Volume 25 Number 59
                      Produced: Sun Dec 29 14:03:59 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Blood Donations and other issues
         [Moss Ellenbogen]
Can G-d Generate a random number?
         [Mordy Gross]
Jew and non-Jew souls (2)
         [Zvi Weiss, Mordechai Gross]
More on souls
         [Yehoshua Kahan]
Pets on Shabbos
         [Joel Ehrlich]
Why are Women Exempt from Certain Commandments?
         [Seth Gordon]


From: <Moss_M._Ellenbogen@...> (Moss Ellenbogen)
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 96 13:14:34 EDT
Subject: Re: Blood Donations and other issues

About five or six years ago a jewish girl from the Northeast needed a
bone marrow transplant due to leukemia--all the local shuls (here in
Miami) had a drive to provide blood samples for potential donation--this
resulted in the donor becoming part of the American Red Cross blood
marrow database.

About six months ago I received a call that I matched the first series
of tests (from this six year old donation of blood) for a one year old
girl with a rare blood disorder (Omegakaryocitic Congenital
Thrombocytopenia???)  I provided a second sample which also matched and
then I provided a third sample (this is the one where they take about
sixteen vials of blood to match DNA and other factors).

After speaking to the Red C rep, I asked if the girl is Jewish.  She did
not know but was willing to tell me although most other information was

All this raised the question----Can one donate bone marrow to a
non-jew??  The procedure entails, from what I have been told, an
invasive procedure in the hip area to draw about a pint of marrow from
each side of the donor and a mandatory overnight hospital stay. Is this
injuring yourself, which is prohibited?  Some say you can do it if you
are paid--which is not part of the plan.  Has any body seen any teshuvos
or the like or experienced this and discussed it with a Rav??

I did receive a letter that I was a sufficient match, but someone else
was found who was a better match.  Hope to be more prepared for the
halachic aspect if there is a next time.


From: <mordy_gross@...> (Mordy Gross)
Date: Fri, 04 Oct 1996 08:36:21 EDT
Subject: Can G-d Generate a random number?

 This is the same as the famous paradox if God is almighty, can he
create an object which he can't lift. Obviously, such paradoxes only
seem paradoxical on our level of understanding, based on events we
percieve in a 3 dimensional world. But God, existing in all dimensions,
can percieve things differantly.
 Pi is an irrational number only because we don't know the equation that
creates it. But God created all the laws of this universe, including the
mathmatical laws that apply to 2 & 3 dimensional objects. So Pi can't be
irrational to him.
 Suprise is an emotion. God's emotion's are not the same as our's. Yes,
we do find 'anger', but who's to say that his anger is the same type of
anger that we have. We only describe it in Lashon B'Nei Adam, our terms.
So the emotion called suprise may be something totally differant on
God's level.
 Mordy Gross


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 22:05:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Jew and non-Jew souls

> From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
> >I was asked if there is an intrinsic difference between the soul of a
> >Jew and that of a non-Jew, and if so, prove it.  I refered him to a
> >passage in Tanya (last section of ch.1; first section. of ch.2).  He
> >then asked 1) do all orthodox believe this (that Jews and non-Jews are
> >different in essence, not just in codes of behavior or even in
> >chosenness)?  and 2) If yes, is there a more normative, universally
> >accepted source that makes the point.  Can you help on this?
> Mordy Gross writes:
> >A Jewish soul has in adition to a Nefesh [which can be translated as a
> >spirit (the thing which makes the body live,)] a Neshomoh, whereas a
> >non-Jew only has a Neshomoh.
> The above does not answer either of the questions, namely "do all
> Orthodox believe this?" and a request for a source.  This view about
> souls was never taught to me as part of my Orthodox yeshiva education,
> so the first question cannot be answered "yes".  I don't know of any
> universally accepted source about what Orthodox Jews believe other
> than the Rambam's 13 principles.

 I cannot answer whether "all" Orthodox believe this but R. Yosef 
Shani cites pretty "standard" sources of Kabbalah and then seeks to explain 
what the difference between a "Jew" vs. a "Non-Jew" is in terms of 
'soul'.  Basically, according to the model that R. Shani provides: Until 
Matan Torah, NOBODY "automatically" had a "Neshama".  Everybody started 
off with a "nefesh".  If one is observant of the 7 Noachide Commandments, 
one could "move up" to the level of Ruach.  Then, if one "worked on one's 
self", one could achieve "Neshama" AND (and I think that this is 
critical) the observance of Mitzvot only "made sense" for someone with a 
Neshama. I.e., one with a Neshama who FAILED to observe mitzvot would be 
"harmed" by this lack of observance while one who did NOT have a Neshama 
who DID observe Mitzvot would not receive a significant benefit.
Avraham was promised that his descendants would get the Neshama as a 
"genetic" trait that owuld be passed on down from generation to 
generation -- which is why the Jewish people were given Torah and 
Mitzvot.  Further, the process of conversion "imbues" the convert with a 
Neshama so that the "ger" is literally like someone just born...
However, note the follwoing points:
 1. Even one with a Nefesh combo is considered to be "B;tselem Elokim" (at 
least this how I understood what R. Shani wrote).
 2. We are obligated to care for the Ger toshav who has a Nefesh/Ruach 
 3. It is the MOTHER who passes on the Neshama to her child which is why 
maternity determines if a child is Jewish..
 4. A Jew who fails to observe mitzvot will cause himself a lot of damage 
-- as opposed to a Non-Jew who simply observes the 7 Noachide 
commandments... (and the Netziv discusses this idea extensively in 
several palces in Chumash).
 5. finally, based upon the ocncept of "gilgul", R. Shani mentions 
(without comment) the possibility of one to be a Jew in one lifetime and 
a non-Jew in another... I have no idea how he fits THAT into the above 


