Volume 53 Number 92
                    Produced: Tue Jan 30  5:25:56 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

e-TiM - Learn Torah without leaving your home (or office)
         [Jay Kelman]
Heter meah Rabbonim
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Illusion and not Magic (2)
         [Joel Rich, Harlan Braude]
Jewish Approaches to Secular Education - Rabbi Hershel Schachter
         [Joel Rich]
Kavod Harav
         [David Mescheloff]
Medical Equipment Shaila
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Research on Jews
         [Mark Guterman]
tlush - etymology
         [Eric W Mack]
Tnai in Kedushin
         [Meir Shinnar]
What is a "Right"
         [Chana Luntz]


From: Jay Kelman <ilanaandjay@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 00:36:34 -0500
Subject: e-TiM - Learn Torah without leaving your home (or office) 

Learn Torah without leaving your home (or office) -
Welcome to e-TiM, an exciting and powerful way to learn Torah  

With this remarkable technology - you can see, hear and speak to the
teacher from wherever you are; you have to see it to believe it!
You will be able to  
See and hear the a live shiur presented specifically for E-TIM
Have the ability to talk to the speaker and be heard by all  
Have the ability to be seen on screen
If you prefer you can write to the speaker comments and questions during
the class

Starts the week of February 12, 2007

Cutting Edge Halachic Issues
Rabbi Howard Jachter
Mondays 9:00-10:00pm (starting Feb 12 for six weeks)

Sefer Yirmiyahu: When Politics and Religion Clash
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag
Tuesdays 12:30 -1:15 pm (starting Feb 13 for five weeks)

Movers and Shakers in Post-War Orthodoxy
Dr. Marc Shapiro
Wednesdays 9:00 -10:00 pm (starting Feb 14 for six weeks)

Jewish Medical Ethics- Past Present and Future: From Transplanted Mummies
to Face Transplants
Rabbi Dr.  Eddie Reichman
Thursdays 9:00 -10:00 pm (starting Feb 22 for four weeks)

For more information and to register


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:03:28 -0500
Subject: Heter meah Rabbonim

>woman goes to a secular court first, the bet din may give the husband a
>heter meah rabbanim, without giving the husband a get.  There are
>documeted cases of husbands remarrying a second time with a heter meah
>rabbanim - without the wife being able to receive a get.  Rav Moshe and
>most major poskim held that for a heter meah rabbanim to be valid, the
>get had to be deposited with a bet din and the wife had to be able to
>get the get at her pleasure (dealing with cases where the wife refused
>to receive a get).  There is no classical case of a heter meah rabbanim
>for a man's divorce that did not allow the wife to remarry if she
>wanted.  This is clearly playing with the laws of gittin.

Something is wrong here, I think.

AIUI, a heter meah Rabbonim is a letter authorizing a husband to write a
get and deposit it with the Bet Din for the ex to pick up at her
convenience/ return to sanity/ whatever.  It is NOT a replacement or
substitute for a get. So how is the above possible?

There was a well-publicized case here in NY a few years ago where the
ex-wife made a lot of noise about this, and asked people to pressure the
Rabbi's involved. Since I knew one of them well, I did ask him why and
what, and he offered to give her the get the very next day if I'd bring
her to pick it up, claming that her whole fuss was simply a case of her
being angry and trying to get public sympathy.

Is there or is there not a halachic way to get a heter without a get,
and is there a way to refuse to later give it to the wife?  My own
learning says no to both. Can anyone show the above- quoted to be

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 05:24:25 -0500
Subject: Illusion and not Magic

> From: <chips@...>
> Does anyone know if a Posek discusses if it is ok for a Jew to do a
> performance if the performance is called an Illusion by an Illusionist
> instead of a 'magic act' ?

Start with igrot moshe Y"?D 4:13.  IIRC there's also a journal of
contemporary (RJJ) article.

Joel Rich

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 08:41:23 -0500
Subject: Re: Illusion and not Magic

Rabbi David Bassous in Highland Park, NJ has what I think is a terrific 
analysis of these and related issues: 


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 10:28:12 -0500
Subject: Jewish Approaches to Secular Education - Rabbi Hershel Schachter


Worthwhile listening.

