Volume 30 Number 60
                 Produced: Sun Jan  2 10:19:58 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Airline meals
         [Rachel Mestetsky]
Books for a Non-Observant Nephew
Boro Park Eruv
         [Alan Davidson]
Davening at the Kotel
         [Moshe Nugiel]
Fraud and Chillul Hashem
         [Chaim Mateh]
Kashrut and... Cleaning Products?
         [Alexis Rosoff]
Kids at Risk (2)
         [Stan Tenen, Chaim Shapiro]
New Super-Index to Mishna Berura
         [Mordechai Schiller]
Who counts for a minyan?
         [Yoel Finkelman]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 09:14:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

As part of the look back at mail-jewish, I tried to find my copy of the
subscriber list at the end of the first year of mail-jewish. At that
point, we had a total of about 70 subscribers. We currently have over
1500, so we have grown quite a bit since then. Based on the posting
records to mail-jewish volume 1, I was able to reconstruct a list of 25
people who had posted during that first year. Of those 25 people, 6
are currently members of the list (and 4 of them live here in Highland
Park). Just a quick bit of mail-jewish trivia!

On a slightly more administrative note, I wanted to mention some of the
things that could delay a submission from being included in the outgoing
issues. My intention is to start doing a better job of letting people
know when their submission has been received, but is not in the
immediate queue for inclusion in digests. There are two types of delays,
one related to content of the postings, the other related to format in
which I receive it. I will leave content discussion for a bit later, as
that is the more complex one, and focus now on format.

The basic process I have is that as stuff comes in to my main INBOX, if
it is for mail-jewish and it appears that it is appropriate from a
content and format perspective, I move it into a queue mail file. When I
am ready to create an issue, I go into the queue mail-file and pipe the
messages I want to include into a perl script that creates the issue
format. I then pull up the issue in my text editor and do any minor
editing and reformating that I do without sending the submission back to
the original poster.

The four most common format issues that cause me to move the submission
from my inbox to a special mail-file for direct editing before moving to
the queue file (which often results in 1-7 days delay) are:

1) Including an entire previous mail-jewish issue with your
reply. Because my perl software manages the size of the issues (you will
see that all issues are about 15K characters in size), this always gives
me problems, so I want to remove the previous included material first.

2) Some submissions come with the message in plain text followed by the
message in HTML format. For similar reasons to above, that goes to the
edit queue as well.

3) Some submissions have large amounts of non-text characters. Often
they are characters such as: "':;- which some mailers use special ascii
charaters for. If there are only a few (which is most often the case) I
consider that part of the minor editing and it goes into regular queue
and I fix during the editing stage of an issue. But if there is a lot, I
may move it to the edit buffer.

4) This last one is the one that people may view as not quite fair, and
I agree, but I find I need to deal with it in the same way. If you send
a submission to <mail-jewish@...> instead of to
<mljewish@...>, then your submission is first processed by the
listproc software. Since this is a moderated list, the software sends it
to me, but in a format that I need to edit before I can use it. So
PLEASE, send submissions to mljewish rather than mail-jewish.

OK, now to the issue, and I'll talk about content based issues in a
later Administrivia.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Rachel Mestetsky <irises@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:12:42 -0500
Subject: Airline meals

I know this is a bit off-topic, but hey, there *is* a question in there,

Last time I was on a plane, I had a kosher meal served to me.  The man
sitting next to me asked how I received such a meal, and I told him.  He
wanted to know if non-Jews could request a kosher meal, since his ham
and cheese sandwich wasn't fit to feed to his dog.  I encouraged him to.
I originally thought it was funny that my turkey sandwich on challah was
to be envied, and I encouraged the man to request kosher meals, since I
thought it would be good for airlines to know that this is a service
worth keeping.  But now I'm thinking, did I do the right thing?  Should
a non-Jew be requesting a kosher meal?  Is that a form of false



From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 1999 07:39:46 EST
Subject: Re: Books for a Non-Observant Nephew

I hope someone compiles all of the suggestions into a single list and
posts it somewhere (or do such lists exist.) 

[I'll be glad to post it to the mail-jewish Web page, if someone wants
to collect the information and collate into a nice format. Mod.]

May I suggest that you also find books for and time to speak with the
parents, your cousins -- your nephew may be reflecting a hunger that his
parents also share (my optimistic view) or your nephew will need to
overcome circumstances in his home that you might be able to assist with
(the realistic view.)  Too often kiruv focuses on the dis-enchanted or
rebellious child (rebellious by definition as rebelling from his
parent's path) and ignores other family members -- to the end that we
have a frum kid who is at odds with his non-observant parents.
Sometimes this ameliorates itself with time (maturity) and
grandchildren, sometimes it remains an unfortunate lifelong conflict.

