Volume 13 Number 45
                       Produced: Thu Jun  2  7:57:58 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Condensor Microphones
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
electrical circuits
         [Eli Turkel]
Electricity Revisited
         [Mechy Frankel]
Jews and non-Jews
         [Ari Kurtz]
         [Stephen Phillips]
Slowly drifting by....
         [Joshua W. Burton]


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 00:55:33 -0400
Subject: Condensor Microphones

Condensor Microphones

Ezra Rosenfeld wrote the indented paragraphs. My  responses  are  the
non-indented paragraphs.

          1.  Many  shuls  in  North  America  attract  hundreds   of
          mitpallelim on Shabbat and more  than  a  thousand  on  the
          Yamim Noraim.In many of them, the main  shul  is  so  large
          that many of the people  sitting  in  the  back  (and  many
          elderly  people)  cannot  hear  the  Rav  or  the  Shaliach
          Tzibbur.  This  often  leads  to  frustration  and  private

There is no Halachic prohibition on starting a new shul - or minyan in
the same shul - under such circumstances.  I wager that such a large
shul has other problems which would make such an effort highly
desirable. It is important to note that according to most modern Poskim
(including Reb Shlomo Zalman and the Lubavitcher Rebbe) there is no
"Shome'a K'Oneh" (Hearing is equivalent to Saying) in electronically
reproduced sound, so Krias HaTorah, Shofar, etc. could not be done over
the PA system anyway.  BTW, Reb Shlomo Zalman's Teshuva is to be found
in several places, most recently in "Minchas Shlomo" #9.

          2.  I  do  not  question  Rav  Shelomo  Zalman   Auerbach's
          preeminence as a Posek.  We  at  Zomet  often  solicit  his
          opinion. Similarly, I do  not  question  the   autonomy  of
          Rabbanim to pasken questions for their  kehilla  nor  their
          right  to consult with those whom they consider as  leading
          authorities in  Halacha (And with all due respect,  neither
          Rav Shaul Yisraeli nor the  other's who  have  okayed  this
          specific microphone system are minor  leaguers).

I will not comment here on the status of the Poskim that Zomet asked.
It is clear that Ezra recognizes that they are not of Reb Shlomo
Zalman's preeminence, and, what is critical here, is that Reb Shlomo
Zalman forbids such microphones. Well, let's be reasonable.  If the
greater Posek said "No" and the lesser one said "Yes", what is the safe

          3. A  statement  like  "With  the  Gedolai  Horaah  clearly
          opposed" is a bit of  a   misrepresentation.  Most  of  the
          Gedolai Horaah have not  been  asked  about   installing  a
          condensor microphone with  Zomet's  specifications  in  the

So ask! Let's see what Reb Shlomo Zalman, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Ovadia Yosef
or the Tzitz Eliezer have to say!

          4. I don't think that we should be giving Poskim grades  on
          how well they  understand this  idea  or  that  concept.  I
          assume that most Gedolei Hora'ah  who deal with electricity
          today have a fairly good idea of what  is  going   on.  And
          just for the  record,  Rav  Shelomo  Zalman's  analysis  of
          exactly which  melacha is involved when opening or shutting
          a circuit is not the issue  at  this  point.  His  Halachic
          conclusion is not based primarily on his  understanding  of
          electricity but rather on other halachic factors.

This is indeed a critical point. Reb Shlomo Zalman banned the use of
such microphones (actually, the mike is not the problem but rather the
speakers) because of the Rabbinic prohibition of "Avasha Milsa", loud
and artificial noises such as millstones grinding on Shabbos (the case
in the Gemara) are prohibited because they desecrate the atmosphere of
Shabbos. Reb Shlomo Zalman defines this prohibition logically as
relevant to any mechanically produced sound.  This is sound (pun
intended) logic! Even if a Posek were to argue on this logic, it would
be his logic against Reb Shlomo Zalman's.  See my response to point 2.

          5. "The history of microphonization in  the  USA"  is  just
          that, history.  Times change amd so do realities. What  has
          kept Halacha  (and  Am  Yisrael)  alive  throughout  Jewish
          history is the fact that leading Halacha  authorities  have
          always  reexamined  and  reformulated  applied  Halacha  as
          social conditions changed and technologies improved.

Whoa! With all due respect, and I do mean that sincerely, for Zomet, you
are not the ones who can determine that. Even individual Rabbis in the
field cannot determine that!  There is a hierarchy of Leadership in each
and every camp of Orthodoxy in each and every country. The Gedolei
Hora'ah in the US are the only ones who can determine whether the
realities and times have changed. BTW, IMHO, if and when such mikes were
to be installed in American shuls, many Conservative "Rabbis" would
write columns noting how even the Orthodox are finally coming around to
realizing that Halacha changes.  BTW #2, I would like to see some
Israeli shuls (since Zomet and the Poskim Ezra quoted are, after all,
there) try this first and let's see what happens :-) !

I believe my responses cover Ezra's other points as well.


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 94 11:53:27 +0300
Subject: electrical circuits

    A quick defense of my physics. I was referring to an AC circuit
(normal house current). Due to the constant changes between positive and
negative voltages the electrons move back and forth within a small
distance and do not travel down the wire as they would in a DC circuit
or in free space.

Eli Turkel


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 09:56:47 -0400
Subject: Electricity Revisited

In a recent submission I questioned Eli's characterization of the
conduction electrons only moving short distances, pointing out that with
the attachment of a voltage source such as a battery they in fact move
macro distances since they are liberated from their localized bound
states. Eli and Joshua Burton have reminded me that in a practical
everyday household circuit case, it is indeed true that the electrons
don't move very far since it is an AC circuit with an oscillating
current of relatively small amplitude i.e they keep turning around
before they get very far. Of course I agree with that. In a battery
powered DC circuit which I had envisioned they will of course move as
far as you have time to wait for and wire to carry them.

