Volume 17 Number 47
                       Produced: Sat Dec 24 22:16:57 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2500 year old obstacle to marriage
         [Ed Fine]
         [Harry Weiss]
         [Michelle Kraiman Gross]
Is There A Santa Claus?
         [Daniel Epstein]
Isaac Newton's birthday
         [Finley Shapiro]
Kashrus organizations
         [David Steinberg]
Kashrus Questionnaire
         [David Steinberg]
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Sephard and Ashkenaz
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <PDUA27A@...>  (Ed Fine)
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 17:37:46 EST
Subject: Re: 2500 year old obstacle to marriage

Could somebody explain, please, how the rabbis could be so certain of 
an unbroken line over 2500 years as to anul the marriage?  Is there 
not some principle in Halachah that would give the benefit of the 
doubt to the woman?  Also, can someone provide a common-sense 
explanation re: the need for such a perpetual form of treatment?  Who 
is being protected?  Is this a form of punishment?

Ed Fine


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 17:12:57 -0800
Subject: Churches

There has been some discussion on entering churches.  Would this
prohibition apply to a Catholic school attached to a church.  That
happens to be the voting place in our neighborhood.  Based on advice
from my LOR, I vote absentee.



From: <mgross@...> (Michelle Kraiman Gross)
Date: Thu, 22 Dec 94 16:08:19 PST
Subject: Conservative-kosher

In response to Jim's request for advice:

Where I live, community gatherings where the kitchen is in a
Conservative synagogue offer guests or participants the option of a
"glatt meal."  This just seems to mean one that is acceptable according
to Orthodox heshgocha.  The caterer delivers it sealed from a kosher
restaurant and it is un-sealed and served under the supervision of one
of the guests who is on the city's Va'ad ha-Kashrus or someone delegated
by the Va'ad member.

As there may be other guests who would like to have such a meal, you can
ask your friend if it's possible to arrange for it with the caterer. If
you know the caterer, you could call him or her first to find out what
this involves, so that you have more information when you phone your
friend.  (The last wedding my husband and I went to had twenty "glatt"
vegetarian meals, thanks to everyone's cooperation after one invitee
made the phone calls.)

Since your friend is a Conservative rabbi, he is bound to know that the
kosher observances in the synagogue include items that you don't
consider kosher (domestic wine, cheese, un-toyvld dishes, swordfish,
etc), and probably would not want you to rely on it. Why not ask him for
advice directly?



From: <d.epstein@...> (Daniel Epstein)
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 94 11:56:41 GMT
Subject: Is There A Santa Claus?

             IS THERE A SANTA CLAUS?

 As a result of an overwhelming lack of requests, and with research help from
 that renown scientific journal SPY magazine (January, 1990) - I am pleased to
 present the annual scientific inquiry into Santa Claus.

 1)No known species of reindeer can fly.BUT there are 300,000 species of
 living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects
 and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer which only Santa
 has ever seen.

 2)There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world.
 BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and
 Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378
 million according to Population Reference Bureau.At an average (census)
 rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.One presumes
 there's at least one good child in each.

 3)Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
 time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west
 (which seems logical).This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
 This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa
 has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the
 chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the
 tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back
 into the sleigh and move on to the next house.Assuming that each of these
 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course,
 we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept),
 we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2
 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once
 every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.

 This means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000
 times the speed of sound.For purposes of comparison, the fastest man- made
 vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per
 second - a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.

 4)The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.Assuming
 that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 pounds),
 the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably
 described as overweight.On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more
 than 300 pounds.Even granting that "flying reindeer" (see point #1) could
 pull TEN TIMES the normal anoint, we cannot do the job with eight, or even
 nine.We need 214,200 reindeer.This increases the payload - not even
 counting the weight of the sleigh - to 353,430 tons.
 Again, for comparison - this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth.

 5)353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air
 resistance - this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
 spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere.The lead pair of reindeer
 will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy.Per second.Each.In short,
 they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer
 behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake.
 The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a
 second.Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
 times greater than gravity.A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim)
 would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.

 In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's
 dead now.


From: Finley Shapiro <Finley_Shapiro@...>
Date: 20 Dec 1994 15:39:28 U
Subject: Isaac Newton's birthday

In an earlier posting I mentioned that readers may wish to celebrate
Isaac Newton's birthday on December 25th (for lack of anything better to
do).  Here is some (arguably) useful information on this topic:

The change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar took place in
Catholic parts of continental Europe in October, 1582.  However, the
change was not made in England until September, 1752.  Isaac Newton's
entire life was between these two dates, when different calendars were
used in different parts of Europe.

