Volume 16 Number 18
                       Produced: Fri Oct 28  8:40:50 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Common English Religious Holyday
         [Cheryl Hall]
Don't be so quick to forbid a woman from marrying a kohen!
         [Arthur Roth]
First Date: Math and Rationale
         [Sam Juni]
Haloween (2)
         [Ira Rosen, Joshua E. Sharf]
Marath Hamachpelah
         [Steven Shore]
         [David Steinberg]
         [Michael Broyde]
Trick or Treat (2)
         [Aryeh Blaut, Warren Burstein]


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 06:06:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Common English Religious Holyday

A number of contributors have responded to my first post about
Halloween, but I don't feel my second post has been
addressed. Specifically regarding the the linguistic reality of standard
daily English used in our workplaces, our neighborhoods, public
discourse. Are we not being disingenuous, even among ourselves, when we
try to equate Halloween and Christmas or St Patrick day with Easter? I
do not believe that we are so ignorant of the goyishe customs and
beliefs to really believe that equation.  We are also informed
sufficiently to understand the secular humanistic trends in American
culture, and know the reality of an a-religious society.

As I said earlier, I am not advocating celebrating this holiday.  What I
am advocating is a very clear recognition of the loss of communication
and meaning if we continue to devalue the plain English term "religious
holiday/holyday". Generally, in the Fall we are all informing our
clients, employers, teachers et al that we have important religious
holidays to celebrate. Do you really want to equate those "religious
holidays" to Halloween, St Valentine or St Patrick day? We all really
know that those days do not have a significant religious component and
are not normatively consider religious holidays by the bulk of the
gentile community.

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 02:36:57 -0500
Subject: Don't be so quick to forbid a woman from marrying a kohen!

>From Simon Schwartz (MJ 16:2):
> I recently asked my rav a similar question regarding a possible
> shidduch (for someone else--I'm a Levi :-) ).  He paskened without
> qualification that a woman who has had intercourse with a Gentile may
> not marry a kohen.  My understanding of the halacha is that marriage
> does not exist between a Gentile and a Jew, as opposed to a forbidden
> but realizable marriage.

This is indeed the halacha, yet I know of a case where a woman who was
MARRIED to a Gentile subsequently married a kohen with full permission
from several Orthodox rabbis.  The grounds were "ayn adam meisim atzmo
rasha", i.e., we do not believe someone who attempts to incriminate
oneself.  Thus, these rabbis ruled that we should not even believe the
woman's rather obvious assertion that her "marriage" to her Gentile
"husband" had been consumated.  Kal vachomer, they would not have
"believed" a woman's admission of intercourse with a Gentile that she
was NOT married to.  I'm sure there are poskim who strongly disagree
with this position, but it's interesting nevertheless.
    In the interest of fairness, I must mention two other things about this
  1. The man was sort of a nebish who was lucky to find ANY woman
willing to marry him, so the rabbis involved were "bending over
backwards" to find a heter in this case on humanitarian grounds.
  2. The woman in this case had no children from her "marriage" to the
Gentile.  The rabbis in the case made it known that they would NOT have
ruled the same way in the case of a woman who had a child fathered by a
Gentile, regardless whether or not a "marriage" had been involved.  The
obvious reasoning is that the child constitutes ample proof of the
forbidden relationship without the self-incriminating testimony of the
woman herself.

In conclusion, perhaps the host in Janice Gelb's posting that started
this whole line of discussion was not only insensitive but also
incorrect in leaping so quickly from theory to practice with respect to
this particular halacha.


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 22:11:17 EST
Subject: First Date: Math and Rationale

Yossi Halberstat hypothesizes (16:11) that if first date decisions are
more common for women than for men, then some women are dating more
frequently than men. I am not sure what constant is featured in Yossi's
formula to arrive at this conclusion.

Yossi also argues (non-mathematically now) that marrying your "first"
may not be such a bad idea, since looking for comparisons will always
yield alternates who are more clever, more handsome, etc.  Two responses

   1. The argument would be tighter if indeed the woman will never meet
      these "better" folks from the time her decision is formed; then
      you might argue that what she doese'ent know won't hurt her.  The
      problem is that most women do meet others subsequently leading to
     self-recriminations, second thoughts, and worse.

