Volume 31 Number 74
                 Produced: Wed Mar  1  5:40:00 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are raffles michshalim?
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Chalav Yisrael - R Moshe's Psak
         [Ralph Zwier]
Children's encyclopedia question - clarification
         [Krischer, Ellen L (Ellen)]
Hiring and Firing Rabbis
         [Zusha Frumin]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Megillah question (3)
         [Perry Zamek, Elazar M Teitz, Gershon Dubin]
Rav Hirsch's Neo-Orthodoxy
         [Chaim Mateh]
Reading Someone Else's Email Messages
         [Daniel M Wells]
Se'udas Hoda'ah
         [Sheldon Meth]


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 08:44:22 -0500
Subject: Are raffles michshalim?

	We recently received a brochure for a "Chinese Auction," (a type
of raffle) from a worthy tzedakah (charity). My wife shared my
enthusiasm over it for two reasons: (1) the tzedekah is one we want to
contribute to and (2) the grand prize is truly grand.  In fact, the
grand prize is worth several thousand dollars.  We joked about winning
it, and then it occurred to me: we could not afford to win it!  The
reason is that in the United States, income taxes are due on the market
value of any prizes a person wins (I do not know of the situation in
other countries).  Winning the grand prize would cost us a thousands of
dollars in taxes.

	Now -- to put it bluntly -- I am not sure that all prize winners
report their wins to the IRS (the U.S. tax agency).  This is improper,
of course, but I suspect that it does occur.

	Here is the question: by putting a such a large prize before the
public, and such a large temptation to cheat on one's taxes, is the
tzedakah over (transgressing) on "lo titain michshol" (do not put a
stumbling block before the blind, i.e. do not tempt a person to do
wrong)?  If so, how can tzedakah's justify this common practice?


From: Ralph Zwier <zwierr@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 21:18:21 +1100
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisrael - R Moshe's Psak

Even though it is important to know whether R. Moshe Feinstein "changed
his mind" regarding his psak on Chalav Yisrael, it is only one small
point in us determining our Halocho Lemaaseh (actual practice).

Lehavdil Elef Havdolos [trans. The comparison is unthinkable] we do not
have "gurus" whose words we adhere to on the basis of personality.

Each and every Teshuva in our literature is a reasoned thesis bringing
together precedent and logic. If R. Moshe's psak is accepted, it is
because his teshuvah stands up to scrutiny.  Therefore the only
substantial way we can accept any kind of retraction of his teshuvah is
to be aware of which part of the original logic he was dissatisfied

This process clearly could be done by Rav Moshe himself, or his peers in
his own generation, and to an ever diminishing extent by Achronim in
later generations. According to Halachic principles of precedent, the
most powerful refutation would be the one by R.  Moshe himself, but as I
see it, we would still need him to show his logic and his reasoning.

A simple anecdote, assuming it is totally authenticable, still does not
appear to me to be strong enough to undo a Teshuva. What an anecdote
might achieve, is to force the Rabonnim of this generation to re-examine
the original Tshuvah and try to find the flaw in it.  THEY would then be
able to Pasken in their own name that "we don't hold by R. Moshe's
tshuvah on Chalav Yisrael."

Ralph Zwier
Voice 61 3 9521 2188
Double Z Computer Fax 61 3 9521 3945


From: Krischer, Ellen L (Ellen) <krischer@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 10:26:02 -0500
Subject: RE: Children's encyclopedia question - clarification

Let me clarify my question, since there seems to be some confusion.

	I do not have experience with today's children's encyclopedias.
I could guess topics that potentially could cause a problem.  However,
most of them (like sexual issues), I find it hard to believe would be
covered in a children's encyclopedia.

	My question to the original poster and any other knowledgeable
netizens is:

	For those who *do* have *practical* experience with a currently
published children's encyclopedia, what topics (specifically) did they
find to be a problem?

