Volume 31 Number 73
                 Produced: Wed Mar  1  5:10:07 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrativia - Mail Jewish Israel Get Together
         [Carl M. Sherer]
         [Avi Feldblum]
Aliya and Kiruv
         [Sherman Family]
Collect call game
         [Warren Burstein]
Copying tapes
         [Sammy Finkelman]
FREE Shul furniture
         [Chaim Mateh]
Masada and Suicide (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Carl M. Sherer]
Suicide, Masada and the Crusades
         [Shelli and Dov Frimer]


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 15:31:00 +0200
Subject: Administrativia - Mail Jewish Israel Get Together

Adina and I are pleased to invite all Mail Jewish list members who will
be in Israel at that time to a get together. The event will be held at
our home in Jerusalem IY"H on Motzei Shabbos Zachor, 12 Adar 2 5760
(March 18, 2000), from 9:00 P.M. onwards. We hope to have at least two
very special guests from New Jersey in attendance.

[That would be me, your friendly moderator and my wife Carolynn. We're
looking forward to meeting you!]

If you plan to attend, please send an email to my OFFICE address (which
is the address from which this email is coming). At that time, I will
provide you with directions and a phone number.

We hope to have a large turnout IY"H.

-- Carl

P.S. Don't tell her I told you, but it's Adina's birthday that night :-) 

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: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Mar 2000 04:53:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

As you can see from my comments in Carl's post, I and my wife will be in
Israel during the next few weeks. One thing I was interested in knowing,
is how hard/easy would it be to get an ISP in Jerusalem? We would probably
be there most of the time. For my wife, anything that gives us easy access
to the web would be fine, for me (and doing mail-jewish) I need something
that would give me access to a telnet session. In the US, besides for
having AOL type access numbers many places, where ever not, I can get a
local ISP for a month and use that. Somehow, I'm not sure it is that easy
in Israel. If you live in Jerusalem (or elsewhere in Israel) and have any
suggestions, please let me know. Thanks in advance.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Sherman Family <sherman@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 08:48:41 -0500
Subject: Aliya and Kiruv

> I guess you can have an impact on not-yet- fruhm people even if you
> are fruhm from birth yourself.

It was frum from birth folks inviting us to their homes (Chabad, modern
Orthodox and Sefardic) that brought us to Tora.  Baruch Ha shem. We will
always regard those people as "life savers." We were mixed up in other
religions because we were raised w/o knowing Judaism.  Now, we try to
share Judaism.

As some of you know, we are Orthodox Jews who live in a remote rural
area in New York state. We just returned from a wonderful trip to
Israel.  May G-d help us return speedily!  It is home to our neshama. )
We are raising foster children who cannot legally make aliya.  They were
abused prior to coming to our home ... we feel we cannot abandon them
now. G-d willing, when they are grown we can make aliya.  There is a
lot of kiruv work to be done in Israel. In Israel, we were disappointed
to find a major Jerusalem hotel welcoming Zola Levitt, a "Hebrew xtian"
and his associated missionaries.  Believe it or not, coming from prayer,
we noted that Seventh Day adventists were actually handing out their
literature near the Ha Kotel and at a children's yeshiva.  They had
bought a full page in Ha Aretz to advertise their beliefs.  The
Ethiopian Jews were being preached to and taught by so called "messianic
Jews."  Because of our background, we could recognize this.  we tried to
find people who could counter the missionaries.

Sadly, we also discovered disenfranchised religious youth, getting
involved with life styles I won't describe.  They were opening
themselves up to much pain.  they need kiruv. So do the elderly.

There is a lot of holy work to do in Israel, building up Ha Am, drawing
people close to G-d , His Tora and Ha Am.

 Kol Tuv,


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 14:34:09
Subject: Re: Collect call game

>From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
>But if I call collect and ask to speak to Mrs Hendel then it is
>permissable even though 99% of the time my Mother will refuse and call
>me back (and even if it is a different company). For I have not lied
>but rather hidden the fact that my mother **usually** refuses;
>furthermore there is a possibility that if my mother is in a hurry (eg
>before shabbath) that she will accept the collect charges.

