Volume 20 Number 66
                       Produced: Mon Jul 24 23:47:37 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avraham and Sarah
         [Elozor Preil]
Kosher Cleaning Products (2)
         [Warren Burstein, Warren Burstein]
Male violence in schools
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Miracle Thaw!!
         [Keith Bierman]
Pinhas and Clinic Murders
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Surrender to Evil
         [Kenneth Posy]
Violence in Yeshivos: Not!
         [Kenneth Posy]
When Did Hair Washing Become Common?
         [Keith Bierman]


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 02:10:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Avraham and Sarah

Joseph Steinberg writes:
>If so, Avraham would have been putting himself in a situation in which
>he would become eternally forbiddedn to Sara. As he would have divorced
>her, Avimelech would have taken her, making him forbidden to her as his
>'remarried-divorced wife'. I have problems with your explanation...

The first time Avraham used the "my wife is my sister" routine was earlier,
in parshas Lech Lecha, when they go to Mitzrayim (Egypt).

Sifsei Chachomim asks: How could Avraham mislead Pharoah into thinking
that Sarah was his unmarried sister - after all, the Egyptians as b'nei
Noach are also enjoined from committing adultery!  If Avraham's plan
succeeded and the Egyptians did NOT kill him, he would be leading
Pharoah into a grave, capital crime!

Sifsei Chachomim answers: Avraham actually told Pharoah: Sarah is my
MARRIED sister, and her husband ran off.  I am accompanying her to find
him and convince him to divorce her, or to ascertain that he in fact is
 Therefore, Pharoah, it is in YOUR interest to let me live that I may
continue to help her search for her missing husband, after which she
will become permitted to you.  This is how Sifsei explains the verse:
V'choysoh nafshi BIGLALECH - Pharoah will keep me alive ON YOUR BEHALF,
i.e., to help you continue the search.

This would solve the problem vis-a-vis Avimelech, as well.


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 16:00:56 GMT
Subject: Re: Kosher Cleaning Products

>I have always assumed that pigskin _would_ present a problem because of the
>Torah prohibition on touching the flesh of a dead pig.

I have never learned that this prohibition applies to anyone today
(nor that it applied to everyone when the Temple exists).  

/ nysernet.org    

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 18:25:50 GMT
Subject: Re: Kosher Cleaning Products

Treif is assur beachila and mutar behanaah - you may not eat it, you may
derive other benefit from it.

I have yet to understand why clearly inedible cleaning products
require hashgacha.  Yes, it gets into your dishes, but what's
the problem with that if it's not food?  If someone knows the answer
to this puzzle please post it.

/ nysernet.org    


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jul 1995 13:45:24 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Male violence in schools

In v20n61, M. Linetsky responds re some comments about violence in schools:

> The students in schools that have violence like this I can gaurantee you
> are no less refined than in those where everyone sits in their corners or
> paint their nails. And Freda, it is Rabbis that come out of these types of
> schools that are most sensible and able at their jobs. 

The first sentence quoted above makes no sense at all.

As to the second, can you or anyone else give me one good reason why I
should ask shailas of, or even have any respect for, rabbis who acted
like that as boys?  Burden of proof is on them that they've grown up.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>


From: <Keith.Bierman@...> (Keith Bierman)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 95 10:01:25 PDT
Subject: re: Miracle Thaw!!

I examined one this weekend. It appears to be a single cast piece of
metal, very similar to the material commonly used in the heat sinks
attached to many expensive (and hot) computer chips.

Some other shops had more complex devices, which employed both a metal
part and ceramic/glass covering. I imagine the intent is to keep insects
away from the defrosting food.


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 19:31:08 -0400
Subject: Pinhas and Clinic Murders

            The Torah portion concerning Pinhas (Phineas) is mega-super
relevant to American life today.
           Remember the people who picketed in _support_ of the nut who
murdered people in Massachusets abortion clinics?  The newspaper
pictures in the following days showed people carrying picket signs,
and those signs quoted the verses about Pinhas' (Phineas') actions. They
cite Pinhas and this Torah portion as justification for gunning down
doctors and anybody who gets in their way within 10 yards of an
abortion clinic.
            If it hasn't been (you should pardon the expression) done to
death already, I'd be interested in hearing people's reactions to this
topic.  Can Jews and/or non-Jews cite Pinhas' action as cause for
"justifiable homicide?"  If so, under what circumstances?
      <Chihal@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 15:21:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Surrender to Evil

Mr. Zaitchick writes:
"Remember back in the 60's when Rabbi Yitzchak Greenberg was
castigated (and that's putting it mildly!) for suggesting that
single women who were going to have sex anyway should go to the
mikvah? I still don't see what was so wrong about that suggestion,
although I can understand why he would be attacked for making it

