Volume 48 Number 60
                    Produced: Thu Jun 23  5:32:43 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gay Relations Clarification
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Kavod Habriyos and Aivah
         [Mark Steiner]
Kavod Habriyot
         [Josh Backon]
Kiddush Levana
Kiddush Levana and Women
         [Mark Steiner]
Kiddush Levana on Yom Tov and Shabbos
         [Art Werschulz]
Kiddush Levanah - Need a Minyan? (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Martin Stern]
What Constitutes a Minyan?
         [Martin Stern]
What People Think Might be Kosher
         [Leah S. Gordon]


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 04:02:36 -0700
Subject: Gay Relations Clarification

My good friend Ari Trachtenberg, by way of a request that I endorse
(i.e. for sources for the "mi'sinai" status of modern p'sak), refers to:

> a rather controversial example, consider the implicit acceptance of
> male homosexual relations (which seem to be clearly and unequivocally
> forbidden in the Torah) accorded by a very intelligent and personable
> YU-ordained rabbi travelling on the lecture tour as an openly gay...

It is my understanding, after reading reams of articles by this rabbi
and others, that his p'sak is *not* in favor of male-male intercourse as
defined in Leviticus.

We could (but I hope we will not) discuss other of his points of view,
or gay sexuality in general, but since this rabbi, also a friend of
mine, does not in fact opine as stated here, I wanted to clear the

As for Avi's comment:
"[Note: That while the referenced individual above self-identifies
himself as an "Orthodox" Rabbi, I believe that the overwhelming majority
of the Orthodox Rabbinate rejects his contentions. Mod.]"

It remains my strong opinion that people may self-identify as they
choose, and that it is disrespectful for others to challenge that.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 16:36:40 +0300
Subject: RE: Kavod Habriyos and Aivah

> So, how do you explain the eivah cases I brought?  The Mishna in Demai
> and the eating of the bread of non Jews etc? Why do we pay any
> attention to potential animosity?  We do not pay attention to
> potential animosity that might be groundless, or that might involve a
> d'orisa prohibition?  Why the distinction with regard to these
> prohibitions? Why do we not say that HE should be embarrassed and
> therefore we are in our rights to cause as much aivah as we want, and
> should ignore any aivah caused.

	I think I have made my opinion on kovod (not kvod which is
Biblical Hebrew for the same thing) habriyos (NOT habri'os, which is BH
for the same thing; Lamed-aleph verbs went to Lamed-heh verbs in MH--and
the singular of briyos in MH is biryo, and thus berye in Yiddish) pretty
clear: considerations of embarrassment never enter into a case where one
is dealing with a known non-kosher food.  Naturally, when the host is
not aware that what he is serving is not kosher or forbidden, one must
do everything in one's power not to embarrass him (or her), and then
privately explain politely the problem.  If the host is someone who will
not listen to such instruction, you shouldn't be eating in his house in
the first place.  (Josh Backon wrote me that he DELIBERATELY quoted from
the Arukh Hashulhan and the Minhat Hinukh--a landsman of mine, by the
way--and not the Shulhan Arukh to show that these laws have not changed
in the modern age, even though the definition of a public sabbath
desecrator may well have.)

	In answer to Chanah's questions: both demai and pas nochrim
happen to be special cases, that do not reflect the general attitude of
the Torah to prohibited food:

(a) Demai is produce which according to the usual rules of halakha is
permitted, since most amei ha-aretz DO tithe.  As a stricture on the AH,
perhaps to motivate the minority to repent, the entire category of AH
was punished in various ways, to the extent, as I wrote, that they were
not counted for a zimmun EVEN if they were guiltless in the matter of
tithing.  (To get out of the status of an AH, you had to go through a
"conversion" ceremony to become a "haver.")  For this reason, poor
people can eat demai, even though the laws of kashrus are ALWAYS the
same for rich or poor.  The same "gvir" (a Yiddish word of Hebrew
derivation which has a different meaning than in the Bible) who loses
his fortune gains the right to eat demai, the produce of an AH.  The
reason for this is that Hazal, as Chanah herself points out, didn't want
to go too far in prohibiting what in fact is kosher food.  They
therefore made exceptions in various cases, exceptions which do not
apply to "real" issurim.  In Yeshivish, you might say that "demai" is a
prohibition ad hominem (gavra) not ad rem (heftza).  By the way, the
embarrassment to the AH may be precisely one of the sanctions that Hazal
imposed.  Some of the exceptions could be because of animosity (eivah).
Some might even be because of kovod habriyos, but these exceptions
cannot be extended to unsold hametz, an issue which has nothing to do
with relations with the AH.

