Volume 38 Number 20
                 Produced: Sun Jan  5  5:09:11 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Biblical Slaves who were highly praised
         [Zev Sero]
Conditional Prophecy
         [Yaakov Fogelman]
Covering up in a Bath House
         [David Waxman]
Minyan on Airplanes
         [Zev Sero]
New York Times article about the Orthodox farmer
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Out of Town Communities
         [Michael Kahn]
PC History ("Echoes of the Magid" and Rav Bloch ztl)
         [Yitzchak Kasdan]
         [Robert Tolchin]
Transliterations (mail-jewish Vol. 38 #15 Digest)
         [Steven White]
Two new points on the Support-scholar issue
         [Steven White]


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 15:43:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Biblical Slaves who were highly praised

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote:

> In fact the famous black slave who saved Jeremiah occurs in Jer
> Chapter 38. Jer39:15-18 *is* very clear that God approved of this slave.

I haven't got a Tenach with commentaries here, but looking at the text
itself it doesn't seem to me that Eved-Melech was in fact a slave.  If
he were a slave, he should be called `eved hamelech', rather than `Eved-
Melech'; from the way it is used, it seems that this was his name.  His
challenge to the king, and the king's positive response to it, make more
sense if he was not a slave, but one of the king's courtiers.  The word
`saris', when it appears in the context of a king's court, generally
means a courtier, of whatever anatomical state; at any rate, I can't
think of another example of its being used of a slave.

Zev Sero


From: Yaakov Fogelman <top@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2002 01:00:16 -0500
Subject: Conditional Prophecy

Aron Rothman <rothmanfamily@...> is concerned that the notion of
conditional prophecy, that prophecy is only a challenge, not a
certainty, leaves us with no criteria for valid prophecy, which, per
Deut. 18:22, is subject to the test of coming true, not
conditional.. After getting the source for Leibowitz's contention from:
"Harry Zelcer" <reliablehealth@...>, Yevamot 50., the 3rd Tosefot, I
checked out prophecy at www.jewishencyclopedia.com and found that the
test for prophecy coming true is given only re short-term prophecies,
not great, longterm messianic dreams.


From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 18:01:13 -0800
Subject: Covering up in a Bath House

I recall a halacha that says that Jewish men are not supposed to cover
up their genitals in a bath house as it might lead an onlooker to
suspect that the Jew is embarrassed about his circumcision.  I couldn't
find a source for this in the kitzur shulchan aruch or the mishnah
brurah.  Can anyone quote a source to confirm of deny this 'halacha'.

Thank you kindly,


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 17:58:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Minyan on Airplanes

I haven't got any halachic sources to contribute, but I'd like to inject
a bit of common sense.  I understand and agree with holding minyanim on
a plane when there is a good reason to do so, though the participants
must realise that they are not the only people on the plane, and that
they have an obligation to be nice to the crew and the other passengers
(and when the pilot says to sit down, you sit down, even if you're in
middle of shmone esrei).  But I cannot understand those who insist on
organising a minyan on the plane for mincha or maariv, when there will
be plenty of time to daven after the plane lands; it seems to me that
the perfect time and place to daven is in the baggage claim area, while
waiting for the bags to emerge from the nether regions and start going
round the carousel. There is plenty of room, you're not in anyone's way,
and this usually represents time that is utterly wasted, since your bags
never come out first; and even if, by some chance, this time they do
come out first, what will you lose by letting them do a few hakafot on
their own?  Do you really think someone is going to steal them if you
don't grab them the very second they appear?

Zev Sero


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2002 17:23:44 +0200
Subject: Re: New York Times article about the Orthodox farmer

Dear Gershon,

I think you've taken my comment out of context.  All I was saying is
that, in a situation like this, where there are two halakhically valid
solutions to a given problem, one's decision may legitimately be made on
the basis of ideological predilection.  That, and that I have reason to
trust both the learning and yirat shamayim of Rav Shimshon Rosenthal
z"l, who was the first posek of the Kibbutz Hadati movement, even if his
name is perhaps not widely known in the self-proclaimed "oilam
hatoirah"; and that I believe in a certain halakhic pluralism-- that for
many, if not most, halakhic problems there is not necessarily one and
only one answer.

