull
the strings in multiple olamos. But this is because people can change
themselves, and only people are composed of kochos from all the olamos.

AIUI, in RCV's hashkafah (*), fixing problems in the heavens is only
accomplished as a side-effect of fixing problems in the self! He seems
to be quite clear on this point when explaining how the avos could deduce
halachah by looking within themselves and what they needed to work on.


*) Meant in the usual sense, not to be confused with that which RSWolbe
decries as overly disconnected with both the Torah and the self.

Micha Berger                 For a mitzvah is a lamp,
micha@aishdas.org            And the Torah, its light.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - based on Mishlei 6:2
Fax: (413) 403-9905          

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 18:11:03 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

> A remarkable statement from our chaver Dr. Meir Shinnar which might not
> get the prominence it deserves due to being muvlah in a longer post:

> Areivim Digest V10 #597:
>> heter (mostly privately, but much halacha is oral - the requirement for
>> written psakim inverts the whole issue of the torah shebealpe on its head)

I heard the same statement by R. Reisman on one of his tapes and I
wholeheartedly agree.

M. Levin

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 17:54:40 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com
Bimkom haolah

On Thu, 27 Mar 2003 17:01:37 +0000 Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
<<Along these lines, I'd like to suggest our original pesuqim not only
mean "in the place of the olah" but also bimqom as instead. The olah was
directly for the tzafun, the hidden problem, but the asham and chatas
are brought after it came out min hako'ach el hapo'al. Instead of the
olah that could have been brought when one only had hirhurei aveirah,
the Torah is saying, now bring a chatas or an asham.>>

You were mechaven to the Satmar Rov, IIRC.

On the other hand, Gur Arye on the 2nd posuk in Shmini seems to say
differently. He says that when we find a chatos and an olah otgether,
as in the case of Aharon on the 8th day of miluim, the olah is for the
thought of the aveira and the chatos is for the fact of the aveirah that
resulted from it. Thus, both require a korban and you cannot get by with
a chatos bimkom haolah.

Another point: bimkom with the meaning of "instead of" is a mishnaic
usage;however, there is one and only one place in Tanach that may carry
this meaning - in Hoshea 2, 1 and according to Ibn Ezra and Radak but
not the Targum.

M. Levin

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 18:08:52 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

What R. Krumbein says may be justified if you look at Chidushei R. Chaim
in isolation. However, if you peruse the many likutim that have come
out with R. Velvel's Torah, consult Telzer variant of Brisker derech or
even quotations from RYBS in the name of RCS, you truly get a different
picture. It is well known that R. Chaim edited his chidushim extensively
and also that he was wary of putting out in print something that would be
too reolutionary or unsettling to his contemporaries. I think that we have
to take the family's mesorah as makria; afetr all, who would know better?

M. Levin

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Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 18:00:36 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

This is, pf course, true to an extent. I think that there is
a distinction, however, between deductive and inductive thougth
processes. Induction is an art but deduction is a science. Particular
conclusions drawn in a logical way by many are probably more correct than
contrarian opinions that claim exemption from usual ways of reasoning. ON
the other hand, a genius can certainly intuit an overarching truth that
he may have trouble demonstarting to everyone's satisfaction, at leat
in the beginning.

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 08:53:09 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>

At 06:11 PM 3/30/03 -0500, Mlevinmd@aol.com wrote:
>> Areivim Digest V10 #597:
>>> heter (mostly privately, but much halacha is oral - the requirement for
>>> written psakim inverts the whole issue of the torah shebealpe on its head)

>I heard the same statement by R. Reisman on one of his tapes and I
>wholeheartedly agree.

The statement turns the entire process of Torah she'b'al peh as redirected
by Rabbeinu Ha'Kaddosh - R' Yehuda ha'Nasi - and the editors of the
Yerushalmi and the Bavli - on its head and diminishes the rigor of Torah
scholarship and analysis.

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org  or  ygb@yerushalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 09:34:51 -0500
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Humility

Micha Berger wrote:
> Let me also chime in on defining "anivus" -- after all, this is a list
> run by (but not necessarily only for!) a bunch of aspiring musarnikim.

