Volume 21 Number 68
                       Produced: Wed Oct 18 16:55:00 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

42 minutes
         [Elozor Preil]
Aleinu melody
         [Michael Shoshani]
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
answering machines
         [Eli Turkel]
Answering Machines
         [Rafael Salasnik]
Dance Classes
Electric Shavers (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer]
Kosher Electric Shavers
         [David Charlap]
More on Aleinu
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Simchat Torah Flags
         [Kalman Staiman]
Smoking and Yom Tov
         [David Charlap]
         [Dani Wassner]
Wearing of Black Hat after Bar Mitzvah
         [Gerald Sutofsky]
Yasher Koach
         [Moishe Kimelman]


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 22:34:46 -0400
Subject: Re: 42 minutes

> (However, the discussion still leaves me confused as to where the
>prevalent "42 minute" minhag comes from; a minhag which many, if not
>most Orthodox communities seem to hold.  It is certainly the nearly
>universal time printed on calendars!)

The magical 42 minutes was a determination made by rabbonim in the early
part of this century for the NY metro area only.  It represents what
they judged to be the equivalent of the 18 minute bein hashmashos of the
gemara, at the end of which three stars become visible.

Rabbi Frand has an excellent tape on this topic, but I can't find the
exact title.

Elozor Preil 


From: <shoshani@...> (Michael Shoshani)
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 07:49:19 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Aleinu melody

> From: Alan Cooper <Alan.Cooper@...>
> While there are well-known reports of medieval martyrs singing Aleinu as
> they went to their deaths, I believe that there is no notation of the
> tune prior to the 18th century.  The original poster actually asked
> about the awful tune that is sung to "Shehu noteh..." in many North
> American congregations.  It has nothing to do with Aleinu at all, but is
> adapted from a children's song.  Although the name of the source escapes
> me, I'm pretty sure that in Hebrew it's "He-chatul ve ha something or
> other."  

The children's song is known as "The Eensy-Weensy Spider".  There is
a variant that substitutes "itsy-bitsy" for "eensy-weensy". 

<shoshani@...>    /  i once heard the survivors of a colony of ants
  Michael SB Shoshani   /  that had been partially obliterated by a cow s foot
    Chicago IL, USA    /  seriously debating the intention of the gods


From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 95 07:53:28 IST
Subject: Alenu

There is an updated discussion of the issue of the composition of Alenu in Meir
Bar Ilan's excellent study,'Sitrei Tefillah v'Hechalot.' The book was published
by Bar Ilan University Press.
				Jeffrey Woolf


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 08:13:46 -0400
Subject: answering machines

    Is there any problem calling between time zones where for the caller
it is not shabbat but for the receiver it is shabbat.  One then leaves a
message on the answering machine knowing that the receiver will hear the
message on their shabbat. One could even leave a short message the first
time informing the people that one will call back at a certain time with
a longer message. I know where this is done between Israel and the
US. Are there any problems with with this when no one picks up the phone
on shabbat merely listens to an answering machine which has been setup
from before shabbat?


From: <Rafi@...> (Rafael Salasnik)
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 01:06:22 GMT
Subject: Answering Machines

Aryeh Blaut wrote:

> I remember in yeshiva the question came up and we were told that if Jews
> (ie non observant family) would be calling, then one should not leave
> the machine on at all.
> If the majority of the callers are not Jewish, then there wasn't a
> problem leaving the machine on.

As the person who first raised this question I like the answer but find
problems with its practical application - how does one know in advance
whether the majority of callers are going to be Jewish or non-Jewish ?



From: <Michael_Lipkin@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 11:01:51 EST
Subject: Dance Classes

From: Joseph P. Wetstein
>Are there any Jewish/Chasinah type dance classes available in the 
>Philadelphia/ New Jersey Area? Thanks!!

