Volume 31 Number 17
                 Produced: Tue Jan 25 17:17:14 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eruv with respect to Shofar and Lulav
         [Art Roth]
Let's talk parnuseh
         [Daniel Cohn]
Mayim Achronim
         [Gershon Dubin]
"Not in Heaven"
         [Saul Davis]
OFF TOPIC - Baruch Yosef
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Philanthropy and Fraud -- Esnan Zona (a prostitutes fee)
         [Ezra Tepper]
Pidyon Sh'vuyim (2)
         [Joseph Geretz, Mordechai]
Pollard (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Yisrael Medad]
Rambam and Collect call game
         [Daniel M Wells]


From: Art Roth <AJROTH@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 9:17:55 -0600
Subject: Eruv with respect to Shofar and Lulav

>From Menashe Elyashiv:
>  2) If the eiruv is so simple, why did Hazal cancel Shofar & Lulav on
> Shabbat.

Shofar and lulav were "canceled" on Shabbat to prevent possible carrying
in a R"SHUT HARABIM D"ORAITA (an area in which carrying would violate a
TORAH prohibition).  In such an area, an eruv has no effect, i.e., it
does not remove the Torah-based prohibition of carrying.  Another way to
say the same thing is that an eruv permits carrying only in areas where
the prohibition is just rabbinic to begin with.  Xazal rarely "built
fences" around rabbinic prohibitions, and except under very unusual
circumstances, they didn't even have the authority to do so.  Even if
authority were not an issue, it seems inconceivable IMHO that Xazal
would have chosen for us to forego a Torah-based mitzvah like shofar or
lulav merely for the sake of a fence around a rabbinic prohibition.
Thus, an eruv is irrelevant to what Xazal were trying to prevent when
they "canceled" shofar and lulav.


From: Daniel Cohn <dcohn@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 12:28:17 -0300
Subject: Re: Let's talk parnuseh

Another related issue, and a very grave one, is that, when the working
people begin to "dilute" in a kollelnik majority, the sources for
subsidies start to dry out, and "alternative" sources of income must be
found, which all too often may include fraud, stealing of government money,
money laundry (which almost always comes from drug trade), and sometimes
even drug trade itself. Aside from the "theological" debate on work vs.
full-time study, community leaders and Rabanim should look into the
practical long-term implications of their decisions, namely, how is our
community going to sustain itself if we are sending all the young people
to kollel?


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 15:11:16 -0500
Subject: Mayim Achronim

> From: Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...>
<<This is a critical point which I believe is a proof that the real
> driving force between mayim achronim has nothing to do with sodomite
> salt, and everything to do with the need to wash hands prior to 
> tefilah.>>

	Little problem: the Gemara says this is the reason.  The reason
of preparation for bracha was added by later sources.

<< If the salt is so dangerous, why would there be such a major sakanah
> only after we eat? And once one has finished the meal without going
> blind, why is there suddenly an obligation to wash one's hands 
> before blessing?>>

	The way it was explained to me is that they didn't do
saltshakers in those days.  They ate their food, and at the end of the
meal ate some salt with their fingers.  Which answers these two

<< Indeed, I would expect that such a major sakanah would have simply
resulted in the outright banning of sodom salt by chazal.>>

	No doubt they would have if they could.  However, sodom salt is
described as being a vanishingly small proportion of regular salt; it
was impossible to purify out and certainly to forbid without forbidding



From: Saul Davis <sdavis@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 20:23:17 +0200
Subject: "Not in Heaven"

I am have been trying to get hold of the book by Eliezer Berkovits, "Not
in Heaven: the Nature and Function of Halakha" published by Ktav (?) in
1983 (?). I have had no success either at book shops or on the web. If
anyone knows how I can buy this book, preferably on the internet, please
tell me.  Thanks.

[The book is out of print, both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble list it
with the caveat that they will check their used book sources to find and
it will be minimum 6-8 weeks. I was not sure whether you had already
gone down that path. Mod.]

