Volume 58 Number 30 
      Produced: Sat, 19 Jun 2010 22:35:20 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Adultery as a crime  (from the news) 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Bil'am  - Balaam (2)
    [Alex Heppenheimer  Martin Stern]
Bil'am - Balaam 
    [Robert Israel]
chukkot hagoyim - or minhag hagoyim 
    [Carl Singer]
community Power 
    [Bernard Raab]
controlled modesty and slavery (was ignorance of sexual matters) 
    [Russell J Hendel]
execution of Vashti  
    [Russell J Hendel]
fences do not always make good neighbors 
    [Irwin Weiss]
ignorance of sexual matters 
    [Martin Stern]
Making Ice Cream on Shabbat 
    [Aryeh A. Frimer]
Mara d'atra 
    [Rabbi Meir Wise]
moderator's translations 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 15,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Adultery as a crime  (from the news)

In some of the posts relating to the inquiry of a Jewish male seeking
Halachic advice regarding his proposed liason with a married but
on-the-path-to-divorce non-Jewish woman, the issue of adultery arose as
an element of general ethical and moral behavior, which is also part of Halacha.
 It was pointed out that adultery can be a criminal offense.
And this news just came in as confirmation:
"A married Batavia woman on Friday became the 13th New Yorker in nearly 40 years
to be charged with adultery ... Batavia police said they were called to Farrall
Park about 5 p.m. ... Officer Matthew Baldwin arrived and charged Justin M.
Amend, 29, of Oakfield, and Suzanne M. Corona, 41, with public lewdness, a
misdemeanor.  Baldwin also charged Corona with adultery because he was aware
that she was married, police said. Section 255.17 of the [New York] state penal
law states, "A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual
intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the
other person has a living spouse." A class B misdemeanor, a conviction on an
adultery charge is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.  Amend
was not charged with adultery because he was not aware Corona was married,
police said.

Yisrael Medad


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 14,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Bil'am  - Balaam

In MJ 58:28, Shmuel Himelstein asked:

>Out of curiosity, would anyone know how the Hebrew "Bil'am" appears in all
>the English Bible translations as "Balaam"?

It goes back to the Septuagint, which transliterates the name in this way. I
know of at least one other name of the same mishkal (consonant-vowel pattern)
that also underwent the same change in the Septuagint and all of the subsequent
translations based on it: Miriam > Mariam (and then from that derive the forms
Maria, Mary, etc.).

[Some other common names of the same mishkal, that I can think of at the
moment,are Yitzchak, Rivkah, and Pinchas. Those, however,wind up as "Isaak,"
"Rebekka," and "Phinees" in the Septuagint, rather than *Iasaak, *Rabkah, and
*Phaneas, as they might have done if they had been altered according tothis

Why this should be, I don't know. One possibility might be dialectal differences
from standard Hebrew among the Jews of Alexandria, where the Septuagint was
written. Alternatively, since both of these names can be derived from word forms
with kamatz or patach - Bil'am from "balah am," the one who wore down the
[Jewish] people (Sanhedrin 105a), or from "yaval am," [G-d] provides produce to
the people (Daat Mikra), and Miriam from "mar," bitterness (Shemos Rabbah 26:1),
or from "marut,"mastery (Daat Mikra)- people may have hypercorrected the chirik
to a kamatz or patach. (The other three names, by contrast, either must
grammatically have a chirik, or don't necessarily derive from word forms with a
different vowel.)

Kol tuv,

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 14,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Bil'am  - Balaam

On Wed, Jun 9,2010, Shmuel Himelstein wrote:
> Out of curiosity, would anyone know how the Hebrew "Bil'am" appears in all
> the English Bible translations as "Balaam"?

This is the way the name was written in the Greek Septuagint from which
ultimately all other Christian translations were derived and through which
it entered European literature. Why it made the change is not clear and I
doubt if we will ever be able to determine it after over 2000 years.

Martin Stern

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 14,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Bil'am - Balaam

Shmuel Himelstein  wrote:
>  Out of curiosity, would anyone know how the Hebrew "Bil'am" appears in
>  all the English Bible translations as "Balaam"?

