Volume 26 Number 73
                      Produced: Wed Jun 25 19:14:51 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening times on a plane (2)
         [Lon Eisenberg, Thierry Dana-Picard]
Male's age for Kol Isha to apply
         [Steve Albert]
Mikva Question
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Shiur for Pidyon Haben
         [David Riceman]
Shiurim of the Rav Noraos HaRav on Shavuous
         [Baruch David Schreiber]
         [Michael J Broyde]


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 09:15:23 +0000
Subject: Davening times on a plane

>he plane left Israel late at night and sometime during the trip I
>noticed that the sky was beginning to get light.
>Soon after this, the plane started descending, and sure enough
>the sun actually "unrose", and it started getting darker again.
>Does anyone know of any accepted tshuvas about the issues of davening
>times when in a plane at a very high altitude?

I'm not sure the poster was wrong in davening shaharith at the time it
became light.  First, I think it was not only the high altitude, but
also the high latitude that caused the light.  Just because it later got
dark when flying south does not mean that it wasn't already morning
where he was (quite far north).  Also, what is the source for saying
that your morning is based on how light it is on the ground below you,
when you are not on the ground?

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5658422 Fax:+972 3 5658345

From: Thierry Dana-Picard <dana@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 09:38:09 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Davening times on a plane

The problem of prayer schedules on long range flights is very "funny" on
flights via polar route.

Once I had to fly to Japan; we took off from Paris on Sunday at 1.30 pm
and after 8 hours landed in Anchorage on the same Sunday 11.00 am. Then
we took off at 1.00 pm and after 6-7 hours landed in Tokyo on Monday
afternoon. The same phenomenon occured on our return flights.

In this last case, there is a book by Rav Menahem Mendel Kasher who
deals with the question where is the date change line (on the eastern
coast of Asia or in the middle of the Pacific Ocean). This book has been
written after the decision made in Israel for those people who left
Eastern Europe to Shangai during WW II.

I would be interested in further references too.

Thierry Dana-Picard                                  tel: 972-2-675-12-78
Department of Applied Mathematics                    fax: 972-642-20-75
Jerusalem College of Technology - Havaad Haleumi Street, 21
POB 16031 - Jerusalem 91160      Israel


From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Sun, 8 Jun 1997 23:39:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Male's age for Kol Isha to apply

Ben Rothke recently asked:
<< Does anyone have a source as to at what age the issur of kol isha
 (listening to a womens singing voice) commences? >>

    As it happens, I was looking at this question a few weeks ago; a
friend had commented that the rabbi in the school his children attended
allowed the female teachers to sing in their classes, despite the male
students there, and he felt it was wrong.  Since it seemed unlikely that
the principal of that school would condone teachers violating halacha,
but my friend is also a rabbi who knows what he's talking about, I got
curious and looked for sources on the question.
     The one reference I found (that discussed the age question) was in
Yitzchak Yaakov Fox's "Halichos Bas Yisrael."  Chapter 6 discusses Kol
Isha, and the first footnote in the chapter states (in part): "Shamati
mehagaon Shlomo Zalman Auerbach shlita [written before his petirah!]
sheyeladim, yesh l'harchikam milishmoa kol b'isha -- im higiyu l'gil
       I would translate that, and understand it, as follows: "I heard
from the gaon, R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, that boys, if they have
reached the age of nine, should be 'distanced' from hearing kol isha."
The sense that I got when I read it was not that an actual issur arose
at that age, or the gaon would have used stronger language than
"l'harchikam", to distance them; he would have called it something like
"assur", forbidden.  Rather, it seemed he was giving advice, perhaps
suggesting that for reasons of chinuch, they should not be accustomed to
listening to women sing as they got older, or perhaps suggesting that
although it isn't strictly forbidden by the letter of the law, it's not
really proper for boys of nine or older to listen to women sing, and
that it should be discouraged.
        I would add the the English translation of the sefer presents a
different perspective, and quotes Rav Auerbach as saying that it is
*forbidden* from the age of nine onwards.  Based on the original Hebrew
text, it seems that Rav Shlomo Zalman surely didn't recommend it, but
didn't call it forbidden.  Perhaps the translator or editor received
some additional clarification when rendering it into English, or perhaps
they simply wanted to give a clearer ruling to those seeking guidance,
or they might just have slipped.  (Then, too, my understanding could be
faulty! :-)
       Anyone know any other sources?

