Volume 34 Number 24
                 Produced: Sun Feb 11  9:25:13 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fertility reduction in hot water and ice water
         [Mike Gerver]
God **is** a person
         [Eli Lansey]
Heter Mechira
         [Rabbi Shmuel Jablon]
Info: Assia - Jewish Medical Ethics
         [Yaakov Sandler]
Kashrut of bottled water
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Learning during leining
         [Nosson Tuttle]
Makom - Correction of Text
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
Singing Maid
         [Eli Turkel]
Tnuvah (2)
         [Gershon Dubin, Mark Steiner]
Women's Minyanim
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 08:59:54 +0100 
Subject: Fertility reduction in hot water and ice water

In discussing smoking, Josh Backon (v34n21) mentions a source that prohibits

> even a temporary reduction in fertility (e.g. by placing somone in ice
> water)

I don't know about ice water, but bathing in very hot water is known to
reduce male fertility. Years ago, I mentioned this to a friend who was
in the habit of taking very hot baths, and whose wife had not been able
to conceive.  Shortly after that conversation, she did become pregnant!
Josh's posting reminded me of that incident, and I thought it might be
useful to mention it here, since there may be other people who could
benefit from the information.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 06:35:06 -0500
Subject: Re: God **is** a person

Russell Hendel wrote:
<<We immediately conclude that >PERSON< is the best metaphoric descriptor
of God since it facilitates relating to Him thru prayer. By contrast
calling God a VERB while it does contradict Gods corporeality does not
inspire me to pray to him. (Also see Ex15-03 >God is a PERSON of...<)>>

But it depends how you define 'person'.  I would also like to point out
that generally we say what God is NOT, because even Moshe Rabeinu was
only able to fathom 'the back of his head'.  And also, one of the
attributes usually not attributed to God is human form ("Ein lo d'moot
ha'guf, v'ein lo guf" - "He does not have the appearance of a body, and
he has no body").  The only aspect of 'person' that one can conceivable
apply to God is the human mind, which in fact was created b'tselem
Elokim [in the image/shadow of God]. But still consider, that even so,
this is not a true metaphor becuase our minds are still only the



From: Rabbi Shmuel Jablon <rabbij@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 20:04:06 -0000
Subject: Heter Mechira

The question was asked regarding whether or not buying Arab-grown fruit
is at least as problematic as relying on the heter mechira.

According to HaRav Shlomo Aviner shlit"a (see Iturei Cohanim #192-
Heshvan, 5761), the heter mechira is absolutely reliable.  Of course,
like in many areas of halacha, there are disagreements. He notes that it
is interesting that many who rely on Heter Chametz (selling chametz),
which is a heter around a Toraitic prohibition, have decided to be
"strict" regarding shmitta--according to post poskim a rabbinic mitzvah
in this age. However, it is not correct to say- in this case- that not
relying on the heter mechira is "being machmir."

He writes (my translation): If someone buys from Arabs and hurts Jewish
agriculture, is this a "chumra"?!  On the contrary.  It is a mitzvah to
buy from Jews.: "You shall buy from your people."  Is destroying the
Jewish economy a chumra?!  Is strengthening the hands of the Arabs in
our holy land a chumra!  On the contrary, it is more stringent to buy
from Jews in reliance on the heter mechira...  The one who is strict
gets a blessing.  But what is being strict?  It is not to buy from
non-Jews from outside or inside Israel; rather, it's to buy from our
Jewish brothers.  In reality- this isn't a chumra, but a complete
obligation (chova gemura).  It is a mitzvah to stregthen the Jewish
economy, the Israeli economy and the Land of Israel.

Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
Find out about my new book, JEWISH ANSWERS, at www.rabbijablon.com!


From: Yaakov Sandler <edu@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 11:21:39 +0200
Subject: Info: Assia - Jewish Medical Ethics

'Assia-Jewish Medical Ethics' is the English-language journal of
medicine, ethics, and halacha (Jewish law) published by the Dr. Falk
Schlesinger Institute for Medical-Halachic Research at Shaare Zedek
Medical Center, Jerusaelm. Each issue features articles on a variety of
topics of contemporary interest and urgency, selections from the
Schlesinger Institute's responsa project, abstracts of articles recently
published in Assia (our Hebrew-language journal of medicine and
halacha), and more.

