Volume 29 Number 70
                 Produced: Mon Aug 30 12:24:52 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kosher certification for non-Orthodox functions
         [Zvi Weiss]
Morality of slavery
         [Chana Luntz]
Restrictive vs Liberal
         [Russell Hendel]
Second Class Yeshiva Students
         [Stuart Wise]
Weapons (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Binyomin Segal]
Yasher Coach to Ellen--Feasability of Teaching Torah her way
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 22:49:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Kosher certification for non-Orthodox functions

> From: Marc Sacks <msacks@...>
> If Kashruth organizations start withdrawing certifications from events or
> places that do not meet their standards for frumheit, then consider the
> following scenario:
> My son's Bar Mitzvah is coming up in October.  It will be in a
> Conservative synagogue, followed by a kiddush brunch and a party at the
> shul in the evening.  There will be a DJ at the party and lots of dancing.
> Conforming to the rules of the synagogue, all food and caterers must be
> officially kosher.  However, mixed dancing does not matter to
> Conservatives; for that matter, it doesn't matter to any Orthodox
> relatives we plan to invite, most of whom came of age and developed their
> religious practice at a time when such things weren't considered very
> important.
> Now, the question:  If any event with mixed dancing could not get Orthodox
> kosher certification, how could this Bar Mitzvah party be handled?  Non-O
> certification would not work, because the Orthodox folks do care about
> kosher food standards.

 Personally, I do not think that there will be a problem.  When a
caterer goes "off-base" to another site, I am pretty certain that there
is no question that the Supervising Agency is only providing
certification to the Caterer and takes no responsibility for anythign
else (this is *almost* exactly the original issue that R. Moshe
decided).  the controversy here has been because the "Glatt YAcht" (and
other examples) involved the "base site" such that the *proprietor* was
not only providing Kosher food -- but a "whole package" -- which was
unacceptable to the Certifying organization.
 BTW, if there was a case of a "Strip joint" (or Nevada Brothel)
ordering Kosher Food to be brought in, I *doubt* that there would be any
basis for the Certifying Organization to object.....



From: Chana Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 20:05:51 +0100
Subject: Re: Morality of slavery

On the topic of an eved c'nani (as opposed to an eved ivri), I think it
might be helpful to bring down some of the sources on the subject, so
that at least people can see what the halacha is, rather than what they
understand the halacha to be from reading the Torah or various bits of
gemorra - for this reason I quote the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 267:

3: An eved who is acquired from a non Jew they say to him is it your
will that you enter into the category of an avdei Yisroel and be made
kosher or not, and if he wants, you make known to him the essence of the
religion, and a few of the easy and difficult mitzvos and punishment and
reward like you make known to a ger [convert] ...

4: One who acquires an adult eved from a non Jew and the eved does not
want to be circumcised it can be put off for 12 months, but more than
that it is forbidden to remain with him uncircumcised rather one must
return and sell him to a non Jew. [The Rema hold slightly differently,
if one makes a tannai that he will remain uncircumcised he can,
especially where it is forbidden by the general law to convert him, but
he remains in the status set out in 9 and 17 below, ie a complete non
Jew, not an eved c'nani].

5: If one circumcises his eved and tovels [immerses him in a mikvah] him
against his will l'shem avdus [for the sake of servitude] he hasn't done
anything. [Rema if he does so wish to be toyveled, and he carries out
all the mitzvas of an eved, the master can free him afterwards against
his will]

9: One who acquires an eved from a non Jew does not acquire the body of
him until he is toyveled l'shem avdus.  Therefore if before he toyvels
l'shem ben chorin [freedom] behold he is free. [discussion in the Rema
about monetary payment, and what happens if somebody suggests to the
eved that he toyvels l'shem ben chorin - the one who suggests is patur
from paying, but the eved has a debt on him to pay off the master his

