Volume 21 Number 73
                       Produced: Tue Oct 31  0:20:08 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Gerald Sutofsky]
Can a Child be a Shaliach
         [Jan David Meisler]
Clarification on Shabbat hosting of students
         [Mark Steiner]
Hachnasas Orchim
         [Carl Sherer]
Hachnasat Orchim
         [Dave Curwin]
Loshan Hara
         [Eli Turkel]
Me'eiri and Legislation
         [Steven F. Friedell]
         [Al Silberman]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Talmud research - help request
         [Alyssa Berger]


From: <gerald.sutofsky@...> (Gerald Sutofsky)
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 95 13:58:22 EST
Subject: Avelut

A short while ago I met a friend who just finished his year of
Avelut. He told me that his mother told him before not to stop going to
simachot and to continue life as normal. He said he spoke to his Rav who
told him you must follow the wishes of your parent. My question is this
is the first I've heard of this. If a parent tells a child to attend
weddings and Bar mMitzavs after they are niftar are they obliged to
follow their wishes. I am given to understand that Hilchos avelut for
the most part is mainly minhag. Is this so? I'd appreciate any and all


From: Jan David Meisler <jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu>
Date: Fri, 27 Oct 1995 13:58:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Can a Child be a Shaliach

In the discussion about children selling arovos an opinion was brought
up that a person should not buy arovos from a child since he can't
really make the kinyan m'd'oraisa (transfer ownership from the torah).
The person writing suggested that perhaps if the child was selling on
behalf of an adult it might be ok since the child was only accepting
money and the purchaser actually performed the kinyan.

My question does not go on this particular issue.  Well, not the first
question.  Can a child act as a shaliach (messenger) for someone else? 
He is not a ben da'as (could someone come up with a good translation for
this?).  If he can't be the shaliach, then we might have a problem with
the arovos.  Although the owner wants to sell the arovos, and the
purchaser wants to buy, and the purchaser makes a kinyan on the arovos,
who has the purchaser paid his money to?  He has paid to the child, not
the original owner.  Either we could say the child is a shaliach for the
original owner, but that puts us in a problem since he can't be a
shaliach.  Or, we could say the child will just transfer the money to
the original owner, but I don't see how that could work either.



From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Thu,  19 Oct 95 9:05 +0200
Subject: Clarification on Shabbat hosting of students

     I would like to make clear that my criticism of institutions for
refusing to supply Shabbat and Yom Tov meals for their students, forcing
the students to seek accomodations at the homes of Jerusalem families,
does not extend to institutions catering to Jews who have had little or
no Jewish education.  (These Jews are often called baalei teshuvah,
penitents, but this appelation is both incorrect and harmful.)  Students
of these institutions have a legitimate need to see what Shabbat looks
like in a family setting, and it is a great mitzvah to host them.


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 95 23:56:21 IDT
Subject: Hachnasas Orchim

I'd just like to add a little to Mark Steiner and Stuart Schnee's posts
on hosting overseas students for Shabbos meals in Jerusalem.  I agree
with Mark's sentiment that the Yeshivot and seminaries have a lot to
learn about taking care of their students and I think Stuart's program
has gone a long way in doing things in a more menschlichkeit manner.
For those of you who have never lived in Israel, you should be aware
that while in the US a typical food budget may come to 10% or so of take
home pay, here in Israel it often approaches 50%.  Those of us in Eretz
Yisrael today truly appreciate Chazal's dictum that all of a person's
livelihood is set on Rosh Hashana except for food for Shabbos and Yom
Tov ...

