Volume 39 Number 94
                 Produced: Mon Jun 30  5:42:15 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Avodat Cochavim
         [Carl Singer]
Blowing our Candles
         [Martin D. Stern]
Business with an idolater
         [Gil Student]
Conversion for marriage
Fowl as Basar
         [Josh Backon]
How Big is Big?
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Marsha Rapp]
Lights and security systems on shabbat (2)
         [Stan Tenen, Michael Rogovin]
Sefardi Women's prayer
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
straddling plag
Teaching Chumash
         [Ira Bauman]
Textual Tanach
         [Warren Burstein]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 05:07:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

I have reviewed the mail-jewish home page (http://mail-jewish.org) over
the weekend and fixed some links, removed some of the stuff listed in New
Articles that are now two years old from the home page (they are still on
the Articles page) as well as added a new article on Women's reading of
the Magilla by Aryeh Frimer. A short while ago, I also added the siman by
siman summary of R. Henkin's Responsa Bnei Banim. The new articles are in
PDF format, so you will need to get the Acrobat Reader if you do not
already have it.

I also finally updated my address from Highland Park to Allentown on the
web site Welcome message (in the Contributions section). I had not
realized that I had not updated that when I moved here.

I know that there are still some broken links on the pages, if people
come across them please let me know and I will try and fix
them. [Special Topics on the main page is broken, I need to find that
material and reset it up, the Articles page has superceeded the special
Topics over the last few years] In addition, if people have articles
they have written that they think would be appropriate for the web site,
please let me know and I will review them for being added.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 19:31:56 -0400
Subject: re: Avodat Cochavim

From: Yoram Rovner <yoram@...>
> 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?

 From a pragmatic standpoint -- how does one determine if someone is an
Avodat Chochavim.  Certain religions are classified as being such -- but
then how do we determine if someone is a member of that religion.  For
example, the corner newspaper vendor is run by Asian Indians -- or are
they Pakistani's -- in the one case that would likely make them Hindu,
in the other case likely to be Moslem.  Moslem's are no problem as they
are monotheists and it IS permitted to do business with them.

Is one obliged to ask?

Carl Singer


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 05:42:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Blowing our Candles

    In a message dated 27/6/03, Warren Burstein <warren@...> 
commented on what Zev Sero <zsero@...> had written:

    <<I was taught that this custom arose in the days of tallow candles, and
    the reason was to avoid the possibility of inhaling drops or vapour.
    (Chelev is an issur karet, much worse than ordinary treif.)>>

    "Is there a prohibition against inhaling chelev?"

    Surely the problem with blowing out candles made of cheilev is not
inhaling the material but blowing it onto nearby utensils which might
raise a problem (probably unfounded) with the latters' kashrut.

Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
( +44 (0) 161-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 10:31:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Business with an idolater

Yoram Rovner wrote:
>What kind of relation a jew can establish with an idolater,
>can he make business withhim for example?

This is the kind of question you should ask your local rabbi, so I will
only direct you to Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 156.  Ask your rabbi for

Gil Student


From: <Ggntor@...> (Yair)
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 09:41:50 EDT
Subject: Conversion for marriage

>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.

The case in the Torah of a non-Jewish woman, captured by a Jew, is quite
unique. Historically speaking, when a people was conquered, the usual
raping and pillaging took place, and many times the women were taken as
slaves (although not for hard labor I presume). The Torah prescribes a
fairly simple conversion process for the Yefat To'ar for her benefit
only - to prevent her from becoming enslaved and to provide her with the
highest degree of dignity possible. This is a far cry from a woman who
wants to convert to make a marriage to a Jew more amenable to relatives.



From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Fri,  27 Jun 2003 16:14 +0200
Subject: Fowl as Basar

Although Agra in the gemara in Chullin 104b indicates that fowl is not
meat with regard to basar v'chalav, see the Tosfot there (d"h Ohf) who
indicates that fowl (with milk) is an issur d'oraita ! See also the BACH
in Tur YD 87 and the Yam Shel Shlomo Chullin 100. Obviously the halacha
pesuka [Accepted Practical Halacha - Mod.] (YD 87:3) is that fowl with
milk is an issur d'rabbanan. The SHACH there (YD 87 s"k 4) rejects the
opinion of the BACH and the Yam Shel Shlomo. The halacha pesuka follows
the RIF, Rambam, ROSH, RASHBA in Torat haBayit, and Mechaber. BTW
another posek who ruled that fowl with milk is an issur d'oraita is the
Machazik Bracha Oht 18.

Josh Backon


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 14:01:01 +0200
Subject: How Big is Big?

      Irwin Weiss <irwin@...> wrote "how can we tell which
      Mitzvot are "big" and which are not?...Are some Mitzvot bigger or
      more important than others, and what is the test for "big"?

Besides presuming that this is just a figure of speech and should not be
taken as a standard for proper Halachic behavior, I guess "big" is
judged by the mitzvot that got away?

Yisrael Medad


From: <marsha@...> (Marsha Rapp)
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 15:36:33 +0300
Subject: re: Kitniyot

I have friend who still today buy their rice before pesach and inspect
it 3 times in order to be used on pesach. The only catch is that it must
be inspected before pesach on a kosher-le-pesach area.

Marsha Rapp


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 10:40:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Lights and security systems on shabbat

>We have just bought our first house and I have to deal with setting up a
>timer system for the lights on shabbat, and modifying the security
>system so it can work on shabbat.
>The options for lights include an X10 home automation system, mechanical
>or electronic timers at the main circuit board, or digital timers at
>each light switch.

We have experience with most of these.

The X10 system has been around since DAK marketed it in the 1960's, and has 
been through several reworkings. Radio Shack sells most of them now. The 
X10 is absolutely unreliable. 

