Volume 40 Number 41
                 Produced: Mon Aug 18  5:27:12 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Abstain from any involvement with women"
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Books by catholic/religious figures who converted
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
B'tai din and surrounding issues (3)
         [Shimon Lebowitz, Ruth E. Sternglantz, Jeanette Friedman]
Dam Betulim
         [Ari Kahn]
Eruv Strings
         [Ilana Goldstein Saks]
How does going to Bes Din work
         [Lawrence Lebowitz]
Kavod ha-Met
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Batya Medad]
Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food
         [Morton Trainer]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 12:57:14 +0200
Subject: "Abstain from any involvement with women"

I also am not familiar with people who adhere to such a practice, but is
that not the intent of the Mishna in Avot 1:5 "Do not speak overmuch
with women, meaning his wife, and all the more so his friend's wife" (my
own translation)?


> On its own, I would have interpreted that to mean "abstain from
> involvement with women outside of marriage," but the continuation of
> your remarks seem to suggest it means even abstaining from
> "involvement" with one's own wife or even not marrying at all.  If it
> is the last two, I have not seen that particular chumrah at all, even
> in the most stringent of Orthodox circles.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:27:18 +0200
Subject: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

I am somewhat hesitant as to whether the book, "The Unknown Sanctuary,"
by Aime Palliere (republished by Bloch in 1971), quite qualifies.

Aime was a French Catholic priest who drew very close to the Jewish
people, and the blurb on the book notes that he "embraced Judaism by
conviction. ...  He not only engaged in the study and practice of
Judaism, but also aspired to serve souls in the Jewish ministry. Before
long, he established himself as an outstanding figure in Jewish life,
serving as assistant minister in the Paris Liberal Congregation and as
Vice President of the Jewish National Fund of France."

Now, why my hesitation?

In the Preface by Rabbi Abraham I. Carmel, himself a convert, he notes,
"Although Palliere was never formally received into Judaism, he was
closer to Jewish thought and values than millions born into the faith."

Rabbi Carmel quotes the official obituary in the (London) Jewish
Chronicle in February 1950, that "He was in his 75th year and died as a
Christian."  Nevertheless, he asked for Kaddish to be said for him in a

Rabbi Carmel concludes, "He will have both his Kaddish and his place in
the history of the people he so deeply loved and faithfully served."

All in all, it's a totally fascinating book.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:27:51 +0200
Subject: Re: B'tai din and surrounding issues

>> If he is messing about, he is opening himself up to HIV infection, which
>> is a death sentence. Anyone hear of pikuach nefesh? She has every right
>> to go on a mikvah strike to save her own life and health.

> See the Mail Jewish issues from a few weeks ago that a one in six
> chance (%16.6) of danger is called piku'ach nefesh.  The odds of HIV,
> especially as her husband probably was not philandering with... you
> know what I mean, but rather with somebody in his social stature, are
> considerably less than that.

And does that mean I am *required* to allow someone to FORCE upon me,
against my will, a life-endangering issue, even of of a lower

IMHO, I think that sounds preposterous!

As far as I recall, topics discussed here were danger involved in
earning a livlihood, driving, or testing new inventions.  All of these
situations a person (supposedly) enters voluntarily, "with his eyes
open", aware that there is a danger.

Aside from the issue of the wife not needing to accept ANY percentage of
danger, I also think that once he has become known to be a philanderer,
he has, at least de facto, even if not de jure, no chezkat kashrut at
all, and Heaven only knows how many times and with whom he has done
this.  Would *you* take his word?


P.S. It just occured to me that since bo`el pnuya (living with an
unmarried woman) is prohibited by rabbinic law (unless I am mistaken),
then he really should have no chezkat kashrut halachikally either.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

From: Ruth E. Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 06:33:33 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)
Subject: Re: B'tai din and surrounding issues

This remark is both ignorant and alarming.

Newsflash: HIV (and for that matter any number of other virile but less
dramatic stds) isn't a snob.  It doesn't distinguish based on "social
stature."  ANYONE whose spouse is unfaithful would be well-advised to
protect him/herself.  Whether a pikuach nefesh issue or not, each of us
still has the obligation of "ushmartem es nafshosechem" (guarding one's

Frum people get HIV.  Frum people have died of AIDS.  Our communities
like to pretend that some of the more unpleasant problems affecting the
world at large -- particularly those that are highly corrolated to
matters of the flesh -- don't touch us.  Well, they do.

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 14:06:17 EDT
Subject: Re: B'tai din and surrounding issues

There are two batei din in the tri state area that I consider "kosher."
One is beis yosef in Boro Park, and the other is one in Monsey, Rabbi

And it is with great sadness that I note the passing of a tzedeikis who
did what she could to lighten the load of agunot, Honey Rackman, z"l.

Jeanette Friedman


From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 13:49:51 +0200
Subject: Dam Betulim

>A friend of mine will be getting married soon. He is studying the laws
>of Niddah with a local rav (a fairly charedi rav). This rav told him
>that if the gynecologist tells his wife that her hymen is intact, then
>she doesn't have to worry about dam betulim, even if she bleeds. If she
>no longer has a hymen she also doesn't have to worry about it. The only
>time she would have to separate from her new husband after first
>intercourse is if she has no hymen and she bled.  Has anyone heard of
>this shitah before?

>That shitah sounds *very* strange at the very least.  I *strongly*
>suspect that someone misunderstood the halacha somewhere along the line.
>According to my understanding, the halacha is very clear and undisputed
>that "dam betulim" requires separation and tevilah, even if it is
>certain that it is "dam betulim".

