Volume 36 Number 62
                 Produced: Mon Jul  8  3:59:32 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fertility Drugs Mandatory?
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
         [Moshe Koppel]
omitting 'Kabbolas Shabbos'
Outer Space
         [David Charlap]
Proofing yeast
         [Wendy Baker]
Proving Ground
         [Carl Singer]
Sharing a Hotel Room
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Tehillas Hashem
Wearing a gartel
         [Ben Z. Katz]
Work on Shabbos or Yom Tov for voch
         [Carl Singer]


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Fertility Drugs Mandatory?

I just heard about an Orthodox couple who just had twins.  Their
previous births were twins and triplets.  Now it's a medical fact that
multiple births are exceedingly rare without the use of fertility drugs.
Since this couple has had a string of 3 multiple births (one of which
was triplets!), I think it's safe to assume that she is using fertility
drugs.  It would also seem that she took fertility drugs even after she
already had 5 children.

This got me to wondering.... do some poskim interpret the issur of birth
control to mean that if a couple can't conceive without fertility drugs,
that it is mandatory that she always take them?  This seems a bit
extreme, and I'd like to know if anyone knows about this.  The closest
thing I've heard to this is a report that a certain rabbi forbids breast
feeding longer than 6 months, because it prevents conception.  This
"mandatory" use of fertility drugs would seem an even more extreme view.


From: Moshe Koppel <koppel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 23:19:12 +0000
Subject: Kavua

>The classical case of kavu'a is a Jew who throws a stone into a group of
>ten people--nine Jews and one non Jew.  (He has been warned of the
>possibility of killing Jews so that he would ordinarily get the death
>penalty for murder.)  One man dies, but we do not know whether he is a
>Jew or a non Jew. ( Presumably they move on taking the dead man with
>them.)  Now the bet din must judge the culprit.  If we would decide the
>matter through rov, the culprit would deserve the death penalty i.e. bet
>din determines he killed a Jew because the majority of the group is
>Jewish.  However, because the non Jew is kavua, i.e. he is ita kamon, we
>change the condition of the Jews from rov to mehtza al mehtza, half Jews
>and half non Jews. Both possibilities--he killed a Jewand deserves the
>death penalty; he killed a non Jew and does not deserve the death
>penalty--are considered by the bet din. But bet din has been mandated by
>the torah to execute a killer only if it is certain, and in this case it
>is not.

This interpretation of the sugya is a daas yachid of the Yad Ramah.
Everybody else interprets the sugya as meaning that the victim was
certainly an Israelite. The problem arises from the fact that the
killer's intent was not sufficiently well-defined: he meant to kill any
member of a group which included both Israelites and Canaanites. The
question is merely whether such intent is adequate for conviction. Note
that, according to this interpretation, there is no doubt about the
facts of the case.  Note also that the gemara uses rather discrete
language (archaic even then) to describe the case. No less discretion is
warranted when posting to public discussion groups.

Anybody interested in my own ramblings on the mechanics of kavua is welcome
to write to me privately.



From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 03:02:48 EDT
Subject: omitting 'Kabbolas Shabbos'

<<From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
I saw this once myself. sometime in the 70s I spent a shabbat with
relatives in Bnei-Berak, and my cousin/host, who learnt in Kolel
Chazon-Ish, took me there for davening. The minyan, which included the
Steipler zt"l, totally skipped Kabalat Shabbat, to my great surprise.

Is this a common litvak custom? Are there known sources for it?>>

I don't know how common it is at present.

In the fine, (relatively) new siddur Eizor Eliyohu ('al pi 'nusach
haGR"A), a note at the relevant point in the siddur states that (loose
translation mine) 'it does not appear in all the 'old' siddurim........'

'It appears that the opinion of the GR"A is that 'Kabbolas Shabbos' is
not said betzibbur ......and the GR"A follows his position that mizmorim
are not said betzibbur'.....and I have heard that such is the custom in
'chotzeir Strauss' (I believe that is a place in Yerusholayim where the
influence of the GR"A is pronounced).



