Volume 31 Number 60
                 Produced: Wed Feb 16  5:53:38 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah (3)
         [Danny Bateman, Shlomo Pick, Rose Landowne]
Boruch Shepatrani
         [Yossie Abramson]
Chazak Chazak Vinitchazek - a different slant
         [Daniel Katsman]
Children's Encyclopedia Question (2)
         [Jonathan Rabson, Carl Singer]
Collect call game
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Invisibility Behind the Mechitza
         [Yisrael Medad]
Masada and Suicide
         [Shelli and Dov Frimer]
         [David Charlap]
Rambam yomi
         [Eric Simon]
Siddur and Tallis Bag
         [Kenneth G Miller]


From: Danny Bateman <danny.bateman@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 07:43:26 +0200 (IST)
Subject: re: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah

Ezra Tepper wrote:

>  One of the son's of Rabbi Ovadia Joseph gave an interesting halachic
>  decision this afternoon on a "call the rabbi" broacast in Jerusalem.
>  He said that there is no particular day for celebrating a bar mitzvah.
>  And even a month (or a year) before his 13th birthday, the boy can
>  accept the commandments, be called up to, bless over, and chant the
>  Torah reading (not just the haftorah) before the congregation. He would
>  also regularly put on tallis and tefilin and observe all the other laws.
>  There is no problem with any of this. The boy, though, as the rabbi said
>  could not be counted in a minyan or, as I imagine, could not marry until
>  he reached 13.
>  Has anybody heard of this or attended such an early bar mitzvah. Note
>  that despite the rabbi being a Sefardi, he said that there no difference
>  between Ashkenizim and Sefardim in this matter.

I have seen Yemenite children as young as first or second grade get an
aliya, say the brachot, and read from the Torah.  I believe this has
nothing to do with "accepting the mitzvot" as a bar-mitzvah, and the
child would not be counted in the minyan, for example.

  Danny Bateman (<Danny.Bateman@...>)
  Meridian Field Support Team Leader, Telrad Networks Ltd.

From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:47:30 +0200
Subject: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah

Ezra L. Tepper asked:
>Has anybody heard of this or attended such an early bar mitzvah. Note
>that despite the rabbi being a Sefardi, he said that there no difference
>between Ashkenizim and Sefardim in this matter.

 As a gabai in bnei brak (as a fulfillment of being a tail to lions and
not a head of foxes [_Abot_ 4,15]) i have come across various customs of
which there appear to be two major ones.
 The Lithuanian one has the bar-mitzva the shabbat BEFORE the 13th
birthday, the boy is called to maftir, and does NOT read the torah, but
reads the haftora (from a klaf [parchment]) and that's that - except
that on his birthday or the following week, i will call him up again as
one of the 7 kre'uim (people for the 7 "real" aliyot).  on that note,
the ba'al kriya is the son of R. Haym Kanyevski (and therefore the
grandson of the late Stypler Rav) and he used to read the haftora for
his father/grandfather from the klaf weekly as a katan (before his
bar-mitzva) as mandated by the mishna in tractate megillah (BT Megillah
 The Yekke (German) custom is the boy to have his barmitzva the shabbat
AFTER his 13th birthday and therefore he will also reading the torah
reading ranging from the maftir alone to the entire parsha. the aliya he
gets is also maftir, but then he may be called again for shleeshee (3rd
aliya) at the mincha service (gimel kru'im) and if not, during the week
or next shabbat.
 in any case, there is never a barmitzva boy for parshat zachor which is
d'oraita and requires a 100% gadol (grown man) with years and seemanim
(signs of puberty). as far as parshat parah is concerned which is a
controversy whether it's d'oraita or not, so far i never ran into that
 respectfully yours with bikhot hatorah
shlomo pick

From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 21:40:29 EST
Subject: Re: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah

My husband's bar mitzva, 39 years ago, was held at Bachurei Chemed in
Long Beach, NY, two days before the actual date he turned thirteen.  The
spiritual leader of the congregation, Simon Solomon, a very learned man
even though he did not have smicha, approved it.
 Rose Landowne


