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R. Meir Soloveichik: Irving Kristol, Edmund Burke, and the Rabbis
Ashkenazi-haredi girls school improves on discrimination
Chief Rabbinate ‘against’ shackle-hoist slaughtering
Religion important to teens’ identity
Charles and Camilla wow the Board
Kosher bookworm: A broad view of narrow places
Israel Debates Two-Day Weekends, and Its Lifestyle
The myth of Israeli competitiveness
SALT Friday
What is Aggadah, and How to Read It
The Redemption of the King’s Talmud
In Israel, Haredi and Muslim Women Are Having Fewer Children
Observing The Three Weeks, For History’s Sake
Some Parents Hedging Bets On Englewood Charter
SALT Thursday
Six years on, lessons of Gaza withdrawal resonate for West Bank
Jews becoming commonplace in conservative ‘new media
Arabs oppose plan to install Sunday day of rest
Two bills to help women attain a ‘get’
Reporters Change an Insular Jewish World
SALT Wednesday
By the Book
Capital Crime. Capital Punishment?
Muslim-Jewish parley seeks ‘platform for dialogue’
Thousands attend Jerusalem rally in support of detained rabbis‬
Drive a hybrid? Shuls may have a space for you
Rabbi permits ‘modesty wounds’
Rav Melamed’s Book Removed from Officers’ Study Hall
Home from Biblical Kingdom Of Israel Discovered on Haifa Coast
Author of ‘Torat Hamelech’ speaks out
Hilchos Mezuzah vs. Condominium Rules
Hasidic Jews Make Annual Pilgrimage To Rabbi’s Grave
SALT Tuesday
Only Jewish school in South Australia to close it’s doors
Supreme Court protest planned over rabbis’ detainment
Massive project respects the boundaries of a Jewish tradition
Silver Spring native eyeing Knesset seat
Chief UK Rabbi Jonathan Sacks warns of racism risk in Israel
Plan approved for uniform spellings of community names
SALT Monday
Last week’s news & links
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About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

347 comments

  1. From R Sacks interview
    “And a prediction: “I’ll tell you how I see the endgame. Right now in the Middle East I see deeply unfinished business – the Arab street has come to have access to the world through the new information technology media. The Arab street has realised that they have missed out on many of the blessings of modernity and they are now no longer turning against Israel but they are turning against their own rulers.”

    I believe the Arab spring has shown that the Street is much more opposed to Israel in general than the rulers were.

    “That is going to be a very turbulent period, but in the long run the power of this information technology is that it leads to greater democratisation and greater freedom, exactly as printing did for the West in the 15th century. It took a couple of centuries. I think it is going to take 50 years in the Middle East.”

    Democracies can still oppress others-the Nazis won a free election.

    “But in the long run individual citizens on Israel’s borders are going to come to say: we can see that there is another way of living which is very tolerant.”
    Why-if they outnumber Israel immensely and see Israel as a thorn to their religious beliefs.

  2. I share Mycroft’s reactions to the interview with R Sacks for the reasons stated therein-the Arab street and masses are vociferously anti Israel thanks to the culture, media and educational systems. The issue is not democracy, but rather tolerance and acceptance of a sovereign Jewish state which a few Arab leaders accepted, as opposed to the Arab street. The absence of a tradition of tolerance and acceptance is probably IMO more of an obstacle to a peace deal than anything else, yet CR Sacks and similar thinking individuals find themselves intellectually and technologically seduced by social networks as the harbinger of some sort of messianic era, when in fact the same merely spread the same old cancer known as anti Semitism far faster than at any time in history.

  3. The Arab world is far more complex than you think, Steve. E.g. see this post and comments from my favorite Arab blog:
    http://beirutspring.com/blog/2011/07/02/%e2%9d%8a-nasrallahs-pitch-to-the-lebanese/

  4. See also: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=226983

    “Two-thirds of Egyptians think their country should keep a peace treaty with its neighbor Israel, a government poll indicated on Tuesday. […] on a sample of 1,062 respondents, 11% want the peace deal scrapped, 2% want some clauses revised and 20% declined to respond, MENA said.”

  5. IH-what someone thinks in Beirut( who IIRC was profiled by the NY Times) should never be confused with the Arab street. As far as the JPost poll numbers,such a poll ignores the vast influence of the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, and contains not even a comment about the same. I would suggest that such a poll is at best wishful thinking.

  6. No ‘ in its.

  7. “such a poll ignores the vast influence of the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, and contains not even a comment about the same.”

    how can a poll ignore something or be “wishful thinking” other than by being factually incorrect? what is the problem with the methodology, other than that the result is surpising to you? did the pollsters exclude people with brotherhood ties? isn’t the point of a poll that it lets you know how “vast” certain “influences” actually are, with regard to particular opinions, rather than speculating based on assumptions?

  8. IH on July 4, 2011 at 9:54 am
    See also: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=226983

    ““Two-thirds of Egyptians think their country should keep a peace treaty with its neighbor Israel, a government poll indicated on Tuesday. […] on a sample of 1,062 respondents, 11% want the peace deal scrapped, 2% want some clauses revised and 20% declined to respond, MENA said.”

    That could be pragmatism-remember there are US troops keeping the peace in the Sinai-there is a figleaf called a MNF-but I believe it is run out of the US Embassy in Rome with Americans in control.

  9. Re Jewish school closing in Adelaide “The school catered to some 20 primary school students, many of whom were subsidized and most of whom were offspring of the city’s three rabbis.”

    Most of students children of Rabbis?

  10. Emma asked:

    “how can a poll ignore something or be “wishful thinking” other than by being factually incorrect? what is the problem with the methodology, other than that the result is surpising to you? did the pollsters exclude people with brotherhood ties? isn’t the point of a poll that it lets you know how “vast” certain “influences” actually are, with regard to particular opinions, rather than speculating based on assumptions?”

    Take a look at who was polled, their own political orientations and the methodology-all are relevant in accepting or rejecting the conclusions of any poll.

  11. “Take a look at who was polled, their own political orientations and the methodology-all are relevant in accepting or rejecting the conclusions of any poll.”

    Did you do that?

  12. Re protest over Rabbis detainment-no society can tolerate any open refusal to obey the law bu any profession,group etc.

  13. “The first question, “Do you think it was right to arrest Rabbi Dov Lior,” received a positive response from 62% of the respondents, 26% said “No”, and 12% said they were not sufficiently familiar with the incident to express an opinion.

    An analysis according to religious affiliation reveals a huge difference between the different groups: Ninety-four percent of haredim and 80% of religious Jews believe the arrest was wrong, while 77% of seculars and 57% of religious Jews support it.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4090550,00.html

  14. The 57% seems to be a typo. In the headline, it is “traditional Jews”. And the Hebrew confirms:

    פילוח להגדרות דתיות חושף פער עצום בעמדות הקבוצות השונות: 94% מהחרדים ו-80% מהדתיים סבורים שהמעצר היה מעשה לא נכון, לעומת 77% מהחילונים ו-57% מהמסורתיים שתומכים בו.

    http://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4089393,00.html

  15. Richard Kahn-Unless I have evidence of poll data in front of me, I view polls as having as much as credibility as a famous headline in the Chicago Tribune that proclaimed “Dewey beats Truman!”

  16. IH-how is the category of “traditional Jews” defined by the pollsters?

  17. Steve — in the Hebrew it is Masorti’im. I can’t answer for the pollster, obviously, but from the segmentation I expect it is self-identification of the respondent.

    At N=501, I wouldn’t bet an election on it 🙂

  18. Masortim is a category of Israeli Jews accounting for about half of the population. There’s no definition necessary if you’re in Israel.

  19. Well at least Kirsch got the review right, even if his conclusion is silly.

  20. Yes, Kirsch called Friedman’s bluff nicely.

    “By this point, the game has been pretty well given away. “We must use [the Bible] with integrity—and humility,” Friedman and Dolansky write in their preface. “We have to recognize what it teaches even when that teaching goes against what we want. Better to reject the Bible’s teaching than to twist it to make it say what we prefer.” Yet their treatment of Leviticus is nothing but a masterful example of twisting the text to make it say what they prefer. What licenses this kind of reading is the principle that “God is free to change,” that is, to change his mind about what is offensive and inoffensive, good and evil—but only, it seems, in ways that bring him more in tune with the views of people like Friedman and Dolansky (and, I hasten to add, myself).”

  21. “Take a look at who was polled, their own political orientations and the methodology-all are relevant in accepting or rejecting the conclusions of any poll.”

    What are you talking about??? How can a poll with a random sample be biased by the political orientations of *who was polled*?! And even if you mean “who did the polling” – this is even worse for you! JPost wants the world to view Egypt in a negative light, the Arab Spring in a negative light, etc. And unless you know something about polling methodology, how exactly do you plan on making determinations about the accuracy of a poll based on its methodology??? It’s clear that at this point you are just so desperate to avoid backing down you’re just saying whatever nonsense might have a hope of saving you.

  22. Steve’s comment was consistent with his many comments on the blog. As with many ideologues, inconvenient facts are simply adjusted to fit the ideology. And as so often the case, the irony is that such manipulation of facts is no different than that perpetrated those being accused.

  23. “Steve’s comment was consistent with his many comments on the blog. As with many ideologues, inconvenient facts are simply adjusted to fit the ideology. And as so often the case, the irony is that such manipulation of facts is no different than that perpetrated those being accused.”

    Said the pot, calling the kettle black.

  24. Apropos, I was just reading RNS’s blog: “That is why it is futile to get into an allegedly “scientific” argument with a religious opponent to evolution. I was once challenged by some such people to have a debate on the merits of evolution. I responded by asking what kind of evidence, hypothetically speaking, would make them accept it. They dodged and hedged and would not answer the question. This was because no evidence would make them accept it – for them, evolution is a religious issue.” Well observed.

  25. Rafael-Yasher Koach for what would have been an identical response.

  26. “That is why it is futile to get into an allegedly “scientific” argument with a religious opponent to evolution. I was once challenged by some such people to have a debate on the merits of evolution. I responded by asking what kind of evidence, hypothetically speaking, would make them accept it. They dodged and hedged and would not answer the question. This was because no evidence would make them accept it – for them, evolution is a religious issue.”

    Turn that around. What evidence would those who believe in evolution accept that would disprove their theory?

    (If the answer is none, then by definition the theory is not scientific.)

  27. Tal – as you inferred – a theory should be considered scientific if and only if it is falsifiable. you can never “prove” a scientific theory to be true.

    but who would ever answer none to evolution – at this point? surely any other theory that would explains the data in a better manner would be acceptable – are there any?

  28. to see someone not understanding science and scientific theory see avi shafran’s latest bon mot on evolution:

    http://www.cross-currents.com/archives/2011/07/05/science-blinded/

  29. Rafael Araujo

    ruvie – its reasonable to argue, as did Rabbi Shafran, that for many, science gives them a shield to protect against a belief in a Creator. That certainly a valid point he makes, without going into the validity of the science he cites.

    Realize that many people hate religion, want it gone from our world, and one tool in opposing religion and religious belief is science.

    Even rationalists like Natan Slifkin will always appear “irrational” to religion-haters of science, or even to those who believe in a creator but that organized religion is detrimental to mankind.

  30. rafael – i do not disagree that some in the science field may be atheists and will seize upon science to “prove” a non creator world. everyone has biases and scientists are no better or worse than anyone else(including rabbis). but many atheists as well as religious people believe in evolution – it runs the gamut based on the evidence and its not a religious philosophy as he claims.

    the article is flawed and in essence just nonsense.

    “As a faith that hallows chance as the engine of all, Evolutionism may owe less to objectivity than to a subconscious desire to reject the concept of a Creator.”

    hard to confuse science and faith – but he does. do not let facts bother you – r’ shafran – lets add literalist interpretation – of the 7 days of creation and belief that the world is only less than 6,000 years old (both views of the charedei world which he represents) to your objectivity.

  31. rafael – “Realize that many people hate religion, want it gone from our world, and one tool in opposing religion and religious belief is science.”

    please tell that to the frum christians that showed (via science) that the earth is older than our assumed religious mesorah (jewish and non jewish). there a many in the science field that are religious – both jews and non jews.

    also how do you confuse the big bang theory and evolution – like r’ shafran?

  32. re: R Shafran – see https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/06/audio-roundup-cl/

    Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz -The “Mitzvah” to Believe in God
    The Albo is sefer haikarim lists 3 kiarim (basic principles of faith), he held an ikkar is not a mitzvah. Defying these is Kfirah. [me – what about one who never thinks about these (or HKB”H) at all but just acts appropriately?] The Rambam uses the word leyda (to know) which R’Aryeh defines as complete focus on HKB”H. The Beit Halevi understands that we must prove what we can and the rest is emunah (faith).
    R’Elchanan says it’s pashut (simple) to know that HKB”H, as we know him, was creator, etc. but the yetzer hara “bribes” us to not see the obvious. [me – I really like R’Aryeh and wonder [please don’t answer] if he really buys this – certainly the argument for a “first mover” is strong but….]

    KT

  33. rafael – is this more reasonable per r’ shafran:

    “But, as more traditional Jewish texts explain, only someone who has overcome the preconceptions, desires and imperfections of character to which we all play host can truly perceive the world with clarity.”

    yes our great gedolim – who have no bias at all – are better to tell us about science and world without any facts or data (the have “clarity”). wow – circular reasoning at its most incomprehensibleness.

    channeling r’ elchanan wasserman per r’ joel anyone? does this logic really have any adherents into today’s world?

  34. Moshe Shoshan

    I found the article on “modesty wounds” deeply disturbing. I have to assume that something was misreported in the story.
    it simply makes no sense on so many levels.

  35. Rafael Araujo

    I agree. I don’t believe this psak. This is probably as false or distorted as the story about the bais din trying to stone a dog.

  36. It’s assur to harm oneself. Mitzva haba’a b’avera anyone? My odds are 80/20 it’s false.

  37. BTW, the story was published in Hebrew on June 15th:
    http://www.mynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-4082069,00.htm

  38. Dodgy URL. Try this one: http://ladaat.net/forum/index.php?topic=57418.0 to the same story.

  39. Lawrence Kaplan

    mycroft: The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

  40. [Lawrence]>The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

    Please see the following link. It appears that the Nazi Party did win an election. However, they didn’t quite win a majority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_March_1933

  41. On the Adam Kirsch Tablet story, somewhat amusingly it seems his father has a different take in JewishJournal.com where he is the Book editor:
    http://www.jewishjournal.com/twelve_twelve/article/the_bible_what_it_says_and_means_20110616/

  42. Binyomin Eckstein

    תלמוד בבלי מסכת בבא קמא דף צא עמוד ב

    ורב חסדא כד הוה מסגי ביני היזמי והגא, מדלי להו למאניה, אמר: זה מעלה ארוכה, וזה אינו מעלה ארוכה!

  43. “Lawrence Kaplan on July 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm
    mycroft: The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

    Canuck on July 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm
    [Lawrence]>The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

    Please see the following link. It appears that the Nazi Party did win an election. However, they didn’t quite win a majority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_March_1933

    see also
    Lawrence Kaplan on July 5, 2011 at 5:34 pm
    mycroft: The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

    Canuck on July 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm
    [Lawrence]>The Nazis did NOT win a free election.

    Please see the following link. It appears that the Nazi Party did win an election. However, they didn’t quite win a majority.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_March_1933

    See also

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_federal_election,_November_1932

    where won more votes and more seats than any other single party in the elections.

  44. “Joseph Kaplan on July 5, 2011 01:52 pm:

    This article omits (a) the argument that capital punishment should not be used because innocent people will end up being executed and (b”

    Agree with Joeseph Kaplan

  45. Binyomin Eckstein:

    That injury was not self-inflicted in the sense being discussed – it’s far more like gerama. Unless you think that the hava amina was that it’s assur to walk through thorny bushes?

  46. Binyomin Eckstein

    שו”ת אגרות משה חושן משפט חלק ב סימן סו

    ויש להביא ראיה לשיטת הרמב”ם מהא דאמר בב”ק שם /דף צ”א/ ר”ח כד הוה מסגי ביני היזמי והגא מדלי להו למאניה אמר זה מעלה ארוכה וזה אינו מעלה ארוכה ואם כל חובל חייב איך היה מותר לו לילך ביני היזמי והגא בלא בגדים שיחבול בעצמו הא יעבור אאיסור חובל בעצמו ואף שאינו מתכוין הא היה פסיק רישיה דדוחק לומר דהיה באופן שלא היה פ”ר =פסיק רישא=, ולכן צריך לומר דהאיסור חובל הוא רק דרך נציון וכיון שהיה הליכתו לצורך הרי אין זה דרך נציון וליכא האיסור.

  47. Moshe above writes: “(The modesty wound story) simply makes no sense on so many levels.”

    I was thinking that the parents could easily say, “Oh, you have a wound you want to cover? Then wear pants!” How could the girl escape that argument?

  48. “mycroft on July 5, 2011 at 10:04 pm
    “Joseph Kaplan on July 5, 2011 01:52 pm:

    This article omits (a) the argument that capital punishment should not be used because innocent people will end up being executed and (b”

    Agree with Joeseph Kaplan”

    Should have mentioned quote from Joseph Kaplan is not from Hirhurim but from the source where Gil took the item.
    The recent case in Florida is an example of the dangers of capital punishment-prosecution was pushing capital punishment against a woman who acted terribly-but for whatever reason no physical evidence of murder. The inflamation of hatred against an unpopular defendant which DAs,US Attorneys are perfectly capable of doing-they are political animals is bad enough-but capital punishment prevents any chance of rectifying the mistake.
    BTW politics is obvious in non capital cases as well-see eg a “tax fraud” case against an unpopular religious leader which was pushed by a then up and coming politically inclined US attorney despite the objection of the top civil servants in the Dept of Justice who din’t believe there was a crime. The US attorney was so adamant at getting a conviction for his collection of hides that he succesfully succeeded in preventing a bench trial that the defense wanted-it went to the local Ct of Appeals-was a jury a prosecution right. BTW many states give a defendant an absolute right to a bench trial. Of course, in this case the prosecution wanted a jury trial becasue the defendant represented an unpopular religion, spoke a foreign language etc.
    There can be dangerous results of misuse of power-especially by those who want to get ahead.
    Sadly there even appears to be IMHO evidence that judges in televised trials are looking forward to the potential of future TV deals while dealing with the high profile cases.

  49. “Three weeks ago, Rabbi Zilberstein, the the son-in-law of prominent Rabbi Yosef Elyashiv”
    If I didn’t see this source I would guess that this is a satire of Yahadus or an anti semitic tract. Modesty wounds-this has to be a satire-no ethical person couod advocate such a position.

  50. My assumption on the famous wound story is that the rabbi was asked whether doing so is assur and he responded that because there is a distinct purpose it does not constitute chavalah. Not a bad answer.

  51. Does that mean that you wouldn’t have thought to advise against it? Sometimes it’s not too hard to work out that there’s a subtext to a shaila which requires the rabbi to go beyond answering a legal question. If this story is true, then it is certainly one of them.

  52. Joseph Kaplan

    “My assumption on the famous wound story is that the rabbi was asked whether doing so is assur and he responded that because there is a distinct purpose it does not constitute chavalah. Not a bad answer.”

    Assuming your technical halachic analysis is correct, do you really think he should have answered the way he did (assuming the story is true)? Shouldn’t he have noted he was giving a technical halachic answer but that the young woman should not injure herself? Indeed, by saying if she did it her blood would atone for those who sinned wasn’t he encouraging her to do that? Do you think a responsible religious leader should encourage a young woman to do such a thing? Would you ask a sensitive shayla that required judgment in addition to halachic knowledge of a rabbi who would encourage young women to do such things?

