Volume 16 Number 19
                       Produced: Sat Oct 29 23:07:28 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Changes in Halacha
         [Zvi Weiss]
Exemption from military service
         ["Ezra Dabbah"]
         [Jeff Fischer]
Haloween -its my birthday!
         [Howard Berlin]
Israeli  army
         [Eli Turkel]
Kavod Hatorah and Preventing Abuse
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Living in the real world
         [Ellen Krischer]
Marrying Kohanim (?)
         [Joshua E. Sharf]
Modern Orthodox
         [Abe Rosenberg]
Permitted and Mandated Abortions
         [Michael Broyde]
         [Harry Weiss]
The Use of Animals is Proper/True
         [Barry Parnas]
Throwing Eggs [was: Halloween]
         [Rick Dinitz]
When the Chazan repeats
         [Jules Reichel]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 13:38:05 -0400
Subject: Changes in Halacha

Re Harry Weiss' comments upon my remarks that "Halacha Changed"...  Of
course, he is correct when the gemara states that the "four types of
execution were not invalidated" -- BUT my point was that the court
stopped implementing such punishments (and left it up to Hashem) even
while the Temple was still standing and there was still a valid
Sanhedrin -- because the land was so full of murderers and the climate
was so violent.  In that respect, I believe that I am quite in line with
the Gemara in qusetion.  Whe we talk about "halacha changing", it was my
understanding that we were talking about the APPLICATION of halacha and
not that Chas V'Shalom the halacha was actually altered.

The same applies in regard to Sotah.  I was only citing that due to social 
situation, the Sotah Waters were -- effectively -- abolished because they
would no longer function in such an immoral society .
I regret that I was misunderstood.



From: "Ezra Dabbah" <ny001134@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 94 20:30:54 -0500
Subject: Exemption from military service

Shaul Wallach says in mj v16#6 that exemption from the army for yeshiva
students saved the haredei world after WW II. I always thought that it
was the miracles that led to the establishment of the State of Israel
that saved Jewish life in general. In my mind for a citizen to escape
his duty in the defense of his country is treasonous.

I have a wealthy orthodox friend who made aliyah 2 years ago. His hardest 
decision in moving was putting his sons (and possibly daughters) in the
army. Out of a clear motivation as to a straight and religious Jewish
way of life he made the decision to leave his very comfortable way of
life in New Jersey. He doesn't live in Benei Beraq but in Efrat.


From: Jeff Fischer <jfncyi@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 16:34:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Halloween

Q.  My company is having a Halloween party on Halloween at lunch.
Everyone is bringing in food.  I won't.  However, I was considering
getting Kosher chinese food on Monday.  If I do, would it be like
celebrating Halloween?  I am not doing it because of Halloween.  It is
only a coincidence.

Should I wait till later in the week or does it not matter?

Please reply by Sunday night?


From: Howard Berlin <berlin@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 10:53:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Haloween -its my birthday!

While I have found the discussion about Haloween interesting, I 
nevertheless find the points raised by some to be trivial.  Yes, its 
origins are from Christianity; Yes, a small minority still do honor the 
and November 1st as some kind of religious rite.

Maybe because that October 31st is MY birthday, I have a different 
outlook on things (also it is the birthday of one of my Aunts). I see 
nothing wrong with my children dressing up and going from house to house 
for treats. They celibrate the day as a secular occasion, a day to have 
fun and do not narrow their focus as to avoid immitating gentiles, etc.

To be fair, if my birthday were to have been on December 25th, I might 
have a slightly different perspective then.

<berlin@...>         |    In God We trust. All others pay cash. 
<berlin@...>  | 
Howard M. Berlin, W3HB       |    What did Delaware boys?
Wilmington, Delaware         |    She wore a brand New Jersey!


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 23:53:42+020
Subject: Israeli  army

      Shaul Wallach writes:

>> In the first generation
>> of the State of Israel, there was a very real danger that the Torah
>> would be forgotten because of the coercive tactics the Zionists used
>> to assimilate Jews from religious backgrounds - in particular, the
>> Oriental Jews - into the secular society that they built. Universal
>> army service, for example, is one of these tactics. 

