Volume 38 Number 13
                 Produced: Wed Dec 25  7:34:07 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Censorship example
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Hiding Rav Soloveichik
         [Gil Student]
Lashon Hara and Jewish Politicians
         [Paul Ginsburg]
         [Michael Rogovin]
Moshiach and Moshe Rabbenu
         [Zev Sero]
New Bibliographic Resources
Reasons to prohibit marijuana
         [Russell J Hendel]
Science Experiments
         [Shalom Ozarowski]
Sons, si.  Servants, no. (2)
         [Zev Sero, Joel Rich]
Standing for the Choson and Kallah
         [Wieder, Maurice]
Synagogue charters / Shul constitutions
Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers
         [Carl Singer]


From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 08:55:45 -0500
Subject: Censorship example

>there's been an on-going problem of editing (or should it be called
>censorship) -- people who have old (shall we say original) versions of
>seforim find that newer editions have conveniently removed or revised
>items that would be not be politically correct today.

A humorous example - I have at home somewhere a photocopy from 2
editions of the Mishna Brura or Kitzur Shulchan Aruch or some other
similar sefer - the sefere features a drawing of a man's head showing
where tefillin should be placed.  In the earlier edition, the man is
clean-shaven.  The later edition features the identical picture with a
hand drawn beard scribbled in on the man's face.

Actually, I've changed my mind - it is not a humorous example.  Rather,
it is a particularly sad one.

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


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 11:36:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Hiding Rav Soloveichik

Shmuel Himelstein wrote:
>"Hamasbir" is an acronym along the lines of Harav Moreinu
>Soloveichik Ber Yosef Rabbeinu(i.e., the Rav's name, but with
>the order mixed up).
>I understand that the volumes sold well and were bought by many
>who wouldn't dream of purchasing anything with the Rav's name
>on it.

I remember hearing that Hamasbir backwards stands from R' Yoshe Ber
Soloveitchik Mibrisk HaLevy.

Also, IIRC the books are not complimentary but are learned attacks on
the explanations of RYBS.

Gil Student


From: Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 12:58:48 -0500
Subject: Lashon Hara and Jewish Politicians

How does the prohibition against speaking lashon hara apply when
speaking about the politics and policies of a Jewish politician?

What can one say and what is one forbidden to say?

I am sure this subject has application in regard to politics in Israel,
but now even more so in the U.S. with the news that a Jew may run for

Paul W. Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: <rogovin@...> (Michael Rogovin)
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 13:05:09 -0600
Subject: Re: Marijuana

Stan Tenen writes in v38n8 that 
> ...cooking and eating marijuana shouldn't be a problem.  It's a
>vegetable, and kosher (of course). 

While I assume that is true, I noted with some amusement recently that a
brand of salad dressing for which every other flavor was kosher, had one
flavor which included hemp oil and a picture of a cannabis leaf and on
which the hechsher was nowhere to be found. Perhaps the source of hemp
oil was not determined to be a reliable one from a kashrut standpoint,
or perhaps it was a policy decision not to "endorse" a product which was
being promoted with drug-related imagry. I never bothered to ask either
the manufacturer or the certification company (I believe it was the OU
but am not sure).

A similar decision on a brand of vitamin-enriched fruit drinks where
every flavor was kosher, except the one whose name was something like
"X-rated" and was otherwise sexually-suggestive. Based on the
ingredients list compared to the other flavors, I assume it was the
packaging not the food that was objectionable.

While I am leary of extending kashrut approval beyond the food itself,
there is certainly a line when it comes to packaging and I do not
disagree with the fruit drink decision.

Michael Rogovin


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 13:43:55 -0500
Subject: Re: Moshiach and Moshe Rabbenu

L Kaplan <lawrence.kaplan@...> wrote:
> Regarding the Moshiach and Moses, the Rambam in Hilkhot Teshuvah 9:2
> describes the Moshiach as "Navi Gadol hu, Karov mi-Moshe Rabbeynu," that
> is, "a great prophet closer [to God?] than Moshe." Here the Rambam would
> seem to be saying that in a certain respect, which is not entirely
> clear, the Moshiach will be greater than Moshe.  "Mi-Moshe" is the
> reading in the Oxford Manuscript, which is the most accurate text of
> Sefer Ha-Mada.  Some editions, however, read "Karov le-Moshe," that is,
> "close to Moshe," close, but not as great.  This matter has been much
> discussed among commentators and scholars.

It's a bit of a stretch, but perhaps the Rambam means that Moshiach will
be a great prophet, and that he will indeed be closer to Gd than Moshe
was, and therefore more deserving than Moshe of the gift of Nevuat
Moshe, but Gd will not give him that gift, because He promised in the
Torah that it will never be given to anyone else.  This may be similar
to the Gemara's statement that Ezra was so great that the Torah should
have been given through him instead of Moshe, but for the fact that he
was born about 1000 years too late.  (Ezra is another example to add to
the list of people who were greater than Moshe in aspects other than
prophecy.  Also add Shmuel, whom the pasuk tells us was as great as
Moshe and Aharon put together, and therefore greater than Moshe on his
own; this means that he was greater overall (or perhaps only in one
aspect), but he was not greater in prophecy.)

Zev Sero


From: ATID <atid@...>
Subject: New Bibliographic Resources


Jewish educators today need to be aware of Torah responses to
homosexuality. We may be called upon to defend the Torah's approach in
class, or--more significantly--we may be approached for counseling by a
student involved in a personal struggle. Fortunately, much has been
written on the subject in recent years.

