Volume 20 Number 09
                       Produced: Sun Jun 18 18:34:18 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bnei Noach and stealing less than a pruta
         [Meylekh Viswanath]
Chazon Ish and R' Avraham ben Horambam
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Counting Sand
         [Moishe Halibard]
Etymology of 'parent'
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Incandescent and Flourescent Light (4)
         [David Charlap, Michael J Broyde, Andy Goldfinger, Micha
Mechitzot/Seperate Seating at Weddings
         [Simmy Fleischer]
Number 40
         [Mike Marmor]
Numbers leaving Egypt
         [Dave Curwin]
Rambam and Kabbalah
         [David Kaufmann]
         [Jay Bailey]


From: Meylekh Viswanath <pviswana@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 14:29:29 EST5EDT
Subject: Bnei Noach and stealing less than a pruta

Chana Luntz <luntz@...> writes regarding whether a
ben noyekh is khayev for stealing less than a pruta, and comments that
in Sanhedrin 59, the gemore says that jews are moykhl a theft of less
than a pruta, but non-jews are not.

> This is a similar question to the one I raised on another thread,
> namely the extent to which these prescriptions are limiting or
> enabling. I would suggest that they would have to be enabling. Clearly
> one of the sheva mitzvos is not to steal, and this is one of the
> things that the bnei noach court must enforce. But, if you say that a
> bnei noach legal system cannot rule, as the British legal system does,
> to ignore trifles, then you would find yourself in the situation of
> having to say a) that the bnei noach are not permitted to be mochel
> (instead of what we seem to be saying which is that one cannot assume
> that they will be mochel in the absence of any decision to the
> contrary) and b) that a perfectly just fair ben noach court would have
> completely failed its duty because it did not have the time or
> resources to prosecute everybody who, for example, borrowed a pen from
> somebody else and "stole" some of the ink to write a word or two.

A very reasonable understanding of the gemore (based on your report of
it) is that non-jews may not be assumed to be moykhl on a theft of less
than a pruta.  Hence, a non-jewish court must prosecute a theft of less
than a pruta, while a jewish court may not/need not.  Of course, since
this is a question of mamon, don't we need the person from whom the item
was stolen to come to court?  In this case, there would be no problem in
terms of what the court must/may do.

Meylekh. Viswanath, Rutgers University
Graduate School of Management, 92 New St, Newark NJ 07102
Tel: (201) 648-5899  Fax: (201) 648-1233  email: <pviswana@...>


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 12:01:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Chazon Ish and R' Avraham ben Horambam

Where did the Chazon Ish make this statement that we are not to consider 
the shita of R' Avrohom ben HoRambam as a shita.  Is it in print or did 
someone say he heard from someone who heard from the Chazon Ish?



From: <halibard@...> (Moishe Halibard)
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 12:23:11 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Counting Sand

How does one estimate the number of grains of sand on all the beaches on
Earth ? ( recent mail-jewish guesstimate )



From: Arnie Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 17:03:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Etymology of 'parent'

Bob Werman writes:

> > "whoever raises a friends child, the torah considers as if he bore that
> > child)
> I would like to remind the readers that the Hebrew for parent, hore, is
> cousin of teacher, more. Both are derived from yod-resh-heh, to
> permeate, penetrate, to throw.  The function is both physical and
> spiritual.

As much as I agree with these sentiments, I am afraid that hore 'parent' 
is derived from heh-resh-heh, 'to conceive, become pregnant', which is 
the root of 'herayon', 'pregnancy'.  If there is a connection between 
these roots, quite possible for 'weak' verbs, it is probably connected 
with the meaning 'to penetrate' ;-).

Shabbat shalom to all,

Arnie Kuzmack


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 95 11:11:14 EDT
Subject: Incandescent and Flourescent Light

<GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver) writes:
>... I asked the rabbi about this afterward, and he said that while
>there are some opinions that incandescent lights may be used for
>"borei me'orei ha-eish," everybody agrees that fluorescent lights may
>not be used. But he did not know the reasons behind this.

(two speculations ommitted: radiation type and frequency of light)

I think you're ignoring the simple answer in favor of a complicated one
that only a scientist would understand.

A ligtbulb can be said to be burning - just like a fire.  As a matter of
fact, if it wasn't for the vacuum in the bulb, the filament would catch
fire and quickly vaporize - it would "burn itself out".  When an
incandescent bulb stops working, the filament has literally burned out.
You can even see this if the bulb isn't frosted.

A flourescent bulb, on the other hand, doesn't do this.  There is
nothing burning.  There are electrodes at either end of the tube, and
the gasses glow.  I'm not sure whether the electricity flows from one
end of the tube to the other or not, but nothing is burning.  When a
flourescent tube stops working, it's because the electrodes can no
longer provide a steady current, or because of a leak in the glass
enclosure.  Nothing has burned out.  The gasses (the part that gives off
the light) is unchanged throughout the life of the bulb.

