Volume 38 Number 06
                 Produced: Sun Dec 22  7:40:02 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Confiscation of items by a Teacher
         [Reuven Miller]
Merit of Feeding/Clothing Poor
         [Russell J Hendel]
Mike Gerver's experience growing esrogim
         [Yaakov Fogelman]
The Rambam on Kollel
         [Joel Rich]
Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Zev Sero]
Weddings on Purim
         [Aryeh A. Frimer]


From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 12:09:11 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Confiscation of items by a Teacher

> From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
>     I remember that in certain classes of mine in high school, on the
>     first day of class, the teacher informed us that part of the
>     condition for being part of the class was not bringing food, and
>     any food that would be brought to class would be confiscated, and
>     this would not be considered stealing in any way because the
>     teacher had stated this as a condition for being in class, and
>     coming to class thus indicated an agreement to this deal.
> I'm not quite sure that I understand how the acceptance of a
> precondition impacts the halacha.I say to you, to my class you must
> give up certain property rights.You come to the class and I confiscate
> your property -- have I not still confiscated your property.Was the
> agreement legal.Also, if you are a minor do you have the standing to
> enter into this agreement.

To relate to your first question:

It has become very common that shuls and yeshivot and mikvaot will put up
a sigh saying that anyone leaving personal items for more that 30 days is
agreeing to "mafkir" it and these items can be taken or sold or dispossed
of in any way seen fit!



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 2002 23:19:06 -0500
Subject: RE: Merit of Feeding/Clothing Poor

I was shocked at Wendy Burgers statement v37n99 that

>>I have had people tell me this about my chesed work of feeding and
clothing the poor.  I was told by one friend that if I run food and
clothing drives and get bread to soup kitchens and food pantries I am
harming the society, as the government should be doing all this.
Although I don't think I am "solving" any problems or curing them, I do
think that the bandaids I apply can enable people to live until the
solutions come along.<<

Wendy is doing the right thing. I can think of 3 very strong ways to
refute the above arguments.

First: The Rambam in the Book of Commandments when commenting on the
prohibition of cursing a deafmute correctly points out 2 reasons for
inter-human commandments: 1) To help /not hurt my fellow man; 2) to make
myself a better person.(So you dont curse a deaf person, NOT because of
harm that would come to him(after all he doesnt know), but rather
because of how you will corrupt your own personality.

But then Wendy is doing the right thing. She is making herself into a
charitable person. She does so much charity that when she sees someone
in needs she spontaneously responds with help.  And this development of
personality is a goal of halacha

Second: If no individual practices giving bread to soup kitchens then no
one in the government will really care about these soup kitchens
(Because the government agents in charge will not be caring people
because they never practiced caring), and hence these soup kitchens will
die out)

SOCIETAL KINDNESS (BOR HATORAH 10E) that a goal of Jewish law is to
distort traditional proportional allocation methods so as to help
instill in societal members the Abrahamitic attributes of
kindness. (Briefly: Jewish law ENCOURAGES many small inter-person loans
vs big bank loans (the type governments support). This has an overall
effect of encouraging everybody to give and increases societal kindness
(Due to the kindness of a Fellow mlJewisher I will soon have PDFs of all
my articles. Simply email me and I will send you a copy)

Russell Jay Hendel;


From: Yaakov Fogelman <top@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 12:54:04 +0200
Subject: Mike Gerver's experience growing esrogim

