Volume 16 Number 71
                       Produced: Mon Nov 21 23:32:53 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [David A Rier]
Beef pollution?
         [Joshua W. Burton]
         [David Steinberg]
Esav as a Bad Guy
         [Jeff Korbman]
         [Danny Skaist]
Giving Gifts
         [Stuart Rosen]
Set of Russian language books needed.
         [Simon Streltsov]
Touching People of the Opposite Sex
         [Michael Broyde]
Zmanim software - HAYOM
         [Zal Suldan]


From: David A Rier <dar6@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 06:26:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Army

I certainly agree that chareidim who learn full-time under the yeshiva
deferral and don't serve in the army should feel gratitude for those who
take enormous risks and make tremedous sacrifices to protect them and
the rest of the country.  As a separate issue I have been waiting and
waiting for someone to point out perhaps the most important, direct
reason for their absence from the army: the poskim they follow told them
not to.  Now, you can surely point to Rav Soloveitchik, Rav
Lichtenstein, etc., who approve of serivce.  However, there are many
gedolim who don't agree yeshiva guys should leave yeshiva.  I doubt many
on this list are prepared to label gedolei hador as shirkers or
cowards. For many chareidim, I assume, leaving yeshiva to serve would
require them to defy their poskim, which they try not to do in all other
areas of life, presumably.  I know how they feel.  IY"H, we'll be making
aliya next summer, and I want my three young sons and I to do our part
when the time comes.  However, I have a sneaking suspicion that the
posek I would normally discuss this with here in the States, and the
schools I would probably normally choose to send kids to in Israel,
would oppose (at best) such service.  Still, I feel deeply that we
should do our part in the army, and recognize lack of service as a
serious impediment to doing kiruv with the not-yet-frum community in
Israel.  So, I will probably put the kids in a school where the hashkofo
is somewhat different from mine, mostly so that the kids can serve.
And, I have been dreading/avoiding speaking to my posek, since I'm not
sure I could carry out the psak I expect to get about all this.  Of
course, it seems I'll need to choose a new posek, which I would probably
need to do anyway once I get to Israel.  Personally, as several mj'ers
know from my anguished private posts, I wish Mir et al. were in hesder.
Since they're not, however....  Believe me when I tell you that choosing
to serve despite your poskek's opposition [presumed opposition; as I
said, I have not asked, and I may have to change poskim before I do,
since I am not sure I'm prepared to deal with the expected psak] is
infinitely uncomfortable.  In many other areas of life, I've found that
a major posek's immersion in Torah and mitzvos has led him to see things
differently from me, and I've learned to accept this.  Going against my
posek's derech on one issue makes me feel like I'm on very thin ice.  A
whole category of Jews should not be slandered for adhering to their


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 14:02:16 -0500
Subject: Beef pollution?

I just saw a press release reporting on a study done at Caltech over the
last eighteen months, with an astonishing punchline.  According to the
article, `hamburger particles account for 18 percent of the visible haze
in Los Angeles, making cooked beef the single largest contributor to L.A.'s
smog problem.'

Let's assume for just a moment, for the sake of argument, that (1) this is
not some random newspaper garble of a perfectly sensible story, (2) it is
not a joke being passed on at face value, and (3) that the researchers are
not merely sincere but correct.  Is a VISIBLE haze, with a DETECTABLE odor
(even if that odor is not obviously meatlike), that is composed of well
over 1/60 treif meat, a matter of potential halakhic concern?  I realize
that halakha does not usually concern itself with the invisible, except in
broccoli, but here we're talking about enough aerial cows to hide whole
mountains behind.  Any suggestions for our Californian readers, other than
aliyah?  (I assume that Tel Avivi smog is mostly kosher!)

If there is ever another war in Europe, +-------------------------------------+
it will come out of some damned silly   |  Joshua W. Burton    (401)435-6370  |
thing in the Balkans.                   |         <burton@...>        |
    -- Otto, Prinz von Bismarck (1897)  +-------------------------------------+


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 22:36:00 +0000
Subject: Esav

in Mike Grynberg's recent post about Esav, he questioned whether there 
was a textual basis to support the prevailing view of Esav as a Rasha.  

