Volume 7 Number 36

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artificial Insemination (H & D)
         [Evelyn Leeper]
GR"A's Math and Playing Football
         [Zvi Basser]
GR"A's Mathroom Bathroom
         [Aaron Naiman]
Infertility *and* Gezerot
         [Susan Hornstein]
Is JM becoming too explicit
         [Mark Katz]
New kid in town !!
         [Nicolas Rebibo]
Rabbi Feldman
         [Yehoshua Steinberg]
"GR"A's Mathroom Bathroom":
         [Yaakov Kayman]
         [Zev Farkas]


From: <Evelyn.Chimelis.Leeper@...> (Evelyn Leeper)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 09:57:15 -0400
Subject: re: Artificial Insemination (H & D)

> From: <babkoff@...> (Nachum Issur Babkoff)
> As far as regular gynecological examinations, I would assume that the
> fear of becoming ill etc. is enough to allow such procedures, although I
> read of a "chareidi" (Ultra-Orthodox) gynecologist in Tel-Aviv, who only
> examines woman, when his nurse/receptionist is present.

This is standard practice with any gynecologist I've ever been to, though
I suspect here in the United States it's from fear of lawsuits as much as
anything else.  I suspect even with a female gynecologist, medical ethics
require a third party (nurse) to be in the room.

			Evelyn C. Leeper, 908-957-2070, mtgpfs1!ecl


From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 21:24:37 -0400
Subject: Re: GR"A's Math and Playing Football

Clarifications please-- why am i wrong in thinking that....

a) I assume the widespread idea that the gaon did limudei chol while in
the outhouse was a theory to answer the question-- did the gaon spend a
single minute not involved in Torah. furhtermore i always thought that
the gaon comminssioned the math book from somebody or other (baruch??)
from shklov and that it was a translation of a german text book of
euclidean geometry and trigonometry which the gaon used to explain perek
aruga. are people so sure the gaon wrote it. I am not convinced at all
that kramers rule should be attributed to the gaon.  its simply kramer
vs kramer.

b) an issur to touch a pig's carcass?-- no football! where did this come
from? is it in rambam or shulchan aruch and i missed it?--maybe the
writer meant its carcass cant be sold, there is a mishna in shveis that
speaks of issur hanaah-- but poskim know it means one cannot sell pig
carcass-- see shulchan aruch yoreh deah 117 which allows football i
think and other benefits.  Bavli kiddushin 49b says it is called hazir
becuase in the future it will be resored as it was (mehazir)-- and
rabbenu bechaye at end of shmini correctly notes the reference is not to
the pig but to christianity (hazir meyaar) which at the end will
acknowledge the truth of the unity of God and the real Torah.

Zvi Adir Basser 


From: <naiman@...> (Aaron Naiman)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 16:25:36 -0400
Subject: GR"A's Mathroom Bathroom

I do not know if it is true or not, although if I had to guess, I would
say yes.  But I do not understand why it is so baffling.  The GR"A
certainly could have, and probably did, instruct his students as to
proper behaviour in the bathroom, and therefore committed no breech of
aneevoot [modesty] by telling them what _he_ did.  I do not think that
there would have to be witnesses, why not trust him?  Furthermore, if he
is indeed the author of Kramer's Theorem, then he had to do that
studying and analysis at some point.

Finally, as we all know from his writing and how we refer to him, he
*was* the Vilna Goan, the genius of Vilna.  Why is it so surprising that
he might be capable of accomplishing such erudition, even working
without paper, etc?  What is so impractical for his great mind to be
racing through math problems which intrigued him, as he probably enjoyed
going through the logic?

Aaron Naiman | MRJ, Inc.      | University of Maryland, Dept. of Mathematics
             | <naiman@...> | naiman@math.umd.edu


From: <susanh@...> (Susan Hornstein)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 10:03:41 -0400
Subject: re: Infertility *and* Gezerot

First of all, hi everybody!  I'm just back from maternity leave, so you
haven't heard from me in a good long time.  I hardly have any work to do
yet, but I'm already behind from reading mail.jewish!!!

Just a side note on measuring one's temperature.  The compendium
"Shemirat Shabbat Kehilchata" states that not only is it permissible to
take one's temperature with a regular thermometer on Shabbat, but that
doing so for the purpose of determinining the most fertile moment in a
woman's cycle is permissible on Shabbat as well.  I take this as support
for the extendibility of gezerot in particular and halacha in general to
modern circumstances (although I admit that the basal temperature method
of determining fertility is unlikely to be exclusively modern, it may
have only be dealt with in the halacha in more modern times) as well as
support for the view of infertility as pikuach nefesh in halacha.

