Volume 10 Number 42
                       Produced: Sun Dec  5 13:29:38 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Berochos: Eclipse of the Moon
         [Jack A. Abramoff]
Censorship and Revisionism
         [Marc Shapiro]
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Mipnei Eiva
         [Eric Schramm]
Pierced ears
         [Elliot Hershkowitz]
Saving a non-Jew on Shabbat
         [Zvi Basser]
Tefillin at Work (3)
         [Arthur Roth, Robert J. Tanenbaum, Zev Farkas]
What's the Jewish response to Santa online
         [Avi Hyman]


From: Jack A. Abramoff <71544.2433@...>
Date: 30 Nov 93 13:32:53 EST
Subject: Berochos: Eclipse of the Moon

Regarding the query of Miss Bloch (Vol 10, number 33) as to whether
there is a brocho appropriate for viewing the eclipse of the moon, the
following might apply.  Unlike the rainbow, which is a sigh of Hashem's
covenant with the Jewish people, Chazal (the Rabbis) have indicated that
an eclipse of the moon is a bad omen for the Jews.  This is brought down
in the Mechilta to Parshas Bo (second chapter) as well as in the Talmud,
tractate Sukah 29a.  The Gemorah (talmud) cites four reasons for an
eclipse: 1) people engaging in forgery, 2) bearing false witness, 3) the
breeding of small cattle in Eretz Yisroel (the land of Israel) and 4)
the cutting down of fruit trees.  The reason the eclipse of the moon (as
opposed to the sun, the eclipse of which is considered a bad omen for
the non-Jews) is considered a bad omen for us is that we are compared to
the moon: just as the moon reigns as queen during the day and the night,
so the Jews have reign in this world and the world to come (this is
brought in the Medrash Bereishis Rabbah 6:2).  It would seem that the
brocho appropriate for the viewing of the moon, then, would be something
similar to that which is said at the hearing of bad tiddings (perhaps
"Blessed art Thou Hashem...Dayan HaEmes -- the True Judge); although I
have not seen this anywhere.

Jack Abramoff


From: Marc Shapiro <mshapiro@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 08:29:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Censorship and Revisionism

There are literally thousands of examples of censorship and they
continue to our own day. However, even R. Kook's students are guilty.
See the latest issue of Judaism for an article by Tamar Ross in which
she quotes a radical passage from R. Kook which was censored in the
book's reprint.  There are even editions of the Mishnah Berurah which
have been tampered with. In the book Or li-Netivati by R. Zvi Kook his
students removed a reference to Tolstoy "alav hashalom". I have been
told to censor the letters of R. Jehiel Weinberg which I will be
publishing. Of course I refused.
						Marc Shapiro


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 93 13:14:14 -0500
Subject: Eiva

Alan Zaitchik is bothered by the reasoning allowing sabbath desecration to
save the lives of gentiles.

I too have been bothered by the idea that "eiva" and not "darkei shalom"
was taken as the mechanism for allowing the saving of a gentile's life on
shabbat.  There are a few point which I have thought of regarding this:

1. Though not the most philosophically satisfying, "eiva" gets the job
done, and that is really what counts.  This is important because

2. "darkei shalom" is probably not "strong" enough as a halachic concept
to permit sabbath desecration ("eiva, on the other hand, falls into the
category of pikuach nefesh), which indicates that

3. the seriousness of sabbath desecration is far more extreme than we
think.  I think that in general, we underestimate the "seriousness" of
shabbat.  To me, it is highly significant that it is not pashut that one
can be mechalel shabbat to save the life of even a Jew -- there is a
special limud needed to deduce this fact.  And what is the reason given?
-- so that person will be able to observe more shabbatot!  It is almost
as if the center of the ethic here is not the human life at stake, but
rather the sabbath itself.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Eric Schramm <eschramm@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 20:53:48 EST
Subject: Mipnei Eiva

When R. Moshe Tendler last spoke here, on the subject of brain-stem
death and transplants, he was asked about transplants from Jews to
non-Jews. He dodged the question, but after the Q&A, when pressed, he
cited Chasam Sofer shin-lamed-tet (339). This may, perhaps, be applied
to the issue of Hillul Shabbos and non-Jews as well. As anecdotal proof,
he gave a story from R.  Moshe Feinstein (his father-in-law), who came
from a small town with only one doctor, a Jew. He said that if the
doctor had not attended to the medical needs of the non-Jewish residents
(implying that the issue of Shabbos might have prevented him), mipnei
eiva, there would not have been *any* Jews left in the town.

Eric Schramm


From: <eeh@...> (Elliot Hershkowitz)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 1993 09:44:20 -0500
Subject: Pierced ears

My daughter asked our LOR about having her ears pierced since it is not
absolutely necessary, does draw blood and can leave a scar.

The answer she received was that while we probably shouldn't continue
the practice we couldn't declare all of the people who had done this to
have been "sinners."

Since I hadn't seen this in the other posts, I thought I'd send it in.



