Volume 32 Number 86
                 Produced: Thu Jul  6  5:53:08 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Body Piercing
         [Tszvi Klugerman]
         [Sam Gamoran]
Catching up on layning
         [I. Harvey Poch]
Extinguishing Fires on Shabbat
         [Eli Turkel]
Flour is Chometz
         [Akiva Miller]
Jewish Infertility
         [Linda Franco]
Performing brit where father is Jewish but mother is not
         [Carl Singer]
Prenup vs Ketuba
         [Chana/Heather Luntz]
         [Warren Burstein]
Some Leads on Sources to Difficult Issues
         [Warren Burstein]
Uganda (2)
         [Z'ev Scherman, Robert Sherer]
Whatever Happened to Derech Eretz?
         [Carl Singer]


From: Tszvi Klugerman <Klugerman@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 00:10:50 EDT
Subject: Body Piercing

Isaac Rochwerger asks about body piercing. In dealing with this question
I have found that the majority of people wanting to pierce their bodies,
in their tongues, navels etc, do so in order to be non-conformist or to
gain a ashock value.

so aside from the documented increased risk of infection in specifically
tongue and navel piercings the major prohibiton would be a violation of
tzni'ut, personal modesty. I find tzni'ut to be uniquely the self
awareness/confidence which lessens the need to stand out
confrontationally in public.

tszvi klugerman


From: Sam Gamoran <gamoran@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 09:01:14 +0300
Subject: Re: Bookburning

I assume that it was not intended as such, but one of the net physical
effects of the arson attempts on the Conservative synagogue in Ramot
last Saturday night was to destroy some siddurim (prayerbooks).  These
happened to be the regular Rinat Yisroel siddurim used in many of the
"regular" shuls.  It could have also spread to the Sifrei Torah in the
Aron Kodesh (ark).

Is there any halachic basis for destroying tashmishei kedusha (holy
ritual objects) if they fall into the "wrong" hands (and cannot be
retrieved intact)?


From: I. Harvey Poch <harvpoch@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 11:40:14 -0400
Subject: Catching up on layning

And I'm catching up on postings. The whole question of "double"
parshiyos is very interesting. Not one pair is random. Four are
associated with the twelve month (as opposed to thirteen month) year:
Vayakhel-Pekudei, Tazria-Metzoroh, Acharei-Kedoshim and
Behar-Bechukosoi. (Sometimes only three doublings are required in a
shonoh peshutoh, and Vayakhel-Pekudei are separated. Sometimes there is
an extra Shabbos during Pesach in chutz lo'oretz, which splits
Behar-Bechukosoi in Israel, and allows the rest of us to catch up then.)

Bechukosoi must never fall on the Shabbos before Shovu'os, so as not to
read the 'tochechoh' (warnings) immediately prior to the holiday. In a
leap year, this is already taken care of, so the catch up from a second
Shabbos during Pesach in chutz lo'oretz can wait until Matos-Mas'ei, and
no longer. The reason for this is that we want to read Devorim on the
Shabbos before Tisha b'Av.

When Shovu'os falls on Shabbos (as has been pointed out, this can only
happen in chutz lo'oretz), Matos-Mas'ei are usually already together
(because the number of Shabbosos remaining in the year requires another
doubling, even in Eretz Yisroel), so another pair had to be found. This
results in Chukas-Bolok being doubled, even if Matos-Mas'ei is available
for doubling.

Finally, the number of Shabbosos (zero or one) between Yom Kippur and
Sukkos determines whether Nitzovim-Vayelech are doubled. If Rosh
haShonoh falls on Monday or Tuesday, they will not be doubled.

It is also interesting that the pattern of separating the aliyos for a
double parshoh is different for each set of doubles (except for
Chukas-Bolok, which is never doubled in Israel).


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 04:06:00 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Extinguishing Fires on Shabbat

> The SA talks about extinguishing fires. Only if there is an *immediate*
> possibility of someone getting injured is one allowed to extinguish a
> fire.  In ALL other cases it better for the property to go up in flames
> than to be mehallel shabbos.

