Avodah Mailing List

Volume 10 : Number 140

Monday, April 7 2003

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 09:01:55 +0200
From: Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org>
Re: Sheitels

RHM wrote:
> 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.

I once posted, and will do so again, that old time Galitzianers still
remember that it was a fairly regular occurence that a family would
suddenly change its adherence to levush. One week they were still
'Hassiedim, and the next, the husband shaved and the wife went with her
head uncovered.

Haskalah started earlier in Lithuania then in Galitzia, but the rebbe
was not the ultimate protector against H.

If an important person, out of humility, does not want to rely on [the Law, as 
applicable to his case], let him behave as an ascetic. However, permission 
was not granted to record this in a book, to rule this way for the future 
generations, and to be stringent out of one's own accord, unless he shall 
bring clear proofs from the Talmud [to support his argument].
	paraphrase of Rabbi Asher ben Ye'hiel, as quoted by Rabby Yoel
	Sirkis, Ba'h, Yoreh De'ah 187:9, s.v. Umah shekatav.

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 09:50:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Sheitels

Arie Folger <afolger@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Haskalah started earlier in Lithuania then in Galitzia, but the rebbe
> was not the ultimate protector against H.

I never thought it was. All I meant to convey was that the system
of Chasidus, with its emphasis on the Rebbe was far more isular and
therefopre, protective of the influence of Maskilim. Ultimately, I would
think the reverse would be true in that once the barriers WERE broken,
Chasidim were far more vulnerable to Haskala's influence since their
Emunah was based in Emunah P'shutah and, therefore, more susceptible to
critical questioning.


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Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2003 00:45:42 +0300
From: "Carl and Adina Sherer" <sherer@actcom.co.il>
RE: P' shmini - onen and talmud torah

On 2 Apr 2003 at 22:52, Ezriel Krumbein wrote:
> It is difficult to know when the
> isur midRabbanan was instituted forbidding an onen or aveil to learn
> Torah, but maybe it was not a problem because it was not yet asur.

If the whole point of aninus is based on "osek b'mitzva patur min
ha'mitzva," then perhaps there is no issur on an onen learning Torah -
only a ptur from learning.

Am I allowed to learn to prepare a hesped R"L? Is that "tzorchei
kvura?" I'm pretty sure that most people prepare hespedim and I'd bet
that most of them have to look things up....

-- Carl

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 3:59 +0200
Baal haTurim Shemot 1:15 and neurocardiology

I just came across a very interesting Baal haTurim (Shemot 1:15) on
linking the meaning of the name Shifra with "Shfoferet": "... ki derech
ha'meyaldot she'lif'amim she'ha'vlad notzar met, lokachat ha'm'yaledet
shfoferet shel kanah u'meysima toch mei'av, u'm'napachat bo, u'meyshiva
ruach la'yeled".

Doctors have been aware of the cardiovascular effects of digital
rectal examination only for the past 30 years or so (whether inducing
ventricular fibrillation (Am J Emergency Medicine 1989;9:57-60), or
terminating paroxysmal ventricular tachycardia (Annals of Emergency
Medicine 1987;16:1291-93).


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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 01:14:29 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Karaim

In a message dated 3/28/2003 11:05:02 AM EST, Mlevinmd@aol.com writes:
> 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.

The 13 ikkarim are the usual litmus Test for Geirim

To restate how Rambam used this it is my humble opinion that the 13
ikkarim were davka klapei chutz

IOW they dealt with a definite list of heresies that were prevalent at
his time to wit:
Karraism  {and Tzadukkism in a way}

It might not be a comprehensive list of what makes one a 
But it IS a comprehensive list of keeping one within the Jewish fold.  

Illustrations: accepting God's Unity but denying the validity of the Torah
would be simlar to the Islamic claim that Tanach is a corrupt document.

OTOH, accepting the Validity of Tanach but allowing for a looser Unity
such as a Trinity, would be the Xtian position.

Take all 13 one by one and you will see that they are davka to counter
one form of heretical SECT or another. They were NOT meant to counter
every/any form of heresy that is shayach in the velt.

