Volume 14 Number 6
                       Produced: Sun Jul 10 22:12:58 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic Research
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Alternative hashgacha
         [Josh Klein]
Conservative "Convert" and Bracha
         [Michael Chaim Katzenelson]
Frum Jews
         [Ari Kurtz]
Halacha and e-mail
         [Naftoli Biber]
Religious Moral Dilemma, Final
         ["A. M. Goldstein"]
Returning Items
         [Shmuel Weidberg]
Tallit Katan
         [Jeffrey Woolf]


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:44:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Academic Research

> From: Dr. Mark Press <PRESS@...>
> Subject: Jeffrey Woolf's comments on academic research
> Much of what passes for scholarship even by Shomrei Mitzvot
> would seem to be problematic in the Rambam's eyes. On the other hand,
> scholarship which does not raise such questions is not only acceptable
> in the Haredi world but far more actively supported than in the world of
> the Modern Orthodox, as cited by Woolf himself in his reference to the
> impressive work of Machon Yerushalyim.

This is a big exaggeration.  The support of such scholarship in the
charedi world is very limited.  It exists virtually *only* for work such
as that done by Machon Yerushalayim, i.e., new editions of classical
commentaries on the Talmud (and some on the Torah), which is obviously
not the only type of work that would get the Rambam's hekhsheir (stamp
of approval).  And how does the impressive work of Machon Yerushalayim
in any way prove your statement that such scholarship is "far more
actively supported than in the world of the Modern Orthodox"?!  All it
demonstrates is that there is one company doing one kind of work.  And
even in this area, I believe Mossad Harav Kook has done more.

>  As to threats, it is clear to any disinterested observer that it is the
> world of Modern Orthodoxy which feels threatened by that of the more
> traditional rather than the reverse.In fact, Modern Orthodox
> apologists are infuriated by the indifference to them in the more
> traditional circles as is evident in the publications of both groups.

Your assessment is unfortunately pretty accurate, I think; they
certainly get infuriated, although I'm not so sure that you're right
that they feel "threatened."  In any case, I do take offense at your
referring to the chareidi world as "more traditional"; at the heart of
the debate is that both groups consider themselves legitimate carriers
of Jewish tradition.

>  Finally,"critical" scholarship that is not heretical is not a threat to the
> traditionally religious at all; it is essentially irrelevant.


Gedalyah Berger


From: <VCJOSH@...> (Josh Klein)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 08:42:23 -0400
Subject: Alternative hashgacha

In light of previous comments regarding eating in kosher establishements
that are open on Shabbat, or whose owners are not themselves shomrei
mitzvot, there's an interesting story in the Yediot Acharonot of July 8.
The rav who was in charge of kashrut for 'Shearith Yisrael', a haredi
kashrut organization, became 'hiloni' (secular). For that matter, so did
his wife and five kids, but that's a side issue. The point is, he was
regarded as so competent, professional, and trustworthy, that the items
on gorcery shelves that had his hashgacha *remained* there for sale,
depsite his personal non-observance. He apparently is still consulted on
kashrut matters, including import of kosher items from abroad to Israel.
Now, he wants to set up a kashrut supervisory agency for those who
'observe tradition'; ie (and this example is given in the paper in a
quote) drive on shabbos but still keep kosher. He also wants to give
hashgacha to restaraunts that are open on shabbos but in which the food
is kosher. As he is quoted as saying "Many of those who wear crocheted
kippot care only that the food is kosher, and don't care what the owner
does or if the place is open on shabbat". He points out that many
observant owners don't apply for kashrut certificates, since the cost
can reach 2000 shekels/month if you get a teuda (certificate) from the
Chief Rabbinate. He also says that although he himself is not observant
any more, he certainly intends to follow all the rules, and his
mashgichim will themselves be observant. The thought is that the Chief
Rabbinate might lose its exclusivity on non-haredi kashrut supervision,
and thus lose someof the millions of shekalim that they charge for such

Josh Klein <VCJOSH@...>


From: nelson%<bnlmcn.dnet@...> (Michael Chaim Katzenelson)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 94 13:36:31 -0400
Subject: RE: Conservative "Convert" and Bracha

A contributor to M-Jewish inquired concerning making a B'racha at
a wedding involving a conservative "convert".  A respondent suggested
that in fact the wedding and the B'racha are kosher (hv"s). This is a 
surprising suggestion.  It is even more surprising that M-Jewish
published it.  M-Jewish has claimed to not publish suggestions contrary
to Halacha.  Hence we conclude that publishing this was either an
oversight, or that M-Jewish agrees. If M-Jewish holds that the suggestion 
is kosher then perhaps M-Jewish (or the respondent) would care to 
substantiate this position by providing us with a generally accepted
psak in writing, from an accepted authority.

