Volume 31 Number 42
                 Produced: Tue Feb  8  5:07:04 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 chilling stories
         [Carl Singer]
The Air of Eretz Yisroel makes one Wise (was why not make aliya)
         [Josh Backon]
Chilling stories
         [Melech Press]
Copying disks
         [David Charlap]
Halacha and Cosmetic Surgery
         [Esther Zar]
Little things - habits and customary derech
         [Carl Singer]
Masada and suicide
         [Chaim Shapiro]
         [Chaim Mateh]
Parnuseh and Education
         [Gershon Dubin]


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 08:10:19 EST
Subject: Re: 3 chilling stories

<< It was NOT treyf to work in Europe. It was not treyf to be part of
the world. What happened?  And who changed it? Who made these new rules
that are clearly driven by fear of coping? >>

Ms. Friedman has hit the nail on the head -- be it fear of coping or
fear of copying (perhaps a typo) Who or what are we afraid of?

Carl Singer


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 03:28:14 EST
Subject: The Air of Eretz Yisroel makes one Wise (was why not make aliya)

Leah Amdur <amdur@...>
wrote   << Chazel say that the air of Jerusalem makes one wise. >>

That statement appears only once in the Talmud - in Bava Basra 158. Also
see Tosafos Psachim 51 (thanks to CD-Daf for references).

There also is a somewhat similar (midrashic I believe) saying, by the
way, namely 'ain Torah kiToras Eretz Yisroel' (there is no Torah like
the Torah of the land of Israel).

I would like to make a few points, as follows -

1) It says the air of eretz Yisroel makes one wise - not the air of
Yerushalayim. Could one perhaps speculate that if the air of all of
Israel is machkim (makes one wise) the air of Yerushalayim all the more
so? It doesn't say so, though perhaps an argument could be made for

2) What is the practical import of the statement? After all - we follow
the Babylonian Talmud -and not the Jerusalem Talmud, when they clash,
despite the above saying.

Perhaps one could interpret it in the following way - that all other
things being equal, it (air of holy land) is a plus - but not
necessarily decisive and outweighing everything else...

3) If a tipesh [fool] goes on aliya, does he automatically become a
chochom (wise man)? Perhaps it depends on one's spiritual level /
ability to receive...

4) Does it mean the air is machkim in everything? only in mili dishmaya
(spiritual matters) ?

5) Does it mean all Israelis are therefore chachamim (wise people) ?

6) Another thought - the holy air makes one wise...but what happens if
the air (atmosphere?) is polluted, G-d forbid - ...spiritually /
physically ?  Perhaps 'air' means the environment - not necessarily
[only?] the literal air. Perhaps being in the cradle of our faith
enables one to understand it better [e.g. Biblical tales, by
understanding geography better,etc.].

7) Is it possible at all to interpret it in a physical sense (in
addition to / instead of a spiritual sense) ? Perhaps the air of EY
(Eretz Yisroel) is more healthy [due to varied topography,etc, of land,
e.g. mountains] than that of Bavel [plain] ?

A gutten chodesh -



From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Mon,  7 Feb 2000 13:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Aliya

Those who use the gemara in Ketuvot 111a (three oaths) not to come on
Aliya should read the answers that Rav Shlomo Aviner gave that retorted
this claim. Apart from the Avnei Nezer who wrote that that the oath
doesn't apply when the nations of the world give permission for the Jews
to return (e.g. Balfour Declaration), he brings the Eim Habanim Semeicha
of Rav Teichtel who showed that the oath was no longer valid since the
gentiles severely persecuted the Jews. He also brings the Hafla'a who
indicated that the oaths were only for those in galut bavel; R. Chaim
Vital who indicated that the oaths were valid only for 1000 years (from
the time of the Amoraim); the GRA who indicted that the oaths applied
only to the issur of building the Bet Hamikdash.

