Volume 30 Number 16
                 Produced: Wed Nov 24  6:23:06 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conflicts between Halacha and Tnach
         [Russell Hendel]
Kissing Tzitzis
         [Josh Hoexter]
Negiah (2)
         [Chana Luntz, Gitelle Rapoport]
Of Bicycles and Pogo Sticks and Poskim and Respect
         [Carl SInger]
Sheimot written in Newspapers (4)
         [Josh Backon, Dale Polakoff, Joshua Hosseinof, Yisrael Medad]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Nov 1999 01:45:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Conflicts between Halacha and Tnach

In v30n11 we have Ahron Wolf raises the following
As for monarchy being the ideal torah form of government see the
Abarbanel on parshas Shoftim and in Sefer Shmuel where the people ask
for a king. Also see the Netziv on parshas Shoftim. Both these
authorities do not believe that the monarchy is the ideal form of
government. The Abarbanel holds that monarchy is very bad form of
government indeed and was only allowed as a concession to the Yetzer
Hara of imitating the nations of that era.

But it is well known that creation of a monarchy is a Biblical
commandment according to many authorities. So my general questions are

--do commentaries like the Abarbanel imply a HALACHIC opinion that there
is no commandment of monarchy

--if Abarbanel accepts the halacha does he have a right to let the
negative comments of Samuel on the monarchy override the fact that
commandments are usually positive things to wish for

In other words...what should our attitude be towards commentaries which
base themselves on Agaddic type material in Tnach but avoid discussing
the larger halachic framework on which these issues revolve

[I think I have some problems with the above paragraph. I'm putting this
here to the whole list, since I see similar type posts from many
people. The tone of the last paragraph clearly sends a message to me
when I read it that commentaries like the Abravanel and the Nitziv are
doing something "wrong" and you ask what our attitude should be. I think
a more productive approach is to make sure one knows the range of
halachic opinions on the topic is question (here, whether appointing a
king is a desired positive commandment, or is a requirement only if the
people demand a form of government outside of Sanhedrin/Navi), try and
understand if the halachic issue is dealt with by that reashon or
acharon possibly in a different location. Mod]

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Josh Hoexter <hoexter@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 11:11:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Kissing Tzitzis

Regarding holding the front 2 tzitzis for baruch she'amar and kissing
them afterwards, who has this custom? I know Chabad does it but I don't
remember ever seeing it anywhere else. Is it sephardim and chassidim?
Anyone else?



From: Chana Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 20:51:56 +0000
Subject: Negiah

In message <19991117102236.23440.qmail@...>, Chaim
Mateh <chaimm@...> writes:

>OTOH, the above Shach mentions the Bais Yosef (aka Mechaber aka
>Shulchan Aruch) on the Tur Yoreh Deah 195, towards the end of the
>siman, in D"H "vekosav od", in discusing taking care of a sick person
>(where there's no question that there's no taava), who says, "...but
>according to the Rambam [who holds] that touching an ervah (negiyas
>ervah) is forbidden by the Torah...".  IOW, the Bais Yosef holds that
>the Rambam holds that negiah even without taava is a Torah prohibition.

Rav Henkin shlita discusses this (and other related issues) in Bnei
Banim (vol 1) siman 37.

First of all, he holds that you have to draw a distinction between
hugging and kissing which are much more "b'derech tashmish" (ie sexual)
and mere touching, which he holds even the Rambam only holds is
rabbinic, and not from the Torah - (see part (7) p 124)) where he refers
to the Pnei Yoshua (the Rav of the Shach) in his teshuvas chelek 2 siman
44 as saying that, according the the Rambam, without hugging and kissing
but with touching only there isn't an issur from the Torah even if his
kavanna is chiba and because of this, dancing in a circle isn't an issur
from the Torah...  And if you say that dancing in a circle is like
hugging and kissing and not just touching, this indeed it is not,
because the matter of hugging and kissing are "hiksherim l'tashmish"

Thus Rav Henkin holds that it is only the Rabbanu Yona who holds that
touching is a torah prohibition (and that the quote of the Rashba in the
name of the Rav meant the Rabbanu Yona and not the Rambam).

