Volume 19 Number 68
                       Produced: Sun May 21 21:37:16 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Voluntary" Psukim
         [Ralph Zwier]
Abortion (2)
         [Heather Luntz, Zvi Weiss]
Molad (2)
         [Steven F. Friedell, Lon Eisenberg]
Molad Questions
         [Sheldon Z Meth]
Molad Time vs Standard Time
         [Akiva Miller]
No Salt on Motzi on Friday Night
         [A.M. Goldstein]
Sex change operations
         [Joel Grinberg]


From: Ralph Zwier <zwierr@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 14:48:17 
Subject: "Voluntary" Psukim

People have been discussing the recital of scriptural verses prior to 
drinking a cup of wine on Yom Haatzma'ut. Some people have stated that 
they see no reason to discourage this practice.

I want to ask MJ-ers a related question which I saw happen. At a 50th 
wedding anniversary celebration on a Sunday night of a day in which 
Tachanun was said, the MC sang Shir HaMa`alot [a Psalm] prior to Birkat 
Hamazon [grace after a meal]. When I asked the person next to me why, I 
was told: there is no harm in it, since you cannot deny someone the 
right to say any Tehillim they want to whenever they want to.

Now I felt uncomfortable at this practice.

Can someone tell me whether such a practice is : commendable, proper, 
acceptible, permitted, or improper ?

Ralph S Zwier
Double Z Computer, Prahran, VIC Australia       Voice +61-3-521-2188
<zwierr@...>                        Fax   +61-3-521-3945


From: Heather Luntz <luntz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 22:21:22 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Abortion

Joe Goldstein (v.19 #51) writes:

> And he SPOKE about the issur of Goyim doing abortions. He tied it to
> Parshas SHEMOS, when PHAROH told the Mid-wives to kill the children.
> Another Rebbi in Ner Yisroel also disccussed the topic and if I
> remmeber correctly he said the issur for a GOY was pure Murder. There
> is no Heter of Killing the the child because the mother is in danger.
> The Heter of RODEF appplies to yidden only.

That puzzles me. The Rambam (Hilchos melachim 9:14) holds that all the 
inhabitants of Schem were chayav misa [liable to the death penalty] 
because they stood by and did nothing while Schem kidnapped Dina, and 
since according to the Rambam, if a ben noach transgresses any one of the 
sheva mitzvos bnei noach [seven commandments of the children of noach], they 
are chayav misa. And since the entire community of Schem stood by and did 
nothing, ie did not judge Schem, they were all chayav misa.

Now surely this implies that if an inhabitant of Schem had come upon 
Schem about to do the averah [sin], he would have been obligated to try 
and stop him, and presumably kill him if necessary (after all, what he 
would be doing is in effect executing the judgment that was required), 
otherwise, how could we hold every individual liable for the death 
penalty in Schem? If it was just a matter of bringing him before a 
court, surely only the dayanim [judges] and officials of the city would 
have been liable? And surely the Rambam does not hold that in executing 
the correct judgment that would have made any righteous individual from 
Schem also chayav misa (because if he does so hold then surely the same 
must apply to Shimon and Levi, since this was before mattan torah)?

And if the Rambam holds that a bnei noach is required to prevent what 
happened to Dina, how much more so must he be required to prevent a 
murder, which after all is what the heter of rodef is all about?

Of course the Ramban disagrees with the Rambam regarding the inhabitants 
of Schem. He holds (see on Breshis 34:13) that although bnei noach are 
required to set up courts of justice, they are not chayav misa for failing to 
do so, since this is a mitsva aseh [positive commandment], and the 
death penalty does not attach to a mere positive commandment. This is 
especially as it is only by a Jewish judge that lo tagru [do not fear, in 
this context to stand up and judge] applies and so he certainly could not 
be liable for failing to stand up and bring to justice his masters. 
However he does not seem to disagree with the basic premise that should 
an inhabitant of Schem have done so, it would have been praiseworthy. 
While if the concept of rodef does not apply to a bnei noach, not only 
would it not be praiseworthy but it would render that ben noach liable 
for the death penalty in any event for murder.

