Volume 39 Number 56
                 Produced: Fri May 30  6:17:55 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycles on Shabbat
         [Akiva Miller]
Covering of Hair
         [Batya Medad]
Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras) (2)
         [Allen Gerstl, Allen Gerstl]
Riding a bicycle on Shabbat
         [Ben Katz]
A Serious but Halachic Approach to the Orthodoxy Problem
         [Binyomin Segal]
Shechita and Bicycles on Shabbat
         [Alana Suskin]
Shechitah In The United Kingdom
         [Janet Rosenbaum]


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 11:20:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Bicycles on Shabbat

Keith Bierman asked <<< Was riding a bicycle akin to using a complex
musical instrument which might require repair, and thus forbidden? >>>
and Yaakov Fogelman wrote <<< Bicycles, especially those with many
gears, may be analogous to musical instruments, prohibited, as one may
often adjust and "fix" them. >>>

It is true that the rabbis forbade musical instruments on Shabbos
because we might repair or adjust them, but I am not aware of this being
extended to any other sort of device. We use strollers, folding beds,
and the string-and-pully contraptions to open the Aron Kodesh in shul,
all without falling under this prohibition.

Yet, over the years I have heard *many* people try to place bicycles
into this "musical instrument" category. Anyone have a guess why?

Akiva Miller


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 21:09:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Covering of Hair

      things.  Perhaps it is necessary to cover the hair, but it is
      certainly not great fun.

Just today I observed two very young, single women enjoying themselves,
trying on hats.  It made me think of this discussion.

Fun is subjective.  For me hair-covering is fun.  It's a shame that not
all women feel the same way.



From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 20:05:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)

On Wed, 21 May 2003 06:33:37 EDT <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer) Wrote:

>This is a bit closer to home -- in a pluralistic Orthodox community*--
>now that we have categorized chumras and given them a life of their own
>-- how does the community institutionally and individually deal with the
>various mainstream orthodox institutions and individuals within it. ...

Easier said than done of course, but one should attempt to be an
exemplar of the benefits of adhering proudly to his shitah [school of
thought] and as to how such enhances Torah, Avodah [worship] and middot
tovot [good character traits].  Confrontation is rarely of value.



From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 20:37:00 -0400
Subject: Re:  Modern Orthodoxy Definition (Chumras)

Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...> On Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 13:26:43 -0500

>In Rabbi Cohen's recent article about Daas Torah, he discusses what
>occurs in a situation where a "daas torah" makes an error. (p92-99,
>section entitled "Mistakes") In this section he posits that reliance on
>a "daas torah" requires adherence to the principle of of "non-
>objective" truth in halacha. That is, "daas torah" as a principle
>relies on the fact that there is no objective halachik answer, but
>rather a process.

>Further, and I may have read too much into the article, but I see an
>implication that it is this reliance on a non-objective truth that makes
>some people less willing to rely on "daas torah". That is, chareidim are
>comfortable with this non-objective process and so rely on daas torah,
>MO are not comfortable with it and so are less comfortable with daas
>torah. So to restate my question:

>Allen suggests that the chareidi impetus for chumrot of a certain kind
>is based on their approach to an objective truth in halacha. Rabbi Cohen
>suggests that their reliance on "daas torah" is based on their reliance
>on a non-objective or process bound truth in halacha. (And of course the
>same conflicting conclusions can be stated about MO.)

While I believe that such chumrot are a hallmark of chareidi mores, I
don't think that such chumrot are directly connected with Daas
Torah. Chareidim believe in Daas Torah and they believe generally in
being machmir. However I believe that each phenomenon is separate. If I
understood Rabbi Cohen's article correctly (I found it on the Jewish Law
website) Daas Torah is a matter of Jewish public policy being determined
by Gedolei Torah.

The belief in an absolute "objective" halacha would not change the
methodolgy of pesak. Pesak has its own rules as to how to choose among
differing opinions and such also includes a measure of subjectivity as
does the determination of public policy.

