Volume 39 Number 97
                 Produced: Tue Jul  1  5:14:30 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ashet Yefas Toar
         [Yaakov Fogelman]
Beracha on dessert
Bit of Trivia (Computers & Judaism
         [Mark Symons]
         [Martin D. Stern]
Duchening on Shabbat
         [Zev Sero]
Halachic Organ Donation
         [Charlie Hafner]
         [Michael Kahn]
Mesora during the Shoftim period
         [Ben Katz]
Midrash Rabbah
         [Shalom Ozarowski]
Question re Meat and Fowl
         [Shraga Rubin]
Simcha Guidelines (3)
         [Martin D. Stern, Rachel Swirsky, I Kasdan]
Stealing to save one's life
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
         [Akiva Miller]


From: Yaakov Fogelman <top@...>
Subject: Ashet Yefas Toar

Yair's citing ashet yefas toar as an example of easy conversion, an
exception to the rule, is not simple; Ohr Hachayim, in Ki Setze, posits
that she is a lost holy soul from Gan eden; the best proof is that one
doing the highest mitzva, tzahal, has an intense yearning for her.. He
follows rambam, that she need not undergo the debasing mourning rites,
if she is ready to convert on the spot. He justifies such original
exegesis, even against that of chazal, who are only authorities in
halacha,in the beginning of Haazinu. Anyone who would like a copy of my
study on this, or to join my parasha list, please e-mail me.  Yaakov


From: <Danmim@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 20:13:17 EDT
Subject: Beracha on dessert

question; why should one be required to recite a seperate bracha over a
cake dessert when he recited a bracha on hamotze.


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Subject: Bit of Trivia (Computers & Judaism

Goldfinger, Andy <Andy.Goldfinger@...> wrote:
	    ... (I dare  not say "ham")....

That reminds me of the stoning scene in the Life of Brian! (which brings
to mind the question of what version(s) of the Tetragrammaton it is
forbidden to pronounce).

Mark Symons


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 06:27:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Duchening

    In a message dated 30/6/03, Immanuel Burton. writes:

    << (2) In places outside Israel, why do a lot of places omit
    duchening when Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, even though the Mishnah
    Berurah says that one should duchen. >>

    This is related to what Perets Mett states (ibid.): <<However, it is
    customary to recite no techinos on Shabbos ^ >>

    In fact it is prohibited to recite techinos on Shabbos so, to avoid
those not aware of the prohibition doing so, some kehillos do not duchen
when yomtov falls on Shabbos.

    However the custom of German Jews generally is to duchen on Shabbos
and to include the extended nigun throughout. They also have a separate
nigun for each yomtov, which is also used at certain points in the
davenning as well (end of yishtabach / kaddish / borekhu, hodu / ana in
hallel and for shir hama'alos in benching). It is possible that these
are the MiSinai nigunim mentioned by the Maharil, the primary source for
most specifically Ashkenazi customs.

    Yours sincerely

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


From: Zev Sero <slipstick1@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 05:39:06 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Duchening on Shabbat

Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...> wrote:

> (2) In places outside Israel, why do a lot of places omit duchening when
> Yom Tov falls on Shabbos, even though the Mishnah Berurah says that one
> should duchen.

The German custom is that the cohanim duchen in slippers, rather than in
stocking feet.  Therefore, they are afraid that on shabbat a cohen might
forget about the prohibition on carrying, and bring his duchening
slippers to shul, so they don't duchen on shabbat; the precedent is
`gezera deRabba', which abolished several mitzvot on shabbat (shofar,
lulav, megila) so as not to lead to carrying.

Zev Sero


From: Charlie Hafner <chafner@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 13:36:54 -0400
Subject: Halachic Organ Donation

I recently heard a speaker from HODS(Halachic Organ Donor Society,
http://www.hods.org ), and he raised many issues.

The one I'm most interested in is: If one considers (apparently Rav
Elyoshuv and others) presence of heartbeat as criteria for life/death,
not "brain death" , is there any objection or restriction to donate
organs after cessation of heartbeat. Obviously,organs donated after
heart activity ends are not as optimal, but I understand with technology
improvements, they're still worth harvesting.

To take it one step further, is one permitted, or obligated to donate
organs if all halachic issues are settled.


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 13:26:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Mazikim

>Mazikim are an irrational belief and thus the above action is

Why is belief in mazikim an irrational belief? Doesn't the gemara seem
to say they exist while the Rambam says they don't? So the possibility
of their existence is a rationall possibility! I'm sure you believe in
malochim/angels. Is that any more "rational" from a physical


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 2003 12:49:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Mesora during the Shoftim period

>From: <BaalHaIkvei@...> (Shraga Rubin)
>In MJ 39:84 <Yisyis@...> commented
>"The shoftim were supposed to be the roshei yeshiva but it would seem
>that they were chosen more for their leadership and military skills."
>Osniel ben Knaz, the first shofet, was the one who proved though pilpul
>hundreds of forgotten halachos after Moshe was niftar.

         Here is a prime example of quoting midrash as if it were fact.
Nowhere in the Nach is there even a hint that this is the case.


From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 01:50:35 EDT
Subject: Midrash Rabbah

> Medrash Rabba was only 1000 years ago? Are you referring to the printing?

