Volume 15 Number 46
                       Produced: Mon Oct  3 18:20:23 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Widely Observed" Mitzvot and Chabad
19-year cycle off by a day
         [Michael Shimshoni]
answer to engineer ed/Zmanim program
         [Philip Ledereic]
Frum Dating
         [Yaakov Menken]
Issues in Meru Research
         [Sam Juni]
Kashruth Newsletters
         [Phillip S. Cheron]
Magnetic and Electric Hotel Door Cards
         [Stephen Irwin Weiss]


From: <RonnieS153@...> (Ronnie)
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 94 01:31:30 EDT
Subject: "Widely Observed" Mitzvot and Chabad

I don't want to be a part of a flame war, but after seeing some of David
Kaufman's comments vis-a-vis Chabad activities I feel that some comments
are in order.

I will not comment on the Jewish validity of the concept of a
resurrected Mashiach. As a long time counter-missionary activist you can
easily perceive my concerns, which have already been expressed by

However, I must take strong exception to David's seeming allegation that
prior to Chabad's various campaigns the mitzvot of tefillin, taharat
hamishpacha and Shabbat candles were not widely observed. Of course much
depends on how one defines "widely observed", and to be sure, with the
growth of the kiruv movement (in which Chabad has an important and
virtually seminal role) these mitzvot are observed by a greater segment
of the Jewish community, but to imply that tefillin, mikvah and neirot
Shabbat were virtually forgotten does a grave disservice to our people.

I remember a couple of years ago, on another net, when I questioned
whether our generation is on a high enough spiritual level to merit the
Mashiach I was severely castigated by Chabadnikim for speaking loshon
hara about my fellow Jews. Now, however, it seems as though it is
appropriate to speak ill of an entire generation of Jews as long as
Chabad can take credit for moving them closer to HaShem and Yiddishkeit.

The fact is that the orthodox community has long been dedicated to these
very mitzvot. Significant segments of the conservative community has
also actively observed the mitzvot of tefillin and shabbas candles. Over
twenty five years ago, the conservative synagogue where my family were
members, had a very active and well attended youth minyan on Sunday
mornings, complete with tefillin (including sets for boys who didn't
have them). This is not to say that everyone put on tefillin every day,
but it does show that the mitzvah *was* observed. Likewise with Shabbat
candles. I'm sure that my family was not alone in the fact that my
mother lit candles every Fri. nite. I'm not saying this as an
endorsement of the conservative movement (certainly the heterodox
movements have much to account for in the present state of American
Judaism), but merely as a recognition of the fact that tefillin and
Shabbat candles were indeed widely observed prior to Chabad's mitzvah

As for taharat hamishpocha, I don't know about other communities, but
Detroit has long had more than one mikvah and they existed and were well
patronized prior to any measurable Chabad activity here.

Chabad's accomplishments are manifold and reflect wonderfully upon the
true measure of the Rebbe, z'tz'l, in that they were done at his behest,
under his direction. There is no need to exagerate these accomplishments
nor to minimize the dedication of other Jews to Torah in order to serve
those exagerations.

If I have misread David Kaufman's intentions, I apologize to him and to
the mj list.

G'mar Chatimah Tovah U'T'mimah to all.


From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Oct 94 17:03:45 +0200
Subject: 19-year cycle off by a day

Andrew Greene gives a reply to the  question why there is not always a
complete coincidence  between the  Jewish and secular  birthdays which
are 19 years (or multiples of 19 years) apart.

The original question was:

>>My next birthday being my 19th, my Jewish Birthday and my secular birthday
>>will coincide.  I have heard of cases where after 19 years the calendars
>>were off by a day.  Does anyone know why that happens?

And to it A. Greene replied:

>Remember that the leap year in the "secular" system (named after the Pope who
>first authorised its use) is skipped in years that are divisible by 100 but
>not by 400. The "missing" Feb 29 would account for what you describe.

This is not the real answer, as it would explain such discrepancies if
the  pre Gregorian  calendar  (i.e. the  Julian)  would have  *always*
coincided  in such  cases,  which  it does  *not*.   Anyhow the  above
explanation would apply only around the centenary Gregorian years, and
in fact the discrepancies are much more frequent.

