Volume 34 Number 80
                 Produced: Tue Jun 19  6:27:52 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anti-Zionism in religious circles
         [Idelle Rudman]
Baruch HaShem L'Olam (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Avi Feldblum]
On Line Posek
         [Chana/Heather Luntz]
Rav Aharon Kotler's anti-zionism
         [Shlomo Abeles]
Rav Kotler and Israel
         [Eli Turkel]
size of cubit
         [Eli Turkel]
Talis over your head
         [Dov Teichman]
Undocumented Statements by Famous Rabbis
         [Andrew Klafter]
Washing Dishes on Shabbos
         [Josh Backon]


From: Idelle Rudman <rudmani@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 14:31:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Anti-Zionism in religious circles

There is an excellent publication that deals with these issues.  It is
in-print, is scholarly and authoritative.  It is also an easy read, with
excellent bibliographic material.

	Zionism and Religion. Almog, Shmuel, Reinharz, Jehuda, and
	Shapira, Anita, eds.  Hanover, University of New England, 1998.
	ISBN 0874518822.

Idelle Rudman, MLS, MA, Librarian		    tel: 212-213-2230 x119 
Touro College, Women's Division                     fax: 212-689-3515
Graduate School of Jewish Studies	            <rudmani@...>
160 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY  10016


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 22:51:34 +0300
Subject: Re: Baruch HaShem L'Olam

Rabbi Geoffrey L. Shisler wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 34 #76 Digest:

>I clearly recall one evening when a visitor led the service for Ma'ariv,
>omitted Baruch HaShem L'Olam, and went straight on to the Chatzi
>The Dayan was very angry since, as he said, that man had deprived him of
>TWO Berachot - one his own, and the other the Amen at the end of that of
>the person leading the service.

Let us compare this with the situation of the sheliah tzibbur, who, if the 
opposite took place, would recite BHL, which he (and some pretty weighty 
posqim) regards a hefseq.  And not only does he make this hefseq, but he 
may be reciting a berakhah she'einah tzerikha, if not something even more 

Which is the lesser of the evils?

And what about safeq berakhot lequla?  Since there is not unanimity that 
the berakha is required or perhaps one is required *not* to recite it.

                 IRA L. JACOBSON

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 06:08:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Baruch HaShem L'Olam

I do not think I understand Ira's questions. As this was occuring in the
Dayan's shul, where he is clearly the Moreh D'Asrah (Rabbinic Authority),
if he has given p'sak on these issues, there are no uncertainties here. It
would seem to me that your choices are to follow his p'sak if one is
acting publically in his local.

Avi Feldblum


From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/<Heather@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 20:29:59 +0100
Subject: On Line Posek

A number of people have mentioned the nishmat woman's hotline - but
without giving details.  

I have in front of me a brochure from that hotline, which gives the
email address as:

<yoatzothalacha@...> and the telephone number as (+972) 2 642

The brochure states: "The Hotline is under the supervision of Nishmat
rabbis, Rabbi Yaakov Varhaftig and Rabbi Yehuda Henkin with whom the
Yoatzot consult for psikah (rabbinic ruling).  The Yoatzot are here to
provide you with information, to help you deal with your problems, to
provide medical referrals, and to speak to your rabbi or physician on
your behalf, anonymously if you so request."

It also states:

"The Hotline functions daily from 6pm Israel time, and Motzai'ai
shabbat, as well as Friday mornings.  A call to the Hotline is anonomous
and discrete.  You can call the Hotline to secure information regarding
problems you encounter observing the laws of taharat hamishpacha:

- pregnancy and birth;
- gynecological procedures;
- infertility;
- fertility treatments;
- family planning;
- menopause;
- midcycle staining;
- a brief refresher course in taharat mishpacha."


"The Nishmat woman's hotline was established to meet the needs of women
who seek a woman-to-woman address to clarify issues in taharat
hamishpacha.  It is staffed by Nishmat's Yoatzot Halacha. Each Yoetzet
has been trained extensively by rabbinic experts in Hilchot Niddah and
related halachot, and by a consulting staff of physicians and rabbis in
women's health and halacha."




