Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 056

Saturday, October 23 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 11:59:28 -0700
From: "Newman,Saul Z" <Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org>
RW vs LW accuracy

Probably all publications bring their biases.  But the LW complains more

1--- The Artscrollizatioon of history.   One can start with  a haava mina
that the RW  will omit facts if they're not kosher enough

2--- The RW is more confident  and is less prone to worry to their left

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:26:10 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Elizabeth Dole and the Gender Gap

In message , Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer
<sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> writes
>To my mind, the existence of such a gap is inexcusable. I find it
>particularly inexcusable in the world of Chinuch. It is an ill-kept secret
>that women in the Chinuch field get paid less than men for comparable
>teaching loads - in schools from the most MO to the most RW "ish lo
>Some of us on the list, on the other hand, may find it more galling that
>many (I assume not all) MO schools have this policy, in light of the
>expectation that they should be more "forward-thinking". I cannot disagree
>:-). Some schools justify this by claiming that semicha (often in these
>cases a "Rav u'Manhig certificate, not even "Yoreh Yoreh", v'dai l'chacima
>b'remiza) is the equivalent of an advance degree. I find this position

Well I know that at Yeshiva Flatbush, they agreed to treat the 3 year
Drisha programme as the equivalent of smicha and paid at least one
Drisha grad on the same level as they paid the men.  Of course, that
does not eliminate the tax imbalance (the goverment gives a tax break to
religious officials, including rabbis, but not including people who may
have been through a three year Drisha programme), but that is not within
the power of the school to change.

>Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
>Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
>http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila    ygb@aishdas.org

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:22:13 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
Re: Mikvah Ladies

In message , Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> writes
>In v4n50 Chana Luntz accidentally replied to my private email on the list.
>Since she brought my thoughts to the attention of the list, I'm replying here
>as well.

I am a little confused here.  Your email was published in the Avodah
digest, so I didn't think it was private.

>You are picturing a particular process that is not what is used. It's not
>that a woman brings her sh'eilos with her to the mikvah. As you said, for
>the overwhelming majority of questions, that's far too late. Rather, they call
>the mikvah with questions.

What are the hours of this mikvah of yours? As I mentioned, all the
mikvos I am aware of are staffed only from a bit before shkia till a few
hours after.  And the women seem pretty busy during that time.  In order
for this to work, I think you would need to extend the mikvah hours, and
have somebody who manns the telephone almost exclusively  (Because it is
a bit difficult to talk to a woman about her TM shialas if you are
simultaneously checking whether a tevilla is kosher, or watching to let
women in the door, take their money or check who has left the various
rooms so you can make sure the next person in the queue knows to go in).

So you would also need a larger staff than at the mikvahs I am familiar
with (two women).  How many women are "on duty" at your wife's mikvah?

Additionally, the most difficult (ie embarressing) shialas relate to
those where you do not just have to call the Rav, but you have to show
him something. If the mikvah were to operate as a forwarding service for
such shialas, you would indeed need to visit (and in some cases, eg when
it is underwear, not a bedika cloth, need to revisit to collect).  Does
your mikvah operate this service currently? If so, how many items
(approximately) on any given night would they receive?

Could you ask your wife approximately how many telephone shialas they
receive on any given night?  Also whether the telephone is answered for
longer hours than the mikvah itself is open, or is it only from Shkia?

Also, to give me a picture of how large a mikvah we are talking about,
could she give an indication as to the number of tevillas she would
expect to see on a given night.

> Similarly, your comments about operating under a
>policy of anonymity. This is different than saying which night one is going
>to the mikvah.

Yes, it is different.  But if you have to leave a bedika cloth at the
mikva, and wait till they get back to you with an answer it is going to
be the complete opposite of anonomous - it will presumably take a couple
of days, as you can only go with the cloth late in the evening, the
mikvah lady can then presumably not leave the mikvah to drop off the
cloth to the Rav until after the mikvah has closed, and presumably the
Rav will not posken the shiala at that time of night (after midnight in
summer), and won't get it back to the mikvah until the next day, and
assuming that the mikvah lady in question is not on duty every night,
she will need to leave a note for the lady on duty the next night so as
to be able to tell the right woman the answer to her particular shiala
and not mix her up with the other shiala that was asked that night. That
means that your name and details go through who knows how many hands,
and are written down in the mikvah records, including the answer to your
shiala.  Which means there is a permanent record of exactly what is your
particular status (tamey or tahor).  I assume that your mikvah
subsequently destroys those records (can you check with your wife?), or
would if they do in fact take bedika cloths - can we have some more
specifics on how the system works?

