Volume 19 Number 67
                       Produced: Sun May 21 21:32:59 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Din Torah
         [David Charlap]
Flying and Bentshing Gomel
         [Joshua W. Burton]
Goedel's principle and Paradox of Liar.
         [Ari Belenky]
Keeping ones feet together during Kadish
         [Mordechai Zvi Juni]
Pirkei Avot in Israel
         [Aryeh Siegel]
University Council, Rights and Obligations
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Vegetarian food/kashrut
         [Michael Slifkin]
Which way to turn (L'cho Dodi, etc.)
         [Chips Crp]


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 12 May 95 11:45:49 EDT
Subject: Din Torah

<LMuschel@...> (Michael Muschel) writes:
> 1)The gemara in sanhedrin 2b-3a,5a et al rules that "mumchin/semuchin"
>(expert,ordained judges) are needed for "k'nasos" (litigation involving
>punitive damages), "gezeilos" (cases of theft). but not for "hoda'os
>v"halvo'os." (Litigation regarding a disputed loan). ... why is this
>not routinely done? When we go to court for a civil dispute involving
>contested sales, business agreements, loans etc., shouldn't we have
>to go to a din Torah instead?

If the dispute is between two Jews, you're right.  I would think a Din
Torah would be required.

However, if the dispute is between a Jew and a non-Jew, I don't think it
would be required.  The decision of a Din Torah would not be binding on
a non-Jew, wheras the decision of a civil court would be.

>2) Our purchases and transactions don't employ the required
>"kinyanim" ... (Consider, for example the methods used in our
>purchase of a home or a car). Why? Why do we suddenly "awaken" before
>Pesach and sell our chametz to the Rabbi with the halachically-
>sanctioned "kinyan suddar" ... Why should our sale of chametz
>suddenly require a different standard?

I think a kinyan is only required if you're not actually taking
posession of the merchandise.  When you buy groceries, for instance,
it's not required because you're physically picking up the groceries and
taking them with you.  Similarly, when you buy a car, you're driving off
in it.

Buying a house is a bit more problematic, since you can't actually take
the house with you.  But I would guess (ask your rabbi first, of
course), that the act of moving in after the sale is considered an act
of accquisition.

When selling your chametz, a separate kinyan is required because the
chametz never leaves your house.  I don't think one would be required if
you would physically give your chametz to the rabbi, who would then
physically give it to the buyer.  (Like I did this year - rather than
sell it through the rabbi, I put it in a bag and sold it to a non-Jewish
friend.  I took some money from him and he took the bag of chametz.)


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Fri, 12 May 95 09:52:07 -0400
Subject: Flying and Bentshing Gomel

Mike Gerver writes:

> For example, if you are flying in a commercial flight of a major
> airline, then the probability of dying in a plane crash during
> those few minutes is about equal to the probability of dying from
> a heart attack or stroke, if you are in your 50s.

This claim finally seems to make some sense.

Heart attacks kill just under a million people a year, stroke another
quarter million or so.  So the average person dies of one of these
causes about once every 200 years (so to speak), or about 1.5 e-10
times a second.  (For your fifty-year-old man, multiply by three or
so, because of all the 6-year-old girls who never get heart attacks.)
Car accidents kill 50,000 a year, so if the average person spends
1/50 of his time behind the wheel, he dies in a car accident about
once every 5000 years, or 3 e-10 times a second.  Thus, while not
many people in an absolute sense die in car accidents (iatrogenic
infection kills twice that many), the rate _per second_ is twice
that for ischemic heart disease and stroke combined.

Commercial aviation kills about 300 Americans in a typical year, and
general aviation about the same number.  If we assume that ALL of those
deaths happen in the two minutes before takeoff or the two minutes after
landing, to give this claim its best possible shot, then each time you
fly you are at risk for four minutes.  If the average American flies
four times a year, as total ticket sales would suggest (actually, I
don't know how many domestic tickets are bought by non-Americans), then
you are at risk for about 1000 seconds a year, which means you die about
10 e-10 times a second, and are actually at more risk during those few
minutes than you are sitting at home.

But...consider.  Ladders and light sockets each kill over 1000 Americans
a year, and most of us spend less than 1000 seconds a year fiddling with
each of them.  Must you bentsh gomel each time you clean the roof

Q:  How much nit could a nitpick pick,  +-------------------------------------+
    if a nitpick could pick nits?       |  Joshua W. Burton    (401)435-6370  |
    -----                               |         <burton@...>        |
A:  That's `how *many* nits...'!        +-------------------------------------+


From: <belenkiy@...> (Ari Belenky)
Date: Tue, 9 May 95 01:11:55 PDT
Subject: Goedel's principle and Paradox of Liar.

Ben Rothke initiated a discussion on application of Goedel's theorem to

In my first response I said that it is not a *major problem* for
Halakha: so far Halakha never failed to resolve any problem.

I repeat: Goedel's theorem works in the well-defined theory: with
non-contradictory system of axioms.  If the underliying system is
self-contradictory then in such theory one can deduce *any* statement.

Micha Berger continued my thought, *misrepresenting* it: he repeated
familiar "ellu ve'ellu divrei elochim hayim" (which was firstly
pronounced to resolve the machloket between schools of Shammai and
Hillel.  Even they both argued Halakhicly flawlessly, Halakha follows
Hillel's opinion. Why - it is another story.)

All this is well-known and I did not discuss it because the solution
that "Halakha follows Hillel" is perfectly legitimite solution on the
syntaxis level and nobody has problems with it.