I didn't see the original posting on this, but in short, the various
collections of midrashim (specifically aggada) span a number of
different time periods.  the content of some midrashim like bamidbar
rabbah, lekach tov, sechel tov, yalkut shimoni, (tanchuma also?) and
others were earlier versions of midrashim (baal peh)[orally transmitted
- Mod.] that were compiled in writing by rishonim who did indeed live
around 1000 years ago, give or take 200 years.  there was of course no
printing until the 15th century.  [an interesting side-note is that part
of the innovation of rashi's peirush al hatorah lies in the fact that
while most of his contemporaries were simply compiling midrashei chazal
on chumash, rashi seemed to incorporate midrashim selectively and square
it with simple 'pshuto shel mikra.'] [explaination of the verse - Mod.]

on the other hand, midrashei halacha for the most part and some others
like eicha rabbati & breishit rabba were compiled and written much
earlier, e.g. during period of of amoraim or sometimes tana'im.  an
interesting way to check is to look for a pattern in the man d'omrim
[lit. - those who say, meaning the names of those quoted in the midrash
- Mod.] of the midrash, such as whether they lived in bavel or eretz
yisrael or what generation they were.  sometimes this background check
gives added insight into how different group within "chazal" understood
chumash passages differently or had varying approaches to their drash.
the large red set of midrash rabba (published by machon
something-or-other, i forget the exact name; it has a popular
kehati-style peirush) has an introduction to each sefer which discusses
how we know its source, how old it is etc.  keep in mind that each of
the sifrei midrash are separate works and "midrash rabba" is only an
arbitrary collection of 5 of those on each book of chumash (as well as 5
megilot) not a unified 'set' in itself.  hope that helps.  its good to
learn midrash!

kol tuv
shalom ozarowski


From: <BaalHaIkvei@...> (Shraga Rubin)
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2003 16:39:48 -0400
Subject: Question re Meat and Fowl

In MJ 39:92 Yehonatan Chipman wrote
> "One of the last verses in the story about the quail and Kivrot
> ha-Ta'avah" (Num 11:33) begins: "the meat was yet between their
> teeth...."  This verse is quoted by the gemara in Hullin 105a -- the
> classical source for the separation between meat and milk even over a
> certain time interval -- in Rav Yosef bar Aha's response to Rav Hisda's
> question, to indicate that "meat between the teeth is also called meat."
>   This year, I suddenly thought of a problem with this, so obvious that
> I was amazed I had not thought of it before: namely, that quail, being a
> bird, is not considered "meat" on the de-oraita level but, as is well
> known, is prohibited only by Rabbinic ordinance.  How, then, can it be
> that this is seen to be the Torah proof text for the laws of milk and
> meat?"

The Gemara is not saying that they ate basar- meat and then milk, thus
proving that it is forbidden to do so; because firstly, the Gemara
doesn't cite any pusok regarding milk, and furthermore, the end of that
pusok says that they died.  Rather the Gemara is proving that something
stuck between one's teeth is still called by it's original name.  The
Torah still refers to it with the same name as it was referred to
before- basar.  We therefore can induce that also by hilchos basar
vechalav, as long as there is still something "between one's teeth",
it's still called by that original name and therefore all apllicable
halachos still apply as they did before. 

Shraga Rubin


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 07:53:51 EDT
Subject: Re: Simcha Guidelines

    In a message dated 30/6/03, Sharon Shapiro  writes:
    <<I recently ran across an article entitled "Simcha Guidelines," which I
    believe was originally published in the September 2002 issue of the
    Jewish Observer.  The guidelines were meant for those residing in the
    New York/New Jersey metro area, although they were meant to pave the way
    for jewish communities across the country.  I was just curious to know
    if there have been any noticeable changes in the grand scale of simchas
    since these guidelines have been published.  Any opinions? >>

    Halevai! The guidelines were if anything far too loose in my opinion. I 
would balk at the level of expenditure permitted and the level of luxury 
implied but pehaps we in England have not yet reached the US standard of living. I 
write from experience having been a ba'al simchah on numerous occasions.
    Apropos of this topic there is an old joke which some readers may have 
not heard:
    " Question: Why did Yitro have seven names?
    Answer: Because he had seven daughters and was bankrupted by each wedding 
so he had to set up in business under a new name!"

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

From: Rachel Swirsky <swirskyr@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 11:07:15 -0400
Subject: Simcha Guidelines

These simcha guidelines were written, but they never really took off.  One
of the problems was that a clause was added to the end saying something
along the lines of "all this is true except in cases where there needs to be
an exception".  Rules can not exist if they are not going to apply to
everyone equally. Some of the rabbanim who had originally planned on signing
the document, refused on these grounds.

Rachel Swirsky

From: I Kasdan <ikasdan@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2003 09:35:58 -0400
Subject: Simcha Guidelines

Regarding the Simcha Guidelines, see
footnotes 23 and 27.


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Stealing to save one's life

The way I learned it was... technically, "stealing" is taking something
with no intention of returning it or paying for it.  When someone is
starving, he still would not be allowed to "steal" food in that
technical sense, but he would be allowed to take it without permission,
with the intention of paying for it later.  That would, of course,
normally be forbidden, but in the case of danger to life it is


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2003 19:05:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Superstition

Ben Katz wrote <<< I guess it depends what you mean by irrational.
Saying something has a reason does not mean that the reason is not
irrational.  Mazikim are an irrational belief and thus the above action
is superstitious. >>>

I agree. It does depend on what one means by "irrational".

For example, if we translate "mazikim" as "germs", then they are quite
rational indeed.

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 39 Issue 97