Thursday, May 31, 2018

Cohen forbidden to marry a divorcee - Emor

The Torah forbids a Cohen, or a “priest” (1) to marry a divorcee (2). The explanation of this prohibition is that the role of the Cohen in worship requires him to be holy.  

This law disturbs me. I'm concerned that something negative is implied about divorced women. The assumption seems to be that, if a Cohen marries a divorcee, this would detract from his holiness. I will not “solve” this riddle in this blog. As a Jew, the discussion itself and questions, in general, have value irrespective of the answers.  

I posted a question about this issue on Facebook. More than 120 comments were posted in response. One Jewish woman asked why “no responsibility for the breakdown of a marriage is placed on the man”? And if there was an equivalent law about divorced men? A Muslim woman agreed. She wrote that “in many cultures ...we have this issue of the blame being on the woman too and divorce being such a taboo topic...that people are forced to stay together to not bring shame on the family”.

There are several approaches to explaining this law, written several centuries ago.

1. Blame: "...a woman, being divorced, will already show that a matter of disgrace was found in her, [so] it is not fitting that a Cohen should marry someone who was not fitting to be a wife [for her first husband], because he [the Cohen] is holy to his God” (3). The assumption is that “the husband did not divorce her out of the wickedness of his heart…” (4). So, it must be that the divorce was in response to a significant moral failure on her part (5).

This 14th and 15th century approach does not take into account the reality, we all know today, that divorce is often not the result of a woman’s shortcomings. Although circumstances were different at that time in terms of male dominance, Judaism has long recognised other valid grounds for divorce. One example given is “if she burned his cooking” (6). This trivial example makes the point that the specifics of the complaints couples have about each other, are unimportant. According to the Torah, the main reason for divorce is because there is hatred between the couple (7). Another valid reason given for divorce is if a wife finds her husband repulsive (8). Abuse and various other failings on the part of the husband are also grounds for divorce (9). Based on both factual and textual evidence, the blame approach is problematic.

2. Blemish: Another approach sees the marriage partner’s virginity as important for the Cohen. Just as the Torah forbids a Cohen with physical imperfections to serve in the temple, it seeks “perfection” in his spouse (10). Needless to say, this approach does not sit well with the modern reader, including the writer of this blog. Surely, a woman’s worth is determined by her personal qualities far more than her virginity! And a man’s “completeness” surely relates more to his own spiritual achievements and shortcomings than the qualities of “his woman”.  

There is also a textual problem with this approach. The Torah states that only the chief Cohen, the Cohen Gadol, is forbidden to marry a widow, but places no such requirement on an ordinary Cohen (11). Jewish law also allows a Cohen to marry a woman who engaged in sex, despite not being married (12).  Clearly, marrying a virgin is not a precondition to serving as a Cohen.

3. Bedroom thoughts: A third approach centres on thoughts during sexual intimacy. Jewish tradition strongly disapproves of a couple being physically intimate with each other while their thoughts are about other people or sexual partners (13). This concern is part of a broader insistence of a union of hearts and souls during intercourse (14). Jewish law recommends that sex is to be “with the desire of both partners and their joy” (15). Overall, the physical sexual experience is deemed worthy and positive if there is a corresponding strong and pure spiritual union.   
Concern is expressed that a divorced woman is at risk of thinking about her past partner during intimacy with her current partner. This concern does not take into account the degree of probability that this will occur. (16). This thinking is linked to the law forbidding the marriage between a divorcee and a Cohen, who is meant to strive for perfection17).

This explanation might be more plausible if it applied equally to a divorced male Cohen and his possible thoughts about a former partner. I also feel uncomfortable with this explanation because it suggests that only divorced partners have this type of thought; yet our tradition acknowledges that anyone might have their thoughts wander during sex to think about someone they “saw on the road” (18).

4. Perception: For me, a more palatable approach is to locate the problem not within the divorced woman, but in the assumed perceptions of the community (19). With this approach, there is concern that people might respect the Cohen less because his wife has been divorced. A similar explanation is used for not allowing a Cohen with a physical “blemish” to serve in the temple (20). In fact, based on the problem being one of perception, a dispensation is given in the following circumstances: if the community is familiar with a particular Cohen who is blind in one eye, their familiarity with this Cohen would permit him to perform the priestly blessings because they are unlikely to be distracted by his condition (21). If we apply this “perception” approach here, we eliminate any disparaging implications about divorcees and explain this law as a practical concession to flawed superficial human perspectives.

