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Volume 11 : Number 066

Wednesday, September 10 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 11:18:59 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel & Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.it.northwestern.edu>
Re: ze sefer toldot adam

>A while back (I was away), RYGB formulated a novel pshat of the machloket
>of ben azzai and rabbi akiva, about ze sefer toldot adam vs ve'ahavta
>le're'acha camocha.

>This is quite a novel pshat, and perhaps may fit the text in the
>yerushalmi and the sifra, although every commentator I have seen
>(from the raavad to the malbim on the sifra to the mefarshim of the
>yerushalmi)interpretes in some variant that ben azzai is referring to
>a concept of universal brotherhood of man rather than limited to klal
>yisrael. Does anyone besides RYGB interprete ben azzai as reflecting
>on individual growth rather than universal brotherhood?

>Furthermore, this machloket is also brought down in breshit rabba on
>the pasuk ze sefer toldot addam, where there is far more extensive
>discussion than in the other two places (where ben azzai's statement is
>merely brought as a counterpoint to rabbi akiva, without any discussion).
>RYGB's pshat does not (IMHO) seem to fit with that discussion.

At 08:28 AM 9/8/2003 -0500, you wrote:
>Meir Shinnar wrote:
> >A while back (I was away), RYGB formulated a novel pshat of the machloket
> >of ben azzai and rabbi akiva, about ze sefer toldot adam vs ve'ahavta
> >le're'acha camocha...

> >Does anyone besides RYGB interprete ben azzai as reflecting on individual
> >growth rather than universal brotherhood?

>I must have missed RYGB's post, but a few years ago I gave a hesped for
>a friend in which I interpreted it this way. I said that Ben Azzai was
>referring to individual responsibilities and R' Akiva to communal.

At 06:56 PM 8/20/2003 -0400, you wrote:
>ze sefer toldot adam...(Yerushalmi nedarim 9:4 cited by ben azai as a
>greater klal than ve'ahavta lere'acha camocha cited by rav akiva)

Without getting into the issue of our attitude towards non-Jews (I have
something to say on the matter, but not now) I have always understood
Ben Azzai differently - I think that I picked up this understanding from
Reb Yerucham years ago, but, if not, it's mine:

R' Akiva stressed interpersonal accomplishment as the pinnacle of human
achievement; Ben Azzai disagreed, maintaining that it is the perfection
of Man as expressed by his life story that is at that pinnacle.

Now that I think of it, I have a more mundane pshat, but one that is
also karov el ho'emes, I think:

R' Akiva argued that Ben Azzai must get married, as only with a "rei'a
ahuv" can he fulfill the mitzvah of the "klal gadol ba'Torah." Ben
Azzai, who was "chashkah nafsho b'Torah" disagreed, and maintained that
self-perfection took precedence.

P A R A S H A  -  P A G E
by Mordecai Kornfeld     of  Har Nof, Jerusalem     (kornfeld@jer1.co.il)

This week's Parasha-Page is being sponsored by Melissa Gordon of Las
Vegas, Nevada. May she be blessed by the Creator of all to continue to
grow in her understanding of Hashem's Torah.

Parashat  Bereishit 5757


     This is the story of the offspring of Adam; on the day that Hashem
     created man, he created him in the image of G-d... Adam lived for
     130 years, and then he had a child... Seth. (Bereishit 5:13)

     "Love your neighbor as yourself (Vayikra 19:18)," said Rebbi Akiva,
     is an invaluable guide to Torah observance. [Shimon] ben Azzai said,
     "This is the story of the offspring of man," is an even more valuable
     guide! (Yerushalmi Nedarim 9:4 -- see also Bereishit Rabba end of
     Ch. 24)

     It is readily understandable why Rebbi Akiva chose "Love
your neighbor" as a general guide to the Mitzvot of Hashem. The Gemara
(Shabbat 31a) relates that Hillel, the temporal leader of Israel, summed
up the entire Torah in one sentence by saying "Don't do to your friend
what you wouldn't want done to yourself." Following the Golden Rule will
invariably lead a person towards the performance of Hashem's Mitzvot -
Mitzvot that are themselves intended to teach a person to be considerate
towards his fellow man (see Parasha-Page, Kedoshim 5756). What lesson,
however, did Shimon ben Azzai learn from the words, "The story of man's
offspring" that brought him to invoke its importance so emphatically?

