Volume 37 Number 53
                 Produced: Sat Oct 26 22:44:22 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Becoming a Minister (2)
         [Andrew Klafter, Janet Rosenbaum]
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Dr. Feng Shan Ho and writing Visa's during WWII
         [Zev Sero]
Etz Hadas
         [Meir Possenheimer]
Lashon Hara
         [David Waxman]
Maris Ayin Continued
Marit Eiyin
         [David Waxman]
         [Warren Burstein]
Staying in Amsterdam
         [Janet Rosenbaum]


From: Andrew Klafter <KLAFTEAB@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 14:01:33 -0400
Subject: RE: Becoming a Minister

>From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
>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?

Obviously, you must ask a Rav this question.  In fact, you should ask a
dayan (someone who has been trained and tested in the Jewish civil and
financial laws of Choshen Mishpat, and not just the typical yoreh-yoreh
smicha which covers only ritual law in Yoreh De'ah).

However, since you have asked for the reactions of the lay readership, I
will share with you my understanding of your question.  Christianity
according to all halakhic authorities is completely forbidden for Jews
as avoda zara (idolatry).  Financial and other support of Christian
institutions is forbidden as well.  Not only would you be paying them
money, but you would be officially accepting ordination/certification as
a Reverend from an Christian Ministry, which is an institution of avoda
zara.  I can't imagine any halakhic rationale which might justify this.

A separate problem: This may constitute g'nevat da'at (fraud).  You
would be deceiving both either the Christian Ministry in that you will
not be really working as a Christian Minister.  It may also be fraud
with respect to U.S. government for tax purposes.  Some might argue that
since the officials at the Christian Ministry are ovdei kochavim
u'mazalos, the prohibition of genevat da'at does not apply.  However,
many halakhic authorities (and certainly most ashkenazi authorities)
contend that Christianity is "Shituf" and therefore must be protected
from g'nevat da'at.  ("Shituf" is a form of religious worship which is
permitted to Gentiles because it is essentially monothestic, but is
nevertheless totally forbidden to Jews as avoda zara to the extreme of
yeherag ve-al ya'avor).

Finally, there are alternatives for you which might enable you to
declare parsonage.  There are some yeshivos which provide an
"ordination" of "rav u'manhig" which essentially says that you are
competent as a learned Jew to a level that you can serve as a "Rabbi" in
a communal or administrative job, or perhaps as a teacher, as long as
you will not be adjudicating legal questions.  You will know the limits
of your knowledge, and know when to ask a competent halakhic authority.
I believe that Aish HaTorah does this.  Many of the Rabbis who run Aish
centers in North America have never received "Yoreh-Yoreh" but they are
nevertheless referred to as "Rabbi" and can declare parsonage.  I'm sure
some other institutions or individuals would do this for you.  Some
people object to "rav u'manhig" becuase they cotend that it "cheapens"
rabbinic ordination or "lowers the standards" for what his required to
become an Orthodox Rabbi.  I do not agree with this criticism, however,
and I think that what Aish HaTorah does is correct.  Why shouldn't a
charismatic, observant, intelligent ben-Torah be in the running for a
job as a college Hillel Director just because he hasn't completed
Yoreh-Yoreh?  Finally, traditional ordination is completely irrelevant
to the skills required in serving as a Hillel Director or Principal for
a communal day school, or someone who teaches Jewish History at a day

Andrew Klafter, MD (Nachum)
Department of Psychiatry, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 20:20:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Becoming a Minister

I can't imagine how it would be permissible if it involved a religion
with actual stated beliefs.  A religion with no beliefs, like the
Universal Life Church, is worth asking your local rabbi about:

Reverend Janet Rosenbaum, Contesse de Lorraine


From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 17:33:10 -0400
Subject: Cohanim

> At the time of Matan Torah, there were 600,000 adult male Jews, and 5
> Cohanim. That is .0000083%. Today, one out of every twenty five or
> thirty people are cohanim, around 4%-3%, if not even higher. How did
> Cohanim manage to increase at such an astounding proportion?