I claimed much stronger statement: *there are situations when a posek
contradicted to himself*!  If such situation is discovered a posek
*cannot be considered as such* any more and the whole piece of Halakha
based on his statements should be rearranged!

That's why I said that Halakha is in the sutuation of Russell's "Paradox
of a Liar" (when any statement leads to self- contradiction) rather than
has any problem with Goedel's impossibility to answer the question.

This cannot be easily discerned in Talmud and I gave two examples which
witness that this *might be truth*.  (One more is in Tractate Mikvaoth:
R.Akiba says that R.Ishmael forbade to add thawed water to Mikva but
actually himself violated his own principle.)

To prove my statement rigorously it is necessary to trace back (up to
the first Tannaim) all solutions which were given in Talmud.  This is
impossible without significant computer work.

Ari Belenky

P.S. Micha Berger made also a few statements which I consider as
mistaken and want to explain why.

>When two opinions argue, both are teaching Hashem's word.
>Halachah, on this level, contains paradoxes. Abayei could say assur,
>and Rava could say mutar, and both are within halachah.
>2- On a different level, halachic rulings are made. We can not follow
>both Abayei and Rava. As R. Tzadok Hakohein writes (on the quote
>"eilu va'eilu), the logic of the mind could hold something and its
>opposite, the logic of deed can not.
>However, this part is open-ended. New piskei halachah (rulings) are
>constantly being created. On this level halachah not finite.
>Either way, Goedel's th'm wouldn't apply.

There is no problem with machloket between Abayee and Rava: in 6 fixed
cases we follow Abayee, in the rest - Rava.  This is still a perfect
"syntaxis" solution.

The statement about "non-finitness" is merely non-true.  In each moment
Halakha is definitely finite: all rules are known and finite, all
letters (things in the world known to us) also.  We can multiply new
sentences infinitely, the basis is still finite.  If tomorrow a new car
is designed without ignition or a new pig discovered in Amazonia who
will chew then Halakhic syntaxis will acquire a few extra letters...
still being finite.


From: <bi029@...> (Mordechai Zvi Juni)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 18:38:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Keeping ones feet together during Kadish

In a previous Posting Shumel Himelsein ask if you are suposed to keep
your feet toghether during Kadish, he said that he belives that many
sfardim do not keep them together during kadish.

I daven very regulary with sfardim, The chasen does keep them together,
the Congregation sit throu kadish. so its not treally posible for them to
keep the together (they sit they do not stand).
(its not that itsd ther minhag that they bedafka sit jusat like the
ashkenazim stand, its just that they dont have the minhag to stand, but if
one was standing before kadish started they do not sit down during kadish
they stay standing, and even when this happens they do not keep ther feet

And by the ashkenazim that i have seen The chasen does the Congregation

Mordechai Z. Juni        


From: Aryeh Siegel <lol9519@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 95 12:26:19 PDT
Subject: Pirkei Avot in Israel

>What do they learn in Israel on the 7th Shabbos after Pesach as regards
>Pirkei Ovos? 

Many shuls in Eretz Yisroel follow the practices recorded in R'
Tukachinski's calendar. He says to learn the first chapter of pirkei
avot on Shabbat Naso this year.

Aryeh Siegel


From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 11:35:18 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: University Council, Rights and Obligations

	Allow me to clarify the rights and obligations of a member of 
NorthEastern Illinois University SGA.  
	We are bound by several documents, the most important of which 
is our Constitution.  The Constitution guarantees all SGA members the 
right to vote in Senate and Committee meetings as they see fit.  By 
definition all resolutions brought to the floor are subject to debate and 
disagreement.  As such, a SGA member is not required to justify his 
vote in any way.   
	However, our Constitution and its subsidiary documents also clearly 
describe the procedures by which organizations are chartered.  While it 
is true that a SGA member may decide to ignore these procedures by 
voting as he chooses, it is assumed that he will vote "Correctly" in clear- 
cut cases which are obvious extensions of our Charter Policies, without 
outside political or religious considerations.
Chaim Shapiro. 


From: Michael Slifkin <slifkin@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 12:32:16 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Vegetarian food/kashrut

One cannot rely on approval by vegetarian bodies.  Their criteria are
not always synonymous with kashrut.  The British kashrus bodies do
produce lists of food stuffs (including vegetarian products) which in
their opinion can be considered as kasher.  The two main and very
comprehensive lists are issued by the London Kashrus Board and the
Manchester Bet Din.  The two lists do not always agree with the latter
generally being more stringent than the former.

Professor M A Slifkin            userid: <slifkin@...>
Department of Electronics        telephone: +972 (0)2-751176
Jerusalem College of Technology  fax: +972 (0)2-422075
POB 16031 - Jerusalem 91160  Israel          4Z9GDH


From: <chips@...> (Chips Crp)
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 14:16:25 -0700
Subject: Which way to turn (L'cho Dodi, etc.)

>From: <yehudah@...> (Yehudah Edelstein)

> I don't remember where I saw it but I turn clockwise to face the sun
> setting.  When saying Boi Chala, would bow once, turn back clockwise and
> bow again saying Boi Chala. Bowing once and turning back forward to bow
> once more is mentioned by Harav Munk, "Olam Hatfilot-Shabbat' page
> 13.(also exists in english) The right is usually preferable when you
> have a choice, as giving more respect. You would leave the Ark from your
> right. Slip on your right shoe first and many more examples.  [...]

Sorry, but this is incorrect. You leave the Aron from the left, preferably
walking backwards.


End of Volume 19 Issue 67