Volume 6 Number 64

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Baal Teshuva Kohen and Divorcee
         [Rivkah Lambert]
Brit Milah
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Camp Info - Camp Nevei Ashdod
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
Converts (Gerim)
         [Riva Katz]
Kohanim, etc.
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Old fragments of Torah
         [Benjamin Svetitsky]
Torah found by Hezekiah
         [Hillel Markowitz]


From: <LAMBERT@...> (Rivkah Lambert)
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1993 23:07:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Baal Teshuva Kohen and Divorcee

Does anyone know what the precedent is for a Kohen who marries a woman
forbidden to him (i.e. a divorcee) first and then becomes religious?
I understand the marriage would be forbidden before the fact, but what
if the couple is already together and has children before taking on the
yoke of mitzvot?  

Are there other examples of cases where teshuva caused difficult decisions
regarding decisions the baal teshuva made before teshuva?



From: <Joseph_Greenberg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 93 22:22:18 -0500
Subject: Brit Milah

Regarding attendance at a Brit, it is my understanding that part of the
mitzvah associated with attending a Brit belongs under the category of
Bikur Holim, in terms of the illness associated with the Milah itself - cf.
the Malachim (angels) visiting Avraham after his own Brit where there
(ostensibly) to be Mevaker the Holeh.


From: <steinbrg@...> (Yehoshua Steinberg)
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 20:03:43 -0500
Subject: Camp Info - Camp Nevei Ashdod

	Camp Nevei Ashdod

The original touring camp in Israel for frum girls 10 - 17.
Now in its 9th year of touring, camping, learning and fun.
Meet girls from all over the world. Under direct supervision 
of renowned educator, Rabbi Meyer Fendel.

In U.S. call:
	NY: 718/972-3347
	    718/261-4322 (phone/fax)
	    141-24 71st Rd.
	    Flushing, NY 11367
	NJ: 201/778-6386
	MD: 301/587-2808
	GA: 404/321-2749
	IL: 312/465-5559
	CA: 310/788-0626
	MO: 314/721-8155

In Europe:
	Belgium: 0032-3-239-5719
	UK     : 0044-81-455-3681

In Israel:
	02/518-517 (phone)
	02/527-353 (fax)


From: <RKATZ@...> (Riva Katz)
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 93 22:22:38 -0500
Subject: Converts (Gerim)

Rabbi Leff taught us in seminary about the halachot of gerim. I think
there is a tape put out by Aish HaTorah with Rabbi Leff- check it out.
The Rambam also has a whole section on halavchot gerut.  The following
exerpts are from my notes with Rabbi Leff.  Avram had such a connection
with God tha he was considered the father of all the goyim (I use this
as an abbreviation for non-Jew). That is why gerim take on Avram or Sara
as their parents' names.  In Midrash if someone converts, he already had
the potential to become a Jew- it didn't happen out of nowhere.  The
goyim who were at Har Sinai (Mount Sinai)and said "yes" to the Torah,
are the neshamot (souls) that converted today. The Jews who said "no" to
the Torah at Har Sinai are the ones who are intermarrying today.

Gerim are "difficult" to the Jews because theyt are so mahmir (strict)
with the halachot that they make the Jews look bad- that's why they have
a bad reputation.

There are 36 places in the Torah where it says to be careful not to hurt
a ger.  In fact, they are the only people (except God) who you have to
LOVE. (Parents-honor, respect).  (Neviim(prophets)-listen to).

The Vilna Gaon said that a Jew has no right to demand reward for the
mitzvot he/she does because we already "owe" Hashem. A ger, however,
does have the right to ask for a reward.  That is why Ruth is rewarded
with the decent of King David and eventually Moshiach.

The neshamot of Jews are different from that of nonJews which leads to
differences in our bodies.  Purim is a celebration of bodies and how
they got mixed up (Haman/Mordechai, Esther/Vashti, etc.) (clothes,
drinking, etc.)

A ger is considered a newborn spiritually and physically. In theory he
could marry his mother (if she converts). Later rabbanim forbid this,

A ger is still required to give kavod (honor) to his/her parents. A gera
gerah (female) can still become close (yichud-wise) with her biological
father. The halacha goes by biology.

