Volume 7 Number 99

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Apartment in Jerusalem Desired
         [Jeremy Newmark]
Bathroom Learning
         [Ezra Tanenbaum]
         [Hayim Hendeles]
         [Frank Silbermann]
Pidyon of the Villna Gaon
         [Mechael Kanovsky]
         [Joshua Hosseinoff]
Various topics


From: <bm145@...> (Jeremy Newmark)
Date: Mon, 24 May 93 15:45:20 -0400
Subject: Apartment in Jerusalem Desired

WANTED: Small apartment to rent in Jerusalem for around four weeks July/August

If you know of anything available please EMAIL: <bm145@...>


Jeremy Newmark
CIty University, London


From: <bob@...> (Ezra Tanenbaum)
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 93 12:17:49 -0400
Subject: Re: Bathroom Learning

A few principles regarding bathroom activities and holy activities.

The Torah informs us that our holy activities and our bathroom activities
need to be kept separate. It would make an interesting Shabbos morning
discourse as to the philosophical, theological, and psychological
impact of this.

But, that's a different topic.
Certain principles are brought in the gemorra and codified in halacha
that we are restricted from doing holy activities -- including Torah
learning by heart --
1. while engaged in bathroom activities.
2. while anyone within eyesight is uncovered.
   (another discussion is what is considered uncovered.)
3. in a place that smells awful.
4. within 4 amot of human excrement (including babies, but not including
   animal excrement)
5. within 4 amot of a utensil made primarily for elimination or the
   cleanup of elimination, like bed pan, chamber pot, toilets, etc.
   NOTE: this includes a pig's snout !
   This applies even when the utensil is completely clean and fresh
   smelling. However, covering it up may help if it is clean.
   This is why many religious homes have the toilet in a separate
   little room from the rest of the bathroom.
   (It also makes it easier for large families to share facilities.)

It is interesting to me, how much stronger is my desire to learn
during forbidden times like when I am in the bathroom, during the
repitition of Tefilla, Torah reading, Rabbi's sermon, or on Tisha B'Av
than at any other time of the day :-) !!

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: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 93 16:42:15 -0700
Subject: Re: Kaddish

According to Rabbi Yissachar Frand (from Baltimore), although it is
technically permissible for one with living parents to say Kaddish
PROVIDED they have given him permission, one should NOT do so.

He discusses this entire issue on one of his famous Torah tapes.
(Sorry I don't have the address.)

Hayim Hendeles


From: <fs@...> (Frank Silbermann)
Date: Mon, 24 May 93 20:38:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox?

I see no problem with the word `orthodox', even though it was first
applied to us by nonobservant Jews (perhaps as an analogy to its use in
the gentile world).  Breaking the word into its (Greek?) roots, the word
means `right (correct) belief'.  Nu?

I disagree with Bob Werman's suggestion to use `frum'.  `Orthodox'
refers to those Jews who are generally observant.  `Frum' has
traditionally connoted those among the observant who were more pious
than usual.

Frank Silbermann	cs.tulane.edu
Tulane University	New Orleans, Louisiana  USA


From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Mon, 3 May 93 00:54:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Pidyon of the Villna Gaon

regarding the pidyon of the villna gaon, I remember that he at last 
found a cohen with a sefer yuchsin (pedigree ?), a cohen by the name of
rappaport and he was podeh himself at last by a bona fide cohen. This
does not prove weather this is a rabbinic mitzva or a biblical one 
since the gaon was just as "makpid" on one as with the other.
 But I don't think that Pidyon Bechor just like the other "matanot -
kehunah" that don't have to do with sacrafices like trumot u ma'asrot
have anything to do with weather the temple is in exsitance or not. If a 
cohen or a levi would be able to prove that they are indeed what they
claim to be and if the "matanah" would be able to be used "betumah" then
one might be obligated to give these "matanot to this individual.


From: Joshua Hosseinoff <hosseino@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 93 21:24:34 -0400
Subject: Shemot

In Volume 7 Number 93 Arnold Lustiger

>Aside from the issue of the wisdom of Menahem Porush's action, if the
>psak is correct, one should have no problem with disposing of Time
>magazine with David Koresh's signature, Biblical Archeology Review, etc.