    “Not a bad answer”?!?!? It’s a TERRIBLE answer and I’m simply amazed you think it’s a good one.

  53. Re: Two bills to help women attain a ‘get’

    I did not undertstand:

    “According to Kahana-Dror, one in every five women seeking a divorce could be considered “chained.” She said that between 1995-2008, 40,000 divorce files were opened that were not ruled upon.”

    Does this mean there were 200,000 (Jewish) divorces filed between 1995 and 2008, of which 40,000 were never adjudicated or withdrawn?

  54. gil – “My assumption on the famous wound story is that the rabbi was asked whether doing so is assur and he responded that because there is a distinct purpose it does not constitute chavalah. Not a bad answer.”

    please elaborate. does it manke a difference that tzinus is relative or subjective (how long is long enough in a skirt)

  55. Larry Lennhoff

    Gil

    If a woman asked whether it was ok to use milk for the 4 cups during the seder, would ‘yes’ be ‘not a bad answer’?

  56. Obviously, whether to include other information or questions as part of an answer depend on the specific cirucmstances *which none of us know*.

  57. Lawrence Kaplan

    Mycroft and Canuck: The Nazi party won 37% of the vote in July 1932, then declined to 32% in November. The general feeling was that they had shot their bolt. Hitler became chancellor on Jan. 31. 1933 as a result of an internal Conservative highly unconstitional maneuvering. See Henry Turner’s monograph on the subject. The election of March, 1933, where the Nazi party received 44% of votes, was, as the wikipdia article you cited indicates, marred by violence and intimidation. To refer to it as a “free” election is dubious. Even so, the Nazis were disappointed by the outcome.

  58. “Obviously, whether to include other information or questions as part of an answer depend on the specific cirucmstances *which none of us know*.”

    It’s not at all “obvious” to me. What more do you want to know? We know, according to the article (and our discussion is based on the reporting in the article), that it was a real, not theoretical, question asked by a women’s seminary about one of their students. What “specific circumstances” would make it appropriate for the person answering the question not to add a caution to the effect that while it might not be technically assur, the seminary should do what it can to ensure that the young woman *not* wound herself? I can’t think of any.

  59. WRT to the article about wounding:

    1. One has to take such an article with more than a grain of salt. We do not know the background — how much efforts there were to work with the girl’s parents, for example. Nor are we told any qualifications the Rov may have given in his psak. Nor are we told what the parents are really demanding she do or not do — are we talking about chumras, or me ikkar ha din? Do they want her to walk around in a mini-skirt? A bathing suit?

    2. Acc. to the article, the girl’s parents have put her in a very difficult position. No matter what she does, she has to violate some Torah law. So the issue here is not what is ideal, but which is the lesser evil. (As. R. Ovadyah Yosef once began a teshuva, the question is not which is better, but which is worse. They are both bad.)

    3. The “wounding” here is not being done for its own sake, but simply as an excuse for her parents to allow her to wear a longer skirt. One can accomplish this with a very minimal wound. Most women probably do worse on occassion (albeit accidentally) when they shave their legs. Minor wounds are routinely inflicted for drawing blood or for piercing ears, no one seems to ever raise a fuss about those.

    4. The issue here, then, is should she dress in an inappropriate manner and thereby likely violate das Moshe and almost certainly violate das Yehudis, or should she make a minor would on her legs (she can probably do so while shaving and pretend they were accidental) to get her parents off her back.

    So, given the limited context one can glean from the article, I don’t understand what the fuss is about. Why is it such an obvious point that it is preferable for the girl to walk around like a pertuzah than inflict a couple of minor wounds on her legs that she might have done anyway (by accident) when shaving?

  60. Do you think a responsible religious leader should encourage a young woman to do such a thing? Would you ask a sensitive shayla that required judgment in addition to halachic knowledge of a rabbi who would encourage young women to do such things?

    The rabbi did not “encourage” her to do anything. She asked the question, why boils down to: the only way her parents will allow here to dress properly is by inflicting a wound on herself, which is then an excuse to cover up. What should she do?

  61. Just to round out my thoughts, to those for whom R. Zilber’s psak is so obviously wrong, can you explain why piercing ears is permitted? If the young girl had asked, “May I get my ear pierced, even though that involves wounding and even often draws blood,” the answer almost certainly would be yes.

    Why is that permitted but minor wounding to allow her to dress like a proper bas Yisroel is not?

  62. Joseph Kaplan

    “The rabbi did not “encourage” her to do anything.”

    I guess we have different understandings of “encourage.” See: ” In his reply, the rabbi commended the student’s initiative, saying “the blood from the self-inflicted wound will atone for the people of Israel,” adding that the coordinator should allow the student to commit the act.” To me, when a rabbi says that to a young woman, it’s encouraging.

    Shaving nicks? You put on a band-aid, not a ;long skirt. And, of course, unlike a shaving nick or earings, which are one time matters, this has to keep on going until the woman is no longer under her parents control.

    And that’s really the point. I remember hearing rabbis involved in kiruv speaking about giving advice to young adults about how to handle Shabbat and kashrut if their parents were opposed to their becoming religious. And with all the advice (e.g.,become a vegetarian) there was one bottom line; don’t worry, in a few years you’ll be an adult and you’ll be able to make your own decisions. For now, do the best you can.

    There’s no question that the young woman has been, quite unfairly, put into a very difficult situation by her parents. The rabbi’s solution, though, was incredibly irresponsible. Notwithstanding Tal’s analysis, I’m still amazed that Gil thought it “was not a bad answer,” unless he meant it wasn’t bad, it was terrible.

  63. A) His name is R. Zilberstein.

    B) Just want to point out that I’m not at all surprised to see you trying to defend this without even reinterpreting it.

    C) There is no “me’ikar hadin”. There is no din in the first place. You can’t have a chumra without an actual Halakha in the first place – and there is no Halakha in the first place. All you have are vague ideas that “one shouldn’t dress too revealingly” – that’s not something you can make chumrot and kulot out of!

    D) AGAIN THERE IS NO TORAH LAW THAT SHE’S VIOLATING. There is a Halakhic ideal that she’s not living up to. Is that important? Yes. But that’s NOT of the same priority as an actual Halakha, originally found in the Gemara.

    E) How do YOU know that the wounding isn’t done “for it’s own sake”? You’re clearly oblivious to the psychological issues prevalent among teenagers. There was a story in the NYT about frum girls dealing with eating disorders. How did it work? They used fasting as a means to legitimize their anorexia. What on Earth makes you think that isn’t a realistic possibility here? If not exactly what’s happening?

    F) Oh boy, great spin. I can do it too. “The issue here is whether she should let her ankles show a little bit, or violate the issur d’oraita of chavala”. And guess what? Mine is a tad more accurate than yours, despite it being spin.

    G) Oh right, because if a teenager asked you “what’s a more effective way to commit suicide, throwing myself off a building, or overdosing on sleep medication” you’d just answer the question, without thinking about the consequences? Actually judging by your reaction so far, maybe you would.

    Face it Tal. There is no defense for this story as it is. If you want to defend R. Zilberstein, you’re going to need to assume that the story did not happen as it’s reported, like everyone else here is doing.

  64. Joseph Kaplan:

    I think Gil was saying that, insofar as the incident actually happened, the question was asked, and R. Zilberstein responded that “it’s not chavala”. From there, any other important details were filtered out and the rest of the story was filled in by the reporters. We don’t know what other questions he asked, and what answers he received to those questions, etc.

    My take is that it’s just total fabrication, that the girl had a cutting problem, and that she needed to make something up to justify scars and such to get a shidduch.

  65. Jon: What do you think the words “Das Moshe” mean?

    Further, there is no indication in the article that she is doing what she proposes to do based on psychological problems. Yes, some teenagers do that, no indication she is one of them. Nor is there any indication the girl is suicidal.

    Why do you think your “spin” is more accurate? Do you have some inside information that we do not? You have no idea either how severe the wounds would be, nor how exactly the parents expected the girls to dress (or not).

  66. I think Gil was saying that, insofar as the incident actually happened, the question was asked, and R. Zilberstein responded that “it’s not chavala”. From there, any other important details were filtered out and the rest of the story was filled in by the reporters. We don’t know what other questions he asked, and what answers he received to those questions, etc.

    I think I made the same point in the first part of one post.

    My take is that it’s just total fabrication, that the girl had a cutting problem, and that she needed to make something up to justify scars and such to get a shidduch

    This is sheer speculation on your part. Might be true, might not.

  67. Do we have the text and circumstances of the question and answer? No. All we have is a media report in an an article whose sole point is to make rabbis look foolish. I don’t see how we are anything but obligated to judge the rabbi favorably.

    I leave it to other blogs to condemn based on media reports and then (hopefully) apologize later when the reports turn out to be untrue.

  68. Jon_Brooklyn on July 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    B) Just want to point out that I’m not at all surprised to see you trying to defend this without even reinterpreting it

    Except later on in the post you accuse me of spin — i.e. reinterpreting it. So you cannot have it both ways.

    What I gave was one possible version of the facts which fits the story and which is defensible. That is called being dan le kaf zechus. As I said at the beginning, there is a lot we do not know about the facts.

  69. Last post was mine.

    Shaving nicks? You put on a band-aid, not a ;long skirt.

    YOU wouldn’t. Many young ladies would.

    And, of course, unlike a shaving nick or earings, which are one time matters, this has to keep on going until the woman is no longer under her parents control.

    And that’s really the point. I remember hearing rabbis involved in kiruv speaking about giving advice to young adults about how to handle Shabbat and kashrut if their parents were opposed to their becoming religious. And with all the advice (e.g.,become a vegetarian) there was one bottom line; don’t worry, in a few years you’ll be an adult and you’ll be able to make your own decisions. For now, do the best you can.

    Apparently R. Silberstein has a different view.

  70. Lawrence Kaplan: Can you point to any evidence that the 1933 federal election in Germany was stolen? If not, your statement that the election was “unfair” or “unfree” is just your own subjective opinion based on a natural emotional revulsion toward the Nazis. By implying that the Nazis stole their election, you let the Germans off to easily.

    It’s an objective fact that a plurality of Germans in that election voted for National Socialist candidates, under the rules of the Weimar Republic – a liberal democracy, until the Enabling Act was passed, making Hitler dictator. Yes, the Nazis used intimidation and violence to influence the election (and turned out to be monsters), but so do did Communist thugs and others.

  71. The Forward’s Sisterhood blog tried to verify the story, couldn’t, and is now skeptical that it ever happened.

    http://blogs.forward.com/sisterhood-blog/139452/

    “But when I went to verify this story and get commentary on it, some funny things happened…

    If the story is true — and it admittedly sounds like the kind of story you can’t make up — then this is a shame. I would have liked to use this column as an opportunity to talk about body image among Orthodox women and girls, about how the issue of self-mutilation needs to be addressed and about how far Orthodox culture is from understanding the impact of body control on girls’ inner lives. But instead, this story has made me wonder about the knee-jerk hatred of religion in the media.”

  72. One point made in a comment to the Forward article seemed on the ball: the girl is in a religious seminary with a dress code. How is it that the parents let her attend but then object to her complying with its rules? That alone raises questions about what is really happening.

  73. Well, one wonders how much research Elana Maryles Sztokman did either. I easily found the author’s on Facebook (and elsewhere on the web). It turns out he studied at Michlelet Lifshitz and his Wall is publicly readable. Did she (or anyone else) try to e-mail him?

  74. he studied at Michlelet Lifshitz

    he? I think we have some pronoun confusion here. (Or do men now study at a Michlelet?)

  75. I guess men now study at a “Michlelet.”

  76. IH, try rereading Sztokamn wrote. She had no trouble finding the author, she had trouble getting any meaningful response:

    So I did what any good reporter would do. I went to try and verify the source. I tried several avenues to reach the rabbi or people who know him but was unable to gain access. Since Galahar is the only one who had this story, I went to him for some details. I asked him about the academy and the girl but he said he could not share any details. I respect the journalistic ethics, but I needed something, even basic information about how he knows this to be true. All he kept saying was, “Sorry, I can’t help you.”

  77. IH, she says she corresponded with Galahar but he did not provide any additional details.

  78. Tal — To clarify, I was referring to the inference people are drawing that this is an example of the secular media having an anti-religious bias.

    Even if Galahar was not cooperative in regard to the incident, Sztokman could have addressed the issue of credibility of the author.

  79. IH, did you even read Elana Maryles Sztokman’s Forward blog piece linked by R’ Gil?

    >“I spoke to two different Orthodox rabbis who are known for working professionally with Orthodox girls who suffer from body-issue problems, eating disorders and the like….Both rabbis, unbeknownst to one another, replied that they did not believe that this story is true…

    “….Since Galahar is the only one who had this story, I went to him for some details. I asked him about the academy and the girl but he said he could not share any details. I respect the journalistic ethics, but I needed something, even basic information about how he knows this to be true. All he kept saying was, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.’

    “His article, tellingly, does not contain any response from Rabbi Silberstein, anyone close to him, or anyone in the academy….”

  80. >“Even if Galahar was not cooperative in regard to the incident, Sztokman could have addressed the issue of credibility of the author.”

    She did. The author declined to provide information that would support an assumption of credibility.

  81. IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm:
    “Even if Galahar was not cooperative in regard to the incident, Sztokman could have addressed the issue of credibility of the author.”

    She did. The author declined to provide information that would support an assumption of credibility.

  82. STBO — Yep. See IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    “So I did what any good reporter would do. I went to try and verify the source. I tried several avenues to reach the rabbi or people who know him but was unable to gain access. Since Galahar is the only one who had this story, I went to him for some details.”

    But, since you’re such a close reader, did you not also wonder why she did not try to contact Rabbi Silberstein? Is he not a source?

  83. And, again, a reminder this story was published (in Hebrew) 3 weeks ago on 15 June: http://ladaat.net/forum/index.php?topic=57418.0

  84. Yehoshua Friedman

    Michlala in Hebrew means college. Lifshitz is an academic teachers’ college with separate campuses for male and female students.

  85. IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm:
    “But, since you’re such a close reader, did you not also wonder why she did not try to contact Rabbi Silberstein? Is he not a source?”

    IH, please read the excerpt you just cited:

    >““So I did what any good reporter would do. I went to try and verify the source. I tried several avenues to reach the rabbi or people who know him but was unable to gain access. Since Galahar is the only one who had this story, I went to him for some details.””

  86. STBO — so, neither side would provide Sztokman with information. And nor did she see fit to cover the author’s credentials either.

    So her piece seems pretty worthless to me vis a vis determining the veracity of this story.

    Incidentally, note the source I provided for the Hebrew story: a Charedi portal.

  87. Joseph Kaplan

    “I leave it to other blogs to condemn based on media reports and then (hopefully) apologize later when the reports turn out to be untrue.

    Most of the commentors said they thought the story was not true and, in fact, that’s what I thought (hoped) as well. But you didn’t say yoy thought it was false; you defended the “pesak” AS IF IT WERE TRUE. It was to that defense that I responded. I thought, and still think, it is terribly sad that someone like you could offer such a defense.

  88. IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:40 pm:
    “And, again, a reminder this story was published (in Hebrew) 3 weeks ago on 15 June: http://ladaat.net/forum/index.php?topic=57418.0

    Yes, published by the same author in the Hebrew edition of the same newspaper.

  89. I have no dog in this race, but from the few minutes of amateur lookups I did, it seems the reporter, Ari Galahar is a legitimate observer of the charedi world who seems to have credibility in that world and has a dati background.

    Further, there seems to have been no reaction (nor denial) in the ~3 weeks between when the story ran in Hebrew on 15 June — including on a Charedi portal — and its publication in English on 4 July when the brouhaha started.

  90. Joseph Kaplan

    “And that’s really the point. I remember hearing rabbis involved in kiruv speaking about giving advice to young adults about how to handle Shabbat and kashrut if their parents were opposed to their becoming religious. And with all the advice (e.g.,become a vegetarian) there was one bottom line; don’t worry, in a few years you’ll be an adult and you’ll be able to make your own decisions. For now, do the best you can.

    Apparently R. Silberstein has a different view.”

    Apparently he does (if the story is true). Unfortunately, his view is irresponsible — telling someone who isn’t (a) an adult or (b) his child to cut herself! My God, to defend such advice. Just hope your child never receives such advice from a religious leader.

  91. IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm:
    “Incidentally, note the source I provided for the Hebrew story: a Charedi portal.”

    Please re-read the source you provided: It’s a copy-and-paste of the author’s very article in the Hebrew edition of the same secular newspaper.

  92. STBO — Yes, of course it is! I also posted the link on ynet yesterday, but it was broken. ladaat.net is a PORTAL; the piece is tagged with the source publication (mynet).

  93. At first I didn’t think that the cutting story could be true. I didn’t believe that R. Silerbstein could have said such a thing. But now that R. Gil defended it, I’m not so sure that its inconceivable that people could think that way.

  94. Apparently he does (if the story is true). Unfortunately, his view is irresponsible — telling someone who isn’t (a) an adult or (b) his child to cut herself! My God, to defend such advice. Just hope your child never receives such advice from a religious leader.

    BTW, do you know how old this child is? Suppose she is 17. Still a minor under secular law, but fully responsible for her actions under halakha.

  95. I defended it by assuming that there was a broader context we are missing. Perhaps my imagination is simply more active and I am able to consider that there exists a circumstance in which the response recorded was technically accurate but still entirely appropriate.

  96. Joseph Kaplan

    “Suppose she is 17.”

    Still entirely inappropriate.

  97. Just hope your child never receives such advice from a religious leader.

    I would never put my child in a situation of having to decide which is the lesser of two evils as this girl’s parents did. Curious how no one seems to have anything negative to say about them.

    BTW, Joseph Kaplan, suppose the child’s mother insisted she attend idol worshipping services. Would your opinion change then, or would your attitude still be “go along with whatever your parents say until you turn 18?”

  98. IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:49 pm
    “STBO — so, neither side would provide Sztokman with information. And nor did she see fit to cover the author’s credentials either.”

    What credentials? That he writes for a newspaper?

    (And you’re surprised that a prominent charedi rabbi would be unenthusiastic about being interviewed by a secular Jewish paper?)

    “So her piece seems pretty worthless to me vis a vis determining the veracity of this story.”

    The story may be true, but its writer apparently declined to provide information that would support that assumption.

    IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm:
    “I have no dog in this race, but from the few minutes of amateur lookups I did, it seems the reporter, Ari Galahar is a legitimate observer of the charedi world who seems to have credibility in that world and has a dati background.”

    “Legitimate” according to…. who? I’m not sure a writer’s socio-religious background is material to the authenticity of a story…

  99. Joseph Kaplan

    “I am able to consider that there exists a circumstance in which the response recorded was technically accurate but still entirely appropriate.”

    Like what? I wrote earlier: “What “specific circumstances” would make it appropriate for the person answering the question not to add a caution to the effect that while it might not be technically assur, the seminary should do what it can to ensure that the young woman *not* wound herself? I can’t think of any.” I still can’t think of any and you still have not provided any, using your “imagination” or not.

  100. I find the need people have to rationalize the cutting story to be fascinating. Like the “Torat ha’Melech” story, it appears to be a proxy for the broader issue of halacha and morality. But, stealing Gil’s line, perhaps my imagination is simply more active.

