Volume 43 Number 23
                 Produced: Fri Jun 25  6:59:06 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alernate uses for "banned" Sheitels
         [Martin Stern]
Another Birkat Kohanim question
         [Daniel Katsman]
Appropriating other Religions' Ritual Objects
         [Tzvi Stein]
Avot keeping the mitzvot (2)
         [Nathan Lamm, Andrew Marks]
Avot transgressing Toah?
Child Determining Kashrut of a Sefer Torah
         [Daniel Katsman]
Deliberately Invalid Marriages
         [Kenneth G Miller]
Encountering an electric device inadvertently on Shabbat
         [Sam Saal]
The Hasidic Masters' Guide to Management
         [Moshe and Elise Kranc]
Mikvah being taught
         [Batya Medad]
Reactions to Rav Bazak's Article
         [Batya Medad]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 06:23:02 +0100
Subject: Re: Alernate uses for "banned" Sheitels

on 24/6/04 3:04 am, <meirman@...> (Meir) wrote:

> If one is forbidden to benefit by donating some particular thing, and
> they donate it anyhow, how could that be a mitzvah?  And how could any
> merit be accrued, if they were forbidden to donate it in the first
> place?
> Well, you didn't actually say that they were forbidden to donate it, but
> that they were forbidden to benefit.  Since I don't think it could be
> possible to perform a Mitzvah or accrue merit from doing something which
> it would be prohibited to benefit from, it must be that if they donate
> these things, they get no benefit, no merit, and no mitzvah.

There is a principle that "mitsvot lav lehe'enot hen - mitsvos are not
for private benefit" so any merit is really not relevant. The problem
with donating a forbidden sheitel, if it is an idolatrous offerings from
which no benefit may be had, is the subjective feeling of 'virtue' felt
by the donor in having performed what to them is 'a good deed'. Surely
this is the main problem with what otherwise be an admirable solution.

I do not know whether benefit from idolatrous offerings is prohibited
under the sheva mitsvot bnei Noach but this might also raise
problems. Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Daniel Katsman <aleph21@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 22:03:58 +0200
Subject: Another Birkat Kohanim question

Shmuel Himelstein wrote:

> One weekday morning, the Chazan was a member of the Eidot Mizrach and a
> Kohen.
> While reciting Modim aloud in the Chazarat Hashatz, he walked over from
> the Bimah in the center to the front of the Aron, and joined me for the
> Birkat Kohanim.
> After Birkat Kohanim, he began reciting Sim Shalom as he walked back to
> the bimah (with a side trip on the way to get his shoes), and he
> finished Chazarat Hashatz at the bimah.
> Does anyone know is this normative Halachah for Eidot HaMizrach?

It's normative halakha for Ashkenazim too -- see Shulhan Arukh Orach
Chayyim 128:20 and the Mishna Berura there (although I have doubts about
recovering shoes before finishing Sim Shalom).  In practice, kohanim
serving as chazzanim tend to turn around at the amud and not join the
other kohanim on the dukhan.

The only time can remember seeing a chazzan kohen walk to the dukhan was
when I did it myself.  I was once a ba'al tefilla for the Yamim Nora'im
in a small New Jersey community.  Davening was in an auditorium, where
the amud was in the middle (with all the seats behind it) and the dukhan
was a stage in the front.  I would have preferred to "dukhen" from the
amud, but the only other kohen there didn't feel comfortable being up on
the stage by himself, so when we got to birkat kohanim I walked about 15
feet to the side of the stage, up a few steps, and another ten feet to
the middle of the stage.  It felt very strange, but I'm pretty sure it
was correct.

Daniel Katsman
Petach Tikva


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 00:34:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Appropriating other Religions' Ritual Objects

Oops... I meant "baptism" outfit, not "first communion".


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 10:31:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Avot keeping the mitzvot

There is a concept, somewhat chassidic/kabbalistic, that mitzvot have a
"higher" purpose. That is, when we are, say, putting on tefillin, we're
not just binding straps on our arms, not just performing a mitzvah that
we were commanded, not just making a physical reminder of God, but
somehow affecting higher spiritual spheres in a good way.

