The little I know

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  • in reply to: Why Are Divorces Usually Initiated by the Wife? #870647
    The little I know

    This might point to a general issue of male vs. female psyche. Surely any specific case would have its own issues, but many men are willing to tolerate more pain and suffering than women are. Men retain their social acceptance in other environments, but women are likely to seek their social support through their homes and families.

    in reply to: Telemarketers… #1036132
    The little I know

    After all the jokes that can be reflected back on the telemarketers, our communinty is plagued with robocalls that are exempt from the donotcall lists, and there will NEVER be legislation that will place any limitations on them. They inform us about raffles, chinese auctions, dinners, and asifos. They disturb me at work constantly, besides the usual dusturbances at home. I would love to see the practice banned. I have begun to boycott any organization that does this. My charitable resources are limited; needs in Klal Yisroel are great; and I have no problem funneling my tzedokoh to those organizations that are not abusive to my home or office.

    in reply to: Al Tira after Aleinu #861369
    The little I know

    There is only one location (I believe) where these three psukim are connected, and one might presume that this is the origin for this brief paragraph of psukim. The reference to the origin of the minhag to recite these is brought in the Kitzur Shelo”h and in the Avodas Hakodesh from the Chida”h. The Medrash (Esther Rabah 7:17) states that when the gezeirah of Haman was released, he and his co-conspirators followed Mordechai and saw him stop three children emerging from yeshiva. Mordechai asked the first which was the last posuk he was learning, and he answered “Al Tiroh ……”. He asked the second child, “Utztu eitzah ……..”, and the third responded, “Ve’ad ziknah ……….”. The Taz writes that he recited these psukim while the Shat”z was saying Sim Shalom. Presumably, the reason to conclude tefiloh with this recitation is to recount the love of HKB”H for Am Yisroel in golus, that He will redeem us and return us to Him.

    in reply to: Is smoking mutar? #954557
    The little I know

    To all the disbelieving nicotine addicts:

    Here is a list of poskim who proclaimed smoking as an absolute issur:

    Rav A. L. Shteinman

    Rav Moshe Shmuel Shapiro

    Rav Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz

    Rav Shmuel Wosner

    Rav Nisim Karelitz

    Rav Y.G. Edelstein

    Rav B.D. Povarsky

    Rav Matisyahu Salomon

    Rav Shimon Bedni

    Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein

    Chofetz Chaim

    Chazon Ish

    Rav Shach

    Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach

    Rav Moshe Sterbuch

    Rav Avigdor Miller

    Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky

    Rav Moshe Feinstein

    Rav Benzion Abba Shaul

    This a partial list. Each and every name here can be verified with specific reference. I only want to know the names behind the heter that is assumed. Permitting smoking is like chometz on Pesach or other maacholos asuros. The issur is severe, not just a chumro.

    I have heard some proclaim that Rav Moshe Feinstein ZT”L was matir smoking. That is a complete fabrication. If questioned, I will provide proof otherwise.

    in reply to: Tefilla for teens in crisis – need your ideas to improve it #857908
    The little I know

    I hope I was not misunderstood. Anyone can be mispallel for anything using their own words. That is not the issue. When it comes to authoring a tefilla to be “koveya” for others, then we are in a different ballpark. Here, there are issues of insuring that the tefilla is consistent with the dictates of halacha, kabala, etc., and that is a responsibility that comes with qualifications. I might aspire to achieve that level, but I have no reason to think that I have ever approached it. A personal tefilla does not need to qualify in any way, except to be the true emotion of the person saying it. In fact, the seforim speak much about those tefillos that are done by way of thought and meditation, not even put into the spoken word. As for the chosen language of a tefilla, one does not need language altogether, but one can rest assured that HKB”H understands us, regardless. The Kedushas Levi – R’ Levi Yitzchok of Berdichev noted that a parent always understands even the gibberish and mispronunciations of his/her child. So, too, HKB”H understands us, His children, without regard to our actual speech.

