Volume 54 Number 94
                    Produced: Wed Jun 13  4:36:56 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycle on Shabbat
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
Fiat Libellus Repudii
         [Elazar M. Teitz]
Gadlu la-Shem iti
         [Bernard Raab]
Kosher Jew
lehadlik ner shel shabbat kodesh
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Neir Shel Shabbat Kodesh
         [Yael Levine]
Rabbi Brovender Tribute Online
         [Jeffrey Saks]
Square Root of Negative One
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Synagogue membership and dues
Yeshiva Tuition Break - Please Act Now (Forwarded from the OU)
         [Gershon Dubin]
Zayin Tuvei Haiir
         [Joel Rich]


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 14:25:13 +0300
Subject: RE: Bicycle on Shabbat

>I suspect that the reason tricycles are not more common is that there
>is, in fact, another form of transportation that most residents prefer:
>There is an extensive network of free buses which follow regular routes
>inside the community. They stop at preset bus stops and residents can
>get on and off at any such stop. They are all driven by non-Jews, of
>course. They are supposed to stop at every designated bus stop whether
>anyone is waiting there or not. In practice, I noticed that this was not
>strictly adhered to, but surely it can be enforced for Shabbat if the
>community insisted. Is this really very different from Shabbat
>elevators, which are now so commonly accepted? I have been told that one
>Rav of one such community hinted or perhaps stated that these internal
>buses might be used on Shabbat, but he was so vigorously attacked for
>this position (by whom I am not sure--perhaps even by residents who
>already were comfortably established in nearby units!), that it was
>never really "poskened".

The Sridei Eish #38 (Nesiya b'chashmalit b'shabbat) discusses whether it
is permitted to use a trolley car in a predominantly gentile city using
a pre-purchased ticket giving the ticket to the gentile driver before
shabbat. He does NOT permit this nor BTW using a bicycle or a wagon. One
who does use the trolley car in this manner can NOT serve as the
shaliach tzibbur.

However, there is a solution!

There is an Israeli battery powered scooter from Kibbutz Afikim that has
a grama shabbat model for the elderly and infirm with the halachic
approval of Machon Tzomet http://www.afiscooters.net/len/apage/950.php

And this company even has a distributor in Florida

Josh Backon


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 02:36:13 GMT
Subject: Re: Fiat Libellus Repudii

>> It is greatly tempting to believe that we have the power to bring
>> things into existence by calling them into existence, and, believing
>> so, it is greatly tempting to exercise that power.

> But the Torah gives us precisely this power with its pronouncement "lo
> bashamayim hi" ([the Torah] is no in the heavens ... ), and Rabbi
> Joshua's similar "rebuke" of Rabbi Eliezer over Achnai's oven (I
> believe the reference is B"M 59a).  It appears that the rabbis have
> felt that, though the will of the majority, they have an ability to
> understand and interpret the Torah, even if their understanding is
> wrong!

     "Lo bashamayim hi" means no more and no less than that once the
Torah was revealed, there will be no further revelation.  Therefore,
questions arising that are not explicitly covered must be resolved by
humans operating within the framework of what was revealed, using their
reason to find analogies, and to apply the Torah's given rules (e.g.,
following majority opinion) when differences of opinion exist as to the
proper analogy.  It is not a license to change anything already
resolved. What was the case of R. Eliezer and R. Yehoshua?  A case arose
which was not explicitly covered, and R. Yehoshua pointed out that
heavenly signs could not replace human reasoning based on existing Torah
principles in resolving the dispute. Further, to say that "though the
will of the majority, they have an ability to understand and interpret
the Torah, even if their understanding is wrong" is meaningless, since
if the majority understands the Torah's intent in a certain way, then by
definition, that is the correct understanding.

> This scenario reappears in various forms, for example the debate
> between Rabbis Gamliel and Yehoshua ben Chananya over the date of Yom
> Kippur (where, again, the majority won with the implication that they
> were wrong)

     This is a gross misstatement of what took place.  First, there is
no mention of majority.  Second, the declaration of the new moon (which
was the issue; the date for Yom Kippur was a consequence) is given by
the Torah to the court charged with that responsibility, and it is
derived from the Torah itself that in this case, _and this case only_,
that court's ruling stands even if the court was mistaken, misled or
intentionally did what was wrong, even if the overwhelming majority of
Torah scholars disagrees.

