Volume 37 Number 92
                 Produced: Sun Dec  8 22:10:28 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Black Stripes in Tallit - in Memory of the Hurban
         [Yael Levine Katz]
Fax machine on Shabbat
         [Carl Singer]
Havdala and hefsek
         [Yakov Spil]
Henetz HaChama - Dor HapPlagah
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Jewish Tales of Holy Women
         [Yael Levine Katz]
The Making of a Godol
         [Gershon Dubin]
Shaking hands
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side
         [Carl Singer]
Theological Shabbas
         [Danny Skaist]
Theological Significance of Shabbat?
         [David Waxman]


From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 00:09:18 +0200
Subject: Black Stripes in Tallit - in Memory of the Hurban

I am seeking written sources for the idea that the black stripes of the
tallit are in memory of Hurban Beit ha-Mikdash. I would appreciate if
anyone could refer me to such sources.



From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 17:41:17 EST
Subject: Re: Fax machine on Shabbat

      As an aside, I know someone in Eretz Yisrael who used to receive a
      weekly Dvar Torah via fax from his father in law (who was in
      America) during his Friday nught Seudah. (It was still erev Shabos
      in America.)  He used to read the fax without touching it and say"
      I just heard a vort from my father in law..."

As always, not to pasken.  The issue with many devices on Shabbos / Yom
Tov is that there might be an (inadvertant) attempt to fix something if
it breaks.  What if, for example, the paper jammed and the fax started
beeping loudly (seemingly forever) and you think that the motor is
heating up and might burn out -- do you want to put yourself into this
type of situation?

I recall learning this as one of 3 reasons for now riding a bicycle on
Yom Tov (when it's OK to carry) Reason (1) making ruts in the grass,
etc.  (2) Moris Ayin (3) desire to fix if breaks down.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 08:56:26 -0500
Subject: Havdala and hefsek

>what's up with havdalah? We make a  brocho for the wine (or whatever
chamar ha'medina we are using) but not  only do we not immediately drink
the stuff, we first go on to make  brochos over spices and fire, fulfill
these mitzvos, then go on to  recite the whole havdalah before finally
drinking the wine. Talk about a  hefsek! <

Very important yesod comes from this question.  There are numerous
examples of where we seem to be maykil on issues of hefsik and yet they
are all halachically consistent.

The basic point that is common to all of them, is NOT that there is a
time span that elapses between the brocho and the performance of that
mitzvah.  The main issue is- is there hesech ha'daas?  Did one take his
mind off what his obligation is to do at that moment.

2 Situations come to mind to illustrate this:

1) All of the morei ho'rooh that I have heard say it is wrong to take
the little piece of bread by the sink when one washes instead of going
to his seat to make his hamotzi on sholem, which is halachically
preferable.  That is, it is not a problem those few steps from the sink
to his seat, because he has not taken his mind off what he has to do-
and that is BEGIN HIS MEAL.  Anyone with his mind about won't forget
THIS chiyuv!! This is the case even in large wedding halls.  This is
because he knows he is going back to his seat to have this nice fat
roll. Nothing will deter him from this!

 Ma-she ain kayn at the end of the seuda.  This is not the case, when it
comes to washing for mayim achronim at the end of the meal.  When you
learn MB on this - you notice there are "yesh omrims" on the halochos of
speaking at the beginning of the meal before having eaten bread.  AYYYY-
HEFSIK!!??  The answer is he is only allowed to speak of matters
regarding eating the shtickel challa.  That shows there is no issue of
hefsik.  It is only an issue of hesech ha-daas.

But there is no yesh omrim when it comes to mayim achronim because
there- you are finished with your meal.  You feel good, and/or tired,
and your only chiyuv is to bentsch and go to sleep, go back to work
etc., and that is a situation that is much more unclear because there is
no anchor.  We certainly wish that the impact of this chiyuv d'oraisa
made such an impression on him, that he understands right after one
finishes eating he must bentsch.  But we know what happens- we shmooze,
we get on the phone, computer (!) etc, and we are not so focused on the
chiyuv we have.  That is why one is not supposed to talk from the time
he washes mayim achronim until he bentshes because anything can distract
him from saying birkas hamazon without the physical anchor.

