Volume 31 Number 37
                 Produced: Sun Feb  6 10:04:10 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Appending Hakadosh to Names of certain Rabbis
         [Warren Burstein]
Benediction Without Head Covered
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Collect call game (2)
         [Warren Burstein, Carl Singer]
Collect Calls and Morality
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Copying disks
         [David Charlap]
         [Tszvi Klugerman]
Price matching
         [Carl Singer]
Shabbat Prohibition of Taking a Picture with a camera
         [Mike Kramer]
Taking photos on Shabbos
         [Avrohom Biderman]


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 16:40:35
Subject: RE: Appending Hakadosh to Names of certain Rabbis

Alex Heppenheimer offers two suggestions for the Aleph in Rabbi Yitzchak
Luria's acronym, one of which is "eloki", David Jutkowitz offers only
the "eloki" explanation.  "Otzar Rashei Teivot", by Shmuel Ashkenazi and
Dov Yarden, offers a third: "Adonenu (our master) Rabbi Yitzchak".

I think this is more likely to be the correct explanation, as it is
grammatical.  The correct way to say the other two suggested phrases
would be "Rabbi Yitzchak Ha-..." and he would be known as "RYHA".

I'd be interested to sources that apply "Eloki" to R. Luria.  "Otzar
Rashei Tevot" doesn't have sources (it would be several times larger if
it did).


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 22:18:43 EST
Subject: Re: Benediction Without Head Covered

Yisrael Medad:<<Is a bracha valid even without a head-covering  >>

         Is it, then, an "act of faith" to declare that we Jewish males
always covered our heads from the time of Avraham?  Moshe?  First Temple
era? Second?  
        I know there are wide variations in viewpoints on this.  The
Torah does not command it, except in the case of kohaneem ("priests,"
for lack of a better translation).  The Gemara (Talmud) has various
things to say on this matter, I'm told.  For instance, I've read that in
Nedareem ("Vows") 30:B it was only considered a matter of custom for
Jewish males (as opposed to females), and accordingly optional.
        At the same time, many of our sages would never walk four amot
(cubits) with a bare head.  Still others declared it meritorious to hide
one's face, although I don't know if that applied to times of prayer or
only times of bringing a karban ("sacrifice;" boy, is English a poor
vehicle to describe the Jewish experience ;)
        And then there's the matter of not leading the congregation in
prayer while bareheaded: does this mean the congregation had the option
of not covering their heads?  If that is the case, then making a bracha
while in the privacy of one's own home would be permitted, no?
        Gevalt, Yisrael Medad: your singular question leads one to sift
through many sources before that question can even be considered, let
alone answered.
         What say my more learned colleagues and masters?
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Thu, 03 Feb 2000 01:41:31
Subject: Re: Collect call game

I found the following at
file=484-502.9, which is rather long, so I'm including the portions that
relate to defrauding the telephone company by transmitting coded
information.  It can also be found at
http://www.suespammers.org/ca/pc_502.shtml, which is shorter.

   California Penal Code Section 502.7

   "(a) Any person who knowingly, willfully, and with intent to defraud a
   person providing telephone or telegraph service, avoids or attempts to 
   avoid, or aids, abets or causes another to avoid the lawful charge, in 
   whole or in part, for telephone or telegraph service by any of the 
   following means is guilty of a misdemeanor or a felony ..."

"One of the following means" includes:

   "(3) By use of a code, prearranged scheme, or other similar 
   stratagem or device whereby the person, in effect, sends or receives 

I wasn't able to find anything relating to other jurisdictions, but
people who hold that it is halachically forbidden to commit misdemeanors
or felonies might want check local laws before playing the credit card

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 17:53:44 EST
Subject: Re: Collect call game

I don't agree with the "metzia" (matters of fact) as presented re: the
collect call discussions.  The telephone company pays heavily to build
and maintain infrastructure -- basically capacity to allow for traffic
to flow across its system.  Since collect calls of the nature described
contribute to volume and therefore to future volume projections they
cause the telephone company to plan and build accordingly.  And also, in
turn, impact the rates that the telephone company may charge other
individuals.  Any argument based on it doesn't cost them anything, or
that the increment is miniscule is incorrect.

