mail-jewish Vol.65 #57 Digest

1 view
Skip to first unread message

Mail-Jewish

unread,
Jul 14, 2022, 4:46:46 PMJul 14
to MAIL-JEWISH
Mail.Jewish Mailing List
Volume 65 Number 57
Produced: Thu, 14 Jul 22 16:46:33 -0400


Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A reasoned debate (was Abortion)
[Martin Stern]
Abortion (5)
[Leah Gordon Joseph Kaplan Orrin Tilevitz Joseph Kaplan Sammy Finkelman]
Abortion and chemotherapy
[Sammy Finkelman]
Aveil as sheliach tzibur (2)
[Joel Rich Sammy Finkelman]
No tolerance for hooliganism
[Prof. L. Levine]



----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Martin Stern <md.s...@ntlworld.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: A reasoned debate (was Abortion)

Alan Tira wrote (MJ 65#56):

> Over the years, I have been surprised by the vehemence with which both sides
> approach the abortion debate, and I must confess to a certain apprehension in
> dipping my feet into the tempest. Still, mail-jewish should be open to all
> reasonable discussions, regardless of how controversial ...

As someone not living in the USA, I must say that I have also been
surprised by the reactions of many members to this topic. It struck me that
most did not read what others had written but, rather, caricatured them to
fit their preconceived ideas.

This has meant that instead of a reasoned debate on the relationship between
the halachic and secular attitudes to abortion, we have descended into a
slanging match. Is this really the way things get debated in the USA?

Martin Stern

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Leah Gordon <leahgord...@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 13,2022 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz writes (MJ 65#56):

> After reading all the articles on the subject, I realized that everyone
> seems to miss the point about the ruling. The Supreme Court stated that there
> is no article or amendment in the constitution that deals with abortion. That
> is the reason that they sent the cases back to the individual states. If
> someone wishes any particular law to apply to abortion, they should either
> lobby their own state to pass a law or try to get congress to pass a federal
> statute. The judicial branch cannot decree any particular law, that is up to
> the legislative branch of government.

There's a certain hubris in making a statement that everyone else except you
"seems to miss the point". No, as Ruth explained in the same digest, this is
not the point, and not the problem, and not what we are so concerned about.
With the right to privacy declared moot/nonexistent, and the affirmative right
to an abortion cancelled after 50 years in the USA on a federal level, states
are now free to disallow what must be permitted for women from both a human and
a Jewish standpoint.

Also, Alan Tira writes (MJ 65#56):

> Over the years, I have been surprised by the vehemence with which both sides
> approach the abortion debate, and I must confess to a certain apprehension in
> dipping my feet into the tempest. Still, mail-jewish should be open to all
> reasonable discussions, regardless of how controversial, so here are some of
> my accumulated thoughts.

It would be a mistake to interpret abortion as an issue with "both sides". Any
given abortion is a matter for that one patient only. I find it sort of
appalling that so many men feel free to opine on whether some other human being
should have access to medical care when they have not only no idea of her
circumstances but also no possibility of suffering the same fate.

> I used to think that the pro-choice crowd represented a principled position
> based on the ethical values of protecting bodily autonomy. However, the
> COVID vaccine mandates, and the deafening silence from the vast majority of
> the my body my choice crowd, ably put the lie to that notion. It appears
> that the majority of the world has no problems violating their neighbors
> bodily autonomy, with the flimsiest basis, when there is sufficient fear.

It saddens me to read this anti-vaccine sentiment on MJ, but let me be clear:
pregnancy is not contagious. Abortion is not contagious. Public health relies
on, and has always relied on, vaccines being administered to enough people to
cause herd immunity. That said, no one "mandated" any vaccines in the USA. It's
not a "mandate" if someone is precluded from public participation without being
vaccinated - that is their own choice and its consequences.

> Back to the topic, I know of no state in the union where a woman cannot be
> properly treated for an ectopic pregnancy or any other life-saving medical
> condition while pregnant, even after the Dobbs decision. Moreover, states
> also permit early abortion in the case of non-consensual relations (e.g., rape
> or incest), and if they change this provision, I have every confidence that
> the court system will sanely and efficiently correct the mistake.

That's great that you are so confident. You are totally not at risk of dying in
the meantime. Did you not hear of the 10-year-old rape victim who had to be
rushed to a neighboring state because Ohio was so ridiculous in its laws?
(Which, by the way, include an order to "transplant" ectopic pregnancies, which
is impossible to do. Bozos who are the victims of "abstinence only sex
education" are now trying to legislate women's health issues.)

> Instead, I think that one could reasonably conclude that many of the arguments
> against abortion restrictions are really Korach-style rationalizations, meant
> to sound grandiose and principled, but really intent on mitigating
> accountability from consensual sexual relations, with a victim (the fetus)
> that is powerless to protect its own interests.

