Volume 37 Number 52
                 Produced: Thu Oct 24 20:59:33 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

All Toraitic Laws are Eternal
         [Beth and David Cohen]
Becoming a Minister (2)
         [Michael Rogovin, Yeshaya Halevi]
Legal Fictions
         [Solomon Spiro]
Maachal Ben Drosai
         [David Waxman]
Not Mefulesh?
         [David Waxman]
Question about Ishut 15:2
         [Normand, Neil]
Source of Cohanim
         [E. Stieglitz]
Travel close to Shabbos
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
What Was That Fruit?
         [Alex Heppenheimer]


From: Beth and David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 10:54:53 -0400
Subject: Re: All Toraitic Laws are Eternal

Russel Handel wrote:

<<David Cohen in v37n27 gives 4 instances of Toraitic laws not meant to be
<<Let me now address the 4 instances & respond to them:
<<1) Several discussants have already posted showing that Rambam DID
<<believe in the restitution of the sacrifices

While a number of posters have indicated that the Rambam in the Mishne
Torah does write that animal sacrifices will be restored in third Beit
Hamikdash, his writings in the Morah Nevuchim at the very least call
this into question. (Despite your theory that he did not mean what he
actually wrote)

<<(2) Slavery is a response to a court convicted theft by someone who cant
<<repay the theft. It is an alternative to prison. I think most people
<<studying Jewish Slavery Laws vs Modern Prison Practice would agree that
<<Jewish Slavery is more humane and should be kept

This does not address the issue of the non-Jewish slave, and that slaves
status in halacha as property to a certain extent. (I refer to the
extensive Talmudic discussion on how slave ownership is transferred, how
they are emancipated etc.)

<<(3) A well known talmudic statement points out that there NEVER was a
<<case of the Rebellious son (No parent would try & kill their newly
<<turned teenage son for robbing them). Rav Hirsch in an essay points out
<<that the reason the Rebellious son was placed in the Torah even though
<<it will never occur is because it is possible to infer all guidelines
<<for proper parenting from it(See this beautiful essay for details).

This actually proves my point. The Talmud itself that this halacha was
never operative.

<<4) Yes,it is true that Chazal allowed the oral law to be written
<<down--but that was in response to the terrorism of the Roman
<<empire. When "rome" is defeated by King MEssiah we shall go back to
<<learning properly (Oral law will be oral)

Do you really think that that "bell" will ever be unrung?  Maybe, the
style of learning will revert to oral, but will we burn our Judaica

Kol Tov,
David I. Cohen


From: <rogovin@...> (Michael Rogovin)
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 16:27:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Becoming a Minister

Chaim Shapiro writes:
> Working in the field I do, I could save a substantial amount of 
> money if I were able to declare parsonage.  I am not a Rabbi,
> and I don't think I would ever have the time to attain semicha.  
> I have heard from others that there are Christian Ministries 
> which will declare a person a Reverend for a small fee, without 
> any religious requirements.  Is it Halchaikally permissible to 
> pay for, receive and use the title of Reverend from a Christian 
> Ministry if I in no way believe in any of the tenets of their
> faith?

Aside from the direct halachic concern that I leave to others, I would
be concerned that getting parsonage when one doesn't truly qualify would
constitute tax fraud, raising issues of dina d'malchuta dina and
possible chillul hashem. In case, in addition to consulting one's LOR, I
would suggest consulting a good tax attorney.  

Kol Tuv
Michael Rogovin

From: Yeshaya Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 15:22:26 -0500
Subject: Becoming a Minister

Shalom, All:

