Volume 26 Number 90
                      Produced: Thu Jul 31  7:45:35 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

At the old ball game
         [Avraham Reiss]
Capital Punishment
         [Mark Steiner]
Hayim Soloveitchik's Thesis
         [Harry Maryles]
Mitzvot Bnai Noah
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Passport Photos
         [Robert A. Book]
Returning a phone call
         [Ira Kasdan]
Spielberg's "Oral History" Project -- Call for comments
         [Miriam Fleer]
Taping a phone conversation
         [Joseph Geretz]


From: Avraham Reiss <areiss@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 11:16:37 +0300
Subject: Re: At the old ball game

> From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
> >if indeed they were sold, chose not to atttend.  It doesn't harm him if
> >I sit in his empty seat.  What then is the issur?
> How is this different from being a squatter?  If you owned a vacant
> apartment building, do you have the right to insist that squatters
> not inhabit your building?

I would say that the difference lies in the time-span involved; the
tickets -and the seats - have value during a particular time-span,
i.e. during the game, which when ended renders seats and tickets
valueless. By not attending the game, the owner has relinquished all
interest in his 'property' at all times, and his absence has openly
indicated this.

The owner's absence from a building is normal behaviour, and does not in
anyway indicate the owner's attitude towards his ownership of the
building. The squatters are trespassing (hasagat gvul).

Avraham Reiss,


From: Mark Steiner <ms151@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 08:50:38 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Capital Punishment

On the issue of capital punishment, the opinion of the Hazon Ish is very
instructive.  The Talmud states that the death penalty was abolished in
Israel 40 years before the destruction of the temple.  The Hazon Ish
comments that the reason for this was the drastic increase in the murder
rate in Israel.  In a violent society, he says, the death penalty can
have no educational effect, but only increases the violence.  The death
penalty can have an effect only in a society where violence is rare.  An
extremely profound comment worthy of its author.


From: Harry Maryles <C-Maryles@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 13:29:11 -0700
Subject: Hayim Soloveitchik's Thesis