He then refers to the Beis Yosef you quote above as indicating that the
Beis Yosef held differently about the Rambam, but (inter alia) suggests
that those who conclude that way are making the assumption that what was
done by way of medical care in those days was merely by way of touching.
However, he suggests that in fact medical care was far more invasive
(perhaps he is thinking along the lines of the different kinds of
medical care one would expect today from an ordinary doctor and from a

Rav Henkin does however hold that dancing itself is rabbinically
prohibited (as a fence) but notes that:

a) the RaM M'rotenberg (it is not clear to me whether this is the famour
Maharam m'Rotenburg, one of the last of the baalei tosphos or possibly
his student Rabbi Meir m'Rottemberg, the author of the Haggahos and
Teshuvos Maimuniyos) permitted his children to engage in dancing hand in
hand men and women (and not just with their non-nida wives) a fact
further testified to by Rabbi Avraham ben Moshe m'Sonheim his student;

b) the R"i Maintz (a talmud of the Trumas HaDeshen) was the signatory
with three of his talmidim on a takana in Padua (where he was Rosh
Yeshiva) in the year 5267 that forbad public dancing with *married*
women [the wording of the takana going as follows "The fourth takana we
also decree that they should not dance with married women, no man with a
married female except for the days of Purim but with the single women
they are able to dance....].  I believe that by the time of the ba'alei
tosphos, single women were not going to mikvah, so all the single women
involved in this takana would have been nidos.

Rav Henkin also discusses issues such as looking at a woman (which again
the Rabbanu Yona says is from the Torah, but is more generally held to
be rabbinic), and the widely relied upon heter (from the Rema brought
the shita m'kubetzes meseches ketubos daf 17a) that such looking is
permitted for limited periods [l'fi sha'a] (ie casually) (Interestingly,
he again brings the Pnei Yeshua cited above as distinguishing between
single women and a man's wife on the grounds that a man cannot look at a
single woman, but can touch her, while his wife in nida, he can look at
her, but he can't touch her).

I may be reading too much into his words to suggest that he is linking
casual looking with casual touching (such as a handshake), but he does
hold that the prohibitions are similar, which would suggest that the
same heter would be operable in both cases.  However he clearly does not
see such a heter as extendable to dancing, on the grounds that it is a
form of more sustained touching.

As Moshe Feldman has said, it is a fascinating teshuva that stretches
from p 117 to p 132 (and then some further thoughts on the next two
pages) with two columns per page and covers a range of related matters
and a wealth of sources that I have not discussed here (so in attempting
to summarise, if I have misrepresented Rav Henkin's position, the fault
is my own).  The effort of working through the teshuva oneself is
certainly one I would recommend if you have an interest in this topic.



From: Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 1999 15:09:09 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Negiah

Chaim Mateh writes:

<<OTOH, the above Shach mentions the Bais Yosef...on the Tur Yoreh Deah
195, towards the end of the siman, in D"H "vekosav od", in discusing
taking care of a sick person (where there's no question that there's no
taava), who says, "...but according to the Rambam [who holds] that
touching an ervah (negiyas ervah) is forbidden by the Torah...".  IOW,
the Bais Yosef holds that the Rambam holds that negiah even without
taava is a Torah prohibition.>>

You appear to be correct. But what is really disturbing about the
aforementioned Beit Yosef is his statement that it is possible that the
Rambam holds that, in a situation where the sick woman's life is in
danger, she is niddah and her husband is the only doctor around, he is
prohibited from treating her (which would require touching her), even
for "pikuach nefesh" (saving a life) because the act would be an
"abizra" (appendage? as one listmember suggested) to gilui arayot (most
severe sexual prohibitions). I.e., he would have to let her die rather
than touch her.  The Beit Yosef does say at the end that the matter
"tzarich iyun" -- requires investigation -- but the mere thought boggles
my mind. Does anyone have examples of more recent p'sak on this matter?

Gitelle Rapoport 


From: Carl SInger <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 10:06:31 EST
Subject: Of Bicycles and Pogo Sticks and Poskim and Respect

In one sense, I really don't care much if someone rides his / her
bicycle - or pogo stick, for that matter on Shabbos (or Yom Tov) --
adults are free to make their own life decisions.  And I believe that I
have a good enough rapport with my 9 year old to deal with any "but I
saw plony riding his bicycle, why can't I" issues.

But I must admit that I was taken aback by the statement that Poskim
have banned bike riding on "emotional issues."  This was followed up by
two statements whose structure I hear all too often regarding various
religious matters.

