Volume 38 Number 83
                 Produced: Sun Mar 23 11:36:50 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Digitized Avoda Zara
         [Elhanan Adler]
Learning From Non-Jews (2)
         [I Kasdan, Harlan Braude]
Living will and halachah (2)
         [Emmanuel Ifrah, Stuart Cohnen]
Purim Spiel
         [Sam Saal]
Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Rotzeach U'Shmiras Nefesh 12:12
         [Frank Silbermann]
Say "cheese!" (2)
         [Ben Katz, Michael Rogovin]
Shabbos Computer
         [Carl Singer]
Sof Z'man Kriat Shema
         [Mark Steiner]
Tfillin question
         [Rabbi Ed Goldstein]
Weapons & Gentiles
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]


From: Elhanan Adler <elhanan@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 08:16:56 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Digitized Avoda Zara

Digitized Avoda Zara
(no - this is not a Purim joke)

For daf yomi learners who are interested in variant readings, the Jewish
National and University Library's Online Treasury of Talmudic
Manuscripts project now contains two manuscripts of Avoda Zara (JTS
Rab. 15 and Bibliotheque nationale Suppl. Heb. 1337).

Access at:

# Elhanan Adler                                                     #
# Director, MALMAD - Israel Center for Digital Information Services #
# Email: <elhanan@...>                                       #
# Tel.: 972-2-6585005, FAX: 972-2-6511771, Home tel.: 972-2-6515977 #


From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 12:22:49 -0500
Subject: Learning From Non-Jews

See the Baruch Sh'amar on the siddur and t'filah (by R' Epstein, the
mechaber of the Torah Temimah) at the beginning of the sefer where he
discusses the inclusion of "Ma Tovu" (spoken by Bilam) in the siddur and
what we can learn from non-Jews.

From: Harlan Braude <h.braude@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 10:39:48 -0500
Subject: RE: Learning From Non-Jews

In v38#80, Yisrael Medad wrote:
> possible to learn from what non-Jews have been taught of the Torah and
> to view them as role models and to what extent and in what concerns?

Today being Purim and all, please view these non-authoritative (and
lengthy) comments accordingly! :-) (By the way, A Freilichan Purim,

Perhaps one can say that it's one thing to learn a method of *how* to do
something, but quite another to learn *what* one should do in terms of
mitzvos and hashkafa. I don't mean to be preachy, but like with kosher
food, one must be vigilent about kosher ideas, too.

One example could be Avraham Avinu who listened to the suggestions of
Mamrai regarding performance of Bris Milah (Breshis Rabba, 42:8), but
Avraham wasn't asking how to serve Hashem or seeking motivation to
fulfill the Mitzvah. On the other hand, since Mamrai was a student of
Avraham (commentary MHRZ"V - Mareinu, Harav, Rebbe Z'ev Wolf) perhaps
this isn't quite analagous.

Another example would be Moshe who listened to Yisro's suggestions
regarding the best way to handle the court cases of the Bnei Yisrael in
the desert.  Again, it wasn't that Yisro advised Moshe how to settle
specific disputes, but rather how to improve the process.

In the Talmud Eruvin (100:B), a cat, dove, ant and a chicken are listed
as sources (role-models?) from which to learn positive character
traits. Of course, one wouldn't pick up inappropriate philosophies from
any of them, so perhaps that's not analagous either.

Here's one that happened to me recently. I was speaking with a Rav who
teaches in a Hebrew day school and he mentioned that they were studying
the Mishkan and its the vessels and he was thinking of ways to help his
students comprehend the myriad of technical details of the
construction. He wished that he could find a model of the Mishkan that
the kids could put together.

I said I was sure that someone must have put together a kit like that
and I set out to find it on the internet. Well, I found one alright and
it's a beauty! In fact, there's even a model of the breastplate of the
Koshen gadol with each sample of each jewel (or some facsimile, I

I thought it was terrific and was even ready to buy one for myself,
except for one thing: The model isn't put out by any Jewish organization
or individual. Rather, it's designed and sold by the Mennonites
(relatives of the Amish.)

