Volume 54 Number 22
                    Produced: Fri Mar  2  5:03:15 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beit Din Experience
Drug abuse (and depression) in the frum community
         [Sarah Beck]
Mi She-Berakh for Agunot
         [Yael Levine]
Placing Challa on table rather than  handing it (3)
         [Bruce Abrams, Carl Singer, Gershon Dubin]
Rashi in T'ruma: 13 vs 15 items
Regarding Torture in Warfare
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Torah Centered Judaism
         [Chana Luntz]


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 18:17:41
Subject: RE: Beit Din Experience

      As one who is involved in civil litigation in the secular courts,
      I can tell you that the people who lose cases are frequently
      convinced that witnesses, judges, jurors, lawyers, court
      personnel, and everyone else in the world is severely and
      irrationally prejudiced against them.  People who are vindicated
      in court believe that the judges are fair.  That said, sometimes
      the person who should win loses, and sometimes it is the other way

      Irwin E. Weiss,  Esquire
      Baltimore, MD

I won, I didn't lose and I say the Beit Din was biased.

Let's look at facts, is a had of a Beit Din allowed to serve if they
have a financial dispute with one side.

Is the administrator of a Beit Din supposed to tell the respondent they
need to come because the plaintiff deserves justice for what was done to

Is the Beit Din having agreed to a Zabla (where each side chooses a
Rabbi to serve on the Beit Din and they choose a third) allowed to then
only the plaintiffs choice of Rabbi to serve but to refuse the
defendents choice?

Is one side allowed to bring a prominent local Rav to serve as a Toein,
while the other side is harassed by the administrator for trying to
bring in a toein to represent them.  Is it appropriate to give the
defendant one day notice of the Beit Din meeting date when his Toein is
out of state and needs to fly in.

Also to compare to secular courts, do judges set them selves up as
courts or do they have to be elected or appointed first.  Can their
rulings be overturned by a higher court if they break the law.  If they
are especially if violation of the law can they lose their law license?
Can they be impeached?  None of these protections exist in Beit Din.

We have a problem with they system.  


From: Sarah Beck <beckse@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Feb 2007 13:03:06 -0500
Subject: Drug abuse (and depression) in the frum community

Addenda to my last post:

My late father-in-law-to-be, on whose views of petitionary prayer I do
not presume to speculate, used to say, when someone mentioned tehillim
for cholim, "Tehillim and a good doctor."

Let me insert elef alfei havdalot between even the most debilitating
organic mental illness and the disaster in Europe. But it is hard to
think of the late Mendel A. without thinking of his five Rosh Hashanahs
in the camps. Before he went in, he got a serious yeshiva education,
including a season in Vilna (it wasn't for him). Although he was
remembered, decades later, as the strongest man in the camp, able to
lift up one end of a truck by himself, he was not an am ha'aretz or even
a product of the Tarbut schools, r"l. After he retired, he spent his
days on the bottom floor of his house learning, while his wife sat
upstairs with Raoul Wallenberg and the NYT, occasionally clamping a
sneezing cat under her arm to feed it spoonfuls of tea with lemon. (The
cats recovered, with the help of prayer, let's presume.)

In the camp he encountered numerous scholars of Torah who were,
understandably, not used to physical labor. Their milieu and their
concerns, again, were not at all foreign to him. He said:

"Un ver hot getan zeyer arbeit? Mendel hot getan zeyer arbeit."
"And who did their work? Mendel did their work."

In these cases, it was not only tefillot that kept these yirei Shamayim
from being murdered. Nor only lifting trucks.

Elef alfei havdalot, in matters of psychiatric illness, it is not
possible to delegate the physical work of healing to a Mendel A.,
whether a doctor or a loving partner. Without physical efforts on one's
own behalf, with tefillot alone, one may yet recover, because all things
are possible in God. (Even I, a confirmed Sefer Ha-Madda agnostic,
firmly believe this. I just don't believe it's responsible to speculate
on what God is doing, or not doing, for us; a-gnosis is simply not
knowing.) But it may be advisable to do whatever one can in order to
live and continue to pray.

