Volume 27 Number 49
                      Produced: Fri Jan  2  6:23:59 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anasthetic Cream and Brit
         [Michael Pitkowsky]
Cruelty to Animals
         [Ben Waxman]
Disposible Brit Mila Knife
         [Bob Werman]
Halacha & Vegetarianism
         [Steven M Oppenheimer]
Information Sheets given out at Weddings
         [D.A. Schiffmann]
Judaism and Vegetarianism
         [Devora Farrell]
Sefer Lutsk
         [Carl Singer]
Shabbas/YomTov & the Deaf
         [Reuven Frank]
Shmuel / Shaul
         [Mordechai Torczyner]
Tea on Shabbat
         [Jordan Hirsch]
         [Batya Medad]
What are the parameters today of the mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim
         [Carl Singer]
Writing God's name in English
         [Zev-Hayyim Feyer]


From: Michael Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Fri,  2 Jan 98 09:33:20 PST
Subject: Anasthetic Cream and Brit 

>Does anyone out there know of any halachic objection to puting on an
>anesthetic cream on the foreskin of a baby in order to prevent pain
>during a bris?

Rabbi Yehudah Leib Tzirelson who was the Chief Rabbi of Kishnev between
the two world wars was asked that question and permitted it (see his 
Maarachei Lev Yoreh Deah no. 43).  Rabbi Yehiel Weinberg permits a local
anesthetic for a baby and an adult (Seridei Aish vol. 3 no. 96).
Ovadiah Yosef permits it for an adult (Yabiah Omer vol. 5 Yoreh Deah
no. 22).  Rabbi Moshe Feinstein admits that there is no prohibition but
says that in general anesthesia is not good so therefore it should not
be used (Igrot Moshe Yoreah Deah vol. 4 no. 40).

Name: Michael Menahem and Abby Pitkowsky
E-mail: <pitab@...>


From: Ben Waxman <bwaxman@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Dec 1997 18:49:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Cruelty to Animals

>The halacha prohibits cruelty to animals for cruelty's sake, not when
>incidental to some other purpose (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, chapter 191,
>paragraph 1). I am not aware of any halachic authority who has issued a
>blanket prohibition against eating meat merely because animals are
>raised in cramped conditions.

Rav Moshe Finestein, in his responsa (Even ha Ezra), does write that one
shouldn't eat veal because of the way it is raised.  While he doesn't
prohibit eating veal, he does state in very strong terms that it is not
proper. And he does write explicitly that it is forbidden to raise
calves in the modern fashion. One can assume that anything he wrote
would apply equally to other animals.

Obviously, Rav Moshe can't say that something is treif unless the Gemara
says that it is treif. However, he can say (in his opinion) that eating
animals which are raised cruelly is improper behavior.

A tangent: Compare his language regarding chalev yisrael and eating
veal.  In both cases he says that a baal nephesh shouldn't eat them.
However, he makes it perfectly clear that chalev akoom is permitted
let'chatchila, while eating veal is to be discouraged.  How many people
today are careful about which milk they drink, and how many are careful
about eating free range veal only?

Ben Waxman
Technical Writer, Foxcom Ltd.
Telephone: 972 2 652 8280 Fax: 972 2 652 0684


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 17:05 +0200
Subject: Disposible Brit Mila Knife

The mohel's knife must -- by halacha -- be two edged; this has prevented
the use of disposible blades, an important health measure.  The mohel's
knife is cold sterilized; this procedure does not kill transmittable
viruses, such as AIDS or hepatitis.  The justification for cold
sterilization is that hot sterilization may dull the knife and takes too
much time.

If a major Jewish organization approached the disposible blade people, I
am sure they could be convinced to make two edged blades, a cheap and
halachically acceptable solution.

__Bob [Robert] Werman


From: <oppy2@...> (Steven M Oppenheimer)
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 21:32:24 -0500
Subject: Halacha & Vegetarianism

For those interested in a serious discussion of of Halacha and
Vegetarianism, see "Vegetarianism from a Jewish Perspective" by Rabbi
Alfred Cohen, Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society Vol. 1, No. 2,
Fall, 1981.  Copies are available from Rabbi Jacob Joseph School, Mrs.
Claire Friedman (212)334-9285.  For those interested in halachic
discussions of contemporary issues, the Journal is an excellent source.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.


