Volume 13 Number 47
                       Produced: Sun Jun  5  8:44:14 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David Curwin]
Big Three and Frumkeit
         [Daniel Lipstein]
Cholov Yisrael
         [Ari Shapiro]
Cut Throat Razors
         [Stephen Phillips]
Differences in Ashkenaz
         [Meir Lehrer]
Gemara on this weeks Parsha
         [Noah Dana-Picard]
lesbianism in halacha
         [Doug Behrman]
Living Wills and Organ Transplants
         [Maidi Katz]
Mi Shbeirach for non-Jew
         [Barry Freundel]
On Time and Ethics
         [Steve Wildstrom]
Personal Phone Calls
         [Barak Moore]
Pesach in Winter
         [Jerrold Landau]
Rambam re: Egypt and Israel
         [Steven Friedell]
Request for Advice
         [Tsiel Ohayon]
Taharas Hamishpokhe
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Taharat HaMishpacha
         [Ezra Rosenfeld]


From: <6524dcurw@...> (David Curwin)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 12:54:21 -0400
Subject: B"SD, B"H

Is there any halachic basis or source for writing B"SD or B"H at the top
of a letter? Looking through the sources, I couldn't find any, but I
have heard that both a gemara (Rosh Hashana, I think) and a teshuva of
R' Ovadia indicated that one shouldn't. What is the historical basis for
this minhag?  And does anyone know a single source refering directly to


From: <LIPSTEIN@...> (Daniel Lipstein)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 14:41:01 -0400
Subject: Big Three and Frumkeit

	On Micha Berger's item about the big troik for determining
frumkeit.  Bravo for bringing this up. This has always fascinated me.
Does anyone have any thoughts about why these three have become the
litmus test for being called religious? Also, is there a assumption that
people who keep these three mitzvot strictly are also keeping the other
mitzvot which are ben adam lehavero (man and fellow man)? Curious to
hear others' thoughts.


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 22:45:38 -0400
Subject: Cholov Yisrael

Bruce mentioned that if you don't hold from R' Moshe the pots would
become assur.  This is not so simple because everyone would agree that
here in America there is no concern that non-kosher milk was mixed in
the question is does the gezeira apply anyway.  That being the case it
is very possible that Cholov Stam is not labeled as macholos assuros
(forbidden food) it's just you are not allowed to eat it.  An analogous
case would be food cooked on shabbos is the pot assur?  The mishna brura
quotes the t'shuvos harashba that it is assur but R' Moshe Soloveitchik
thought it should be permitted because he felt that food cooked on
shabbos is not labeled as macholos assuros and therefore the chidush(new
law) of taam k'ikar(don't know how to translate) would not apply so the
pot would be permitted.  Similarly in our case of cholov stam where it's
not a question of machalos assuros the same idea would hold.  (another
similar case is by bishul akum is the pot assur).  Ari Shapiro


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 18:13 BST-1
Subject: Cut Throat Razors

I'd like to know what the Halochos are regarding the use by a
hairdresser (barber) of a cut throat razor in the following ways:-

1. Clearing away stubble from the back of the neck (and thus coming into
contact with the skin) below the position where the Kesher [knot] of the
Tefillah Shel Rosh is placed.

2. Running the razor over the top of the head to cut some hair off but
without the razor coming into contact with the skin.

My thanks in anticipation of anyone who can give me an answer.

Stephen Phillips


From: lehrer%<milcse@...> (Meir Lehrer)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 01:16:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Differences in Ashkenaz

>In general I have noticed, following the Rinat Yisrael siddurim, that
>Ashkanaz In Israel is like s'fared in NY, and S'fared in Israel is like
>Nusach Ha'ri (Chabad).

