Volume 7 Number 87

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bone Marrow Donations
         [Mechael Kanovsky]
Glatt Today and Yesterday
         [Morris Podolak]
House Available in Fair Lawn N.J.
Learning in the Bathroom (3)
         [Elisheva Schwartz, Anonymous, Ezra L Tepper]
Piku'aH nefesh.
         [Bob Werman]
Secular Studies
         [Frank Silbermann]
Women's t'filla group in Skokie
         [Michael R. Stein]


From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 93 22:44:16 -0400
Subject: Re: Bone Marrow Donations

In responce to the question about bone marrow donations, I would like to 
correct some misconceptions. Being a grad student in biology, I am always
looking on the lookout for medical studies that need human guinea pigs.
One study needed stem cells taken from the bone marrow. The pay was good so
I went for it. The procedure is very simple, local anestesia is applied to 
the hip area and then when every thing is nice and numb the doctor inserts
a needle into the hip bone and then draws up the marrow. It is a weird 
feeling and you feel sore for some time (for me it was a day) but it is no
more dangerous than donating blood.
 The gemorah states (I am writing from memory so I can't give the exact
place) "kol hamatzil nefesh echad ke'illu hetzil olam malleh" he who saves
one life is just like he saved a whole world. There are some versions that
add the word "kol hamatzil nefesh echad ME'YISRAEL" i.e. he who saves one
person from the nation of Israel but from the reasons that the talmud brings
it seems to favor the first version.
 From both these reasons, one that it is not at all a dangerous procedure
and two, that there is a mitzva to save any human it would seem that one
has an obligation to do so. Also the way they match up the blood types for
the bone marrow the odds of a jew from the same origin (eastern european
etc.) matching some other jew is much higher than a matching for a non
jew. Also if giving bone marrow was such a graet danger than one would
not be obligated to do it for a jew either.
mechael kanovsky


From: Morris Podolak <morris@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 03:31:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Glatt Today and Yesterday

Warren Burstein writes:

> I have a hard time believing that up to 500 years ago the butcher had
> to shect 20 head of beef in order to get one kosher one, or that the
> health of animals was greater 500 years ago than it is today.

For many years I thought along the same lines, having been told by a 
shochet I know that only a small fraction of the cattle that is shected
today is really glatt.  About eight years ago I happened to speak to a
shochet from Morocco who assured me that over 90 prcent of their cattle
is glatt.  I suspect that the difference in statistics is due in great
part to the difference in the method of raising the cattle: the feed,
the amount of exercise, etc. I wouldn't be surprised if the statistics 
were different 500 years ago.  As Tosfot said about their cattle "the
nature of things has changed".


From: <BITTERE@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 93 23:55:06 -0400
Subject: House Available in Fair Lawn N.J.

Spacious house available for one year rental beginning August 15, 1993
in Fair Lawn N.J.  Owners on Sabbatical in Israel.

Kosher kitchen, furnished, 4 bed room, 2.5 baths.  Spacious yard, quiet.
Easy commute to NY and walk to Orthodox and conservative shuls.  Asking
$1,800 per month.

Contact owner at (201) 797-6748 or reply by email.


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 9:37:20 EDT
Subject: Re: Learning in the Bathroom

Warren Burstein asks about thinking or hearing Torah learning while in the
bathroom.  My impression (I leave the mekorot to others) is that this
is not a problem, for two reasons.
1. The prohibition, as I understand it, is not against learning itself,
but rather against bringing a sefer or other object with inherent
kedusha (sanctity) into an unclean place.  (Tefillin, for example.) 
Therefore, although it strikes one as out of place, such thought would
probably be OK.  (although I think that actually speaking about Torah
would not be permissible, perhaps because the words spoken out loud
have independent kedusha.)
2. As I understand it, our modern bathrooms and better hygienic
conditions put the impure status of bathrooms into question.  (My
impression is that the prohibition was originally in connection with an
outhouse-like facility.) If so, this renders the whole issue a bit of a
safek (ie. questionable).
Elisheva Schwartz
Columbia University Libraries
(no poskining intended!)

From: Anonymous
Date: Mon, 14 Jun 93 01:35:37 -0400
Subject: Re: Learning in the Bathroom

> From: Michael Allen <allen@...>
> >>> What is the basis for the prohibition of learning Torah in the bathroom?
> >>> Is this discussed in the Gemmara?  Is it based on a Biblical verse ?
> The basis is a baraita ("external mishna") quoted by a Tanna in front
> of R' Nachman, as discussed in Megillah 27b.

I've wondered about this issue for a while.  In today's North American
society, many bathrooms are spotless, completely clean-smelling and
generally the complete antithesis of a stinky outhouse.  Once in a while
I use an outhouse (at a friend's cottage), complete with smells and
buzzing flies, and it's certainly an environment in which I wouldn't
want to think of Torah, much less learn or read.  But what if your
washroom is completely the opposite -- and is cleaner and more sanitary
than a typical living-room or even beis-medrash of, say, medieval
Europe.  Should the same rules apply?  I'm thinking about the issue of
not saying a brocha in the bathroom, for example.  If you want to drink
a glass of water and you're in your perfectly clean bathroom (with the
toilet seat down, for that matter), why should you not be able to make
the brocha without taking your glass out of the bathroom?

