Volume 62 Number 07 
      Produced: Thu, 27 Mar 14 16:21:06 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A non-Jewish practice 
    [Martin Stern]
Haredi rally against enforced conscription (2)
    [Dr. Josh Backon  Bill Bernstein]
Holidays on the same day of the week two years in a row 
    [David Lee Makowsky]
Kosher without a hechsher 
    [Dr. Josh Backon]
Lashon Hara Scenarios 
    [Martin Stern]
Sacrificing donkey 
    [David Ziants]
Tazria / Metsora query 
    [Martin Stern]
The more things change ... 
    [Martin Stern]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 13,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A non-Jewish practice

Isaac Balbin wrote (MJ 62#06):
> Martin Stern (MJ 62#05) needs to use Chukas HoAkum (logically void or
> antithetical practices) rather than non-Jewish.
> As I wrote previously (MJ 62#04), we do NOT pasken (decide) like the Gro.
> If there is a reason, and it's not disrespectful, I would posit a practice
> would be halachically fine.

Perhaps it might not be completely assur [forbidden] but I would doubt that
it "would be halachically fine" which seems to imply its permitted status
lekhatchilah [an initio].

Martin Stern


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 12,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Haredi rally against enforced conscription

Martin Stern (MJ 62#06) mentioned the recent Charedi rallies against the
"enforced conscription" bill just passed by the Israeli Knesset.

Those who wrote the legislation made every mistake in the book. They should
have used halachic sources as well as utilizing the data language used by the
Charedim: rewarding excellence in learning and penalizing mediocrity.

I teach at the Hebrew University Faculty of Medicine and also am the executive
secretary of the AMUTA L'TANACH affiliated with the Department of Education of
the Jewish Agency. The Amuta <www.jewishbible.org> has a program of proficiency
exams in Hebrew and Jewish Studies for American students learning in Israeli
yeshivot. One exam is a 3-4 hour written exam in Advanced Gemara where the
student gets photocopies of dapei gemara with Rishonim [on Sugyot and Messechtot
NEVER learned before) and is asked questions: e.g. how does the RASHBA explain X
? How does the ROSH explain Y, Svara questions, etc). Proficiency exams show
ABILITY in learning new material.

I suggest preparing a 3-4 hour written exam for every 17 year old Charedi male
with the following ramifications:

1) grade of 96-100: permanent exemption from Tzahal plus a monthly financial
stipend [the ILLU'IM]

2) grade of 90-95: 6 year deferment. Two months of every one of the 6 years
(during BEIN HA'ZMANIM when the student

is on vacation) the person must serve in the army. Total time over 6 years: 12

3) grade of 85-89: 4 year deferment, 2 months every year BEIN HA'ZMANIM in army
followed by a 6 month continuous stint in the army. Total time: 14 months
(almost the same length of period that boys in Yeshivot Hesder serve)

4) grade of 80-84: 3 year deferment followed by 12 months in army.  Total time:
18 months

5) grade of 79 and under: immediate drafting into Tzahal.

Military service in Tzahal (IDF) would seem to be a mitzva as per the gemara in
Sotah 44b. The definition of "milchemet mitzva" is to fight defensive wars
against an attacker and to ensure that Israel remains under Jewish rule (see:
Radbaz on Rambam Hilchot Melachim 7:4). See also the Minchat Chinuch (Mitzva
425) who goes into detail on the laws of war.

War is required in what's termed a "Milchemet Mitzva" and is permitted in what's
termed a "Milchemet Reshut".

Even a talmid chacham is obligated to serve (see: Chidushei Chatam Sofer on
the gemara in Bava Batra 7b [appears on 8a d"h menadeh]. He indicates that a
talmid chacham is *not* exempt from an act that prevents danger e.g. guard duty
and I quote: "aval shmira k'derech shemalchut nishmarim . . .  gam talmid
chacham chayav k'd'mocheach Mi'haMordechai (Bava Batra Perek Aleph Siman 475];
SHU'T haRadbaz Chelek Bet Siman 752).

Look at Shmuel haNagid (Abu Ibrahim Shmuel ben Yosef halevi Ibn Nagrela,
993-1056 C.E.), one of the leaders of Spanish Jewry. He was not only a great
talmudic scholar (he wrote the Sefer Hilcheta Gavrata which was a major
influence on the RIF (Rav Yitzchak Alfassi) and the Introduction to the Talmud)
but the prime minister (Vizier) of Granada and commander in chief of the army of
Granada where, as military leader, he won a major battle in 1038 against the
army of Almeria and a major victory in 1039 over the army of Seville.

