Volume 28 Number 35
                      Produced: Sun Nov 29  9:41:46 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 Shidduchim
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]
Chelek in Olam Haba
         [Micha Berger]
Doubt vs. Difference of Opinion
         [Art Roth]
Molad in Yiddish
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]
References to suicide in Tanach
         [Zev Barr]
relatives marrying non-Jews: RSVP'ing to wedding invitations
         [Avram Sacks]
Request for Kosher Food
         [Elliott Hershkowitz]
Seeing eye dogs, et al
         [Israel Rubin]
Seven children
         [Gershon Dubin]
Somewhat gross but serious question
         [Sarah & Eliyahu Shiffman]


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Fri, 20 Nov 1998 11:04:54 -0500
Subject: Re: 3 Shidduchim

Chaim Shapiro wrote:
>That line of thinking is very similar to 16th Century Calvinism.  It is
>decided that an individual is worthy of Grace before he is born
>(predestination).  So why behave?  Because you never know if you are a
>chosen one.  However the kind of person who would be chosen would be a
>person who would choose to behave (not that his behavior makes any
>difference at all).

I don't know about Calvinism, but (lehavdil) we find what is apparently
a similar line of reasoning in Jewish sources. Specifically, in the
Tanya (chs. 1 and 9ff), R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains that
tzaddikim (in his definition, people who don't even have a yetzer hara)
are "born" rather than "made," so that most of us can - and therefore,
are expected to - achieve only the level of a beinoni (a person who
still has an active yetzer hara, but constantly suppresses it, and
therefore never actually commits any sins).

The difference between this view and the one Chaim quoted is that, in
the Tanya's system, it's not necessarily true that "the kind of person
who would be chosen" to be a potential tzaddik "would be a person who
would choose" to be one. The capacity to be a tzaddik is like the
capacity to be a great writer, musician, or artist, where the person has
free choice whether to develop this talent; in the case of the tzaddik,
this means to start (like the beinoni) by suppressing his yetzer hara,
and eventually "kill it off," or even to transform it into a force for

>  In other words, evil people have sevon sons.  And while that is
>certainly a bracha from Hashem, to say it speaks to his chalek is an

I would say, based on the above, that (assuming that the original
premise is valid) the fact that Hashem grants someone seven sons tells
us that the they have a special *potential* for greatness (and a special
chelek in Olam Haba), of which the seven sons is an outward sign. But
there's no guarantee that this potential will be translated into
actuality; hence the observed fact, as Chaim says, that we find evil
people who have seven sons.

Kol tuv y'all,


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:23:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: Chelek in Olam Haba

An anomoly that may be relevant. The quote isn't "Yeish lahem cheilek
bi'Olam Haba" (have a part in the World to Come), or "... shel Olam
Haba" (of the World to Come).

Oddly, it's "li'Olam Haba" (to or towards the World to Come). I have no
idea what this means, but I do have the nagging feeling it's important.

Also, the rest of that mishnah then lists exceptions to the rule -- or
at least people who later forfeit their portion. With the complete
quote, you realize there are no guarantees.

In addition, the Rambam (commentary ad loc) defines Olam Haba as being
the union of gan eden and gehennom. So, even having a portion may not be
so wonderful if that portion is one of gehennom. (In contrast, the
Ramban sees OH as the post-revival-of-the-death era.)

Micha Berger (973) 916-0287
<micha@...>                         (11-Jun-82 - 17-Nov-98)
http://www.aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


From: <ajroth@...> (Art Roth)
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 09:12:34 -0600
Subject: Doubt vs. Difference of Opinion

>From Melech Press:

> This debate involves an issur d'oraisa (Torah prohibition) and various 
> great decisors have previously ruled not to rely on the Eruv, in 
> accordance with the principle that a doubt in a Torah prohibition 
> should be resolved stringently.  