Michael Chaim Katzenelson

[As moderator I publish items that I agree with and ones I disagree
with. I freely admit that I interpret my rule of:

  a)Submissions to the mailing list may not advocate actions which are
  clearly in violation of Halakha.

in a manner that I believe will allow a wide interpretation of Halakha
to be discussed. From discussions I have had with people knowledgable in
the area, it is by no means clear that a conservative conversion is
meaningless according to Halakha, the discussion was not to advocate
having a conservative conversion, which I would find violates a) above
(although I'm sure there are those on the list who would disagree with
that), was not even about advocating getting married to someone who had
undergone a conservative conversion, but rather was about someone who
had a friend who was getting married to someone who had a conservative
conversion - this was a item of given information - and now was faced
with the conflict of his view that this WAS a wrong thing and publically
embarrassing him by turning down a request he expected to come. I think
that the question is one within the bounds of mail-jewish, and I think
the discussion has remained with acceptable bounds. Mod.]


From: Ari Kurtz <s1553072@...>
Date: Sat, 9 Jul 1994 16:14:54 -0400
Subject: Frum Jews

Shalom Aleichem 
  Since all the talk surrounding the big three for defineing a "frum jew"
Is getting rather sticky . So I purpose that we work together to come up with 
a more acceptable definition and to avoid confusion lets put it under the
title the big three (or more) for defineing a " real jew " and to start the
ball rolling I suggest 1) a jew who lives in Israel  ...,
  But truly let's get real . All this classification belongs in the science 
lab . As far as I'm concerned as one Rabbi put it any person who considers
himself/herself part of the Jewish nation is enough for me to accept them 
as jews (not necessarily for all Halachic implication but as the spirit 
behind it . I know its sort of a paradox but lets not get off topic .) .
So in the spirit of this I'd have to say anyone who considers himself/herself
a frum Jew should be a good enough qualification for us .  All this 
classification otherwise will just bring about fragmantation in the Jewish
nation which will end up in disaster .
  By the way all those on the list without a comprehensive jewish education 
must think were nuts .On one hand were arguing how non-jews should have the 
same rights as Jews and on the second hand we're casting out all those who 
don't eat glatt shomer taharat hamispacha or don't shomer shabbat . 

                                     Ari Kurtz


From: Naftoli Biber <bibern@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 01:44:29 -0400
Subject: Halacha and e-mail

 <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel) recently wrote:
>      I have recently received several notices about new lists about
> halakhah yomit and applications to practical problems. I will use this
> opportunity to present one of my pet peeves.
>      It has become commonplace for both lists and major rabbis to give
> notice that their book (or email) is only for information and is not to
> be relied on for a real psak. I find this very misleading. I think it is
> obvious that if a book or article is printed, then many people will rely
> on the material for a psak no matter what qualifications are written in
> the introduction. I once heard from Leo Levi then anything he writes he
> assumes that people will be influenced by it and so he takes the effort
> to make sure that it as correct as he can make it. He does not want to
> make a silly mistake and then tell the reader - but I said not to rely
> on it anyway.
>     I sometimes feel that if the Shulchan Arukh were written today it
> would come with an introduction that it should not be used for a psak
> but only as an introduction to the sources (actually many achronim
> objected to the Shulchan Arukh on the grounds that it would encourage
> laziness and people would not look up the sources).

