Volume 27 Number 30
                      Produced: Tue Dec  2  6:21:30 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bilhah and Zilpah were sisters and wives
         [Aryeh A. Frimer]
Creating on Shabbos
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
Erev Shabbat
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Goals of Kiruv
         [Andy Goldfinger]
         [Gershon Dubin]
Lying for shidduchim
         [Aaron D. Gross]
Organisation of the Tanach
         [Ed Ehrlich]
Purposes and Goals of Kiruv (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Geoffrey Shisler]
References for shiduchim
         [David Herskovic]
Selective abortion or multiple pregnancies, Kiruv success/failure:
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky]
Subject: Purposes and Goals of Kiruv
         [Aaron Mandelbaum]


From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 11:16:47 -0800
Subject: Re: Bilhah and Zilpah were sisters and wives

In his recent comments, Joel Goldberg brings the view of the Ramban:
1) Ya'akov (as well as Avraham and Yitzchak) kept all the mitzvot even
before the giving of the torah
2) There is a prohibition against marrying sisters
3) The miztvot are only truly in force in Eretz Yisrael

The last statement should read:
3) The Avot only kept the mitzvot in Eretz Yisrael

	Aryeh Frimer


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 1997 01:36:39 -0800
Subject: Creating on Shabbos

I was learning with someone new to the laws of Shabbos, to give a
general idea of the concepts I explained molid; where a person who turns
snow into water violates shabbos because of their creative activity.  I
was then asked why are marital relations permitted on Shabbos, isn't
this the very creativity which would be forbidden.  Rav Hershel
Schachter mentioned that the Bnai Yisuschar discusses this issue.  I
have not gotten a chance look yet.  Anyone have any suggestions.

Kol Tov


From: Saul Mashbaum <mshalom@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 11:44:01 GMT-2
Subject: Erev Shabbat

I read with interest Akiva Miller's posting (Vol. 27 #26) about the
symbolic significance of erev Shabbat as the period before the geula
(final redemption).

The well-known Tisha b'Av kina "Arzei HaLevanon Adirei HaTotah"
describes the martyrdom of major Torah scholars around the time of the
destruction of the second temple. In this kina, the death of R' Elazar
ben Shamu is described specifically as occuring on erev Shabbat. When
Rav Aharon Adler (a close talmid of the Rov z"l, now rav of the Neve
Orot community in Ramot, Yerushalayim) learned this kina with his
congregation Tisha B'av morning, he gave the following symbolic
explanation: during a period of intense messianic expectations, erev
Shabbat, major Torah scholars were killed, and the hoped-for redemption
did not in fact come about. Thus the kina, which notes that R' Elazar's
death came just as he was to start the bracha of Kiddush of Shabbat,
becomes all the more poignant; the tragedy described is not only
personal, but national.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 09:01:54 -0500
Subject: Goals of Kiruv

"Anonymous" asks: "What are the purposes and Goals of Kiruv (Outreach)"

Recently, I had the opportunity to hear Rabbi Noach Weinberg speak on
this subject.  He asked the following question (I paraphrase):

Suppose you have the resources to influence 10 people to become shomrei
torah and mitzvos, or you could use the same resources to influence 1000
people to simply marry Jews.  Which should you do?  He was strongly in
favor of the latter -- influencing more people at a more minimal level.

Now, I know that there is much debate about this.  But, if I may insert
my own opinion (for what it is worth).  I know of a case of a Jewish man
who was in his 70's who entered a non-kosher restaurant to order his
usual bacon and eggs.  Looking at the plate, he said to himself: "how
can a Jew eat bacon?"  He then proceeded to remove the bacon from his
plate, and eat the eggs.  Now we certainly would not recommend this
behavior as a paradigm of kashrus observance, but consider how hard it
was for this man to take a step like this after over 70 years of eating
pork.  How can we understand what he must have gone through to make this
change at an advanced age?  How can we tell how much HaShem values his
effort?  If we were to compare his minor degree of observance against
that of a "frum" person who was raised from birth in a Glatt kosher home
and spent his entire life in yeshivas, but who shades the truth just
slightly when he fills out his income tax, who comes out ahead?  In
truth, we do not know.  Only HaShem can judge people.

