Volume 17 Number 87
                       Produced: Wed Jan 11  6:44:19 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Codes in the Torah
         [Yaakov Menken]
Sherut leumi
         [Eli Turkel]
Sherut Leumi
         [Leah Zakh]
Tzitzit on a Scarf.
         [Immanuel O'Levy]
         [Meshulum Laks]


From: <menken@...> (Yaakov Menken)
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 95 09:24:08 EST
Subject: Codes in the Torah

Stan Tenen wrote:

>In m-j 17,64 Meylekh Viswanath may have put his finger on at least one
>of the problems with the Letter Skip Codes: "In practice, their null
>seems to be that bereishis is comprised of random sequences of letters,
>which is not much as a straw man."

Well, I actually got a copy of the paper - Stan (and Meylekh) will be
pleasantly surprised with their testing!  The initial tests involved
comparisons with the Samaritan text for Genesis, as well as a copy of
Genesis with the first Heh HaYediah (heh used as a definite article) deleted
in each 1000 letters - a change of a mere 80 or so letters overall.  That
was enough to destroy the effect.

In the tests described in the paper, they used several test documents in
addition to a "randomized Genesis (R)" - such as the Hebrew version of War &
Peace (T), the book of Isaiah (I), A random permutation of words within the
verses of Genesis (U) and a random permutation of the verses themselves (V).
In all other cases described, the results were normal - only Genesis
demonstrated significant results.

Stan also speculates that the letter-level coding such as shown here might
have been known to previous generations, and that communities might have
honored their forebears with appropriate "honorary death dates."  This is a
stretch, as he admits.  First of all, we know that the _phenomenon_ of
coding was noted centuries ago, but these modern Codes involving minimum
skips are quite inconceivable without a computer.  Further, the death dates
of individuals such as the Vilna Gaon and Chacham Tzvi are known to us - and
they lived within the last few hundred years.  We have no evidence of either
knowledge of codes like these, or an intentional effort to change someone's
DoD.  (All right, I _know_ someone has some exception from somewhere... no
flames, please, I'm just ignorant.)  There have been a _lot_ of efforts to
discredit the Codes, but this is one of the more imaginative!

All the best,
Yaakov Menken                      <menken@...>
Director, Project Genesis                      (914) 356-3040
P.O.B. 1230, Spring Valley, NY  10977      Fax (914) 356-6722


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 11:16:19 +0200
Subject: Sherut leumi

     I wish to state my agreement with Zvi Weiss and the Medads about
the great things that are done by sherut Leumi girls. I have reread the
letters of the Chazon Ish that Menken quotes. Only one of them talks
about a "religious" sherut leumi and that refers to putting girls on a
religious kibbutz. It is not clear what his objections are but my
impression was that he felt that even there it was possibile to have bad
influences on some girls and that various groups existed on the
     These letters were written over 40 years ago and the Israeli scene
has changed much since those days. I assume from the letters that there
was no possibility then of a "charedi" sherut leumi. As several people
have pointed out this could be done today and in fact does exist in a
very limited sense.  Hence, I do not feel that the letters of the Chazon
Ish are relevant to today's possibilities.

   Menken writes
>> In any event, I would sincerely appreciate it if we could argue the 
>> merits of positions without defaming individuals.

    I agree wholeheartely and hope that everyone will keep to this and
not defame groups of peoples by implications that many girls in sherut
leumi have loose morals which I again emphasize is simply not true.
Certainly the Chazon ish makes no such statements.


From: Leah Zakh <zakh@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 1995 16:51:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Sherut Leumi

I would like to state for the record that as far as I am aware Sherut 
Leumi girls choose where they want to do their sherut by themselves and 
are not placed into any atmosphere by  a secular gov't. They are also 
free to leave at any time, since this is the whole point. From my 
discussions and shailot the main problem w/ girls going into the army 
(besides the absence of tzniut) is the fact that they will be under the 
reshut of someone other then their fathers or husbands. Thus Sherut Leumi 
solves the problem since its participants choose their own line of work, 
are free to switch, and can leave at any time.
Leah Zakh
You can reach me at <zakh@...> or 212-779-1939


From: <imo@...> (Immanuel O'Levy)
Date: Fri, 6 Jan 95 12:26:27 GMT
Subject: Tzitzit on a Scarf.

