Volume 13 Number 59
                       Produced: Wed Jun 15 17:21:41 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

`Aguno$h [deserted wives]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Advice on a bracha at the wedding of a Conservative Convert
         [Jules Reichel]
Alcohol and drugs
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Broken Noses (2)
         [Nathan Katz, Shalom Krischer]
Halakhic Legitimacy of Academic Research
         [Jeff Woolf]
Lashon Harah
         [Michael Broyde]
request for advice
         [Winston Weilheimer]
Seeking Advice
         [Jeff Korbman]
Sheva Berachot and conservative conversion
         [Reuven Cohn]
What "rov" means
         [Mitchel Berger]


From: eisenbrg%<milcse@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 01:50:23 -0400
Subject: `Aguno$h [deserted wives]

Transliteration used: ' b g d h w z x t y k l m n s ` p c q r sh $
(If any of b,g,d,k,f,$ has no daghesh, it is followd by 'h')

To avoid this problem, why has the following not been instituted?

When a couple gets married, at the same time that the ketubbah is given, a
"get" [writ of divorce] should be given with the following statement:

This will be your "get" after I leave and don't return or contact you
(by mail or phone) for X months.


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 13:24:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Advice on a bracha at the wedding of a Conservative Convert

Tsiel should remember that he was not asked an halachic inquiry. Don't give
a ruling. If you believe that the bracha is valid halacha, and you know in
this case that it is, then surely say it. "Hasten to perform the easiest
mitzvah". These people are your friends. 


From: Arnie Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Jun 1994 22:07:05 -0400
Subject: Alcohol and drugs

Rabbi Freundel wrote:

> There is no alcohol culture comparable to the drug culture. No one things
> it gives one a new and better perspective on reality to get drunk. Everyone
> understands that someone who needs a drink to get comfortable every time he
> goes to a party has a problem. Substitute joint for drink and some people
> think its cool.

There certainly is an alcohol culture.  It is quite different from the
1960's "counterculture" associated with marijuana and hallucinogens but
is similar to the drug culture of heroin and cocaine users in inner
cities in the US.  It involves people, mostly men, who spend most of
their free time in bars drinking and sharing a social life of sorts with
others who do the same.  It is frequently depicted in literature and
movies.  See, for example, Eugene O'Neill's "Long Days Journey Into
Night" or the movie "Ironweed" (if I remember the name correctly).

Arnie Kuzmack


From: Nathan Katz <NKATZ@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 15:02:19 -0400
Subject: Broken Noses

I think Shmuel Weinberg may be right about noses broken off Roman
statues.  When Muslims conquered then-Buddhist Afghanistan, they most
often cut the faces off statues, often destroyed statues utterly, and
sometimes cut off the nose. --Nathan Katz (FIU-Miami/
<KATZN@...> )

From: Shalom Krischer <PGMSRK@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 15:43:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Broken Noses

On Thu, 2 Jun 1994 00:41:42 -0400 Shmuel Weidberg said:
>As an aside: I was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (in NY) and noticed
>all the statues without noses. The standard explanation given for this
>is that noses are delicate and over time they are the most likely part
>to break off. It occurred to me that perhaps all these statues were
>avodah zorahs and the noses were broken off to nullify them. This would
>fit in even better with the Roman statues as it is well known that there
>was a period of time when it was very popular for Romans to convert to
>Judaism. As a result before they converted they broke all their idols.
>What do you think?

Interesting thought!  Personally, I prefer the standard explanation.  If
these romans (or anyone else, for that matter) had converted, I would
expect them to turn any avodah zara into gravel!  We are not permitted
to have any Hanahah (sp?) (Pleasure) from avoda zarut, and even breaking
off their noses would not "Nullify" that prohibition!


From: <F12043@...> (Jeff Woolf)
Date: Wed, 8 Jun 1994 09:38:37 -0400
Subject: Halakhic Legitimacy of Academic Research

I've been following the intense discussion over the Halakhic legitimacy
of academic research with much fascination, but needed alot of time to
pull my thoughts together. So while the subject may have retired to the
background, I'd still like to add my opinion to those already expressed.
    I take my view on the subject from Maimonides. I firmly believe that
not only is the act of bringing the full weight of knowledge to bear on
the study of Torah allowed, it is essential. Indeed, without it the act
of Talmud Torah is lacking a serious component. Academic study of
Judaism, when accompanied by an a priori commitment to Shmirat Mitzvot
and Yirat Shamayim (not in that order), only enhances Talmud Torah.
Indeed, in many ways true, accurate Talmud Torah is impossible without
it (and I speak as a member of a Talmud Department who specializes in
the History of Halakha and Halakhic Literature). I am not here trying to
throw stones at other visions of Torah, only giving my own.
    As for Hayyim Hendeles' hysterical comment about 'Publish or
Perish'....Well, he only shows how little he knows about academia. As it
happens, Israel is far more extreme in is academic demands to publish
than universities in the US and Canada. That does not mean academics are
sloppy, dishonest or worse. It means they work hard, put out tons of
ideas and understand that their ideas will be subject to ongoing
development and Peer Review, all in an attempt to reach truth. Can
scholarship be misused? Sure. But so can learning (as when a maggid
shiur comes in unprepared or publishes an article in an area in which
few are knowledgeable).
     Critical Scholarship undertaken by committed religious people whose
observance and traditional learning is a given fact constitutes a
terrible threat to those who dismiss academia as heretical or worse
(Much as Modern Orthodoxy threatens the Haredi World far more than the
secular Jewish World does). Thus, there is special venom in the
seemingly innocent (though clearly agenda based) comment which started
this thread. At the same time, the de facto alliance between Haredi
Research Institutes (such as Machon Yerushalayim) and academia, shows
that in responsible Haredi circles the legitimacy of our enterprise is
an establi shed fact.
                     Jeffrey R. Woolf
                    Department of Talmud
                     Bar Ilan University


