Volume 48 Number 99
                    Produced: Fri Jul 15  6:00:05 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Appointment of Kohen Gadol
         [Elozor Reich]
Competition vs. Protecting Jobs
         [Tzvi Stein]
Halacha and Business Competition
         [Carl A. Singer]
Male Homosexual Acts
Minyan and Sources
         [Chana Luntz]
Orthodox Gay Community
Secular Translations of Torah (3)
         [N Miller, Ben Katz, Matthew Pearlman]


From: Elozor Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 11:21:30 +0100
Subject: Appointment of Kohen Gadol

From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
>What was the procedure for appointing the kohen gadol in Bayit Rishon?
>In Bayit Sheni?

Tosephos in M' Yuma hypothises that he was elected by his brother
Cohanim and immediatly held the Office.



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 09:03:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Competition vs. Protecting Jobs

I think the halacha is pretty clear that if a product sold by a
non-Jewish (or non-local) merchant is of significantly better quality or
lower price, you can buy it.  What I've never understood by people who
are so strict with "buying Jewish" is... why is the seller's parnassa
more important than the buyer's?  If the buyer has to spend more to buy
from this particular seller, isn't that taking away the buyer's
resources just as much as losing business takes away the seller's?

It seems like there is some knowledge of modern economy missing from
some of the psakim that have been given on this and related topics.  I
heard from a certain Orthodox journalist for a Jewish papaer that she
once wrote a review for a kosher restaurant in which she criticized the
decor.  She was told by a rabbi that she had comitted a grievous aveira
for which there was no kappara.  She later learned that the restaurant
owner responded to her critique by remodeling the restaurant, resulting
in a significantly increased business, and he even thanked her.


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 06:16:21 -0400
Subject: Halacha and Business Competition

> None of the discussions I have seen in this thread discuss non-profit
> organizations, including synagogues, museums, etc. that not only have
> gift shops, but actively market their wares through mail order
> etc. using their extensive mailing lists of contributors.  This is
> unfair competition against the for-profit sector, that must pay full
> fare for their advertising (regular postage rates etc) employees, rents,
> etc.  Organizations that solicit and collect funds per their charter
> should not run businesses that compete with the private sector.

Apparently civil law / postal laws agree with the above.  (As always I'm
not "paskening") But a not-for-profit engaged in for-profit activities
needs obtain permits, to file, pay taxes, etc., the same as any ordinary

I recall about a decade ago when I was commander of my Jewish War
Veteran's post that our monthly newsletter had in it a few "business
card" ads, that is post members who would ante up $25 to sponsor, i.e,
defray costs, of the newsletter.  As a result the local postmaster
refused to let us send our newsletter via bulk mail.  Whether this was a
correct interpretation of the postal code, I don't know.

I recently got a most annoying sing-song telephone call (taped) from a
telephone service which is affiliated with a tzedukah (and / or donates
all of its profits to this tzedukah.)  At the end of the message was a
disclaimer that THEY were exempt from the do-not-call lists because they
were a tzedukah.  Really?

Finally, organizations of any kind using or renting their mailing lists
for outside or commercial purposes do so at peril of loosing their
membership / support base.

Carl Singer


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 20:25:01 -0700
Subject: Re: Male Homosexual Acts

>  If they were to ask my opinion, I would have to tell them that they
> are transgressing a Torah prohibition just as much as if they were
> eating a ham sandwich or wearing sha'atnez. Does that make me a
> homophobic bigot?

Eating a ham sandwich and wearing sha'atnez hardly ever qualify as a
"rather one should die" actvity. Doing homosexual acts is just the



From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:19:34 +0100
Subject: Minyan and Sources

Sorry I have taken a while to get back to you, this post was half
written when work suddenly got very busy, so it has been sitting in my
draft tray for ages.

