Monday, September 24, 2007

Periodical Update: New RJJ Journal

A new issue of The Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society (RJJ Journal):

  • "Male and Female He Created Them": Revisiting Gender Assignment and Treatment in Intersex Children by Jonathan Wiesen and David Kulak
    What is the halakhic status of a Tumtum, Androgynus, Hermaphrodite and Pseudohermaphrodite? Probably more than you want to know about this topic.

  • Contemporary Wedding Trend or Pagan Rite? Umbrella Schtick and Maypoles by Rabbi Gamliel Shmalo & Ms. Jackie Fast
    Bottom line: Possibly prohibited according to the Vilna Gaon but definitely permissible according to the Maharik. No mention that nearly the entire Orthodox world follows the Maharik!

  • Reading Options on Shabbat by Rabbi Howard D. Apfel
    Conclusion: Leisure reading is permissible but not recommended on Shabbos. This might be hard to figure out when the following was -- no kidding -- only stated in a footnote (#54): "Moreover, based on the comments of the Ramo and the Mishnah Berurah (307:3-6) one might assume that it is even permissible to read a fictional novel (that is considered appropriate in content) and one derives (pleasure) from on Shabbat. See also Magen Avraham 301:4 and Shmirat Shabbat Ke'hilcheta 29:47." One would think that this might have been important enough to include in the body of the article. As to studying for secular tests on Shabbos, the author quotes R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach as being unsure about the subject. Others, such as R. Ahron Soloveichik, permit it. In R. Ahron's words, "If it is worthwhile studying during the week, it is worthwhile studying on Shabbos."

  • Segulot, Superstitions, and Darchei Emori by Rabbi Yitzchak Gutterman
    In a word, stay away from silly superstitions.

  • The Kashrut of Commercially Sold Milk by Rabbi Michoel Zylberman
    A very important article in which the author outlines the complex halakhic issues and opinons regarding the incidence of treif cows and the implications to milk. It is certainly going to be opposed by the "Kashrus Karaites" who are uncomfortable with relying on chazakos (presumptions), sefeikos (uncertainties) and bitul (dilution).

  • Letters to the Editor
    One letter bizarrely responding to an article from 1995 (!) about women covering their hair and another about the Star-K's position on children's medicine

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