It is possible that if a hypthetical heretical sect accepted all 13 but
advocated denial of another belief, that it could too have caused a
14th ikkar. I can't think of a really solid example, but I'lll give
it a try anyway. Imagine a group saying that the makom hanivchar
that is mentioned in Devarim was not Yerushalyim but say Har Grizim,
and accept for this heresy they accpeted all the other ikkarim somehow.
And then this sect became a movemnt called Israelites for Grizim and they
were poreish from the Jewish community. The Rambam might have made the
centrality of Yerushalyyim an ikkar in that case.

That is HOW/WHY the 13 ikkarim is SO important in geirus. No matter how
frum a prospective Ger in practice, if he/she still believes in Yushka,
he/she cannot be admitted. As debated on another list, if he/she says:
"I'm not really sure that karbanos are going to make a comeback when
Moshiach comes..." that would NOT be in violation of an ikkar, because
belief in the restoration of Korbannos is NOT an ikkar, although the
belief in Moshiach IS.

OTOH, if the prospective Ger says: "I OPPOSE korbanos in principle" then
it is NOT the ikkar of emunah that would keep that Ger out of bounds,
but the speicifc rejection of a mitzvah in the Torah. So that person is
quilty of being a mumar over a single mitzvah, or more properly a rather
large set of mitzvos. IOW it is mumar over PRACTICE and not EMUNAH that
would keep that propsective Ger out... So the BELIEF that karbanos are
on their way out is NOT a litmus test, as long as that belief is not an
impediment to practice.

The 13 ikkarim are OTOH a litmus test because w/o compliance with
those beliefs then they really never join the SECT we know {and love!}
as Judaism.

Bottom line: The 13 still comprise a litmus test because they are the
ones that comprise the list of specific heresies that are associated
with viable heretical sects, namely Islam, Xtianity, Karaism, etc.
I am about 99.44% certain that this is the "Ikkar" of what the Rambam
was addressing with his Ikkarim.

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, 6 Apr 2003 01:18:23 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: Hora'as Sha'ah

In a message dated 3/13/2003 3:44:05 PM EST, sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
> Not always - such as halachos that changed because of she'as sakkanah
> (e.g., Ner Chanukah).

Ner Chanukkah is cerntainly not on the list of Taryag Mitzvos and it
makes sense to say that it's rules are qualitatively different anyway

Also, as I posted about 3-4 years ago that at the time of the Churban,
the original mitzvah of Chanukkah really was batteil and was preserved
out of a kind of Halahchic momentum af al pi chein. This explains its
nearly complete absence in the Mihsnah but its re-emrgence in the Bavli.

Neverhtless, I do not deny that some horo'os have lasted for a LONG
LONG time

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, 6 Apr 2003 01:32:48 EST
From: RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com
Re: On the Matter of Masorah

In a message dated 4/4/2003 5:39:48 PM EST, gil@aishdas.org writes:
> R' Hershel Schachter on women receiving aliyos.
> http://www.torahweb.org/thisWeek.html

I'm still confused a bit as to how Rav Schachter distingues as to 
A) when a minhag/masorah is correctly over-turned - such as when rebbe
did it,
b) when a Masorah is enshrined by klal Yisrael, and is therefore

E.G. How would Rav Schachter view the Maharm Mirothenbug's suggestions
that in an Ir Shekullo Kohanim a woman SHOULD be called.

I can think of at least 3 ways to view this:
1) the Maharam was wrong to break with tradition
2) the Maharam did not break with Tradition, but in extenuating
circumstances allowed an exception to the kavod hatzibbur rule to be made
3) the Maharam de facto has shown that Kavod Hatzibbur is not an opbstacel
that is impossible to overcome and that there may be other cases that
would allow for an exemption from the impediement of kavod hatzibbur.

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: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 23:54:43 -0500
From: Moshe Shulman <mshulman@ix.netcom.com>
Re: Gilgul

From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
>Shmuel's repeated insistence that reincarnation (gilgul neshamot) is
>a concept whose acceptance is incumbent on all of us is unconvincing..
>He blithely disregards the strong opposition to that concept by Rabbenu
>Saadya Gaon and the Rosh in favor of the kabbalistic viewpoint...
>                                       So, it is a question of choosing
>between contrary views - the antagonistic view of a few major authorities
>vs. the kabbalistic tradition going back at least to the Zohar. The idea
>of reincarnation into a lower form of life is, apparently, even younger
>in Jewish sources....
>Moreover, the sages have often referred to Gehinnom as a place of
>punishment of the sinful dead.
>If they believed in reincarnation, then that alternate punishment should
>have at least been hinted at.

