Volume 14 Number 19
                       Produced: Thu Jul 14 12:37:55 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brit Milah & Anesthetics
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Cheating vs. Deception in Jewish Law 14/2
         [Neil Parks]
Church and State
         [Michael Lipkin]
Kol Isha and reading the Torah
         [Aryeh A. Frimer]
         [David Curwin]
Rabbenu Gershom "Light of the Exile"
         [Hyim Lite]
Rambam and scholarship
         [Eli Turkel]
Torah Misqoutes in Dvrei Chazal
         [Ari Kurtz]


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 13:23:27 +0500
Subject: Re: Brit Milah & Anesthetics

    From: Ira Rosen <irosen@...>

    He discusses the validity of a brit milah done with the use of cream
    anesthetic should not be used as it makes the foreskin
    as 'dead flesh' and removing it in this state may not be valid.  If
    anesthetic was used, however, in retrospect (b'dieved) the brit milah
    would be accepted.  Also, if there is a fear of harm to the 'patient'
    that would be caused by the amount of pain during the procedure (as
    might be the case in a brit milah of an adult, or in a family where a
    previous child had reacted poorly to the pain of his brit milah),
    anesthesia may be used (his phraseology is more to the effect that
    'there is room for leniency') from the outset.

In converts already circumcised outside of a halachic context, 
some blood is drawn from the site.  Would an initial milah with
anesthetic, immediately followed by an intentional drawing of blood
from the same -now-circumcised- location, satisfy the discussed concerns


From: Neil Parks <aa640@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 15:47:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Cheating vs. Deception in Jewish Law 14/2

 >>         [Sam Juni] said
 >>My hypothesis is that according to strict Torah Law, there is no
 >>prohibition on deceiving or lying at all.  All of the seeming
 >>prohibitions re falsifying information actually concern the intent of
 >>the lying.   ...
 >>                      The direct ban prohibiting bearing false witness
 >>is clearly a ban against hurting one's fellow citizen, not re banning
 >>false speech.

We learn from Avrohom and Soroh that it is permissible to shade the
truth for a good purpose such as shalom bayis (domestic harmony).

When the malochim (angels) told Soroh that she would have a child, she
said that she and Avrohom were both too old.  Later, Ha-Shem told
Avrohom that she said only that she was too old.

NEIL PARKS   <aa640@...>


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 12:56:12 -0400
Subject: Church and State

In MJ 14:13 Janice Gelb writes:

>However, I think it only fair that orthodox Jews (and practitioners of
>other religions) get an equivalent day off for a religious holiday of
>our choice (ditto those companies that are closed for Good Friday)
>since if the office was open, we would cheerfully go to work on their
>religious holiday.

I wonder if it's really true that orthodox Jews would "cheerfully go to
work" on Christmas if they could.  It seems to me, based on admittedly
anecdotal observations of orthdox Jews in the private sector who do
have the opportunity to "comp" Jewish holdiays by working on secular
holidays, that many would not.


From: <frimer@...> (Aryeh A. Frimer)
Date: Tue, 12 Jul 94 15:44:20 EDT
Subject: Re: Kol Isha and reading the Torah

[Several peaple replied to a recent submission about the possibility of
a woman being called to read the Haftorah, just as a minor can be so
called. The point of their replies was that this must be wrong because
there is the problem of Kol Isha. As I was under the impression that
while there are clearly problems with this suggestion, Kol Isha would
probably be a relatively minor one. I posed the question to Aryeh
Frimer, who I (correctly) thought had already researched this question.
I would like to thank Aryeh for his reply here below. Aryeh gave me his
permission to resend this to the list if I thought appropriate, and I
think it is. I tried to translate some more of the Hebrew, as this was
formatted as a message to me not a submission by Aryeh. One point, in
the letter I sent to Aryeh, I asked that it appeared to me that since
the prohibition of women reading the Torah was given in term of Kavod
Hatzibur - lit. honor of the congregation, it indicated to me that kol
isha was not the main problem. That sets the context for the beginning
of Aryeh's reply. Mod.]

