Western sensibilities and Halacha

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  • #1538608

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There was a story on YWN recently about a boy who was hit by a Rebbe and the student called 911.

    Certainly there are many sources that not only allow potching, but might even require it.

    however Today many poskim do forbid it but not all , there are some that do allow it

    Are there any circumstances where western sensibilites might change a halacha

    #1538681

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It depends what you mean by “change the halacha”.

    It won’t change the underlying halacha, but can change the applicability.

    Examples:

    Lo silbash. Western styles have some influence on what’s considered beged isha.

    Hocheach tochiach: someone influenced by Western culture (we all are to some degree) might be influenced better by certain means than someone raised in a different culture. This is related to the potching issue as well.

    Bein adam l’chaveiro (including sholom bayis). If people in a certain culture are offended by certain things which aren’t considered offensive in a different culture, you shouldn’t subject them to it. For example, Israelis have certain tough mannerisms which are considered rude in the USA (they probably consider us soft).

    #1538701

    Avi K
    Participant

    DY, it depends on where in the US. I am from NYC. Before I made aliya I read a complaint in the Jerusalem Post international edition about Israelis pushing onto buses. My first thought was how else would they get on if it’s crowded? My second was that the complainer had obviously never changed trains at 125th St during Rush Hour.

    #1538692

    Alizgitt
    Participant

    Dina D’malchusa Dina is a medina shel chessed I believe can hugely affect halacha.
    Deracheha Darchei Noam
    Darchei Sholom

    All of the above can heavily influence “halacha” not allowing a issur or prohibiting an aseh but can shape how such things are carried out for sure.

    #1538690

    Toi
    Participant

    Frei’arim.

    #1538784

    JJ2020
    Participant

    Could it be that the halachos were written at times when the goyim accepted hitting kids and that’s why it was considered acceptable?

    Btw if that answer is no then I why would the halachah change now?

    #1538896

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Certainly it was allowed to hit a kid in goyish schools

    Have you ever heard of the “Whipping Boy”? It comes from the time when the King was just a child. Normally in the olden days when I child got something wrong in school, He got hit, However you were not allowed to touch the king, so a subsiite child was brought in to get hit instead of the King. So if the boy king got an answer wrong, His “Whipping Boy” got spanked

    #1538907

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Are there any circumstances where western sensibilites might change a halacha”

    Certainly Though with DY’s caveat “It depends what you mean by “change the halacha”.”

    to add to his List

    showering on yom tov is likely shava lechoil nefesh today and possibly allowed (though gezeiros habalanimis a seperate issue :
    on the other hand many say smoking is no longer shava lehol nefesh and is thus assur on Y”T

    Rabbeinu Gershom’s cherem was liekly done due to “western sensibilities” arguably “changing halacha”

    #1539048

    Joseph
    Participant

    JJ: “Could it be that the halachos were written at times when the goyim accepted hitting kids and that’s why it was considered acceptable?”

    No. That certainly was not the reason the Halacha was set to what it is.

    “Btw if that answer is no then I why would the halachah change now?”

    The Halacha did not change.

    ubiq: “Rabbeinu Gershom’s cherem was liekly done due to “western sensibilities” arguably “changing halacha””

    1. There’s absolutely no basis to make that argument. If there was, you’d have been able to cite a legitimate or authorative source for such an assertion.

    2. Even if you did make that incorrect argument, rabbonim making a gezeira prohibiting something halachicly permitted is:

    a) not a new or changed Halacha but rather a gezeira or geder

    b) can be done unlike permitting something that’s halachicly prohibited

    c) in the example at hand, unlike Cherem R”G, the rabbonim as a factual matter have not collectively made a gezeira accepted by the Klal that prohibited corporal punishment of children

    d) in fact, Halacha from Tanach through Chazal through explicitly paskened in Shulchan Aruch which no halachic authority argues against, not only permit corporal punishment but rule that it is mandatory when the circumstances warrant it.

    #1539051

    Midwest2
    Participant

    FYI – in public schools it has been forbidden to hit children since at least the 1950s (personal experience here), except maybe in parts of the South, where violence among adults was also considered normal.

    Check out R. Rosenblum.s biography of R’ Yaakov Kamenetsky, on his time as a melamed in a small European town. He was criticized by the parents because he never hit, yet the children learned even better for him. There were no “Western sensibilities” involved, just the instincts of a true rebbe.

