Volume 35 Number 97
                 Produced: Sun Feb 24 14:08:25 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Purim Edition
         [Sam Saal]


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2002 13:00:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Purim Edition

Here's the 5762 Purim edition of mail.jewish  For this year's mail.jewish
Purim Spiel, see http://members.verizon.net/~feldblum/convrice.pdf

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone
Table of contents:

Alcoholism and the Shabbos Kiddush
The Jewish Laws of Television
Full shtetl jacket


Subject: Alcoholism and the Shabbos Kiddush
A Halachic compendium on the Subject
Beryl Ostroff - Editor

When and where did our distinguished ancestors begin the universal
custom of elevating themselves to a "HIGHER" level using the means of
alcoholic beverage on, during or around the Shabbos Kiddush?  The answer
has bewildered some of the greatest minds for centuries, evading the
depths of their infinite psyche.  But now we are able to look back on the
effects that "BOOZE" has had on Jewish history at large and come to our
own conclusions as crazy as they might seem.  The Mashkidika Rebbe brings
proof from the story of Noach who after spending a full year cooped up
with his nagging wife, smelly animals and leaky roof had no reprieve
but to get smashed out of his mind after his ordeal, wouldn't you?

What connection does this story have with Shabbos you may ask?  Because
the verse says that the ark "RESTED" on the Mountain of Ararat a perfect
altitude and climate for fine vintage.

Later in history we find a multitude of references to drinking as such,
and we must ask ourselves did the "L'Chaim" change the course of History
as we know it?  Let's look at some more examples.

Now we all know that while the Jewish Nation was enslaved in Egypt, the
Kennedian Tribe from the Continent of Wales was constantly bootlegging
their way into Egypt exposing our pure and holy ancestors to Glenfiddich
and other high content drink, making us weak and frail.  And of course
Pharo was the biggest alcoholic of them all!  Why do you think the plagues
never bothered him?  Because he was too stoned to notice!  And anything
he did see wouldn't have phased his numb brain anyway.  "Four Cups?
And I'm not invited?"  he would say to himself.  No wonder he chased
after the Jews like a nut, ending with his drowning in the "RED" Sea,
a familiar color on the wine circuit, and of course that day was Shabbos!

We find a reference to this subject later in History with the story
of King David and Batsheva, whose husband just happened to own a
large vineyard.  Love, lust desire, passion, envy - POPPYCOCK!  It was
the BOOZE!  Very few people know that Batsheva's husband's vineyard
had 14 different varieties of grapes, including a French Colombard!
Something to kill for!

Nebuchadnezzar, Titus, Haman, Balak, Bilam, Eisav, Lavan, Achashveirosh,
Napoleon - All hard-core alcoholics and we can readily see the effect
they have had on Judaism at large.

Now that we have some historic background on the subject we should look
at the practical angle of how to, and how not to drink at the Shabbos
Kiddush.  If you divide your body weight by the amount of knishes
you would regularly engulf during a Kiddush, and multiply that number
by 2.3567478 - you should come out to an acceptable amount of shots
you can consume in a fifteen minute period, depending on whether it is
Southern Bootlegger XXX Bourbon, or Scottish right to the Brainstem Rye.
This calculation should put you in a pleasant frame of mind by the time
you get home to your suddah, if you can still walk, and guarantees both
you, your family and guests a talkative and lively meal.

Helpful Advice to do At the Kiddush:

1. Don't hover around the bottle of Jack Daniel's like a vulture.
2. Try to pretend that you are eating some of the food on your dish.
3. Use a shot glass, not the 12 ounce desert cup you just finished.
4. Stand at least 2 feet away from anyone you are speaking to.
5. Stand at least 3 feet away from you wife, guests, or Rabbi.
6. Try not to act like something your own mother would disown.

We hope that this vital information will help to increase your joy
and pleasure during all Shabbos Kiddushes.

Have a Freilachin PURIM!!!!


Subject: The Jewish Laws of Television

The Jewish Laws of Television

Author's Preface:  This book must not be used as a guide to practical
Halochoh.  I am not a qualified posek.  I failed my CPA exam.  I do
not even have a driver's license.  The sole purpose of this work is to
provide a basic understanding of the halochic issues relating to owning
and using the television, and to convince my father-in-law that it was
worth supporting me in kollel for the last 23 years.  All halochic
questions should be brought to a reader's local, qualified machmir.
I want to acknowledge my gratitude to Hashem Yisborach, to my wife
Chashie, to my children Bini, Pini, Minnie, Mashie, Bashie, Rashie,
Ushi, Chushi and Harold.  And to the one who instilled in me the love
of television, Captain Kangaroo.