Ignoring the question of chillul hashem it is uniformly accepted by all
poskim that any fire within a city is pikuach nefeshand therefore must
be put out on shabbat.  The halacha in SA would apply only to an
isolated farm house where one could leave and the fire would not spread
to other homes.  As the recent fires in New Mexico and Washingtom State
show even forest fires in deserted areas can have great consequences.
Hence, in practice all fires must be put out.

Eli Turkel


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Jul 2000 16:35:51 EDT
Subject: Flour is Chometz

In MJ 32:55, Akiva Atwood wrote <<< Our LOR mentioned in his pre-pesach
shiur that cookies, biscuits and noodles today probably aren't chametz
gamur since they don't sit 18 minutes. >>>

In MJ 32:60, Bill Bernstein responded that <<< One (modern) issue though
might revolve around the flour.  In Europe flour itself was not chometz
(merely ground wheat). In America though the flour is bleached and
processed additionally and my understanding is that this makes our flour
actual chometz. >>>

Actually, this problem is not as modern as Mr. Bernstein thinks. The
Mishna Berurah (453:24) noted this problem and referred to even earlier
authorities, writing: <<< Nowadays, the practice is to wash the wheat
and keep it in water, so it is forbidden to use ordinary commercial
wheat flour [on Pesach] even during a difficult situation..."

In his Halachos Of Pesach, page 214 note 63, Rav Shimon Eider cites that
Mishna Berurah, and adds "And so I've heard from experts that they also
do it that way nowadays in our places."

Akiva Miller


From: Linda Franco <Fauveism1@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 06:37:01 EDT
Subject: Jewish Infertility 


I have learned a lot while reading mail-jewish. I usually do not
participate.  I wanted to make everyone aware of the fact that I work
with a non profit organization that serves frum Jewish Infetile
couples. For their latest newlsetter, email me directly, I will be glad
to email you ATIME's latest newsletter.

Linda Franco
Brooklyn, NY


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 2000 11:10:46 EDT
Subject: Performing brit where father is Jewish but mother is not

Let's not confuse Bris Milah w/ conversion, especially of a child below
the age of reason of a "mixed" marriage.  Simple solutions while
enticing are not always viable.

Carl Singer


From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 22:52:40 +0100
Subject: Prenup vs Ketuba

In message <20000703110809.823.qmail@...>,  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.

This reality has raised a question in my mind while the daf yomi has
been going through ketubos, and I haven't (so far) managed to find a
fully satisfactory answer.

A husband is required to write in the ketuba a certain minimum sum of
money, depending on status.  There is some discussion about what happens
if she loses the ketuba, or she forgives him a part or the whole of it,
but as far as I can work out, the halacha is that, in that case, he
needs to write another one, and that it is forbidden for a man to live
with his wife without the ketuba (see, for example, Shulchan Aruch Even
Haezer siman 66 si'if 3).  One of the key issues that appears to be
underlying the whole thrust of the discussion is that a woman needs to
have her mind at ease regarding the difficulty of a husband divorcing
her (which is part of what the ketuba aims to achieve).

Now I, like I suspect most of the women on this list are aware of the
reality set out by Anonomous above.  That is, that while I am happily
married, I know (and knew at the time I entered the chuppah) that should
I ever need a divorce, it would be extremely unlikely that I would ever
see a penny of the ketuba money.

Now if, knowing that, I entered the chuppah and remain married on the
basis of this reality, does that not mean that I have effectively been
mochel [forgiven] the ketuba (yes, way back from the start, and even for
those of you who did not know this, once you really become aware of it,
if you remain married, and do not regard the whole thing as a mistake,
surely you are effectively mochel it from that point and on).

In which case, on what basis can I (and all the happily married women
and their husbands on this list and off) remain living together, since
we are all effectively without a ketuba?

