Volume 16 Number 74
                       Produced: Tue Nov 22 21:30:11 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Army Exemption for Yeshiva Students
         [Moshe Koppel]
Converts to Judaism
         [Cheryl Hall]
         [Doni Zivotofsky]
Long and short qamatz
         [Mark Rayman]
         [Ari Shapiro]
Tav L'meitav
         [David Kramer]
Thinking for Oneself
         [Eli Turkel]
To Mourn or Not to Mourn
         [Jeff Korbman]
Touching People of the Opposite Sex
         [Isaac Balbin]
Yibum, etc.
         [Zvi Weiss]
zmanim software
         [Robert Israel]


From: <koppel@...> (Moshe Koppel)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 20:49:05 +0200
Subject: Army Exemption for Yeshiva Students

Do I understand correctly that Shaul Wallach believes that Rav Kook's
letter regarding exemptions for yeshiva bochurim from the BRITISH army
is somehow relevant to the ISRAELI army? I am without speech.



From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 01:45:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Converts to Judaism

Jonathon asks what to do practically with an inquirer. I'm going to
relate an approach that is "practical" for the inquirer, since I have
more practical experience from that perspective. Of course the
relationship one has with the person can be significant factor. One will
approach a good friend differently than a casual acquaintance.

The potential convert deserves to be treated seriously as a matter of
human dignity.  I don't think that this is a topic one is likely to broach
without much serious reflection. This is even more so if the person is a
casual acquaintance. This individual is choosing to be very open and
vulnerable in making this known. It is also quite possible, even very
probable the individual has done at least preliminary reading and study.
There may even be contact already with Conservative and Reform
congregations. The individual approaching an Orthodox Jew may be in the
process of weighing and assimilating what one has been exposed to. One may
be trying to illicit information to begin to understand the Orthodox
Community in context of it's own self-definition.

The individual is making a request for information on various topics.  This
is opening up the viewpoints encountered. Providing factual, complete
information is invaluable. This includes all the issues, disagreements,
differing philosophical approaches (you know, like this list :-) ). This is
not active encouragement or discouragement, but is vital support to the
inquirer.  However, it also includes an active acknowledgement of the value
of Judaism. So many times by relating a list of 'negatives' about life as a
Jew, without acknowledging the value of Juadism and the joy and pleasure to
be derived from leading a 'santified' life, we create a false image of the
living Jewishly and defame it. This is powerfully important, because the
secular Jewish community many times **only** sees the negatives. Also it is
a reminder to us of that value, that there is value perceived by the
outsider looking in.

Of course the next step is providing a LOR and LOBD (Local Orthodox Bet
Din - Mod.].  The inquirer needs to be informed, and directed to a LOR
willing to discuss this. They should also be informed of the appropriate
Bet Din, if known.  It is the Bet Din that will determine the amount of
discouragement, encouragement, proper motivation and sincerity.  The
requirements of the Bet Din for education, activity in a community,
proximity to an Orthodox congregation etc are the community's way of
approaching this.  Individuals don't do it, the community does it.

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach CA USA


From: <DONIZ@...> (Doni Zivotofsky)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 02:29:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Diet-Milk

Two recent posts have stated that consuming lots of milk and dairy
products can actually predispose one to osteoporosis.  Although it has
been almost a decade since I studied bone pathology at Cornell with
Dr. L. Krook (And my notes are two states away at my parent's house) it
runs counter to what I recall learning.  Would one of the posters be
kind enough to cite currrent references to support this?  TIA
D. Zivotofsky


From: <mrayman@...> (Mark Rayman)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 94 10:07:44 EST
Subject: Long and short qamatz

>From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
>Leading Hebrew linguists agree that the distinction between long
>and short qamatz does not exist in the Massoretic system.  If it did,
>there would be two distinct symbols for it, as between segol/hataf
>segol, qamatz/hataf qamatz.

How do you explain the dagesh hazak in the first nun of "honeni" (in the
psalm said for tahanun) and the gimel in tehoguhu (ex. 12 ?) (I can't
quote chapter and verse as I do not have a tanach with me)?

What should be said (and you may have meant this) is that is both the
qamatz (which is a tenuah gedola) and theqamatz katan, (which is a
tenuah ketana) should be vocalized in the same way.

I heard from Dr. Richard Steiner (releated?) that they should be
pronounced the same way, but the qamatz katon should be a shorter
(duration) sound, and be closed like other tenuot ketanot.

Mark "Moshe" Rayman


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 94 19:55:41 -0500
Subject: Roles

>Childbirth, even today, is dangerous (statistically it is now safer to
>have an abortion than to give birth).  The Torah does not command us to
>place our lives in danger, and to command women to have children would do
>just that.

Actually this is the opinion of the Meshech Chochmah (R. Meir Simcha)  on
the pasuk Pru Urvu in Parshas Noach.  He also offers another reason why 
women are not  obligated.  He says that women love (become more attached
to their husbands) then men do.  Therefore if they were obligated, if they 
had no kids the women would be obligated to get divorced and try to have
kids with a different husband and the torah did not want to force a woman 
to divorce the man she loves.  A man on the other hand can just marry
another wife.

Ari Shapiro


From: David Kramer <davidk@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 13:44:37 -0700 (IST)
Subject: Re: Tav L'meitav

>From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>

In Vol16#73 Zvi Weiss writes:
> I would like to raise the following questions re Tav L'Meitav which Shaul 
> Wallach exhaustively researched.
[...various questions relating to whether it applies today deleted...]

