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Volume 09 : Number 081

Thursday, August 22 2002

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 10:57:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hakhel Bulletin <hakhelusa@yahoo.com>
Hakhel pre-Pesach 5762 issue

Volume II, Number 4
Nissan 5762

1. Melacha on Yom Tov During Bain Hashemashos. During the period of
bain hashemashos (between sunset and nightfall) there is a halachic doubt
whether it is still the previous day or whether the night that belongs
to the next day has already begun, since at any given moment (unknown to
us) during bain hashemashos the switch from one day to the next occurs.
It is a Melacha D'oraysa to do work on one day of Yom Tov if you derive
benefit for it only on the next day (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 503).
If work is done during the bain hashemashos period, it is possible that
the melacha done on one day of Yom Tov will result in benefit only on
the next day. This constitutes a sofek Issur D'oraysa.

Accordingly, one must refrain from doing any Melochos D'oraysa during
the bain hashemashos period on Motzei Yom Tov, which includes Motzei the
first day of Yom Tov to the second day of Yom Tov , as well as Motzei
Yom Tov Sheni. Included in this prohibition is cooking, boiling water
for hot drinks, heating up baby food, carrying keys, books or machzorim
in a Reshus HaRabim and the like, all of which would be forbidden during
this time. One should similarly refrain from smoking or kindling candles
during bain hashemashos.

Many people are unaware of this prohibition, incorrectly assuming that
any melacha of "ochel nefesh" is permitted on Yom Tov even during
bain hashemashos. If you have any particular shaila regarding bain
hashemashos, please consult with your Rav.

2. Shatnez Alert. In this clothing-buying season, IT IS ABSOLUTELY
IMPERATIVE that you check with your Rav or Posek as to which
Shatnez-Checking Center is acceptable to him.

3. Your Tefilah Is Not Too Small! The Mesilas Yeshorim (end of
Chapter 19) writes that one should never say about himself "Who am
I that my tefilos should be answered to bring an end to this Golus?"
Instead, one should daven for the Geulah with kavana, for it may be
your very tefilah that brings the Geulah! Rav Shimshon Dovid Pincus
Z'tl in Sh'arim B'Tefilah (page 94) in fact writes that Tefilah does not
change nature or create miracles. Tefilah is simply the natural manner
of modifying nature, built into creation in the same manner as grass,
trees, fish and animals.

4. Over the Counter Medications. Is Tylenol kosher?

Advil? Mylanta? Pepto Bismol? Rabbi Dovid Heber, Kashrus Administrator
of the Star-K, has performed his own research relating to "over-the-
counter" (OTC) drugs. You may obtain a copy of his findings by
contacting the Star-K at 410-484-4110.

Not all Rabbonim may necessarily agree with Rabbi Heber's specific
conclusions. Additionally, product ingredients may change at any time.
Because many over-the-counter drugs are not kosher, you should consult
with your Rav after learning more of the facts relating to each particular
OTC drug.

5. Special Kashrus Alerts. Among the scores of extremely valuable
consumer alerts published in the most recent issue of Kashrus Magazine
are the following:

* Marganit & Mastiks (Mastix) Chewing Gum, manufactured by Atlas
(Jerusalem) bears an unauthorized claim to be certified by Rabbi Moshe
Yehudah Landau of Bnei Brak. These products are being exported overseas.
Wherever you are located, if this product is being sold in your area,
please contact Kashrus Magazine at (718) 336-8544.

* Mehadrin Clementines are a product of Israel and are being sold in
the New York/New Jersey area. The word "Mehadrin" is no reflection on
the quality of the kosher supervision; it is [merely] the name of the
company in Israel-Mehadrin-Tnufort. The supervision is by the Chief
Rabbinate of Israel. These [products] are from shemita produce relying
on the heter mechirah of the Chief Rabbinate. The company is going to
be sending a wide variety of other fruits here shortly.

6. Consumer Alert-Tevilas Kelim. We have been advised of two separate
incidents in which two different hardware/houseware stores in Brooklyn
with an (unsupervised) mikva offered to tovel an item for a consumer at
the point of purchase. (See Bulletin Volume I, Number 3) The owner
sent one of his akum employees to the in-store mikva to "do the job".
Please note than an Adult Jew should either perform or observe the
performance of this mitzva after purchase, and not before.  
NOTE: In fact, one should not purchase a gift, tovel it and then present
the gift "pre-toveled," as the item requires immersion only when in
possession of the one who intends to use it for food. An immersion
performed when there is not yet a mitzva to do so has no validity.
(See Teshuvos V'Hanhagos, Yoreh Deah 1:452).