     Numerous suggestions are offered by the commentaries, but let
us examine an original approach based on the teachings of a Mishnah
in Sanhedrin.


     Why was man created by Hashem single [and instead of being
created along with him, the rest of mankind descended from him]? To
teach that if one causes the loss of a single Jewish soul, it is as if
he has destroyed an entire world and if one rescues a single Jewish soul,
it is as if he has rescued an entire world.

     Every person should therefore feel as though the entire world
was created only for him [-- that is, he should tell himself, "I'm as
important as an entire world! Why should I degrade myself by transgressing
a command of the Torah?" In this manner, he will never sin]. (Mishnah,
Sanhedrin 37a, and Rashi)

If a person maintains a proper self esteem, he will never even consider
sinning. If he views himself as the sole center of his Creator's
attention, he won't be affected by an environment of sin and sinners.
All of creation was intended to be an arena for the final creation -
mankind. Similarly, all of mankind is meant to be the supporting actors
for the one true man of G-d. It wasn't only when Adam was created that
a single individual was the focus of the entire world; such is the case
in every generation:

     "Fear Hashem, observe his Mitzvot, because that is what mankind is
     all about," quoted Rebbi Elazar. The entire world was only created
     in order for one who does that such a person (i.e., one who fears
     Hashem) to come along. Rebbi Abba Bar Kahana said: This person
     is as important as all the rest of the world. *Shimon ben Azzai*,
     or Shimon ben Zoma, said: The entire world was only created to be
     companions for this person. (Berachot 6b)

     Ben Zoma once stood on the Temple Mount and observed from there
     a crowd of some 600,000 Jews. "Blessed be Hashem," he exclaimed,
     "who created all of these people just to serve me!" (Berachot 58a)

All of existence was intended simply as a backdrop for mankind. Perhaps
this is what Chazal meant when they described the "dimensions" of Adam:

     Rebbi Elazar said: Adam was from the earth until the heavens...
     Rav Yehudah related from the teachings of Rav: Adam was from one
     end of the world to the other end... (Chagigah 12a)

Adam was as important as all the rest of creation, and so is the true
servant of Hashem. All the members of humankind that do not recognize
and serve their creator are playing a role secondary to the truly G-d
fearing individual. (See also Rambam, in his Introduction to the Mishnah,
who brilliantly develops this theme in his lengthy analysis of a Gemara
in Berachot 8a.)

This is the lesson that ben Azzai learned from our verse. "This is the
story of the offspring of man" -- all living men stem from a single man,
Adam. Let a person be aware that the entire world was created for him if
he remains true to the Torah way. In ben Azzai's opinion, this verse is
"an even more valuable guideline" than loving one's neighbor. It is
important to love others, but it is more important not to let those
others affect one's own service of Hashem. Regardless of what others
teach us, say to us, or do to us, we have a mission to fulfill. Don't
just remember how important *others* are, let us remember who *we* are!


This explains an enigmatic teaching on another verse in Parshat Bereishit:

     "These are the happenings that occurred to the heavens and the earth
     'when they were created' [B'hibaram]" (Bereishit 2:4) - Don't read
     the word as "B'hibaram," but [rearrange the world's lettering and
     read it as] "B'avraham" -- for Avraham. In Avraham's merit the
     world was created. (Bereishit Rabba 12:9).

How can the world have been created in the merit of one who hadn't yet
come into being? And what hint did our Rabbis find in this verse to
Avraham? They certainly wouldn't have suggested this play on words had
they not seen a hint to Avraham in the text (as has been demonstrated
in earlier Parasha-Pages -- see Parshat Ki-Tetze 5754).

