Volume 14 Number 73
                       Produced: Sun Aug 14 22:35:26 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Autistic Children
         [Seth Ness]
Developmentally Disabled Children
         [Brigitte Saffran]
Fasting with Ease
         [Lorri Lewis]
Fastwell Drops (2)
         [Robert Klapper, Manny Lehman]
Mentally Impaired
         [Warren Burstein]
Shabbos Cooking
         [Binyomin Segal]


From: Seth Ness <ness@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 1994 01:13:52 -0400
Subject: Autistic Children

while i can't comment on the specific stories about the autistic kids, i
think its pretty clear that facilitated communication is hogwash. The
way it works is that a 'facilitator' holds the childrens hands above a
keyboard and 'helps' them press the keys they try to press. It turns out
that the children have amazing stories to tell. Its amusing that this
found its way into religious judaism so fast.

Unfortunately, when experiments were done, it turned out that it was the
facilitators who were telling the amazing stories (most likely, quite
subconciously). For instance, if the facilitator was prevented from
hearing the question asked of the child the answer typed out became
nonsense. when the facilitator could hear the question again, the answer
became an amazing one once more. Many more tests of this type were done
and they all had the same conclusion.

Hopefully, the whole thing will quickly be forgotten.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


From: <richa@...> (Brigitte Saffran)
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 1994 17:04:29 -0400
Subject: Developmentally Disabled Children

Mordechai  Perlman writes:
>    I was told that the Chazon Ish used to stand up for autistic and
> down-syndrome affected children because he said they had special neshomos
> (souls).

I believe that I heard in reference to the Chazon Ish, that he would
stand when some one developmentally disabled entered the room because
their souls were purer due to the fact that they didn't have a Yetzer
Hara (Since they didn't know the difference between good and bad to
purposefully do bad.)  I am curently a student studying special
education and have worked with children with disabilities, and at length
with developementally disabled (Autistic and retarded) children. I
believe the technique you are refering to is called Facillitated
communications. Though I truly believe in the potential of these
children and adults, I feel the need to stop you here. I know this is
not a forum for Special Education techniques, but I want to issue a
warning against using this device as a type of "weegee" board, almost
like Avodah Zara!
	I have done some work with the technique and will explain. The
child sits at a keyboard and a "facilitator" holds either his shoulder,
arm, or finger for support while he types. Some people claim that this
device has achieved miracles while others say that it is a farce and the
facilitator (who lifts and lowers the finger to help control the
sometimes involuntary jumpy movements of the child) really is doing the
typing. THe debate continues, but I think it needs to be resolved before
we begin to believe that this technique enables gilgulim to communicate.
	I am not denying the authenticity of the technique or of the two
events recorded. Nor am I denying the intellectual and emotional ability
and potential of these children as well as their high spiritual level. I
would just want to know more about the children who were being treated
and the people who acted as facilitators at the time that these
discoveries were made, before I could say that through Facilitated
communication things discussed in Kabballa were discovered.

Also, I am a little suspicious of those who "diagnose" physical and
mental disabilities as punishments for sinning. If everyone would
believe the above account, all developmentally disabled children would
be viewed in a very terrible light. We are NOT neviyim, and can't
attribute causes for ailments, and I don't believe yet, that facilitated
communications is the channel for neviyim to communicate with us. Like I
said, I'd need many more details.
						Brigitte Saffran


From: <lorrin@...> (Lorri Lewis)
Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 16:31:04 -0400
Subject: Fasting with Ease

After reading about "wonder drops for fasting I thought that some
wonderful advise I was given several years ago is worth passing
along--especially since I went from fasting with splitting headaches to
fasting with ease.

