Volume 22 Number 51
                       Produced: Sun Dec 24 11:51:34 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Chanuka Party
         [Avi Feldblum]
Born without sin
         [John Bell]
Chanukah Menorah Cleanup
         [Arthur Roth]
Death of Innocents
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Family customs
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Hashgacha Pratis and the Tower Air incident (3)
         [Joe Wetstein, Freda B Birnbaum, Janice Gelb]
Jewish Astronaut and Halacha
         [Ed Ehrlich]
Looking for a source
         [Gershon Dubin]
Mixed groups singing
         [Shmuel Jablon]
Psalm 51:7
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Revoking Semikhah
         [Michael  Berger]
UN-Blech (2)
         [Abe Sultanik, Alyssa Berger]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 11:39:22 -0500
Subject: Administrivia - Chanuka Party

Last note on this, even if you have not RSVP'ed and decide to come on
the spur of the moment, that will be fine. I don't remember if I posted
my phone number if anyone has any questions, so here it is:


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


From: John Bell <jfb@...>
Date: Sat, 23 Dec 1995 15:13:40 GMT
Subject: Re: Born without sin

>From: <ask@...> (A.S. Kamlet)
>A verse used by some Christians to "prove" the "doctrine of original
>sin" is Psalms 51:7
> Behold, I was shaped in iniquity,
> and in sin did my mother conceive me.
>Would someone please interpret this verse?

       The first question is: What constitutes sin? In its essence that
is? Surely it is choice. Choosing to disobey the commands of God.  It
follows therefore that a person cannot be born with sin already present
for choice cannot be present until it is chosen. Original sin is a myth.
	As to the text itself. Taken literally it would surely refer to
the sinful state of the conception and the marital state of the parents!
However the truth is that it is a poetic statement. The psalmist is
expressing in poetic language his remorse for his sins, and in looking
back at his life sees only that from his earliest recollections (of his
choices) he has sinned. It has nothing whatever to do with the doctrine
of being born with a so-called sinful nature, a thing which by the
nature of sin (choice) is naturally impossible.


From: <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 01:26:19 -0600
Subject: Chanukah Menorah Cleanup

    Now that Chanukah is coming to a close, I'm wondering if anyone has
any useful advice for cleaning up the menorahs after the holiday.
    As a first issue, many of us use oil menorahs where the oil is
inserted into little glass crucibles and burned using floating wicks.
The crucibles get quite black (or at least dark brown) on the inside
from being repeatedly "hit" by the flame, but they are too thin to scrub
very hard without breaking them.  Is there some chemical that they can
be soaked in that will readily dislodge the deposits on them?  They cost
only about $1 apiece, so it is not a big deal to spend $8 per year on
new ones and routinely discard them after Chanukah, making it not worth
LOTS of effort to clean them.  But there MUST be some fairly quick way
to do this.
    Secondly, regarding candle menorahs, does anyone have any tips to
share about particularly effective ways to remove the candle wax that
inevitably drips all over the menorah during the course of the holiday?
    Thanks in advance.                     --- Arthur Roth 


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 11:27:23 -0500
Subject: Death of Innocents

Shalom, All:
         I am having difficulty understanding the words of  Rav Yaakov
Weinberg, shlita, the Rosh Yeshiva in Baltimore (Ner Israel), as quoted by
Elozor Preil <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil):
        << He (Rabbi Weinberg) said that... a murderer has free choice
to pull the trigger. If his intended victim is completely innocent of
any sin (for which he deserves death), a miracle will save him.
Otherwise, the free will of the criminal will prevail.>>
          In this sicko world children of all ages are murdered, as are
_babies_.  They are sinless.  Unless one accepts the idea of geelgool
(reincarnation), where these innocents incurred guilt in a previous
life, how would Rav Weinberg's words explain the murder of such complete
      <Chihal@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 12:12:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Family customs

On Thu, 21 Dec 1995, Mordechai Kamenetzky wrote:
> The same for Gebroks! My father did like my mother who is a chasidisher
> rebbe's daughter.  I follow my wife who is a pure bred Litvak!

