Volume 32 Number 71
                 Produced: Fri Jun 30  8:08:06 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bateil B'Rov
         [Bill Bernstein]
Burial on Yom Tov
         [Yisrael Medad]
Candle Options
         [Cheryl Hall]
Gas ovens (2)
         [Carl Singer, Akiva Atwood]
Gas Ovens & Responsibility
         [Daniel M Wells]
         [Carl Singer]
Mechirat Hametz
         [Zev Sero]
Question on the count of the Shevatim  (MailJewish #55)
         [Chaim Manaster]
Respect for Elders
         [Carl Singer]
         [Cheryl Hall]
Whatever Happened to Derech Eretz?


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 21:46:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Bateil B'Rov

Several people have written about this with the example of the piece of
meat that may be kosher (i.e. has a better than 50-50 chance).  I am
puzzled by this: I know the principle of sofeik midoraisa l'chumra (a
doubt about a Torah-level mitzva goes to the stringent side) and this
would seem to fit that case and the meat should be forbidden. The case I
heard about was 2 pieces of meat, one of which (unknown which one) may
not be kosher. Here, as I understand it, the principle is sfeik sfeika (a
doubt on a doubt) which would render both pieces permissable.  OTOH, a
glass of wine, or piece of cheese, which may be kosher should be
permissable since it is a sofeik midRabbonon (a rabbinic level doubt).


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 20:55:16 +0300
Subject: Burial on Yom Tov

Responding to
Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
> It is in fact an undisputed halacha in
>Shulchan Oruch Orach Chaim,  Hilchos Yom Tov,  that someone who dies
>should be buried on the first day of Yom Tov and not even held over until
>the second day.  
>	There appears to be a fairly wide spread custom in America not
>to follow this halacha; it may be related to the chilul Yom Tov which
>could come about when people who are ignorant of the halacha are
>"behulim al meisom" (over-wrought over their loss) and do things that
>are not permitted on Yom Tov.

and Shlomo Abeles <sba@...>
>See Kitzur Shulchan Oruch (200 1 & 2): if non-Jews
>do the grave-digging and certain other Melochos, it is permissible

if I am not mistaken, the death was in NYC and the burial in Upstate.  I
would think it's one thing to walk a half mile outside a village and
bury someone and another when you drive cars dozens of miles to get to
the cemetery.

If my facts are wrong, epes, but if right, I can't see that Halacha
applied in those circumstances.


From: Cheryl Hall <hallcheryl@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 18:50:54 -0700
Subject: Candle Options

We have used the candles in the glass cups and have experienced at least
three explosions, not just cracking. These seem to be related to adding
a new candle for a second day of Yom Tov with out scraping out the
little metal disc. the new candle does not seat itself well, and the
flame does not center in the container.  We stopped using these as a

We have been using the last 2 years special I believe Plexiglass globes
that are filled with liquid paraffin. The wicks are permanent wick made
of fiberglass. A small flame burns above the globe until the fuel is
exhausted. There is no mess and so far no issues of breakage during
use. I usually spend Shabbes with close friends of mine and we have 8
going at a time in candlesticks. Another nice advantage of these are you
can use good crystal candlesticks over Shabbes, since the "burning" part
never comes near the candlestick, as with regular candles and the glass

Cheryl/Shirel Hall


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 06:41:39 EDT
Subject: Re: Gas ovens

A, multipart "engineering" (i.e., non-halachik) response:

1 - open the windows, you're smelling a noxious odor (of an innert
chemical) which is purposely added to "natural" gas in order to make it
easier to detect leaks.

2 - for emergencies of any kind, you should be able to cut off the gas
without having to move the heavy stove -- a shut-off valve that you
cannot reach is of no use.  Consider also, if you are living in a house,
not an apartment, that there is a master shutoff valve (likely) located
near the meter.

3 - buy an electric stove

(halchik? opinions)

4 - if you use the shut-off valve you are also extinguishing other
flames (in the example given, the pilots that hadn't gone out)

5 - you might also consider going to a non-Jew and making a carefully
worded statement (not request) to the effect of I smell gas in my
kitchen, I think the pilot light has gone out .....

Carl Singer

From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 11:03:23 +0200
Subject: RE: Gas ovens

> In my humble opinion, (of course, after the fact consult with your LOR
> for a psak halachah), re-light the pilot immediately. It is a serious
> "pikuach nefesh" situation. Natural gas is poisonous and
> explosive, and
> there was no assurance that Aliza's husband's solution would work.

A better (IMO) solution would be to *turn off the gas*. You avoide the
Issure D'orita that way.