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 13:01:16 +0200
Subject: OFF TOPIC - Baruch Yosef

I guess that at least some of you might have been wondering what ever
became of Baruch Yosef's second MRI that was postponed at the beginning
of the month. Well, it was postponed for so long that we decided not to
bother anyone with it until the date was much closer. The date is

Baruch Yosef will be having an MRI IY"H on Thursday, January 27 between
12:30 and 2:00 P.M. Israel time (5:30-7:00 A.M. US Eastern time). Anyone
who can say some Tehilllim for him then will be greatly
appreciated. Thanks.

-- Carl
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: Ezra Tepper <intepper@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 09:50:20 +0200
Subject: Philanthropy and Fraud -- Esnan Zona (a prostitutes fee)

Carl M. Sherer (v31,#8)writes:

>I would go a step further. There are certain types of donation that we
>should not accept because their sources (at least should) discust 
>us. For example, in the Beis HaMikdash it was forbidden to bring
>korbanos (sacrifices) that were purchased with esnan zona (a
>prostitutes fee or mechir kelev (the proceeds of selling a dog). I
>think the Torah was indicating to us that there are certain types of
>money that we should not take....

In fact, a closer look at the laws of esnan zona prove the exact
opposite, namely that money or goods inappropriatly obtained are not in
and of themselves forbidden for use as sacrifices.

The Rambam (Isuri Mizbei'ach 4:18) writes specifically and I paraphase,
if one sold a dog for wheat which was later ground into flour, that
flour is permitted to be brought as a sacrifice. Therefore, if one sold
a dog for money or a woman received money for esnan zona, that money
could be used to buy a sacrifice. It is only the kid itself given as
esnan zona which is forbidden. And Rambam's law is even more liberal,
for he clearly writes that the animal given as esnan is forbidden only
as a sacrifice. It may however be given as a charitable donation for
upkeep of the Holy Temple (bedek habayit).

At least if we examine the laws of esnan zona and mechir kelev (proceeds
of selling a dog), money obtained in an "illegitimate" manner is not
treif for charitable purposes.

Ezra L. Tepper


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 00:22:30 -0500
Subject: Pidyon Sh'vuyim

Bill Bernstein wrote:
> Pollard is not sitting in jail because he obeyed the
> clear letter of the law: he's there because he
> knowingly violated both the law itself and the trust
> his employer put it him.  Whether the sentence
> was comensurate or not is irrelevant to pidyon
> shivuim.

I can't agree with that last statement. I think that appropriateness in
sentencing should play a factor in determining whether someone should be
considered a captive. Let's say someone is caught speeding in
Redneckville Georgia and the locals decide on a 10 year sentence to
teach the Jew from New Yawk a lesson. Sure, he broke the law, but
wouldn't he be considered a captive? He's not being held on the basis of
having broke the law, he's being held as the target of anti-Semitism.

You might argue, as an example, my case is a little too dramatic, a bit
too ridiculous to be useful. Well, there are those who feel that
Pollard's sentence, when compared to others who have committed far worse
infractions, is a bit ridiculous, as well. This leads them to conclude
that Pollard, is still being held after all these years, not on the
basis of his infraction, but as the target of some anti-Semitic or
anti-Israel bias. Thus they conclude that he is a Shavui, a captive.

Personally, I don't have all the facts of the case, but I'm willing to
concede that they may well have a point.

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.

From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2000 18:52:57 EST
Subject: Pidyon Sh'vuyim

Some more words on pidyon shvuyim-

I think the classic / historic case of pidyon shvuyim is when a person
is captured by bandits and is put on the slave market (or is in danger
of such fate). Thankfully, at least in this part of the world, that is
uncommon today. Some have tried to utilize the term for other type of
cases, as I have stated, but such application requires careful
examination to determine if such extension of the term / category is

An illustration of what can be caused by incorrect classification in
this area occurred in a case in Brooklyn, NY within the last few months,
according to newspaper reports.  A Jewish man who had been in trouble
with the law and was facing incarceration, was able to avoid it and go
home, with the assistance of a 'Rabbi' who vouched for him with the
authorities, presumably believing he was doing a great mitzvah. Not long
afterward, this man (according to the police) beat his wife to death, on
the Sabbath, leaving a number of children without a mother. The story
was covered in a few newspapers, e.g.  NY Daily News, Forward (English
edition) and Newsday, as I recall. One of the newspaper stories stated
that a local law enforcement official said that the authorities often
encounter difficulty from Rabbis and such who try to intervene on behalf
of Jews in trouble with the law - who sometimes are not worthy of such
intervention. Anyone interested in more details re this case can contact

