Volume 8 Number 54

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abortion (3)
         [Leah S. Reingold, Evelyn Leeper, Mandy Greenfield]
Kosher in Washington
         [Simon Streltsov]
M'chaber of "Avodat HaKodesh"
         [Michael Allen]
Making Wills
         [Robert P Klein]
Shehita in Sweden
         [Lon Eisenberg]
         [Zev Kesselman]
Women and the Megilla
         [Anthony Fiorino]


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. Reingold)
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 93 18:05:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Abortion

>Operation Rescue recently passed thru the Cleveland area, leaving in its
>wake several arrests.  If we believe abortion to be asur for non-Jews as
>well as for Jews (shofech dam ha-adam b'adam damo yishafech) [the
>spiller of blood in a person shall be put to death] (B'reishit), then
>are we obligated to join the effort to stop abortion in America?  Or are
>we commanded to be an "Or La-goyim" [a light unto the nations] merely by
>example and not by pressure? 

I was shocked to read this posting.  Halakha is certainly NOT
prohibitive of all abortions.  There are, indeed, times, when halakha
MANDATES abortions, i.e. when the mother's life is in danger and the
fetus is then considered a rodef (pursuer [with intent to kill, in this
case]).  There are other instances when halakha definitely has the
potential to permit abortions, i.e.  in cases where a fetus is shown to
have a problem such as Tay Sachs (and can thus be considered a goses or
a treyfa (depending on the problem), i.e. a person with a limited amount
of time left to live, who is not considered as a murder victim in the
same way as is someone in good health.  Halakha in no way supports the
view that a fetus is a full human life.  In fact, up until the age of 30
days, a dead baby is not buried with full rites.  There are other
possible cases for halakhic abortion, including various threats to the
mother's sanity, etc., but those are very complicated and I do not
understand them well enough to describe them here.

Furthermore, tactics such as groups such as "Operation Rescue" are
antithetical to Jewish morals.  It would be a HUGE chillul hashem
(defamation of G-d) for Jews to participate in that sort of violent
protest of medical services.

In any event, there are all sorts of anti-halakhic American procedures,
medical and otherwise, but as long as Jews are not being forced into
doing them, we have no right to prevent others from exercising their
Constitutional rights, the way I see it.  For example, it may be assur
to be cremated, but we shouldn't just go around storming funeral

Leah S. Reingold

From: <Evelyn.Chimelis.Leeper@...> (Evelyn Leeper)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 10:43:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Abortion

Since my understanding is that under Jewish law, abortion is not as
strictly prohibited as OR would have it, and in fact is at times
required (to save the life of the mother), I think that working with OR
to achieve their ends might not actually be correct.  I also think that
the causing of a miscarriage is *not* considered a capital crime under
Jewish law, hence abortion is (probably) not covered under the rule you

Evelyn C. Leeper | +1 908 957 2070 
<ecl@...> / Evelyn.Leeper@att.com

From: <MGREENFIELD@...> (Mandy Greenfield)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 10:43:20 -0400
Subject: Abortion

I just thought I'd add an aside to the topic of whether Orthodox Jews
have any obligation to actively protest against abortion in the US.
It's my opinion that the separation of church and state runs both ways
-- just as we would not be happy seeing Catholicism, for example, being
codified into US law (I know the argument's been made that indeed we do
not have pure separation in this country, but let's assume for
argument's sake that such would be a desirable goal) we have to
understand that we have many beliefs as a people that are just that --
our beliefs.  Do we have any right "pontificating" to those not even of
our faith, or are there certain issues, one of which I believe to be
abortion, for which we ought keep our personal convictions personal?

Wishing everyone an easy fast,

Mandy Greenfield


From: <simon1@...> (Simon Streltsov)
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 93 21:53:09 -0400
Subject: Kosher in Washington

I can not stop myself from asking:

What about Kosher Kitchen in the White House, that Pres.Clinton had

Simon Streltsov


From: Michael Allen <allen@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 10:43:17 -0400
Subject: M'chaber of "Avodat HaKodesh"

In the not-too-distant past, someone asked for some info on "Avodat
HaKodesh".  According the the ArtScroll book, "The Rishonim", "Avodat
HaKodesh" was written by R' Shlomo ibn Aderes (The Rashba).  The book
is on the laws of Sabbaths and Festivals and was published in Venice
in 1602 CE.


