Volume 33 Number 40
                 Produced: Sun Sep  3 10:48:16 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ayin Hora and Pregnancy
         [Aliza Fischman]
"Defining" Orthodox Judaism
         [Chaim Mateh]
Hat for Davening (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Warren Burstein]
Hat for Davening--question
         [Seth Lebowitz]
Jacket and Hat in the Pizza Shop
         [Jonathan Baker]
Pregnancy Ayin Horah
         [Susan Shapiro]
Senator Lieberman
         [Joel Rich]
VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman (and Sabbath observance)
         [Moshe Feldman]


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 12:46:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Ayin Hora and Pregnancy

Chaim Shapiro asked:

>Recently I have heard that a couple should not tell of a pregnancy until
>the 3rd month because of Aiyan Hora.  <snip>

>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).<snip> 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?

Medically, the risk of miscarriage is greatest until week 12, which is you
count a month as 4 weeks, means the end of month 3.  That is the greatest
difference between the first trimester, and the last 2 trimesters.  If this
contributes to Ayin Hora or not is up for discussion.  The main reason I
have heard for not telling before the end of the 3rd month is because of
the increased risk of miscarriage. The more people that know that the woman
was expecting, the more people she now has to call and tell that she is
not, R"L.  Imagine the pain of the woman when people who don't know the
second half of the story and come up and ask her how she's feeling, how the
baby is, etc.

Baruch Hashem my husband and I have never experienced this profound loss.
Unfortunately, I can think of many friends of mine who have.  Having to
share that pain with the general public, instead of just with those closest
to them, would have made the turmoil even worse. 

Here's hoping that no one here ever has to go through such a loss.
Kol Tuv,


From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 13:31:02 +0300
Subject: "Defining" Orthodox Judaism

In vol 33#30, Stan Tenen <meru1@...> wrote:

<<What if Orthodox Judaism were no longer (more or less publicly)
defined by its most stringent elements, but rather became defined by
Senator Lieberman's more moderate expression of halachic behavior?>>

Would not Torah Judaism be in a sorry state if it were "defined" by the
private lifestyle of one Jew, rather than by what Torah Judaism really
is?  It's clear that there are things that the potential second family
does today that are not consistant with Torah Judaism (any way you look
at it).  Does Torah Judaism want this to "define" Judaism?

<<In other words, a successful VP Lieberman could halt the drift of
Orthodoxy "to the right" that so many more moderate observant Jews have
noted, and this would of course be something for those who are more
stringent to become very upset by.  Also, by the same logic, Senator
Lieberman's success might halt the drift of non-Orthodox Jews "to the
left".  On balance, there could actually turn out to be a reduction in
"unwarranted hatred" within Am Israel.  (I didn't want to use the overly
strong word "hatred" here, but I do want to refer to the traditional

 From this I understand that you believe that the "drift" to the left
and/or to the right, is one of the (major?) causes of "unwarranted"
hatred.  Since I am on that "right", would you care to explain which
hatred you are referring to, how you define "unwarranted", and how do
Jews on the right contribute to this?

<<Some "traditionally observant" families that have drifted towards
Conservative practice might return to what appears to them to be a more
appropriate Orthodox practice.>>

This makes sense.  I am actually quite surprised at the Conservative and
Reform positive responses to Leiberman's commitment to Judaism.  It
might even cause a few of them to observe a bit more Yiddishkeit.  But
does this justify the possible misconceptions (and resultant Chilul
Hashem) that might result from unknowledgable Jews thinking (and doing)
that whatever Mr and Mrs Leiberman do, is consistant with Judaism?

<<Some extremely observant families might isolate themselves from a
newly resurgent moderate mainstream Orthodox Judaism,>>

Is any Jew who is not Modern Orthodox considered "extremely observant"?
Perhaps I'm overly sensitive, but the language you use sure sounds that

<< while others might feel more comfortable drifting back towards a more
inclusive Orthodox community.>>

Why is Modern Orthodoxy more "inclusive" than regular Orthodoxy?  And
what do you mean by "inclusive"?  Is not Reform Judaism more inclusive
than Orthodox Judaism, since Reform "includes" in it "all" streams of
Judaism?  Is this the type of "inclusive" you refer to?

