Volume 23 Number 99
                       Produced: Wed May 15 21:34:12 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Chaim Shapiro]
Census Counts -- an abnormal number (2)
         [Stan Tenen, Avi Feldblum]
Census Counts--an abnormal number
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Census Counts--An abnormal number
         [Art Kamlet]
Deposits on Pop Bottles
         [Jonathan Katz]
Deposits on pop bottles
         [Steven R Weintraub]
El Al Kashrut (Digest #90)
         [Neil Peterman]
         [R J Israel]
The Wicked Son's Teeth
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Tzniut for Men and Slits in Skirts
         [Shoshana Sloman]
Value of Kesuva
         [Steve White]
Welch's Grape Juice
         [Steve White]


From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 17:17:58 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: 411

	I have two visually impaired siblings.  As such, our home phone 
line recieves free 411- directory service.
	My question, is may other members of the family use the 411 
service as well?  Please note that the phone Co. does not ask who is 
calling when responding to a 411 call.
Chaim Shapiro


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 09:38:26 -0700
Subject: Census Counts -- an abnormal number

The census numbers have kabbalistic significance.  While no one can say
that they are not to be taken literally in some sense, their primary
purpose is most likely to establish elements of the architecture of the
temple, the priestly garments, and sacred impliments -- on the physical,
ritual level, and elements of Jewish meditational experience - at the
spiritual level.

The apparent rounding to the nearest 50 or 100 is a result of the
geometry of a tetrahelical column (identified with the rod of Aaron and
the age of Abraham when he was circumcised), which comes in natural
units of 49 or 50, and 99 or 100.  This is also the likely source of the
(statistically robust, non-prophetic) predominant equal interval letter
skip pattern of 49 or 50 letters.


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 20:40:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Census Counts -- an abnormal number

Stan Tenen writes:
> The census numbers have kabbalistic significance.  While no one can say
> that they are not to be taken literally in some sense, their primary
> purpose is most likely to establish elements of the architecture of the

I do not understand how you can say that the primary purpose is the
kabbalistic / geometric interpretations rather than the literal / peshat
meaning of the text. Drash and Sod are important, but "ain hamikra
yotzei medei peshuto" - the text is not removed from it's simple

Avi Feldblum

From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Tue,  14 May 96 15:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Census Counts--an abnormal number

>From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
>In this weeks Sedra, Bamidbar, we have the census of the tribes All
>numbers end in 00, except for the tribe of Gad that ends in 50 Why?
>The question was first pointed out to me by my grandfather David Hendel
>but I have never found an adequate answer or even a source discussing
>it.  Does anyone know of anything on this.
>One thought I had should be mentioned: The endings in 00 suggest
>rounding.  If we use the rule "round to the nearest 100 unless you end
>exactly in 50" then that would explain the oddity provided only Gad
>ended in 50. One can calculate the probability that at least one tribe
>should have *exactly* 50 among the 12 (or the probability that exactly
>one should have exactly 50).  This is a binomial probability problem and
>is not that low.

IMHO, this is an excellent explanation.

If I remember my math, the probability is:
    1 - ((49/50)**12) = 0.215
    where (49/50)**12 [.98 to the twelfth] is the probability that
    no tribe hit 50.

Behatzlacha rabba,


From: Art Kamlet <kamlet@...>
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 14:42:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Census Counts--An abnormal number

It seems to me that if we find the probability that none of the
12 tribes ended in exactly fifty, then we know the probability
that at least one could end in fifty:

  P = 1 -  ( 0.99 ** 12 )
    = 1 -   0.886
    = 0.114

or about 1 chance in 9 that one or more  or the 12 tribes had
exactly a multiple of fifty.