I would suppose it's because the Septuagint transliterates it that way:
beta-alpha-lambda-alpha-alpha-mu.  The authors of the Septuagint had a 
problem with the letter ayin, which has no Greek equivalent, and one way
to indicate it is with a double alpha.  At the beginning of a name they 
sometimes used gamma, whence Gaza and Gomorrah.

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


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 8,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: chukkot hagoyim - or minhag hagoyim

Most things taken to extreme are problematic.

It would seem that adopting or copying the (religious) practices of gentiles
is halachically unacceptable. BUT if an existing practice is subsequently
adopted by gentiles - why should it necessarily become unacceptable and thus

Examples: (with various levels of absurdity, or application as "religious"

(According to a former coworker who is a Deacon in the Catholic church, now
studying for his PhD in Religion at a Jesuit College, Fordham)
The Catholic mass derives from our Jewish davening -- sanctum, sanctum,
sanctum -- directly from Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh,  etc.

A galach gayt (ungetune) a shvartse menarke (poorly transliterated Yiddish
-- A Priest wears a black jacket.)

Some churches have stained glass windows (In many towns due to churches
having purchased former synagogue buildings, these windows depict "Jewish"

Some gentiles tithe.

Some do acts of charity (we call that chesed.)

Some dress modestly -- on-line stores selling modest clothing for conservative
(?) gentiles may be a boon for women looking for tsniusdik garb.



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 14,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: community Power

Michael Mirsky wrote:
> Also, other posters speculated that the issue goes away if the source of
> electricity is wind, solar or nuclear.  It may be true for the first two, but I
> don't think so for the third because nuclear generation involves using nuclear
> energy to boil water and spin a turbine - sounds like bishul to me!

I think perhaps we are confusing two separate "lavim" [prohibitions]: that of
"bishul" [cooking], and that of "eish" [fire]. As I understand it, bishul is
prohibited on Shabbat whatever the source of heat; e.g., I believe a solar
cooker could not be used on Shabbat but would be OK on YomTov. Similarly, an
"existing" fire can be used on Shabbat for keeping food warm, and on Y"T for
cooking, although even an existing fire requires a continuous feeding of fuel to
keep burning. By analogy, it is not clear to me why a nuclear power reactor
could not be used on Shabbat for power generation (not for cooking) even though
it may use a closed loop steam cycle in which water is continuously
boiled-vaporized-condensed-boiled in a closed system to drive
turbine-generators. This is the same cycle which we use in typical coal- or
oil-fired generators today without questioning it, which keeps our homes humming
with power throughout Shabbat even if we do not actively change any appliance
settings. At least in a nuclear power generator, as in a solar or wind power
system, we do not produce any fire. Therefore, the issue of changing the level
of fuel consumption, or as Michael informs us, of starting up dormant generators
on Shabbat, would not involve starting a new fire or changing the level of an
existing fire. There is no "fire" in the conventional sense in a nuclear
reactor, which produces heat by nuclear fission, i.e., by splitting atoms. 

Bernie R.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 2,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject: controlled modesty and slavery (was ignorance of sexual matters)

Batya in v58n22 states 
> Someone explained "the marriage act" to her a few days before the wedding. 
> And a doctor, a tzadik who took the role as a personal mitzvah, came with them
> or to them in their apartment immediately after the wedding and explained it
> to him.  That chassidishe group is very strict and controlling.  The theory
> behind the last minute instructions to the chattan, (and all males,) is that
> he shouldn't think about it until he is permitted to do it.  The Kallah is
> given a few days to adjust to the idea. This has been their way of doing
> things for a long time.  It's nothing new at all.

I am in a state of shock that this is official policy of these groups.

It would appear to me that these practices violate the Biblical prohibitions of
slavery.  What is slavery? Well you say "It is ownership of another person." But
what does that mean. That you can use them for your needed work. A permanant
valet fits that description.

