Volume 8 Number 52

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Do Berakhot Matter?
         [Warren Burstein]
         [Barry Friedman]
L'imol or Al Hamiloh
         [Jonathan Chody]
Nursing Mothers vs. Baby Formular
         [Rachamim Pauli]
         [Nachum Issur Babkoff]
Women alone with Doctors
         [Rachamim Pauli]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 17:34:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Do Berakhot Matter?

I wonder, did the the Ra'avya consider it unecessary to say "yesterday
was n-1 days"?  If counting without a bracha is not, according to his
view, a mitzvah, there might be no reason not to announce the count
beforehand.  Also, what did he say people should do if they missed a
day, did they have to seek out someone else to say the bracha for
them during the rest of Sefirah?

 |warren@      But the weeder
/ nysernet.org is not *** at all.


From: Barry Friedman <friedman@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 93 14:44:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Hardcopy 

Regarding the hardcopy distribution of Mail-Jewish, I have taken the
liberty of putting the last two issues on the nysernet.org ftp server in
the israel/uploads directory as mj8.15-28.ps.Z and mj8.29-39.ps.Z.  They
are compressed postscript files and do not require any editing, just
decompress and print.

I am not sure what the policy is on this, perhaps someone could let me
know by email.

I would appreciate any feedback on the usefulness of the postscript
version (please look at it before you criticize.)

[I have moved the files into the mail-jewish archive area, they are in:
israel/lists/mail-jewish/Postscript with filenames as given above. All
postscript material will be placed in that directory. 

As far as policy about uploads to israel.nysernet in general, anyone is
permitted/encouraged to upload generally usefull material to the
KNOW. If you don't let either me or Seth Ness (<ness@...>)
know, the file will probably be deleted after some time.



Barry Friedman  


From: Jonathan Chody <jonathan@...>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 16:35:54 +0100
Subject: L'imol or Al Hamiloh

Arthur Roth in issue 23 says the following.

>Specifically, Elliott mentions "al hamilah".  However, the wording "al
>hamilah" applies only when (as in most cases) the mohel acts in behalf
>of the baby's father (or in behalf of the community in the father's
>absence) to perform this mitzvah.  The Gemara specifically tells us that
>the father should say "limol" (not "al hamilah") if he does his son's
>brit milah himself.  Many of the attempts to understand the criteria
>that distinguish "al" from "le" focus on the fact that the language of
>this bracha changes depending on who says it.

It is true that at one point the Gemorah does say that if the Mohel is
the father he should say 'limol' but if not, the Mohel should say 'al

There is a discussion in Pesochim 7a as to the meaning of the word 'al'.
Rav Papi says it refers to an action done already more than it refers to
an action about to be performed. Rav Poppo says that it refers to an
action about to be performed more then it refers to one already done.

Therefore, in reference to mitzvot about to be performed Rav Papi says
one should say 'le' and Rav Poppo says that one can equally, and
therefore preferably, say 'al'.

The Gemoroh asks on Rav Papi from the b'rocho 'al hamiloh' ie according
to Rav Poppo 'al hamiloh' is fine under all circumstances but according
to Rav Papi the b'rocho should be 'limol' ?  The Gemoroh answers that in
this situation 'le' is not the correct thing to say. 'le' implies that
the person performing the mitzvoh is personally obligated to do so. The
mitzvoh of Miloh is the fathers mitzvoh, not the Mohel's . So if the
father is the Mohel, Rav Papi says he should say 'limol' but if not, the
Mohel cannot say 'limol' but should say 'al hamiloh'.

The conclusion of the Gemorroh is not like Rav Papi but like Rav Poppo.
Hence, 'al hamiloh' is the correct thing to say even if the father does
the Bris.

However, to complicate things, the Rambam says lehalacha that the father
should say 'limol' and the mohel 'al hamiloh'.  The Ran in Pesochim
questions this opinion based on the conclusion of the Gemoroh, as above.
(see Kesef Mishna Hilchos B'rochos 11/11 for an alternative p'shat in
the Gemorroh) Those who pasken like the Ramban indeed say 'limol' if the
father is the Mohel but B'nei Ashkenaz say 'al hamiloh' in all cases.

johnny  <jonathan@...>


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Rachamim Pauli)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 17:47:57 -0400
Subject: Nursing Mothers vs. Baby Formular

In Vol 8/4 Elisheva Schwartz writes that nursing should be the preferred
method of feeding babies. I would like to say "kal HaKavod" (great honor
is due her).  I would like to add that only in the case of an alergic
reaction of the child to mother's milk is the artifical formular to be
used. My doctor blames my colitic stomach to the fact that I was bottle
fed instead of nursed.  Furthermore, the Sefardic women are
non-embarrassed by nursing in public. I once went to visit a Rav (now a
big shot in Shass) and the children opened up the door and the Rabbinit
welcomed me in while she was nursing (I was the one not at ease due to
my cultural upbring). During the Yom Kippur War, my wife nursed our
second son -then 5 months old- in the shelter with 7 other families
present, while she held him under a pancho. I think that this solution
could be used in other public places as well and still meet western
cultural standards.
 - Rachamim Pauli


