Volume 24 Number 93
                       Produced: Wed Sep 18  2:42:22 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Nachum Chernofsky]
Bishul Akum - why?
         [Akiva Miller]
Looking for quote
         [Al Silberman]
Paying for Aliyas
         [Alan Davidson]
Repeating in davening
         [Jack Stroh]
Shofar blowing on Rosh HaShana/Shabbos
         [Jeff Fischer]
         [Andrew Marc Greene]
Writing down the Oral Law
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Yin-yang jewelry and face paint
         [Mike Gerver]


From: <F5E017@...> (Nachum Chernofsky)
Date: Sun, 18 Aug 96 12:47 O
Subject: Aliya

When I returned home following a recent trip to the States, I was
determined to put my thoughts down on paper(!) and share them with any
interested party.  Of course over a month and a half have passed
already, but after seeing some recent postings about the subject of
religious aliya (or lack of it), I decided to give it a shot.

While riding the subway to Manhattan one day, I noticed a nicely dressed
young man (I am 45 so anyone younger than that gets labeled "young"),
suit, hat, beard, was reading the Wall Street Journal on his way to
work.  I know that he, like I, has a heter for going to work (as
opposed to sitting in learning all day), in that he has to support a
family.  "But", I said to myself, "is this what HKBH intended for
Am Yisrael to do." Did He intend for us to spend our lives in Chutz
La'Aretz, performing mitzvot, supporting our families, etc., or did
He intend for us to spend our lives in Eretz Yisrael.

I believe the answer is quite obvious.  Hashem took us out of Egypt
with the intention of our performing mitzvot in Eretz Yisrael.
I recently read an interesting vort in the book "Sichot Mussar" of
Rav Sher (former Rosh Yeshiva of Slobodka) on Parshat Matot-Maseei,
regarding the devastating comment of the sons of Reuven and Gad:
"Al ta'avireinu et hayarden" (do not bring us across the Jordan).
How is it possible that after hearing Moshe beg 515 just to be allowed
to cross the Jordan (gmatria of "Va'etchanan" = 515), Jews could
possibly entertain the idea of not going across.

Rav Sher answered that the Bnei Gad and Reuven knew through ruach
hakodesh that their true portion was on the eastern side of the Jordan
and that after the fourteen years of conquering, the Urim V'tumim
would have given them that place as their G-d given portion anyway.
Therefore, following the rule that we must not bypass a mitzva, they
were bound to settle the land to be given to them, now.  In addition,
they realized that the abundance of sheep that they had was a super-
natural phenomenon and, therefore, it was to be taken as a sign from
G-d that they were not to settle on the west bank (pardon the use of
that term).

Now I ask all of the people residing in Chutz La'aretz: How can you
say "Al ta'avireinu et hayarden".  Hashem has afforded us with the
opportunity of coming back to live in Eretz Yisrael right here and
now.  Why are you not taking advantage of this golden opportunity?
Do you not say three times a day, "M'chalkel Chayim B'chesed"?
Do you not believe that Hashem can take care of you here in Israel
just as well as he does in Chul?  There is plenty of affordable
housing in Yehuda V'shomron, now that we have a sane government
once again, BH.  There are plenty of job opportunities in all of the

I know that it is not proper to bring my own personal case and draw
conclusions to the rest of the world.  But, let me tell you that
I never looked for a job for a day in my life.  While it is true
that I came on Aliya as a young married couple, with no responsibilities
at all, there are still thousands of people who have come with families
and responsibilities and have made a successful aliya.

I have a cousin who works for a fortune 500 company in a very good
position.  He wears a toupee to work for obvious reasons.  While
I find it commendable that he does not want to resort to the heter
of working bareheaded for parnasa reasons, I often wonder if this
is what Hashem intended for us to do with our lives.  Or perhaps,
our job in life is to sanctify G-d's name on a daily basis.  I think
the latter alternative is the correct one, and the obvious place to
fulfill that is in Eretz Yisrael where I feel that I am on the
front lines in the Jews' war to sanctify G-d's name daily.

With hope and prayer to Hashem that some of you, if not all of you
will find your way home,

Nachum Chernofsky
Bnei Brak


From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 12:41:08 -0400
Subject: Bishul Akum - why?

