Volume 31 Number 67
                 Produced: Sun Feb 20  9:06:16 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aliya to Save Your Children
         [Joel Rich]
Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah (2)
         [Sammy Finkelman, Daniel M Wells]
Blessings with head uncovered
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy (2)
         [Jordan Hirsch, Elan Adler]
Invisibility Behind the Mechitza
         [Rena Freedenberg]
Megillah question
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Rambam Yomi
         [Eliezer Shemtov]
Reading Someone Else's Email Messages
         [Eric Jaron Stieglitz]
Secular College - challenges
         [Hannah Katsman]
Who are we afraid of---A Halachic Answer
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 08:35:25 EST
Subject: Re: Aliya to Save Your Children

<<  Rav Mordechai Shikovitzky zt"l spoke at the Bar Mitzva. It's
 been more than eight years since that Bar Mitzva, and his words still
 ring in my head, "bezeas apecha tochal lechem zeh lo mitzva - ze onesh."
 (Eating bread from the sweat of your brow [i.e. having to work for a
 living] is not a mitzva, it's a punishment (for eating from the tree of
 knowledge in Gan Eden). Let's not spend more time and effort than we
 have to on the punishment! >>

I think we've discussed this before - The Rav zt"l(JBSoloveichik)
pointed out that work in and of itself has a redemptive quality. As a
side point I always ask whether the Rabbi's who hold as R' Shikovitzky
zt"l did, make this point to the donors who fund their institutions.

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 00 23:11:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah 

It happened here in my shul, although I suspect more by mistake than
anything else. The boy was born at the time of Chernobyl and he was
Bar-Mitvahed in 1998. That makes him 12, no? I don't see how the father
could have made such a mistake. But I am glad to hear this wasn't really
an error.

From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 13:06:09 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah

> From: I. Harvey Poch <af945@...>
> However, among Ashkenazim it is certainly not unheard of for a boy to
> begin putting on tefillin *as an obligation*, and undertaking other
> mitzvos, at 12, when the boy's father has died.

It has nothing to do whether the boy's father has died. There is a
concept of 'Samuch LeIsh". A person who's almost 13 is considered Samuch
leIsh, close to being a man. ie he can take on mitzvot without being

Its really the final stage of the mitsvah of Hinuch Bonim - the
educating of children. A 10 and 11 year old is (or should) only allowed
to fast part of the day on yom kippur. A child before 12 apparently
doen't know how to keep himself clean (kedusha-wise) and thus is not
encouraged to wear tefilin before that time - ashkanazim generally wait
till one month before the BM.

Apparently the whole idea is that a kid should not pass between 12 and
13 from total non observance to observance. We see that with
converts. Whilst its forbidden for them to be completely shomer shabbat
until after the tvila, they generally keep almost everything. A
potential convert I knew would, before his actual tevila, on a shabbat
carry a pen in his inside pocket since a goy that observes shabbat
completely, is hyev mita - liable to the death penalty according to
Jewish law.



From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 17:10:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Blessings with head uncovered

At a shiur given by Rabbi Mordechai Willig a couple of years ago, on
being frum and working in the business world, one of the topics was
making a bracha with out a head covering.  He told us flat out that you
can make a beracha without a head covering, but that for Birkat Hamazon
you should try to wear a head covering.  This is based on the Gemara
Berachot 60B which says that in the morning when you put on your head
covering you make the blessings of "Oter Yisrael betifarah", implying
that the several blessings which were recited before that were without a
head covering.  This is also brought down in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim


From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 16:09:27 EST
Subject: Re: Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy

<< Several things should be noted:
 1. Not one Posek, Rosh Hayeshiva  support these efforts.
 2. Having personally spoken about this very issue with two prominent
 Roshei Yeshiva at Yeshivas Rabbeinu Yitzchak Elchanon, they, too, believe
 my original comments to be in order.  >>

Um, therefore?......
 There is no halacha that states that lay leaders and communal Rabbi's
are not allowed to hold a conference without the sanction of a "Posek"
or "Rosh Yeshiva." And for what it's worth, I noticed the names of many
perfectly respectable Rabbinic Leaders listed among the speakers of the
event. Not only that, but being personally acquainted with many of the
leaders and speakers at the conference, i can tell you that these are
Ehrlich, upstanding, Observant Yidden, whose goal is serious
contemplation of important issues. What's the big deal?