(1) Plony ruled that it's muhter but he (or his kin) say that he
wouldn't dare take a public stand to that effect.

(2) Plony said it was muhter / uhser but later recanted or changed his mind.

That's just not the way that serious halach is addressed.  The Gemorah
in Buba Mynsehs (Parek Mem, Daf Aleph, Amud Daled) clearly states that
anyone can begin with a conclusion and then find justification for same:
whether via the internet, or shopping for Poskim, or selective hearing.

In the secular world there are several anecdotes about lawyers and
physicians who have themselves for a client.  In the Torah world, there
is a simple admonition that one should find for themselves a Rav.

Carl Singer


From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Mon,  22 Nov 1999 12:28 +0200
Subject: Sheimot written in Newspapers

Regarding Shemot written by a gentile: the gemara in Gittin 45b
discusses the topic. A Sefer Torah written by a Min is to be burnt; that
written by a gentile is to be hidden away. The Machaneh Efraim in his
commentary on Yoreh Deah Hilchot Sefer Torah explains why a sefer torah
written by gentile is to be hidden away: he *knows* that when he wrote a
Shem it *was* referring to Hashem. In any case, even if the gentile
*knew* that this is a Shem, according to the Machaneh Efraim, the Chiyuv
(demand) that the Shem gets buried is rabbinical (D'rabbanan).

In this instance (NY Times) the gentile had no idea what he was writing
and thus the shem could be discarded. The only time we burn a Shem is
when the material was written by a missionary (see: Iggrot Moshe YD
Chelek Alef 172).

Josh Backon

From: Dale Polakoff <gns@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 12:03:09 -0500
Subject: Sheimot written in Newspapers

For an analysis in english of the Halachos of Sheimos, see Rabbi Jacob
Schneider's article in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society,
Number 22, Fall 1991.

The issue of "intention" in writing God's name is dealt with in a
Teshuva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Spektor, Responsa Ein Yitzchak, Orach
Chayim, number 5, section 12. Although he writes that clear negative
intentions suffice to prevent the imbuing of sanctity even to a name of
God, there is considerable discussion concerning "stam" or "pareve"
intentions. It would seem from the context of the article which the
illustration accompanied that there was at least "stam" intention, or
perhaps even the intention to write God's name with some degree of
sanctity (otherwise, why choose this word over any other in hebrew -
obviously somebody knew what was being written). Thus the initial
concern that this name should be disposed of properly.

Although Petricic might not have known anything about Sheimos, the
question which really needs to be asked is what did he know about the
name he wrote.

Dale Polakoff

From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 13:27:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sheimot written in Newspapers

It's pretty clear in Yoreh Deah 281:1, "A sefer torah written by an
Apikoros should be burnt, one written by a kena'ani should be put in
Genizah (i.e. buried)".  The Shach and others explain that the term
Apikoros refers to a "Min", someone who had the intention of using the
sefer torah for Avodah Zarah (idol worship).  However the "kena'ani" (or
even a Jewish woman or minor), even if he intended to sell it to Jews to
use for themselves, even so it must be put in Genizah.  So the general
consensus in the case of this NY Times book review would be to put it in
Genizah, since their intention was not Avodah Zarah.

Since I haven't seen the picture from the Times book review (I already
threw mine out), it's possible that someone can make the case that the
newspaper printing of that picture is not real text, but merely dots very
close together that resembles the text to our eyes.  That was one of the
answers I've heard in regards to having the name of Hashem on a computer
(However the Taz in Yoreh Deah 271:8 clearly states that printing has the
same status as writing for the purposes of the kedusha of the text - so in
all likelihood you need to put that page of the Times  Book Review in the
Shaimot box at your shul).

From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 06:49:35 +0200
Subject: Sheimot written in Newspapers

In Volume 30 Number 14 Nov 21 1999, Sam Saal posted about 

>Last Sunday, the New York Times's Book Review section ran an
>illustration that included the four-letter Hebrew word for Yahweh, a
>form of God's name from the Bible. 

Here is Israel, this happens occasionally too.  I think Ha'Aretz's Book
Review Magazine last week discussed Kabbalah and had the Tetragrammaton
in a wall poster.  I don't recall official calls from the Rabbanut or
anything but sometimes in happens.  I also place it in the Genizah box.


End of Volume 30 Issue 16