Volume 43 Number 93
                    Produced: Thu Aug  5  9:19:47 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dropping a dime
         [Carl Singer]
Frum Clothing
         [Joel Rich]
         [Stephen Phillips]
Kohen Gene (some basic genetics)
         [Ken Bloom]
Lubavitch Practice for Newbies (2)
         [Susan Shapiro, Joel Rich]
         [Michael J. Elman, MD]
Seeing One Another / Attraction
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Who are these rabbis?
         [Ginsburg, Paul W]
Women and Pants (3)
         [Martin Stern, <billbernstein@...>, Gershon Dubin]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 12:20:21 -0400
Subject: Dropping a dime

> There is a problem of mesirah, denouncing a fellow Jew to the
> non-Jewish authorities. Perhaps the distinction between this case and
> that of Mrs Plony leaving a five year old alone is that in the latter
> there is a problem of direct risk to the life of the child whereas in
> the former the risk is only potential and not directly related to the
> violation of code as such. I cannot give a halachic ruling so I
> suggest he consult a competent Orthodox rabbi before doing anything.

It's not so clear -- Out of curiosity I went to the website that was
posted earlier -- it's not that clear -- specifically mentioned is a
yeshiva building that's violating building codes -- that might result in
fines & fix vs. jail.  I agree that it's clearly a CYLOR.

Carl A. Singer


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 12:19:43 EDT
Subject: Re: Frum Clothing

      It seems to be quite a leap to go from the requirement in the
      above verse that a "tzarua" (leper) should wear tattered clothing,
      look unkempt, and declare loudly that he is ritually impure -- to
      a Biblical goal of "frum" people wearing special clothing.

      Are we to assume that everybody who is not "frum" is a leper?
      Perhaps some clarification of the original line of thought would
      be useful.

      Moshe Goldberg

Halevai we should be worthy of the direct, obvious to all intervention
of HKBH in our affairs.  Tzarat (not really leprosy) was, according to
chazal ,a direct response from HKBH to particular sins of an individual.
Would that we each saw the red light come on on our personal dashboards
every time we sinned.

Joel Rich


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 17:08:26 +0100
Subject: Re: Kohanim

AF> From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
AF> Re: Fred Dweck's post (and Janice Gelb's, below), a few points:

AF> -Mr. Dweck says that a third of a Sephardic synagogue will be
AF> kohanim. There is something not quite right here. Unless Sephardim have
AF> historically been heavily kohanim (I know some communities, like
AF> Tunisian Jews, were), I don't see how more than 10% can be. (Kohanim
AF> were a small portion of one of twelve tribes.)  Ashkenazim tend to have
AF> a much smaller percentage than even that, and if they had a higher
AF> percentage of "fakes," then Sephardim should not be more.

My son-in-law, who is a Cohen, is a Sefardi born and brought up in
Yerushalayim, but his family originates from Iran.

In my Mechutan's [son-in-law's father] Shul I was interested to see that
among a group of 40 to 50 men, 10 to 15 would go up to do Birchas
Kohanim but there were absolutely no Leviyim to be called up to the
Torah. My Mechutan mentioned that the reason for the small number of
Leviyim was to do with some curse that was placed upon them at some
point in history, but I cannot recall the details.

Stephen Phillips


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 08:39:11 -0700
Subject: Kohen Gene (some basic genetics)

Females have 2 X chromosomes, and males have 1 X chromosome and 1 Y
chromosome. The X always comes from the mother, and the chromosome given
by the father decides the sex of the baby. (If you wish to confirm this
for yourself, consult any introductory biology book written in the past
8 years.)

The Kohen Gene is passed exclusively from father to son. The entire Y
chromosome is passed unchanged(except for mutations) so there is a lot
of genetic material that gets passed on, and in the very large majority
of people, there hasn't been sufficient accumulation of mutations to
remove all trace of Kehuna from the gene. (I assme that if there were a
significant population of Kohanim who had lost the kohen gene through
accumulation of mutations, then this accumulation of mutations would
have occured to a majority of Kohanim.)

Now, supposing a Kohen were to have a child with a non-Jewish woman. The
result would be a non-jewish child with the Kohen gene. So I can say
tentatively that a child is a kohen if and only if he has the kohen
gene, and he is known to be Jewish.

Now supposing this child converts to Judaism. We now have a non-Kohen
with the Kohen gene. And his male children will have the Kohen gene too.

The mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child. If Judaism did not
allow conversions, we should theoretically be able to verify a person's
Judaism based on the mitochondrial DNA. However, there was a much larger
collection of genetically unrelated mothers contributing mitochondiral
DNA to the Jewish people, so that pretty much destroyes the
effectiveness of this proposition. Also, we allow conversions, so that
too destroyes the effectiveness of this proposition.


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 13:54:16 EDT
Subject: Re: Lubavitch Practice for Newbies

In reference to your comment:

      Last week (in MJ 43:74) Joel Rich wrote <<< 3) The Lubavitcher
      Rebbe believes that it is appropriate for all women and girls over
      three to light Shabbos candles. This appeal was always directed at
      non-religious people, with no established minhag. >>>

      Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? The first
      sentence says that this minhag is intended for <<< all >>>. The
      second says it is only for the newly-observant. Which is it?

