Volume 39 Number 89
                 Produced: Wed Jun 25  6:01:36 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident
         [Gershon Dubin]
Ad Mea V'esrim
         [Alexander Seinfeld]
Aharon HaCohen and M'Kosheis Eitzim
         [I Kasdan]
Business with an idolater
         [Yoram Rovner]
Conversion (2)
         [Michael Kahn, Aryeh Levine]
Conversion of mentally retarded adults
         [Steve Albert]
Eruv in Flatbush
         [David Shabtai]
         [Bernard Raab]
Kohein's liability for invalidating a qorban (2)
         [Yehuda Landy, Michael Kahn]
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Riding a Bike on Shabbos
         [Stephen Colman]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 12:43:55 GMT
Subject: The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident

Russell wrote:

<<Since their lives are in danger and since they have the right to steal
the water to save their life>>

Who said they have any such right?  In fact, the Gemara describes this
question as one that King David asked and was answered that, for anyone
but a king, there is no such right.



From: Alexander Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 02:00:17 -0700
Subject: Re: Ad Mea V'esrim

Perhaps "ad mea v'esrim" began as bracha that the person should live to
enjoy the Yamei Moshiach, which will happen not later than the year
6,000 -- 120 Jubilees.


From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jun 2003 10:49:43 -0400
Subject: Aharon HaCohen and M'Kosheis Eitzim

I am looking for an explanation/discussion of the machlokes between R.
Akiva and R. Yehuda ben Besaira regarding whether it was proper for R.
Akiva to have revealed the facts that 1)the m'kosheis eitzim was
Tzlopchad and 2) that Aharon HaCohen was afflicted with tzaraas (as was
Miriam albeit only momentarily as opposed to 7 days).

The Torah Temima (and others) explain that R. Akiva felt it fine to
reveal Tzlopchad's name since, according to some, the m'kosheis eitzim
did so "lishma" (and therefore, presumably there was no laaz in that
revelation).  See the Torah Temima in Parshas Shlach.  However, that
p'shat, it would appear, does not fit perfectly well with regard to the
revelation about Aharon. In any case, that p'shat does not satisfy R.
Yehudah's objection that, even if true, the Torah after all had
concealed these facts.

Finally whose mehalach is followed -- if one would say R. Akiva because
after all the gemara "revealed" his p'shatim, yet the gemara continues
with the warning not to be Choshed b'kshairim which seems to support
R. Yehuda's objections; if R. Yehuda, then the gemara should not have
brought down the machlokes at all.

If anyone is aware of m'farshim that discuss these questions and analyze
the machlokes in depth I would appreciate those sources.

Thanks in advance.



From: Yoram Rovner <yoram@...>
Date: Sat, 21 Jun 2003 20:28:29 -0400
Subject: Business with an idolater

I am learning Hilchos Avodat Cochavim from the Rambam. What kind of
relation a jew can establish with an idolater, can he make business with
him for example?


Yoram Rovner


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 11:06:08 -0400
Subject: Re: Conversion

>This also raises another major question: this being the case, why do we
>say one can not convert for the sake of marriage? Surely the woman
>referenced in this Torah portion is not an altruistic, pure-faith
>convert. Yet, she can become a Jew at the whim of her captor.

Rashi tells us that this case is unique in that the Torah knew that if
we do not permit the soldier to marry her he will do it anyway so Hashem
permited it. ("Kneger Yetzer Hara dibrah Torah.")

From: Aryeh Levine <aryehdl@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 16:22:48 -0400
Subject: Conversion

Yeshaya Halevi Posted:

      As far as Ruth goes, IMHO the question of a Bayt Deen
      (ecclesiastical court) being necessary to convert someone to
      Judaism is not cut and dried.  My evidence is the Torah itself, in
      (D'vareem/Deut.  21:10).

The following was gleaned from Chapter 4 of Not in Heaven by Rav Eliezer
Berkovitz z"l:

The Rambam rules (Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah, 13:17) that b'diavad one whose
reason for conversion was not examined, and who was converted in front
of three laymen (i.e. not talmidei chachamim) is still Jewish.  Although
it seems that one might argue that he is referring to three scholars
without smicha, Berkovitz rejects this interperetation.  In addition,
the Ri"f (Rav Alfasi) on Yevamot 45b says that bediavad (if one has
already acted) one is Jewish even when the conversion is not done in
front of a court.  He apparently holds that the p'sukim brought in the
gemara requiring a court are only asmachtot, and the requirement of a
beit din is only Rabbinic in origin.  As such, it is only a lechatchila
(before one acts; the ideal obligation) requirement.