<<And it seems to me that whatever it is that halachic Judaism is to be,
it certainly must be realistic if we're to "live by it" (rather than
"die by it".)>>

I'm quite curious to know what you mean by "realistic".  Could you give
an example or two of Jewish observance/actions that are realistic and
some that are not?

<<I'm suggesting that the Lieberman candidacy could be very healthy for
the Torah community,...>>

Or very detrimental.

Kol Tuv,


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 12:14:43 EDT
Subject: Hat for Davening

Chaim Mateh (MJ v33n32) brought some interesting items about the usage
of hat during davening, and therefore I thought that we ought to put
this issue in historical perspective. Below is a quote about the Gaon of
Wilna. I did not do the research myself, nor looked up sources; and if
the facts are untrue it will be interesting to know it.

"So advanced and liberal was he [GR"A] in his views, that, almost three
quarter of a century before the practice of uncovering the head was
introduced into the synagogue in Germany, he held that bareheadedness
was no sin, even during prayer, but that custom did not sanction it. In
view of the fact that his contemporaries regarded bareheadedness during
prayer as almost equivalent to the violation of one of the Ten
Commandments, only as great a man as the Gaon could permit himself to be
so outspoken in his views. His saint-like life, his great fame, and his
universally acknowledged piety, saved him from the charge of heresy"
_The Gaon of Wilna_, Mendel Silber, NY, 1905, pp. 41-42.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 14:09:56
Subject: Re: Hat for Davening

>From: Chaim Mateh <chaimm@...>
>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

I can only speak for myself, but I would not wear a hat (a kippah, of
course, but I wear it all the time) were I to meet a Gadol or anyone

It seems to me that a circular argument is being made for hats - people
should wear hats because people do wear hats.  But they wear the hats
because they believe that they should.


From: Seth Lebowitz <LEBOWITZS@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 10:23:09 -0400
Subject: Hat for Davening--question

Just a tangential question based on the discussion about wearing a hat
and jacket for prayer:

If the purpose of wearing the hat and jacket is to be "dressed up" for
prayer the way one might be when appearing before an important person, I
was wondering why some people wear the hat and jacket when they have
tefilin on.  Wearing these items together with tefilin often requires
cocking the hat way back on the head and wearing the jacket with only
one arm (the non-tefilin arm) through a sleeve.  Would one appear before
an important person with hat cocked back and one sleeve hanging/flopping

Let's say for example that someone has a bandaged injury on the front
part of his head and wearing a hat will not cause any medical problem,
but the hat won't fit over the bandage without being pushed way back.
Wouldn't it make sense in this circumstance not to wear the hat when
visiting an important person --even for someone who normally does wear a

It does seem, however, that certain types of hats can be worn in their
normal way with tefilin, such as a turban (like the cohen gadol [high
priest] and his mitznefet [turban-like head covering high priest is
required to wear]), but most of the Jews I have encountered who are
careful to wear a hat when they pray don't wear that type of hat.

Thanks for any answers.

Seth Lebowitz


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 00:42:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Jacket and Hat in the Pizza Shop

Gershon Dubin wrote
>From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
>>Carl Sherer brought MB 91:12
><<Since one must put on a hat *"as he would go in the street"*, it can be
>inferred that the MB would also hold that one must wear a hat in the
>street, i.e. the yarmulka is not a sufficient head covering outside.>>

>        If x implies y,  it does not follow that y implies x.

>        If you have to wear a hat "as he would go in the street" when
>you daven, then it could just as logically imply that if you don't wear
>a hat in the street you don't have to wear one for davening.

Also, the language in the Mishna Brura pretty clearly tells us that this
criterion is societally determined:

"in our times...as he would go in the street...because we would not
stand [without a hat] in front of important people".  In other times,
such as today, where we walk in the street without a hat (except for
warmth), and where wearing a hat in front of important people, such as
the President, would be taken badly, using the Chofetz Chaim's logic one
should *not* wear a hat while davening.

