Volume 23 Number 41
                       Produced: Tue Mar 12 23:22:48 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Time to Act!
         [Carl & Adina Sherer]
Free Will
         [David Charlap]
Ger in Asseret Hadibrot
         [Tara Cazaubon   x3365]
Insects and Salad
         [Tara Cazaubon]
Mikva Ladies and Battered Women...
         [Joshua Brickel]
Names,Biblical or Otherwise
         [Moshe Sokolow]
Shiva Asar B'Tammuz
         [Jacob Lewis]
Starbucks Coffee
         [Joseph Danto]


From: Carl & Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 22:55:30 +0200
Subject: A Time to Act!

If anyone can help out with this they would be performing a great mitzva.

-- Carl Sherer

>From: Eli Birnbaum <birnbaum@...>
>Subject: A Time to Act!

>Shalom All
>  The past two weeks have been the most difficult in recent memory for our 
>people. Those who were murdered because they chose to live in a Jewish 
>State have been buried. Now as the days of mourning draw to an end we 
>must help the bereaved families begin to rebuild their lives by offering
>them part of ourselves.
>  One such young man, Avishai Shemshvilli, aged 14, is a tenth grade 
>student at the ORT Spanian school in Jerusalem. He lost his mother's 
>uncle on the first bus bombing. His father, who worked with his uncle, 
>missed the bus that day, but lost his life exactly one week later when
>the second bus exploded. The school is located in the heart of the 
>Katamonim district and most of the passengers/victims came from that 
>We have opened a direct Email line to the school. We urge you all to 
>make contact with the school. Perhaps out of the dialog which develops, a 
>relationship may grow which will reach beyond this tragedy to comfort 
>both Avishai and us, the extended family of Israel.
>Please cc: us a copy of every message, so we can put them 
>together and present them to the family in the form of a booklet.
>His address is: <spanian@...>

>                         Eli Birnbaum
>wzo                   <birnbaum@...>                  wzo


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 96 11:35:14 EST
Subject: Free Will

Stan Tenen <meru1@...> writes:
>I would like to suggest a "simple" solution to the free will problem.
>What if some of the quantum mechanics (physicists) who suggest a
>multiple world hypothesis are correct, and at each instant we split
>into all of the decisions we can make?
>Does any of this make sense to anyone else?  If so, could you please
>say it better so I can understand it too?  <smile>

I understand what you're trying to say, although I don't see any
reason why this explanation should be more right than the other ones
we've heard so far.

I think you need a thorough grounding on recent science fiction to
properly understand this, since physicists seem unable to explain the
subject without reams of mathematics.

The theory is that there are an infinite number of universes.  Every
time someone makes a decision, all other decisions that could have
been made are made in parallel universes.  Effectively, "our" universe
splits into multiple clones with every decision that is made - with a
different option being taken in each.  Of course, there is no proof
for this (and any solid scientific theories probably require more
mathematics than ordinary people can understand.)

Anyway, if you want to work with the assumption of this "multiverse",
then God, being the Creator of everything, would be beyond it all, and
able to see all of them.  Clearly, if every action that could possible
be taken is taken in some universe somewhere, then someone who could
see other universes (like God) would be able to see the outcome of
every choice you didn't make, in addition to the ones you do make.

This may also explain some gemmoras where a rabbi (I forget who) asks
God why he was so poor his entire life.  God responds that he'd have
to destroy and remake the world to change his status.  Given the above
theory, God's response is telling us that there are other universes
where he is not poor, and that if he wasn't poor here, our universe
would be one of those and not the one we're actually in.

Stan: Is this explanation any better?  As I mentioned above, I see no
reason why this theory is any better than anyone else's theory on the
free will paradox, but it is an interesting thought.


From: <tarac@...> (Tara Cazaubon   x3365)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 13:46:48 -0800
Subject: Ger in Asseret Hadibrot

On Fri, 8 Mar 1996, Claire wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 23 #35 Digest
> Aish HaTorah's dvar Torah for Shabbat Yitro (found on shabbatshalom)
> translates the fourth commandment as:
> [deleted to save space]
>       ...Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself; thou
>       mayest give it unto the convert that is within thy gates that he
>       may eat it.