Aha, so you believe that pregnancy is a punishment for sexual behavior (for a
woman, presumably). Consent to sex does not equal consent to pregnancy. I love
children too much to believe this. Every child should be a wanted child. And if
you really want to reduce the number of abortions, let alone helping in myriad
other ways, you are, I hope, supporting sex education, universal preschool,
additional food benefits, maternity leave, etc.?

--Leah S. R. Gordon.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joseph Kaplan <pen...@panix.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 13,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

In response to Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz (MJ 65#56):

Many of us did not miss that point at all. Certainly every lawyer on this group
and undoubtedly many others are very aware of that constitutional argument. But
were also aware facts that indicate that this argument is simply a cover story
shielding the real impetus for the decision; ie, to enable more abortion
restrictions to be enacted in the states.

Here's just one a small example of why many believe that's the case. Justice
Kavanaugh, one of the 5 justices who allegedly overturned Roe because there's no
language in the constitution granting a right to abortion (the reason Hillel
discusses) also wrote a concurrence where he said that there should be no fear
that women in a state that doesn't permit abortion will be barred from traveling
to a state that allows it because there's a constitutional right to travel
between the states. But guess what? Look as hard as you want at the constitution
and you will find that there is no article or amendment in the constitution that
deals with travel between the states. Hmmmm. Travel doesn need express language
and abortion does. I wonder why. (I don't really wonder; I think I know only too
well.) So I for one, and many others, are skeptical about this supposed
constitutional reasoning.

Joseph

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tile...@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 13,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

In response to Hillel (Saba) Markowitz (MJ 65#56):

It is Hillel who misses the point. The point is that I, and numerous
other posters, don't want the government telling us, Orthodox Jews, when we may
or may not abort a fetus. Previously, we generally didn't have to worry about that
because the Supreme Court had, correctly or incorrectly, decreed "as it may" that
state legislature, and "for that matter" Congress may regulate abortion only
within narrow limits. In general, in that area, we were free to practice our
religion as we chose. Post Dobbs, to try to make this true, we will have to deal
with 35 or 40 state legislatures, none of which gives a hoot about accommodating
Orthodox Jewish practice. Why in the world would we want to have to try to do
that, with almost certainly no chance of success?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joseph Kaplan <pen...@panix.com>
Date: Wed, Jul 13,2022 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

In response to Alan Tita (MJ 65 #56):

I suggest that Alan read the many articles by experts in the OB/GYN field who
explain why the very general, vague, and/or severely limiting exceptions for the
life (not health and certainly not mental health) of the mother set forth in the
anti-abortion statutes raise numerous serious issues for doctors and, of course,
for women whose lives will be at risk. Women are going to die who shouldn't, as
they did before Roe.

As for rape and incest, many of the restrictive laws in place already have no
such exceptions and some of those that do are also highly restrictive. And I'm
happy that you have every confidence that the courts will correct mistakes
(they're not mistakes by the way; they were written intentionally to be highly
restrictive) but its not your life that will be on the line. And many pregnant
women, rightfully in my view, have zero confidence in many of the courts that
will decide these issues.

Finally, I understand what you mean by rationalizations, meant to sound
grandiose and principled, but really intent on mitigating accountability . I
think, however, youre pointing your accusatory finger in precisely the wrong
direction.

Joseph

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.f...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Abortion

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 56#49):

> Correction: an ectopic pregnancy is NEVER considered a viable pregnancy and
> ALWAYS results in the death of the mother if not treated. (The choice would be
> either the fetus plus mother die, or the fetus dies. No other option.) This
> has not stopped the idiots in Ohio's legislature from ruling that the ectopic
> fetus should be "transplanted". When politicians decide medicine, disaster
> results.

According to a New York Times Op-ed article I read, the Ohio legislature
considered passing a law saying something like that in 2019, but they
successfully lobbied against the law

And it's not like transplanting the ectopic pregnancy would be impossible, at
least not if caught early enough. Why would it be in an age where there are
surrogate mothers? It's just considered not worth doing (as this would likely
not be the last chance for the woman to become pregnant) and causing unnecessary
risk to the would-be mother and turning something simple into an expensive
operation. When doctors decide ethics, some things that some people don't feel
is right happen. Now, maybe we shouldn't have politicians deciding what is
ethical either. But if nobody should, why should there be laws against cloning
or how many other possible medical practices, like choosing genes?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.f...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Abortion and chemotherapy

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 65#49):

> Separately, it has already happened that women with cancer were denied
> chemotherapy when they accidentally became pregnant. That is an obvious
> violation of halakha.

That surely didn't happen in the few days between when Dobbs case came down
and when this was written.

That happened because some women did not want to be forced to have an abortion.

The medical professionals did not want to be responsible for causing birth
defects or the unintentional - stress unintentional - it's OK if the woman signs
a paper and "consents" - death of the fetus.

And probably it wasn't so much their sense of ethics and values but that they
didn't want to be sued. And this was true even maybe when there was a real
chance of delivering a healthy baby.

