Monday, January 11, 2010

Retroactive Gittin? - Halakhic Time Travel

So Heshy and I got into an interesting discussion regarding gittin and more specifically David & Bathsheba. Now, as most of us learned in high school, the sin with David & Bathsheba wasn't really a sin because there was a rule that men divorced their wives before they went out to battle. (See Abarbanel if you want to argue that it was a sin. He takes that point of view.)

Anyway, simple Chana thought that meant the men actually wrote their wives a writ of divorce and from the time they went off to battle, poof! The women are all unmarried. But Heshy said it's actually not that way; there's a concept called למפרע which effectively ensures a retroactive get. Or as Heshy put it:

"Let's say the get was written at July 1st 2010 at 10pm. So Uriah writes, "If I don't return after the war is over, this get is effective as of this instant that I sign the get."

So let's think about that logically. When David and Bathsheba first sleep with one another, she is still technically married to Uriah. Then she finds out she is pregnant. David tries to have Uriah sleep with her but he won't hear of it. David then resorts to having Uriah killed. Since Uriah doesn't come home from the battle, the get retroactively becomes effective from the moment he first signed it. Because of that, Bathsheba was a magically unmarried woman at the time she slept with David.

Does that boggle anyone else's mind?

I'm curious about a practical application of this למפרע idea. Heshy said the same idea exists by Kiddushin. Therefore, a man can say as follows: "I am mekadesh you now on the condition that you don't eat chocolate for 30 days." If she ends up not eating chocolate after 30 days have passed, it is as though the kiddushin had gone into effect from the very moment the man had spoken, not at the end of the 30 days. Retroactive kiddushin, in other words.

So here's my question: We know that if a maiden is raped, there's a totally different penalty that occurs if she is betrothed and raped than if she is a maiden who is not betrothed. So let's say our girl, who is not eating chocolate for 30 days in order to accept the kiddushin, is raped on the 3rd day. Is she halakhically speaking a betrothed maiden or not? And if you say she is, doesn't that mean the kiddushin went into effect at precisely the moment at which he spoke (in which case it's not retroactive- it happened right then!) And if she's not, then aren't you saying the kiddushin only goes into effect after the 30 days? It seems to me you have to make a choice at some point. How can you just have this idea of time-travelling gittin? Or is there maybe a difference between kiddushin and when a maiden is meorasa?

So please explain and boy, am I jealous of you yeshiva guys. You learn such fascinating things!


Anonymous said...

I think I remember learning about this in the second Perek of Kiddushin (Ha'ish Mekadesh).

Basically there's a concept of Le'mafraya, Mika'an Ule'haba. Meaning that from the point in time that we know for sure that the conditions for the retroactive status of the get have been met, we say that it is retroactive. BUT, if that point in time, say the 30 days, are not over yet- then we say it's still not in effect. (Meaning it only becomes retroactively in effect once the thirty days are over, but in the meantime the rapist is treated as if she is not yet betrothed. Any kid born from this union afterward though, has the status of a kid born from her when she WAS betrothed.)

Sorry if I'm just confusing things further. Also, I did learn most of what I know about this concept about a zillion years ago, so I may be universes off-mark.


inkstainedhands said...

But according to that logic, wouldn't it mean that at the time that David and Bathsheba were together it WAS a sin, since the divorce was not yet in effect?

Chana said...


Nope, that's the whole magic of it! The whole idea of the retroactive get is that after Uriah dies, the get takes retroactive effect and thus he and Bathsheba were not married when she slept with David. Mind-boggling, no?

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I should have clarified:

Mika'an Ule'haba means "from this point on."


inkstainedhands said...

Heshy wrote, "Meaning it only becomes retroactively in effect once the thirty days are over, but in the meantime the rapist is treated as if she is not yet betrothed."

So what I meant was that according to that logic, wouldn't their union be treated meanwhile as if she was not yet divorced, even if ultimately she WAS considered divorced?

Either way, it's mind-boggling. How come we never learn this kind of stuff in school?

EJB said...

The major issue with קידושין למפרע is the חזקה of אין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות. This is the main reason you can't use conditional kiddushin to solve the agunah crisis.

Shades of Grey said...

We covered this in Shana Bet - it's a real fascinating and mind-boggling concept.

