Volume 31 Number 05
                 Produced: Wed Jan 19  6:03:37 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anonymous Poskim
         [Carl Singer]
Atmosphere of Secular Colleges
         [Alexis Rosoff]
Bowing to Angels
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
         [David Charlap]
MLK Day and Yeshivot
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Non-Jewish relatives
         [Yehoshua Kahan]
Rambam Explicitly Permits the Collect Call Game
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 09:33:34 EST
Subject: Re: Anonymous Poskim

Carl Sherer writes
 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. >>

I believe I see the point with #1 -- although it's a shame that the
chemistry doesn't exist with the local (shule?) rav.

re: #2, to carry that analogy forward, today one does not make an
appointment directly with a specialist, one gets a referral from one's
General Practice physician (this is NOT an endorsement for HMOs) -- Your
local shule rav is that GP who should do the routing and referral, to
see to it that you end up asking the right shaila of the right person.

Continuing the analogy: To go directly to the specialist (a) takes your
GP out of the picture -- and he has all of your records & charts and
knows you best and (b) may waste the specialist's precious time because
he's the wrong specialist

Here's an interesting thought -- should we pay to have shaila's answered
(either to the rav or to his institution / tzedukah) -- many rabbaim
that I know spend significant time answering shaila's and they and their
institutions need the money.  But then would those who couldn't afford
have to do with the care?  Shaila-caid?

Carl Singer 


From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 19:09:59 -0500
Subject: Atmosphere of Secular Colleges

On 16 Jan 2000 22:12:00 GMT, Arnold Lustiger wrote:

|> Now, it could be argued that the moral atmosphere of secular college has

There are two issues with regard to the atmosphere of secular colleges,
both of which have changed (I will leave it to the reader to decide
whether the changes were good or bad). These have caused problems for
the Orthodox community regardless of changes in attitude towards secular

1) Universities no longer regard themselves as in loco parentis.
Dormitory regulations and the like are concerned primarily with the
physical safety of the residents, and not morality. Since the moral
values of society at large have changed in the past 30 years, this is
reflected in student conduct. In the 1950s, men and women were housed in
separate dormitories, had curfews, and were expected to abide by a code
of behaviour.

In a modern, secular university, the experience of residence life is
probably not what an Orthodox parent wants for his or her child. Men and
women are housed together (sometimes in adjacent rooms), there is
freedom of visitation, premarital sexuality is accepted, though not
necessarily encouraged (depending on one's view of condom distribution).

Between this and the practical challenges of maintaining Orthodoxy on
campus--kosher food, Shabbat observance, holidays, etc--many Orthodox
families have chosen to avoid secular universities entirely. There are
some universities that make the effort when it comes to practical
concerns (my campus, for example, has a special glatt kosher dining
room, does not schedule classes after 15:30 on Fridays, and observes the
major Jewish holidays) but their ability to affect the morals and values
of the student population at large is limited.

2) The academic values of campuses have been affected by the
revolutionary changes of the 1960s. Keep in mind here that for an
American degree, a student only does half the work in his or her chosen
field, and much of the rest is spread throughout the university (as
opposed to the British degree pattern which has, IIRC, been adopted in
Israel), so a student can't merely study a practical subject such as

At a minimum, the student will be studying contemporary theories that
potentially challenge the authority of Torah and halacha, or that
conflict with Torah values (modern departments of women's studies, gay &
lesbian studies, etc). Worse, they could be confronted with crackpot,
anti-Semitic professors such as Leonard Jeffries at CCNY.

You can decide for yourself if the reaction of avoiding secular
universities completely is the answer (I don't happen to believe it
is). However, the concerns involved are not completely unfounded.

 Alexis Rosoff ---=--- http://www.mono.org/~alexis ---=--- Long Island, NY


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 23:55:00 EST
Subject: Re: Bowing to Angels

Shalom, All:
        Jack Gross <jbgross@...> writes in m-j Vol. 30 #99 << I too
was long bothered by the concept of bowing to angels (or Middos) --
particulary since bowing in three directions could be mistaken for
acknowledging a trinity, ch.v.  >>

         My own humble take on this is that the three bows could --
repeat, could -- represent past, present and future.  Since we say God
is eternal, the three bows acknowledge God was, God is, and God will be:
yikes, that's exactly what we daven (pray) in Adon Olam every a.m.:
Vi-hu haya, vi-hu ho' ve, vi-hu yeeh-yeh etc.
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 04:30:09 +0000
Subject: Maranos

Yeshaya Halevi wrote:
>  I will ask him to please remember that the word "Marrano" means
> "pig," and is not used anymore in polite company.  The proper term --
> and this is hardly "political correctness," since we're talking about
> Jews being called "pigs" by their "Holy Inquisition" persecutors -- is
> either "Conversos" ("those who converted"), or "Anuseem," which means
> "the forced/violated ones."

I would like to ask in what language this is true?

I've heard this statement many times, from many people, but when I look
through a Spanish-English dictionary, I find that there is no such word
as "Maranos" (or other variant spelling), and the word for "pig" is
"cerdo" - which is completely different.

