Volume 40 Number 38
                 Produced: Mon Aug 11 14:01:43 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beis Din
         [Michael Kahn]
Books by catholic/religious figures who converted
         [Jerry Weinberg]
         [Zvi Greenberg]
Carrying on Yom Tov
         [Immanuel Burton]
fake Holidays
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Halacha and Aggadic Text
         [Josh Backon]
Heter Meah Rabbanim - 100 Rabbis Heter
         [Dov Bloom]
Shmuel Vital & Shabbtai Tzvi
         [Yisrael Medad]
Spontaneous Generation-An ALternate Explanation
         [Russell J Hendel]
Ten lost tribes
Three weeks
         [Perets Mett]
Tzizit and 613 Mitzvot
         [Stan Tenen]


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 17:10:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Beis Din

How does going to Bes Din work? I've thankfully never been to one. So
let's say I have a dispute with someone. Who in NYC would we even go to?
Would we pay the dayanim? How much would it cost? I know people hire
lawyers or toanim. Why are these people disliked by many?


From: <WjErrYES@...> (Jerry Weinberg)
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 14:02:59 EDT
Subject: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

I am seeking the name/s of books written in the last several years by
catholic/religious figures who then converted and are orthodox jews.


Jerry Weinberg


From: Zvi Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 18:9:8 +0200
Subject: Caleb

At the OU Website, I was able to download a Talmud selection permitted
for study on Tishah B'Av - Gittin 55b -56a -from the Schottenstein
Edition, courtesy of ArtScroll. In addition to Kamtza and Bar Kamtza,
one of the gentlemen mentioned is BEN KALBA SAVUA - so called because
anyone who entered his house as hungry as a dog left satisfied.

Personally, I enjoy having an animal name.

Eilat, Israel


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 12:01:25 +0100
Subject: RE: Carrying on Yom Tov

In MJ v40n34, Sam Saal wrote:

> Why would the obstacles which a blind man avoids by using his white
> stick suddenly disappear just because it was Shabbat? I'm very curious
> to what element of psychology (I assume not pop-psychology) your
> teacher was referring.

A blind man is physically capable of the action of walking, i.e.
putting one foot down in front of the other and maintaining balance
throughout.  Carrying a white stick does not contribute at all to this
process.  However, carrying a white stick enables him to detect any
obstacles before bumping into them, so from a psychlogical aspect he
does need the stick.  Our teacher didn't explain what element of
psychology he referred to, but I assume it's something akin to
confidence building, i.e. the white stick gives a blind man confidence
to walk around unaided without fear of stumbling.

On a slighty different of carrying, I have heard it suggested that
ladies should be allowed to carry an empty handbag (or purse as I
believe they're called in North America) on Shabbos, as a handbag is
part of a lady's dress code.  I don't know if any formal psak has ever
been given anywhere to allow this, though.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2003 15:48:27 -0700
Subject: fake Holidays

As to the ethical question of Jewish workers claiming extra Holidays
(who can keep track anyway; we have so many!)--

I think that it is very important to be thoughful about how to handle
this.  Imagine, for instance, that your less-observant colleague has
never heard of "Shemini Atzeret" and tells the boss that it isn't
actually a holiday.  I was actually told by a boss that "most people
just take off the *day* of Passover, not all that extra time".

Also, some workers take off Purim (to better observe the various
mitzvot), or 9 Av (to fast without the difficulties of a work
environment with extreme hunger/thirst, stinky body/breath, etc.).  As
long as there is a legitimate purpose, and the time is compensated by
time/money, I think these are reasonable Jewish absences.

I guess the question is--was this so-called-holiday actually any kind of
holiday (Rosh Chodesh etc.), or was it pure fantasy?  If the former, I
would answer queries with, "my tradition allows me to come to work on
Yom HaAtzma'ut [or whatever]."  I would not bring it up unasked.  If the
latter, I'm not sure how to respond.

