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July 30, 2016 / 24 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘part’

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part V)

Thursday, July 21st, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

    Summary of our response up to this point: Summary of our response up to this point: The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon dispurting whether this list is exclusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Indeed, the Talmud (Shabbos 32a) prohibits a person from putting himself in a dangerous situation. The fact that all frum Jews regularly fly is proof, therefore, that flying is not dangerous.

Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passengers will almost certainly die. If flying is dangerous, though, why doesn’t Rav Feinstein prohibit people from flying?

* * * * *

In his notes, Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein cites the Gaon Rabbi Yechezkel Landau (Responsa Noda Bi’Yehuda, Vol. II:10) who was asked about a rich man who owned vast estates – including forests inhabited by many different wild beasts – and wished to hunt in his property.

After much discussion Rabbi Landau writes: “And now I say that there is even a prohibition to hunt because all who engage in this activity are required to enter forests, thus exposing themselves to all sorts of danger in a place inhabited by many wild beasts. The Torah (Deuteronomy 4:15) states, ‘V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem – You shall greatly beware of your souls’ [i.e., a person is not allowed to endanger himself]. And do we find a person more skilled and expert at the craft of hunting than Esau as Scripture (Genesis 25:27) testifies: ‘vayehi Esav ish yode’a tzayid – and Esau became a cunning hunter’? Now let us see what he declares about himself (infra 25:32): ‘Vayomer Esav, hineh anochi holech lamut – Esau said: Behold I am going to die.’ A verse does not depart from its simple explanation; the Ramban explains that Esau felt his death was inevitable due to the dangers he encountered on a daily basis while engaged in hunting in a place swarming with wild beasts.”

Rabbi Landau continues: “Now how can he, a Jew, place himself in a place swarming with untamed beasts of wild disposition? Nonetheless, there is an exception if one is poor and hunts for his sustenance and livelihood. An example is someone engaged in overseas commerce who must travel the seas; he may do so because it is for the purpose of sustenance and livelihood and there is no other choice. The Torah (Deuteronomy 24:15) states: ‘v’eilav hu noseh et nafsho – and his life depends on it’ Our sages (Bava Metzia 111a) said in this regard: ‘Why did this one [the laborer] risk going up the ladder and risk death if not that you should pay his wages?’”

He continues: “However, a person who engages in such activity without the intention of earning his livelihood, but rather out of desire [to engage in sport]…is in violation of the Torah’s prohibition ‘V’nishmartem me’od l’nafshoteichem – You shall greatly beware of your souls.’”

Rav Landau also cites the Rambam (Hilchot Rotze’ach u’Shmirat Nefesh 12:6): “It is also forbidden for a person to pass under a leaning wall, a shaky bridge, or a ruins and all similar dangerous situations.”

Based on the above, a person may engage in a dangerous activity for the purpose of his livelihood. In today’s world, where our communities are spread far and wide, how would one travel any distance without resorting to flying? Rabbi Feinstein might therefore be of the view that although air travel is dangerous one may fly because one doesn’t really have much of a choice.

The only question left to address is why people only say HaGomel after flying overseas if Rav Feinsein rules that one should say HaGomel after every flight, even one that only goes over land.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part IV)

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

 

Summary of our response up to this point: The Talmud (Berachot 54b) states that there are four people who must say HaGomel, with the Rivash and Rav Gershon dispurting whether this list is exlcusive or not. Rabbi Tuvia Goldstein maintains that modern-day air travel cannot be compared to the types of danger listed in the Gemara, and thus one need not say HaGomel after flying. Rav Moshe Feinstein, however, argues that flying is inherently dangerous since only the airplane separates the passengers from death. If the airplane suddenly stops functioning, the passenegrs will almost certainly die.

* * * * *

I recently received the following e-mail:

 

Dear Rabbi Klass,

As I see that you are about to embark on a discussion on saying HaGomel after air travel, I thought I would share with you something that was said by Rav Y. Ruderman zt”l.

I returned to Ner Yisroel in Baltimore one August after a year in Eretz Yisroel. My first Thursday back I had an aliya and bentched Gomel. After my aliya the rosh yeshiva called me over and asked me why I had benched Gomel. When I told him the reason, he rebuked me and said that one does not bench Gomel for air travel even if one crosses an ocean.

I don’t think it is well known that Rav Ruderman held this opinion.

Sincerely,
Michael Katz
Miami

 

Evidently, then, HaGaon HaRav Yaakov Yitzchok HaLevi Ruderman, zt”l, rosh yeshiva of Ner Israel in Baltimore, was also of the opinion that one does not recite Ha’Gomel after flying.

Rabbi Goldstein writes: “And as to the halacha in this matter, one can follow the opinion of Rabbi Feinstein and say HaGomel if his reasoning is clear to him. Yet, his reasoning is not compelling [enough] for me; therefore…if a person says HaGomel after air travel, he has not absolved himself of the problem of reciting a safek beracha. As such, he should not say it.”

And yet, common practice is to follow Rav Feinstein’s view (at least when it comes to travelling over an ocean).

