Volume 12 Number 15
                       Produced: Wed Mar  9 23:08:12 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Cremation revisited & miracles
         [Steven Edell]
In Defense of Artscroll
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Name of Parent on Ketuva
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Yeshiva programs
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Cosmetics / products on Pesach, and egg matzah on erev Pesach
         [Jerrold Landau]
         [Dr. Jeremy Schiff]
Esther's life
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Esther's Personal Tragedy
         [averick, rani y]
Men, Women and Mitzvot
         [David Sherman]
Non-Wheat Matzohs
         [Joey Mosseri]
Pesach and Shabat menu planning
         [Percy Mett]
Thanking Hashem for not making me a woman
         [Arthur Roth]
Women and Mitzvot
         [Mitch Berger]


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 94 10:19:13 EST
Subject: cosmetics / products on Pesach, and egg matzah on erev Pesach

This year, the Kashrut organization of Toronto has come out with the
recommendation that Kosher Lepesach toothpaste be used.  In previous years, it
has endorsed Crest and Colgate as well.  However, last year, it was
discovered that Colgate may include non kosher glycerine as an ingredient,
and Crest may contain some Chametz derivatives.  We were advised last year
that 'baal nefesh yachmir'. I.e. that one can be machmir with respect to
these brands of toothpastes, but that they can be used because they are
'nifsal meachilat kelev'.  This year, we are not advised that they may be
used -- we are told that we should use Kosher Lepesach toothpaste.
As well, the Kashrut organization has included a list of shampoos which
are usable for Pesach.  I was always under the impression that shampoos are
'nifsal meachilat kelev' (not fit for consumption by a dog), and that there
is no problem with any brand during Pesach, and therefore, that such a list
of approved shampoos would be unnecessary.
It seems that, over the years, there is a tendency to become more strict with
these types of products. This is caused, I believe, by one of four reasons:
a) we have been making mistakes with these products in past years
b) the manufacturing process has changed for these products
c) klovim (dogs) have become less finicky about what they may consume
d) epis, we are all getting frummer.
I would be very interested in finding out how other communities view these
types of products.

On a different topic, I have heard that Rav Moshe allowed the use of egg
matzah for hamotzi and shtei lechem on the Shabbat of Erev Pesach (of course
to be used only during the time that chametz is permissible to be eaten).
I feel that this is a preferable method to using two challas, as I would
prefer not to have any real chametz in the house by the time Shabbat comes
in.  There is less of a problem with crumbs and leftovers as well, as one is
permitted to own egg matzah during Pesach.  What do other people feel about


From: <schiff@...> (Dr. Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 94 21:55:26 +0200
Subject: Esther

The answer to Elchanan Rappaport's question about the personal tragedy
of Esther seems to lie in the question; Esther was married to Achashverosh,
and her children were unlikely to remain "in the fold", so the only way for
Esther and her father's house to remain a permanent part of Clal Yisrael was
for Esther to perform an act of heroism for the Jewish people.....and this
is exactly what Mordechai said to her: "If you do not act now, then, since
you are certainly not going to have Jewish children, you will be forever



From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Mar 94 22:06:28 -0800
Subject: Esther's life

I can shed at least some light on the tragedy of Eshter's captivity in 
Achashverosh's palace.  According to the chronology given in Megillah 
11b, she didn't have to put up with the moron too long.  He died a short 
time after the events depicted in the end of the Megillah, which 
occurred in the 14th year of his reign.  Approximately two years later, 
Darius (Esther's son) allowed the continuation of the construction of 
the Beis Hamikdosh - in what was already the second year of his reign.  
We can assume that daddy didn't abdicate the throne, but met with a 
well-deserved end.


From: <rya@...> (averick, rani y)
Date: 9 Mar 1994  12:25 EST
Subject: Esther's Personal Tragedy

In response to Elchanan Rappaport's inquiry about Esther's 
personal tragedy in the Purim story, I thought it worthwhile
to point out that Tehillim #22 (Lamnatzeach al ayelet hashachar) 
is traditionally associated with Esther, as mentioned by Rashi 
on the first sentence of this psalm.

This psalm sheds some light on our tradition regarding Esther's
despair at being forced against her will into the role of 
Achashverosh's wife, beginning with the well known verse:
"E-li, E-li, lama azavtani..." ("My Gd, my Gd, why have you 
forsaken me...").



