Volume 37 Number 93
                 Produced: Sun Dec  8 22:28:40 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Ethicist
         [Frank Silbermann]
Gender; Hand-Shaking
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Hashavas aveida
         [Gershon Dubin]
Kiddush - Hefsek
         [Daniel M Wells]
Legal Fiction
         [Daniel M Wells]
Lindt chocolate
A New Point about Legal Fictions
         [Daniel M Wells]
Shabbat/Kosher in Australia
         [Art Werschulz]
Shabbos question
Shaking Hands
         [Yakov Spil]
Request: Jewish facilities in Glasgow, Scotland
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 08:56:06 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  The Ethicist

The controversey over Randy Cohen's column advocating an economic
boycott of Jewish men who keep the halacha of negiah reminded me of
something I saw on a website about the New York Times' "Ethicist"

According to the website, "The Ethicist" opined that giving tzadakah is
unethical -- because ensuring the welfare of the people is the duty of
government, and that any money one gives to the poor is money that
should have been donated to the political struggle.

I don't read the NY Times; did "The Ethicist" really say that?

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 17:30:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Gender; Hand-Shaking

I would like to add a few comments on this subject.

1. I have been astounded at the insensitivity of so many posters who
define the issue as "shaking hands with women" or "if someone is doing
business with a woman"...don't these people realize that the default
assumption, i.e. who the reader/business-doer is, is not always *male*
here on M-J?  A far more appropriate wording would be, "shaking hands
with the opposite sex".  (And there were some posters who used this
wording; thank you.)

2. Etiquette dictates that the "higher ranking" person is the one who
initiates the handshake; barring a rank-difference, the woman is
supposed to be the initiator.  This may affect the situation, in that
some situations have the expectation of one initiating; some of
responding--and this is independent of a much-quoted (but where's the
real source?) psak that you can "respond but don't initiate".  I.e. it's
not that simple, and simply responding to profered hands is not always a
mannerly alternative.

3. I think that the question about eye-contact vs. skin-contact still
stands.  After all, skin contact does not by any means "always" end in
climax.  (Unless perhaps in one of those R-rated movies we're not
supposed to wear Jewish accoutrements into, to cross threads.)  I think
it is extremely naive to assume that all teens/singles are either in the
"no contact until marriage" group or the "no holds barred sexually"
group.  And surely there are millions or even billions of handshakes
daily that do not lead to climax.

4. I think that the public spectacle or humiliation aspect of this issue
is paramount.  I can hardly think of a worse public statement about
Orthodox Judaism than someone refusing a business handshake--or, for
that matter, casting eyes down instead of looking an associate/superior
in the face.  It might have been ok to avoid handshakes or eye contact
in an age/location when it was rare to do business with the opposite
gender, but it is simply not acceptable in corporate America if you
actually want to get business done.  Our cultural norms here require eye
contact and hand-shakes.

--Leah Gordon


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 21:33:49 -0500
Subject: Hashavas aveida

To make a long story short, I found a Tallis bag which contained a
Tallis, and two pairs of Tefillin on the B44 bus yesterday - Monday
(November 11) The last name of the owner is Weiss, if that helps!!!

If you know anyone who lost these items, please contact me, or have him
contact me @ 917-414-0971.  In addition, please forward this as you
never know who knows a person who lost these items....



From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 12:32:34 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Kiddush - Hefsek

There is a problem of hefsek (the time it takes to say 'Sholom Aleichem
Rebbi') in pouring a reviit from the Kiddush cup to another cup before
drinking, either from the kiddush cup or from the second cup.

My method based on our Rav's suggestion is first to fill a second glass
with wine.

After kiddush but before drinking, pour quickly just a small drop of the
wine from the kiddush cup into the second glass and then immediately
drink from the kiddush cup.

One of the other people at the table will then pour an appropiate amount
from that second glass into each individual's glass/cup. That way its
hygenic, not pagum, and no recognizable hefsek is involved.



From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 16:04:56 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Legal Fiction

There is a Talmud website http://www.e-daf.com/ that was or is owned by
Rabbi Dovid Kraus.

Before being able to load a copy of a Talmud page, a form had to be
filled in requesting full name and mailing address as well as other

With most other sites when asking for such personal details I usually
had no qualms about proffering a false name and address.

But here we were dealing with a religious Jew. On top of which there is
an inyan in halacha that if a person offers to sell you a particular
item on condition you do some action and then you do not fulfil that
action after receiving the item, that sale is null and void and the item
has to be returned.

So I wrote Rabbi Kraus and the answer I got (indirectly through a second
person) that he was interested in maintaining a real name database of
all those who activated his site and did not agree to false data input.

On the otherhand his protection was minimal. If one could guess the
names of the subfolders on his site, the pages were attainable without
going through the homepage which as above asked personal data.

