Volume 11 Number 65
                       Produced: Sun Feb  6 17:13:18 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Choshen Question?
         [Bobby Fogel]
Codes (an alternate)
         [Mordechai Steve Seidman]
importing cars to Israel
         [Elchanan Rappaport]
Mormon genealogical software
         [Mike Gerver]
Mormon software
         [Robert Israel]
Rav Goren's Psak on Refusal to Serve
         [Yisrael Medad]
Talking & Teaching
         [Aryeh Blaut]


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 1994 21:10:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Bullies

Although this is, thank G-d, not a serious problem for me anymore,  when I
was a kid, I never knew how to deal with the type of bully who would sock
you, and, as you wound up for a retaliatory punch, would give you "hasraah"
(halachic warning) on the issur of nekamah (prohibition of revenge). 
Anyone on the list care to discuss PRACTICAL techniques to teach a kid for
dealing with such situations?


From: <bobby@...> (Bobby Fogel)
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 17:55:38 +0000
Subject: Choshen Question?

A collegue of mine is doing a research project on understanding the
Choshen.  He is a mineralogist so is trying to understand the Choshen
from that aspect.  However, he rightly concluded that one needs to
understand as much about the religious and historical phenomenon of the
Choshen, if he is to put the rest of what he has learnt into a proper
context! Thus he is up against the following problems:

In his Antiquities of the Jews authored circa 93 C.E., Josephus states
that the (Choshen Misphat)..."left off shining two hundred years before
I composed this book."  Presumably, this would correspond to the days of
John Hyrcanus of the Maccabees.

First Question:

I thought that the Choshen was lost with the destruction of Bayis
Reeshone in 586 B.C.E.?  According to Talmud Bavli, the Bayis Shayni
five items present in the First Bays Ha'Mikdash, one of which was the

Yet, How do we understand Josephus?  He is a valid source of historical
information and has been used by others, including reshonim to
illucidate matters of historical importance to Jewery (According to
Aryeh Kaplan, I also know that Ibn Ezra has a commentary on Josephus!)
Has anyone else commented on the length of time the Choshen existed?
Did any other Gedoliim comment on this question?

Second Question:

It seems to me that if Josephus is correct, two possible fates for the Choshen 
can be postulated:

        A)    There was only ever one Choshen and it was lost with the
                fall of Bayis Rishone

        B)    The Choshen was not destroyed in 586 B.C.E.  However,
                its oracular powers were no longer operational.  It was
                finally lost forever when the Second Temple was sacked in
                70 C.E.

        C)     A second Choshen was made circa 516 B.C.E and lasted to the 
                destruction of the Second Bays Ha'Mikdash.

What other scenarios are possible?

Question Three:

Does anyone know of a quotation from Josephus that he saw the Chosehn
being carried off to Rome in 70 C.E.?

Question Four:

Josephus claims to have had access to Masoretic texts dating back to the time
 of Nechemiah (circa 430 B.C.E). Have any of the chazal confirmed that Torahs
 of such antiquity were preserved in the Bayis Shayni at the time of its

ANY HELP WOULD BE APPRECIATED. ANYone out there in MJ land have 
ideas, thoughts?


From: <srs3@...> (Mordechai Steve Seidman)
Date: Tue, 1 Feb 1994 22:41:53 -0500
Subject: Codes (an alternate)

Someone said that instead of critisizing the Torah Codes used by
Discovery to interest people in Judaism that they should suggest
alternate lectures.  The idea being not critisize since that would
divide 'klal Yisrael'

Well I have tremendous opposition to the codes (but wasn't able to
post it on this group) so instead I will suggest alternates; because
after I hear one of the code lectures I don't think I have learned
anything about Judaism.

[Mordechai and I are still in discussion over his posting. Mod.]

Since Hebrew is Lashon Kodesh why not give a lecture on Hebrew grammar.
What is the mysticsim behind the vav-consecutive? poetic uses of verb
tenses? the shape of the letters?  perhaps a bit of gematria from a
poetic point of view.  Perhaps these won't give such a gee whiz lecture;
and won't give the illusion that God has been 'proved' but at least the
audience will inadvertently learn a bit more about Torah.  Just teach
Torah, and let the Torah do the work... and you can save a lot of
computer time!

mordechai steve seidman


From: <ELCHANAN@...> (Elchanan Rappaport)
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 94 21:49:14 IDT
Subject: importing cars to Israel

I was wondering if any mj'ers had any recent experience in importing
 a new car into the Israel from Europe.

Elchanan Rappaport


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 1994 1:57:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Mormon genealogical software

In v11n46, Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank say:

> I thought that the halacha was perfectly clear to the effect that a Jew
> can derive no benefit from any implement that has been used for avodah
> zarah.

and thus express surprise I was told it was permissible to purchase
genealogical software from the Mormons, who use such software to keep
track of their family trees, as part of their religion. I can see two
possible reasons why it might be permissible to purchase such software:

1) The Mormon religion is not avodah zarah, or at least their keeping
track of their family trees is not avodah zarah.

2) Software is not an "implement".

I suppose I could just ask my rabbi what his reasoning was, but before doing
that, I would like to have some fun pursuing the second possibility, which
is the more interesting one.

Most people, and especially most people who subscribe to mail-jewish, think
of software as a physical thing, like a tree or a horse, which would be
prohibited to benefit from, if it had been used for avodah zarah. But is
software really a "kli" [implement?] in this sense? The floppy disk that
the Mormons send me was never used before, and it was manufactured primarily
for sale to the general public, not for use by Mormons. When we say that
the Mormons use the same software as part of their religion, we do not
mean that they use the same physical object, but that they use another
physical object (floppy disk) which was made according to the same design
or recipe as the one they sold me. Does that make my floppy disk an
implement of avodah zarah?

