Mixed Gender Functions

[Hat tip MD]

Recently, a question was asked of the Charedi Leumi Posek, Rav Aviner, about a 50 year reunion of a group of couples who had been part of a youth group 50 years prior. They would be attending, were frum, all with their wives, and the idea was that they would recollect memories and have an enjoyable evening. The question asked to him was

Is such a reunion permitted according to Halacha

I guess the mere fact that they asked Rav Aviner the question before going ahead with their reunion is testament to their frumkeit and fidelity to Halacha. Those who are not so beholden to their Rabbi, would not even ask a question.

At any rate, Rav Aviner’s answer was

“חלילה. זו מכבסת מילים לפעילות מעורבת. זה איסור חמור גם אם אלו יראי שמים. ולצערנו יש פעמים רבות פעילות המשך

In other words, definitely not permitted and is a serious halachic infraction even if the participants are frum! Rav Aviner opines that unfortunately, there are sometimes serious outcomes from such events.

In other words, age makes no difference, and one would assume, a fortiori, that this would be forbidden for younger couples. I won’t extrapolate to mixed tables of singles at a wedding who are looking for Shidduchim. Rav Aviner may have the same opinion as R’ Aron Soltoveitchik that this isn’t just permitted but desirable. It is dangerous to extrapolate in Halacha.

Upon hearing of this Psak, respected Rav Amnon Bazak (whose writings I am acquainted with and if I am not mistaken he may have visited Melbourne) of Har Etzyon, disagreed with Rav Aviner on three grounds.

  1. The attitude of the Rishonim and Acharonim on issues such as this, was and is tightly connected with the practices in such communities. In other words, if it was common place for men and women to meet, then Poskim such as the Bach, opined that it is permitted (if you want to read more about this examine the issue of whether to say שהשמחה במעונו at a mixed Sheva Brachos. If my memory serves me correctly, the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch is Machmir and says no). The point of Rav Bazak was that this is something which may well change from community to community. I wouldn’t expect this to happen in Satmar, or Belz, where the women aren’t even allowed to drive cars, of course.
  2. If one wants to say “those who are stringent will get a blessing”, this leaves is a sour taste because the idea that they get a blessing on account of people who really are not doing anything wrong according to plain Halacha.
  3. What’s the point in putting out words like ‘absolutely forbidden’ when this happens all the time, at tables, which involve Chachomim and Roshei Yeshivah at their meals?

There is also the question of when you have two long tables at a Sheva Brachos one with men and the other with women without a Mechitza. Some will still say this is “mixed” other will not, even according to those who argue with the Bach.

Mori V’Rabbi, R’ Hershel Schachter relates that R’ Moshe Feinstein ז’ל and R’ Yaakov Kaminetzy ז’ל  and others made weddings and there were mixed tables. He does however caution that times have changed somewhat to those days. He doesn’t use Rav Bazak’s arguments but notes that

  1. Women tend not to wear the ornate thick dresses that they wore in yesteryear, and sometimes, perhaps too often, are on the boundary of Tzniyus with flimsy clothing which leaves little to the imagination
  2. The music in those days was much slower and it was rare to find a women or man return to the table shvitzing with all that comes from that phenomenon and fine cloth.

Accordingly, he suggests caution at weddings.

Your views? I believe this is societal and something according to הרגלם and will change from group to group to the extent that a blanket opinion is elusive and probably not advised.

There is a lot of “Ess Past Nisht” and I’m not arguing. I’m just quoting and adding to this article

בענין סתירת הרמבם שלא יתערבו או שלא יסתכלו זה את זה,  כבר דשו ביה רבים

The latest chumra for Shidduchim

[Hat tip to my ex-room mate at Kerem B’Yavneh]

There will be other developments, no doubt, which include an opaque perspex divider when these seats become part of the norm in parks and gardens. There will also be super bus terminals built around this design in certain neighbourhoods, where the Yetzer Hora is too powerful. I’d insert a smiley in this post, except that it might be misplaced.

The Shidduch Bench (c)

A novel approach to shadchanus

On Wednesday nights, the Rav ז’ל used to give a Chumash Shiur. How did this Shiur originate? R’ Ari Kahn relates that one evening the Rav looked around his apartment and asked his Shamoshim (an entourage who assisted the Rav with his needs) why they were there: didn’t they have families, and if they didn’t why weren’t they looking. Some of the Shamoshim responded that life was not easy. They didn’t feel at ease interacting with the Shadchanim industry; equally, they were loath to “hang out” in the front of the Stern College for Women as if they were “on the prowl”.

The Rav responded that he would begin a Shiur for both young ladies and young men. He, the Rav, would make sure that the young ladies would attend; he’d leave the rest up to them. With that, the new Shiur commenced.

Of course, the right-wing would only see a “mixed” Shiur, so to speak, and condemn.

Are you comfortable with these segulos projects?

See this.

I just can’t feel comfortable with this. Wouldn’t it be nice to establish a free shadchan network where the shadchanim had psychology and counselling degrees and were always at arm’s length both personally and financially from those seeking the service? Utopian? Perhaps. Would it serve many communities better than the circus that this seems to have become? I think so.

Surely it’s about putting people in touch with each other, with somewhat confidence that they aren’t polar opposites and tick some boxes of compatibility.

from Frumsatire

I’m dreaming again.

New York – Why Arranged Marriages Go the Distance — VosIzNeias.com

New York – Why Arranged Marriages Go the Distance — VosIzNeias.com.

I read articles like this and feel that I’m left with more questions than answers.

  1. Are people from arranged marriages more or less likely to admit that they are ‘more‘ in love? One is greater than zero, and two is twice 1.
  2. Have the arranged marriage respondents been divided amongst the Misnagdic American types (who have some sort of secular education/exposure) and the Chassidic American types who can barely write coherent English? Do we expect the latter to be happier in their marriages than the former? Israelis are another category altogether as the Misnagdic types have less secular education than their American co-religionists.
  3. Is it about the marriage being arranged that is the issue here or is it about the type of person who agrees to an arranged marriage that is the subject of this study! Do they have different expectations and happiness levels?
  4. Do the authors of this study believe that if you took centrist orthodox types and created arranged marriages for them, that they would be happier 10 years after marriage as opposed to if they mutually decided on marriage themselves?
  5. Have the authors differentiated between types of arranged marriage. There are those who use an arrangement simply for a meeting or two or three. Either the boy or the girl can pull out of the arrangement freely whenever they wish without stigma. There are others for whom an arranged marriage means one meeting, at most two meetings, and rarely if ever do they turn down the proposal.

Admittedly, I have not seen the so called “science” behind this sociological study, but I am willing to lay odds that such studies are unscientific and cannot be used to conclude anything.

The one who solely uses arranged marriages will read this and say

“I’m so glad I follow (my) Gedolim. They are right about everything. This is the only way to plan marriage and חדש אסור מן התורה”

The one who doesn’t specify whether arranged or non arranged is the “right” way will say

“Ho hum, another bit of Charedi propaganda. How shallow are these people.”

What say you?

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