  101. IH on July 6, 2011 at 4:02 pm
    “STBO — Yes, of course it is! I also posted the link on ynet yesterday, but it was broken. ladaat.net is a PORTAL; the piece is tagged with the source publication (mynet).”

    So why did you above claim that the “source for the Hebrew story” is “a Charedi portal”?

    The “Charedi portal” wasn’t a “source” for anything. Nor did “the story run” on a “Charedi portal”. A user on the site’s message board copy-and-pasted the text of the article from the secular newspaper into a discussion thread that received all of….. two (2) responses. Such was the story’s “run”.

  102. STBO — frankly, I don’t care enough on this issue to argue with you. My thoughts remain as in IH on July 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm.

  103. “Hirhurim on July 6, 2011 at 4:15 pm
    I defended it by assuming that there was a broader context we are missing. Perhaps my imagination is simply more active and I am able to consider that there exists a circumstance in which the response recorded was technically accurate but still entirely appropriate.”

    could you expand on this on a halachik level. i have no problem if the story is not true (sad if it is) to use this opportunity to demonstrate halachik categories and lesser of two evils outcome. (i just would suggest not doing an academic exercise like this in israel on something like “rodef” and the prime minister- and showing it on youtube).

  104. “What “specific circumstances” would make it appropriate for the person answering the question not to add a caution to the effect that while it might not be technically assur, the seminary should do what it can to ensure that the young woman *not* wound herself? I can’t think of any.” I still can’t think of any and you still have not provided any, using your “imagination” or not.

    Let’s take a stab at it:

    1. Make sure the girl and her question are for real, preferably by interviewing her personally. Also interview whoever is at the seminary and make sure the girl is emotionally stable and this is not a sign of some deeper problem. If there is any question about this, then refer her to a psychologist.

    2. Make sure that all avenues of acceptable compromise with the parents have been explored and been exhausted. Meaning the shailo really is as presented: parents will not allow her to dress properly, unless she has the excuse of “I need to cover up the wound.” (As I noted above, given that she is in a religious seminary, I am really dubious about this one being true. Why are the parents sending her there in the first place?)

    3. Confirm that what the parents will agree to is truly out of bounds, and not simply rejecting a chumrah. (IOW, what the parents want is clearly a violation of halakha.)

    4. Make sure someone at the seminary (a responsible adult woman) is monitoring what she is actually doing on a constant basis.

    5. The wounding can be no more severe than a nick one would sustain while shaving and no more than a couple of such nicks in total at any one time.

    6. Try to avoid out and out lying to the parents, although the whole thing really is deceptive.

    As I said above, the whole thing is a “lesser of two evils” decision, not a situation I envy the girl for being in. I am not sure that even with the all of the above conditions I would have the same opinion as R. Zilberstein, but I certainly can understand where he is coming from.

  105. Joseph Kaplan

    “Curious how no one seems to have anything negative to say about them.”

    I think what they did was terrible and extremely bad parenting.

  106. Joseph Kaplan

    “BTW, Joseph Kaplan, suppose the child’s mother insisted she attend idol worshipping services.”

    Why didn’t you use as an example “insisted she kill an gentile child to use his blood for matzah”? We’re not talking about avodah zarah. We’re talking about tzniut and a teenage girl curring hereself.

  107. We’re not talking about avodah zarah. We’re talking about tzniut and a teenage girl curring hereself.

    So let me understand, you agree that in some circumstances the girl would have to suffer to follow the Torah, rather than submit to her parents evil? IOW, yehareig v’al yaavor?

    Let me quote you back to yourself: “My God, to defend such advice. Just hope your child never receives such advice from a religious leader.”

    As to your second point, yes I got it that it is a choice between “tzniut and a teenage girl cutting hereself,” although we do not know the severity of the transgression on either side. Nor do we know if the girl is emotionally stable or not. But assuming she is emotionally stable, and assuming that we dial up the severity on one side and dial it down on the other, why it is so obvious that no matter what one beats out the other. Is chavalah now yehareig v’al yaavor?

  108. Tal — if you’re going to take us down this track, could you briefly articulate what you believe is the minimum halachic requirement of attire to which a teenage girl must conform before the transgression is severe enough that any cutting herself is allowed, in your view?

  109. “Is chavalah now yehareig v’al yaavor?”

    Is dressing like a secular Israeli teenage girl yehareig v’al yaavor?

  110. IH: Thanks for reminding me why I determined never to reply to your posts. Almost waivered there.

  111. ruvie: could you expand on this on a halachik level

    You don’t need a halakhic level. Maybe the girl is clumsy and when she was younger she would fall down a lot and scrape her knees. She’s outgrown the clumsiness but wants to know if she’s now allowed to do it on purpose so she can claim to her parents that she needs to cover her knees so no one sees the scrapes.

    Or maybe she plays soccer and wants to know if she can play without shin guards so she gets bruises that she needs to cover.

    Maybe she has a cat who is very scratchy and she asked whether she can allow the cat to scratch her legs.

    I’m actually surprised that no one mentioned the second pesak in the article about the dog. It seems to be against an explicit Gemara.

  112. Joseph Kaplan

    “So let me understand, you agree that in some circumstances the girl would have to suffer to follow the Torah, rather than submit to her parents evil?”

    I never said she has to submit to her parents’ wishes. If the school told her to wear a long skirt she should do so. If her parents don’t like it they could send her to another school. If they didn’t want to do so and they punished her for wearing a long skirt, well, I’ll leave it to them (i.e., parents and child) to work that out. All of us who are parents have been in the situation of a child disobeying a parent’s instructions and we all grapple with that unpleasant situation, sometimes successfully and sometimes. Therefore, while I might, or might not, approve of some rabbi telling her “ignore what your parents told you; go ahead and wear the long skirt,” I think reasonable people can come to different conclusions about that situation.

    But that’s not what we’re talking about; that’s not the issue. What we are talking about is a rabbi saying, “go ahead and cut yourself so you can wear a long skirt.” I think such a pesak/advice is shameful and wrong and that reasonable people should not come to any conclusion other than it’s shameful and wrong.

  113. But that’s not what we’re talking about; that’s not the issue. What we are talking about is a rabbi saying, “go ahead and cut yourself so you can wear a long skirt.” I think such a pesak/advice is shameful and wrong and that reasonable people should not come to any conclusion other than it’s shameful and wrong.

    Reminds me of a story I was told about a certain Israeli rabbi. When he was on the first date with the woman who would later be his wife, he came to visit her in her native country. For the first time in his life he took the local train line as he took her to and from her home. As he was escorting her he realized that he and her were the only people in the car. In a panic over possibly violating yichud he attempted to force open the door of the train to leap out. At the time the train was elevated. He was unable to get the door open and the matter resolved itself at the next station.

    I have no idea whether the story is true. What really disturbed me that people viewed an attempt to jump from the train as laudatory. Myself, I’m not of the view that attempted suicide was the most appropriate reaction to what is possibly yichud. Maybe its just me.

  114. Joseph Kaplan

    “Maybe its just me.”

    It’s not. 🙂

  115. Indeed. My sense is that is Tal’s issue. He really does believe that dressing like a secular teenage Israeli girl is so serious an issue that he, in principle, accepts the self-harming option may be warranted al pi halacha.

  116. If one reads the Forward blog entry in its entirety, one is hard pressed to find any verification either therein or by the original source that R Zilberstein offered the purported halachic advice or even that a person present heard the same and provided the original source with any credible details.

  117. Rafael Araujo

    See Tal. The problem is when you don’t respond to IH is that he puts words in your mouth.

    IH – what are minimal halachic standards for tzinus dress? I await your direct response.

  118. See Tal. The problem is when you don’t respond to IH is that he puts words in your mouth.

    Except that he also does that when you do respond to him. So it’s a no win situation. I find that the best thing is to ignore those who engage in dishonest tactics. (For a good example, see above posts re the Forward article. IH made some ridiculous criticism about the author, Ms. Sztokman, and no less than four posters called him on it.)

  119. Rafael — As far as I can tell, there are no clear answers as to the minimum halachic standards for tzinus dress for men or women. Different communties have different standards, modulated by weather and societal norms.

    If someone’s norm is too dress in the middle of summer in Israel as if they were living in Poland, I have no issue. But, I’d rather sit/stand next to the person attired for Israeli weather 🙂

    For hats, though, I do like the Judenhut the most and am waiting for the comeback.

  120. Now your turn: what are minimal halachic standards for tzinus dress? I await your direct response.

  121. Tal — I do not believe it is dishonest to question a text that is being used in defense of a proposition. I am also surprised to hear such an accusation from a lawyer.

    Further, my questions of 5:02pm was entirely kosher as well. You have been engaging in an argument without defining your terms — I asked that you do so. Similarly, the question of 5:08pm was a perfectly legimate followup the the question you posed.

    Whether you choose to engage me or not, is your problem, but once you post something it is open to question/comment.

  122. Tal: before I respond in full, it’s worth noting that Ms. Sztokman is definitely not on your side here.

  123. Tal: before I respond in full, it’s worth noting that Ms. Sztokman is definitely not on your side here

    I read her article, and she clearly has a very different POV than mine. But both of us are very dubious about the facts of the reported article. I suppose the fact that two people from opposite viewpoints are both dubious should give one pause about giving it too much credence.

  124. Isn’t the minimum halachic requirement for women to dress with the elbows and knees just covered, and their torso covered to just up to their clavicle? And would men be okay with just a loincloth (no joke)?

  125. Anonymous ben Anonymous

    Listen to the tape here.
    http://menachemmendel.net/blog/

  126. I was about to post that. Well actually here’s the link to the tape:

    http://menachemmendel.net/blog/2011/07/06/rabbi-zilberstein-on-girl-cutting-herself/

    This is extremely upsetting. Additionally, not a single person here who posted on this was correct, though Tal wound up being closest.

    Well, Haredism has gone completely off the deep end. It’s that simple. Even being dan l’kaf zchut forces me to that conclusion.

  127. Wait let me clarify that: Tal was the closest in determining what R. Zilberstein actually said. He was certainly not correct with his arguments.

  128. Admittedly, I did not have the stomach to listen to the whole recording now — I’ll save it for tomorrow morning. That caveat said:

    From the introduction I understood this girl was wearing clothes appropriate enough for the school she was in, but as she was becoming stricter, she was demanding her parents buy her new clothing that was more strict and it was that request her mother denied. So, this is not a girl who was dressing in an untziusnik way who was being denied dressing tziusnik’ly; rather it sounds like it was a chumra too far for her parents consent.

    Did I misunderstand?

  129. Gil – I was expecting a serious discussion on the topic tzinut – a subjective matter or eye of the beholder. Category analysis etc. We all know that tzinut changes over time ( if you think otherwise please explain). We also know it many circumstances can apply self inflicted wounds – so context is critical.

    Now that we know the story is true – a real discussion should ensue on the Halacha and what is operative in this case.
    http://menachemmendel.net/blog/2011/07/06/rabbi-zilberstein-on-girl-cutting-herself/

  130. Joseph Kaplan

    Jon; while my Hebrew is good enough to understand the thrust of the remarks, it is not good enough to get all the nuances. A brief summary would be helpful. Thanks.

  131. Jon – why are you surprise? It’s happening in israel not the US.

  132. From the introduction I understood this girl was wearing clothes appropriate enough for the school she was in, but as she was becoming stricter, she was demanding her parents buy her new clothing that was more strict and it was that request her mother denied. So, this is not a girl who was dressing in an untziusnik way who was being denied dressing tziusnik’ly; rather it sounds like it was a chumra too far for her parents consent.

    Not what I understood at all. Mother said she absolutely refused to buy her any clothes worn by the religious Jewish women.

  133. How about some factual background, as opposed to speculation? without commenting on the link to the shiur in question, I think that many of us would be interested in the parents background, hashkafa, etc, and in the mother’s level of observance, in particular.

  134. FWIW, there is at least one separate gender MO/RZ oriented girls’ high school in the NY area whose principal, among her many accomplishments, is well known for storing and dispensing clothes in a very dignified and private to students whose attire does not meet the school’s dress code.

  135. What I found most appalling about the tape is that it makes it seems like this was the actual shailo — the other Rov related the story in a few sentences, and he paskened. Given the great sensitivity of what is at stake, that is not the way to pasken such a shailo, IMHO.

    Also, his reasoning is very strange — his only proof is a story about how Rav Yosef blinded himself. Not how one would expect such a shailo to be determined.

    Both speakers spend a great amount of time talking about sacrifices made historically by Jews for their religion, including the Rav Yosef story. It seems like the main point of the talk was not the shailo itself but to inspire the audience about the girl’s dedication to Torah.

    To be dan le kaf zechus, I would have to assume that the real shailo and psak both took place off stage (so to speak), with some of the qualifications I outline above. The relating of the story to the audience was done only to inspire and was not meant as a serious halakhic decision.

  136. Sure.

    First person speaking relates an important question that truly shocked him. A girl began being a BT, but the more she BT’ed, the more her parents were opposed. Eventually she tried to buy more tznius clothes, her parents refused to buy her clothes worn “by the religious”. She went to her teacher/principal, said she couldn’t take it anymore, and suggested cutting herself on the legs so that her parents would agree to let her cover her legs to hide the wounds. What should the response being?

    R. Zilberstein responds that the Ran in Kiddushin says that there’s an Agada, which R. Zilberstein says is one of the Midrashim, that relates that Rav Yosef blinded himself, because he couldn’t help but look outside his “daled amos”. The Ran in Nedarim in the fourth perek actually says that there are to things a person doesn’t have “in his own reshus”: his eyes and ears. R. Zilberstein goes on to quote directly. Additionally, she’s a student of the Nevi’im, as well as of R. Yosef, who cut their fingers rather than play the Shirei HaNevi’im for Nevuchadnezar, and God swore they’d all make it back to Israel after 70 years.

    R. Zilberstein then tells a Baal Shem Tov story. He reached Turkey. He went around Turkey, and saw a lot of Tana’im, and saw something involving tznius that I can’t make out on the recording. Thus he determined that the people in this town were the descendents of the Tana’im.

    Bottom line: it’s definitely chavala, but it’s obviously mutar to do.

    Another story: there was a woman in Russia who had to go to school and write. So she cut herself, and said “I’m cut, I have to go”, and they let her go.

    Everyone should publicize the story of this girl all over the place.

    ___

    What’s worth noting is that R. Zilberstein even acknowledges that it’s definitely chavala, and makes pretty huge leaps from the cases he draws proof from (even the story of R. Yosef, which is an Aggada and probably an exaggeration, he did it to avoid the aveira of lo taturu, whereas this girl has no such aveira going on). In fact it’s entirely possible that this girl never existed in the first place. But this is extremely disappointing confirmation for me that Haredism has so “fetishized” cultural norms like tzniut that they unilaterally decided that they’re of higher priority than Halakha. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tipping point. When the Halakha can no longer reign in their extremism, there’s no telling what they’ll do.

  137. Tal: I agree. The source of this tape is a fundraiser for Lev L’Achim. At such fundraisers, realistically, the point is inspiration rather than substance. But it doesn’t matter – R. Zilberstein is certainly representing this as Halakha, and he’s telling people to go spread this story as a positive one.

  138. Jon from Brooklyn wrote:

    “In fact it’s entirely possible that this girl never existed in the first place. But this is extremely disappointing confirmation for me that Haredism has so “fetishized” cultural norms like tzniut that they unilaterally decided that they’re of higher priority than Halakha. As far as I’m concerned, that’s a tipping point. When the Halakha can no longer reign in their extremism, there’s no telling what they’ll do”

    As to the first sentence in the quoted post, WADR-proof please? Furthermore, I would hope that you are not contending that Tznius is a cultural norm, as opposed to Halachic norms, which may vary based on what is appropriate from community but which do have baseline objective norms. IOW, what is appropriate in a MO community either in the US or Israel would not be so in an American Charedi community, which in turn would not necessairly be seen as appropriate either in a Livishe or Chasidishe community in Isarel.

  139. Umm does the scenario seem like there could be a universe in which it were the case? There’s my proof. If you want me to prove that it is the case, I can’t help you, because I don’t know that it’s the case, I only know that it’s possible. If you want to tell me you think it’s impossible, WADR-proof please?

    Yes I am contending that tzniut is a cultural norm. That does not mean it is not meaningless, the way say a black hat is. It’s the embodiment of a Halakhic ideal, the same way aesceticism, on some views, is a Halakhic ideal, albeit a disputed one – whereas tzniut is not disputed. But even you would agree that the specific length of a skirt is not a matter of Halakha the way the issur d’oraita of chavala is.

  140. What am I not getting here? The case, if true, is a highly sensitive issue to be sure. But isn’t the answer to get someone else, like the seminary itself, to buy the girl a couple of skirts that she can wear, perhaps even only out of sight of her parents? Why the jump to the drastic, more “mesiras-nefesh-dik” response of cutting oneself? Where is there ever in halacha a dictum to resort to the most drastic response first?

    It boggles the mind.

  141. When your job is to inspire a bunch of donors to sacrifice their $$$ for an organization, there actually is such a dictum :-p

  142. Jon wrote:

    “Yes I am contending that tzniut is a cultural norm. That does not mean it is not meaningless, the way say a black hat is. It’s the embodiment of a Halakhic ideal, the same way aesceticism, on some views, is a Halakhic ideal, albeit a disputed one – whereas tzniut is not disputed. But even you would agree that the specific length of a skirt is not a matter of Halakha the way the issur d’oraita of chavala is”

    Jon-can you provide us with baseline definitions from your perspective as received from your Baalei Mesorah of Ervah, Shok, Kol She Bisha, Das Moshe and Das Yehudis or do you view the same as merely a “Halachic ideal” etc, ? Viewing Halacha solely as a “halachic ideal” without accepting the same as governing one’s life IMO sounds as if you passing judgment on which halachos make sense and which don’t from your POV. FWIW, there is a well known dispute between the CI and the MB as what Shok means and when a girl under Bas Mitzvah is obligated to adhere to the same.

  143. The story told starts with “mishtatefet be’echad ha’midrashot” meaning that before the story she is attending a religious school (of theirs, presumably); “yafeh me’od mitkadement” she’s advancing well; but, the more “he mitchazeket” her parents become more “anti”. The girl then wants to go out buy new clothes, “yoter tznuim” at which point her mother refuses to buy such clothes.

    There is never a comment that the clothes she is wearing are not “tznuim”; nor is there any comment that the clothes she is wearing are not appropriate for the school — meaning that her parents agreed to send her to a religious school but not to wear its attire. Only that when she wants to buy new clothing that is *more* tzniusdik, of her own volition, her parents refuse.

  144. Steve: first, I’m going to react quite bluntly: when did I say I didn’t view Halakha as governing my life? And why should I have to defend my acceptance of Halakha to you? Please refrain from such offensive insinuations in the future.

    Secondly, each of those specific topics has its own Halakhic genealogy. For example, “Kol Isha” is not its own topic, but an outgrowth of Erva (which you know, and purposely truncated in your rendering thereof). Dat Moshe and Dat Yehudit – well if you can find me some indication of their recognition any earlier than the 15th century – or really, earlier than the 6th century – I’ll acknowledge their status as real Halakhic concepts like chavala is. Shok I’ll admit I don’t know enough about, though I am aware of the mahloket you cite – I never said Halakhic authorities cannot make pronouncements regarding the proper implementation of these ideals. And of course Erva is a well established concept. But the bottom line is that none of them have sources in the Torah, nor are they Rabbinic expansions of Halakhot that are rooted in the Torah, and finally, none of them are parametrized within the Mishna or Gemara.

