Volume 32 Number 70
                 Produced: Fri Jun 30  6:48:27 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 possible cases of stealing
         [Jonathan E. Schiff]
Burial on Yom Tov (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Stuart Cohnen]
Candle caused fires, rachmuneh L'tzlan
         [Ruthie Karlinsky]
"Catching up to Israel" in the leining
         [Shlomo Godick]
Lashon Hara and co-workers
Molad this month
         [Mike Gerver]
Rav on praying in synagogoue without a mechitzah
         [Lawrence  Kaplan]
Shir HaMa'alot question
         [Perets Mett]
Zeyas Chametz
         [Richard Wolpoe]


From: Jonathan E. Schiff <Jschiff139@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 19:44:35 EDT
Subject: 2 possible cases of stealing

>  1) Walking into a Laundromat to get quarters when one has no intention of 
> using any of the machines in the store.
>  2) Parking in a lot which is reserved for one store, when one intends
> to shop at a different store.
>  Any thoughts?"

I am not really a Talmud scholar, so I realize I may be "stepping in it"
here.  But let me just offer my observations as an attorney to the
examples given.  I don't believe either one would qualify as a theft
under civil law--even theoretically.  Whether it is pursuent to halacha,
I guess is dependent upon how halacha defines theft.  Under common law,
larceny (which I think was the original term in England) was defined as
the asportation of another's personal property (as you can imagine real
property creates a problem of asportation, although someone did once
"asport" and thus "steal" an entire building in New York City) with
intent to permanently deprive the owner of possession or title.

There were many add-ons to this over the centuries so that now,
embezzlement as well "theft of services" are now also subsumed under
larceny.  I think the use of the parking lot where a sign warns against
doing so if no business is to be conducted could be a trespass of some
sort as the person who parks there without intent to shop has not been
granted license to enter onto the property.  That is a different type of
crime or tort.

I am not sure what the person would be guilty of, by merely walking into
a laundramat to get change.  For one thing, without some kind of notice
posted outside, I don't even see a trespass in that case.  If the act is
not unlawful, then by definition it can't constitute theft or larceny
since these are "unlawful" takings.  It's the same concept that makes me
a bit irritable with political columnists who forever claim that
government steals our money when it taxes us.  Some use that term in all
seriousness.  Theft is not defined as a taking against my will, but an
unlawful deprivation of the item.  And there is a big difference.  If
it's the law, then it's lawful, without getting into discussions of
teaparties and other expressions of disapproval.

Jonathan E. Schiff
St. Bernard, Ohio


From: Mike Gerver <MJGerver@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 12:06:14 EDT
Subject: Burial on Yom Tov

Mark Steiner (in v32n64) writes

>  In the U. S. this law [allowing burial on Yom Tov] is I believe not
>  followed, . . . I was told that the Breuer community in Washington
>  Heights at least used to perform funerals even by (a few selected)
>  Jews on the Second Day of Yom Tov.

My grandfather a"h died in New York on Shabbat Erev Shavuot in 1941.  He
was buried on the second day of Shavuot, in order not to delay the
burial until Tuesday.  This was based on a psak of Rabbi Nissan
Telushkin, who was not part of the Breuer community, but was, I believe,
of chassidic (Lubavitch) background.

Mike Gerver

From: Stuart Cohnen <stuartc@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 16:01:26 -0400
Subject: Burial on Yom Tov

About 60 years ago, Rav Moshe Feinstein, ztl, Rav Aaron Kotler ztl and
Rav JB Solevetchick got together and decided to stop all burials on Yom
Tov.  They felt that there was too much chillul Yom Tov going
on. Several communities did not accept their Pesak, including Satmar and
Breuer's.  In Breuer's, they will do a burial on the 2nd day of Yom Tov
with a non-Jew.  They allow only 3 members of the Chevra Kadisha (burial
society) to go with the body to the cemetary, which involves riding in
car driven by a non-Jew. The members of the Chevra walk onto the GW Bridge,
which consititues the edge of the city and then get into the car. They
do the same on the return trip, walking home from the bridge.


From: Ruthie Karlinsky <isaiah@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 20:06:22 +0300
Subject: Re: Candle caused fires, rachmuneh L'tzlan

Regarding candles causing fires - may I suggest the custom of using
olive oil instead of candles - it's much safer, and more 'mehudar' as
well.  In the many years that I have lit with oil I never had melt-down,
cracked glass cups, fallen candles, or danger of fire (B"AH).  It also
looks beautiful.


