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Bais-Medrash V2 #49

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Mar 22, 2001, 12:41:55 AM3/22/01
Bais-Medrash Wednesday, March 21 2001 Volume 02 : Number 049

Bais-Medrash is an open forum for discussion among those with a solid Jewish
education. Opinions and Halachic positions represented herein are not
necessarily those of anyone but the writers of the respective posts, and
have not been checked or verified in any way by Project Genesis.

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Re: Napster
Kiddush Before Shacharis
Spelling of Perel
Re: Napster
Re: Napster
Re: Mummies
Re: Used Book Source
Re: Ein Mikrah Ba'Olam
Re: Used Book Source
Re: Mummies
Nivul Peh
Re: Napster
Re: Separate Seating At Weddings
Purim Trivia
Medical Issue
Re: Women and Chazal


Date: Sun, 25 Feb 2001 21:32:17 +0300
From: Michael Wolohov <>
Subject: Re: Napster

The things I write here are only my thoughts without a halachic base. All
these questions with reproduction of an information look like somebody
would buy a car for $3000 restricted to use only 1-3 gears, and if he wants
to use 4 and 5 he must pay another $2000. If you sell me a hammer you
cannot restrict me from working with particular kind of nails depending on
price. If you don't want me to work with your hammer don't sell it to me! A
question here is very difficult because no particular real thing is stolen.
A question here is whether intellectual property is to be property. And if
not then the one thing remaining is not to break another jew's "parnosa".
And certainly it doesn't matter to non-jewish business.


Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 20:43:12 EST
Subject: Kiddush Before Shacharis

Does one say kiddush if he eats before shacharis on shabbos morning? i.e.
the zman of kiddush is really after shacharis, but that is because you
really can't eat by shacharis! So if one does (e.g. he's sick or old) does
he say kiddush or not?

Yehuda Goldsmith


Date: 26 Feb 2001 17:13:16 EST
From: Ron Judenberg <>
Subject: Spelling of Perel

Does anyone know the correct Hebrew (Yiddish) spelling of Perel? It is
needed for a headstone for a grave, and no one is sure. We do not have a
copy of her Ketuba to look at.

Ron Judenberg


Date: Mon, 26 Feb 2001 23:23:48 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <>
Subject: Re: Napster

Norman Gross in Bais Medrash Volume 2 Number 45 in a long posting on
Copyright issues and Napster states:
<<...This is an area where I don't think that normative halacha has caught
up with the rapid advances in technology. Decades ago, there were arguments
concerning incandescent light bulbs. It took a while for the halacha to
shake out until Orthodoxy accepted that lightbulbs (as well as phones,
microphones, etc.) and even fluorescents were a serious halachic problem,
with the gedolim eventually unanimously accepting that these were assur,
though there were different paths to that unanimous conclusion. >>

belief that Halacha, by a trained mind, skilled in methods of inference,
can deal with anything modern. Allow me to give a few examples:

* If I destroyed my friends IOU I cannot argue that I only destroyed a
piece of paper--rather although I have not physically damaged him,
nevertheless I have CAUSED damage and a CAUSER of damage must pay (Rambam
Torts Chapter 7).

* If a woman broke an engagement with me AFTER I paid the caterer I can sue
her since she CAUSED DAMAGE. Furthermore she cannot argue that it was my
business that I made the party since it is the custom to make wedding
parties when getting married. (Rambam Gifts Chapter 7)

* The law of the land is binding; more specifically even a nonjew can
stipulate that he sells items with a (C) on condition that they not be
resold and this is binding on Jews. (The right to arbitrarily stipulate in
monetary matters occurs in many places).

Although I have not fully answered Norman's question nevertheless I have
showed that Jewish Law fully supports modern concepts such as selling
conditionally or responsibility for causing damage.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is Simple; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/judaica.htm


Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 12:49:52 EST
From: "Dr. Donald J. Weinshank" <>
Subject: Re: Napster

Copying copyrighted material is gnevut! The thought that anybody would
justify copying from non-Jews while forbidding copying from Jews stuns
me. Whatever became of 'dina d'malchuta dina?' ("The law of the land is
the law.")

Anecdote: I was once davening one Shabbat morning in an [O] shul in another
city. Two guys sitting behind me spent all of the time from birchot
ha'shachar through the beginning of the Torah service gleefully recounting
how they had stolen software.

I finally could not take it any more. I reached into my tallit bag, where I
keep a business card for identification purposes in case I lose the bag,
and handed it to them. "Mot'zei Shabbat, I would be happy to discuss this
issue with you."

They had the goodness to shut up afterward, but I heard later from the
friends with whom I was davening that the story got all over the shul, and
I was not reviewed in the most flattering light.

