Volume 38 Number 29
                 Produced: Sat Jan 11 20:26:14 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Confiscating Items
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Confiscation of Property
         [Russell J Hendel]
good MO speakers
         [Michael Rogovin]
Lunar-Solar calendar
         [Tom Rosenfeld]
A Politically Correct Mem ?
         [Yisrael Dubitsky]
The Rambam on Kollel
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Terah minyanim (2)
         [<rubin20@...>, Asher Samuels]
Torah Scholars and Business
         [Harlan Braude]
         [Joel Rich]
Woman gadol b'Torah (3)
         [Michael Rogovin, Harlan Braude, Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 00:29:24 +0200
Subject: Re: Confiscating Items

In response to:

> > 1 -- presuming the child is a katan -- then who really is the original
> > owner of the confiscated item -- say a tennis ball?  Is it the parent.
> > And is the agreement re: confiscation of contraband between the school
> > (or rebbe) and the parent -- both parties are capable of making
> > agreements.

I wrote this:

> I believe that a *gift* made to a katan becomes the katan's personal
> exclusive property. I do not remember a source for this, bli"n (no
> promises!) I hope to get one and post it.

I spoke to the Rav of my Daf-Yomi shiur and he said that while it is
certainly true that all gifts by the *father* to his son are definitely
the son's personal property (just as a husband's gifts to his wife
overrule the "acquisition by a wife becomes property of the husband"
rule), he does not know that such a rule would exist for gfts from

On the other hand he says that Haza"l did allow a teacher to use
corporal punishment, and striking another Jew is as prohibited (in
general) as stealing their property. That being the case, "ad she-ata
meyasro begufo, teyasro be-mamono" - before you apply discipline to his
body, apply it to his property.

On that basis, he agrees that even if the items confiscated were the
child's property, and the child did *not* agree to the school's policy
of confiscation, it would still be halachically legal.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 22:59:07 -0500
Subject: RE: Confiscation of Property

Reuven in v38n18 states (about Posting a sign that 
improper items brought in to Shules, Mikvehs etc will
be confiscated) as follows

> I think it is a lot simpler in the shul/yeshiva/mikvah.

> It is a precondition that you accept when you come it.  
> It you don't agree you are not obligated to enter.  
> Your coming in is your agreement that you "mafkir" 
> what ever you leave there.

Another posting pointed out that the person confiscating the objects
does not do it for themselves but rather returns it to the parents (at
sometimes considerable expense)

These are good questions but Jewish law disagrees!

Jewish law is very clear that a theft with intent to return (and even a
theft with intent to give back more) is still considered a theft (Rambam
Thefts 1:1).

To answer Reuven I again reiterate that transfer of ownership requires
(a) specficity of object (b) a physical act of acquisition (c)
consent. ALL we have established is CONSENT--we have not established a
physical act of acquisition nor is there any specificity of object.

Let me put it another way--if I enter a Shule and violate the wishes of
the owner(s) then I have commited an act of theft (entry without
permission) but that does not give anyone the right to "fine" me and
confiscate property.  Nor does a prior consent give them the right.

In fact in Jewish Law transfer of ownership based on a condition (if you
bring in improper property I can confiscate it) is invalid (unless done
a certain way) since the person making the condition doesnt really
expect to lose the object. In fact this is the basis in Jewish law for
prohibiting gamling.

I reiterate I think there is much to discuss(and learn!) here.

Looking forward to more good postings.

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI:http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: <rogovin@...> (Michael Rogovin)
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 8:44:01 -0600
Subject: good MO speakers

Mordechai Horowitz asks about good MO speakers who could emphasize the
idea to a community that being MO does not mean not being committed to

Try the Edah speakers list (list of speakers and topics at
www.edah.org). Also try Yeshivat Chovevei Torah (www.yctorah.org).

