Volume 19 Number 08
                       Produced: Thu Mar 30  7:35:13 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

At long last! A Psak!
         ["J. Bailey"]
Black Talis Stripes Only?
         [Mechy Frankel]
Calf Found Alive in Shechted Cow
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Converts and privacy
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Kiddush in Shul
         [Steve Albert]
More on Siyum
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Tikun Chazot and the New York Times
         [Eric Safern]
Uncertainty Principle, Etc.
         [Ben Rothke]


From: "J. Bailey" <jbailey@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 00:05:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: At long last! A Psak!

Ari Shapiro wrote (in regard ot Modern Orthodoxy):

"On a more recent note, I recently heard Rabbi Lookstein (the head of
Ramaz) say that Ramaz is his ideal school.  I think any religious person
would have to disagree.  The school is co-ed, it has a senior prom, this
is clearly in violation of halacha, the school hardly teaches any gemara
and on and on.  There may be a place for a school like that for people who
might otherwise go to public school, I don't know.  But even if there is
it is certainly as a last resort not that this is the model. Why is it
that many modern orthodox women don't cover their hair and wear pants?
again they are clearly violating halacha and so on and so on".

With a bit of sarcasm, I thank Ari for settling these long-time issues 
that people like the Rav never managed to come to grips with. Co-ed 
schools are not un-halachik, neither is wearing pants (a very complex 
issue, connected to societal norms, dealt with on many levels by various 
Torah personalities) and a de-emphasis on Talmud is not a crime. I can 
list many schools that emphasize Talmud, MTA or YULA, for example, that  
are preaching minutia to kids who don't know the basics. The respect for 
it only comes after Yeshiva. Ramaz may have its problems, but your 
throwing around phrases like "clearly violating halacha" on topics like these 
assumes an absolute standard which does not exist. Your approach may 
differ, but have a little respect for the halachik process which weighs, 
questions and often does not absolutely solve questions like these. Too 
many bookshelves of volumes have been written debating these questions 
for you do dismiss them are "clearly" anything.

Jay Bailey
YC '92


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 11:16:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Black Talis Stripes Only?

Y. Pisem quoted the Taamei Haminhogim as explaining the reason for black
rather than blue talis stripes to be rooted in aveilus minhagim. The
universal appreciation or practice of this minhag seems unclear. From
the Mishna Berurah's comment (Orach Chayim 9 in a discussion of the
Rema's gloss indicating that Ashkenazim use white tzitzis even where the
garment is colored) it seems that the custom in Europe in his area was
davka to wear a talis with a blue stripe - though its impossible to
infer from his comment whether this was only at the"edge" of the garment
or not.

While in Israel last month I saw a (Levite?) talis from the Bar-Cochba
era displayed in the Israel Museum/Shrine of the Book. (of course I
don't know how you can positively deduce that it was a talis, looking
through the glass I didn't notice any surviving tzitzis). It did kind of
look like a striped talis but the stripe color seemed to be a now faded

Mechy Frankel                        W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                   H: (301) 593-3949		


From: <gevaryah@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 7 Mar 1995 22:58:51 -0500
Subject: RE: Calf Found Alive in Shechted Cow

Mike Gerver brought the cute story of a "calf found alive in shechted
cow" on Feb 21, 1995. Although the story could conceivably be correct
de'Oraita, it is not what we follow in halacha.

A calf found in the uterus of a shechted cow ("ben Peku'a") can be eaten
without shechting only if it cannot or did not (depending on different
shitot[opinions]) stand on his legs. This is the opinion of Rabanan
against R. Meir who held that he must be slaughtered in any event if he
is found alive (Mishna Hulin 74a). The halacha in this case is according
to Rabanan.  If he did or could stand or walk on his legs, he must be
slaughtered according to Rabanan (Hulin 75b see also Rashi). This stands
against the opinion of R. Shimon Shazuri who says that even if the calf
is five years old, and plows the fields, he is not required shechita, on
the logic that "Imo Me'taharato" [this mother was slaughtered properly
while he was in uterus, and it carries to him] (Mishna Hulin 74b). Again
the halacha follows Rabanan.

Valad ben pe'kua [a calf of a calf who was found alive in uterus] who
produced a calf from a female [bat pe'kua] carries this exemption from
shechita de'Oraita forever, but must be slaughtered de'Rabanan.( Ran,
Hulin, Chap.4; Shulchan Aruch 14:4)

This issue is discussed extensively in Encyclopedia Talmudit, Vol. III
under ben pe'kuah.

