Volume 13 Number 24
                       Produced: Sun May 22 21:04:11 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic Reseach
         [Michael Broyde]
Academic Research and Torah
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Birkhot Ha-Shevach - Solar Eclipse
         [Michael Shimshoni]
         [Jules Reichel]
Endangering the many
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
fender bender
         [David Charlap]
Kaddish by Ger for Parent -- SOURCES?
         [Freda B. Birnbaum]
Milchig on Shavuot
         [Aryeh Frimer                             ]
Rambam on Astonomy
         [David Charlap]
Shalom Carmy's Question Re R. Lipovitz
         [Melech Press]
Shavuous Dilemma
         [Isaac Balbin]
Use of water taps(faucets), refrigerators, auto sensors on Shabbat
         [Tom Anderson]


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 12:38:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Academic Reseach

 A person who is paid to testify about something that relates to kosher
or not kosher or something that is independently verifiable is not
giving formal testimony to which the normal rules of disqualafication
apply to, the first because of *aid echad ne'eman beisurim* [one witness
is beleived in matters of issur (can't think of a good translation).
Mod.] and the second one because normally, *milta diavidita leglua* [a
matter that is expected to be revealed, i.e. a matter that can be
checked up on. Mod.] is not called formal testimony; thus a mashgiach is
believed and so is a person reading from an ancient manuscript that is
still extant and can be looked at by others.  Once again, I think that
the issue of academic reseach into torah topics is a worthwhile topic
for discussion, but the proper questions to ask have nothing to do with
the rules of testimony in halacha.


From: Joseph Greenberg <jjg@...>
Date: Sun, 15 May 1994 16:08:18 -0400
Subject: Re: Academic Research and Torah

As Avi was quick to point out, the idea of "publish or perish" has been 
grossly overblown in the popular media. Furthermore, what many don't 
realize is that while it is _easier_ to have an article published that 
has positive results,  what ever they are, it is still considered 
science, or relevant, if one disconfirms a hypothesis... not every study 
out there a) has an agenda to prove, and b) proves the agenda. The 
"secret" to "fair" research is the consistent application of sound 
scientific principles in pursuit of knowledge; most researchers know that 
to publish, their research must be accepted in a refereed journal... 
clear-cut cases of pay-for results are almost always rejected.
  And I would also point out, even though I may take some heat for this, 
I strongly doubt that every single halachic opinion has been devoid of 
outside influence. If one feels self-righteous enough to discredit the 
entire arena of academic scholarship because of a few "bad apples", I 
would also expect that all the psakin (halachic opinions) that said 
person abides by come from Rabbis that have no insitutional or 
organizational affiliations. I seriously doubt that many members of this 
list would take as seriously a psak on the validity of zionism if it came 
from someone affiliated with Mosad Harav Kook, as opposed to someone 
affiliated with Hevron Yeshiva (not to say one is more valid than the 
other). But clearly we _all_ have some prejudices and biases that affect 
how we approach _all_ issues... that is why we are under the greatest of 
obligations to try to maintain our objectivity, not eliminate things that 
seem "unkosher".


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Tue, 10 May 94 16:36:54 +0300
Subject: Birkhot Ha-Shevach - Solar Eclipse

Aryeh Frimer  discusses which brakha one says on seeing an eclipse:

>    In some parts of the United States there will be a total eclipse of
>the sun on Tuesday.

I read somewhere  that it is not  a total eclipse, more  an eclipse of
the  central  part  of  the   Sun.   I  may  have  misunderstood  that
astronomical point in the newspaper.

>                  . The question is whether there is any special Brakha
>that is appropriate.  When first asked, I instinctively responded
>"Oseh Ma'aseh bereishit" (OMB). However, Shulkhan Arukh OH 229
>doesn't seem to mention it and only says to make OMB every 28 years when
>the solar cycle starts anew. (Same for Hayei Adam  63).

