Volume 20 Number 80
                       Produced: Tue Aug  1 22:41:53 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jewish Source for Kipa
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Kashrut Symbol
         [Joseph Mosseri]
looking for a few good people...
         [Chaim Dworkin]
Pig Skin (2)
         [Ari Shapiro, Bill Page]
         [Akiva Miller]
Reason for Kipah (2)
         [E. Kleiner & S. Klecki, Mike Marmor]
Small Children in the Synagogue
         [Winston Weilheimer]
Summer Vacation
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
The Toddler and the Light Switch on Shabbat
         [Mike Gerver]
Wedding Photos
         [Janice Gelb]


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 00:41:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Jewish Source for Kipa

On Fri, 28 Jul 1995, Dave Curwin wrote:

> I am familiar with the background in the gemara for a man covering
> his head, but there are no clear reasons given. This is unlike
> tzitzit, where the reason is fairly clear -- we look at the tzitzit
> and we remember the mitzvot. So what answer is good to give to
> goyim who ask "Why do you wear that thing on your head?" I don't 
> like "the shechina is above", because it seems to place a physical
> location on God, which is good to avoid in discussions with people
> unfamiliar with Judaism.

       That answer is trifle inaccurate.  It is better to say that we
wear it to remind us of the fact that G-d is watching us, it promotes
fear of G-d.  That's why it's really called a Yarmulke, which is
composed of the words "Yorey Malka" (Fear of the King).

> So what is a good answer?

       I actually heard last week a wonderful remez (hint) in the Torah
for the wearing of a yarmulke from kabbalistic sources.  In the s'forim
often the head is referred to as a k'li (a vessel).  The Torah says in
Parshas Chukkas (Bamidbar 19:15) "And any open vessel which has no
covering bound on it, is unclean".



From: <JMOSSERI@...> (Joseph Mosseri)
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 1995 20:36:08 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kashrut Symbol

This week in the supermarket I noticed a number of items with a kashrout
symbol I've never seen before. I would describe it as a tablet ( as in
the ten commandments) with the letter k inside of it.  It looked
somewhat like this:
     |  | 
     |k |

Can anybody identify this symbol? Is it a reliable hasgaha?
Joseph Mosseri


From: <chaim@...> (Chaim Dworkin)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 19:55:14 -0400
Subject: looking for a few good people...

Shamash is porting several usenet newsgroups to lists for the benefit of
anyone who cannot get news.  We are looking for some volunteers to be list
owners of those lists, specifically the sci, scj, shoah, revisionism
newsgroups.  If you are interested please let me know.  If you don't mind
posting a notice on your list, please do so.  Perhaps someone would like to
be a list owner.  

The work is not hard since these are unmoderated newsgroups.  All you would
have to do is monitor for bounces and drop anyone whose e-mail bounces and
answer tech support questions if a few come to you.


Chaim Dworkin, Coordinator and Manager, Shamash


From: <m-as4153@...> (Ari Shapiro)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 95 22:46:02 EDT
Subject: Pig Skin

< With the exception of a male kohein and proximity
<to a corpse, the Torah never prohibits a person from becoming impure.
<The Torah places restrictions on what an impure person can do ( not eat
<sacrifices ), or where he can go ( the Temple area ), but there is no
<specific injunction against beocming impure.

Actually, the Gemara learns out from a Pasuk that chayav adam l'taher
atzmo b'regel (a person must purify himself before the holidays).  The
Rambam understands this to be because you have to eat korbanos
(sacrifices) on the holidays and consequently it would not apply
nowadays.  However other Rishonim seem to understand that it has nothing
to do with korbanos, they understabd that the holiness of the holidays
require us to be tahor (ritually pure) and consequently this applies
even now. This one of the reasons why many people go to the mikva before
the holidays.