The fuller  explanation would  be that  even if we  ignore the  end of
century irregularities of the Gregorian  calendar, in a 19 year period
there are  usually 5, but sometimes  only 4 February 29.   In addition
Rosh HaShana is not always exactly on the day of Molad Tishre (the day
of the calculated new  moon of the month Tishre) but may  be as far as
two days later.  All these irregularities are *not* directly connected
to the well known 19 year cycle.

In  order to  demonstrate the  matter I  used my  computer program  to
calculate the 32  Gregorian dates of Rosh HaShana of  5400 (1639) till
5989 (2228) at skips of 19 years.  The first five Gregorian dates were
on  September  29,  28,  27,  27,  28  respectively.   Later  the  two
consecutive R.H.  of 5609 and 5628  were on September 28  and 30, i.e.
different by *two* days.  Towards the end  of my list R.H. of 5856 and
5875 are  on September 29  and October  1.  The five  consecutive R.H.
from 5913 till  the end of my  table at 5989 are all  on September 30,
the longest sequence of unchanging dates in my small sample.

For  reasons of  not wishing  to  cause offense  to some,  I have  not
included calculations for the next R.H. dates of 6008 and further!

 Michael Shimshoni


From: Philip Ledereic <ledereic@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 94 22:09:22 EDT
Subject: answer to engineer ed/Zmanim program

I'm sorry I do not know who you could give the money to for the
shareware software.  I do have one helpful suggestion:
If you can not find the person, give the money to Tzedokah, because
the person who you owe the money to would be credited for the Mitzvoh,
and everybody would want to have his money used to do a Mitzvoh.
(Only if you can not find the person or his relatives)  I would
think that this is similar to one who steals & does not know from 
who he stole from, but wants to make a restitution. (You may want to
double check with your local orthodox rabbi).

Pesach Ledereich


From: Yaakov Menken <ny000548@...>
Date: Fri, 30 Sep 94 14:00:21 -0400
Subject: Re: Frum Dating

I'm afraid that even after seven weeks of marriage, I'm still at odds with
Sam Juni on Frum Dating.   ;-)

>From: Sam Juni <JUNI%<SNYBKSAC.BITNET@...>
>Beryl Phillips (15/26) [...] hypothesize[s] that the frum dating sequence 
>is accelerated because they have a very small checklist (Midos, Hashkofo).

I don't remember the post, and certainly don't agree to it.  The truth
is precisely the opposite:  frum people have a far longer list of items
which they absolutely _must_ have in a Shidduch.  However, much of this
can and should be investigated _before_ dating.  Does he want to work or
learn?  Does she plan to cover her hair?  Most suggested matches in the
frum world never make it beyond this stage.  

>I hate to think that personality and temperament compatibility are not
>considered in some of these match (or match races).

That would be rediculous.  Some Chassidim insist on having the couple meet
only once or twice - and that leads to a lot of unhappy matches.  What may
make frum dating shorter is, however, the fact that _only_ compatibility
remains to be seen if each side has done a detailed investigation in
advance.  The one thing that cannot be seen on paper is "chemistry."

>To get a
>sense of compatibility, one needs to live through a sampling of the
>common trials and tribulations of married life: disappointment, sudden
>news, crisis, challenge, competition, initiative, among loads of others.

Uh uh.  The couples who undergo "trial marriages" and live together for
months or even years were shown after a detailed study to be just as likely
as the general population to get divorced.  QED this is rubbish.

>  I was just told the "exciting" news that one of my acquaintances who
>  became engaged to her "first" had the reciprocal honor of also being
>  his "first."  Now isn't that special?

Well, yes!  Each side was probably suggested over a dozen possibilities
before agreeing to go out with one.  They investigated the other's
"frumkeit," first and foremost.  Their plans for the future.  Even
personalities, senses of humor, anything they could possibly check first.

By the time he agreed to go out with someone, he had done a detailed 
investigation that demonstrated his seriousness about finding a match who 
was appropriate for him in terms of their future service of HaShem, building
a Bayis Ne'eman B'Yisroel.  So had she.  Each had also prayed for this, 
and HaShem answered them.