7. Putting on Tefillin. Consider which of the following you would do when
wearing the "Crown Jewels" which the King, because of His love for you,
permits you to wear for 45 minutes each morning:
* Put them on quickly without reflecting on what you are about to do,
and without even looking at them.
* Shorten the 45-minute opportunity by arriving 5-10 minutes late for
your fitting.
* Forget that you are wearing them, and start joking around with friends
or engaging in idle conversation.
* Take them off 5-10 minutes early because you are late for an
appointment, work, carpool, etc.
* Fail to constantly check them to make sure that they are properly
* Leave them unattended in the back seat of your car.
* Carry them under your armpit or in a swinging position parallel to
your thighs.
* Kiss and examine them as you take them out, and then, having proper
kavana and appreciation for the opportunity, place them in the proper
position (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 25:5; 28:3). Demonstrate your
reluctance to remove them by saying a chapter of Tehillim or learning
for a few extra moments while still wearing them, then kiss and study
them as they are put away.

8. Walking into Shul. Consider which of the following you would do when
walking into the King's Palace:
* Walk in talking to a friend whom you just met outside.
* Speak or yell loudly enough to be heard for some distance across
the Palace.
* Tell your friend already in the Palace a new amusing joke.
* Wear your most comfortable sneakers and casual clothing-why get
"dressed up" to see the King?
* Enter fully "armed" with your beeper or cell phone on.
* Arrive 5-10 minutes late for your scheduled visit to the Palace.
* Walk swiftly and with alacrity to the Palace and enter with humility and
contrition, sensing the grandeur of the place, that this is a mikdash
me'at, and realizing that the kedusha to be taken out is directly
proportionate to the kedusha being put in.

9. Borchu at Maariv. Once one has responded to Borchu at Maariv, he
has entered B'emtza Haperek of Kriyas Shma, and can no longer speak,
finish a sentence, finish another line of Gemara with his chavrusa or do
anything except daven (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 236:1, Mishne Berurah
Seif Katan 1). If one will sit down for Maariv, he should do so as
quickly after responding to Borchu as possible, since it is forbidden to
specifically sit down for the Shma of Maariv (just as it is forbidden to
specifically stand up for the Shma of Shachris), as this would demonstrate
an intent to follow the opinion of Bais Shammai, which is not the halacha
(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chayim 63: 2, Mishne Berurah Seif Katan 5-8).

10. Study the Cereal Box. When we were younger, many of us would study
the back of the cereal box to learn new and fascinating facts or get
information on the latest toys. As we grow older, we should be studying
the side of the box-i.e., the ingredients. New cereals are being produced
for which the brocha requires a shaila, a phone call or even research.
Do not let your child simply make a shehakol or mezonos on all cereals.
Besides the fact that the brocha you are permitting your child to make
might be a brocha l'vatala, or a b'dieved, you should also be teaching him
your concern for a brocha and your integrity in mitzvos by looking into
the proper brocha before eating something. We would like to acknowledge
and thank Lieber's Products for including the proper brocha for the
cereal it manufactures on the box. We hope many other companies will
follow suit.

11. Double Reward. The Chofetz Chaim (Sefer Chofetz Chaim, Aseh 8)
writes that if one speaks negatively about an older person who is also
a chacham, he has violated the Mitzvas Aseh of V'hadarta two times.
It follows then, that if one shows the proper respect for an older chacham
(such as standing up for him in his presence), he has actually fulfilled
the mitzva of V'hadarta twice.

12. Im Yirtzeh Hashem. Rav Moshe Sternbach, Shlita, in his last
teshuva in Teshuvos V'hanhagos (Volume 3; Choshen Mishpat 481) brings
the fascinating opinion of the Maggid of Kelm that, when recognizing
one's dependence on Hashem Yisborach, one should say "Im Yirtzeh Hashem,"
rather than "B'ezras Hashem." The reason is that B'ezras (with the help
of) would seem to indicate that you have your own independent power which
Hashem would merely augment. In fact, all is done only B'irtzos Hashem,
only if it is Hashem's Will that it happen-because all is dependent on
Hashem's will.