How do the members of this venerable group hold. Is legal fiction in
this case justifiable? Is bypassing the homepage justifiable? Bear in
mind there is no tangible item and there is no sale or money being

Today the question on THOSE pages are no longer relevant since the site
is maintained by http://613.org and used for their dafyomi site



From: <MJGerver@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 03:51:38 EST
Subject: Lindt chocolate

Can someone tell me about the kashrut status of Lindt chocolates? The ones 
they sell in Israel have hasgacha. The ones they sell at the airport in 
Zurich (which someone brought us) are not labeled kosher, though they do have 
a halal symbol. I know that several years ago, the ones they sold in Europe, 
at least some of them, were kosher even without any certification on the 
label, but I don't know which ones those were, and which ones are still 
kosher. The London Beth Din website lists some new Lindt products (not the 
ones we were given) as kosher on their "Updates" page, but refers people to 
their published kashrut guide, which I don't have, for a listing of products 
which they already supervised at the time the last edition of the guide was 
published. I couldn't find anything else pertinent online, except for some 
general statements such as "almost all major chocolate producers in Europe 
now are supervised."

Can someone help me? The chocolates in question are sitting in our cupboard, 
plaintively crying out to us to be eaten.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 15:21:26 +0200 (IST)
Subject: A New Point about Legal Fictions

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> brings an interesting story of how
he got the non-Jew to close the telephone.

Linguistically/semantically he didn't ask directly the non-Jew. But in
essence his whole round-about disscussion was in fact a direct plea to
the non-Jew to close the phone.  That non-Jew realized that this was the sole
purpose of his coming to the house.

Also intimating to a non-Jew without using words (sticking fingers in the
ears and then pointing to one's house) would I presume fall under the
same category.

If on the otherhand he had invited the non-Jew for a drink of whiskey and
the latter while sitting down to drink, took it into his head to close
the phone because it was disturbing him, then that is allowed.

But then there is an additional problem if both the non-Jew and the yid were
drinking together since it could be then argued that the non-Jew was doing
it for the sake of both the drinkers. ie the yid was directly
benefitting from that non-Jew's action.

However two additional points to consider which may mitigate the non-Jew's
action on behalf of an individual are:

1. The benefit is actually an absence of noise which in itself has no
intrinsic value after the action's completion.

2. If a person cannot sleep because of the noise, maybe he is considered
a 'Choleh' for whom certain actions maybe permitted.



From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Subject: Shabbat/Kosher in Australia


I will be attending the ICIAM '03 conference in Sydney, Australia,
(7-11 July 2003).  The meeting will be held at the Sydney Convention
and Exhibition Centre, in Darling Harbour; not surprisingly, that's
also the location of the hotels for conference.

Can anybody give me information on shuls, kosher food, possible
Shabbat hospitality, and the like?


Art Werschulz (8-{)}
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: <Aronio@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 05:11:38 EST
Subject: Shabbos question

A Jewish owned business has an advertisement on a radio station that has
a radio show on Sundays.

Important to note: the intended audience is entirely not Jewish,
although who knows who actually listens - I say this since it is a show
for Indians/Pakistanis, that plays Indian and Pakistani music.

Anyway, this Jewish owned business was just informed that the Sunday
show is being moved to a Saturday time slot, and all advertisements must
be moved to the Saturday program.

Does the Jewish owned business with the ad on the radio have an
obligation to take its ad off the radio?  Or can it simply run the ad on
the shabbos program?

What do you think?



From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Sat, 16 Nov 2002 22:39:54 -0500
Subject: Shaking Hands

>His response "I do not shake women's hands" is such a bad response in a
>Gentile community committed to equal opportunity for women -- it is
>simply asking for trouble.

>Thus, we have to develop better responses than this.  Shaking no one's
>hand in public is a better response.  Saying something like "I try to
>only touch my wife -- it keeps our relationship special " is a better
>response than this man's,

I am distressed by the attitude portrayed here that this man is the only
Orthodox man who has THE answer for us all were we to be in such an
uncomfortable situation.  Truth be told, the guy in the question to The
Ethicist is not the only guy who blows it and this person that I quoted
is not the only one who has THE solution.  I know many many people who
cringe to be in this situation for one reason- they do not want to hurt
someone's feelings.  And they try to plan out different responses so
that it can soften the impact.

I really hope this writer is not so myopic to think that all Orthodox
Jews have not thought what is the best response in such a situation that
will leave all parties still feeling friendly, comfortable etc.
Everyone grapples with this everyday, and I dare say that those who cite
experiences of seeing Orthodox people shake hands- may not be doing it
so much from p'sak (although I know it exists) as from just being plain
uncomfortable, and they give in and feel bad and so forth later.

I do know that one of the major poskim today told a girl that she could
shake hands if a man extended his to her so as not to make the other
feel uncomfortable, but she should try to make her hands travel a bit
(!) so as maybe to get out of it.  My wife and I try to do the same that
when we expect we might be in one of these situations- that we just have
our hands "tied up." Have our hands behind us, in our pockets etc.

We certainly have a lot to keep in mind when we say "v' lo al y'dei
nisayon..."  This is as strong a challenge as one can be in, and with a
bit of forethought, and siyata dishmaya we will come away having made a
kiddush Hashem by observing Halocho and being m'ureves im habriyos.

Yakov Spil


From: Jeremy Nussbaum <jeremynuss@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 14:00:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Request: Jewish facilities in Glasgow, Scotland

One of my daughters will be spending some time at the Glasgow School of
Art.  Can anyone tell me about Jewish and kosher vegetarian (this
daughter is vegetarian) facilities in the Glasgow area, especially about
the garnet hill synagogue, since it is right near the school.

Thanks in advance,
Jeremy Nussbaum


End of Volume 37 Issue 93