No, you don't always get answered on this one, just like anything else.
Some of us do detailed investigations and _still_ have 30 or 50 notches
on our belts by the time we reach the chupah.  Getting answered with the
first _is_ special indeed!

Yaakov Menken


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 1994 22:56:02 -0400
Subject: Issues in Meru Research

Stan Tenen does a fine job outlining the Meru research in his post of
15:10.  I want to put it my two cents on specific points.

Stan makes some conditions on who should be privy to do the Meru-type
investigation, limiting it to certain qualifications in comittment to
standards in science and Torah integrity.  I would be very hesitant to
limit access to anything for anyone.  The strength of a data base is on
its merits not on its investigators.  I certainly would not be impressed
with a logical structure which requires the consumer to trust the good
judgement of the investigator.  Yes, it is important to trust the integ-
rity of the investigator re falsifications, etc.

I addressed the issue of statistical proofs in another post.  Stan
posits that statistics cannot prove anything unless the underlying
mechanisms for the statistics is spelled out.  I disagree -- statistics
can prove a pattern, which is then open to interpretation.  More
specifically, all one is proving (in one facet of Meru work) is that a
skip/coding pattern exists.  That is provable (with a specific
probability value).  If one wishes, one can go and look for a
meta-pattern, then a meta-meta pattern, etc.  But such "digging" does
not invalidate proofs at any juncture.

Stan rightfully evokes Naaseh V'Nishma (religious comittment preceeds
understanding) as a primary Jewish principle.  However, the rule does
not apply to the logical evaluation of data.  Ipso factor, logical
evaluation stands on its own, not as subsidiary (or afterthought) to to
forgone conclusion.  Moreover, one cannot convince others -- who are
doing neither Naaseh nor Nishma -- to begin with Naaseh, if one is using
logical argumentation as the convincer. (I hope I did not misread Stan's
connection here.)  One can try to convince others to begin with Naaseh,
but that approach involves an emotional plane, which is not what I see
Meru to be, and is not what I expect people curious about Meru would

Stan uses the word "experiments" in reference to the research.  What are
these?  Is the word a synonym for manipulations?

Stan makes the point that if the research REQUIRES computers, then the
method is invalid, since it obviously was not coded via computer.  One
can well argue that the computer can be required to arrive at an
algorithm using a random approach, even if the algorithm is not complex.
Think of using a computer to break a code, even if the code can be used
by a child once it is defined.

Stan rightfully points out that Rabbinical approvals are not
intrinsically part of any research efforts.  Nontheless, (potential)
consumers or "browsers" into a system such as Meru will often see if it
has been reviewed by Rabbinic scholars before they proceed to invest
time and effort.  This is especially important for a complex system
which incorporates facets which some of us do not understand.  It thus
becomes quite relevant to see if authorities who did understand it all
find it compatible with Torah beliefs

P.S.  What does the word "Meru" stand for?


From: <dt168@...> (Phillip S. Cheron)
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 1994 01:36:28 -0400
Subject: Kashruth Newsletters

Does anyone know of an up to date listing, in one place, of the English
language Kashruth newsletters currently being published in the U.S.?

I have in mind flyers like the Baltimore Star-K Kashrus Kurrents
pamphlet, the Detroit KosherGram, and similar publications, as well as
Kashrus Magazine and the house organs of the various certifying
agencies.  Subscription information would also be helpful.

Ephraim Cheron


From: Stephen Irwin Weiss <sweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 16:07:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Magnetic and Electric Hotel Door Cards

David Sherman wrote:

> Electric key cards are a problem.  Magnetic ones are not
> necessarily a problem.  I attended a Shabbaton put on by the
> Canadian Jewish Congress at the Ramada in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
> The cards to open to room doors had been checked out by Congress's
> rabbinic authority.  I don't know all the details of what made
> it OK, but clearly the fact that no "little green light" goes on
> when you insert such a card in the door was a necessary condition.

I would be interested in any sources for responsa on this issue. Also,
how can you tell the difference bvetween a key which is only magnetic
and one which is electric? Thanks!

steve weiss


End of Volume 15 Issue 46