Volume 14 Number 25
                       Produced: Fri Jul 15 12:26:00 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Agunot and "Bending" halacha
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Agunot and Takanot:Clarification
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Kosher Restaurants
         [Benjamin Rietti]
Mitzvah-Settling in Israel
         [Dov Ettner]
Nine Days Question
         [Danny Geretz]
Temple Burning
         [Uri Meth]
The 6th Commandment - Kill or Murder?
         [David Charlap]
Year of the destruction
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 10:54:03 -0400
Subject: Agunot and "Bending" halacha

> From: <ntuttle@...> (Norman Tuttle)
> It is clear that the Rabbanim down from Mishnayic/Talmudic time thru
> Rabenu Gershom and right to the present day realized that there was the
> possibility for abuse in the original M'D'Orayta arrangement of Gitin.
> This is the reason for the Takanot.  
>  ..  Also, when serious consequences may
> erupt from mistakes in Dinim, a Rav may not indiscriminantly bend the
> Halacha in a way which would be unacceptable to the majority of Poskim.
> This is just an explanation for the reason why the courts do not "do
> more to help the Agunot".

I strongly disagree with this claim that if the majority of poskim do
not accept something, that a Rav may not rule in that manner.  I agree
that it is a reason not to rule in that manner, but not an absolute
restriction.  We do not have a central court whose authority in
absolute.  If a question is posed, the one responding has complete
latitude in using his best judgement and depth of knowledge.  If he
feels he needs to consult with other authorities, that is fine.

IMHO, a major problem faced by local rabbinic authorities is a lack of
support for his halchic decisions.  This and other factors have tended
to result in largely homogeneous, safest common denominator rulings.  I
continually get the impression that local community rabbis feel that
someone is looking over their shoulders and that no one is supporting
them, resulting in a fear to make ruling that might not be "safe."  Even
here in Boston, I've heard of intimidation of a local Rabbi regarding
potential future rulings and the response was not "I'll do the proper
thing regardless of what he has to say," but rather something like "what
do I need this headache for?"  IMHO, the community should be supporting
rabbis who are sensitive to the needs of the local community and can
make rulings that enhance the functioning of the community and the
participation of the individuals that make up the community.

  Perhaps there is a value to have a single worldwide halacha, even in
our day, but it seems to me that:

1. There are real regional differences in custom, economic situation,
educational level and outlook that may call for different psak halacha.
Even a "safe" ruling e.g. require Chalav Yisroel, can have negative
impacts, e.g. less money available for tzedaka and and other mitzvot.

2. There are real differences of opinion regarding fundamental issues
(e.g. relation of the individual Jew and the Jewish community to the
non-jewish world, the place of Torah study and earning a living in the
life of the individual Jew) that lead to different rulings.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 1994 15:47:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Agunot and Takanot:Clarification

> From: <ntuttle@...> (Norman Tuttle)

>  In addition, I would like to clarify some Takanot which were
> discussed in mail-jewish by Avi Witkin and Robert A. Light.The
> language "takana of forcing the wife to accept a get" is not correct,
> and possibly similar languages in the other posting (and my own previous
> posting) are also misleading.M'D'Orayta a Get may be given to a woman,
> even without her desire for it.M'D'Rabanan (I think from the time of
> the Gemara) a Get may NOT be forced on a woman, but may only be given if
> she agrees to it.  ...  As for the famous
> Rabenu Gershom Takana, this is that a man may not be married to two
> women (thus requiring a Get for a married man to marry someone else).

I believe that the prohibition of giving a get against a woman's will is
indeed one of the takanos of Rabbeinu Gershom; I don't think it's a
gemara.  The "Cheirem deRabbeinu Gershom" was not one takanah about
polygamy; it consisted of a series of prohibitions ranging from forcible
divorces to opening others' mail.  The polygamy one is just the most

> This Takana was accepted by all European Jewry, and their descendants.
> It turns out that since this is a Takana and not an original halacha, it
> is possible to override it is certain situations of hardship, with the
> requirement (I think) that 100 rabbis agree to the nullification of the
> requirement for the given case (to prevent the problem of "male
> Agunot").

That's a misleading formulation.  The allowance for a man to marry if
his wife refuses a get by getting the signed permission of 100 rabbis (a
"heter mei'ah rabbanim") is not a result of the fact that "this is a
takana and not an original halacha"; it is a result of the fact that
this was explicitly stipulated by R. Gershom.  100 rabbis may not join
together to decide to abrogate an accepted takanah (including the other
parts of Cheirem deRabbeinu Gershom).

Gedalyah Berger


From: <sales@...> (Benjamin Rietti)
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 10:09:19 -0400
Subject: Kosher Restaurants

Jules Reichel was commenting our our food as being for very casual
consumption, and therefore not worthy of turning into a restaurant for
purely "Kosher (Jewish) Cuisine".

Perhaps it's because I'm Sephardic, but the excellent cuisine that I've
been used to certainly hasn't been lox, beigels, pastrami, etc, but
really exotic and exciting QUALITY dishes - the sort of food that the
average person in the western world would never have come across.

