Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Study: Antibody levels drop 2 months after COVID vaccine

 COVID antibody levels decline significantly two months after injection of the second dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a new study shows.

 But some experts say the study is not necessarily cause for alarm, noting that similar declines are observed with antibodies for other viruses, and that antibodies make up only part of the body’s immune system.

 In an interview with according to Channel 12, Dr. Greenfield said the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine remains unknown, but added that there is no reason to believe the decline in antibodies indicates a loss of immunity.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The Jerusalem Parade and Homosexuality


It is here that a difficulty arises for secular philosophy and ethics. On the basis of which rational principle should a homosexual relationship be permitted but incest forbidden? For the same reason one could ask why a normal hetero-sexual relationship is permitted and even encouraged? What, after all, are the moral grounds to permit such a relationship?  Perhaps every kind of sexual activity should be forbidden and considered to be unethical. This is what the famous Danish thinker and father of Religious Existentialism Soren Kierkegaard seems to be claiming. (The Last Years- Journals, 1853-55) when he argues against marriage.



Think Again: Limud: A rejoinder to Rabbi Cardozo

 RABBI DR. NATHAN Lopes Cardozo goes even further.

He does not just urge Orthodox presenters to take advantage of whatever opportunities they are given at Limmud, but to sit together with their heterodox colleagues and learn from them. What should they learn? Biblical criticism? Guitar-playing? Cardozo suggests that the Orthodox might have learned from the heterodox how better to read the “religious map” of world Jewry. Has he read the Pew Research Center study of American Jewry – the 71-percent intermarriage rate among non-Orthodox Jews, the wildly disproportionate over representation of Jews in cults, the million or more American Jews who describe their religion as “none” or “other”? Has he read last week’s JTA article on Conservative and Reform temples surviving by renting out space to Orthodox minyanim? Is there a comparable phenomenon in the Reform and Conservative movements to the ba’alei teshuva movement, which has brought tens of thousands of Jews into the Orthodox fold? Does he know Conservative and Reform Jews who are dramatically changing their lives around the question: What does God want of me? CARDOZO HAILS the courage of new British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis for his decision to attend the upcoming Limmud Conference, and bemoans the cowardice of Dayan Ehrentreu and other senior religious figures for urging Orthodox rabbis not to attend.It is an open secret that the selectors of the new chief rabbi made attendance at Limmud a condition for the appointment. Mirvis may have decided that his considerable personal and organizational skills were just the thing to revive the moribund United Synagogue, and there was nothing to be gained by passing on the appointment – since whoever was appointed in his place would also go. And he may have reasoned that his opening address, with no heterodox rabbis on the podium with him, could do little harm, and he might even inspire some with his words of Torah and encouragement of Torah learning.But an act of heroism his attendance is not.


 Vayikra Rabbah 32.8): But I returned and considered all the oppressions (Koheles 4: 1). Daniel the Tailor interpreted the verses as applying to bastards. And behold the tears of such as were oppressed (Koheles 4: 1). If the parents of these bastards committed transgression, what concern is it of these poor sufferers? So also if this man's father cohabited with a forbidden woman, what sin has he himself committed and what concern is it of his? And they had no comforter (Koheles 4: 1), but On the side of their oppressors there was power (Koheles 4: 1). This means, on the side of Israel's Great Sanhedrin which comes to them with the power derived from the Torah and removes them from the fold virtue of the commandment, A bastard shall not enter into the assembly of the Lord (Devarim 23:3). ’But they had no comforter.’ Says the Holy One, blessed be He: ' It shall be My task to comfort them.’ For in this world there is dross in them, but in the World to Come, says Zechariah, I have seen them all gold,

Monday, March 29, 2021

The Huge Cargo Ship Blocking the Suez Canal Is Now Afloat, Maritime Company Says

Salvage teams freed the Ever Given in the Suez Canal, according to maritime services provider Inchcape, almost a week after the giant vessel ran aground in one of the world’s most important trade paths.

While the ship is floating again, it wasn’t immediately clear how soon the waterway would be open to traffic, or how long it will take to clear the logjam of more than 450 ships stuck, waiting and en route to the Suez that have identified it as their next destination.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Dominion Voting Systems sues Fox News for $1.6bn over election fraud lies

The North American voting machine company Dominion has hit Fox News with a $1.6bn defamation lawsuit, accusing the network of spreading election fraud lies in a misguided effort to stop an exodus of enraged viewers after Donald Trump’s 2020 election loss.

The complaint accuses some of Fox’s biggest personalities Maria Bartiromo, Tucker Carlson, Lou Dobbs, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro “and their chosen guests” of spreading “defamatory falsehoods” about Dominion.

Fox supercharged false conspiracy theories about Dominion, the lawsuit says, by plucking the lies from relatively obscure corners of the far-right internet and broadcasting them to tens of millions of viewers on television and online.

“Fox took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire,” the complaint says. “As the dominant media company among those viewers dissatisfied with the election results, Fox gave these fictions a prominence they otherwise would never have achieved.”

Fox vowed to fight the case in a statement on Friday morning: “Fox News Media is proud of our 2020 election coverage, which stands in the highest tradition of American journalism, and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”

Friday, March 26, 2021

Jonathan Pollard Says Jews ‘Will Always Have Dual Loyalty’ And Would Counsel Young Jews To Consider Spying For Israel

 Jonathan Pollard, the convicted spy for Israel whose story haunted the American Jewish community’s relations with the US government for decades, is unrepentant.

“The bottom line on this charge of dual loyalty is, I’m sorry, we’re Jews, and if we’re Jews, we will always have dual loyalty,” Pollard said in an interview published Thursday in Israel Hayom, his first extensive remarks since his release from prison in 2015.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow opposes early release of Ezra Sheinberg

 Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, the head of the Center for Jewish Ethics at the Tzohar rabbinic organization, expressed his opposition to the possible shortening of the sentence of Ezra Sheinberg, former dean of the Orot Ha'ari yeshiva in the northern city of Tzfat, who will be brought before the Parole Committee on Thursday.

Sheinberg was convicted of sexually abusing eight women and sentenced to seven-and-a-half years in prison. He is currently serving his sentence in the Maasiyahu Prison.

