Volume 15 Number 17
                       Produced: Wed Aug 31 23:53:01 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baal Tshuva
         [Cheryl Hall]
Creation and Age of Universe
         [David Neustadter]
Dairy products and Jewish values
         [Shlomo Engelson]
Halacha and L'Chayim
         [M E Lando]
Halachic Perspectives on Smoking
         ["Ezra Dabbah"]
Kashrus and eggs
         [Bruce Krulwich]
New Fruit for Rosh HaShanah
         [Chaim Schild]
Tay Sachs Testing
         [Sam Gamoran]


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 13:53:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Baal Tshuva

Michael Broyde says:
> Yeshiva University by its definition involves a certain intuitive balance
> of Torah and madda that comes from a long association with (the two).  I 
> doubt that a person who is only recently accepted the yoke of commandments
> has that balance, and can function well in such a place without being 
> overwhelmed by all the secular pursuits...

I am not at all familiar with the YU campus or atmosphere, and can't
comment on that aspect.  I think there is an underestimation of the
newly traditional.  If anything I would think these individuals have
already experienced these secular pursuits and have opted out.  On the
other hand for a FFB these secular pursuits could have the allure of the

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


From: David Neustadter <david@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 11:10:28 -0400
Subject: Creation and Age of Universe

Moshe Rappoport says in MJ 15:13:

"I'm actually curious how you cope inwardly with the "apparent
contradiction" between our Mesorah and modern scientific belief."

This comment was made with reference to the age of the Universe and the
Mesorah of Creation.

Well, here's how I personally understand the issue:

I believe that there is no contradiction between our Mesorah and the
modern scientific understanding of the development of our universe,
because I believe that the "six days" of creation were not actually six
24 hour periods, but rather six "eras".

My bases for this interpretation are as follows:

1) "our Mesorah" of creation includes the idea that the story of
creation as told in the first chapter of Genesis is NOT to be taken

2) Since at the end of the first day of creation, there was still no
sun, therefore the terms "erev" (evening) and "boker" (morning) clearly
do not mean what they mean elsewhere in the Torah.  Therefore, "Veyahi
erev vayehi voker yom echad" does not necessarily mean 24 hours.

Basically, I accept the modern scientific approach to the development of
the universe, and consider that to be HOW HKB"H created the world.  Just
as I accept the modern scientific approach to how flowers grow or how
children are concieved, and consider them to be HOW HKB"H runs the world
that we live in.
 Once the literal "six days" are ignored, I don't see why the
development of the universe is different than any area where I accept
scientific understanding as an explanation for HOW HKB"H does things in
this world.  It is for this reason that I feel that the study of science
brings one closer to HKB"H, because we can begin to get a glimpse of how
He does things.

It is interesting to note that the ORDER of the creation as told in
Genesis is similar to the order of the development of species described
by modern science.

As for the creation of "Adam":

My feeling is that at some stage of the development of the Human
species, HKB"H decided that we were developed enough to handle a
"Neshama".  This first creature with a "Neshama" was "Adam".  It is from
this point that we count 5754 years, not the beginning of creation.  I
think this idea also fits nicely with two other issues.  Firstly, while
Human-like creatures are thought to have been around for at least tens
of thousands of years, as far as I know, no written language has been
found that is estimated to be older than about 6000 years.
 Considering that written language is now something unique to Humans, I
find it interesting that it should show up in history at about the same
time as "Adam".
 Secondly, I now feel that I have a better understanding of the story of
the "Creation" of Chava (Eve).  Why is it that Adam had to search for a
mate, find none, and then have Chava created from his own flesh?  Why
couldn't he just find her?  And if not, why couldn't HKB"H just create
her like he did him?  Why did she have to come from his flesh?  If HKB"H
was going to create Chava, why did Adam first have to search through and
name all of the other species?  I feel that the answer to all of these
questions is because there were other human-like creatures around, and
it was crucial that Adam and Chava recognize that they were different
from everyone else.  This is why Adam had to search and realize that he
was different, and Chava had to be created from his own flesh, otherwise
they would always have a doubt that maybe somewhere out there is yet
another human with a neshama like them and they would end up mingling
with other human-like creatures, which was not HKB"H plan.

I would very much like to hear other people's understanding of this
issue, and their comments on mine.

Thank you,

David Neustadter


From: <engelson@...> (Shlomo Engelson)
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 05:43:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Dairy products and Jewish values

Regarding Moshe Rappoport's question about how Orthodox Jewish
scientists (and others, I suppose) can deal with prehistoric timelines,
I suggest two possible methods of reconciliation.  The first, in line
with many Rishonim and Mequbalim, is to take the 6 "days" of creation
metaphorically, and to allow that the world existed for a long time
before Adam HaRishon.  Another is to take clauses such as "the ability
to produce lactase into adulthood seems to be less than ten thousand
years old" [in the article MR responded to] as a kind of scientific
shorthand for a large body of theory, whose postulates (such as man
existing for a million years) may be taken as convenient fictions for
explaining the way the world works now.  The term "10,000 years ago" is
fairly abstract to begin with, anyway.

My personal approach (though my work doesn't require geological time;
in CS 5 years is ancient history) is the first.