Let us try to understand the reasoning behind the two views. The Gemara (Shabbos 32a) quotes R. Yannai as stating: “One should not stand in a place of danger and say that a miracle will be wrought for him.” Indeed, both the Rambam (Hilchot Rotze’ach u’Shmirat Nefesh 12:6) and the Rema (Yoreh Deah 116:5) rule that it is prohibited for a person to place himself in any situation that may lead to to danger. The Rema goes even further, ruling “chamira sakanta m’issura” – that we are more strict regarding dangerous situations than we are regarding possible (rabbinical) violations.

Now, if air travel were dangerous, clearly we wouldn’t be allowed to fly. The fact that halachic authorities allow us to fly is evidence that flying is not really dangerous. Those who maintain that we don’t say HaGomel after flying clearly believe this to be the case. How do we explain Rabbi Feinstein’s view, though?

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

What is the Most Important Part of a Good Investment Strategy?

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

The most important part of your investment strategy is objectivity.
Relying on your emotions when making financial decisions can damage any investment strategy.

Dr. C. Thomas Howard, co-founder of AthenaInvest, talks about why objectivity should be an important component of your investment strategy. He describes the five emotional triggers that cause the most damage, and why he thinks Modern Portfolio Theory may lead to emotional investing.
However, don’t be discouraged if you do make a wrong investment decision. You can always learn from your mistakes.

This is also an important lesson to teach your children. Find out why it’s a good idea to let your children make financial mistakes… and learn the best way to help them understand the importance of financial responsibility.

The Goldstein On Gelt Show is a financial podcast. Click on the player below to listen. For show notes and contact details of the guest, go to www.GoldsteinOnGelt.com

Doug Goldstein, CFP®

Four For The Fourth (Part II)

Monday, July 11th, 2016

Jews have been living in the United States throughout its history, and have made significant contributions to their adopted home in times of war and peace. This week we meet two Orthodox women who made their mark on two different battlefields: Civil War nurse Rosanna Dyer Osterman and New York City social activist Alice Davis Menken.

 

Greatness in Galveston: Rosanna Dyer Osterman

Rosanna Osterman

Rosanna Osterman

Like many new immigrants to the United States, when Isabella and John M. Dyer decided to leave their home in Germany and seek their fortune across the Atlantic Ocean they first settled on the East Coast. Thus, Rosanna Dyer and her two brothers, Leon and Isadore, grew up in Baltimore, where their parents were part of the community that built the city’s first synagogue.

When she was 16, Rosanna married Joseph Osterman, formerly of Amsterdam. Osterman worked as a merchant and silversmith in Baltimore, but his business wasn’t a success. He decided to follow the path of many others looking for brighter economic opportunities in America’s hinterlands. Rosanna’s brother Leon suggested Galveston, a growing city in the new Republic of Texas, and Osterman moved there in 1837.

Rosanna joined him a year later. As she had done in Baltimore, she helped her husband in his business – and this time it prospered. In addition to their general store, from which they traded with people from all parts of Texas, Osterman purchased a schooner and imported Jamaican rum and sugar. He was also involved in the lucrative cotton trade. As one of Galveston’s first financiers, he helped the new city meet its debts and helped local businessmen such as Gail Borden, Jr., who was trying to find a way to condense milk. In 1842, Osterman decided to retire, but he didn’t leave business entirely. He began to dabble in real estate and, when he died in 1861, his fortune was valued at $191,000, about $5.5 million in today’s currency.

Photograph of building in Houston for Congregation Beth Israel which Rosanna helped to develop in her will.

Photograph of building in Houston for Congregation Beth Israel which Rosanna helped to develop in her will.

The Ostermans are credited with building Galveston’s first two-story building. Although they had no children to enliven their home, their spacious mansion was put to good use during a yellow fever epidemic that swept through Galveston in 1853. Rosanna erected a temporary hospital in her home and helped to nurse the sick and dying.

When the Civil War broke out, the Union Army put a blockade on Galveston, which is located on an island. With business at a standstill, most of the city’s residents relocated to the mainland. But Rosanna, now a widow, remained there throughout the war. Once again, she opened a hospital in her home, this time nursing wounded soldiers – and it is this selfless act during wartime that has earned her a place in American history.

Historians tell us that more than 600,000 soldiers lost their lives during the four-year American Civil War. There weren’t enough doctors to treat all the sick and wounded, nor was there enough staff to help with non-skilled activities such as providing clean dressings and bedding, distributing medicines and cooking meals. This is why some two-thirds of the casualties died not from gunfire on the battlefield but from disease.

Astaire-070816-PaintingPerhaps even more would have perished if not for the efforts of thousands of women who volunteered to help nurse the soldiers, including Clara Barton, who would later found the American Red Cross, and Louisa May Alcott, author of the Civil War-era classic Little Women. None of these women were professionally trained, as there weren’t yet any nursing schools in the Unites States. At first, the male surgeons regarded them as a nuisance. But as the volunteer nurses gained experience – and the number of wounded needing treatment increased – the women came to be regarded as invaluable assistants.