The exile and loss of the 10 tribes of the Northern kingdom would have
dramatically altered the percentage of Kohanim and Leviim in the Jewish
population if one postulates that most Kohanim and Leviim would have
been in Yehuda.  Since Yerovam, first king of the Northern kindgom,
established his own idols and appointed his own priests (I Kings:12) it
stands to reason that many Kohanim and Levvim who were in the Northern
kingdom would have gone to Jerusalem, or at least to Yehuda.

-Eitan Fiorino
Equity Research Analyst - Biotechnology
Citigroup Asset Management, 100 First Stamford Place
Stamford, CT 06902
Phone: (203) 961-6238, Fax: (203) 602-6045


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 19:01:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Dr. Feng Shan Ho and writing Visa's during WWII

Note that there is considerable controversy about the claims by Dr Ho
and his family.  Perhaps he really helped people escape, and perhaps
these claims are just an attempt to climb onto the Sugihara bandwagon.
It is clear that at no point was there ever a need for a Chinese visa
to get into Shanghai - in fact, during the entire period in question
Shanghai was not under Chinese rule.  Mr Pick's claim that
> a visa stamped into your German passport with the red "J" would
> guarantee a ship's ticket 
is clearly not true - to get a ticket you needed money, not a visa
which the shipping companies knew was worthless!  The big problem was
getting space on a ship, since they were all full.  Nor was a visa
necessary to leave Germany, or to get out of the camps - what was 
needed was a ship's ticket, to prove that you were going to leave.

What's left is the claim that Dr Ho's visas were used in order to get
transit visas through other countries, by people whose real destination
was not Shanghai but Palestine, or other places, much as the famous
Curacao visas (which were equally bogus) were used by Sugihara to
justify issuing Japanese transit visas (which were in turn needed in
order to get Russian transit visas).

See http://www.rickshaw.org/visas_for_life.htm for arguments on both
sides of the question.

Zev Sero


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 01:36:57 +0100
Subject: Re: Etz Hadas

>And as an aside, the common (and incorrect) translation is "apple."  I
>think that the source for this comes from St. Jerome's Vulgate
>translation of the Septuagint, where he would translate pri as pomis,
>which in Latin is normally apple.  My recollection is that John Milton
>actually uses the word apple, and this is how it came into common usage.

Interestingly, the Targum to Shir Hashirim Chapter 2, v 3 translates
Tapuach, nowadays commonly translated as 'apple', by 'Esruga'. Does
anyone have any further comments on this?

Meir Possenheimer


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 17:13:38 +0200
Subject: RE: Lashon Hara

 >>I am reluctant to take a stand against piety and caution ...<<

Reb Nachum,

You seem to be inferring from my post that I am advocating a strict
position on this issue.  Allow me to assert that this is not the case.
The only position that I would like to advocate is that we put some
thought into the matter and learn what chazal and halacha have to say
about it.

>Your question is NOT "fraught with danger"!  By all means, find a person
>whose judgment you trust and who can be trusted to keep everything you
>say confidential, and ask for advice.

Soliciting advice is of course important and necessary.  When it comes
to getting advice about other people, l'aniyot dati, the person
providing guidance should be well versed in the relevant halachas.  It
is just <emph> possible </emph> that what seems like a toel'et may prove
to be a rationalization.

 >>(If a rabbi tells you you are not allowed to do this, find a new rabbi.)<<

This statement puzzles me.  If you don't trust the rabbi's judgement,
then why would you solicit it to begin with?


From: <Aronio@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 05:35:03 EDT
Subject: Maris Ayin Continued

I'd like to hear your thoughts on my maris ayin quandry.

For business, I often must go to lunch at non-kosher restaurants. 

I always wear a yarmulka at work and when meeting with clients out of
the office, and all of my non-Jewish clients know this.

While I only have a soda at these non-kosher restaurants, I still feel
very weird walking in the door of a traif Chinese restaurant, for
example, with a yarmulka on.