From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 94 04:11:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Men, Women and Mitzvot

> the long winded explanations that describe why every orthodox male
> thanks g-d every day that he was not born a woman.

I've never understood why long-winded explanations or rationalizations
are necessary.  As a man, I have never had to face the pain of
childbirth.  Nor do I have some of the other pressures and
discrimination that make life more difficult for most women than for
most men.  That applies to every society, even to our "modern" society,
where it's generally recognized that women are discriminated against in
many ways despite our best efforts.  Why should I not thank G-d that I
do not have such pressures?  It's not "putting down" women to recognize
that life is, in some ways, harder for them.


From: <JMOSSERI@...> (Joey Mosseri)
Date: Tue, 8 Mar 94 19:03:12 -0500
Subject: Non-Wheat Matzohs

Regarding the note by Lorri Waxman on this subject, I've been able to come
up with the following:
OAT SHMURAH MATZOHS: Available for those who have a wheat intolerance and
cannot eat wheat matzoh. These matzohs are baked in the USA at the Satmar
Matzoh Bakery. Their telephone number is  1-718-388-4008 and it is on a
basis of first come first served. The matzohs are hand made only.
Then there are oat matzohs available from England and they come both in hand
and machine. Please call Mr. E. Kestenbaum  011-44-1-455-9476 or 6550.
Telefax number 011-44-1-455-5245

The above information is from "The Laws of Pesach  A Digest" by Rabbi
Avrohom Blumenkrantz

Hag Same-ah,


From: <P.Mett@...> (Percy Mett)
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 94 16:12:43 -0500
Subject: Pesach and Shabat menu planning

 Jospeh Bachman <jbachman@...> writes:

>I know Purim hasn't yet come and gone, but I have a culinary dilemma
>regarding Pesach, and I'd like to start a discussion about it. ...
>Our problem is this: We have decided to only eat milchig this Pesach.

Is you decision not a little premature? I am sure your belif in the coming
of Moshiach is no less than mine or anyone else's. Achake loy bchol yom
sheyovo. I earnestly hope that by the time Peysach arrives we will be in a
position to bring a korban peysach (Yes! on shabbos this year) so we shall
all enjoy at least one fleyshik meal.

Bon appetit!

Perets Mett


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 1994 13:43:53 -0600
Subject: Thanking Hashem for not making me a woman

>From Esther Posen (MJ, 12:8):
>I, personally, have always been happiest with a straight forward explanation 
>of "yes, we believe in separate and not even equal" status viv a vis men and 
>women in Judiasm.  It may not be heartwarming but I find it more honest than 
>the long winded explanations that describe why every orthodox male thanks g-d 
>every day that he was not born a woman.  

    I could not say the bracha thanking G-d for not making me a woman if
I really believed that it implied that I was more important than a
woman.  And, frankly, I resent being told that any explanations to
reconcile this point must necessarily be inherently dishonest (and
usually long winded).
    I have long been under the impression that the bracha in question is
based on QUANTITY (not importance) of mitzvot that one has an
opportunity to do.  Non-Jews are commanded with only 7 mitzvot, slaves
have more mitzvot than non-Jews, Jewish women have SLIGHTLY fewer
mitzvot than Jewish men, and Jewish men are of course commanded with the
largest number.  Thus we thank Hashem FIRST for not having made us
non-Jews (even male!), then for not having made us slaves (even male!),
and only after that for not having made us women.
    Since doing mitzvot is enjoyable, we thank Hashem for affording us
the oppportunity for greater enjoyment.  However, enjoyment and quantity
have never been the measures by which the Jewish value system determines
importance.  We cannot usually judge the relative importance of
different mitzvot, and it is not inconceivable that some of the mitzvot
given to women are more important (and perhaps more greatly rewarded)
than the (slightly larger number of) mitzvot given to men.  I would
never presume to be more important than a woman merely because the
Almighty chose to command me to do (or avoid doing) a greater NUMBER of
things.  Nevertheless, isn't greater enjoyment an appropriate thing to
be thankful for?
    The above explanation seems rather straightforward to me.  It fits
into two fairly brief paragraphs, so it is hardly long winded.  Esther
(or anyone else) is free to disagree with it, but she cannot accuse me
of being dishonest by offering it, as I can assure everyone that this is
indeed the perspective from which I recite the bracha in question every

Arthur Roth


From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 94 09:57:17 EST
Subject: re: Women and Mitzvot

In v12n6, Elise Braverman writes:
> Also, I have to take offense at the idea that women are so exempted from
> SOME positive time bound commandents for reasons such as women not being
> masters of their own time, or because women have an internal time
> structure or live with a higher understanding etc. I see these reasons
> to be apologetic in nature and find them insulting to my intelligence.

