Volume 18 Number 88
                       Produced: Sat Mar 18 22:56:04 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Auto Insurance
         [David Charlap]
Converts and privacy
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Hebrew Character Recognition
         [Josh Backon]
         [Bennett Ruda]
Kohen, marriage, and Childhood Geyores
         [A.S. Kamlet]
Kohen, Marriage, and Childhood Geyores
         [Martin Friederwitzer]
Mazel Tov to the Altzman Family!
         [Art Werschulz]
Rabbi Schwab ztl
         [Dr. Herbert Taragin]
Stripes on the Tallis
         [Joe Slater]


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 95 14:46:28 EST
Subject: re: Auto Insurance

<EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz) writes:
>Chaim Stern asked about a case of two religious Jews involved in an auto
>mishap. ... 
>There is a ruling cited by R. Akiva Eiger ( Choshen Mishpat 3,1 )
>... The position brought by RAE was that they must go to the guild
>panel.  ...
>... The explanation given is that the panel is not a court. ...
>Now, back to insurance companies.  It can be argued that when one buys
>an insurance policy there is acceptance of the company's decision
>process in awarding money and setting rates.  likewise, since the rates
>and awards are not based on a legal system, but rather on actuarial
>tables and the whim of the adjuster ( or some other, hopefully more
>rational method :) ), the possible objections have been eliminated.

This doesn't really work.  In many states in the US (like New Jersey),
auto insurance rates are not entirely the product of the insurance
company's actuaries.  The rates (and often the rules regarding who may
and may not be issued a policy) are set by state regulation.  The
companies have little room to change within the regulations.

Furthermore, even if the rates are independant of state regulations,
insurance companies will often go to the courts in order to decide who
is at fault in a given incident, in order to make the other guy's
insurance pay for any damages.

It is also the case that many insurance companies will artificially
inflate the amount of a claim in order to raise the claimant's rates.
This common act of fraud may cause some serious halachic problems with
the use of insurance companies altogether!

Finally, many drivers get their insurance directly from the state, in
the form of an "Assigned risk" policy.  These are people who can not get
their own insurance for some reason (for example, a bad driving record)
and the state issues them a policy.  The actions of the state's assigned
risk insurance policies is 100% regulated by law and not by anything

In other words, R. Akiva Eiger's decision regarding guild panels may not
be applicable to today's auto insurance companies in the USA (and
possibly elsewhere).


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 21:17:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Converts and privacy

Freda Birnbaum asked:
> How can we reconcile these two needs, for preserving privacy and for
> preserving accuracy?  (I know there is at least one other recent book on
> this subject, and I will try to get hold of it.)

regarding the issue of calling male converts for aliyot.

When I converted I received the psak from Rabbi Moshe Tendler that I
should be called to the Torah *not* as "ben Avraham Avinu" but rather
simply as "ben avraham."  Furthermore, when I got married I received the
psak from Rav David Feinstein that the ketuba should read "ben avraham."
In my experience, this is the general minhag.

Eitan Fiorino


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Tue,  14 Mar 95 13:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Hebrew Character Recognition

Avi Bloch asked about computer software for Hebrew character recognition
that could be used by a SOFER STAM. There is such an outfit in Bnei Brak
that checks sifrei torah. I believe our shul sent in some for checking.
There is also a commercial program costing $1500 that does Hebrew OCR
that was developed in Israel. Unfortunately, its trade name I don't
know offhand.



From: Bennett Ruda <teacher@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 1995 22:35:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Insurance

The topic of insurance reminds me of the story told about R. Aryeh Levin 
in "A Tzaddik In Our Time" (p.99-100)

When approached by someone seeking to sell him life insurance, R. Levin 
quoted the pasuk from Deut 32:5-

"The Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice. A G_d of 
faithfullness and with iniquity, just and right is He"

To summarize the story (you should see it in its entirety)

R. Levin explained : Assume now that, Heaven forbid, I committed some 
terrible sins for which I deserved death. There would be a trial before 
the Almighty, and He wouuld prepare to give the fatal verdict-- when 
suddenly an angel would rise up and say, "Wait a moment. The man has a 
wife and children. What of the great hardship they will suffer if his 
life is ended? Do they deserve that?" So to speak the Almight will shake 
His head and will prepare to cancel the verdict, to let me live so that I 
can support my family -- when suddenly another angel will arise and say, 
"Yes -- but the man has life insurance!" 

