Volume 8 Number 4

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Emergency in Baltimore
         [Bob Klein]
Los Angeles & Tisha B'Av
         [Yisrael Medad]
Nestle boycott
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Participation of Atheists and Tinuk Shenishba
         [Frank Silbermann]
San Francisco
         [Steve Edell]
Tinok she'nishba and Birkat kohanim
         [Bruce Krulwich]
Yam Shel Shlomo
         [Saul London]


From: Bob Klein <KL2@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1993  08:21:47 EDT
Subject: Re:  Emergency in Baltimore

The problems being experienced by the Talmudical Academy of Baltimore have a
familiar ring.  The Hebrew Day Institute, which is in the Washington DC area
and which my daughter attends, has a similar problem stemming from similar
causes.  This makes me wonder whether other day schools are experiencing
these problems.   I am the Treasurer of HDI for the coming year and I would
be interested in obtaining ideas on how to guarantee a day school is being
run in a fiscally sound manner.  If this is not the proper forum for such a
discussion, perhaps someone could point me to one that is.


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 93 04:33:24 -0400
Subject: Los Angeles & Tisha B'Av

A close acquaintance (and neighbor), Dr. Yeshayahu Bar-Or, will
be attending a Water Conference in LA from just before Shabat
Chazon 'til after Tisha B'Av.  He'll be staying at the Hyatt
New Porter.
If anyone can let me know for him where is the nearest Orthodox
Synagogue, Kosher eatery, possible Shabbat hospitality, we'll
be grateful.
Please contact me, Yisrael Medad, through the list or directly:
Shiloh, Mobile Post Efrayim 44830 or 2-942328 or Fax: 2-753760.

Yisrael Medad


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 11:12:25 EDT
Subject: Nestle boycott

The whole parsha of infant formula, both in third world countries, and
even here in the U.S. is a schande.  I, for one, support a total
boycott of ALL of these products--while it is wonderful that such
things are available for the very small group of children who can't be
nursed, the wide-spread use of this artificial and clearly inferior
food is a terrible thing.  
The question, of course, is why?  I, personally, think that we should
follow the lead of the World Health Organization, which has, finally
implemented an educational and counselling program to both encourage
all mothers to nurse there children, AND to forbid hospitals that
receive WHO money to give out free formula to new mothers--would that
such a practice were in place in this country as well.  
So, rather than worry about whether or not to buy formula X, let's do
everything we can to encourage, and facilitate, nursing for ALL mothers
and children.  (One concrete and simple step--every Shul and Simha hall
should have a clean and pleasant nursing room.  I, for one, have had to
sit in the grungiest bathrooms, or even stand up {try it sometime!)
while attending weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. I have even had Haredi women
tell me that nursing isn't tsniusdik!--in large part because there is
so often no place to go with a hungry child).
The frum community really ought to be taking the lead in this area.
Elisheva Schwartz


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 93 07:46:51 -0400
Subject: Participation of Atheists and Tinuk Shenishba

Danny Wolf and Anthony Fiorino have discussed the propriety of
permitting an admitted atheist to participate in various aspects of the
religious services.

Though I have not seen any halachic writings on this issue, Rv. Abraham
Isaac Kook st"l provided some facinating views on atheism in today's
world in his essay, "The Pangs of Cleansing" [_Abraham Isaac Kook_, a
selection of his works translated by Ben Zion Bokser, ISBN
0-8091-2159-X, p. 261-269].

However, I hesitate to reproduce this 8 1/2 page essay in full, and I
fear that a few quotes taken out of context would not do his essay
justice.  Is anybody else familiar with this essay willing to provide a

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


From: <edell@...> (Steve Edell)
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 93 12:55:25 IDT
Subject: San Francisco

On Monday, Jun 28th, <rotha@...> (Arthur Roth)
asked about Shabbat in the San Francisco & San Jose area.

Last year I needed to be in the SF area during Shavuot, and after
checking around, took the very good advice of a friend and spent it in
San Jose.  The Orthodox congregation there (I forgot the name; see the
person's contact name below) is a young, vibrant congregation, very
friendly, and I enjoyed meals at several different homes in the

As a friendly "warning" - if you do decide to stay in San Jose - almost
ALL the congregants 'break bread', ie, say Motze, the same way: The
blessing is said, the bread is cut & distributed, and only when everyone
has a piece of bread, does the person who said 'Motze' then eat, then
everyone eats.  It's a very nice custom that their Rav started, but for
guests, a lot of times they get "caught". :-)

The contact person who will find a place for you to stay is:

     (Mrs.) Pat Bergman
     1822 Comstock Lane
     San Jose, CA  95124
     (408) 264-3138

Please give her my regards (P.S. - she's a Shadhanit).

