Volume 32 Number 61
                 Produced: Sun Jun 25 15:25:56 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Buying Slaves
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Halakhically Legitimate Heterim --- Why Not? (2)
         [David Charlap, Chaim Mateh]
Heter Mechirah
         [Robert A. Book]
Honesty in prayer
Pre-Chuppah Wedding Pictures
         [Jordan Hirsch]
Publicizing Apikorsus
         [Jordan Hirsch]
Shabbos Conferences
         [Carl Singer]
Tikun Sofrim (3)
         [Ben Katz, Jack Stroh, Gershon Dubin]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 00:17:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Buying Slaves

> From: Asher Friedman <asher36@...>
> I was wondering what is the halacha regarding buying slaves these
> days. Can you "buy" a non-jew than free him/her and they would
> automatically be converted? How about a mamzer, would he be able to
> "buy" a non jewish woman to marry her?

One possibility is that it may be not allowed because of "dina
demalchusah" (law of the country).  However, I have seen discussions in
which it may be permissable (assuming that the "slave" has agreed to the
entire matter).  In any case, this would require a psak from an expert
as there are those (in the gemora) who say that it is not allowed to
begin with.  There are also those that say that the mamzer would have to
be arranged to be sold as an eved ivri (Jewish slave) in order to be
allowed to marry a nonJewish slave.

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 10:51:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Halakhically Legitimate Heterim --- Why Not?

Fred Dweck wrote:
> An anonymous poster wrote:
>> For example, if I have a piece of meat that has a 75% chance of
>> being kosher and a 25% chance of being treif,  I am allowed to eat
>> it because of bateil b"rov --- and hence it poses no spiritual
>> danger to me even if the physical reality is indeed that it's treif.
> I believe that he is misquoting the halacha. The origin of this
> concept comes from; if 2 pieces of kosher meat got mixed with one
> piece of identical unkosher meat, and they cannot be told apart, it
> is "bateil b"rov." Not if a piece of meat that has a 75% chance of
> being kosher and a 25% chance of being treif.

There's another source here, I believe.

If you find an ownerless and unidentified piece of meat in a public
place, are you allowed to assume it to be kosher?  The answer (if I
remember my gemara correctly) is that you can assume it to be kosher if
the majority of stores in the area are kosher, but you must assume it to
be non-kosher if the majority of stores in the area are not kosher.

In other words, if it is likely that this unknown meat came from a
kosher store, you may assume it to be kosher without further

-- David

From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 23:03:00 +0300
Subject: Re: Halakhically Legitimate Heterim --- Why Not?

In  vol 32 #54, Fred Dweck <fredd@...> quoted (and agreed with)
Anonymous who wrote:

<<The same God who told us what foods are prohibited is also the God who
gave us various heterim --- bateil, notein ta`am lifgam, sfeik sfeika, etc.
--- under which we don't have to worry about these issurim. So if we're
going to abide by His rules, we should be willing to accept ALL of the ones
that He gave us. In fact, it seems to me that REFUSAL to use the heterim He
gave us is awfully xutzpadik --- it is basically telling Hashem that His
rules are not good enough for us, and we know better than He does what is
REALLY the right way to conduct ourselves.>>

The implication of the above is that we _should_ use every heter that
the Torah tells us about.  It's well known that Eishes Yifass Toar is a
Torah bidi'eved heter, not something everyone should do. More to the
point though, is Rashi in Beitza 3b d"h Afilu be'elef lo botil.  The
Gemoro discusses Dovor sheyesh bo matirin lo botul afilu be'elef = a
forbidden food that will become permitted (such as Tevel becoming
permitted after Trumos are taken from it), is not botil when mixed with
permitted foods.  Rashi says: "Even though midi'orayso, one in two is
botil, ..., the Rabbonon were stringent (to cancel the heter of botil)
because since there is a permitted stage for the object after a certain
time period, he shouldn't eat it be'issur (in its forbidden state)
through bitul".  IOW, sometimes the Chachomim determined that we should
_not_ utilize even a Biblical heter.

