Volume 31 Number 92
                 Produced: Thu Mar 30  7:29:30 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conversion questions
         [Anthony S Fiorino]
Potential gerim (and non-Jews generally) at the Yom Tov table
         [Paul Jayson]
         [Eli Turkel]
Saying 'I like ham but God forbade me'
         [Eliezer Finkelman]
Source from - You can't prove anything from etc.
         [Alexander Heppenheimer]
         [Betzalel Posy]
Who wants to marry a multimillionaire (4)
         [Carl M. Sherer, anonymous, Eliezer Finkelman, Chaim]


From: Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 09:23:08 -0400
Subject: Conversion questions

Janet Rosenbaum asked:

> 1.  What is the status of assuming the yoke of the commandments?  On one
> hand, I want to say that it can't be an ordinary neder because that
> would lead to all sorts of complications (e.g., is a non-Jews's vow
> binding?, is it annulable?), but on the other hand, saying it is sui
> generis (its own category) seems like wimping out.

I don't think it is a neder at all - it is a kabala, an acceptance, of
"ol malchut shamayim."  The two are quiet distinct - one does not make a
neder to fulfill the mitzvot of shabbat each week when one is m'kabel
shabbat.  I might add that I don't think it is really conceptually
"wimping out" to find that aspects of gerut are singular. There are
really no other practical cases in halacha in which one's personal
identity is so radically transformed.  The only precedent really is
kabalat haTorah at Sinai.

> 2.  In Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai's argument about whether it was
> better for humanity to have been created, Beit Hillel concluded that it
> was better if humanity had never been created since humanity will never
> completely succeed in fulfilling the mitzvot, which is why we say "shelo
> nochri/nochria shifcha/eved isha"

I thought we say those brachot because we are thankful that we have a
higher level of obligation and more mitzvot to fulfill.

> Likewise, people should not make vows since they would only break them.
> If this is so, why can a gentile assume additional commandments?

Again, I don't think gerut is anything like a vow or neder.  In either
case, performance of mitzvot is by and large regarded positively in
halacha - one can turn your question around and ask why can women assume
additional commandments beyond what they are obligated?

Philosophically, it is hard to argue that one who seeks shelter under
the wings of the shechina ought to be turned away on the basis of their
potential future errors.  Halachically, gerut is a reality presented in
the Torah - relations with gerim are regulated on a d'oraita level - and
it would have been difficult, if not impossible, for chazal to legislate
gerut out of existence.



From: Paul Jayson <P.Jayson@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 11:13:36 +0100
Subject: Potential gerim (and non-Jews generally) at the Yom Tov table

In section 612 of the Shulchan Aruch and as brought down by the Rambam,
it is prohibited to cook for a goy on Yom Tov (Torah Law) and one is not
allowed to invite a goy (Rabbinic Law). If they come of their own
volition there is no problem (As the food is already cooked together and
no invite has been extended).

Is anyone aware of a reliable heter to circumvent this issue, which is
particularly pertinent where a friend/relative has married out and one
wants to ensure the Jewish "partner" attends a seder, etc ALSO where a
potential ger wants to experience a seder/yom tov meal.

Yitzhok Jayson

[It's been a while since we discussed this, but see V6n95, also
V7n05,13,15,55. All are available via the mail-jewish web page
(http://mail-jewish.org). Mod]


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 11:59:56 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Privacy

> There was an article on the subject of email privacy in this Sunday's
> (3/26) New York Times.  For those who persist in thinking that their
> email is private, it's worth a look.

A more detailed article is in the March issue of PC Computing.  They
demonstrate that most people's details are easily available including
credit reports, addresses, consumer habits etc.  In essence they contend
that privacy is an issue of the past.