In  my Sidur  Rinat Yisrael  it  says that  one says  OMB for  unusual
natural events (tofa'ot  teva bilti regilot) "as  lightning, very high
mountains, very big rivers".

>                           Perhaps an eclipse of the sun doesn't remind
>us of "ma'aseh bereishit" (the creation) any more than the monthly
>total eclipse of the moon by the earth.

As far  as I know there  is no such  monthly eclipse of the  moon, and
surely none  caused by  the Earth.  Actually  the Solar  Eclipse Aryeh
refers to coincides with his other  "eclipse", known as a New Moon, as
every Solar Eclipse  does (but not every New Moon  has a Solar Eclipse
associated with it).

Michael Shimshoni


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 12:50:00 -0400
Subject: Chumrot

Esther Posen's posting links a lot of different behaviors under the
chumrot title. Category 1 are personal private acts affecting ones
search for a deeper spirituality. These are generally more respected.
Category 2 are the belief that God wants man to be ascetic. There is a
claim that pain, difficulty, avoidance of the world, profound
self-denial, primitivism, and needless customs and fences to guard such
practices, are inherently beautiful. Sorting the categories is the human
confusion. Esther apparently selected TV as one of the needed
self-denials. It's her home. She should do as she wants. Her difficulty
in rationalizing this behavior to her children is that it can't be done.
It's a personal choice. I think that she should say, "I have lived. I
have thought about life. This action will bring beauty to me. I do not
urge you to do it.  Certainly don't do it for my sake. If by watching
me, you too grow to see its beauty, then choose to do it. If not search
life in your own way." Everything else will drag her into the claim of
Category 2, I'm better than you.



From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 94 11:47:46 -0800
Subject: Endangering the many

My friend Dr Turkel recently cited Rav Hutner, zt"l as blaming Zionisism
for indirectly causing the Mufti's collaboration with the Nazis.  Dr
Turkel raised the question as to whether it is appropriate to refrain
from doing what we are supposed to be doing because of the possible
negative effect this can have on others. (Sorry, I lost the original

I don't see the question.  IMHO, it is obvious that we must be sensitive
to the spillover of our actions, even when undesired.  (And, yes,
therefore Baruch Goldstein's actions were indefensible halachically,
among several other reasons.)  I will cite a few examples:

1) Redeeming captives seems to be a good thing to do.  Yet Gittin 45A
tells us that if the price of a captive is set higher than the typical
"market value," we do not fork over the ransom $$.  According to one
opinion in the gemara, we sacrifice the individual in order to avoid
providing further economic incentive to would-be kidnappers who will be
motivated to take even more captives in the future.

2) Dr Turkel seems to be gainfully employed as a mathematician, rather 
than travelling through the countryside of Israel destroying shrines of 
idolatrous worship.  This, even though it is clearly a mitzvah, codified 
by Rambam, to destroy places of avodah zarah in our land.  The reason 
he's at his office rather than riding a bulldozer seems to me to be the 
psak of all gedolei poskim.  They explain that the Rambam writes that our 
responsibility to extirpate avodah zarah from our midst only applies 
when "Yad Yisrael takifah," when Jewish power holds sway in the land.  
These poskim hold (in contradistinction to the glib, but non-halachic 
arguments of the Kahanists) that even in our present sovereign State, we 
do not REALLY exercise that kind of power, because (I think) of the 
effect that our actions have on other governments at whose partial mercy 
(bederech hateva) we still are.  Again, we refrain from doing what is 
right because of the effect it will have on the behavior of others.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 13 May 94 11:53:06 -0400
Subject: fender bender

Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...> writes:
>Why would knowing the person make a difference?  This brought to my
>mind a judge benefiting someone they know in a case, which (offhand)
>violates "lo takir panim" (you shall not recognize faces in

I don't think this is dealing with judges.  I think it's dealing with
you (the plaintiff) settling out of court.  For a friend, who you will
continue to associate with for many years, angering him/her will
create hatred between you.  For a stranger, it is more likely that
pursuing your claim will not cause him to personally hate you.


