Volume 19 Number 65
                       Produced: Fri May 19  9:01:11 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bentching Gomel
         [Menachem Epstein]
Co-Education (2)
         [Jeffrey R Woolf, Michael J Broyde]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Gambling (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Bill Page]
Jews for you-know-who
         [Zvi Weiss]
Messianic Jews
         [Uri Meth]
Tahara and AIDS Victims
         [Andrea Penkower Rosen]


From: Menachem Epstein <marshall@...>
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 09:12:04 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Bentching Gomel

	My name is Menachem Epstein.My real mail is <marshall@...>
[This was a forwarded email, I changed the From: line to reflect
original sender. Mod.]

I read a letter that you wrote about benching Gomel .I think that there
are several possible flaws in the analysis .One is that the bentching of
gomel is done under one of two provisions.One is that you were one of the
four categories mentioned by Chazal,one of which is that you crossed an
ocean.There is discussion among some present day and very late Acharonim as 
to whether these categories would require bentching Gomel independent of
whether it is a danger to go across the ocean.If it is not dangerous, then
some people do not bentch gomel for fear of saying a brocho levatolo .
	The second provision is that you were in "great " immediate
danger.  Therefore , if someone goes on a plane ride , then it is not
considered a great danger.
	A second point to be made is that one does not bentch gomel
because the instantaneous probability over some small unit of time is
great.The reason one bentches is because the probability of dying during
the course of some event or some events linked together is great.
	A third point to be made, although this has no direct relevance
to the point you were making is whether one should say tefilas haderech
when traveling by car between cities.
	A fourth point is that even if one feels grateful one cannot
bentch gomel because of the problem of brocho levatolo.One can always
bentch gomel without Shem umalchus if one wishes to say something
because he is grateful.
	A fifth point to keep in mind also is that the takonos of chazal
are (and even dinei hatorah) not always subject to mathematical analysis
because the rules are not necesarily mathematical .An example of this is
the fact that there are two kinds of "Rovs"(majority rules).One is
called Rubah Dissah lekamon (A majority which is true regardless of what
is present in this case.  e.g. most animals are born kosher.This Rov is
used if we cannot check the animal).and Rubah Delessah lekamon(A
majority which is in front of us).(e.g.  there are nine stores selling
kosher meat and one selling treif meat,and we find a piece of meat in
the street and we wish to determine where it came from.The law is
different in both cases even though the probability is the same.(If you
want to look at some sources ,look at the ketzos hachoshen(Rabbi Akiva
Eger also has some comments on this point.

					Be well,
					Menachem Epstein


From: Jeffrey R Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Mon, 08 May 95 14:44:07 IDT
Subject: Re: Co-Education

I'm a little surprised that the issue of coeducation is coming up again,
along with all of the misrepresentations of its propriety. First off,
both sides of the argument ought to recall that noone says there MUST be
mixed classes. The issue is whether they are allowed. Second, the issue
of of the position of mori v'rabi HaRav Soloveitchik zatzal is very
sensitive. Despite the recent attempts of some of his better known
talmidim to rewrite history or 'explain away' coeducation at the
Maimonides School, the fact is that the school was founded to be
coeducational, it remained so all the years under the tutlage of
Rebbetzin SoloveitchikA'H (an educator in her own right) and now under
Rebbetzin Twersky, T'M. Even when circumstances allowed for the change
it was not made. Period. More-over, I know for a fact that the Rav
zatzal did not consider the mixing of classes to be an Halakhic issue,
only a pedagogic one. Those who seek prohibitions can look to the
Iggerot Moshe or elsewhere. But please, don't rewrite history.  I
realize that the Rav's positions on many things trouble the Haredi
world, since he was universally acknowledged as the Gadol HaDor of
learning. But that discomfort on the part of Haredim should not be
allowed to disguise or moderate truth. If anything, the Rav would have
been happier to have his students directly disagree with him on grounds
of principle than to lurk in the shadows and rewrite the truth.
                           Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey R. Woolf
                           Dept of Talmud
                           Bar Ilan University <F12043@...>

