Volume 47 Number 02
                    Produced: Fri Feb 18  6:11:55 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are there two classes of Jews?
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Inherited Library of Sforim
         [Joel Rich]
Lost Tefillin
         [Brian L Silvey]
         [Dov Teichman]
Metzitza b'peh
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Metzitza Discussion
         [Philip Heilbrunn]
         [Ben Katz]
Superstition and mazalot
         [Mike Gerver]
Transplants via Pigs and Mice
         [Yisrael Medad]
Water Fountains, Faucets and Sensors on Shabbat
         [Brian Wiener]


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 10:36:14 +0200
Subject: Re: Are there two classes of Jews?

Carl Singer said:
> I was troubled by one comment in an otherwise most helpful explanation of
> the current situation regarding metzitza.
> > In light of the above, a Rosh Yeshiva poskinned for me personally that I
> > may not perform metzitza be-peh under any circumstances, and when among
> > Jews who do not know the difference I should omit metzitza entirely.
> > When among observant Jews who will protest if metzitza is omitted, he
> > poskinned that I should perform metzitza through a sterile glass tube or
> > syringe in a manner which will prevent any saliva-blood contact.  (This
> > pesak has little relevance because I so infrequently perform brissin.)
> Many years ago the board of the Torah Academy in Philadelphia purchased a
> table at the Jewish Federation's annual dinner.  The dinner was kosher and
> as a board member I was among those folks attended.  As we entered the
> banquet room the masgiach approached the Dean of the school, a very
> choshiv Yid and basically said "don't drink the water" -- that he would
> provide us with different meals.  So apparently there was
> kosher-enough-for-them and kosher-enough-for-us.  Although I was on the
> "us" side of this, I thought it was a terrible distinction.

I appreciate Carl's dislike of the 'us vs. them' attitude in kashrut,
and I think (agree?) that a catered affair should ALL be made to the
standard accepted by whoever is hosting it.

(More on this later)

However, I do *not* think that problem exists in the metziza issue. I
believe the (anonymous) posek (ummm... Rosh Yeshiva) really considers
metziza irrelevant to the mila, and is against it being done at all. The
only reason he said to act differently among the different communities
was to "give a good feeling" to those who see it as a requirement.

Rather than argue with them, just do it with the sterile tube, purely
for the sake of shalom. It seems to me on a par with "at this banquet we
are using glatt kosher china, but if you will feel better having a brand
new unused paper plate, we can supply that too". ;-)

Regarding the kashrut standards of a banquet, I know that there are
people who keep 'extra chumrot', without necessarily maligning the
kashrut of those who don't.  I can understand the mashgiach as meaning
"If you want to be machmir, I will help you out". (On the other hand,
the dean had shown up at the banquet, so apparently he was willing to
eat the kashrut level served there).

I may have told this here before, but I will repeat a funny story.  I
was at a wedding in yerushalayim at a hotel with a glatt/mehadrin
hechsher, where in addition to the standard fancy meal, there was an
option to ask for plain chicken with a badat"z hechsher.  The waiters
came around and asked "do you want the badat"z chicken", and I heard the
uncle of the bride yelling (loud enough to be heard quite well at a
distance) "I want the regular treif stuff!".  (This was done with a
laugh, and was understood as a joke, in case anyone didn't understand)

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


From: <joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 23:10:29 +0000
Subject: Inherited Library of Sforim

A friend of mine inherited a library of sforim(siddurim,chumashim etc.)
that duplicates his own.  Does anyone know of any organizations that
accept these or do they go to shaimos?

What about household items (kosher dishes, silverware, furniture....)?


From: Brian L Silvey <Brian.Silvey@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 12:47:46 -0500
Subject: Lost Tefillin

I was hopin gto enlist your help in networking to the various Jewish

I am offering a reward for a pair of tefillin I lost on Wednesday, (Rosh
Chodesh Adar 1) 9 February on a New Jersey Transit Train to Trenton on
the Northeast Corridor line. The tefillin and my tallit are contained in
a bright blue square vinyl bag, with PADI (the SCUBA diving
organzination) on the bottom. The tefillin bag, the tallit, and the
siddur inside have the name Benyamin Leib embroidered across the top.

