Volume 24 Number 19
                       Produced: Mon May 27 20:06:11 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Charging interest on a borrowed credit card
         [Louise Miller]
non-Jewish Charities
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
Slit Skirts
         [Chana Luntz]
Synagogoue Counci
         [Harry Weiss]
Using a Friends Credit Card
         [Gershon Dubin]
Yichus of King David
         [Israel Rosenfeld]


From: <miller@...> (Louise Miller)
Date: Mon, 27 May 96 10:30:01 PDT
Subject: Charging interest on a borrowed credit card 

Dear Mr Shapiro,
  With all due respect, you need to speak to your Rav ASAP.  I made a
similar error in judgement a few years ago, with a much larger anount of
money and what I perceived to be a clearer situation, and was told that
I was lending money, and it didn't matter how I had acquired it!!  (In
my case, I got a bank loan that was solely for the purpose of lending
the money to someone who couldn't qualify for one.)  I was "stuck" for
the interest.
  Your rav can write what's called a heter iska, a special document
created expressly for circumstances like your and mine.  However after
the fact you may have a problem.
  Interest is a serious issur, and you need to talk to your rav fast!
In short, these types of questions are more complicated than they may
appear, and you shouldn't try to pasken them yourself.
  You are obviously a good hearted person.  The heter iska was created
so that people like you can be generous without going broke. "Asseh
l'cha rav."  (Get yourself a rav.)
  Good luck,
 Louise Miller 

PS Be sure to ask him about loans and shmitta too, in the unlikely case
that it takes a while for you to be repaid.


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy@...>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 21:47:14 GMT
Subject: non-Jewish Charities

There is a responsum by Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, appearing in Igrot
Moshe, Yoreh Deah, Vol. 1, siman 149 dealing with the question of giving
money to Federation and charities in general that may not be guided by

It is worthwhile reading the original T'Shuva.  Rav Feinstein, zt"l,
concludes that one may give to these organizations with the proviso that
the amount given by the observant Jews in the community is less than the
amount being given by the charitable organization to Torah institutions.
The donations by observant Jews then serve as encouragement (impetus) to
the charitable organization to give support to the Torah institutions.
Philosophically, Rav Feinstein, zt"l, appears to be very much opposed to
involvement in an organization that may conduct itself contrary to

In contradistinction, Rav Soloveichik, zt"l, writing in "Five Adresses"
(published by Tal Orot Institute, Jerusalem, 5743), opines "To build a
State of Israel, we march with all parties, because we believe that the
State of Israel is the road that leads to Mount Moriah, and it is clear
to us that we cannot succeed in this journey alone.  Therefore we put
into effect "and he took his two lads with him and Isaac his son and got
up and went toward the place about which G-d had spoken to him"
(Gen. 22:3).  Is this to be interpreted that we go with anyone all the
way to Mount Moriah - that we are ready to allow the two lads to profane
the sanctity of Mount Moriah and there to bow down to all the idols?
NO!  In matters that relate to Mount Moriah - to marital laws,
education, Sabbath observance, forbidden foods, the Rabbinate and
religious courts, "Who is a Jew?" - we proudly affirm to the two lads,
whoever they may be in any coalition with us, remain here with the
donkey and I and the lad will go there and worship" (Gen. 22:5)".

Philosophically, this seems to be reason to work together when there are
common goals and and an opportunity to better the community.  This, of
course, where Halacha will not be compromised.  It is also worthwhile
reading the original.

Chag Sameach!

Steven Oppenheimer


From: Chana Luntz <heather@...>
Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 10:39:13 +0100
Subject: Slit Skirts

>Russell Hendel  writes:
>I would like to add fuel to the recent discussions about slit
>skirts. Several readers still think that we have gone way to far.
>This is not true. Part of our belief in the coming of Mashiach is
>restoration of the Sanhedrin and it explicitly states, Rambam, Laws of
>Temple Entry, 6:11 and chapter 8, that a major preoccupation of the
>sanhedrin is checking priests for deficiency in physical appearance or
>lineage.  This includes 7 disqualifications for "improper eyebrow
>appearance" as well as 16 testicle qualifications. Surely discussion of
>slit skirts is not inferior. I would like to suggest that halachah sees
>as its goal the "Torahization" of human impulses by raising them to a
>halachically discussable level.

