Volume 19 Number 09
                       Produced: Thu Mar 30  7:38:39 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fast of the First-born
Forest and Trees
         [Seth Weissman]
         [Chaim Twerski]
Know Before Whom You Stand
         [Jeff Korbman]
Looking for book..
         [Ronny Horovitz]
MJ 18#69 - ADAR II
         [Yehudah Edelstein]
Modern Orthodox and Halacha
         [Herbert Taragin]
Organ Transplants
         [Ben Rothke]
Prohibitions on Premarital Sex
         [Joshua J Pollack]
         [Nicolas Rebibo]
Sepharadi Pesach List
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Shmura Matzah
         [Malkiel Glasser]
Siyyum and Loopholes
         [Joshua Goldmeier]
Summer Courses for Baalaat T'shuva
         [Moishe Friederwitzer]


From: <Andrew_Marc_Greene@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 16:00 -0500
Subject: Re: Fast of the First-born

> Anyway, this year I have a 6:30 am flight Friday morning from NY to CA,
> and there is no way to find 10 men for a siyum. 

Um, I was taught that since we never fast on Erev Shabbat, that the
fast of the first born was pushed back to Thursday. The "Jewish
Heritage" calendar on my wall at work says Friday, but I recall last
year it also said Friday while the Ezras Torah Luach said Thursday.
(And my minyan had a siyum/seudah on Thursday morning.)

Regarding the "hypocracy" of evading this fast, I was also taught the
following: We're not supposed to fast in Nisan (which is why the BeHaB
fasts ar in Iyar), nor on an Erev Yom Tov, but people got it in their 
heads that we first-borns "ought to" fast because we aren't really 
worthy of having been spared, etc. So the rabbis were faced with a
minhag (to fast) that conflicted with halacha (not to fast). So they
established a situation in which people would be specifically obligated
to eat (ie, a seudat mitzvah), which would override the minhag to fast,
and ensure conpliance with the halacha that prohibits fasting.

And, of course, if someone in the community is blessed with a son a
week before Pesach, the seudah associated with the bris suffices, and
no "siyum" is required. (Again, according to what I was taught.)

So was I taught wrong?

- Andrew Greene


From: Seth Weissman <sweissman@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 95 16:29:34 EST
Subject: Forest and Trees

Eliyahu Teitz suggests that Chazzal formulated halachic decisions with
awareness of and sensitivity to the needs and attitudes of the women of
their generation.

If the Rabbis of our generation are any indication, then we can reject
his view; one does not need to look further than the agunah issue to see
that today's Rabbis are remarkably INSENSITIVE to the plight of agunot.

In the last three years, I have been informally (although regularly)
involved with Agunah, Inc.  I have attended numerous demonstrations,
organized a mini-conference on the agunah issue, and discussed policy
(both Rabbinic and activist) designed to remedy a problem facing
hundreds of Jewish women each year.  In these capacities, I have
conversed with communal Rabbis in the Manhattan area and Rabbis involved
in women's education on the high school, collegiate, and post-collegiate

Individual Rabbis do care; unfortunately, this subset of rabbis consists
mainly of men characteristically too afraid of the political
ramifications of their actions to act in any significant manner.  The
apathy of the majority of Rabbis (and in some cases their hostility
towards the "trouble-making" women who dare to desire freedom from
abusive husbands who have donated large sums of money to the local
synagogue!) creates an atmosphere where meaningful dialogue and positive
thinking on this issue is discouraged.

Earlier generations of Rabbis may have been different; isolated stories
in the Talmud and Midrash describe a class of leaders genuinely
concerned for the welfare of their constituents.  If this is so, let
today's would-be spiritual leaders learn from those lessons and act to
make this world a better place for all to live in.