The Unseen Cookie said...

I haven't learned kiddushin, or gitten for that matter, in years but I would postulate that she is not married since the retroactive kiddushin is only chall (goes into effect) at day 30 but until then she is an unmarried woman. Only at day 30 would she then be considered married retroactively. The other issue that arises would be the question as to which kesubah she is given. I would also assume she would probably not be classified as a besula since at the time of the completion of the acknowledged requisite condition (or day 30) she wasn't a virgin, but again I don't know.

Chana said...

EJB & Shades of Grey,

Nu? So explain! EJB, I don't know what any of those terms mean, and Shades of Grey, so tell us what the answers are!

Dune said...

Firstly, on the story (Red Haifer). I was thinking about Natalia saying harshly to Leila on the welfare thing. This is not the right way to go about it. If the goal is to get the person to do the right thing then an attack (well intentioned and righteously felt as it is) will rarely succeed. Rather, Natalie should have 'conviniently' been learning certain Torah near Leila, or could have, if suddlety didn't work, tried to convince privately in a nice way, not questioning her devotion to God, and maybe convinced her to convince her husband. I know it's just a story, but this line of thinking occured to me in a place where people were learning Torah, so I felt I should type it. I understand Zealousness. I have it in my own nature when seeing something unjust to want to rebuke it and end it. But, as a general rule it is the case that a person should not rebuke harshly nor publicly (unless someone is hurting another person, then you can destroy them so they will see what it feels like and not do so again). This can be seen in the case of Pinchas who was zealous for God. God says to Moshe Rabeinu that Pinchas did the right thing. Think about that; it is very telling that God had to say so, as if to clarify the matter by condoning the action. This shows that as a general rule, being zealous in rebuke (even out of a deep love of God and a strong sense of justice and a strong moral compass), is as a general rule not good. For if it were then there would be no reason for God to 'defend' Pinchas' actions...continued below...

Dune said...

Rather the action needed to be defended, for it was accepted that such zealousness was generally not the right way (of course zeal for good actions is good). Rather, rebuke should be done gently, and kindly, and privately and suddely. For this is the way that yields the most productive outcome regarding the persons actions, and that after all is the ultimate goal. Secondly, just as you're jelous of the yeshivah guys, so too am I jelous of all of you, as you all have a much braoder knowledge of Torah then I do. But, that's a good thing because it makes me feel inadequate in my Torah knowledge and thus it makes me want to increase my learning, so I thank all of you for that and God bless you for that. Thirdly, on David Hamelech...continued below....

Dune said...

Thirdly, on David Hamelech. He sinned; there is no debate. The debate is only on whether it was technically halachically considered a sin. This is akin to the recent conversation on this blog about whether homosexual lifestyle is okay so long as the technical sin does not occur. This is all irrelevant. David sinned because he did what was evil in Hashems eyes. I must admit that I do not know all the gmarot that you do. But, I can quote to you Davids admission of sin - Shmuel Bet 12:13-15 - 'Vayomer David Lenatan Chatati Lahashem...Vayomer Natan LeDavid Gam Hashem He'evir Chatatcha Lo Tamut' i.e. Since David Hamelech immediately admitted guilt and wanted to do tshuvah, unlike shaul, thus he himself was not killed - the punishment he deserved. Unless I am mistaking the meaning of the words Chatati and Chatotecha, David did in fact si - Chatati Lahashem. Also, it is at this point that all the horrors befall Davads family. The baby dies, His dughter is raped by his son, and his children rebel and die. Just as his sin was sexual desire which led to death and murder, so too is he punished Midah Keneged Midah with sexual desire (Amnon) leading to death and murder as the family unravels. Also, just as David tried a cunning way to get around it halachically with some sort of positive intention but still doing bad, so too does Yonadav try a cunning strategy. These are pretty harsh punishments and pretty congruous with the rule of Midah Keneged Midah, for a 'non-sin, wouldn't you say? I just hope we all don't do such halachically proper non-sins. LOL, but not really LOL.

Anonymous said...

I recall my Rav once discussing this in the context of Rav Kook's distinction between the roles of the chacham and the navi.

