Volume 24 Number 61
                       Produced: Wed Jul 10 23:27:50 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Commandments Women are Exempt From
         [Barak Greenfield]
Displaying God's name on a computer screen
         [David Riceman]
extravagant weddings
         [Eli Turkel]
Helping Others
         [Gershon Dubin]
History and Judaism
         [Turkel Eli]
Kosher Airline Meals from Amsterdam
         [Warren Burstein]
Pikuach Nefesh/Hebron
         [Harry Maryles]
Shabbat Jeep
         [Sheila Tanenbaum]


From: <DocBJG@...> (Barak Greenfield)
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 20:04:09 -0400
Subject: Commandments Women are Exempt From

Jonah S. Bossewitch asked about the positive time-dependent commandments
which women are exempt from. This applies only to biblical commandments,
and there are six:

1. reciting the shema (must be done in the morning before the third
daylight hour, and in the evening)

2. wearing tzitzis (applies only during the day, according to the
opinion in the Talmud which we accept)

3. wearing tefilin (does not apply on shabbos or yom tov. Technically,
tefilin can be worn at night, but we do not do so for various reasons)

4. sitting in the sukkah (applies only during succos)

5. lulav/esrog (ditto)

6. hearing the shofar (only on Rosh Hashanah)

There are several other positive time-dependent commandments which women
are obligated to perform for specific reasons. They are obligated to eat
matzah on the first night of Pesach since, the Talmud states, all who
are prohibited from eating chametz are required to eat matzah. Women are
required to make or hear kiddush on Friday night because of a similar
reasoning: all who are prohibited from performing work on shabbos are
required to make kiddush.

The usual reason given for this is that women are traditionally more
involved in home life, raising the children, etc., and it would be an
undue burden on them to have to deal with commandments that must be
performed at specific times.

Barak Greenfield, MD


From: David Riceman <dr@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 1996 09:38:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Displaying God's name on a computer screen

  One of my chavrusos asked this of Rav Gustman and received the
(surprising) answer that it is permitted to delete the name because the
letters are disconnected dots and not continuous letters.

David Riceman


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 19:37:47 -0400
Subject: extravagant weddings

    There was a recent article by Dr. Twersky, a psychologist in
Brooklyn, in the Jewish Observer on this issue. He mentions that many of
his patients are in severe depression because of the cost of
weddings. The problem is not the how to cut down but the sociological
issues.  Those really affected are not the poor but the upper middle
class. I have been to weddings at Ponovezh Yeshiva where it is a basic
wedding with a one-man band (for economic reasons this is Bnei Brak not
Jerusalem).  Everyone accepts that a kollel man and family cannot afford
a fancy wedding.  Dr. Twersky says the problem is with the family
earning $50,000-$100,000 a year. In American standards this is
considered to be way over average.  However, when the family is sending
4-10 children to yeshivas at a cost of $20,000-$50000 a year (plus
summer camps) it is very difficult to pay $40,000-$50,000 for a
wedding. On the otherhand the family is considered to be well-to-do and
feels embarassed to have a "cheap" wedding. After all they are
professionals making a good salary not kollel men scrapping through.
Dr. Twersky makes 2 other comments which I found "interesting"

1. He claims that gedolim have not spoken up about this issue because
   outside of the chasidic world they would be ignored and this would
   only lead to a desecreation of the gedolim.  I interpret this to mean
   that those who push "Daas Torah" don't follow through on many
   issues. In a similar vein I read an article before the Israeli
   elections by Prof. Friedman (an authority on the Israeli haredi
   community) that the haredi community was voting for Netanyahu
   independent of what their leaders would announce.

2. Dr. Twersky says that the "problem" of the high yeshiva tuition bills is 
   not a real problem because it is charity and we are guaranteed that
   G-d will repay whatever we spend on charity.  With that attitude we
   should raise the tuition at most yeshivas and pay the rebbes a salary
   they can really live on.

