Volume 61 Number 61 
      Produced: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 11:48:31 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"disciplinary aliyot" 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
Chanukah Candle Conundrum 
    [Yisrael Medad]
    [Lawrence Israel]
Do not Show Them Favour  
    [Barak Greenfield]
Mechitzah (2)
    [Joseph Kaplan  Michael Rogovin]


From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 9,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: "disciplinary aliyot"

I wonder if there are more examples of "disciplinary aliyot".

We often have a chareidi fellow who visits our community and our minyan every so
often. It's known that he takes his bathroom break during the tefillah for the 
medinah, IDF and MIA's.  

I, admittedly devilishly and playfully, give him hagbah so that during these
tfillot he sits holding the sefer torah. . . . 

Happy chanuka to all . . . . 

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 16,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Chanukah Candle Conundrum

The Halacha is that the commandment to light the Chanukah candle is
fulfilled the moment it is lit and that if it is extinguished, one need not
relight ('kavta, lo zakuk la', that is, 'once extinguished, he needs it
not', see Shabbat 21B; Rambam, Chanukah 4:5; OH 672:2, 673:2).

However, what is the Halacha if he had set up the candle with not enough
oil or an inadequate wax candle, such that the minimum time elapse of 30
minutes would not be fulfilled?

My study group couldn't come up with an answer last night.

Yisrael Medad


From: Lawrence Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 11,2012 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Conversion

In yesterday's daf yomi we were learning about accidental or negligent violations 
of the Sabbath. One of the possibilities was someone who did not know about the 
Sabbath. The question was raised as to how that could be, and one possibility 
given was that he was a convert who converted among the gentiles. Does that mean 
that a non-Jewish court could convert a non-Jew to a Jew? It seems to me that the 
rabbinical leadership today is a bit stricter.


From: Barak Greenfield <docbjg@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 9,2012 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Do not Show Them Favour 

Frank Silbermann wrote (MJ vol 61 number 51):
> I heard of a talumudic discussion arguing that a Jew who gives tzedakah in the
> hope that a person will be healed is considered righteous because he would not
> consider the money wasted even if a healing does not occur, whereas a gentile
> who gives tzedakah is considered a sinner because he gives _only_ for the sake
> of a benefit. I wonder how we should relate this concept to the view that we
> should not give gifts to a gentile -- even if he's not an idol-worshipper --
> unless we as individuals or the Jewish people in general receive a benefit.

Perhaps that concept doesn't apply to gifts to a nochri. Or perhaps the 
definition of "benefit" is not the same in the two areas.

Chana Luntz wrote (MJ vol 61 number 51):
> It is not at all clear what the Shulchan Aruch held regarding (c), because
> those who argue for (c) argue that the Shulchan Aruch (in the form of the
> Kesef Mishna) understands an entire nation which renounces idol worship as
> being in the category of gerei toshav, and that the halachic requirement for
> the kabala before beis din (which was discontinued with the Yovel) is only
> needed for the requirement to support such people, not for their status when
> taken on as a whole nation.

Indeed there are those who hold that, but the Shulchan Aruch isn't one of them. 
In the Beis Yosef 249 he explicitly states that it applies to Yishmaelim. The 
Kesef Mishna which you refer to is his explanation of what he thinks the 
Rambam's position might be.

>I don't know about you, but I can't think of any anonymous gifts I have
>given to anybody (let's talk about Jews for a moment) that would not fall
>within darchei shalom or being acquainted with the person.  Remember we are
>not talking about gifts to tzedaka

Tzedaka is mutar only because of darchei shalom, which means that it can't be 
anonymous, or at least it can't be obvious that a Jew is giving the gift. There 
is a teshuva in Igros Moshe which I can't locate right now that permits giving 
to organizations that benefit our society. So I suppose an anonymous charitable 
donation to another country could be a problem. In any case, we're analyzing the 
halacha itself, not how commonly the issur arises. Further, that's only one of 
the three prohibitions of lo sechoneim, and indeed:

>Once you
>take such a narrow understanding, that leaves a large area that is not
>covered for people to be "lax" in and for Rav Neustadt to observe people
>being lax in.

Rav Neustadt's observation of general laxity with regard to this halacha 
referred specifically to the "chen" (no praise) aspect, not the free gifts 
aspect, which is where you're having trouble finding practical examples. Laxity 
in the praise area is clearly quite commonplace.

> Have you ever read Moreh Nevuchim?

