Volume 26 Number 56
                      Produced: Mon May 19  7:27:54 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Caps and Gowns
         [Aryeh Blaut]
         [Aaron D. Gross]
         [Steven M Oppenheimer]
Hagbah - Further Query
         [Daniel Eidensohn]
Hagbah question
         [Nachum Kosofsky]
Human Flesh
         [David Glasner]
Megan's Law
         [Jordan Lee Wagner]
No Subject Given
         [Ranon Barenholtz]
Parah Adumah
         [Akiva Miller]
Seperation between heart and ervah during shm'a
         [Ben Rothke]
Tum'a V'Tahara
         [Myron Chaitovsky]
Tumah and Taharah
         [Gershon Dubin]
Tumah V'Tahara and Megan's Law
         [Ranon Barenholtz]
Tumah V'Taharoh
         [David Deutsch]
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: <rebbeb@...> (Aryeh Blaut)
Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 15:48:22 PST
Subject: Caps and Gowns

Does anyone know the origins of caps and gowns for graduations?

I am wondering how this custom began and, if is what I think it might
be, why would it not be forbidden to use them at Jewish graduations
because of Hukas Hagoyim (ways of the non-Jews)?

Any thoughts or sources?  Thanks

Aryeh Blaut


From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
Date: Sun, 18 May 1997 18:12:46 -0700
Subject: Re: Hagba

>From: Leslie Train <ltrain@...> wrote:
>Just as many tap the table when they recite 'al shulchan ze sheachalnu
>alav'  during bentshing - on this here table upon which we've dined - so
>too is it appropriate to point when you recite 'vizois hatoiro' - 'behold,
>this is the tora'. To distinguish that the object that youre pointing at
>is very special, you don't use your usual pointing finger, but a pinky.

But do we tap the table with our elbows?  Using the weakest finger
doesn't seem, to me, to be particularly "kovodik".

I have seen others point with a tzitzit-enwrapped index finger.
This would seem to me to connotate both strength and special status.

---   Aaron D. Gross -- http://www.pobox.com/~adg  


From: <oppy2@...> (Steven M Oppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 19:42:29 EDT
Subject: Hagbah

Ezriel Krumbein asks:
"Does anyone know the source of pointing to the Torah when it is lifted
during hagbah.  Also some people use their pinkey to point instead of
their index finger.  And still some kiss their finger after pointing to
the Torah.  Is there any mekor that people know of for these practices?"

These questions are addressed in Sefer Minhag Yisrael Torah, Vol. 1, page
240, third paragraph.  A number of explanations are given.

Also, see T.B. Taanit 31a, V'chol echad v'echad mar'eh b'etz'ba'oh (the
end of the daf).

Also see the sefer Kitvei Rav Yosaif Eliyahu Henkin (section called
called Eidut L'Yisrael), Vol. 1, page 159, second paragraph.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.


From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 16:46:00 -0700
Subject: Hagbah - Further Query

>Further to the Hagbah query about pointing, is there any preference for
>how many "amudot", columns, are to be shown while lifting up the Sefer?
> For some reason, I remember that the more the better and on one Yom
>Kippur, the Sefer was light so I got up to 12.  Any sources?

>[I'll let someone else send in the source, but I'm fairly sure the
>answer to your question is "3". I think this is understood as 3 full
>columns, so there may be parts of two additional colums partially
>showing. Opening more than that is viewed as improper. I'm pretty sure
>the Mishne Brura brings this down, I do not remember if it is in the
>Shulchan Aruch. Mod]

The Mishna Berura 134 (8) mentions that according to the Magen Avrahom
you should have 3 and perhaps this means only 3. The Mishna Berura adds
that in his personal opinion the number of sections depends upon how
strong the person is. 

			Daniel Eidensohn


From: <kosofsky@...> (Nachum Kosofsky)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 09:08:22 EDT
Subject: Re: Hagbah question

It is written in the Yalkut MeAm Lo'ez, parshas Ki Savo, perek 17, in
the section dealing with the laws and customs of hagbas haTorah:

"And there is a custom [during the hagbah] to point with the little
finger over the writing [of the Sefer Torah] and then kiss it."

No reason or explanation is given.  The MeAm Lo'ez was written by R.
Yaakov Kuli in the early eighteenth century.  There is no other record
of the custom that I am aware of.