      This also raises another major question: this being the case, why
      do we say one can not convert for the sake of marriage? Surely the
      woman referenced in this Torah portion is not an altruistic,
      pure-faith convert. Yet, she can become a Jew at the whim of her

See Yevamot 24b.  It seems that b'diavad someone who converts, even for
ulterior motives, is Jewish.  This is my own take, not Rav Berkovitz's:
it could be that since the whole law of Eshet Y'fat To'ar is a b'diavad
case anyway, as seen in the famous midrash that Rashi brings: "The torah
spoke because of (k'neged) the evil inclination; for if G-d had not
allowed it [the soldier taking a female captive as a wife], he would
transgress and do it anyway."  Meaning, the torah allowed something that
it would have not otherwise allowed in order to make the best of a
b'diavad situation, trying to dissuade the man from marrying the woman
by forcing him to cut her hair etc. before marrying her.  Since the
whole allowance for him to marry her is b'diavad, it doesn't seem like a
stretch to say that her conversion is also b'diavad.  Or perhaps "hi
hi," the dispensation of the torah "kneged yetzer hara," because of the
evil inclination, is that he may marry her even though she is not Jewish
at all.  Otherwise, I'm not sure what the Torah is allowing that would
otherwise have been forbidden; but I am not familiar with all of the
particluars of Eshet Y'fat To'ar.  

Hope this helps, 
Kol Tuv, 
Aryeh Levine 


From: <Salbertjewish@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 02:16:23 EDT
Subject: Conversion of mentally retarded adults

This came up on another list I'm on; I wonder if anyone here can offer
any insights.

A mother of a mentally retarded adult wants to convert, and also wants
her son to convert.  The son has the intellectual level of a young child
(say, a four year old); he would seem to lack the capacity to make a
valid commitment to Judaism.

Does the parallel to the beis din's conversion of a minor apply -- that
conversion is a benefit, and the beis din could convert him on the
principle that "m'zakin l'adam shelo b'fanav", that one can act to
benefit someone even without his knowledge and consent?  (This presumes
that he would be provided an environment in which he could, to the
extent his capacity allows, observe.)

If it makes a difference (and it might as we think about long term
issues), it's worth noting that his condition goes back to infancy, and
that his survival to his early 20''s is itself a bit of a medical
miracle, already several times longer than he was thought to have a
chance of living.  While it's possible he'll live to 120, b'derech
hatevah it seems much more likely that his mother will outlive him.

Kol tuv,
Steve Albert


From: David Shabtai <dys6@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 09:38:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Eruv in Flatbush

> If you're not aware of it there is a New Bet Yosef Mehisssot Erub in
> Brooklyn that was erected in Brooklyn by the Sephardic Rabbinical
> Council and the backing of Rabbi Obadiah Yosef.
> here is a web site with some more details www.erub.org

I don't mean to be nit pickey, but the website is a little bit
misleading and there does not seem to be "the backing of Rabbi Obadiah
Yosef."  There is a translation of R' Ovadiah's teshuvah from Yabia Omer
9 - with an added paragraph at the end, which he did not write.  It
appears in all caps and is set off from the rest of the text, but is not
his.  Nowhere on the website does he endorse this eruv.  R' Meshash's
letter does not endorse this specific eruv either, but says that
building eruvin is a positive thing and should be encouraged, but does
not discuss the merits and demerits of this eruv.  (Even R' Haputa's
endorsement, which seems the most supportive, does not say that everyone
is encouraged to follow this eruv, but rather that it seems to fit the
criteria - he is somewhat reserved about the issue).

In contrast to what the website says in that paragraph after the
teshuvah - it is entirely unclear if R' Ovadia would support this eruv.
The conclusions drawn there are not necessary and make several logical
jumps.  I would be thrilled if R' Ovadia would support this eruv and
would definitely use it if so, however, as of now, his support is
ostensibely lacking, at least publicly, and it is not clear from his
responsum that he would approve.

