Volume 24 Number 55
                       Produced: Wed Jul  3 20:58:52 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

613 Mitzvot
         [Jonah S. Bossewitch]
         [Steven F. Friedell]
Doubled Trope
         [Mechy Frankel]
Electric Wheelchairs
G-d's name on computer screen
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Looking for S'dei Chemed Reference
         [Yitzchak Kasdan]
Planting a tree
         [Joe Slater]
R. JB Soloveitchik on Interdenominationalism
         [Micha Berger]
Translation question
         [Shmuel Himelstein]


From: Jonah S. Bossewitch <bosewtch@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 20:06:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 613 Mitzvot

	While we're counting Mitzvot, I was wondering if anybody knew
the number of time-bound positive commandments.  Does this number relate
to the traditional connections between this class of Mitzvot and women?
	Backing up a step, what are the standard accounts for women's
"exemption" from this class of Mitzvot (Shabbat excluded)?  Personally,
I believe this reflects Judaism's recognition that women are more firmly
"planted" in time than men are (they know how long a month feels while
my longest cycle is about day, they are physically connected to their
offspring, etc...) and hence, do not need to be "taught" a sense of
time/responsibility to the same extent that men do.
	This also seems to be related to Stan's cyclical model of
continuous creation, however, in his post he claimed that the positive
commandments correspond to spacial dimensions, and negative commandments
correspond to the temporal dimension.  Does anybody have any ideas on
how this system handles time related positive commandments, and their
relationship to the female body?


(I'm a first time poster who has been lurking for a while, so cut me some 
slack... ;))


From: Steven F. Friedell <friedell@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 14:47:59 -0400
Subject: Damages

In Bava Kamma 32a it says that according to Issi ben Yehuda that if one
person is running in a public way and another person is walking, the person
running is liable since his conduct is unusual.  
What is the runner liable for?  Is he liable only for "nezek" (loss of
value) or is he also liable for "tzar" (pain), "shevet" (loss of time) and
"ripui" (medical expense)?  The general rule is that one is not liable for
these latter types of damage unless one acts "be-shogeg karov le-mezid"
(with error close to intention).  (One is liable for "boshet"
--humiliation--only if there intent to injure.)  An example of the how the
rules are applied  is as follows:
        If a person means to throw an object 2 cubits but throws it 4 cubits
instead and injures someone, he is liable only for "nezek" and not for the
other items of damage.  See Bava Kamma 26b.  
        If a person falls off a roof in an ordinary wind and injures
someone, he is liable for the four items of damage.  Bava Kamma 27a.  The
Tur explains (H.M. 421) that he is "shogeg karov le-mezid" because he went
up to a roof that lacked a railing.
        If a person forgets that he has stone in his shirt and stands up and
injures someone, he is liable only for "nezek".  Bava Kamma 26a.  His
forgetfulness is only "shogeg" (error).  All the more so if he never knew he
had the stone.  Ibid.
        If a person walks into a carpentry shop and gets hit in the face by
a splinter of wood, the carpenter is liable for 4 types of damage.  See Bava
Kamma 32b, H.M. 421:9.  The explanation is that even if the carpenter didn't
see the plaintiff, he ought to expect members of the public to walk in at
any time.  He is therefore "shogeg karov le-mezid."
        So my question is what is the rule for the runner, and by analogy to
someone speeding in a car?  Do we say he is like the person throwing an
object--he meant to control the car but lost control?  Or is he like someone
who goes on a roof--by speeding he has taken a known risk of injury to
others.  Is it like forgetfulness, since he may have forgotten how fast he
was going or indeed may never have been aware how fast he was going. Or is
it like a case of the carpenter.  Since he knows that there are others on
the highway at all times, he needs to take greater care to protect them?
        Or, does the Talmud leave the question of what the runner is liable
for completely open because it really depends on each factual situation. In
some cases the runner may be only slightly at fault--only in error--he
thought it unlikely that other people would be walking at that time and
place or that he could slow down to avoid hitting them.  In other situations
he may be more seriously at fault--as where he runs in a crowd of people.
        I invite your comments.


