Volume 21 Number 26
                       Produced: Thu Aug 24  1:01:28 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Definition of Orthodoxy
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Custom not to have Tied Knots at Wedding
         [Ronald Schwarzberg]
Mitzva to Live in Eretz Yisrael
         [Warren Burstein]
Mitzva to live in Eretz Yisrael
         [Josh Backon]
Pinchas and Eliyahu
         [Carl Sherer]
Protocol Regarding Certain Recalcitrant Husbands of Agunot
         [Cheryl Hall]
Rabbi Rackman and the Ramban
         [Kenneth Posy]
Reasons of State (2)
         [Zvi Weiss, Avi Feldblum]
Unusual Brachot
         [Dena Landowne Bailey]


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 20:25:23 -0400
Subject: A Definition of Orthodoxy

If we accept the doctrinal benchmark for orthodoxy as the RaMBaM's 13
principles, as Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer suggested [mj21.18], then what do
we do with such immense talmiday chachomim as R. Yosef Albo whose Sefer
haIkkarim was written to show that there are but three basic doctrinal
principles. And what about Albo's "rebbi", R. Chasdai Crescas who had a
fascinating count of 8?

Arriving at a definition of what is "orthodox" may become an exercise in
futility as much as we really need to formulate one. But to start with,
I would look to a technique which the RaMBaM (and others) employed -
reductio ad absurdum - to state definitively what something is "not" so
that "michlal lav ata shomea hen".

Chaim Wasserman   


From: Ronald Schwarzberg <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 00:56:57 -0400
Subject: Custom not to have Tied Knots at Wedding

Last evening I was at a wedding held in Lakewood and noticed that the
groom did not have his tie tied when he walked down to the
Chupa. However when he returned from pictures, etc during the meal, the
tie was properly tied. Upon asking some of the people there it was
clarified that it was the custom to not have any knots tied at the
Chupa, including shoulaces, cuff-links etc. However, no reason for the
custom was offered.

Do any of the list members know of this custom and what the reasons for
it are.

Ronald Schwarzberg
Highland Park, NJ
(c/o <feldblum@...>)


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 08:02:13 GMT
Subject: Re: Mitzva to Live in Eretz Yisrael

Carl Sherer writes:
> we still can separate the Trumos and Maasros and leave them to rot.

It is my understanding that

1) Maaser Rishon and Maaser Ani are separated by saying "one tenth is
maaser Rishon (or Ani)", Trumat Maaser is removed from the Maaser
Rishon, and the rest is then permitted.

2) Maaser Sheni is redeemed on a coin, which is eventually destroyed.

3) Trumah and Trumat Maaser produced on an industrial scale, rather than
being left to rot, is often fed to animals which are the property of a
Cohen.  I've heard of the animals at both the Jerusalem and Ramat Gan
zoos being given to Cohanim for this purpose, and I would not be
surprized if the same is done in other places, including livestock and
dairy farms.  I think, however, that there is nothing that can be done
with Trumot from wine.  Do they have to let it become vinegar before
discarding it?

Therefore, less needs to be left to rot.  Or are there differing
practices with regard to separating Trumot and Maaser?

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?

From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Mon,  21 Aug 95 23:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Mitzva to live in Eretz Yisrael

Carl Sherer asked regarding the Satmar response to the 3 oaths as
mentioned in the Gemara in Ktuvot. A very interesting sefer to read is
EIM HA'BANIM SEMEICHAH by Rav Yissachar Shlomo Teichtal HY'D. Harav
Teichtal was a Satmarer who wrote the above sefer in Hungary in 1944
before he was deported to Auschwitz. In it he castigates his fellow
Satmarer chassidim for rejecting all attempts to go on Aliya. He does
indicate that the 3 oaths were NOT violated by the *zionists*.

Josh Backon


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 95 0:28:53 IDT
Subject: Pinchas and Eliyahu

In Vol.21 #20, Yosey Goldstein gives a beautiful explanation proving
that Pinchas was Eliyahu and Bilam was Lavan.  I'd like to suggest
another alternative.

We have a concept in Yahadus (Judaism) of gilgul neshamos - that one
soul may appear in a number of different people for reasons which we
mere mortals cannot know or appreciate.  The Ramban (and I apologize but
I was unable to find it in Shmos 3 where I expected to) suggests at one
point that Moshe Rabbeinu's neshama (soul) was in fact that of Hevel -
the son of Adam who was murdered by his brother Kayin.  If we interpret
Chazal's words as meaning that Eliyahu had Pinchas' neshama it enables
us to reconcile Pinchas being a Cohen with the medrash which states that
Eliyahu was from the tribe of Gad.  Similarly, it allows us to reconcile
Chazal's statement that Bilam was Lavan with the Gemara's statement that
Bilam lived only 33 years.

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


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 1995 02:04:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Protocol Regarding Certain Recalcitrant Husbands of Agunot

The above is the title of a notice published in the Aug 19th edition of
the Jerusalem Post International Edition. It is a quarter page notice in
very tiny print issued by The Supreme Rabbinic Court of America 141
Arcola Ave Silver Springs, MD 20902. I read it and it sounds monumental
and kind of explosive to me, and I have very little background.