17 One who acquires a non Jewish eved from a Jew or a non Jew and also a
non Jew who sells himself to a Jew or sells his sons or daughters,
behold they are as an eved c'nani but that one which is acquired from a
non Jew his body is not acquired only the work of his hands ... and for
all of them all the time that they have not had tevilla l'shem avdus
hthey are a non Jew in all matters and after tovelling l'shem avdus he
is an eved and is chayav in mitvas like a woman and with this eved it is
permitted to work him harshly [b'farech] but even though the din [law]
is so from midus chassidus and darchei chachama [the ways of wisdom] he
should be a merciful master and should not make heavy the yoke on his
eved and not anguish him and shall feed him from all food and drink and
shall not shame him not with his hand and not with words and not
multiply for him yellings and anger rather speak with him calmly and
listen to his complaints. [There seems to be some discussion as to
whether the shaming with hands and/or words is midus chassidus or din
for which you need to pay - see  Nida 47a  where Shmuel paid his
maidservent 400 zuz for shaming her.  Tosfos explains that is to save
himself from punishment, because in terms of payment, he didn't owe her
since payment for shame goes to the master. The Beis Hillel seems to
learn from this that there is an obligation to apease]

26-36 deals with what kinds of injuries need to be inflicted before the
eved goes free - it is a detailed list, but includes the tips of his
fingers and his ears.

80: One who sells his eved to a non Jew or a ger toshav the eved goes
out to freedom ... 

84: An eved who says he wants to make aliya to Israel they force his
master to make aliya with him or to sell him to one who will make aliya.
If the master wants to go out of Israel he may not take out his eved
unless he wishes, and this is true in all times, even when Eretz Yisroel
is in the hands of non Jews.

85: An eved who flees from outside Israel to Israel you do not return
him to servitude and upon him it is said (Devarim 23:16) You shall not
deliver to his master...

Zvi Weiss <weissz@...> writes:
> esp. because the Torah states that in regard to Eved Kanaani -- there
>is a specific imperative of "L'olam Bahem Ta'avodu" -- i.e., if you
>HAVE an eved Knaani, you are expected NOT to ever free the Eved...
>And, I cannot comprehend a "higher morality" that would CONTRADICT the

I have seen statements like this repeated by a number of posters, but
like most things in halacha, it is not necessarily so simple (ie this is
not held by everybody). As the Sde Chemed sets out Chelek daled mareches
shin clal 21 there are three opinions on the matter:

- it is a comandment of the Torah (Zvi's position)
- it is a rabbinical commandment
- it is midus chassidus.

The holder of the last including the Ritva. The problem with holding the
first position, although it is held by the majority of poskim, is that
it is also held l'halacha that an eved can be freed for a d'var mizvah
even a rabbinical one [some who hold it is d'orisa circumvent this by
limiting this to a mitzva l'rabbim [the community, eg for a minyan],
which even for a d'orisa many hold that you can do, ie you can uproot a
mitzva aseh d'orisa l'tzorech rabbim]. - and also that a maidservant who
is conducting herself in a hefker manner [ie immoral manner] we force
the master to free her in order that she will marry and turn aside a
stumbling block (Shulchan Aruch 267:79).
 As a consequence of this, the Sde Chemed cites various achronim who
state that given that the Ritva and the Ran do not hold it is from the
Torah, we are makil even in the case of a safek d'rabbanan - although
the Sde Chemed does find this last surprising.

Kind regards



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 22:43:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Restrictive vs Liberal

Zvi Weiss in MJ V29n58 asks "Why is 'Kosher food' a RESTRICTIVE
interpretation of a contract while 'Kosher atmosphere' a LIBERAL

Simple. "Kosher Atmosphere" INCLUDES BOTH food and other matters.
Thus "food only" is the restrictive or NARROWER interpretation
and must be followed (unless stipulated otherwise)

Russell Hendel; Ph.d, A.S.A;
Moderator Rashi Is Simple


From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 16:42:30 -0700
Subject: Re: Second Class Yeshiva Students

As a former scholarship student, I can appreciate what you say, but I
was more than happy to do something that would somehow offset the money
my parents couldn't afford to meet their full obligation.  It's hakoras
ha-tov, showing appreciation.  I don't doubt there are some
improprieties that go on, but I went through yeshiva and have children
now in yeshiva, and I cannot recall a single time I was meant to feel
any less than equal, and from parents whom I know who cannot afford full
tuition, I have not heard them complain about the way their children are
being treated..


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 21:51:25 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Weapons

> In vol. 29 #62 Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>) writes:
> As a writer, I'd like to ask the members of mail-jewish if they too have
> now (after the Chicago and LA shootings) rethought their positions on guns
> to the point where they actually bought one.  I welcome responses both
> via mail-jewish and/or sent directly to me at <Chihal@...>

For five years now I have legally carried a concealed handgun here in
Louisiana, so I guess you can say that the shootings have not changed my
position!  :-)

A few years ago in this forum I discussed the Halachic issues of using
guns; these posts might be archived somewhere.  I was warned not to
stray from the halachic aspects of this controversial topic, so let me
just say that I am willing to discuss the topic offline, either via
e-mail (<fs@...>) or by phone (504/866-2160).