    So the bottom line: to a certain extent we’re arguing about word-choice. You’re using the word Halakha more broadly than I am. That’s fine – I never said Halakhic ideals were unimportant, or that they were not supposed to govern one’s life. My view is that we’re simply meant to have more flexibility implementing them than, say, avoiding Melakha on Shabbat.

    But the fact remains that there is no way in which prioritizing modest dress over chavala makes sense. Indeed, you described it better than I could: it constitutes “passing judgment on which halachos make sense and which don’t from your POV.”

  145. IH earlier I thought the recording was too vague to judge, but now I think you’re corect.

  146. Oh and I forgot that you did think the story was true as reported. So you get credit for that as well.

  147. Jon: Thanks.

  148. Jon wrote in part:

    ” first, I’m going to react quite bluntly: when did I say I didn’t view Halakha as governing my life? And why should I have to defend my acceptance of Halakha to you? Please refrain from such offensive insinuations in the future.

    Secondly, each of those specific topics has its own Halakhic genealogy. For example, “Kol Isha” is not its own topic, but an outgrowth of Erva (which you know, and purposely truncated in your rendering thereof). Dat Moshe and Dat Yehudit – well if you can find me some indication of their recognition any earlier than the 15th century – or really, earlier than the 6th century ”

    First of all the Talmud discusses Revah, Shok, Kol, and the Mishnah discusses Das Moshe and Das Yehudis-none was discovered post Talmudially, but rather explained and discussed thereafter by the Rishonim. WADR, use of the term “Halachic ideal” strikes me as if Halacha is some sort of messianic or otherwordly goal or destination, as opposed to how a Jew lives his or her life now.
    You used the term asceticsm-yet there are numerous areas in Halacha, especially when it concerns a Halacha Min HaTorah, where we are encouraged to practice stringencies well beyond MeIlar HaDin, and many others where Chumros were voluntarily accepted and became part of Halachic practice-as opposed to somevaguely defined concept of a “Halachic ideal”.

  149. IH provided the following and his commentary:

    “The story told starts with “mishtatefet be’echad ha’midrashot” meaning that before the story she is attending a religious school (of theirs, presumably); “yafeh me’od mitkadement” she’s advancing well; but, the more “he mitchazeket” her parents become more “anti”. The girl then wants to go out buy new clothes, “yoter tznuim” at which point her mother refuses to buy such clothes.

    There is never a comment that the clothes she is wearing are not “tznuim”; nor is there any comment that the clothes she is wearing are not appropriate for the school — meaning that her parents agreed to send her to a religious school but not to wear its attire. Only that when she wants to buy new clothing that is *more* tzniusdik, of her own volition, her parents refuse”

    Two simple comments-of course the school could have provided her with more Tznisdik clothing. However, the parents could have been also more tolerant and simply enabled her to comply with the dress code. There is nothing in the above quote that implies that the parents were at all observant, but rather seemed like parents who sought a religious school, even a Charedi sponsored school, as an alternative to Mamlachti schools. The story of parents not responding positively to a child’s becoming a BT or how both children and parents react and interact in such a setting is worthy of a serious discussion, but hardly a new issue.

  150. As we learned on July 4th from Gateshead Musmach R. Belovski:

    “Although we no longer have the vow of the nazir, its principles are certainly germane today. Stringencies – in Hebrew, חומרות – are very much in vogue in the religious world. While in the right circumstances, the implementation of carefully-selected stringencies can stimulate genuine spiritual growth, it is regrettably common for them to [be] little more than a type of destructive halachic one-upmanship. The passage of the nazir provides a stark lesson – one must always question one’s motivation when adopting voluntary religious responsibilities. The Torah requires us to develop the self-awareness needed to distinguish between a genuine desire for spirituality and ‘keeping up with the Cohens’.”

    http://www.rabbibelovski.co.uk/sermon-notes-030611-naso

  151. “However, the parents could have been also more tolerant and simply enabled her to comply with the dress code.’

    The issue is not how the parents are acting (although I already expressed my opinion about that). The main issue is how the rabbis are acting. Some have defended them; e.g., “not a bad answer.” Others have excoriated them. Now that we know its true and have the tape, what do you think?

  152. “However, the parents could have been also more tolerant and simply enabled her to comply with the dress code.”

    Clearly illustrates you missed the point.

  153. How much does the Orthodox clergy ever believe in dina malchutsa dina?

  154. “Col. Eran Niv, Commander of the IDF’s officers’ training school, Bahad 1, has ordered a book by Rav Zalman Melamed of Beit El removed from the base’s study hall (beit midrash) library. The reason: the book, “Some Ask” (“Yesh Shoalim”) contains a determination that IDF soldiers should refuse any order to evict Jewish communities.”

    No army can tolerate material advocating refusal of following orders.

  155. “see as ‘detrimental’ initiative

    Hassan Shaalan Published: 07.06.11, 00:33 / Israel News
    share

    The Arab sector in Israel is up in arms over the proposed plan to declare Sunday as an additional day of rest, saying that the initiative would hurt Muslims who pray in Mosques on Fridays, as well as cause it financial damage.

    According to the proposal, Saturday and Sunday will be official days of rest while Friday will become a half day, work-wise”

    The proposal would decrease Israeli work hours and be difficult for many working frum Jews on Fridays-especially during winter when Shabbos at least with Jerusalem minhag can start as early as 4PM

  156. “Author of ‘Torat Hamelech’ speaks out”

    Not everything need be discussed-nothing gained.

  157. This link may be of interest to some readers. It is broadly relevant to many threads here and features the work of frequent commenter Moshe Shoshan

  158. Why so much bold typeface?

  159. The story told starts with “mishtatefet be’echad ha’midrashot” meaning that before the story she is attending a religious school (of theirs, presumably); “yafeh me’od mitkadement” she’s advancing well; but, the more “he mitchazeket” her parents become more “anti”. The girl then wants to go out buy new clothes, “yoter tznuim” at which point her mother refuses to buy such clothes

    I think we are all making a basic mistake about the facts, based on the English translation of the original article. As far as I can tell from a review of the internet, a “Midrasha” run by Lev L’Achim is not a religious school in which one enrolls a child, it is more like an outreach center where kollel men and wives learn with local boys and girls (respectively, of course) and encourage them to come closer to Torah.

    IOW, the girl is not enrolled in a religious “seminary.” Given that it is a kiruv center, they probably do not have a dress code, or at most a very loose one. So it appears what the girl wanted to do was not take on chumros more than is required in a standard Charedil or Dati Leumi school, but rather to take on Jewish religious dress in general.

    BTW, the following is a link to an interesting article about Lev L’Achim’s efforts during the time when there were many missile attacks in Sderot and neighboring areas. The leaders met with R. Shteinman and asked him various shailos on whether and how to continue. Quite inspiring.

    http://www.hakhel.info/archivesPublicService/WaronGazaShailos.pdf

  160. “As far as I can tell from a review of the internet, a “Midrasha” run by Lev L’Achim is not a religious school in which one enrolls a child, it is more like an outreach center where kollel men and wives learn with local boys and girls (respectively, of course) and encourage them to come closer to Torah.”

    Makes sense to me. So what we now have is that in a kiruv situation, those in charge think it’s a okay if a young woman cuts herself so she could wear more modest clothing rather than (a) wearing the modest clothing and having to deal with her parents who apparently disapprove or (b) waiting to wear such clothing until she’s a bit older and not dependant on her parents. I think reasonable people can debate between a and b; however, I think, as I’ve said before, it is unreasonable — indeed irresponsible — to approve of the cutting alternative.

  161. Re. “The Redemption of the King’s Talmud”

    “Had he lived in the 20th century we would have called him a dissident, refusenik or Righteous Gentile.”

    he combined business interests with an interest in christian hebraism. he wasn’t a bad person (although he did print one work of anti-semitica, an exception), but a rightious gentile?

    “Soon afterward Pope Julius III and the Inquisition decided that the Talmud was a blasphemous collection of books. This was the culmination of a growing anti Talmudic trend among medieval Christian authorities during the middle ages and the Catholic Counter Reformation.”

    it was a generation later and the final spark was actually a dispute between 2 christian printers (one an heir to bomberg) over their respective printings of the mishneh torah. of course the historic undercurrent existed without which the burning would not have been decreed.

    “From 1519 to 1523 he published complete sets of the Talmud in Hebrew and Aramaic. and comprise some of the earliest printed books anywhere . . . We assume he sold many copies to the Jewish communities of his day.”

    all extant sixteenth-centurty sets belonged to christians. (of course jews purchased indvidual tractates and perhaps owned complete sets as well)

    “These are among the first printed Hebrew books and comprise some of the earliest printed books anywhere.”

    ?

    ” he imported a full Bomberg Talmud”

    it’s all a nice story, but what is the evidence that king henry imported a full talmud?

    ” Jews did not return to England until the reign of Oliver Cromwell in 1656.”

    there were always individual jews in england and after there was later a small but active crypto-jewish community in london

    “It is undoubtedly the one that once belonged to Henry VIII.”

    evidence?

    “A recent article in a New York paper last December announced that the collection has been sold to an unknown buyer, but Sotheby’s has not publicly confirmed the sale”

    as was widely reported, the sale fell through

    http://forward.com/articles/137521/

  162. In 1999, Dr. Ismar Schorsh, then chancellor of the Jewish Theological Seminary, made a rather unfortunate observation. He claimed that Conservative Jews who observe the Three Weeks, a period of collective mourning for the Temples’ destruction and all subsequent calamities, was about as rare as a polar bear at the equator.

    . . .

    But Rabbi Schorsh’s rather casual dismissal of the mourning period led him to the conclusion that we should abolish the Three Weeks altogether. The Jewish calendar, he argued, is too dense with tragedy. Why bother with the heaviness of it all when no one really cares?

    If one wanted to create a farcical mockery of JTS, one could not do a better job than this. Life really does imitate art.

  163. “From 1519 to 1523 he published complete sets of the Talmud in Hebrew and Aramaic.”

    actually he published 3 (or according to some 4) editions between 1519 and 1549. not all editions were complete.

    all the extant sixteenth-century sets, including the westminster abbey/valmadonna set, are composite sets comprising tractates from more than one edition. (iirc there also isn’t a later complete 1st ed. set, but could be wrong?)

    btw there is an american parallel to this whole story as well, with an american jewish book collector redeeming a complete bomberg shas from UTS

    http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/17868/lengthy-bid-for-perfect-old-talmud-finally-bears-fruit/

  164. one more point, not only there is no evidence (iirc) that henry imported a talmud, but we do know that the set in question here belonged not to him but rather to a hebrew professor named richard

    this article needs to go back to the drawing board

  165. From http://www.newenglishreview.org/Editorial_Staff/

    “Geoffrey Clarfield – An Anthropologist at Large

    At an early age Geoffrey Clarfield was trained as a classical singer at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Within the first few years of his studies he was inducted into the children’s chorus of the Canadian National Opera where he performed regularly. This quickly led to stage, radio and TV work which included performances beside the late great English and Canadian actresses, Tessie Oshea and Jackie Burroughs.

    As a young teenager he walked off the set of a children’s TV cereal commercial and threw himself into the folk and folk rock music movement of the mid to late sixties. A growing fascination with music outside of the Afro, Anglo and Hispanic musical traditions of the new world guitar, led him to study and perform the Arabo Turkish oud and Baglama travelling to North Africa and the Middle East to learn them in their natural context. This led to graduate studies in ethnomusicology, anthropology and international development.

    In East Africa he spent 16 years designing, managing and evaluating development projects while working on the policy issues of poverty alleviation. This long-term residence among non-Western peoples and authoritarian regimes caused him to doubt the validity of the cultural relativism, doctrinaire Marxism and post modernism that became mainstream to anthropology. He rejected them in favor of empiricism, the Western scientific tradition and the values of liberal democracy.

    Clarfield believes that there are still gems of good research to be found in the social sciences. Like his role model, the 16th century essayist Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, he attempts to bring them to public notice as the “loose sallies of the mind” of an anthropologist at large. His New English Review articles are archived here.”

    Enough said.

  166. Tal
    shooting fish in barrel is poor sport

  167. Tal
    shooting fish in barrel is poor sport

  168. sorry about the duplication and the missing indefinite article.

  169. Tal also misses the point. At her recent (publicized here) LSS lecture, Erica Brown discussed how she wrote her book for Modern Orthodox Jews, which she believes are increasingly just going through the motions of the 3 weeks and Tisha b’Av without any real kavannah.

    Some of the reasons for this, include:

    1. Yom ha’Shoah has become the focus point for Jewish collective mourning.

    2. Jews have sovereignty over Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael.

    3. modern (lower-case) Orthodox Jews are ambivalent about Beit ha’Mikdash; it’s easier to not seriously think about the implications, but just to mouth the words because of the tradition.

    What Dr. Brown is trying to do – as I understood it – is provide mechanisms for MO Jews to re-connect to an important tradition that no longer resonates as it did prior to the 20th century.

  170. Rafael Araujo

    Tal didn’t miss the point at all. It is Itamar Schorsch who missed the point. Tal wasn’t even commentating on what Dr. Brown wrote.

    I have no problem about what she wrote. I do have a major problem about what Schorsch proposed.

  171. I have no interest or desire to defend what R. Schorsch said (if, indeed it is as reported). But, the bigger issue is complex. See: e.g. the section הצעות לשינוי נוסח התפילה לאחר מלחמת ששת הימים in http://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D7%AA%D7%A4%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%AA_%D7%A0%D7%97%D7%9D.

  172. A few minutes of Googling, btw, shows that R. Schorsch’s comments were more nuanced. It appears that he was advocating focusing on Tisha b’Av itself — including collapsing both the Israeli Yom ha’Shoah and the International Holocaust Remembrance Day into Tisha b’Av. (which, of course, has been the Charedi perspective).

    But, perhaps Dr. Brown’s comments will spur a needed debate back to life.

  173. IH & Joseph Kaplan:

    IH provided this translation, which I am accepting as legitimate:

    “The story told starts with “mishtatefet be’echad ha’midrashot” meaning that before the story she is attending a religious school (of theirs, presumably); “yafeh me’od mitkadement” she’s advancing well; but, the more “he mitchazeket” her parents become more “anti”. The girl then wants to go out buy new clothes, “yoter tznuim” at which point her mother refuses to buy such clothes”

    The entire matter could easily have been avoided in two ways-either the school provided her with clothes( a not uncommon solution) or her mother could have realized “that when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and simply taken her daughter shopping for the clothes that the school deemed appropriate.

    Lev Achim, FWIW, is a prominent Charedi Kiruv organization. The question remains -were the comments an actual Psak, Drush at a dinner about the Mesiras Nefesh of Lev Achim families or an offhand comment that was twisted into a Psak by some whose POVs have never been willing to give Charedim and their Gdolim the benefit of the doubt?

  174. FWIW, Dr Brown’s book, which the OU has made sections thereof web friendly, is an excellent discussion of how to reassert the Halachic and Hashkafic concepts of Churban, Galus, etc in an era with a sovereign Jewish state, as well as integrating commemoration of the Holocaust into Tisha BAv as well.

  175. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “Makes sense to me. So what we now have is that in a kiruv situation, those in charge think it’s a okay if a young woman cuts herself so she could wear more modest clothing rather than (a) wearing the modest clothing and having to deal with her parents who apparently disapprove or (b) waiting to wear such clothing until she’s a bit older and not dependant on her parents. I think reasonable people can debate between a and b; however, I think, as I’ve said before, it is unreasonable — indeed irresponsible — to approve of the cutting alternative”

    Now, imagine R”L that a certain referundum is approved of in San Francisco,and all court challenges to the same were rejected by the state and federal courts ( not an outlandish possibility given the make up of the state and federal bench in that part of the US), the US Supreme Court denied certiorari or leave to hear the case, and a Mohel spoke on national media about the love of Klal Yisrael to observe Mitzvas Bris Milah Bzmano even under the most dire of circumstances. What would your reaction be to someone who described the same as deforming the male anatomy or worse?

  176. Moshe Shoshan-I saw a link to an article of yours in Jewish Ideas Daily. Would you be able to send me a PDF?

  177. Re Tal’s and IH’s comments re Dr Erica Brown’s excellent essays, one can posit that today far more MO and Charedim do not work on Tisha B’Av and that far more communities have videos on the themes of the day and Kinos, etc, include special Kinos about the Holocaust, etc, than in past generations-,despite the presence of the sovereign State of Israel, and the increased interest in such issues as going up on Har HaBayis and related halachos-simply because as noted by RYBS and R Wolbe, political sovereignty without Har HaBayis as an active part of Torah life, is by no means a permanent answer.

    I would suspect that any ambivalence over building the Beis HaMikdash is based on an overly rational approach to Karbonos in general, and a lack of appreciation of what the Beis HaMikdash meant . All of the above assumes as a given the political issues in dealing with the mosque and the Moslem world. It should also be noted in general that the more we don’t think about Har HaBayis and the implications of a Bayis Shlishi, may it be rebuilt speedily in our days, the ongoing and well documented efforts at removing any archaelogical evidence of Har HaBayis as it functioned, will continue R”L unabated.

  178. Joseph Kaplan

    “The entire matter could easily have been avoided in two ways-either the school provided her with clothes( a not uncommon solution) or her mother could have realized “that when in Rome, do as the Romans do” and simply taken her daughter shopping for the clothes that the school deemed appropriate.”

    Absolutely right! But those wise ways weren’t done. In that case, do you suppoort encouraging the girl to cut herself? (If you don’t want to answer the question, you don’t have to. But why not say you don’t want to rather than appear to answer when not doing so –which, BTW, fools no one.)

  179. Joseph Kaplan

    “Now, imagine R”L that a certain referundum is approved of in San Francisco,and all court challenges to the same were rejected by the state and federal courts ( not an outlandish possibility given the make up of the state and federal bench in that part of the US), the US Supreme Court denied certiorari or leave to hear the case, and a Mohel spoke on national media about the love of Klal Yisrael to observe Mitzvas Bris Milah Bzmano even under the most dire of circumstances. What would your reaction be to someone who described the same as deforming the male anatomy or worse?”

    It’s difficult to find words to describe how prepostorous, and offensive, this supposed comparison is.

  180. Joseph Kaplan-I would certainly not suggest that the girl cut herself. As far as the SF referendum is concerned, let’s see what the courts in California, state and federal, actually do-the courts in California do. I do think that the rhetoric against Bris Milah is far worse than the critique of the purported Psak, but I do think that a refusal to think of a worst case scenario, is indicative of hiding oneself in the sand, when, in fact, that referundum is on the ballot in one of the most supposedly “progressive” jurisdictions in the US.

  181. FWIW, IMO, if one member of the Federal judiciary is willing to strike down the rule of the California electorate on Prop 8 for what he described as reflecting only one cultural view of marriage ,I would not hope, but not be overly optimistic that the SF referendum would be stricken from the ballot or the results be deemed an infringement on the free exercise of religion.

  182. Joseph Kaplan-as a follow up to my 5:21 PM post-I think that if the staff of the Lev LAchim center and the parents had met upon the first inkling that the dress code was becoming an issue, the entire issue would have been obviated. This incident reminds me of a true story involving a now adult male from a local yeshiva ketana whose parents were divorced and whose father refused to spend the necessary money for a good pair of Tefilin when the young man was reaching Bar Mitzvah and whose mother lacked the funds to spend the money for the same. The young man’s rebbe collected the funds from his colleagues in the school and from other sources and presented the young man with a top notch pair of Tefilin from one of the top Sofrim. The mother practically cried tears of joy and was very gratified when she learned that the rebbes had arranged for the same.The young man went on to become a fine Ben Torah. IMO, a similar option from Lev LAchim either by itself or after sitting down and talking with the mother, whose background we still know almost nothing about, would have easily provided a satisfactory solution and a Kiddush HaShem.

