Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Correspondence with the Rivevos Ephraim II

In the postcard above, from 12 Tammuz 5740, the Rivevos Ephraim asks me my opinion of the halacha of where to light candles if a husband is eating in a sukkah and the wife inside the house. (My response is lost to posterity...).

He then writes about whether a male lifeguard can guard a pool in which women are swimming.

In the letter above, from 23 Tammuz 5740, Rabbi Greenblatt responds to the following questions:

1. The status on Shabbos of an urn with a glass pipe that shows the water level.
2. Is there a problem reading by the light of a candle on Shabbos when there is an electric light in close proximity?
3-4. Here he responds briefly to a discourses that I wrote him on the German custom of waiting three hours between meat and milk and on shelichus l'akum.
5. Here he responds to the question of when kol pasuk d'lo paskei Moshe anan lo paskinan.

He ends by asking me my opinion as to a person who ate half a kezayis of HaMotzi and half a kezayis  of Mezonos, what brachah does he make afterwards?


  1. Just the other day a young woman called me from New York asking if she can attend an exercise class in a women's gym where a male instructor occasionally gives the class. Putting aside the stupidity of the proprietor, I told her that it's not assur but she has to decide whether it is a pirtza in her standards of Tzniyus. While Uman tarud svara by an exercise instructor is pretty weak, the reality is that in that type of place, exercise clothes are not pritzusdik and there are many other women, so there's no personal contact, sort of like kol where several are singing. I now think that I must have been out of my mind, which is a circular criticism. What would you say?

  2. If she herself dresses tzniyus'dik i don't think it's her problem. She signed up to be taught by a woman, right?

  3. if someone wants to ask a shailah about it, seems clear what the answer is. The svara of "uman b'umnoso tarid" really has no application to a lifeguard. His whole umnos IS to look at the people swimming.

  4. Problem is that they girls don't dress with tzniyus. They wear pants and short sleeves.

    DF, I don't understand what you mean. Are you saying that a male physician cannot examine a woman because they will be examining them? I thought Tarud meant that their preoccupation with their professional obligations created an asexual environment.

  5. See Rav Abadi's tshuvah regarding whether one may accept the job of being a photographer of Women dancing at a chasunah.

  6. Barzilai, to clarify my point - other occupations are involved with actually doing something. By contrast, the lifeguard is doing nothing at all more than looking. His whole job is to look. If a woman were to experience difficulty breathing, then he would be engaged in something, at which point the svara of umon b'umnoso torid would kick in [as well as other factors depending on the severity of the matzav.]

    There are other points to consider as well, including the obvious point that at the beach the women are mainly undressed, and in such a way as to be sexually provocative. Big difference from other settings such as, eg., a doctors office.