Volume 15 Number 69
                       Produced: Thu Oct 13  5:42:43 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Breishit Questions
         [Jay Bailey]
Bus Mechitza Opinion
         ["Leah S. Gordon"]
Davka Search Program
         [Jay Rovner]
Electrical Bell of a Telephone
         [Michael Broyde]
Fireproof Safes for the Sifrei Torah
         [Jeff Fischer]
Monsey Bus Reprise
         ["Evelyn C Leeper"]
Shabbat and Wheelchairs, Canes, etc.
         [Arthur Roth]
Woman of Valor
         [Shaul Wallach]


From: <bailey@...> (Jay Bailey)
Date: Thu, 6 Oct 1994 16:02:54 
Subject: Re: Breishit Questions

> >From: <SZN2758@...> (Barak Moore)
> What do the words "shamayim" and "rakia" mean in the opening of
> Breishit? It seems difficult to reconcile any precise definitions with
> every example.
> Also, what is the "mayim" above the "rakia?"

Rambam on the pasuk considers rakia to be the space between the water
and the sky, and the mayim above it is the clouds...I'm quoting loosely,
but see Rambam for the straight-to-the-point answer on this one...

Jay Bailey 


From: "Leah S. Gordon" <lsgordon@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 1994 14:20:22 -0700
Subject: Bus Mechitza Opinion

Mr. Yaakov Menken writes asking for Orthodox responses to protests of a
mechitza in a public bus.

I assume that the case he is discussing is a civil (U.S.) case, and I
know it is about a public bus in the U.S.  This is not a beit din issue,
so here is my opinion from an American legal standpoint:

Having segregated seating sections on any public transportation has been
found by U.S. court cases to be unconstitutional in the case of race
segregation.  I see no reason that this ruling would not apply equally
well in the case of sex segregation.  In other words, such a bus policy,
on public transportation, may be illegal.

 From a Jewish standpoint, also, I fail to see much merit in such a bus
policy.  Most Orthodox commuters manage to daven in transit (if they do
so) even without a mechitza, i.e. on the LIRR etc.  Even the haredim on
El Al retire to the back of the plane, where there is still no mechitza,
and do not insist on a separated seating section.  (And a LARGE number
of Orthodox Jews in big Jewish neighborhoods, which Monsey can certainly
be considered, go to an early morning minyan, in a shul, before work,
and have no such issue.)

And although we have religious freedom in this country to worship as we
please, (and so if there were a private bus with separate seating (such
as a private day school van for instance), then the organization could
do what it wanted), freedom of religion also guarantees us that we won't
have to worship if we don't want to, in any category.  So a U.S. public
bus should not adhere to any faith's religious beliefs, even if the
majority of the passengers would like it; freedom of religion protects
the minority.

For the statistics of responses, I would consider myself to be an
Orthodox woman, especially in the area of mechitza.

Leah S. Gordon


From: <JAROVNER@...> (Jay Rovner)
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 1994 12:41:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Davka Search Program

i am seeking suggestions regarding the following problem using davka's 
judaica classics library search programs: although i am able to get the 
title screen, the program itself does not load. that means, i get no 
search screen and the computer freezes.  this happens whether from a cold 
boot or a warm one.  i know that the computer is not the problem because: 
1. sometimes the program actually does work
2. other cd-rom programs do load and work fine.
(davka has not been able to help, although i have contacted them about it.)
thank you,
jay rovner


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 94 18:53:44 EDT
Subject: Re: Electrical Bell of a Telephone

One of the writers on electricity states that it is a "no-no" to turn
off the electrical bell of a telephone that is not now ringing as it
effects a mechanical device.  This is generally thought to be incorrect.
Even if there is a reduction in current flow through that action, and my
information indicates to me that the way most telephones work is that the
re is *no current flow except when the phone rings, it remains a matter
of intense dispute amoung authorities as to whether halacha prohibits
the reduction of current flow when there is no other manefestation.
As noted in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society (21:p35),
the consensus of authorities permits that.
In general, I find that much of the halachic discussion of electricity
is not supported by citations to the sources and is instead individual
writer's perception of the "minhag."
Michael Broyde


From: Jeff Fischer <jfncyi@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Oct 1994 19:47:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Fireproof Safes for the Sifrei Torah

If you get any info. on the fireproof safes for the Sifrei Torah, please 
forward them to me also because I am on the board of my shul and we were 
interested in one.



From: "Evelyn C Leeper" <ecl@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 1994 09:44:21 -0400
Subject: Monsey Bus Reprise

On Oct 5, 16:34, Yaakov Menken wrote:

> So I'm posting this here in an attempt to hear the range of "Orthodox"
> reactions on this issue.  I believe that what she is talking about is
> tyranny of the majority.  The Chassidic community, where the WOMEN are
> just as adamant as the men about having a wall between them, should have
> the same rights as anyone else to have public transportation services,
> and companies should be able to receive public mass-transit subsidies
> while providing for the needs of that company.
> But what do YOU think?

[Caveat: Mine is by no means an "Orthodox" opinion, or probably even an
"orthodox" one.]

Sounds great in theory, however....

Consider a group opposed to the use of machines, or opposed to the use
of machines on a particular day.  Should a community have to provide
horse-drawn carriages for them because they are entitled to have public
mass-transit services?