From: Shlomo Abeles <sba@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 22:05:04 +1000
Subject: Rav Aharon Kotler's anti-zionism

From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>

< Paul Merling recently sent a long posting on the Gedolim's attitude
toward (or rather against) Zionism. Much of this posting was anecdotal
("During a private meeting with other Askanim and members of the
Moetses, there was a speaker who spoke favorably of the possible state.
Reb Ahron became enraged and started banging on the table, saying "it is
forbidden, it is forbidden.".)

I believe that when we deal with major articles of Torah Hashkafah:
a) The writer must cite sources...>

I may have missed the original post. But if we are talking about a
meeting of the Moetses Gedolei Hatorah at the 1937 Knesiyah Gedola in
Marienbad - here is a piece from the book "Mikatovitz ad Hei Iyar" by
To'en rabani/lawyer Zvi Weinman of Jerusalem quoting the Hapardes
rabbinic journal - reporting the 7-hour discussion on the question of a
Jewish state.  The rabbonim against, included those from Hungary and
Czechoslovakia as well as RE Wasserman, RA Kotler and Rav Rottenberg of

 It adds that those against held this position under all circumstances
even if such a medina was built upon 'yesodos hadass' [foundations of
faith/religion - Mod.], because, (an
independent state) would be "Kefirah b'emunas bias hamoshiach" [denial
in the faith of the coming of the Moshiach - Mod.] and
especially one built "al yesodos hakefirah, venimtza shem shomayim
mischalell." [on the foundations of heresy, and it result in the
desecration of God's Name -Mod.]



From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 14:32:49 +0200
Subject: Rav Kotler and Israel

> During a private meeting with other Askanim and members of the
> Moetses, there was a speaker who spoke favorably of the possible
> state.  Reb Ahron became enraged and started banging on the table,
> saying "it is forbidden, it is forbidden."

While Rav Kotler may have been adamant against the state it does seem
that his father-in-law R. Isser Zalman Meltzer [may have differed].  I
believe that he was connected with the Rabbanut in Israel and I once
heard that he said that Jews in the old city should recite Hallel after
they were saved.

Eli Turkel


From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 14:11:27 +0200
Subject: size of cubit

> Prof. Mark Steiner cited some interesting material taken from a
> little-known treatise of Newton.  While Newton's interest in biblical
> and halachic matters is most admirable, he can hardly be considered an
> expert on such issues.  The cited arguments for a large amah (>2 ft.),
> which Prof. Steiner calls proofs, are, however, non-persuasive .  In
> fact, a different view of some of these citations argues for an amah
> which is in the 20 - 21 inch range.

> First of all, a reference to material on the cubit in the Encyclopedia
> Britannica, will show that the cubit of antiquity is based on or
> related to the royal Egyptian cubit of 20.6 inches.  This cubit
> consisted of 28 "fingers".  In addition, there was a small cubit of 24
> fingers (17.7 inches).  The Babylonian cubit was 20.9 inches, and the
> Greek Olympic cubit of 24 fingers was 18.2 inches (16 fingers made 1
> ft. or 12.15 inches).  Measurements of ancient building stones and
> structures in Israel, particularly connected with the temples, give a
> value of about 20.7 inches (Leen Ritmeyer).

It seems to me that the arguments of Isaac actually point to a different
size. As Steiner already pointed out there are 2 cubits, the regular
cubit and the holy or Temple cubit. The cases brought by Issac refer to
the temple cubit. Thus his sizes would have to account for the
difference between the two.