  183. For those interested in a very brief survey of the opposition to Bris Milah and its origins, and proponents, see the annexed link.
    http://www.rabbiwein.com/Jerusalem-Post/2011/07/620.html

  184. Moshe Shoshan — I very much enjoyed your article on the Septuagint (as linked from the “What is Aggadah” Jewish Ideas Daily article).

    Is there a more appropriate forum for further discussion of it? And, do you have further articles on the broader topic(s)?

  185. MiMedinat HaYam

    i am waiting for the police to call in rav zilberstein for questioning of child abuse.

    2. according to the tape, its not a dress code issue, its above and beyond the dress code. (personal chumra on top of the dress code) (and there is a dress code in the institution.)

    3. i see attorneys with an attitude that if its the law, its proper. and if its upheld by (even a liberal 9th circuit) its proper. and that is part of the legal profession’s problems.

  186. “Joseph Kaplan-I would certainly not suggest that the girl cut herself. ”

    I’m happy to hear that. But do you think the rabbinic encouragement of cutting was responsible or irresponsible?

  187. Steve, Re SF and milah. I think the referendum reeks of anti semitism and jews and their allies need to fight it with all their/our might. (My own legal analysis is that if passed it will be held unconstitutional, but that is as meaningful as the opinion of those who think not.) But to compare a possible reactions to the possibility of prohibiting milah, a Jewish ritual that dates back to Abraham and for which Jews have put their lives in the line all too many times throughout the generations to a rabbi supporting the suggestion of some probably young who probably has emotional problems that she cut herself was simply outrageous. Perhaps, upon reflection, even you might realize that you made an error and will retract that comment. (But I’m not holding my breath.)

  188. IH and Steve
    this article and others are available at:

    http://huji.academia.edu/MosheShoshan

  189. “2. Jews have sovereignty over Jerusalem and Eretz Yisrael.”
    Sovereignty-when IEC personnel are afraid to go to many sections wo a police escort.

    “3. modern (lower-case) Orthodox Jews are ambivalent about Beit ha’Mikdash; it’s easier to not seriously think about the implications, but just to mouth the words because of the tradition.”

    Read Gil Rothstein’s Murder in the Mikkdash for novel which is really a description of what life would be like if Mashiach would come soon.

  190. “What kinds of citizens are shaped by such an attitude? Those who fail to appreciate what it means to suffer loss. Those who are unable to respect the fact that communities are built not only on joy but also on the sacrifices we make for what we believe in.”

    Maybe the community that Dr. Brown is associated with hasn’t served in American wars for close to 60 -70 years. Perhaps unlike WW11 where anyone growing up aftr WW11 knew parents in schuls who lsot children in WW11 that is not usually true now-in other communities where losses touch home Memorial Day is still observed.

  191. Michael Feldstein

    One of the things I noticed that happened vis-a-vis the R. Zilberstein case (at least with a couple of folks I know in the online world) is that when the story broke, their immediate reaction was that such an irrational comment must be false, and it simply was another case of the secular media making the Orthodox world look bad. Then, when the story turned out to be proven authentic, these same folks turned around and looked for ways to defend R. Zilberstein’s comments.

    You can’t have it both ways. If you honestly believed at first that the comments as reported were irrational, then why change your mind…the fact that the story was true or not should not affect those feelings.

    Sometimes our gedolim see things that others cannot see, and we owe it to ourselves to listen closely to their thinking and thought processes–and reevaluate our initial reaction. But is this story such a case?

    I think it’s something else. In our desire to justify any and every action of our gedolim, at least some of us put on blinders–and refuse to accept that perhaps our own thought-out emotions on the subject might be the ones that are correct.

  192. “Dr. Brown concludes her opening essay with the following observation: “Many Jews today, even committed, observant Jews, do not engage in ‘G-d-talk.’ Perhaps these essays will help us along in these conversations.” “

    In her LSS talk, Dr. Brown addressed this more pointedly by observing that when Christians are faced with a dilemma and conflicting correct choices, they resolve it by asking themselves “what would Jesus do?” Whereas, Jews…

    Interestingly, this is also a major theme in RDH’s new book where he advocates moving toward “God intoxicated Halacha”.

    “A God-focused approach to halakha can provide not only an enriched sense of spiritual community, but also an interpretive strategy with the potential to impact the evolution of halakhic practice on both the personal and communal levels. Bringing God-consciousness into Halakhic discourse confronts each individual with the question, which [attribute of] God? Who is the God I strive to serve through Halakha? Or perhaps more precisely: given that Jewish tradition, beginning with the Bible itself, presents many different images of God, which of these images do we have in mind, to bring more fully into our spiritual awareness, when observing halakha?”

  193. Rafael Araujo

    “Interestingly, this is also a major theme in RDH’s new book where he advocates moving toward “God intoxicated Halacha”.”

    He better be careful. MADD might get wind of this 🙂

  194. Rafael Araujo

    “Sometimes our gedolim see things that others cannot see, and we owe it to ourselves to listen closely to their thinking and thought processes–and reevaluate our initial reaction. But is this story such a case?”

    With all due respect, as far as I know, Rabbi Zilberstein is not considered a gadol (as in gadol hador). He is looked upon as a tremendous talmid chachom, expert in medical halachos, and an author of several popular works on the parashah, but that’s about it.

    As for reactions, I am sorry but you have to be hiding in a cave not to see the false reporting going on the Jewish and Israeli media about piskei halochoh of different rabbonim. There is certainly a media bias against Yiddishkeit at work, even though there is certainly some paranoia in that regard. I think that over the years, Jonathan Rosenblum and others have shown stories cooked up by the media to be demonstratively false.

  195. “As for reactions, I am sorry but you have to be hiding in a cave not to see the false reporting going on the Jewish and Israeli media about piskei halochoh of different rabbonim. There is certainly a media bias against Yiddishkeit at work, even though there is certainly some paranoia in that regard. I think that over the years, Jonathan Rosenblum and others have shown stories cooked up by the media to be demonstratively false.”

    I don’t think Michael, or those that agree with him, are hiding anywhere. We realize that the media all too often (but not always) misreports what rabbonim say. Indeed, many of us assumed that this was the case with the reporting about R. Zilberstein because we could not imagine that a respected rav could say such a thing. But this time, the reporting was, unfortunately, correct. However, some of those (not Michael and I) who thought the reporting was false suddenly began defending remarks that they previously thought could not be true because they were so outrageous. That, together with the substance of R. Zilberstein’s remarks, is a problem.

  196. I’m sorry that I missed the comments where the statement was proven. Can someone please point me in that direction? Thank you.

  197. In her LSS talk, Dr. Brown addressed this more pointedly by observing that when Christians are faced with a dilemma and conflicting correct choices, they resolve it by asking themselves “what would Jesus do?” Whereas, Jews…
    ================================================
    ask themselves “what does HKB”H want me to do?”?
    KT

  198. “I’m sorry that I missed the comments where the statement was proven. Can someone please point me in that direction? Thank you.”

    Uh…well…its…um…I don’t know! 🙂

  199. http://menachemmendel.net/blog/2011/07/06/rabbi-zilberstein-on-girl-cutting-herself/

    Listen to the recording. Can’t get much better proof than that.

  200. R’ Joel — I am not in a position to speak for Dr. Brown, but my takeaway was her point was they don’t ask themselves that — which is why she is making the point. As, in a more pointed way, is RDH.

  201. And why not post the summary again, in case anyone doesn’t want to bother listening to the recording:

    First person speaking relates an important question that truly shocked him. A girl began being a BT, but the more she BT’ed, the more her parents were opposed. Eventually she tried to buy more tznius clothes, her parents refused to buy her clothes worn “by the religious”. She went to her teacher/principal, said she couldn’t take it anymore, and suggested cutting herself on the legs so that her parents would agree to let her cover her legs to hide the wounds. What should the response being?

    R. Zilberstein responds that the Ran in Kiddushin says that there’s an Agada, which R. Zilberstein says is one of the Midrashim, that relates that Rav Yosef blinded himself, because he couldn’t help but look outside his “daled amos”. The Ran in Nedarim in the fourth perek actually says that there are to things a person doesn’t have “in his own reshus”: his eyes and ears. R. Zilberstein goes on to quote directly. Additionally, she’s a student of the Nevi’im, as well as of R. Yosef, who cut their fingers rather than play the Shirei HaNevi’im for Nevuchadnezar, and God swore they’d all make it back to Israel after 70 years.

    R. Zilberstein then tells a Baal Shem Tov story. He reached Turkey. He went around Turkey, and saw a lot of Tana’im, and saw something involving tznius that I can’t make out on the recording. Thus he determined that the people in this town were the descendents of the Tana’im.

    Bottom line: it’s definitely chavala, but it’s obviously mutar to do.

    Another story: there was a woman in Russia who had to go to school and write. So she cut herself, and said “I’m cut, I have to go”, and they let her go.

    Everyone should publicize the story of this girl all over the place.

  202. I.e. RDH is exploring how we negotiate asking ourselves “what does HKB”H want me to do?” with halacha as it is interpeted today. Dr. Brown didn’t get that far, she was just observing that MO Jews do not even ask themselves the question (perhaps in part because they are educated not to).

  203. R’IH,
    If true, that is extremely sad. I’ve often said that being orthodox limits your choices but makes you realize how much more important they are.
    KT

  204. R’ Meir Soloveitchik said:
    Can American Orthodoxy—plumbing the depths of the aforementioned Abaye and Rava, Ravina and Rav Ashi—answer these questions, in a clear and convincing way? I believe so, but admit that it has yet to accomplish this task. Some sectors of Jewish Orthodoxy are unconnected to American intellectual life. Regrettably, others, in the name of a liberal version of Orthodoxy, have begun to embrace aspects of the counterculture whose moral tenets are anything but traditional. Never has there been a greater need for a Judaism that is both unapologetically Orthodox and passionately engaged in the intellectual debates of American life, willing to put forward to American Jewry—and to the world—the case for addressing the issues facing modern man by looking first to the ancients.
    ==================================================
    In general, I don’t think even most of MO has an interest in this.
    Comments?
    KT

  205. R’ Joel — my reaction to his concluding paragraph is that he is confusing being passionately engaged in our ancient sources with Orthodoxy. I have shared numerous articles in recent months about people who do not affiliate with Orthodoxy (and some are not even observant) who are passionately engaged in our ancient sources. [He also seems to confuse secular politics with learning & halacha.]

    My view is that this is an intellectual vs. na’aseh v’nishma split that goes back to Talmudic times (as can be readily seen, perhaps ironically, in some of these ancient sources themselves).

    Since I’ve been thinking about Dr. Brown’s talk, I’ll end with a suggestion she related she makes to all her students: what is the quotation or phrase that you put in your wallet to remind you of what you are striving to achieve? I turned to my wife and said “I know mine: זיל גמור”.

  206. “embrace aspects of the counterculture ”
    what does this mean? He seems to be talking about people other than those who are “unconnected to american intellectual life.” so has he just deftly dismissed the non-conservative intellectual life – which some might consider a dominant force in contemporary intellectual culture – as “countercultural”? Or did I miss something?
    As for R. Joel’s question, no, most Mo people, like most people, are not interested in ideas.

  207. R’IH
    Mine has been “we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” for a good 40+ years 🙂
    KT

  208. Joseph Kaplan-I will neither condemn nor rationalize the comments of the linked address by R Zilberstein, until I read a verbatim translation as to the context of his comments, and whether the same was meant as a Psak or simply Drush B”Alma. I maintain that what happened clearly represented a lack of communication between Lev LAchim’s personnel and the young woman’s mother. Obviously, I would not reccommend Chavalah, but that’s like an answer to “when was the last time you beat your wife”, especially to the many posters whose anti Charedi motives become open and apparent any time anything that they disagree with is brought to light.

  209. Joseph Kaplan-I will not retract my prior comments re the SF referendum. Obviously, it reflects anti-Semitism-but a very old form, which cannot be divorced from the fact the same not coincidentally is on the ballot in a city which is probably the most “progressive” and “liberated” with respect to its “mores”, etc, in the US.

  210. “Mine has been “we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden” for a good 40+ years :-)”

    But, R’ Joel, that will definitely lead to mixed dancing 🙂

  211. Obviously, I would not reccommend Chavalah, but that’s like an answer to “when was the last time you beat your wife”, especially to the many posters whose anti Charedi motives become open and apparent any time anything that they disagree with is brought to light.

    – Except there WAS someone who was defending the recommendation of self-injury!

    I will neither condemn nor rationalize the comments of the linked address by R Zilberstein, until I read a verbatim translation as to the context of his comments, and whether the same was meant as a Psak or simply Drush B”Alma.

    – I’m not going to bother recalling what your reaction would be if it weren’t the Haredi rav who said something outrageous. Instead, I’ll link you:

    http://matzav.com/video-thousands-in-lakewood-watch-live-broadcast-of-rav-chaim-kanievsky-from-bnei-brak-at-lev-lachim-asifa

  212. Additionally, Menachem Mendel links to a site that has the full recording (the video on Matzav doesn’t seem to work; I wonder if they pulled it down for a reason) over here: http://www.kolhashiurim.com/New/Shiurim.aspx?Path=Hebrew%7CHKnasim%7CR1005%7C%EC%E1_%EC%E0%E7%E9%ED

    Search “Lev le-Aḥim, 28 Nisan 5771″

    I haven’t listened to the whole thing. I’ll say this much: while I think it’s possible the presentation was more along the lines of chizuk and such, Matzav certainly presented it as a serious question and a serious answer. It seems as though the context for whole thing is “shailos that arise in the work of Lev L’Achim”, at which point the answer was a legitimate answer.

  213. Wait, so the question wasn’t actually asked by the girl and the answer wasn’t given to her? It was instead asked by and answered to a responsible individual who could guide the girl based on her specific situation? That makes a big difference.

  214. Joseph Kaplan

    Good try Gil but it doesn’t work. He ended, according to Jon’s translation: “Everyone should publicize the story of this girl all over the place.”

    Look, if he had said everything he said, it would have been okay if he had simply added something like this: “Of course, while the motivation of this young woman is pure and shows how bnot yisrael are willing to sacrifice for tzni’ut, no one should do something like this without speaking to their parents, and if that’s not possible, then to their rabbi who knows them personally.” That’s not what I would have wanted optimally, but it would have mitigated it enough that I would not have objected here. But he didn’t do that, Gil; he ENCOURAGED the girl and others to do this. For shame on him and those who twist themselves into pretzels to defend the indefensible..

  215. Rafael Araujo

    These Lev L’Achim kiruv shailos gatherings, where Lakewood residents can ask shailos about kiruv and receive answers from Rabbi Zilberstein and other poskim, has been arranged and happening for years. The questions are theoretical questions posed either by the moderator or, I believe, the audience.

  216. JK: I agree with you on everything except that I am skeptical he said it in the context we are assuming. I can’t listen to it and am only going by what I see here in the comments. I continue to believe that he said something reasonable given the context.

  217. Jon or anyone else-would you please provide a verbatim translation of the remarks of R Zilberstein and R C Kanievsky, as well as the context in which the same were rendered without any spin? So far, what we have seen is translation plus spin that the remarks of R Zilberstein were an actual Psak rendered in response to an actual halachic query, when, there is at least a reasonable possibility that the same was not rendered in that context at all.

  218. Steve — do you not understand the Hebrew recording yourself? The remarks that outline the story are clearly and slowly enunciated.

  219. IH, Kdarko BaKodesh wrote:

    “Rafael — As far as I can tell, there are no clear answers as to the minimum halachic standards for tzinus dress for men or women. Different communties have different standards, modulated by weather and societal norms.

    If someone’s norm is too dress in the middle of summer in Israel as if they were living in Poland, I have no issue. But, I’d rather sit/stand next to the person attired for Israeli weather ”

    WADR, the Talmud ( see the relevant Sugyos in Brachos, Kesuvos and Kiddushin for a start) and Rishonim and Poskim, long before Poland became a focus of Torah learning, all agree that there are standards such as Shok,Ervah, Das Moshe, Das Yehudis,Negiah and Yichud, some of which are Torah rooted and others Rabbinically so, and that the real area of distinction is realizing that while Minhag HaMakom dictates what is appropriate for each community
    , Minhag HaMakom does not mean that what passes for summer attire in the secular world is Mutar LChol HaDeos.

  220. IH-I have no basis from the quote of knowing whether the question was an actual halachic response or merely Divrei Chizuk for a fundraiser. If the latter was the case-then we should remember Ain Makshin vAin Meshivin Min HaDrush.

  221. Steve — specific mareh mekomot on (applicable) tzinus dress details for men or women from prior to 19th century Eastern Europe, please?

  222. Steve — you have repeatedly asked for translations. Do you understand the Hebrew recording: yes or no?

  223. FWIW, anyone who is familiar with the work of NCSY or other teen or adult kiruv organizations can tell you that some of the greatest examples of Mesiras Nefesh is how adolescents become Shomer Shabbos and dress in a Tzanuah fashion while continuing to respect their parents even when in communities , school and social environments which are not conducive to the same.

  224. IH asked:

    “Steve — specific mareh mekomot on (applicable) tzinus dress details for men or women from prior to 19th century Eastern Europe, please?”

    I referred you to the relevant Sugyos in Brachos, Ksubos and Kiddushin, and the views of Rishonim therein on all of the Halachos that I cited. What and how constituted “dress details” is relevant for historians, but is irrelevant to how Chazal and Rishonim defined the halachos that I cited. Such evidence would be akin to arguing that tax evasion is permitted in view of the large existence of people who engage in the same. See also R G Ellinson’s superb sefarim for many other Mareh Mkomos. If you were referring to R Broyde’s article, the basic premise therein that such Halachos as Kisui Rosh was ignored-was criticized as basically in the same vein as the well known and often misinterpreted comment of the AS-a justification of an erroneous practice.

  225. Steve — which sugyot? Reference by daf/amud, please?

  226. IH-I have read the literal translation, which I have no doubt is accurate, but the same is devoid of details as to context, which is a critical element in evaluating the comments of any person.

  227. Steve — So you don’t understand Hebrew. That is fine, but important context when you insist that others are mis-reading a text.

  228. IH-I don’t have the Mareh Mkomos at work, but Motzaei Shabbos, B’Ezras HaShem, I will post them. The relevant Sugyos IIRC are in the low 20s in Brachos re Ervah, Shok, and Kol, Ksuvos in the low 70s re Das Yehudis, and the last dafim in Kiddushin re Yichud. These are the Mareh Mkomos and sugyos that Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim work with in establishing the halacha . Rambam and Ramban debate whether Negiah, as based on a verse in the Torah ( Lo Sikrav LGalos Ervah) is an Issur Min HaTorah or Drabanan in Sefer HaMitzvos. Again, R Ellinson discusses all of these issues in his three volumes of seforim, only one of which deals with Tznius.

  229. IH wrote:
    “So you don’t understand Hebrew. That is fine, but important context when you insist that others are mis-reading a text”

    That is a complete distortion of what I said, as well as an incorrect assessment of my educational level. I understand Lashon HaKodesh and shiurim in Hebrew quite well.My house is not exactly known as one where my library consiss of ArtScroll and similar “Kli Shenis” as substitutes for real seforim. I have read the translation, but at work, I don’t have the luxury of listening to a translation. That is the sole reason why I relied on the translation, while reserving my right to be skeptical as to context as to whether the same was meant as Psak or Drush. B”Ezras HaShem, on Motzaei Shabbos, I will listen to the link in the original.