Where in Moreh Nevuchim does the Rambam praise Aristotle personally? And in any 
case, what is your point? The Rambam clearly wouldn't have considered Aristotle 
to have the status of a ger toshav, i.e. being part of a nation that had 
rejected paganism, the way the Kesef Mishnah explains the Yad. So what are you 
implying? That the Rambam didn't hold from the issur of lo sechoneim?

> ...if you hold by Rabbi Neustadt's understanding of lo
>sechoneim, then you are perforce against the heter mechira...
>The fact that Rabbi Neustadt's understanding of lo
>sechoneim pushes anybody who supports the heter mechira...
>I included the term "Torah only" in quotation marks, to show I am referring
>to the hashkafic [philosophical] position that holds itself up as against
>the "Torah im derech eretz" or "Torah u'madda" hashkafic position and
>therefore likes to call itself "Torah only".  Rabbi Neustadt is clearly
>operating out of a particular hashkafic position...

I can't tell whether you are arguing for the appropriateness of interjecting 
one's hashkafa in psak or whether you think Rav Neustadt is doing 
so inappropriately. Either way, I think that reasonable people can discuss a 
particular halachic issue without resorting to ad hominem attacks. "He's 
chareidi/a 'daas-torah-nik' so perforce he's anti-heter mechira so that's why 
he's machmir on lo sechaneim" is unworthy, not to mention logically very far-
fetched. Besides, what do Torah im derech eretz and torah umada have to do with 
lo sechoneim? It seems that you're just throwing out the names of hashkafos that 
could be viewed as more on the "left" to oppose Rav Neustadt's "right", but 
obviously these are completely unrelated to the discussion at hand. Whether I 
should learn from the Gentile world (or to what extent, or in what context, 
etc.) has nothing to do with whether I can give them free gifts, or give them 
land in Eretz Yisroel, or adulate them.

>Most people are aware of this use of labels to easily encapsulate these
>various positions - however your statement appears to suggest that this
>terminology is unfamiliar to you

What's unfamiliar to me is someone defending the use of labels to paint someone 
with a broad brush. Most people shy away from the use of labels because they 
tend to oversimplify the argument. Again, this is what you've done to the nth 
degree: you've lumped the whole word into Zionist/Hirsch/heter mechirah/Torah 
Umaddah/meikel on lo sechoneim on the one hand, and Chareidi/machmir on lo 
sechonem/daas torah/anti-heter mechirah on the other. I doubt that most people 
would consider that a valid argument.

There is another issue which I find a bit odd. In the past few posts you have 
used terms such as the following:

"Now some of you might have heard of the heter mechira..."
"...however your statement appears to suggest that this terminology is 
unfamiliar to you, so let me rephrase...Clearer now?"
"But if it confuses you too much...Is that clearer?"

I think the tone is rather condescending. Not that I really care one way or the 
other personally, and not that I would consciously permit the tone to color my 
view of the argument or the one who proffers it.



From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 8,2012 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Mechitzah

Orin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 61/60) about a shul's change of its mechitzah:
> Another local synagogue caved in several years ago.

My guess is that the women of that shul, and probably some or many of the men,
would phrase that: "our shul took the women's concerns and feelings seriously
and were glad to do what we could within halachic parameters to meet their needs."


From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 10,2012 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Mechitzah

Orrin Tilevitz writes in 61#60:
>    BTW, I can testify the notion of a mechitza is still under attack in
>    some quarters. For example, in the shul I'm involved with in Manhattan's
>    upper west side, the ezrat nashim has always been the balcony, and
>    we are under periodic pressure, going back at least 20 years, to have
>    the women come downstairs and sit behind a minimal mechitza. Acoustics
>    and seeing the action are not at all the issue; women upstairs in front
>    can see and hear better than men in the back downstairs.

Perhaps then the issue is not mechitza under attack (did they ask for NO
mechitza? Mixed seating?) but that in a balcony, however traditional,
they felt separated and apart from the service. Some very modern women like
the balcony for the very reasons given -- ease of seeing and hearing -- but
others find it makes them feel like spectators rather than participants in
communal prayer and Torah reading. The reason they may have asked for a
minimal mechitza was that they accepted or even wanted a physical barrier
to prevent socializing during davening, but wanted to maximize their sense
of being part of the kehilla and to see and hear well. That is, they wanted
all three.

Orrin may not like that idea, as he is free to like what he wants. But I
strongly object to characterizing that as an "attack" on mechitza.

Michael Rogovin


End of Volume 61 Issue 61