(If anything, given that bnei noach do not have the same stringent 
requirements vis a vis battei dinim [courts] and eidus [witnesses] eg no 
warning is required, and one witness and a single judge will do, it is 
much easier to be executing the judgment of the court in the heat of the 

So if the concept of rodef does apply by bnei noach in general, why 
would it not apply by the case of a fetus and a woman? (I realise there 
are daas issues, but these apply in the Jewish case also, and the level
of daas required for Jews appears higher than that required for a ben 
noach. After all, getting back to the Rambam's position on Schem, Shimon 
and Levi killed all the males, including it would seem even the minors and 
the insane and others who could not be said to have the requisite daas 
from a Jewish perspective).

And even if the concept of rodef does not apply (for some reason) to a fetus 
and a woman on a desert island, where there is no court system, if the 
court system set up by the bnei noach (as they are obligated to do) 
decrees that in such a situation, of a fetus being likely to kill its 
mother, an execution is warranted for this crime, (as the American/Australian 
courts appear to have done), why is the act of the doctor in performing 
an abortion in those circumstances not merely that of the executioner of 
the court?

Come to think of it, why doesn't the same argument apply in all cases of 
an unwanted fetus, not just in one where it appears like it is seeking to 
kill the mother. After all, assuming the mother does not give it 
willingly, a fetus steals from its mother its nutrients out of her 
bloodstream. Now, I would assume that the nutrients it takes would have a 
value of less than a pruta, so that in the case of a Jewish mother and 
fetus, the mother would be presumed to be mochel and the fetus would not 
be liable. But a bnei noach is liable for stealing less than a pruta (see 
Hilchos Melachim 9:9, Sanhedrin 57a) and is chayav misa for it. So that, 
technically, isn't any fetus that takes nutrients from its mother's 
bloodstream where the mother does not wish to give them engaging in 
g'zela. In which case, if the goyishe court decided, as the American 
Supreme Court appears to have, that such an action warrants the death 
penalty, then again isn't the doctor merely carrying out the decree of 
the court? Can you say that there isn't the requisite daas of the fetus? 
But in general how much daas is required for stealing less than a pruta? 
Is a higher level of daas required here than for a kidnapping (and could 
a fetus be said to be kidnapping its mother? According to Jewish 
definition of kidnapping? May a bnei noach court widen the definition of 
kidnapping beyond that found in the Jewish definitions?)

ie the real question here it seems to me is to what extent are bnei noach 
courts prevented from imposing the death penalty where it considers it 
appropriate and applicable?



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 14 May 1995 12:17:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Abortion

Re Mr. Yudkin's posting:

The Gemara in Sanhedrin -- cited by the Torah Temima (Noach 9:6) -- 
states that a "Ben Noach" is liable (to Capital Punishment) for "Ubarin" 
(i.e., embryos) based upon the verse "Shofech Dam Ha'adam *Ba'Adam*"...
One sho sheds the blood of a person "in a person" -- which the Gemara 
states refers to Embryos. Tosafot (59:a Final Tosafot on the page) has 
two opinions as to whether a Non-Jew may save a woman's life by 
performing an Abortion (a) it is prohibited because only a Jew with the 
specific Mitzva of Pikuach Nefesh is allowed to do this or (b) "perhaps" 
a non-Jew may do this as there is "nothing permitted to a Jew that is 
prohibited to a non-Jew"...

This is not exhaustive but should provide a good starting point for 
further analysis in this matter.



