Volume 22 Number 01
                       Produced: Tue Nov 14 23:16:22 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brit Mila
         [Carl Sherer]
Parhsat Lech Lecha and the Land of Israel
         [Shmuel Jablon]
Pidyon Haben Coins
         [Howard M. Berlin]
Pidyon HaBen coins
         [Steve White]
Quotes on Despair
         [Dave Curwin]
Reheating Food on Shabbat (2)
         [Joe Goldstein, Alan Zaitchik]
Warming Food on the Sabbath
         [Ada Jacobowitz]
Yok (a lighter side!!!)
         [Tom Anderson]


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 95 1:56:49 IST
Subject: Brit Mila

Shmuel Himelstein writes:

> This morning's Torah reading about Avraham's brit mila reminded me that
> years ago I had read somewhere that studies have shown that the
> newborn's blood clotting mechanism is not yet truly developed, and only
> on the eighth day (!) is it finally so. Would anyone have any more
> information on this?

This doesn't quite make sense to me in light of the Halacha that if 
a newborn is converted we actually perform the mila before the eighth
day.  If what Shmuel wrote above is correct, how can that Halacha be
explained? Wouldn't it be dangerous to the baby?

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


From: <ShmuelAJ@...> (Shmuel Jablon)
Date: Sat, 28 Oct 1995 20:41:18 -0400
Subject: Parhsat Lech Lecha and the Land of Israel

As HaRav Zvi Yehuda Kook zt"l notes, Parshat Lech Lecha is the beginning
of the story of Hashem's unique relationship with the Jewish People.
While prior parshiot focused on universal history and morality, the
focus shifts to our role as Hashem's Chosen People.  Avraham Avinu is
told that he must leave his past and go to a "Land that I will show
you."  Every nation needs its own land, its own unique geography, in
order to fulfill its unique role.
   Accordingly, says Rav Zvi Yehuda, we are given a brit.  An inherent
part of this covenant, an inherent part of our destiny, is Eretz
Yisrael.  There we are to live full Jewish lives in accordance with the
Torah (As Rav Meir Bar Illan zt"l noted, "the Land of Israel for the
People of Israel in accordance with the Torah of Israel.").
 Sadly, many have forgotten that the entirety of Eretz Yisrael , every
last inch of so-called "real estate," is part of the promise of Hashem
to His People and, therefore, is completely holy.  Perhaps this is not
surprising as these absent minded "leaders" are also those who have
forgotten the uniqueness of the Jewish People that lies in its Torah.
Those who would suggest that Israel (both the Land and People) be a
"nation like all other nations" are, in reality, suggesting that the
covenant with Hashem be abrogated.
 Sadly, others have forgotten that we cannot live full Jewish lives
outside of the Land of Israel.  They seek not to look towards the unique
"Land that I will show you."  Though they do not (chas v'sholom) seek to
be the same as the non-Jews, they seek to live among them in a way that
makes little difference between the "Land of the Free" and the "Promised
Land." Living outside of Eretz Yisrael changes from being a sad state
from which they seek to rise to a fact which makes little impact on
their daily lives.  Hashem has returned us to our Land in a remarkable
modern day miraclulous gift.  Have we failed to acknowledge the
fulfillment of the brit?  If we minimize our ties to our unique land, do
we not minimize our role as a unique people?
 As Rav Zvi Yehuda says: " The Holiness of the People and Holiness of
the Land are one and the same!"

note: This article appeared in the Hebrew Theological College's LIKUTEI
PESHATIM for Parshat Lech Lecha, 5756.
 I wrote this article prior to the killing of the prime minister of the
State of Israel.  Our love for the Torah, Land, and People of Israel
must compel us to literally weep and wail over the chilul Hashem of one
Jew killing another.
 The actions of a murderer, sadly filled with hate, do not represent
Religious Zionism, as is shown by countless statements from Rav Zvi
Yehuda Kook zt"l and, today, by HaRav Shlomo Aviner shlit"a (Rosh
Yeshivat Ateret Kohanim).  We must always be willing to protest, to
argue, and to support the causes for which we believe.  But we must
always remember to do this with AHAVAS YISROEL!  I am sending two
articles which express this view far better than I ever can.- S.J.