So -- IMHO when it come to kiruv, we deal with people as they come.  In
some cases, they end up with long pais, and in others they merely go to
a Pesach seder occasionally.  We leave it to HaShem to sort things out.
Each neshama is precious, and who is to say whose observance is more


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 00:16:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Kesuvim

>He also says no one would write an Eichah. This is not so. I saw one 
>included in a single scroll of four megillos (excluding Esther) in the 
>shul where I grew up. This shul no longer exists and the seforim were 
>dispersed many years ago.

	The minhag is not to write Eicha together with the other 3
megilos, and not to include Esther with any.  The usual is either 3 i.e.
Esther, Eicha and the other 3 together, or 5, all separate.


>as to the permissibility of donating kidneys, and under certain
>conditions some also permit heart donations.
	Can you be more specific-I was under the impression that all
poskim forbid heart transplants.



From: Aaron D. Gross <adg@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 09:15:25 -0800
Subject: Re: Lying for shidduchim

>In a No. 27 post, Yrachmiel Tilles <seminars@...> said,
>>I think that fudging with age,... and the like are relatively minor,
>>superficial characteristics that qualified shadchanim should have leeway
>>with, especially as these are easily discovered on initial meetings.
>Please be careful. When you are involved with shidduchim for the 30+
>set, lying about age becomes a *very major* factor, and much too often
>has painful consequences. I have witnessed both immediate breaking-off
>just before the chupah and immediate divorce just after because of
>age-related reproductive concerns combined with the "trauma" of
>uncovering the lie. So please move this one over to the "stick of
>dynamite" side of your simile.

Point well taken.  Forgot to consider that.  I was thinking more of the
20-somethings and young 30-somethings, although there are many late
30-something and early 40-something women who can and do have children.
A potential husband who is expecting a large family could be quite upset
if his kallah-to-be is discovered to have limited reproductive years.

On the other hand, youth, alas, is no guarantee of reproductive ability,

However, any man who would reject a woman who is 30 instead of 25 or
younger, and meets his criteria in every other respect, is possibly
making a big mistake.

I know of more than a few happy marriages, B"H blessed with children,
where the wife is 5-6 years older than her husband.

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


From: <eehrlich@...> (Ed Ehrlich)
Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 9:29:56 +0200
Subject: Organisation of the Tanach

Warren Burstein <warren@...> wrote:

>I have noticed (although I don't recall where) at least once that the 
>division into chapters is different in a Tanach and in a non-Jewish 
>translation.  How did this happen?

I read in various places that the original chapter divisions are
non-Jewish in origin.  This is the reason that the Koren edition
indicates the chapter numbers, but does not actually divide one
"chapter" from another with a blank line.  In other words, we can use
chapter numbers for convenience, but not as any indication of the
original internal structure of the text.

My not so educated guess would be that the difference in chapter 
division arose out of printing errors.  I don't seem to recall any 
hand written Tanach manuscripts (Jewish or non-Jewish) that have 
chapter divisions.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 10:15:03 -0500
Subject: re: Purposes and Goals of Kiruv

If one has raised a person's level of observance, but not to the level
of proper observance of Shabbos, Anonymous asked whether that counts as
a success or failure.

I remember clearly my last Yom Kippur at Ohr Somayach in Yerushalayim,
in 1979. The Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Ahron Feldman, spoke to us about
improving ourselves and those around us. He commented about the level of
Jewish awareness prevalent in today's world, saying that "Nowadays, it
is a MAJOR act of commitment to the Jewish religion when a Jew goes out
of his way to marry another Jew." The emphasis on the word "major" was
not mine, but his, and was very strong.

The implication was quite clear. In previous generations, the norm was
for Jews to marry Jews, and marrying a non-Jew was a clear and bold
statement of how little his Judaism meant to him. But nowadays,
intermarriage is so common that many Jews see no contradiction in
maintaining one's own Jewishness while married to a non-Jew. In such an
atmosphere, if one makes a deliberate choice to marry a Jew, it is a
clear and bold statement of how much his Judaism means to him.

