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Volume 25: Number 400

Tue, 02 Dec 2008

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 15:44:47 -0500
Re: [Avodah] effects of relgious worship on health (fwd)

 I'd vote for a study of saying tehillim versus learning versus prayer
versus gmilat chessed to see how to get the most bang for the buck
Joel Rich
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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 16:24:01 -0500
Re: [Avodah] effects of relgious worship on health (fwd)

On Mon, Dec 01, 2008 at 03:44:47PM -0500, Rich, Joel wrote:
: I'd vote for a study of saying tehillim versus learning versus prayer
: versus gmilat chessed to see how to get the most bang for the buck
: invested.

In true Quantum Mechanical style, there is no way to take a measurement
without influencing the results.

1- You're shifting the act to be al menas leqabeil peras.

2- Perhaps this is the whole reason why berakhah is impeded by counting.
Because HQBH giving something in a way that "shows his 'Hand'" (to use
a poker idiom) requires more zekhus than getting the same thing without
the gift of evidence of His existence.

So, neither the cause or the effect is really the same if the
measurement is being taken.

In <http://www.aishdas.org/asp/2005/01/free-will-and-environment.shtml>
I wrote about the Seforno's shitah that "hichbadti es leiv Par'oh"
was a /preservation/ of his bechirah, in that it kept him from being
influenced by miracles that he was not on a plane to experience.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where
mi...@aishdas.org        you are,  or what you are doing,  that makes you
http://www.aishdas.org   happy or unhappy. It's what you think about.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Dale Carnegie

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Message: 3
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 17:50:05 -0500
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Reading the Ingredient Panel

Harry Weiss wrote:
> I contacted the OU to check if they were dairy or dairy equipment.  (I 
> hightly recommend contacting the OU to get that information rather 
> than relying on the ingredient panel.  They are glad to give out that 
> information.)  They said it was totally pareve, but the manufacturer 
> wanted to change their prooduction in the future and that I should 
> check with them regularly to check on the status.
One of my friends had this conversation with them, and ended up with the 
impression that they want him to go over his shopping list with them 
every time he shops.  Isn't there a hazaka of some sort which would make 
that unnecessary?

david Riceman

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Message: 4
From: T6...@aol.com
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 18:20:54 EST
Re: [Avodah] Surrogate Mother

From: "david guttmann" _david.guttman@verizon.net_ 

>>I would like to get an idea of the current Halachik thinking  about having
children via a surrogate mother? What are the issues?  

Thank you in advance for some insight.<<

David  Guttmann

The issues include:
1. If the surrogate is not Jewish, but the implanted embryo (=ovum +  sperm) 
is from a Jewish mother, is the baby Jewish or not Jewish?   Conversely, if 
the ovum came from a non-Jewish woman but was carried by a Jewish  surrogate, is 
the baby Jewish or not?
2. In the situation where a Jewish couple is infertile and the husband's  
sperm is used to impregnate a surrogate, and if that surrogate is a Jewish  
married woman, is the resulting baby a mamzer, or a safek mamzer, or 100%  kosher?
3.  If a Jewish married woman acts as a surrogate for another  couple, and 
becomes pregnant either A. with her own eggs and another man's sperm  or B. with 
another couple's eggs and sperm (embroyos), is she considered to have  
committed adultery and is she now forbidden to her husband?
4.  If the infertile couple are both Jewish but the wife becomes  pregnant 
using donated eggs (maybe because she had her own ovaries surgically  removed) 
and/or using donated sperm, what is the status of the resulting baby?  If her 
husband is a kohen, is the baby a kohen -- if the sperm came from another  man? 
  Or if her husband is not a kohen but the sperm donor is a  kohen, is the 
baby a kohen?   Is the baby Jewish -- if the eggs came  from a non-Jewish donor? 
 Is the baby a mamzer?  This whole paragraph  technically isn't about a 
surrogate mother but about a couple who did IVF but  not with their own sperms and 
eggs.   (BTW IMO people should not use  donated eggs and sperm, period.  It 
just raises too many halachic, social  and genetic issues.)
5.  If the surrogate mother got pregnant with sperms and/or eggs  from the 
Jewish couple and later changed her mind and insisted on keeping the  baby, what 
is the baby's yichus?  Let's say the surrogate mother  is not Jewish -- is 
the baby Jewish because the genetic material came from  Jews? Or let's say she 
is Jewish -- is the baby the same shevet as the  genetic father (Levi or 
Yisrael)?  Does the baby's status change according  to whether the mother who 
carried it keeps it, or gives it to the contracting  couple whose genetic material 
she carried?
As I said above, I think there are just way too many problems and nobody  
should use a surrogate mother.  And definitely nobody should /be/ a  surrogate 
mother.  Adoption is a better option.  
The question is more bedieved, if somebody was born to a surrogate mother  
and grew up and became a BT, what is his status?
(I think that the mother who carries and gives birth to the baby  determines 
its Jewish status, regardless of the genes, but I don't know all  the teshuvos 
on this subject, there must be plenty.)  