From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 11:35:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Outer Space

Edward Ehrlich wrote:
> Yes, these questions will eventually come up and this is a very
> interesting discussion, but I hope that the poskei halakha are not
> rushing to judgment on this.  For instance, while we know the length of
> the day and seasons on Mars to great accuracy, we have little idea what
> a permanent Mars colony would be like.  Making a halakhic ruling on a
> future Lunar or Mars colony with such incomplete information might set
> precedents that are inconsistent with the reality of such a future
> colony.
> Space stations are now a reality, so not only are Halakhic questions
> being raised regarding them, but a rabbi can now gather enough
> information to answer such questions.  But is it really necessary to
> issue rulings on future space colonies well before they exist and when
> so little is know about them?

I hope nobody is considering making actual rulings on these issues at
this time!  That would be (to say the least) premature.  IMO, such
rulings shouldn't be made until a Jew is actually ready, willing and
able to goe (to the space station, colony, etc.)

Nevertheless, now is the time to start thinking about and discussing the
issues - when there isn't any pressure requiring an immediate ruling.
You wouldn't want some rabbi 50 years from now making a decision based
on incomplete information, and you wouldn't want him to delay his ruling
for a long time, if he needs that much time to decide.

-- David


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 18:33:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Proofing yeast

> From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
> The term "proof" still has the meaning of "test" in the English
> language.  A few instances:
> (1) Brewers talk about "proofing" the yeast.  (Do bakers use this
>     term?)

Yes they do, both the professional and the home variety.  You dissolve
it in a little warm water with a bit of sugar to "feed" the yeast and
make sure that is foams up.  this is to ensure that you have live yeast
that will work its magic on the gluten in the bread.  If you fail to
make this test you might end up with a cousin to a matza.

Wendy Baker


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 17:21:19 EDT
Subject: Proving Ground

>From the Merriam-Webster dictionary
Proving ground noun (ca. 1890)
1   : a place for scientific experimentation or testing (as of vehicles or 
2   : a place where something is developed or tried out
C) 1996 Zane Publishing, Inc. and Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

As a retired Ordnance Officer (and Aberdeen is the home of the Ordnance 


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 21:18:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Sharing a Hotel Room

In v36n58, Carl Singer asks:
>       This feeling was reinforced by the story about the guy who shared
>       a hotel room with another man, who cowed him into not opening the
>       lock from inside, even though after examination it was quite clear
>       to him that it was purely mechanical and unrelated to the magnetic
>       card used to get into the room, which obviously worked
>       electronically.
> I didn't want to get into this aspect before -- the writer of the
> original note was carefully gender inspecific re: his hotel roomate. But
> either way it's problematic -- I recall that there are issues about two
> adult males sleeping together in a room -- or am I heating up the
> "frummometer".

I thought the issue was about two guys sharing a bed, not a room, but I
haven't studied this in any detail.  Also I think the rulings on this
have varied in times and places, depending on what the state of morality
or whatever in the general and/or Jewish society was perceived to be.
But I'd welcome more information on this.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Siddur

Speaking of siddurim, please allow me to plug (at no personal benefit :)
the recently published ArtScroll "Chinuch" siddur.  Even though it is
clearly designed for children and I have left childhood far behind (at
least in theory :), I love it and use it for everything.  It's got nice
large print (larger than any other siddur I've seen, even so-called
"large print editions") with white space in placed in a pleasing, poetic

The layout shows considerable thought... they try to put page breaks in
natural places, when they can, unlike most "traditional" siddurim which,
annoyingly, seem to put the page breaks in completely random places.
The publisher seems to have succeeded in making sure that things are all
on one page when that is logistically preferable, (i.e. the part of
Tachanun where the head is down, kiddush, Havdala...) It's amazing how
many siddurim and even bentchers neglect that bit of practicality... the
bentcher I used to use would have me turning the page with my teeth in
the middle of Havdala.