What we have prefaced allows us to understand these words. In this verse
too, the Torah emphasizes that the entire world was created for but one
man to work it and develop it (see the continuation of the chapter,
Bereishit 2:5-25). Similarly, at any given period of time the entire
world may be designed for a single individual's fulfillment. This is the
allusion to Avraham, for it is just such a theme that is demonstrated
by Avraham Avinu. The Mishnah tells us in Avot (5:3), "There were
ten generations between Noach and Avraham... and they all continually
angered Hashem. Along came Avraham, and he made it all worthwhile." It
was in order to produce one Avraham that Hashem allowed ten generations
of sinners to pass.

"Single was Avraham" (Yechezkel 33:24). Avraham was indeed the single
focus of Hashem's attention in the world -- and he knew it. He was
not going to allow the sinners of the generation to cause a decline in
his status!




Mordecai Kornfeld
|Email:  kornfeld@jer1.co.il|


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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 23:11:51 +0200
From: "Mishpachat Freedenberg" <free@actcom.co.il>

> In a message dated 9/9/03 , turkel@nianet.org writes:
>> R Zilberstein is probably the expert on halacha applications to 
>> medical issues. ... Several doctors argued the point with him and he 
>> made VERY clear that R. Elyashiv prohibited IVF in addition to other 
>> types of donor sperm.

> What does that mean, "in ADDITION to OTHER types of donor sperm"?

Rav Eliyashiv knows this and the mistake is NOT his. Not only does he
mattir IVF and not only did I hear this personally, he has also ruled on
how it must be done to be halachicly "okay". 

I think that a call to Rav Eliyashiv or Rav Zilberstein or Rav
Morgenstern is in order here. I'd like to know how it is possible that
RET can have personally heard something so diametrically opposed to that
which I have heard personally. 

I would appreciate it if the mystery could be cleared up, as it is
getting "curiouser and curiouser" as they say in Wonderland...


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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 23:23:30 +0200
From: "Mishpachat Freedenberg" <free@actcom.co.il>
RE: Women and Kaddish

> 2. The rest of R' Harry's post was serious and deserves a 
> serious response. R' Harry makes a halachic argument (based 
> on a "hunch") that women saying kaddish has no halachic 
> significance. I'm not a halachist, so I won't attempt to 
> respond to the halachic argument. But I will note that the 
> gedolim who permit kaddish appear not to agree with R' 
> Harry (or his hunch). 

This just does not appear to be supported by facts. Nowhere has anyone
come up with a tshuva that states that the woman's kaddish is going
to do the same thing for the niftar that her husband's [or brother's]
would. The rebbeim who have permitted women to say kaddish, whether
quietly or loudly, have *not* said [according to reports heretofore
reported] that the benefit to the niftar had anything to do with it. It
is more accurate to say that those who have permitted it said something
more to the effect of: "it's not totally forbidden so let them do so if
they wish".

> reason. (Having to juggle a 6:30 am minyan with getting 
> ones children out to school does not usually make people 
> feel better.) It has to do with a sense of kibbud hamet and 
> kibbud av vaeym; it has to do with finding a Jewish way to 
> mourn; it has to do with family and with yiddishkeit and 
> with dealing with the death of loved ones. 

But there are other much more accepted ways to do this, so that argument
just doesn't hold water. There are other very Jewish ways to mourn --
and in regard to recognizing a yahrzeit RCS mentioned a few ways that
women can do this without being poreitz geder -- so women just plain
don't need to use men's methods in mourning and there is no responsa
even so much as suggesting that there is halachic benefit to doing so
that I have seen here so far.


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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 17:22:05 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
Women and kaddish

RHM argues that being muttar isn't the only issue, and on that I agree.
However, he then argues a completely different issue - the issue of the
role of kaddish. He views the role of kaddish solely in the sense of
zchuyot for the niftar - and then argues that kaddish by a woman doesn't
accomplish that, and therefore doesn't accomplish that.