From: Howard M. Berlin <berlin@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 23:58:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Pidyon Haben Coins

 From 1970 to 1977 the Israel Government Coins and Medels Corporation
minted a series of commemorative silver "Pidyon Ha Ben" Coins. Each year
the design was different. The series lasted several years and currently
no new coins are being minted. The denominations ranged from 5 to 25

The only way to obtain them now are from reputable coin dealers,
primarily ones that deal in Judaica items.

As a numistmatist myself, I have collected these coins in the past and
have sold most of my issues. The coins are available in one of three
forms: uncirculated - 0.990 silver, proof - 0.935 silver (more $$$$, and
identified by a small "mem" - for meyuchad (sp ?) on the
obverse/front/"heads") and an uncirculated 5-coin set in an olive-wood
box with presentation scroll in Hebrew that can be filled in with the
details. The "coins" have been halakhically certified by the Israel
Rabbinate to contain the requisite amount of silver and is appropriate
for the Pidyon Ha Ben ceremony.

Historically, the minhag here in the US is that the redemption was
usually in the form of five (Morgan or Peace-type) silver dollars. I
still have mine, as my god-father returned them to my father following
the ceremony.

The coins themselves are not that expensive (all is relative). The
uncirculated ones are about $10 -15 each and the olive wood presentation
set carries a slight premium. During the insanity with the gold and
silver prices in the late 70's and early 80's, many silver coins of all
types were melted down, so regardless of mintage records, no reliable
estimates exist today of how many remain as well other silver coins.

I usually exhibit various aspects of my collection (primarily that of
rare Palestine Mandate coins and currency) but still have my exhibit of
the 1970 pidyon ha ben coins showing the 5-coin presentation case,
scroll, the actual 5 silver US dollars that were used for my PHB, a 1946
B/W photograph of my god-father holding me, the bag of coins, saying
kiddush, and the text of the Hebrew prayers/order of the Pidyon Ha Ben
ceremony.  (BTW, vist my home page at URL: http://www.dtcc.edu/~berlin
and view a 100-pound Palestine Currency Board note - 1 of 4 known)

I had two such presentation sets. One I have kept for my exhibit and
hopefully one day to be able to have one or both of my two sons
possibily use these if the circumstances present themselves. Our first
child was a girl. 8( - Nothing wrong with having a girl otherwise!

I had showed the coins several years ago to our Rabbi and sold him the
extra set so that it could be used as a "traveling set" by our
congregants when the occasion presents itself. The Rabbi however owns
the set.
 /~~\\       ,    , ,                             Dr. Howard M. Berlin, W3HB
|#===||==========#***|                           http://www.dtcc.edu/~berlin

From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 22:26:12 -0500
Subject: Pidyon HaBen coins

In #97, Stew Gottlieb writes:
>These coins were minted a number of years ago by a company that sells
>Israeli coins and medals.  Are they acceptablefor useat a Pidyon Ha Ben?
>If so, does anyone know where they can be purchased ?

Actually, these were minted by (or on behalf of) the Israeli government,
and are in theory legal tender.  (They are denominated in lirot,
however, making them pretty worthless at face value!)

With permission of our LOR, we bought a set for our Pidyon HaBen.  They
came with a certificate of authenticity showing their weight, and
carrying approbation (from the Chief Rabbinate, I think -- they're in
the vault now, as a gift from the Kohen to our son) testifying as to
their validity for the mitzva.  They've not been minted for many years,
though, so you need to work through a coin dealer to find them.

Steve White


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 13:19:47 EST
Subject: Quotes on Despair

Does anyone have any aggadic quotes about ye'ush (despair)? I remember
hearing of some by R' Nachman of Breslav or R' Yisrael Salant. One that
I heard, but don't remember the source was: "Despair is a good friend of
the yetzer ha'ra (evil inclination)." Anyone recognize that?

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: Joe Goldstein <JOE-G@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 1995 11:06:12 -0500
Subject: Reheating Food on Shabbat

Alan Zaitchik posted:

>> David Jacob says:
>> As a prominent Achron, the RAV could choose the minority view even
>> though the majority paskan that WE DO NOT ALLOW reheating of items
>> on Shabbos under any circumstances.  (Due to MECHZAI KIBISHUL ETC)

> I was born in 1949 and grew up in an Orthodox community. EVERYONE
> reheated dry food on shabbat.

