Volume 13 Number 66
                       Produced: Mon Jun 20  7:02:10 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chalav Stam
         [Michael Broyde]
Flat Earth
         [Moshe Kahan]
Graven Images (v13n55)
         [Mark Steiner]
Ohr Somayach Electronic Newsletters
         [Sam Gamoran]
Separation of Church and State
         [Steve Wildstrom]
Wording pf Brachot
         [David Charlap]
Yosef and Bitachon
         [Daniel Friedman]


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 22:18:49 -0400
Subject: Chalav Stam

One of the writers on chalav stam mentioned that many other authorities
prior to Rav Moshe accepted that chalav stam was permitted and mentioned
Rav Aharon Soloveitchik.  In the next issue of Mesorah (the OU kashrus
magazine there will be an article by Rabbi Chaim Dov Jachter on the
posstion of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik concerning chalav stam, where it
is recounted that he too ruled permissivly.  Chazon Ish also ruled
permissively, it is recounted as did Rav Henkin, and Rav Leibes.  An
examination of the works of many non-chassidic torah authorities living
outside of Israel (where there is no need for this kulah) indicates
that the majority of those who discussed this question since the year
1920 rule permissively.


From: Moshe Kahan <kahan@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 19:06:55 -0400
Subject: Flat Earth

There have been a lot of statements in recent m-j's that the fact the world
was round was well known to the Amoraim as evidenced by the gemara in 
Avodah Zarah that a staute holding a ball is forbidden for it symbolizes
a ruler holdin the world in his hands. I would just like to point out 
that Tosafot there explains that "Kadur" as reminding one of the roundness
of the earth such as when Alexander of Mukdan went up, he saw the world 
below as a "kadur" and the ocean it as a "kearah" (bowl). The question is 
what does the Yerushalmi say that Alexander see. Did he indeed rise up 
high enough to see that the world was spherical but then how does the 
ocean become a bowl? Another question is what is Tosafot doing here to 
begin with, why does he have to explain what a ball implies?
	It is possible that Tosafot at least understood the gemara to be 
referring not to a sphere but perhaps a circle, thus explaining why he 
has to come out and explain ball as "SheHaolam Agul" that the world is
round (but not spherical) And that Alexander went up and saw a round
2-dimensional plane with the ocean surronding it as a bowl. Now everyone 
is going to ask why am I going so far as to change  everything around 
when it all made sense the opposite way. Simply because while the gemara 
in Avodah Zoroh seems to imply that the Amoraim knew the world was around 
there are too many gemaras elsewhere that talk about it from a tottally 
different view. Gemara in Taanis talk about the world being surronded as 
a circle by this one body of water called Oceanis. In Baba Batra a story 
is told by Rabba bar bar Hana of how he went to where the sky meets the 
earth. Rashi explains that this is not the ends of the Earth but rather 
ocurred at a tall mountain top (This must be assuming a flat Earth with a 
dome over it that extended from one end to another). Furthermore there is 
a gemara in Pesahim that states one view  that during the day the sun 
travels under the sky and at night over the sky. In addition we see from 
here the gemara did not conceive of different time zones with night 
occuurring at different places at different times which would be in 
agreement with a flat earth model.
	There are many questions and difficulties that I myself admit 
have very little grasp of. I do know that a blanket statement that the 
Amoraim knew the world is round if true needs more support and 
analysis. In addition I also rmember gemaras in Rosh Hashan talking about 
the sun going from one end to another also implying that the world was 
flat. I have looked at "Torah and Science" by Judah Landa who goes into 
depth about these subjects (and would be a good source sheet for anyone 
wanting to look up these gemaras) but his basic conclusion is that the 
Amoraim didn't know that the world is round. If someone can enlighten me 
about these gemaras please do. (Specifically Pesahim 94b, Baba Batra 74a) 
Moshe Kahan


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 17:07:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Graven Images (v13n55)