I would argue that while there is subjectivity in both Daas Torah and
pesak such are distinct from an individual deciding to be machmir
(stringent) beyond the halacha because of a belief in an undetermined
absolute halacha.

An individual may voluntarily adopt a stringent position based upon his
wish to be a baal nefesh at least as to a certain halacha, and chareidim
may encourage people being machmirim and thus being baalei nefesh as a
matter of their mores.  However, a posek be he chareidi or otherwise
would not PASKEN that someone be a baal nefesh although he might ADVISE
that someone be machmir as a eitzah tovah (good advice) outside the
realm of pesak.




From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 13:41:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Riding a bicycle on Shabbat

>A couple of years ago, when scooters became the latest craze in Israel,
>Rav Eliezer Melamed made the following distinction. If a device is a
>form of transportation, it can not be used on Shabbat. If it's a toy,
>it's permissible.

         What is the basis for this distinction?
         I thought the reason one couldn't ride a bicycle on shabat even
with an eruv was the same reason that one couldn't ride a horse - that
it was a gezerah in case you plucked an apple off a tree.


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 20:46:44 -0500
Subject: Re: A Serious but Halachic Approach to the Orthodoxy Problem

Edward Ehrlich had a few concerns with the issues I raised.

Before I respond to his concerns, I want to clarify a couple of more
foundational issues. First, I want to reiterate that I share the goal of
creating a unified, connected, and caring community. Many of the ideas
that have been suggested in this discussion resonate with me. My post
was meant to raise halachic issues - not from my own understanding -
that were raised by some of the most serious halachic scholars of our
century. (I think that is a fair representation of e.g. Rav Moshe). If
we are to create the halachic solutions we seek, we can not avoid
confronting the issues that have been raised in previous tshuvot. A
solution can not be considered a real solution if the halachic
precedents from the previous generation are not addressed.

> I understand that Common Law recognizes the legal entity of a
> "corporation" which can sue and be sued and has an existence independent
> of the individuals or other corporations that own it, but since when
> does Halakha recognize such an entity?
> In short, individual Jews observe or
> do not observe the Halakha.  Organizations can not observe Halakha only
> individuals can.

This is an interesting point. And while I am not at all sure how Rav
Moshe might respond, I will offer a suggestion: Halacha does in fact
recognize communities and their character - the "evil community" of the
10 spies is of course the original biblical example, as is the "ir
hanidachat". In both of these examples, individuals who are breaking
halacha as part of a group, are dealt with in a more serious way than
the individual would have been dealt with (the whole is greater than the
sum of the parts). Of course, this is different than our case because in
the biblical examples, the individuals are guilty. Nonetheless, I think
these and other examples suggest that while a "corporation" as a
separate pseudo-person does not exist, a community that is built of
individuals does exist.  Conservative and Reform become complicated
because of the Chazon Ish psak. If we held each individual responsible
for their personal allegiance with heretical beliefs, it would be
obvious that the community created by individual heretics was itself
considered evil.  Here however we have a unique historical
situation. The individuals are not held responsible for their individual
allegiance to heretical beliefs, nonetheless the community they create
is considered a community of heretics.

My rationale for Rav Moshe's psak is just that - mine. But we do have
Rav Moshe's psak in clear black and white. Of course this relates to the
discussion we have been having about gedolim being wrong. Ed Ehrlich's
point is interesting. And he is entitled to his position in the beis
medrash, but when it comes to halacha l'maaseh Rav Moshe's opinion is
far more compelling. The most we should say is "I don't understand Rav
Moshe's psak given ..."

> Why does it lend any credibility to reform positions?  The only
> reasonable conclusion one can draw is that both individuals like to
> learn.  I would no more assume that the Orthodox rabbi now accepts the
> Reform position on mehitzah then the Reform rabbi now accepts the
> Orthodox position.

"reasonable conclusion" is a slippery slope. I know that I would have a
hard time learning with someone who is not my peer in learning. That is,
there is a difference between learning with someone and teaching
someone. When the orthodox rabbi learns with the reform rabbi, it is
"reasonable" to conclude that they are learning together as peers. That
is that the orthodox rabbi and the reform rabbi are equally well versed
in matters of Jewish learning and scholarship. That lends credibility to
the scholarship of the reform rabbi which is the very matter at issue.

