Volume 27 Number 43
                      Produced: Fri Dec 26  7:09:07 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Point On the Prohibition of Destroying
         [Russell Hendel]
Book recommendation
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Creating on Shabbat
         [Robert Werman]
Kiruv -- the outputs
         [Carl Singer]
Morid Hag?shem
         [Avrohom Biderman]
Women and Chanukah Lights
         [Steven M Oppenheimer]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 1997 18:18:29 -0500
Subject: Another Point On the Prohibition of Destroying

The Talmud gives the case of two neighbors A and B: B says "Look I will
rebuild our common wall so we can have better windows..I'll pay for
everything you won't lose anything".  The Talmud says that A can say "I
don't want to live in a house with vibrating walls for a month (while
you fix it)"

B continues: "No problem...I will personally pay so that you can stay at
my mansion free and then come back when the wall is done. " A can still
stay "I don't feel like moving".

Both these cases are brought down in Jewish law in the Shulchan
Aruch. The implication is clear: "Personal inconveniecne--"I dont feel
like moving" is a valid reason to refuse an "improvement".

Maybe vegetarianism is "better"...but if eating meat has certain
conveniences then I have the right to avoid it just as i can avoid
improving my windows because I don't like vibrations or the strain of

Some deficiencies in vegetarianism (which, forgive me, no one 
has yet mentioned)
	- Meat eaters get vitamin B12 easily
	Vegetarians have to go out of their way to get it

	- Meat eaters get complete protein easily
	Vegetarians have to combine foods in certain ways to
	achieve this( a famous experiment in which two vegetbles
	were eaten an hour apart showed that no protein had
	been absorbed even though complete protein would be 
	absorbed if they were eaten together)

	- Finally, the taste of a juicy steak is preferable to a juicy 

While some of these reasons may appear frivolous (e.g. taste) some of
them are serious (Vegetarians DO have to work to get complete
protein...)  Also B12 deficiencies can cause irreversible nerve damage.

I conclude that even if all the other reasons mentioned are true (one
method is insufficient, bal tashchis doesn't apply etc) I am still under
no halachic obligation to change my lifestyle if I "feel like it"

The only thing I can't do because I "feel like it" is to go and destroy
for no reason some object I own.

I hope this helps

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d;ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 11:29:06 +0200
Subject: Book recommendation

Louise Miller <daniel@...> wrote:
> I'm at a loss to explain why magnetic letters are like writing

To the best of my (very limited) this is *permitted* according to
Shmirath Shabbat keHilchatah, 16:23:
"It is permitted to play with letter or picture games, in which
letters or parts of letters and a picture are placed side by side
and combined to form a full word or picture,*on condition*
that the word or picture is not within a frame, and the parts are 
not affixed to each other"
(my own free translation from edition 2, and my emphasis).
Shabbat shalom and chanuka sameach,
   Chanuka sameach!   /\     Happy Chanuka!
Shimon Lebowitz           
Jerusalem, Israel                   mailto:<shimonl@...>
http://www.randomc.com/~shimon/    IBMMAIL: I1060211


From: Robert Werman <rwerman@...>
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 11:53:26 +0200
Subject: Creating on Shabbat

Akiva Miller correctly notes that: "My suggestion is that "creative
activity" is a bit too broad an explanation for what we avoid on

In fact, there is a well known midrash that says that HaShem created on
the six days and left the Shabbat for us to be creative, starting with
the making a difference in your customs, reversing the order we do
things, and going on to special forms of limud.

__Bob Werman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 97 15:32:50 UT
Subject: Kiruv -- the outputs

One of many ways to look at a process is to examine its outputs.  (Yes,
I did my undergraduate at an Engineering School -- Case Tech.)  In this
case I suggest two views: the individuals (or families) and the


When we get to steady state (Let's talk settled down, mature, married or
single, growing and learning but somewhat knowledgeable, minimum age ?
30, maybe.  Vice a wide-eyed fablungeteh 22 year old after a year into
an immersion bath of "de Rebbe zookt")

I imagine that in one aspect we could simply add another adjective,
i.e. the formerly outgoing/shy, enthusiastic/lethargic,
intelligent/dull, nervous/calm .... person is now all these same traits
with "frum" inserted somewhere.  Or maybe "observant" is a better term.
(Remember - engineering school, not school of social work.)

