Volume 23 Number 59
                       Produced: Wed Mar 27 22:33:32 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Agunah Issues
         [Zvi Weiss]
dvar b'fnai atzmo - each mitzvah stands by itself
         [Andrew Heinze]
Firing a Rabbi
         [Susan Chambre]
Glatt Kosher
         [Zev Barr]
Kiruv & Raising Standards
         [Shlomo Grafstein]
Non Wheat Matzah
         [Gershon Klavan]
Oat matza and Rav Schachter
         [Nahum Spirn]
         [Carl & Adina Sherer]
The Menorah
         [Micha Berger]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 22:33:14 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

It looks like we are having technical problems on the Shamash system,
and the lists are not getting out in any reasonable rate. I'm trying to
work on it, but it is difficult. In addition, there is a lot of
uncertainty about what will happen at Shamash. The point of this note is
twofold, one to let you know why the delivery of mail-jewish has been
erratic of late, and that if you have sent stuff in to
<mail-jewish@...> and you ahve not seen it, it may have gotten
lost. I would suggest that to the extent possible, people should NOT use
the mail-jewish address for sending in postings, I would suggest either
the <feldblum@...> or mljewish@shamash.org.

I will keep you informed of the situation as it develops, and probably
will be back in this spot soon with some additional info and/or
requests. One thing that I'll try a put a more focused request out for
in the near future is someone with solid Unix/Sun system admin knowledge
and experience who would be willing to volunteer some time to help keep
the Shamash system behaving properly. If you fit that catagory and are
willing to help, please send me some email.

Avi Feldblum


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 09:17:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Agunah Issues

Avraham Husarsky appears to have made several assertions re the Agunah 
issue.  Most important, that the court system is stacked in favor of the 
Mother and that the Agunah issue is blown out of all proportion.  He also 
cites the shulchan Aruch without even attempting to deal with the issue 
of "Ma'is Alai" -- that the spouse finds his/her mate utterly repulsive 
and unacceptable.
Further, while it is not accepted "Lahalacha" (as binding in Shulchan 
Aruch), the Rambam's comments that the woman is NOT a prisoner who should 
be forced to live with someone agianst her will appear to be utterly 
disregarded by Husarsky.
My questions:
1. On what basis did Husarsky about the Court System being "stacked"? 
(The fact that the amount awarded is more than the Beit din would award 
does not prove to me ANYTHING.. There have been assertions that at least 
SOME (I emphasize NOT ALL!) of the Batei din are pretty unsophisticated in 
the area of marital matters and there may also be an aspect of Dina 
DMalchusa here).
2. On what basis did Husarsky state that the Agunah problem is 
overblown?  Outside of the fact that he used an very technical definition 
for the term "Agunah", he offers no evidence.
3. Has Husarsky been in contact with any agency/group that deals with 
this matter?
I am concerned because at a time when there is a strong effort to 
sensitize the Jewish Community to these sort of issues, the post ALMOST 
reads like someone putting his head in the sand...


From: <heinzea@...> (Andrew Heinze)
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 13:15:48 -0800
Subject: dvar b'fnai atzmo - each mitzvah stands by itself

A recent writer mentioned the concept of "dvar b'fnai atzmo" (i.e. each
mitzvah stands by itself) in response to an inquiry about non-observant
people performing mitzvot. Would someone please direct me to references
supporting this concept?

Andy Heinze, Dept of History, University of San Francisco


From: <Smchambre@...> (Susan Chambre)
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 1996 23:55:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Firing a Rabbi

["Anonymous" requested that his particular requests to the list not be
discussed publicly, so most of the response I have simply forwarded back
to the original Anonymous poster. I do believe the issue in general is
an important and interesting one to discuss on the list. As such I am
forwarding to the list those responses that deal with the issue in a
general sense (with maybe a few minor editing changes). Mod.]

As a shul member and sociologist who studies nonprofit organizations and
has served on various boards, I would like to add some thoughts to the
discussion raised by Anonymous about firing a Rabbi.

