Volume 38 Number 01
                 Produced: Thu Dec 12 23:56:51 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Etrog Tree Growing
         [Mike Gerver]
Fax machine on Shabbat
Making of a Gadol
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
The Making of a Godol
         [Eugene Bazarov]
Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side
         [Michael Kramer]
Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers
         [Stan Tenen]


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 19:52:27 EST
Subject: Etrog Tree Growing

> Any tips on esrog growing would be welcome.

I grew some etrog trees in pots for about 6 years in Brookline before I
made aliya and gave them away in July 2000.  Two or three years after I
planted them, when they were maybe 6 feet tall and each growing in a
12-inch diameter pot, they started getting many flowers, and in a few
cases the flowers were fertilized. But the developing fruit always fell
off when it was about 2 cm long and half a cm in diameter, i.e. when the
whole fruit was just a pitom. I don't know if this is because of
in-breeding (the plants were all from seeds that came from the same
etrog), or because you can't grow etrog-bearing trees directly from
seeds, but have to graft branches of existing etrog-bearing trees onto
rootstock of other etrog trees grown from seed, like you do with
apples. (Apple trees grown from seed, rather than from grafting,
generally just bear crab apples.) Or maybe the trees were still too
young or too small, and they eventually would have born full-sized

One problem with growing etrog trees in cold climates like Manchester or
Brookline is that they have to be kept indoors in the winter, and they
inevitably develop a rather disgusting disease called scale. This is not
a problem in the summer (say, June through September, in Brookline),
when they can be kept outdoors, and the insects that cause scale are
kept under control by natural predators (ants mostly, I think), and the
scale is not visible at all. During the rest of the year, you can keep
the scale under control somewhat by various products available in
gardening shops, but it is a constant struggle, and if you let down your
guard (e.g. if you go on vacation for a couple of weeks and leave the
plant in the custody of someone who doesn't care), the scale comes back
with a vengeance.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed having etrog trees in my home, and wish you luck
with yours.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 22:07:06 -0500
Subject: Fax machine on Shabbat

> >What about "issur nolad" ? Am I missing something here?

        What is it that was "born" when something is printed on a piece
of paper on Shabbos? The paper and the ink were both in existence before
Shabbos.  Does anyone contend that if the writing were done by a pen, it
would be nolad?

> I just read in rav Simcha Cohens sefer (Artscroll) on amira
> lakum/prohibition to ask a gentile to perform mlacha on Shabbos for
> you, that it is forbidden due to amirah laakum to have the newspaper
> delivered on Shabbos. Is anyone aware of poskim who permit this?

         If there is a problem of amirah l'akum, it may be with the
printing of the paper, which is a case of marbeh bishvilo (where an act
is not done expressly for a Jew, but because of Jews more m'lachah is
done than would otherwise be the case), since certainly more papers are
printed than would be if no Jews bought it.  As far as the delivery is
concerned, that should present no problem unless the paper is brought
from chutz lit'chum (outside the limits to which one may walk), or if
there is no eiruv.  Otherwise, what is the m'lachah involved? (Driving
the truck doesn't count, since as far as the Jew is concerned, it could
be delivered on foot.  The goy drives for his benefit, not the Jew's.)


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy49@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 19:35:48 -0500
Subject: Making of a Gadol

Now my interest is piqued!  Where can I obtain the book "The Making of a

Steven Oppenheimer, DDS


From: Eugene Bazarov <evbazarov@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 14:46:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: The Making of a Godol

>From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>

> My first question is, WHO "banned" this book and what right do they
> have to do so? What right does anyone have to dictate what you can or
> cannot read? I find this quite disturbing.

This question is a little off the mark. Anyone has the right to say that
something should not be read. The (proper) question is should I feel a
moral obligation to listen to them. This has nothing to do with Halacha.

> That being said, have you read the book? Is there anything in it that
> you yourself find objectionable? If so, then

Yes, I did read the book and it was absolutely fascinating! (Far better
than the Reinman Hirsch book which was an embarrassment.)

There were a lot of points in the book that show that the Gedolem were
human beings. I do not find that objectionable. Nor do I think my son

I am weary of all forms of intellectual censorship.  Beware the religion
that considers ignorance to be a virtue: They are hiding something.

E.V. Bazarov


From: Michael Kramer <mikek@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 08:07:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Speaking on Phone when it is Shabbat on one side

> From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
> So what?  He is not commanded to have his (parent's) machine rest on
> shabbat.  This is no different than setting a timer before shabbat to do
> something on shabbat.  The person is acting at a time when he is
> permitted to do so, and the inanimate object will do its thing on
> shabbat without human intervention.  It is black-letter law that this is
> permitted - `i ata metzuveh al shevitat kelim'.