Regardless of the approach one takes, the burden of all this holiness falls on women rather than men. This imbalance is partly corrected by the prophet Malachi’s scathing critique (22) of male Cohanim (plural of Cohen) who opportunistically abandoned their first wives in favour of the perhaps more exotic, idol-worshipping women they encountered.

The prophet thunders thus:

And now, O priests, this charge is for you...The Torah of truth was in his mouth, And he turned many away from sin… But you have turned away from that course...And I, in turn, have made you despicable and vile in the eyes of all the people… and this second thing you have done, You cover the altar of the Lord with tears, weeping, and moaning... But you ask, “Because of what?” Because the Lord is a witness between you and the wife of your youth with whom you have broken faith, though she is your partner and covenanted spouse...let no one break faith with the wife of his youth. ...For I detest divorce—said the LORD, not act treacherously.

Perhaps more interesting than all the text is the lived experienced of a modern day Cohen, let’s call him Abe, who is married to a wonderful woman, who had been divorced prior to their marriage.

Abe told me that he and his now-wife “were faced with a moral dilemma: he could continue to remain unmarried in the new relationship, which would not impact on his standing as a Cohen; or he could remarry, thereby honouring the relationship and those closest to them who believed in the sanctity of marriage. If he proceeded to marry her, Abe faced losing Cohen privileges. He had particularly enjoyed blessing the community as a Cohen.  

After consultations with various Rabbis, they decided to remarry. Unable to do so through an Orthodox ceremony, they did so through Reform.

Nevertheless, Abe has continued to be an active member of the Orthodox Synagogue. Although he disobeyed the commandment not to marry a divorcee, he feels accepted and comfortable over there. Looking back, though, he clearly misses not being able to “bless the people of Israel with love” during the ”Blessing of the Priests” ceremony. At the same time, he feels grateful for his loving, married relationship and thriving, blended family.
Abe does not feel resentful. He accepts that the dignity of the office of the Cohen needs to be preserved, even though he personally has chosen to prioritise the dignity of his wife and family.   

Abe’s choice is not condoned by the law. Sadly, he is paying a price for his choice, and I am sure this was not easy for his wife, either. In the end, I am left with the question: why does it need to be so?  

1.   The word Cohen is often translated as a priest. A Cohen is a descendant of Aaron, the brother of Moses. In the times that the temple stood in Jerusalem, they had a key role in offering sacrifices. Today, the main role of the Cohen is to bless the community.
2.   Leviticus 21:7
3.   Ralbag (1288-1344, France) on Leviticus 21:7, כבר יורה היותה גרושה שנמצא בה דבר גנות ואין ראוי שיקח הכהן לאשה מי שלא היתה ראויה לאשה: כי קדוש הוא לאלהיו. ולזה אין ראוי שיקח אלו הנשים אשר הם בזה האופן מהגנות:  See Gittin 90b which would seem to support the Ralbag’s approach.
4.   Abarbanel (1437-1580) on Leviticus 21:7, he creatively suggests that the phrase “he is holy to his God” can be applied to the ex-husband, who (for some unexplained reason) is assumed to have been holy and motivated in his decision to divorce his wife by religious puritanism because of her immoral conduct.    
5.   This approach is influenced by the first scenario of divorce given in Deuteronomy 24:1-3. “1. When a man takes a wife and is intimate with her, and it happens that she does not find favor in his eyes because he discovers in her an unseemly [moral] matter, and he writes for her a bill of divorce and places it into her hand, and sends her away from his house, 2. And she leaves his house and goes and marries another man, 3. If the latter husband hates her and writes her a bill of divorce, and places it into her hand and sends her away from his house…”  See various opinions and interpretations in the Talmud Gittin 90a and 90b that emphasise the woman being at fault as being the reason for a divorce.
6.   Talmud Gittin 90a and 90b
7.   Beis Shmuel on Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 119:3, while the language is quite male-centric, the key principle is that strife between the couple is the primary factor in consideration whether divorce is appropriate.
9.   Maimonides Yad Hachazakah, Hilchos Ishut, 14:8
10.                     Zohar, Raya Mehemna, on Emor, p.89b and 90a, on the verse “and he, a virgin”.
11.                     Leviticus 21:7 and 21:14
12.                     Shulchan Aruch Even Ezer 6:8
13.                     Talmud Nedarim 20b, midrash Tanchuma Naso 7
15.                     Maimonides, Yat Hachazaka, Deot, 5:4
16.                     Talmud Pesachim 112a and b, Talmud Moed Katan 23a, Tosafot starting with Ad.
17.                     Radvaz, in Taamei Hamitzvot, כבר ידעת כי המחשבה עיקר גדול בזיווג ואשה גרושה דעתה על אחריםSefer Hachinuch mitzva 272, and 273
18.                     Midrash Tanchuma, Naso 7b.
19.                     Sefer Hachinuch Mitzva?
20.                     Abarbanel on Emor,
21.                     Maimonides, Yad Hachazakah, book of Love, Laws of Prayers and Lifting the Hands 15:2, see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 128.
22.                     Malachi 2