  230. Steve — thanks. Let’s keep it focused specifically on tzniut dress requirements for men and women, though. Head coverings, negiah etc. are separable issues that are not the subject of this discussion.

  231. IH and others-I think that the response by R Zilberstein clearly can be understood ( call it spin if you wish) that we have Aggadic sources, a few comments by the Ran in Kiddushin and Nedarim and a Baal Shem Tov story that show how the Amoraim,and in particular, one Amora, were Moser Nefesh for Tznius. I saw no conclusion that the incident involving the Amora was the answer given or even recommended as Psak, but rather the dilemna that this young woman was placed in was the issue that should be publicized. Once again-this entire incident could have been avoided by either Lev Achim supplying the young woman with what they deemed proper attire or sitting down and talking with her mother as to how , what and why was considered proper attire for their school, as opposed to the average summer attire of a secular American or Israeli young woman.

  232. IH wrote:

    “Steve — thanks. Let’s keep it focused specifically on tzniut dress requirements for men and women, though. Head coverings, negiah etc. are separable issues that are not the subject of this discussion”

    They may be all separable issues, but AFAIK, they are all considered within the realm of Inyananei Tznius.

  233. Joseph Kaplan

    “FWIW, anyone who is familiar with the work of NCSY or other teen or adult kiruv organizations can tell you that some of the greatest examples of Mesiras Nefesh is how adolescents become Shomer Shabbos and dress in a Tzanuah fashion while continuing to respect their parents even when in communities , school and social environments which are not conducive to the same.”

    It’s actually worth a lot when you understand that no one in a leadership capacity at NCSY, which has had these types of questions for decades (my parents don’t want me to be shomer Shabbat, eat kashrut, dress modestly etc. etc.) would ever, ever, ever, EVER(!!!) say anything like R. Zilberstein said — halacha lema’aseh, drush, chizuk whatever. The organization you refer too with praise constantly(deservedly so) is part of the proof that what R. Zilberstein said was misguided, irresponsible and unnecessary. So the continued defense by you and others of the statement is simply mind-blowing but, unfortunately, not surprising.

  234. step away from what r zilberstein himself did/not say “in context.” Let’s assume there is some context to his remarks missing from the second-hand presentation. So what? So criticism should not be directed at him personally, but at the overall culture that can take whatever he said and turn it into something deeply problematic (i.e., we should all aspire to be able to bleed for skirt-wearing…)?

  235. emma: I agree with that, although I think it goes well beyond tznius to things totally unrelated. There is a culture of taking a Gadol’s words, distorting them and then promoting them as the only possible truth.

  236. Joseph Kaplan-re NCSY, you are 100% on the mark.Those of us who were positively influenced by NCSY to become Shomer Torah Umitzvos had role models,but we all tried to work to avoid conflicts with parents.

    Re R Zilberstein’s comments, having read and reread the translation without any spin, and reserving my right to further comments after listening to the address in the original Motzaei Shabbos, the same strikes me right now as pure Drush on the subject of being Moser Nefesh for Tznius and the issues raised therein in a Lev LAchim center. I see nothing therein at the present that strikes me as Halacha LMaaseh.

  237. Simplifying the problem further: There is a culture of taking a Gadol’s words and then promoting them as the only possible truth.”

  238. Moshe Shoshan-I am neither linked on Facebook ( B’H) nor a MUSE participant. Could you forward me a PDF off the blog of the linked article in Jewish Ideas Daily?

  239. IH quoted this passage from RDH’s latest work:

    ” God-focused approach to halakha can provide not only an enriched sense of spiritual community, but also an interpretive strategy with the potential to impact the evolution of halakhic practice on both the personal and communal levels. Bringing God-consciousness into Halakhic discourse confronts each individual with the question, which [attribute of] God? Who is the God I strive to serve through Halakha? Or perhaps more precisely: given that Jewish tradition, beginning with the Bible itself, presents many different images of God, which of these images do we have in mind, to bring more fully into our spiritual awareness, when observing halakha?”

    How about Ahavas HaShem and Yiras Shmayim and/or Yiras HaRommemus, as viewed by Rambam in the last chapter of Hilcos Teshuvah? How about the comments of Rambam in the Perush HaMishnah to the last Mishnah in Makkos that every Jew should find a Mitzvah that appeals to their sense of wanting to excell in the performance and fullfillment of that mitzvah?

  240. Steve — the registration process on academia.edu (the site you end up on with the paper), merely asks for your name and e-mail address. You can then download the PDF.

    Click the download button, then click “I don’t have a Facebook account” and away you go.

  241. Joseph Kaplan

    ” as pure Drush on the subject of being Moser Nefesh for Tznius and the issues raised therein in a Lev LAchim center. I see nothing therein at the present that strikes me as Halacha LMaaseh.”

    Assuming, arguendo, you are right, it was irresponsible, wrong and shameful drush — as is any defense thereof.

  242. IH: You could have gone farther: There is a culture of promoting something as the only possible truth.

  243. IH wrote:

    “Simplifying the problem further: There is a culture of taking a Gadol’s words and then promoting them as the only possible truth”

    Why is that a problem-The Mishnah advises all of us-Aseh Lcha Rav, Koneh Lcha Chaver -Lhistalek Min Hasafek. Baalei Mesorah ideally are viewed as having a greater knowledge in Torah and link to prior generations and Maamad Har Sinai, and are accorded great weight by anyone who considers himself or herself bound any Baal Mesorah’s statements-whether orally or in print. Talmidim of any Baal Mesorah generally view themselves as duty bound to espouse the POV of their rebbe. OTOH, the Torah, Talmud and Rishonim all emphasize that no Gadol is infallible.

  244. “You could have gone farther: There is a culture of promoting something as the only possible truth.”

    Gil — no, because we each need to determine the truth. The problem statement is the linkage of the two pieces: “taking a Gadol’s words and then promoting them as the only possible truth.”

    Meaning, as a substitute for working out the truth for oneself.

  245. Steve — You are invoking the modern Charedi “daas torah” argument which I find false and inauthentic. This is well trod territory to which I have nothing to add.

  246. Michael Feldstein

    Now that this issue has become public, one would think that if R. Zilberstein’s words were taking out of context, or if he now regrets making those statements, he would have issued some sort of clarification or apology, which he has not done. That alone seems to indicate that he stands by his original words.

  247. “i see attorneys with an attitude that if its the law, its proper”

    Otherwise it is total hefkerus -we are a nation of laws not justice. BTW-Halacha can have a similar issue-see eg keven shehegid shuv ano chazer umaggid where one can be executed falsely and chazal were aware of that before execution.

  248. “Dr. Brown didn’t get that far, she was just observing that MO Jews do not even ask themselves the question (perhaps in part because they are educated not to).”

    Really-it is precisely various students of the Rav who spent many years dealing with the issue how to follow Gods wishes in the case where Halacha is silent.

  249. “So too is the innovative spirit embedded in Israel’s military might. ”

    Or is that a myth too-since 67 has Israel really bee nsuccesful in its wars. Since lel hagalshanim which just befroe 1st intifada-Israel has had a lot of setbacks in this area.

  250. “Prime minister’s bureau purchases kosher phones for religious aides, enabling communication on Jewish day of rest.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4091811,00.html

  251. “A visit to Yitzhar last week and conversations with IDF officers point to renewed, systematic aggression from settlers living there and on nearby outposts. As usual, there seems to be a confluence of a genuine sense of danger with increasing ideological radicalization, particularly among yeshiva students at Yitzhar. Their rabbi, Yitzhak Shapira has been in the headlines because of his book “Torat Hamelekh.” But more significant to the Shin Bet security service is his apparent religious justification for acts of revenge.

    Field officers describe as a daily recurrence incidents, most of which they say are initiated by settlers, of arson and of bodily and property damage to Palestinians. Favorite targets include Palestinian groves and orchards, whose trees are cut, uprooted and poisoned.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/reprise-of-the-second-intifada-1.372381

  252. IH-Please see Brachos 24a re Kol, Ervah, and Shok, Ksuvos 72 re Das Yehudis and Das Moshe, and Kidushin 82a re Yichud. IIRC, the Machlokes between Rambam and Ramban re Negiagh being an Issur Min HaTorah is in Hasagos HaRamban to Negative Commandment 253, as well as Hilcos Isurei Biah 21:1 and Magid Mishneh who also notes the dissenting views of Ramban as well. Once you have seen these preliminary sources, Rishonim and Poskim that discuss the same, as well as R Ellinson’s Hatzea Leches ( which is one of a three volume set , the other two being Bein Isha Lyotzrah and Ish vIshto:HaIshah VHaMitzvos ( all published by the WZO, Division for Torah Education in the Diaspora, 1982( with prior editions in 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1979) with the Haskamah of ROY), which is hardly a Charedi publishing house, then I would suggest that we can continue the discussion.

    FWIW, R Ellinson’s seforim on Tznius and related issues, IMO, are far more etxtually oriented and nuanced than Halicos Bas Yisrael, a well known Charedi primer on the issue, and far more aware of Minhag HaMakom than R Falk’s works. A superb discussion of the above and related issues can be found in the course materials for a course entitled Women in Jewish Law which is given by Mrs. Abby Lerner, for every 12th grade in YU’s High School for Girls. IOW, every 12th grader must take the class as part of her 12th grade schedule. I am a strong advocate that the materials that comprise the same would make an excellent book for American MO men and women.

    Given the lateness of the hour, I plan on listening to R Zilberstein in the morning.

    On a completely different note, I do note the reaction of Professor Zev Stenhell of Hebrew U university who encouraged the storming of Ofra with tanks as a means of blocking “the fascist danger threatening to drown Israeli democracy”, and Professor Eyal Nir called “on the world to come and help break these scoundrels’ necks” with regard to young Jews who marched through certain sections of Yerushalyaim on Yom Yerushalayim. The same strike me as incitement writ large-however, the Israeli criminal justice system curiously uses the incitement statutes primarily against what it the settlers and charedim.

    The Shabbos edition of Hamodia noted:

    “Will we see a rav arrested for a Three Weeks drasha bemaoning the abomination on Har HaBayis, and calling for us to storm the Heavens with prayers for a rebuilt Beis HaMikdash? After all, such statements could be construed as incitement.”

  253. IH wrote:

    “Steve — You are invoking the modern Charedi “daas torah” argument which I find false and inauthentic. This is well trod territory to which I have nothing to add”

    Since when is an explicit Mishnah in Avos purely a Charedi argument? The Bartenura at the beginning of Avos posits that the Midos beginning with the Mesorah of TSBP that comprise Maseces Avos are Min HaTorah as well.

  254. IH wrote:
    “Gil — no, because we each need to determine the truth. The problem statement is the linkage of the two pieces: “taking a Gadol’s words and then promoting them as the only possible truth.”

    Meaning, as a substitute for working out the truth for oneself”

    WADR, Naaseh N Vishmah implies that first one obeys and complies with the Mitzvos-not making the same dependent on our “understanding” which may run completely contrary to how we are supposed to act and think. Working out the “truth” does not mean that anyone has the right to use such a process to exempt himself or herself from complying with the Mitzvos. Even Rambam’s acceptance of the truth from all sources cannot be stretched like a pretzxel to support such a proposition.

  255. IH wrote:

    ““Prime minister’s bureau purchases kosher phones for religious aides, enabling communication on Jewish day of rest.”

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4091811,00.html

    See the comments of R Rozen re how, when and who is supposed to use the same-cabinet ministers-not bored American teens.

  256. “On a completely different note, I do note the reaction of Professor Zev Stenhell of Hebrew U university who encouraged the storming of Ofra with tanks as a means of blocking “the fascist danger threatening to drown Israeli democracy”, and Professor Eyal Nir called “on the world to come and help break these scoundrels’ necks” with regard to young Jews who marched through certain sections of Yerushalyaim on Yom Yerushalayim.”

    Steve, from someone who’s witnessed young Jews marching through “certain sections of Yerushalyaim on Yom Yerushalayim”, if you saw the way they mistreated the people whose neighborhood they were marching through in the process, you’d have the same exact reaction. When I went, it really brought to mind descriptions of pogroms (minus the outright violence) and Nazi marches. My friends who’d gone years before told me they’d seen worse.

  257. >Jon_Brooklyn on July 10, 2011 at 12:50 am:
    “if you saw the way they mistreated the people whose neighborhood they were marching through in the process, you’d have the same exact reaction. When I went, it really brought to mind descriptions of pogroms (minus the outright violence) and Nazi marches.”

    What nonsense. I’ve witnessed and attended several of those marches in the past, and they consist of tens of thousands of Jews walking/rallying cheerily and proudly through Jerusalem’s streets and Old City alleyways en route to the Temple Mount, nothing more.

    No “mistreatment” or other horrors visited upon the parade route aside from the Jewish/Israeli presence — and if certain Jerusalem neighborhoods tend to see Jewish presence itself as a “horror” perhaps that is an argument for more frequent Jewish appearance, not less.

    Your own endorsement of “breaking the necks” of those marchers, and your assumption that everybody should feel the same way, says alot about you…

    “Pogroms and Nazi marches”??? How bankrupt and despicable.

  258. “Prince Charles, long established as a keen amateur historian, addressed a warmly responsive audience at Guildhall, sending shivers down the spines of some when he recalled that in Guildhall’s Great Hall, where he was making his remarks, the trial had taken place in 1594 of Queen Elizabeth I’s Jewish doctor, Rodrigo Lopez”
    oR JUST AS LIKELY-the Palaces speechwriters ran the speech through the Jewish desk when writing it.

    ” So many Jews, he said, were grateful to Britain for the shelter it had offered to their parents and grandparents”

    likely true for those who are there-as it is rtrue in any community for those who are there -sadly for those who were not allowed in…

  259. “Among those who received the “Shabbat phones” are National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror, Bureau Chief Natan Eshel, Bureau manager Gil Shefer, political advisor Ron Dermer and Prime Minister’s Office Director-General Eyal Gabay.

    Some observing Mossad and Shin Bet men also received such phones. ”

    Obvious no more relevant to a normal layman using the phones than those medical professionals who answer to pikuach nefesh using such phones-no relevance to normal texting behavior.

  260. Steve — thank you for the Mareh Mekomot which I shall look up. But, do any of them specifically reference tzniut attire for men and/or women in ways that are applicable today (which was my question, you will recall)?

  261. Steve — On Avot 1:1, you must then concede that our first woman Rabbi was Devorah 🙂

  262. IH-First, seee the Mareh Mkomos which set forth the Halachic bases. After you see how the Talmud, Rishonim and Poskim interpret the same-then it is the responsibility of Poskim using their understanding of TSBP to see how modern modes of attire either comply or don’t with these rules. Asking if a Mishnah refers per se to any 21st phenomenon is IMO the wrong frame of reference if one assumes that the Chacmei HaMesorah have the means and ability to interpret TSBP to understand all realia in the light of TSBP.

  263. IH-RE Devorah-one can posit that she served as a Shofetes because there was simply no one qualified to do so, either from a halachic or hashkafic basis. I would argue that the Imahos, Miriam HaNeviah, the wife of On Ben Peles, and Bnos Zlafchad all were female role models of great and heroic stature who were spiritually greater than any would be Rabba and who never sought the false honor of a male title.

  264. Steve — in other words, none of your Talmudic mareh mekomot directly prove your points (without reinterpretation). As expected.

  265. Steve — so you don’t boil the ocean should you choose to respond, my request was atraightforward:

    “specific mareh mekomot on (applicable) tzinus dress details for men or women from prior to 19th century Eastern Europe, please?”

    “Let’s keep it focused specifically on tzniut dress requirements for men and women, though. Head coverings, negiah etc. are separable issues that are not the subject of this discussion.”

  266. Steve — On Devorah, notwithstanding your sidestep, if Avot 1:1 is to be taken in the way you intrepret it, then Devorah was a Rabbi. Plain and simple.

  267. R’Soloveichik writes of Kristol’s belief: ‘ a market economy cannot truly succeed without a society of people who “resolutely defer gratification, sexual as well as financial, so that, despite the freedom granted each individual, the future nonetheless continues to be nourished at the expense of the present”‘

    Unfortunately this is completely different from the open acceptance and promotion of the ideology of Ayn Rand by many leading conservatives today.

  268. Charlie – R’Soloveichik understood that one can’t keep borrowing indefinitely against the future; he was obviously a very sensible man. ===> Do you really believe Ayn Rand’s ideas are widely promoted by leading conservatives? Not that her ideas were crazy (they were libertarian), but who are these leading conservatives that are promoting her ideology? Are you referring to Dr. Ron Paul and other libertarians who are in the political minority? If you were to ask them whose ideas they are promoting, they would likely answer Bastiat, von Mises, Hayek, and maybe Milton Friedman. And, they would agree entirely with the quote from R’Soloveichik’s you cited.

    Republican leaders believe in the same things as Democrat leaders, except Republicans claim to want a balanced budget. In practice, there are few conservatives in leadership positions.

  269. IH wrote:

    “in other words, none of your Talmudic mareh mekomot directly prove your points (without reinterpretation). As expected”

    That was never my point-I merely directed you to the relecvant Mareh Mkomos which are all dependent on how Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim understood and applied the same. WADR, what you call “reinterpretation” is at the heart of how TSBP works.

  270. IH wrote:

    “Steve — On Devorah, notwithstanding your sidestep, if Avot 1:1 is to be taken in the way you intrepret it, then Devorah was a Rabbi. Plain and simple”

    IIRC, Tosfos in Nidah 50a s.v, Kol examines the exact status of Devorah and what exactly tasks she performed.

  271. Steve — both responses are irrelevant. And so it goes…

  272. IH wrote:

    “in other words, none of your Talmudic mareh mekomot directly prove your points (without reinterpretation). As expected”

    IMO, you fail to understand that the heart of conceptualizaing TSBP and using the concepts and definitions therein as a basis for analyzing contemoporary realia has absolutely nothing to do with whether such realia are explicitly mentioned. TSBP should never be learned as if one is learning Pshuto Shel Mikra of Tanach but rather by using the definitions and tools of analysis of Chazal, Rishonim, Acharonim and analyzing how contemporary realia have contemporary applicability. The notion that a contemporary concept has to be known to Chazal in order to render Psak binding WADR has no basis in how one understands and applies any Mareh Mkomos. By using your standard, TSBP has no applicability outside of the narrow confines of the Land of Israel and Babylonia.

  273. Steve — we don’t disagree on the principle; we disagree on the implementation of that principle. You essentially subscribe to the modern Charedi hashkafa of “daas torah” that most MO reject. You objected by saying ~”but, that’s the way it works.”~ to which I responded that it was well trod territory and I had nothing to add. We’re now back at that previous point of departure.

  274. And, to be clear, on the specific issuees of “tznius dress” the sources used to justify the arbitrary rules you advocate date to 19th century Poland as far as I can tell (but, I’m always happy to look at specific mareh mekomot that pre-date this and are directly relevant).

  275. Sorry, should have said “Eastern Europe” rather than specifically “Poland”.

  276. I have listened to the R Zilberstein shiur in the original. The tone struck me far more as a drasha, Mussar Shmuez or Sicha to Lev L’Achim activists that Mesiras Nefesh for Tznius was an issue that Chazal and Rishonim were aware of and were willing to consider extreme means in unusual circumstances than a Psak Halacha to the young woman that such conduct was Mutar Lchatchilah. I do not see the same as Psak in that sense but rather that R Zilberstein attempted to find sources to justify the conduct of the young woman after the fact. That’s why it was IMO was drush, as opposed to a considered Psak Halacha .

