Volume 17 Number 48
                       Produced: Sun Dec 25  0:26:51 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Generational Decline
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Hillel Faculty Forum
         [James Diamond]
Isaac Newton (V17n47)
         [Mark Steiner]
Legal Fiction
         [Harry Weiss]
         [Zvi Weiss]
         [Steven Edell]
Mechitzos or lack thereof
         [Heather Luntz]
Tshuva in San-Francisco
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Tzitzis, Scarves, and Shabbos
         [Akiva Miller]
Virgins and the Ketubah
         [Eli Turkel]


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 94 18:09:17 IST
Subject: Re: Generational Decline

The issue of generational decline is A very touchy one and impinges upon
many central issues in psak. Basically, most Poskin defer to the
greatness of earlier scholars while reserving the right to disagree with
those within their own period. Why this distinction exists is not always
clear. Kesef Mishnah on Hilkhot Mamrim II:1 seems to say that the
difference between Tannaim and Amoraim is not 'essential' but based upon
an artificial consensus viz. Tannaim COULD differ with earlier scholars
and Amoraim with Tannaim if they chose but they choose not to. For a
full discussion see the recent review by SZ Leiman of the motif of 'On
the Shoulders of Giant' in Tradition and my own article on the authority
of Precedent in Psak in TRADITION (1993). 

Jeffrey Woolf Bar Ilan University


From: James Diamond <diamond@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 23:42:43 -0600 (GMT-0600)
Subject: Hillel Faculty Forum

Hillel will soon be inaugurating a Hillel Jewish Faculty Forum, a broad
discussion group addressed specifically to the needs and interests of
Jewish faculty in all departments of the university and at any current
level of Jewish identity or affiliation.

The focus of the conversation will be on professional and personal
issues relevant to Jewish academics and university administrators,
including such topics as multiculturalism, university policies, the
tension between professional and personal identities, the place of
Jewish issues on the campus and within the classroom, dilemmas within
specific disciplines, etc. The Forum will also serve as a bulletin board
for information of particular interest to Jewish academics, such as
sabbatical, educational and social opportunities; events of Jewish
interest at disciplinary conferences; new books; special programs on
campus, etc.
        The Hillel Jewish Faculty Forum will be moderated to ensure a
quality discussion. Moderators are needed; several moderators can rotate
the assignment.  If interested, or if you want more information, contact
James Diamond at Hillel at Washington University in St. Louis
(<diamond@...>) or Ruth Cernea at National Hillel in
Washington, D.C. (<rcernea@...>).


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Sun,  25 Dec 94 6:23 +0200
Subject: Isaac Newton (V17n47)

	Readers of mail-jewish will be interested to learn, if
they don't know, that Newton wrote a book on a question that
has vexed halakhic authorities: the length of the Jewish
'amah [cubit].  This is a question which has implications
for almost every area of halakha as readers surely know.
In the book, Newton shows impressive grasp of Jewish sources,
such as the Mishnah, and discusses such halakhic questions as
tehum Shabbat, the measurements of the Holy Temple (tractate
Middot), etc.  This, aside from having written an extensive
Commentary on Daniel.  Newton seems to have rejected the
arguably idolatrous aspects of Christianity, and his religion
has been described as an early form of Reform Judaism.
	So Happy Birthday, Newton!
					Mark Steiner


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 17:11:38 -0800
Subject: Legal Fiction

I still have a problem with the term legal fiction.  This term says that
this is fiction.  There is a legal status change that may seem like
fiction, but it is real.

Several items were brought up in Akiva Miller's posting.  One example
was the prohibition against interest and Heter Iska.  The Rabbis were
extremely strict when it came to interest.  Anything that appears like
interest (Mechzei K'Ribit) was prohibited by the Rabbis.  Most of the
current prohibition of interest is only Rabbinical.  The Toraitic
prohibition only applies to interest that is paid up front Apparently
this was common method of interest.  The current Heter Iska requires
there to be an actual business relationship and a risk of loss that the
provider of funds is taking.  He may a priority in collection of
profits, but nevertheless is truly at risk and this is real business
partnership and not a fiction.

