Volume 35 Number 32
                 Produced: Tue Jul 31  6:07:01 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adopting Jewish versus nonJewish children
         [Hillel E. Markowitz]
         [Sam Saal]
Deity's name
         [Zev Sero]
         [Andrew Klafter]
Incest, DNA & Judaism
         [Josh Backon]
         [Allen Gerstl]
Should we classify Jews by Observance
         [Russell Hendel]
Sperm donors for artificial semination
         [Zev Sero]
Yekum Purkan
         [Eitan Fiorino]


From: Hillel E. Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2001 23:10:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Adopting Jewish versus nonJewish children

> From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
> Hillel E. Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...> wrote:
> >These questions also apply to adoption and are the reason some people say
> >that parents should adopt a nonJewish infant (with a valid conversion)
> >unless they know the family of the infant being adopted.
> I understand this reason for adopting a nonJewish child. It does
> simplify things for parent, child, and LOR. But just as the Jewish
> community is not immune to drug abuse and other societal ills, we have
> our share of Jewish children who need loving, nurturing (in religious
> and every other sense) homes in observant families and
> communities. Where does following a "nonJewish only" adoption policy
> leave these children?

Of course all Jewish children needing families should be adopted.  I was
just addressing the sibling question.  I also said that the families of
Jewish adopted children should be known in order to avoid problems
(unlike the nonJewish custom of keeping it hidden).

There was a recent news report of 12 people in a small town who found
out that they were all siblings and had been adopted ofver the years as
the mother would keep having children and keep giving them up for
adoption in that small town.  Since it was kept secret, noone knew of
this until recently.  One woman had actually dated a boy who had now
turned out to be her brother (but luckily they did not "get serious").

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<sabbahem@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 06:06:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Adoption

Stuart Wise <swise@...> and Anonymous (in mail.Jewish Vol35Num 27)
restate the advantages of adopting non-Jewish children. Stuart goes
further by optimistically stating:

>Usually family members will take them in or formally adopt them.

Usually!!! Even if true, this begs my earlier question about the remaining
Jewish children who need loving, nurturing (in religious and every other
sense) homes in observant families and communities. Where does following a
"nonJewish only" adoption policy leave these children?

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


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 15:52:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Deity's name

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:

> In MJ 35:13, several posters mentioned authorities who allow us to
> erase G-d's name when written in other languages. I would like to
> point out that this is *not* unanimous.
> The Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 6:3 writes, "... and it is forbidden not
> only in the Holy Tongue, but even in any language." In my edition,
> he cites the Chayei Adam for thus ruling, but does not say which
> section of the Chayei Adam says it.
> Further in the same paragraph, the Kitzur writes, "People write the
> word 'adieu', which is French and means 'with G-d', and this is
> strictly forbidden [issur gamur], because eventually that letter
> will end up in the trash. (I am pretty sure that I once saw a
> standard sefer use the Polish "Bog" (=G-d) as an example of this,
> but I cannot find it now.)

First, there is obviously a difference between erasing something and
throwing it out.  It's been a while since I looked it up, but my
recollection is that the Shach rules that the Name in a foreign language
has the status of a Kinuy, i.e. it is permitted to erase it, but it
still has holiness, and a vow taken by it is binding.  It would
obviously be improper to disgrace it by letting it lie in a refuse dump;
in fact it seems to me that the proper thing to do before throwing out a
piece of paper with foreign-language Names is to take a pen and
deliberately erase them!

However, not all foreign-language references are the same.  In Hilchot
Tefilla we find that when praying in a foreign language we must use the
word in that language which functions as a Name rather than as a kinuy,
e.g. in English we must use G-d rather than L-rd (even though L-rd is a
more literal translation of -d-n-y).  So it seems that G-d has a higher
holiness than L-rd, even though the Shach says that for the purpose of
vows they are both kinuyim.

Zev Sero


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 12:51:55 -0400
Subject: Dumb-waiter?

> From: Carolyn Lanzkron <clkl@...>
> In order to bring food and dishes to our (enclosed) backyard, we must
> walk down an imperfectly stable staircase from the back porch and around
> a long way.  Last year, the first year in this house, we even had Sukkot
> guests complaining that it was taking to long to bring out the food.  It
> would have taken less time if we had more helpers than complainers, but
> I'd like to solve the problem, instead!

> I would like to design a mechanical dumb-waiter system on a flagpole,
> similar to the one designed by Thomas Jefferson and used at Monticello.
> A major motivation for doing this would be to make Sukkot much, much
> easier.  If kosher, we'd even like to eat outside sometimes on a Shabbat
> afternoon.  The system would involve a rope and pulleys, with the rope
> wrapped around a wheel. The pulley would have a hook on the top with a
> removable rolling laundry basket (or something similar) that could hold
> trays of food.

There are no actual d'oraisah malachos I can think of offhand which a
non-powered dumbwaiter would violate.  You obiviously must make sure
that it's use will not involve tying any knots during shabbos, but I
can't see why it should anyway.

The only halacha I can think of as possibly being an issue is the
following: There is a halacha not to use musical instruments on Shabbos
because of a gezerah which was instituted to prevent people from tuning
or repairing their instruments during shabbos if they mailfunction.
This halacha was extended also to riding a bicycle.  I believe that this
gezerah was limited in scope from the outset and would not apply to a
dumbwaiter.  I'm currently at my office, away from my sifrei halakha.  I
recommend looking up dumbwaiter in Shmiras Shabbos.  Bli Neder, I will
look it up in the Hebrew English 4 volume set, "The 39 Malachos."  [I
don't even know offhand what the translation into hebrew would be.
Ma'alit-Yad? (manual-elevator).]

