Volume 44 Number 06
                    Produced: Tue Aug 10  6:25:05 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Basis of Discussion about Rabbinate (3)
         [Joel Rich, Ari Trachtenberg, Avi Feldblum]
Bnei Akiva camp and Derekh Eretz
         [Fay Berger]
Chabad (a thank you)
Dropping the Dime (3)
         [Joel Rich, Carl Singer, Anonymous]
The Genetics of Cohanim
         [Bob Werman]
Meshulach (3)
         [Yisrael Medad, Andy Goldfinger, Ira L. Jacobson]
My approach to Alarm clocks on Shabbath
         [Tobias Robison]
Pants and Psak
         [Meir Shinnar]
Simchat Bat
         [Rabbi Ed Goldstein]
Varied Life


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 08:34:35 EDT
Subject: Re: Basis of Discussion about Rabbinate

      Orthodox Judaism has always insisted on the concept of "Yeridat
      Hadorot", the lowering of spiritual level from one generation to
      the next. This is why Rabbis today are (generally) not allowed to
      debate the rulings of earlier accepted decisors.  An example would
      be the famous dicta "If the Rishonim were angels, we are only men.
      If they were men, we are only donkeys, and not even like the
      donkey of R.  Pinchas ben Yair".

Actually"not allowed to debate" may not be the best way to put it.
Perhaps "have taken upon themselves not to debate" would be more
accurate. (was the Vilna Gaon not allowed to debate earlier
authorities-if so, someone forgot to tell him:-). It's also hard to
define when this applies-a recent discussion concerning electricity
comes to mind as an example

      It appears clear to me from this that the honor of the Rabbis of
      previous generations is to be strictly respected until there is
      indisputable evidence that they have misbehaved in some way.

How does thid differ from Rabbis today or plain god fearing jews?

      My issue is thus that as an orthodox site, the "given" should be a
      rejection of slurs on any Rabbi, let alone an entire nations
      admitted Talmedei Chachomim, especially those of earlier
      generations, until proven.

challenge is one man's slur is another's fact from which we need to learn

Joel Rich

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 10:53:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Basis of Discussion about Rabbinate

> My issue is thus that as an orthodox site, the "given" should be a
> rejection of slurs on any Rabbi, let alone an entire nations admitted
> Talmedei Chachomim, especially those of earlier generations, until
> proven.

I never saw anywhere in the welcome documents or thereafter that this is
an orthodox site.  My understanding was that this is a site that accepts
halacha as authoritative and, though this particular approach coincides
with that of Orthodox Judaism, I think that the formal association with
the movement is neither present nor desirable; philosophically speaking,
it unnecessarily imposes additional restrictions, constraints, and
perspectives on the list discussions.


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 
Subject: Re: Basis of Discussion about Rabbinate

A difficult and somewhat subtle point here. Ari is correct that I do
not use the term Orthodox in my welcome message defining the mailing
list (for those wish to be exact, it is used in the section on stating
that the list is not a halachik authority, and that one should consult
with one's competent halachik authority and I give the common
abbreviation of CYLOR, where O is Orthodox). If pushed, I will use the
term Responsa Judaism, which would just elicit a blank stare from
most. The defining element in my mind, as Ari noted above, is that
halacha is authoritive and not optional. This clearly covers all groups
that we may typically group under "Orthodox", including Chassidic,
Chareidi, Yeshivish, Aguda, Young Israel, Modern Orthodox, but will
likely also include groups like UTJ and well as the more serious of the
Conservative movement (although my limited experience is that many of
them have associated with UTJ). This allows a useful (in my mind)
discussion among a wide group of committed Jews, although there are
devoted members of each of the sub-groups above that are convinced that
I am biased against their group and support one of the other
sub-groups. There are today I'm sure many tens, if not hundreds of lists
on the Internet, and if one is looking for a list where the discussion
stays cleanly inside the boundries of one of the sub-groups listed
above, that is where you want to be. For me, one of the primary
advantages of mail-jewish (and why I am up at this early hour and
spending time moderating / editing this list) is because I believe in
the value of polite conversation across the organizational boundries.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: <JuniperViv@...> (Fay Berger)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 08:24:41 EDT
Subject: Re: Bnei Akiva camp and Derekh Eretz

> I will add that in my childhood summer camp experience, Gan Yisroel
> (Lubavitch camp) always emphasized derekh eretz [appropriate manners]
> and tzedakah [charity] in applied ways.  I wish I could say the same
> thing about my experiences at B'nei Akiva [modern Ortho] camp.

I am sorry that Leah Gordon had unhappy experiences at Bnei Akiva
camps.I have just returned from a "Shabbat" at Camp Moshava in Honesdale
PA.Every step of the way the campers helped me. I had a very painful
sciatica attack.It was difficult to walk over the hilly areas.Young
campers saw my difficulty and gave me a helping hand.When I needed
directions to a building, they just didn't tell me how to get there.They
walked me there.In "shul" where everyone sits on benches,I was given a
chair.This did not happen once, but several times.

Fay Berger


From: <syaffe@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 09:25:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Chabad (a thank you)

A general thanks to our list members for a level headed discussion about
Lubavitch, where disagreement did not lead to a lack of Ahavat Yisroel.
It is indeed pleasant to hear people from different Orthodox circles
saying nice thing about each other.


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 08:40:53 EDT
Subject: Re: Dropping the Dime

      When I suggested that there might be a problem of mesirah in
      denouncing a violator to the non-Jewish authorities, I was not
      suggesting that adherence to the municipal building code was
      somehow not strictly obligatory on Jews, only that it might not be
      permitted for a fellow Jew to inform the authorities without first
      getting permission from the local Beth Din

Which is a pain of galut that we don't have a functioning, respected
system of batei dinim (I don't blame this on the Rabbinic leadership,
IMHO they rule by the consent of the governed and the governed refuse to
support this on a macro basis). FWIW the Bet Din of America (RCA
related)has made great efforts in this area.