I find this interesting, considering that the Vilna Goan wrote commentaries 
on the Zohar, and so I assume he believed it to be true, including it's 
discussions of gilgul.

Moshe Shulman   outreach@messiahtruth.com 718-436-7705
Messiah Truth/Judaism's Answer:  http://www.messiahtruth.com/
Outreach Judaism:   http://www.outreachjudaism.org/
CHASSIDUS.NET - Yoshav Rosh       http://www.chassidus.net
Chassidus discussion list:        chassidus-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 18:41:40 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>

On Tue, Apr 01, 2003 at 11:44:33AM -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
: And to many the Gmara is over-ridden by Zohar, too, in many cases.

"Many cases"? While I can think of numerous cases where the generality
of the gemara is limited to the particular matbei'ah specified by
qabbalah (e.g. the pattern of washing for netilas yadayim), I can only
think of one where the pesak is "over-ridden". Tefillin on cholo shel

And even there it's not muchrach. The Gra wore tefillin on cholo shel
mo'eid, no?


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Date: Sun, 06 Apr 2003 14:59:07 -0400
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
RE: oral and written traditions

At 04:27 PM 4/4/03 -0500, Shinnar, Meir wrote:
>First, with regard to writing down the tora shebealpe - connecting
>it to the end of the legislative period is tenuous at best. The end
>of the sanhedrin and its legislative powers is not coterminous either
>with Rebbe or rav ashi. Most of the gmara is not legislative, but is
>extrapolative and interretive. Furthermore, no main line traditional
>source about the heter that I am aware of connects the two,(there may
>be some drashot - but I don't think even rav zaddok hakohen goes as far
>as you) but writing is viewed as an et la'asot psak.

That the end of the legislative period is Chasimas Ha'Talmud is the Hakdama 
to Mishneh Torah. Nothing new in that.

>Second, the issue is the nature of the extrapolation. Even if one accepts
>the above position about the redirection, the primary sources for the
>interpretation and extrapolation is the gmara and mishna - which are sof
>hora'a, and therefore, whose accurate preservation is therefore essential.
>The halachic status of post gmara texts is itself subject to dispute,
>especially among the rishonim - eg, the rambam's position about the
>fact that bate dinim inherently have to consider primarily the gmara is
>well known.

I do not know what your point is above.

>However, even if one accepts the halachic status of post gmara positions
>(which seems mainstream), that validity is not because they are written
>down. Indeed, as you are probably aware, what one may write down today
>is a matter of dispute - and those who hold that it is limited clearly
>do not view that the oral traditions are worthless.

I still do not understand your point. Were there a mesorah be'al peh with 
ra'ayos and shakla v'tarya that could be tested by logic and debate, then, 
yes, in theory, it would have the same validity as responsa that are 
written. In practice, however, that does not happen.

>Furthermore, one might believe (with some justification) that the
>most accurate representation of someone's position is that given by
>a carefully edited manuscript by the author which he reviewed and
>authorized the publication during his lifetime. While some academics
>might limit their sources to such validated publications, no rav that I
>know would do so - and it would eliminate much (if not most) of rabbinic
>literature, which consists of students writing down their recollections
>of shiurim, the collection of responsa from individuals who received them
>(regardless of whether they were meant for a broad audience or just for
>the individual, etc). While the accuracy of the oral transmission is
>sometimes challenged, the suggestion that it is inherently passul for
>"coherent and cogent argument" is breathtaking, and is not shared by
>any major posek that I am aware of, all of whom are willing to accept
>oral traditions.

I am not aware of any major Posek who is willing to accept oral
traditions, except for those psakim he specifically received - validated
- from the indivdual that he cites. Most Poskim of repute *do* limit
their sources to validated publications. A classic example of the mesh
of validated written sources with validated oral sources is the Shemiras
Shabos K'Hilchasa.

