Volume 55 Number 61
                    Produced: Mon Sep  3  8:15:43 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are You A Manhig Yisrael? (2)
         [Joel Rich, Alan Goldberg]
Bnei Niddah
         [Eli Turkel]
Censorship in translation of hechsher (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Carl Singer]
Is a Converted Jew Still a Jew? (2)
         [Marilyn Tomsky, Avi Feldblum]
Permission to kill (2)
         [Eitan Fiorino, Joseph Ginzberg]
Unwanted "gifts" from Tzedukahs
         [Carl Singer]


From: <JRich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 06:53:42 CDT
Subject: Are You A Manhig Yisrael?

No, but I can't help but be reminded of a Mesilat Yesharim shiur in
which the maggid shiur said that Orthodox Judaism had become a religion
not a way of life (he wasn't being complimentary)

His point was along the lines of the Ramban's naval bereshut
hatorah. I'm told that in complex cases a posek's lev hatorah tells him
what the answer is and that the intellect later provides the halachik
support (hamevin yavin)


Joel Rich

From: Alan Goldberg <agoldbergphd@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:53:45 -0400
Subject: RE: Are You A Manhig Yisrael?


Your post is thought provoking.

>I did a quick mental calculation, in the manner of Tom Swift, except
>that I did not pull out the pocket slide rule, since I no longer carry

Judaism is much more than a mental calculation.  As a computer
programmer, and if Judaism was about mental calculations, then I could
simply do a core dump of Judaism and simply run PERL scripts to query for

But Judaism is much more than a mental calculation.  That is why we have
talmidi chachomim, and then we have leaders such as HRHG Rav Yakov
Kamenetsky ztz'l.

>So, getting back to the posting by Martin Edelstein that started this
>whole essay, perhaps the best that you can hope for is not that they
>marry a nice Reform Jewish boy or girl.  Perhaps the best that you can
>hope for is that they will marry non-Jews.

If one used only a mental calculation, perhaps yes.

But my humble opinion is that the likes of a Rav Yakov Kamenetsky ztz'l
would reply simply - Jews don't marry non-Jews.

A gutten Elul,



From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 10:56:57 -0700
Subject: Bnei Niddah

> Possibly R' Yaakov Kamenetsky would have agreed with a position I've
> heard attributed to R' Moshe Feinstein (who used it to explain how to
> reconcile what Chazal tell us about the generally low morals of "b'nei
> niddah" with the fine characters of today's baalei teshuvah, most of
> whose mothers presumably didn't keep the laws of taharas
> hamishpachah). R' Moshe argues that since it's common nowadays for
> people to go swimming (in natural bodies of water, or perhaps even in
> swimming pools that might be valid mikvaos on a Biblical level though
> not on a Rabbinical one), there's a pretty fair chance that the
> prospective mother indeed did so and thereby removed her deoraisa
> (Biblical) niddah status, at least bedieved (ex post facto).

The "Steipler" brings down another reason concerning Baalei Teshuva.  He
claims that the gemara's attitude towards bnei niddah is a
generalization.  Hence, if the child is baal teshuva it proves that
he/she is in the minority who do have not low morals.

Eli Turkel


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:23:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Censorship in translation of hechsher

> From: David Ziants < <dziants@...>

> On a European hechsher on an airline meal, in the Hebrew version it
> gave all the usual blurb asserting the standard of kashrut and also
> added that the foods are "nekiim mi-tolayim ve-chooloo" (lit.  "clean
> from worms etc.", i.e, lettuce and other necessary vegetables being
> thoroughly checked for insects if not specially grown) - and of course
> we would expect the vegetables to be such from any kashrut authority.

> The point I want to make is that although most of the blurb was also
> expressed in English, this statement was omitted.

> I guess it was omitted because to the "Englishman", if one were to
> make this statement, one might be suggesting that "their" food might
> be full of worms - not so nice...  Would there be a way of expressing
> a translation of this, which is "politically correct"?

What about "all fruits and vegetables have been thoroughly inspected". 
Those who care about this issue will understand the meaning.

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 06:56:48 -0400
Subject: Censorship in translation of hechsher

The reason for the abridged English translation may be less nefarious or
it may not.

We can only speculate -- but presuming that the Hebrew wording is the
original, it contains all the detailed information needed to satisfy the
community that uses this hechsher for a product in a competitive market

One could imagine a machmir not purchasing a product that doesn't have a
"wormy" hechsher.  Or, more likely, selecting among products based on
the reputation and wording of the hechsher.

Speculation #2 -- the hechsher, itself, in establishing and
communicating it "wormy" standards feels it necessary to, albeit with
brevity, state its position: We don't give our hechsher to "wormy"

The English statement is simply for convenience of the casual consumer.

Speaking of which -- although I have no problem reading what at Bell
Labs was called nose print (6 pt) -- you had to put your nose to the
paper to read it -- I'm finding that one would need to shop with a
magnifying glass in hand (or perhaps an electron microscope) to read
some of the hechshers that appear on today's products.

And a question -- what do you make of the multiple hechsher on some



From: Marilyn Tomsky <jtomsky@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 09:16:04 -0700
Subject: Re: Is a Converted Jew Still a Jew?

First thank you - to all who answered!

I found it very hard to believe the answers I received.  I can't believe
Judaism has this idea that a Jew is always a Jew - even if that Jew
converts to another religion.  I had been brought up, that once you
converted to another religion you were not Jewish and you were no longer
a Jew.  So Judaism is not the selective and special religion it always
seemed.  Cut and dried, but is now flexible.  I don't believe this idea
was around when I was child in the early 1940s.  Jews who converted were
regarded as dead.  Then they were not talked about.  They ceased to
exist and it was as if they had never existed.  They had betrayed God
and our people.  This idea that a Jew is always a Jew and the child of a
Jewish mother, that converted into another religion before the child was
conceived is also a Jew.  This seems very forgiving.  I had believed
that Judaism was punishing for any conversion to another religion.

