Volume 17 Number 25
                       Produced: Thu Dec 15  1:11:52 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ancient Mechitzas
         [Michael Lipkin]
Australian Shabbos
         [Moshe Kahan]
         [Joseph Steinberg]
mechitza in Temple
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Pirsumei Nisa and Hanukkah Lights
         [Richard Friedman]
RAMBAM and the value of PI
         [Meylekh Viswanath ]
Rambam and the Value of Pi
         [Shaul Wallach]
Rambam, PI and jahaliya
         [Shalom Carmy]
rarest Shemonah Esrei
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Seudah Shlishit
         [Rachel Sabath]
Two Sisters who Convert
         [Michael J Broyde]
Yeshiva before Medical School
         [Shmuel Weidberg]


From: <msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 09:57:20 +0500
Subject: Ancient Mechitzas

>From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
>Your logic is incorrect. The fact that men may have to walk through the
>Ezras Nashim to reach the men's area DOES NOT imply that men walked
>through women. Women were not always present, and a mechitza is only
>necessary when women are present.
>The Simcha Beis Hashoeva discussed in the Talmud was an exciting event
>where everyone attended.

I thought of this when Aliza Berger mentioned the book questioning as
biased the archeological finds of shuls with separate sections.  Aliza
gave the shul on Massada as an example of a shul without a mechitza.
Maybe the women didn't daven there.  If archeologists dug up my
synagogue's daily chapel a few thousand years hence they could
erroneously deduce that we had no mechitza, as we only have a temporary
mechitza for the rare occasions when when women daven there.

Is it a relatively recent phenomenon that women attend synagogue on
regular basis?



From: Moshe Kahan <kahan@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 17:09:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Australian Shabbos

Concerning the post that stated that while indeed Sabbes would fall out 
on Sunday but that we do not attempt to split land masses that way. I 
have heard second hand (based I believe on Rav Hershel Schachter of YU) 
that would not cover air space so taking off in a plane on Sunday would 
be problematic. 
Moshe Kahan


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 10:40:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Mechitza

:Your logic is incorrect. The fact that men may have to walk through the
:Ezras Nashim to reach the men's area DOES NOT imply that men walked
:through women. Women were not always present, and a mechitza is only
:necessary when women are present.

I stand with my reasoning. Women may not have always been present -- but 
whenever they were present (Which was probably all the time considering 
that people had children on every day of the year...) men had to walk 
amoung them to get into the temple. There was no mechitza except on 
What happened at Hakhel?

  E=mc^2   |  Joseph Steinberg  |  New York, USA  |  <steinber@...>


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 18:53:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: mechitza in Temple

I think the idea proposed by Hayim Hendeles that a mechitza was necessary 
whenever women were present may not have been the actual situation. 
Assume a mechitza was only used for Simhat Bet haShoeva.  Women were 
definitely present at other times as well, e.g. to bring our own 
sacrifices - apparently with no mechitza, and entering into the area for 
sacrifice-bringing.  The assumption in the Talmud that women could in 
theory read from the Torah would seem to be based on a similar idea, 
namely, that women entered as far as men (in synagogue or Temple) at 
least when it was necessary for our ritual purposes, if not at other 
times as well. 

The rationale may be that if one is fully engaged in the 
business at hand (Torah reading or sacrifice-bringing) one is definitely 
not going to engage in frivolity, so no problem with men and women being 
together.  People were not this fully engaged at the Simhat bet 
haShoeva, hence the possibility for problems.

Aliza Berger


From: Richard Friedman <RF@...>
Date: 14 Dec 1994 11:53:11 GMT
Subject: Re:  Pirsumei Nisa and Hanukkah Lights

     Meylekh Viswanath asks whether lack of pirsumei nisa (publicizing
of the miracle) is m'akev (invalidates, nullifies the performance of)
the mitzva.  The specific situation he raises is when one lights before
sundown Friday afternoon and the candle goes out -- query whether one
must relight, since the pirsum has not yet occurred.

     I cannot adduce rishonim as he suggests.  However, the Shulhan
Aruch rules that one need not relight, even on erev Shabbat.  The ReMA
rules that if one is mahmir (accepting of extra stringency) on oneself
and does relight, one should not repeat the bracha.  And the Hafetz
Hayim advises, based on aharonim, that one should relight.  The
principle cited by the Sh"A is instructive -- he says that it is the
lighting itself that effects the mitzva.  Thus, if one has lit properly,
the mitzva has been performed, one need not relight, and if one does
relight, one should not say an (unnecessary) bracha.

     It does not follow that the lack of pirsum is not m'akev.  Recall
that if one comes to light only late at night, when there will be no
witnesses (and thus no pirsum), one should light without a bracha.
Perhaps the distinction rests precisely on the principle enunciated by
the Sh"A.  Perhaps pirsum is essential (m'akev), but this factor is only
considered from the point in time when one actually lights -- if there
is enough wax/oil so that the flame can be expected to stay lit for the
requisite time, if it is early enough so that we can expect passers-by
to notice, then we may light with the blessing, and we have thereby
performed the mitzva.  Subsequent events that frustrate our expectations
do not invalidate the mitzva.