What about a group for whom a curtain down the center is not
enough--they want separate buses?

What about a white supremacist church whose reading of the Bible says
that that blacks should not be allowed to share facilities with whites?
Do they get a segregated public bus?

Does a Muslim group get to demand that female bus drivers wear veils?

I can't say with certainty where the line should be drawn.  But it's
clear that the government must draw it somewhere.

(Personally, I probably would have moved to a different seat on the bus.
But I would have felt I was doing that as a good deed, not because I had
to.  Men frequently give their seats to women as a courtesy.  Making
this an enforceable rule is something different entirely.)

Evelyn C. Leeper | +1 908 957 2070 | <Evelyn.Leeper@...>


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 1994 10:49:44 -0500
Subject: Shabbat and Wheelchairs, Canes, etc.

>From Joel Goldberg (MJ 15:56):
>   I would like to add that as my wife is confined to wheelchair, no eruv
> would mean that we could never go anywhere (ie be invited to eat) any
> shabbat, and various mitzvot such as parshat zachor would be very
> difficult to arrange.

I've heard of psakim from very authoritative sources that permit the use
of wheelchairs (without electronic controls), canes, walking sticks,
etc. on Shabbat with or without an eruv for disabled people who cannot
go anywhere without them.  The argument is that these objects become
part of the person himself/herself since they are necessary for normal
function.  This argument would seem to imply that only the disabled
person can (if able) propel his own wheelchair (e.g., by pulling on the
wheels).  Logic would dictate that pushing someone else's wheelchair
(that is now regarded as "part of the other person") is no different
from carrying a child, which is not allowed.  In fact, however, a
disabled Rosh Yeshiva (no longer alive) in our community regularly had
his talmidim push him to and from shul in his wheelchair.  I don't know
the nature of the heter, but I can find out if anyone is interested
because one of the talmidim is a friend of mine.  At any rate, this
occurred several years ago, before our community had an eruv.
    In any case, Joel's wife might be interested in exploring these
psakim before resigning herself to never being able to leave her house
on Shabbat in the absence of an eruv.


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Oct 94 19:06:21 IST
Subject: Woman of Valor

     Cheryl Hall brought up the concept of the Eishet Hayyil (woman of
valor) who tends to everything that is necessary for the welfare of her
household, as is written in Proverbs 31. When this expression comes up,
a lot of examples come to mind, but there is one to which I would like
to give special mention.

     I have in mind none other than Hannah, wife of the great Tzaddik,
Rabbi Aryeh Levin ZS"L, whose biography is given by Simcha Raz in his
book "A Tzaddik in Our Time" (Feldheim, Jerusalem, 1977). That Reb Aryeh
was a great husband is illustrated by the well-known story about the
time his wife had trouble with her leg and he took her to the doctor.
He told the doctor, "My wife's leg hurts us", showing how he looked at
her literally as "a bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." But
anyone who reads the chapter in Raz' book about his wife cannot fail to
be struck by the depth of her piety, which Reb Aryeh always acknowledged
as far greater than his own, as if we could imagine anything of the kind.

     Reb Aryeh and his family lived in Jerusalem during World War I,
and suffered during the terrible famine that claimed many thousands of
lives. He and Hannah lost two children, the second of whom was a true
prodigy and could recite the blessings at the age of nine months. He
succumbed at a year and a half, on the Shabbat. Just like Beruria -
Rabbi Meir's wife - Hannah hid her infant's death from the rest of the
family until night so as not to injure the atmosphere of the Shabbat.

     During the famine, Reb Aryeh found himself without money or any
food to eat. The family went day after day without anything coming
into their mouths. Reb Aryeh asked a friend for a loan just to buy
something to eat, but the latter refused. At this, Reb Aryeh came
home discouraged and burst out crying, because he knew his friend
was wealthy and could not understand why he had refused to give him
a loan. But Hannah could not leave him in such a state. She reminded
him that his friend must know that he - Reb Aryeh - was honest, and
would not fail to repay the loan. If so, she said, it was obvious
that Hashem did not want him to give the loan, and why should we
complain? Where is your Fear of Heaven, she asked him, and comforted
him with a promise that Hashem would surely provide for their needs
in the way He saw fit.

     And sure enough, the very next day, Reb Aryeh received a letter
from a relative in America with a check for $20!!

     I would like to close with the following story told by Harav
Refael Levin, one of Reb Aryeh's sons, to another woman of valor,
Miriam Adahan, as recorded in her book "EMETT" (Feldheim, Jerusalem,
1987), p. 99:

      The great Tzaddik Rabbi Aryeh Levin (1885-1969) lived with his
    family in Jerusalem in abject poverty. One of the few items of any
    material value in their possession was a set of dishes used on the
    Shabbath. One motzaey Shabbat the rack on which they were drying
    came loose from the wall and the dishes smashed to the floor. The
    Rebbetzin ran with great joy to the synagogue where her husband
    was studying and told him, "Aryeh, Aryeh, a wonderful thing has
    happened. Thank God we have been saved from a terrible misfortune.
    Hashem decided to take the dishes from us instead of inflicting pain
    on us or the children."




End of Volume 15 Issue 69