Of particular interest are R' HS's take on the Chazon Ish/surgery story
as well as the historical reasons for the differences between sfardic
and ashkenazic approaches.  His analysis of what happened in Volozhin
and current trends and the or lagoyim issue are also of interest.

Joel Rich


From: David Mescheloff <david_mescheloff@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 03:39:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Kavod Harav

IIRC, the chofets chayim was asked about the contradiction between
"talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world" and reality; he
responded (in Yiddish): "ess iz a prawbeh" - that is, it is a test.  He
who does not increase peace in the world has not passed the test of
being a talmid chacham.  There are more formal proofs of this from our
sources, but not quite as pithy as the chafets chayim's statement.

On the other hand, I don't think this issue belongs properly under the
heading "kavod harav".

David Mescheloff


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:13:03 -0500
Subject: Medical Equipment Shaila

Yesterday, while looking through a dental equipment catalog, I saw two
dental X-ray machines for sale -- two models from the same company.  One
model seemed to have a fixed X-ray intensity (voltage and current) while
the other one was adjustable to lower levels.  I don't really know much
about these machines, but I would guess at two things:

(1)    The adjustable machine can provide certain advantages, such as
lower radiation doses or better images.
(2)    The adjustable machine is more expensive.

I may be wrong in the first guess (perhaps it is just more convenient
for the dentist) but let us assume arguendo that this guess is correct.
That is: let us suppose that a medical practitioner has a choice of two
pieces of equipment.  One of them provides certain advantages that can
benefit the patient, but this one is significantly more expensive
(readers who are medical people -- please provide me with some examples
here.)  What are the halachic (Jewish legal) obligations of the
practitioner?  Must he or she spend the extra money, or is he or she
free to economize as long as the less expensive equipment still provides
the "standard of care" expected of the profession?

Andrew D. Goldfinger


From: Mark Guterman <mark@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 2007 22:19:22 -0500
Subject: Research on Jews


My name is Mark Guterman.  I am a Clinical Psychology PhD student
working with Orit Avishai of the University of California at Berkeley.

We are doing an internet survey of Jews of all denominations.  The
survey is for both singles and married couples.

The survey is online at: http://www.JewishSurveys.org

More info on the survey:

Niddah and Negiah play an important role in the every day lives of
Jewish men and women. The collection of handbooks on this topic grows
from year to year, yet we know very little about how Jewish couples,
men, and women experience and observe Niddah and Negiah. Anecdotal
evidence and our previous research have led us to conclude that many
couples and individuals are experiencing difficulties with this aspect
of the Halacha. We invite you to participate in this survey to shed
light on these difficulties and explore some ways to address them. Given
the intimate nature of these matters, this brief, online survey is
totally ANONYMOUS, and NO identifying information is collected.

Thank you very much for considering this,
~Mark Guterman


From: Eric W Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Jan 2007 11:00:13 +0200
Subject: tlush - etymology

Is there any relation between the word "t'lush", meaning a paycheck
stub, and the t'lisha katana/t'lisha g'dola, of Torah- and haftara-
reading fame?

Eric Mack


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 10:25:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Tnai in Kedushin

> > One can start with the case of the proposal of R Eliezer Berkovits to
> > prevent agunot, based on a form of tnai.  Now, there may be valid
> > reasons to reject the proposal.  However, he circulated this to rav
> > feinstein, who replied that there was nothing halachically wrong with
> > the proposal, but that he saw no need for such a proposal (I have seen
> > the letter).
>      While I don't doubt Dr. Shinnar's veracity, I believe that there is
> more to Rav Feinstein's letter than is indicated in his statement.  The
> idea of a t'nai (condition) in the marriage was not original with
> Dr. Berkovits; it was proposed in the nineteenth century -- IIRC, by
> rabbanim in France.  It caused an uproar, with a book being published
> which contained letters from virtually every rabbinic organization and
> from a Who's Who of major rabbinic figures of the day, decrying the
> proposal as against Halacha.  It is highly unlikely that Rav Feinstein
> would rule against such a lineup of halachic decisors without at least
> mentioning their opinion and explaining why he felt that Dr. Berkovits'
> proposal was different.  If Dr. Shinnar saw the letter because of his
> personal relationship with Dr. Berkovits, perhaps he can utilize that
> relationship to obtain permission from his literary heirs to publicize
> its contents; if his seeing the letter was a result of its being made
> public, perhaps he can direct us to its location.