This is not an halachic ruling, but a matter of engineering fact, from
someone who used to work for the telephone company.

Carl A. Singer


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Sat, 05 Feb 2000 20:10:21 -0800
Subject: Collect Calls and Morality

Daniel Wells wrote:

>And what is more, a parent that tries to impose strictures on his child
>that have no validity either in Jewish or civil law, and are certainly not
>practiced by the vast majority of the population, such a child will
>probably grow with resentment of parental influence, and disregard for
>law, religious and civil.

I must disagree with the above: Are you saying that any etiquette not
mandated by law, or practiced by the lowest common denominator, should
not be taught by parents/teachers?  I certainly say to my son, and to my
students, "We don't do that because it is not what
good/polite/smart/[whatever] people do."

And I believe that this is applicable not just where conceivably we
could find some halalkhic source (e.g. not eating in public because a
Talmudic reference calls it boorish)--rather, there is a concept of a
'baal nefesh' [individual who is strict in matters of personal
behavior?] in everyday, not-necessarily-Jewishly-mandated behavior.

As an example, say that someone on the subway might benefit from your
seat.  Not necessarily that s/he needs it, or has a legal or Jewish
right to it, or that every Joe on the planet would give him/her the
seat, but they might be more comfortable.  It is certainly praiseworthy,
and indeed moral, to give your seat to that person.

A child who is taught these lessons by example and not just by lecture
will certainly take the ideas with him/her for life, on the contrary to
losing respect for authority.

--Leah S. Gordon


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2000 10:58:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Copying disks

Leah wrote:
> Does anyone have information about copying disks? thank you

This is a bit ambiguous.  If you're asking about how to do it, there are
dozens of different hardware and software solutions for disk
duplication.  Browse through the shelves of a local software store or
browse through the ads in Computer Shopper magazine if you need to buy
such a product.

If you're talking about the halachic permissibility, that's a more
complicated (and more interesting) question.  Here are some points to
consider: (Note that I am not a rabbi.  CYLOR before making any
decisions based on this information.)

- Most software is written by a person or corporation who intends to
  sell it for profit.  If you make a copy of a program and give it to
  another person, I would think that this is theft - because now two
  people have the program and the author only profitted from one of
  those copies.

- If you make a copy and keep it for yourself (say, as a backup),
  this shouldn't be a problem.  The author sold one copy, and only one
  copy is being used, and only one person is using the program.  This
  kind of copying doesn't take profit from the author.

- For some software, the author explicitly gives permission to make
  copies.  Some authors grant unrestricted permission, and some grant
  it only under certain conditions.  (For instance, for non-commercial
  use only.)  Under those cases, copying would be OK, since the author
  has given permission.

- For programs that are out of print, it becomes much less clear.  If
  the publisher is no longer publishing the program, then the author
  will not be making any additional profit from it - even if leftover
  copies are sold from store shelves later on.  On the other hand, the
  author probably has not given up all hope of earning profit - he
  may be trying to find another way to sell his program.

- Dina d'malchuta dina (Jews must obey the laws of the place in which
  they live.)  Copying software for redistribution is illegal in nearly
  every country.  These laws must be obeyed, regardless of what the
  halacha is.

-- David


From: Tszvi Klugerman <Klugerman@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 06:02:30 EST
Subject: Mechitza

I am interested in sources which delineate the measurements of a
mechitza for a synagogue and innovations in design of mechitzot for the


tszvi klugerman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2000 19:50:26 EST
Subject: Re: Price matching

<< to reduce the price to $15.

 Some time later, you enter Store A and see a sign posted that there was
 an error in their advertisement and that a completely different item was
 on sale for the $20; Strore A's price for te item in question is $30,
 just like store B.

 Is the purchaser obligated to return the item to Store B for a refund (or
 to pay back the amount Store B reduced its price in order to beat that of
 Store A)?

