Volume 37 Number 08
                 Produced: Thu Sep  5  6:24:37 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Datelines (was: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat)
         [Zev Sero]
Folding a tallit (2)
         [Andrew Klafter, Joshua Hosseinof]
         [Chaim Shaprio]
Men vs women (Boro park)
         [Chaim Shapiro]
         [Joshua Hoffman]
Seating for men only
         [Yehuda Landy]


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 17:43:28 -0400 
Subject: Datelines (was: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat)

> The source for this idea is Rabbi Yehudah Halevi's Sefer ha-Kuzari,
> II.20, where he says that the day starts in China, six hours east of
> Eretz Yisrael -- i.e,  at the eastern end of the Eurasian land
> mass.

Another source for this idea is the baal haMaor, on Rosh Hashana.  The
problem with these sources is that they were operating out of a
worldview that saw the globe as composed of a `top' hemisphere of land
(the `yishuv'), and a `bottom' hemisphere which was one vast ocean.
This was the universally accepted view among educated people of that
time, which is why nobody before Columbus tried to get to India by going
west - they knew that no ship they could build could possibly survive
such a long journey.  Columbus was a crackpot who thought the earth was
a lot smaller than everyone claimed it was, and that India was just over
the western horizon from Spain.  He was wrong, and everyone else was
right, and the distance from Spain to India sailing west is exactly what
everyone else said it was, but what nobody had suspected was that there
was land in the middle of the ocean.

As far as the pre-Columbian rishonim were concerned, it was sufficient
to say that the dateline was somewhere on the `ocean hemisphere', and it
didn't really matter exactly where, so long as it didn't pass through
the `yishuv'.  Thus, when the Kuzari and the baal haMaor note that the
edge of the yishuv is about six hours ahead of Jerusalem, so that if the
new moon is six hours old when it's viewed in Jerusalem it was already
new when the sun set in China six hours earlier, and therefore that that
day could be declared as Rosh Chodesh for all of the yishuv, it's not
entirely clear that they really meant to say that the dateline lies
exactly at that point, and not any further east.  It could be that all
they meant was that in *practical terms* that was the dateline, since
the space east of China and west of Spain didn't really exist in any
useful sense, because it was a vast uninhabitable ocean.

Put another way, while to us the idea dividing the earth longitudinally
into a `top' and `bottom' hemisphere seems arbitrary and even bizarre,
to the Rishonim it seemed as natural as our division of the earth at the
equator seems to us.  More so, since our thinking of the Northern
hemisphere as the `top' one is still arbitrary (the Arab geographers put
south at the top of their maps), whereas in their system it seemed
entirely natural that the `yishuv' was the top hemisphere, and the
`ocean' was the bottom one.  It follows that while to us the location of
the Dateline seems inherently arbitrary, and we must search for clues in
the halachic literature as to where it might be, to them it obvious
where is was - in the ocean hemisphere.  In fact, I suggest that perhaps
they didn't even think of it as a line - to them, the whole `ocean
hemisphere' *was* the Dateline; and therefore that to us, who need to
know the precise boundary between east and west, between one day and the
next, they don't serve as a useful guide, because when they said it lay
six hours east of EY they didn't necessarily mean it `davka'.

>      As a result of the above Kuzari, there is a mahloket between the
> Hazon Ish and most other poskim [...] in Japan, Taiwan, and I suppose
> also in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesisa & Phillipines, etc.

According to the Chazon Ish, the Dateline cannot pass over land, and
wherever the 90deg line passes through land the Dateline follows the
coast to the east, including the entire land in the quarter of the earth
which is ahead of EY.  Thus, according to him, the entire Australian
mainland is on the `correct' side of the Dateline, and he agrees with
the accepted practise of keeping Shabbat on Saturday rather than Sunday.
But, according to him, Tasmania, and all islands off the eastern half of
Australia, are on the wrong side of the Dateline, and their Shabbat is
on Sunday.

