Volume 24 Number 15
                       Produced: Mon May 27  1:15:20 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Thought On Matan Torah
         [Russell Hendel]
Hand Shake and Negia
         [Shlomo Grafstein]
         [Aaron Aryeh Fischman]
Ruth and David
         [Perry Zamek]
Shaking Hands with Women
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
Shaking Women's Hand
Yichus of King David
         [Aharon Manne]
Yichus of Moshiach
         [Andy Goldfinger]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 19:29:50 -0400
Subject: A Thought On Matan Torah

As Shavuoth comes along I am reminded of the following question asked me 
several times over the past few years.

SOURCE 1: States that God had to place Har Sinai over us and threaten to kill
us before we accepted the Torah.

SOURCE 2: States that God went to all the nations and offered them the Torah.
One nation refused because of the murder laws, one nation refused because of
the adultery laws etc.  However we accepted the Torah.

It appears that these sources contradict each other.

I suggested a (traditional) resolution approach to the two sources just

Apparently God went to each nation and offered them the Torah. There
were several refusals (e.g. because of murder, adultery etc). So God
then threatened each nation by holding a mountain over them unless they
accepted it The nations still refused because e.g. there way of life
depended on murder incest etc.  Finally when God came to the Jews, they
also refused, but when threatened with the mountain they gave in.

Note that the above resolution is consistent with BOTH source 1 and source 2.

I have two questions: (a) Does anyone know of a source that addresses
the issue of the contradiction between source 1 and source 2.  (b) I
have a question of attitude? Should we be content with asserting that
the sources contradict each other and represent different points of view
or is it better to attempt to resolve them (in the manner shown above).
What is the true attitude we should have between contradictory haggadic

Any discussion would be welcome.

Russell Hendel, PH.d ASA  rhendel @ mcs . drexel .edu


From: <RABIGRAF@...> (Shlomo Grafstein)
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 15:30:00 -0300
Subject: Hand Shake and Negia

 First: Mazel Tov to Chaim Shapiro on his graduation.  Second: Mazel tov
on doing the correct action.... shaking the hand of the woman (your
president) when it was extended to you.
 There are two major division with respect to niddah.  THere is tumas
niddah.  We are are impure, having touched a corpse or someone who
touched a corpse (e.g. our doctor).  So if an individual touches a
niddah, let us say he is clerk and hands her change, or he is on a walk
through Machaneh Yehudah in Yirushalyim on Eruv Shabbat, and by
accident, it happened that he touched a niddah, he does not have any
more tumah.  In the time of the temple (may it be rebuilt soon) a Kohen
would have to go to the mikveh if he touched a niddah by accident before
he could eat trumah.
 Then there is issur niddah.  Basically it entails a prohibition of
deriving any physical pleasure from a niddah.  There is a difference of
opinion among the rishonim (note the lieniency of the
Ramban/Nachmonides).  The extent of the involvement brings greater
distancing from The ALMIGHTY.

kissing= a negative prohibition (a luv!)
fondling=makkot/malkos (39 lashes)
intercourse=koreth/kores (one's soul is cut off)-- either one
dies young, one's children die, or one's sould is cut
adrift from the gathering of souls of Klal Yisrael.

 Because of this stringency, mikveh is so important for married women.
A husband and wife have to be willing to give up their lives rather than
have coitus at the time of niddah status.
 Since the issur niddah is only applicable when there is physical
pleasure, there are people who are MACHMIR not to shake hands.  However,
if the woman extends her to you (the man) and it is embarrassing not to
shake her hand, you cannot be MACHMIR at the expense of someone else's
BOO'SHA (embarrassment) or even potential BOO'SHA.
 We know the story of Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg with a handkerchief
constantly on hand when non-observant mothers of his yeshiva students
would come to consult about their boy's progress.  As they were leaving,
they would put out hand to Rabbi Scheinberg.  He knew that he would have
to shake their hands because the din required him not to cause an
embassassment once one already puts out their hand--- you cannot reject
their extension.  However, with wisdom, he speedily feigned a sneeze
into his handkerchief, and during those few seconds, the mother's hand
was withdrawn with dignity.  The permissibility to briefly shake is
 If you (the male reader) are overly sexed up and you are super careful
in Jewish law and shaking a woman's hand will give you a little sexual
arousal, then you should not shake hands, for you should not transgress
a prohibition.  These last words are in effect for many Yeshiva students
and Chassidim, where any form of touching will cause sexual stimulation
to a small degree.  To most of us modern (even though we may be
hot-blooded), the shaking of a woman's hand for two seconds is the same
as the shaking a man's hand.
 Thank you for allowing me to express some Torah & Halachah.  I have not
found a professional Rabbi position.  So if nothing comes up, I may take
a Sabbatical and finish my book on the Bible.  I am willing to go to
your community and serve as a Torah resource for a up to a week for
free.  I am willing to give Torah Talks, on such subjects as:

A Biblical Taste of Tolerance
Serving HaShem in a Land of Many gods (I was Rabbi in India)
Judaism's Bible -- a new and expanded translation 
Lead a tisch with new songs

Shlomo Grafstein
1480 Oxford Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H3Y8  Canada
(902) 423-7307
(902) 455-9125 fax


From: <afischman@...> (Aaron Aryeh Fischman)
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 20:05:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Negiah

Chaim Shapiro writes:
>She is jewish, and I would assume that negia is an issue.  Should I have 
>refused her hand telling her that I could not shake for religious reasons?

I have had similar circumstances occur in work situations. However, I
usually feel that the possible chillul Hashem that may occur when the
recipient feels disrespected from not having her hand shook outweighs
any concern for Negiah in a work place setting, where it is assumed that
shaking hands is 'lav derech chibah' (not for amorous reasons)

Obviously, in a Le'chatchila (ideal) situation, shaking hands or other
similar actions should be avoided (i.e. I do not stick my hand out
first). However, in the be'dieved (less than ideal) situation I have
been told that shaking hands is OK. I would like to quote who and where,
but I do not remember specifics; perhaps someone more knowlegable can.