While these answers do sound appologetic, we must remember their
historical context. For example, Rash"i mentions that women are exempts from
certain commandments because of a higher understanding. He explains that
no insult is intended in the b'rachah of shelo asani ishah [for He didn't
create me a woman], rather that it is thanks for the additional commandments
men can fulfil.
Rash"i lived in the Middle Ages. He had no motivation to take a liberal
or apologetic atitude toward women had there been none in Halachah.

In the same issue, Gavrie Philipson writes:
>                                                               Although
> this is an explanation, it's certainly not the full *reason* that 
> women don't have to keep these mitzvot. It's just a way to explain 
> it, and make it sound logical. 

I fully agree. In fact, the same could be said of any rationale given for
any mitzvah. Their is no mapping between the infinite and the finite.
Nothing G-d does is understandable by the human mind. Any reason we find
that is not given by the Legislator Himself can only be taken in this light.

For this reason we can not rewrite Halachah to fit the rationale.

For this reason the Gemara answers the question "why" more often with a quote
than a reason.


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 94 23:06:17 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

We appear to be having problems with the listserver, there are now about
80+ lists on nysernet and some lists appear to be taking a long time to
get processed, possibly due to having many bad addresses in their lists.
While I continue to post about 3 messages per day to the list, they
often do not get out until 24 hours or more after I post them. One
suggestion for people sending things in to the list: send your stuff to
mljewish rather than mail-jewish. Both will get to me, but the latter
needs to wait for the listserv process to process the mail-jewish list
before forwarding it to me. The mljewish address will simply go directly
to me.

B'ezrat Hashem I will be getting married this coming Sunday (March
13/Rosh Chodesh Nisan), and all of you in the Highland Park area are
invited to a Kiddush following davening on the FOLLOWING Shabbat (March
19) at Ahavat Achim. I thank all those that sent Carolynn and myself
wishes of Mazal Tov, and I hope you all have many Simchas (joyous
occasions) in your families.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 94 00:52:11 -0500
Subject: Converts

More various issues regarding gerim:

The teshuva by R. Yosef permitting a ger to say kaddish for a parent is
yechaveh daat #60.

The Jewish father of a gentile child is not considered the halachic father
of that child either *before* or *after* that child converts.  See R.
J. S. Cohen's "The conversion of children born to gentile mothers and
Jewish fathers" in _The Conversion Crisis_ ed. R. E. Feldman & R. J.
Wolowelsky (Hoboken NJ: Ktav, 1990).

R. M. Lamm quotes numerous teshuvot that are lenient in the requirement of
hatafat dam brit in the case of a convert who was circumcised with the
intent of fulfilling the mitzvah of circumcision, for instance, the child
of improperly converted parents or the child of a Jewish father and
gentile mother who was brought to a mohel.  See his _Becoming a Jew_
(Middle Village, NY: Jonathon David Publishers, 1991) p. 217 footnote 29.

I was informed by R. David Feinstein that I need not specify "ben
avraham avinu" on the ketuba (ie, "ben avraham" is sufficient).

Eitan Fiorino


From: Steven Edell <edell@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Mar 1994 05:20:36 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Cremation revisited & miracles 

Thank you all very much who sent me personal messages.  I received nearly 
20 responses and each one has helped me to cope with this difficulty.

I have returned from my unfortunately-short one week visit with my Mom.  
It gave me an opportunity to be with her and help her. Her 
spirits were high, altho the illness continues to spread, and the doctors 
are very pessimistic.

Friday night, I lit candles at her house - the first time in 
many, many years that she has seen such - and made kiddush and washed.  She 
sat with me as I sang Friday night songs, then listened as I explained to her
the Jewish view on Death & Dying, and why it doesn't include cremation.  
She stayed up with me nearly _three_ hours longer than the time she 
normally goes to sleep.

