Volume 6 Number 37

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

B'rachah on Procreation
         [Daniel I. Siegel]
         [Gerald Sacks ZKO2-3/N30 DTN:381-2085  10-Feb-1993 0852]
Hora'as Sha'a (2)
         [Bruce Krulwich, Steven J Epstein]
Left and Right Handedness in Halakha (2)
         [Goldberg Moshe, Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth]
Question re divorce/impotence
         [Freda Birnbaum]


From: <Daniel.I.Siegel@...> (Daniel I. Siegel)
Date: 9 Feb 93 14:07:18 EST
Subject: B'rachah on Procreation

I enter this discussion one last time, with great hesitation, to respond
again to Aryeh Frimer.  While I will not claim to great expertise in
reading halachah, it seems to me that while it is true that we value
many things in marriage "beyond" procreation, nevertheless it is a
starting point of primary significance.  To the best of my knowledge,
poskim up to and including the Shulchan Aruch say that a childless
couple must divorce after 10 years of marriage.  It is the Rama who
interjects that among Ashkenazic Jews we no longer practice this and
even allow couples to marry whom we know they cannot have children.
  From the other side of the issue as well, a couple may only agree not
to have sex together if the mitzva of having children has been
fulfilled.  Finally, Aryeh does not respond to the citation from the
Shnei Luchot Habrit which clearly posits at least a hint, if not more
than that, of procreaton in the Sheva B'rachot.
  I also tried to do some checking on Yichud and came across the opinion
of R.  Ovadia Yosef (in Ellinson's third volume) that, for Sephardic
grooms, the mitzva of yichud can only be fulfilled at night and not
after a daytime ceremony as Ashkenazim permit.  While not coercive, it
certainly points to a yichud which is more than symbolic.  And, Aryeh, I
take this position most respectfully toward you and as someone who has
raised three children of his own as well.


From: Gerald Sacks <sacks@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 09:04:24 -0500
Subject: Beeswax

The Regensteins' column in the February issue of Kashrus Magazine has a piece
on an FDA ruling on wax labeling.  Beeswax is mentioned: "... Beeswax- and
shellac-based waxes (a product of insects which is permitted as kosher by
many rabbinic authorities including Rav Moshe Feinstein, z"tl, but not
accepted by some kashrus agencies) ..."


From: <krulwich@...> (Bruce Krulwich)
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 93 14:12:30 -0500
Subject: Hora'as Sha'a

There was an article on this topic in Jewish Action (the Aguda magazine)
a few years ago, titled (as I remember it) "Torah Im Derech Eretz:
Chiyuv or Hora'as Sha'ah?" (roughly: "Mixing Torah with the professional
ways of the world: Obligation or necessity of the time").  The author
brought citations from Tanayim [sages of the Mishna] through Achronim
[recent generations of sages] in support of the Torah Im Derech Eretz
principles of R' Hirsh as the Torah ideal.

Interestingly (and perhaps amusingly) he seems to suggest at the end of
his article (as I understand him, caveats apply) that perhaps the
current trends de-emphasizing Torah Im Derech Eretz (e.g., large amounts
of life-long full-time learning) may themselves be a Hora'as Sha'ah for
our current time.


From: <steviep@...> (Steven J Epstein)
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 93 14:12:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Hora'as Sha'a

The reason Rav Boruch Ber and most of the current Breuer's population
assert that Hirsch's statement were Horaat Shaah was because Hirsch
lived at the same time as Mendelsohn. They state that Hirsch proposed
his neo-orthodox doctrine as a more traditiona alternative to the
haskala; however, now this doctrine would not apply.

Yet, from my few readings of books and articles written by Hirsch and
later statements by Rabbi Joseph Breuer, it seems to me that Hirsch
truly believed in the value of a secular education for Jews in every

Steve Epstein


From: <vamosh@...> (Goldberg Moshe)
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 15:57:38 +0200
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

Ben Pashkoff asks:
>>This past Shabbat when the Sefer Tora was wrapped, the person holding it
>>wanted to put it on his left shoulder. Immediately he was told no, on
>>the right.
>>2) Does anyone have any sources for this?