From: Yossie Abramson <yossie@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 13:57:04 -0500
Subject: Boruch Shepatrani

> From: Felise P. Katz <felise.katz@...>
> I have 2 sons who will be Bar Mitzvah a''h shortly and am interested 
> in finding sources where this Brocha is discussed. Additionally, has 
> there ever been a discussion regarding the mother and why this would or
> would not apply to her as well. Thanks! Felise

The reason that a father says the brocho is that at the time of the
child's bar mitzvah, his job is done. The mitzvah of Chinuch, Parnassah
and responsibility now fall onto the boy. The reason that a mother
doesn't say any brocho is as I'm sure you know: A mother's job is never
done.  I heard that answer at a bar mitzvah I attended, I'm not sure
it's a halachik answer, but it sounds right.



From: Daniel Katsman <hannah@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2000 23:16:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Chazak Chazak Vinitchazek - a different slant

Perets Mett wrote:

>BTW, Jonathan is right to parenthesise the expression (Baal Kriah?).
>There is no such thing.  The correct Hebrew form, Korei, is found in the
>Shulchan Orukh. The same person is properly known in Yiddish as a 'bal

Do you have a source for this in the Shulhan Arukh?  It doesn't seem to
be proper gramatically.

Daniel Katsman
Petah Tikva


From: Jonathan Rabson <JRabson@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 12:25:20 -0000
Subject: RE: Children's Encyclopedia Question

> From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
> I understood that what was under discussion was a children's 
> encyclopedia.  I found the reason behind Jonathan Rabson's question 
> to be obvious. Children's encyclopedias published by secular publishers 
> do not necessarily present every topic to the children in a way that is 
> acceptable to the fruhm world. Therefore, the Beis Yaakov in London 
> feels the need to closely supervise their use, and Jonathan was seeking 
> an encyclopedia with which Beis Yaakov would not feel obligated to 
> exercise such close supervision.
> ...Among the
> topics that a secular children's encyclopedia would treat differently
> than what we would want our children to hear, I would include anything
> having to do with sex and sexual orientation, anything having to do with
> evolution, and anything having to do with how the world was created. And
> that's just off the top of my head....

Thank you, Carl, for highlighting some of the issues involved in using
secular enyclopedias in Beis Yaakov elementary schools.  These concerns
have been voiced by the school's Va'ad Ha'chinuch (educational advisory
board) who are seeking a CD-based (Jewish?) encyclopedia appropriate for
unsupervised use by charedi children without the need for worrying about
where the links might lead.

Any suggestions out there?


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 09:19:32 EST
Subject: Re: Children's Encyclopedia Question

<< I think she is mistaken. Among the
 topics that a secular children's encyclopedia would treat differently
 than what we would want our children to hear, I would include anything
 having to do with sex and sexual orientation, anything having to do with
 evolution, and anything having to do with how the world was created. And
 that's just off the top of my head.... >>

My wife reads lots of children's books (no she's not a slow learner --
she's a school principal)

She has to pre-screen everything that goes into her school -- and she's
not alone.  The other day she got a call from a Rabbi / principal at an
out of town Yeshiva asking her what she knew about the plony books.
It's a tough call, different schools have different standards.  Some
seemingly benign books (with good literary value for reading
comprehension, vocabulary, etc.)  may have a tiny slip -- for example,
in one a single reference to someone who, it could be inferred, had a
child out of wedlock.  Or boys and girls holding hands, etc.

I remember some years ago a detailed discussion of whether teenagers in
a certain "black hat" Yeshiva should read newspapers.  It was argued
that the Wall Street Journal might be a try -- it doesn't have lots of
violence, etc., few pictures, etc. -- the reason for newspapers in the
first place is that these children should grow up to realize that there
is a (biased) media out there and they should learn to read with a grain
of salt.

Carl Singer


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 00 17:01:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Collect call game

Well at least in New york City, the MTA openly advertises that one can
use a Metrocard on a bus one way and on a subway the other.However the
police go after people who use student cards and LIRR-subway passes
can't be used by anyone other than the cardholder.


