Volume 46 Number 46
                    Produced: Mon Jan  3 22:48:56 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cell Phone Ban (2)
         [Chana Luntz, Tzvi Stein]
Smoking Ban (was Cell Phone Ban) (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Akiva Miller]
Who is the Mother? (6)
         [<rubin20@...>, J. B. Gross, Jay F Shachter, Shimon
Lebowitz, Perets Mett, Saul Mashbaum]
Who is the Mother -- a bit more
         [Carl Singer]


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 23:29:51 +0000
Subject: Cell Phone Ban

In message <m1CkRE2-000ejFC@...>, Avi Feldblum 
<mljewish@...> writes
>Maybe I missed it in the earlier postings, but Perets's post above 
>makes it clear that the ban is fairly narrow in scope, and it sounds 
>like the target group was basically ones for whom the one's making the 
>ban may likely be clearly the appropriate Rabbanim to institute such a 
>ban. It is only those whose full time occupation is learning Torah, and 
>for those people, I would be inclined to agree, why should they have a 
>potential distraction of a cell phone on them.

I can understand your point, but there is another side to it.

Next time there is a pigua [terrorist attack] in Israel, are we going to
go back to the mayhem that used to occur in the days before everybody
had cell phones - where the queues at the yeshivas and sems to use the
phones to check that everybody's loved ones were safe (or r'l not)
stretched on and on?

Even if your boy is indeed learning 24 by 7 (and can one be sure that he
did not decide to go daven at the kotel that morning), what about his
need to know about his family? About his family's need to just to
reassure themselves?

Cell phones are the worrying mother's lifeline.  If on Rosh Hashona we 
remember the worry of the mother of such as Sisera, should we not also 
spare a thought for the worry of the mothers in Israel.

Shavuah tov
Chana Luntz

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 18:23:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

> From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
> To suggest that the cell-phone/mobiler-phone/pelefon ban was (a)
> instigated by an anonymous pressure group or (b) signed with forged
> signatures is a travesty of what actually happened. the ban on the use
> of cell phones by those whose full-time occupation is learning Torah was
> promulgated at a public meeting.

Clearly, we are talking apples and oranges.  I am speaking about a ban
on *internet access* on *everyone's* cell phones.  That ban has nothing
to do with full-time Torah learning.

You are talking about a complete ban on *cell phones*, themselves, with
or without internet access, only applied to full-time Torah learners.

Please don't confuse the two issues.  In general, I wish people would
read posts carefully before responding.  It's quite annoying when people
make it clear that they haven't really read the post they are responding


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 22:38:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Smoking Ban (was Cell Phone Ban)

Richard Schultz asked <<< how do we explain the general refusal of those
same rabbis to ban smoking, which, unlike the internet, has clearly
proven detrimental effects on the smoker's physical health? >>>

Tzvi Stein answered <<< Simple... smoking is a perfect example of a case
where they realized that the people would not be able to follow the
decree. >>>

There is indeed a rule that if the rabbis make a new law, but it is
found that most people are unable to follow it, then that law never had
the force of law to begin with, and stays "off the books". But today's
rabbis, unlike those of the talmud, do not have the ability to make new
decrees or bans. Therefore, the question of whether or not people can
follow them is irrelevant.

Today's rabbis DO have the ability -- actually, they have the
*obligation* -- to teach their followers about the decrees which already
exist. For example, the Torah obligates us to take care of our health.
Therefore, our rabbis must teach us what practices are required or
forbidden, no less than they must teach us what practices are required
or forbidden on Shabbos.

If a rabbi feels that medical knowledge is not his field of expertise
(and I'd imagine this is true of most rabbis) he still has to teach his
followers about this mitzvah, and give them some sort of direction on
how to observe it properly. Even if he says as little as "Follow the
opinions of Dr. XYZ", he still has to do something, and I don't see the
relevance of whether or not people will listen to him.

On the other hand, leadership is a skill, and an important part of being
a good leader is knowing how to lead them. Specifically, some situations
allow the leader to be forceful and bold, while other situations require
the leader to take a more roundabout method of reaching his goals. Thus,
it turns out that there are MANY things which a rabbi would like to
enforce upon his flock, but the reality of the world we live in forces
him to choose between preaching about this mitzvah, or preaching about
that one. And if my sense of priorities doesn't match my rabbi's, well,
maybe his are better than mine?

Akiva Miller

From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2005 11:46:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Smoking Ban (was Cell Phone Ban)

David Maslow asked <<< I would be interested in knowing the rationale of
rabbis who refuse to protest against smoking and its harmful effects, as
mentioned by Akiva Miller (MJ 46:38). >>>

Okay, here goes! Here's a translation, as best as I can do. For some
words where the translation may be critical, I included his own words in
(parentheses). My own comments follow it.

Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 2:49
Regarding Smoking Cigarettes
7th day of Chanukah 5764 [Dec. '63]

to my dear friend, Rabbi Aaron Kirshenbaum shlita:

On the subject of smoking cigarettes, it is certain (vadai) that since
there is a chance (chashash) that one could become ill from it, it is
proper (min haraui) to avoid it. But to say that it is prohibited under
the prohibition of dangerous things -- since many people have gotten
involved in it (dashu bah rabim), we have a precedent set by the Gemara
Shabbos 129 and Nida 31 that "HaShem protects the naive", and especially
since several Torah giants of the past and current generations have
smoked. Therefore, even for those who are strict (machmirim) to worry
about the danger, there's no prohibition of "placing a stumbling block
before the blind" in extending a light or matches to one who does smoke.

