Volume 43 Number 25
                 Produced: Mon Jun 28  7:06:19 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alernate uses for "banned" Sheitels
         [Ken Bloom]
Appropriating other Religions' Ritual Objects
         [David Prins]
Brit Milah
         [Seth Ness]
Deliberately Invalid Marriages
         [Tal Benschar]
Eve of 17 Tammuz
formally known as Madonna
         [David Prins]
Heating water on Shabbat (was one-handle faucets)
         [Leah Aharoni]
the hot water boiler on shabbat
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Listerine Pocketpaks Bracha?
         [Chaim Shapiro]
         [Carl Singer]
         [David Charlap]


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 09:59:47 -0700
Subject: Re: Alernate uses for "banned" Sheitels

<meirman@...> wrote:
> >From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
> >It is my understanding that the torah regards donating something as a
> >benefit to the donor, regardless of tax deductions, etc... because of
> >the Mitzvah fulfilled through donation, and because of the merit accrued
> >through donation. Thus, if one is forbidden to benefit from something,
> >then they are forbidden to benefit by donating it.
> This is somewhat of a paradox, although maybe not an endless one.
> 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?

The logic permitting donation would be an endless paradox, whereby we
1) Because it's forbidden to donate it, we gain no mitzvah benefit.
2) Because we're not benefitting from it, it is permitted to donate
The conclusion of 2) contradicts the conclusion of 1).

( in symbolic logic:
 not (permissible to donate) --> not mitzvah benefit
 not benefit --> (permissible to donate)

I would propose then that there is some other benefit we gain from
donating it even when it is forbidden to donate it. (I don't know what
this is, but obviously I didn't get the correct reason in my first

--Ken Bloom


From: David Prins <prins@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 13:31:13 +1000
Subject: Re: Appropriating other Religions' Ritual Objects

Coming from England, I would never have dreamed of decorating my sukka
with what I see used in Israel.  In Israel I see tinsel sukka
decorations that I would clearly associate as being Christmas
decorations.  Is this a problem?  Is it better that Jewish Israelis
don't have any idea what Christmas decorations usually look like?  Does
it make a difference if the packet in which the decorations are sold
actually says "Christmas decorations"?


From: Seth Ness <sln8@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 15:24:52 -0400
Subject: Brit Milah

while reading the wikipedia entry for brit milah


I noticed in the section on evolution of the bris that it says
originally only the tip of the foreskin was removed and only later the
entire foreskin.

No sources are given. Is there any record of this is jewish/halachic

Seth L. Ness M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Research Physician
Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development
Email: <sln8@...>


From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 10:34:46 -0400
Subject: Deliberately Invalid Marriages

Although this topic has been discussed at some length, I thought I would
add some thoughts:

1. It is not clear to me that "looking away" accomplishes the intended
  result.  There is a well known dispute between Rav Henkin zt"l and Rav
  Moshe Feinstein zt"l re non-Orthodox weddings and whether we can,
  after the fact, consider them invalid.  (The issue generally comes up
  when the woman has remarried without a get and the children from the
  second marriage may be mamzerim.)  According to Rav Henkin's view, it
  does not seem to me that what these Rabbonim are trying to accomplish
  achieves the intended result.

2. Assuming that "looking away" invalidates the marriage, we have now
  created several serious problems.  First, a man and woman living
  together without valid kiddushin is a Torah prohibition according to
  several Rishonim.  (The Rambam holds it is an issur of Lo Tisyeh
  Kadesha.  The Raavad holds that there is an issur 'aseh.  There may be
  others.)  Furthermore, regardless of the source, it is clear that
  Chazal considered this type of behavior especially repugnant -- a
  "beilas znus."  So repugnant that there is a presumption that a
  God-fearing person would not engage in such behavior -- "ein adam oseh
  beilaso beilas znus."

