Volume 33 Number 32
                 Produced: Wed Aug 30  6:00:11 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aiyan Hora and 3 month Pregnancy
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Blasphemous thought
         [Mark Symons]
Halachic wills (2)
         [Ezriel Krumbein, Lee David Medinets]
Hat for Davening
         [Chaim Mateh]
the Sea of Solomon
         [Stan Tenen]
Sea of Solomon and 'Pi'
         [Micha Berger]
The Talmud did NOT believe that PI=3
         [Russell Hendel]
Waiting time after eating chicken
         [Mike Gerver]
Women and Tzitit
         [Shaya Potter]


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 23:57:17 EDT
Subject: Aiyan Hora and 3 month Pregnancy

A couple of years ago we had a discussion on Mail Jewish about the
concept of the Evil Eye (Aiyan Hora) I do feel that the discussion died
down over a six month Mail Jewish interlude, without full resolution.
Recently I have heard that a couple should not tell of a pregnancy until
the 3rd month because of Aiyan Hora.  While there may be a makor
(source) for not telling prematurely, I have trouble understanding what
Aiyan Hora has to do with it.

When I asked about the 3 month rule, I was told by several people (none
of whom were a Rav) if one tells prematurely, Aiyan Hora takes effect
and the Mother may miscarry (G-d Forbid).

This brings several question to the for.  How can there be this other
power outside of G-d that can decide life and death issues?  Even if we
grant that something will happen to the baby if the news is announced,
why is 3 months different from 6 months; or 8 for that matter?

Logically speaking, I would say that people do not want to announce
before the pregnancy is apparent to those on the outside just by
looking.  Yet the entire concept of Aiyan Horah still baffles me.  I
cannot understand why some things are considered Aiyan Horahs and others
not.  One reply two years ago was that jealous people questing the
fortune of others can cause a reassessment in the Heavenly court.  But,
if that is the case, one could never announce any simcha.  A birth can
cause extreme jealousy in they eyes of those who cannot have children.
Same is true of a wedding or a new job, etc.  Why are people not
concerned with the Aiyan Hora effect whenever anything positive happens?

Chaim Shapiro


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2000 21:18:01 +1000
Subject: Blasphemous thought

Does anyone know of a halachic source that could reassure a patient with
diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder who has a blasphemous thought
(and which is considered by their treating psychiatrist to be a symptom
of their disorder), that this thought is not regarded as an "averah"?

Mark Symons


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 21:50:41 -0700
Subject: Re: Halachic wills

>From: Stephen Colman <stephen.colman@...>
>Can anybody help me with information about writing wills according to
>Halocho. I am looking in particular for a pre-printed legal form with
>guide lines - if one exists. Preferably written in English - otherwise
>hebrew.  I have been told about a kuntras written by a Rabbi Faivel
>Cohen called Kuntras MiDor LeDor, but apparently this is out of print.

In volume 2 number 1 of Journal of Halachah and Contemporary Society
dated spring 1982 Judah Dick mentions a sample will that he has prepared
which he was will to mail out upn request.  His address is 1331 55th St
Brooklyn NY 11219.

In A Restatement of Rabbinic Civil Law : Laws of Lost and Found Objects,
Laws of Inheritance, Laws of the Unpaid Bailee by Emanuel Quint there is
also a sample will.  This book is available via the internet.

Kol Tov

From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 18:03:07 -0400
Subject: Re: Halachic wills

Yes, Steven, I think I can.  As I understand the issue, the problem with
a conventional will is that it is essentially a shtar sh'chal acher
missah, that is, a contract that does not take effect until after the
death of the party who wrote it.  In Halacha, that makes it void.  Since
it is void, anyone who takes something pursuant to the will may be
guilty of ganeiva, theft.  There are arguments against this, however.
It is a very great mitzvah to do what the deceased person has asked
(mekayim divrey hamais).  Therefore, it is extremely likely that the
person who would have inherited the property under Jewish law, if there
had been no will, would accept the transfer of the property to the
beneficiary under the will.  Particularly, if he makes no complaint, his
consent might be assumed.  Moreover, there is always the principal of
dina demalchusa dina: the law of the land is the law.  In this case,
since a will is competent under secular law to transfer good title to
property, there is a strong argument to say that the beneficiary under
the will has perfectly good title, and that there is no question of
theft at all, even though such a document would not be effective in
Israel under Jewish law.

