Volume 32 Number 89
                 Produced: Fri Jul  7  5:34:29 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Arson in a Conservative Temple
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Bookburning (3)
         [Carl Singer, Rela Mintz Geffen, Michael Horowitz]
Call Collect (2)
         [David Charlap, Gershon Dubin]
Candle Fires
         [Philip G, Berman]
Ethical/Halakhic Salary Dilemma
         [Daniel Katsman]
Impurity and Non-Jews
         [Yisrael Medad]
Lubavitcher Poskim
         [Susan Shapiro]
Prenup vs Ketuba
         [Danny Skaist]
Two possible cases of stealing
         [Carl Singer]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 06:31:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Just a few quick words.

[The first, is that this was supposed to go out in the issue yesterday
that had a number of travel submissions and a number of submissions from
May. I hadn't moved my own submission from my Inbox to the active queue,
so I missed putting this in :-) .]
[Also, there have been a number of private email in the last few days,
and I will be responding to them, some here in an administrivia posting,
probably over the weekend.]

We used to have an associated list called mail-jewish-announce for various
announcements, requests etc. I did not restart that list when I got
mail-jewish running again about a year ago. Dan has added functionality to
the scripts, to easily allow those type of submissions to be moved
automatically to the end of an issue. For now, I will be including them in
the regular mail-jewish issues, if they sart getting to be to many, I'll
look at changing.

I've pretty much completed my review of the June submissions, there are
still a few where I have them in the reply_required queue and I owe some
of you emails, but there is nothing in the ready-to-send queue. This issue
also cuts the May items in the ready-send-queue to about 4 or so, but
there may still be submissions in my mail inbox that I have not yet

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 19:45:44 EDT
Subject: Arson in a Conservative Temple

I don't know that the allegations are true, but on the odd chance that
they are, I must wonder; how could any frum Jew possibly excuse the
intentional burning of a Conservative Temple?  Say what you will about
the other streams of Judaism and legitimacy, this is out of line and
must be condemned by all segments of the O community.  What these
individuals have (alleged) done is a Chilul Hashem of the highest order,
and is probably worse than anything they could accredit to the members
of the Temple they torched.  I shudder to think about what this has done
for the Kiruv movement.

Chaim Shapiro


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 08:12:47 EDT
Subject: Re: Bookburning

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

(Israeli) Politics aside (and that's a pretty tough presumption) is a
conservative shule to be classified as the "wrong" hands.  A number of
today's BTs started in conservative shules.  More importantly, do you
have a right to malign other Jews.

I am neither a spokesperson nor defender of Conservative Judasim -- have
only stepped into a Conservative shule to give blood (literally) -- but
I do believe in Ahavas Yisroel.  Every Jew we turn off with some label
or derisive remark is another line from Mt. Sinai to the present that we
may be cutting off forever.

Carl Singer

From: Rela Mintz Geffen <Rela1@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Jul 2000 11:36:13 EDT
Subject: Re: Bookburning

I find it difficult to believe that the only context in which the arson
at the Masorti synagogue in Ramot has been raised on this list is that
of book burning and "regular" Siddurim falling into the "wrong" hands.
To paraphrase others on the list, whatever happened to derech eretz or,
alternatively, ahavat yisrael and mipney darchei shalom?

Rela Mintz Geffen, PhD
Editor, Contemporary Jewry
Professor of Sociology, Gratz College
7605 Old York Rd., Melrose Park, PA 19027
(Tel.)215 635-7300 X147, (Fax)215 635-7320

From: Michael Horowitz <michaelh1@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Jul 2000 19:57:40 PDT
Subject: Bookburning

It should be noted that the attack on the Masorti temple in Jerusalem
was condemned by all corners of the Orthodox world.  There is no
justification for this type of terrorism in halacha.


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 10:06:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Call Collect

Daniel M Wells wrote:
> David Charlap wrote:
>>  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!

The usual understanding of a "right" (at least in the US) is an action
that you are permitted to perform, and which nobody else is allowed to
prevent you from performing.

That last part - about nobody else being allowed to stop you - is not
present in Jewish law.

>>  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.

That's not my point.

My point is that his individual actions were all perfectly legal.

The fact that it was still wrong for him to carry them out proves that
it is not right for people to do absolutely everything that they are
permitted to do.

> In the call collect, the phone company does not object to use of
> their equipment even when no profit will be realized.

This is not true.  The phone company most certainly does object.  Tell
me, have you ever asked them permission to play this "game"?  I
guarantee you that they will not grant it.

The fact that they choose not to investigate and prosecute (because
doing so would cost thousands of dollars) does not mean that they do not
object to stealing calls.

>>> 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.

I was talking about the previous poster's comment that someone had a
psak for playing the "collect call game".

What you cited has nothing to do with the phone company.

-- David

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 09:56:10 -0400
Subject: Call Collect

From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>

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

	Please cite a few;  I too am unaware of such.



From: Philip G, Berman <PhilB@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 13:57:43 -0400
Subject: Candle Fires

We had a candle fire resulting from the expulsion of a glowing ember
from a regular Shabbat taper type candle into a box of kippot, which
then ignited several hours after the candles had burned out.  Our smoke
alarm saved our entire family, as well as the house.  We switched to the
Neronim glass candle holder and candles and I observed that cracking
and/or breakage, even of Pyrex brand glass, occasionally occurs if the
wick leans toward the glass.

