Volume 17 Number 80
                       Produced: Sun Jan  8 22:06:09 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Daas Torah
         [Melvyn Chernick]
Lifesaving Genealogy
         [Eugene Rosen]
Tzitzit on a Scarf.
         [Immanuel O'Levy]


From: <chernick@...> (Melvyn Chernick)
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 11:09:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Daas Torah

I just recently chanced upon Yaakov Menken's posting of Nov. 30,
entitled, "Stifling Daas Torah." I would like to focus on one element of
his piece which struck me as remarkable--it troubled me because I was
present at an event which he misinterprets and probably
misunderstands. I checked my own impressions with other sources and I
contend that Menken is way off base in his report on Rabbi Lamm's
actions and views with regard to granting "recognition" to Conservative
and Reform "branches" of Judaism. So, here goes:

	1. His proof that the non-Orthodox seek recognition is that they
"fawned over Norman Lamm when he 'recognized' non-Torah Judaism as
valid."  False: they were so upset with him for refusing to share the
platform with them (this took place at a Clal forum), and for dubbing
them as "valid" but NOT "legitimate," that they roundly criticized him
at that occasion and (I believe I saw this later in print) wrote in
anger about it. Anyone who thinks that "Alexander Schindler (Reform)"
went about "singing his [Rabbi Lamm's] praises" is either misinformed or
tone deaf.

	2. The distinction between the terms "valid" and "legitimate" is
fairly simple to understand: "valid" is a term that speaks of factual
existence, de facto, while "legitimate" means de jure, as a matter of
law or, in this case, Halacha.  I was in the audience that evening and
everyone there seemed to get the point: the
Conservative-Reform-Reconstructionist groups exist, they are numerous
and politically powerful in the community, and to deny it is
fatuous. Therefore, they have to be dealt with as existing Jewish groups
with a religious orientation different from our own. AND--because they
are non-halachic, the Halacha cannot recognize them as "legitimate." As
I said, this distinction came across clearly to all those present, and
was later published (I think it was in Moment Mgazine a few years
ago). Only one with ideological blinders could fail to appreciate this
distinction and understand why the non-Orthodox participants, far from
"fawning over Norman Lamm," were upset with him.  (Incidentally, Norman
Lamm has a title or two. Would Mr. Menken refuse to use the proper title
for those on his side of the ideological divide?)

	3. Hence, it is simply untrue that it was only in response to
the Jewish Observer's "assault" (and that it was--even more, it was a
kind of journalistic mugging, but that is another story) that he made
the distinction.  The concept was first broached, as I wrote, at the
Clal conference. (It did take guts to say those things at the very forum
which preaches "pluralism").

	4. Finally, what irked Rabbi Lamm's Agudah critics was that in
response to Prime Minister Shamir's plea, (I heard Rabbi Lamm say this
to a private group at the time) he made a last effort to solve not only
the *giyyur* problem halachically but also the *mamzerus* problem as a
result of the *hefkerus* in granting divorces. His suggestion was that
for those from USA wanting to go on Aliyah and who were not Jewish but
wanted to convert, that they go through TWO processes: the first would
be a joint board of Orth-Cons-Reform which would pass on their estimate
of the seriousness of the potential convert. Thus, they could only
DISqualify a candidate; they would have no power to be *megayyer*. This
"panel" was clearly labeled as "non-halachic." Those who "pass" would
then go to a *Beis Din* of ONLY qualified Orthodox rabbis who would
perform the halachic *giyyur* if, in their, opinion, it was halachically
the right thing to do. So, there was no "joining" on halachic matters,
no "joint Beis Din," and no "recognition" of the non-Orthodox as
"legitimate" rabbis. Had this creative idea been accepted, the whole
"Who is a Jew" business would have been solved, the Lubavitch movement
would not have had to back-track, and so many Orthodox professionals
would not have lost their promotions and, im many cases, their
jobs. More important: it might have led to a similar arrangement on
*Gittin* and would have averted hundreds of cases of *mamzerus*.
Interestingly, the ones who torpedoed this effort were strange
bed-fellows-- the Agudah, which conducted a fierce campaign, and the
extreme Reform rabbis who understood full well what was happening but
who too, from their own perspective and for THEIR ideological reasons,
refused to accept that they were not "legitimate." Talk about joining
with the Reform!

