Volume 21 Number 02
                       Produced: Mon Aug 14  2:56:39 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fax on Shabbat (3)
         [Joseph Steinberg, Avi Wachtfogel, Robert A. Book]
Fax on Shabbath
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Following orders
         [Stuart Schnee]
Messages Posted on Shabbos
         [Jeanette Friedman]
More on Following Orders
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 13:52:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fax on Shabbat

Jay --

About a year ago I asked Rav Meir Goldwicht a similar question -- can I
send email to Israel on Friday afternoon (USA time) if I know that the
person on the other end will read it on Shabbat (and thus be M'chalel
Shabbat l'chol Hadeot). One of the issues he brought up in discussing
it, was that it IS permissable to send a FAX to somewhere where it is
Shabbat as long as where it is being sent from it is not. (Of course,
this assumes a direct-dial connection -- asking an Israeli operator to
put you through on a Friday night is a problem.) I do not know, however,
if the recipient is allowed to read the FAX on Shabbat or not. (In my
case it was a non-issue, the people in Israel were not Shomrei Shabbat.)

-- Joseph

From: Avi Wachtfogel <awachtfo@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 95 16:14:29 
Subject: Re: Fax on Shabbat

There was a long tshuva by Rav Lau on the subject of Fax machines on
Shabbat. It was printed in Tchumin (from Machon Tsomet). Unfortunately,
I don't have it handy. Does anyone else have it?

Avi Wachtfogel

From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 1995 13:00:38 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Fax on Shabbat

Jay Bailey (<jaydena@...>) writes:
> We're in Israel and we have a fax machine. What are the ramifications of
> receiving a fax on Friday night (from the States, when it is still
> Friday afternoon)? A far as I can tell, the page itself if probably
> Muktzeh, as it could not be designated in any way before Shabbat. I
> assume the actual act by the sender is not problematic, and reading it
> without touching it (assuming it's one page) is not really a
> problem. I've considered some other possibilities...anybody?

I don't see (immediately, anyway) why the page itself should be mukzteh.
What melacha [prohibited action on Shabbat] are you affriad of
committing by touching the page?  (I am assuming here that the page has
come out of the machine, and the machine cuts the paper by itself.)  It
seems like the fax arriving on Shabbat is like a postcard arriving in
the mail on Shabbat (in the U.S., which has Saturday mail delivery,
where you don't have to worry about whether the mail carrier is Jewish).
Why should a postcard be mukzteh?

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 1995 11:59:59 +0000
Subject: Fax on Shabbath

Niel Parks wrote:
>Stick the fax machine in some out-of-the-way corner or cover it up, and
>ignore it till after Shabbos.

This seems okay.

>Alternatively, unplug the thing before candle-lighting so that no one
>will be able to send you a fax when it's Shabbos, your time.  Then plug
>it back in after Havdallah.

No, why would you want to prevent someone across the ocean from doing something
that is perfectly fine, i.e., sending you a fax before Shabbath (for him) so
that you can read it after Shabbath (for you).

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


From: Stuart Schnee <msstu@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 11:12:38 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Following orders

During IDF basic training we also spent alot of time discussing the
concept of "pkuda bilti chukit ba'alil" - the trigger for the
discussions were the Kafar Kassem incident (IDF soldiers killed innocent
Arab civilians under order).  It must be mentioned that we spent MUCH
more time talking about the fact that we MUST follow orders at all
times, even giving our lives.

We were told, however, that as IDF soldiers, we had an obligation to
refuse orders which were "bilti chukit ba'alil" - illegal in their
essence - examples given were an officer telling us to shoot another
soldier or to open fire on a crowd of Arabs "just because".

We were also told that if we were ordered to do something we felt was
wrong - we usually would have to do it and only afterwards complain to
the proper authorities.

These 2 opposing sides leave a soldier to decide much for himself.  Yet,
in the army the overwhelming atmosphere is to do what you're told. This,
I think, colors Israeli perception of following and disobeying orders -
I think most people feel we should just follow orders. Yet...

In my humble opinion, it seems we could argue that Jews wanting to hand
over Eretz Yisrael to non-Jews is illegal - what seems to add weight to
such a statement would be the fact that the gov't relies on non-Jews in
the Knesset for its mandate and that it is an extremely controversial

It has been my experience in Israel that usually in public debate, the
secular left holds a moral upper hand (monopoly?) in the public media

Thus, regardless of how often anyone proves that to disobey IDF orders
in a withdrawl from Jewish land is desirable - I don't think it will
ever be accepted here as a legitimate form of behavior. People also
criticized the left for calling on soldiers to disobey orders - but for
some reason the tone of criticism was one that held some understanding
in it also.

My sense is that the popular media etc. reports on the opposition to
this gov't have consistently painted the protestors as marginal etc. Now
with all the hill tops being "taken over" the media points to the fact
that "it's all children" the implication being that it isn't serious. I
think if there were many children a pro-gov't rally the tone in the
media would be "even the younger generation is willing to take risks for
peace" etc etc.

With all this in mind, I'm sceptical if officers and the public will
show much sympathy to any soldier who refuses orders that can be seen as
"right wing" behavior. It seems to me that the discussion starts out
heavily weighed against such actions before they are even taken.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 07:46:07 -0400
Subject: Messages Posted on Shabbos

If the people who worry about reading posts that were done on Shabbos
are really serious, then they'd better forget using anything, reading
anything or doing anything -- you don't know how many non-frum Jews
worked on the local newspaper, worked OT in the light bulb factory,
built your computer, etc, and how many of them worked on Shabbos.  If a
post is dated, that may not necessarily be correct, and you are being
"choished" people.

