Volume 22 Number 40
                       Produced: Mon Dec 18  0:04:55 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

AIDS and Niddah
         [Lisa Halpern]
Crescas & Gersonides
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Interest Exists with Non-Money Items Loaned
         [Shlomo Grafstein]
Jews Believe: Born Without Sin (2)
         [Bill Page, Yitzhak Teutsch]
Kabbalistic curses
         [Menachem Glickman]
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Sabbath hot plate
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Shunning others when we disagree
         [Akiva Miller]
Tea lights for Chanukah?
         [Yosey Goldstein]


From: <OHAYONLM@...> (Lisa Halpern)
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 17:02:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AIDS and Niddah

	I am a student at Yale School of Nursing seeking information
about the awareness level of niddah poskim and the need to use universal
precautions (and possibly to be vaccinated against hepatitis B).
	If I am able to determine that there truly is a risk to these
rebbeim of contracting a blood-borne disease (God-forbid), I am
considering designing and implementing a posek-education project.
	Any information about AIDS/hep. B in the observant community,
poskim who use universal precautions, incidences of disease contraction
though psak (God-forbid) or any other comments/suggestions would be
welcomed.  It would furthermore be particulary useful if niddah poskim
could respond to my inquiries, and offer suggestions as to effective
ways to reach and educate poskim.  

Thank you very much, 
Lisa Halpern


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 13:17:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Crescas & Gersonides

	Someone asked about some written material about Crescas and
Gersonides.  Here are some titles.

"Crescas' Critique Of Aristotle" written by: Harry Wolfson and published
by Harvard U Press 1929, 1957, and 1971. Also concerning Gersonides
there is a book by Seymour Feldman which includes a translstion of his
book "Milchomot Hashem" and a lengthly intro.  It was published by Ktav
Publishing House.

Good Shabbos, 
		Mordechai Perlman


From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlomo Grafstein)
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 12:20:15 -0400
Subject: Interest Exists with Non-Money Items Loaned

A few months ago I submitted some Torah thoughts indicating that that
there in NO interest unless related to money.  Please allow me to
correct this thought.  If you borrow 3/4 of a bag of sugar from a Jewish
neighbour and they ask you to give back a full bag in repayment for the
loan, this is interest of sorts.  You borrowed something and you agreed
to give more with the intention of interest.  However, if you borrowed
3/4 of a bag of sugar and on your own you gave back a full bag with the
intention of giving a gift (the extra amount above and beyond what you
owe) then it is permissible.  I discussed this with Rav Dovid Feinstein,
my Rav for Halacha, and he stressed the aspect of gift being permissible.
The original question on Mail-Jewish was the loan of computer paper, let
us say approximately 75 sheets of paper.  Yes, you can give back 100
sheets of paper.  However if the original owner of the paper asked you
to give him back a full pack of 100 for the 75 borrowed, you are
entering an "interest zone."  The key is at the time of loan the
borrower has only an obligation to repay the amount borrowed.  If the
borrower wants to give a present from the goodness of his heart, it must
be a pure gift and have no linkage to the loan whatsoever.  May the pure
light of Chanuka shine in all our lives.  

Sincerely yours, 
Shlomo Grafstein
Halifax, Canada


From: Bill Page <Page@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 10:08:47 -0600
Subject: Jews Believe: Born Without Sin

There is an excellent discussion of this issue in the commentary of the
Shimshon R. Hirsch Chumash.  I don't have the volume before me, but the
main point is that the Christian doctrine of "original sin" is not
supported by the Torah's account of the events in Gan Eden.  True,
Hashem curses the _earth_, and thus makes our condition _physically_
more difficult, but there is nothing in the text to suggest that our
souls bear the taint of Adam and Chavah's sin.  The Jewish doctrine that
"n'shamah shenatatah bi t'horah hi" means that we need only return to
our duty in order to achieve salvation.


From: Yitzhak Teutsch <TEUTSCH@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 16:41:07 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Jews Believe: Born Without Sin

R' Shlomo Grafstein asks in mail-jewish v.22, no.36, for sources and 
information regarding the purity of the neshamah (soul):

> If a messianic would tell you that you were born with sin, and you
> need his approach to become pure, what would you answer??

