Volume 30 Number 86
                 Produced: Thu Jan 13  5:58:23 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Boro Park Eruv (2)
         [Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer, <DTnLA@...>]
Giving Non-jewish wine as a gift
         [Mark Steiner]
Mezonos Rolls
         [Jordan Hirsch]
Problem Kids
         [David Zilberberg]
Separate Seating at S'machot
         [Tzvi Harris]
Torah LeMoshe MiSinai
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]


From: Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer <sbechhof@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 10:12:11 -0600
Subject: Re: Boro Park Eruv

> From: Moish Gluck <moish@...>
> What I don't understand is, if all the Rabonim from the previous
> generation were against the eiruv (as I saw on the leaflets), what
> changed now. They too were aware that making an eiruv is a Mitzvah yet
> they had not gotten together and implemented an eiruv that fit all the
> standards of Halacha. I heard that Rav Bick Ztl stated clearly that Boro
> Park is a reshus harabim dearaisa (as Reb Moshe Ztl [says] in the
> Tshuvis) and no Eiruv can change that.

While I am not sufficiently acquainted with the BP Eruv controversy to
express any opinions, I would like to note to the MJ readership that the
issues are discussed in detail in my English sefer: "The Contemporary
Eruv" (Feldheim, 1998), which should be available in most seforim
stores, and at the Eichler's website ( www.eichlers.com ):


Which includes the following information:

A comprehensive review of the complex laws of constructing and using an
eruv, especially as are applicable to today's neighborhoods. Compiled
from many quoted Talmudic and rabbinic sources. Presented in a clear,
annotated format. A valuable book for both layman and scholar. 122 pp.
Author: Bechofer, Rabbi Yosef Gavriel

List price: $13.95
20% off: $11.16

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
Cong. Bais Tefila, 3555 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60659
http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila    <ygb@...>

From: <DTnLA@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 11:29:49 EST
Subject: Re: Boro Park Eruv

<<What I don't understand is, if all the Rabonim from the previous
generation were against the eiruv (as I saw on the leaflets), what
changed now.>>

Firstly, not all of the Rabbonim were, nor are, opposed to the Eruv. I
believe the recent Eruv controversy has rearisen due to the fact the the
Serdehaly Rov Shlita just put one up. In this week's Jewish Press a list
of Rabbonim on both sides of argument are listed.

One argument in favor of the Eruv that I have seen is the Munkatcher Rov
Shlita's 10 page letter issued last week. In it he states his view that
he approves of use of the BoroPark eruv, and he respectfully argues with
Reb Moshe Feinstein's Tshuvos. He writes that in his opinion, BoroPark
is no different than many other large cities that had eruvin which were
approved by the Gedolim of previous generations.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 15:57:02 +0200
Subject: Re: Giving Non-jewish wine as a gift

On "stam yaynam": the Talmud (Avoda Zara 31a) states not only that it is
forbidden in benefit, but is also a carrier of tum'ah.

However, the rishonim argued that since the Gentiles today "don't know
how to offer libations" the decree of hana'ah is annuled because of
changing times (what I call a type b gezeirah).  It is still forbidden
to drink it, however, because of the type a gezeirah agsint assimilation
and intermarriage.

I think, therefore, that giving nonkosher wine should be avoided unless
you came into possession of the wine already.  Because clearly it is
preferable (if one can without financial loss) to go with the original
Talmudic law.  (There is a distinction here between wine and milk, but
it's almost Shabbos here and we have a new grandson--i.e. a sholom
zochor--so I can't go into the matter now.)

Mark Steiner


From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Sat, 8 Jan 2000 20:18:15 EST
Subject: Re: Mezonos Rolls

<< (Similar issues at smorgasbords, with most caterer's now
 offering bread and washing before.)  Clearly, different communities have
 different view / standards on this matter. >>

Off the top of my head, I seem to remember a Tshuva of R' Moshe which
said that at a wedding Smorgasord, one could wash on cake, since the
seuda was so extensive.

Ring a bell?



From: David Zilberberg <ZilbeDa@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 01:06:22 -0500
Subject: Problem Kids

< Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> wrote:
<'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

This seems to be an overly simplistic explanation for the causes of
"problem" behavior.  While there is likely a correlation between lack of
studiousness and problem behavior (although even this correleation has its
limits- there are plenty of kids who don't learn well or are not in yeashiva
at all who are not on the street doing drugs)this does not prove that one
causes the other.  More likely, both the lack of studiousness and problem
behavior result from some combination of other factors such as upbringing,
peer pressure.  There is no reason to think that our community should be
completely immune from the same problems that affect the society that
surrounds us.

<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).

I agree.  The problem is that the activities kids are offered are extremely
limited.  Yeshiva kids are in yeshiva today until six, and have little time
for anything else.  Furthermore, it seems that over the past ten years or
so , kids are now encouraged to attend learning camps or other learning
intensive programs during vacation or beinhazmanim.  In the sixties Chaim
Berlin and Torah Vodaas participated in a mesivta basketball league.  This
was discontinued presumeably in the name of bittul torah.  Whereas from a
strictly halachik viewpoint these trends may be proper, I think it harms
kids who need activities other than learning.


From: Tzvi Harris <ltharris@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 13:28:49 +0200
Subject: Separate Seating at S'machot

I found the discussion interesting, and without discussing content would
like to point out something interesting I noticed on Shabbat.  I was
looking at one of my sons books, a biography of Rav Kook zt"l for
children that was released last year, "Peer Yisrael" (by Simcha Raz).
There is a picture taken at a dinner in honor of the Rabbinical
delegation that came to visit America.  The three Rabbis who visited
were R' Moshe Mordechai Epstein of Slabodka, R' Avraham Shapira (D'var
Avraham) of Kovno, and Rav Kook (zecher tzadikim l'vracha).  The seating
was quite mixed.