This raises several issues:
The issue of why we say kaddish is complex - the original reason is
probably as RHM says zchuyot for the niftar, but it is clearly more than
that- there are many ways of getting zchuyot for the niftar, but there is
a general perception (not just the MO) that kaddish is different than the
other zchuyot, and most yetomim go out of their way to say kaddish daily
- far more than they do to gain other zchuyot. Limiting the rationale
solely to zchuyot does not do justice to how people view kaddish.

We can argue about the justification for such a perception, but it
still remains deep within the general psyche of much of the community,
from the frum community to those who have only a minimal commitment.
I would add that this is not a novel phenomenon - the fights over the
right to say kaddish (when only one person said) probably lost more
zchuyot than saying kaddish. Furthermore, some women in Lita already
said kaddish, without people darshening about the lack of zchuyot.

(I would add that the commitment of some women to go to daily minyan to
say kaddish does constitute a zchut)

The question is the relationship of the poskim to this reality.
Unlike RHM, most of the major American poskim (Rav Moshe, RYE Henkin,
RYBS, RHM's rebbe RAS, others cited), even if they may have felt that
this emotional commitment was overdone - respected it as a sign both
of kavod hamet as well as a sign attachment to the traditional Jewish
community and religion. Therefore, all of them were mattir (in the
sense of allowing those who wanted, and saying that the shul should
accomodate it) those women who wanted to say kaddish, even if most of
them did not necessarily recommend that as the preferred mode of mourning.
They were well aware of the issues that RHM raises about what is actually
accomplished by saying kaddish - but that did not stop them.

The question is, why are we frummer than they are?? We can ask motivation
for the reasons that many things that we do (on all sides of the spectrum)
- why pick on this? In hilchot avelut, the concern is for the emotional
status of the avel. Clearly, putting underwear on their head (RHM's
unfelicitous example) doesn't qualify, but for gdole haposkim did not
have a problem with kaddish. Why do we??? What does this say about us???

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 17:31:56 -0400
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Women and Kaddish

> Because RYBS believed the pesaq wouldn't have ripples beyond the 4 amos
> of the asra. As I said, the sociolgical waters have unfortunately been
> mudied. The greater MO community is splitting over these issues. I don't
> think it would have if RYBS were still alive -- the community had only
> one "the Rav" then. But today, one shul may very well serve as precedent,
> as a new norm for someone looking to make larger changes

WADR, this argument requires facts, as opposed to speculation of "what
the Rav would have done." In fact, based upon the Rav's shiurim on Korah
and to the Rabbinic Alumni in 1972 and 1975, we know that he was quite
opposed to any changes that were not a chidush from within , especially
on the issue of feminism and apolgetics for Chazal's views that men and
women had different but equal roles. In this regard, as the father of two
teen aged daughters, I fully stand with the views of RGS, RHM and RTK on
the deleterious views of radical feminsim. Moreover, while R Sperber is
a wonderful Talmid Chacham amd author, others such as R Dr Sid Leiman
have sharply critiqued his derech halimud. I am unaware of any journal
or publication in which is he respected either as a Gaon or as a Posek.

The argument over why Teaneck should be wooried about BP ignores the
concept that we are all in the same boat. As RH approaches, we should be
midful, as opposed to disdainful of the concept of arevus, of a mutual
responsibility and how our observance or lack thereof impacts on each
other in all areas of halacha. Why should we not emphasize the 98% in
common such as Talmud Torah and Shemiras HaMitzvos, etc as opposed to
proclaiming " I am X, I don't consider you frum because you are either
too A or B."

