Volume 6 Number 39

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

B'racha on Procreation
         [Aryeh Frimer]
Einstein Shabbaton
         [Moshe Levy]
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
         [Sara Svetitsky]
Oldest Sefer Torahs
         [Robert Light]
Sending Away the Mother Bird (2)
         [Morris Podolak, Ari Z. Zivotofsky]
Stealing Land in Erez Yisrael
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 01:56:29 -0500
Subject: Re: B'racha on Procreation

       Far be it from me to downplay the importance of procreation in
the marriage framework. Clearly, Judaism both through the medium of
Halakha and social pressure make this point. But, I somehow feel that we
often lose sight of the other dimensions ( ahava, achva, shalom, vereut
etc.). I deeply believe that the Jewish attitude toward marriage is a
healthy and surprisingly modern approach.  We reject Catholicism's
view that celibacy is the ideal-that marriage is a sanctified concession
to the Yetzer ha-Ra. At the same, time we reject the hedonistic view
that sex and pleasure are the ultimate criteria on which a relationship
should be based. For Judaism, marriage is the mechanism for procreation
and sexual pleasure - sex is sanctified not only because of Pru u-Revu
(procreation), but also because of Mitzvat Onah (a husbands obligation
to sexually satisfy his wife - quantity and quality).  And then there
are the elements of companionship, building for the future of Klal
Yisrael, building ourselves etc. etc.  Taharat ha-Mishpacha teaches us
that  while sex & physical contact are important - they are not the only
means of communication. A women is not a sex object and has an identity
independent of sex. She has the right, nay the obligation, to regain her
privacy and self-identity. The same goes for men. Hence, Judaism uses
various mechanism to make sex per se' importantant, yet sanctified,
directed, non-abusive.
    (The above is the ideal and assumes mature communicative individuals
with a healthy relationship. Real-life people are sometimes far from the
       I will concede to Daniel that there is a "hint" to procreation in
"ve-hitkin me-menu binyan adei ad". But clearly the other dimensions are
explicit and repeated over and over again. Maybe Daniel is right, the
importance of Procreation is so obvious that Hazal wanted to make sure
that we don't lose site of the other Dimensions and hence emphasize
      Daniel, the fact that Yihud is central to the marriage ceremony,
is not because the "theoretically possible" sex relations will lead to
procreation. On the contrary, Hazal were of the view that in the
case of a virgin, the first sex relations cannot lead to conception;
rather because, sex per se' is THE acknowleged central element of
marriage and hence without it or its potential the wedding is not
      I think I've made my point ad nauseum  and would like to thank
Daniel Siegel for sparring without flames in a truly admirable fashion,
worthy of a machlokot le-Shem Shamayim, disputes for the sake of Heaven.
I'd also like to publically acknowledge the outstanding role played by
Avi in moderating this discussion group. For many like myself,
mail-Jewish is one my true pleasures - and you get Mitzva points to


From: Moshe Levy <molevy@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 13:24:52 -0500
Subject: Einstein Shabbaton

Einstein Shabbaton will take place on Mar. 12-13.  Price is $50. All
reservations must be made by Mar 1st.  To make reservations call mo at
718-828-8228 or Ellen at 718-409-1715  or for more info email


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 21:09:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Lefties

        The Steipler's son, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, wrote a "Kuntres Ish
Iter" in which he discusse the halachos relevant to lefties, bringing
down several hundred halachos. I will be happy to look in my copy to see
if any question MJ readers might have is discussed (within reason of
course). One of my favorite tidbits is that there is no source which
discusses which arm a lefty should be nofel apayim on by the Tachanun of
Mincha (I, a lefty, do so on my right arm)!


From: Sara Svetitsky <FNBENJ@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 07:43:46 -0500
Subject: Lice

Here is the answer I have heard from many sources as to why when "we"
were kids (roughly speaking post World-War II) lice were things we only
heard horror stories about, but now they seem to be endemic. In the
40's, 50's, and most of the 60's DDT (and other smiliar pesticides) were
in widespread use.  By the 70's they were out.  The 40`s-50's- 60's were
a short-lived aberration in the long and disgusting history of man (and
woman and child) and louse.

