Volume 34 Number 06
                 Produced: Fri Jan  5  5:39:01 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

5th day of Chanukah
         [Steve White]
Is change bad??  Even Cheftzei Mitzvah are affected by fashion
         [Jonathan Grodzinski]
Learning out loud with a nigun (melody)
         [Josh Backon]
Non-Jewish Parent under the Chupa
         [Carl Singer]
Non-jewish parent under the chupa
         [Jeff Fischer]
Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Shoveling Snow on Shabbos:
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Snow Clearing Service
         [Carl Singer]
Snow on Shabbat
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Steve White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 15:22:18 EST
Subject: 5th day of Chanukah

My thanks to Rabbi Elazar Teitz for the clear, simple explanation (in
33:99) of why Chanukah never falls out on Tuesday in a leap year.  With
his permission, I would like to generalize the explanation.

There are three categories of years: full (355 or 385 days), regular
(354 or 384), and lacking (353 or 383).  In full years, Heshvan and
Kislev both have 30 days.  In regular years, Heshvan has 29 and Kislev
30, and in lacking years, both have 29 days.

Counting from Rosh Hashanah, there are 85 days to the first day of
Chanukah (inclusive) in a full year (30+30+25), meaning that Chanukah
starts on the same day of the week as Rosh Hashanah in a full year.  On
the other hand, in either a regular or lacking year, there are 84 days
(30+29+25), so Chanukah starts the previous day in the week compared to
Rosh Hashanah.

For Chanukah to start Tuesday, then, one of two situations must be true:
1. The year is either regular or lacking, and Rosh Hashanah had been on
Wednesday.  2. The year is full, and Rosh Hashanah had been on Tuesday.

Situation #1 cannot be true due to "Lo AD'U Rosh"; (Rosh Hashanah does
not fall Sunday, Wednesday nor Friday).  Rabbi Teitz showed why
situation #2 is never true in a leap year.  I will (b'ezrat
haShem) show why situation #2 is also never true in a non-leap year.  (I
will simplify in the same way as Rabbi Teitz.)

In a twelve-month year, the length of the year is 50 weeks, 4 days, and
a few minutes short of 9 hours.  Therefore, if in year 1, the molad
Tishri is on Tuesday, in year 2 the molad Tishri is on Shabbat or
Sunday.  If in year 2, the molad were on Shabbat, Rosh Hashanah year 2
would be on Shabbat, and the year would be 354 days long.  That makes
year 1 regular, not full, so Chanukah falls on Monday.

If in year 2, the molad were on Sunday, Rosh Hashanah would be deferred
to Monday by Lo AD'U, and the year would be 356 days long, which
violates the rules of the calendar.  To get around this, notwithstanding
that the molad Tishri in year 1 is Tuesday, Rosh Hashanah in year 1 is
deferred (to Wednesday, and then again to Thursday by Lo AD'U).
Therefore, Rosh Hashanah is not on Tuesday at all, so neither is

The result: situation #2 is also never true, so Chanukah never starts
Tuesday (until Mashiach comes, as Saul Davis points out in 34:3).

And as a side note, this shows further why Tuesday Rosh Hashanahs
(Sunday Pesachs) are so rare.  Not only must the molad Tishri be on
Tuesday, but in some cases even when it is, Rosh Hashanah is delayed to
Thursday (and Pesach to Tuesday).

Steven White


From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 08:14:56 EST
Subject: Is change bad??  Even Cheftzei Mitzvah are affected by fashion

The recent thread on using mirrors, compasses, centering tefillin etc
has now moved to the increase in size of Tefillin

I venture to suggest that most of these changes are ones of fashion,
wheter prompted by advances in technology, personal and public mores, or
changes in standards of living.

It is true to say that one CAN centre by lining up tefilin with one's
nose, but from personal experience this does not always work - for
instance when the bayit (box) of the shel rosh (tefillah worn on the
head) is not at 90 degrees to the retzuah (strap).

I would imagine that as it became more acceptable for men to use
mirrors, and as men became more concerned about their appearance
generally, some started to use a mirror to check on the precise
appearance of the shel rosh, in the same way as they would check whether
their hair was straight.

Where is the harm? It's more certain than the lining up method.

Compare also the methods of ensuring that the kesher (knot in the
leather strap) of the shel yad (tefillah put on the arm) remains near to
the bayit (box) itself.

