Volume 21 Number 30
                       Produced: Sun Aug 27  0:16:27 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beitza Shenolda B'Yom Tov, Beit Hillel or Beit Shammai
         [Max Shenker]
CD-ROM hebrew software.
         [Joe Goldstein]
Following orders
         [Adam P. Freedman]
Halacha and Morality
         [Steve White]
Halacha/Mishna Yomit
         [Moishe Friederwitzer]
         [Kenneth Posy]
Jews in Malta
         [John Hewson]
Pinchas and Yiftach
         [Elozor Preil]
Psak from more than one Rav
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
Signatories on First Knesset Election Poster
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
Yayin Nesech
         [Micah Gersten]


From: Max Shenker <shenker@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 08:57:26 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Beitza Shenolda B'Yom Tov, Beit Hillel or Beit Shammai

> >From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
> 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.

Where does Mr. Steinberg get this?  The gemara in Beitza gives every
indication that in this case the halacha is indeed like Beit Hillel.
Rashi's commentary on the Mishna only points out that this case is
unique because we find that Beit Hillel is more machmir than Beit
Shammai -- not that we don't hold by Beit Hillel.



From: Joe Goldstein <vip0280@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 95 13:14:04 
Subject: CD-ROM hebrew software.

A fellow co-worker has just approached me with the following question.
Is there any CD-ROM software package that he can buy to teach himself to
read and understand Hebrew? He would like to learn, or actually
re-learn, to read Hebrew before his children are start learning how
themselves. (I offered to teach him, but this will suit his schedule
better than having a live tutor, You know computer professionals and
their schedules)

   So if anyone knows of any such software, please respond to me
directly or via M-J. (The more "Bells & whistles" the better.)

   He also asked me if there is software to allow one to learn the
Haftorah with the proper "Trup".

I appreciate the help

Yosey Goldstein


From: Adam P. Freedman <APF@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 8:56:00 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Following orders

I am confused.

In a recent posting, the question was asked:
>BTW - if anyone has a basis for following orders other than the laws of
>a King, dina demalchusa and pikuach nefesh I'd be interested in hearing
>about it.

I assumed that, at the minimum, following orders would be a case of
performing one's job in exchange for a salary. I recall many stories
from Chazal about how one should go to extremes to be conscientious in
working for an employer.  Otherwise, one might be guilty, h"v, of theft
to one degree or another.  Does this not apply while serving in the
armed forces of Israel, or any other country? Is the level of
remuneration important?

To carry this question to a different context. Here in California, we
are constantly called to jury duty. Is it simply my "civic duty" to
perform the job as well as I can (and is there a halachic basis for
civic duty, e.g.  dina d'malchuta dina), or does the fact that I get
paid $5 per day obligate me halachically to do the best job that I can?

Adam Freedman


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Thu, 24 Aug 1995 10:54:45 -0400
Subject: Halacha and Morality

A recent thread between Messrs. Scherer (>>) and Posy (>):

>>There's a preliminary question that I still think has to be answered 
>>here.  Is there a halachic basis for a requirement to follow orders 
>>in the army and if so what is it? If anyone has one, I'd like to hear
>>it.  If there is no specific halachic source for following orders,
>>then it seems to me that it could be the case that one must only follow
>>orders when there is pikuach nefesh (i.e. in battle zones, etc. by the
>>definitions I've argued for in earlier posts).
>IMHO, You are absolutely correct. I do not have the ability to
>adequately address this question. Although, disagreeing with a statement
>you made previously, my impression was that it was basically unanimous
>among poskim that one is required to obey mundane orders. This is the
>default position. If you choose to disobey, that disobedience must be
>justifiable in court.

Stepping out of the specific political issue at hand, I actually think
this all ties in somewhat to the thread about Halacha = Morality.  In
this case, you're in the army and you must follow orders.  If the orders
require you to VIOLATE halacha in some way -- certainly by doing
something prohibited, probably by failing to do something required --
that's one thing.  But as long as your orders are simply to do something
permitted within the halacha, I can't imagine why anyone would think you
wouldn't have to follow those orders.

Oh, but could I have opened a can of worms here.  Suppose you're asked
to do something within the halacha, but it's really immoral within the
halacha (at least compared to something else within the halacha).  Oh,
can these meta-questions give you a headache!


From: <MFRIEDERWITZ@...> (Moishe Friederwitzer)
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 08:12:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Halacha/Mishna Yomit

On the 15th of Elul which will be September 10th the Halacha Yomi will
begin Hilchos Shabbos. This Shabbos we will begin Mesechta Sotah in the
Mishna Yomis cycle. If anyone needs a new Halacha/ Mishna Yomi schedule
you can Email me at <martin.friederwitzer@...> or call Rabbi
Karp at (718) 851-0770.
Moishe Friederwitzer


From: Kenneth Posy <kpposy@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 10:39:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: History

Mr. Belesky writes:
>This is a learned answer of those who... look back. (I repeat: those are
>doomed to lose).
     As a history student, I have a personal interest in asserting that
the exact opposite is true. The only ones who can "win" (whatever that
means) are those that can learn the lessons of our heritage, both good
and back. If we learn from the literaly selfless dedication that we see
in our predessesors to halacha(crudsades,pogroms, and nazi's, from an
ashkenazi perspective), and we learn from the long term consequences of
the lack of that dedication (remember tisha b'av?) we will truly "win"
and be zocheh to a time when we won't have to worry about a definition
of orthodoxy: Bayom hahu, y'hiyeh Hashem echad u'shmo echad!


