Volume 17 Number 90
                       Produced: Thu Jan 12  7:25:30 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conservative/Reform Marriages
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Jury Sequestration
         [Ellen Golden]
Medical Profession:  Wedding Rings
         ["Leah S. Gordon"]
Moshe's Free Will
         [Stan Tenen]
Profiting Financially from Torah
         [Josh Bakon]
Puberty and halachic obligations
         [Ben Yudkin]
         [Yisrael Medad]
Zip Code and Mail to Israel
         [Danny Geretz]


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 01:21:24 -0500
Subject: Conservative/Reform Marriages
Newsgroups: israel.mail-jewish

In v17n78 Yechiel Pisem writes:

>The 1st Mishnah in Kiddushin says that there are 3 ways to get married: 
>through 1>the giving of money, 2>the writing of a document, and 3>through 
>having sexual relations with the intent of causing a marriage.  The 
>Gemara (I believe) says that in our times, the 3rd method is not to be 
>used because of a possible problem of immorality.  However, if a C/R 
>marriage were to be performed in a way unacceptable according to Halacha, 
>would their having relations cause a marriage to take place and force a 
>Get for separation?  Any feedback is welcome.

While I as learning at Ohr Somayach in Monsey (a "ba'al teshuva"
yeshiva) we were learning the first two perakim of Kiddushin
(gemorrah).  A number of the bochurim [students] were "concerned"
about their pre-frum experiences, and the possibility of marital
implications.  This is what it boils down to:

Today, we use kesef [money] (aka the ring) as the object which a woman
BOTH PARTIES WHAT THE RING IS FOR.  Technically a shtar [document] or
biah [intercourse] could be used for marriage, but the above two
conditions would have to apply (witnesses and consent to marry).

The same is with biah. There would have to be two kosher witnesses (who do
not have to observe the sexual act entirely), and the man would have
to make a declaration that "by accepting me in marital relations, you
are accepting me as your husband in marriage".  These conditions could
hardly exist under normal circumstances, and certainly marital (or
pre-marital) sexual contact would not be halachic kiddushin for
Conservative/Reform couples. 

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 01:31:01 EST
Subject: Jury Sequestration

In mail.jewish Vol. 17.88, 
<lcsmith@...> (Chaviva Smith) wrote:
    Current events with respect to the O.J. Simpson trial prompted me to
    start a new topic.  I was wondering if anyone knows what kind of
    consessions would be made for those of us who are Torah-observant jews.
    [... much deleted...]
    How would the legal system handle us?  Six months or more would involve
    a lot of holidays, shabbosim as well as other life cycle events.  Would
    these special needs necessarily exempt us from a long, lengthy
    sequestered jury duty?

Speaking not as a lawyer ["just the sister of one"], but thinking of the
Civil Liberties involved, were you selected, they would be required to
provide you with kosher food, and some way to fulfill other religious
requirements, like sundown to sundown Shabbos observance (but this
might not involve a minyan, just your own private time... or time with
any other member of the jury who also... etc, etc...).  

Speaking as a realist, you probably would not be picked, especially if
you pointed out your requirements to the judge (each juror is offered
this opportunity... in case you have never had the opportunity to
serve on a jury... I know because many such issues came up when I went
for jury duty... I have served, in a non-sequestered situation, in

- V. Ellen Golden
Brookline, Massachusetts


From: "Leah S. Gordon" <lsgordon@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 21:18:08 -0800
Subject: Medical Profession:  Wedding Rings

<FSmiles@...> writes:

"Rabbi M D. [sic] Tendler of Yeshiva University told us that married
doctors should wear wedding rings so that single nurses will know
they are married and not bother them."

Great--I have just two questions:

1. Why was this post entitled "Men wearing rings"?
(as opposed to "Wedding Rings"--after all, I assume the poster
would never have meant to imply that all doctors are men and
all nurses are women.)
2. What about the single doctors being warned as well?