   2. On a gut level, just because one could always do better, there is
       no argument that one should just settle for the first item. I
       would opt setting up some reasonable cretirion for search time,
       etc., rather than saying to oneself: Since I will never
       (statistically) get the best, I'll take the first and be done
       with it.


From: Ira Rosen <irosen@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 7:18:51 EDT
Subject: Haloween

In response to Mr. Steinberg:

	I quoted a source that said in black and white (Webster's Family
Encyclopedia) that Haloween IS a Christain holiday.  Mr. Steinberg has
decided from the same source that I quoted that the authors intent was that
it is no longer a Christain holiday.  I am confused.  Although few (if any)
Christains go to church on Haloween, and throwing eggs (which, as far as I
know, tends to be done on "Mischief Night", the night before Haloween) is an
odd 'Avoda' for a religious holiday, the root of the holiday still exists.
	Odd customs do not change the religious roots for a celebration.  A
dying pine or fir tree in one's living room does not make Christmas any less
religious, nor does public drunkedness eliminate the religious roots or
significance of SAINT Patrick's Day or (l'havdil - with a VERY different
importance and root) Purim and Simchat Torah (no lecture of halacha, simply a
reality of life - for both religions invoved in the previously mentioned
	It is both religion that defines particular holidays, and until that
religion makes the break from a given holiday, one can't ignore its roots. 
If anyone can cite a religious source separating the religious aspect of
Haloween from the current holiday, I'd be very interested in seeing it. 
Until then, as far as I and my trusty Webster's are concerned, Haloween IS a
Christain holiday (albeit one with a very odd candy coating).

From: <jsharf@...> (Joshua E. Sharf)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 09:46:21 -0700
Subject: Haloween

While the origins of the holiday may be important, and indeed we are
enjoined from conscious imitation of non-jewish society, I think we need
to bear in mind a number of points.

First, how many of us eat bacon bits?  I mean the ones with the O-U on
them.  I certainly do: they taste great in pea soup, and I always keep
the bottle around to assuage any guests I don't know that well.  Is that
not conscious imitation?

Secondly, the comparison between Christmas and Halloween is perhaps a
bit strained.  While I suspect that well over 99% of Americans know what
the religious significance of the former is, that of the latter is still
repeated as new information often.  Mainstream America hasn't celebrated
Halloween as an *actual* return of the dead for many generations.  In
the 1940's film Mett Me in St. Louis, a 1903 Halloween celebration is
shown pretty much as a holiday for pranks and jokes.  Even assuming the
filmmakers were back-projecting, they were still accurately reflecting
what most people in the 1940's thought about the day, and that's been 50
years now.

Even about Christmas itself, the issue can become a little unclear.
While I would give a couple of miles' berth to any *religious*
celebration, I certainly attend my company Christamas parties, a
friend's Boxing Day party (Dec. 26), etc.  I, of course, wear a kipah to
the latter, and don't eat treif.  No one can claim it's anything other
than a social event.  If there are complaints about socializing qwith
non-Jews, then they apply even to non-holiday partioes.

Finally, returning to Halloween itself, why can we not even appropriate
the day for ourselves?  After all, I.B. Singer wrote liberally about the
supernatural.  We don't have to take it seriously, but we don't have to
pretend Judaism hasn't dealt with these issues as well.

-- Joshua


From: Steven Shore <shore@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 07:48:19+010
Subject: Re: Marath Hamachpelah

>I was wondering if anybody had information as to the closing the
>Ma'arath Hamachpelah in Chevron, Israel.

>I heard a rumor that it was closed to all Jews at all times, I do not
>know if that is true; Anybody have any info?

The Ma'arath Hamachpelah has been closed to EVERYONE (not just Jews)
since the attack in March. The latest news is that it will be reopened
sometime next week (Oct. 30th to Nov. 4th) for worshippers of all
faiths. There is going to be a complete seperation of Jewish and Moslem
worshippers based on times and places of davening. There will also be a
much higher level of security including video cameras and electric door
locks. From what I have heard the Chief Rabbinate and the Institute for
Science and Halachah (name?) have been working very hard to solve all
halachic problems in the use of the security equipment on Shabbosim and
Yom Tovim.

