Volume 37 Number 56
                 Produced: Mon Oct 28 22:16:56 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Drafting Yeshivah Students (was Re: Artscroll products)
         [Allen Gerstl]
Go prove you didn't say it!
         [Chaim Mateh]
kiddush customs
         [Ben Katz]
Kriat Shma Al HaMita
         [David Waxman]
Legal fictions
         [Zev Sero]
         [Aron Mandl]
Origin of Using the Date from Creation
Pro Slavery Rabbi
         [Michael Kahn]
Reasons for Assimilation
         [Bernard Raab]
Skin Contact
         [Carl Singer]


From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 07:13:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Drafting Yeshivah Students (was Re: Artscroll products)

On: Sun, 20 Oct 2002 13:55:24 +0200 Avram Montag
<avram.montag@...> Wrote:

>In the commentary in the Stone Chumash on Genesis (14:22) there is
>reference to Nedarim 32a explaining why the Jewish people were enslaved
>in Egypt. The enslavement was a punishment for Avram's forced drafting
>of Talmedei Chachamim into his army in the pursuit of Lot's captors.  >In 
>the Talmudic text itself, this is reported in the name of Rabbi >Elazar,and 
>it is only one of a number of hypotheses.

>This leads me to three questions:
>1)	Do other classical Torah commentaries cite this particular
>text? I did not see it in a quick look at the Mikraot Gedolot.
>2)	What do the Talmudic commentaries say about this? Has anyone
>followed the references given in the Maharsha?
>3)	Has this text been used in the polemic over the drafting of Yeshiva 
>students into the Israel defense forces?

1.  Whether this is a hyposthesis as to the peshat or whether this was
meant as a convenient place to provide a drash and to thus introduce
what the editors believe to be an important idea (and the editors are
entitled to their opinions and even to use polemic notwithstanding that
I don't particularly enjoy polemic) relates to how one understands
agadatah.  I much prefer the description of Agadath (AIUI) given by
R. Zvi Hirsch Chajes in his Mavoh Ha-talmud Agadatah, i.e. as sometimes
being a mneumonic device and not intended as peshat.

2.  As to the issue of drafting Yeshiva students, see MJ 16:72 (Nov 21
1994) where you will find an interesting discussion that includes
letters written by Rav Kook in 1917 and a discussion as to what his
opinion would be in the present. Beyond the present day politics are
serious issues, notwithstanding that politics, political parties and
politicians may often be unsavory.



From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 20:30:09 +0200
Subject: Go prove you didn't say it!

In v37 #48, Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...> wrote:

<<Did Rav Shach ever actually state that it was permissible to attack
Jews who are not Shomer Shabbos?  Did he once say that frum Jews must
fight against those who do not follow Torah- and if so, what was the
context and what did he really mean by 'fight'?  I ask b/c some of his
followers seem to think he advocated beating non-Shomer Shabbos Jews
and/or throwing things at them , and i have a hard time believing a man
so steeped in Torah would say such things.>>

You have answered your own question.  Since it is hard for you (and me
and many many others) to believe that a Torah great would say/mean such
things, then the burden of proof lies with those who claim that he said
such things.  Have they proven that he did?  From your words, it seems

I have lived in Eretz Yisroel for the past 26 years and I have never
heard Rav Shach or any of his followers say such things.

BTW, it's always difficult to prove that someone did _not_ say
something.  Therefore, the onus of proof lies with he who claims that it
_was_ said.

Kol Tuv,


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 13:43:13 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: kiddush customs

>From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
>Ira Grinberg <ira.grinberg@...> wrote:
>> I have seen two different customs regarding kiddush[...]
>> In the second, the ba'al habayit also makes kiddush on behalf of all
>> present, but first he pours some wine (grape juice) into the guests
>> cups from the bottle(s).
>This method has a clear basis in Pesachim 106a.  It also has the
>advantage that the listeners do not experience a delay between the
>bracha and drinking.  It's also what (I believe) everybody does at the
>Seder.  That it's also more hygenic can't hurt.
>I don't know the basis of the more common method.

     I always thought the basis for the more common custom is based on a
misunderstanding of what is being done during kiddush.  We use wine
because it is an important beverage; that is one way we show the
holiness of the day -- by using an important beverage (and reciting
kiddush).  There is nothing special about the particular wine that the
kiddush is said over - however, in some people's minds, saying the
kiddush confers some special quality to that particular cup of wine
(after all, it is "the wine over which kiddush was made") and hence
people feel obligated to dole it out to all of the guests, even in a
diluted fashion.  I never grew up with this custom.  Some people even
pour some of the kiddush wine into a separate cup, drink, and then start
diluting the original wine, to get around the sanitary issues.

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: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 16:31:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Kriat Shma Al HaMita

> >>b) If someone goes to bed, but realizes that they are likely to talk to
>their spouse / roommate for a while before they fall asleep, but on the
>other hand are likely to fall asleep in the middle of talking without
>stopping to say Shma, is it better to say Kriat Shma al HaMita,
>including the bracha of HaMapil, even if they will be interrupting it
>with talk afterwards? I realize it might be better to go to bed without
>talking, but that is not always practical.<<

The halachas are found in SA, OC 239.

In note 4, the MB says (my translation) that if you need to eat or drink
or speak about a pressing matter (after reciting the Shma), then it
appears to be permissible.  Just make sure to repeat the Shma again.
But, if you have said the bracha of hampil, then refrain (yizahair) from
doing this, as it is an interruption between the bracha and sleeping.

