Volume 6 Number 95

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Conquest of land for Israel
         [Yaneev Benno]
Holocaust Memorial Day
         [Howie Pielet]
Non-Jewish guests at YomTov meals (including Sedarim)
         [Bruce Krulwich]
Non-Jews at the Seder (3)
         [Aryeh Frimer, Isaac Balbin, Anthony Fiorino]
Seminar Series on Mathematical Series and the Torah
         [Shlomo Kalish]
Seudat Acharon Shel Pesach
         [Lenny Oppenheimer]
Underlying reasons for Takanot
         [Hayim Hendeles]


From: <yb5963@...> (Yaneev Benno)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 93 20:43:04 -0400
Subject: Re: Conquest of land for Israel

I had to do an NCSY session recently, so I did some research on this
topic, and found out the following. As to the question of whether or not
it is halachically ok to conquer land, one must first decide whether or
not they consider it a mitzvah to live in the land of Israel. The
Rambam, zatzal, omits this from his rendition of the 613 mitzvot, as
does the Megillat Esther. The Ramban, zatzal, "corrects" him by adding
it to _his_ rendition of the 613 mitzvot. If you hold that it is a
mitzvah to live in the land of Israel, then the concept of milchemet
mitzvah applies. If you hold that living in Israel is _NOT_ one of the
613 mitzvot, then the concept of milchemet mitzvah does not apply. If
milchemet mitzvah does apply, then it would be considered mutar
[permissible] to conquer land for Israel. Once this is done, however,
the land becomes Kodesh [holy] and therefore can not be returned (i.e.
in a "land-for- peace" campaign). If milchemet mitzvah does not apply,
then there it is not necessarily mutar to conquer the land.

--Yaneev Benno
--State University of New York at Albany


From: <pielet@...> (Howie Pielet)
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 09:03:36 CST
Subject: Holocaust Memorial Day


What is the halachik status of Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Memorial Day)?
Who named and established it?  What is the appropriate observance?  It
is marked on the OU pocket calendar.

How should the Shoah be included in Tish'a B'av?  

Howie Pielet   Internet: <pielet@...>  (East Chicago, Indiana, USA)


From: <krulwich@...> (Bruce Krulwich)
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 93 13:53:47 -0400
Subject: Non-Jewish guests at YomTov meals (including Sedarim)

Below are the sources for the prohibition of having a non-Jewish guest
at any meal on YomTov, as I found and typed in a few years ago.  I know
of people who b'shas ha'dchak [time of need] get around the prohibition
by technically (halachically) having the guest help out before or after
the meal, and thus be there not as a guest but as an employee (which
obviates the prohibition), but I don't know the scope of this loophole.

Basically, the reason for the prohibition is that cooking is prohibited on
Shabbos, and is only permitted on Yom Tov for the needs of a Jew for the

Torah: Shmos 12:16: "Only the needs for feeding all souls may you do for

Talmud: Beiah ("Beitza") 21b:

	Rabbi Akiva said, the Torah says "for yourselves" -- this means for 
	yourselves and not for non-Jews
	Rabbi Yehoshuah ben Levi said, you may invite a non-Jew on Shabbos
	but you may not invite a non-Jew on the Yom Tov

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 98:36:

	It is prohibited to cook or bake for a non-Jew, except that someone
	with a non-Jewish servant may add food to a pot...

	if a Jew cooked food for himself/herself, it is prohibited to invite
	a non-Jew to eat with him...

Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim (Mishna Berurah) 512:10,11,12 use roughly the same
language as the Kitzur.

Hope this helps.

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich


From: Aryeh Frimer <F66235@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 93 02:46:05 -0400
Subject: Non-Jews at the Seder

    Regarding non-Jews at the Seder: two serious halachic problems are
bishul (cooking for a non-Jew on Yom-Tov) and Stam Yeynam (the
prohibition of drinking wine from an open bottle poured or otherwise
moved by a non-Jew as a safeguard against ultimate intermarriage).
Regarding the former, it is forbidden to cook on Yom-Tov for a non-Jew;
one cannot even just cook MORE for a non-Jew.  "Tzorech ochel nefesh"
(the permission to cook on Holidays) is only for Jews. Hence all
preparations must be made before Yom Tov begins. This is not completely
trivial when the non-Jew is invited to a second seder (in the Galut =
Diaspora). I advise those concerned with this problem to consult Shmirat
Shabbat Kehilchato (available in English - without scholarly footnotes
and references, which I think intimates something) for the relavent
Halachic parameters and details.
    The second problem, stam yeynam, can be solved either by having one
pour wine for all, use mevushal (boiled or as discussed previously, even
pasturized) wine, or give each their own bottle.
    Shfoch Hamatcha is always a sensitive issue - but since the text
says "asher lo yedaucha" (those who don't know you), and because it is
G-d who is taking the retribution, and since we're the post-Holocaust
generation - I think this problem too can be sensitively side-stepped or
tackled as you see proper.