   One slight correction. S'fared in Israel, which in this case sounds
more like Nusach Hamizrach (Iraqi/Syrian) is like Nusach Ha'ri, but not
exactly.  There is a historical scism between Lubavich and the followers
of Nusach Hamizrach. Both say that they have the true Nusach Ha'ri, but
as the Ari Z"L was in Baghdad before coming to Eretz Yisrael, and not in
Russia... draw your own conclusions as to who has more first hand

Meir Lehrer  [Motorola Israel Ltd. Cellular Software Engineering]
(W): 03-5658422; (H): 03-6189322; Email: lehrer%<milcse@...>


From: <dana@...> (Noah Dana-Picard)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 12:36:10 -0400
Subject: Gemara on this weeks Parsha

 If you are interested in a nice interpretation of this week's paracha
(Shela'h lekha) , go to the Gemara Sota 34b.  The sugia begins with the
verse "veya'hperu lanu et haarets" (they shall explore for us the land)
and ends on 35a. There you can find all the modern (and less modern)
arguments against making aliya or building settlements on another
people's land; even the right to conquer the land of another people
(organized, democratic, ...) is discussed there.  And the consequence
the gemara discusses is interesting. Go and see.

Shabat shalom,

P.S. It is worth to read the Maharal on this sugia.
     People who read french can find a very good paper on this gemara in a 
     book by Emmanuel Levinas "Cinq lectures talmudiques").


From: <ASLAN7@...> (Doug Behrman)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 06:22:46 -0400
Subject: lesbianism in halacha

I believe there is some mention of lesbianism in the Talmud in mesechta
Yivamos. I am not sure which Amora (Rava?) was said to have frowned on
the practice of two women sleeping in the same bed because of what it
might lead to, and specifically forbade this practice amongst his own
daughters! ( it always amazed me that the daughters of an Amora would be
suspect of this, but I guess it just shows that nobody is above
temptation) As far as I know there was no specific Lav(prohibition)
involved, but it was frowned upon.

Doug Behrman


From: Maidi Katz <Katz+atwain%DEBEVOISE_&<_PLIMPTON@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 10:49 EST
Subject: Living Wills and Organ Transplants

I'd like to hear about the halakhic issues involved in living
wills and organ transplants, generally.  Also- what are the
differences between a halakhic living will and a "regular" one and
how significant are they?


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 12:41:58 -0400
Subject: Mi Shbeirach for non-Jew

Several years ago when Ella Grasso the governor of Connecticut was ill
the Rabbinical council of Connecticut asked the Rav ztzl for a Mi
shbeirach to be said on her behalf which he provided. It used her first
and last names with no ben or bat anyone. It began Mi shebeirach kol
bnei adam shene'emar ...then the verse describing Avraham praying for
Avimelech and his harem and continuing with a fairly standard request
for refuah with no mention of shabbat or Yom Tov. I make useof it to
this day in appropriate circumstances


From: Steve Wildstrom <swild@...>
Date: Thu, 02 Jun 94 09:12:12 EST
Subject: Re: On Time and Ethics

Regarding the posting of Jeff Korbman:

I think the answer depends in large part on the nature of your job. My
employer expects me to accomplish certain things. If I do what is
expected of me and have time left over to read MJ, that's OK. If I get
backed up and have to work until midnight, that's my problem. My output
is measured by output, not by my input of time. Many jobs are like this.
If, however, I was reading personal e-mail while customers went
unserved, I would indeed be cheating my employer.


From: <SZN2758@...> (Barak Moore)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 19:35:19 -0400
Subject: Personal Phone Calls

In my baal teshuva days, my life was in turmoil because I thought it was
a sin to drive 56 mph or to jaywalk. Taxes were a nightmare: do you
declare your $10 poker windfall as gambling income?

Although I cannot justify it with sources, my Rav has explained that
"there is no mitzva to be stupid." Society's laws are binding because of
their general acceptance. His rule of thumb is that a religious Jew
should use common sense and be more respectful of these kind of rules
than the average person.


