Volume 31 Number 85
                 Produced: Tue Mar 28  6:35:09 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bar mitzvah before becoming bar-mitzvah
         [Stephen Colman]
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Number of frum Jews
         [Shlomo Yaffe]
Question concerning God and history
         [Steve Fevrier]
Reading Someone Else's Email Messages.
         [Immanuel Burton]
Time Bound Mitzvos
         [Carl M. Sherer]
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Who wants to marry a multimillionaire (4)
         [David I. Cohen, Carl Singer, Eli Turkel, Rena Freedenberg]


From: Stephen Colman <stephen.colman@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 12:20:26 +0100
Subject: Bar mitzvah before becoming bar-mitzvah

Daniel Israel (Vol 31 #79) suggested a siyum Mishnayis would be
appropriate to celebrate a Bar Mitzvah.

About 3 years ago, I was at my nephews Bar Mitzvah in Antwerp (Belgium)
and at his seudas mitzvah he said the Hadran and drasha for Seder Moed
which he had been learning with his father. It was very moving, and was
more relevant than any other bar mitzvah seudah I remember attending.

As a direct result, I started learning Seder Moed with my own son (who
has about 2 years till his BM ) with the same intentions. We learn
approx 2 mishnayis a day (more on Shabbos - especially during Avos
Uvonim) in addition to normal Chazoroh. We have made a chart of all the
mishnayis in Seder Moed, and he proudly crosses through each perek that
we complete.  The incentive (for both of us) to finish Seder Moed in
time ensures regular learning without 'playing truant'

I heartily recommend every father to do the same - at whatever level is

Stephen Colman


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 09:12:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Conversion

Some complications about the issue of conversions occurred to me the
other day:

1.  What is the status of assuming the yoke of the commandments?  On one
hand, I want to say that it can't be an ordinary neder because that
would lead to all sorts of complications (e.g., is a non-Jews's vow
binding?, is it annulable?), but on the other hand, saying it is sui
generis (its own category) seems like wimping out.

2.  In Beit Hillel and Beit Shammai's argument about whether it was
better for humanity to have been created, Beit Hillel concluded that it
was better if humanity had never been created since humanity will never
completely succeed in fulfilling the mitzvot, which is why we say "shelo
nochri/nochria shifcha/eved isha" [the blessings for having not created
us gentiles or slaves or women, who are subject to fewer commandments].
Likewise, people should not make vows since they would only break them.
If this is so, why can a gentile assume additional commandments?



From: Shlomo Yaffe <syaffe@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 18:23:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Number of frum Jews

It seems based on demographics and populations of predominantly Frum
neighborhoods that NY/NJ alone has 450,000 -550,00 frum Jews which would
give us 600,000 -700,000 frum Jews in the USA alone Remeber that the
hundreds of thousands of Chasidic and yeshivish Jews in the us don't get
counted by the Federation's population surveys, or if yes, are
undercounted and listed as unaffiliated!  This is bevcause Orthodox
affiliation #'s are culled from O-u/Young Israel type situations, not
Shteibalach and Yeshivos.


From: Steve Fevrier <steve01@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 21:49:22 +0100
Subject: Question concerning God and history


I am a French philosophy teacher,
I am looking for some information related to the following "declaration":
"God is Lord of History"

Is somebody able to give me any information about it  ( in which text may
I found this declaration?....)

Many thanks by advance,



From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 12:56:00 +0000
Subject: Reading Someone Else's Email Messages.

I have spoken to a few friends about whether it is permitted to read
someone else's email messages, and was told the following:

The prohibition against reading someone else's letters applies only to
sealed mail.  Thus, it would be permitted to read a postcard.  If is it
made understood to all users of a computer system that there is no such
thing as a private mail box and that all mail boxes are public, then any
messages in such directories would be like postcards and not like sealed
letters, and so the prohibition of Rabbenu Gershom would not apply.
(The discussion then moved onto ethics, and whether is it ethical to
read someone else's emails without genuine reason, but that's a
different story entirely.)  This "ploy" of making all mail boxes public
would not seem to apply to email files copied onto a personal diskette,
as a diskette in my pocket is certainly not publicly accessible.

Incidentally, I have tried to find a written source for Rabbenu
Gershom's prohibition against reading someone else's letters, but have
not been able to find one.  Can anyone point me in the right direction?

 Immanuel M. Burton                     |    Tel: +44 (0)20-8802 9736 x0250
 I.T. Manager                           |    Fax: +44 (0)20-8802 9774
 Better Properties Limited              | 
 129 Stamford Hill, London N16 5TW, UK  |  Email: <iburton@...>


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 13:43:45 +0200
Subject: Time Bound Mitzvos

Catherine S. Perel writes:

> I have often wondered what the case would be if, for some reason, a
> man's wife died, G-d forbid, and he becomes responsible for taking
> care of his children.  Is he exempt as women are for this reason, or
> will he need to insure his attendence at all services and tend to his
> children. 

The short answer is that he is not exempt. 

There is no place (AFAIK) where an explicit reason is given why women
are exempt from most time-bound positive commandments.  I have heard
some hashkafa-type reasons (e.g., in the typical case, a man was more
likely to be out in the world than was a woman, and would need the
protection of time-bound mitzvos to keep out of trouble), but never
anything explicit that is brought down as halacha. The best proof that
the exemption has nothing to do with raising children is that single
women, and women whose children have all grown up and moved out of their
homes, are also exempt from time bound positive commandments.

On the other hand, a man who is raising children on his own is still
obligated to perform all time-bound commandments. Yes, including
davening in a minyan every day.

> What of hiring a baby sitter on Yom Tov?  This is not permissable.  