	I've gone on at some length because what was a creative attempt
at a *Kiddush Hashem* has become distorted into conventional wisdom by
those for whom the purity of their ideology is more important than the
the integrity of their ideals. History often invites revisionism--but so

Melvyn Chernick


From: <erosen@...> (Eugene Rosen)
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 10:39:29 -0500
Subject: Lifesaving Genealogy

My name is Eugene Rosen and I responded to a note for help on Compuserve
regarding Jay Feinberg.  I had my blood tested (my parents, first cousins,
lived not far from Lvov)but was not a match.  I gently implore each of you
to read Jay's letter and of course network with those who might also help.
If you have any suggestions on how I may further disemminate this plea for
help, please feel free to write to me at <erosen@...>

"My name is Jay Feinberg and I am 26 years old. In June 1991 I was
diagnosed with a lethal form of leukemia and told I would only have a
few years to live unless I had a bone marrow transplant. Unable to
locate a compatible donor in my family or in international registries,
my family and friends decided not to sit back and let me die. Instead,
we decided to exercise some control over a disease which we had very
little physical control over.

Shortly thereafter, the Friends of Jay Feinberg, a non-profit marrow
donor recruitment foundation, was established. Friends of Jay is an IRS
approved 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation. All contributions are
tax-deductible to the extend allowable by law.

Friends of Jay has thus far tested nearly 50,000 bone marrow donors for
registries around the world, including in the U.S., Canada, Israel,
South Africa, the Republic of Belarus, Australia and Japan. Though I
have yet to find a perfect match, we have found donors for numerous
other patients who are alive today becaus eof this campaign. It is this
knowledge that inspires me and my family to continue fighting.

Since tissue type is ethno-geographically determined, like the color of
one's eyes or hair, the best chance of finding a GENETIC match lies with
thouse of similar ancestry. For me, these are people of Eastern-European
(Ashkenazi) Jewish background. In particular, we are looking for people
from Byelorussia (Sopotskin, on the Polish border in the Grodno area),
Hungary (an area now considered Solovakia), Ukraine, formerly Austria
(Nesterov, formerly Zolkiew, near Lvov), and Poland (Warsaw and
surrounding areas). Paternal family names include Feinberg, Plaskoff
(Plaskov or Plaskovsky), Grossman, Tuchband and Richman. Maternal family
names include Gross, Cohen, Gietter, Gersten, Hirsh and Gold. People
with these names from the areas listed are urged to take a simple blood
test - just 2 tablespoons of blood - to see if they match. This could
benefit me or if the donor chooses, some 9,000 other patients also in
need of life-saving matches.

The Talmud teaches us that "He who saves one life, it is as if he had
saved an entire world." I have been told by many of the donors who were
tested for me and match other patients similarly affliced that it was
the greatest tift that one human being could give to another. I think
that about says it all.

Marrow is a replenishable organ - it's like giving blood in that it
regenerates in a matter of weeks. You can donate marrow multiple times
throughout your lifetime. The donation process itself, should you match
as a result of the preliminary blood test and choose to donate, is a
simple procedure requiring no cutting or stitching. It requires
aspirating 2-3 percent of the marrow from the hip bone in a quick
approx-1 hour outpatient procedure. You receive a local (epidural) or
general anesthetic so you do not feel any pain during the
procedure. Most donors take Tylenol afterwards and return to work the
next day.  There is no cost borne by the donor - that is covered by the
recipient entirely!

People interested in donating a tube of blood to see if they match
should call (800) 9-MARROW or write to PO Box 326 (WOB), West Orange, NJ
07052. Inquiries can also be directed to INTERNET address
<73130.3626@...> Call the 800 number for a list of donor
drives in your area or for a simple kit by mail (have the nurse in your
doctor's office or local lab draw the tube of blood - that's all there
is to it).

On behalf of all patients afflicted with blood-related diseases like
leukemia, who are in need of a stranger who can give them the gift of
life and make the marrow transplant miracle happen, THANK YOU!"

Gene, it is important to stress that all donors tested for me will
benefit ALL patients seeking donors. They are tested for the registry -
NOT for Jay alone.

Thank you to each of your for your time and consideration.

