Volume 54 Number 48
                    Produced: Mon Mar 26  5:03:04 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conservative Responsa
         [Janice Gelb]
Gezel Akum
Mourning - dividing into parts
         [Perets Mett]
Rabbinic Authority
         [Aryeh Gielchinsky]
Rabbinic authority
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Selling chametz
         [Israel Caspi]
The State of Jewish Belief
         [Shimon Glick]
Steinsaltz Gemaras (4)
         [Orrin Tilevitz, Harry Weiss, Abie Zayit, Menashe Elyashiv]
Zaycher vs. Zecher
         [Dov Teichman]
Zeycher vs Zecher
         [Boruch Merzel]


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 14:42:50 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Conservative Responsa

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> wrote:
> From Yehonatan Chipman:
> > That's what I meant by saying that structurally they show a certain
> > respect for the proper forms of halakhic argumentation.
>  Certainly, some present or former members of the committee have had
> such respect.  But one cannot logically infer from a willingness to
> engage in halachic argumentation that one respects that form.
> Lehavdil, the gemara often addresses a similar attempted inference
> with the response "lidvarecha" - you lose even according to you.

I gather that a mere statement that the Committee's base principles
include respecting halacha is not sufficient.  Those interested in the
basis for Conservative responsa might want to read an article by Rabbi
David Golinkin, a respected posek for the Conservative movement, titled
"The Hows and Whys of Conservative Halakhah," at

-- Janice


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Mar 2007 23:40:58 +1100
Subject: Re: Gezel Akum

Regarding Meir Shinnar's post that:
> Recently, R David Cohen, a well known major posek, came as a scholar
> in residence to Teaneck, and talked at length about how gezel akum and
> cheating and stealing from the government and nonjews is perfectly
> mutar if one can get away with it - and yet he is still considered a
> major posek with no wide outrage. After all, he is a posek...

Was there any listmember at this talk of RD Cohen? Or even better is
there anyone who can ask the Rabbi if he said and meant this exactly as
it appears.

It seems strange that RD Cohen would issue such a psak publicly and as
an unqualified general ruling (even if he truly held thus) and even more
so as a guest out of town.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 12:13:31 +0000
Subject: Re: Mourning - dividing into parts

In response to:
> Is anyone aware of any communities where the practice is to
> differentiate between the 1st 3 days of mourning and the balance
> (e.g. the mourner talks little or not at all, visitors wait till after
> the 3rd day to comfort the mourner...)  >

<chips@...> wrote:

> I have heard it but not in terms of being a community type practice
> and I did not see a real halachic source for doing so.

There is indeed a halachic source.

Chazal distinguish between the various levels of aveiluth:
	first 3 days --> for crying
	first 7 days --> for eulogizing
	first 30 days-> for (not) washing clothes and cutting hair

Gesher Hachayim (20:5-4) quotes the custom of not visiting the aveilim
during the first three days (but points out 21:1 that this ends on the
morning of the third day -- miktsas hayom kekulo -- after which it
**is** customary to visit).

In practice I wish (as the previous contributor wrote) that local
visitors (other than immediate family) would respect this custom, as the
first day or two can be very unsettling. (The last time I sat shiva the
levaya took place late Thursday afternoon, so we at least had a break
after Friday lunchtime. On another occasion though I found it quite hard
dealing with visitors for the first 24 hours.)

Perets Mett


From: Aryeh Gielchinsky <agielchinsky@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 12:45:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Rabbinic Authority

> I may have "misspoken" re "chametz she-avar alav hapesach", but
> isn't the point raised by Alex Heppenheimer equivalent, in that selling
> the chametz "allows" one to get around the lav of baal yimatze?
> Ben Z. Katz

Wouldn't eating all your Chametz before Pesach also "allow" one to get
around the lav of baal yimatze? I am having difficulty understanding how
this is an example of rabbis changing a law.

From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 17:31:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Rabbinic authority

Ben Katz wrote:

> I believe chametz she-avar alav hapesach would be considered a lav
> deorayta by everyone and yet the rabbis did get around it by
> instituting the selling of chametz to a nonJew prior to pesach.

My objection was to that one sentence, and its use as an example.  There
is no lack of other examples where the rabbis DID "get around" (by
reinterpretation, narrowing applicability, legal fiction, etc.)  real
Torah issurim.  Two examples that come to mind, relating to shnat
ha-shmitah (haba aleinu letovah) are prosbul, which essentially makes
cancellation of debts a dead letter, and heter mekhirah (admittedly
controversial) which enables people to continue working the land and
selling its produce.

For that matter, the selling of hametz itself overcomes a lav de-oraita.
You just got the identity of the lav in question wrong: it abrogates
violation of "bal yera'eh uval yimatze" -- and, as a consequence, also
removes the Rabbinic sanction of hametz sheavar alav et hapesah.  Kaftor

Hag kasher vesameah,
Yehonatan Chipman


From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 05:25:55 -0500
Subject: Selling chametz

Selling chametz has been cited as an example of the rabbi finding a
loophole in order to make possible something that is otherwise
prohibited by the Torah.

