Volume 64 Number 83 
      Produced: Thu, 05 Nov 20 15:14:47 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Catholic Judges in Capital Cases 
    [Joel Rich]
Corona shortcuts 
    [David Tzohar]
Forced vaccination (2)
    [David Tzohar  Chaim Casper]
Mixed choirs (2)
    [David Tzohar  Yisrael Medad]
Which garment?  
    [Martin Stern]
Why is the month of Cheshvan prefixed "Mar"? (3)
    [Martin Stern  Sherman Marcus  Ari Trachtenberg]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 3,2020 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Catholic Judges in Capital Cases

I found the statements below particularly interesting and would love to discuss
parallels with our thought:


Amy Coney Barrett, Notre Dame Law School
John H. Garvey


> To anticipate our conclusion just briefly, we believe that Catholic judges (if
> they are faithful to the teaching of their church) are morally precluded from
> enforcing the death penalty. This means that they can neither themselves
> sentence criminals to death nor enforce jury recommendations of death. Whether
> they may affirm lower court orders of either kind is a question we have the
> most difficulty in resolving.
> ...
> In Catholic moral theology, there is an extensive literature on this subject,
> usually collected under the heading of cooperation with evil. Stated
> abstractly, these are cases where one person ("the cooperator") gives physical
> or moral assistance to another person ("the wrongdoer") who is doing some
> immoral action. In judging the morality of the cooperator's action, the most
> important distinction the Church draws is between what it calls formal and
> material cooperation. Here is a simile to help lawyers think about the
> distinction. In first amendment law there are two "tracks" for judging
> government actions that sin against the freedom of speech. Track one is for
> cases where the government acts with a bad intention-where it restricts speech
> because it does not like what is being said. (Imagine a law forbidding people
> to make jokes about the Vice President.) This kind of action is almost always
> unconstitutional. Track two is for cases where the government restricts speech
> unintentionally, in the course of doing something else. (Imagine a law against
> littering applied to a politician distributing handbills.) This kind of action
> is sometimes unconstitutional and sometimes not. The courts will balance the
> law's good effects against its impact on speech.
> ...
> Implicit in the Chief Justice's observation are two reasons why we should not
> automatically disqualify judges for holding such views or convictions. One is
> that everyone has them. If we applied this criterion faithfully we would
> disqualify the entire judiciary. The rule of necessity that allows judges to
> sit on cases about judicial compensation applies here too: better a flawed
> judge than no judge at all. The second is that the possession of convictions
> is not only inevitable, it is to some extent desirable.

Joel Rich


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Corona shortcuts

Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 64#82):

> David Ziants wrote (MJ 64#81):
>> ...
>> Obviously, this special year allows for short cuts, where in any case the 
>> places where we are davening are often much less comfortable.
>> ...
> In my beit knesset, we do not shorten the prayers, we shorten other things (we
> pray inside all the time, of course not crowded). Pray Minha & Maariv 
> together, on Shabbat Rosh Hashanah no shofar - no speech, cut back the mi
> shebeirachs.

As opposed to Menashe's shul our gabbai and our Rav insisted on following all of
the corona "GZeiRot" to the letter (super MaMLaCHti)

IMHO most of these restrictions were exaggerated if not to say discriminatory
considering the government's leniency on political demonstrations and a lack of
observance in the Arab sector. This led to some GeDoLei HaDoR including R'
Kanyevsky, ADMoRei Breslav, Bobov, Gur and Vizhnitz all SH'LiTa to ignore all
GeZeiRot" concerning religious events, Torah Learning and SeMaCHot. Halachically
they base their psakim on a DA'at YaCHid of the Magen Avraham ZTZL who said that
if the chance of dying from the plague is less than one in one thousand it is
not PiKuACH NeFesh and the rules of "VeNISHMARTEM" do not apply. (I discussed
this view in a previous post on this list last month). The Rabbanim did the Math
and the chance of a healthy person under the age of 80 dying is less than .001%
Besides that they don't accept that GeZeiRot of MaMLeCHet MeDiNaT YiSRAEL are
obligatory. The vast majority of PoSKim including both Chief Rabbis disagree.
But you must admit that the dissenters have a point both Halachically and socially.

R'David Yitzchak Tzohar
Yeshivat Machon Meir


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Forced vaccination

Ari Trachtenberg wrote (MJ 64#82):

> Recently, Tradition's online magazine featured an article arguing for 
> mandatory COVID vaccination as soon as the vaccine becomes available for
> emergency use
> ...
> Although I take very strong issue with the science behind the article (which
> effectively demands blind faith in the vaccine process), I am also curious 
> about the reactions to the halachic positions raised in the article, for those  
> of you have read it.
> Since two doctors have written the piece (one of whom also has smicha), I 
> would imagine that the article has the potential to deeply prejudice the 
> discussion going forward.

IMHO forced vaccination is required by halacha only where it is scientifically
proven that they are effective. This would include polio, rabies, German measles
and others possibly including Flu where there are different vaccines for the
different viruses. Where the vaccines are effective it is not only obligatory to
vaccinate, not vaccinating makes one a "RoDeph" since he is liable to become
infected and then infect others. This is a capital offence!

R'David Yizchak Tzohar
Yeshivat Machon Meir

From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Forced vaccination

In response to Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 64#82):  

He refers to an article in Tradition magazine's on-line version strongly in
support of the science behind vaccination. 

