Volume 17 Number 93
                       Produced: Mon Jan 16  5:59:31 1995


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Celebrating Birthdays
         [Esther R Posen]
Conservative/Reform Marriages
         [Marc Joseph]
Financial Profit from Torah
         [Akiva Miller]
Halachic adulthood & obligations
         [Yaakov Menken]
Heter Mechira
         [Yitzchak Unterman]
Kosher Kitchens
         [Esther R Posen]
Kosher Stuff
         [Scott Schneider]
Merryl Herman's question about Udder
         [Meshulum Laks]
Mey-Marah
         [Shira Schmidt]
Miami Beach Eruv
         [Harry Weiss]
Milah, at Sinai and in Breisheit
         [a.s.kamlet]
Mizrach not where you thought it was...
         [Amos Wittenberg]
Shabbat challenge
         [Jay Bailey]
Wedding in shul and bat mitzvah
         [Micha Berger]


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From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 12:20:14 -0500
Subject: Celebrating Birthdays

I have heard that the only birthday mentioned in the Torah is Paroh's 
birthday.

Esther

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From: <mjoseph@...> (Marc Joseph)
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 11:11:50 -0800
Subject: Re: Conservative/Reform Marriages

I am not having a problem with this, but I was wondering. Since a C/R 
marriage which is not performed according to halacha does not, according 
to Rav Moshe, require a get, is the "divorcee" of such a marriage 
permitted to marry a Cohen? 

Chaim Leib Hirshel HaCohen

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From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 1995 17:11:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Financial Profit from Torah

Moishe Halibard asked in MJ 17:89 how teacher, dayanim, kollelniks, etc,
can accept money for their Torah, in light of Pirkei Avos (Ethics of the
Fathers) 4:7, which clearly forbids it. I strongly recommend that anyone
who is interested in this question study the Biur Halacha, section 231,
titled "Bakol". I would offer a translation or summary, but I think the
public would be better served if I let you learn it on your own, with no
preconceived notions of what the great Chofetz Chaim had to say on this
important subject.  (If you want a translation, email me directly.)

Akiva Miller

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From: <menken@...> (Yaakov Menken)
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 95 18:27:24 EST
Subject: Halachic adulthood & obligations

Ben Yudkin wrote:
>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.

I recall hearing from an English bochur [Yeshiva Student] that the R"Y /
Dean of Gateshead would be certain that the three bochrim who would serve as
a Rel. Court to release him from his vows before Rosh Hashana were beginning
to grow beards (facial hair comes even later in life, and ensures that the
boy is legally a man).  While not a Torah obligation, the release from vows
is not valid unless the three individuals are acceptable as Dayanim -
according to the Torah.

Yaakov Menken

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From: Yitzchak Unterman <Yitzchak.Unterman@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 95 11:37:37
Subject: Heter Mechira

There has been some discussion regarding purchase of produce grown
during shmitta year and some people have distinguished between fruit and
vegetables in reference to relying on the heter mechira.  In response to
a shaila (question) from the London Beis Din, my grandfather - Hagaon
R. Isser Yehuda Unterman z"l - made the same distinction and paskened
(ruled) that there is no problem purchasing fruit that has been grown
relying on the heter mechira even for those who do not rely on the
heter, as the issur (prohibition) of sefichin does not include fruit.
The responsum is in the posthumous volume of short teshuvos printed
recently as Shevet Mi Yehuda vol. 2.

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From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 12:19:12 -0500
Subject: Kosher Kitchens

I am willing to guess that most of our European ancestors didn't have 2
sinks, 2 stoves and 2 dishwashers.  I think of the modern kosher kitchen
as something much of our society is lucky enough to afford.

Esther

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From: <sari@...> (Scott Schneider)
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 95 15:07:12 -0800
Subject: Kosher Stuff

Do you know of any electronic service that provides information on OU or OK 
or any other Kosher products, like Kashrut Magazine?

Thanks!

Scott Schneider

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From: Meshulum Laks <mpl@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Jan 1995 20:11:03 -0500
Subject: Merryl Herman's question about Udder

I guess there are two points i made.
 1) By torah law milky substance not expressed from the cow until after
the cow is kosher slaughtered is not milk thus not of any concern at all
even if mixed with its own calf or any other meat, (which is not any
different according to jewish law.).
 2) By rabbinic law the milky substance is prohibited and could not be
cooked with any meat, even the udder itself. the udder is purged of the
milk and then cooked. At that point, the udder meat is mixable with
regular meat and used on regular meat dishes.

Meshulum Laks

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From: <RWERMAN@...> (Shira Schmidt)
Date: Sun,  15 Jan 95 18:54 +0200
Subject: Mey-Marah

I am transmitting this for Shira Schmidt, who is not on
Internet, yet.  __Bob Werman.

Subject: The bitter waters of Marah, Shemot 15:22-27

In this past Shabbat's parasha we read about 'mey Marah,' the bitter
waters of Marah that the children of Israel encountered after crossing
the Red Sea.  Hashem showed/taught Moshe how to sweeten the waters by
throwing a tree into them.

I know there are various explanations that have been offered to
elucidate the sweetening of those bitter waters.  The Midrash Tanhuma
maintains that it was not only a miracle, but a miracle in a miracle,
because a bitter tree sweetened the bitter waters.  At the other
extreme, the Ramban seems to indicate that the sweetening was done by
natural means (Hashem, so to speak, gave Moshe some chemistry lessons).

I was wondering how our scientist and non-scientist friends react to the
various explanations.  Does someone know of other explanations?  If you
know any off the path commentaries could you share them with us?  If you
know some chemistry that explains the phenomenon, please share that too.
Can the miracle be understood as some kind of desalination, for example?