	Interesting, because the story is told that Rav Yaakov always
ate gebrokts but was once invited (while in Yeshiva) to a man's house
for Pesach and was concerned about the Kashrus of the man's house.
Therefore, he told the fellow that he's sorry but he cannot come because
he doesn't eat gebrokts.  From that time on, in keeping with the
legendary honesty for which he became famous, he desisted from eating
gebrokts for the rest of his life.

	In our family the customs always follow the husband.  We are a
litvishe family.  One of my sisters married a s'faradi and they eat
kitnios on Pesach.  My other sister married a chassidishe boy and they
don't eat gebrokts on Pesach.

A Lichtige un a Lustige Chanuka	
				Mordechai Perlman


From: Joe Wetstein <jpw@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 08:20:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hashgacha Pratis and the Tower Air incident

> From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
> Miraculously, all of the passengers were OK, with only a few minor
> injuries.
> I heard that Rabbi Teitelbaum was on board, with several of his
> students.  His followers claim that there was no fire or explosion
> because he was aboard.  God protected him, and consequently all of
> the people on board were spared.

My sister, zol gezunt zein, once broke her leg during the asseres yemay
teshuva. Someone on Yom Kippor said "you are very lucky... the accident
could have been much worse.." She replied:" If I was lucky, it wouldn't
have happened at all."

No major comments on hashgacha-pratis, though....


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 10:33:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hashgacha Pratis and the Tower Air incident

In V22N49, David Charlap described the remarkable incident of the 
Tower Air near-disaster, and asks:

> This bears an interesting parallel to Chanuka.  In the case of
> Chanuka, God gave us a miracle by providing for 8 days of fire.
> In this case, God gave us a miracle by not allowing a fire to
> start.

I watched the news at 10 pm (forget which channel) and the newswoman
noted the presence of R. Teitelbaum and used the word "miracle" (and
pictures of him and some associates were shown); in subsequent accounts
it wasn't mentioned.  I awaited the next morning's _New York Times_ with
interest to see if that angle would be mentioned, and it wasn't picked
up.  Seemed newsworthy to me; I guess not to the _Times_.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>

From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 13:02:25 -0800
Subject: Hashgacha Pratis and the Tower Air incident

In vol 22 #49, David Charlap writes:
> ...
> I heard that Rabbi Teitelbaum was on board, with several of his
> students.  His followers claim that there was no fire or explosion
> because he was aboard.  God protected him, and consequently all of
> the people on board were spared.

I have a problem in general with reasoning like this, since it could
lead to false projections about the piety of people who are in plane
crashes that *do* result in fatalities.

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 95 08:45:35 
Subject: Jewish Astronaut and Halacha

It seems to me that a Jewish astronaut would face a very similar
situation to that of a Jew in a Polaris submarine.  The actual position
of the submarine might be a secret and if it happens to be in the
vicinity of the North Pole then the question of time zones becomes very
problematic.  When is sunrise?  When does the day begin?

I heard a story of an observant Jew who was a civilian technician
onboard such as submarine.  Without warning the submarine suddenly went
on a surprise 3 month training mission.  The chaplain onboard explained
that they used ship time to determine all time-dependent Mitzvot.
Shiptime is the time at the most recent port.  So if the submarine last
docked in Atlanta, Georgia, he would start to observe Shabbat at the
same time as the members of Kehilat Kodosh Atlanta did.

BTW did he every go onboard the submarine after returning to dry land?
Yes, but he also carried his tefilin with him.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 95 11:44:00 -0500
Subject: Looking for a source

        I have been asked for a suggestion of reading material for a person
with very little Jewish background who would like to feel comfortable when
invited to an Orthodox friend's house for Shabbos,  Yom Tov,  etc. i.e. a
quick overview of what's going on and how not to embarrass herself or her
hosts.  The same need for feeling somewhat comfortable when accompanying her
hostess to shul.
<gershon.dubin@...>      |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG |


From: <ShmuelAJ@...> (Shmuel Jablon)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 15:28:47 -0500
Subject: Mixed groups singing

If one looks at the Siridei Eish zt"l, it is clear his view of mixed singing
is extremely limited.  He rules that the boys and girls are to sit in
separate areas.  He rules that it must not be possible to be able to
distinguish who is singing.  By the way, he also forbids co-ed trips.  He
says clearly that the hetter is to be used only for kiruv groups.  He allows
the leniency due to hatzalas nefashos.


