Volume 19 Number 84
                       Produced: Thu Jun  1 23:17:01 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abortion and Bnei Noach
         [Art Werschulz]
Abortion, rodef, and non-Jews
         [Linda Kuzmack]
Cantillation rules
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Adina B. Sherer]
HaMotzi Sans Salt
         [Aryeh Frimer]
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Salt on the Challah on Friday Night
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Sun, 28 May 1995 22:25:34 -0400
Subject: Abortion and Bnei Noach

Hi all.

There is a long discussion of the seven laws pertaining to the Bnei
Noach starting near the bottom of Sanhedrin 56a.  On the top of page
57b, we find the following:

  R' Yaakov bar Acha found that in the book of Aggada in the academy
  of Rav the following was written:  A Noachide is executed by one
  judge on the basis of one witness's testimony, without having
  received prior warning, said testimony and verdict coming from the
  mouth of a man, but not a woman, but this man may even be a relative
  of the accused.  They said in the name of Rabbi Yishmael that a
  Noachide is liable even for killing fetuses.

Does anybody know what the final ruling is on this one?  That is, does
the halacha (at least, in theory) forbid Bnei Noach to abort fetuses?
Please support your answer with a specific citation.


 Art Werschulz (8-{)}  "Ani m'kayem, v'lachen ani kayam." (courtesy E. Shimoff)
 InterNet:  <agw@...>
 ATTnet:    Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Linda Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 00:03:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Abortion, rodef, and non-Jews

IMH understanding, Ben is right that the fetus is not considered a
person until birth.  However, I have some problems in relating the issue
of rodef [pursuer] and whether non-Jews may perform abortions.

I am aware of two basic texts that deal with killing a fetus. 
The first is Exodus 21:22-24, which reads

     And if men strive together, and hurt a woman with child, so
     that her fruit depart, and yet no harm follow, he shall
     surely be fined, according as the woman's husband shall lay
     upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.  But if
     any harm follow, then thou shalt give life for life, eye for

The second is Mishnah Oholot 7:6, which reads

     If a woman suffer hard labor in travail, the child must be
     cut up in her womb and brought out piecemeal, for her life
     takes precedence over its life; if its greater part has
     [already] come forth, it must not be touched, for the [claim
     of one] life cannot supersede [that of another] life.

These texts clearly indicate that killing a fetus is not considered
murder halakhically and that the fetus MUST be killed if that is
necessary to save the life of the mother.  (To what degree abortion is
required or permitted under circumstances of lesser severity is a
separate question.)  Neither of them refers to the concept of rodef, nor
does either explicitly specify how it relates to non-Jews.

I have problems with the concept that rodef applies to Jews only.
Consider the case of a Gentile who sees a terrorist chasing a Jew.  This
concept would state that the Gentile is FORBIDDEN to intervene to save
the Jew.  Not only that, if he did intervene, he would be subject to the
death penalty.  This is a strange conclusion, to say the least.  I can
understand saying that the Gentile is not REQUIRED to intervene, that
that is an additional duty imposed only on Jews.  But surely he is
PERMITTED to intervene.  However, if we apply the latter understanding
to Gentiles and abortion, it says only that, in cases where a Jew would
be required to perform an abortion, the Gentile is permitted but not
required to.

Thus, I still cannot understand how one can say on the basis of the
rodef concept that non-Jews are forbidden to perform abortions.  More
generally, how can one say that an act which is required for Jews is a
heinous crime if done by a non-Jew?  [Note: I wrote the above off-line
before reading Zvi Weiss' posting, which refers to a somewhat similar
argument in Tosafot.]