See http://www.fcc.gov/Bureaus/International/Orders/1995/fcc95224.txt
(posted by Barak Greenfield in the same issue of MJ), refers to a U.S.
court case in the 1950's which

>involved a scheme whereby two trucking companies conveyed loading and
>location information between drivers and their central offices in code
>by means of unaccepted person-to-person collect calls.

It seems to me that had they called collect to a real person located at
the central office (call Reuven to say "arrived on time", Shimon to say
"mechanical difficulty"), and once in a while the office accepted the
call to give an urgent message to the driver, it would be no different
from Mr.  Hendel calling his mother.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Feb 00 10:13:00 -0400
Subject: Copying tapes

>  One respected Rabbi I know has said publicly that I can make a copy
> of a tape for a friend if I think he will enjoy the music. He will
> more likely become a fan of this artist and buy the next tape that
> the artist releases. I think that this can fall under the fair use
> category as well.

| 17 USC chapter 1 sec 107 defines fai use as copying "for purposes such
| as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple
| copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research." It seems
| unlikely that copying an entire tape and giving it to a friend would
| ever be construed as fair use, and is illegal.

The Rabbi and the poster here were most likely talking about two
different things. The rabbi was considering this in terms of "masig
Gavool" probably. From this point of view if the originator of the music
would be better off if this was copied, he has no complaints.

But he may not be all correct about U.S. law. U.S. law has four main
considerations for copying (that I read about in a computer book).

One of them is whether there is a market for it. If the tape is out of
print - not being sold - the law would lean much more to letting it be
copied. Canadian law is somewhat stricter. it doesn't have that
exception for classroom use (an out of print book or newspaper clippings
are probably the examples Congress had in mind)

 From the viewpoint of U.S law, if it is not being marketed, this maybe
could fall into the category of teaching or comment (especially if the
person would be afraid to lend his original copy.)

 From the viewpoint of U.S. law, I think courts have held, although
maybe some lawyers would like things to be stricter,  if the result of
copyright is that somebody does not see something at all, rather than
giving some money to the copyright owner, then it is fair use to let
someone have it, because then the First Amendment trumps copyright
and copyright can't operate so as to stop something altogether.


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 19:43:00 +0200
Subject: FREE Shul furniture

Any Shul or Yeshiva (or anyone else) in Israel that is interested in and in
need of used Shul furniture (benches with attached half pews) for FREE,
please eMail me at <chaimm@...>
Our Shul is in Rechovot.  Moving responsibility (and expenses) on the
recepient Shul.

Kol Tuv,
Chaim Mateh
c/o Beit Chatam
Rechovot, Israel


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2000 11:00:14 EST
Subject: Masada and Suicide

Barry H Best (v31n63) says:

<<In response to Dov Frimer's post on Masada and halachic
proscription of suicide (MJ vol. 31 #60): I have read that there were
many instances during the crusades of mass suicide.  I don't remember
explicitly, but I believe that there were some gedolim (or at least
rabbonim) among them.  I wonder if Mr. (Rabbi?) Frimer addressed these
instances in his piece.>>

There is connection between the mass suicide of the First Crusade and
the one (real or not) at Masada. I'll quote below from my own article
which deals with this subject, and the sources cited there will lead you
to an entire body of halachic literature dealing with the subject.

See, for example, Avraham Grossman, "Roots of Kiddush Hashem in Early
Ashkenaz," in _The Sanctity of Life and Anguish of the Soul: A
Collection of Essays in Memory of Amir Yekutiel_, edited by Yeshayahu
Gafni and Aviezer Ravitsky (Jerusalem: Zalman Shazar Center for History
of Israel, 1992).  Grossman cites Haim Soloveitchik, "Religious Law and
Change: The Medieval Ashkenazic Example," AJS Review 12(1987), who
writes. inter alia, "The magnitude of this halakhic breach is enormous."
Grossman argues, however, that the savants of Rashi's times gave great
weight to the Aggadic sources of the Talmud on the issue of "active
Kiddush Hashem," especially if the prospect was torture and conversion
of children. He suggests that the history book known as Jossipon, then
very highly regarded, may have influenced their decision because of its
account, based on Josephus, of the mass suicide on Masada.... The Hebrew
chronicles of the events state that the martyrs themselves invoke the
example of Hanna and her seven sons (II Maccabees 7) to justify their
actions. See A.M. Haberman, _Sefer Gezerot Ashkenaz Ve-Zartaf_
(Jerusalem: Tarshish Books, 1945), p.34.