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Sat,  9 Aug 2003 20:47 +0200
Subject: Re: Halacha and Aggadic Text

The source for the rule that we don't learn halacha from aggadic text is
in the Yerushalmi on Messechet Peah 13a.

Josh Backon


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 11:29:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Heter Meah Rabbanim - 100 Rabbis Heter

comment #1:
The Bobov / New York Times story mentioned by Bob Tolchin said that the
Beit Din who gave the Heter Meah Rabbanim did not, when questioned, have
any existant list of who the 100 Rabbis were, they couldn't find it
The story quoted someone as saying that anyone nowadays who was involved
in a Heter Meah Rabbanim would probably frame it on his wall. (because
of the rarity)

When I mentioned the above quote to a friend who is an Israeli Rosh
Yeshiva and who served many years as a community Rabbi,  he said more or

        I myself signed these kind of things and barely knew what I was
        signing. They post them a Rabbinical convention and such
        sponsored by the Rabbinate, (where else is it easy to get 100
        Rabbanim ?) Whoever wanted to, just signed, assuming some Godol
        had issued it and it was legitimate .. [ note: in V 40 Issue 32
        Menashe Elyashiv posted that in Israel the Chief Rabbis issued
        the heter and sign first...] 

comment #2 -
on the use of the Heter in a case of an accused "moredet" (the husband
in the Bobov case accused the wife of not fulfilling her conjugal
obligations and therefore he was justified in taking a second wife...)
The claim of "moredet" as I understand it would be grounds for him
giving the wife a get. But here it apparently was used to circumvent
giving a get! ..: I recently saw a tshuva from the Shoel UMeishiv (R'
Yosef Shaul Nathanson, a pre-eminent posek from Lvov , latter part of
the 19th century). He writes in his responsa third section (Mahadura
Tlita'a , I think it was tshuva 350, I don't have it here), that he was
very opposed to using the heter to allow a husband to marry a second
wife (the husband needed the heter because the wife was unwilling to
accept a get!) in cases of "ta'anat moredet", because in our lowly
generation "dor parutz ze"  anyone could and would use this "taanat
moredet". He (the Shoel UMeishiv) countenances the use of Heter Meah
Rabbanim to allow a husband to marry a second wife, only when the woman
could not accept the get because she was deranged/insane
(nishtateit). In the Bobov case , the woman would (allegedly) love to a
receive a get and the husband refuses / is holding out for financial
concerns... R' Yosef Shaul Nathanson would certainly have opposed using
the Heter in this case. 

Dov A Bloom


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 09 Aug 2003 21:44:10 +0200
Subject: Shmuel Vital & Shabbtai Tzvi

      Alan Felt <alanfelt@...> wrote

      I read in a book "The false Messiah" by John Freely that the son
      of Rabbi Chaim Vital - R' Shmuel, was one of the disciples or
      prophets of Shabetai Zvi. Could that be true?!

According to Gershom Scholem's Sabbati Sevi, p. 276, Shmuel Vital was
with Shabbtai Tzvi in Cairo in 1664, joined the "movement" and
supervised the penitential exercises, initiated by Raphael Joseph
including ritual immersions, prolonged fasts and flagellations, right
from the beginning.

But on p. 642 writes: "there is no definite evidence of his Sabbatian
faith."  It seems that Natan of Gaza's claim that Vital Senior was
greater than the Ari maybe worked its magic and Shmuel was willing to
tolerate the Kabbalistic elements but not the messianism.  He draws this
from the fact that in 1666 Shmuel exorcised a spirit from a man who was
bothered on the Fast of 17th Tammuz, but that year, Shabtai Tzvi had
eliminated the fast.  And he doesn't mention any messianic fervor.

Yisrael Medad


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Aug 2003 22:40:38 -0400
Subject: RE: Spontaneous Generation-An ALternate Explanation

Carl Singer v40n29 mentions someone who believes that the theory of
spontaneous generation is an intrinsic requirement to the applicability
of one of the 613 commandments.

>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.  