Art Kamlet   Columbus, Ohio    <kamlet@...>  


From: <frisch1@...> (Jonathan Katz)
Date: Tue, 7 May 96 00:46:53 EDT
Subject: Deposits on Pop Bottles

>>       I am an advid pop drinker, usually downing several bottles a
>>day.  Recently, I noticed that many bottles of pop in the Chicago area
>>say that there is a $.10 refund for your deposit in the State of Michigan.
>>My question is simple.  Can I take bottles purchased in Illinois without
>>a deposit, to Michigan and recieve a refund?

>NO! It is illegal (and therefore against halacha), dishonest and could
>create a Chilul HaShem(desecration of G-d's name).

I wasn't really going to comment on this until I saw the range of answers
this question elicited.

I don't think that it is illegal under American law (someone correct me if
I'm wrong). So, that line of reasoning is moot.

As for whether it is unethical/anti-halacha, I think that comes down to a
basic question regarding the purpose of the 5-cent refund. There are two

1) The state is willing to pay 5 cents for the aluminum can in and of
itself (I can think of 2 reasons off the top of my head - either it is
worth 5 cents to the government to prevent pollution, or the scrap metal
itself is worth 5 cents). The extra 5 cents the consumer pays when buying a
soda goes toward supporting this activity.

2) The government has no interest, a priori, in your aluminum can. However,
the government is willing to support a program which encourages recycling
by taking a 5 cent deposit from the consumer and then repaying this money
when the can is turned in.

In case #1, it would be allowed to buy a can in one state and return it in
the other; in case #2 it would not be allowed.

Personally, it is my feeling that #1 is the case. There are also a number
of "proofs" in support of this:
If #2 were the case, it would be illegal for someone to return a can for a
refund which they themselves had not purchased. But this is not the case
(both in practice and according to American law).
Furthermore, if #2 were the case, then it should be possible for me to
refuse to pay the 5 cent deposit if I agree that I forfeit my right to the
5 cent refund - this is not the case either.

Aside from the above ruminations, let's look at it practically. The fact
is, any state with a 5 cent refund bordering a state with a 10 cent refund
must know that some people are going to drive over to the other state -
obviously, the first state is not worried, or else it would change its
policy (similarly, the second state is not worried that a mob of people is
going to run over and demand 10-cent refunds on thousands of cans).

Furthermore, if it ever really became economically viable to run this
"scam" (see last week's Seinfeld for an argument that this is _not_ the
case!), more people would be doing it, and the policies of both states
would have to change.

Just my 5 cents =)

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, 233F
Cambridge, MA 02139

From: Steven R Weintraub <stevenw@...>
Date: Wed, 8 May 1996 13:16:56 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Deposits on pop bottles

>From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
>My question is simple.  Can I take bottles purchased in Illinois without 
>a deposit, to Michigan and recieve a refund?

This is what Neil Parks says :
> If the stores in Michigan will take the bottles, sounds like a good 
> idea to me.
> The purpose of Michigan's deposit law is to encourage recycling.  It's 
> better for the environment to recycle the bottles in Michigan than to 
> dump them into a landfill in Illinois.
> If enough people follow suit, the bottlers in both states will realize 
> that it would pay them to lobby Illinois (and other states) to pass 
> similar deposit laws.  Then more bottles will be recycled in all the 
> states, and everyone's environment will be better off.

Of course if retailers in Michigan lose too much money because of this
it is more likely they will lobby their state legislature to repeal the
deposit law (and the bureaucracy that goes with it) than they would go
lobby Illinois legislature to enact a deposit law. :-\

<I say this believeing such laws have a place - the following is said
because this has no jewish context up to now>.

It is best to follow the law (which says you should not do this).  It a
requirement as a Jew and to blantantly ignore the law bring disgrace to
your people.

Steven Ross Weintraub        Office : 512-343-6666 |  O Lord,
PSW Technologies             Home   : 512-453-6953 |    let me talk gently,
nascent Web page : http://www.pswtech.com/~stevenw |  for I might have to eat
external Email : <stevenw@...>               |    my words tomorrow.