I would start with the verse in Parashat Ki Tavo: "Barukh atah
be-vo'ekhah u-varukh atah be-tsetekhah" (Blessed are you in your coming
in and blessed are you in your going out) -- Deut. 28:6.  Rashi quotes
the gemara in Baba Metzia (107a): May your leaving the world be without
sin as was your coming into the world.

Twenty years ago I visited a little town in the Rheinland-Palatinate
region of Germany and was looking for the synagogue.  I knew I had found
it when I found a private home with this verse engraved on the stone
lintel above the front door.

                           Yitzhak Teutsch
                      Harvard Law School Library
                         Cambridge, Mass. USA


From: Menachem Glickman <mglick@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 1995 11:23:42 +0000
Subject: Kabbalistic curses

Elanit Z Rothschild replies to me in Digest 37:
> How would you explain the "Kabbalistic curse" placed on Rabin, z"l, only
> (I think) a week before he was assassinated-
>    "and on him, Yitzhak son of Rosa, known as Rabin, we have
> permission...to demand from the angels of destruction that they take a
> sword to this wicked man...to kill him... for handing over the Land of
> Israel to our enemies, the sons of Ishmael."
> Is this another "misunderstanding" by the "anti-religious" media?  I
> don't think there is any "idiomatic" way of explaining this curse to
> mean non other than death. 

I'm sorry - I don't know your source for this "curse" and am therefore
unable to comment on it.

> When a tefilla is repeated that was originally composed by a Mekubal,
> in means, IMHO, exactly what it was originally written for.  If they
> wanted to say something else, then they would have found a different
> tefilla to say.  Words have strong meaning.  The point of tefilla is
> not for Hashem to read between the lines.  Wishing for someone to be
> unsuccessful in there work and wishing for someone's hands to be cut
> off are two, majorly different things.  Words can get you in trouble
> if you don't think before you speak.

How do you know what the tefillah "was orginally written for"?  There is
no reason why it should not always have meant what it means now - that
the excavators of graves should be unsuccessful.

Firstly, we find the expression "hand" meaning power or capability
throughout Tanach - eg "UVenei Yisrael yotzeim beyad ramah" [And the
Children of Israel went out with a high hand] (Shemos 12), on which
Rashi says "With mighty and manifest strength", "Hayad Hasham tiktzar"
[has the hand of Hashem been shortened?] (Bamidbar 11), which Rashi
explains as a query whether Moshe wants Hashem to appear to lack power
in any way.

Secondly, the expression "cutting off" is often used metaphorically-
e.g. "Kol karne reshaim agadeah" (Tehillim 75) [I will cut off all the
horns of the wicked], "Yachres Hashem kol sifse chalakos" (Tehillim 12)
[May Hashem cut off all smooth lips].

In fact, in Tehillim 10, we find "Shevor zeroa rasha" [Break the arm of
the wicked], combining the two idoms and exactly parallelling the prayer
referred to.

Thirdly, quite apart from all the references in Tehillim to the
destruction of the wicked, we pray for it in Bircas HaMinim -
"VeLamalshinim al tehi tikvah...vekol oyvecha mihera yekaresu.." [and
for the slanderers let there be no hope... and may all your enemies be
speedily cut off...].  Praying for the destruction of sinners was thus
instituted by the Anshei Kineses Hagedola and reinstated by Shmuel
HaKatan (it's a question on Beruria's answer to R Meir, but that's
another point).  Even if the prayer was for the actual destruction of
sinners, there would be ample precedent for it.

Fourthly, I have not seen the actual text of the prayer in question - if
anyone has, perhaps they know better - but given the choice between the
interpretation of the anti-religious Israeli media and of Mrs Weil, who
is a shomeres mitzvas, I would choose the latter.

Finally, the Asra Kadisha is headed by Talmidei Chachamim and has the
backing of Gedolim.  If they chose to recite this prayer at the
demonstration, it was obviously done after consideration and because
they felt that it was the appropriate prayer in these circumstances.  I
certainly do not feel the right to challenge that decision.