    May HKB”H inspire all those who need to become closer to Him, children and their parents.

    in reply to: Hakaros Hatov #935959
    The little I know

    Here’s a thought. When Eliezer received agreement from Besuel and Lavan to take Rivka for Yitzchok Avinu, the posuk tells us that Eliezer bowed to HKB”H, to which Rashi explains “Mikan shemodim al besuroh tovah”, from here we learn that we are to be grateful for good news. Obvious question – do we mimick everything that Eliezer did? What was remarkable that Rashi points this out? A simple explanation is that the gratitude we might have expected should be to Besuel and Lavan for permitting Rivka to go, thus fulfilling the obligation Eliezer committed to Avrohom. However, the posuk relates that Eliezer bowed to Hashem. The message is that the ultimate gratitude is due to HKB”H, which is why the posuk spells it out, and Rashi draws attention to this.

    Following from this thought, there is much that requires us to be grateful, and we do so in Modim each tefiloh. If someone wronged us, perhaps the only gratitude is to Hashem, which we accomplish at our next tefilloh (if we daven properly). The one who hurt us may not be due that gratitude.

    in reply to: Collecting Tzedaka during Davening..your opinion? #859098
    The little I know

    “I want everyone to realize the zchus you get when giving tzedakah while davening. Hashem sees that you are having rachmones on someone he will do the same for you.”

    Not true. Firstly, neither you nor any other human knows what Hashem judges of an individual action.

    Secondly, my davening is not what it should be if I am mafsik for anything (cell phone, collectors, or anything else). I have not clue what HKB”H thinks of it. My obligation is to fulfill the mandate of tefilla, as explained in Shulchan Aruch. For many parts of davening, there is no heter to be mafsik. If you are unsure of exactly what is included in this issur, check out sifrei halacha, or ask your Rov. Being pestered during megilla reading, during Shema, etc. is unacceptable.

    Having tzedokoh collected in shul is not a bad thing. It has gone on for centuries, and many tzaddikim spoke of the wonderful zechus inherent in this. However, it does not change the halachos about where one may not be mafsik. The reason we are discussing this is because the matter has gotten out of control in many shuls, and we are perplexed how to resolve this without banning tzedokoh collections altogether.

    in reply to: Tefilla for teens in crisis – need your ideas to improve it #857901
    The little I know

    With all the sympathy in the world, I must make this comment. Tefillos need to be written by people of considerable stature. There is a tefilla from the Chazon Ish ZT”L. There are others. I would avoid composing one, but would be more than happy to support the pressure to have gedolim do this, much as several responded to the pressure to compose a Kinah for Tish’a B’Av to address the churban of the holocaust.

    This is undoubtedly a real tzoroh, both in magnitude and quantity. Anyone wish to begin the petition that would bring this to our gedolim to meet this desperate need?

    in reply to: Collecting Tzedaka during Davening..your opinion? #859091
    The little I know

    It is inaccurate to take my comment as minimizing tzedokoh. My point is that it can be collected in a proper way, and unfortunately an improper one. Just this morning, I watched someone pester mispallelim during Kriyas Shema, including the baal tefiloh. There is NO excuse for that. Maybe it is too extreme to ban collecting during davening, but it is surely not ridiculous.

    Perhaps, one can be lenient about allowing collection to be done during davening because we fall short on our concentration and kavana anyway. The reason I don’t buy that is because there is plenty of time in which collecting is technically muttar; we don’t need to turn the left cheek on those times in which poskim say clearly it is assur.

    in reply to: Collecting Tzedaka during Davening..your opinion? #859078
    The little I know

    I actually work hard at concentrating during davening. The amount of interruption by collectors is unbelievable. There are many who are from Eretz Yisroel, who are raised with the notion that everyone who lives in America is rich. They are generally desperate, and many will press on if they feel you can give them more. I sympathize with their desperation, but I have a limited amount of money that I can spare (I do not splurge on luxuries, and I give more tzedokoh than I can afford anyway.)

    Far more irritating is the pressure from countless yeshiva bochurim who are also sent with quotas, often at the expense of their own davening on time, and their own learning. The raffles are pushed and pressed. It is another concern when boys under bar mitzvah are sent to collect by panhandling (not a closed pushka). I consider it wrong and irresponsible. I usually make a note of it, and give the tzedokoh to the same organization or yeshiva bypassing the child collector. Can these children be taught to do their collecting without disturbing those davening? From Borchu until chazoras hashatz, one should not be mafsik to give. Collecting then is a michshol, and it is assur. Poskim discuss this.