Ari Shapiro

From: Bill Page <page@...>
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 1995 08:55:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Pig Skin

Eliyahu Teitz writes that "The Torah states that if one touches a dead pig,
one becomes tamey (ritually impure ).  With the exception of a male kohein
and proximity to a corpse, the Torah never prohibits a person from becoming
The passage I was thinking of is Lev. 11:8, which states "You shall not
eat of their [pigs'] flesh or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for
you."  This prohibition seems perfectly general and directly links
the touching and the eating.
As for "swarming things of the water" that lack fins and scales, "you
shall not eat of their flesh and you shall abominate their carcasses."
(Lev. 11:11).  
Later in the chapter, the Torah refers to various objects (including the
carcass of a clean animal) that render someone who touches them "unclean
until evening."  These passages do not prohibit, but merely describe
the consequences of becoming unclean in this way.



From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 07:53:01 -0400
Subject: Procreation

In MJ 20:77, Richard Schiffmiller noted that having children
>... is an example of a Mitzvah over which we
>have no control.  For although one may get married and attempt to have
>children, one has no control over whether he has children or that he
>will have a son and a daughter.  He is then "cheated" out of the Mitzvah
>through no fault of his own.  Since all the major codifiers count Pirya
>V'Rivya as a Mitzvah, what does this indicate about the nature of
>Mitzvos?  Are any other Mitzvos of this type?

One of my teachers pointed out the following: "Be fruitful and multiply"
was the first command (or blessing, perhaps) which was given to humanity
as a whole. The mitzva of declaring and sanctifying the months was the
first one given specifically to the Jewish people. Note the contrast:
Fulfillment of procreation is really out of our control, no matter how
hard we might try.  But sanctifying the months is totally IN our
control: We can even override G-d in this matter! The court can choose
to ignore witnesses who saw the new moon on Tuesday and then declare
Wednedsay as the new month. There are many other such examples.

I do not remember who taught this to me, nor the point which we are
taught by this contrast. Probably something about the nature of Jews
compared to other people. Anyone have additional comments?



From: <ekleiner@...> (E. Kleiner & S. Klecki)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 00:08:56
Subject: Re: Reason for Kipah

In Mail-Jewish Vol 20 #75 David Curwin asked on the reasons for the
        Covering men's head at all times is neither a mitzvah nor an
halakha. Is an ancient minhag, and "minhag b'Israel din hu". Many
reasons were advocated. One is that aggadeta in the Gemara.
        Another one is that the kipah helps us remember (not reminds,
but helps remember) we have limits and that we are _under_ the power and
control, but also the aid and the guidance, of the Kadosh Baruch Hu.
(So it is not that we give Him (hallila v'has!) a physical location, but
it is us who are placed).
        A more sociological approach teaches that in many cultures of
the Middle East, a sign of respect to others is to cover one's head,
since it indicates that one "humiliates" before the other. In our
tradition it is a sign of our humiliation before the One Who Spoke and
the World became ("Mi she'amar v'hayiah ha-'Olam").

        Iosef Kleiner
Eduardo J. Kleiner & Susana Klecki
Internet: <ekleiner@...>
Fax: (562) 246 8319 
Santiago de Chile

From: <mar@...> (Mike Marmor)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 23:59:19 -0400
Subject: re: Reason for Kipah

David Curwin wrote:
> ...
> So what answer is good to give to goyim who ask "Why do you wear that
> thing on your head?"

In Otzar Dinim Uminhagim, by Yehuda David Eisenstein, under Galui Rosh,
some reasons given in addition to the ones you mentioned from the
gemara: (1) Tzniut; (2) To not copy goyish customs, i.e. being
bareheaded. (Several sources are given there.)

(BTW, The very back page of the Taamei Haminhagim has an explanation,
which I don't understand, of why you should also wear a kippa inside a

IMHO, it's easy to understand how wearing a kipah helps one keep check
on one's actions in public (I think this is related to Tzniut mentioned
above), both to avoid a chilul hashem, and to minimize socializing with
goyim. It's also comforting and sometimes very practical to encounter
someone wearing a kipah in a place with few Jews.