From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balbin)
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 93 23:38:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Non-Jews at the Seder

The first issue that comes to mind, and this has nought to do with the
seder per se, is that of cooking on Yom Tov for a gentile whom you have
invited.  You can find this halacha in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim, Taf
Kuf Yud Beis, based on a Gemora in Beitza, 21a. I haven't a library
here, but I am quite sure that is right. In summary, you should prepare
a shabbos like meal for the seder---that is no outright cooking. Things
can remain warm as per shabbos.  It is easier for the first Seder since
most preparations take place on a week day (usually).

The second issue is that of your wine. You will need to ensure that you
use Yayin Mevushal (Cooked Wine) according to those who support this
heter (permission).

The third issue is that you should tell them not to bring you a present
since you cannot be Koine (acquire) it on Yom Tov.

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 93 18:53:46 -0400
Subject: Non-Jews at the Seder

It seems like the issues to be considered are the following:

1.  If the seder is one in which peple take turns reading sections of the
hagadah aloud, then the point must be made that a jew cannot be yotzei
with a non-jew's hagadah reading.  Thus, one would want to read
along to make sure that one is in fact yotzei.

2.  I believe that one is only permitted to cook food on yontif for jews.

3.  Watch out for non-mevushal wines (those big jugs of malaga are not

Philosophically, the idea of yetziat mitzrayim is one of triumph of jews
over non-jewish oppressors; perhaps this is not the most appropriate yom
tov for non-jews.  On the other hand, sukot has a much more pluralistic
nature (the 70 korbanot corresponding to the 70 nations, etc.) and thus
better suited for non-Jewish guests.  For the purposes of education,
however, maybe things are different.  I attended sedarim for 2 years
before I was Jewish.

Eitan Fiorino


From: Shlomo Kalish <T76@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 06:38:02 -0400
Subject: Seminar Series on Mathematical Series and the Torah

We are conducting a special seminar series on topics of mathematical
series and the Torah.  It is intended for people with good academic
background in mathematics.  It will be conducted on Tuesdays, 14:00,
starting on APril 20th.  Those interested please contact me for further

Shlomo Kalish


From: <leo@...> (Lenny Oppenheimer)
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 11:17:55 -0400
Subject: Seudat Acharon Shel Pesach

> At the seuda, Rav Lichtenstein, who was also there for yontif, mentioned
> that there are some who hold that it is a mitzvah to eat matzah
> throughout pesach; thus, this meal is the last opportunity to fulfill
> this mitzvah.

This reason, given by Rav Lichtenstein, is usually attributed to the
Vilna Gaon.  A few statements of this sort have been attributed to him.

On his deathbed, for instance, he was seen to be crying.  When his
students asked him why he, of all people, was troubled by the prospect
of facing his Creator, he responded, "In this world I can keep the
commandment of Tzitzis, where I earn merit for every second of simply
wearing a garment.  In the world to come, there is no opportunity any
longer to observe the commandments."

Ayway, it is ironic that the Hassidim and Litvaks have their differing
interpretations of the same custom, in accordance with their differing
emphases on Jewish thought.

Lenny Oppenheimer


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 09:19:07 -0700
Subject: Underlying reasons for Takanot

Several issues ago, someone cited a supposed statement from Rabbi
Soloveitchik zt"l that in cases where the Sages instituted a decree for
a certain reason, and now (due to changes in our society, and the way we
live), these decrees will actually have an adverse effect, then
(supposedly) the decree becomes nullified automatically. (I emphasize
the word supposedly, because if my memory serves correctly, this was all
based on hearsay.)

The example cited was shaving on Chol Hamoed. Since the Sages banned
shaving on Chol Hamoed in order that a person would have to shave before
Yom Tov so that he should appear presentable on the Holiday, then in our
society where we shave every day, and even if we did shave before Yom
Tov, would still shave 2-3 days later, then the decree is (supposedly)
automatically nullified.

Assuming Rabbi Soloveitchik really said this, does anyone know his
source for this halacha? It is certainly a novel idea, and although
quite plausible, I would expect something this radical would require
several proofs, rather than a flat assertion.

Hayim Hendeles


End of Volume 6 Issue 95