  SO WHAT? Just because the level of halachik sophistication was not at
the level it is now should people continue to do the wrong thing?  I
grew up around the same time you did, in Boro Park and there were many
products eaten that no one would even look at today.  A favorite way of
describing this phenomenon among my peers is: "Remember when ????? (fill
in the blank) were Kosher?" I went to Pirchei groups in Boro Park and I
will not say what they served for Snack after groups!

Just "Because we always did it this way" in not an excuse for not
learning the halocho and determining which is the best way to be.

   My Grandfather ZA"L never had an opportunity to learn. However, he
brought up a family of where EVERY child remained frum, This was during
the 20's and 30's in America when many families had at least 1 child
that left the path of the frum. He was brought up in a Frum home and
NEVER veered from what he was taught.  However, when his son came home
from Yeshiva Torah Vodaas and said, "Dad I learned in Yeshivah that we
should be doing this" or "we should not do this" my grandfather
immediately changed the way he did things and did what he accepted from
his child's rebbe! He may not have been educated or torah knowledgeable,
However his love for Torah and Mitzvos was the most important thing in
his life, and that was transmitted to his children.

    May we all learn what the Ribbono shel olom, the master of the
universe, wants from us and conform to his wills instead of doing it the
way we always have.


From: Alan Zaitchik
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 1995 11:06:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Reheating Food on Shabbat

I am not referring to unlearned people who were lax out of ignorance,
but learned people who knew that for generations Jews generally were not
machmir on certain issues. In recent times these questions have been
reopened by the yeshivot, with the result that there is a great
discontinuity of practice between newly frum and young yeshiva educated
people, on the one hand, and traditional "baal ha'batish" jews on the
other hand. I think that Chaim Soloveitchik's article in Tradition about
2 years ago really hit the nail on the head with many examples.  It
certainly has nothing to do with love of God or a desire to do His will,
or a blanket "let's do everything the way we always did"...  but
something deeper about the role of p'sak versus the role of masorah in
defining the halachik community.

Hope this clarifies my ideas.



From: <JACOBOWITZ@...> (Ada Jacobowitz)
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 17:15:58 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Warming Food on the Sabbath

Judaism is a traditional religion.

In my mother's and grandmother's kitchen food pots, including soup with
solids in it, were returned to the metal sheet that covered the fire on
the stove on shabbat.  Clear liquid i.e. water and tea essence were left
on overnight.

     Allow me to give you a bit of my maternal grandmother's background.
She was born in Kovno and saw not only how things were conducted in her
home but also in the kitchen of the Kovna Rav when she spent time in the
kitchen while her father conferred with R.  Yitzhak Elhanan Spector.
Her father, after discussing the issue and with the approval of the
Hofetz Hayim, hired a man to tutor her in Talmud so she had tradition
(mimetic as R.P. Haym Soloveitchik calls it ) as well as textual
knowledge of Judaism on which to base her practise.  Not only her
husband, who learned in Voloshin and continued learning untill shortly
before his death, but many well respected Rabbis ate in her home.  When
the father-in-law of the last Lubavither Rebbe came to town for a visit
she was asked to supervise his kitchen.

     When our wise men wanted to know how the slaughter knives were
brought to the Temple on shabbat they asked the people what their
tradition was.  Should we not use them as a role model?  Be careful
before disregarding the practises of our fathers.


From: <MNAF@...> (Tom Anderson)
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 14:41:17 +1100 (EST)
Subject: re: Yok (a lighter side!!!)

You may consider this true story for inclusion in your MJ.

My wife, teaching in an ultra orthodox day school in Australia, asked
her class (11 year old girls) during a general knowledge session
following lessons on China/Tibet,
 "What is a yak"
Dead silence; and one hand finally went up

"Please Miss, a yak is a non Jewish gentleman"

Personally I love that story as it evokes images of trying to be
non-racist being intermingled with Yiddish and modern Hebrew!!!



End of Volume 22 Issue 1