From: Robert P Klein <kl2@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 09:12:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Making Wills

The book "Halachic Implications of Death, Wills & Inheritances", 
edited by Andre Isaacson contains articles on this subject.  It
was published in 1991 and  is available from Response Dynamics
Books, 211 E. 43rd St., New York, NY 10017.


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 10:43:09 -0400
Subject: Shehita in Sweden

As far as I've learned, shehita is NOT illegal in Sweden; there is a law
requiring that the animal first be rendered unconcious, normally not
allowed before shehita (apparently it may cause damage to the brain,
making the animal a terefa).  My understanding is that there is a heter
to do the shehita on the unconcious animal in Sweden, but the brain must
be checked.  I'm not sure if non-Swedish Jews are permitted to rely on
this heter (i.e., to eat meat from Sweden).


From: Zev Kesselman <ZEV%<HADASSAH@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 93 14:08 JST
Subject: Tekhelet

	I'm confused by the whole historical tekhelet controversy.  Can
dyeing with the wrong colorant disqualify the tzitzith?

	If yes, then why would anyone risk dyeing with the wrong stuff?
If no, then what's the big deal; why not at least *try* to get it right?

	Suppose I'm convinced that the "tekhelet" used by the Radzin
chassidim is definitely wrong.  Can I use their tzitzith anyway?

					Zev Kesselman


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 93 10:40:56 -0400
Subject: Women and the Megilla

A few issues ago, we had (I don't remember from whom):

> The Shulchan Aruch says that a woman can be yotze (fulfill the
> obligation of) a man with respect to reading the megilla--based on the
> above noted fact that a woman is also obligated in megilla.
> Nevertheless, the Rama overrules the S.A. and forbids a woman to be
> yotze a man.  I have asked about this a number of times and have never
> heard that there is a lesser obligation on women with respect to
> megilla, which means that an answer that addresses the usual criterion
> of yotze was not forthcoming.  However, there is one answer I've heard
> that does.  Namely, on Purim, when there is no Hallel per se, reading
> the megilla is the "effective" Hallel.  Now women are not obligated in
> Hallel, so they cannot be yotze the "Hallel" aspect of megilla for a
> man.

There is no Hallel on Purim because megilla takes the place of Hallel
(Rambam hilchot chanukah 3:6).  Hallel is a mitzvah shehazman grama and
therefore women are exempt (Sukah 38a, see Rashi & Tosafot there) (this
is true except for the Hallel of leil pesach).  From this reasoning, one
might conclude that they would be exempted from megilla as well.
However, women are obliated because they were part of the nes (miracle)
of Purim (megilla 4a, arachin 3a; rambam hilchot megilla 1:1, shulchan
aruch orach chaim 689:1).  The Rambam does not include women in the list
of those who may _not_ be motze (fulfill the obligation of) a man
(hilchot megilla 1:2); the Shulchan Aruch says that women may be motze
men (Orach chaim 689:2) but also brings down a yesh omrim (others say)
that a woman may not be motze a man.  The Rema there adds another yesh
omrim, that a woman should say the bracha "shomea megilla" because she
doesn't have a chiuv to read the megilla, only to hear it.

The source for this ruling is the halachot gedolot (19), based on a
tosefta in megilla (2:4) which states that a woman's chiuv is to hear,
not to recite.  Tosafot (sukah 38a) further rule that it is disgraceful
to the congregation for a woman to recite megilla.  The Bach (on tur
orach chaim 271 and 675), the Smag (divrei sofrim 4 hilchot megilla),
and the aruch hashulchan (271:2) all agree with tosafot's reasoning.
(These last three are brought down in R. G. Elinson's _ha-isha

So women are prohibited from reading megilla for men based on either a
distinction in chiuv, based on the tosefta in megilla, or on kavod
hatzibbur issues, or both.  The explanation quoted above nicely explains
the tosefta -- megilla is read both as a function of pirsumei nisa
(publicizing the miracle) and as a "substitute" for hallel.  Since women
were part of the miracle of Purim, woman and men are equally obligated
to _hear_ megilla.  On the other hand, women are not obligated to recite
Hallel, so similarly, they have no obligation to _recite_ megilla.

Eitan Fiorino


End of Volume 8 Issue 54