Volume 37 Number 91
                 Produced: Sun Dec  8 21:08:43 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Censorship -- Halachic articles/m'koros
         [I Kasdan]
Chanukah is over, can Purim be far behind?
         [Sam Saal]
Confiscation of items by a Teacher
         [Eliezer Wenger]
The Making of a Godol
         [Michael Kahn]
         [Sam Saal]
The Miracle of the Oil (2)
         [Michael Kahn, R. Reuven Bulka]
New York Times article about the Orthodox farmer
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Shaking Hands with the Opposite Sex
         [Solomon Spiro]
Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers (4)
         [Carl Singer, Seinfeld, Avi Feldblum, Joel Rich]
Request: Daily Minyan
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: I Kasdan <ikasdan@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 13:16:13 -0500
Subject: Censorship -- Halachic articles/m'koros

I am looking for Halachic articles and m'koros dealing with Halacha and
censorship of newspapers, books and articles, etc.  Any assistance is


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 10:20:45 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Chanukah is over, can Purim be far behind?

Many years ago someone posted a wonderful hoax about cleaning door knobs
for Pesach. I'd like to do a communal Purim Spiel to explore this
issue. Please contact me and I'll edit the spiel - as I've done in past
years - collecting material from all who would enjoy participating.

In addition, if there is enough random fun input, I'll edit a purim
collection for mail.jewish

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone


From: Eliezer Wenger <ewenger@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 10:38:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Confiscation of items by a Teacher

Regarding the permissibility of a teacher to confiscate items of
students for disciplinary reasons, Rabbi Tzvi Spitz in Cases in Monetary
Halachah (Artscroll, 2001) page 73 writes, "It is permissible for a
teacher to confiscate personal items as a means of disciplining a
child." The rationale for this is based on the Gemmora in Makkos 8b
which "grants the teacher a great deal of latitude in terms of
disciplining his students - including corporal punishment." If body
punishment is permitted than surely monetary punishment would be
condoned. He writes however that this should be seen as a last
resort. He also points out that is certain circumstances the teacher, if
he deems it necessary may confiscate it without having to return it.
Since the discussion of this topic and other ramifications takes over
two pages, I would recommend anyone interested in this matter to read it
in its entirety in the abovementioned sefer.

Eliezer Wenger


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 01:17:46 -0500
Subject: Re: The Making of a Godol

>From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
>My first question is, WHO "banned" this book and what right do they have
>to do so? What right does anyone have to dictate what you can or cannot
>read? I find this quite disturbing.

I would like to stress that I have not read the book involved and am not
commenting on that book per se. But I don't see any reason why
responsible rabbis don't have the authority to ban books they feel write
lashon hara/slander, which by the way is forbiden even if true, about
Gedolay Torah/Torah greats or a book which they feel will cause a
chillul Hashem by its being read. Why book banning doesn't sit well in
our free society, the world is not hefker (a free for all) and not all
may be read.

>From: Lawrence Kaplan <lawrence.kaplan@...>
> But perhaps it was banned because it doesn't contain any lies!

Mr. Kaplan raises a good point. But I think Rav Shwab ob'm writes (not
sure where, perhaps in his colleted writings) that there is no
heter/dispensation for lashon hara even when it comes to writing
history. Likewise, I once heard a Rav say that he knows of no heter for
lashon hara when it comes to the writing of book reviews. I personally
find this issue relevant, as I'm a history major.


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 10:22:50 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Miketz

We know Yakov was quite wealthy and that his sons were shepherds. Why
did Yakov send his sons to Egypt to buy food rather than send servants?
We know he had loyal servants based on his charge to them earlier when
he sent them ahead bearing gifts for Esav.

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 18:52:17 -0500
Subject: Re: The Miracle of the Oil

>Why this is the case is more speculative, but these are the
>facts.  Therefore to ask questions about the nature of the miracle is
>not productive.

Why not?! To "to ask questions about the nature of the miracle" is
merely an attempt to understand what the Gemorah tells us is the reason
for lighting the menorah. The Beis Yosef ponders the nature of the
miracle. The Beis Yosef did not write unproductive speculations!

From: R. Reuven Bulka <rbulka@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 13:46:21 -0500
Subject: Re: The Miracle of the Oil

Dr. Ben Katz, in concluding his Vol.37, #89 item on Hanukkah, states
that "the reason Chanukah is 8 days according to II Macabees is that it
was modeled after Succot."

 From II Macabees, the first Hanukkah was actually more than modeled
after Sukkot. It was a form of "repayment" for the Sukkot that went
unobserved that year because of the circumstances.

The verses referring to this are loosely translated as follows: "They
celebrated the eight days in joy, like the Sukkot Festival, remembering
their plight a while ago spending Sukkot in the mountains and caves like
animals in the field. Therefore, with myrtle branches, etrog (?)
branches and palm branches in their hands, they gave thanks that (God)
enabled them to successfully purify God's Abode."  (10:6-7).

The question of why Hanukkah is 8 days even though the oil miracle was
only for 7 is relevant for, at best, the following years, not for the
first year

The celebration as reported in II Macabees raises interesting issues,
but the relationship between Sukkot and Hanukkah, long almost ignored in
the general discussion of Hanukkah, is quite solid. It is also referred
to in Arukh HaShulhan at the beginning of the Laws of Hanukkah (670:5).

Additionally, it is probably behind the well known argument advanced by
the School of Shammai that we should light 8 for the first day, down to
one on the last day, to remind us of the "festival (Sukkot) bullocks"
which went from 13 to 7. That seemingly obscure linkage of Hanukkah to
Sukkot is not obscure after all.

In reality, the Shammai argument is quite powerful and compelling.

