Volume 17 Number 49
                       Produced: Sun Dec 25 13:42:51 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conservative Kosher
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Hebrew Pronunciation
         [Akiva Miller]
interest And Heter iska
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Megilat Ha'azmaut & God's name
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Mistake in Pronunciation Posting
         [Steven Shore]
Non-Orthodox conversions
         [elie rosenfeld]
         [Harry Weiss]
Query on Obssessive-Compulsive Disorder
         [Mark Steiner]
Russian-Jews: New List Announcement
         [Simon Streltsov]
Santa Clause Posting
         [Michael J Broyde]


From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 1994 23:22:46 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Conservative Kosher

My good friend and fellow (ex)West Hempsteader Lou Rayman, asked whether
a Conservative Rabbi is indeed a Mechallel Shabbos if he uses a
microphone on Shabbos. The answer is, of course, that if it is, at
least, a transistor mike, he is probably not Mechallel Shabbos on a
Torah level, but only, at most, on a Rabbinic level (I am not getting
into the public policy issues here, which are not relevant ot a Kashrus

We should be aware, however, that Reb Moshe in Igros Moshe YD 4:13 rules
quite decisively, that any Rabbi who affiliates himself with the
Conservative Movement, is automatically unfit to render testimony (pasul
l'edus), regardless of his personal level of Mitzva observance. Although
the parameters of testimony for Issurin (Kashrus issues included) are
somewhat different, this psul (invalidation) would extend to the area of
Kashrus as well.  

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 00:34:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Hebrew Pronunciation

Shimon Shore wrote in MJ 17:44:
>BTW the whole issue of pronunciation only applies during prayer and
>Torah reading.

Many people feel this way. I would like to understand that point of view
better, because right now it does not make any sense to me. Do we not
refer to that language as Lashon Hakodesh, the Holy Tongue? Is it not a
mitzva (or at least a preparation for a mitzva) to learn Hebrew, so that
we can understand our holy books better? If style of my pronunciation of
Hebrew is a genuine minhag (custom), which means that I should not
deviate from it in prayer, then on what basis may I deviate from it in a
conversational context?

I am of Ashkenazic heritage, and I practice Ashkenaz customs, including
in my pronunciation of Hebrew. Why do I feel social pressure to use the
Sefard pronunciation in conversation? There is no pressure upon the
British to adopt an American pronunciation when they are in America, nor
vice versa. There is no pressure upon a Yankee to adopt a southern
pronunciation when he is in the southern United States. So why do all
the Ashkenazim in Israel use the Sefard pronunciation? (BTW, that
includes me. I'd like to use the Ashkenaz pronunciation, but not if I am
the only person in the country doing so.)

Please do not respond with some argument about Sefard pronunciation
being more authentic. First, that would apply to prayer too. Second, I
don't beleive that the Ashkenazi pronunciation was affected by the
Europeans any more than the Sefard was affected by the Arabs.

Akiva Miller


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 10:10:27 -0500
Subject: Re: interest And Heter iska

harry weiss made a few comments concerning interest and heter iska which
need clarification:

the torah prohibits interest which is stipulated at the time of the
loan. the time of payment of the interest is of no interest.

as far as iska is concerned, there are many conditions which are
inserted into the agreement which make it _almost_ impossible for the
lender to lose his money ( for example, a condition that the borrower
can not claim bankruptcy unless he has witnesses to each and every
transaction he made with the moeny in question.  while this can possibly
be done it is highly improbable that it will be done, thus almost
guaranteeing that full repayment will be made )


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 1994 10:54:03 -0500
Subject: Megilat Ha'azmaut & God's name

Rivka Finkelstein wrote  (MJ 17#13) on  7 Dec 1994 

>Does anyone have any information or feelings about ammendening >[sic] the
Israeli Declaration of Independence to include Hashem's >name (G-d) and give
thanks for His miracles in creating a State of >Israel.

The Constitution of the United States comprises the nation's fundamental
law, providing the framework for its governance and the principles under
which it must operate. Judicial reinterpretation has given the
Constitution the flexibility to accommodate changes in the specific laws
subject to its authority. Thus the Constitution is amended from time to
time, since it is part of law.

The Israeli Declaration of Independence (DOI) is not part of the law.
You can find the Hebrew and English translation of DOI in Encyclopaedia
Judaica, vol.5, pp.1453-1454. It is a historical document, albeit an
important one,.  One cannot sue in court based on the DOI. The most that
this document can do is show the intent of the founding members
(signers) who represented all the political parties of the 1948
era. Amending a historical document is an oxymoron. To be legally
correct, the DOI does include one legal paragraph "establishment of the
electorate,...with the constitution which shall be adopted by the
elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October
1948". Indeed, if that constitution called for in the DOI would have
been adopted, it could have been amended.  But no constitution was ever
adopted in Israel. The closest thing to a constitution that Israel has
is "Hukei Yesod" (basic laws), which are higher than regular laws, but
far short of constitutional power.