Leah S. Gordon


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 1995 15:10:42 -0800
Subject: Moshe's Free Will

Our human free will is a result of our incarnation.  We are separate
entities and we appear to ourselves to be making separate choices (and
to be living with the consequences of our choices.)  This is true in our
normal, mechanical, deterministic, 3-dimensional (plus time) reality.
It is only because our reality is deterministic that there can be
meaning to the idea of our having free will.  If what we will is not
_determined_, how can it be will at all.  When our will is indeterminate
that means that we have not yet make a choice and have not yet actually
exercised our free will.

BTW, the issue of _will_ is central here.  HaShem creates this world not
from His Essence, but from His Will.  Our personal will is expressed in
this world (mostly) by our hands (and speech.)  If we do not move a body
part, no one but us (and HaShem) can know what we will.  Usually we move
our hands.  If they are unavailable, we usually speak (or move another
part of our body).  (The neural maps underlying speech are the same as
those underlying hand motions - as has been clinically demonstrated.
Our speech centers, Broca's and Werneke's regions, are embedded in the
part of our cortex that controls our hands.)  That is why it is of
particular note that when Moshe came down from Mt. Sinai, he wrote out
the Torah in Hebrew letters that I believe were all taken from hand

It may be that at the level HaShem "spoke" to Moshe, there was no
difference between hand gestures and speech.  (We know that Am Israel
heard the visions and saw the sounds, etc.)  The human hand is the human
embodiment of a general principle that projects what our consciousness
wills into consensus, objective, deterministic, mechanical, physical
reality.  (Our hands also can take images of the physical world into our
minds.)  The "Hand of G-d" projects HaShem's will into physical reality,
metaphorically.  Thus Moshe's hands, in writing the Torah, may have been
doing no more than projecting Hashem's "Hand's" to us.  Moshe's will, at
that time, was HaShem's Will, no more, no less.

When a person is in a "mystical", "enlightened", or meditative state,
their consciousness is no longer entirely associated with their physical
body.  They are, so to speak, disincarnate. (This is _one_ reason why
these states are sometimes called "ego-death experiences".)  Thus their
consciousness is not restricted to our ordinary 3-dimensions, they may
be "out of time" (or in what it feels like to be in an "eternal" state),
and they _cannot_ retain what seems to us to be "free will." (There may
be another kind of free will in these higher states, just as there is
likely another kind of "hyper-time" beyond what we call time.)  This was
the state that Moshe attained and it is likely similar in kind,
although, of course, _not_ in degree, to the states that our prophets
attained.  It is also, in my opinion, likely that this is what Rabbi
Akiva's PaRDeS meditation is intended to reach for.  I also think that
is is very likely that many of the sages of the Talmud, and later also
(the Baal Shem Tov comes to mind), could either reach some of these
levels or could experience enough of them to be certain of their reality
and some of their qualities.)

So, Moshe would have been something like an angel while he was "taking
dictation" (being the projective link between HaShem and Am Israel).
"Free will", as we know it, only applies to our ordinary, separate and
incarnate lives.  A person who is "going with the flow" of a meditative
experience is not exercising their free will at that time.  (An
"ego-death" experience is the ultimate loss of free will.  That is why
the ego is convinced that it is dying.)  But they are exercising their
free will to stay with the meditative experience.  This intentionality
is not lost.  Clearly Moshe had free will in this regard.




From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Bakon)
Date: Thu,  12 Jan 95 10:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Profiting Financially from Torah

Moishe Halibard raises an interesting question: on what basis do dayanim
get paid. The gemara in Ketubot (105a) mentions a tanna (Karna) who
*did* take $$$ from both sides but this was to reimburse him for not
working in his vineyard. The Bartenura (Mishna Bechorot 4:6) does
castigate a certain dayan for taking huge fees. I suppose that in
Europe, communal funds supported the dayan so that money was not paid by
the litigants directly to the dayan.  Also in cases of arbitration, both
sides would pay fees to those who sat in judgement.