If the Committee approves, his sentence will be shortened, and he will be released earlier than expected from prison.


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My Response To The Social Media "Get Refusal" Mobs (V18)

Unaccepted Proposals to Solve the Aguna Problem - Part V by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

            However, Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igrot Moshe E.H.1:79) argues that if a woman discovers a severe defect in her husband she does not require a Get.  Rav Moshe writes that one should make all efforts to obtain a Get, but a lenient ruling may be issued if all efforts to procure a Get have failed.  He reasons that some defects are so severe that it is without a doubt that no woman would have married this man.  Rav Moshe takes issue with Rav Yitzchak Elchanan and argues that no woman would marry an impotent man.  Thus, just as a man who marries a women who is an "Ailoneet" does not require a Get, so too a woman who married a man and immediately discovers that he is impotent does not require a Get.  Rav Moshe takes this exceedingly bold argument (it is bold because, as Rav Yosef Henkin notes in his Peirushei Ibra p.43, it lacks any textual basis in the classical sources) one step further.  He argues that even Rabbeinu Tam (see last week's article), who rules that in a case where a man discovers that his wife an is "Ailoneet" a Get is needed to terminate the marriage, would agree that if a woman discovers a preexisting severe defect in the husband she does not require a Get to remarry.  This is because, argues Rav Moshe (with no textual support for this argument), only a man would possibly agree to marry a woman with a severe defect.  This is because he has a relatively easy halachic exit from the marriage. However, it is obvious to all, argues Rav Moshe, that no woman would marry a man with a severe defect.  She would never take a risk that perhaps she would tolerate the man's problem, since she knows that in the likely event that she will be dissatisfied she will have no easy halachic mechanism to escape the marriage.

Unaccepted Proposals to Solve the Aguna Problem - Part IV by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

            As we have mentioned in the last two weeks, there have been interesting proposals made to solve the Aguna problem which have been rejected by the Orthodox rabbinate.  There have been other very innovative suggestions, such as proposals made by Rav Yosef Eliyahu Henkin (Peirushei Ibra pp. 115-117) and Israeli Chief Rabbi Rav Benzion Uzziel (Teshuvot Mishpetei Uzziel, E.H. 1:27) which have simply not been accepted.  What is crucial to note is that these proposals were not implemented in practice, because the rabbinic consensus rejected these proposals.  Radical changes to Gittin procedures require a rabbinic consensus because of the potential for a communal split if part the community rejects the proposal. 

            The tragic consequences of the actions of this court are enormous.  Recent newspaper articles report that this court claims to have told more than two hundred women that Jewish law permits them to remarry without a Get.  Virtually the entire Orthodox rabbinate will regard any children  that these women will give birth to  as "Mamzeirim." 

            Rabbi Rackman bases his approach on a number of responsa written by Rav Moshe Feinstein regarding "Kiddushei Ta'ut" (marriages that lack halachic validity because the marriage was entered into on a fraudulent basis).  We will summarize the basic approach of Rav Feinstein, seek to demonstrate how Rav Moshe was extraordinarily lenient and applied the halacha to its very limits, and see how an attempt by Rabbi Rackman to further extend this ruling is baseless.  We will begin discussing Rav Moshe's Kiddushei Ta'ut responsa.

Comparing the Kaminetsky-Greenblatt heter to the Rackman Beis Din's use of Kiddushei Ta'us

Below is an article regarding the Rackman Beis Din which took the principle of kiddushei' taus and applied it to all sorts of things saying "If she only had known about X she would never have married him" and thus declared the marriage a mistake. The important thing to note is that the Rackman beis din made no attempt to lie about the facts. Its major problem was in declaring a wide range of situations to justify invalidating the marriage. The Rackman beis din stretched the concept of kiddushei ta'us until became a sad joke. As Rav Bleich noted that according to the Rackman Beis Din the  mere fact that the husband refused to give a Get proved that he was cruel and since she would have never married such a cruel person - the marriage is invalid.

In contrast the Kaminetsky-Greenblatt heter is based on a false psychiatric report which not only wrongly claims that Aharon has 2 incurable personality orders but that these personality disorders are severe enough to create a mekach ta'us.  They have succeeded in keeping the halacha of kiddushei ta'us intact but instead corrupted the factual basis to enable any woman to invalidate her marriage with a psychologist's report. Even if the therapist never talked to the husband and even if he wrote the report based entirely on the nasty things an estranged wife mights say about her husband without hearing the other side at all- and even if he simply made up the report out of his own imagination - the Kaminetsky-Greenblatt heter says the marriage is invalid. It isn't based on a comical interpreation of halacha but on nasty lies.

Which is the greater corruption - to twist the halacha to make it cover a wide range of inappropriate conditions or to the falsely claim the existence of severe mental health problems?

Rav Kook - women voting

An Open Letter!
To the Hon. Committee of the Mizrahi Association,

I was honored to receive your request that I express my opinion concerning the pending question of electing women to the assembly of the representatives of the Jews of the Land of Israel. Despite my not being worthy of being approached, I consider that circumstances require that I expound my opinion on this matter, with greatest possible brevity.

It seems to me that the issue can be analyzed under three headings:

  1. a) Regarding the law (din), whether the matter is permitted or forbidden

  2. b) Regarding the general good, whether good for Israel will result from an affirmative answer or from a negative one

  3. c) Regarding the ideal, whether our moral con sciousness opposes the prospect or supports it

We must expound our attitude on each of these three aspects, for I wish the discussion to be addressed to all our ranks: to the fully faithful of Israel, for whom the halakhic ruling is central; to those for whom the nation’s good is decisive; and to those whose main regard is for the moral ideal in itself.

Regarding the law, I have nothing to add to the words of the rabbis who came before me. In the Torah, in the Prophets, and in the Writings, in the halakhah and in the aggadah, we hear a single voice: that the duty of fixed public service falls upon men, for “It is a man’s manner to dominate and not a woman’s manner to dominate”

(Yevamot 65b), and that roles of office, of judgment, and of testimony are not for her, for “all her honor is within” (Ps. 45:14). Striving to prevent the mixing of sexes in gatherings is a theme that runs through the entire Torah. Thus, any innovation in public leadership that necessarily brings about mixing of the sexes in a multitude, in the same group and gathering, in the routine course of the people’s life, is certainly against the law.

