Volume 56 Number 21
                    Produced: Tue Jan  1 12:27:53 EST 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Astronomical Sunrise vs Viewed sunrise - The emotional beauty of
         [Russell J Hendel]
Characteristics of Frum Businesses
         [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Intermarriage, Assimilation and Non Jewish Female Responsibility
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Redeeming captives (for more than their worth)
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Wine and Shmittah - Interesting Question
         [Steven Oppenheimer]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 20:01:16 -0500
Subject: Astronomical Sunrise vs Viewed sunrise - The emotional beauty of

In responding to one of my postings, in which I stated that one should
wait till one sees the sunrise over tall buildings and trees vs. praying
at the actual sunrise time, one person pointed out that all poskim
(deciders of jewish law) have interpreted sunrise to mean astronomical

Well I know this but I still insist that my position is strong and
tenable. Let us analyze. EVEN according to those who believe prayer is
Biblical everyone holds that the TIME of prayer (Sunrise) is Rabbinical.
The Talmud derives it from a Psalmic verse "They will revere You,God,
like they revere sunrises; [there nostalgic moments like] the facing of
the moon throughout the ages"

Quite simply most of us are not in the proper mood when we pray. Also
quite simply most of us stand in awe of a majestic sunrise. By linking
the prayer to sunrise we obtain a mirror image of the proper mood we are
to be in.

So far so good. Now take the typical mail jewish reader. They probably
do not daven in a naytz minyan (Sunrise minyan). Suppose one day they
want to daven at sunrise. What should they do. Pray at astronomical

My own thinking is that if you are going to pray at surnise once we
might as well do it in such a way so as to create a vivid memory both
physical and emotional of what reverence and awe is like. So I would
recommend watching the sky change its hues and at the first ray of light

True the code of Jewish law is biased towards astronomical sunrise. But
even so-it is not required and most of us dont do it. Why lose the
golden opportunity to experience awe. As to the technicality of the
Codes: I would argue that the codes are telling you what to do on a
cloudy day or when you pray in a synagogue without windows.

Finally I have a strong argument that even if your synagogue does have
windows the code of Jewish law was not trying to deprive you of the
emotional experiences necessary to pray.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. R. Gordon)
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 16:36:24 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Characteristics of Frum Businesses

> From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
> I'm intrigued by various statements about frum businesses:
> In a previous post we have someone who states that a (named) 2nd party,
> a frum business owner, claims to be discriminated against by other frum
> Jews because he is frum.
> We have various claims and counterclaims that frum businesses are / are
> not run well / run poorly.
> Does anyone seriously think that any of this really holds water?

I don't know about anyone except myself, but I certainly think this
holds water vis-a-vis restaurants and grocery stores.

Without exception, in my experience, every kosher/Jewish grocery store
has had higher prices, ruder service, dirtier floors, less-convenient
hours, less parking, fewer carts/baskets, surlier cashiers, and a more
"entitled" attitude than my local goyish supermarket.  Often (and how
this escapes city code is beyond me) the aisles are too narrow for a
stroller or wheelchair, to boot.  The *only* thing kosher markets have
going for them is their selection, to the extent that they import
certain hard-to-find items like Israeli Eshkoliot Drink or a wide kosher
cheese/meat selection.

And then let's talk about kosher restaurants, which only survive with
their gas-station-cum-college-dorm ambience because they know that
people like us have to go there or not go out to eat at all.  It was
much better when we lived in the Los Angeles area, and I imagine there
are exceptions in New York (though none I have patronized), but here in
the Boston area we have a choice of rushed service, no service, rude
service, slow service, or trying to make it into the city to the one
decently-run place during limited hours.  To be fair, I have not listed
the names of the places next to their rushed/no/rude/slow labels, and I
will point out that I do not include Rubin's in that list, because it
has been good as of late.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 09:29:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Intermarriage, Assimilation and Non Jewish Female Responsibility

> From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
> The Rambam's statement is in Hil. Issurei Biah 12:10. He writes:
> "A Jew who has relations with a non-Jewish woman, whether she is a
> child... or a grown woman, whether unmarried or married, and even if he
> was a child of nine years old [the minimum age for his sexual actions to
> have any halachic impact] - once he had relations with a non-Jewish
> woman _willfully_ [my emphasis], she is to be killed, since a Jew has
> stumbled through her, like [the case where a Jew has relations with] an
> animal [where the animal is executed even though it had no choice in the
> matter]. This is explicitly stated in the Torah... [citing
> Num. 31:16-17, the episode with the Midianite women]."
> However:
> 1. The key phrase here is "willfully." The Rambam's comparison to the
>   case of an animal makes this clearer, because in Issurei Biah 1:18 he
>   states that if one had relations with an animal unintentionally
>   (e.g., not knowing that this is forbidden), then the animal is not to
>   be executed.
> In our case, then: how many of today's Jewish men who are sexually
> involved with non-Jewish women are in the category of "willful" rather
> than "unintentional" (or even more so, "completely ignorant")?

It may be interesting to note that for many years, it is quite common
among young arab men to attempt to have relations and marry Jewish

Apparently, this is considered some sort of "mitzva".  By marrying her,
he converts her to Islam and earns a heavenly reward. The fact that he
can marry another 3 women doesn't hurt him either :-( While I don't have
any true sources for this, it is common knowledge among many from
Arab-speaking countries, as this was the practice of Arabs in those
lands as well.

There were many young Jewish women who were married off at the ages of
11-12 in Yemen and Iraq (for example) to prevent their non-Jewish
neighbours from claiming them.

What is not so well known is that in most such cases, the marriage is
actually abusive, the formerly Jewish wife is many times actually his
2nd wife and is abused also by the extended family.