From the perspective of the chacham, if there is a halachik technicality, then "kol ha'omer David HaMelech chatah einah ela to'eh." ["Anyone who says David sinned is but in error."]

From the perspective of the navi, and the role he represents, though, the only proper response to what David did is "chatati l'Hashem."

Tobie said...

I don't recall any specific discussion, but there seems to be no reason that she would not be considered to have been betrothed. However, in that particular case, I'm pretty sure that criminal liability couldn't exist because you can only be considered to have been warned when something is definite, not when it is a safek which this most certainly is. So he wouldn't be liable for the death penalty, certainly. As for the compensation (if she turns out to have been not betrothed at the time)- that would probably relate the question of whether it's a fine or compensation (I seem to recall that's a machloket in the gemara). And also whether you can be compensation for something that was a safek.

Another interesting question is whether the court would force her to break whatever the condition was so as to avoid the graver sin of adultery having taken place. Of course, that might not be in her best interest because it would probably be best for her to be married to someone, since it's going to be harder for her on the market after this. Even if there is compensation that she forgoes.

See? Chicks can learn about cool talmud stuff too.

EJB said...

אין אדם עושה בעילתו בעילת זנות is a very complicated concept, but it basically means that we assume (or are concerned, in most cases) if a man and women who are not yet married have sex (or even yichud in the specific case of המגרש את אשתו ולנה עמה בפונדקי acc to בית הלל) the act is for marriage and not prostitution (probably because people have a חזקת כשרות). This is one of the reasons the gemara rules that if a man marrys a woman on the condition that she has no vows on her, has sex, then finds out she had vows on her, he is married misafek (and she must be given a get to remarry).
שולחן ערוך אבן העזר לח:לה
לפיכך המקדש על תנאי נט ובעל סתם, או כנס סתם, הרי זו צריכה גט אע"פ שלא נתקיים התנאי, שמא ביטל התנאי כשבעל או כשכנס.
רמ"א: ואם קדשה אחר, צריכה גט משניהם

anon1 said...


tosfos in gittin (73b-74a) discusses the conditional get of bat sheva (machlokes between Rashi and Rabeinu Tam whether it was a complete get or conditional -- Rabeinu Tam is bothered by similar questions as you are). As for conditional kidushin/gittin changing the penalty, see tosfos gittin 33a d"h afkiniu, which discusses the possibility of the punishment changing or disappearing as a result conditional kiddushin/gittin.

As a first time commenter, I will add that I think you write very well.

Chana said...

Hey Anon1,

Thanks! Could you also answer as to what kind of kesuba she gets- does she get one for a virgin or not for a virgin? Because retroactively speaking, she WAS a virgin on Day 1, but in truth, she was raped on Day 3, so by the time day 30 comes around she's not *really* a virgin...

(And thanks for the compliment.)

Shades of Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon1 said...

Whether you get a kesuba as a besulah or a beulah depends on the time of nesuin. The only thing that is conditional here is the kidushin but the nesuin actually happens at the time it happens (whatever nesuin actually is -- which gets into a whole machlokes rishonim is it the chupah, the yichud, etc.) So to answer your question, she should get a kesubah of a beulah. (Why kidushin can be conditional and nesuin is not -- is a whole other discussion.)

All of this is assuming that the kesubah that she is getting relates to some eventual nesuin. If she is divorced while she is an arusah, then maybe your question comes into play -- but that itself depends on the question of whether an arusah gets a kesubah.

Hope this was somewhat helpful.

Chana said...


Yes, awesome answer! But can you play a game called explaining terms to me?

Besulah: Virgin
Beulah: ?
Kiddushin: Betrothal (which can occur based on a tenai / condition)
Nesuin: Either chuppah, yichud, or something else- machlokes rishonim.
Arusah: ?

And why wouldn't an arusa get a kesubah?

Daniel P said...

Beulah someone who is no longer a virgin.

Eirusin and kiddushin are synonomous meaning bethrothal; a bethroed woman is called an erushah or mekudeshes.

An erushah does get a kesubah if the orus (bethrother) divorces her or dies, but may not get additional money that he added above the obligatory amount. Obviously if the kiddushin was conditional and the condition was not fulfilled and therefore nullified retroactively there would be no kesubah. After nisuin, which may be sexual relations, we assume he forfitted any prior conditions so as not to make the sexual act one of licenciousness.