I believe there is. Our first encounter with Esav - pre birth - is 
Rivka's prophecy that she was bearing two nations with diverging 
destinies. That is followed two pasuqim later by Esav's birth 
Bereshis 25:25 where Esav is described as ruddy and hairy.  As the Torah 
is not known for issuing pediatric evaluations, the inclusion of this 
passage must leave it open for interpretation. 

Two pasuqim later we see that Esav is growing up as an Ish Yodaya 
Tzaiyid, Ish  Sadeh - someone who knows how to hunt a fieldsman - in 
contrast to Yaakov. Huntsmen are not held in high esteem in the Chumash.

Next we are told that Yizchok loved Esav *becuase* Esav 
was Tzayid B'Fiv - catered (?) to him. As this is contrasted to Rivka's 
love for Yaakov without ulterior motive it makes Yitzchok's affection 

BTW, As  Esav is someone who purposely deceived Yitzchok 
about his true nature, he is analgous to the Chazir, pig.  The Chazir 
displays its split hooves, an external characteristic, as it were, to show 
itself kosher. Instaed it remains the symbol of Treif.  So too Esav.  He 
portrayed himself as kosher; once his ruse is seen through, he becomes 
the archenemy of kedusha - holiness.

In 25:29-34 we have the famous exchange between Yaakov and esav 
whereby Yaakov buys the Bechora - birthright.  Whatever you want to say 
about Yaakov, clearly the depiction of Esav is negative.  'Gimme that red 
stuff' .. the use of the word Ayef -exhaustion - with its negative 
connotation and finally 'Vayivez Esav Es HaBechora' - Esav disgraced the 
Birthright.  No, no matter how you view yaakov in the exchange, Esav 
comes through as less than righteous.

When Esav chooses wives in 26:34, he choose two Chitti women.
>From the recorded response of Yitzchok and Rivka, we 
see that they were no Bais Yaakov girls.  As the choice of spouse(s) 
clearly reflects back on the individual, we have more evidence that we 
aren't dealing withan Adam Kosher.  This is reemphasized in 28:8 &9 when 
Esav, noticing that his father has a clear preference for non-Cananite 
women, takes a Bas Yishmael *in addition* to his two wifes -- he just 
doesn't get it.  Or maybe, he just makes cosmetic changes that he 
believes will put him in a more favorable light.

Finally, after the story of the Beracha, in 27:41, Esav plots to kill 
Yaakov.  Even assuming that Yaakov was wrong in following Rivka's 
command, the response is clearly disproportional.

Note that in all of these instances I'm using plain reading of the text - 
not even pshat - and no aplogia for Yaakov. The plain reading of the text 
shows Esav to be wrongheaded.  And, it leaves plenty of hooks, plenty of 
room to support the various medrashim. 

Dave Steinberg


From: <JEKORBMAN@...> (Jeff Korbman)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 16:12:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Esav as a Bad Guy

Oh, if life was only so simple as black and white, good and bad.  If only 
all the Matriarchs and Patriarchs ran around with white hats, while their 
brothers / surrounding neighbors / relatives ran around with black hats - 
as we seem to be taught as children.  But it ain't so.  In fact, it's not 
even close sometimes.   Just as we are complex beings, so were our 
favorite Biblical Charachters.  Case in point:  Yaakov and Esauv:

Esauv is tired, worn out.  He had a long day out in the field and was 
just getting home.  All he wanted was a bite to eat.
Yaakov is cooking.  After spending the day leanrning, he was in the 
kitchen cooking cholent, humming some nigunim from futuristic Hasisic 
sects of Metzritch.  Esauv enters.  He wants some food - after all, he's 
hungry.  And what does his younger brother tell him?  Not till he swaps 
him for the birthright!  The nerve.  What kind of guy is Jacob!  Hey, if 
the birthright isn't that important to Esauv, or if he simply thought he 
deserved it - - buy it later!  But witholding food.......doesn't seem nice.

Yet you can look at this cokmpletely different:
What made Esauv so bad?       Imagine you were Esauv, and you came home 
hungry etc...  So your brother says, "I'll give to you for (fill in the 
blank family valuable)".  Now you have a choice.  And so you choose to 
give up the family valuable for getting some immediate gratification.  
Well, your physically full, but what does that say about you family 
values!  Moreover, Esauv was a hunter - he was able to go out and get food 
himself.  Infact, he knew how to cook - as we see from the parasha later 
on.  Yet, instead of simply turning around, and getting one more bear to eat 
(his expertise), he gives up the family valuables for cholent.  And 
that's why, I would surmise, Esauv is seen as "bad" - he was more 
interested in the here-and-now of his stomach, than his future.

