Volume 17 Number 42
                       Produced: Wed Dec 21 23:44:55 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2500 Year Old Obstacle to Marriage
         [Michael J Broyde]
Conservative Kosher
         [Jim Phillips]
Entering a Church
         [Naomi T Leiser]
Entering House of Idolatry
         [Mark Steiner]
Medical School as bitul Torah
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
Reservation of Maaser
         [Heather Luntz]
         [Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund]
Teach your son how to swim
         [Israel Tseitkin]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Visiting churches
         [Elhanan Adler]


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 12:02:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: 2500 Year Old Obstacle to Marriage

The explanation given as to the recent refusal to marry a woman to a
cohen because the woman is a challal is a little befuddling.  I hope
someone in Israel could verify.  In order for this woman to be
considered a challal based on the misconduct of her ancient ancester,
she would have to be a direct decent from the misconduct from males
only.  Thus, a male challal that marries a kosher Israelite produces
children that are challalim; however, a woman who is a challal who
marries a male israelite produces Israelite children who are not
challalim; SA 7:16.  Is it possible that the records are so accurate
that people know with certainty that this woman comes from such a line?
I have learned to be skeptical of news reports!


From: <RocketP@...> (Jim Phillips)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 22:10:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Conservative Kosher

  I have a thorny question, which I hope the readers of this group will
give me some input. I am invited to a Bar Mitzvah party for the son of a
Conservative Rabbi who is a friend. This Rabbi is the mashgiach of his
Shul, but similar to many other Conservative Rabbis he uses a microphone
on Shabbos. As I understand the hallachah, one can only depend for
Kashrus on one who is Shomer Shabbos, hence I should ask for a glatt tv
dinner and not eat the food that he supervises. But Cheskus Kashrus,
says that I should trust my friend when he says the food is kosher,since
he would not decieve me.
  A frum friend says I can trust him in his house, where he is apt to be
more careful, and not trust him in his Shul, in which the catering hall
is a business and thus the predominant consideration would be " Basur
shenitalem min haayin", which by virtue of he not being Shomer Shabbos,
he is unqualified to be the eyes. Furthermore i do not wish to embarass
him, by people wandering if his supervision isn't adequate. Don't tell
me to move my food around and not eat, thats the easy way out! So how do
I resolve this quagmire and be consistant with hallachah? 
Jim Phillips


From: Naomi T Leiser <ntl5@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 11:00:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Entering a Church

I just read Naomi's question and would like to add to it. Among those who
permit entering a church, are there any who would permit actually being in
the church or cathedral (is ther any halachic difference) while a service
is being conducted, for instance a wedding ceremony, a concert or a mass, 
or is the heter only for walking in while the building is not in use?  


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Wed,  21 Dec 94 23:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Entering House of Idolatry

     I respond to the question: what is the halakha concerning entering
a house of avoda zara (idolatry), one containing an idolatrous
representation of a deity.  To avoid offense, I abstain from writing on
the question: which religion, if any, fits that description.

     Entering a house of a.z. is forbidden for four reasons.

     The first is the prohibition of mar'ith `ayin, making it look as
though a Jew would think of worshiping a.z.  It is even forbidden to
enter a city which has such a house, under circumstances which arouse
such suspicions (Tractate A.Z. Mishna and gemara on 11b ff., and
rishonim on this sugya).

     The second is a more controversial point: a house of a. z.  is
considered in the category of meshamshei a. z. [appurtenances of a. z.],
and is therefore assur be-hana'ah (forbidden to derive any benefit from
it, e.g. shelter from the sun etc.).  Cf. the Ramban to Tractate
A. Z. 37b ff.  This of course would make the prohibition Biblical
(deoraytha), something denied by Rashi to that sugya, for example, so we
probably have a controversy among the rishonim on this point.

     Finally, the Talmud (17a) warns against going within 4 cubits of a
"house of minuth" [sectarianism, heresy, a.z. are the various meanings
that can be ascribed to this word] lest one be drawn to it.

     If there are no statues in the building the second prohibition
would not apply, but the first and third would still apply.

     I conclude by quoting the Rambam's Commentary to the Mishna I
mentioned above (11b) (I'm translating from Kaphah's Hebrew translation
of the Arabic):

     ...therefore, you should know that every city...which
     has...a house of a. z....that city is forbidden to pass
     through deliberately, and certainly to live there.  However,
     G-d has given us into their hands so that we live in their
     cities against our will, in order to fulfill His word (Deut
     4:28): AND THOU SHALT WORSHIP THERE [i.e. in Exile] MANMADE
     GODS...  And if this applies to the city, how much the more
     does it apply to the house of a.z. itself: it is forbidden
     to look at it, certainly to come near, a fortiori to go in.

     The source for the Rambam's statement about "looking" at a house of
a.z. is the verse (Lev 19:4), THOU SHALT NOT TURN TO THE IDOLS, as
understood by the Rabbis (cf. Torah Ohr on that posuk, or Torah
Temimah).  This then provides a fourth source for a negative ruling on
the question.