And that was almost 20 years ago. Let's not forget that the word "kiruv"
simply means "bringing close" - *how* close is not specified. None of us
is perfect. If I make someone Shabbos observant but he still gossips, is
that a success? I would say that anything which brings anyone even
slightly closer to Torah is a major success.

Akiva Miller

From: Geoffrey Shisler <Geoffrey@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 10:19:12 +0000
Subject: Purposes and Goals of Kiruv

I believe it's the responsibility of every Jew to encourage every
fellow-Jew to keep Mitzvot. Since Pirkei Avot (The Ethics of the
Fathers) warns us to be as careful with the observance of an 'easy'
Mitzvah as we are with that of a 'difficult' one, we can't possibly know
the value of keeping any of them. Therefore, if we manage to get a non-
observer to keep even one Mitzvah, who can possibly know what good we
are doing that person?

The point of Kiruv, is to bring people as close to God as *they* want to
come, not necessarily as far as we want them to come. Most times, Kiruv
involves dealing with people who have no relation with the Almighty at
all, so every little step forward has the potential to have far reaching
consequences for them.

There's a Rabbinical saying - Kol Hatchalot Kashot - 'All beginnings are
difficult.' There's no doubt that in Kiruv this is certainly the case.
Actually getting people to see the benefit to them to have contact with
the Almighty, is usually the hardest part of all.

Although I am an Orthodox Rabbi, I would heartily congratulate anyone
who has brought non-observant Jews to the level of Conservative
practice. This is clearly a giant step in the right direction.

Rabbi Geoffrey L. Shisler
Bournemouth Hebrew Congregation


From: David Herskovic <david@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 18:47:56 +0000
Subject: References for shiduchim

It is common practice when a shiduch is proposed to enquire with the
rosh yeshive/magid shiur/sem head about the character of the proposed.

In many cases the person being asked for information will give negative
information or simply nod with their head to imply that all is not well.

Assuming that they are being truthful and that it being a shidduch there
is no loshen hore involved, what about breaches of confidentiality?

As the rosh yeshive or the like gained their information by being
employed in the institution do they not have an obligation to consult
the parents of the proposed or the proposed him/herself before giving a
character reference.

If a doctor or a lawyer were to impart with information about their
clients in this way there would no doubt be an outcry due to the breach
of confidence involved, so why should a teacher or school head be any

What do others think?

David Herskovic


From: <KHRESQ@...> (Kenneth H. Ryesky)
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 1997 19:12:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Selective abortion or multiple pregnancies, Kiruv success/failure:

Re the issue of aborting selected fetuses from multiple pregnancies in
order to improve the survival odds for the others: If memory serves me
correctly, there was an article in a past issue of Journal of Halacha &
Contemporary Society which addresses the issue (We recently moved, my
set is still packed away, so I can't be more specific).

As for success/failure in Kiruv, perhaps it's still too early to tell in
the cases of the Bryn Mawr women your wife befriended "a dozen" years
ago.  After all, my own gradual transition to frumkeit took nearly 20
years from the time Rabbi Noach Weinberg spoke with me in his kitchen in
Jerusalem, into the early hours of the morning.  If they keep just one
more mitzvah than they would have otherwise, then kiruv is a success.

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq.


From: Aaron Mandelbaum <amnm@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 23:05:41 -0500
Subject: Subject: Purposes and Goals of Kiruv

What are the purposes and goals of Kiruv (outreach)?  Anonymous asked
this question.

A second question that gets asked very often is "How do we measure

	I have been involved in the outreach world for over 12 years.
Anonymous' story sounds like a major success to me.  Any time you can
teach a fellow Jew something, anything about our religion it is a
success.  If a person never lit candles for Shabat, and now they do,
that is a success.  Yes, we are very happy when a person who knew
nothing becomes a Shomer Mitzvot, and Shomer Shabat, but that can not
happen with everyone.  A person doing one mitzvah more than they did in
the past is a great thing.

	The best way that we have found to bring people closer is by
becoming friends with them.  Invite them to your house on Shabat or Yom
Tov.  You do not know what might light the spark that is in there.
Certainly don't be afraid to try.

For more info contact us at The Jewish Learning Experience.
Aaron Mandelbaum


End of Volume 27 Issue 30