Eli Turkel


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Thu, 04 Jul 96 20:03:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Helping Others

> I wouldn't recommend this practice in the urban New York area.  There
> is a real issue of pikuach nefesh; part of the price of living chutz
> la'aretz.  
	Here's where the identification of the motorist as "one of us"
or not comes in.  I may feel bad for someone stuck on the road, but if I
feel personally endangered in any way by stopping, I won't.  OTOH, it is
a common practice B'H, in New York that I know of, for identifiably frum
Jews (No, I do not choose to define that any further) to stop and help
each other, since the perceived danger is less or nonexistent.

> To the best of my knowledge (please correct me if anyone knows this is
> wrong) EVEN IF NO VOW was taken, if a person performs a custom for say
> three years (without explicitly stating BELI NEDER) then it is
> considered as if the person took a vow. 

Only if such custom is a mitzvah or a "hanhaga tova"(meritorious
I'm not sure Anonymous' practice falls into that halachic category.

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


From: Turkel Eli <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 19:20:24 -0400
Subject: History and Judaism

    Binyomin Segal writes

>> History proves nothing.
>> Merely that history has proven nothing - and between Ben Gurion and the 
>> Brisker Rav I'd still bet with the Brisker Rav.

   As we begin the three weeks I think the lesson of Tisha ba-av is that
nothing is random and that G-d determines history. The rabbis give us
their thoughts as to why the Temple was destroyed. Similarly when good
events occur they are not random. If we have been priveleged to have a
Jewish state we should appreciate it.  Whenever some disaster strikes in
Israel there is always someone who claims to know the reason, an
archaelogical dig, some secularist activity etc. It is always easy to
blame others for the problems. When Chazal talk about the sins that
caused the destruction of the Temple it is our sins not "their"
sins. However, when good things happen it gets overlooked.  My personal
theory is that no one wants to give credit to others for good events. On
the otherhand its not proper to credit for oneself.  Thus, the result is
that we overlook good events and concentrate on blaming others for the
bad events.
     So I still insist that history does indeed prove that the Zionists
were right. Rav Zvi Yehuda Kook very strongly stated that many gedolim
erred by not backing the creation of the Jewish state. If Binyomin
doesn't like Ben Gurion I will rephrase myself that I vote for Rav Zvi
     The Maccabees are great heroes because their revolution won. Bar
Kochba is rarely mentioned because he lost. Those movements that
disappeared during the centuries were designed by history (i.e. G-d) to
the trashcan. In Israel today the Neturei Karta is essentially a minor
organization. the Eda Charedit is mainly a kashrut organization with
more and more of their adherents accepting money from the Israeli
government.  Agudah has now accepted a major government position with
the housing ministry and Porush has pledged to work for housing for all
the groups and not just Charedim (the last time they had a ministry -
the labor ministry - they ignored non-religious functions). Shas has
always fully participated in all government functions. Hence, the haredi
world is gradually becoming more a part of Israeli government.

>> Further all the jewish money from the US that went
>> to Israel would have been available for jewish needs in the US.

   U.S. jewry has gotten much more from Israel then it has given. As one
example, the atomsphere in YU has changed dramatically in recent years
with much more serious learning. Everyone seems to credit it to the fact
that most boys and girls now spend a year in an Israeli yeshiva before
starting college. Agudah frequently turns to Israeli poskim for major
questions. Israeli shelichim have made major contributions to individual
communities. I sometimes wonder what happened in Babylonia when Ezra
(with a tiny group) made Aliyah to Israel. I have little doubt that some
people there complained about sending good babylonian money to the
Israeli community and to the Temple. Most probably at the beginning the
Babylonian yeshivas were better. We know that years later Hillel, Rabbi
Natan, Rav Chiyah and other greats came from Babylonia.  They must have
had a good education system. However, history again decided that the
Israeli community would determine the future of Judaism.  Only after the
decline of the Israeli community in Amoraic times did Babylonia
determine halacha.

