Volume 18 Number 46
                       Produced: Thu Feb 16 23:18:40 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aggadah as Folklore
         [Yisrael Herczeg]
Fish and meat
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Hungarian Minhagim
         [Sam Gamoran]
Niddah Waiting Period Exceptions
         [Leah S. Gordon]
selling land in Israel
         [Eli Turkel]
Surrogate mother - allowed?
         [Gilad Gevaryahu]
         [Ellen Golden]
Title Rabbi
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Yisrael Herczeg <heichal@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 22:02:45 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Aggadah as Folklore

A recent posting states: 

 >The Talmud is full of Midrashic, anecdotal material, which is not 
 >supposed to be taken literally. For example "a man should not eat 
 >onion for its venom" (Eruvin 29b); "a man should not eat onion and 
 >garlic [starting] from its head but from its leaves" (Beitza 25a), 
 >"a man should not eat meat except at night" (Yoma 75b), "a man 
 >should never walk behind a woman" (Berachot 22a).  These are 
 >wonderful folklore stories, c'est tu.

The prohibition for a man to walk behind a woman, which is found in
Berachot 61a, is discussed in Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 21:1 and the
commentaries there. As for the other quotations cited, not taking
aggadah literally is different from dismissing it as folklore. Taken as
folklore, I do not see what makes the above quotations either wonderful
or stories.

Yisrael Herczeg


From: <yitzchok.adlerstein@...> (Yitzchok Adlerstein)
Date: Wed, 15 Feb 95 21:46:11 -0800
Subject: Fish and meat

My students were intrigued by Josh Backon's contribution regarding the
chemistry of mixing fish and meat.  The Sefardic contingent was eager to
find out, though, whether the Mechaber's similar ban on mixing milk and
fish had any equivalent biological defense.  Any thoughts?


From: <gamoran@...> (Sam Gamoran)
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 95 20:47:08 IST
Subject: Hungarian Minhagim

Greetings from Budapest.  [Avi, are there any permanent M-J subscriptions
in Hungary?  I'm in the Motorola office telnet'ed through Germany, Chicago into
Tel Aviv - makes the world smaller and a lot cloer to home!]. [I don't
know, anyone out there in Hungary? Mod.]

I've been here now for 10 days and had the pleasure of walking to
shul almost every day.  Most of the Nusach in the small shteebl which I've
been attending is familiar (I spent many years in Highland Park N.J.
with its Hungarian influences) but some things puzzle me...

They have a minhag (custom) here of saying slichot every Monday and
Thursday from parshat Shmot through Tetzaveh.  I was here on the last
Thursday of this period.  The slichot are said in the repetition of the
Amidah in the beracha "slach lanu" (blessing for forgiveness from sin).
The slichot poems that were said were listed in my siddur as being those
for the second Monday of BeHaB (Monday-Thursday-Monday after
Pesach/Sukkot).  This was a Thursday.  They said a full slichot
including shma koleinu and then continued the regular prayers.  After
the amidah they started V'ho Rachum and the Thursday Tachunun (Nusach
Ashkenaz) Is anyone out there familiar with this minhag?

Can anyone tell me about the permissability or lack thereof of certain
non-Chalav Yisroel dairy products e.g. cream cheese, butter, etc.  The
only Chalav Yisroel dairy sold here is raw unpasteurized whole milk
which I've bought and boiled but it's not my favorite.  How about
the permissability of Kellogs Germany (Corn Flakes, etc.)  I'm sorta
hungry and running out of the stuff I brought from Israel...

Budapest is a fascinating city - Jewish and otherwise.  I'd be happy
to elaborate in private email.


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 01:40:04 -0800
Subject: Niddah Waiting Period Exceptions

In reference to the recent postings detailing exceptions to the five
day waiting period before the "seven clean days,"--

Would it be permissable (has anyone ever heard of a decision) for a
woman to use a technique like menstrual extraction to shorten her
period, and then start counting days (in whichever case)?  Menstrual
extraction, by the way, is a quasi-medical outpatient procedure during
which the uterine lining is removed much more quickly than it would
otherwise be shed.  (It is used in some cases to alleviate menstrual
discomfort, and was also an underground technique for early abortions.)

I have never heard this issue discussed, so I am curious to hear any

Leah S. Gordon


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 09:53:40 -0500
Subject: selling land in Israel

       I uploaded an article on shemitta over a year ago
(Special_Topics/heter_mechirah2) that discusses the various arguments
for and against the heter mechira. I enclose here, again the portion
that deals with seeing land in Israel.

IV. The sale is not "real"

      Is one allowed to sell land when there is no intention to ever really
transfer the property and it is only a trick to get around the shemitta
rules? In addition the sale is never recorded in "Tabu" where all transfers
of land are legally recorded. Part of the controversy is whether this is
easier or more difficult than the similar situation with selling chametz
which is generally recognized.

V. Lo Tachanem (don't show them favor)

      The Torah forbids selling land in Israel to a nonJew (Devarim 7-2 and
Bamidbar 23-33). This undermines the entire heter mechira. Several answers
were developed to avoid this problem.

1.  Most land in Israel belongs to gentiles anyway and so the prohibition of
    Lo Techanem doesn't apply. Furthermore, the burden of taxes shows that
    the land really belongs to the government anyway.

