Volume 12 Number 97
                       Produced: Thu May  5 23:53:53 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chassidic Clothes
         [Sam Lieblich]
Da'as Torah
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]
Lashon ha-ra
         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Long Payot (3)
         [Mark Steiner, Mitch Berger, Harry Weiss]
Misquote Custom: Tautology?
         [Bobby Fogel]
Retroactive Prayer
         [Sam Juni]
The OU and DE
         [Gerald Sacks]
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]


From: Sam Lieblich <samli@...>
Date: Thu, 5 May 1994 05:24:15 -0400
Subject: Chassidic Clothes

Can any body please explain to me the origin of the chasidic dress, the
reason the CHABAD Chasidim wear the black coats and hats, and why the
Addas Chasidim have a custom of long coats and shtrammul (fur hats),
long white socks etc. etc. What is the history of these and other
clothing items, and reasons behind it all etc.



From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 94 22:08:30 -0800
Subject: Da'as Torah

Mitch Berger writes:

<<<No one questions the authority of  Rabbanim on matters of
Halachah, interpretation, etc...    What was innovative [no
connotation intended in either direction] was  the use of Rabbanim
qua Rabbanim as political leaders, psychological and  business
advisors, etc.... I heard the phrase Da'as Torah attributed to  R.
Yisrael Salanter. I don't know if the Aguddah's notion originates 
with him or the Besh"t, or some synthesis of the two.    >>>

None of the above.  The notion of Da'as Torah has been around since
the time of Chazal.  Only the NAME of the concept may be new.  To
argue that it is new is sort of like arguing that Rambam and the
Rishonim were the first to think of Hashem as a Perfect Unity,
because they were the first to write about the subject extensively.

I have a feeling all of this has been discussed here before.  For
those who missed it, my recommendation is to read Rav Yaakov
Feitman's excellent article on the matter in Jewish Observer of
about two years ago.  I'll dig up the reference if anyone needs it.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Yeshiva of LA


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 94 9:52:41 EDT
Subject: Lashon ha-ra

Michael asks how other readers of this list deal with lashon ha-ra.
With all respect to an earlier respondent, to simply say "just don't
do it" leaves out a lot of important issues.  Last week, le-mashal, I
was sitting next to someone in Shul, and she began to make comments on
another congregant (the fact that this other person was engaging in
disruptive behavior).  Now, at this point, I have not _said_ any
lashon ha-ra, but I have heard it.  If I even nod or roll my eyes or
whatever, I am also guilty.  If I announce (quietly to her, of course)
that this is lashon ha-ra and I don't want to hear it, it quite likely
that I'm a ba'al gaiva.  (Yes, I know, you yell fire when there's a
fire--but I think this kind of situation makes a lot of us
Also, what if someone asks you about someone and says that it's in
order to help to person.  Is this lashon ha-ra?  I'm sure we can all
think of other situations that are not so clear-cut.
I, personally, try to learn a chapter of Zelig Pliskin's Guard Your
Tongue every day, and plan to move on to SHmirat ha-lashon when I feel
comfortable that I have the basics down.  I think that knowing what
the halakhah is in a specific circumstance often helps you to head
things off before they get to the point that you are actually
listening to or saying lashon hara.


From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 1994 16:16:37 -0400
Subject: Re: Long Payot

	Ari Shapiro's analysis of the wearing of long payoth seems right
on the mark as halakha, particularly his point that hidur mitzvah does
not apply to a negative commandment.
	Nevertheless, long payoth cannot be called a "chumrah", let
alone a recent one.  I don't know how far back Ashkenazic Jews wore long
payoth, but certainly the recent change in Orthodox circles is simply
readopting a minhag currrent in Eastern Europe.  Consider the striking
fact that Yemenite Jews traditionally have VERY long payoth--which they
call, revealingly, "simonim"--signs of being a Jew.  Since there was
little contact between Yemenite Jewry and that of Eastern Europe, we are
led to the conclusion that this particular minhag must be pretty old.
	I would therefore speculate that long payoth, though grounded in
the Biblical prohibition, actually is a minhag adopted by Jews simply to
emphasize their Jewish identity and their apartness from the other
nations.  (I would speculate that the traditional detestation of the Jew
for the "daver acher" (pig), which goes back at least to Chazal, is a
similar evolution of a halakha into a mark of Jewish identity, since the
pig is no greater a prohibition, technically, than eating cow with a
lung disease.)

Mark Steiner

From: <mberger@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 94 12:22:54 EDT
Subject: Long Payot

Ari Shapiro asks in v12n87 about the origin of wearing long peiyos. Since I
wear my peiyos rather long (they're behind my ears right now, but they
could extend to my shirt collar), I thought I'd explain.

The long peiyos are minhag [custom], not halachah. It is based on a concept in
the Zohar, that I was told I can't understand (yet), when I asked my LChR
[local Chassidishe Rebbe (-: ].

In my case, there is no such custom in the family that I know of. However, R.
Shimshon Rephael Hirsch gives an explanation for the mitzvah of peiyos that is
the motivation for my personal taste in peiyos length.

According to Horeb peiyos serve to show the separation between the frontal
lobe and the rest of the brain, to indicate the subserviance of the passions
to the higher goal.

Since I don't spend my day looking in the mirror, I like having peiyos that
remind me in non-visual ways (like falling out from behind my ears), etc...

I also feel it very important to maintain an ethnic Jewish look. For some that
means a black hat. I prefer to stick to things actually mentioned by our
masorah [tradition], such as the long peiyos and wearing my tzitzis outside.
(Yes, even on job interviews).