Dr. Don Weinshank


Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 14:03:46 -0500
From: "Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz" <>
Subject: Re: Mummies

"neil fleischmann" <> wrote:
<<...I was wondering if I could ask you a question from an old parsha. Why
did Yosef order to have Yaakov's body mummified in Vayichi? doesn't this go
against Judaism? this was bothering me and I haven't heard any good

I remember several answers off hand that probably interrelate.

1. Yosef did not want his father's body to be treated as an avodas zara.
Once the Egyptians had seen that the body did not decay (because he was a
tzaddik) they would have treated it in that way.

2. Since the body was to be transported to Meoras Hamachpela, it had to be
treated in order (b'derech teva) not to decay during the trip. Since the
body was carried, the time of the trip was limited to a normal walking pace.

3. The body was not mummified in the way the Egyptians normally did so.
That is, they did not remove all the internal organs and the blood and
store them separately. I do not remember if it was the Rambam or the Ramban
who deals with this issue, though I incline towards thinking that it was
the Ramban. I do not have a Ramban handy to look up the subject.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz -


Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 14:05:50 -0500
From: Michael Hamm <>
Subject: Re: Used Book Source

In BM V2 #46, Steve Albert <> wrote about <<a source of used
Judaica, so here it is: Frankel's Hebrew Bookstore, 4904 16th Ave. <snip>
11204-0111; telephone 718 851 7766.>>

I've never been, but my understanding is that the YU Seforim Sale offers
used books. See <URL:> (or, more generally,
<URL:>); if you haven't Web access, ask me next
January to get the info on the Sale for you (the Sale is each February).

Michael Hamm BA Math scl, PBK, NYU |


Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 22:06:18 -0000
From: "Laurence Shore" <>
Subject: Re: Ein Mikrah Ba'Olam

In BM V2 #42, Jonathan Mishkin <>asked where the
phrase Ein Mikreh B Olam if from. He couldn't find it in Jewish
sources. That's because it is not Jewish:

There is no such thing as chance - Aristotle Physics
There is no such thing as an accident - Mary Eddy Baker
There are no such things as accidents - Sigmond Freud

As for everyone have a limited number of words (which he also inquired
about), my wife says Shai Agnon in his story Tehilah.

Laurence Shore, Ph.D.
Kimron Veterinary Institute


Date: Thu, 01 Mar 2001 18:10:52 EST
Subject: Re: Used Book Source

Michael Hamm <> writes:
<<I've never been, but my understanding is that teh YU Seforim Sale offers
used books....>>

YU does have a wonderful seforim sale, and the inventory is listed on-line
- -- but they don't ship, you have to go there in person.

Steve Albert


Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 18:53:29 -0500
From: "James Turetsky" <>
Subject: Re: Mummies

"neil fleischmann" <> wrote:
<<...I was wondering if I could ask you a question from an old parsha. Why
did Yosef order to have Yaakov's body mummified in Vayichi? doesn't this go
against Judaism? this was bothering me and I haven't heard any good

I can't think of any good "pshat" but practical logic dictates that because
of the long delay with the burial Yosef should have done that. Here are the

1. The Jewish law says that a person should be buried as quickly as
possible (same day). In case of Yaakov it couldn't be done because he had
to be buried in Eretz Israel.

2. The Egyptians considered Yaakov to be a deity. The moment he came to
Egypt the famine stopped and the country again enjoyed prosperity. So they
had only 2 years of famine instead of seven. Thus after Yaakov's death
Egyptians demanded to have a long mourning period. Yosef couldn't prohibit
it for some reasons (and I would be glad to learn them! Perhaps Yosef
feared to provoke Egyptians into thinking that Yaakov is a human and so is
Yosef himself, who had yet to govern the country for some time).

Thus as a result of the long delay with the burial since the body of Yaakov
couldn't withstand decomposition Yosef chose to allow it out of honor to
his father.

I find this argument "reasonable", however many arguments in favor of
issues that violate halacha are "reasonable". The written Torah doesn't
talk about this specific case, it's a fact from a Midrash. One could also
argue that laws of burials are given in Devarim 21:23 long after Yosef
lived. Well, surely if every Jew observed every mitzvah the history would
be different.

Thank you.
James Turetsky


Date: Thu, 1 Mar 2001 16:58:37 -0800
Subject: Nivul Peh

I am doing a paper on the prohibition of nivul peh (foul language). If
anyone knows of any sources or halachos regarding the subject it would be
much appreciated.

Tuvia Kohn


Date: Fri, 2 Mar 2001 09:24:29 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <>
Subject: Re: Napster

Rav Dovid Cohen was quoted as saying that copying all music is permitted
and nonJewish software is also permitted.