    I find it disgraceful that our young people are being trained in taking tzedokoh, not the giving of it. This mitzvah is so precious, but we are exploiting it by teaching our children greed.

    in reply to: Drinking #856955
    The little I know

    To BTGuy:

    The posted 20 questions is NOT intended to serve as a scientific measure of an alcohol problem. It is just a “rule of thumb”, a layperson’s yardstick to flag a possible problem. This is just one such tool. There are many others of similar value. Ultimately, the evaluation by a professional in the addictions field will be more reliable and definitive.

    Regarding your pronouncements about those attending Al-Anon, there are many, many good jokes about them (many quite similar to the humor about baalei teshuvah). There are plenty of people who base their behavior on lack of knowledge and on misinformation. The family member of the alcoholic has been traumatized or otherwise negatively affected by the drinking problem. Having been sensitized, it is quite common to become supervigilant about the consumption of alcohol, even through shampoo. Some education from a recognized expert should help alot in calming these fears that are being expressed irrationally.

    The little I know

    This may be trivia to some. There is a choshuv family among us that descends directly from Reb Leib Sara’s. The family name, which we now can guess at its origin, is Sorotzkin.

    The little I know

    We have several dilemmas here. Firstly, sakanah deserves no compromise. Secondly, it is heresy to claim that “Yayin yesamach levav enosh” is in any way related to getting drunk. Thirdly, the Gemoroh never says Chayav inish “lehishtaker” – it says l’ivsumai. This is clearly reference to a state of exaltation, not the loss of one’s mind. The pirushim in ad delo yoda do not include anything bordering on danger.

    One must be fully aware of one’s tolerance. Drinking more than that is medically serious. Between alcohol poisoning, falling and other accidents, to the poor judgment to do things that create even greater danger to self and others (like driving and fighting), the excess carries massive risk.

    Lastly, it is vital that we be able to look inside ourselves in a manner that is critical and brutally honest. Is our drinking only for the mitzvah, where we do not lose focus from the true simcha of nais Purim, or are we at least partially capitalizing on Purim for our annual “legitimized” opportunity to get drunk? Remember that HKB”H knows the real answer. If you are in denial, then do a cheshbon hanefesh, and see what you find. May as well have the edge before you view the real emes in beis din shel maaloh.

    in reply to: Copying Music #860855
    The little I know

    Does anyone here have an idea of the costs involved in producing a CD?

    Here is a list of expenses (without the dollar figures, some can be quite high):

    Purchase of a song



    Recording studio time

    Singers, soloists, choir




    Graphics for cover

    Graphics for advertising

    Advertising (print, radio, internet, etc)

    Placing and hanging of posters

    Distributing and marketing

    Production of a sampler for publicity

    Free copies given as samples

    Many popular singers invest heavily in their CD’s as a form of advertisement. If this gets them more jobs, the CD can bring in much to compensate the expense. Some singers raise their price once they have become published.

    It is only proper and menchlich to purchase the music so as to help the producer recoup the costs. Today, most CD’s do not become profitable ventures unless they are marketing for additional business. There is also a flooded market of Jewish music today, making the competition strong. With a challenging economy, buying CD’s is often a luxury that is forfeited.

    in reply to: New news story- OTD Lakewood woman with 4 kids wants custody #857301
    The little I know

    Something simple is being missed, and I’m surprised because it is like the broad side of the barn.

    The get is supposed to be the final severing of the relationship. The affairs of financial, custody and visitation, and division of assets should already be in place by the time of the get. Halacha does not specifically demand this. But it is required for both logical reasons (the spirit of the law) and for obvious practical reasons. Where that process takes place is irrelevant to the court and to beis din. There is nothing about negotiating a business deal that requires it to be done by rabbonim versus goyim. The option of litigating the settlement issues is frowned upon, as it encroaches on the issur of arkao’s, and it is ridiculously expensive. It is also bitter and painful. Even family court prefers that these issues be settled out of court, and this means anywhere but the courtroom. There is nothing wrong with having attorneys doing this, though it is likely to be costly.

    Neither court nor beis din routinely press to keep these affairs under their jurisdiction. Courts will always review the settlements, since they are bent on insuring that the children’s needs are met. If the agreement is unfair to the children, the court may disqualify it, even if both parties signed, and even if beis din agreed.