Josh Backon


From: Melech Press <mpress@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 09:10:58 -0500
Subject: Chilling stories

I have only recently had time to return to following Mail-Jewish so I am
entering the middle of a conversation.  None the less, I want to comment
on the psychological naivete of the discussion about chilling stories of
those who went to college and why they have abandoned Judaism.  The
assumption made by some of the participants that the problem is one of
intellectual preparation and that failure to survive in a hostile world
is the result of intellectual unpreparedness or lack of "vaccination" is
simply wrong.  This is not the place for an extended discussion of the
psychological research on influence processes; suffice it to say that
there is essentially no way to protect adherents of a minority culture
from majority influence if they are not intimately involved in their own
cultural milieu.  Almost no one I have dealt with in thirty years of
clinical practice in the religious community has abandoned faith because
of intellectual questions.  Faith is primarily abandoned because of
various psychological causes, either internal or external.

The assumption is further proven false by the results of Modern Orthodox
education and its failure to enable its products to withstand the
pressures of the university world.  If Dr. Parness and others were
correct, such students would do better when faced by the challenges of
college.  One has only to speak to teachers in such schools or to
personnel on campuses to discover the dramatic drop out rate for
students who go to settings without strong Orthodox communities.  (I
might note that my daughter, a graduate student at Princeton, has
observed consistently that many of the Modern Orthodox undergraduate
students she has met at the CJL are Orthoprax to some degree but not
believers. Of course, this remains anecdotal evidence.)

I am not prepared to argue for isolation, since it causes me pain to
think of my own grandchildren as intellectual primitives.  However, if I
had to choose between observance and enlightenment, there is no
question.  Much of the discussion of this issue seems not to believe
that commitment to the modern world pales to insignificance compared to
commitment to Torah.  If so, perhaps we should start by reevaluating our
intellectual givens.

M. Press, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Touro College
<mpress@...> or melechp@touro.edu


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 07 Feb 2000 11:22:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Copying disks

Steve Leichman describes a scenario where he wants to try a company's
software product prior to purchasing it.  He doesn't want to purchase it
in advance, knowing that the publisher will not allow him to return it
if it doesn't work as expected.  He asks about copying a friend's copy
to use for a trial until he can decide to purchase or erase it.

Under US copyright law, this would not be legal.  Try-before-buy can
only be done at the discression of the copyright holder.  I assume the
publisher here doesn't have such a policy or you would have exercised it
already.  (If you're not sure, check to see if they have trial-size
versions available.)

Some companies will make evaluation copies of a program available.  You
may have to sign a contract obligating you to purchase or destroy the
program after a set period of time, or you may get a copy that stops
working after a set date.  You might want to check into this, although
I've only seen this policy for programs that cost thousands of dollars.

In terms of the halacha, I don't know.  CYLOR.

IMO, I would not make the copy.  I would, however, see if I can run it
on my friend's computer for a few hours (perhaps longer) to try and come
to the buy/no-buy decision.  This avoids all complications.

-- David


From: Esther Zar <ESTABESTAH@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 17:46:51 EST
Subject: Re: Halacha and Cosmetic Surgery

 I found in sefer otzar dinim siman 36:3 from Harav Ovadya Yosef the
following (I'll translate) "It is permissible for a woman to have
plastic surgery in order to beautify herself and so that they will
'jump' on her to be mekadesh her (marry her)."
 In the footnotes Harav Ovadya Shlita expands on the background of the
halacha and cites supplementary sources regarding same. the category he
places this procedure into is :"Hachovel Be'atzmo" literally meaning :
the one who damages himself (is one allowed to in other words) He quotes
bava kama 90 and gemara bk 91. Regarding this general topic, Rav Ovadya
is backed by the RiF and RaMBaM. He then goes on to say that this topic
altogether is disputed amongst the achronim if this issur of chovel
be'atzmo is from the Torah or from the Rabbis. He quotes the Meiri that
it's an issur medivrei sofrim. For more "inside" information- look in
Shu"t Yabiya Omer-Section 1, page 171:alef where he also brings in the
RaN amongst others.
 I think we should just keep in mind the following: Rav Ovadya was not
specific as to what physical flaw would stand in the way of one getting
married.  I wonder if Rav Ovadya would consider a bump in the nose as
something that would deem surgery rather than someone who has 2 noses
and needs to get rid of one.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 09:59:08 EST
Subject: Little things - habits and customary derech

