Volume 16 Number 24
                       Produced: Mon Oct 31  8:30:19 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David A Rier]
Brachfeld Prize
         [Moshe Koppel]
Coffee and tea on Shabbat
         [Constance Stillinger]
Doctors, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
Living in the Real World
         [Shaul Wallach]
Modern Orthodox
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
The Torah, Science and History
         [Yechezkel Schatz]
Vaad Hayashivot and Driver's Licences
         [David Charlap]


From: David A Rier <dar6@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 07:02:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Army

    Regarding the discussion about the IDF and assimilation: There is no
need to resort to paranoia to discuss the State, the army, and
observance.  If it seems too strong language to say that the army was a
"plot" to assimilate chareidim, etc., why not look at it from the
viewpoint of the leaders of the State in the early days?  According to
much of the literature I've read (if pressed, I can dig up cites, but
it's very early in the morning now), the government was very worried
that they would be swamped by immigrants speaking scores of languages,
with scores of cultures.  Ben-Gurion and others were thus very concerned
with devices to turn Israel into a melting pot, and produce "new Israeli
men/women".  Now, as far as this goes, this is sensible from their
perspective.  However, it ended up devaluating and undermining Sephardi
culture (this treatment of traditional culture is a common mistake in
early stages of state-building, something like the way immigrants to the
US often rushed to shed their "greenhorn" ways--or were
encouraged/pressured to do so.  For the same reason, it works against
religious observance, which is often considered an archaic vestige of
the shtetl.  The early leaders of the State most certainly did do a lot
to separate immigrants from their tradition and observance (this is also
not unknown today, but that's a separate issue).  Anyway, it's not a
question of a plot: the government, which certainly was not brimming
with respect for observance in any event, felt that assimilation was a
necessary part of building the State.  The IDF was definitely (and still
is) viewed as a major "meltimg pot" force, despite the existence of
Hesder, etc.  Again, this is a very, very common pattern in
state-building and "modernization"--whether in Africa, S. America, or
the mideast.  Of course, this worked out to be a disaster for Torah and
observance in many respects.  David Rier


From: <koppel@...> (Moshe Koppel)
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 15:57:53 +0200
Subject: Brachfeld Prize

The deadline for submissions for the Brachfeld Prize has been extended
to Rosh Chodesh Adar Bet 5755. For those who missed the first
announcement the prize is $2500 for the best article (in Hebrew or
English) on probabilistic aspects of 'Rov' and 'Safeq'. The prize will
be awarded at the next Higayon event sometime in the spring. Write me
for details.
Also, the proceedings of the first Higayon conference should be out
within six weeks or so followed shortly thereafter by Volume 3 of the
journal. I'll announce their appearance on mail-jewish.



From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 00:08:28 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Coffee and tea on Shabbat

What's the law regarding tea bags on Shabbat?

What's the law regarding the use ground coffee?  (Can you prepare
coffee by the drip method; ie pouring hot water through grounds in a
filter?  Obviously you can't do the grinding on Shabbat.)

What's the law regarding diluting a refrigerated coffee concentrate
with hot water?

(If this has been discussed here before, I welcome a pointer to the
relevant volume/issue number.)


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


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Oct 1994 13:32:53 -0400
Subject: Doctors, etc.

Re David Phillips' latest clarifications:

1. IF he does not feel that he can adequately criticize someone for
   whatever the reason, then I believe that he is REQUIRED to be "dan
   l'kaf zechut".  You cannot have it both ways.  Either, one must speak
   up -- because of the mitzva of Ho'cheach To'cheach and attempt to
   correct the situation *OR* one can be quiet saying -- in effect -- to
   one's self that the person in question MUST have discussed this
   matter with some reliabel LOR and is thus following a p'sak.  To do
   neither -- i.e., bring the matter to the person's attention NOR be
   dan l'kaf zechut appears to be a matter that is liable to border on
   "Lo Tisna es Achicha blvavcha" -- do not hate your brother in your
   heart.  In fact, if it is true that the people in question are
   OTHERWISE "frum", then the mitzvah of DL"Z may MANDATE that one judge
   the other(s) favorably anyway.  I would suggest that the Phillips ask
   a shaila of the parameters of Dan L'kaf Zechut... (Hanoch Teller in
   his "Courtroome of the mind" cites some source material very briefly
   that appears to indicate that DL"Z is really a very far-reaching
   matter so CYLOR!).
2. The person for whom the "two top issues" are lucrative
   vs. Sat. coverage I would be very very hesitant to state that these
   are TRULY the "two top factors".  Unless one knows the shailot asked,
   I do not believe that one can "taint" someone else in this manner --
   see point 1 above.  BTW, Shalom Bayit is really a major matter in
   halacha... If the spouse really refused to leave the NY area, it is
   not for me to tell the fellow to divorce the wife so as to have a
   "more acceptable" [halachically speaking] practice.  Again, this is a
   matter for a *posek* to resolve -- not you or me.
3. I do not know why the Doctor's office is located where it is...
   However, (a) the writer does not know what the doctor does once he
   gets there waiting for any emergencies, (b) the writer does not
   know what shailot were asked, (c) the writer does not know whether
   the office serves OTHER Jews "outside the [local] Eruv".  In short,
   there is still so much information missing that it is improper to
   raise the issue in this matter.

Re the add'l cases raised:
1. Why can someone not tell this surgeon to (a) use a "silent" beeper
   (Doctors in our shule do that) or (b) simply call -- assuming that it
   is permitted for the surgeon to do so.  This appears to be a matter
   of SENSITIVITY rather than direct issues of CHillul Shabbat.
2. Do you know whether the obstretician asked a shaila about the
   practice in Brooklyn?  Perhaps, there are extenuating circumstances.
   With inadequate information, it is better to be MUCH mor careful.

There may indeed be problems -- but it is OUR responsibility to speak up
IF we feel we have a valid "complaint" to the person/people involved.
If there appears to be a lack of sensitivity, speak up to THOSE people
and fulfil the mitzva of Hocheach Tocheach.



From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 94 11:43:30 IST
Subject: Living in the Real World

     It was very gratifying to see Ellen Krischer's latest posting,
and I commend her display of understanding towards the various points
of view that have been presented. I hope that we can follow her lead
and thereby find it easier to understand not only what we are saying,
but also from what perspective and for what purpose we are saying it.

    There is no need to repeat again the analysis of giving the
benefit of the doubt as it applied to the case in question. I do wish,
however, to supplement briefly some of Ellen's remarks and put them into
sharper focus. She writes, in part:

>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.

     This is exactly the point. I agree completely - when confronted
in person with someone in distress we don't resort to acedemic
discussions of halacha, but provide the practical help that is needed
at the moment.

>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.

     As far as the woman goes, I see it not as a question of Dan Le-Khaf
Zekhut, but more simply as a Mizwa of Gemilut Hasadim - to treat her

     There is, then, no conflict between the academic and the practical
sides of the case at hand. The same person can both judge the rabbi
generously and give practical help to women in distress. I know many
people in Benei Beraq - both men and women - who actually do this in
real life.




From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Oct 1994 12:01:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Modern Orthodox

The poster asked whether Yeshiva University is "Modern Orthodox".  Isn't 
it Yeshiva University whose administration invented the term "Centrist", 
to distance themselves from "Modern" in the eyes of the more right wing? 
(i.e. looking over their right shoulder?)
Perhaps defining the difference between centrist and 
modern will help define modern. Can anyone provide more information? Is 
it a matter of stringency of observance, amount of time one spends 
learning, or what?  Who first used these terms?  On a practical note, the 
*students* at Yeshiva University range from "modern" to "black", or so it 
seems to me, anyway.  
It also seems to me that what distinguishes both
centrist and modern on one hand, from "more-right-wing" on the other, is 
openness to secular studies and (with a few exceptions such as Lubavitch) 
to the State of Israel.