Hopefully, there's more to it: specifically traits and behaviors (midos)
that have been modified, due to learning, examples from others, and
simply living a different lifestyle -- caring, welcoming,
charitableness. modesty .... we can pop in more adjectives, gerunds,

On the lighter side -- another characteristic is names.  Due to
significant efforts by very hardworking b'alai tzudkeh the community I
now live in has a "frum" telephone directory.  I see many people with
what I'll call Jewish names.  When they called to add us to the list
they had little trouble with my wife's "Miriam" (just so happens that's
her name) but they asked if I really wanted to be listed as "Carl."  We
got a good laugh.  My Hebrew name is Chanan Avraham (after a
grandmother, Chana, and a grandfather, Avraham.)  I was always (and
still am to my mother & my wife) Chuneh'Avrum (sometimes Avrum'Chuneh)
but when I first came to America, the great council of sages (all my
aunts) said I needed an American name, and since I had an uncle Harry
(Singer) that name was taken and Carl it was.  So in a community where
most people have gone from English / American names to Jewish names -- I
find myself having gone the other direction.  Oh well, I've always swum


(and here the bilateral taxonomist in me comes out, again.)  (1) How the
community reacts to them and (2) how they react within and become a part
of the community.

Having lived in many communities as an adult (Cleveland, Ann Arbor, West
Lafayette, Tucson, Washington, Philadelphia, Edison and now Passaic) and
having visited still more (but visits don't really count in the
following discussion) I have some observations ....

I've seen various communities with different mixes of people whose
observance stems from their birth and upbringing (it used to be "FFB -
frum from birth" but a noted Rabbi in one of the Kashruth magazines used
the term "Torah Educated, Frum From Birth" -- I mentioned this while
spending Shabbos "out of town" with a family which is FFB and then some
-- and one of their daughters noted that she was born in Israel (her
father studied many years in Yeshiva) so we built "Israeli Born, Torah
Educated, Frum From Birth" from there the sky is the limit (although I
wasn't sure if we should use commas or hyphens.)  Let's suffice that
were it Purim, not Chanukah, I'd offer up
a-educated-frum-from-birth" No doubt there's a female equivalent, but
I'll leave that be.  And, yes, you can top this.

I've met various people, also, who are B'alai Tshuva.  And like
everything else they're all different.  They range from people who seem
to have a flashing neon sign on them that announces this (significant or
insignificant) bit of background (The business world's "what have you
done for me lately" might translate to "where are you today" or "where
will you be tomorrow" -- re: torah & Midos) and others who blend in with
their community.

How a community acts towards those who would join it or who are new to
the group is quite interesting.  Even more so how a community acts
towards "outsiders."  I remember going to New Square (A visit, yes - not
living there.) for a chasuneh (wedding) I wore a dark suit and Hamburg
(but might as well have worn jeans and a T-shirt re: "blending in" --
but I knew that.)  The wedding minhagim were strange to me -- they broke
the glass before the Chuppah, etc.  But the Skverers were exceptionally
warm.  They were cordial and helpful, etc.  There are other communities
like that and unfortunately some that are not like that.

In most communities that I've lived in, I'll dub them "heterogeneous
Orthodox", like Cleveland, Philadelphia, Edison, Passaic, there is
little distinction between the FFB and BT (again we're talking mature
married folks -- or folks old enough to be married.)  Most BTs who you
are close with openly speak of problems or situations with parents or
siblings who aren't (yet) as observant as they are.  Some cute stories
centered around wedding pictures and other stuff from "before."  Or the
"expert" who can tell you whether the "sham shrimp" tastes as good as
the real stuff.  And, yes on the FFB side a portrait of my
great-grandfather, beard, kaputeh, etc. or shas from my wife's
great-grandfather are heirlooms that sometimes remind us and them of,
nebech, how many great-grandchildren are estranged from the Torah of
their ancestors and haven't come back.