Based on the experience of myself, sons and friends I readily admit that
service in the Israeli army can present many difficulties to the
religious soldier. However, to accuse the Israeli government of
instituting universal army service as a tactic against the haredi
community sounds like it borders on paranoia.



From: <jjg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 20:17 EDT
Subject: Kavod Hatorah and Preventing Abuse

Without getting too petty or nitpicky, I must respond to Rabbi Bechofer's 
question about the exclusivity of _kavod hatorah_ (respect for torah and 
gedolim) and preventing abuse. No, they aren't exclusive goals; however, 
when the former takes on greater importance than the latter, as some of the 
discussions on mj have suggested it may (to some people), then I begin to 
feel that some of those that are trying to respect torah are actually 
denigrating it. I have serious questions (from the tone and content of much 
of the discussion) whether all the participant here attach equal importance 
to the issue of abuse, preventing another from sinning, etc.


From: Ellen Krischer <elk@...>
Date: 27 Oct 1994  8:54 EDT
Subject: Living in the real world

Shaul Wallach, in explaining his approach writes:

>  For me, this is a strictly academic, halachik discussion

Perhaps this has been at the source of some of the tension on this list
between Shaul and some other posters (myself included.)

I rarely engage in "strictly academic discussions" about halacha.  I
deal with the practical every day "what am I supposed to do in this
situation" halacha.  This is mainly due to a lack of training in
academic halacha - a situation many on this list share, especially the

These two approaches can yield very different results in any individual
case.  For example, Shaul's description of how he applied Dan L'kaf
Zchut (give everyone the benefit of the doubt) to the "Divorcee and the
Rabbi" story is an interesting analysis of that particular post.  He
concludes that we aren't really sure it was a Rabbi who made the callous
remark, nor the exact circumstances of the remark, and, therefore, we
must apply Dan L'kaf Zchut to the Rabbi.

However, I think about the post in an entirely different way.  I think
about it in terms of the practicality of sitting in front of this women
who is in such obvious distress.  What is my obligation then?  Not back
in the office calmly writing about it.  But right there in the room with
the person presenting the story.

In that case, I believe my Dan L'kaf Zchut responsibility rests with the
women - my obligation is to give her comfort in her time of need - not
to supply her with an analysis of what halachik principles could be
motivating the Rabbi.

This is the challenge we all face, every day.  We have to take the
theory, the analysis, the well-used pages and make them alive and real.


From: <jsharf@...> (Joshua E. Sharf)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 08:02:26 -0700
Subject: Marrying Kohanim (?)

Arthur Roth in V. 16, N. 18, raises some excellent points
about laws of evidence and how they might be applied to this case.
Indeed, one LOR here in the DC area discusses a case exactly
in this vein.  However, there is an added twist: the woman was
insistent that the groom know, and refused the legal fiction of
not being believed.  So they asked the groom if there was
any way that maybe he wasn't *really* a Kohen!


From: <JacAbraham@...> (Abe Rosenberg)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 1994 02:01:13 -0400
Subject: Modern Orthodox

I'm not sure the term "modern Orthodox" applies anymore. When I was growing
up, it described people who were shomer mitzvot, but also went to college,
indulged in secular pursuits, worked at professions, and liked Rock and Roll
and the Mets.

Try to do that today, and your shmirat mitzvot is called into question, and
virtually nobody calls you Orthodox.

Many folks like myself have watched our peers drift either leftward to
Conservatism, or, more often, rightward into the Black Hat world. There
doesnt seem to be a "modern" Orthodox anymore. While many in the Yeshiva
world see this as a good thing, I think it's a tragedy. Just as a healthy
economy needs a middle class, a healthy religion needs a "middle ground"
where the majority can comfortably exist. By "middle" I don't mean a
lessening of observance. It has more to do with style, austerity, attitude
and tolerance.

I've heard the term "Cosmopolitan Orthodox" as an alternative. Nah. Too
highfalutin. May I suggest another? "Real World Orthodox".. for those
committed enough to keep sin out, and bold enough to let the world in.