A friend told me that she places a very small amount of water in the
glass before putting in the candle itself.  Since I started doing this,
I have not had glass breakage.  The quantity of water is very small, not
even coming above the bottom contour of the glass.  If too much is used,
the candle goes out with about an eighth inch of wax unburned.

Philip Berman


From: Daniel Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 23:08:00 +0200
Subject: Ethical/Halakhic Salary Dilemma

Asher Goldstein  wrote:

> The form, of course, is a
> legal fiction, for almost no one anywhere drives the number of allocated
> kilometers for work-related purposes.  It is simply a ploy to enable the
> worker to earn more money.  Without filling in and signing the report
> form, however, one will no longer receive this extra salary, which can
> be considerable.  Is it ethically and halakhically proper to so declare
> (with your signature) that one has driven the amount allocated--you have
> to fill in the amount, though you are restricted to your assigned
> figure--even though you have not actually done so?

This issue has been dealt with in a non-halakhic source, Jay Shapiro's
"From Both Sides Now" (1983), which humorously relates the author's
experiences as an oleh and later as an aliya shaliah in the US during
the seventies. I quote from page 139:

"...one fellow chimed in that he had learned to beat that system long ago.
All ears perked up and we drew our chairs closer to hear the words of this
" 'You see,' he began, 'the IBM cards are individually punched for each
person with the amount of car allowance that he is supposed to receive.  But
the computer can't read Hebrew.  It just picks up on the holes punched in
the card.  So no matter what you fill in on the card, you'll still get the
allotted allowance.  I've remained an honest man by adding the word "not"
before the word "declare" on my card so when I sign it, the statement reads
"I do not declare."  As a matter of fact, I probably could have done this
even before they switched to the IBM cards because no one really gives a
damn what is written on your declaration.  They only need it for bookkeeping
and administrative purposes.' "

I realize that punch cards are no longer used in payroll systems, but there
are probably a number of similarly creative solutions to this problem.

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Wed, 05 Jul 2000 22:24:13 +0300
Subject: Impurity and Non-Jews

I wrote:
"non-Jews impart no Impurity."
and Avi responded:
>[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.]

so I checked and I came up with this:

a) the Tosefot in Gittin 8b beginning with D'gazru, brings at the end
the opinion of Rav Shimon bar Yohai that "graves of the pagans do not
impart impurity of the Ohel variety".  This is in direct response to the
question originally raised of entering a church where a corpse might be
buried in a crypt.

b) the reference there is to Yevamot 61a - "kivrei nochrim einan
m'tam'im b'ohel" based on a verse from Yechezkel 34:31 that defines
impurity as stemming from an "adam", and non-Jews are not so defined.

c) a further halachic reference is Rambam, Hilchot Tum'at Met, 1:13, who
states that non-Jews do not at all impart tum'ah (see end of the din
there: "b'chol hatum'ot kulon ein ha-akum v'lo habeheima mit'tamin
b'hen".  See also Rambam, Hilchot Evel, 3:3 and Yoreh Deiah 372:2.

d)  but there is an opinion that Kohanim should be more stringent and avoid
touching or carrying.


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 10:16:08 EDT
Subject: Lubavitcher Poskim

<< 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
 themselves. >>

I may be wrong, but I do believe that the Rebbe never actually paskened
Halacha.  He always would refer people to a Rav for a P'sak.  What he
did do was give "direction" and based on direction and guidance of
things he had said, or previous Rebbes had said, decisions were made,
including, of course, all reliable sources.

For example, with regard to the sheitel issue that came up before, he
said it was better for a woman to go out with a sheitel, than a tichel
(scarf) for reasons of it being that the sheitel covered the hair
better, I believe, and he even went as far as giving some women money
towards buying a sheitel, and explaining why it being too tight and
uncomfortable, etc were not valid excuses.

However, this is not paskening halacha. Halacha says a woman should
cover her hair, the Rebbe's direction was "commentary".

He spoke about Chalav Yisroel being the right thing to do, but didn't
explain what constitutes Chalav Yisroel (boiling point, what if its not
available, etc), a nd I do believe he respected all the Poskim (LOR's)
and would be just "OK" with one going to their own Rav, which he

Susan Shapiro


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 15:43:36 +0200 
Subject: RE: Prenup vs Ketuba

<<Shoshana L. Boublil 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. >>

For those unfamiliar with Israeli custom, many people write in the "date"
instead of the 200 zuz etc. that can come to, today  05/07/00    5,072,000 .



From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 08:38:51 EDT
Subject: Re: Two possible cases of stealing

<< However, that pizza shop relies on people parking in that lot, as
 there is no other parking nearby.  On occasion, when the lot is towing
 on a regular basis, the pizza shop posts a warning.  Outside of that,
 it seems, everyone parks there. >>

Is the pizza shop being a "good neighbor" -- perhaps it could make an
arrangement to pay to allow his/her customers to park in that lot.  Is
posting the warning sign a positive thing to do?  Might it be actionable
in a court of law?  What if the owner of the other store (or lot?) were



End of Volume 32 Issue 89