There are a series of 5 or 6 video tapes called "Simcha Dancing with
Atara Serle".  They are instructional tapes teaching all the popular
dances step by step.  My daughters have a couple of these tapes and love



From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 1995 07:54:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Electric Shavers

A poster in MJ 21:63 asked about electric shavers. Unfortunately I've
never found anything in print about electric shavers (certainly not in
English - if anyone else has, please show me) but there are two
explanations I've gotten from my rabbis:

The simpler one is like this: The Torah prohibits only shaving with a
razor, not trimming with a scissors. Some authorities do prohibit
cutting close to the skin with scissors, but most allow one to cut even
very close to the skin, provided it is done with scissors, and not a
razor. (Can anyone supply names on this?) Anyway, because of the shield
on an electric shaver, one is - by definition - not cutting all the way
down to skin level. A lift-and-cut shaver, on the other hand, overcomes
this limitation by lifting the hair.  Even though at the moment of
cutting it is done above skin level, the effect is that the hair has
been cut *below* skin level, and this is cause to forbid it.

To understand the second explanation, one must realize that a razor
slices into an object by virtue of its sharpness. In contrast, a
scissors can cut even when comparatively dull, because a scissors cuts
by squeezing the object between the two sides. In regular electric
shavers, the hairs pass through a shield, and are cut when the blade
squeezes the hair against the shield, like a scissors. But the
lift-and-cut shavers do exactly that: one blade lifts the hair up, and
the second one slices into it *without* squeezing it against the
shield. Thus, lift-and-cut is very much like a plain razor, and not at
all like an electric shaver.

All of the above is based purely on things I've heard over the years,
including the advertisments which graphically illustrate how the
lift-and-cut works. Even if I am wrong, I hope that I have given a clear
explanation of the mechanics involved so we can discuss it further.

From: <sbechhof@...> (Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer)
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 21:42:01 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Electric Shavers

I believe I posted this here once before, recently, but the topic seems
to arise quite frequently. Rabbi Nochum Rabinovitch, Rosh Yeshiva at
Ma'aleh Adumim, has a compelling teshuva in which he clarifies that ALL
types of electric shavers fall into the category of "melaket v'rehitni",
chisel like tools that can only remove a few hairs in a swipe, which are
therefore permitted by Halacha (a razor - "ta'ar" - removes many hairs
per swipe). This will apply to lift and cut Norelcos as well.

Since we're promoting tapes, I will indulge in shameless self promotion
and note that I too have a tape on the topic, available from our
Brandman Tape Library for $5.50 including postage. You can e-mail me or
call Skokie Yeshiva at 312.267.9800 & leave a message for me for more

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 10:54:19 EDT
Subject: Kosher Electric Shavers

Issie Scarowsky <Issie_Scarowsky@...> writes:
>I was under the impression that electric shavers are permitted because
>there is a mesh screen which keeps the blades from directly coming in
>contact with your skin. However, I was told by a student of Ner Yisroel
>of Baltimore, who returned for the Succot break, that Rav Heinemann
>ruled that the Phillishave, "Lift and Cut" models should not be used
>unless the blades are first made dull.

The reason for this decision is related to the way rotary razors work.
The blades grab a hair folicle, pull it slightly into the razor, and cut
it there.  The result is that the hair folicle (after being released)
falls back into place and the cut is slightly below the skin surface.
This is how they give such a close shave.

The contention of the rabbis who rule this way is that a small amount of
skin is invariably drawn into the razor with the hair folicle, and the
blades end up touching your face.

If you ask someone in Norelco, they will give you a different story.
They maintain that skin never enters the razor.  The hair folicle is
pulled in, but the skin does not follow.  The drawings that used to be
used in Norelco's advertising show what they mean.  They maintain that
if skin would be pulled in, the blades would cut your face up rather
quickly, and this doesn't happen (unless the mesh screens over the
blades are damaged - in which case, you get cut up rather quickly.)

As for "dulling" the blade, I don't see what good this would do.  I have
heard of people who bend aside the "lift" part of the "lift-n-cut"
blade, so the hairs are cut where they lie, but that doesn't sound like
the ruling your heard.

