Volume 9 Number 79
                       Produced: Wed Nov  3 19:57:13 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bicycles on Shabbos and Related Issues
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Frost-Free freezers on Shabbat
         [Chaim Schild]
         [Anthony Fiorino]
         [Yaakov Kayman]
Pru Urvu and the 7 Noachite laws
         [Alan Stadtmauer]
         [Alan Zaitchik]
Samaritans (2)
         [Elhanan Adler, Uri Meth]
Shabbos Times in Houston
         [Jack Reiner]
Syrians and Conversions
         [Susan Slusky]


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 19:45:46 -0500
Subject: Bicycles on Shabbos and Related Issues

I don't wish to comment on the precise Halachic details of bicycles on
Shabbos, rather I would like to use this issue to make a related point.
There is a "reductionist" tendency in some Halachic circles, albeit not
necssarily this one, but others, which is, basically: "If you cannot
prove to me what precise definition of pre-established melacha/issur,
etc. this fits into, it must automatically be permissible. In this
regard it is important to note what the Chazon Ish zt'l says about
umbrellas on Shabbos.
        In Orach Chaim 52:6 the Chazon Ish takes issue with the
conventional wisdom, the Noda b'Yehuda, who bans umbrellas on Shabbos as
temporary tents (ohel). Rather, he says, the opening of an umbrella is
similar to "fixing" (tikkun mana), but even that is not a true
comparison. He goes on to state that the reason one is forbidden to use
an umbrella on Shabbos (even where there is an eruv) is because:

        "It is a very public workaday act (avsha milsa / uvda d'chol)
        and causes a breach in the sanctity of Shabbos... The
        determination of which public acts descrate the Shabbos to too
        great an extent is something that is given over to the sages [of
        each generation, obviously - there were no umbrellas, much less
        a prohibition at the time of Chazal] to erect fences in places
        of possible breaches, and such public matters of Shabbos
        sanctity are more severe than any private specific prohibitons,
        because this is a fence for the entire nation for all times.

My free translation. I always understood the severity of a Jew's opening
his store on Shabbos, despite the relative light nature of the ban on
business transactions on Shabbos, as related to the Chazon Ish's
fundamental concept.


From: SCHILD%<GAIA@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 01:40:55 EST
Subject: Frost-Free freezers on Shabbat

This past Shabbas, a friend said his brother heard a Rabbi say in his
drush that Frost-Free freezers should not be opened on Shabbas since it
is certain that a fan will go off. I never heard of this ever in all the
issues with Fridges and motors. Anybody aware of how this added fact
affects the issue??



From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 12:11:21 EST
Subject: Gezeirot

Janice Gelb mentioned

> I have a friend whose father has smicha from YU and in his family, they
> take showers when chag falls on Thursday and Friday leading into
> Shabbat. His father feels the ruling about wringing a towel doesn't
> apply any more because no one nowadays wrings towels when they take a
> shower. (Their water heater is also not a problem because it works in
> such a way as to not violate the rules on chag but don't ask me how!).

I should point out that many rabbis (at least the three I have asked
across a wide spectrum of hashkafa) permit showering over a three day
chag (or is it any chag?), provided several conditions are met -- the
water can't be too hot, one can only wash part of one's body at a time,
one must be careful about one's hair, and in drying off.  Perhaps there
are more conditions also.  The reason showering is permitted in such a
circumstance has to do with the original prohibition of bathing on
shabbat, which if I recall was extended to yom tov as a "lo plug" --
sorry, I don't recall the details since I have not had to use the heter.
Perhaps someone could fill in . . . . Obviously, one should ask their
LOR if showering on yom tov is in the realm of psak halacha.

I have heard the same distinction between gezeirot mentioned by Aliza
Berger (if the reason for the prohibition is given in the gezeira
itself, then the gezeira may no longer apply, whereas if the reason is
given in a different place, then one cannot change the gezeira) in the
name of Rav Schachter, in the context of a discussion of shaving over
chol hamoed.  But even if a gezeira falls into the category of a
"changeable" one, that doesn't mean it *will* be changed -- in the
example given by Aliza, the Rema poskins l'chumra [stringently]. (Or
perhaps the Rema didn't hold by this concept in the first place).

Eitan Fiorino


From: Yaakov Kayman <YZKCU@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 11:19:58 EST
Subject: Re: Hagar

>>From: <dic5340@...> (David Charlap)
>Steven Friedell <friedell@...> writes:
>>It could be that Hagar was the ancestor of the Hagrites mentioned in Ps.
>>83:7 and in 1 Chron. 5:10 et seq.  They were a clan who were enemies of
>Definitely not.  Hagar was from Egypt (Mitzrayim).  She was actually the
>king's daughter.  He gave her to Avraham because he saw Avraham as
>greater than a prince - probably due to his revelation about Hashem and
>Avraham after the bad experience with Sarah.

