Volume 30 Number 93
                 Produced: Sat Jan 15 19:57:18 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

10 Tevet trumps Shabbos?
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Anonymous Poskim
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Christian "copying" (2)
         [Micha Berger, Marcie Lenk]
Ibn Ezra
         [Yehoshua Kahan]
Ma'aser Kesofim
         [Oren Popper]
Motzoei Shabbos
         [Gershon Dubin]
Torah LeMoshe MiSinai (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Zev Sero]


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 10:17:12 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 10 Tevet trumps Shabbos?

Jonathan Baker notes recently, in his .sig file:
> Calendar curiosity: 10 Tevet can't fall on Shabat, but if it did, it
> trumps Shabat.

Ummmm, as Mr. Spock might say, "Interesting...."
As they might say in my neighborhood, "Say what?!"
Could you explain how that comes to be?

Freda Birnbaum


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 16:02:50 +0200
Subject: Anonymous Poskim

Carl Singer writes:
> 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.

I must humbly disagree. It MIGHT not be a proper derech halachically or
socially to consult with a Rav in the next town or State, but I don't
think you can make that statement absolutely.  There are two reasons why
I think your statement is too rigid:

1. All of us come across shailas (questions) from time to time that
require us to open up and confide in a Rav. To do that, there has to be
some chemistry there. If I don't have the chemistry with my local Rav
for whatever reason, or if my local Rav doesn't have as much time as I
think I need to ask the shaila properly, then I should go elsewhere.

2. In these days of doctors and lawyers who specialize there are also
Rabbonim who specialize. There are Rabbonim who are experts in medical
shailas, there are Rabbonim who are experts in family purity laws, there
are Rabbonim who are experts in business laws and so on. Just like I
would seek out a cardiologist and not a neurologist if R"L I needed
heart surgery, so too if I have a question of maros (blood stains) I may
seek out a Rav who looks at them every day and not one who looks at
three a year, and who specializes in business law questions.

Lest there be any misunderstandings, I am NOT advocating psak
shopping. But I believe there is nothing wrong with having one Rav you
ask one type of question and another Rav you ask another kind of
question, so long as you do not ask the same question of multiple
Rabbonim. I also think that for many questions it is important that one
feel comfortable speaking openly to the Rav, wherever he may be, and
whether you are able to speak to him in person or on the phone or by

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...>   or  mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Micha Berger <micha@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 07:55:58 -0600
Subject: Re: Christian "copying"

A probably *false* case of such "copying" is the Paternoster (Our father
who art...) and Kaddish. De Sola Poole demonstrates pretty convincingly
(in an appendix to his book on the meaning, structure and history of
Kaddish) that both show elements of standard Essene prayers, and
probably had a common ancestor from neither Pharasaic Judaism nor

Micha Berger (973) 916-0287          MMG"H for 13-Jan-00: Chamishi, Bo
<micha@...>                                         A"H 
http://www.aishdas.org                                    Pisachim 98b
For a mitzvah is a lamp, and the Torah its light.         

From: Marcie Lenk <marcie@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 16:53:03 +0200
Subject: Christian "copying"

Why is it that I sense such glee is many of your discoveries that in
Christian liturgy there are similarities and even borrowings of Jewish
sources?  There is no hidush in the idea that Jesus was a Jew and that
early Christians were Jews.  What is your problem with "Jewish" sources
in their liturgy?  Does the fact that "we had it first" make us better?
And why do some of the participants in this discussion feel a need to
deny apologize for or justify their interest in the parallels?  It is
fascinating to compare religious traditions.  Isn't it possible for
Orthodox Jews to do this without denigrating Christians and

Marcie Lenk 
home phone:  972-2-566-5929
email: <marcie@...>


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 09:34:34 EST
Subject: Re: Drugs

Drugs and spousal,child,parent abuse, etc. are real problems in the
Jewish community.  We are not immune.  And step 1 of the process is to
admit that the problem exists.

But to address one point -- the 19 year old dorm counsellor may be more
adept as seeing his peer's problems than the Rebbi.  My son, now 20, is
a dorm counsellor, he's also a licensed EMT.  And he has taken kids down
for being on drugs.