From: D.A. Schiffmann <das1002@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 16:00:19 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Information Sheets given out at Weddings

> From: Rachel Mechanic <happyduck@...>
> I am getting married in a few months and remember a posting about a year
> back discussing the information sheets given out at weddings.  Does

[part of original email deleted - DAS]

I'm not sure of the item you are referring to, but there is a nice guide
explaining a Jewish wedding ceremony produced by Ohr Somayach, which is
at: http://www.ohr.org.il/judaism/articles/wedding.htm

You could ask them for permission to use this; their homepage is at



From: Devora Farrell <farrell@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 17:41:30 -0500
Subject: Judaism and Vegetarianism

Aside from the issues of maltreatment of animals raised as food (and not
to minimize those issues), I was taught that eating a kosher animal with
a brocha and with proper derech eretz [respect - Mod.] raises that
animal's neshama to a higher level because a human being is a higher
form of life than an animal.  That animal's flesh then becomes
integrated into a person's body to provide the physical energy to do
mitzvos, and elevates the animal's purpose that much more.

On a lighter note, I was vegetarian for 10 years, until I was expecting
my first child and wanted a roast beef sandwich on a kaiser roll with
lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise, and I wanted it NOW!

Devora Farrell


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 98 20:26:32 UT
Subject: Sefer Lutsk

Does anyone have access to "Sefer Lutsk" (published 1961 - Hebrew/Yiddish)

Carl Singer


From: Reuven Frank <nontek@...>
Date: Thu,  1 Jan 98 18:32:08 PST
Subject: Shabbas/YomTov & the Deaf

>From: Rahel Shermans <sherman@...>
>Would magnetic letters be acceptable for communicating with the deaf on
>Shabbat? Most people do not know sign and the deaf people I know , even
>when offered hospitality, feel isolated. On other days, people who do
>not sign write notes. Does anybody know a halachically permissible way
>to communicate with Deaf people ?  Shabbat and Yom tov are the loneliest
>times of the year for quite a few.

I am not a /Posseick/(Halachic decisor) but I think that the problem on
with magnetic letters on days when /Melacha/ is forbidden, has more to
do with the magnetism than the problem of writing.

In any case, I am happy to share with you the following ideas for
dealing with this problem.

I have seen in /S'forim/ that letters on blocks (including Scrabble
tiles), may be used to form words.  The only prohibition that I am aware
of associated with these letters is that it is not permitted to place
the tiles in a frame which holds the letters in place. (Thus, the Deluxe
Scrabble is problematic.)

All of this is a side issue though IMHO because there are so many other
"solutions" to this problem.  For instance, hospitals come across this
problem on a daily basis with stroke victims who cannot speak.  They use
cards with the alphabet and a small list of convenient words (nurse,
doctor; please, thank you; hot, cold; etc.)

Alternatively, since we all have computers, a similar list can be
printed out before Shabbos.  Or a search can be made in stationery
stores for pre-made lists.  Or, perhaps, pharmacies stock hospital type
lists.  Or toy stores may have spelling cards or blocks or anagram

All the ideas that I suggested are permissible on Shabbat/YomTov and
have the advantage of being readily available.  I'm sure that now that
I've suggested these simple ideas, that plenty of other readers can
think of many other things that are much more clever.

Shabbat Shalom V'Chag Somayach

Reuven Frank: <nontek@...>


From: Mordechai Torczyner <mat6263@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 10:44:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shmuel / Shaul

> From: <zg@...> (Zvi Goldberg)
> 	R' Moshe Sofer, the Chasam Sofer, in his Tshuvos (Responsa)
> explains that actually Chana should have named her son Shaul. However,
> Shaul was the name of an Edomite king (Breishis 36:37-38). Shaul was
> also one of the names of Zimri ben Salu (the Nasi of the tribe of Shimon
> whom Pinchas killed), according to the Gemara (Sanhedrin 82a). In line
> with "the name of the wicked shall rot", Chana did not wish to name her
> son Shaul. Why she added a "mem" has already been explained.
> 	(I have been unable to locate exactly where this tshuva is -- I
> heard this on a shiur on Sefer Shmuel Aleph. Any help will be greatly
> appreciated.)
> 	I assume the obvious question now is why did Shaul Hamelech's
> parents name him Shaul, but I don't have any answers.