It is not so easy to rule that this is permissable.
Rav Moshe Feinstein, in his Responsum on the problem with using Microphones
on Shabbat (Orach Haim 3, Siman 55), rules that the microphone is prohibited
for a number of reasons. One of the most prominent reasons is the issur of
"Hashmaat Kol", which literally means "sounding a [publicly audible] noise"
which will be heard on Shabbat. This is not a new Gezaira, but an existing
Gezeira, (Shabbat 18, quoted by the Ramma in Orach Haim 252, Seif 5). This
prohibition extends to what you may not do on Erev Shabbat (the Gemara's
prohibited case is putting wheat kernels into an "automatic" millstone
grinder on Erev Shabbat) and it is entirely possible that this prohibition
against sounding a noise during Shabbat could also extend to someone who has
already finished Shabbat.

I am not definitively saying that this prohibition would apply here (and
perhaps it would apply to the caller or perhaps to the person who set up
the answering machine). Non-withstanding the impressive array of
"armchair Mail-Jewish poskim" who weigh in on these questions, it is
worthwhile asking a Posek to rule definitively.

Mike Kramer


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 11:13:05 -0500
Subject: Re: Tzedaqah Obligations to Street Panhandlers

At 06:20 AM 12/12/02, Michael Kahn wrote:

> >To a person who sees themselves as different than others, better than
> >others, or Jewish vs. just human
>A basic principal of Judaism is to see oneself as unique due to being
>Jewish as opposed to merely being human. We say a bracha/blessing to
>Hashem for not creating us as a gentile, ("Shlo Asani Goy," (or, Akum,
>(idol worshiper) for those sidurim that probably have been cencored, to
>touch on another recent issue)), proclaim to Hashem, "Atah Bchartanu
>Mikal Haamin", (You have chosen us from all the nations) and thrice
>daily recite the Aleinu to thank Hashem for "... not placing our lot
>with them..."
> >The truly impoverished person guards their property and wealth from all
> >sorts of less worthy purposes, because they don't recognize where it
> >comes from in the first place
>To the contrary, the one who "recognize(s) where it comes from in the
>first place" realises his awesome responsibilty to use it properly.

Everything that Michael Kahn wrote above is, of course, correct.
However, it is not inconsistent with what I'm trying to point out.

First, we would be hypocrites if each of us weren't who we were -- in
other words, if we're not tzaddikim, it is not appropriate for us to
make believe or appear to be what we're not.

The fact is, we are not tzaddikim, and therefore (in general) we see
these distinctions judgmentally, and we see ourselves as "better".

This may even be _objectively_ true.  But it's not the view from the
highest -- tzaddik-like -- perspective.

If we _know_ (in our bones and in our being) that we are dust, bitul,
and nothing (compared to our constant apprehension of the infinite
Infinity of God) then even our objective "lessers" are our equals.  This
is a special case.  It's a consequence of 0 = 0.

As individual Jews, with all of our normal strengths and weaknesses, we
are neither 0 (we don't feel bitul at all times), nor is anything else
in the world 0.  It's only when we are more than ourselves, at a level
approaching that of a tzaddik who is constantly aware of the absolute
Infinity of God and their consequent smallness relative to God's
Infinity (not man's finitude), that we are 0, and the world is 0.

For some people, it's very difficult to get on top of apparent paradox.
How could we be different, and still be equal?  For other people, the
resolution of this sort of apparent paradox is a challenge to take a
higher view, exercise our consciousness, and to grow a bit in
perspective.  We choose whether we choose, or whether we delay choosing.

Yes, in the real world, it's important to recognize distinctions, and to
triage our limited resources.  If we didn't do this, we'd be denying the
physical reality of our lives, and the accomplishment and value of Torah
and Torah tradition (and our own efforts).

But in the metaphoric "world to come", when our materials are gone, and
only our loving-kindness remains, our perspective must be somewhat

If we want to practice this higher perspective, then one way to do it
may be to split the difference.  Most of the time, we give to
individuals and causes that we believe to be noble and that will likely
make good use of what we've given.  But some of the time, we give just
for the "heaven" of it, just because someone asks (regardless of
appearances), and just because we happen to be there, and have something
at hand to give.

It seems to me that this is a good place to take Micah's advice: seek
justice (give with discrimination and judgment), love mercy (give for
the "heaven" of it), and walk humbly (occasionally, remember not to
judge at all).



End of Volume 38 Issue 1