Gut voch and a Gutten Choidesh

Yesterday before Mincha a seemingly insignificant incident occurred that
caused me pause.  Sitting down near me (we have bench seats in our
shule) was a fine young man, a "smicha student" -- from a secular
background, but now deeply engrossed in limudei kodesh.  He was holding
a siddur which he then placed flat next to him as he sat.  As I child I
had learned never to do that -- perhaps stricter than some, I never
place a siddur or chumash on a bench next to me -- either I hold it, or
put it on top of my tallis bag, etc.
 Others I know say it's "ok" if the siddur is standing on end (upright.)  

A couple of weeks ago my 9 year old remarked to me that some people
kissing the mezuzah were using their left hand and that his Rebbe had
taught him to use only his right hand.

There are a number of similar things (customs) that we learn as a
children -- these often become second nature -- habits.  I'm not so much
interested in their origin, the variations on the theme, or the sources
as I am in the dissemination of these "things" -- How could a learned
Rabbinic student not know the proper respect for a siddur (or maybe
someone has taught him that it doesn't matter - -maybe I'm "wrong") --
How can balabatim not have ingrained in them the habit (not only
"custom" but "habit") to use their right hand when kissing a mezuzah.

Any thoughts?

Carl Singer


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Feb 2000 23:38:33 EST
Subject: Masada and suicide

I have never fully understood why the people at Masada felt it necessary
to commit mass suicide.  Philosophically speaking, although we do not
rely on G-d's miracles, we should not despair them, as a person can be
saved even from the worst circumstances at the very last minute.  Why
did the Masada leadership feel it better to take matters into their
hands, rather then allow G-d's plan to take its course?  While I shudder
to ask this (and Avi if you think it is too controversial please omit it
[while difficult to discuss, I think valid to ask. Avi]), how did their
situation differ from individuals about to be shipped off to W.W.II
Concentration Camps?

Chaim Shapiro


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Feb 2000 19:36:04 +0200
Subject: Mechitza

In v31#37, Tszvi Klugerman <Klugerman@...> asked:
<< I am interested in sources which delineate the measurements of a
mechitza for a synagogue and innovations in design of mechitzot for the

Rav Moshe Feinstein discusses the Mechitza in very great detail,
including size (I think the minimum height is 60 inches), and some
designs (he talks about latticed mechitza and glass/mirror, I think).

The Yad Moshe index of Igross Moshe lists 28 responsa about Mechitza in
general and 13 responsa about the height of the Mechitza.  If you can't
get access to the index, let me know and I'll list the responsa for you.

There is also a book with sources called Sanctity of the Synagogue
(forgot by whom) which describes the court case in America (in the
50-60s I think) against removing the Mechitza in an originally Orthodox
Shul where most of the members became Conservative.  It talks more about
the issue and need for Mechitza itself rather than the measurements.  I
don't recall if it mentions measurements at all.

Kol Tuv,


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 09:56:16 -0500
Subject: Parnuseh and Education

> From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
<<As my friend Jerry Parness (MD & PhD) points out you can't be all too
certain, even at Y.U.>>
<<I would dare say that it's not the choice of university but the home
that influences the children.>>

	It should be clear that there are home influences, outside
(e.g., but not only, university) influences and peer influences on any
child's decisions on how much of Judaism to make their own.  If your
friend, who has such a fine home, makes the first quote, then how can
you ignore that in making the second quote?

	If you say every single morning "al tevienu liydai nisayon" (do
not bring us into a situation where our values will be tested), how can
you ignore the nisayon (test) inherent in a secular university?

	Except for rare circumstances, the need to make a living will
entail some exposure to the outside world.  It is our responsibility to
make that as minimally tempting to impressionable young adults as
possible.  YU may not be a guarantee, but how can you justify putting
kids in situations where their Jewish values will be that much more

	Parnasa is important, but given that we believe that it comes
ultimately from Hashem, can we risk (our own or our children's)
committment to Hashem to make it "easier" for Him to provide?



End of Volume 31 Issue 42