Furthermore, if there are pitfalls in the use of Biblical heterim (such
as not enough care taken when following a heter), then the Chachomim
could, should, and do introduce chumross (stringencies) to keep us one
step away from falling.

Kol Tuv,


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 02:01:53 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: re: Heter Mechirah

Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...> writes:
> But, when I am a consumer in the
> supermarket in Israel, I do not have a big loss if I have to pay
> slightly more for produce that did not come from the heter mechirah.
> Perhaps someone can calculate what their difference in supermarket
> spending in Israel is between the shmittah year and the other years if
> they buy non-heter mechirah produce.  I suspect that for most middle
> class people, the price difference will not amount to a big loss.

Yes, but if everyone does this, for the farmers it will be a big loss.
Is it right insist we do something which costs most of us only a small
loss, but which will deprive others of their livelihood?

I must say that I believe it would be best to observe shmitta the
"best" way possible, and I've always been uncomfortbale with the heter
mechira -- but the above arguement has just about convinced me that we
are REQUIRED to accept the heter for the benefit of the livelihood of
Jewish farmers.

Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jun 2000 03:08:09 EDT
Subject: Honesty in prayer

<< From: Steve McQueen <matnsue@...>
 While we are on the subject of honesty in prayer, how can those who
 support a change to Nahem say "... and bring us up in joy to our land"
 in Shabbat Musaf?  Has this also not already happened?  >>

Perhaps the key words are 'in joy'.

Many modern olim have not made their aliya fully 'in
joy'. Unfortunately, many made aliya under trying conditions to escape
persecution, save their lives, as devastated refuges post-holocaust,
etc. and then had to deal with a trying bureaucracy.

As I see it, the prayer asks for an aliya in full joy - with the coming
of Moshiach, our complete redemption, the rebuilt beis hamikdosh, etc.,
etc.....  soon in our days....



From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 14:42:47 EDT
Subject: Re: Pre-Chuppah Wedding Pictures

<< It is about time that the Jewish community refocuses itself on what is
 > REALLY important when it comes to weddings.

 To me the wedding pictures are one of the most important part of the
 wedding. One could just get married in front of a minyan and get the
 wedding over with very fast. What is left is the memories. We still look
 at the pictures of our wedding and our children especially when
 relatives come to visit.

For our wedding, I had considered forgoing the video. A friend
admonished me, saying that one day, my children would want to know what
their great grandmothers looked like when they could get around. The
point turned more poignant. My 3 1/2 year old daughter is fascinated by
the video shots of her Mom Sophie, my grandmother, for whom she is
named. I think my friend was very wise.

Jordan Hirsch  


From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 14:30:44 EDT
Subject: Re: Publicizing Apikorsus

<< Considering that there are no women rabbis within the Orthodox
movement, a women professing to be one rather than, say, a female
"Chacham", or the new title of "Rabbinical assistant") would be outside
the pale of Frumkeit and her teaching would be suspect. >>

Anecdotally, you may be correct, but it is not a foregone conclusion. As
for the Halachik legitimacy of Women Rabbi's, I am reminded of a friends
dictum used to calm down indignant frum people: "It is less problematic
to have a Woman Rabbi than a Woman Shul President."



From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 07:06:55 EDT
Subject: Re: Shabbos Conferences

<<  I suspect the Shabbos conference thing is more common and often a bit
more complicated than that. Recently, I did not attend a Shabbos
conference because the "most important session" took place on Shabbos
morning, and I told people in advance that were I to attend the
conference, I would leave Shabbos morning to go to a minyan (I had
already ascertained that there was one within walking distance). Someone
else, who was more willing to forego tfilla b'tzibur (davening with a
minyan) went in my place. If I felt my future with my company was at all
dependent on attending this conference, I might have felt pressured to
be more accomadating.
-- Anonymous >>

I guess as I've aged, my viewpoint on several things has changed.  Work
is very important to me and occupies a great deal my mental attention
and my (physical) time -- but again, over the years, I've made choices.
A few years ago, I forewent an important business meeting in Paris,
because it would have meant missing my son's Yeshiva graduation.  Was my
boss happy, not really -- but he respected my decision and knows that I
live within my values.  I don't travel on (out of town) business on
Friday -or erev Yom Tov -- on the other hand, some of my neighbors might
consider me a shaygist, because for the most part I daven alone at home
rather than with a tzibbur during the week as they do.