Steve Brizel

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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 20:56:20 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
Women and Kaddish

> RJK:

> > 3.  R' Harry sets up a strawman (or woman) in his argument that
> > women ay kaddish "to make [them] feel better."  Who says?  How does
> > he know?  
> I don't know but as you later point out: 
> > It has to do with a sense of kibbud hamet and kibbud av
> > vaeym; it has to do with finding a Jewish way to mourn;
> Saying Kaddish is none of the above. It is a "prayer" if you will...
> for the exaltation of God's name. That it is used by Aveilim to build
> up Zechuyos is incidental to its primary purpose.

On the contrary - R' Mayer Twersky noted, while teaching the laws of
aveilut, that the motivator for the aveil saying kaddish for 11 months
*is* kibud av v'eim.  That and/or leading services.  The kaddish at the
end of Aleinu became associated with aveilim davka because it was not
part of a davar-shebikedusha service, and thus could be recited by minor
orphans - who wanted to render the kavod to their parents, but could not
lead a service.  By the same token, I would think, women should be equally
allowed, since neither women nor minors are obligated in tefilla betzibur.
Not that R' Twersky would make that jump, of course.
> I submit that the "sense of kibbud hamet and kibbud av vaeym" and
> "finding a Jewish way to mourn" has more to do with one's own feelings
> rather than it does with Halacha or the intent of those who proscribed
> the Mourner's Kaddish.

If you keep depending on these hunches, you'll get hunched over.

> > And how does he know what their "REAL motivation" is? 
> > Has he ever spoken to a woman who has taken on the serious
> > obligation of saying kaddish for a parent for 11 months and
> > yartzheits?  If he has, have ANY of them ever spoken about "feeling
> > better."  
> No one should judge anothers motive. I'm am convinced that those women who
> say Kaddish are sincere and want to show respect for their deceased loved
> ones. But the mode of showing that devotion in the mourning proccess
> is based on a misconception of the purpose of saying Kaddish. It is
> more likely based on the perception that, "This is what one does when
> mourning a loved one". It is a culturally developed sense of mourning
> based on observing others, and it is certainly not masoretric.

"More likely" - more mind-reading.  It certainly is "masoretric",
at least for the past few hundred years, for a mourner to say 
kaddish for a parent.

How, in fact, is a "culturally developed sense of mourning based on 
observing others", esp. when that cultural sense is centuries old,
NOT masoretic?  It would seem to be practically the DEFINITION
of masoretic - that which was transmitted as a tradition.
> > I HAVE spoken to numerous such women (and I have lived
> > with one for 33 years), and I have been told that feeling better is
> > NOT the reason.  (Having to juggle a 6:30 am minyan with getting
> > ones children out to school does not usually make people feel
> > better.) 
> I wasn't talking about feeling better in the way you imply. I was talking
> about feeling better about the mourning proccess. Your description
> actually corroborates this... the idea being that the sacrifice an Avel
> makes on his daily schedule to "make" the Minyanim and say the Kaddeshim
> gives a mourner a sense of doing something concrete in paying respect
> to a departed soul.

And all of the stories in the Gemara and elsewhere about souls not 
resting until their son says Barchu (i.e., leads a service), DON'T
support the idea that leading a service or a kaddish is doing something
concrete in paying respect to a departed soul?

You keep undercutting your own arguments.  Thank you.
> > R' Harry may wish not to believe these women and
> > rely on his own conclusion of some "indirect [or] subliminal"
> > influence, but I have no reason to doubt the word of serious women
> > who are shomrei torah u'mitzvot.
> As I said, I do not deny the sincerety of women who mourn their parents
> by saying Kaddish. I'm sure the motives are exactly as you suggest... a
> sincere desire to mourn a parent in a tangible way. But when the mourning
> proccess is taken from the modality of men, I can only conclude that there
> has been at least a subliminal feminist influence. Please understand
> the meaning of the word subliminal. It means below the threshold of
> recognition of what is influencing you.

Or, when the mourning process is recognized not to have a concrete
expression for women, who may want that concrete expression; or when
there are no sons and the cultural/traditional expectation, from the
Gemara onwards, is that the sons make that concrete expression - are
the desires of these women to be suppressed?

