Volume 32 Number 74
                 Produced: Sun Jul  2 22:53:57 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kosher L'Mehadrin
         [Eli Turkel]
Necessity of Yetser Ha-Ra
         [Richard Schultz]
Need to work
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Performing brit where father is Jewish but mother is not
         [Zev Barr]
Self Defense
         [Yisrael Medad]
Some Leads on Sources to Difficult Issues
         [Frank Silbermann]
Using Law to suggest reasonableness vs Proof
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2000 08:56:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kosher L'Mehadrin

Mark Steiner writes

> I have heard from OU kashrut professionals who have personal
> knowledge that the Badatz Eda Chareidis is a very good supervision.  On
> the other hand the OU does not give a blanket endorsement to "rabbanut"
> products without checking further.  (In fairness, let it be said that
> sometimes the opposite occurs, as in the case of tuna fish.)

> Another good word about our rabbanut (Jerusalem): their shechita is
> regarded as top notch, and all the bnei yeshiva I know in Jerusalem
> prefer the local rabbanut shechita to that of the Badatz for beef.

Despite the claimer of the original poster relatively few people do not
trust the Badatz. However, I still feel that much of the attitude
towards the rabbanut hechsher is political.

Steiner compares the rabbanut with the OU and I assume that means that
he considers the OU as a reliable hechsher. Nevertheless, in Israeli
terms the (American) OU is NOT a mehadrin hechsher.  They do not take
every chumra and instead rely on their poskim to decide each issue many
of which are controversial.  In Israel mehadrim milk is cholov Yisrael
while OU is not.  As Mark already hinted there are many kulot in the OU
hechsher of tunafish besides the bishul akum problem. The OU relies on
bittul beshishim for something to be pareve although there are cheese
ingredients etc.

In fact in Israel the OU was setting up a non-mehadrim American style OU
besides that of Rav Rubin which is mehadrin.  In spite of this the OU
seems to be highly respected even by those who disagree with individual
piskei halakha. I do not find this same level of respect towards the

In contrast to Mark I find many people who do not rely on the hechsherim
of the rabbanut of Jerusalem despite their higher standards.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 18:31:01 +0300
Subject: Necessity of Yetser Ha-Ra

In Mail-Jewish 32:41, Frank Silbermann wrote:

: In v32#35 Daniel Katsman notes:
:> (... the gemara -- I don't remember where -- that at the beginnining of
:> the Bayit Sheni the Anshei Keneset ha-Gedola prayed for the yetser ha-ra
:> to be destroyed.  Their prayers were answered, but had a serious side
:> effect: without the yetser ha-ra, nobody had the energy or ambition
:> to get any work done.  They prayed again, and G-d brought back the
:> yetser ha-ra for everything except idolatry.)

: But if you have enough faith that Hashem will provide, you don't need
: to work.  Didn't they have enough faith, _even_without_ the yetser hara?

Unfortunately, Mr. Katsman didn't quite remember the story correctly.
There is a very weird aggadata in massechet Yoma (I think it's 69b, but
I wouldn't swear to it), in which they capture the Yetser Ha-Ra for
idolatry.  When it is pointed out that by destroying the Yetser Ha-Ra,
they lose the reward for resisting, the people respond that they want
neither him nor the reward for resisting him.  Then they capture the
Yetser Ha-Ra for sex. . . and the chickens stop laying eggs. . . and
they realize that the world can't exist without this yetser ha-ra.  As I
recall the text, it doesn't really have to do with the faith that Hashem
will provide, but (IMHO) as a metaphorical examination of why idolatry
was such a problem in First Temple times, but not in Second Temple
times.  I hope that someone who knows more about this than I do will
correct any memory failures in the above.

					Richard Schultz


From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Jun 2000 18:43:57 +0300
Subject: Need to work

Frank Silbermann wrote:

> But if you have enough faith that Hashem will provide, you don't need
> to work. 

Where is this idea from? There are dozens of praises of work and labor
in Chazal, and Rabbi Yehuda HaNasi went so far as to say that just as
there is a mitzva to rest on shabbat, there is a mitzva to work during
the six days. And these are not "just" aggadic quotes -- there are a
number of halachic discussions where the obligation to work plays a
major factor.

