Volume 57 Number 44 
      Produced: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 07:54:24 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Chulent pots from baker (2)
    [Ephraim Tabory  David Ziants]
Dina d'malchuta dina (2)
    [David Tzohar  Carl Singer]
Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"? (4)
    [Carl Singer  Robert Israel  Alex Heppenheimer  Elazar M. Teitz]
Yitzchak's birth announcment 
    [Saul Mashbaum]


From: Ephraim Tabory <tabore@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 18,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Chulent pots from baker

B. R.'s posting reminded me of a story that my Mother loves to tell as
the chulent comes to the table.
In her shteitel  everyone brought their chulent pots to the
town baker's oven on erev Shabbos.
She always points out that if you came home with the wrong pot, you might
luckily find some meat in your chulent :)

So at last the mystery is solved. Could you please return my grandmother's
pot to our family (and I will return your dented one that could have held no
more than three tiny potatoes and maybe a cup of beans).

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 19,2009 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Chulent pots from baker

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
> Bernie Raab's posting reminded me of a story that my Mother loves to tell as
> the chulent comes to the table.
> In her shteitel  (Ludsk, Poland) everyone brought their chulent pots to the
> town baker's oven on erev Shabbos.
> She always points out that if you came home with the wrong pot, you might
> luckily find some meat in your chulent  :) 
> Can you imagine today a community so homogeneous, etc., that would trust
> each others food - everyone's.  Or for that matter using the eruv to take
> the pot home.

My grandfather z"l told me that this also happened in the East End of 

He also made a point of saying that the pre-barmitzva children carried 
the pots because the adults did not carry on Shabbat.

There was no eruv, but the streets there I assume all come under the 
definition of a Carmelit [like most of our streets these days, these 
streets that are not considered "public" by definition of Torah law but 
one is not allowed to carry by Rabbinic enactment unless there is an 
eruv - and here there wasn't].

Is it allowed to ask your child/someone else's child to do this? Is 
bringing food for the shabbat table considered a mitzva enough to allow 
leniency? I know the poskim [= Rabbinic legal experts] were at debate 
concerning a child bringing shul keys, which is a public issue, or 
bringing a siddur through the street on behalf of an adult.

Assuming that the above was done in heter [with Rabbinic permission], 
has any one done a study on the ramifications that this specific issue 
might have had on the Jewish education (or lack thereof) of the children 
who grew up there at the beginning of the 20th century? Maybe many 
"traditional" Jews, who follow a bit here and there, continue to carry 
in a place where there is no eruv because they remember doing it as 

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 16,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Dina d'malchuta dina

A very complex subject with disputes throughout all of halachiic
literature. Some of the Rishonim said that since all the subjects of the king
agree(like it or not) to obey the laws of the land  this is a tnai she be
mamon(mutually agreed financial condition) and therefore incumbent upon
them(Rashbam). Others say the law is learned from the laws of kings in I
Samuel 8 11-13 (Meiri,Rashba) Another view is that since Bnai noach are
obligated  by the tora to set up a legal system(dinim) all must obey their
laws(Rashi Gitin 9-2). Most latter authorities agree that DDD is din
deoreita(learned directly from Tora). Some say it applies only to property
and deeds(Bet Yosef,Rosh) others that it applies only to things that the King
directly benefits from such as taxes and levies(Gaonim, Rambam).
  The question of DDD in the Jewish State is a subject in and of itself and
has been dealt with extensively by R' Goren and R' Tzvi Yehuda Kook ztzl
and R' Aviner, R' Y.Ariel shlita and others.

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 17,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Dina d'malchuta dina

Carl Singer
> If I might (re)start a thread:  Dina d'malchuta dina  (pardon the
> transliteration [law of the land --MOD])
> Of late I've heard some interesting interpretations / discussion of same.
> Variants include:
> 1 - It applies to everything (way too literal if you ask me)
> 2 - It doesn't apply - due to some disqualification of the government
> 3 - It applies only to business transactions
> 4 - It applies only to monetary transactions
> 5 - It applies only to transactions between the individual and the
> government (hence only to taxes.)

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>:
> Well, we may be confusing several different ideas, and in the end
> giving them the same name.
> I think the locus classicus of dinah d'malchuta dina has to do with
> monetary matters that a Beis din might have to rule on.
> A lot of that has to do with what happens when something wasn't
> specified in an agreement.
> Jewish law has certain defaults, but Dina d'malchuta dina  - whatever
> the law of the country says that is what applies. It also means that
> you owe taxes.

I thank Sammy for his precise definition.

The categories that I listed evolve from what I've heard as attempts to
limit the range, or in some cases to expand the range of "transactions" that
fall within halachic boundaries.
That is transactions which are illegal per appropriate government ordinance
- are they thus illegal on an halachic basis?