Speaking of surrogate mothers, in the Torah we find that a man would take  a 
second wife (like Hagar) or a pilegesh (like Bilhah and Zilpah) in order to  
produce a child who would be raised by the first, main wife, but then the  
"surrogate" mother remained part of his household, under his roof, married to  
him, and did not go off and live in another family away from her children.   (It 
seems that the mother who thought "I will raise my maid's child on  my knee, 
love him and teach him as my own" -- it didn't turn out that way.   In fact, 
Rochel thought she would raise her handmaiden's children and ironically  exactly 
the opposite happened -- Rochel died in childbirth and Bilhah actually  
raised Rochel's children.)  (Which is probably why Yakov went to live in  Bilhah's 
tent rather than Leah's tent when Rochel died -- the children of the  most 
beloved wife were in Bilhah's tent.)  (So family dynamics get really,  really 
complicated with surrogacy or anything like it -- thus adding sholom  bayis to 
the list of surrogacy issues.)

--Toby Katz
"If you don't  read the newspaper you are uninformed; 
if you do read the newspaper you are  misinformed."
--Mark Twain
Read *Jewish World Review* at _http://jewishworldreview.com/_ 
**************Life should be easier. So should your homepage. Try the NEW 
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Message: 5
From: "Prof. Levine" <llev...@stevens.edu>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 18:29:38 -0500
[Avodah] Humanism in Yahadus

At 04:02 PM 12/1/2008, Micha wrote:
>This is really two questions: intensity and breadth. (1) How often
>does bein adam lachaveiro (BALC) concerns override other mitzvos? (2)
>How rapidly does our responsibility drift off as we get further from
>dealing with unzerer?

Before I make my comments, may I suggest that we write out names. I 
no longer can keep track of who the initials stand for.

Rabbi Dr. Ahron Hersh Fried's essay 
<http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%206%20Fried.pdf>Is there a Disconnect 
between Torah Learning and Torah Living? 
<http://www.hakirah.org/Vol%206%20Fried.pdf>(THE COMPLETE 
ARTICLE)  (Hakirah, Summer 2008) deals to some extent with both of 
these issues in our yeshivas. And make no mistake, the attitudes that 
are put forth in yeshivas are a big part of the attitudes that 
students take with them for the rest of out life.

Yitzchok Levine  
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Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 18:43:58 -0500
[Avodah] Dying al Kiddush Hashem

Rambam, in Maamar Qiddush Hashem (Mosad haRav Kook 1960 edition of
Igeros haRambam pg. 60) writes explicitly that any Jew killed for being
a Jew even if it has nothing to do with conversion, is called 'qadosh'.

In the Warsaw Ghetto, R' Shim'on Huberban, R' Hillel Zeitlin and R'
Menachem Zemba each invokved this Rambam.

Nesivos Shalom based on a R' Zusha and the notion that mitzvos einam
tzerikhos kavanah, writes how someone who doesn't even believe in
Judaism can be part of a national qiddush hasheim even if they themselves
aren't coimmitting a personal one. (Nesivos Shalom, Qunterus haHaruga
Alekha, pp 54-55. This is explained at more length by R' Tamir Granot
at <http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/shoah/12a-shoah.htm>.

(In the next e-shiur,
<http://www.vbm-torah.org/archive/shoah/12b-shoah.htm>, RTG continues
with The Slonimer Rebbe's explanation of how this is a critical part of
making the eventual redemption possible.)

Going from Chassidus to Mussar, we have REED in MmE V pg 348 (also found
via RTA). He writes about the choice of how to accept one's death. And
so a maamin who isn't given a choice of whether to live or die can still
choose a death al qiddush Hashem. (Victor Frankl said something parallel
about meaning in death and suffering in how one chooses to die or suffer.)