    Like it or not, the same merely yet another example of the highly charged, but at times very effective and designed to strike the listener in the jugular vein with no concept or pretense of PC rhetoric that one sees quite often in all sectors of the Israeli public-secular, DL and Charedi. Thus, one can understand easily the well known comments from R Shach ZL in a famous speech re secular Israelis and their lack of awareness of fundamental Jewish concepts like Shma Yisrael, etc, rhetoric about Oslo I and II, blame for the assasination of Rabin ZL and rabbinical rehtoric from such Talmidei Chachamim as ROY, as well as the equally sharp anti Charedi and RZ rhetoric that finds in the precincts of the left.

  277. IH wrote:

    “And, to be clear, on the specific issuees of “tznius dress” the sources used to justify the arbitrary rules you advocate date to 19th century Poland as far as I can tell (but, I’m always happy to look at specific mareh mekomot that pre-date this and are directly relevant”

    Once again, until you see the Mareh Mkomos and understand that the same are the foundations for Hilcos Tznius,and how Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim conceptualized, developed and applied the same within the rubric of Minhag HaMakom, it is evident that you are convinced that unless 21st century attire ( or many other halachic issues) are explicitly stated in a Mishnah, then all such rules are arbitrary in nature. I am surprised and sad that such an eminently intelligent person isn’t willing to consider the Mareh Mkomos and their development throughout the ages without letting his contemporary biases and POV get in the way. Unfortunately, as RYBS noted in the context of Korach, you are letting “common sense” get in the way of dealing with Chazal,Rishonim, and Poskim as a person sincerely interested in understanding their POV.

  278. IH-you have a wonderful trait of sharing with us many links. Yet, when you asked and I refered you to the relevant sugyos as the jump off points for discussions of the key elements of Hilcos and Minhagei Tznius as well as other sources and references that I thought might be worth your inquiry-you responded in an extremely simplistic manner by asking where was 19th Century Polish dress mentioned in a Mishnah. Until you show as much respect for how Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim understood, clarified and defined the meaning of the Mareh Mkomos, then asking for historical proof is a classical case of ignoring and bypassing the halachic process and using a biased reading of ShuT and such comments as that of the AS to support your predetermined view. IMO, that is evidence of a lack of intellectual honesty and willingness to consider a different POV merely because it is anathema to yours.

  279. Steve — C’mon. If you’re going to use that reasoning then you have to be able to point to the progression from the 2nd century to the 19th century with mareh mekomot (and not just, but that’s what my Rebbe told me).

  280. IH-Let me be even more upfront-until and unless you have gone through the relevant sources which I provided and the seforim that I mentioned, which I suspect may be available either on line or in a good local seforim store, your views on this subject are based on a rather primitive concept-that unless something is permitted or prohibited in a Stam Mishnah, the words of Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim are irelevant to me.

  281. “the listener in the jugular vein with no concept or pretense of PC rhetoric ”

    If forced to choose between having my daughters listen to “PC rhetoric” (whatever that means) or the non-PC incredibly irresponsible alleged “drush” by R. Zilberstein, give me the former any time.

  282. Steve — I have already said I would review your mareh mekomot; but, we both know they provide no direct relevance to the type of “tznius dress” under discussion (which was my request). That 19th and 20th century Rabbis found justifications for their arbitrary rules is a fact that we do not need to argue about. Of course, they have also found similar justification for things even you, I think, reject is also the case.

  283. Joseph Kaplan wrote:

    “If forced to choose between having my daughters listen to “PC rhetoric” (whatever that means) or the non-PC incredibly irresponsible alleged “drush” by R. Zilberstein, give me the former any time.”

    If your daughter came home and told you that she no longer wanted to be a Shomer Torah Umitzvos at all and thought that the State of Isarel was grounded in original sin-how would you react?

  284. IH wrote:

    ” C’mon. If you’re going to use that reasoning then you have to be able to point to the progression from the 2nd century to the 19th century with mareh mekomot (and not just, but that’s what my Rebbe told me).”

    I don’t know who your rebbe is ( possibly RDH?), but one has to first learn through the relevant sources, see how Chazsal,, Rishonim and Poskim developed and applied them. AFAIK, that is the best way of understanding how any statement of Chazal is applicable-not by asking where contemporary realia of any kind are sraed explicitly in a Mishnah. The latter strikes me as a neo-Karaite approach to TSBP-and assumes that TSBP is a closed book, when in fact, any sefer related to TSBP exists today solely out of mere convenience for you and me, as a means of enabling us to learn better, but no means to serve as a means of dispensing with the need for a rebbe who knows the ins and outs of the Mesorah and what the Ratzon HaTorah between the lines of the printed text. That is ther key of learning any Sugya in a means in which you see how Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim develope concepts, and use the same as a means of understanding the realia in their generation. Like it or not, a rebbe is not a mere walking encylopedia and one cannot use the most recent editions of any Sefer to reach one’s own conclusions on any issue in Halacha without having a rebbe who is a link back to Har Sinai.

  285. For those following the debate Steve and I are having about the Talmudic sources for “tznius dress” and who are not familiar with the Talmudic texts, here are the relevant sections from the Soncino English translation (https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/05/weekly-freebies-soncino-talmud/):

    Brachos 24a:

    R. Isaac said: A handbreadth [exposed] in a [married] woman constitutes sexual incitement.21 In
    which way? Shall I say, if one gazes at it? But has not R. Shesheth [already] said: Why did Scripture
    enumerate the ornaments worn outside the clothes with those worn inside?22 To tell you that if one
    gazes at the little finger of a woman, it is as if he gazed at her secret place! — No, It means, in one’s
    own wife, and when he recites the Shema’. R. Hisda said: A woman’s leg is a sexual incitement, as it
    says. Uncover the leg, pass through the rivers,23 and it says afterwards, Thy nakedness shall be
    uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen.24 Samuel said: A woman’s voice is a sexual incitement, as it
    says, For sweet is thy voice and thy countenance is comely.25 R. Shesheth said: A woman’s hair is a
    sexual incitement, as it says, Thy hair is as a flock of goats.26

    Ksuvos 72a/b:

    MISHNAH. THESE ARE TO BE DIVORCED WITHOUT RECEIVING THEIR KETHUBAH:
    A WIFE WHO TRANSGRESSES THE LAW OF MOSES OR [ONE WHO TRANSGRESSES]
    JEWISH PRACTICE. AND WHAT IS [REGARDED AS A WIFE’S TRANSGRESSION
    AGAINST] THE LAW OF MOSES? FEEDING HER HUSBAND WITH UNTITHED FOOD,10
    HAVING INTERCOURSE WITH HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF HER MENSTRUATION,11
    NOT SETTING APART HER DOUGH OFFERING,12 OR MAKING VOWS AND NOT
    FULFILLING THEM.13 AND WHAT [IS DEEMED TO BE A WIFE’S TRANSGRESSION
    AGAINST] JEWISH PRACTICE? GOING OUT WITH UNCOVERED HEAD,14 SPINNING IN
    THE STREET15 OR CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN. ABBA SAUL SAID: [SUCH
    TRANSGRESSIONS INCLUDE] ALSO THAT OF A WIFE WHO CURSES HER HUSBAND’S
    PARENTS IN HIS PRESENCE. R. TARFON SAID: ALSO ONE WHO SCREAMS. AND WHO IS
    REGARDED A SCREAMER? A WOMAN WHOSE VOICE CAN BE HEARD BY HER
    NEIGHBOURS WHEN SHE SPEAKS INSIDE HER HOUSE.16

    GEMARA. FEEDING HER HUSBAND WITH UNTITHED FOOD. How are we to understand
    this? If the husband knows [the fact],17 let him abstain; if he does not know [it],17 how did he
    discover it? — [This ruling was] required in the case only where she told him, ‘So-and-so the priest
    has ritually prepared for me the pile of grain’,18 and he went and asked him and her statement was
    found to be untrue.

    HAVING INTERCOURSE WITH HIM DURING THE PERIOD OF HER MENSTRUATION.
    How are we to understand this? If he was aware of her [condition] he could have abstained, if he was
    not aware [of it]19 he should still rely upon her, for R. Hinena b. Kahana stated in the name of
    Samuel: Whence is it deduced that the menstruant herself may [be relied upon to] count
    [correctly]?20 From the Scriptural statement, Then she shall number to herself21 seven days,22 ‘Lah
    means to herself.’23 — It was required in the case only where she said to her husband, ‘So-and-so the
    sage told me that the blood was clean’,24 and when her husband went and asked him it was found
    that her statement was untrue. If you prefer I might reply on the lines of a ruling of Rab Judah who
    said: If a woman was known25 among her neighbours to be a menstruant her husband26 is flogged on
    her account for [having intercourse with] a menstruant.27

    NOT SETTING APART THE DOUGH OFFERING. How is this to be understood? If the husband
    was aware [of the fact] he should have abstained [from the food]; if he was not aware [of it at the
    time] how does he know it now? — [The ruling is to be understood as] required in the case only
    where she said to him. ‘So-and-so the baker28 has ritually prepared the dough29 for me’ and when the
    husband went and asked him her statement was found to be untrue.

    OR MAKING VOWS AND NOT FULFILLING THEM; for the Master stated: One’s children die
    on account of the sin of making vows,30 as it is said in Scripture. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy
    flesh to sin etc. [wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands];31
    and what is the work of a man’s hands? You must say: His sons and his daughters. R. Nahman32 said,
    [It33 may be inferred] from the following: In vain have I smitten your children;’34 ‘In vain’ implies,
    on account of vain utterances.35

    It was taught: R. Meir said, Any man who knows that his wife makes vows and does not fulfil
    them should impose vows upon her again. [You say] ‘Should impose vows upon her [again]’?
    Whereby would he reform her?36 — But [say] he should provoke her again in order that she should
    make her vow in his presence37 and he would [thus be able to] annul it.38 They, however, said to
    him: No one can live with a serpent in the same basket.39
    It was taught: R. Judah said. Any husband who knows that his wife does not [properly] set apart
    for him the dough offering should set it apart again after her. They, however, said to him: No one can
    live with a serpent in the same basket.40 He who taught it41 in connection with this case42 [would
    apply it] with even greater force to the other case;43 he, however, who taught it in connection with
    the other case [applies it to that case only]44 but [not to this one,42 because]45 it might sometimes
    happen that he would eat.46

    AND WHAT [IS DEEMED TO BE A WIFE’S TRANSGRESSION AGAINST] JEWISH
    PRACTICE? GOING OUT WITH UNCOVERED HEAD. [Is not the prohibition against going out
    with] an uncovered head Pentateuchal;47 for it is written, And he shall uncover the woman’s head,48
    and this, it was taught at the school of R. Ishmael, was a warning to the daughters of Israel that they
    should not go out with uncovered49 head?50 — Pentateuchally
    it is quite satisfactory [if her head is covered by] her work-basket;1 according to traditional Jewish
    practice, however, she is forbidden [to go out uncovered] even with her basket [on her head].
    R. Assi stated in the name of R. Johanan: With a basket [on her head a woman] is not guilty of2
    [going about with] an uncovered head. In considering this statement, R. Zera pointed out this
    difficulty: Where [is the woman assumed to be]?3 If it be suggested, ‘In the street’, [it may be
    objected that this is already forbidden by] Jewish practice;4 but [if she is] in a court-yard3 [the
    objection may be made that] if that were so5 you will not leave our father Abraham a [single]
    daughter who could remain with her husband!6 — Abaye, or it might be said, R. Kahana, replied:
    [The statement refers to one who walks] from one courtyard into another by way of an alley.7

    SPINNING IN THE STREET. Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: [The prohibition applies
    only] where she exposed her arms to the public. R. Hisda stated in the name of Abimi: [This applies
    only] where she spins rose [coloured materials, and holds them up] to her face.8

    CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN. Rab Judah stated in the name of Samuel: [This refers only
    to one] who jests with young men.
    Rabbah b. Bar Hana related: I was once walking behind R. ‘Ukba when I observed an Arab
    woman who was sitting, casting her spindle and spinning a rose [coloured material which she held
    up] to her face.9 When she saw us she detached the spindle [from the thread], threw it down and said
    to me, ‘Young man, hand me my10 spindle’. Referring to her11 R. ‘Ukba made a statement. What
    was that statement? — Rabina replied: He spoke of her as a woman SPINNING IN THE STREET.
    The Rabbis said: He spoke of her as one CONVERSING WITH EVERY MAN.
    ABBA SAUL SAID: [SUCH TRANSGRESSIONS INCLUDE] ALSO THAT OF A WIFE WHO
    CURSES HER HUSBAND’S PARENTS IN HIS PRESENCE. Rab Judah said in the name of
    Samuel: [This9 includes also] one who curses his parents in the presence of his offspring;12 and your
    mnemonic sign13 is, Ephraim and Manasseh,14 even as Reuben and Simeon,15 shall be mine.16
    Rabbah17 explained:18 When she said19 in the presence of her husband’s son, ‘May a lion devour
    your grandfather’.20

    R. TARFON SAID: ALSO ONE WHO SCREAMS. What is meant by a screamer? — Rab Judah
    replied in the name of Samuel: One who speaks aloud21 on marital matters. In a Baraitha it was
    taught: [By screams was meant a wife] whose voice22 during her intercourse in one court can be
    heard in another court. But should not this, then,23 have been taught in the Mishnah24 among
    defects?25 — Clearly we must revert to the original explanation.26

    Kidushin 82a:

    MISHNAH. AN UNMARRIED MAN MUST NOT BE AN ELEMENTARY TEACHER,2 NOR
    MAY A WOMAN BE AN ELEMENTARY TEACHER. R. ELEAZAR SAID: ONE ALSO WHO
    HAS NO WIFE MUST NOT BE AN ELEMENTARY TEACHER.3 R. JUDAH SAID: AN
    UNMARRIED MAN MUST NOT TEND CATTLE, NOR MAY TWO UNMARRIED MEN
    SLEEP TOGETHER UNDER THE SAME COVER,4 BUT THE SAGES PERMIT IT.

    GEMARA. What is the reason? Shall we say, on account of the children?5 surely it was taught:
    Said they to R. Judah, Israel are not suspected of either pederasty or bestiality? — But an unmarried
    man [is forbidden] on account of the children’s mothers, and a woman on account of their fathers.6
    R. ELEAZAR SAID: ONE ALSO WHO HAS NO WIFE. The scholars propounded: [Does it
    mean,] one who has no wife at all,7 or whose wife does not live with him? — Come and hear: Also
    one who has a wife but she does not live with him may not be an elementary teacher.
    R. JUDAH SAID: AN UNMARRIED MAN MUST NOT TEND etc. It was taught: They said to
    R. Judah: Israel is suspected of neither pederasty nor bestiality.

    MISHNAH. ONE WHOSE BUSINESS IS WITH WOMEN MUST NOT BE ALONE WITH
    WOMEN;8 AND ONE SHOULD NOT TEACH HIS SON A WOMAN’S TRADE.9 R. MEIR SAID:
    ONE SHOULD ALWAYS TEACH HIS SON A CLEAN AND EASY CRAFT, AND PRAY TO
    HIM TO WHOM [ALL] WEALTH AND PROPERTY BELONG. FOR NO CRAFT DOES NOT
    CONTAIN [THE POTENTIALITIES OF] POVERTY AND WEALTH, FOR NEITHER POVERTY
    NOR WEALTH IS DUE TO THE CRAFT, BUT ALL DEPENDS ON ONES MERIT. R. SIMEON
    B. ELEAZAR SAID: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A WILD BEAST OR A BIRD WITH A CRAFT?
    YET THEY ARE SUSTAINED WITHOUT ANXIETY. NOW, THEY WERE CREATED ONLY
    TO SERVE ME, WHILE I WAS CREATED TO SERVE MY MASTER: SURELY THEN I
    SHOULD MAKE A LIVING WITHOUT ANXIETY! BUT BECAUSE I HAVE ACTED EVILLY
    AND DESTROYED MY LIVELIHOOD.10 ABBA GURION OF ZADIAN11 SAID ON THE
    AUTHORITY OF ABBA GURIA: ONE SHOULD NOT TEACH HIS SON [TO BE] AN
    ASS-DRIVER, CAMEL-DRIVER, WAGGONER,12 SAILOR, SHEPHERD, OR SHOPKEEPER,
    BECAUSE THEIR PROFESSION IS THE PROFESSION OF ROBBERS.13 R. JUDAH SAID IN
    HIS NAME:14 MOST ASS-DRIVERS ARE WICKED,15 WHILE MOST CAMEL-DRIVERS ARE
    WORTHY MEN;16 AND MOST SAILORS ARE PIOUS.17 THE BEST OF DOCTORS ARE
    DESTINED FOR GEHENNA,18 AND THE WORTHIEST OF BUTCHERS IS AMALEK’S
    PARTNER.19

    R. NEHORAI SAID: I ABANDON EVERY TRADE IN THE WORLD AND TEACH MY SON
    TORAH ONLY, FOR MAN ENJOYS THE REWARD THEREOF IN THIS WORLD WHILE THE
    PRINCIPAL REMAINS TO HIM FOR THE WORLD TO COME. BUT ALL OTHER
    PROFESSIONS ARE NOT SO; FOR WHEN A MAN COMES TO SICKNESS OR OLD AGE OR
    SUFFERING AND CANNOT ENGAGE IN HIS CRAFT, HE MUST DIE OF STARVATION,
    WHEREAS THE TORAH IS NOT SO, FOR IT GUARDS HIM FROM ALL EVIL IN HIS YOUTH
    AND GIVES HIM A FUTURE AND HOPE IN HIS OLD AGE. OF HIS YOUTH WHAT IS SAID?
    BUT THEY THAT WAIT UPON THE LORD SHALL RENEW THEIR STRENGTH;20 OF HIS
    OLD AGE WHAT IS SAID? THEY SHALL STILL BRING FORTH FRUIT IN OLD AGE.21 AND
    THUS IT IS SAID OF OUR FATHER ABRAHAM, AND ABRAHAM WAS OLD . . . AND THE
    LORD BLESSED ABRAHAM WITH EVERYTHING.22 WE FIND THAT OUR FATHER
    ABRAHAM OBSERVED THE WHOLE TORAH BEFORE IT WAS GIVEN, FOR IT IS SAID,
    BECAUSE THAT ABRAHAM OBEYED MY VOICE, AND KEPT MY CHARGE, MY
    COMMANDMENTS, MY STATUTES, AND MY LAWS.23

    GEMARA. Our Rabbis taught: He whose business is with women has a bad character. E.g.,
    goldsmiths,24 carders,25 [handmill] cleaners,26 pedlars, wool-dressers, barbers,27 launderers,
    bloodletters,28 bath attendants and tanners. Of these neither a king nor a High Priest may be
    appointed. What is the reason? Not because they are unfit, but because their profession is mean.

  286. I thank IH for posting the relevant Talmudic Maregh Mkomos. However, mere posting of the sugyos without considering how they were explained , codified and applied to contemporary realia by Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim is IMO an exercise that strongly borders on the utterly useless.

    For those interested, see the Rishonim ,Acharonim , and Poskim on each sugya , then see either R Ellinson’s superb sefarim or borrow a copy of the sourcebook for Women In Jewish Law before claiming that contemporary Halachos and Minhagei Tznius either are arbitrary or have no basis whatsoever in the Talmud. Conversations that are predicated on where is such a contemporary practice stated explicitly in the Talmud are not a hallmark of a great appreciation of how the Mesorah of TSBP works, but are evidence of almost a Karaite view of TSBP, and demonsrate a willingness to dig into Chazal, Rioshonim and Poskim to understand the same-a complete contrast to the observation of Hillel-Ain Am HaARetz Chasid VAin HaBayshan Lomed.

