Volume 30 Number 62
                 Produced: Mon Jan  3  8:04:39 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anonymous Poskem
         [Carl Singer]
Cholov Yisroel (3)
         [Gershon Dubin, Carl Singer, David Goldreich]
Jewish references in Christian prayer (2)
         [Anthony S Fiorino, Bill Bernstein]
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz]
Kollels in America
         [Joel Rich]
Maoz Tzur
         [Adler, Emanuel]
Rav Y.Y. Weinberg
         [Ari Z. Zivotofsky]
Secular Knowledge
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz]


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 07:13:55 EST
Subject: Re: Anonymous Poskem

If a person finds himself in the midst of the desert (or dessert, for
that matter) with no Poskim save for his internet or telephone then he
might consider establishing a relationship (via email or phone) with a
Posik (who somehow has the time and gedult - patience) who can learn his
situation and possibly respond accordingly to certain simple issues --
is the "kosher gelatin" in the dessert (with the "K" on the box) really
kosher.  The Posik might determine that living in the desert that the
dessert is kosher -- but living in New York, there are better

If on the other hand there is a married couple living in the dessert and
having had seven children (five by C-section), four miscarriages, two
children with significant genetic defects (what ever that means) etc.,
etc., -- and they need to determine whether it is OK to (temporarily?)
use contraception, I dare say they can't / shouldn't shop the internet
for an answer.

The problem is that today we have people who live in communities that
might be called a "makom Torah" yet they skirt the community Rabbaim and
jump on the telephone for shailahs.  Is is not a proper derech,
halachikly or socially.

In the desert situation, the answer is clearly one of community
standards, and a "good" Posik will probably refer you back to your local
community Rabbaim.  In the question of contraception, you should
probably go through your trusted local Rabbi, who will work with you and
as needed get appropriate advice and guidance from a Gadol.

Carl Singer


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 16:31:40 -0500
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

 From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
<< There's an old Yiddish adage that siz schver tzu zayn a Yid -- it's
difficult to be a Jew, this is oft misinterpretted.  Adherence to
halacha has strong components of discipline, attention (focus),
propriety and learning -- BUT unlike many other religions, adherence to
Jewish religious is not based on self-deprivation and "doing without."

I don't "do without" lobster; I just don't eat it because it's not the
proper derech for a Yid.  (Whether lobster tastes good or not is
irrelevant -- I don't know and I don't care.)>>

	Two points;  in reverse order:

1.  The Gemara says that on the contrary, a person should say "I would
love to eat nonkosher food, but Hashem says no.  So the better it tastes
the more schar we get for refraining.

2. Rav Moshe says in his sefer on Chumash (Dorash Moshe) in many places
that the phrase "siz schver tzu zayn a Yid" is wrong, and was the cause
of much of the weakening of American Orthodoxy in prewar days.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 1999 17:10:36 EST
Subject: Re: Cholov Yisroel

<gershon.dubin@...> writes:

<< Two points;  in reverse order: [See above. Mod.] >>

I am aware of the Gemorah re: nonkosher food being tasty, and thus that
we are giving up something of value to demonstrate our adherence to
Torah -- I thought of quoting it in my original discussion but felt it
took away from the main point, that "harder" is not better.

Indeed the phrase "siz schver tzu zayn a Yid" is wrong -- there are
people make up excuses in an attempt to rationalize their actions and
lifestyle.  And as Reb Moshe points out there are many who have used the
above phrase as rationalization.

Taken together the two concepts are inconsistent when looked at in the
wrong light.  The first implies sacrifice in order to adhere to Torah,
and the second reiterates that it is therefore difficult to be a (Torah)
Jew.  People who associate adherence to Torah with sacrifice -- giving
up things of worth -- have a particularly hard row to hoe.  Let me
assert, respectfully, that either their parents or their mentors taught
them "rules" but not the Ahavas Torah.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer

From: David Goldreich <dgoldreich@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:02:35 GMT
Subject: Cholov Yisroel

When discussing cholov yisroel, (MJ Vol 30, #48) Eliezer Shemtov
points out 

> Sometimes one finds oneself in an UNUSUAL situation where a
> Chumroh might lead to a kulo or even an Isur.

