Volume 35 Number 29
                 Produced: Mon Jul 30  5:26:11 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Best Real Estate=Property with Maximum Yield: Like Stocks
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Moshe Goldberg]
Tax System (10)
         [<rubin20@...>, Wendy Baker, Frank Silbermann, Michael J.
Savitz, MRosenPSI@aol.com, Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Gershon Dubin,
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Joel Elirich, Seth Lebowitz]
Yekum Purkan
         [Ben Z. Katz]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 05:14:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Just a quick note on the Tax System original posting and replies here. To
those who thought that it might not have been a serious posting, there are
(unfortunately in my opinion) many people within the orthodox community
who share some form of that proposition. I am glad to see the kind of
response to that message from the list members. I clearly remember being
with a group of "frum" people who worked for business establishments owned
by "frum" people (I was the only "modern-O" one there). They were talking
about how they were paid "on the book" only about minimum wage, with the
rest as cash off the books. They could not understand when I told them
that as far as I was concerned, they were each stealing money from me by
doing this. I strongly believe that it is important for Rabonim especially
in the high school / beis medrish / seminary area to put more emphasis to
our teen and young adult population on the importance of Halacha in both
bein adam lechavero (inter-person area) and Choshen Mishput (monetary
/ business area).

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:43:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Best Real Estate=Property with Maximum Yield: Like Stocks

 Betzael Posy and Danielle Cohn in v35n13 deal with the fascinating
problem of why Damagers have to pay from the BEST real estate. After
all isnt $100 of property in Downtown Manhattan worth the same as
a $100 field in Iowa. (One suggested answer is in terms of ease of
sale: Manhattan property would sell quicker)

I would answer using a concept of YIELD (Anyone know of any Rishon who
takes my side?). An analogy of rental tuxedoes may illuminate this. Suppose
I have two tuxedoes worth $400 but one yields $500 a month while the other
yields only $200 a month. The Rambam, Monetary Torts 8:10 is explicit
that I can use the $200 a month tuxedo to pay off my $500 damamge.

By the way there is a related question (Theft and Loss 3:3) on whether
we assess damages by individual or group prices (E.g. I damaged a box
of 20 toys which sell for $1 a piece though the box sells for $18). The law
states I only pay $18.

The law is very clear that I only pay in real estate if I have no movables
(or cash)(Torts 8:10). I still havent answered the question of why but have
made it stronger: After all if I destroyed my friends $400 tuxedo which
yielded $500 a month why should I be allowed to pay him back with a $500
tuxedo that yields only $200 a month.

In closing it was suggested that we need a whole new email group to discuss
this. I disagree--I think mail jewish is just right to discuss this.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm


From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 22:03:27 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Calendar

> From: Moshe Schor <MOESCH@...> -- Volume 35 Number 24
> Which Rabbonim discussed this issue besides the controversial approach
> of Rabbi Schwab? What are some of the approaches on this issue? As I
> understand it,the chronology affects the identity of the Shmittah year
> so it has halachik ramifications asa well.

See the fascinating book by Mitchell First, "Jewish History in Conflict"
- A study of the Major Discrepancy between Rabbinic and Conventional
Chronology - Jason Aronson, 1997.

The author lists dozens of rabbis who have addressed this issue, starting
as early as Saadia Gaon, and on through modern times. He has several
rough categories: Seder Olam is correct, conventional chronolgy is
correct, and Seder Olam corresponds to conventional chronology. Many
prominent rabbis are in each category.

  Moshe Goldberg

[Reference to First's book also submitted by <Phyllostac@...> Mod]

From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:14:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Tax System

> Proposition:
> Jews are not treated fairly by the tax system since Jews have many
> expenses that the population at large does not have, e.g. lots of
> kids, yeshiva tuition, talesim, tefilin, meat for Shabbat dinner,
> lulav, etrog, sheitels, shtrimels, etc. As a result, it is permissible
> for a Jew to under-report his income for tax purposes to equalize
> himself with the rest of the population.
> This proposition was articulated in the name of an unnamed rabbi by a
> yeshiva student who visited my shul last Shabbat.
> What thinks the mail-jewish community on this one?