This is a tangent, but it's puzzled me ever since, having been brought
up by grammarians, I first encountered yeshivish. Where does the word
"anivus" come from? Is it related to the Hebrew word "anavah"? Does it
differ in meaning?

David Riceman

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 09:48:49 -0500
From: "Stein, Aryeh" <AStein@wtplaw.com>
Re: Zachor - Standing for Laining

> As far as the minhag to stand for ALL laining goes, one reason to
> stand is for Barchu at each aliya. And then from there many people are
> probably noheig to remain standing. AIUI it is a big kula NOT To stand
> for Barchu. I heard this indirectly from R. Moshe Tendler soemthing to
> this effect.

It is brought in Halichos Shlomo (volume 1, page 150) that, WRT to those
that are machmir to stand for all of laining, "k'var kasvu haachronim
d'nohagu l'yashev." "And even with respect to Barchu, in which the
MB writes that one definitely has to stand, mevuar b'sha'ar acharonim
d'gam zeh haminhag leyashev." In the footnotes, the authors mention
that the Kaf Hachaim, who says that, al pi kabalah, one should davka
*remain seated* for Barchu.

It also brings an Imrei Binah that discusses whether one should stand
for laining in a shul in which everyone is sitting (shailah of yuhara).


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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 06:57:07 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Of Tzitzis and Techeles

(From Areivim):

Harry Maryles wrote:
                              . . .
>> However, on the D'Oraisa level of a wool Begged of Daled Kanfos,
>> according to the Daas Yachid (The Baal HaMeor?) who says Techeles is
>> a requirement to the Mitzva of Tzitzis then without it, one violates
>> wearing a Begged of Daled Kanfos withou Tzitzis... an Issur D'Oraisa.

>> So even though it is a Daas Yachid, what's the harm in avoiding this
>> Issur D'Oraisa and just wear a cotton Begged. This is what I do.
>> And... no, I do not put the new Techeles on any of my Tzitzis. ...

Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@hotmail.com> wrote:
> But what of a talit gadol that is generally made of wool?

That's a good question and B'Pashtus the Gra's Talis was also made of
wool, although it is told that he purposely wore a Begged of cotton for
his Talis Katan because of the Chashash of the Shitas Baal HaMeor about
Techeiles Being MeAkev Es HaLavan.

The only answer I can think of is kind of Dachuk:

Since it is only a Daas Yachid who has this Chashash for the Talis
Gadol which one wears only a small portion of the day, we try and be
Makayim the Mitzvah in a D'Oraisa fashion by wearing a wool Begged of
Daled Kanfos. But in the case of a Talis Katan, that is worn all day,
it is K'Dai to be Choshesh for the Baal HaMeor and avoid being Over the
Issur D'Oraisa of wearing a Begged of Daled Kanfos without Tzitzis since
the Bal HaMeor defines Tzitzis as only those which contain Techeiles.

In an interesting footnote, the Shitah of my Rebbe, RAS and I believe
the Shitas Brisk, is that they are not Choshesh for the Bal HaMeor during
the week (certainly for the Talis Gadol), but on Shabbos they are since
the issur on Shabbos is so Chamur. They, therefore, do not wear a Talis
Kattan in Reshus HaRabim, (which they define as ANY area that is Yud Vav
Amos in width... NOT requiring Shishim Riva). Since there is a Chashash
that the Techeles is MeAkev the Lavan as per the Bal HaMeor, wearing
these Tzitzis in Reshus HaRabim would violate the Melachah of Yitziah,
one of the Lamed Tes Melachos. So they are sort of Shev V'Al Taseh on
the Reshus of wearing Tzitzis by purposely not wearing any Beged of
Daled Kanfos on Shabbos B'Reshus HaRabim.


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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 10:15:49 -0500
From: Mlevinmd@aol.com

On Fri, Mar 14, 2003 at 03:59:01AM +0200, Daniel Eidensohn wrote: "There
is a related theme - Not bothering G-d with our personal requests. This
seems to have been a major theme of the Magid of Mezerich but Rav Chaim
Voloshner Ruach Chaim 3:2 has a similar point of view. We are only to be
concerned with the suffering of the Shechina - not our petty complaints."

