Volume 7 Number 21

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Daniel Lerner]
Army and Jewish Law
         [Nachum Issur Babkoff]
Kashrus Organization - NK
         [Lenny Oppenheimer]
Klezmer music
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Memorial Day Weekend (Shabbat) in Washington D.C.
         [Samuel Gamoran]
Noahide Laws
         [Rechell Schwartz]
The G"ra on mathematics
         [Michael Allen]
Tumah and Taharah
         [Joseph Greenberg]
Tumah in Modern Society
         [Steve Edell]


From: <dml@...> (Daniel Lerner)
Date: Wed, 5 May 93 09:08:07 MDT
Subject: Agunah

Some friends of mine are researching a project on the Agunah in "Hebrew
Literature," which is loosely defined to cover everything from the
Gmarah and Midrashim to Modern Israeli writers (but not halachic codes).
I have already found the references in Yevamot.  If anyone has any such
information, please send to me at <dml@...>

Also, I read, in New York Magazine of all places ("Playing Hard to Get",
Jan. 1993 -- the article is primarily about the daughter of the
publisher of the Jewish Press ), that some people oppose the "Get Law"
in New York state and are attempting to have it repealed; they claim
that it might invalidate gitin in New York because the husband is
compelled, by threat of monetary loss, to give the Get.  It seems that
putting the husband in jail, as has been done in Israel, is a more
active way of forcing him to give the get. Why is the law in New York
considered problematic?


From: <babkoff@...> (Nachum Issur Babkoff)
Date: Wed, 5 May 93 09:14:20 +0200
Subject: Army and Jewish Law

In MJ Vol.7 #11 Rachel Sarah Kaplan raised several questions, and
I wish to respond to them:
1. Since it's forbidden to leave a wife for over 30 days, how can one
justify-serve in the military?
2. How do you settle the prohibition against killing, with war waging?

As for question #1; The Torah indeed forbids one from serving in the
military during the first year of marriage, since there is an
obligation to: "v'simach et ishto" ("he must please his wife").
However, the Mishnah (I think in tractate K'tuvot) states, that during
an obligatory war ("milchemet mitzva")-"Afilu chatan m'chupato v'kalah
m'chadrah" ("a groom must leave his wedding canopy, and a bride
her chambers"). 
More importantly, however, is that if the prohibition against military
service is personal by nature, meaning, it is forbidden for the GROOM
to serve, this does NOT bind the military! So that they may call up
whomever they need, and the groom from his part, is an "Aa'noos" (not
accountable due to circumstances beyond his control). 
That would explain manouvers, and all the rest; The military calls
you, you go! It's not up to you. The prohibition against abandoning
one's wife refers to buisness, and other personal matters.
As far as question #2; There is no prohibition against killing! The
prohibition refers to UNLAWFUL killing. You may as well question one's
right to self defense, do you agree that one may kill someone who is
trying to kill you, or your friend ("rodef")? How do you "square" that
with the prohibition "Lo tirtsach"? ("thou shalt not kill")? If you
read the verses carefuly, throughout the Torah, you'll see that the
cases that refer to forbidden killings are ILLEGAL killings (For
example: "And should one come upon his neighbor WITH GUILE", or even
"Lo tirtsach"- if you look at the commentators, such as the Ibn-Ezra,
see the examples he brings, they all refer to intentional-unlawful
killings). Therefore, obviously, where war is concerned, these rules
are not relevant.

All the best...
                        Nachum Issur Babkoff


From: <leo@...> (Lenny Oppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 10:45:56 -0400
Subject: Kashrus Organization - NK

No it does not stand for "Not Kosher".  It stands for National Kashrus.
The certifying Rabbi is Rabbi Ya'acov Lipschutz of Monsey, NY.  He is
known both for being the former director of Kashrus for the OU, as well
as for recently having written a very good book on the laws of Kashrus,
published by Artscroll.

They specialize in catering halls, and in taking over non-kosher hotels
for Pesach and orther times.

I worked for them for 3 years as a Mashgiach at the Mt. Airy Lodge on
Pesach.  I thought the hshgacha standards were very good.  (An unbiased
opinion of course).

I believe that they are generally highly regarded.