Electronic digital timers that fit behind wall switchplates are also very 
unreliable. They also blow out and lock up.

And of course, all electronic and digital timers are absolutely 
un-adjustable, because every adjustment makes a minor spark.

The old-fashioned mechanical timers are the most reliable. Even in a power 
outage, they always come back on (albeit with a time-delay equal to the 
outage). And on some, it's possible to pull pins to make adjustments, even 
on Shabbos, in such a way as not to cause a spark, or not change something 
that has already happened (according to some interpretations, anyway). And 
if there is a power outage, unlike the plugged-in units which can include 
capacitors that hold a charge and make a spark, you can pull them 
completely out of the socket if necessary without making a spark.

The lesson is, mechanical is good and reliable, and electronic and digital 
are unreliable, and full of surprises.

Be well.

From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jun 2003 12:50:40 GMT
Subject: Re: Lights and security systems on shabbat

As this discussion group is a forum for halacha and not home automation,
I'll reply separately and directly. But I do want to note that I have
had extensive experience with x10 as a shaon shabbat and so other
members of mj should feel free to contact me and share experiences.

Michael Rogovin


From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 21:33:27 -0400
Subject: re: Sefardi Women's prayer

Indeed Rav Ovadya Yosef rules that women cannot say the berachot of
pesukei d'zimrah (Baruch She'amar and Yishtabach) or the berachot of
Shma (Yotzer Or, Ahavat Olam, Ga'al Yisrael) with "shem" and "malchut"
(saying the name 'ado-nay' or 'elo-henu').

To understand why, you must first remember that women in general are not
obligated to perform time bound mitzvot.  But, for most of those mitzvot
women may still perform the time bound mitzvah if they so desire.  The
issue however (and again this is a split between Ashkenazim and
Sefardim) is whether or not they may make the beracha on the mitzvah.
On the one hand, how can a woman make a beracha for a mitzva like lulav
or sukkah that says "ve-tzivanu" when woman are not commanded to shake a
lulav or sit in a sukkah.  Ashkenazim however would say that the beracha
is part of the act of doing the mitzvah, so if you perform the mitzvah
you say the beracha and the "ve-tzivanu" applies to all of Am Yisrael in
general and the not the specific woman performing the mitzvah.  Tosafot
in Masechet Rosh Hashannah 33a "Ha Ribbi Yehudah" is the earliest place
where this issue is raised.

With that said, if you look at the Pesukei D'zimrah or the berachot of
Shma - they are clearly time bound mitzvot since you can only say them
in the morning.  Hence, Rav Ovadia Yosef rules according to standard
Sefardic practice of not allowing woman to say the berachot of time
bound mitzvot.  Other Sefardi poskim do not apply this principle to the
extent that Rav Ovadia Yosef did.  They point out that there is a major
difference between Pesukei D'zimrah + the berachot of Sh'ma vs. the
berachot of mitzvot such as Sukkah and Lulav, namely that nowhere in
Pesukei D'zimrah or the berachot of Shma does it ever say "v'tzivanu" so
one cannot say that these are similar to the berachot of Lulav or Sukah.
Rather, these are berachot of praise, and although the Rabbis instituted
these berachot to be said in the morning, that should not cause thiese
berachot of Shma to be considered time-bound mitzvot for the purposes of
women not saying them.  And so you can find some Sefardi Women's siddurm
that include shem and malchut for the berachot of Pesukei D'zimrah and
Kriat Shma (Nezer Hakodesh is one example).

Joshua Hosseinof


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 22:45:40 -0700
Subject: straddling plag

If one wants to daven ma'ariv after plag but before sunset, 
does one have to:
	finish or start
mincha before plag?

Does it make a difference if a person is davening with a minyan - 
do the silent amidah's have to 
	finish or start
mincha before plag?


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 23:00:46 EDT
Subject: Re: Teaching Chumash

      If children are to be captivated at all by Torah, and if they are
      to love Torah and think and dream about Torah as only a child can,
      they must be taught the Midrashim as Jews have traditionally been
      taught them for hundreds of years. Thus, Og was indeed a giant
      thousands of feet tall, Adam was indeed folded by God to fit into
      his grave, Yakov was indeed surrounded by quarrelling rocks that
      merged into one to support his head.  If we wish to hook the child
      when he is young, as we must, he must be encouraged to see the
      Biblical figures as larger than life, and imagine his ancestors in
      this light

This answer may be appropriate for some but alas thare is a large
segment of students that either due to cessation of their Jewish
education or personal disinclination, do not get to relearn these
medrashim with the sophistication that they deserve.  These stories
cease to be sources of wonder and become ridiculed as entertainment for
the simple minded.  I have heard many graduates of talmud torahs wonder
at how their teachers expected them to believe these stories.

The Rambam in the introduction to chapter Chelek of Sanhedrin talks of
three groups of people.  Those who believe medrash as history, those who
ridicule medrash and the only legitimate group, those who delve into the
medrash to find the messages therein.

   Our children learn that Har Sinai was turned upside down over the
Bnai Yisroel.  We can use that Medrash as a jumping off point to talk
about the limits of Breirah chafshit, or we can leave it as a wondrous
lesson in geology.  

Ira Bauman


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 16:16:37 +0400
Subject: Re: Textual Tanach

Danny Skaist writes:

>In Chap 4, (verse 10 I think) Boaz announces that he married "Ruth the
>Moabite".  Since it is a biblical (I think) prohibition to refer to the
>origins of a convert, she must not have been a convert.  The
>intermarriage was acceptable and the child was Jewish, with a Jewish
>father and non-jewish mother.  So, you are not allowed to learn tanach

As Rashi on 4:10 doesn't answer the question, would one also not be allowed
to learn Tanach with only Rashi?


End of Volume 39 Issue 94