Volume 42 Number 66
                 Produced: Mon May 10 22:47:39 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ben Azzai's (should be Ben Zoma's) Statement
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
Burial In Alaska in Winter
         [Yisrael Medad]
Chasidish Aversion to Pets
         [Frank Silbermann]
         [Shlomo Spiro]
Early Soviet Jewry Activists
         [Perry Zamek]
Halacha and Standards (2)
         [<bdcohen@...>, Bernard Raab]
R. Moshe and Listening to Music
         [Mark Steiner]
Rabbi Yishmael and Hekkesh
         [Martin Stern]
Rambam on Har Habayit
         [Nathan Lamm]
Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Postponed
         [Alex Heppenheimer]


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 09:39:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Ben Azzai's (should be Ben Zoma's) Statement

In MJ 42:65, Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...> wrote in
reply to <MRosenPSI@...>'s posting in MJ 42:63:

> > Ben Azzai statement is a nechemta that tells Jews to look beyond
> > the despair of the current setting- subjugation and destruction-
> > and focus on the teleological ending.

> Isn't this strange in light of the fact that according to ben Azzai
> there is little concern about Moshiach? We won't even read krias
> shema then!  Only according to the rabbis who argue with ben Azzai
> are we concerned with "the days of the moshiach. "

Actually, if anything, it would be the other way around: according to
Ben Zoma, the miracles of Moshiach's times will be so great that they
will completely replace those of the Exodus in our collective memory,
and hence Shema will no longer have to be recited. (The Sages agree that
the miracles of the future era will surpass those of the past, but they
hold that they will just overshadow, not completely replace, the memory
of the Exodus.)

So in short, both opinions are fully concerned with the time of
Moshiach; may Hashem inaugurate that era now!

Kol tuv,


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 00:48:57 +0200
Subject: Burial In Alaska in Winter

I caught this story:

(AP) -- As the spring thaw softens ground that has been frozen hard as
granite by the long Alaska winter, cemeteries start burying people who
died during the past seven months.  Since October, when digging became
next to impossible, many of Alaska's dead have been in storage.  Now,
families are finally able to inter their loved ones in a somber Far
North rite of spring.

Do the Jews of Alaska follow this custom?  Or do they a) find a way to
bury them in another fashion or b) do they bury them elsewhere outside
the state?

What do the LORS say?

Yisrael Medad


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 18:34:49 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Chasidish Aversion to Pets

>>       I have heard of this chasidish aversion to "non kosher animals"
>>       but it doesn't make sense to me.  Surely in Europe, chasidim had
>>       contact with horses, which are non-kosher.

Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> (V42 N64):
> Horses are generally outside, or in a barn.  They don't climb onto you,
> or lick or paw you when you're eating, reading or dovening.

How would the halacha distinguish between, say, a pet dog, the carcass
of a dead dog, or leather made from the skin of some other unclean
animal?  (E.g., an alligator belt or pigskin Hush Puppies.)

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Shlomo Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 21:45:28 +0200
Subject: Correction

bh, 20 Iyar

In my last posting I said that Ben Azzai"s opinion is that Krias Shm'a
will not be said when mopshiach comes.  That should read the section of
the Shm'a that mentions the exodus from Egypt will not be read.


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 15:18:41 +0200
Subject: Re: Early Soviet Jewry Activists

Yisrael Medad wrote:
>And if some are wondering the Halachic linkage in this discussion, I
>would presume that lo ta'amod al dam re'echa (don't ignore the shedding
>of your fellow Jew's blood) is good enough.

Actually, Hakarat HaTov is sufficient here.

Perry Zamek


From: <bdcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 11:18:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Halacha and Standards

<<2.  Even if your Nikes are more comfortable than your Florsheims you
still have to wear them on Yom Kippur.>>

That is true only if your Nikes are not made out of leather. Otherwise,
both Nikes and Florsheims are equally forbidden on Yom Kippur.

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 14:11:54 -0400
Subject: Halacha and Standards

From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman):
>I see many examples whereby halachah supercedes our own psychological
>reality and preferences and imposes standardized criteria.  for example:
>I'm sure you can find many more examples.  Perhaps someone can explain
>why Chazal insisted on standardizing our responses and not allowing for
>expression of our own preferences.  Perhaps it would result in halachic

Maybe so, but I used to work with many Catholics who had to decide what
to give up for Lent every spring and I always thought it made it a very
meaningful religious experience, in contrast to what frequently becomes
a rote observance of halachos in Judaism. I suppose that chazal were
deathly afraid that unless everything is spelled out in detail that it
would eventually be lost, especially with the dispersion of the Jews
around the world and the loss of a central authority. This was probably
a wise attitude to adopt, but now that Jews are restored in their
homeland, and in communication from around the world (via Mail Jewish of
course!), perhaps a little more personal input would be tolerated and
serve to strenghen the religion.