Steve Albert


From: Saul Mashbaum <mshalom@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jun 1997 08:35:27 GMT-2
Subject: Mikva Question

Rafi Stern asks

> Is there any essential difference between a woman going to Mikva on
>the first day of her sheva' nikiim (the seven "clean" days) and going a
>few hours before the end of the seventh day?

There sure is! Immersion on the seventh clean day is 
   - valid biblically (mi-dioraita)
   - valid ex post facto (b'diavad) according to most authorities
   - may be allowed lchatchila according to many autorities in some 
         circumstances, as has been described in previous postings.

Immersion before the seventh clean day has *no validity whatsoever*, 
and the woman is considered not to have immersed at all.

To clarify these points:

A woman who must count seven clean days (zava) can immerse only after 
having completed the count. 

Biblically, once having counted the seventh clean day, a woman may 
immerse in the mikvah on that day, although the seven day period ends
only at night. This is derived from biblical verses in Niddah 67b and
Psachim 90b. By rabbinic law, she may immerse only after the seventh 
clean day has ended - at night. Some leniencies are possible, according 
to some authorities, to allow a woman to immerse on the seventh day, if 
there is no yichud between the couple before night. 

On the other hand, immersion *before* the seventh day has *no validity
whatsoever*; for a zava (the status women have today, out of doubt), 
counting the seven clean days is an absolute *prerequisite* for puri-
fication by the mikva, and a woman who goes to the mikva during the 
first 6 days does not change her status, even after the seven day period 
is over. This is stated explicitly by the Tur, YD 197:1. The Beit Yosef
there says that even if she immersed herself in all the waters of the world,
a woman who immerses before the proper time remains impure as before.

Thus, lack of yichud is a factor only regarding immersion on the seventh 
day, not before.

Leniency regarding immersion during the day is based on the opinion
of Rabbenu Tam, against that of the Rashbam, quoted in the Rosh Hilchot 
Mikvaot siman 36. These opinions are cited in the Tur Yoreh Deah 197. 
I do not believe that leniency or strictness in this matter is consistently 
connected to the Ashkenazic or Sfardic tradition; the Aruch Hashulchan
also tends towards leniency in some circumstances.

See Yoreh Deah 197:3, Taz ot 8, and Aruch Hashulchan YD 197.

Saul Mashbaum


From: <dr@...> (David Riceman)
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 1997 10:27:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shiur for Pidyon Haben

Being a simple minded individual, I checked the number of grains in an
ounce of silver, and then went out and bought five American Silver
Eagles (= 1 oz., approx 31 grams, denominated $1).  Four actually
contain more grains (= standardized weight of one grain of barley) than
specified in the Shulhan Aruch.
  I then started checking around.  I found (in a by no means exhastive
search) three opinions:
 a) Rav Ovadiah Yosef, in Yechaveh Daas, says that the shiur is 96.4 grams,
and that the custom is to use 100 grams because i efshar l'tzamtzem (we
can't measure precisely).  He is taking the naive (and very sensible)
approach that the halacha specifies a weight of silver.  My five coins
weigh a bit more than 150 grams, so I'm fine according to him.
 b) Rav Moshe Feinstein, in a series of four responsa he wrote while
still in Europe, says that because Russia of his day was on a gold
standard, the shiur should be denominated by the current value of the
amount of silver (I'm saying this wrong.  let's start again).  On the
last instant that Russia was on the silver standard 5 shekels had a
certain value (in gold; really the other way around, but let's not be
too picky).  The amount of the pidyon haben should be that much gold.
  He doesn't say (as far as I could find) how that would apply to the US
today.  It's not simple, because even after the US went off the silver
standard (and I don't recall whther we went silver to gold or bimetal to
gold the last time round) it still issued silver certificates, i.e. you
could redeem a dollar for a certain amount of silver.  Then the currency
essentially stopped using any standard.  So I don't know what Rabbi
Feinstein's shiur would be nowadays.
 c) One of the local rabbis checked around and told me that the custom
was to use five of the old style (1/2 troy ounce) silver dollars.  This
is less than what Rabbi Yosef says the minimal shiur is.