Were there female concrete expressions?  Have they perhaps been 
forgotten in this generation?
> > 4.  R' Harry says, with respect to women saying kaddish and WTG's,
> > "one has to understand the underlying Halachic issues and carefully
> > examine one's motives."  Agreed.  But what makes him so sure that
> > they have not done so.  ...they do examine their own
> > motives; often examining and reexamining.  
> The Halachic portions about the permissiblity of women saying Kaddish
> may well be justified. But is there an Halachic purpose for it? Do they
> build up Zechuyos for the Nifter?

Does a woman have an obligation of kibud av v'eim?
> If yes, then why did not Chazal establish the practice for women, at
> least B'Derech Reshus if not Chiuv? Why not give the opportunity for
> them to do so if they so choose?

Perhaps because Kaddish postdates Chazal?  Perhaps because the 
assocation of kaddish with mourners postdates Chazal?  Chazal were
not the end-point of rabbinic innovation, unless you're a strict
Maimonidean about "rabhena we-rabh ashe sof hora'ah".
> If not, then the only reason to do it is to actively participate in a
> public mourning process which is another way of saying that a mourner
> feels better about the mournig proccess if he says Kaddish.
> Again I must point to the population base from where women who say
> Kaddish are drawn. Most if not all of these women, I am convinced are
> as sincere as could be. But they are virtually exclusively drawn from
> the Left Wing of Modern Orthodoxy that is heavily influenced by feminist
> philosophy. As a feminist myself, I never-the-less do not buy into the

Today, they are.  Read Joel Wolowelsky's article in JUDAISM about women
and kaddish, and you'll see that women from the more "traditional" areas
also said kaddish.   He cites psak (oral?) from, e.g., the Hafetz Hayim,
R' Haim Ozer, RYBS' testimony from the Gaon's Kloiz in Vilna, RYE Henkin
in Teshuvot Ibra, etc. 

With the modern chumra-ization of Orthodoxy, though, it fell out of style
after the War.   As RJK notes, there are different opinions about who is
uprooting tradition for an agenda.

> social portion of the agenda as I do the economic. Women saying Kaddish
> attacks the social barriers of traditional Orthodoxy and IMO can do much
> harm if allowed to grow beyond its present boundaries.

Women not being allowed to say kaddish attacks the social, emotional
and halachic depth of traditional Orthodoxy and IMO can do much harm
if allowed to shrink beyond its present boundaries.

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

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Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 08:01:58 -0700
From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org>
help with questions

a friend posed some questions about the mesorah. anyone who would like
to take a crack at answering these for him please give it a go on or

Kidushin lamed discusses the issue of the Vav of Gichon being the
numerical center of the Torah -in letters. I have a number of questions:

A.Is it true that the Torah we now have is, as is often taught in schools,
"letter for letter" the same as what Moshe received at Sinai? The
Gemmarah seems to indicate differently--though I have heard some streched
explanations to account for the discrepancies.

B. Isn't there a Talmudic reference to a Sage travelling from Israel to
Babylonia to investigate an 8 letter difference in the Toras extant at
the time?

C.Certain letters in the Torah dots on them, do these dots date from
the Time of Ezra HaSofer,or do they date earlier (I know Rashi discusses
some of them). Do the Meforshim discuss all of them?

D.If the gemmarrah in Kiddushin is correct (I recall also seeing a
reference in Masechet Soferim indicating similar discrepancies we now
have), how is it possible that our soferim are off by approximately 5,000
letters? (and over 100 pesukim?) Soferim are known for their exactitude
and have mnemonics at the end of each chapter of Chumash to indicate
the exact number of letters and pesukim contained in a parsha? How is
it possible for our mesorah to be off by so much?

