Volume 22 Number 80
                       Produced: Thu Jan 11 23:13:30 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Census in Israel (Rav Elyashiv)
         [Mordechai Perlman]
Daily MIKVA use
         [Josh Backon]
Divining for Graves etc.
         [Michael Slifkin]
Divining Rods
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Kosher Business Lunches
         [Carl Sherer]
Minor clarification - Divining Rod for Graves
         [Zvi Weiss]
More on "Religiosity"
         [Zvi Weiss]
Tunes & Halacha Questions sefer
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 11 Jan 1996  13:29 EST
Subject: 1948

V. Malkin writes:

>Yes, and the comparison may be useful.  Avra(h)am was born in 1948
>since the Creation (SC), as well as the modern Israel State was born in

I think we should be very leery of trying to learn anything by matching
years on the Jewish and secular calendars.  Given the (alleged) event
that the secular calendar counts from, how can dates on that calendar
possibly have halachic - or even aggadic - significance?

Incidentally, I have often heard the above, well-known "1948" idea used
by _anti_-Zionists, with words like "On the Torah's calendar 1948 was
the birth of Avraham, but look what happens when you apply that number
to the 'goyish' calendar - you get the Medina!"  So at best such date
comparisons are meaningless, and at worst they are detrimental to the
point trying to be made.

- Elie Rosenfeld


From: Mordechai Perlman <aw004@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 21:47:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Census in Israel (Rav Elyashiv)

	I received a posting from one of my lists at least a month ago,
containing a translation of a recent t'shuva (responsa) of Rav Elyashiv
concerning the census in Israel.  Has anybody seen it as well and has it
on file?  Could you send it to me?  Or does anyone know where it was
sent from so that I can request that they send it to me?

				Mordechai Perlman


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  11 Jan 96 6:59 +0200
Subject: Re: Daily MIKVA use

In 1972, in a classic paper in the journal Aerospace Medicine, the
rationale for head-out-water-immersion was found: it drastically lowers
the production of a hormone called vasopressin. In 1986, it was found
(British Medical Journal) that the hotter the water, the faster the
effect. There are dozens of papers in the medical literature on
head-out-water-immersion and a search in the MEDLINE database will
reveal this. What you indicated re: less stressful lifestyle in the
Chareidi community: Professor Stein's group (in the article in the Intl
J Cardiology in January 1986) considered this but it was rejected since
there was no difference in relative risk in coronary artery disease
between the secular and religious (DATI) communities.  I do believe that
there MAY be a lowered risk in CAD in say the traditional Japanese who
would presumably take hot baths in large pools. This is anecdotal and
needs to be investigated to isolate the relevant factors (dietary
vs. head-out-water-immersion). The interesting finding we got was that
the lowered risk was ONLY in the Chassidishe community whom we found
does twice daily mikva use (and each time does 18 *dunks). And their
mikvaot are heated ! This was personally verified with a member of the
Moetza Hadatit (Religious Council) in Jerusalem.

I forgot to indicate that a regular bathtub is ineffectual in lowering
the vasopressin. A DEEP pool (e.g. Jacuzzi or a MIKVA) is needed since
it is the increased water pressure on the thorax that increaes a hormone
in the heart (atrial natriuretic factor) that drastically lowers the
vasopressin levels in the kidneys. There is also a whole set of other
hormonal effects engendered by the head-out-water-immersion (kaliuresis,
natriureis, changes in noradrenaline etc.).

Josh Backon


From: Michael Slifkin <slifkin@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 1996 16:14:14 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Divining for Graves etc.

Many years ago I did my final year undergraduate dissertation on divining
for both metal and water. I discovered a considerable literature which has
no doubt increased.  It is a fact that up to fairly recently the public
utility companies used diviners to discover the routes of underground cables
etc. Well digging concerns routinely employed  water diviners for such 
purposes.  Two of my then teachers Sir Bernard Lovell and Prof E Mendoza
attended my presentation and actually gave a demonstration of divining 
for metal objects.  One used a wooden forked twig and the other used a 
metal rod. In recent years there have been several articles and I 
believe a BBC TV programme debunking the idea and claiming that the
whole thing is bogus.  All kinds of artefacts have been used in 
divining.  These include whale bone, birch twigs and L-shaped metal wires.
These are held in different ways depending on the shape and on passing 
over a suitable site maybe water or an underground disturbance 
such as a grave, the twig or rod can then twitch or even rotate.
I personally have never had any success at it but after my dissertation 
there was a whole outcrop of people attempting to do and several were
successful.  These were all physics students.  I would say that the 
matter is somewhat moot and only certain people seem to have the 
ability if indeed the phenomenon  does exist.

