Volume 23 Number 47
                       Produced: Sun Mar 17 21:26:15 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bal Tosif
         [Mordechai Torczyner]
Bracha on Hydroponically Grown Lettuce
         [Mr D S Deutsch]
Firing Rabbis
Free Will
         [Don Weingarten]
MJ-Chaburah Sent Out
         [Avi Feldblum]
Psalm 97
         [Stan Tenen]
Slits in Skirts
         [Gedaliah Friedenberg]
Takanos and Bal Tosif
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Thank you for response to "Pikuach Nefesh"
         [Robert A. Light]


From: Mordechai Torczyner <mat6263@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 13:12:38 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Bal Tosif

Micha Berger writes:
> We find the Gemara in a
> number of places calls a diRabbanan "halachah liMoshe miSinai".
> (Unfortunately, none come to mind as I type. The brain doesn't work well
> when sleep deprived. Ba Shabbos ba Menuchah [When Shabbos comes, rest
> comes].) This is taken to mean that we are as sure of this din (law) as
> we are of those given to Moses at Sinai. Literally, though, it is
> counting the law as one that was given at Sinai.
> Shouldn't the language be avoided, as it gives an appearance of bal
> tosif?

	The Rambam, in the Second "Shoresh" of Sefer HaMitzvos, writes
that all Halachos LeMoshe MiSinai have the status of "Divrei Sofrim".
This is taken literally by such Poskim as the Ran, who indicates in the
7th Perek of Shabbos (I think on the Mishnah 73a of the 39 Melachos)
that the punishments of Bais Din were not administered for Halachos
LeMoshe MiSinai. See the Chavvos Ya'ir, Siman 192, for a fuller
treatment of the subject.

					Mordechai Torczyner


From: Mr D S Deutsch <dsd3543@...>
Date: 14 Mar 96 15:48:00 GMT
Subject: RE: Bracha on Hydroponically Grown Lettuce

David Hollander (MJ 23:42) wrote:

> My Rav told me that since it is questionable what blessing to say before
>eating hydroponic romaine lettuce, one should say Shehakol.Since some
>hold the maror (bitter herbs) should be HoAdama (blessing for vegetables
>grown in the ground) he did not advise using it for maror.

Rav Pinchas Bondi, a grandson of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l writes
about his grandfather in Issue No 40 of Kol Hatorah (Published by Agudas

"He said (meaning Rav SZ) that the lettuce grown in Gush Katif is OK for
Mehadrin min Hamehadrin for Marror and there is no reason for not being
able to be fulfil the obligation of Marror with it despite being grown in
an 'atzitz she'eyno nokiv' (i.e. not in (halachic) contact with the
Proof is from the Gemara in Pesachim 35: where it is made clear that one
can fulfil the obligation of Matzo made from grain grown under these
conditions. He (Rav SZ) added that none of the Rishonim have ever
mentioned that one does not make Hamotzi on such a Matzo which is clear
proof that one makes Hamotzi in such a case.
Since grain usually is grown on the earth  one may similarly adduce that
lettuce grown without contact with the earth is also no different and that
it takes the general Brachah of its type (i.e. Hoadamah)."

I have tried to translate as literally as possible. Comments in brackets
are mine.



From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 1996 07:00:49 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Firing Rabbis

I would very much like to have people discuss the issue of a
congregation firing their rabbi.  We are a very small orthodox
congregation with our 1st ever rabbi.  Part of our problem is that we
don't know what to expect and other Rabbi's in New York who are
nurturing our group financially say everything is fine don't worry,
things will work out.  Things haven't been working out too well in
someways. Here are the issues.  Of course these are completely
subjective but lets just take them as they are.

The conditions are:
1.  No moral interpretude what so ever.
2.  A very nice person. Relates well personally with others.
3.  Very organizationally impaired.
		a.  Doesn't get back to people when shailas are asked.
		b.  Usually doesn't meet project deadlines.
		c.  Often doesn't show up for learning.
		d.  Often doesn't return phone calls.
		e.  Comes to classes unprepared for lecture.
4.  Makes up Shabbos drosh on Shabbos morning.  They are often of 
poor quality.
5.  Makes financial commitments to people (mohel, sofer) and doesn't 
follow through in a timely fashion.  
6.  Congregents, less involved in the running the shul and 
volunteering  or who don't deal with the rabbi on any of the above 
like him and deem him an effective rabbi.