-David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel


From: Zev Barr <zevbarr@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 01:43:29 +1000
Subject: Performing brit where father is Jewish but mother is not

> My point is that no mohel should perform a circumcision on a Gentile
> unless the mohel (and a rabbi if the mohel is not a rabbi) has fully
> advised the family of all of the requirements for conversion so that
> they can make an informed decision, and all of the parties can avoid a
> chillul hashem.  (Richard Flom)
> In my view a Mohel who performs a 'Brit' for a child with a Jewish
> father and a non-Jewish mother will frequently find himself guilty of
> transgressing the injunction 'Lifnei iver lo titen michshol' - 'You must
> not put a stumbling block before the blind.'  (Rabbi Geoffrey Shisler)
> It was a fraud on the boy, and a traumatic experience. In the case
> described here, it is a fraud on the family and a chilul Hashem on the
> part of the mohel, who certainly knows better, even if the parents
> don't. I think any mohel who does such a thing should be boycotted by
> the Jewish community.(Elaine and Robert Sherer )

When I read these replies, I initially accepted their direct accuracy .
Then over Shavuot, I got to thinking that it represented the old style
Fiddler on the Roof's Tevye mentality and fell short of addressing our
needs in our current deteriorating situation, highlighted by the
assimilation rate on the west coast of America now having reached
80%. The Reformists must see our ostrich approach and rub their hands
with glee as their numbers swell at our expense.

Surely one of the take home messages of yesterday's reading of the book
of Ruth and of Shavuot in general, is that we should seek persons of the
calibre of Ruth, David Hamelech and the Moshiach. In fact, we may even
need such converts.  Extraordinary times call for extraordinary
measures. The Court of Boaz, faced with such bad times, temporarily
instituted the expression "May G-d be with you," using the 'real' name
of G-d (rather than the substitute generic name 'HaShem,' meaning 'the
Name'), in order to restore the integrity of a Jew.

Faced with a catastrophic unprecedented loss of our brothers and sisters
far in excess of any Holocaust (lo aleinu), may I suggest that rather
than lose the potentially sincere convert whose father is Jewish, if the
father is actively seeking a brit for his son, we should proceed with a
conditional Brit along the following lines that I propose:

1. There should be 2 kosher witnesses other than the Mohel

2. The whole exchange and procedure be fully documented and witnessed

3. A certificate be given to the father and copies retained by the Mohel & 

4. The certificate details all personal details and state that a potential 
Brit has been performed which is the first step in a recognised Orthodox 
conversion which will in the fullness of time require
  a) official conversion procedure under an Orthodox Bet Din
  b) regulated learning & performance of precepts, minimally tefilla, 
kashrut and Shabbat
  c) voluntary acceptance of the responsibilities of an observant Jew 
(kabalat oyl)
  d) mikveh immersion

When the father and son (when older) see the situation in black and
white instead of the predicament being clouded in half truths, the onus
is thus put on the parties doing the converting rather than on the Mohel
/ Beth Din, and we will then be able to confront our lost Reform
brothers and seek those in their ranks who might also want to follow
this protocol.  I might add that I have seen how such conversions take
place successfully, in fact the person davening next to me in Shule is a
very sincere (dati) convert who looks forward to his regular shiurim

Zev Barr


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 16:28:52 +0300
Subject: Self Defense

Nachum Amsel <namsel@...> asks about

>2. WHEN DOES SELF-DEFENSE BEGIN? -- A man is being mugged by someone he
>   recognizes. The mugger says that if he goes to the police and gets
>   sent to jail as a result, then the mugger vows to kill the man when
>   he gets out of jail in three years. The man being mugged has a gun in
>   his pocket. Is this called self defense and can the man kill the
>   mugger now? Is "Zerichat Hashemesh" valid even if it is only 3 years
>   from now that the man will be in danger of being killed?

In "Shu"t Intifada" by Rav Shlom Aviner, p. 13 he discusses this in
principle.  We had a problem here in Yesha in that Army instructions
were that you could only shoot at a stone thrower if he was actually in
the process of throwing the rock - not before and not while he was
running away.  Of course, that usually meant that more times than not,
you got hit while the thrower got away.

