Volume 34 Number 76
                 Produced: Sun Jun 10  7:40:14 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Baruch HaShem L'Olam
         [Geoffrey Shisler]
Concepts affecting Smoking
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Carl Singer]
Hidur mitzva
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Male headcovering
On-Line Posek (3)
         [Yitzchak Roness, Aliza Berger, David Schiffmann]
Placing the Talis over one's head
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Repetition of Words in Prayer (4)
         [Michael Feldstein, Yisrael Dubitsky, Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Ben
Z. Katz]
Vilna Gaon and Sabbateans
         [Netanel Livni]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 16:25:28 +0200
Subject: Anti-Zionism

Paul Merling recently sent a long posting on the Gedolim's attitude
toward (or rather against) Zionism. Much of this posting was anecdotal
("During a private meeting with other Askanim and members of the
Moetses, there was a speaker who spoke favorably of the possible state.
Reb Ahron became enraged and started banging on the table, saying "it is
forbidden, it is forbidden.".)

I believe that when we deal with major articles of Torah Hashkafah:

a) The writer must cite sources, and

b) The moderator should not allow any posting which does not contain
clear sources.

[While I clearly prefer articles with sources, as this is not a strictly
"academic/scholarly" list but a combination of both that and "chat-like"
as long as the posting appears to add material to the conversation, I
will tend to allow it in. Mod.]

Otherwise, we descend to the level of "Rav X was told by Rav Y that Rav
Z had said ..." And what can we deduce from that?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Geoffrey Shisler <geoffrey@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 11:01:22 +0100
Subject: Baruch HaShem L'Olam

Many years ago I was the regular Shaliach Tsibbur in a Shul in London
where the late Dayan Pesach Braceiner Zatzal, was the Rav.

I clearly recall one evening when a visitor led the service for Ma'ariv,
omitted Baruch HaShem L'Olam, and went straight on to the Chatzi

The Dayan was very angry since, as he said, that man had deprived him of
TWO Berachot - one his own, and the other the Amen at the end of that of
the person leading the service.

Rabbi Geoffrey L. Shisler
New West End (Orthodox) Synagogue
London, UK
<Rav@...>; Rav@newwestend.org.uk


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001 22:15:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Concepts affecting Smoking

I thank Leah Gordon for defending my position on smoking in v34n53 (in
response to Zev Seros question on me in v34n51.) Allow me to add one

The issue is the degree of similarity between sucking coins (which is
prohibited) and smoking cigarettes. I suggest that they both sucking
coins and smoking cigarettes have no benefit and have ong term
danger. Zev then asked why I assumed coin sucking gives long term

Allow me to clarify what I mean by long term danger. First,let me note
that smoking has immediate dangers! After all, a person who smokes has
immediate higher risks of coughs, high blood pressure, colds, days lost
at work etc. This is in fact similar to coin sucking which can
e.g. cause intestinal problems (if the coins have the right toxins).

However by LONG TERM DANGER I meant long term danger to LIFE, (not to
health). Let us now reexamine:

* Drinking uncovered water that might have snake venom poses an
IMMEDIATE DANGER TO LIFE. Hence even though water is beneficial this is
prohibited (Rambam Murder 12)

* Eating bad fruit, poses IMMEDIATE DANGERS to HEALTH but not to
life. Furthermore even bad fruit has nutritional advantages.  Hence
there is no prohibition against eating bad fruit (Rambam Characters
4). (Note that bad fruit need not pose a danger to life even long term
since the nutrients in bad fruit could counteract the harmful elements)

* But Sucking coins, poses IMMEDIATE DANGERS to HEALTH and TO LIFE and
has no benefit(The danger to LIFE is long term as Leah noted) Hence it
is prohibited.

Smoking is clearly more similar to sucking coins than to bad fruit and
hence is prohibited.