On the Julian calendar, which was in use in England when Newton was
born, the date of his birth was December 25, 1642.  His baptism was
recorded eight days later on January 1, 1643.  This is also the date
that some Christians celebrate Jesus's circumcision, and is called the
Feast of the Circumcision.  By the Gregorian calendar, Newton was born
on January 4, 1643.

Newton died on March 20, 1727 on the Julian calendar, or March 31, 1727
on the Gregorian calendar.  Note that the difference between the dates
of Newton's birth on the two calendars is 10 days, but the difference
between the dates of his death is 11 days.  This is because 1700 was a
leap year in the Julian calendar but not in the Gregorian calendar.

Happy Isaac Newton's birthday!
Finley Shapiro


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 11:46:18 +0000
Subject: Kashrus organizations

Now that the Questionnaire is beginning to take shape, I present two 
questions for the group: 

1.  How can we collect the information?  As has been previously noted, 
Kashrus Magazine publishes a list of over one hundred Organizations in 
the field. Is anyone willing to assist me in contacting organizations.

Once the final Questionnaire is agreed to, I can produce a 
word-processed, hardcopy  that can be used for a test run.

Volunteers, please resend via e-mail, so as not to clutter mj.

2.  What do we do with the information once collected ? 

I assume we can build on on-line resource on the order of the Cities 
guide.  (Avi, I'll need help on this part)

Should we offer the database to other entities ?  Who ?  On what Basis?  
My gut reaction is that the more widely the information is circulated the 
more willing the Organizations will be to participate.



From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 1994 11:30:09 +0000
Subject: Kashrus Questionnaire 

I have received a number of helpful comments for which I thank my 
anonymous teachers.

The first proposed that we add questions regarding the scope of the 
Kashrus Organization and the size of the organization. I propose the 
following questions:

1. Number of Products Supervised
2. Number of Mashgichim

3. Number of Retail Establishments Supervised
4. Number of Mashgichim

5. When is a Mashgiach Tmidi (full time monitor) required?

A second poster developed the following list of objective criteria:

1) Do you allow Gelatin Filtering, for example Apple Juice.
2) Do you check eggs for Blood Spots
3) Does any Hechsher rely on Bitul (other than the current question of
   using milk from punctured cows)
4) Is kashering done at 212 degrees F
5) Do you always wait 24 hours before kashering.
6) If the answer to 5 is no, do you throw a chemical to make the Keli lfgam.
7) If chemicals are used, which ones are accepted.
8) If one organization uses an ingredient from another organization, are the
   strict guidelines of the former organization always followed.
9) Do you give Hechshering on products that aren't Pas Yisroel.
10) If yes to 9, can you list the products?
11) Do you Hechshering to products that aren't Bishul Yisroel.
12) If yes to 11, can you list the products.
13) Do you give a Hechsher to products with non-mevushal grape juice in it.
14) If yes to 13, can you list the products.

Thanks for the feedback.



From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 94 13:00:25 -0800
Subject: Re: PI

>From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)

>>Hayim Hendeles
>>Sure it's a nice tidbit to know that PI is really irrational, whose
>>value is in the neighborhood of 3.14, and Chazal only used an estimation
>>when using the value 3, but I don't follow the poster's point that
>>"this establishes the importance of the study of science to Torah".

> Chazal did not "use an estimation".  Pi MUST be rounded off at
> a certain point. Chazal learned from this pasuk that for
> hallachic purposes it is rounded off at exactally 3.

I do know that Rabbi Feinstein has a tshuva (response) where he says
that even though tfillin must be perfectly square, if you had a pair
that the diagonal was exactly 1.4 times one of the sides, this is 100%
acceptable - since halachikly the square root of 2 is used as 1.4.
(Please don't take my word for thus, and consult your LOR regardless.)

Now, if the diagonal measured 1.4, clearly this cannot be a perfect
square, since the digaonal of a perfect square would be the square root
of 2 = 1.4142135624...

So, assuming I am correct, Reb Moshe asserts that the halachik value
of the square root of 2 is 1.4.

However, you are now asserting that the same rule applies to PI also -
i.e. the halachik definition is 3.  Do you have any references for
this? Its a wonderful theory, and will explain alot --- but I would
like to know if you can back up your assertion.

Hayim Hendeles


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 94 19:07:23+020
Subject: Sephard and Ashkenaz

     I have a lengthy article in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary
Society (Fall 1989 5-34) on changing between Ashkenaz and Sefard 
pronunciations and Nusach. I bring there numerous (ashkenazi) poskim who do 
allow one to change from ashkenaz to sefard. A number of these poskim specify
that this is on condition that one will daven in a true sephard
pronunciation and not half ashkenaz-half sefard.



End of Volume 17 Issue 47