From: <system@...> (Mechy Frankel)
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 17:06:06 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Doubled Trope

A poster commented the other day on the practice of chumashim to double
the trup sign, e.g. to place two pashta signs over a single word, once
to mikayeim the pashta placement rule at the end of a word, and again to
indicate the correct syllable for accentuation, when they differ.  The
poster suggested this had the feel of a "printer's idea".  It's not.
It's a convention of the original Masoretes and is used episodically in
the earliest torah codices.  However, nowhere with the expanded and
relentlessly systematic consistency displayed by the printers of the
Koren tanach.

Mechy Frankel                            <frankel@...>


From: Zomet <zomet@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 06:26:02 GMT
Subject: Electric Wheelchairs

Ephraim Dardashti asked about electronic medical equipment on Shabbat.

Rav Shelomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l maintained that it is incumbent upon 
Poskim to assist people whose mobility is limited and are thus relegated to 
an electric wheelchair. He felt that the lack of a Halachically permissible 
solution for such a vehicle, which would force the handicapped or elderly 
person to remain at home on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and would cause him to 
lose his self-worth, thus compromising his "kevod habriyot" (human 

The sugya of "kevod habriyot" is found in Tractates Berachot and Menachot. 
The gemara states that "kevod habriyot" is such a powerful factor that it 
even pushes aside a negative Torah prohibition.

As a result of Rav Auerbach's prodding nearly a decade ago, the Zomet 
Institute (<zomet@...>) has designed, produced and installed dozens of 
Shabbat control systems on electric wheelchairs throughout the world.


From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Jun 1996 11:51:15 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: G-d's name on computer screen

Recently on the internet there has been made available in the public
domain a program that has the full text of Tanach, Shas and Rambam among
other things.  One problem with it however is that in the Tanach section
it uses the actual Yud-Kay-Vav-Kay name of G-d.  This creates problems
of erasing the name of G-d when you display it on your screen.  Are
there any responsa on this topic?

Joshua Hosseinof


From: <IKasdan189@...> (Yitzchak Kasdan)
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 1996 23:06:18 -0400
Subject: Looking for S'dei Chemed Reference

In Jewish Action Winter 1995, Rabbi Butman in his reply to Professor Berger's
article re: Mashiach cites (at page 62) to the S'dei Chemed at "VII, p.2984."
 Similarly, an editotial note to a statement by R. Aharon Soloveitchik
regarding Mashiach in the June 28, 1996 Jewish Press  at page 27 cites to
"vol. 7 p. 2984" of the S'dei Chemed.  The S'dei Chemed that I have
(published by Freidman, N.Y.) contains no page 2984 in vol 7.  I have been
unsucessful in tracking down this citation ( by R. Butman for the proposition
that there is a "practical likelihood"  that the Mashiach "will be among
those who arise  in the Resurrection" [per Yeshus Meshich, Jerusalem, page
104]).  I would be most appreciative if someone could post the proper cite
for the S'dei Chemed.

Yitzchak Kasdan  


From: Joe Slater <joe@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 1996 08:03:22 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Planting a tree

I will, IY"H be planting an almond tree in my garden in a week or so. Can
anyone identify the Halachic considerations I should be aware of,
particularly regarding Orlah? 



From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 08:58:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: R. JB Soloveitchik on Interdenominationalism

I found the article that I had referred to in an earlier post. It
is titled "Orthodox, Conservative and Reform Jews in the United
States: Second article in a series on Responsa of Orthodox Judaism
in the United States" by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveichik (hereafter
referred to as "The Rav"). It's a 7 page Xeroxed copy of type-written
pages, not dated -- although the Rav refers to a proposal he
presented at an RCA conference "this past summer" that a footnote
associates with the summer of 1954 convention.

In this article, the Rav addresses a two-part question. The first
is the one we are discussing: "Is cooperation between O and non-O
congregations and between musmachim [those ordained] of Yeshivoth
and other spiritual leaders possible (footnote: permissible) or
not?" The second is about O's battle against C, in light of the
fact that C spokesmen (in 1996 we'd say spokespeople) claim to
recognize the authority of halacha.

In true Brisker derech, the Rav divides the concept of the unity
of the Jewish people into "tzvei dinim" [two laws]. The first he
associates with the term "eidah" [congregation], which he relates
to the words "eid" and "eidus" [witness, testimony]. The second is
that of the "am" [nation], from "im" [with].