I would like to contribute that the question of davening for success of
every event daily (that the car should start, that the light will change,
that there be no traffic, that you find parking etc) was asked of the
Steipler. His response was: 'it is not the minhag to do this".

M. Levin

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 23:00:17 +1000
From: "SBA" <sba@iprimus.com.au>
[Areivim] Rav Saadia Gaon

[Bounced to Avodah. I don't know why this discussion ever left Avodah.
But in any case, the question of how the rules of pesaq interact with
aggadita belongs here. -mi]

Response from my friend...

----- Original Message -----
From: shmuel
Sent: Monday, March 31, 2003 9:34 PM

Of course I A Zolochower is correct in everything he writes in defense
of Rabeinu Saadia (I am a bit of a Yemeni myself) and I would be the
last to disparage him z"l.

My sole point was that when we take a line-up of poskim today, he is
not one of them - despite his massive influence in his own generation
and on our history.

Although one could argue that since this is a matter of faith rather than
strict Shulchan Oruch, his opinion carries weight even today, my point
is, that for us, faith is defined by Shulchon Oruch, or at least, by
those same Poskim who define the halochoh anywhere else in Shulchan Oruch.

Thus, since the entire school of the Ramban explicitly accept the idea,
and it is not disputed by subsequent generations of Poskim, we must
also apply the same principles to establishing that, as we apply to any
other Halochoh.

Moreover, since R Hisdai Krescas, who was a talmid of the Ran (also of
the school of Ramban), accepts this doctrine as an ancient tradition and
writes `therefore, im qabboloh hi, neqabbel - despite his philosophical
reservations, he is either deliberately shooting himself in the foot
or was simply putting forward the philosophical position in order to
demolish it with the argument that those who believe in gilgul do so on
the basis of a tradition which everyone is bound to accept.

This is also the conclusion of ShuT Maharlbach (8) who writes that today
it comes within the category of emunath chachomim. Simply to say that
we personally may not have exper ienced it is not an argument. This is
a true qabboloh in every sense of the word.

I also did not suggest that those who refuse to believe it today get
their ideas from the media. That would be a minor problem because media
values are always changing and it may come back into mainstream fashion
at some future date (in fact that is actually happening).

I actually suggested that their source is much more sinister. In fact
the correspondent states explicitly that the doctrine raises points of
difficulty that (his?) understanding of philosophy cannot resolve -
even though Maharlbach asserts that, on the contrary, this doctrine
explains otherwise inexplicable occurrances.

But since when was the Jewish G-d bound by the correspondent's or anyone
else's understanding of how things work? Is this not the very reason
why Ramban writes that this doctrine is one of the greatest secrets of
the Torah?

At the end of the day, though , R Hisdai's point is surely the last word:
    There are scholars (not the political creations of the modern world,
    but scholars who would have been recognised as such by any previous
    generation by dint of their immense knowledge and saintliness)
    part of whose time is regularly devoted to assisting souls of the
    departed. Examples of this can be found in several places in Sefer
    Hasidim for example, and the practice is still continued today. There
    is no difference between souls of todays deceased and those of
    earlier times. If todays, or yesterdays scholars assert that there
    is a concept of gilgul, then we have to accept it.

As an aside here, but directly connected to this topic: A different
correspondent questioned the connection with the so-called yeled pele. I
too have heard the explanation offered by that correspondent, and it may
be true or may not be. No one knows, and of anyone does, he's not saying.

The point I wished to make was that forty-fifty years ago there was a
documented case of a person (who is still alive today) who, as soon as
he was old enough to talk, or shortly thereafter, was able to recite
verbatim texts of any sefer (and as I heard it, seforim that had become
lost as well). This child was then taken to one of the scholars/saints
of that generation, who in some way unknown to us relieved the child of
that knowledge. To those who know ony of a material three-dimensional
Toiroh this must surely be a disturbing fact.

For a short while, we had a glimpse at another dimension not mentioned in
the fare on which they are usually fed. If scholars of that stature assert
that souls are reincarnated, we have no option other than to believe them.