From: M E Lando <landom1@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 12:40:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Halacha and L'Chayim

I would like to stongly support the moderators statement in m-j 15-14 
that it should not be viewed as an "authoritative decisor". For that 
reason, I regard as inappropriate postings such as "Accepting Shabbat 
Early",(m-j,15-6).  M-J and its readers are not the ones to decide if 
something is or is not allowed.

Irwin Keller asked about liquers.  As is so often the case these days, 
the question is very complex.  I recall being told a few years ago, the 
Kahlua produced in the U.S. and Mexico was o.k., but the same product 
produced in Europe had a problem with a grape based alcohol.  I was told, 
therefore, that one had to be careful when buying Kahlua in duty-free 
shops or on an airplane.

*Kashrus Kurrents*, the publication of the V.H. of Baltimore had an 
article on Liquers some time ago. The Vaad phone is 410-484-4110. Fax 
410-653-9294.  They can probably provide the original article. and may 
have later info.

Mordechai E. Lando ha'm'chunah Yukum


From: "Ezra Dabbah" <ny001134@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 94 21:08:56 -0500
Subject: Halachic Perspectives on Smoking

The following is an excerpt from the Jerusalem Forum on Medicine and
Halacha. This is published by Rabbi Yaakov Weiner at the Jerusalem
Center for Research in Bayit Vegan, 23 Yonah St. Jerusalem 95502 Israel
Tel. 02-383558  Fax. 02-251954.

  Regarding smoking it is the opinion of this author that it is prohibited
  not only in public where discomfort and possible harm are caused to
  others (Chagiga 5a) but also in private with no others present. 

  In order to permit smoking the only leniency that pertains is shomer
  ptaim Hashem. This is so however only if the risk is minimal. According
  to statistics available to this author, approximately 1% of smokers
  contract fatal illnesses G-d forbid that are smoking related. One percent
  is not considered rare and would be subsumed under the positive Torah
  level commandment of "guarding one's life." The fact that many smoke is
  totally irrelevant. Similarly even if it is concluded in accordance with
  report #17 that "care be taken for yourself and care diligently for your
  lives" applies only to risk to life and not to health, the risk factor
  of fatal illness caused by smoking would in and of itself prohibit it.

  Further, even if the 1% risk could be considered as rare, shomer ptaim
  Hashem would still not apply. This is because the public has come to
  identify smoking as a hazard to health. It was shown in report #17
  (Yerushalmi Terumot, Chapter 8, Section 3 and the Rambam, Chapter 12
  Section 4) that all are required to be wary of situations which the 
  general public accepts as dangerous. This is so even if the danger is
  to one's health.

  Given that smoking is publicly advertised as dangerous to one's life
  precludes anyone from being considered a peti (one ignorant) consequently
  according to the Terumot Hadeshen shomer ptaim Hashem would not apply.

  According to the Rama (Orech Chaim 466) if a potential yet real danger is
  present, even though many people are not harmed, shomer ptaim Hashem does
  not apply. Because certain chemical components of cigarette smoke have
  been proved to be carcinogenic, the danger is considered as present and
  shomer ptaim Hashem cannot be used.

  According to Rashi in Ketuvot (39a) the Rabbis agree with R' Meir that
  if there is no prima facie reason to invoke shomer ptaim Hashem then it
  should not be invoked. R' Tam can agree to this position. Consequently
  regarding smoking shomer ptaim Hashem is not implemented in order to gain
  permission. Even if shomer ptaim Hashem might apply, the Ritvah pronounces
  that it is preferable not to invoke it.

  Finally even according to the Radak that dashu bei rabim denotes absence
  of all danger, it might be necessary to prove that it requires a majority
  of the general public to implement dashu bei rabim. Data available to
  this author indictes that 70% of the populations both in the USA and 
  Israel do not smoke. Certainly many within this majority prefer not to 
  smoke  because of the health hazards associated with smoking. Thus even 
  according to the Radak there may be no appeal to dashu bei rabim, shomer 
  ptaim Hashem.

  Summing up now all of the above analysis, it is most difficult to argue
  for any cogent position that would allow anyone to begin or to continue


From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 11:48:49 -0400
Subject: Kashrus and eggs

Many people have the practice to always boil at least three eggs at a
time, so that if one has a blood spot, and is thus treif, the majority
would still be Kosher (assuming only one had a spot).  Combining that
with the nature of the prohibition against blood spots, which as I
understand it is Rabbinical, we get the other eggs being Kosher in such
a circumstance.



From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 12:40:19 -0400
Subject: New Fruit for Rosh HaShanah

What defines the fruit to say shechechiyanu on:

New for you for the year ??
New crop for the year of a fruit only available seasonably ?

If its the second, then how do you know which of all these exotic fruits
the supermarkets put out is "new" ??



From: gamoran%<milcse@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Wed, 31 Aug 1994 05:43:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Tay Sachs Testing

In Israel Tay Sachs testing is done free of charge by the Ministry of
Health.  I had it done a number of years ago - it involved a trip to
North Tel Aviv (sorry, I forget the name of the place).  They drew blood
and had me fill out a self-addressed envelope.  The result arrived in
the mail a few weeks later.  (They also gave me a specimen ID# in case
the result accidentally got lost).

This was several years ago.  Ask through your Kupat Cholim what the
procedures are today.

Sam Gamoran


End of Volume 15 Issue 17