From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 08:51:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Saving a non-Jew on Shabbat

The only reason jews can put saving life ahead of most mitzvot is
because they are commanded "vehai" bahem. A ben noah has no such
mitzvah. One is allowed to do something which otherwise carries a death
penalty with it to preserve a life which will keep other mitzvot. Do you
save a jew who disgraces shabbat on the idea that maybe he will someday
keep it -- hard to see it. No mishum evah here-- it is not an easy thing
to permit hillul shabbat even to save a life of a Jew and the Talmud has
much trouble justifyinh it even for a Jew. And yes halacha has a pecking
order of who is worth more-- if you only have so much money who do you
support first, the rambam lists the order at the end of his hilchot
matanot aniyim. One might note that in Sefer ha makkabim the hassidim
wouldnt fight on shabbat even though they would die by not doing it--
halevi suggests this is because it was time of religious persecution and
they wanted to show thye couldnt be coreced into breaking shabbat. There
are some things more important than life apparently and the greatness in
hazal is that they found mechanisms to do everything they knew was
proper, even if if those categories seem unecumenical to us. The results
are the right results. The justifications are categories they had to
work with, and they did great things with the tools-- we would not be
able to duplicate their power to permit things today in many cases. Lets
applaud what they did and realise that today it would be more difficult
to accomplish what they did had they not done it. Mishum evah and darkei
shalom are catgories of tremendous courage to permit an otherwise hillul
desecration of shabbat. They managed to lift an infinitely heavy weight
with a thin straw that you really need good eyesight to see in the first

zvi basser


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 93 12:58:05 -0600
Subject: Tefillin at Work

    Let me emphasize the usual understanding that nothing said in MJ
should be used for practical psak, and that Jack Reimer should consult
his LOR before adopting any leniencies regarding tefillin.  Keeping this
in mind, here are some possible "solutions" to his problem from an
intellectual perspective.
    There have been a number of rulings that allow davening (and
tefillin) at earlier hours than would otherwise be permissible if one
must get to work.  I'm not sure how early this extends to, but a
competent LOR should have this information readily available.  Even if
this doesn't help all year long, Jack may well be able to daven BEFORE
going to work for a larger portion of the year than that for which he is
now doing so.
    If Jack's problem could be made easier by wearing his tefillin for a
shorter period of time, the mitzvah of tefillin can be fulfilled by
simply putting them on with the required brachot, reciting the Shema,
and then removing them immediately.  This will not shorten davening time
(in fact, it will lengthen it by the amount of time needed to recite the
extra Shema), but perhaps Jack feels that davening at work would look
less awkward without the tefillin.
    Additionally, the following two possibilities are inappropriate for
routine planning but better b'sheat hadechak (in a time of pressing
need) than not using the tefillin at all.  Since the brachot are
rabbinic, skipping them and saying just the Shema would suffice to
fulfill the mitzvah of tefillin, which is a Torah commandment.  This
would be a violation of the rabbinic requirement to say the brachot as
well, but it would not invalidate the mitzvah of tefillin in any way.
Also, the mitzvah of tefillin applies all during the daylight hours.  It
should in practice never be postponed past the latest time to say the
Shema, in view of the famous Gemara to the effect that anyone who says
the morning Shema without tefillin is like testifying falsely upon
himself.  Nevertheless, if the afternoon (or in Jack's case, his lunch
hour) has arrived and tefillin have not yet been put on, there is still
an obligation to do so.

From: <btanenb@...> (Robert J. Tanenbaum)
Date: Wed, 1 Dec 93 10:14:15 EST
Subject: Re: Tefillin at Work

Reb Moshe Feinstein (Z'Tz'L) has a very elegant tshuva discussing the
question of putting on Tfillen when one has to go to work before light.
He concludes after much discussion that one should put on the tfillen
while it is still dark -- i.e. while it is still night, but after
awakening for the day.  I recommend that everyone look this up -- it is
in Igeros Moshe - Aruch Chaim since it reaches a different conclusion
than would seem obvious.

You can then do the davening later at work.  I have found that I can
stand and daven even with other people around and nobody seems to take

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (212)450-5735
email: <btanenb@...>

From: Zev Farkas <farkas@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 93 11:15:29 -0500
Subject: Tefillin at Work

Very often, buildings have infrequently used spaces, if you know where
to look.  possibilities include tops and bottoms of stairways, and, if
security is a little sloppy, machinery rooms, such as elevator, heating,
air-conditioning, electrical, etc.  (of course, such places may be
problematic for prayer and tefillin due to sanitary conditions or noise
- at one AT&T facility i used to daven mincha in a turbogenerator room -
always keeping a pair of earmuffs handy in case the machinery kicked
on... :)     ).

there may be such facilities as conference rooms or auditoriums that you
could use when they are not otherwise engaged.  if there are other
religious people around, ask what they do.  you may be able to find
someone with a private office who is sympathetic.

very often, mainframe computers and other special equipment are in their
own little rooms (just beware of the a/c, which is usually set for
housing penguins.)

large military installations may have a jewish chapel, or you might
check with the chaplain's office for other possibilities.

Zev Farkas, PE                                :)
<farkas@...>       718 829 5278


From: <Avi_J._Hyman@...> (Avi Hyman)
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 93 23:06:14 -0500
Subject: What's the Jewish response to Santa online

I recently saw this item on the net:

We're Santa's Elves and we need your help to get ready for a wired
Christmas.  On December 12, children on the Internet will be able to
send their messages to <santa@...> and he'll send back an
authentic Christmas greeting.  The mail address for Santa Claus will
stay valid until December 31.

As Halachik Jews living in a modern world, what would be our response?
Do we counter with a Chanukah Hotline to answer questions from Jewish
kids about our holiday? Do we set up the Rebbe with an email account to
send Chanukah greetings? Or, as usual do we ignore the world and hope
assimilation doesn't creep up on us?

How many of you let your kids have 'free' access to the net anyway? Do
you believe in creating some kind of checking mechanism to see what they
are doing or bringing into the home via email is halachikly acceptable?


End of Volume 10 Issue 42