The best answer I have found is one that was given in certain situations
to be lenient in requiring a new ketuba to be given in circumstances
where the ketuba was lost, and which argued that, because of the takana
of Rabbanu Gershom, which means that a woman can no longer be divorced
against her will, there is less need for reliance on the ketuba, and
hence a new one need not be written if the woman lost the ketuba (and
therefore, by deduction, if she is mochel it).  The problem I have with
this view is that it seems to suggest that Rabbanu Gershom's takana
operates to undermine another rabbinical takana, in a way that it is not
clear it was ever intended to do.  It makes more sense in the way it was
originally used (because when the ketuba is lost, there is always the
possibility that it will turn up again, and there is a risk in writing
the ketuba again that the husband will find himself obligated for double
the amount).  But in a case where a woman is mochel (and in this case,
mochel because of circumstance) it seems a lot less appropriate.

Any thoughts or other ideas?



From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 01:09:00
Subject: Ratner's

While this won't help people visiting New York, people who miss Ratner's
can buy a copy of "The World-Famous Ratner's Meatless Cookbook", Judith
Gethers and Elizabeth Lefft, Bantam, 1975, ISBN 0-553-12724-1.  I highly
recommend this book, people have recognized food I've made from this
book as tasting just like it does at Ratner's (and I think that the
potato soup recipe made fresh tastes better than soup that sits around
all day at the restaurant).

The book is out of print at amazon.com, and I couldn't find it at
www.barnesandnoble.com, and the search form at the publisher
(www.bantam.com) seems to be broken, but try a brick+mortar bookstore,
or Ratner's itself (which is where I got my copy years ago).  In case
you feel that it's forbidden to walk in, call and ask if they deliver


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 01:10:31
Subject: Some Leads on Sources to Difficult Issues

Frank Silbermann writes that the problem could not apply if the mugger
is Jewish because one may not report him to the police.  One could turn
to a Beit Din, who may have remedies (I have no idea if they would
include permission to go to the police, but I'd like to hear if they do)
which the mugger might object to.


From: Z'ev Scherman <zscherman@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 14:49:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Uganda 

In 1903 (I seem to recall -- I can't look this up now) the Zionists
agreed to Uganda, pending investigation.  When the investigators had
travelled there and had seen the woefully substandard conditions, the
next Zionist congress voted the proposal down.  It was less an
ideological matter than a practical matter. 

Z'ev Scherman

From: Robert Sherer <ERSherer@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 17:14:12 EDT
Subject: Uganda

    Shmuel Himelstein (Volume 32 #82) asks the

<<rhetorical question: had we even had Uganda as <<an "interim Jewish State" 
before Hitler, how <<many millions of Jews" lives would have been <<saved?

    Pardon my answering the rhetorical question with a few other rhetorical 

    1. Would we have got the Balfour Declaration after World War I, or would 
the Zionists of the day have been rebuffed since "the Jews already have a 
home in Uganda"?

    2. How many European Jews would have left their homes in Europe to move 
to Africa?  

    3. What would have happened to the Jews, (a bunch of "white Europeans") 
when Idi Amin took power after World War II?

    4. Wouldn't we have been guilty of what the Arabs have always accused us, 
displacing an indigenous people from its homeland?

    Robert Sherer 


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jul 2000 23:01:52 EDT
Subject: Re:  Whatever Happened to Derech Eretz?

<< Chana Luntz points out that ....
 This raises something that I have wondered about for a while.  The
 halachas of tzedaka as set out in the Shulchan Aruch are quite clear,
 that a collector of tzedaka is not allowed to take from (at least a
 married) woman anything more than a d'var m'uat [a small amount, a
 trifle] (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah siman 248 si'if 5) >>

We've wrestled this in our household.  For many years I was on the road
most weeknights -- it was my wife who therefore dealt with most
mischlochim.  To do so she wrote checks from our joint checking account
(clearly with mutual understanding, but not to the specific
transaction.)  This is clearly, an unclear situation vis a vis the above
halacha.  Re: safety (per previous posting) we had a dog, Farfel.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer


End of Volume 32 Issue 86