Those same who do not believe in gilgul must also be questioned over
their acceptance of such concepts as kaf haqela (mentioned in Shass
and midrashim) in which the soul is thrown around the world; or their
belief in ghosts and spirits, both benign and evil - all mentioned
many times in Shass and midrashim; or for that matter in witchcraft,
disputed by Rambam, but accepted by all other Poskim (cf Deroshoth Ran,
4, if I recall correctly).

How does this individual understand the soul? what does it do? why do
we need one? why do Jews have a different soul to others (this is also
asserted in the qabboloh)?

I realise that for those who are turned off by the subject in general
that it is easier to put these things into the distant past (as if to say
it can't happen today, or there are no scholars who can deal with sould
today), but once one meets a scholar who has a practical knowledge of this
subject, one's perspective of life, and time in general, changes forever.

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 13:38:03 -0500
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Gilgul (was re: Rav Saadia Gaon)

There was a discussion about gilgul on Areivim.

I would only point out that the Rosh writes in a teshuvah (in the new
Machon Yerushalayim edition, around #70) that there is no such thing
as gilgul. I believe that undermines RSBA's friend's entire argument.

Gil Student

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 14:05:29 -0500
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Zachor - Standing for Laining

In a message dated 3/31/2003 9:48:49 AM EST, AStein@wtplaw.com writes:
> It is brought in Halichos Shlomo (volume 1, page 150) that, WRT to those
> that are machmir to stand for all of laining, "k'var kasvu haachronim
> d'nohagu l'yashev

This is a fascinating statement. What I've seen is that there is no chiyuv
to stand - does dnohegu lyashev mean there is a positive minhag to sit
(al pi kabbalah etc.) or just that given the choice, most people would
rather sit?

The gemora in Sotah says "vamdu haam" means they were quiet but I've
never understood why we wouldn't also follow the simple pshat of vamdu
and stand. Could the gemora have meant that vamdu actually means they
were silent to the exclusion of that they stood?

Joel Rich

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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 14:52:32 -0500
From: "Brown, Charles.F" <charlesf.brown@gs.com>
P' shmimi - onen and talmud torah

When Moshe asked Ahron why he didn't eat his korban, "hein lo huvah es
damah pnima", Ramban says Ahron could have answered strictly based on
the facts - Nadav and Avihu died after zerika. Ahron instead chose to
discuss the theoretical issue (chiluk between kodshei sha'ah and doros)
and engage in a "masah u'matan shel halacha". Question: Ahron was an
onen, albeit a kh"g, but what is the heter to engage in a theoretical
discussion of talmud torah?


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Date: Mon, 31 Mar 2003 20:07:03 -0500
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Karaim

> I must disagree with this. In the Hakdomoh to Pirush Hamishnayos Sanhedrin
> 11, Rambam states clearly that being rodeh and persecuting apikorsim
> depends specifically on their not acceptance of the Ikkarim. It is clear
> and widely accepted that the 13 principles are to the Rambam a litmus
> test for Jewishness. If you follow them, you are in; if not, you are
> out.. ayein shom.

I don't understand RML's point. The Rambam (H. Rotzeah 4:10, terminology
explained in 3:8, law reviewed in H. Mamrim 3:1-2) says that Jews who deny
Toarh SheB'al Peh have the status of moridim v'lo maalin. In Mamrim 3:3
he says this does not apply to children of Karaim since they are anusim.

Are you objecting to the Rambam's halacha?

Perhaps RGS (or RML) meant to ask a different question: why does the
Rambam restrict this loophole of anus to denying Torah Sheb'al peh rather
than including, for example, denying God's incorporeality (see Raavad
on H. Tshuva 3:7)? I don't have a fully satisfactory answer for that
(though I do have a guess).

David Riceman

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Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 00:10:32 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
R' Yossi b. Kisma

Wonder if there is a link between R' Yossi B. Kisma's hachno'oh to the
Roman decrees in yesterday's daf and his statement that "Eini dar elah
b'makom Torah" at the end of Avos...

Kol Tuv,
ygb@aishdas.org  or  ygb@yerushalmionline.org
essays, tapes and seforim at: www.aishdas.org;
on-line Yerushalmi shiurim at www.yerushalmionline.org

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Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 09:12:31 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
Re: Gilgul (was re: Rav Saadia Gaon)

On 31 Mar 2003 at 13:38, Gil Student wrote:
> I would only point out that the Rosh writes in a teshuvah (in the new
> Machon Yerushalayim edition, around #70) that there is no such thing
> as gilgul. I believe that undermines RSBA's friend's entire argument.