I have two personal opinions on the matter:
1) I think there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding how these
   razors actually work.  I'd like to see a rav work with the people
   in Norelco to resolve this issue once and for all.
2) If you're going to disable the "lift" part of the blades, why
   bother with a rotory razor in the first place?  Without that
   feature, the razor is no better than (and may end up worse than) a
   standard "foil" (sometimes known as "mesh", or "microscreen") type
   razor.  So why not just buy such a razor and be done with it?

Finally, if I were you, I'd ask my own rav.  "I was told by a student
of..." is not sufficient grounds for you to make a decision.  Your
rabbi may not agree with Rav Heinemann.  And Rav Heinemann may give
you a different psak from what he gave one of his students.


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 1995 11:25:34 -0400
Subject: More on Aleinu

>This comment from Yeshaya Halevi brings to mind the interpretation I heard 
>of this additional phrase (which, incidentally, appears in ALL siddurim in 
>The word "velarik" in the phrae "she'hem mitpalelim le hevel velarik" is in 
>fact gematria. Change the Resh and the Kuf (200 and 100 respectively) for 
>the single letter Shin (300) and you have - Yeshu.

"va'rik" has a double meaning in Hebrew; both vanity and spit in
addition to the Gimatria of Jesus. Indeed Jews used to spit when they
said this sentence with the thinking that they spat on
Jesus. Christianity via the censorship was very adamant to cut off this
sentence from the tefilah. The Yiddish expression "Er kummt tsum
oysshpayen" [he comes for the spitting] meant that the person came late
to shul, to the part when one spits (i.e., Aleinu).

Muslims asseted that "hevel" [in the same sentence] is in Gimatria the
numerical value of Muhamad, but the counting is off by 36.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Kalman Staiman <kstaiman@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Oct 1995 20:54:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Simchat Torah Flags

Does anyone know where I could get Simchat Torah flags which are not made 
with wooden sticks? The popular variety are not really safe for use in 
crowds.  I realize it's too late for this year, but maybe for next...
Thank you.


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 95 11:15:52 EDT
Subject: Smoking and Yom Tov

<Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu) writes:
>What about smoking? It is not carrying and it is not cooking.
>("Le'havdil...", only the Muslims hold that smoking is tantamount to
>food and thus prohibited during the fast of Ramadan). Is it because
>people used to chew and smell tobacco?

I thought smoking is asur at all times.

Ever since the dangers of smoking became well-known, every rabbi I know
has ruled that one should not smoke at any time.  The only exceptions
I've ever heard are in the case of one who is already addicted to
smoking, and even then the practice is looked down upon.


From: Dani Wassner <dwassner@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 1995 12:19:14 +1000 (EST)
Subject: Re: Thanksgiving

I have not read the article about Thanksgiving mentioned but I I do have
a slightly different perspective.

Coming from Australia, I was always amazed at frum people in Israel
(ex-Americans) who observed Thanksgiving. I don't know the origins of
the festival, but in Australia at least, no "goyishe customs" like
Thankgiving are observed by Jews. After all, just because Christmas has
no religious significance to most Christians today, we don't put
Christmas trees in Australia (at least not in Australia).

Chag Sameach (thats for Succot, not Thanksgiving)
Dani Wassner


From: <gerald.sutofsky@...> (Gerald Sutofsky)
Date: Sun, 15 Oct 95 11:18:34 EST
Subject: Wearing of Black Hat after Bar Mitzvah

 Can anyone out there help me with finding the reason , halachic or
otherwise as to why a boy after he is Bar Mitzvah must wear a black hat?
Is it custom? Halacha? Can a source be cited for it? Many Thanks!


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 1995 20:51:41 +1000
Subject: Yasher Koach

Recently there was some discussion on mj about the correct pronunciation of
"yasher koach".  Well I suppose that many mjers noticed it, but for those
who didn't, in Hosha'anos said on Shabbos Chol Hamoed we said "yishar


End of Volume 21 Issue 68