  287. I would amplify and extend this with two relevant sentences from Rabbi Daniel Reifman (on the RCA’s Text and Tradition site):
    “We need to develop a more heightened awareness of the hermeneutic process—an understanding that texts do not simply ‘read themselves’” and “One learns to accept the fact that no one interpretation [of a text] can lay an exclusive claim to truth, and that the best one can do is to build a case for one’s analysis that others will find convincing.”

  288. “For those interested, see the Rishonim ,Acharonim , and Poskim on each sugya ,”

    Steve,
    have you done this in through manner?

  289. “Moshe Shoshan on July 10, 2011 at 3:45 pm
    “For those interested, see the Rishonim ,Acharonim , and Poskim on each sugya ,”

    Steve,
    have you done this in through manner?”

    If I recall what Gil wrote a few weeks ago his Rebbe RMT did not spend much time reading poskim-if so does anyone seriously believe that RMT is not entitled to an opinion on matters.

  290. “If your daughter came home and told you that she no longer wanted to be a Shomer Torah Umitzvos at all and thought that the State of Isarel was grounded in original sin-how would you react?”

    That’s not the issue here. We’re not talking about parenting. (I’ve already said that I don’t think the parents are handling this well at all.) The issue we’re discussing is how do I think an adult mentor should advice a teenager. I think the advice/encouragement R. Zilberstein gave was irresponsible. If my daughter came home and told me she was anti-Israel I would be very upset and would try to handle it the best I could. If she said she was anti-Israel and her guidance counselor agreed and told her she should spend her summer in Israel lying down in front of Israeli bulldozers building the separation fence I would try to get that guidance counselor fired. That’s the analogy. How would you react about that guidance counselor.

  291. Re article by R Meir Soloveichik: It is misleading to pretend that Yahadus is close to any secular political movement either on the left or right-there are parts that are similar to either and other parts not like either.

    “But “one ‘neo’,” he acknowledged, “has been permanent throughout my life, and it is probably at the root of all the others. I have been ‘neo-Orthodox’ in my religious views (though not in my religious observance).””
    I wonder hoiw quickly the negative comments woul;d have been written by some bloggers if this were written by a left wing non Observant Jew-suspect would have had paragraphs of scarcasm already.

    “informed by a reverence for the classics of Western civilization had little to say, indeed little apparent interest, in the Talmud itself, the study of which essentially dominated Jewish intellectual life for two thousand years.”

    a similar story about neoconservativews obvious lack of interest in Jewish classics is the story of John Podhoretz who while a contestant on Jeopardy circa 20 or so years ago did very well -he won a few times – in the category Russia he answered almost all the questions on a Bible category he answered few if any questions.

  292. See Benjamin Balint’s excellent “Running Commentary”.

  293. “Like it or not, a rebbe is not a mere walking encylopedia and one cannot use the most recent editions of any Sefer to reach one’s own conclusions on any issue in Halacha without having a rebbe who is a link back to Har Sinai.”

    Agree with intent of thought but it is well knoiwn that most talmeidei chachamim don’t blindly follow their Rebbe they can have differences-see eg RHS and RYBS-one can find differences-obviously RHS has the right to disagree with RYBS-but RHS is not blindly following a Rebbe back to Ha Sinai.

  294. Moshe-The Mesorah that I received is that on any Inyan that I am learning one looks first at the Sugya in the Talmud, then Rishonim and Poskim. I have been through many of the Mkoros cited in R Ellinson’s seforim, and and IMO they are the best on this subject because they exemplify this derech as well as an “it, and not about it” approach to a subject that is all too often marked and marred by Drush and Musar.

    IIRC, R Gil mentioned that RMT in shiur worked thru a few select Rishonim, and did not emphasize Poskim or Acharonim. I think that how a rebbe gives a shiur in yeshiva is a function of each rebbe’s style, and RIETS has a great range of RY with individual Darchei HaLimud, but I am sure that if any talmid of RMT sought advice on an issue that could be roughly defined as Halacha LMaaseh, RMT would either have an answer or a person to who he could suggest that a talmid seek an answer.

    As a general rule, I think that one cannot begin to understand how Halacha works without being able to see how any issue in the Talmud is discussed by Chazal and explained by the Rishonim,and then seeing how the Mchaber abnd Rema cdify the Halacha. That does not mean seeing every Rishon inside, but at least Rashi, Tosfos, Rambam, and some of the Gdolei Rishonim as well.

    IH-R Reifman’s approach makes sense only if one does not read a text in a manner in which one stands the open and apparent meaning of the same on its head.

  295. Joseph Kaplan wrote :

    “. We’re not talking about parenting. (I’ve already said that I don’t think the parents are handling this well at all.)”

    I would qualify that statement simply because R Zilberstein’s comment struck me neither as advice, encouragement nor Psak, and because I view the entire issue as based on an unnecessary conflict between Lev LAchim and the mother. I did note that while you addressed my query abouit your child rejecing Zionism and Israel, you were noticably silent about a rejection of Torah and Mitzos.

  296. “I have been through many of the Mkoros cited in R Ellinson’s seforim”

    Great. So it can’t be too hard to find a mareh makom between the Talmud and the 19th century that fills in the gaps in respect of “tznius dress” that is applicable today: e.g. skirt or blouse-sleeve length (or equivalent for men). That was my original request you might recall…

  297. “I did note that while you addressed my query abouit your child rejecing Zionism and Israel, you were noticably silent about a rejection of Torah and Mitzos.”

    That was no more on topic than was rejection of Israel But my answer is the same: I would be very upset and would try to handle it the best I could. But as long as you brought up being “noticably silent,” I noticed that that’s what you were about my question: “How would you react about the guidance counselor” who told your daughter to lie down in front of Israeli bulldozers? Or let’s say it was only “drush”: as drush he said it would be a good idea for those he was mentoring to spend their summer doing that. Would you be as sanguine as you are about R.Zilberstein’s “drush”?

  298. “and because I view the entire issue as based on an unnecessary conflict between Lev LAchim and the mother.”

    Yes, the conflict is unnecessary and yes, the parents, as the story has been reported, appear to be doing a lousy parenting job. But R. Zilberstein injected himself into that unnecessary conflict, and he made it worse, not better. This is such a clear case of chachamim hizaharu bedivreichem that, quite frankly, it blows my mind that there are those who defend how he handled his part in this.

  299. “New Jewish group wants to restore polygamy: Practice promoted as solution for the abundance of single women, Arab demographic threat and the predicament of seeking extramarital relations.”

    http://www.jpost.com/JewishWorld/JewishNews/Article.aspx?id=228736

  300. “This is such a clear case of chachamim hizaharu bedivreichem that, quite frankly, it blows my mind that there are those who defend how he handled his part in this.”
    Cmon Joseph we all know that certain types of Rabbis will get defended no matter what they say or do.

  301. Joseph Kaplan asked the following question:

    “But as long as you brought up being “noticably silent,” I noticed that that’s what you were about my question: “How would you react about the guidance counselor” who told your daughter to lie down in front of Israeli bulldozers? Or let’s say it was only “drush”: as drush he said it would be a good idea for those he was mentoring to spend their summer doing that. Would you be as sanguine as you are about R.Zilberstein’s “drush”?”

    Of course, I would do all within my power to have such a person terminated, as inappropriate for his or her job, especially if I knew that he or she had actually placed students in such a program with his or her actual recommendation

  302. So why do you give R. Zilberstein a pass? (I actually know the answer to that question.)

  303. IH wrote:

    “Great. So it can’t be too hard to find a mareh makom between the Talmud and the 19th century that fills in the gaps in respect of “tznius dress” that is applicable today: e.g. skirt or blouse-sleeve length (or equivalent for men). That was my original request you might recall”

    What can I tell you-Zig Gmir-and see how Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim discuss the issue. FWIW, there is a fascinating discussion between the MB( Lchumra) and the CI ( Lklula) as to when a female under the age of Bas Mitzvah must start adhering to these Halachos.

  304. Steve — they don’t exist, or you would have produced one.

  305. IH-Of course, it should be noted that looking for marh mkomos that purportedly fill in gaps re whether Chazal, Rishonim and Acharonim discuss 21st century dress may have asbolutlely no bearing on the key issue of how Chazal, Rishonim, and Acharonim define Shok, Ervah, etc.I would suggest that you see how the terms are defined before thinking how contemporary dress is viewed by Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim.

  306. IH-when you have gone thru the discussion in R Ellinson’s works, we will continue the discussion. Until then, I have no choice but to consider your comments to be rooted in ignorance.

  307. IH-OTOH-if you live in Queens or can easily get to KGH and would like to seriously go through the Mareh Mkomos, as opposed to debate their development and existence on a blog or search for the consideration of 21st Century fashion by Poskim ,I would be more than willing to do so at your convenience at night in any of the lccal shuls or Batei Medrash.

  308. Steve — the subject here is very specific, not the broader issue you keep wanting to drag this into. The truth — and you know it — is that the whole fetishization of “tznius dress” is a modern invention.

    You even have a cheat sheet — R Ellinson’s works — and you still can’t come up with a single direct reference before the Mishna Brura.

  309. IH-sorry-unless you want to trace halacha from the Talmud thru Rishonim, Acharonim and Poskim, you really should not be making grossly iresponsible claims like “festishizaton” and “modern invention”. Dismissing a wonderful sefer such as R Ellinson’s as a mere “cheat sheet” shows IMO that you are unwilling to engage in a serious discussion on an issue unless it is on your terms and dictated by your view of Halacha. Again-direct references are not how one learns how Halacha developes-but rather how halacha fits into your predetermined agenda. My offer to go through the sources, though, remains open .

  310. Steve — and my request remains: point me to the specific text prior to 19th century Eastern Europe that paskens on skirt and blouse sleeve length (or the texture and thickness of stockings for that matter).

    Until the modern fetishization — and that is precisely the right word — “tznius dress” was an outcome of the societal context in which Jews lived.

    If the women in your life want to dress for Eastern Europe climate in NYC summers, that is their perogative. But, it is not required (nor even desirable) as baseline halacha.

  311. As Gateshead Musmach R. Belovski writes, more beoadly:

    “Although we no longer have the vow of the nazir, its principles are certainly germane today. Stringencies – in Hebrew, חומרות – are very much in vogue in the religious world. While in the right circumstances, the implementation of carefully-selected stringencies can stimulate genuine spiritual growth, it is regrettably common for them to [be] little more than a type of destructive halachic one-upmanship. The passage of the nazir provides a stark lesson – one must always question one’s motivation when adopting voluntary religious responsibilities. The Torah requires us to develop the self-awareness needed to distinguish between a genuine desire for spirituality and ‘keeping up with the Cohens’.”

    http://www.rabbibelovski.co.uk/sermon-notes-030611-naso

  312. IH wrote:

    “Steve — and my request remains: point me to the specific text prior to 19th century Eastern Europe that paskens on skirt and blouse sleeve length (or the texture and thickness of stockings for that matter).

    Until the modern fetishization — and that is precisely the right word — “tznius dress” was an outcome of the societal context in which Jews lived.

    If the women in your life want to dress for Eastern Europe climate in NYC summers, that is their perogative. But, it is not required (nor even desirable) as baseline halacha”

    When you decide to trace the meaning of Ervah, Daas Yehudah, Daas Moshe and Yichud from the Talmud through contemporary Poskim, we will continue the discussion. Until then, asking how any pre 20th Century Posek discussed contemporary female attire in the US is a meaningless question. If and when you become a Posek HaDor, you can inform us all what you consider to “be required (or even desirable as) “baseline Halacha.”

    FWIW, you tend to use fetishization as a label to attack in a very negative way any attention to halachic detail. That, IMO, is an extremely inappropriate characterization and borders on how some supercesssionist critics of Judaism viewed TSBP-excessively legalistic, etc in nature.

  313. IH-Most, if not all, of us can read and comprehend English-my critique of your usage of the word in different contexts such as Hilcos Shabbos as well as the present context stands as a critique of attention to detail-if anything is true, just as a spaceship without a proper screw can blow up in space, so too, Halacha is rooted in detail, and in sweating the details. To paraphrase both RYBS and the CI, one cannot talk about the Jewish view on any subject without being fully aware of the Halachic dimension of the same. In a similar manner, RSZA was renowned for looking at new technological developments and immediately thinking of the halachic consequences presented by the same. To an outsider with no appreciation of the same, that may very well seem like a fetish-if that is the case Mi KiAmche Yisrael Goy Echad BaAretz!

  314. Steve — so it comes down to ad hominem. Disappointing.

  315. IH-one more time-I provided you the Talmudic Mareh Mkomos, and invited you to see how the same were understood by Chazal, Rishonim and Poskim, and provided you with the name of an excellent sefer on the subject. You dismissed all of the above and the sefer as a crib sheet. I can only imagine how you view Mrs. Lerner’s guidebook. I then invited you to learn through the sources. However, in each instance, you demanded that I provide you with proof of the approval or lack thereof of women’s attire-a subject that is irrelevant without first mastering the ABCs and details of how the details were defined, not how they were practiced.Until one knows the basic definitions, inquiry via review of ShuT or other proof that indicates custom to the contrary that departs from the halachic definitions is irrelevant.

  316. Steve — you simply repeat the same mantras over and over with no textual support. I made a request for mareh mekomot. The thread will indicate that I not only looked up your 3 Talmudic references, but also provided an English translation for the broader readership. [It is worth observing that one could use those same sources to discuss all sorts of things that most Orthodox Jews do not consider to be halacha today.]

    You then fast-forward to the late-19th to 20th century showing absolutely no mesorah trail for the intervening ~17 centuries with nothing more than empty mantras. And in fact without any textual backup either. And then, in frustration, you resort to ad hominem.

    As the vulgar expression goes “put up or…”.

  317. Or admit the truth: the “tznius dress” rules you spend so much time worrying about (e.g. skirt and blouse-sleeve length) are a modern meshugash (since you object to fetish).

  318. IH-As I stated previously-looking at Talmudic Mareh Mkomos without seeing how the same were defined and applied by Chazal, Rishonim and Acharonim was and has always been a meaningless exercise. I suggested that your path was that of Zil Gmir-which as of this time-you have rejected. I remain open to spending any needed time with you based on the Mareh Mkomos in R Ellinson’s book to develope an appreciation for how the same were developed,and applied.

  319. IH-in some ways, your demands remind me of how the Ramban was demanded to defend TSBP. Until you progress beyond the Talmudic Mareh Mkomos, this discussion will remain at a standstill and an utter waste of time other than indicating more hits on this thread.

  320. Steve — as a reminder the Rambam wrote Mishneh Torah to *replace* TSBP.

    We work from texts. Show us the mareh mekomot that back up your view of the halacha of “tznius dress”.

  321. IH-Your statement of the purpose of MT is correct. I am at work and don’t have the time for a further discussion and tonight when I am home, I will be off line for most, if not all of the evening. For a good introduction , see R Ellinson’s work on the subject-when you have completed your survey, then we will continue the discussion. if you know anyone who recentlt attended Central, Mrs. Lerner’s guidebook is definitely worth reviewing as well.

  322. IH-we work from texts as understood and interpreted by others of far greater staure than either you or me.

  323. IH-would you agree that despite the Rambam’s expressed intent in writing MT, the MT did not succeed in so doing, and became known instead as both a codification of TSBP, as well as one of the most influential commentaries on TSBP?

  324. Steve — I’m no posek, nor do I play one on TV; but as far as I know we don’t pasken from the Talmud, but we do from Mishneh Torah, and following it the Tur and Shulchan Aruch. So, I would conclude that Rambam did succeed in replacing the Talmud.

  325. For the record, Steve, I reviewed משנה ברורה סימן עה again to make sure I remembered it correctly. The dress issues are about whether one can say Kriyat Shema (extended to לקרות או להזכיר שום דבר שבקדושה) in different scenarios. As late as the MB there is no extension (that I see) to more general “tznius dress” and it is also evident from the language used by the Chofetz Chaim that there were different norms in different communities regarding how women dressed in public, semi-public and private).

  326. “This is such a clear case of chachamim hizaharu bedivreichem that, quite frankly, it blows my mind that there are those who defend how he handled his part in this.”

    The Chareidi world has difficulty admitting mistakes by its “gdolim”
    see eg L Kaplan on daas Torah -where in one of the articles at least he writes about the problem the Chareidi world was facing with the clear historical record showing that R Hutner was wrong in asserting no Arab progroms until modern day political Zionism-I believe example that L Kaplan referred to was Damascus pogrom in 1840?.
    If my memory is faulty on what the seminal articles by Prof Kaplan he can correct me.

  327. IH wrote:

    “I’m no posek, nor do I play one on TV; but as far as I know we don’t pasken from the Talmud, but we do from Mishneh Torah, and following it the Tur and Shulchan Aruch. So, I would conclude that Rambam did succeed in replacing the Talmud”

    WADR,I would disagree. One begins with the Talmud and such obvious Rishonim as Rashi, Tosfos, Rif, Rosh, and then Rambam and Tur and SA. In the case of Rambam, one must always be sure Rambam is either just quoting the Talmud or presenting an alternative source such as a Yerushalmi or Tosefta that Rambam views as clearer than that of the Talmud. I would not claim that Rambam replaced the Talmud but provided the first codification of Kol HaTorah Kulah as well providing a primary, but certainly not always agreed with commentary or codification.

    FWIW, while I appreciate your citing your views re your reading of the relevant text of the MB, I probably won’t get back to you re the development of Halachos and Minhagim re Tznius at least until this Thursday or Motzaei Shabbos at the earliest.

  328. IH-I would certainly stipulate at this point that R Broyde’s critique of R Falk’s sefer on Tznius is 100% on the mark because R Falk essentially completely minimalized the concept of Minhag HaMakom, and posited a maximal standard that allows no differences between Gateshead and other communities. Further discussion on this issue should await as per my request until Thursday night or Motzaei Shabbos.

  329. IH-IIRC, FYI, R Yehudah Herzl Henkin, as opposed to R Broyde, wrote a devastating critique of Oz Hadar Lvusha. Would you mind using your excellent research skills and posting a link to the same?

  330. I don’t understand this whole argument about tznius. At a time when all women dressed very tzniusdik, you wouldn’t expect to see much discussion of standards. It was only when women started pushing the boundaries that discussion arose.

    But even before, there was still some discussion. Consider the debate over women’s lower legs, with the Bach requiring women to cover it and others disagreeing.

  331. Gil – To summarize, there is a recording of a respected Rabbi confirming that it is halachicly acceptable for a teenage Israeli girl to self-mutilate in order to convince her parents to allow her to buy more tzniusdik clothing.

    Self-mutilation is generally considered an issur mi’de’oraita. So, to evaluate this story it is material to understand what is halachicly required in regard to what Steve called “tznius dress”.

    My contention is that the festishization of hilchot tzniut to proscribe very specific modalities of attire for women (e.g. as evidenced by the compilation books Steve raises) is a 20th century phenomenon that has no substantive basis in the halalachic literature. My working hypothesis based on the discussion here – without prejudice to new evidence that is brought forward – is that we have arrived at the present state through a series of 20th century chumrot that are now being represented as baseline halacha – so baseline that it is used by some to understand (if not condone) the views of said respected Rabbi on this recording.