Volume 23 Number 48
                       Produced: Mon Mar 18 17:35:58 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Old Submissions Appearing
         [Avi Feldblum]
Dairy Equipment
         [Stanley Weinstein]
Er, Onan and majority
         [Gershon Dubin]
God Running the Show
         [Harry Mehlman]
Happy and Kosher Pesach
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
High-decibled Music
         [Yisrael Medad]
Megillah Reading
         [Avraham Husarsky]
Question on electric shavers
         [L Wolf]
Starbucks Coffee, once more
         [R. J. Israel]
Temple Candelabra
         [Alan Rubin]
Yosef & Binyameen & mirrors
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 1996 21:32:22 -0500
Subject: Administrivia - Old Submissions Appearing

Hello All,

I have actually had some time this weekend to catch up on some old
mail. There is a lot more for me to go through, but I've gone through
some of the January mail that has been buried in my mailbox. I figure
there is probably some rule about getting rid of old email before
Pesach. Where it appeared to me that some of the submissions would still
be readable without the immediate context of the original conversation,
I have included them here. Others that I thought were no longer
relavant, I've emailed back to the original submitters and told them
I've found the submission but that my judgement was that it was not
useful to publish it in mail-jewish at this point. I hope to get to at
least another 50 or so of such messages over the next day or two. Not
going on business trips does have some advantages :-).

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


From: Stanley Weinstein <stanwein@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 22:35:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Dairy Equipment

A lot of products are now marked ou-d, but in fact aren't dairy but just 
dairy equipment.  Is there a way to tell the difference?  Does someone 
publish a list?

[My understanding is that the OU dairy equipment marking is OU-de, not
OU-d. Mod.]


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Fri, 19 Jan 96 12:34:00 -0500
Subject: Er, Onan and majority

 >their understanding i.e.  if they know that what they are doing is wrong
 >they can be tried in a Noachide court. 
 AF> But which Noachide commandment did Er and Onan violate?

      I did not mean to imply that they were culpable in court for their
sin.  The posuk says that what they did was "bad in the eyes of G-D";
they were not tried in any court.
      My point was that majority before Sinai and afterward for
Noachides does not depend on puberty or a specific age but on the
maturity to know right from wrong.

 AF> Answer (a) implicitly assumes that Yosef had a mirror (and a good
 AF> memory).  Does anyone know if mirrors existed at that time?
       Yes,  they used polished metal,  not coated glass.
<gershon.dubin@...>      |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG |

.... "Mr. Worf, fire phasers at <feldblum@...>" ... Zzzzzap!

___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.20


From: Harry Mehlman <mehlman@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 1996 02:33:53 +1100 (EST)
Subject: God Running the Show

<jaydena@...> (Jay Bailey) wrote: Date: Mon, 15 Jan 

>Who says this? The Rambam, for example. It's a great passage -- Sh'mona
>Prakim, VIII -- worth reading. Here's the gist of it: "[If you throw a
>stone into the air, it will fall, as] God decreed that the earth and all
>that goes to make it up should be the center of attraction...but it is
>wrong to suppose that when a certain part of earth is thrown upward, God
>wills at that very moment that it should fall... [We believe that] the
>Divine Will ordained everything at Creation, and that all things, at all
>times, are regulated by the laws of nature, and run their course, as
>Solomon said "As it was, so it will ever be, as it was made so it
>continues, and there is nothing new under the sun..."

Jay, I took your advice and read Shmona Prakim VIII (several times) and
unless I'm very much mistaken, you have confused the issue completely.
There, Rambam is not talking about Hashgacha Pratit (Divine Providence)
at all except as an example. The issue throughout this long and complex
chapter is human free choice. In the very brief section you quote,
Rambam maintains that just as humans were given free choice in
moral/halachic matters, so too Hashem does not directly control a
person's every action (sitting and standing are his examples). In this
entire chapter Rambam is only discussing what a person *does*.