Nachum Kosofsky


From: David Glasner <DGLASNER@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 14:49:55 -0400
Subject: Human Flesh

Some recent posters have raised the question about the halachic status of
eating human flesh.  It would appear that the commandment of pikuach
nefesh certainly overrides any prohibition on the consumption of human
flesh.  Perhaps the more interesting halachic question is the following. 
If to sustain human life it were necessary to consume either human flesh
or some other substance subject to an explicit d*oraita prohibition, would
it preferable to consume human flesh or the alternative substance?  My
great-grandfather Rabbi Moshe Shmuel Glasner, z.l., addressed this
question in his commentary on Hulin, Dor Revi*i, (Klausenburg, 1921).  The
following is my translation of the concluding paragraph of his discussion.

	Whatever is disgusting in the eyes of mankind, even if it has
not been specifically forbidden by the Torah, is prohibited to us even
more than are explicit prohibitions in the Torah.  And this is not only
because of hilul ha-Shem..., but because whatever is prohibited to the
Noahides cannot be permissible to us because of the principle "Is there
something which is prohibited to them but not to us"* (Sanhedrin 59a).
Thus, for a dangerously sick person, the consumption of human flesh or
spoiled n'veilah is certainly a more serious offense than the
consumption of heilev or tevel.  The statement in Yoma 83a that it is
preferable to feed n'veilah than to feed tevel to a dangerously sick
person must be referring to n'veilah through an improper sh'hitah, but
not to n'veilah from natural causes, the consumption of which is
prohibited by the general laws of morality and decency.  Moreover, it is
well known that the flesh of an animal that died of natural causes is
dangerous, so how could one imagine that the sages would have commanded
to give to a sick person meat that is spoiled and fit for dogs rather
than tevel that was not prepared?  And anyone who denies this diminishes
the honor of the Torah and causes it to be said of us "a foolish and
depraved nation" instead of "a wise and understanding nation" (Dor
Revi*i, p*tihah 27a).


From: <JordanleeW@...> (Jordan Lee Wagner)
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 17:12:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Megan's Law

> While one might think that such an act of informing the community of
>  this person's past might be loshon hora, the reality is that the
>  individual at hand is a rodef and there is a definate tachlis (purpose)
>  in informing the community that he is to be considered a danger.

I think the person can't be a rodef, because I think then it would be a
mitzvah to kill him.  But the question of whether to inform is
 I don't think the person need be a rodef to require informing -- isn't
the standard much less than that?  And what about the requirement of
welcoming penitent sinners, and the mitzvah to "judge favorably".  How
are these balanced in practice by poskim?


From: <babybarons@...> (Ranon Barenholtz)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 15:23:58 -0400
Subject: Tumah V'Tahara and Megan's Law

Even if we can assume that someone who has served his prison sentence is
like someone who has received malkos, it would not follow that he's
considered a chozer b'tshuvah. The gemora is saying that he has already
received his punishment and should be treated like everyone else, but
that doesn't mean the person is assumed to have changed. If your purpose
in publicizing the offender's past is to protect people and not to
punish him there should not be any problem of loshon hora in
implementing Megan's Law.

 It is also very likely that the comparison is invalid because the
gemora does not mean that after malkos he is again considered "achicha"
simply because he has suffered, but because he has received the specific
punishment that the Torah proscribes for his sin. For example, someone
who is supposed to get "karais" and is given malkos instead, will not
regain his former status.

Ranon Barenholtz


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 07:41:52 EDT
Subject: Parah Adumah

I've heard from several sources about a parah adumah (red heifer)
recently born in Israel. But according to Newsweek magazine, May 19
1997, page 16, <<< Not since the destriction of the Second Temple by the
Romans in A.D. 70 [sic], however, has a red heifer been born in Israel,
Judaica scholars say. >>>

Is this how it is being reported in Israel? I remember when I was in
Yerushalayim in the late 1970's, a red heifer had been found at Moshav
Komemiut. The guys in yeshiva got very excited, but the rebbeim said
that one is found approximately every 10 years or so. Anyone else have
any relevant statistics?

(By the way, the significance of the red heifer is that it is a
necessary step in a procedure to make Jews ritually tahor (often
translated as "spiritually pure") and fit to enter the Temple, thus
having found one would seem to say that the time is ripe for the
rebuilding of said Temple. However, the procedure is carried out by one
who is *already* tahor, and so the heifer itself is rather useless until
the Mashiach arrives to perform that procedure.)