(I think you need to have lived in galut to really know how it feels to
always wear a kipah.)

Sorry, I don't think any of this could be easily explained to a goy.


From: <TAXRELIEF@...> (Winston Weilheimer)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 19:50:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Small Children in the Synagogue

Regarding Alan Cooper's request for sources which discuss the presence
of small children in the synagogue, see Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 689:6
("It is a good custom to bring boys and girls under Bar Mitzva to hear
the Megilla"), but see the Biur Halacha there starting "Minhag Tov
Lehavi" where he limits this to children who are capable of behaving
properly :-)

if we do not allow children to come when the are small and learn tefilah
when they are impressionable, how can we cry when the leave when they
are older and tell us that the religion means nothing to them.  there is
the story of the shepard who whistled in shul on Yom kippur.  When
everyone shushed him, the rabbi turned and admonished the congregation
saying that the boy's whistle was the true tephelah.  We turn enough
away, we turn enough off, we need to instill the love of tefilah from
the youngest days.  (having said that, there is a point when youngsters
need a break and should be allowed to leave so as not to interrupt the
kavanah of others.  a small amount of good sense along with the wisdom
of a sensative parent goes a long way!}  

Winston Weilheimer aka taxrelief


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 12:11:14 -0400
Subject: Summer Vacation

Carl Sherer asked:
> The $64,000 question - what is the origin of the summer bein hazmanim?

I seem to recall, and I went to look but alas could not find the correct
volume, a comment at the end of one of the commentaries on the Talmud (I
vaguely remember it being the Maharam Shif ) that the preceeding
commentary was written over the course of the year of study, and that
said year was ending.  I do not remember if a date was given for
resumption of study, but the implication was that a brief vacation was
starting.  And the year end date was in the summer.

I shall continue my search for the citation.



From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 2:10:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Toddler and the Light Switch on Shabbat

Alan Cooper, in v20n68, says
> In one important occurrence of that principle, OH 343, it is followed
> by the additional stricture that "it is also forbidden to accustom [a
> youngster who is not yet old enough to receive a formal education] to
> the profanation of the Shabbat and festivals, even with respect to
> those matters that fall under the category of shevut" ... As far as I
> know, both halakhists and homilists are unequivocal on this point,
> since it impinges on the parental obligation to educate small children
> (mitzvat chinnukh) as soon as they are capable of understanding (bar
> havanah).

Apparently this was not always followed in practice, even among
observant Jews, in the early part of this century. My great uncle once
told me that when he was growing up in New York, he used to carry his
father's tallis to shul, since my grandfather, who was his older
brother, was already bar mitzvah and could not carry on Shabbos. Since
my grandfather was 5 or 6 years older than he was, he must have been at
least 7 or 8 when he did this. This would have been about 1905 or
1906. By all accounts my grandfather's parents were very frum. For what
it's worth, my grandfather and all his brothers (except for the oldest
who was an adult when he came to America) did not remain shomer shabbos
when they grew up, although all of their sisters did.

A related story was told to me by my father's cousin, who was born in
1912 and lived in East New York when she was a child. No one in the
observant community there cared whether bakeries were shomer shabbos,
she told me, and they generally weren't. That tolerant attitude changed
when the Hungarians moved in!

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: <janiceg@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 1995 17:48:32 -0700
Subject: Wedding Photos

In Volume 20 Number 75,  Hillel E. Markowitz says:
> In the past, people have actually taken formal pictures several weeks
> before the wedding.  After all, the choson and kallah don't HAVE to take
> the pictures together that night.

First of all, I think the question was more regarding the family 
pictures that require both the bride and groom *and* family members, 
which obviously must be taken at the wedding.

Secondly, what do you mean "in the past"? When I was first living in
Israel, we saw wedding couples all over the place shlepping around in
full formal outfits to the more scenic parts of the country (like the
Wall or the balcony at the Dan Hotel in Haifa) to get their wedding
pictures taken.

-- Janice
Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


End of Volume 20 Issue 80