BUT - as far as I know, Rambam *never* applied this idea to things that
*happen to* people, certainly anything involving human destiny or human
suffering! Even according to him, Hashgacha Pratit is in full force in
any case where these are involved:

      "My opinion on this principle of Divine Providence... is this:
      In the lower or sublunary portion of the Universe, Divine
      Providence does not extend to the individual members of species
      ** except in the case of mankind ** [my emphasis]. It is only
      in this species that the incidents in the existence of
      individual beings, their good and evil fortunes, are the result
      of justice, in accordance with the words "For all His ways are
                  -- Guide of the Perplexed, Part III, Chapter 17  

You wrote further:

>But if God originally -- at Maaseh Breshit -- set up the winds to blow 
>in a certain fashion, and you happen, by your *free choice* to be 
>driving by when a branch falls from a tree and smashes your hood because
>the physical strain on the branch was too much, there is no reason to
>have to attribute God's direct hand in ruining your car. Murderers have

But Rambam writes:

      "It may be by mere chance that a ship goes down with all her
      contents... or the roof of a house falls upon those within; but
      it is not due to chance, according to our view, that in the one
      instance the men went into the ship, or remained in the house
      in the other instance; it is due to the will of G-d, and is in
      accordance with the justice of His judgements, the method of
      which our mind is incapable of understanding..."
                                                           -- ibid.

>In other words, Yotzer Ohr O'vorei Choshech/Ra is just fine. But leave 
>it at that. The leap from being Creator to Mr. Frimer's "In any case, we
>Jews maintain that G-d is the creator of all and thus responsible and in
>control." is one that no logic professor would accept.

>God's "stepping back" is popular among many, many thinkers, and does not
>run against anything *frum* unless one has been taught to simplistically
>accept that God is omnipotent so everything is under His control. Of

Hardly simplistic. On the contrary; the idea that G-d "steps back" is an
attempt to "simplify" G-d, to make Him conform to the limits of one's own
intellect, as Rabbi Frand shows in his discussion of Kushner's book.
Because we find it impossible to reconcile a good G-d who could do "evil",
we attribute evil to some other force over which G-d has no control. This
is exactly what Kushner concluded, and - quite apart from not being frum -
is a serious oversimplification. The popularity of the idea amongst "many
thinkers" just shows that they share the same limitations. This appeal to
their authority is not an argument, Jay.

The idea that G-d directly controls *everything* is not simplistic at all,
rather it requires an enormous effort of intellect and imagination, one
which is perhaps beyond human capacity altogether. Which is precisely why
so "many many thinkers" think otherwise. But don't try to recruit Rambam
into their ranks. He only thought so for things that *don't* impinge on
human destiny, and his opinion was based not on any intellectual
limitations but on good reasons:

      "I have been induced to accept this theory by the circumstance
      that I have not met in any of the prophetical books with a
      description of G-d's Providence otherwise than in relation to
      human beings... [Rambam then cites several scriptural passages
      to illustrate that G-d's *does* supervise people] ... All that
      is mentioned of the history of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is
      perfect proof that Divine Providence extends to every man
                                                           -- ibid.

See also the beginning of Hilchot Ta'anit in Mishneh Torah in which Rambam
calls anyone attributing happenings to chance as "cruel".



From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Sun,  17 Mar 96 15:37 +0200
Subject: Re: Happy and Kosher Pesach

>From: <jerusalem@...> (Perry Zamek)
>Wishing all a happy Pesach (the kashrut is assumed :-) ).

Rabbi Nathan of Breslov writes that two mitzvot cannot be fulfilled
    without Siata Di'Shmaya (heavenly help).
1) Keeping Shabbas.
2) Not eating chametz.

With the advances in food technology, IMHO we nee even more help.

So I pray to Hashem to give us all a happy (especially as a Jeruselamite)
    and a kosher Pesach.