From: <mordy_gross@...> (Mordechai Gross)
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 1996 23:55:10 EDT
Subject: Re: Jew and non-Jew souls

>Mordy Gross writes:
>>A Jewish soul has in adition to a Nefesh [which can be translated as a
>>spirit (the thing which makes the body live,)] a Neshomoh, whereas a
>>non-Jew only has a Nefesh.
>The above does not answer either of the questions, namely "do all
>Orthodox believe this?" and a request for a source.  This view about
>souls was never taught to me as part of my Orthodox yeshiva education,

What I wrote is from a few Mussar Seforim, ie Sha'arei Teshuvah from R'
Yonah of Gerundi [a Rishon], Chovos HaLevavos from R' Bachya [another
Rishon], Mesilos Yeshorim from the RAMCHAL, R' Moshe Chaim Luzzatto [an
achron], and I think also Tomar Devorah, and Maggid Meishorim. Many
other places in the Perushei HaTanach also write this idea.  I don't,
Chalilah mean they are not people, and are not to be respected as
such. There is a Issur Meforush[an explicit prohibition] for a Jew to
kill, etc. a non-Jew. Also, we are not allowed to steal from them.

ADDENDUM: Another differance-- There are four catagories of life-
stilllife--stones, etc. , Plants, Animals, Talking creatures--People, and
Yisroel is greater than all of these.

Mordy Gross


From: <orotzfat@...> (Yehoshua Kahan)
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 16:24:16 +0200
Subject: More on souls

This is a belated response to a response to my posting, invoking Rav
Kook as perhaps "habriach hatkhon" between the positions of the
philosophers and the kabbalists regarding an essential difference
between souls of Jews and non-Jews.  In vol. 24, no. 96, David Kaufman
wrote as follows:
        In Calvinistic determinism, free human choice is an
illusion. Not only is the source a l'havdil, but so is the concept. The
very basis of Tanya is free human choice. In simple terms, possessing
something and actualizing it are separate 'enterprises.' If I may be
permitted an analogy, I may own a valuable tract of land, but if I don't
choose to develop it, its potential remains unrealized. Further, I think
the statement that the souls of all future converts were also standing
at Sinai precedes the Chassidic movement.

        Two responses: 1) I have always wanted to understand better,
after learning Tanya several times, the notion of "from His perspective"
vs. "from our perspective".  Chabad acosmism is supposedly mitigated by
ascribing some sort of "reality" to our perspective, where the world
really seems to exist.  But this assertion is undermined by the Ba'al
Hatanya's strident critique of those who say the Tzimtzum was other than
nominal.  Hashem only masked His unwithdrawable Hashemness, for to
withdraw it would be to compromise Hashem's omniscience.  Yet the whole
point of Tzimtzum is that without it, there is no place - period!  In
other words, we only think there is a reality, but from the only
perspective which, ultimately, is more than a perspective (lit: a
sidewards glance!), "ain od milvado".  If we have only the illusion of
independant existance (I must ask here, "who" is it who possess such an
illusion?), we must have only the illusion of free will, and how is
Calvinistic determinism and avoided?  It is true that Tanya is filled
with appeals to Jews to use their free will, but I just don't comprehend
how this squares with "ain od milvado" - mamesh (you'll pardon the very
in-place emphasis!) Please enlighten me!

2) Could someone please cite the pre-Chasidic movement source of the
statement that the souls of all future "converts" were standing at
Sinai?  I wonder if we do not have here an instance of textual


From: Joel Ehrlich <ehrlich@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 09:15:54 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pets on Shabbos

I have a few questions regarding the laws of mukzeh (functionless items
that cannot be handled on Shabbos) as they apply to house pets:

First, all the sources I have seen indicate a clear consensus that pets
are mukzeh, period.  However, someone told me that animals designated
before Shabbos as pets were not mukzeh.  I am interested in any
information or references regarding this opnion that the readership
might have.

Second, assuming that pets are in fact mukzeh, how are animals dealt
with in a shomer shabbos home?  Clearly, one cannot pick them up and
carry them around.  What about petting?  Calling an animal to come or
giving it other instructions?  Shooing off a cat that has jumped in your
lap?  Rough-housing with a dog?  And if an animal has a cage which is
its "house" and which it enters, either freely or on command but without
physical "encouragement", and it is normal for the door to said cage to
be locked while the animal is inside, is it a prohibited form of
trapping to close the door and lock the animal in on shabbat?

Thanks in advance, 

Joel Ehrlich                         \           <ehrlich@...>
Department of Biochemistry             \              Home: (718) 792-2334
Albert Einstein College of Medicine      \                 Lab: (718) 430-3095


From: <sethg@...> (Seth Gordon)
Date: Thu, 03 Oct 96 17:50:15 -0500
Subject: Why are Women Exempt from Certain Commandments?

    From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
    1) TZITZITH (nUM 15:37-41, esp 15:39) strengthens men against the sexual
    temptations of the business world (since women usually are not there
    they don't need this extra symbolic reminder (though if they are there
    they are allowed (=encouraged) to wear them).... [and several more
    exemptions are explained in this vein]

Has "the business world" generally been the exclusive province of men?
My own readings of economic history suggest that the Victorian middle
class was atypical, and before then it was not uncommon for women to
have extensive business dealings.  (They may have done a lot of these
dealings working from home, but before the Industrial Revolution, just
about *every*body worked at home!)

Unfortunately, I have not yet found a source that (to my mind) justifies
women's exemptions any better than the "simple" (ha!)  hermaneutic
explanation in the Talmud itself....

// seth gordon // <sethg@...> // bu deaf ed program // standard disclaimer //


End of Volume 25 Issue 59