Akiva Miller


From: Ben Rothke <BRothke@...>
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 22:40:20 -0400
Subject: Seperation between heart and ervah during shm'a

The gemorah in Brachos 25 & Shulchan Oruch Orech Chaim siman 74 state
that it is assur to read krias shma without a seperation between ones
heart and ervah.  This is based on the posuk of "machanecha kodesh",
since ones heart sees ones ervah (meshum d'libo roeh es ha'ervah).

I have some difficulty understand what is going on here.

1.  How does the gemorah infer from "machnecha kodesh" that ones heart
sees ones ervah?

2.  What does it mean that ones heart sees ones ervah?

3.  If this is the case, since the heart is internal, how does an
external factor (a belt, underware, gartel, etc.) take away the heart's
viewing of the ervah?


From: <MCHAIT.BROOKLAW@...> (Myron Chaitovsky)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 14:03 EST
Subject: Tum'a V'Tahara

 In response to Bill Page's query as to why Family Purity(sounds like a
Christian Right political caucus)/Hilchot Nidda are in force when other
rules of Tum'a V'Tahara are not, this may be precisely the point.
 Much of the emphasis on Tahara was based on the need/desire to
worship/sacrifice in the Beit Mikdash/Temple.  Absent the structure, or
any real access to the site, we have moved prayer to the synagogue (and
pray for the restoration of sacrifices), salt our bread as we begin our
meals (because sacrifices were salted, and our table is our altar) and
we have retained the concept of Tum'a V'tahara for our most intimate
moments,which have a direct bearing on our future as a people.Other
transferences likely exist as well.
 For more on this point you may wish to refer to Rifka Slonim's TOTAL
IMMERSION, published last year by Jason Aronson.


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 12:49:06 EDT
Subject: Re: Tumah and Taharah

>to someone recently, and he asked why, if that is true, are the laws of
>niddah still in full force. I didn't have a good answer, so I pose the
>same question here. Why are the laws of _family_ purity in a special
	The laws of niddah have two components: those related to the
tum'ah of the niddah,  such as when she is allowed to eat kodoshim
(sacrificial meat) or trumah,  or to go into the bais hamikdash.  These
have no application nowadays as the only restrictions on tum'ah are those
of tum'as mais (a dead person) for kohanim (priests).
	The other component of the laws of niddah is the prohibition on
contact with her husband.  This is unrelated to the bais hamikdosh and
is therefore in force today.  There are differences in the halachos
relating to these components so that, for example, a particular
situation may render a woman tme'ah for the first component but tehorah
for the second.


From: <babybarons@...> (Ranon Barenholtz)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 15:23:58 -0400
Subject: Tumah V'Tahara and Megan's Law

Although a new subscriber who has not seen the posting referred to, it
seems to me that the premise of the question may not be correct.  The
statement >"there is no prohibition on becoming tamei"< is true for both
today and during the time when the Temple is in existence.  The Ramban in
the beginning of Parshas Kedoshim uses becoming tamai as an example of
something which is permissable but preferable not to do.  Also see Tosfos
Chulin 34b which includes a discussion of this issue, with a
determination that there is indeed no issur.   The issur for cohanim to
become "tomai mais" which is clearly stated in the Torah, is still in
effect eventhough we don't have a Temple.


From: David Deutsch <dsd3543@...>
Date: 16 May 97 14:01:00 GMT
Subject: Tumah V'Taharoh

Bill Page asked why the halachos of Taharos Hamishpocho are applied if the
halachos of 'tumah v'tahroh' are not in force.
There is no prohibition, except to a kohein or a nazir, in becoming tamei,
and even then, only in becoming exposed or reexposed to 'tamei mays'.
In all other circumstances the problem arises with the consequences of the
tumah, e.g it is then prohibited to enter the precincts of the Har
Habayis (today as well).
The prohibitions requiring the observence of taharos hamishpochoh are not
a consequence of any prohibition in becoming tamei, it is the consequence
of activities which take place in such a state.
                                                David Deutsch


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 16:09:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yibum

>I asked a Rav who is a Talmid of Rav Moshe ZT"L if yibum could be
 >performed today if chalitzah is not possible for the reasons specified
 >in halacha. His response was: yibum would be permitted . I am not
 >writing this for halacha. If a real case occurs one needs to ask a
 >shala.  Ahron Einhorn

Yibum is the preferred halacha for Sepharadim, while for Ashkenazim it is the
Halitzah. See the tesuvah of Rabbi Ovadia Yossef on this issue.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 26 Issue 56