    #1539052

    Midwest2
    Participant

    And regardng Rabbeinu Gershom’s ban. The way I heard it, he had two wives, one old and one young. The young one pulled out all his gray hairs so he would look young, and the old one pulled out all his black hairs so he would look old, leaving the poor man completely bald and beardless. In other words, if you want peace in your home, stick with the wife of your youth.

    Not reading other people’s mail and knocking before entering are just common courtesy, and that he had to codify them in a ban probably just means that people in his time were getting lax about some aspects of derech eretz.

    It’s interesting to me to note that many aspects of “Western sensibility” were actually influenced by Jewish values, and our discomfort with them actually stems from our having been influenced by the talk-radio lack of courtesy and glorification of toughness and force that has leaked into our camp. Perhaps we should try to emulate R’ Yaakov in gentleness and courtesy, rather than talk-radio guys who always have the perfect insult.

    #1539082

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The way I heard it, he had two wives, one old and one young. The young one pulled out all his gray hairs so he would look young, and the old one pulled out all his black hairs so he would look old, leaving the poor man completely bald and beardless.

    That’s a moshol in the Gemara, not a true story.

    #1539083

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    #1539063

    b-alma
    Participant

    Besides those examples, there are many halachos that depend on contemporary social standards. One example is the extent of the heter of nidrai zeruzim (Nedarim 20b) which will change according to the expectations of average buyers and sellers – and perhaps also according to secular contract law. Another would be labor laws: the restrictions on an employee davening on his boss’s time (Berachos 16a) would, for instance, probably no longer apply.

    #1539123

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    1. I know my customers I can supply the actual text of the ban saying it and it wouldn’t be authoritative enough if it didn’t fit with what you want to be true. (We all know of your strange obsession with polygamy)

    2. I don’t understand what you are saying. At one point hakacha allowed two wives. Then it didn’t. Whether you call it halacha/minhag/geder/gezeira isn’t reallyrelevent.
    If in fact it was done to suit “western sensitivites” (for which I do have sources but I will have to find them, and as I said I don’t expect you to like them), it certainly is an example of the subject at hand.
    I am not saying it is EXACTLY the same., I’m not sure how you made that mistake.

    #1539160

    Joseph
    Participant

    I can supply the actual text of the ban saying it

    ubiq: I’m willing to guarantee any dollar amount (or anything else) of your choosing that you most certainly do not have the actual text of the ban.

    I don’t understand what you are saying. At one point hakacha allowed two wives. Then it didn’t.

    Incorrect. Halacha still allows it. Non-Ashkenazim still do it ad hayom hazeh. Even Ashkenazim can do it with a heter meah. It is a takana for Ashkenazim not to do it; it is not halacha. You cannot dismiss the differences between a halacha and a takana.

    #1539165

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It is a takana for Ashkenazim not to do it; it is not halacha.

    Wow. Your obsession is so great that you post utter nonsense.

    #1539197

    Joseph
    Participant

    DY: I’ve personally heard a godol say (and it is easily verifiable) that if they thought it were wise, the Ashkenazic Gedolim today could end the ban and go back to the original accepted practice. Do you see that if they did so that would constitute a contemporary “change of Halacha”?

    #1539222

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Do you see that if they did so that would constitute a contemporary “change of Halacha”?

    If you had two left feet, would shoes cost you twice as much?

    Nobody sane contemplates that rescinding the takana is anything but a disaster of an idea. It’s really disturbing and creepy that you keep fantasizing about it.

    Yes, it would be a change in halacha, the same way the original takana was.

     

     

    #1539229

    1
    Participant

    That’s why modem rabbis are running around saying you can live a toeiva lifstyle (not all; some).

    #1539290

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    Joseph,

    “Incorrect. Halacha still allows it. Non-Ashkenazim still do it ad hayom hazeh. Even Ashkenazim can do it with a heter meah. It is a takana for Ashkenazim not to do it; it is not halacha. You cannot dismiss the differences between a halacha and a takana.”

    Wow.

    Replace “Rabbeinu Gershom’s takana” with “kitniyos” and you sound exactly like Avi K. Why is it that with this particular subject you suddenly become open orthodox in your attitude towards halacha and our sages?

    #1539305

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    1,

    “That’s why modem rabbis are running around saying”

    Last time I dialed up a modem rabbi it made lots of screeching noises at me.

    #1539333

    kgh5771
    Participant

    I actually attended a shiur a number of years ago on the topic of Cherem D’Rabbenu Gershom (I wish I could remember who gave it).