On a practical level, if you explain to your spouse or roommates that
one is not supposed to talk after saying hamapil, then they will not
engage you in conversation after you say it.  Now with children, it is
not so simple.

 >>c) If someone is so tired they can't really concentrate on what they're
saying, is there any need to say Kriat Shma Al HaMita?<<

To rephrase your question... Does the Kriat Shma al Hamita require
kavana?  If so, am I patur if I am too tired to say it with kavana?  I
don't have the answer.


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 13:50:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Legal fictions

David I. Cohen <bdcohen@...> wrote, as I did, to counter
the assertion that the sale of Chametz is merely a fiction.  I just
have a couple of quibbles, which do not affect his main point.

> While one may never expect to deliver the sold chametz to the non-
> Jewish buyer, if one was not prepared to do so, he has not really
> sold his chametz and any item of chametz becomes unusable even after
> Pesach (chametz she'avar awlov hapesach). 

Not so.  When there is a binding contract, mental reservations have no
legal effect (devarim shebelev einam devarim).  If you agree to sell
your house, it's sold, even if you can somehow prove that you had your
mental fingers crossed the whole time.  And the same applies to chametz.
So even those store owners who sign the sale contract because the Rabbi
insisted, or talked them into it, and who imagine that the whole thing
is a fiction, have in fact made a valid sale, as they would discover if
it ever ended up in a bet din.

How it would fare in a civil court would depend on the jurisdiction, but
while the sale should be valid under civil law as well as halacha, I
don't think it needs to be completely robust under civil law, as that
might be an impossible requirement - what would we do, for instance, if
civil law provided for a 14-day period in which either party could
regret the transaction and undo it?

David also wrote:
> (Of course, after Pesach was over, when the entire transaction was
> rescinded, the non-Jew did end up paying for the beer)

I don't think he meant to write that it was `rescinded'.  The sale is
not rescinded - if it was, then it turns out that we owned chametz on
Pesach ch"v!  What happens after Pesach is a completely separate
transaction, where the goy finds a buyer for the chametz that he bought.
That buyer happens to be us, so the merchandise doesn't physically have
to be moved, but that doesn't affect the continued validity of the
original sale.

Zev Sero


From: <Aronio@...> (Aron Mandl)
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 06:51:44 -0400
Subject: Naitz

Which is better - davening at Naitz HaChama without a minyan or davening
not at Naitz with a minyan?

Aron Mandl


From: <avirab@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 17:08:49 -0400
Subject: Origin of Using the Date from Creation

Nowadays gravestones, marriage documents etc use the date 'from the
creation' (5,762 etc). Although Scripture uses dating such as '200 years
since event x', there is no mention of the time elapsed to creation, and
as far as I know few (no one?) in the Talmud seems to really take that
date seriously (there are mentions of cycles of 6 or 7,000 years etc,
but in Kabbalah there are cycles of billions of years too). 

What is the earliest known source mentioning 'the age of the
universe', and when is the earliest known usage of that dating system
on legal documents etc?


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 23:08:18 -0400
Subject: Pro Slavery Rabbi

I looked at the jewishencyclopedia.com that was suggested by a post and
lo and behold I found it discussing the role of Jews re American slavery
and even the mention of the pro slavery NY rabbi mentioned by another
post. The rabbi was Dr. Morris J. Raphall. does anyone know if he was
orthodox?  As far as southern orthodox rabbis there was one named
Barneys 9spelling?).  Otherwise i don't know of any. I'd love to know
his position. I'm taking a course on slavery.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 21:09:48 -0400
Subject: Reasons for Assimilation

A recent family funeral in a branch of the family that is verging on
total assimilation led to the following observations:. The parents of the
deceased were the immigrant generation; simple uneducated Jews, observant
in a habitual way without intellectual foundation and without the means
(or the conviction) to educate their children Jewishly. Their male
children (e.g. the deceased) were not observant but still very culturally
Jewish. Their grandchildren are educated and accomplished, but almost
totally assimilated. Their great-grandchildren are both totally
assimilated and mostly intermarried. The next generation will almost
certainly cease to be defined as Jewish. There seemed to be little
variability in the progression across the families and generations.
What was frighteningly obvious is that the survival of Judaism in the
Galut is almost totally dependent on Jewish education, and this in itself
is not totally effective. And where does this leave non-intellectual or
"blue-collar" Judaism? 
I would appreciate other insights...Bernie Raab


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 22 Oct 2002 13:47:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Skin Contact

      A rationale for avoiding skin contact with the opposite sex:
      Intimacy begins and reaches its climax with skin contact.

Rationales often fail -- by extension one could argue that intimacy
begins with eye contact -- thus we should all be blindfolded.

There was recently an incident with a Jewish (military) chaplain who
refused to shake hands with a 3-star general -- yes, the general was
female.  It caused quite a stir, I'm told.  [My personal concern was not
the issue of shaking hands with the female 3-star general, but shaking
hands with, say, a female enlisted soldier who has just received
counselling.  Can you imagine the end of a counselling session and when
the person extends their hand to say thank you, the counsellor doesn't
reciprocate.  This might lead to a serious examination of what jobs /
careers one is willing / able to pursue.

There have been similar situations in work environments. 

One should distinguish between the halachik boundaries (prohibitions?)
and those which are socially accepted by the community.  I am NOT your
LOR but The halachik boundary deals with needah and relations between
wife and husband.  The community boundaries are applied more broadly
 ....  and can be applied with more discretion.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


End of Volume 37 Issue 56