Headaches during fasting are often a caffiene withdrawal symptom.  If
you can cut out caffiene a couple of weeks before a fast you can avoid
the headache.  The first time I tried it was for Yom Kippur.  I
substituted decaf coffee from mid Elul until Rosh Hashonah, then drank
herbal tea until Erev Yom Kippur.  Miracle of all miracles -- an easy
fast.  On the short fasts a cup of whatever before the sun comes up
seems to handle the problem.  Remember that cola and chocolate and tea
are all good sources of caffiene that should be eliminated along with

Lorri  Grashin Lewis
Palo Alto, California


From: <rklapper@...> (Robert Klapper)
Date: Tue, 9 Aug 1994 01:30:51 -0400
Subject: Fastwell Drops

David charlap suggests that easing fasting is religiously undesirable.
I think the tenor of Talmudic stories re Amoraim finding licit methods
of cooling and foot-cushioning on Yom Kippur tends the other way.
Perhaps the point isn't the pain of fasting, but rather the absence of
eating = transcending the physical?

From: <mml@...> (Manny Lehman)
Date: Sun, 14 Aug 94 22:59:03 BST
Subject: Fastwell Drops

For many years, in fact ever since I can remember, I fasted very, very
badly on all taneisim (fasts) but particularly on Tisha be'Av and Yom
Kippur. In particular I would get the most terrible headache/migraines
with all other accompanying symptoms. Many years ago while we were
living in Riverdale, NY my doctor recommended and prescribed Cafergot
suppositories used first thing on the morning of the Ta'anit and lo and
behold, things changed dramatically for the better. No migraine ur other
of its symptoms.  Just feeling hungry and a little weak.

So I don't know about "wonder drops" - but cafergot - a migraine
treatment - certainly did the trick. Notice that Cafergot comes in two
forms, with and withoud caffeine. Which one one takes is a question of
tolerance, CYLD.

But far more important than the efficacy of Cafergot is something I
discovered some years later while being desensitised for food
allergies. On the days that I received treatment I used to react
precisely as I did on a Ta'anit. Migraine, dizziness, vomiting and all
the rest. The Doctor suggested that I might be suffering from Caffeine
withdrawal accentuated by the fasting (since for 24 hours before and on
the day of the treatment all tea, coffee and other possible allergents)
were out. So I stopped drinking tea and coffee and - NO MORE PROBLEMS on
treatment days and, more importantly, on Ta'aneisim. From that day
onwards, other than a feeling of hunger and weakness, I no longer even
noticed that I was fasting. So certainly in my case - as others who have
tried it - a coffee abstention regime for a week or two before every
Ta'anit provided a complete solution.  This is clearly preferable, both
"ideologically and medically, to "wonder drops" or cafergot and probably
even more effective.

Now to David Charlap's comment on the same topic.

He writes:
>To me, such a substance defeats the purpose of a fast. We fast in order
>to experience the pain of a past event (eg. Tisha B'Av) or as a part of
>asking for forgiveness (eg. Yom Kippur). What does it show G'D if you
>take a chemical such that you hardly feel your hunger? What does it
>show you?

>I just don't understand what purpose there is n fasting if you don't
>feel the hunger.

I believe that David has got hold of the wrong end of the stick. IMHO a
fast requires abstention from the normal actions and pleasures of life
so as to remove all distractions that would block or distract one from
the emotions and acts of the day. On Tisha B'Av one should be
concentrating on mourning for Yerushalayim, for the many many many of
out bretheren who went though untold suffering on that day and as a
consequence of the events of that day, to bring us to a realisation,
understanding of our human frailty.  There is probably nothing that will
distract a person more from reality than sitting down to a good meal, no
stronger reminder of our dependence on G'd than going without food for a
few hours and beginning to feel weak, a little light headed and so
on. And these effects are not obliterated by any drugs or even
abstention from caffeine riddled drinks. Suffering migraine and related
symptons, on the other hand, makes concentration on the inyanim
(concerns or matters) of the day impossible. And if this is true for
Tisha B'Av and the other mourning fasts, kal vachomer (a fiorte) it is
true for Yom Kippur when one requires all ones kochot (strength) to
concentrate on true teshuvah (repentance) facing ones Creator in his
judgment role and asking for forgiveness and the opportunity of a fresh
start. That is a full time challenge without space for "human
distractions" such as eating

So I see every reason (and no apology necessary) for encouraging people
to take whatever preventive steps will help avoid or minimise all
consequences of fasting that inhibit concentration on the real matter in
hand. The entire day should be dedicated for whatever the appropriate
purpose. The distraction of our human needs must be put aside for the