There is one area where I think the overseas parents can help.  When I
was in Yeshiva here in the late '70's as an overseas student, many of
the schools which provided housing adopted the practice of throwing out
their students for vacations and renting the dormitories/apartments to
vacationing Israelis.  This practice was started in some schools as far
back as the 1960's.  For a foreigner, this means that for three weeks
(including chag) they must sponge off relatives - if they have any.
This was bad enough in the '70's when the Yeshivot charged tuitions in
the $1000-2000 range.  But given that Yeshiva tuition in many overseas
programs in Israel today approaches what a year of college tuition costs
in the States, IMHO it's no longer justified.  I often wonder if
American parents are even aware that if you choose not to bring your
child home for Pesach that child may be looking for people to sleep by
and eat meals with for four weeks straight - every day three meals a
day.  And while having people for a Shabbos meal is generally not a big
imposition, sleeping people for more than a day or two often is a
tremendous imposition since many of our apartments already have multiple
children (bli ayin hara) sleeping in each bedroom.  I'm not encouraging
you to bring your children back to the States for the Chagim - on the
contrary, the Chagim in Eretz Yisrael are the best part of the
experience.  I'm trying to encourage you to convince your children's
yeshivot and seminaries to have a little more consideration for their

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


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 23:35:09 EST
Subject: Hachnasat Orchim

Re Mark Steiner's note:
You should know that Bnei Akiva offers a program during the long
breaks from Yeshiva in Tishrei and Nissan, called Tochnit Tzion 
(made up of Tochnit Tishrei and Tochnit Nissan). It allows American
yeshiva and michlala students to work on a religious kibbutz during
the break. Not only does it avoid placing unneccessary burdens on
relatives and friends, but it helps teach American students an
important Torah value -- the dignity, nobility and importance of work.

David Curwin		With wife Toby, Shaliach to Boston, MA
904 Centre St.          List Owner of B-AKIVA on Jerusalem One
Newton, MA 02159                   <6524dcurw@...>
617 527 0977          Why are we here? "L'hafitz Tora V'Avoda"


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 09:19:37 +0200
Subject: Loshan Hara

    I am troubled by some aspects of loshan hara (gossip/slander) and
its application in a modern society and would appreciate any
thoughts. In particular loshan hara seems to conflict with the idea of
freedom of information and investigation. Two specific examples:

1. In a recent article in the YU student newspaper it was pointed out
   that loshan ha-ra conflicts with most historical and biographical
   investigations.  Thus if one reports that gadol X did something that
   was less than perfect it might fall under lashon ha-ra. Since almost
   none of us are perfect that leaves little room for reporting. As one
   example the author brings statements to the effect that X supported
   Shabtai Tzvi. The fact that it is true does not remove the
   prohibition of loshan ha-ra. The only permitting factor would be if
   reporting these facts would have some immediate beneficial effect for
   someone. Thus Tanach can say that someone sinned since we are
   expected to learn from that statement for our personal lives. However
   stating that someone told Jews in Europe not to leave before the
   Holocaust would not improve our lives and only denigrate that

2. In one community that I visited over the summer there was a problem
   with that kashrut of one establishment. The local rabbinate refused
   to give any details on the grounds that it was loshan ha-ra. Trust
   the rabbis that they are treating the situation correctly.  That led
   me to believe that a modern state based on halacha would be the
   ultimate in a closed secret society. There would be no need for the
   leaders to say anything to the public. Any criticism would be loshan
   ha-ra.  If one had a specific complaint it would be brought (in
   secret) to some committee (bet din) that would decide the issue. Any
   attempt to say there was a cover-up would be met by stripes (makot)
   for lashon ha-ra.

   I don't want to get into local politics but sorry to say the local
   religious parties, the city of Bnei Brak etc. have had their share of
   scandals, nepotism etc. I would hate to see a situation in which they
   police themselves There are many problems with yellow journalism,
   muckrackers etc.  Nevertheless, I think it is clear that
   investigative reporters have done much to keep politician at least a
   little more honest. It would seem that according to halachah one
   cannot be an investigative reporter even when is sure that the facts
   are correct. Secrecy is the rule of the day with the justification
   that the rabbis know best and trust them.