Eli Turkel


From: Eliezer Finkelman <Finkelmans@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 14:03:13 EST
Subject: Re: Saying 'I like ham but God forbade me'

<< In classifying all Jewish law into fourteen broad categories, Rambam
placed into the category of "qdusha" only some (not all) of the food
prohibitions, and some (not all) of the sexual prohibitions.  These are
the two categories from which Rabbi El`azar ben `Azarya chose his
"efshi" examples with which this article began (some other mail-jewish
reader, perhaps, will venture to explain why Rashi chose to misquote
these examples, but that is not my present concern).  And those are the
only two categories, I claim, in which "efshi" sentiments are at all
            Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter  >>

Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter suggest limiting Rabbi El`azar ben `Azarya's
attitude, "I want to, but what can I do, my Father has prohibited it,"
to commandments of holiness, not to other sorts of commandments.

In fact, Rambam himself makes this distinction, or something very like
it, in the sixth of his eight chapters (Shmoneh Perakim).  We should
honor those who have no desire to break those commandments, the
"resonable" ones, that all people more or less accept in theory.  A
person who does not even want to steal has reached a higher level than
one who merely refrains from theft because of the commandment.  About
those commandments, the "traditional" ones, that the evil inclination
and the nations of the world challenge, such as kashrut, shaatnez and
illicit sex between consenting adults, we should honor more the person
who refrains because of the commandment.

You can find an intersting reference to this in the Srideai Eish (Rabbi
Yehiel Yaacov Weinberg) on why we say no blessing on Mishloah Manot,
Sridei Eish 2:46.

Eliezer Finkelman


From: Alexander Heppenheimer <Alexander.Heppenheimer@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 08:03:05 -0700
Subject: Re: Source from - You can't prove anything from etc.

In the middle of a well-written posting in MJ 31:86, Jay Shachter wrote:

>You see, there is a principle of
>Talmudic logic that is brought down in the fifth chapter of Qiddushin:
>"sixa d'inttha lav ra`ya haveh".  Freely rendered from the Aramaic: "You
>can't prove anything from the things you have to tell your wife".

Where exactly is this quote to be found? I haven't been able to find it in
Kiddushin or in any other masechta, neither Bavli nor Yerushalmi. (In fact,
there is no fifth chapter of Kiddushin - it's only four chapters.)

Kol tuv y'all,


From: Betzalel Posy <kbposy@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 09:08:26 -0500
Subject: Veal

<< From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
I have heard of a tshuva by R Feinstein that prohibited such because of
cruelty to animals and (potential) lung problems, but I have also heard
that not many follow this tshuvah so much of the kosher veal sold is in
fact this "white" veal. >>

The frum jewish veterenarian resource website,
http://www.tufts.edu/~tallen/index.htm, has a copy of Rav Moshe's tshuva
on the subject of veal, where he says that because of the way that veal
is raised, it does not have a chazakah(?? Translation [a legal
presumption that something is so, even if there are no direct supporting
information in this specific case. Mod]) of not being a treifa (sickly
animal invalid for eating)

Betzalel Posy


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 15:05:52 +0200
Subject: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

Rena Freedenberg writes:

> > > Money ? It has never been a major point of discussion. Yes, brief
> > > one
> > liners about commitment to help the young couple, but we certainly
> > have never come across the 'sale' of a son or a daughter as per
> > Chaim Shapiro's post !!! Chas veshalom. Is this what goes on in USA
> > ? I am horrified.
> No, not in the USA. In Israel. In Israel, the parents on both sides
> meet and discuss the financial arrangements and a "good boy" can and
> many times does demand a Yerushalayim apartment [instead of one in an
> outlying community] 

Rena, Rena, you're not aiming high enough - TWO apartments in 
Yerushalayim; one to live in and one to rent out :-) 

> The gedolim have come out against this type of behavior after one
> father had a heart attack at the wedding from all of the pressure.