     If this analysis is valid, I wonder how broadly this principle
applies.  Are there areas of halacha where an anticipated effect is an
integral element of a mitzva, and where the not-reasonably-foreseeable
frustration of that effect by a supervening event does invalidate the


From: Meylekh Viswanath  <PVISWANA@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 10:16:21 EST5EDT
Subject: Re: RAMBAM and the value of PI

<aileb@...> (Abraham Lebowitz) writes:
> The RAMBAM (Maimonides) in his Perush ha-Mishnayot (Explanation 
> of the Mishnah) explains:
>    with accuracy.  This is not due to any lack of understanding
>    on our part, as is thought by the sect called ghly"h (I do
>    not know to what sect the RAMBAM is referring), but it is in

I am pretty sure that ghly"h must refer to 'jaahiliyya,' an arabic word 
that, I believe, is used for the pre-islamic civilizations.  In modern Urdu, 
it basically means 'ignorant.'


From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 94 13:48:18 IST
Subject: Rambam and the Value of Pi

    In Arabic Jahiliyya means ignorance, and is traditionally used
by Muslim authors to refer to the period before Islam. The Rambam
apparently borrowed the term to refer to the class of ignorant
people in general, and the translators misunderstood the term. Rabbi
Yosef Qafeh renders the original Arabic as "as the ignorant think."



From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 15:38:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rambam, PI and jahaliya

The Arabic word jahaliya means "fools."  The correct translation of this
Rambam (to M Eruvin ch. 1) is found in R. Kaffih's edition. The text in
the back of our Gemaras takes the Jahalia to be an organized sect, but it
is only in England (as immortalized by Monty Python) that one stands for
office as the candidate of the Very Silly Party. The American Know
Nothings took their name from their rules of secrecy, not self-proclaimed


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 16:37:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: rarest Shemonah Esrei

Avi Feldblum was also present where I heard the following, so he can 
supply the name of the speaker who said it: [Steve White. Mod.]
The speaker noted that we should not get excited and happy about saying 
this prayer, for 2 reasons:
(1) It's only possible in the Diaspora - why should we be happy about 
being outside of Israel.
(2) It is due to a drift in the Jewish calendar that this is occurring at 
all.  It only began to happen a few centuries ago - before that it was 
impossible to have Chanukah so "early".  Why be happy about an error in 
the calendar.

Aliza Berger


From: <RTSabath@...> (Rachel Sabath)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 21:45:02 -0500
Subject: Seudah Shlishit

I am looking for rabbinic sources on the origins of the third meal on
Shabbat. What do people know about its history? Is
it talmudic? 

Rachel Sabath


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 12:21:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Two Sisters who Convert

I stated regarding two sisters who had:
> :converted to Judasism (indeed, it is unclear to me if that is
> :rabbinically prohibited either, except for cherem derabbenu
> :gershom, which has nothing to do with sisters).
 One of the writers replied
> You may not marry 2 sisters who converted.
> The Rabbis prohibited marrying any person whom you would have been
> prohibited from marrying if they remained a non-Jew and non_jews were
> permitted. Since they were 2 sisters halachically before their conversion
> -- you may not marry them both after conversion. Thee reason for this is
> so that people will not say 'Jews have more lenient laws than non_jews --
> while they were non-Jews they were prohibited to marry the same man --
> after conversion to Judaism thaey became permitted.' JS

I did not wish to go into this issue, but once it is raised, it is needing
of clarification.  Halacha does not prohibit the marrying of two sisters
who have converted if they have a common father, but only prohibits this
if they have a common mother; Yoreh Deah 269:5 and Shach #8. The rationale
for this has to do with the lack of importance assigned to paternity under
noachide law; see comments of Shach on 269:1.  Gra appears to permit the
marriage of two sisters who converted even to the same man even if they 
have the same mother.  See 269:2.  The crucial question is whether Jewish 
law prohibits a Noachide from marrying two sisters, according to Gra.  
The answer to that is found in Rambam Malachim chapter 9, and is that it 
is permissible. (Which returns us to the initial matter of Yaakov 
marrying two sisters.)  In short, the matter remains in dispute.

	The assertion that halacha forbids one to marry someone who one 
could not marry if marrying non-Jews was not prohibited is simply wrong.  
As noted by Shulchan Aruch YD 269:1-2.  This is only a limited rule 
applicable to at most common maternal children, maybe even less.  


From: Shmuel Weidberg <shmuel@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 12:34:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Yeshiva before Medical School

Reb Moshe Feinstein in a teshuva to his son-in-law concerning autopsies 
for the purpose of gaining medical knowledge says that there is no 
mitzvah to learn how to be a doctor just as there is no mitzvah to become 
wealthy in order to be able to give tzedaka. He says you only have the 
responsiblity to save a life if you already know how to do it, but there 
is no requirement to learn for the future.

This means that the boyscout motto of be prepared only applies during 
your free time. It seems that if you would be spending the time learning 
torah, then learning first aid would be bitul Torah.

I am curious as to what sorts of comments you have about this.



End of Volume 17 Issue 25