It's completely free of anything extraneous to davening, including
translations, commenteries, and verse references, which may be good or
bad, depending on your needs.  It definitely results in efficient use of
space, however.

It's got directions in English (although written at about a 4th grade
level, and they refer to "boys" and "girls" sometimes), and it has the
ArtScroll davening "Laws" section in the back that we all know and
love. It's also quite complete... it's even got the Shemoneh Esrehs and
Mussafs of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, which could really come in handy
in a pinch, although it's missing Selichos for Bahab and fast days.
It's also surprisingly inexpensive.

One thing that some may find annoying is the numbered lines.  I would
probably prefer that they not be there ... that feature definitely never
lets you forget that it's really a kid's siddur... but the numbers
occasionally come in handy, like if you need to pause in your davening
to listen to kaddish or some such, and need a way to remember where you
were.  Another down-side in my opinion is the lack of "in-line" Kaddish
Yasums and Kaddish D'Rabannans... they put those 2 Kaddishes in an
easy-to-reach place in the very back of the siddur in extra-large
print... but I'd prefer them in-line in case I want to restrain my
wondering mind by following the kaddish in the siddur.

But all in all, it's been a refreshing change... a needed breath of
fresh air at a time my davening needed a boost! :)


From: <Phyllostac@...> (Mordechai)
Date: Mon, 1 Jul 2002 03:35:38 EDT
Subject: Tehillas Hashem

I am inclined to accept what Rav Yehonoson Chipman wrote - that nusach
Ashkenaz just contained the shir hamaalos originally and that Tehillas
Hashem..... was added later by some from the nusach hasepharadim
(possibly - directly or indirectly - through the Ari z"l - and his
influence / followers).

I am inclined to such belief because such or similar has happened in
other instances, IIRC.

An analogous case may be with regard to the 'shir shel yom' of yom
revi'i ('Wednesday' in English, Mitvoch in Yiddish), where perek 94 of
Tehillim is recited. However, instead of stopping at the end of the
perek, as is seen in old siddurim, many modern siddurim append three few
additional verses from another perek of Tehillim al pi the Ari z"l, the
theme of which seems to be thanksgiving, as with the verses added by
some after the shir hamaalos under discussion. This is the only case of
a shir shel yom containing more than just one perek, AFAIK, which makes
it 'suspicious'.


P.S. What I just wrote re shir shel yom of yom revi'i was, to a large
degree, based on a note on it in the siddur 'Eizor Eliyohu' 'al pi
nusach haGR"a'.


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2002 01:08:33 -0500
Subject: Re: Wearing a gartel

>From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
>Can anyone recommend any good reading (either books or internet) about
>the minhagim of wearing a gartel?

There is an interesting teshuvah of Rashi (ed. I Elfenbein, Shulsinger,
NY, 1943, pp 305-6) arguing that "nowadays" that we wear pants, one need
not daven with a gartel (rashi uses the Heb. term chagur).

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: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 30 Jun 2002 17:35:40 EDT
Subject: Work on Shabbos or Yom Tov for voch

I've spoken with my Rav on this, so I know "MY" answer -- but I've heard
interesting comments from various balabatim (and my sons) on this topic
and thought I'd share this question.

The question is doing work on Shabbos or Yom Tov for post (Motezei)
Shabbos or Yom Tov.  The specific situation that brought the subject up
was taking one's tallis home after Musaf (because planning to daven at
another shule for Mincha.  Or, as happens in our community - because
you're a guest at a Shabbos morning Bar Mitzvah in a school hall where
there will be no micha / maariv davened.)  BTW -- There's no issue of
eruv involved.

Some claim that one must continously wear the Tallis after davening
until coming home (that includes at Kiddush or meal that takes place at

Also -- it matters whether this is your only Tallis or whether it's your
Shabbos / Yom Tov Tallis so you're "preparing" so to speak for the
subsequent Shabbos or Yom Tov -- not for voch.

Kol Tuv

Carl Singer


End of Volume 36 Issue 62