Thinking it might be Latin (after all, this was a Church-run country at
the time), I tried an on-line Latin dictionary. which defined the word

	an             SUFFIX
	-an, -ain; of, pertaining/belonging to; connected with;
 	derived/coming from
	maran.os           ADJ    1 1 ACC P M POS                  
	mas, maris  
	male (human/animal/plant); man;
	maran.os           ADJ    1 1 ACC P M POS                  
	mare, maris  
	sea; sea water;

Again, no references to pigs.  Just a word term referring to males or to

I know it's not Hebrew - the Hebrew for pig is "chazer".

As for a different possible origin of the word, the rabbi who was
principal of my primary school said that the word "marrannos" is
actually Hebrew-derived and means "mar anus" - equivalent to the PC term

-- David


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 20:25:47 EST
Subject: MLK Day and Yeshivot

I am off today for the national Martin Luther King Holiday. Having a
little extra time, I checked up on some Yeshivot and Day Schools.  I was
surprised to learn that many have full days including secular programs
on MLK Day.

I have no problems with schools that do not give off on Labor Day or
Presidents' Day as well as MLK day.  Likewise, I feel schools should not
cancel their Limudeu Kodesh, moving to a Sunday schedule on all

Aside from the awful public relations mess that would occur should this
double standard become public, is there not a more insidious problem?  I
have long been of the opinion that children understand hidden messages a
little better than we assume.  A child that sees that his school gives
off certain American Holidays, such as President's day, but not MLK day
gets the message all too well.

Chaim Shapiro


From: Yehoshua Kahan <orotzfat@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 19:37:17 +0200
Subject: Non-Jewish relatives

A fellow I know asked for help with the following situation.  His
brother is marrying a non-Jewish women to whom he has been engaged for a
while.  She has been studying Judaism from a Reform perspective for a
while, and is quite "into" what she has been exposed to.  This
acquaintance of mine has been maintaining a dialogue with both of them -
in fact, he corresponds with her on Jewish topics - but has determined
that any pressing of the issue of Halachic conversion would, at least at
this point, evoke an adverse reaction on both their parts.

Thus, he is confronted, for the forseeable future, with the prospect of
a sister-in-law who considers herself Jewish and acts on that commitment
in ways which are significant, but who is not in fact halachicly Jewish.
I pointed out to him that, given what he told me about how they have
brought certain aspect of observance into their lives, he could be
faced, when he goes to visit, with the prospect of a strictly Kosher
dinner which is forbidden because of "bishul akum"

He asked me whether there is a book or an article which surveys the
kinds of quandries relatives/in-laws in similar situations face, and
untangles the thorny personal, halachik, and, sometimes, hashkafic knots
such situations create.  I would appreciate any leads - written
materials, e-threads, or even (say, this is a new idea!), actual
contacts with people who have considered the issues (and they are
legion, as even a few moments reflection will convince one) and found

If this is not appropriate as the basis of a new (?) Mail-Jewish
discussion topic, please feel free to contact me directly.  Thanks in
advance, and wishing all a tree-mendous Tu BiShevat.

Rav Berachot,
Yehoshua Kahan


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Jan 2000 18:21:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rambam Explicitly Permits the Collect Call Game

Akiva Miller continues the thread on the collect call game (calling home
in order to let your parents know you are there so that they can call
you at cheaper rates) by stating it is prohibited as both theft and
deception(v30n88) This echoes previous sentiments.

However the Rambam Sales Chap 18 explicitly permits it. The rambam
clearly distinguishes between two types of deception. KNOWlEDGE
DECEPTION is prohibited while EMOTIONAL DECEPTION is permitted. Let us
give examples of both and then discuss the Collect Call game.

>>It is prohibited to sell a non jew traif meat when he asked for Kosher
>>meat even though Kosher and Traif are the same by him (Chap 18 Par 2)

But (18:4)
>>It is permissable to sell below market price in order to attract customers
>>It is permissable to distribute freebies of nuts to lure children
>>It is permissable to remove the chaff of fruits (enhances appearance)

So we have a clear statement that if you HIDE FACTS which cannot be
ascertained (like the Kashruth status of meats) then it is prohibited.
But if you DECEIVE (arrange things to look one way and they are
otherwise) but a skillful buyer can verify the status (eg the mother
knows her children going for the freebee nuts will want to 'buy' other
things) then it is permissable.

Let us now return to the collect call game. I tell the operator I want
to make a call. The operator knows that other party may say no and that
I am communicating my presence. No facts are being hidden. So it is

INDEED, the phone company knows beforehand that some people will use
this subterfuge because the phone company keeps records on rejected
collect phone calls. The phone company willfully chose not to charge for
the REQUEST for a collect call but to charge MORE for the actual collect
call. So the phone company has decided to allow this--it is a business
decision on their part and they still make money.

Halacha never discouraged agressive business tactics. It discouraged
taking advantage of helpless people (theft and information hiding). It
did not discourage using the free enterprise system. I conclude with a
true story I have related in mail jewish several times: One passover in
college they collected money for Kosher meals and then found they had an
excess. But different people contributed at different times and it
wasn't clear how to divide up the money. So the meal chairman said "Lets
give it to charity" Although I was not there during Passover (and it
didn't affect me) I offered several other suggestions. One person came
over to me afterwards and thanked me. I asked him "Why didn't you
protest--it was your money". He said "I was embarassed to say anything
against charity".  The moral of the story is that Yeshivas should not be
"religious" with other peoples money.  If something is permissable it
should be encouraged

Russell Hendel; Math; Towson; Phs ASA
Moderator Rashi Is Simple


End of Volume 31 Issue 5