Saturday night - Motzei Shabbat - my sister & brother & I all were with 
Mom (she's divorced) as we spoke with her lawyer on the phone.  And a 
miracle happened.  My Mom said she wanted to be buried (may it not 
happen for many years) according to a traditional burial, with an 
Orthodox Rabbi!  We were ALL shocked.  My siblings, who are not (yet?) 
religious, accused me of unfairly influencing Mom to change her mind.
She hasn't moved from this position, however.

May it be that she has a full recovery from her illness.

"From the depths of despair do I call on thee, my Lord".

And I again thank all those who have helped & supported me here.  I will 
make a separate post on all the comments I received; they literally run 
the gamut of possibilities.

Steven Edell, Computer Manager   Internet:<edell@...>
United Israel Appeal, Inc                   <uio@...>
(United Israel Office)    **ALL PERSONAL**          Voice:  972-2-255513
Jerusalem, Israel        **OPINIONS HERE!**         Fax  :  972-2-247261


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Tue, 08 Mar 94 22:59:42 -0800
Subject: In Defense of Artscroll

Dr Saul Stokar writes:

>Since a manuscript written by the author exists, it seems completely
>reasonable, nay, required, to reproduce the text of this "Urtext". It is 
>neither correct nor reasonable to blame the editors of the ArtScroll for any
>of the above errors, since they all originated long before the ArtScroll 
>siddur was conceived. However, I feel that the editors of the siddur should 
>have corrected the errors once they were brought to their attention. A friend  of mine, a professor of
>Bible at Yeshiva University, told me that he sent a 
>copy of this autograph to the editors of the ArtScroll siddur shortly after the siddur first appeared. He
>told me that ArtScroll's response was that they are  unwilling to deviate from "tradition" and if "tradition"
>had sanctified a text, that was the way they were going to reproduce it. I ask the >m-j readership, is
there anyone on this list who can justify such a response? 

Well, I'm  going to give it a shot, after gulping twice and giving due consideration
to old saws about what kind of people poke their noses where angels fear to
tread.  I gulp twice: once because it's a challenge; the second time because,
although I've only subscribed to mjewish for a few weeks, I've thoroughly
enjoyed several of the well thought out and well researched contributions of Dr.
Stokar.  Nonetheless, b'makom she-ayn ish, hishtadel l'yos ish...

I have a hard time seeing why we should not wholeheartedly justify it!  It seems
only fair.  We are often completely oblivious to the origins of things.  We have
allowed - sometimes without realizing; sometimes deliberately - foreign elements
to intrude into our practice.  The Torah itself incorporates foreign, non-Hebrew
words (e.g. "totafos" according to the gemara).  Rabbinic literature is replete with
foreign phraseology, that it then tried to "jew up" (See Tifferes Yisrael, Pesachim,
(10:13) in Boaz.)  We co-opted non-Jewish modes of dress, and turned them
into fixed Jewish garb.  We used non-Jewish musical motifs, and even lifted
entire melodies, transplanting them on to holy turf.  (I don't remember which
rebbe is reported to have "bought" a nigun he heard from a Polish peasant, so
he could use it / return it to Jewish use.)  Parts of our tefillah still carry rumors
of Sabbatean influence.  

None of this seems to matter, even to the full traditionalist.  We seem to be
much more concerned with what Klal Yisrael DID with something, than how and
where it originally appeared.  (This is at least so in the case of items of human
manufacture.   And even in the case of words of  Chumash itself, most of us,
without rejecting the insights that modern archeology and linguistics can yield
about conditions contemporary to the events of Tanach, are far more concerned
with what words meant to Chazal and the Rishonim than to their original users.) 
As the gemara says, "If Klal Yisrael are not all prophets, they are the children
of prophets."  There is a collective wisdom to Jewish habit and practice.  If the
source wasn't so particularly Jewish, history's immersion of it into the mikveh of
community custom managed to purify it.  (I'm not speaking, of course, of things
that conflict with Halacha.)