Here are a four examples:

1 - owner or tenant:   renting an "illegal" (that is not-zoned) apartment.
(Among other issues, this avoids paying municipal real estate tax.)

2 - a merchant  (or his/her customer) using a home-based business -- zoned /
not zoned - charging sales tax / not charging sales tax -- reporting / not
reporting income.

3 - any "cash & carry" off the books enterprise - the synagogue that allows
such merchants to have a "bazaar"  on their premises.

4 - the repairman who offers "if you pay me cash, I won't charge you sales
tax" -- and the consumer on the other end of this transaction.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 18,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"?

Russel Hendel's scholarly, in-depth discussion includes the issue of sinning
on Shabbos in order to save a life.

As I recall  (at least at Daf Yomi depth)  if a Mohel needs to carry his
"tools" on Shabbos (no eruv, of course) he does so openly en route to the
bris.   Again, my recollection (it's been 20+ years) was that the mitzvah of
bris milah is introduced in the Torah prior to that of Shabbos.   Can we
draw anything from this re: saving a life.


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 18,2009 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"?

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote in vol 57 #43:

> By the way: A cute follow up: While on an El Al flight a few years ago
> I learned that this Talmudic passage far from being obscure actually
> has been commemorated in our folklore. The famous "bagel and locks"
> gets its name from ABAGEL (Ahem...the bagel is a female symbol (in case
> you didn't notice) and commemorates ABAGEL showing her thigh to King
> David).

I can't comment on the halachic issues, but the idea that the word
"bagel" comes from Abigail is one of the least likely bits
of folk-etymology I've seen.  The Oxford English Dictionary says    

ad. Yiddish beygel, app. (Webster) f. MHG. *bugel, whence G. dial.
beugel, bugl, dim. of MHG. boug-, bouc- ring, bracelet: - OHG. boug = OE.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 18,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"?

In MJ 57:43, Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> commented on this issue,
bringing a couple of further sources.

First off, I'd like to voice my objection to his characterization of the
previous response (by R' E.M. Teitz in 57:41, citing the Gemara, Shabbos 4a) as
"simplistic." It is true that there are other statements in the literature that
bear on this issue (some of them are cited in Tosafos there, s.v. Vechi;
according to the various explanations given there,in some cases A should indeed
commit a minor sin to save B from a major one, or to make it possible for the
public to perform a major mitzvah). But is it right to use such a disdainful
term for anyone's posting on this list, much less one by a distinguished
community rav?

Anyway, let's look further at the two passages that Russell cites.

1. Megillah 14b, about Avigayil and David (where the Gemara says that she
exposed her leg [not her thigh, incidentally - the word used is "shok," which
according to Mishnah Berurah 75:2 means the lower leg up to the knee], and David
was inflamed thereby, and ultimately spared her husband's life):

First of all, Tosafos there (s.v. Shegilsah), as explained by Maharsha, explains
that she didn't do so _in front of David_, which would indeed have been a
serious transgression. Rather, this happened when she was still some distance
away, so no sin was involved.

(In Pesachim 3b, the Gemara points out that it is more modest for a woman to
ride side saddle, but that in this case the verse (II Shmuel 25:20) describes
Avigayil as "riding," implying that she was astride the animal. According to the
various explanations that the Gemara offers there, she felt the need to ride in
this more secure position out of fear of falling off the saddle in the darkness
of the night, or when confronted by David, or while riding on the steep mountain
path.  So it's quite possible that these two accounts complement each other: in
straddling her donkey - an unaccustomed position for her -Avigayil inadvertently
bared her leg.)

But fine, let's suppose that we should take the Gemara at face value, and say
that she deliberately did this in David's presence. But then, what she did next
becomes incomprehensible: as the Gemara continues, when David propositioned her
(which, according to this way of looking at things, was her intention), she
rebuffed him and reminded him that she's a married woman.  So how exactly was
all of this calculated to keep David from executing her husband for disobedience
to the crown? If anything, wouldn't it have given David an extra reason to want
to kill Naval - so that he would be able to marry her, having already been
attracted by her beauty?

All told, then,this doesn't seem to be an example of A committing a sin to save
B from another one. It therefore also has little or no bearing on the
hypothetical that Russell mentioned (about a husband who is getting aroused by
his female coworkers, and his wife who wants to be able to do something about it
at a time when she is prohibited from having physical contact with him). What a
rav would say in that case (and it is indeed something that should be asked) - I
don't know; but it is indeed a rav's job to answer such questions, or at least
to refer the questioner to someone else who can do so.