Professor M A Slifkin            userid: <slifkin@...>
Department of Electronics        telephone: +972 (0)2-751176
Jerusalem College of Technology  fax: +972 (0)2-422075
POB 16031
Jerusalem 91160  Israel          4Z9GDH


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 22:23:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Divining Rods

SHalom, All:

     Steven Stein said <<At a shiur (gemara lesson) given last night by Rabbi
Israel Shurin in Efrat, the existence of a 'divining rod to locate graves'
was discussed. ... Does anyone have any information about such a device or
idea why it might work?>>
        The concept, called "dowsing," is controversial but centuries old.
 Here's some interesting info from Grolier's CD Encyc.
    <Chihal@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)

       Dowsing is the practice of using a forked stick as the operative
instrument in discovering underground water, buried metal, or metal
ores.  It is an ancient divining technique that, although never
scientifically explained or proven in a laboratory, has many adherents.
        Georgius AGRICOLA, in his 1556 treatise on mining, De re
metallica, mentions the use of a forked hazelwood stick--the virgula
divina, or "divining rod"--to find silver ore in medieval German mines.
The practice was common throughout Europe and spread to Africa and the
Americas with colonization.  It has changed little in modern times:
holding the two forks of a Y-shaped stick parallel with the ground, the
dowser walks slowly over the search area.  The stick supposedly dips
toward the ground when it is over water or whatever is being sought.
        A dowser may also employ wood or iron rods, pendulums, or simply
his or her own hands.  Bibliography: Baum, Joseph L., The Beginner's
Handbook of Dowsing (1974).


From: <adina@...> (Carl Sherer)
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 96 1:00:09 IST
Subject: Kosher Business Lunches

Another poster writes:
> A few things can go wrong.  Recently, I ordered a frozen kosher meal
> only to have it served very elegantly -- on a hotel plate.  Sometimes,
> the hotel will open your meal for you and you have to gently ask when it
> was opened.  

If it's a meat meal, I'm not sure it matters *when* it was opened.  If
it wasn't opened in front of you it seems to me that it would be subject
to the rule of "basar sheneelam min haayin" (meat which was out of sight
[of a Jew]), and therefore would be presumed to have been switched with
non-Kosher meat and would be prohibited.

Can anyone confirm or deny that? (I don't have smicha and would not want
my answer on such an issue to be presumed authoritative).

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


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 22:47:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Minor clarification - Divining Rod for Graves

> From: <zweigh@...> (Steven Stein)
> At a shiur (gemara lesson) given last night by Rabbi Israel Shurin in
> Efrat, the existence of a 'divining rod to locate graves' was
> discussed. Rabbi Shurin told us that last year, when he and several
> others were in Russia to relocate two graves of matyrs who were buried
> there, to Israel, he personally saw this rod made out of metal wires
> shake at the actual spot of the graves, when no one had any idea where
> they were. The device was brought by a Rav Dessler from Cleveland. Of
> course, all of us at the Shiur were very skeptical. Does anyone have any
> information about such a device or idea why it might work?

 Clarification: I believe that the "Rav Dessler from Cleveland" is the
son of Rav E.E. Dessler ZT"L ("Michtav Me'eliyahu" author)... Maybe he
(the Rav Dessler from Cleveland) received the info about this "divining
rod" from his Father (the "Michtav Me'eliyahu")....