	- Anonymous

From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 93 23:44:14 +0300
Subject: Learning in the Bathroom

Warren Burstein (mj7#78) writes:

>But what does one do when one is in the bathroom and ones thoughts
>wander from the math book to Torah?  At least my first reaction is to
>remind myself that Torah study is forbidden (oops, but that, too, is
>Torah), and then to wonder if thinking about how it's forbidden to
>study is forbidden (now I'm not just reciting halachot, I'm starting
>to learn).

I'm not quite clear what Warren is thinking about here. Clearly, since
there are many halachot regarding how one must behave while in the
bathroom, certainly one is obligated to remember them and deal with
one's bathroom activities as the halachah specifies. In addition, it
would seem logical that what is forbidden in the bathroom is to delve
into a problem one had, for example, in understanding a particular verse
in the Torah. However, remembering in the bathroom not to study Torah,
or thinking in the bathroom that I better get out in order not to miss
the time for reciting Shma or that I have to go out to purchase
thatching for my sukkah would seem to be permitted.

Let's remember that men go into the bathroom wearing their _tallis
koton_. Since the whole purpose of the _tzitzis_ [fringes] is to see
them and remember the Torah's mitzvos, if -- while in the bathroom --
remembering a mitzvah that one has to do would be forbidden, then one
would logically be required to remove the _tallis koton_ before

Ezra L. Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 04:51:24 -0400
Subject: RE: Piku'aH nefesh.

Years ago I was involved in an attempt to resuscitate an Arab who
drowned [unsuccessful].  At the time, the event achieved a certain
amount of notoriety.

I was approached by a Talmud Hacham who knew I was a physician [I
usually do not work at that profession] who told me, "There is no reason
to kill an Arab but to go out of your way to save his life?  That is
mugzam [exaggerated]."

Does a Jew have an obligation to attempt to save the life of non-Jew?
Does a Jewish physican [I have the Rambam, a man who earned his living
as a physician to Arabs, in mind specifically.] have a special
obligation?  Or only a terutz?

__Bob Werman


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 11:03:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Secular Studies

In vol 7 Num 78 Morris Podolak gave an interesting suggestion
on how the apprpriateness of secular studies might be judged.
Paraphrasing him:

>	If you study Greek literature because you are
>	a professor of Greek and need to publish or perish,
>	then it is part of earning a living, and we can argue
>	about the relative merits of earning a living this way.
>	If you are studying Greek literature in order to better
>	understand the dangers that the Chashmonaim faced,
>	then I would argue that it is part of Torah study.
>	If you study Greek literature because you are enamoured
>	with it, it is bitul Torah. 

Consider this (not so) hypothetical situation:

Suppose I must deal with gentiles in my daily life and would like
to understand them better in order to deal with them more effectively
(e.g. to better understand and predict their behavior).
Such knowledge could make me more effective as a businessman,
but more importantly, it could make me more effective in pursuing
the ways of peace (e.g. by avoiding many unintentional offences).
Doing an anthropoligical field study (living for a while as one of them)
is inefficient and halachicly problematic, so instead I seek insight
into their culture by studying their literary classics.

How would this motiviation be categorized?

Frank Silbermann	<fs@...>
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: <mike@...> (Michael R. Stein)
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 93 11:03:06 -0400
Subject: Women's t'filla group in Skokie

My friend Art Roth, no doubt in his haste to respond, may have left an
incorrect impression about the year-old women's t'filla group in Skokie.

In Mail.Jewish Volume 7 Number 76, he writes:

> Some
> interested women started what they first called a "women's minyan",
> which the rabbi originally gave approval for them to do under the
> auspices of the shul itself.  He later withdrew this permission because
> of all the divisiveness .......

The women in question, mostly, but not entirely, from our shul, began
learning the sources on women's t'filla with our Rabbi over a year before
the group actually began functioning.  It was understood from the beginning
on everyone's part that this was not just a theoretical undertaking, but
rather, it was (should sufficient halachic basis be found) aimed ultimately
at the establishment of a women's davening group of some sort.  (No one
associated with these women, by the way, ever referred to the aim as a
"women's minyan", although the term is often used by those opposing the

The question of the venue of the group was left open at the beginning, and
in learning with the women, the Rabbi made no commitment to house the group
in the shul (thus there was no "permission" to be withdrawn).  Though
approval to meet in the shul has not been given to the Skokie Women's
T'filla Group, we did see the celebration of a Bat Mitzvah a few months ago
with a public reading of Megillat Esther at the shul by the Bat Mitzvah
herself (following the shul's usual Purim ma'ariv service).

There seems to be a concensus among the women I know in the group that not
being identified with a particular shul has actually helped in the group's
growth.  There are regular members from all the Orthodox shuls in Skokie,
as well as some who regularly walk long distances from Chicago and other
suburbs on the shabbatot the group meets in order to participate.

At least one member of the group has net access and may wish to comment
further.  The group's posek is also a mail.jewish-nik.

Mike Stein


End of Volume 7 Issue 87