	In private email, I suggested to one subscriber that I would
think the school could use some topics as a wonderful start to a
discussion of how we differ from the rest of the world.  Evolution is a
subject that was certainly discussed by our Rebbonim.  Why not use what
is written elsewhere as a springboard for the "correct" view (whatever
that may mean in a given community.)  (BTW I'm not suggesting this for
the 6 year olds - but they aren't don't very much reading on evolution

	Sorry for any confusion.  Still curious...

	Ellen Krischer


From: Zusha Frumin <frumin@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:04:29 +0200
Subject: Hiring and Firing Rabbis

I'm interested in hearing from other folks how they understand the whole
matter of hiring and especially firing rabbis in eretz yisrael. I live
on a small yeshuv in israel. Several years ago we took a rabbi for a
trial basis of 6 months to see if it was a good sheduch between him and
the yeshuv.  After the trial period was over the yeshuv took a vote and
the vast majority were interested in continuing the search for a
rav. But it turned out that in the meantime the rav had gone to the
Ministry of Religion and announced that he was the rav of the yeshuv,
because of course he needed to get a salary even during this trial
period. And the Ministry of Religion pays the salaries. It turned out
that we were unable to get rid of the rabbi, because we were not his
boss, the Ministry of Religion was!!  10 years later we are still with
the same rav and lots of bad feelings from many of the residents. It
turns out that it is almost impossible to get rid of or change ravs
unless he himself is willing to go.  I would like to hear some thoughts
from other folks.  Thanks, Zusha


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 20:08:12 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Meggilot

While reading meggilat Ester is not allowed on Shabbat because every is
obligeted to read or hear, maybe someone will carry it in the
street. The 3 meggilot are read for the sibbur (cong.) only, therefore
there is no problem that someone will carry for him self. Of course,
most places read out of a book and not a scroll. (I saw this in
Lieberman's Tosefta Kepshuta exact place - ??). BTW the Yerushalmi does
not hold gezera deRava & forbids meggilat Ester because of the gezera of
reading Ketubim on Shabbat afternoon.


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 17:37:08 +0200
Subject: Megillah question

Joshua Hosseinof asks: 
>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

A few comments:

1. Under our present, fixed calendar, Purim (i.e. 14th of Adar -- or
Adar Bet in a leap year) cannot fall on Shabbat, so the question is moot
in regard to communities that celebrate Purim on the 14th.

2. If 14th Adar falls on a Friday, then here in Yerushalayim (and in
Shushan) we have Purim Meshulash ("Triple" Purim): a. Ta'anit Esther is
Thursday. b. Megillah is read on Thursday night and Friday morning, and
(if I recall correctly, Matanot La'Evyonim should also be given that
day). c. On Shabbat we say "Al HaNissim" in the Amidah and Birkat
HaMazon, and we read (as Maftir) the reading for Purim ("Vayavo Amalek,
at the end of Parshat Beshalach). The Hafatara is the same as the
previous week's, i.e., the Haftara for Shabbat Zachor. d. On Sunday we
send Mishloach Manot and hold the Purim Seuda.

Thus, the reading is not pushed off, but actually brought forward by one

3. Regarding the specific question regarding the other Megillot (Shir
Hashirim and Kohelet), there is a fundamental difference between these
readings and that of Purim. The reading of Megillat Esther on Purim is
an obligation of the individual, and therefore we are concerned that the
individual may carry the Megillah in a Reshut HaRabim (pubblic domain)
in order to go and learn how to read it. Thus we need a gezerah,
applicable to everybody, to avoid Hillul SHabbat. The fact that in most
communities the Ba'al Koreh reads does not lessen the need for
individuals to read (thus, even the members of the congregation should
use, if possible, a correctly-written Megillah). OTOH, the reading of
Shir Hashirim and Kohelet is a minhag (custom), i.e. certain communities
have a custom to read them (Joshua correctly points out that this custom
is not universal.) Those that read from a printed text should have no
problem regarding carrying, since there is no difference between a
printed text and any other sefer that cannot be carried to the synagogue
in the absence of a kosher Eruv. Those that read from a scroll -- it
would seem that it is the responsibility of the gabbaim to prepare a
scroll in advance, in order to avoid Hillul Shabbat; should they fail to
do so, no mitzvah will have been lost; since the individual is not
personally obligated in regard to this reading, there was probably no
need for a gezerah to push the reading off Shabbat in such a case.