Source: Harvey Siceherman and Gilad J. Gevaryahu, "Rashi and the First 
Crusade", _Judaism_, 1999, p.195, n.9

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 20:25:17 +0200
Subject: Masada and Suicide

Bernard Jacobs writes:
>  The Jews in Europe during the last war probably deep down hoped that
> they would not be killed or were unaware of what was going to happen
> to them.IMHO that is why they got on the trains and entered the
> "showers". 

I have no way of judging how many Jews in Europe in the last war knew or
did not know what was going to happen to them, HY"D, but I certainly
would not give universal application to the statement made above.

Both the biography of Lieutenant Meir Birnbaum (who lives here in
Yerushalayim ad Meah v'Esrim) and the biography of R. Elchonon Wasserman
HY"D recount a story of R. Elchonon lecturing the Jews of the Kovno
ghetto about having proper kavanah (intent) in fulfilling the mitzva of
sanctifying Hashem's name (i.e.being killed because they were Jews)!

Implying that the only reason the Jews of Europe did not behave the way
the Jews of Masada did is because they didn't know what was going to
happen or because they held out hope of being saved (which is how I read
the excerpt above) is shortchaning the emuna and bitachon (faith in
Hashem) of the Dor Deah (the generation of knowledge) in Europe.

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: Shelli and Dov Frimer <greenj94@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 17:02:05 +0200
Subject: Suicide, Masada and the Crusades

From: Best, Barry H <barry.h.best@...>
>        In response to Dov Frimer's post on Masada and halachic
>proscription of suicide (MJ vol. 31 #60): I have read that there were
>many instances during the crusades of mass suicide.  I don't remember
>explicitly, but I believe that there were some gedolim (or at least
>rabbonim) among them.  I wonder if Mr. (Rabbi?) Frimer addressed these
>instances in his piece.

     Yes, I do relate to the instances of suicide which we find during
the crusades in my article (Tradition 12.1 [Summer 1971] pp.27-43).

    Indeed there were Gedolim who committed suicide during the Crusades,
e.g. R. Yehudah son of the Rosh. They based themselves on the ruling of
Rabbenu Tam (and his followers) who ruled that one may commit suicide
(only) where one fears that through torture or another form of violence
or force he will be compelled to transgress one of the three
commandments for which one is obligated to martyr himself "al kiddush
Hashem". If there is no other way out of the dilemma, then one could act
in anticipation of such an eventuality and take one's own life.  This
"p'sak" go beyond the Tannaitic ruling at Lydda (Sanh.74a). The latter
did not speak of suicide but only of martyrdom. One was under an
obligation to submit to death at the hands of others. In addition, the
Tannaitic decree only applied to the time of actual transgression, not
to some later consequence. The distinction is quite substantial; but so
is Rabbenu Tam's authority.

    This ruling, however, cannot justify the suicide at Masada. As Prof.
Sidney Hoenig (Tradition, Spring 1970) has written, their suicide was
not fundamentally to sanctify G-d's Name, though the Sicarri believed in
no lordship over man. There was no problem of religious persecution or
of transgression of Torah precepts involved in the Masada episode to be
considered the cause of the suicide. Their action was basically
political. They cannot, therefore, be classified in the same manner as
religious self martyrs.

    Furthermore, as I demonstrate in my article, Rabbenu Tam's view is
not universally endorsed by all Halakhic authorities.

    Finally, I would add that even according to the "lenient school"
which would allow suicide, only self martyrdom by the person himself is
permitted; one cannot, however, have someone else kill him at his behest
- as was done , according to Josephus, at Masada ( This point has more
recently been cogently argued by the great Gaon, Rabbi Yehudah Gershuni
zt"l [Hachmat Gershon, pp. 313-316], who passed away only a month ago,
Yehi Zichro Barukh). This issue, though, is less clear with regards to

    Documentation and sources for the above can be found in my article.

  Dov I. Frimer


End of Volume 31 Issue 73