Volume 35 Number 88
                 Produced: Tue Jan  8  5:50:26 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

About wages, and, more generally, workers and their rights
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
Brooding, Creation, Milton
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Explicit mention of the Messiah in the Torah
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
         [Yitzchak Moran]
         [Jonathan Chipman]
Wages (2)
         [Stan Tenen, Nachman Yaakov (Yankel) Ziskind]


From: <ariehnyc@...> (Arieh Lebowitz)
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2001 16:24:14 -0500
Subject: About wages, and, more generally, workers and their rights

Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...> recently posted a comment that "there
have been a number of posts on this topic.  Unfortunately I haven't seen
(here or elsewhere) any opinions in halakha regarding appropriate wages.
And sadly I can't cite any either."

There are citations to be found, and some are [surprise] online.

Suggestion 1:
Since people "here" are for the most part using computers that have the
capacity to search sthe world- wide-web online, do a basic search using
a decent search engine - such as www.google.com or www.alltheweb.com or
www.metacrawler.com or www.altavista.com to cite only three - for the
two words HALACHA and WAGES.

I did, using google, and over 400 [431] replies came back.  That means
that there are quite a few websites that to some degree deal with the
issues of how halacha has been interpreted to deal with the issue of
wages.  Of course, many of these are duplciates one of the other, so
let's say some 200 or so.

When I tried HALACHA and WAGE (singular)google returned nearly 500 [489]
responses.  Again, let's halve that, to be conservative.  That's 240 or

Many of thee above are in lessons or responsa, by the way.

It often surprises people that halachic writings deal with economic
relations between employers and workers, and more generally, the
situations, rights and responsibilities of working people.  For a
project at my own workplace [the Jewish Labor Committee], our then
Executive Director, Michael S. Perry, prepared a working paper, "Labor
Rights in the Jewish Tradition," which uses among other source material
the Torah, and commentaries on same, volumes from and about the Talmud,
the Mishnah, diverse responsa, and relatively contemporary books.

Suggestion 2: [really an offer]
I'd be glad to send anyone interested copies [free of charge].  Just
send a 9"x12" envelope with your address on it - and a print-out of this

Send the envelopes to:

My work address is:
  Arieh Lebowitz
  Jewish Labor Committee
  25 East 21st Street
  New York, NY  10010 

After assisting on this project, I prepared a basic bibliography of
English-language sources for further study of these matters.  The items
in same are [availabel from Aryeh via email].

There are certainly many more citations to be found were one to examine
Hebrew material [at least according to the computerized databases at the
New York Public Library], but that was beyond the scope of my initial
research.  And I have learned that there are many works dealing with
labor and workers' rights in the Torah and Talmud that were written in
German, as well as Yiddish - this via a perusal of the card catalogues
at the NYPL.

So.  A start.  

Arieh Lebowitz


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 23:17:41 +0200
Subject: Brooding, Creation, Milton

 Sarah E. Beck <sbeck@...> wrote:
> "Brooding," however, does _not_ connote the masculine contribution to
> that scenario. In English, it is what the mother bird does. So
> "merachefet" makes a fine peg for "brooding," but not for (addrabba)
> that aspect of generation traditionally called "active." Where, in
> Tanach, does ruach hakodesh act in that capacity? _That_ is what I want
> to find.  Interesting not only to Miltonists, I hope.

Without claiming that the following was necessarily what Milton had in
mind, I can connect the creation process with the male role in the
reproduction process as follows:

The Ramban mentions the 'chomer hiyuli', the primeval matter hyly
described by Greek philosophers, two times in his commentary on the
Torah: in connection with creation (of course), and in connection with
the formation of an embryo (Vayikra 12,2). As the Ramban points out in
Vayikra 12,2, according to the Greek (Aristotelian) philosophers, the
two processes are closely related: The male sperm acts on the ovum
catalyticaly, causing the ovum to be transformed into an embryo while it
itself remains largely unchanged. Very similarly, the Divine force acted
upon the primeval matter (hyly) catalyticaly, transforming it into the
physical universe as we know it.

As a powerful metaphor, it make sense to me.