The Aruch haShulchan at 91:6 has a similar criterion: what one would
wear in the street; since everyone wears a hat in the street, therefore
a hat is necessary.  Not a cap, a hat.  A hat for warmth is OK too for
davening.  Therefore, the contrapositive works here as well: if x
implies y, not-y implies not-x.

One needs to wear a hat for davening because one needs to wear a hat in
the street, but one doesn't need to wear a hat in the street, therefore
one needn't wear a hat for davening (yarmulke still needed, though).

    Jonathan Baker
      Web page update: new divrei torah. <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker>


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 10:52:40 EDT
Subject: Pregnancy Ayin Horah

<< 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? >>

I don't know any "religious" reasons, but do know that medically there
is a logical explanation.  I'm sure one of our doctors on the Board can
give a better explanation, but there is a time around 8 - 12 weeks when
the pregnancy changes from an embryo to a fetus, and what happens then
is the placenta is formed.  This is a time when many women,
unfortunately, DO miscarry.  Usually the reason is that it was not a
viable pregnancy anyway, or many many other reasons.  So, I would
imagine that when these major physical changes are happening, the
influence of the Ayin Harah is quite strong!!  Also, from someone who
has had this experience, the big advantage is that if you DO have a
miscarriage, you then don't have a million people coming up to you and
asking how you're doing and when you're due, cos they just heard, etc.
The less people you haev to share your pain with, the easier? it is to
move on from that traumatic experience.

Susan Shapiro, in San Diego


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 09:53:34 -0400
Subject: Senator Lieberman

> It is written by the distinguished Washington, D.C., attorney NathanLewin,
> who is of course Orthodox, and focuses on the question, "Will observance of
> Jewish religious principle impede Sen. Joseph Lieberman's performance of his
> governmental duties if the Gore-Lieberman ticket wins in November?" Lewin
> comes up with a fascinating statement by the Ramban to the effect that the
> avoidance of physical danger or even economic harm to the general public is
> a form of pikuach nefesh.

Does anyone know the source of this Ramban?For those interested in looking
at some primary sources I suggest the following as a starting point, please
add at will:
Megillat Esther - 10:3  See the Targum,Ibn Ezra and Rashi there
Talmud - Baba Kamma 83a, Meilah 17a
Shulchan Aruch - Yoreh deah 178:3 and most especially the 2 theories brought
down in the Bet Yosef (178) on the special rules for "karov Lmalchut"(close
to the king) 

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich
PS Any sources on our responsibilities to the other nations would be


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 17:13:34 -0400
Subject: RE: VP Candidate Senator Joe Lieberman (and Sabbath observance)

> From: Jonathan Groner <jgroner@...>
> Lewin comes up with a fascinating statement by the Ramban to 
> the effect
> that the avoidance of physical danger or even economic harm to the
> general public is a form of pikuach nefesh.
> The article can be found at
> http://www5.law.com/dc-shl/display.cfm?id=3724.

The exact quote is "Medieval rabbinic commentators such as Nahmanides
had suggested that the "public welfare" - avoidance of physical danger
or even economic harm to the general public - is a form of pikuach
nefesh. Rabbi Yisraeli surmised that many aspects of governmental
activity designed to protect the public meet the pikuach nefesh

1.  Does anyone know where this Ramban may be found?  Can anyone give a
longer summary of Rav Yisraeli's "published gloss" on Chief Rabbi
Herzog's ruling approving of Saturday police rounds?

2.  As to the issue of whether it is proper for Lieberman to get elected
VP and thereby put himself into the situation where he will have to
violate the Sabbath: if one accepts the argument put forth by Lieberman
(presumably quoting Rabbi Barry Fruendel) that some of his work will be
considered pikuach nefesh, then this is no different than the situation
of doctors--we generally assume that it is permissible to become a
doctor even though a doctor will have to violate the Sabbath for
purposes of pikuach nefesh.

Kol tuv,


End of Volume 33 Issue 40