If this is true, than the same should hold even where the source might seem
"superior" to the subsequent adulteration.  The author of Yedid Nefesh, an astute
mekubal, may very well have integrated mystical insights that were lost to the
reading subsequently taken up by history.  That's too bad.  But what history
came up with is also something of value, transmogrified into a thing of beauty
by the voices and hearts of recent generations.  It indeed has become more
important than the Urtext, at least to myself and many like me.  I suspect,
without having consulted them, that  the folks at Artscroll may think the same


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 1994 19:37:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Name of Parent on Ketuva

Benjamin Rudman writes of a son of a non-Jewish father being called
"Ploni ben plonis", i.e. using his mother's name.
I've heard of such a person using something like "shmuel ben yaakov", 
yaakov being his mother's father's name.  
Anyone have more info?

aliza berger

[Basically same point made by Harry Weiss (<harry.weiss@...>).


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Mar 94 00:52:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Yeshiva programs

Percy Matt, in #8, responded to Jeff Woolf's posting about Israel 
programs.  As I too had responded to and disagreed forcefully with Dr. 
Woolf, I want to point out a couple of important differences between my 
and Percy's reactions:

>  Jeff Woolf <F12043@...> writes:
> >students might as well be in New Jersey or Brooklyn in as boarding
> >school arrangement for all that Eretz Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael impact
> >upon them
> I was not aware that the kdusha of Erets Yisroel is dependent on the amount
> that Medinat yisreal impacts on you. As far as I can see, everyone in Erets
> Yisroel has to be aware of terumos and maasros, and this year shmita too. I
> shouldn't think that is much of an issue in New Jersey. More significantly,
> ein toyro ketoyras erets yiroel, Torah just isn't the same anywhere else.
> The mere fact of living inErets Yisroel is worthy.

Dr. Woolf never said that the impact or lack thereof of Medinas Yisra'el 
on any individual affects kedushat ha'aretz.  *Eretz* Yisra'el and 
*Medinas* Yisra'el each have spiritual significance for people 
living and learning there; that there are terumos and ma`seros and 
shemittah with or without the Medinah does not mean that the Medinah is 
unimportant in this regard.  My argument with Dr. Woolf is not that the 
Medinah doesn't matter, ch"v, but that the Medinah indeed *does*, B"H, 
have significant religious impact on most students studying there. 

> >I feel that severe pressure must be exerted upon High School
> >principals in the US to ONLY send students to Zionist, Hebrew speaking
> >programs where mixing with Israelis AND Gemillut Hasadim through
> >volunteer work with immigrants or needy is a portion thereof. Otherwise,
> >all this phenomenon is is Camp Raughly 6,000 miles away.
> Why? In what way does being on a Zionist program make you a better Jew?

Those of us who are religious Zionists consider Medinas Yisra'el to be
of monumental religious significance, see it as a blessing and a challenge
from the ribbono shel `olam for the Jewish people of our generation, and
view its development and progress, both spiritual and physical [no political
innuendo intended], to be one of the foci of religious life and of paramount
importance for the short- and long-term future of the Jewish people.  We
indeed see Zionism as a very important piece of our hashkafah and of modern
Judaism.  I do not like the tone of the phrase "better Jew," as it has an air
of condescension and triumphalism; but, we do believe that we are right and
that non-Zionists are wrong, just as they believe that they are right and we
are wrong.  We definitely do view a chinukh without Zionism as religiously

My main contention with Dr. Woolf is that even given all of the above, 
Zionism is not, of course, the primary element of Judaism.  When the 
entire spiritual well-being of a student hangs in the balance,
considerations of general yir'as shamayim and `avodas Hashem loom 
considerably larger. 

> And do you really mean Hebrew speaking, or is that meant to be Ivrit
> speaking? Do students go on yeshiva programs just so that they can learn
> the language of Ben Yehuda?

I'm not sure exactly how one differentiates between "Hebrew" and "Ivrit."  
In any case, knowing modern Hebrew is important for many reasons, 
including some that aren't even Zionist, such as the accessibility of a 
large (and growing) corpus of halakhic material, both written and 
spoken.  Does Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, or Rav Aharon Lichtenstein, or 
Rav Zalman Nechemiah Goldberg speak the "language of Ben Yehuda," ch"v? 

> Perhaps as a counter suggestion, those on yeshiva programmmes should
> immerse themselves in the study of Torah, and engage in "volunteer work
> with immigrants" on their return to New York.

Amen ve'amen.
Chag kasher vesame'ach,

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


End of Volume 12 Issue 15