From: <babkoff@...> (Nachum Issur Babkoff)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 10:18:00 +0200
Subject: Pepsi

I would first like to thank Shaul for checking out the sources I quoted.
As you saw from my reference (I wasn't sure whether it was res. 52 0r
54) I was quoting from memory. I still assert that the jist is, that Reb
Moshe was making a Halachic-policy statement, which should be applied,
IMHO in this case as well.

I certainly agree with Issac Balabin, that there are certain area's
which are not strictly halachic, rather policy decisions. In this case,
I assume Issac meant that the Bada"tz had (or should have) weighed the
possibility of causing people to drink without a hechsher, vs. the issue
of immodest advertising and holding concerts on Shabbat. However, did
you consider the real possibility that secularists in Israel would
become so sick and tired of what they precieve as further attempts to
coerce a way of life on them, that they may decide in principle to avoid
foods that have a hechsher?  Look what happened when the public felt
that the Rabbanut was meddling too deeply in matters of marriage and
prayer; there are more and more voices calling for alternative religious
institutions. Alternative, we all know, means recognition by law, of
Reform and other marriages. In the meantime, the court has rejected
these attempts. I fear, however, that it is not too long before they
will begin to have more of an impact.

In general, Rabbis may make policy decisions. The question is, since the
MAJOR means of "checking" any body, is subjecting the decision to the
rules it is subject to, in the case of Rabbis, that means Halacha, how
do we critique policy decisions? Do you suggest that whenever a Rabbi or
Rabbinical body renders a decision based on policy, we follow that
decision blindly? Where the decision is based on Halacha, we can check
it out, and see if the decision conforms with Halacha. Who is to say
that a particular policy decision is correct? A policy decision BY ITS
VERY NATURE should be subject to more scrutiny for two reasons:

1. It has the danger of being arbitrary.

2. It has to do with an area in which the Rabbi does not necessarily
have greater knowledge, than even a "lay person"! What I mean is, that
once you put the various considerations on the table, the question the
Rabbi must answer, is, what will actualy be more beneficial for the
future? To answer that, he has to predict, to a certain degree, what the
possible future outcomes will be! What gives a Rabbinical body more
knowledge than Issac Balabin, Shaul Wallach, Warren Burnstien or Nachum

Therefore, I submit, one should CAREFULY consider the position taken by
ANY Rabbinical body, and especialy decisions based on policy. I have
chosen to represent the other side, because living in Israel and having
some knowledge on the trends here, I have reaced the conclusion that
secularists in Israel are so fed up with religious bodies involvement in
their lives, that they are being driven farther and farther away from
Judaism and religiosity. When you attach kashrut issues to a way of life
in general, there is NO incentive to keep kashrut in principle, as a
first step towards Judaism. I believe that that's what Reb Moshe was
trying to achieve in the response I (mis) quoted, and that Shaul

All the best... 
                                 Nachum Issur Babkoff


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Rachamim Pauli)
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 93 17:47:53 -0400
Subject: Women alone with Doctors

During the past year, I was shown a leaflet published by "Yad Pinchas"
distributed in Bnei Berak. It was given to me by a non-religious fellow
poking fun at the Haredim. The bulletin went on about a man's wife going
to a Gynecologist and being alone with parts of her body exposed where
even a husband should not look. The leaflet also discussed the
possibility of Adultery on the unwitting woman. The phamplet lit up a
red light with me for a number of reasons. 1) I am a paramedic in the
IDF and often work close with doctors. A Frumm doctor once told me how
he was repugnated by the joval behavior of some of the other doctors.
(which I myself witnessed) 2) I took some courses in CCNY with pre-meds
and my wife teaches laboratory classes to pre-meds and many of the
students' behavior and ethical attitudes often leave something to be
desired. 3) An industrial doctor at ELTA Electronics (now retired) used
to require all the new women starting work to completely remove their
bras - while 99% of the doctors do not require such. 4) My wife about a
year ago switched Gynecologists at our sick fund. The doctor requested
her to strip absolutely naked (which is not the usual procedure).
Fortunately our regular sick fund doctor (who happens to be Haredi)
works (at least in the mornings) with his wife in the next room and from
time to time she enters with questions or perscriptions to be signed.
After nbr 4 above, I decided that unless the Gynecologist is female, I
will accompany my wife at all times. One must remember that doctors are
human and one should no put a stumbling block in front of the blind.
 - Rachamim Pauli


End of Volume 8 Issue 52