Additionally of course, kesem shailas are particularly time sensitive if
they come mid month, because if there is no problem then everything can
continue as normal.  If you can go to somebody in the middle of the day,
or when you find the thing, and they can tell you, or find somebody else
to tell you that it is OK, then everything can proceed as normal that
night.  If however you need to take the item to the mikvah, and it is
not then seen by the Rav till the next day, you and your husband will
need to be machmir m'safek that night.  It therefore does not seem to me
to be a brilliant arrangement.

Of course, all this could indeed be solved if the mikvah was open during
the day to take these kind of shialas, and somebody was on duty all day
to receive them and a Rav was on hand to be consulted and then the
answer could be retransmitted during the course of the same day.  Does
your mikvah do this?

>: The other thing that I confess worries me about your discription about
>: what your wife did, is the limited amount of time of training.  *Four
>: evenings* is not a lot.
>You also appear to misunderstand the role. I called it more of a "liason
>to the rav". Perhaps more useful is to compare it to the difference between
>mashgiach and rav hamachshir. A mashgiach can be pretty much anyone, as long
>as they know when to bring a question to a rav hamachshir. 

You have to know really quite a lot to know when to bring a question. Of
course, if you have been watching your mother keep kosher all your life,
and eaten in lots of other people's houses for shabbas, and been around
the Jewish community, then you actually do know "quite a lot". However,
my impression is that the really good mashgichim are those who have some
reasonable level of learning of hilchos kashrus and what you should look
for over and above this.  I confess that four evenings of training for a
machgiach would not strike me as very adequate either.  Perhaps there
are people on this list who can comment on the general level of training
of mashgichim - eg at the OU, other places.  I know that in Australia
the maschgiach for the kashrus list for many years (if he is not still
doing it), was highly trusted - and was the reason that a lot of people
from the charedi world (from which he came) were prepared to trust the
list, despite it being formally under the supervision of Mizrachi (and
at least at one stage, under a Rav not so trusted by the charedi

>For that matter,
>I know of several professional women machshirim -- aside from the same role
>being played by every housewife. The system would be to set mikvah ladies
>up to be mashgichim. Yoatzot, OTOH, are being trained to assume the role of
>"rav hamachshir".
>One poster replied to me privately that he believes (based on conversations
>with his wife and others) that women would be concerned about going to a
>mikvah lady because she knows that the issue will quite likely be discussed
>with a man. I find this suprising. The rav will never know whose anatomy is
>being discussed. Why would anyone be embarrassed.

I agree, and the yoetzet have stated that where they do not know the
answer they will go to a Rav.

I therefore assume that the issue was more that of turnover.  If you go
to a yoetzet, and she then asks the Rav, the Rav will then give the
answer to her, and she will go back to you.  If you go to the mikva, as
an institution, then there are who knows how many women involved, and
therefore it is more likely that the Rav will be instructed to come back
directly to you, or will be told your name (as a way of distinguishing
from the other shialas asked).  If there was only one mikvah lady, on
duty night and day, whom you knew you could trust, I agree it would be
the same, in which case, I think the only differences are availability
(which could be fixed by having the mikvah desk open during the day) and
level of knowledge expected.  Most rabbaim do not expect their
mashgichim to phone them up 20 times a night, or even once a night.
They expect the odd question every couple of weeks.  And my
understanding is that machgichim are expected to be, or are trained to
that level, ie to be able to assess the most basic questions and respond
appropriately, without recourse to the Rav.  Similarly the expectation
here is that straightforward shialas will be able to be answered on the

So it would seem that our fundamental disagreement revolves around the
question of how simple the average taharas hamishpacha shiala is.  Is it
the kind of thing that after four evenings of training, a person would
be able to answer most shialas on the spot, and will only need to refer
a few on, or is it the kind of thing that in order to know the answer to
your average shiala you need two years of training - including extensive
exposure to bedika cloths to learn tamei from tahor colours?

You (and presumably your wife) hold the former position, I'm afraid my
exposure to the subject suggests to me the latter.

