Volume 37 Number 26
                 Produced: Thu Oct  3 20:28:45 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beyond Melitz Yosher
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Brooklyn Eiruv
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Buttons on Kittels
         [Mindy Schimmel]
Buttons on Kittels / Holishkes and Kreplach
         [Jeremy L Rose]
Pregnant Woman
         [Robert Sussman]
Pregrnancy and Yom Kippur
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Announcement: Meru Foundation colloquim
         [Cynthia Tenen]


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 15:57:00 +0300
Subject: Re: Beyond Melitz Yosher

While I am not at all familiar with the specific tragedy being
discussed, I think it is worth mentioning the following gemara in
Kiddushin 39b:

"Yet Rabbi Eleazar said: 'Those who are sent on a mitzvah are never
harmed"?  There, when they are on their way, it is different. But Rabbi
Eleazar said: "Those who are sent on a mitzvah are never harmed, either
on their way or on their return"? It was a rickety ladder, so that
injury was likely, and where injury is likely one must not rely on a

While the cases are certainly different, the message the gemara implies
is that if there is a situation with significant danger, than
"miraculous" promises don't always apply, whether they be that "those
who are sent on a mitzvah are never harmed" or "people die because of
their sins, therefore children, who are assumed to be free of sin,
should not die".

David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 23:36:26 +0200
Subject: Re:  Brooklyn Eiruv

In MJ v37n21, E. Stieglitz wrote:

<<Over the past year, I've seen a number of articles in local secular
newspapers which discuss the eruv situation in Brooklyn. Many of these
articles have ... tended to highlight ugly internal fights within the
community over the issue.
Since I'm unfamiliar with the exact halachic issues involved in the
Brooklyn eruv, perhaps somebody on the list familiar with the area could
explain the different sides to the issue?>>

     I am attaching an explanation of what I understand to be the
halakhic issues involved in the Eiruv controversy, which I originally
posted to another group about two and a half years ago.  Before
presenting the posting, I would like to comment that, to the best of my
knowledge, the Eiruv was put up under the guidance of a respected posek,
Rav Menashe Klein, but in opposition to the view expressed in the apst
by Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz"l, who was of course regarded as the leading
posek in the US during his lifetime.

    In anticipation of possible criticism, let me state in advance that
it is not my intention here to champion either position, but simply to
present a few basic halakhic cocepts.  Let me add that Rav Moshe was
particularly noted in his lifetime for his modesty and gentlemanliness,
vedai la-hakima.

