Volume 36 Number 89
                 Produced: Mon Aug  5 18:44:50 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew (3)
         [Gershon Dubin, Zev Sero, Gil Student]
Benefitting from non-Jew's work on Shabbat (2)
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad, Ira L. Jacobson]
Breast Feeding vs Birth Control
         [Janice Gelb]
Harrisburg, PA
Holding hands in public
         [Feldman, Mark]
Modesty by Avraham and Sara
         [Zev Sero]
New Book: Emanations
         [Ari Kahn]
Shir shel Yom Revi'i
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
Temperature (3)
         [Carl Singer, Ben Katz, Jonathan Katz]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 17:41:34 GMT
Subject: Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew

From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>

> Asking a gentile to ask a second gentile is a "Shvus de Shvus" which
> according to some is allowed.

Most poskim only allow it if there is a need for a mitzva, or public need.

> But if you ask a goy to join you in a drink of shnapps in a dark room
> and he turns on that light so that you can also drink that would be
> forbidden. 

No.  Light by its nature is for everyone (ner l'echad ner lemae'ah) so
even if he had you in mind ALSO (not just you) you may use the light. 


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:59:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew

Daniel M Wells <wells@...> wrote:

> What is allowed is if he does say turn on the light purely for his own
> and only his own benefit, later you can benefit from that light. But if
> you ask a goy to join you in a drink of shnapps in a dark room and he
> turns on that light so that you can also drink that would be forbidden.

Not so.  If he did it for himself, or for another goy, then anyone may
use it.  The prohibition is only when his purpose was for the Jews.
Thus, if a goy comes into a room, turns on the light, and stays there,
it is clear that his intent was for himself, because *he* didn't want to
sit in the dark, and so it's OK to benefit.  But if he sees a dark room,
turns on the light, and leaves, so that he obviously did it for the
people who were in the room, then we must look further to decide for
whom specifically he did it; in the absence of any other evidence, we
assume that he did it for the majority of the people in the room, and if
the majority is Jewish they may not use the light.

In the case where you invite him for a drink in a dark room, it is
obvious that he turns on the light because *he* doesn't want to drink in
the dark, not because he has read your mind and knows that *you* don't
want to be in the dark.  (In fact, I've heard anecdotes of goyim in such
a situation who thought that the Jew liked sitting in the dark, so when
they finished their drink and left they switched it back off!)  So this
is clearly permitted.  It's even permitted to tell him that he is not
obligated to drink in the dark, that the reason the light is off is not
because you like it that way but because you can't turn it on on
shabbat, and that if he prefers it on he should feel free to turn it on
himself.  And once the light is on, it is of course perfectly OK to tell
him not to switch it off when he leaves.

NOTE: this applies to lights, etc, which serve any number of people with
the same action.  Where the amount of work increases with the number of
people served, and the goy is not a random stranger but someone you know
and regularly see, then you have to worry that if, e.g., you drink the
coffee he made for himself, next time he'll make extra.

Zev Sero

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 16:05:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew

Daniel Wells wrote:
>Asking a gentile to ask a second gentile is a "Shvus de Shvus" which
>according to some is allowed.

See Shu"t Chavos Yair #23.

>Others, and I think its a majority opinion hold, even without any form of
>asking, it is forbidden to have benefit from him even if he does it
>with payment and without request.

See Shu"t Chasam Sofer 6:24.

Gil Student


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 12:18:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Benefitting from non-Jew's work on Shabbat

When I was in Stern College '67-9, I remember that on occasion an
alarm/radio went on and in order to turn it off we went to the
non-Jewish security guard, saying very loudly--not to her directly:
"There's a radio making lots of noise in room _."  She got the hint and
went up to turn it off.

Shabbat Shalom,


ps Yes, I'm a drop-out.

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 17:22:52 +0300
Subject: Re: Benefitting from non-Jew's work on Shabbat

Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...> stated:

      there are two exceptions to the general rule that I did not
      mention and are relevant to this.

      2 - tzarchei tzibbur. any time the need is a communal one,
      benefitting from non-jewish melacha on shabbos is
      permitted. hence, one can directly ask a non-jew to turn lights on
      in the shul, but not in ones house.

Could you give a reference for the latter exception?



From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:13:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: Breast Feeding vs Birth Control

I am sorry that I don't have a citation, but it was my understanding
that only men are actually *required* to have children. Because
childbirth puts women in danger of their lives, they are not actually
halachically required to procreate. Therefore, I wouldn't think that
they could be required to stop breastfeeding on the basis that this
meant they could not become pregnant.

-- Janice

P.S. Someone probably already mentioned this, but it's not effective
birth control anyway. My sister-in-law became pregnant while
breastfeeding because she thought she was safe during that period...


From: <Sandyeye@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 10:52:12 EDT
Subject: Re: Harrisburg, PA

Harrisburg, PA which is about 30 miles from Lancaster, has an Orthodox
synagogue, Kesher Israel Congregation, 2500 N. Third St. Harrisburg PA
17110  ( 717 238-0763).  Kesher Israel has two minyanim in the morning
6:45 AM and 8:30 AM plus  mincha and ma'ariv everyday.  On Shabbos we
have a very large congregation, lively services and a Kiddush at the
conclusion on the Morning Service.  Kesher Israel Congregation invites
all to join us for any Service or we'd love to haver you for a Shabbos.
 Contact  Rabbi Schertz at 717.236-1959 or Cantor Rockoff at 717.234-5995
( Please do not call after 9:00 PM)
Harrisburg, the capitol of Pennsylvania, has the Pennsylvania State
Museum ( Free) and a brand new Civil War Museum which is excellent.
 Harrisburg is a 35 minute drive to Lancasrter, a 15 minute drive to
Hershey and only a 40 minute drive to Gettysburg.  Harrisburg has many
affordable motels.