Susan Hornstein


From: Mark Katz <mark@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 18:50:03 +0100
Subject: Is JM becoming too explicit

I am uncomfortable about trends in the scope and content of recent postings
to JM. I refer in particular to opinions about practices on the wedding night,
explicit postings about 'unnatural sexual practices' and some of the more
delicate aspects of AI.

I had, in the past, used JM on a Friday night to discuss with many younger
(teenage) members of my family, other talmidim, (chasidishe) rabbonim etc 
the scope and technical detail of articles of JM. I used it to show how
todays technology can help us to better understanding of all aspects of
Jewish Law, practice and thinking.

Alas I am no longer able to do this because of the topics raised and the
some of the opinions expressed.

At a time when the whole secular world is being to realise that many issues
of daily life do need to be kept private and discussed only discretely with
learned and expert people - I believe that we too need to practice this.

Jews, particularly orthodox ones, have a greater responsibility to show the
world that the teachings of the Torah and our Rabbis are relevant at all
times. I feel however that the finer aspects of morality and z'nious are not
included in this goal.

In this connection it is a pity that the Purim speils (which obviously
represent a vast amount of work) contained a number of elements that
offended the principles above.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

Yitz Katz


From: rebibo%<cesar@...> (Nicolas Rebibo)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 12:55:19 GMT
Subject: New kid in town !!

My wife gave birth on Monday 10th at 1:50pm to our second child and
first son. The mother and the baby (3kg920, 53cm) are all right. B"H the
Brit Mila will be next Monday. Anyone in Paris next week is welcome.

Nicolas Rebibo
Oce Graphics France
Internet: <rebibo@...>


From: <steinbrg@...> (Yehoshua Steinberg)
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 14:27:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Rabbi Feldman

A point of information, since Aliza Berger brought up Rabbi Feldman's
book. Rabbi Feldman is rabbi of Teaneck Jewish Center, a mixed-seating
synagogue which utilizes a microphone on Shabbat. Rabbi Feldman is a
great scholar by all accounts (particularly in the realm of medical
ethics), but I don't think his works can ever be considered
authoritative from an halachic point of view.

(BTW, this is not to say that there was anything controversial about the
specific passage Aliza quoted. I'm referring to some of his other


From: Yaakov Kayman <YZKCU@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 14:27:26 -0400
Subject: Re "GR"A's Mathroom Bathroom":

Reuven Bell asserts that it is unlikely that the GR"A confined his
mathematical learning to times when he was forbidden to learn Torah,
such as when he was in the bathroom. Aside from matters of modesty,
which would preclude "announcing" such a thing, Mr. Bell asserts that
the whole "legend" was the result of the Chassidus/t movement, with its
"miraculous" stories of its Rebbes.

In light of the fact of the GR"A's having kept a notebook recording each
moment IN THE YEAR that he had "wasted" in not studying Torah, time that
he would loudly lament when confessing his sins, and in light of the
fact of one of his students actually getting a peek at that notebook and
find- ing out that the time so loudly and heartfully lamented totaled
FIVE MINUTES, I shouldn't think the story of his confining his
mathematical study to the bathroom is far-fetched at all.

Yaakov Kayman (<yzkcu@...> on the Internet)


From: Zev Farkas <farkas@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 93 16:25:41 -0400
Subject: Shavers

bob klein asks about norelco shavers.  this caught my interest, since many
years ago, i remember norelco running ads bragging about how their rotary
shavers work

                           |  /
                           | /     blade
___________________        |     ___________________   comb
___________________________|______________________ skin

(sorry my graphics aren't very sophisticated, and i hope they make some
sort of sense by the time they hit your terminal.)

according to what they claimed in their ads, the comb covering the blade 
was so thin, the blade would actually ride on the bit of skin that poked
through the slot in the comb.  the cutting would be performed by the blade
alone, and the only function of the comb was to hold the skin in place. 
they thus claimed to be able to shave as close as a blade, because their
mechanism was basically cutting by the same technique as a bare blade.  if
their claim is true, then the "heter" for electric shavers doesn't apply
(as i understand it) since we are not dealing with a two-blade
scissors-like action which is the basis for the heter.  no one ever took
my question seriously  (perhaps in large part because of my age at the
time, the technical nature of the question, and because no serious posek
that i knew would admit to seeing a tv commercial?)

Zev Farkas, PE                                :)
<farkas@...>       718 829 5278


End of Volume 7 Issue 36