The Jews were saved from Mitzrayim [Ancient Egypt] because of three ways in
which we did not assimilate. We didn't change our names, language and our
clothing. It's very important to sound and look Jewish if we're ever going to
get out of the American galus. Particularly this one, with annihilation through

| Micha Berger       | (201) 916-0287 | On Torah, on worship, and |    |  |   |
| <mberger@...> |<- new address  |   on supporting kindness  |    |  |   |

From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 28 Apr 94 13:32:21 
Subject: Long Payot

In MJ v12n87 Ari Shapiro discusses the issue of Long Payot.  He
questions why various groups grow long Payot and the idea of Hiddur
Mitzvah on a negative commandment.

Though personally my immediate family does not grow long Payot there may
be several explanations.  On is the idea of creating a fence to the
Torah.  If Payot are grown very long, they will never be cut too short
and violate the Toraitic prohibition.

A second reason may be to create an identity.  The Jews were freed from
Egypt due to not changing their names, language and dress.  Payot are a
form of dress.  There was a recent article in the American section of an
Israeli newspaper about a Satmar couple who are accusing each other
philandering and other charges.  One of the charges of the husband
against his wife is that the children keep their Payot behind the ears,
rather than hanging loose.  This would indicate that the reason is as
much appearance as anything else.



From: <bobby@...> (Bobby Fogel)
Date: Wed, 4 May 1994 17:33:22 +0000
Subject: Misquote Custom: Tautology?

>in regards to Howard Reich's closeing question about the inconsistensy
>between quotes from the tanach by the Sages in the Midrash and the
>accepted text today. Most of the Sages quotes from the tanach are
>misquoted as this is also obvious in the Talmud this missmatching
>derives from the custom of that time not to reproduce quotes from the
>tanach . Therefore there is no validify of proof through quotes of the
>Sages in the Midrash
>                                      Ari Kurtz

Maybe I'm missing something but this type of reasoning appearse to be
inductive rather than deductive; thus, in this context it appears to be a

 i.e.: 1) we notice from the texts that the quotes in the midrash do not
conform to our Masorah.
       2) we conclude from this that there was a custom to misqoute.
(forced into this by assuming no break in correct Masorah is possible)
       3) someone later notices once again that quotes in the midrash do
not conform to our Masorah.
       4) we answer this question by NOW STATING THE WELL KNOWN CUSTOM
to purposefully misquote.

Am i missing something here?  Does anybody know of a place in the
Gemarah, Midrash i.e. a sorce CONTEMPORARY with the misquotes that
states that this is a custom.  No.  Reshonim or Geonim wont do for this
since we may fall back onto the tautology.

Dr. bobby 


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 1994 13:21:54 -0400
Subject: Retroactive Prayer

Bernard Katz (4/26/94) discusses retroactive prayer, and outlines
logistic limitations to avoid paraodxes. Allow me to give some input
from the world of science fiction, where retroactive causality is a
     Given the world as we know it, it would indeed be chaotic if G-d
were to decide to change the past, assuming one holds to some degree of
determinism, since aspects of current reality would then change in front
of our eyes. In science fiction works, when the past does change, the
obersvers are in fact shifted to a diferent reality, while the former
reality either a) gets wiped out, along with memories of it, while new
memories may be implanted retroactively; b) the original reality is kept
only as a dream or a fantasy; c) one actually realizes that the change
has ocurred.
      It is interesting to note that R. Shimon Shkop in his sefer
Shaarei Yosher analyzes the concept of Breirah (retroactive validation
in halacha, as exemplified by one who consecrates an object based on
future events) by coining a concept he calls "Mikahn U'Lhabuh -
L'Mafreah" which translates to "retroactive only insofar as
consideration re events subsequent to the current time. Thus, If the
consecration took place on Sunday, for example, while the confirming
event took place on Tuesday, Monday's halacha would not consider the
consecration to be effective at all. However, Tuesday's halacha would
consider the consecration to have been effective as of Sunday. The
relation to the above scenario is striking.
      I believe that the intuitive reaction against the validity of
retroactive prayer is identical to the intuitive reaction against
retroactive causality. To those whose experience is limited to standard
events, the idea of a current event causing a previous event is strange.
Relativistic notions have managed to shake up this intutive reaction,
making scientists realize that an event in the past influencing one in
the future has the same logical plausibility as a future event
influencing a previous one. The point is that the designation of "past"
vs "future" is arbitrary. To pull in science fiction again, one can
contruct a direction where time progresses precisely in the converse
(i.e., from "our" future toward "our" past, so that our future is their
past, and vice versa).


From: Gerald Sacks <sacks@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 1994 10:53:18 -0400
Subject: The OU and DE

There have been a couple of postings lately that have implied that the OU
declares some products DE (dairy equipment).  The OU doesn't do this.
The OK and Chof-K mark products DE, but if those same products were under
the OU, they'd be marked Dairy.


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Sat, 30 Apr 94 21:39:09 -0800
Subject: Uza

Uza's death has attracted a bit of attention lately.  It might be in
order to mention a beautiful thought of Rav Kook, zt"l.

The Gemara says that Uza was faulted for failure to learn a kal
v'chomer.  He thought that the Ark, which was wobbling, was in danger of
toppling and falling, and thus reached out to right it.  He forgot that
when Klal Yisrael crossed the Yarden, those who held the Aron did
not actually have to carry it across.  The Yarden closed after the last
other Jews made it to the other side, whereupon the Aron blasted off and
carried the would-be carriers to the other bank!  Uza should have
realized that if the Aron could carry its bearers, it could certainly
carry itself!

Rav Kook observed that this mistake is constantly repeated.  We see the 
Torah wobbling, in apparently precarious position.  What we don't 
realize is that it isn't the Torah that is shaky, but the WAGON, the 
support mechanisms that are supposed to carry it that are at fault.

Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein
Yeshiva of Los Angeles


End of Volume 12 Issue 97