The conclusion? No sale. (sigh)


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 15:39:49 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Living will and halachah

Regarding the halachic considerations to take into account when putting
together a will, you can consult Judah Dick, "Halacha and the
Conventional Last Will," in The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary
Society, vol. II, No. 1 (Spring 1982); see also, in vol. XXIV: "The
Living Will" by A. Jeff Ifrah (not related to me as far as I know).

Emmanuel Ifrah (Paris, France)

From: Stuart Cohnen <cohnen@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 09:35:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Living will and halachah

>From: Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...>
>Are there any halachic considerations to take into account
>when putting together a will or living will?

Most definitely. A good place to start is: The Jewish Law of
Inheritance: Problems and Solutions in Making a Jewish Will by:
Grunfeld, Dayan Isidore Pulished by Targum Press ISBN: 1-56871-173-5
Hardcover: $ 20.95.  See www.feldheim.com for ordering info.

Stuart Cohnen
Another casualty of IDT


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 08:45:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Purim Spiel

I forgot to include the names of the people who helped on the Purim
Leon Glaser (and family)
Howard Denemark.

I could never have done this on my own....for beter or for worse.

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 15:51:30 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Rotzeach U'Shmiras Nefesh 12:12

In V38 n80 Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...> asks:
> Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Rotzeach U'Shmiras Nefesh 
> 12:12 contains the prohibition of a Jew selling weapons to a
> gentile unless for defensive purposes. What is the applicability 
> of this halacha today?

If a gentile seeking to buy a weapon says that he plans to commit a
rape, murder, armed robbery or suicide, then a Jew may not sell it to

On the other hand, a Jew would be permitted to sell a gun to a gentile
who merely desires the means of shooting a would-be rapist or armed
robber.  (Here I am presuming that the sale will not leave the Jewish
seller defenseless.  Perhaps the Jewish seller is in the weapons
business, has other weapons, or merely wishes to use the money to buy a
better weapon.)

More problematic would be the case where the gentile says he wants the
weapon to hunt deer or engage in target competition.  That's not
obviously defensive, but one could argue that the shooting sports
develop skills useful in self defense and community defense and that
training for defense counts as a defensive purpose.

In general, a rifle or a shotgun is far deadlier than a handgun, and
easier to aim.  The only advantage of a handgun is that it is small and
light enough to have with you always, which makes it more of a defensive
weapon.  (For offensive purposes convenience is less important, because
an attacker usually only needs brief access to the weapon.)  So if one
does not accept the argument that sport qualifies as a defensive
purpose, the sale of a compact, centerfire handgun would be less
problematic than that of a long-barreled rifle or shotgun.

It might be forbidden for a Jew to sell a weapon to a "gun buyback"
program run by gentiles -- because a destroyed weapon would not be used
for defense, and because one violates the prohibition against destroying
a useful object.

Anyone seeking more information about weapons and halacha might do well
to following the links provided at www.jpfo.org

Frank Silberman
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 12:06:30 -0600
Subject: Re: Say "cheese!"

>From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
>Does anyone know why more cheeses don't get supervision?

because supervision costs money AND because many companies that use
cloned rennet are not supporters of kashrut organizations

From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 15:04:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Say "cheese!"

Janet Rosenbaum asks why more cheeses don't get supervision since many
use microbial or vegetarian rennet.

I was told by the OU that hard cheeses require that the rennet be added
by a shomer shabbat to be givinat yisrael (not to be confused with
chalav yisrael). The source of the microbial rennet may also be an issue
(needs to come from a kosher/kosher-slaughtered animal). Some soft
cheeses use vinegar in their production and that can come from
problematic sources. The added cost may not be worth it for the size of
the market (Sargento tried to make money making a kosher run of its
Mozzerella under its own label a few years back without success). The
manufacturing plants already produce kosher runs -- nearly all kosher
cheeses in the US and in Europe are produced as special production by
otherwise non-kosher plants.