The process of hiring, supervising, not renewing a Rabbi's contract or
in extreme instances, 'firing' a Rabbi, is a complex task different from
other types of professionals because of the nature of the work and the
kovod that should accompany the position.

That said, it is also important to remember that the wrong match between
a Rabbi and a congregation, or a Rabbi who is neglectful or abusive of
his position can indeed result in the deterioration or even the
destruction of a congregation. On the Upper West Side of Manhattan where
I live, there are shuls that were once thriving and have never been
revived and others that experienced enormous revivals after the arrival
of a Rabbi who attracted new members. The key, in all instances, is
Rabbinic leadership. However, strong and active lay leadership are
critical in this process.

Anonymous pointed out that his/her fellow congregants are fearful that
firing this Rabbi might result in an inability to attract another
one. To the contrary, a situation where mediocre performance is
tolerated by some people and causes anger in others will continue to
split the congregation.  As to the point that less involved congregants
like the Rabbi, it is important to remember that shuls are governed by
boards, not members. Boards ought to be representative of the membership
and responsive to them.  However, shuls are not and should not be
thoroughly democratic institutions. They need to be led by people who
give time and money and have the ability to step back from their own
individual needs and make decisions they think are in the best interests
of the community.

Susan Chambre


From: <zevbarr@...> (Zev Barr)
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 00:20:10 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Glatt Kosher

Dear Alan,
Interesting and topical point.
My limited understanding is that glatt kosher (of meat) means that the lungs
are disease free. (The word glatt has been taken out of context with the
passage ot time).  This applies to only about one fifth of cattle in the USA
but here Down Under applies to four out of five.  Hence we are visited by
slaughtering teams of  Israeli shochtim who shecht tonnes of meat here and
ship back to Israel etc.,
And the most common lung disease is simply pleural adhesions.  Naturally, TB
and hydatids would be rare,
Hope this is helpful,
Chag Pesach Sameach,


From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlomo Grafstein)
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 10:38:41 -0400
Subject: Kiruv & Raising Standards

I am responding to a conjectural submission which I saw regarding
kiruv and non-mechitzah shuls and Orthodox rabbis involvement.
In the early 50's a spokesperson for the Conservative Movement stated
that "we have no competition --- Orthodoxy is finished"  The truth is
that with suburbia and driving on Shabbat to get to shul, many 
Orthodox synagogues when they rebuilt, excluded the balcony (women's
section) and "felt modern" by emulating the mixed pews of their
local churches.  It was apple pie and the American way.
Thus, a number of Roshei Yeshivoth allowed their graduates to take
these, non-practicing Orthodox synagogue composition.  After all
their charters were "orthodox" even if they were not "orthoprax" 
             HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik allowed his rabbis
(graduates) to take a position for 2 years or so and try to
effect a change.  If they felt that they could not, then they
would move on and perhaps a different style rabbi could accomplish
some Torah upgrade.
Since the 50's (see the book "The Sanctity of the Synagogue" by
Baruch Litvin -- the case for Mechitzah) modern Orthodox has
revived and most Orthodox synagogues have come back to
Torah standards with positive encouragement from The Union
of Othodox Jewish Congregations of America and The Rabbinical
Council of America.                                           
I personally with Divine Providence have had several of these
border-line synagogues orthodox without a mechitzah.  I have
been blessed that two synagogues which I served now have 
mechitzahs.  Halifax has just installed a mechitzah in its
chapel (5' high plexiglass as per Rav Moshe) This has delighted   
the local Chabad Rabbi.  Now he can come on a regular basis,
except Shabbat and Yom Tov day when services are held in the
separate seated non-mechitzah sanctuary.  This was voted down.
Another rabbi will be coming here and he will put in his efforts
to raise Torah standards.  
A number of idealistically saturated young rabbis will not
take a position in a synagogue unless it conforms to Halachah.
Because of my personality I have permission to work for a
non-Torah standard  synagogue (even mixed seating) as long
as it is not affilated with the Conservative, Reform, or Reconstruction
movement and try to effect a change in direction toward Torah
standards.  I could even try out for Wichitah.
I feel that it is wrong to abandone synagogues to other movements
We should reach out with education and try to sanctify them so
that each sanctuary is patterned after the Temple in Jerusalem,
with an Ezrath Nashim.
Yes, I am still looking for a challenging position.  Yes, I am
willing to serve a Mechitzah synagogue too!!
Wishing you a Chag Kasher V'sameiach
Sincerely Yours,
Shlomo Grafstein
(902) 423-7307
(902) 494-1984 fax