[You can find submissions in vol13 #16,19,23 and vol17 #9,14,24,51. Mod]

I suggest that any readers interested in the gun issue as it relates to
Jews and Judaism visit the website of the JPFO (Jews for the
Preservation of Firearms Ownership) at www.jpfo.org -- they're a little
more strident than the NRA, but I basically agree with their position.
In particular, see www.jpfo.org/askrabbi.htm for a firearms FAQ on the
religious and pragmatic aspects of armed self-defense, Rv. Mermelstein,
an Orthodox rabbi from South Africa.

Frank Silbermann

From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 18:19:35 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Weapons

 Yeshaya Halevi asked 
  * As a writer, I'd like to ask the members of mail-jewish if they too have
  * now rethought their positions on guns to the point where they actually
  * bought one.  I welcome responses both via mail-jewish and/or sent
  * directly to me at <Chihal@...>

I have not so much rethought (in the sense of coming to a new conclusion)
but have thought again (in the sense that i once more reviewed why i am
where i am).

I had two immediate gut reactions to the news:
1. Although I don't always go, this Shabbos I was going to shul Saturday

2. I should learn how to operate, and carry a concealed gun. If someone
shoots, I want to shoot back (and more accurately).

I did go to shul that evening, I did however not buy a gun. There are a
number of reasons:
1. I am not at all comfortable with a gun being in the same home as a
young (curious and intelligent) child.
2. It is not legal to carry a concealed weapon here and if I can't carry
it, then it would not be available to shoot back. I am not willing to
break the law in this regard.
3. It does not seem reasonable to get a gun until I am comfortable using
it. And this is not a high enough priority to spend that needed time.

Reason 3 is especially relevant to another possibility I consider
occasionaly. My gun advocate friends remind me that Nazi Germany used
strict gun control to insure that jews could not fight back. I have
considered therefore buying a gun (or two) and placing them in a safety
deposit box - just in case.

A number of factors have stopped me from doing this so far including a
sense that this is beyond what God expects me to do to prepare. Especially
given what I would have to give up (time wise) to be able to do this. If I
was already skilled in gun operation, it might be different - but then
again it might not since my wife is adamantly against buying a gun and I
don't often fight her where she is this clear.

Not sure this is all very clear and logical, but it is a reflection of my
ambivalent thoughts.



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 23:00:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yasher Coach to Ellen--Feasability of Teaching Torah her way

In Mail Jewish v29n61 Ellen Krischer writes that

>TORAH!!!!  As opposed to what many schools are teaching now which is some
>mish-mash of Torah, halacha and drash.  Most kids in today's yeshivot have
>no idea that the story of Avraham and the pit of fire isn't in the text.
>They have no clue that most of what they learn about Noah just plain doesn't
>appear. They have no clue that the text does not explain why Moshe is not
>allowed to go into the land of Israel.  And on and on.

>I don't want my children to learn Bible stories.  I want them to learn
>Bible.  Yes, I also want them to learn history, halacha, drash, etc, etc.
>each in its time and in its context.

Yasher Coach! All I want to add is that IT CAN BE DONE. I spent two
years of my life teaching Chumash and Rashi to several 7-11 year olds I
can personally testify that we learned the text and I encouraged them to
do the type of analysis that leads to Rashi's commentaries.

Although I have been told that "this is too sophisticated for high
school students" nevertheless I actually witnessed 7 year olds come up
with good, clean explanations of many Rashis. And these 7 year olds knew
the difference between text and midrash. So IT CAN BE DONE.

I have 400 pages of notes (if anyone wants to see them)--they form 100
sets of "question and answer" sheets for grade school children.  Many of
the methods I developed then can now be found on my Rashi website. I
should also hasten that people who are interested can find many good
books on the subject (Dr Leibowitz "Studies in Rashi", Dr Bonchek "What
is bothering Rashi", Dr Zornberg "Genesis")

Dr Hendel; Visit my Rashi website;http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


End of Volume 29 Issue 70