Volume 31 Number 75
                 Produced: Thu Mar  2  6:01:18 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Birchat Habayit
         [Aharon Fischman]
Collect Calls
         [Yisrael Medad]
Corporal punishment
         [Zev Sero]
Historical Authenticity of the Artscroll Siddur
         [Perets Mett]
         [Rose Landowne]
Invisibility and Funeral Customs
         [Joseph Geretz]
Lecha Dodi
         [Neil Parks]
New book on Rabbi Weinberg
         [Marc Shapiro]
Recognized Posek
         [Chaim Mateh]
         [Rabbi Bulka]
Who are we afraid of---A Halachic Answer
         [Carl Singer]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Mar 2000 05:10:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Thanks to all who have sent me responses on how to stay connected while in
Israel. Looking forward to seeing some of you while I am there!

This is also a reminder that after today, mail-jewish will be on
"sporadic" mode till after Purim. That means that when I am somewhere
where I can get reasonable connection, I will get some issues out, but
there may be streches of up to a few days where that will not be possible.
Hopefully it will not be the full three weeks.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 18:50:48 +0200
Subject: Re: Bar Mitzvah before becoming a bar mitzvah

Shlomo Pick <picksh@...> mentioned:

>  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
> problem.

Our oldest son became bar-mizvah the week of Parashat Para, 5757, and i
asked our rav (Rav Eitan Eisman, at the "Young Israel" in Kiryat Moshe,
Yerushalayim) about this problem.

His decision was that Nisan Baruch *could* (and did) read the maftir
(additional reading) of Para, with himself as the Oleh, in addition to
the regular parsha and the haftara.

Shimon Lebowitz           
Jerusalem, Israel                   mailto:<shimonl@...>


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 19:56:22 -0500
Subject: Birchat Habayit

I am curious if anyone knows the source of the text of the standard
Birchat Habayit, and where I would be able to find a copy of it?

Aharon Fischman


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 21:06:49 +0200
Subject: Collect Calls

Remember the discussion on Collect Calls?

Israel still major piracy offender

Israel continues to be a top offender among developed countries when it
comes to computer software and music piracy, and government enforcement
is poor, a US intellectual property group said. Israel was one of two
countries placed on a priority watch list in a report released over the
weekend by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) and
delivered to the US Trade Representative.

The piracy level - the percentage of the market occupied by piracy as
opposed to the real market - in Israel for records and music was 45 per
cent in 1999, the IIPA said. That compares to 33 per cent for Argentina,
25 per cent for Italy, 30 per cent for Greece, 40 per cent for Poland
and 30 per cent for Turkey.

Israel is currently on a US government piracy watch list and a special
investigation into the country begun a year ago is expected to be
completed in April. If the investigation finds Israel's government has
done little to enforce anti-piracy measures, the US could elevate the
country to a higher priority watch level and enact trade sanctions.

Israel's Industry and Trade Minister Ran Cohen promised action in his
response to the IIPA report. Mr Cohen said he had formed a ministerial
committee to make sure there is no piracy in government and public
companies. There have also been advertisements urging citizens not to
buy illegal copies of music and software.

On Sunday, Israeli police seized dozens of illegal copies of Microsoft
Windows 2000 CD-ROMs - a day before the software's official debut - in a
raid at the central bus station in Tel Aviv.  

myisraelpiracy.html - Media Central / Reuters


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 18:39:18 -0500
Subject: Corporal punishment

Stuart Wise <swise@...> wrote:
>Sorry, but even frum people end up resorting to agencies that they
>feel more certain will respond to their problem.  Years ago I heard
>of a first-grade rebbe who believed in corporal punishment, much to
>the objections of the parents.  That rebbe is still teaching, and I
>guess people don't want to speak lashon harah, but he shouldn't be 

Excuse me?  If the teacher believed in corporal punishment and the
parents didn't, then the school is of course 100% correct in refusing to
fire him, and telling the parents to take a hike, exactly as it would if
the parents objected that the teacher told their children that their
science textbooks are wrong, and Hashem created the world in 6 days of
24 hours each.  *Torah* believes in corporal punishment (`he who spares
his stick, hates his son'), and authorises teachers to implement it.
Even if a student *dies* from corporal punishment by a teacher (even a
secular teacher), the teacher has no culpability at all, and does not
even have to go into exile, because he did absolutely nothing wrong.

