Volume 18 Number 08
                       Produced: Mon Jan 23 22:45:20 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fleischig airline meal during 9 days
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Erwin Katz]
Motivation and permitted actions (2)
         [Binyamin Segal, Micha Berger]
Motivation in Mitzvot, etc.
         [Jonathan Katz]
Questioning Jews about Motivation
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Questioning Motivation
         [Fila Kolodny]
         [Alan Mizrahi]
         [Yehoshua Berkowitz]


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 1:49:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Fleischig airline meal during 9 days

In v17n54, Esther Posen tells a story about not eating a fleischig
airline meal, because it was during the nine days. A few years ago, I
was planning to take a flight during the nine days, and was told by my
LOR that it was perfectly OK to eat a fleischig airline meal, since
there is a heter [leniency] for travellers to eat meat during the nine
days. I was rather surprised by this, and it felt kind of strange eating
meat on the plane (as well as embarrassing telling people I was
fleischig when I got to my destination), but I did it because, aside
from the convenience, I would have felt wrong to thumb my nose at my
LOR's advice and to bring along cheese and crackers to eat instead.

I am curious to know whether Esther's rabbi has a different opinion on
this, or whether it never occurred to her to ask? I can certainly
understand if she never thought to ask, since it never would have
occurred to me either. I'm sure I didn't just directly ask whether I
could eat a fleischig airline meal during the nine days, but somehow the
topic came up when discussing something else. Even if there were not a
general heter for travellers to eat meat, I would think that there might
be a problem with bal tashkis [not cutting down fruit trees, and by
extension, not wasting any food], if you had already ordered the airline
meal and it was already heated up, since it might then have to be thrown
out if you didn't eat it. Since bal tashkis is a Torah prohibition,
while not eating meat during the nine days is at most a rabbinic
prohibition, or maybe only a minhag, I would think that it might be
better to eat the meat in that situation.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: ERWIN_KATZ_at_~<7BK-ILN-CHICAGO@...> (Erwin Katz)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 15:50:41 CST
Subject: Kobe

While we're discussing the jewish community in Kobe let's not forget the
vital role of the japanese and Kobe in particular in WWII. You will
recall that many jews escaped from Nazi Europe via Shanghai. This was
due to the intervention of a japanese counsel at a time when Japan was
allied with Nazi Germany in the Axis. Most of the Mir Yeshiva was saved
via movement to Kobe where they were protected from the germans and
ultimately to Shanghai for the duration of the war. For a fascinating
history of the japanese involvement and why they resisted the nazi moves
read "The Fugu Plan" by Rabbi Bruckenstein, a former U.S.  Chaplain who
was stationed in Tokyo.


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyamin Segal)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 01:30:21 -0600
Subject: Motivation and permitted actions

As an aside to the discussion of bat mitzvah & women's aliyot, Ellen
Krischer asks:

>I would appreciate it if someone could post a list of permitted halachik
>actions performed by a halachik/orthodox/pick-your-adjective Jew where
>we openly, publicly question the motivation of the Jew in performing the

Some already alluded to part of an answer by quoting, "mitoch shelo
lishma..." loosely translated - by doing something for the wrong intent we
come to do it with intent.

This would indicate that indeed we generally do _not_ question motive.
However, this is far from complete. My recollection is that most
commentaries severly limit the application of this mishna. At the very
least it refers to mitzvot ie things we are commanded to do - it may be
limited even further.

When we address the subject of permissable action there are many sources
which mention motivation as an important factor.

First, is the requirement to question our own personal actions. This can be
seen from the intro to Chovos Hallvavos, where the author makes it clear
that every action that is not by definition mitzva or sin is defined as
mitzva or sin based entirely on our motivation. Reading the Shulchan Oruch
Orach Chaim 231 seems to indicate that the Chovos Hallvavos is basically
normative Jewish thought/law. This though does not allow anyone else to
question a person's motivation, this is purely an internal obligation.

There are though examples within Jewish literature where gedolim questioned
motivation of others. Perhaps the most well known example is from the
gemara (Nazir 4b).. Shimon Hatzadik ate from the offering of only one
nazir, because he questioned the motivation of all other nazirs!

In Baba Kamma 80b-81a the gemara relates that 2 rabbis saw someone acting
stringently. Before they identified the person they were prepared to put
this person in cherem for acting inappropriately strict. When they saw
which student it was they agreed that this student was acting
appropriately. They were essentially questioning the possible motivation of
almost anybody to perform this stringency.

Im sure there are more examples, but i think this demonstrates that
stringencies must be properly motivated to be acceptable, and jewish
leadership has the right to question those motives.


From: Micha Berger <berger@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 07:41:24 -0500
Subject: Motivation and permitted actions

In v18n5, Ellen Krischer writes:
> Micha Berger <berger@...> writes:
>> ...I question the practice in cases where the motive is questionable. :-)

 ... [similar quote of Jonathan Katz omitted] ...

> I would appreciate it if someone could post a list of permitted halachik
> actions performed by a halachik/orthodox/pick-your-adjective Jew where
> we openly, publicly question the motivation of the Jew in performing the
> action.

This problem only arises because the quote is being taken out of
context. The whole subject of the post is Bekhokoseihem lo seileikhu -
not following gentile custom, and an idea I suggested that this may only
include following their customs for the sake of following their customs.

In other words, I feel we must "publicly question the motivation of the
Jew" when the practice seems to be at least partly based on an attempt
to force halachah into western values. (This being, to my mind, the
primary point of the prohibition.)

