Volume 13 Number 29
                       Produced: Tue May 24 22:39:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Arguments of Abayye and Rabbah
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Book about basic Judaism
         [Yankee Raichik]
Brachfeld prize
         [Dr. Moshe Koppel]
Chalav Yisrael
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Condensor Mikes
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Electricity on Shabbos - A Different Perspective
Fender bender
         [Charles R. Azer]
Labriut after Sneezing
         [Dave Curwin]
Meaning of "jihad"
         [Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank]
Misleading Fossils
         [Sam Juni]
Paid Testimony
         [Michael Broyde]
Rambam on Astonomy
         [Warren Burstein]
Water Meters
         [Ezra Rosenfeld]


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 11:02:55 -0400
Subject: Arguments of Abayye and Rabbah

> I stumbled across a Gemara (Succah 28a) that is non-sequitur....
> It says that the abilities of R. Yochanan ben Zakkai includes D'var
> katan and says this is the arguments of Abayye and Rabbah.....yet
> R. Yochanan ben Zakkai preceded these two in time. What are we supposed
> to learn from this ???

My inpression is that "havayot de'abaye verava" is simply an idiom, 
referring to the intricacies of Torah shebe'al peh.

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: <raichik@...> (Yankee Raichik)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 11:02:51 -0400
Subject: Book about basic Judaism

I need a good book on basic (entry-level) Judaism for a person who just
recently discovered he is Jewish. He knows absolutely nothing about
Judaism other than we are Christ-killers (he's a practicing Methodist).
I looked in a bookstore and was disappointed that most of the books
assume the person has some background. If you have any suggestions,
please e-mail me privately at: <yyr@...>

Yankee Raichik


From: <koppel@...> (Dr. Moshe Koppel)
Date: Tue, 24 May 94 18:31:36 +0200
Subject: Brachfeld prize

The second Brachfeld prize is being announced this week. The
prize of $2500.00 is awarded annually to the author of a high-quality
paper employing formal methods in the elucidation of the Talmud.
Last year's prize was awarded to Bob Brody for his paper on the use of
graphs in delineating 'sugyot'. This year's topic is 'Probabilistic
perspectives on ruba d'isa kaman (=propensity), ruba d'lesa kaman
(=plausibility), and sfeq sfeqa (=Boolean weight)'. (The somewhat
idiosyncratic translations in parentheses are meant to be suggestive 
but are, of course, not binding.) 
Papers should be about 30-40 pages long and should
demonstrate the utility of whatever formalism is used on several
examples. Comparison with existing works dealing with related issues
(e.g., Shev Shmaitse, Shaarei Yosher) are recommended but not necessary.
The winning paper will be published in Volume 4 of HIGAYON (as will
any other worthy entries). The deadline for this year's prize is
Succos 5755; the prize will be awarded shortly after that at the next
HIGAYON symposium. Write me for clarifications.
-Moshe Koppel


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 12:18:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisrael

> From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
> I believe the intent is to ensure that no non-kosher ingredients gets
> in the milk.  In Europe, it was (and may still be) fairly common for
> milk from non-kosher animals to be sold as "milk".  As far as I know,
> "Chalav Yisrael" means Jewish supervision of the milk-production, from
> milking to bottling - sort of "shmura milk".

The requirement of cholov yisroel is intended solely to ensure that the
milk is cow's milk.  The heter of non-cholov yisroel is based on the
presumption that in US vendors would be subject to extreme penalties for
substituting non-cow's milk for cow's milk, and that it would be found
out.  With regard to cheese, the issue is different.  I remember that
there is a principle that milk from a non-kosher animal does not form
cheese, so the milk itself is not an issue.  The curdling agent is a
potential issue, and the discussion is complicated.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 00:39:08 -0400
Subject: Condensor Mikes

In MJ 13:25 Ezra Rosenfeld cited three Rabbis who allowed the use of
condensor mikes based on Zomet standards, and the amazing news that some
"Orthodox" shuls here will imminently install them.

This is indeed disturbing. With the Gedolei Hora'ah clearly opposed to
the use of "Shabbos Microphones", including the great Posek Reb Shlomo
Zalman Auerbach - who understands electricity pretty well - and with the
unique and sorry history of "Microphonization" in the USA, I cannot
understand the willingness of ANYONE to install such microphones.


From: <er@...> (rosenfeld,elie)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 13:28:51 -0400
Subject: Electricity on Shabbos - A Different Perspective

Just a little bit of a fresh perspective on this oft-discussed topic.
Take this as a complement to the multitude of technical details we
generally see in this forum and anywhere else the topic is discussed.

Whatever the specific halachic reasons and history behind the
prohibition of electricity on Shabbos and Yom Tov, I cannot help but
believe that it was all planned out, somehow, by the One who knew, back
when he gave Moshe the Torah and the rules to interpret it, what our
modern society would become.