The act of betrothal and its taking effect can obviously be at different times like you understood. There will be a difference when the kiddushin takes effect depending one his stipulation at the time of bethrothal. If he said you are bethrothed to me after 30 times if you do so and so, them after 30 days if the condition is fulfilled she is bethrothed from that time on. If he said you are bethrothed now if you do/don't do the following within 30 days, after she has done/has refrained from doing whatever he stipulated, the kiddushin takes effect retoractively.

As noted by someone else, the witnesses would have to warn the rapist/seducer that if he commits this crime he will be stoned, and if there is a condition upon which the kiddushin is dependent, the warning is not definite; for she may not actually be bethrothed, and therefore in such a case he would not be stoned.

Anonymous said...

Actually this is a much broader question that has fascinated me for years.

Example - we allow someone to be zoche for someone else who is not there if it's generally considered a positive (e.g. ger kattan- a huge issue).

Reuvain takes a vase and is zoche it for shimon, 15 minutes later levi breaks the vase, an hour later shimon says he hates vases - who does levi owe if he wants to pay for damage after 30 minutes, if anyone?

There are many other examples.

Bottom line - halacha allows future actions to retroactively define status. One can be in an indeterminate status (think physics)

Joel Rich

Chana said...


THANKS! Yeah, and in addition, my other friend emailed me to tell me to check out Sanhedrin 81b and the Maharitz Chaijes there that says the Sanhedrin used the kipa when they thought the guy was guilty but there were technical reasons that they couldn't give the death penalty.

As for what a kipa is, my friend told me that "it was a place and they'd feed him barley to make his stomach explode." Which to me sounds like Sotah for men (although obviously it's different because there you have the kohen, adultery, erasure of God's name, etc.)

So this leads me to wonder- suppose that the warning took place as you said, but we have a safek regarding whether or not she is betrothed- assuming she is betrothed retroactively, then, even though they can't stone him...could they do this barley-eating experiment instead?

harry-er than them all said...

to inkstainedhands and anon145-
the gemara explicitly says that david hamelech did NOT sin. when he says chatasi he meant it on his level it would be considered wrong, but as for an actual sin, he did not. this is the importance of not just reading the pesukim at surface value, but having a mesorah (ie torah shebaal peh) to understand the pesukim throughout TaNaCh.

besula- a virgin
beula- a woman who is not a virgin (but also practically any woman who does not have blood that a virgin has, which can be any girl over the age of 12, although not necessarily)
Kiddushim and Airusin- betrothal, which is done nowadays under the chuppah, except in certain yerushalmi communities.
Nisuin- is technically bringing her into your home. An act is not required according to pretty much everyone. The Rambam says that yichud is the nisuin, whereas everyone else says chuppah is.
Arusa- someone who is betrothed. not married yet. she accepted kiddushin but has not accepted nisuin.

As for an arusa getting a kesubah, that depends on the community. (if im not mistaken it a takanas chachomim) Which is why many people have the custom for a groom to give his bride presents during their engagements as some form of kesubah for airusin.

As for boggling the mind, yes while logically it may not make sense, but it is learned from a gezeiras hakasuv (from on of the 13 ways the torah is darshaned) and not all of them make sense 'logically'

Chana said...

Actually, let me correct that- the Maharitz Chijes he pointed me to is in Makos 7a where it says that a Sanhedrin that kills once in 7 years is 'katlanis.' And it's crazy fascinating. Huzzah.

Chana said...

(For anyone else who is fascinated by the fact that the skullcap people wear on their heads is actually a torture's the mishna/ gemara from Sanhedrin 81b.)

דף פא, ב משנה ההורג נפש שלא בעדים מכניסין אותו לכיפה ומאכילין אותו (ישעיהו ל) לחם צר ומים לחץ:

דף פא, ב גמרא מנא ידעינן אמר רב בעדות מיוחדת ושמואל אמר שלא בהתראה ורב חסדא אמר אבימי כגון דאיתכחוש בבדיקות ולא איתכחוש בחקירות כדתנן מעשה ובדק בן זכאי בעוקצי תאנים: ומאכילין אותו לחם צר ומים לחץ: מאי שנא הכא דקתני נותנין לו לחם צר ומים לחץ ומאי שנא התם דקתני מאכילין אותו שעורין עד שכריסו מתבקעת אמר רב ששת אידי ואידי נותנין לו לחם צר ומים לחץ עד שיוקטן מעיינו והדר מאכילין אותו שעורין עד שכריסו מתבקעת:

See it all here.