As I understand it, the law of Bishul Akum was instituted by the Rabbis
as one of several measures designed to help lower the intermarriage
rate. In this particular case, it was felt that if foods were prepared
solely by non-Jews, and then eaten by Jews, it would promote certain
things (emotional attachments, I suppose) which could lead to

Bishul Akum is not an all-encompassing law, but has several
limitations. For example, it only applies to "food fit for the king's
table". We do not need to give a precise definition of that
here. Suffice it to say that it refers to more elegant dishes, and not
to simple items such as coffee or bread, and certainly not to foods
eaten raw. (Bread was covered by an entirely different law, Pas Akum,
which we will not go into here.) Further, the cooking does not need to
be done entirely by Jews, or even mostly by Jews. As long as a Jew
participates in the cooking in even a very minor way, the requirements
of the law can be met. (The exact minimum involvement is a matter of
debate, but it is generally accepted that turning a stove on will
suffice for everything cooked on that burner until it is shut off.)

My question is this:

Maintaining a supply of kosher ingredients is very important, but
advances in food technology make it difficult for us to relate to what
grocery shopping was like hundreds or thousands of years ago, so I will
limit my question to the need for kosher utensils: Even if all the
ingredients are known to be kosher, there must be a Jew who can vouch
for the kashrus of the pots. As compared to turning the stove on, that
seems to me to be a rather substantial involvement. To require that a
Jew must turn the stove on as well, is such a small addition that I do
not understand how it can have any sociological effects whatsoever.

(Some friends have tried to answer this by pointing out that by Torah
law, clean utensils are considered kosher once 24 hours have passed
since their last use, and that this can be presumed to be the case [stam
kelim ainam ben yomo]. But that would resolve my problem only if the
Rabbis prohibited such utensils *after* instituting the law of Bishul
Akum, which somehow seems (to me) unlikely. Can anyone establish when
these laws began?)


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 1996 08:43:18 -0500
Subject: Looking for quote

In MJ v24n88 Stew Gottlieb writes:
>I am looking for the exact wording and/or the source for a quote that I
>once saw.  I think it may come from the Gemarah.  It say somthing like:
>'Those who appease evil men are destined to be ruled by them.'

I believe the desired phrase can be found in the gemara Sotah 41b on the
bottom: R' Eleazar also said: Whoever flatters (hamachanif) a wicked
person will eventually fall into his hands.

This girsa (version) is the one in the Eyn Yaakov. In our standard Vilna
Shas the reading is friend (chaveiro) instead of wicked person
(rasha). I think that the proofs brought down support the Eyn Yaakov
version more than the Vilna version.


From: Alan Davidson <DAVIDSON@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 96 14:25:01 EDT
Subject: Paying for Aliyas

Being someone who is often a guest, my perspective on it is if the
gabbai asks you what you wish to pledge in return for an aliyah, one is
making a public vow that they will pay a particular amount, and they
should pay at least the amount they pledge.  After all, one is eating
the shul's food at kiddish and shalosh Seudos anyway.


From: <jackst@...> (Jack Stroh)
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 22:05:49 -0400
Subject: Repeating in davening

My Rabbi, in preparing for the Yomim Noraim, has asked me to find out where
the sources are for the chazan not repeating words during the davening. Can
anyone give me a concise list of sources? Ktiva vachatima tova.

Jack Stroh at <jackst@...>


From: <rabbi_gabbai@...> (Jeff Fischer)
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 12:25:13, -0500
Subject: Shofar blowing on Rosh HaShana/Shabbos

There is an argument about blowing Shofar on Shabbos and blowing Shofar
at all on Rosh HaShana.

If you have a mitzvah that has a set date (e.g. bris...on the eighth
day), then the mitzvah overrides Shabbos.  Shofar has the same thing.
It says that on the 7th month the first day is a day of blowing.

However, in Parshas Emor, it says Yom Zichron Teruah.  Some people
interpret this phrase to mean that when Rosh HaShana falls on Shabbos,
we do not blow Shofar and some interpret this as that Rosh HaShana is a
holiday of remembering the Shofar and not blowing.  What is your opinion
and is this discussed anywhere in the Gemara or Mishna Brura?

L'Shana Tova to all!!
K'siva veChasima Tova also!

[I believe that this is one opinion brought down in the Gemara, but is
rejected because if this were the source, then we would not blow the
Shofer on Shabbat even in the Temple (Jerusalem) area. As such, the
conclusion is that not blowing on Shabbat is a Rabbinic decree. Mod.]


From: Andrew Marc Greene <amgreene@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 1996 08:03:45 -0400
Subject: Ushpizin

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, but Sukkot is coming up in three

I have heard that some people have the custom of inviting seven female
ushpizin (ushpizot?) in addition to the traditional ushpizin. [During
the week of Sukkot, it is traditional to invite one of our ancestors to
join us each day: Avraham, Yitzchak, Yaakov, Yosef, Mosha, Aharon, and
David.] Some invite the men at night and the women at lunch, others do
both at each meal.

