Volume 28 Number 41
                      Produced: Tue Dec  8  8:05:43 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are We Allowed to Follow the "No Kiddush During Mars Custom"
         [Russell Hendel]
Asking for Tzedakka
         [Joseph Geretz]
Chagall's "The Rabbi"
         [Aryeh A. Frimer]
Chagall's Painting "The Rabbi"
         [Hillel Markowitz]
Chalav Yisrael
         [Steven White]
Converts in the Holocaust
         [Raphael Adams]
Finishing the Pasuk
         [Steven White]
Non-Chalav Yisrael Milk in Eretz Yisrael
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Request for Kosher Food
         [Janice Gelb]
Rouah Ra`ah / Netilat Yadayim
Suicide in Tanach (2)
         [Jonathan Marvin, Sheldon Meth]
Tefilla Be-Tzibbur
         [Sheri & Seth Kadish]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 16:30:54 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Are We Allowed to Follow the "No Kiddush During Mars Custom"

I noticed that Stuart Wises question V28n28---why do we follow the
(allegedly) Zoharic custom of not saying kiddush between 6 to 7 on
Friday night when the red planet Mars is visible-has still not been
dealt with.  Let me therefore strengthen the question 3 observations.

* _If_ I had NOT heard this Zohar, I would say that such a practice is
 Biblically prohibited. Indeed, Rambam, Idolatry, 11:8,9 explicitly says that
 >It is prohibited to say, based on astrological considerations, that 
 >'this time' is a good time to do a certain action

* Even if the Zohar and other books bring down this concept NO ONE I know has
 given the remotest explanation for it. Why then do we presume that we 
 understand it?

* To strengthen the last point I quote from the Lubavitch translation of the
 Rambam on Foundations of Torah, Chap 3,4. The Rambam used Greek science
 terminology to explain the mystical "Creation" doctrines. The lubavitch
 translation points out that the Rambam did not really believe in Greek 
 science--he only used it as a metaphor to talk about secret matters.

So--why not assume the Mars Zohar is metaphoric? Why should we believe
it is literal? Why should we RISK violating a Biblical commandment
because of it?

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 09:25:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Asking for Tzedakka

> 2) People with shtriemels asking for tzedakah (I don't recall if the
> person I mentioned at the top was wearing one, but I certainly have seen
> shtriemel wearers in shul on Purim and other occasions asking for
> tzedakah).  Is it wrong for me to think that a person ought to sell this
> very expensive garment and buy a wool cap before asking for tzedakah?

The Halacha in regards to giving Tzedakka is that the obligation remains
in force until the recipient retains the financial status to which he is
accustomed. Presumably, if a Chassid became so poor Chas Veshalom that
he needed to sell his Shtreimel in order to put food on the table, we
would be required to raise enough money for him so that he could feed
his family and in addition purchase another Shtreimel for himself. This
being the case, the ownership of the Shtreimel should not disqualify him
automatically as a legitimate recipient of our Tzedakka. (One person's
luxury is another person's necessity.)

Also, I understand from my Chassidishe friends that there is a line of
Shtreimelach which are made of fake fur and are not very expensive at
all. According to them, it is very hard to tell the difference and that
most of us Litvaks would certainly not be able to discern the
difference. Therefore, it might be unreliable to judge a person's
financial status simply based on his Shtreimel.

Kol Tuv,
Yossi Geretz


From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:06:20 +0200
Subject: Chagall's "The Rabbi"

Mike Singer asks whether the Rabbi in Chagall's Painting "The Rabbi" is
wearing his tefillin shel yad correctly? Actually, I believe the picture
is called "Jew in Black and White.")
	There is a new (sixth) volume out of Rabbi Prof. Sperbers
Minhagei Yisrael which deals primarily with the Arts and Jewish
practice. In Chapter two he discusses tefillen. He makes it clear that
there were many customs regarding the number of wraps around the arm (6,
or 7, or 3 on upper arm and 4 on lower arm - see OH 27:8), how many
times on fingers and how many times on hand. He cites the Tashbetz III:
118 that The custom to make the letter Shin, dalet, Yod is not the
custom of Ashkenaz, France, Provance, or Catalonia. He also demonstrates
that the artists were far from accurate in their presentations.
	Interestingly, the wraps on the hand in Chagall's picture looks
to me like 6 plus a shin.  As far as the fingers are concerned, since
two of the krichot are one on top of the other one may not be visible. I
don't think Chagal was trying to be accurate: (1) the tsitsit also seem
to have 5 sections of wrappings rather than four. (2) The tefillen shel
Rosh are down on his eyebrows. The Tefillen shel Yad is down by the
Rabbi's elbow.
	I certainly wouldn't lose sleep over it!