The above stated opinion was accurately presented and can be found in
the responsa Or Yitzchak YD section 34 (see also 35-37) the author is
the highly respected and somewhat idiosyncratic Rav Yitzchak Abadie, he
is a student of Rav Aharon Kotler. He wrote this and asked Rav Shlomo
Zalmen who responded, and he responded to the response. He sticks to his
guns and did not back down in the end. The sefer gives his phone number
in Lakewood, and fax number in Yerushalyim, I will happily provide this
to whoever desires to contact him directly.

If anyone is interested in the arguments, please read them inside in
depth.  If you would like to discuss this, off-list would be more
appropriate.  I use the term idiosyncratic, not in a pejorative sense,
he is highly original in many of his teshuvot, he shows good clear
thinking and comes to many astounding conclusions. He is clearly a huge
Talmud chacham. If anyone is interested he is the same authority who
allowed the writing of a sefer torah through a silk screen.

Rabbi Ari Kahn


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 21:19:23 -0400
Subject: Eruv Strings


I've read this list off and on, but this is only my second post.

A friend tells me that he read that some communities are not accepting
the typical monofilament line for eruvim.  That it's a minority opinion
that holds it is ok.

My friend is reliable.  But still, he said 3 days ago that he read about
this in "last week's Jewish Press".  I can't find it at
thejewishpress.com.  I hate to start a rumor, but I have no good source
on this.

OTOH, I did find 2 articles about the Supreme Court decision on Tenafly:
"Inasmuch as public property is widely made available for private use of
various sorts, the appeals court decision is expected to open the doors
for eruvim across the country."  Maybe you discussed that already.



From: Ilana Goldstein Saks <lonnie@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 01:25:01 +0200
Subject: Geneology

I am looking for information about my paternal grandmother's family -
Blechman.  They came to the United States from Odessa at the end of the
19th century.  I'd be interested in birth/death/marriage records from
the old country or family trees.  Does anyone know how would I go about
searching for this info on the web?

Ilana Goldstein Saks


From: Lawrence Lebowitz <ariehnyc@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 18:30:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: How does going to Bes Din work

Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...> asked "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?"

Hmmm.  Good questions.  Here is a place that can provide answers:

Beth Din of America
305 Seventh Avenue Twelfth Floor
New York, NY 10001-6008
  Phone: (212) 807-9042 
    Fax: (212) 807-9183
 E-Mail: <menahel@...>

Of particular interest are these items, links on the "home page" -- 
  Inside The Beth Din
  Services Provided and 
  What You Can Expect from the Beth Din
  Mission Background Affiliations and Executive Staff
  Publications & More Information 

Michael and other interested individuals might also want to look at "The
Beth Din in American Secular Law," an article available online at:

Arieh Lebowitz

P.S. Michael Kahn and others might also want to ask "How does going to
Bes Din work?" of these people:

 Beth Din of Crown Heights
 788 Eastern Parkway - Room 210
 Brooklyn, New York 11213
 Tel. (718) 953-8722 * Fax (718) 221-0103


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2003 16:05:06 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Kavod ha-Met

R. Henkin in his moving remembrance of his gradfather writes

"At a memorial gathering held in Jerusalem thirty days after his death,
six prominent roshei yeshiva spoke. All of the yeshivas and their
students received support from Ezras Torah, and the bet midrash of the
Chebiner Yeshiva was full. The first rosh yeshiva finished speaking, and
shortly after got up and left, followed by his students. The second rosh
yeshiva spoke at length and he, too, left with his students. And so on,
until at the end only a few people remained. At that point I spoke on
behalf of the family, as a grandson who had learned with R. Henkin for
many years."

I am disturbed that somehow kavod hamet is interpreted as giving an
eulogy and then leaving together with ones students. Is the purpose only
to hear oneself speak or also courtesy to others.

At old RCA conventions RYBS always stayed for the speeches of the other
rabbis mostly his students. Several times they specfically told him that
he did not have to stay because they recognized that as a student they
were not on his level and were wasting his time, nevertheless he
remained.  I have heard similar stories about R. Moshe Feinstein.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 10:21:12 +0200
Subject: Kosher?

The latest "Newsweek" has an interesting tidbit for those who try to
keep kosher in a traif place.  Towards the end of the article about the
obesity epidemic, it states that only recently MacDonalds revealed that
the "fries" are fried in meat fat.

It reminds me of what we were told when living in England.  Some Jews
who ate "kosher" would eat at various fish restaurants.  One place had
such delicious fried fish, it was really popular.  After many, many
years it was discovered what gave it that great taste.  You guessed
it--lard in the cooking oil.



From: Morton Trainer <morton.trainer@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 10:30:24 -0400
Subject: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

Yesterday I had an unsettling experience.  On a Continental Airlines
flight from Chicago to Newark, the flight attendant handed me and my
neighbor our special "kosher" meals.  Each of the two packages had a
piece of paper taped to the outside indicating our names, flight #, etc.
My neighbor's package contained the familiar Weiss Catering meal, with
the hechsher from the Rabbinical organization prominently displayed.
Mine contained a cellophane-wrapped sandwich with only the words "Halal
Chicken Breast Sandwich" on it.  Without opening it, I brought it to the
attention of the flight attendant.  She told me that this is the
"kosher" meal that she was given.

I'd like to raise a fuss to try and ensure that this mistake doesn't
happen again.  Does anyone have suggestions whom to write to?


End of Volume 40 Issue 41