Volume 21 Number 28
                       Produced: Thu Aug 24 23:07:23 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Definition of Orthodoxy
         [Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
Bet Hillel - Nolad - FAX on Shabbat
         [Joseph Steinberg]
Chinuch and berachos
         [Constance Stillinger]
Jews as Non-Jews
         [Binyomin Segal]
Kohanim and Cemeteries
         [Uri Meth]
Pinchos and Eliyahu
         [Chaim Schild]
re-Definition of Orthodoxy
         [Ari Belenkiy]
Supreme Rabbinic Court of America
         [Jan David Meisler]
The Limits of Zealotry
         [Steve White]
         [Tara Cazaubon]
Wearing a Kippah
         [Stuart Greenberg]


From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 08:50:26 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: A Definition of Orthodoxy

Chaim Wasserman asks what of the Ikkarim's distillation of the Rambam's
principles into three ikkarim, primary categories. The Ikkarim was not
arguing on the Rambam's doctrinal assertions, he did not like the
Rambam's taxonomy.  So far as I recall, the Ikkarim holds that Belief in
G-d, the Revelation of Torah and Reward & Punishment cover the gamut of
the rambam's Thirteen Principles in a more concise and exact fashion. I
am not familiar with Crescas' taxonomy, however, I assume that his
approach is fundamentally similar. I thus continue to maintain that it
is acceptance of doctrine - not adherence to Halacha (except in such
areas as Chillul Shabbos, which the Rambam himself equates to violation
of doctrine at the end of Hilchos Shabbos) - that properly defines

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 11:25:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Bet Hillel - Nolad - FAX on Shabbat

Someone posted:
:In a case of machloket Halakha REQUIRES from us to follow an opinion of
:Bet Hillel.

Except for the three exceptions (or six exceptions) -- of which Beitza
Shenolda B'Yom Tov is one... In other words, the halacha is like Beit
Shammai in the case that was mentioned.



From: Constance Stillinger <cas@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Aug 1995 23:50:38 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Chinuch and berachos

<EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil) writes:
> I wonder about the chinuch value of coaxing a four-year-old to say a bracha
> he will rarely (if ever) say again.

Getting him or her accustomed to the idea that there are brachot to be
said and that he or she will eventually be reponsible for recognizing
when they should be said and for saying them uncoaxed.  Practicing the
"opening formula" in a real context.  Perhaps learning a bit more
Hebrew.  Perhaps opening a little-kid-oriented discussion about the
laws and functions of brachot in general.  Reminding him or her that
the world is Hashem's creation.

There is the opportunity for plenty of chinuch value, but only if the
responsible adult takes advantage of that opportunity.

Dr. Constance A. (Chana) Stillinger        <cas@...>
EPGY, Stanford Univ.   Morris's Mommy   "Hoppa Reyaha Gamogam" (Lev. 19:18)


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 10:10:36 -0500
Subject: Jews as Non-Jews

Rachel Rosencrantz answers her own question when she asks

 * I'm not sure what the Chazon Ish said, but in the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch
 * in the laws of Shabbat (around chapter 72) it states that a Jew who has
 * publically desecrated the Shabbat (it is common knowledge to at least 10
 * adult Jewish men that they desecrate the Shabbat) is considered as Akum
 * - a non-Jew in all areas (except marriage).  Therefore food they have
 * cooked, bread they have baked, and wine they have touched all are
 * affected the same way as food/bread and wine cooked/baked or touched by
 * a non-jew.  This is a rabbinical restriction.

and then continues

 * Now, many Jews today who may appear to publically desecrate the Shabbat
 * can be considered as if they had been raised in captivity.  Basically,
 * they weren't raised/taught to know any better, so they are not fully
 * culpable in their violations of halacha.  Does this change the status of
 * these desecrators of Shabbat to no longer be Akum?  Some hold that this
 * doesn't change things sufficiently, others may hold differently.

This is exactly the psak of the Chazon Ish.

as we said in yeshiva..."when you are on the right path, you meet



From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 11:30:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Kohanim and Cemeteries

In v21n23, Warren Burstein (<warren@...>) asks:

>What sort of tumah does one encounter in a cemetary if one doesn't step
>over a grave or under something that overhangs a grave (such as a tree)?

