Thursday, December 30, 2004

I am considering a return to blogging....
Any thoughts on the matter?

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

I'm off to see the wizard, well, the beach

I am going to do what Jews do during this time of year, and will hopefully be back in early January with some cheerier stories and more muddled questions. In the mean time, Shabbat Shalom(x2), and happy 2005. Guess I am going to miss the halachic discussion about celebrating new years. oh well. :-)) I wonder if I am going to miss blogging? hmmm. somthing to blog about when I get back.

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What to get for that hard to shop for person

(Please see the previous 3 posts for background, if neccessary)

People in the office are talking about what to do for a memorial. From my point of view, the most important thing would be to do something to keep his kids on the Jewish path(the first wife is Jewish, and I assume the kids will live with her, the unborn one will not technically be Jewish, so these concerns wouldn't really apply). Since I only metthe first wife only once, and dont know her well, I haven't figured out anything I can do without looking like an interfering snob. In the mean time, I had a nice chat with the head of the kollel where I learn, and for a small donation, someone will say kaddish for my friend for the year.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

dont judge a book by the cover....

(This post is meant only as a description of events. It is not meant to be critical of anyone. Obviously, this is not a description of usual shiva as seen in traditional circles. However, now is not the time to be critical of the dearly departed.)

I went to the shiva house last night. Ma'ariv was scheduled for 7:30, but I made a wrong turn and was 10 minutes late. The lights were on, the bows and wreaths shimmered, and the tree decorations shone through the open curtains. Um, guess I forgot to mention that my friend had remarried a non-Jewish woman. I had heard rumors she was considereing converting, but obviously she hadn't. We davened ma'ariv facing the stockings hung on the fireplace. The rabbi led services, and had all the mourners recite kaddish. Afterwards, everyone milled about, talking in soft voices. I went over to the widow who I knew pretty well(she was the nurse in the office my partner had worked in) and offered my condolences. We talked for a little bit. I think she will do ok. I gave her a slightly altered English version of ha'Makom. More people wanted to talk to her, so I moved on. I looked for his parents, but I didn't know them and was having trouble matching what people looked like all bundled up at the funeral, and here. It seemed rude to ask random people, "are you one of the first degree relatives?" Worse, I get very shy in social situations like these. Unfortunately, no one was sitting on little stools, waiting for us to line up and offer them rote consolation. I felt like getting up on a chair, and in a really loud voice asking "will the mourners PLEASE sit on the little stools like you are supposed to so I can say HaMakom to someone Jewish!" Finally, I found my partner's father, and was able to discharge my duties. He was still tremendously broken up, and clearly hadn't reconciled himself to what had happened. He wanted to talk about his son, and I was able to tell him a few things, and relate a few events that seemed to cheer him up a bit. I wound up spending a fair amount of time with him. My wife's father, who has unfortunately officiated at many many funerals, tells me that the worst ones are when a parent has to bury their child. In my limited experience that has held true. I dont know what else I can do to make him feel better, but I am going to try to make Ma'ariv again tonight.

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Random absurd processional thoughts

I was car number 18 out of about 80 in line from the synagogue to the cemetery. As we wound our way the following thoughts, besides the ones posted below, occured to me, in no particular order.

Boy, I am glad I am not behind that really old short couple, in the really large car, they can barely see over the dashboard.

I am really glad I am not in front of them.(yes, there was a very minor fender bender, the parties just got out, looked, shook their heads, and got back in)

Is the guy in front of me turning again? oh wait, its just his flashers, I didn't see the other one also blinking.

If I turn here, I can make a run to the dunkin donuts, get a muffin and a cup of coffee, and still join the end of the line, no one will know.

If I turn away from the processional, will all the cars behind me follow? or keep following the front 17?

If I lead 62 cars through the drive through at dunkin donuts, and everybody buys a muffin and a drink, do I get a free cup of coffee? (yes, the kosher dunkin donuts has a drive through)

does dd have a processional special?

what would it be?

I suggest the rectangular donut with chocolate frosting, looks kinda like a coffin

they could make a figure on top out of frosting, have to make it solomn looking though

if they take my idea, do I get a cut of the profits?

driving in a processional brings new meaning to ha'osek b'mitzvah pattur m' hamitzvah(whie you are doing a mitzva, you are relieved of the duty to do others). Here we are, taking about 10-15 minutes to pass a given point, and this poor guy is trying to make a left into his drivway to get home. If I let him pass, we may lose continuity and the back could get lost(there are other cars waiting to turn also). I can't let him through, even though normally I would. sorry. We have made him 15 minutes late to his house. It doesn't seem fair.