I suspect that part of the reason a lot of women feel frustrated by the
slit skirt issue is because the reality is that the discussions on slit
skirts, and the emphasis placed is, if you don't mind the pun, skirting
the real issue.  In many ways, the tightening of our own standards is
unquestionably a reaction to, and attempt to distance ourselves from
what is going on 'out there' - and it is in most cases, a logical and
appropriate move. The laxer the outside world gets, the more
stringencies one wants to put in place to differentiate ourselves.

The problems with women's dress though, is that increasing the
stringency on women's dress, unlike most cases where putting on extra
stringencies serves to ensure that we are further away from the
objectional behaviour, does nothing to deal with the real problem -
which is how are serious, observant Torah men, supposed to deal with the
reality of the unbelievable state of undress of the non Jewish world.
Even if one lives in the most sheltered and Jewish parts of the world,
it is impossible to miss the billboards etc once one ventures a few
streets away from one's own neighbourhoods.

This situation is particularly striking in England, where i now am.  Non
Jewish Australians are notorious for limited standards of dress, and for
wearing very little - so I grew up seeing these things, but the
standards of the English have managed to shock even me.  For while
Australians, in general, wear very little because the place is hot and
they find fewer clothes comfortable, the English unquestionably are on
about tittlation.  I am thinking particularly about one unbelievably
noxious billboard that is presently pasted all over the (Jewish) Golders
Green and Hendon area, that is provocative on a level that takes my
breath away (and I am female).

So one just has to go outside, and the whole slit skirts debate seems
really pointless. No male is possibly going to have a hope of
concentrating on my skirt, slit or otherwise, with this billboard
around.  And while I agree with the statements that we unquestionably
become desensitised to these things, the question is - how is any frum
man supposed to prevent himself becoming desensitised in this kind of
environment.  If sewing up slits in skirts would help, then I am all for
it - but somehow I (and I am not male), find it difficult to believe
that this is going to make the slightest difference.

In fact, i was put into a kind of opposite situation not very long ago.
I was dating somebody, and he - well, he didn't grow up frum, so I am
not sure how typical this is (but it just may be that he found it easier
to articulate the situation than others) - was saying to me - well, his
request to me was - couldn't I wear stuff that showed off my figure a
bit more. Not outside of the bounds of modesty - but straight skirts
rather than the long flowing ones i tend to live in and tighter tops
etc.  And he was saying to me - the problem for him is that he goes to
work on the tube (underground) every day, and then goes into the office,
and the fashion in England at the moment are these impossibly short
skirted suits (what one friend of mine discribes as jacket and 'belt'
because there is not more material than that), and that is what he sees
every day. And he says it is incredibly difficult for him to focus on
frum girls with all that around.

Now I must say, i felt rather - well a mixture between uncomfortable and
offended and upset.  But then I wondered whether in fact I was being
reasonable. Maybe I *should* be wearing slit skirts etc if it was going
to help (the matter was complicated by the fact that his family is not
frum, and is one of those (Sephardi) families in which looks are very
important and a lot of flesh is shown off - so there was an especial
request, when I was dealing with the family, that I make it as clear as
possible, within the bounds of halacha, that he was not 'failing' in his
extended family's eyes) (and no, it wasn't makeup he wanted - I don't
wear that either - it was very much tighter skirts).

Now lets say I had married him - would it have been wrong to wear more
provocative skirts and stuff that just just conformed to the halacha at
the request of my husband in order to keep him happy and not losing face
with his family? (In discussing the issue - I suggested to him that if
we got married, maybe he wouldn't feel the need so much for me to wear
such stuff in public - but he seemed to think that he would still want
it, and the whole thing was very important to him).  And after all, if
we look at the situation of our foremothers - when they lived in
situations of high purity and tahara, they were praised for their
modesty (think about Sarah Imenu), when they were in situations of dire
problem and tumah they were praised, effectively for the opposite (think
about the praise for the women in Mitzrayim, and their use of the
mirrors to keep their husband's interest after a long day's hard labour
- out in the field, no less).  So I was wondering whether my instinctive
reaction was really the right one, in the circumstances.