Friday, March 16, 2018

Bar Mitzvah speech to my son on becoming a restrained man

This morning you are celebrating your entering into the status of being a commanded man. Young men today can get the wrong idea of what it means to be a man, and particularly a Chabad man. It is less about dominance and more about restraint.

To be a man, some might think is about being loud and beating your chest. To  dominate. To bend others to your will. To get what you want. This is wrong.

Our sages taught: who is a strong person? One who conquers his evil inclination! (1) To control oneself is at the core of being an adult, man or woman. Having celebrated International Women’s day this past week, in this post #metoo age, it is a good time for men to remind ourselves that our task is to be humble and respectful of others’ needs, wants and rights. We need to focus our dominating to our own base inclinations.

There is also a misconception about what it means to be a Chabad man. The modern Chabad man seems to be an action figure. Unstoppable energy and frenetic activity. The chabad man will put teffilin (ritual prayer boxes) on every man, feed cholent (a sabbath food) to every lost Jew and acquire big buildings in every corner of the planet. This is not untrue, but it is not the most important part of being a chabad man.

You read for us from the Torah. Almost all of the reading was about activity - building a house for God (2). But the first part of the portion is not about doing anything at all. In fact, it is about the opposite. It is about not doing forbidden work on the Sabbath (3).

Why the digression? Surely, ‘since the temple symbolised God’s presence among the nation, its construction should take precedence over resting on the Sabbath. Surely, action seems a much more eloquent witness of faith than merely the absence of work’. Clearly, this argument is repudiated in God’s command in the midst of the discussion about the temple work that the Sabbath rest must be observed (4). Instead of saying  “don’t just sit there, do something”, say “don’t just do something, sit there!”. To be a Jewish man requires time spent thinking, meditating, reflecting and being still.

A story is told about two Hasidim who sat down to do a “Farbrengen”. They poured some vodka into their two cups. They sat silently together for a long time during the night. They didn’t need to say anything, they knew each other thoughts. After a few hours, they poured the untouched vodka back into the bottle. This story is closer to the true meaning of being a Hasid than running around, which is a necessary and temporary distraction from the inner life of the Hasid.

However, the spirit one brings to the activity is important as well. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks highlights links between the creation story and the building of the temple in our reading.  The book of Genesis begins with God creating the universe as a home for humankind. The book of Exodus ends with human beings, the Israelites, creating the Sanctuary as a home for God.

Sacks links both creation processes with the concept of Tzimtum, literally contraction, but also self-restraint. The Jewish mystics were troubled by the question: If God exists, how can the universe exist? At every point in time and space, the Infinite God should crowd out the finite. Nothing physical or material should be able to survive for even a moment in the presence of the pure, absolute Being of God.

Tzimtzum is the solution to this problem. For the universe to exist, God hid Himself and limited His presence in the world. That created space for the world, and for us.

This self-restraint needs to be reciprocated by humans. The making of the temple required the people to make space for God in our world and lives. It is in the space vacated by us that God’s presence can be felt in our midst. We engage in self-limitation every time we set aside our devices (pun intended) and desires in order to act on the basis of God’s will, not our own.

Sacks continues: So, for six days a week God makes space for us to be creative. On the seventh day, the holy Sabbath, we make space for God. There are secular places where we pursue our own purposes. And there are holy places where we open ourselves, fully and without reserve, to God’s purposes.