    In a different area I really saw a statement of Rav Soloveitchik.
He brings down that Rambam paskins that if one gives up his life when it
is necessary from strict halacha then it is if the person committed
suicide and is punished for giving up his life. Ramban disagrees and
says that one has the right to give up his life in the right
circumstances even though one of the "big three" sins are not involved
(or other cases which justify giving up one's life). Rav Soloveitchik
notes that "history has decided" with Ramban. Throughout the ages we
know of stories of children. women and others who drown themselves or
otherwise killed themselves so they wouldn't go into captivity even when
not fully required by halachic grounds. The Gemara says that when the
halacha is not clear "go out and see what the people do".

Eli Turkel


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 1996 16:43:32 GMT
Subject: Re: Kosher Airline Meals from Amsterdam

The annoucement of the Rabbinate of Amsterdam includes the following paragraph:

>All other meals or parts of meals, including those carrying a "non
>offensive" label do not come from a kosher kitchen.  The Rabbinate
>takes no responsibility for them and they should be regarded as

What is a "non offensive" label?


From: <Harrymaryl@...> (Harry Maryles)
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 22:48:37 -0400
Subject: Pikuach Nefesh/Hebron

Zev Bar references 2 articles (excerpted) on the subject of Pikuach
Nefesh and war.  Namely he cites the Bleich ariticle which comments on
the oft quoted siman in the Shulcan Aruch, Orach Chaim 329:6 about the
requirement of fighting a war even on shabbos on cities that border on
jewish held cities, when they come to attack you even for "straw and
hay" because of the legitimate fear that this will open the door to
attack and recapture of jewishly held cities.  it is implied that the
settlers evacuation of Hebron is tantamount to violating this halacha.
I am not certain that this is the case. Rabbi Bleich was talking about
the return of Hebron as a violation of this Halacha, in that he feels
that this will lessen the security for the inhabitants of the State of
Israel in future conflict. This may or may not be true and there is no
real way to know.  It is equally possible that in a final peace
agreement there will be a greater sense of security than there is now,
whereas holding on to Hebron while we taunt them with the settlers may
be a greater danger.  Are we appeasing the enemy?  Are we whetting his
appetite? Or are we taking a calculated chance (with the type of
security arrangements that would satisfy the present [Netanyahu]
government) that would ultimately create the kind of peace and
prosperity that would give us the kind of life that would be free of
worries of our children fighting in war and the dangers of being killed,
give us the kind of economy that we are used to in the U.S.  There has
been an explosion of foreign investment in Israel the likes of which it
has never experienced...all this due to the "peace proccess".  There
have been many other positive developments, far to many to begin listing
here.  In short I don't really know what the answer is to he peace
proccess, whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.  But I think we
should use our heads rather than our hearts in trying to determine the
greater good.

As for Rav Herschel Schachter's article,:
>In the second article that runs for 23 pages by Rabbi Herschel Schachter
>entitled "Land for Peace: A Halachic Perspective", he concludes "To
>return to the view of Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky that the 1948 War of
>Independence continues to be waged today and that current incidents of
>Arab unrest are merely extensions of that original conflict, it is to be
>concluded in concurrence with the views of the Chatam Sofer and Minchat
>Elazar cited above that it is forbidden to stop or slow this war, for in
>so doing, we would be preventing the coming of the geula."

I Find it hard to believe that the condition that the State of Israel is
in now is just a continuation of the 1948 war.  If this reasoning is
followed, then we should right now attack all of our enemies until they
surrender unconditionally to our terms!  I don't believe anyone would
subscribe to thi option.
 Harry Maryles


From: <sheilat@...> (Sheila Tanenbaum)
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 1996 20:44:35 GMT
Subject: Re: Shabbat Jeep

To the party who wrote me about the shabbat jeep. 
My source on a kibbutz which owns one, says it is run on gas. 

Sheila Tanenbaum


End of Volume 24 Issue 61