There are many other examples.  Hope this clears things up a bit.

One more point to mention is that another proof there is no issue of
hefsik as long as there is no hesech hadaas- is that the halocho is one
should be holding the kos throughout havdala.

That is, when one is making the brocho on the besamim- the besamim
should be in the right hand, and the kos should be held in the left
hand.  When one is saying the brocho on the ner- the kos should be in
the right hand- assuming there is someone present to hold the candle for
the m'varech.  When I had to make havdala for myself- I would hold the
candle in my right hand- and with my left hand- just grasp onto the kos
with my left as I made the brocho.

Hope this helps...

Yakov Spil


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 22:52:47 +0200
Subject: Re: Henetz HaChama - Dor HapPlagah

I had written:

      >While the note is certainly correct, the Steinsalz gemara gives the
      >vocalization as dor hapalaga, while I have a dictionary that also gives

To which JB Gross <jbgross@...> replied:

      plaga (like nifl'ga in the pasuk) reflects a kal rather than
      hif'il basis.

Why is palaga (like katava) not correct?  And what is wrong with palga?

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Dec 2002 00:12:12 +0200
Subject: Jewish Tales of Holy Women

Yitzhak Buxbaum's recently published fascinating book "Jewish Tales of
Holy Women" commences with the story of Rebbetzin Hayyeleh Aharonowitz,
who was totally devoted to the holiness of Shabbat. It is related that
when she lit the Shabbat candles, she would stand with her eyes covered
for two hours and pray, pouring out her heart's desires to G-d. Only
when the last congregants had returned from the synagogue did she move
away from her candles and softly bless "Good Shabbos!"

Given the halakhah that one does not petition G-d for his needs on
Shabbat, and that even though it is customary for women to make requests
at the candle lighting time, Shabbat entered long before she completed
her prayers. I am in doubt if this behavior should be emulated or set as
a standard, and welcome readers observations on this issue.



From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 14:51:35 -0500
Subject: The Making of a Godol

From: <rubin20@...>
<<There is a lot less to this supposed issure than meets the eye. The
main source allegedly was Rav Elyashiv, who has publicly declared that
he did not sign the proclamation publicized in his name>>

        When and where was this "publicly declared"?  Do you have a copy
of the declaration?  What newspaper was it published in?

<<I have read the American proclamation, and the signatures look like

        Have they been disavowed by the signers, as you claim is the
case for Rav Elyashiv?

<<In addition, I can not believe that some of the Rabbonim whos names
are on it signed, such as the Fienstiens.>>

        Does not, in and of itself, prove that they did not.



From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 16:30:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Shaking hands

Dear David,

     Hmmm.  Your answer (about ma'aseh rav) is quite thought provoking.
Two possible answers are: a) that I have heard ma'aseh rav being used
this way in the contemporary yeshiva and frum world.  That is, in
conversation, people will sometimes say "I saw / heard that so-and -so
[some well-known talmid hakham] did thus-and-such" as an argument in
support of a certain halakhic path.  The fact that we know things about
the amoraim from what's written in the gemara is not an absolute proof
that they would want us to reject the non-textual, but only that,
because they lived a long time ago, the only thing we know about them is
the "textual record," as we no longer have even second- and third-hand
living accounts.  The story you bring about Rabba bar bar Hanna is
interesting, but there is need for further examination to determine that
it's taken as a precedent across the board.  At the very least, I don't
think testimonies of behavior of contemporary gedolim should be thrown
out of court.  b) While a person may be mahmir on himself beyond the
requirements of the halakah (as the Rav was in many areas), so that his
behavior is no rea'ya that he thought X should be normative behavior, we
can presume that an outstanding talmid hakham and yirei shamayim would
not be meikel, in public or in private, unless he had good halakhic
reasoning behind him.