Next to be discussed is the aspect of the general good. Regarding this, I think it is our duty to inform all our brethren, whatever their orientation—all of whom surely wish the good of our nation and the enhancement of our rights in the Land of Israel—of the foundation of the British government’s [Balfour] declaration, which has planted for us a young shoot from which redemption will grow. The declaration rests on the correct view, shared by the best of the gentiles and the best of the British people particularly, that our link to the Land of Israel is some- thing divinely sanctified. They are influenced in that view by the holy light of the Bible, which is treated as holy by the greater part of civilized nations today. And the spirit of the Bible is perceived even now by the weightiest part of the world as leaning generally to the side of modesty, fearing any depravity which might come into the world by reason of human weakness with respect to the sexual impulse. The special feeling of respect towards woman is therein based, and [her role is] centered on domestic life, the improvement of inner life, and all the delicate human works branching out from them.

The enemies of Israel—both internal and external—make much use nowadays of the libel that the young Israel has lost its link to the Holy Book, and therefore has no right to the biblical land. Our duty is to take up stations and demonstrate to the whole world that the soul of Israel is alive in its true character and that the biblical land is deserved by the biblical people, for with all its soul it lives in the spirit of the Holy Land and of the Holy Book.

So it is indeed the truth that in the inwardness of their spirit our sons are “God’s disciples” (following Isa. 54:13),and their life’s ideal is completely holy and biblical. Hence our holy duty is to see to it that the inception of our movement towards a measure of [autonomy based on] our own political-social character be properly marked by the sign of biblical integrity and purity with which our life has been imbued from time immemorial. This will be so only if we avoid the European novelty—alien to the biblical spirit and to the national tradition deriving from it—of women’s involvement in elections and public life, which is tumultuous and noisy and involves multitudes.

It is worth emphasizing that we are treading the path of our redemption not in order to be mere followers of European culture, which at least as to morality and the purity of virtues is defunct (as acknowledged by all penetrating critics who are not awed by the appearance of its imposing stature), but in order to proclaim evermore unto the entire world our message, vigorous, holy and clear, just as it springs from our internal fountainhead. In any event, in the present context, we ought to walk upright at this time of great need to emphasize our national character in our social life upon our land. We can rest assured that this assertiveness will confer upon us in the world far more than we might attain by imitating others, a course of action that usually results from inner weakness.Finally, as to the ideal: Deeply imprinted in our soul is the ideal of being unblemished by any sin. When this ideal is realized, the world will be purified, and proper and safe ways will be found for the delicate and holy participation of Woman, the mother in Israel, in public life, both generally and particularly, with wholesome influence and in accordance with her special inner worth, thus fulfilling the vision: “Every woman of worth is a crown unto her husband” (Prov. 12:4). But this future vision is as yet not even glimpsed in temporal cultural life, which, though outwardly well groomed, is rotten within. So any step we take in the course of our public life that carelessly disregards our outlook concerning Woman’s present and future worth—something that is deeply imprinted in our spirit— merely impedes this ideal course. Only Israel’s return to its land, to its setting and its kingdom, and to its holy spirit, its prophecy and its Temple, will eventually bring into the world that sublime light, for which all noble souls of all humanity yearn.

And this will surely come about only through maintaining our true character, in accordance with all the laws and ordinances by which the Torah instructs us in the ways of life of exalted glory, of supreme freedom, and of redemption.This is my inner conviction, which I convey to you, my beloved brothers, in the integrity of my heart, awaiting prompt liberation and with God’s blessing from Zion and Jerusalem. Respectfully,

Abraham Isaac Ha-Kohen Kook


I wrote this responsum originally to clarify the halakhah for myself, not wishing to publicize and teach this respon- sum and this halakhah for implementation. However, now since this question has been resolved by itself, I deem it good to publicize it for the purposes of enhancing Torah.

A. Women’s Right to Vote
This issue became a central controversy in
Erets Yisrael,

and the whole Land of Israel rocked with the debate.

Posters and warnings, pamphlets and newspaper articles appeared anew every morning, absolutely prohibiting women’s participation in the elections. Some based their argument on “Torah Law,” some on the need to preserve the boundaries of modesty and morals, and others on the wish to ensure the peace of the family home. All leaned upon the saying “The new is prohibited by Torah (hadash asur min ha-torah).”

...The issue can be subdivided into two headings: (a) the right to vote, and (b) the right to be elected.

Regarding the first, we find no clear ground to prohibit this, and it is inconceivable that women should be denied this personal right. For in these elections we elevate leaders upon us and empower our representatives to speak in our name, to organize the matters of our yishuv, and to levy taxes on our property. The women, whether directly or indirectly, accept the authority of these representatives and obey their public and national directives and laws. How then can one simultaneously “pull the rope from both ends”: lay upon them the duty to obey those elected by the people, yet deny them the right to vote in the elections?If anyone should tell us that women should be excluded from the voting public because “their minds are flighty (da`atan qalot)” (Shabbat 33b and Kiddushin 80b) and they know not how to choose who is worthy of leading the people, we reply: Well, then, let us exclude from the electorate also those men who are “of flighty minds” (and such are never lacking). However, reality confronts us clearly with the fact that, both in the past and in our times, women are equal to men in knowledge and wisdom, dealing in commerce and trade and conducting all personal matters in the best possible way. Has it ever been known that a guardian is appointed to conduct the affairs of an adult woman, against her will?

The meaning of our Rabbis’ statement, “da`atan qalot,” is entirely different. Also, the statement “women have no wisdom except with regard to the spindle” (Yoma 66b), is only flowery wording intended to circumvent a question posed by a woman. Indeed, the Talmud itself states that the woman who asked the question was a wise person, as it says: “A wise woman posed a question to Rabbi Eliezer.” And our Rabbis expressly stated: “‘And God constructed the rib’—this teaches us, that more insight was granted to woman” (Niddah 45b).

But perhaps this should be prohibited because of licentiousness? But what licentiousness can there be in this, that each person goes to the poll and enters his voting slip? If we start considering such activities as licentious, no creature would be able to survive! Women and men would be prohibited from walking in the street, or from entering a shop together; it would be forbidden to negotiate in commerce with a woman, lest this encourage closeness and lead to licentiousness. Such ideas have never been suggested by anyone.

