Volume 63 Number 63 
      Produced: Sun, 29 Oct 17 07:11:41 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A further clash of cultures? (3)
    [Martin Stern  Susan Buxfield  Frank Silbermann]
A strange order of verses in Hallel Hagadol 
    [Martin Stern]
Giving an honor in shul to someone who may possibly not be Jewish 
    [Martin Stern]
Interpreting a Rambam 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Jewish Action 
    [Joel Rich]
Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion (2)
    [Haim Snyder  Dov Bloom]
Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's attitude to secular literature and art 
    [David Ziants]
Religious coercion? 
    [Martin Stern]
Simhat Torah on Friday 
    [Haim Snyder]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject: A further clash of cultures?

I fear Leah Gordon (MJ 63#62) has misunderstood the problem.

The nursery claimed that the teacher had disclosed that she was cohabiting
with her boyfriend in a public setting where it she could reasonably expect
to be heard by parents of children attending it.

As I pointed out (MJ 63#61) it was this lack of discretion, rather than her
"cohabitation prior to marriage" per se, that had been the reason for her
dismissal since it had led to threats by parents to remove their children
thereby possibly causing the nursery financial harm.

We must await the tribunal's decision whether or not it accepts this as
reasonable grounds for terminating her appointment.

Also, in response to David Lee Makowsky's question:

> Does the nursery receive state funds?  I believe in the UK at least some
> schools do that and this has caused problems with what they are forced to
> teach and not teach.

In this case, the nursery is not state-aided and therefore depends entirely
on parental contributions (and charitable donations). Whether this makes any
difference regarding employment law is doubtful.

Martin Stern

From: Susan Buxfield <susan.buxfeld@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 03:01 AM
Subject: A further clash of cultures?

Martin Stern (MJ 63#61) wrote:

> A Jewish teacher has claimed she was a victim of discrimination by an Orthodox
> nursery which fired her after learning she was living with her boyfriend ...
> I would have argued that it was her lack of discretion, rather than her
> "cohabitation prior to marriage" per se, that called into question whether
> she was a suitable person to teach in any Orthodox institution.

While the Jew is not tasked with proselytization, whenever there is a publicised
conflict of ethos, even though there maybe a tenable position in halacha to
permit, the upper hand has the right to dictate the terms of employment.

Thus if a Christian (and surely a Jewish) secretary employed at a Jewish school
would wear a cross around her neck only outside the school, that action may well
be considered in halacha a "mekah ta-ut" - that if the school would have known
ahead of time, they would not have employed her.

> Another question that might be asked is whether her action in taking the
> nursery to a non-Jewish employment tribunal constituted 'mesirah [handing
> over Jews to non-Jewish justice]'.

Halacha permits the head of a Beth Din to suggest recourse to civil law whenever
there is an impasse that may then be resolved to the benefit of the claimant.

From: Frank Silbermann <frank_silbermann@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 08:01 AM
Subject: A further clash of cultures?

With respect to the unmarried nursery school teacher fired for living with a
man, I note that a Chabad school my children attended in New Orleans twenty
years ago had a policy prohibiting Jews from teaching there unless they were
frum.  There were very few frum Jews in the community, so gentiles taught most
of the secular subjects.

The reasoning was that teachers were expected to be general role models for the
pupils (there was a general presumption that gentile teachers essentially obeyed
the Noahide laws).

So an unmarried Jewish teacher living with a man would probably be presumed not
to be frum, just as if she didn't keep kosher.  OTOH, I don't know whether it
would have been a problem if an unmarried gentile teacher discreetly lived with
a member of the opposite sex.

Frank Silbermann
Memphis, Tennessee


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 04:01 AM
Subject: A strange order of verses in Hallel Hagadol

Rabbi Elazar Teitz wrote (MJ 63#62):

> Martin Stern asked (MJ 63#61):
>> Sometimes one may say something in davenning for over 60 years and suddenly,
>> it strikes one that something is not quite correct. I had that experience
>> this morning during Hallel Hagadol in Pesukei Dezimra when I noticed the
>> apparently 'wrong' order of the pesukim:
>>> lemolikh amo bamidbar [Who led His people in the wilderness] ki le'olam
>>> chasdo
>>> lemakeh melakhim gedolim [Who smote great kings] k.l.ch.
>>> veyaharog melakhim adirim [Who killed mighty kings] k.l.ch.
>>> leSichon melekh ha'Emori [Sichon, king of the Amorites] k.l.ch.
>>> ule'Og melekh haBashan [and Og, king of Bashan] k.l.ch.
>>> venatan atrzam lenachalah [Who gave their land as a heritage] k.l.ch.
>>> nachalah le'Yisrael avdo [a heritage for His servant Yisrael] k.l.ch.
> .
>> AFAIK no "great kings" were smitten before the battles with Sichon and Og
>> so those two verses, which seem to refer to Yehoshua's defeat of the 31
>> Kenaani kings, should have come after the ones referring to them. Then the
>> following verses refer naturally to the inheritance of the territories in
>> Kenaan.
>> Have I misunderstood something?
> The m'lachim g'dolim are Sichom and Og.
> Just as "l'osei orim g'dolim" is the general, and then is followed by the
> specifics "es hashemesh l'memsheles hayom, es hayareiach v'chochavim
> l'memsheles halaila," so too "l'makei m'lachim g'dolim" is the general,
> followed by the specifics:"l'Sichon melech haEmori, ul'Og melech haBashan."