:Logically the term "ger" must mean a nonJewish stranger in this pasuk in
:the same way that we were "gerim" in Egypt.  A "convert" is only allowed
:to eat kosher meat and could not eat teraifah.
:-Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

I believe the Hebrew of the above text refers to the ger toshav, a non-Jew
living in Eretz Yisrael who has agreed to abide by the 7 Noahide laws, not
a ger tzaddik who is in fact a Jew who has fully converted.


From: <tarac@...> (Tara Cazaubon)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 13:42:55 -0800
Subject: Insects and Salad

Just as an addendum to David Mescheloff's post on insects, it is very
important to become knowledgable about and committed to inspecting
vegetables, because vegetables are VERY important to human nutrition.
It would be as serious a transgression to stop eating vegetables and
endanger our health, as it would be to ignore the halacha and not
inspect carefully.  Cutting out a few vegetables that are especially
problematic is one thing, but we must try to eat a variety of vegetables
for good health.


From: Joshua Brickel <brickel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 96 13:58:31 EDT
Subject: Mikva Ladies and Battered Women...

I am genrally in lurking mode, but recently the subject of mikva ladies
and battered women has gotten me sick enough to respond.  I am using
this post as a srping board for my own posting.  Lest begin...

      From: Anonymous
      I have been reading the discussion on battered woman over the
      past few months with out posting.  I was a battered wife (just 
      recently separated) and everything that Alana Suskin said ( in 
      her March 2 posting) is true.  Women need help to get out of 
      these situations.  Many Rabbis and their wives told me to just 
      make the marriage work.  They knew that I was being abused 
      physically and mentally!  People assume that because we are all 
      Orthodox Jews that things like this does not happen (my, G-d 
      willing, soon to be x-husband was learning full time in a modern 

I just can't help but to wonder if any of these rabbi's know what they
are doing?!?  Why do I consistently here stories of what appears to be
rabbi's trying to deny reality.  It seems to me that they are often more
interested in what this situation would look like to the outside world
than what is best for the person in the situation.  I have more respect
for the monks that helped to force out one of the former leaders of
"convenant house" than I do for my own religous leaders.  This is not
only sad but reprehensible too.  I know that being religous does not
equate with being moral, but I would hope, would expect, that those who
choose leadership roles would be leaders and not just cowards who try
not to rock the boat.

      The orthodox community has to accept that abuse is part of life
      even for us.  They need to know how to recognize it (both 
      physical and mental).  They need to know that mental abuse also 
      kills and destroys lives.  Only one Rabbi was willing to help me 
      get out of my marriage. (I am still without a Get but at least I 
      don't sleep in fear) You can't blame a woman who is abused for 
      not leaving if no one will help her.  I would not have found it 
      out of place if my mikva lady had said something.  I would have 
      been thrilled to get some support.

If only more people helped others... But in this case the Mikva ladies
do have a unique opportunity to notice abuse and should in someway try
and get the victim help.  I have now read a whole bunch of posts on this
subject, for and against, and I must say in the end, I believe that this
opportunity to notice abuse should not be ignored.

Specifically, for those who fear that such women will shy away from the
mikva altogether I have a few comments.  I do not believe the lady, with
proper training at the Mikva necc. has to be so heavy handed.  If she
knows what shul the victim goes to she could discretely talk with the
rabbi there, Oh, I forgot that is generally not worth the effort (see
rant above).  Well, even if our rabbi's have no courage, there are still
plenty of ways around this.  If the mikva lady is someone who has the
persons confidence she may, herself be able to talk to her, or maybe a
mutual friend.

_But just to ignore it and hope that the beetings stop seems

I would rather the mikva lady, if she felt to awkward to at least have a
mutual friend who can be trusted to lie to talk to the woman.  Why I say
someone who can be trusted to lie is simply that the best method of
approach would probably be for her friend to act as if she has noticced
something on her own.  Nobody likes to think that the whole world is
talking about them.  Truth means less to me than helping others.

      Everyone is worried about saving marriages that are destroying
      people.  We have to worry about saving people and then the 
      marriages will work.  Don't let our stupidity and unwillingness 
      to accept abuse in our community allow it to destroy more women 
      and children.  

One small point, not all marriages will work out - no matter what.
However saving spouses and children is more important than saving
marriages, otherwise, chances are the children are going to end up in
the same type of relationships when they get older.

Oh, and unfortunantly it is our leadership which is willing to accept
abusive relationships within our community.

