Volume 44 Number 15
                    Produced: Thu Aug 12 20:22:21 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Stephen Phillips]
Credit Cards/Ribis (Prohibited Interest)
         [Edward Ehrlich]
Hebrew Grammar Seforim
Kashrus and London Bet Din
         [Michael Rogovin]
         [Jack Gross]
Mixed Weddings
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]
Rabbinic violations for pre-barmitzva
         [David Ziants]
Rabbinical Honor
         [Nathan Lamm]
Stem Cell Research
         [David Charlap]
who were these rabbis?
         [Rabbi Ed Goldstein]
Yeridat Hadorot
         [Eli Turkel]


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 12:06:24 +0100
Subject: Re: Abuse

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> I hope that this was in a case of suspected child abuse. If there were
> clear evidence of actual child abuse by a known person, then asking a
> sha'alah would have been incorrect, the criminal should have been
> reported immediately. In cases of pikuach nephesh, he who asks a
> sha'alah is a fool and a rav who is asked because he has not made this
> clear to his congregation is an accessory to the crime. If anyone does
> not believe what I have written they should consult their LOR
> immediately before they are put in the invidious position of having to
> ask about an actual case.

It's worse than just being a fool. According to the Shulchan Aruch (OC
328:2) he is a "Shofech Domim" [a spiller of blood; i.e. a murderer].

As for YLOR, the Mishnah Berurah (ibid. SK 6) quotes the Jerusalem
Talmud which castigates the Rabbi who is asked the Sha'alah as he should
have taught the members of his community in the first place about the
laws of Piku'ach Nefesh.

Stephen Phillips


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 16:29:46 +0300
Subject: Re: Credit Cards/Ribis (Prohibited Interest)

David Charlap wrote:

>Rhonda Stein wrote:
>> Have any of you done research into which credit card companies do not
>> involve any problem of ribis (Jews charging interest to other Jews)?
>I think this is a much more difficult area of research than you may
>realize.  What you're really asking is which of these companies are
>owned by Jews and which ones are not.
>Credit card companies, like banks, are rarely owned by individuals any
>more.  These days, they are public corporations.  Which means the
>"owners" are the stockholders.

A corporation has an independent legal existent from its stockholders.
For instance, when a corporation is sued by an individual or another
corporation, it's the corporation itself being sued and not its "owners"
whose liability is limited to their shares in the corporation. I don't
know if a corporation is considered Jewish even if its stockholders are

Despite this, David might be right. Every branch of a bank in Israel has
a "heiter" (the certificate usually is hung on one of the walls) that
allows interest to be collected. On the other hand, I never heard of a
Jew having to sell his or her IBM stock during Pesah because the IBM
cafeteria serves sandwiches during that time.

As David, pointed out, it's a difficult area of research.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: <Shuanoach@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 14:03:21 EDT
Subject: Hebrew Grammar Seforim

With all the discussions on this list about nikkud and the like, I was
wondering whether anyone could refer me to Hebrew seforim on dikduk and
nikkud, esp. those of ashkenazi rabbanim. (Not works of rishonim, like
radak or ibn Janah, nor to modern anthology-type seforim of the past
century or so, nor to academic works.) E.g. of the type of R. Uri Shraga
Feibush's Minhat Kalil. (Types of seforim which poskim quote when asked
about grammatical issues.)

Any help would be appreciated.


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 10:30:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Kashrus and London Bet Din

Mimi Markofsky asked about the London Beth Din. They have a website
(http://www.kosher.org.uk/intro.htm) and I have found that they are very
prompt in responding to email inquiries.

It is indeed odd that a company would switch from OU to LBD. Other than
kashrut standards (doubtful as a reason here but who knows?) some
reasons might include the target market of the product (US vs UK), place
of manufacturer (switch from a US, OU supervised plant to an LBD
supervised plant), same product manufactured in different plants bearing
different hechshers, or even the same plant but initially destined for
different markets.

For example, world cheese makes the same product (in the same plant)
under different hechshers (OU, KAJ, Star-K) for different
markets. Though they also change the packaging, that may not be the case
for other companies--hence I have seen the same product with the same
package under different hechshers depending on which plant it was
produced in.

My own experience with the LBD is that they are considered a highly
reliable hechsher and the fact that a company switched to them should be
inconsequential, just as a switch from Kof-K to OU to OK would be
irrelevant to most people (?). Obviously as a caterer, your situation is
different from that of a consumer. FWIW, they are listed as reliable on
the Kosherquest website.



From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 08:10:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Meshulach

> From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> >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.

The Kal from (sholeach; vayishlach; shaloach shalachti) connotes to
"send" while _retaining_ (or creating) an association (send a present;
send a message; send as one's agent).

The piel form (meshalleach; shalleach teshallach; veshillechah) has a
somewhat opposite connotation: to release or drive away, _breaking_ any

If an institution engages a Shaliach to collect for it, well and good;
but if he is in fact a Meshullach...


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 13:45:16 +0200
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

	crisis that would provoke.  We end up in a situation that when a
	Jewish man marries a non Jewish woman we hope that if they have
	children he doesn't raise them as Jews.

Yes, complicated.  I know of rare cases, unfortunately very rare cases,
in which the non-Jewish partner converts to Judaism and embrases it
fully, bringing her Jewish husband to tshuva and then marrying
halachikly and raising their kids as Torah Jews.  But don't count on it.
Most of these kids, whether their mother converts halachikly or
otherwise, end up G-dless, faithless or christian.

When it's the mother born Jewish, so are the kids, and when I can I try
to expose them to Judaism; though I must admit I've pretty much given up
on my own niece and nephew.