Or, perhaps, it should be prohibited for the sake of preserving peace in the home (shalom bayit)? The author, being a great rabbi, has answered this well: If so, we must also deny the right to vote of adult sons and daughters still living at their fathers home. For in all cases where our rabbis concerned themselves with ensuring tranquility, they gave equal treatment to the wife and to adult sons living at home (see Bava Metsi`a12b). It might still be objected, that denying this right to adult children should indeed have been proposed, but since it wasn’t, let us at least not increase friction even more by allowing women to vote! But the truth is, that differences of political opinions and attitudes will surface in some form or another, for no one can suppress completely his outlook and opinions.A great innovation was advanced by Rabbi Dr. Ritter, who advocates denying suffrage to women because they are not qahal, and were not counted in the census of the people of Israel nor subsumed into the genealogical account of the families of Israel.Well, let us assume that they are neither qahal nor edah, and were counted neither in census nor as “family” or anything. But are they not creatures, created in the Divine Image and endowed with intelligence? And do they not

have concerns that the representative assembly, or the committee it will choose, will be dealing with? And will they not be called upon to obey these bodies regarding their property as well as the education of their sons and daughters?

In conclusion: having found not the slightest grounds for this prohibition, I find that no one has the slightest right to oppose or to deny the wishes of part of the public on this matter. Regarding a similar situation, it has been said: “Even if ninety-nine request imposed distribution, and only one demands outright competition, that one should be followed, for his demand is legally right”(Mishnah Pe’ah 4:1). Over and above this, it has been stated: “Women were allowed to lay hands [on their sacrifice] for the sake of giving them a feeling of gratification” (Hagigah 16b), even though such an act appeared to the public as prohibited; how much more so in our case, where there is no aspect of prohibition at all, and where preventing their participation will be for them insulting and deceitful. Most certainly, in this case we should grant them their right.

B. May Women be Elected?

The second issue is whether a woman can be elected to public office. Now, it seems prima facie that we have come up against an explicit prohibition. For in the Sifre on Deut. 29:16 it is written:

“Thou shall appoint—and if he dies, another is appoint- ed in his stead, [i.e.] a king and not a queen.”

From this source Maimonides derived the rule:

A woman may not be appointed to the throne, as it is written: “‘A king’—and not a queen.” And like- wise, all public appointments in Israel are to be made from amongst the men and not the women. Therefore a woman should not be appointed as head of a community (Hilkhot Melakhim 1:5).

But I myself am in doubt whether this rule stems from (a) women being basically ineligible to function as judges, or from (b) the principle of dignity of the community. The effective significance of each alternative would be seen in a situation where it is not the beit din which appoints her, but rather a part of the public that chooses her as its representative and its proxy.

Under theory (a), such a public choice would be invalid, just as no individual can voluntarily decide to acknowledge a woman’s evidence in matters of marriage and divorce, etc., since the Torah has deemed her ineligible. But under theory (b), we would say that their choice is valid, and that only the unanimous public or the dayyanim are prohibited from electing her to public office, but a part of the public may choose her as their representative and proxy.

Now, according to one explanation offered by Tosafot (Niddah 50a, s.v. kol ha-kasher), i.e., that Deborah was a judge in virtue of her having been accepted by the public, it is plain that their acceptance is valid even when unanimous....This can also be proved from the text of the holy Zohar on Leviticus, 19b. Thus we learn that there is no prohibition against appointing a woman to public office, and that she may be appointed in case of need; but that it is considered an insult to the community that they could find no one to judge them except a female. (MEANING, THEY FAILED THE MEN TO RAISE THEM TO BE BNEI TORAH)

It is clear then that the text of the Sifre is to be explained accordingly: A queen should not be appointed over Israel by a beit din appointment, because of the dignity of the public. Therefore, a person—or persons—may with full right vote for her, and by virtue of her voters’ support she

may join the representative body.

Similarly, a woman may rule as queen if she is the only scion of the royal house, or by virtue of her actions and the need of the hour, as Deborah in her times.

Rabbi Pinhas Estersohn searched and found in our Talmud an explicit reference to this: “If he did not say ‘covenant (berit)’, ‘Torah’, or ‘kingdom’, he nevertheless fulfilled his obligation [to recite the blessing after a meal (birkat ha-mazon). ‘Covenant’—because it does not relate to women; ‘Torah’ and ‘kingdom’—because it relates nei- ther to women nor to slaves.” Thus it is explicitly stated that kingship does not relate to women. Indeed, these proofs seem very strong and convincing. .. (BUT, PERHAPS) It signifies that if a king dies, a new king must be appointed in his stead, but if a queen dies, there is no positive injunction that she be replaced. He sought to support his view by pointing out that the text says “a queen (malkah)” and not “a ruling woman (molekhet).” One of the conclusions of his argument was that Maimonides emerged as having misread an elementary source, by relying upon his memory and not having the chance to recheck the text, or possibly by hasty reliance upon the custom of his time and place, which led him to conclude that it [womanly rule] must have been prohibited.

With all respect to the author, I believe that he erred in hastily writing such things about our master, Maimonides. For, while we may indeed take issue with his position, we may not characterize him as having committed [elementary] errors in understanding the text, or as having been misled by custom and historical context. (In passing, I would like to remark that halakhic significance derives not from the antiquity of a text but from the personality of the author, and a manuscript whose author or source is unknown may as well not exist; of such a case should we say, “It is not signed by Mar the son of Rabbina.”) ...

And our master Hida (R. Hayyim David Azulai) quotes from the book Zikhron Devarim, by our teacher R. Aharon Ha-Kohen Perahia, who quotes from an unpublished manuscript that “Deborah was a leader, as if queen,” and identifies this as consonant with Rashba’s opinion (Birkei Yosef on Hoshen Mishpat 7:11).

You see then that the prohibition of placing women in public office relates only to an appointment made by authority of the Sanhedrin.

In conclusion, it is clear that even according to the Sifre she may be accepted as judge, that is, leader, and she may make decisions just as one can accept a relative [as judge]. Therefore, in appointment by election, which is the public’s acceptance of those elected as their representatives and leaders, the law is that they can also elect women, even according to the positions of the Sifre and Maimonides. And in the writings of the rishonim in general no dissenting opinion has been found.