From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 14:46:39 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Gas Ovens & Responsibility

I really find it hard to believe that on this list the last 3 responses
to Aliza's extinguished pilot light problem, all basically said to
re-light the pilot light on Shabbos because of Pikuach Nefesh!

Why not just turn off the main Gas ON-OFF Lever. So what if you will
have cold cholent. Even if this action turns off other lit gas pilots,
the halachik implication is far less than rekindling. And Kal VeHomer
from trying to 'fix' it or just letting the gas asphyxiate you. Even if
you don't pass out from the gas, a constant input of gas fumes into
one's body can also intoxicate irrevocably internal organs.

An additional response was 'CYLOR'. If a situation is genuinely pikuah
nefesh, then searching for a LOR is forbidden as the delay would
aggravate the problem.

In our case of the gas oven, I don't think it was pikuah nefesh
(although it could eventually turn out to be). If some reason it would
be impossible to close the gas lever then the correct thing would be to
evacuate the building as soon as possible.

The SA talks about extinguishing fires. Only if there is an *immediate*
possibility of someone getting injured is one allowed to extinguish a
fire.  In ALL other cases it better for the property to go up in flames
than to be mehallel shabbos.

Without being mehallel shabbat how was Aliza's husband able to 'fix' the
leak. And if Aliza's husband's #4 option hadn't worked, we in the 'list'
would feel terribly sorry for the terrible responsibility he would have
to bear if something had gone wrong.

Bear in mind that over 95% of household accidents occur because of
negligence. As the saying goes:- a person who is 'half' an electrician
is worse than a complete ignoramus since the latter would not even
attempt to 'fix' what he has no knowledge off.

Besides the halachik and safety concerns, it seems a terrible waste of
energy and money having pilot gas lights that work 7/24. Here in EY they
were banned years ago and except for privately imported gas stoves, you
will not find such stoves around.

The stoves here in EY generally come with an electric 'clicker' that one
uses to light the gas flames. Because of stove dampness, this does not
always work, so sometime ago I bought a cheap supposedly refillable
butane 'clicker' which shoots up a flame to allow one to light the stove
(and Shabbos candles).

When the butane finished, I found that by holding the clicker next to
the gas, the small static electric click was enough to ignite the gas.




From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 07:32:17 EDT
Subject: Re: Ketubot

<<  From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
 As the daf yomi has been progressing through Masechet Ketubot, we were
 wondering if anyone can point us to source concerning the adoption of
 the current text of the ketuba that is in use. When did the text become
 fixed?  Nowadays can one vary the text of a ketuba? If so, what are the
 parameters? >>

I am by no means knowledgable in this (or many other things) -- but I
should point out that there is more than one "current" text.  Variance
seems based on both lineage (mesorah, community, etc.) and (alas)
"typos" -- mistakes made over the years.

Twenty-some years ago when my (soon to be) wife and I had Shabbos lunch
with our (soon to be) Mesader Kedushin, the text of our Ketubah came
into question, as it was "non standard" -- ie different from the
majority that were being used at that time.  Fortunately, another lunch
guest, Rabbi Riskin, determined that ours was an older geersa (wording)
and acceptable.  (I don't want to use the word "preferable" -- because
this raises all sorts of other issues.)

As to purposely varying the text [ that is knowingly making changes from
the traditional wording(s) ] -- are we speaking of individual
customization for what ever purpose, or of a kehillah making a global
change based on some purpose?

Carl Singer


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 22:23:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Mechirat Hametz

Mark Steiner <marksa@...>

>1.  The storekeeper might consider mekhirat hametz just a ritual he has
>to go through to keep his kashrut supervision.
>2.  He might think he's selling it to the rabbi, who then sells it to
>the non-Jew.
>3.  He might think it's a conditional sale, contingent on payment after
>Pesach (if so, of course, then the hametz was his all the time and is
>forbidden after Pesach). 

None of this matters, so long as the sale is a strong legal transaction,
preferably with a guarantor who agrees to be the payer of first resort
(arev kablan), because a person is bound by his valid contracts no
matter what was going on in his mind.  Devarim Shebelev Einam Devarim.
If someone sells his house, and then claims that he thought it was just
a `ritual' or that it was subject to all sorts of conditions that have
not been fulfilled, or any other delusion that he may have had, any bet
din would tell him tough luck, the buyer now owns the house, and he has
a reasonable period to move out.  The same applies to our shopkeeper.

In any case, I don't understand point 2: what difference does it make
whether the seller knows the identity of the buyer?

