Volume 60 Number 06 
      Produced: Mon, 02 May 2011 17:29:07 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A  query on sedra Kedoshim 
    [Martin Stern]
A conversion criterion 
    [Joshua W. Burton]
Haftarah for Acharei Mot 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Jewish question 
    [Ari Averbach]
Mohel driving to brit on Shabbat (3)
    [Carl Singer  Sammy Finkelman  Sammy Finkelman]
The Katzav case (4)
    [Leah S.R. Gordon  Joseph Kaplan  Ephraim Tabory  Jeanette  Friedman]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, May 1,2011 at 05:01 AM
Subject: A  query on sedra Kedoshim

Every year I find the the position of the last verse of sedra Kedoshim (Lev.
20,27) puzzling. It seems to have no connection with the previous ones that
comprise shevi'i, which form a natural conclusion to the whole sedra. If it had
been separated from them as single-verse parashah, either open or
closed, the problem would be less but still there. It sounds as if it is out
of place, and is really an afterthought that should have been included
earlier, possibly towards the end of shlishi.

I have seen R, S.R. Hirsch's comments but these do not seem to answer the
problem and wonder if anyone can provide an explanation for this, to me,
strange order of verses.

Martin Stern


From: Joshua W. Burton <joshua@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 15,2011 at 10:01 AM
Subject: A conversion criterion

Susan Kane <suekane@...> writes (MJ 60#03):

> Shabbat, kashrut, and taharat hamishpacha are not the only mitzvot
> in the Torah nor are they the defining lines between real Jews and
> everyone else.

Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...> replies (MJ 60#05):

> And the REAL defining lines are...?    You've waved away THE most
> defining mitzvos historically, right up to this day.

I understood Ms. Kane to be alluding specifically to the Big Three:
lashon ha-ra, sin'at hinam, and tzedaka.



From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 15,2011 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Haftarah for Acharei Mot

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 60#05):

> Since next Shabbat is Shabbat Hagadol, we read the special haftarah but
> Ashkenazim read the regular one for Acharei Mot on Shabbat Kedoshim in order
> not to miss it out. We also do the same when the the two sedras are joined,
> which is unusual since normally the haftarah of the second sedra is said.
> So it seems we are particular to read it every year without fail which
> seems to indicate that it carries a particularly important message.
[Mod.'s note: the haftarah under discussion apparently is "halo chivnei 
chushiyim", Amos 9:7ff.]

Ashkenazim, in general, use the bnei-kushim haftara as often as possible: 
when Aharei & Kedoshim are together; and in leap years when one of them is 
a special haftara: rosh hodesh, erev rosh hodesh or hagadol. Rarely, however,
both of them need a regular haftara (only when Pesah is on a Sunday in a leap 
year). Then bnei-kushim is read for Aharei, and hatishpot is read for 
Kedoshim, even though it seems that it should be the opposite.

However, the Sefaradi minhag does not have the bnei-kushim haftara at all. For
aharei it has hatishpot, for kedoshim or when together - halidrosh.

The Yemenite minhag (Baladi) does not have a special haftara for shabbat
hagadol. So it seems also from some rishonim.

In the minhag Gra [acronym for Gaon R'Eliyahu, a/k/a/ the Vilna Gaon --Mod.],
some say the special haftara for shabbat hagadol only when erev pesah is
shabbat, and some say that only when it is not shabbat.

IMHO, the hagadol haftara pushed over the regular year - sav - haftara, because
it is a rebuke to Israel. Instead, the ending of the navi - sending of Eliya 
on the great day, sounds better.


From: Ari Averbach <ari.averbach@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 21,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Jewish question

I came across a website where Avi Feldblum, commented on saying "Baruch Hu
U'Varush Shmo" with the following paragraph:

> I do not think that the Rav's psak is related to the Gaon's psak on this
> issue. The problem is not that you might not hear the full bracha, but
> that one does not say Baruch Hu uVaruch Shmo to a bracha that one needs to
> be Yotze with. As this is a "Birchat HaTzibur", acc to the Rav, everyone
> needs to be Yotze with it, and as such needs to be standing, with feet
> together and listen to each word, no talking and not be mafsik.

I would love to do further research in this.  Does anyone have any references into
which I can delve?

Ari Averbach


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 14,2011 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Mohel driving to brit on Shabbat

Akiva Miller writes (MJ 60#05):

> Only the brit itself is allowed on Shabbat; if the knife was accidentally left
> elsewhere, and there's no eruv, they are not allowed to bring the knife to the
> baby, and the brit would get delayed automatically. I don't see how your case
> differs. Since there's no mohel in the baby's vicinity on Shabbat, it will have
> to be done later. I must have misunderstood the question.

I don't believe this is correct -- I learned that if necessary the Mohel
could carry a knife and that he would do so openly.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 17,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Mohel driving to brit on Shabbat

Tal S. Benschar <tbenschar@...> wrote (MJ 60#04):

> Most mohalim are very dedicated and will go far out of their way
> to stay somewhere on Shabbos so as to be able to perform a bris.

Shabbos!? What about Friday?

I know of a case over half a dozen years ago where a very famous
mohel, when asked to do a bris on a Friday for a non-religious family,
immediately suggested that it be done on Sunday because he could not
be assured that he would be paid. Obviously, he has no particular
obligation to do the bris and do it on time, and presumably he'd not
been paid in the past or had a hard time getting paid. But where is
the dedication to the mitzvah? There were mohalim who took risks to do
this in Russia.