If the parents don't like it, perhaps they should examine their own
hashkafa, but a school has no right to fire someone for sticking to what
the Torah says and ignoring modern ideas that contradict it, and a
person who informs the secular authorities and causes such a teacher to
be arrested seems to me to be the worst kind of moser, in the same
category as one who informed on someone in the USSR for teaching Torah
or for circumcising their son.

Zev Sero                              Harmless Historical Nut


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 15:46:41 +0000
Subject: Re: Historical Authenticity of the Artscroll Siddur

Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
>Although the Art Scroll is a carefully researched and scholarly siddur,
>it had to make several choices at various forks in the road.  It also
>corrects several "typos" that have found there way into siddurs.

That much is true. likewise it has failed to correct a number of errors
in most sidurim.  For example, at some stage the printers got it into
their heads that for nusach sfard, the last brocho of haleil should
include the words "vishoyreru" and "tomid". Neitehr word appears in any
authorized nusach; see e.g. The sidur of baal hatanyo or Sidur
yeshuos. In fact the words were added by analogy with the corresponding
words in Nishmas.

>The problem to me is that there is no "Nusach Art Scroll" pe se.  In
>sort of a "might makes right" it's easier for a congregation to adopt
>the Art Scroll nusach than paste pages inside the covers or include a
>series of

Artscroll has done a "good" job of inventing its own nusach. The
Arstcroll sfard sidur includes the option of l'doir vodoir after kdusha
for the shats. Whereas some nusach sfard have some a custom after the
musaf kdusho (Keser), it is universla in nusach sfard to say ato kodoish
after the kdusha of nakdishokh.

Perets Mett.


From: Rose Landowne <ROSELANDOW@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 13:43:14 EST
Subject: Re: Invisibility

The invisibility we're tolking about is that which makes you so
invisible that the baal tefilah doesn't recognize your presence in order
to include you in his tefilah for the tzibur, the baal kriah doesn't
read loud enough for you to hear, (or you're so separated by a
sound-blocking mechitza that you can't hear), and the person giving a
dvar torah doesn't speak loud enough for you to hear or direct his
speaking in your direction.  Rose Landowne


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 18:56:01 -0500
Subject: Invisibility and Funeral Customs

Sam Gamoran wrote:
> A few months ago I saw two funerals occuring simultaneously - at the
> other one women were standing at the gravesite, at "ours" the women
> were banned and a male relative was arguing, to no avail, that the
> wife and daughter wished to be present.
>... snip ...
> Aren't these all ways of making women feel "invisible"?  Aren't they
> the opposite of nichum aveilim (comforting the mourners)?

Minhag Yerushalayim (the custom of Jerusalem) is adamant against
allowing *sons* to attend their father's funeral. This is a well
documented custom, with a Kabbalistic basis. Do you think that this is
intended to make sons feel invisible? I don't think so. My father, who
flew in from America, was not allowed to attend my grandfather's
interment on Har Hazeisim (Mt.  Olives, Jerusalem). He had the utmost
respect for the Chevra Kadisha and did not have any negative feelings
regarding this custom.

What I don't understand in the scenario presented above, is why a family
would choose a Chevra Kadisha (burial society) whose customs are not to
their liking. Having chosen that Chevra Kadisha, the customs of the
Chevra should be respected, since these customs are based on the ideal
of providing maximum benefit and honor to the deceased. Let's assume the
Chevra Kadisha knows what they are doing, since they participate in
these activities frequently and have a well established chain of
traditions in these matter.  Shouldn't each individual, man or woman,
put aside their own personal wishes, even feelings of invisibility, in
deference to the customs of the Chevra Kadisha?

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 17:40:38 EST
Subject: Lecha Dodi

I have heard many different melodies for Lecha Dodi.  In some shuls each 
sh'liach tzibbur sings it a different way.

But they have one thing in common:  About 90 percent of the time, they
will sing the first five verses one way, and then starting with Lo 
Seivoshi they will switch to a different melody.

Why is that done?


From: Marc Shapiro <shapirom2@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 11:52:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: New book on Rabbi Weinberg

In response to all who have contacted me about purchasing copies of my
book, Between the Yeshiva World and Modern Orthodoxy. I have just learnt
that it is being sold by elgrande.com for 43% off list price -- this is
even cheaper than the YU seforim sale, at which over 80 were sold. So
anyone who is interested please order on-line.