What unifies us as an eidah is "the unity of Jews as members of a
spiritual community", of being a "kingdom of priests and a holy
nation", as decreed at the end of the revelation of Sinai. "A
collective testimony united us all into a Jewish community. It
therefor goes without saying, that the Jew, who erases from his
memory this great testimony, and destroys the unique collective
tradition, breaks the tie which joins him with the Jewish community
as a congregation [eidah], as a spiritual Jewish entity."

I would like, if I may, to add to the Rav's thought by pointing
out that the proof provided in the Gemara that a minyan requires
10 men is also based on the word "eidah", which is compared to the
"eidah" used to describe the 10 spies who slandered the Land of
Israel. A collection of 10 men, by becoming an eidah, are able to
perform things that require the collective sanctity of Bnei Yisrael.

The second concept is that of "am" -- "Am livadad yishkon" we are
a nation that dwells alone. Is is "in our historical transmigrations
and in our paradoxical fate. Our history would not fit into a
different historical framework, and out fate is incomprehensible."
This entity predates Sinai, "And I shall take you unto me as a
nation [am], and I shall be unto you a G-d" (Ex. 6:7).

>From this distinction the Rav concludes that the nature of the
issue determines the advisability of unity. "When we are faced with
a problem for Jews and Jewish interests toward the world without
.... then all groups and movements must be united. In this area
_there_may_not_be_ [emphasis mine] because any friction in the
Jewish camp may be disastrous for the entire Jewish people. ...
In the Crematoria, the ashes of the Chasidim and pious Jews were
put together with the ashes of the radicals and atheists. And we
all _must_ [emphasis mine] fight the enemy, who does not differentiate
between those who believe in G-d and those who don't." The notion
of am means that our fate and historical destiny is united, so we
must fight outside problems with unity.

"With regards to our problem within (the Jewish community), however,
our spiritual-religious interests ... O cannot and should not unite
with such groups that deny the fundamentals of our weltanschauung.
.... A Rabbinical Organization is not a professional fraternity,
which fights for the economic interests of the Rabbi. It is an
ideological entity where members work for one purpose and one
ideal." The Rav then states that R is further from us than the
Karaites in the Geonic era, and history doesn't record a single
instance of a joint Community Council or joint Rabbinical Council
between Karaite and Torah-true Jews. "Too much harmony and peace
can cause confusion of the minds and will erase outwardly the
boundaries between O and other movements."

But what would the Rav say when unity in dealing with outside forces
has led to "too much harmony and peace"? Post-facto, we see that the
anecdotal evidence that the two collide. If this evidence bears out
under more formal scrutiny, we have to make a decision. What do we do
when the two are in collision, do we choose eidah or am?

On the other subject, he dismisses C's claim of being halachic by
stating that they do not conform to all three qualifications:

1- One must be a scholar [lamdan]. Thorough knowledge of his field.

2- One must unconditionally accept the sacredness of the halacha
   in its eternal and absolute character, "under all conditions,
   social, political, or cultural". One can not be selective,
   "Lighting candles I accept, but not the laws of purity of the
   family." Denying the authority of a single law is a denial of
   its divine origin, and therefor of the whole.

3- "The interpretation of halacha must be accomplished in accordance
   with the methods, principles, and categorical forms of the
   halachic logic, which were hammered out by the sages of the
   Torah, Rishonim and Achronim, Rashi, the Tosafists, Ramban, the
   Shach, R. Akiva Eiger, R. Chaim Brisker, etc... The substance
   of halacha is tradition. Not only in the content and the text,
   but also the formal instruments of halachic thinking have been
   handed down from generation to generation."

This seems to be very relevant to the "What is O?" discussion we
had a while back. It would seem that my definition was affected by
a half-remembered version of this article.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3492 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 17-Jun-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://aishdas.org>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 1996 22:42:04 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Translation question

In general, we know that "ne'eman" is generally translated as
"faithful." I haven't yet figured out the meaning of the word as it
appears in "Nishmat" on the Shabbat morning prayers, in the phrase
"Khalayim ra'im ve'ne'emanim" - 'evil/bad and "ne'eman" diseases.'

Any explanations would be appreciated.

           Shmuel Himelstein


End of Volume 24 Issue 55