You might reply "Slavery is lack of rights." But that also doesn't work. Slaves
have buyout rights. If I bought them for $1000 for 10 years and they have 4
years left they can pay me $400 dollars and leave. (With non Jewish slaves it is
a bit more complicated since they are acquired permanantly but the concept applies)

Rather the ESSENCE of slavery is control of someone's sexual life. Both Jewish
slaves (sold in lieu of prison terms) and non-Jewish slaves are owned SEXUALLY
by their masters who can USE THEM to procreate with other slaves and produce
more slaves. It is this fundamental freedom...the freedom of sexual choice which
the slave has lost. (If you carefully think about it slaves have not lost
anything else)

But if groups are controlling people they are bordering on slavery. (True
slavery would involve forced sex to reproduce which is not present here). If I
deprive my adult child of knowledge needed to make sexual choices I am treating
him/her like a slave. Being controlled by another adult is an intrinsically
painful experience even if physical pain is not used.

So I cannot buy "this is their way of life" This is not matzoh meal in soup
(which some groups dont allow) and this is not an issue of styles of prayer.
This is an issue of the fundamental freedoms which we must all possess.

I could go on but perhaps this will generate some discussion. The issue I am
raising is "Where do we draw the line on the 'custom' argument...at what point
do we decry practices as so abhorrent that we can't put up with them"

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


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 7,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: execution of Vashti 

Three people responded (v58n25) about my posting on Vashti's execution. I would
like to thank Yisroel for pointing out the simple proof of use of the past
(Ester 2:1) "Achashveirosh REMEMBERED Vashti what she had done and what had been
decreed" The past implies she was now dead. Nice!

Robert (same issue) questions my statistic that 50% of murders involve a gun. I
should have been more precise. 

The precise statistical statement is that OF ALL HOMES WHERE HOMICIDES WERE
COMMITTED, 45.8% had guns in the home. Keeping a gun in the home carried a
murder risk 2.7 times greater than not keeeping one. This was part of a study by
Arther Kellerman, reported in the very prestigious "New England Journal of
Medicine", Oct 93, pp. 1084-1091. The purpose of the study was to show that guns
in a home are more likely to be used in a murder than in self protection. This
is part of a larger debate on whether society would find it useful to ban home
ownership of guns. Needless to say the rifle owner associations "contested the

The study as I mentioned is useful for showing how a momentary fit of anger
could lead to irreversible damage as happened between Achashrveirosh and Vashti.
I again emphasize that the "FILL IN" discussion we have been having leads off on
tangents some of which make us more aware of dangers around the house. If
Achashveirosh could do it to Vashti we could do it to our spouses. Such warnings
are part of the moosar (ethics) benefit of reading and studying the Bible.

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


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 8,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: fences do not always make good neighbors

This is not a response based upon Halacha. I note only that in Maryland, under
the case of Melnick v. C.S.X. Corp., 312 Md. 511, 540 A.2d 1133 (1988), the
Maryland court reviewed the civil law on the subject.

There is a Restatement section which says:
Section 839 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts provides:

> Possessor Who Fails to Abate Artificial Condition
> A possessor of land is subject to liability for a nuisance caused while he is
> in possession by an abatable artificial condition on the land, if the
> nuisance is otherwise actionable, and
> (a) the possessor knows or should know of the condition and the nuisance or
> unreasonable risk of nuisance involved, and
> (b) he knows or should know that it exists without the consent of those 
> affected by it, and
> (c) he has failed after a reasonable opportunity to take reasonable steps to
> abate the condition or to protect the affected persons against it.

Almost no state follows this rule. (Michigan, Mississippi, Wisconsin and
Minnesota do).

A Pennsylvania Court criticized this rule saying:

> The 'natural condition' standard for imposing or not imposing liability
> creates the anomalous situation of imposing liability on a landowner who
> improves and maintains his property while precluding liability of a
> neighboring landowner who allows the 'natural condition' of his property to
> run wild. Under this analysis, landowner A may plant hedges or bushes around
> the perimeter of his property and if they are allowed to become too thick or
> too tall so as to obstruct a motorist's vision of an intersection, he will be
> held liable. Landowner B, on the other *519 hand, may neglect his property,
> allowing it to be overrun and overgrown with weeds, plants, grasses and other
> natural foilage, to an equal or greater detriment to passing motorists, but
> with no liability to himself. The distinction appears to be arbitrary at best.
[Harvey v. Hansen, 299 Pa.Super. 474, 480-481, 445 A.2d 1228, 1231 (1982).]