Gee... if all of you MJers who could really discuss this would, I'd
appreciate it.  (and probably learn a bit too)

Cheryl <CHERYLHALL@...> Long Beach CA USA


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 17:07:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rabbi Rackman and the Ramban

I have a two questions and one major problem with what Rabbi Rackman writes
in a post by David Guberman. 
First, I will address his second point: 

>Professor Michael Z. Nehorai of Bar-Ilan University [proves f]rom the
>writings of Maimonides and Nachmanides . . . that despite their commitment
>to the conquest and settlement of Israel, decisions on war and peace in
>their day (as in ours) are not based on halacha but rather on the realistic
>needs of the moment. 

     My problem is that I don't understand what he is talking about in
the second paragraph. The Ramban and the Rambam never made any decision
of war and peace. They had no armies. The decisions of war and peace
that they advised were made by goyim who were not subject to halacha.

>None of the halachic prerequisites for the rule of the halacha were then
>available as they are not now.
     Is Rabbi Rackman really saying that there is no difference between
the conditions in the Ramban's time and now? That is a position that I
would more associate with the Neturei Karta than the Chancellor of a
zionist university!  My impression was that the main argument between
(religious) zionists and anti-zionist was if the fact that, on a
b'dieved level, the government does not keep halacha, does that
invalidate their status. L'chatchila, every opinion I have heard
*requires* them to keep halacha. To say that that any Jew does not
*have* to keep halacha, I think is problematic, to be polite.
     I want to respond to the first half of this quote in a different
post, after I calm down.

Betzalel Posy


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 13:23:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Reasons of State

One of the posters in the discussion about the Israeli Government stated 
thata Melech has extra-legal powers that include "killing" for reasons of 
state.  (that was the term used -- not my term).
Iwould be most interested in sources for such a halacha.
It appears that the Melech only has power to execute those who are guilty 
of murder -- but cannot be killed for "technical" reasons by a Court. 
And, the King may execute soemone who is "mored b'malchut" -- i.e., 
direct rebellion/disrespect to the King.  Even this latter is limited -- 
for example, one who is "rebellious" because he or she is busy in the 
performance of a mitzva is NOT considered a "mored" and is NOT liable to 
Since the question of "Mored" requires a Torah knowledge, I would also 
be interested in knowing ANY *current* poskim who unequivically state 
that the current government has such power.
I would also add that I have been told -- based upon the experiences of 
people living in Israel at the time of the Independence -- that the 
*orginal* attitudes of support for the government have progressively 
soured as the government has demonstrated its increasing contempt for 
Torah.  By that, I am *NOT* referring to the sale of Pork but to the 
apparent on-going villificaiton of Torah observant lifestyles by members 
of the government.


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 00:21:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Reasons of State

Zvi Weiss writes:
> One of the posters in the discussion about the Israeli Government stated 
> thata Melech has extra-legal powers that include "killing" for reasons of 
> state.  (that was the term used -- not my term).
> I would be most interested in sources for such a halacha.

You basically appear to be giving it below, but just to reply, if we
want to use the Rambam, it is Laws of Kings Chapter 3 law 8,
qualification of law 9.

> And, the King may execute soemone who is "mored b'malchut" -- i.e., 
> direct rebellion/disrespect to the King.  Even this latter is limited -- 
> for example, one who is "rebellious" because he or she is busy in the 
> performance of a mitzva is NOT considered a "mored" and is NOT liable to 
> penalty.

To quote:
Whomever rebels against the king of Israel, the king has the right to
kill the person. Even if the king declares (gozer - poor translation,
I'm blocking at the moment) on one individual from the nation that he
should go to some place and he did not go, or that he should not leave
his house and he does, he is desrving of death. If the king wants to
kill him he may as the pasuk says "and any man that rebels against your

So the basic statement appears clear to me that in general anything the
king sets as a rule, if one violates the rule one is liable to the
extent of death. So Reasons of State appear to include anything the king
decides are "Reasons of State".

The halakha does place two restrictions on this power of the king.

1) If you do not do the command of the king because you are involved in
the doing of a mitzvah - since that is the command of Hashem who takes
precedance over any earthly king.

This implies restriction two;

2) Any command of the king that violates halakha is not binding.

The RADBAZ's comment on the Rambam I thought is interesting. He says
this law applies only to a King who was either crowned by a prophet, or
one whom all of israel has agreed to accept as king. But if one were to
achieve power through force, one is not halakhicaly required to listen
to him.

It thus appears to me that if one accepts the formulation of the Rambam,
one basically has only two (and a half) questions to answer (of course
answer these two questions is where everything gets sticky).

1) Is the election of a king by a majority of the votes casted in Israel
the equavalent of "hiskemo alav kol yisrael" - one whom all of israel
has agreed to accept.

(the 1/2 part - Is the government, as defined by the Knesset (?), the
halakhic equavelant of king, or must you have a single individual with a
lifetime position and full power etc.)

2) Are the laws under discussion ones which violate halakha? (I'd view
the situation of doing another mitzvah when the Israeli law was in
effect a second order problem, rather than a fundimental one, but yes, I
have ignored that point in the above formulation).

Avi Feldblum
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: <jaydena@...> (Dena Landowne Bailey)
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 95 20:12:35 PDT
Subject: Unusual Brachot

>There's one I remember saying in 7th grade.  Bircat Ha-shemesh
>(or was it bitcat ha-chama, I forget which).  it's said once
>every 28 years, when the sun is in the same place it was at the
>time of the Creation.

I remember the same thing from elementary school, but the bracha itself, 
I believe, is "Oseh Ma'aseh Breishit," the same bracha that we say upon 
seeing lightning. So we only say it over the position of the sun every 28 
years, but there are other times that it can be said during the interval.

Dena Landowne Bailey


End of Volume 21 Issue 26