Another example raised for the gift on condition that it be returned.
This is a legitimate gift even though the condition of return exists.
There could be legitimate legal consequences while the recipient had the
gift it was destroyed or donated the Temple.  During that period the
recipient is the true owner and the legal status is changed for more
than just performing a Mitzvah.  Again, we are using our legal knowledge
to accomplish something.  This is a legal truth not a legal fiction.

The institution of Pruzbul by Hillel was based on his view that the
Sabbatical Year currently is only Rabbinical and a Rabbinical decree can
modify another Rabbinical decree.



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 12:36:04 -0500
Subject: Mechitza

The Responsa by R. Moshe (among others) should probably be read (they
appear in var. parts of his responsa on Orach Chaim).
However, the fact that men could normally "walk through" the Ezrat Nashim
seems irrelevant as in such cases, we are usually dealing with *individual*
people rather than *groups*...  If I understand this matter correctly, the
issue of Mechitza involves *groups* of people not an individual man or
woman... and, it was only when there was a congregating of groups of people
that the mechitza was needed.

Also, I recall hearing the Rav ZT"L discuss this many years ago in his
weekly Shiur at Moriah.  At that time, he stated that the whole point of
the Gemara was that Mechitza had to be *intrinsic* in the design of the
Beit Hamikdash because of the verses cited that David had received the
EXACT "blueprint" of the Beit Hamikdash -- which could not be changed.
This means that the latter verses could only indicate to CHAZAL that
this is what David & Co. must have received earlier such that it can be
considered part of the basic blueprint of the Beir Hamikdash.



From: Steven Edell <edell@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 1994 17:52:09 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Mechitzos

On Fri, 23 Dec 1994, Chaya Gurwitz wrote:
> I agree with Aleeza -- I'd rather not make a scene.  When the outside door
> to the ezras noshim is locked, I *could* march through the whole main
> shul to get to the ezras  noshim.  I don't.  I turn around and go home,
> and I resent it.
> I can readily understand that many minyanim are tight on space and figure
> that not too many women would come anyway, or that they only come
> on YomTov, etc.  But what kind of message is being sent?  

What kind of a message are YOU making by 'turning around & going home'?  
I am suggesting that if you DID make the effort once, twice, maybe even 
three times & did walk through the main shul to get to the ezras noshim, 
it _might_ get through some <epitath-thought removed to remain civil> man 
that you want to come on an ongoing basis, and they MIGHT even open it up 

Also, how do you know how many other women do the same thing as you?  If 
you managed to get that door open, you might end up with a sizeable 
amount of women there.... and that would be good, as far as I'm concerned...

Steven Edell, Computer Manager   Internet: <edell@...>
United Israel Appeal, Inc        listowner <Culture@...>
(United Israel Office)    **ALL PERSONAL**          Voice:  972-2-255513
Jerusalem, Israel        **OPINIONS HERE!**         Fax  :  972-2-247261


From: Heather Luntz <luntz@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 1994 22:29:18 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Mechitzos or lack thereof

Yet another woman to second the plea about mechitzos:

When I came back from Israel after high school and went to my local
University in Australia- where there was never a very sizable frum
community in any event, the guys used to book one of the classrooms
every day for mincha. Again, I didn't want to make a fuss about a
mechitza, so I didn't go.  But the upshot of that was that I felt very
self-conscious about trying to find a spot on campus to daven, I was
always concerned somebody was going to walk in wherever I was (and I was
on campus from early in the morning until after dark) - that it just
became easier and easier to "forget" and it has taken me a good eight
years and being re-immersed in a Jewish environment to start davening
mincha again - even though the Mishna Brura is clear that women have a
chiuv to daven mincha. On the other hand had there been a mechitza up, I
would have gone there, with the added benefit that I wouldn't have spent
the entire day without any contact with another frum Jew (and often no
Jews at all) - not really the ideal situation for anybody (I am probably
pretty lucky a lot more didn't lapse).