The Israeli Declaration of Independence already mentions the Bible
"Sefer Ha'Sefarim" in the first paragraph, and in its second paragraph
it mentions the "historical and traditional" connection of the Jewish
people to the land. One might wish, in retrospect, to see God in word,
but this document was a compromise between all the parties of the time.

Shabbat Shalom,
Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Steven Shore <shore@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 14:32:36+010
Subject: Mistake in Pronunciation Posting

Yesterday I posting a small article about the issue of Sephardic and
Ashkenazic pronunciation. I gave an example of mixing pronunciations
of something like "Nassan HaTorah" it I meant to write "Nassan Lanu 
Torat" which should be either "Natan Lanu Torat" (Sephardic) or
"Nassan Lanu Toras" (Ashkenazic).

Sorry about that.

Shimon (Steven) Shore			<shore@...>


From: <er@...> (elie rosenfeld)
Date: 22 Dec 1994  16:06 EST
Subject: Non-Orthodox conversions

On the question of non-Orthodox conversions, the point (made by several
people) that they are not halachically valid is well taken.  However, I
don't see how this means that they should be blanketly discouraged.

Take the following case.  An intermarried couple, husband gentile, wife
Jewish.  Now the husband wants to convert, Reform or Conservative.  What
do you advise him?  After all, the children are 100% Jewish, no matter
what the father does.  If their father affiliates with Judaism, albeit
not "officially" according to halacha, doesn't that mean there's a better
chance that the kids will be _raised_ Jewish, rather than in the bizarre
and terrible mixed mode that most children of intermarriage are raised in?
Mightn't it even help them avoid intermarriage themselves someday?

This is not a far-fetched case; I know a couple in this exact position.
And in general, I believe that in each case of someone contemplating a
non-halachic conversion, there are complex individual factors that
argue both for and against your support.  It's very far from a cut and
dried issue.

Elie Rosenfeld


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 17:12:56 -0800
Subject: Pronunciation

Jeremy Lebrett asks about being yotzei when one changes pronunciation.
If I remember correctly there were numerous postings on this issue not
too long ago that brought down various sources regarding whether one may
change and if one is yotzei after the fact.



From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Sun,  25 Dec 94 13:50 +0200
Subject: Query on Obssessive-Compulsive Disorder

     Here's an interesting question for mail-jewish readers.  Much
orthodox Jewish ritual would be classified as OCD (obssessive-compulsive
disorder) by an ignoramus.  Even orthodox Jews would classify *some*
forms of religious behavior as OCD-- for example, a woman staying in the
mikvah for hours, a man washing his hands for a half hour before meals,
checking the position of his tefillin every fifteen seconds, etc.

     But how do you distinguish OCD from piety?  The Brisker Rov,
R. Yitzchok Zeev Soloveitchik, of blessed memory, relied on nobody, even
in such mundane tasks as locking the door (a classic OCD symptom).  He
would check obsessively every single grain of salt before Pessach for
chometz despite the number of hashgachos on the salt.  At the same time,
his admirers point out that he once actually found 13 wheat grains in a
bag of salt: it turned out that there was a hole in the roof of the salt
plant, and birds brought the wheat from a bakery 15 miles away!  They
also point out that often when he asked his own sons (gedolei Torah in
their own right) to lock the door they forgot to do it!

     So I ask the following question, aroused in my mind by a recent
article in the Israel Journal of Psychiatry (written by two
psychiatrists, one frum, who work with the chareidi community in
Jerusalem): is there any religious behavior which is is *inherently*
OCD?  How would one define it?


From: <simcha@...> (Simon Streltsov)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 1994 15:22:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Russian-Jews: New List Announcement

             	     Announcing a new list:


              To subscribe to Russian-Jews list 
send email to <listproc@...> with the following body:

sub russian-jews Alex Kogan        [change as appropriate!]

The list is dedicated to sharing information, discussions of
history, announcements of upcoming events, etc.

If your shul or organization provides services for Russian Jews -
please contribute a short description to the list

(you do not have to subscribe to do that).

Any ?'s, email me at <simcha@...>

Simcha Streltsov
Moderator of Russian-Jews List


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 1994 10:48:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Santa Clause Posting

I stroungly oppose the recent discussion of "Santa Clause" in a 
lighthearted way, as was recently discussed on mail.Jewish.  It was 
inappropriate and spitefull, and wrong to do on a public forum that is 
moderated.  Imagine if such a parady of Eliyahu's travels on pesach night 
were published in mail.christian.

Deracheia darchia noam.  vegam ain osim devarim cazeh meshum aeva.  An 
appology is in order.

Rabbi Michael Broyde

[I apologize for the posting of the article. I guess it is my science
background that found the scientific analysis of the travels one of the
most humorous items I have read in a while. It did not strike me as
being spitefull, but rather good natured humor on something that most
religious Christian adults (as far as I understand) do not accept as
factual. There was no intent to insult anyone, and if taken so I
apologize for it. Avi Feldblum, Moderator]


End of Volume 17 Issue 49