My public (Lotus Notes) calendar which my colleages and manager can view
shows all the Jewish Holidays marked also with "no work / out of
contact" and all erev-Yom Tovs -- as "no travel."

I had a non-observant Jewish colleague many years ago who objected to
travelling over Chanukah, as candle lighting is something that he shared
with his children.  He made his clear case and lived by it.  On the
other hand, I've travelled on Chunukah -- coordinating via phone, my
(hotel) and family's lighting times, etc.

What I'm saying is you make life choices (and they may change over time)
-- you need, as appropriate, to communicate those choices to your
manager / colleagues -- and you need to live comfortably with them.  For
the most part I've found most people respect you for it.  (My few
problems have ironically involved non-frum Jewish colleagues, a few of
whom felt obliged to contrast my "old fashioned" Jewishness with

This may extend even to your choice of jobs.  Perhaps 25 years ago, Reb
Moishe Sommerfeld (ztl) a shayne Yid who davened at Lower Merion
Synagogue in PA, noted that when he came to America after the war, he
only know from shmatas (cloth / clothing) he choose to go into
wholesale, rather than retail, because it would afford him the
opportunity to stay Shomre Shabbos.

This is NOT a put down to those who choose to go to Saturday
conferences, etc., but perhaps a booster shot telling you that if doing
so is inconsistent with your values, you can take short term and long
term actions accordingly.

Carl Singer


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 11:18:31 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Tikun Sofrim

>From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
>If tomorrow morning someone unearthed an n'th century Torah scroll in
>perfect condition and this scroll had ONE WORD different than the
>currently accepted geersah what would be the appropriate halachik
>And let's not play with the authenticity of this newly discovered Sefer

 Most individuals would say this has already happenned in terms of Dead Sea
texts and others.  The standard halachic response is that we follow our
mesorah.  However, the issue becomes more complex when we consider that
there is ample evidence that the Talmud on occassion had a different text of
the Bible than we do.  (See gilyon ha-shas and Tosefot on Shabbat 55b; R.
Akiva Eger quotes about 20 such examples [there are more] and Tosefot says
words to the effect "hagemara cholek al haseforim shelanu".)  This is
especially problemmatic when the gemara uses a letter not in our sifray
Torah to derive (at least in an asmachta sense) a halacha.  Many medieval
authorities (Rashba, Ritva, Meiri) acually suggested that we change our
mesorah in such circumstances, although this was never accepted, presumably
even in the communities where these rishonim lived.  All of this is
discussed in a wondeful article by SZ Lieman published in a collection of
essays in honor of Moshe Greenberg a few years back.  

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226

From: Jack Stroh <jackstroh@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 09:29:53 -0400
Subject: Tikun Sofrim

With all of the discussion on this important topic, are there 
authoratative seforim which discuss this issue? Also, the issue of 
phrases in the Chumash such as "and the Canaani were then in the 
land" to which Ibn Ezra states "vehamayvin yavin." Thanks.
Jack A. Stroh  <jackstroh@...>

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 13:59:11 -0400
Subject: Tikun Sofrim

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
<<If tomorrow morning someone unearthed an n'th century Torah scroll in
> perfect condition and this scroll had ONE WORD different than the
currently accepted geersah what would be the appropriate halachik

And let's not play with the authenticity of this newly discovered  Sefer

The appropriate halachic response might be to play with the authenticity
of this Sefer!   

IIRC, it was the Chazon Ish who did not approve of changing girsa'os
(text versions) on the basis of new manuscripts found in genizos,
because they were put into the genizos for a reason-perhaps for that
very "error" which modern day scholars consider an improvement.

The Chazon Ish certainly would have not changed the one word in our
current seforim.



End of Volume 32 Issue 61