From: <npms@...> (Neil Peterman)
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 09:27:25 +0400
Subject: El Al Kashrut (Digest #90)

I cannot speak as to the accuracy of the information in the original
posting about supervision at El Al in Ben Gurion, but m-j readers should
know that various El Al kitchens/catering suppliers worldwide have their
own hashgocha and are quite independent of whatever the situation is
here in Israel.  Two examples are Amsterdam and London.  The kosher food
supplied on El Al flights out of Amsterdam is under the supervision of
(a very close friend of mine) the Av Beis Din of Amsterdam, Rabbi Yehuda
Leib Lewis and is universally regarded as a very reliable hechsher.
Likewise the Federation of Synagogues, Av Beis Din Dayan Yakov
Lichtenstein, who give the hashgocha to El Al in London.  That having
been said those who are makpid should always order the
glatt/medahrin/special kosher option as it only these meals that are
guaranteed to be served on new utensils.  Standard kosher meals are
served on utensils that are constantly recycled through the El Al fleet,
either directly by El Al or by the airline's local catering suppliers.
Whilst the supervision on the food served in the 'standard' kosher meal
may be excellent, the level of supervision on the collection, washing
and storage of thousands of utensils from dozens of planes and
destinations is only as strong as the weakest local link.


From: <RJISRAEL@...> (R J Israel)
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 08:49:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Goose

I looked for a long time. Finally found that Levana Resturant in New
York sells them and ships them frozen (uncooked). It was wonderful and



From: <iir@...> (Israel Rosenfeld)
Date: Tue,  14 May 96 15:14 +0200
Subject: Re: The Wicked Son's Teeth

>From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
>I wonder if the word "hakheh" comes from the same root as the word
>"yikhat" (Genesis 49:10) which Rashi there, based on a Gemara in Yevamos
>6 (among other sources) interprets as meaning "to gather".  In that case
>the term "Hakheh es shinav" would mean "gather his teeth", i.e. get him
>to stay in one place and tell him etc.

In Sanhedrin 109b, Rashi Hakadosh d"h 'hikhah shinei molidav'
    explains it to mean 'he embarrased his parents'.

Behatzlacha rabba,



From: Shoshana Sloman <ssloman@...>
Date: Mon, 13 May 1996 22:49:30 -0500
Subject: Tzniut for Men and Slits in Skirts

From: <eposen@...> (Esther Posen)
> Tzniut for Men
> I believe that the reason the halachot regarding women's zniut in dress
> are more stringent and explicit than men's halachot is that men and
> women have different reactions to attractiveness in the opposite sex.

Also, it seems that women have a propensity for exploiting these
differences.  I have yet to see a men's business suit with short pants,
yet women think nothing of showing up for a professional job with legs
exposed to the thigh, and high heels!


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Tue, 14 May 1996 11:16:16 -0400
Subject: Value of Kesuva

In #96, Carl Sherer corrects an earlier posting he made by saying, 

>... it inaccurately describes the value of the ksuva except in 
>weddings which take place in Eretz Yisrael where it is customary to 
>add cash to the value of the silver given in the Ksuva.  Only if that 
>addition is fairly large would the statement in brackets have been 

Is that so?  I thought some opinions held 200 zuz to be quite a lot of
money ($40,000 or so).  Any sources to help here?

Steve White


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 10:29:23 -0400
Subject: Welch's Grape Juice

In #69, you wrote:

[What I heard is that last year, which was the first time that it was OU
just for Pesach was a sort of experiment to see if it would generate
enough additional sales to make a year-round OU supervision worthwhile
for them, and they would decide after this Pesach season. But this is
just "heard around the street". Anyone actually know something about
this? Mod.]

I read in one of the kosher trade publications (I forget which) that
last year was the experiment, and that it was suitably successful that
the current arrangement is now permanent and year-round.  The OU-P
bottles are called "Welch's Kosher Grape Juice," whereas regular bottles
(having a "K") are just called "Welch's Grape Juice."

Grapefully yours,


End of Volume 23 Issue 99