From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 13:00:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Non Wheat Matzah

In V23#54, Martin Dauber said: 
> First, mehadrin min haMehadrin (mitzvah Min HaMuvchar) is to use white,
> unwashed wheat for Matzahs Mitzvah.

Will someone please show me an authoritative source for calling WHITE
wheat flour the mehadrin min hamehadrin.  The sugya in Pesachim (37a?)
doesn't say a word as to preference, and the Shulchan Aruch (454:1)
doesn't spell it out either, not to mention the Aruch HaShulchan and
Mishna Berura.

Granted, Whole Wheat flour is a problem ONLY IF the bran was removed
during the grinding stage and then put back.  Otherwise, there is
absolutely no problem with it.

Chag Kasher Vesameach

Gershon Klavan

PS  I personally find that Whole Wheat matza tastes a lot better than 
white does.


From: Nahum Spirn <spirn@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 01:03:34 -0600
Subject: Oat matza and Rav Schachter

      In MJ #51 Gershon Klavan says he believes he heard Rav Schachter
say the Mishna in Pesachim 35a lists 5 grains, Wheat, Barley, a relative
of Wheat, a relative of Barley...It would then follow that one could not
use oat matza as it is not a relative of wheat or barley.
        I remember this discussion.  We were standing around Rav
Schachter after shiur discussing this (I think it was my first year in
YU, in '85, but it could have been in one of the following years).
Someone quoted from a botany book that one of the five grains (I don't
remember which) was a different species than wheat or barley, to which
R. Schachter commented that if so it certainly could not be used for
matza and would be a bracha l'vatolo.  The gemara there says explicitly
that the other 3 grains are either "a type of wheat" (spelt), or "a type
of barley" (rye and oats).  If oats are indeed NOT a relative of barley
(botanists out there?), we would be forced to say that "oats" is a
mistranslation of the Mishna's "shiboles shu'al" and that oats could not
be used.
        Interestingly, someone present quoted R. Tendler as saying the
halacha has different definitions than botany books and one could use
all five grains.  Rav Schachter then expressed his opinion that it would
be a bracha l'vatolo.


From: Carl & Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 00:02:31 +0200
Subject: Salutations

I really have to learn to wait until I've had my Shabbos nap before posting :-)

On Fri, 22 Mar 1996 16:19:03 +0200, I wrote:

>When I write to Rabbanim, I salute them with "shlita"
>(shin, lamed, alef, yud, tet, aleph), 

Of course that should have been shin, lamed, yud, tet aleph (no aleph in the

To add insult to injury, I also wrote:

>Finally, when I write to anyone else I write
>"amush" (alef, mem, vav, shin), 

When of course I meant *ayin*, mem, vav, shin.

Duly humbled, my question still stands....

-- Carl Sherer
Carl and Adina Sherer


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 09:03:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: The Menorah

There is another problem with relying on the Arch of Titus y"sh's
image. There was more than one menorah in the Beis Hamikdosh, at
least in the first one. The real Menorah, the one that paralleled
the Menorah of the mishkan, the one that the mitzvos of Menorah
applied to, had 5 other menoros on either side. (These were placed a little
off center, so that there was a line of sight from the Menorah to the

It is possible the menorah depicted on the arch was also not the primary

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3255 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  5-Oct-95)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
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End of Volume 23 Issue 59