He wasn't exactly spending all his time learning in a yeshiva :-)

Dr. Josh Backon  (major, ret.)


From: Bill Bernstein <billheddy@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 12,2014 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Haredi rally against enforced conscription

Martin Stern (MJ 62#06) highlights the recent rallies against the proposed draft
of chareidim in Israel, and posits some reasons why their objections are
legitimate. The more I look into the subject, the less sympathy I feel for
chareidim on this matter. 

A while ago I saw a responsum from the Melamed L'Hoil, writing in Germany at the
end of the 19th / beginning of the 20th century, on whether a Jew should try to
avoid conscription into the German army, on the grounds that he will not be able
to keep Schabbes or kashrus etc. I cannot remember all the reasons but he was
fairly emphatic that it was an obligation to serve, that avoiding service would
entail making someone else do it, and that the inability to keep certain mitzvos
was due to "ones", or forced circumstances outside his control.

An argument I have often heard is that exposure to army life will imperil the
religious outlook of chareidim. If that is the case, it does not speak to the
strength of their outlook. Many chareidim already serve in the military, along
with non-chareidi religious Jews. As with college, people looking for a way out
will find it. People looking to stay in, will do so.

The fact that this has been a simmering resentment in Israeli society for some
time itself should suggest the practice needs to end.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 13,2014 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Holidays on the same day of the week two years in a row

Just curious.

I noticed that from Purim through Simchat Torah, all of the holidays in 2014
fall on the same day of the week they fell on in 2013.

How often does that happen two years in a row?

David Makowsky


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 12,2014 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Kosher without a hechsher

Sammy Finkelman (MJ 62 #6): wrote:

> Rabbi Aryeh Klapper discusses what he calls products that are "kosher only
> without a hekhsher":


> But they might be better described as products that would become not kosher
> if someone asks for a hechsher.

> This situation arises, he says, when an ingredient is nullified, as when
> somebody uses Vitamin D derived from shark oil as an additive to milk. If a
> hechsher were asked for, it would be a case of bittul issur lekhatchilah, and
> such bitul is not valid. If there is not any concern for making sales to
> observant Jews, however, then it would considered kosher.

Regarding "ein mevatlin issur d'oraita l'chatchila [it is forbidden
intentionally to nullify prohibited substances - MOD]" [YD 99:5], both the
Meharshal (59:7) and the Taz (s"k 10) indicate that it's only forbidden to
benefit from the bitul if people KNOW about the bitul and agreed to it. The fact
of a kashrut certification is irrelevant here as end users of the product (milk)
have no idea where the fish oil came from. In other words, if the dairy doesn't
list "vitamin D DERIVED FROM SHARK OIL" on the label, there shouldn't be a
problem. It may only be prohibited to those who actually give the kashrut
certification (who know where the fish oil came from).

I see another way to permit its use. The fish oil is used for health purposes.
Non-kosher fish oil [liquid, not just in capsules] is permitted by many poskim
for a "choleh she'ein bo sakana [a sick person not in mortal danger - MOD]"
[Dvar Moshe I 8, Ktav Sofer OC 111, Divrei Chaim II YD 52, Maharash Engel VII
181 and VIII 12, Yabia Omer II YD 12, Minchat Yitzchak 112 s"k 6] or permitted
if the quantity is under a *revi'it* (Ha'Elef Lecha Shlomo YD 202). Last but not
least, fish oil tastes awful (Noten ta'am lifgam) and the stuff added to the
milk may even have been chemically modified.

Josh Backon



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 26,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Lashon Hara Scenarios

The opinions of Rabbi Doniel Neustadt in his Weekly Halacha Discussion have
produced quite heated discussion in the past so I wonder what members of
mail-jewish have to say about his latest topic - Lashon Hara Scenarios
(Tazria 5774)

Question: When being asked for information about a
prospective shidduch, why type of information may be
shared with others?

Discussion: An individual who is asked for (or is aware of[11])
information about a shidduch must divulge what he knows
regarding a major deficiency, as detailed above. One who
deliberately withholds such information transgresses the
prohibition of lifnei iver lo sitein michshol and other Biblical

Detrimental information about a shidduch may be
conveyed only with the proper intention: for the benefit of one of
the parties, not in revenge or out of spite. Even then, the
information may only be relayed when:[13]
 The condition is serious.
 The condition has not been exaggerated.
 There is a reasonable chance that the information will be
accepted and acted upon. If it is likely to be ignored, it is
prohibited to relay it.