Saul Mashbaum


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2001 08:11:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Explicit mention of the Messiah in the Torah

With regard to the ongoing thread on EXPLICIT mention of the Messiah in
the Torah (eg Bernard Raab, Zer Sero, Russell Jay Hendel in v35n6?) I
would just like to reiterate and explain my thesis:

I did NOT cite Bilams reference to a star(I agree that this is
obscure). I cited some VERY explicit verses: For example Dt30 EXPLICITLY
mentions the return of exiles; similarly Dt19-08:10 explicitly mentions
making 3 more refuge cities (a total of 9) when God expands Israel which
is explicitly derived from the fact that God promised Abraham 10 lands
(Gn15-19:21) while we only obtained 7 (eg Dt07-01))--thus EXPLICITLY
informing us that we would get 3 more lands.

Both Zev and Bernard ignored commenting on the above except to say that
it proves the existence of a Messianic era vs a Messiah.

But that is not a problem as I initially noted. There is an explicit
Biblical commandment to have a King (Dt17-14:20); Hence, the Messiah is
simply the King that will reign when the exiles are restored and we
obtain 3 more lands.

While this may not be as explicit as one wants (after all you have to
make an inference of Messianic era+King implies Messiah) it is clear and
it certainly should not be confused with poetic passages of Bilam.

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


From: Yitzchak Moran <dougom@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 11:43:04 -0800
Subject: Re: Intermarriage

When I married, a friend did not want to attend because she is a
lesbian, and since lesbians cannot get married (she isn't Jewish, so
we're talking secular marriage here), she felt it would be inappropriate
for her to attend.  However, she didn't say this at the time, and I was
hurt and angry because she was just giving me excuses and I sensed that.
In retrospect, I wish she would have just stated her reasons and told
me; I still would have been hurt and angry, but I would have understood,
and at least she would have been honest with me.

Similarly, I have a gay male friend (also not Jewish) who is a proponent
of boycotting weddings until gays and lesbians can marry.

My point here is that if you feel strongly enough about it to not
attend, I think you should just be honest and tell your friends why you
aren't attending.  Be kind about it, but I think that, as a friend, they
are owed the truth.

As to the broader question of whether or not one should not attend an
intermarriage, I honestly don't have an opinion.  With regard to
"questionable gerim," my view is complicated.  Some non-Orthodox
conversions are accepted by some Orthodox rabbis, particularly in cases
where the rabbis of the beits din know each other, or know of each
other.  (I do know of some cases where non-Orthodox conversions have
been accepted by Orthodox rabbis.)  In addition, there are some
non-Orthodox converts who, after living Jewishly, decide to be Orthodox.
For me, it would depend on the person or persons who converted, the
rabbis who converted them, and what my own rabbi would say, as to
whether I would consider their wedding "appropriate."  I would also
personally take into account who converted, the man or the woman.  If
the man converted, and it seemed to me that he was committed to living
as a Jew, then since the children would be Jewish, I would have a hard
time refusing to go.  On the other hand, if it was a "conversion of
convenience" (if you know what I mean), I would be troubled.  But again,
I would talk to my rabbi, personally.

Just my opinions,



From: Jonathan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 17:24:36 +0200
Subject: Re:  Kaddish

