Volume 18 Number 35
                       Produced: Tue Feb  7 21:57:39 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chumras and Kashrus
         [Laurie Solomon]
Daf Yomi and Nach (prophets)
         [Eli Turkel]
Feminism /Motivatioion
         [David Steinberg]
Intensions and Women's Lib
         [Leah Zakh]
Loving Torah
         [David Charlap]
Shmitta in Chu"l
         [Jan David Meisler]


From: Laurie Solomon <0002557272@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 95 12:32 EST
Subject: RE: Chumras and Kashrus

I can fully understand and agree with what Ben Yudkin expressed in his
Feb 2nd posting on the level of kashrus (i.e. chumras) that a mashgiach
might decide to hold for himself or his family.

However, I have recently discovered a restaurant that is certified by a
particular Vaad.  The restaurant is in a nursing home, but the
restaurant is open to the public.  When asking the mashgiach however,
about US eating there (not him or his family) he suggested that we not.
He did not really want to go into much detail as to why, but said it was
just better not to eat there. We do not necessarily hold by chumras, nor
does this Rabbi/mashgiach teach chumras in his regular kashrus classes.
Why is the level of kashrus OK for this institution but not for the
average baal/baalas batim?

Any explanations?

Laurie Solomon Cohen


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 09:38:07 -0500
Subject: Daf Yomi and Nach (prophets)

     In recent daf yomi [daily talmud study -Mod] pages I have had
several questions about the attitude of the rabbis to Nach. I shall
combine them though there are no necessary connections between the
various questions.

1. On Baba batra 110a the Gemara  brings a verse from Divre Hayamim to
   show that Moshe's grandson did teshuva. The version of the pasuk in the
   Gemara (ben Menashe) differs from the standard Tanach (ben Moshe) see
   Mesoras haShas. Tosafot on the spot justifies both readings depending
   on whether you look at his present teshuva or future backsliding.
   I am very confused , this is a verse in Tanach not a piece of Gemara how
   can Tosafot justify two versions based on a darasha? Furthermore,
   Tosafot uses the phrase "garas" which usually refers to Gemara and
   not Tanach.

2. In the same place the Gemara identifies the "priest" to an idol in
   Judges with the grandson of Moshe and with a similar name in the days
   of King David. This implies that he lived many hundreds of years.
   There are many places in Talmud and Midrash where people with no
   obvious connection are identified as the same person frequently with
   a derash "why was he called by this other name because ...) e.g.
   Hagar=Keturah, Pinchas=Elijah, Haman=Memuchan, Daniel=Hasach, 
   (Malachi, Ezra, Daniel). Many of these derashot require that someone
   lived for hundreds of years or on the contrary that many generations
   lived within a short span (e.g. Bezalel's family). Many of these
   derashot are subject to disagreements. Is there a reason for all of
   this? The most interesting is Pinchus=Elijah (according to some).
   It is curious that Pinchus would be a second cousin to Yonatan the
   grandson of Moshe. Did they keep contact during these hundreds of years
   one a high priest in the Temple and the other the priest to an idol?
   There is another midrash that Pichas was still the high priest in the
   days of Yiftach and wouldn't go to him to annul his vow. However, he
   obviously "resigned" by the time Ely was high priest while we know
   the high priests in the days of David and Solomon. Can a high priest
   resign? What did he do all the years until he reappeared as Elijah? 

3. In the same place the Gemara indicates that part of Moshe's grandson's
   problem was that he was a descendant from Yithro who was a convert.
   But he was also a descendant of Moshe and Amram? Similarly the Gemara
   assumes that Pinchas was a descendant of Yithro and answers that it was
   a further relationship (e.g five generations see Rashbam). What about
   Ruth? The only possible problem with her descendants was that she was 
   from Moab.  Does anyone imply that her descendants were idol worshippers? 
   Many of the tannaim were descendants of converts. In fact Yithro and Ruth 
   are usually presented as the "ideal" converts.