Those of the board who do deal with him are afraid of firing him because
of the fear that we won't get another rabbi who would be willing to come
to our community.  We would get a "bad reputation", therefor the
community would be poorer for the firing.  We also don't want to hurt
our rabbi either.

Our goal is to bring more people to Yidishkeit and that is a very 
hard thing to measure.  We have grown since hiring our rabbi.  But we 
were growing before hiring him.  He does do good works, he has 
connected us up with Jewish students at the Hillel.  He has increased 
learning in our community.  People are doing more mitzvos.  But if 
feels that we aren't doing as effective a job in meeting goals with 
someone who isn't effective in the above areas.  Would someone who 
has those organizational skills and the Torah learning be better for 

I do not want my name attached to this at all.  All I want is an 
outside perspective as I believe we are too close to see the forest.  
All of our members are Ba'al T'shuvim and we haven't really had much 
of a broad experience at all in the Orthodox world.


From: <weingar@...> (Don Weingarten)
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 1996 23:47:22 -0500
Subject: Free Will

In the thread on free will, several people mentioned the many worlds
interpretation of quantum mechanics. As a theoretical physicist, I would
like to offer the comment that physicists working on the foundations of
quantum mechanics do not appear to me to have reached a consensus in
support of many worlds. Many worlds was proposed to resolve a collection
of related puzzles. Whether it actually resolves these puzzles remains
in dispute. A variety of big shots in this business, such a John Bell,
have argued that it doesn't do it. My own opinion is that the opponents
of many worlds are correct. I do not think it helps very much in
resolving issues in the foundations of quantum mechanics. And as a
consequence I do not feel it can offer much help with the understanding
of free will.

Don Weingarten


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 21:22:15 -0500
Subject: MJ-Chaburah Sent Out

Hello All,

The group mj-chaburah has been quiet of late, but we just had our first
posting there in a while. The topic of the current chaburah is:

K`fiya Al Ha-Tzdaka - forcing people to fulfil the commandment of charity

To join the Chaburah, send the message:

sub mj-chaburah <your real name here>

to: <listproc@...>

Here is the start of the Chaburah:

			K`fiya Al Ha-Tzdaka
"We have never seen nor heard of a jewish community which does not
have a charity fund"
					(Rambam, Matnot Aniyim 9:3)

Mar`ey Mekomot:
a) Bava-Batra 8b "Tanu Rabanan ... 400 Zuzey Li-Tzdaka".
	Tosfot D"H U-Mitchaleket, D"H Ki and D"H Achpeye.
b) Rambam Matnot Aniyim 7:1-5,10,13 and 8:1-7. Especially 7:5, 7:10.
c) Bava-Batra 8a "Shloshim Yom ... Pasey Ha-Ir"
d) Ktzot Ha-Choshen 290:3


The main source for the possiblity of forcing people to fulfil the
commandment of charity ('K`fiya al Ha-Tzdaka') is the Gmara in
Bava-Batra (8b). The Gmara says that collection of charity must not be
done by a single person, since this duty is considered a public
authority - 'Srara Al Ha-Tzibur', which can not be done by any single
person as the Gmara derives from a Pasuk. The Gmara explains that the
collection is considered Srara since the collectors are allowed to force
the people to give their part, in case they are estimated to be capable
of paying, even up to large sums. Tosfot there (D"H Achpe`ye) raise the
question what is the origin of the authority given to the collectors.
Tosfot assume that obviously the it is the law of 'Kofin Al Ha-Mitzvot',
i.e., anybody who refuses to fulfil a commandment should be enforced to
do so. However, they then argue this reasoning according to the
principle that one is not to be forced to fulfil a Mitzvah that 'Matan
Se`chara Be-Tzida', i.e. a Mitzvah that the Torah specifies its benefits
(Sachar). They give four alternative explanations:

[rest of article in Chaburah] (I'll resend out the original chaburah in
a few days so all those that join now will get it. I'll also add it to
the home page and the archives, as soon as I figure out why it did not
get archived correctly when I sent it out today.)

