Volume 35 Number 43
                 Produced: Thu Sep  6 22:02:53 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Breaking a Glass Under the Chuppah
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
         [Eli Turkel]
Meat and Fish
         [Joshua B Lee]
         [Leona Kroll]
question about Brit Milah and Anesthesia
         [Ophir Yarden]
Siddur Kol Yaakov HaHadash by Adir Printing
         [Ginsburg, Paul]
Stopping terror
         [Stan Tenen]
Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 19:02:38 +0300
Subject: Breaking a Glass Under the Chuppah

Rabbi Michael Dushinsky of Petach Tikvah dealt with the reasoning for
the custom of breaking a glass/cup under the chuppah and I'd like to

Ashkenazi practice - right after the Kiddushin, following
			the "harei at..."
S'faradi practice -     after Sheva Brachot

The mounrful singing of a tune to the words "Im Eshkachech..." and then
a loud joyous "Mazal Tov!" as if we are "celebrating" Jerusaelm's

If we check the Tanach, "kos" (cup) is mentioned 31 times.  4 are in
positive contexts; 9 are neutral; and 18 are negative such as "kos
tar'ala"; "kos chamati", etc.

The glass is *not* a remembrance for Yerushalayim, because that is taken
care of by the ashes on the bridgeroom's forehead.  The breaking of the
glass is the breaking of the cup of poison and anger that is a sign of

The establishing of a new family unit assures the continuance of the
Jewish people, as if we are building the Walls of Jerusalem.  It is a
blessing in place of a curse and therefore we shout: "Mazal Tov"

(published in Shabat b'Shabato, #868, Parshat Va'etchanan)

Yisrael Medad


From: Robert <rkaiser1@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 02:03:41 -0400
Subject: Gersonides

Is Gersonides (Levi ben Gershon, aka the Ralbag) nowadays considered
outside of Judaism, or can one still agree with his theological and
philosophical views and still be considered Orthodox?




From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2001 14:30:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Lottery

Janet asks
>Has anyone written responsa forbidding playing the lottery?  If so, what
>was their reasoning?  I was just in Mea Shaarim and noticed for the
>first time the residents lining up at the Lotto booth.

In fact I have seen responsa that say there is no prohibition provided
one is not a professional gambler.

Basically there are two problems in gambling
1. asmachta - that the one who loses did not really mean to gamble
and only did it on the assumtption he would win and so the winnings are
stolen money.

However, this does not apply to modern instituional gambling like
lotteries and in house races as there the house knows that certain
people will win and take that into account. On the contrary the house
wants some people to win as to encourage more gambling.  On the other
hand the individuals put the money up front which also removes problems
of asmachta.

2. Eino be-yeshuvo shel olam - i.e. a gambler doesn't have a regular
income. This applies only only to a professional gambler and not to an
individual who occasionally buys lottery tickets.

Nevertheless many rabbis discourage gambling especially for the
compulsive gambler.

Eli Turkel


From: Robert <rkaiser1@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 13:54:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Meat and Fish

Norman Seif <nusseif@...> writes:
> The discussion of Sakana of eating meat and fish together that has
> been dormant in these columns for the past 6 years is discussed at
> length and in depth with Halachic and medical sourcesi by Dr Fred
> Rosner in the current issue of Tradiitions

This issue was recently examined by Rabbi Paul Plotkin, a member of the
Rabbinical Assembly.  He writes:

the application of the principle of sakanah to a specific case was
always able to be amended as either the physical reality or our
scientific understanding of a particular matter changed to give us more
accurate information. This can be seen in the very same chapter of Yoreh
Deah 116:1.  It says there: "exposed beverages were forbidden by the
rabbis because they feared that snakes would have drunk from them and
left behind venom...but now when snakes are not found amongst us, it is
permitted." This is a clear indication that the prohibitions based on
sakanah can be lifted when the danger is no longer present.

