Volume 40 Number 47
                 Produced: Wed Aug 27  5:12:09 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 3 prohibitions against Premarital Relations
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Alan Cooper]
Bugs in Corn
         [Yisrael Medad]
Kashrus in U.S. Military
Labor Day and the Jewish Community, by Michael Perry
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
         [Rael Levinsohn]
Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food
         [Sam Saal]
The ultimate Chutzpah!
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Ultra Orthodox
         [Michael Kahn]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sat, 23 Aug 2003 23:00:27 -0400
Subject: RE: The 3 prohibitions against Premarital Relations

Shimon Lebowitz (v40n42) mentions that
>bo`el pnuya (living with an unmarried woman) is prohibited by rabbinic
>law (unless I am mistaken),

Yes it is a mistake. I heard the following explanation from the Rav,
Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchick. The Rav explained the concept of a
POSITIVE PROHIBITION. Every conditional positive commandment(DO vs DONT)

For example: IF I want to eat I must slaughter the animal properly. Now
ordinarily I am not required to slaughter animals; but if I want to eat
meat and do so without proper (Kosher) slaughtering then I have violated
slaughter if I want to eat). This POSITIVE PROHIBITION is like a DONT
except' its source is one of the DO commandments (DO slaugther IF you
want to eat).(I also violate the negative prohibitions against eating
non-slaughtered meat)

Similarly if I live in a house without a Mezuzah I have violated the
POSITIVE PROHIBTION of placing a mezuzah on my house.

Let us return to marriage. There is a positive commandment that if I
want to have relations then I must first engage/marry the woman. Hence
when I live with this person without the engagement I have violated the
positive prohibition of engagement/marriage.

There are two other POSSIBLE prohibitions involved. If the women does
not go to Mikvah then the laws of family purity have been
violated.(Going to Mikvah does not EXEMPT one from the commandment of

I also violate the negative prohibition of prostitution (There may be a
controversy if the prostitution prohibition is violated on a one time
affair...and even if someone found an authority who doesnt view a
committed single-man-woman relationship as prostitution nevertheless
there is still the violation of the conditional positive commandment of
marriage which ALL religious authorities agree to)

Hope this clarifies this issue
Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 08:20:28 -0400
Subject: Amalek

>From: Jonah Bossewitch <jonah.bossewitch@...>
>Can someone please point me in the direction of traditional literature
>that speculates on the identity of the nation of amalek?

I know of two comprehensive studies of this topic:

Elijah J. Schochet, Amalek: The Enemy Within (Los Angeles: Mimetav, 1991)
Avraham Ben-Hayyim, Sefer Reshit Goyim (Jerusalem: Makhon Benei Yissakhar, 

Alan Cooper


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 19:31:36 +0200
Subject: Bugs in Corn

Re David Ziants inquiry on a recent notification put out by the Rabbanut
HaRashit (Israel Chief Rabbinate) concerning insects/ bugs in "corn on
the cob".  and "can anyone shed more light on the issues.

I refer all to the booklet Madrich L'bedikat Tola'im (Halachic Guide to
the Inspection of Fruits and Vegetables for Insects) by Pesach Eliyahu
Falk, 1984, Gateshead, p. 50

Corn can be infested by thrips, a black insect that hides quite easily.
Inspection consists of inspecting the green leaves on the inside by
holding them up to a light.  The bugs are 1mm long.  They can be
searched for using also a "cocktail stick" (English for those plastic
olive things).  His opinion is that is an external search comes up with
nothing (no scurrying creatures) then go ahead and eat it.  His other
suggestion is removing the kernels one-by-one.

Since he does not mention cooking, I don't know if that affects the

If the Rabbanut has come up with new scientific data, then maybe the
situation is changed.