In the olden days, our ancestors were slaves to their fields, flocks,
and other menial labors.  Today, I still feel enslaved - to the car, the
television, the computer, and, most of all, the telephone.  Thanks to
what surely must have been Ruach Hakodesh (Divine foresight) on the part
of those who forbade electrical use on Shabbos and Yom Tov, those are
now the days of freedom from that burden.  They are the only days on
which I _can't_ run those errands, no matter how pressing, that I
_can't_ reply to that e-mail, no matter how behind I am, that I _can't_
answer that call from work, that my beeper is shut off.  I often feel
sorry for my coworkers, who never truly have a time or place where work
cannot reach out and grab them via the ever-present world of
electricity.  And I wonder at those Jews who tell me that they
"basically" keep Shabbos but do answer the phone, etc.  Somehow, I think
they're missing the essence of what Shabbos can give us in today's

Elie Rosenfeld


From: Charles R. Azer <azer@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 12:06:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fender bender

> > To answer my own post, I spoke with a Rav and he said as follows:
> > I don't have to worry about the fact that the insurence is paying for
> > a new part even though the original part was already somewhat damaged,
> > because that is their business.  Meaning this is not a question of
> > damages (NEZIKIN), but business.  

I am amazed that nobody mentioned that if a part has to be replaced, it 
will involve a new part anyway, so it is irrelevant what the 
condition of the old part was before it was damaged to the point of 
needing to be replaced.  Forget talmudic logic for a second--it's just 
common sense:  an insurance company is most likely going to replace a 
damaged part with a new part.  It would seem to me that if they deal 
with used replacement parts, then the right thing to do would be to have 
the insurance company replace the damaged part with a used one that was 
no worse than the condition of the original part prior to damage.  Just 
my 2 cents worth.


From: <6524dcurw@...> (Dave Curwin)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 11:04:49 -0400
Subject: Labriut after Sneezing

Is there any halachic source or basis for saying labriut (or livriut,
gesundhietetc.) after someone sneezes? Or is it just a judaized version
of a pagan minhag?
 Dave Curwin


From: Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank <Alan.Cooper@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 23:07:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Meaning of "jihad"

In response to Sam Juni's question: the term /jihad/ means simply
"effort" expended in the achievement of a particular purpose.  And the
term is, in fact, used with respect to matters other than so-called
"Holy War"--striving to attain religious or moral perfection, for
example.  But with that said, it is still a fact that the primary and
principal use of the term is with respect to military action undertaken
with the intent of expanding the influence of Islam, or defending the
faith.  For a good summary discussion, see the new edition of the
Encyclopaedia of Islam, vol. 2, pp. 538-539 (s.v. "djihad").

Alan Cooper


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 13:28:15 -0400
Subject: Misleading Fossils

     I apoligize to Rabbi Adlerstein for attributing to him the
authorship of the notion that G-d may have planted fossils with
misleading attributes, as a means of testing the true faith of
believers. I am especially sorry about any negative gastrointestinal
reaction this mis-attribution may have induced.  Please note that in
posting I did write that I "thought" the reference was by Rabbi
Adlerstein; I am sloppy with my files, and am not yet gifted enough to
retrieve records from the system.

    While I can understand Rabbi Adlerstein's distress at being misquoted
(particularly as his view is actually antithetical to the one quoted), it
may be some consolation that the quoted view is consistent with (at the
least) an initial argument (hava amina) in Talmud Sanhedrin 90a, where
the Gemarrah discusses the possibility of miracles performed by false
prophets. Moreover, the text has been interpreted (by Rabbi Karlinsky) as
connoting that this issue is in fact a "machlokes" (in dispute) between
Tanaaim, with the majority adhering to the view promoting illegitimate
misleading signs.

     Dr. Sam Juni                  Fax (718) 338-6774
     New York University           Tel (212) 998-5548
     400 East
     New York, N.Y.  10003


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Mon, 23 May 1994 23:08:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Paid Testimony

Haym Hendeles, in our dicussion of the rules of testimony states that
"someone who is paid to testify is *in the Torah's deinition* subject to
cloudy judgement and unrelaible testimony."  This is incorrect.  While
being paid to judge is a biblical disqualification of a judge, being
paid to testify is only a rabbinic disqualification of one as a witness,
and is subject to easy remedy; see Rama CM 34:11 and Pitchai Teshuva 25.
While one opinion avers that maybe the prohibition is biblical, the vast
weight of authority rejects that; see also Shach EH 130:21 and Kitzot
Hachoshen CM 34:4.  As a general rule in cases of informal testimony, or
the cases where a single witness is believed, the crucial question is
functional believability.  See also Piskai Din Rabaniim vol 7:page 314
where this point is made.  Thus, a person who is otherwise disqualified
to testify, may do so in the cases where a single witness would be
acceptable.  For more on this topic, see the long entry in Sedai Chemed
on eid echad.


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 04:51:47 GMT
Subject: Re: Rambam on Astonomy

It seems sort of odd to be talking about just one facet of the
Rambam's views on astronomy, namely whether the earth goes around the
sun or the other way around.  The entirety of the "Maaseh Bereshit"
chapters of Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah should be considered.

/|/-\/-\          If two half-slave-half-free people witness an ox
 |__/__/_/        owned in partnership by a Jew and non-Jew gore a Coi
 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: Ezra Rosenfeld <zomet@...>
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 12:22:01 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Water Meters

I neglected to mention in my earlier posting on the topic that we are 
presently working on a solution to electronic water meters in conjunction 
with the manufacturer here in Israel. I would appreciate receiving 
material from the American manufacturers, if anyone has access to them, 
enabling us to find a solution which will be universal and modular.


End of Volume 13 Issue 29