A. Adereth <adereth2003@...> writes:

>I don't understand the problem, as my understanding is that this only
>applies to the first sh'chita.  That is, if a person who was never
>m'chalel shabbos b'farhesya, and has a chezkas kashrus, shechts on
>shabbos in public, the issue is what the status of the meat he shechted
>as he was becoming a m'chalel shabbos b'farhesya is.  However, after
>that first sh'chita, he is a m'chalel shabbos b'farhesya - he doesn't
>have to shecht twice on shabbos in public to have that status.
>Similarly, while the spies were repeating dibas ha'aretz, their status
>might be in question, but they are called eydah ra'oh after their sin
>was completed.

Hmm, interesting.  I don't think speaking against the Land is the issue
though, because while the gemora does consider that to be loshen hora
(see Arechin 15a), and loshen hora is a pretty serious sin, I don't
believe anybody holds that loshen hara is enough to make one a full
fledged mumar.

Rather, the way Rav Moshe characterises it, it is the denial of Hashem's 
power to take them into the land that is the heresy.  And I guess I was 
seeing it as one long denial which was in fact constituted by them 
coming together as an oppositional congregation, rather than a series of 
denials (hence the "ad matai" [until when] in the statement of Hashem 
"until when do I have to tolerate this evil congregation [eydah 
ra'oh]").  That is, instead of coming together as as a congregation to 
sanctify Hashem (v'kidashti b'toch bnei yisroel - which is after all 
textual basis for the concept of minyan, as outlined in Sanhedrin 74b 
and Megila 21b), they came together as a congregation to deny Hashem 
(hence the linkage, the ten is learnt out from toch, toch as connected 
to Korach, which then learns "edah" "edah" from the spies, see 
Sanhedrin/Megilla there), and hence so long as that congregation was 
constituted, it was one long sin, and hence they are still in the midst 
of it when Hashem calls them an eydah ra'oh.

>FWIW, though, the meraglim actually speak twice against the land, first
>before Calev silences them, and again after (and for the ramban,
>bamidbar 13:32, also following them into their tents away from moshe and
>aharon, perhaps a third instance).

That may be true, but the heresy would only seem to be contained in the 
second statement, not the first.  And even if you hold like the Ramban, 
would the speaking in the tents constitute them being a congregation? 
(Speaking individually in tents would seem to be the exact opposite of a 

One good thing about me getting interrupted by work before I had a 
chance to send this post, is that in the meantime I saw 
http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2005_06_01_hirhurim_archive.html on "The 
Spies and the News" where R' Gil Student who quotes Rav Henkin in Bene 
Banim and explains that:

"R. Henkin points out that even after reporting both good and bad about 
the land, and after Caleb's opposing interjection, the Torah (v. 31) 
still refers to the Spies as "anashim" (men). Rashi, on 13:2, explains 
that the word "anashim" (men) implies importance: "Anashim in Scripture 
always refers to distinction. At that time they were righteous." Since, 
even after giving their report, the Spies are again called "anashim," by 
implication they were still righteous at that time! It was only 
afterwards, when they gave their opinion that the nation could not 
conquer the land and then exaggerated (or lied) to support their 
viewpoint, that they sinned by giving a "bad report."

Their offering of a balanced report and even their honest evaluation of 
the possibility of conquering the land was not sinful. It was their 
subsequent exaggeration to support their point that was their sin. 
Gathering intelligence is allowed. Honest reporting of the information 
is permitted. However, analyzing the facts in anything other than an 
entirely honest fashion is a great sin."

This would also seem to accord with the idea that there was only one
speaking that constituted heresy.  And if they were to be considered to
have stopped speaking and disbursed, why do we still have an edah at

Chana Luntz


From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 13:05:05 -0400
Subject: re: Orthodox Gay Community

Orrin Tilevitz wrote:

> If I were
> a synagogue executive director, could I permit them to become members as
> a family?  Or, as a gabbai, I ordinarily will give an aliya to anyone
> who says he's Jewish, even if I don't know that he's halachically Jewish
> and even if he's not shomer torah umitzvot.  What happens if one half of
> a homosexual couple to whom I give an aliya asks for a mishebeirach for
> the other half (maybe that part is ok), and asks him to be described as
> 'baali', or maybe even 'yedidi' or 'ahuvi'? Or, what if adoptive
> homosexual parents ask that their son be called up as 'Yitzchak ben
> Reuven veShimon'?  Or, if I invite the two of them to a simcha with
> mixed seating, do I have put them on the same placecard?  I don't think
> I could do any of these things.
> And while I have heard no convincing argument why parental misbehavior
> ought to be grounds to exclude their offspring from yeshiva, if I were a
> school administrator, I'd have to think hard about how to deal with
> certain bureaucratic issues, like just who are these kids' parents.