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 09:29:56 EDT
Subject: Pesach in Winter

It is not true that Pesach will fall in the winter within the next 30-40
years.  The secular-Jewish dates correspond (within 1 day) every 19 years,
and at the present the earliest Pesach is March 27 (which was this year --
it corresponds to Rosh Hashana being on September 6th, which is the earliest
possible Rosh Hashana).  However, it is true that the Jewish calendar does
drift very slowly, and every 100-200 years, the Jewish Year gains on the
secular year.  Therefore, as the centuries drift on, we may see Pesach occur
more often in May, and then after several millenia, in June.  Shavuot will
be in July, and Succot (brrr) in November or December.  However, we expect
that the Moshiach will come and solve that problem well before that time.
The calendar was designed to last for 6000 years, and it has done quite well
up until now, and it could continue to do well for a the next one or two
thousand years before serious problems creep in.
A friend of mine once remarked that Rosh Hashana does not fall early this
year, rather, September falls late.

Jerrold Landau


From: Steven Friedell <friedell@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 94 22:28:52 EDT
Subject: Rambam re: Egypt and Israel

Sol Stokar has provided very valuable insight into the question that a
friend of mine asked if there was any basis in the Rambam for the common
story that the Rambam is supposed to have said that he committed a
transgression each day by not living in Israel.  The origin of this
appears to be the Kaftor va-Ferakh.  But even if the "testimony" of that
story were true, that is, even if the Rambam did sign his reponsa that
way--that each day he violated 3 negative commnads by living in
Egypt--what is the support for the view that he held it a transgression
not to live in Israel.  Egypt may be a special case--Los Angeles is
something else :-).  On the other hand, even if he did not violate a
negative commnad by not livnig in Israel, that doesn't mean that there
is no positive command to live there.  That is, the story from Kaftor
va-Ferakh, even if true, does not answer the question if the Rambam
considered it a mitzvah to live in Israel.


From: <ohayon@...> (Tsiel Ohayon)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 02:13:16 -0400
Subject: Request for Advice

A good friend of mine is about to marry a women who was converted by a
Conservative Rabbi who tilts towards Reform. She studied Judaism, 2
hours a week, with this Rabbi for about 8 months before going through
the conversion.  I don't doubt the sincerity of my friend's future wife
as she has been coming to shul on a regular basis and is keeping a
kosher kitchen.

However as:
I personally do not consider the conversion to be "hallachikly"
acceptable and my friend has asked me to recite a bracha at his sheva
brachot, I therefore find myself in an awkward position.

On one hand I do not want to shame or hurt him, on the other hand I
don't want to recite the bracha for nothing or to be seen as accepting
the conversion as such.

Any ideas on what should be done?


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 15:09:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Taharas Hamishpokhe

> know that reuven keeps kosher, I can eat at his house.Similarly, if I 
> know that reuven and his wife keep taharas ha mishpokhe, I can marry
> his offspring (assuming of course, that other restrictions are not in
> force).
> P.V. Viswanath, Rutgers University

Whoa....  A child of a couple that does not keep taharat hamishpacha is
*NOT* a mamzer [halachically illegitimate, one whom it is forbidden to
marry].  It is permissible to marry a child conceived by a niddah.  If
this were not the case, the troubles we have had the last few decades
reagrding Reform divorces etc. would be virtually moot - everyone would
be a mamzer anyway.  Please be careful about glibly mentioning halachot
about such weighty issues.

Kol tuv,
Gedalyah Berger


From: Ezra Rosenfeld <zomet@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 15:50:25 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Taharat HaMishpacha

I find the entire discussion about what makes someone frum a bit 
distasteful. It suggests that all Jews are to be considered in foul 
territory unless they prove themselves to be frum, a thought which I 
think goes against the fabric of a Torah based philosophy.

There is one particular point that I would like to make.

Meylekh Viswanath wrote "If I know that Reuven and his wife keep taharas
ha mishpokhe. I can marry his offspring." I have no doubt that this is
true. However, I have a feeling that Mr. Viswanath seems to think that the
converse is true, to which I take exception. If I am not mistaken, the
offspring is considered (in aggadic sources) as a "pagum"  (blemished),
which sort of suggests that such a person has a strike against him. I
remember no such prohibition in the Shulchan Aruch, however. I would 
imagine that aome other factors like the offspring being a Ben Torah with 
exemplary middot might serve to overcome this blemish.


End of Volume 13 Issue 47