I know in my wife's kiruv work we've seen her walk young women down the
aisle because their mothers refused to attend the wedding (which to me
is tragic) -- which was in a sense another battle in the "I'm your
parent why don't you believe as I taught you war" but she's been able to
help establish communications with a (now adult child) and non-observant
parent so they can derive mutual support and respect for each other.
But it would have been much easier if the support and respect was there
from the start.



From: Alan Davidson <perzvi@...>
Subject: Boro Park Eruv 

Basically there is an old Psak Halacha from Rav Moshe stating that even
if it is possible to construct a structurally permissible eruv in
Manhattan and Brooklyn, the volume of people and traffic on shabbos
creates too many problems in terms of assuming that the eruv will stay
up all of shabbos (there have always been more lenient opinions) but
most of the Yeshivish (e.g., Torah VaDaas, Chaim Berlin) and Chassidishe
world agrees with Rav Moshe.


From: Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:39:11 +0200
Subject: Davening at the Kotel

 My understanding is that one is supposed to daven facing the spot on
Har Ha'Bait where the kodesh ha'kodoshim (inner sanctum) used to be.
The closer one is to that spot, the more careful one has to be to face
in the right direction.
 Therefore, it seems that the common practice of facing the kotel when
davening in its plaza is incorrect.  One ought to be angled somewhat off
the kotel (the degree of the angle would depend upon exactly where one
is standing) to face the proper spot on Har Ha'bait.
 Although this observation may seem nit-picky (but there's really
nothing wrong with being nit-picky when discussing halacha), I believe
that there are significant hashkafic ramifications.  If we face the
kotel, we are in effect saying that this wall is the pre-eminent goal in
our approach to Hashem.  We are abandoning Har Ha'bait.  If we were to
turn the 10-45 degrees necessary to demonstrate that we still hold Har
Ha'bait central as a manifestation of Hashem's presence on earth, we
would be making a significant gesture of kiddush Hashem which would
influence not only us, but our neighbors, and the global community as
 I believe that the care of the kotel plaza is under rabbinic
supervision.  Maybe we ought to approach the powers that be there, and
request that lines be engraved in the stone flooring to help us orient
ourselves in the right direction (have the proper kavanah.)  These lines
could be quite subtle, but their presence would send a loud and
important message to all those interested in what Jews hold to be

Moshe Nugiel


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 10:51:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Fraud and Chillul Hashem

In vol 30$49, Stuart Wise <swise@...> wrote:
<< I am puzzled by the reaction by the Orthodox community.  They will
praise the philanthropy of such people -- as if the money they donate is
not tainted goods. 
Suppose the person is found guilty, why is it that our spiritual leaders do
not use these opportunities to teach a valuable lesson, rather than remain
silent or actually defend the guilty?>>

That the community would praise the _accused_ person's philanthropy I
can hear and even perhaps justify.  However, you are implying that
_after_ the fellow is found guilty and sent to jail, the community
_still_ praises his philanthropy while ignoring his crime.  Is this
really the case in reality?

Kol Tuv,


From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis@...>
Subject: Kashrut and... Cleaning Products?

I normally read rather than post (the discussions are really
interesting, but frequently out of my depth)--but perhaps some of you
can clarify something I discovered yesterday.

When cleaning out under the kitchen sink yesterday, I noticed something
on the container of Murphy's Oil Soap: an OU hechsher. Intrigued, I
looked at some other bottles, and saw it on other things too (SunLight
dishwasher detergent, Soft Scrub, a few other things).

I was always taught (right wing Conservative) that you only needed to
look for hechsherim on things you were going to eat. So, for example,
you don't actually need it on toothpaste (although, since you're putting
it in your mouth, I can see the logic of wanting to know).

But, cleaning supplies? Why do you need or want to know they're kosher,
especially ones not coming into contact with food or dishes (such as
Murphy's Oil)? Is it just to reassure people that there are no pig
products or the like, or is there some other logic behind it?

Alexis Rosoff ---=--- http://www.mono.org/~alexis ---=--- Long Island, NY


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 09:21:55 -0500
Subject: Kids at Risk

It seems to me that there's only two choices: either we build bigger
fences around the halachic community and see to it that all the kids
stay inside, or we open up halachic Judaism to serious study of the
science of consciousness (not the superstition, not the mythology, not
the mysticism) carried in Kabbalah.

Mastery of the science of consciousness at the Kabbalistic level should
be expected to empower our sages with the tools they need to reach our
children.  That our sages seem unable to do this as well as they'd like
now, should clue us to the possibility that we need to dig deeper into
our traditions for more potent knowledge.