From: <John_Hewson@...> (John Hewson)
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 95 20:04:21 -0700
Subject: Jews in Malta

Dear sir or madam:
I would like to aks you a question in connection with some research I am
doing for a book.  Do you know where I could obtain any information on the
Jewish communities in Malta during the medieval period (875-1500).  Also I
would be interested in the same information for the period when Malta was
ruled by the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem (1530-1798).
Any site on the internet containing such information would be most
Thank you.


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 00:56:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Pinchas and Yiftach

>   I have also heard the explanation that Pinchas lost the Kehuna
>Gedola for refusing to go and release Yiftach from his vow.  I never
>really understood this at all. Why does the Shophet (whose position is
>more practicle that statuatory) need specifically the Kohen Gadol to
>absolve his vow? This is not Catholocism, where a priest has special
>powers to remove sins. Why could he not go to any Talmid Chachom, or
>three (or have them brought to him)?
>     Additionally, there are many midrashim and explanations that
>interpret Yiftach's promise to sacrifice his daughter in a figurative
>sense. If these are true (and they are just as valid as the medrash that
>says Eliyahu was Pinchas) what is the big deal about letting Yiftach
>fulfill his vow? If it is true that he actually meant to sacrifice his
>daughter, he need no annulment to be released from this vow. No vow to
>commit a sin is valid in the first place! 

1. Even if the shofet does not require the kohen gadol to release his
vow - that is precisely the point the midrash is making here - that
either Pinchas or Yiftach could have taken the first step toward the
other to "save" Yiftach's daughter, yet each of them insisted on
defending the honor of their respective positions, with the result that
Yiftach's daughter was lost.

2. Whether or not a neder is effective to nullify a torah law (at times
it may be, although probably not here) is not germane to this issue,
because Yiftach was determined to fulfill his vow in some way.  There is
a dispute regarding what Yifatch did to fulfill his vow.  One opinion
holds that he banished her to a mountaintop to live in isolation for the
rest of her life.
 The other opinion holds that he actually slaughtered her.  Either way,
the point of the story relates to the theme of Sefer Shoftim - the
tragedies that befall the Jewish people when we don't live up to
Hashem's expectations and thus do not merit the leadership we need.

U'va l'tziyon go'el...


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 07:44:24 GMT
Subject: Psak from more than one Rav

We in Yerushalayim are privileged to receive many Parashah (Torah
portion of the week) leaflets, distributed free in each Shul on Friday
evening. They run the gamut of the religious and even political spectrum
(even the Likud has a Parashat Hashavu'a - weekly Parashah -
leaflet). [I once defined a Shul as being any assemblage where Jews pray
and which receives at least half a dozen such leaflets weekly.  Fewer
than that - it's a Shtibel.] Please - no flames - I'm willing to modify
the definition!

In any event, this week's crop included one put out by Machon Meir, and
it addresses a question which has been discussed here recently. I will
quote it in full, except for a small omission which is basically a

[Begin quote]

Question: May one accept one rabbi [as authoritative - SH] in one area
and another rabbi as authoritative in another, as, for example, one in
regard to Halachah (Jewish law) and one in regard to Emunah {"faith,"

Answer: This is permitted, as, for example [as the Talmud tells us], the
Halachah is in accordance with Rav in questions of Issur [i.e., what is
permitted and forbidden, such as Kashrut questions] and in accordance
with Shmuel in questions of Din [torts, etc.]

Of course, the ideal is to have a *single* [emphasis in original] rabbi
..... and one who accepts two rabbis [as authorities] for himself is
liable to find himself involves in contradictions, knowingly or
unknowingly, but if the situation requires it, it is definitely

[End quote]

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


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 11:52:51 GMT
Subject: Signatories on First Knesset Election Poster

I am indebted to Dr. Melech Press for bringing to my attention that the
item reproduced in Rabbi Menachem Kasher's Hatekufah Hagedolah,
regarding signatories to a document which referred to "the beginning of
the redemption," was not necessarily signed by all the rabbis listed.
It seems that various versions of the basic document were signed by
different rabbis.

It is nevertheless interesting that all these rabbis were willing to
sign on a joint document of any kind. I recall nothing which can compare
to this across-the-board endorsement as far back as I can remember.

What is equally interesting to me is how the annual HaTorah vehaMedinah,
which came out in the early years of the State (1949-early 1960's), had
an eclectic list of contributors - one which I believe no Torah journal
today could duplicate, in terms of the religious spectrum covered. Thus,
for example, the journal included the following (among others) as
contributors: Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rav Yitzchak Aizik Herzog, Rav
Eliezer Yehudah Waldenberg, and Rav Shaul Yisraeli.  (The list is

The lines have so hardened since that time that to have an analogous
representation today would be almost unthinkable. What a great pity.

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


From: Micah Gersten <gersten@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 1995 15:00:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Yayin Nesech

> [I believe that the Mishne Brura brings down the opinion that a Mechalel
> Shabbat Befarhesia - public desecrator of Shabbat - is treated in a
> similar manner as a non-Jew in relation to the laws of wine, and
> therefore if they hold opened wine containers it may not be used. The
> two basic questions that are raised with respect to this opinion that I
> am aware of are 1) Is this a majority or minority opinion? and 2) does a
> non-religious Jew today qualify as Mechalel Shabbat Befarhesia. Mod.]

The Mishnah Berurah was expressing a minority opinion that there should 
be separation between Torah true Jews and maskalim (the enlightened 
ones).  In fact, there is no true Nesach wine today because true Nesach 
Wine had to be offered to an idol in libation.  Then, it would have to be 
reused and poured into a container, hence a container of forbidden wine.  
Nesach Wine nowadays is a Rabbinical ordinance to prevent intermarriage.  
Now, we are of the opinion that non-religious Jews are so widespread that 
we should bring them closer to Judaism instead of chastising them (i.e. 
inviting them to Kiddush and stuff). 

Joshua Pitterman


End of Volume 21 Issue 30