Seth Weissman


From: <chaimt@...> (Chaim Twerski)
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 1995 13:10:58 -0600
Subject: Kiddushin

Regarding the recent post of Aliza Berger regarding kiddushin, I had
responded to her in private e-mail message, and she had asked me to post
my response to her to the list.  Modified slightly, this is what I

As I am sure others will post, when transferring property via kinyan
kessef or chalipin, the kinyan is always made with the buyer giving an
object of value to the seller, not the reverse (although there is an
opinion of an Amora [Levi-Bava Metzia 47a] regarding the kinyan of
chalipin [which is not valid for kiddushin anyway] that holds that the
seller gives the buyer the object-that is not the accepted opinion in

The kinyan of kidushin, however, has nothing at all to do with possesion
in the sense that it is so ofter misunderstood.  The acquisition is real
only in the sense that when the woman accepts the kiddushin, she become
restricted sexually to anyone but her husband.  He, (prior to the cherem
d'rabenu Gershom) is not bound in this kiddushin and may marry yet
another woman.  (Social restrictions were the only limiting force to
bigamy or polygamy before cherem d'rabbenu Gershom as well known by all
students of Tanach).  So, Aliza Berger is quite correct in her statement
that the kinyan aspect of kiddushin as so commonly misunderstood that a
wife is property of the husband, is indeed a red herring.

Chaim Twerski


From: <jekorbman@...> (Jeff Korbman)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 09:55:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Know Before Whom You Stand

Commonly found in Shuls, particularly on the Ahrone: Da Mi Lifney Atah 
Ahmod/Know before whom you stand.  Does anyone know where this quote is 




From: Ronny Horovitz <X12005@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 95 13:38:57 IST
Subject: Looking for book..

I'm looking for the following book for a course in philosophy:
The Philosophy of Judaism - by Dr Julius Guttmann
The library here at Bar Ilan university has the book in Hebrew & German,
but I need it English. I believe the publisher is Shoken.
If anyone knows where I can obtain this book (I do  expect to pay for it),
please let me know ASAP.


From: <yehudah@...> (Yehudah Edelstein)
Date: Mon, 6 Mar 1995 20:57:09 +0200
Subject: MJ 18#69 - ADAR II

Shulchan Oruch 685, seif aleph:
Rosh Chodesh, just before Nisan, which occurs on Shabbat, 3 Torahs are read.
1) weekly portion  2) Rosh Chodesh  3) Shekalim.
In the year 5741, march 6-7, Rosh Chodesh Adar II was on Friday-Shabbat. Aleph
Adar II was on Shabbat.
Shushan Purim was on Shabbat, meaning Purim Meshulash in Yerushlaim -
Megila is read on 14th of Adar, Al Hanisim(in the Amidah and Birkat Hamazon -
grace after meals) is said on Shabbat, Mishloach Manot
(2 food gifts to friends) and the Seudah(meal) on Sunday.
Likewise will be in 5765 I"YH (in 10 years).
Yehudah Edelstein "<yehudah@...>" Raanana, Israel


From: Herbert Taragin <taragin@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 00:48:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Modern Orthodox and Halacha

 Ari and others have decried the "laxness of halach among modern
orthodox". Although he is partially correct, the problem is also true
in the "haredi" world and is furthur complicated by semantics.
   Just because someone wears "haredi" clothes and goes to a "haredi"
shul does not make him frum. We all know this and, unfortunately, new
examples come to surface every day. Conversely, just because somone
wears jeans, a polo shirt, and kippa seruga does not make him non-frum.
It all depends on how one follows the shulchan oruch and a RECOGNIZED
posek-without getting into a dispute about what that means. Daas torah
is a separate issue and cannot be a blanket determinant of observance.
   Modern orthodox, unfortunately, encompasses so many colors (not
shades) as to make the term irrelevant. To compare someone who learns
many hours a day, whose wife keeps her hair covered, who davens with a
minyan three times a day, etc. with somone who rarely picks up a sefer,
whose wife walks in pants/shorts, aqnd who briefly visits a shul on
Shabbos is ludicrous. I am personally acquainted with my sons' friends
(a mixture of right wing of YU and other yeshivos) whose adherence to
halacha is equal to anyone. So maybe the answer is to disband the term
modern orthodox and break it up into more "pieces".
  Likewise to compare Rabbi Lookstein to Rabbis Billet, Shachter,
Marcus, Adler, Etc is also a very strange grouping. Notice I mentioned
pulpit rabbis- not Roshei Yeshivos

Comments are welcome
Dr. Herbert Taragin   


From: Ben Rothke <ber@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 95 15:35:58 EST
Subject: Organ Transplants

Someone asked me the folloing question,to which I had no answer:

Why are Orthodox Jews more than willing to be recipients of organ
donations (heart, lung,liver, kidney, etc.), but refuse to be organ