As for "choosing on the basis of ideology," I think you're fooling
yourself if you think that those mahmirim who claim to be guided by
"pure halakhah" are not also guided by ideology.

     Yehonatan Chipman

Gershon Dubin wrote:

> In other words, halacha (AIUI) prefers a nonJew doing the milking.
> Ideology prefers a Jew using a shinui.  Therefore, go with the
> ideology??? 


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2002 17:28:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Out of Town Communities

Eitan Fiorino wrote:
>In my experience it is in the "out of town" communities (in
>which communal institutions and sometimes survival depend upon the
>mutual interests of Orthodox Jews with divergent approaches) that
>differing views and approaches are tolerated or even valued.

I used to think that too, until I spent three weeks "out of town" where 
there were 2 shulls. One was the official shull and the other was a 
Yeshivish shulle established by the local shochtim. The official shulle 
drove the Yeshivish shulle out of business. For example, the rebbeim in the 
town would have naturally graduated toward the Yeshivish shulle. However, 
the official shulle owned the yeshiva and required the rebbeim to sign a 
clause in their contract forbidding them from walking into the Yeshivish 
shulle. As a visiting bochur part of a kiruv program I was told not to walk 
into the Yeshivish shulle. My dads from out of town and talks of how 
everyone got along. I was shocked by my experience.


From: Yitzchak Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 2002 00:17:43 -0500
Subject: Re: PC History ("Echoes of the Magid" and Rav Bloch ztl)

 <JoshHoff@...> wrote in Mail Jewish Volume 38, # 16:
> Last night I had a look at the latest Magid book, and saw a small piece
> on Rav Eliyauh Meir Bloch, explaining why he was always speaking against
> Zionism, saying that it was part of being an 'ehrlicher yid.' The story
> of Rav Elya Meir's participation in a Yom HaAtzmaut celebration in
> Cleveland in the early 1950s is well known,and documented in Rav
> Epstein's z'l's Mitzvas Ha Shalom, but either unknown to or ignored by
> the author.A nephew of Rav Bloch zt'l told me that his uncle felt it was
> wrong to speak against Zionism once the state was created, because it
> would only turn people against Torah. He said that we need to face
> situations the way they are, and work within reality.  This Magid book,
> with its obvious misrepresentation of Rav Bloch's opinions- certainly an
> incomplete and very misleading representation- is now a runaway
> bestseller.So with the banning of Making of A Gadol (and I have heard
> that later editions of R.Epstein's book left out the info about R.Bloch)
> and the populaity of this new book, are we creating a new version of
> reality? Maybe we should put out a book entitled Echoes of 1984?

Actually, the passage alluded to above is found in the next to the
latest of the Magid series, entitled "Echoes of the Magid."  While I
have no knowledge of Rav Bloch ztl's views or actions, or, for that
matter, whether the story regarding Rav Bloch's participation in the Yom
HaAtzmaut celebration in Cleveland was known to the author of the Magid
books, I think it important to note that the author of the Magid series
(whom, for purposes of full disclosure, I personally know) is very
well-respected both for his own honesty and his meticulousness in the
accurate presentation of the stories in his books.

In that vein, I think it also important to quote the complete passage in
question (which is found at page 163 of the book; see below), and note
that the author does not state that Rav Bloch "was always speaking
against Zionism, saying that it was part of being an 'ehrlicher yid.'"
Rather the author writes that Rabbi Bloch was "often very critical of
**secular** Zionism" [my added emphasis], which would not necessarily,
if at all, contradict "Rav Elya Meir's participation in a Yom HaAtzmaut
celebration in Cleveland in the early 1950s" or imply an "obvious
misrepresentation of Rav Bloch's opinions - certainly an incomplete and
very misleading representation . . .."