As for pre-throw, our solution was to shoot in the air.  As for
post-throw, Rav Aviner wrote that since, like in the case of a Moser,
that he is considered to be a recividist, and would probably throw the
rock again with intent to kill, that the soldier or citizen should be
allowed to shoot, at least to wound although his words were for general

The book was published in 1990 by Sifriyat Bet-El and the Educational
Department of Binyamin Regional Council.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 09:37:02 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Some Leads on Sources to Difficult Issues

In v32#39 Nachum Amsel asks for Halachic sources that apply to several
ethical situtions, one being:

> 2. WHEN DOES SELF-DEFENSE BEGIN? -- A man is being mugged by someone he
>    recognizes. The mugger says that if he goes to the police and gets
>    sent to jail as a result, then the mugger vows to kill the man when
>    he gets out of jail in three years. The man being mugged has a gun in
>    his pocket. Is this called self defense and can the man kill the
>    mugger now? Is "Zerichat Hashemesh" valid even if it is only 3 years
>    from now that the man will be in danger of being killed?

What is preventing the victim from refusing to be mugged in the first
place?  Can he simply refuse to turn over his wallet?  Can he run away?

If the mugger tries to compel the victim to turn over his wallet by
threatening deadly force, the victim may remove that threat by shooting
the mugger down right where he stands, without warning.  You have no
obligation to give away your money to the wicked; the moment you decide
to refuse, the mugger becomes a pursuer who is coming to kill you.  Rise
up quickly and kill him first.

In America this is also dina d'Malchut -- with the caveat that you may
not kill him based on a threat of what he will do three years from now.
In America, the legal use of deadly force is contingent upon the mugger
having the means, the opportunity and the motivation to pose an
_immediate_ threat.

If the mugger is a Jew, and if you live under a gentile government, the
mugger's warning about going to the police is irrelevant, since you are
forbidden to inform on a fellow Jew to gentile authorities.  Since you
wouldn't report the mugger, anyway, his threat of what he'll do if you
inform is beside the point.

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jun 2000 22:56:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Using Law to suggest reasonableness vs Proof

Carl in Mail Jewish Volume 32 Number 32 cites a posting of mine in which
I cite Rambam, Laws of Gifts to the Poor to the effect that "part of the
definition of charity is that a poor person MUST be given gifts in
accordance with his former life style"

I then go on to extrapolate to living in Israel--I suggest that if a
person had a "luxurious life style" in America it would be morally wrong
to ask him to have a lower one in Israel and I cite the above Rambam as
a proof. I conclude that "going to Israel" is "an act of Piety" but not

Carl then carefully cites the Rambam (too long) and points out that the
above Rambam only applies when the person FIRST became poor. Since 'rich
Americans' going to Israel do not become poor it follows that my
argument does not follow. In other words Carl is claiming "All you can
do is prove that halachah recognizes the extreme difficulty of
transiting from a 'rich style' to a 'poor style' PROVIDED THE PERSON
ACTUALLY BECAME POOR...you cannot prove it in your case where the person
probably remains middle class"

However the disagreement between me and Carl is NOT on whether a "rich
American" would reach the poverty level. The difference between us is
not even on whether I have proven my point. The difference between us is
on whether I have a right to EXTRAPOLATE a law to make an argument of

Let me recap my argument and state the difference between Carl and
myself. I am stating that "GOING TO ISRAEL" is not an obligation but
rather "an act of piety". To support my opinion I show that IN THE CASE
OF POVERTY, halachah recognizes the great emotional difficulty in
transiting from a "rich life style" to a "lower life style".  I then
argue that it is REASONABLE to extend this concept to going to Israel--I
apply this argument of reasonableness to conclude that it is not
obligatory but an act of piety.

I don't believe Carl has answered me. If the difficulty of transiting to
a lower life style exists for the poor why is it not reasonable to apply
this concept to the middle class--why is the burden of proof ON
ME--doesn't Carl have a burden of proof to answer a rich American who
does not feel obligated to go to Israel. I think there is some symmetry

I hope this clarifies my position

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
<RHendel@...>; Math Towson
Moderator Rashi is Simple


End of Volume 32 Issue 74