Volume 34 Number 40
                 Produced: Wed May  9 12:51:48 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 days or 1 day
         [Leona Kroll]
Couples going out
         [Sam Saal]
Electric Shavers (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Nosson Tuttle]
Middle letter of the Torah in Kiddushin, etc.
         [Paulovic, Noah]
The Orphaned Concept of Nazaritism
         [Russell Hendel]
Selling Chametz works MiD'oraisa (2)
         [Nosson Tuttle, Bernard Raab]
Selling Chometz - Whisky
         [Perets Mett]


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Apr 2001 23:09:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 2 days or 1 day

Chabad holds that you keep according to where you are, so for me the
question never came up, even before I made aliyah. The basic criteria I
heard from non-Chabadniks studying in Israel was if you intend to stay
in Israel, keep 1 day and if you intend to go back, keep 2. I have a
hashkofic question about this- with the exception of people still under
their parents care who must go back for their family- how acceptable is
it really for any Jew to proclaim that l'chatchilla he has no intention
to stay in Israel? Granted, there are halachicly valid reasons for going
back- but shouldn't our intention always be that we don't want to have
to go back?


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 07:06:59 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Couples going out

Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:

>Jeanette Friedman writes: <<< ... But unless someone is seriously
>hormonally or emotionally challenged, being friends as men and women
>does not generally lead to sex or lack of sholom bayis. ... >>>

>A significant word here is "generally". There are indeed unfortunate
>exceptions. The risk is often percieved to be small, but we dare not
>lose sight of how high the stakes are.

I thought Halachah doesn't work on the exception level. If it did we'd
need different laws for heterosexuals than for (hardwired - if you need
that) homosexuals and the generalizations about which laws apply to
women (time bound, etc) would need filling out to account for women who
aren't taking care of children.

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2001 18:03:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Electric Shavers

>From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
> > Can anyone point me to a web site or article listing a set of makes
> > and models tha are halachically acceptable.  The references in the
> > mail-jewish archives are too dated to be very helpful.  Thanks.
> > Norman Bander
>according to whom?
>Some poskim prohibit all electric shavers.
>Some permit those that don't cut too close
>Others permit almost all electric shavers that have 2 parts.

Before I bought a shaver some years ago I did a little research on just
this issue and came across a tshuva attributed to Rav Moshe Feinstein,
ZT"L. In the story as transmitted, someone brought Rav Moshe a shaver
for his approval. He was said to ask just one question: Can the beard be
cut by placing the cutters directly on the skin, that is, with the
screen removed?  Clearly the answer was no, so Rav Moshe approved the
shaver. This would seem to correspond to option 3 above.

It's possible I came across this story in the MJ archives. My memory may
be faulty, but it sounds typical of the sharply sensible decisions for
which Rav Moshe was famous.

From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Apr 2001 09:10:39 -0400 
Subject: Electric Shavers

> Can anyone point me to a web site or article listing a set of makes
> and models that are halachically acceptable.  The references in the
> mail-jewish archives are too dated to be very helpful.  Thanks.
> Norman Bander

Rabbi Avrohom Blumenkrantz The Laws of Pesach A Digest 5761-2001: (pp.
10-263 to 10-265) lists several specifications
(this is not taken verbatim but is hopefully a faithful reproduction):

After going into a detailed discussion on shavers & Poskim, he says the
safest (halachically-wise) shavers are:
a) flat or straight heads with a regular hard shield and not the
b) rotary heads if (i) the blades are not too sharp, and (ii) it is not a
lift or cut or rototrac, and (iii) it does not shave below skin level.

He then lists these as permissible shavers as of this date:
Remington Micro Flex (Models R-850, R-845, R-842, R-835), make sure NOT the
Remington Micro Screen, which is not permissible.
Conair (but not the microscreen).
Windermere (out of business, but some shavers exist).
Panosonic Rotary Triple Head (but not the microscreen).
Norelco Double Head Rotary (not a lift & cut; they stopped making it, but
some shavers exist).


From: Paulovic, Noah <NPaulovi@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Apr 2001 17:51:09 -0400
Subject: Middle letter of the Torah in Kiddushin, etc.

I received a document recently, "Letter to a Rabbi" by a "Naphtali" that
appeared to be an essay written by a former talmid to his rav of
previous years, explaining difficulties he'd accumulated over the
years. There are far too many for me to present in whole (the document
is 1764KB in length), but this one stuck out to me. Asterix represent
the quotation from the document:

*In Tractate Kiddushin 30a we are told: 
 "Therefore the sages of previous generations were called soferim
 ...for they counted all the letters of the Torah. Thus they said: vav of the
word gachon (Leviticus 11:42) is the middle of the Torah's letters; the
words darosh darash (Leviticus 11:16) are the middle of the words; the verse
Vahitgalach... (Leviticus 13:33) is the middle of the verses."