This argument is further strengthened by the position of the Magen
Avraham on Orah Hayyim 173:2, dealing with a ruling that one is required
to wash one's hands between meat and fish because it is harmful to
"davar aher" , "perhaps in this time there is no sakanah of any
consequence, for we see a number of things mentioned in the Gemara that
are sakanah, too--bad moods, and other things--but today are not harmful
because nature has changed, and also we go according to the nature of a
particular country."

Furthermore, I can find no reference in the Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) to
any general prohibition against eating fish and meat. [ There is a
passage in Pesahim 76b which talks about the imparting of flavor through
the smells transferred by being baked in the same oven at the same
time. "...A fish was roasted together with meat, [whereupon] Raba of
Parzikia forbade it to be eaten with kut'hah [a preserve made of sour
milk, crusted bread and salt]. Mar b. R. Ashi said, 'Even with salt too
it is forbidden, because it is harmful to [one's] smell and in respect
of something else.'" ]  Rambam is silent on the subject as well. Thus it
would appear to be a statement reflecting the best understood science in
the time of the Shulhan Arukh.

As to the issue of changing a ruling of the great rabbis of the past who
legislated with wisdom for our well-being, the Mateh Yehonaton on Yoreh
Deah 116:1 deals with the issue. When an established minyan (quorum) of
rabbis has decreed a prohibition, it can only be overturned by an equal
minyan of rabbis in the future, but only in cases in which the rabbis
forbade and stated no defining or limiting conditions (tnai). In the
cases of rabbinic prohibitions where a tnai was necessary to cause the
prohibition--and when that condition is absent--he argues the
prohibition can be overturned without [the] minyan. Thus, when snakes
are deemed to be the danger for why uncovered beverages may not be
consumed, if there are no more snakes in the community, the ruling can
be overturned.

The prohibition against consuming meat and fish together was based on
the perceived danger of eating the two simultaneously. The danger of
eating them consecutively is already a matter of conjecture. Though
Rabbi Caro requires washing one's hands and eating some bread to cleanse
the mouth between the two, Isserles (Yoreh Deah 116:3) tells us that we
don't have to worry about that, since only when they are cooked together
and then eaten is there a concern. Furthermore, we see that it is
permissible to cook fish in a clean meat pot. And even where the
prohibition of eating fish and meat together is stated, Isserles
prohibits roasting fish and meat at the same time because of concerns of
reiha (flavor imparted one to the other in the cooking process). Even
there he admits that, after the fact, it would not be
prohibited. Furthermore, fish can be served on meat dishes ([according
to the] Taz and Hochmat Adam 68:1).

So it becomes clear that the prohibition based on health considerations
is really about consumption of meat and fish together and that any other
secondary prohibitions are precautionary at best. Therefore, the only
reason to prohibit putting fish and meat on the same plate would be our
fear that, invariably, we would commingle some of the fish and meat if
they were that close together, and that would lead to eating something
which would be a sakanah. Today, there is no scientific or medical
reason to prohibit the consumption of meat and fish together. We may
argue that either the physical world has changed from the time of the
rabbis and their experience, or science has progressed to give us
greater insight. Either way, there is no medical danger in consuming
meat and fish together. As such, the prohibition of meat and fish should
be abolished, much the same as the prohibition of exposed beverages was
canceled when a concern of snake infestation was no longer part of the
physical world of the rabbis.




From: Joshua B Lee <barco8@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Aug 2001 23:05:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Meditation

An anonymous poster said that meditation originated with Buddhism.
According to a midrash and a Zohar on the verse in Beraishis (Genesis)
"to the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and
he sent them away .... to the lands of the east" they were given
esoteric knowledge and are the precursers to Indian
mysticism. Unfortunately, the Hindus and Buddhists who were offshoots of
these children of Abraham became idolatrers and corrupted what they had
learned; and going after their ways is assur (prohibited) according to
most authorities.

Fortunately in Judaism we have more than enough in our tradition to
arouse (though not in life totally satisfy) our longing for G-d. I agree
with our moderator that Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's books on Jewish meditation
are a good place to start. Also perhaps some other books by him and
others on Chassidus (Chasidic thought) would be interesting to someone
with a spiritual outlook. My Jewish book website,
http://yid.freeshell.org, has some recomendations on that subject.


