Volume 25 Number 53
                      Produced: Wed Dec 25 21:20:35 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chamar Medinah
         [Binyomin Segal]
Following Beis Shammai after Moshiach
         [Fred Dweck]
Jewish Calendar algorithm
         [Doron Shalmon]
Problems and Psuedo Problems-The yediah-bechira question
         [Stan Tenen]
Reuven, Joseph, David: Who really Sinned?
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Stan Tenen]
Wheel Chair Access for Mikvah
         [Chaim Frazer]
Wheelchair Accesible Mikvahs
Why the Internet?
         [Allan D. Lewis]


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 16:42:40 -0600
Subject: re: Chamar Medinah

Elozor Preil asked about Chamar Medinah:

*I have recently completed a thorough study of the this subject,
*including the teshuvot of Rav Ovadia Yosef, Rav Moshe zt"l, and the
*Tzitz Eliezer.  None permit soda to be used; and although Rav Waldenberg
*mentions juices favorably in the body of his discussion (in the name of
*Bet Yosef), he backs away from permitting it in his conclusion.  It has
*been reported in the name of Rav Ruderman zt"l that he allowed soda
*(Pepsi) to be used for havdalah.
*I have heard that more than a few Jews use soda or juice for kiddush or
*havdalah.  Does anyone have any authoritative sources for permiting soda
*or juice as chamar medinah, especially in light of the ready
*availability of wine and grape juice in the US today?

I personally use wine (except 9 days and motzei pesach when i use beer)

I have heard many rabbaonim justify using soda for havdalah based on Rav
Moshe's tshuva. As I recall the justification is as follows - Rav Moshe
defines "chamar medinah" as something you would serve a guest - not because
they are thirsty, but as a part of the visit. A claasic example would be
tea or coffee. Based on this definition - Rav Moshe forbids using soda.
however today soda is a LOT more "standard" than when he wrote the tshuva
(late 50s, early 60s??). Today soda may very well fall into Rav Moshe's
standard even though it did not then.



From: <Fredd@...> (Fred Dweck)
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 1996 12:21:46 -0800
Subject: Following Beis Shammai after Moshiach

In V25#48, Micha Berger states:

<<<In the messianic age, after the funeral for the evil inclination (as
described in Tr. Megillah) there will be little need for man to recieve
chessed, and gevurah (and din, strict justice) will be the domanant mode>>>

I was wondering if he could cite any sources for such a statement. It is
the understanding of Mekubalim (which he claims not to be) that the
exact opposite will be true. This is based on various pesukim such as:
"Ubala' hamavet lanesah" (Death will be (lit) swallowed up forever). We
understand from this, that death, which is a function of "Din," and of
the "other side," will no longer exist. We also understand that the time
of the Mashiah will come only after complete "Tikun" (Repair) of the
worlds and souls. Therefore, since the state of the worlds will be
perfection, and the "other side" will be banished from the human
dimension, the evil inclination in man (which is fed by the other side)
will die (as stated above). Therefore, there will be NO NEED for "Din,"
and "Hesed" will rule eternal, as it would have if Adam and Eve hadn't
eaten from the tree.

I would like to throw in another thought, while on this subject.

We believe that:
1) The Torah is eternal in its present state.
2) There will be no inclination in man to do evil.

If these two statements are true (and we believe that they are), then of
what value would all of the "Lavs" (Negative commandments) in the Torah
be?  EX: of what value would "Do not steal" be, if NO ONE had any
inclination to steal?

It would seem that the "Pshat" of the Torah would be valueless in such a
world! Does that then question the eternal state of the Torah, in its
present form?

Fred E. (Yeshuah Ezra) Dweck; S"T


From: Doron Shalmon <doron@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Dec 1996 09:58:36 -0500
Subject: Jewish Calendar algorithm

Joseph Greenberg (Vol 25 # 27) asks about algorithms to convert an
English date to a Hebrew date.