>- -mi

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 20:33:47 EDT
From: C1A1Brown@aol.com
Mazal L'yisrael, Lishma, other he'aros

1. The gemara in Shabbos 155 says Hashem told Avraham to abandon his belief 
in astrology because ain mazal l'Yisrael and he would have a son even if its 
not in the stars.  When citing this Chazal Rashi (ch 15) adds that Hashem 
therefore changed Avraham's name - Avram could not have a son, Avraham could. 
 L'chorah this overturns the gemara's whole point - acc. to Rashi yesh mazal, 
except for the name change, no?

2. A few weeks ago mention was made that enjoyment in learning.mitzvot does 
not detract from lishma, as discussed by the Eglei Tal in his introduction.  
Of note is the fact that  R' Dessler (III p.143) based on R' Tzaddok 
disagress and assumes lishma is a state removed from all emotion.  R' Dessler 
elsewhere (p.108) uses this to explain the shittas HaRambam in the last 
Mishna in Makkot.  However,  R' Dessler's elaboration does not answer up the 
MaHaRaL's kashe from R"H 16 or the end of Kiddushin (Tif. Yisreal ch. 5) so 
I'm not sure what he gains.

3. The gemara in Makkos learns 'hashev aishes haish ki navi hu' is a double 
statement: 1. return Sarah 2. Avraham is a navi and learned to say Sarah from 
his sister from your behavior - when a guest comes to the city should he be 
asked about his wife or his lodging?  I don't understand what this has to do 
with being a Navi.

-Good voch,


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Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 02:26:32 +0100
From: David Herskovic <david@arctic1.demon.co.uk>
dine de'malchise

A few issues back someone asked something about dine de'malchise which
lead me to the following.

1) In mitsves that require 'lochem' such as esrog where one owns the
object according to din toyre but not according to the law of the land
is one yoytse the mitsve?

2) According to the principle of dine de'malchise dine is a Jew
permitted to engage in civil disobediance assuming that there are
respected opinions that support it?

Dovid Herskovic

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Date: Sun, 24 Oct 1999 02:26:37 +0100
From: David Herskovic <david@arctic1.demon.co.uk>
chodosh osur ...

I once heard that at some deliberation in the presence of rav Kook
someone intervened with chodosh osur... to which rav Kook responded that
as far as he was concerned the meaning is that new crop is prohibited
prior to the sacrifice of the Omer.

Dovid Herskovic

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:21:43 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
HEY in middle of Word

Just to quickly answer Rabbi Teitz (off list) and Mechy (on list) 
about my rash statements about HAYS in the middle of a word--

As I told Rabbi Teitz....it wasn't that I disagreed with him so 
much as I was trying to find an actual SOURCE that I once
read on the subject. When I find that source it probably
will agree with Rabbi Teitz and Mechy (or maybe offer
some modifications).  

I searched the Michat Shai and a few other places. I
am sure this source will eventually come up and I will
post it (bli neder) then

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:02:01 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: Specialization

Eli Turkel (4 47) brought up the issue of specialization
in areas of halachah.

One of the first sugyas I learned as a child is the famous
controversy on whether UNKNOWN RELINQUISHMENT
confers ownership (YayOosh Shelow Midaath). The
gmarra in BM brings 12 precedents before settling this
controversy which in fact is settled by laws of toomah 
and tahara (rainwater falling on produce).

My 7th grade teacher pointed out to us
	>As you can see you can't decide even a simple
	>question in monetary law without knowing
	>all of halachah.

Having learned this as a little child this created a big
impression on me. I therefore question whether 
specialization is a POSSIBLITY (distinct to the
question of whether it should be allowed)

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 20:57:42 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
Haychah Kedusha

Eli Turkel (4 47) remarks that it is disturbing to have 
to answer to a haychah kedusha for minchah while
others are learning.

He asks if such a practice is proper (ANSWER:
Yes it is in the shulchan aruch).

I would suggest a different solution: Perhaps (not
sure about the halachah) if 
	1) he already fulfilled kedusha
	2) there are 6 other answerers
then he needn't interrupt the learning for Kedusha

(There are many precedents for not interrupting 
learning (eg leaving a succah; not saying 
gezuntheit etc).

I don't know how practical this is since if 
everyone else is learning the suggested
heter I gave even if true would never come

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:55:10 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
Supermarket Fraud

Just a quick answer to Michael Poppers.

Sure...if you are sure that no one will KNOW it was Jews not
returning errors then go ahead and not return your supermarket

My point to Michael was that PERHAPS they might know if
say cashiers continuously see only NON JEWISH shoppers
returning errors but not Jews...they might make a comment...
If however you feel that is a far fetched possiblity then you
can take the money.