I think the Prosbul is a much better example, especially if we think of
it from the point of view of the Torah's intention:

With regard to chametz, the Torah's intention is that we should neither
eat nor own chametz on Pesach.  By selling our chametz, we are
fulfilling the Torah's ownership requirement.  But with regard to loans,
it was the Torah's intention that the debt should be cancelled if not
repaid before the Sabbatical year so that the debtor need not repay that
balance.  By allowing a creditor to claim his debts after the Sabbatical
year in spite of the Torah's prohibition against doing so, Hillel's
Prosbul clearly controverts the Torah's intention.

And, to mix another topic with this one, it should be pointed out that
Chazal stated (Gittin 36a-b) that the only way Hillel could have so
balatantly controverted a Torah prohibition was that in the time of the
2nd Temple the law of release was only of rabbinic authority -- the same
argument used by the Conservatives when they "abrogate" a Torah law.

--Israel Caspi


From: Shimon Glick <gshimon@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2007 19:52:11 GMT
Subject: Re: The State of Jewish Belief

In reply to Janice Gelb-The symposium entitled "The State of Jewish
Belief" was published in Commentary August 1966, is considered a
landmark document. If I am not mistaken it was subsequently published in
book form. The conservative rabbis who participated were Jacob Agus,
Arthur Hertzberg, David Lieber, Hershel Matt, Jacob Neusner, Max
Routtenberg, Harold Schulweis, and Seymour Siegel-clearly among the
rabbinical pulpit leaders of the Conservative movement. In the
introduction to the Symposium Milton Himmelfarb writes "Reading the
responses, one sees that the true division is between Orthodox and
non-Orthodox. Cover the identifications of the non-Orhodox and what they
write will not usually give you a clue to a Reform or a Conservative
affiliation".  One should also point out that in recent years a number
of the more learned halakhists of the Conservative movement have
dissociated themselves from the movement because they felt that it was
possible to stretch the halakhah just so far and still be considered
committed to halakhah

Shimon Glick


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 08:52:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Steinsaltz Gemaras

At least part of kodashim is out.  You might want to contact the
importer (into the U.S.), which also makes retail sales, Lambda
Publishers Inc., 3709 13th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11218 Tel: (718)
972-5449; Fax: (718) 972-6307.

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 08:00:06 -0800
Subject: Re: Steinsaltz Gemaras

>From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
>They are still coming out???
>Was Seder Nezikin ever finished? I have Sanhedrin and the Bavas (from
>how many years ago?) but I am not sure if Makkos, A"Z etc were ever
>published.  Have you seen a Zevachim or Menachot in the bookstores?

I have Makkos, A'Z, Shevous, and Nezikin,.  I have not yet seen
Menachos, but since I live in the boonies, I am late in finding things.

From: Abie Zayit <shemenzayit@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Mar 2007 00:10:30 +0200
Subject: Steinsaltz Gemaras

Yes, Steinsaltz Gemoros are still coming out (I have Zevachim sitting on
my shelf and am fairly certain that Menachos is out, as well) and I
understand that they are planning to finish Shas in the relatively near
future. Unfortunately, they are hard to find in American seforim stores,
as many do not carry them and they have to be ordered specially. I
suspect that this stems from the fact that so few English speakers are
willing to struggle with a Hebrew text, when English ones are available.
In Israel they are readily available.

For people learning daf yomi, the Steinsaltz folks now send out a "daily
daf" email that picks up on one idea that is focused on by the Stensaltz
Gemoro - oftentimes fauna and flora, biographies and the like. You can
access them (and sign up to get a subscription) at

Abie Zayit

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 11:19:26 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Steinsaltz Gemaras

It is still coming out. Missing only Menahot & Hullin in Kodashim, and


From: <dtnla@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 09:30:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Zaycher vs. Zecher

You know what I love about this list?  It's almost Pesach, and we're
still "hacking a chaynik" about Parshas Zochor topics.

(No sarcasm intended BTW.)

Dov Teichman


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2007 17:31:57 EDT
Subject: Re: Zeycher vs Zecher

For me the issue of Zeycher vs Zecher was resolved, long ago, by the
GR"A in his "Diyukim B'nuschei Ha-tfila Uvrachos" (found in the back of
the first volume of most recent editions of the Orach Chaim) The Gaon
za"l states that the correct pronunciation is ZECHER, with a segol under
both the "zayin" and the "chaf".

He states, too, that this is also the correct pronunciation of the word
thru' out Thilim and for the reading of parshas Zochor.  Among the
sources he cites is the Radak. The Gaon was no small time Baal Dikduk
and the other diyukim he makes should be noted by anyone concerned with
proper t'filah.

Boruch Merzel


End of Volume 54 Issue 48