When there are two legitimate opinions about something, many people
interpret this to constitute a doubt, and therefore apply the principle
of being strict regarding a Torah prohibition.  I find this approach
troubling for two reasons:
  1. A difference of opinion is not logically the same as a doubt.
According to one opinion, a modern city is DEFINITELY a r"shut harabim,
and according to the other opinion, it is DEFINITELY NOT a r"shut
harabim.  Neither opinion entails doubt, and it is halakhically
justifiable to follow either one.
  2. If a difference of opinion constituted a doubt, it would logically
follow that we should be lenient whenever there is a difference of
opinion about a prohibition which is rabbinically (rather than Torah)
based.  As an example which is very much part of the recent thread of
discussion on Mail-Jewish, the difference of opinion on chalav Yisrael
between Rav Moshe (knowledge OK as substitute for seeing first hand) and
others (knowledge not good enough) would constitute a "doubt", which
should then be resolved leniently since this is clearly a rabbinic
prohibition.  Yes, I know that this difference of opinion is between
relatively recent poskim, while the one about eruv dates back to the
Talmud --- but the criteria for resolving doubts do not at all purport
to depend on when the doubt evolved, and in any case, there are lots of
other rabbinic prohibitions about which there are indeed differences of
opinion which date back to the Talmud.  Just to clarify, I am not
claiming that it is inconsistent for an individual to be strict about
both eruv and chalav Yisrael, but it does seem inconsistent to justify
these simultaneous practices based on "doubt".

Art Roth


From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:52:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Molad in Yiddish

Probably just that since the Shulchan Aruch uses the expression "it is
proper to *know* the molad" (emphasis mine), the gabbai (or whoever) has
to announce it in the vernacular. At one time, for the great bulk of the
Jewish People, this meant Yiddish; even today, many oldsters are more
conversant in Yiddish than in any other language.

Kol tuv y'all,


From: Zev Barr <zevbarr@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 04:19:20 +1100
Subject: References to suicide in Tanach

In this week's Parsha Rachel accosts Yakov to provide a child or she will
take her own life (according to one Midrash).

I would like to ask, aside from battle and battle scenarios(Shaul falls on
his sword, Masada, etc.,) , where does the Tanach detail instances of
people taking their own lives?

Idea: Rachel's plea of desparation brings reminders of our own Kevorkian
age but is not shared by other generations,


PS.  Avi, thanks for your coming back from the dead


From: <Avram_Sacks@...> (Avram Sacks)
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 15:28:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: relatives marrying non-Jews: RSVP'ing to wedding invitations

How do people respond to invitations to weddings of relatives who are
marrying non-Jews, particularly if the relatives are close (but not
within the immediate family) or if your non-attendance would be seen as
a slight?  Dealing with the halacha is only part of the response.  There
is still the social issue.  Is there any halachic basis for attending
the party but not the ceremony.  To what extent should darchai shalom
play a role?  Even if a halachic case can be made (and I am not certain
that it can) for attending the party but not the ceremony, there are
still down sides on several fronts: the relative getting married may
believe that such distinctions are hairsplitting and hypocritical and
indeed, how much less onerous is it really, from both a halachic and
philosophical perspective, to be a part of the *celebration* even if you
are not a *witness* to the union?  What should one say to the relative,
or the relative's parents, in an RSVP if you decide to not attend the
party or ceremony, or both?  Is it better to send regrets and say
nothing, or should one try to explain, either in writing or face to
face, why you can't attend the ceremony and/or party?  Assume that the
relatives identify Jewishly, occasionally attend the synagogue and even
keep a nominally kosher home, but are not dati, and, if pressed, would
probably express the belief that it is more important for people to be
happy and not hurt others than to be concerned about Jewish continuity,
much less halacha.

Avram Sacks
Chicago, IL


From: <EEH43@...> (Elliott Hershkowitz)
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 09:54:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Request for Kosher Food

My experience in industry has been that the caterer of the meeting/event
was asked to supply kosher meals to anyone who requested them.  When the
cater couldn't we were offered a similar sum and asked if we could make
our own arrangements.  This usually meant that one of use had to stop on
the way in or arrange for a cab to pick up the food.  Not too much
difficulty involved even in some pretty remote locations.