Thanks in advance.  You can reply by email to m.j. or to our friend, Bob
Werman at <rwerman@...> or by Fax to us:

Shira Leibowitz-Schmidt in Israel at 972-9-826309
or
Roald Hoffman at Cornell, USA, at 607-255-5707.

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From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 22:27:54 -0800
Subject: Miami Beach Eruv

Aliza Berger asks about the Eruv in Miami Beach and the Boardwalk.  This
was discussed last Pesach by the Rabbi at the Hotel we were staying at.
The primary Miami Beach Eruv boundary is just outside the Boardwalk. The
boardwalk is in its own Eruv which is connected to the main Eruv at Each
staircase.

It is therefore permitted to carry on the Eruv or enter the Eruv
carrying at any of the staircases (from the city, not the beach).  It is
prohibited to throw anything on or of the Eruv at other location between
stairs because one is changing domains in the small space between the
Boardwalk fence and the Eruv string.

Harry Weiss

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From: <ask@...> (a.s.kamlet)
Date: 13 Jan 1995  17:11 EST
Subject: Milah, at Sinai and in Breisheit

David Bolnick <davebo@...> writes:
> Jews circumcise their sons to fulfil the mitzvah: "This is My covenant 
> which you shall keep ... every male among you shall be circumcised ... 
> and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you" (Genesis 17,7-11).

Most of the commandments were given to Moses at Sinai -- two were not
(Be Fruitful; Do not eat meat from the sciatic nerve).

Others were given both at Sinai and in Breisheit: e.g.,  Do not murder,
Brit Milah.

Since Milah was given to Moses (Leviticus) why do we not cite that as
the source of the mitzvah?

I can understand Gen. 17 as the source of the covenant, but why not
Leviticus as the source of the commandment?

Art Kamlet   AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus   <a.s.kamlet@...>

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From: <awittenberg@...> (Amos Wittenberg)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 19:30:26 GMT
Subject: Mizrach not where you thought it was...

BS"D

A e-friend of mine has produced a wonderful Windows programme that
displays the globe in any of a whole array of different projections.
What is more, the programme will display the great circle connecting any
two points on the surface of the earth and will even display a grid of
great circles ("meridians") and parallels centered on one of a list of
cities.

If one choses Jerusalem as the centre, it immediately becomes clear that
the great circles connecting any point in the USA with Jerusalem are
such that "mizrach" is in *north*-eastern direction rather than
*south*-eastern direction, as one might think when looking at a standard
(Mercator projection) map...

When we say that one should face Jerusalem when davvening, do we mean
"along the shortest line"?  My guess is: indeed!  I could not think of
any other reasonable interpretation.  Surely the "map" direction is
purely an artefact and has more to do with the particular choice of the
North Pole as origin of a coordinate system than with the real direction
to Jerusalem.

Precise data (thanks, Bernie Greenberg!):

New York (coordinates 4045'N 74W)
Jerusalem (coordinates 3147'N 3513'E)

Correct "mizrach" in New York: 3555' *north* of due east!!!

In western Alaska one faces NORTH-WEST!  Take a globe and see for
yourself!

Amos W
 ... <amos@...> ...

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From: Jay Bailey <jbailey@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jan 1995 21:40:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shabbat challenge

Here's a good 'ol Hilchot Shabbat challenge. My wife was at a museum in 
Chicago last week and brought bout a game consisting of small, 
rectangular magnetic strips with words on them. Hundreds of them. The 
idea is to rearrange the words on the fridge, a pan, etc., and write 
poetry! It may sound kind of corny, but it's great. We've put together 
some very powerful (and funny) stuff. My question is: Are there any 
problems with doing it on shabbat? (Not that I actually need to do it; I 
was just struck by it as an intriguing issue :)  ) There is nothing 
permananet and the words themselves are always intact...

Jay Bailey

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From: Micha Berger <berger@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 95 08:55:05 -0500
Subject: Wedding in shul and bat mitzvah

To me it would seem that the issue of "bekhoseihem lo seiliechu" (don't
follow their laws) would have alot to do with WHY one is interested in
creating the new practice.

In the case of having a wedding in the shul, the original intent was to
create an image of a synagogue that paralleled the Protestant concept of
church. Thus, all religious ceremony would be moved to the synagogue
(and, unfortunately, compartmentalized out of life in general).

So, the way I understood the Chasam Sofer's ruling was that this was an
effort to imitate gentile worship and should be shunned. Whether that
would apply today, when shul's are often chosen as a cheaper alternative
to halls in an already disgustingly expensive process, is a second
question.

I have similar misgivings about bat mizvah celebrations, women dancing
with the Torah, and all-women tephillah groups. All questions about
permissability aside, I wonder about motive. How much of these
innovations are motivated out of a desire for Torah and opportunities to
worship, and how much is the product of the women's movement.

The discussion of "can we fit this into halachah" seems inherently
wrong. You already predecided right and wrong. Halachah becomes just a
detail to be worked with.

Activities that try to force Torah into externally defined mores defeat
the whole purpose of halachah. Halachah is supposed to define your value
system -- not the other way around. The feminist who wants to innovate
new mode of worship in order to satisfy the western definition of
equality is practicing Conservative philosophy.

Micha Berger                     Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3009 days!
<berger@...>  212 224-4937             (16-Oct-86 - 11-Jan-95)
<aishdas@...>  201 916-0287
<a href=http://www.iia.org/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>

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End of Volume 17 Issue 93