This issue is connected to the story of Yosef and his brothers
(Bereshit) where he thought that his brothers ate "ever min Hachai"
(meat of an unslaughtered animal) where in reality it was a ben pe'kua.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 95 8:57:36 EST
Subject: Converts and privacy

I was a little disturbed by Freda Birnbaum's equation of the
revelation of disclosing the fact that someone is a convert with that
of HIV testing for newborns.  In the case of the latter we're talking
about pikuach nefesh, whereas in the former I can think of only one
situation (which doesn't approach pikuach nefesh) when a person's
history of conversion is anyone's concern--when making a shidduch for
a giyoret, since she can't marry a kohain.  In the case of a man, I
can think of _no_ reason that his past needs to be revealed (since
post-conversion a "convert" is in every way a _Jew_ [except for having
a portion of land set aside in Eretz Yisrael, but that's the case for
levi'im too, isn't it?]) Any other mention of this is, probably
without a doubt, lashon hara--I can tell you from personal experience
that I have rarely felt elevated in anyone's eyes as a result of
having this information shared, (including the wonderful people who
encouraged my ex-husband to have my children kidnapped since they were
sure that I would convert my kids to Catholicism after my divorce [I'm
the lady in the tichel ordering the shmurah matzah--just to give you
an idea of my level of apikorsut]--I have yet to hear of such an
accusation with even the most publicly unobservant born Jews in
similar situations). Before we proceed with this discussion I think we
need to answer that basic question: what positive purpose will be
served by revealing a person's conversionary status?  Until we have
answered that we are dealing with lashon hara--and it is beside the
point whether a convert has the "right" to ask for this information to
be kept in confidence.  The burden of proof is on the one who wants to
reveal it.  
Elisheva Schwartz


From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 1995 23:09:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Kiddush in Shul

     In MJ 18:#91, Finley Shapiro commented on my earlier statement that
kiddush in shul Friday night was, I thought, instituted for the benefit of
those who would be eating in shul, as follows:

>When I was a boy, we were told that the custom of saying kiddush in shul
>was started in communities where there were families which could not
>obtain or could not afford wine for kiddush at home.  This was still
>true in at least some parts of eastern Europe before the relaxation and
>then the fall of communism.  Probably one reason that the custom is so
>widespread in more prosperous areas is that in many communities there
>are families that do not make kiddush at home, although they can afford

      Finley may be correct that that was the way it happened in some places;
however, there seem to be serious halachic problems with it.  (What follows
is from Ch. 11-12 of the Artscroll book, "The Radiance of Shabbos" by Rabbi
Simcha Bunim Cohen.  Errors are of course mine.)
1.  Kiddush must be recited where one is going to eat one's meal, and must be
followed "immediately" by the meal.
  a.  There is some discussion about whether this requirement is d'oraysa
(directly from the Torah) or d'rabbonon (a rabbinic enactment), but no
apparent dispute about the requirement.
  b.  How can we then make kiddush in shul at all on Friday night, since we
don't eat there?  R. Moshe Feinstein comments that one can make kiddush
without the meal, but that one does not thereby fulfill one's obligation of
kiddush, and must repeat the kiddush just before eating the meal.
  c.  [Steve:]  Thus, it seems clear that one cannot just hear kiddush in
shul, not eat there, and still fulfill one's obligation for kiddush.
2.  What constitutes a meal for the purpose of making kiddush where one eats?
 One must eat at least a k'zayis (an amount the size of an olive) of bread or
mezonos (food, like pastry or kugel, made from one of the five species of
grain: wheat, oats, barley, spelt, or rye.  If that is unavailable, one must
drink, in addition to the mouthful required for kiddush itself, at least a
reviis (opinions differ, but somewhere in the range of 3-5 oz.) of wine or
grape juice.
  a.  This applies to both the person saying kiddush and the one who
wants to fulfill his obligation by hearing that kiddush.  (However, the
person saying kiddush can say it for others without fulfilling his own
obligation, in which case he needn't drink, but the person listening to
fulfill his obligation must.  The book actually says the reciter may not
drink, but that seems in conflict with the ruling of R. Moshe Feinstein
mentioned above.)
  b.[Steve:] This doesn't happen at any shul that I've seen on Friday
night, in which case no one hearing this kiddush fulfills their
obligation through it, and everyone still has to say kiddush at home