13. Welcoming Committee. The Chinuch in Mitzva 431 and the Chofetz Chaim
in Sefer HaMitzvos HaKatzar (Mitzvas Aseh 61) write that included in the
mitzva of Loving a Ger is to show our love to strangers and to those who
come from another city or country to live with us. (We note that the
Minchas Chinuch there learns that this is not actually the mitzva itself
of Loving a Ger, which is limited to a convert, but rather a mussar
application of the mitzva.) A beautiful innovation has begun in some
shuls, a "Welcoming Committee" whose task it is to greet and inquire as
to the needs of any new person who appears in shul. Some blocks also go
out of their way to warmly welcome their new neighbors. Yashar Kochachem!

Try to add your Shul or your block to the growing group of those who
are diligent in this special mitzva.

*        *        *
Note: We received a very positive response to our prior Bulletins and
we thank all those who have given us chizuk in this matter. If you
would like a copy of one or all of our prior Bulletins please send a
self-addressed, stamped envelope for each Bulletin requested to Hakhel,
1327 East 26th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11210

A current Hakhel tape list is available by calling 718-252-5274.

*        *        *

Do you know about something important you would like to make your
community aware of? Is there something you would like to help your
community with? Let us know by writing to Hakhel at the address above. The
Hakhel Bulletin will B'EH appear periodically, as necessary. Thank you.

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 15:07:18 -0400
From: Turkel Eli <turkel@icase.edu>
subjective truth

 From Rabbi Ari Kahn - Moray Ha-aish
parshat Shoftom

The Gaon of Vilna (Kol Eliyahu section 227, page 89 and Divri Eliyahu page
80) has a different explanation, which resolves this conflict and takes
us to the very essence of the concept of truth. The Gaon cites a Midrash:

   Rabbi Shimon said: "When the Holy One, blessed be He, came to create
   Adam, the ministering angels formed themselves into groups and parties,
   some of them saying, 'Let him be created,' whilst others urged,
   'let him not be created.' Thus it is written, Love and Truth
   fought together, Righteousness and Peace combated each other (Psalms
   85:11). Love said, 'Let him be created, because he will dispense
   acts of love.' Truth said, 'Let him not be created, because he is
   compounded of falsehood.' Righteousness said, 'Let him be created,
   because he will perform righteous deeds.' Peace said, 'Let him not
   be created, because he is full of strife' What did the Lord do? He
   took Truth and cast it to the ground. Said the ministering angels
   before the Holy One, blessed be He, 'Sovereign of the Universe! Why
   do You despise your seal? Let Truth arise from the earth!' Hence it
   is written, Let truth spring up from the earth (Psalms 85:12)"

   Rabbi Huna the Elder of Sepphoris, said: "While the ministering
   angels were arguing with each other and disputing with each other,
   the Holy One, blessed be He, created him. Said He to them: 'What can
   you do? Man has already been made!'"
   (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 8:5)

The Gaon explaines that the very creation of man is dependent on
"truth taking a beating." Had man been accountable to the level of
truth which exists in heaven, then man would be unable to justify his
existence. Rather as the verse in Psalms states Let truth spring up from
the earth (Psalms 85:12).

              AN ISSUE OF TRUTH

There is a level of truth which originates in God's mind, and is
operational in the heavens. Man is not accountable for this pristine
level of truth. In order to create man, truth needed to be flung to the
ground, to earth. Truth is now in the domain of man.

Thus, the House of Judgment will determine truth. This is what Rabbi
Yehoshua meant by "it is not in heaven." Once the Torah was given to man,
man determines what is truth.

When the Torah commands us to follow the court it states:

   According to the sentence of the Torah which they shall teach you,
   and according to the judgment which they shall tell you, you shall do;
   you shall not deviate from the sentence which they shall declare to
   you, to the right hand, nor to the left.

The Sages determine what is right and what is left, what is right and what
is wrong. Adherence to the sages is necessary on a practical/pragmatic
level. According to the Vilna Gaon, it goes beyond that -- the words of
the sages are words of truth.