Yisrael Medad


From: Anonymous
Subject: Kashrus in U.S. Military

I've recently heard some quite disturbing stories first-hand from
religious Jews who have been in the U.S. military.  They told me that
the recruiters promised them that kosher food would be made available
and that in fact, kosher food *is* available to all military
installations if the proper authorities request it, however these Jewish
individuals were thwarted by officers at the base level and were thus
denied kosher food for the entirety of their "boot camp" training.
After boot camp they were able to receive kosher food, but only because
of increased permission to leave the base and get food from civilian
stores (which the Jewish soldiers had to pay for, of course).  One
soldier even told me of repeatedly fainting during exercises.  The
response of the military was *not* to relent on providing kosher food to
the soldier but rather to administer *intervenous* fluids on a regular
basis.  This story is frankly so shocking I would have a hard time
believing it were it not told to me first hand.  (Incidentally, I am
purposely leaving out any identifying information about the soldiers
involved, so if anyone on the list happens to know the same people,
please don't add anything [service branch, location, etc.] that would
help identify them).  These stories hapenned 5-10 years ago.  If anyone
has more recent information or any clarifying information, I'd be
interested to hear of it. 


From: Arieh Lebowitz <ariehnyc@...>
Subject: Labor Day and the Jewish Community, by Michael Perry

Just received this from the author, who reports that it was disseminated
to the e-mail "list" of Congregation Beth Emet in Evanston, Illinois.

Arieh Lebowitz


Labor Day and the Jewish Community, by Michael Perry

September 1st is Labor Day, an opportune time to think about the
importance of labor rights in a democratic society. The Jewish community
has been broadly supportive of worker rights for many years, even as it
evolved from a predominantly working-class community in the first part
of this century to a predominantly professional and entrepreneurial
community today. This support comes from many sources, including a
collective memory of a period of mass immigration, when Jewish workers
toiled in difficult and often desperate conditions in the garment
industry, and the social justice imperative that is so important to
Judaism. There is significant support for worker rights in both the
Torah and Talmud, portions of which anticipate current secular labor law
by thousands of years.

The first and in many ways most important labor law, is, of course,
Shabbat, (Exodus 20:9,10) a day of rest that was a source of puzzlement
to the rest of the ancient world. Additional injunctions relate to the
right of prompt payment (Leviticus 19:13 and Deuteronomy 24:14,15) and
the protection of wages. Wages must be paid the day that the contracted
period of labor ends (Baba Metzia 110b), must be paid in currency (even
though other debts can be paid in-kind) (Baba Metzia 118a) and wage
debts cannot be cancelled during the Sabbatical Year (when all other
debts are canceled). (Shevi'it 10:1)

The Talmud also provides for forms of sick pay, disability pay, and
unemployment compensation. Workers who become ill even for up to
one-half of their contracted period of labor are entitled to receive
their full salary for the job. (Kiddushin 17a). Workers who are injured
on the job when the employer is negligent are entitled to
compensation. (Tosefta Baba Metzia 7:10) If a laborer is laid off while
his labor contract is in effect and s\he finds a lower-paying job, s\he
can ask for the difference in wages from the first employer. (Chosen
Mishpat, 333.2) And if s\he cannot find any job of comparable difficulty
at the same pay, s\he is entitled to an "idle wage" of one-half of the
normal wage. (Baba Metzia 76b) This is more generous than Illinois^
unemployment compensation system today.

The Talmud also explicitly recognizes the right of worker organizations
to regulate wages and to make binding rules and regulations on their
members in much the same way that labor unions operate today. "The
wool-weavers and dyers have the power to say, `Any order which comes to
town all of us share in it.' The bakers have the right to make an
agreement on weights and measures among themselves" (Tosefta Baba Metzia
11:24) There is even clear Talmudic precedent for workers being
permitted to exercise the primary economic weapon that puts unions on a
level playing field with their employer - the strike.