As this is different from what I've heard from many people, I would like to
ask Rav Cohen if this is what he says. Did anyone see this in print, or ask
him directly? Or is it "I heard in the name of........"?



Date: Sat, 3 Mar 2001 20:04:10 -0000
From: "Laurence Shore" <>
Subject: Re: Separate Seating At Weddings

I intentionally do not cite sources when addressing this board as someone
interested in an halachic discussion can read the extensive literature on
the various topics, e.g. several excellent articles on copyright at and I do not wish to misrepresent the sources which can
not be fully explained on a bulletin board. I submit articles to halachic
journals if I wish to discuss sources.

Bnei Banim I Rav Yehuda Henkin
Siman35 Sitting in weddings and other places
Siman 36 The Bach's souce on Simcha BMonoh
Siman 35 Dancing and if cicle dancing involves lo tikrav or yahrog v lyavor
Tanchumin Vol 20. Marks- Separate seating at weddings

Rabbi Aaron Hersh "Aubrey Hersh" <> wrote:
<<You will - I hope - forgive me for this, but I am amazed that separate
seating should be termed a frumkeit (with the underlying suggestion that it
is over the top). The Bach in Even Haezer (62) writes that where males and
females are seated in the same room you cannot recite one of the sheva
brochos (she'hasimcha bim'ono). In fact the kitzur shulchan aruch writes
the same (149)...>>

Only the kitchur shulchan aruch adds the word to be watchful. The BACH does
not indicate any warning or isur. He is trying to explain an unusual custom
in Krakow where they only said shehhasimcha bimonono on the first day
(shabat in Krakow) and not on the other days. (They always got married on
Friday in Krakow to save the poor people from extra expenses.)

The original source is safer hasidim which is not brought to the Shulchan
Aruch. (Certaintly no one follows the safer hasidim as we would not be able
to say sheveh brachot at weddings when the bride is not appropriate for the
groom, etc). The Lavush brings the custom and states in our time where men
and women are in normal contact the custom is to be disregarded. If the
BACH disagreed with the Lavush, he would have stated something.

Now one can make very intelligent arguments for a mechitza at weddings
especially if you live in a society with limited contact between men and
women or that today women dress less modestly than the time of the Lavush
but this a logical argument and to make it sound like a certified minhag or
halacha is not correct.

<<...Untrue. There are 3 obvious issues in women's dancing:..there may very
well be women who are immodestly dressed and looking at them is a biblical
prohibition...being stimulated to improper thoughts...the strong chance
that singing will accompany the dancing (especially at a wedding) which
would make it an absolute prohibition - either biblical or rabbinic.>>

I trust everyone knows that we can't even gaze at a women's finger. The
poskim make it quite clear that gazing is not the same as looking. There
is no difference between looking at women when dancing than otherwise
looking at women if it is incidental. (Separate circles are therefore a
logical consequence.) There is a whole literature on the Rebbi dancing with
the bride with a kerchief.

As for Kol Eeshah, it is not clear at all if there is any issur at all when
a group of women sing with men especially in a religious setting. If you
want Chumrahs, I can think of a lot of chumrahs you could start with rather
than this.

Laurence Shore, Ph.D.
Kimron Veterinary Institute


Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 01:58:35 -0500
From: "James Turetsky" <>
Subject: Purim Trivia

I wonder if anybody can shed any light on the following Purim connection:

As we all know Moshe Rabbeinu was born on 7th of Adar. We also know that he
was born already circumcised. However, had he not been circumcised, he
would have a brith millah on 15th of Adar, which is a day when we celebrate
Purim in Jerusalem (a walled city at the time of Megillah).

Is there a connection between the two events: Moshe being born circumcised
and Purim in Jerusalem? Are there any mystical insights?

Thank you.

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Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 18:06:12 -0500
From: David <>
Subject: Medical Issue

My name is David and I am senior at a Jewish High School in California. I
am doing research on the following topic below and I would like your
opinion. Any other resources or web sites would be helpful. Thank you very
much. The following prompt contains a fictitious disease (Worthington’s
Disease) invented for the purpose of this assignment.

Alan Gold and Marcy Silber are both 24 years old and engaged to be married.
You are their rabbi. At your suggestion, they agreed to be tested for Tay
Sachs disease. No one in either of their families has ever lost a child to
Tay Sachs, but it seems important for them to know if either of them is a
carrier or if they both are.

They go for the test and discover that, although neither of them is carrier
­ and that there is, therefore, neither any chance that a child of theirs
will have the disease nor even the possibility that their offspring will be
carriers ­ they discover that Alan is carrying the gene for Worthington’s
Disease, a degenerative condition of the nervous system for which there is
no cure. Worthington’s Disease strikes men only, but it strikes with deadly
force in a man’s mid ­ 50’s and, within a year of striking, causes
blindness, dementia and, eventually, death.