A member of the clergy is a spokesman and representative for that
faith/segment. (see our other thread on orthodox rabbis that are doing
illegal things) A person should not become a member of a particular
clergy unless they feel comfortable with the principles and ideals of
that religious order. Since Rav Moshe held that Conservative and Reform
theology are both heretical, choosing to become a member of that clergy
means choosing to represent heretical principals. While the Chazon Ish's
psak means that we don't hold these individuals personally liable for
these errors (that is they are not personally considered a heretic -
although just btw I seem to recall that Rav Moshe specifically excludes
Rabbis from the Chazon Ish's psak) nonetheless we must be sure not to do
anything which suggests we see these beliefs as viable in any way.

I want to reiterate once again, that I am not making these ideas up
myself. I am not trying to CREATE roadblocks. I am pointing out the
roadblocks that have been illuminated by previous poskim.

> If the Orthodox rabbi decides to stop learning Torah with his friend
> that would definitely decrease the amount of learning - for both of
> them.  It would seem to me instead of stretching for reasons to prohibit
> such learning, we should be trying to find some way to justify it.  It's
> obviously better - no matter what mitzvot the other rabbi is observing
> or not observing - that both of these Jews learn Torah.

My rebbe used to say that nothing can be called "pashut"
(simple/obvious) if there is a source that disagrees. You posit that the
net gain to klal yisroel would be positive. And while your scenario is
reasonable, the scenario that has been envisioned by some authorities
suggests that the positive gain in learning you see would be outweighed
by the negative result it would have on community adherence to the
ikkrei emunah. We are weighing intangible benefits to the community and
to the individual and considering questions of what might be the future
result of some actions we take or do not take.  Nothing about that seems
obvious at all.



From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 10:24:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Shechita and Bicycles on Shabbat

Weirdly, I 've been on this list for years and not posted, and now what
- three times in two weeks? Hmm, must be a bug.

Anyhow: My understanding of the shechita/cruelty to animals thing is
that it's *not* the shechita itself, but rather the restraint method. In
the USA, it seems to be that the religious exemption from slaughter laws
has led to slaughterhouses avoiding the expense of switching over to a
system that is more humane for *restraint* (that is, they continue to
use the hoist and shackle system, which is both terrifying and painful
to the animal) rather than switching to the box method designed by
Temple Grandin (it simply holds the animal in place with -I guess you'd
call them walls- while the shechita takes place in the appropriate
way). In Argentina, likewise, there has been a reluctance to switch over
from what I think is called the cage restraint, which flips the animal
over - also inducing a great amount of fear, although apparently
somewhat less pain.  The result apparently has been a raft of literature
about the cruelty of Jewish shechita laws in a number of countries, when
in fact it's *not* the shechita causing pain, but rather the restraint
method, which IMO Jewish communities should be pushing for the kosher
slaughterhouses to spend the money and switch over from to a more humane
restraint method. If only for the sake of the avoidance of chilul

Re Bicycles on Shabbat:
See the Ben Ish Chai - Rav Poalim, Chelek Alef of Orach Chayim, Siman 25.  



From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 11:35:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Shechitah In The United Kingdom

Anyone who is eating or squeamish should skip this post.  

Wrt the question of post-stunning, even if there is not normally a
halachic problem, there is probably a problem in countries with a BSE
(mad cow) risk.  As far as we know, meat itself is not infectious, but
nervous system material (and possibly bone marrow) are.  Captive-bolt
stunning poses a BSE risk, as it usually causes pieces of the brain and
other CNS material to spread throughout the body.  Pieces of brain
sometimes find their way into the lungs, and even if not, the brain
sometimes liquifies and may seep into other parts of the animal.  While
captive bolt stunning has been improved in the past few years, it still
poses more of a BSE risk than kosher/hallal slaughter.



End of Volume 39 Issue 56