From: Shlomo Godick <shlomog@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 01:15:57 +0200
Subject: Re:"Catching up to Israel" in the leining

Sometime in the late seventies I asked HaRav Y.D. Soloveitchik this very
question. He explained that parashot are "doubled up" only at the last
possible moment, so to speak, when calendar constraints make this
absolutely necessary.  In the case of Matot-Mas`ei (as occurs this
year), only when Shabbat Chazon approaches does it become necessary to
double up the parasha so that Parashat D'varim will fall on the Shabbat
before Tisha B'Av, and not the Shabbat after.

Kol tuv,
Shlomo Godick


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 20:48:02 -0400
Subject: Lashon Hara and co-workers

I currently work for a medium-sized company that has offices in a number
of locations in the USA. The manager in charge of my office is somebody
who I assume is Jewish. I should also note that while she's in charge of
the entire office, she is not my supervisor and does not have the direct
power to hire or fire me, though her position is considered senior to
that of my own supervisor.

Recently, a number of events occured which have me extremely concerned
about the competence of this manager, such as numerous episodes of
extremely poor communication which resulted in the loss of much of the
work coming in to our office. In addition, she doesn't seem to have a
firm grasp of the types of work that employees of the office actually do
for the company.

I've attempted to discuss these problems with the manager in question
and have gotten nowhere. On those occasions where the problems directly
affected my ability to accomplish my own work, I have tried to
diplomatically inform my supervisor who has agreed with me in 100% of
the time and has asked me to be patient while the other members of the
office try to show the manager how her work should actually be done.  At
this point, it's pretty obvious to me that very little will change
unless somebody much higher up is contacted.

The basic halakhic question I have is: What issues do I need to take
into account when speaking with somebody much higher up in the company
about these problems? Is there an issue of lashon hara here? Keep in
mind that the supervisor in question may be asked to leave the company
as a result of what I (and many others, unfortunately) have seen her do.


From: Mike Gerver <MJGerver@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 14:00:53 EDT
Subject: Molad this month

Chaim Shapiro asks, in v32n58,

>  What was the point of announcing the moled in shul this month
>  (Sivan), when in fact, the moled for the month had already passed?  Is
>  it because the announcement is still the minhag (custom)?

As I''ve pointed out before, the time of the molad, as announced in
shul, is not a real time when some physical event occurs.  (The
astronomical new moon, or ibbur, does not occur at the same time as the
molad, which is a mean new moon, because the length of the month varies
slightly, due to the eccentricity of the earth's orbit around the sun,
and other causes.)  Rather, the time of the molad is just a bookkeeping
device, for the purpose of determining on what day the next Rosh
Hashanah falls in the fixed calendar.  It is possible, of course, to
calculate that from scratch each year, without keeping track of the time
of the molad each month.  But, especially without computers or even
decimal notation, it would be easier to do it if you have been keeping
track of the molad each month.  The purpose of announcing it in shul
might be to make sure that everyone is keeping track of the molad
accurately.  In an era before widely distributed printed calendars, I
can imagine an isolated village doing the calculation for themselves and
making a mistake one year, observing Rosh Hashanah on the wrong day.
Announcing the time of the molad each month would make that less likely,
if people pay attention to the announcement, and still remember it the
following month.  For this purpose, announcing the time of the molad
would not be any less useful if the molad had already passed.

Although it would seem that nowadays announcing the molad no longer
serves any purpose, this is not quite true.  After the Yom Kippur war,
Israeli POWs were not released by Syria until shortly after Pesach, but
they were given matzah by the Red Cross, and were able to have a seder
in prison in Syria.  But they were not sure which day was Pesach, which
depends on the day of the week of the following Rosh Hashanah.  If all
Jewish children were taught how to calculate the molad each month from
the previous molad (which is easy to do, even without a calculator), and
were taught how to determine when Rosh Hashanah is, given the time of
the molad of Tishrei (also easy to do), and were expected to remember
the time of the molad each month when it is announced in shul, then the
POWs in Syria wouldn't have had this problem.  In particular, there
would have been no need to calculate from scratch when Pesach would be,
which is much harder to do without a computer and software.

Mike Gerver


From: Lawrence  Kaplan <lkapla@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 12:41:38 -0500
Subject: Rav on praying in synagogoue without a mechitzah

In Mail Jewish Vol. 32, #64, I. Balkin refers to Rav Soloveitchik's
"famous advice to a talmid to stay at home and not hear Tekias Shofar
[on Rosh ha-Shanah] rather than do so in a shul without a mechitzah."
This is a common misformulation of what the Rav actually wrote.