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 10:55:44 -0400
From: David Riceman <dr@insight.att.com>
Re: Chata'im Velo Chotim

Gil Student wrote:
> I saw a ma'amar Chazal that seems to contradict Beruriah's famous statement
> of chata'im velo chotim.
> In four places in the Sifrei (on Devarim 13:6, 17:7, 22:21, and 24:7) it
> explains the phrase "uvi'arta hara mikirbecha" as "ba'eir osei haraos
> miyisrael" (destroy the doers of evil from Israel).  Although, you could be
> meyashev bedochak that it is only talking about those who refuse to do
> teshuvah.  Perhaps a simpler yishuv is that this is a tizvuy to the beis din
> and teshuvah does not stop a beis din from punishing someone.

R. Hirsch Isenberg Z"L once told me that Bruriah's statement must be understood
as a drash rather than pshat becuase of the dageish in the teth in chataim.  He
said that the form (there must be a technical term in English - Ibn Ezra uses
gezeirah) means a person with the profession of sinning (as in gamalim, camel
drivers, or, more interestingly, gaal yisrael at the chathima of the third
bracha of K"SH).

David Riceman

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 11:16:05 EDT
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Chata'im Velo Chotim

In a message dated 8/21/02 10:35:07am EDT, gil@aishdas.org writes:
> I saw a ma'amar Chazal that seems to contradict Beruriah's famous statement
> of chata'im velo chotim.

See Gitin 7a and Tos. D"H Hashkeim.

Ksiva vChasima Tova v'Kol Tuv, 
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 15:18:33 -0400
From: "Gil Student" <gil@aishdas.org>
Chazarah in Mishneh Torah

Is it possible that the Rambam changed his mind while writing the Mishneh
Torah and did not go back and change his original opinion? I know that
Mishneh Torah was written over a long period and that each book was
"published" (i.e. copied by talmidim) right after it was finished.
But since the Rambam made corrections based on she'eilos why wouldn't
he make corrections based on his own decisions that he was mistaken?
Yet, I've found respectable sources suggest that a contradiction from
an earlier book to a later book -- one that can be found even in later
manuscripts of Mishneh Torah -- is due to Rambam's having changed his
mind while writing the MT. Should I take this suggestion seriously?

Gil Student

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 13:52:57 EDT
From: Phyllostac@aol.com
liDovid Hashem Ori....not universally recited in Ellul-Tishrei holiday season

WRT to the query about saying liDovid Hashem ori...... from Ellul until
the latter part of Tishrei -

Siddur Eizor Eliyohu ('al pi nusach HaGR"A') says that it is not said -
that it is an addition al pi the Ar"i and not a part of the original
nusach Ashkenaz. So nusach haGR"A would not say it.

Also interesting is that others omit it as well. Someone recently told
me that Bobov'er hassidim omit it (entirely I believe) - R. AF or R. MS
- can you confirm ? A friend also just told me that KAJ in Washington
Heights (at least - presumably this would be at KAJ branches, e.g. Monsey,
Paramus too) does not say it - although it is in the Rodeleheim siddur
he says (anyone know about this ? - RRW? RMP?)

I also have heard that some places only say it in the morning (I believe
such is the minhag of Yeshivas Telshe based upon the minhag of the town
Telshe in 'der alter heim').


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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 15:20:34 -0400 (EDT)
From: Arie Folger <afolger@ymail.yu.edu>
Re: liDovid Hashem Ori....not universally recited in Ellul-Tishrei holiday season

On Wed, 21 Aug 2002 Phyllostac@aol.com wrote:
> Also interesting is that others omit it as well. Someone recently told me 
> that Bobov'er hassidim omit it (entirely I believe) - R. AF or R. MS - can 
> you confirm ?


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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 13:54:17 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Jonathan Baker" <jjbaker@panix.com>
siddur RY Emden

From: "Ira L. Jacobson" <laser@ieee.org>
> Phyllostac@aol.com made the following statements:
>> 2) It is interesting that the siddur is labeled 'nusach Sefard', while 
>> Rav Yaakov Emden himself was a misnageid who basically davened nusach 
>> Ashkenaz (with some variations based on his personal shitos, IIRC).

>> It is one of the ironies of history that the 'siddur Rav Yaakov Emden' 
>> is most (overwhelmingly comparitively) popular among hassidim, a group /
>> movement RYE opposed...
> As explained on page III of the introduction, the most popular version of 
> the Ya`avetz Siddur--Siddur Beis Ya'aqov--was first published in 5664 
> (1904 CE) in two versions, Ashkenazi and Sefaradi.  Since the Ya`avetz 
> explained many concepts based on Qabbala, it was primarily the Hasidic 
> community that sought after and appreciated these explanations.

