Volume 24 Number 30
                       Produced: Mon Jun  3 21:49:19 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A city without a country
         [Louise Miller]
Can a Couch be Shatnez?
         [Michael & Bonnie Rogovin]
Census Counts -- literal?
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Converts and kibbud av
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Converts and Parents
         [Aryeh Meir]
David and Yishai
         [Eli Turkel]
Duchaning on Shabbat
         [Jeff Fischer]
Kafah Aleihem Har Kegigit
         [Moshe Sokolow]
Science "vs." Torah
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Shidduch info
         [Chanie Wolicki]


From: <miller@...> (Louise Miller)
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 96 15:05:36 PDT
Subject: A city without a country

I'm sure this isn't the first time you've heard this, but I just got a
copy of the latest US Gov.  Federal Travel regulation perdiems.  Under
Israel they have Eilat, TelAviv, etc.  However Jerusalem is listed as
its own country.

I understand that ETS (college boards) does the same thing, but I've
never seen it.

Louise Miller


From: Michael & Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jun 1996 21:36:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Can a Couch be Shatnez?

J. Loewenthal asks:

> I am interested in learning the issues of shatnez in furniture. More
> specifically, may one own a couch whose cushions are filled with a
> cotton/wool blend with a 100% cotton fabric cover? Can one sit on such a
> couch belonging to a non-Jew? Any information about this topic would be
> appreciated.

Perhaps someone can clarify this for me.  I thought that shatnes was a linen 
(flax) and wool blend.  Cotton and wool should not be a problem.  Indeed, 
when I had a linen collar removed from a wool suit recently, it was replaced 
with a cotton collar liner provided by the shatnes lab.  

As to the question of a couch (presumably wool & linen), I believe that the 
mitvah applies only to clothing, but I leave that to others better educated 
than I.

Michael Rogovin


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Mon,  3 Jun 96 9:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Census Counts -- literal?

>From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
>Without the Sod level, the simple meaning is incomplete and, if it is
>represented as the whole and complete meaning, then it is in error.

I would like to add that HR"HG Hutner ZT"L of Yeshivas Haim Berlim
    once told my father A"H and I quote:
"Anyone can say 'remez' and 'drash',
 'pshat' can only be said by someone who is 'baki b'sod'".

I'll try to explain (if my explanation conceals personal opinions,
    I apologize) -
The Torah as given us can be explained in four ways:
1) 'pshat' - simply/superficially (Avi/Stan ;-))
2) 'remez' - hints, many of the explanations in the Talmud are
                     based on rather obvious hints in the Torah
                     (extra words, etc.)
3) 'drash' - detailed logical analysis based on Talmudic
                    rules of logic
4) 'sod'    - hidden (kabbalistic) explanation

Harav Hutner ZT"L says that as long as one doesn't break
    the rules, anyone can give a personal analysis to the
    Torah, but if one wishes to give a simple/superficial
    explanation, he has to be an expert in Kabbala.

Behatzlacha rabba,


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 1996 11:49:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Converts and kibbud av

I've been very heartened by the responses on converts and kibbud av in
the recent issues; indeed, the one by Gad Frenkel in the same issue as
mine effectively answered my question.  It provides a good backdrop to
the private response I received from a convert (who has given me
permission to post it) in response to my statement:

>A convert with such issues should consult a COMPETENT HALAKHIC AUTHORITY
>for advice and hashkafa.... But whoever told you that converts are
>supposed to completely cut themselves off from their families of origin
>was wrong. 

The responder wrote:

You're right, of course.  However, I was attending a Shabbos meal at the
home of friends not so long ago where the importance of consulting a
COMPETENT halakhic authority was painfully evident.  Amongst the other
guests was the Rabbi of a small shul (who also has a PhD in psychology
and is a practicing clinical psychologist; not black hat) and his wife.
During the meal, the Rabbi/Doctor and his wife go into a long story
about their "prize" convert and how, amongst other things, they have
consistently told her, the convert, that she should avoid contact with
her parents (who, BTW, apparently haven't actually done anything wrong
attitude wise or otherwise).  Furthermore, they have even gone so far as
to tell her NOT to bring her children here (she lives in a frum
neighborhood in a faraway city) even when she visits her home town and
stays with them (the Rabbi and his wife) because the children might,
somehow, meet the grandparents.  They advised the girl that it would be
very difficult to bring up good, religious, Jewish children if she
allowed them to know their goyishe grandparents.  Anyway, they said, the
grandparents might (G-d forbid) unwittingly give them something to eat
that is not kosher!  Oy veh!!!! The children have NEVER had any contact
with their grandparents.