Eli Turkel


From: Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 11:16:43 EDT
Subject: Talis over your head

As was pointed out to me by Rabbi Teitz, I erroneously attributed
statements to the Mishna Brura in the Laws of Tsitsis. I cannot recall
where I saw the idea that covering the head with a tallis before
marriage is "Yuhara", but its certainly not in the mishna brurah
there. Furthermore, he doesnt mention anything about covering the head
from barchu. Rather the Mishan Brurah states in the name of the Bach to
cover the head during the entire davening.  (so much for relying on my

Dov Teichman


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 15:55:38 -0400
Subject: Undocumented Statements by Famous Rabbis

> From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
> Paul Merling recently sent a long posting on the Gedolim's attitude
> toward (or rather against) Zionism. Much of this posting was anecdotal
> ("During a private meeting with other Askanim and members of the
> Moetses, there was a speaker who spoke favorably of the possible state.
> Reb Ahron became enraged and started banging on the table, saying "it is
> forbidden, it is forbidden.".)
> I believe that when we deal with major articles of Torah Hashkafah:
> a) The writer must cite sources, and
> b) The moderator should not allow any posting which does not contain
> clear sources.
> [While I clearly prefer articles with sources, as this is not a strictly
> "academic/scholarly" list but a combination of both that and "chat-like"
> as long as the posting appears to add material to the conversation, I
> will tend to allow it in. Mod.]
> Otherwise, we descend to the level of "Rav X was told by Rav Y that Rav
> Z had said ..." And what can we deduce from that?

I generally agree with Shmuel Himmelstein about this.  However, I
apologize that my source for the following is only via private
conversations.  (Actually I think that documenting the source of oral
material is also acceptable when no written source is available, but
take this as a yotze min ha klal hamelamed al ha klal.)  Rabbi Yaakov
Kamenetzky said frequently in the name of Rav Yisroel Salanter (and this
was related to me by two of R.  Yaakov's grandchildren, independently,
in private conversations--Rabbi Yitzchak Shurin, and Rabbi Sholom

"Not everything that one thinks should be said, not everything that is
said should be said publicly, not everything said publicly should be
written down, and not everything written down should be published."

In the case cited above, attributing to Reb Ahron an actual prohibition
on forming a Jewish State, I would pose the following possibilities.

#1) (The most likely, in my opinion). Reb Ahron NEVER made this
statment, and this if not a total and intentional fabrication, an
exaggeration and mischaracterization .  What has Reb Ahron written which
would suggest he held such a position?  There is no doubt that he was
well aware of numerous other scholars and leaders who had written
extensively on this question, so why would he chose NOT to say anything
on this matter if he held such strong, unwavering, unambigious views on
the matter?  Further

#2) Even if he did make such a statement (which I highly doubt), why
would he chose only to say it privately and not publicly.  Perhaps he
did not consider himself to be an authority on Zionism, Zionist history,
the halachos of Eretz Yisrael, the religious significance of Zionism and
medinat Yisrael, or the chiyuv of yishuv ha'aretz in our times.  Keep in
mind that pre-1947, it was very popular in the Orthodox world to be
against a Jewish State.  Therefore, keeping such statements private
cannot be explained by political correctness.

In the end, it doesn't really matter.  Because Reb Ahron did NOT issue a
ruling on this question, even his most loyal followers would have no
responsibility to attempt to piece all this together through hearsay and

Even though I find the approach of the Satmar Rebbe regarding Medinat
Yisrael uncompelling (Ma'amar Gimmel Shavuos), at least was published
and stands on its own merit to be refuted or supported.  I.e., the
Satmar Rebbe did not tell us to accept what he says because it was Daas
Torah.  Rumors about Gedolim, like the one related above, are
problematic in that they cannot be argued with or debated.  We have no
idea of their underlying reasoning.  If we posit a counterargument, one
will simply respond, "Well I'm sure Reb Ahron must have thought of that,



From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Mon,  11 Jun 2001 13:40 +0200
Subject: RE: Washing Dishes on Shabbos

The distinction between synthetic and non-synthetic [gidulei karka]
fabric as far as the prohibition of "sochet" [squeezing] liquids on
shabbat is found in the Eglei tal [*Dahsh* Oht 11] and in the Shvitat
haShabbat [*Dahsh* Oht 41]. In addition, according to the Eglei Tal,
even if the fabric *is* gidulei karka [natural fabric] if the liquid
isn't produced in the garment [as per the shita of Rashi in the gemara
in Shabbat 141a] then the issur would be an issur d'rabbanan and not an
issur d'oraita.

Josh Backon


End of Volume 34 Issue 80