Nevertheless, in order to be as careful as possible, it has been
suggested that the best practice is to draft a document that is separate
from the will.  In fact, in order to be effective, it must be separate
from the will.  That document creates a contingent liability, payable
from the estate.  The condition is this: if the heirs under Torah law
abide by the terms of the will, then there is not debt.  But if they
contest the will, then the debt is payable from the share of the
decedent's estate that would have gone to that contesting heirs.  This
removes any possibility of profit from contesting the will, and
therefore, the consent of the heirs may be conclusively presumed.  The
document must be carefully drafted to agree with the laws concerning
contingencies, in the formula used by Moses in the case of the tribes of
Gad and Reuven.  I have a form that I use, but I do not think this is
the correct forum to publish it.  I would be happy to forward a copy to
interested parties.

However, even though I use it, I really don't know if it is necessary.
That decision needs bigger shoulders than mine.

Dovid Medinets


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Aug 2000 23:44:30 +0300
Subject: Hat for Davening

In vol 33#23, Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...> wrote:
<<In our day, the custom of wearing a hat outdoors has gone away. >>

By whom has the custom of wearing hats outdoors, gone away?  By the
goyim?  By the Jews?  By _all_ the Jews?  By the "man in the street", or
by the Talmedei Chachomim?

In Bnei Brak and Yerushalayim there are lots of men who wear hats
outdoors.  I haven't been to Boro Park lately, but my memory tells me
that there too there are lots of men who wear hats outdoors.  So too in
Crown Heights.  And Whilliamsburg.

<<Indeed, people do meet important people without hats.>>

Who is an "important" person? Non-Jewish VIPs or Jewish VIPs?  Would not
most/all religious Jews wear a hat were they to have a meeting with Rav
Pam and other Gedolim?  To which "important" people was the MB

<<Therefore, would the MB say that in our day we no longer have to wear
hats to doven or bentsch?>>

My guess is that he would still say we should wear hats for davening and

Kol Tuv,


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 12:22:08 -0400
Subject: Re: the Sea of Solomon

><<Hi, In a famous paragraph in Eruvin 14a the Gmara uses the verse in I
>Kings 7, 23 about the "sea of Solomon" to prove\establish that the ratio
>between the diameter and circumference of a circle is 3.  I wanted to
>ask if there are other similar examples in the Talmudic literature in
>which verses (or midrash on verses) are used to "find" or establish
>facts in mathematics or empirical sciences, that could have been found
>using analysis, measurement or experimentation.  TIA Avi >>

While the above is essentially correct, there's another explanation
that's often overlooked.  The Kabbalistic geometric form defined at the
beginning of B'reshit has a round form, and 3 major "lobes".  This is
one reason why "the Sea of Solomon" sometimes seems to imply that pi=3.

Another reference which is almost always overlooked is the opening line
of Mishna Ain Dorshin in Hagigah.  The 3 referred to here, usually taken
to be 3 persons, also refers to the three-fold nature of the
circle-sphere defined at the beginning of B'reshit.  (It's related to
the Pardes meditation, and that's why the story of Rabbi Akiba also
appears in the Gemara for Ain Dorshin.)

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>


From: Micha Berger <micha@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 12:30:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Sea of Solomon and 'Pi'

In v33n23, Daniel M Wells quotes Avi Levi and writes:
:> In a famous paragraph in Eruvin 14a the Gmara uses the verse in I Kings 7,
:> 23 about the "sea of Solomon" to prove\establish that the ratio between the
:> diameter and circumference of a circle is 3.

: Just out of interest the posuk states the circumference was 30 and the
: 'kav' - diameter was 10. Kav in the posuk is spelled Koof Vav Heh which is
: 111 in gematria. Next to it is written that the 'Kri'- the pronunciation
: should be Koof Vav without the Heh and thus 106 in gematria.