The Rav sharply distinguished between synagogues which have no
mechitzah, but do have separate seating, and synagogues which have mixed
seating. As he wrote, "Separation has its origin in the Bible itself,
while the requirement of a mechitzah must be attributed to a rabbinic
ordinance."  Therefore, "Although complete segregation [via erecting a
mechitzah] is important it should not be treated on a par with the
principle of separation. While the latter determines the very essence
and sanctity of a synagogue, the former, if violated, does not place the
congregation in the class of a reform temple." See "An Open Letter," in
Sanctity of the Syanogue, edited by Baruch Litvin, pp.140-141.  It is
for this reason that the Rav was very careful to indicate that his
ruling that one should stay at home on Rosh ha-Shanah and not hear
tekias shofar rather than "enter a synagogue whose sanctity has been
profaned" refers only to those syagogues where men and women sit
together during prayer. Thus, in his well known article "On Seating and
Sancitification," where he sets forth this ruling (Sanctity of the
Syanogogue, pp.114-118), the Rav speaks only of the importance of
separation [via separate seating] and not segregation [via erecting a
mechitzah].He refers to "men and women sitting together," "the mingling
of men and women," and "family pews."  Never once in this article does
he refer to the importance of erecting a mechitzah.  Nor should this be
surprisng, since, as just indicated, the failure to erect a mehitzah,
while a violation of of a "very sacred tradition," does not, unlike
mixed seating, profane the sanctity of the synagogue, and it is that
issue he is addressing in that article.  In light of the above, and
given the Rav's exceptionally careful use of language, there is no doubt
that if the synagogue in question had no mechitzah, but had separate
seating, the Rav would have told his questioner to enter into it to hear
tekias shofar.  If it is any consolation to Mr.Balkin, I should note
that such distinguished members of the Rav's family, as his nephew ,
R. Moshe Meiselman and his grandson, R. MayerTwersky, have similarly
misunderstood the Rav's ruling and have consequently misrepresented it
in print. But the Rav's written words on this issue speak for
themselves, and do so clearly and unequivocally.

Finally, let me add paranthetically that this and other
misrepresentations of the Rav's positions on a variety of issues are
dealt with at length in my essay, "Revisionism and the Rav," which
appeared in Judaism magazine , Summer, 1999.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 14:52:49 +0100
Subject: Re: Shir HaMa'alot question

My good friend Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler asks:
>I have tried, without success, to discover the origin of the verses
>Tehillat Hashem...Va'anachnu Nevareich.....Hodu........and Mi Yemalell
>being attached to the Shir HaMa'alot before Birkat HaMazon.
>Why are they there? Why these specific verses? Who put them there, and
>when were they added?
>I've been Benching for more than 45 years and, although I couldn't say
>for certain, it seems to me that these verses are a fairly recent
>addition to that Shir HaMa'alot. I certainly don't recall singing them
>at home when I was a child.

It is almost certain that they are not connected in any way, with Shir
Hamaalos, but with bentshn.

Many nusach sfard sidurim (including the Rav's sidur "nusach Ari") have
the following psukim before bentshn:

Avor'kho eth Hashem bekhol eith.. (Tehilim 34)
Soif dovor hakoil nishmo.. (Koheleth)
Tehilath hashem yedaber pi..
Va-anachnu nevoreikh..
Vaydabeir eilay ze hashulchon asher lifnei Hashem (Yechezkel?)

They are said on all occasions (irrespective of Shir Hamaalos)

It will be seen that of the four psukim sometimes added "after Shir
hamaalos" , two come from this list.

The first posuk is clear enough "I shall bless Hashem.." is an
appropriate introduction; likewise "Va-anachnu nevoreikh..."

The final posuk "Vaydabeir.." relates to a saying of chazal that
nowadays, when we have no mizbeiach, a person's table has to act as his
'altar'.  Any further enlightenment on this would be welcome.

Perets Mett


From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 11:23:46 -0400
Subject: Zeyas Chametz

FWIW R. Zcharya Gelley spoke on this matter on Ahcaron shel Pesach

He held that distilled liquors are NOT chametz gamur There is a mention
in a rishon re: "Brew" as being chomeetz Gamur.  While one opinion
considered "Brew" to be whiskey, most assuem it to be beer which is
actually cooked chometz - but not distilled.

Rich Wolpoe


End of Volume 32 Issue 70