R. Levin did not buy the policy.

Bennett Ruda


From: <ask@...> (A.S. Kamlet)
Date: 6 Mar 1995  23:54 EST
Subject: Re:  Kohen, marriage, and Childhood Geyores

Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...> writes:
>We know that a Kohen cannot marry is geyores (convert).  The Shulchan
>Aruch says that it is because we assume that all female converts are
>considered to be "harlots".  A Kohen cannot marry a harlot.

In Hebrew, "Zonah."  Rabbi Maurice Lamm, in "The Jewish Way in Love and
Marriage" ISBN 0-06-064916-x (also available and in print in papaerback)
discusses the meaning of zonah.  He says a zonah was a woman who sold
herself to men for gain, except ...  for exceptions.  

  "The definition of zonah in the later codes and commentaries follows
  the opinion that zonah refers to a technical legal parameter and not
  directly related to harlotry."

You asked specifically about a giyoret (female convert).  Lamm says,

  Converts, because they come from diverse cultures, are all classed in
  the category of statutory zonah.  This is no reflection whatsoever
  upon the integrity of the convert; on the contrary, righteous converts
  were held in great personal esteem.  But the law had to pronounce on
  converts as a group, because no investigation could prove totally
  reliable.  Also, one must remember that the boundaries of the zonah
  category were not those of the harlot, but were related to the
  peculiar kohen requirements.

>What about babies converted at infancy?  Many Jewish couples adopt baby
>girls and raise them as Bnos Torah.  Do we have reason to believe that
>they are "harlots" as well?  If not, then what is the reason that a
>Kohen could not marry them?

Lamm continues,

  The codifiers disagree whether the classification of giyoret as zonah
  is biblical or rabbinic. ...  Thus the child of parents who were both
  converts before they married is technically permitted to marry a kohen
  ....  But the kohanim took upon themselves an extra stringency and did
  not permit it.  The blemish here is not zonah, ... one is not born a

This does not directly answer your question, which I am not prepared to
do, but does say a) the child was not born a zonah, and from above, b) a
convert is defined as a [ statutory ] zonah.

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

From: <martin.friederwitzer@...> (Martin Friederwitzer)
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 95 10:55:32 EST
Subject: Kohen, Marriage, and Childhood Geyores

Gedaliah Friedenberg in V18 N 75 asks regarding the status of a baby who
was converted at infancy. Is she considered a "zonah" (a harlot) and
thus prohibited to a Kohen? This past Wednesday, (Adar II 6; March 8),
those of us that are learning the Mishna Yomit, learned the Mishna in
Mesechet Yevamos, that discusses this issue( Mishna 5 Perek 6) .
 I am going to quote from the Art Scroll Mishna series Page 162 Yevamos:
The sages say, that the Zonah (a Harlot), referred to regarding a Kohen
refers to a female convert or a woman who engaged in a forbidden
cohabitations. The Art Scroll commentary Yad Avraham says, "that a woman
who converts is considered a Zonah even if we know that she has never
been intimate with a man (eg. she converted when she was an
infant). This is because non-Jews are, as a group, promiscuous and
indiscriminate in their relationships and their children are often the
offspring of illicit unions. Any member of this group, even a chaste
non-Jewess, is therefore termed a zonah. The Talmud (Kiddushin 78a) sees
this ruling implied in Ezekiel 44:22 ... only a virgin from the
offspring of the family of Israel [may he marry], apparently excluding
any girl conceived by non-Jewish mother. The Ravad is of the opinion
that Ezekiel was promulgating a new-- and therefore a
Rabbinic--prohibition. Rambam, however, is of the opinion that Ezekiel
was repeating an accepted Torah tradition concerning the meaning of the
Biblical prohibition of zonah. Rashba also considers this to be a
biblical prohibition. Rahsi on that Mishna, however, explains that a
convert is considered to be a zonah because it is assumed that she
cohabited with a non-Jew before her conversion. This would then apply
only to a girl who converted after reaching the age of three [intimacy
below that age is of no halachic consequence] (Aruch HaShulchan, Even
Haezer 6:22; see Beis Shmuel, Even Haezer 6:20). However, Aruch
HaShulchan states that even Rashi admits that a girl converted in
infancy is Rabbinically forbidden to a Kohen".