Abe Rosenberg


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 94 09:38:56 EDT
Subject: Permitted and Mandated Abortions

One of the writers questioned whether any permitted abortion is also not
mandatory in Jewish law.  The simple asnwer is no.  An abortion is
mandatory when it creates a real significant risk to the life of the
mother, normally understood as more than 50% chance of death to the
mother.  However, an abortion is permitted according to most authrities
when it risks the life of the mother more than a small amount.  Thus,
for example, Rav G. Felder in Shelat Yeshurun discusses the case of the
ill mother who the doctors conclude might (10%) die if she carries her
pregnancy to term.  He concludes that that abotion is permitted -- but
not mandatory.


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 94 22:42:50 -0700
Subject: Pig

Aryeh Blaut asked about the relationship between Chazar - return and
Chazir - Pig.  I heard something on a Lubavitch Email listing saying
that this was foretelling that when the Moshiach comes Pig will return
to be Kosher.  That concept surprised me since I never heard it from any
other source.



From: <BLPARN@...> (Barry Parnas)
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 94 13:46:55 CST
Subject: The Use of Animals is Proper/True

The use of animal products for food and other uses is a, if not, the
proper use for animals in the universe.  The Rebbe RASHA"B of Lubavitch
writes in the book Kuntres U'mayan ("And a wellspring goes forth" - from
the prophet Yoel) that all existences seek to attach themselves to the
next higher existence.  That is, inanimate material such as rocks, air,
and the like feed the plant kingdom.  The plants feed animals.

And following through, the animals feed speaking creatures, Man.  (The
book did not give an exhaustive discourse on the inner mechanics of this
process, but it deserves deeper understanding, which is given in other
sources.)  Man seeks attachment to the spiritual realms.  Of course, for
Jews this means Torah.

Other writers to Mail-Jewish have discussed the Halacha involved in the
issue of using animals.  I wanted to add to the discussion a Torah
explanation of the mechanics of the world, which naturally accords with
the Halacha.


From: tekbspa!<dinitz@...> (Rick Dinitz)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 11:02:15 -0700
Subject: Throwing Eggs [was: Halloween]

> [...] throwing eggs is an odd 'Avoda' for a religious holiday, [...]

 No doubt the term "avodah" was meant tongue-in-cheek.  After all,
we're talking about the malicious mischief of youngsters, not a sacred
or symbolic act.  It is also worth noting that such youngsters do not
necessarily limit such mischief to a specific date at the end of

 But is throwing eggs really so foreign to us as a component of
religious ritual?  A Kurdistani Jew once told me of a Pesach Seder
custom prevalent in her Kurdistani neighborhood of Jerusalem.  When
they read "shfoch hamatcha," they would open the door to hurl eggs
into the street.  She related that on Pesach morning people walked
carefully on their way to synagogue, to avoid stepping on the dozens
of hard-boiled eggs.

 Covering trees with toilet paper, on the other hand... 

 Kol tuv,


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 1994 21:17:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: When the Chazan repeats

Elie Rosenfeld asks, "What's right about it?' He views the repetition as 
an attack on the words and asks, are the "words...subordinate to the tune?"
Finally, he accuses the chazzan of "wasting the congregation's time".
I think that his anger is misplaced. When one is little, sitting next to 
your father and listening and thinking and touching his tallit is prayer.
As we grow the words, the rhythms, the sound, the movement, the sights, all
become part of prayer. A niggun with no words is prayer. It's not, of course,
all the same thing. Prayer has dimensions just like space. As we age we
achieve competence but pay for it with impatience and a loss of newness.
Gates start to close and we lose the dimensionality of prayer and indeed of
life itself. When I was a young boy I liked to lie on the ground on a summer
night and look up at the stars for hours and think thoughts which I could 
only think back then. When I was a little boy I can remember feeling true
awe when the curtain of the ark was pulled open. It's hard to feel those
feelings now, but sometimes I try. I can still feel the music of prayer. It
s not a "tune" for me. It's another dimension of the prayer. 

I suggest that you not be angry about the repetitions or the music even though
they take time. It's soon enough that each gate of life's dimensions close
for each of us. Try to keep them open while we can.


End of Volume 16 Issue 19