2.  The sale is only temporary and so doesn't violate the prohibition.

3.  Sell only the crops and the dirt attached to them and not the entire land.

4.  The prohibition doesn't apply to Arabs who do not worship idols.

      Those who oppose the heter mechirah disagree with these answers.
Furthermore they claim that if the land is sold through an agent than the
sale is not legal because an agent cannot perform illegal acts (ain shliach
ledvar averah). The Chazon Ish concedes that if a farmer would sell the
land without an agent then the sale is legal even though it is not permitted.
Hence the farmer would violate various issurim but the consumer could then
buy the produce (treating it with holiness according to the Chazon Ish).



From: <gevarya@...> (Gilad Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 18:16:21 -0500
Subject: Surrogate mother - allowed?

REPORT FROM THE ISRAELI PRESS (Ha'aretz, February 14, 1995 by Ilan Shachar)

The [Israeli] Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi, Israel Lau, said yesterday that
the Chief Rabbinate [of Israel] will agree to "pundekaut" (surrogate)
[arrangements] under the following strict requirements: [a] that the
woman, carrying the fetus, is not married to someone else [single], [b]
that there be kept a detailed record of the biological mother [the owner
of the egg] and the carrying mother, to avoid mamzerut, [c] that the
born baby will be formally adopted, and [d] that prior approval of this
procedure will not be given automaticlly, but each case will be
evaluated individually, [e] and that the above procedure will not be
enacted as a law, but rather as a regulation.

Both Chief Rabbis met a couple of months ago with the health minister
Ephraim Sneh, and discussed with him the issue of surrogate
motherhood. According to Rabbi Lau, they conditioned their approval [of
this procedure] only if it will not be done on en mass, but that each
case will be individually evaluated by a special commission, and that in
this commission will be [at least] a member who will represent the
halachic perspective.  [Rabbi] Lau expressed the hope that these
commissions will not issue wholesale permits to surrogate motherhood
similar to what was given [committee approval] to abortions.

[Rabbi] Lau emphasized that the Rabbinate examined the topic of
surrogate motherhood with great trepidation and [came up] with many
exceptions. Adding an extra limb to a family is changing Sidrei Bereshit
(natural order). "The question of how much human involvement should be
inputed in Godly matters" he said. "When fertility routes do not work
then the adoption options should be sought".

According to [Rabbi] Lau, the Rabbis are unhappy with the fact that
Israel became one of the first countries which is attempting to
incorporate surrogate motherhood into the law.  The Rabbis are afraid of
a situation where the Kneset will legitimize surrogate motherhood, and
become a pioneer in the area, and it will become a mass movement. As a
result of this he conditioned his approval that it be regulated and not
enacted as a law.

The Chief Sephardic Rabbi, Eliyahu Bakshi Doron, said that there are
many poskim [halachic authorities] that object to surrogate motherhood
because of the many halachic difficulties which it creates. According to
him, the act itself [of implanting a fertilized egg into the womb of the
surrogate mother] is not prohibited halachicly as long as the carrying
woman is single. [Rabbi] Bakshi Doron emphasized that he will recommend
to families, especially frum, to go the route of adoption and not
surrogate motherhood.

Most of the halachic problems of surrogate motherhood surround the issue
of who is the mother. Most Rabbis ruled that the carrying mother is the
halachic mother [not the woman whose egg was fertilized]. Therefore, the
rabbis requested that the baby be formally adopted.

Another requirement is that there will be a detailed record of the
details of both mothers in order to avoid marriage between siblings and
mamzerut. Both Rabbis also required that the carrying mother will be
single, in order to avoid implanting the egg in a woman who is married
to someone else.

Despite all the restrictions [listed above] this permission might bring
a confrontation between the Chief Rabbinate and the haredim. The two
most prominent halachic authorities of the haredim - Rabbis Yosef Shalom
Elyashiv and Shlomo Zalman Aurbach - are against surrogate motherhood.

Translated from Hebrew by Gilad J. Gevaryahu
[square brackets material is mine--Trans.]


From: <egolden@...> (Ellen Golden)
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 95 01:27:38 EST

In Volume 18 Number 17, <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman) wrote:
    There is one shnorrer who is my nemesis and has clearly been sent to
    test me.  I fail this test over and over again.
    This shnorrer refuses to give me change when I ask for it.  This
    shnorrer begs in the most demeaning way, to him and to me, no holds
    This shnorrer is to be found purchasing clothes in the most expensive
    men's shops in Jerusalem.
    I am being doomed to the other place, has ve shalom, by this man.  I am
    being tested again and again, and I fail the test.

Doesn't a person have the responsibility to do honest work to support
himself if he is able (or herself if she is able), and not sponge off
others?  It seems to me that supporting spongers is not tsdakah, since
tsdakah should go to those who really have no way to provide for
themselves.  I cannot feel that I had given tsdakah just because I gave
up a tenth of my income, unless I feel that it has gone to legitimate
needs.  If it hasn't, it wasn't tsdakah, it was just money thrown away.
How can that achieve anything?

V. Ellen Golden


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 95 10:49 IST
Subject: Title Rabbi

>Zvi Weiss
>2. The "Legal" right to "pasken" Religious matters.  This is related to what
>  is referred to as "heter hora'a".

>Uri Blumenthal
>In short - title "Rabbi" means that the person who has it, is allowed to
>pronounce halakhic decisions [in the area of his smichah]. Nothing more,

Actually the title "rabbi" gives the person the right to pasken in the
same town as his teacher.  Anybody may impart knowledge of hallacha if
they know it, and we all do it even if we don't realize it.

The Hafetz Haim, (as I heard the story) did not have smicha, until late
in life when the government required the "paper" for official needs.



End of Volume 18 Issue 46