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 07:01:52 +0200
Subject: Invisibility Behind the Mechitza

At our schule in Shiloh, when the Rav speaks or Havdala is said or when
we dance on Simchat Torah, the mechitza curtain is lifted up and the
women are definitely not invisible even though they are behind and above
us.  And I don't think that they consider themselves invisible.

Yisrael Medad


From: Shelli and Dov Frimer <greenj94@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 01:10:36 +0200
Subject: Masada and Suicide

From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
<< 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? >>

I have discussed the entire issue of the halakhic permissibility of the
suicide at Masada in my piece " Masada - In Light of the Halakha" which
appeared in Tradition 12:1 (Summer 1971), pp. 27 - 43. In summary, I
demonstrate that the majority - although not all - of the poskim would
have proscribed the suicide at Masada. The issue raised by Chaim Shapiro
is a real one and is one of the critical points which the decisors
factor in.(Note however that King Saul commited suicide and did not
simply "allow G-d's plan to take its course." Needless to add, the
rabbinic authorities discuss this as well). Many of the Holocaust
responsa regarding suicide refer to the same body of literature and it
is not at all clear that the cases are distinguishable.

Dov I. Frimer


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2000 06:19:10 +0000
Subject: Microphones

Robert Rubinoff wrote:
> It's not really the same as speaking into a microphone.  If you are
> silent in front of a microphone, nothing happens...no signal is
> generated in the wires.

Actually, this isn't necessarily the case, either.

There are many different kinds of microphones.  If you can think of a
method for converting sound to electricity, chances are that there
exists a product that uses that method.  Some generate current in the
presence of sound.  Some generate miniscule amounts of current, which is
internally amplified.  Some even use vacuum tubes for this internal
amplifier.  Some continually process the signals from the actual
microphone element via an internal computer.  A few new models even go
so far as to digitize the sound into a data stream, sending it over
fiber optics.

Furthermore, most microphones are more sensitive than human hearing.  It
is nearly impossible for a room to be so silent that absolutely no
signal is emitted.  (An empty anechoic chamber, such as the kinds used
for testing microphones is the only example I can think of, and even
then, some mics may emit a small signal.)  Miniscule background noises -
such as from heating and air-conditioning systems - are picked up even
if you don't provide enough amplification to make them audible.

IMO. the issues around a microphone are just as complex, if not more so,
than for a video camera.

-- David


From: Eric Simon <erics@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 12:13:49 -0500
Subject: Rambam yomi

Shlomo Pick <picksh@...> writes:
> On the one hand that is why Rav Shach vehemently opposed the lubavitch
>campaign for the rambam yomi - because one would pasken like the rambam
>and not the shulkan aruch

Really?  Can you (or anyone) explain this further?  I mean, don't you think
the Lubavitch would follow the Shulchan Arukh HaRav, and posken according
to that (or at least start with that)?

-- Eric


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Feb 2000 23:50:37 EST
Subject: re: Siddur and Tallis Bag

Carl Sherer worte in MJ 31:53: <<< The prohibition against sitting on a
bench with a siddur on it derives from the prohibition against sitting on
a bench with a Torah scroll on it. The latter prohibition is brought in
Gemara Menachos somewhere around Daf 25 (sorry, I do not recall the exact
daf), and the Rishonim there extend the prohibition to sitting on a bench
or chair that has any kind of sefer on it. >>>

My question concerns the phrase "any kind of sefer".

Has anyone ever seen any place where these "seforim" are clearly
defined?  I have heard people say that this prohibition concerns only
"seforim" such as scrolls of the various books of Tanach, because only
when HaShem's Name has been handwritten by a scribe for the sake of the
holiness of that Name, only then does the book have enough holiness to
forbid sitting on a bench where the book also sits. According to this
idea, our printed siddurim and chumashim are not included in this
*prohibition*, although there is certainly a *minhag* (custom) to avoid
sitting on a bench where these books are placed.

Does anyone know of a source which clearly says that this *prohibition*
includes our printed books?

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 31 Issue 60