Your friend with blessings,
Moshe Feinstein

My understanding of the above is that although there is a prohibition
against doing dangerous things, not *all* dangerous things are included
in that prohibition, and in the opinion of Rav Moshe Feinstein, smoking
is an example of something which *is* dangerous but is *not* forbidden.

Akiva Miller


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 13:42:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

> The one "exception" to this I can think of is yibum (levirite
> marriage), where the legal father of the child is not the biological
> father, but the biological father's (deceased) brother.

I am not exactly sure what this is supposed to mean, as there is no such
din. In fact, I believe this is the ONLY case where Mikra Yotse Miday
Peshuto (the plain meaning of the verse is not correct), as there is no
requirement to name the baby after the deceased brother, plain reading
of the verse not withstanding.

From: J. B. Gross <yaabetz@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 15:13:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
> First off, I would argue that it doesn't matter very much.
> According to halacha, the status of the mother is only necessary for
> determining if the child is Jewish.  For all other purposes
> (inheritance, tribal affiliation, etc.), the identity of the father is
> what's important.  I assume this is not in dispute WRT surrogate mother
> cases.
> This is why things like polygamy did not cause halachic problems (back
> before the practice was banned, of course.)
> The one "exception" to this I can think of is yibum (levirite marriage),
> where the legal father of the child is not the biological father, but
> the biological father's (deceased) brother.
> Now, if the biological mother and the surrogate mother are not of the
> same religion (one Jewish, one not), the situation would be come much
> more problematic.

The statement about paternity in the case of Yibbum is incorrect; the
halacha does not follow the literal meaning of the verse in question.

Who is the legal mother matters a great deal:

a.  Mother-child relation determines which relatives of each are
prohibited to marry the other.
b.  Several positive and negative commandments exist for a person with
respect to the mother:  Kibbud em, Hakka'as em, Kil'las em.
c.  If the child is male and a Cohen (the maternity is in question, but
the paternity is known), he is a Cohen, and is permitted and obligated to
contract Tum'as Mes in attending to the burial of the mother, but may not
do so for the non-mother.
d.  The existence or absence of a blood relationship has implications in
hilchos tzedaka.
e.  The existence of progeny fathered by a Cohen determines the mother's
status upon death of (or divorce from) the Cohen.
f.  Whether a man's deceased daughter is mother of a surviving child can
determine whether Zikkas Yibbum applies to his widow(s).
g.  A child inherits from his or her mother.

From: Jay F Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 13:12:41 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

Knowing who your mother is certainly does matter for much more than
determining whether you are Jewish.  You can be executed for striking
your mother.  You can give truma to the widowed mother of a minor kohen.
You cannot testify against your mother.  You cannot marry your mother.
Or her daughter.  You have to rise when your mother enters the room.  If
your mother is from the tribe of Levi you do not have a redemption of
the firstborn.  You have to mourn when your mother dies.  If your mother
is a mamzeret so are you.  I could go on.  Only the first two items on
these list involve commandments which could be said to be not currently
in effect.  All the others are fully operative today.

> This is why things like polygamy [ the writer evidently means
> polygyny -- jf("y")s ] did not cause halachic problems (back
> before the practice was banned, of course.)

This statement contains absolutely no logic whatsoever.  Polygyny has
nothing to do with not knowing who your mother is.  In this regard it is
not analogous to polyandry.

Furthermore, polygyny has not been banned.  At one point in history,
certain Jewish communities discouraged polygyny by placing those who
practiced it in xerem.  The xerem has expired.

	Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
	Chicago IL  60645-4111

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2005 22:36:47 +0200
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

What about all the forbidden relationships on the *mother's*
side, whoever the mother may be?

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sat, 1 Jan 2005 23:07:00 +0000
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

Of course it matters!

There is a whole list of persons whom one may not marry.

If the mother is the one who gave birth, then forbidden marriage
partners are defined with respect to her as mother. the child may not
marry a sibling - defined as another child of that mother. If a girl,
she may not marry her nephew - by that mother.

Assuming that the child is brought up by his/her 'biological' mother, it
becomes vitally important to know who the surrogate is, as she is the
halachic mother.

Perets Mett

From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2005 23:00:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Who is the Mother?

There is clearly considerable halachic import to which woman is one's
To cite a few examples
1) kibud ame - honoring one's mother
2) availut - mourning and kaddish
3) the capital prohibition against striking one's mother
4) the permissibility of a Kohen attending his mother's funeral
5) prohibited marriages because of familial relationships (incest)
6) yichud (a man and women being alone together in a private area)
7) There are cases wherein a man may inherit from his mother

Thus determining which woman is the mother according to Jewish law is of
great halachic significance.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 2004 14:04:11 -0500
Subject: Who is the Mother -- a bit more

Although there have been tshuvas written -- we should consider this an
emerging halachic field.  I have no doubt that there are people who have
PRIVATELY gotten psak halacha in this rather complex realm and that
Gedolay HaDor are involved..  One can imagine that if a Rabbi before
paskening as to whether or not the chicken is kosher needs to know whose
chicken it is(the poor widow or the rich man) -- how much more so in
this domain.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 46 Issue 46