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless
mi...@aishdas.org        he was overcome with a spirit of foolishness.
http://www.aishdas.org   Today, we don't do a mitzvah unless we receive
Fax: (270) 514-1507      a spirit of purity.      - Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Message: 7
From: David Riceman <drice...@att.net>
Date: Mon, 01 Dec 2008 18:59:43 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Humanism in Yahadus

Micha Berger wrote:
> I believe we all agree that there is some kind of difference between
> the neshamos of Yehudim and nachriim. After all, there is the whole
> concept comparing a geir to a qatan shenolad, and the acceptance of
> another neshamah.
> OTOH, if I start Shabbos early, do I perceive any less BALC to a Jew
> who didn't yet accept that neshamah yeseirah?
It'll take me time to read the whole post; meanwhile I don't understand 
the relationship between these two paragraphs.  Are dinim BALC dependent 
on the status of people's souls? If so, how are those of us who suffer 
from soul-related blindness to determine our obligations?

David Riceman

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Message: 8
From: Yitzhak Grossman <cele...@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 21:39:45 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Dying al Kiddush Hashem

On Mon, 1 Dec 2008 18:43:58 -0500
Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org> wrote:

> Rambam, in Maamar Qiddush Hashem (Mosad haRav Kook 1960 edition of
> Igeros haRambam pg. 60) writes explicitly that any Jew killed for being
> a Jew even if it has nothing to do with conversion, is called 'qadosh'.

Rambam does *not* say that; in fact, he say *exactly the opposite*!

"And the third category, in the levels of those killed Al Kiddush
Ha'Shem, and those who are forced in the compulsion of Shemad.  Know
that every place that our Sages z"l have said "he should be killed
rather than transgress", if he is killed he has sanctified God's Name,
and if he was in the presence of ten Jews he has sanctified His Name
publicly, like Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and Daniel, and the ten
killed by the government, and the seven sons of Hannah, and the other
Jews who have been killed in the sanctification of God's Name, may the
Merciful avenge their blood soon, ..."

Rambam clearly defines Kiddush Ha'Shem to voluntary giving up of one's

[I have Mossad Rav Kook's second edition of 5747, and the
pagination seems different from yours, so if you're referring to a
different passage, please clarify.  My passage begins on p. 116, s.v.
"ve'hasug ha'she'lishi"]

> In the Warsaw Ghetto, R' Shim'on Huberban, R' Hillel Zeitlin and R'
> Menachem Zemba each invokved this Rambam.

I assume you're quoting from R. Dr. Aaron Rothkoff-Rakeffet, as an
email of yours on Areivim suggests.  A couple of months ago, my
brother-in-law showed me an article of his in Gesher (5745, Volume 9)
in which he quotes Huberband (I have no idea who he is; RDRR identifies
him merely as "[participating] in Emanuel Ringelblum's Oneg Shabbat],
which was a code name for secret documentation work of the Warsaw
Jewish underground movement").

But RDRR *himself* notes that Huberband is apparently misquoting Rambam!

"Maimonides, however, never ruled that the term kadosh could be applied
indiscriminately.  He clearly reflected the Talmudic consensus that it
is only relevant when the Jew had a choice."

Rav Zemba, too, says *virtually the opposite* of what you claim he
says, according to RDRR (quoting an account of Rav Zemba's words of
Hillel Seidman, whom I assume you have confused with Hillel Zeitlin):

"In the present ... Halakhah demands that we fight and resist to the
very end with unequaled determination and valor for the sake of the
Sanctification of the Divine Name."

> Micha Berger             In the days of our sages, man didn't sin unless

Bein Din Ledin - http://bdl.freehostia.com
A discussion of Hoshen Mishpat, Even Ha'Ezer and other matters

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Message: 9
From: "Chana Luntz" <ch...@kolsassoon.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 10:35:44 -0000
Re: [Avodah] Sephardi-ism: some food for thought

RZS writes:

> No, this is not bari veshema.  It's not a personal financial 
> dispute between R Reuven and R Shimon.  R Reuven has paskened 
> that what you want to do is forbidden; but you speculate that 
> perhaps he did so because he wasn't sure.  Even if your 
> speculation is correct, he was presumably aware of R Shimon's 
> reasons for permitting, and nonetheless decided not to.  So 
> if you have a rule to follow his psakim then you must be 
> machmir. 

If you have a rule to follow the psakim of the machmir, ie he is your
Rav, then you are in completely different territory and I agree you need
to be machmir.  

The impact of this interpretation is if you don't.  