ATID Fellow, Rabbi Uri Cohen, has assembled an extensive annotated
bibliography of over sixty articles (including hyper-links to the many
web-based resources), about half of which have appeared in the last two

To download or view the bibliography on-line visit

For assistance, please contact us at <atid@...>


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 23:26:46 -0500
Subject: RE: Reasons to prohibit marijuana

Frank Reiss (v38n4) asks about the halachic permissability of marijuana
in a country where it is legal.

Stan did a nice job of mentioning alot of pros and cons. Stan pointed
out that majijuana is an intoxicant and also pointed out that when
cooked vs smoked is not as bad. Stan even brought the fact that
marijuana has certain medicinal benefits (Eg in chemotherapy)

However Stan acts like the issue is UP TO US and simply requires
judicious use. I think this emphasis misleading. If a doctor does not
prescribe Majijuana then I would not use it (even if cooked) unless I
was aware of all its bad effects (since All intoxicants are dangerous).

By analogy: I know how much liquor/wine/beer will make me unfit for
driving. (It is also published how much blood alcohol will result in
death). A person should not use any intoxicant without knowing proper

Also, although what Stan said seems reasonable I would like to hear from
some official medical source that cooked marijuana is not addictive and
does not have physically harmful effects. One need not look farther than
Rambam Character 4 and Murder 12 to see that halacha does discourage and
sometimes outright prohibits items that are harmful (even if they are

I know this is a touchy issue but does anyone have a good reference on
basic facts.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/ (NEW: Translation of Job)


From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 01:26:43 EST
Subject: Re: Science Experiments

David Yehuda Shabtai writes:
      I am looking to find various scientific experiments recorded in
      the gemarah, or any time in which chazal did not know a fact and
      went out, observed nature or experimented to arrive at their

Offhand you can try Ketuvot 10b towards the top ("reicha nodaf"- a
strange one) also I think theres one involving techeilet around Menachot
43 or so, I forget exactly.  There are many others, the sefer
("encyclopedia") Pachad Yitzchak by R.  Yitzchak Lampronti (18th century
Italy I think) often deals with things like these.  There may be some
form of index for what youre looking for, but I'm not sure what it is.

kol tuv
shalom ozarowski


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 13:21:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Sons, si.  Servants, no.

<Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich) wrote:
> Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi writes: 
>> Come to think of it, is there any other servant in the entire Torah
>> who got such a good write-up as Eliezer? (No fair counting Yosef,
>> who was only a temporary servant/slave.)

> So why did Chazal in the medrash have Avraham tell him that he was bad
> and that his daughter was thus no good for a son of avraham?

He said no such thing.  The quote is `my son is blessed, and you are
cursed, and the cursed cannot adhere to the blessed' (Rashi on 24:39).
This is not a comment on Eliezer's character, but on his
descent. Eliezer was a devoted servant, worth 318 men (Rashi 14:14),
whom Avraham initiated into the practise of mitzvot (ibid), a talmid
chacham who `drew Avraham's teaching as with a bucket, and gave it to
others to drink' (Rashi 15:2), but he was descended from Kenaan, and
thus was tainted by Noach's curse.

A scholarly mamzer is better than an ignorant Kohen Gadol, but only
until it comes to a shiduch.  Avraham was prepared to teach Eliezer
Torah, to depend on him in war, to put him in charge of his household,
to trust him with the most important and delicate tasks, and, when he
had no heir, to leave him his entire physical and spiritual legacy; but
when it came to a shiduch it was out of the question to mix Yitzchak's
pure lineage with that of an accursed Kenaani.  (This may bother those
for whom racism is a sin worse than idolatry, but that's their problem,
not Rashi's or Chazal's.)

Zev Sero

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 14:56:23 EST
Subject: Re: Sons, si.  Servants, no.

> <zev.sero@...> writes:
> He said no such thing.  The quote is `my son is blessed, and you are
> cursed, and the cursed cannot adhere to the blessed' (Rashi on 24:39).

IIRC the full medrash that rashi quotes in part refers back to a pasuk
in nach that calls kenaan deceitful and Eliezer following that.  This is
in contradistinction to other medrashim that say Eliezer went from the
category of cursed to blessed due to faithful service to Avraham.

Joel Rich


From: Wieder, Maurice <maurice@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 10:39:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Standing for the Choson and Kallah

A wise man I know once said that you are not standing fro the bride and
groom but for their parents who are paying for the affair.


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 04:34:24 EST
Subject: Synagogue charters / Shul constitutions

> From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
>I'm interested in seeing any available synagogue charters (takanon beit
>knesset). I'd also like to hear any background on how they were created,
>issues that came up, etc.

Are those similar to Synagogue constitutions in the USA, e.g. ? Are they
legal documents with legal standing ?

I have seen a number of USA Shul constitutions and am interested in
them. Has anything ever been written on the topic ? Anyone know where I
can get / see copies of such to examine / study ? Do such things exist
in other countries ?



From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 22 Dec 2002 08:23:10 EST
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

      I had a personal experience in which this came true rather
      literally: A well-dressed and well-spoken "Professor from Hebrew
      University" approached me in the lobby of a midtown Manhattan
      hotel and told of being mugged and robbed on the street so that he
      had no ID, money or credit cards. He told many fanciful and

Unfortunately we need to learn to be "smarter" (not less charitable) in
giving tzedukah.  In a much simpler case, I was approached by someone
while in a kosher restuarant asking for money for food.  The restaurant
counterman told me that he was a drunk and would spend the money on
booze.  I therefore bought the man a meal rather than give the money
directly to him.  I don't know if I did right, but it felt like the
right thing to do.

Re: your professor, you could possibly buy him the train ticket, but
then perhaps he could somehow one cash it in, or worse yet get access to
your credit card number.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


End of Volume 38 Issue 13