It's not just the kids who find it hard to remain attracted to halachic
standards.  90% of all Jews have the same problem.  IMO, when our sages
regain mastery of the science of consciousness in Talmud, Torah, and
Kabbalah, we'll know that by the increased effectiveness of their
abilities to reach our children and the masses of unaffiliated Jews.

Appeals for more understanding, or guidance professionals, or teams of
parents, etc., etc. -- all the modern social engineering -- will not, in
my opinion, do anything other than provide employment for more social
scientists.  In my opinion, in order to grow, we have to re-embrace
_all_ of our past knowledge, and not continue to wall off what's been
lost and/or what's become uncomfortable.

Given my personal experience with halachic communities, I don't see any
hope of this happening.  Our children's outrageous "openness" is no more
than a necessary, natural, and inevitable result of many halachic
communities' outrageous closed-mindedness.  That's "Torah on one foot:"
Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you.  When we
preach to our children, but don't listen to them, when we preach but
don't act to the standards of our own preaching, we are engaging a
science of consciusness that inevitably results in the opposite of what
we want.

In my opinion, if we'd like our children to grow up, we need to do some
more growing ourselves first.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>

From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 1999 13:24:01 EST
Subject: Kids at Risk

<< [1] Is one of the solutions that every single yeshiva have a trained
staff of guidance professionals (plural) who are in touch with the youth
daily?  >>

Chaim Wassermann offers the preceding as a possible solution to the
problems discussed.  I will go a step further.  All Rebbeim in all
Yeshivas need to take at the very least Ed Psych classes.  I don't care
if that is done at a University, or by bringing professionals into the
Yeshiva.  Rabbis who are in charge of children's develoment, need more
than what a Yeshiva learning program can provide before they enter the
front lines!

Chaim Shapiro


From: Mordechai Schiller <morty@...>
Subject: New Super-Index to Mishna Berura

I just got a new sefer that's really incredible. It was put together by
my friend and former chavrusa (and former roommate in Sh'or Yoshuv,
30-odd years ago!)... Daniel Eidensohn.

If you ever gave up after trying to find something in the Mishna Berura
using the table of contents, you need this sefer.  It's called "Yad
Yisrael" and Daniel calls it an "Index to the Mishna Berura." (You may
have seen the earlier English edition. But this is more than a
translation. It's completely re-edited and expanded.)

But when you see it, you'll see that calling it simply an "Index" is an
obvious understatement. It's more like a directory or search-engine!
It's a massive 800 pages of painstaking (should I say loving?) detail
that leads you to every Halacha in the Mechaber (the Shulchan Aruch),
the Mishna Berura, and all the commentaries--the Shaar Hatziyun, the
Biur Halacha and the Baer Heitev. And it's fully cross-referenced.  If
it's not in the "Yad Yisrael," it's just not there!

Daniel doesn't want to advertise. He says the seforim stores in
Yerushalayim and B'nai Brak (and soon in the States) are selling it by
word of mouth. So this isn't an advertisement. I just told you about it!


[R' Daniel, I hope you do not mind I put this here. R' Daniel has been a
member of the list for a number of years, and I am always happy to be
able to announce to the list works of Torah from fellow list
members. Mod.]


From: Yoel Finkelman <finkel@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 09:46:12 +0200
Subject: Who counts for a minyan?

Dear Readers,

I had a rather disturbing experience recently.  I took part in a ma'ariv
minyan which created itself at a tourist site in Israel.  It was not
clear if we had 10 adult men who normally davened ma'ariv, so somebody
suggested that we invite one of the non-frum people in the area to
complete the minyan.  One of the people there suggested that we should
not do so, because non-frum people do not count for a minyan.  He
explained that if they don't believe in God, what good is their prayer
anyway?  He further indicated that most poskim agree with him, and he
related it to the category of "mehalel shabbat befarhesia".  (We had
gathered 10 frum men by then, so the question was of academic interest
only.) I, for one, have never heard such a thing, and have been involved
in plenty of other situations where non-Orthodox Jews were counted for a
minyan.  This has been, as far as I can tell, the common practice for as
long as anyone can remember.

Has anybody seen any legitimate halakhic sources for this man's
position?  Has anybody heard any such psak?  From whom?  Has anybody
seen such a thing put into practice?  It is fairly clear to me that such
a position has to do with contemporary Orthodox attempts [of some
groups] to distance themselves from the rest of Am Yisrael.  This only
makes the phenomenon more disturbing.  It comes far too close to
redefining the term Jew.

Yoel Finkelman


End of Volume 30 Issue 60