A kindergarten teacher here in Rehovot told me, when the school was
under heavy louse attack, that she sort of missed the days when a big
truck with a spray pump mounted on it would come by twice a year and
soak the playground down with DDT. So now I don't complain about lice
too loudly--I'd rather comb a lot of hair than have the city send that
truck around again........

Sara Svetitsky


From: <robertlight@...> (Robert Light)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 00:55:40 -0500
Subject: Oldest Sefer Torahs

I am carrying on a debate with a friend of mine about how we can justify
the view of "Torah mi-Sinai".  I have used all the standard "logical"
arguments about 600,000 men witnessing revelation at Sinai.  That they
would not "lie" to their children etc... That each generation swore to
transmit the Torah to the next generation - unabridged and with nothing

All those arguments appeal to the rational, logical intellect.  The
"Book of J" did a number on his "emunah" and called into question
whether the Torah as we have it today is the same as it was 3200 years

I have heard that their are (at least fragments of) very old Sefer
Torahs from as early as Joshua's era or slightly later.  Has anyone
heard of this?  If so, where are they?  I assume that if they exist they
are verbatim what we have today (or else the Jewish community would be
indeed shaken to the core).

Have there been any rebuttles to the "Book of J" from the academic
community (note that I use the word -academic-) with respect to whatever
scientific/historical/linguistic techniques the authors used?

I am looking for whatever logical/rational arguments (based as much on
independent/archeological facts) as exist to bring my friend to a proper
view of the Torah and our heritage.

I am sure that there are people on this email list who can aid in my
quest for those archeological/historical facts & arguments.  Any help
would be much appreciated.




From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 93 10:43:47 EET
Subject: Re: Sending Away the Mother Bird

Ben writes:

> Morris, you wrote:
>  ....  If, however, the mother bird is sent away at the time
> the eggs are taken, there is absolutely nothing wrong.  The question is
> do we have to go looking for an opportunity to do this mitzvah.
> ------------
> What mitzvah?  If I take up stamp collecting, there is absolutely
> nothing wrong either -- does that make it a mitzvah?

Stamp collecting is not counted by the RAMBAM or the "Sefer Hachinnuch"
as a separate mitzvah, sending away the mother bird is.

>  ....  The ARI,
> a 16th century kabbalist, explained that every one of the 248 parts of
> the body corresponds to a different positive commandment.  The doing of
> a positive commandment somehow affects completeness of the person doing
> it. It is therefore important not to neglect any positive commandment.
> This is probably the reason so many people go out of their way to do tis
> mitzvah.  Morris
> ------------
> Exactly the same reasoning would apply to stealing something in order
> to return it.
>                   Ben

No. In stealing you first have to violate a negative commandment, then you
can turn around and return the stolen item.  Here you send the mother bird
away first (in the proper performance of the mitzvah), so you never violate
anything.  I must confess my ignorance here and admit that I don't remember.
Is returning a stolen item counted as a separate mitzvah by the RAMBAM?
One other point.  Giving a divorce is also a positive mitzvah.  According
to the ARI, it would seem that I should go out of my way to keep this 
mitzvah too.  Obviously there are some limits on this idea, but I'm afraid
I don't know what they are.  I do know that Rabbi Eisenstein in his Otzar
Ha Dinim Uminhagim cites the ARI as the reason why some people make a 
point of doing this mitzvah.

From: <azz@...> (Ari Z. Zivotofsky)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 12:12:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Sending Away the Mother Bird

Now that the discussion on this topic is winding down, I thought some
people might be interested to know that there is a book which contains
everything one ever wanted to know on the subject, both halachically and
practically.  It is called "Sefer Kan Tzippur" and is written by Dan
Schwartz.  His number as of publication (1980) was 02-284-282 in
Yerushalayim.  It is under a 100 pages and is complete with pictures of
various birds and stories of how well known ersonalities have strived
and paid for the oppurtunity to fulfill this mitzvah.



From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 93 05:54:25 -0500
Subject: Stealing Land in Erez Yisrael

>From: Shaul Wallach <F66204@...>

>I would nevertheless like to see a discussion of it from a strictly
>halachic point of view.


End of Volume 6 Issue 39