Now halachah would probably demand that in most such cases the woman get an
abortion, especially if there is a proverbial gun to her head - but a lot might
depend on the mental state of the mother and the precise treatment offerred.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Joel Rich <joeli...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Aveil as sheliach tzibur

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 65#56):

> Joel Rich writes (MJ 65#55) in response to my query (MJ 65#54) as to whether a
> person who "who (before his aveilut) frequently acted as sheliach tzibur"
> could take advantage of the Shach's position -- I hesitate to call it a
> leniency -- that an aveil may daven on holidays "where there is no one better
> than he" by deliberately placing himself in a position that this is case:
>
>> I think the answer to the question - as phrased by Orrin - is yes. The more
>> important question IMHO is whether it is appropriate, or as they say "un vos
>> zogt Gott [what does HKBH say about it]".
>
> What might not be "appropriate" about an aveil who, absent aveilut, would
> ordinarily daven on, say, Yamim Noraim, from doing so as an aveil? Neither
> Rama nor any other source I've seen has explained just why it is customary
> for a generic aveil not to daven on shabbat or holidays.

That's a great question on a meta-basis. What do we do when we have an ancient
tradition which was not accompanied by an explanation. Two more extreme examples
I can think of are drinking/ crossdressing on Purim and having a chutz la'aretz
minyan on the second day of yom tov in the land of Israel. From first principles
neither of these would be the accepted practice and yet the practice is ancient
and accepted.

There are a number of approaches that can be taken in these cases. The first is
to ignore the old practice because we can't root it in the law. This is rarely
done because it might lead to mixed dancing. A second approach is to leave it on
the books but chip away at it when possible - for example limiting drinking on
Purim to just enough to take a nap. The third way is just to leave it as is and
observe it as is.

It seems to me in this case the chipping away has already been done. For
example, the original practice did note an exception if there were nobody better.

To me, it all depends how seriously one takes it. Putting oneself in the
situation to take advantage of the exception would be viewed as a good thing by
those who dont think there was a good reason for the original practice. On the
other hand I doubt that somebody would say it's fine to go to a place a month
before the new year that did not have a shofar and then just claim that they
were an ones when Rosh Hashanah came around.

KT
Joel Rich

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.f...@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: Aveil as sheliach tzibur

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 65#54):

> Netivot Meir, whose author was a student of the Baal Shem Tov, in an extended
> responsum at 1:80, holds that one who is accustomed (ragil) to act as shatz on
> shabbat and holidays may continue to do so as an aveil, and, in fact, that
> preventing him from doing so is wrong. That is, it is fine -- a mitzvah -- for
> an aveil to daven on shabbat and yom tov so long as his aveilut is not the
> reason he is doing so.

That makes sense. Because the reason for not having an aveil be the Sheliach
Tzibor on Shabbos or Yom Tov would be that that would be a sign of aveilus, and
we don't do that on Shabbos or Yom Tov.

But if the reason for him being the Shaliach Tzibur is something else that
does not apply.

Orrin Tilevitz also wrote (MJ 65#56):

> Neither Rama nor any other source I've seen has explained just why it is
> customary for a generic aveil not to daven on shabbat or holidays.

Do none of your sources gave you this explanation about signs of mourning?

When I was saying kaddish, I was told there is an exception if it is for
the benefit of the congregation, but "so long as his aveilut is not the reason
he is [the shaliach tzibur" makes even more sense.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Prof. L. Levine <lle...@stevens.edu>
Date: Thu, Jul 14,2022 at 01:17 PM
Subject: No tolerance for hooliganism

Avi Shafran wrote in what I consider an excellent reaction to the recent fracas
at the Kosel:

> The thugs who so nastily disrupted the Robinson's Arch bnei mitzvah hail from
> my world - to my great shame and that of all truly principled Orthodox Jews
>
> There is no excuse - none whatsoever - for downplaying the sheer loathsomeness
> of the disruption by a group of young Orthodox Jews of non-Orthodox bnei
> mitzvah celebrations at the Robinson's Arch area of the Western Wall last
> Thursday.

See for more:

https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/no-tolerance-for-hooliganism/

My question is, "Where is the condemnation from those who head the yeshivas that
these hooligans attend? Surely, there must be video of what happened so that
they can be identified. They should be identified and then expelled from the
yeshivas they attend for at least some period. However, I have not heard that
anything like this has happened. Why not?

Professor Yitzchok Levine

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Send submissions/responses for Mail-Jewish to:
m...@mj.bu.edu

If you are reading this in a paper version and would like to subscribe
electronically, please visit https://groups.google.com/g/mail-jewish
and request an invitation.

Information about the Mail-Jewish mailing list, its policies,
ground rules, and submission process, can be found on the
Mail-Jewish Home Page: http://mj.bu.edu

Prior issues (through Volume 63) are available for on-line viewing at:
http://www.emax.ca/mj_ht_arch/index.html
while Volume 64 and subsequent issues are available at
https://groups.google.com/g/mail-jewish

End of mail-jewish Digest
**************************
--------
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages