Volume 13 Number 33
                       Produced: Tue May 31 18:28:18 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Endangering the Many
         [Eli Turkel]
Execution by lethal injections
         [Rafael Salasnik]
Help needed for prospective convert
         [Shaul Wallach]
Isaiah and current events
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Lashon Hara
         [Joshua Sharf]
Shabbos, Kashrus, and Taharas Hamishpachah
         [Mitch Berger]
Spontaneous Generation
         [Warren Burstein]
The Difference between "Es" and "Ais"
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Trustworthiness of an individual
         [Ben Berliant]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Wed, 25 May 94 11:32:32 +0300
Subject: Endangering the Many

     Rabbi Adlerstein states:

> I don't see the question.  IMHO, it is obvious that we must be sensitive
> to the spillover of our actions, even when undesired.  

     I fully agree that one must be aware of the consequences of ones actions
and take them into account. Nevertheless, I do not feel that one must
stop some action because of possible retribution against other Jews.
In the newspapers now are threats of a terrorist organization against Israel
because the Israeli army went and captured a terrorist in Lebanon. The
Israeli government is well aware of possible consequences. However, it is
inconceivable that the Israeli government simply throw up its hands and
surrender everytime some group says that it will retaliate. Similarly, I
find no reason that the zionists of the 1940's had to give up their plans
because the Mufti of Jerusalem said he would join with the nazis as a

     I interpret the halacha of the captives, that Rabbi Adlerstein quoted,
as stating that we do not always save the individual when the community
might be endagered. We do not give in to demands of extortionists  to save
the few when it will lead to more problems in the future.

     As to who should make these life and death decisions it leads us back
to the debate over "daat Torah". I will just point out that the last Jewish
government with any real power was the exilarch in Babylonia. There it was
clear that the exilarch and not the heads of the yeshiva made political



From: <Rafi@...> (Rafael Salasnik)
Date: Wed, 25 May 94 00:00:58 GMT
Subject: Execution by lethal injections

The Jewish Chronicle (UK) reported that the Rabbinical Council of
America gave a ruling under the sanction of Rabbis Moshe Tendler & Moshe
Gorelik that Jewish doctors are permitted to give lethal injections to
condemned prisoners in those states where it is the method of capital
punishment. The report does not give the full text so I wonder if any of
the American readers can provide some more information on this.

In particular, the newspaper speaks of 'convicted murderers' I don't
know if any states have the death penalty for other crimes and if so
what does the RCA ruling say about that ?  Secondly, does it comment on
the permissibility of the doctor to administer such an injection where
the convicted person is Jewish ?  Thirdly, it is not clear does the
ruling mandate the doctor to give the injection, thereby treating him in
the same way as a soldier who must obey all lawful commands even if he
personally disagrees with them (on the basis that the doctor is better
trained to avoid unnecessary physical and psychological pain) or does it
permit a doctor who is opposed to capital punishment in general or the
sentence in a particular case, to refuse to administer the injection
even where he is the most experienced or only physician available ?
Finally has there been any comment/discussion on this ruling ? 


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Wed, 25 May 1994 08:21:42 -0400
Subject: Help needed for prospective convert

     I am trying to help a prospective convert from Poland who wants
to come to Israel for conversion. He has letters of recommendation
from Rabbi Joskowicz, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate's representative
in Warsaw, attesting to his willingness to accept the yoke of the
Torah and the Mitzvot. He is 24 years old and has been attending
the synagogue and Judaic Studies classes for more than a year in
Warsaw. In addition to Polish, he speaks both English and Russian.

     In order to facilitate his conversion, he needs 1) a family
which is willing to "adopt" him here in Israel and provide him with
assistance and guidance in his path to conversion, and 2) a place
to learn for at least a year prior to conversion, preferably a
yeshiva for Ba`alei Teshuva which is willing to accept him in his
current status. As a first choice, it would be preferable for him
to find both of these in Jerusalem.

     Anyone who is able to help with these two items should kindly
let me know by e-mail at <f66204@...>. Any advice or
suggestions will be warmly appreciated.

     Kol Tuv,


Shaul Wallach   <f66204@...>


From: Arnie Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Wed, 25 May 1994 01:31:56 -0500 (EDT)
Subject: Isaiah and current events

Micha Berger (v13n16) claims to find "current events so unambiguously
written" in Isaiah 28:14-16, but on closer examination, there is nothing
of relevance here.

Isaiah, of course, was preaching against the policy of forming an
alliance with Egypt against Assyria.  The relevance of this to Israel's
current situation escapes me.

Micha interprets the passage as warning against "peace treaties with
terrorists".  Aside from the fact that it is about a military alliance
and not a peace treaty, the connection with terrorists is spurious.  The
only link is that Targum Yonatan explains "sheol" as "machbila".

But the use of the root chet-bet-lamed for "terrorist" is a 20th century
innovation.  One of the side effects of using Modern Hebrew as the
vernacular is that we think we know what the words of the Tanach and
other ancient sources mean.  In this case, the root means, simply,
"destruction".  The Targum is explaining "sheol" in the text as
"destruction", which fits nicely with the context.

Compare, for example, the following uses of this root:

Nasati velo echbol: 'I have forgiven and will not destroy' (Job 34:31).
(G-d is not promising not to be a terrorist!)

Baz ledavar yichabel lo: 'who despises the word will be destroyed'
(Proverbs 13:13).

Arnie Kuzmack


From: <jsharf@...> (Joshua Sharf)
Date: Tue, 24 May 94 14:04:13 EDT
Subject: Lashon Hara

The laws of Lashon Hara are fairly complicated, precisely because of the
easy damage that sort of thing can cause.  I don't presume to be an expert
on the subject.  Nevertheless, there are at least two instances where
it is permissible to talk about another person's defects, albeit in a
very limited way. 

First, if a friend is planning to get married, it is permissible to give
information regarding the fiance, if such information is relevant to
the decision.  A violent past that the friend dosn't know about, 
serious financial problems, HIV information which could be life-threatening,
that there was never a conversion, or for a Kohen, that there *was* a

Secondly, in the case of business dealings, one may impart adverse
financial information, if it is relevent to the deal, such as creedit
information or a history of theft for a person applying to be a bank

In both cases, one must be absolutely certain of the information, with
no doubt5s at all.   The discussion must be a serious one, devoid of
additional catty remarks or *unjustified* slights.  And it must be
limited to the relevent information.  The person being advised may not
be pressed to come to a particular decision.  The informer must be
willing to take "Oh, but he's changed, he's a different man now" for
an answer and drop the matter as if nothing had hppened.

While it is true that both common gossip, and complaints about trivial
work matters are not allowed, there are ligitimate, and rare cases 
when negative information may be given.


From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 08:56:04 -0400
Subject: Shabbos, Kashrus, and Taharas Hamishpachah

The three mitzvos listed above are usually used as a rule-of-thumb for
defining "frumkeit". It is interesting that none of them are bein adam
lachaveiro [between people as opposed to between a person and G-d.
Mod.]. (Actually, taharas hamichpachah could be argued either way.  The
ba'alei mussar [the leaders of the "Mussar" movement, a movement
emphasizing ethical self-betterment. I'm sure someone out there will
offer a better translation. Mod.] consider the sexual mitzvos as being
bin adam li'atzmo [between man and himself], as their violation only
directly injures those who are commiting it.)

It says much about the current state of the observant community that we
didn't choose Honest in Business, Doesn't Tell Lashon Hara` [purposeless
disparaging remarks about others], and Gives Ma'aser Kesaphim [10% of
his money to the poor]. All of these are just as obligatory, yet somehow
they don't come to mind when you say the word "frum".

Micha Berger          Ron Arad, Zechariah Baumel, Zvi Feldman, Yehudah Katz:
<mberger@...>  May the Omnipresent have mercy on them and take them from
(212) 464-6565      restraint to openness, from dark to light, from slavery
(201) 916-0287      to salvation.


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 25 May 1994 07:55:09 GMT
Subject: Spontaneous Generation

Mitch Berger writes: (in the Academic Research thread)

>According to R. Shim'on Shkop, as repeated to me by R. Dovid Lifshitz zt"l
>maggots ARE spontaneously generated. Halachah doesn't consider anything too
>small to be seen. The maggot at birth is too small to be seen. Thus, it is
>the rotting meat that it grows in that causes it to halachically exist. The
>maggot egg is no more a halachic concern than the amoeba we all drink. 

What if an animal fetus could be grown to term in a transparent
apparatus?  A fertilized egg is too small to be seen without a
microscope, right?  Would one be allowed to kill such an animal on

If someone wants to answer, but most animals don't grow that way,
let's say it's an identifiably new animal, which doesn't reproduce
naturally, so every animal of that sort is known to have been made as
described above.

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Tue, 24 May 94 23:47:02 -0700
Subject: The Difference between "Es" and "Ais"

I am hoping that one of you grammarians out there can help me with this:

At the beginning of Parshas Vayakhel, the Torah enumerates all the
items that were constructed for the Tabernacle. By every single
one of them, the torah uses a preposition in front of the item.
By some, the Torah uses the word "es" (or "et" if you are Sephardic),
and by others the torah uses the word "ais" (or "ait").

I have been unable to determine the pattern for this, why some
objects require "es" and others "ais". Can anyone out there
please explain this?

Thank you,
Hayim Hendeles


From: Ben Berliant <C14BZB@...>
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 10:23:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Trustworthiness of an individual

>From: Jerome Parness <parness@...>
>   3. Michael quotes my query re: if you knew a person who wore a
>kapoteh, etc but was guilty of embezzelment and throwing people out of
>work, would you eat in his home? to if the same person wore a knitted
>yarmulkeh and jeans, etc and did the same thing would you eat at his
>home?  To this argument I would venture to say that that there is no
>difference between the two. Whatever degree of loss of ne'emanut
>(trustworthyness) one would infer from the illegal behavior of the
>individual as it is reflected in their practices "bain adam lamakom"
>should apply equally to both.  

	Halacha says "Eid echad ne'eman b'issurim" (one witness is
trustworthy regarding prohibitions).  The key word seems to be ne'eman
(believed).  The standard set by Halacha for ne'emanut in connection
with such testimony is sh'mirat shabbat (keeping Shabbat). The reason
for that standard is that sh'mirat shabbat demonstrates that the
individual attaches greater importance to mitzvot (i.e. the shabbat)
than to monetary gain (i.e. the gain from working on shabbat).

	Jerome's examples would demonstrate to me exactly the opposite.
Anyone who routinely violates mitzvot bein adam lachaveiro (mitzvot
applicable to interpersonal relationships) for monetary gain, would, in
my book, be an unreliable witness to testify regarding other

					BenZion Berliant


End of Volume 13 Issue 33