Volume 24 Number 37
                       Produced: Mon Jun 10  1:04:20 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 Torah Texts for Shaatnez
         [Russell Hendel]
Directory Assistance charge exemption
         [S.H. Schwartz]
Faxes and Email and electrons
         [Chaim Schild]
Marriage of cohen with a convert ??
         [Zvi Weiss]
Please pass the Grape Juice
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
         [Nachum Chernofsky]
Shatnez Couch
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Shatnez in Couch
         [Avrohom Dubin]
Tzitzit with Tekhelet
         [Saul Guberman]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Thu, 6 Jun 1996 19:25:13 -0400
Subject: 2 Torah Texts for Shaatnez

I initially wasn't going to get involved in an actual Psak (is a
shaatnez couch asur).  But I try to always get involved in problems of
Midrashay Posookim.  In V24 #32, Halevi asks why there are two posookim
on Shaatnez.

This leads to a discussion of a personal Chumra of mine.  One of the
Posookim says you should not WEAR shaatnez while the other says you
should not let shaatnez GO UP on you.  Based on this double language the
Rambam comes out with the fact that it is an issur doreitha to (a) wear
shaatnez and (b) e.g. to try on a suit of Shaatnez (that being haalah).
I understand these two languages may be used in still other ways
(e.g. certain types of carrying but I am not sure).

I have been told (when I asked) that indeed the rambam does hold it is
asur to try on a suit (even if it is Safayk since safayk doreitha--a
biblical doubt is always treated stringently).  I was however told that
other rishonim do not hold this way and feel it is permissable to try on
a unknown suit.  However, no one ever explained to me what the other
rishonim did with these two posookim.  So I have never tried an unknown
suit on. I am curious if anyone can get me out of this dilemma (though I
haven't suffered that much and am quite happy with the Midrash)

Getting back to the question raised by Halevi it would appear that no
one holds that benefiting from shaatnez is even prohibitted rabinically.
I am still in doubt about couches though...it may be prohibited
rabinically ...e.g. it is common to "play" with couch covers (at least I
do) and one can accidentally wrap one around oneself.

I would be interested in what other readers have to say about the actual
laws...but I am very certain that the two verses indicate two levels of
"wearing"---actual wearing and just "putting up" and at least now I feel
that one can benefit from Shaatnez by e.g. selling it to non jews.

Russell Hendel, rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu


From: S.H. Schwartz <shimmy@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 1996 13:07:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Directory Assistance charge exemption

Critical disclaimer: The following comments are my own opinions, and do
not represent any past or present position of the NYNEX Corporation or
any of its subsidiaries.

As a telephone company employee, I've been following this conversation
with interest.  I asked this question of a residence services
representative.  The answer: the directory assistance charge exemption
applies to the -line-, NOT the person.  Consequence: it is OK for
someone else using your line to use 411 as needed.  I presume that there
is thus no halachic objection.

This raises a related question.  Telephone service is classified as
either personal or business.  This has implications regarding who is
allowed to use the telephone line, and for what purpose; the details are
in the applicable tariffs for each service class.  In practice, we all
-occasionally- use a home line for business purposes, and many companies
explicitly allow occasional personal calls that do not interfere with
the business.  However, it might be problematic, halachically as well as
by the tariffs, (1) to use a "personal" line primarily for running a
home-based business, or (2) for your neighbor to specifically come over
to your house to dial 411 (an occasional call made while she is visiting
is OK).  I emphasize "neighbor" because members of the household can
freely use a personal line in the house, regardless of which
householder's name it is under.

Halachic speculation: a -neighbor- who wants to practice lifnei m'shurat
hadin [beyond the letter of the law] might avoid using exempt 411
service in another home.  However, for a ben bayit [household member] to
avoid this in his own home might actually be wasting money [bal
tashchit?], since he is permitted to use the service.

Steve (Shimmy) Schwartz
With Rebecca, Forest Hills, NY: <shimmy@...>
NYNEX Science & Technology, Inc., White Plains, NY: <schwartz@...>


From: <SCHILDH@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Tue, 04 Jun 1996 12:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Faxes and Email and electrons

In regard to Russell Hendel's recent comment:
 "The Marah DeAthrah of Louisville, Rabbi Avrohom Litvin actually
discussed this with me.  He pointed out that the electric current has to
reformulate itself into written words for both the Fax and Email.
Consequently the received Fax and Email has the status of an egg that
was born on Yom Tov (Nolad)."