Another rule is the so called "Virginia Rule", which provides that a landowner
is limited to self-help unless the tree or plant is "noxious".  Almost no state
follows this rule, because of the difficulty in knowing what "noxious" means.

Then there is the so called "Hawaii Rule", which is this: Liability is imposed
upon the adjoining landowner if the trees, plants, roots, or vines cause harm in
ways other than by casting shade or dropping leaves, flowers, or fruit.  Whether
damages will be awarded depends on the extent and cause of the injury.

Finally, there is the Massachusetts rule.  This limits the adjacent landowner to
"self-help" in nearly all cases, except where the tree is dead an poses a threat
to human safety. (This is the rule adopted in Maryland).

So, it seems that the American civil authorities have as much trouble figuring
out "the" answer as the Halachic authorities.  If you apply the oft quoted rule
"dina d'malchuta dina"-- the law of the land is the law--- you have to first
figure out in what land you find yourself.

Irwin E. Weiss, Esq.
Baltimore, MD


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 15,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: ignorance of sexual matters

On Fri, Jun 11,2010, Yisrael Medad wrote:
> Yossi Ginzberg  suggests that in matter of sexual education, "A boy
> could not [grow up not knowing]. Too many Gemaras use "Bias kidushin" in
> case law and too much Chassidus uses coital imagery. Too many statements
> in the Torah require at least basic knowledge.  The only conceivable way
> it could happen would be if both were severely learning-disabled."

> "Knowing" is a theoretical concept as Yossi wishes to portray it.  The
> "reality" is they do not know what to do, how it is done, what to expect
> and how to deal with problems.

Yisrael is absolutely correct in drawing the distinction between "Knowing"
as a theoretical concept and "Knowing" as a practical "reality". Without
actual experience, theoretical knowledge is incomplete. The nearest to a
description is the Gemara in Makkot (7a) that we recently learned in Daf
Hayomi where the nature of evidence of adultery is discussed. The
(discarded) suggestion that the witnesses have to see the act 'kemikhchol
beshfoferet - like the way an eye shadow applicator is inserted into the tube of
eye shadow ' may be quite graphic but would probably be less than meaningful to
the average yeshivah bachur.

Martin Stern


From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 15,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Making Ice Cream on Shabbat

Has anyone seen a Halakhic discussion about making ice cream on Shabbat. 
There is something known as an ice Cream ball. In one compartment you 
add ice and rock salt; in the other you add sugar, cream, and vanilla.  Then 
you shake for about 10 minutes and the mix freezes during the agitation to 
give a pint of ice cream.

video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4t3SWKYWCE&NR=1].  

Dr. Aryeh A. Frimer
Chemistry Dept., Bar-Ilan University


From: Rabbi Meir Wise <Meirhwise@...>
Date: Tue, Jun 15,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Mara d'atra

Whenever I meet the Gaon, Rabbi Aryeh Nadav shlit"a, the Rav of Ramat  
Amidar, I enquire: mah shlom mara d'atra (= how is the master of this  

In his great modesty, he always replies: Hakadosh Baruch Hu Mara  
D'atra (= The Holy One, Blessed be He is the Master of this place)!

May the Almighty increase such rabbis in Israel!

Rabbi Meir Wise


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 11,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: moderator's translations

On Sun, Jun 6,2010, Shayna Kravetz wrote:
> ... Last time I looked, a "Ba'al Tefillah" was not someone who was
> melodious but someone who had the skill to lead the davening and did
> so. The ability to carry a tune is certainly part of the equipment
> for the job but it is not identical with it.

Of course, Shayna is correct but I think that, in the context of not
imposing oneself on the tsibbur [public --MOD] on a Yom Tov, Bernard meant to
emphasise his lack of a melodious voice.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 58 Issue 30