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 00:06:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Lashon Harah

One of the writers concerning the rules of lashon hara implied that it
was never permissible to repeat things about a person that others need
to know unless the person recounting them knows them to be true.  To the
best of my knowlegde, there is no requirement of knowledge of
truthfullness to repeat information that a person is entitled to know;
relaible heresay may be repeated; see Cheftz Chaim Lashon Hara 10:1-17
and REchelut 9:1-18 Indeed, this can be clearly seen from niddah 61a and
the incidenct concerning Gedalya.  Of course, all the other conditions
needed to repeat such information must be presnt (They are, no
exageration, sincere motivation, least damaging means, no unneeded
repetition, and serious contemplation.)


From: <TAXRELIEF@...> (Winston Weilheimer)
Date: Tue, 7 Jun 1994 19:58:37 -0400
Subject: Re: request for advice

I would suggest that you go to your friend and have an open discussion
with him stating that you appreciate the honor being bestowed on you but
for the following reasons you are unable to accept *but* that you do
resprect his future wife for what she has done.  It is just that *you*
can not perform the bracha without violating your convictions and that
you would hope that he would understand and respect your feelings as a


From: Jeff Korbman <KORBMANJ@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 14:02:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Seeking Advice

Yes sir e Bob, there's nothing like a good wedding to bring out every
point of tension and anxiety among friends and family (but as long as
they serve those little hot dogs it's all o.k.)

Your concern is very real, saying a bracha l'vatolah ain't no joke.  I'm
not sure if you asked your rabbi or not yet what to do (as this is a
classic type of pulpit rabbi question) but here's an option:

You really cherish your friendship.  You're happy for him (?) and would
love to participate in the wedding.......could you give the toast(sp?)
during the meal?  In other words, can you find a secular role in the
wedding that would come across as genuine interest in participating
while avoiding the touchy religious stuff that might offend them.  I'm
assuming that he knows that you know Hebrew, so you can't bluff that;
and I also assume that if simply asked to be a witness to the State
marriage license he would pick up on your reluctancy about the whole

Personally, I've been in similar situaions and have come to belive that
personal (religious) integrity is what is most important.  After all,
you have to be able to sleep with yourself at night and, conversely, if
he's a true friend, he should be able to understand and respect that -
he may not agree (obviously), but as a friend, you deserve that respect.


From: Reuven Cohn <ReuvenC@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 23:19:02 -0400
Subject: Sheva Berachot and conservative conversion

Tsiel Ohayon raises a question about a woman who was converted by a
conservative rabbi.  He assumes that this conversion has no halachic
validity, which leads him to a specific question about reciting 'sheva

I have not looked into sources that would shed light on the issue of
conservative conversions.  What I would like to bring to the discussion
is a vivid memory that I have from my childhood.  It was one of numerous
discussions that my late father would have with Rav Soloveitchik as they
walked home from shul every shabbos, often with several other people
from shul, including our longtime teacher at Maimonides, Rabbi
Wohlgemuth, yibadel le'chaim.  The Rov was always engaging, witty,
relaxed during those walks.  The particular phrase that stuck in my mind
from one particular conversation was the Rov saying that there was no
question in his mind that conversions done by conservative rabbis were
valid from a halachik point of view.

The reason that this incident stands out in my mind is because of the
continuation of the Rov's statement that he said so dramatically that I
can still hear his intonation-- "but I will never allow them to be
accepted in Israel."

I never inquired as to what the Rov meant by this statement.  I was
after all just a kid tagging along.  As I remembered this scene over the
years, I have assumed that the Rov meant that if a conservative rabbi
follows the requirements of a halachic conversion, it would be a valid
conversion, but that the Rov would not allow his own view on this matter
to be used in the political battle in Israel to legitimize a
conservative rabbinate.

I appreciate that a memory of a discussion in which I was merely a kid
in awe of his elders cannot be the last word, but I think that it may
have some relevence to the issue.

Reuven Cohn


From: Mitchel Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jun 1994 21:56:27 -0400
Subject: What "rov" means

Dr Moshe Koppel writes:
> Perhaps this is what Rav Shimon Shkop means (beginning shaar gimel) when he
> says that rik is only a hakhra'a (second-order decision method) since 
> the other result is regarded as possible, whereas rlk is a birur (means 
> of ascertaining the facts) since once it becomes an accepted 'law' it is
> presumed to always hold.

Rl"k is not an accepted law, since that's to be the role of chazakah.
Chazakah disvarah, for example 
	ein adam chotei vilo lo
	a person doesn't sin with nother to gain for it for himself
describes a law of human nature.

R. Dovid Lifshitz (Chulin, shi'ur 22, part 1) distinguishes between the
two types of rov:
	... by ruba d'laisa kaman there is no evidence (mitzi'us)
	that is outside of the majority, it is only reason.
It seems that R. Shimon Shkop's student defines a ri"k as one that also has
evidence to the contrary, and rl"k doesn't.

> As for 'Boolean weight' the definition is as follows:
> Let B(p1,p2,...,pn) be a Boolean function in the propositions p1,..,pn.
> Suppose that the full disjunctive normal form of B includes exactly m
> disjuncts.

As I pointed out to Moshe in private e-mail, disjunctive normal form -
or any normalization - can only be done if our logic system has an
algebra that offers every expression an equivalent normalization. Since,
as I wrote earlier, I don't think the system allows for distribution, I
don't think we can normalize everything.


End of Volume 13 Issue 59