Kol tuv
Menachem Glickman                          IL Computing Services    
<mglick@...>             Gateshead   UK


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 06:21:25 GMT
Subject: Post-Zionists

Thanks to Mordechai Perlman for pointing out that, as described by me,
the "tenets" of the post-Zionists would apply equally to the Neturei
Karta. Unfortunately, the post-Zionists - who basically want to convert
Israel into the "State of all its inhabitants" rather than the "State of
the Jews" or the "Jewish State," are generally academics in Israeli
universities, and I very much doubt if they're religious. As I
understand it, the "movement" began in the 1980s among sociologists and
continued in the 1990s with historians (generally "revisionists"). In
many ways they resemble the "Canaanites" of the 1950s and early 1960s,
who wanted to break away from the Jewish people and form a new "Israeli
culture" (and "religion?"), which would embrace everyone living in
Israel. Neturei Karta, at least, are religious Jews (although, based on
a sign which appears intermittently in the Meah Shearim market, and
which states "Zionists are not Jews," I'm not sure if I'm Jewish
according to them ... As one of my brothers'-in-law said to me, he would
love to come into a Shul with 9 Neturei Karta people who're waiting for
a tenth man, and tell them, "I'm a Zionist.")

           Shmuel Himelstein


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 1995 13:11:27 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Sabbath hot plate

Although they are not available in Israel to the best of my knowledge, I
understand that there is now available in the United States a metal
"blech" (a covering used to cover an open flame before the Sabbath)
which is hollow and is then filled with water. Has anyone heard of any
halachic pronouncements as to whether placing a pot on this is
considered the equivalent of placing a pot on top of another pot? Also,
in case I'm wrong about availability in Israel, does anyone know where
such a "blech" can be bought in Israel?

           Shmuel Himelstein


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1995 16:56:34 -0500
Subject: Shunning others when we disagree

Eli Turkel, in MJ 22:34, feels very strongly that we must not act
harshly towards those with who we disagree. Commenting on Mordechai
Perlman's prior post, he writes: ((I have replaced names with a note in
double parentheses.))

<<< I also object to his selection of people, ((name of person
omitted))? To the best of my knowledge ((he)) is an orthodox rabbi. That
Mordechai disagrees with his philosophy is irrelevant. I have several
friends who have participated in ((his)) institute, should I now frown
at them? How about Rabbi ((name of person omitted))? Sorry to say I have
letters from major gedolim that one is not allowed to be together with
any rabbi from ((name of organization omitted)) (some of whom were
students of Chazon Ish) not to speak of low level people like Rabbi
((name of person omitted)). Maybe next time I see Rav ((name of person
omitted)), I should greet him with a frown because some people disagree
with his approach, certainly not with a hearty Sholom Aleichem! >>>

One must read this carefully, for Eli is subtly contradicting
himself. Eli is "sorry to say" that "major gedolim" forbid one to be
with rabbis from a certain organization. What does Eli mean?

If he recognizes those gedolim as true gedolim, then his responsiblity
is to try to understand their point of view, or to at least accept it
has having a certain amount of validity. But with his use of the words
"sorry to say", it seems to me that he does not accept their point of
view at all. And if Eli feels that this point of view invalidates them
as "major gedolim", then is he not committing the same exclusionary acts
which he complains about?

(When I used the phrase "a certain amount of validity", I refer to the
concept that "eilu v'eilu divrei Elokim chayim" - that both sides of a
disagreement can both be correct, each within a specific context. I am
not saying Eli has to agree with those "major gedolim", but he seems to
deny their views any validity at all.)


From: Yosey Goldstein <JOE-G@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Dec 95 09:08:01 EST
Subject: Tea lights for Chanukah?

   Akiva Miller mentions that one should (or could) use Tea lights for
Friday night, and get around the problem of candles melting each other
and going out before the appropriate time.

   I wonder if this is true since, even though the candle will burn for
the appropriate amount of time, however because of the tin siding will
the flame be seen for the right amount of time?

   One last question, Why not use oil? That is the best way to fulfill
ones obligation AND today they sell cups that fit into Menorahs that
hold enough oil for hours. In fact I just saw pre-packaged oil with the
wicks in their own containers. All one has to do is snap the top off of
the container, put it in the Menorah and light it! No Fuss, No Mess, No
Bother. They come with enough to use for the entire Yom Tom, and they
certainly have enough oil for Shabbos.



End of Volume 22 Issue 40