Jordan Hirsch   

From: Elan Adler <eylry@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 20:58:22 PST
Subject: Conference on Feminism and Orthodoxy

In response to David Kaye who wrote that no poskim or roshei yeshiva
support these efforts (I'm not sure what "these" refers to, but will
assume it is the efforts of the women's conference), I remind him that
at the last convention, Rabbi Yehuda Henkin made an outstanding
presentation. Rabbi Yehuda Henkin is the grandson of Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu
Henkin, zatzal, and is a recognized posek.

Rabbi Elan Adler
Baltimore, MD


From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 15:34:11 +0200
Subject: RE: Invisibility Behind the Mechitza

I don't know how men can know how women feel [though several have
answered this question], so as a woman I will try to explain the
issue. The issue here is one of faulty hashkafa and a misunderstanding
of the Torah world.

When we daven, who is supposed to be seeing and hearing us? HASHEM is
supposed to see and hear us. This goes for both men and women. If you or
anyone else feels invisible behind or in front of a mechitza, it is
because you don't understand what you are supposed to be doing
there. You are not there for a social event, to be seen by the opposite
sex, to get "honor" by showing yourself off in front of the kehilla, or
anything except the very serious work of standing in front of Hashem and
pleading your case.

In the mishkan and in the Bais HaMikdash, the azara was where the
general public came, there was a curtain where only the kohanim went in
to light the menorah and where the showbreads were kept, and only the
kohein gadol could go into the Holy of Holies and only on Yom
Kippur. You will notice that the holier and more precious something was
to Hashem and the closer it came to the shechina, the more PRIVATE it
was. You will also note that the menorah and the showbreads represent
the women's mitzvot of candlelighting and taking/making challah.

More public doesn't mean more important. Remember, everybody sees the
garbage man when he comes to take away our trash, but very few people
see the king/president just walking in the streets.



From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 17:18:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Megillah question

 Does anyone know why we allow the reading of Megillat Kohellet on
Shabbat Chol Hamoed Sukkot, and the Megilla of Shir HaShirim on Shabbat
Chol Hamoed Pesach?  My question is not relating to those two megillot
on those days, but rather why is the megilla reading in those two cases
allowed on Shabbat.  If Purim falls on Shabbat we push it off to Sunday
because people might carry the megilla on Shabbat.  Yet, Shir HaShirim
and Kohelet are read on those Shabbatot, and in some communities they
will use an actual Megilla scroll.  (Sephardic communities do not read
Megillat Kohelet or Shir Hashirim in shul on those days - neither from a
book or megilla scroll.)
 So if Megillat Esther which we have a much more explicit Mitzvah to
read from is not read on Shabbat, how do we allow Megillat Kohellet and
Shir HaShirim on Shabbat?


From: Eliezer Shemtov <shemtov@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 13:46:05 -0300
Subject: Rambam Yomi

In Mail Jewish 31:60 Eric Simon writes about the Lubavitcher Rebbe's
campaign that everyone learn the daily Rambam Shiur.

Eric correctly points out that a Lubavitcher Chosid will follow the Psak
of the Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch in case there is a conflict of
opinion between the Rambam's Psak and that of the Alter Rebbe.

I would just like to point out that when the Rebbe, zi"a, started the
campaign he explained the reasons for it. 1) The Rambam is the only
Posek that touches upon ALL aspects of Jewish life. The Shulchan Aruch
only deals with Halachos that are applicable in the time of Golus and in
the diaspora.  The Rambam is the only code of Jewish law that deals also
with the those laws that are relevant in the times of the Beis
Hamikdosh. By learning the Yad Hachazakah of the Rambam in addition to
Chamisho Chumshei Torah, one can fulfill the obligation of learning the
ENTIRE Torah, as the Rambam himself states in the introduction to the
Yad Hachazakah. 2) By everyone participating in the same program of
Torah study, it serves to strengthen Jewish unity.