May I thank Rabbi Teitz for his explanation.  I am, however, not entirely
convinced by it since the main nachalah was in Eretz Kenaan not in Ever
Hayarden. Also why are there two verses with the general terms l'makeh...
and veyaharog...?

Finally the previous psalm does mention the Kenaani kings before the inheritance:

"LeSichon melekh ha'Emori ule'Og melekh haBashan, U'LEKHOL MAMLEKHOT KENAAN.
Venatan atrzam lenachalah, nachalah le'Yisrael amo."

So why is this omitted in Hallel Hagadol?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 22,2017 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Giving an honor in shul to someone who may possibly not be Jewish

Stu Pilichowski wrote (MJ 63#61):

> Yom Kippur brings many people into shul that don't attend all year. For the
> most part they're strangers to the ushers and gabbayim.
> This Yom Kippur I noticed a young teenage neighbor attending Mincha. I asked
> the gabbai to honor him with Gelilah - dressing the Torah. He was very
> appreciative.
> Later, as I thought about it, I questioned in my mind whether he was even
> Jewish.
> What? Why would he be in shul if he wasn't Jewish? Well, he may not know he's
> not Jewish. His family doesn't even have a mezuzah on their doorpost. Yes,
> they're Russian.
> Is this a problem? I would guess getting an aliyah, making a bracha, is
> problematic. But Hagbah, gelilah, opening the ark? What's the big deal?

IMHO one can assume that anyone who comes to shul is Jewish unless one has
reason to suspect otherwise and it is not usually necessary to make any
enquiries. Also  giving him gelilah is hardly problematic - after all, it is
not as if they will be able to marry a Jewish person on the strength of it.
In fact, I believe that the poskim have ruled that one can do this even for
people whom one might not wish to give an aliyah because of their
non-Orthodox 'religious' affiliation when they attend a simchah of a
relative - mipnei darkhei shalom [to avoid ill-feelings]. So, in this case
where there is no definite pesul [disqualification] but only a safeik
[possiblity], there seems no reason to worry.

Martin Stern


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 29,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Interpreting a Rambam

The Rambam in Hilchot Shabbat 11:12 states, according to the Chabad translation

> If a person took a parchment or the like and wrote one letter upon it in one
> city and traveled on that same [Sabbath] day to another city where he wrote
> another letter on another scroll, he is liable. [This decision is rendered]
> because when the [two parchments] are brought close to each other, they can
> be read as a single unit. All that is necessary is to bring them together.

This based on the ruling in Shabbat 104b:

> R. Ammi said: If one writes one letter in Tiberias and another in Sepphoris,
> he is culpable:

The problem I see here is, whereas the Talmud does not clearly note that two
different scrolls are involved, the wording of the Chabad translation does solve
the problem of how he carried a scroll to the other city which is outside the
area of an eruv. The obverse of this is how did the Talmud consider a
possibility of carrying, unless it presumes that one who would write, even if
only one letter here and another there to circumvent the minimal prohibition
degree of two letters, would also carry and willing to commit two negative commands?

But to compound the problem, whereas Rashi reorders the prohibition by pointing
out that what is at issue is that, when writing one letter here and another
letter there, the principle is whether a word is formed when the two are brought
close together and it really doesn't depend as much on the writing but whether a
word is thereby formed (say get which in Hebrew is gimmel and tet) even if the
word is read a few days later, we are referenced by the Gilyon Shas to a Tosefot
on page 80a which touches on the subject but on the basis of reshut, that is,
moving from one area to another. Are we back to the original question, the same
scroll or two different ones?

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 28,2017 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Jewish Action

Since I can sometimes be critical of organizations (not here where I usually
manage not to say anything negative [HT - My Mom ZLL"HH - "If you have nothing
nice to say, don't say anything]), I want to give a shout out to the OU Fall
Jewish Action.

1.) Moshe Baine poses the two questions I use as an individual/community test

(i) How often do we factor God into our daily decisions, both large and small?

[Me - how central is the Ratzon Hashem in our lives?] 

(ii) What are we prepared to "give up" to comply with what we perceive as God's
wishes? [Me - does God always seem to agree with what you want?] 

