Volume 13 Number 50
                       Produced: Sun Jun  5  8:57:20 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bat Kol
         [Michael E Allen]
Fossils to Confuse
         [Rabbi Freundel]
Jules Reichel's response to Aryeh & Chumrot
         [Aryeh Blaut]
         [Eli Turkel]
Maggots and microscopes
         [Warren Burstein]
New book: "Friday night and beyond"
         [Bruce Krulwich]
Personal phone calls
         [Eric Safern]
Shabbos, Kashrus, and Taharas Hamishpachah
         ["Hillel E. Markowitz"]
Suggestions Regarding Gift
         [Meylekh Viswanath]


From: <allenme@...> (Michael E Allen)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 09:16:27 -0400
Subject: Bat Kol

In response to a post by  <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver) on "Codes'
information content"  on m.j v13 #46.  Mike said:
>> But Sam's argument does raise another point. I said the codes should be
>> considered like a bat kol. But why is it that we accept halacha from
>> Matan Torah, but not from a bat kol, or from any other minor event that
>> appears supernatural? What is it about Matan Torah that makes it
>> qualitatively different?

The difference is that 2-3 million of our direct ancestors all witnessed
Matan Torah and *themselves* experienced n'vu'ah ("prophecy").  In fact,
according to the midrash, the neshamos ("souls") of all Jews of all
times (even those who would convert to Judaism during their life in this
world) were all at Matan Torah.  No miracle -- including kri'as yam suf
(splitting the sea) -- has ever impressed the Jews enough to make them
100% believers.  It was only the personal experience of contact with The
Creator that could do that.  This point is explained in some detail and
with references in a paper I have entitled "Torah From Sinai", by R'
Israel Chait.  I would be happy to forward the paper to anyone who wants
it.  I have it available in tex, ps, and poa (plain old ascii) formats.

Michael E. Allen


From: <Dialectic@...> (Rabbi Freundel)
Date: Mon, 30 May 1994 16:44:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Fossils to Confuse

The claim that fossils were put here to confuse was made by the
Lubavitcher Rebbe. The article is reprinted in an Aojs volume called


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 03:04:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Jules Reichel's response to Aryeh & Chumrot

>From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel) (v13n44) 
>The strange case of Aryeh's daughter's pre-school teacher's pants should
>further help to clarify the trouble with chumrot. The child asks if the
>teacher is Jewish when the teacher wears clothes which are marginal to
>Aryeh (or maybe unacceptable, it doesn't matter). One would think that
>he would say that "who is a Jew" is not determined by attire.

I would NOT say that "who is a Jew" is determined by attire.  There is a
halachic determination to answer this question (born of a Jewish mother
or converted by a proper beis din/beit din/Jewish court).

> But he feels trapped. If he says that attire is optional, then he's worried
>that his concept of modesty will be viewed by his daughter as just one
>of dad's oddities. If he says that the teacher disregards the law, he's
>weakened the relationship with the teacher for no good reason, and he'd
>feel uncomfortable asserting that he knows that the law has been broken,
>just as he feels a little uncomfortable reporting his answer to the

Let's not jump to these type of statements, please!  In no way did I nor
do I feel trapped.  My daughters certainly do not see our religious life
as being odd. They do not see the things that I do as being odd. (I
would venture to say that because they see consistancy to do the Will of
Hashem in our household -- at least I hope that they see this.)  The
teacher was a general studies teacher, therefore, her religion played no
part in my daughter's relationship with the teacher.  She did use a
number of Torah objects and subjects in her teaching as well as some
Hebrew in her classroom.  The reason that I didn't print my answer to
her was that it didn't seem relevant.  If knowing my answer is so
important: I answered her that she was not observing the halacha (at
least not according to the poskim I have learned with).

>I was startled that he felt obligated to assess women wearing
>pants BEFORE he told his daughter HIS view of who is a Jew. That's what
>she asked.

I didn't save a copy of my original post.  I seem to remember saying to
her (and printing) "...of coarse she is Jewish, why do you ask?  She
answered because she had pants on.."  Again, I do not go by MY view of
who is a Jew, I go by halacha.

>Chumrot seem to inevitably generate hostility.

This statement does not follow anything from what I said.  My wife & I
felt no different towards the teriffic teacher that my daughter had that
year, my daughter felt (as far as I could tell) no difference towards
her teacher.



From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 94 16:52:54 +0300
Subject: kim-li

     I was asked by some people to explain the concept of "kim li".
While it is somewhat complicated I will give a short explanation.
According to the Gemara the one who is holding onto property "muchzak"
is presumed to be in the right and the other party meeds to bring proof
to take the property away ("ha-motzi me-chveroh alav ha-rayah"). Thus,
whenever there is a doubt the muchzak wins (there are millions of details
which time and space prevent me from going into). In general whenever
there is an argument in the Gemara there is a final psak and we ignore
the opposing opinions. In a few cases the Gemara says that the muchzak
can claim "kim-li", i.e. he holds like one of the opinions and as the
muchzak he wins.
     This concept has been dramatically expanded by achronim. Basically
any disagreement occuring after the Shulchan Arukh is considered as
not being decided (for monetary matters). Hence, if the muchzak can find
one (or possibly two) major opionions that support his side then he
wins no matter how many poskim are on the other side. The judges do not
have the right to say that in their opinion one set of opinions are
more persuasive then others.
     Thus, if the concensus of opinions of modern poskim is that a
certain psak of the "Shach" is not correct it is meaningless and the
muchzak can state "kim li" like the Shach against all other opinions.



