Volume 30 Number 69
                 Produced: Wed Jan  5  7:11:23 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baruch Yosef
         [Carl and Adina Sherer]
Bicycle Riding and nature of Psak
         [David Kaye]
         [Stuart Wise]
Problem Kids
         [Russell Hendel]
Publication of Standards for Hechsherim
         [Oren Popper]
State of Israel Bonds
         [Rabbi Bulka]


From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 23:04:55 +0200
Subject: Baruch Yosef

As a rule, no news is good news with Baruch Yosef. But I wanted to let
you all know that he has MRI's tomorrow (Tuesday) between 3:30 and 4:30
P.M. Israel time (8:30-9:30 A.M. US Eastern time) and again on Sunday
from 12:30-2:00 P.M. Israel time (5:30-7:00 A.M. Eastern US
time). Anyone who can say a few Tehillim for him then will be greatly
appreciated. Thanks.

[second message on: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 23:47:58 +0200]

Just wanted to let you all know that we have the preliminary reports
from the first set of MRI's today and Baruch Hashem, the improvement
from the last two sets continues. Please keep us in mind for the second
set on Sunday. Thanks.

-- Carl

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: David Kaye <David.Kaye@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2000 19:07:00 +0100 
Subject: Bicycle Riding and nature of Psak

A quick note of correction on Fred Dweck's comments about riding a
bicycle on Shabbos.
 1) It is certainly true that he reflected the opinion of the Ben Ish
Chai and Moreinu HaRav Ovadya Yosef Shalita correctly. However there are
many Sefardi Poskim who have written that riding a bicycle on Shabbos is
prohibited. See for example, Shut. Yaskil Avdi 3:12-5 where he prohibits
this. I suggest that the interested person also note Rav Hodaya's
comments about the psak of the Ben Ish Chai. See also Kaf HaChaim 404:8
and Rav Chaim Dovid Halevi's Mekor Chaim 159:16 (he was the Sefardic
Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv/Yafo). In any case it should be noted that the
Ashkenazik Poskim prohibit its use. Se for example, Shut. Tzitz Eliezer

 2) As to the comment that those who prohibit do so on emotional
grounds, the following appears in order: The nevi'im after Moshe
Rabbeinu had but one message to deliver: "Zichru Toras Moshe avdi." The
only prophet permitted to record a Torah, a prophecy of instruction from
the Creator of the world, was Moshe Rabbeinu. Issuing a psak, and
thereby claiming implicitly that it reflects the intent of Hashem, is an
awesome responsibility. The Maharshal, in his comments to B.K. 38a
offers a highly dramatic application of this awesome responsibility. He
says that it is tantamount to idolatry to say something false in the
name of Halacha. If forced to do so, a person must forfeit his life
rather than utter a Halachic falsehood. The very same punishment is
meted out to a false prophet as to an idolater, for both falsify our
world's fundamental source of truth, the Divine Word of the Giver of
Torah. The introduction of "political correctness" into the writings and
teachings of those who lay claim to the prophetic mantle worn by the
teacher of Torah truths, is therefore viewed as a capital offense
tantamount to the three cardinal sins! Now, notwithstanding the fact
that both the Written and Oral Torah are of Divine origin, some element
of subjectivity is to be found in every human transmission or
determination, even of religious truths. Halacha is determined through
human wisdom. It may not be determined through inspiration and it
therefore is bound to be subjective. Chazal recognized this element even
in prophecy, the most direct and unadulterated form of communicating
Hashem's will to man, when they said (Yevamos 49b), "All the prophets
looked through an aspaklaria she'eina me'ira. Moshe Rabbeinu, however,
looked through an aspaklaria ha-me'ira." Unlike Moshe Rabbeinu, the
other nevi'im received their messages through visions that lacked the
untarnished objectivity of a perfect mirror; to some extent their own
personality colored the transmission.  Every qualified Rav has the right
and indeed, the obligation, to use his own knowledge and discernment in
reaching an Halachic decision. This having been said, subjective
considerations or volitional inclinations may never be allowed to
consciously influence scholarly opinion. The Rav may not inject the
dictates of his subjective conscience his personal bias or whims, into
his choice of precedents, arguments, or conclusions. Torah study
requires first and foremost intellectual honesty. It's a travesty of the
Halachic process to begin with a preconceived conclusion and then
attempt to justify it by means of Halachic dialectic. The law must be
determined on its own merit and let the chips fall where they may. It is
to be recognized that being human, the Rav is subject to various
influences, and his judgment may be colored by non-objective
considerations, but this is different from a conscious employment of
such subjective elements imposed on what are otherwise objective
criteria of Halacha (as a perfect example see Rambam Hil. M'lachim 5:7
about living in Egypt). To say that our Poskim prohibit riding a bicycle
on Shabbos for "emotional" reasons is sheer audacity, and, to say the
least, a fundamental diminution of the trust we must place in them. This
is especially so when they delineate their reasons for prohibiting this
activity (be it shema y'takein, uvda d'chol, etc. I note also that I
recall my great illustrious Rebbe, HaRav HaGaon R. Tuvia Goldstein
Shalita, giving 3 shiurim on the issue of bicycles and Shabbos - a total
of 4.5 hours!) See also See Ediyos 5:6,7