	The Chasam Sofer's Teshuvah is in the 4th Chelek (Even HaEzer
Bet), Teshuvah 22; credit goes to the Bar Ilan CD-ROM for turning it up.
	He also addresses the issue of Kish naming his son Shaul, and
explains that Kish simply wasn't careful about this. He adds that we can
see what the result was. A similar statement is made there about Korach,
where Yitzhar wasn't careful not to name his son for Esav's descendant
WEBSHAS! http://www.virtual.co.il/torah/webshas & Leave the Keywords at Home


From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 11:22:06 EST
Subject: Re: Tea on Shabbat

> IF
> we're talking about tea leaves, which is kalei habishul (very easily
> cooked) and many poskim hold that even in a kli shlishi (and rivi'i?)
> it's not allowed.  Instant tea is permitted if the water is put in the
> glass first and the instant tea is added to the water.

Not to reopen old subjects, but not all poskim feel that tea is kalei
habishul, thus for those people, making tea even in a kli sheni woud be
permissible. And even for R' Moshe Feinstein, who holds that essence is
the preferred method of making tea, making tea in a kli shlishi is
permissible. In fact, the chumrah of kalei habishul is the product of a
rare position in the rishonim, who's most notable exponent is the Sefer

Jordan Hirsch


From: <isrmedia@...> (Batya Medad)
Date: Thu, 01 Jan 1998 22:53:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism

 Background: I've been an ovo-lacto-veg for almost 20 years.
 I once heard a tape of a shiur by Rabbi Zeev Leff where, in passing, he
mentioned something about the halachic status of vegetarianism.  He said
that it's permitted to be a vegetarian depending on one's justification.
If you say: "meat/fish/poultry turns me off, or makes me feel sick" etc.
that's fine.
 But since there are positive halachot permitting being carnivorous,
it's totally forbidden to try to halachickly justify vegetarianism.
About "there's no simcha without wine and meat."  Any enjoyment is
subjective.  Just like we like different music, colors, spices, etc.,
our "most enjoyable feasts" can be different, too.  That other Shabbat
ditty about eating both meat and fish at the meal, (wrecks havoc with
the digestive system!) means don't be a cheapskate.  Prepare even more
than really necessary.  Maybe there'll be unexpected guests.
 General rule--don't stuff yourself to be polite or please others, and
don't force your kids to eat when they're not hungry--especially that
"one more bit."  Lots of chronically overweight people don't eat for the
right reasons.  The halachic assur about wasting food includes
unnecessary eating, which insidiously damages health.  Pikuach Nefesh
demands saying NO and respecting even our smallest babies.
 Batya Medad (wife of...)


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 98 20:24:18 UT
Subject: What are the parameters today of the mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim

I certainly don't know details and wouldn't dare pasken.

But the questions lead me to recall a case many (15?) years ago where
monies supposed to be set aside for employer tax purposes (at a day
school) somehow were misdirected to a well known religious movement. The
administrator of the school was facing prosecution, the money
"re-appeared" from the organization to which it had been diverted.

I've heard of a number of situations where people are dealing with less
than appropriate business ethics -- be it cheating suppliers, laundering
tzedukah monies, etc.  Indeed these stand out because they are rare and
not characteristic of a Torah Jew (also against halacha) -- but we must
a priori face the root cause problem, not the Band-Aid of pidyon
shevuyim after the fact.

Carl Singer


From: Zev-Hayyim Feyer <Rebbezev@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 1997 20:29:23 EST
Subject: Re: Writing God's name in English

In vol 27 #39, David Zinberg wrote:
<< the Shach (Yoreh De'a 179:11) ruled that "God" spelled in a foreign
language does NOT have the status of a "shem" and thus may be erased,
lehatkhila.  In fact, the Rav always used "God" in all of the publications
which were reviewed by him during his lifetime.  When one chooses to use "G-d"
he should also be aware that some of the greatest "gedolim" thought it was
unnecessary. >>

Indeed, it may be halachically unnecessary, but I still do it.  My
preferred form uses an asterisk rather than a dash.  Why do I do so?  As
a reminder that anything which we may say about G*d is necessarily
metaphorical.  Spelling out the Name (even in a language other than
Hebrew) would imply that one could speak meaningfully (not just
metaphorically) about G*d.  This is, clearly, an aggadic and not a
Halachic reason.


End of Volume 27 Issue 49