The authors of the Talmud reasoned that day labor involves the temporary
surrender of independence, so day laborers may reassert their
independence at any time by quitting. (Baba Kamma, 24a) The right to
strike, of course, is a logical extension of this right to stop work.
There is also strong support for the position that strikebreaking is
prohibited under Jewish law, based on Talmudic passages that admonish
workers to avoid encroaching on the livelihood of one's neighbors.
(Makkot 24a)

Of course there are also obligations incumbent upon workers. They must
work faithfully, with all of their strength and in the words of
Maimonides, avoid "depriving the employer of the benefit of this work by
idling away his time." (Mishne Torah, 13,13:7) Both parties have an
obligation to be honest and fair in their responsibilities. But Labor
Day weekend is a time to marvel at the fact that the Jewish tradition
not only protects the rights of workers but actually antedates American
labor protections by thousands of years. It is a heritage that we can be
proud of.


From: Rael Levinsohn <rael12345@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 00:32:34 +0000
Subject: Martyrdom

I recall reading that one need not be martyred for any rabbinical laws
associated with murder, sexual crimes, adultery (sifethy cohen 157:10
quoted in Aryeh Kaplans Handbook of jewish thought) . Based on this
logic I would presume for the following one would not have to give up
ones life rather than transgress:

Relations with a boy under the age of 9 years old
For a man to 'waste seed'
For family members to marry once they have been converted, as 
they are no longer related

Relations with any of the following: (The sages extended these prohibitions 
to include a man's 6) grandmother, great-grandmother or step-grandmother; 7) 
father's or mother's half-brother's wife; 8) great-granddaughter, and son's, 
daughter's or grandson's daughter-in-law; 9) wife's great-grandmother or 
great-granddaughter; and the relatives (mother, grandmother, daughter, 
granddaughter, sister) of a woman with whom the man has had sexual 
relations. Some of these apply also to further generations.

Is the din that one need not give up a life for these rabbincal laws?




From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 11:13:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Non-Kosher "Kosher" Airline Food

Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...> has some good advice about how to
complain to airlines. In my experience, however, with a similar
complaint the airline (to quote Stan Tenen} "unctuously" denied
responsibility. It was only after I sent the same letter to the FAA
(Federal Aviation Administration - the government entity responsible for
commercial air travel) that suddenly Continental sent everyone in my
party a voucher for a free flight.

Only when you use a bigger stick, will airlines pay attention.

For those interested, because of Continental, I and 9 other guests at my
wedding nearly didn't get to Chicago in time. We were scheduled to fly
out together early Friday, spend Shabbat together with other
out-of-towners, then go to Milwaukee for a Sunday Chaseneh. The flight
was canceled with no warning. We got some nonsense about bad weather,
but no other airlines' flights to Chicago were canceled, nor were other
Continetal flights, before or after. Further details are beyond the
scope of this post, but available by email.

Sam Saal


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 2003 14:38:50 +0200
Subject: The ultimate Chutzpah!

Today's Ma'ariv carried an article which should serve as the yardstick
for the ultimate Chutzpah!

A couple invited a husband and wife who were beggars to be their guests
at their Seder last year. The beggars have just filed a law suit against
them for thousands of shekels of "damages," claiming the food was
spoiled, the Haggadah was not chanted properly, etc.

I hope the court assesses the beggars and their attorney hefty court
costs for what must go down as one of the most frivolous court cases
ever filed.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2003 13:04:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Ultra Orthodox

>For what it matters, I for one wouldn't consider the Chafetz Chaim to be
>"ultra orthodox."  I believe he lived at a time pre "Hyphenated"
>Judaism.  Ultra-, Modern-, etc.  -- more to the point he was a Torah
>observant Jew as was the (larger) community / society in which he lived.

While we may like to think that the Orthodoxy of the Chofetz Chaim's era
was monolithic, divisions within the Orthodox community actually existed
during the Chofetz Chaim's life. In fact, the Chofetz Chaim was a
founding member of Agudath Israel.


End of Volume 40 Issue 47