But too much was said, that all would be forgiven, if the mother who
converted to Buddhism decided to come back to Judaism.  This is not the
case.  This mother did not grow up in a religious home.  She showed no
interest in Judaism.  There were no Jewish holidays in her home.  She
did take a class in Judaism at her shul.  But after it she had no
interest in Judaism.  My husband, her brother did have his bar mitzvah.
The family was born Orthodox both parents.  Her mother was born in
Jerusalem and was driven out with her family among so many others by the
British.  Her mother the last child of a large family waited then took
ship to America with her two elder brothers and an elder sister.  The
rest of the family waited in Egypt and the men went into the underground
as fighters.  When Israel was created they all went back but not those
in America.  My mother in law grew up and married in America, but as I
wrote, she didn't keep kosher or the holidays in her home.

My niece's mother (my sister in law) converted to Buddhism and became an
extremely devout Buddhist.  She married a Black man from West Africa a
Buddhist.  She raised her children as Buddhists.  Every one of her four
children converted to Christianity and raised their children as
Christians.  None of them are interested in becoming practicing Jews.
This sister in law over the years tried repeatedly to get us and our
children - to almost force us to convert to Buddhists.  We finally had
enough when she lied to us and tricked us, that someone knew her father
here and wanted to talk to us.  When my husband called the phone number
he learned it was a Buddhist temple not far from here.  That was the
last straw.  I had wrote that my niece was just so proud that her mother
was born a Jew.  That she considered her still a Jew.  I had not.  Now I
must think and try to accept this new idea.

Marilyn Tomsky

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Sep 2007 08:11:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Is a Converted Jew Still a Jew?


You need to distinguish between the two different but related questions:
a) How do we treat a Jew who has converted to a different religion
b) What is the halachic status of such a person

In addition, based on your information below, one may need to consider a
third question:
c) How does one treat a converted Jew who tries to convert other Jews to
the religion s/he has converted to

I think it is very clear that in general a Jew who has converted is no
longer considered part of the Jewish Community. There are a number of
laws relating to interactions between people and in many of those cases,
the Jew who converts is treated the same as a non-Jewish member of that
religion. A number of reference have been given in past submissions, one
more that comes to mind is that if I remember correctly, such a person
is not buried in the Jewish area on the cemetery.

The practice that you refer to of sitting Shiva for the converted person
is one that has been discussed before on this list, and while it appears
that the origin of this custom was probably not to sit shiva at the time
of the event, but rather a double shiva at the time of death, the custom
that became common was to sit shiva at the time of conversion. This too
is a form of recognition that the person has chosen to disassociate
themselves from the Jewish Community.

However, that is separate from the question of the personal halachic
status of the individual as Jew or non-Jew. I do not believe this is
anything new, and while it has been pointed out in other postings that
this is not universal, nevertheless I think the majority opinion remains
that the individual or the child of a female in the above category would
not require conversion. As pointed out, they may require a public type
act to symbolize their rejection of the original act of converting to
the other religion and their return to halachic Judaism, but that
process would not be an act of geirus - conversion to Judaism.

In the specific case of your family that you mention, I do not know what
your niece means when she says that she is proud that her mother was
born a Jew and that she still considers her a Jew. It likely is not the
same discussion as the one we are having here. An interesting question
might be whether your niece considers herself to be a Jew and if not,
what her response would be if you told her that she is Jewish as well
and would always be welcome back if she were to chose to return.



From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 07:33:31 -0400
Subject: Permission to kill

>> Yikes!! I looked at that SEVERAL times, till I realized that it did
>> NOT say "one may slaughter a meshumad"!! LOL
>> How about "ritual slaughter (of animals) BY a meshumad (to produce
>> kosher meat) is permitted"?
> I suspect that there is at least one Rishon who permits the unintended
> interpretation, as well.  I remember reading an article in a MO
> halachic journal in the 1980s, around the time of the Salmon Rushdie
> controversey.  The author . . . .  discovered an authority who
> advocated that such on on person is to be put to death, preferably
> with a sword.

Gershon Scholem, in his study of Shabbtai Tzvi, quotes a psak from a
contemporary authority (R. Hayim Benveniste, Chief Rabbi of Izmir. if I
recall) who ruled that it was permitted to kill those who denied that
Shabbtai Tzvi was mashiach.


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 09:09:29 -0400
Subject: Permission to kill

>Yikes!! I looked at that SEVERAL times, till I realized that it did NOT
>say "one may slaughter a meshumad"!! LOL

IIRC, the Minchas Chinuch in talking about the ban in the Torah of
eating the "gid hanashe" (sinew in the thigh) and which types of animals
that ban applies to, quotes someone who felt that it applied only to
meat from humans.

He did not elaborate on how that could even be possible, given that A)
the dead must be buried, whole, and B) a murderer cannot be a ritual

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2007 11:08:42 -0400
Subject: Unwanted "gifts" from Tzedukahs

It's that time of year again -- I'm getting between 5 and 10 mailings
per day from tzedukah organizations -- most that I've never heard of --
requesting funds.  For various reasons that I won't go into here, I do
not give my tzedukah gelt to many of these organizations.

I am aware that legally I have no obligation to return unsolicited
merchandise -- BUT

QUESTION -- What is my halahic obligation re: the trinkets (calendars,
labels, New Year's cards, notepads, etc.) enclosed with these mailings?



End of Volume 55 Issue 61