4. On Baba Batra 111b there is a discussion why verses in Joshua and Divre
   Hayamim tell us about the burial plots prepared by Pichas and Yair and
   attempts to learn some laws from this. The Gemara concludes that one
   verse would have been okay but because we have 2 "extraneous" verses
   we learn from this. Does every verse in Tanach especially the historical
   books like Joshua, Judges, etc. come to teach something? Each prophet
   uses his own words. The Gemara assumes that we can't have two verses
   about burials in two books of Nach unless we learn something from it.



From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 22:57:15 +0000
Subject: Feminism /Motivatioion 

In a recent issue of mj Leah S. Gordon writes:

 >I am also annoyed by the frequent references to "feminism," or 
 >"feminist women," used as derogatory terms.  

There are women who are feminist and who want to do a mitzvah because as 
committed jews they want to do the mitzvah.  Kol Ha'Kovod - more power to 

Others want to do a mitzvah *because they are feminist* ...  " If men do X
why not women" 

Does it make a difference?  I think so.  If the motives are L'shem 
Shamayim - for religious purposes - then the act is a mitzvah (assuming 
it is ok per the LOR)  If the motive is political, then even a Mitzvah 
can be transformed into an Aveyra.  While we have a rule Mitoch Shelo 
Lishmah Boh Lishma - By doing a Mitzvoh repeatedly with neutral motives 
will eventually lead to doing the Mitzvah for the sake / intention of 
doing the mitzvah - that only works for Shelo Lishma.  But doing an act 
with improper intentions that only leads to more improper intentions.

As my Rebbe used to say "You have to learn to make Havdalah" ... You have 
to learn to differentiate.

BTW, in many instances, especially in ShUTs - Halacha seforim - the term 
feminism is used in a negative way, precisely because it is used to 
describe the motivation as political rather than religious.

I also urge Larry Israel to Make Havdala:
> I heartily agree that women should not do optional things, such as
> dancing with the Torah, until they do all the required things. Otherwise,
> how could we tell if they were sincere.
> I think that this should be applied to men as well. Dancing with the
> Torah on Simhas Torah is certainly optional. We should check the
> would-be dancers to see ......

By painting with a broad brush, Larry attempts to blot out the 
distinctions between the two cases.  Certainly, one would hope that 
everyone would maximize his/her performance of mitzvos.  But a man 
dancing with a Torah is doing a Reshus - an optional act.  I don't have 
to wonder about the man's motives.  As long as they are neutral - NO 
PROBLEM.  (Though I seem to remember spending Simchas Torah once in a 
shul where only the acknoledged Talmidei Chachamim danced with Sifrei 

However, if one is trying to innovate, the intention becomes VERY 
important.  There is a difference, in most places, between a man dancing 
with the Sefer which is a Reshus and a woman seeking to innovate and 
dance with a Sefer.  Is the Aish - the fire - a sign of zeal and fervor
or is it an Aish Zorah - a foreign flame.  It makes a difference.

Consequently, however, in a place where the LOR allows women to dance 
with the Torah, it may well be a Reshus.  If it is a Reshus, I agree with 
Larry that we shouldn't question why a women wants to dance with the Torah 
or count her quotient of mitzvos.

You see, you have to make Havdalah.

Dave Steinberg


From: Leah Zakh <zakh@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Feb 1995 16:19:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Intensions and Women's Lib

While it is certainly true that everyone (men included) should have 
proper kavanot while performing mitzvot, there is a diference between men 
and women when it comes to those mitzvot that women are not obligated in. 
In general (this goes for everyone) shmirat mitzvot should be accompanied 
with a measure of tzniut. For this reason Sefardim for example never wear 
their tzitzit out so as not to show off their frumenkeit. In general 
people should be makpid in mitzvot in which they are commended (whether 
d'oraita or d'rabanan) and then go on to mitzvot or actions which are not 
obligatory. Unless a person truly strive to do his or her best in shmirat 
mitzvot their desire to perform actions which are not at all obligatory 
(especially in public) *might* raise questions as to their sencerity. 
	I guess that when faced with a dilema of this sort one should ask 
him or herself whether they are doing it in order to come closer to 
Hakadosh Baruch Hu or in order to promote personal or political 
interests. The fact that many men perform mitzvot and get Aliyot with 
improper kavanot does not mean that women should do so.
	Case in point: there is a group of elderly women in Mea shearim
that wear tzitzit. This is common knowledge in the community yet noone
seems to mind. Keeping in mind the conservative chareidi hashgafa of the
neighbourhood how is that possible? the answer lies in the fact that
these ladies are renouned for their piety, they travel to Kever Rachel
every day to receite Tehilim, pray, learn and involve themselves in
mitzvot day and night. They have reached such a high level of dveikut
bashem through the mitzvot they are commended in, that taking upon
themselves other mitzvot is only the logical step. noone questions their
sincerity and thus noone would criticise their actions.
	I guess the question for ALL of us (and i am certainly not an 
exception) is whether our urge to take upon new practices is seated in 
out yearning for dvekut or not. 
Leah Zakh
You can reach me at <zakh@...> or 718-601-5939