IMHO, what is wrong with this statement, in addition to the venue it was
made in, was the implicit acceptence of the phenomenon "single women who
were going to have sex anyway". I thought that our religion had a
fundimentally different approach to sin. I didn't know that we change
the rules because "people weren't going to follow them anyway"? Why not
do away with the issur of electricity on shabbos? The torah does not
clearly prohibit this, either!
     What is wrong with this statement is the surrender to something
that, even if it is not "explicitly forbidden l'culei alma (by all
opinions)", is fundimentally wrong. For while there may be no lav, there
is definately a bittul assei of kedoshim t'hiyu, and that is something
we should take seriously. I know that there is a concept of "dibra torah
k'neged yezer hara"(the torah addresses the evil inclination(?)) and
"takanah sh'ei hakahal yachol la'amod bah"(a decree that the people
cannot endure) but to say that this is such a situation is motzei la'as
on b'nos yisrael (slander against jewish women)
     Furthermore: would Greenberg's solution work? I thought that it was
not merely forbidden for a single woman to go to the mikvah, but that
there was a rabbinical injunction that invalidated the action and allow
the torah prohibition of nidah to stay in effect.  (My offhand reference
for this is beis halevy, siman 3, who discusses the issue as a side
point; I have never learned niddah).  If that is indeed the case, to
change that would require a beis din superior "b'middah ub'minyan" (in
number and wisdom(?)) and I don't think that we have one of those.

Betzalel Posy


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 1995 14:40:37 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Violence in Yeshivos: Not!

Mr. Linetsky states:
"His statement therefore misses the mark| Zvi also thinks that
because he never commited violent acts, that it does not exist
anywhere else and the school I attended is a deviant. Sorry to say,
he has not been to too many schools| I do not know how old he is,
but school systems have changed."
     I would like to reiterate what I asserted in a previous post: This
is false. I went to a basically mainstream yeshiva high school, and have
many freinds and relatives who went to other ones.  I would say that I
have visited or have close aquaintances from every major yeshiva high
school in America, and probably in Israel as well. I have never, ever
seen a concerted effort or premeditated mass mutilation of a school, as
he described in his original post.  I am not saying we were angels, and
we many time misbehaved in ways that might cause a chilul hashem, but
rarely was it intentional, and we always did our best to make amends as
soon as we realized.  I cannot imagine that Mr. Linetsky's discription
can be applied to the premier yeshivos: Philidelphia, Baltimore,
Scranton, Telshe, Long Beach, etc... I would be "dan l'cav zechus"
(presumption of innocence" and say that his experience is unique even
for his school, and if not, I am absolutely certain that it is almost
unheard of in the major yeshivos.

[I agree fully with Betzalel from my knowledge of Philadelphia Yeshiva
in the 1970's. We were not perfect, and Shimshi Sherer and I shared a
room in the dorm and the Mashgiach made sure that it was right across
from his office so he could keep an eye on us, but what has been
described in previous postings is far outside what any of us would have
done. Mod.]

     Furthermore: My class left high school in '92. I learn in the high
school beis medrash every night with many current students, and my
brother is in tenth grade. Has the school system changed since last
     I can't stand "yeshiva bashing", a sport that seems to be in vogue
in certain segments of even the frum community. This is no way to
resolve our differences and bring greater achdus (unity) to c'lal
yisroel. We should have great respect and admmiration for those who
spend their time and efforts on intensive limud torah, even as we have
our critisisms and disagreements with how they do it. Obviously, every
one can use advice and improvement (eizehu chacham, halomeid m'col
addam), but those who offer constructive critisism (as I assume
Mr. Linetsky is doing) only impeach their own credibility by such
     I think that the problem addressed by Mr. Halevi, of intra peer
violence, is much more pronouced, and requires more serious attention.


From: <Keith.Bierman@...> (Keith Bierman)
Date: Mon, 24 Jul 95 10:15:14 PDT
Subject: When Did Hair Washing Become Common?

During a lunchtime mishna study session, we stumbled across the
following question:

	When did hair washing become common? Was soap used??

The text which sparked the question is Nazir Perek Vav Mishna
Gimmel. The discussion is about what a Nazir can do to his hair, and
Rabbi Yismael teaches that the Nazir cannot rub dirt into the hair (and
that this can cause some hair to fall out).

Which made us speculate about why one would choose to rub dirt in the
hair (some recalling that this can be used to clean the hair of excess
oil, others recalling the action of products like Nair thought it might
have been viewed as a way to "cut" the hair w/o transgressing).

Curiously absent in this discussion was simple washing with soap (we
aren't concerned with the halacha in this matter, per se. We'd just
check other sources for that ;>). But we are curious about the
custom/habits of the time. Was hair-washing common in that era??

Thanks in advance for your insights.


End of Volume 20 Issue 66