Aharon Fischman


From: <jerusalem@...> (Perry Zamek)
Date: Sat, 25 May 1996 23:16:24 +0300
Subject: Ruth and David

In v24n11, Eli Turkel wrote:
>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.

As I understand it (I think I saw this in Rav Bachrach's "Imah shel
Malchut" -- "Mother of Royalty"), the problem wasn't that the other
relative didn't accept the psak of Boaz and his Beit-Din in respect of
*himself*. Rather, he was afraid of "pen ashchit et nachalati" -- "lest
I damage my posterity", i.e. he was afraid that a later beit-din
(greater in number and stature) would reverse the decision, which would
render his descendants illegitimate post facto.

This is exactly the issue raised by Doeg Ha-Edomi in questioning David's

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should hold his head high. 
Peretz ben    | "Even in poverty a Hebrew is a prince... 
Avraham       |       Crowned with David's Crown" -- Jabotinsky


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy@...>
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 21:35:57 GMT
Subject: Shaking Hands with Women

For a lenient view of this question, see "Timely Jewish Questions
Timeless Rabbinic Answers" by Rabbi J. Simcha Cohen.

He asks, "Is it permissible for a religious Jew to shake hands with a

He concludes that those who do shake hands with women should under no
circumstances be presumed to violate halachah.

Rabbi Cohen brings his proof from Sotah (19a).  The procedure required
the Kohain to place his hands under the hand of the sotah, lift it and
wave their hands together.  The Jerusalem Talmud notes: "Isn't it
mechu'ar (improper)?"  The talmud questions the propriety of a kohain
placing his hand on the hand of a married woman (see Korban Eidah).
     "He uses a napkin"  (See Pnei Moshe).
      "Isn't this a chatzitza?"
      "They bring an aged (old) kohain" (the kohain is beyond the age to be
concerned with sexual thoughts)
      "Another position is a young kohain performed the ritual but it
was not wrong because the yetzer hara does not prevail in such a short
period of time" (see Pnei Moshe)

Rabbi Cohen posits that according to the second response of the
Jerusalem Talmud n'gi'a is not a violation of Jewish law if it is for
but a brief period.  He writes that he personally recollects that HaRav
Aaron Soleveitchik made this ruling many years ago.

Rabbi Cohen continues that there are two concerns with this answer:  1)
since the Yerushalmi firsts talks about an aged kohain, perhaps the final
halacha is in doubt and safek d'oraita - l'chumra.
2)  the procedure cited occurs during the performance of a mitzvah.  This
would then not be a proof for a non-mitzvah i.e. a social situation.  

However, Rambam (Hilchot Sotah 3:15) writes "the kohain places his hand
under hers and lifts it up."  There is no mention of an aged kohain.
The Torah Temimah contends that Rambam, in this law, simply followed the
general tendency to rule as the second view when two positions are are
articulated in the Talmud.  Therefore, there is no doubt as to which
position is halachically sound.  It is noted in Rambam that the second
Talmudic response is the basic halacha (Torah Temimah, Parshat Naso,
Numbers 5:25).  Rabbi Epstein (Trah Temimah) suggests that in a matter
where hirhur (an illicit sexual thought) is not present, it is not
deemed mechu'ar (repugnant).

Rabbi Cohen suggests that those who do not shake hands with women may
have this practice because it is a safeguard to promote kedusha.  He
says he knows of rabbis who do not shake hands with women but if a woman
were to extend her hand to them, they would shake her hand as to not
embarrass her.  If it halachically not permitted then this condition
would not be appropriate .  However, if it is only a safeguard, then so
as to not shame another it would be permissible to respond.  

Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.


From: crp <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 19:25:26 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Shaking Women's Hand

Well, i was present when Rabbi Manual Poliakoff poskened to another
Rav about this issue. If the women extends her hand to you and not 
shaking would cause her some embarassment, then shake it.


From: Aharon Manne <manne@...>
Date: Sun, 26 May 1996 08:40:26 +0300
Subject: Yichus of King David

Eli Turkel asked:
>     Are there are other less kabalistic rationals for david's tainted

 A major theme in Tanach is the conflict between birthright and the
individual's intrinsic worth.  Kayin was the older brother, but the
sacrifice of the younger brother was accepted.  Yishmael and Esav were
born first, and according to the accepted norms of the times they should
have inherited their fathers' central role.  Reuven was the firstborn of
the twelve sons of Israel, but was pushed aside in favor of Yehuda
(Crown of Royalty) and Levi (Crown of Priesthood).  Ephraim was the
younger son of Yosef, but Ya'akov gives him precedence over Menashe.
Moshe is the youngest of the three children of Yocheved and Amram.
Aharon, in fact, seems to be the exception proving the rule: it seems
that in the priesthood, birthright does count for more than individual
 The emphasis on David's supposedly unacceptable ancestry is very much
part of this approach.  This is one of the many revolutionary messages
the Torah brought to a benighted world: one's worth is determined by
one's own achievements, not by one's ancestry.

  *** Aharon (Ed) Manne                    Ornet DCT             ***


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 23 May 1996 14:47:09 -0400
Subject: Yichus of Moshiach

Eli Turkel asks:

"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

The Bostoner Rebbe said that the satan [Accuser or adversary of the Jews
in the heavenly court] tries to prevent Moshiach [the messiah] from
coming.  Therefore, his ancestors had to be "sneaked" into the world in
a somewhat hidden or misleading manner, so as to fool him.


End of Volume 24 Issue 15