Something arguing in favor of the idea that it should be acceptable on
Shabbos is the fact that the debates among halakhic authorities about
use of elevators on shabbos centers around the effect of the physical
weight of one's body on the electrical motor powering the elevator.  A
dumbwaiter should be similiar, I'd think, to an elevator in theory.

It actually sounds like a great idea and I"m surprised I've not seen
these in Jewish homes before.

Good Luck, Nachum


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Mon,  30 Jul 2001 13:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Incest, DNA & Judaism

Using DNA and blood tests for determing paternity was discussed in the
medico-halachic journal ASSIA (5743;35:60) as well by Harav Valdenberg
and others. Those that prohibit use of these tests include: Tzitz Eliezer
XIII 104; Rav Uzziel in Shaarei Uzziel II Shaar 40:1 s'if 18; Dvar Yehoshua
III Even Ha'Ezer 5; Divrei Yisrael EH 8; and others. Those that permit
include: Yad Efraim 7; MIshmeret Chaim 37; Rav Herzog; Yaskil Avdi II
Even Ha'Ezer 13; as well as halachic decisions by batei din in Israel.

Josh Backon


From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 08:25:47 -0400
Subject: Re:  Orthodox

>From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
>...the word "Orthodox"is a very poor way of identifying Jews who are 
> >faithful to traditional beliefs and practices because it confuses the 
> >concept of halakha and its recognized standards with organizations and 
> >movements.     ...

>In short, in most cases that the word "Orthodox" is used, "observant"or 
>"halakhic" would be more appropriate and would differentiate halakhic 
>issues from those of administration and organizations.

The question that was being addressed in the above exchange was as to
the best shortform way of defining ourselves. I agree that it would be
good to find a way of so doing that would avoid confusion between
authentic Jewish observance and belonging to the various "Orthodox"
organizations. I therefore strongly agree in principle with what is said
in the above quotes.

I now realize however, that there is a problem: Representatives of the
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism would state that their
standards if followed would make someone "observant" and "halachic";
although they define those terms very differently from how Judaism has
traditionally defined them. (The latter is not meant as an
anti-Conservative polemic and it is not said disrespectfully, and I
realize that many such people may be sincere; but it is merely a
statement of fact, e.g. the process of Pesak is differently defined by
them than its previous normative definition, that is they will use
methods and sources that have not traditionally been used or accepted as
relevant to the Halachic system so their legal system is not the
traditional Halachic legal system.) As an aside: I've tried saying that
"I'm 'small o' orthodox but I stopped when I realized that it sounds
silly and pedantic.

So, not without some qualms, I have resigned myself to simply say "yes,
I'm Orthodox" when asked, while I stifle the urge to launch into an


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001 22:35:24 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Should we classify Jews by Observance

Andrew Klafter (v35n21) gives what seems to be a forceful defense to
CLASSIFY JEWS by belief. Here are some of his comments He claims that
while it is important to believe that Jews are one nevertheless it is
also important to debate the above and other contemporary and timeless
issues which confront the Torah community in the 21st century.  It would
be impossible to do so without using terms which signify theological,
political, and sociological leanings.

I disagree. There is NO PURPOSE for classification.If you read his
posting carefully you will see he speaks about different groups with
different levels of observance; but he never tells us WHY we must know a
classification.  Let us look at some examples--do we need
classifications for the following?

GETTING ALIYAHS: But every Jew is entitled to an aliyah..you can at most
ask if he needs help in reciting blessings. BUSINESS PARTNERS: But
orthodox Jews sometimes cheat..you can at most ask if your partner will
take off Saturday and how he feels about overlooking details on the
books. MARRIAGE: Again telling me that someone is orthodox doesnt imply
that they will wear a Tichul or even observe taharat mihspachah..so you
can ask if a prospective partner has/will keep kosher, shabbath
etc. KIRUV: It is accepted today that we simply try and EDUCATE MORE and
fill in gaps. Again, classification does not help..we can only ask where
they would like to improve.

My point in the above is to use Andrews points against him. Precisely
because there are so many levels of observance, classification becomes
non-relevant.  Instead we must switch to a specific-action approach in
each situation.

Russell Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/ VISIT THE RASHI WEBSITE


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 18:02:10 -0400
Subject: RE: Sperm donors for artificial semination

Carolyn Lanzkron <clkl@...> wrote:
>>but warned that the donor must be a non-Jew to avoid the
>>potential problem of the resulting child marrying a sibling."

> I don't understand this ruling.  If two Jewish women were
> inseminated using the same non-Jew's sample, would the resulting
> babies not be siblings?


> Would they somehow be halachically unrelated, even if they were
> biologically siblings through the non-Jewish biological father?

Absolutely.  Mideoraita [by Torah law - Mod.], non-Jewish full siblings
who convert become unrelated, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with
their marrying each other.  Miderabbanan [by Rabbinic law - Mod.], gerim
who were forbidden to marry each other when they were non-Jews remain
forbidden to each other after they convert, `so that they not say "we
have gone from a higher holiness to a lesser"'; since non-Jewish
siblings on the father's side are allowed to marry each other, there is
no reason to forbid it after they convert.  And if that is so with
regard to gerim, then it must even more strongly be so in our case.

Zev Sero


From: Eitan Fiorino <Tony.Fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001 09:44:23 -0400
Subject: RE: Yekum Purkan

>From Ben Katz:
> 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).

I am inclined to agree with the view expressed above.  However, I just
heard quoted in the name of Rav Amital that as long as there is a dome
on har habayit, it is appropriate to say nachem as it is currently
phrased.  I think there is tremendous wisdom in this - though we may
think of Jerusalem as beautiful and restored, in truth we see it only
relative to its recent pre-1967 state.  It is still a far cry from what
it should be, and we ought not forget that.

Email: <tony.fiorino@...>


End of Volume 35 Issue 32