In response to a critique by Dr. Chavel, Hayim Soloveitchik (in the most 
recent edition Y.U.'s Torah Umadda Journal) tries to defend and explain 
his thesis on the reason there has been a rightward swing and a 
concentration on chumros through the medium of the printed word as 
expressed in books such as the mishna berurah.
In his original piece, he says that the reason is because we have lost 
our confidence in the mimetic tradition of our fathers and forefathers 
and have resorted to books as our guide instead of our parents.  In his 
response to Dr. Chavel Dr. Soloveitchik says that what he meant is that 
the primary cause for everybody "chumra"izing now is because of our 
accross the board acculturation of the Jewish people in the West.This 
includes the entire spectrum, he says, of jewery from the most 
non-observant, secular to the most charedi. That is, because of our 
adoption of the affluent western cultral standards of living with much 
of its material comforts and accumulatuion of material goods, We seek to 
 maintain our fidelity to authentic judaism by adopting more chumros.
     I believe Dr. Soloveitchik is right but I think he is only 
recognizing one aspect of a very complex set of circumstances that is 
leading our people into it's present path.  I think the scope of what 
makes our people tick is far too broad to discuss in any kind of short 
essay.  I would like to offer a few points that I believe to be 
responsible for the "chumraization" of the orthodox jewish community.  
First, I think Dr. Soloveitchik misses the boat completely on the 
influence of the post  WWII influx of mainly Chasidic and to a geat 
degree Hungarian influences. It is not that the lithuanian Roshei 
Yeshiva are in any way  brainwashed by them or that they  pay any heed 
to their dictates.  It is much more subtle than that. It is a desire to 
maintain a visible upper moral hand vis-a-vis these newcomers that 
motivated these mechanchim. It was also, I believe a desire to seperate 
themselves from the so called modern orthodox that led to a certain 
pattern of behavior.  For example, In the fifties and sixties it was 
unheard of for lithuanian style yeshivos ketanos to see payos on the 
students. Only the few hardcore chasidishe students had them and the 
rest of the students really didn't want to have anything to do with it 
for themselves.  I believe that in an attempt to not let these newcomers 
out "frum" them, the lithuanian mechanichim started encourging all of 
the students to have payos. 
     Also, a possible reason for the abdication of the mimetic form of 
transmitting Jewish tradition by Western Jewery is the fact that many 
students today are convinced that their parents mesorah may, in fact be 
inaccurate.  Many of todays charedei students come from backgrounds of 
verying degrees of knowledge so that their parents have an insuficient 
degree of knowledge to be transmitted from the home. So, these young  
impresssionmable minds full of mush turn to their rebbeim and roshei  
yeshive who in turn send these students to the mishna berurah and more 
recent publications of halacha such as the Rav Shimon Eider series to 
find out the Right way to do it.  Also,in chasidiche homes in Europe, 
halacha was transmitted very often in the form of rote learning through 
the "Rebbe". This wasn't enough for then chidren of these new immigrants 
who went to the lithuanian style dayschools. The  Roshei Yeshiva in a 
sincere desire to transmit their mesorah to the new immigrants' children 
sort of subconciously broke the mesorah chain of the chasidishe fathers, 
who were the too willing (albeit subconcious) accomplices of these 
machanchim,  They were too busy trying to at least make ends meet in the 
new world under the tremendous handicap of a language and cultaral 
barrier. Meanwhile , the yeshiva population has grown in the last 40 
years to an unprecedentd level. In essence, students today have replaced 
their fathers with their rebbeim and/or the rosh hayeshiva.  
     It is this situation that I believe is, in part, responsible for 
the loss of the home as the primary transmitter of Mesorah.  As I said 
earlier in this essay, there are many possible reasons for the 
"chumraization" of American Jewery.  Indeed, it is not only Jewery but 
much (but not all) of western civilazatiion that has moved to the right. 
  I think the onset (in the sixties)of ethnic self realization 
(especially by the black community i.e. "black pride") in western 
culture coinciding with the Six Day War had somethinmg to do with it. 
The ensuing explosion in Kiruv had something to do with it. As I stated 
earlier, there is much to be discussed and debated, and much research 
needs to be done in order to understand what is going on.  All I have 
tried to do is present a much broader view of the problem originally 
broght up by Dr. Soloveitchik.
Harry Maryles


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Jul 1997 23:34:43 -0700
Subject: RE: Mitzvot Bnai Noah

<tzywoolf@...> (Zemira Wolf) writes,
>Is pru urvu one of the sheva mitzvot bnei Noach? If not, are bnei Noach
>chayav in this mitzvah?

They may not technically be have a mitzvah of piru u rivu.  Yet the
gemara in Gittin 41 b talking about a peron who is half slave and half
free person says that his master must free him so that he can fulfill
the pasuk in Yishya 45 "lo toho yatzra lasheves bara" Hashem did not
create the world to be desolete,  He created the world to be inhabited.

> From: Art Kamlet <kamlet@...>

> I cannot think of
> any other commandment, other than pru urvu (Be fruitful and multiply)
> that was given to all peoples (Bnai Noach) but not repeated at Sinai.
> Does anyone know of another?  If not, it would appear that the rule set
> forth in the Talmud, set as a general rule (if given to Bnai Noach but
> not repeated at Sinai applies only to Bnai Yisrael) is for pru urvu
> alone.

I believe this staement refers to things that were noty said to all of
bnei noach.  such as bris milah which was done to Yishmael.  It may also
refer to maser which was practised by Avrohom to Malki Tzedek and Yakov
at Beit El.  And also to Tiflah which we learn from the Avot.  This is
all conjecture.  But one might have thought that since the mekor
predates HAr Sinai it may not be limited to those who stood at Har Sinai


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 12:20:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Passport Photos

> From: <ce157@...> (Eric W. Mack)
> The photographer told my wife she had to remove her hat for a
> passport photo.  Has anyone successfully objected to this?