 Now he is nearly 30, and I was wondering how many other young men there
are around who are not married because of this mismatch between the
desensitisation created by the outside world makes serious focus on the
frum one impossible.  Not that I can see a solution (save all of use
moving to Bnei Brak).  But I think that a lot of the problem about the
slit skirt debate (as opposed to the dicussion of Cohanim brought by
Russell above) is that, in situations in which you are preparing for the
induction of the beis hamikdash, and are presumably on an extremely high
level of tahara, there is nothing more important than the precise
requirements of the Cohanim.  In a situation of tremendous tumah and
temptation, when demands are made of women in both directions - we are
somehow expected to compete with the outside world while simultaneously
retaining some sense of modesty, the slit skirt aspect of it is a very
small part of a much larger and more problematic picture.




From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Sun, 26 May 96 21:52:09 -0800
Subject: Synagogoue Counci

There has been discussion in several recent issues based on a posting by
Micah Berger questioning whether Rav Soleveitchik's decision on
synagogue councils was wrong.  This was based on comments by a John
Sherwood on SCJ, a reform clergy who regularly refers to his close
relationship with Orthodox Rabbis on various communal organizations.

There have been a number of good responses already, but I would like to
add one more.  The case in which there was the disagreement was
specifically the Synagogue Council of America, which is no longer in
existence.  From what I understand, those who disagreed with Rav
Soleveitchik did not prohibit involvement with local Jewish Federations,
HIAS, JDC, ADL and other Jewish social services organizations.  It was
specifically combined boards of Rabbis and synagogue council type
organizations that they opposed.

 From what little I information I was obtain about the situation in the
San Fernando Valley (where John Sherwood is from) the only organizations
that have both Orthodox and non Orthodox Rabbis participating would be
of the second variety.  Since participation in these organizations was
permitted by all, the case in point would have no relevancy to the Rav's



From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Sun, 26 May 96 11:29:00 -0400
Subject: Using a Friends Credit Card

> could.  I made it clear to him, that as far as I am concerned, he is 
> borrowing from my credit card, not me, and as such is fully
> responsible  for any interest charges that accrue.  Is this a
> permissable arrangment?   Chaim Shapiro
	You may have specified that he was borrowing from your credit
card; however the bank that issues your credit card holds you
exclusively responsible.  Therefore, the halacha sees here two loans:
one from the bank by the cardholder and one from the cardholder by the
borrower.  The second transaction is subject to all the laws of ribis.
See, for example, Rabbi Yisroel Reisman's "Laws of Ribbis" page 79 and
 Many years ago, and before Rabbi Reisman's sefer came out, I heard a
shiur on hilchos ribis.  The person who gave the shiur, whose name I
don't recall but was a fairly well known dayan, stated that if even one
person heard this law from him who didn't know it previously (I assure
you, it was many more than one) the whole shiur was worthwhile.  It is
even likely that this is mid'oraisa (of Torah origin).

<gershon.dubin@...>        |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG   |


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Mon,  27 May 96 13:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Yichus of King David

>From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
>      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.

The "Sefer Hatodaa" by Eliyahu Kitov contains a very thorough
    and enlightening discussion of this subject.
He shows how the story of King David starts with Kayin and Hevel
    and ends with Mashiach.

>3. The midrash says that David's father Yishai was separated from his wife
>   and wanted to have an affair with a maid.

May I respectfully protest your use of the word "affair" when
    discussing Yishai.
He was a member of the Sanhedrin and a Tzaddik and
    whatever he did was Leshem Shamaim
    (to serve Hashem).
The bears sent to kill King David (Shmuel 1:17:34) were sent
   by the prayers of Yishai (who questioned David's legitimacy).
   Hashem sent them because Yishai was a Tzaddik.
David was saved because he too was a Tzaddik.

For full details, I refer you to the "Sefer Hatodaa".

Behatzlacha rabba,


End of Volume 24 Issue 19