Volume 16 Number 78
                       Produced: Wed Nov 23 20:34:31 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Andrew Greene]
Converts to Judaism
         [Bill Page]
Esau, Yaakov, "the" blessing
         [Steven Friedell]
Kashering a Diswasher
         [Moshe Hacker]
Kashrus Issue
         [David Steinberg]
Non-Sexual Touching
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Rambam's medical knowledge
         [Yaacov Haber]
Sources for Age of Earth
         [Moishe Kimelman]
The Flood, Mesorah and Non-Literal Interpretations
         [David Charlap]
To mourn or not to mourn
         [Stephen Phillips]
Work on Shabbat
         [Bernard Horowitz]


From: <Andrew_Marc_Greene@...> (Andrew Greene)
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 10:48 -0400
Subject: Re: B'rachot

I'd like to thank Zvi Weiss for responding promptly to my original
posting. I have a few questions about his reply, which I hope he
won't mind my asking in the public forum.

First, though, I'd like to clarify something that may have gotten
lost in the length of my original article. I am not *personally*
considering adopting the changes I described. I am asking what my
response should be when I hear *others* reciting modified b'rachot.

Zvi Weiss writes:

> The Gemara in several places (mostly in Masechet B'rachot) uses the
> terminology "Kol Hameshaneh .... Aino ela To'eh" -- Whoever changes from
> the form that the Sages instituted for B'rachot is only mistaken.

Does "is only mistaken" mean "is only mistaken, but not wicked" or does it 
mean "is only mistaken, and not effective"?

> The structure of the B'racha is very precise and substituting the
> designation of Yud-Heh for the Shem Adnus ("Ado....") would appear to
> invalidate the b'racha as the meaning is now changed ...  Has the person
> who originally posted this checked in the Shulchan Aruch re the general
> Halachot of B'rachot?

Since sending the original message I have found (in the ArtScroll
Guide to Brachot, quoting Rambam) that any of the seven Names are
acceptable after the fact. (I.e., if one accidentally used one of the
other six instead, the bracha was still valid.)

> Finlly, the requirement for "orginality" in Tefilla does not necessarily
> mean to revise the text.  Normally, this is interpreted in terms of (a)
> not approaching Tefilla as a "chore" and (b) adding a specific request
> to Tefilla.  If the post-er feels that the notion of "orginality" refers
> to actual revision of the B'rachot, sources to support this should
> probably be cited explicitly.

As I reiterated above, I'm *not* comfortable with these revisions; the
reason I posted my initial query was partly to find out if anyone could
offer sources to justify or refute the changes that I'm hearing others
make. If *any* m-j'ers can cite a source that explicitly supports changing
b'rachot, I'd love to hear from them.

Thanks again,


From: Bill Page <page@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 13:02:53 +0600 (CST)
Subject: Converts to Judaism

Cheryl Hall observes correctly that, although halakhah requires that
prospective converts be discouraged, it's not the role of an individual
Jew to do the discouraging.  The conversion process assures compliance
with halakhah, including an assessment of the convert's sincerity. 
Nevertheless, I think one should point out the following paradox facing all
prospective converts:  You're "better off" as a righteous gentile than as an
observant Jew, because you need only obey the Noachide laws to secure a
place in the world to come.  But to the observant Jew, the rewards of
fulfilling the mitzvot are immeasurable.  
  I would analogize the choice to becoming a parent.  To the nonparent, the
thought of having children is daunting because of the attendant expense and
loss freedom.  But most parents find the rewards far outweigh the costs,
because their values and priorities are utterly transformed.
--Bill Page  


From: Steven Friedell <friedell@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 94 9:31:42 EST
Subject: Esau, Yaakov, "the" blessing

Constance Stillinger observed that despite Yaakov's efforts to steal the
blessing meant for Esau, Isaac gave "the" blessing, the one referring to
Abraham and to the promise of permanent occupation of the land, later, just
before Yaakov departed to live with his uncle. Maurice Samuel wrote a
beautiful interpretation of this story "The Manager" included in his book
"Certain People of the Book" where he makes a similar observation.  Samuel's
interpretation was that "the" blessing was what Rebekah had planned for
Yaakov all along and that Isaac and even Esau were reconciled to it being
given to Yaakov.  Other interpretations are certainly possible.   The story
is richly loaded with ambiguity.

              Steven F. Friedell, Professor of Law
      Rutgers Law School, Fifth & Penn Streets, Camden, NJ 08102
  Tel: 609-225-6366    fax: 609-225-6516     <friedell@...>


From: Moshe Hacker <HACKERM@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 11:43:33 EDT
Subject: Kashering a Diswasher

Does anyone out there know the Halacha, if someone moves into a new 
house and there is a diswasher there ,
A)Can you kasher it ?
B)How long do you have to wait to use it or before you can kasher it ?
C)Do you just have to use it to store garbage bags till you by a new 
one ?
You can reply to me direct or put it on the list

[I'm fairly sure that there is no "the Halacha" on kashering a
dishwasher, so the correct anser to your question is CYLOR - Consult
Your Local Orthodox Rabbi. Having said that, what mail-jewish offers is
the opportunity to more fully understand what is involved in the
question, before going to ask the question. Mod.]