This need not be limited to kabbalah- we can also point out that mitzvot
are meant, at least to a degree, to have something of an affect outside
of themselves. For example, Shabbat is meant as a day when we
disassociate from the hectic world, reconnect to God, and so on.

Therefore, the chassidic explanation continues, it's not so much that
the Avot actually kept mitzvot as we know them, but that in their lives,
they fulfilled the purpose of mitzvot. For example, they affected the
spiritual spheres with the way they led their lives and related to
God. Or on a practical level, they related to the world and God in a way
that the mitzvot that we keep are supposed to instill in us.

Of course, this explanation is a bit tricky- we are certainly not free
to decide that as we live a certain way, we don't "need" mitzvot, or
that we know the reasons for them, or that we can "meditate" them away.
But it makes more logical sense than saying, for example, that the Avot
wore tefillin that had parshiyot that referenced yetziat Mitrayim, which
of course hadn't happened, or that Avraham avoided eating a gid
hanasheh, or any number of similar things.

Nachum Lamm

From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Subject: Re: Avot keeping the mitzvot

If I remember correctly, there are several sources for this, but the one
that pops into my mind is the very end of the last mishna in Kedushin
where Rebbi Nehorai derives that Avraham Avinu kept all of Torah and
uses that to prove a point about people who learn Torah all day.


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 21:39:00 -0500
Subject: Avot transgressing Toah?

Regarding the Avot (Forefathers) observing the Torah many years before
Sinai, Michael J. Savitz wrote >> Re Avraham, see Bereishit 26:5 ("...
Vayishmor mishmarti mitzvotai chukotai vetorotai") and Rashi thereon.
Re Yaakov, see Bereishit 32:5 ("... Im Lavan garti ...") and Rashi
thereon.  I don't know a source for this re Yitzchak.<<

I've see this before but the Torah says that Yaakov married two living
sisters, which is forbidden, and Avraham (a) served meat and curds to
his angelic visitors, and (b) lied and told two kings that Sarah was not
his wife.

I've never seen a really satisfying answer on Yaakov's marriages to

I'll give Avraham a pass on Sarah because his life was in danger on
those occasions, but I'm dissatisfied with the apologia regarding the
meat/milk mix. The usual explanation given there is that he first served
the curds then separately served the meat, but that is not the plain
reading of the Torah, which simply says he served both:period. If he had
served them separately, would not the Torah specifically indicate this
to teach us a valuable lesson?

Also, Rachel stole some of Laban's household idols when she left home
with Yaakov.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Daniel Katsman <aleph21@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 22:31:04 +0200
Subject: Child Determining Kashrut of a Sefer Torah

I recently marked the 25th anniversary of an event I've seen only once
in my lifetime -- a child determining the kashrut of a Sefer Torah.  The
halakha appears in Shulhan Arukh Orach Chayyim 32:16, but the
circumstances of its application seem to be rare nowadays.

I was once reading the Torah in the YU beit midrash when I encountered a
dalet whose tail was practically non-existent and which looked like a
resh.  (I don't remember for sure, but the upper right corner was
probably not completely square either.)  Several of the rebbeim looked
at the letter but couldn't decide which it was.  Then Rabbi Reiss had an
idea.  "Let's call over a child," he said.  So we called over one of
Rabbi Zitter's sons, who must have been eight or nine.  Rabbi Reiss
showed him a few letters and asked him what they were, to make sure he
could distinguish a regular dalet from a resh (he was careful to put his
tallit on either side of the letters so that they couldn't be identified
from context).  Finally he got to the letter in question.  "Resh," said
the boy, and we had to put away the Sefer Torah and bring out a new one.

Rabbi Reiss was a little disappointed.  "Seven times out of ten," he
said to me, "the kid gives the right answer."  As time has gone by, I
wonder more and more where he got that statistic.  Have any Mail-Jewish
readers ever seen this happen?  What were the results?