The information that came with my passport application stated that the
picture had to be "...without any headcovering, unless it is worn for
religious reasons."



From: Ira Kasdan <IKASDAN@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 1997 12:01:24 -0400
Subject: Returning a phone call

Is anyone aware of sources that discuss a Halachic imperative, if at all, 
to respond to someone's phone call  (e.g., a solicitation, or a personal
request)   or mail ?


From: Miriam Fleer <fleer@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 16:41:26 +-300
Subject: Spielberg's "Oral History" Project -- Call for comments


I am an interviewer with the Steven Spielberg "Oral History" Project,
Israel Chapter.

Since its inception, I've had my qualms with the "model" of memory that
transpired during the training sessions, and is reflected in the format
and range of the interviews.

I am writing an article about my experience with them, and I'd like to
connect to other interviewers/interviewed to 'compare notes' as it were,
and also to provide a sound empirical background to my piece.

Has anybody any thoughts to share about this much praised, much
jazzed-up project ?  Please share them with me.

Miriam Fleer


From: Joseph Geretz <JGeretz@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 16:34:18 -0400
Subject: Taping a phone conversation

Dear Russel,

> To the argument: >>but it is your phone conversation --why can't you
> record it>> I would answer...could you for example video a guest taking
> a shower in your house (without his knowledge) on the grounds that it is
> "your house" and that you intend either not to show it or to only show
> it to members of the same sex. I think the point is that your guest
> doesn't have to trust you on when you will use the tape(=privacy)
> Incidentally there was actually a court case a few years ago:
> One firm in Massachusetts was videotaping employees dressing (as part
> of a drug surveillance program). One day one of the reals labelled
> e.g. "Dressing room B-April 7th 1980" was found carelessly lying
> around. This is how they discovered it. The union took them to court but
> I don't know what happened (any lawyers out there remember the case--as
> I indicated, the defense was that they were doing drug surveillance)

Your comparison of the video in the shower does not adhere to the
paradigm of audio taping a conversation in which I am
participating. Where I tape a conversation in which I am participating,
no new knowledge or experience is gained, I am simply recording my own
personal experience for posterity.  (Again, this assumes that the tape
is never divulged.) This, practically speaking, would be tantamount to
conversing with an individual who has a phenomenal memory (something
like a photograpic memory).

The video in the shower, however, provides new knowledge to the host
which otherwise would not have been revealed. (Even if the host does not
reveal this tape to anyone else, new information has been passed to the
host himself via the medium of the tape.) Generally, when considering
this issue, we should not even speculate on the possibility that the
individual will not mind if the activity is revealed - maybe he will! In
this scenario in particular, most of us would prefer to be seen with our
clothes on, even by our hosts and members of the same sex.

Similarly, the video in the locker room, which you mentioned, provided
new knowledge to the company's management which would otherwise not have
been known. (Even though presumably, the employees were not absolutely
secretive about their activities in the locker room, still there is
certainly some difference of behavior from the way a person acts alone
or in front of his peers or in front of his bosses. Not knowing that a
tape was running, the expectation of the employees is that activities in
the locker room are not revealed to individuals who were not present at
the time the activities took place.)

Halachically, (aside from the issue of dina D'malchusa which is
debatable) it seems to boil down to the question of the permissibility
of the *revelation* of an event to a party who was not known to be privy
to the event when it actually took place. This of course, is a halachic
issue whether the activity was taped or not.

If you want to explore the possibility that it is permissible to tape
AND PUBLICIZE *certain* activities which occur in front of 3 other
people, you might be able to make a case. A well known principle of
Shmiras Haloshon regards *certain* speech or action conducted in front
of 3 or more people as publishable since it is assumed that the speaker
realizes that saying something in front of 3 people will inevitably lead
to widespread dissemination. (Note the emphasis on the word
*certain*. The laws of Shmiras Haloshon are quite complex. Basically, I
just threw this out as food for thought.)

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz


End of Volume 26 Issue 90