      On the other hand, R. Gershon Appel, in "The Concise Code of
Jewish Law v.2: Shabbos" based on Kitzur Shulchan Aruch and other
sources, comments that Kiddush in the shul Friday night was instuted for
the benefit of travelers who would be eating there, and also for those
who might not make kiddush themselves.  This suggests that there must be
some mechanism whereby one can, at least in some circumstances, fulfill
one's obligation through the shul kiddush.
    The Otzar Dinim Uminhagim (Yehuda Dovid Eisenstein) quotes the
Avudraham, who cites Rabbenu Nissim that one can make kiddush in one
place if one has in mind, at the time, to eat elsewhere later, and
perhaps this is what people rely on.  (Some interpret this to mean only
moving from room to room within the same building, rather than changing
buildings.)  R. Eisenstein also cites the Kol Bo, who says we make
kiddush in shul to teach people the proper way to do it.

      Anyone else have any more definitive comments?



From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 1995 09:25:39 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: More on Siyum

This is really just my personal understanding and practice after
teaching daf Yomi for a while, so I cannot say that it is correct, but
it may be a useful contribution towards answering Chana Luntz'

1. There is no obligation to make a siyum, but it is a very nice gesture
that indicates one's love for Torah.

2. Since this is not a true obligation of "Simcha", meat and wine are
not essential. Cake does fine.

3. Although it is proper to invite others to a Siyum, or at least
participate with the other learners in the group, this is not
mandatory. One may finish the "book" in question in private and say the
Hadran by one's self, omitting, of course, the Kaddish.

4. Even in a public siyum, the special Kaddish may be said by someone
other than the person who is celebrating the siyum.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: <esafern@...> (Eric Safern)
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 95 18:57:49 EST
Subject: Tikun Chazot and the New York Times

Has anyone seen the article in Tuesday's NY Times (Science Times) 
entitled "Ancient Body Rythms?"

I was blown away.

The article is about the research of Dr Thomas A. Wehr of the 
National Institute of Health.

He placed 15 young men in dark rooms for fourteen hours a night.
They were instructed to sleep as much as possible.

The experiment was trying to 'recapitulate prehistoric sleep
conditions in the middle latitudes.'

He found things which may show how 'ancestral humans may have spent
their dark winter nights.'

It seems the men slept about nine hours a night, spread over the fourteen
hour period.  Their sleep was broken up into two halves - four or five
hours at the beginning, and another four or five hours at the end of the
night.  In between was "several hours of quiet, distinctly nonanxious
wakefulness in the middle of the night."

'The wakeful period ...  resembled a state of mediation.'

'"This is a state not terribly familiar to modern sleepers," 
Dr. Wehr said. "Perhaps what those who meditate today are seeking 
is a state that our ancestors whould have considered their birthright,
a nightly occurrence."'

This really struck a chord in me.  I have a book called 
"The Sweetest Hour" put out by the Breslav Research Institute.

It recommends going to sleep just after dark, and waking up at Chazot 
(midnight) to perform the service known as Tikkun Chazot.

Interestingly, Rabbi Nachman, following the Magen Avraham, did not use
shaot zmaniyot, halachic hours, to calculate midnight.  Instead, he
placed the Tikkun at six clock hours after sunset.  Since, in the 
summer, the night can be shorter than six hours, this service, according
to him, is *only performed during the winter*!

If you follow his advice exactly - go to sleep during the winter just
after nightfall, and wake up six hours later, you will be *exactly* in
the correct period.

It seems there is now objective, scientific evidence for the power
of tikkun chazot!!

The Talmud recommends getting up in the middle of the night to pray
and study.  Now, we have a rational explanation for why this works.

Thoughts, anyone?


From: Ben Rothke <ber@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 95 12:42:47 EST
Subject: Uncertainty Principle, Etc.

Harold Gans wrote a fascinating piece that touched on Kurt Godels
Uncert. Princ. in MJ Vol. 18 #95.

Has anyone examined Godel's principle as how it should influence a
religious Jew's outlook to science?  Godel states that within an
arithmatic system, there are propositions which cannot be proved or
disproved within the system.  What about the system of halacha?


End of Volume 19 Issue 8