                 Marc Shapiro


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 22:52:39 +0200
Subject: Recognized Posek

In v31#66, Elan Adler <eylry@...> wrote:

<< Rabbi Y. H. is the grandson of Rabbi Y. E. H., zatzal, and is a
recognized posek.>>

This raises the obvious question: what is meant by a "recognized" posek?  
Does it mean: 
(1) someone who is well known, 
(2) someone who has Rabbinic ichuss (lineage)
(3) someone whose Hallachic rulings are accepted by most Torah knowledgable
(4) someone whose Hallachic rulings are accepted by most Torah observant Jews,
(5) someone to whom Torah Jews would turn for the really difficult
Hallachic questions.
(6) someone whose Hallachic rulings are acceptable (although not
necessarily accepted) by many/most of the other "recognized" poskim.

Is the Rav of my Shul a recognized posek because many local communities
consult him for Hallachic questions?  And perhaps because he answers
Hallachic questions on the internet?

Are all "recognized" poskim to be viewed as being on the same
knowledge/authoritative level?  I am reminded of a story of 40 years ago of
a young recently-Smichaed Rabbi who was publicly ruling contrary to Rav
Aharon Kotler on a difficult Hallachic issue.  When asked how he could do
such a thing, he replied: "What's wrong.  _Rabbi_ Kotler is a Rabbi, and
_I_ am a Rabbi."

Kol Tuv,


From: Rabbi Bulka <rbulka@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 23:28:16 -0500
Subject: Taschen

It is that time of the year again, when every kosher bakery and Jewish
home is filled with that great Purim delicacy called the h----tasch.

As I pointed out last year, it is so absurd that we name a Purim
gastronomic centerpiece after the archvillain who wanted to destroy the
Jews, and for whom the obligation "timheh et zekher Amalek..."
(obliterate the memory of Amalek) surely applies.

We got to this via an unfortunate error. A tasch is a pocket. The Purim
pocket symbolized the essence of the Purim miracle as being of the
camouflaged variety. It was a miracle cased in an unusual, intriguing,
but nevertheless non-miraculous story. In Purim, what you get is much
more than what you see.

In the tasch, you likewise get more than what you see. Since seeds, or
"man," were involved in the fateful meal, filling the pockets with "man"
was not an unusual way to celebrate on Purim. These pockets were called
mantaschen. In Hebrew, when referring to "the mantasch," the word used
would be "ha-mantasch."

 From this derived the mistaken reference to all taschen as
hamantashen. It is a serious error, because every time we refer to this
delicacy, we give undeserved, even if unintended honor to an evil

There is no precedent for us doing this with any other villain in Jewish
history. It is a mistake that we would be well served to correct. Our
bakery in Ottawa does not sell h----taschen. But they do sell
prune-taschen, man-taschen, blueberry-tashen, etc.

Admittedly, Judaism will not rise or fall on this issue, and there are
obviously more pressing items on the Jewish agenda. But it strikes at
the very core of all that we represent that we reject evil, that we give
it no quarter, no honor, and certainly no posterity, as we do every time
we wrongly refer to that great delicacy.

So, please do your bit to correct this error, in your local bakeries,
congregations, homes, and consciousness.

A very happy and taschen-laden Purim to you all.

                          Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka,
                          Congregation Machzikei Hadas,
                          Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Feb 2000 23:15:24 EST
Subject: Re: Who are we afraid of---A Halachic Answer

Dr Hendel writes:

<<I feel compelled to answer this FROM A HALACHIC perspective.
 The Rambam in the Laws of Characters Chapter 6 clearly answers this
 >> It is the nature of man to be drawn in his deeds and opinions after
 his friends and acquaintances and to behave like the people in his
 county. THEREFORE people should befriend the righteous and sit
 among scholars in order to learn from their deeds; people must also
 from the wicked who walk in darkness in order not to learn from their
 deeds >>>

 Thus the Rambam clearly states that we **should** fear a bad environment
 and we **should** seek a good environment. This advice is halachic! >>

The Rambam's statement is certainly clear -- the application of this
guidance to forbidding secular work is tenuous at best.  Would one imply
that working in the secular world is forbidden based on this passage?
The term "righteous" is not synonymous with "Jewish only."  Seeking a
good environment does not preclude working to earn a parnuseh.
Certainly this and similar guidance may be applied to selecting a career
or a specific job.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 31 Issue 75