Volume 40 Number 32
                 Produced: Tue Aug  5 13:35:24 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are Jews ethically challenged?
         [Carl Singer]
Biblical Sources for Blessing Phraseology
         [Russell J Hendel]
The Bronx
         [Bill Bernstein]
Brooklyn (2)
         [Richard Alexander, <FriedmanJ@...>]
Driving and Danger
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Heter Meah Rabbanim - 100 Rabbis Heter
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
How to Debate
         [Sam Saal]
         [Art Werschulz]
Spontaneously generated bugs (was: Tzizit and 613 Mitzvot)
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Two new postings on Jlaw.com
         [I Kasdan]
Tzruya's Husband
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 15:07:07 -0400
Subject: Are Jews ethically challenged?

More accurately, Do some groups of Jews frequently display unethical
behavior and/or is such behavior the acceptable norm within some groups
(especially when dealing with outsiders - both Jewish & non-Jewish,
individual and governmental.)  And what, if anything, should be our

To keep this in perspective remember that when looking a jar filled with
white marbles, the one blue marble in the jar will stand out.  I
probably need many caveats re: loose terminology -- "some" "groups"
"frequently" "unethical" , "outsiders" etc.

I am not speaking of headline grabbing individuals that we unfortunately
see from time to time -- I speaking of the boundaries of acceptable
day-to-day behavior displayed by groups of people.

No, I am not reacting to a scam or in anger -- its just that within the
past weeks I've become aware of several different situations (none
directly effecting me) that I fall somewhere between unethical and

Here are three (disguised) examples:

1 - a group of employees tell their non-Jewish manager that they cannot
work on a certain date because it is a (non-existant) Jewish holiday.
They want the time off to attend a wedding.

2 - several people pad their resumes -- but what makes it more heinous
(to me) is that their alma mater enables this (en masse) by accepting
bogus transfer credits, non-existant life experiences, etc., And uses
its "shortcuts" as a selling point to attract new students.

3 - a company "relocates" many of its employees (on paper only) in order
to qualify for government subsidies.  < Actually, this may not qualify
as a GROUP example as the employees are unaware. >

What I'm seeking is a framework by which this can be discussed WITHOUT
delving heavily into specific incidents.

Also a framework for determining what our response should be.

Consider the first example:  One could:

(a) subscribe to MYOB (mind your own business) although as a coworker
this may put more work on your shoulders,

(b) if asked why you, too, aren't taking this day off you can be
truthful and say that it is not, to your knowledge a Holiday and let the
feathers fly where they may or

(c) you can lie (or be evasive to some degree) in order to protect this

Carl Singer


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 22:41:10 -0400
Subject: RE: Biblical Sources for Blessing Phraseology

John Gronner (v40n29) mentions several examples of Blessing phraseology
being derived from comparable Biblical language. Thus we have that (a)
the blessing on bread is inferred from Ps104:14 (Yakov Fogelman) and
that (b) the blessing on vegetables is inferred from Gn21-33 (Rabbi

Just wanted to bring attention to an obscure Rashi (gn21-33b.htm) which
takes the innocent verse "Abraham planted some trees in Beer Sheva and
called in the name of God Might of the World; Rashi states that Abraham
instituted the practice of blessing God before eating!!!!.

In explaining this verse on the RashiYomi website we find 4 verses where
Abraham called in the name of God (Gn13-04, Gn12-08, Gn26-25,
Gn21-33). By aligning these 4 verses we conspicuously see that the
phrase IN THE NAME OF GOD MIGHT OF THE WORLD only occurs in Gn21-33b
(See the url below for details).

So Rashi-is-Simple Following the Talmud, he connects the phrase GOD
MIGHT OF THE WORLD with the almost similar phrase GOD LORD OF THE WORLD
which occurs in the prefix of all blessings. Apparently the
standing-out-phrase suggested to our Rabbis that Abraham instituted a
special type of calling to God (not just at altars but in day to day

I even suggest there that when the Prophet-Sages of the Great Assembly
instituted the practice of blessings on food that we now practice, they
probably based the blessing language on this verse.