Actually, as you know, the Gdolim here have gone a step further,
B"H. They have instituted takonos (regulations) that limit the size and
cost of weddings, require a couple to live in a rented apartment for
five years before moving to their own (not much of a practical
limitation if you buy an apartment on paper BTAT), and restrict parents'
contributions towards that apartment to $15,000 per side (effectively
limiting couples to buying apartments costing no more than $90,000 - you
can't buy two rooms in most fruhm neighborhoods in Yerushalayim for that
price). Whether the takonos (which have no enforcement mechanism) will
be adhered to, remains to be seen.

> However, I think that while money may play a factor and give one side
> leverage over the other, I doubt that there are too many marriages
> based solely on this factor. Yichus is the same. I think that even if
> there was a couple who met due to the yichus of one or both of them,
> if the chemistry isn't there, I would find it hard to believe that
> they agreed to the match.

I'm not sure you're right about this. I am familiar with too many
stories (including the one I cited in my response to the original poster
on this subject) in which a couple went out no more than two or three
times before getting engaged and didn't (or almost didn't) see each
other between the vort (engagement) and the wedding. You can probably
tell if the chemistry is *definitely not* there, but I think there's a
real possibility that you think it is there after two or three dates and
discover after the wedding that there is no chemistry R"L.

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: anonymous
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 17:14:26 +0200
Subject: RE: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

> No, not in the USA. In Israel. In Israel, the parents on both sides meet
> and discuss the financial arrangements and a "good boy" can and many
> times does demand a Yerushalayim apartment [instead of one in an
> outlying community] and a certain amount of money for at least a certain
> amount of time to stay in learning. If you don't have money, don't plan
> on getting a "top boy." 

I think this is not true, certainly not as a general 'rule'.  My married
daughter and her husband are renting a tiny apartment (outside of any
major city).

My son in law is definitely a 'top boy'. Having finished Shas, and
knowing large amounts of it by heart, I have yet to vaguely remember any
quotation that he cannot tell me daf and amud right off the bat. (After
years of daf yomi I am good at vaguely remembering things. This Shabbat
he took me straight to the correct place in Zevachim, when I mentioned
something there during our discussion of the Sedra.)

He also is quite expert in halacha and other Torah fields (but my
daughter claims he asks her about Tanach).

But that is not his true 'top-ness'. As I told my daughter for years
before she was even of marriagable age, I dont care if she marries a
complete Am ha'aretz, as long as he has good 'midot'. And from the
descriptions quoted above, it sounds like the 'top boys' in question are
not like that at all.

> Personally, though, I think that any boy gaivadik enough to demand an
> apartment or anything else really has a very poor spiritual yesod to
> build on, but that is only my personal opinion.

I definitely agree. Maybe it's time to let these 'top boys' in on the
secret, that gaiva and gadlus just arent the same thing.


From: Eliezer Finkelman <Finkelmans@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Mar 2000 14:03:17 EST
Subject: Re: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

<< Pressuring these youngsters to make life long decisions at that age
is a recipe for marital disaster.
   David I. Cohen >>

Maybe David Cohen is right.  But if he would like to see statistics to
show that the divorce rate has really risen, well, it would make sense
to demand some statistics that young marriages end badly more often than
more mature marriages.


From: Chaim <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 18:34:00 EST
Subject: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

<< In Jewish shidduchim even when the couple don't really know each
other the parents have met and have asked many questions about the other
side.  I have heard of stories were the couple were divorced shortly
after the wedding because some facts were not known beforehand. However,
this is the rare exception.
 Eli Turkel >>

Eli, I personally know of many cases where pertinent information was
withheld in order to not "ruin the simcha."  Involved in such deception,
are the families, friends and even rabbeim involved!  I even know of a
case, where I knew information about a Kallah, that she was
intentionally hiding from her future husband, with full permission (and
encouragement) from her family.

I also know of boys, who received their Rosh Yeshiva's highest accolades
and praise, when the boys, in fact, were not virgins, and had been
involved in the drug world for over a decade!

Deception is the rule not the exception, in so many cases!



End of Volume 31 Issue 92