This certainly doesn't indicate that this was standard practice for
these three Rabbis, (in fact in the same book there is a photo of a
family simcha, a sheva brachot, with separate seating- only the men are
seen), yet it does indicate that the three were accepting, at least de
facto, of the custom in the US.

Viewing these photos made me wonder if there are any similar surviving
pictures of s'machot in Europe, documenting the seating arrangements in
different kehilot.

Tzvi Harris
Talmon, Israel
Halacha Yomit for day schools-


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 15:35:47 EST
Subject: Torah LeMoshe MiSinai

Dr. Russell Hendel (from hereon 'DRH') (v30n68) says: <<Gilad
Gevaryahu's posting (v30n48) suggesting that our current Torah is NOT
perfectly identical with the one that Moses gave us seems to have gone
unchallenged. Furthermore his posting to Torah Forum which he cites was
answered there. Since this is a doctrinal belief I would like to reopen
it and would encourage an extended conversation.>>

This is indeed a doctrinal belief that needs discussion. Can we maintain
that we are Orthodox Jews and ignore the Torah shebeal pe [the oral law
as expressed in the Talmud], or work around it with pilpul? The Karaites
ignore the oral law! The answer which was given in Torah Forum was a
derash, a skirting around the issue, so I saw no point in my repeating

DRH suggests in his challenge the following: 
<<1) "Talmudic statements on where the 'middle of the Torah is'": A
russian emigree answered this in Torah forum--the word MIDDLE could mean
MIDDLE letter, or the MIDDLE of double words (DRSH DRSH) or the MIDDLE
of the big and small letters. Furthermore even Gilad must grant that
being off by several 1000 letters is inconsistent with the small number
of variants in modern sefer Torahs--hence we must posit a different
meaning to MIDDLE>>

The Talmud says "darosh darash chetzyan shel teivot" [=The words 'darosh
darash' represent the halfway point of the Torah's words] [translation
by Art Scroll]. The Talmud before this sentence has the expression "shel
Sefer Torah" which relates to this sentence as well, as Art Scroll
correctly translated. The suggestion by DRH of "half of double letters"
or "half of big and small letters" is a pilpul and stands in contrast to
"teivot" = words (no mention of special words). As to the 1000 letters
off, this is a circuitous argument. It is over 5000 letters off.

DRH says: <<2)"We are not expert in FULL and DEFICIENT": I recently
gathered all Rashi's on FULL and DEFICIENT spellings. Following Rav
Hirsch I showed there are two ways that Chazal deal with these a) the
deficiency creates a new word so the Biblical sentence is read in two
ways (eg 'this is my name forever' & 'this is my ineffable name (Ex
3:15); b) the deficiency of spelling indicates a deficiency in the
object (eg In Lev 23 the deficiently spelled succah indicates
permissability to be deficient in a wall). Thus we have a grammatical
rule here. All the Talmud means when it says we are not expert is that
we don't fully know how to apply this rule in all cases. there is no
doubt about the spellings in the Torah (see
http://www.shamash.org/v1-1-28.htm for further details).>>

Art Scroll F/N 30 to Kiddushin 30a explains this sentence: "In a number
of instances, the Torah varies the spelling of words, including a letter
in a word that appears in one place, and deleting this letter from the
word where it appears elsewhere. These intentional variations are known
as 'yeteirot vachaseirot' additions and deletions. Here, Rav Yosef
states that he and his colleagues were unable to accurately count the
letters of the Torah scroll, because they lacked precise knowledge of
'additions and deletions'. That is, they did not have a reliable
tradition verifying which words are meant to be written with the absence
of letters, and which are meant to be written with all their letters
present." I believe that Art Scroll represents the peshat.

DRH says: <<3) "Rav Moshes Teshuva". Rav Moshe was not asked a question
about the authenticity of the torah; he was asked about making extra
aliyahs at eg Bar Mitzvahs (so peoples feelings should not be hurt). Rav
Moshe based himself on the well known law that you can be lenient in
Rabbinic matters to avoid hurting people, hence he took a
talmudic statement out of context. There is no reason to believe he was
commenting on the authenticity of the Torah (Especially since it
explicitly states that any verse which Moses did not break up we cannot
break up)>>

It is unfortunate that DRH did not read the teshuva of Reb. Moshe or he
would not have said the above. This teshuva deals with reading two long
pesukim instead of the regular three and the related halachic
issues. See Igrot Moshe, Vol. I, p.91.

<<4) "Variant texts"... There is a sefer Torah in Europe which goes back to
Ezra which has DCA with an aleph.>>

Would DRH please share with the group the location of "a sefer Torah
which goes back to Ezra". If DRH means that it carries on the tradition
of Ezra HaSofer, then it is like every Sefer Torah around in existence
which carries on the Ezra tradition; but if it is actually from the time
of Ezra, this is a startling chiddush.

Rabbi Arye Leib Gunzberg (1695-1785), the teacher of Hayyim Volozhiner,
wrote in Sho"t Sha'aget Aryeh (Siman 36) about someone who writes a
Sefer Torah in our days. Gunzberg claims that since we are not expert in
full and deficient spelling (based on Kiddushin 30a), it is doubtful
whether this person fulfills the mitzvah of writing a Sefer Torah. I
venture to say based on the above quotation, that Rabbi Gunzberg's
understanding of "Torah LeMoshe MiSinai" is similar to what I have
expressed in (v30n48). For an expanded discussion of some of the issues
of the Masoretic text see: _HaMikra veHamasorah_ by Rabbi Reuven
Margaliot, Mosad Harav Kook, Jerusalem, 1964.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


End of Volume 30 Issue 86