Volume 36 Number 54
                 Produced: Wed Jun 26  5:38:33 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abstinence on Shavuot
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Chazon Ish, rabbi in Kosow-Poleski, Belarus?
Conditional conversion
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
Outer Space
Pidyon Haben (3)
         [Ben Katz, Frank Silbermann, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Shabbat in space (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Emmanuel IFRAH]
Tevilas Keilim -  Restaurants
         [Susan Shapiro]


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 08:55:19 +0300
Subject: Re: Abstinence on Shavuot

In v36n50, Akiva Miller asks, reagrding the statement quiotred from the
Mishnah Berurah, taht "It is proper not to have relations on the night
of Shavuot unless it is the night of tevilah":

<<I would understand this explanation a lot better if there wasn't an
explicit exemption for the night of tevilah.... this explanation says
that under normal circumstances, it is inappropriate for a *husband* to
engage in personal satisfaction on a day of judgment, but that a wife
can demand it from her husband even on such a day....  Why would this
"day of judgement" idea apply only to the husband and not to the wife?>>

   The answer is simple -- all these considerations are essentially
mystical, Kabbalistic, rather than strictly halakhic (i.e., rooted in
the discussions of the Mishanh and Talmuds).  So long as sexual
relations are an optional matter, the Kabbalah is free to impose
restrictions on the basis of its own world-view.  (Incidentally, whether
this is based on a "day of judgemnt" concept or something else requires
further examination, beyond an oral report from one of our discussants
that this is what he was taught) Leil tevilah is a clearcut halakhic
obligation, rooted in Talmudic law, so it overrides such esoteric
consideratiosn which, holy and revered as they may be, are ultimately
subordinate to the classical halakha.  Yehonatan Chipman, Yerushalayim

[Similar response received from:
	  Solomon Spiro <spiro@...>


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 23:54:16 EDT
Subject: Re: Artscroll

The discomfort about Artscroll's interpretive translations of Shir
haShirim is probably due to the guidance (and even insistence) they
received from roshei yeshiva like R. Mordechai Gifter zatzal. R, Dovid
Feinstein is also a major source of inspiration and halachic
determination for the Art Scroll enterprise.

In great measure the Art Scroll product has taken this generation by
storm because of the approbation of the roshei yeshivah. Without
commenting on the worthiness of their work in shul related texts
(siddurim, machzorim, megillot) fact is that their editions have swept
the English speaking orthodox community much like their Talmud series so
desperately needed by Daf Yomi fans.

Right or wroong - that is irrelevant. The job of Artscroll is to market
their products succcessfully. And that they did without a doubt.

Chaim Wasserman


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 15:52:19 +1000
Subject: Chazon Ish, rabbi in Kosow-Poleski, Belarus?

> I have read that Rabbi Karelitz, the Chazon Ish was a rabbi (Av Beis
> Din) in Kosova.

Not the Chazon Ish, he was never an official rav. 
It may have been his father.



From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:07:25 +0300
Subject: Re:  Conditional conversion

In v36n49, Bill Page <Page@...> asked, in light of a proposal
bythe head of the Haifa religious court, "What is the halachic basis for
a conditional conversion?"

