Volume 21 Number 69
                       Produced: Wed Oct 18 16:56:23 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avoiding Customs/Duties and Halacha
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Medicine on Shabbat
         [Aharon Manne]
Psak of Rav Soloveitchik
         [Eli Turkel]
Pulsa Denura
         [Yitzchak Hollander]
Ritalin tablets
         [Zev Kesselman]
Shabbat Hosting for Israeli Yeshovot
         [Stuart Schnee]
Women and Zimmun
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 11:25:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Avoiding Customs/Duties and Halacha

In MJ 21# 67 David Charlap says:

>I don't think there is a halachic requirement to pay taxes, except
>within the context of "dina d'malchuta dina".
>Of course, the halachicly-mandated taxes, like machazit ha'shekel (the
>obligatory half-shekel Temple donation used in Temple times as a
>fund-raiser and as a means of taking a census), truma and ma'aser.  (an
>annual income-tax-like payment that would go to the Kohanim and Levi'im
>in Temple times.)

The obligation to pay taxes is part of the rules of the king, who had
the right to impose a tax system on top of terumot u'ma'aserot. See
Samuel I, Chaper 8 on the rules of the king [Mishpat Ha'melech] v.9 and
the tax imposition in v.17. Rambam, in Hilchot Melachim uses Samuel for
some of the details on the rules of the king (e.g., sarei alaphim
ve'sarei chamishim).

I equated the rules of a modern Israel with the rules of the king as to
authority, [and I know that some will call that equation into question].
Therefore, if you hold that dina de'malchuta dina does not apply to
Israel, the rules of the king do.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <manne@...> (Aharon Manne)
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 95 09:05:11 PDT
Subject: Medicine on Shabbat

>1.  The halacha of not taking medicine is essentially derived from an av
>melacha (one of the 39 fundamental melachas) of grinding: it is
>forbidden to compound or grind a medicine, as in a mortar and pestle, on
>Shabbat or Yom Tov.
   Having spent Ellul on an Army base, I found a collection of Responsa
titled "Assia" in the shul there. The chapter on medicine includes a
review of the issue of grinding, then makes the following point (I
paraphrase from memory): The prohibition of taking medicine is a
preventive measure lest one come to grind the ingredients of the
medicine.  Since we don't normally prepare medicine in this fashion any
more, and since if the reason for a rabbinic restriction disappears,
then the restriction is no longer enforced (!)  one would think that one
could now take pills or capsules as needed. In the end, the continued
prohibition is justified by the fact that there are parts of the world
in which medicine is still prepared in the traditional way.
   At first I found that justification strained, to say the least.
After thinking about the currently growing popularity of alternative
medicine here in Israel (and in the US, I assume), perhaps it is not so
far-fetched.  At any rate, I would like a pointer to a source for the
principle that "if the reason for a rabbinic restriction disappears,
then the restriction is no longer enforced".  Can anyone think of
examples where this has actually been applied?  A number of
counter-examples, such as shaving on Hol-HaMoed, come to my mind.  
Hag Sameach.


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 08:29:14 -0400
Subject: Psak of Rav Soloveitchik

   There has been some discussion recently of psaks of Rav Soloveitchik
concerning using electricity on YomTov and also eating "Kraft" cheeses.
In most cases these were not formal psaks of the Rav (who did not
normally issue psaks) but rather what individuals saw him do and this
frequently changed with time.
   I have heard from Rav Schacter and others that one can rely on these
leniencies only if one accepts all the psaks of Rav Soloveitchik
including his stringecies (eg he kept shabbat for 72 minutes like
Rabbenu Tam, he strongly objected to attending operas etc.) or else if
one received a personal psak from the Rav. One leneincy that I
personally keep is to return food to the oven on shabbat as long as it
is solid food and was on the stove before shabbat. When in the Rav's
shiur I insisted that my Chavrusa ask the Rav about putting food inside
the oven not just on top and Rav Soloveitchik was very insistent that it
was permissible.
       Psak is determined by what most people accept. I think that it is
generally accepted in most comminuties not to use electricity on YomTov
and also not to eat nonkosher cheeses. This is true of most of the the
Ravs top talmidim. I have been told that Rabbi Miller of the Gruss
Institute in Jerusalem (connected to YU) is strict about not allowing
food to be returned to the stove on shabbat because the Ravs psak is not
generally accepted. Since I received it personally I do rely on the



From: Yitzchak Hollander <hollande@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 09:06:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Pulsa Denura

> From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
> In a recent edition of Maariv (international edition) there was a little
> snippet about a service called Pulsa D'nura - arrow of fire.  Apparent
> prior to Yom Kippur a group of 10 Mkubalim (Kabbalistic Rabbis) gathered
> in front of Yitzchak Rabin's home and conducted this service which calls
> for his death within a year.  Apparently this is a very severe service
> and as punishment therefore one of the Rabbis involved is also supposed
> to die within the year.

They also did a pulsa denura ceremony for Saddam Hussein.  Clearly, it
did not have the desired effect.  I still have a yellowed Yediot article
about it sitting around someplace.  The ceremony involved a specific
number of mekubbalim (kabbalists) standing in a circle with candles and
saying some incantations.  The ceremony is actually mentioned in the
gemara someplace, but I don't have the resources here to locate the

> I do not want a political discussion regarding this.  I am interested in
> finding out if anyone heard about this type of service and has more
> details about it.

