Volume 10 Number 76
                       Produced: Wed Dec 22  0:35:50 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Asarah B'Tevet (2)
         [Aryeh Blaut, Isaac Balbin]
Chanuka Brachot
         [Aryeh Blaut]
Pain and Suicide
         [Steve Roth]
Pierced Earlobes
         [Danny Skaist]
Saving Karaite lives on Shabbat
         [Mike Gerver]
Saving lives on Shabbos
         [Bruce Krulwich]
Saving non-Jews on Shabbat
         [Joel Goldberg]
         [Lawton Cooper]
Suicide, Assisted and Otherwise
         [David Charlap]


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 10:24:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Asarah B'Tevet

>>From: <jdwise@...> (Josh Wise)
>>	The only changes in Mincha, are the omissions of Aveinu Malkenu
>>and Tachanun. The Torah reading and Haftorah are read as on any other
>>fast day.

Would these changes be the same if we were davening Minha G'dola?

Aryeh Blaut

From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 20:30:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Asarah B'Tevet

  | From: <jdwise@...> (Josh Wise)

  | 	According to the Ezras Torah luach (calender of holidays and
  | laws pertaining to them), the fast ends at tzeit cochavim (when the
  | stars come out) like any other fast. This doesn't come into conflict
  | with Shabbos because most shuls don't finish davening until after
  | "tzeit," moreover, under normal circumstances one shouldn't make kiddush
  | before "tzeit" anyway.
  | 	The only changes in Mincha, are the omissions of Aveinu Malkenu
  | and Tachanun. The Torah reading and Haftorah are read as on any other
  | fast day.

It most certainly does potentially `interfere' with Shabbos. The Gemora
discusses the problem of someone fasting and being in a state of
`Me-oone' (affliction) at the time that Shabbos comes in. This happens
before Tzeis Hcochovim.  The Gemora concludes `Misanin U'Mashlimim' We
fast AND complete the fast.  Tosfos over there comments that this means
you MAY complete the fast.  There are Rishonim, therefore, that hold
that if one wants to one might daven Mincha, eat something and come to
Maariv. The Ri is quoted in the Mordechai as being another who did this.

Now, you might say, well it isn't all that bad because it is a short
fast.  Hold on there. In Australia it is a long fast such that one would
leave shule after Maariv on Friday night at around 9:30pm.

The question would then arise whether one could rely on those rishonim
in the unique situation of a long fast as in Australia (or NZ for that
matter).  I believe that Rav Ovadya discusses this (not the Australia
question) in Yechave Daas and concludes that one should fast all the
way.  I have heard that Rav Henkin gave such a Psak also.

I also heard that the Rov Z"TL quoted his grandfather Reb Chaim Z"TL
that if we would be Mekadesh the months al pi re-iya then if Asoro
B'Teves turned out on Shabbos we WOULD fast. He answers the question of
Inui on Shabbos by saying that someone who fasts because of a succession
of dreams is ALSO permitted to fast on Shabbos and that is because it is
an Oneg for that person to fast given that the fast will achieve
something.  The Inui would be NOT to fast.


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 93 04:19:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Chanuka Brachot

>Two possible, purely speculative and uneducated answers:
>1.  Hannukah is different from all other mitzvot in that it's principle
>foundation is "pirsumei nisa" [to "publish" the miracle].  Now, one might
>think that "pirsumei nisa" is achieved better "berov am."  But perhaps the
>Rabbis felt that it would be better achieved with a maximum proliferation
>of mitzvot and brachot, with a maximum number of people lighting a maximum
>number of candles and blessing God "who made miracles for our ancestors ."
>2.  The customs of Hannukah (dreidel, gelt) are often explained as issues
>of hinukh, education (at least Kitov explains it that way).  Perhaps the
>same reason applies here.  And if we require children to light for hinukh,
>then how can we not suggest that all adults light?

I liked your first answer.  Regarding your second answer:  If your going 
to go as far as to say the reason is for hinukh (to light Hanuka 
candles), then we could say that about any of the other mitzvos like 
Shabbos candles, kiddush, etc.

Aryeh Blaut


From: <rot8@...> (Steve Roth)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93 11:57:04 CST
Subject: Pain and Suicide

In MJ 68, Zev Farkas writes:
>What are the halachic views of suicide in the case of patients with
>intractable pain?  Is it comparable to the case of one who anticipates
>being tortured?

A person is not master over his body, i.e., suicide (R'L) is not
permissible, so I am not sure where the question is. Further, we have
methods for alleviating, or at least, decreasing "intractable pain." But
maybe I've missed something here.
Steve Roth, MD; Anesthesia & Critical Care; Univ of Chicago
312-702-3535 (FAX)


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 93 04:19:14 -0500
Subject: Pierced Earlobes

>Robert A. Book
>Shmot/Exodus 21:6 and Devarim/Deuteronomy 15:16-17 deal with the case of
>a slave who, after completing his six years of service, declines his

>Daniel Faigin
>It [Contemporary American Reform Responsa, #76] begins by noting that
>the piercing of the earlobe is mentioned in the Torah (Ex 21.6; Tosefta

I have posted this before, but nobody seemed to notice.

The torah calls for piercing the "Cartilage" of the ear and not the lobe.
Piercing the lobe is not a mum for a kohen, a hole in the cartilage is a
mum. Therefore a kohen is exempted from Exodus 21:6.



From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1993 2:05:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Saving Karaite lives on Shabbat

As a minor point in his long posting on the issue of saving the lives of
non-Jews on Shabbat, in v10n67, Alan Zaitchik mentions some discussion,
in the Chochmat Shlomo and other sources, on the rationale for
permitting the violation of Shabbat in order to save the lives of
Karaites. Since Karaites are Jews (albeit Jews who do not properly
observe halacha), why does the question even come up? Why should it be
any different from violating Shabbat in order to save a rabbanite Jew?

