Volume 19 Number 74
                       Produced: Sun May 28 23:25:58 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abortion and rodef
         [Heather Luntz]
         [Avi Feldblum]
Attempt to Install a Mechitzah
         [Shlomo Grafstein]
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Marrying off one's daughter
         [Akiva Miller]
Noshim Da'aton Kalos Aleyhen
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Vegetarian Food / Kashrut
         [Jonathan Straight]
Voluntary Psukim
         [Aryeh Siegel]


From: Heather Luntz <luntz@...>
Date: Wed, 24 May 1995 22:39:40 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Abortion and rodef

Just to add to my earlier posting - a few days after I sent it I
happened to glance earlier in the Rambam and realised that there is no
need to bring a discussion about Schem. The Rambam poskens explicitly
that the concept of rodef does apply to to non-jews (Hilchos Melachim
9:4), but only if the non-Jew could not prevent the murder from
occurring by maiming one of the rodef's limbs.

In fact, the Rambam's psak is based on Sanhedrin 57a-b, and the opinion
of Rabbi Yochanan ben Shaul, which is brought here on the daf by Abaya
to refer to the situation of the ben noach. Note however that Rashi
brings on this that the Rabanan disagree with Rabbi Yochanan ben Shaul,
saying that if one could have maimed but in fact kills one is patur and
that this applies also to a ben noach.

So it would seem that there is a disagreement between Rashi and the
Rambam on whether if a ben noach could save a life by merely maiming and
in fact he kills, is he chayav misa, but no disagreement that in a case
where there is no alternative that a ben noach is patur - ie the concept
of rodef clearly applies to a ben noach.

Whether there is some special din by a ben noach fetus that does not
apply by a Jewish fetus with regard to rodef is not clear (there
definitely is a distinction - eg in the case that somebody punches a
woman in the stomach and makes her abort but otherwise does not hard her
- a ben noach would be chayav misa while a jew would not - but it does
not appear clear to me that that distinction carries across in the
situation where one was saving the life of the woman by means of the

It also doesn't add anything to my real question, which is what is our
attitude to an abortion authorised by a ben noach court, in situations
where (possibly?) an adult ben noach might be considered to be chayav
misa? And what about where the halacha does not mandate misa, does it
allow it to be exercised by a ben noach court in its discretion? In what



From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Sun, 28 May 1995 23:20:43 -0400
Subject: Administrivia

Akiva Miller has a submission in this issue on a topic that is likely to
generate a great deal of heat in the upcoming days. Not because I think
that there are a lot of people on the list who would support the tactics
involved, but rather in that people tend to say "how can that be
permitted" and the discussion then in my recent observation of it has
nowhere to go. Akiva's submission gives many of the basic facts, and
then goes on to speculate on a path to solve it. While I personally do
not think his solution will withstand scrutiny (e.g. how is it
objectively different from marriage at gunpoint, where the witnesses are
not viewed as being the solution), his approach of what halakhic
approaches are there to solve this problem is what I would like to see
in peoples response to the issues brought up.

One thing that has been mentioned in the press reports is that there is
a group of some 40 Rabbis that Sholam Bayis (one of the groups pushing
this horror [OK, sometimes I don't act as an impartial moderator])
claims support this. Does anyone know who these Rabbis are? What is
there reason for supporting this? [Yes, if someone submits a posting
that supports this I will put it through if it meets m-j guidelines. To
that extent, I am committed to impartial moderation of this list.]

I have the New York Times article and will get hold of the Jewish Week
article. If anyone knows of other material, I would be interested to
find out and possibly get a copy.

Avi Feldblum


From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlomo Grafstein)
Date: Fri, 26 May 1995 16:47:21 -0300
Subject: Attempt to Install a Mechitzah

Halifax Nova Scotiua a has a synagogue which is strongly considering a
move to achieve Torah standards.  The Baron de Hirsch Synagogue (Beth
Israel) used to have a woman's galory in its old building 35 years ago.
The new structure was built with separate seating but no mechitzah.  The
rabbi had permission to serve on condition that he could eventually
place a mechitzah in the main sanctuary. (The chapel does have one) A
synagogue meeting to discuss the matter, with a section of the model,
was held this past week.  I am soliciting comments and ideas and
encouragement which I can can show to the congregants from around the
world.  It can be halachic --factual comments of the significance of the
mechitzah or just personal ideas and feelings about this important part
of a Torah synagogue.  You can send your ideas to either mail Jewish or
to me.  Opinions will voiced at another synagogue meeting June
14th. Thank you for your imput and encouragement.

Sincerely Yours     Shlomo Grafstein
1480 Oxford Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H3Y8


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 25 May 1995 16:19:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Kinyan

A recent poster mentioned that when taking physical posession of an
object no kinyan is necessary.  This is not true.  In order to take
halachic title to an object a kinyan is needed.  Picking something up
happens to be one method of kinyan, so that taking physical posession is
in actuality a kinyan.  Likewise, for taking title to real estate, there
are different methods of taking title, including locking the area off,
building a fence around it or removing a fence from it.

In our normal course of transaction we do in fact most often perform one
of the valid methods of kinyan.

The poster also mentioned that he sold his chametz to a non-Jew
directly.  We not only sell our actual chametz, but also chametz
absorbed in utensils.  Since the poster did not do this, he should ask
aa competent halachic authority as to the status of his dishes and pots.