From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 96 07:58:15 PST
Subject: High-decibled Music

Whether or not the number and/or type of instruments are limited in
Jerusalem, and although I have read of the 'takana' I have very rarely
seen & heard it actually practiced, nevertheless, the loudness of
wedding music needs a 'takana' prohibiting noise pollution if not
out-right danger to one's ear drums.  I sympahtize with Danny Skait's

Yisrael Medad


From: <hoozy@...> (Avraham Husarsky)
Date: Thu, 14 Mar 96 13:03:18 msk
Subject: Megillah Reading 

does one fullfil their obligation if they hear a live broadcast of a 
megillah reading on TV or radio?  i stress live, i'm not referring to a 
tape.  if no, why would this be different than one who sits in the 
synagogue hallway and hears the reading, or hears the reading through a 
window?  or a microphone in the synagogue?

Name: Avraham Husarsky         
E-mail: <hoozy@...>, ahuz@netvision.net.il


From: <ldwolf@...> (L Wolf)
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 20:09:19 PST
Subject: Question on electric shavers

Having heard many rumors about the latest electric shavers, I'm confused
by it all. Can anyone bring reliable Halachic sources to help me chose a
new electric shaver that doesn't pose Halachic problems?

Thank you.



From: <RJISRAEL@...> (R. J. Israel)
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 1996 23:29:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Starbucks Coffee, once more

I have a son-in-law who manages a Starbucks coffee store. He
assures me of the following: The flavors of uncertain Kashrut are put 
into the paper cups in hot coffee in the store at the customers 
request. But with respect to the coffee itself, from roaster through
grinder and into the take out bag, there is nothing but coffee beans 
with no admixtures of anything. A customer who orders straight
coffee will only get straight coffee.

R. J. Israel


From: <arubin@...> (Alan Rubin)
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 96 20:27 GMT
Subject: Temple Candelabra

The following has appeared on the israel news mailing list

>  Religious Affairs Minister Shimon Shetreet asked Pope John Paul II
> Wednesday to confirm whether the seven branched candelabrum from the
> ancient Israelite Holy Temple in Jerusalem is located in the Vatican's
> storage cellars, MA'ARIV reported.
> The candelabrum, referred to in Hebrew as the "menorah," was taken by
> Titus following the Roman conquering of Israel and is depicted in 
> Rome's Arch of Titus.

In his first volume of history of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich says
that the menorah and other vessels were taken from Rome to Carthage in
455 CE by Gaiserac King of the Vandals when he plundered Rome.  The
Vandals were defeated in 534 by Belisarius, General to Justinian, the
Byzantine Emperor and the menorah brought back to Rome.  Norwich then
says: "Later after representations by the Jewish Community - who
emphasised the bad luck that would inevitably fall on Constantinople if
it were allowed to remain - the ever-superstitious Justinian returned
the menorah, together with the other vessels from the Temple, to

I do not know what Norwich's source is for this.  Does anyone have any
other information on this episode or the later history of the menorah?

Alan Rubin     <arubin@...>


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 12:30:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Yosef & Binyameen & mirrors

Warren Burstein (MJ 22#90) says:

>Robert Book writes:
>>Answer (a) implicitly assumes that Yosef had a mirror (and a good
>>memory).  Does anyone know if mirrors existed at that time?

>Mirrors are mentioned in Shmot 39:8,[s/b 38:8] which takes place
>200-something years after Yosef and his brothers.  The Midrash says
>that these mirrors were used during the period of enslavement which
>takes it even closer to the time of Yosef.

When I visited Egypt and some of its ancient temples-shrines-pyramids, I
noticed that the sun light was brought into the shrines by a mirror. It
was stated to the visitors that this was the method all along. In one
place, (Abu Simble?) the structure was positioned in such a way that
there was only one day in the year when the angle of the sun light
carried by a mirror could be shown in a certain place. It was
constructed specifically that way.

Thus it is suggested that mirrors were known and used in Yosef's time
[?1562-?1452 BCE]. Also a mirror was found in the grave of Tutankhamen
[d.?1340 BCE] and is shown in the Cairo museum (made of polished metal for
beautification purposes). If we have any Egyptologist on the list she/he
could confirm the above, since I do not have books on the subject to
authenticate my memory.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 23 Issue 48