From: <oujac@...> (Ben Yudkin)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 11:50:58 +0000
Subject: Puberty and halachic obligations

In a recent mailing re Batmitzvah (v. 17 #88), Aliza Berger writes:

> 				Also, halakhically the obligations kick
> in at 12 and 13, rather than at physical signs, another reason to go the
> age route.

While this is of course true in general, some readers may be interested
for the sake of completeness in something I heard at a recent shi'ur in
which this issue was mentioned in passing.  *This account is filtered
through my imperfect understanding and memory and does not constitute a
halachic opinion*.

There is a general principle that A may not motzi B from an obligation
[very rough translation: perform the obligation in such a way that B is
also discharged] unless the obligation is incumbent on A.  Normally,
this means that a 13-year-old boy can motzi others; for example, he can
make 'hammotzi' for others at a communal meal, can act as sheliach
tzibbur [leader of communal prayer], etc.

The person giving the shi'ur mentioned, however (sorry I can't remember
the source), that relying on age to decide when a boy becomes obligated
and can therefore motzi others is a generalisation.  The strictly
correct way to assess the age of majority _is_ by physical signs and age
is used simply for practicality.  In the case of a Torah obligation,
where we want to be quite certain that someone is obligated himself
before letting him motzi others, we _would_ (in theory) go by physical
signs.  Thus, in practice, we do not let young boys read the maftir of
Shabbat Zachor or blow the shofar for the congregation, for example.


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 08:27 IST
Subject: Shahak

I went over the book that has recently appeared in English which I
referred the mail-jewishers to last month or so.  The incident of the
orthodox Jew refusing his telephone to be used on the Shabbat for a
secular person in need of medical care is not directly noted but is
mentioned as happening in 1965-66 together with the accompanying

If I do come across the actual event, I'll let the netters know.

Yisrael Medad


From: imsasby!<dgeretz@...> (Danny Geretz)
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 95 12:08:45 EST
Subject: Zip Code and Mail to Israel

For all those of you who have sent letters to Israel by way of Great Falls,
Montana or Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

We do a lot of business with the United States Postal Service (about
150,000 pieces of mail per month) so I understand a little about how the
USPS works.  This is probably an oversimplification, and does little
credit to the hard work that the USPS does, but here goes: Almost all
mail nowadays is run through OCR (Optical Character Recognition)
readers, and the OCR attempts to find the ZIP or ZIP+4 code for the
address, then sprays a barcode onto the mailpiece.  The barcoded pieces
then get put into trays or sacks destinated for various US addresses.
They are not usually "touched by human hands" until the tray or sack
arrives at the local post office in Great Falls, etc.  Non-barcoded
pieces go to a pile to be "hand sorted" later, when they have time.

Thus, the goal of addressing US mail is to make it as readable as
possible to an OCR machine (or better yet, pre-barcode it, as we do), by
using an OCR readable font, following USPS recommendations for address
format and placement, etc. (refer to Domestic Mail Manual section A for
details, or to the more concise and understandable-by-mere-mortals pubs
25 and 28).  The goal of addressing foreign mail, on the other hand, is
to make sure that the OCR does *not* barcode the mailpiece.

I called my local friendly customer rep at the USPS about how to address
foreign mail, and I got this answer: The OCR machines recognize a
mailpiece with the country name on the last line all by itself as
foreign mail.  The exact recommendations in the International Mail
Manual (section 122.1 paragraph k) are: Put the full country name (no
abbreviations) on the last line, all by itself, in all capital letters.
Additionally, the rep told me that, from his personal experience, the
country name should be left-justified (not right justified, or centered)
and should be in *the same* font and point size as the rest of the
address (apparently, using a bold or larger font to make it "stand out"
so that somebody sees it is counterproductive, since the OCR's are
calibrated to ignore stuff like this, since it's used a lot on third
class ("junk") mail as an advertising gimmick beneath the address).

So, a correct address would look like this:

   TEL AVIV 12345

Daniel Geretz      <dgeretz@...>


End of Volume 17 Issue 90