      Akiva Miller

      [As I read it, the first sentance says that the opinion of the
      Lubavitcher Rebbe is that it is appropriate for all women and
      girls over three. This is his halachic (or hashkafic) position and
      as such is not confined to some sub-group. This is true for all
      Jews.  However, not all Jews may hold him to be their halachik /
      hashkafic authority.  So in terms of application, it is applied to
      his community - Lubavitch and to any group without a currently
      established minhag - i.e. the newly observant. So I do not see any
      contradiction. Avi Feldblum]

The way I understood it is, that for three year old girls, and unmarried
girls, it is MINHAG, whereas it is halacha that married women light two
candles.  The reason the Rebbe did it that way was for CHINUCH.
Actually, almost the same thing applies to taking Challah today.  We are
only OBLIGATED when there is a Bais Hamikdash, but it has become a
custom to take Challah now, for CHINUCH.

Susan Shapiro

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 12:12:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Lubavitch Practice for Newbies

> Last week (in MJ 43:74) Joel Rich wrote <<< 3) The Lubavitcher Rebbe
> believes that it is appropriate for all women and girls over three to
> light Shabbos candles. This appeal was always directed at non-religious
> people, with no established minhag.

FWIW-This was written in response to a question I raised, I don't know
what the Lubavitcher Rebbe believes(d?)

Joel Rich


From: Michael J. Elman, MD <elman@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 13:20:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: M'shulachim

Rabbi Heineman in Baltimore has for a number of years provided a
valuable service for our community.  He screens the meshulachim and
checks their references.  I am aware of more than a few cases of fraud
that have been stopped by this service.  I personally was the victim in
one instance.  In this case, the certificate prevented the fraudulant
meshulach from returning to our community, which to my amazement, he
tried to do a year later.

The certificate is for a one week period, to be fair to the many other
solicitors who frequent our community.  They are not eligible for
another certificate for a year, to limit double dipping.  The
certificate states the person's name address, that of his local host,
the reason he is collecting and a suggested category of giving (ie -
generous donation, standard donation and meal equivavent).  We have been
told that we are on sound halachik grounds if we refuse to give a
meshulach a donation who has no certificate or an expired one.

Michael J. Elman, M.D.
Baltimore, MD 21237
E-Mail:  <elman@...>


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 08:54:37 -0700
Subject: Seeing One Another / Attraction

Martin Stern quoted an article, in part:

>well knows. The feminism of the 1970s, which maintained that to have
>worth women must be identical to men, has given way to a feminism which
>celebrates the fact that women are different.
>Normative Judaism resolves this paradox by incorporating these seemingly
>mutually exclusive views. The Torah expounds an axiom of dissimilar
>equality of men and women.
>Thus sitting in the back of a bus, or synagogue - for practical reasons
>- does not impinge on the equality in status. It is simply a practical
>expression of the fact that men and women are differently wired.

I would not dream of telling haredi men/women what their practices
should be, or what their religious reasons should be for those
practices.  However, as a feminist, I must object to the statement that
the feminism of complete equality "has given way to a feminism which
celebrates the fact that women are different".  Haredim may be able to
defend their bus-sitting by many sources, but the women's rights agenda
is not one of them.

Feminists in my stream of Feminism (Orthodoxy? ;)) are true to the
original tenets, and believe that it waters down feminist belief to
claim some kind of celebrated difference.  Indeed, sources like this
quoted article, or that IMO awful series _Men are from Mars..._, misuse
the supposed feminism-of-difference to advocate all kinds of outrageous
inequality, e.g. the attitude that men aren't good at expressing their
feelings, so they shouldn't.

As for women volunteering to sit in the back of the bus, well, it's up
to them, I suppose.  But I think a more reasonable solution would be a
mechitza down the center of the bus (which I've actually seen on some
tour buses).  On the other hand, that might make wheelchair/stroller
access very difficult.

--Leah Sarah Reingold Gordon


From: Ginsburg, Paul W <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 12:14:59 -0400 
Subject: Who are these rabbis?

The sefer Degel Machaneh Ephraim has many haskamos [approbations],
among them are haskamos from Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Liska 
and Rabbi Chaim of Batishan.  Does anyone know who these rabbis
were and the names of their seforim?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Paul W. Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 18:17:55 +0100
Subject: Re: Women and Pants

on 4/8/04 4:23 pm,  Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> Rav Ovadia Yosef deals with it in one of his Responsum.  But I cannot
> recall which or whether he was for or against.

He was against but considered it the lesser of two evils if the
schoolgirls would otherwise wear mini-skirts and allowed it as a hora'at
sha'ah. Rav Getsel Ellinson brings this ruling in his Haishah
vehamitsvot vol. 2, p. 195

Martin Stern

From: <billbernstein@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 11:01:58 -0500
Subject: Re: Women and Pants

In a very fine sefer called Minchas Shmuel, from Rav Shmuel Khoshkerman
in Atlanta, he discusses this issue at some length.  If I remember, the
question is whether this is an issue of tsnius or one of a woman wearing
a man's garment.  Rav Weiss zt'l (The Minchas Elazar??) held the latter
and his opinion was that a woman could not wear, e.g. ski pants even
alone at home.  Rav Ovadia shlita seems to hold the other and ruled that
loose pants were preferable to a short tight skirt, where that was the

Historically I think that Turkish women wore very loose pants, perhaps
with a long blouse over it.  This would seem, imo, to satisfy both views
since men did not wear pants of that type.

Kol tuw,
BIll Bernstein
Nashville TN

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 16:03:30 GMT
Subject: Women and Pants

From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
<<Rav Ovadia Yosef deals with it in one of his Responsum.  But I cannot
recall which or whether he was for or against.>>

He says that pants are not permitted, but are preferable where the only
alternative is a miniskirt.



End of Volume 43 Issue 93