Dear Reb Avi,
	The truth is that I have looked into the Kol Isha subject in
quite some depth regarding Kriat Hatorah. Rav Ovadya Yosef argues
forcefully in Yechaveh Da'at that there is no problem of kol Be-Isha
Erva by reading the Megilla. Clearly if Kavod Hatsibbur meant Kol
Be-Isha Hazal would have said so and not use kavod hatsibbur. Besides,
Kol Be-Isha is a be-dieved concept according to the machmirim while
Kavod Hatsibbur is only le-chatchilla (See my Ohr Hamizrach article on
Nashim u-Minyan, vol. 34 (# 1-2) Tishrei 5746 {sept 1985} p. 69,
footnote 29).
	The major problem however is that there is no correlation
whatsoever between allowing a minor to read the haftorah and a woman. A
minor is permitted Me-Ikar hadin - Hakol Olin le-minyan shivah, afilu
katan afilu Isha. [by the main force of law - All go up for the seven
that are called up to the Torah, even minors, even women. Mod] It was by
a woman that chazal invoked Kavod hatsibbur not by a minor. Custom
dictates that we don't call up a minor except for the haftarah.
	The difference between a woman and a minor is related to the
real definition of Kavod hatsibbur. As explained by Rav Uziel (in
Mishpetei Uziel) Kavod Hatsibbur relates to the fact that women are not
obligated in Kri'at hatorah. To call up a woman to read would imply that
there are no males who are obligated who can read. This implies that the
community is one of Amaratzim [ignorant people - Mod]. In the case of a
minor male who will eventually come to obligation, the community is not
shamed because of the Chinuch [education - Mod.] element.
	The above analysis clearly opens up the question of whether the
present day situation where people called up do not read from the Torah
- but rather the ba'al Korei - might ameliorate Kavod hatsibbur was
raised by Rav Yehudah Herzl Henkin in an article in hadarom and
republished in his Resp.  Bnai Vanim. There is also a possiblity that
Kavod hatsibbur may be a relative concept and there are arguments on
both sides of the issue. But these would relate to the general question
of women getting aliyot - and not just maftir.  There is, IMHO, no
correlation whatsoever between a minor male getting the haftara which
was always permitted me-Ikar hadin and the question of a woman getting
the same aliyah which is assur me-Ikar hadin.
	In a private communication Leah Reingold informed me that the
Shul in question is in Berkeley CA. I wonder if those in the area could
clarify the exact details and who is halakhically responsible for this
	I apologize that I have only been vague about my sources - but I
am in the galut away from my seforim and notes.



From: <6524dcurw@...> (David Curwin)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 20:00:48 -0400
Subject: Lying

Here are a few more examples of chazal's approach to lying:

Yevamot 65b: R' Elai said in the name of R' Elazar b. Shamua: It is
permitted to modify (a report) in the interest of peace...R' Natan says
it is a mitzva (to lie for peace)...At the college of R' Yishmael it was
taught: Peace is great, for even God lied for its sake..."

Bava Metzia 33b-34a: R' Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: In three
things the Rabbis permitted lying: in 'masechet' (tractate- one may lie
and say he didn't learn a particular subject for modesty), in 'puriya'
(lit. to be fruitful - according to Rashi, if one is asked if he had
sexual relations he may lie and say no, according to the Rambam (Hilchot
Gezeila V'Aveida 14:13) and Tosfot, if one is asked if he slept in a
certain bed he may lie and say no if it will embarass him), and in
'ushpiza' (guests - if one stayed by a certain host, Rashi says that one
can say that his hospitality was bad so others will not burden him, and
Rambam says that one may say that he stayed somewhere else)

Magen Avraham, Orach Chaim 156: It is permissible to lie for peace, but
only for something that has already happened, not for something yet to
happen.  For three things it is permissible to lie (see above)...

According to the Machzit HaShekel on the Magen Avraham, the difference
between Rashi and Rambam's interpretation of the passage in Bava Metzia,
is that Rashi feels that lying in those cases is a mitzva, while the
Rambam feels it is permitted.

I collected these sources from sheets of a shiur of Rabbi Kahn of Bar
Ilan, that my wife attended. A note at the bottom of the sheet quotes
the Maharal, who says that 'peace is a greater truth than what would
have emerged from speaking the truth'. I am not familiar with that
Maharal. Anyone know the source?


From: Hyim Lite <acheron!<hilite@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 14:58:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbenu Gershom "Light of the Exile"

In recent posts, references were made to the two major edicts of Rabbenu
Gershom, 1. that a husband may not divorce a wife against her will, 2.
that a husband may not take multiple wives.

Regarding these edicts I have heard an interesting sidelight, that is
apropos in this period near Tisha b'Av.. Rabbenu Gershom is called Meor
Hagolah (the Light of the Exile). How is it that this one sage was
credited with the lofty title of Light (illuminator) of the Exile?

