Volume 29 Number 42
                 Produced: Mon Aug  9  6:17:47 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gender based Blessings
         [Saul Davis]
Is there a prohibition against obesity? (3)
         [Josh Backon, Bill Bernstein, Rise Goldstein]
Kosher Baby Diets (4)
         [Susan Shapiro, Ellen Krischer, Ezriel Krumbein, Elie
Personal conflict when defaming network marketing
         [Aviva Fee]
Z"L Gender Based ??
         [Reuben Rudman]


From: Saul Davis <sdavis@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 22:17:27 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Gender based Blessings

Does anyone know why men get n"y (nero yair?) after their names and
women thy' (tihyi? = she should live?) after theirs?

I think n"y is nero yair, "his light should be bright" (perhaps a
metaphor for long life) and the women's thy' is tihyi "she should live"
(presumably long).

Are my explanations correct and why the gender difference?

I agree with Yossie Abramson that there really is no gender-based
distinction between  Z"L and A"H.

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Mon,  2 Aug 1999 22:18 +0200
Subject: Re: Is there a prohibition against obesity?

Shulchan Aruch CHOSHEN MISHPAT Siman 427 (Hilchot Chovel B'Chavero)
deals with the prohibition of placing oneself in danger. From this Siman
(427:10) poskim deal with, for example, cigarette smoking.  Shulchan
Aruch YOREH DEAH Siman 116 also lists the many items which are forbidden
because they are dangerous. Is obesity *chovel b'atzmo* (placing oneself
in danger) ?  Probably. In that case we are obligated to deal with the
situation either by exercise and/or by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor
induced insulin resistance.  And for the benefit of all the readers of
MAIL JEWISH: the fastest way to treat this is by taking a hot bath with
some eucalyptous oil (a very powerful inhibitor of TNF-alpha).

Josh Backon

From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 10:40:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Is there a prohibition against obesity?

Akiva Fee asks about whether obesity should be prohibited, just as
smoking is.

There are several problems.  What is "obese"?  Everyone can agree on
what constitutes smoking but obesity seems less subject to absolute
definition.  Additionally (and this was an issue with smoking), at least
some gedolei Yisroel seem to be (have been) pretty over-weight.  I seem
to remember a discussion in Brochos on the proper position for krias
shema al hamitah.  The Gemoro states that lying on one's back is
unacceptable, but answers an objection that R' Yochanon(?) did this by
saying he was different since he was a "baal basar"-which I take to mean
very large.

I'm bothered by the whole discussion because once you get started with
this beyond a general injunction to guard your health there is no end to
it.  Should we ossur saccharine and other preservatives?  What about
riding in cars?  Red meat? Colored socks?  Anything can be harmful in
the right circumstances.

From: Rise Goldstein <Rbg29861@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 21:15:09 EDT
Subject: Is there a prohibition against obesity?

A previous post raised the issue of whether obesity should be viewed as
a sin, given the attendant health risks and given several piskei halacha
that treat smoking as a sin for the health risks it carries.  I
apologize but I deleted the digest in which that post was included and
don't remember it verbatim, nor do I remember the identity of the
sender.  However, as a Ph.D.-level epidemiologist who has done research
in disorders of eating and weight, I would like to respond to the
question with some relevant empirical evidence.  Anyone who wishes
citations to the research literature that informs what I am about to say
is welcome to e-mail me privately.  As I relocated right after Shavuot
to Silver Spring, MD, from Richmond, VA, that material is still packed
in boxes but I'll go digging for it.  :-)

As I implied above, it is extremely difficult in present time to argue
that smoking is _not_ a major health risk.  While I won't belabor the
epidemiologic evidence here, smoking is well known to be associated with
cancers in multiple organ systems as well as emphysema and chronic
bronchitis, cardiovascular disease, peptic ulcer disease, and assorted
other debilitating or life-threatening conditions.  Moreover, nicotine
is probably the most addictive substance of abuse currently in wide
usage in the U.S.  It's far more difficult to kick than alcohol,
marijuana, heroin, or cocaine (even crack), though nicotine withdrawal
is "merely" uncomfortable as opposed, say, to barbiturate withdrawal,
which is life-threatening if not done with careful medical management.