   But if one takes our Torah scroll and starts counting, he will find that:
1.	The middle letter of the Torah is aleph of the word 'hu' in
Leviticus 8:28. Leviticus 8:28 is 93 verses distant from Leviticus 11:42,
where the word 'gachon' makes its sole appearance in our Torah scroll
spelled gimel-chet-vav-nun sofit, as brought by the Gemara. The distance
between these two letters is 4829 letters - that is, there is a difference
of 4829 letters between the ancient Sages' Torah scrolls and ours. This may
be still ascribed to plene/defective spelling variations, but the huge
number of differences makes such an explanation highly problematic.
2.	The middle verse of the Torah is "Vayiten alav et hachoshen..."
(Leviticus 8:8). Its distance from "Vahitgalach..." is 164 verses. Must we
therefore conclude that there are 164 verses by which our Torah is different
from the Torah the ancient Sages had? Might they have contained a lot of
important laws and details which could completely change the meaning of the
Torah text? This difference may still be ascribed to the confusion of
separating the text into verses - such as we saw above - yet changes in
punctuation and the separation of sentences may also affect the text's
meaning, as we have seen concerning the Ten Commandments and as we see
throughout Talmudic and Midrashic literature.
3.	One more point deserving mentioning on this matter is that even in
the Torah texts of Tannaim and Amoraim the number of verses changed from one
text to another. It is clear that to make "Vahitgalach..." (or any other
verse) the middle verse of the Torah, one must have an odd number of verses.
When the Gemara considered a number of certain units (namely, words) in the
Torah text even, it did not hesitate to mention two such units (namely,
darosh darash) as the middle ones. Yet, on the same page (30a) of Kiddushin
the Gemara brings a Tannaitic statement that there are 5888 verses in the
Torah - an even number in which no single verse could be called "the middle
of the verses" of the Torah. The text of 5888 verses obviously could not be
the text in which "Vahitgalach..." is the middle verse. (In present Torah
texts there are about 5845 verses - the precise number depends on the
4.  ...in Tractate Soferim 9:2 it is written that the verse "Vayishchat..."
is the middle verse of the Torah. Though in our Torah text there are five
verses beginning with "Vayishchat" - Leviticus 8:15, 8:19, 8:23, 9:12 and
9:18 - none of them is the middle verse of our Torah text, and all of them
are quite distant from the verse "Vahitgalach..." which the Talmud in
Kiddushin 30a stated was the middle verse of the Torah. 
5.	And the most noteworthy - the real middle word of the Torah is achat
of "...vechalat lechem shemen achat..." (Leviticus 8:26). The real number of
the Torah words is odd, not even, but not only that: the distance between
this word and darosh darash is 743 words. Clearly 743 words could not appear
or disappear due to variations in plene and defective spellings, nor as
result of punctuation mix-ups. Either the Sages were engaged in some form of
extraordinary hyperbole or their text was radically different from ours.
(Actually, there are words in the Torah that are written as one word but
read as two [like mazeh of Exodus 4:2, which is read mah zeh, or eshdat of
Deuteronomy 33:2, which is read esh dat] - and it is not clear how the
soferim of the Gemara counted them - but there are only a few such words in
the whole Torah, and they could not add up to a difference of 743 words.)*

Any help anyone could offer me to explain whats behind this would
be most appreciated..although I am a Halakhically committed jew,
I'm a novice in hebrew reading, let alone comprehension (aside from my
Artscroll Kiddushin).

Noah Paulovic
Tech. Services Assistant
Thurgood Marshall Law Library
University of Maryland School of Law
111 S. Greene St. Baltimore, MD 21201


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 00:29:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Orphaned Concept of Nazaritism

Chaim's delightful question on the problems of couples
going out evoked many responses (v34n31). Among them were
the points that (a) such a marriage (tempted by couples
going out) must have had problems to begin with(Turkel) (b) it
really can enrich your marriage(Friedman)(c) it is not worse than
working in a bi-gender environment with other couples(Singer).

While agreeing with all the above I would just like to emphasize
that SOMETIMES it is important to abstain for a period from
other couples if you feel that at that stage in your life/marriage
it is important to you. The important point to emphasize is that
other people should respect such needs. 