From: Feldman, Mark <MFeldman@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 13:40:03 -0400
Subject: RE: Holding hands in public

From: <chaim-m@...> (Chaim)
> While the Rema explicitely said not to do it
> (as a prohibition or as a recommendation), did any Posek say that it
> can/should be done?

Yes.  See my post at

In connection with that post, I also recommend reading Rav YH Henkin's two
articles in Tradition, which were posted at:
and http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol06/v06n072.shtml#02

Kol tuv,


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 03:44:08 -0400
Subject: re: Modesty by Avraham and Sara

Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...> wrote:
> Zev Sero <zev.sero@...> writes:
>> that R Eliezer b"r Shimon remained in his attic for many
>> years after his death, answering questions that were shouted up at him
>> from the ground level.  
> If I recall correctly, the gemara clarifies that he only adjudicated
> civil matters which may be decided by any mutually agreed-upon party.

I can't find this in the gemara (Bava Metzia 84b); maybe it's in Rashi
or some other commentary.  In any case, this reinforces my point, that
the gemara treats this story, not as some strange midrash, but as
literal fact.

Zev Sero


From: Ari Kahn <kahnar@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 15:35:03 +0200
Subject: New Book: Emanations

I would like to announce to my fellow readers of Mail Jewish the
publication of my new book "Emanations" an in-depth analysis of the
Jewish holidays through the prism of Rabbinic perspective. For more
information see: http://arikahn.tripod.com/emanations/ Information on my
previous book "Explorations" on the Parasha can be seen at:

Ari Kahn


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 09:42:51 +0300
Subject: Re: Shir shel Yom Revi'i

Various readers have proposed solutions to the riddle of the three extra
verses added to Wednesday's shir shel yom, beginning with lekhu
neranenah.  Some have suggested it relates to Hurban Habayit, invoking
the gemara in Arakhin 11b about the Levites reciting Psalm 94 at the
time of the Destruction.

     The alternative answer is that it was introduced as a hint of the
coming of Shabbat, which we begin anticipating from midweek, and that it
alludes to Kabbalat Shabbat, which begins with Lekhu Neranna.

    It seems to me that this question may be answered by determing
whether this custom was introduced before of after the 16th century,
when Kabbalat Shabbat was introduced by the Kabbalists of Safed.  All
that is required is some library work, ny someone living in a city with
good Judaica research facilities.  I would do it myself, but am
overloaded with work right now.  First, one should check the printed
editions of the earliest siddurim: Mahzor Vitri, Siddur R. Amram Gaon,
Sidur R. Saadya Gaon, and Siddur Rashi.  Then, one would have to check
old siddurim, those printed between Gutenburg and, say, 1560 and, if
possible, manuscripts.

      For those living in Jerusalem, an hour at the Scholem Collection
at Givat Ram should provide your answer.  The librarians there are both
helpful and learned.  There are also good collections at Harvard; at the
42st Library, at JTS, and at YU in New York; at the Bodleian in Oxford;
in Cambridge; at HUC in Cincinnatti; and in other places I haven't

    Rav Yehonatan Chipman, Jeruslaem


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 06:41:47 EDT
Subject: Temperature

      From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>

      I just read that doctors have just shown that the average
      temperature of humans is 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit and not the 98.6
      degrees established (mistakenly) by a doctor in 1868, and which
      came through unexamined for over 130 years. (Examination has shown
      this was simply an error!)

      Now, I know that there are certain Piskei Halachah regarding the
      permissibility of taking medicine on Shabbat, and which specify
      certain temperatures as justifying the taking of medicines.

      Should this new information affect these Piskei Halachah?

This may be a bit off track, but average temperature is just that, an
observed population average (of a specific population?)  People, thank
goodness, vary in many ways including their own normal (healthy?)
temperature.  Not to mention measurement variances: location temparature
measured - ear, armpit, mouth, etc.; type of thermometer, ambiant
temperature in the room, etc.

Recalling the days when our B'chor (now married) as a baby would spike
enormous temperatures we quickly learned what was his "normal, healthy,
at rest" temperature early on in the game.

Perhaps a physician would care to expand on this.

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 12:39:56 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Temperature

        Everyone's average temperature varies throughout the day (it is
a bit higher late afternoon-early eve) and these values vary from person
to person.  Also we accept slightly higher temperatures in children than
we would in an adult as being significant.

        That being said, to think that a difference in 0.4 F is going to
matter as to whether to call a doctor on shabat is absurd.  First of
all, people mistakenly link the height of a fever with the seriousness
of illness; this is not always the case.  Second, and MOST IMPORTANTLY,
one needs common sense, not a posek in situations such as these.  A very
well respected rav in town here has said publicly more than once that
the time to call the dr. on shabat is when the mother says she needs
one.  BTW, since infections were more deadly at the time some of the
guidelines referred to were promulgated, before there were antibiotics,
the guidelines tend to be very lenient (usually around 101 F to the best
of my recollection)

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, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 22:53:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Temperature

I'd be curious where you heard this, since I doubt it makes much sense
to quibble over 0.4 degrees Farenheit when it comes to specifying an
average temperature of a normal person. For what it's worth, I always
heard that the 98.6 arose because the measurement was 37 degrees
Centigrade. I don't think anyone claims accuracy to .1 degrees (in
either scale!).

Jonathan Katz


End of Volume 36 Issue 89