	In answer to Jerrold Landau's questions, I have just finished a
long Hebrew article on the subject of photographs, which I am willing to
send (within limits) to those interested.
	Here are some highlights:
 1.	The prohibition of making images according to the Bavli is not
from the Ten Commandments (which refers only to making images for the
purpose of worshiping them) but from the verse at the end of Yithro, lo
ta`asoon iti elohei kesef...
 2.	Images of human beings, if 3 dimensional, are forbidden to be
made.  This is considered Biblical law.
 3.	Flat images are permitted to be made by the poskim, but there
are a number of great rishonim (Ramban, Raavad, Ran) and perhaps the
Vilna Gaon who say there is no difference between 3 and 2 dimensional
images.  Hence the chumra definitely has a basis in halakha.  In my
article, I show that this position is better supported by the sugya in
Tractate A. Z.  in fact than the accepted opinion, which is to be
lenient in the case of 2-dimensional human figures.
 4.	Images of animals are permitted to be made.
 5.	Images of sun, moon, and stars, are forbidden to be made
including 2-dimensional images.  (Rambam, Tos.)  Angels cannot be made.
All of the above has to do with images made for decorative purposes, not
for the study (say) of astronomy, anatomy, etc., about which I say
nothing here.
 6.	To keep a 3 dimensional image made by others may be forbidden
even if the image is an animal because of mar'ith `ayin (you may be
accused of worshiping the animal).
 7.	There are various extenuating circumstances for 6.
 8.	The Maharam Rotenberg forbids keeping human or angelic figures
even if made by others.  This he says is a Biblical prohibition,
deriving from the same verse (lo taasoon...lo taasoo) at the end of
Yithro.  This Biblical prohibition does not apply to figures of the sun
and moon, however.  Although this opinion is a minority opinion, it is
quoted approvingly by the Ran and I think the Vilna Gaon as well.
 9.	The Rosh makes a distinction between a full figure and the head
only, permitting the latter.
 10.	All of these opinions concern the decorative arts, not where
there is question of idolatry, where different rules apply.  Hence the
question of Eskimo art cannot be decided from the above.

The sources for the above ideas will be found in Mas. Avoda Zara, 43a
ff, and the Rishonim I mentioned.  The Rambam by the way says in Hilchot
Melakhim that any image forbiddent to be made by a Jew is also forbidden
to be made by a gentile, which has implications for asking the latter to
make an image.

I repeat that a number of the opinions I quoted above are minority
opinions and contradict the Shulhan Arukh and / or Rema, but are bona
fide "humrot" insofar as they are opinions on Biblical (de-orayta)
matters held by the greatest rishonim.

Mark Steiner


From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 00:51:49 -0400
Subject: Ohr Somayach Electronic Newsletters

I have been approached by someone working on behalf of the Ohr Somayach
Yeshiva in Jerusalem.  [I personally am not affiliated but I'm happy
to collect responses to this question and pass them back.]

The Office of Communications Computer Department at Ohr Somayach publishes
4 newslists:
Torah Weekly: Summary & Divrei Torah on Parsha for Beginners.
Parsha Questions and Answers - including Rashi, for all levels
Ask the Rabbi: General and Personal replies.
Weekly Daf: Insights of Halacha and Aggadata on the Daf Yomi [daily
Talmud page] 

and there are several new lists planned.

The Yeshiva would like to get some feedback as to the 'usefulness' and
interest level in their newsletters.  They have raw statistics on
subscriptions, cancellations, and e-mail locations from the jerusalem1
listserver but they are looking for input from recipients.

If there are any M-Jers who subscribe to these lists, they'd like to hear
from you.  You can send comments to me and I'll pass them on.