The Biblical precedent for this is the orphan law of Nazaritism. We
frequently hear how the Nazarite sinned; that Judaism really wants
man to enjoy life. True enough. But sometimes it is important
to abstain. The Torah respects that and even ordained a beautiful
sacrificial procedure to help people get back into the swing of

The Rabbinic precedent discussing this right to abstain is the
famous "8 chapters"--the introduction of the Rambam to tractate
Avoth. The Rambam explains that sometimes people have to abstain
from permissable things to rectify personality traits.

And yes, during such periods inconsistency is allowed. A person can
be seeing other couples at work and yet abstain from socializing
for a while.

I believe this is an important concept in Judaism and that it
has been overlooked.

Russell Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: Nosson Tuttle <TUTTLE@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 16:54:52 -0400 
Subject: Selling Chametz works MiD'oraisa

I did not believe the answer below when I first saw it.
The Rav who is selling my Chametz also agrees with me that Mechiras Chametz
must work MiD'oraisa (according to Torah Law).
Also, it is not referred to by the term "Heter".  Selling Chametz is a valid
way of ridding oneself of Chametz, not a Heter (and it always was, since we
are allowed to see Chametz owned by non-Jews in our houses).
It is only that it was never the practice in the past ages that the non-Jew
always sold the Chametz back to the Jew after Pesach, and the non-Jew
generally paid for the Chametz up front.

I can easily break apart the argument below:
Bitul ("nullification" of the Chametz) is all that is required according to
the Torah.
However, the Rabbis required Biur, destruction, of the Chametz, because
having proper intention for Bitul is very difficult.
If one did not have proper intention, since in Bitul one is only making a
statement, one is still in ownership of the Chametz.
Then a Rabbinical sale would not be enough to override the reality of
ownership of the Chametz in contravention of the prohibitions Bal Yeraeh &
Bal Yimatzeh (not to see or find Chametz in your possession).
Therefore the sale must be effective on a Biblical level.

Many individuals and businesses DO RELY on the sale of Chametz Gamur (real,
honest-to-goodness Chametz).
I proudly count myself as one of those people.
Like many Baalei Teshuva without fixed Minhag in the family, I chose not to
adopt every Machmir (strict) custom in the book.
The important thing is to understand and appreciate the reasoning behind
those who adopt or do not adopt a given minhag.
I do not deny that many people or families have an established Minhag or
custom not to sell Chametz Gamur, but I must emphasize that those who choose
to do so do have authorities on which to rely, and neither group should be

Elu V'elu Divrei Elokim Chaim (quote referring to the fact that both
Hillel's and Shamai's interpretations were representative of the same Divine

-Nosson Tuttle, Monsey, NY

>From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>Subject: Re: Selling Chametz - Whiskey

>>From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
>> > What about whiskey? I assume that whiskey is real chametz (chametz 
>> gamur) and yet almost everyone sells the liquors they have for Pesach.

>I put this question to our Rav. The problem here is that owning chametz
>gamur ("real" chametz) is an isur d'oraisa (biblical prohibition) while
>the heter mechira (sale leniency) is a heter d'rabanan (rabbinic
>leniency). He answered that mi-d'oraisa when you recite the "kol
>chamira" you nullify your ownership interest in the chametz. (Which
>presumably you will repossess after Pesach.) The mechira is to cover all
>of the rabbinic prohibitions.

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Apr 2001 18:31:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Selling Chametz works MiD'oraisa

Sorry, I did not mean to imply that one should not sell one's chometz
gamur along with all other chametz. I believe most people do so,
including myself, and I certainly did not mean to "defame" anyone who
does or doesn't, G-d forbid!


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 15:16:52 +0100
Subject: Re: Selling Chometz - Whisky

>I put this question to our Rav. The problem here is that owning chametz
>gamur ("real" chametz) is an isur d'oraisa (biblical prohibition) while
>the heter mechira (sale leniency) is a heter d'rabanan (rabbinic
>leniency). He answered that mi-d'oraisa when you recite the "kol
>chamira" you nullify your ownership interest in the chametz. (Which
>presumably you will repossess after Pesach.) The mechira is to cover all
>of the rabbinic prohibitions.

No aspersion against your Rov, but I don't buy it.

If someone owns a bottle of whisky (or even a bottle of whiskey) 
which he sells to a Goy with the intention of repossessing after 
Pesach, in what is he nullifying it with Kol Chamiro.

Nullifying my ownership is not just a formula to be said - it must be 
meant.  How many people who "keep" whisky over Pesach would be happy 
for anyone to walk in and help themselves to  a bottle of whisky 
which has been nullified?

Perets Mett


End of Volume 34 Issue 40