I found out later that there are some other Orthodox communities up &
down the coast, but I was told there is nothing in San Francisco proper;
maybe someone else will post more info on this.

About Kashrut, I remember one kosher "Israel-style" place in Oakland
that they knew about in San Jose, good food, pretty cheap, I'm not sure
if that's the name you had in your post or not.  Besides that, most
supermarkets in the general area have kosher (frozen & non-frozen) food.

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


From: Bruce Krulwich <krulwich@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 14:12:35 -0400
Subject: Tinok she'nishba and Birkat kohanim

Danny Wolf wrote:

> I don't think an atheist can make brachot or prayer since those acts are
> bereft of any element of avodat hashem.  That is my opinion only and
> although I am thoroughly convinced of it, I have no sources of proof for it.

Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTz'L has several Teshuva's [responsa] in Igros
Moshe about Brochas [blessings] from non-religious Jews and
anti-religious Jews (e.g., OH-3 siman 12, also OH siman 22).  While the
issues are complex, there at least exists a category of Jews called
"kofrim" (literally "deniers") who through their actions demonstrate
lack of belief in Hashem.

For such Jews, Brochas are "diburim b'alma" ["words of the world"], and
they do not have proper meaning attached to the name of Hashem and the
idea of a brocha, so they are not considered Brochas at all.  I believe
R' Moshe's words are "birkoseihem eino brochos" or something like that.

Rav Moshe says explicitly that it doesn't matter if someone is a tinok
she'nishba [lit. "captured as a baby"] -- the bottom line is that their
Brochas are not Brochas.

However, someone who is involved in Torah and Mitzvos in some tangable
way, even if they are Mechalel Shabbos B'Farhesia, are not in the
category of "kofrim," and their Brochas are considered Brochas.  It
appears that this qualification is R' Moshe's chidush, and that previous
sources discussed the issue in terms of all people who are Mechalel
Shabbos B'Farhesia, but I'm not sure about this.

I believe that this issue is addressed in the Mishna Berurah, in terms
of people who are Mechalel Shabbos B'Farhesia, and is based on Rambam,
but I haven't seen either of these in the originals.

Take care,

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich


From: <saul@...> (Saul London)
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 93 08:50:51 -0400
Subject: Yam Shel Shlomo

>I think that the apparent inconsistency between the diameter and 
>circumference of the Yam Hamutzak [ Molten Sea - a huge laver in
>the first Temple ] can be resolved as follows :

The postings on this subject reminded me of a gematria told to me by my
brother-in-law, Bernie Pinchuk, professor of mathematics at Bar Ilan.
It concerned the difference between the way the word "kaveh" is written
and pronounced in the verse describing the dimensions of yam shel Shlomo
(Kings I, 7:23).  It is written koof vav hey, with a miniature vav, and
pronounced koof vav.  The values of these letters in gematria are
koof-100, vav-6, hey-5.

I asked him to remind me of the details.  Here is his response.

Professor Bernie Pinchuk:

The Biblical value of pi as expressed in the dimensions of "yam shel
Shlomo" is 3.  The gematria of "kaveh" (the ktiv) is 111.  The gematria
of "kav" (the kri) is 106. the ratio of 111/106 "equals" the ratio of
pi/3.  (In fact, the ratio 333/106 is an excellent approximation to pi.)
That is the gematria I once told you.  The gematria is well known and
mistakenly attributed to the Gaon of Vilnah. Actually it was discovered
by a man named Munk, a teacher in England, and he published it in one of
the Jewish journals (I apologize for not having the reference at hand).

The gemara in "eruvin" states that the ratio between the circumference
and diameter is 3, and quotes the pasuk in "Melachim". The real interest
is why the gemara (actually Mishna) gives us such information which is a
mathematical fact. Even more difficult is why the gemara subsequently
asks "menah haneh mili" how do we know this, and then, even more
astounding, the Gemara answers "Myam shel Shlomo".  Why back up a
mathematical fact with a pasuk and not a proof or a reference to the
mathematicians?  The answer is that the mishnah is giving us a HALACHA.
In halachic matters, we should calculate things like "tchum shabat" or
size of a succah part using pi=3. Now, the gematria sort of comes to say
"yes, the pasuk teaches us the halacha that pi=3, but also recognizes
that the true value is different".

Finally, the Perush Hamishnayot LaRambam in Eruvin (I'm sorry I can't
cite the location, but it is in the first or second perek.) states that
the value of pi given is not exact, but that is because of the nature of
the number (he must have been referring to it being irrational) and not
because of our inability to compute it. This is also very interesting,
because it was way before pi was known to be irrational.


End of Volume 8 Issue 4