 As moderator for the prac-halacha list, which is one of the lists I
believe that Eli was referring to, I find myself agreeing (to some
extent) with his comments.
 Most halachic essays discuss practical applications of the halacha
being presented.  It is natural to apply these halachot to our own
situation and in many cases these applications are correct.
 The "danger" exists when someone who is not so well versed in learning
wants to apply that halacha possibly without being aware of the whole
picture.  In fairness this also happens with people who have a solid
basis in learning.  I am reminded of one Kol Nidre night when I walked
out of shul with our Rav and we heard that a child had fallen and broken
her leg.  Her father, despite being quite learned, was undecided how to
proceed.  Our Rabbi went directly to his office and phoned for an
ambulance.  He understood halacha and how to apply it.
 This same Rav told me many years ago when I was studying Hilchos Niddah
before my marriage, that the important thing is to know *when* to ask a
sha'aloh (question).
 As observant Jews we must know what to ask and when to ask a sha'aloh.
We should all endeavour to find a Rabbi who we can relate to and who can
relate to us.
 Finally, these halacha articles are meant to throw light on many
practices which we take for granted.  Hopefully they will make us pause
and look more carefully at our daily observance of halacha - and maybe
even prompt us to discuss these observances with our Rav.
 BTW, if you would like to subscribe to prac-halacha send a message to 
<listserv@...>   with the message 
subscibe prac-halacha Your_first_name Your_last_name

   Naftoli Biber                           <bibern@...>
   Melbourne, Australia
   Voice & Fax: +61-3-527-5370             Compuserve: 100237,711


From: "A. M. Goldstein" <MZIESOL@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 94 09:58:46 IST
Subject: Religious Moral Dilemma, Final

For those who remember the problem of being within the 12 months of
mourning and not going on a dept trip and festive meal, leading to the
likelihood of the dept. going to a treife (non-kosher) restaurant, I
consulted my LOR after the fact--I did not go--and his reply was that
I would not be gaining any mitzva from having the group eat kosher this
one time, if it seemed likely this would not really set a precedent (for
their eating kosher all the time, I think he meant).  He asked me whether
the people eat kosher at home, and I said that some do but most not.  He
found it better to stay in my own 12-month-mourning framework. (There was
also the problem that I might have to miss a minyan by going on the trip.)
For those who sent me replies, you may find his answer interesting (he did
not cite any sources; it was al regel ahat(sort of spur of the moment) after
a momemt's reflection.


From: <shmuel@...> (Shmuel Weidberg)
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 10:04:46 -0400
Subject: Returning Items

> In mj v13#69 Aryeh Blaut says that he bought dishes at May Co. and never
> got billed. His Rav said not to pay because a) it would be a hillul Hashem
> because of the cursing for the extra paperwok involved and b) he/she at 
> May Co. would get in trouble for their discovered error.
> Aryeh, wouldn't it be a bigger hillul Hashem if the staff at May Co.
> discovered the error and thought you wre trying to get away without
> paying? Do you think that if you informed the staff at May they would
> curse you? If everyone decided like you to reduce the paper load at May,
> they may decide to reduce their staff because of lack of work. Would you 
> want them to lose their job? If you were looking for a refund from a store,
> would you say it's a hillul Hashem because of the all the extra paperwork
> and keep the unwanted object? 

The Halacha is that an error of this sort made by a non-Jew may be taken 
advantage of. A reason for this is that non-Jews take advantage of it 
between themselves. Therefore there is no question of chilul Hashem. 
However, in a case where there would be a kidush Hashem it is 
reccomended that the error be pointed out. The Rabbi ruled in this 
instance that there is no kiddush Hashem.



From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Jul 1994 08:58:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Tallit Katan

I need to clarify some points made about Tallit Katan. 1) I never said
there was an active obligation to wear a Tallit. De facto, throughout
the ancient period people wore four cornered garments and were willy
nilly required to put tzitzit on them. When fashions changed, there
existed the possibility that tzitzit would fall into disuetude hence the
custom. 2) Indications are (at least in Franco-Germany cf Sefer
Hassidim, Mahzor Vitry and Or Zarua) that Tallitot WERE worn in shul.
3) A Tallit Katan IS a pious custom and hence generated a blessing
according to the position that blessings are recited on customs. Since
enwrapmrent was PRACTICALLY not done, the blessing was altered.
Hassidei Ashkenaz were opposed to a small Tallit Katan and argued at
length for wearing an older style cape with tzitzit. 3) Rabbi Joseph
Caro, faced with a longstanding custom addressed the custom on the basis
of Hil Tzitzit and was not necessarily aware of the late nature of the
practice (Though he must have been aware that the blessing is not
Talmudic in origin). 4) The call for larger Tallitot Ketanot is an
attempt to bring the custom into line due to the need to enwrap. It does
not mean that this is how things looked at first.

                                       Dr Jeffrey R Woolf


End of Volume 14 Issue 6