... Daily, men meet and negotiate with women in commercial transactions, and

yet all is peace and quiet. Even those inclined to sexual licentiousness will not contemplate the forbidden while seriously transacting business. Our rabbis did not say “Do not engage in much conversation with a woman” (Avot 1:5) except as regards idle, needless chatter; for that sort of conversation leads to sin, but not so debate over important, communal issues. Meeting in the same enclosed area for the sake of public service—which is tantamount to service of the Divine—does not habituate people to sin or cause levity; for all Jews, men and women alike, are holy, and not suspected of violating conventions of modesty or morality. Nor should you object on the basis of that which the sages taught (Sukkah 51b): “Originally the women were within [the Temple’s court of the women] and the men without, but as this caused levity, it was instituted that the women should sit above and the men below.” For that was said only concerning a mass assembly of proper and immodest people together, and in such circumstances one suspects the licentious minority, particularly when they are engaged in celebration and the evil inclination exerts control over them. But this was not said regarding a gathering of officials, which would stigmatize those elected by the people as sexually licentious. Such may not be done in Israel!

Further proof can be brought from the teaching (Megillah 23a): “All may ascend to reading of the Torah [to the quo- rum of seven], even a child, even a woman, but the sages ruled that a woman should not read the Torah in public out of respect for the community” (kevod hatsibbur), that is in order to preclude the inference that there are no men in the community who can read from the Torah. But they did not rule in this way out of concern over licentiousness. Conclusions:

1) A woman has an absolute right of participation in elections so that she be bound by the collective obligation to obey the elected officials who govern the nation.

2) A woman may also be elected to public office by the consent and ordinance of the community.

Anger Management (Chukkat 5775)

Hear ex-Trump lawyer's stunning defense

Right-wing lawyer Sidney Powell is claiming in a new court filing that reasonable people wouldn't have believed her assertions of fraud as fact after the 2020 presidential election


 Despite the tendency, particularly within the right-wing Orthodox communities, for an almost reflex-action rejection of the role of social forces in psak, the more carefully one considers the issue the more it is apparent that poskim are not simply computers and that, indeed, there are many social forces which enter into psak, both in terms of specific rulings made for individual cases and in terms of who is recognized at any given time as a reputable pasek. Nor is this an issue over which there is anyimplicit dispute between learned "right-wingers" and "modernists." A few examples from history should suffice to indicate the role of social forces and conditions in psak.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Can A Woman Initiate Jewish Divorce Proceedings?

 But, it should be stressed that if the coercion used by the beit din, or the secular courts at the behest of the beit din, is not effective to force the husband to participate in the get process, the beit din itself can do nothing. Only the man can do the acts required for a valid Jewish divorce; the Jewish court has no more power to declare a man divorced against his will than it does to declare a man married against his will.

Divorce: The Halakhic Perspective

Only a man can give a get, and that get must be given of his free will. A get which is given under duress or coercion (known as a get me’useh, a “forced divorce”) is void. The rabbis derive this rule from the same verse in Deuteronomy quoted above for the principle that a man could divorce his wife unilaterally. Since the husband has the unilateral power to divorce his wife, the rabbis maintain that the act of divorce can occur only if it complies with the husband’s discretion and free will.

The fact that rabbis derive the rule prohibiting the “forced divorce” from the Bible, and not from secular principles of contract, underscores the impact of this rule and distinguishes it from civil rules regarding coercion, force and duress. Because the rule against the forced divorce is attributed to the Bible and to God, the question of whether a husband has agreed to give his wife a get of his own free will is subject to strict scrutiny by rabbis.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Intro to Shulchan Aruch

 הקדמות לשולחן ערוך הקדמת השו"ע
אודה ה' מאוד בפי ובתוך רבים אהללנו ומשירי אהודנו. במה אקדם ה' אכף לאלקי מרום אשר ממעון קדשו מן השמים הופיע ברוב רחמיו וחסדיו והשפיע מטובו על שפל אנשים כמוני לחבר ספר הנותן אמרי שפר, החיבור הגדול שחברתי על הארבעה טורים אשר קראתיו "בית יוסף". אשר כללתי בו כל הדינים הנמצאים בכל הפוסקים חדשים גם ישנים, עם מקומות מושבותם בחצריהם ובטירותם בתלמוד בבלי ובתלמוד ירושלמי בתוספתא בספרא בספרי ובמכילתא, ודברי המפרשים והפוסקים ובעלי התשובות חדשים גם ישנים, ונתבאר שם כל דין ודין באר היטיב דבר דבור על אופניו, וארמון על משפטו ישב תלוי עליו כל שלטי הגבורים אנשי השם אשר מעולם.
ראיתי אני בלבי כי טוב ללקוט שושני ספירי אמריו בדרך קצרה בלשון צח וכולל יפה ונעים, למען תהיה תורת ה' תמימה שגורה בפי כל איש ישראל, כי כאשר ישאלו לת"ח דבר הלכה לא יגמגם בה אלא יאמר לחכמה אחותי את, כשם שברור לו שאחותו אסורה לו, כך יהיה ברור לו כל דין שישאל עליו הלכה למעשה בהיותו שגור בפיו ספר זה הבנוי לתלפיות תל שהכל פונים בו, לחלקו לחלקים שלשים ללמוד בו בכל יום חלק, ונמצא שבכל חדש הוא חוזר תלמודו ויאמר עליו אשרי מי שבא לכאן ותלמודו בידו.
זאת ועוד, התלמידים הקטנים יהגו בו תמיד וישננו לשונו על פה ותהיה גירסא דינקותא מסודרת בפיהם מקטנותם הלכה למעשה, וגם כי יזקינו לא יסורו ממנו, והמשכילים יזהירו כזוהר הרקיע בהניח להם מעצבם ויגיע כפים ישעשעו נפשם בהגותם בספר זה אשר כולו מחמדים הלכה פסוקה באין אומר ואין דברים.
וקראתי שם ספר זה "שלחן ערוך", כי בו ימצא ההוגה כל מיני מטעמים ערוכים בכל ושמורים סדורים וברורים. ומובטח אני בחסד עליון כי ע"י ספר זה תמלא הארץ דעה את ה' הקטנים עם הגדולים תלמיד עם מבין חכם חרשים ונבון לחש. ובכן אפרוש כפי אל ה' יעזרני על דבר כבוד שמו להיות ממצדיקי הרבים, ויזכני החל וגמור להיות מסודר כהלכתו מתוקן ומקובל וטוב ויפה. והנני מתחיל לעשות כאשר יעדתי וה' יהיה בעזרי

Get refusers - Severe halachic questions to using a hysteric mob

 There have been a number of recent mass demonstrations meant to force a husband to give his wife a get.