Before saying "Definitely not," check the commentaries, please. Rashi,
or Ibn (/Even?) Ezra, makes EXACTLY this claim, and states further that
that group of people were called "Hagrim" after Hagar because she was
Abraham's maidservant (and that he was an important person).

Yaakov K. (<yzkcu@...> on the Internet)


From: Alan Stadtmauer <stadt@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 23:48:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Pru Urvu and the 7 Noachite laws

Regarding Art Kamlet's question about the Pru Urvu and the 7 Noachite laws,
I've been given the following answer:

Noachites were obligated in Pru U'revu until Sinai. Since it was not
repeated there, it became applicable only to Jews. See Sanhedrin 59b,
Mishneh LeMelekh to Rambam Hilkhot Melakhim 10:7, and Minhat Hinukh to
the first mitsva.

Alan Stadtmauer


From: Alan Zaitchik <ZAITCHIK@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1993 20:54:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rollerblades

Heather Luntz asked about rollerblades on Shabbat.

Rav Moshe Feinstein once told my father to tell a congregant who lived
several miles from the synagogue that he could come to shul on
rollerblades on Shabbat, provided that the "shoe" was one piece (not
like the roller skates we had as kids where the skates attached to the
shoes, and therefore might come off and be carried by mistake) and not
something one could adjust or fix on Shabbat. I am not sure whether this
was a general psak or specific to a case the details of which I do not

A Zaitchik


From: <ELHANAN@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 05:30:05 EST
Subject: Samaritans

Steven Edell asked about the Samaritans:

>I say they are still considered Jews (as a matter of fact I was told
>that they actively seek out Jewish brides as their people is
>'male-heavy'); he feels that I am "very wrong".

While I do not have 1st hand knowledge, I am a regular reader of their
magazine "A.B. - The Samaritan News" (I index it for the Index to Hebrew
Periodicals Project).

According to a recent issue, there are living today a total of 563
Samaritans, including children (Amazingly, they manage to put out 26
issues a year of their magazine - which contains a great deal of
information on all aspects of their life - including marriage notices)

I have never seen anything to indicate they actively seek "converts" for
any reason. Over the years, I recall only one notice of a marriage
between a Samaritan and a Jewish girl. The article consisted of an
interview with the girl who explained why she felt she had found real
religious meaning among the Samaritans (that non-religious Jews go
looking elsewhere for religious meaning rather than within their own
faith is sad but nothing new)

The Samaritans are a completely independent religious community and are
not considered Jews at all. Actually, the Samaritans were once (at the
time of the Mishnah) considered "half-Jews" (or safek-gerim), but
already at the time of the Gemara they are considered non-Jews. Here in
Israel they have their own religious courts and are not connected to the
Rabbanut in any way.

They have good reason to look for outsiders - not just because of the
male/female ratio but because of their very limited gene pool - but I
don't see any evidence that it is either happening or being actively

* Elhanan Adler                   University of Haifa Library              *
*                                 Mt. Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel          *
*                                 Tel.: 972-4-240535  FAX: 972-4-257753    *
* Internet/ILAN:          <ELHANAN@...>                          *

From: <umeth@...> (Uri Meth)
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 93 14:36:14 EST
Subject: RE: Samaritans

As I understand it, the question of the Samaritans as regards to their
Jewishness was only in question during the Second Temple and during the
period of the writing of the Gemara.  The question was, were they true
converts, or did they only convert because of the lions that invaded
their location in Israel.  However, by the time the Gemara was sealed,
this group of people had reverted back to their old ways, and it was
apparent that their original conversion was not sincere, and therefore
they were no longer considered Jews.

Uri Meth                (215) 674-0200 (voice)
SEMCOR, Inc.            (215) 443-0474 (fax)
65 West Street Road     <umeth@...>
Suite C-100 - Warminster, PA 18974


From: <jack@...> (Jack Reiner)
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 93 9:16:04 CST
Subject: Re: Shabbos Times in Houston

Thanks to all who responded.  I was pleasingly overwhelmed with the
number of responses (approx. one dozen), and this episode has given me a
warm sense of the community of klal yisrael.  I tried to email personal
acknowledgments and thank yous to all responses, but some of my messages
bounced.  Once again, thanks to all.

Regards,                                 | To do justly,                     |
Jack Reiner                              | To love mercy,                    |
<jack@...>                  | And to walk humbly with thy G-D   |
#include <standard_disclaimers.h>        |                       Micah 6:8   |


From: <segs@...> (Susan Slusky)
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 93 14:12:37 EST
Subject: Syrians and Conversions

One of my children is attending a school with a majority of Syrian Jews.
Through her I have learned that Syrian Jews neither perform nor accept
conversion to Judaism. I suppose this applies even to adoptions.  Can
anyone shed any light on this? I this a pan-Sephardi minhag? I don't
think so but I have no specific knowledge.

Susan Slusky


End of Volume 9 Issue 79