Arnie Kuzmack


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 30 May 1995 20:58:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Cantillation rules

Back in v18n61, Howard Druce asked for sources on the origin of the
trop [cantillation] used in reading the Torah and Haftarah, and on
the reasons for the different notes being used. Although I may have
missed it, I don't think anyone has mentioned the work of Michael
Perlman in this area. My friend Bob Roth, when he was a postdoc at
Weizmann Institute in the late 1970s, took a class given by Perlman
on this topic. Perlman believes that the trop is completely determined
by the sentence structure, and describes his theory in a book titled
"Dafim Lalimud Ta'amei HaMikra" published by "Zimrat" HaKibbutz HaDati,
Tel Aviv, 5731 (it says "Copyright 1962" which I assume refers to an
earlier printing). His basic method is to map the words of each pasuk
onto a tree structure, by repeatedly dividing it in half, similar to
the grammatical diagrams of sentences that linguists use, and that
students have to make in eighth grade (or at least people my age did).
For a given tree structure, there is a fairly mechanical procedure
for assigning notes to the words, based on their position in the tree,
and on the number of words in each branch. The tricky part is determining
rules for dividing up the pieces of the sentence, in such a way that
there will not be any exceptions to the rules. Most of the book seems
to be devoted to this, and my initial impression from browsing through
it is that he needs an awful lot of rules, and maybe the trop is really
not completely deterministic. Whether or not that is true, it is certainly
the case that the vast majority of notes can be explained using a relatively
short set of rules, and understanding these rules probably makes it much
easier to learn to lein [read the Torah]. Perlman's book is arranged in
a series of lessons for just this purpose. I would imagine that an
experienced ba'al koreh [reader of the Torah] will have learned these
rules subconsciously, even if he doesn't use Perlman's book to learn to
lein. Perlman also mentions cases where the trop can be used to settle
disputes between commentators on the meaning of the text.

I don't suppose this book is still in print, and it would probably not be
easy to find in a library. The flyleaf says it can be ordered from Mazkirot
HaKibbutz HaDati, Rehov Dubnow 7, Tel Aviv, an address that is likely
out of date.

Regarding the origin of the trop, it is clear from the variant forms used
in different Jewish communities throughout the world that they all descend
from an original form which must have been used more than two thousand years
ago. I read somewhere that Gregorian chants originated from the Haftarah
trop. Since all Western music is ultimately descended from Gregorian chants,
this means that Western music is descended from Haftarah trop. Recently
when my son Avi, after practicing his bar mitzvah haftarah, tuned in his
favorite pop radio station, I pointed out to him that the music he was
listening to was directly descended from the music he had just been

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <adina@...> (Adina B. Sherer)
Date: Tue, 30 May 95 7:08:33 IDT
Subject: Re: Elbows

> To start at the end :-), Rav Neubert in that article (not sure of
> English spelling of his name; I also don't know who he is, do you?) says

Rav Neuvert is a very highly regarded Posek living in Jerusalem.  He 
studied *extensively* under Rav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach z"l for many many
years and his writings were considered definitive in many areas.  Most
famous ( probably ) is his work on the laws of Shabbos - Shemirat Shabbat
KeHilchata - which is THE major source today in most of the religious world
for questions regarding shabbat. I am sure that manyothers on thislist can
add something to expand our appreciation for this man.

> The situation you mentioned about wearing sleeves to the elbows but not
> covering them is interesting.  This could be the strictest
> interpretation of "showing up to a tefach is ok". But since elbows are
> not as big as 9 cm, what could be the source for the strictness such an
> opinion?  I think this could hinge (ha ha) on where one starts counting
> from... (the pointy part of your elbow? Somewhere above or below it?)
> Or perhaps "to the elbows" means you should buy the shirt so that it
> goes to your elbows, but when it shrinks in the wash or you pick your
> arm up, you will show up to a tefach.  (I am relatively serious about
> that.)  Alternatively, conceivably, common sense says that "to the
> elbows" could be the most lenient opinion of "covering the entire shok,
> not showing even a tefach". I haven't seen the "to the elbows" opinion