This posting shows the "caveat talmid" that must be practiced with
modern technology. Regardless of the psak here, this sort of logic is
full of the anthropomorphism my thesis advisor abhorred. (I once claimed
in an internal dept. poster that a polymer and a surfactant, i.e. a big
molecule and a soap had the same symbiotic relationship as the crocodile
and plover bird). The electrons do not modulate themselves into
ASCII. They are not animals that need rest on Shabbas and Yom Tov and
indeed are smaller than the insignificant halachic blip (I forget for
the moment what animal or speck it talks about in the gemara...i.e. you
can eat vegetables with bacteria: they are not prohibited insects). In
fact, quantum tunneling aside etc, if one calls them particles, there is
no "reformulating"...if they are viewed as waves, maybe there is a
problem. The point is the same logic to prohibit fax and email on
Shabbas cited above, also forbids one to own (or give someone as a
gift..i.e. send a fax) a digital watch or any LCD or LED display. We do
not rule with Beis Shammai that the kelim must be made to rest on
Shabbas and electrons are not our animals. One must be careful with
these technological issues: one of my favorites is that some people do
not open their fridge if the motor is not already running....these same
people should never run the AC or heat in their house on Shabbas unless
they are staying home inside all Shabbas.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jun 1996 17:16:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Marriage of cohen with a convert ??

> From: <akohen@...> (Albert Ozkohen)
> B"H
> I wonder if a cohen can marry with a convert. (My wife is a Levi)
> ...
> I posed this problem because my brother is married with a non-Jew. He
> has 3 children 2 boys and 1 girl. They live now in Holland. The rabbis
> in Jerusalem showed them only one solution : divorce. But this is
> leading my brother to be discarded from being Jew which means a loss.

 I believe that our normative p'sak Halacha is that a Female Convert
("Giyoret") is **halchically** considered to have the status of "Zonah"
and is prohibited from marrying a Koehn for that reason.  I would urge
that the LOR be contacted ASAP but this is a difficult and wrenching
matter to deal with.

 Note further that while the marriage is not an "adulterous" one, it IS
a *sinful* relationship which (IMHO) no Orthodox Rabbi will sanction.

 Since the woman is currently not Jewish, it would appear that they
could be converted and they would be considered Kosher Jews, albeit NOT
kohanim.  Note, though, that if there are DAUGHTERS involved, they, too,
will be prohibited from marrying Kohanim.



From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jun 1996 17:28:57 GMT
Subject: Please pass the Grape Juice

Regarding the propriety of a) making a Borai Peri Hagafen on grape juice
and b) using grape juice for the Arba Kosot (4 cups) at the seder table,
please consider the folowing:

Although it is true that HaRav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, z"l, had severe
reservations regarding making a Hagafen blessing on grape juice, he is
in the minority.  Rabbi Y.Y. Weiss,z"l, (Minchat Yitzchok vol.8)
specifically wrote a responsum taking Rabbi Auerbach to task for
criticizing making a Hagafen blessing on grape juice.  Rabbi Weiss was
the head of the Bet Din that gave the hashgacha for the grape juice.  In
addition, Rabbi Tzvi Pesach Frank, z"l, in Mikra'ei Kodesh (Pesach
vol.2, page 129) writes that the psak of the rabbi (I think he is
referring to Rav Auerbach) is exaggerated and that one is definitely
allowed to make a hagafen on grape juice and use it for kiddush.  The
list of poskim who permit using grape juice for kiddush is a very long
one and they are in the majority.  You can start with Sh. Aruch, 472:12.

 Grape juice presents other questions regarding its use for the four
cups on Pesach.  Since we have established that according to most
authorities it may be used for kiddush, I am not going to discuss,
pasteurization, addition of sugar, dilution, etc.
 I would like to discuss  a) simcha - and by extension cherut and
intoxicating qualities.  b) custom today.

T.B. Pesachim 108b is the source for the idea that wine for the four
cups has to be mesame'ach.  Rashi, a"h, in T.B. Bava Metzia 66b writes
that yayin yisamach levav enosh (Psalms 104:15) is not because it tastes
better but because it intoxifies.  There are poskim who hold that wine
for the four cups, therefore, must have intoxicating qualities.  HaRav
Moshe Feinstein, z"l, is prominent among them.

Rambam, a"h, (Chometz U'Matza 7:9), however, rules only that the wine
must be pleasant and this is determined by the wine and the disposition
of the drinker.  Therefore, this is the determing factor in deciding
whether one is yotzai simcha (cherut).  And if one were to drink wine
that is not pleasant (a'rev) to him, he would be yotzai drinking wine
but not cherut.  This is the position of Mishna Brurah (472:39),
She'arim Metuyanim BeHalacha chap.  118 page 107, Chazone Ovadiah (HaRav
Ovadiah Yosiaf) page 125, and others.  It has been stipulated that the
Chazone Ish, z"l, and the Tchebiner Rav, z"l, used grape juice for the
seder.  The Tzelemer Rav, z"l, allowed grape juice to be used for the
seder.  In fact it is written on every bottle of Kedem grape juice.
Regarding Welch's grape juice, it is the position of the U.O. that it
may be used. (One of the local Rabbis called and inquired.)

