Volume 7 Number 83

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An e-index (with abstracts) to Jewish Studies Periodicals
         [Avi Hyman]
Consultative mode in Psak (3)
         [Ezra Tanenbaum, Allen Elias, Morris Podolak]
Frum community in Boston
         [Maurice Tuchman]
Not Looking On Kohanim During Duchening
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: <AJHYMAN@...> (Avi Hyman)
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 93 14:18:00 -0400
Subject: An e-index (with abstracts) to Jewish Studies Periodicals

I recently sent this note out on the JewStudies List,
but I would like the opinions of those on the Mail-Jewish
and Mendele list as well

A note to get some opinions, please:
  Several times I have heard of e-mail projects being undertaken where
reviews of printed journal contents/articles in a field are compiled and
sent out over Internet, a cross between a Reader's Digest idea and a
periodical index with article abstracts.
  While most of these are done in pure science fields, I think that the
same could be done in Jewish Studies.
  I would like some comments on whether 'you' would be interested in
receiving such a journal to keep you up-to-date for the discipline.
Further, I would be interested in knowing what printed journals 'you'
think would be worth reviewing for such a project, and if 'you' would be
willing to 'pay' for such a service?
        Thank you for your time.
send replies to my personal address
<AJHYMAN@...>      or      AJHYMAN@UTorOISE.bitnet

N.B.  Many of the people who responded to this post, directed their
comments to the fee-for-service element, HOWEVER, I would like some
suggested titles of journals that should be reviewed by such a service
thanx, AJH


From: <bob@...> (Ezra Tanenbaum)
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 93 09:31:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Consultative mode in Psak

In mail-jewish  Volume 7 Number 74, Steve Ehrlich asked a question
about the distinction between consulting a number of different rabbis
about a halachik question and asking a single rabbi for a pasak.

I would suggest that the difference is whether you are consulting the
rabbis to have them teach you the halachik issues, in which case you can
go to many rabbis until you have a thorough understanding of the halacha,
or whether you are seeking a definitive halachik ruling, in which case
you should ask only one rabbi and then follow his decision.

Similarly, one can see a distinction between speaking informally with
a judge to gain an understanding of the law, and standing before him/her
in court for an official judgement.

Ezra Bob Tanenbaum	1016 Central Ave	Highland Park, NJ 08904
home: (908)819-7533	work: (908)615-2899
email: att!trumpet!bob or <bob@...>

From: Allen Elias <100274.346@...>
Date: 15 Jun 93 13:45:26 EDT
Subject: Consultative mode in Psak

Reply to Steve Ehrlich vol.7 #74

You are allowed to ask another opinion if you tell the second Rabbi what
the first Rabbi said.

The reason someone can not go around psak shopping is because the local
Rabbi is closest and is assumed to know best the people and the

Another reason is the halocha against masig gvul (going into someone
else's territory). The halocha specifically states that one Rabbi can
not issue a psak in another Rabbi's territory.

If the local Rabbi does the 'psak shopping' then there is no question of
masig gvul, since he himself decides who or what is the best psak for
the specific case. Each case is decided on an individual basis.

From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 04:24:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Consultative mode in Psak

Steve Ehrlich asked about the consultative mode in psak.  I confess I
don't really see what the problem is.  There are many questions that
come up in day to day life for which there are no clear rulings in the
Shulchan Aruch.  In such a case the posek or moreh hora'ah has to take
the facts as they are, and his knowledge of the Torah and arrive at a
halachic ruling.  The more complicated the question, the more side
issues are involved.  It is possible to miss something, and therefore
asking other authorities what their opinions are is perfectly
legitimate.  The point is not to "shop around" for a ruling you like,
but to hear different opinions from people you trust before you (the
rabbi) make up your mind as to how to rule.

Above I mentioned the words "posek" and "moreh hora'ah".  Most rabbis
are in the latter category.  They know alot, and are qualified to answer
halachic questions in much the same sense that a medical doctor is
qualified to prescribe medicine.  A posek is someone very special.  I
once inferred that Rabbi A. H. Lapin z"l was a posek, and he corrected
me, saying he was a moreh hora'ah.  I later asked him where one drew the
line and he gave me the following example: He once had to deal with a
question on marriage and divorce.  He thought the problem through and
found reasons to be lenient, but before giving a ruling he wrote a
letter to a collegue outlining the question, answer and reasons for the
answer.  This collegue replied that he personally agreed with the
ruling, introduced additional arguments to bolster it, but he too felt
unsure, and was consulting a third authority.  This third authority also
agreed, and added still other agruments in support of the ruling, but he
too was unsure, so he wrote to Rav Moshe Feinstein z"l.

The story ended there.  I think the point was that Rav Moshe was
regarded by everyone as a final authority.  Such universal recognition
marks one as a posek.  Even poskim consult.  I have seen many cases
where world-renowned authorities write a responsum and at the end add
that the ruling is given only on condition that two other prominent
authorities add their agreement.  One example that comes to mind is the
early correspondance regarding the possibility of selling the land of
Israel during the shemittah year where such a condition was invoked.

> For that matter, what exactly *is* the issur in my
> asking N people a shaila myself?

