Volume 48 Number 92
                    Produced: Tue Jul 12  5:40:19 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Book/Secular translations of the Torah (2)
         [Chaim Tatel, Ari Trachtenberg]
Bigger aveyrah? (2)
         [Joseph Ginzberg, Joseph Ginzberg]
Business in Conflict
         [Harold Greenberg]
Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah
         [I M Fuchs]
Halacha and Business Competition
         [Dave Eckhardt]
No Tachnun Tonight
         [Carl A. Singer]
Rebetzein Debbie Rennert A"H Website
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Title of Sefer "Maaver Yabok"
         [Steven M.Kapnick]
Treatment of a worker (2)
         [Carl Singer, Janice Gelb]


From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 20:14:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Book/Secular translations of the Torah

Fred <fredd@...> asked:
> Does anyone know the email address of Rabbi Aharon Feldman of Nir Israel
> in Baltimore?

No, but the mailing address is:

Ner Israel Rabbinical College
400 Mt. Wilson Lane
Pikesville, MD 21208

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 21:11:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Ban on Rabbi Slifkin's Book/Secular translations of the Torah

> From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
> In January and February of this year, there was a discussion on MJ of
> the ban on Rabbi Nosson Slifkin's books.  Rabbi Aharon Feldman, the Rosh
> Yeshiva of Nir Israel in Baltimore, has just posted an article examining
> the issue...

I have been trying to avoid entering this discussion, but the last post
regarding Rabbi Aharon Feldman piqued my interest...so I took a look at
Rabbi Slifkin's web page.

I must say that I found the reading personally unnerving ... well
respected rabbis such as Rabbi Eliashiv, Sheinman, Scheinberg, and
Auerbach, who are highly influential in our understanding of halacha,
stated emphatically that "there is no room for justification whatsover
for spreading these books" and forced Rabbi Slifkin out of one of his
jobs, despite support for Slifkin from other apparently resepectable

More unnervingly, without even reading any of Rabbi Slifkin's works, I
that it is abundantly clear (esp. from Rabbi Sternbuch's letter, as
reproduced on Slifkin's web site) that:

1.  No attempt is given to make a point-by-point rebuttal of Slifkin's
arguments (as "know what to say to the heretic" would suggest) - instead
the responses provided are a mixture of mussar, an appeal to authority,
and an ad hominem attack on science and scientists in general.  The only
seemingly honset attempt to address Slifkin's content is by Rabbi

2.  There is a significant and fundamental ignorance of modern science
among some of these well-resepected rabbis, and some of the text reads
as rather defensive about this ignorance. (I can provide details to the
interested off-line)

3.  These rabbis have no qualms about ruining a person's reputation
based on their beliefs (and where will he find a bet din to support his

This all brings me back to two unanswered questions:

1.  What halachic authority does a modern rabbi have?  [I do remember
one position on MJ that one may choose to follow the p'sak of a rabbi
and thus give him halachic authority - I would be interested in what
allows us to assign this authority]

2.  Do we as a community have a collective means of preventing harmful
behavior in the name of halacha?



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 11:14:58 -0400
Subject: Bigger aveyrah?

>>Jeanette Friedman wrote:
>>>If Plony, the cab driver in Monsey is making a living driving people to
>>>the doctor and the hospital, and suddenly the service is provided for
>>>free by others, that IS DISGUSTING. What they can do is raise funds so
>>>the poor people don't have to pay him, but he should be paid. Driving
>>>him out of business and making his family starve is a bigger aveyrah
>>>than paying him to take them to the doctor.
>>>This sounds great and wonderful in theory.  In practice, this attitude
>>>produces disastrous results.

>The publisher could easily have told Janice that her work was
>substandard and he didn't feel she deserved a raise. Instead, he was
>honest and said he couldn't afford to pay her more. She wasn't a
>slave--she had the option to leave and take another job. Which she did.

As already pointed out by another poster, the halacha covers the issue
of "hasagas g'vul" (unlawfully interfering with anothers legetimate
earning of a living).

What bothers me are the other issues that were in this post, in that
they seem to imply the aceptability of the concept of "I think this is a
bigger aveyrah, and therefore this is forbidden, even though I have no

I am fairly sure everyone agrees that depriving anyone of an honest
living isn't nice.  I am also confident that we can all agree that in
general the Jewish media pay poorly, and that most fail to be
suffieciently sophisticated about the orthodox community because of the
reluctance of good orthodox writers to work for substandard pay.