I think this is so co-oo-o-o-ol. *insert chant* Why wasn't I born a boy, a boy, a boy, a boy...

Daniel P said...

They may use the kipah if there was aidus. There is a Ran in Droshas HaRan on Parshas Shoftim who says that aside from the system of beis din which was limited in its ability to punish, there would also be a legal system directed by the king or other authority who would have the ability to punish criminals without the halachic restrictions; for otherwise there would be anarchy.

What difference is it that you are a girl. Take a Gemara and learn. I already sent you an essay I wrote about women learning.

harry-er than them all said...

a kipa is a covering.
A dome, a headcovering, and in your case a prison, all share the same word "kipa"

I bet you the english word cap (as in a head covering) came from the same origin

inkstainedhands said...

Chana, according to R. Eliezer ben Azaryah, a Beit Din is considered bloody if it kills once in 70 years, which is even more mind-boggling, especially when you look at it from the perspective of today's world. The conditions were just very strict for putting a person to death, even if he committed a horrible crime -- you need 2 witnesses and a warning, and the Beit Din cannot accept circumstantial evidence, etc.

Take for example the story brought down in Sanhedrin 37 of a man who saw someone chasing down another person into the forest and then saw him standing over the dead body, holding a bloody sword. And yet, this man could not bring the murderer to Beit Din even though it was obvious that he committed the crime, since he was only one witness, and technically, there was only circumstantial evidence.

Chana said...


O', I'm not saying there is any halakhic reason I wouldn't be able to learn. I'm saying I would need a teacher to teach me! If you're volunteering to fly to America to undertake that, then sure... ;)

Shades of Gray said...

"There are many other examples...One can be in an indeterminate status (think physics)"

One way of explaining this is summarized in the shiur on the topic below:

"The ma'aseh develops gradually. It begins right away, however is considered to be complete only on the thirtieth day."

Anonymous said...

Daniel P is on the right track, but the drashot haran is only confirming the power of the king to maintain civil society, in fact many hold that the later beit din's power to make property hefker, or enforce extrs-judicial punishments flows from the power of the king (i.e. once there was no king, someone had to do it).

"The ma'aseh develops gradually. It begins right away, however is considered to be complete only on the thirtieth day." -yes but that doesn't tell us whether the cat is dead in the meantime (Schroeder - the physicist)

Joel Rich

Anonymous said...

Chana - we all at some time wonder why we weren't born a boy because of the learning. Just you wait until (iy"H) your baby is up all Friday night, finally falls to sleep at 6 AM and you get to sleep later than your hubby who has to scedaddle off to minyan. It only multiplied with more kids. You will be thanking your lucky stars that you can daven later on beyehcidus. As for the intellectual stuff - so go learn (Tanach can be intellectual as well as it would be pretty hard to make up all the missed time and jump right into Gemarah)- or do what I did and go to law school :)

Chana said...

Anon 4:43,

Hey, hey- R' Akiva started learning when he was 40. I'm 21. I could still do it if I had a teacher. As for the baby and suchlike, I understand what you're saying regarding the whole package and suchlike and I wouldn't really want to be a boy (as my friend pointed out, most boys don't wear glitter or sparkly tiaras) but in terms of what they learn in yeshiva...hell, yeah.

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 4:43.

Sparkly tiaras and a brain - oh boy we would have been good friends if we were contemporaries (alas, I am probably like 10-15 years older than you! and anyways have no time for friends anymore).

Chana said...

Anon 4:54,

And since when is age a barrier to friendship? Though having no time, I understand...

That should be the new motto: Sparkly Tiaras and a Brain! Come join the 'Alas, I Am A Lass' Club!

The Other friend said...

To Inkstainedhands-
Take for example the story brought down in Sanhedrin 37...

That is a separate sugya known as "umdena."

Based on the aforementioned Maharatz Chayos, the beis din may be allowed to kill the person through kipa, but not through the misas beis din that fits the crime.