I thought we would never get there

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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

There, but for the grace of God.....

I spent this morning at a funeral. One of my partners, a friend, but not a close friend, died suddenly. One day he was at the holiday party, laughing, making jokes, the next day... dead. No warning. He left two kids and a wife 6 months pregnant. When I found out, of course I was sad, felt incredibly sorry for him, for his family, parents, kids, but the full impact of his death didn't hit me until I was handed one of those little folded pamphlets at the entrance of the synagogue, listing the name of the deceased, birth date, death date, shiva times, map to shiva house, and transliteration of kaddish and keil maleh rachamim. It was only then that I realized he was gone, never to come back, and he was 6 months younger than me.

At the service, the rabbi, friends of the deceased, and one of our partners all talked about him, his life, his contributions, and his family. It took about 45 minutes to get to the cemetery, and that gave me more time than I wanted to think about my friend, life and everthing else.

It occured to me that what affected me the most was the issue of my own mortality staring me in the face once again. Of course I was saddened by the loss, and incredibly saddened for the family, but since we were not incredibly close, I wasn't really going to miss him until the next partners meeting happened and he wasn't there. Obviously, I could think of him, and miss him, but he was not on my usual list of thoughts on a usual day, the way my wife, kids, family or close friends would be.

After hearing the listing of his accomplishments, I thought of what people would say if chas v'shalom it had been my levaya. It was kind of like a Yom Kippur accounting, although Yom Kippur for me usually deals with day to day issues of observance and attitude, rather than overarching lifelong accomplishments. On Yom Kippur I worry about things like if I spent enough time davening and with enough kavanah, could have squeezed in mincha before a case but didn't, behaved properly to my parents, wife and kids, gave tzedakkah properly, and a whole host of more serious issues that I dont want to list in public. This accounting involved the question if I was satisfied with what I had accomplished in my life so far. For me, I was ok with professional accomplishments and raising my kids, but I was blatently lacking in talmud torah and helping with communal activities. It was kind of a shock, on taking stock, to see these glaring holes in my spiritual resume.

Hanistarot L'Hashem Elokeynu. Obviously, I have no idea why it was his time. But in keeping with the belief that there is a positive reason for all that happens, I will try to keep this accounting in mind, and learn from it and act on it. In thinking about it some more, I actually am really going to miss him more than I realized. May his family be comforted among the mourners of Tzion and Yerushalayim. Baruch Dayan Ha'Emet.

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what is your favorite color?

I recently recieved email from two people with new blogs. They asked me to mention them or put them on my blogroll(hey Nisht, how about a blogroll????). One of the bloggers is Reuven Klein, who has posted interesting comments in the past, and seems like a nice guy. His blog address is http://rachack.blogspot.com/ he is also looking for people to help in the blogging. On his blog are some ads for his web design business and loan business

The second request was from rabbi Moshe Rudner, who set up a blog to discuss the experience of eating Shabbos meals at the home of Rabbi and Rebbitzin Machlis. His blog also includes paypal links for those who wish to contribute to Rabbi Machlis to help defray the expenses of feeding hundreds of people a week. Since I am not familiar with R. Rudner or R. Machlis, I asked R. Rudner to provide some outside references, and he supplied me with some links to other stories on R. Machlis. The name of the blog is machlis.blogspot.com. Since I have not followed the paypal links to completion, I cannot totally vouch for the reliability, but it seems on the up and up.

All of which got me thinking about why I blog. When I figure it out, I will let you know

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Friday, December 17, 2004

Pictures at an exhibition

I finished reading Victor Geller's book, "Orthodoxy Awakens, the Belkin Era and YU". A very interesting mix of history and personal(and collected) anecdotes. Also good background on RYBS. In addition, many pictures of YU leaders, and almost none of them are wearing hats(I bring this up because of some of the comments swirling around blogs on this subject, and the much referenced discussion on Kashrut.org.)(Note to DovBear- see, bring up a juicy subject and you too can have more comments than you have ever seen before. :-))

The background on RYBS brings into perspective some reading from another book I bought recently(sorry Simcha, my next book order will be from the one you link to, I promise), Hide and Seek, on hair covering. There, in the introduction by the author(a hair covering lady herself), there is a discussion of the Rav vis a vis hair covering by his wife.