Eugene Rosen           <erosen@...> (e-mail)
22 Riverside Road
Sandy Hook, Ct. 06482-1213
203 4266764 (home) 203 4264084 (fax) 203 5964249 (work)


From: <imo@...> (Immanuel O'Levy)
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 12:26:27 GMT
Subject: Tzitzit on a Scarf.

In MJ 17:48, Akiva Miller gives a reference to Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot
Tzitzit 10:10-11, which concerns tzitzit on various types of garment.

Hilchot Tzitzit 10:10 states that a "mitzneffet" is exempt from tzitzit,
because it is primarily a head covering, and remains exempt even if worn
like a shawl.  Judging from the description of a mitzneffet given by
the Mishnah Berurah, it would appear to be something like a keffiyah,
which although originally designed as a head covering is quite often
worn round the neck/upper chest.  Another translation of "mitzneffet"
that I've come across is "turban", which is different from a run-of-
the-mill hat in that it consists of a long strip of cloth (a bit like
a scarf!) wound round itself and worn on the head.  The key thing here
would seem to be some sort of garment designed from the outset as a
head covering of some sort.

Men's scarves in general are not worn as head coverings, IMHO.  The
scarf that I have was certainly not made as a head covering.  I thought
that its unusual length (10 feet 7 inches, which is just over 3 metres)
might affect its requirement for tzitzit, especially as it is *knitted*
from wool.  Garments designed so that all its four garments are on the
front are exempt from tzitzit, but can I rely on this as a scarf can be
worn either with both ends in the front or with one end at the front and
one end down one's back?

Shulchan Aruch Hilchot Tzitzit 10:11 mentions a scarf worn by royalty,
and says that it is exempt from tzitzit.  The Biur Halachah there says
that this is because such a scarf is worn for honour and not as a
garment.  (What would the Halachah be regarding a uniform or fancy
dress, I wonder?)  This example would exclude, therefore, the scarf that
I have.  I remember an occasion in school when the gym teacher produced
some reflective vests for us to wear during sports so that he would be
able to identify who was on which team.  When we asked the school Rov if
these vests needed tzitzit, he replied that as we were not wearing them
as garments but as a means of identification they did not require
tzitzit.  This would seem to suggest that items worn for reasons other
than for clothing would be exempt from tzitzit, if I've understood the
reasoning okay.

I've noticed that most scarves seem to be made from acrylic or some
other fibre that does not require tzitzit.  The scarf that I have is
woollen, and would be worn as a garment.  It is not a head covering,
and was never intended to be.  It satisfies the minimum size requirement.
It has four corners, and they're not all at the front.  Why should it be
exempt from tzitzit?

The only possible exemption I can think of is that it is worn round the
neck.  Halachically speaking, where does the head stop and the body
start?  Is the neck part of the head or part of the body?

The other point that was raised concerned having surplus attachements
to one's garments and the problems with such things on Shabbos is 
discussed in the Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Tzitzit 10:7, where it
discusses garments that are "open" on the sides and "closed" on the
sides, open ones requiring tzitzit and closed ones being exempt from
tzitzit.  The Shulchan Aruch goes on to say that a garment which is
half-open and half-closed requires tzitzit as one rules le'chumrah
(stringently), but one may not go out with it on Shabbos.  This would
seem to prevent me from being able to go out on Shabbos with my scarf
if I put tzitzit on it out of doubt (yes, I'm still not sure!).

I'm not sure if putting tzitzit on a garment out of doubt is in the
category of bal tosif - after all, the Shulchan Aruch mentions putting
tzitzit on a garment out of doubt, as in the above paragraph.  Having
more than eight threads would be bal tosif.  Any comments, anyone?

A definite solution to this problem would be to alter one or more of
the corners of the scarf to make them round, as mentioned in Shulchan
Aruch, Hilchot Tzitzit 10:9.  I still haven't found a definition for
a "round corner".  Does anyone have any comments on this?

 Immanuel M. O'Levy,                               JANET: <imo@...>
 Dept. of Medical Physics,                        BITNET: <imo@...>
 University College London,                     INTERNET: <imo@...>
 11-20 Capper St, London WC1E 6JA, Great Britain.         Tel: +44 171-380-9704


End of Volume 17 Issue 80