WADR to REMT, two issues.

1) The issue isn't the acceptability of rav berkovits's psak - as I
indicated, there may be valid halachic rationale to argue with it - and
there were people who had objections to it based on REMT's points -but
that the rationale of rav feinstein's rejecting it was different - and
not based on those halachic issues.

2) I believe, although am not sure, that the letter was eventually
published (I think in women time and torah).

3) In a previous discussion, someone else cited rav tendler as well,
reflecting rav moshe, that there was no specific halachic issues with
the psak,

3) The proposal by rav berkovits, the talmid muvhak of the seride esh,
was specifically directed by the seride esh to find a solution - and
much of the proposal was trying to formulate the notion of a tnai that
it would not run afoul of the widespread criticisms of the previous
proposals noted by REMT.  (the seride esh had previously, in letters,
proposed a version of tnai as well.)  Whether it succeeded can be a
matter of legitimate debate.The Seride Esh wrote that halachically the
proposal was sound, but that widespread approval of the proposal should
be obtained - and rav feinstein's letter was in response to getting this
approval - and did not raise the issues that REMT did..

Meir Shinnar


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 19:25:28 -0000
Subject: Re: What is a "Right"

 Shimon Lebowitz writes:
> > Some lawyers spoke to me over the weekend and pointed out that
> > American and Jewish law differ in their view on torts. So let me be
> > very explicit: Rambam, Laws of Torts, Chapter 3 **explicitly** says
> > that the tort of "embarassment" does not apply to naked people. For
> > example if I spit on a naked person in a bathhouse I owe him no
> > money.
> > a) I have not physically harmed him and b) I have not embarassed him
> > since BY JEWISH LAW DEFINITION the legal category of embarassment
> > does not apply to naked people.

> I am neither a rabbi nor a lawyer, but I do not understand that Rambam
> as you do.
> My understanding is that a person who is naked WHERE OTHERS ARE
> DRESSED, is already 'embarrassing himself' to such a degree, that
> nothing someone else does really matters. OTOH, in a bathhouse, where
> EVERYONE is naked, there is no embarrassment entailed in that
> state. Therefore, spitting (!?) on someone or otherwise causing
> embarrassment SHOULD be an offense.
> Just my understanding, and I admit I didn't open it up and check
> meforshim.

Actually, it is a machlokus Rashi and Tosphos, with Rashi (and the
Rambam) taking the position that Russell Hendel referred to, ie that one
is not liable for payment for embarressing a person who is naked, even
if he is naked in a place where it is reasonable to expect him to be
naked, eg a bathhouse, while Tosphos takes the view that you do (see eg
the summary given by the Ma'aris Enayim si'if katan 41 on Choshen
Mishpat siman 420 si'if 34).

Note however that this whole discussion (and the psak of the Shulchan
Aruch in si'if 34 there) revolves around the question of whether someone
is liable to pay.  Being liable to pay is different from the basic
question of whether there is a sin involved.  To see this clearly, one
only has to look si'if 39 of the Shulchan Aruch there which states:
"Even though one who embarresses a person with words is not required to
make payment it is a great sin [avon gadol hu] .. And all who whitens
the face of an adam kasher m'yisroel with words has no portion in the
world to come".

Note that the previous simanim deal with a situation where somebody
tries to suggest that a certain person is not a kosher person, ie that
they are motzei shem ra.  Especially given that we have the name of the
lady on the No 2 bus, I confess that some of the attempts to exculpate
the unknown assailants by people who were not there seem rather
worryingly close to the topics discussed under motzei shem ra.  Those on
the bus may not be the only people's whose olam haba may be at stake



End of Volume 53 Issue 92