"Because the Rav did not write about his rulings regarding hair covering, and in fact spoke in confidence to a select few rabbis who agreed not to reveal his reasoning, one can only guess at the logic for this practice. Today, it is a popular revisionist perspective to suppose that RYBS was, in fact, unhappy that his own wife did not cover her hair. This line of thinking supposes that he had, little, if any, control over what his wife observed. This perspective seems naive and too simple.. it doesn't make sense that a great posek of the Rav's caliber would marry someone with whom he was halachically incompatible. Futhermore, individuals who spoke personally with Rabbi Soloveitchik about the matter of hair covering attest to his INSISTANCE THAT HIS WIFE'S PRACTICE OF NOT COVERING HER HAIR WAS, IN FACT, HALACHICALLY SOUND, although no one will go on the record to quote the Rav's reasons, in part because he swore them to secrecy."

The Belkin book records how RYBS delt with the mechitzah problem in synagogues, outlawed microphones when he became head of the RCA, and how he was aware of the power of his stature and how his word was frequently accepted as the final word, especially when it was l'kulah. My read on all of this is that the Rav personally did not have a problem with his wife not covering her hair, but did not want to make a public pronouncement because in this case, he did not want his personal view to become the public policy of MO. He knew that if he did make such a pronouncment, many many women would not even consider covering their hair. He may have felt it was a midah chassidit to cover, and that openly allowing uncovered hair would limit that custom. Also, it would have drawn an even wider line between MO and the growing yeshiva world to the right. There was no pressing reason to publicize the allowance of head covering, and significant downsides to that publicity. Maybe someone will break the silence and tell us what the real truth is. However, as pointed out by R. Jonathan Saks, it doesn't matter if you can find all the reasons in the world for something, and you may even be right, but if it isn't accepted by the majority of people, it will not be codified for future generations to follow.

What would really be nice is for someone to gather all these articles(R. Schiller, Broyde, Shapiro etc) and the sources (sefer Yehoshua, Chukat Hanashim, Sefer sanhedria, Shut Mayim Chaim, Shut Vahashiv Moshe, Yad Halevi) that mattir it, and look at it in more depth. While we are at it, Life magazine took over 4000 pictures of Jews when it published articles on religion back in June 1955. Wonder what those pictures show. I need a personal librarian. Shabbat Shalom

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Monday, December 13, 2004

Happy Hannukah

I hope everyone is having a freilich chag. I was very impressed this weekend by a bar mitzvah boy who not only finished all the mishnas in seder moed, but also learned the first book of Maccabees. I have got to get my own set of apocrypha and pseudoepigraphica, or however it is spelled. In the meantime, work calls me away for a few days, so no more blogging till the end of the week. Actually, with all the holiday eating, I am kinda looking forward to asarah b'tevet(I think I wrote the same thing about tzom G'daliah, and so, to forstall any comments, I refuse to consider b'hab.)

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Thursday, December 09, 2004

Yosef

I have never been a huge fan of Yosef, I am not sure why. I decided to add up attributes and (percieved) shortcomings and see if there is any basis for this view. Based on peshat, his attributes are: kept his identity as an Ivri, did not succumb to Potiphar's wife seduction, kept his faith while in prison, kept his faith as a successful vice-potentate, forgave his brothers(after running them through some hoops), helped the mishpacha settle in Eygpt, raised two sons in a foreign culture that were true to their heritage, even though mom was not ffb, helped care for his father and arranged his burial. The negatives mostly appear early on: tattled on the brothers, told them about the dreams(insensitive?), allowed himself to get special attention and (maybe) flaunted it(he was wearing his special coat when he went to see the brothers), put the brothers through hoops when they met again, did not contact his father on his own.

All in all, it seems Yosef's main attribute is that he was steadfast in his emunah, not only when faced with deprivation, but more importantly(especially for those of us in the goldina medine) when he was rich and successful, and he was able to pass that on to his children. I think I concentrated more on the telling tales and what seemed to be rubbing the brothers' face in his dreams and choseness. It seems he matured greatly when faced with tribulation, again, something to emulate. We were going over the Gemara in Shabbat that deals with Hannukah, and how the explaination of habor raik, ain bo mayim seems out of place there(except as another piece of info by the same amora), and started talking about the connections that are made between Yosef and Hannukah. I guess this is another one, faith in the presence not only of adversity but also opulence.

btw, a friend pointed out to me the many similarities of language between the story of the Akeidah and the story of Yosef, when he goes out to meet the brothers. There are many phrases and usages that are identical. I have to think about the implications. Comments always appreciated.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More than just reed cutters in the swamp