There is a wonderful article called "Calendrical Calculations" by Nachum
Dershowitz and Edward M. Reingold in Software Practice and Experience,
Vol 20(9), 899-928 (September 1990).  It includes a thorough explanation
of the algorithms needed for converting between Gregorian, ISO, Julian,
Islamic, and Hebrew calendars.  It also includes source code for the
algorithms in LISP, which you can translate to your programming language
of choice.

You can find the article, the LISP code (and some portions of the LISP
code in C++) on Edward M. Reingold's web page at

I have used these algorithms (translated to C) reliably.

Doron Shalmon


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 1996 09:38:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Problems and Psuedo Problems-The yediah-bechira question

Shoshana Boublil's posting in mj vol24 #48 discusses knowledge of Hashem
vs.  Free Will.

1.  What Shoshana Boubil presents is certainly not a complete
discussion, but it does seem to answer the question in a fairly elegant
and plausible way.

2.  For those who want to know more about causality, free will, and
time, I highly recomment the book: "Time's Arrow and Ardhimedes' Point:
New Directions for the Physics of Time", by Huw Price. (Oxford
University Press, 1996.)  Even my rebbe picked up a copy.

3.  I would greatly appreciate it if m-j list readers would take a look
at our website, and provide some comments and criticism.
http://www.meru.org Many thanks in advance.  (Questions are also
welcome. <smile>) Also note, it's only about 10% up, so there's more to

Stan Tenen


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 18 Dec 1996 11:56:39 -0500
Subject: Reuven, Joseph, David: Who really Sinned?

In the past few months there have been a flurry of MJ on who did and
didn't sin. Why did Chazal sometimes appear to cover up what appears to
be sins and sometimes tried to attack what appears to be innocent. A
variety of texts and attitudes towards such Midrashic statements have
been posted.

Here is my basic point: The question of whether an action should be
perceived as good or bad is NOT a midrashic question but rather a
HALACHIC question.  The Chafayz Chaiim in his halachik book on Leshon
Harah explicitly states that if a person is known as righteous and
something unseemly happens then it is OBLIGATORY to explain it
positively--we learn this from the fact that Miriam (who loved her
brother Moses and risked her life for him) was severly punished (Num 12)
for even thinking that Moses could separate from his wife for misguided
spiritual reasons. Let us now apply this principle to several biblical
people. Note that in our approach the verses cited as proof are
AFTERTHOUGHTS: the MAIN proof comes from the above law:

1) Reuven is portrayed as the eldest (Gen 49:3); a leader among his
brothers who tried to stop them from committing a murder(Gen
37:22,42:22). Therefore if the Bible indicates a sexual sin we should
not interpret it harshly but metaphorically. A possible scriptual
support occurs in Gen 49:3 "..you (Reuben) have risen on your fathers
bedS"--note the plural "bedS"---so the talmud said he exchanged beds so
that his father shouldn't spend more evenings with a female servant then
with his (Reuven's) mother... the Bible simply thought to condemn such
behavior using more graphic language.

2) Similarly King David is portrayed as a dynamic King, who helped found
the state, who wrote many Psalms, who showed mercy to his adversary
Saul, who showed manly restraint when he was deprived of Saul's daughter
that had been promised to him for a wife and is the predecessor of the
Messiah. Therefore when the Bible indicates a sexual sin the Talmud did
not interpret this literally but rather emphasized the exposure of Uriah
to military danger and the impetuousness in taking Bath Sheva
prematurely.  A possible scriptural support that David's main sin was
against Uriah occurs in Kings 1:15,5,1:14:8.

3) By contrast, say, Esauv, wanted to kill his brother and is identified
with Edom(Gen 36:1) who is known in the Bible as a bad enemy of the
Jews. Positive reinterpretation of his actions is therefore unnecessary.

4) Finally, say Joseph, in his early years is portrayed as immature(Gen
37:2), a tattletale, someone who brags about future ambitions without
regard to other's feelings (Gen 37:4-10) and was "daddy's favorite"(Gen
37:3). If then an "accident" happened with his bosses wife some of
Chazal see nothing wrong with interpreting this "accident" as an
extension of his early immaturity (which of course he later lossed).