The two lists I have heard of are: Sarah, Rachel, Rivka, Leah, Miriam,
Avichayil, Esther; and Miriam, Leah, Channah, Rivka, Sarah, Tamar,
Rachel. (The latter one is supposed to be more kabbalistic because it
relates to the sefirot better; I don't pretend to understand kabbalah,
since I'm not 40 and don't have the Torah memorized.) I've also heard of
including Devorah, but I don't know the rest of that list.

Can any of my fellow m-j readers shed light on this minhag? Do you know
of other variations, reasons why one variant would be preferable to
another, and whether there are any halachic problems with adding to a
minhag in this way?

Thanks in advance.

Shanah tovah,


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 96 07:28:22 +0300
Subject: Writing down the Oral Law

Akiva Miller appears to be concerned with the "change" in halachah that
seems to be involved in the written codification of the Oral Law in the
Mishna, Talmud, and the whole range of halachic collections by the early
Rabbinic Sages (_Chazal_).

There are two points to be made here:

1. The Talmud in Moed Katan (14b) says: "Rabbi Yehudah bar Nachmani
interpreted: It is written 'Write you these words' but it is also
written (in the same verse) 'For according to (lit. as per the mouthing
of) these words.' How can this be?  (Explain is as such:) Words that are
written may not be said by heart and words that were (transmitted) by
heart (verbally), may not be transmitted by writing.

There is thus nothing that prohibits writing down the Oral Law per se
(which could well facilitate memorizing the material for transmission to
future generations). What was forbidden was transmitting it by writing
-- which may mean publishing it in a book or perhaps even transmitting
it to others by reading from one's own written notes.

2. The question does arise as to what caused the "change" in halachah
that now allows us to write down Oral Torah material and teach from the
written text. I would like to suggest here that there was no change in
halachah at all.

The change occurred in the state of the Jewish people which endangered
the passing down of the Oral Law. Since we have a well established
principle that a positive command pushes aside a negative command -- the
principle that allows us to wear a four cornered _sha'atnez_ (wool-linen
mixture) garment with _tzitzis_ (ritual fringes) or the High Priest to
wear his _sha'atnez_ garments of office.  Since there is a positive
command to study Torah and teach it (Devorim 11:19), and due to the
historical changes, Jewry would find it impossible to teach it
(correctly) without using the written Oral Law as an aid -- the positive
command to transmit pushes aside the prohibition against writing down
the Oral Law.

I whole-heartily agree with Akiva Miller that the verse "It is time to
do for G-d" (Psalms 119) "cannot override the Torah which we got
directly from Hashem, so this verse must only be additional support to
an ability which the Rabbis would have had anyway."

Akiva Miller also wrote:
>7) Why was this change made, anyway? Because the rabbis were afraid we'd
>forget the Torah? That is not our problem, it is HaShem's problem. Our
>job is to follow the laws of the Torah. G-d promised that we would
>survive as a nation, so let Him worry about the decreasing brainpower of
>successive generations.

Tell your Reform and Conservative friends that the root the rabbis'
concerns was not that Jewry would forget the Torah. They were worried
that they wouldn't be able to do their job well -- namely to teach and
transmit it.

With wishes to all mail.Jewish readers for a _kesivah vachasimah tovah_

Ezra L. Tepper  <RRTEPPER@...>


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 11 Sep 1996 1:36:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yin-yang jewelry and face paint

My daughter, who is in the fifth grade, bought a ring with a yin-yang
symbol on it last summer. More recently, she has painted her fingernails
with little yin-yangs, and last Sunday she came home from a street fair
with her face painted in a yin-yang symbol. She told me that the
yin-yang is very popular among the girls in her class.

 From what I recall from the 1960's, when the yin-yang was also a
popular icon, it is the symbol of some Chinese religion, maybe Taoism?
Is there an issue of avodah zarah in using it on jewelry, etc.? When I
mentioned this possibility to my daughter, she said that she and her
friends didn't use the yin-yang for avodah zarah, they just thought it
was pretty. But if it is the symbol of another religion, it seems to me
that it could still be a problem to use it. Then again, maybe that
religion is not really avodah zarah, it's just a kind of philosophy, and
it isn't a problem.

I suppose I should ask a shaylah, but most rabbis may not know exactly
what the yin yang is a symbol of, so it would be useful to get
information on that first. Can anyone out there contribute any
information on that, or on the halachic issues, or on how widespread
this is among fifth grade girls in day schools?

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


End of Volume 24 Issue 93