Prof. M M (Manny) Lehman, Department of Computing
Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
phone: +44 (0)71 594 8214,  fax +44 (0)71 594 8215
email: <mml@...>


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Fri, 12 Aug 1994 08:32:58 -0400
Subject: Mentally Impaired

Abe Perlman <abeperl@...> quotes his brother about a
"discovery" that allows autistic people to communicate via computer.
I am sorry to report that this is a fraud.  A terrible fraud, because
it plays on the emotions of parents many of whom will be unable to
respond objectively to evidence such as the following.

"Facilitated communication" consists of a "facilitator" holding the
hands of the person over a keyboard.  According to FC, the person
whose hands are being held does the typing, but in studies where a
different picture was shown to each of them and the autistic person
was asked to describe the view, it was the facilitator's view that got
described.  In short, it is the facilitator who does the typing.

As studies have exposed this as a fraud, I leave it up to each and
every person to decide for themselves what to make of facilitated
communication with the reincarnated.

If anyone wishes to be informed about this phenomenon, see two
articles in Skeptical Inquirer, Spring 1993, Vol 17 No 3 -

    James A. Mulick, John W. Jacobson, and Frank H. Kobe, "Anguished
    Silence and Helping Hands: Autism and Facilitated Communication"

    Kathleen M. Dillon, "Facilitated Communication, Autism, and Ouija".

both have references for those who want even more information.


From: <bsegal@...> (Binyomin Segal)
Date: Fri, 5 Aug 1994 03:40:21 -0400
Subject: Shabbos Cooking

>The situation here is...
>fully cooked, solid food, that is cold in the refrigerator. The goal is to
>get it hot (or very warm) for shabbat lunch.

There are 2 general restrictions to heating food on Shabbos:
Bishul (Cooking)
Mechzi K'mvashel (appearance of cooking)

Cooking (the Torah prohibition) is avoided in your example, because we say
Ayn bishul acher bishul (once a food is fully cooked, you can no longer -
halachicly - cook it) [This rule applies only to solid/dry food. The rule
with liquids or solid foods w/liquid ie gravy is more complicated]

Appearance of cooking (rabbinic prohibition) is hard to define in exact
terms today - the talmudic rabbis did _not_ discuss cooking on/in modern
appliances, however...

>1. there are dayot (rav soleveitchik z'l ??) that you can just put this
>food on a blech.

*My recollection is that this opinion is Rav Ovadia Yosef. He holds that
since "it is not the normal way to cook on a blech" this is sufficient to
avoid the appearance of cooking.

>2. put this food on top of another pot on blech.

*As I recall this solution is mentioned in the shulchan aruch. This solution
then is pretty straight forward & widely accepted. Its permissibality is
based on the observation that the "normal way to cook" is not on top of
another pot. [As a corrollary of this, a rabbi here in chicago suggests
that - as you are allowed to put a blech on a fire on shabbos - if you have
a flame going before shabbos - you could put a blech on it, then put an
inverted cookie sheet on that (a "second blech") and then put your food on

>3. put the food next to the blech (not above the flame)

*Really the same as 1 UNLESS its not yad soledes bo (the temperature at
which cooking halachicly takes place - somewhere around 110 f depending
on who you ask)

>4. use the type of hotplate they have in israel (can't be adjusted).
>5. deactivate the thermostat in an oven and use the oven. In this case
>the oven may have to be modified so it can stay below 113 degrees
>farenheit (too hot to touch according to shmirat shabbat k'hilkata).

*In any case that the temp is below yad soledes bo (#s3,4,5 or other
examples) [and there is no chance that the temp will be raised (ie there
is a reminder/blech on the controls] there is no appearance of
cooking. Since halachikly you cant cook below this temperature by
definition it is not the normal way to cook. (in fact, in halacha you
havent really warmed the food at all if you raise the temp from 65 to 95
degrees f)

This was all from memory so please CYLCOR & if anyone saw any mistakes here
scream loud. :)



End of Volume 14 Issue 73