So please guys, think



From: Shimon Lebowitz <LEBOWITZ@...>
Date: Thu,  22 Dec 94 13:29 +0200
Subject: Tshuva in San-Francisco

An internet acquaintance of mine in San Francisco, who is the child of a
'mixed marriage' (non-Jewish father) has expressed interest to me in
learning more about Judaism, proper religious practice, etc.
(Already keeps some basic mitzvot, with whatever minimal knowledge
the mother imparted, but with effort that astounded me).

If there are orthodox, friendly, 'open' people in the SF area who would
be willing to talk to, invite, or have my friend for a real Shabbos,
please write to me at:

thank you, tizku lemitzvot!

Shimon Lebowitz                   Bitnet:   LEBOWITZ@HUJIVMS
VM System Programmer              internet: <lebowitz@...>
Israel Police National HQ.        IBMMAIL:  I1060211
Jerusalem, Israel                 phone:    +972 2 309-877  fax: 309-888


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 01:33:15 -0500
Subject: Tzitzis, Scarves, and Shabbos

In MJ 17:39, Immanuel O'Levy asked if a scarf needs tzitzis. I recommend
learning the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim siman 10, halachos 10 and 11. There
are quite a few non-hebrew words there which describe specific types of
clothing which I do not understand, but if you can find a good teacher, that
section may answer your question. I think the point there might be that a
shawl (even a large one) would be exempt from tzitzis because all four
corners are in front of the person, but I am not sure what it says about a

In MJ 17:42, Lon Eisenberg asked why there might be a problem with wearing a
garment outside on Shabbos if it has non-functional items attached, and he
brought several good examples. I recommend the Shmiras Shabbas K'Hilchasa
(available in either Hebrew or English) Chapter 18, halachos 28-31 and
elsewhere, where he explains that attachments may be brought outside provided
that they either serve some kind of function (even if merely decorative) OR
if the attachment is a normal intrinsic part of the garment. The clearest
examples are in halacha 31: a coat's hood may be brought out even if the hood
is hanging down on the back of the coat, and the zipper which is used to
attach the winter lining is no problem even if the lining is not in the coat
right now. In halacha 44 he shows that insignificant attachments (such as a
price tag or laundry tag which one forgot to remove) also do not present a
problem. On the other hand, in paragraphs 26, 33, and elsewhere, he shows
that a significant object may not be brought out merely because it happens to
be connected to a legitimate garment.


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 94 19:03:35+020
Subject: Virgins and the Ketubah

     It was brought up that some poskim say that one should not
write the phrase "l'hada betulta" in the ketuba of girls who lead
"questional" lives, e.g. Israeli army service and other girls without 
proper supervision etc. It is not clear whether these girls would get 
the 200 maneh of a virgin or the 100 maneh of a non-virgin.  In most 
cases a ketuba is a form and not handwritten. Thus one would need
to either cross out the appropriate phrase or else use the ketuba meant
for a previously married woman. The practicing rabbis, in America,
that I have spoken to, usually avoid asking couples if they are living 
together so that they can use the "standard" ketuba. I was informed that 
Rav Moshe Feinstein did not agree with these opinions.

    I would appreciate it if anyone has more information what is done in
the "average" shul with a mix of people of varying backgrounds.

    One last comment about sherut leumi. I again stress that it is
completely voluntary and can be left at any time. Furthermore, there is
complete freedom of choice as to which place the girls go to. As such
any organization can set up their own. As Yaakov Menken and others have
mentioned in fact there are other groups that do offer sherut leumi
programs. From my viewpoint I couldn't care if the girls work in the
"official" sherut leumi or in some other similar program as long as they
contribute to the community while others serve in the army. As a
believer in competition I feel that the more options available to these
girls the better. In my private opinion no girl, in Israel, who does not
serve in some version of community service should be able to hold a job.
Those communities that believe that a girl should not work outside the
home would then continue their customs while others would so public
service before beginning their private lives.



End of Volume 17 Issue 48