I've heard (and others have as well, from the list) that RY Emden wrote
in his introduction that he wrote his siddur for Nusach Ashkenaz, and
that it was assur to reprint it with nusach Sfard.

 From what I've seen of the commentary, RYE seemed to be trying to do
for Nusah A what the Arizal had done for Nusach S: construct a set of
kavvanot to apply to the text. Thus, printing it in nusach S is not
only useless, but counterproductive: the kavanot won't apply correctly.

I suspect that, given, the suppression of kabbalah in the Litvish world
in the 19th Century, the audience that could still understand RYE was

   - jon baker    jjbaker@panix.com     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:04:45 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@netvision.net.il>
RE: Kotel Kam on Shabbos

> already Shabbos in Yerushalayim. Has anyone heard or does anyone know of
> possibl problems with using this to view pictures of the kotel while it
> is Shabbos where the pictures are being taken?

Problems in Yerushalayim or the US?

IIRC we discussed the Yerushalayim problem a few years ago as part of a larger
discussion on security cameras and shabbos, which shifted to a discussion on
electronics and shabbos melacha.


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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:00:44 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: elu v-elu

On Tue, Aug 13, 2002 at 11:02:44PM -0400 (v9n45), R' Yosef Gavriel
Bechhofer reposted his "Good Chumros?" essay.

There is a bit of taxonomy in it that I didn't follow.

: Chumros for the Thinking Person
: In broad terms, we can identify four categories of chumros:
: 1.  Based on halachic issues.
: 2. Based on ahavas Hashem.
: 3. Based on yiras Hashem.
: 4. Based on separation from gashmiyus.

I can't figure out a definition of yir'as H' as a motivating factor that
wouldn't be identical to ahavas Hashem or to separation from gashmi'us.

If you're talking about a RAEK-like definition of yir'ah, of gilu
bir'adah with your child on your shoulders at Simchas Torah, then
you're speaking of fear of ruining the relationship -- which sounds
a lot like the perishah of #4.

Whereas if you're looking at yir'ah in terms of awe for HQBH then you're
again seeking the closesness listed in #2.

I guess what I'm saying is that I see #2 as an imperative PULLING to
HQBH, an "asei tov", and #4 as PUSHING from (and not just gashmi'us,
kavod and ka'as too), and don't know where #3 fits.

I would also explore whether anyone uses "ba'al nefesh yachmir" exclusively
for type 4 chumros. This would indicate a naran-eque usage of "nefesh" --
somone trying to master that part of his soul that is basically mamal,


Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:12:31 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Female Rabbis: yet another data point

Another maqor to help find the line between trusting your wife's decisions
in the kitchen and having a female LOR...

In IM Y"D 4:26, R' Moshe allows a geir to be a mechaneich. Even a Rosh
Yeshiva or menaheil, who have the power to accept, reject or expell
students, is not more in a position os serarah than a boss at work and
therefore RMF allows a geir to accept that too. But not a mashgi'ach
lekashrus, as that pits the mashgi'ach against the business owner.

In contrast, in Y"D 2:44 RMF allowed a widow to take over her husband's
hashgachah position.


Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:15:24 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Machshavah vs Ma'aseh

Anyone have a rationale for why planning to do a mitzvah, without even acting
on it, gets sechar, but planning a cheit and not doing it gets no onesh?

Yes, it's middas Rachamim that set things up that way, but what's the
mechanics of it? How does one make more of a roshem on the gavra than
the other? (Assuming "chai gever al chata'av" means that the cheit
causes the onesh, as per RCVilozhiner and many others.)


Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 17:19:43 -0400
From: Zeliglaw@aol.com
Re: Hahkel bulletin

Some hearos:
1) teaching Torah to non-Jews-what about Chumash? how does one do so in
the workplace when many comments are made in an informal, watercooler
setting, as opposed to a formal classroom?

2) why is Tosefes Shabbos dependent solely upon a verbal declaration?
IIRC, RHS once stated that this was the shitas HaLevush which was not
accepted by Rov HaPoskim.