Machon Schlesinger will be publishing a new edition of Assia-Jewish
Medical Ethics in February, topics covered will include Guidance for
Physicians in Intensive Care Unit, Post-mortem Sperm Retrieval, Siamese
Twins, An 'Unorthodox' Treatment of an Ultra Orthodox Adolescent,
Medical Error and Malpractice, An Halkhic Reconsideration of Victim

If you would like information on subscribing to Assia - JME or are
interested in buying back copies, e-mail me at <edu@...>

Many thanks

Yaakov Sandler
Education Coordinator
Machon Schlesinger


From: Arnie Kuzmack <akuzmack@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2001 00:35:42 -0500
Subject: Kashrut of bottled water

> Don't know about the cigarettes, but according to my kashrus guru,
> bottled water is often filtered with traife materials which l'hathila
> would be a problem according to some opinions.

At last, an issue on MJ that I actually know something about!  :-) As a
scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of
Water, I am familiar with the techniques of water treatment.  (Legal
disclaimer: The Agency does not, of course, take any positions on
questions of kashrut.)

The techniques used to treat bottled water are basically the same as
those used to treat tap water, and I am not aware of any suggestions
that tap water could be treif.  These include addition of chemicals to
disinfect the water and make it easier to filter or reduce corrosivity.
Filter media that are used include sand and activated carbon.

The main difference between bottled water and tap water, aside from the
presumed higher quality of the source of bottled water, is that bottled
water is generally disinfected with ozone rather than chlorine and that
bottled water is more likely to be filtered with activated carbon (which
is derived from wood).  These techniques are also used by some public
water systems.

It's not just my opinion.  The Kosherquest web site states flatly: "All
unflavored waters are kosher."  See the URL

Gut vokh,


From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 17:17:24 -0500
Subject: Learning during leining

> From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
> A second comment on learning out loud: Two summers ago at my son's bar
> mitzvah I was standing near the mechitzah (separation) trying to hear
> him lain (read from the Torah). I couldn't see him very well as the
> mechitzah has a double layer of lace and it would have been nice if I
> could have at least heard him. Unfortunately, someone on the other side
> was learning out loud during my son's laining to the point that I could
> barely hear him. I don't know who it was, it doesn't matter anyway, but
> I thought it was unbelievably rude to 1) not be listening to the bar
> mitzvah boy on his day of being called to the Torah for the first time
> and 2) interfere with other people's (especially his mother!) ability to
> hear the bar mitzvah boy. I'm sure there is a time and place for
> learning out loud with a niggun (tune). But not during a shul
> (synagogue) service, perhaps.

The learning during leining (Torah reading) wasn't just rude; it
violated Halacha.

Source is Sotah 39a (learned in the Daf a few days ago):
"Kivan Shniftach Sefer Torah, Asur Lsaper Afilu Bdvar Halacha":
English translation: Once the Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) is opened
(unfurled), talking is prohibited, even if it concerns halachic issues.

This certainly includes learning (other subjects), and all such which is
not following along with the words in the Torah scroll is a lack of
respect to the Torah itself!

While there is an opinion (for individuals in the congregation) to
verbalize along with the reader, this has fallen into disfavor because
of the obligation to have Torah read from the scroll coupled with the
fact that two voices cannot be heard simultaneously.

The normative minhag is that only the recipient of the Aliya reads
vocally along with the reader (to justify the recitation of Torah
blessings), and this should not be loud as it would make the reader's
leining difficult to hear and follow.

To sum up, the desire to learn Torah should be combined with both
knowledge of Halacha and a sense of Derech Eretz (manners).

-Nosson Tuttle (<tuttle@...>)


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 13:15:29 +0200
Subject: Makom - Correction of Text

Re: the comment of Dr. Ben Z. Katz on "makom" 

Please see my comments in the brackets [ ] to his original message:

>...the original meaning was different.  When mourners came to the
>Temple mount on the shalosh regalim

[or at any other time - people were there daily YM]

>they entered through the opposite gate on the Southern side

[no, they entered the Chulda Gate on the South and then turned left
instead of right YM]

>that everyone else used, so you always passed them in the opposite
>direction.  When one met someone walking towards him (ie a mourner)
>one would then say "May this great place (ie the place of the
>Temple..comfort you among all of the other mourners of Zion (who are
>also walking in your direction).

[no, the actual langauge is: HaShochen Babayit Hazeh Yenachamecha - May
He Who Dwells in the House Comfort You YM]

A big difference.