There is no issur.  The problem is one of how you phrase the question.
If you ask one person, and then decide to go for a "second opinion",
there is nothing that stands in your way (in principle).  You just have
to be careful to tell the second person that you already asked and what
the ruling was.  What will often happen is that the second person will
decline out of respect for the first person, or that he will not openly
disagree for the same reason.  But that is no reason not to ask anyway.
There are exceptions, such as if you see yourself as the disciple of a
particular teacher, you should endeavor to follow his rulings.  If you
have a chief rabbi, or the equivalent, you are often bound by his
rulings.  The most important thing, however, is to face the truth.
Having heard several opinions, which one seems to you most consistent
with the demands of the Torah.  It is often hard to be honest with
yourself when the stakes are high, but in the end that's what it takes.

> 	According to a report in Ha'Aretz of Sunday, June 6th, Prof.
> Ariel Cohen of the Hebrew U. claims that because of various astronomical
> problems, we might be faced with a decision of skipping eight days into
> the future so as to correct the situation.  He says the month is
> 27.321582 days long according to the "star month" but there is a
> difference between the flight of the moon around the earth and the earth
> around the sun which includes angles and so there is a "draconi month"
> (what that means I do not know) of 27.212221 days.  Then there is a
> "anomalist month" of 27.554552 days and a "synod month" of 29.530594
> days and that every 216 years, Pesach moves a day into the summer
> because the averageHebrew year is 12.368267 months.
> 	I hope there are mathematicians and/or astronomists who understand
> what I've written from the article.
> Yisrael Medad
I've got news for you.  The problems listed by Prof. Cohen are relatively
minor right now.  The fact is that if they worry you, then you should 
also worry about the fact tekufat Tishrei as given in many calendars (including
Shana be Shana of the Chief Rabbinate) is wrong by about two weeks.  This 
means that outside of Israel, where the request for rain begins 60 days 
after tekufat Tishrei, is started about two weeks after the astronomical
time.  IMHO the discrepancy is not something to worry about.  We compute 
the tekufot using an approximation that is known to be astronomically 
imprecise, but works well enough for halacha.  Before all of you jump on
me, I can back up what I say, but it is a somewhat lengthy argument.
The real problem is that Pesach does indeed drift into the Summer as a 
result of this approximation.  When Pesach will no longer be in the Spring
as apparently required by the Torah, then we will have to make an adjustment.
Hopefully, Mashiach will come before then.


From: Maurice Tuchman <BM.HCT%<RLG@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 93 16:43:37 PDT
Subject: Re: Frum community in Boston

There is a rather incomplete account of Jewish Boston in the June issue
of Kashrus Magazine that just came out.  While the center of the
community is Brookline there are communities and kosher restaurants in
the suburbs, in Newton, Sharon, and kosher restaurants downtown in
 In downtown Boston there is Rami's, on Winter St. around the corner
from Filene's, which has take-out falafel, kabab, etc. and is under the
Massachusetts Vaad Ha-Rabanim.  Theree is also Milk Street, at 50 Milk
St. and at the Park at Post Office Square, a dairy and veggie place,
under the supervision of Rabbi Dovid Moskovitz of Cong. Chai Odom.  Milk
St. closes around 3.
 In Brookline there is the original Rami's at 324 Harvard St. Rami's is
glatt.  There is Rubin's Deli, at 500 Harvard St., also under the Vaad,
but not-glatt. Ruth's Kitchen, at 401 Harvard, serving Chinese and
Korean meat dishes, glatt, under Moskowitz's supervision; Shang Chai
Delight, newly opened, vegetarian, Chinese and Vietnamese at 404
Harvard, under the Vaad; Cafe Shiraz, Persian and Middle Eastern, at
1030 Commonwealth Ave., under Rabbi Hamoui; and Haim's Deli, glatt, at
1657 Beacon, also under Rabbi Hamoui.
   Newton has a deli, Deli-tizer, at 1134 Beacon, under Rabbi Abraham
Shonfeld, and a sit dwon pizza place, under new management, Suns Pizza,
at 1138 Beacon.  The former owner has a take-out pizza place in
Brookline at the corner of Beacon and Center St., at 1364 Beacon
(although he is making aliyah and the ownership might have just changed
hands).  These are under Rabbi Hamaoui.  The JCC in Newton also has a
kosher cafeteria.
 Brandeis in Waltham has a kosher cafeteria, but only during the school
  In Sharon there is a kosher steak house, King David, in the Sharon
Heights Plaza.
  There are numerous kosher bakeries and markets.  I hope I haven't left
out any restaurants.
   The Holiday Inn at 1200 Beacon, a few blocks from the Young Israel of
Brookline, has some rooms with out electronic locks, but you have to
request one of them.
  There is a book: Guide to Jewish Boston and New England, but it came
out in '86.  There is an update in the works.
  The phone number for the Vaad is 617-426-9148.  If you need more
information you can call me at the Hebrew College Library, at

Harvey Sukenic
Hebrew College Library


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 02:11:36 -0400
Subject: Not Looking On Kohanim During Duchening

The congregation during duchening usually divides into three
modes of action:  a) turns to the rear;  b) lowers their heads;
c) covers their heads with the Tallit.

As far as I remember, (a) is a result of *am-aratzut*, plain and
simple, as well as bad manners.  (b) is proper and decorous.
I, as most in Israel but defintely not all, cover my head with
the Tallit (and it's an opportunity to gather the children in
under).  But what is the source?  Is it custom or otherwise?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 7 Issue 83