E.Are there any Halachic implications to the possible discrepancies
indicated in Kiddushin Lamed, namely A. Bracha L'vatala. Is it ok
to make a bracha on a Tora that may be Pasul due to missing or added
letters?? and B. Fasting if one drops a Sefer Torah nowadays. Eg, are
the Torah Scrolls that we have nowadays "kosher enough" to be fasted
over? Do some Meforshim say we shoulnd't be fasting on todays Torah
Scrolls? Thank you for your help.

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Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 16:56:41 -0400
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com

> Several doctors argued the point with him and he made VERY clear that
> R. Elyashiv prohibited IVF in addition to other types of donor sperm.

> When the audience argues that other poskim allow IVF his response was
> that he follows R. Elyashiv and is aware that other poskin allow it but
> that doesn't affect his psak. In fact the discussion got quite heated
> but R. Zilberstein was firm that R. Elyashiv prohibited IVF also and
> not just AID.

I am well aware of R Zilberstein's expertise. The question is why is
he and by extension R Elysahiv so diametrically opposed, especially in
light of the written and oral views of RMF and other Poskim that IVF
is permitted? WADR, the mere enunciation of a view without supporting
mareh mkomos and argument is problematic, to say the least, as a means
of issuing psak halacha .

Steve Brizel

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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 17:47:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Eli Turkel <turkel@nianet.org>
IVF/community approval

As Micha has indicated we need someone with some access to R. Elyashiv
to get a third opinion. The one thing I am 100% sure is that IVF is not
allowed in the Maayanei Hayeshua hospital in Bnei Brak based on the psak
of R. Zilberstein (Marah D'asra) in the name of R. Elyashiv.

As to reasons I will look up my notes when I return to Israel IYH.
I do recall his quoting the Divrei Malkiel as well as the possibnility
of mixing in donor sperm.
I am completely at loss as to the violent objections as to the possible
psak of R. Elyashiv given that Josh has brought several poskim that
indeed do prohibit it. Hence, should R. Elyashiv indeed prohibit it
it is not his personal chumra but is in concurrence with other poskim.
Of course as Josh brings down other poskim do allow it under varying
circumstances. This is not particular unusual for poskim to disagree.

I am still bothered by Micha's assertion that poskim need to account
for the impact on their kehillot. In RMF piskei halacha on various types
of insem,ination I don't think he discussed the issue of slippery slope
and similarly on other issues.

I indeed know of rabbis who encourage artificial insemination and other
fertility treatments by sending thier members to doctors who they feel
can be trusted. I don't think they avoid the issue because other poskim
disallow procedure X and it will lead to a community problem.

On a slightly different issue Lubavitch opposes adoption on the grounds
that it invloves too many problems of yichud. Does that mean that
other communities should avoid adoption because it might impact on L.
Alternatively before a posek allows an adoption need he consult a L
posek to get his approval or as a minimum account for such a custom.

Similar problems apply to accepting gerim where some kehillot refuse to
accept converts on principle. Do other communties need to account for
these communities?
Micha still seems to be arguing that the Charedi ciommunity should have
some veto power over the MO community because it might affect them in
the future.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2003 20:17:09 -0400
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Women and kaddish

From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
<<1) We can add her father to the list of rabbanim who hold that kaddish
by a woman is permitted in shul.>>

Yes, at the approximate rate, per her reporting, of once every 40 years.
Hardly a ringing endorsement, particularly since those who knew him,
myself included, know that he was opposed in principle but permitted
it that one time for reasons that we don't know, but by no means a
blanket heter.

<<3) While he did not generally encourage women to say kaddish, she does
not cite any case where her father actually opposed them saying kaddish.>>

She did tell you he permitted it once in 40 years. The other times he
was opposed. Given that report, your statement that she has <<a clear
family tradition to be mattir>>

is grossly exaggerated.


Go to top.

Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 10:03:47 -0400
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: Women and kaddish

RGD attacks my post strongly. Some of it is responded in my response
to RTK. Just [one point]:

> She did tell you he permitted it once in 40 years.  The other times he
> was opposed.  Given that report, your statement that she has
> <<a clear family tradition to be mattir>>
> is grossly exaggerated.

