Volume 32 Number 84
                 Produced: Wed Jul  5  6:05:38 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Call Collect
         [Daniel M Wells]
Halacha L'Maaseh or Halacha L"Meis? - Consulting a Dead Rabbi
         [Nosson Tuttle]
Impurity Stemming from Non-Jews
         [Yisrael Medad]
Informing on a Jew to Gentile
         [Carl Singer]
ketuba and other problems "we all know about"
         [Ellen Krischer]
Kosher L'Mehadrin
         [Aliza Fischman]
prenup vs ketuba
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 00:07:38 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Call Collect

> From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
> > I don't understand your logic. If Jewish and or civil law don't see
> > any reason to forbid an action, then one has a perfect RIGHT to avail
> > oneself of that action.
> No. And for several reasons.
> 1: In Judaism, you don't have a "right" to do anything.There are
>  things you are obligated to do, and things you are prohibited from
>  doing.  There is nothing else.
>  Actions for which you are neither obligated nor prohibited are
>  simply things you may choose to do or not do.  You do not have a
>  "right" to do them.  

It would appear to me that it is semantically similar if not identical
to say that I can "choose" or that I have a "right" to do something not
obligated or prohibited!

> Nobody is obligated to make it easy or convenient for you to do these
> things.

Did anyone say that someone is obligated to make it easy or convenient?

>  The concept of "rights" is very popular in Western legal systems
>  but it has no basis in Jewish law.

Thats a very wide statement. There are lots and lots of places that talk
about zechuyot - rights.

> 2: The concept that everything not explicitly forbidden is perfectly
>  acceptible is just plain wrong.  

There are situations which are not forbidden per se, but the rabbonim
created takonnas to prevent people taking advantage for the common
good. Thus 'marrying' one's yevamah against her will is not acceptable
practice today.

But this is a far cry from situations which the rabbonim are aware of,
but don't feel a need to outlaw.

>  The example I always point out is the scenario between King David,
>  Batsheva and Urial the Hittite.  David saw Batsheva and decided he

I'm sure that if David had discussed this with the rabbonim of his day,
he would not have received permission to carry out such actions.

>  hundreds of people would steal single peas from him.No single
>  theft could be punished, due to the small amount stolen, but the

100% - but if no one stole anything not even a single pea......!. Theft
is not defined as causing a person to loose money, rather the removal of
a person's property or money from his reshus to your reshus without his
permission. This includes making use of someone elses property without
his agreement. In the call collect, the phone company does not object to
use of their equipment even when no profit will be realized.

> > To deny the legal right under Jewish law is tantamount to apikorsus -
> > a denial of the truth of Jewish law. And obviously we are talking in
> > a situation where a person does have a psak to make use of the "call
> > collect game".

> Please cite a source for this.Show me some psak that states this
> behavior is the right thing for people to be doing and not just
> something that is permissible on the basis of a technicality.

A person owning fields next to a person who wishes to sell his field has
the right to purchase that field even if the seller would prefer to sell
it to someone else ...Hilchot Momenos in the Shulchan Oruch.

> And if local custom is to steal miniscule amounts from large
> corporations, that makes it the right thing to do?

Come on David. Except perhaps for income tax avoidance - which according
to some rabbonim is allowed if the tax is large or unfair - I have yet
to hear of 'local custom to steal miniscule amounts'.



From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Jun 2000 13:10:16 -0400
Subject: Halacha L'Maaseh or Halacha L"Meis? - Consulting a Dead Rabbi

[I read this twice, went back and read Alex's posting twice, and decided
to let this through. The specifics in Alex's case [My own LOR - the
Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l - has stated several times that a sheitel is
preferable, for a number of reasons, - MJ_vol32_n63] clearly indicate
that he follows the Piskei Halacha of Chabad, so that if something was
ruled on by the previous Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l, he considers it as
binding Halacha. No problem with that. I think that Nosson is reacting
to the language, and does raise a valid point, possibly in undertsanding
how we view the concept of a posek - LOR. As such I let this in, with my
lenghty intro. Mod.]