No residence school (no matter how FRUM) should be without a clear,
written policy in this area.  We do no one any favors by hiding this



From: Yehoshua Kahan <orotzfat@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 23:07:12 +0200
Subject: Re: Ibn Ezra

In responding to a posting of Tzvi Klugerman regarding the Kollel issue,
Eli Turkel writes:

>I thought that Ibn Ezra and Ibn Gabirol wrote poetry to support
>themselves (as did Yehuda Halevi). Also Ibn Ezra was poor most of his
>life and wandered the globe looking for better things even meeting
>Rabbenu Tam.

Just a quick biographical clarification.  Tzvi explicitly mentions Moshe
Ibn Ezra, the 12th century Spanish poet.  From Eli's characterization of
the Ibn Ezra he mentions, it seems clear he's refering to R. Avraham Ibn
Ezra, who, though also a highly-regarding poet, is better known to
subsequent generations as the author of the renown Torah
commentary. They were contemporaries (Moshe was older), and both had
connections to R. Yehudah Halevi, but I do not believe they were
relatives (Moshe was from Granada, R.  Avraham from Tudela).


From: Oren Popper <oren@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 23:15:38 -0500
Subject: Ma'aser Kesofim

Thank you Anonymous for starting this subject which I have meant to
start but was still trying to fomulate my questions.

> Life used to be simple -- growing up we had a puskeh at home.  You made
> a buck, you put a dime into the pushkeh.  Life is now more complicated.

For me, life used to be simple (or so I thought). I was an employee, and
would automatically transfer 10% of my paycheck amount to a seperate
bank account which was used exclusively for tzedoko. I then became self
employed (or an owner and employee of a corporation - once I
incorporated my business) and got totally confused. What is "ma'aser
deductible"? Are all expenses which are tax deductible also "ma'ser
deductible"? Now that I have to pay my own health insurance (which is
only partially deductible for self-employed persons in the US) do I pay
it out of my pre-ma'aser dollars or post-ma'aser?

Though I have not found clear answers to all these questions yet, I can
recommend a sefer called "Tzedoko U'Mishpot" by Rabbi Blau (from the
Eida Chareidis in Yerushalayim), he has an entire chapter on the subject
of Ma'aser. He brings various opinions, and his footnotes are very
enlightening. I was even given his telephone number (by the person who
lent me the sefer) for asking specific sha'alos.

> 1 - What is my tithing year -- clearly it's easiest if I use my tax year
> (= secular calendar year) But this seems to have no basis in halacha.
> Or do I tithe continuously, that is with every paycheck, every capital
> gain, etc.
According to the above mentioned sefer (which I no longer have in front of
me) there are several opinions. However, most opinions accept that you may
establish any "accounting" period for this, as long as it is at least as
frequent as once a year.

I must point out, however, that your paycheck and capital gains seem to
fall into two different categories. While your capital gains are a
result of an investment (eisek), your paycheck is not. Therefore
investment losses (or any other business expenses) cannot be deducted
from your pre-ma'aser paycheck dollars.

> 2 - What of investment income -- realized (I buy a stock for $50 and
> sell it for $60, do I then put a dollar (10 % of $10) into Tzedukah at
> the time of sale.

There are various opinions. I guess the best indication is whether you
view each investment as a seperate venture (eisek) or all your
investment activity as a single venture. With the former, you would
probably be required to tithe with every realized gain. With the latter
view you would have to go by your established "accounting period".

> 3 - What of unrealized gain -- my stock has gone from $50 to $60, but I
> haven't sold.

Most authorities would agree that no ma'aser is required on unrealized
gains (non-cash assets).

> 4 - What of retirement funds - my IRA account has seen a capital gain or
> a dividend, which is reinvested (that is no money comes to me at
> present)

Thanks for raising this issue, I haven't even thought about it. My
inclination is to treat this as non-cash assets since they will not be
accessible until retirement, at which point I would say ma'aser is due on
the entire amount less the keren (principle). This is not so simple if the
funds (at retirement) are in anything but a cash-equivalent account, since
theoretically they might depreciate, which would be (according to most
opinions) ma'aser deductible. You might solve this by viewing the
pre-retirement years as a seperate eisek (venture), tithing once retirement
age was reached (or once the funds were otherwise withdrawn). All
post-retirement gains (and losses) would be viewed as a seperate eisek

> 5 - Do I adjust for taxes -- the $50 to $60 stock sale nets me, say $8,
> not $10 due to taxes -- do I then put only 80 cents into the pushkeh?