At this point, I'm letting the subject drop. If my point hasn't been
made after three rewordings, either I can't explain myself or the
subject is just too emotionally loaded.

Micha Berger                     Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3017 days!
<berger@...>  212 224-4937             (16-Oct-86 - 20-Jan-95)
<aishdas@...>  201 916-0287
<a href=http://www.iia.org/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 02:15:15 EST
Subject: Motivation in Mitzvot, etc.

I expected some criticism on my recent post, but certainly not so much and so  
fast :). I will try to address some of the points raised:

Ellen Krischer, Fran Glazer, Margo Gutstein, and Rena Whiteson make simillar
points: (to paraphrase) why does it bother me when unobservant women get
aliyot but not when unobservant men get aliyot? 
There are a few answers to this question which I would like to sketch out.
1) There is a difference between an act which is allowed and one which is
required (expanding the discussion beyond the question of aliyot). That is to
say, if a man is required to do x, while a woman is allowed but not required to
do x, then I think it is proper to question the motivation of the woman yet
not that of the man. 
2) There is a difference between allowing an act to take place and condoning
it and pushing for it. To allow an unobservant person to have an aliyah is
not really so much of a problem for me, but to institute it as something
to do every week, to advertise it, and to actively push for it really does
bother me. Why can't conservative shuls concentrate more on teaching kashrut
and shobbos observance than on making sure to have a 50-50 split of men's/
women's aliyot? The direction seems horribly misplaced to me.

Rani Averick writes that for many women, an aliyah or other public ceremony
is their only contact with Judaism.
Isn't this exactly the problem? Exposing them to an aliyah once or twice
a year is not exactly a great way to keep them in contact with Judaism, in
my opinion. There are much better ways, like classes, etc.
Besides, my point (and this is where I agree with Rani), is not to disallow
*all* women to participate; I just don't like it when Judaism becomes a
political playground for feminists. If a woman is sincerely motivated, or if
she feels that this is her only way to remain in contact with Judaism, then I
have no problem with women doing what they want (within halacha). It is when
they are NOT religiously motivated, but rather politically motivated, that
I begin to worry. *That* is why I say it is worthwhile to at least try to
determine a woman's motivation.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 241C
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: <jjg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 10:12:32 -0500
Subject: Questioning Jews about Motivation

In relation to the issue of questioning Jews about motivation, I have two
possible examples, although I admit that both of them are questionable as
support. We question potential converts extensively about motivation, and
this applies to men and women. Also, we question (or did) potential
witnesses to the new moon during the time of the Sanhedrin (Rabbinical
Court) as to the appearance of the moon and the sincerity of the witnesses.


From: Fila Kolodny <FILA@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 14:22:54 EST
Subject: Questioning Motivation

In reply to the query by E. Krischer regarding when you would question
someones motives regarding their performance of a mitzvah, I would like
to draw attention to the concept of mechza k'yehora (seeming to be over-
religious) which is used regarding someone who complies with the biblical
requirement to be wearing tephillen all day and other things which are
not done by the general population. These things are only permitted to
the very pious.


From: Alan Mizrahi <amizrahi@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 11:59:48 EST
Subject: Tzedaka

	Several people have been talking about the issue of people
asking for tzedaka during davening.  I think that it is very
inapropriate for someone to walk into a shul and start collecting money
for an organization, yeshiva, etc.  First of all, I like to know where
my tzedaka money is going.  I don't like the idea of giving money to an
institution which may support things I don't believe in.  Yet, I can't
start asking the person about his charity when I'm in the middle of
	Secondly, this situation creates tremendous pressure to give
money.  When everyone else in the shul has given money, it is hard not
to give.  Tzedaka should be given of one's own free will, without any
pressure.  If somone wants to collect money for an organization, a
pushke (box for collecting money) in the shul would be much more
appropriate.  That way people can give freely and anonymously, which is
higher on Rambam's degrees of tzedaka.
	The last thing is that I just don't like to be interrupted when
I'm davening.  IMHO, it is very rude to go into someone else's minyan,
interrupt the chazan (leader) and loudly announce that you are
collecting money for whatever charity, and then go to each person and
stand right next to them until they give you something.  Aside from the
pressure issue, it is just not right to distract someone when they are
davening.  Again IMHO, I think this has to do with certain people
thinking they are better that others and therefore it is OK to interrupt
others to do what you think is important.  I can just image what would
happen if I went into certain shuls and started asking for tzedaka.
	As important as tzedaka is, I think there are some guidelines
that need to be followed when soliciting funds.  If you have to ask for
tzedaka, I think the best way would be to announce at the beginning or
end of shul that you are collecting money for whatever charity, say what
the charity does and leave a box where people can leave money if they

Alan Mizrahi


From: <RYehoshua@...> (Yehoshua Berkowitz)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 22:18:11 -0500
Subject: Tzedakah

In reply to the poster who asks whether he has a right to check the
legitamacy of the indigant, we need to be aware that the Rambam makes it
clear that that when soomeone asks for food one may not question or
investigate the legtimacy, only when one is asked for clothing can the
tzedakkah be delayed until further proof is received.
  Recently, when reviewing this halacha in a study group, a congregant told
me that when he asked for money for food by a homeless person, he takes the
*ani* to the restaurant and treats him. If he asks for a cup of hot soup,
it's an indication that he is really hungry; if he asks for donuts or ice
cream he knows he is dealing with a scam artist.


End of Volume 18 Issue 8