Yet, later on, Yaacov gets punished left and right for taking the brocho 
first; while Esauv is seen as the paradigm of one who exhibits "Kibbud 
Av" - honoring one's father.  Go figure.

So, one can label another / biblical character "good" or "bad"; and
sometimes there are such types.  But 99% of the people I know are much
more complex, made up of both positive and negative aspects.


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 09:02 IST
Subject: Essau

>Mike Grynberg
>Esav's Wickedness?
>After these past few weeks, I have been wondering. Why is it that Esav
>is so maligned. I know the commentaries ascribe all sorts of things to
>him, but why? is there anything in the text, in the actual p'sukim, to
>indicate an evil nature, or even a malicious one?

Textually, except for planning to murder his brother [Gen 27:41], there is
only the way that he spoke to his father.



From: <stuart.rosen@...> (Stuart Rosen)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 12:46:58 -0800
Subject: Giving Gifts

Andrew Weiss mentioned an older custom of giving gifts as a motive to
learn Torah.  A possible source could be the Rambam in his commentary on
the Mishna in his introduction to Helek, Everyone is apportioned a place
in the world to come. After the the Rambam dismisses a few images of the
next world, he explains an analogy of teaching Torah to a child.
 The teacher should reward the child with a small token reward for
succeeding in the studies. As the child matures the small token is no
longer meaningful, the reward should change to what the student finds
meaningful, new shoes or a new suit etc.  As the child matures even more
and grows up, the Rambam writes that material things will not be enough
to motivate and thus the Teacher tells the student to learn for the
title rabbi...The world to come for the Rambam is reward for Torah and
Mitzvos. His message is that one matures to a point where one does not
need a reward to motivate one to learn and do mitzvos.  One gets the
impression that the Rambam is steering us away from speculating about
our ultimate reward in the next world to concentrate on Torah and
Mitzvos for their own sake. Avodas Hashem is the reward itself!  


From: <simon1@...> (Simon Streltsov)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 19:32:09 GMT
Subject: Re: Set of Russian language books needed.

>Our Federation is trying to locate a set of out-of-print Russian
>language books. It's Called, "Jewish Mini-Library: Pathways of Jewish

contact Shoroshim Russian Judaica resource Center
(718/692-0079, fax 252-5159, Brooklyn,NY)

They have a number of Jewish books in Russian, and they send it
mail-order.  I have a [somewhat outdated] list their of books and it
lists Herman Wouk's book - I can e-mail a copy of the list for those

Simcha Streltsov,
Boston University


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 94 09:32:06 EST
Subject: Touching People of the Opposite Sex

One of the writers implied that the prohibition of touching people of
the opposite sex is a torah prohibition according to Rambam, but not
according to Ramban.  As noted by Shach YD 195(20), Rambam rules that a
biblical prohibition is violated only when the touching is done for
sexual reasons.  (My memory is that he uses the phrase *derech tayva*,
"for lustful reasons") With the exception of a very difficult Levush, to
the best of my knowledge, non-sexual touching is at best a rabbinic
prohibition and in some circumstances permissible (What is sexual and
what is not, however, remains the crucial question).  For a classical
application of this, see Rav Moshe's famous teshuva dealing with crowded
subway cars.


From: <z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan)
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 1994 14:39:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Zmanim software - HAYOM

>>From: Kevin Schreiber <kschreib@...>
>Regarding Zmanim software, There is a program that I have for a Mac called
>"HAYOM."  This program will give sunrise/sunset times, Rosh Chodesh and
>chaggim info, for any longitude/latitude or city that you input.

I just saw an ad for this program (available for Mac and Windows). Price in
ad is $36. Address is:
A.G. Reinhold
14 Fresh Pond Place
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 491-4937

[Kevin also sent this information in to the list as well. Mod]

Also another program I just saw a review for:
"ZMAN", for Dos, $35
Number 3 Road
Richmond, BC V6Y 2E4  CANADA

Zal Suldan
Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program - Department of Cell Biology and Genetics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center / Cornell University Medical College
Replies to: <Z-Suldan@...>    or   ZSuldan@Stud.Med.Cornell.edu


End of Volume 16 Issue 71