My first pairs of tefillin had nothing - I would manually pull the
kesher as close as possible to the bayit. My latest tefillin (1994) have
a blue nylon cord holding the kesher in place. It works and saves me a

Covers for the batim - these used to be an open (five sides of a box)
cube which slid on the batim . Nowadays one gets something all
encompasing. (its a wonderful way of ensuring that the batim dont get
spoiled when stored)

The little cover for the bayit of the shel Yad - open cube of thin card
with a round hole in the opposite side - when did these start?

Size of tefillin - without doubt these have grown over the years - is
this really beneficial?  I would like smaller tefillin for when I travel

Similar changes have happenned to many other items (think of the myriad
products which were kosher but now "require" a hechsher (kosher
certificate) ) but surely there is nothing wrong with change within the

The vast increase (not only in numbers but also in the proportion to
total jewish population) of men and women attending yeshiva / sem.  This
is caused by a change in standards of living.  A hundred years ago, only
the select few attended yeshivah beyond teenage years, because in
general people could not afford. This is no different from the increase
in numbers of people attending university and other tertiary education.

Is change bad ?

Jonathan Grodzinski (London UK)


From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Thu,  4 Jan 2001 14:18 +0200
Subject: Learning out loud with a nigun (melody)

See Pirkei Avot 6:6 on *arichat sefatayim*. The MAHARAL in Derech Chaim
6th Perek indicates that learning by reciting out loud "mo'il l'havanat
ha'davar heitev" (greatly benefits learning).

BTW there is a psychologist (W. Wenger) in Gaithersberg MD who has
developed a method based on this [with eyes closed, describe an image
out loud for 10 minutes) to drastically raise IQ [3/4 point for every
hour of practice] as measured by standard tests of IQ. Our group at the
medical school gave the neurochemical explanation based on levels of
glutathione peroxidase and its redox and antioxidant effects.

In 1976, a member of our shul who had recently come on aliya from North
America asked me for help. His 16 year old son was in a very low level
school. I took the kid, tape-recorded the Wenger protocol and we
rehearsed for about 90 minutes. Six months later, the kid got into a top
yeshiva, became an *illui* [genius], passed the Israeli Bagrut high
school matriculation exams with flying colors, applied to the then
classified Army TALPIOT program which took the top 1/10th of 1% of high
school graduates and got one of the highest scores, opted out, studied
at a major yeshiva gedola in Jerusalem, got smicha and today is a rav in
Israel. [There is at least one reader of Mail Jewish who knows to whom
I'm referring].

Dr. Josh Backon
Faculty of Medicine


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 08:30:43 EST
Subject: Non-Jewish Parent under the Chupa

<<  From: Jeff Fischer <jfischer@...>
 Hi, Anonymous.

 At my wedding, my in laws are not Jewish and they were allowed to walk
 down the aisle with their daughter, leave her just before the chupah,
 they walk up and stand next to the chupah, but not under it, and then I
 walked down and went up to the chupah with my wife.  The rabbi said that
 it says in Gemara somewhere that that is how it should always be done. >>

Continuing on the theme of "decision structure" -- what Jeff and his
wife did was pose the situation to THEIR Rabbi and an halachakly (and
socially) acceptable solution was reached.

I happen to know the parties involved here but that aside:

The Rabbi involved is: halachikly knowledgable (a Talmud Chuchum),
experienced (having conducted many weddings, etc.), and sensitive to the
situation (as noted in other postings there have been "disasters" with
parents ad hoc being pushed away, etc.)

The couple involved: "trusts" their Rabbi, i.e. has an appropriate
relationship with him to address issues and reach mutually acceptable
solutions well ahead of time.

   .... and they lived happily ever after.

The wedding disasters sited by others in their notes often stem from a
broken decision process -- i.e. the Rabbi or Rabbis involved were not
consulted or included in these decisions.  Or people external to the
decision imposed their views at the worst moment possible.

There have been similar postings re: emotionally painful incidents at
funerals with women being barred from the gravesite, etc. -- people
(Rabbis and others) who bully others with THEIR opinions, etc., they may
be halachikly correct, but the ad hoc nature of the decision and event
adds to long lasting pain and resentment.  Not everything can be decided
ahead of time, especially due to time pressures, etc. -- but at least
one can try.  This goes back to issue of "who's in charge" and "who
asked you?"

