Volume 20 Number 81
                       Produced: Mon Aug  7  7:23:52 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brushing Teeth on Shabbat (2)
         [Robert A. Book, Chaim Sacknovitz]
Brushing Teeth on Shabbath
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Brushing Teeth on Shabbos
         [Elihu Feldman]
Etymology of Yarmulke
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Pigeon Remedy
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Rambam's counting mizwoth [commandments] (2)
         [Lon Eisenberg, Carl Sherer]
Reason for Kipah
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Tablet - K
         [Eliyahu Teitz]
Toothbrushing on Shabbos
         [Saul Feldman]
Wearing a Kippa
         [Arnie Resnicoff]


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 11:33:54 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Brushing Teeth on Shabbat

I have heard from many individuals (none of whom are rabbis) that
brushing teeth is prohibited on Shabbat, but I know many more people who
do brush their teeth on Shabbat.  The question is, if it is prohibited,
what malacha (prohibited act) is involved?

The best I can come up with is that many decades ago, teeth were brushed
with "tooth powder," which was dissolved either as it was used or
immediately before.  In this case, it would be prohibited becuase
(according to some anyway) dissolving a solid into a liquid is a

Many of those those who don't brush their teeth have respond to this
argument by saying that in brushing, you "make bubbles" and making
bubbles is prohibited.  But it would seem to me that if this were the
case, it would be prohibited to drink carbonated beverages on Shabbat,
since pouring them (even into one's mouth) invariably involves making
bubbles.  But this can't be the case, since many orthodox shuls serve
carbonated drinks on Shabbat!  I have not heard a satisfactory objection
to this line of reasoning.

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago

From: Chaim Sacknovitz <chaim@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 1995 19:30:17 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Brushing Teeth on Shabbat

Regarding Saul Feldman's question about brushing teeth on Shabbat:

Although most poskim hold that brushing teeth with toothpaste on Shabbat 
is not permitted because of memareiach (smearing, smoothing),  there are 
a number of poskim who are lenient and do permit such brushing.

1.  Rav Schechter in Nefesh Harav (p. 168) quotes the Rav as permitting 
brushing and not considering it as "memareiach".

2.  Rav Ovadia Yosef in Yabia Omer (4:27-30) also permits brushing as 
does Rav Regensberg of Chicago, as already posted.  I saw the latter's 
teshuva but I don't have the sefer now.


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 07:44:02 +0000
Subject: Brushing Teeth on Shabbath

Michael Stein wrote in with support for using toothpaste on Shabbath.
My impression was that the original post was not dealing with the issue
of toothpaste, but with the issue of brushing with even water: I have
heard that there is an opinion that brushing teeth "squeezes" the water
out of the brush.  I don't believe there are many who accept this, and
it doesn't even make much sense, since indirect squeezing seems to be
acceptable (at least by some), e.g.  washing dishes with a sponge
attached to a stick.

As far as the toothpaste issue, IMHO, it is easy to use liquid
toothpaste, so why even worry (i.e., when being stringent is easy, do

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205


From: Elihu Feldman <efeldman@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 95 9:57:28 EDT
Subject: Re: Brushing Teeth on Shabbos

please indicate that the question regarding tooth brushing and
toothpaste on shabbos was from the father elihu feldman not saul feldman
 thank you


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 2 Aug 1995  18:41 EDT
Subject: Etymology of Yarmulke

>From: Mordechai Perlman
>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).

This is a Jewish Urban Legend.  The work "yarmulke" actually comes to
Yiddish through Russian; it is similar to the Russian "yermolka", which
was a small cap worn for hunting.  Yermolka can be found in Russian
literature from the mid-1800s.