Here again there are differences of opinion, ranging from those
(minority) that say that the $2 you paid in taxes can be counted as
Ma'aser(!), to those that say that no consideration for taxes should be
given. The middle ground seems to be that those taxes which are directly
related to the gain (such as capital gains taxes) are deductible as a
business expense, while taxes which would be due regardless of gain or
income are not deductible (such as property taxes - except if a seperate
piece of property is used solely for the business activity).

> 6 - What if I give too much -- that is, I'm lazy and guestimate and
> round up for good measure.

Here again, there are different opinions, whether you may give be'omed
(guestimate) or have to be medayek (exact). I always try to be wrong on
the upside (giving more than required, to the extent that I can afford

The Ba'al Hatanya explains (Igeres Hakodesh 10) that most mitzvos
(including tzedoko) have a specific limit and measure, for tzedoko 10% -
mida beinonis and 20% mitzva min hamuvchar (best way to perform the
mitzvah). However, this is only when one did not transgress any mitzva
(even a mitzvas aseh), but when one did transgress, there is a void
which could only be fulfilled through Teshuva, accompanied with
LIMITLESS TZEDOKO. He further compares this tzedoko to payment for a
cure, in which a person would spend any amount to save his physical
life, so to should a person spend on tzedoko, which is a cure for one's
spiritual life.

Oren Popper


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 09:47:49 -0500
Subject: Motzoei Shabbos

I seem to remember the term Motzoei Shabbos being used (rarely) for the
entire day of Sunday rather than the conventional use.  Does anyone know
of such usage?



From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2000 07:13:37 EST
Subject: Re: Philanthropy

The money for the building (from the non-observant child) was refused --
(I'd like to add, "of course", but in today's society, that might not be
obvious, and if it was "refused, of course!"  then there would be no
need for this note.  

<< To me, `tainted money' means that the money belongs to someone other
than the donor.  On the one hand, accepting such a donation is the same
as buying a hot watch on the street.  OTOH, if the true owner of the
money cannot be traced, accepting the donation could be considered
`kematzil miyadam', i.e. `rescuing' the money from being used by the
thief.  At least it's being used for a good cause.  >>

Again speaking unofficially for the yeshiva -- there is no question but
that we wouldn't accept money that is tainted (ill gotten gains, etc.)
And I personally think it's quite a stretch to justify (rationalize) the
acceptance of such money as 'kematzil miyadam' -- that is to presume
that the money was victimless or the victims can't be identified.
That's like the old joke, if you found a million dollars in the street
would you return it -- only if it belonged to a poor person.

BUT the discussion I presented dealt with the SOURCE of the money.
Let's talk about honestly earned money offered up by someone who is
openly not frum -- and we're talking significant (name on the building
amounts.)  Many yeshivas will not deal with this type of money -- others
see only the green.  I'm not suggesting that there is a right answer,
but that it is a concern.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 13:35:30 -0500
Subject: Torah LeMoshe MiSinai

> From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
<<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.>>

	I remember hearing some time back that such a sefer existed in
Europe (past tense) which actually was from Ezra's times.  I don't
recall where I heard it or have a source; however, be that as it may be,
the sefer (if there was one) was lost/destroyed during the war.


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2000 18:24:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Torah LeMoshe MiSinai

It was a well-known tradition in Prague that one of the sifrei torah in
the Altneu Shul (which itself supposedly dates back to before the 2nd
churban) was written by Ezra Hasofer.  I don't know whether this sefer
torah still exists; it would be interesting to subject it to scientific
testing to verify or refute this tradition.

Zev Sero                Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day;
<zsero@...>       set him on fire and he'll be warm for the
                        rest of his life.   - Ankh-Morpork proverb


End of Volume 30 Issue 93