	I think this is a moot question. You could go to plenty of these
"diploma mills" that are not Christian, and this includes those with a
churchy-sounding name that's just there for show. 
	There are two reasons these places exist. The first reason is to
make beaucoup bucks for the guy who so uses the First Amendment, and the
second reason is because many people want it: there's a market for it.
	To keep their market share and expand it, many of these instant
ordination churches and temples have a very laisez faire attitude
towards doctrine. They're always for mom, flag and apple pie, and any
individual member's beliefs are as valid as the next guy's they state.
Kind of like Online Unitarians.
	The bigger question is not one of patronizing a real church --
the moral issue, IMHO, revolves around whether it is permitted to use
these legal scams to avoid paying full prices and taxes. Pro: it's legal
if you don't abuse the system too badly (e.g. not pay any income tax).
Con: you're engaging in a deceptive practice if you use it on a person
or in a place that reserves these perks for "real" clergy.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi
<c.halevi@...> (formerly chihal@ync.net


From: Solomon Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 19:37:07 +0200
Subject: Legal Fictions

BSD yom sheni  vayera

References have been made in the postings about the so called legal
fictions of the sale of hametz and the pruzbul.

The sale of hametz and pruzbul are not legal fictions. 
 With regard to hametz an actual transaction takes place.  We even
perform several kinyanim because we are not sure which one is effective
with Gentiles.  And the pruzbul is an actual legal transfer of a debt to
an agency to which the prohibition of collecting in shemittah does not

Examples of legal fictions are:
aharayut ta'ut sofer-when a promissory note does not contain a clause
putting a lien on the debtors property we say it is *as if* it were
written in explicitly and the creditor can seize property if there is a
default and the property is sold.

Another example is:
when an item is entrusted to a bailee, ( shomer) and the item is stolen,
if the bailee is, let us say, a shomer hinam, he is excused from paying
for the loss.  If however he offers to pay, and the thief is
subsequently found, the penalty of kefel, double the amount, belongs to
the bailee.  And the gemara wonders how this works. There is no
kinyan--the kefel should go to the owner of the item.
 So a legal fiction is invoked--it's *as if* the owner states to the
bailee when he accepts the item (koneh for shemirah) if the item will be
stolen and you offere to pay, the kefel will belong to you.

A third example is *shi'abuda de R. Natan* If C owes B, and B owes A,
then A can collect from C *as if* the loan was from A to C.

A legal fiction in invoked when no action takes place and we act as if
it did.  This is not so in hametz and pruzbul.


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 17:33:11 +0200
Subject: Maachal Ben Drosai

>A well known concept in hilchot shabbos is the minimal cooked state for
>a meal. It is defined as a meal which is cooked like "maachal ben
>drosai" and corresponds to a "half cooked" or "one third cooked" state,
>depending on the shitos.<<

If I remember correctly, the Beit Yosef sites one half as the measure in
regard to hilchot shabbat, while one third is the measure in regard to
hilchot bishul achum.  The explanation for the seeming contradiction is
quite simple - he goes l'chumra in both cases.  Examples (over
simplified) - one is not allowed to leave a cholent on an uncovered
flame unless it is half way cooked.  On the other hand, your non Jewish
maid can cause your cholent to be bishul achum by cooking it one third.

>One could define, based on common sense, the "cooked" state as the state
>of something edible.
>But what about 'half cooked' (or 'one third cooked')? Is this state
>defined based on half the time necessary to completely cook the food? Or
>is there an intrinsic-scientific definition of this state which is not
>the same since, from a scientific point of view, the equation is not
>'linear'.  (For the non scientific readers, i.e. that if it takes 10 mn
>to boil a cup of water, which corresponds to 100degC-212degF, it will
>not take 5 mn to reach 50degC-122degF).

'Al pi svara'...
It seems to me that time is the only reasonable measure.  If you are
suggesting temperature, then how would that work - with a meat
thermometer?  What exactly is the temperature of a cooked chicken


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 14:41:26 +0200
Subject: Not Mefulesh?

>He enumerated:
>1. <<metropolitan areas that have boulevards wider than 16 cubits (about 
>10 yards or 9 meters).>>
>This presentation is unfair since the boulevard wider that 16 amot is 
>valid only on a "mefuleshet" condition, that is a staight line boulevard 
>from begining to the end of the city. Which mean that even if the 
>boulevard is wider that 16, but it turns around it does not make that 
>place reshut ha'rabim.