Comments?   b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 13:46:09 +0300
Subject: RE: R. Moshe and Listening to Music

It's always dangerous to write from memory, but this teshuvah made a big
impression on me when I read it first so I don't think I got it wrong:
R.  Moshe ruled that instrumental music is forbidden always (according
to R.  Moshe--ben Maimon).  HOWEVER, a much later teshuva (about
allowing music lessons during sefira) states that those who follow the
Rema (who limits the ban on instrumental music to mealtime, since the
source of the prohibition is not mourning, but rather the prohibition of
behaving like the Gentiles who listen to music at mealtime, cf. Gittin 7
or thereabouts) cannot be condemned, because they have a good source.

In any case, I don't believe even the more strict interpretation of the
ban on music applied to weddings--but even if it did, we should do as
R. Moshe did: we must distinguish the halachot of behavior from the
halachot of protesting behavior.  Not every violation of my standards
requires me to protest--for example, if the violator has a reputable
source.  The Rema, of course, is the basis of Ashkenazic psak, and it's
a little bit surprising that R. Moshe would require stringency beyond
the minhag of the Rema, but he in fact does.

The psak against instrumental music is long, detailed, an unmistakable:
R.  Moshe ruled against listening to music. I don't recall whether
weddings were included in this ban.  I might mention, however, that in
Jerusalem, instrumental music is forbidden even at weddings, and in
weddings in Mea Shearim, there is only a singer, accompanied by a drum.
Some allow a SINGLE instrument, but not an orchestra.  Some allow even a
electronic keyboard device that SOUNDS like an orchestra.  Etc.

As I stated before, however, the Rema derives the ban on music from a
different principle from that of the Rambam, and thus the ban is limited
to table music as in restaurants.  I believe that in the German
kehillot, even the most strictly Orthodox listened to, and even played
(hausmusik) instruments, in accordance with the Rema.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 12:11:16 +0100
Subject: Rabbi Yishmael and Hekkesh

Has anyone seen any convincing explanation of why Rabbi Yishmael did not
include "Hekkesh" in his 13 hermeneutical rules since it is clear from
many Talmudic passages that he does accept it and it is one of the most
widely applied rules in Shass. The only explanation I have come across
is that it is considered by him as a subsection of "Gezerah shavah" but
I find this unconvincing because the two are subject to different rules
of operation.

Martin Stern 


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 05:43:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rambam on Har Habayit

Yisrael Medad wrote:
> "just to be fair, the Rambam describes how he enters "HaBayit Hagadol
> vKadosh", (the great and holy building)."

Perhaps this is a stretch, but the Arabic name for the Har Habayit (as
we know it; that is, Herod's expanded Temple Mount) is Haram Es-Sharif,
the Noble Sanctuary ("Haram" is related to the Hebrew "Cherem"). This is
usually agreed to be a translation, in spirit, at least, of "Beit
Hamikdash." The Rambam may simply be retranslating the term back into
Hebrew (I don't know the original language of the letter), and thus be
referring to the Mount itself.

More significantly, the Rambam writes, in Hilchot Beit
Habechira 7:7, that even with the Beit Hamikdash
destroyed, it is still a mitzvah to go up to those
portions of the Har HaBayit permitted to us (a very
large area, even taking uncertainties into account)
and pray. I imagine he took his own opinion into
account when visiting Yerushalayim.

Nachum Lamm


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 09:56:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Yom Ha'Atzma'ut Postponed

In MJ 42:65, Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> gave the
following as part of a summary of an article by R' Yisrael Rosen:

> he quotes from Avoda Zara 11A referring to "a'lifnei mafkadinan,
> a'lifnei d'lifnei lo mafkadinan" = we aren't to be strict regarding
> the day before the day before.

Surely that's not what this expression means in the original; in context
there (and as it's cited in numerous places in halachah), it means that
while we're prohibited from "placing a stumbling block before the
[metaphorically] blind" (Lev. 19:14) by providing them the opportunity
to sin, we're not prohibited from doing something that could lead to
such a situation only indirectly.

I haven't seen R' Rosen's original article, but perhaps he meant one of
the following:

(a) he was using this expression as a literary device (melitzah) rather
than with reference to its original meaning (and in that case Mr.
Medad's translation is quite correct); or

(b) he meant that leaving the holiday on its original date is itself
only a "lifnei delifnei" situation (since the concern is only that the
celebrations - which may or may not involve melachah - may "spill over"
into Shabbos), and therefore there's no need to move it. (In that case,
the correct translation of the phrase would be something like "we aren't
to be strict regarding actions that could indirectly cause someone to
violate the halachah.")

Kol tuv,


End of Volume 42 Issue 66