David Shabtai


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 00:02:13 -0400
Subject: Kitniyot

I am grateful for the testimonies and insructions received from Chana
Luntz, Akiva Miller and others on this subject. I must admit that I was
totally unprepared for the information that sephardim still buy rice in
bulk before pesach and inspect it thrice grain by grain before using
it. Considering the demands on the modern woman today, I am still not
certain that these respondents are talking about the present or the
not-so-recent past. For example Chana. Luntz writes:

>It was certainly the practice of my husband's family. His mother tells
>that in Egypt, what people used to do in the weeks before pesach was
>gather at various houses, one day, one house, one day the next, and sit
>there and check all their rice grain by grain.  The next day they would
>go to a different house of a member of the group etc.

yet she does not claim that she herself adheres to this same practise
today, despite being married to a sephardi. Assuming that there are
still those who do follow this practise today, I still wonder what they
do about processed foods. I have in mind various packaged cakes and
other products that I have pondered at Israeli supermarkets and rejected
because their labels marked them as suitable only for those who "accept
kitniyot", or some similar designation. I have assumed that these cakes
are bought without objection by sephardim or else why would they be on
the shelves of the market (in good quantity and variety) at all? In
which case they (or someone) are relying on the hechsher not just for
kashrut but also for purity of kitniyot.  Perhaps it is too soon to
declare that this is a minhag the justification for which has expired,
but it is not to soon to recognize that on the day that carefully
observant sephardim rely on labelling on packaged goods for purity of
kitniyot is the day that the justification for this minhag (for
ashkenazim) does expire. Of course, whether or not you continue to
observe the minhag after that point is another issue entirely.

B'shalom--Bernie R.


From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 10:20:45 +0300
Subject: re: Kohein's liability for invalidating a qorban

Mishnah Gittin 54b states clearly that if the pigul was done
intentionally the Kohen is liable to pay.
													Yehuda Landy

> From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
> Suppose the kohein invalidates a qorban, thereby causing a loss to the
> qorban's owner.  Is the kohein liable for such damage?  Does it matter
> whether the damage is intentional or non-intentional, or whether the
> damage is due to an action or an intention?

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jun 2003 11:22:01 -0400
Subject: re: Kohein's liability for invalidating a qorban

>Suppose the kohein invalidates a qorban, thereby causing a loss to the
>qorban's owner.  Is the kohein liable for such damage?

One does not own a karbon. It is mamon hekdesh/ hekdesh(sanctuary)
property.  But, if your korbon becomes disqualified, it will end up
costing you money to replace it. It seems to me that this is a classical
case of the talmudic "davar hagorem lamamon," or, "a thing which
inadvertently costs you money."  The Gemara has a famous machlokes if
such an item has the status of a monetary object. A nafka mina, or
practical application of this machlokes is if I must pay for damaging
your 'davar hagorem lamamon." If its considered mamon.money then I must
pay. If its not considered money I am not liable.


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Piety

I just don't understand your logic... how does it follow that because
chareidim choose their leaders based on Torah knowledge and piety that
they won't be bound to found kulos?  Does Torah knowledge and piety
automatically guarantee chumros?  I think it's exactly the
opposite... the more knowledge one has, the more kulos one can rule,
because he knows the exact laws and exactly what they apply to, and what
they don't apply to.  Someone without knowledge will tend to be more
machmir, because they just apply what little knowledge they have to
everything they *think* it may apply to.  I have seen plenty of examples
of quite ignorant people being rediculously machmir because of their
ignorance.  Just one example... someone thought Bircas HaMazon was
required no matter what one ate, thus he would say it even after eating
a fruit.


From: <StephenColman2@...> (Stephen Colman)
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 06:05:04 EDT
Subject: Re: Riding a Bike on Shabbos

The new Eruv in NW London (loved by some - hated by others) under the
authority of  the London beis Din (Dayan Ehrentrau) has the following on
their website:

You may not:
Carry a mobile phone or other items which are muktseh (forbidden to be
moved on shabbat), carry anything which is to be used only after shabbat.
Carry or open an umbrella. Engage in weekday activities which are not in
the spirit of shabbat such as riding a bike, or going shopping (even on
credit or where payment is not involved).


End of Volume 39 Issue 89