Tying this in to the definition of Orthodoxy thread, what should the 
attitude of a non-mekubal be to kabbalistic esoterica such as the pulsa 
denura?  Does a bit of skepticism regarding plusa denura imply a 
deficiency in one's orthodoxy?



From: Zev Kesselman <zev%<hadassah@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 11:59:38 EDT
Subject: Ritalin tablets

	Perhaps I should have been more specific regarding the problem
of Ritalin tablets on Shabbat.  In my case, the problem is training my
ten- year-old twins to come to shul and daven, like the rest of their
peer group.  Without Ritalin, even if they can be wheedled into coming
to shul, they can't sit still and concentrate on what's going on.  With
it, they sit like gentlemen, daven, follow the kriah, etc.  The question
I had was: Given the issur of using pills on shabbat (except for pikuach
nefesh) - if the kids can't otherwise get into the religious habits
expected of them, isn't this a type of pikuach nefesh?
	I wanted to see a written psak, because my LOR permitted it as
"a drug that's taken regularly may also be taken on shabbat", without
really addressing the question of illness, pikuach nefesh, etc.  When I
expressed my reservations about this to him, he stuck by his psak,
adding: "Ah, if it's a "ma'achal-bri'im" [a food taken by healthy
people] then it's even easier to allow".  I would still like to see
something in print, if anyone has seen such a thing.

				Zev Kesselman


From: Stuart Schnee <msstu@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 20:54:26 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Shabbat Hosting for Israeli Yeshovot

At the work - study program, Livnot U'Lehibanot (Tzfat and Jerusalem) we
depend on the hospitality of families for Shabbat and Yom Tov - but we
do it as a chinuch experience more than a food thing, as most of our
Shabbat and Chag meals are served at Livnot by Livnot (plus free
Shabbatot).  Our program is geared to young, English speaking adults
aged 21-30 w/little or no Jewish background. We give them an orientation
about what to expect and what is expected from Shabbat guests as for
most this is a very new experience.

We treat these families as an extended community and we have put on day
camps etc. for their children at crucial times (like when they need to
clean for Pesach, plus/or having our students help out w/Pesach cleaning
at homes of Seder hosts etc.)

We invite our host families to our Simchat Beit Hashoeva and other such
events. They are on our mailing list and we try to keep in touch in a
reasonable way.

We have begun to notify the families quite awhile in advance of when
we'll need them - (some don't want to go away when they can host
Livnoters!).  We also try to rotate the families so nobody gets called
too often.

We get a lot of calls from people who want to host Livnoters.

I write this to show that there is a way to do this in a menschlich way.
Also, on a personal note, I don't think people from abroad have any idea
of how expensive life is here in Israel, and most Jews in North America
etc. would never think that the expense of food might be a real issue
(even tho' this never seems to stop people here from having guests). I
think they may comment on high prices at home but it is not the same
sort of issue as it is for most here.

I think many would be surprised how open guest are to being "guided" in
being good guests - even if a bit awkward at first, you are helping them
gain midot for life. Re: the parents - why not speak to Hanahala of


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 9:53:33 EDT
Subject: Women and Zimmun

> From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
> Rabbi Aryeh Frimer wrote (parts deleted):
> < Regarding the question of a zimmun where 3 women ate with less than 3 men:
> < I have already noted that Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach zatsal ruled that
> < women can have a zimmun and the men should answer normally.
> I am curious as to what Rav Shlomoh Zalman Auerbach zatsal (quoted
> above) held. Is his opinion the same as Rav Lichtenstien (that the men
> are not included in the zimun), or does he hold that the men can answer
> normally, because they are part of the zimmun. The difference would be,
> whether the woman leading the zimun can motzi the men in the birkat
> hamazon (bentching - if it is all said outloud). This is only possible
> if the men are considered part of the zimun.

The issue of whether a woman can be motzi(ah) a man in birkhat hamazon
is more complicated.  There is a gemara in berachot in which a doubt is
raised as to whether women are obligated in birkat hamazon(20b), and
that is why the mishna had to state that they were indeed obligated.
The gemara itself puts the question strictly in terms of "maybe it is
time dependent."  Later in the gemara, Ravina asks if the obligation is
Rabbinic or Scriptural, and the issue is not resolved.  As motivation
for why the obligation may be only rabbinic, Rashi says that women did
not receive an inheritance in the land of Israel, so a blessing "for the
good land that G-d has given you" does not apply to them, and even the
daughters of tzelafchad only received their father's portion of land.
The Tosafot cites the fact that priests and levites also did not receive
a portion, and instead attributes the doubt to the requirement that brit
(milah) and torah be mentioned in birkat hamazon and the fact that women
are not part of/not obligated in either.  Through the ages there have
been three opinions (yes, really) about the nature of women's obligation
in birkat hamazon:
1. They are obligated rabinically.
2. They are obligated scripturally.
3. We are not sure if they are obligated rabinically or scripturally.

The issue of women's and men's joint participation in birkhat hamazon is
also complicated, and I currently lack the time to cite the various
opinions as to what the issues are.  Just as one example, though, the
Ritvah in hilchot berachot, chapter 7 halacha 2, states that a woman may
lead the zimun.  Note that he holds that women are obligated in birkat
hamazon scripturally, so this obviates some of the issues of what the
inviter must fulfil for the invitees.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


End of Volume 21 Issue 69