Volume 17 Number 85
                       Produced: Wed Jan 11  5:20:33 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bris Milah and Insurance
         [Michael Lipkin]
         [Aryeh Blaut]
Eruv scenarios
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]
Hair Cutting on Rosh Chodesh
         [Leo Keil]
Khazar Book
         [Avi Feldblum]
Learning at a Distance
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Legal Loopholes
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Rabbi Yisrael Rozen]
Pinkie pointing
         [Yisrael Medad]
Purim Drinking
         [Danny Skaist]
Shul weddings
         [Jeremy Lebrett]
Tallit katan
         [Alan Mizrahi]
Wedding Rings for Men
         [Janice Gelb]


From: Michael Lipkin <michael_lipkin@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Jan 95 11:14:58 EST
Subject: Bris Milah and Insurance

>From: Robert Israel <israel@...>

>I have no knowledge of any cases where brit milah was covered by 
>medical insurance, even when the mohel is a doctor, but it seems to 
>me that from a Jewish perspective this should not be encouraged.  
>This is not a procedure done for medical reasons, it is done purely 
>for religious reasons.  We should be careful to maintain the 
>distinction.  Otherwise we could be either defrauding the insurance 
>company or lacking the proper kavanah [intention] for the mitzvah.

My son's bris was performed by a Mohel who is also a doctor.  I was 
given a doctor's receipt for the bris.  I submitted the receipt to my 
insurance company and was reimbursed.

My insurance company was not defrauded.  With all due respect to the 
mohels out there, my kavana may have been a little better knowing that 
the mohel was a doctor.  I also see nothing wrong, given the high cost 
of religious life, to take advantage of any legitimate financial 
assistance I can get in performing a mitzva.



From: <AryehBlaut@...> (Aryeh Blaut)
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 02:44:55 -0500
Subject: Children

I am passing on a question which I was asked by a fellow teacher:

In Judaism, to what are children compared?
I also could use the moryea mekomos (sources).  
A quick reply is needed.  Thanks,

Aryeh Blaut
(please note my new address: <aryehblaut@...>)


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 20:10:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Eruv scenarios

(1) I was just in Miami Beach. Luckily for the kosher tourist industry, 
the eruv includes the boardwalk there (but not the beach). However, I 
saw the eruv: It's a string strung along light poles which are next to 
the "wrong" side of the boardwalk.  The light poles don't even touch the 
boardwalk.  So, my question is, how is the boardwalk included? If it's 
naturally included somehow, what purpose does the string serve? 
(2) Say an elevated train structure forms part of an eruv.  I am late 
getting home for shabbat, riding the train.  Can I carry my stuff home 
(assuming I can stay on the train after shabbat begins...can't I?)? What 
about my money (different question, I know)?

Aliza Berger     


From: <leo_keil@...> (Leo Keil)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 08:53:17 EDT
Subject: Hair Cutting on Rosh Chodesh

Could someone please summarize the Halachot and Minhagim regarding haircuts on 
Rosh Chodesh?  Some questions have arisen regarding the scheduling of my son's 
upshiren.  My son was born on Rosh Chodesh.


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 05:18:36 -0500
Subject: Khazar Book

As many of you know, there is that (in)famous book about how all the
Ashkenazik Jews are really descendants of the Khazars. My request here
is not to start a discussion about that, but to get information about
another book or books written from an academic perspective (I think)
that clearly refutes the above mentioned book. I'm pretty sure I saw it
refernced somewhere, but cannot remember it's name. If someone knows
what I am talking about, please jog my memory with the reference. 

Thanks in advance,
Avi Feldblum


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 95 05:05:41 +0200
Subject: Learning at a Distance

I received a letter from a physician in Europe who would like to learn
Torah, but is unable to leave his profession at this time. Is anyone
aware of any home study programs available? Anything available on the
INTERNET which he might access?

I hope to check around by myself, but perhaps some of you might know of
the more useful sources. Now, mail.jewish could be interesting for him
but it is not that applicable to an organized learning program.

Please reply to me personally via e-mail, unless you feel that your
note would have wider interest to all newsgroup participants.

Ezra Teppe<r<rrtepper@...>


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 95 14:02:35 +0200
Subject: Legal Loopholes

     I would like to clarify a comment I made in my previous post on
this subject. Loopholes are used only when there is a conflict between
two objectives. A simple example is to review the case I brought with
Rabbi Tarfon.  Rabbi Tarfon was a rich cohen; as a Cohen he was entitled
to to eat Terumah and so is his family. Terumah costs less than ordinary
food because it has a lower demand. During a famine Rabbi Tarfon married
300 women so that they were entitled to eat terumah and so could
purchase food at a lower price.  I assume that Rav Tarfon would not
suggest such a procedure during ordinary times. Then one should keep the
Torah's "real" intention that Terumah is only for the Cohen's
family. However, there is also a requirement to feed the poor. Hence,
when the famine arose he used the "loophole" to enlarge his
family. Again, I stress that in this cases the marriages were full
marriages and not legal fiction marriages. Just the intent was to get
around terumah laws rather than an intention to live with the women.
The Gemara doesn't state but again I assume that after the famine was
over he divorced the women he wasn't living with.



