Volume 27 Number 24
                      Produced: Mon Nov 17  5:38:32 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adoption & Halacha
         [Sarah & Eliyahu Shiffman]
Avos, Imahos, and marriages
         [Akiva Miller]
Burial on second-day Yom Tov
         [Tzadik and Sheva Vanderhoof]
         [Aron Weiss]
Maple Syrup, Paid Time Off and Truth/History
         [Michael & Bonnie Rogovin]
Succah decorations
         [Zvi Goldberg]
Talmud Study Mailing List
         [Eliot Shimoff]
Yiddish at the Virtual Zionist Congress 1997
         [Sholem Berger]


From: Sarah & Eliyahu Shiffman <SARASH1@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 97 22:11:22 PST
Subject: Adoption & Halacha

My wife and I are in the process of adopting an 11-year-old boy of
Yemenite extraction. I am looking for any overview-type discussions, in
English or Hebrew, of the various halachic approaches to issues
surrounding adoption, e.g. Hebrew name to be used, whose minhagim to
follow, kibud av v'em obligations, yihud,etc. I have already seen one
discussion of these issues in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary
Society, and am looking for other approaches. In addition, I am
interested in an overview of Yemenite (Temani) minhagim, and in getting
a sense of that community's general approach to Judaism and the nature
of its culture.

Eliyahu Shiffman
Beit Shemesh, Israel


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 14 Nov 1997 13:28:36 -0500
Subject: Avos, Imahos, and marriages

It is often suggested that the traits of Avraham were distilled by
having two sons, one of whom carried on his traditions, and one who did
not. Yitzchak too, was purified by having two sons, one of whom carried
on his traditions, and one who did not. This yielded Yaakov, who was on
a level to merit the name "Yisrael", and to be the father of all twelve
tribes, all of whom carried on the tradition.

But I recently noticed something interesting: Both of Avraham's sons
were born to wives, and both of Yitzchak's sons were born to his wife.
But Yaakov's twelve good sons were born to a combination of wives and
concubines. I don't know what to make of this, but it seems rather
curious that the first of the avos to have so many women would be the
one whose children all turned out okay.

Does anyone have any thoughts to offer on this? (PS: There may be some
opinions that Hagar was merely a concubine to Avraham, but there are
certainly many who say she was a full wife, and my question could be
addressed to those opinions.)

Akiva Miller


From: Tzadik and Sheva Vanderhoof <stvhoof@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Nov 1997 23:42:20 +0200
Subject: Re: Burial on second-day Yom Tov

I'd like to know what the current practice is regarding burial on
second-day Yom Tov in Chutz LaAretz.  I heard that in Jerusalem the
custom is to bury on both days of Rosh HaShanah.


From: <aronn@...> (Aron Weiss)
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 01:21:58 -0500
Subject: Fund

Would anyone know of any fund of foundation etc. that would assist in
publishing Seforim in Halacha (Jewish law) & Minhag (Jewish customs).
Please let me know. Thank You


From: Michael & Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 23:33:37 +0000
Subject: Maple Syrup, Paid Time Off and Truth/History

(1)  re Kosher Maple Syrup Has Pig Fat in it?

The following information is a few years old and in the kosher food
business, that means it should _not_ be relied on, but may be of
interest nonetheless.  I first learned of this problem in an article
which appeared in the New York Times some years back and later made
inquiries of two local (New York State) manufacturers of certified Maple
Syrup (under the Kof-K and MK, respectively).  Fat is added to the sap
as it is being boiled down, a process which takes several days.  The
fat, which forms a thin coating on the surface, prevents foaming.  Once
the syrup is boiled down, the fat is skimmed off.  The residue which is
left is less than 1/60.  The intent is to remove all or as much as
possible, anything left is unintentional. Producers use lard, butter,
vegetable oil or any other readily available fat.  (No opinion is being
expressed here as to whether, under these circumstances, non-kosher or
dairy fat is rendered batul).  The two producers mentioned above use
kosher vegetable oil.

(2)re: Paid time off for Yom Tov

As a NYC worker and Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, I would like
to respond to Mr. Mack's inquiry.  Under NYC law, all employees are
entitled to take time off for religious reasons provided there is no
undue hardship and they can make-up the time.  Employers must
"reasonable accommodate" such requests.  Some municipal employees earn
compensatory time for time worked over 35 hours per week, which can be
accumulated and used for such purposes.  Managers like myself do not
earn such time, and each city agency head has the discretion to develop
a system by which the time can be made up.  My own boss has never
allowed managers to do so, but a management team is working on a
solution.  As I am the only orthodox staff member, it is somewhat
awkward for me to push this since some co-workers will perceive this as
my using my EEO position to get extra vacation days.  Nonetheless, the
law is pretty clear.  Please write me directly for more information.