(In passing there is a halachik point to my observation....
the Rambam (Theft and Loss 11?) points out that unless
you verbally explicitly stated to the non jew "Look I am
relying on your count" you MUST return any losses.

The reason the Rambam gives is because non jews sometimes
deliberately make errors to see who is honest and that would
lead to chillul hashem. 

So it is not just that such errors are improbable...they are
also possible from a deliberate audit.

if however you think such a concern is rediculous in shop
rite (because of technology and many customers you
MAY have a point)

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 22:04:17 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: Non explicit Leshon Hara

Everyone knows what leshon hara is.

Is the same type of communication prohibited if it is
only implicit. (Say by praising similar items but avoiding
talk on one item) Eg.

Suppose a person always praises girls when told they
are going out with someone. Is it permissable for him
to make neutral comments (eg "I know her")
on some specific girl (The argument being that that
would lead to people taking aspersions on the girl in

To make the question real I should add that 
--the person does not know anything bad about her
--the persons views are generally respected

Similar questions could be made on Kashruth. Eg If there
are two bakeries in town is a Rabbi allowed to eg only
praise the cakes of one bakery (assuming he has tasted
both and sees no difference between them).  (If you
like you can switch the question to praising the kashruth
of only one bakery vs the other).

A related question is "casting doubts". If a person
doesn't usually "cast doubts" on girls or bakeries
can he do so on a new bakery or girl.

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:14:38 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
Changing the topic

I am just catching up on ALL postings this week (including the
posting from Michah on Tuesday which I had not read earlier in
the week) in which he requests changing topics

>This requires some discipline, as people are going to reply with the
>comments yet again before reading this post. So do me a favor, instead
>chasing around the same circle yet again, think if you are adding
>significant before replying.

On my Rashi is Simple group I try and solve problems (in Rashi) by
at LISTS which have the same issue as the underlying verse. This usually
allows a clearer perspective.

So, **IF** people do consider this a new topic I made a list of women 
issues in recent Jewish history. They include

* The Beth Yaakov movement
* Mizrachi and AMIT women
* Use of Sheitels vs Tichels (one rumor suggests this started because
of progroms in Poland; the women wanted to hide their Jewishness--
others have suggested this is incorrect).
* Use of candles for Hadlakas Nayroth

My questions are

---Are these practices accepted today?
---Did they encounter resistance when introduced?
---What was the determining factor making them accepted?

(Note that this topic can be discussed without any explicit reference to
Yoatzoth on its own merit--my apologies if this attempt of my mine
to change topic but stick close by is unacceptable)

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:50:26 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
RE: Shabbath Channah

I just heard the Rabbi of my shule give a speech on spousal abuse
I know similar speechs were given across the country.

Technically spousal abuse is different that the Yoatzoth issue.
In my (last) posting on yoatzoth I suggested we go to the topic
of spousal abuse since Micahs wife had some experience with it
Even though there has been a call for a change of topic in light
of the fact that we just had a national shabbath and in light of 
the fact that there was emphasis on talking about this (sad) topic
perhaps we could discuss spousal abuse (without mentioning

In passing regarding Micah's posting to me
---I consider it a MODEL of how to properly answer postings
Michah answers EACH point of mine...I don't know why that
should cause me embarrassment

--As Micah observes I had not yet read his posting on
changing the topic of Yoatzoth

--After speaking to 5 people off list (some praise and some
otherwise) and rereading my posting I concluded that
 it would read fine if I simply withdrew all sentences demanding
an apology or retraction (I very rarely ask people for that anyway)
The rest of my posting stands as is 

--Since Michah asked to change the topic (unless we have 
something new) I am not answering anything else in his
posting except to clarify that my posting was not intended as
an attack on Rabbi Bechoffer but rather as a comment on
casting even doubts of what will eventually come from this
movement (If I thought badly of Rabbi YGB I would not spend
hours studying sources in an attempt to answer him which
I still do).

As Michah suggested---(hopefully) enough has been said...let
us get on with other things...but I would really like to see some
discussion on spousal abuse.