Finally in passing, several people emailed me for the correct URL for my
smoking posting in Bais Medrash: In v34n49 I used a hyphen instead of an
underscore and that caused missed-hits on my website. The correct URL is
given below.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/bm1_20a.htm


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 3 Jun 2001 10:23:30 EDT
Subject: Re: Hashgachot

>  While true, there is an easy and common way around this. The trademark
>  owner charges a nominal fee (say, $1) which makes a valid contract and the
>  manufacturer must abide by it. This protects the trademark itself.
>  Lawyers: did I get that right?

It's not the money -- it's the CONTROL!!!  What happens if the
unsupervised, noncontracted, non -- whatever producer decides to put
marshmellows in the mix, or "kosher gelatin" or bacon.  How does the
supervising agency block the (now contracted and $1 paid for) use of its

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Israel Rosenfeld <israel.rosenfeld@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 17:21:55 +0200
Subject: Hidur mitzva

> From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
> <<Any comments on examples of the community (K'lal Yisroel) trying to
> "improve" on their mitzvahs bayn Adam L'Chavayroh -- between Man and his
> fellow Man. (Gender apologies, as I'm using the common idiom.)>>

Avak Lashon Hara -- Avi, I apologize but I don't really know how to translate.

At any rate, the Torah forbids slandering our fellow Jew.
The Rabbis of the Talmud extended the prohibition.

Behatzlacha raba.



From: <Joelirich@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 08:17:39 EDT
Subject: Male headcovering

I did a Tikkun Leil Shavuot shiur on this topic and have a fairly
extensive source handout. If anyone wants a fax copy they can email me
offline. FWIW my theme was that we must differentiate between what is
halachically mandated and what our acts say about us and we must
constantly reevaluate. For example-is a 5% income differential enough of
a reason to not wear a kippa at work?



From: Yitzchak Roness <ronessy@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 15:42:12 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: On-Line Posek

regarding an online posek.  'nishmat' of yerushalayim has a hotline
 where women 'yo'atzot niddah' answer questions from all over the world

From: Aliza Berger <aliza@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 15:40:14 +0200 
Subject: On-Line Posek

This is not exactly what you asked for, but I'll mention the possibility
anyway: Would you consider it more modest to ask a female authority?
There are a number of such (I believe all in Israel, though), trained by
the Nishmat Institute. Just as any rabbi does, if the answer is not
clear they ask a higher authority.

Aliza Berger
Technical Publications Department
Mercury Interactive
Tel. 972-3-539-9170 (internal extension: 2170)
e-mail: <aliza@...>

From: David Schiffmann <das1002@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 18:10:16 +0100
Subject: re: On-Line Posek

It may be of help to point out that there are, I believe, women trained
in dealing with sheylot to do with niddah, who I assume can be contacted
by phone, at least at first.

Perhaps someone knows the details; I think if you contact the 'Nishmat'
(http://www.nishmat.net) women's seminary in Jerusalem, they may be able
to help, as I think they are involved in training such women; and the
same goes for the women's seminary that is part of Ohr Torah
Stone/"Brovender's" (see http://www.ohrtorahstone.org.il/)



From: Israel Rosenfeld <israel.rosenfeld@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 17:21:55 +0200
Subject: Placing the Talis over one's head

> From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
> In virtually all communities I have visited, young men who wear Tallisim
> (either sefordim or to daven for the amud) do not wear the talis ovber
> their head.  Instead they wear a hat until they are married, at which time
> they do place the Talis over their heads if they are so inclined. What is
> the makor for this minhag?

Please see Mishnah Brurah 8:4 (at the end).

Behatzlacha raba.



From: Michael Feldstein <MIKE38CT@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 13:21:45 EDT
Subject: Repetition of Words in Prayer

I have noticed certain chazanim make an effort not to repeat certain
commonly repeated phrases like u'shmo, u'shmo, ushmo echad, even if the
congregation itself repeats the phrases.