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 94 11:25:55 EST
Subject: Medical School as bitul Torah

> >From: Shmuel Weidberg <shmuel@...>
> Perhaps there is a difference between self preservation and preservation
> of other people. A father is required to teach his son how to swim in
> order to save him from a fairly common danger, so that he will be able
> to fulfill the mitzva of 'Ushmartem es nafshoseichem' (And you shall
> guard your soul). It not a mitzva, however, to teach him how to save
> someone else.

The things a father is REQUIRED to teach a son are absolute
requirements.  There are not, "if he has the aptitude," or "if he is
interested."  Some mitzvot are of the optional nature.  I are not
absolutiely required to do them, but if I do them, I am fulfilling a
mitzvah.  Learning to save others, I suspect, is never an absolute
requirement, so a father is not REQUIRED to teach his son to do so, or
perhaps not everyone is able to learn how to save others.  On the other
hand, it's hard for me to believe that no one considers learning to save
others as the fulfilment of some mitzvah, or at least the preparation to
fulfil some mitzvah.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Heather Luntz <luntz@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 21:16:50 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Reservation of Maaser

I have a bit of a problem with something from Monday's Daf Yomi (Baba 
Basra 63). I am sure I am missing something obvious, but maybe somebody 
could help me out.

A braisa is brought of a case in which a ben Levi sells a field on condition
 that the Maaser Rishon [first tithe] is to belong to him (or to him and his 
sons after him). The gemorra then explains that since the Maaser Rishon 
is a d'var shelo ba l'olam [thing that has not come into 
this world], what is actually happening is that the Levi is reserving for 
himself the m'kom maaser [the place of the maaser], and the gemorra then 
goes on to learn from this to other matters.

But what I don't understand is that if the Levi retains in effect a 
portion of the land, ie the portion where the maaser is going to stand, 
then the buyer doesn't own that portion, and surely he would have to give 
maaser from the portion of land that he does own, ie the remaining 
9/10ths of the land (and so on). 

Obviously I must be missing something about the way maaser functions, but 
it is very baffling (and part of the problem about learning on your own, 
tapes or no tapes is that there is nobody to ask these kind of questions to).




From: sg04%<kesser@...> (Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 94 11:27:26 EST
Subject: Smirnoff

A few weeks ago there was a story that Smirnoff vodka was found to be
non-kosher by the KAJ. Is there any substance to this story?

Yechezkal-Shimon Gutfreund		 	            <sgutfreund@...> 
GTE Laboratories,Waltham MA      http://info.gte.com/ftp/circus/home/home.html


From: <tsietki@...> (Israel Tseitkin)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 1994 18:10:14 -0300 (GMT)
Subject: Teach your son how to swim

By the way, an interesting expanation I heard about the "mitzva" to teach
one's son how to swim is like this.
Among many things compared with water is the "wisdom the other nations".
What the father is commanded to teach his son thus is to "be in water, but
keep his head over the water", i.e. be occupied with anything belonging to
the "big world", but remember what is over all that everyday staff you are 
in all the time.

Israel Tseitkin


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 94 08:58:37 IST
Subject: Tzitzit

Immanuel O'Levy <imo@...> wrote:
>							      I asked the
>person with whom I was learning this whether I could just put tzitzit on
>in order to satisfy this doubt but not make a blessing over them because
>of the doubt?  He told me that I could do this, but would not be able to
>wear it on Shabbos in case the scarf is exempt from tzitzit, in which
>case I would be carrying the tzitzit as they would be non-functional.

I've heard this before and simply don't understand it: If something is
attached, why isn't it part of the garment?  It would seem that if you
say that if it is non-functional then you would be carrying it, then you
shouldn't be able to wear many of our garments on Shabbath.  What
function do any of the following serve on Shabbath:

1. trouser pockets
2. shirt pockets
3. collars (ornamental?)
4. cuffs (ornamental?)
5. unused buttons (don't say that the top button of a shirt is ornamental)


From: Elhanan Adler <ELHANAN@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 4:49:36 +0200 (EET)
Subject: Visiting churches

Naomi Graetz asked:
>A student of mine has a query:  what are the sources on a Jew not being 
>allowed to enter a church.  She was party to an embarrassing situation, 
>when as part of a group, a young woman refused to enter a church in 
>Jerusalem (the Ratisbonne).  The rest of the class entered and her friend 
>stayed outside.  My student would like some sources that she can study 
>with her friend:  both pro and con if possible.

Some recent responsa which deal with this topic:
Yehaveh da'at v.4 # 45
Tsits Eliezer v. 14 #91
Aseh lekha rav v. 1 #59 and v. 4 #53

The general approach seems to be that it is forbidden - even if not
during actual prayer hours and even if the purpose is only aesthetic:
this would still be "neheneh me-avodah zarah" (having benefit/pleasure
from avodah zarah). The last of the above sources does allow visits
if the church is no longer an active one - i.e. has been turned into
a museum.

The Tsits Eliezer above does not distinguish between churches and mosques,
but the Ashe leka rav (v.1) does.

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel          *
* Israeli U. DECNET:      HAIFAL::ELHANAN                                  *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *


End of Volume 17 Issue 42