Exile, golus, is a condition brought on by a critical flaw in the
relationship between Hashem and the Jewish people, who are referred to
allegorically in Midrashim as "Husband" and "wife" .  Mipnay Chato'aynu
Golenu May'artzaynu, because of our sins, we were exiled.

After close to a millennia in exile, the relationship was looking very
bleak and there was the worry that the Husband might say: I've had
enough already! Divorce! (which the 'wife' (Bnei Yisrael) would never
agree to).

Rabbenu Gershom issued an edict - as a part of Torah - that no!  the
'Husband' can not 'divorce' the wife against her will.

To which Hashem could respond: Alright, I cannot 'divorce' the people
Israel from Me, but being that they are not living up to par, I will
also 'marry' another nation.

Rabbenu Gershom issues his second edict that a husband cannot marry more
than one wife.

So though we are in golus - in a state of separateness of sorts from our
Husband, and this causes us great anguish, we are secure in the
knowledge that He can never divorce us, nor 'marry' another nation.

Rabbenu Gershom then is truly the "Meor haGolah," he Illuminates and
secures the relationship between Hashem and Jews during the Exile.
Despite the burdens of golus, he delivered the message over a thousand
years ago, that though Husband and wife are not yet completely united,
their faithfulness and exclusiveness to each other remains intact.

Hyim Lite         


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 14:00:41 -0400
Subject: Rambam and scholarship

    Dr. Mark Press writes

>> he (Rambam) specifically prohibits such (Avodah Zarah, ch.2) where the
>> application of "knowledge" may lead to the questioning of received
>> truths. Much of what passes for scholarship even by Shomrei Mitzvot
>> would seem to be problematic in the Rambam's eyes.

   Dr. Press does not give specifics of what would be problematic but
I suspect that most of the Moreh Nevuchim would not be acceptable to
the Rambam according to this view since it relies heavily on Aristotle.
There is an extended debate between Rabbi Parness and Dr. David Berger
in the journal Torah Umada on what the Rambam meant in the chapter on
Avodah Zarah. My personal feelings are strongly in line with those of
David Berger. According to those opposed, many areas of science would
be off limits to observant Jews e.g. astronomy, seismology, many parts
of biology (that require at least knowledge of Darwin) probably
psychology. For my own sake it seems that mathematics is still safe.
Indeed I attend a shiur given by a rabbi from Bnei Brak who has said
that anyone who reads a secular newspaper or listens to speeches of
secular politicians violates the Rambam quoted above (I doubt that this 
rabbi has ever read Moreh Nevuchim). I would not be surprised if he
would say that many of the discussions on Mail.Jewish are also in
violation of the above Rambam.

Eli Turkel


From: Ari Kurtz <s1553072@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 12:43:10 -0400
Subject: Torah Misqoutes in Dvrei Chazal

  Shalom Alichem 
    Well this letter is way over due and might be considered history by 
now . The subject started (or at least where I came in ) In a letter form
Howard Reich in volume 10 number 1 (according to my notes) commenting on 
the differences of some quotes from the Torah by Chazal and the actual 
text according to our sources today . 
  I answered then that Chazal had a custom not to reproduce quotes from 
the Torah in a preicise manner . This answer was challenged by a few 
people since .  After recieving the first response I had the oppurtunity 
to ask the question to the Rav of the Technion Rav E. Zeini (at the 
begining of perek chelek in Sanhedrin we came across a few misquotes .) 
And at the time I recieved an answer similar to the one I gave Howard .
At the time I asked the Rav for sources on this and still haven't recieved
a full answer .
  But if one checks Ohzr Hagoanin on Gitten 7b they'll find a letter to 
Rav Hai Gaon on 'Sirtut psukim ' where the Rav asking inquires that did
the Rabbi's of Israel misquote in order to get around this ruling ? Whereas
in the reply of Rav HAi Gaon he claims that the reason for misquoteing is
for different reason altogether and that of not given a non-jew the proper
text of the Torah so that anything they sent to the diaspara they misqoted .
  So from here it comes quite clear that it was known that the Rabbi's of 
Israel of the time of the Gmora wrote quotes from the Torah with mistakes .
and since the topic of the letter wasn't why is there a difference I think
this should suffice even Dr. Fogel . 
  (For those who are confused about dates Rav Hai Gaon is from the period
of the Goanin which comes between the ages of the Svorim and the Risonin
which was a few hundred years after the completion of the Talmud . Which
places us at mid first millinium ) .

                                   Ari Kurtz


End of Volume 14 Issue 19