The highest achievement is not self-expression but self-limitation: making space for something other and different from us. Great parents make space for their children. Great teachers make space for their pupils. They are there when needed, but they don’t dominate. They practice tzimtzum, self-limitation, so that others have the space to grow.

So Levi, as a young Jewish man of the Chabad tribe, of the Kastel- Eichel- Stark-Blau clans, as a member of the Chabad House and your school communities, and as a resident and citizen of the great laid back land of Australia, go forth, and do what the Lord demands of you: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk in a low-key way with your God (5). Good on ya cobber. We are all so proud of you. Mazal Tov.

  1. Pirkey Avot
  2. Sidra Vayakhel Pekudei Exodus 35-40
  3. Exodus 35:2-3
  4. Abarbanel in Leibovitz, N, Studies in the Weekly Sidra. Exodus.
  5. Micah

Friday, February 9, 2018

Essentializing (Yitro)

I’ve recently had a few experiences related to the practice of essentializing, which have touched me. Essentializing a racial or religious group, in the context of this discussion, involves two main aspects: firstly, seeing a group as being defined by certain characteristics and, second, thinking of cultures or religious communities in either/or terms (1). 

Last Monday I felt enraged by the petulant, defiant expression on the face of the young man who gave a gun to a fifteen year old boy to murder the Sydney police accountant, Curtis Cheng. The accused man refused to stand before the judge hearing his case. The young man in the photo is holding up one finger. I understood this to symbolize his view that he is on the team of the one God while the rest of humankind is the evil undeserving “them”. I was furious.

One of the spiritual masters of my faith taught people to look within when feeling outraged. He argued that anger about others’ faults is actually a reaction to seeing something ugly reflected in the other, that we are trying to deny in ourselves (2). This explanation is not accurate in this case as I have very little in common with this young man.  However, I still reflected on my reaction to this incident. I think that it stirred me up because it forced me to confront residual essentialising tendencies I was not aware of.

Of course, I understand that the evil behaviour of an individual does not represent the nature of 1.6 billion Muslim people. I also know that even the complimentary phrase that “Muslims or Jews are good people” is a generalisation. Research found that even complimentary comments (based on being part of a group) can be experienced as being expected to conform to a stereotype rather than being seen as an individual (Czopp 2008) (3). Despite this knowledge, this image rankled me. I realise that, although I reject the essentialist stance, it still has some residual place in my thoughts. This made me feel ashamed, which then probably triggered my anger. 

The themes of essentialism and shame also came up for me in a movie parable, Zootopia, that I watched this week. The hero is a liberal, little rabbit named Judy Hopps, who becomes a police officer. The setting is a world in which a lion works in the same office as a lamb. Yet, all is not well in la-la land. The minority of animals that used to be predators, face discrimination and suspicion from the “prey” majority. When a few predatorial animals revert to being aggressive animals, Judy explains it based on biology. Judy's friend, the fox, is hurt and feels betrayed by Judy, who, herself, feels ashamed.

As a viewer, the premise of the Zootopia message can be inferred to be ‘that, like animals, humans of certain groups, eg Arabs or blacks, might have a different and savage DNA, but we can all be whatever we want to be, so let's get along’. I feel offended in solidarity with my fellow humans who are not like wild animals and should not be essentialized by implication (4). On the other hand, I think it invites the viewer to examine whether we too have a bit of Juddy Hopps’ fear lingering in our psyche.

The third confronting moment was reading commentaries on the Torah reading of the week. First, let me give the context. A convert to Judaism (5), named Jethro, was told about the punishments that God inflicted on the wicked Egyptian slave-masters of the Israelites, and the salvation of the Israelites (6). While Jethro gave thanks for the relief enjoyed by the Israelites, he didn’t show much enthusiasm about the punishments (7). The Talmud suggests that Jethro was pained by the suffering of the Egyptians because he felt empathy with them, despite his strong identification with the Israelites and their triumph. It advises people not to denigrate an Aramean (or non-Jewish people in general) in front of a convert up to 10 generations (8).

Jethro’s complex set of sympathies and the advice of the Talmud about sensitivity are interpreted darkly as evidence of his ‘non-Jewish nature’. It is linked to the assassination of Gedlia Ben Achikam, a Jewish governor of the holy land, in ancient times, by a descendant of a convert, and a caution against trusting the descendants of converts even after 10 or 24 generations! (9).