A Kohain in addition to not coming under the same ohel as a grave is
also not supposed to come withing 4 Amos (6-8 feet) of a grave.
(I am sorry, but I do not have the source with me.)
However, if there is a Mechitza (separating wall) between the Kohain and
the grave, the 4 Amoh distance does not apply.  That is presumably what
the person wanted when he asked for people to surround him while walking
through the cemetary (not that I agree with what he did, but this is his
reasoning).  However, as was pointed out in an earlier posting, this
Mechitza must be a Halachich wall, and just a few people surrounding a
person in a ring with large open spaces between them, might not suffice.

>And is a structure that is open on top (such as is formed by being
>surrounded by people) an ohel?

Again, this would not be the concept of ohel, but rather the concept of

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100		Warminster, PA 18974


From: <SCHILDH@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 08:37:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pinchos and Eliyahu

Mr. Goldstein's post was confusing. I was always under the impression
that Pinchos and Eliyahu shared the same soul but different bodies (i.e.
Eliyahu was a separate birth). Some people seem confused and expect that
Eliyahu HAS to be a Cohen since Pinchos was..Conflicting Midrashim/Gemaras
aside, let us examine another example well known to people....
In the Haggadah, Elazar ben Azaryah says that he is LIKE a man 70 years
old.... and besides the answer that he was 18 and his beard turned
white overnite is the answer that he was a gilgul of Shmuel HaNavi who
died young at 52 (18 + 52 = 70, hence the DRUSH).....Now Elazar ben Azaryah
was a Cohen and Shmuel a Levi....thus it would appear that whether
the person is a Cohen Levi or Yisrael depends on the body and not the
soul...i.e. there is also the idea that gilgulim and ibbur (*second
soul hops in same body) occur so a person can do all 613 commandments,
many of which apply only to Cohanim.....BTW, Cohen Levi or Yisrael is
roshei teivot KELI, vessel, i.e. body...but now I think we
are getting a bit too Kabalistic ;)



From: <belenkiy@...> (Ari Belenkiy)
Date: Tue, 22 Aug 1995 23:28:44 -0700
Subject: re-Definition of Orthodoxy

("re" here means to reply and to repeat. So you can square it "re"^2.)

I am grateful to those who gave first quick responsa to my challenge. 
I am sure that it is only beginning of the big serious discussion.
I am indebted to Micha Berger for introducing the word "self-referential" 
in the discussion. This lifted the whole discussion on another  
intellectual level.

I repeat: the purpose is to find a FORMAL definition of Orthodoxy.

The purpose flows from the goal. 
If we want to WIN the next elections in Eretz Israel we need to answer 
honestly who we are - we, who call themselves "Orthodox Jews".
Being able to answer to ourselves we can explain this to Jews around us.
If we would not be able to explain we will lose the next elections
and all other elections.  (So far nobody on this list questioned Halakhic 
legitimicy of the electorial procedure in Israel).
We will be doomed to lose, to die, to be forgotten. 
By generations to come. Even by our grandchildren.
That's why to find such a formal Definition is NECESSARY. 

I like how Micha Berger answered and I am ready to accept it:
"Orthodox Jew is the one who freely chose to follow Halakha".
The problem arises from the next simple question: Which Halakha?
Moshe Feinstein or Rav Soloveitchik? Thus Micha's definition might
be respelled this way: "Orthodox Jew is the one who, knowing 
different opinions of different poskim, pasken Halakha for himself." 

I personally accept this Definition but should view it as NON-WORKING:
a little minority of Orthodox Jews will accept it.

I want to analyse a "standard" Definition given by Yosef Gavriel
Bechhofer: "O.J. are those who believe in 13 principles of faith,
articulated by Rambam". It cannot be a WORKABLE Definition. Not only
because serious people (like Ravad) disagreed. Not only because Torah
Scrolls in Yemenite communities are by 6 letters different from
Ashkenazi ones.  Not only because Rambam himself was unsure about

It is not a workable Definition because it is not operative more.  I
heard only about several cases when a simple verbal confirmation of
these principles was necessary to be recognized in the Orthodox shuls
(to get aliyah, for example).