An easy way to ignore voices we dont want to hear is to declare them to be illigitimate. This is done on the left and on the right. When the sheitl issue raged, I frequently heard people dismissive of R. Elyashiv and others, labelling it all as "more Chareidi chumras." Even some people in my community who I respect, did not even want to consider that it might be an issue. Same with the cocopeds in the water. With a wave of the hand, they declared that those who were making an issue of it were missing the forest for the trees, and not concentrating on "important issues." In general, those on the left can dismiss the right by alleging that they have misplaced priorities, antiquated(and non-Halachic) social views(by this I mean that they include social priorities that go beyond what is called for by halacha), and live in the 200 year old past.

It is easier for those on the right to be dismissive of the left. Since the left almost by definition is more makel, one can easily question the left's learning, commitment to halacha, commitment to tradition and as one goes even further left, commitment to Judaism itself. However, just because it is easy to ask those questions, doesn't make the answer automatically in the affirmative.

It seems to me that , there is a catch-22 regarding paskening and halacha. The community will only accept a psak from someone they respect, and they only respect those in their community. And if you hold views different than those of the community, then you are not considered a part of the community, and not worthy of respect. This eliminates any possibility of even listening to someone outside of the community. I think this is more of a problem on the right, because the left in general respects the learning of those on the right, although disagreeing on social and hashkafa issues. The right, in general, dismisses the learning and possibly the commitment of those more to the left, and can therefore wave off any possible influence. In the eyes of the right, the left is tainted just by being the left.

How is someone defined as being on the left? affiliation, and views. There is a blog where orthodox rabbis get a capital R, and conservative rabbis get a little r. By these rules, Jackie Mason(who I can't find proof for this, but it seems to be common knowledge) gets a big R, and R. Tony Glickman, who is teaching at YU, would have gotten a little r, until he got another smicha, which allowed him to get the big R. R. Saul Lieberman would have gotten a little r, and the talmidim to whom he gave smicha to also get the little r. A rav in my community would have had a little r, but he got tired of the lack of respect shown to him based only on where he recieved his smicha, so he went and got another smicha from the Rabbanut. From what I can tell, he is not any different because of the experience, only now he gets respect from people who previously did not show him kavod. (Note: this is not to impugn the integrity of the blog owner, who I deeply respect, and is certainly entitled to his opinion. However, it is an example of dismission because of affiliation.)

It seems that anyone espousing a makil view gets labelled as an am ha'aretz, regardless of how learned they might be. Obviously, some might be. Some with a machmir view might not be as learned. But it seems to me that those that are makil are deemed less learned until proven otherwise. I think this is in part what happened with R. Broyde here on the blog. Not only were people disagreeing with him(fine), but the automatic assumption was made that he clearly was not a talmid chacham and knew not of which he wrote. This is not fine. This was a disgusting show of disrespect. This is an example of what is wrong with our communities. We are far too quick to dismiss those with whom we dont agree. We deligitimize those that we dont want to hear. It is a lot harder to deal with what they have to say. But there is truth in many places, you just have to be willing to listen.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

I can get off the edge of my chair now

I visited the updated Mostly Music site and true to their word, they now have their Chevra listings in order. When you search Chevra you get seperated Chevra, and Shaya Mendlowitz Chevra options. Everything is where it is supposed to be. Yasher Koach.

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Ya'akov and Esav redux

The story of Yitzchak and why he prefered Eisav over Ya'akov has been bothering me. The best explaination that I have found is by, who else, but R. Henkin(every year I try to go through a perush or two, and his is one that I am trying to read cover to cover.) THe crux of the matter is the description of the two sons, Eisav is "ish sadeh"(man of the field) and Ya'akov is "yoshev ohalim"(sitter in tents). The use of the term ish in Eisav's case is key, in that the fields define his existance. He can do nothing else. Yitchak wanted his heir to be a combination of sadeh and ohel(physical and spiritual, strength and learning). Eisav could only be one, the physical. The description of Ya'akov says only that he sat in the tent. He concentrated on the spiritual and learning side. The fact that the word Ish is not used, implies that he was not limited to the tents, only that he chose to be there, but under other circumstances he could be a physical or field person as well. That is why Yitchak says "hakol kol Yaakov v'hayadayim yedai Eisav", he wants his heir to have the combination, to be able to persevere both physically and spiritually. He confirms this in his bracha to Eisav when he says, and your brother, he is also blessed. Yitchak realizes that he was mistaken in thinking that Yaakov was limited to the tents.