    Rabbenu Gershom was not responding to sensibilities. There were practical halachic issues. Way back when, many Jews were merchants (hard to do much else because the authorities kept restricting Jewish employment). Each Cherem instituted by Rabbeinu Gershom addressed issues regarding these merchants:
    1. Not opening another person’s mail was meant to keep other merchants from finding out about competitor’s deals, inventory, suppliers, etc., so as not to sabotage someone else’s business.
    2. Merchants would travel away from home for months, or even years at a time. The prohibition to marry more than one wife was so that these merchants wouldn’t have wives in multiple ports.
    3. As a follow-up to 2 above, a man couldn’t divorce his wife against her will. This was to ensure that a man who was far from home for extended amounts of time wouldn’t just write a “Get” for his wife so he could start with someone new in a different locale.

    #1539428

    Joseph
    Participant

    DY: Are the Teimanim disastrously insane? The Sephardim in Morocco and other places that you find it by even today, are they also disastrously insane? Or, rather, you’re eyeing your personal distaste of a very legitimate practice upon others.

    #1539378

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    joseph

    “that you most certainly do not have the actual text of the ban.”

    It was rhetorical. I can’t provide the ban but even if I did you wouldnt consider that ” authoritative ” enough, thus I will not bother citing sources that give this as the reason (such as Avrhama Grossman’s work) since they too wont be authoritative.
    Of course the Avnei Nezer E”H says the reason is to prevent avoidign the cherem on forcing a woman to take a get (if you can marry 2 women then that cherem is irrelevent) and one of the reason’s for that Cherem is to “level the playing field” between Men and Women since Gittin is strictly in the Man’s domain, to give the woman some power too. ( clearly stemming form Wester nsensibilities. ) For this reason Rav JB Soloveitchik wouldnt sign a heter meha Rabbanoim
    (Yes Yes I know neither the Avnei Nezer or R’ Soloveitchik are authoritative)

    “It is a takana for Ashkenazim not to do it; it is not halacha. You cannot dismiss the differences between a halacha and a takana.”

    I dont know what that means.
    It is Assur for Ashkenazim to eat rice on PEsach. Yes it is muttar for sefardim, yes it isnt as strict as Chametz, Yes it is Minhag and not deoraysa.

    None of this changes the bottom line that Although halacha once allowed All to eat rice on PEsach that no longer is true. (though not due to western sesnibilites thus it isnt related to the OP)
    Similarly while it once was allowed to have more than one wife it no longer is.
    Again, Yes not for sefardim, yes it is a cherem and not deorysa. so waht? the bottom line is halacha once allowed it and no longer does.

    The fact that the cherem can be overturned is immaterial. IF we had a sanhedrin that was greater than previous doros there are lots of takanos they could theoreticly overturn. That in no way makes them less binding until they get overturned.

    #1539478

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I’m not sure Polygamy was legal in Rabbenu Gershom’s time in christian countries

    #1539481

    Avram in MD
    Participant

    Joseph,

    “Or, rather, you’re eyeing your personal distaste of a very legitimate practice upon others.”

    It is not a legitimate practice for Ashkenazim. Do you have a problem with that?

    #1539486

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avram, you want to call it Halacha? NP, I’ll concede the nomenclature. You and I don’t and aren’t disagreeing it is prohibited for Ashkenazim, just as kitniyos is. Perhaps I misapplied the terminology.

    #1539423

    The little I know
    Participant

    This discussion is amusing. No, halacha doesn’t change. Torah is not subject to anyone’s editing, neither by addition nor deletion. This issue is why we have so much disdain for the non-orthodox “movements” that pick and choose and trim to suit their desires. Chas veshalom to remove anything from the Torah. It’s ours to follow, not to rewrite. There is plenty pilpul to write about יש כח ביד חכמים לעקור דבר מן התורה. It’s not simple, and dismissing halacha is not being done.

    To modify halacha to accommodate western sensibilities is foolish. But there are situations when one is not modifying halacha at all, just making applications that differ from other regions or other times. Halacha never changed. Circumstances did. One can Google to search for governmental statutes that are still on the books, but have zero relevance today. I recall one that prohibited bathing a horse in a bathtub. These fall dormant when the situations change.

    Rabbenu Gershom never changed halacha. He, as leader of the Ashkenazic communities (which is why Sefardim were not subject to his jurisdiction), created a degree, a gezairoh. It was accepted as normative practice. Had he modified halacha, we would have seen the akin to making bigamy the equivalent to the issur of aishes ish.