There may be other considerations about having one of the larger,
non-Jewish owned companies get hashgacha for its main line, since it
might adversely affect World Cheese Co., the largest producer of US
kosher cheeses. This may be seen as unfair competition (this last reason
is speculative on my part). Nonetheless, kosher runs of smaller plants
and of specialty cheeses do appear occassionally and are generally
vastly superior to the World Cheese mass produced items (under brand
names Millers, HaOlam, Migdal, Taam Tov and Ko-Shure but otherwise all
the same cheese with different hasgachas/labels). For really good stuff,
go to France (if you are not boycotting); they have the best kosher
cheeses and wines.

Michael Rogovin


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 5 Mar 2003 20:06:29 EST
Subject: Re: Shabbos Computer

      At first glance, this would seem to be "more permissible" than
      leaving a TV or radio on, from the standpoint of "maras ayin",
      because whereas the sight of someone watching a TV or listening to
      a radio on Shabbos may cause an observer to assume that it was
      turned on recently (thus in violation of Shabbos), seeing someone
      looking at a computer screen would not cause them to assume that
      the computer was turned on recently, because many people leave
      their computers on for long periods or even leave them on all the
      time.  Also, if the person looking at the screen is standing up,
      it does not appear that they are "using the computer". In
      addition, wheras a TV or radio makes noise, the computer is

It seems that the distinction between a computer and TV is a bit
contrived.  Among other things, this could be in private so the issue of
Maras Ayin is questionable.  TV's have volume controls so there might
not be much distinction between say CNN headline news (with closed
captioning on?) and computer.

That said -- it ain't Shabbosdik.  (a) one has better things to do on
Shabbos and (b) why should one want the outside world (especially the
news) interfere with their enjoyment of Shabbos.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 23:12:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Sof Z'man Kriat Shema

Michael Appel wrote:

 I recall being told that the general minhag of Eretz Yisrael follows
the Magen Avraham time for Sof Zman Kriat Shema.

    The Luach of Rav Tikochinsky z"l, which still appears yearly, does
follow the Magen Avraham for Kriat Shma, although generally he follows the
practices of the Gaon.  However, Rav Aharon Kotler z"l, in his Mishnat R.
Aharon (she-elot uteshuvot), pointed out the inconsistency of letting
shabbat out according to the Gaon (far more serious) and requiring Shma to
be recited according to the Magen Avraham.

Happy Shushan Purim

Mark Steiner


From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Rabbi Ed Goldstein)
Date: Mon, 17 Mar 2003 09:04:22 -0500
Subject: Tfillin question

Why do we wrap seven times around the forearm (the menmonic is 'poteach
et yadecha &C.') but to say that's the reason is begging the question.

Rabbi Ed Goldstein, Woodmere NY


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 12:44:47 +0200
Subject: Weapons & Gentiles

Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...> wrote:

      Rambam's Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Rotzeach U'Shmiras Nefesh 12:12
      contains the prohibition of a Jew selling weapons to a gentile
      unless for defensive purposes. What is the applicability of this
      halacha today?

While I do not have an answer to his question, I can relate that two
days ago a story was reported here in Israel about a "hilltop outpost"
in Yesha who refused to accept a watch guard made up of Druse soldiers.
While embarrassing due to a) a potential racist attitude and b) all of
us soldiers serve with Druse in any case and it would be stupid, IMHO,
to start off a campaign like this as they guard the entire State, so
what's one little outpost?  and c) even if they claimed a matter of
Tzni'ut, of modesty for the women there, I can assure all that Jewish
soldiers are no worse and no better on the average.

But I am sure that like the case of Natti Ozeri, whom certain of his
followers tried to bury where he was killed on the Charsina Hill based
on a misreading of Halacha and, btw, against the express p'sak of the
mara d'atra, the Rav of Kiryat Arba, Dov Li'or, that these too have some
sort of Halachic interpretation which could link up with Pauls' original

Yisrael Medad
(on the first of two days of Purim in Shiloh)


End of Volume 38 Issue 83