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 21:34:05 -0500
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: Yoatzos Neeman or Female Rabbis

Are any more details available? Sounds intriguing.
----- Original Message -----
From: Akiva Atwood To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Saturday, October 23, 1999 1:41 PM
Subject: RE: Yoatzos Neeman or Female Rabbis

> > 7. I still believe the The Gedolei HaTorah would not
> > oppose such a program in principle.
> According to the author of the Yated article (a neighbor and personal
> friend), there are at least *two* such programs underway, under the
> of Gedolei HaTorah here in Jerusalem.
> Akiva
> ===========================
> Akiva Atwood
> POB 27515
> Jerusalem, Israel 91274

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 22:24:44 -0400
From: raffyd@juno.com
Re: Dor Haflagah

Re: David Glasner's question about the Dor Haflagah, I heard a similar
approach to Micha's by Rav Yaakov Weinberg zt"l of Ner Israel.  He
understood that the nations and their respective languages were all
formed by Noah's grandchildren during the generations following the
flood.  This means that Egypt, and other cultures existed long before the
Migdal came on the scene.  The unity the nations retained was due to the
fact that they all had one language in common, presumably Lashon
HaKodesh, and/or as the Hizkuni suggests, that they understood each
other's languages.  The Hizkuni writes that it is clear that the
languages existed beforehand.  After all, he writes, new things don't
just pop up like that.  V'Ayin Sham.

Bereishis ch.10 deals with the division of the nations.  Only in ch.11 is
the city and tower discussed.  This plan was initiated to counter the
effects of diversity that had been created as a result of the division
into nations.  What God did was to insure that this attempt to force
unity would not succeed.  

I highly recommend Rav Matis Weinberg's essay "The Rainbow and the Tower"
which discusses this issue in depth, and its bearing on the concept of
diversity in thought versus uniformity.  The essay is to be found in his
book "Frameworks" on Bereishis/t.

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Date: Sat, 23 Oct 1999 22:46:59 -0400
From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@juno.com>
Eliezer = 318

First, a thank you to David Nadoff for reminding
me that I had not yet dealt with that Rashi.

It turns out that Dr John Loike asked this question
in Volume 3 Number 20 (QUESTION: Where is
the Pshat in asserting that Eliezer = 318).

I had thought I had answered it but I looked over
the last 5 issues and hadn't.

But the answer is simple (Indeed...Rashi Is Simple).

The verses say
	>And Abraham took his servantS(Plural)
	>VaYarek Eth Chanichauv (pardon my translation)
But the next verse and this one says 
	>and he (Singular) persued to Dan
	>and he(Singular) divided---he and his servantS(plural)

Now a set of lists (which I will produce in the next issueof
Rashi is SImple) states that you use the singular verb if the
community acts as a whole but the plural verb if the community
acts as a collection of individuals. This is particularly true in
military matters. (Other examples will be presented next time)

Since the singular is used and since the Army divided in two
I assume there were two leaders.

Having reached that conclusion from Grammar it is fairly obvious
that one leader was Abraham and one was Eliezer.

So the pure simply pshat of the posook is that Eliezer led one
contingent and Abraham the other.

The only problem left is why Rashi used a gematria.

At this point I will cite the Rav whom I heard on Gen 32:5
	>I lived with laban (GARTI)
Rashi says
	>GARTI = TARYG (Same letters). This shows that
	>Jacob observed all the commandments.

The Rav said 
	>But rashi never acted like a Chadishe Rebber
	>He never derived things from Gematria

The Rav said that the true explanation is that 
	>YSHAV = For a citizen To dwell
	>GAYR = For a non citizen to dwell
Since Jacob was established, married two local women,
had 20 children and worked for Laban (a leader) then the
verse should have said
	>I lived with Laban (YASHAV)
It says
	>I lived with Laban (GR)
because Jacob FELT like a GR--he felt uncomfortable
because of his ideological differences.

It should be clear that the above GR vs YASHAV is
the true explanation. The Rav did not explain WHY
Rashi chose to express this as a gematria. My conjecture
is that since this was before the printing press Rashi had
to make sure the Midrash was memorized..so he expressed
things as a gematria in order to make them memorable...but
Rashi obviously believed that these items had grammatical

Similarly in the Rashi in question....I think the single-plural
grammar is the main issue....but Rashi expressed this as a 
witty gematria (face it...it works...everyone now knows this

In passing anyone who wants to see the Rashis explained to
date can visit
You can also subscribe, free download of old issues etc.
There are many Rashis coming from grammar which Rashi
expresses as  a gematria

Hope the above adds insight

Russell Hendel; Moderator Rashi Is SImple
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