In MJ 17:48, Akiva Miller gives a reference to Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot
Tzitzit 10:10-11, which concerns tzitzit on various types of garment.

Hilchot Tzitzit 10:10 states that a "mitzneffet" is exempt from tzitzit,
because it is primarily a head covering, and remains exempt even if worn
like a shawl.  Judging from the description of a mitzneffet given by
the Mishnah Berurah, it would appear to be something like a keffiyah,
which although originally designed as a head covering is quite often
worn round the neck/upper chest.  Another translation of "mitzneffet"
that I've come across is "turban", which is different from a run-of-
the-mill hat in that it consists of a long strip of cloth (a bit like
a scarf!) wound round itself and worn on the head.  The key thing here
would seem to be some sort of garment designed from the outset as a
head covering of some sort.

Men's scarves in general are not worn as head coverings, IMHO.  The
scarf that I have was certainly not made as a head covering.  I thought
that its unusual length (10 feet 7 inches, which is just over 3 metres)
might affect its requirement for tzitzit, especially as it is *knitted*
from wool.  Garments designed so that all its four garments are on the
front are exempt from tzitzit, but can I rely on this as a scarf can be
worn either with both ends in the front or with one end at the front and
one end down one's back?

Shulchan Aruch Hilchot Tzitzit 10:11 mentions a scarf worn by royalty,
and says that it is exempt from tzitzit.  The Biur Halachah there says
that this is because such a scarf is worn for honour and not as a
garment.  (What would the Halachah be regarding a uniform or fancy
dress, I wonder?)  This example would exclude, therefore, the scarf that
I have.  I remember an occasion in school when the gym teacher produced
some reflective vests for us to wear during sports so that he would be
able to identify who was on which team.  When we asked the school Rov if
these vests needed tzitzit, he replied that as we were not wearing them
as garments but as a means of identification they did not require
tzitzit.  This would seem to suggest that items worn for reasons other
than for clothing would be exempt from tzitzit, if I've understood the
reasoning okay.

I've noticed that most scarves seem to be made from acrylic or some
other fibre that does not require tzitzit.  The scarf that I have is
woollen, and would be worn as a garment.  It is not a head covering,
and was never intended to be.  It satisfies the minimum size requirement.
It has four corners, and they're not all at the front.  Why should it be
exempt from tzitzit?

The only possible exemption I can think of is that it is worn round the
neck.  Halachically speaking, where does the head stop and the body
start?  Is the neck part of the head or part of the body?

The other point that was raised concerned having surplus attachements
to one's garments and the problems with such things on Shabbos is 
discussed in the Shulchan Aruch, Hilchot Tzitzit 10:7, where it
discusses garments that are "open" on the sides and "closed" on the
sides, open ones requiring tzitzit and closed ones being exempt from
tzitzit.  The Shulchan Aruch goes on to say that a garment which is
half-open and half-closed requires tzitzit as one rules le'chumrah
(stringently), but one may not go out with it on Shabbos.  This would
seem to prevent me from being able to go out on Shabbos with my scarf
if I put tzitzit on it out of doubt (yes, I'm still not sure!).

I'm not sure if putting tzitzit on a garment out of doubt is in the
category of bal tosif - after all, the Shulchan Aruch mentions putting
tzitzit on a garment out of doubt, as in the above paragraph.  Having
more than eight threads would be bal tosif.  Any comments, anyone?

A definite solution to this problem would be to alter one or more of
the corners of the scarf to make them round, as mentioned in Shulchan
Aruch, Hilchot Tzitzit 10:9.  I still haven't found a definition for
a "round corner".  Does anyone have any comments on this?

 Immanuel M. O'Levy,                               JANET: <imo@...>
 Dept. of Medical Physics,                        BITNET: <imo@...>
 University College London,                     INTERNET: <imo@...>
 11-20 Capper St, London WC1E 6JA, Great Britain.         Tel: +44 171-380-9704


From: Meshulum Laks <mpl@...> 
Date: Sun, 8 Jan 1995 04:47:38 -0500
Subject: Udder

This is in response to the posting by Ms. Steppelman relative to Udder.

Contrary to what she wrote, the status of udder in the halacha is
unmistakably that of meat. In no sense is it considered parve. It is
clear that what lead to the confusion in the transmission of the
information that she has received from her grandparents is its unique
halachik position, which I shall elucidate below.

