Volume 13 Number 85
                       Produced: Fri Jul  1 13:51:49 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Mike Gerver]
         [Moishe Halibard]
Brain Death Exam
         [Ed Bruckstein]
Brain Death Exam (v13n79)
         [Hillel Steiner]
explaining shabbat and yom tov to potential employers
         [witkin avi]
Inherited sin
         [Anthony Fiorino]
         [Eli Turkel]
Mikvah and Ben Niddah
         [Michael Broyde]
Pesach in Winter
         [Ari Shapiro]
The Rebbe
         [Cheryl Hall]


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 3:05:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Astrology

There is not much to add to Mechy Frankel's excellent summary of Jewish
attitudes toward astrology in v13n60. But I would like to add a
historical footnote to a point made by Barry Freundel in v13n51, where
he points out that in midrash, it is generally assumed that astrology is
valid in principle as a way of predicting events, but that some detail
is always misinterpreted, which makes it useless in practice.

This idea that astrology might be valid in principle, but useless in
practice, was also expressed by a non-Jewish medieval scholar, Nicole
Oresme (1325-1382 CE), but his reasons were purely mathematical. His
argument was based on a theory of planetary motion developed a few years
earlier by the English mathematician Thomas Bradwardine, based on a
misinterpretation of a statement by Aristotle. Aristotle had stated that
the velocity of a body is proportional to the force divided by the
resistance (what we would call viscous friction), and said, as an
example, that if you double the ratio of force to resistance, then the
velocity would double. In the mathematical jargon of the 14th century,
people spoke of "adding ratios" when they meant multiplying, and
"doubling ratios" when they meant squaring, but when they spoke of
numbers, as opposed to ratios, they used "adding" and "doubling" in the
usual sense. Thus Bradwardine interpreted Artistotle's statement to mean
that when you square the ratio of force to resistance, then you double
the velocity.  Oresme realized that this meant the velocity is
proportional to the logarithm of the ratio of force to resistance, even
though logarithms hadn't really been invented yet. Assuming that the
forces acting on the different planets would be rational multiples of
each other, and the resistance was constant, it seemed likely that the
velocities would be irrational multiples of each other, since logarithms
of rational numbers are in general irrational. It then followed that if
two planets started out in certain positions at a given time, they would
never again be in exactly those positions at the same time. He concluded
that astrology was useless for predicting the future. (See "Science in
the Middle Ages," David C. Lindberg, ed., University of Chicago Press,
1978, p. 224-230.)

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Moishe Halibard <zcapj36@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 94 12:37:42 +0100
Subject: Ben-Niddah

Susan Sterngold has mentioned that a ben-niddah may not be marriageable
to certain people. This is discussed in Kehilot-Yaakov( by Rabbi
Y.Y.Kanievsky) at the end of either Yevamot or Ketubot , and dissmissed
out of hand. Not only is there no suggestion anywhere that the 'pegam'
is hereditary, it only is supposed to make self-dicipline more
difficult. If the ben-niddah has evidently managed to tame his 'pogum'
middot (why else would you want to marry him anyway !) there ought to be
no problem in marrying him.  Putting aside emotions, lehalachah a
bat-niddah is even kosher to marry a Kohen-Gadol.  

Moishe Halibard


From: Ed Bruckstein <bruckstn@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 11:54:52 -0400
Subject: Brain Death Exam

I believe that one topic that pretty much all of the respondents to date
missed is that one may not touch/move a "goses" (an individual close to
death), lest one shorten his life by even a few seconds.

Doing a brain death exam may fall into this category.

I recall the controversy several years ago when Agudath Israel of
America issued its Halachic living will and compared it to that
available from the RCA (prepared by Rabbi Tendler).  There was a series
of articles in the Jewish Observer going back and forth between the
Aguda and Rabbi Tendler on the permissability of testing for brain
death.  (I'm sorry, I don't keep back issues of the Jewish Observer that
long, so I can't find the specific reference.  If someone on M-J has
back issues, I'd appreciate the exact reference.)

From: Hillel Steiner <HSTEINER@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 1994 05:51:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Brain Death Exam (v13n79)

Several contributors have written that preforming tests for brain death
are just innocuos laboratory exams, even according to those who reject
lack of brain function as criteria for death.

In Nishmat Avraham vol. 4, pp. 133- some of those opinions who dissent
from "brain death" are discussed and it is clear that Rav Elyashiv,
among others, classify patients that are brain dead as being a Goseis
("dying") who may only be touched for therapeutic purposes- any other
purpose may possibly be equivalent to "spilling of blood" in the words
of the Braisa, Rambam and Shulchan Aruch. S

Needless to say, noxious stimuli, BERA and apnea tests are far from
being therapeutic. In fact, Rav Elyashiv would not allow a caesarean to
be preformed on a pregnant women who was brain dead in order to save the
fetus. Two years ago, Rav S.Z. Auerbach reversed his initial decision to
allow a caesarean to be done in such a circumstance, and if such a case
would arise today he would have to be asked directly.

The gravity of the issue surrounding brain death, which has severe
implications of murder on one hand but saving other lives by transplants
and allocation of resources in the ICU makes Sheryl's situation a very
tough one, given the differing opinions on the matter today.

Hillel Steiner


From: witkin avi <msavi@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 1994 10:10:39 +0300 (WET)
Subject: explaining shabbat and yom tov to potential employers

my experience and it seems that my friends who i have spoken to have had 
the same experience. unfortunately, it seems that non jews are more 
understanding about shabbat and yom tov than jewish employers are. i know 
several people whose employers have been jews. also i know people who have 
worked in certain departments in yeshiva university. they were told you 
need an hour to get home then leave an hour and fifteen minutes before 
shabbat. it is a little sickening. also my experience with non-jewish 
employers have been that they know there are jewish holidays and they 
know fridays especially in the winter is a problem. i would mention it 
but not overemphasize it.


