Volume 24 Number 11
                       Produced: Thu May 23 13:36:20 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Question about rings
         [Edwin R Frankel]
Ben Noah
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Brit Mila & AT&T Medical reimbursement
         [Barry Siegel]
Cheating in Yeshiva
         [Elana  Fine]
non-Jewish Charities
         [Shaul Weinreb]
Synagague Council
         [Ron Sandler]
Synagogue Council
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Tikun mistakes
         [Danny Schoemann]
Yichus of King David
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <frankele@...> (Edwin R Frankel)
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 07:05:25 -0700
Subject: A Question about rings

> I would ordinarily wear my wedding band while kneading dough, or any
> other 'dingy' activity, so according to the Netilat Yadayim (hand
> washing) litmus test, I would need not remove my ring for Washing. My
> question is about tefilin. Is the ring considered a Chatzitza
> (separation) between the tefilin straps and my finger, or does the same
> rule apply from Netilat Yadayim?
> Aharon Fischman -  <afischman@...>

This past summer I had the good fortune to study some of the teshuvot of
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, who deals precisely with the issue mentioned.  In
his opinion, and I can't remember which sefer I studied, the ring is not
a chatzizah.

On the other hand, popular practice may determine it to be.

According to the teshuva, the only place chatzizot apply is between the
bayit and the skin, and even wearing tefillin over a cast would be

Ed Frankel


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 07:43:16 -0400
Subject: Ben Noah

Does anyone know how to contact the organization that teaches/worships as
the Torah proscribes for a non-Jew?  I believe it is located in Tennessee.


From: <bsiegel@...> (Barry Siegel)
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 14:45:52 -0500
Subject: Brit Mila & AT&T Medical reimbursement

I am pleased to announce that AT&T Corp (& its spinoff Lucent Tech.) will
now recognize & reimburse for circumcissions done by a Mohel.

Briefly they will reimburse at the reasonable & customary charge subject
to the stanard deductable & rate as any other out-of-network medical expense.
This is backdated to 1/1/96.

(Note: Avi our moderator, Mazel Tov & please take advantage of this 

I am sending this info out on MJ to encourage other folks to petition their
corporations for this recognition and benefit.  I had used MJ to gather
info on this subject last fall and generated a nice discussion back then. 
If anyone would like a copy of our successful petition letter just drop me
an E_mail message.

Barry Siegel    (908) 519-5501  
  (NEW E_MAIL ADDRESS)   <bsiegel@...>  
Vice President of AT&T Jewish Employees Resource Group 


From: Elana  Fine <ef91@...>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 16:54:55 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Cheating in Yeshiva

Cheating in Yeshiva is not a new thing. Nor is it a subject that people
like to acknowledge. During a test my sister videotaped her
classmates cheating. Don't ask why the proctor did not realize a student
was videotaping during a test. She approached the  vice-principal who said
no it did not really happen. My sisters reply was you are responsable for
all the future cheating that they will do. Because you did not stop them
now, they will in the future cheat on college classes, which will then
lead to a chillul Hashem, which could have been prevented had the students
been stopped in their chinuch years.

Elana Fine


From: <SaulJE@...> (Shaul Weinreb)
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 00:27:18 -0400
Subject: non-Jewish Charities

Barry Best asked for a clarification of HaRav Moshe Feinstein ZT'L's
opinion regarding non-orthodox charities.  Unfortunately I'm not
familiarcwith his opinion, however he continued to inquire about other
charities such as hospitals, medical research etc.  The Ramah in Siman
251 se'if 1 brings the Halachah that one is obligated to support the
poor of the Goyim along with the Jewish poor.  See the Shach and the Gra
and the Bach and Be'er Hetev who all agree that this requirement is not
only if the Goy and the Jew request charity together but even if the goy
is alone when he asks for help.  Considering the fact that all of
humanity, Jews and non Jews alike benefit from these charities it is
obvious that it is a mitzvah for all of us to contribute to these
causes.  When I asked a sha'alah from my father, Rav Weinreb of
Baltimore, regarding wether or not I could count such contributions
towards Ma'aser he told me that they definitely do.  In addition, I
remember hearing that HaRav Moshe ZT'L made it a point to respond to the
requests for contributions from many secular health related charities.