From: <friedell@...> (Steven F. Friedell)
Date: Sat, 20 May 1995 21:30:04 -0400
Subject: Molad

Someone asked last week why we announce the Molad (time for the new
moon) on Shabbat M'varkhim.  Baruch Halevi Epstein in his commentary on
the Siddur, "Barukh She'amar" gives two reasons for this custom: 1)
Since the Kiddush Levanah may not be said until seven days after the
molad we need to know when the molad is, and 2) for those not requiring
a seven day wait, a reason may be as said in Tractate Shabbat 75a that
it is a mitzvah to calculate the seasons and constellations and
according to the Maharshal on Sukkah 28a "seasons" includes the
calculation of the new moon.  Since not everyone is such an expert at
calculating the new moon we can fulfill that mitzvah by hearing the

From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 15:13:32 +0000
Subject: Molad

I believe the time announced is Jerusalme solar time (12:00 = when sun
is as high as it will get).  To convert this to IST (Israel Standard
Time), I believe you need to subtract 19 min. (I am not 100% sure that
this is the correct constant, but I think it's pretty close).  Then you
need to convert it to your own standard or daylight time.

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


From: <METHS@...> (Sheldon Z Meth)
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 11:00:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Molad Questions

In V19n66, Shmuel Himelstein asks several questions, two of which relate to
the Molad.

c) The announced time of the Molad is "Jerusalem local time, " i.e., it
is NOT the time of Jerusalem's time zone, but the actual time at
Jerusalem (e.g., Molad noon means the time at which the sun is at it's
highest point at Jerusalem).  The Molad in most calendars does not take
into account the change with Daylight Savings Time.  This is very
important with regards to the answer to Shmuel's next question (see

d) The purpose of announcing the Molad is noge'ah l'halachah [has
practical hallachic application].  We may not recite Kiddush Levanah
after 12 days 18 hours 22 minutes and 1.66 seconds after the Molad.


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 21 May 1995 00:26:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Molad Time vs Standard Time

In MJ 19#66, Shmuel Himelstein asked
>c) Does the time of the Molad which is announced at Birkat HaChodesh 
>change with Daylight Saving Time? I have a feeling that it doesn't, 
>because the calculations are all from the point of Creation - 
>Heh-Baharad. If that is the case, is there any formula available for 
>translating the Molad time into our time?

My understanding is that Molad time is based on Local Time in
Yerushalayim, which is a very different thing than Standard or Daylight
time. Local time is what was used prior to establishment of standard
time zones. Noon Local Time occurs when the sun is directly above one's
location, but Noon Standard Time applies to the entire time zone. In
other words, it is 12 noon local time (or Molad Time) when the sun is
directly above the 35 1/4 degree east meridian.  At a fixed rate of 4
minutes per degree (360 degrees = 24 hours) it will take 21 minutes for
the sun to reach the 30 degree east meridian, at which point the time
will be called 12:00 noon Standard Time (or 1 PM Daylight Time) for the
entire time zone, 10:00AM in England, and 5:00 AM in New York and
everywhere else in the Eastern time zone.

Thus, if the Molad is announced for 12:00 noon, it will actually occur
at 11:39 AM Israel Standard Time, 9:39 AM Greenwich Mean Time, and 4:39
AM Eastern Standard Time. I hope this answers your question.
Unfortunately, I have no sources which I can quote for any of this. If
anyone can offer support or opposing views, please do so.

Akiva Miller


From: A.M. Goldstein <MZIESOL@...>
Date: Sun, 21 May 95 08:23:44 IST
Subject: No Salt on Motzi on Friday Night

Recently I have come across the minhag of not using salt in connection
with the motzi on Friday night (erev Shabbat) because, it was explained
to me, there were no korbonot (sacrifices) at night and therefore salt
could not have been used at night as it was during the day.  (I hope I
remembered the reasoning correctly.)  I would like to know the extent of
this minhag, if possible, and sources for it.


From: <Joel.Grinberg@...> (Joel Grinberg)
Date: Fri, 19 May 95 16:28:05 PDT
Subject: Sex change operations

Twice in the past all the emplyoees in my division were advised that
some individuals have gone through a sex-change operation, and will be
coming back as "women".  Employees were ordered to treat these
individuals normally and courteously.

I wonder what Judaism's attitude is on the matter. This kind of thing is
most abhorrent to me, and I believe that I would have difficulty in
working with such persons. How much respect am I obligated to show to
these individuals?



End of Volume 19 Issue 68