The sources I've read have said that a woman's entire upper arm must be
completely covered, and the basis for covering the elbows too is that
for most sleeves, it is usually impossible to come just TO the elbow and
no further without sometimes leaving parts of the upper arm exposed -
like when you lift up your arm and a sleeve risees up or swings back or
gapes open or whatever.  That would bab a reason for covering the bend
in the elbow, becaseu a sleeve that long would not chance exposing the
upper arm at all.  Another source was a more 'urban legend' style - the
woman had to keep covered what was normally covered and alowed to expose
what was normally exposed, as defined by what was needed on a practical
daily basis, and in this case that meant most women pushing their (
longer, cold-weather? ) sleeves up to the elbow when they were hard into
kneading the family;s bread and such thngs.  Based on this many woman
deliberately push their sleeves just ABOVE the elbow, because reality is
that kneeding dough is much harder of you;ve got lots of folds of fabric
rooled around your elbow.  Good luck!

-- adina
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Mon, 22 May 95 13:05 O
Subject: Re: HaMotzi Sans Salt

     The first time I ran ito the minhag of not using salt on Friday
night was in the home of a distinguished "yekki" family, who stated that
this was the prevalent minhag in Washington Heights. I've recently met
other yekki families who did not know of this minhag.


From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Fri, 19 May 1995 13:07:41 -0400
Subject: heart-K
Newsgroups: israel.mail-jewish

In v19n66 David Sherman writes:

>Any idea what a solid black heart with a white K in it is? 

Although David requested a private response (via email), I think that
this is a good opportunity to remind everyone that 2 years ago the
Va'ad of Detroit distributed a "reliable heckshers list" via its
"Kosher-Gram" which many people receive from them.  I typed this list
(including ASCII renditions of the hecksher stamp), and it was sent to
the whole mj list as its own edition.  To my knowledge, the Detroit
Vaad has not send an update to that list, so that list should still be
reliable.  Perhaps someone remembers the volume and number of that
sumbission so that MJers can refer there before posting to the list
for individual inquiries.

Here is the info on the heart-K (from the Vaad Horabonim of Greater
Detroit; 15919 West Ten Mile Road, Suite 208; Southfield, MI  48237;
(810) 424-8880; FAX (810) 424-8882):

The "Heart K"
  __  __        Kehila De Los Angeles
 /  \/  \       415 N. Spaulding    
 \      /       Los Angeles, CA  90036
  \ K  /        (213) 935-8383
   \  /         Rabbi A. Teichelman, Rabbinic Administrator

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Thu, 1 Jun 95 23:06:34 EDT
Subject: Re: Salt on the Challah on Friday Night

> >From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
> AM Goldstein asked about the origin of not using salt on the Challah on
> Friday Night. The way I understood the custom, it has nothing to do with
> Friday Night.  Rather it is based on a comment of the Shitta Mequbetzet
> on Tractate Keritot (in the small letter in the back), that saisd that
> in menahot (meal offerings) the salt was offered mixed up in the loaf of
> the minha. Thus, since Hallah is generally made with salt, salt need not
> be added. As a result, the only time you NEED to put salt on bread is
> Pesach because matzot are baked without salt.

While I'm sure R.D. Woolf is familiar with the discussion in e.g. the
shulchan aruch and commentaries there, I'll just cite them with a
request for additional information about why we are so into dipping
bread into salt these days.

In shulchan aruch orach chayim 167:5, the mechaber cites the gemara in
brachot that one should not cut the bread till there is salt or relish
in front of him (or in front of everyone), then adds that for white
bread or flavored or salted bread, or for bread that is intended to be
eaten plain, one does not have to wait for salt.  The taz discusses the
rosh's interpretation of a subsequent gemara in which one of the
Babylonian sages did not wait for salt to be brought to the table.  His
cryptic answer to the question of why was interpreted to be either one
does not have to wait in general for relish if it will take a while, or
that some bread (e.g. white bread or bread with salt) does not require
relish.  The rama does add that it's a "mitzvah" to put salt on every
table before motzi, because the table on which we eat is compared to an
altar and the food to sacrifices, and all sacrifices had salt.

At any rate, it seems to me that since our bread is made with salt and
also we often eat bread without relish that there is no requirement to
spinkle salt on bread before we eat it.  Am I missing something?

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


End of Volume 19 Issue 84