I don't think that such situations are at all unusual.  Just a quick
story to illustrate this point regarding cholov yisroel:

A couple of years back I was honoured to have one of the most prominent
and widely respected rabbanim in Britain as the mohel of my son.  After
the bris, he asked me for a coffee with milk.  I responded that I only
had "regular milk" (i.e. cholov stam).  Without any hesitation he said
"that's fine."  He poured the milk into his coffee and drank it.

Because of this incident, my (already considerable) respect for this rav
increased even further.  I presume that he normally drinks cholov
yisroel, but chose to drink cholov stam to avoid making me uncomfortable
or embarrassed.

David Goldreich


From: Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:53:56 -0500
Subject: Jewish references in Christian prayer

> Living in a pluralistic society with co-workers and neighbors who are
> "devout" Catholics, I from time to time stumble across Christian (more
> specifically Catholic) seemingly copying of Jewish prayer.  HaMavidil,
> saying words that appear to be translations of Jewish prayer.  Kadosh,
> (three times) with "Sanctom" (three times) and now I read in the local
> paper about a door being opened on x-mas day with the words "open for me
> the gates of justice" -- seemingly peetchu lee sharey tzedik.

Early Christians, who obviously were Jews, had more or less the same
seder hatefila as did other Jews of the bayit sheini period (worth
pointing out that given the sectarianism of the period there was a wide
variety of prayer services - in fact birkat haminim was added to
shemomeh esrei to discourage various sectarians, including early
Christians, from praying together with rabbinic Jews). Elements of the
seder hatefila have been preserved in Catholic services, in particular
kedusha and a reading of Bible passages (from Tanach and the New

> This may be zman bittle Torah, but I was wondering to what extent other
> religions have copied our prayers and our theology.  The Torah relevant
> issue is a determination of whether a member of a specific religion is
> considered an "avodah zorah" or believes in our G-d.  This distinction
> governs interaction with him or her.

It is unclear how a religion copying or preserving Jewish rituals or
prayers would impact the question of avoda zara.  That is a theological
issue.  For Christians, the question is whether shituf, the association
of G-d with a human being, is permitted (while clearly forbidden for
Jews, there is a machlochet regarding the question as it applies to

-Eitan Fiorino

From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 11:36:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Jewish references in Christian prayer

In MJ 30.54 Carl asked about Christian "copying" of Jewish prayers and
cited a couple of examples.  I think all of the examples he mentions
come from the "Old Testament" (i.e. what Christians call Tanach) and
Psalms is certainly the source for a lot of Jewish prayers, as it is for
Christian ones too.  I have heard that in Lutheran churches the pastor
at the end of the service stands up and says "y'varechecha Hashem
v'yishmarecha etc", obviously copied from birkas kohanim.  However I am
not sure whether this has any bearing on whether Christians are
idol-worshippers or not, simply because they copy the form and phrases
from our scripture.


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 08:32:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Kollel

Chaim Mateh wrote:

  > Becoming a serious Talmid Chochem is not
  > as easy as becoming a doctor.  And now that I think about it, at what
  > age does a medical student "go out into the world to do for the
  > community"?  Before age 23-24?  Not that this would change anything, but
  > I was just curious.

  I find it interesting that you bring the example of a doctor into this

  Most American medical schools will not even consider an applicant
unless he has done a certain amount of volunteer work in an emergency
room or something similar.



From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 08:23:23 EST
Subject: Re: Kollels in America

<<  From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>

 I once heard Rabbi Yakov Weinberg speaking in Passaic, New Jersey, on
 the subject of Parashas Vayetzei.  He started by asking the famous
 Rabbi Weinberg went on to point out that this should not come to us as
 a surprise.  Many people in the room where he was speaking could
 remember Newark and the thriving Jewish community that was once there
 with dozens of shuls, large and small, and schools and stores and
 mikvahs, but no yeshiva.  So when the winds of social change hit Newark
 in the 1950's and early 60's, the entire community abandoned the city.
 This does not happen in communities that have a yeshiva (and better yet,
 a kollel).  Those communities live and thrive as long as the root of the
 community, the yeshiva, lives and thrives.  Passaic, as a community,
 suffered much of what Newark did.  But Passaic has a yeshiva, and
 therefore it also continues to host several synagogues and whole
 Orthodox communities that are not directly connected to the yeshiva, but
 which benefit from the existence of the yeshiva none the less.  >>