I could go on with other Biblical people. I believe that the above
approach which emphasizes NOT just grammatical minutae but overall
concerns about norms for human personality assessment should raise
serious questions about our current attitudes. Hopefully this will lead
to deeper understandings.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d, ASA, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 1996 13:03:30 -0500
Subject: Sin

RA, Resh-Ayin, means exactly what its letters say.  Resh is our
head/headwaters; it is the source of our ReaChing, RuShing, and, when
misapplied, RaShness.  The English words "reach", "rush", and "rash",
all take shades of the fundamental operational meaning of the Hebrew
letter Resh.

Ayin, an eye or a well, represents that which goes deeply inward (or
sometimes its opposite, a well in the sense of a wellspring, which
gushes outward from deep within).  But in this case, the simple meaning
provides the easiest sense of why Resh-Ayin is not the best way to go.
Ayin, meaning eye, makes Resh-Ayin mean "to rush after the objects of
one's eye" -- the physical, the obvious, the attractive, the seductive,
or, to rush away from what appears to be repulsive.

Resh-Ayin is related to the mistake of the scouts, who judged our
promised land by what agitated them (caused their mind to rush
after/away from), as seen with their physical eyes.  They shouldn't have
been rushing, and they shouldn't have made their decisions based only on
what they saw in the world.



From: Chaim Frazer <frazerch@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 1996 17:03:36 -0500 (est)
Subject: Wheel Chair Access for Mikvah

My dear friend Steve Leichman wrote:
>My wife has seen women in wheelchairs using the mikvah in Teaneck,
>NJ. To confirm this you can call the mikvah at 201-837-8220.

Not only does the Teaneck Mikvah have wheelchair access through ramps,
but for several years it has had a lift usable by paraplegic women.  As,
to the best of my knowledge, the first mikvah in the Metropolitan New
York area (if not the country) to have such a lift, it has attracted
ladies from throughout the entire region.

I have heard, though I don't know for sure, that at least one other
mikvah (in Brooklyn) has also installed a similar lift.


From: Scott-Thoennes <sthoenna@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 1996 19:18:38 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Wheelchair Accesible Mikvahs

  CA                                IL 
     Mikvah Yisroel                    Chicago Mikveh
     3847 Atlantic Blvd                3110 Touhy Ave
     Long Beach CA 90807               Chicago, IL 60645                  
     (310) 427-1360                    (312) 274-7425

     Mikvah Chabad                  PA
     18211 Burbank Blvd                Jewish Women's League
     Tarzana CA 91356                  for Taharas Hamishpocho Mikveh
     (818) 881-2352                    2336 Shady Ave
                                       Pittsburg, PA 15217
  NY                                   (412) 422-7110       
     Mikvah Yisroel of Flatbush     
     1690 Ocean Ave                 NJ
     Brooklyn, NY 11230                Mikvah Association
     (718) 253- 8302                   1726 Windsor Rd
                                       Teaneck, NJ 07666
     Mikvah Congregation Yetev Lev     (201) 837-8220
     212 Williamsburg St East
     Brooklyn, NY 11204

  This listing is from Appendix B in "Total Immersion:A Mikvah Anthology".
Which says it was compiled with the assistance of Dr. Mark Young of TODA 
(Torah Organization for Disability Access).  For more information about this
organization it says to call (410) 764- 6132.  The listing is as of 6/95.


From: Allan D. Lewis <drdoctor@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 1995 23:40:52 -0800
Subject: Why the Internet?

I had the thought while reading "mail-Jewish" that the Internet provided
me with a means of learning and "hearing" words of Torah at any time
where I had a spare minute. It would seem to me from the huge
proliferation in Torah resources on the Net, the the Net (as probably
most things in life) provides us a way to build unity and Ahavas


End of Volume 25 Issue 53