Volume 6 Number 30

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Y. Feldblum]
Authority of Rishonim
         [Kibi Hofmann]
         [Ezra Tanenbaum]
International Dateline (2)
         [Hillel Markowitz, Isaac Balbin]
         [Jeremy Schiff]


From: Avi Y. Feldblum <ayf@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Feb 93 7:27:35 EST
Subject: Administrivia

Purim Reminder: We will hopefully have a special Purim edition, as well
as possibly some longer Purim offerings announced for access via ftp
and email archive retrieval. If you have Purim Torah tidbits (or a
course or full meal) please send them to our Purim Special Guest Editor:

Yosef Branse - <jody@...>

or you can send them to me and mark them as Purim material.

Avi Feldblum
Mail-Jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...>  or  avi_feldblum@att.com


From: Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Jan 93 07:50:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Authority of Rishonim

In vol6#27 David Sherman asked

> How do we relate the concept discussed to the point
> that has been made recently regarding a number of issues -- that the
> Rishonim in many cases had much less scientific data, or knowledge of
> the operation of the world, than we do now?  (Take the example of
> the lice thought to be spontaneously generated, for example.)

I once took that specific example up with Rabbi Falk (Shlita) in Gateshead
and his answer was that we don't need to reevaluate the psak on this at
all... As far as I understand what he said, the halachic yardstick of
"importance" is something large enough to see with the naked eye.
Anything smaller than that is considered C'maan D'leisa [as if it didn't

Thus, since the lice come from something too small for the unaided eye to
see, it is *as if* they came spontaneously. In a slightly similar fashion
we say tefillin MUST be square - if a micrometer is used they will all be
found to be "deficient", but of course that is nonsense - the definition 
is again a naked eye definition - for sticklers (who need to be told how 
big a thing they can see :-) I think a 1:36 or so deviation is allowed 
(probably best to look it up).

Rabbi Falk said that the main point to realise is that the Torah was not
given to angels but to normal people who have to deal with the world in
a normal way - so you don't need to check your lettuce with a microscope
for bugs, even if you know they are there - if they are too small to see
you can eat them. N.B. In Rabbi Falk's opinion, if a bug is big enough to
see, but too small to be identified as a bug without magnification, it
is still forbidden to eat.

> Is it possible to remain faithful to halacha and at the same
> time adapt or modify it to reflect the decisions that earlier
> authorities "would have" made if they had had the same information
> we now have?  

Having taken the above into account there may be less things to alter than
you think. Also as others have already said in m.j. the reason for some
laws may not be just the one given in the texts. Given the inavailability
of the original authors for comment, a very cautious attitude must be taken.



From: <bob@...> (Ezra Tanenbaum)
Date: Tue, 26 Jan 93 09:16:46 est
Subject: Hatmanah

The basic definition of hatmona is when some warm food item is wrapped
entirely in something which not only serves to maintain its heat, but
also serves to increase the heat.

Putting a pot in the oven before Shabbos is NOT hatmona because the pot is
not wrapped up, even though the oven adds heat. Note, other rules apply
regarding leaving something in an oven on Shabbos.

Taking the pot off the stove before Shabbos and wrapping it in towels
or blankets is permitted because no heat is added.

Entirely wrapping a pot which is left on the blech in towels (even before
Shabbos starts) is not allowed because even though the towels themselves
do not add heat, their action in combination with the electric element is
to increase the heat of the water. If a significant opening is left in the
towels, we say that the pot is not wrapped entirely, and then it is
permitted to leave the towel on the pot.

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (908)615-2899
email: att!trumpet!bob or <bob@...>


From: <hem@...> (Hillel Markowitz)
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 93 11:41:11 -0500
Subject: Re: International Dateline

>From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)

>this reason, and I have mentioned this before, when the Lakewood Kollel
>moved out to Melbourne and asked Reb Moshe Zatsal about when to keep
>Shabbos, Reb Moshe REFUSED to *PASKEN*. Reb Moshe did not decide on
>issues which did not have a Mekor (source) in Shas.  What Reb Moshe
>*did* say, was (and he kept repeating it)
>``There are Jews in Melbourne, they have been there before you
>  came. They KNOW when Shabbos is. Why do you ask me''

When I had to do some traveling, I was told that the situation is
similar to one who has gone with a "shyara bamidbar" [a caravan in the
desert].  You keep your Shabbas by counting the days *until you reach a
Jewish community*.  At that point you must adjust your Shabbas to match
the local community.  Thus, someone who crosses the International Date
Line (according to anybodies psak) is subject to the rules of the local
Jewish community at the destination.