    A few comments about various aspects of the ongoing discussion of
Kaddish in recent numbers:
      1)  The old, possibly original custom of Mourner's Kaddish  was
indeed for only one person to say it at a time. This minhag is preserved
in what might be called "classical" Ashkenazic (i.e, Yekke) shuls.   Iin
addition to Munk's (GGBM), I have observed this practyce in Adas Yereim
in Stamford Hill (also London), in Adas Yereim in Rue de Cadet in Paris
(9th Arrondisement), and in Breuer's shul in Washington Heights in
Manhattan.  In other parts of the Jewish world, it has become customary
for all the mourners to recite it in unison (?), making the issue of
priority a moot point.  There seems to be some overlap between the rules
governing who acts as Shaliah Tzibbur and who says Kaddish, where it IS
the custom for only one to say it.  The former question is treated by
the Shulhan Arukh in Orah Hayyim 53.20, and at length in the Mishnah
Berura there, #60.
     Incidentally, while the issue of sheloshim vs. yahrzeit is not
treated there explicitly, it does give definite precedence to yahrzeit
over a regular avel, so one could argue from silence that the same
applies to sheloshim as well.
     More detailed information on this subject may be found in the book
Gesher ha-Hayyim by Rav Yehiel Tuketschinsky.  This is a three-volume
book, with thorough discussion of the laws and minhagim of aveilut,
based primarily on Minhag Yerushalmi, which is the Eretz Yisrael
development of the custom of the followers of the Vilner Gaon (known as
"Perushim) who came on aliyah in the 1810's or 1820's and were a major
formative influence on the practice of the Ashkenazim in Eretz Yisrael,
down to this day (e.g., saying "morid hatal" in the summertime;  not
saying "Barukh Hashem  leolam amen veamen" at maaruv;  shir shel yom
after Shaharit rather than Musaf;  ditto for Hoshanot;  etc.)
     2)  To an earlier inquirer:  the entire institution of Kaddish is
based upon minhag, so there is certainly no question of "deoraita"
(Torah law) involved in a non-orphan saying it.  There is, however, as
mentioned, a very strong tendency not to allow non-orphans to do so,
unless they themselves have permission to do so from their living
parents.  See below.  Incidentaly, a good source for the origins of
kaddish is the recent book by Leon Weiseltier, "Kaddish," in which he
describes his own exploration of the subject during the kaddish year for
his father, researching early medieval halakhic, kabbalistic and Mussar
    3)  One case where non-orphans might be allowed to say Kaddish is
where the deceased is very young, and those who still have parents are
in fact the closest mourners:  e.g., a child or teenager who dies or is
killed (not unknown here in Israel, in Army service or terrorist
attacks), where the parenst are still young adults and have living
parents.  One case in which I was involved concerned a 22-year-old woman
who died suddenly, where the father was non-Jewish and in any event of
unknown whereabouts, and there were only a mother and a brother.  In
this case, I discussed it with another rav who agreed that the brother,
despite having parents, was the logical candidate to say Kaddish (with
his mother's permission). On the other hand, in another case, where a
12-year-old child drowned and the father could not locate his own
parents to get permission, the maternal grandfather said Kaddish.
    4)  Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l held that the final Aleinu (or Shur shel
yom) at the very end of davening should always be followed by a kaddish,
even if there are no mourners present.  Likewise Kaddish Derabanan after
a shiur.  Thus, during the late 1960's, when a group of graduate
students had a daily minyan in Somerville Mass, the informal "rabbi" of
the group, a talmid of the Rav, who at the time still had parents,
recited Kaddish every day.
     5) About standing vs. sitting during Kaddish:  This is a general
point of difference between Ashkenazim and Sefardim, which applies not
only to Mourners Kaddish but to all kaddishes, the latter group
remaining seated for Kaddish.
   Jonathan Chipman, Yerushalayim


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 02 Jan 2002 10:05:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Wages

Dear List,

Sometimes, simple things are simple.  In the case of "fair wages",
there's a simple way for an honest, hardworking person to make a
decision on what to pay others.  I'm suggesting that the easiest way to
know what is right to do is to talk to others, as has happened here, and
then, when roundly informed, to invoke Hillel's golden rule.  The best
way to know what to pay someone else is to know what each of us,
ourselves, would want for compensation if we were in similar
circumstances.  Of course, this needs to be tempered by reality, and
real knowledge, which is why discussing it with others is important,
before deciding what we'd want for ourselves in the circumstance.

But after that, isn't the simplest and highest form of response "Torah
on one foot"?  I don't think we need deep analysis here.  We all work,
and we all care about our families, and we all have bills to pay, and we
all live in or near the same city with other people who might be working
for us.  So within the boundaries of the law (no illegal immigrants, no
under-the-table untaxed pay), clearly the _halachic_ thing to do is the
simplest.  Don't treat others as we don't want to be treated ourselves.


From: Nachman Yaakov (Yankel) Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Jan 2002 10:22:13 -0500
Subject: Wages

| There was another issue in the original post -- and that was social
| pressure (peer pressure) re: raising wages and impact on others who
| employed this same person.

Another actuary weighs in: 

Is there a real difference between employing a domestic at $7/hour in
one's home, and buying any one of a number of goods and services in
which such cheap labor is factored in? How about, for that matter, a
sweater made in Guatemala by folks earning .50 cents an hour? Is the
only difference that I can close my eyes to the latter but cannot ignore
the former?

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, EA, LLM         <awacs@...>
Attorney and Counselor-at-Law           http://yankel.com
Economic Group Pension Services         http://egps.com
Actuaries and Employee Benefit Consultants


End of Volume 35 Issue 88