Brian (Benyamin Leib) Silvey
(973)-438-3371 work
(732)-977-3308 cell


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 14:47:12 EST
Subject: Re: Metzitza

The Minchas Elozar, who was a major fighter for the preservation of
Metzitza B'peh in his time, writes about the issues he had according to
Halacha and Kabbala in his sefer "Os Chaim VeSholom" on Hilchos Tefilin
and Milah (which is on the net at
http://www.munkatcherseforim.org/pdf/oschaim.pdf) See Siman 264:3 Note
12. (page 292 of the pdf file). He writes that he rinses his mouth with
"Bohr water"(?) and recommends others do so prior to Metzitza B'peh.
(Although I doubt this actually prevents transmission of the diseases
being discussed here.) But even he writes that a Mohel whos mouth is not
checked (Baduk) or has a disease, definitely must be prevented from
doing metzitza. (p 294)

Dov Teichman


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 10:36:12 +0200
Subject: Re: Metzitza b'peh

> Now let's consider the hypothesis that no more than 10% of herpes
> infections are caused by the mohel. Even this high an infection rate
> by mohelim would be a huge number, more than enough, I would think, to
> justify not using oral metzitzah.

At this point I was hit with a memory of something I read about
(*lehavdil* elef havdalot!) the porngraphy business.  Apparently it has
become the common custom that those involved it that industry simply can
not get a job without an up to date HIV test, with negative results.

Why can't we, the "consumers", demand that no mohel be allowed near our
babies unless he has tested negative for HIV and herpes?

Why shouldn't the rabbis or the community leaders set such standards?

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


From: Philip Heilbrunn <heilbrunn@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 09:44:56 +1100
Subject: Metzitza Discussion

There is a good discusion by Rabbi Alfred Cohen in his Journal of
Halacha and Contemporary Society ( No. 17, Pesach 5749) regarding some
of the halachic issues of metzitza.

It was written about the time the aids scare emerged.

A big factor is fear that even the most careful mohel may pick up
Aids/HepB or C/Herpes from the baby of an HIV positive person or one who
has some other illness. In this way the mohel becomes a carrier
spreading the illness to other babies.

The suggestion made in that article was that if a family is insistent on
metztitza bapeh, the father should do the metzitzah himself and take the
risks on his own shoulders since in any case his is the principal Chiyuv
for the Milah.

Philip Heilbrunn


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 13:40:51 -0600
Subject: Re: Metzitzah

>From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
>sample of four or eight is laughable.  The conclusion to be drawn from
>this study is that *those four* mohalim should take up another
>profession.  That is a totally justifiable conclusion.  Perhaps regular
>testing of all mohalim would be a justifiable recommendation.

         Mr. Jacobson is again mistaken, and probabaly should refrain
from medical recommendations.  Many, if not most adults are seropositive
for herpes.  Every seropositive adult sheds herpes virus at some points
in time.  If that time coincides with oral metzitzah, transmission is

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 14:09:58 EST
Subject: Superstition and mazalot

Freda Birnbaum asks, in v46n99

      If the torah forbids superstition and mazalot (such as saying that
      such-and-such a day or month is "good" for something), then why do
      we say that the month of Adar has the mazal of fish and that it is
      "lucky" for going to bes-din and making weddings?

That Adar has the mazal of fish is not a superstition, it is simply an
astronomical fact. It means that the sun is in the sign of Pisces (which
corresponded to the constellation of Pisces 2000 years ago when the
signs of the zodiac were established) roughly during the month of Adar.

As to why (and if) it is OK to say that this makes Adar "lucky" for
going to bes-din and weddings, I'll leave that to others to
answer. Though I would guess that the notion that Adar is lucky has more
to do with its association with Purim, and with the end of the winter,
than with its association with fish.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 20:49:43 +0200
Subject: Transplants via Pigs and Mice

Anyone want to offer a Halachic comment?

      Israeli findings increase chances of successful pig embryonic
      tissue transplant

      Pig embryos could provide sources of new organ and tissue
      transplants for people, thanks to new findings by Israeli

      Scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science have determined
      distinct gestational time windows for the growth of transplanted
      pig embryonic liver, pancreas and lung precursor tissue into
      functioning organs in mice. They found that if cells were taken
      from pig embryos at precisely the right time, they grew into
      liver, pancreas and lung tissues in mice. The study, led by
      Prof. Yair Reisner of the Institute's Immunology Department,
      involved the extraction of embryos from sows at various stages of
      pregnancy and implantation of organ-committed cell tissue into
      immunodeficient mice.

      Many researchers are working on the possibility of animal to human
      transplants, also called xenotransplants.

      Yisrael Medad


From: Brian Wiener <brian@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2005 13:16:23 +1100
Subject: RE: Water Fountains, Faucets and Sensors on Shabbat

The Tzomet institute, in Gush Etzion, which is set up to examine the
whole issue of modern technology vis--vis halacha, is a good place to
look.  I have some excellent information from the head, Rabbi Yisrael
Rozen, specifically about sensors, etc, but I don't think I can append
them here, as they are in Hebrew. Or can I?

Brian Wiener

[I cannot append hebrew language postings to the group, but I can put it
up on the web site, if you have permission for me to do so from
Tzomet. Mod]


End of Volume 47 Issue 2