A reference for this is Orah-Hayim 134, Hilchot Tefilah, para bet, in a
comment by the Rama: The Torah should be held in the right hand.  The
Mishna Brura quotes the pasuk: Vimino t'habkeni [and his right hand will
embrace me].  IAMLOR [I Asked My Local Orthodox Rabbi], and he said that
even a lefty has to hold it in his right hand ("the people seeing you
don't know that you are left-handed").

This seems to go along with Bruce Krulwich's comment:

>>My impression is that more public mitzvos are yemin col adam,
>>since you don't want to mislead anyone or appear to be making a mistake

Leper purification as a basis

Eitan Fiorino said:
>> The mishnah brurah . . . derives the
>> halachic favoring of the right to the procedure for making a leper tahor
>> [pure], given in Vayikra 14:14 

This derivation indeed seems to be the basis for a whole set of
requirements that one use the right hand.  Much of the work in the Beit
Hamikdash (Temple in Jerusalem) must be performed with the right hand.
In fact, left- handedness is one of the 90 types of "mum" [fault ?]
which cause a Kohen to be unfit for work in the Beit Hamikdash.  Rashi
in Behorot 45b explains that a lefty Kohen is rejected because much of
the work must be done with the right hand and he can't do it this way.

Tefillin and their basis

Eitan also asked:
>> I too have heard that one favors the right since . . .  one puts of [on!]
>> t'filin with the right  . . .  but really this only begs the question --
>> so why then does one put on t'filin with the right hand?

And Charlie Abzug answered (in the same issue--is this prophecy?):

>> There is no doubt that the left-handed person must put on his Tefillah
>> shel yad on his right hand.  However, there is a very specific reason for
>> this.  In one of the four parshiyot on tefillin . . .  it says, "V'Hayah
>> l'ot 'al yadchaH" with the word yadchaH spelled with a final Hey.  That
>> implies the meaning "yad keyhah" . . .

Actually, there is a machloket [argument] about the reason for a lefty
reversing where he puts on tefillin (Menahot 37a).  Rav Ashi gives the
above reason quoted by Charlie, but R. Natan uses as his source the
proximity of two pesukim from Shma Yisrael: u'keshartem [tie on the
tefillin], and u'chtavtem [write this passage in a mezuzah].  Use the
same hand for putting on tefillin as you use for writing, and if you tie
the tefillin strap with the right hand, you must be putting it on the
left.  For a left-handed person, this is reversed.

The above would seem to be the basis for the discussion in the Shulchan
Aruch (Orah Haim Hilchot tefillin, 27:6) about partial lefties: one who
writes with his right hand and does all the rest with his left, or the
opposite, writes with the left and does all other activities with the
right. If "yad keyhah" is important, the individual's "right hand" is
the one used for most activities, no matter what they are.  If
u'keshartem/u'chtavtem is the correct basis, writing has a special
meaning for tefillin and you wear tefillin on the hand you don't use for
writing (and, the Rama says for the latter, "hachi nahug" [this is the
accepted practice]).

Reference Material

The Encyplopedia Talmudit has a three-page summary of halachic aspects
of left-handedness, under the term (what else?) "eitair"
(aleph-tet-resh).  A very good starting point for anyone seriously
interested in the subject.

From: <METH@...> (Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth)
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 93 14:52:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

A few comments on Bruce Krulwich's very nice list of left and right.

I believe that the reason one bows to the left first after stepping back
three paces following the Amidah is because one is taking leave of the
Shechinah, Kaviyochol, and is actually bowing to the _Shechinah's_

The reason for leaning to the left on Pesach is primarily biological, as
the Gemarah says "shema yekadmena kane leveshet" [we are afraid of
leaning to the right because] perhaps the windpipe will precede the
esophagus [and the person might choke on his food, G-d forbid].


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 93 23:36 EDT
Subject: Question re divorce/impotence

Nachum Issur Babkoff comments, in V6N33, Re: B'rachah on Procreation

>May I add to Aryeh Frimmers comments, that a woman who is no longer
>able to concieve, and is married to an impotent; may sue for divorce
>on the sole basis that she is being denied sexual satisfaction.

Ummm, how far can you carry that?  Suppose she's 75 and he's 90?
"Even" the non-Jews have the concept of "for better, for worse; in
sickness and in health", etc....

Freda Birnbaum


End of Volume 6 Issue 37