Individual Postings 1st appeared(& were copied in html form) on the Email List Mail Jewish

From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 8 Jul 1997 20:07:40 -0400 Subject: Mikvah and Respect for Couples I would like to second Rachel Shamah's recent statement about the need to be careful in extending unnecessarily the time when women can go to Mikvah. Neither Rachel nor I are asking that anyone abrogate any halachah. But we are asking that no chumrah's be "created" unless they are already there. Rachel already brought up the theoretical point that such unnecessary extensions may lead the couple to sin or breaking up. I should also point out that even if it doesn't go that far it may lead to fights and unnecessary bickering and affect their friends and children. But to emphasize Rachel's point that lives can be ruined I would like to cite 3 stories (one Biblical). * Rabbi Manus Friedman recently told of a couple that started crying when they heard about the marital separation laws. When he inquired he found out that their (orthodox) Rabbi double crossed them--they asked for a completely orthodox wedding and the Rabbi did not advise them about the laws of family purity. When Rabbi Friedman asked this Rabbi why he responded "I didn't think they were the type". * G-d is known as merciful and just and as not punishing children for parents sin. It is therefore a sign of great wrath when G-d curses a family and all its descendants for the acts of the parents. One of the few such cases in the Bible is the "Sons of Eli" incident: Sam 1 2:22-3:19 The Bible relates that for monetary selfish reasons they pushed up the times of sacrifices (so they could have their share) which resulted in women sinning with their husbands (exactly Rachel's concern). The Biblew accounts as if they themselves had slept with them (Sam 1 2:22--emphasis on the "nun" of yishcuvoon)--and they and all their descendants were punished! * In a related sphere (Rabbis inteferring with peoples economic vs marital life thru Chumrahs) I recently heard in the city I reside in, a Rabbi get up at a public gathering and "confess" to misusing the laws of intruding on ones neighbor's boundaries to prevent someone from setting up a competing grocery store or pizza place in his part of town because another congregant of his already had such an establishment (The Rabbi refused to give Hashgachah for the Kashruth). As a result the second congregant (Who had just moved in) had to declare bankruptcy (The Rabbi said he is never going to intefer with peoples personal economic lives again). I think these stories are sufficient to show that real harm is being done to people thru unnecessary chumrahs by Rabbis who don't think of the consequences of what they do. I would personally like to see a few Mail Jewish issues devoted to similar stories. Perhaps those Rabbis who abstainfrom such practices can tell us how they have avoided it. Russell Jay Hendel; RHendel @ Mcs . Drexel . edu