> One classic example that we discussed before is the Seride Esh's famous
>tshuva on mixed groups, where he mentions the oral tshuva by rav
>Hildesheimer and rav Hoffman allowing women to sing zmirot on Friday
>night even with strange males present - something that he learned from the
>Berlin kehilla, and for which there is (IIRC) no independent validation.
>Similarly, the ma'ase rav is nothing but a collection of oral traditions.
>Similarly, much of rishone ashkenaz transmits a written record of a
>previous oral tradition of what the gdole ashkenaz did - making it
>accessible to us, but few that I know would dismiss that as merely
>oral traditions.

I suspected we were eventually going to get to some standars of
intra-gender behavior that is based on oral psak. :-)

1. The SE did not rely on those psakim, but validated them and accepted
them because of his applied lomdus PLUS puk chazei - which is in itself
an halachic benchmark.

2. The MR is not a relied-upon source of halachic practice.

3. Rishonim transmit - in writing!

[Email #2. -mi]

At 01:54 AM 4/6/03 -0500, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 4/4/2003 10:05:19 AM EST, sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu
>> Oral traditions can play only secondary, perhaps only tertiary, roles
>> in this process. The erosion of the halachic method in our day and age
>> is in inverse proportion to the spread of oral psak.

>It can be shown that Tosafos specifcially and Asheknaz in general DID
>did not quite subscribe to this model.

>E.G. See Tosafos on Beitza 40A re: metapchin etc. on YT.


This is completely irrelevant - Tos. hold consistently of battel ha'ta'am 
battla ha'gezeira - but this is not at all connected to a different 
understanding of the halachic process. Rather, it has to do with Tos. 
perception of how a change in metzius correlates to halacha. This 
occasionally leads Tos. to chumros, as in RT's chumra on moredes.

>Also, RMF seems to reverse the Bavli re: burial on YT Shinei by invoking
>chillul YT as a concern - af al pi that the Bavli asserts that legabei
>Meisim YT sheini is considered kechol...

Do you really believe that RMF reversed a BAVLI?!

>Also it is not clear how Ravina nd Rav Ashi ended the Bavli. Many Amoraim
>in the Gmara lived after them and arecited after their era, not to mention
>some Interpooltaions into the text from Saboraim and from R. Yeuhdai
>Gaon etc.

Maybe it is not clear to you, but it certainly was clear to the Rambam (in 
the Hakdama).

>Recently, R. David Weiss Halivini went through about a dozen mar'ei
>Mkomomos in Shas on Rav Ashi being Sof Hora'ah. The Iggeres d'rav Shrira
>Gaon is the basic source for Rav Ashi as the redactor of the Gamara as
>compared to Rebbi being the redactor of the Mishnah. But this does not
>hold up well in the sources.

So far as I know Bava Metzia 86a is a fine source. Rav guvrei d'Prof. Weiss 
Halivni if he can take on Reb Sa'adia Ga'on and the Rambam. Breite pleitzes 

>I cannot reproduce the entire shiur here, but suffice it to say,
>that RDWHL holds that sof hora'ah refers to Rav Ashi as being the last
>Amorah to state Memros - what he called "Apodictic" {sp?} statements.
>Nevertheless, it is clera that later Amoraim were still debating issues
>within the Gmara.

I am not sure what he meant. LEt us be dan him l'kaf zechus: He meant that 
although there were several amoraim beyond Rav Ashi's tekufah, and although 
Bavli includes Savoritic and perhaps even Geonic material, the Chasima vis 
a vis the corpus accepted by all of our nation is that redacted by Rav Ashi 
and his Beis Medrash.

>So far, RDWHL said the best work on the subject is Kaplan's "Redaction
>of the Babylonian Talmud"

>re: Sof hora'ah I asked R. E. Kanarfogel, RDEK, re: Tosfoas use of
>Yerushlami, Psikta, etc. to overturn simple pshat in Bavli. He said
>that sof Hor'ah meant an end of an era, but that ANY text containing
>Amoraic material was fair game to be included.

Fahr vohs nisht?