From: <josh@...> (Joshua J Pollack)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 15:42:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Prohibitions on Premarital Sex

Suppose the following hypothetical:

X wants to sleep with his girlfriend, Y.  Not wanting to violate the laws 
of niddah, X has Y go to the mikvah and _then_ proceeds to sleep with 
her.  What prohibitions, if any, have X and Y violated?  (I'll stipulate 
that both X and Y were virgins before they slept together)

To ward off any potential flames, let me to make it clear that I am NOT 
advocating the above activity; I recognize that pre-marital sex is 
improper because of the concept of "kedoshim tehiyu".  I simply want to 
know if the activity is prohibited as well. 


From: <nre@...> (Nicolas Rebibo)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 10:32:50 +0200
Subject: Reincarnation

In most Sefarad prayer books, you can find a text which is to be said
before going to sleep and which contains the following reference to
reincarnation (translation is mine):

"Master of the Universe I forgive anyone who sinned against me (my body,
my money, my honor or anything that belongs to me) whether he did it
willingly or unwillingly..., whether it happened during this incarnation
or during another incarnation of any Jew (ben beGUILGUL ze ben beGUILGUL
acher lechol bar Israel)"

Though this text is certainly based on kabalistic notions, it is
contained in very basic books !

Nicolas Rebibo
Internet: <rebibo@...>
listowner: <judaisme-l@...>


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 14:15:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Sepharadi Pesach List

The Sepharadi Kosher l'Pesach list should be ready on Tuesday, Mar 29.
It is available from Rabbi Mitchel Serels of Yeshiva University

[If anyone at YU can contact Rabbi Serels and see if we can get an
electronic copy, I would put it up in the mail-jewish archive
area. Mod.]


From: Malkiel Glasser <mglasser@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 10:21:53 +0800 (PST)
Subject: Shmura Matzah

In Reply to one's asking if people have ever encountered broken shmura
matzah after their purchase.
 After growing up in Los Angeles where ( to the best of my knowledge)
all of our Shmura Matzah is shipped in, we have had many cases of broken
matzahs.  There have been years, where practicly an entire shipment of
Matzahs were broken and you were lucky if you found 6 whole ones to use
for the seder.  About checking your Matzah before the seder.  I was
tought by a Rabbi Wolf in Jerusalem, that one should check the matzah
before Pesach to make sure there is no "overlapping" of the matzah.  One
may be choshesh ( have a doubt ) that maybe there is flour in such a
pocket that was not properly baked rendering it Chametz.  I don't know
the source for this and it may only be a minhag, but it certainly sounds
like a good idea to check.  At best, it will also solve the mystery of
whether your Matzahs are intact or broken.

			Malkiel Glasser

[I'm fairly sure that issue of "overlapping" of the matzah is a chumrah
that some groups have taken on themselves. Tha major poskim do not view
this as a real source of doubt. Anyone with either source material to
back this up, or who knows that what I've said is wrong is encouraged to
reply. Mod.]


From: Joshua Goldmeier <ujgoldme@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 09:21:59 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Siyyum and Loopholes

> >From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
> There's still time! Horayos is only fourteen blatt - at a blatt a day
> you could finish it before Pesach! Another possibility is Megilla, which 
> although it's about 32 blatt has lots of great Aggadita which goes
> fairly quickly.

	I believe that someone is both missing the point of the siyum and
doesn't really know mesechet Horayos! 
	The siyum is for finishing a part of the torah that was LEARNED,
not read like an easy-reader book!  If that's the solution you offer it's
better to fast.  Besides, Horayos's fourteen blatt are about as hard as
Bava Kama. 


From: <MFRIEDERWITZ@...> (Moishe Friederwitzer)
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 1995 11:06:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Summer Courses for Baalaat T'shuva

Last summer we met a young couple. The husband is a FFB while his wife
is a recent BT. They live in Europe with very little contact with
Yidishkeit.  They are coming to Staten Island for the summer and she
asked if we can inquire regarding "some courses in Yiddishkeit in
N.Y. They are both interested in weekend seminars. She is a very bright
young lady, any information will be forwarded to them. Tizku L'mitzvot.

Moishe Friederwitzer


End of Volume 19 Issue 9