                                Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka,
                                Congregation Machzikei Hadas,
                                Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

P.S. - Now that Hanukkah has passed, it is time to switch to Purim mode,
at least to convince your local bakeries to remove Haman from the tasch,
and instead to sell mohn-taschen, prune-taschen, apple-taschen,
blueberry-taschen, etc., the way it was always intended before the
unfortunate error that twisted the Hebrew ha-mohntasch (the poppy tasch)
to Hamantasch.

The error is unfortunate because it names the main Purim delicacy after
the very villain whose memory we are obliged to obliterate. Call it the
modern war on yesteryear's terror and terrorist.


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sat, 07 Dec 2002 22:46:30 +0200
Subject: Re: New York Times article about the Orthodox farmer

In MJ v37n81, Ed Greenberg <edg@...> quoted the New York Times
article about the Orthodox farming community:

> (Cows will be milked by gentiles on Saturdays because the Talmud forbids
> Jews from milking on the Sabbath, but the Lubavitchers do not want
> unmilked cows to be in pain.) and asks:
<Is this typical of religious farming practice?  What if there are no
non-jews?  How does one avoid animal abuse while maintaining the
I assume that one may FEED one's animals?>

This issue was a major problem for the religious kibbutzim in
(pre-State) Israel.  For many people, self-sufficiency was an important
part of Zionist ideology, and they insisted on finding a halakhic
solution which did not rely upon the subterfuge of the "Shabbos goy."
Rabbi Shimshon Rosenthal, rabbi of the "Rutges" hakhshara that preceded
the settling of Tirat Zvi and Yavneh in the 1930's, and later the posek
of the Kibbutz Hadati moment (as well as an important academic Talmud
scholar), paskened that a Jew can milk cows on the Shabbat (manually),
provided its done with a shinuy (change).  The Talmud already speaks of
milking "onto a stone"--that is, of doing it in such a way that it's
clearly only to relieve the cow and not to derive economic benefit from
the milk.  Rav Rosenthal used this principle in a pesak which said that
one can even milk into a bucket with renet, so that it becomes cheese
rather than milk.  (Sorry, I don't have any bibliography on this).

    A few years ago I visited Moshav Yatir in the southern Hebron Hills
for a Shabbat.  We were taken to see the barn, where we observed Beduins
milking the cows.  Rav Moshe Hagar, head of the pre-military one-year
yeshiva program at this place, commented that he disapproved of this
solution, and that the approach whereby Jews themslves did the milking
was preferable, for the above- mentioned ideological reason.

     Yehonatan Chipman


From: Solomon Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 15:06:41 +0200
Subject: Shaking Hands with the Opposite Sex

BSD, 3 tevet, 08/12

An argument to permit shaking hands with the opposite sex:

The Rambam rules that skin contact with and ervah ( one with whom a
person is not permitted to have sexual relations) derekh hibah, i.e. as
a gesture expressing affection, is a Torah prohibition.

Having the same contact, but without drekha hibah, as for example, hand
shaking as a conventional greeting, is only rabbinically prohibited. be
The other rishonim who differ with the Rambam and maintain that the
prohibition of skin contact ( that is, anything less than actual sex) is
only rabbinic, by logical extension, would hold that without derekh
hibah (conventional hand shaking) is not even rabbinically prohibited!

With regard to Rav Soloveitchik's shaking hands with a woman, I was not
there, but my colleague was at one such occasion and stated that the
woman extended her hand to the Rav and he gave her his hand, in the
words of my colleague "like a dead fish."  He meant, limp and off hand.

 Another consideration in refusing an extended hand is embarrassment.
Certainly if it is done as a public looks on it borders on 'malbim
havero be-rabbim.'  If so, one must weigh which of these considerations
outweigh the other.  And embarrassment is very significant consideration
as the Talmud states Berakhot 19b gadol kavod haberiyot, she doheh lo
ta'seh min hatorah. ( referring to rabbinical laws based on the lo
ta'seh of lo tasur). Each human being, is entitled to respect and honor.


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 17:45:59 EST
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

Interesting thought just came up re: Tzedukah to a Panhandler.  We're
taught that if a givere (rich man) falls on hard times, then we must
give him sufficient to allow him to live at his previous lifestyle (I
presume within reason.)  Does the same apply at the "low end" for a
panhandler?  It may seem like a ridculous question, but is it valid?

Kol Tov
Carl Singer

From: Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Sat, 07 Dec 2002 21:53:40 -0800
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

Is there any halachic basis for giving to a goyishe addict before a Torah

> I'll tell you whom I do refuse to give money to, and it isn't the
> panhandler on the street.  It's the man with ten children who learns in
> Kollel full time, and who says exactly that when he comes into synagog
> asking for money to support his family.  He, and not the goyishe addict,
> is the man who deserves nothing.
> Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 10:02:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

I cannot comment on the preference, but as for not giving to the man who
chooses to sit in Kollel and has 10 children and then go out to the
jewish community to say they are obligated to support him, the Rambam
(in his commentary on Pirkei Avos) is pretty clear that he has no
standing in asking for community support.

Avi Feldblum

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 10:06:08 EST
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

> Although there seems to be an idea of "kol haposhet yado", in practice I
> do not believe that is the obligation 

This brings to mind an interesting question - is the fact (let's assume
for a minute that this is the normative halacha) that there is no
"obligation(chiyuv)" mean that it's not the right thing to do (or that
there is no kiyum(accomplishment))?

Joel Rich


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 12:38:43 -0500
Subject: Request: Daily Minyan

Since the request was for a minyan for Mincha in Manhattan, another good
source would be the "Mincha Minyan Map", by Agudath Israel of America
and hosted on the OU website: 



End of Volume 37 Issue 91