The fact that he allowed (and apparently even encouraged it once is
sufficient proof that he is not among the osrim. The question about when
to allow it becomes then clearly a matter for the local mara d'atra,
rather than something mandating public outcry about the invasion of

Meir SHinnar

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Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2003 19:58:46 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@bezeqint.net>
Re: Kaddish

[del for bw]
> As I said, I do not deny the sincerety of women who mourn their parents
> by saying Kaddish. I'm sure the motives are exactly as you suggest... a
> sincere desire to mourn a parent in a tangible way. But when the mourning
> proccess is taken from the modality of men, I can only conclude that there
> has been at least a subliminal feminist influence. Please understand
> the meaning of the word subliminal. It means below the threshold of
> recognition of what is influencing you.

Many things influence both men and women. The fact that 99.9% of men
have never heard a woman say kaddish certainly influences the gut
reaction to this question. But, relying on the testimony brought in
various Avodah digests that there are indeed rabbis who permit women to
say Kaddish Yattom, rabbis who are knowledgeable about why this Kaddish
is said and the relevant parameters and requirements connected to it,
then I must conclude that the main problem with women saying kaddish is
one of education.

If men and women were taught the halachic and philisophical sources that
discuss this issue and shown that there is no problem, then it would
probably become commonplace for women to say Kaddish Yatom.

The desire of women to act under Yiddishkeit is not a feminist issue.
My MIL and her MIL A"H were from Lybia and had nothing to do with
feminism. Yet they and the other women in their congregations sought
and seek to be active.

They are active in shul by donating scarves and other decorations for
the Sefer Torah (for those who wondered about the scarves attached to
Sephardic Sifrei Torah -- this is the source).

They are active in building Zechuyot for the niftar by have a Se'uda
after the burial, at the cemetary entrance, where everyone is supposed
to say a bracha, which is considered a Zechut for the Niftar. Similarly,
the women serve food and drink continuously during the Shiv'a -- again,
the brachot the visitors say are considered a Zechut for the Niftar.

[del for bw]
> philosophy. As a feminist myself, I never-the-less do not buy into the
> social portion of the agenda as I do the economic. Women saying Kaddish
> attacks the social barriers of traditional Orthodoxy and IMO can do much
> harm if allowed to grow beyond its present boundaries.

Ignorance and being close-minded is what attacks the social and
traditional barriers of every jewish religious community. The days
when a person didn't have access to books, shi'urim, on-line halachic
information are over forever. If customs are being attacked from within
the male side of Orthodoxy (Rav Ovadia's drive to force all communities
to abandon their customs and follow Maran, for example) --- you shouldn't
be surprised if they are being attacked from the female side as well.

How many times have we all (men and women) heard rabbis commenting on
a Minhag as being "Minhag Shetut". With such information available,
anything that is forbidden "just b/c" -- will find itself attacked.
2 generations ago, the idea of using electric lighting on Shabbat was
shocking; you'll find psika stating that this is completely forbidden
b/c of Mar'it Ayin. Nowadays, most religious people use Shabbat Clocks
and Shabbat Elevators and many other electrical appliances [under strict
halachic instructions] and nobody would even begin to wonder whether
they had operated them on Shabbat -- b/c "everybody" has or at least
knows about Shabbat clocks.

Many of the issues facing the religious communities are similar.
Questions that nobody bothered to ask 2 or 3 generations ago are now
coming up. This is an age of questions, and rabbis had better have
answers. During a discussion with Rav Potash on the subject of judaism and
art & music he said that the younger generation are producing material
in the arts, writing poetry, music, producing art and they are willing
to be guided by the rabbis -- but the rabbis (said Rav Potash) are just
beginning to learn these subjects and don't have answers yet. The rabbis
are in effect learning these and other subjects as the questions come up.

Things are changing, and it should challenge us -- not frighten us.

Shoshana L. Boublil

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