 I.   Definition of Television
 A.  The Halochoh defines television as any instrument which receives an
audio and video signal, with a screen to display the video transmission
and a speaker to amplify the sound.  According to Rav Hai Gaon, an
electrical supply is part of the definition of television (a so-called
Hai-Definition television).
 B.  The Urim V'Tumim is believed to have resembled a television, though
it appears to have lacked a remote.
 C.  The Medrash says that Odom Harishon knew everything, obviously
including how to invent a television.
 D.  In the days of Moshiach, everyone who wants a television will own
one, there will be no commercials, and all weather forecasts will be

II.  Owning a Television
 A.  It is an Issur D'Oraisa to own a television according to most
authorities.  Some say it is an Issur D'Rabbonon.  All agree that owning
a television involves almost as many Issurim as speaking Loshon Hora.
 B.  Owning a television that is broken is permitted, provided the
insides have been removed, replaced with potting soil, and the
television is used as a planter.  A Ba'al Nefesh will refrain from this
 C.  One who borrows a television for more than thirty days is
considered as one who owns it, even if it is later returned.  Any loan
of a television is canceled at the Yovel, along with magical
objects, under the principle of Shemitos Keshafim.  This principle will
not apply on New Years' Day to a television tuned to the Pros Bowl.

III. Getting Benefit (Hano'oh) from Television
 A.  It is prohibited to derive benefit from television.  Don't even
think about it.

IV.  The Laws of B'rochos
 A.  It is required to recite a Shehechiyonu on a new television, some
say at the time of purchase, some say at the time of watching it for the
first time, some say at the first time of watching an entertaining and
popular program that is not interrupted every five minutes by annoying
commercials featuring furry animals, cute children or a talking carton
of milk.
 B.  When hearing a B'rocho recited on television, one should respond
"Omen," although this does not fulfill an obligation.  When the B'rocho
is recited by a Goyische actor with a lousy Hebrew accent, one should
snicker derisively.

V.   The Laws of Kashrus
 A.  One should not eat meat while dairy products are being advertised
on television, lest one come to mix the two.  It is preferable to wait
six hours before watching a dairy advertisement.
However, if the advertisement appears in between two non-dairy
advertisements, it is considered Bottel B'Rov, unless the ad includes
Tommy Lasorda or Tommy Lee Jones (in which case it is Nosen Tom).
 B.  After eating meat, a pregnant woman with a craving for ice cream
may watch an advertisement for Haagen-Dazs, but only if the reception is
 C.  One should not eat dairy while meat products are being advertised
on television, unless one has just brushed one's teeth.  An intervening
toothpaste or mouthwash ad is also acceptable.
 D.  It is forbidden to derive Hano'oh from an advertisement for Bosor
B'Cholov, such as a ch-seburger.  When such an advertisement begins, one
should immediately cover one's face, turn off the television and recite
some Tehillim.

VI.  The Laws of Tefiloh
 A.  It is forbidden to postpone prayer in order to watch a program on
television.  However, if one is already engaged in watching a program,
in Eretz Yisroel you may delay prayer until the program is finished,
while in Chutz Lo'Oretz you may delay until the first commercial.
 B.  It is permitted to Daven B'Yechidus in order to catch one's
favorite sitcom, but only on Thursday nights.
 C.  When one's television is broken, one should pray for its speedy
repair.  It is permissible to engage in Hishtadlus and call a
repairman.  In the event the repairman actually shows up, it is proper
to recite the B'rocho of She'Osoh Nissim.

VII. Talking During Television Watching
 A.  It is forbidden to engage in idle talk during a television program,
because it would be a Hefsaik (interruption).  If the speech is related
to the watching (e.g., "Please pass the remote," or "Doesn't Kathie Lee
Gifford make you nauseous?"), no Hefsaik occurs.  Nevertheless, it is
preferable to refrain from any speech, especially if the person sitting
next to you threatens to "punch your lights out" if you say another
 B.  During commercials, conversation is not considered a Hefsaik.
Nevertheless, one who is able to refrain from talking during commercials
should do so.  The story is told about the mother of a famous Gadol who
was asked why she merited to give birth to a Torah giant.  She said, "I
never disturbed my husband during commercials, and I never paid retail."

VIII.     The Laws of Shabbos
 A.  Before Shabbos one should unplug the television and cover it with a
velvet Challoh cover, Li'Kovod Shabbos.  There is a dispute whether it
is required that the Challoh cover be encased in plastic.
 B.  If a young child accidentally turns on a television during Shabbos
(Rachmonoh Lotzlon), it is vital to respond without causing additional
Chilul Shabbos.  The following things should be done (in order of
 1.  If there is an Eruv, move yourself and your family into a
neighbor's house for the duration of Shabbos.
 2.  If there is no Eruv, one must avoid looking at the television, even
unintentionally.  Men should tip their hat brim over their eyes.  Women
should tip their sheitel forward over their eyes.  Children should wrap
long strips of cloth over their eyes.
 3.  If this is not possible, one should seek out a Gentile and
indirectly ask him if there is anything good to watch on Friday nights.