I think there are ways this could be done that would make it 
permissible. CYLOP.

> One more query: If Hashem listens/hears the prayers of a minyan,
> better than those of an individual, why pray?  How can you have the
> proper kavannah knowing that?  If you're a shut-in, or the shul is not
> wheelchair accessible, or you are too ill to walk to shul but not to
> pray, would your prayers be heard as well as or not as well as those,
> of and in the presence of a minyan.

I'm not sure that necessarily requires that you be physically present in
the shul if you are unable to be there. The Shulchan Aruch (OH 90:9)
writes [translation mine]: "A person should try to pray in the synagogue
with the congregation, and if he is unable to come to the synagogue
through no fault of his own (anus), he should take care to pray at the
time that the congregation is praying." So it seems to me that a person
who is physically unable to come to shul can be counted as having prayed
with the congregation by praying at home at the same time that the
congregation is praying in shul.

-- Carl M. Sherer

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...> or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Mar 2000 10:22:35 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Veal

Does kosher veal come from confined/anemic calves?

I have heard of a tshuva by R Feinstein that prohibited such because of
cruelty to animals and (potential) lung problems, but I have also heard
that not many follow this tshuvah so much of the kosher veal sold is in
fact this "white" veal.



From: David I. Cohen <BDCOHEN613@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 13:53:31 EST
Subject: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

In vol. 31 # 76 Carl Sherer listed a number of reasons why he thought
that the rate of divorce is climbing among the frum community. (I'm not
sure that the original post on the subject which assumed that the
divorce rate is higher is accurate. I would like to see some actual data
rather than anecdotal impressions. The feeling that the divorce rate is
climbing might be affected by the heightened interrelationships between
different communities resulting in more direct communication about what
is happening. After all, as the saying goes, it's a small [frum] world.)
    I would just like to add one other possible reason: the tremendous
pressure put on young people to marry at an earlier and earlier
age. This has become prevalent in the so-called "modern orthodox",
non-formal shidduch world, where 21 year old similes are "over-the-hill"
and graduating college without being engaged is a tragedy.
    Pressuring these youngsters to make life long decisions at that age
is a recipe for marital disaster.
    David I. Cohen

From: Carl Singer <ECARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Mar 2000 19:02:12 EST
Subject: Re: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

In theory money doesn't matter, looks don't matter only midos tovos,
etc.  First listen to the questions you're asked about a proposed
shidach -- is he / she tall, thin, etc.  .... oh, maybe looks do matter.

And, much to the shame and embarrassment of many in the frum community,
we have such delightful terms as "a Lakewood girl" <For those of you who
are fortunately far from this evil concept, "a Lakewood girl" is one who
isn't rich and doesn't come with a nadin.  This alleged "euphemism" is
supposed to shield poorer families.  To me a bocher or family that uses
this term isn't yet mature enough to enter into a healthy marriage

Sorry if I'm SHOUTING -- but it's as bad as what, I'm told, went on on
the television.

Carl Singer

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2000 16:04:48 +0200
Subject: Re: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

> Chaim Shapiro wrote:
> > How is this show (aside form the voyeuristic element)
> > different than frum people who marry individuals simply
> > because the perspective match has Yichus or money?
> Astounding! Do you actually know of cases in which this has occurred? In
> my entire life, I have never heard of a frum person marrying someone
> else simply on the basis of Yichus or money. I'm sure that these factors
> are the motivation for the initial proposal of many matches. I don't see
> anything wrong with this. A similar background for both parties is the
> foundation for a successful match and a long and prosperous
> marriage. But to suggest that the actual marriage agreement is based
> solely on the fact of money or Yichus? I have never heard of this.

In some groups the marriages are definetely based on money and/or yichus
and the young couple never meet or almost never meet befor the wedding.
They certainly don't meet long enough to make any serious decisions.

I think the main difference is that on the TV show they knew nothing
about the man except for his money. In fact part of the scandal was that
he had problems in his past that were not revealed.  In Jewish
shidduchim even when the couple don't really know each other the parents
have met and have asked many questions about the other side.  I have
heard of stories were the couple were divorced shortly after the wedding
because some facts were not known beforehand. However, this is the rare

Eli Turkel

From: Rena Freedenberg <free@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 2000 01:02:29 +0200
Subject: RE: Who wants to marry a multimillionaire

> > Money ? It has never been a major point of discussion. Yes, brief one
> liners about commitment to help the young couple, but we certainly have
> never come across the 'sale' of a son or a daughter as per Chaim
> Shapiro's post !!! Chas veshalom. Is this what goes on in USA ? I am
> horrified.

No, not in the USA. In Israel. In Israel, the parents on both sides meet
and discuss the financial arrangements and a "good boy" can and many
times does demand a Yerushalayim apartment [instead of one in an
outlying community] and a certain amount of money for at least a certain
amount of time to stay in learning. If you don't have money, don't plan
on getting a "top boy."  Besides, a "top boy" here in Israel is one who
would never think to support himself or his family by working in his
entire married life. There are Bais Ya'akovs who only accept girls whose
father's never worked and only went to kollel all of their adult lives.

Personally, though, I think that any boy gaivadik enough to demand an
apartment or anything else really has a very poor spiritual yesod to
build on, but that is only my personal opinion.

The gedolim have come out against this type of behavior after one father
had a heart attack at the wedding from all of the pressure.

However, I think that while money may play a factor and give one side
leverage over the other, I doubt that there are too many marriages based
solely on this factor. Yichus is the same. I think that even if there
was a couple who met due to the yichus of one or both of them, if the
chemistry isn't there, I would find it hard to believe that they agreed
to the match.



End of Volume 31 Issue 85