Russell Jay Hendel;http://www.RashiYomi.com/gn21-33b.htm


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 09:44:41 -0500
Subject: Re: The Bronx

I know Avi has cut off further discussion of this but I thought the
number of responses was funny.  Then I wondered: the list members are so
scattered geographically and yet a significant number seem to come from
the Bronx.  I am curious how many list members either were born there or
lived there at some point in their lives.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN
(born, Waldo Ave, Riverdale, The Bronx)

[Not born or lived in The Bronx, but right across the river in
Washington Hights and went to school for a number of years at Zichron
Moshe in the Bronx. Mod.] 


From: <JAlexan186@...> (Richard Alexander)
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 21:08:36 EDT
Subject: Brooklyn

Just as a point of information, Brooklyn takes its name from Brueckelen
(I'm not sure of the spelling), a town in the Netherlands, which is
where most of the original settlers of NYC came from. That's also where
the names Midwood (Midwout), Harlem (Haarlem), and Flushing
(Vliessingen) come from. To say nothing of Kill van Kull, Sputen Duyvil,
and Yonkers, to name but a few.

Incidentally, Jonas Bronck was originally from Denmark. His direct
descendants still live in the NYC area.

Richard Alexander

From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2003 21:46:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Brooklyn

A quick history of Brooklyn

   In 1646, the Village of Breuckelen was authorized by the Dutch West
   India Company and became the first municipality in what is now New
   York State (the predecessors of the Cities of Albany and New York were
   numbers two and three, respectively).


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 16:28:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Driving and Danger

 >> Of course, there is also the real problem of chillul hashem when
 >> speeding by other motorists, or if, G-d forbid, someone else is hurt in
 >> a speeding accident.
 >Well, yes, I think everyone agrees that halacha forbids speeding to the
 >point of danger, even in the complete absence of speed limits.
 >That's not relevant to the issue of mere technical violations of the
 >posted limits.

No, my point was that if, G-d forbid, you get into an accident and hurt
someone and it is uncovered that you were breaking the law by speeding,
then there is clearly a problem of chillul hashem, whether or not
halacha would consider your speed dangerous.

Kol tuv,
Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 19:30:10 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Heter Meah Rabbanim - 100 Rabbis Heter

   Bob Tolchin sent us to an article about the (apparent) misuse of the
100 Rabbi heter for a 2nd wife. Does anyone have info. on how often (or
unoften) is this heter used outside of Israel?

   In a course on Hilchot Ishut, the subject of the heter was
discused. In Israel the 2 Chief Rabbis sign first, and 98 other offical
Rabbis sign.  One of the students told us that he had signed a few
heterim as an army Rabbi. At that time, the relations between the 2
Chief Rabbis were not good, so the joke in the class was that in that
time no one would receive the heter because who would sign second?


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 10:56:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: How to Debate

I would like to publicly thank Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...> and
Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...> for their lively debate about
carrying (keys versus tissues, etc) on Shabbat and Yom Tov in
mail-jewish Vol. 40 #25. It was informative - even exciting - and on a
level I'm sure could be a model for "l'shem shamayim" (for the sake of

Sam Saal


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 11:38:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Shema

Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...> wrote:
> In fact, I heard that it was due to this law that they started
> saying Shma before Baruch sheamar, during karbonos, because the
> Zoroastrian guards posted in shulles to enforce the anti-Shma rule
> weren't there at the beginning of davening.

IIRC, the Hertz siddur gives a similar reason for the shema in the
Mussaf kedusha.  The guards left after sof z'man qeriyat shema, so it
was safe to say it then.

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 05:50:43 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Spontaneously generated bugs (was: Tzizit and 613 Mitzvot)

In MJ 40:29, Carl Singer <csngr@...> wrote:

>Someone in shule recently pointed out that one of the 613 is not 
>eating bugs that were "spontaneously generated" -- based on the then 
>prevalent scientific (mis-)conception that maggots spontaneously 
>appeared in (rotting) meat.  Well, since we now know that that isn't 
>the case, are we therefore left with only 612.