 --B. Bank >>

What does your (halachik) gut tell you?  Like the "collect call" issue,
you can paint as many coats on it as you wish -- but (a) you know it's
wrong and (b) it would be a kiddish HaShem for a frum Jew return the

Worse case scenario -- the owner of Store B checks on Stores A's prices
(to see why he's underpriced) and also finds out that it was in error --
now "some damn Jew beat me out of $15.00.")

My wife tells a story: She was taking a group of students by subway to
an event.  The token clerk gave her back too much change.  (She was
busily engrossed in conversation with an associate, etc.)  My wife, when
she noted the error, went back to the booth and returned the excess
(surrounded by her students -- all boys, all with Yarmulkes, etc.)  The
token clerk was surprised and most thankful -- but was overheard
repeatedly saying to her friend, "Praise J-s-s"

I remember long ago serving as dinner chairman for the Phildelphia
Yeshiva annual banquet -- and since the honory was fellow who runs a car
repair shop, trying to find an appropriate devar Torah to honor this
most erlich Yid, one who often estimated $10 for a repair and charged
$8.  One need only look into the Chofetz Chaim's actions re: salt stuck
to a scale and his refunding money to an entire community segment
(because he couldn't identify the specific individual affected.)

Yes, we can all beat the system -- we can talk are way into or out of
decisions -- but we can also do what's right.  It seems at times that we
make the decision and then we try to find the halachik basis for same.

Carl Singer


From: Mike Kramer <mikek@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 19:02:02 -0800
Subject: Shabbat Prohibition of Taking a Picture with a camera

Many respondents have been hard-pressed to formulate a Torah-level
prohibition of taking a picture on Shabbat with a mechanical camera. My
Rebbe, R. Herschel Schachter once explained to me that he felt that
perhaps there was a Torah level prohibition of taking a picture on

As many are aware - the measure of violation ("shiur") of writing
(ketivah) is "ketivat bet Otiot" - writing two letters. (Making a
picture may be analogous - I dont have access to the sources
now). However, when you take your picture, you just expose
photo-sensitive paper to light, and you cause a chemical reaction which
will only be visible later when you develop it by applying other
chemicals. At the instant of your Shabbat act, there is nothing visible
on this film. This would appear not to be a violation of the Torah level
prohibition of making the image or the letters. (Although one respondent
quoted the Avnei Nezer to indicate otherwise - is it clear that the
prohibition would be Torah level?).  Rabbi Schachter did not think that
this would be a Torah level violation of M'lechet Ktiva (writing).

However, the definition and measure of "mechika" (erasing) is "hachanat
ketiva" - literally making (a paper) ready for writing. Normally this is
done by taking a paper that has writing on it, and erasing the writing
so that you can write new letters. However, this also would seem to
apply to the case at hand, whereby exposing the film to light so that an
image may later be developed from it is also "preparation for
writing". You expose the film to the light, which creates a chemical
pattern on the paper that can later be developed into an actual
image. This R. Schachter concluded that paradoxically, taking a picture
might be considered to be "mechika" - erasing - according to this
halachic (not colloquial) definition of erasing.

I was dazzled by this analysis, and it would seem to me worthy of
consideration as a source of a Torah-level prohibition for taking a

Mike Kramer


From: Avrohom Biderman <abeb@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 2000 22:30:33 -0500
Subject: Taking photos on Shabbos

Someone asked about the prohibition of taking conventional photographs
with a completely manual camera on Shabbos.

To ascertain the answer to this question, nearly 20 years ago I spoke to
engineers at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York. I wanted to know if,
in making the exposure there is a visual change in the film, or if the
exposure merely causes a chemical reaction that has no impact on the
film's appearance. If there was a visible change to the film, it would
unquestionably be considered writing.

The people at Kodak answered that the change is invisible. "Armed" with
this information, I asked Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, if it was
prohibited -- and why. He told me that it's assur because of "uvda
d'chol. "


End of Volume 31 Issue 37