From: Freda B. Birnbaum <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 16:42:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kaddish by Ger for Parent -- SOURCES?

Sometime within the last few months, there was a discussion on the
topic of a ger saying Kaddish for a non-Jewish parent.  At one point
someone mentioned that he was compiling a list of sources on this.
I don't recall seeing the list, or any mention of it being put to the
archives.  If anyone out there has this list, or any sources on the
topic, could you let me know, privately if necessary?  I know of rabbis
who have anwered shailas on this topic, but I need to know sources for
a friend who needs some background on the subject.

Thanks very much.
Freda Birnbaum
(bitnet links messing up around here the last week or so)


From: Aryeh Frimer                              <F66235@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 02:43:49 -0400
Subject: Milchig on Shavuot

    Isaac asked for some input on his Shavu'ot Dilemma. My impression
was that the custom of eating Milchig on Shavu'ot was to ALSO eat
Milchig not ONLY Milchig. After all, one should Preferably eat Meat for
the reason of Simcha (I know the Machloket whether it applies nowadays -
or only refers to Shlamim, which is why I said preferable).
See Ramah to OH 494:3 and MB ad Loc, where it is clear that one is
expected to eat a meat meal IN ADDITION to the Dairy.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 20 May 94 20:33:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Rambam on Astonomy

I think the point is really moot, even from scientific standpoints.

Thanks to wonderful things like point-of-reference, the claim that the
Earth goes around the sun is just as valid as the sun going around the
Earth.  Given any point of reference (Earth, sun, moon, or anything
else), a system of equations can be generated that will produce the
observed effects.

For example (this is best done in simulation :-), get beyond the solar
system and observe everything moving around.  Now, lock the camera on
the Earth and continue the simulation.  You'll note that everything
appears to be moving in some really wacky orbits, but everything is
definitely "going around" the Earth.  And you could generate a system
of equations to predict the wacky orbits.

So which "reality" is right?  Both of them!  Which is more useful in
everday life?  Neither.  Which is more useful to rocket scientists?
The sun-centered system.


From: Melech Press <PRESS@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 94 19:37:24 EST
Subject: Shalom Carmy's Question Re R. Lipovitz

The perush on Ruth is available in all well-stocked mochrei seforim under
the name "Nachlas Yosef". It was reprinted within the last 3 years or so.
Melech Press


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Sun, 22 May 1994 18:48:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Shavuous Dilemma

To those who responded to my Shavuous Dilemma with `but there are other
minhogim' etc and so you don't need Hatoras Nedorim thank you for the
information about other minhogim :-) However, you have not addressed the
issue. It *is* a minhag to eat milchik, and when you do such a thing 3
times as your minhag, and you do it exclusively, unless you had in mind
that your were *not* doing it as a minhag, it seems quite clear to me
that you need hatoras nedorim.  I have mentioned this dilemma to a few
Rabbonim and they were silent.


From: <MNAF@...> (Tom Anderson)
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 9:16:19 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Use of water taps(faucets), refrigerators, auto sensors on Shabbat

The use of either has obvious fine details of ininterpretation 
as witness the voluminous correspondence.

Looking at the tap(faucet) situation as a thermodynamicist the work is
done even if the meter is mechanical as the measurement of the flow will
be by some variant of rotameter which turns and therefore "does work"
whether or not you have intended this. A problem also arises in trying
to circumvent turning on the thermostat (spark) or motor (work) when
opening the door ofa refrigerator. A method, requiring patience and good
hearing!, is to wait till the motor is going and then open the door.
Unfortunately, if you pursue this logic you are causing the fridge to
stay on longer than it would have if you had not opened the door --
again doing work.  Even auto sensing traffic lights, which the Yeshiva
have often tried to get installed in Melbourne as there have been a few
accidents on erev Shabbat, run up against an argument that one causes
work to be done as a result of breaking the beam, which is the same result
as the consequences flowing from the act of speaking into a microphone.

No answers -- just problems.



End of Volume 13 Issue 24