From: Hillel Markowitz <hillelm@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 22:43:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Chagall's Painting "The Rabbi"

> From: <m-singer@...> (Mike Singer)
> In Marc Chagall's painting "The Rabbi," the individual in the portrait
> appears to be wearing his tefillin shel yad incorrectly.  Specifically,
> there are only two of the three branches of the letter "shin" formed on
> the back of his hand, and only two, rather than three, loops around his
> middle finger.  Are these errors are intentional and meaningful, or
> simply the result of the artist's unfamiliarity with traditional
> practices?

I was taught to wear tefillin with the Lubavitch minhag which places the
shin above the bayis (box) of the shel yad to hold it on the arm.  The
daled is placed on the back of the hand (showing two branches) and there
are three loops on the finger.  However, if the painting shows the hand
at an angle, it could appear to be two loops on the finger since after
the third loop on the finger, the remaining strap is placed as part of
the daled on the back of the hand.

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 16:37:16 EST
Subject: Re: Chalav Yisrael

In #33, Peretz Mett replies to my previous posting:
> Finally what does "widely accepted" mean? What proportion of shomrei
>  shabbos in England drink unsupervised milk?

I guess I overspoke my direct knowledge of the situation.  I have been
told by people whom I thought should know that "chalav stam" could be
used in these other Anglophone countries on the same basis as in the US.
But I do not have direct knowledge of this, and I apologize to the
community for speaking beyond my direct knowledge.

Steven White


From: Raphael Adams <eitan@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 23:19:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Converts in the Holocaust

Does anybody have any sources for information about the Nazi policy
towards converts to Judaism? Similarily are there sources for anecdotes
about the fate of individual gerim?

Raphael Adams


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 09:45:10 EST
Subject: Re: Finishing the Pasuk

In #34, Yehuda Poch writes:
> When my father or I get to the word "Hashem", we sing it as we would in
>  the normal pasuk, ending in what is effectively the vocal equivalent of
>  a ...  We leave the tune hanging.  Then we go into the next paragraph,
>  and when we get to "titharu", we sing it as we would have in the pasuk,
>  ending the sequence.
>  Every other ba'al tefilah I have heard sings it as if the pasuk ends
>  with "Hashem".  

I also sing it the way the Pochs do.

Steven White


From: Carl M. Sherer <carl@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 14:03:48 +0200
Subject: Non-Chalav Yisrael Milk in Eretz Yisrael

David Curwin writes:
> Regarding the Chalav Yisrael discussion: one mitzva that will eliminate
> the issue of chalav yisrael (as well as bishul yisrael, pat yisrael,
> etc.) is -- moving to Israel!

As much as I am sympathetic with your desire to bring Klal Yisrael on
aliya, I don't think these issues will necessarily be eliminated.
Certainly not if after you get everyone to come here, or Beeas Mashiach
(the coming of the Mashiach) Bimhera B'Yameinu (speedily and in our
time), whichever comes first, we continue to have trade relations with
the goyim.

A year or so ago, I posted a quote from "Kashrut HeChalav u'Mutzarav"
(the Kashrus of Milk and its Products), which was written by Rav
Whittman from Tnuva, where he is pretty clear that if one drinks or eats
non-Mehadrin Tnuva dairy products, they may well have Chalav Stam
(non-Chalav Yisrael) ingredients. In fact, there were recently posters
in my neighborhood indicating that a certain "Mehadrin" chocolate,
manufactured by one of the regular chocolate manufacturers under a
different name, also contained Chalav Stam. So at least today, for those
who do not use Chalav Stam, there is still an issue in Eretz Yisrael.

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<carl@...>  or  mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya.  Thank you very much.