Eliyahu Teitz


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 28 May 1995 02:10:36 -0400
Subject: Marrying off one's daughter

I fully expect the pages of Mail-Jewish to explode in the coming days
and weeks, with postings about this latest salvo in the Agunah Wars, so
I figured I'd get my two cents in early. For those of you who have not
heard, the May 27 issues of both the New York Times (first page of Metro
setion) and the Jewish Week (a NYC-based paper, page 10) reported on a
new weapon discovered by husbands who refuse to grant their wives a get
(Jewish divorce).

Whereas normally a woman can be married only with her consent, the Torah
gives fathers the ability to marry off their minor daughters. Reports
are that at least two men (I use the term loosely) have actually done
this. They married their daughters to certain men, in the presence of
witnesses as required, but are refusing to divulge the names of those
men. This gives the daughter the status of being married, without
knowing who the husband is, and therefore having absolutely no hope of
ever marrying anyone else.

Reports are that while the vast majority of rabbis are decrying this
practice, they are still investigating what can be done about it. So
here is my idea: It appears that the Torah does actually allow fathers
to marry off their daughters, so I want to concentrate not on the
father's actions, but on the actions of the witnesses.

A fundamental law of Jewish marriages is the requirement of two
witnesses.  These witnesses are of a very different nature than
witnesses to a financial transaction. Without witnesses to a marriage,
it not merely a case of being unable to testify that the marriage took
place. Rather, the witnesses are an integral part of the event, and if
no witnesses were present, then the marriage is null and void and never
even occurred.

A witness must meet certain requirements to fill this role, and among
these requirements are that he be an observant adult male Jew. I want to
focus on "observant". This father is committing an atrocity against his
own daughter.  Denying his daughter the ability to ever get married is a
perverse twist on the most obscene forms of abuse imaginable. Even in
the unlikely case that the father is correct in refusing to grant the
get, the hurt which he is causing his daughter is unimaginable. (Not to
mention that the daughter will never be able to marry a kohen, and
perhaps she was destined for one.) This act is a sin against his
daughter, if for no other reason than the pain and anguish it will cause
her, and surely many other sins as well. And the witnesses are
accessories to these crimes.

The act of helping the father carry out this evil plan is a sin in and
of itself. Therefore, I want to suggest, that the act of being a witness
automatically renders these witnesses invalid. No matter how observant
they might be in other parts of their life, sinning was an inherent part
of their winessing. This is NOT similar to a case of a witness who ate
pork immediately before or after the ceremony, for there he was
observant during the ceremony. This is NOT similar to a case of a
witness who wore shaatnes (forbidden clothing) during the ceremony, for
one thing has nothing to do with the other, and maybe some rabbis would
say that the shaatnes does not invalidate him for wedding
purposes. Here, the sin of being cruel to the daughter is part and
parcel of the act of being a witness! The act of being witness to this
outrage is so sinful that their very presence at this "wedding"
disqualifies them. Thus there simply were no *valid* witnesses to the
father's act, and the daughter is still single.

Or at least that is my theory and my suggestion. For practical purposes,
I defer to the rabbis. What are your comments?

Akiva Miller


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 23 May 1995 09:18:24 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Noshim Da'aton Kalos Aleyhen

I read someone write that "noshim da'aton kalos aleyhen" means that
women can concentrate on more than one thing at a time.  This doesn't
exactly fit in with the words (putting it mildly).  According to what
I've heard from R' Avigdor Miller it means that women are more easily
persuaded than men.  This applies to good as well as bad influences.



From: Jonathan Straight <jonathan@...>
Date: Mon, 22 May 95 12:04:41
Subject: Vegetarian Food / Kashrut

Andrew Marcs comments are interesting. The green V like a check mark is
the sign of the Vegetarian Society of Great Britain - this is a very
reliable mark and can be trusted as to the entirely vegetarian
ingredients in the package.

Some supermarkets and other manufacturers have their own symbols but
generally can be trusted too. For example - Tesco (large UK supermarket)
have vegetarian sausages and burgers with their own symbol - these are
in fact of Israeli origin and are probably manufactured under Rabinnical

In terms of Kashrut - a clear message would be good here. I suppose many
Rabbis would say you should not have such products - yet there are not
many reasons why a blanket permission should not be passed.

I suppose it would undermine the efforts if the Beth Din - and there are
financial implications here. The London Beth Din has a "K" mark which is
now appearing on more products but the days of having a "U" type
hechsher on a wide range of foods in the UK seem far off.

As so many people are concerned about vegetarianism outside the Jewish
community perhaps the Batei Din should take the lead and insitagate a
standard which the manuafacturers of vegetarian foods could aspire too.
This would no doubt help Muslims, Hindus and many other groups with
dietary laws.

Jonathan Straight :-}


From: Aryeh Siegel <lol9519@...>
Date: Tue, 23 May 95 22:19:08 PDT
Subject: Voluntary Psukim

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

In the siddur Otzer HaTfilot, the Eshel Avraham is quoted quoting the
sefer Shnei Luchot HaBrit as follows: On Shabbat, Yom Tov and any day
that one does not say Tachanun, Shir HaMaalot is said before Birkat
HaMazon. On any other day, Al Naharot Bavel is said *in order to
mention/cause a reminder of the destruction of the Temple.* The Eshel
Avraham adds that it seems that Al Naharot Bavel is not said on Shabbat
because on Shabbat one does not remember the destruction of the Temple.
 From this alone, I don't see any reason why Shir HaMaalot should not be
said so long as Al Naharot Bavel is also said. But then again it may be
inappropriate, especially since Al Naharot Bavel is being said as a
prelude to Birkat HaMazon in accordance with custom while the saying of
Shir HaMaalot in this case is at least not dictated by custom.

Aryeh Siegel 


End of Volume 19 Issue 74