In summary, if you can tolerate wine it seems best to use wine with
alcohol content.  If you really like grape juice, there is support for
using this and according to some maybe even preferable if you really
hate wine.  Piskei T'Shuvot writes (page 224) that for those people who
don't tolerate wine or that wine makes their head heavy and would not be
able to pay proper attention to the other mitzvahs of the seder, they
may L'Chatchila, use grape juice, and so was the custom of great Rabbis
of the our generation, and so is the custom among the people.

I hope this makes you feel better.

Steve Oppenheimer


From: F5E017%<BARILAN.bitnet@...> (Nachum Chernofsky)
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 96 12:33 O
Subject: Shatnes

Regarding shatnes and couches, I leave a psak for one's LOR.

However, just to clarify a few points, Torah law does not prohibit
sitting on shatnes, since the pasuk says "Lo' ya'aleh ale'cha". However,
our rabbis have forbidden, under certin circumstances, shatnes in a
non-wearing situation.  The warming function of the material also plays
a part.  For more information, please see Tractate Beitza, page 14b-15a
and Shulchan Aruch, Yore De'ah 301:1.

For a more detailed analysis, see Shoot Minchat Yitzchak (Harav Weiss
ZT'L) section II responsa 24.

The best advice about what needs shatnes testing should be gotten from
the shatnes laboratory (on Lee Avenue in Williamsburg when I was a
kid. I don't know if it's still there.)  I took a rug to be Shatnes
tested in Bnei Brak and it seems that whereas the rug was 100% wool,
there were linen threads used to strengthen the borders of the rug.
They were removed.  The problem with a rug, I believe, is that of
walking barefoot on the rug.  Since the issues here are complex, it
would be advisable to contact your LOR and/or a shatnes expert.

Nachum Chernofsky, Bnei Brak


From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Wed,  5 Jun 96 13:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Shatnez Couch

>From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
>        Regarding the question of a couch made with shatnez -- which, by
>the way, is indeed a mixture of wool and linen, not wool and cotton --
>I'll go out on my non-posek limb and say the following:
> -snip-
>       On the other hand, the fact this law is given twice makes me ask
>those who know better: is shatnez in the category of assur b'hana'a
>(forbidden for us to derive any benefit at all)?  If not, wouldn't a
>couch be OK?

Because of the complexity of the subject, I'd like to refer you to
    Rambam, Kilaim 10:11.
For the same reason, I'd prefer a better translator to do the

Behatzlacha rabba,



From: Avrohom Dubin <apdubin@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jun 1996 12:02:50 -0400
Subject: Shatnez in Couch

The Halachos of Shatnez appear in Shulchan Oruch Yoreh Deah.  One
may not sit on a couch (or chair, etc.) containing Shatnez.  The reason
given is that the material surrounds your feet when you sit down and
you are considered "covered" by Shatnez.



From: Saul Guberman <jleshkow@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Jun 1996 09:52:09 -0700
Subject: Tzitzit with Tekhelet

My brother,Joel Guberman, is involved in a project to resurrect the
mitzvah of tekhelet.  He sends the following response to Adam Schwartz
volume 24 #27.

 "Regarding the Yadin sample I would like to respond.  Yadin found
purple dyed wool and a piece of purple dyed wool with linen string
wrapped around the top.  He made several assumptions (using a great deal
of imagination) and concluded that he had found Tzizit dyed with false
Tekhelet.  He assumed that since it was wool and linen together and that
it was a string wrapped around wool, that it must be tzizit.
Regardless, Yadin went on to claim that the piece of wool was dyed with
a combination of colors because Tekhelet was not available to them,
assuming also that Tekhelet is purple (something which must every expert
disagrees with and nearly all Poskim.)
 With regards to the ability to detect the origin of dye we have the
technology to do so, and now more accurately than ever.  In Israel Zvi
Koren at the Shenkar Institute heads a dept. that tests ancient dyed
materials.  His research as well as others help to substantiate the fact
that a snail by the name of Murex Trunculus is the source of authentic
Tekhelet. Amutat P'til Tekhelet currently dyes strings for the Mitzvah
of Tekhelet in tzizit and works together with Zvi and others.  If you
have further questions regarding Tekhelet please contact me at
<joel@...> Also visit our web page at
Virtual.co.il/orgs/orgs/tekhelet.  We hope that it will be further
updated for Parshat Shlach.
 Bbirkat Hamitzvot"

Saul & Hindi Guberman


End of Volume 24 Issue 37