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


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 13:19:37 -0800
Subject: Psalm 97

Just before the (Ashkenaz) chazzan's part, Psalm 97 says:

"For You, HaShem, are supreme above the earth; exceedingly exalted above
all powers."  (Artscroll Ashkenaz Siddur, p.310-311.)  The Hebrew word
translated "powers" is actually Elokim.

Is there a traditional teaching of how and why this is so? I am NOT
interested in the standard, apologetic, explanation that Elokim can
refer to powers in general (or any other easy out.)  The sense of the
verse is clearly that HaShem is "exalted" over Elokim.

I have what I believe is a unique geometric explanation, but before I
display my insight or my ignorance (perhaps both <smile>), I would like
to know if there is a good (credible) traditional explanation.



From: Gedaliah Friedenberg <gedaliah@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 19:00:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Slits in Skirts
Newsgroups: shamash.mail-jewish

In v23n44 Tehilla Weinberg writes:

>Is anyone familiar with a Halchic source(s) discussing the possible
>prohibition of wearing slits in skirts (even if the slit is below the
>knee)?  I am wondering if this is a Halachic concept, a Geder to avoid
>transgressing other prohibitions, or a Chumra that some have accepted
>upon themselves.  Is there something fundamentally wrong with wearing a
>slit (or is it OK if it only exposes the leg below the knee)?  Any
>information would be EXTREMELY appreciated.

About a year ago a large sign was hung in a very popular men's mikvah in
Monsey (NY) regarding tzinus issues in women's clothing.  There were
dozens of signatures on it.  Rav Pam's is the only one that comes to

The sign stated that all women's skirts must hang well below the knee
(and when the lady is seated the skirt would still be below the knee
with room to spare).  It went on to say that slits in skirts are NEVER
permitted. It said specifically that even a slit which closes lower than
the necessary length of the skirt is still not permissable.  This
baffles me.  This shows (I think) that there is something inherently
wrong with a slit, even if only permitted parts of the leg are exposed.

I asked my kallah (chassunah is be"h 12 Av if anyone is going to be near
Monsey) to ask a rebbetzin about this.  The rebbetzin simply answered
that a slit is like an "open door" in the eyes of men, and that it
attracts unnecessary attention regardless of the location or lenth of
the slit.  The rebbetzin did not elaborate.

Gedaliah Friedenberg


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Sun,  17 Mar 96 15:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Takanos and Bal Tosif

>From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>

>I find, therefor, some things odd. For example, we find the Gemara in a
>number of places calls a diRabbanan "halachah liMoshe miSinai".
>(Unfortunately, none come to mind as I type. The brain doesn't work well
>when sleep deprived. Ba Shabbos ba Menuchah [When Shabbos comes, rest
>comes].) This is taken to mean that we are as sure of this din (law) as
>we are of those given to Moses at Sinai. Literally, though, it is
>counting the law as one that was given at Sinai.

Sorry, I beg to defer.
I quote (approx.): Rambam, Shabbas, 16:19 -
If one builds a wall of standing sticks, and the distance between any two
    is less than three tefachim (approx. 30 cm.), then this wall is a valid
    partition for Shabbas if its hight is at least ten tefachim (approx. 1 m.).
This is "halachah liMoshe miSinai".
End quote.
This shows that HLM is Biblical Law, otherwise you couldn't carry.

Happy and kosher Pesach.


From: <light@...> (Robert A. Light)
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 13:57:06 -0500
Subject: Thank you for response to "Pikuach Nefesh"

I want to thank each and every person who responded to my plea for a
courier to deliver medicine from Israel to the U.S.

The patient, Chaim Moshe ben Henya, is having a difficult time and
desperately needs the brochot that people are giving.

The patient's family and I want to thank everyone who helped us.  We are
deeply touched by all the wishes and brochot for a refuah shaleima.  The
entire operation from the location of the medicine, the research into its
effacacy, the decision to try it and especially the incredible timing of
the various "hand-offs" that brought the medicine to the U.S. - each of
these steps was blessed with success and it is our fervent prayer that this
be just the beginning of the upturn in health culminating in a complete

As this letter goes out just before Shabbos - I want to thank each of you a
wonderful Shabbos.

Again, thank you very, very much.

    - Robert Light

Robert A. Light                           <light@...>


End of Volume 23 Issue 47