- Elie Rosenfeld


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 02:57:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Pigeon Remedy

      I myself have spoke with a patient who underwent this procedure of
having pigeons held over his navel and he says it was effective.  He
told me that the presiding rav told the fellow who was administering the
procedure only to use two pigeons as Rav Shlomo Zalaman Auerbach said
that one should not use more.  His reason was that if it didn't work
after two, it won't work at all and any further pigeons are just a
waste, resulting in needless tza'ar to the pigeons.  However, for the
first two, the tza'ar is irrelevant because it may supply a recovery to
the patient.



From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jul 1995 14:28:24 +0000
Subject: Rambam's counting mizwoth [commandments]

Carl Sherer noted:

>He asked where the Rambam talks of a positive command to settle the
>land of Israel.  This is actually a very interesting issue because the
>Rambam does not cite the mitzva of settling the land in his Sefer
>Hamitzvos (where he lists the 613 biblical commandments).  The Ramban
>takes him to task for this (see the fourth Mitvat Aseh - positive
>commandment - which the Ramban cites as having been "forgotten" by the

Actually, the fact that the Rambam doesn't count this in his "Sefer
HaMizwoth" is not so surprising, at least no more surprising than the
fact that he doesn't count the mizwah of "zithzith" [fringes].  The
Rambam apparently does not count those mizwoth that you don't have to do
unless you are put in the situation requiring them, e.g., you don't need
to observe the mizwah of zithzith unless you wear a 4-cornered garment.
I would therefore infer that the Rambam would hold that you don't have
to observe the mizwah of settling in the Land of Israel unless you are
there.  That doesn't mean he doesn't believe it is something you should
do: Just like he would advocate wearing a 4-cornered garment in order to
perform the mizwah of zithzith, he would probably advocate moving to
Israel in order to perform the mizwah of settling there.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5659578 Fax:+972 3 5658205

From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Fri, 4 Aug 95 16:28:30 IDT
Subject: Re: Rambam's counting mizwoth [commandments]

Actually the Rambam *does* count Tzitzitz in the Sefer Hamitzvos - it's
positive Mitzva Number 14.  I actually heard a tape on this topic a 
few years ago from Rav Binyomin Tavori where he gave several possible
solutions to this dilemna.  I don't recall the exact details, but from 
what I remember the possibilities included:

1.	That the Rambam did in fact hold that the commandment to settle
	Eretz Yisrael is only Rabbinic.

2.	That the Rambam did not include any mitzva that is a mitzva
	kolleles (an inclusive mitzva).  For example, we all know that
	one is supposed to take care of oneself and if you ask people
	how we know that they will tell you "U'shmartem es nafshoseichem"
	(You shall take care of your souls).  But the truth is that *that*
	verse refers to *spiritually* taking care of yourself - not 
	physically.  Physically taking care of yourself is intuitively
	correct (a "mitzva kolleles") because it is a prerequisite to
	being able to perform other mitzvos.  So too, living in Eretz
	Yisrael is a prerequisite to performing other mitzvos (Truma,
	Maaser, Shviis, etc.)

-- Carl Sherer
	Adina and Carl Sherer
		You can reach us both at:


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Mon, 07 Aug 95 12:35:55 +0300
Subject: Reason for Kipah

Dave Curwin (V20#75) asks for help regarding explaining to non-Jews the
reason why Jews wear a kipah. Why not try the following simple  approach?

G-d told the Jewish people right before their receiving the Ten
Commandments (Shemos 19:6) "And you shall be unto me a _kingdom of
Priests_ and a holy nation."

Since the Priestly garments as described in the book of Vayikra require
the Priests to worship in G-d's tabernacle with a head covering, we
have the custom of wearing a head covering -- kipah or hat -- whenever
we are out and about (not only in synagogue) as we are in the service of
G-d in all our activities.