BTW, the Rambam, in Hil Kiddush Hachodesh, gives the location of
Jerusalem as 32N, 24W.  In other words, the cartographers of his day put
the middle of the `yishuv' 24 deg east of Jerusalem, meaning that the
eastern edge is 114 DEOJ, rather than 90.  Based on this, R Shlomo Goren
held that the Dateline is at 114 DEOJ, slicing pretty much right through
Canberra, and putting Melbourne on the correct side, but Sydney on the
wrong side.  IMHO this is overreading the Rambam.  All he's doing is
telling the reader how to find Jerusalem on a contemporary map; he's not
giving his cartographers halachic authority to decide where Shabbat
starts and ends!  Had he lived in the 19th Century, when French
cartographers put the prime meridian through Paris, while British ones
put it through Greenwich, he might have said that Jerusalem is 35E on
British maps, and 33E on French ones, but that wouldn't constitute
halachic endorsement of either side.

> More generally, the Japanese, though allies of Ger,any, in no way
> shared in the Nazi's anti-Semtism

Not entirely true.  _The Protocols of the Elders of Zion_ had a wide
circulation among the governing classes in Japan, and they didn't really
know how seriously to take it.  But it is true that antisemitism wasn't
an official policy, and certain Japanese authorities were open to the
Amshenover Rebbe's claim that the reason the Germans hated us was
because we were Orientals like the Japanese themselves.  The ghetto in
Shanghai was officially not for Jews but for `stateless persons', and
therefore Jews with recognised passports were allowed to live outside
it. (Jews from German-occupied Europe had had their citizenships
cancelled by the Germans, and the Japanese recognised this act as valid,
so these Jews were considered stateless.)

> To the best of my knowledge, today there is consensus among poskim
> that we follow the accepted local date;  the large religious community
> in Australia has definite traditions and accepted practice on this
> point, and the Hazon Ish's opinion has essentially gone by the wayside.

There are some in Australia who won't go boating on Sunday, or travel to
Tasmania, in order to take the Chazon Ish into account.  But AFAIK
nobody worries about the opinions that the Dateline does pass through
land, and runs precisely 90deg east of Jerusalem, cutting right through
the middle of Australia and leaving the eastern half (where almost all
the Jews live) on the wrong side.  Nor does anyone worry (or even know,
for the most part) about R Goren's opinion that the Dateline passes
between Sydney and Melbourne.

Zev Sero


From: Andrew Klafter <KLAFTEAB@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 09:36:30 -0400 
Subject: Folding a tallit

>From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
>as I always fold my tallit, I found it puzzling that there is an
>opinion that if one folds up the tallit *other* than in the already
>existing creases, it would be permissible but to fold it exactly along
>the previous creases is prohibited.  My reasoning would have it just
>the opposite: that making a new crease is worse than simply folding
>along an old (already-made) crease.  Can someone explain this reasoning
>to me?

The prohibition of folding and smoothing out clothing is based on the
premise that that folding laundry makes clothing wearable and improves
it to an extent that the activity rises to the level of "tikun mana"
(the improvement of an object, forbidden on the Sabbath).  It is as
though we were ironing the garment.  The consensus of halakhic opinions
is that this extent of improvement in an object is only achieved when it
is folded along creases.  When the tallit is rolled up for casually
folded in a manner that does not conform with it's creases, it is not as
significant an activity and not forbidden.

It would, in fact, be forbidden to make NEW creases--for example by
using a clothing iron to form new creases.  However, when you casually
fold your tallit after you use it, it does not make new creases.  Open
it back up and you will see that the oritional creases, which were
ironed in, are still there and that you have not made any new ones.
Casually folding your tallis is no different halakhically, according to
most opinions, than simply putting it down on the table.  There are some
who are machmir and will not fold the tallis at all but will roll it up
or just lay it in a heap on their shtender.  It sounds like you would be
sympathetic to this chumra.

Lastly, it is somewhat inaccurate to call a tallis a "holy garment."
It's true that nowadays we only use tallesim for prayer, but the whole
concept of a tallis is that it is an ordinary garment of clothing which
happens to have four corners.  The separation of religious rituals and
common daily life in contmeporary society has distorted our view of the
halakha.  A tallis is simply a piece of clothing.  It can be brought
into the bathroom and even worn while relieving oneself, and there is no
prohibition in doing this.  It is not like tefillin or a sefer Torah.
Furthermore, since it is forbidden to fold a tallis on the creases on
the Sabbath, it a great demonstration of respect for HaShem to simply
crumple up the tallis and through it on the floor rather than to fold it
careful on the creases, Heaven Forbid.