The essentialising of people of non-Jewish ancestry by attributing violent tendencies to their genealogy, is deeply troubling. Fortunately, there is an alternative more positive interpretation of the Talmud’s statement about 10 generations. Instead of a message of mistrust, it is taken as a lesson in compassion. With this approach, the 10 generations is not about the ancestry of the convert, who might be the audience of a derogatory remark, but about the target of the remark (the Arameans). It provides guidance about a situation like that of the Egyptians, where a nation has engaged in evil acts such as enslaving people, but it has not lasted 10 generations. In that case, we must not rejoice in their punishments as “their measure of evil is not full”. God, Himself, is also saddened by the punishment of people not entrenched in multi-generational evil. We should be, too (10).

The tendency to essentialise people as this or that, is a strong and harmful one. We need to be alert to it and seek alternative ways of thinking about people when these kinds of thoughts arise. No matter what our background is, we all have positive and negative qualities, and we should each be judged on our individual merit.      

1)     Armstrong, J, (2003)  Power and prejudice: Some definitions for discussion and analysis Jan Armstrong, University of New Mexico (3/24/03)  “Essentializing means attributing natural, essential characteristics to members of specific culturally defined (gender, age, ethnic, "racial", socioeconomic, linguistic...) groups. When we essentialize others, we assume that individual differences can be explained by inherent, biological, "natural" characteristics shared by members of a group. Essentializing results in thinking, speaking and acting in ways that promote stereotypical and inaccurate interpretations of individual differences. For example, feminists note that people essentialize women when they assume that girls and women are naturally emotional (versus rational), nurturant, docile, weak, vain, dependent (and so on). Essentialist thinking is often anchored in dualistic (two-category, either this - or that) modes of thought. Classic and contemporary social theorists identify and challenge essentialist and dualistic ways of thinking about the social world (...civilized/barbaric; masculine/feminine; intelligent/not intelligent; rich/poor; white/non-white...psychological/cultural...)”.
2)     Toldos Yaakov Yosef, in an interpretation of the teaching of the Baal Shem Tov.
3)       Czopp A.M. (2008) When is a compliment not a compliment? Evaluating expressions of positive stereotypes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 44 (2008) 413-420.
4)     Matt Zoller Seitz, gives a fuller expression of my concern at
5)     Talmud, Sanhedrin 94a
6)     Exodus 18:8-9
7)     Alshich, and Torah Temima on Exodus
8)     Sanhedrin 94a
9)     Jeremiah 41:1-2
10)  Radak on Jeremiah 41:1, Rabbenu Tam, cited in Torah Shlaima on Exodus
11)  Maskil Ldovid, R. David Pardo, on Exodus 18:8-9  in Otzar Meforshei Rashi

Friday, December 22, 2017

Shades of Contrition Regarding Betrayal of Young People Miketz

But we are guilty regarding our brother, that we saw his distress when he pleaded with us but we didn't listen…” (1). These words were read in Australian synagogues last Saturday, just one day after the release of a report - from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse - about the betrayal of children (2). These words of contrition were spoken by the brothers of a defenceless young person who had been cruelly betrayed by them. The brothers of the Biblical Joseph had stripped him of his striped tunic, violently thrown him into a pit with snakes and scorpions (3), and then sold him into slavery (4). Both - the Biblical brothers of Joseph and religious leaders in our time - have offered apologies. However, contrition can be tricky to get right. In this post I explore the remorse of Joseph’s brothers and the implications for today.

As I read the Torah reading last week, I was struck by an apparent reversal of the brothers’ admission of guilt. Only seven verses after they accepted responsibility and linked their troubles with their crime, they seem to abdicate responsibility (5). The brothers found money in the bags of grain that they had bought from Egypt and assumed the money was planted there as part of a plot to accuse them of theft. They cry out “what has God done to us?!” This phrase is interpreted as them asking why God is punishing them “for no fault of their own” (6).  
The stark contrast between the contrition the brothers expressed and their complaint is discussed by various commentators (7). Some of these offer some technical, “very labored” (8) answers, giving reasons why the brothers felt they did not deserve any further punishment  after their ordeal in Egypt (9). Alternatively, the brothers thought that the main blame lay with the two key perpetrators, rather than those who had supported their deeds (10). For me, there are also simpler, more obvious implications of their cry, which relate to the difficulty of sincere and sustained contrition.  