From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 10:01:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Co-Education

A number of writers have adopted the posture that halacha prohibits any 
form of co-education.  I question this, and I seek a source to justify 
such a posture.  Let me start by clearly reviewing what I perceive as the 
halachic issues, which is one of arrousal or immodesty.  Thus, the broad 
concensus of halachic authorities I have spoken to permit a muture 
adult to attend a co-ed graduate school (such as law school, medical 
school, and the like).  Indeed, I have seen no published teshuvot 
prohibiting secular education because it is co-ed.  Thus, I question 
whether any of those who assert that halacha prohibits co-education an a 
general issur are correct.
	The next issue is, in my opinion, the proper one. Co-education of 
adolescents/children.  In my opinion, thje vast majority of halachic 
authorities either discourage or prohibit the interaction of the sexes at 
those tender ages precisely because people do not excersize halachicly 
proper judgment in terms of modesty and sexuality.  The exact same class 
-- let us say a daily two hour shiur on parsha -- would be completely 
permissible to a co-ed group or residents in a nursing home, and 
categorically prohibited, or vastly discouraged, to high school 
students.  However, this example -- both sides of which I think most 
poskim agree with -- demonstates the lack of an objective issur against 
co-education.  Again, and this is very important to realize, subjective 
issuring are just as assur; indeed, at some level more so.
	However, it important to understand what is the issur and where 
it comes from.  As is clear from Rav Moshe's teshuva, the problem is one 
of hirhur and sexuality, and not of categorical issur derabanan which 
prohibits the sexes from studing together -- as for example, the 
categorical halacha prohibits the sexes from davening together.
	That being said, the exact paramaters of co-education cannot be
completely halachicly defined.  Like the concept of tzinuit, there is an 
element of context and judgement invovled.
Michael Broyde


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 15:19:06 +0000
Subject: Coed

About a month ago, Ari Shaprio wrote about coed schools.  Although I
basically agreed with what he had to say, I thought, at the time, that
it was a little too strong.  One part, in particular, stood out:

>However, in some situations where the alternative is worse (no school at
>all) we violate the issur.

I thought then, how could he say "we violate the issur.", but then my
friend brought something to my attention: In Sotah (I'm sorry that I
can't remember the page) there is a discussion of the prohibition of
women who are listening to men singing answering them (i.e., singing a
"response" to the men's song).  Even stronger language is used for the
other way around, that is, men listening to women singing and then
answering them.  Tosephoth discuss this and ask what is the nafqa minah
(distinction); prohibited is prohibited.  The distinction turns out to
be that some things are, in fact, MORE prohibited than others.  If the
community leaders can prevent the worse prohibition by giving into the
lesser one, then they do it.

Now this is not exactly the same as the situation with a coed school,
but we do see that there is a concept of "violating an issur" to prevent
something worse (in the case of the coed school, we have the "violation"
of the lesser "issur", not to prevent a worse issur, but to effect the
positive commandment of "talmud Torah" [teaching Torah].  Perhaps we
should look at coed like "the lesser of two evils".  If we don't like
the term "issur", then perhaps we should think of it as one of those
things that is "not prohibited, but discouraged".  In any case, Ari's
language no longer seems overly strong.

As a side point to the above, how do people say that the prohibition of
"kol ishah" [a woman's singing voice] does not apply to a group of
women?  I'm aware that there are other parameters involved, sometimes
permitting a woman's (or women's) singing, but I no longer understand
the "heter" (permitting) of a group.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 14:51:22 -0700
Subject: Gambling

In mail-jewish Vol. 19 #60 Digest, Eli Turkel says:
>     I have seen "psaks" that buying lottery tickets is permitted even
> according to Rav Karo (i.e. for sefardim). The buyers put out the money
> ahead of time and the organization knows it has to pay out a certain
> amount of money. It is no different than buying speculative stocks which
> everyone allows. According to this betting at a racetrack should also be
> permitted.  Of course, all poskim stress that there is a great danger of
> it becoming habitual and it seems that it has been a major social
> problem in various communties. I am not sure that going to the race
> track would be an appropriate activity for a shul fundraiser but I see
> no specific prohibition.