While I never tried to grow esrogim while I was in Brookline, I would
imagine that it is just too cold. When I moved from there to Israel in
1974, I searched for some years for an apartment where I could have a
proper sukka, i.e. with room for bedrooms, so that I could properly
perform the major mitzva of sleeping in a sukka, as stressed by the Baal
Tanya, but later ignored by his most of his followers; they followed the
bad example of his son, Dov Ber and ignored the mitzva, even in warm
climates, for strange mystical reasons. When I finally found the perfect
home in the Jewish Quarter, with a large roof off the bedroom, I decided
to further enhance it, by growing the 4 species there- I purchased an
esrog tree from the Arab nursery in Abu Gosh, put it on the roof in a
large planter, and enjoyed esrogim (about 10 a year) for many years;
when I had to uproot and replant it, there were no esrogim for a year or
two, but it recovered and yielded some esrogim again; it was the larger
"Yemenite variety"; what is interesting is that the esrogim remain in
good shape on the tree for a very long time, and it blooms almost
continually, so that you see several generations, flowers, buds and
fruit, all on the tree at the same time, which is one interpretation of
pre etz hadar, a fruit which dwells, by generations, on the tree. Some
say that the esrog is special in that it fulfills God's original
commandment to the earth, to produce: FRUIT trees bearing fruit, trees
which taste just like the fruit, rather than what the earth rebelliously
did, producing only trees yielding fruit (how do we deal with this
concept of free will for the earth, before man's Creation?). In the
messianic age, all trees will be fruit trees, the taste of the tree
being like the taste of the fruit (painful painstaking means will yield
as much satisfaction as useful ends?). I tried it with my Yemenite tree
and, sure enough, the wood had an esrogian taste! Of course, all of
one's efforts often seem to be Catch-22, where you cannot win- Rav
Menaqchem Slae found a halachic view that an esrog growing in a roof
planter, tho it looks like an esrog, tastes like an esrog, and smells
like an esrog, is not kosher, tho no one else I asked ever heard of this
view! Perhapos God was protecting Mike from not dulfilling the mitzva,
when his potted esrogim wouldn't grow!, tho they might have grown in
time. If anyone would like a copy of my JP article on sleeping ion the
sukka, or to get on my parashat hashavua list, english or hebrew, just
send me your e-mail address.

I also seek two sources for statements of Yeshiyahu Leibowitz- 1) in his
radio drasha on Vayechi, he claims that the haftorah prophecy of
eventual union of Yehuda and Ephrayim will never occur, as the 10 tribes
are gone forever (citing Rebbe Akiva). He claims that tosefot (not
cited) says that even such good prophecies may not be fulfilled if the
Jews sin! Does anyone know of such a tosefot or other sources for that
idea? 2) I remember him saying years ago, on the radio, that the Rambam
did not believe in the concept of besherta, that one's true mate is
predestined for him/her, and that the notion is only one isolated
talmudic opinion, which he rejects- does anyone out there in cyberspace
know of such a Rambam?


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 08:50:49 -0500
Subject: Re: The Rambam on Kollel

> Reb Moshe in Igros Moshe, Yorah Deah, 2nd chelek, tshuva 116, paskens,
> based on the Rema , in Yora Deah, 246:21 that one should not rely on the
> Rambam's shita in not accepting support in order to learn Torah.  He
> quotes the Shach as saying in the name of the Kesef Mishnah, that "All
> chachmay Yisroel both before and after the Rambam accepted financial
> support from the community in order to learn. Even if the Halacha is
> like the Rambam, the chachmay Yisroel agreed that due to the concept of
> ais laasos lahashem (I'm not sure how to translate that-M. Kahn)
> dictates that if the teachers and students don't have accessible
> parnasa... the Torah would have (otherwise) been forgotten from
> Jewry...)..." Reb Moshe also relies on a Maharshall.

So would you agree based on the concept of eit laasot that taking money
for learning should be viewed as bdieved (ie not the preferred
approach)?  For example, if one could work 1 hour a week and provide for
their families, are they justified in taking money for their learning
and not working that 1 hour?  Also what mechanism of eit laasot allows a
permanent uprooting of such a concept?

Is it clear how far R'Moshe would extend his logic (there's a big
difference between chachmei Yisroel and all of yisrael - ie why
shouldn't everyone be encouraged to learn full time instead of
supporting others?

Joel Rich


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 16:16:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

>Hashmaat Kol is IMHO a good reason to forbid putting the TV on a timer,
>and was a good reason against clock radios, until those became so
>ubiquitous that nobody, on hearing a radio playing in a Jewish house on
>Shabbat morning will fail to realise what it is.  But a fax machine does
>not make much noise, and an answering machine isn't [much] louder than
>ordinary conversation, so all a passerby will think is that someone
>inside is speaking, which is certainly permitted on shabbat.

