Volume 64 Number 11 
      Produced: Thu, 13 Dec 18 05:52:59 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Deception in Fund Raising 
    [Carl Singer]
Modern Orthodoxy? (3)
    [Martin Stern  Chaim Casper  Joseph Kaplan]
Reflections on "Who is a Jew?" 
    [Martin Stern]
Saying Modim Out Loud 
    [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Seudah shelishit 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Carl Singer <c7singer@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 12,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Deception in Fund Raising

I'm holding in my hand a letter from a tzedukah. It came in today's mail along
with a return envelope. Among other things this letter states that in previous
years I generously donated $XXX, would I again contribute now?

One problem -- after checking my computer -- I see that I've never given to this

This is, of course, not the first time that I've gotten postal mail or telephone
calls of this type.

What should be my response?

Carl Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 64#10):

> Reading the recent posts on what MO might or might not be, reminded me of a
> post a while back on MJ about a young boy who read the Percy Jackson books and
> learned about Greek mythology, and then took a cup of juice and proclaimed, "I
> offer this to Poseidon!" prompting a bit of a panic. (Cup was kashered; juice
> was thrown away; education was provided.)
> I remember specific responses when I discussed this on-list and off-list, and
> it illustrated to me where MO falls in a spectrum of Jewish practice/belief

Though Leah was only using this story as a springboard for what she expected the
reactions of different sectors of the Jewish community would be, the incident is
in fact no real problem at all for two reasons:

1. To make a nesekh [oblation] to avodah zarah [idolatry] requires intent which
is not possible for a minor (possibly like vows it might be possible a year
before majority if the child understands what is involved in idolatry but, from
the story as quoted, this was clearly not the case). This is different from
pouring milk into a meat soup cooking on the stove where intent is irrelevant
since the action itself creates the halachic problem.

2. Only wine can be used to make an oblation and, among the many conditions it
must fulfil, it must be unboiled (this is the reason we prefer yayin mevushal
[boiled wine - in practice we usually rely on pasteurisation though this is a
matter of dispute] at functions where non-Jews will be around). Even if the
juice mentioned had been commercially produced grape juice (as opposed to
freshly squeezed grapes), there would, therefore, not have been any problem even
with drinking it subsequently, let alone use of the cup, even if it had been hot
- though one should explain to the child the seriousness of such behaviour and
that s/he should not go in for such pranks in future - perhaps throwing it away
might be a useful educational tool for this purpose so one would not be guilty
of bal tashchit [wasting food] by doing so.

Martin Stern

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

I reread Joe Kaplan's original post (MJ 64#08) and his follow up (MJ 64#10) in
addition to our offline communications and I see that my comments were
really directed to Joel Rich's original post (MJ 64#06): 

"(e.g., the classic "I don't hold of not putting on makeup on Shabbat" [as a
definition of MO])."

My reading of Joe's post was that the woman in question was putting on makeup
regardless of what the halakhah said.  Joe's point is she did get a heter
(permissive ruling) from her friendly, neighborhood Orthodox rabbi and so we
cannot and should not write her out of the community.

Halakhically speaking, there are issues with using makeup on Shabbat.  So a
woman who permits herself complete use of makeup on Shabbat without the blessing
of her local Orthodox rabbi or without a valid halakhic source is going outside
the halakhic system, the same halakhah that is the definition of being Orthodox.
That I cannot sanction even though she will continue to do it without my blessing.

But there are exceptions to the general rule of no makeup on Shabbat. Joe's and
my teacher Rabbi Hershel Cohen, zt"l, told me he was in the Rav's (Rabbi Joseph
Dov Halevi Soloveitchik's, zt"l) shiur (Talmud class) where the Rav explained
how the use of lipstick is acceptable on Shabbat even though the Yerushalmi
(Shabbat 87b; see also the Rambam Hilkhot Shabbat 22:23 and the Magen Avraham OH
303:19) says it is not!  In this case, I agree with Joe that MO is on the money
by sanctioning the use of makeup if the women got a heter (permissive ruling)
from her local Orthodox rabbi.  But one cannot and should not
use a case that is outside the halakhic system ("I don't hold of not putting on
makeup on Shabbat") to define the Modern Orthodox community.

By the way, I think a better example of problematic Orthodox behavior that is 
outside the system are those who use "half-Shabbat" as a rationalization to send
texts and photos on Shabbat.   I know of no source that permits that. Does that
mean we write them out of the community? No, it means we use our resources to
bring them back into the fold.

B'virkhat Torah uv'virkhat Hag Hanukkah Sameah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Modern Orthodoxy?

David Tzohar and Immanuel Burton disagreed as to whether Modern Orthodoxy is an
oxymoron or a tautology. (MJ 64#09-10).  In fact, its really a brand name that
identifies a certain type of Orthodox Jew with certain allegiances to the modern
world that some other Orthodox Jews do not share. It's nothing more than a
shorthand usage, and I think oxymoron and tautology analyses read more into it
than is warranted. 



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 13,2018 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Reflections on "Who is a Jew?"