From: <RSandler@...> (Ron Sandler)
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 13:43:15 GMT
Subject: Synagague Council

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

>Rav Yoseph Ber Soleveitchik's position is that it is permissable, nay,
>*obligatory* to join such councils if the purpose of the organization
>is to take care of the physical needs and survival of the Jewish
>people. Certainly NOT if the council is intended to be a religious

>A "Rabbi" Dr. John Sherwood, who holds the title "Rabbi Emeritus" at
>some Temple, He expressed to me the opinion that most Orthodox Rabbis
>accept Reform as valid. I stated that I knew as a certainty this could
>not possibly be the case.  Dr Sherwood provided proof to his assertion
>-- look at all the Orthodox Rabbis who he's worked with on this
>communal board or another, dear friends who treated him with
>respect. He therefor concluded I must hang out with those aweful
>"ultra-Orthodox" and must meet the O mainstream.

We orthodox are great at splitting the Jewish people.  We separate
ourselves from the wider Jewish community and separate ourselves from
ourselves (the your hechser isn't as good as mine mentality). 

The head in the sand outlook toward "reform" in the last century has not
halted the alienation of the great mass of the Jewish people.  If we
should cut ourselves off communal organizations, WE lose.  We have the
obligation to bring the Torah lifestyle TO these communal organizations,
to make sure Maccabiah tryouts are not on Shabbat etc.

And by the way, I am not about to throw off the Rav because some Reform
Rabbi thinks he is "accepted" as a Rabbi by his Orthodox friends.  IF he
really believed what he said, he must live in a different reality than I
can envision.

Ron Sandler 
2-3-0  3.40 GAA  Spring


From: Eitan Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 09:36:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Synagogue Council

Micha Berger recently described the two views (ie, permitted or not)
regarding Orthodox rabbis participating in inter-denominational groups
such as the Synagogue Council and NY Board of Rabbis.  After summarizing
the positions of the Rav and the Agudah (ie, the position that joining
such organizations is mutar because as long as the organization deals
only with communal needs that affect the fate of all Jews, versus the
position that joining such organizations is assur because participation
by the Orthodox will be legitimize non-Orthodox clergy).

It is worth noting that the issur was signed by 11 Agudah rabbonim, and
I am not sure that either Rav Moshe or Rav Kaminetsky signed (perhaps
someone could provide some information on this).  The most prominent Rav
signing the issur was Rav Kotler.  Rabbi Eliezer Silver was reported to
have refused to sign the issur because he felt it was motivated at least
in part by anti-YU sentiment, despite the fact that he agreed in
principle with the idea (See R. A.  Rakaffet-Rothkoff's The Silver Era).

Micha goes on to tell of his email encounter with a Reform rabbi who
views Orthodox participation in these organizations to support his view
that the mainstream Orthodox recognize the validity of Reform.  Micha
concludes that "With all due respect to The Rav zt"l, it seems that
history has born out the truth of the opposing view."

However, all that this proves is that indeed, as the as much as the
issur was genuinely motizated out of a fear of granting legitimacy to
non-Orthodox clergy, the Agudah's view has been upheld.  What such
incidents (and I am sure there have been many non-Orthodox clergy who
have drawn similar conclusions) do not prove is that one particular psak
was correct and the other not correct.  The Rav was a very sophisticated
thinker; he certainly did not issue his permissive ruling without
considering that this outcome would occur on the level of individuals
participating in inter-denominational organizations.  Clearly, he felt
that in very specific circumstances, the benefits to klal yisrael of
Orthodox participation in communal organizations involving non-Orthodox
clergy outweighed this factor.  And it is just as clear that the
Agudah's position is that the possibility of granting legitimacy to
non-Orthodox clergy was simply too high a price to pay for whatever
benefits might come from participation.  The point is that history in no
way has offered judgement on either side of this position.  Who is to
say that whatever good that has come from Orthodox participation in the
Synagogue Council and the NY Board of Rabbis has been outweighed by
sentiments among the non-Orthodox similar to those reported by Micha?  I
certainly would not presume to know all of the ramifications of this
issue.  For every Reform rabbi who participated in the Synagogue Council
and who subsequently thinks that mainstream Orthodoxy (whatever that is)
recognizes Reform as legitimate, there may be another who has helped
Orthodox Jews in some way, such as by supporting (instead of the more
typical opposing) the formation of a frum shul in a previously non-frum

