mail-jewish Vol.66 #34 Digest

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Mar 5, 2023, 12:40:47 PM3/5/23
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Volume 66 Number 34
Produced: Sun, 05 Mar 23 12:40:45 -0500


Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bet Din but not a Rav
[Micha Berger]
Halachic Life Insurance (4)
[Micha Berger Joseph Kaplan Irwin Weiss Dr. William Gewirtz]



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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Tue, Feb 28,2023 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Bet Din but not a Rav

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#33):

> When the Rambam (Hilchot Sanhedrin 1:10) lists the role of the
> 120 people required in a town to have a Sanhedrin, I noted there is a bet
> din but not a rav ...

Actually, he says it's a requiement of the Sanhedrin, not the town.

You cannot convene a Sanhedrin in a town that didn't have 120 -- I presume 120
Jewish adult men. But that doesn't mean that towns were obligated to have courts.

And going back to shas is problematic, because back then there were both real
semichah and the authority to levy kenasos and to mete out the standard misos
beis din.

Thinking out loud:

Maybe today's obligation to have courts can be statisfied with just a rabbi who
hopefully knows what he is doing, as long as he can always find two hedyotos as
the other dayanim if a case comes up.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

--
Micha Berger
http://www.aishdas.org/asp
Author: Widen Your Tent
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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From: Micha Berger <mi...@aishdas.org>
Date: Wed, Feb 15,2023 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Halachic Life Insurance

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 66#33):

> Undoubtedly. It's much like, in my mind, the change in practice about going
> to doctors rather than just relying on faith...

Did Jews ever not go to doctors?

The Mekhilta on Shemos 21:19 "verapo yerapei" talks about going to doctors. And
this is quoted repeated in the Gemara, as "devei R Yishma'el" (which indeed is
the beis medrash responsible for the Mekhilta), e.g. Berakhos 60a, BQ 85a.

> risks that could not be dealt with in the past now can be. but sometimes
> folks seem to need halachic cover rather than just accepting that. Chazal
> were dealing with a different world.

In general, there is the question of the role of precedent in halakhah. By far
the most common case of where practice changes is where the metzi'us changed in
some way that makes the old pesaq inapplicable. Rather than actually having
grounds to change which pesaq we follow.

But there are exceptions -- like the change from Geonic Zemanim, to Rishonim's
Alos and haNeitz, and for the past 250 years or so, back to the original.

Tir'u baTov!
-Micha

--
Micha Berger
http://www.aishdas.org/asp
Author: Widen Your Tent
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF

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From: Joseph Kaplan <pen...@panix.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 26,2023 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Halachic Life Insurance

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#33):

My view is that one is obligated to buy life insurance based on the verse
ve-ahavta lere'acha kamocha (you should love your fellow person as yourself).
Thus, just as we would feel imposed upon and perhaps even resent if we or our
community had to support a family which tragically lost a breadwinner who had no
life insurance, we should not impose on others and have them resent us by not
having life insurance.

Joseph

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From: Irwin Weiss <ir...@irwinweiss.com>
Date: Sun, Feb 26,2023 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Halachic Life Insurance

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 66#33):

Generally, gambling is forbidden. Yet, of course, some charities will sell
raffle tickets.

Anyway, in a certain sense, life insurance is a gamble and a bet. From the
perspective of the insurance company, they hope and are betting that you will
live a long life so they can continue to collect premiums for many years and so
that they dont have to pay a claim upon the death of the insured for many years.
I guess a normal person who purchases life insurance hopes to live to 120,
although if Hashem grants you long life, the life insurance purchase may well
have been a bad bet.

Best to think of life insurance not as a bet at all, but rather a means to
protect financially one's family. Whether it is the right way to do so is a
discussion best left to financial experts and I am not one.

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore Maryland


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From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgew...@att.net>
Date: Sun, Feb 26,2023 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Halachic Life Insurance

Joel Rich (MJ 66#33) requests thoughts on the following:

> Undoubtedly. It's much like, in my mind, the change in practice about going to
> doctors rather than just relying on faith. World changes, and certain risks
> that could not be dealt with in the past now can be. But sometimes folks seem
> to need halachic cover rather than just accepting that. Chazal were dealing
> with a different world.

The ability to modify practice based on changed circumstances is among the
most controversial areas of pesak. Yet more controversial are decisions by posekim
who decide to permit changes in practice (much) earlier than others. (Examine
Orthodox attitudes towards a Bat Mitzvah, for example.) A variety of questions
concerning the role of women in halakhic society provide good examples. The rules
surrounding conversion in a Jewish state versus the golah also engenders
significant debate and is another example. (See the writings of Rav Herzog, Rav
Uziel, Rav Goren, all Zecher Tzadikim leVeracha, on this topic.)

Such pesak is the domain of the generation's most recognized rabbis, who possess
what is referred to in Yiddish as braighteh platzes, (broad shoulders.)

It should not be surprising that societies who wear a peltz and a shtreimel in the
summer tend to shy away from such pesakim.

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