Kol Tuv,  CKVS,
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: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 15:05:56 EDT
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: On the Matter of Masorah

In a message dated 04/06/2003 2:30:15 PM EDT, RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com writes:
> I can think of at least 3 ways to view this:
> 1) the Maharam was wrong to break with tradition
> 2) the Maharam did not break with Tradition, but in extenuating
> circumstances allowed an exception to the kavod hatzibbur rule to be made
> 3) the Maharam de facto has shown that Kavod Hatzibbur is not an opbstacel
> that is impossible to overcome and that there may be other cases that
> would allow for an exemption from the impediement of kavod hatzibbur.

What about that kavod hatzibbur is a time and place (or here just place)
bound concept which needs to be clarified in each situation. This is
how R' HS would explain Beit Yaakov - the girls always had the chiyuv
to learn, the system to teach them broke down at home. Issue-is kavod
hatzibbur an eternally defined concept(much like our discussion per R'YBS
on tan du) or in an age of educated women (even if lchatchilla we think
they shouldn't be?)would it change?

Separate question - Why per R'HS's well stated position that tzniut
applies to men (eg don't jump to the amud) do we see (or maybe I'm
missing it) little public effort to convince men of this?

Joel Rich

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 18:45:27 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Mixed seating

On Thu, Apr 03, 2003 at 01:28:56PM -0500, Moshe Shulman wrote:
: It is forbidden as a violation of modesty. (Tznius) Nothing to do
: with hirhur.

The article RGS pointed to by R' Herchel Schachter makes tzeni'us
into a "vehalachta bidrakhav". H' too is behester panim.

Still, the term in question is ervah, not tzehi'us. Is ervah not an
issue of arayos, and therfore revolving about hirhur?


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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 18:50:49 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Gilgul

On Thu, Apr 03, 2003 at 11:33:55PM -0500, Isaac A Zlochower wrote:
:                                                            .... He can
: not point to any explicit statement about gilgul in the Ramban - only an
: intimation of a great secret about Hevel...

The fact that he kept it a secret shows the Ramban did not consider it
a chiyuv for people to believe in it. Would the Ramban keep a necessary
belief from others?

:                                      .... The statement that R' Chasdai
: Crescas was forced to accept gilgul despite his philosophic objections is
: unfounded. The statement, " im kabala hi, nekabel" is not an admission -
: just a way of saying that if you can prove the antiquity of the idea in
: Jewish sources, then he would accept it...

If anything, a rejection! RCC did not know of a mesorah for it, and
wasn't going to accept the notion of gilgul unless someone would
provide one.

: Are we really to believe that people suffer for sins committed by a
: previous incarnation? The later incarnations have no knowledge of such
: past sins, and, therefore, no way of taking corrective action to fend
: off or ameliorate their suffering - particularly if they are children.

OTOH, if a neshamah has some flaw which either expressed itself in, or
was caused by, some aveirah, the flaw is still there, and still needs
repair. The onesh could prompt that repair without awareness of
the particular cheit.


Micha Berger                 It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where
micha@aishdas.org            you are,  or what you are doing,  that makes you
http://www.aishdas.org       happy or unhappy. It's what you think about.
Fax: (413) 403-9905                            - Dale Carnegie

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 15:18:28 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Sheitels

In Avodah V10 #139 mshulman@ix.netcom.com writes:
>> . I agree that the heter used for a sheitel
>> is weak, and even those things that are done to indicate that it is
>> not real (like wearing a hat on the sheitel, which is what my wife does)
>> are really not 'the best'.

Richard Wolpoe <RabbiRichWolpoe@aol.com> wrote:
> FWIW a little history lesson
> Professor Grinstein taught us in several classes that when the "perook"
> {I don't even know how to spell it!} first came out the Poskim opposed it
> (circa 1820) but under pressure they gave in.

The English word is "peruke" and it is defined as "A wig, especially one of a 
type worn by men in the 17th and 18th centuries."  Think George Washington.  
BTW acc to my dictionary it is from the French, perruque.

[Email #2 -mi]

Avodah V10 #139
> >> A sheitel can look real enough to defeat the purpose of
> >>covering the hair.

THE purpose? Do we even know what THE purpose of covering hair is? There are
several different purposes it seems to me, admittedly related to each other.
One purpose is that a married woman should not arouse inappropriate thoughts
and desires in men other than her husband. Another purpose is that it should
be obvious at a glance whether a given woman is single [available] or married.
These are two different purposes. There are also kabbalistic and mystical
reasons for hair covering that I have heard, having to do with some kind
of aura that surrounds the head and keeping it private for one's husband.
I keep an open mind (i.e., due skepticism) about this last type of reason.