These 2 reasons have nothing to do with considering the Rambam as a
'Posek Acharon' in the case that there is a difference of opinion
amongst Poskim.  In that case, one should obviously follow the Psak of
his Rav.

Eliezer Shemtov

P.S.  I noticed a question in one of your past issues that I would like
to address.

Mention was made of the Lubavitch standards regarding the degree of
temperature in the processing of Cholov Yisroel. If I remember
correctly, the poster asked why heat milk, if the only case in which
'cooking' helps for Kashrus is in the case of wine?

The issue is as follows.

The temperature regarding the processing of milk is relevant when
Kashering the pasteurizers that have been used for processing non Cholov
Yisroel.  According to the Psak of Reb Zalman Shimon A"H Dworkin, who
was the Moreh Horooh for many years in the Lubavitcher Rebbe's Beis
Medrash, the machines must be 'koshered' at 212 degrees fahrenheit (100
degrees celcius), BEFORE using them to process Cholov Yisroel. It has
nothing to do with heating the MILK.


From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 07:59:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Reading Someone Else's Email Messages

Immanuel Burton <iburton@...> writes:

> Does reading someone else's email messages without their consent fall
> under the same category as reading normal mail about which Rabbeinu
> Gershon (I believe) applied a Cherem?  Would there be any difference if
> the person knew that his email messages could and were likely to be read
> against his wishes?

  Interesting question, and I'd like to add the following to it:

  I'm a systems administrator by profession. This means that part of my
job involves maintenance of the e-mail system, and that on occasion, I
need to examine other people's mail (and other files) in order to
determine whether or not the system is working properly. In just about
all cases I've seen, administrators usually make quite clear to users
that they must examine private files in the course of their work, but
I'm curious what halakha might apply to somebody with this position.



From: Hannah Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 23:34:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Secular College - challenges

When I went to Barnard College in New York, a student asked a local
rabbi whether she could attend a class on Yom Tov where the professor
stipulated mandatory attendance because a film was going to be shown.
The rabbi said she could go, as long as she didn't take notes or call
attention to her presence.  Well, she went, but (against the rabbi's
instructions) she explained to her professor that she thought this
session was important enough for her to attend despite Yom Tov. He
replied that he was glad she went because he thought many Orthodox
students took advantage of the holidays to turn their assignments in
late!  She felt that she had done a kiddush hashem (my words, not hers).
I felt the opposite.

Whether or not it's strictly permissible to attend class, it's not in
the spirit of Yom Tov and should be discouraged. It also puts subtle or
not so subtle pressure on those who have a halachic/hashkafic objection
to attending. Orthodox students who do not feel comfortable going to
class should have the support of the entire community behind them. I
believe that New York State law requires universities to accommodate
students who did not attend class for religious reasons, and it's
important for students to see that their rights are upheld.

I personally never felt the necessity of going to class on Yom Tov, and
never had difficulty arranging exam schedules, etc. (although others
occasionally did). I had a lot of experience from high school. The year
of the above incident, I helped organize communal meals/services for
Simchat Torah (which Barnard/Columbia had not had in the past) and I
have since wondered how many of those who stayed on campus did so in
order attend classes.

Hannah Katsman


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2000 01:21:34 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Who are we afraid of---A Halachic Answer

Carl Singer in Mj-v31n42 asks
<< It was NOT treyf to work in Europe. It was not treyf to be part of
the world. What happened?  And who changed it? Who made these new rules
that are clearly driven by fear of coping? >>

Ms. Friedman has hit the nail on the head -- be it fear of coping or
fear of copying (perhaps a typo) Who or what are we afraid of?

I feel compelled to answer this FROM A HALACHIC perspective.

The Rambam in the Laws of Characters Chapter 6 clearly answers this
>> It is the nature of man to be drawn in his deeds and opinions after
his friends and acquaintances and to behave like the people in his
county. THEREFORE people should befriend the righteous and sit
among scholars in order to learn from their deeds; people must also
from the wicked who walk in darkness in order not to learn from their
deeds >>>

Thus the Rambam clearly states that we **should** fear a bad environment
and we **should** seek a good environment. This advice is halachic!

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; Math; Towson University
Moderator Rashi is Simple


End of Volume 31 Issue 67