> and even the epic arguments between Hillel and Shamai (where we act
> according to the majority Hillel, although there is the clear hint
> that Shamai was probably "right").

     Again, since majority rule determines what is right, by definition
we act according to what is right.  Parenthetically, there were no epic
arguments between Hillel and Shammai.  There are very few disagreements
between them, and in many, the halacha follows Shammai.  It was between
their schools, Beis Hillel and Beis Shammai, that there were many
disputed halachos, and where the decision follows Beis Hillel in all but
a handful of cases which were decided when Beis Shammai happened to have
a majority.  Incidentally, note that Beis Shammai prevailed only on the
18 matters that came up that day. They did not reverse the previous
cases in which Beis Hillel's view prevailed because they Beis Hillel had
the majority, nor did Beis Hillel subsequently reverse Beis Shammai when
they regained the majority.

> The bottom line is that it would seem that the rabbis do have the
> legal authority to "solve" the agunot problem ... it would appear that
> the majority feel that there are moral reasons for not doing so.

     See above. They can solve the problem, but only if a solution
exists within the framework of existing halacha.  They cannot, by fiat,
terminate marriages by means unsupported by halacha.



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 03:56:55 -0400
Subject: RE: Gadlu la-Shem iti

>From: Ephi Dardashti
>In our synagogue one of our shelikhey tzibbur refuses to bow when he
>has the sepher Torah in his arms.  A sepher Torah doesn't bow he
>says. I have not seen any bowing on the taking out of siphrey Torah
>amongst our brethren the Edot Ha Mizrakh.

This may explain the common practice of some to raise up the Torah while
they themselves bow. That explanation would never had occured to me!

--Bernie R.


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 23:59:09 +1000
Subject: Re: Kosher Jew

From: Abbi Adest <>
> Not every Orthodox Jew views it as realistic to keep all the laws of
> the Shulchan Aruch. Most just do the best they can. There are Jews who
> feel comfortable relying on lenient opinions

As long as they realise they must one day do Teshuva for their

Imagine telling the IRS, "I'll pay as much tax as I feel I am able to -



From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 13:52:50 +0300
Subject: lehadlik ner shel shabbat kodesh

Responding to Alex Heppenheimer in MJ 54:91 and Daniel Z. Werlin in MJ
54:87, on "lehadliq ner shel shabbat kodesh":

This was discussed briefly a few years ago; see also MJ 35:92, 36:1 and
36:18. It does not seem to be a specifically Lubavitch custom.


From: Yael Levine <ylevine@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 15:12:05 +0300
Subject: Neir Shel Shabbat Kodesh

The nusah "Neir Shel Shabbat Kodesh" is not unknown. It is the nusah
used, inter alia, in the Italian rite. Concerning this nusah see: Yail
Weinstock, Siddur ha-Ge'onim ve-ha-Mekubbalim, volume 4, part 2, p. 35;
Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Yabi'a Omer, volume 2, OH, 16, #18.

Yael Levine


From: Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 01:05:53 +0300
Subject: Rabbi Brovender Tribute Online

Evening of Tribute to Rabbi Chaim Brovender
Marking 40 Years of Teaching Torah in Israel
Watch, read, and listen online! 

Tonight in Jerusalem a capacity crowd of almost 400 of Rabbi Chaim
Brovender's students, colleagues, family and friends gathered to pay
tribute to this remarkable Rosh Yeshiva, his 40 years of teaching Torah
in Israel, and his vision for Jewish education.