With that long introduction here are my questions:
1) How would Rabbi Feinstein deal with floating currency?
2) What would he use as his shiur?
3) Is opinion c following the silver standard, and disagreeing with
Rabbi Yosef about its size, or is it following Rabbi Feinstein's standard,
or (which I find most likely but least plausibly halachically) does it
take shekel as synonomous with local currency.
4) If the last explanation is right why aren't five paper dollars OK, why
was there a shiur when the US didn't mint silver dollars, and why hasn't
the shiur automatically gone up now that US silver dollars weigh one ounce.

Partial answers to the last bit of 4) are that the old silver dollars
have always been legal tender.

David Riceman


From: Baruch David Schreiber <twersky@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Jun 1997 22:55:22 -0400
Subject: Shiurim of the Rav Noraos HaRav on Shavuous

This Sefer, Noraos HaRav on Shavuous,  consist of three shiurim all
delivered by Rav Soloveitchik Ztl.  The first, delivered in 1972, deals
with the Aseres Hadibros. The second, delivered in 1981, deals with the
nomenclature of the word "Shavuous" as it relates to the description of
the holiday and is followed by a beautiful interpretation of the two
covenants recorded in the Parsha of Bechukosai.  The third shiurm,
delivered in 1981, deals with the relationship between Amalek, Yisro,
and the phenomena of "Mattan Torah,"  and concludes with a comforting
message regarding the efficacy of Torah in overcoming "Refidim" (i.e.
depression, degeneration, and other debilitating experiences of human

Noraos HaRav, of which this is the 5th volume, is a reconstruction of
Halachic and Aggadic Shiurim delivered by the Rav on the various
holidays.  Each volume contains at least one shiur which is Aggadic in
nature and which does not require extensive familiarity with Talmudic
concepts or an intensive training in these subjects.  The source
materials are translated in a free and easily comprehensible manner.
The materials have all been reviewed by a number of the Rav's prominent
talmidim so that the same accurately reflects the Rav's thoughts.

The issue on Shavuous is available in major bookstores in the U.S. The
editor welcomes any comments or questions and may be contacted directly
through e-mail: <bdschreiber@...>  

Baruch David Schreiber, Esq.
212 480-0594


From: Michael J Broyde <mbroyde@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 1997 11:53:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Yibum

One of the writers wrote in about the laws and customs of yibum and
chalitza in a way that perhaps left a misunderstanding of the halachic
differences between ashkenazim and sefardim, and whether ashkenazim and
sefarimd do yibun "nowadys."  The consensus opinion is that the cherem
derabbenu gershom (CDRG) does not prohibit taking a second wife through
chalitza, as is explictly noted by Rama EH 169:29 (second part).
Certainly, CDRG does not prohibit yibum when there is no first wife.
This is explictly stated to the man at a chalitza ceremony, so as to
insure that the man knows that that is not the reason why he MUST
forsake yibum.

The reason why the ashkenazic tradition accepts that one strives to do
chalitza is because there is a talmudic dispute as to whether chalitza
or yibum is prefered, and Rama rules that chalitza is the better option;
SA EH 165:1, and indeed he prohibits chalitza in all circumstances where
the motives of the parties are suspect.  This has nothing to do with
CDRG.  This is the reason why yibum essentially never occurs amoung
ashkenazim.  Sefardim seem to accept that yibum is prefered; see SA EH

As to the story of the man with no feet called upon to do chalitza, this
is a significant issue in the rabbinic literature, with many different
permutations.  There certainly are halachic authorties who permit yibum
for ashkenazim in cases where chalitza is not possible.  Rav Yecheil
Yakov Weinberg (seredai ash) has an excellent review of this issue and a
fine discussion of that problem in the 3/4 volume of seredia ash.

Michael J. Broyde
Emory University School of Law
Atlanta, GA 30322
Voice: 404 727-7546; Fax 404 727-3374


End of Volume 26 Issue 73