One in particular claims it was instigated by Rabbi Chaim Shabes- but no letter or evidence is produced to support this claim.

It is also claimed the husband is required to give a Get when the wife demands one or when a summons to appear in beis din is ignored- both of these claims are clearly false.

Perhaps more problematic is that forcing a get through lynch mob can only produce a get me'usa which is inherently invalid and if the wife subsequently marries - future children are mamzerim. As well as the horrible reality that the woman who remarries is committing adultery

While the people involved, clearly view themselves as righteous but the problem is that they are clearly ignorant of elementary halacha either willfully or because of poor education. Basically they are rebelling against halacha, since they can't get what they want by using the system even if they call themselves rabbis or Divorce experts

I am not claiming that a woman should be chained to a bad marriage. But the solution being used is simply stupid and counterproductive. Dropping an atom bomb because you are upset and feel the other side is morally wrong just doesn't always work. 

Rabbis or beis din can not issue a judgment after listening to only  one side. Unfortunately in recent years such illegitimate behavior has become more common

Israel-UAE relations & the Abraham Accords are not at risk under Biden

In a Washington Post op-ed, commentator Hugh Hewitt states his concern that President Biden will continue his streak of policy reversals in the Middle East, specifically regarding the peace deals that Trump brokered in his final year in office. But in fact, Biden has consistently supported the Abraham Accords, even during the heat of the presidential campaign. Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analysts Jeffrey Wright and Sofia Meranto take out the Red Pen to point out that Hewitt may be overreacting to Biden's recent freeze on a fighter jet deal to the UAE.


Sunday, March 21, 2021

Biden’s Fall Ranks Among The Top Air Force One Gaffes — But It’s Not Number One

 Though yesterday’s incident ended with a routine salute, Joe Biden’s triple-trip while scaling the red-carpeted steps to Air Force One was nevertheless roundly scorned, especially by conservative media. Biden was taking a round-trip flight to Atlanta to meet with Asian-American community leaders in the wake of the massage parlor massacre.

 Last summer, Vice President Mike Pence had a moment remarkably similar to President Biden’s upward slip. The former veep was filmed running, then tripping, up the staircase of Air Force Two. Pence had almost reached the top of the stairs when he suddenly lunged forward, using his hands to break his fall. He quickly picked himself up, bounded up the remaining steps, straightened his jacket and tie, and offered a wave and a thumbs up before entering the plane. 

Rav Kook on women voting

 Rav Kook (Page 58 in Judge Elon’s Status of Women): The psychological reason for having women vote and for publicly calling voting by the name of “the right of women” is a consequence of the lowly state of women in the general population in these countries. If the condition of their families were truly tranquil and decent as we find in most of our families – then we would not have the women themselves, nor the academics or ethical authorities or idealists be trying to achieve what they call the “rights of voting for women.” It is something which in fact is likely to ruin the quality of family life. And this destruction of family life must of necessity lead to great destruction in the quality of communities as well as society in general. It is only because of the despair and psychological bitterness that results from the coarse conduct of men that secular family life has been ruined. Thus the secular society decided to try to improve the situation by means of giving more power to the community and to try with this to elevate the broken ruins of the family unit. But they have shown no concern for the negative side-effects and consequences from such a change since they already have so much breakdown in the family unit for other reasons. However, we in contrast have not descended to their lowly existence and we don’t wish to see our sisters in this degraded state. The home for us is even now a bastion of holiness.  G‑d forbid that we should degrade the brilliant light that exists in the life of our sisters and to create the possibility of embittering their lives by means of exposing them to the conflicting views and bitter disputes that are connected with the elections and the political issues concerning the nature of the country.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Basherte means happiness in getting soul-mate?

Vayikra Rabbah (8:1) A Roman lady asked R. Jose b. Halafta: ‘In how many days did the Holy One, blessed be He, create His world?’ He answered: ‘In six days, as it is written, For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, etc.’ (Ex. 31, 17). She asked further: ‘And what has He been doing since that time?’ He answered: ‘He is joining couples proclaiming: "A's wife to be is allotted to A; A's daughter is allotted to B; (So-and-so's wealth is for So-and-so).’’’1 Said she: ‘This is a thing which I, too, am able to do. See how many male slaves and how many female slaves I have; I can make them consort together all at the same time.’ Said he: ‘If in your eyes it is an easy task, it is in His eyes as hard a task as the dividing of the Red Sea.’ He then went away and left her. What did she do? She sent for a thousand male slaves and a thousand female slaves, placed them in rows, and said to them: ‘Male A shall take to wife female B; C shall take D and so on.’ She let them consort together one night. In the morning they came to her; one had a head wounded, another had an eye taken out, another an elbow crushed, another a leg broken; one said: ‘I do not want this one as my husband,’ another said: ‘I do not want this one as my wife.’ Immediately she sent for R. Jose b. Halafta and said to him: ‘Rabbi, your Torah is true, fine and excellent; all you have said was well said.’Said he to her: ‘Have I not told you that if in your eyes it is an easy task, it is in His eyes a task as hard as the dividing of the Red Sea, as it is said, He maketh the solitary to dwell in a house, He bringeth out the prisoners into prosperity-ba-kosharoth (Ps. 68:7)?1 What does "ba-kosharoth" mean?-"Weeping (beki) and singing (shiroth)." He who is pleased with his match utters song, while he who is not pleased weeps. And what does God do when bringing about matches? He pairs them together despite themselves, without their good will.’

What is sarrah?

 I have have posted a discussion where Rav Moshe is asked whether a woman can be a masgiach.