(3) Truth, History and G'dolim biographies

I have followed this thread intensively and believe this debate is a
microcosm of the debate between the haradi and modern orthodox worlds,
since it pits those with a secular approach to history against those who
reject or at least wish to limit such an approach. This past Shabbat
(Lech Lecha), Rabbi JJ Schacter gave a public lecture on this very
topic, and while it would be impossible to summarize his observations
and maintain the clarity and integrity of his discourse, I would like to
highlight some of his points.

Rabbi Schacter is an historian.  As such, he states that he believes
that there is an objective truth to history.  While there may be
different interpretations of motives and reasoning, etc., the facts
(what someone did, when they did it, where they did it, etc.) are facts
and one must deal with the facts.  To distort, misstate or omit facts is
neither truth not history, it is little different (if at all) from a
novel set in the past.  It may make for an interesting story, but it
isn't history and it isn't truth.

Distorting the lives of our G'dolim does them and us a great disservice.
Ironically, one purpose behind these bios is to inspire us to emulate
the lives of our G'dolim.  But if they are made out to be born geniuses,
who lived perfect lives, how can we, poor, imperfect, people ever hope
to emulate their lives.  Better to portray them realistically as humans,
flawed, imperfect people who struggled to overcome their faults and
managed to achieve greatness.  This is a far more inspiring message, and
yet it is not the one transmitted.

Distorting their lives not only makes us think of them in unrealistic
terms, it leads people to falsely assume that certain actions would not
meet with their approval and if done, are improper or worse.  This can
have serious consequences.  Two examples given are (1) the value of a
secular education (R. Yisroel Salanter, R. Simcha Zissel, R. E. E.
Dessler) and the acceptability of reading newspapers (R. Feinstein).  I
would be happy to make the source sheets available upon request (some of
the examples are quite funny, in a sad way).  One can argue about why an
individual did or approved of something, but to argue that they did not
do so is sheker, not emet.

Our Torah is a Torah of truth.  If we stand for truth, then we must be
prepared to face the truth.  A Jew who believes in Torah cannot promote
the truth while spreading lies.  Nor is it permissible to "change"
history/truth to suit one's ideology.  One must accept history as it
happened and deal with it -- let the chips fall where they may.

Michael Rogovin


From: <zg@...> (Zvi Goldberg)
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 1997 23:26:11 -0500
Subject: Succah decorations

<<If the decoration is lower than 3 tfochim (between 24-30 cm depending
on the various Hallachic views) from the schach, which would make the
decoration NOT "part" of the schach, but rather a separate object from
it, then if the decoration if larger than 4 by 4 tfochim (32-40 cm
depending on the various Hallachic views), then that part of the sukkah
posul (invalid)>>

	Ironically, the day after I posed this question I learned a
Gemara in Succah that discusses precisely this (10a-10b). It does not
mention the size of the "noy succah" (succah decorations), but states an
argument if eating under decorations *4* t'fachim or lower from the
schach is valid. I believe we pasken it is invalid like R' Chisdah and
Rabbah. I would be curious to know where Mr. Mateh obtains the number



From: Eliot Shimoff <shimoff@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 18:54:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Talmud Study Mailing List


One of the central texts in Jewish law (halakha) is the Talmud.
Regrettably, it is often a closed book.  The function of this discussion
group is to give novices a taste of what the Talmud is all about, what
it is like, and how talmudic debates work themselves out.  The
explanation will be at a level we hope is appropriate for novices, and
we will try to remain lucid.  On the other hand, more seasoned students
are certainly welcome to join and to contribute.

This "study group" is open to anyone interested in learning what Talmud
is all about.  At least in the beginning, the material will be presented
by Amitai HaLevi and Eliot Shimoff; once things are underway, anyone who
wants to help will be welcomed.  And we hope it will be a true "study
group," in which questions and discussions are welcomed (so long as the
questions and discussions are text-focused; this is not a forum
appropriate for questions of whether halakha is binding).

If you are interested in joining the group, you can subscribe by:

1.  Send a message to 
    with the message: subscribe


2.  Send a message to 
    with the message:  subscribe talmud

If you have any questions, email to <shimoff@...>

Please pass this message on to interested friends.

Eliot Shimoff                          <shimoff@...> 
UMBC Dept. of Psychology               410 455-2973 (lab)
1000 Hilltop Circle                    410 455-2567 (dept. office)
Baltimore, MD 21250                    410 455-1055 (fax)


From: Sholem Berger <bergez01@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 00:17:33 -0500
Subject: Yiddish at the Virtual Zionist Congress 1997

The Virtual Zionist Congress 1997 is designed to be an Internet parallel
to and preparation for the Zionist Congress to take place this December
in Jerusalem.  I am leading a discussion group to prepare
recommendations about concrete pro-Yiddish actions which should be taken
in the Diaspora and Israel.  Please sign up if you're interested by
writing to the e-mail address


with the message:

                          	subscribe congress-27

No name should be included in the text of the e-mail.

For more information about the congress and our group take a look at the
Web page
Sholem Berger
New York


End of Volume 27 Issue 24