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 23:04:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: More on "Religiosity"

 I would point out that I certainly agree with Mrs. Posen's definiton
that Chareidim are people who are medakdek in Mitzvot.  However, that
said, I would question whether the people cited in the depressing post
by Carl Scherer are really Chareidi...
 It has always been my impression that one is to perform Mitzvot and
otherwise choose how to live his or her life because one wishes to serve
Hashem.  However, if the reason why one is adopting a particular "mode
of conduct" is basically to use as a "club" to bash someone else, then
the action is NOT one of "dikduk B'mitzvot" -- it is nothing more than
arrogance and (possibly something much worse).  Just as I (and, I think,
others) condemned or were openly critical about women who "adopt"
certain Chumrot questioning the sincerity when they are not careful
about the *required* mitzvot, in the same way I am *at least* as
critical of pseudo-chareidim who "adopt" chumrot but lose sight of some
basic values of Ahavat Yisrael.
 To cite one example: There may be a *need* for a special school for
children whose parents are all in Chinuch or Kollel... Perhaps, it is
felt that these children need to be taught within a slightly different
framework, need resources that the parents cannot provide, etc.  In such
a case, it can certianly be a wonderful thing to band together to found
such a school.  However, when such a school is used as a sign of
superiority ("My little Shaindie can get a better shidduch because *She*
went to the super duper Bais Yaakov that is reserved just for parents
who are all in chinuch/kollel and are truly Ovdei Hashem"), then those
who are supporting it are NOT Ovdei Hashem, they are "Ovdei themselves"
and contributing to the on-going Galut.
 When the matter of a shiduch is NOT determined primarily by the
Middot/compatibilty of the two prospective parties but by the
"political" leanings of the parents -- then we see simple feudal
mentality that is NOT a sign of caring for Hashem but rather a sign of
caring for one's ego.  I would like to remind people that the Gemara in
the beginning of Yevamot points out that DESPITE the serious and strong
disagreements between Beit Shammai and Beit Hillel, both groups
intermarried with each other because they treated each other with
respect and love -- THAT is an example of Chareidim... Our current
situation of refusing to consider relationships with people who are Frum
Jews who happen to have a different hashkafa is NOT an example of
Frumkeit -- it is an example of *Krumkeit* (*crookedness).  I could go
on and on here but I am sure that the main idea is clear -- REGARDLESS
of one's personal Hashkafa, one must develop the ability to respect the
Hashkafa of OTHER Frum Jews and discuss them in a "clean" and loving
manner.  Recognizing that just as "my hashkafa is great for me, his/her
hashkafa is great for him/her"...


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 96 1:39:04 EST
Subject: Re: Tunes & Halacha Questions sefer

> From: Nachum Hurvitz <nhurvitz@...>
> Some time ago there was a thread on the origins of various tunes. I
> heard the following anecdote directly from Mr. Henry Rosenberg, the
> shamash (caretaker) of Harav Yaakov Yitzchok Ruderman z"l while I was at
> Ner Israel:
> The Rosh Hayeshiva z"l was sitting at the Shabbos table when he remarked
> that he had never hear the students ever sing a certain tune, and he
> began to hum "Hava Nagilah". It was explained to him that this song/tune
> was a secular Zionist song, not usually sung in "yeshivish" circles. The
> Rosh Hayeshiva looked quite suprised. He explained that the tune was
> originaly composed by the Gerrer Chassidim in honor of the arrival of
> the Gerrer Rebbe to Israel; they sang this song expressing their joy
> when he arrived at the port of Haifa (what year and other name details I
> do not know). If you hum the tune, it does have this Chassidic ring to
> it.

The story is well known, how this tune of the Sadigura Rebbe was set to
somewhat random words in the early 1900's through the pioneering Jewish
musicologist Abraham Zvi Idelsohn(1882-1938), who brought the tune to
Israel.  The encyclopedia judaica article on Idelsohn states that it was
adapted by Idelsohn, and cites his Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental
melodies, vol 9 (1932) p xxii of the german edition.  Velvel Pasternak
states in one of his early songbooks that it was adapted by Moshe
Nathanson from the tune brought by Idelsohn to Israel.

My recollection of the story and I don't remember exactly where I read
it, is that Idelsohn was teaching a group of kids this tune without much
success, and someone suggested it would work better with some words.
Someone in his class set them to the words we now associate it with, and
the rest is history.

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


End of Volume 22 Issue 80