Mechy Frankel                                 W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                           H: (301) 593-3949


From: Ari Kurtz <s1553072@...>
Date: Sun, 29 May 1994 03:16:48 -0400
Subject: Jews and non-Jews

  Shalom Alichem 
    Regarding Marc Shapiro's letter in volume 28 . For the first part
of the letter of non-jews in the eye of halacha . As far as I know 
a good start would be Sanhedrin 56a - which discusses the mitzvot which
non-jews are obligated for with is sprinkled with all sorts points regarding
non-jews such as " on killing a kuti who kills a kuit or jew is chiav and
a jew who kills a non-jew is patur " . I'd recomend studying the whole 
portion (which I haven't gotten to the end of yet) in depth . 
   As for the second part of the letter of double standards between 
jews and non-jews or put more bluntly is Judism racism .
   Well there's two approaces to status among mankind one that not
all men are equal and that there are those who have a higher status .
the second being that all men are equal .
   As far as I see the second approach is a farce how can you say all
men are equal when I've noted a few geniuses who capabilities are far 
beyond mine and I'm no idiot (well that's at least what most people tell
me ) comparing these people to an average person and saying they're equal
is unfair the simple person has no chance in accomplishing have the things
the genius is able to do . And this is just looking at one aspect . One 
can say that all are equal in the eyes of the law is also quite hard to
swallow since it seems to be more of a function of money and political pull .
   For the second approach as best to my knowledge this is the approach
in Judism . As one can simply see with the split in the nation of cohenim
, leviim yisraelim ect .. which even effects ones possabilities for marriage .
So it seems that Judism has different roles for different people and each 
are effected by diffrent rules . 
   The difference between Judism outlook and classic racism is that 
judism expects one to accomplish in according to his capabilties so one 
is gifted in one way or another is expected to accomplish more . In oppisition
to racism which following the rule of survival of the fittest justifies the
oppresion of those considered inferior and therefore have no right to exist .
  Also as far as all are created equal brings and attitude that since all
are equal if I suceed more than my peer then that due to my hard work and
I don't necessarily have to feel sorry for those who don't suceed since its
their fault . Which also sort of justifies the oppression of the less gifted .

                                    Ari Kurtz
tel : 04-282310


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 16:09:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Microphones

> From: Ezra Rosenfeld <zomet@...>
> 1. Many shuls in North America attract hundreds of mitpallelim on Shabbat
> and more than a thousand on the Yamim Noraim.In many of them, the main
> shul is so large that many of the people sitting in the back (and many
> elderly people) cannot hear the Rav or the Shaliach Tzibbur. This often
> leads to frustration and private conversations. 

2 points, one raised by the Rav of our Shul and the other by me.

First, what about the Takonoh of "Hashmo'as Kol" [causing a sound]? I
understand that musical instruments are forbidden on Shabbos because of
this Takonoh as one might come to repair them (Tikun K'li). Why doesn't
this apply to a microphone?

Secondly, it would seem from what Ezra is saying that the people sitting
at the back are not hearing the Sh'liach Tzibur but an electronic
reproduction of his voice. I believe that Reb Moshe z'tzl paskened that
one cannot fulfill the Mitzvah of hearing Shofar by listening to it on a
radio; how does this apply (if at all) to microphones?

Stephen Phillips


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 94 01:14:54 EDT
Subject: Slowly drifting by....

Gedalya Berger and Eli Turkel are arguing when they should be calculating.
The point of contention is Eli's

> In fact the electrons individually move only A VERY
> SMALL DISTANCE. Hence the existence of an electrical circuit does
> not materially change the physical properties of the wire....

to which Gedalya opines that

> Their average "drift velocity" is OF THE ORDER OF 1 CM/SEC, which means 
> that in a circuit one centimeter in circumference an average electron 
> would make one revolution per second. 

Mechy Frankel seems to hold with Gedalya:

> The electrons in a
> conductor do, of course, MOVE MACRO DISTANCES in response to the
> externally applied electric force in the wire.

(All caps are mine. -- JWB)

By an odd coincidence, there happens to be a wire running out the back of
the very computer from which I am typing this.  It's drawing a hefty two
or three hundred watts of power, which in 110-volt land comes to a few amps
of current.  An amp is forty million billion electrons coming out of the
wall in the 120th of a second before they all turn around and go back where
they came from.  There are about that many conduction electrons in ten
micrograms of copper, which for this wire would be a disk a couple of
microns in length.  In other words, for a realistic AC circuit---and to be
generous I considered a fairly high-power application---the electrons move
back and forth by about a hundredth of the diameter of one invisible maggot.

This tiny movement obviously has both halakhic and practical significance,
as you can quickly confirm by trying to keep all those electrons in the 
plug with a moistened finger.  But the motion resembles that of a SHOUT
travelling down a pipe (both in size and in timescale) far more than it
does that of flowing water.  This is no surprise---in both cases, we are
considering a wave superimposed on natural room-temperature thermal motion.
Is an echo a separate thing from the air in which it moves?

We now return you to our regularly scheduled discussion of...questions
that DON'T require you to remember how many electrons are in a coulomb.

In every object, mountain, tree, and star--    |===============================
in every birth and life, as part of each,      | Joshua W Burton  (401)435-6370
Evolved from each-- meaning behind the ostent, |      <burton@...>     
A mystic cipher waits infolded.  -- Whitman    |===============================


End of Volume 13 Issue 45