Volume 15 Number 90
                       Produced: Thu Oct 20  0:59:07 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Age of the Earth
         [Barry Graham]
         [Ruby Stein]
Halacha and the Handicapped
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Halakha and the Handicapped
         [Michael Broyde]
         [Harry Weiss]
Is Opera sinful?
         [Jules Reichel]
Racism (2)
         [David Charlap, Michael Broyde]
Religious Discrimination (2)
         [Merril Weiner, Jules Reichel]
Stoves & strolls
         [Warren Burstein]
The LAST WORD on Zeno's paradox
         [Constance Stillinger]
Women / Tefillin
         [Zvi Weiss]


From: <barry@...> (Barry Graham)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 9:46:07 EDT
Subject: Age of the Earth

Sorry if this repeats anything that has been said (I have only just
subscribed) but I think that if we, who are part of nature, try to make
calculations about the universe, we could come up with anything we

The only way to make accurate calculations is to be outside of the
entity that we are analyzing. Since we are part of the universe, we are
using our own perceptions and instruments made out of the very thing
that we are trying to analyze.  Furthermore, you would not try to
estimate the age of a building if you were standing inside it and had
lived in it all your life, never having ventured outside. You would only
have part of the picture.

It is also not correct to say that only scientists are in a position to
express opinions and judgements on the subject.  Doctors spend many
years learning about the workings of the human body and this qualifies
them to perform diagnosis and/or perform surgery.  However we are all
qualified to construct our own theories about life because we have all
participated in it and we all have our own views and perceptions that we
construct from the time we are born.


From: <RUBY@...> (Ruby Stein)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 09:57:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Divorce

   Esther Posen quotes a gemmara that a man can divorce his wife if she burns
his food.  I heard an explanation for this from Rav L. Baron of Montreal.
The gemmara says "his food" , not "the food". The inference is that she gave
him the burnt food and kept the unburnt part for herself.  This certainly
indicates a problem in their relationship.

Ruby Stein


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 20:27:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Halacha and the Handicapped

R. Tvi Marx has published a long book (his PhD thesis, actually) titled
_Halachah and the Handicapped_.  For those interested in a comprehensive
treatment, see that book (he used the Bar Ilan responsa project to cull
every teshuva ever written on the handicapped, or something like that).

Eitan Fiorino


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 23:15:59 EDT
Subject: Halakha and the Handicapped

I am uncertain if the long intricate posting concerning a person being
pushed in a weelchair on shabbat, with the unnamed Rosh Yeshiva finally
resorting to pekuach nephesh as the rationale is really needed.  There
are many halachic authorities who permit this for standard halachic
reasons that are commonly found in hilchot shabbat.  For a teshuva that
permits a person to be pushed in a weelchair on shabbat, see for example.
Rabbi Shachter, Beit Yitzchak (the YU torah publication) volume 20 page
237.  On the issue of carrying a child when there is no eruv, one of the
writers labeled this "clearly wrong."  This is a simplification of a
very complex topic, and while the normative opinion is that one should
not carry such a child, in a case of great need (*tzorech gadol*) there
are ways to carry such a child, such as for distances of less than 4
amot at a time.  Rav Moshe Feinstein clearly rules (Iggrot Moshe OC 4:91
(1) that in a case of serious need one may carry a child who can walk a
lready based on the rationale of chai noza et atzo and a carmelet and
and a shevut deshevot bemakom mitzvah or tzarech gadol even if one carr
ies the child in a regular way without stoping.
In short, in a time of urgent need or a wildly screaming child it is
incorrect to state that it is clearly wrong to carry such a child when
no eruv is present.
Once again, these issues are complex -- as are all the rules relating to
carrying -- and people are urged to consult a rabbi versed in these
areas and not to paskin by stories without a close examination of the
classical halachic sources.
For a detailed article on this issue, see volume 24 of the Journal of
halacha and contemporary Society.
Once again, I repeat my mantra.  This is a public forum where all are fr
ee to express there opinion on matters of halacha.  Nonethless, it would
be usefull to all if people checked their technical halachic sources
to assertain that the principles they are repeating are grounded in
halachic norms.
Rabbi Michael Broyde