Libi Astaire

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part III)

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?
Menachem
 

Summary of our response up to this point: At the outset, we cited the Talmud (Berachot 54b), which quotes R. Yehudah as saying in the name of Rav that four people must say HaGomel: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traveled through the desert, those who were sick and recovered, and those who were incarcerated and set free. We also cited the dispute between Rav Gershon, who opines that only these four people say HaGomel, and Rivash, who rules that people in similar situations say HaGomel too. The Taz and Magen Avraham write that common practice today follows Rivash. Last week, we cited the Gaon Rav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l (Emek Halacha, vol. 2:7), who writes that he doesn’t say HaGomel after flying on an airplane since air travel is not dangerous. He cites other authorities who agree.

* * * * *

Rabbi Goldstein also cites the Gaon Rav Moshe Feinstein who argues that one should say HaGomel after flying (Iggrot Moshe, Orach Chayim, vol. 2:59). Rav Feinstein writes that there is a difference between traveling by land and traveling by sea. Under normal circumstances, people are not particularly worried when traveling by land (whether by automobile, bus, or train). It is the equivalent of sitting in one’s own home.

A trip over the sea, in contrast, is inherently fraught with danger. A person cannot long survive in the water, and it is only the vessel one is in (a ship or plane) that keeps him from drowning. Thus, even though modern ships and airplanes are far safer than ships in the time of Chazal, it is still the ship or airplane that is saving him from danger. Therefore, he must say HaGomel.

Rav Feinstein argues that the danger in flying – on a theoretical level – is even greater than the danger in traveling by ship. If a ship sinks, there is at least a chance that one will survive in the water until one is rescued. The same cannot be said about a plane that crashes. All the passengers will almost surely die in such a case. Thus, a plane, even more than a ship, is the only thing keeping a person from death. His life while flying on an airplane (whether over land or water) thus truly is hanging in the balance.

Rav Feinstein acknowledges that automobile travel is statistically more dangerous than air travel. Yet, this fact is irrelevant to the above analysis. Rabbi Feinstein concludes: I have heard that some rule that one should not say HaGomel after flying, but their ruling is of no consequence. Rather, one must say HaGomel.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Q & A: HaGomel And Air Travel (Part I)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Question: I am very appreciative and, if I might add, flattered that you answer and publish many of my questions. Due to your superior knowledge, I am always confident when I send in a question that I will receive a proper response. I wonder if you could address whether one should say Birkat HaGomel after flying even though flying is statistically safer than driving. Also, do women say HaGomel as well or only men?

Menachem

Last week we cited the Talmud (Berachot 54b), which quotes R. Yehudah as saying in the name of Rav that four people must say HaGomel: those who have crossed the sea, those who have traveled through the desert, those who were sick and recovered, and those who were incarcerated and set free. We also cited the dispute between Rav Gershon, who opines that only these four people say HaGomel, and Rivash, who rules that people in similar situations say HaGomel too. The Taz and Magen Avraham write that common practice today follows Rivash.

The Gaon HaRav Tuvia Goldstein, zt”l (Emek Halacha Vol. 2:7), discusses this matter at length. At the outset he notes: “My own personal practice in regard to air travel is not to say HaGomel even though we do say it for other miraculous deliverances that are not exactly like the four cited in the Gemara (Berachot 54b), as both Taz and Mishneh Berurah (Orach Chayim 219) note.

“[A person should only say HaGomel] if he actually encountered danger and was [miraculously] delivered from it – e.g., a wall fell upon him or an ox gored him and he was saved from harm. [He says HaGomel if he crossed the sea, etc.] because he passed through a place of danger, even though he did not encounter strong winds. Such a journey is considered dangerous since he passed a place where it is known that dangerous things may occur. Similarly, travel in the desert is fraught with danger; the very place is dangerous. … However, travel by airplane does not entail any danger; thus, there is no reason to say HaGomel.

“Well known is the ruling of the Belzer Rebbe, zt”l (Admu’r HaRav Aharon Rokeach), that a person who travels by air, even though he travels over water, should not say HaGomel. I was also told by a trustworthy person, in the name of the Chazon Ish, zt”l (HaRav Yeshaya Karelitz), that a person should not say HaGomel even if his travel path took him over a body of water.”

Rabbi Goldstein cites from Sefer Kinyan Ha’Torah (Vol. 1, 16:3): “Now let me mention here regarding air travel across a body of water that there are many different opinions as to whether one says HaGomel or not. Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, zt”l (Reb Velevel, the Brisker Rav), was once in Switzerland where I visited him and had the opportunity to ask him his opinion as to whether one says HaGomel in such a situation. He answered me with these exact words; ‘You know that it is known that I don’t issue any rulings, but this let me tell you: I came here by airplane and I did not say HaGomel.’ This is a sage’s practice.”

These gedolim (great sages) did not offer a reason not to say HaGomel. It is unlikely, though, that they agree with Rav Gershon that only the four people mentioned in the Gemara say HaGomel, and no one else. Rather, they likely believe that air travel does not entail any danger.

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass

Games Galore – Summer (Part 2)

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Jodie Maoz

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/games-galore-summer-part-2/2016/06/30/

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