Y. Dovid Kaye


From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:51:57 -0800
Subject: Re: Kollel

About the kollel issue: there are many interesting responses, but I
would like to comment on a couple of points.

First, Rena's comment that people should be encouraged to sit and learn
-- since, she says, this is the "preferred activity" -- reminds me of
the girls of some yeshivos who seemingly are programmed to believe that
the only worthwhile boy to marry is one who is going to sit and learn
and kollel.  This attitude probably is more damaging than anything else
in encouraging "non-learners" to become less observant.

Learning is our obligation, but for many it is NOT an enjoyable activity
-- nor are mitzvos always meant to be enjoyed -- but there is such
obvious praise for those who choose to sit and learn that it fosters low
esteem in those who either intellectually can never excel in Torah
learning or are fervently religious but just don't find learning an
activity they enjoy.  It is no secret that trouble children also come
from rabbinic families, and there is a chance that the trouble stems
from the fact that the child cannot or chooses to not live up to the
rabbinic family's expectations.

I myself did not feel I can sit and learn for long in beis medrash and
it truly affected my dating because of the narrow-mindedness of people
who just viewed me as a non-learner, disregarding the fact that I had a
regular daily seder of an hour and a half.  Likewise, the joke was that
anyone who wanted an advantageous shidduch merely had to plunk himself
down in Lakewood Yeshiva, and would find that shidduch sooner than
later. (I understand that the practice in recent years is that bochurim
at Lakewood are forbidden to date for the first few months they're
there; can anyone confirm that?).

Those who really want to sit and learn don't need the encouragement, and
those who need to be encouraged should be let to find their own path to
fulfillment.  But to be quite honest, even if I had the desire to sit in
learn, I would have not done so, because as a healthy adult male, I
would find it degrading to be financially supported by someone else.
Unfortunately, a lot of people don't mind taking, and I have read
numerous letters to the likes of Rebbetzin Jungreis that criticize these
guys who have a bad case of entitlement.

On the issue of yeshivas maintaining a neighborhood: I would like to
note that Yeshiva Chaim Berlin moved out of its original neighborhood
when not enough of the student body lived there anymore to make logistic
sense.  Likewise, the Yeshiva of Philadelphia was not able to save the
neighborhood.  People involved in the yeshiva live around the yeshiva,
but most people moved anyway.  So I guess there is no real proof about
the power of a yeshiva.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 20:24:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Problem Kids

'Problem kids' seems to have been discussed at length for the past dozen
or so issues. Since I strongly believe that Talmud Torah is a
(psychological) solution to everything I have 3 follow up questions/
suggestions which don't seem to have been discussed yet.