This is a translation of what my calendar (Itim l'Bina) says for this 
week about Birkas haIlanos:

"One who goes out during ymei Nissan and sees trees that are flowering
[not leaves] makes Birkas haIlanos" and in the Mishna Brura he wrote
that it's lav davka in Nissan but even in another month so long as he
sees the first flowering, and in the Kaf HaChayim he wrote that only
in Nissan can he make a bracha b'Shem v'Malchus, and this is 'al da'as
chochmas ha'emes,' and l'chatchila you need two trees, even of one type,
IN THESE TIMES [and therefore it is better to have several types] and he
should ask for mercy on them (Chida), and al derech ha'sod the bracha
should not be made on Shabbos. And about one who is nizhar in this
bracha it is said "Re'eh raich bni l'raich sadeh asher barcho Hashem -
v'yitein lcha" (Alef Reish - Eliyahu Rabba?).

Aside from the fact that (obviously) the Chida is cholek on the Rosh
you quote, this is the first time I can recall seeing a makor for gilgul
into tzomeiach (and not just to chai). Comments?

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

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Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 06:40:04 -0800 (PST)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>

The concept of covering the hair of a married woman is one of the eternal
questions that have always bothered me.

You may remember my perplexity with the concept of hair of ONLY married
women as an Ervah requiring covering. There was much discussion at the
time about what is meant by Ervah as applied to hair.

There is a tremendous illogic to the mitzvah of covering the hair of
married women and not single women. Trying to hide the Mitzvah as best
as possible by buying and wearing Sheitels (or Sheitlach) that look the
most like one's own natural hair is one peice of illogic.

Another piece is that no matter how attractive an adult unmarried woman's
hair is, there is absolutely no Issur for that hair to be uncovered
and fashionable (according to most Poskim). Yet, for that same woman,
once she is married that same hair is considered Ervah.

This is a conundrum that will forever plague my understanding of Halachos
that DO have a Taam (Saar B'Isha Erva). It is one thing to say something
is a Chok, like the Halachos of Para Adumah. Perhaps we weren't meant as
human beings to understand this Godly command. That is how Chukkim are
defined. But hair covering, especially Daas Moshe, and not Daas Yehudis
is not a Chok. It is in fact a derivation, learned out from Psukim. (IIRC
there may be a Daas Yachid I who says that ALL hair covering is D'Rabbanan
but the vast majority hold that it is D'Oraisa.) And the Halacha is then
explained as a matter of Erva.

One may ask why this Halacha was discarded in pre-war Europe by the
majority of Frum women, especially in Lithuania.

Of course in Chasidic communities where enlightenment was more of a
challenge to penetrate the walls of the ghetto, women continued to
cover their hair unquestioningly. The strong influence of the Chasidic
Rebbe created a virtual controlled environment where the doctrines of
Chassidus that relies heavily on the Rebbe as an unquestioned leader
prevented these women from discarding the Sheitel. But, not so in the
non-Chasidic communities like Lithuania.

One might be able to explain why there was such a rejection of
hair-covering in the pre war Lithuanian communities. As women in
enlightened general society stopped covering their hair, so to did Frum
women in the more open societies of Lithuania where there was no central
"Rebbe" like authority. For Jews, integration with society at large
was beginning to take place due to the opening up of formerly closed
doors of secular institutions like universities, etc. Aside from the
assimilationist tendencies that such newly minted freedoms bestowed upon
the Jews, perhaps there was also the very conundrum of hair covering
itself, in addition to societal pressure, which caused many of the
Frummest women of the Lita to discard that Halacha.

For me to explain this particular Halacha to anyone who questions it is
a virtual impossibility because of my own deep lack of understanding it.