-nachum klafter

From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Sep 2002 09:44:31 -0400
Subject: Folding a tallit

Just from what I recall offhand:

Folding of clothes is the final act of Washing your clothes ("Gemar
Melacha") - i.e. after you have finished washing your clothes and let
them hang to dry you will always fold them up along their original
creases.  Washing clothes is a prohibited act on Shabbat.  The general
rule about the 39 melachot is that even the "Gemar Melacha" of a
particular melacha is prohibited on shabbat, even if you didn't perform
the underlying melacha itself.  However, if you perform this "gemar
melacha" in an unusual manner, then there are opinions that permit it.
Folding the tallit along different crease lines is the best example.

If you follow this approach, it's important after Shabbat to unfold the
tallit and refold it along the original crease lines, otherwise the
"shabbat" crease lines can become the permanent crease lines -
especially if you have a tallit just for shabbat.


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shaprio)
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 18:47:38 EDT
Subject: Hugging

As to the debate about hugging and kissing and its permissibility, Reb
Moshe Zt'l wrote in Even Hezer Chalek 4 Simon 60 that fraternizing
between boys and girls who are not dating for tachlis purposes is Asur
Mdiorisah (prohibited from the Torah) in part because it may lead to the
averirah of coming close to an Ervah by hugging or kissing one another.

This is a step further than the discussion.  Reb Moshe Zt'l not only
makes it abundantly clear that hugging and kissing is prohibited, but
makes it clear that socializing for non tachlis purposes is prohibited as

Chaim Shaprio


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 18:39:16 EDT
Subject: Men vs women (Boro park)

I am intrigued by the discussion about an eatery in Jerusalem and what
it says about the attitudes of the people involved.  Allow me to add the
following.  A year ago I was in a Shteibel in Boro Park.  For the
purposes of perspective I note that my wife, prior to our introduction,
was kicked out of the second floor ladies section of this shul on Yom
Kippur because her halachicaly Tznius outfit had some red in it.

As of my last visit a debate raged in the community about the
acceptability of a new Eruv.  I had no interest in involving myself in
the local politics and decided to be machmir (strict) and not use the
eruv because of the sefak (doubt).

As it turned out, I davened Shabbas Mincha at this same shul.  There was
a poster on the shul wall warning everyone to avoid using the eruv.  The
poster made it clear that the use of the eruv was Asur (forbidden)
without any question.  A small note of the poster said that the eruv is
even prohibited for women.

I was quite shocked as I do believe Hilchos Eruvin (the laws of Eruv)
apply equally to men as well as women.  Maybe I am misguided, but I
found that poster quite condescending.

Chaim Shapiro


From: <JoshHoff@...> (Joshua Hoffman)
Date: Tue, 3 Sep 2002 19:05:08 EDT
Subject: Re: Netziv

The Rama mentions the Ran's conclusion from the gemara in Bava Bara re 
finding Avraham and Sarah together in the cave, that husband and wife should 
not publicly show signs of affection. So what the bride and groom were doing 
at the wedding was a breach of that Rama, not just 'improper behavior.' Also, 
the Rama in Hilchos Yom HaKippurim says that even in a situation where those 
hearing tochacha will not listen, a manhig should make a one-time protest. 
This is also based on Rishonim in the sugya of 'hanach lahem, IIRC.Sorry for 
writing all this w/o 1st looking up the exact sources- just a quick  reaction 
to the posts I just read. 


From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Wed, 4 Sep 2002 16:35:29 +0200
Subject: re: Seating for men only

Hi all

	Just wanted to point out that I think I know the store which has
the sign. If I am correct, there are two seating areas in the store. One
area is for men only and the other area is open to all.  Maybe the sign
was not worded properly thus creating an impression of discrimination
against women, but as an American living in Israel for over thirty years
now, I can hardly recall any English sign translated properly by an
Israeli (and in principle they will not let an American "teach" them how
to translate and word it properly).

Wishing all a k'sivah v'hasimah tovah.
Yehuda Landy


End of Volume 37 Issue 8