Volume 31 Number 16
                 Produced: Tue Jan 25 16:47:29 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anonymous Poskim
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Atmosphere of Secular Colleges (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Alexis Rosoff]
Let's talk parnuseh
         [Richard Flom]
Poskim (2)
         [Carl Singer, Isaac A Zlochower]
Praying with Avaryonim (Sinners)
         [Joseph Geretz]
The role of an O student at a University
         [Chaim Shapiro]


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:30:02 +0200
Subject: Anonymous Poskim

Carl Singer writes:
> Carl Sherer writes
> << 
>  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. >>
> 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.

IMHO the analogy doesn't get you where you are trying to go for two
reasons. First, often the patient KNOWS what kind of doctor he needs and
doesn't need the GP to tell him. Second, once the patient has been
referred, s/he will continue to consult with the specialist without the
GP's intersession, so that the GP will be "out of the loop" anyway.

(I should add that in medicine, at least in our experience, this
happens. We have attempted to keep BY's pediatrician, to whom we
initially brought him three and a half years ago, in the loop with
respect to his treatment, but she has admitted to us that in spite of
her original background in one of the specialties that he needs to be
checked by regularly, we are (or at least Adina is) far more up to date
on treatment courses than she is. We don't always keep her current, but
we do try to keep her current as often as we can, partly in case we want
to avoid travelling to Tel Aviv to get a prescription written).

> 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?

It is my personal custom to tip the Rav who sells my chometz each year,
as I know is the custom of many other people in my neighborhood. In the
States, my shver always sold my chometz for me (I used to spend Pesach
in a different time zone than where I lived so it was easier that way),
so I don't know what the custom is there.

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: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 100 08:58:12 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  Atmosphere of Secular Colleges

My concern about college is NOT that my children might be exposed to
contemporary theories that potentially challenge the authority of Torah
and halacha, or that conflict with Torah values, but the growing
intolerance for students who publicly disagree with the anti-Torah

I have in mind the collusion of faculty and administration in
encouraging radical students to steal conservative student newspapers,
to shout down conservative speakers, to threaten leaders of conservative
student groups, and to subject them to kangaroo courts with charges of
"hate speech."  (What is Orthodoxy, if not conservative?)

This goes way beyond free-thinking.  The suppression of dissent makes it
more like the days when private colleges required all students -- even
Jewish students -- to attend Christian religious services.  (Except it's
worse now, because the official religion of the university no longer
even has its _roots_ in Judaism.)

Frank Silbermann      <fs@...>     www.jpfo.org/askrabbi.htm

From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 06:13:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Atmosphere of Secular Colleges

On 21 Jan 2000 10:56:49 GMT, David I. Cohen wrote:
|> give students the tools to deal with these ideas. Hiding from them
|> won't make them go away.

You actually described my own personal position--I believe that faith
can be strengthened by challenge. However, I was attempting to present
the other side of it.

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


From: Richard Flom <rflom@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 19:36:11 -0800
Subject: Let's talk parnuseh

Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...> wrote:

>this and the discussions of kollel, etc., make we wonder if the
>we're raising a generation which will need to be subsidized in order to
>live what we might today call a "comfortable" life style. -- And who
>will do the subidizing.

I thought of this thread when learning the Mekhilta this past Shabbat.
In masekhet Vayassa, perek 3, discussing the daily portion of manna, "R.
Yehoshua says, 'If a man studies two halakhot in the morning and two
halakhot in the evening, and all day he is busy with his occupation, it
is counted for him as if he had fulfilled the entire Torah.'  R. Shimon
b.  Yochai would say from this, 'Only to those with manna to eat is it
given to learn Torah.  For how could it be that a man would sit and
learn and he would not know from where his food and drink are coming, or
from where his clothes and coverings are coming?  Thus, only to those
with manna to eat is it given to learn Torah.  And like them are those
that eat terumah.'"

Since we have no manna and we have no terumah, it would seem that only
extraordinary people, such as true tzaddikim, should be learning
full-time without contributing to their own support for any significant
length of time.  I am not speaking of those who take a finishing year
before college, or those who learn in order to teach (and earn a living
through their teaching).  You might also ask, who says that the
generation we are raising is entitled to a comfortable life style at the
expense of others?  Learning Torah is a necessity.  Learning Torah
without ever supporting one's self is hubris.

Just my two prutahs' worth.
Kol tuv,

Richard Flom


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 10:03:11 EST
Subject: Re: Poskim

In regards to the anonymous posting:
 >  1 - Community Standards - I think it's stretching a point to presume
 >  that a distant Rabbi can address this correctly
< With all due respect, and obviously depending on the context, this would
 have to depend on whether one might have a prior relationship with the
 distant rav, and how well he knew the sho'el(et) (the one who is asking
 the question).>

As someone who has lived in several cities and has a warm / strong
relationship with several Rabbanim, I still live in the here and now --
I go to my current community Rav of shalias -- I go to the others to
share simchas, and schmooze -- to do otherwise, AGAIN, undermines my
community Rav.