Was anyone else as shocked as I was to read this?

I was totally unaware of any pesaq that permits the use of a radio if it
is controlled by a clock.  I thought that it was similar to the
prohibition against setting a dishwasher or washing machine to start by
a shabbas zeiger.


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 15:04:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

> Maybe!
> But you are suggesting a halachic ruling which would explain why an
> existing gezeira should not apply. I do not think your argument is
> overwhelmingly compelling, but you *may* be right.  (It doesn't strike
> me as being a compelling halachic argument to argue about "how many
> decibels in the noise" as a halachic parameter).

You seem to be assuming that there is a gezera against `making noise',
and I am proposing an exception to it.  But to take that approach, you
should first say what you think this `existing gezera' actually means;
it clearly does not mean that we must be completely silent on shabbat!

I don't see an existing general gezera against `hashmaat kol'; I see a
particular gezera against having a mill operating on shabbat, if there
are Jews within the techum.  The reason for this particular gezera is
that it makes a noise, and therefore transgresses the general gezera
against mar'it ayin.  On this basis, I think one can certainly extend
this gezera to modern activities that fit the same criteria - they make
such a noise that a passerby will think shabbat is being violated.  I
don't see how one can apply it to activities which either do not make
such a noise that they will be heard by passersby, or that do make such
a loud noise, but that sound like innocent activities (and are in fact
different innocent activities).

Suppose the student in Israel is singing zemirot into his parents'
answering machine.  What do you claim the passerby is going to think,
assuming that they can hear it at all?  That people inside are singing
zemirot?  Let them think that.  That someone is singing into an
answering machine?  Let them think that too.  The only problem I can
think of is if the speakers on the machine are set so loud that the
passersby might think that the people inside are singing into a
microphone, but that seems so outlandish an assumption that I can't see
how it can be compared in any way to people passing by a mill, hearing
it clearly operating, and making the natural assumption that it is being
operated on shabbat, rather than having been set beforehand.

> I wasn't aware that there is a preponderance of shomer Shabbat people
> who wake up with clock radios on Shabbat.

I've never done a survey, but why would they not?  My point is that when
clock radios were new, it would be reasonable to worry that the
passersby would not be familiar with them, and on hearing the radio
playing inside would think that it had been switched on on shabbat.  Now
that clock radios are now ubiquitous, passersby who hear the radio
playing in a house on any morning (not just shabbat) do not assume that
it was switched on by hand, because they know that there is a high
likelihood that it is an alarm clock.  Therefore they will have that
same knowledge on shabbat, and will not assume that shabbat has been
violated.  The actual number of shabbat-keepers who do use clock radios
on shabbat is irrelevant - I have no idea how prevalent it is, and I
don't suppose you do either.

Zev Sero


From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 11:34:44 +0200
Subject: Weddings on Purim

Thanks to my Brothers Shael and Dov.

The matter is discussed in Shulkhan Arukh 696:8, Be'er Heiteiv no. 2,
Sha'arei Teshuva no. 12; Mishnah Berura no. 28, Kitsur SA 144: 9.

In Brief, It depends on why you forbid weddings on Yom Tov.  if the
reason is "Ein me'arvin Simhah be-Simhah" the it should be assur on
Purim (magen Avraham, pri hadash, Kitsur Shulhan Arukh).  If However the
reason is because of the drasha "ve-Samahta be-hagekha - ve-lo
be-ishtekha", there is no such pasuk on Purim and hence weddings should
be muttar (Mehaber, Be'er Heitev and Mishna Berura). The Be'er Heitev
(cited by Mishna Berura) writes that the minhag is to be matir.  The
Hayei Adam 155:39 is also machria le-heter.

My brother Shael remembers my father zatsa"l (whose yahrzeit is today)
going to a wedding on Purim and discussing this matter with him.  So I
guess it is done le-Ma'aseh when neccesary.

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University, Ramat Gan 52900, ISRAEL
E-mail: <FrimeA@...>
Tel: 972-3-5318610; Fax: 972-3-5351250


End of Volume 38 Issue 6