From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 09:57:00 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Incandescent and Flourescent Light

One of the writers asked why an incandescent light would be considered a
flame according to most authorites, but a flourescent light not.  This
issue is addressed many different times in an article entitled "Fire and
light in Five Positive commandments" which appeared in volume 25 of the
Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society.  The simple answer given is
that a glowing red hot filiment has the halachic status of "aish" (fire)
according to the Rambam and most other authorites, and this is true both
for strictures and for leinincies.  Since this is "aish" it can be used
for havdala.  Indeed, the article recounts that many Rabbis in Europe
had the customs of specifically making havdala on an incandescent bulb
so as to demonstrate that this was aish minhatorah.
	It is important to remember that if you cannot actually see the 
filiment (such as in a frosted bulb) you certainly cannot use it for 
havdala -- just like you cannot use a sheilded flame.  You must see the 
flame and not just the light. 
Michael Broyde

[Same point about seeing the flame submitted by Dora Schaefer
<jschaef@...>. Mod]

From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 15 Jun 1995 10:06:53 +0200
Subject: Incandescent and Flourescent Light

Mike Gerver asks about the difference between incandescent and
flourescent lights as constituting "ner."  A number of years ago I
attended the Shiur of Rabbi Shlomo Sternberg on Mesechta Shabbos.  In
his analysis, the definition of "aish" is: a material heated to
incandescence (i.e. one that emits light due to its high temperature).
Thus, he holds that turning on an incandescent light on Shabbos is
forbidden because of "aish."  He also stated that turning on a
flourescent light would be forbidden since it employs an incandescent
filament to create initial ionization of the gas within it.  However,
the filament does not contribute directly to the light from the bulb.
The mechanism of light production is that ultraviolet radiation is
produced by discharge within the gas, and the UV radiation causes a
phosphor to glow with visible light.  This would seem consistent with
the opinion that an incandescent bulb is a "ner" while a flourescent
bulb is not.

From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 1995 07:16:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Incandescent and Flourescent Light

For the purposes of defining hav'arah (igniting?) on Shabbos, "aish" is
defined as either ordinary fire, or heating metal until it glows.

If the role of fire in havdalah is to contrast with the prohibition on
Shabbos, then an incandescent bulb (which heats a tungsten filament
until it glows) would qualify as aish.

I think Mike's comparison of flame and glowing metal -- both blackbody
radiation (one of soot, one of the metal) -- shows that the Author of
Halachah knew His physics when He composed the laws of hav'arah.

(I don't want to reopen the "maggots are spontaneously generated" thing
again, but isn't halachah usually based on how nature looks, the impact
it makes on our minds, rather than how it actually is? If so, kindly
ignore that last paragraph.)


From: Simmy Fleischer <sfleisch@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 08:50:15 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Mechitzot/Seperate Seating at Weddings 

A friend of mine will be getting married in a few months and this past
shabbat afternoon a group of us were discussing if he was going to have
mixed or seperate seating and /or a mechitza for dancing. One of the
reasons given by my friend for having seperate seating was because his
kalah (fiance) said that her friends would feel uncomfortable if there
were men watching them dance (one person reacted very strongly against
this idea) I must agree that that does seem a bit out of place. I say
this because during the time of the Beit Hamikdash on the 15th of Av
single women would go out and dance in public! Also do you think that at
the yam sof (red sea) when Bnei Yisrael were singing and dancing that
the men didn't see the women? Please don't misunderstand my intention
here I have nothing against having a mechitza to seperate the dancers
and thereby allowing men to have their space to dance and women theirs.

So can anyone give some halachic, reasons for having a mechitza for
dancing and seperate seating at the meal?

Please send me your responses directly and to thelist as I am still
reading mj editions from last month.


PS and when responding please don't refer to me as "Mr. Fleischer" Simmy 
will be just fine.


From: <mar@...> (Mike Marmor)
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 1995 23:27:43 -0400
Subject: Number 40

There's a terrific series of recorded shiurim by Rabbi Y.U. Milevsky
(a.h.), available at your local Ohr Someyach office. He often discusses
the significance and symbolism of numbers, including 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 10,
12, 13, 15, 39, 40, 49, 50.

I don't remember in which ones the number 40 is explained, but I do
remember that "40 represents a complete change from one extreme to the


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Jun 1995 22:56:21 EDT
Subject: Numbers leaving Egypt

Harry Weiss (<harry.weiss@...>) wrote:

>There has been some discussion regarding the number of Jews and the size
>of the families in the desert.  These were the people who left Egypt.
> ...
>The growth and the shares would be even more pronounced if you consider
>one meaning of the word Chamushim (as mentioned by Rabbi Eliayhu Teitz)
>in his posting.  This meaning is that only one fifth made it out. 

In his commentary on Shmot 13:18 (where it says that Bnei Yisrael went
up "chamushim" from Egypt), the Ibn Ezra writes (in his Perush HaKtzar):
"And it is explained that (chamushim means that only) one in five hundred
left. This is an individual opinion, and there is disagreement about it,
and it is not accepted at all. And we have enough trouble with the Sages
of Yishmael, who say how is it possible that from the fifty-five males
(who went down to Egypt), in 210 years, there would be 600,000 males
above 20, and this would be many more with the children and women..."


From: <kaufmann@...> (David Kaufmann)
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 11:08:16 -0500
Subject: Rambam and Kabbalah

>>From: Michael Frankel <FRANKEL@...>
>1. A poster (J. Goldstein, MJ 19 #90) recently referred to the tradition
>that the Rambam did not know kabbala until late in his life, when he was
>finally inducted into its mysteries. This is a fascinating, venerably
>old, and demonstrably false conception.

Professor Naphtali Lowenthal has a short article in the Winter 1991
issue of Wellsprings outlining the Rambam's kabbalistic knowledge. More
to the point, in _Shaarei Emunah_, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, in discussing
the beginning of the _Mishneh Torah_ demonstrates that the Rambam's
source was the _Zohar_.


From: Jay Bailey <jbailey@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jun 1995 11:00:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Women/Ketubot

A woman may absolutely write and decorate a ketubah. I actually learned
calligraphy to write my wife's ketubah, inspired by a female friend who
had just done the same and has subsequently done it numerous
times...with Orthodox rabbis who would object if there were a
problem. There simply is no reason why not, as it is simplya legal
document. As a matter of fact, many wedding use a xeroxed one anyway!

It's a wonderful skill, lots of fun, much appreciated, and if you don't
dwell too much on the fact that it's essentially a divorce paper, it can
be quite fullfilling!!



End of Volume 20 Issue 9