Anonymous said...

The important thing to remember about kipa is that it is "self inflicted"

Anonymous said...

Hey peeps! Why don't we all just check the gemara and commentaries that speaks directly about Dovid and Uriah (which actually caused this blogpost to happen)?

Kesubos Daf Tes Umed Bais (9b)

(I think over there we were pointed to Sotah Daf 27b, but I may be mistaken.)


Shades of Gray said...

"but in terms of what they learn in yeshiva..."

It does come with a price; girls schools, because they don't have the same aspiration in terms of producing a talmid chacham have room for extracurricular activities, which can develop other parts of a student.

Now a person may say, "I'll take Gemera over playwrights and drama club any day", but a yeshiva kid who hates basketball may prefer some of what they offer in frum girls schools(of course one can try to have the best of both worlds and spice up a curriculum or, individually, find hobbies).

This is also illustrated in the end of this JA article by Toby Katz who writes "I only wish there were an equivalent magazine for boys...", though in truth, I don't see why there couldn't be some type of magazine, and plenty would be interested in creative writing.

Anonymous said...

BTW Chana another classic case is found in ketuvot 33 where if one hits another and the hitee is in bed and hasn't gotten up yet, they hold the hitter pending whether the hitee is able to walk again, if not , they kill hitter.

What is the hitter's halachic status as they wait?

Joel Rich

Tobie said...

Meh, I have no patience for this "why aren't I a boy" jazz. There are plenty of institutions in America and in Israel where you can get a pretty awesome Talmudic education, starting from just about any level, as well as any number of online resources, books, etc. I find it difficult to believe that there is nothing on the internet or in the NY metropolitan area that can give you what you're looking for. If you are choosing not to pursue those paths, fine, but don't blame it on your gender.

And there is something about the "alas I am a lass" mantra that really, really just bugs me, from a feminist perspective.

Chana said...

Tobie, dear, it's not the same as getting the opportunity to learn at Gush or see BMG or otherwise check out all the many institutions from the Haredi & Modox worlds. You don't get the opportunity to sit in on lectures and shiurim from the YU Roshei Yeshiva and form connections with those rabbanim. Sure, the actual learning is possible through, say, Drisha or suchlike but it's simply not the same as what I would like to be doing, so yeah...I would like to be a boy and get to take advantage of all those opportunities. As for your not liking it due to your feminist perspective, that's fine- I have never claimed to be a feminist.

Anonymous said...

Sure, the actual learning is possible through, say, Drisha or suchlike but it's simply not the same as what I would like to be doing, so yeah...I would like to be a boy and get to take advantage of all those opportunities.
My impression is there is little give and take in most shiurim so you can go to YUTORAH and hear the shiur yomi and get the same experience.
Joel Rich

S. said...

"could they do this barley-eating experiment instead?"

Just to be clear, there was nothing experimental about it; I don't think anybody ever got out of there alive. This was just the method used to kill somebody while still technically keeping their hands clean.

Unknown said...

im ur age and this "alas" stuff happened to me a while ago

i wonder where it ran to hide ;)

a tiara and a brain!



Tobie said...

Chana: there's stuff out there. Drisha is not bad, there are other institutions, you can even take some decent classes in the Talmud department at Bar Ilan, all open to women. There are shiurim that you can listen to online, you can find a chavruta, you can download source sheets from vbm, you can open up a talmud and just plunge the heck in...there are a million and one ways of finding constructive solutions to your problems instead of indulging in useless counterfactuals.

I would also point out that there a number of seminaries (Migdal Oz pops into my mind, as it shares Gush staff, but it's not the only one) that offer learning opportunities. Deciding not to attend one was your decision, and was motivated by more than simply gender.

I say this as a girl who was taught no Talmud until one day, she sat down with her sister and little brother (similarly inexperienced) and bowled their way through until something made sense and then took all of the (few) Talmud classes her seminary offered. I wish that there had been more, but that was a result of the seminary I chose and cannot be blamed on gender but rather on my personal decisions.

If you really want to live like a boy, you can stop attending grad school and go attend a school of higher Judaic learning. Drisha, Nishmat, whatever you like.

