Volume 21 Number 52
                       Produced: Thu Sep 21 23:56:24 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Chassidus and Kavanah
         [Micha Berger]
Chess Clocks on Shabbat
         [Josh Cappell]
Consitutional Rights and Halachic Observance
         [Joseph Brian London]
First Amendment
         [Steve Wildstrom]
Israeli obligations
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Jewish Majority - Jewish Minority
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Jews living outside the Land of Israel
         [Moshe Sokolow]
Looking for MIT alums
         [Alan Mizrahi]
Nuerology and Cohanim
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Tobbacco and Halachoa
         [Robert Montgomery]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 1995 23:52:00 -0400
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Well, many of you at least should have somewhat emptier mailboxes than
usual. I made it back online this evening, and have gone through the
400+ new messages waiting for me, and am now ready to start rolling the
new mail-jewish issues. I apologize in advance if you sent me mail that
requested personal response over the last week or so and I have not yet
responded. Once I get the basic mail-jewish stuff caught up, I will move
on to the personal mail.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the mail-jewish
readers a Shana Tova, my wishes that we all be written into the Book of
Life for the coming year. Insofar as the position of moderator is one
that has ample opportunities to cause people to get upset with me, for
me to not deal in the fairest manner with or to violate any of the bein
adam lechavero (interpersonal) requirements, I publicly ask forgiveness
of anyone that I might have offended during the last year. While in
general, it is preferable to do this in personal messages, I will fall
back on a paraphrase of the line in Hataras Nedarim - Ach deo nah
rabosai ke rabim atem. At the same time, if during the year I have felt
hurt or offended by any list member, I extend forgiveness to any such
member of the list.

Avi Feldblum
Shamash Facilitator and mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 1995 07:33:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Chassidus and Kavanah

Rabbiner SR Hirsch has this cute line in "19 Letters" ridiculing Geiger's
"Wissenschaft der Judentums" (The Science of Judaism, a contender for one
of the most damaging books of Jewish history). In it Hirsch points out that
true science is when the data is explored, and based upon the data one
forms theories. Alchemy is the creation of experiments to fit a pre-existing

In Judaism, halachah is the experimental data. True Judaism is based on a
study of halachah and creating a world-view to fit. Reform, R. Hirsch writes,
is alchemy -- the world-view pre-exists, and you rewrite halachah to fit.

In v21n41 Eli Turkel writes:
>                                                              The
> mitnagdim stressed keeping all the laws of Shulcahn Arukh concerning
> davening even if it resulted in a lose of kavannah. The hasidim stressed
> kavanaqh more and so were willing to daven at odd hours, with singing
> and dancing, less decour and many other practices that they felt
> enhanced kavannah.

In light of the background, I have a hard time understanding the Chassidic
position. It would seem to me that instead of writing a new way to daven
(although I don't see how most of the list defies the Shulachan Aruch, with
the exception of scheduling) the early chassidim were obligated in finding
how and why the traditional format enhances the experience.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3227 days!
<aishdas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Sep-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <josh@...> (Josh Cappell)
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 95 13:47:32 EDT
Subject: Re: Chess Clocks on Shabbat

Dear Zev and m-j readers,
	Regarding the question of using a chess clock on shabbat (Zev
Kaufman in vol. 21:#48).  I asked this question of several Rabbonim
10 years ago and was told that it is very problematic and best avoided.
The major problem is not so much starting and stopping it per se but 
1) setting it and winding it, as doing these for a watch are possible 
violations of the the prohibition of fixing on shabbat (although admittedly 
it was never truly broken).
2) Almost all chess clocks "click" seconds and so starting and stopping 
may be akin to using an instrument.