    So beis din is not “forcing” the agreement to be through them. Generally they don’t care. Either party can easily insist that these issues be decided by the beis din, and I have personally observed many such situations, where the war between the spouses is taken to the forum of the beis din. This was the choice by the litigants (one or both), not the dayanim. As an exception, I am aware of at least one beis din that truly extorts. I will not enter the lashon horah realm here, but this one makes corruption child’s play. They typically overrule any other agreement, insisting that everything be renegotiated through them, and they take one side. Klal Yisroel would be better off without these wicked people who use their status of “dayanim” to violate every halachic and moral rule known. This is an exception. Most dayanim do not want to donate the time for the negotiation stuff.

    in reply to: New news story- OTD Lakewood woman with 4 kids wants custody #857294
    The little I know


    You clearly have an agenda here, and you are invested in it at the emotional level. The fact that you are propagating mostly fictional ideas is not in your favor. Youy only want to portray batei din as extortionists. I have been working with many rabbonim and batei din for many years. There is much to be said for the shortcomings of our “system”. But it does not come anywhere close to the sensational gibberish you are trying to sell here.

    I have encountered two “batei din” that are standing ones (as opposed to zabl”a arrangements) that are a disgrace to Klal Yisroel. One has actually engaged in the type of extortion you describe, and it does this as a policy. Men who are struggling to get agreements from their wives, either wanting more than is due or finding the women overly demanding, know to go there for their get. Many other rabbonim and batei din refuse to recognize this beis din in any matters of ishus. The other regularly paskens without any input from one side (baal din), and are thus flagrantly in violation of the basics of halacha.

    Yes, there is corruption. Yes, there are dishonest and evil rabbonim. You are correct – our system is flawed. But your steady stream of accusations, generalizing to the entire system, claiming that every beis din engages in extortion is not funny or even true. Please take your baseless dissatisfaction with Torah and Yiddishkeit elsewhere. It is offending to keep reading this stuff on this website. You should be ashamhed of yourself.

    Instead of spending your time writing your false accusations, you could invest some time in trying to repair and improve what we have. Try it. You’ll be surprised that progress is possible. I, for one, resent the kefira in your comments, lumping all talmidei chachomim into your perceptions of evil. Our rabbonim are all we have. Work with them, not against them.

    in reply to: New news story- OTD Lakewood woman with 4 kids wants custody #857239
    The little I know

    To 646:

    “Batei Din are also known (I know of one case first hand) to threaten people that there kids will be taken out of school if someone refuses to Arbitrate in a B”D or opposes a Psak in secular Court.”

    I am sure you can succeed in finding shoemakers, politicians, lawyers, rabbonim, dayanim, and grocers who are dishonest, and downright evil in their ways. You know of one such case, and I know more than one. But that does not legitimize going to arka’os, and it does not mean that there is any reason to buck the halacha because you want to or feel you are being treated unfairly.

    The threat stuff you speak of is not done by a beis din, but as a personal matter from one or more members of the BD. As I acknowledge, there are some rotten, corrupt, and evil people out there, and they can be found in any field or career. You are looking to trash the entire concept of beis din because you disagree with some things that have happened. Well I will not throw out the baby with the bathwater. The corrupt dayanim will certainly get what they deserve at some point, and I agree that the community deserves to be rid of them. You are not addressing individuals, but an entire system. That is flagrantly against Shulchan Aruch, and no one should accept this approach.

    in reply to: New news story- OTD Lakewood woman with 4 kids wants custody #857231
    The little I know

    To 646:

    The Beis Din has the option of allowing the court to rule on custody. If so, there will be permission granted, and this should always be in writing. However, it is unwise to have the get given when issues such as custody are still not resolved. Beis Din does NOT use withholding of the get as a threat. They can note, usually with full justification that since matters are still not resolved, the get would not be a true krisus, and should not be done yet. Beis din does not threaten.

    It is common for people to avoid going to the beis din that is part of their immediate community for obvious social reasons. They are free to look for other batei din, and our community has many options. No one is forced to go a specific beis din. There is NO abuse of power or force.

    in reply to: New news story- OTD Lakewood woman with 4 kids wants custody #857217
    The little I know

    My turn. I know nothing about this case, so any comments are only about the subject matter in general.