OTOH a woman has an obligation--sorry, you talmidei chachamim will have
to supply sources--the same obligation a man has, to be easy on the eye.
"Kol sheruach habrios nocheh heimenu..." To be neat, to be clean, to be
dressed appropriately for the occasion, to look like a mensh, not to be
disgusting. This is in addition to and separate from questions of tznius.

Some women have trouble separating this obligation from their desire to look
attractive beyond what is appropriate outside of the marital relationship.
I have heard of attempts, especially in Israel, to legislate these things,
but it really can't be done. Rules about the exact length of a sheitel,
or whether the skirt is denim, and so on, can never obviate the need for
good taste and good sense, no matter how minutely detailed the rules are.

My father z'tl once said to me--I have quoted this before--"You should know
there is a klal, all fashion is atzas hayetzer." He will find his way around
any dress code anyone attempts to impose.

"Sheker hachein vehevel hayofi, isha yiras Hashem hi tis'hallal."
No legislation can guarantee yiras Hashem.

I will add only that it is a rare sheitel indeed that cannot be distinguished
from a woman's own hair, at least by those within the relevant community.
And no matter how attractive the sheitel is, at least part of its purpose
is served just by virtue of the fact that it IS recognizable as a sheitel
to those in the know.

Toby Katz

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Date: Mon, 07 Apr 2003 18:27:07 +0300
From: "Carl M. Sherer" <cmsherer@fandz.com>
Adm: Chol HaMoed Get Together

Adina and I wish to invite those of the Chevra who will be in Eretz 
Yisrael for Pesach to the fourth annual Avodah/Areivim Chol HaMoed 
get together at our home in Ramat Shlomo in Yerushalayim.  

We are planning to the make the get together on Tuesday morning, the 
fifth day of Chol HaMoed (for those of you in Chu"l, we count Chol 
HaMoed differently than you do :-), between 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. 
This is done in the interest of not taking away one of the two days 
that is suitable for family tiyulim. Yom Tov is around 6:35 P.M., so 
that should leave you plenty of time to get wherever you are going 
for Yom Tov. No promises, but in the past there has usually been a 
direct bus between my neighborhood and the Kotel on Chol HaMoed.     

If you are interested, please drop me an email. I will try bli neder
to find the maps on my computer that someone sent me last year, but I
will send directions bli neder to all who respond. 

We look forward to seeing you!  

-- Carl

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

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Date: Sun, 6 Apr 2003 14:37:42 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Tis the Season

In the interests of the upcoming Passover holiday and in the interest
of Shoalin V'Dorshin Shloshim Yom Kodom HaPesach B'Hilchos Pesach,
I would like to contribute a treatise on the question of Hefsek (an
interruption of) Brachos (blessings) as discussed in my favorite book,
"Torah For Knowledege" by Rabbi M. Blum.

There is an interesting question about the Bracha of Shehechiyanu that
women almost universally make when they light the Yom Tov candles for
Pesach. Since this Bracha is considered the Kiyum of the Mitzvah of
Shehechiyanu for the Yom Tov, it then seems that there might very well be
a problem during Kiddush when her husband makes the Shehechiyanu. Since
she was already Yotzei the Bracha, it would seem quite reasonable to
assume that saying Amen to this Bracha is a Hefsek. This would require
a woman to make her own Kiddush. Yet we do not have this Minhag in part,
because of the principle of "B'Rov Am Hadras Melech".

This question is discussed by Rabbi Zvi Pesach Frank. He suggests that
since all other Mitzvos of the evening are covered by the Shehechiyanu
of Kiddush, such as, Achilas Matzah, Marror, and the Daled Kosos (as
cited in Avudraham), then it is possible to say that answering Amen to
Shehechiyanu is not a Hefsek at all. OTOH one can refute this explanation
since there is no requirement at all for a Shehechiyanu on any of these
Mitzvos, then without the standing requirement of Shehechiyanu on the
Z'man (which stands as yet unfulfilled by men and perforce therefore,
includes the other Mitzvos) there is no standing whatsoever for a
Shehechiyanu by women who have eliminated the Shehechiyanu's standing
as a Bracha by having already recited it, thus restoring their Aniyas
Amen as a possible Hefsek. Rabbi Frank contemplates that even if she
does not answer Amen, it might still be a Hefsek just listening to the
Birchas Shehechiyanu (HaShomeya K'Oneh).