I personally think the halakhic question is moot, at least here in America.

As long as there is a strong personality, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, on the
Moetzes Gedolai HaTorah, leading the charge against all vaccines (Covid,
measles, et al), the majority of Boro Park, Monsey and Lakewood residents, and
similar thinkers like them throughout the American haredi community, will not
accept any vaccine. They may come up with halakhic reasons to avoid the therapy
but the bottom line is they are against all vaccinations. C'est la vie.

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum videtur


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Mixed choirs

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 64#81):
> Does anyone know whether the great Eastern European chazzanim in Orthodox
> synagogues pre-war, such as Yossele Rosenblatt, sang with mixed choirs at
> services? (I mention Rosenblatt in particular because, unlike some such
> chazzanim, he had an unimpeached reputation for being religious and 
> religiously observant.)
> ...

IIANM I have seen videos on YOU TUBE where Yossaleh Rosenblat Z"L sings with a
mixed choir. This of course does not mean that he did so in shul, just that he
is MeiKail al DiN Kol Isha. Today's great cantors such as Helfgut are all
chareidim and would not sing in a mixed choir although MBD has been in shows
where women shared the stage with him but I don't think that he sang with them.

David Tzohar

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Mixed choirs

David Olivestone notes (MJ 64#82) that "in the major European Jewish
population centers ... the main synagogue was usually known as the Chorshul".

I would suggest rather that synagogues built with a high ceiling specifically
modelled architecturally and musically to imitate theaters and to accommodate
male choruses providing them with the additional engineered interior space
acoustics required to enhance their chorus sounds were termed Choral Synagogues.

Having led services at Warsaw's Nozyk and Vilna's Choral Synagogue, I can attest
to the amazing sounds that can be produced bouncing off the ceiling and walls.

Yisrael Medad


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Which garment? 

Yisrael Medad  wrote (MJ 64#82):

> Martin Stern asks (MJ 64#81) why the definitive 'Hey' was used to describe a
> garment [simlah] with which Noach was covered as that "suggests a specific
> garment" and yet no specific garment is noted. I would suggest that as the
> garment that was there, presumably, was the one he had drunkenly rolled out
> of, and that there was no other, that was "The Garment".

This seems unlikely since Shem and Yafet are described at length as taking THE
garment, putting it over their shoulders and walking backwards with it to cover
their father. If it had been the sheet that had been covering him, this would
almost certainly not have been necessary.

Similarly Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz wrote (ibid.):

> Ibn Ezra actually explicitly says "Hayeduah", the "known" garment. Based on
> the pasuk and the way it is written, it would seem that the garment was
> identified with Noach and was immediately available.
> That is, just as the garment had slipped off of Noach in his drunkenness, Shem
> and Yafes picked it up from right next to their father in order to avoid
> leaving him uncovered while they went to find a garment.
> While the only reference that I found in the Mikraos Gedolos was this Ibn Ezra
> who points out it is a hei hayediah, this seems to be the best way of reading
> the pshat.

While I agree that Ibn Ezra seems to be the best way of reading the phrase, I
still find his use of "Hayeduah" difficult. In what way was it a "known" garment?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Why is the month of Cheshvan prefixed "Mar"?

In reply to David Ziants (MJ 64#81), several people drew attention to the pasuk
in Isaiah 40:15 which refers to "k'mar mid'li - as a drop from a bucket" as a
possible basis for the Mar of Marcheshvan when the first drops of rain fall. 

Interestingly the zodiacal sign of Shevat, not Marcheshvan, is D'li (Aquarius).
Any thoughts?

Martin Stern

From: Sherman Marcus <shermanwmarcus@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Why is the month of Cheshvan prefixed "Mar"?

This subject appears annually on Dr. Avshalom Kur's popular five-minute program
on Israel Army radio. Everyone who is awake and tuned in at 5:55 AM has heard it
several times.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 1,2020 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Why is the month of Cheshvan prefixed "Mar"?

Ben Katz wrote (MJ 64#82):

> ...
> BTW there's an old mathematical joke: is there any such thing as an
> uninteresting number?  2 is an example of an interesting number because it is
> the only even prime.   So are there any uninteresting numbers?  The "answer" 
> is No, because if there were,  there would be a set of uninteresting numbers 
> and then the first number in that set would drop out because it is interesting 
> that it is the first uninteresting number, and this process then continues ad
> infinitum.
> ...

I'm sure Dr. Katz knows this, but this is actually a much deeper joke based on
its relationship to the axiom of choice, which is known to be independent of
Zermelo-Fraenkel set-theory (meaning that it cannot be proven or disproven from
some of the common axioms of mathematical logic).

The axiom of choice is the source of the "well-ordering theorem" - which states
that every set can be ordered (according to some global order) so as to have a
"least element".

In this context, the joke is a proof by contradiction that all numbers are
interesting. Assume not and take the set S of all uninteresting numbers.  From
well-ordering, it must have a least element ... which would be interesting (and
hence not in the set).  So ... either not all numbers are interesting, or you
reject the axiom of choice.
Prof. Ari Trachtenberg            ECE, Boston University
<trachten@...>                    http://people.bu.edu/trachten


End of Volume 64 Issue 83