From: Janice Gelb <janice.gelb@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 11:19:53 -0800
Subject: Re: Request for Kosher Food

Gerry Sutofsky (<Edgm1@...>) wrote:
>I work in a public school in Brooklyn. Every year we have a luncheon
>sponsored by the school PTA in honor of Teacher Recognition day. As
>there are a number of frum faculty members Kosher food is ordered for
>those staff members. Requests are made for kosher food from teachers who
>are Jewish but not frum and who eat tref all year round. As our kosher
>food costs more and might be a burden on our PTA, these teachers are
>told that kosher food is only for teachers who "require" not request. My
>question is do we deny a Jew the opportunity to eat a kosher meal
>because the teacher in charge of getting the kosher meals feels that it
>>isn't right to ask for a kosher meal if you are not really frum and
>don't require it or should an effort be made to get kosher food for all
>those who request it. Is there a specific halacha involved here?

I agree with others who have said that you don't want to discourage 
people from going to a higher level of kashrut observance at a Jewish 
event. However, I can also sympathize with budgetary considerations. 
I don't know the halacha for this, but my practical solution would be 
to indicate on the order form that kosher meals cost extra money to 
the PTA and leave it up to the conscience of the person ordering.

Janice Gelb                      | The only connection Sun has
<janice.gelb@...>   | this message is the return address. 


From: <JMOSSERI@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 23:21:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rouah Ra`ah / Netilat Yadayim

I was just reviewing the laws and sources for netilat yadayim and i have
a question. It seems that Netilat Yadayim was instituted to remove
"Rouah Ra`ah" (evil spirits) from the hands. It also seems that quite a
bit of the commentators feel that this Rouah Ra`ah no longer dwells
among us. If this is so why do we still preform the ritual? If it is
only a rememberance, why do we still make a berakhah? Wouldn't it be
considered a berakhah lebatalah or a berakhah she-enah serikhah (a
blessing in vain or a blessing that is not needed)?


From: Jonathan Marvin <jonx@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 10:38:14 -0800
Subject: Re: Suicide in Tanach

On the lighter side of this question, I was asked this Shabbat by R.
William Greenberg, shlita, if I could name four people in Tanach who
killed themselves parallel to the four mitot of bet din: sekilah,
serefah, hereg, chenek.  The answer is below!

Shaul  - by sword
Achitofel -  hung himself
Zimri - burned himself
Shimshon - stoning

Jonathan Marvin

From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 20:47:06 -0500
Subject: RE: Suicide in Tanach

	Zev Barr writes:  "In this week's Parsha Rachel accosts Yakov to
provide a child or she will take her own life (according to one Midrash)."

	Which Midrash?  The text is "...v'im ayin, meisah anochi," which
is simply translated as "if not, I will die," or "if not, I am dead."
In either case, the intent is passive - from which we learn (see Rashi
there) that a childless person, R"L, is equated to a dead one.  I find
it hard to see an active intent - i.e., suicide - from the word

	ZB: "I would like to ask, aside from battle and battle
scenarios(Shaul falls on his sword, Masada, etc.,) , where does the
Tanach detail instances of people taking their own lives?"

	Achitophel (II Samuel 17:23) comes to mind.

	ZB: "Idea: Rachel's plea of desparation brings reminders of our
own Kevorkian age but is not shared by other generations,"

	I fail to see the connection.  To say that a person of the stature
of Rachel Imeinu contemplated suicide is a stretch, to say the least.


From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 06:45:05 +0200
Subject: Tefilla Be-Tzibbur

	Thanks to Shlomo Pick for pointing out the Rambam describing
community prayer as officially beginning with kaddish and barekhu.
	On what is considered "tefilla be-tzibbur":
	1.  See the entire passage in Hayyei Adam (cited in Mishna
Berura) that it is a popular misconception that devarim shebi-kedusha
(kaddish, barekhu, etc.) are the main tefilla be-tzibbur, not the amida.
	Related to this point: I have always wondered, but never
actually investigated, what the precise conceptual basis is for the
obligation to respond to devarim shebi-kedusha.  Unlike prayer, Hazal
don't present these as takkanot (rabbinic decrees).  So how do we define
the exact source of the obligation?  Anyone have any ideas?
	2.  On whether you *must* start amida simultaneously with the
sha"tz, and whether it is necc. to sacrifice kavvana to respond to
kedusha, etc., see Yabia Omer volume 5, sections 7 (5 and end), 13:5-7,
**17:5**, 2:7+10, 6:16.  (Hope I got the numbers right; I am simply
copying them from a note because I don't have time to check now.)
Especially note the teshuva cited from R. Avraham ben ha-Rambam.



End of Volume 28 Issue 41