Most current smokers in the U.S. are severely nicotine dependent; a lot
of nondependent smokers have long since been persuaded to quit by health
education campaigns, physician interventions, or other means.  There is
a large genetic component to nicotine dependence.  Given the
physiological disruptions that occur when someone is in nicotine
withdrawal, inability to quit does not simply signify a weak will.  Of
course, the easiest way to avoid nicotine addiction is never to smoke,
but smokers who started before the late 1950s or early 1960s didn't have
a reasonable way to know how dangerous smoking was, and many who started
later didn't think they'd get hooked.

In contrast to the situation with smoking, the evidence about health
risks of obesity is far less clear.  There is no solid, consistent
evidence that mild or moderate overweight (defined as body mass index
less than 30 kg per squared meter of height) significantly increases the
risk of premature death.  Severe obesity, defined as a body mass index
over 30 kg per squared meter, roughly doubles the risk of premature
death, in addition to increasing risks for a range of adverse but
nonfatal health outcomes.  In epidemiologic terms, a doubling of risk is
important, but relatively modest by comparison to, for example, the 10-
to 20-fold risk of lung cancer associated with smoking.

As with nicotine dependence, there is a substantial genetic contribution
to obesity.  Some consider "compulsive" eating to be an addictive
behavior, but there is also quite good evidence that many obese
individuals consume no more calories than their normal-weight peers.
Moreover, in contrast to the situation with smoking, there's no way to
avoid eating.

Body weight is regulated by a complex set of biological mechanisms that
are _extremely_ difficult to override through dieting and exercise.
Even the most conscientious behaviorally based attempts at weight loss
yield modest losses and most of these are not maintained for more than a
year.  Again, this isn't about weak will or lack of self-discipline,
certainly not over the long haul.  It's about the fact that dieting
induces the body to think it's being starved, so that its metabolic rate
automatically slows down to conserve resources.  As part of the
"starvation reaction," a person's perceived energy level drops, food
cravings increase, rate of weight loss slows, and weight regain occurs
more and more rapidly, and in greater amounts, with each attempt at
dieting.  It also isn't clear that weight loss reduces the level of
health risk in an obese person to the level of risk incurred by an
individual who was never obese.  Indeed, a number of well-designed
studies have suggested that weight loss may increase risks for
mortality, especially due to heart disease, in addition to nutritional
derangements and possibly psychological morbidity attributable to
dieting per se.

Given the available evidence both about the "causes" of overweight and
obesity, and about the health consequences thereof as well as the health
consequences of attempts to lose weight, it isn't in any way obvious to
me that the halachic status of these conditions can be regarded as
analogous to that of smoking.

Rise Goldstein (<Rbg29861@...>)
Silver Spring, MD


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 07:56:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Kosher Baby Diets

<<I have never heard of a case in which a child would medically "need"
any kind of formula [instead of breastmilk], so this would be a
universal solution.  (I suppose if the mother is HIV-positive, or has
had a large breast reduction surgery, then that would be the only

Be grateful that you have never heard of any situation where breastmilk
isn't the ONLY answer.  I have a friend whose child was born with a
serious problem with his intestines and not only was he in hospital for
6 months, making it almost impossible to nurse, since he had older
siblings at home and the hospital was far from home, but he couldn't
absorb any kind of breastmilk, and there is a formula (the name escapes
me) which is not only treif, but a mitzvah for this child to eat because
it is pre-digested, making it possible to nourish him.  He is now 4
1/2,and in the days before this formula was developed, this disease had
a 95% mortality rate.  Baruch Hashem he's doing great.  And, people can
live on this formula all their lives.  I remember a few Digests ago
someone mentioned it, and that the bottles, etc, had to be kept
completely separate, as in this case.

May Hashem bless you that you never need to hear any more about this
kind of situation!!! :-)

Susan Shapiro

From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 10:45:33 -0400 
Subject: RE: Kosher Baby Diets

	I know a number of women who unfortunately were unable to
breastfeed.  Everything from not producing enough milk to children who
were allergic to breastmilk.  It was very difficult for them to adjust
to the fact that they were not going to be able to breastfeed (or do so
exclusively.)  Their situation was made even more difficult by
information such as the above which, though well intentioned, is

	Ellen Krischer 

From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 1999 18:09:26 -0700
Subject: Kosher Baby Diets

One of my relatives raised their kids on formula due to lactose
intolerance in some of the kids.  I am not sure of the exact details but
kids can have sevre reactions to milk if they are alergic or have
lactose intolerance.