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 10:55:54 -0700
Subject: Haloween

Michael Lipkin asks about giving out candies to Trick or treaters.  I
give out something.  I have heard that it is permissible because of
Darchei Shalom (ways of peace).  (I do have live in an area where Jews
are a very small minority.)  We give out candy, not to celebrate the
holiday, but not to cause animosity (or tricks).  Obviously we do not
decorate the house in any way or give out items with Halloween designs.

Incidentally, isn't it interesting to compare Halloween to Purim.  We go
to other homes to give gifts, and give charity to the poor.  They go
home to ask for (extort) gifts.



From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 16:28:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Is Opera sinful?

Marc Shapiro cites R. Lichtenstein who writes that we shouldn't encourage
a girl to go into the opera (as a career). Marc suggests that the same rule
applies to men. What's the origin of such a concept? The singing of an expert
cantor is very similar to opera singing. While the cantor is applying his      
talent to Torah, we must be accepting of this kind of voice training and 
musical discipline. Why should anyone be more concerned with using the trained
voice as a secular activity than any other secular activity? Personally, I 
love to listen to opera singing. Would the Rav view this as dangerous or 
sinful as well?


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 13:00:35 EDT
Subject: Racism

David Steinberg <dave@...> writes:
>... For example, Fundamentalists take what may be an extreme position
>about abortion.  One could easily construct a case where L'Halacha
>abortion is acceptable but Fundamentalists view it as immoral.

For that matter, you could conceive (sorry.) of a situation where
Halacha would REQUIRE an abortion - if the mother's life is threatened
by the pregnancy.  Many (but not all) of the fundamentalist Christians
in the USA would oppose an abortion, even under that extreme

From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 13:49:54 EDT
Subject: Racism

In reply to my post on racism, David steinberg corrrectly notes that the
limit of this arguement occurs when the conduct prohibited by general
secular society is mandated by halacha.  Indeed, it is generally very
important to know when halachic demands are mere suggestions, demands,
or customs.  David goes on to say "one could easily construct a case
where l'halacha abortion is acceptable but Fundamentalist view it as
immoral.  Certainly we would follow the halacha and not kow tow to
society."  I am not certain that is true.  It would depend on whether
the abortion is merely acceptable to halacha (meaning an acceptable
option) or is one of those cases where abortion is mandated by halacha.
I am not convinced -- by any means -- that all abortions acceptable to
halacha are mandated by it.


From: <weiner@...> (Merril Weiner)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 94 13:01:27 EDT
Subject: Religious Discrimination

In Mail.Jewish Vol. 15 #74 Digest, David Lee Makowsky wrote about his
episode of Religious Discrimination.

Call your local ADL chapter.  They will have information about
everybody's obligation according to state and federal law.  For
instance, in the state of Massachusetts, you need not mention the
days off for chagim and shabbatot until they offer you a job.  Any
questions regarding this are illegal and should be deferred until they
offer you a job so that you can make arrangements to get around any
inconveniences.  Of course, if the job specifically includes working
on Shabbat, then they have the right to retract the offer or fire you.
Again, please check with your local ADL chapter for more details
(federal law does not kick in until after you are hired).