aliza berger


From: Yechezkel Schatz <lpschatz@...>
Date: 30 Oct 1994 09:56:24 +0200
Subject: The Torah, Science and History

Re Marc Shapiro's posting in mljewish, vol.16,#13

I would like to address a specific question brought up in Marc's
posting, and then discuss his whole approach.
 Marc writes:
 > he didn't believe that the world was some 5000 years old and that the
entire world was destroyed in the Flood. As he put it, there are
hundreds of species of animals and insects in Australia, New Guinea and
the rainforest.  Did they just get on a boat and sail from Mt. Ararat to
their current domiciles? Not to mention the fact that they could never
have lived in Noah's area to begin with.
   Well, in his book, my father discusses that point.  In B'reishit
10,25 it says:"ki v'yamav nifl'ga ha'aretz" - "in his days the land
seperated".  One of the catastrophic events that took place as an
aftermath of the deluge is the seperation of the one continent that
existed at the time, into the seven continents as we now know them.
This happened about 100 years after the mabul.  That is why certain
animals are concentrated in different parts of the world - they were
trapped there when the one continent divided.
  As for Marc's approach: Not long ago someone asked on mj about the
definition for the term "modern orthodox".  After reading Marc's posting
I'm inclined to think he would answer: someone who believes that the
world is billions of years old and the deluge never happened.  We humans
seem to have this need to label and categorize ourselves and all those
around us.  But is that fair?  Are such terms as "fundamentalists" or
"modern Orthodox intellectuals" truly objective?
 I am well aware that I am in a minority, that my way of thinking is not
popular in the circles I usually associate with.  So what?  Is that
supposed to intimidate me into changing the way I think?
  I think Marc himself would agree that his approach is apologetic.  Of
course, apologetics have their time and place too, and the important
thing is that we remain G-d-fearing, and accept the path chosen for us
by G-d.  But with apologetics, where does one draw the line?  Certainly,
one very easy way of dealing with questions posed by scientists or
historians concerning the credibility of the bible is to say that whole
sections in the Tanach were not meant to be taken literally, to speak of
higher levels and deeper dimensions, of allegory, hidden meanings and
moral messages.  But where do we draw the line?  Did the story of
Mordochai and Esther ever happen?  Did the conquests led by Yehoshua
ever take place?  How about the exodus from Egypt or ma`amad Har Sinai
(the gathering at Mount Sinai) and the giving of the Torah?! (Note that
I purposely chose events questioned by historians, archeologists and
  The message I'm trying to convey is that we DON'T HAVE TO adopt that
approach.  When there are apparent contradictions between the bible and
extra-biblical sources, we should be more careful in analyzing both the
biblical and the extra-biblical versions.  Conclusions reached by
scientists should be analyzed with scientific tools, and conclusions
reached by historians should be analyzed with historical tools.
Sometimes we will need to re-interpret sentences or passages in the
bible, but this should be done within the realm of logic, not by
distorting the meaning of words in the Tanach or artificially
introducing inconsistincies into the biblical account.
 We needn't be ashamed to speak up for what we believe in, and we
needn't be ashamed to believe, even when everyone else doesn't.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 94 11:14:24 EDT
Subject: Vaad Hayashivot and Driver's Licences

Steven Shore <shore@...> writes:
>I have heard recently that under as a result of a psak from R. Schach
>the Vaad Hayashivot in Israel is requiring students to sign a form
>that allows the Vaad to check with the Drivers Licencing office if
>the student currently has a driver's licence. If the the student has
>a driver's licence then he will not be granted a deferral from being
>drafted into the army....
>If this is true how does R. Schach justify withholding the deferral
>based on this requirement (no drivers licence).

I'd like to know this as well.  Did some rabbi make a psak that
yeshiva students aren't allowed to drive cars?  This sounds rather
fishy to me.  It's not as if having a license means you'll
automatically abuse the privalege (by drving on Shabbos and Yom Tov).


End of Volume 16 Issue 24