Steve Brizel

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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 21:24:23 +0000
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
The "nature" of heavenly fire

When R' Yonasan learned, there was fire overhead that burned any birds that
flew by. (Reenacting the fires of ma'amad har Sinai?)

However, Tosafos (Chagigah 15a) quote a Y'lmi in which R' Eli'ezer and R'
Yehoshua' attend the beris of the son of Avuyah. But they sat in one house
learning while everyone else was in another house having a more mundane
se'udah. Avuyah saw fire descending from shamayim to RE and RY and
asked them: Did they came to burn his house down?

They replied that he had nothing to fear, as this was not normal fire,
but fire caused by the simchah of their learning.

IOW, this fire burns birds, but not people or property?

Or was Avuyah supposed to know somehow that his two guests didn't produce
the same amount or kind of fire as R' Yonasan's learning? And if it was
different in kind rather than quantity, how and why?


Micha Berger                 "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org            heart, with your entire soul, with all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org       Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (413) 403-9905          It is two who look in the same direction.

Go to top.

Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 18:03:16 -0400
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Gerim as shul president

 From Andy Levy-Stevenson on Areivim:
>> Is anyone familiar with the idea that a ger (convert) may not
>> be a shul president?

From: Akiva Atwood [mailto:atwood@netvision.net.il] 
> I've also heard that a ger
> couldn't take leadership positions in a community.
> I don't know if this applies today, when we don't have 
> kehillot like they used to have in europe/EY/mizrach.

See Rambam Hil. Melachim 1:4.  The halacha is learned from the din that one
cannot have a melech who is a ger, and this is expanded to all positions of
authority (even the person who is appointed to oversee irrigation ditches!).
This halacha is derived from Yevamos 45b and Kiddushin 76b.

The next halacha in the Rambam says that this halacha applies to women.  That
is why many poskim say that a woman may not be the president of a shul.  I've
heard that there are those who permit a women to be a shul president (anyone
know who?).  I don't know whether they would permit a ger to be shul
president.  (If the reasoning is that the Rambam has no source in the gemara
for the halacha regarding women, then this reasoning would not apply to gerim
as there is a Talmudic source for geirim.)

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 3:35 +0200
Klei gever

Both the BACH on TUR YD 182 and the TAZ YD 182 s"k 4 indicate that if
(actual) wearing of other-gender clothes by men or women is NOT for idui
and kishut but simply for protection from the weather, then there's no
issur of lo yilbash. Similarly, Sefer haChinuch 331 specifies that the
issur is "she'derech ha'anashim B'OTO HA'MAKOM" [caps mine]; thus,it is
a relativistic issur. Since women in the West do drive (and do this to
protect themselves from the weather), I can't see how there can be an
issur for women to drive a car.

BTW this svara works in reverse: there would be an issur for a woman
to drive a racing car (a la Indy 500) since this is 99.999% a male


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Date: Wed, 21 Aug 2002 22:10:06 -0400
From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@bellatlantic.net>
women drivers

Can anyone confirm the substance of the following citation about an
issur for women driving cars from Harav Eliyashiv?

"Rather, Rav Lerner tells me that he personally heard from Rav Elyashiv
that it is usser for women to drive because of lo yilbash. Rav Lerner
expressed surprise, and Rav Elyashiv explained that this isser does not
apply only to clothing, but to anything within the male's province to
do. Rav Lerner then noted to the Rav that in fact, many women drive,
and in some neighborhoods, even more women drive than men. Rav Elyashiv
responded that if that was the case, then in those neighborhoods, it
would be okay for women to drive."

Is it really possible to formulate a position where there is a torah
issur for a woman in some neighborhoods to drive, but permissible for
women in other neighborhoods? What about an apartment building or,
even, a family with such a custom. Can custom confer a torah issur on
its violation? Conversely, if a custom has developed in a neighborhood
which contravenes an earlier prohibition (e.g. women driving) and now
makes such driving permissible, what about other sociological changes
such as women not covering their hair? I do not mean to resurrect the
long debate on the latter subject in Avodah. I am simply attempting to
understand the viewpoint attributed to Harav Eliashiv.