This begs the question of what to do until you get to a "local
community" and how close is local (such as another city in the same
country).  However, it does show a possible reason for Rav Moshe's

Hillel Markowitz    <H_Markowitz@...>

From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)
Date: Thu, 28 Jan 93 20:09:30 -0500
Subject: International Dateline

  | From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)

  | 1. It's hard to address a statement by Reb Moshe which cannot be
  | independently confirmed.

Yosef, here are the details which you can now independantly confirm.
The question was asked by Rabbi Binyomin Wurtzburger, Rosh Hakollel of
Beis Hatalmud in Melbourne (the Lakewood Kollel) to Rev Moshe Zatsal.
Rabbi Mordechai Tendler, Reb Moshe's grandson was the go-between on the
phone.  The exact words that Reb Moshe used were (translated from

``There are Jews in Melbourne for 200 years who keep Shabbos on Saturday and 
  this young Torah scholar [Rabbi Wurtzburger] wants to know when to keep

Rabbi Lazer Stefansky of Lakewood had heard of this Psak and when he
visited Melbourne a year or so ago explained that this was entirely
consistent with Reb Moshe's view that where there is no source in Shas,
Reb Moshe would not formally pasken (decide).

Clearly, Reb Moshe knew of the Baal Hamaor and Chazon Ish (at the time
of his Psak he did not have the stature we now ascribe to him). Indeed,
his son-in-law, Rabbi Tendler travelled to Japan, and the story is that
he worked through the Sugya (topic) with Reb Moshe, but could get no
Hachro-o (decision).

Reb Moshe certainly respected Rishonim, but was unique in that he did
not allow the awe of their stature to quell his own strong feelings on a
Sugya (topic). He felt that this was the role of an Acharon.  Reb
Moshe's introduction to the Igros Moshe is enlightening on this.

As such, I do not believe that one should conclude that since the Chazon
Ish paskened one way that Daas Torah (a single Torah view) is that
because of this we should refrain from work on Sunday (in New Zealand).
There is no such thing as Da-as Torah. There is only De-os Torah (views
of Torah). If the view of one's respected Posek (and I do not
necessarily talk here only about Reb Moshe in this context) has taken
into account De-os Torah and decides differently, then unless one can
show that there is a Taus Bidvar Mishne (loosely, error of sources or
Taus Beshikul Ha-daas (loosely, an error of `logic') that opinion should
be heeded. Of course, some Posekim, will *not necessarily* be able to
decide. They haven't really paskened. Instead, they give one a view
which attempts to cover most views. This is common, but the great Poskim
of our generation are not afraid to come to a conclusion where

Without getting into this too much, another interesting example is that
of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach Shlita and his `lack of view' on IVF.  I
know that when he sees the Doctors involved in this at Shaa-rei Tzeddek
Hospital, he literally avoids them. Aspects of IVF are also not clear in


From: <schiff@...> (Jeremy Schiff)
Date: Wed, 27 Jan 93 13:12:28 EST
Subject: Mi-Sheberach

Justin Hornstein mentioned a mi-sheberach, which he attributed
to R.Yom-Tov Lippman Heller, for all those who do not talk in
shul. A short while after first hearing the famous Yekum Purkan
joke  [ Q: why do we have two yekum purkans?
        A: in case we lose one.
        Q: so why do we only have one mi-sheberach?
        A: because we lost the other one.
        ....Purim season is now officially open; I would welcome all 
        other yekum purkan jokes people know - I know two others. [And
see the Administrivia at the top to send it in for the Purim special
issue - Mod. ] ]

I happened to use the siddur "Tefilat Kol Pe", and was amazed to see a
second mi-sheberach, for those who did not talk in shul.  The footnote
said it was introduced by the Tosfot Yom Tov during the "gezerot tach
vetat", i.e. the Chmelnicki (sp?) massacres of 1648-1649.

All jokes aside, this is surely evidence of how serious Kavod Beit
HaKnesset (decorum in shul) should be taken. The mishna brura (I forget
where) cites another acharon as saying he saw shuls destroyed because of
talking....despite my general dislike of people saying "this punishment
was for that sin", in this case this punishment is surely the
appropriate one.



End of Volume 6 Issue 30