Sir Isaac Newton commented on this tidbit. I've asked in other internet
fora if anyone knows an earlier source. As I have yet to get an answer,
please feel free to send me any citations.

As to the Gemara's point, pi is irrational. Some approximation is going
to have to be considered "good enough" for halachic purposes -- it's
impossible to be exact. The gemara could be understood as saying that we
only need one digit of accuracy; IOW, that it establishes the halachic
definition of "close enough to pi" not pi itself.

Micha Berger                 When you come to a place of darkness,
<micha@...>            you do not chase out the darkness with a broom.
http://www.aishdas.org       You light a candle.
(973) 916-0287                  - R' Yekusiel Halbserstam of Klausenberg zt"l


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 20:43:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Talmud did NOT believe that PI=3

Avi Levi (v33n16) asks, regarding the gmaras derivation from 1Kings7:23
that the ratio of the circumference and diameter of a circle is 3,
whether there are similar derivations in the Talmud of empirical facts
from verses.

I just wanted to clarify a misconception about this "pi=3" gmarra. As
tosafot points out no one in the Talmud really believed that pi=3 (See
tosafot succah 8 on the talmudic statement that the square root of 2 is

Rather, the talmudic statement "pi=3" means that in an ***unspecified**
sale of a circular plot of land (ie "I sell you a circular plot of land
with A diameter of 200 ft at $10.00 a square foot"), in such a sale, we
are **allowed** to **approximate** pi as 3 in computing prices. Thus in
the cited example if nothing else was stated in the sales contract then
I would be allowed to pay for the circular plot of land with radius
100', 3*100*100*$10=$300,000 (and I could not be sued for the extra

On the other hand (as in all of commercial law) if I stipulate in the
contract "sell...at $10.00 a square foot ACCORDING TO THE EXACT AREA OF
THE CIRCULAR PLOT") then I would be obligated to use the official value
of pi=3.141592 and pay $314159.

To answer Avis statement about "other such derivations" the most famous
is the Sinaitic tradition that the exact average lunar month is 29 days
12 793/1080 hours. As Prof. Rabbi Sholomo Sternberg points out in his
book on Celestial mechanics this is correct to the nearest 1080th of an
hour. The Talmud based on a verse in Chronicles, praises the tribe of
Yissachar as "excelling in Astronomy".

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA Dept of Math; Towson Univ; <Rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 09:52:43 +0200
Subject: Waiting time after eating chicken

My wife and I were visiting her cousin in Haifa recently, and she told
us that her mother (who came from a shtetl in Grodno guberniya) told her
that when she was growing up, her family always waited six hours between
beef and milk, but only four hours between chicken and milk. I had never
heard of this, and expressed surprise. We then asked a dati neighbor of
hers (who did not hear the original conversation) how long he waited
after eating meat, and he replied, "Six hours, but only four hours for
chicken." When I expressed surprise at this, he told me that he thought
it was in the Shulchan Aruch, but I couldn't find it there.

Is there a written source for this practice?  How widespread is it? Is
it found mostly in certain places, or among Jews who originally came
from certain places?

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2000 14:53:24 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Women and Tzitit

Replying to myself:
>In order to understand this issue, one must look at Shulchan Aruch 17
>quoting: "Women and servants are exempt [from tzitit] b/c it is a
>mitzvah aseh shehazman gramah. 'in any case if they want to war them
>say a blessing over them they are permitted to do so, just like any
>other mitzvah aseh shehazman grama, ach mechzi k'yihara, v'lechen ain
>lahen lilbosh tzitit'" [But it appears as yihara - showing off / vain
>and therefore they should not wear tzitzit. Mod] I'm not 100% sure wh

This also fits in with what I was taught in yeshiva why I shouldn't wear
a talit when I daven, even though it is a mitzva.  Because in todays day
and age it would appear vain.  so unless you are known as someone who
does it (i.e. a person of german descent...) it would be an act of gaiva
to do it, while you are single.


End of Volume 33 Issue 32