      Everyone has to be educated.  (What is wrong with bringing it up 
      in Kallah classes even.)

Probably not the best place to bring it up.  I would imagine a great
many people are nervous enough before the get married, we don't need to
add uneccessary fears into most people.  Rather, this should be a topic
perhaps brought up as needed.  I'm not saying it should never be
mentioned in public, no please let the rabbi's expound about it from the
pulpit (if any of them has the courage).  Or maybe in a post, marriage
follow up class.  Hmm, it could be organized as what to look for in your
friends to spot possible abuse.  Yes, thats much better tack than saying
this is what to do if your husband starts beeting you.

      I am posting this without my name because the Bet Din that is 
      handling the Get has said that I am not allowed to tell people 
      that I was abused, so that my, G-d willing, soon to be x-husband 
      can remarry! 

Although I understand that you can not identify yourself, this is an
unfortunate dictate that the Bes Din has placed on you.  Now he'll be
able to hit on someone else, and she'll never know she could have known
better (at least not till it is too late).  Unless I misunderstand you
and he first has to go to therapy, to help him deal with his rage in a
better fashion, and the rabbi's will not remarry him untill they are
satisfied that decent progress has been made.  However much this would
be nice to be done, I truly doubt it will be.

My opinions are my own and not that of my company. 

[back into lurking mode...]


From: <TorahDept@...> (Moshe Sokolow)
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 14:00:07 -0500
Subject: Names,Biblical or Otherwise

Some Biblical names would look awfully funny on contemporary Jews, like
Susi, Gemali, Nachbi, Vafsi--which are names of Israelite princes or
their fathers--or some of the non-Jewish Biblical names like Pildash
(Phil?) and Yidlaph (Yidl?),for that matter.
 My favorite Aramaic name is Murray.
Consider that:
(a)the Patriarchal names NEVER recur in the Bible;
(b)Moshe NEVER recurs in the Bible;
(c)neither do the shevatim, Yehoshua, David, Shelomo, and a host of
others--so somebody clearly approved of innovative nomenclature--
(d)some Patriarchal names reappear during the Mishnaic period, including
Yitzhak, Yaakov, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yosef...
(e)but still NO Avraham, NO Moshe, and NO David;
(f) The earliest return of these names is in the Gaonic era.

Conclusion: Jews applied a taboo to the use of certain names, but once
your average street urchin was named Ibrahim, Mussa, or Da'ud, there was
little point in the Jews being the only ones without these Biblical

By the way, originally giving a child more than one name was frowned
upon.  Legend has it that parents once approached a hakham with the
request that he settle a dispute over whether their child should be
named Meir or Yair--after their respective fathers. He replied that
since they could not bestow two names, they should name the child after
both fathers, simultaneously, and the name "Shneiur" (shenei-or) was

Also by the by--according a to a little known Gaonic responsum (written
by a little known Gaon), Manhattan is entitled to celebrate Purim Sheini
on 21-22 Adar because it has a Wall Street. Same for anyplace which can
be seen from Manhattan (including from the Top of the Towers, with a
telescope), or which is within local phone call range of Manhattan on
days when the visibility is limited by smog.

Moshe Sokolow


From: <Krukshank@...> (Jacob Lewis)
Date: Mon, 11 Mar 1996 17:39:04 -0500
Subject: Shiva Asar B'Tammuz

When does the fast of Shiva Asar B'tammuz begin and end? My rabbi said it
wasn't a full fast, but he didn't elaborate.

[Basically it begins with daybreak and with nightfall. Now what those
times exacly are, that's another story. Mod.]


From: Joseph Danto <danto@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 1996 07:04:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Starbucks Coffee

I noticed some of the packaged coffees had symbols of hashgacha but
others did not.  I consulted a local orthodox rav with experience in
giving hashgachot and was told all the coffees were acceptable.  Does
your source in the previous Digest have a rabbinic authority for the
claim of a problem with Starbucks?
 Joseph Danto

[I was speaking with a Rav in town who is knowledgable about the
Hashgacha issues and asked about this report. What he said that was in
general flavored coffees should have a hashgacha, so if there are any
flavored  Starbucks coffees they would need a hashgacha, but he was
unaware of any such coffees. Mod.]


End of Volume 23 Issue 41