    My apologies in advance if this is too wordy.
     *   *   *   *   *

I will try my best, although I must begin with a disclaimer and state
that the laws of Eruv are extremely detaled and technical, and what I
say here is for general information and not le-halakhah.
    Basically, the dispute revolves around a pesak halakhah issued by
Rav Moshe Feinstein ztz"l some twenty years ago, saying that one canot
make an eruv in Manhattan or, by extension, presumably in other places
where similar conditions apply.
    The type of eruv familiar to us -- i.e., a series of wires enclosing
a certain area, each wire being attached to a horizontal cross-piece
attached to a pole (korah velehi, or tzurat hapetah) is based on the
premise that the area so encompassed is not a "reshut harabbim
de-oraita," a public domain where one is prohibited from carrying any
objects on Shabbat by Torah law, but a "carmelit", an open public that
is only prohibited derebanan.  This is based on the classic model of an
eruv surrounding wells on the way up to Jerusalem, in an area described
as "karmelit," as described in Mishnah Eruvin 2.1 .
    These two types of domain, plus two others: the "reshut hayahid," or
private domain, and "makom patur," an exempt domain (referring to small,
vest-pocket-like spaces), are defined in brief, almost laconic terms in
Shabbat 6a.  Hence, the crucial issue of where it is and is not
permissible to make an eruv of the type described, depends upon the
exact definition of reshut harabbim.
    The problem is that there are two different definitions in halakhic
literature.  The classical sugya mentioned above describes as reshut
harabbim a "mavoy mefulash" -- an open public thoroughfare, that doesnot
come to a dead-end but goes through to the end of the city -- provided
only that it be at least 16 amot ("cubits"), i.e, about 8 meters, wide.
This would definitely include such broad avenues as Kings Highway in
Brooklyn, Queens Boulevard in Queens, Broadway and Fifth Avenue in
Manhattan, Begin Parkway in Jerusalem, etc.  The second definition,
which provides the "out" allowing for the construction of most eruvin in
modern cities, is based on an important Rashi in Eruvin, which adds the
stipulation that a reshut harabim must also have at least 600,000 people
passing through it every day -- presumably, along the selfsame
thoroughfare, or possibly, even more narrowly defined, passing by one
given point along this road.
     In practice, most authorities, certainly when paskening for the
community at large, use the second definition.  As there is virtually no
single point in even the most crowded cities where 600,000 people pass
by during the course of one day, the reshut harabim becomes in practice
a dead letter and one can make an eruv just about any place.  Some pious
and learned individuals may take upon themselves the humra (stringency)
of not relying upon this ruling, in deference to many rishonim who don't
accept this Rashi, and in deference to, for example, an important
teshuvah by the Mishkenot Ya'akov, but by and large the more permissive
interpretation has been accepted.
    R. Moshe Feisntein's ruling represents an in-between position, based
upon an unusual reading of the sources.  He held that the 600,000 people
referred to by Rashi, and the 16-cubit wide thoroughfare, need not be at
one and the same place.  As I understand it, so long as there are
600,000 people residing within the area enclosed by the eruv as a whole,
or even in the contiguous urban area, and if in addition there is a
mavoy mefulash of the requisite width, etc., in that same area, than the
area as a whole is considered a reshut harabim de-oraita, and it is
impossible to make an eruv in such a place.  Those who object to the
Boro Park eruv (and possibly also the Flatbush eruv) rely upon this
   Needless to say, there were and are other Torah giants who allow the
making of an eruv.  Among those who supprted an eruv in Manhattan during
the early post-war years were Rav Henkin and Rav Menahem Kasher, who in
turn based themselves on a ruling given by Rav Hayyim Ozer Grodzinksi
for Paris, which was also supported by the Hazon Ish and Rav Zvi Pesah
Frank, one of the major poskim of Yerushalayim two generations ago. In
prewar Warsaw there was an eruv under the aegis of Rav Meir Shapira of
Lublin.  For details, see Rav Menahem Kasher, "On Establishing an Eiruv
in Manhattan" [Hebrew], published in "Noam: Bamah lebirur Ba'ayot
ba-Halakhah", Vol. 6 (Jerusalem, Makhon Torah Sheleimah, [1963]), pp.
    The present Boro Park eruv was put up and maintained, I believe,
under the guidance of Rav Menashe Klein, who is himself a major posek.
     A word about the making of this eruv vs. Rav Moshe's position.  As
I understand it, the new Eruv is not the result of any change in the
reality.  The avenues are not any narrower, and the population of
Brooklyn has not decreased.  There is always room in halakhah for
mahloket, for differences of opinion.  One (I refer here to a qualified
rav, not any person) may disagree with even the greatest gedolim,
provided that, a) one has solidly based arguments for doing so; and b)
it is done respectfully.  This is especially so where it comes in
response to a felt need of the Jewish public, and is based upon a
long-standing tradition of pesak.  It doesn't mean that one person was
right and one was wrong; both interpretations become a part of Torah.
    Before Rav Moshe, the mainstream of pesak was to rely upon the heter
of 600,000 (Orah Hayyim 345.7), and the Be'er Heiteiv there adds that
"the world is accustomed today to accept that there is no reshut
harabim... Therefore, the mahmir should be strict for himself, and not
protest against those who follow that majority opinion."

   Rav Yehonatan Chipman, Ish Yerushalayim


From: Mindy Schimmel <mindy@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Oct 2002 06:27:42 +0200
Subject: Re: Buttons on Kittels

I would like to offer a totally different explanation.

Many years ago, at the Seder, when I asked my father why his kittle
buttoned "backwards", he gave me teh following explanation, which seems
quite sensible, though when I just checked with him agub, he doesn't
remember where he got it:

The reason for the difference between men's and women's shirts is, he
claims, historical, pre-dating buttons to when people wore tunics.
Men's tunics were wrapped left over right so that they could stick their
right hands between the layers and draw their weapons, which were on
their left sides (the assumption being that people in general were
right-handed) Women's tunics were wrapped right over left to show that
they were unarmed.  Men of religion wore their tunics wrapped right over
left to show that they, too, were unarmed.  Which is why mens shirts now
button left over right and women's shirts and kittels button - or
otherwise close - right over left.  This might also explain how Ehud ben
Gera, the left-handed judge, succeeded in smuggling a sword into King
Eglon's chamber to kill him.  Perhhaps he wasn't checked for weapons
because the guards assumed, from the way he wrapped his tunic, that he
was a man of religion.  It wouldn't surprise me if this is also part of
the reason why, among certain grooups of Hassidim, the shirts button
right over left.