>From: Alexander Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
>My own LOR - the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l - 

I hope I have not overstepped political boundaries here, but with the
intended pun in the transliterated Hebrew subject (English-only readers
will not be able to appreciate it as much), the phrase in the above
posting disturbs me as contrary to the widespread practice of asking
Shailos of live individuals who are knowledgeable in Yidishkeit, usually
called Rabbis.  While it is not uncommon to Posken according to the
rulings of someone like, say Rav Moshe Feinstein, ZT"L, or Rav Yaakov
Kaminetzsky, ZT"L, this is only when the rulings are in front of us & we
have an understanding that the case is identical or similar to the one
the Rav dealt with.  For those of us who do not have a familiarity with
the rulings, or have to receive guidance for a totally new issue which
has not been faced by the previous generation, we must go to a living
Rav who lives in OUR generation, who can juggle the issues with his vast
understanding of the issues themselves, human interaction, and Halachic
ruling expertise.  This is a feature which cannot be found in a Rav who
is not presently alive even if he be Moshe Rabenu himself, and is an
answer which cannot be consulted by looking up "Rav Artscoll", or your
favorite Halachic Sefer.  We are entreated by the Torah itself to go to
a RAV who is "in our generation".

I hope that the Lubavitch themselves have Poskim within their community
who are consulted and draw on & teach the knowledge of the Torah and
their Rebbe ZT"L.  If this is not so, I would like to know how the
system is supposed to work.  Having access to a live rabbi is certainly
better than having everybody attempt to find their answers in the Sichos

-Nosson Tuttle, Monsey, NY <TUTTLE@...>


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jul 2000 20:52:33 +0300
Subject: Impurity Stemming from Non-Jews

Re:Aliza N. Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
>  At issue here is not the question of Jews entering a church.

nevertheless, I recall something Rav Yaakov Gellis once told me: "while
I would never enter a church in Chutz La'Aretz. I have no compunctions
about entering churches here in Eretz-Yisrael".

>is there a problem of Tamei Meit
>(Impurification by means of being in the same building as a corpse)?

non-Jews impart no Impurity.

[I'm pretty sure that this is an overstatement. Non-Jews after death may
impart impurity differently than Jews after death, but nevertheless, as
a Cohen, I'm pretty sure I am not permitted to lift and carry a
non-Jewish corpse. On the otherhand, the rules relating to Ohel - being
in the same overhung area as a corpse are different. Mod.]


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 11:16:30 EDT
Subject: Re: Informing on a Jew to Gentile

<<  since you are forbidden to inform on a fellow Jew to gentile authorities. 
  Frank Silbermann >>

Is this fact (halacha?)  I've heard it (out of context) several times
from several sources -- but it's not that black and white.  A Jewish
absentee landlord rents out an illegal apartment (against zoning laws)
in his basement, with but no fire exit -- he rents it to a family with
many children -- it is clearly a seconuh.  What may you / must you do?

Carl Singer


From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 11:17:30 -0400 
Subject: RE: ketuba and other problems "we all know about"

> Now let's be honest.  The truth is that when it's needed, the words on
> the ketuba are useless.  Women are told that if they want a get, they
> have to give up their rights.  Rabbinic lawyers tell them; rabbis tell
> them
>...  Besides that, the
> present situation makes a travesty, a mockery of halacha.  These rabbis
> and lawyers are hypocrites concerning their respect for halacha.

I see a lot of analogies to this situation and the situation recently
described in the Jewish Week article on teen abuse.  We all "know about
it".  We all "know people who it happened to."  We all know cases where
women are financially and/or emotionally abused by batei dinim.  This
has been going on for years.  What should we do about it?  How do we
make it stop?  How do we not wait for thirty more years and let some
future newspaper expose make us question how we could allow it?

Ellen Krischer  


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 10:50:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Kosher L'Mehadrin

A few responses to Carl's criteria for "more kosher".

>> With this, I would answer Carl's questions as follows:
>> > Is it more kosher to have separate seating at a wedding?
>> Yes, since there are many Posekim who hold that it is better (or even
>> required), and no one holds (as far as I know) that it is in violation
>> of halachah.
>Again, based on the criteria, you're right.  But what does "better"
>mean.  That separate seating is not a violation of halacha doesn't buy
>much.  Not to stretch too far -- when there is three-fold seating:
>rolling it never ends.  I could say that "family seating" is a proper
>derech as it allows children to set with and be tended to by their
>parents, allows family groups to share this simcha.