In general I frequently see people who believe that the only reasonable
interpretation of a Talmudic Law or a Biblical passage is some outdated
theory. Thus it would be useful to examine these maggot laws to see if
there is a reasonable interpretation.

Using the book of commandments we see that there are 40 negative
commandments (#173-#206) that deal with prohibitions of eating. The
prohibitions relevant to our discussion our #176,#177,#178. The Rambam
in #177 performs an alignment on Lv11-41 (which prohibits the MAGGOTS
WHO *MAGGOTIZE* ON EARTH) with Lv11-44 (which prohibits the MAGGOTS WHO

The Rambam explains that MAGGOTS WHO *MAGGOTIZE* vs *WHO CRAWL*
distinguishes between >insects whose reproductive capacity is part of
them vs insects who permanantize their existence (MITHAVEH) from other

While this language COULD be consistent with a theory of spontaneous
generation it is not necessary to believe in spontaneous generation to
contrast the two Biblical phrases.

Quite simply their are animals who either gestate (carry their young in
their bodies) or who brood their eggs (like many birds)

By contrast their are animals(maggots) that may (IN AN INSTANT) lay eggs
but who do NOT FURTHER maintain and promote gestation.  Rather the eggs
spontaneously (pun intended!) get their nutrition from their environment
but not from their parents.

So quite simply INSECTS WHO INSECTIFY refer to small creatures >whose
reproductive/gestative capacity is part of them (that is intrinsic to
their anatomy)< while by contrast INSECTS WHO CRAWL refer to >insects
who permanantize their existence from outside sources<.

I believe this gives an intellectually satisfying account of this
distinction that is consistent with biology and comes from rigorous
definitions (how much time do the parents spend in reproduction).

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 8 Aug 2003 18:14:28 -0700
Subject: Re: Ten lost tribes

> From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
> How do you arrive at the number of lost tribes being 10? Yehuda and
> Binyamin weren't lost as they were in the South. Shimon was incorporated
> within Yehuda. Levi wasn't lost. That leaves Reuven, Issachar, Zevulun,
> Dan, Naftali, Gad, Asher, Ephraim, Menashe, which is only 9. Or does
> Menashe count for 2 as half was on each side of the Jordan?

I had brought this up a few months ago. To me, the best answer I came up
with is that one can get to 9 as the number in the Northern Kingdom and
in Tenach counting , 9 often equals 10.  examples, 40 lashes and 40 main
catagories of Sabbath work.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 14:51:54 +0100
Subject: Three weeks

A recent issue of mj contained this:

> Please, people, if we're going to keep discussing this, let's maintain
> the distinction between shavuot and shevuot.  Shavuot is a holiday;
> Shevuot is a tractate.  The mourning period that is currently coming to
> an end is the Shalosh Shavuot;

Not really.

Hebrew grammar, as we say during the sfiro, demands "sh'loisho
shovuois", since shovua is masculine.

Perets Mett


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2003 17:08:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Tzizit and 613 Mitzvot

>From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
>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.

Actually, no.

The number of positive and negative mitzvot is determined by the degrees
of restriction (negative mitzvot) and the degrees of freedom (positive
mitzvot) of Adam Kadmon, as specified by pairing the letters at the
beginning of B'reshit.

The 365 negative mitzvot, it is more or less generally agreed,
correspond _geometrically_ to the days of the solar year. These form a
belt or girtel at Adam Kadmon's midriff. The idea is that we are
restricted in time.

The 248 positive mitzvot are a greater mystery. But the mystery is
easily resolved by reference to the geometry of Adam Kadmon, whose
"arms" (there are three of them -- a "left", a "right", and a "strong")
are free to move in 248 dimensions.

There is really no way to describe this in words, which is why an
understanding of this is generally unavailable to people whose studies
are based on words. But the geometry is direct, elegant, unique, and
obvious (once looked over, of course).

You can find a graphic of Adam Kadmon and his 365-negative "belt" and
248-degrees of freedom at <www.meru.org/Posters/AdamKadmon.html>.

Be well.



End of Volume 40 Issue 38