A ger CAN sit shiv and say kaddish for his/ her father.

There are four parts in the transformation for a conversion:
1-Kabbalat haMitzvo-accepting the 613 mitzvot.
3-Korbanot-bringing of a sacrifice
4-Brit-for men

These must all be done in front of a "good" beit din (religious court)

This brings up a question at Har Sinai, where they didn't go through
all these stages.  At Har Sinai, there was a forced conversion (I don't
remember why this excludes the requirements).  The other answer is that
we were all bnai Avram so it wasn't a total conversion because Avram was
already "converted".

It is lashpn hara to say that someone is a ger or a bt even if you don't
meant it in a bad way (Chafetz Chaiim)

Riva Katz    <rkatz@...>


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 93 22:22:49 -0500
Subject: Kohanim, etc.

Barry H. Rodin asked:

> In a previous issue it was stated:
> "Of course if you're a kohen you can't marry a convert".
> What is the reason for this? Does it also apply if a person was converted
> as a child and raised jewish?

Leviticus 21:7 limits a kohein to marrying one who has never had sexual
relations; the gemara in yevamot (61a) specifies who this is, and converts
are included in the group of forbidden marriages for a kohein.

The Rambam in issurei biah 18:5 says a kohein cannot marry a zonah --
anyone not born a Jew, or a native Jew who was involved in a
prohibited union.  The assumption is made that a non-Jewish woman would
have had sexual relations before her conversion; the prohibition was
blanketed to include converts regardless of the age of conversion.

Gedaliah Friedenberg asked:

> When the gentile father of the Jewish child dies, is there any formal
> mourning on the part of the child?  I am pretty sure that there is no
> type of shiva (morning period) or kaddish recited.  Assuming that the
> father will have a funeral in a gentile cemetary, can the observant
> Jewish child attend?  (We know that the child cannot be a Kohen, so
> there is no apparent problem going into a cemetary)

> What are the ramification of this situation?  What halachos (if any) of
> "normal" mourning apply the the child.

In yechave daat #60, Rav Ovadia Yosef permits (and endorses) a convert to say
kadish for his or her parents.

In terms of entering a cemetary, I'm not sure what the issur would be. 
One could also construct an argument that in such a case, one could
perhaps be meikil [lenient] on the prohibition of entering a church
because of kibud eim [honor of one's mother] or darkei shalom [peaceful
ways].  This would apply if non-attendence at the funeral services would
cause havoc.  I'm sure that these issues have been dealt with extensively
by contemporary poskim; one would need to consult a Rav in a specific

Finally, regarding the issur of lesbianism:

My understanding is that female homosexuality is forbidden under the
rubric of Leviticus 18:3 -- that one should not follow in the practices of
Egypt or Canaan.  Rambam issurei biah 21:8; shulchan aruch, even haezer 20:2.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Benjamin Svetitsky <FNBENJ@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 93 13:17:55 -0500
Subject: Old fragments of Torah

The amulet of which Mike Gerver wrote, which contains Birkat Kohanim and
dates to the First Temple period, is on exhibit in the Israel Museum
in Jerusalem.

Ben Svetitsky


From: <hem@...> (Hillel Markowitz)
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 93 13:18:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Torah found by Hezekiah

>From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)

>Perhaps the correct answer is the one suggested, that the lack of
>knowledge of Torah was only within the king's family, and that Bnai
>Yisroel as a whole hadn't lost the knowledge.  But does that jibe with
>the way the incident is reported in Melachim?

There are meforshim who state that this was the original torah of Moshe
and it was rolled to the tochacha.  THus even though the laws would be
known and sifrei torah exist, finding this rolled to the curses would
have an extra impact that would cause the reaction.

It is as if one knew of a tragedy in the family history (including even
the details) but suddenly found a letter written by his grandfather
describing the situation as it was occurring.

| Hillel Markowitz    |     Im ain ani li mi li    |
| <H_Markowitz@...> | Veahavta Leraiecha Kamocha |


End of Volume 6 Issue 64