I think the boy's grandfather took him somewhere when he was over a year old.

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 17,2011 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Mohel driving to brit on Shabbat

Previously, I wrote (MJ 60#05):

> There is a paper by the Conservative movement in the United States
> adopted March 9, 1988 by a vote of 11-2 with 2 abstentions. The thing
> they were getting at was this question of riding to a bris on Shabbos.

The issue with the Conservative movement actually involved the Jew
driving himself, which they permitted people to do to go to a
synagogue on Shabbos.

Having a non-Jew drive someone is something which R. Yosef Dov
Soloveitchik, according to Rabbi Gil Student, said was permitted on
Shabbos but couldn't or shouldn't be done. The issue came up with a
proposal to have bus rides to a synagogue in Florida. It's in the
book Post Along the Way  (page 143) and also originally in a blog

[see argument XII --Mod.]


From: Leah S.R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 14,2011 at 03:01 PM
Subject: The Katzav case

I know very little about the Katzav case.  However, I was singularly
appalled to read David Tzohar's words (MJ 60#05):

"This is beside the question of the authority of a court composed of women,
non-religious Jews and goyim to pass judgement."

I assume you are joking?  What kind of statement is that, otherwise?
Obviously women, non-Jews, etc. are fully informed adults as much as male
frum Jews would be, assuming they hear the evidence in hand etc.  (You also
assert a lack of evidence, and I'm not informed enough to argue that point,
but it is irrelevant to my point.)

Do you not accept the authority of secular courts in general?

It seems clear to me that any rape/sexual-harassment case should include a
good complement of women on the jury in order to ensure a more evenhanded
approach, whichever side an individual may find herself/himself on.

As a side point, for a woman to continue to interact/work with her harasser
is actually the norm.  Most cases, regardless of guilt, never get prosecuted
- and the woman feels [unreasonably] ashamed and stays quiet in order to get
along in the workplace.

--Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 15,2011 at 12:01 AM
Subject: The Katzav case

David Tzohar (MJ 60#05) writes: 

> This is beside the question of the authority of a court composed of women,
> non-religious Jews and goyim to pass judgement.

Are you saying that the DL ["da'ti l'umi," lit. religious Zionist --Mod.] 
leadership rejects the Israeli system of justice which, AFAIK, has judges of this 
nature as a matter of course? I must be misunderstanding something.

Joseph Kaplan

From: Ephraim Tabory <Ephraim.Tabory@...>
Date: Fri, Apr 15,2011 at 08:01 AM
Subject: The Katzav case

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote (MJ 60#05):
> The fact that Rav Tau who is the leader of the Mamlachti (statist) trend of
> the Hesder yeshiva movement was one of the signatories is proof that these
> questions were taken into account.

As much as I personally admire the noted rabbi, the only thing his signature
proves is that he signed the letter. Unless you have other evidence, his
signature in and of itself does not indicate anything that he did not confirm in
the letter. 

From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Apr 28,2011 at 06:01 PM
Subject: The Katzav case

David Tzohar (MJ 60#05) says the decision in the Katzav case was only based on
"he said/she said." 

Well, in cases of rape, there's a lot more going on than "he said/she said,"
including issues of power and the perception of fear that may not be manifest to
other males.

For example, right this very minute, there are three bills in committee at 
the US Congress that add the word "forcible" as a modifier for rape, as if 
rape by itself isn't violent and violating enough. Forcible rape means that 
the only way to prove you are raped is to be shot, stabbed, beaten, suffer 
blunt-force trauma or other life-threatening injuries. So if you were 
drugged, held at knife point and blindfolded, or had a gun to your head, but 
you weren't pistol-whipped or shot, you weren't raped. [Without having read the
bills one cannot argue on this but it seems more likely that the bills do not
say what Jeanette claims but, rather, make a distinction between different
categories of rape - perhaps some contributor with more information can clarify
this point - MOD]
Statistically, older men feel that women who were raped but don't have 
injuries got what they asked for. So be it.  According to these men, and I 
heard it straight from them, including the police officers who responded to 
my neighbors' phone call after I banged on their doors, I got what I 
deserved when the rapist came through my kitchen window and raped me at knife 
point in the middle of the night, in the middle of a snow storm in Flatbush. 
Since I didn't suffer any physical injuries other than the rape, I guess the 
cops were right when they asked me what I did to encourage the rapist who had
climbed through my window. I had a few choice words for those cops, who soon
changed their tune when they found out I was friends with the cops who 
headed security at Brooklyn College and a number of police detectives from the 
local precinct.
But David Tzohar must be correct. It's only about he said/she said.  Except 
that the rapist went to jail in this case. On my say so.
Those same three bills, HR3, HR217 and HR358, that set the clock back to the
1940s and toss women's rights in the trash, also make incest above the age of 18
legal and acceptable between consenting adults. And incest, though a sin in the
Torah and the Xtian bible, is not a sin to them, while abortion, which is not a
sin in the Torah or the Xtian bible, is a sin to them, enough for them to try
an end run around Roe v. Wade. To save the life of the mother, Jewishly, you can
even dismember the baby during delivery ... so don't gimme the Right to Life
stuff. The only things these people care about is the crowning moment. They
won't take care of these babies in utero, and they sure as heck don't take care
of them after they pop out of the oven.

Jeanette  Friedman, EIC
The  Wordsmithy


End of Volume 60 Issue 6