The main problem is that the Rambam says women can not have Sarrah i.e. authority over others to tell them do do things they don't want to do.

Just came across a Rashi(Sanhedrin 16a where he states that a nasi and Cohen Gadol have Sarrah

He seems to be that they have status. Thus any status- even without authority should be problematic e.g.wife

רש"י מסכת סנהדרין דף טז עמוד א
דבריו של גדול - דינו של בעל שררה, כגון נשיא וכהן גדול.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Orthodox groups criticize 2 rabbis annulling marriages

Rackman and Morgenstern, in interviews, said they annul marriages according to halachah, Jewish law, following formulas employed by great Orthodox rabbis of the past, including Rabbis Isaac Elchanan, Moshe Feinstein and Eliyahu Klotzkin.

 The Rackman-Morgenstern solution relies in part on the theory that abusive husbands suffer from mental illness, a position that the fervently religious Agudath Israel of America disputes.

 One of those is Rabbi Mordecai Tendler, a respected religious leader in the Orthodox enclave of Monsey, N.Y.

He told JTA that he has annulled hundreds of marriages over the last 30 years.

He applies the criteria mapped out by his grandfather, the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, who "freed" women whose husbands refused to grant them a Jewish divorce if the wedding itself was not Orthodox or if there had been some technical flaw in the ceremony.

He said he annuls a marriage under these circumstances only a couple of times a year and after months of research.

Rackman and Morgenstern, unlike others, will dissolve the union if a problem like abusiveness, which was not well established before the wedding, becomes apparent after the marriage.

"We can be much more liberal in our interpretation of conditions that would warrant annulment because of our deeper understanding of the problems of mental health than Rabbi Feinstein could have possessed," Rackman said.

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R Rackman: The solution to Aguna is being able to annul any marriage without a Get

 The following are excerpts from Chapter 3 of One Man's Judaism by Rabbi Emanuel Rackman 

He states on page 244 that Rav Moshe's annulment marriages for preexisting conditions which a normal woman can't live with - is a good start but it is not enough. He raises the important question of whether the ability to help agunos is worth the price of
"making virtually all marriages easily annullable and such liberalism might destroy the sanctity of marriage - one of Judaism's most cherished values and desiderata. Rabbis and laymen would raise a hue and a cry that marriage bonds in Judaism are made of straw. The stability of marriages would be adversely affected. Instead of being viewed as indestructible, marriages would be regarded as ephemeral. That is why our Rabbis in the past so hesitated to suspend the requirement of a Get. That is why they so formalized the procedure for a Get. That is also why the forbade conditions and the inclusion of capricious agreements in the original marriage contract." 

Chapter Three

In contemporary halachic creativity rabbis are rarely daring. This complaint is often heard whenever Jews meet to discuss the present plight of Jewish law. It is, therefore, an event joyously to be hailed when so renowned a scholar as Rabbi Moshe Feinstein publishes a volume of responsa [Igrot Moshe on Even Ha-ezer NY 1961] which reveals not only erudition of exceptional breadth and depth but also courage worthy of a Gadol in an age of unprecedented challenge to our cherished Halachah. 

There is abundant authority in earlier respona of great scholars for all thus far reported from Rabbi Feinstein's volume. However, he deserves our approbation for reaffirming the rulings in our contemporary situation when Orthodox rabbis have become so panicky about liberalism that they have "frozen" the law beyond the wildest expectations of more saintly forebears. But there is one area in which Rabbi Feinstein forges ahead of predecessors. He permits husband or wife to remarry without a Get when there is reasonable assurance that if either had known some important fact about the other in advance of the marriage they would not have entered upon the marriage. Rabbi Feinstein has revived the Talmudic notion of "marriage by mistake," and he does not limit it, as the Tosafists of the Middle Ages did, to the period intervening between betrothal and consummation of the nuptials. According to Rabbi Feinstein, the spouse may avail himself or herself of the fraud or conThere is abundant authority in earlier respona of great scholars for all thus far reported from Rabbi Feinstein's volume. However, he deserves our approbation for reaffirming the rulings in our contemporary situation when Orthodox rabbis have become so panicky about liberalism that they have "frozen" the law beyond the wildest expectations of more saintly forebears. But there is one area in which Rabbi Feinstein forges ahead of predecessors. He permits husband or wife to remarry without a Get when there is reasonable assurance that if either had known some important fact about the other in advance of the marriage they would not have entered upon the marriage. Rabbi Feinstein has revived the Talmudic notion of "marriage by mistake," and he does not limit it, as the Tosafists of the Middle Ages did, to the period intervening between betrothal and consummation of the nuptials. According to Rabbi Feinstein, the spouse may avail himself or herself of the fraud or concealment at any time after the marriage. Thus a husband may remarry without a Get if he discovered that his wife could not bear him children because of an affliction that existed prior to the marriage. Similarly, the wife may remarry without a Get if she discovers that her husband is incapable of sexual intercourse or that he was committed to a mental hospital for a period prior to his marriage and became ill again during the marriage. The presumption is simple: She would not have married him had she known all the facts. 

What is especially noteworthy about Feinstein's desire to relieve anguish and pain is his readiness to ignore prior authorities when their conclusions are antithetical to his. Thus, with the zeal of a great humanitarian he cites the Ein Yitzhak who permitted a widow to remarry without Halitzah because he held the marriage of the widow to be a nullity, but he fails to cite the Shevut Yaakov whom the Ein Yitzhak cites and who unequivocally arrived at a conclusion opposite to that of Rabbi Feinstein in an almost identical case. Such is the power of Heterah (leniency) in the hands of a Talmudic giant! And we thought our generation was altogether bereft of them! 