The only permission I was given was for second day of yom tov.
			Josh Cappell


From: Joseph Brian London <jlondon1@...>
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 1995 17:09:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Consitutional Rights and Halachic Observance

To JPA who asked about our consitutional rights and halachic observance, 
the key work is reasonable accodmodation.  Where children are involved 
the Court often goes against the parents' religious preferences.  For 
example, whereas an adult Christian Scientist can elect not to see a 
doctor or undergo surgery, where a child is involved the courts will step 
in.  The Court did not allow polyogomy for Mormen men even though their 
religion at the time allowed it.  Recently in the "peyote" case the Court 
upheld the ban on peyote (a narcatic) despite the fact that peyote was 
used for religious purposes by a tribe of indians.  Florida recently had 
the "Hiyalia" case where the local city forbade the sacrifcing of small 
animals that were used for ritual purpose by a local group.  There was 
the famos "kipa" case recently where an airforce chaplin was denied the 
right to wear a kipa.  I think it was a 5-4 Supreme Court case, but 
nonetheless the U.S. constitution did not offer the rabbo protection.  
There are cases now testing the rights of moslem prisonors to wear beards 
in jail, and every now and then the right of a Siek postal worker or cop 
to wear a turban on the job.  Bottom line is reasonable accomdodation.  
What is most interesting is to the cooperation and amicus curaie briefs 
that are often filed by "competing" religious sects.  The Aguda often 
files friend of the court briefs for some of the most "unlikely" groups.  
But remeber too, reasonable accomodation goes both ways.  A chaplin does 
not have to wear a kipa, he can wear an officers cap.  During 
prohibition, kiddish is not limited to wine, but can also be said on 
grape juice, etc., etc.   


From: Steve Wildstrom <swild@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 95 09:40:27 est
Subject: Re: First Amendment

><jpw@...> (Joe Wetstein) writes:
>Exactly what rights are we afforded under the first amendment with 
>regard to supporting our religion (supporting- not literally). For 
>example, if the SATs were not also given on Sunday, is that something 
>for which one can go to court? Exactly what rights do we have, and 
>what do we not have that may be based on institutional policy (a 
>university not giving weekend exams as part of their own 'religious' 
>I'd appreciate a legal answer (from a mumche, if possible (expert)).

I don't know that I'm a mumche, but I know a fair amount about the
issues. The short answer is that it's a very complicated
question. There's a built in machloches (dispute) between two clauses of
the First Amendment, one guaranteeing the free practice of religion, the
other prohibiting state establishment of religion. Courts have moved one
way and then the other on this. Until last year, there had been a long
trend of interpretation that held that the "establishment" clause
prohibited any display of religion in any even in which the state was
peripherally involved. At its most extreme, public schools were
prohibited from including a bland invocation at commencment
ceremonies--and the Air Force was not ordered to allow a frum officer to
wear a kippah with his uniform. These more extreme opinions were
partially reversed by the Religious Rights Restoration Act and lkast
year, in a deicsion involving funding of a Christian group at the
University of virginia, but the Supreme Court itself.

Generally, public institutions are prohibited from discriminating on the
basis of religion. A public school system that did not provide an
alternative to Saturday tests for shomer shabbat students would probably
lost a lawsuit. In general, the requirement is for "reasonable
accomodation," and the precise meaning of that term is what keeps
lawyers busy.

The situation of colleges is somewhat different. A state university
comnes under the same strictures as the government itself. A private
school that receives federal funds in various forms, like Drexel, is
covered by some rules but not by others.  The only way to be completely
free of federal requirements is to accept no federal funds, directly or
indirectly. As far as I know, only one institution, Hillsdale College in
Michigan, has gone this far.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:51:43 GMT
Subject: Israeli obligations

Rabbi Eliyahu Teitz writes:
"About taking the rights without the obligations...I do abide by every
obligation that the State of Israel imposes on Jews outside of Israel.
In fact, being a toshav chutz ( non-resident citizen ) I take on all
obligations of an Israeli citizen living outside of Israel.  The
consulate has yet to notify me of an obligation to pay taxes, or sent 
me a notice of where to live.  But that does not limit my right to 
speak out on what I feel are the errors of the government."
[end quote]

I think Rabbi Teitz forgets that since the founding of the State of
Israel the Israeli government has called upon Jews throughout the world
to make Aliyah and strengthen the country both demographically and
economically. THAT is the basic obligation that the State feels Jews
living outside Israel have. Of course, once he fulfills that basic
obligation, he will then be subject to a few others which those living
here have. Incidentally, the term "Toshav Chutz" is used in Israeli
parlance for someone living IN Israel, but with foreign citizenship. It
is not, to the best of my knowledge, used in the sense of Jews living

         Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
NEW ADDRESS: <himelstein@...>


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Sep 1995 19:22:11 GMT
Subject: Jewish Majority - Jewish Minority

With all the talk about "yes-majority/no majority" of the present-day
government in Israel, I think that what is needed is a little bit of
muddying of the waters, so I would like to bring a few items to the
attention of readers:

a) Almost all the Jewish parties in Israel (including, probably, all but
the most extreme right) received Arab votes. Only about half the Arabs
voted for the two Arab parties now in the Knesset - the other half voted
for Jewish parties. Shas did very well in certain Arabic villages - and
so, traditionally, does the National Religious Party.

b) A number of non-Arabic parties have Arab Members of Knesset RIGHT NOW
- including one who is a member of the Likud Knesset faction.

c) One of the five Members of the Knesset of the Arab parties right now
is a Jewish Communist.

d) Polls taken before the last elections showed that about 30% of those
who voted for the Likud were willing to accept territorial compromise.

e) At different times, the rabbinic heads of two parties now in the
opposition (Shas and the Degel HaTorah faction of United Torah Judaism)
have gone on record that they are willing to trade land for peace.

f) Recent polls show that 57% of all Israelis are in favor of the peace
process, BUT another poll states that 64% want the government to have a
referendum before concluding its present negotiations.

As I write this, an interesting thought occurred to me - there is the
constant comment that Mr. Rabin wouldn't have had a Jewish majority had
he not had two renegades of Tzomet cross over. The figures were as
follows after the elections: Labor and Meretz - 57, the combined Jewish
opposition - 58, the Arab parties 5. Now IF we consider the fact that
one of the "Arab parties'" MKs is indeed a Jew (Tamar Gozanski - even
though she's a Communist, the Law of Return would certainly apply to her
if she made Aliyah), wouldn't that tie the two camps vis-a-vis the
number of Jews in each, even before the two renegades crossed over?

But on the other hand - if we deduct the number of Arabs who are in the
big parties' Knesset lists right now, what would happen to the equation?

Well, it's not for nothing that Israel is geographically in the Middle

         Shmuel Himelstein
22 Shear Yashuv Street, Jerusalem, Israel
Phone: 972-2-864712; Fax: 972-2-862041
NEW ADDRESS: <himelstein@...>


From: <TorahDept@...> (Moshe Sokolow)
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 08:51:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Jews living outside the Land of Israel

Regarding the right of Jews living outside the Land of Israel to voice
opinions regarding its disposition, etc. ("This Land is My Land"), since we
are coming up on the sidrah of Nitzavim it pays to note that, according to
Dt. 29:14, the covenant of Sinai, as ratified in the Plains of Moab, was made
both "with those who are standing here with us this day... and with those who
are not standing with us here this day."  Indeed, RASHI notes (Dt. 29:28)
that this remarkable concept of Jewish interdependence and mutual
responsibility ("Areivut") actually began with the entry of the Jewish people
into the Land of Israel.  The disposition of the Land of Israel, by
extension, is a matter in which every party to the covenant is not only
entitled, but responsible to have an opinion.
Ketivah VaHatimah Tovah, Vetizku LeShanim Rabot


From: Alan Mizrahi <amizrahi@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 13:27:50 EDT
Subject: Looking for MIT alums

We are trying to find out about the history of the Jewish community at
MIT.  If you went to MIT or know of someone who did, or anything else
about Jews at MIT, please respond to me privately.  Thanks.

Alan Mizrahi


From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 10:34:59 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Nuerology and Cohanim

	Would a nuerological based disorder which does not affect either 
cognitive ability or physical performance (Tourette Syndrome for example), 
invalidate a Cohen from performing Avodah?
Chaim Shapiro


From: Robert Montgomery <st94zwy9@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Sep 1995 18:03:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Tobbacco and Halachoa

Does anybody know of any halachic sources for or against the use of
tobacco (ie; smoking, etc)?

Moshe Montgomery


End of Volume 21 Issue 52