Kol Tov
Carl Singer

From: Jeff Fischer <jfischer@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 07:28:33 -0500 
Subject: RE: Non-jewish parent under the chupa

<< It is hard to conceive of any halachic reason to exclude non-Jews from
a chupah >>

The reason why they say that non jewish parents should not be under the
chupah is that, with exceptions, non jewish parents can not help build a
Bayit Ne'emon veYisroel.  They can help out in other ways though.


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 22:31:40 EST
Subject: Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day

Every year I hear it at least once.  Look how Jews celebrate their New
Year Vs the non Jewish world.  Ours is a day of reflection, theirs is
partying, drugs and drinking.

True enough, but not at all fair.  These are not analogous holidays.  We
know how to behave on Rosh Hashanah based on the Torah and our
tradition.  There is no similar Biblical reference to New Years for non
Jews to rely on to guide their behavior.  What's more, January first is
the celebration of J's Bris (in their belief), and not a day of any kind
of judgment.  I must admit that I have seen many frum Jews drink at

More appropriate would be to compare how Christians behave on Easter,
their holiest day, to our holiest days.  While there is nothing similar
to Mardi Gras in Judaism, one would have to agree on the day closest to
our Rosh Hashanah, Christians do behave in a dignified manner (at least
in this country and time.  I am not denying the plethora of pogroms that
occurred on that day).

Think of what a Christian might think if you told them about Simchas
Torah.  My guess would be that you would find many aghast at the idea
that people drink and act crazy on the day that celebrates the finishing
of the law!

I do not fully understand the need to make these kinds of comparisons in
the first place.  But if they are made, we must realize two things.
First, we must keep them fair.  No adding apples and oranges.  And
second, doing so may very well open it own can of worms about our own

Chaim Shapiro


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 09:33:37 EST
Subject: Re: Shoveling Snow on Shabbos:

I think the pikuach nefesh is in the actual shoveling, since many people
try to do it and end up with heart attacks and strokes even if it isn't
Shabbos..  Shoveling snow on Shabbos has to be verboten under any
circumstances.  Talk about Avodah!

Jeanette Friedman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 08:01:07 EST
Subject: Re: Snow Clearing Service

<< Interestingly, this past Shabbas in the winter wilds of Skokie someone
 was debating (with himself) whether he should have thought to call off
 his snow blowing service which came automatically on Shabbas --- on a
 per visit charge.  >>

A more interesting question is what to do about someone who's hired on a
PER SEASON basis.  Our gardner has such a per season contract with us
(mowing, not snowing) and we make sure to inform him of Yom Tovim, etc,
when we'd rather not be disturbed by the sound of mowing, etc., Being a
"frum" Goy, he's very respectful of such wishes.

Carl Singer


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 14:09:43 +0100 
Subject: Snow on Shabbat

Gershon Dubin, commenting in v34n03 on the question of shoveling snow on
Shabbat, asks

> I'm afraid the logic of this escapes me.  What is the pikuach
> nefesh-are you a doctor on call or a member of an ambulance corps?  And
> if you need the snow cleared, why can't you do it through a nonJew?

Here in Raanana, the temperature this winter has only occasionally
dipped down enough to make it more comfortable to zip my light jacket
when I go out.  But based on 21 years experience living in Boston, and 3
years before that in Ithaca, I think I can answer these questions.  The
danger in leaving snow unshoveled is that you, or someone else, may slip
on the sidewalk and fall.  If you don't keep up with shoveling snow, and
the temperature rises above freezing and then drops again, the bottom
layer will melt and freeze into a layer of ice, which will then be very
difficult to remove.  The difficulty of removing that bottom layer is
exacerbated when people have walked over the snow all day long, packing
it down.  As for getting a non-Jew to do it, this may be difficult to
accomplish soon enough to avoid this problem.  Most professional snow
removers will be very busy during a big storm, and may be especially
reluctant to shovel for you if you tell them that you can't pay them
right away.  And your non-Jewish neighbor probably has his hands full
shoveling his own sidewalk and driveway.  The only way to get a non-Jew
to do it, probably, is to hire a snow removal service that comes
automatically whenever there is a snowstorm, and sends you a bill.

I personally never shoveled snow on Shabbat when I lived in Boston.
Enough of our neighbors didn't shovel also, not for religious reasons,
that I didn't feel so guilty about it.  And during most of the time I
lived in Boston, there was no eruv, so it was even more clearcut that
shoveling snow could only be done for reasons of pikuach nefesh, if no
one else could be found to do it.  But I would have felt very bad if, as
a result of my not shoveling, someone had slipped on the ice and been

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


End of Volume 34 Issue 6