 Second, the Rabbi who has created this situation has himself violated
 several prohibitions.  First, he has violated "lifnei iver lo sitein
 michshol" by causing a couple who think they are getting married to
 violated the prohibition of extra-marital relations.  Second, he has
 engaged in outright deception by lying to the couple about it -- which
 surely impinges upon "midvar sheker tirchak."  Third, if he charged a
 fee, then this is gezel.  (They paid him to perform a valid marriage
 ceremony.)  Fourth, the brachos (birchas erusin and birchas nisuin)
 have been recited levatalah.

 Third, there is a serious danger of Chillul Hashem.  There are many
 traditional or semi-traditional people who, though not strictly
 observant, nevertheless try to live by some moral code as they
 understand it.  For these people, "living in sin" would certainly be
 repugnant.  They have come to an Orthodox Rabbi to be married (or, in
 Israel, been forced by law to go to the Rabbanut) only, as it turns
 out, to have the Rabbi surreptitiously perform an invalid marriage.
 These people would justifiably feel cheated and abused and the
 resulting Chillul Hashem would be considerable.

3. What is the justification for this?  There is a real concern that the
  couple may later divorce without a get, which would lead to adultery
  and mamzerus.  It seems to me, however, that these are speculative.
  Many couples do NOT get divorced, after all, and many who do do indeed
  use a get.

I am reminded of a famous Teshuva of the Noda B'yehuda about autopsies
(which violates the prohibition of nivul hamet).  He was asked whether
they should be permitted for medical research which, if advanced, would
lead to saving of lives, i.e. pikuach nefesh.  His response was that the
benefit was too remote.  We require that the beneficiary of the pikuach
nefesh be "befaneinu" in front of us, meaning there has to be an
immediate benefit for some ill person, not a remote benefit to medical

Though not a perfect analogy, it seems to me that the benefit of
avoiding future adultery/mamzerus is too uncertain and remote to justify
all of the above prohibitions, which are certain to occur.

Are their any teshuvas which discuss this issue?  It seems to me that
one needs "broad shoulders" of a recognized poseik before one can engage
in this kind of behavior.


From: Yakir <yakirhd@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 10:14:42 +0200
Subject: re: Eve of 17 Tammuz

The following is my free translation of the response of HaRav Eliezer
Melamed to this question.
Original with full sources at:

The status of the night prior to 17/Tammuz is the same as that of the
three weeks, and for those whose custom it is not to marry within the
entire three weeks this is already forbidden on the night of
17/Tammuz. This is the opinion of the Chid"a (....) based on the
Ramba"n.However the Igret Moshe (...) was more lenient regarding
marriages and also (in ....) he was more lenient, allowing haircuts for
great need. The Tzitz Eliezer (...), however, states that even marriages
which constitute a Mitzvah should not be performed from the night of
17/T because the period of the three weeks has already started, and so
it seems. See also ...

Regarding the fast itself, because we are not in a time of extreme
sanctions (oppression), the obligation to fast is dependant on the will
of the People of Israel and it is customary to fast only from daybreak
(Alot HaSHachar), and prior to this there is no restriction of fasting
or the other restrictions.


From: David Prins <prins@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 13:34:08 +1000
Subject: Re: formally known as Madonna

> What's up with the artist formally known as Madonna (now "Esther")?

Should that read "formerly known as Madonna"?


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 20:53:51 +0200
Subject: Heating water on Shabbat (was one-handle faucets)

Thank you for all the illuminating answers.

Until now most of the responses related to electric heating systems. I
was wondering if anyone could address the ramifications of using a
solar-powered system (Israeli dud shemesh) and bring sources.

Thanks in advance,



From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 16:41:54 +0200
Subject: the hot water boiler on shabbat

bh, yom hamishi  hukat

Many postings have mentioned that when one turns on the hot water, cold
water enters the boiler, and even though the heater is turned off for
shabbat, this cold water is "cooked" by the hot water that is in the
boiler from before.