1) ARE THESE PROBLEM KIDS REALLY LEARNING? Here is my point: Frequently
I meet a bachur in a yeshiva and ask him 'What are you learning? Can you
summarize this sugya which you just learned?'. Many yeshiva students go
thru the motions of learning 50-100 hours a week but do NOT RETAIN
anything. So in conclusion I would like to see studies of RETENTION in
Yeshiva students as well as correlations between retention and behavior

ACCOMPLISHMENT: Rav Simcha Wasserman personally told me a story of a 1st
grader problem kid. Rav Simchah asked the teachers what part he had in a
Purim play. They answered that he was one of the trees in Achashveyros'
garden. Rav Simchah suggested making him Haman. The problems of this kid
then disappeared. There are many vehicles for giving students a sense of
accomplishment eg i) learning mishnayoth by heart, ii) giving divray
torah at sheva bracoth, iii) laining, iv) being a baal tefilah. In fact
there is a synagogue in Long Beach, NY, Bachuray Chemed which was
founded for the sole purpose of allowing teenagers to 'participate' in
services. Teenagers run the whole service (under bar mitzvah say psookay
dzimrah, the teenagers are chazzanim and lain).

3) COMMENTS AT A RECENT NEFESH CONFERENCE: It is my understanding that
at a recent nefesh conference on Mental Health it was pointed out that
secular studies of problem kids show that special programs for them can
have the reverse effect since it allows them to congregate with each
other and learn from each other.  Does anyone know EXACTLY what was
said? Are there any plans to study effects of special Yeshivas for these

Russell Hendel; Math; Towson University
Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Oren Popper <oren@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 22:50:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Publication of Standards for Hechsherim

In MJ 30#59 Perets Mett wrote:
> According to the rulings of its parent Beth Din, the only milk allowed
> is Cholov Yisroel and all bread is Pas Yisroel. Mezonos rolls are
> specifically permitted on airline meals in accordance with the Psak of
> the Av Beth din, Rav H Padwa Shlita.
> The shechita includes a number of hidurim, including no post-shechita
> stunning of cattle, and inspection of the legs of poultry for possible
> damage to the tsomes hagidin.

Yasher Koach to R' Perets Mett, who was the only one (as far as I
noticed, except for the moderator agreeing with my suggestion) to
actually comment on the original topic of my post - Publication of
Standards for Hechsherim. The discussions which followed my post seemed
to have concentrated on the Cholov Yisroel issue and on Chumros (which
was the original thread to which I responded). While both topics are of
interest, neither was the intent of my original post.

I hope we can get a third (originally intended) thread where Standards
of various Hechsherim will be published (in at least as much detail as
R' Perets did - though he did not mention his source for the
information).  Maybe we can get some official posts from various
organizations - US as well as worldwide and then hopefully get some kind
of a compilation posted.

Even though an airline meal was what prompted me to write my post (and I
believe those airline meals are something deserving their own thread) my
intent was for hechsherim in general, not only for airline food. Even
when a person is at home, one might not be able to easily determine
which hechsher one might rely on for what product. The problem is
exacerbated when travelling, since the hashgochos available (not to
mention their symbols) might not be familiar at all- hence the extra
importance of publication of standards.

Oren Popper


From: Rabbi Bulka <rbulka@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 11:23:17 -0500
Subject: State of Israel Bonds

Learned Mail Jewish Interacters,

First, I wish you all well.

This is being sent to seek your insights on a problematic situation.
Presently, one of the "hats" I wear is as the Chairman of the Rabbinic
Cabinet for State of Israel Bonds.

We have noticed that unlike in other areas wherein he religious
community excels, this is not the case with Israel Bonds. Many shuls do
not have a High HolyDay campaign, and the leadership does not encourage
Bond purchase, sometimes even discouraging it.

Yes, there are many religious Jews who purchase Israel Bonds, but the
overall picture leaves me wondering why we are not doing better.

Any insights and suggestions for how to improve this situation would be
greatly appreciated.

And though some among you may not think of this as belonging in the
category of "devarim ha'omdim b'roomo shel olam" - matters of
transcending importance, nevertheless insofar as this may be linked to a
less than embracing attitude to Medinat Yisrael, it is indeed a vital

I look forward to your comments,

                                                Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka,
                                                Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


End of Volume 30 Issue 69