IX.  The Laws of Paisach
 A.  It is very difficult to clean a television for Paisach because of
all the little holes in the back of the set.  Therefore, many
authorities require that one throw out one's televisions before
Paisach and buy new ones for Paisach.
 B.  According to R. Blumenkrantz, a television should be cleaned for
Paisach as follows.  First, remove the back of the television by
unscrewing the screws under the sticker that warns against removing the
back of the television.  Then clean each instrument with an
ammonia-based cleaner.  Finally, to eliminate the Chometz absorbed when
the television gets hot, the entire television set should be immersed in
boiling hot water (Hagoloh).  R. Blumenkrantz recommends unplugging the
television first.


Subject: pesach

[Note from the Purim editor: I updated the date on this important tract
because it is still relevant today.]

Best wishes for a Chag Kasher V'Sameach.

 From Rabbi Yisroel Grundfliegel SHLIT"AH, Self-Described Halachik
Authority  and Successful Lower East Side Real Estate Developer

Here are the halachik issues for Peisach 5762:

1. Braces

Those people who normally wear braces while consuming chometzdike food,
must have their braces kashered for Peisach.  The preferred method is
that of Libun, which can be accomplished by crinkling your lips up to
expose your teeth and then running a blow torch along the entire length
of your braces.  Some authorities are meikel and permit kashering of
braces by dunking your open mouth into a bowl of scalding hot water.

2. Digestive System

While most people put all their efforts into ridding their homes and cars
of chometz, there is one place even more personal that is traditionally
neglected during bedikas chometz - your very own digestive system,
including stomach, small intestine and large intestine (colon).
Those who have consumed chometz during the 24-hour period prior to
biyur chometz must spend the proper time in the bathroom prior to the
time of issur chometz to allow the elimination of any residual chometz
from their bodies.  Some halachik authorities also require the use of
a laxative to assist in the elimination process.

Note:  Some laxatives are chometz and may not be used Erev Peisach.
Please consult your local rabbinical authority for which laxatives may
be used.

3. Gebruchts

Boruch Hashem, many of us are very careful not put any non-solid
food on our matzoh, lest the liquid combine with any unbaked flour
and become chometz.  But what about our saliva and digestive juices?
Saliva contains water and could very well cause problems of gebruchts.
Until recently, it was felt that this problem was insurmountable,
and thus, many poskim were meikel on this issue.  But it has come to
my attention that it is common practice for drug dealers to smuggle
their drugs inside a human courier, by having the person ingest the
drugs inside a small rubber balloon or, chas v'sholom, prophylactic.
It would appear that this is also a perfect method for eating matzoh
without worrying about the possibility of gebruchts.  So this year,
one should try to be machmir and put all matzoh in small rubber balloons
before swallowing it.  Upon further reflection, it has occurred to me that
this is the way Bnei Yisroal must have eaten their matzoh in the midbar.

4. Shiur of Matzoh (amount)

As you may be aware, the issue of shiurim is one that has been discussed
at length.  This year, I decided to reexamine the whole issue in the hopes
of settling it conclusively, using my own opinion, and I was astonished
by what I found.  As you know, we are all required to eat a "kezayis"
of matzoh.  But how much is a "kezayis"?  Obviously olives in the time
of the Torah were not the size of today's puny olives!  To determine
the exact size of Torah olives, I went to the posuk "Eretz Chitoh
Oo'Si'oroh V'Gefen Oo'Si'einoh V'Reemon, Eretz Zais Shemen Oo'dvash."
It occurred to me that this posuk lists the seven species IN SIZE ORDER!
The posuk starts with the tiny grains are wheat and oats, continues with
the slightly larger grape, and then the even larger fig, whatever that is.
Thus, the size of an olive comes out to be somewhere between that of a
pomegranate and that of a large jar of honey.  Being that achilas matzoh
is a mitzvoh me'dioreysah, we must be machmir by using the size of the jar
of honey.  After checking with officials at the Golden Blossom company,
it turns out that the largest jar of honey sold commercially is 32 oz.
So, by taking into account the amount of flour that fits into a 32
oz. jar, we come up with the shiur kezayis as being 4.7 round matzohs,
or 6.4 square matzohs.  Please remember that this matzoh must be consumed
within the allowed time of 5 minutes!

Note:  There are many brands of Shmureh Matzoh, on the market, most
of which I would no sooner eat than I would a product certified by
the triangle-K.   People who are serious about shmiras ha'mitzvos
should purchase Shmureh Matzoh only from my brother-in-law, Yonkie.
Yonkie's Yiddishe Matzohs are BOTH hand AND machine made - l'chol
ha'dayos - and are Glatt Kosher l'mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadin.
Prices start at tzvontzik tullar a pound, which, for those of you who
don't speak yiddish, translates to $80 a pound.