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 1994 11:07:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Inherited sin

The question of why children inherit the sin of their parents in the
case of mamzerut troubled chazal as well as us.  See kohelet rabah 4:10,
which asks, while discussing mamzerim, zeh mah chatah v'zeh mah ichpat
lei?  [What sin has he done and what concern is it of his?]  (See also
Vayikra Rabah (parshat emor) 32:8).

While the sefer hachinuch understands mamzerut as some kind of
deficiency which is passed on, the Rambam in moreh nevuchim 3:49, writes
that in order to create a horror of illicit marriages, the Torah taught
that those involved in such unions will bring irreparable injury upon
their offspring.

Eitan Fiorino


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 94 11:07:23 +0300
Subject: Mikvah

     This is not the appropriate place to teach the laws of mikvahs.
Nevertheless as Avi already pointed out there is no basis to what
Jonathan Katz wrote

>> As far as I am aware, there only needs to be some rainwater (even a drop
>> in an entire pool) for it to be a valid mikvah. Of course, there still
>> remain other practical problems with swimming pools as mikvahs...

   A Mikveh must be made from rainwater that is not moving (or else a
ma-ayan - flowing spring water). If there is less 40 seah (a measure) of
rainwater and one adds non rain-water the mikvah is not kosher. If one
started with a kosher mikvah there are mishnas (and of course in the
Shulchan Arukh) that discuss what happens if some sheuvim (not directly
from the sky) water falls into a kosher mikvah.
   Most modern mikvahs are made with a central "kosher" mikvah (bor)
and the rest of the mikvahs are filled with tapwater and are then
connected to this bor (hashaka).
   I again stress as much as possible that the laws of mikvahs are
complicated and that no one should attempt to construct their own mikvah
without consulting an expert in mikvahs (i.e. not just the LOR).

    Also Meir  Lehrer wrote
>> Most importantly, entering the Mikveh must be done with that
>> strict intention in mind, to fulfill the requirement of Mikveh. A Bracha
>> must be said.

     The whole point of Rav Moshe's teshuva is that these things should 
be done but that they need not be done to remove the status of a niddah.

Eli Turkel


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 1994 10:21:30 -0400
Subject: Mikvah and Ben Niddah

One of the writers remarked that "entering the mikva must be done with
that strict intention in mind to fulfill the requirement of mikva."
This is clearly incorrect, at least bede'eved; Shulchan Aruch YD 198:48
clearly states that one can unintentionally go to mikva.  While Rama
argues with this lechatchela, such is clearly the din bedeve'eved; see
Darchai teshuva on this.  It is important generally to distingish
between the rabbinic and the biblical requirements of mikvah; at least
for the purposes of the pegam nidah, it is fairly clear to me that one
who fulfills the torah requirements of immersion produces children
without the status of a ben niddah.  This raises the whole issue of what
is a ksoher mikvah min hatorah, and the status of water that is mayim
shauvim, which many rishonim held was rabbinically prohibited as a
mikva.  So too, the pre-mikva preparations are all rabbinic in nature,
except perhaps *hefsek tahara* (See Taharat Habayit 2:229-254 on that).


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 94 13:06:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Pesach in Winter

Warren Burstein writes:
<Even if it is the case that Hillel II explicitly declared that his
<formula is not valid after the year 6000, it still is possible to use
<the formula and see what results it gives.

How our calender works nowadays is a machlokes(dispute) between the
Rambam and the Ramban.  The Rambam (Hilchos Kiddush hachodesh chapter 5
Halacha 1-2) states that when there is no Sanhedrin (High Court) the
calender is determined by calculation and this is a halacha l'moshe
msinai (a law given to Moshe at Sinia).  Also see the Rambam in Sefer
Hamitzvos mitvah 153.  According to the Rambam this halacha lmoshe msinia
applies until Moshiach comes.  However the Ramban commenting on the Rambam
in the Sefer Hamitzvos says that he never heard of this Halacha Lmoshe
Msinia that the calender is set by calculation.  He says that the calender
we use now works because HillelII was m'kadesh every Rosh Chodesh until
Moshiach based on the din in the Gemara of atem afilu m'zidim (the kiddush
hachodesh is valid even if they intentionally make Rosh Chodesh on the
wrong day).  Based on the Ramban if HillelII only was mkadesh until the
year 6000 we would be in trouble because after that there would be no
mechanism to continue the calender.  However, from what the Rambam and
the Ramban say it seems that the calender has been set up until Moshiach
so if Moshiach does not come by the year 6000 it will not be a problem.
Anyway who is interested in this topic should look in Kobetz Chidushei
Torah by the Rav (Rav Soloveitchik) where he discusses in detail the
position of the Rambam.

Ari Shapiro


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Mon, 27 Jun 1994 04:57:45 -0400
Subject: Re: The Rebbe

While I'm not a Lubavitcher, I attend a Lubavitch congregation and
regularly attend a parasha class conducted by a Lubavitch Rebittzen.
These are my friends. Besides the spiritual loss I know what a personal
loss the this is to the community. I know I can't imagine the pain the
Rebbe's schluchim are feeling, yet...

The unabashed joy in Judaism and in Ahavat Yisroel... the joy in
reaching out and loving Jews... with this in his chasidim the Rebbe's
spirit lives on. The Rebbe wasn't needed here... his schluchim, and
chasidim will disagree I know, but he has given them the task after
having taught them oh so well. It's not out of coersion or fear, but joy
and love that one diligently pursues the mitzvot. Chabad-Lubavitch does
that here; they share themselves their joy and the Rebbe's joy with

Cheryl Hall 
Long Beach CA USA


End of Volume 13 Issue 85