From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 16:55:10 -0400
Subject: Kosher Baby Diets

On babies and milk/meat, a couple of responses on this topic mentioned
nursing longer as a solution.  Not sure why that would be relevant.
Wouldn't a child old enough to eat meat, be old enough to drink a
variety of non-milchig drinks (juices, etc.) with it?  It's been a
couple of years for us (our youngest is 3-1/2), but that's how I
remember the typical stages of food introduction -- meat is about the
latest stage.

Now a comment regarding older children and waiting between meat and
milk.  In my family growing up, and now with my own kids, our approach
was that once a child was old enough to understand waiting, they would
start with waiting one hour, and then add an hour at each birthday,
until they were waiting the full six hours at around the age of nine or
ten.  Has anyone else heard of, or practiced, this approach?  I've found
it to be a good way for the kids to feel a growing level of
responsibility in mitzvah observance as they get older and closer to
Bar/Bas Mitzvah.




From: Aviva Fee <aviva613@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 06:43:21 PDT
Subject: Personal conflict when defaming network marketing


I am going through a personal conflict when defaming network marketing.

Let me explain, network marketing, AKA multi-level marketing (MLM) is a
way to get people to get other people to sell things.  One of the most
famous MLM's is Amway.  For an overview of how MLM's deceive people,
read Multilevel Mischief from Inc. Magazine at

There is a Orthodox gentlemen in our community who has been actively
attempting to get others into his MLM (selling food and nutritional

In private conversation with others in our community, I have strongly
condemned this since most people fail and waste their precious time and
money.  But I am going through a personal conflict when I do this.

On one side, I feel this gentlemen men is wasting his time, and the time
and hope of others.  On the other side, I feel that while I am 99.9%
correct, if I am indeed affecting his parnoso (livelihood), then that is
a wrong thing.

Any suggestions I how I can resolve this conflict ?



From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 1999 09:50:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Z"L Gender Based ??

The recent query and response (Mail Jewish V. 29 #36) regarding the use
of Alov (or Aleha) HaShalom (A"H) vs Zichrono (or Zichrona) Livracha
(Z"L) is not a "gender" biased use of language.  Rather, as in many
other areas, there is a hierarchy of phrases which indicate the level
(usually in Talmudic and Halachic knowledge) of the individual being
referred to.  It is well known that for a living person one addresses
them or refers to them as Amoos (ad me'ah v'esrim, to attain 120 years
of age) or as Shlita (she'yichyeh l'orech yo'mim to'vim, amen , that he
should be worthy to live a long good life).  Usually the average person
is addressed as Amoos and a scholar is addressed as Shlita.  So too when
referring to a person who has passed away there is a gradation.  A"H is
used for the average person, one who has not distinguished themselves in
scholarly pursuits.  Z"L is reserved for a more distinguished person,
while Z"TZL ( or zecher tzadik livracha) or Z"TZVKL (zecher tazadik
v'kadosh livracha) are used for even more distinguished people.  Since
most women have not attained a high level of "learning" (high level of
Talmudic scholarship) they are not referred to as Z"L.  Similarly, we do
not find women referred to as Shlita when they are alive.  This is not a
gender biased item other than the gender-related aspect of attaining
Talmudic scholarship.  Finally, there are other terms used to describe
the departed.  For example, the word Kadosh is used to refer to one who
has been martyred, Al Kiddush haShem.  This past Shabbos witnessed the
70th Yahrzeit of the Kedoshim of Chevron (see
http://www.adelphi.edu/~rudman/BHPage.html ).  May we all be zocheh to
attain long and fulfilling lives and not to witness any more sorrows of
this sort.

Reuben Rudman                         Voice: 516-877-4133  
Professor of Chemistry                  Fax: 516-877-4485
Adelphi University              mailto:<rudman@...>
Garden City, NY 11530      http://www.adelphi.edu/~rudman


End of Volume 29 Issue 42