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Aug 2001 01:46:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Nazir

I'm sure someone will correct me if i'm wrong (again), but the idea of
whether a person should take a vow to refrain from permissable things,
whether one is punished for not enjoying things, etc- isn't there a
great deal of discussion about this re: the nazir, and isn't a nazir
required to bring a sin offering davka because he took a vow to abstain
from permissable things? It would seem that both enjoying the gifts of
this world and refraining from enjoyment are things which a person has
to do in a particular way and with balance- being neither an asetic nor
a hedonist, but seeking a "middle path", as the Rambam (if i remember
correctly) suggested.


From: Ophir Yarden <Ophiryarden@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2001 08:39:30 EDT
Subject: question about Brit Milah and Anesthesia

    Can someone please direct me to a summary of the issues involved in 
Anesthesia for Circumcision?
    I am interested in both topical (external and by injection) and general 
and any other relevant methods and their halakhic implications.

Thank you,
    Ophir Yarden


From: Ginsburg, Paul <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 11:19:54 -0400
Subject: Siddur Kol Yaakov HaHadash by Adir Printing

Would anyone happen to know anything about Siddur Kol Yaakov HaHadash by
Adir Printing (Israel/Brooklyn) - Nusach Sefard?  What type of Chassidim
use this siddur?  I would apprciate any background concerning this
siddur? Thank you in advance for your help.

All the best,

Paul Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 10:24:18 -0400
Subject: Stopping terror

I'm posting this here, because I think it deserves a response, since it
might be permissible, and since I don't think it's appropriate for me to
withhold it, just because I don't personally think it's permissible.

It's been suggested to me by an Orthodox friend (and sometimes reader of
mail-jewish) that we might consider adopting the old British colonial
response to Palestinian terrorism.  Apparently -- so I'm told -- radical
Moslem terrorism based on the belief of the terrorist that they're going
to go directly to Paradise was stopped dead in its tracks, 100%, by a
simple manipulation of Moslem belief.

Whenever a terrorist's body was recovered by the British, it was wrapped
in pig skin before burial.  Apparently, this ensures to some believers
that the person's soul will not go to Paradise.  Apparently this
neutralizes the promise of martyrdom and Paradise, and thus removes the
incentive and replaces it with a counter-incentive of dying in vain, and
going to other than the good reward.

I'd like to know if this is true -- did the British really do this, and
was it effective?  And I'd like to know, if it was true, if it would be
halachically acceptable?  It seems to me that this is an egregious
violation of the golden rule, and that it's certainly not halachically
acceptable, for many reasons.  But then of course, there is pikuach
nefesh.  If it would save lives -- even the terrorist's life -- then it
might be halachically justifiable.

Also, even if it's not halachically justifiable, it might be more
morally acceptable for the secular government of Israel to make use of,
than some of its current more violent actions.  After all, painful as
wrapping in pig skin might be to Moslem sensibilities, it isn't a
violent act, and it doesn't take lives, nor threaten to take lives.  So,
would it be appropriate for the halachic authorities to not comment if
the secular government were to take such action?

As far as world reaction is concerned, it seems to me it would be a
positive lesson.  Consider the absurdity of the outrage that would be
raised by hypocrites with regard to this non-violent action, vs. their
acceptance of the terrorism.  I think the moral case could easily be
made, and that it would directly "out" the insanity of the
fundamentalists of death.

So, I'd like comments, and if this is thought to be a reasonable option
to explore, then I'd like suggestions on how to bring it to the
attention of the Israel government.

Good Shabbos.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2001 09:14:37 -0500
Subject: Tishrei and Shabbos Mevarchim

Why do we not bentsch Rosh Chodesh for Tishrei?  The answer I always hear is
"HaShem Himself blesses this month."  Somehow I find it unsatisfactory and
wonder if anyone knows a better reason.
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


End of Volume 35 Issue 43