(b) Non-Jewish bread has not been forbidden since Talmudic times.  Many
of the great rishonim ate non-Jewish bread, one of them even took it off
the table till after the "motzi", since it was of higher quality, and he
would be "forced" to make the beracha on the non-Jewish bread!
Obviously, then, you can't make an analogy between non-Jewish (if
kosher) bread and other prohitions.

Now let's look at the difference between kovod habriyos and eivah:

Kovod Habriyos is a moral imperative we owe to all Hashem's creatures
(including non-Jewish, who are briyos), to treat them with basic human

Mishum Eivah is purely prudential, not moral.  The earliest mention of
eivah is that between Man, Woman, and the serpent, and from this we see
that eivah is strife that could lead to violence, and in some cases
pikuach nefesh.  An example would be what a number of poskim hold, that
a Jewish doctor can treat non-Jewish patients on shabbat, because
otherwise, while there might not be an immediate issue of anti-Jewish
violence, there certainly would be eivah which ultimately could lead to
pogroms, etc.  Even in the case of the Jewish AH violence is an issue,
as R. Akiva said: when I was an AH, I used to say--give me a talmid
hakham and I'll bite him like an ass....

	To explain this difference I'll conclude with a story I heard
about Professor Shaul Lieberman of JTS, author of Tosefta Kifshuta,
which is used in major yeshives like Ponevez (I know what I'm talking
about), when covered with brown paper.  He was asked by a priest whether
Jews are supposed to treat Gentiles morally because of an ethical
imperative, or mishum eivah.  He answered, "because of a moral
imperative, of course."  When the priest left, SL turned to his
disciples and said, "And THAT, I told him mishum eivah."


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Wed,  22 Jun 2005 13:35 +0300
Subject: Kavod Habriyot

While there are many sources for Kavod haBriyot (Yoreh Deah 303:1 and
372:1 in the Rema) the Aruch haShulchan YD 303 #2 seems to differentiate
between an Issur Temidi (permanent violation) vs. a temorary
violation. In fact he states, "v'afilu b'issur d'rabbanan TEMIDI (caps
mine) nir'eh li d'mechuyav l'hagid lo v'ein limnoa mitzad kavod

Josh Backon


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 17:28:22 -0700
Subject: Re:  Kiddush Levana

> It is indeed more likely, but not because of the gap between Rosh
> Chodesh and the molad.  The molad might be two days _before_ Rosh
> Chodesh, but it can never be _after_ Rosh Chodesh.

   Can't the moled be after plag of Rosh Chodesh? 


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 17:00:41 +0300
Subject: RE: Kiddush Levana and Women

	My rebbe once pointed out to me that, in general, women have
been obligated by the Rabbis to perform just about every mitzvah they
originated: Chanukah, Purim, Four Cups at the Seder, etc., even if they
were time dependent (zman gerama).  Can you think of a time dependent
rabbinic mitzvah which does NOT obligate women?

	The only one the Mishnah Berurah could think of was: kiddush

	Now this is very strange, my rebbe used to ask, what kind of
"mitzvah" is kiddush levanah?  All Jews have to make the same blessings
on thunder, lightening, etc.  Why should the moon be different, just
because it's periodic?  I just thought of a possible answer based on a
"vort" I heard in the name of an "iluy" who used to live in my
neighborhood in Jerusalem: the gemara in Sanhedrin states that kiddush
levana is like greeting the Shechina, to which Abaye said: therefore it
must be recited standing.  Usually berachot can, and some should, be
recited sitting.  The berachot we say standing are the berachot we say
on mitzvot.  The conclusion is that kiddush levana must be a birkat
hamitzvah, not a blessing of Praise or Thanksgiving, and as such, it is
time dependent.