Daniel Katsman
Petach Tikva


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 22:56:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Deliberately Invalid Marriages

Bill Bernstein asked: <<< I do not understand those posters who have
written that any marriage can be invalidated retroactively. Either the
kiddushin was good and kosher or it wasn't. If it was good then it
requires a get to separate that bond. ... Finally, I am still wondering
what it is that the mesader kiddushin could do to make the kiddushin
invalid. >>>

"Invalidated retroactively" is not an accurate way to describe what
they're doing. Rather, they conduct the wedding in a manner which
insures that it was never valid to begin with, such as by using invalid
witnesses, or (as Avinoam Bitton testified) by making sure that the
witnesses don't actually witness anything. I suppose another manner
might be to insure that the ring does not belong to the chasan.

Disclaimer: This post is not an endorsement of such activity, only an
explanation of what some rabbis might do, in an effort to insure that if
the couple breaks up they might not need a get.

Akiva Miller


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 2004 19:34:23 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Encountering an electric device inadvertently on Shabbat

Stephen Phillips <admin@...> wrote:
>> From: Anonymous
>> electric eye to perform a specific function.
>I'm sure we must have discussed this problem before. The most common
>occurrence of the problem is in regard, at least around where I live, to
>where a security light comes on at night when you pass a house. As far

But there is a difference that may be significant.

When you trigger th security light, it stays on for a while. It was not
necessarily so in the original question. IOW, thwe security light
constitutes one (presumably accidental) violation. Anon's device
constitutes one (presumably accidental) violation plus at least one
knowing (albeit unavoidable) violation.

Sam Saal


From: Moshe and Elise Kranc <mekranc@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2004 20:09:46 +0200
Subject: The Hasidic Masters' Guide to Management

B'Sha'ah Tova, I've published my first book, called The Hasidic Masters'
Guide to Management. The Hasidic Masters, by emphasizing the human
perspective, transformed and enriched the world of their time. We cannot
speak with the Masters directly about management issues, but their
timeless experience and wisdom provide valuable tools for business
success. The book combines Hasidic stories and parables along with the
insightful cartoon satire of Dilbert, as well as examples from the
corporate world, to create a readable and entertaining hands-on guide
for the novice and experienced manager.

"Once upon a time there was a wise high tech exec who used the vast
storehouse of Hasidic stories to motivate and inspire his business
colleagues. He told and retold the stories and then put them in a book
called..... But this is no fairy tale. The exec's name is Moshe Kranc
and his lovely book is in your hands. Read it and be charmed and
enlightened."  Ari L. Goldman, Author, The Search for God at Harvard and
Living a Year of Kaddish

The book will be in the stores in September. In the meanwhile, you can
learn more about the book at www.hasidicmanagement.com. If you live in
the Jerusalem area and you'd like to buy the book now (NIS 99 for
hardcover, NIS 66 for softcover), you can drop me an email at


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 06:26:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Mikvah being taught

      I don't know about all cities but the Bais Yaakov here in
      Baltimore most definitely teaches about mikvah. It is presented to
      the girls in their

It's definitely taught in the religious schools in Israel.  And since
the buildings are in public view in almost every community, there's less
mystery.  Also I see that many families teach the kids from the time
they're old enough to tovel new dishes, they're familiar with that



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 06:17:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Reactions to Rav Bazak's Article

      And there were numerous poskim, including Rav Shlomo Goren, ztz'l
      and Rav Mordechai Eliyahu, Rav Abraham Shapiro Rav Dov Lior,
      yibodlu lehayim arukhim who "paskined" that land is more important
      than pikuah nefesh.

I think it was in spring 1969, Rav Nissim, then Rishon L'Zion came to NY
and stated that all of the land liberated in the 6 Day War was
holy/Jewish by the act of the soldiers liberating it and may not be


ps I was there.  If I'm not mistaken it was a youth gathering with NCSY
and other students.


End of Volume 43 Issue 23