Volume 36 Number 38
                 Produced: Wed May 29  6:11:15 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

3 days before Shavuot (2)
         [Steven White, Mark Steiner]
Fifty Year Kaddish Limit
         [I Kasdan]
Good wives - Bad wives
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Laining in EY for those from Chutz L'Aretz
         [Caren and Steve Weisberg]
Non-Jewish prophets
Old Tefillin
         [Frank Silbermann]
Saturday night taxi
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Scientific American
         [Mike Gerver]
Tefillin Repair in Jerusalem area
         [Y. Askotzky]


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 16:19:02 -0400
Subject: Re: 3 days before Shavuot

In MJ 36:34, Michael J. Savitz writes:
>Based on this text it would seem logical for people to commemorate these
>events by practicing abstinence during the 3 days before Shavuot -
>preparing for zman matan torateinu the way that bnei yisrael prepared
>for matan torah itself, so to speak.  (More logical than, say, eating
>dairy foods on Shavuot itself.)  Is this an actual custom that is
>practiced anywhere?

I can't imagine why one would go searching for such a stringency.  

What's more: Given the hiyyuv (halachic obligation) to procreate and
given the wife's unconditional right to marital relations when she
wishes (provided she is not tamei-niddah [a menstruant], and that it is
not Yom Kippur or 9 B'Av), I cannot see how separation during this time
could be sanctioned, particularly where the wife attends the mikva
during the three days.  And if this were part of people's simhat yom tov
(rejoicing on the festival), on what grounds might one m'vatel
(diminish) that on Leil Shavuot itself?

If one draws a certain parallel, even though we commemorate (and
recreate) Leil Yezitat Mitzrayim (the night of the Exodus) there were
requirements associated with that first Korban Pesach that were not to
be repeated since.  Similarly, only on the first Shavuot was there
proximity to a place effectively having the same kedusha (holiness) as
the Bet HaMikdash (Holy Temple in Jerusalem), and therefore a similar
need for people to avoid tumah (ritual impurity) as in the Bet HaMikdash
-- not since.

Of course, in context, I am not at all convinced that "all" Jews (or
even "all adult male Jews") should be staying up all night
"commemorating Sinai" anyway, particularly on bitul simhat yom tov and
bitul tefilla(t shaharit) grounds.  But that's another discussion.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ

From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 06:44:27 +0300
Subject: Re: 3 days before Shavuot

    The 3 day period before the giving of the Torah was to insure that
the entire people would be "pure" (tehorim).  But the Talmud (Tractate
Shabbat) makes it clear that the 3 day abstinence period before the
giving of the Torah was not for the men, but for the women.  A man who
engages in sexual relations is "unclean" (Heb. tameh) for only one day
(if he immerses himself in a mikveh).  Many men do go to the mikveh on
the day before Shavuot (indeed, the day before any Yom Tov), so they
have completely fulfilled their obligation, assuming one exists, to
commemorate the day.

    Though a woman does not become "unclean" as a result of sexual
relations, if she has a seminal discharge subsequently (for a period of
up to three days) she is treated as a man who had such a discharge
(i.e. she is "unclean" for one day only if she goes to the mikveh by

    In the communities of which I am aware, women do not attend mikveh
for any reason other than to end the nidah period, and only at night,
and there are many good reasons for this.  Here, as in many areas, an
attempt to be stringent often has the opposite effect.


From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 01:17:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Fifty Year Kaddish Limit

See Sefer Divrei Sophrim -- Kitzur Hilchos Aveilus, perek 62, note 5,
(2nd ed.)  where the author, R. Nachum Yavrov, (Jerusalem, Israel) cites
sefer "Archos Rabeinu" to the effect that after 50 years it is no longer
necessary to visit a gravesite because the nefesh has (completely)
removed itdself from the guf by then and there is no purpose whatsoever
("v'ain kol toeles") in the visit. He ends, however, with a "tzarich
iyun."  In that regard, also note that R. Yavruv states (perek 68,
paragrpah 39) that there is no limitation on the recitation of kaddish
by a son on a yahrzeit; that continues forevever ("l'olam") until the
son's own death. (Citing the Ramah; ayain sham).


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 18:36:20 -0400
Subject: Good wives - Bad wives

I am giving a talk on the wife of On and the wife of Korach. I have some
vague memory of reading a story once about two couples. The righteous
wife made her (wicked?) husband into a righteous man and the wicked wife
made her (righteous?) husband into a wicked man. As you can see I don't
remember many of the details but it would fit nicely into my talk. If
anyone can point me to the source of this story it would be much

Thank you,
Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD


From: Caren and Steve Weisberg <nydecs@...>
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 09:57:34 +0300
Subject: Re: Laining in EY for those from Chutz L'Aretz

I don't think it has been mentioned (just as a point of information)
that the 5 week problem period (where you'd need a special minyan each
week for those who have arrived that week, etc) become an 11 week
problem when the first day of Pesach is on Shabbat.