A fuller quote from my previous post:
 >>The basic definition would include most metropolitan areas that have 
boulevards wider than 16 cubits<<

Thus, I don't understand your concern about the 'mefuleshet' condition.
To my understanding, it is a very uncommon situation to have a community
eruv that does not cross a 'mefuleshet' boulevard.  Boulevards that turn
around would only include cul de sacs and the like.  Indeed in Har Nof,
we do not have a 'mefuleshet' boulevard, and this is one reason why the
neighborhood eruv is very good.


From: Normand, Neil <NormandN@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 09:45:18 -0400
Subject: Question about Ishut 15:2

In Hilchot Ishut, 15:2 the Rambam states that a man is obligated in
Procreation from age seventeen(or in some editions from age sixteen or
seventeen). The mishna in Avot states that one should get married at age
eighteen.  Based on this discrepancy, the Magid Mishneh says that the
Rambam meant after seventeen complete years, or the beginning of the
eighteenth year. There are a couple of difficulties with this
approach. The Bet Yosef acknowledges the different texts of the Rambam
but is persuaded by the mishna in avot to understand the Rambam that he
means eighteen. There is one significant problem with this approach,
namely, the Rambam's mishna(Rav Kapach's edition) in the fifth perek of
Avot omits the entire mishna relating to this issue(Ben Chamesh L'mikra,
etc...). I would assume rather that the Rambam gets his source from the
discussion in the Gemara Kiddushin 29B-30A on the optimal age to get
married. Any other suggestions?

Neil Normand


From: E. Stieglitz <ephraim0@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 15:58:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Source of Cohanim

Unfortunately, I don't have the name of the article, the name of the
author, or even the name of the journal available, but...

About 4 years ago, I was waiting outside the office of one of my college
professors and noticed an academic journal of anthropology on a desk. I
started reading it, and found an article inside about the genetic
history of people who claimed to be Kohanim.

If memory serves me right, the article concluded that among Ashkenazim,
about 30% of people claiming to be Kohanim were male decendants of a
single individual, while among Sephardim, the number was closer to
50%. If you consider the number of generations between Aharon and
today's living Kohanim, it basically meant that from generation to
generation, 99.8% of the people who claimed to be Kohanim had a father
who also claimed to be a Kohen.

The researchers working on this performed genetic testing on a group of
people to achieve this result, and also took into account the rate of
genetic mutation over the X number of generations.

Note that they were quite clear in explaining that their research did
**NOT** uncover a genetic test which could conclusively prove whether or
not a single individual was actually a male descendant of Aharon.



From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Travel close to Shabbos

>they both responded that- as long as the driver is not
>Jewish- we should keep going.

I would just like to add a caveat about the psak you received... It
could be related to the impressionable nature of the people on the
bus... namely, NCSYers.  Were the psak to be that they had to spend an
unpleasant Shabbos on the side of the road, this could very well give
some of them a bad taste of Shabbos and mitzvos which could have
long-ranging effects.  Enabling them to salvage most of the Shabbaton
intact, along with its spiritual benefits probably factored into the


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 10:46:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: What Was That Fruit?

In MJ 37:45, David Waxman <yitz99@...> wrote:
>>A recent post on a completely different subject mentioned that 
>>according to some the Pri Eitz Hadas was an esrog.  I remember 
>>hearing there were three opinions on this: esrog, grape, and 
>>wheat(!).  Sorry I do not have a source for this as I heard it 
>>about 15 years ago.
>Brachot 40a gives three opinions: grape (R' Meir), fig (R' Nechemya),
>and wheat (R' Yehuda).  I don't know the source of the etrog opinon.

It's in Bereishit Rabbah 15:6 (and Yalkut Shimoni, Bereishit 21). The
reasoning given is that the Torah describes the "etz" as being good to
eat, where "etz" means both "tree" and "wood" - which suggests that the
wood was just as edible as the fruit, a description which fits the etrog
tree. (Although I suspect that a lot of people would argue that both the
fruit and the wood are equally _in_edible...)

Kol tuv,


End of Volume 37 Issue 52