It is not workable because it appeals to what we think and not what we

I met many people among my former compatriots from Russia who claimed
that they are much more sincere believers than all of those who daven
three times a day. I could not argue: I do not know what is in their
hearts. I could only to answer that they should not claim that they are
"more" because they also do not know about faith of other people.

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer quoted an interesting statement:
<As Heilman and Cohen in their book on Modern Orthodoxy "Cosmopolitans
<and Parochials" pointed out, many people are sociologically Orthoprax,
<despite lacking solid belief in the underlying Dox.

It is sad to think that a game with letters may be considered as a
"final answer" to such a serious question.  I'd like to answer that
Orthoprax cannot be but a believer. As for "solid belief" I am ready to
bet that if you start to talk sincerely with your best friend you will
find out that both of you understand all 13 principles differently
(unless both of you will synchronously repeat the last shiur of your

All in all I still think that I gave the best Definition of Orthodoxy.
Orthodoxy = Shabbat (+kashrut+kipah). + Mikvah.

Michael Broyde said that "kipah is not required to be an Orthodox."
This is a learned answer of those who... look back. (I repeat: those are
doomed to lose). In the present, kipah is much more manifest and
important than questionable (and often political) kashrut regulations.
Besides "kipah" - what makes us RECOGNIZABLE in the crowd.

He also said: "On a halachic level, I have always accepted that the
central defintion of orthodox is that the person accepts that halacha is
fully binding and would never deliberately violate one of its mandates."

This brings us once more to the initial question "what is Halakha after
Shulchan Aruch?" and to unclear mumbling about Halakha as a "responsa
literature" whereas it is clear that "what was now-a-days Halakha" we
will find out in 100 years.

Once more: we need a workable Definition of ourselves and not a mumbling
about foggy "responsa". We need to find principles under which all of us
are ready to subscribe. I believe that such principles are two: Shabbat
and Eretz Israel. The rest is a derivative.

Ari Belenkiy

P.S. I am sure that some people will answer: why should we win? Maybe
Hashem want us to lose? Then I doubt to find a common ground with them.
As Moshe Rabbeinu said: "Surely, the things are known".


From: Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 13:55:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Supreme Rabbinic Court of America

Someone made a referance to an organization called the "Supreme Rabbinic
Court of America" located on Arcola Avenue in Silver Spring, MD.  Does
anyone have any information about this organization?  I live in Silver
Spring, a block away from Arcola Avenue, and have never heard of this



From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 10:54:40 -0400
Subject: The Limits of Zealotry

Kenneth Posy writes:
>     It is ironic that for Pinchas was originally awarded the Kehuna for
>being zealous in the honor of God. He lost it, according to this
>explanation, for that zealotry.

Of course, there is substantial discussion in the commentators
concerning the zealotry, and whether others can/should emulate it.  The
summary of those discussions goes more or less along the lines of, "Only
under some VERY limited circumstances."  If so, it might be very
understandable if Pinchas himself, in trying to repeat himself, violated
those VERY limited circumstances.

Steve White


From: <tarac@...> (Tara Cazaubon)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 15:05:44 -0700
Subject: Tzitzit

I was reading the halacha of tzitzit on the Project Genesis halacha-yomi
list today and noticed an interesting statement.  In Siman 9:6 it says that
if you have a linen garment you can put wool tzitzit on it (that shatnez in
this way is permissible, only for tzitzit, since the techeilet is always
wool).  This was a translation from the Hebrew and not entirely clear to
me, so maybe someone can elaborate on this and let me know if this is
allowed only in extenuating circumstances, or if it is generally considered
okay in all circumstances where you have a linen garment and wool tzitzit.

Tara Arielle Cazaubon
San Diego, CA


From: <sgreenbe@...> (Stuart Greenberg)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 10:35:32 -0400
Subject: Wearing a Kippah

What are the halachic requirments for an orthodox ashkanazic jew to wear a
kippah at the place of employment.


End of Volume 21 Issue 28