There IS more to a "traditional" Shabbos meal than chicken soup, boiled
gefilte fish, roast chicken, potato kugel, and a slice of apple strudel!
 .. and its the exotic menu that the restaurants should be providing!
Who wants to go to a restaurant that serves you the same food that
you're used to getting at home/grandma's house?  Surely the main point
in dining out (note the expression DINING, NOT simply EATING) is to
enjoy an evening out with something different on your plate?

Hence the successful "foreign" cuisines such as Chinese, Italian, and
French do well, whereas kosher restaurants just providing the same stuff
you could get out of your fridge aren't as popular.

So - if you want to enjoy yourself - delve into something different and
ask your local kosher entrepreneurs to provide it! (Or email me and I'll
ask my wife to send you over a sample of what I mean!)

No - this hasn't answered the question of whether it is halachically OK
to open a restaurant on Shabbat - and even if it were OK, shouldn't
families be spending quality time together in their "HOMES" ?


From: <dovle@...> (Dov Ettner)
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 94 10:31:55 +0300
Subject: Mitzvah-Settling in Israel

I believe we are getting some very important signs on the need for
making Aliyah. I have a feeling that the majority of M.J. readers are
most upset with what what they read and see happening in Eretz Yisrael.
Try to imagine the effect of at least 200,000 observant Jews comming to
to settle with us.  Isn't it about time that we should be able to have a
Jewish majority here that is a representation of true Torah values ?
Isn't it time for the Jewish people could be an example to the world and
be proud of their Jewish roots and heritage ? Isn't it about time we had
a majority of Jews here that were concerned with the importance and the
perpetuation of Mitzvot Teluyot B' Aretz ( mitzvot that can only be done
in Eretz Yisrael ) ?

The best demonstration here for improving the situation would be a mass
immigration of Torah practicing Jews. If our people from abroad do not
come and settle in Israel and inherit the promiss to Avraham Avinu the
the Palestinian refugees will.

Now is the time good people to stand up for our beautiful Jewish

Perhaps this positve action could change these days of mourning to days of

Tzom Kal.

Dov Ettner (resident of Hashmonaim)


From: starcomm!imsasby!dgeretz (Danny Geretz)
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 01:49:52 -0400
Subject: Nine Days Question

During the nine days, we refrain from eating meat and drinking wine as
signs of mourning over the many tragedies that befell our people at this
specific time of year (and that we *still* haven't gotten things
"together enough" to merit the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the Beit

What are your thoughts about "fake" meat (made from soy or texturized
vegetable protein)?  Extending the question somewhat, I guess the
question could also be construed as: What exactly is the nature and
philosophy behind the oft-quoted (and right now, source unavailable)
dictum that there is no simcha (joy) except with meat and wine?

May all of our prayers this Tisha B'Av be answered so that, by next
year, we don't need to worry any more about question #1.

Danny Geretz
<dgeretz@...> <= preferable
<dgeretz@...> <= if my mail is bouncing


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 09:11:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Temple Burning

In v14n23 Arthur J Einhorn asks:

>How did the Temple(s) burn if they were made of stone? If only the wood
>furniture and other none stone parts burnt what happened to the stone

One of the miracles (yes miracles) of the destruction is that the temple
was destroy and burned to the ground, and the stones actually burned. 
The gemara brings down that Hashem, kaviyochal, took out his anger 
against Israel on wood and stone and let us, the nation, survive.

BTW, the first Temple, if you real Melachim, had an extensive amount of
wood within the structure.  The walls were overlaid with gold, an item
which can melt.  In the second Temple in addition to the tapestry that
hung between the Holy and the Holy of Holies, there were other
tapestries on other walls (according to some oppinions in the gemara).

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100
Warminster, PA 18974


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 94 12:19:52 -0400
Subject: The 6th Commandment - Kill or Murder?

Howard Berlin <berlin@...> writes:
>Which is it? - Kill or Murder.  Enquiring minds want to know!

First of all, you have to understand the definitions of the English
words.  "Kill" is to cause something alive to no longer be alive.
"Murder" is the subset of "kill" that is prohibited by law.

So, what you're really asking is "does 'lo tierzak' prohibit killing
everything, or are there some situations where you may kill?".  To
answer this, the latter is definitely the case.  There are definitely
situations where you may kill, and some where you are obligated to.  For

- You may kill (kosher) animals for food
- You must kill a dangerous animal (the ox that has gored two
- You may kill a human who is attacking you (self defense)
- The courts can sentance someone to death
- During a war (either one of defense or one mandated by halacha, like
  the one against Amalek), you are permitted (and possibly obligated)
  to kill members of the opposite army.  (King Shaul was commanded to
  kill every man, woman, child, and animal that belonged to Amalek.)

If God had intended "do not kill", then the above situations would all
have been forbidden - the Torah does not contradict itself.  Obviously,
the proper meaning is "do not kill when it is not permitted", which can
be more concisely stated as "do not commit murder".


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 08:51:22 -0400
Subject: Year of the destruction

     After the various discussions of what year it is I am still
confused what year the second Temple was destroyed. Both the years
68 and 70 have been mentioned. Where do these dates come from
(Is there any connection to the debate which year is the shemitta year?).



End of Volume 14 Issue 25