       [end of private post]

A few comments:

It appears that being "modern" is no inoculation against these attitudes.

How would anyone like to be thought of as someone else's "prize" convert?  
(Or baal teshuva, either, for that matter?)

How would anyone like to have to sit through such a conversation?

What does the readership of Mail-Jewish think of such a practice, of
encouraging converts to cut off contact with their parents?  (As someone
whose grandparents were all gone by the time I was a year old, I can
tell you that I personally take a pretty dim view of it, although not
only for that reason.)

How does a convert manage to stick around in the face of this sort of
thing?  They amaze me, absolutely amaze me.  I salute them.

And how do we find ourselves and our friends competent halahcic
authorities, and how do we respond when faced with these kinds of

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>


From: Aryeh Meir <ameir@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jun 1996 19:21:23 -0700
Subject: Converts and Parents

I am very glad to see the responses to the issue of a ger tzedek honouring
his parents.

The positive responses are heartening.

My experience in this area is quite different and much more in line with
the original post(quoted below).

My Beit Din was the Toronto's Orthodox one with rabbis from Lubavich and
the stricter Orthodox shuls.

During the instruction prior to mikveh, it was clearly stated that I
should see my parents at the most twice a year.  This would satisfy the
obligation to honour one's parents.  The clear implication of the
conversation was 'the less contact the better.'

Needless to say this is one part of the process that I did not listen to.


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 1996 08:16:53 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: David and Yishai

     Israel Rosenfeld responds to something that I wrote and says
>> 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).

      As I wrote the first time, what I said is a midrash and not
something I made up. To clarify things I shall bring more details. As a
background which the Midrash does not state is a problem with the visit
of the prophet Samuel and Yishai. In Samuel I-15 when Samuel visits the
family of Yishai to annoint a new king Yishai presents his 7 sons. Only
when Samuel insists that there must be another son does Yishai state
that David is watching the flock.  Why is David not present originally
when a visitor of the stature of Samuel visits the house? Further, in
Tehillim 69 David says "my father and mother deserted me while G-d
gathered me in". To explain these two facts the Midrash (Yalkut
ha-Michiri Tehillim 118,28) brings the following story.  It is also
quoted in Me-am Loez on Samuel who quotes many others that bring the
story including Rav Shlomo Alkabetz.

   "Yishai separated from his wife for 3 years. After 3 years Yishai had
a beautiful maid that he desired. He told her to please come to his
chambers at night to receive her freedom (get shichrur). The maid went
to her mistress and said please save yourself and my master from
Gehinnom.  At night the maid removed all the candles and left the room
while Yishai's wife entered the room in her stead and got
pregnant. Because of Yishai's love for the maid David was born red
(admoni). David's brothers wanted to kill him and her (their mother -
because they assumed that Yishai's wife had an affair and so David was a
mamzer - obviously they knew that Yishai separated from his
wife). Yishai instead suggested that David should become a slave and
watch the sheep. This went on for 28 years. That is why they "hid" David
when Samuel came to visit. When David did come the oil began to rise and
sparkled like precious stones. The brothers were convinced that Samuel
came to embarass them and publically announce that they had an
illegitimate brother. However, David's mother rejoiced inwards while
being sad outside.  When Samuel took the cup to annoint david they all
were happy."

  Me-am Loez brings one explanation that Yishai wanted the affair with
the maid in order to rid his descendants from the problem of being
descendants from Ruth the Moabite. It is not clear why he waited until
his eighth son and did it so secretly.

   As the son of a freed maid he was able to marry a Jew even though he
was a descendant of Moab, however he was not eligible to become
king. When Samuel announced that David was king he essentially announced
that the father was Yishai and that a descendant of a Moabite woman was
not only eligible to marry but could even become king. Thus, David was a
full son of Yishai and his wife even though that was not Yishai's
intention just as Peretz was the son of Yehudah and Tamar even though
Judah thought he was with a prostitute.