The Torah does not tell us to deceive ourself into believing that every
Jew is always righteous and never guilty of wrongdoing. Koheles
(Ecclesiastes) tells us not to be excessively righteous (more than the
Torah commands). Let us remember the lesson of Tzom Gedalia.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 14:15:40 -0500
Subject: Pollard

> From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
<< Several postings have discussed the Pollard case.  Obviously as a
political matter it should be outside this forum. >>


<<Whether the sentence was comensurate or not is irrelevant to pidyon

	What would you say to the following scenario, all too common in
our history: A Jew commits a crime, say stealing two apples from a
pushcart.  The local "judiciary" decides, obviously on extra-legal
grounds, that he should serve a life sentence at hard labor for the
offense.  Would you agree that this is bona fide pidyon shvuyim?

	The controversy about Pollard is not that he should not have
done what he did, nor that he should not have been punished for it.  It
is about the fact that the punishment is far in excess of the usual type
of sentence for this type of crime, and extra legal factors, such as his
not being able to obtain certain key information about his own case,
certainly played a role here.


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 18:53:33 +0200
Subject: Pollard

Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...> wrote:

>Several postings have discussed the Pollard case.  Obviously as a
>political matter it should be outside this forum. 

I don't think that your posit is as obvious to others as it is to you.
The difference between "political" and "halacha" are almost
non-existent.  But by that as it may, to discuss a particular instance
so as to clarify a generalization is not a bad thing.

>I have not seen an
>answer to the specific question of what constitutes pidyon shivuim
>today.  To claim, however, that someone who knowingly violated the civil
>laws of a state and is now in jail seems to fall outside the purview of
>pidyon shivuim.  Pollard is not sitting in jail because he obeyed the
>clear letter of the law: he's there because he knowingly violated both
>the law itself and the trust his employer put it him.  Whether the
>sentence was comensurate or not is irrelevant to pidyon shivuim.

Again, I do not have the exact text of the Rabbis' declaration on
Pollard but both they and former Chief Rabbi Eliyahu made the point that
once the US justice system is denying Pollard his rights (do not forget
that in an appeal to the Federal Appellate Court, Pollard was told that
on procedural grounds he could not obtain their aid although the one
non-Jewish judge of the three declared that Pollard was a victim of
miscarriaged justice), then he comes under a category of Pidyon Shvuyim
in that he is being held against normal conditions.  In that instance,
he is able to be aided as if he was being held against his will.

Yisrael Medad


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 2000 17:19:25 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Rambam and Collect call game

 From the responses, it would appear that Four issurim are involved"

1. Lying to the operator (I want to call Mr X)
2. Gnavas Daas (deception implying that you want to purchase service)
3. Gnava Mamash (actual theft by making use of an unpaid for service)
4. Chillul HaShem

Here in Israel, the Collect Call is done automatically. The recipient
hears the caller's two second announcement to which 1 can be pressed to
accept or 0 to not accept. Thus presumably lying is not relevant in this

Since it is automatic, presumably also Gnavas Daas doesn't apply.

The question remains is if something is being stolen or not.

Obviously if stolen, even if the service owner doesn't know the identity
of the caller, between Man and his Maker, there is Chillul Hashem.

Appropriating, or even just making use of another's property without his
consent is in most cases gnava (the exceptions being generally
tashmishei kodesh - tephilin etc).

Calling a 1800 number for no reason generally causes monetary loss
because each call has to be paid for.

But where the phone company doesn't actually lose anything, and in most
cases stand to gain, since the recipient will call back as a result of
the call, can this be called Gnava Mamash. Is it really considered
"shrinkage" or "shoplifting" as some would have it?

Daniel Wells


End of Volume 31 Issue 17