Lenny Oppenheimer

[ David Kramer                       |  INTERNET: <davidk@...>  
 Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone (972-3) 565-8638 Fax 565-8754 

had  similar good things to say about the NK. Mod]


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Wed, 5 May 93 03:08:21 -0400
Subject: Klezmer music

Does anyone have or know of information written about it in English or Russian?


From: <shg@...> (Samuel Gamoran)
Date: Mon, 3 May 93 08:41:03 -0400
Subject: Memorial Day Weekend (Shabbat) in Washington D.C.

Our year in America is drawing to a close.  One of the things I would
like to do before we return to Israel is take the family to Washington.
I feel compelled to visit the new Holocaust Museum plus all the usuak
tourist sites...

I am looking enviously at the long Memorial Day weekend - there is a
"gesher" (bridge) Friday after Shavuot through to Monday and I'd love to
drive down (from N.J.).  We have no problems staying in regular motels
or eating 'canned' food during the week - but what to do for Shabbat?

I called various relatives/friends (in the D.C./Richmond areas) and
struck out on finding someone home and willing to invite.  Anyone have
any suggestions on a place for Shabbat?  I remember my uncle telling me
that Chabad Richmond has some sort of 'hotel' or guest facilities - it's
acceptable but a little further than I'd like to drive from Washington.

Sam Gamoran


From: <rrs@...> (Rechell Schwartz)
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 13:53:20 -0400
Subject:  Noahide Laws

I recently read something about the Seven Noahide Laws that interested
me. Concerning "arayot" (i.e., forbidden sexual/marital relationships),
the relationships that are forbidden to a Noahide are: mother, husband's
wife, sister (or half sister through the mother's side), a married
woman, male, and animal.  I believe the primary source or this is the
Gemara Sanhedrin (pp56-57, or somewhere in that vicinity). I was
wondering, does anyone know why one's daughter is not mentioned? Does
this imply that Gentiles may have relations with their daughters???

                         Rechell Schwartz


From: Michael Allen <allen@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 93 09:13:52 -0400
Subject: The G"ra on mathematics

I have heard that the G"ra published a book on geometry.  Can someone
tell me from whence I can acquire that sefer?

Also, I have heard a story that the G"ra solved an outstanding problem
in mathematics.  Does anyone have more details?  I would particularly
like to find the published result acknowledging his help.

Thanks and Shalom,


From: <Joseph_Greenberg@...> (Joseph Greenberg)
Date: Sat, 1 May 93 17:10:28 -0400
Subject: Tumah and Taharah

Regarding the question of day-to-day functioning within the strictures
of the halachot of tumah and taharah, I seem to remember learning (way
back when, and no, I don't remember a source) that for the most part,
people spent the better part of their year tamay (the state of being
ritually impure).  While there is a special mitzvah to be tahor, most
people did not bother, because of the obvious difficulties this would
present. And by the way, for those of us that have kids, could you
imagine a tahor child? Children play in the dirt, touch bugs (and other
tamay things), and it is unlikely that kids would remain tahor for more
than about 10 minutes after tevilah (dunking in the mikvah, or
sprinkling with parah adumah).


From: <edell@...> (Steve Edell)
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 93 03:05:35 -0400
Subject: Re: Tumah in Modern Society

I cannot answer Rechelle Schwartz' questions about Tammeh directly, but
I do have the following comments:

1) Ethiopian Jewry, as well as some other Sefardic sects, would
"isolate" the woman during her niddah period in a 'hut' attached to the
house specifically used for that purpose.  She would therefore not have
to come into contact with anyone else (except usually little children
who would be responsible to bringing her food and other necessities)
during that time.

One of the problems that Israeli Social Workers found after Operation
Moses and Operation Solomon was that it was very difficult to convince
the women that they _can_ go out and interact with others, and a
separate 'hut', which they didn't have, wasn't needed.

2) Second, I'm interested in adding 'fuel to the fire'.  Any person who
even steps on & kills an insect (ie, ant) is tameh until the evening.  I
remember questioning my Rav about this 20 years ago, and if I remember
correctly, he just said that these are problems that the Moshiah will
deal with when the time comes.

Steven Edell, Computer Manager    Internet:  <edell@...>
United Israel Appeal, Inc
(United Israel Office)            Voice:  972-2-255513
Jerusalem, Israel                 Fax  :  972-2-247261


End of Volume 7 Issue 21