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Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 16:14:27 +0100
From: Chana Luntz <Chana@KolSassoon.net>

[Bounced from Areivim. -mi]

In message <200303301923.h2UJNte32528@heras.host4u.net>, Micha writes
>I usually take the approach of reminding them that we don't take the
>ta'am as the given, and try to suggest alternative ta'amim that would
>explain why one is mutar but one isn't.
>That's quite difficult here. Sheitilach comply to the din (in the opinion
>of most Ashkenazi poseqim) but can defy the known ta'am hamitzvah. And
>one can't simply argue that perhaps the ta'am is more nuanced than that,
>because the lashon of the issur itself as it appears in the gemara is
>in terms of that ta'am.

 and then

>On Sun, Mar 30, 2003 at 03:53:49PM -0500, R' Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer wrote:
>: That having been said, I do not understand where this halacha appears as
>: anything other than a statement that a married woman must cover her natural
>: hair. It does not say anywhere that she must do so in any specific way. We
>: can debate the spirit of the law, but I do not know where in the Gemara it
>: is explicit.
>Calling something "ervah" gives a clear reason for why it's a problem. No?
>For that matter, we are /not/ directly told she ought to cover it.

I don't think this is necessarily right. The reference to sa'ar isha erva
is Brochos 24a. The requirement for a woman to observe daas moshe and
daas yehudit is set out in the Mishna in Kesubos 72a. And it is there in
that Mishna that going out with hair uncovered (literally rosha parua)
is mentioned as daas yehudit, with the following gemora (at the bottom
of the page and over) pointing out that it is also a d'orisa (bringing
the reference to the sotah).

Nowhere in that latter gemora is there a reference to erva, and while
some poskim unquestionably throughout the ages have linked the two (and
arguably given erva as the taam) it is quite easy to seem them as stand
alone and separate concepts, or, if linked, linked in a consequential
way. eg, if you were to give the ta'am of head covering as conferring
dignity (which fits with the idea that the dignity of the sotah is
violated in that process) that will fit comfortably with the gemora
in Kesubos. The gemora in Brochos could be seen as unrelated or as a
consequence - ie if married women are required to cover their hair for
different reasons, that hair might then, by never being seen, become erva
(in the same way that if the standards of modesty of a particular place
require covering the ankles, perhaps ankles might too become erva).

Regarding being told directly - unless you read rosha parua as meaning
unkempt (which is one possible meaning, but not the way it has generally
been understood) then the gemora in kesubos is about as direct as you
can get."azhara l'bnos yisroel shelo yetze b'parua rosh d'orisa"!

What has *not* been told directly is whether the same rule applies in the
home or whether in fact the general halachas of erva apply - and these
appear to be precisely the areas where there have been disagreements
and lenient rulings among the poskim.

Within all of that, I think you have plenty of scope for suggesting
"alternative ta'amim that would explain why one is mutar but one isn't".
as you suggested above.


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Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 11:17:09 -0500
From: "Seth Mandel" <sm@aishdas.org>
Re: Sheitlach

R.n Luntz and RYGB have both shown that al pi halokho, the issue of
married women covering their head has nothing necessarily to do with
tznius. RYGB has given the incontrovertible proof that if it were an
issue of ervah, then unmarried girls would have to cover their hair as
well (indeed, R. OY paskens that women, married or not, should at least
cover their heads when davening or saying brokhos).

I would just add that indeed, the Rambam paskens, on the basis of
a g'moro, that unmarried women have to cover their hair outside.
His reason is tznius; indeed, if you lived in a Muslim country it would
be hard to argue that it is not untzniusdig for unmarried women to go
outside without their hair covered. Yet the Rambam is precisely the one
who does not pasken that se'ar b'isha erva. Since we have come this far,
this is the ultimate halakhic source for the psak that in modern Western
society women would not have to cover their hair. The same people who
hold that, would hold that in Iran unmarried Jewish girls would have to
cover their hair.

I am _not_ arguing that this the the only/best/most correct psak.
I am just pointing out that those who forbid sheitels, based on their
reasoning, should pasken like the Rambam with regard to unmarried girls.
And in some places they did: all unmarried girls in those places wore
pigtails, which certainly is not rosh parua' according to the g'moro,
although might not be suitable for a married women.

I will also point out that this issue has nothing to do with chasidus.
The minhog for a couple of hundred years at least in Hungary was for
married women, whether chasidish or not, to shave their head.

Seth Mandel

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