    The chinuch discipline issue involves several factors. Today’s kids will be damaged if potched. Today’s rebbe who delivers petch is likely expressing his anger and rage, not teaching a lesson. That is why there is unanimous agreement among all the master Baalei Chinuch, as if found in their seforim, that this should not be done. How often is a child publicly shamed by his rebbe? Way too often. And this is tantamount to murder (I can cite you references from rishonim for that). Discipline needs to be as educational as the academic program. If it only punishes, someone is in the wrong career. A rebbe is not there to CONTROL. He is there to TEACH. What is this potching rebbe doing?

    Lastly, potching was NEVER a mitzvah or recommendation. Saying so is changing halacha, which is a no-no. It is a last resort, and must be light and infrequent. I can line up many cases of petch that became a central issue in kids turning rebellious. Can you line up cases where they produced an educational experience and led to kids doing better, growing in Avodas Hashem?

    #1539492

    Joseph
    Participant

    Avram, absolutely not. Not only don’t I have a problem with that, but I’d have a very big problem with any Ashkenazi who violates the Cherem.

    #1539493

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    TLIK
    “Halacha never changed. Circumstances did. ”

    Please read the very first comment on this thread. (after the OP)

    “This discussion is amusing”

    sure, though its becasue when you skip comments (liek the first!) they becoem hard to follow

    #1539494

    Avi K
    Participant

    Kgh, I understood that the cherem on reading other people’s mail was because not having mail service they would entrust their personal letters to travellers (a merchant would have been very foolish to give a business letter to a competitor). The cherem was an extension of chezek reiah. The cherem on divorcing a woman against her will was to preserve marriages. In the heat of an argument a husband might divorce his wife. Basically it is an extension of the ger mekushar of cohanim. If he were in another port the get would not take effect until an agent could put it in her hands, which could have taken a very long time.

    #1539496

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Joseph

    ” You and I don’t and aren’t disagreeing it is prohibited for Ashkenazim,”

    Then we arent disagreeing either.
    polygamy is a practice prohibbited for Ashkenazim, whcih was not always the case.
    I concede that I cant prove to you with a source that you would find “authoritative” that the reason for this change was due to “western sensibilities”

    ZD
    “I’m not sure Polygamy was legal in Rabbenu Gershom’s time in christian countries”
    It wasnt whcih some beleive is why R”G forbade it for Jews as well (though it wasnt widly practiced a t that time anyway)
    I am fine with the other examples

    #1539522

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Perhaps I misapplied the terminology.

    Perhaps?

    Anyhow, glad you backtracked. I guess OO is a worse label for you than non-misogynist.

    Good job, Avram.

    #1539565

    Joseph
    Participant

    DY, TLIK also asserts above that the Cherem is not a change of Halacha, but rather a gezeira binding upon certain Jewish kehilos as I stated, and yet you don’t get all bent of shape from his comment. You didn’t answer several of my pointed questions above, are you ashamed? Are Teimanim and Sephardim misogynists in your eyes? Your approach to this isn’t based on Jewish values but rather based on Western values where you highlight Western thought that artificially intersects with some Jewish thought.

    #1539656

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I have a hard time reading TLIK’s posts. They’re Too Long I Kan’t.

    I think it’s a bad idea for someone of Teimani ancestry to marry two wives.

    It’s not a matter of Western thought “artificially intersecting” with Jewish thought. It’s a matter of not wanting women to suffer, which would be the result.

    #1539660

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Genuine Jewish thought cares about all people, including women.

    I think you have imbibed non Jewish Middle Eastern values.

    #1539843

    Joseph
    Participant

    You’re entitled to your opinion but not to dress up your opinion as unassailable Jewish thought and condemn Jewish communities that don’t follow your shitta. Do you also condemn Sephardim for eating kitniyos on Pesach?

    #1540328

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Who still marries two wives?

    #1540338

    Joseph
    Participant

    There are Teimanim and Sephardim (in Morocco and some other places) alive today as such.

    #1540340

    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    What if a man is single and two thirty year old single women approach him and beg him to marry them both? Is he still a misogynist if he marries them?

    #1540354

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am willing to suspend the Cherem Rabbenu Gershom for Joseph if he can find a second wife to marry him

    #1540360

    DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I have no idea about how women in Morocco feel about it so have no opinion.

    Totally irrelevant to your comments.

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