Yitzchok Zlochower 

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Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 15:41:06 GMT
From: kennethgmiller@juno.com
re: Lo sosur and 'even if they tell you left is right and right is lef t'

I wrote <<< If ... Lo Sasur can apply to various Batei Din but not to
individuals, then Real Semicha is then meaningless except to make a
person qualified to be on a Beis Din, but he has no other authority. >>>

R' Mordechai Phyllostac answered <<< R. Miller seems to worry that this
leaves no basis for any type of Rabbinic authority. I think that is not a
concern, as there are other bases for such authority and there is no need
to quote 'lo sosur' for it. >>>

Such as?

It is my feeling that if I feel the halacha in a certain case is A, and a
Tamid Chacham feels/says/paskens the halacha is B, then in *general* I
would be foolish to ignore his opinion. But am I *obligated* to follow

I will define my terms: Suppose that (for whatever reason) I am quite
certain that I am correct and the chacham is mistaken, and I am prepared
to act according to my own understanding. I think we'll all agree that I
am taking a serious risk, because if *I* am the mistaken one, I will have
violated the halacha in question.

But the real issue here is: are there any *other* halachos which I'd be
violating? If no other halacha is at risk, then I do not see the
situation as one where I am "obligated" to follow the chacham. But if
there exists some other halacha which would be violated by my
disobedience, then I am indeed "obligated" to follow his psak.

And if that other halacha is not Lo Sasur, then what would it be?

RMP also wrote <<<  If one says that lo sosur applies on opinions
rendered by 'rebbes' in a Yeshiva/ school/ cheder, Rabbis of Shuls/botei
midroshim (many of whom are not really roui lihora'ah [also recall 'ki
rabbim challolim hipilo' and divrei Chaza"l on it]), so would  posuk
17:12  mandating the death penalty for wantonly disobeying them apply too
? If not, why not ? >>>

At one point in my life, I did think that both Lo Sasur and said death
penalty applied to the p'sak of all such people. My current understanding
is that neither applies nowadays, because we don't have Real Semicha.

R' Mordechai Phyllostac continued <<< As I stated before, citing lo sosur
to students who have may have doubts (possibly for good reasons in which
they are more correct than their 'decisor') about things a Yeshiva rebbe
(esp. low-level one) / Rav, etc., tells them, is not only wrong, it is
foolish and dangerous. Correct and on-target Torah decisions can stand
on their own feet without such 'help'. Such tactics, unfortunately used
by some, are, IMHO, dangerous to Torah, ultimately backfire and should
have no place in proper discourse. >>>

IF I understand this correctly, then I wholeheartedly agree with it. I
would just like to say that it applies not only to blatant cases where
someone says "I'm your rebbe and you better do what I say or you'll go
to hell!". We also have much more subtle situations, which are similarly
"foolish and dangerous".

Specifically, I am speaking of the popular belief that once one's LOR
paskens for a person, then this *becomes* the True Halacha for that
person, whether l'kula or l'chumra. There ain't no such animal. Many will
point to Yoreh Deah (siman 242, I think) but that only speaks about the
kavod which chachamim have to give each other, and not to overrule each
other when they pasken on a SPECIFIC OBJECT being assur or mutar. Nowhere
does it talk about a person who asked his rabbi what the halacha is in
a given SITUATION.

Yet, I have often been shmoozing with friends, and a certain situation
comes up in discussion. One will say, "My rav paskened it's assur",
and another will say "My rav paskened it's assur." Now, let's not go
into the sad or gleeful tones of voice which they used in making these
comments. That's a separate problem. My focus in on the fact that these
people have been led to believe that each has been taught his respective
Will Of G-d, not subject to appeal or change except by consent of the
rav involved.

Each will go on his way, following that psak even if he learns the inyan
more deeply and understands many reasons to the contrary, or if he learns
of many major poskim who pasken the other way, or if his circumstances
change so that it really shouldn't apply any more. I have frequently
heard people describe themselves in these situations as "stuck"; that
for better or for worse, he is "stuck" with this psak.

Just as R' Mordechai recommends that students should not be led towards
going overboard on the psak of a low-level rebbe, I believe this should
be told to the masses as well, regarding *any* psak given in a situation
where Lo Sasur does not apply. Namely: You are a Jew, and HaShem gave
you a brain to use in His service. Give proper weight to the psak of the
person who answered your question. He knows more than you and is probably
correct, but he is not infallible, nor are you obligated to follow him
if Lo Sasur is inapplicable and you believe him to be mistaken. Keep on
learning, and find the Emes that Hashem has waiting for you.

Akiva Miller

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