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 09:08:32 -0400
Subject: Kiddush Levana on Yom Tov and Shabbos


Is it possible that the reason that one shouldn't do Kiddush Levana on
Shabbat is simply so one won't take a siddur into the reshut harabbim?
If so, then one could easily understand the extension to Yom Tov as
being a matter of lo plug.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 15:37:14 +0300
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levanah - Need a Minyan?

> in my shul, which follows the minhag haperushim (based to a large
> extent on the Gaon), we say KL with a minyan 72 hours after the
> "molad."

I would understand this to mean something like "the first time the moon
is visible, at least 72 hours after the average molad."  Is that indeed
the intention?

Is it well known that (some) Teimanim actually say birkat halevana as
soon as the moon is visible at night, days before the 72 hours have

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 11:26:19 +0100
Subject: Re: Kiddush Levanah - Need a Minyan?

on 22/6/05 10:22 am, Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:
> According to the Vilner Gaon KL one need not wait for motzaei shabbat in
> order to recite KL, for example (a) when inclement weather may make it
> impossible later one;

In Germany they used to say "In Kislev, Teves und Shevat, man bencht die
Levonoh wenn man sie hat", i.e.  in winter, don't wait if you have the
opportunity to make KL. In Manchester where the skies are overcast for
even more of the year, this advice applies every month.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2005 09:39:44 +0100
Subject: What Constitutes a Minyan?

It was reported in the UK Jewish press recently that the last remaining
bastion of male chauvinism in the UK Masorti (Conservative) movement has
fallen into line and will henceforth count women for a minyan. This
morning the following thought occurred to me during Keriat haTorah.

The Gemara (Megillah 23b) learns the need for a minyan of ten free adult
males for a devar shebikedushah: kaddish, kedushah, chazarat hashats,
keriat hatorah and nesiat kapayim, from the incident of the spies in
this weeks sedra, using a double gezerah shavah "tokh...tokh,

Usually the need for adult males is inferred from the fact that the
spies all just happened to be such (as in 13,13) but it struck me that
in 13,3 the words 'kulam anashim', translated 'kulhon guvrin' in the
Targumim, were superfluous since the previous verse specified sending

Unlike modern Hebrew the word 'anashim' mean 'men' in classical Hebrew
rather than 'people' and its use might be meant to indicate precisely
this since we often meet such drashot as 'ish velo ishah', 'ish velo
katan', 'ish velo eved'.

Rashi's comment (ad loc.), based on the midrash, that the word 'anashim'
indicates that they were distinguished people must be drush and cannot
be relevant to minyan considerations since we accept any free adult male
Jew who is not a mumar for a minyan, not just communal leaders.

Has anyone any comments?
Martin Stern


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jun 2005 04:37:46 -0700
Subject: What People Think Might be Kosher

Chana Luntz writes in part:

> "Um, I think the cheeseburger you describe is a slightly different
> case, because I doubt there is anybody out there who thinks that such
> a concoction is kosher or would have the front to assert that it was.
> In all the cases we have been discussing the individual in question
> believes/asserts that what they are offering is kosher - it is just
> that they are either too ignorant to know that, eg something like
> unsold..."

Unfortunately, Chana, there *are* people who would think the chicken-
cheeseburger is kosher.  I was put into a very uncomfortable situation
once where a host had bought both hechshered hotdogs (cooked in a new
pot on a kashered burner, according to my instructions).  Then, she cut
the hotdogs into [also kosher?] macaroni and cheese!!

This is not to comment on anything else in the Kavod HaBriyot
discussion, but I think it is worth mentioning....

--Leah S. R. Gordon


End of Volume 48 Issue 60