Because the disease has been definitely proven to be capable of manifesting
itself in people who are the children of single carriers (example: unlike
Tay Sachs), there is a one in eight chance they will be carriers. Also,
there is no way to know if Alan himself will or will not get the disease.
His chances are also one in eight.

Alan and Marcy have come to you for advice. They want to be married despite
the diagnosis. Alan will have to take his chances and Marcy is ready to
stand by his side no matter what happens thirty years down the line. Their
question for you has to do with children. There is, of course, no guarantee
that any of their children will have the disease or be carriers. On top of
that, the disease only strikes men and they may not have any sons.
Furthermore, we are talking about a disease that only strikes men in their
mid ­50’s and Alan and Marcy aren't even married yet…so we are talking
about a situation that will develop, if it ever develops, in about sixty
years, when there very well may be a cure for Worthington’s. (There is a
foundation doing research on the disease right now.)

Alan and Marcy have been advised that they should not conceive children in
the normal way, but only through a medical procedure so that only
fertilized ova proven not to be carrying the Worthington’s gene will be
implanted in Marcy’s uterus. Any fertilized ova that are shown to be
carrying the gene will just be destroyed. There is no way to test the ova
themselves ­ they have to turn into test ­ tube zygotes first, then they
can be tested.

Because of all the if’s ­ if they have children, if they have sons, if
there is no cure within the next six decades for a disease that researches
are already studying, if indeed any of their sons are born with the
Worthington’s gene ­ they are inclined to just proceed in the normal way
and hope for the best. But they want to know the answers to the following
questions from you:

1. Is it unfair to produce a child that carries the Worthington’s gene if
they could be certain, absolutely, that it won't happen if they decide
never to conceive children in the normal way? And if it is, then unfair,
precisely, to whom? ( It seems odd to consider it being unfair to the child
who will never be born if he is carrying the gene and who is, therefore, to
be denied five or six decades of healthy, productive life.)

2. Is it morally right simply to trust in G-d and hope for the best? That
is after all, how countless generations of Jewish and non-Jewish people
have dealt with genetic disease. Does our scientific knowledge alter the
basis of human morality? Or does it only appear to alter it?

3. Is it right to consider disposing of a fertilized ovum that has the
potential to grow into a human being merely because of a genetic defect?
What of the children that individual will never have? Do they matter? Do
they exist?

4. To produce these test-tube babies means that there will never be a clear
connection between intercourse and conception in the context of their
married lives. Marcy and Alan both worry that this will weaken their
relationship by depriving their sexual intimacy of a key aspect of its
place in the general scheme of things: as the context in which a couple
become parents. Does that sound logical to you? Is it a profound enough
factor to alter their decision? Couples who cannot have children may still
certainly have robust sex lives, after all. But will something always be

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Date: Sun, 4 Mar 2001 22:38:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Russell Hendel <>
Subject: Re: Women and Chazal

Eli Linas in Bais Medrash Volume 2 Number 46 raises a fundamental question
on my halachic citation that women can be witnesses in Jewish law: <<This
is a bit disingenuous, and far from correcting misconceptions, it only adds
to them! It must be stressed that, contrary to the impression Russell seems
to want to give here by simply mentioning a source in the Rambam without
giving any explication, in general, women ***cannot*** be witnesses...>>

First things first. Eli and I both agree that in general women cannot be
witnesses. Eli and I also agree that there are exceptions. Eli points out
the danger in stating exceptions "without giving any explication".

So quite simply here is the explication: Witness law in Judaism has 2
components: (a) Formal testimony and (b) Information. Quite simply women
(though not children) are competent to give information but are disallowed
from formal testimony (Sources in a moment). My point therefore is that the
disallowance of women to be formal witnesses in no way reflects on their
intellectual competence. Therefore, I believe I have accomplished something
by citing these exceptions (where women can be witnesses). Now let me show
the examples and sources from Jewish Law.

Jewish law requires a ritual atonement ceremony (Called Eglah Arufah) if a
person is found murdered WITHOUT OUR **KNOWING** who murdered him (this
explicit requirement of not **knowing** who killed the person is stated in
Dt21-01). Hence since the requirement is INFORMATIONAL and not FORMAL the
Rambam (Murder 9:12) allows testimony even from a slave or woman (But not
from a minor).

By contrast women are disallowed form giving formal testimony. But so are
relatives! As Rav Hirsch points out if Moses & Aaron saw a murder they
would be invalid as witnesses -- this is certainly no reflection on their
competence. Similarly since women are allowed as informational witnesses
but not as formal witnesses therefore there is no reflection on their

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; Dept of Math Towson;

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End of Bais-Medrash V2 #49

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