One who is unsure if a particular point of information is a
major deficiency or if the above conditions have been met should
consult a rav before divulging or withholding information.

11 Tzitz Eliezer 16:4.

12 Chofetz Chaim, Hilchos Rechilus, Klal 9:1, tziyur 2:3. See also
Pischei Teshuvah, O.C. 156 and Chelkas Yaakov 3:136. See also
Practical Medical Halacha, 3rd edition, pg. 166, quoting an oral
ruling by Rav M. Feinstein that a disability which may impact
negatively on an individuals functioning as a spouse or as a parent
must be revealed.

13 Chofetz Chaim, Hilchos Rechilus, Klal 9:2.


This topic seems to me to be one in which people tend to be terribly machmir
with consequent tragic consequences resulting from the withholding of
relevant information.

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 24,2014 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Sacrificing donkey

It was reported in the Jerusalem Post a few days ago that a "Rabbi and his
student" were arrested for trying to sacrifice a donkey. See:


Does anyone understand how this is halachicly correct (assuming that it is a
real Rabbi)?

I have heard that korbanot on bamot [altars that are not in the bet hamikdash or
mishkan] are permitted for Non-Jews and have heard that that there are B'nei
No'ach [Non-Jews that follow the seven laws of Noach] that follow this practice.
Bamot, were outlawed during the period of the first Bet Mikdash. Also would it
have been permitted to give as a korban a donkey - which is a non kosher animal?

Looking forward to any responses.

David Ziants,
Ma'aleh Adumim


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 27,2014 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Tazria / Metsora query

Every year when we read these parshiyot, the question arises as to why the
parshat hayoledet [woman after childbirth] comes at the beginning of Tazria
(Vay. 12, 1-8) rather than towards the end of Metsora after the various tumot
hayots'ot min haguf [ritual impurities arising from bodily discharges]. In
particular the tum'at hayoledet [ritual impurity of a woman after childbirth] is
described as lasting seven days "like the days of her niddah [menstrual
impurity]" though the whole discussion of niddah is only found much later (Vay.
15, 19-24) after that of male tum'ot - the zav (Vay. 15, 1-15) and one who has a
seminal emission (Vay. 15, 16-18) and preceding that of the zavah [woman with
abnormal discharge] (Vay. 15, 25-30).

There seems to be a further peculiarity in this order where, for males, the
pathological discharge precedes the natural one, whereas, for females, the order
is reversed.

Furthermore,  a purification process is required for a yoledet, similar to that
of the zav and zavah which might be a thematic connection.

Finally,the intervening section (Vay. 13-14) discusses various forms of tsar'at
which seem to be completely unrelated.

It would, therefore, seem more logical for the parshat hayoledet to be placed
after all of these before the general warning to be careful about such tum'ot
(Vay. 15, 31-33).

Can anyone suggest why the Torah chooses this 'strange' order?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Mar 13,2014 at 05:01 PM
Subject: The more things change ...

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (MJ 62#05):

> Rabbi Sorotzkin in Oznayim LaTorah (Insights in the Torah) points out that
> Hashem was able to ask for "kol ish asher yidvenu libo" [every man whose heart
> motivates him] to give in order to build the Mishkan [Tabernacle] However,
> even He had to set up a tax (the half shekel) in order to support the
> maintenance and the daily sacrifices.
> Rabbi Sorotzkin states that there was a major convention of the rabbis of
> Europe to discuss raising support for the yeshivos of Polish Lithuania. At the
> same time, Rabbi Meir Shapiro was raising funds for his Yeshiva in Lublin with
> no problem. Rabbi Sorotzkin states that he was sure then that once the
> building was complete, Rabbi Shapiro would have the same trouble with his
> upkeep. Indeed, this is what happened.
> We have the same trouble today. People can spend millions building the
> structures, but have a great deal of trouble paying the monthly heating bills,
> the teachers' salaries, buying the food for the daily lunches, etc.

Unlike buildings, one cannot fix a plaque with the donor's name on these
effectively intangible items. Unfortunately that is a big disincentive when
soliciting donations.

Perhaps one way round this would be to have a large plaque in the entrance
hall with the title, for example, Ner Lema'or stating that "today's lighting
(or heating or whatever) is donated by (in very large letters) Reb Ploni
Almoni" - I have seen this done occasionally.

Similarly various teaching posts could be called, for example, "The Ploni
Almoni Chair in Rabbinic Studies", in return for a substantial endowment to
be invested to produce a return sufficient to pay the salary, similar to
what is done quite successfully in many universities.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 62 Issue 7