I recall the story of the YU smicha student who went to Rav Solevechik
with a "dilemma".  He asked The Rav, "A close friend of mine is getting
married.  He would be very upset if I did not attend the wedding.  The
problem is that it will definitely be mixed seating.  I don't know what
to do."  The Rav looked at the student and said, "How do you think I met
my wife?"  That was his answer.

>> > Is it more kosher to not say hello to the gentile as you walk down the
>>   street? 
>> No, because there is no Posek who holds that this is halachically
>> preferable; indeed, the Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh De'ah 148:10) states that
>> it is better to greet a gentile than to wait for him to do so and then
>> to reply. Again, this behavior is something which has just an
>> _appearance_ of frumkeit, but no more (and in fact less), and definitely
>> does not deserve to be called a chumra.
>Perhaps the implication is that it is more kosher to, indeed, initiate
>an "hello" with a gentile as you are walking down the street -- wait
>'til someone paskens that way publicly.  Then why when I walk home from

Once while walking to shul with my family we passed by a woman on her
morning run.  I am no exercise buff, but when _do_ exercise I do not
want to be disturbed or spoken to.  I lose the whole mind set.  It is
for this reason that I decided not to disturb her.  I always make a
point of saying "Hello", "Good Shabbos", "Good morning/ afternoon" to
whomever I see while walking (obviously the greeting depends on the
person/ situation).  This woman stopped us and asked, "Can I ask you a
question?  Is there a Jewish law against speaking to people on the
street on your Sabbath?"  We explained that there was not, but we had
not wanted to disturb her workout.  I was mortified.  I am always so
careful, so that people do not think of the Jews in our community as
"holier than thou" or stuck up.  I have however, experienced many times
(not in my own community) where I pass by obviously frum people on
Shabbos.  I say, "Good Shabbos" and they don't even respond.  Yes, they
had obviously heard me.  I do not have a mouse's voice.  This is
disturbing to me on many levels.  If this is how you treat a fellow Jew,
how are you going to treat the Gentile down the block?  Are you going to
turn him or her into an Anti-Semite because he or she will now think
that all Jews are obnoxious, self-centered people?  Will you make a
chilul Hashem by not responding to their greetings?  There is no reason
not to be civil.  A smile and a greeting never hurts.

I'll get off my soap box now.

Kol Tov,


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 16:18:34 +0300
Subject: Re: prenup vs ketuba

> From: Anonymous
> Now let's be honest.  The truth is that when it's needed, the words on
> the ketuba are useless.  Women are told that if they want a get, they
> have to give up their rights.  Rabbinic lawyers tell them; rabbis tell
> them.  The men sign whatever is put before them when they get married,
> because when the marriage needs to be ended, many, if not most women,
> are told that it's standard procedure to give up ketuba to get the get.

Unfortunately, this is very true.  I wish it weren't.  I know that my
husband and a few others are about the only ones who not only don't
agree with this -- but actively fight it.

Here are 3 cases (generalized to prevent detection) that show the
importance a well formalized Ketuba can have:

In the first case, the family of the deceased husband was demanding the
couple's apartment if the woman wanted Chalitza (there were no
children).  The woman was on the verge of giving in when the issue of
the ketuba was brought up.  To make a long story short -- she sued for
the Ketuba value and Mezonot (alimony?) plus a few more things -- and
when the BIL received the bill -- he ran to the local Beit Din and
performed the Chalitza.

In the 2nd case, a man left his wife and young children alone in Israel,
with no support and went to the States.  She went to court for a
divorce, but matters weren't easy.  Then one of the Dayanim read her
Ketuba and realized that the husband had signed that he would not live
outside of Israel (I think it was general, or "without her permission").
The husband had afirmed the Ketuba with a Teki'at Kaf, Shevu'a Chamura
[making it a vow] As the husband had left Israel, without the wife's
permission, he had abrogated the Ketuba and the Dayanim immediately
paskened for a Kfiyat Get.  The road to divorce became much simpler.

In the 3rd case, children were trying to take their mother's home from
her, after the husband/father had died.  It looked like they would
succeed -- until the Ketuba was brought in as a legal document,
obligating the father's estate to not only to allow her to live her life
out at her husband's home -- but also for alimony, which has precedence
over the children's inheritance.  From what I heard -- the children
dropped all suites very quickly.

Shoshana L. Boublil


End of Volume 32 Issue 84