Let us say, for example, that I have no tradition to follow any of the
late American gedolim (and/or neither does my Rav).  And on a matter I
find a psak from Rav Moshe and a psak from Rav Henkin.  One is machmir
and one is mekil.  I am certainly not going to put my head between the
mountains and decide whom of the two is greater. And nor does one each
way constitute a majority. Your understanding of the Rashi would
(should) therefore mean that I should cleave towards the makil and away
from the machmir.  Because while it is certainly likely that the machmir
was aware of the other's reason for permitting and nevertheless decided
not to, I am not privy to the full extent of his reasoning.  There could
have been all sorts of extraneous considerations or issues of safek not
alluded in the teshuva.  

On the other hand, the mekil also was presumably aware of the reasons
for the machmir's forbidding, and nevertheless decided to permit.
According to your reading of Rashi's explanation of Koach d'heter adif
then (unless presumably after reading both teshuvos I or my rav are
convinced of the correctness of the machmir position or the
incorrectness of the mekil position), I ought to be following the mekil

> At most, what you have is not a safek but a sfek sfeka.

Not quite sure how you get to a sfek sfeka, but that usually leads to
greater leniency, not greater strictness.
> Where kocha dehetera adif *does* come in to substantive 
> halacha is if you have a new case, and you want to apply R 
> Reuven's underlying shita from the first case and deduce how 
> he would pasken here.  In that case you have to be careful, 
> because you can't be sure that he really holds that shita.  
> Particularly if his shita there leads to a kula here, you 
> can't be sure that he really would be mekil.  Or if the case 
> in which he paskened was d'oraita, and you now have a 
> d'rabanan, then you can't be confident that he'd be machmir 
> here too; if he was sure of his shita then he would, but if 
> he wasn't then maybe he would be mekil here.

All this is true, but as indicated from the case above, only the half of
it. You can just as well, excluding the situation where it is your Rav
or the person you tend to follow's psak (or for that matter the majority
psak) which is in question, apply the rule in a situation where the
cases appear identical to a previously given psak.

And it becomes applicable in even more than a case where I happen to
know that on the question there is a machlokus between Rav Moshe and Rav
Henkin, or any comparable gedolim.  If faced with a machmir psak *from
any gadol whom I would not regard as my Rav or automatically follow*,
surely I am obligated to seek out and determine whether indeed there are
any comparable gedolim who have ruled l'heter.  Because I don't know
that the Rav in question really held l'chumra, maybe he was only holding
so l'safek.  So my job, in the absence of a particular tradition to
follow that Rav, is to "case the joint" and make sure that none of his
equivalents have ruled l'heter.  On the other hand, the reverse is not
true.  If I find a Rav of stature (which would seem to include anybody
whose stature is greater than mine), despite not being my Rav, who holds
l'heter, then unless my particular Rav rules l'chumra (assuming he has
the stature to do so, or perhaps unless I myself have problems with the
Rav's reasoning, depending on the weight one gives to ones own
understanding), I can feel pretty confident relying on that Rav's
position l'heter as being OK, because he would not have poskened l'heter
if he was not sure, ie it is a bari. And I do not need to look any

So on all matters on which we do not have a clear line of tradition from
our personal Rabbaim, then, according to this understanding of Rashi, we
ought to be putting effort into both finding and following piskei
halacha l'heter.  However, this is not usually included as one of the
rule of ho'raah, which is one of the reasons I don't believe this is
indeed what Rashi is saying.

> -- 
> Zev Sero               Something has gone seriously awry with 



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Message: 10
From: "Rich, Joel" <JR...@sibson.com>
Date: Tue, 2 Dec 2008 05:30:39 -0500
[Avodah] R' Aviner on gadol hador status

One person says that this rabbi is the "Gadol Ha-Dor," while another
says that another rabbi is the "Gadol Ha-Dor." Surely some thought that
the Rambam was the "Gadol Ha-Dor" and others thought that Rabbenu Tam
was the "Gadol Ha-Dor." It is even possible that each is the leading
rabbi in a different sense. The Gerrer Rebbe said that there is no need
to find out which holiday is most important. On Pesach - Pesach is the
most important, on Shavuot - it is Shavuot, etc... on each holiday that
one is the most important. So too here, it is possible that there are
different types of leading Rabbis of the generation. Nonetheless, the
students of the Satmar Rebbe consider him the "Gadol Ha-Dor," and others
do not agree. Thus, one is not obligated to greet him as the "Gadol

distribution or copying of this message by anyone other than the addressee is 
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