 >  2 - Proper Derech and Koved for local Rabbi (Rabbaim) -- {...snip...}
 >  skirting one's shule Morah D'Asrah is improper.  Again, if that person
 >  feels himself out of his depth or comfort level, he can take the question
 >  forward to those who are more expert.
 >  {...snip...}
 >  We undermine the local community and avoid building relationships with
 >  local Rabbaim when we grab the phone or the net.
 <The above, obviously, presumes that one is located in a community where
 there are suitable rabbanim whom one can ask.  Having lived in small
 towns in which I was the only "dati" individual for hundreds of miles in
 any direction, I attest from firsthand experience that this presumption
 isn't always valid.

The obvious presumption is living in a community with "suitable"
rabbanim.  I don't know what "suitable" means to the writer, so I won't
comment.  Re: a Rav who provided a tirade re: heterim for fasting --
maybe there's a message there, and if one doesn't like the message one
can act accordingly, but that doesn't disqualify the Rav from being your
Posik.  I disagree with my Rabbi on several cogent issues, that's OK.

Carl Singer

From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 00:31:31 -0500
Subject: Poskim

Since I have not paid much attention to this thread, I would not
ordinarily post an opinion.  However, the current post from Anonymous
dealing with a serious health problem that was aggravated by so-called
moreh hora'ah (or Rabbis that think that they are qualified to judge
important questions) was too important to overlook.  I expect, of
course, that qualified Rabbanim will find the need to address the issue
of fasting leading to serious health questions on this forum.
Nonetheless, from the viewpoint of a reasonably knowledgeable lay
person, that a shul Rabbi would encourage a person with serious health
problems due to fasting to join in Tisha B'Av fasts (much less the minor
fasts) is incomprehensible (there are ways of eating and drinking slowly
so as not to violate the biblical proscription on food intake on Yom
Kippur).  Moreover, a Rabbi who would dismiss health experiences from
previous fasts as exaggerations is an irresponsible, unfeeling person
who is not worthy of having any questions brought before him.  A local
Rabbi is entitled to respect and should be a person of first resort in
asking non-threatening questions unless he shows himself to be incapable
of such decision making.  For questions of greater import, I see no
problem in going directly to someone who is deemed very capable of
judging such questions, who is sympathetic, and who has an entry to
higher-level poskim for the really difficult issues.  My impression is
that yeshivot do not do an adequate job of insuring that their semicha
means that the holder is capable of answering a spectrum of life
questions in a knowledgeable and sympathetic manner.  At the very least,
they should withold semicha from anyone who shows a lack of serious

Yitzchok Zlochower


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 23:33:11 -0500
Subject: Praying with Avaryonim (Sinners)

Regarding the statment from Maharam MiRottenburg, mentioning Cherem for
those who have transgressed against a community decree, I wrote:
> (I haven't seen it inside, but I find it significant that Daniel's
> translation reads: 'because they had transgressed the _decrees of the
> community_' [emphasis mine]. From this I understand, that (in those
> days, at least) had they transgressed against G-d's laws, they
> certainly would have been placed in Cherem.)

Avi Feldblum responded:
> As far as transgressing against God's laws, if we were to be put in
> Cherem for that, we would all be in that state - ki ain tzadik
> ba'aretz asher lo chatah - for there is not a rightous person in the
> land who has not sinned.

Of course, I agree with Avi's statement. However, there are various
degrees of sinners. There is, as Avi mentions, the degree of Ain Tzaddik
Ba'Aretz.  I'm certainly not suggesting that one would be eligible for
Cherem for every Aveirah. However, beyond that we get into the various
Mumar (habitual transgressor) categories.

Mumar, L'Davar Echad, one who is known to willfully and repeatedly
commit a particular transgression. Mumar L'Tei'avon, one who is led
astray by his strong desires, and worst of all, a Mumar LaKol, one who
has strayed completely. Another factor which would need to be taken into
account in terms of severity, is whether the individual commits
transgressions publicly, or in private. I'm not sure exactly where the
line is drawn, but my statement above proposes that a Mechalel Shabbos
Befarhesia (puclic Sabbath desecrator) has gone beyond 'ain tzadik
ba'aretz asher lo chatah' and has entered a realm which would make him
eligible for Cherem in the days of Maharam MiRottenburg.

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 15:42:15 EST
Subject: The role of an O student at a University

Recent postings about the atmosphere of today's university begs another
important question; what role should an Orthodox student take at his

The University community tends to believe that class work is only half
of a Collegiate education.  The other half, which is both necessary and
sufficient to its completion, is involvement in extra curricular
activities (renamed co curricular activities).

I can personally attest to the dangers involved in these co currics, as
I was an officer in student government for several years as an
undergraduate.  Hardly a day went by where other students didn't try to
proselytize me.  There were also several occasions where coeds literally
draped themselves over my shoulders when I was sitting doing work!

However, I must admit, those days in student government were integral to
my personal development.  I can say without hesitation, that I am more a
product of my College experience, than of my Yeshiva.  And I believe I
am better for it.

Yet, I am hesitant to recommend my methods to other Frum kids.  While
there was a lot to be learned from participation, dangers did abound.
But, College as a whole is a dangerous place.  People in the profession
will talk of transitions and movements that most children go through.
Involvement doesn't change that danger, it only increases it.  Can we
honestly say to a child, this is dangerous, so only challenge yourself
with this danger, not this one?
 Is that not at least a bit hypocritical considering that we do lose
kids in college no matter what we do and many other children end up
better off from their experiences?

Chaim Shapiro


End of Volume 31 Issue 16