5. Water

Water contains many microorganisms, which, according to many poskim,
fall under the category of shrotzim.  While this does not present
a specific problem for Peisach, it can be a problem all year round.
I recommend using micro-bodek bottled water - guaranteed organism free.

6. Soda

In addition to the problem of containing water (see #5), soda has the
additional problem of containing bubbles, thus creating the possibility
that it will be confused with beer, which is, of course, chometz mamish.
Some rabbonim permit the use of soda on Peisach, though I personally
wouldn't eat in any of their homes.  On the subject of soda, let me
quote an excerpt from the popular sequel to "Shmiras Shabbos K'Hilsosoh",
"Smiras Peisach K'Hilsoso":

"While use of soda and other carbonated beverages are permitted on
Peisach, it is nonetheless desired to refrain from drinking them.
In fact, it is generally desired to refrain from ALL forms of permissible
activity throughout the year, lest halachah not be seen as sufficiently
burdensome and unpleasant."

It would also seem to me that such a prohibition would extend to any
food that could possibly be confused with a chometzdike item, not
to mention all the those products that are "Peisachdik" versions of
things that only a goy would eat on Peisach, such as "Peisach" noodles,
"Peisach" pancake mix, and "Peisach" muffins.  Such products should be
scrupulously avoided!  As to whether such products can be fed to dog on
Peisach, consult your local halachik authority.

7. Mechiras Chometz

The question has come about whether a family where the wife doesn't wear
a sheital, or whose kids learn at a co-ed school, chas v'sholom, can be
considered goyim for purposes of Mechiras Chometz.  The "Makos Mardus",
Rabbis Yechiel Getzel Grunblatt of Flatbush, deals with this question in
his best-selling seifer on hilchos Peisach "VaYichan Sham Neged HaHar:
Spending Peisach in the Mountains":

"Whereas many "Jewish" families are considered by frume yidden to
be goyim, l'chaschila, it's better to sell your chometz to a true
church-going duch gatribene goy.  However, one may keep such people in
mind when reciting the brochoh "shelo osani goy.""

This concludes our issues for Peisach.  Please look for upcoming halachah
bulletin's dealing with following issues:

- Using happy tunes in kedushah during sfiroh
- Wearing light-colored suits during the summer - ussur or menuval birshus
- Has your wall-to-wall carpeting been shatnez tested?

Wishing you a happy and kosher l'mehadrin min hamehadrin min hamehadin

Peisach and hopeful that this year will see the coming of the
Rabbi Yisroel Grundfliegel


From: "Robert A. Levene" <rlevene@...>
Subject: Full shtetl jacket

What would happen if every Israeli yeshiva bochur
and maidel had to serve in the Israeli military...?


by Gus the Levite (<RALevene@...>)
with apologies to Kubrick, Herr, and Hasford

SCENE 1 - Chol Hamoed Sukkoth

Rabbi Hartmann, a tough-looking bearded drill
instructor with camouflage streimel and arba
kanfot glowers at his squad of raw recruits.


   "Port ... hut!"

Their arba minim snap to port arms position.


All recruits, in unison:

   "This is my lulav.  There are many like it but this one is mine.
    Without me, my lulav is useless.  Without my lulav, I am useless."

SCENE 2 - Ladies' Auxiliary

At a separate base a modest distance away, the female recruits train.

Rebbetzin Hartstein, their drill instructor, wears a camouflage
snood and a crowded charm necklace.  She calls the cadence
as they march in double-time across the base:


   I don't know, but I've been told;


   I don't know, but I've been told;


   Mikvah water is mighty cold!


   Mikvah water is mighty cold!


It's chol hamoed sukkoth, and Private Feivel
struggles to erect the collapsible field sukkah:


   Ten chalakim!  It should take you no more
   than ten chalakim to erect that sukkah!
   Pick'em up and set'em down, Feivel!
   Quickly! Move it up!  Quickly! Hustle up!
   Yom Tov will be over by the time you finish!

He then musters the squad to attention:


   Private Levi, what's your fifth general order?


   Sir, the Levite's fifth general order is to stay
   awake at my post until properly relieved, or else
   someone will set my uniform on fire, sir!


The women get their first duty assignments:


   Rabinovich--Infantry, BenShimon--Infantry,
   AlFasi--Infantry, Schwartz--Yated Neeman.  You
   gotta be kidding me, Schwartz!  You think you're
   Faye Kellerman?  Do you think you're some kind of
   budding writer?


   Sir, I wrote for my shul newsletter, sir!


   Oy vey iz mir, you're not a writer, you're a kallah!


   A kallah, yes, sir!





End of Volume 35 Issue 97