Shimon Shore					<shore@...>


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 1994 11:02:49 +0100
Subject: Milk

Its been over two months since the milk herd issue hit.  I have not seen 
any psak since the initial flurry.  Has the OU issued their psak?  Has 
there been any authoratative work published?  I'm not referreing to the 
trash-talking that went on in the newspapers.

David Steinberg


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 09:45:04 EDT
Subject: Thanksgiving

A couple of notes on the Tanksgiving discussion.

1] Rav Moshe Feinstein has a teshuva published in am hatorah on
Thanskgiving that greatly elaborates on his teshuva in Iggrot Moshe.  it
would be a mistake for a reader to even discuss Rav Moshe's opinion
without reading his remarks in am hatorah.

It is widely known that the Rav, Rabbi Soloveitchik celebrated
thanksgiving.  Rav Schechter, writng in Nephesh Harav, notes this
clearly and I also have signed letters from two other talmidim asserting
that they spoke to the Rav about this issue, and he indicated that he
himself eat turkey on thanksgiving.  I also have in my possision a
teshuva from Rav Efraim Greenblatt (ball rivavot efraim) asserting that
eating turkey or otherwise celebrating thanskgiving is permissible as
Thanksgiving is not a religious holiday and poses no chukat ha'akum
problems.  Rav Manashe Klein disagrees and in volume 10 of mishnah
halacha notes that celebrating thanksgiving is wrong.
 I would welcome any more data that people have on this topic.


From: Aryeh Blaut <ny000592@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Oct 94 00:50:45 -0800
Subject: Trick or Treat

>>From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)

>- It's a Christian/Pagen Holiday and we should have nothing to do with
>  it period.  

You're correct (IMHO)

>- Lifney Iver (putting a stumbling block before the blind), i.e. though
>  most people on our block are not frum, many are Jewish.  By giving
>  these kids candy we are helping them participate in this non-Jewish
>  holiday.

I think that the background on this "holiday" makes it hard even for a 
non-Jew (B'nei Noah) to justify observing (again, IMHO).

>- Then again we are making sure they get at least some kosher candy.

How about giving them Mishlo'ach Manos (food gifts) for Purim?

>- Maaris Eiyen (suspicion), i.e. through our "participation" others
>  might think that we, as observant Jews, approve of celebrating this
>  holiday.

Another reason for not participating.

>- Chillul Hashem (desecration of the name), i.e. our non-participation
>  in what many consider just an American holiday may cause them to think
>  ill of all of Judaism.

If this "holiday" has its roots in Avoda Zara (Idol Worship) then the 
Chillul Hashem would be participating in it.

>- Darche Shalom (ways of peace), i.e. just plain old being neighborly.  

My non-Jewish neighbors always thought me friendly, but different.  I 
see nothing wrong with that.

>- Fear of vandalism.

We have always put a "do not disturb" sign on our door and kept the
front of the house dark.  In 3 different cities (Los Angeles, CA;
Houston, TX; and Seattle, WA, I have never had any problems with

Aryeh Blaut

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 15:32:42 GMT
Subject: Re: Trick or Treat

<CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall) writes that Halloween is not a
religious holiday.

Aryeh Blaut responds:

>It is my understanding of Jewish Law that it doesn't make a difference 
>how the holiday is presently celebrated, we have to go back to the roots 
>of the holiday.

I'm neither agreeing nor disagreeing, just asking for sources.  I
can't think of a discussion of a formerly pagan, now secular holiday.

>According to your arguement, we should be joining our non-Jewish
>neighbors on December 25 because so many people use it as a day to give
>gifts to each other and not as a "religious holiday".

This might be a tenable argument in some SF novel where no churches
hold special services on that day, no one is really sure what the name
means (except in alt.folklore.urban, where they tease newcomers by
insisting it means "exploding gas tank" in Spanish), and people wonder
if it's an outgrown of Chanukah since it also happens on the 25th of
the first month of winter.

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


End of Volume 16 Issue 18