   As an aside I found a reference that Yishai was head of a court but
not that he was a member of the Sanhedrin.

Eli Turkel


From: <rabbi_gabbai@...> (Jeff Fischer)
Date: Mon,  3 Jun 1996 09:16:45, -0500
Subject: Duchaning on Shabbat

>I belong to a shule which for years has not duchaned when Yom Tov fell
>on Shabbat. On second day Shavuot this year the Rabbi (not a Kohen but
>a Habdnik) made an issue of it.  He wants to study it before Rosh
>Hashana this year as three Yom Tovim fall on Shabbat and he wants

According to alot of people, the only time of Yom Tov that you do not
Duchen is Shabbat Chol HaMoed.

The main problem are the Ribono Shel Oloms in between.  Those we omit 
on Shabbos because those are personal supplications which are not
allowed on Shabbos.

So, what we do (at our Young Israel) is duchen without the long tunes
since people do not need the time to read the Ribbono Shel Olom in 
between phrases.



From: <TorahDept@...> (Moshe Sokolow)
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 10:00:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Kafah Aleihem Har Kegigit

Re; Russel Hendel on "kafah aleihem har kegigit"
(1) the contradiction between the sources (Shabbat 88 and Avodah Zarah 2) is
treated by the Tosafot on Shabat 88.
(2) Yosef Heineman discusses the entire passage (Aggadot VeToledoteihen--I
don't have the book before me so I can't cite pages, but it's listed in the
contents and index) and suggests that there was a gross misunderstanding of
the Palestinian (can we still use that adjective after the recent change of
government?) Aggadah by the Babylonian Amoraim. Seen in the context of other
Aggadot on the dependence of creation upon the acceptance of the Torah (tenai
hitnah ...im ma'asei bereishit, etc.), "sham tehei kevuratekhem" is not a
threat directed at the Jews, alone, but a reminder that if God's last hope
for kabbalat Torah failed Him, the entire universe would be returned to
"Moda'a rabba le'Oraita," Heinemen argues, is typical of the Babylonian
preoccupation with legalistics and ignores the esentially
philosophical-lyrical intent of the Aggadah.
Sorry for the delayed response--we've been off-line for two weeks.


From: Elisheva Schwartz <yivo5@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 08:46:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Science "vs." Torah

I am in touch with a not-yet-frum woman, who keeps me on my toes with her
questions.  Even though she has no background to speak of she is trying to
raise her son to be a committed Jew.  (He's 7).  He goes to public school
(for now--we're working on that) and has started asking questions about
evolution, etc.  She told me that she is having trouble deciding whether
to teach him the science or Torah.  My feeling, which I told her, is that
there can be no conflict between Torah and science since the Torah is, by
definition, emet, unless science is wrong (as has certainly happened in
the past!) or we don't understand what the Torah is telling us.  This
works for me.  Unfortunately she is still at the stage of discussing the
"people" who wrote the Torah and their cultural milieu, etc.--so my basic
assumption of Torah mi-Sinai doesn't really resonate with her.  Can anyone
recommend some good reading material (or tapes) that would shed some light
on this subject? 

Many thanks,
Elisheva Schwartz


From: <crew_esq@...> (Chanie Wolicki)
Date: Mon,  3 Jun 1996 18:43:16, -0500
Subject: Shidduch info

    Recent posts dealt with GIVING shidduch information. A related topic
is how to RECEIVE such info. The listener has to realize that whoever is
giving the information is looking at the subject from a certain
perspective, which may not exactly match that of the inquiring
party. Additionally, a certain term can have different (subjective)
meanings to different people. If you hear a word which sounds negative
to you, ask the person who used it to elaborate.  "Quiet" is a great
example - a fellow who doesn't hang around to shmooze after davening may
strike some people as somebody quiet who keeps to himself, but this guy
could be a phenomenal conversationalist and the life of the party in a
less formal atmosphere. Don't say "so-and-so gave negative information"
before you ascertain whether it's the information that's negative or
just the delivery.


End of Volume 24 Issue 30