While the thesis regarding kollelim may be correct, Passaic as an
example doesn't work at all LA"D(in fact in some ways its pum fakert[the
opposite]).  While I only lived there for 3 years in the mid 70's I can
tell you that the kollel did not start there until the mid 70's -- well
after the Newark riots of 1967 and the Jewish Diaspora that followed
shortly thereafter.  In fact the "old" Passaic orthodox community (you
can still find sfarim from the early 20th century with the list of
sponsors including Passaic folks) was in downtown Passaic and is long
gone.  The new community is in Passaic Park - which includes a mix of
older and newer housing.  It was particularly the availability of
reasonably older, low cost, larger homes (and the welcome mat put out by
the already existing orthodox community -- which was not Yeshivish) that
have allowed the kollel to flourish there.

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich


From: Adler, Emanuel <EAdler@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:08:39 -0500
Subject: Maoz Tzur

This is fast becoming untimely, but re Maoz Tzur:
The first stanza ends "Oz egmor b'shir mizmor chanukas hamizbeach." There is
a custom to sing (or sort of chant) the chapter of "Mizmor shir chanukas
habayis ledovid" after lighting chanukah candles. (this custom is more
widespread after davening on Chanukah mornings).
Could it be that maoz tzur was composed as an introduction to Mizmor shir,
with the first stanza repeated as a refrain ending with "oz egmor...",
similar to Koh Keilee on yom tov which serves as an intro to Ashrei Yoshvei


From: Ari Z. Zivotofsky <azz@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 12:31:57 -0500
Subject: Rav Y.Y. Weinberg

I have been asked to post the following:

I know that many people on this list have an interest in R. Yehiel
Yaakov Weinberg, especially since he has been the subject of a good deal
of controversy recently. I would therefore like to inform everyone that
my biography of this great scholar has just appeared. It is titled
"Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy" and can be ordered
directly from the distributor by calling 1-800-944-6190. I would love to
receive any comments, corrections etc. from readers.

                            Marc Shapiro


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:03:12 -0500
Subject: Secular Knowledge

  > Another point to ponder is the "quality" of a full-time Rav versus a
  > part-time Rav.

  Let me just clarify that my response is not regarding the benefits of
being a Rav full-time or part-time, but instead regarding the nature of
his knowledge.

  > Compare 
  >  (1) full-time Rav who puts in a good few hours (or most of) a day
  > learning and/or dealing with Hallachic issues as his work (such as a Rav
  > in the Kashrus industry), whose memory banks are filled mostly with
  > Torah things,
  >  (2) part-time Rav, who may be a computer person or biology/law
  > professor from 8-5 (and more), and gives shiruim/lectures during the
  > weekday evenings and Shabbos. His memory banks are filled with lots of
  > biology, law, computers, business, etc, and also Torah.

  > Not to confuse the above with the benifits or nonbenifits of a secular
  > education.  I'm talking about after that stage.  I think Rav S.R.Hirsch
  > was a full-time Rav even though he had an advanced secular degree.

  My issue here is that you seem to draw a clear line between "secular
education" and "Torah things." I would hope that any Rav, whether
full-time or part-time, understands enough of the "secular" world in
order to do his job. In many cases, I can see how knowledge of biology,
law, computers, business, etc. would be absolutely mandatory for a Rav
to know and understand in order to do his job properly.

  Consider a situation where one is aware of a motion detection system
that turns on a light. If you wanted to ask a Rav about the
permissibility of walking near this on Shabbat, would you prefer to ask
a Rav who had spent all his time studying the laws of Shabbat, or would
you prefer to ask one who had studied enough of both Shabbat and
engineering, and understood how the mechanism worked?



End of Volume 30 Issue 62