From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 06:45:51 GMT
Subject: Re: Maggots and microscopes

Micha Berger writes:

>The idea was to apply a principle already in halachic use to permit the
>consumption of microscopic organisms that lack the proper signs for
>kashrus (or, to answer Warren Burstein's question (v13n33) kill them on

I'm still in the dark.  What's the answer to my question?

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


From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 14:40:53 -0400
Subject: New book: "Friday night and beyond"

A cousin in-law of mine just published a book that fills a big gap in
introductory books to Judaism: a book about Shabbos that merges
feelings, philosophies, and halachos in a manner that's very accessable
to irreligious Jews.  One of the bookstores in town has been selling out
of them since it was published.  It's called "Friday night and beyond,"
written by Lori Palatnick.  Anyone who wants a book to recommend to
people starting to investigate Jewish practice should take a look at it.



From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 09:53:23 -0400
Subject: Personal phone calls

> > For example, I once worked in a company where official
> > policy was that one could not make personal phone calls.  However,
> > pretty much everyone including management did.  I asked Rav Heineman if
> > I am allowed to make personal calls (of course withing reason - one or
> > two locals calls home aday).  He said that its OK to make the calls,
> > since that is the accepted behaviour in the office.
> Unbelievable!  So what the rabbi is saying is that a proponderance of
> wrongs make a right.  If enough people do things against the law, then
> it's O.K. for you to do so, as well.
> I remember hearing that one is supposed to follow the law of the
> land--provided it doesn't contradict halacha.  So bringing up another
> topic I've seen mentioned recently--speeding--I guess the rabbi would
> probably also agree that it's O.K. to speed since it's the general
> accepted practice.
> None of us is perfect.  We all do things we shouldn't do.  But we
> shouldn't justify doing these things based on how others are behaving.
> If Judaism is a religion of absolute truth, then in assessing what we
> should be doing, we should ignore what others are doing.  Otherwise...
> you might as well give it up entirely--after all, it's only a small
> percentage of Jews that keep the majority of the mitzvot, or even just
> Shabbat or kashrut.
> Chuck

It seems I was mechavein to Rav Heineman!  I'm excited!

The point, I believe, is *not* that "everyone violates Shabbat, so it
must be O.K."  Rather, "everyone speeds, so it must be O.K."

Judaism *is* a religion of absolute truth.  U.S. law is *not*.

Only Hashem (and Chazal, as empowered by Hashem) has the power to
legislate morality.  If Hashem forbids something, it's forbidden - even
if everyone else does it.  Not so for laws written by men.

Having said that, I should also mention that R' Heineman is a *very*
respected posek.  If you have a problem with his psak, perhaps you
should try to ask him about it before attacking him in a public forum.

Anyway, if a law is 'on the books,' but not enforced, everyone seems to
agree we can safely ignore it.  So if Congress enacts a certain tax, but
the IRS issues an 'opinion' that they will not collect this tax (for
whatever reason) you would be pretty silly to send the money in anyway.

In the same way, perhaps, suppose a law is passed 'cynically' - meaning
the lawmakers know it will be ignored, but pass it for other reasons
('making a statement about Law and Order').  If everyone ignores it, why
should the Jews be the only ones paying attention?

For example, imagine the old U.S.S.R. - where it was illegal to
criticize the Communist Party.  Were the Refuseniks over (violating) a
lav (negative commandment)?  I don't think so!

So R' Heineman, as I understand him, says if the office managers create
a policy, and then ignore that policy, we can ignore it too!  Of course,
if they enforce the policy, we can't deceive them - that would be
geneiva (theft).

However, it is difficult to draw parallels to Dina DeMalchuta Dina here.

R' Heineman is paskening employee/employer halacha, which the gemara
says is controlled by local customs.  This means the employer cannot
require employees to, for example, work longer than the 'standard
contract' requires, (unless he arranges it beforehand?)  I don't believe
such restrictions are placed on malchut (governments) - they can do
whatever they want, I believe, as long as it's not directly prohibited
by halacha.

That *still* doesn't mean we have to obey the government's laws, does it?

Does anyone have any suggestions?


From: "Hillel E. Markowitz" <HEM@...>
Date: Sat, 04 Jun 1994 23:01:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shabbos, Kashrus, and Taharas Hamishpachah

>From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
>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".

I would say that the reason people don't pick these as "frumkeit"
standards is because they are assumed to be "Menchlikeit" [normal "good"
people] standards.  That is, it is what one expects from bnei noach,
nonreligious Jews, etc.

The question being raised is what does one think of *over and above* the
"normal" bain adam lechaveiro [interpersonal] standards when one hears
the term "frum".


From: Meylekh Viswanath <PVISWANA@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Jun 1994 12:15:34 -0400
Subject: Suggestions Regarding Gift

One of the rabbis that I have been learning with, is moving away, and 
my khevruse and I would like to give him a gift.  I would like to give him 
a book, preferably one that would bring secular/scientific methods to 
bear on torah matters, e.g. a discussion of origins/reliability of various 
manuscripts that are used by poskim.  But, please don't consider this 
example as a restriction of subject matter.  We have a budget of about 
$200.  Thanks.

P.V. Viswanath, Rutgers University
Graduate School of Management, 92 New St, Newark NJ 07102
Tel: (201) 648-5899  Fax: (201) 648-1459  email: <pviswana@...>


End of Volume 13 Issue 50