Michael Rogovin


From: Tom Rosenfeld <trosen@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 09:24:22 +0200
Subject: re: Lunar-Solar calendar

    From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
    I recently learned that ours is not the only lunar-solar calendar, and
    that the Chinese calendar is also one, with the new year in January or
    February.  They add a leap month every three years (as opposed to our 7
    times in 19 years). I assume that there was no communication between the
    two groups who adopted these.

Thanks for pointing this out. I did a web search and came across a very
complete description of the chinese calendar at:

I am certainly not an expert in history, but I have not heard of any
communications between the 2 cultures in ancient times. However, some
kind of luni-solar calendar was common in many ancient cultures so it is
not at all surprising



From: Yisrael Dubitsky <yidubitsky@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2003 17:23:29 -0500
Subject: Re: A Politically Correct Mem ?

Re. the Mem in Shileshim at Bereshit 50:23

First place to look on issues like this is *Minhat Shai* (by Y.S. Norzi,
1560-1616) who says that the Mem is NOT large, as per the best
manuscripts and even early printed editions of the Humash. He also cites
M. deLonzano's (1550-ca. 1624) *Or Torah* which says the same. He does,
however, mention that he had seen it Large in a single Masoretic list of
Large letters.  [He was probably referring to a version of *Okhlah
ve-Okhlah* (ed. Frendsdorf.  Hanover, 1864) p. 88, no. 82. This is cited
by Breuer in vol. 1 of *Daat Mikra: Bereshit*, p. 153, n. 52]

The Leningrad Codex does not have it Large. Thus, both A. Dotan's
edition as well as the BHS -- both of which are based on Leningrad --
neither spell it Large nor have notes that refer to versions which
do. Another codex written and notated by the same masorete and scribe as
the Leningrad Codex, and now published by M Breuer, also does not have
it Large. The Allepo Codex is of course lacking at that point but
chances are it was not spelled with a large mem. Hence, the Koren
Tanakh, Breuer's various editions, and Bar Ilan's *Mikraot Gedolot
haKeter* also spell it without a Large mem.  Neither the Artscroll Stone
Torah nor its Tanach has it with a Large mem [but in their 1977 or so 6
vol commentary on Bereshis, they do note that some versions do have a
Large mem]

However, the earlier BHK does mention in its notes that *many* medieval
masoretic manuscripts do have it Large. CD Ginsburg's ed. spells it
large and notes it. N. Snaith's ed., presumably based primarily on three
13-14th century mss, spells it large and notes it. This latter evidence,
however, is questionable as much of Snaith is actually uncritically
based on M.  Letteris' bible of 1852 (which of course spells the mem
Large and notes it).

More importantly, D. Bomberg's famous first Masoretic Rabbinic Bible,
otherwise known as the Mikraot Gedolot of Venice 1525, does spell it
Large and notes in the accompanying Masorah that it is to be so.
[Minhat Shai was responding to this and perhaps other editions in his
note.] The editor of that edition, Jacob Ben Hayim, has been shown to be
a kabbalist of sorts so that might tie him into the same tradition of
the quoted Arizal [1534-1572]. Other printed editions of Humash that do
spell it large include Basle 1518, 1606; 1618; Geneva 1618; Riva di
Trento 1618; Williamsdorf 1713; Amsterdam 1635; 1724; and Vienna
1794. [The Livorno 1850 edition includes a special note: "Mem einah

Aryeh Kaplan's ed has the Large mem. So does Soncino's Chumash. So does
the English translation of RSR Hirsch's commentary; the Hebrew edition
does not spell it Large.