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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Equality lost

R. Henkin, in his book, titled Equality Lost, in the title essay, discusses the relationship between Adam and Chava, and how the sin of eating from the tree occured. He takes a very peshat driven approach. Firstly, there is the well known difference between what Hashem tells Adam, and what Chava tells the snake, with regard to the tree. Hashem tells Adam not to eat from the fruit, and Chava tells the snake that she is not allowed to eat or TOUCH THE TREE. Different meforshim hold that either Chava added it herself, or that Adam added it when he passed Hashem's command on to Chava. Obviously, if Adam added the command, then it would be a sign of distrust, or disrespect. R. Henkin goes further. He notes that the snake tells Chava about the tree, the implication being that Chava did not know the name of the tree or what would happen if she ate from it. The fact that Adam did not tell Chava the name of the tree also is an indication of disrespect. From this episode, R. Henkin (much more elegantly than I), puts the blame for the eating incident not only on Chava's shoulders, but also on Adam's, for not trusting his mate,for thinking that(to quote Jack Nickelson) "You cant handle the truth."

R. Henkin goes on to show other places where disrespect(zilzul- as he puts it) impacts negatively on the Biblical history. Noach, when leaving the ark, puts his sons before his wife, Ya'akov travels all over the land of Israel on his way back from Lavan, before he goes to visit his parents. in each instance he shows how the disrespect led directly to bad consequences. I am still trying to figure out what to think about the story of Dina, and what Rav. Henkin would say about it.

(note: I am blogging this ONLY because it speaks to me, not in response to what occured on the blog this past week. I do have some more I want to discuss(and opinions of course) but I need some time to go through it and figure out what I want to say. )

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Guess I am all growed up

A few weeks ago I went through a situation where I had about a 1 in 300,000 chance of dying, and a larger, yet still very small chance that my profession and most of my hobbies would become impossible to do. Thank God, nothing bad happened, and life goes on as it did. Even though the chance of anything bad was very small, becuase it was a discrete event, it caused me to think about life and what is important. Nobody(or very few) think about their mortality crossing the street. Probably more think about it on a bumpy airplane ride. But I think it is the less common, more individualized events that make you think more.

Growing up, even until recently, I always assumed I would live forever, or that Mashiach would come before I left the world(I gave up on the idea that I could be mashiach long ago). A few years ago, it occured to me that I probably wasn't going to be around forever and, I am not sure why, but it didn't bother me as much as I thought that it would.

As I sat waiting for the procedure, thinking about possible outcomes, I realized that my main concern was for my kids, and that I was asking Hashem not only to make sure that I was ok, but that if I wasn't, that the kids grow to be happy mentches and mentchettes, learning, contributing to their communities, and I would be ok with whatever else happened. Obviously, I am very much happier to be around and make sure they are ok, and enjoy the results, but I did not fear my own mortality. I guess that is a definition of maturity, not that I ever planned to grow up. By the way, before I get shouted at for not being concerned for MVLW, she certainly was on my mind, but somehow I know that she will be able to make it without me, if neccessary(not that I plan on having to find out. )

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Shabbat Shalom

I hope everyone has a peaceful, restful Shabbat, a piece of Olam Haba as it should be, full of davening, study, song and oneg. On that note, my heart goes out to MoChassid, who lost his father last week, may he only know simchas in the future.

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I am sorry

I want to publicly apologize to R. Broyde for the treatment he has recieved at the hands of my commentors. While a number of comments showed honest differences of opinion voiced in respectful tones(thank you), others were insulting,mean spirited, undeserved, and out of line. What I had hoped to be open and spirited discussion of the sources on a contraversial topic, degenerated into questions of R. Broydes integrity and intellectual veracity, besides questions about his grasp of the sources. All this happened, despite my requests for respect. I certainly am not against give and take regarding what the sources mean, and I am not trying to protect any particular person or point of view, but it has to be done with dignity and respect for the other person, not with name calling, and insults. The lack of respect was disgusting, and reflects poorly on all of us. I am truly ashamed.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

More reading on hair covering

R. Simcha from Hirhurim in my comment section brought the following links to more info on this topic. I have not read them all, but he seems to be a reliable fellow :-).