Moshe Hacker


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 16:13:38 +0000
Subject: Kashrus Issue

A friend of mine has a question vis-a-vis salting meat.  Apparently, some 
hechsherim allow meat to be washed within three days then salted within 
an additional three days.  This is the Psak in the Shulchan Aruch YD 
69:12-13.  While the Shach brings down opinions L'Chumra - added 
stringency - he paskens that it is ok L'Chatchila.  

Nevertheless, certain hashgochos including Breuers and Satmar do not 
accept that position and require that the meat actually be salted within 
the three days.  

Can anyone shed additional light on this topic?

Thank you
Dave Steinberg


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 94 15:12:12 IST
Subject: Re: Non-Sexual Touching

I'd like to add some clarity to the nature of the dispute regarding
non-sexual touching between Rambam and Ramban. True, Rambam clearly sees
this as Biblical. Ramban is really VERY ambiguous. He actually offers
two options. Either the activity is rabbinically prohibited (which may
not allow for sexual or non-sexual distinctions) or it is Biblically
prohibited as an integral part of sexual activity, though not fully
culpable (sort of a Hatzi Shiur of Gilui Arayaot). 
Jeffrey Woolf


From: Yaacov Haber <haber@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 1994 07:41:07 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Re: Rambam's medical knowledge

> >From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
> I am not aware that the Rambam based his medical knowledge exclusively
> on the Torah or even on doctors who were well versed in the Torah.  I

I don't know if he did or he didn't, however, Rav Tzadok Hakohen
in his work on the Rambam, Otzar Hamelech finds a Talmudic source
for every piece of medical advice the Rambam gives. After going through
this Rav Tzadok it is obvious that at least that which is written in
Hilchos Daos is totally Torah! Which makes me wonder why are we so 
flippent about ignoring this whole chapter of Rambam?

Rabbi Yaacov Haber, Director                  
Australia Institute for Torah, Balaclava, Victoria 3183
phone: (613) 527-6156                    
fax:   (613) 527-8034                     Internet:<haber@...>


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 17:47:45 +1100
Subject: Sources for Age of Earth

In mj #76 Stan Tenen answers my question about the literalness of the 
account of the creation by quoting sources that say that the Torah cannot 
always be taken literally.

I fail to see, however, how the sources quoted address the point, as rather 
than those sources countenancing individual interpretation of the Torah, 
they advocate that the Torah not MERELY be taken at its face value (the rule 
"ain mikra yotze midai p'shuto" - the simple meaning of the passuk may not 
be discarded - springs to mind).  This is a far cry from saying that we can 
take whichever part of the Torah we find unacceptable and "allegorize" it.  
Maybe the prohobition against eating pork is allegorical.  What about all 
those aveirot that "nafsho shel adam machmadatam" (a person naturally lusts 

Furthermore, if regarding the story of creation I find a universally 
accepted source - the Ramban, as mentioned in my earlier post - who says 
that the six days ARE to be taken literally, and I find no accepted source 
who says otherwise about this same topic, can I still claim that the account 
is allegorical and remain Torah-true?

Are we such k'tanei ha'emunah (those lacking in faith) that we are willing 
to claim that the Torah is an allegory simply because scientific theory - 
not fact, as it will never be possible to PROVE how old the universe is - 
currently says otherwise?  How many times do we have to witness scientists 
erring in their proclamations and theorizing before we realize that despite 
the vast knowledge that many of them have, they too make mistakes?  What 
ever happened to emunoh p'shuto (simple unquestioning faith)?  Whatever 
happened to Piltdown Man :-) ?

I think that we should all ask ourselves why we feel the need to 
"allegorize" the text if Chazal did not feel the same need?  If our basis 
for perverting (strong word, but that is what it seems to be) the text is 
current theory, than I can think of no more opportune time than Channukah to 
rid ourselves of the Hellenist influences that we ALL seem to have taken on 


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 94 12:28:56 EST
Subject: Re: The Flood, Mesorah and Non-Literal Interpretations

<MSHAMAH@...> (M. Shamah) writes:
>Interestingly, the sages of old made radical statements limiting the
>Flood against the literal reading of the Biblical account:
>... "giants" such as Og lived through it. ...

I've read about this one.  I don't think it's a matter of
reinterpreting, but of additional midrashic material.  I remember
learning that Og deserved to be saved (I forget exactly why) but not
enough to go into the ark with Noach.  So he rode on the roof.

I don't think any of the other giants survived the Flood.

-- David


From: <stephenp@...> (Stephen Phillips)
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 94 10:06 GMT
Subject: To mourn or not to mourn

>From: <JEKORBMAN@...> (Jeff Korbman)
> 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?

The "father" referred to by Rashi is, AFAIAA, Yitzchok; ie. he wept for
Yaakov's grief but kept silent as he knew that Hashem had a reason for
putting Yaakov in this situation. He did not "mourn" as he had no reason
to do so.

Stephen Phillips


From: Bernard Horowitz <horowitz@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 1994 22:47:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Work on Shabbat

Harry Weiss (m-j 16#75) states that, "there is no prohibition against 
accepting payment for work done on Shabbat," and goes on to make a 
distinction between 'youth work'-- for which it would be ok to take 
payment --  and 'Torah work' -- for which it wouldn't (rabbi, baal 
korei). Since the former (youth work, etc.) runs contrary to what I have 
learned, I would much appreciate an elaboration from him or other readers.

Bernard Horowitz


End of Volume 16 Issue 78