    Batei Din have both parties sign a Shtar Berurin, essentially an arbitration contract that obligates them to accept the decision. If a beis din is corrupt, all sorts of shenanigans can occur, and sometimes do. However, the document ends up in court, not always an arkaos problem because divorces and custody matters need the official psak from court. Many batei din have this shtar written and signed in Hebrew and in English. This shtar/document is now a legal contract, and one needs to follow it to the letter of the law, regardless of whether it is fair or not. Batei din are perceived to be unfair to women, but that is usually not true. Either side can manipulate, fabricate, withhold evidence, and this gets reflected in the proceedings in beis din.

    If a custodial parent fails to raise children according to the agreed religious lifestyle, then there is a violation that will be addressed by the court as breaking the arbitration agreement.

    There are cases where women claim to continue living a frum lifestyle, just not chassidish, but are really living as goyim (except to dress up for the court). This needs to be documented, and challenged as a breach of the arbitration agreement.

    No one is “forced” to sign anything. If they do so, without reviewing it, they might have signed away a lot, and there may not be any recourse for them.

    Lastly, using a get as “ransom” is intolerable, no matter who does it. However, it is foolish to conclude the marriage with the get when the other matters of the breakup (settling issues of custody, division of property, financial agreements, etc) have not been completed first. Most batei din follow this path, and it is reasonable. If the two sides do not agree, no one is “withholding” the get.

    in reply to: Articel on NY Post Web-site on religious Jews child abuse #832457
    The little I know

    I am prepared to testify under oath that the Agudah has met with professionals and with victims. I am personally aware of certain victims that the Agudah has not agreed to meet with, and this is because of their agenda having zero to do with educating rabbonim & Agudah, and similarly nothing to do with protecting children. That is why there are debates on radio shows, magazines, and blogs.

    Have these people developed programs to implement in schools that teach about child safety and prevention? No. Have any of them authored, published, or disseminated books or articles that serve to prevent abuse? No. They just scream, look to punish, throw accusations, and create public disgrace. There is much to be done, but they are accomplishing nothing besides chilul Hashem. The Agudah (choosing that label for mainstream rabbonim) bears responsibility for much of the past wrongs on this area. But they have come a long way, and do not deserve the schmutz. Aries – they have met with victims, and processed this with the professionals. It is clear why the public is angry – so am I. But the approach to cope with the source of the anger is unfair, ineffective, and terribly misguided.

    in reply to: Articel on NY Post Web-site on religious Jews child abuse #832449
    The little I know

    As some commenters noted, it is blasphemous to proclaim that the Agudah and rabbonim in general are dedicated to protect molesters or uninterested in the safety of children. What is most likely true is that the collective understanding about the problem is severely deficient. Much of the “protection” was done out of belief that the event did not happen, was being exaggerated, or even to protect the family or institution – not to destroy the child. I excuse none of this negligence. But what we read repeatedly are the baseless accusations by fanatics, and that (though perhaps misguidedly) fires up the Agudah establishment to point the finger at bloggers and information technology.

    Over the past 2 years, there have been concerted efforts on the part of the gedolim of the Agudah to learn more about the problem from the victims themselves (yes, they have meet many times) and professionals. There has been massive progress within the Agudah to address the problem more responsibly, and no one can deny that. We can debate whether more progress is needed (I feel that there is much more to do). But the slinging of mud, name calling, accusations, and even the sarcasm (which is distasteful, not funny) is ineffective in bringing about change. Publicity won’t help anymore. There are constructive processes that have yielded progress and more of this is needed.

    Regarding the “closed door” meeting at the Agudah Convention, which seems to have irritated some people, particularly the bloggers, what’s the problem? I feel that many more meetings should be closed to the public. Fact is that those who wished to get into this meeting were those who have an agenda, and every word said there would be fodder for ridicule and accusation. It was arranged for dialogue, not to issue marching orders. We have all watched the discussions in cyberspace get vitriolic when someone suggested anything other that what those fanatic activists want. And if someone chas veshalom discusses another topic – this only fires up these fanatics – “How can they discuss any other issue when children are being raped and destroyed?” Wake up – Klal Yisroel has many important issue, and abuse is one of them.

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