I have mentioned versions of 50:23 with a Large mem that were printed
mostly after Minhat Shai's pronouncement. The issue isn't political
correctness: it is about two opposing masoretic traditions [whether one
is more correct than the other is fodder for another thread]. So can you
blame a publisher for vacillating between two choices in different

Yisrael Dubitsky


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 03:14:47 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: The Rambam on Kollel

Following the recent discussion thread, I would like to quote a
responsum of the Rambam which sheds an interesting light on the issue
(Kovetz, 17).  More often than not, defenders of the Kollel system
quote a text in Megilla according to which what defines a city is the
presence of 10 "batlanim" and interpret the word "batlanim" in its
modern yeshivish meaning: people who do not work but rather dedicate all
their time to learning Tora.  The Rambam defines these 10 "batlanim" as
"civil servants" or "volunteers" who are ready to stop their work or
learning (and hence are called "batlanim") in order to perform a
communal mitzva or to help in time of danger(G-d forbid).  Moreover,
according to the Rambam's interpretation of the gemara, only sages that
already master the whole Tora can become "batlanim" because they should
be able to refrain from learning "without damage".  In conclusion,
"batlanim" are not those who do not work but those who can and should
stop learning in cases of need.

Emmanuel Ifrah


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 10:04:22 -0500
Subject: Terah minyanim

> By the way what is the origin of the term "Terah minyanim" ?

It's a joke. The idea is that if Yackov instituted Marive, and the
prayer before that (Mincha) was instituted by the forefather before him
(Yitschak) and the prayer before that (Shachris) was instituted by the
person before him (Avrohom), the davaning before schacris must have been
instituted by the person before him which is Terach (Avrohoms Father)

From: Asher Samuels <asher.samuels@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 13:18:10 +0200
Subject: Terah minyanim

As it was explained to me, since (in reverse order) Ya'akov instituted
Ma'ariv, Yitzhak instituted Mincha, and Avraham instituted Shacharit,
Avraham's father, Terach, instituted the service before Shacharit.

Asher Samuels


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 08:41:45 -0500
Subject: RE: Torah Scholars and Business

In Vol. 38 #22, Sammy Finkelman wrote:
> the type of examples and precedents he cites. Also, the Vilna Gaon (or
> was it the Chofetz Chaim?) didn't want this and would close his shop
> when he thought people were giving him too much business.

The way I understood the story, the Chofetz Chaim would curtail his
business hours so as not to put the other store owners at an unfair
disadvantage, not because he didn't feel it was right for people to go
out of their way to do business with a gadol.

Perhaps the distinction is subtle, but I think it's enough that one
could not use this as a proof in this discussion.


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 08:08:20 -0500
Subject: Tuxedos

This may be a suburban US question but what are the
halachik/sociological reasons why pulpit Rabbis seem not to wear tuxedos
to black tie smachot?

Joel Rich


From: <rogovin@...> (Michael Rogovin)
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 9:08:05 -0600
Subject: Re: Woman gadol b'Torah

Lisa Halpern asks:
> I am curious to learn if readers of Mail-Jewish think a 
> gadol b'Torah could potentially be a woman.  

I do, though I would call her a g'dola b'Torah :-)

The problem is one of breadth of knowledge and general acceptance. Many
g'dolim are also poskim and few women have achieved that status, though
that may be changing, at least in certain areas of halacha. Certainly
the potential is there. But the percentage of men who become g'dolim is
small and more men than women devote their lives to learning and
teaching Torah than women so I suspect that , despite potential, few
women will achieve the status. I think this is unfortunate and that the
loss for our community is significant. Certainly those with identifiable
potential for scholarship in Torah should be encouraged to pursue
advanced learning at Drisha, Matan or similar institutions.

Michael Rogovin

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 08:19:31 -0500
Subject: RE: Woman gadol b'Torah

In Vol. 38 #22, Lisa Halpern wrote:
> I am curious to learn if readers of Mail-Jewish think a gadol b'Torah
> could potentially be a woman.

Since women can be nevi'im (Sarah, Miriam), shoftim (Devorah) and
scholars (Bruriah), why not?

In modern times, I would classify Nechama Leibowitz, A"H, in that

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 09:55:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Woman gadol b'Torah

Hi Lisa,
	I think it is pretty universally accepted that Nehama Leibovitch (z"l)
was a modern-day gedola baTorah.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


End of Volume 38 Issue 29