Noone can claim to have access to all of the ways in which Orthodox
participation in the Synagogue Council has affected individual Jews and
klal yisrael; consequently, no one can claim to judge between the
positions of the Rav and Rav Kotler on the grounds that history has
proven one position, or the other, to have been upheld.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Danny Schoemann <dannys@...>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 14:52:20 +0300
Subject: Tikun mistakes

In MJ Vol. 24 #09 Ira Y Rabin mentioned a mistake in the "The famous
blue 'tikkun lakorim" that most of us use".

Does anyone know of more such mistakes?

This is of particular importance to myself, as I'm using "The Tikun" as
the blue-print for writing a Sefer Torah. (I'm no Sofer, but I taught
myself Safrus in order to be able to fulfill mitzva #613)

 | | <DannyS@...> <<  Danny Schoemann  >> | |      Tower of 
 | | Ext 273               << Tel 972-2-793-723 >> | |      Babel !!


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 21 May 1996 14:19:31 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Yichus of King David

      In a class on King David for Shavuot the following question was
raised and we are looking for answers. It seems that King David came
from a background with many questions about their legitimacy.

1. King David is a descendant of the union of Tamar and Judah
   where Judah thought that Tamar was a prostitute. When she became
   pregnant he sentenced her to death and she was saved only when Judah
   realized he was the father and the baby was not illegitimate.

2. The marriage of Boaz to Ruth (the Shavuot connection) was highly
   controversial since Ruth was a Moabite. The other relative refused 
   to marry Ruth because of this reason. Even in the days of David 
   questions were raised because of his descent from Ruth.

3. The midrash says that David's father Yishai was separated from his wife
   and wanted to have an affair with a maid. In the end his wife took the
   place of the maid. Since this was a secret everyone assumed that the
   the wife got pregnant from a stranger and David was illegitimate
   (similar to the story of Tamar and Judah). In fact when Samuel came
   to Yishai they refused to even acknowledge that they had a son David
   until Samuel insisted.

    When we come to King Solomon the story repeats itself since he was
the son of the controversial marriage of King David to Bathsheva which
the prophet considered sinful. King David, King Solomon and hence the
Messiah are members of a family with many questionable relationships.
All of them were resolved in the end but it is unlikely that this string
of stories in such a family is purely coincidental. The question is what
is the purpose of this history?

    One answer we discussed is based on an extension of the thought of Rav 
Kook. Rav Kook stresses that the bringing of the Messiah is purposely 
done through secular (chiloni) Jews. This is based on the kabbalistic
theory of shells (klipot) when even profane objects need to be used in
order to reach a stage of purity. Rav Kook stresses that both physical 
and spiritual dimensions are essential and the physical is not just a 
necessary evil. Thus, the secular Jews provide the physical dimension 
to the coming of the Messiah. When the kingdom was split Jerobaum was 
supposed to supply the physical continuation of the Davidic dynasty but 
he refused to be second in comand to Rechabam (medrash). Hence, we see 
that King David and Solomon were supposed to be the unity of both the 
spiritual and physical worlds which would lead to the Messiah. Hence, 
it was necessary that they not be purely spiritual and so David was born 
red (admoni) as a symbol of blood and war and his ancestors had a taint. 
This taint was accentuated in Solomon through the sin of King David with 
Bathsheva. However, both King david and King Solomon excelled in repentance 
which helped wipe out the taint and could bring the Messiah.

     Are there are other less kabalistic rationals for david's tainted

Eli Turkel


End of Volume 24 Issue 11