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 21:32:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Rabbinic violations for pre-barmitzva

Gershon Dubin wrote:
> ...
> <<Could it be that the Rabbanim who permitted the activity of
> children carrying the chulent pot, were basing themselves on
> Rabbi Akiva Eger and willing to extend the law to other mitzva
> situations, like the chulent pot (from which the child will
> obviously benefit with the rest of the family).>>
> The primary purpose must be for the child.  It is a longstanding,
> WRONG practice for children to carry their father's talis bag to
> shul, but there is no basis in halacha to permit this.

Actually, the example of the child bringing the shul key, that is
mentioned in the footnote in Shmirat Shabbat Kehilchato, is from the
responsa of the Chatam Sofer, Volume 6 chap 13 and it is permitted
provided the child will be going into the shul as well (and obviously
the purpose is primarily for adults). I don't know whether the Chatam
Sofer makes a distinction if the child is the son (or daughter) of the
normal key holder or not, but maybe someone can check out the source.

I agree that a father asking his son to bring a chulent pot becomes
problematic. Maybe if someone asks the neighbours son to bring the
chulent pot and to eat with them, then there is more of a heter?

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 05:41:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Rabbinical Honor

Yossi Ginzburg writes:

"It is in fact our adherence to this ruling that prevents simply
annulling R.  Gershoms dicta, thus easing things for agunot..."

Rabbenu Gershon's rule (who actually issued it is a question) actually
makes things *easier* for agunot by forbidding divorce without
consent. It also provides for the Heter Me'ah Rabbanim as a protection
for "male agunot"; this is simply abused today, and such abuse needs no
great halakhic revolution to be ended.

"or easing the rules of eiruv to make it less controversial."

The rules of carrying on Shabbos are d'oryata; no amount of changing
previous rulings can change these facts. If anything, the existence of
"eiruvin" as we know them is a relatively recent rabbinic development to
make life easier, and it would be hard to see how to "ease" things

"Many rulings in Tzniut too would be eased by such annulments, easing
for example the issue of slacks for women."

There are no "rulings" in Tzniut of this nature, and so, again, no great
halakhic revolution needed to alter them, if that is desirable.

Nachum Lamm


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 10:36:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Stem Cell Research

Irwin Weiss wrote:
> I didn't find anything by searching, but maybe I didn't do it well.
> In any event, is anyone aware of any Teshuva relating to Stem Cell
> research?

I'm not aware of an actual teshuva, but here's my logic on the subject.

First off, there shouldn't be any problems with stem cells taken from
already-born humans (typically adults).  People are not killed to
harvest these cells.

I would also reason that there should be no problem with stem cells that
have been cultured in laboratories.  Again, nothing was killed to
produce them (although the original source that started the line may
have been fetal, so I'm less certain about this.)

WRT fetal stem cells (what the political debate is about), my logic is:

1: Judaism does not hold that an unborn child has the same status as a
    child that has already been born.  Until the moment of birth, the
    fetus is considered the "potential" for life.  Something very
    precious and not to be wasted, but also not considered a human life.
    This is why halacha does not consider abortion to be murder
    (although it is still to be discouraged when not necessary.)  This
    is a BIG difference between Judaism and the Christian groups on the
    abortion debate and related subjects.

2: Given the previous statement, it would stand to reason that
    destroying the potential for life (a fetus) in order to create the
    potential to save other lives would be permitted, although it may
    very well be something to be discouraged.  (If the fetus would be
    considered alive, then this argument wouldn't work - you can't
    destroy a life to create a potential to save lives.  Which is why,
    in a complicated pregnancy, you're not allowed to let the mother
    die in order to try and save the unborn.)

3: The above statement (#2), however, assumes that someone will be
    killing the fetus for the purpose of harvesting its stem cells.
    As far as I know, nobody does this, and nobody wants to do this.
    There are huge numbers of abortions taking place already -
    abortions that will take place whether or not the cells are
    harvested.  I don't see why harvesting these cells would be a
    problem - the potential for life (the unborn) is being destroyed
    whether you take the cells or not.  Better you get something (the
    potential to save lives in the future) out of it than nothing at

4: Of course, if people start talking about aborting pregnancies for
    the sole purpose of harvesting cells, or if people decide to get
    pregnant for the purpose of producing a source of cells for
    harvesting, #3 goes out the window.  Although you may be able to
    consider it permissible on technical grounds, I would be strongly
    opposed to it.  I would consider it something "disgusting under
    the law" - a category of action in Judaism that refers to
    something legal, but still wrong.

Thee are, of course, opinions that differ from mine.


From: <BERNIEAVI@...> (Rabbi Ed Goldstein)
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 08:04:27 -0400
Subject: Re: who were these rabbis?

R. Naftali Ropshitz ztl/hyd (I think this is correct) was the father in
law of the current Bostoner Rebbe shlita

Rabbi Ed Goldstein, Woodmere NY


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 17:37:28 +0300
Subject: Yeridat Hadorot

      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 it is very unclear why Amoraim can't argue with Tannaim and
later Rishonim can't argue with the Talmud and especially why today we
can't argue with Rishonim. There are arguments given by Chazon Ish,
R. Elchanan Wasserman, R. Fisher and others. In particular as Joel has
indicated is is not clear if this "just" a decision of later generations
based on humility or it is deeper than that. Thus, we find that the use
of not arguing with previous eras applies only to psak halacha but does
not apply to explanations of pshat in chumash. In many ways it also does
not apply to philosophical attitudes and other areas.

Eli Turkel


End of Volume 44 Issue 15