From: <friedell@...> (Steven F. Friedell)
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 1995 17:22:57 -0400
Subject: Me'eiri and Legislation

Some time ago someone posted a notice which I printed out but did not
save the entire posting.  The part I have quotes the Meiri as saying
that the Ra'vad sought to limit the power to legislate to those who meet
certain stringent conditions.

The part I have begins: "Me'eiri (p. 55) writes: My own explanation for
this dictum that if the sages see that a Biblical law (din Torah) causes
mishaps and obstacles (i.e. has a negative instead of a positive effect)
they must know how to invent new laws and modify old ones as stop-gap
measures ("hora'at sha'ah") and to find Biblical support for such

Does anyone know where this Meiri is to be found?  Thank you.


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 14:44:39 -0500
Subject: RAMBAM / RAMBAN Dates

I hope someone can clarify to me the following recorded dates:

1. At the end of my edition of the "Sefer Hamitzvos" there is a date for
the completion of RAMBAN's commentary presumably written by the RAMBAN
himself. The date given is the year 493 which I presume to be "L'Shtoros"
which equates to 1183. However, the date generally used for the RAMBAN's
birth is 1194. The Introduction by the RAMBAN to this work states that he
wrote it in his elder years. If one letter is missing in the date it could
be the year 593 which translates to 1283 which is several years before he
died. I assume that there are other possibilities.

2. The RAMBAM at the end of his commentary to Mishnayos writes that he
completed the work when he was 30 years old and that the year is "Nine and
Seventy L'Shtoros" (in my edition). This is not possible and I must assume
that there is a missing Tov (400). Is this Tov instead of the Teth? The
RAMBAM's birth is generally assumed to be 1135 which makes 1165 the year
when he was thirty. This translates to 475. Is the error in how old he was
or the year of the completion?

I have used 310 BCE as the start of the Seleucid Era.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 18:02:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shavers

Quite some time ago, the "Kosher Kurrents" put out by the "Star-K" of 
Baltimore had an article about electric shavers.  The basic tenor of the 
article was -- I think -- that in order to be permitted, an electric 
shaver had to "cut" hairs by a "scissor-like" action -- i.e., just as in 
a scissors, the cutting is because the two blades of the scissor "grind" 
against each other to effect a "Cut", so too here, the cutting of the 
hair was to be effected by the action of the "cutter" against the mesh 
screen and thus "clipping" the hair.
According to this, if the blade was sharp enough to actually be *able* to 
cut a hair without the need for any "grinding" action, then there was 
some sort of problem which could be alleviated by dulling the blades so 
that they will now only cut by a "grinding" action...


From: Alyssa Berger <aberger@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Oct 1995 19:57:21 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Talmud research - help request

I am conducting a research study on the methods students use to attempt
to understand a new piece of Talmud in a havrutha.  I'm looking for a
piece of gemara that fits certain very specific characteristics.  Anyone
interested in helping? Here are the characteristics:
 1) Something with no unfamiliar concepts such as rare sacrifices or
things the students might not have come across before even though they
are familiar to experts (e.g. lav ha-nitak l'aseh).
 2) A difficult structure (e.g. a question is raised, it leads to
another question, a back-and-forth seuqence of proofs and disproofs,
eventually getting back to the first question.
 3) There should be many "signal words" such as "heche dami" "mai lav"
(there could be many different ones, I am just giv ing examples) -
e.g. a phrase that clues you in as to what will come next (e.g. what
will come next will be an attempted proof that will definitely then be
rejected). I am talking about "key words" that appear in guides to "How
to Study Talmud" (e.g. R.  Frank's dictionary or R. Feigenbaum's
"Understanding the Talmud").
 3) Studenshould be able to get through the text in an hour of havruta
time. Maybe 1/4 to 1/2 an amud (page).  The level of the students will
be that they understand the majority of the words. I'm interested in
seeing how they try to put together the logical structures.

Any other help (e.g. references to papers on similar topics) is also

Aliza Berger (note new address)


End of Volume 21 Issue 73