     To the best of my knowledge, the classical sources on the face of
it don't know of such an institution;  thus, the sugya in Yevamot 47b
states that a convert who reverted to his idolatrous ways is considered
like any other apostate Jew.
     In a similar light, Rambam, in Issurei Bi'ah 13.16-17, mentions
that the non-Jewish wives married by Solomon and by Samson were at least
pro-forma converts, albeit converted by a non-expert bet din (which is
also valid bediavad). but he then adds that, if he converted for an
ulterior motive, "hoshshin lo ad sheitba'er tzidkato"-- "one suspects
him until his righteousness is proven."  But he doesn'say anything about
revoking his conversion if he is shown to be unrighteous!
     Nevertheless, perhaps this is a partial basis for the suggestion of
the Haifa Bet Din -- although I hardly imagine they'd want to consider
themslves a bet din shel hedyotot!
    A possible theoretical basis for conditional conversion might be to
say that, if the person is seen over the course of time not to observe
mitzvot, this may be taken as an indication in retrospect that the
conversion was never valid in the first case.  In other words, the
conversion is nullified rather than revoked.
     However, the idea seems very dubious halakhically.  Analogous
solutions have been proposed for retroactive nullification of marriage
-- hafka'at kiddushin -- as a solution to the vexing problems of
marriage, mamzerut, divorce (both recalcitrant husbands and
non-observant couples who simply don't bother, Reform Jews whose
movement teaches that it's unnecessary, etc.) that plague modern -day
Jewry (this was suggested inter alia by Rav Eliezer Berkowitz z"l in his
book "Tenai ba-nissuin uva-get"), but this was never accepted by the
proponderance of Rabbinic authorities, even though in the case of
nullification of marriage there is even a talmudic sugya to rely upon
(which there isn't here), for the obvious reason that there is a
preference that matters of personal status be clearcut and unambiguous.
    On the other hand, I have heard of "inspection" of life styles of
new converts before, by Habad and others.
    Actually, there is in one classic case of "conditional conversion":
when adopted children are converted before bar/bat mitzvah.  Since the
minors don't have "da'at" (roughly translated:  responsible,
intelligent, informed consent), the bet din cannot provide it for them,
so the conversion is conditional until they reach their majority.  At
that point, no positive act or statement is required;  if they continue
to live as Jews, this confirms the earler conversion.  (Ketubot 11;
Rambam, Issurei Biah 13.7).  But the case of children, again, is very
different from what is being discussed here.
     Rav Yehonatan Chipman, Yerushalayim


From: chihal <chihal@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 23:32:28 -0500
Subject: Outer Space

Shalom, All:

 	Much discussion has centered around astronauts being required or
not to observe Shabbat (not to mention davening) every orbit around

	Is it possible that these mitzvot are "mekhubar likarka,"
i.e. obligatory only when ground based, especially in Israel, just as
Sh'meeta (the land lying fallow every 7 years) is tied to the land of

	Furthermore, it is inarguable that Shabbat is the 7th day on
Earth. Why would somebody not on Earth have to observe it?

	Lastly, we are told "HaShamayeem Shamayeem LaHashem, ViHa'aretz
natan leevnay adam." (The sky/heaven are God's, but Earth is given to
Man.) That being the case, would not mankind be responsible solely for
Earthly commandment

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi [<chihal@...>]


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:38:58 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Pidyon Haben

>From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
>>From: Israel Rosenfeld <israel.rosenfeld@...>
>>The Rambam paskens according to Rabbi Yosei Haglili that the Torah says
>>"peter rechem miYisroel", the "rechem" (womb) must be "miYisroel" -
>>neither Kohenet nor Leviah.

        This is a partial answer to my original question -- that it is a
gezarat hakatuv that the rechem must be of an Israelite, not of a bat
kohen or bat levi.

>The NCSY Torah Tidbits (from the Israel Center in Yerushalayim) for
>Parshas Korach had an interesting table about Pidyon Haben.  If a Bas
>Kohen has a son with a nonJew, she must give Pidyon Haben.  The son of a
>Bas levi and a nonJew does not require a Pidyon Haben.  Since people
>wrote to ask why, he sent out the following explanation this week
>(Parshas Chukas).

        This answer is unsatisfying however, since if the bat Levi is of
a lower status than a bat kohen, and yet still "powerful" enough to
defer a pidyon, certainly (kal vachomer) having a child with a nonJew
should annul it.

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, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 16:10:43 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Pidyon Haben

In V36 N50 Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz quotes NCSY Torah Tidbits (from the
Israel Center in Yerushalayim) to explain why a Bas Kohen who has a son
with a nonJew must give Pidyon Haben, but the son of a Bas Levi and a
nonJew does not require a Pidyon Haben:

	"A Bat-Kohen's b'chor usually does not need a Pidyon.
	 But by having relations with a non-Jew, she forfeits
	 the sanctity of the K'huna that she possessed since birth,
	 and her b'chor requires a Pidyon.  Not so the Bat Levi,
	 since her status is not a matter of that kind of Kedusha."