2. Rambam, Hil. Shabbos 2:1, about violating Shabbos to save another person's life:

The locus classicus of this issue is in the Gemara, Yoma 85a-b, where various
Tannaim and Amoraim cite half a dozen possible sources for this law. None of
them associate it in any way with the idea of preventing the one in danger from
committing a sin (though one of them, R' Shimon ben Menasya, says that it's in
order to enable that person to observe many more Shabbosos in the future). I'm
dubious whether this would apply anyway: it is true that suicide is prohibited
by Bereishis 9:5 (Rambam, Hil. Rotze'ach 2:3), but that's referring to taking
action to end one's life. But if, for example, a sick person refuses to go for
treatment, can we really say that he or she is in violation of "standing by
their neighbor's blood"?

Of the reasons given there for violating Shabbos to save a life, the one that
the Rambam cites as halachah in the context that Russell cited (Hil. Shabbos
2:3)is "My mitzvos... by which man shall live" (Vayikra 18:5), implying "but not
to die thereby." According to this, then, it may be a "gezeiras hakasuv" (a
Torah law targeted to a specific case), rather than a paradigm that can be
extended to other cases where someone's life is not in danger. In fact, we have
the halachah (Rambam,Hil. Rotze'ach1:11) that one may not kill or wound a person
to prevent them from committing sins other than murder or certain sexual
offenses - in other words, the bystander may not commit a sin (murder, or
assault and battery) to prevent someone else from committing a different sin
(violation of Shabbos, bestiality, or idolatry, to use the Rambam's three examples).

Kol tuv,

From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 18,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Is there a halachic concept of "take one for the team"?

In regard to the question whether one person can sin to save another person from
sin Russell J Hendel writes, 
> I will suffice with two passages. (Needless to say everything is
> controversial...my hope is that this will generate (civil and intelligent)
> discussion.

     The first passage Dr. Hendel cites is the meeting of Avigayil and David, in
the course of which she exposes her thigh.  Dr. Hendel does not make clear where
we see from this incident that one may sin to prevent others from sinning, since
nowhere does the Talmud indicate that the baring of her thigh was done
intentionally to attract David.  Rather, it was accidental exposure, and she
utilized David's reaction to save her husband's life.  Furthermore, even if it
was intentionally done, it was a case of sinning to save a life, rather than
sinning to save from sin, which is a different matter, and irrelevant to the
topic of discussion.
     The second passage cited is the permission to violate Shabbos to save a
life.  Again (and Dr. Hendel himself says so), this is a case of "sinning" to
save a life, not to save from sin; but Dr. Hendel considers it a possible proof
to the topic under discussion because, to quote him, "True: Saving a life
overrides any commandment but you are missing my point.....the FACT that saving
a life overrides any commandment PROVES that you can sin (violate commandments)
to avoid the sin of 'not standing by the life of your neighbor.' "
     However, all this case shows, even according to Dr. Hendel's
interpretation, is that a person can commit a sin (performing an act prohibited
on Shabbos) in order to avoid his _own_ sin (not standing by the life of one's
neighbor).  What connection does that have with committing a sin to prevent
someone else from sinning? 


From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 11,2009 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Yitzchak's birth announcment

Several posters discussed the relation of  the announcement of Yitzchak's
future birth in two parshiot (sections) of the Torah - Lech L'cha and

I think it it fruitful to point out that Lech L'cha and Vayera are
complementary parshiot  in many ways, the case at hand being one of them.
Almost all the themes of Lech L'cha (hereafter LL) are returned to in Vayera
(V). (I am indebted to Shlomo Dov Schnall for some of the following)
1) Sarah is captured by Pharoah in LL, by Avimelech in V
2) Lot in S'dom is introduced in LL, greatly expanded upon in V
3) Avraham's involvement in the affairs of Sdom appears in both LL and V
4) Hagar and Sarah's troubled relationship appears in both LL and V
5) Brit Milah (circumcision) is introduced in LL, reappears in V
6) As mentioned, the birth of Yitzchak is predicted in both LL and V
7) Avraham concludes a treaty with Malchitzedeq the king of Sdom in LL, with
Avimelech, king of Grar in V
8) Sacrifices are introduced in LL (Brit bein hab'tarim - the covenant ) ,
and re-demanded in V (the Akeida - the binding of Yiytzchak),

As with all parallels, each of these pairs can be investigated to uncover
both similarities and differences to gain a deeper
understanding of the Biblical passages.

It is well known that Avraham's life was filled with challenges. We know
that Avraham underwent 10 trials, and succeeded in all of them. We see here
that much of Avraham's life was cyclical - he often returned to a situation
he faced earlier in his life, and brought it to another, often deeper,

Saul Mashbaum


End of Volume 57 Issue 44