To me, the questioners reek of the need for an additional "geder" to
separate themselves from those Jews who still have a pintele yid in
them, but aren't quite good enough for the Observant Jews because they
post on Shabbos.

If it's so necessary to exclude still more people from coming a little
closer to Yiddishkeit (if they are on these boards they are looking to
connect), if it's so necessary to find another reason to make people
different from each other and to make others "better" because they are
better religionists, o.k.  for the people who need that separation.

I would rather be separated from them. Because to me, not reading a post
written on Shabbos, and making an issue out of it, is a good way to
create even more sinas chinom between Jews.

Since it seems that the promotion of hatred between denomination of
Judaism in the last ten years has become so fashionable, I'm sure a new
chumrah against people like me will be forthcoming.

It's so nice not to be wanted.


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 1995 12:35:35 GMT
Subject: More on Following Orders

As a number of posters have referred to this aspect in v.20n.99, I will
 take the liberty of discussing a few issues together.

a) The requirement of refusing to obey an order (as derived from
Nuremberg) is that it is _Bilti Chukit Be'alil_, which I believe would
translate best as "PATENTLY illegal." The only understanding I have of
that statement is that the order given to the soldier is one which is
_obviously_ a violation of generally accepted human norms of behavior.
Nuremberg was a rather obvious example of that. Now, one might say that
asking a soldier to do something contrary to his religious views is
patently illegal. Let's take that as indeed being a patent violation.
At the very least, for a religious norm to be patently violated, it must
be one which is generally accepted by that religion.  Surely, if a
fringe group of Jews decided that one cannot drive on Chol HaMoe'd (and
there is a P'sak like that - I have it in my library), an order by an
officer for a Jew to drive on Chol HaMo'ed could hardly be regarded as a
_patently_ illegal order. (I'm not talking about whether the person
should be made to drive - merely about the legality of such an order.
Please keep that in mind.)

Now, as we know that there is very much of a dispute among Rabbanim
about whether soldiers can be ordered to dismantle a base, can we say
that an officer issuing such an order is guilty of a PATENTLY illegal
order? I think not. Using the "patently illegal" defense here is totally
distorting what Nuremberg was all about.

Now for the disclaimer - as I've learned from previous postings of
mine. Please note that in this section I did not discuss whether a) such
a P'sak should have been issued; b) whether it was or was not correct;
c) what my personal views are. I am merely discussing here the "patent
illegality" claim.

b) A claim was made that Yair Tsaban and Yossi Sarid preached to
soldiers in the Lebanon war that they should not follow orders. First of
all, Yossi Sarid denies categorically that he did so. Second, in a war
in which Israel took the initiative and in which there were civilian
casualties (albeit a fraction of the Arab claims) a case can more
readily be made for a "patently illegal" order. I fail to see how this
equates with ordering a soldier to dismantle an army base.

c) Carl Sherer has a number of questions regarding the making of
decisions on national security: "Who vested that power in the government
and how was it vested? On what halachic basis is the government supposed
to exercise that power? What does the halacha require the government to
consider? Does the power to make such evaluations also apply to a
government that does not recognize the primacy of the Torah? Does it
apply to a government that delegates to itself the "right" to abrogate
the Halacha whenever it so chooses?"

While I won't deal with the questions in the order which Mr. Sherer
brings them or with all of them individually, I would like to note that,
(I) there has NEVER been a government in the history of the State of
Israel that has recognized the primacy of Halacha. Pork is still
available in many locations; Treif restaurants abound; Haifa has Shabbat
bus service; "ladies of the night" advertise (or used to) in the daily
press, etc. Does Mr. Sherer want to know the answer to his questions in
general regarding the government and the primacy of Halachah, or only
when a government which doesn't agree with his views is in power? (ii)
IF (and it's a BIG IF) the government has the status of a Melech (king)
- and there have been post-1948 Poskim who have ruled so - the Melech is
often not even bound by much of Halachah, as, for example, being
permitted to have a person killed for reasons of state, without having
the required judicial evidence. That would certainly mean that in
matters of state the government has a great deal of leeway. Given the
above, I think that all of Mr. Sherer's questions are simply not
relevant to the case at hand. NO government in Israel has followed the
Halacha, and never until this government has that ever led religious
people (except for the Eidah Charedit and Agudah) to impugn the
government's right to govern. Does Mr. Sherer claim that the government
which passed the law applying the Law of Return to converts - without
specifying "converted in accordance with Halachah" - was thereby an
illegal one, and that all its decisions could be ignored?  Let's face
it, while almost all governments have had religious members (this is the
second or third time that that isn't so), in most cases the government
did whatever it liked. Halachah was at best a minor concern to it, often
fobbed off by financial allocations to the religious parties. To
suddenly throw up a smokescreen of the "Halachic illegitimacy" of the
present government - as opposed to all previous governments seems to me
to a little too much.

d) I agree with Mr. Sherer that a discussion about the Halachic aspects
of giving up land in Eretz Yisrael for (let us say) a real peace is
something which MJ should address. The key, though, to such a discussion
should be the theoretical aspect - pressupposing a real peace can be had
at the price of "land for peace," what should Halachic Jewry's position
be? If we can iron that out, all that is left is to determine the
"minor" matter of whether what is being negotiated now is a "real peace"
or not. For some reason, though, to me such a discussion is strictly in
realm of politics - certainly not in the realm of Halachah - which
brings us back to Square One!

Vehu rachum ...

         Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
<himelstein@...> (JerOne, not Jer-L)


End of Volume 21 Issue 2