It is also noteworthy that the eminent Rabbi Weinberg of Montrieux ended one of his responsa, published in Noam, with a prayer that one day some rabbi will be bold enough to rule as Rabbi Feinstein has. He lived to see his prayer fulfilled.
There is no doubt but that the liberalization of Jewish family law can best be done through the broader exercise of the inherent power of a Beth Din to annul marriages for fraud or mistake. Of course, the consequence will be that the issue of marriages subsequently annulled will be regarded as born out of wedlock. But in Jewish law this does not mean illegitimacy-or even serious consequential stigma. Altogether, to solve the Agunah problem without annulling marriages is impossible. Even in Israel, where coercion against the recalcitrant spouse is feasible, the court may be helpless if the recalcitrant spouse is in another jurisdiction or escapes there before the court's relief is sought. Furthermore, in the event of the husband's insanity the wife is absolutely without a remedy even in Israel unless the marriage can be annulled. An insane husband is not competent to delegate his authority or power to the Beth Din. For these reasons, as well as others, the abortive attempt of the Conservative movement in the United States to solve the problem with an eye exclusively on the Get was unfortunate. It seized upon the least progressive alternative (as did some American Jewish journalists) and placed in jeopardy the course Rabbi Feinstein is pursuing. 

The Talmud assumes in many of its tractates that marriages by mistake are void or voidable. Indeed, such marriages can be annulled not only because of facts known to one of the spouses before the marriage and concealed from the other, but also because of facts that no one could possibly have known in advance. Thus the Talmud queries why a widow who is childless cannot annul her marriage to her deceased husband on the assumption that she would not have consented to wed him had she known in advance that she would one day require Halitzah.2 [2. The Tosafists would limit the query to deaths after betrothal but before the consummation of marriage. Rabbi Feinstein does not make the distinction. ]  The answer is that we legally presume acquiescence on the theory that a woman prefers to be married even to a bad risk than remain a spinster. Yet this is a presumption as to a state of mind. And this state of mind is subject to change. Indeed, it has changed in our day. Most Jewish women today would never acquiesce to marriages which would ultimately involve them in an Agunah situation because of the husband's insanity, lack of masculinity, or recalcitrance to give a religious divorce. These are conditions which often exist potentially in advance of the marriage, albeit unknown to either spouse in advance. Certainly they are as much potential facts as is the subsequent death of the husband without children when Halitzah is required, and but for the presumption with regard to an older generation of females who preferred any kind of marriage to none, our Sages would have waived the requirements of Halitzah. Now, however, women feel quite differently. The lot of the spinster is not as pathetic as it once was and is preferred to that of the Agunah. The Agunah is far more miserable, and her lot is far less enviable. Ours is the duty to reckon with the change. 

Rabbi Feinstein hesitates to go so far. He did annul the marriage of a woman whose husband became insane after the marriage because he had been similarly ill prior to the marriage, and he so ruled even though the husband appeared sane at the time of the marriage and thereafter served for two years in the military establishment of the United States. Nonetheless, the subsequent development of the malady was enough to warrant annulment of the marriage. Insanity­ - actual or potential-is sufficient cause for either spouse not to want the marriage. Incompatibility, however, is not adequate. Sadism-even sadism in refusing to give a Get--is also not adequate. Why? We know now that almost all marital problems are due to one neurosis or another. The neurotic behavior and the circumstances that evoke it cannot be foretold. Insanity is only an extreme form. Yet if a marriage may be annulled because a woman does not want to cope with an insane husband, and" therefore, the presumption that she would prefer a bad marriage to no marriage no longer holds because the marriage is so bad, then in every case where it subsequently appears that latent neuroses make it impossible for the spouses to relate to each other as they should there ought also be a basis for decreeing that the marriage is annulled because of mistake. 

The obvious reply is that if one adopts this position one is making virtually all marriages easily annullable and such liberalism might destroy the sanctity of marriage-­one of Judaism's most cherished values and desiderata. Rabbis and laymen would raise a hue and a cry that marriage bonds in Judaism are made of straw. The stability of marriages would be adversely affected. Instead of being regarded as indestructible, marriages would be regarded as ephemeral. That is why our Rabbis in the past so hesitated to suspend the requirement of a Get. That is why they so formalized th« procedure for a Get. This is also why they forbade conditions and the inclusion of capricious agreements in the original marriage contract. 

However, there is another consideration to be reckoned with. The overwhelming majority of marriages will not be affected. Where the spouses continue to be decent, normal and humane, the Get is always available. The problem arises principally when one spouse becomes sadistic, vicious, or vengeful. And when we insist on the Get in such a case-­despite the discovery of indecent, abnormal or inhumane behavior in the intransigent one - are we promoting respect for the sanctity of marriage or undermining respect for Jewish law altogether? This is the issue. Which end are we to safeguard? This brings one to a consideration of means and ends in Halachah generally. Respectfully it is submitted that more Halachic experts of our day ought ponder this problem.
From a philosophical point of view, can it ever be said that correct ends do not justify wrong means? It would appear that there can be no such thing as an ethical objection to the use of so-called wrong means for correct ends, because nothing can be regarded as evil except by reference to the ends involved. If we refuse to adopt a course which we regard as evil--even to achieve a worthy objective--it is because the means are evil with reference to still another end which ranks higher than the end for which we are considering the controversial means. […]

Rabbi Weinberg of Montrieux and Rabbi Feinstein of New York have opened the door. A courageous Beth Din must now restudy the situation and make choices. The worldwide Jewish community feels less bound by Halachah than ever before in Jewish history. Bastardy is, therefore, rifer than ever, and Jewish communal organization with internal discipline is virtually non-existent. Which is the more important Halachic end to be pursued in the present situation-the preservation of an ideological commitment to family holiness which concerns only a few who will not be affected by liberalism in the annulment of marriages, or to prevent the greater incidence of bastardy against which there can be no real protection in so mobile and fluid a society as ours now is? 

Needless to say, a minority among us will scream. But they need not suffer. Nothing will have been imposed upon them against their will. Jews always had small groups that were especially careful in matters of Taharah. as well as family background. There need be no insistence on uniformity or regimentation. Let there be standards of excellence here as everywhere. However, one must help relieve a situation which begs for correction. Most Jews will hail the effort. That Gedolim in the past hesitated to act means only that they mistook the gravity of the situation. They simply erred. With their rigidity they did not save. This was even true in Europe. In America conditions have become indescribably worse. 

What other alternatives are there? We can isolate all who are loyal to Halachah from the rest of the worldwide Jewry, outlaw their intermarriage with the rest of their coreligionists, and let those who suffer as Agunot because of their commitment to Jewish law resign themselves to their fate as the will of God. For those to whom these alternatives are not acceptable, the only available road is that initiated by two Gedolim. of our day