While I do recognize that this poster is speaking in hypothetical terms,
given the current state of things for gay men and lesbians within the
mainstream frum community the "problems" he's dreaming up are fanciful
at best.  Frankly, many frum gay men and women simply want to be able to
exist safely in the frum world.  That is, it would be nice to be able to
say -- not to broadcast, not to take out an ad -- "I'm not attracted to
members of the opposite sex, and so I cannot contemplate marrying one"
-- without fear of being sent for reprogramming or being regarded as
dangerous and damaged and presumptively sinning.  It would be nice if
frum gay men and lesbians didn't feel that the safest life path was
heterosexual marriage (obviously fraught with halachic problems for
someone incapable of heterosexual desire).  It would be nice if truly
frum gay men and lesbians weren't placed in the horrific position of
having to face a life of complete isolation (it's really hard to develop
close relationships, even of the non-romantic sort, when you are afraid
to reveal basic things about yourself).  You really have to wonder why a
frum gay man or lesbian would remain observant.  As a friend of mine
once commented (when I tried to raise this issue), "Why do they even

Gee.  Could it be *because they're truly frum*?

Furthermore, while the question of whether one man could refer to
another as "baali" for purposes of a misheberach might arguably be a
substantive question, whether or not a same sex couple's names could be
put on the same placecard at a simcha is not a real question, at least
not now, when the frum community refuses to acknowledge that truly frum
gay men and lesbians even *exist*.  And frankly, trying to parse that
sort of minutiae merely supports an argument that the frum community is
refusing to seriously discuss the reality of frum gay men and lesbians
out of garden variety homophobia, rather than halacha.

I look forward to the day when I can make a post like this on M-J
without asking Avi to strip my name off.


From: N Miller <nmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:02:07 -0400
Subject: Secular Translations of Torah

 .cs. writes: "The author in question CHANGES THE TORAH TEXT to fit into 
what he feels the translation should be".

Last time .cs wrote he hadn't read the translation, so how does he know?
Alternatively, if he has indeed read it I would be greatly obliged if he
furnished the evidence.

Noyekh Miller

From: <bkatz@...> (Ben Katz)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 21:26:53 +0000
Subject: Re: Secular Translations of Torah

From: .cp. <chips@...>
> The author in question CHANGES THE TORAH TEXT to fit into what he feels
> the translation should be.

My understanding is that Prof. Alter is traditional, but not Orthodox.
And he doesnt CHANGE THE TORAH TEXT; he proposes translations based on a
slightly modified text on rare occassions when the original is difficult
to translate in a peshat-oriented manner.

From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 11:22:57 +0100
Subject: Secular Translations of Torah

Russell Hendel suggests reading Aviva Zornberg to benefit from someone
within the religious camp who uses a literary approach. We are talking
here about 2 different things: Aviva Zornberg writes a parasha-based
discussion on (as far as I am aware) 2 books of Chumash; Robert Alter
has written a comprehensive translation of the entire Chumash with
copious well-researched notes, and emphasis on incredible proximity to
the original text (lots of "ands") but still treating it as a beautiful
poetic text that demands a beautiful poetic translation.

I agree that it is important to understand his background but I pick up
new insights whenever I look at it and therefore believe it adds to my
appreciation of Torah.  I assume that Aviva Zornberg also does given
that she quotes him.

If someone could point me to someone within the religious camp who has
written anything of even nearly equal quality, I would throw my Robert
Alter in the bin tomorrow.

Matthew Pearlman


End of Volume 48 Issue 99