But there is a new, and dangerous phenomena in communities or
congregations with overwhelming large BT populations.  -- To be
charitable (not irritable) I might rationalize this as part of the
process of separating oneself from the (before) secular community -- I
see intolerance of other Jews and (even) other frum Jews.  Frum Jews,
now in their seventies and eighties, people who closed their shops on
Shabbos when it meant losing parnuseh, who built shules with their sweat
and their wealth, and survivors who rebuilt their lives in this goldeneh
medina -- BUT who aren't black hatters, didn't spend years in yeshiva,
but quit school to support their families, etc., are reviled.  I see
newer congregations that are overwhelmingly BT which refuse to coexist
with older congregations and congregants whom they consider "trief"
These people are not only building walls against their past but also
against their future.

Today, I see people who daven in an (old) shule six days a week because
they need a minyan (and the older shules with retirees have mincha
b'zman) but on Shabbos they go to their shule.  The older established
shule has youth groups Shabbos afternoon, they drop their kids off.  It
has babysitting on Yom Tov, they drop their kids off.  Write them a
letter asking them to join or become an associate member or simply
donate to help pay the bills -- and they remind you that they're members
of the (new) shule.

If I ticked some people off when I mentioned the inability of some folks
from some shules to respond "Gut Shabbos" I guess I'm about to do it

A Freilechen Chanukah.

Carl Singer


From: Avrohom Biderman <abeb@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 00:26:38 -0500
Subject: Morid Hag?shem

This topic is discussed in Igros Moshe Or Hachayim vol.4, Teshuvah 40, sec.
15. There Rav Moshe Feinstein --  who was not a maskil -- comes down firmly
on the side of Hagashem. I've heard that Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky said Hagashem
until he saw a sefer which "established" that it should be Hageshem.  Those
who daven Nussach Sefard all (to the best of my knowledge) say Morid Hatal
with a kamatz, so I'm not sure why Gashem should be different. One reason
many be the fact that the combination of the kametz-segol in Hagashem is
inauspicious. Indeed, there are many chassidim who say Borei Pri Hageefn,
rather than Hagafen.
Avrohom Biderman


From: <oppy2@...> (Steven M Oppenheimer)
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 23:48:06 -0500
Subject: Women and Chanukah Lights

Tzvi Klugerman asks about Women and Chanukah Lights.  In Sefer Mikra'ei
Kodesh, Hilchot Chanukah by R. Moshe Harari, there appear heretofore
unpublished responsa from HaRav Moshe Feinstein, z"l.  On page 144, Rav
Feinstein says that in Europe, married women lit candles with a b'racha
(blessing).  This despite the words of the Mishnah B'rurah.  Yet, in the
U.S. the custom is that married women do not light separately.  Even Rav
Moshe's wife did not light separately.  The reason was that R. Moshe did
not want to force his customs upon his wife.  She would only light if R.
Moshe was late.  If he were  late only an hour or so, she would wait.  If
he was going to be very late, however, she would light for him as he
instructed her to do.

Nonetheless, a women who wants to light may light and recite the brachot
(blessings) - see Mishnah B'rurah 675:9. See also R. Shimon Eider's book
on Chanukah.  He was a Talmid (student) of R. Moshe and still maintains
that even though the custom is for a married women not to light, she may
light if she so desires.

Regarding the question of Geshem or Gashem i.e. a segel or komatz under
the gimmel, Igrot Moshe states one says Gashem with a komatz.  There was
a sefer written a while ago in Eretz Yisrael that dealt with this issue
and the conclusion was that Geshem should be said.  Artscroll has taken
the position that Geshem should be said.  Having grown up way before
Artscroll and when people turned to R. Moshe for halachic decisions, I
say Gashem.  See Igrot Moshe for a detailed discussion.  Obviously, both
are acceptable and one should follow one's custom.

Steven Oppenheimer, D.D.S.


End of Volume 27 Issue 43