Volume 30 Number 71
                 Produced: Wed Jan  5  7:41:36 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A New Reason For Minyan; Counting Non Frum Jews
         [Joseph Geretz]
Airline Meals
         [Andrew M Greene]
Chumrahs & Teaching Children
         [Carl Singer]
Davening at the Kotel
         [Kenneth G Miller]
Davening Direction at Kotel
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Joel Rich]
Lubavitcher Rebbe and Eruvim
         [Alan Davidson]
Mayim Achronim
         [Anthony S Fiorino]
         [Ellen Krischer]
Teaching Torah
Tearing toilet paper on Shabbat
         [Dani Wassner]


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 19:57:55 -0500
Subject: A New Reason For Minyan; Counting Non Frum Jews

Russel Hendel wrote:
> Even if say they are mechallel shabbos, we presume that they have
> taken upon themselves the yoke of heaven (after all if they really
> didn't believe in God why would they pray).
> From this point of view, it would be important to accept all people
> who wish to pray at every minyan

OK, I have no problem with this at all. However, I've seen a few
occasions where we were stuck for a minyan (in a professional office)
and one of the fellows went out and came back with a non-frum co-worker
who just stood there, and didn't daven. Now, to me, this fellow's
presence does not indicate the slightest desire to pray at all. At most,
he's just attending to help out his co-workers because they need a
favor. So in this context, what is the justification for including such
a fellow in the minyan?

(I didn't say anything, because there were those in attendance who
should have known what they were doing in this regard, but I've often

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Andrew M Greene <agreene@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 08:40:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Airline Meals

In M-J 30:63, Jonathan Grodzinski writes:

> Since when was washing on an airplane convenient? show me an airline
> seat with built in washing facilities and I will show you covenient
> "Netilat Yadayim"

When the flight attendants ask me what I want to drink, I ask for water,
no ice, and an extra cup and napkin, please. They are always

Which segues into a response to Louise Miller's message in the same

> Flight attendants rarely understand the problem, and can get quite
> irritated at the reaction of the typical hungry Jewish traveller who
> has just realized that he isn't getting dinner

In defense of flight attendants, I have usually found quite the
opposite, that they are very considerate of my needs. (Once, when my
meal was lost, they brought back the fruit basket from first class for
me to pick stuff out of.)


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 09:38:40 EST
Subject: Re: Chumrahs & Teaching Children

Lest I be misunderstood -- I believe a key issue for those of us who
observe certain chumrahs and eschew others is how our children perceive
other Jews who take different views.

Not using an eruv (or taking the community eruv "down" for one week a
year) because we may end up living in other communities, may be a lesson
in chinuch.

Teaching our children to follow the minhaging of their parents and
grandparents is important and quite natural -- but so is teaching them
to respect (not just tolerate) the minhagim of other Jews.  I believe it
is even more important!  I see this lacking because there is too much
"right" and "wrong" associated with multiple viewpoints.

Carl Singer


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 22:49:48 EST
Subject: re: Davening at the Kotel

In Mail-Jewish 30:60, Moshe Nugiel wrote <<< 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. ... 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. ... >>>

Several years ago, I submitted a post to Mail-Jewish explaining that the
current practice is correct, that one should face the Kotel directly,
and not ignore it in favor of the more holy Kodesh HaKadoshim. This post
can be obtained by sending the message <<< get
listproc/mail-jewish/volume20 v20n71 >>> to the email address <<<
<listproc@...> >>>

Or, you can just go straight to the Shulchan Aruch, and learn Orach
Chaim 94:1.

Akiva Miller


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Sun, 02 Jan 2000 22:12:11 +0200
Subject: Davening Direction at Kotel

I firmly support Moshe Nugiel <friars@...> and his observation
about which way to face.  There are some people who are careful to
"angle" their direction slightly to the north and a friend of mine
created a compass similar to one made by Moslems who wanted to know
direction to Mecca.


From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 08:52:48 EST
Subject: Re: Kollel

<<  From: Tszvi Klugerman <Klugerman@...>
  Regarding the Kollel issue I believe that the earliest patronage
system , as the Kollel system is today, dates back to the turn of the
first millenia under the system instituted by Shmuel Hanagid in Spain
and followed by a number of wealthy Jews who undertook the support of
certain gifted Scholar artists, such as Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Moshe
Ibn Ezra. It should be noted that this patronage system was established
to ensure that a gifted scholar or artisan would be able to pursue their
talent and benefit others. >>

Just out of curiosity- does anyone know how this fits within the
timeframe where courts supported artists in the non-Jewish world?(ie was
this copied from the nonJews?)
 Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich


From: Alan Davidson <perzvi@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 14:29:32 PST
Subject: Lubavitcher Rebbe and Eruvim

Chinuch was definitely one of the reasons although the Lubavitcher Rebbe
did agree with Reb Moshe vis-a-vis the impermissibility of an eruv in


From: Anthony S Fiorino <fiorino_anthony@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 10:17:22 -0500
Subject: Mayim Achronim

> > Certainly, according to this second reason [that Mayim Acharonim is in
> > preparation for Birchas Hamazon], the idea that women might be exempt
> > from mayim achronim owing to more careful eating habits would not
> > work.
> Actually, it might still work. Since she has washed her hands at the
> beginning of the meal, then, if we posit the fact that a woman eats
> fastidiously, perhaps this original washing is sufficient for the tefilla
> (Birchas HaMazon) which takes place after the meal. (Whereas, men who eat
> like slobs :-) must re-wash their hands in preparation for Birchas HaMazon.)