Click on link below to watch "Torat Chaim ve-Ahavat Chesed" -- the
25-minute documentary film surveying the accomplishments and impact of
Rabbi Brovender's teaching on 40 years of talmidim and talmidot -- or to
dowload the Tribute Book, which was presented to Rabbi Brovender at the
event, with contributions from over 130 students and colleagues on the
experience of learning Torah with Rabbi Brovender and in his
yeshivot. Rabbi Brovender's address at the event: "Ben Arbaim la-Bina:
Reflections on my Career in Talmud Torah" will be available online in a
day or so -- check back online.  Click here:

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks 
Director, ATID - Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions 
9 HaNassi St., Jerusalem 92188 ISRAEL 
Tel. 02-567-1719 * Fax 02-567-1723 * 052-321-4884 
E-mail: <atid@...> * Website: www.atid.org 


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 09:51:30 -0400
Subject: Square Root of Negative One

remt wrote:
>    His analogy perfectly explains what the problem is with his proposed
>solution.  In order to get a square root of a negative number, is was
>necessary to go outside the real-number system, because for every member
>of that system other than zero, its square must be positive.  What
>mathematicians did was to invent a new number system, the complex
>numbers, of which the real numbers were a subset.
>    So, too, if one wants to go outside the halachic system, to propose
>a new system of which halacha is but a subset, "solutions" might be
>found to the horrible problems of aguna and m'soravos get.  But just as
>no real number can be the square root of a negative number, no real
>halacha can permit what the Torah precludes.

Since we're having fun with the analogy, let's take it to its logical
conclusion.  Though it's true that that the square root of negative one
is outside of the real numbers, the beauty of its use is that it
provides us with a deeper insight into the underlying structure of the
real numbers.  In that sense, it is more like the atoms that make up our
being which, though invisible to our naked eye, still have significant
influence over our understanding of reality.

The complex numbers complete the real numbers by simplifying various
important theorems that seem strange or capricious when viewed in the
real numbers alone.  Similarly, though it is admittedly controversial in
the frum world, we sometimes look outside the halachic system (at modern
medicine or science, for example, or even sometimes at non-Jewish
philosophy) in order to get a better understanding of Torah.  We never
accept these outside influences as part of the Torah itself, but we use
them to simplify our understanding of it.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 23:20:33 +1000
Subject: Re: Synagogue membership and dues

From: Chana Luntz <>

> ..the dues for the Sephardi synagogues here in England are much lower
> than for the Ashkenazi ones.  This, he believes, is due to the general
> practice in the Sephardi shuls of auctioning off everything and
> everything (every aliyah and honour every shabbas, sometimes on
> weekdays as well I think, etc etc).  He says that as a child, he used
> to be desperately embarressed about this, as it was such an
> "unEnglish" thing to do, and very uncomfortable about even mentioning
> it in front of his Ashkenazi friends.

AFAIK this is the practice in ALL Charedi/chassidic Ashkenazi shuls.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 16:15:08 GMT
Subject: Yeshiva Tuition Break - Please Act Now (Forwarded from the OU)

June 08, 2007
One sixty second phone call to this toll-free number could save our
community millions of dollars: (800) 319 - 3403.

With just two weeks left in the Legislative session in Albany, now is
the time to act to help families who are struggling to pay yeshiva
tuition. Assemblyman Vito Lopez & Senator Marty Golden have introduced
legislation that would allow middle-class parents to deduct the cost of
private school tuition from their state taxes and poor families would
receive an actual tax credit. This could save average families in our
community thousands of dollars each year.

But we must ACT NOW. The legislative session in Albany ends June 21st
Please call Governor Spitzer's office today at (800) 319 - 3403.

If you speak with a live operator, please tell them:

"I'm calling to ask the Governor to support the Lopez-Golden Tuition
Tax Deduction Bill."

If you reach a voice mailbox, DO NOT HANG UP. Each message is logged
and counts!

After the tone, leave the same message along with your zip code:

"I am calling to ask the Governor to support the Lopez-Golden Tuition
Tax Deduction Bill. My zip code is XXXXX."

Governor Spitzer has the ability to get this done. But he must hear
from you and everyone you know.

It's a simple call (800) 319- 3403.

Every single call made to the Governor is logged and will make a



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2007 08:53:22 -0400
Subject: Zayin Tuvei Haiir

Is anyone aware of any "academic" (I'm already on the sh"ut trail) works
discussing the history of "lay leadership" in the Jewish community
throughout history (or since the days that malchut was no longer in

Joel Rich


End of Volume 54 Issue 94