2.) Allen Fagin asks "whether we as a community view Yishuv Haaretz as a basic
tenet of our spiritual aspirations? 

[Me - Tell me how often it's discussed or how many folks yearn (while we're at
it, how many really yearn for the Beit Hamikdash?)]

Now what do we do as a community and as individuals about any perceived
shortfalls in these two areas is an old  question but maybe it is gaining traction?


Joel Rich


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion

In response to Yisrael Medad (MJ 63#61):

I have only seen this after V'zot Habracha and it was explained to me that this
looks like raising the way the Torah is raised after B'reishit and thus shows
the continuity of the reading.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva

From: Dov Bloom <dovbbb@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Raising the Torah in a Switched-handed Fashion

The Shaarei Efraim (Efraim Zalman Margoliot of Brod, author of the Mate Efraim],
Shaar 8 Section 6 mentions the practice but cautions it should be done with a
sefer that is not heavy , or a person who is "baal zeroa" which usually means a
violent person, but here means a strong individual!

Eshel Avraham (Butchatch), on SA OH 669 lists 5 "reasons" for this custom in
a drush-vein. (Example: to teach you to follow Torah scholars even if they
say left is right and right is left...)

The practice, which I grew up with, seems to flatly contradict Masechet Soferim
Ch 3, 11 "velo yochazo veYotzi haKtav miBaChutz" [the Higger edition of
massechet sofrim has this comment at Ch 3, 14 and adds a word]. The commentators
on Soferim and the poskim almost completely ignore this contradiction, which is
discussed in the classic monumental Toldot Chag Simhat Tora by Yaari (Mosad
Harav Kook 5724) on pages 75-77.

Dov A Bloom


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's attitude to secular literature and art

What was the attitude of Rav Shimshon Raphael (Rasha"r) Hirsch to secular
literature and art?

According to the wiki article:


there are three interpretations of his "Torah im Derech Eretz" philosophy
(often translated literally as "Torah with worldly pursuit"), with the most
narrow saying "exposure to secular philosophy, music, art, literature, or ethics
must be functional" (I assume for livelihood), and the most wide saying "this
exposure is permissible, providing a complement to - and even a synthesis with
- Torah".

So from Rasha"r's own writings, do we really not know an answer, which is why it
has to be open to interpretations, or did he leave some hints somewhere?

David Ziants


Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 29,2017 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Religious coercion?

The Jewish Press (October 26) carried a report:


> The Lod District Court will hear a $17 million class action suit against
> Laniado Hospital in Netanya, on behalf of a woman who asked to receive
> fertility treatments and was refused on the grounds that she was not married
> ...
> The plaintiff, a resident of Netanya, lives near Laniado Hospital, ... has
> been in a long-term relationship with a man to whom she is not married, and
> was rejected on the grounds that the hospital does not give fertility
> treatments to unmarried women, since this is contrary to Jewish law.
> According to the hospital, the demand that the couple be married stems from
> the halachic view that the family unit is a supreme institution and value,
> and even more so when this family unit is being forged.
> The hospital further argued that the religious norm that underlies its
> position is the obligation to register the biological father as the father of
> the newborn, lest the offspring engage with its sibling from the same donor in
> the future, and give birth to a mamzer.
> The majority of the rabbis rule that an unmarried woman may not receive in
> vitro fertilization on moral and spiritual grounds.
> ...
> Modern rabbis have dealt with the potential birth of a mamzer, should the in
> vitro child marry a sibling of the same donor, by recommending that the donor
> be a non-Jew.

In a small country like Israel where there are a limited number of sperm
donors, most of whom are likely to be Jewish (unlike the USA), such
"sibling" marriages are probably a miut hamatsui [a substantial minority].
Whether the genetic relationship will produce a mamzer is, however, open to
dispute.There is an interesting discussion of the halachic implications in
Headlines 2: Halachic Debates of Current Events by Dovid Lichtenstein (OU
Press '17) pp. 211-233.

> The plaintiff claims that in the categorical refusal of the hospital to
> provide fertility treatments to women suffering from infertility problems, the
> hospital discriminates against unmarried women with disabilities on the basis
> of their marital status.
> ...
> The [court's] ruling was contrary to the position presented by the Health
> Ministry ... that Ladiano is a private hospital, ... which provides public
> service, and that since the complainant had alternative options for fertility
> treatments in other hospitals she was not discriminated against.

The question seems to me to be whether the convenience of the lady concerned
to be treated in the, for her, most convenient hospital, rather than having
to travel to a more distant one, overrides the religious scruples of the

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Haim Snyder <haimsny@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 24,2017 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Simhat Torah on Friday

This can never happen in Israel. As a result, the only 3 day holiday/Shabbat is
Rosh Hashana, another reason for making aliya.

Haim Shalom Snyder
Petah Tikva


End of Volume 63 Issue 63