When I was living in Israel, I was told that a ruling had been 
brought down that buying one lottery ticket was permitted, because 
if Hashem wanted to provide you with money, it was a possible avenue 
for Hashem to do so. I'm not sure whether the ruling permitted only 
one ticket for one's whole lifetime, or one ticket for each lottery 

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 

From: Bill Page <page@...>
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 11:35:59 -0500
Subject: Gambling

In his new book, Judaism on Pleasure, Rabbi Reuven Bulka states that
occasional gambling for entertainment is permissible, but gambling as an
occupation is forbidden, because it is an entirely unproductive activity.
(So, a professional gambler is considered too unreliable to
be a witness.) What about working in the gambling industry as, for example,
a blackjack dealer?  Is such an occupation equivalent to being a
professional gambler, or is it more like being an entertainer--allowing
others to engage in a useless but (to them) enjoyable activity?


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 12:05:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Jews for you-know-who

In Aryeh Kaplan's book "The Real Messiah?", he cites a p'sak that such a 
person is considered an Oved Avodah Zara and/or an Apostate and cannot be 
considered part of the minyan.  His annotated source is Pri Megadim/Eshel 
Avraham.  Do you need more specific info?


From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 09:57:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Messianic Jews

In v19n60, a question is raised concerning the use of a Messianic Jew in
a minyan.  Since this Messianic Jew believes in Yashke (Jesus), what is
his status.

I have been working with a community of Ba'alei Teshuva for a number of
years and we had this exact question a few years ago.  One of the
members of the minyan was divorced and his 2 sons  lived with their
mother who was involved with Jews for Jesus, and the older son was also
involved with Jews for Jesus.  Since we were and are a very small minyan
this exact question came up.

We asked this question to our local Rav, Rabbi Yehoshua Kaganoff, rav of
Kehilas Ahavas Torah in Northeast Philadelphia, and got the following

We could count the person in question for the minyan.  The qualification
to count someone for a minyan is a live jewish male above the age of 13.
His beliefs did not matter in reference to counting him for the minyan.
HOWEVER, we were not permitted to give him an Aliyah to the Torah
because when he said a brocha and said Hashem's name, he was not
referring to our G-d, but to some other diety.

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100
Warminster, PA 18974


From: Andrea Penkower Rosen <apr@...>
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 10:24:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Tahara and AIDS Victims

Howard Reich inquired about tahara and AIDS victims.
The volunteer Chevra at Lincoln Square Synagogue in New York City has 
adopted the following guidelines:

1. When calling a member to participate in a tahara of an AIDS victim,
we notify the volunteer of the situation and each person makes an
individual decision about participation.

2. An AIDS victim is given the same tahara as any other mayt (dead
person) with similar body condition. By this I mean that procedure is
defined by the physical condition of the body, e.g., lesions, bleeding,
delicate skin, etc., and not by the diagnosis of AIDS.

3. For every tahara, each member of the chevra wears the garb required
by OSHA: gown, mask, hat, shoe covering and gloves.  For an AIDS tahara,
each wears a double set of gloves.

Fortunately, our women's chevra has never been called on to minister to
a victim of AIDS.  But our men's chevra has.

If you want more information, try contacting Rabbi Bert Leff of the
Synagugoe Services Division at the OU, 212-563-4000.

BTW, we have been told repeatedly at various conferences held for
Chevrot Kaddishot (is this the correct plural?) that the AIDS virus is
much less virulent than others which are fatal, hepatitis, in
particular.  Therefore, our chevra members have all been advised to be
innoculated against hepatitis and most have done so.

Andrea Penkower Rosen


End of Volume 19 Issue 65