Volume 14 Number 5
                       Produced: Sun Jul 10 22:05:19 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anesthesia for Bris Milah
         [Rivkah Isseroff]
Cheating on exams
         [Shoshana Benjamin ]
Conversion celebration
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Early Bar Mitzvah and Davening Eligibility
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Egyptian Brain Surgery
         [Seth Gordon]
Kashrut of Ocean Spray Products
         [Warren Burstein]
         [Moshe Kahan]
R. Akiva Story
         [Shaul Wallach]
Rabbi Akiva story
         [Freda B. Birnbaum]
Targilonim on Chumash
         [Aryeh Blaut]
What year is it?
         [Eric Safern]


From: Rivkah Isseroff <rrisseroff@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:44:59 -0400
Subject: Anesthesia for Bris Milah

I was just asked by an observant colleague about using topical (a cream 
applied to the skin) anesthesia to diminish pain before a bris (for a 
newborn). As a dermatologist, I do use this topical medication for 
children (and some adults) to numb the pain prior to small biopsies or 
even needle sticks. Medically, there should be little problem using this 
cream on the foreskin prior to the bris (it is applied one hour before 
the procedure and then wiped off).

Is there any halachic problem with doing this? I am aware that in adult 
Bris Milah, anesthesia is routinely used. 

Rivkah Isseroff


From: Shoshana Benjamin  <shu@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 09:38:02 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re:Cheating on exams

In connection with recent discussions of cheating, deceiving and lying,
I would be interested to know the position of Halakha on cheating on
exams -- for the purpose of getting good grades or passing a course.

	Shoshana Benjamin


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:45:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Conversion celebration

> From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
> I have a friend who about to complete his conversion process.  I'd like
> to know if it's appropriate to have some type of celebration for him.

A woman I knew several years ago was given a private seudah shlishit in
honor of her conversion.  About 15 - 20 of her friends (who were aware
of the process) attended, in the context of a seudat mitzvah.  There
were probably some brief divrei Torah/personal experiences shared; I
don't remember the details that well.



From: <leah@...> (Leah S. Gordon)
Date: Tue, 5 Jul 1994 14:48:26 -0400
Subject: Early Bar Mitzvah and Davening Eligibility

Mr. Rubinoff writes:

>happens, the usual approach to this is to give the boy the maftir aliyah
>and have him read the haftarah.  Ironically, these honors are not ones
>that are restricted to bnai mitzvah (except in a few cases); it is
>generally perfectly acceptable for an 11-year-old (for example) to have
>these honors if he is capable of them.  So there is no halachic problem
>with having a bar mitvah celebration before the boy's 13th birthday.

It turns out that this same reasoning applies to women; they are eligible
to do these honors.  I find it interesting that our society just goes along
with minors leading the honors allowed to them, but balks at allowing women
to do the same.  I have heard, though, of some Orthodox synagogues where
women do read the haftorah.

Leah S. Gordon (nee Reingold)


From: <sethg@...> (Seth Gordon)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:44:55 -0400
Subject: Egyptian Brain Surgery

/ From: <david@...> (David Charlap)

/ More evidence comes from archaelogy around the Egyptian pyramids.
/ Skeletons (and mummies) were found with healed-over incisions in their
/ heads.  This shows that they had successful brain surgery - the patient
/ lived at least long enough for the skull to completely heal.

This doesn't sound so incredible to me.  There are very few
pain-receptor nerves in the scalp and none in the brain, which means
that you can cut a hole in somebody's skull without anasthesia.  There
are no major arteries along the scalp, so there's little risk of the
patient bleeding to death on the operating table.  Also, it's possible
for a person to have a chunk cut out of his or her brain itself and
still live for years afterward--obviously this depends on which chunk is
cut out, and the patient may emerge from the surgery with some
interesting mental disorders, but a schlemiel with a sharp knife can do
a lot *less* mortal injury by operating on the brain than he would by
trying to operate on, say, the heart or kidneys.  The biggest risk that
I can see is gangrene, but the risk of gangrene can be reduced by simply
using a clean knife (just sterilize it in a flame) washing the patient's
head before slicing, and using clean bandages.

[Warning: if you're squeamish, don't read the next paragraph.]

A while ago, a friend of mine even sent me e-mail about a man, not a
doctor, who had drilled through his own skull with low-tech equipment.
This apparently had some euphoric or hallucinogenic effect that he
found pleasurable.  I swear I am not making this up.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor; this is not a prescription; consult
your local competent medical authority.

--Seth Gordon ... <sethg@...> ... standard disclaimer


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 07:59:29 GMT
Subject: Re: Kashrut of Ocean Spray Products

Sue Kahana writes:

>Last week there was an ad in the Jerusalem Post for Ocean Spray cranberry
>products, including sauce, chicken sauce, juice etc.  According to this
>ad, the products are O-U D.

It seems odd that the OU would give a hechsher to a dairy chicken
sauce, does it not (I would hope that it means that the ad was in
error rather than that the OU was)?  It would seem to be a very bad
idea to have such an item around the house.  As it happens I have a
container of Ocean Spray Cran-Fruit (TM) Crushed Fruit For Chicken,
Cranberry Orange flavor, which I think I won't return to the kitchen
after typing this.  The ingredients are:

  cranberries, high frutcose corn syrup, corn syrup, water, orange
  peel, pectin, citric acid, calcium chloride

The hechsher is just a K.