From: Rabbi Yisrael Rozen <zomet@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 14:16:40 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Microphones

   Jim Philips asked for some information about microphones.

   The subject has been widely discussed in the past century with almost 
unanimous prohibition. The reasons for prohibition fall into two general 
      a. Various Shabbat "melachot" such as "mav'ir", "boneh", "makeh 
b'patish" and "molid zerem" (creation of a current). Regarding these 
reasons, one might say that some or all are not relevant to modern 
transistorized microphones.
      b. A group of rabbinic prohibitions such as "klei shir", "mashmiya
kol", "shema yetakein" and others. These rabbinic prohibitions are clearly
less severe than Torah prohibitions, but are not well defined. If these 
are accepted as the reason for the prohibition, then the type of 
microphone is irrelevant; even if it is not electric at all, it would be 
   In recent years a number of Rabbis have published opinions which permit
the use of certain microphones on Shabbat. I have written a long article
on this subject which will appear in the upcoming, fifteenth volume of
Techumin (which will be published already this winter if someone can be 
found to dedicate it), published by Zomet.

   Rabbi Yisrael Rozen eng.
   Head - Zomet Institute

The Zomet Institute is a non-profit public service institute dedicated to 
problem-solving research in the areas of Torah and science, Halacha and 
technology. Its operating program relies on philanthropy to underwrite 
special projects and publications.
Zomet  Alon Shevut, Gush Etzion 90433   Tel:(02) 931442, Fax:(02) 931889


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 95 14:19 IST
Subject: Pinkie pointing

Re Seth's posting of Vol 17, No 75:

the reason for pointing: "zot" HaTorah, *This* is the Torah.

the reason for pinkie: Sefaradim usually grow their pinkie nail long so
I presume the custom started with them.

Yisrael Medad


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 14:55 IST
Subject: Purim Drinking

>Jonathan Baker
>In Tractate Megillah 7b, there is the only piece of Gemara which talks
>about getting drunk on Purim.  Rava says that a man is required to get
>Now, for all the other mitzvot of Purim, there are drashot in the Gemara
>explaining how they are derived from various statements in the Megillah.
>For this, there is just a flat statement.  What is the original source
>of this custom?

I have heard that, since many people converted to Judaism because of "fear
of the Jews" [Esther 8:17], the actual original celebrations consisted of
much drinking to weed out the "politically motivated" converts from the
sincere converts.

The clue to all this is that one is supposed to get drunk until there is
confusion between all those who are supposed to be blessed and those who are
supposed to be cursed (Tos. brings down a Yerushalmi).  This can only happen
if inhibitions are broken down and the non-sincere converts couldn't
remember what they were supposed to believe.



From: Jeremy Lebrett <J_LEBRETT%<REC@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Jan 1995 10:10:33 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Shul weddings

Rav. S.R. Hirsch writes in a responsum published in the sefer 
Shemesh MeRapeh that he cannot see anything wrong in getting married 
in a Shul. In fact, he says, what more appropriate place to say the 
B'racha of Yotser Ha'Adom (Who created Man) that in the house of the 
Creator of Man. 

He cites many examples of Rishonim talking about in-shul Chupa's. 
for example, the Rema (or maybe the MeChaber, I've not got the text 
with me) in describing the wedding ceremony says "... the Kalloh 
waits outside the Shul whilst the Chosen in brought in ....". He 
bring other examples too.

Clearly couples have been getting married indoors for centuries.


From: Alan Mizrahi <amizrahi@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 00:25:02 EST
Subject: Tallit katan

Why is it permissble to wear a tallit katan which has wool tzitzit, but
the garment is not woolen?  Shouldn't the garment and the tzitzit be
made of the same fabric?  If not, wouldn't that constitute shatnez if
the garment is linen. I don't have many books handy, but in the kitzur
shulchan aruch (9:12) it says some authorities do not allow making a
beracha (blessing) on a tallit that has tzitzit made of a different
fabric than the garment.

Alan Mizrahi


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 1995 09:43:24 -0800
Subject: Wedding Rings for Men

 David Steinberg says:
> Aryeh Blaut questions whether a man may wear a ring.  I assume his
> question is whether a man can wear a wedding ring as it is clear that
> men wore signet rings in Talmudic times.  Also if a ring is distinctly
> masculine there would be no Beged Isha -woman's garment- question.

Often wedding rings are the same for the bride and the groom -- I'm 
curious whether matching rings adds another dimension to the 
problem. Also, what would make a wedding ring "masculine"?

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


End of Volume 17 Issue 85