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 19:08:20 -0500
Subject: Saving lives on Shabbos

I think that the recent discussion about saving lives on Shabbos misses
the point of the _purpose_ and _meaning_ of discussions in the Gemorah.
What follows is my own understanding of the issues:

The whole issue here is in the realm of d'Oraisa [Torah] law, not
d'Rabbanan [Rabbinic] law.  The difference is that in the d'Rabbanan
realm the Gemorah discusses the reasons for gzeiras, etc, but in the
d'Oraisa realm it discusses (primarily) the _sources_ that we have for
the laws.  Yes, the Gemorah has discussions about HaShem's reasons and
the like, but 99% of discussions of Torah law is regarding the _sources_
of our d'Oraisa laws.

The question (I claim) that the Gemorah is addressing in the discussions
on saving lives on Shabbos is NOT what the reasons are for our being
permitted to save lives on Shabbos, but rather what the basis is for our
saying that we are allowed to do so d'Oraisa.  There are a number of
possible answers to this question: explicit scriptual reference,
reasoning (svara), tradition of implication (drosha), and pure tradition
(l'Moshe miSinai).  When we say that we can save non-Jewish lives
because of "mishum eiva" (avoiding hatred), etc, we're saying that we
(that is, the sages) have a tradition that G-d uses the avoidance of
hatred as a way of telling us how to act m'd'Oraisa.  The point isn't
His reasons, but rather that we know by tradition that we can save
non-Jewish lives on Shabbos, and G-d has told us this implicitly in
telling us that He wants us to avoid hatred.  If we didn't know that
avoiding hatred was a basis for deriving Torah law, we wouldn't have
another basis for the law of saving non-Jews on Shabbos.

I think, therefore, that being bothered by this is missing the point.
Laws have sources, and they have reasons, and they have philosophies,
etc.  Confusing them all leads to big problems (IMVHO) in understanding
Torah.  Maybe we'd like the source to be the concern for all life
overriding all, and in fact maybe that's one of G-d's reasons, but it's
not the legal basis for the law that he gave us.  It seems to me that
this is only "bothersome" if we equate legal basis with philosophical

My time is short, but I hope that this has been clear.

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich


From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 93 05:29:57 -0500
Subject: Saving non-Jews on Shabbat

 Subject: More on Shabbat and Saving Lives
 Alan Zaitchik <ZAITCHIK@...> wrote:
> What does all this come to ? It comes to this. The *REASONING* of the
> halacha on this issue seems diametrically opposed to what people of good
> will expect of one another in our society.
   Moreover, it perfectly justifies exclusion of Jews from general
   society. As one cannot rely on a Jew to behave according to the
   most basic standards of human decency, (the "reasonable man" and
   "the man on the Clapham bus" are legal formulations of this) it
   makes perfect sense to restrict their participation in society.
>                                               Concern for another's
> "eivah" is a limited form of prudent self-interest, and although prudent
> self-interest is certainly an *extra* incentive to overcome an
> individual's laziness, indifference, or selfishness, is falls woefully
> short of brotherhood (excuse the gender) and human solidarity. We expect
> these values to guide our relations, at least as ideal goals.
  This gets back to an earlier discussion on agendas. Just perhaps Chazal
  and the acharonim weren't motivated by a "pure halachic dialectic," but
  also were somewhat bothered by letting a non-Jew bleed to death on shabbat.

  As we were finishing Aleinu this past shabbat, I heard a dog yelping
  in pain. It made me wonder about leaving an animal in pain on shabbat,
  too. Alan's question (deleted) could be asked about that too--would
  you just walk on by?


From: Lawton_Cooper%<NIHHFED1.BITNET@...> (Lawton Cooper)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 93  10:15:08 EST
Subject: Suicide

Zev Farkas asks in Vol. 10 #68 about suicide, assisted or otherwise in
the case of intractable pain, and whether it can be compared to one who
anticipates being tortured.  To my knowledge there is never a Heter
(leniency) in Halacha for suicide in the case of intractable pain,
assisted or otherwise.  I am including the most extreme cases, notably
pain from terminal cancer, where the person most likely has limited time
(weeks to months) left in this world, not to mention people who have
severe pain from non-terminal conditions such as arthritis.

In the case of someone who may die within 72 hours, the special status
of a Gosess (GO-sess, one who is about to die) is accorded, and such a
person may not even be touched, except to relieve discomfort and provide
treatment that might save his/her life.  The reason is that we're afraid
we may do something to actively (albeit inadvertantly) bring on the
person's demise, G-d forbid, sooner than G-d intended.

The difference from one who is about to be tortured or killed seems
obvious, since the latter is brought about by another person (I'll steer
clear of any philosophical arguments about what is Divine Will).

Self or assisted suicide because of intractable pain or other suffering
brought on by disease (we should all be spared) is one area where
Halacha is uncompromising, and if current trends in this country
continue (notwithstanding the opposition to obvious murderers such as
Jack Kevorkian), the chasm between us and them in this area will become
even wider.


From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 93 22:30:56 -0500
Subject: Suicide, Assisted and Otherwise

Zev Farkas <farkas@...> writes:
>What are the halachic views of suicide in the case of patients with
>intractable pain?  Is it comparable to the case of one who anticipates
>being tortured?

I believe the halacha is that you are not permitted to hasten someone's
death, but you are allowed to remove artificial means of sustaining
life beyond its normal span.

I remember learning that you may not kill an old man who is about to
die, but if there is some loud noise that is keeping him from drifting
off into "the final sleep", then you can take action to stop the noise
and allow him to die on his own.


End of Volume 10 Issue 76