And the reason that I dislike the "alas, I am a lass" nonsense is because it implicitly accepts that being a lass is a legitimate reason to be barred from all sorts of fun stuff and I simply don't buy that. Some things are, indeed, impossible, but there are a lot fewer of those than we tend to accept.

Sorry if I'm grouchy, it's pretty late here.

Anonymous said...

Tobbie,being grouchy is not an excuse for being a mussarnik.

Chana said...


You're talking specifically about the learning while I am talking about an experience. Thus, we're not going to agree. Sure, girls can learn Gemara if they find the right forum. That doesn't mean they can learn at YC or the Mir or BMG or any of those places- places which I think it would be fascinating to experience. Whereas you are talking about actual knowledge, I am talking about the experience of being a boy, of attending Skokie or Tels or Witz, etc. So you're right- I agree with you- girls can learn the same material; however (obviously) they can't learn in the same places.

Honestly, I don't quite understand why my desire to spend some time in the other gender's shoes is so irritating to you. I never suggested girls don't have the mind to learn; they just don't have the same experience. And I've always been intrigued by the experience.

Nor do I think I am 'blaming' things on my gender; I am simply stating a fact- a boy can learn in the Mir, in Brisk, Tels, Witz, Philly, Skokie, etc- a girl can't.

Holy Hyrax said...

to inkstainedhands and anon145-
the gemara explicitly says that david hamelech did NOT sin. when he says chatasi he meant it on his level it would be considered wrong, but as for an actual sin, he did not. this is the importance of not just reading the pesukim at surface value, but having a mesorah (ie torah shebaal peh) to understand the pesukim throughout TaNaCh.

I never realized there was a torah shebaal peh for the stories of Nach. I think the authors of Nach were very explicit and for a purpose. The punishment David got was for his uncouth way of dealing with Uriah (as some commentators would like to believe) but because of that union, hence the child dies.

Anonymous said...

omg tobie, happy belated b-day, didn't realize it was u. u share chanas b-day, how weird is that.

Tobie said...

Chana: Okay, I will grant you that the experience is different and that certain doors are closed by virtue of being female. I was reacting to the original quote boy, am I jealous of you yeshiva guys. You learn such fascinating things! and saying that such fascination was in your grasp as well.

Also, there are female places that can approach the yeshiva atmosphere, including Migdal Oz and Brovender's, from what I have heard, in terms of long hours and intensity and all that. I do think there should be more yeshivot for girls instead of all these seminaries, since the experiences are completely different, but the market forces should handle that in time.

Thirdly, I am not entirely sure that if you were a boy, you would be having all of these experiences. You wouldn't go learn at Mir for real, although I grant that you might pop into their Beit Midrash and you are missing that. But many yeshiva experiences are not the right thing for you, regardless of your gender, based solely on your personality and hashkafa.

Fourthly, if "alas, I am a lass" means nothing more than "I wish I could experience all those things that are reserved for boys and all things reserved for girls by society as it currently exists", then I apologize for my irritation and suppose I don't really object to that. It sounded to me like a more sweeping acceptance of gender roles, but again, it may have been the hour and the grumpiness.

Mike S. said...

Many have addressed the issue of l'mafreya, and I needn't add to that portion of the conversation. (Accept to point out that Tosefot in Gittin addresses the issue explicitly in the discussion of hafk'at kiddushin.)

The statement that anyone who says David sinned is in error is quoted by the Gemara Shabbat in the name of R. Shmuel bar Nachmani. The contrary opinion is voiced by R. Yehuda in the name of Rav in Brachot (IIRC), and there it determines halacha (namely that the 14th bracha of Shemona Esrei is Bonei Yerushalim and not Elokei David u'vonei Yerushalyim) So we shouldn't assume that the drash we all learned as kids is the whole story.

Also perhaps of interest is the opinion of R. Yehuda Henkin (in the drashot after B'nei Banim IV) that Shmuel b. Nachmani is not claiming that the one who says David sinned is making a factual error, but is making a pedagogical error.

PoMaflah said...

Tobie, thank you! I love to learn and I am not letting anyone take that away from me ever. By the way, everyone should check out for some really cool stuff on similar topics. I was in the Beit Midrash program and I love the Center for Modern Torah Leadership!!!