Rabbi Porush was quoting from the Rambam Hilcot Yesodei Hatorah
[Foundations of the Torah] 6:8, which says: ...Apikoros Yisrael shekatav
sefer Torah sorfin oto 'im haazkarot shebo [An heretical Jew who wrote a
sefer Torah, we burn it with the name of Hashem in it.] and then the
Rambam states: Aval 'Oved kochavim shekatav et Hashem gonzin oto [But an
idol-worshipper who wrote the name of Hashem we hide it (i.e. put it in

So I hardly think that David Koresh and Time Magazine qualify as
heretical Jews.  They probably fit in as idol worshippers.

An unrelated question: I remember hearing at a shiur that since the
goyim have censored the Rambam so much that we can't tell for sure when
he writes 'Ovdei Kochavim [idol worshippers] whether he really wrote
idol worshippers or just plain non-jews.  Anybody know about this?

Joshua Hosseinoff   --   <hosseino@...>

[I'm pretty sure that there is an edition of the Rambam available that
is based on a manuscript that had notes on it from the Rambam. I think
it is put out by Machon HaRav Kook in Israel. That edition would clarify
any such questions. Mod.]


From: Applicom <benavrhm@...>
Date: Sat, 5 Jun 1993 22:44:18 +0300
Subject: Various topics

in v7n62 Elly Lasson and Jonathan Wreschner ask about hashem sfatai tiftah
said out loud as part of hazarat hashats.

The custom is based on the tosefta of rabi yohanan that appears in masecet
bracot, daf dalet amud bet and again on daf tet amud bet. Rav Ashi says
there (rough translation:) "...because the rabbis put this verse in, it
is considered an extension to the tfila (i.e. an integral part of the
tfila and not a hefsek)." If it is an integral part of the tfila as the
gemara indicates, then some people apparently think it should be said
out loud just like any other part of the tfila.

Saying this posuk out loud is a very old custom among the sfardim and
teimonim whose roots (the custom's that is) are lost in the dust of

in v7n63 Leon Dworsky asks about disqualifying cohanim who are not
shomer mitzvot from bircat hacohanim.

The above correctly states the halaca as "a Kohane was disqualified for
only four reasons - he was a murderer, an idol worshiper, an apostate or
the congregation hated him."

Since this is in fact the halaca, any rabbi who would not allow a cohen
to say bircat hacohanim because the cohen is not shomer shabat would
himself be in violation of the halaca.

Here in erets yisrael is is very common to see cohanim who are not
shomer shabat saying bircat hacohanim, especially since our custom is
to say bircat hacohanim every day.

Why then do we intuitively feel this is wrong? The answer I have heard
(sorry no specific sources) is that the cohen serves as the tsinor, the
pipeline for the braca that comes from Hashem. It is not the cohen himself
who is the source of the braca, which comes *despite* the cohen. After
all, what the cohen says is "v samu et shmi al bnei yisrael v ani avarcem",
you will put my name on bnei yisrael and *I'll* bless them (not you).

Furthermore, it makes no sense whatsoever to *prevent* a person who is
not shomer mitsvot from performing a *very* important mitsva.

(The above is paraphrased from an English language source I read last
summer while a guest of R. Ephraim Feinberg in Boston. Sorry I don't
remember the title.)

in v7n63 James Harper asks about goi shel shabat. You can hire a goi or a
Jew for that matter to "work" on shabat under the following conditions:

1. If you hire a Jew, the "work" involved cannot (obviously) involve
   any violation of the shabat.

2. If you hire a non-Jew, the statement of work must be made is such 
   a way that you don't ask the goi ON shabat to do anything that is
   a violation of shabat. The goi must know before shabat what to do.

3. In either 1 or 2 above, the contract must be made up so that the
   payment received is for work done during the week, not on shabat
   and the person doing the work on shabat does so as a favor or
   as a condition for retaining his employment during the week.

4. The contract is drawn up by a competent halachic authority who
   knows the pitfalls involved in such contracts.

(sorry, no sources this time)


Jonathan Ben-Avraham


End of Volume 7 Issue 99