Mindy M. Schimmel


From: Jeremy L Rose <jeremy@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 11:59:27 +0100
Subject: Buttons on Kittels / Holishkes and Kreplach

On a similar note: I heard that a reason for eating Holishkes (or
Cholipshes for the Chassidishe Olom) on Succos and Kreplach on Rosh
Hashonoh is that meat represents Middas Ha'Din and vegetables/flour
represents Middas Ho'Rachamim, so we cover over the Din with Rachamim.

Some also eat them on Purim for a different reason - Hester Ponim.

A gutten Kvittel to all...
Jeremy L Rose                                             Tel:  +44 1727 832288
Communication Systems Limited                             Fax:  +44 1727 810194


From: <Robsussman@...> (Robert Sussman)
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 20:38:05 EDT
Subject: Re: Pregnant Woman

With all due respect, could you please identify:
1.  Who the "big rav in Yerushalayim" was?
2.  Who "the rabbonim in Yerushalayim" were that investigated the matter and 
"ruled" as such?
3.  Specifically which "chareidi" communities are following this "ruling"?
4.  Who the "many rabbonim in our country" are who are familiar with this 
ruling as well as how they came to be aware of this "ruling"?

Thanks for your help -
Robert Sussman


From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 10:00:53 -0400
Subject: Pregrnancy and Yom Kippur

The following sounded quite suspicious to me and contrary to medical fact:

> There was a religious doctor in a hospital in Yerushalayim who noticed
> that a certain percentage of pregnant woman who were fasting on Yom
> Kippur had premature labor and miscarried their child. So he went to a
> big rav in Yerushalayim and told him . . .
> The rabbonim in Yerushalayim investigate the matter and decreed that
> pregnant women should not fast on Yom Kippur. They ruled that women who
> are in their 4th through their 8th month (inclusively) of their
> pregnancy should NOT fast - even if they feel ok.

I checked with a friend who is a YU musmach and also an ob/gyn, who
replied in part:

"From a medical point of view, Shaarei Tzedek has reported a higher
incidence of labor in the 24 hours after Yom Kippur presumably because
of dehydration . .  but this is term labor, not preterm. Preterm labor,
and second trimester miscarriages, are much more complex than this
legend implies...dehydration alone would not put someone into preterm
labor or cause a miscarriage. The basic science doesn't even make sense
 . . . . "

More importantly than the science, I think it is highly irresponsible
for someone to publicize alleged piskei halachah from unnamed Israeli
rabannim in a forum such as this.

Tony Fiorino, M.D., Ph.D.
Equity Research Analyst - Biotechnology, Citigroup Asset Management
100 First Stamford Place, Stamford, CT 06902
Phone: (203) 961-6238, Fax: (203) 602-6045


From: Cynthia Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Sep 2002 15:52:42 -0400
Subject: Announcement: Meru Foundation colloquim

Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter

We are pleased to announce:
THE GEOMETRY OF GENESIS - An ongoing colloquium in Sharon, Mass., led by 
Stan Tenen of the Meru Foundation.

Explore how geometric metaphor sheds new light on the deep meaning of
the Hebrew letter-text of Genesis and difficult issues in Talmud,
Kabbalah, Prophets and Psalms. This critical approach points to a true
science of consciousness preserved in Torah tradition.

Monday evenings, 8:30 PM beginning 7 Oct. in Sharon, Mass., suggested 
donation $18/class.

Rabbi Dr. Meir Sendor's remarks (Young Israel of Sharon) and additional
information are at www.meru.org/colloquium.

Call for further details, location, and map: 781-784-8902.

This class is open to all who are familiar with our work and reading
list, who have a serious, collegiate/professional interest in Meru
Foundation's research, and who can commit to (reasonably) ongoing
attendance.  We will learn to make our own "First Hand(tm)" models, and
explore the Hebrew letter-gestures "hands on".  We will also be
discussing the direct relationship of the Meru research to traditional
Jewish sources, which provides a unique opportunity for people to see
something of how those sources are understood and studied within the
Jewish community, and how they relate to corresponding teachings in
other philosophical and scientific traditions.

We will post further updates directly on the Colloquium website, 

Best wishes to all,
Cynthia Tenen
Meru Foundation


End of Volume 37 Issue 26