Moreover, in context, the passage does not imply (as the posting above
seemed to imply, at least to me) that as "part of being" (i.e., in order
to be) an 'ehrlicher yid' one had to be "always speaking against
Zionism."  Rather, according to the story, Rav Bloch was explaining why
he would not "soften [his] views" even in the face of the claim that
without doing so he would "lose [his] financial base, and then the
Yeshiva will close."

The passage from "Echoes of the Magid" -- 

When Reb Elya Meir was in the United States, he was often very critical
of secular Zionism. A prominent rabbi who knew Reb Elya Meir from Telshe
said to him, "If you don't soften your views, you will lose your
financial base, and then the Yeshiva will close."

Reb Elya Meir peered at the rabbi and said, "My father told me that I
don't have to be a rosh yeshivah but I do have to be an ehrlicher Yid
(an honest Jew)."

Yitzchak Kasdan


From: Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Dec 2002 21:37:47 -0500
Subject: Pronouns

>The one thing I CAN'T STAND about Yeshivish is when people use the
>pronoun "by" for just about every other pronoun ("at", "with", "for",
>etc.)!  They even do it to non-Jews causing very puzzled reactions.

Sorry, but "by", "at", "with", "for", etc are NOT PRONOUNS. They are
PREPOSITIONS. Just remember the rule: a preposition is something you
should never end a sentence with.

If you want a pronoun, try "he", "she", etc.


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 16:03:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Transliterations (mail-jewish Vol. 38 #15 Digest)

In MJ 38:15, Ira Jacobson writes:

> Precisely.  The siddur I was using had "H" for our "N", "Y" for our
> "U" and "C" for our "S".  I also do not recommend adopting these
> conventions, although they make sense in and of themselves.

Well, not quite.  The siddur you were using had letters that _resemble_
H, y and c, but are actually Cyrillic (Russian alphabet) letters that
correspond to n, u and s.

I might point out the following.  In the United States, chet and chaf
are generally transliterated as "ch."  This transliteration is based on
German usage.  (Note that while chet is supposed to be closer to the
sound in the German "ich," while chaf is supposed to be closer to the
sound in the German "ach," both sounds transliterate to "ch" in German.)
The mainly Ashkenazi community in the US brought that scheme with it
from Europe.

In Israel, het and haf are at least as frequently transliterated as "h"
as "ch."  I'm guessing there are a couple of reasons that come together
here.  First, regardless of how one lains or davens, Israeli _spoken_
Ivrit tends to favor a more correctly pronounced het near the front of
the mouth; that sound is fairly close to an aspirated "h" in English.
Second, transliteration in Israel is more influenced by English than by
German, because of the British mandate and because of the influence of
North Americans after the creation of the State.  And Hebrew het/haf
just doesn't sound like the same sound that starts "church."  <g>

Steven White
Chighland -- er -- Highland Park, NJ


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Thu, 26 Dec 2002 15:40:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Two new points on the Support-scholar issue

In MJ 38:14, Russell Jay Hendel writes:

> Second: Having a job INCREASES your awareness and understanding of
> nuances of halacha. A Rabbi who is NOT a businessman or who doesnt have
> little children does not properly FEEL the issues of a businessman or a
> mother who asks questions. He is not as respected By contrast, a Rabbi
> who has been OUT THERE can inspire more respect.  It just sounds better
> when a Rabbi says: I had a case like this last year and we explored the
> following workarounds and the following psak seemed best fit to the
> situation. 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  This is quite analogous to the idea
that the shaliach tzibbur on the Yamim Nora'im should be married with
children, in preference to being a 13-year-old boy.  Note that in
neither of these cases is the less desirable option _forbidden_-- only
that it is a less desirable option. 

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


End of Volume 38 Issue 20