A clear critique of the brothers’ complaint, quoted in the Talmud (11), was articulated by a young boy. He was an orphan and a nephew of the leading sage of that period, Rabbi Yochanan.“[The boy’s uncle] Rabbi Yocḥanan found the young son of [his brother in law] Reish Lakish, when he was sitting and reciting the verse: “The foolishness of Man perverts his way, and his heart frets against the Lord” (12).  The child told his uncle that the complaint of Joseph’s brothers when they asked “...What is this that God has done to us?” exemplifies the proverb that when one sins and encounters troubles, they often foolishly question why it is happening to them - despite their obvious guilt (13).  

It's hard for religious leaders to acknowledge the failures of our heroes. One of the men I most admired since I came to Australia, a leading Rabbi, was implicated in the royal Commission process as having failed to protect children. Similarly, in the Talmudic story, the senior religious leader appeared displeased with his young nephew’s critique of the iconic sons of Jacob. In contrast to the sages who praised the brother's contrition (14), this child drew attention to the weakness of their repentance. The senior sage Rabbi Yochanan “raised his eyes and stared at the boy. At this point, the boy’s mother came and took him away” to protect him from his uncle's “gaze”.

Some earlier attempts at apology (by representatives of the institutions where sexual abuse occurred) were described by Mr Manny Waks - a survivor of sexual abuse and campaigner on this issue - as “so qualified in its terms that he found it to be insulting” (15). Rabbi Moshe Gutnick was also less than impressed, making the comment that it was an “apology perfectly timed only a few days before the Royal Commission in order to maximise the PR effect”. He added, “and how did that make victims feel? They knew it was empty, they knew it wasn’t real…” (16).  

Last week the representative body of Orthodox Jewish clergy in Australia and New Zealand (RCANZ) issued an emphatic expression of contrition for the way we - collectively - responded to the betrayal of children and youth in terms of sexual abuse. It stated that “ The findings [of the royal commission] ... in relation to the failures of the rabbinic leadership of Yeshiva Sydney and Melbourne, must shake us to the core… We can make no excuses and any apology we may make at this time must not be mere platitude.  ...We must truly absorb the horror, that the Royal Commission has found, that instead of being protectors of the weak and innocent, Rabbis were directly responsible for the sexual abuse that occurred to children. There can be no greater shame, and no greater admonition to all of us, than that failure…. We of the RCANZ have resolved to do everything we can so that the light we generate dispels once and for all, the darkness that is the abuse of children and the abuse of survivors” (17).   I pray that this time the contrition is deep and enduring, and results in ensuring no child is ever betrayed by Jewish Australian religious institutions again.

We dare not backpedal on our confession, that indeed ‘we are guilty regarding our brothers [and sisters], that we saw their distress when they pleaded with us but we didn't listen…’

  1. Genesis 42:21
  2. Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
  3. Talmud Shabbat 22a, cited in Rashi on Genesis 37:24
  4. Genesis 37:23-28
  5. Genesis 42:28
  6. Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel on Genesis 42:28,
     “וּנְפַק מַנְדַע לִבְּהוֹן וְתַוְהוּ גְבַר לְאָחוּהִי לְמֵימַר מַה דָא עָבַד יְיָ וְלָא בְּחוֹבָא דִילָנָא:”
  7. Maharsha, on Talmud Taanis 9a, Maharshal in Yeriot Shlomo and Tzeda Lderech on 42:28
  8. Torah Temima on 42:28 writes about the Maharsha טרח מאד
  9. Maharshah on Taanit 9a, Seforno and Tzeda Lderech on 42:28
  10. Maharshal/Yeriot Shlomo on 42:28
  11. Talmud Taanit 9a
  12. Proverbs 19:3
  13. Maharshah on Taanit 9a,
  14. Midrash Hagadol on 42:21 cited in Torah Shlaima, p. 1583, 77, Rabbenu Bchaya p. 341, Mosad Rav Kook Edition.
  15., p 195 (in the printed version, p. 205 in the online pdf version).
  16., p 195
  17. Statement of the Rabbinical Council of Australia and New Zealand