--Sarah Beck


From: Yael Levine <ylevine@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Mar 2007 09:49:50 +0200
Subject: Mi She-Berakh for Agunot

Last summer I composed a new "Mi she-berakh" prayer for agunot, which is
scheduled to be recited in shuls this coming Shabbat following the "Mi
she-berakh le-Hayyalei Zahal".

I granted first publication rights to "De'ot", the journal of Ne'emnei
Torah va-Avodah in Israel, and it was just published (issue 31). It was
also published in today's Ha-Zofe, and is scheduled to be published in
additional printed sources.

The prayer will be recited in shuls throughout the Jewish world this
coming Shabbat, since Ta'anit Esther is the International Day of the
Agunah. This year it falls on Shabbat Zachor (tomorrow), and the fast
was held early, on Thursday.

I am including here the nusach of the prayer. I would like to mention
that it may be printed for personal use, and requests for reprinting it
in written sources will be considered. [Please direct such requests to
<ylevine@...> ] However, I am not presently consenting that
it be posted on the net.

[I am not able to send the text on the list, requests for copies can be
sent to either Yael directly or to myself at <feldblum@...> (email
to mljewish or egps address will not be replied to before
Shabbat). Mod.]

Yael Levine


From: Bruce Abrams <bruce_abrams@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 16:30:25 +0200
Subject: Placing Challa on table rather than  handing it

From: <marvinbesimchah@...> (Marvin Gornish)

> Has anyone heard of the minhug that Shobbos, when the Bal HaBayis makes
> a motzie for the rabbim, he does not hand the challah directly to the
> others. Rather, he places the pieces of challah in front of them or
> places them on a tray. My wife says she saw it someplace, however, she
> doesn't remember where. She said it may have to do with serving an avel

My understanding is that this is primarily a Chasidish minhag that stems
from wanting to outwardly recognize that our sustenance ultimately comes
from HKB'H.  Therefore, we don't want to be seen as taking our bread
from another.  Another possibility is that we remember the way that
'mon' was collected by "collecting" our Challah rather than being handed

Bruce Abrams

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2007 06:55:42 -0500
Subject: Placing Challa on table rather than  handing it

YES -- As I understand it the root is that the challah does not come
from the Bal HaBayis but from the Aybishter.  So whoever makes motzei
does NOT directly hand the bread to anyone, but places it on a tray.


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 20:47:22 -0500
Subject: Placing Challa on table rather than  handing it

Yes, it does, and it is not therefore liimited to Shabbos, although
that's usually the only time one person is motzi another with hamotzi.

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 167:18



From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 23:30:39 +1100
Subject: Rashi in T'ruma: 13 vs 15 items

From: Mark Symons

> One of Rashi's comments on Exodus 25:2 is "The 13 items listed were
> needed either for the building of the tabernacle (presumably including
> the vessels) or for the priestly garments". However there are actually
> 15 items listed. ...But it seems to me that there is a much simpler
> explanation. Of the 15 items listed, the Torah already tells us the
> purpose of 2 of them - oil ("for lighting") and spices ("for the
> anointing oil and aromatic incense"). So Rashi only has to tell us about
> the purpose of the remaining 13.
> Comments? Do any of the commentaries on Rashi make this point?

Artscroll Rashi, citing Sefer hazikoron and Be'er Yitzchok



From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2007 08:12:52 EST
Subject: Regarding Torture in Warfare

What is the halacha AGAINST torture?



From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2007 22:27:50 -0000
Subject: Torah Centered Judaism

 Andy Goldfinger writes:

> But -- if I were truly a "Torah Centered Jew," I would not be as
> bothered.  Of course, I would continue to believe in Torah min
> HaShamiyim and follow halacha.  But, in addition, my moral values
> would come from Torah and nowhere else.  If HaShem says that this form
> of slavery (no euphemism) is within His will, then I will follow the
> halacha and not be bothered by external concepts of morality no matter
> how reasonable they may seem to be because of my upbringing.