- Merril Weiner

From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 18:25:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Religious Discrimination

David Makowsky posts about religious discrimination at Motorola, based
on his perception that they rejected him since he need every Shabbat off.
There are a few complex problems here: 1.Even if David's perception is 
correct, Motorola may view frequent work on Shabbat as a job requirement. 
Namely, others in the same category are indeed doing such things, and the 
compensation package may have built in incentives to encourage such additional
work. Discrimination may therefore not be the correct word. 2. Jews, frum and
liberal, are not given favored status in employment. So, it has become fairly
common, even when there is no Shabbat issue, to have some problems with time
off for our holidays. 3. Religious Christians who might be allies in what is
simply a political war, bitterly complain that their interests are endlessly
bashed by media people and by school people, who all too often are Jewish. 
Many Jews seem to become experts in worries about Christians no matter what
it does to their fellow Jews. What can David do? Probably very little which
will help him. He can write to Motorola about their insensitivity and 
unwillingness to make reasonable accomodation for reasonable needs. But, he
doesn't know for sure if it's true, he's unwilling and unable to fight it 
out in court, and big corporations keep these letters on file forever. 
What can be done in the long term? IMHO, Liberal Jews will never help on this
issue. Their attitude will be, go to work! The political solution lies in 
alliances with religious Christians who need us just as we need them. We have
to learn to say yes, to their needs and ask for help in return.     
Other than that, it's every man for himself. Just keep trying new interviews.
Good Luck,


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 19 Oct 1994 05:52:55 GMT
Subject: Re: Stoves & strolls

I'm at a complete loss to understand the story cited by E Hershkowitz.
Was the Belzer approving or disapproving of a married couple walking
together, and how is this approval or disapproval expressed by noting
that Noach left the ark separate from his wife?  For that matter, I
don't even understand why "remembering the past" is a reason for Noach
to have violated the command to leave with his wife.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon." -- Stuart Schoffman
/ nysernet.org


From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 21:29:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: The LAST WORD on Zeno's paradox

Okay I've reached my tolerance limit!  :-) (This is a pun; see below.)
The last word on Zeno's paradox will be found in any calculus book in
the section on infinite series.

The time series converges.  The fly makes an infinite number of trips.

If you introduce the notion of "tolerances" (ie how far away from the
abstract limit you're willing to quit at), which is necessary for
doing real-life approximations to theoretical limits, then the fly
will make a last trip.  When that occurs depends on the size of your
tolerance limit.

There's no way to make it intuitive unless you know a little math,
because the math is merely an approximate abstraction of reality.
If you're really interested, look in a math book---it's not very
difficult stuff, but endlessly fascinating.

Dr. Constance A. (Chana) Stillinger    <cas@...>
Research Coordinator, Education Program for Gifted Youth
Stanford University


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 1994 13:20:48 -0400
Subject: Women / Tefillin

Re Aliza Berger's comments
1. I do not believe that the Rama can be dismissed so easily.  With all
   due respect, Prof. Sperber is not a halachic authority and I do not
   believe that his theories re the MAHARAM are given any halachic
   significance.  The MAHARAM is considered a pre-eminent scholar, of
   his time -- to say the least.  The Kol Bo was well awre of the
   various halachic opinions and he chooses to maintain the opinion of
   the MAHARAM.  The Rama is considered the defin- itive posek for
   Ashkenazic Jewry -- for most areas of halacha -- the vast majority of
   such areas.  One cannot, therefore, dismiss his halachic
   pronouncement so easily.
2. Rabbi Berman -- with all due respect -- is not considered a posek.
   while I am sure that his SHiurim on this area were quite scholarly, I
   do not know that they can be taken as the basis for definitive
   halacha.  There is a vasrt difference between a Shiur and a P'sak.
3. The Tefilla *is* considered the "minimum" amount to wear Tefillin.
   That is why the Halacha defines at what point one is allowed to
   remove Tefillin -- and that before reaching that point, one is
   required to keep the Tefillin on.  On what basis does Ms. Berger
   define what "the minimum" is?  As I noted before, the men *should*
   wear Tefillin the whole day... Because of Guf Naki issues, they
   reduced this to the "minimum" as defined in the Shulchan Aruch in
   terms of Tefilla.
4. Based upon the above, I do not see that it is at all obvious that one
   can extend R. Moshe's Responsa (regarding Tallit) to the issue of
   Tefillin.  It is not at all clear that R. Moshe would take such a
   stand against the Rama.



End of Volume 15 Issue 90