>From time to time Jewish schools come under attack for refusing to admit
pupils because their Jewish identity is not consistent with the school's
policy. The latest case occurred in Sydney, Australia a few weeks ago where
a former pupil, who had married a lady who had been converted under
non-Orthodox auspices, complained bitterly that his son was not accepted by
the Modern Orthodox Moriah College.


There was an excellent defense of the Orthodox position in this week's issue
of the Australian Jewish News by Rabbi Gad Krebs of Kehillat Masada:


> It's a cardinal rule of the rabbinate, as well as social interaction in general, not to answer an
> emotional question with a logical answer. No amount of rationality can ease the tormented mind.
> Physical pain, emotional suffering and grief cannot be washed away through logic. There are
> questions of the heart and questions of the mind; the answers that satisfy the one cannot appease the
> other.
> The definition of who is a Jew can similarly be divided into a rational,
> logical classification or an emotional, tumultuous one.
> ...
> Reading the article and comments surrounding it in last weeks AJN,
> Graduates son not welcome, there appear to be two distinct critiques of the
> Orthodox approach to defining Jewishness; as highlighted by Moriah Colleges
> admissions process.Is that person Jewish? is a technical question. Is my
> child Jewish? is an emotional plea for validation.
> The first attack demands a broadening of the Jewish communal umbrella; why
> should people self-defined as Jewish be excluded? If Hitler considered them
> Jewish, so should we! With the world against us, why cant we get along?
> The second approach is more nuanced and technical; challenging the definition
> of conversion. A Jew is a Jew no matter how you convert. Why should
> non-Orthodox converts be denied a Jewish education? This groups complaint is
> more limiting than the first, as they still demand some level of commitment.
> In relation to the first group I ask how is one to define a Jew? Despite the
> fact that Jewish law demands that peoples experiencing antisemitism be
> supported through communal funds, this support doesnt extend as far as
> communal and religious rights if the people are not halachically Jewish.
> If the word Jew is to have any meaning at all, a workable definition would
> need to be developed. Is being Jewish a matter of self identity? Is it defined
> by antisemites? Is it dependent on faith, affiliation or perhaps a birthright?
> Case in point; Jews for Jesus are a movement who claim that Judaism and
> Christianity are not only compatible but ideal. Should their children be
> allowed to attend Moriah? Are the Black Hebrews, who claim to be the original
> descendants of the ancient Israelites, Jewish enough? Both groups
> self-identify as Jewish, but are currently not accepted within the mainstream
>  even by the most liberal arms of the community. Why not broaden the umbrella
> even further?
> If a person self-identifies as Jewish, even though they have no religious or
> familial connections to the community, is their deep personal connection
> sufficient to be counted in a minyan?
> The broadening of the definition only satisfies when the people who you want
> to include are covered by the new definition, but it still excludes the people
> of whom you too are intolerant.
> ...
> But this question relates to a greater underlying problem; should a person
> choose to marry a non-Jew, there will be long-term ramifications for their
> family resulting from the decisions they make.
> An individuals decision to not convert, or to convert through non-orthodox
> means, cannot assuage the challenges that their children will face when
> prejudiced by the mainstream, self identifying Jews.
> Our decisions today have consequences tomorrow.

Any commnets?

Martin Stern


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <gevaryahu@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 2,2018 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Saying Modim Out Loud

19 years ago I posted this, and it is still relevant.

Eliezer Finkelman (MJ 29#93) states:

> In general, the Shaliah Tsibbur repeats every word of the Amidah at the
> morning ... and afternoon services.  Nonetheless, there exists a
> widespread practice: that the Shaliah Tsibbur, in repeating the Amidah,
> reads only the first words and the last of the next to the last brakhah.
> He says, "Modim anahnu lakh" and then goes silent, presumably reading
> the rest of the paragraph, speaking out loud again at "HaTov".

Several years ago I was the sheliach tsibur in the minyan harabanim at the
Hagr"a shul in Sha'arei Chessed in Jerusalem. [By the time that I figured out
that it was minyan harabanim it was too late to opt out of the Sha"tz and find
an "amcha" minyan]. Well, in the repetition of the amidah I did just as
described above, that is, I started with "Modim anachnu lach sha'ata hu ..." 
continued silently, waited a while and finished aloud with "ha'tov ...".  After
the tefilah Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach called me aside and asked me why I did
not say "Modim" aloud, and I told him that I thought that the way I did it was
the standard way to say it. His answer was that those people who do not say the
entire "modim" aloud simply do not know the halacha, and that chazarat hashatz
must include the entire "Modim" aloud. One don't forget easily being approached
by g'dol hador on such an issue, and with such gentleness. Well, I never said
half a "Modim" ever again!

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 9,2018 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Seudah shelishit

It is certainly preferable to eat bread for seudah shelishit and, if one does
not, one should stop eating before shekia [sunset] (or close to it - beyond our
present scope). 

If one partakes in a full meal but refrains from eating bread for some reason,
there are has strong grounds for leniency. However, if one were merely picking
at food according to one's mood, and even more, so if one had previously
fulfilled the mitzvah of seudah shelishit, it is difficult to allow continuing
eating as night approaches. 

Is this rule generally observed or are most people not particular about it?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 64 Issue 11