The only real oddity was having a Zoroastran -there a still a few
around- sign up for a kosher meal.



From: <Israel_Rubin@...> (Israel Rubin)
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 15:02:32 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Seeing eye dogs, et al

In response to the query about a blind person bringing a seeing eye 
dog into a shul - this issue was addressed by R' Moshe Feinstein ZT'L 
in the first Igros Moshe on Orach Chaim, #54 (I believe, or somewhere 
around there).  He permits it (especially in the Diaspora where the 
shuls are considered to have less of a permanent status).

Someone else asked about the great care taken in writing kesubahs, 
only to ignore their terms in the event of a divorce - the reason such 
great care must be taken with the kesubah is because of a rabbinic 
decree that a husband and wife may not live together without a valid 
enforceable kesubah in place.  Once there is a kesubah in place it is 
a contract like any other contract, and the parties are free to waive 
or trade in their rights under it.

Under most circumstances, a husband cannot be forced to divorce his wife
against his will.  (The Gemara in Kesubos enumerates various exceptions
under which a Bais Din may indeed force a husband to give a Get.)
Likewise a wife cannot, under the Cherem of Rabeinu Gershom, be forced
to accept a Get.  It is because either party has the right to refuse to
go along with the divorce that the actual terms of the divorce will
generally be those negotiated as part of the divorce process, as opposed
to those which are stated in the kesubah.  Before the Cherem of Rabeinu
Gershom, a man divorcing his wife against her will would likely have
been held to the terms of the kesubah (indeed the purpose of the kesubah
was to prevent men from divorcing their wives on a whim).  Likewise a
man forced by a Bais Din to divorce his wife would also be bound by the
terms of the kesubah (though the Gemara lists some exceptions to this).

In regard to the matter of people who don't carry with an eruv but ask 
others to carry for them, it would seem to me that a distinction must 
be made between those who merely do not disapprove of those who carry, 
which can be justified, as several people pointed out, and those who 
actually ask other people to carry on their behalf which seems 
inconsistent any way you look at it.  To the extent that a person 
feels that it is worthy to be stringent in his own actions, he should 
be equally stringent about what he causes other people to do.

As an aside, Alexander Heppenheimer mentions (#27) the opinion of the 
Baal HaTanya who held that the poles of an Eruv must be no more than 
15-20 feet apart - this is actually the opinion of the Rambam and 
several other Rishonim, and is quoted in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 362:10.  
(the Mishna Berurah says it's worthy to be stringent in this matter).  
Actually it's not completely clear that even making the poles within 
15-20 feet of each other make such an eruv kosher according to the 
Rambam (since all the poles together add up to more than 15-20 feet), 
but the Chasam Sofer, and possibly others, say that the Rambam would 
permit such an eruv. 

Lastly, Yeshaya Halevi (#26) relates a story about a Rav who looked 
favorably at a man greasing his axles as he davened - this is one of a 
series of such stories told about R' Levy Yitzchok of Berdichev.


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 00:14:21 -0500
Subject: Seven children

Dr. Hendel has, as usual, a novel theory as to why a person with seven
sons supposedly goes straight to Heaven (Aside from the witticism that
they have already "done their time" in Gehenom): that seven is the
number past which one cannot support their family.  If so, why is it
only seven boys?



From: Sarah & Eliyahu Shiffman <sarash1@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 01:02:06 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Somewhat gross but serious question

Does anyone have any information on whether a non-Jewish woman who has
just given birth eating the placenta contravenes the Noahide prohibition
against eating the limb of a living creature? Amongst some of those who
subscribe to "natural birth" practices, eating the placenta is sometimes
prescribed for women experiencing excessive uterine bleeding after the
birth. I imagine that there are two issues involved: 1) whether eating a
placenta contravenes the Noahide prohibition; and if so, 2) given that
the woman is in a pikuah nefesh situation, is the probition
over-ridden. And, while we're at it, I'm interested to know what the
halacha would be for a Jewish woman in the same situation.

Eliyahu Shiffman
Beit Shemesh, Israel


End of Volume 28 Issue 35