I don't remember if this was mentioned in this thread or not - but
Rav Soloveitchik ZT"L speaking at a Rabbinic Alumni Convention (I think it
was 1975) in an unexpected dramatic lecture rejected in very strong terms
the possiblity of reevaluating the 'chazakas' of the sages - and specifically
this one (Tav lemaisav...). He said that this 'chazaka' is deeply rooted in
the nature of women - and is rooted in the curse to Eve 'Ve'el ishaich 
teshukasaich' (Genesis 3:16) and can therefore never change.

In very moving terms he went on to describe  how we must surrender to the
Almighty's laws even in times when we cannot understand them and even at 
times when following His will causes us suffering.

[ David H. Kramer                     |  E-MAIL: <davidk@...>   ]
[ Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone: (972-3) 565-8638  Fax: 9507 ]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 94 11:59:09 +0200
Subject: Thinking for Oneself

     Elad Rosin writes

>> It is the misconception that we in this day and age are on a comparable 
>> level with  our Great Sages, the Geonim, Rishonim, and Acharonim and that
>> we are therefore entitled to our opinions on Halacha, Hashkafa, and
>> Torah interpretation just as they are. 

    On the contrary I feel that the problem with our generation is that no
one is willing to think for themselves, they run to someone else with the
most trivial of problems. We are a generation in which Rav Moshe Feinstein
was approached with the most basic of questions. Now that he is no longer
alive Americans call Israel. An acquaintance of mine was recently by
Rav Auerbach who complained to him that he is getting phone calls from the
US about very trivial problems. Today everyone runs to Rav Eliashiv and
Rav Auerbach and neither of these poskim are young. We are not developing
a generation of people who think. No one wants to make decisions and all we
hear is that we are not as great as previous generations. As others
have pointed out we live in a generation of encylopedias. Most men in
yeshivas spend their time collecting other opinions rather than trying to
form their own opinion.



From: <JEKORBMAN@...> (Jeff Korbman)
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 16:04:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: To Mourn or Not to Mourn

Jacob, in this week's parahsa, is said to "...mourn for his son [Joseph]" 
Gen. 37:34

Rashi, on 37:35, writes "And his father wept...but did not mourn for he 
knew Joseph was alive".

Does anyone care to explain?


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 08:18:29 +1100
Subject: Re: Touching People of the Opposite Sex

  | >From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>

  | 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.

The writer was me, but Rabbi Broyde has seemingly forgotten the context
of the discussion. The context was kissing and as such, I stand by my
assertion that it is an argument between the Rambam and Ramban as to
whether the issur [prohibtion] is Rabbinic or Torah. The issue of
incidental touching, and perhaps even mechanical hand shaking is not
germane. If Rabbi Broyde wishes to assert that kissing (even of a
greeting nature) is not considered Derech Chiba [an act of affection]
then I would appreciate his sources on this.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Nov 1994 13:07:12 -0500
Subject: Yibum, etc.

1. The Sefardim did not stop the ritual of Yibum... In fact, I beleive
   that even in this country, the Sephardim encouraged Yibum -- as long
   as the laws prohibiting bigamy were not violated.  Thus, Yibum has
   NOT been universally prohibited.
2. The issue with Yibum -- as I pointed out earlier -- goes all the way
   back to the Gemara in Yevamot.  Abba Shaul (I think) states that
   Yibum involves a relation with a party that is NORMALLY considered
   incestuous.  It was Abba Shaul's contention that failing to have the
   right "intent" in this Mitzva meant that one came perilously close to
   violating an "Issur Karet" -- a sin whose punishment is "Death by
   Heaven".  For THAT reason, Abba Shaul stated that it is "better" to
   do Chalitza instead of Yibum.  

In this light, it si NOT that the Rabbis are prohibiting sonething that
that Torah explicitly permits ... It is that the Rabbis (or those that
follow the opinion of Abba Shaul) prohibit performing the act of Yibum
if it will not be done correctly.  If indeed one considers Chalitza to
be humililating, then the basic humiliation is that the brother states
that he is "unable" to PROPERLY perform this mitzva and therefore is
undergoing Chalitza, instead...

This has nothing to do with the issue of whether to prohibit meat, per se
once the Torah has permitted it.

The closest analog would be if we suddenly found that it was impossible to
properly slaughter meat... In that case, meat would become "prohibited"
in the same manner that Yibum became "prohibited"...  In other words, Yibum
was one of two alternatives... *possibly* even the "Torah-preferred" one....
However, due to the inability of people to properly perform the mitzva
(according to Abba Shaul....), Chalitza [with its attendant "humiliation"]
became the preferred alternative....

To state that "Yibum is expressly permitted by the Torah" without taking into
account the Gemara's analysis of this mitzva is inaccurate.



From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 94 09:22:34 -0800
Subject: Re: zmanim software

In volume 16 #71, Zal Suldan (<Z-Suldan@...>) mentioned
the calendar/zmanim program "Zman" which was written by me and my son
Hillel).  However, he left the address incomplete.  The correct address is

   Hillel Israel
   8131 Number 3 Road
   Richmond, BC V6Y 2E4 CANADA

Robert Israel                            <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics             
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Y4


End of Volume 16 Issue 74