Ezra Tepper <rrtepper@...>


From: <EDTeitz@...> (Eliyahu Teitz)
Date: Thu, 3 Aug 1995 12:44:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Tablet - K

There are many different standards used by people when deciding whether
a particular rabbinic endorsement is reliable.  To ask publicly about
such a matter can only case debate, as well as significant possibility
of law suits for slander or libel.  These questions are best answered



From: Saul Feldman <sfeld@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Aug 1995 16:30:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Toothbrushing on Shabbos

In regards to the issue of tooth brushing w/toothpaste on Shabbos, I
would like to clarify what I told my father over the Shabbos meal last
week. I told him that I believe it is forbidden because of
Mimacheyk. That is what I recalled learning in High School, and that is
the what I thought. I looked into the matter in some standard
references, to see if I could anchor my thoughts into traditional
literature and here is what I found:

1. Rabbi Yisroel Bodner, in his sefer called Halachos of Muktza (p. 58)
says (the sefer is in english and this is a direct quote) "One may brush
ones teeth, without toothpaste, on Shabbos. * Brushing one's teeth is
permitted in the following matter only: a. use of toothpaste is
prohibited (melocha of memachayk), b.  according to some poskim one
should have a special toothbrush for shabbos (this toothbrush is not
muktza at all) ..., c.  Preferably one should not wet the brush prior to
use- it should be used dry, d. one may not wash the brush after use, and
e, Providing the brushing does not cause the gums to bleed. ... A
toothbrush is deemed a kli shemelachto l'issur, since it is primarily
used in conjugation with toothpaste. .... Toothpaste is muktza.
     Rabbi Bodner has some hebrew footnotes on the bottom of the page
and this is what he says: 76: Reb Moshe Feinstein, ztl, in Igros Moshe
Orech Chayim chelek aleph # 112 says that without toothpaste on the
head, it is permitted. See also the Ketzos Hashulchan end of 138 and the
Badei Hashulchan d"h Mutar who says that it is permitted to rub ones
teeth and there is no suspicion of mimaraych and there is no prohibition
of nolad or refuah. Then to put the ointment (toothpaste) on the head
would be forbidden because of oovda d'chol.
     It seems clear then according to Rabbi Bodner, shlita, that
brushing w/toothpaste on shabbos is clearly forbidden, even according to
the Ketzos Hashulchan.

2. The Shmeiras Shabbos by Rabbi Yehoshua Niubirt says (14:34) (this is
my translation from the hebrew): We are accustomed not to rub the teeth,
even without ointment (toothpaste)- but it is permitted to pick your
teeth with a splinter which is prepared for this- or with any splinter
that is not mukzah."
     I think this would permitted only if he usually does not bleed
because of this type of activity.
     In his footnotes he clarifies and gives marei mekomos....  I hope
this helps clear the matter. The shmiras Shabbos, Rabbi Bodner, and Reb
Moshe Feinstein, ztl, prohibit using toothpaste on shabbos...  Please
forward to me all copies of responses sent to my father.  Thank you.
Additionally, I once read that the reason for crossing fingers is
becuase it is remiscent of the cross. Same thing as the common statement
"knock on wood" which was also supposed to refer to the cross.  I read
it once in one of these 2001 questions books. If these are the origions
of these two actions/statements, then I assume it would be forbidden by
halacha, but I have no marei mekomos to back it up.  

kol tuv


From: <Resnicoff@...> (Arnie Resnicoff)
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 1995 23:20:15 -0400
Subject: Re: Wearing a Kippa

Re: the question of wearing a kippa.  One answer I often give to non-Jews
(one that seems to be appreciated) is that the word "above" (or "over" us) is
not a reference to physical location, but to power and guidance.  It is a
reminder that WE (chas v'halila) are not gods.... We have responsibilities,
as well as rights.  (By the way, I always like to see the link between Pesach
and Shavuot -- the time of the Omer -- as stressing this idea as part of a
tension between the two holy day periods:
from Pesah we learn we are not slaves; from Shavuot, that we are not gods
from Pesach, that we have rights; from Shavuot, that we have responsibilities
from Pesach, what to stand against; from Shavuot -- what to stand for.

Arnie Resnicoff


End of Volume 20 Issue 81