Huh. B'H' the American government allows us to keep our religion, they
have no obligation to subside it. What about all those non-Jews who have
expenses that Jews don't, like eating out alot, exotic vacations which
Kashrus and Haskafah preclude Jews from. The real reason why some frum
Jews undereport it a) millions of Americans under report, amongst them
Frum Jews, b) in striving to remain divorced from American culture, some
of the European mentality remained (ie government is your enemy etc).

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 11:29:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Tax System

Wow!  In the words addressd by previous posts chas v'chalilah

I find this quite upsetting, and feeds into what many call the
prejudices against observant Jews (to not use Orthodox, as also
previously discussed.)  Why shouldn't all Catholics do the same as they
are forbiddedn to use birth control and therefore are expected to have
lots of kids, send the kids to Catholic school andhave to buy all those
presents for the entire family and all acquaintances for xmas

If such an idea is really held, and not just some kind of argument point
to try to get vouchers or public support for religious schools, it is
very problematic to me as a Jew and and American.  I hesitate to say
more as this is a "family" mail-list

Wendy Baker

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 17:44:23 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Tax System

If a Jew accepts this proposition, I think HaShem (G-d) would distribute
much of what would have been his share in HaOlamHaBa (the World to Come)
among the (mainly gentile) taxpayers subsidizing his mitzvot.

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana

From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 13:16:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Tax System

Not sure if this is a serious proposal or not, but assuming it is:

Why limit it to underreporting income for tax purposes?  Similar
considerations could be cited to allow insider stock trading,
embezzlement of employer funds, drug dealing, bank robbery, etc.  In
addition to the benefits cited, think of all the extra money one would
have to give to tzedakah!  What a great kiddush hashem!

Of course this only works if you don't get caught.  When you are
indicted for tax evasion, I don't think a judge or a jury will be
particularly sympathetic to this defense.

I sincerely hope that this proposal was not made seriously.  It is
highly depressing to think otherwise.

From: <MRosenPSI@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:49:08 EDT
Subject: Tax System

My response to this (and this is my non-Orthodox bias) is that this is
where the critique of orthodoxy concentrating on ben adam lmakom
(between man and God) and leaving out the rest of the Shulchan Aruch
shows up. We do have a principle of dina demalkuta dina (the law of the
land is the law). This was promulgated under a rule much more
restrictive than the USA. To say cheating is OK because God needs me has
no halachic justification. If one needs money to send kids to day school
(in LA a $15K/year commitment plus in the nonOrtho world and I assume
not that much less in the good day schools) then maybe the community has
to help, but that is not a heter for cheating.

From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 10:18:59 EDT
Subject: Tax System

This suggestion is against the tax system of the land, thus against
halacha which dictates clearly "dina de'malchuta dina." It will cause a
major hilul ha-Shem. If one thinks a little about it, one will realize
that every group has other extra expenses, and if every such group will
make its own "tax breaks" that will lead to total anarchy. Whoever
proposed this "Chochmah" either uttered it as a Purim joke, or didn't
think it thru. However, it is perfectly legal to lobby to change laws if
they are unfair, and to utilize the existing laws in the ways to pay the

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 11:27:07 -0400
Subject: Tax System

If I made this statement publicly, I also would not want my name
associated with it.  Absolutely wrong.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 12:18:14 -0400
Subject: RE: Tax System

I have been to various shiurim that discussed this (such as one of Rabbi
Frand's Sh"litah shiurim) and I remember seeing a mention of a Tshuvah
from Rav Moshe Feinstein Z'Tzal.  The bsic statement that I remember is
that as long as the government treats all of its citizens equally (as
the United States does) then the concept of Dina D'Malchusa Dina [the
law of the government is legal] applies and we must pay our taxes.

The circumstances that you mention do not apply to invalidate this as
those are personal circumstances and any citizen in those circumstances
would be treated the same as we are.  For example, a nonJew who sends
his children to a parochial (or nonsectarian private school) is treated
the same as a Jew who sends his children to yeshivah.