      In the specific case of Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l, there is another
problem, re your suggestion that if he would have wanted us to behave as
he did he would have written a formal responsa.  Namely, that the Rav
hardly ever wrote teshuvot, because of his family tradition that was
very circumspect about writing altogether.  In fact, he arguably did not
see himself as a posek, but as a "melamed" on the highest level.  The
shiurim at YU in Yoreh Deah in preparation for semikha were generally
given by others (in the '60s and '70s, Rav Weiss ztz"l).

    The Rav also observed many humrot , which may bely the "meikel"
image some may have of him (not carrying on Shabbat even within an eruv;
eating only shmurah matzah all Pesah; observing Shabbat for 90 minutes
after shkiah [an "akht'l"] on motza'ei shabbat, etc) which he did not
promulgate to his own talmidim, and certainly did not expect them to
teach as halakhic norms to their congregrants (remember, he probably was
the teacher of the largest number of Orthodox pulpit rabbis than any
other figure in the 20th century).

      With all that, he clearly had very definite de'ot about halakha
lema'aseh which he did consider it important to be knwon publicly.  Some
of these he articulated verbally in his public shiurim (or in his YU
classroom).  Perhaps someone has heard things he said specifically about
this subject of negiah. But I'm not convinced that his observed behavior
cannot serve as a model as well.

        I will check out the Iggerot Moshe reference, which anothr
reader likewise sent me.  In addition, Rav Yehudah Henkin referred me to
his "Teshuvot B'nai Banim, #37 (7-9) and 38-39, which I have not had the
chance to see yet. 

 Bivrakha, Yehonatan Chipman


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 17:34:28 EST
Subject: Re: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

      Not at all similar.  When you access an Israeli computer, you are
      not causing anyone on the other end to do any work.  The computer
      is allowed to work on shabbat - it's black letter law (dvar
      mishna) that `you are not commanded to have your inanimate
      possessions rest'.

 From an "engineering" point of view, I don't know that you can say that
no one is working (because the Israeli computer is on.)  If, for
example, this computer is part of a communications network, there may be
people (not computers) monitoring systems performance, working a help
desk, etc.  (autonomic computing not yet withstanding.)

Carl Singer


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 2002 08:57:33 +0200 
Subject: Theological Shabbas

<<David Curwin
A book I was reading the other day mentioned matter-of-factly how
Shabbat is an "ikkar of emuna" (a principle of faith). Obviously Shabbat
has great halachic, ritual and social significance in Judaism, but what
is the great theological point of Shabbat? I don't entirely accept the
argument that it shows that God created the world, certainly an
important principle of the faith. How does the fact that He rested after
creation prove that he created the world any more than a commemoration
of the creation itself?  >>

I'm not sure that this will answer your question. 

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach (of Oxford U) wrote an article (I will try to do
it justice) where he pointed out that Shabbas is not (really) for the
Jews. It is a day for G-d.

It is like your wife's birthday. It is really just another day for you,
but how you celebrate it is based on your relationship with your wife.
That is why Shabbas is an eternal "sign" between G-d and the children of
Israel.  We keep shabbas because it is an important day for G-d and
shows our relationship with G-d.



From: David Waxman <yitz99@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Dec 2002 21:53:06 -0800
Subject: Re: Theological Significance of Shabbat?

Now that's a question!  I suppose that all shomrei Shabbath should be
able to answer that question.  I have heard Rav Shimshon Pinchus ztz'l
address your question on a couple of recorded shiurim in English, and I
believe that he wrote a book in Hebrew on the subject.

A couple of sources:
1. Ramban, parshat Yithro, 20:8
2. Sefer hachinuch, #32.


End of Volume 37 Issue 92