Halachah (generally) doesn't concern itself with phenomena that are
invisible to the naked eye - which is why we can consume products such
as bread, wine, and yogurt, even though each of these is produced by the
action of yeasts or bacteria, indisputably living creatures that don't
otherwise meet any of the criteria of kosher animal life.

So it seems to me that this mitzvah would still apply to those types of
insects whose eggs are not visible without magnification; from the point
of view of halachah, these could be considered "spontaneously generated"
inasmuch as the eggs from which they develop have no halachic
standing. (As far as I know, one is not required to check for the
presence of such eggs in food before eating it, except where health
considerations are involved.)

Kol tuv,


From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 2003 08:14:07 -0400
Subject: Two new postings on Jlaw.com

Two new postings on Jlaw.com that may be of intererst --

On Constructively Harnessing Tensions Between Laity and Clergy
by Marc D. Stern

[Marc Stern is assistant executive director of the Commission on Law and
Social Action of the American Jewish Congress and one of the nation's
foremost experts on the law of church and state. This paper was
presented by Mr.  Stern to The Orthodox Forum, a project of the Rabbi
Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, Yeshiva University, at its annual
conference this past March 2003, and is slated for publication in the
next of The Orthodox Forum's continuing series of books.

In Memory of Rabbi Walter Wurzburger
She-yarbu kamohu rabbanim b'yisroel ]

Tension between the laity and the rabbinate is not a new phenomenon. It
existed in Talmudic times'as for example in Rabbi Akiva's reminisces
about his feelings towards scholars when he was not yet one and, in the
same discussion, of the reciprocal hostile feelings of scholars towards
non-scholars. . . . .

Found at http://www.jlaw.com/Commentary/ms-LaityClergy.html


Should Moral Individuals Ever Lie? Insights from Jewish Law
by Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D. and Abraham C. Weisel, Esq.

Hershey H. Friedman, Ph.D.
Professor of Business and Marketing, Director of Business Program
Department of Economics, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York

Abraham C. Weisel, Esq.

(C) 2003 Dr. H. H. Friedman and A. C. Weisel


Dishonesty and deception are serious crimes in Jewish law. The Torah
explicitly demands that one should "Distance himself from a false
matter." There are, however, situations in which Jewish law permits or
even demands that one engage in deception. This paper will discuss when
it is permissible in Jewish law to prevaricate and deceive.  Recently, a
psychology study found that the average person lies about 150 to 200
times per day. (Geary, 2000; Walsh, 2001). At first blush, such numbers
seem to stagger rather than inform.  Most people would be offended if
they were told that they tell an average of eight to twelve untruths
every waking hour.  Nonetheless, after additional reflection and careful
consideration of true day-to-day social interactions, we almost intuit
that lying is not only more common than we expect, it is more necessary
as well.
       . . . . . .
Found at http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/hf_LyingPermissible.html


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 2003 20:04:11 +0200
Subject: Tzruya's Husband

      In Divrei Hayamim I 4:14 we have Serayah having a son named
      Yoav. I recall a source that this is Yoav ben Tzruyah and his
      father's name was Serayah.

a) Might I venture that this Seraya is too early in the generations to
be the husband of Tzruya?  It reads Kenaz begets Othniel and Seraya.
And continues that Yoav's sons are the Harashim.  Seems to be another

b) As for Nachash, there's a bit of a complication. II Shmuel 17:25
reads: Amasa was the son of Ithra HaYisraeli who came upon Avigail,
daughter of Nachash, sister to Tzruya, mother of Yoav.

So, I'm wrong about Nachash being the husband of Tzruya.  Nachash is
then another name for Yishai.  Somehow, I now recall that there's a
midrash that Nachash refers to the fact that he was bitten by a snake.
I'll have to do some further checking.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 40 Issue 32