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 95 18:00:01 EST
Subject: Re: Loving Torah

<WALDOKS@...> (Moshe Waldoks) writes:
>...Among the Orthodox representatives was Rabbi Noach Weinberg (of
>the Aish HaTorah institutions). He articulated the traditional claim
>of Torah from Sinai as a masorah (tradition) attested to by the fact
>thathat it was witnessed by the multitudes of Jews at that time. He
>went on to say that if he didn't believe that every single word was
>literally dictated by God he wouldn't perform any of the mitzvot. He
>implied that there was no inherent or intrinsic value to a Torah life
>devoid of a literal acceptance of the Sinai event. Is this
>mainstream? Is there no room for the beauty, efficacy, wisdom,
>brilliance, psychological astuteness, etc. that Torah and mitzvot
>exhibit.  Are all of these aspects of living a Torah-life worthless
>without doctrinal purity.

This sounds like a misunderstanding.  I see it this way:

There is the Torah, and it contains mitzvot.  There are two reasons you
do mitzvot.  Either because you have to or because you want to (or both,
which is the ideal).  Why would you have to?  Because God said so.  Why
would you want to?  Because they're beautiful, and they lead to a better
life overall.  (If you don't have to and you don't want to and you do
them anyway, then you're a strange person.)

Can you think of any other reasons why you would have to obey them?  I
can't think of any.  Without God's authority behind the Torah, I could
come up with something else that would be beautiful and good.  Take a
look at Buddhism, Taoism, or other religions/cultures.  These are also
good and beautiful.

If being good and beautiful are the only reasons to do the mitzvot,
then I could satisfy my desire though many cultures and religions
besides Judaism.

Why don't I?  Because my practice is more than my desire.  It's also a
need.  I _have to_ do mitzvot whether I want to or not.  That's
because I believe God gave them to me and commanded me to obey them.

That's also why I learn Torah - not because it's simply something I
want to know (like programming computers), but because I _need_ to
know this information.  It's sort of like operating a complex machine
- if you don't learn the instructions, you're going to screw it up,
and possibly cause injury to yourself and others.  The Torah is the
instruction manual for life itself, given by God to Moshe when He
saw that human beings are screwing up the world without it.

Anyway, I think this is what Rabbi Weinberg meant.  Not that he would
be a rotten person if God didn't give the mitzvot, but that there
would be no reason other than personal desire to live a Jewish life.


From: Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Tue,  7 Feb 1995 12:51:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shmitta in Chu"l

It seems like a number of people have commented recently that it is
permitted to eat shmittah fruit in Chu"l, assuming it has already been
exported.  One of the reasons given was that it might rot (or be eaten
by a goy), and this is not the way to treat shmittah fruit.  But isn't
this the procedure we actually follow with some fruit?  We let it rot? 
For instance, in my shul, there was a bin for Etrogim that were from
shmittah.  If a person didn't make jelly, jam, or use his etrog for some
other purpose, he could put it in this bin so that it would rot, and
then be thrown away.  My second question deals with purchasing shmittah
produce.  While it might be permitted to eat Shmittah produce after
export, is it permissable to pay for it?  Doesn't that money then take
on the status of k'dushas shviis?  What if the person being bought from
will waste this money or use it inappropriately?



End of Volume 18 Issue 35