This is one of the reasons Yad LaAchim has so much work in this area of
saving Jewish women from Arab villages.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Dec 2007 20:30:39 -0500
Subject: RE: Redeeming captives (for more than their worth)

Dr Backon has done an excellent job of summarizing the various laws on
redeeming captives. Unfortunately our present situation is highly
atypical and these laws do apply, but not as they are written.

I must emphasize two things before proceeding (Which I am sure Josh will
agree with). a) These are serious matters where there are unfortunate
and painful consequences whatever you do...Therefore there is no need to
appeal to emotional arguments on whom we are saving. b) The sources Josh
quotes are unanimous...this is not something like "sunrise" where there
ARE several definitions.

OK: Lets get down to basics. The primary Jewish law involved is "You
should not stand on the blood of your neighbor." Consequently there is a
biblical obligation to save someone. Redeeming captives is the best
example-you pay some money and save lives.

Now: Consider the following scenairo. Four people are on a beach. One
goes swimming and starts to drown. The other three estimate that if they
all go in they can save him but one of the three will drown(Say it is
stormy). Jewish law turns around and says DONT STAND does not apply

There is a conceptual point to this: The law is defining saving as
BEEN TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT. If I can save a captive by paying money I am
obligated. If by saving a captive I might myself die then the net number
of lives remains the same....I have no obligation (Note: The reason we
fight defensive wars is NOT because of DONT STAND...rather it is a
separate obligation of fighting defensive wars).

Let us apply this analysis to a standard situation (like Joshbrought)
where redeeming captives is prohibited. A band of antisemitic people
descends on a village and kidnaps the Rabbi. The community wants to
redeem him. But look at the consequences. If the band finds out that
Jews will redeem Rabbis then they will come back and do it again and
again.  Sooner or later the money will run out and people will be killed
anyway.  Ergo: DONT STAND does not apply.

What about the current situation in Israel. I think some recent press
releases summarized this nicely. The chief of staff said that a military
solution is the only way to deal with Hamas. The foreign minister said
that eliminating Hamas will hurt the peace process. And therefore we are
abstaining for the while.

Now in the middle of all this 3 soldiers (or civilians) are kidnapped.
Should we exchange them for the soldiers we have. Ideally, we should
kill all terrorists (not feed them in prisons) - our own would also be
killed and then after a while someone would get the message

However for whatever reason we are not killing the terrorists. WHETHER
not a gang of theives who found out that Jews have money. They are at
war with us. And they will be at war with us whether we exchange or
not. Nothing will happen extra. In such a case DONT STAND applies...we
get back our 3 soldiers (or civilians) for the exchange. But future
terrorism and kidnappings will not happen BECAUSE we exchange...they
will happen ANYWAY because we are at war.

I bring another point. We recall that a few years ago someone went
beserk in Chevron. The incident was triggered by having children die in
the gunmens presence with the government not doing anything about
it. How certain are we that if we dont exchange that we will not have
several people going beserk. I need only remind people that one of the
terrorist waves came after two Israeli soldiers accidentally went into a
town and were brutally murdered. The Israelie public has a psychological
limit on what it can tolerate. The government has always responded to
kidnappings and murders and I think this is a fulfillment of DONT STAND.

Let me recap: How would I answer Josh: Simply: The codes are talking
about a case where we have sporadic gangs who STUMBLE onto a Jewish
community...if you TELL them that Jews redeem important people you will
start a cycle. But the present situation we are at war (not a gang) and
part of the war game is the cycle of exchanges (They are not learning
anything new). Bottom line: The terrorism will continue and at the same
rate whether we exchange or not.

Finally: I mention one personal disappointment: A few years ago the
Syrians caught a Jewish soldier. He was presumed dead but managed to
sneak out a coded message showing he was alive. I would personally like
to see him on some exchange program also. (I apologize I have forgotten
his name...I also am unaware of his present status...but because of the
present moment I wanted to at least mention him)

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...> (Menashe Elyashiv)
Date: Tue, 1 Jan 2008 09:26:21 +0200
Subject: Sunrise

D. Teichman in JM 56/19 wrote that in the Neve Yaakov sunrise minyan,
they waited to see the first rays. This is also mentioned by Kaf Haayim,
way back, probably 100 years ago, in the old city Bet El mekubalim
minyan. But, they stopped looking because it has a marit ayin of bowing
to the sun (see what Yihezkel had to say about that in ch. 8/16). So
they would use the "more shaot" i.e. a clock.

This morning, one of our hurrying prayers asked if we could make the
sunrise earlier. Of course he didn't think that we could lift up the
sun. But to use the astronomic sunrise. I explained that there are 2
calculations to sunrise, however, the seen one is the l'hatchila
one. The differnce is about 12 minutes, because of the hills close by,
the latest sunrise is very late, 6:52.


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, 31 Dec 2007 20:32:42 -0500
Subject: Wine and Shmittah - Interesting Question

I came across an interesting question.

Question: Reuven relies on the heter mechira and Shimon does not.  If
Reuven makes kiddush on wine produced during shmittah and under the
heter mechira, may Shimon be yotzei by Reuven making kiddush over this
wine even though Shimon doesn't rely on the heter mechira?

Answer: According to the Be'ur Halacha (296, d.h. Im Hu), Rav Auerbach,
zt"l (quoted in Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata Vol. 2 chap. 47, footnote
88) and Yalkut Yosef, Mitzvot HaTeluyot Ba'Aretz, Vol 1, page 638,
footnote 11) if Shimon doesn't rely on the heter mechira because he is
machmir (stringent) regarding this matter but doesn't feel that it is
absolutely forbidden to rely on the heter mechira (especially since
nowadays sheittah is rabbinic in nature), then he may rely on Reuven and
be yotzei his obligation from his kiddush.

Steven Oppenheimer, DMD


End of Volume 56 Issue 21