For a wonderful discussion of the halachot relative to 'kichal' or
udder, I refer you to the discussion in the Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah
siman 90. The discussion in the Aruch Hashulchan is particularly
perspicacious, and I rely upon it below.

The paradox of the udder (referred to as 'kichal', 'atinim', or 'dadim')
is clear - it is the source of all milk and thus in a lactating cow,
presents an obvious problem of meat and milk at the source.

We are all aware that the torah has prohibited mixtures of meat and
milk, whether for eating cooking or deriving benefit. However as the
Talmud says, since the prohibition is derived from the sentence 'do not
cook a kid in its mother's milk', 'what is prohibited is the milk of its
mother, which excludes the milk deriving from an already slaughtered
animal'. Thus the unexpressed milk still nascent in the udder does not
yet have the status of milk to prohibit mixtures of it with meat. Thus
from Torah law, the milk from the udder is ignorable, and one could cook
udder and eat it with the usual meat preparation.

However the Rabbis outlawed this milky substance because of its
similarity to real milk, and thus if one is intent upon eating udder,
the issue becomes how to separate this substance from the meat of the
udder. The talmud gives the prescription to 'cut it lengthwise and
widthwise and press it against the wall'. Thus the milk is expressed
from the udder.

There were times and places that the Rabbis forbade the eating of udder
- the gemara reports (Chullin 110a) that Rav forbade it in Tatelfush
(near Sura) after perceiving people not being nizhar (careful) with meat
and milk mixtures. People in Sura did not eat it, while people in
Pumbeditha did.

There is a complex machlokes (debate), between Rashi, Rabbeinu Tam and
the Rambam as to how udder can be prepared with regard to broiling it or
possibly cooking it in a pot and as to whether it may be cooked together
with other meats.

In many places the custom is not to cook udder in a pot - rather to
broil it, as we prepare liver, after cutting it into small pieces and
washing it carefully from the milk and the blood.

After it has been fully broiled and prepared in this way, then it can be
fully mixed with other meat foods and utensils and there is no need to
worry about the milk originating in the udder.

Nonetheless there are those whose custom permits the cooking of udder in
pots, after it has been prepared by cutting into pieces and squeezing
out the milk, without going through the broiling as above.

I once went on a date in Jerusalem, and my date wanted to eat at a
restaurant called El Gaucho. I knew nothing about it, so we walked over,
and I investigated. I decided that we couldn't eat there because it
didn't have a Badatz hashgacha and I wasn't sure of the origin of the
meat (Basar kafu (frozen meat) etc). While looking at the posted menu
outside the restaurant, I noticed that they served Udder. Intrigued, I
went inside with my date and I asked to see the manager. I asked him how
he prepared the udder. He said that he koshered it by salting as any
other food, then boiled it and then after boiling, it is in a state that
the pieces can be used as a grill (like chicken or beef shish kabob). He
did not prepare it by broiling it. I was very surprised. This may be
acceptable to sefardim, but I doubt to most asheknazim frequenting the
store would be happy.

I went to the rabbanut of yerushalaim the next day to report my
conversation, and after waiting quite a while for the Rabbi there, while
he shmoozed with his friends, and attempting to report the information,
the Rabbi gave me a copy of their standard manual for kashering meat (no
new information) and ignored what I attempted to tell him.

Upon another occasion, while taking a tour of Machane Yehudah meat
stalls with one of the main Menakerim (kosher supervisors who prepare
the meat, separating out forbidden substances), I actually saw udder for
sale. It looked like a globby milky gelatinous blob, sitting out in a
bowl. Not very appetizing.

I suspect that what led to Mrs Steppleman's erroneous impression about
the Udder is the fact that prior to its being fully cooked and prepared
the custom is to keep udder separate. Hence the impression that it is
not meat or milk - but certainly not pareve!!  It is meat, but not
mixable with other meat or meat utensils, till prepared.

Apropos the discussion of Professor Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchiks article,
the lack of continuity of our shimush (practical experience) in the
kitchen with previous generations has turned practical issues such as
this into almost academic exercises. This is sure to be a source of
problems in the future as our community moves more and more to the

Meshulum Laks MD PHD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Mount Sinai School of Medicine


End of Volume 17 Issue 87