If I took it off I would get a lot of questions from clients who know I
wear it all the time, and I think they would look down on the practice,
even if I explained maris ayin to them. (And I wouldn't feel right about
drinking something without a yarmulka on, making a bracha, etc.)

I asked my rabbi who said maybe I should wear a hat, but practically
speaking that is very weird for me and I probably would not feel
comfortable with wearing a hat during a business meeting.

My thinking is this - doesn't everyone in the world know that McDonald's
is not kosher even if I go there and have a Coke while wearing a
yarmulka?  Same with going to Denny's - nobody will think Denny's is
kosher because they see me inside drinking a soda, right?

What do you think?


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 15:03:42 +0200
Subject: Re: Marit Eiyin

>Is there not a specific requirement to be "dan lekaf zechut" (judge
>towards the favorable side). In this case, should the beholder not
>assume that the laundry was washed and dried prior to Shabbat, and
>simply left there for any one of a number of reasons? Doesn't "dan
>lekaf zechut" require us to assume, in the absence of specific evidence
>to the contrary, that our fellow-Jew is not acting wrongly?

Indeed.  I have heard an answer to this question which seems quite
compelling.  That is, that the obligation of 'dan lekaf zechut' and the
prohibitions derived from 'marat eiyen' co-exist simultaneously because
each one operates on a separate party.  That is, if you are an observer,
then the obligation of 'dan lekaf zechut' is operative.  If you are
doing an activity that might lead an observer to think badly of you,
then 'marat eiyen' is operative.  The key is to always be concerned
about your obligation, and not the other guy's.

>Perhaps the issue of Marit Eiyin is more like the following: I may not
>do X, so that the average (read, non-learned) Jew should not conclude
>that Y (which is similar to X) is permitted. In the present example,
>perhaps I may not remove laundry from an outdoor clothesline, because a
>Jew who might be passing may assume that doing laundry on Shabbat is
>permitted (and he is not aware that the laundry was washed and hung
>prior to Shabbat).

Based on Rav Moshe's definition (see my previous post), I think that the 
issue is safeguarding your reputation rather than causing other people to 
transgress due to ignorance. 


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 13:29:28 +0300
Subject: Piyutim

I've got another question about piyutim, beyond where we break them up.

Why with piyutim, does the chazan and the congregation each say the same
verse, while in Anim Zmirot, we alternate?  I find the latter works
better for paying attention (at least for me), I'm listening to what I
say and I'm listening to what he says.  And singalongs work, too (L'cha
Dodi and Kel Adon are always singalongs in my shul).  But the
recite/mumble alternation just gets me confused - is the purpose for me
to pay attention to the line twice in succession?  The only thing that
gets me even more confused is the worldessly sing/mumble alternation,
which I only came across once, at a Breslov shul.

It's not like repetition of the Amida, say it once from start to finish,
and then pay attention to the chazan do the same.  I would also find it
disorienting to say the first bracha of the Amida, listen right away to
the chazan repeat it, and go on to the second.

In my shul, sometimes the chazan (varies from chazan to chazan - unlike
the shul where I grew up, where the Rabbi did Shacharit and the imported
chazan did Musaf, in my current shul each tefila is led by a different
member) takes some of the piyutim on the Yamim Noraim (or just some
lines) and sings without stopping between the lines.  This turns it into
a singalong, which works better for me.  I wouldn't mind if everything
went this way.


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 2002 20:40:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Staying in Amsterdam

Frank Reiss <freiss47@...> writes:
> I will need to be in Amsterdam over Shabbos next month. The last time I
> was there, I was told that there is a Shule near the Concert center in
> the Museums area, where there is also a Kosher restaraunt in the Jewish
> Students Center. 

here is the restaurant you want:
Nasjviel, eetcafe, De Lairessestraat 13
i also hear there's a good kosher ice cream parlor in the old city/city

a list of shuls and other jewish organizations is at:
the site is in dutch, but it's not hard to figure out since you're only
looking for addresses.



End of Volume 37 Issue 53