This is not the same as the "Shabbat candles tax" of the old
Austro-Hungarian empire or the "Jew tax" that used to be levied on us.

To summarize, according to my memory of explicit rulings, the yeshiva
student must have misunderstood what he had been told (at the least).

Note that this does not address the chillul Hashem aspect if we all
started to behave that way.  That would probably mean that it would be
asur even if the preceding analysis were ignored.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz - <sabbahem@...>

From: Joel Elirich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 08:02:10 EDT
Subject: Tax System

I think there's a good reason why the Rabbi remained unnamed. I haven't
heard of any named posek who has stated the opinion that dina d'malchuta
dina(the law of the land )does not apply to the US tax system. 


BTW chazal tell us that HKB"H makes up the extra funds we spend on
shabbat specialties and on childrens education, I'm not sure about
streimels :-)

From: Seth Lebowitz <SLebowitz@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 09:55:55 -0500
Subject: Tax System

Catholics have Catholic school, Muslims eat their own special
religiously required type of meat, some Mormons really have LOTS of kids
(and wives) to support, etc. Their non-charitable-contribution religious
expenses aren't any more deductible than ours are.  Therefore Jews are
not being treated unfairly in comparison with other Americans.  In any
event, Congress decided that certain types of expenses are deductible
and certain types are not and all Americans have to follow those rules.

I refuse to dignify the suggestion that is permissible for a Jew to LIE
on his tax return and thus CHEAT the government with a response and I
hope others will do the same.  Perhaps the visiting yeshiva student was
joking?  Or maybe he caught only the end of the unnamed rabbi's lesson
and did not realize that the rabbi was giving examples of how NOT to


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 23:16:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Yekum Purkan

>From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
>>>>BTW, if those ~100 Jews in Iraq have a Rabbi, he is surely the most
>prayed-for person of all time!  Every Shabbos, every Jew who davens
>nusach Ashkenaz or `Sefard' (see other thread) says a Yekum Purkan for
>all the Rabbis of EY and of Bavel; surely it would make sense to change
>this to `di bear'a deyisrael vedi begaluta', or, as we say in kaddish
>derabanan, `vedi bechol atar va'atar'.  Surely the Rabbis of America,
>Europe, Australia, etc, deserve our prayers and blessings as much as
>that one Rabbi (if there is even one) left in Bavel.  <<<
>The old (1946) Conservative siddur for Shabbat (the "Silverman siddur"),
>still in use in many shuls AFAIK, did add the phrase "vedi bechol ar'at
>galvatana" after "di bevavel."  This change is discussed in the siddur's
>foreword.  In the newer C siddur, the "Sim Shalom," this Yekum Purkan
>seems to have dropped out entirely.

We have had similar discussions to this on the list before (re honesty in
davening); having just completed Tisha B'Av, the Nachem addition to the
mincha amidah comes to mind (along with the British Rabbi A. Rosenfeld's
attempt to modernize that prayer after the Six Day War).  I don't know how
anyone who takes davening seriously can say things that either: a) have had
no relevance for the past 1000 years (e.g., praying for the exilarch in the
first yekum purkan) or b) border on being either a hilul hashem or at least
a kofer tov (the current version of nachem in most siddurim; some of the
ne'ilah service where Jerusalem is described as a garbage heap).  Because
the Reform and Conservative movements have modernized the teffilot, the
Orthodox seem afraid to do so even in situations where no one could
possibly take you to task for doing so.
	It is also interesting to note that the only reason yekum purkan was
written in Aramaic is because that is the language that people spoke at the
time the prayer was written.  But to say a prayer in the vernacular today
in an Orthodox shul ... I wonder how many Orthodox Jews understood even a
fraction of the kinot we all said today, let alone all the verses of Ashrei
(quick -- without looking -- what does "yesaberu", as in "eynay chol elecha
yesabaru" mean?)

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


End of Volume 35 Issue 29