If anyone has some information about the reliability and paraveness of
this product I would appreciate it.

Actuallym now that I look at it, over the "Best Used By" appears the
following incantation: KMAY04940845CD.  Does that mean that it should
have been used by May 4 of this year?

This package was not sold in a store in Israel, it was brought in by a
private person.  What's on the shelves here might be different.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon."
/ nysernet.org                       Stuart Schoffman


From: Moshe Kahan <kahan@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 02:13:34 -0400
Subject: Mikvahs

Jonathan Katz writes and later retracts that a small amount of rain water 
attached to a larger body will make the larger body a kosher mikvah. He 
later retracts by stating that the area of contact can be small but the 
actual body of rainwater has to be forty seah. I heard in shiur from Rav 
Amital in my Yeshiva that there was a late Acharon (I forget who at the 
present) who raised a serious possibility that since a very small body of 
rainwater (a cup lets say) would be large enough to Tovel [immerse] small 
vessels, such as needles, M'Doraita (without considering later rabbinic 
restrictions) then that itself would be enough to make a larger body of water
a kosher mikvah even M'Drobonan through  Neshikah [contact] of the small 
and large bodies. So Jonathan really doen't have to retract if he wants 
to retain the original position though I doubt if many would agree that 
this is the final psak. 
Moshe Kahan 


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:45:06 -0400
Subject: R. Akiva Story

       Louis Rayman asks for the source of the story of R. Akiva
telling the orphan to say Kaddish or Borchu. I don't have time to
look for the primary sources, but here is what I found in the
Beit Yosef on the Tur Yore De`a 376:

     The Kolbo wrote about what was found in the Haggada that once
     R. Ploni met a man who was gathering sticks, etc., and he told
     him "There is no one who can save me, unless my son says one
     Qaddish or says the Maftir in the Prophets;" from this the
     custom spread for the son of the deceased to say the last
     Qaddish for all 12 months, and also to say the Maftir ...
     And this story is in the Zohar at the end of Parashat Aharei

See also the Darkhei Moshe, ibid., note 8, for many additional




From: Freda B. Birnbaum <FBBIRNBAUM@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 1994 07:30:56 -0400
Subject: Rabbi Akiva story

Louis Rayman asks,
>re: the story of R. Akiva teaching an orphan after meeting the
>father's "ghost" -
>1) I believe R. Akiva taught him to say borchu, not kaddish
>2) Where is this story brought down???  I've been looking for it, but
>cannot find it

The version I am most familiar with is in the De Sola Pool RCA Siddur
for Shabbos and Yom Tov (Behrman House, 1960), just before Yizkor, p.

The story does indeed say that R. Akiva taught the boy the alphabet, the
Shma, the bensching, the tefillah, and then the boy got up and said
borchu and the congregation answered.

The footnote in de Sola Pool says "A parallel is the phrase in the
Kaddish 'y-hay shmay rabbo mevorach', "Be His great name blessed
forever," recited by a son in memory of a departed parent."  (Hence my
recollection that it was Kaddish.)

Another footnote says the story is from:

Kallah Rabbathi, Menorath Hammaor (paraphrased).

In any case the point of the story is not changed.  It's a very
impressive story.  In fact, there are a number of points where it's a
very interesting contrast to the story about the Chassidic rebbe who
argued with the Rambam.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 08:41:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Targilonim on Chumash

>From: <gurwitz@...> (Chaya Gurwitz)
>Subject: Targilonim on Chumash
>When I was in elementary school, we had workbooks for Chumash and
>Navi.  The only workbook I've been able to find now is a workbook
>on (part of) Parshas Lech-Lecha, put out by Torah U-Mesorah.  Does
>anyone know of any other such workbooks?  

Depending on what you are looking for (ie: Hebrew vs. English) and which
Parshos - there are a number of workbooks available.

Torah U-Mesorah has (besides part of Lech-Lecha) Sefer Bamidbar.  They
also have pieces of Sefer Shmos.

P'tach has a very nice (mostly English) workbook on Chaiye Sarah/Toldos.

Drs. Yoni have workbooks (all Hebrew) on all of Sefer Breishis, & Shmos
(or at least most of it).  They also have for Nach.

These are the ones that I remember off the top of my head.  If you need 
more or need to know how to get ahold of these, feel free to contact me 
either by e-mail or by voice.

Aryeh Blaut
(206) 723-4162 (home)
(206) 323-5750 (school)


From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:46:10 -0400
Subject: Re: What year is it?

<6524dcurw@...> (David Curwin) writes:

>There is a machloket between "Seder Olam" and the Geonim as to whether to
>count the creation from the year 0 or 1, and whether another year started
>when man was created on the sixth day,  which would be called year 2 of
>creation. This difference of 2 years, would explain the declaration of
>the Sefardim who say that this year {in 1983} that we are 1915 years
>after the destruction of the Temple, and not 1913 years as according to
>the historians.

I must be missing something.  How could a machlokes about the date of
*Creation* affect the calculation of the *destruction*?

For example, if the State was founded 46 years ago, this fact will not
change - whether the year in question was 5705 after Creation, or 5707,
the event still took place 46 years ago, didn't it?


End of Volume 14 Issue 5