This logic doesn't work.  If one is washing one's hand's as a
preparation for tefila, then one should not be mafseik between the
washing and the tefeila, lest one's hands come in contact with some
impurity. It is very difficult to claim that the meal would represent a
hefseik for men (thus they require mayim achronim) but not for women.
The relative neatness with which each sex eats has nothing to do with

Eitan Fiorino


From: Ellen Krischer <krischer@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 10:11:30 -0500 
Subject: RE: Poskim

> Carl Singer writes:
> If a person finds himself in the midst of the desert ..with no Poskim save
> for his internet or telephone then he might consider establishing a
> relationship (via email or phone) with a Posik ... who can learn his
> situation and possibly respond accordingly to certain simple issues --
> is the "kosher gelatin" ...really kosher.  The Posik might determine that
> living in the desert that the dessert is kosher -- but living in New York,
> there are better alternatives.
> If on the other hand there is a married couple living in the dessert and
> having had seven children ... they need to determine whether it is OK to
> (temporarily?) use contraception, I dare say they can't / shouldn't shop
> the internet for an answer.

This post raises a number of questions in my mind:

1) Is there really a halachik difference between asking a kashrut
question and asking a question on contraception?

2) If a posek can determine enough about your situation to advise you
about dessert, why can't the posek determine enough about the situation
for any questions you might have?

3) As long as you are going to a posek consistently, does it really
matter if it is a local Rabbi or one in a distant place - maybe your old
Rosh Yeshiva or former chevrusa (learning partner) or someone else with
whom you've established an ongoing relationship?  What relationship must
pre-exist or be formed (if any) to qualify as a "posek relationship"?

4) How can we distinguish between the "problem" of "shopping for a
heter" or "shopping for a posek" and the reality of life today that many
halachik areas are becoming exceedingly complex leading to small groups
of acknowledged experts in a given field?  (I can't resist a "my mother
the mashgiach" story here: when she has a question on the kashrut of
specific food items, she has a list of Rabbanim with different
expertise.  There is one Rabbi, for example, that knows everything about
candy (we got the list of kosher hershey's/mars, etc. before it became
generally published - way to go Mom!))

Ellen Krischer


From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 13:48:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Teaching Torah

Some readers have requested sources for my statement, quoted at the
bottom of this posting. A scholarly article by Rabbi Neriah Guttel of
Bar Ilan University, which I have read in preprint form, deals with this
and many other important aspects of the commandment "talmud tora".

Below is a precis, to the best of my limited understanding, of the
points in question. But I suggest that a more authoritative statement
can only come from the author himself, Rabbi Neriah Guttel -


If we compare the "halacha psuqa" as reflected in Rambam, Hilchot Talmud
Tora (beginning of Chapter 4), and eventually also in the Shulhan Aruch
(yore de`a 246, 7) "One may not teach Tora to a talmid who is not
"hagun, na-e b-ma`asav" [i.e., does not follow the ways of the Tora in
his behavior".] (The expression "eno hagun" is understood by most
commentators to be equivalent to "en tocho k-varo" of R. Gamliel). Sefer
Hasidim (siman 189) concurs with this view - "If a teacher has several
students and one of them makes a practice of angering his teacher and
fellow-students - it is best to expel the one in the interest of
protecting the others from his negative influence."  Indeed, there are
several contemporary posqim who have adopted this view in certain cases,
for example, in the responsa "`ase lcha rav" (part 6, siman 60) where
the respondent states unequivocally that, on the basis of this issur, it
is not permissible to admit a child of a "hiloni" family to a religious
school. But it should be noted that both R. Ovadia Yosef and R. Mordchai
Eliyahu opposed this view.  A radically different approach to this issue
is already evident in the "Shulhan Aruch Ha-rav" of R. Shneior Zalman of
Liadi (the founder of Habad). In Hilchot Talmud Tora Chapter 4 halacha
17, he states that rejection of such a student should be used only as a
method of correcting his behavior but that there is no prohibition as
such to teach such a student, especially if there is a chance that this
may lead him back to the path of righteousness. Here we can see the
transformation of "assur" into "mutar".  The final step - transformation
into a positive mitzva - can be seen in the writings of the Hazon Ish
and Rav A.I. Kook. The first responded to such a question with the
unequivocal statement that in our times, THERE IS NO PROHIBITION to
teach such a student. On the contrary, he writes, the whole purpose of
the yeshiva is to correct the ways of those who stray from the true path
and it is wrong to punish those who stray by removing them from the very
source of the teachings that will lead them back to righteousness. Rav
Kook concurs with this view and, as we know, practiced it

> Perhaps not so hard to believe. For example, many Rishonim perceived
> the prohibition of teaching Tora to anyone who did not qualify as a
> sincerely committed individual (she-en tocho k-varo) as a Tora
> prohibition or, at very least, a Rabbinic prohibition. Gradually,
> however, most posqim, for at least the last century, have come over to
> the view that it is not only permitted but it is obligatory to teach
> all comers

Yosef Gilboa

P.S. R. Guttel agrees that my English summary of his paper is accurate.
He has agreed to allow me to forward the original Hebrew preprint as an
e-mail attachment to interested parties.


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 10:51:37 +0200 
Subject: RE: Tearing toilet paper on Shabbat

I recently learned in a hilchot Shabbat shiur by Rav Doniel Shcreiber of
Yeshivat Har Etzion as follows: Tearing toilet paper on Shabbat is
basically assur. One should buy pre-torn (available in Israel, and
probably elsewhere) or tear it oneself, before Shabbat.

If there is a situation where there is none available then one can tear
it, but definitely not along the perforations. One should tear it
somewhere else with a significant shinui (change) eg- with one's teeth
or elbow. Alternatively, one can keep using a long continuous piece and
then just flush the toilet which will indirectly cause one tear.

Dani Wassner, Jerusalem


End of Volume 30 Issue 71