I hope that this was of some help. It was just propitious that we had
just learned that Mishna.

Again if anyone is interested in a Mishna/Halacha Yomis schedule please
Email me and I will be glad to have one snail mailed to you. Kol Toov
Moishe Friederwitzer


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 13:29:10 -0500
Subject: Mazel Tov to the Altzman Family!

Jerry and Elana Altzman (<jbaltz@...>, among other addresses) had
a baby boy, born at 8am Friday 10 March 1995.  Birth weight and height
were 7.5 lb and 18.5", respectively.

His brit was held today, and he was given the name Amram David ben
Yosef HaLevi v'Elana Feige.


  Art Werschulz (8-{)}  
  GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
  InterNet:  <agw@...>
  ATTnet:    Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Dr. Herbert Taragin <taragin@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Mar 1995 18:51:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rabbi Schwab ztl

In reference to recent postings about Rabbi Schwab in Baltimore, aliyos 
for non-shomer Shabbos people, and his leaving to take the position at 
the "aguda" shul-- let me make a few comments. I lived in Baltimore from 
1940-1965 and regularly davened in both branches of Shearith Israel, the 
"yekki" shul that Rav Shwab ztl was the Rov. My father, Osher Dovid 
Taragin ztl, was president, ball koreh, baal tefilah and magid shiur (in 
the rov's absence) in both the original (McCullough St.) and uptown 
branch  (Glen Ave.) for many years and was a dear friend of Rav Schwab. I 
personally witnessed many aliyos that went to people who were not shomer 
Shabbos, although there was a strict rule that only shomer Shabbos 
could  be a shliach tzibbur. I was also a gabbai sheini, so I speak with 
some authority. Not to belittle Rav Schwab, for he along with a small 
handful of rabbonim and baalei-baatim preserved "yiddishkeit" in 
Baltimore so it could become the magnificent Jewish community it is 
today. Rabbi Schwab was rabbi in both Shearith Israel shuls (as the 
neighborhood changed and the Jewish population migrated "uptown") and 
never had another position in Balt. until he left for N.Y. Furthurmore, 
there was never an Agudah shul in Baltimore till many years after Rav 
LONGER HERE.   Dr. Herbert Taragin


From: <jds@...> (Joe Slater)
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 95 08:36:44 +0000
Subject: Re: Stripes on the Tallis

>From: <mikep@...> (Mike Paneth)
>Does any know how the proliferation of stripes on Talleisim occurred?

Garments have been found from the time of Bar Kochba which displayed the
same stripes. These garments were the original Taleisim; the regular,
daily garment of the time. Since these garments were made for clothing
and only secondarily had Tzitzis attached (as opposed to ours which have
been made so that we can have a garment with Tzitzis) I conclude that
the primary reason for the stripes is that this was the fashion in the
time of the second Beis HaMikdash. Why stripes? Because that's the
easiest pattern to weave, by far.

I think there's something wonderful in the fact that we have been able
to maintain a detail like this despite the perseutions, the exiles, and
the passage of time. By maintaining this practice (if there is in fact
no other reason from Kabbala or elsewhere) we are demonstrating a unique
continuity in that we have preserved even practices that are not
documented and have no Halachic significance.

Bar Kochba - Jewish military leader of the last revolt against Rome.
Beis HaMikdash - the Temple in Jerusalem
Halacha - Jewish law
Kabbala - Jewish mystical tradition
Tallis - A garment with four corners. Halacha requires Tzitzis on these
Tzitzis - "fringes", knotted cords with symbolic meaning.


End of Volume 18 Issue 88