Rabbi Moses Feinstein discusses the problem in his Magnum Opus, "Letters
to Moses". He states that perhaps it would be best, as Rabbi Jacob Emden
initially thought, that we should disabuse our women of the practice
of making a Shehechiyanu during candle lighting since it is preferable
to make the Birchas Ha'Zman over wine. But Rabbi Emden rejects this
approach in situations where this is her established Minhag. He does
however say that where there is no established Minhag then one should
not adopt the practice of saying Shehechiyanu at candle lighting. The
reason the practice of saying Shehechiyanu should not be changed is that
it is NOT a Minhag Taus, (A Minhag Taus can be defined as a custom which
has crept into practice and actually violates Halacha - saying Amen to
a Bracha does not violate Halacha).

Rabbi Feinstein then states that ...NOT... answering Amen is not an
option because of a requirement to answer Amen to Bracoes even when one
has already been Yotzei the Bracha oneself... a Chiuv Gadol as he puts
it, based on both the Tur and Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon). So we seem
to have an apparent conundrum, a woman is required to say Amen yet it
might be a Hefsek if she does!

Rabbi Feinstein answers that in no way is it a Hefsek. This is because
the Halacha clearly states that one is required to answer Amen to all
Brachos that one hears. Additionally, to the person making Kiddush,
the Birchas Shehechiyanu is a Chov and NOT a Hefsek. Since it is not a
Hefsek for him neither is it a Hefsek for those who perforce must answer
Amen even if they had already made the Shehechiyanu.

The Shevet Levi has an interesting twist on Rabbi Frank's question.
He states that since there are other Mitzvos that night, there is
no Hefsek at all. Just as the Shehechiyanu on Sukkos is not a Hefsek
because of that Yom Tov's specific Mitzvos such as sitting in the Sukkah,
so too the Shehechiyanu of Pesach Kiddush can be for the commandments of
unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and the re-telling of the Exodus story,
since a woman does not have in mind those commandments when she makes
the Shehechiyanu at Hadlakas Neros. If she has these Mitzvos in mind
when she answers Amen to the Shehechiyanu at Kiddush, the Amen is not
a Hefsek. Interestingly on Shavuos he advises that women not to answer
Amen to Kidduash as then it WOULD be a Hefsek. So this view disagrees
with Rabbi Feinstein and avoids Rabbi Frank's question about women having
elimnated the standing Shehechiyanu requirement by theior own recitation
of it earlier. A standing Shehechiyanu requirement, according to Rabbi
Frank is necessary for Hefsek avoidance.

Rabbi Sternbuch in his book "Moadim U'Zmanim" also makes the point
that answering Amen by a woman who has already made a Shehechiyanu is
a Hefsek between the Bracha and tasting the wine and states therefore
she shouldn't really answer Amen But he makes another point that since
her Bracha is made before the Yom Tov actually begins and that since
it is better to make the Bracha at night when all the Mitzvos are then
required it is not considered a Hefsek at all.

Rabbi Moshe Sternbuch brings further proof that Amen is not a Hefsek
because of the admonition by Rabbi Abraham the son of Maimonides (RABH) to
the Jews of Yemen. Because they did not have wine for Kiddush on Shabbos,
they were to make a Birchas SheHaKol and RABH commanded them to use the
Nusach (text) of Kiddush without Shem U'Malchus (w/o mentioning God's
name etc.). The reason he commanded them to do this is so they would
not forget the Nusach for Kiddush. We can derive from this that as
long as there is a legitimate reason for the insertion of words it is
not considered a Hefsek. It is only considered a Hefsek if it is Sicha
B'Alma (casual speech).

So the bottom line is that even though one might think that answering
Amen to a Bracha that does not apply to you might be a Hefsek, that is
not the case. Women who rely on their husbands for Kiddush after having
made their own Shehechiyanu, can never-the-less say Amen and it is not
considered a Hefsek.


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