As far as I know, the cold water that enters a hot water boiler when the
cold water tap is opened, enters from the bottom, not the top.  So that
first of all, the water that is drawn from the boiler is not "cooked"
(bishul) on shabbat. And secondly, if we argue that nevertheless
"cooking" takes place at the bottom, in Y.D. 105:3 we pasken (
concluding opinion) that when two items of different temperatures and
mixed, the bottom overwhelms the top ( tatatui govar) . If so, we are
not "cooking" the cold water, but rather the cold water is cooling the
hot water.  And even if we consider that ad demekar bolah purtah that
is, that a thin surface of the cold entity is affected by the heat of
the upper entity, (YD.Shakh 91:7) that's only as far as absorption of
forbidden a substance (issur) is concerned, but not necessarily for
"cooking" on shabbat.

Any comments?


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 21:07:07 EDT
Subject: Listerine Pocketpaks Bracha?

Should a Bracha be said before using a Listerine Pocketpak?  It does
produce liquid which is swallowed.  It may be different then toothpaste
in the fact that swallowing is part of the standard procedure

Chaim Shapiro


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 17:54:06 -0400
Subject: Madonna

> madonna is no longer madonna. She is malka esther.  What's next?  I
> haven't been able to figure out if this is bad or good for the jews.

> What's up with the artist formally known as Madonna (now "Esther")?
> What is she actually doing? Is it "good for the Jews"?

At first this sounds like the old story / joke -- "The Elephant and the
Jewish Problem" where students of different heritage are asked to write
about elephants -- the German writes about Elephants in war, the French
about Elephants making love, .... the Jew, as above -- The Elephant and
the Jewish Problem.

Seriously -- Even today's (New Jersey) Star Ledger had an article by a
Kathleen O'Brien entitled "Oy! Madonna's now a nice Jewish girl" --
which starts off "Hold on to your yarmulke, Modonna's going Jewish."
She goes on to say, "If you're Jewish (the regular way), I'd watch out.
We all know how this is going to end up.  She was raised in the Catholic
church and .... she nearly made a cottage industry of dissing one's
faith to scandalous effect."  Later adding "She'll grow tired of it
[being Esther, etc.], or even irritated."

My opinion:
Madonna, as a private human being has the right to seek spiritual 
fulfillment, self-betterment, peace, etc., however, she sees fit - 
within very broad boundaries.
I wish her well -- she's clearly a very driven, hard working, talented 
person and what's between the private her and G-d isn't for us to 
comment on.

 As a public individual, her actions and words are and will be 
magnified.  They will have thousands of times the impact (to certain 
segments of the general public) as (hamavidil) those of a Godal haDor. 
 We've seen examples of this recently with the Rabbi Boteach re: sex, 
and Dr. Laura re: her redefining her observance.  That's a plain fact of 
today's media.  

Harm or at least annoyance can come from misstatements, etc.  Good can
come if some (not-yet-frum) Jews re-think their situation and perhaps
seek positive answers.  Gee -- it's going to be "cool" to be Jewish --
just like after the 6-day war.  Remember?

Meanwhile, do you know where I can get tickets to the next Esther
concert -- and will there be a mechitzah?  (Please don't bring up Kol

Carl A. Singer


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 2004 10:51:27 -0400
Subject: Madonna/Esther

Tzvi Stein writes:
> What's up with the artist formally known as Madonna (now "Esther")?
> What is she actually doing? Is it "good for the Jews"?

The following New York Times article (free registration required for 

seems to summarize most of the significant points.

Its conclusion agrees with my opinion.  I question her sincerity, and I
strongly doubt the legitimacy of the "Kabbalah Center" that she's been
learning from.  But if a popular celebrity (Jewish or otherwise) is
publicly refusing to perform on Shabbat, it may encourage less-observant
Jews to also begin keeping Shabbat - which can only be a good thing.

-- David


End of Volume 43 Issue 25