Zev Sero                Any technology distinguishable from magic
<zsero@...>       is insufficiently advanced.
                         - Gregory Benford 


From: Chaim Manaster <hankman@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 13:04:46 -0400
Subject: Question on the count of the Shevatim  (MailJewish #55)


I had a kashe similar to R. Hendel's grandfather's. I was bothered by
the fact that all 16 numbers reported, ended in 00 (except Shevet Gad),
i.e., 12 for the Shevatim, three for the Leviim etc. I assumed either
one must say that the Torah chose to report in "round numbers" which was
not a satisfying answer to me, first on general principle of exactitude
and in particular because of your grandfather's kashe (which occurred to
me as well), for if reporting "round numbers" why should the Torah
deviate in its choice of round numbers for Gad. On the other hand, if
the Torah is in fact reporting actual numbers, then one must ask the
statistical question of why such a highly improbable situation (set of
16 numbers ending in 00) (one over 100 to the 16th power /2 (for Gad))
was chosen (manufactured by Hashem) to be the actual fact when recorded
by the Torah. (The kashe about Gad still holds as well) There must be
some point here, but what it is, eludes me.

I have not had any satisfying answers, perhaps someone can shed some

Kol Tuv

Chaim Manaster
Montreal, Canada


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2000 07:08:06 EDT
Subject: Re: Respect for Elders

A more general question / observation -- "Respect for others" comes to mind.

I recently davened Shabbos morning at a different shule in order to
attend a Bar Mitzvah -- we all should be aware that when there is a
simcha that there is a bit of disruption re: seating, if for no other
reason than more people will be present.  I came on time (which to some
is early) and the shule was somewhat empty.  Before sitting, I asked a
nearby "regular" where I might sit -- he pointed me to a table / chair,
but warned me that the person who sits there (pointing to an adjacent
chair - -the person wasn't yet present) is very machmir on his location.
Eventually, this person showed up (I was expecting an old codger,
instead it was someone perhaps in the late 30's) and he "spread out" his
kit oblivious of the fact that (by now) the place was very crowded and
everyone else was scrunched up.

1 - in warning me about plony (or his chair) -- was the person doing me
a service or commiting loshen horah

2 - did plony (the possesive) do right to asset his "space" (makom
kevuah) by spreading out as he did, knowing (one would presume) that the
shule was crowded and laden with guests.

3 - it's generally been the social custom of the shules where I daven
that if a "neighbor" has a guest, that we would move or vacate our seat
in order to allow the guest to sit with his host.  I realize this is
giving up a makom kevuah, but it certainly seems the menchlich thing to

Any thoughts?

Carl Singer


From: Cheryl Hall <hallcheryl@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2000 18:56:13 -0700
Subject: Tehillim

I have been davening from the Rinat Israel siddur for many years. In the
Hebrew text, the kamatz katan is printed larger and bolder than a
kamatz.  Is anyone on the list aware of a Tehillim that uses the same or
similiar convention to identify these? I would really like to be
"saying" Tehillim right, even while I'm trying to master Hebrew dikduk.




From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2000 10:48:15 -0400
Subject: Whatever Happened to Derech Eretz?

Last night, at about 10:30, someone started pressing the buzzer to my
apartment. This went on incessantly for 5 to 10 minutes; since I wasn't
expecting anyone, I called down on the intercom, but no one answered. I
was not about to let anyone in at that time of night, especially since
I'm a single woman living alone in a "borderline" neighborhood.

A few minutes, later, the phone rings: "Hello, this is Reb Ploni of the
XYZ Organization. [a meshulach from an organization with which I was
familiar, and previously considered quite reputable] I was here before
but you didn't answer the door, and I'd like to come up and talk to you
for a minute."  "Excuse me, but do you know what time it is? I have to
get up for work at 5:30 and went to bed more than half an hour ago."
"Yes, well, I know, but we're in dire straits, we need the money..."
"Can't you leave an envelope downstairs? I'll send you a check."  "No, I
don't have any envelopes, I have to speak to you personally."  At this
point, close to 11 PM, I totally lost it: "Do you realize what kind of
chutzpah you have, calling me so late at night and asking me to wake up,
get out of bed and get completely dressed to come talk to you?" I hung
up on him without even going into the issues of marit ayin, tzniut and

This morning I called the XYZ organization and asked to speak to the
person in charge of fundraising/tzedaka. They suddenly forgot all their
English and hung up on me. Needless to say, although I formerly thought
this was a very worthy cause, I have crossed it off my donation list.

Opinions, please...


End of Volume 32 Issue 71