I think the answer is no. An analogous situation might be non-Jews in
Roman times who bred cattle. Just because some of these cattle were used
for sacrifice to Zeus does not mean that it was prohibited for Jews to
buy other cattle from them, of the same breed (assuming that they didn't
dedicate all of their cattle to Zeus when they were born). Or suppose
they made wine, and used some of it for avodah zarah, while selling the
rest of it on the open market. The wine used for avodah zarah would be
"yayin nesach", prohibited by Torah law. The other wine would only be
prohibited by rabbinic decree because it was made by non-Jews, but would
not be prohibited as avodah zarah, even if it were made from the same 
recipe as the wine used for avodah zarah (again, assuming it was not
dedicated to Zeus as part of the manufacturing process).

Needless to say, none of this discussion should be used to draw conclusions
about practical halacha, consult your LOR.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 94 04:49:29 -0500
Subject: Re:  Mormon software

In vol. 11 #46, Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank write:

>                                           I thought that
> the halakha was perfectly clear to the effect that a Jew can derive no
> benefit from any implement that has been used for avodah zarah. 
>                            See Avodah Zarah 49b, and throw the Mormon
> software into the Yam ha-melach (Salt Sea).

Are you saying I can't use Word if somebody else in the world is writing a 
book of avodah zarah using Word?  Surely, in the case of software, the 
prohibition would be limited to somebody using the same copy of the software 
for avodah zarah.  If I buy a pot, I don't have to worry that somebody is 
using a similar pot for avodah zarah, as long as it's not this particular
pot!  When I buy software, there's no reason to think that anybody has used 
this particular disk, or this particular copy of the software, for avodah
zarah.  The fact that others may use similar items for other purposes is

What about public utilities, though?  If avodah zarah is done using the 
Internet, can I use the Internet?  I seem to recall a story about a certain
rabbi who refused to use electric power because the same power lines went
to the church down the street.

What about multi-user computers?  If somebody has logged in to a certain
computer for purposes of avodah zarah, am I prohibited from logging in to
that same computer?  Or would this only apply in case the amount of avodah
zarah use exceeds a certain threshold?  

Do Unix systems keep statistics on how much they are used for avodah zarah?

Robert Israel                            <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics             
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Y4


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 30 Jan 94 03:51:35 -0500
Subject: Rav Goren's Psak on Refusal to Serve

Responding to Najman Kahana (V11 n47):

     When I used the example of eating treif, my intention was that
the Army was forcing you to eat treif and nothing else and comparing
that value to a person who believes that the Halacha cannot force him
to take part in the willing relinquishment of Jewish sovereignty over
portions of Eretz-Yisrael and the introduction of Pikuach Nefesh as
a very real possibility for all of those Jews left in the new Exile
created in Eretz-Yisrael as well as those along the new borders.
     My supposition was that most Halachic-guided Jews would immediately
say that they could not serve in such an Army, which is supposed to be
a Jewish Army, that could not provide them with Kosher meals and yet
would waver over the second set of circumstances because it is "political".

     By the way, Najman's example of the tank and turning over the engine
every 24 hours is no real problem because the tank must be battle ready
always and the Halacha allows that.  The telephone usage is another matter
but I hope we don not need to overly trivalize the issue.

	At present, this past week almost 100 persons have been detained
for refusing to leave an area that has been termed a closed military zone
in the territories in an Operation termed "Doubling" meant to show that
the state lands out here where I live belong to us and the government
should not hand them over to the Arab self-governing authority when the
time (it should never) comes.  Obviously, the use of the military order
is politically motivated because up until now the area in question was never
defined as being useful for the military.  In a sense, this is an extension
of Rav Goren's argumentation: if living on the Land, cultivating it, making
sure that no non_jewish rule lords over it is a Divinely-decreed imperative,
then there is a possibility of a conflict with man-made law and that the
possibility exists that a Halachic-guided Jew will exit himself from the
dilemna in several ways, one of them to refuse to serve in the military that
undertakes to undermine that imperative.

     As Najman writes, more and more Rabbanim are coming to the conclusion
that Rav Goren is right.  We will see what develops.

Yisrael Medad


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 94 14:38:08 -0500
Subject: Talking & Teaching

I am frustrated.

I am teaching my students about proper behavior in schul (in specifics 
during davening). (This is part of my curriculum.)  How does one answer 
the question:  "Why should we not talk during hazaras hashatz 
(repitition of Shmone Esrei) or Kadish -- all of the adults are talking!?"
I used to say, it is up to you to set the example.  My students are not 
buying this answer anymore.

As a parent, I also have the problem with my own children.  They are 
only allowed to come to schul if they are coming to daven.  Talking, 
running, playing are to be done at home, not at schul.  They look around 
and see all of their friends doing anything but davening, and ask about it.

Any ideas?

On a different topic,

I few weeks ago, I posted a request for ideas for admission policies for 
day schools.  I haven't received any response.  So I'll try again:

We are looking to revise our admission proceedures.  How strict to be on 
age cut offs, what to do with new students who have no Judaic 
background, etc.?  Should we be testing in both Judaic Studies & General 
Studies and place accordingly?  Any help would be appreciated.

Aryeh Blaut


End of Volume 11 Issue 65