Nobody really knows why in that case we still wait till Chukat-Balak to
even things out since (usually? always?) there is another parsha that
can be doubled just in chul. I once asked the last Rav Jacobwitz about
this and his response was that it's an "enigma". I personally believe
that in the days they were formulating and writing up the rules nobody
worried too much about the problem of travelers since it was so
rare. And, as has been pointed out, the problem is probably not halachic
anyway since laining is an obligation of the tzibur. The individual has
an obligation to join the tzibur, which presumably is the local one at
hand at that time and place.



From: chihal <chihal@...>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 09:02:12 -0500
Subject: Non-Jewish prophets

Shalom, All:

	Recent discussion on women prophets and whether Rashi had Ruah
HaKodesh leads me to wander a different avenue and wonder which non-Jews
are considered prophets. It would appear Bilam (Balaam) was one, despite
his wickedness in trying to curse the Jewish People. What about other

	Is it a slippery slope to refer to Adam as a non-Jew, as there
were no Jews at the time?  I'll be conventional and think of Avraham as
the first Ivri/Jew, even though the word "Jew" stems from "Judean,"
referring to Yehuda (Judah), son of Ya'akov (Jacob).

	What about Adam? Enoch? Prophets, or just great men? Shem and
Ever are considered great, but I don't recall anybody calling them
prophets. And do we consider any of these people as "Jewish?"

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 27 May 2002 13:58:38 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Old Tefillin

>       As one of the world's foremost poskim of STaM has told me many
>       times when I discuss with him a customer who wants (his son) to
>       use his grandfather's tefillin, "Ask him if he also wears his
>       grandfather's trousers for sentimental value".

What my family does with old trousers is give them away to thrift stores
or cut them into rags.  I assumed tefillin would be treated more like
the way we treat objects of great value.

I would have thought a pair of tefillin might be treated more like a
Torah scroll.  Isn't it proper to try to maximize a Torah scroll's
useful useful life?  When a congregation is disbanded (perhaps due to
changing demographics), should its Torah scrolls be given to a new
congregation starting up elsewhere, or is it better to treat them like
an old pair of pants?

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: <moti2@...>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 21:43:06 -0400
Subject: Raavid

I belive their are three Raavids who wrote perushim on hte torah. Does
anyone know the other two besides the one who wrote a commentary on the


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 23:27:31 -0400
Subject: Saturday night taxi

Perry Zamek added in MJ#36(37):
>Reb Aryeh Levin ztz"l used to simply wish the [taxi or bus] driver
>"Shavua Tov". The driver's response of "Shavua Tov" would serve the role
>of Havdala. [This story is found in one of Simcha Raz's books on Reb
>Aryeh; I think the second one.]
>On a different note, some drivers would be offended by the "religious
>preaching." Reb Aryeh's idea would seem to offend no one, since "Shavua
>Tov" is the accepted greeting for Motzaei Shabbat.

But this raises a deeper question. Can one be motzi someone who does not
wish to perform a mitzvah or say a brachah - halachically speaking? And
if one can, should one - ethically speaking? Is this a qiddush hashem or
a xillul hashem?



From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 29 May 2002 05:02:09 EDT
Subject: Scientific American

This may not be the best place to post this; if someone knows of a
better place, please let me know.  I have about 20 years of back issues
of Scientific American. Since we are moving to a smaller apartment, and
since the magazine has gotten so bad in the past year or two that I have
decided after 40 years not to re-subscribe to it, I would like to donate
my back issues to an organization in Israel that would make good use of
them. My first choice would be a yeshiva or beis yaakov that is
enlightened enough that they wouldn't consider it to be apikorsus, and
would encourage their students to read it (especially the issues
published when it was still very good), as way of motivating them in
science and math, as well as in English for non-English speakers. (My
excuse for posting this on mail-jewish is the hope that the first half
of that last sentence will provoke discussion.) If that cannot be found,
then perhaps a miklalah, or one of those academically excellent
non-religious high schools that Russians have set up, or even a public
library. But I would want assurances that the organization that receives
them would use them, and not just sell them as a fundraiser.

Any ideas or leads would be appreciated.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2002 09:30:35 +0200
Subject: Tefillin Repair in Jerusalem area

> does anyone know of a sofer in or near Jerusalem who specializes in
> repair jobs?

I am not looking for free advertisment but I am in the area you specify
and deal in all exams repairs and sales of STaM.  02-534-0188

kol tuv,
Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner
<sofer@...>   www.stam.net   1-888-404-STAM(7826)


End of Volume 36 Issue 38