What I don't "get" is why making statements like "X is a bigger aveyrah
than Y" is intellectually acceptable when it is backed by emotion rather
than cited sources.

Yossi ginzberg

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 17:05:58 -0400
Subject: Bigger aveyrah?

In todays newspaper there is an article about the New York Times
starting a new venture, a weekly targeted at the Black community of

The issue prompting the article is the fear that this major new paper
will drain ad revenue from the established black-owned papers serving
the area.

Would those opposing unpaid writers in the Jewish media feel that here
the free-market should also not dominate, and prevent the Times venture?

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 08:03:18 +0300
Subject: Business in Conflict

>Wendy Baker asks, "Has anyone else noticed that in Israel there seems
>to be only one supermarket per neighborhood."

I don't believe this is so, but if it is, then it is just good business.
Why open up next to another supermarket when you can get a new
neighbourhood all to yourself?

Here in Eilat, there is a Jumbo in a shopping centre across the road
from a Hyperneto.  An easy walk away is a Supercenter, and then a
private supermarket challenging the big chains, head on.  I have shopped
numerous times with my daughter in Rishon LeZion and my son near Kfar
Saba and have never felt I was being manipulated.

Those without cars often take a bus to the shuk (market) and return home
with an armful of purchases.  As almost all supermarkets have delivery
service (for a fee and a tip) it is common to take a taxi to the
supermarket of one's choice and arrange for home delivery.

For those with a car, supermarket shopping is easy.  Israel is a small
country and almost every chain has a store an easy drive away.

>Can anyone enlighten me as to whether this is an economic-political or
>a religious policy?

In my opinion, neither.

But all is not well.  I remember going into a Wal-Mart in San Antonio
and seeing lovely cakes on sale for 49 cents - kosher OU. Nowhere else
in the western world do consumers receive the wonderful benefits of
competition that they do in the USA.  As I understand it, supermarket
chains in the USA expect between 3 cents to 5 cents profit before taxes
on a dollar sales. But here in Israel, chains offer large discounts to
special customers. As a senior citizen, I receive a 7% discount on
purchases at my Supercenter if I pay cash - this includes all purchases
including those products which are price-controlled to prevent gauging.
For other chains, I can buy script which gives me a discount from 5% to
10%.  It appears that chains set prices so high that they can afford to
give a 10% discount and still make money!

Another problem is stores that are open 7 days a week.  The major
supermarket chains are closed on Shabbat, otherwise they would lose
their kosher certificates.  But what about the other stores?  This is
very bad competition for merchants - observant and otherwise - who are
open 6 days a week only.  It is my understanding that stores that are
open on Shabbat (without receiving government permission to work as an
essential industry) are in violation of the law, but the Police choose
not to enforce this law.  Back when those stores were fined, they
happily paid the fine and continued selling on Shabbat.

 Zvi Greenberg  
 Eilat, Israel


From: <ISSARM@...> (I M Fuchs)
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 10:57:15 EDT
Subject: Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah

Frank Silbermann <fs@...> writes in Vol. 48 No. 89 regarding
"Rosh Yeshiva or Communal Rabbi: "While I sympathize with those who
believe a person should seek tshuvot from his local rabbi rather than
from his rosh yeshiva, I imagine that there are exceptions."

He continues to give an example of one such exception and submits: "If a
person of one minhag (e.g. Chassidic, Sephardi, non-Chassidic Ashkenazi)
resides for the time being in a small community where the only local
rabbis available are of a significantly different minhag, then phoning a
rabbi of one's own tradition may be appropriate.  It is my experience
that few rabbis are well acquainted with the minhagim of other movements
(and may even attribute differences in practice to the other movement's

Perhaps the following is somewhat of an oversimplification of the issue,
perhaps it even misses the mark, however it seems to me to be relevant
and revealing.  Would those who favor the local authority feel likewise
compelled to advise that one only consult his General Practitioner or
even a local specialist rather than with the expert in the field --
perhaps the individual whose life-long project has been to research this
patient's particular issue?

Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky z"l is quoted as having said that to pasken a
sh'eilah one must be fluent in every Tosefos in Shas.  How many communal
Rabbis can make this claim? If this is true for questions in Yoreh
De'ah, how much more so is it true for queries in Even HaEzer or Choshen
Mishpat?  I have not seen all the posts on this subject, but I do not
believe we are talking about "a milk spoon fell into my meat pot"
question.  Can the Communal Rabbi with many varied responsibilities --
often including another full time job -- dedicate the same amount of
time to the sugyos and teshuvah seforim as the Rosh Yeshiva, or more
accurately, one of the Poskei HaDor who is Toraso um'naso?

If we were simply talking "do I go back for ya'aleh v'yavo" I would
probably understand.  (Although even that could get complicated.  Birkas
HaMazone or Tefilah, se'udas reshus or chovah, a man or a women, . . . )
However, if we are talking about a medical issue, a Shabbos issue, or
even a matter of personal advice (where one's Rosh Yeshiva or one who
has advised thousands or perhaps tens of thousands of people probably
has more experience, understanding, and perception than the local Rav),
then how can anyone say the communal Rav takes precedence?  I am open to



From: Dave Eckhardt <davide+@cs.cmu.edu>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 01:38:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Halacha and Business Competition

> It's not the same thing at all.  Did the new restaurants give
> away the food for free?

Soup kitchens and food banks do... is it wrong that they give out food
instead of restaurant or grocery-store vouchers?

Is it wrong to use an airline's (free) web site to book a ticket instead
of calling a travel agent?

Dave Eckhardt


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 20:54:51 -0400
Subject: No Tachnun Tonight

We had a chusen at mincha tonight -- so before davening began we
announced that there was no tachnun.  BUT, some people come late (after
davening began) and some also (for whatever reasons) begin tachnun
before the schatz finishes his repetition -- so they didn't have the
benefit of the schatz's example re: skipping tachnun.

Out of curiosity -- what do other congregations do to notify the
balabatim that there is no tachnun under similar circumstances?

Carl Singer


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 20:53:05 EDT
Subject: Rebetzein Debbie Rennert A"H Website

A website devoted to Rebetzein Debbie Rennert A'H who tragically died in
a car accident last week, leaving a husband and ten unmarried children
is up, albeit under construction.  Hespedim and audio of the levayas are
available at www.kerendevorah.org .

Chaim Shapiro


From: Steven M.Kapnick <rsmk@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 23:37:36 -0400
Subject: Title of Sefer "Maaver Yabok"

One of the standard seforim used for generations by the Chevra Kaddisha,
as well as concerning the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim, is the sefer "Maaver
Yabok".  Can anyone offer any information on the author of this sefer,
as well as the reason why this name was chosen for a sefer dealing with
such topics?


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jul 2005 19:06:54 -0400
Subject: Treatment of a worker

>> For an employer not to quickly and properly pay an employee IS an
>> halachic issue.  Reneging on an agreement to increase wages after a
>> period of time falls into that category.
>If the employer doesn't have the money to pay more, what is your
>solution?  Fire another worker? Cut everyone else's salary?

The employer enticed the employee to work for a lower initial wage with
a promise of higher wages after a specific period of time.  The employer
did not honor that agreement.  No amount of tapdancing will change those
facts.  It's an old, old story.

What should the employer do?  The employer should deal honestly with
this employee.

Carl Singer

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2005 10:14:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Treatment of a worker

Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...> wrote:
> If the employer doesn't have the money to pay more, what is your
> solution?  Fire another worker? Cut everyone else's salary?
> The publisher could easily have told Janice that her work was
> substandard and he didn't feel she deserved a raise. Instead, he was
> honest and said he couldn't afford to pay her more. She wasn't a
> slave--she had the option to leave and take another job. Which she did.

There were two points I was trying to make in my story:

* Please note that this was not a request for a raise.  I was hired at a
very low wage and the employer had told me there was a trial period and
that if I worked out, the salary would be raised. However, it took a
month after the trial period was over before I could even get him to
agree to a review meeting.

* The employer did not say "I know we agreed to more money but I'm
afraid we don't have it. Would you be willing to work for less?" He said
"We're a Jewish business so we don't make much money so please consider
the difference between what you might make outside and what you are
making here as tzedakah."

The attitude I was objecting to is that a Jewish business was
automatically going to make less money and that workers at a Jewish
business should consider a difference in salary as tzedakah. Obviously
if a business is having hard times, difficult decisions must be made.

-- Janice


End of Volume 48 Issue 92