The direct e-mail address for Ohr Somayach is <newman@...>

Sam Gamoran


From: Steve Wildstrom <swild@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 94 12:13:58 EST
Subject: Separation of Church and State

 Ira Rosen <irosen@...> writes: 

> Though the pragmatic argument still wins in most cases (government
> closed on Christmas, NY schools on high holidays also) the trend in
> the US towards the increased inclusion of religion (read, yet again:
> Christianity) makes me nervous. The president has every right to light
> up a tree celebrating his holiday, but it annoys me that a tiny
> portion of my donation to the IRS paid for it (let an outside group
> fund it as Chabad does for the Menorah - or will someone tell me it is
> already funded by a group other than the gov't?).

     The so-called "national Christmas tree" is indeed donated by an 
     outside group--I think it's the American Forest Products Assn. I don't 
     know who pays for the decorations in the White House itself though. 
     Generally, U.S. courts have held that public expenditures for 
     Christmas decorations is OK as long is there is no explicit religious 
     symbolism. So fir ropes and wreaths are legally permitted, but a 
     creche is not.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 94 13:47:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Wording pf Brachot

Moishe Kimelman <kimel@...>
>Isn't this begging the question?  Why don't we say al hanachat t'fillin, 
>al levishat tzitzit, al asiyat eiruv?

These mitzvot are all passive use of an object.  You put on the
t'fillin, wear the tzitzit, and an eiruv is only assembled once
(unless it breaks).  You aren't performing any action from the time
after you finish wearing/building the object until you're done with
them.  Hence the passive bracha - al mitzvat ...

>Conversely why don't we say al mitzvat megillah, al mitzvat matzah,
>al mitzvat shechitah?

These mitzvot are active.  You are actively reading the megillah the
entire time the bracha is in effect.  Similarly for the matzah - you
are eating it for 8 days.  And for shechitah - it's a complicated
procedure that requires constant attention the entire time.

These active mitzvot get an active bracha.

Additionally, there is no mitzva involved in the mere objects involved
here.  Matzah is nothing to make a bracha over unless you actively eat
it on Pesach, similarly for the others.

With the "passive" ones, yes there is no mitzva unless you use the
object, but the use doesn't require any particular action once begun.


From: <TXDANIEL@...> (Daniel Friedman)
Date: 13 Jun 94 15:24:23 EDT
Subject: Yosef and Bitachon

Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...> writes:
>Yosef is not faulted for asking the help of his cellmate.  We are
>supposed to be active.  But Yosef was on such an advanced level of
>bitachon, that the amount of effort he put in was perhaps beneath
>him.  He should have enlisted the aid that he did.  But knowing how
>Hashem stood behind him, he should not have felt a heightened sense
>of expectation of release that he did.

And Art Kamlet <ask@...> replies:
>The Torah teaches us how to behave, how to act in given circumstances.
>If this were you or I, instead of Joseph, what evidence would we have
>that G-d would release us soon?  Would release us without our trying to
>help ourselves?
>The next time I find myself in a bad situation, how do I know how much
>to help myself and how much to sit back, do nothing, and hope G-d will
>work things out?
>This is why I'm trying to understand how or where Joseph had been given
>any reason to think G-d expected him to sit back, relax, take no action
>himself, and that his reward would be that G-d would release him early.

I've been watching this discussion go on for a while now without
comment, but these latest remarks reminded me of a drasha the rav of my
shul gave a few weeks ago, when there was a situation of some girls from
Brooklyn who got lost in the woods. Most of them found their way out the
same day, but one remained lost for a few days. When she was found, she
was saying tehillim (or davening) and supposedly did not respond to the
calls that the searchers were making because she did not want to be

This got a lot of attention because we all know that she could certainly
be mafsik in order to save her life. But the rav here said that the mind
of a child with true bitachon does not work that way.

In short, he said that in her mind, it was her davening that was
bringing the rescuers, and being mafsik in the tefillos would not make
sense to her because she would be interrupting the *real* thing that was
bringing about her rescue.

Therefore, I would answer Art that when you are in a "bad situation",
your actions are a reflection of your bitachon, more than the other way
around. Don't try to figure out a formula for how much action to take
vs. how much davening to do.


End of Volume 13 Issue 66