I think this is based on what might well be a false premise, which is
that everything that is permitted by the Torah is necessarily within His

The example I have given on another list is this one which is
encapsulated by the following (Shulchan Aruch, Even Haezer, siman 26,
si'if 4):

"Haisha mekudeshes bshlosha drachim: b'kesef, u b'shtar, u b'biah, min
hatorah aval hachachamim asru l'kadesh b'biah mishum pritzus" [a women
is betrothed in three ways, by means of money or by means of a document
or by means of sexual relations from the Torah but Chazal forbad to
betrothe by means of sexual relations because it is wanton behaviour]

Now what does this say about what the Torah allows versus prohibits?  As
in, what was the Torah thinking of, allowing kidushin by way of biah?
Does the Torah permit pritzus, and it takes chazal to assur it?  Why on
earth did it not assur kiddushin by way of biah in the first place?

It seems to me reasonably safe to say, based on this example, that the
fact that something is permitted d'orisa (from the Torah) does not
necessarily mean that the HQBH approves of it (even begrudgingly) and it
can therefore be said to be necessarily "within his will", as the
alternative is that one has to say that if one is truly Torah centered,
one is not bothered by things such as pritzus.

Now you might say, oh well, OK, but in this case, it was banned by
Chazal so in total, taking the halacha as a whole, a Torah centered Jew
would be against pritzus of this nature.  But then, we know that Chazal
wanted to assur things and were not able to (eg because the community
was not able to bear it) - so while if Chazal did ban something, we can
indeed know that it should not be approved of by a Torah centered Jew,
the converse does not in fact follow (and if it did, how does one
explain modern day bans on things Chazal allowed?)).

> I guess I am "Orthodox," but I would like to become "Torah Centered."
> I would like to achieve such trust in Torah that external criticisms
> would not bother me.  I think what bothers me most about YCT is that,
> whether or not it is "Orthodox," it does not seem to take "Torah
> Centeredness" as its goal.

Now this gets into the debate as to whether the halachic system is an
open or a closed system - ie is everything derived from within or not.
And there is much that can be said and has been said on this.  BUT, even
if you want to hold that it is a closed system, and indeed all moral
values come from the Torah and nowhere else, that does not necessarily
mean that because something is permitted by the Torah that means it
approves of it.  Pritzus forms a very good example.  It is quite clear
from reading the Torah, Nach, and Torah shebal peh, that nothing could
be further from the truth than that the Torah approves of Pritzus. So
one has to conclude that just because the Torah may allow for something
that constitute pritzus within its legal framework (such as kiddushin by
way of biah), that does not mean it morally approves of it (despite
spending pages in meseches kiddushin discussing exactly how it works and
at what point the kiddushin takes effect).

It is not that difficult to make a similar argument regarding slavery -
even halachic slavery (and, as I have previously posted, I think it is
important for people to understand what we are discussing when we talk
about halachic slavery, there is a tendency to assume it looks like
American slavery when it does not - please see my post in mail Jewish
Vol 29 no 70 where I set out relevant portions of the Shulchan Aruch).
There are enough statements throughout Torah, Nach and Torah she bal peh
to suggest that slavery (in any form other than being an eved Hashem) is
not exactly held up as an ideal.  So it would seem quite possible to
argue that just because the Torah includes a form of slavery within its
legal framework and spends much time discussing the ramifications
thereof, that does not necessarily mean that it morally approves of it.
One version of this line of thought argues that the problem today, and
why we tend to not understand this, is because our educational system
has become too focussed on the halachic sections of gemora to the
exclusion of Nach, aggadita and even the more discursive portions of the
Chumash, and that therefore we are missing the moral messages that are
actually contained there (and which in some cases, the rest of the world
may have indeed learnt from us - again slavery is a classic example,
arguably one of the reasons Xtianity reasonated so strongly with the
slaves of the American South, who because some of its strongest
followers, had to do with the ultimate truths contained within Torah,
which despite the distortions by way of Xtian doctrine, were not able to
be entirely surpressed).  So, one can argue, because of the limitations
of our current education, the outside world and the external criticisms
may be in fact performing a valuable function (maybe even a divinely
mandated function) of jogging us into delving more deeply into our
sources than we had previously.  Perhaps, to express this view in its
ultimate extent, the actions of the nations are, in true Nach style, a
form of tochacha for the moral failings of Israel.  In which case, the
truly Torah centered Jew would be doing well to heed such external
criticisms and to utilise them to learn more deeply and widely than



End of Volume 54 Issue 22