Joel Rich

From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 14:53:33 -0400
Subject: Dropping the Dime

Some comments re: the recent postings on this topic

I believe -- and someone please correct me -- The issue of dina
d'malchusa dina applies (only?) to monetary issues -- technically
speaking it isn't THE basis for, for example, obeying traffic laws or
(directly) building codes.  This in no way condones violation of same,
but attempts to add a bit of precision to the discussion.

The various responsa re: dropping the dime seem to distinguish between
an action that will result in a fine (and cessation / correction)
vs. those that would result in jail.

Carl Singer

From: Anonymous
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 14:46:28
Subject: Dropping the Dime

> What consitutes "point of endangerment"? And why would you be in a
> quandry about saving a child from being beaten? Also, if you're only
> willing to take action when the case has come to such a dire point as
> "endangerment" how can you be sure that a rabbi's rebuke would be the
> most effective response, more effective then, say, arrest by municipal
> authorities?

Not 100% on point, but when a school administrator I know contacted a
world reknown Rosh Yeshiva who was the Posak for this schoo re:
reporting suspected child abuse - -the response was quick, immediate and
certain -- you must report!


From: Bob Werman <rwerman@...> 
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 14:50:54 +0200
Subject: Re: The Genetics of Cohanim

And for those who want to read the original Nature paper on Cohanim;


Bob Werman


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 20:41:21 +0200
Subject: Meshulach

Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...> writes

>Am I correct in assuming this word comes from the root "Mem-Shin-Ches,"
>and hence that the word means "one who is sent,"

well, almost.
yes it means "one who is sent"
but the root is, I think, shin-lamed-chet = send
like in shilu'ach haken.

Yisrael Medad

From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 11:11:29 -0400 
Subject: Re: Meshulach

Oops ...

Ari Trachtenberg correctly pointed out that an error snuck into my
posting about the word "meshullach."  The correct root is, of course,

Thanks Ari.

-- Andy Goldfinger

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 16:19:31 +0300
Subject: Re: Meshulach

Your translation is correct, but the root is pretty far off.  The root
is shin lamed het.  The mem at the beginning of the word is a "helper"
from the pu`al form of the verb.  (Perhaps you were thinking of kohen

      Hence it would originally have been used to refer to a person
      collecting money on behalf of another person or institution.
      Isn't it then incorrect to call a person collecting for themselves
      a "meshuach?"  Is there a more correct term?

I presume that your quoted word is a typo.  But your point is an
interesting one.  In Israel I would venture to say that most of the
fellows who come into shuls collecting money are doing it for
themselves, while others are collecting for some bride or sick person
(lehavdil), and a minority for any established institution.  I was
wondering whether the use of the term "meshulah" on MailJewish was
intended to cover all these diverse types.  Or perhaps in the
communities where our correspondents live, the collectors are indeed
representatives of organized charitable institutions.

Clarification would be appreciated.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Tobias Robison <trobison@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 18:24:20 -0400
Subject: My approach to Alarm clocks on Shabbath

Carl Singer wrote:

> ... There are many digital watches -- the cheap 5 dollar kind
> sometimes called chicklets - that have a 24 clock (that is
> distinguishes between AM & PM) and whose alarm turns itself off after
> one minute.

In fact, you can find inexpensive digital watches with loud alarms or
soft ones. You can find watches with alarms that repeat every few
minutes. And you can find watches with five separate alarms if you
require five minutes of noise instead of one. Search for your preferred
specifications on the Internet, then try before you buy!

- tobias robison


From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 15:05:20 -0400
Subject: RE: Pants and Psak

a poster  (in question to a statement attributed to rav sheer) stated

> Because it is almost impossible to believe that it was a general
> hetter as quoted. When we see what he really said I am sure it will
> prove to have been either a misquote or a hora'at sha'ah to a certain
> person in certain very limited circumstances and not for general
> publication.

The above post suggests one of the fundamental changes in the
perspective of many, contributing to the RW trend.  The statement
attributed to rav sheer - roughly - that women are required to dress one
degree more modestly than women in general society, e.g. loose pants
instead of tight jeans, short sleeves instead of sleeveless.

It should be understood that forty years ago, this would have been taken
as a radical RW psak - if any one has photos of yeshivish weddings from
the early 1950s, see how many sleeveless (and strapless) dresses are
there.  The standard for zniut dressing was the same as that of regular
society.  While the standards of general society have dramatically
dropped in many ways, they haven't in the two cases being discussed
(pants and sleeveless)

Therefore, today, what would have been considered a RW psak, not
followed by many rabbanim, is now considered by someone to be
"impossible to believe that it was a general hetter".  It is precisely
this notion that current sociological notions in Boro Park are Torah
misinai, that one can not believe that it could be otherwise, that is

Meir Shinnar


From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Rabbi Ed Goldstein)
Subject: Simchat Bat

A bit premature, but planning is important. Has anyone out there done a
simchat bat and what did you do and when?

Rabbi Ed Goldstein, Woodmere, NY (looking forward to possibly putting
this into use, iyh)


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Aug 2004 17:35:16 -0700
Subject: Re: Varied Life

> Let me close with a thought that nearly 30 years ago when I was on
> staff at the University of Arizona and before that at the University
> of Michigan 
> [...]
> Carl A. Singer

OK, show of hands here please - based on the wide variety of locations
and positions Carl has written about his past, how many others want to
see Carl write an autobiography?



End of Volume 44 Issue 6