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <SCHWARTZ@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 95 14:42:43 IST
Subject: Psalm 51:7

A. S. Kamlet asks about the Christian doctrine of original sin as
purportedly reflected in Psalm 51:7 "Indeed I was born in iniquity, and
in sin did my mother conceive me." In general, substantiation for
Christian doctrine from the Hebrew Bible is a matter of dogmatics and
interpretation, and often the Christian reading is so obviously based on
preconceived notions and foregone conclusions that no amount of
disucssion of the peshat of the verse is likely to peruade. Medieval
commentators, such as Rashi and especially Radak, were devoted to
refuting Christian interpretations of Biblical verses not only for the
purpose of responding to the Christians themselves (what Rashi calls
lit-shuvat ha-minim) but also, and perhaps primarily, in order to
fortify their fellow Jews and prevent them from being convinced, God
forbid, that the Christians were right. There is much literature on this
matter, and the sources in Rashi, Radak, Rashbam, Joseph Bechor Shor and
others are easily accessbile and numerous.
 As for the verse you mention: a detailed discussion of its peshat (the
historical, contextual meaning, as opposed to the one "read into" it by
later exegetes) can be found in: Meir Weiss, The Bible from Within,
translated by Baruch J. Schwartz, Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1984, pages
119-126 (the entire chapter, beginning on page 100, may be of interest).

Baruch J. Schwartz
Tel-Aviv University
Bible Department


From: Michael  Berger <mberg02@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 1995 12:25:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Revoking Semikhah

	David Ellenson has an article coming out in a forthcoming 
festschrift for Rabbi Jerome Malino, where he documents a codicil 
appended to semikhot from the Hildesheimer Seminary where the semikhah is 
revoked if the person takes a pulpit in a shul with an organ.  This 
codicil was formulated by Rabbi Dovid Tzvi Hoffmann, and reflects what 
was likely THE issue separating Orthodox from Reform in Germany (the 
parallel in America might be mechitza).
Chag sameach,
Michael Berger


From: <sultanik@...> (Abe Sultanik)
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 00:08:59 -0500
Subject: Re: UN-Blech

The UN-Blech is in fact considered to be a K'deirah and therefore has the
advantages of a K'deirah. However, one must be carefull to follow the
halacha very carefully. Returning food to the UN-Blech is limited to fully
cooked DRY foods. The cheif advantage is that the entire surface is evenly
heated. There is no hot spot. It is similar to the common practice of
putting foods on top of a chulent pot or urn. Furthermore, the advantages
of the UN-Blech are many and do not require tat you return food to the
surface on Shabbos. In fact, you can leave all of your food on this 
K'deirah for the entire Shabbos without worry that it will burn or dry
out. The temperature of the entire surface is kept at about 155 deg. and
food that is still warm may be returned to the surface ( even liquids I'm
told) without a question. Many Rabbaiim have examined the UN-Blech
including Rav Dovid Feinstein, Rav Herschel Shechter, Rav Dovid Cohen, Rav
Yisroel Isbee, Rav Gedalia Schwaartz, Rav Welcher, and of course my own
rov Rabbi Kenneth Auman.  for more information call 718 788-0505 ask for
                                        Gutten Shabbos      Abe Sultanik

From: Alyssa Berger <aberger@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 11:28:48 +0200 (IST)
Subject: UN-Blech

Just the address that goes with Michael Beer's mention of the 
Young Israel of Flatbush:
1012 Avenue I
Brooklyn, NY 11230

The unblech looks something like 2 cookie sheets with short sides (walls). the 
top one is turned upside down and fits into the bottom one. The bottom 
one gets water in it. I didn't see it in use, but it looked to me like you 
put in the water yourself. 

Aliza Berger


End of Volume 22 Issue 51