Source: Masechet Middot, Chapt. 2, Mishnah 2

To follow up, I searched out the current phase which indeed does use
HaMakom.  The "Pnei Baruch" of Rav Chaim Goldberg quotes from the
Prishah on the Tur.  So I went there (Yoreh Dei'ah, 393, note 3) and I
found that the exact words used are "HaShem Yenachamecha Im Shar Avlei
Tzion".  The Prishah, Rav Yosha Valk Katz, lived in the second half of
the 16th century, died 1614.  If anyone has a different or earlier
source, I'd be glad to know.

Yisrael Medad


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 11:00:04 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Singing Maid

> In Rabbi Rakeffet's work The Rav: The World of Rabbi Joseph B.
> Soloveitchik (Volume One, page 243) it is related in the name of the
> Bostoner Rebbe that the Rav's grandfather, R. Yosef Baer Soloveitchik,
> was visiting R. Yaakov Gesundheit, rabbi of Warsaw. The Jewish maid
> started singing. R. Gesundheit arose to ask that she stop, but R. Yosef
> Baer prevented him from doing so, explaining that it was a unfair
> request since this was her enjoyment, and they had the option of going
> outside or into a different room.

The Rav's grandfather was Chaim Soloveitchik.
His great-grandfather was R. Yosef Baer Soloveitchik

Eli Turkel


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 10:48:31 -0400
Subject: Sportsmanship

Our children pay on our day school's basketball teams so I have attended
many games this year, both against Jewish and non-Jewish schools.  I
have been dismayed to see poor sportsmanship by fans of other Jewish
schools which contrasts dramatically to the behavior of the fans of our
non-Jewish competitors.  In one very disturbing case, it was a rabbi on
the staff of the opposing team's school who began a very loud countdown
5-4-3-2-1 when there was 10 seconds left.  I understand that the
rivalries are great between Jewish schools but I still think the Torah
prohibits such conduct.  I was pleased to learn that at the pep rally
for our most recent game there was a dvar Torah on the subject of
sportsmanship.  Is this a common problem?  What have others done about


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 14:49:08 -0500
Subject: Tnuvah

As promised,  I followed up on my statement concerning truma and ma'aser
of Israeli exports.

I spoke to Rabbi Genack of the OU,  who confirmed for me,  for
attribution,  that except for individual exceptions,  truma and ma'aser
are NOT separated from Israeli produce intended for export.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Feb 2001 14:25:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Tnuvah

Concerning teruma and maaser from Tenuva products that are exported, the
truth is somewhere in the middle (as usual), at least if what I heard is
correct.  The Rambam Terumot 1:22 rules that produce of the Land of
Israel which is exported is exempt from terumot etc.  I had heard that
on the basis of this Rambam Tenuva doesn't (or didn't) take teruma from
exported stuff.  (He also rules that imported produce requires taking of
trumot etc. but I never heard of Tenuva doing this!)  Note that taking
trumot means losing at least 1% of the crop, so that Tenuva is not
interested in doing any teruma that they are not forced to do.

HOWEVER, many rishonim and aharonim hold that the Rambam's ruling does
not apply when the produce is completely processed (gemar melakha).  In
the case of oranges, for example, crating them might be considered gemar
melakha.  I believe that R. Moshe (speaking about etrogim) also
understands the Rambam this (stricter) way.

So both Messrs. Dubin and Lebowitz are correct (if I'm right), which is
good because I'm distantly related to both of them.

Mark Steiner


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2001 22:35:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Women's Minyanim

Re Wendy Baker's note that:-
>Orthodox women's prayer services are not
>minyanim and we women do not consider them to be minyanim.  Use 
>of the term "women's minyan" only works to antagonize those who are 
>having difficulties accepting women's prayer groups and serve to give 
>a wrong impression.

and the similar one of Howie Sherman:-

please accept my mea culpa.
i was, of course, using the term "minyan" in a colloquial fashion
to indicate a group of persons gathered for a prayer purpose
rather than the Halachic definition of ten men for a necessary
quorum in order to say Kedusha/Kaddish.
of course, Wendy herself poses a problem by repeating that
women gather as "prayer groups" when i was specifically
and solely referring to the Halachic need of women also to hear the
Megillat Esther, not to pray, and the permission granted to
women to be "motzi'ah" (to qualify someone to have fulfilled
a mitzvah through an agent).

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 34 Issue 24