But wasn't Aaron HaKohen of the tribe of Levi as well as being the
founder of the priestly dynasty?  It seems to me that a Kohen should
therefore have to be considered a specially exalted _kind_ of Levi, and
that at Kohen would possess the kedusha of a Levi _plus_.

On the other hand, if my theory were true, then the son of a Kohen and a
convert (failing to inherit his father's Kehuna) would be a Levi (as is
the son of a Levi and a convert), but I don't think this is the case.

So perhaps we can say that the Israelim inherited portions of the land
and membership in their respective tribes; the Leviim inherited
membership in their tribe but not a portion of the land, and the Kohanim
inherited neither.

Frank Silbermann

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 12:45:44 -0400
Subject: RE: Pidyon Haben

I neglected to give the location of Torah Tidbits.  It is produced by
Rabbi Phil Chernofsky at the OU Israel center in Yerushalayim.  The web
site http://www.ou.org/torah/tt/ has the electronic version of Torah
Tidbits posted each Thursday (usually) after 2:00 P.M. New York time.
Rabbi Chernofsky's e-mail address is <philch@...>

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


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 01:08:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Shabbat in space

From: JBGross <jbgross@...>
>Why on Earth (sorry, I couldn't resist) would Mitzvos not apply to the
>astronaut?  What source is offered for the assertion that Shabbat stops
>at some altitude?
>It would seem that the person in orbit is at each moment "located" in
>the place directly below, and bound to its time-status.  As long as it
>is Shabbos in any of the places on Earth over which the vehicle's obit
>passes, the restrictions of Shabbos should apply (off and on in theory
>-- but for practical purposes continuously) to the person in orbit.>

Allow me to point out that the Space Shuttle orbits the Earth once every
90 minutes, approximately. On Friday, therefore, our observant astronaut
would spend about 45 minutes over communities that have not yet made
shabbat (on the daylight side of the Earth) and another 45 minutes over
communities that have already made Shabbat (on the night side); and this
would go on continuously for 24 hours. Finally, the "terminator" (the
dividing line between day and night) passes over the halachic dateline
(wherever that is) and now the communities entering the dark side of the
Earth are starting to make havdalah, while those on the daylight side
are still enjoying shabbat.  This goes on for another 24 hours. Our poor
astronaut will have some busy time trying to follow the prescription of

It seems to me that we have two choices here: 1. We (ideally. our
Rabbis) proclaim that shabbat does not apply in space travel (an
astronaut on a mission to Mars, for example, will be in continuous
sunlight for his entire trip, a period of years, and there are Earth
orbits with the same characteristic), or 2. We proclaim (on what grounds
I am not qualified to suggest) that a space traveller (or at least one
who intends to return to Earth, I suppose) continue to observe shabbat
on the same schedule as his Earthly base. This sort of "virtual shabbat"
is what is generally suggested for visitors to the polar regions, where
sunrise or sunset can occur once every few months, so there may be some
precedent for this latter approach.

From: Emmanuel IFRAH <eifrah@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 09:55:32 +0200
Subject: Shabbat in space

For those interested, you can consult R. Menachem Kasher's famous book
"Ha-adam 'al ha-yareach" on-line (in Acrobat format). Chapter 5 is
dedicated to "Torah observance on the moon".

This book was published in 1970 in New York.


Best regards,

Emmanuel IFRAH


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Wed, 19 Jun 2002 05:37:59 EDT
Subject: Tevilas Keilim -  Restaurants

> Are there any licensees of Kashrus certificates out there who can tell
> us whether their supervising Rabbinical authority insists on all
> utensils being tovelled [dipped in a Mikveh]? I read an opinion that,
> as the utensils are being used for profit making purposes, they do not
> need tevillah.

I don't know if they do require it, but at our restaurant (Sheila's in
San Diego), which is owned by a Jew, we DO Toivel all metal and crockery
and glassware before it is used.  Every single piece!!

Susan Shapiro, S. Diego


End of Volume 36 Issue 54