R. Yehuda Henkin on this subject:
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n084.shtml#06
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n089.shtml#12

R. Broyde on this subject:
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n083.shtml#02
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n086.shtml#05
http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n086.shtml#06

By the way, anyone who wants R. Broyde's article in Hebrew can contact him directly at his email listed in his first post(no spam please)

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R. Broyde answers the critics

R. Broyde e-mailed me a response to the comments. Before I get to it, I want to note a few things. R. Broyde did not have to subject himself to our review and criticism, he very kindly offered his article for me to post, to engage in the conversation with us. Just so you don't think that I would only post from people I agree with(I actually am not sure where I stand, haven't had enough time to read it all, too many posts), if R. Falk sent me a response to something I wrote, I would post it also. The goal again, is not to win the arguement, but to find truth. I am now trying very hard not to sound like I am talking to my three year old, but some of the language used against R. Broyde in the commments is not acceptable and those who offered it should be ashamed of themselves. I am very glad to host the give and take, and argue over sources, and let everyone have their say,and I hope everyone does feel free to have their say and voice an opinion. But comments such as " the article is full of dishonest reasoning", and "I would hope that this R. Broyde is not in fact a model of the best in Torah and Maddah" do not add anything to the search for truth, and in fact, are tremendously insulting, and those who offered those words, and words similar, owe R. Broyde an apology. You dont have to agree with him, and its fine if you dont(I get more hits that way), but I ask again for a little derech eretz.

(some might say that I am guilty of lack of derech eretz in my post on R. Falk last week. My first response would be that it was a review of someone else calling him on the carpet, and that it was done as a review of a printed work, rather than as someone engaging in a conversation or debate. Also, I felt that there were deliberate falsifications for a purpose(which I do not support, obviously) and this deserved the response I gave it. In addition, the comments were made with R. Falk in absentia, as the chance of him seeing them and responding to them would be about nil. That being said, I probably am guilty of lack of derech eretz, and I do apologize, although deep down, truth be told, I would be hard pressed not to write it the same way the next time.)

Here is R. Broyde's reply:

Putting aside the general issue of tone (polite discourse seems to be
quaint custom of past generations on this web site!) responses to my
post seem to fall into two categories. There are those that question the
sources and those that raise social issues. I find the former much
more pressing than the latter, and thus I answer them here.

One writer denied that the I was reading the shulchan aruch correctly.
I quote the shulchan Aruch Even Haezer 114:1,4 for the reader.

115:1 The following women are divorced without payment of the ketubah:
One who violates dat moshe and yehudit. What is a dat moshe? She
feeds him produce that is not tithed or any other food prohibition or she
lives with him as a nidah and only tells him afterwards..

115:4 What is a dat yehudit? It is the modest customs of Jewish women,
and these are the matters which if one violates one of them, one
violates dat yehudit. One goes out in a Market place (shuk) or an open
courtyard or a yard which many go in with ones hair uncovered, and without a
covering like all women, even if her hair is covered with a napkin..

At no place does the Shulchan Aruch or Tur ever classify hair covering
as a dat moshe. The claim to the contrary is simply wrong. (Indeed,
Rambam clearly does call full uncovering a dat moshe (see Ishut 24:11) and
this just sharpens the question why does the shulchan aruch and Tur who are
clearly operating from the languge of the Rambam switch hair covering
from the dat moshe category in the Rambam to the dat yehudit category in the
Tur and Shulchan Aruch. The Netziv gives one explanation to that as I
noted in the orginal post (which is that they did not think that the
gemera in Ketubot 72a-b was a real drasha min hatorah). Others provide
other answers to this question, (and I have a draft article in Hebrew
that surveys all those answers for those who are interested). So too, the
comment that one can find nothing like this in the beis shmuel is hard
to fathom. Beish Shmuel states this in EH 115:9, which notes that full
uncovering is a dat moshe (unlike the shulchan Aruch, which posits that
full uncovering is a dat yehudit.)

Jacobs comment that The Ben Ish Hai does not say that married women
don't have to cover their hair. is worth responding to. Ben Ish Chai writes
in Sefer Chukai Hanashim at page 55:

Our women have looked at the women in Europe and their custom not to
hide themselves from strangers, and notwithstanding that fact their closes
are proper and they do not reveal their body. Only, their faces, necks,
hands and heads are revealed. It is true that they do not cover their hair,
and according to our halacha (hadin shelanu) this is prohibited, but they
have justification because they say that the custom of hair covering is not
accepted by their wives, and both Jewish and Gentile women do not cover
their hair, as they do not cover their face or hands, and this does not
cause erotic thoughts in men.

People who are interested in determining what the sources actually say
rather than scream at each other about tone would be well served by
examining the central sources cited.


Michael J. Broyde

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