As for myself, even though I learned to daven from someone who did
repeat a lot of words in kedusha and elsewhere, I have managed
to"rewrite" most of the tunes I use to make all the melodies fit the
words.  With a little creativity and musical knowledge, it's not
terribly difficult--at least in most cases.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT

From: Yisrael Dubitsky <yidubitsky@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 11:43:30 -0500
Subject: Re: Repetition of Words in Prayer

Dr. M. Steiner writes:
> I have heard that Rabbi J. B. Soloveitchik z"l, was
> very strict with distorting Biblical verses by repeating words in them,
> and he is not usually blamed for the "move to the right."  However, I
> have a rule that I only believe things in writing or if I have heardthem
> from reliable witnesses.  In this case, it is easy to get  
> witnesses, however, because the Rov gave instructions to the baalei     
> tefillah in the Maimonides yeshiva which he founded and davened in.

As for a written source, the Rav's own handwritten (brief!) response
concerning this issue may be seen in the *Cantorial Council of America
Bulletin* 4 (1965) [under the masthead IIRC].

Yisrael Dubitsky

From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 10:09:06 EDT
Subject: Repetition of Words in Prayer

I thought that we might as well bring in other examples of repetitions
which are practiced, so when we formulate an overall rule of when it is
prohibited, when it is tolerated and when it is a must, we'll have many
of the occurrences. It is not only single words which we are discussing,
but sometimes also complete pesukim or phrases.

1. In the Torah reading of Rosh Hodesh, one pasuk is read twice. (A

2. On Simchat Torah, the parashah is read repeatedly until every one got
an aliyah. (A custom in most synagogues I am familiar with)

3. In Megilat Esther there are several words which are read twice, with
a sight different pronunciation (I don't know if the repetition of words
in Esther is universal).

4."Lezecher" "lezeicher" in parashat Zachor is repeated by some (Some
rabbanim prohibit this repetition).

5. We all say "Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh" three times as it comes directly
from a pasuk (Isa. 6:3). Would you agree that saying it more times in
this context would not add heresy, since if the first three refer to
three rashuyot (which it does not), then adding another "kadosh" or two
would not add any more rashuyot.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2001 23:15:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Repetition of Words in Prayer

>From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>

>2.  Repetition of words where the impression might be given that one is
>praying to two deities (modim...modim; shma...shma) is expressly
>prohibited by the Mishna.  It is reasonable to extend this to "beh ana
>rahetz," and for the same reason.

It would seem to me that this is less of an issue now that
Zoroastrianism is not a major competitor with Judaism as it was in

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 12:01:08 -0700
Subject: Re: Vilna Gaon and Sabbateans

David Curwin wrote:
>I happened to come across an article recently discussing Rabbi Moshe
>Chaim Luzzato's connections to the Sabbateans. I know that it is not
>entirely clear that he did follow Shabtai Tzvi, but some major
>rabbinical figures of his day, including Rabbi Yaakov Emden, did seem to 
>accuse him of Sabbatean tendencies. I also know that the Vilna Gaon had a
>lot of respect for Luzzato. Does anyone know if the GR"A had any
>particular stance in the Sabbatean controversy? Did anyone ever accuse
>him of sympathies for the movement because of his support of the

I just heard a tape of a lecture Dr. S. Leiman gave on just this topic.
R.  Eibeshutz send packages with amulets and explanations to many of the
Rabbanim in europe including the Gaon who was not so well known outside
of Vilna at the time (apparently, R Emden had not even heard of the Gaon
at this point).  The Gaon send a letter in response which seemingly
supported R. Eibeshutz and this letter was published in R. Eibeshutz
sefer "Lochot HaEven" (I think that is the name of the book.  Anyways,
it was a book defending the ammulets and included 60 or so letters of
support from gedolim all over Europe).  In R. Emden's response book
"Shivrei Luchot HaAvon" (I think).  He claimed that the letter from the
Gaon was a forgery written by a dayan in vilna who is a Eibeshutz
sympathizer.  Dr. Leiman is of the opinion that the letter was genuine
but was phrased in such a way as to not take a stance.

You can purchase the tape (3535) from: 

Netanel Livni


End of Volume 34 Issue 76