BTW, what is the reason that those who read these from a scroll make the
bracha "al mikra megilla" ("... and commanded us regarding the reading
of the megillah")? This is the GR"A's minhag, I believe, as practiced
here in Eretz Yisrael, but I don't understand where we are "commanded"
to read these megillot (include Ruth in this as well).

Wishing you a happy Purim Katan 

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should live his life in such a way
Peretz ben    | that people can say of him: "There goes
Avraham       | a living Kiddush Hashem".

From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 15:43:46 +0000
Subject: Megillah question

Regarding Joshua Hosseinof's question as to why Shir Hashirim and
Koheles are read on Shabbos (and, outside of Israel, Ruth as well when
the second day of Shavuos is Shabbos), while Esther is not: the question
was asked of the Vilner Gaon, who was virtually alone in Lithuania in
mandating the holiday readings from a k'laf(parchment) as opposed to a

His response was that Esther is an obligation on the individual, and our
sages were concerned that in his desire to fulfill that obligation, the
individual might forget and carry his megillah to an expert for
assistance (and likewise for shofar and esrog, when Rosh Hashanah and
Succos are on Shabbos.  The other megillos, however, are obligations of
the tzibbur (congregation), not the individual, and we are not afraid of
a tzibbur forgetting.

Elazar M. Teitz  

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 16:30:13 -0500
Subject: Megillah question

	Hee hanosenes (that is exactly the point).  The Gemara, in
explaining the reason for not reading the megila on Shabbos, or blowing
shofar on Shabbos of Rosh Hashana, says that "everyone is obligated in
shofar/megila and not everyone is expert in them.  We are therefore
afraid that he may take the shofar/megila to an expert to teach him"

	Therefore, even if we grant that the reading of the megilos on
Shabbos Chol Hamoed or Shevuos ARE obligations, which is itself not at
all clear, they are at most obligations on the community.  We need not
fear, therefore, that one inexpert who will carry the megila in the
street in quest of instruction.



From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 22:59:49 +0200
Subject: Rav Hirsch's Neo-Orthodoxy

In v31#66, Steve Bailey <stevehome@...> wrote:

<< A third group saw the enlightenment as a wonderful opportunity to learn
about God's world (science), experience the beauty of music, art,
literature, poetry (and yes, even philosophy) which refines the spirit --
while at the same time remaining uncompromising in Jewish moral standards
and practice of mitzvot. This was the Neo-Orthodoxy of Hirsch and

Please pardon my ignorance, but did Rav Hirsch really teach that we should
lechatchila study gentile music, art, poetry, and philosophy, in order to
gain an opportunity to learn about G-d's world through these?  I was always
under the impression that his philosphy of secular studies, etc, was a
defacto (bidi'eved) situational advice.

<<Both approaches have the same goal: serving God and safeguarding the
future of Judaism.>>

Did Rav Hirsch indeed see secular studies as a lechatchila way of serving
G-d and of safeguarding the future of Judaism?

Kol Tuv,


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 23:19:12 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Reading Someone Else's Email Messages

> Immanuel Burton <iburton@...> writes:

> 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.

Material written on a company computer is company property and thus the
laws of privacy certainly from public law and presumably by Jewish law
have no effect. If the customer bought space, that case may obviously be
different. Most email service providers however usually make it abundantly
clear that the terms of contract allow super users (administrators) to
have read rights in order to protect the system from illegalities and
abuse and thus the user surrenders his rights of cherem derabeinu gershom
to those administrators. To all others presumably the cherem would apply.



From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 11:18:18 -0500
Subject: Se'udas Hoda'ah

I am looking for mar'eh mekomos [references] to or other information on
halachos [laws] or minhagim [customs] of a Se'udas Hoda'ah [Feast of

-Sheldon Meth


End of Volume 31 Issue 74