Volume 39 Number 46
                 Produced: Mon May 26 15:27:57 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll and shir hashirim
         [Leah Aharoni]
Candles, Danger & Common Sense
Corn/Potato Kitniyot
         [Shaya Potter]
Mechitza - Chumrah
         [Michael Rogovin]
Naming babies
         [Ronald Greenberg]
Potato Starch as kitniyot
         [Wendy Baker]
Sefira Beard
         [Saul Stokar]
Sefirah Beard
         [Tzvi Briks]
Shechitah In The United Kingdom
         [Gamoran, Sam]
         [Martin D. Stern]
Word Genders
         [Ira Bauman]


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 22 May 2003 01:25:41 +0200
Subject: Artscroll and shir hashirim

The literal meaning vs. allegory dilemma is not an issue in the
Artscroll siddur, since its format provides for both a translation and a
commentary.  They had the option of including both translations one
above the other.

The following anecdote, however, might shed some light on the issue.

An acquaintance of mine wrote a Jewish interest book and tried to
publish it through Artscroll. Artscroll was extremely sensitive about
the terminology and excluded some everyday words which NONE of us would
have though twice about before using. The book was finally published by
a different publisher and had since become a success.

Whatever one's stand on this topic, I think it is possible to understand
the Artscroll's policy of EXTRA care with words (especially in an
environment where words are often cheapened and assigned whole new,
unwholesome sets of associations and meaning).

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian Translator
Telefax 972-2-9971146, Mobile 972-56-852571
Email <leah25@...>


From: <crew-esq@...> (Chanie)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 16:24:16 GMT
Subject: Candles, Danger & Common Sense

Open flames should certainly be treated with respect, but when you
consider how many thousands of candles are lit every shabbos, thank G-d
fire is not a major problem.

Following basic safety rules can help prevent tragedy. Do not light near
an open window or where a fan/vent is blowing on the candles. Keep
candles away from curtains, flowers and other flammable objects. Make
sure the candle is securely seated in the candlestick, and if you are
using a candelabra with arms, make sure the arms don't wiggle. Light on
a sturdy table and put a tray underneath the candlesticks so that if a
candle does fall, it falls onto something fire resistant. Keep children
away from ALL fire!

I think our community would benefit more from having general safety
information (regarding shabbos and chanuka candles, hot water urns,
traffic and bike safety, underage drinking, etc.) repeatedly reinforced
than focusing on using tea lights (which melt down to hot liquid and can
cause serious burns) rather than regular candles.



From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
Date: 20 May 2003 15:52:30 -0400
Subject: Corn/Potato Kitniyot

> From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
> But why is corn and corn products considered kitniyot?  Didn't corn
> (maize) come to Europe well after the ban was instituted.  Why corn and
> not potato?  Both should be permitted as far as I can tell.

A Potato is a tuber, I don't believe any of the plants included in
kitniyot were tubers.  Corn (or to be more precise Maize as) is a grass
(just like Wheat and Rice) and since other "grain grasses" that aren't
hametz are considered kitniyot in makes sense to include Corn in it.

So we don't go about expanding minhagim or takanot willy nilly.  For
example, I believe R' Moshe paskaned that one doesn't have to tovel
aluminum, as the ability to use aluminum is only a recent invention, so
the takanot of hazal that required us to tovel metal obviosuly don't
include it as hazal couldn't use it, so even now, one doesn't have to
tovel it.

This is obviously in conflict w/ what I described above (as the same
reasoning should apply to corn), but there's an easy enough explanation
for that.  Many other poskim say one has to tovel aluminum, if follows
R' Moshe, it doesn't affect anyone else as one only has to tovel one's
own dishes and doesn't have to worry about the tevilah status of anyone
else's dishes (hence why restaurants many times dont tovel, though I
guess that means the owners might have issues eating there).  Kitniyot,
on the other hand, is something that affects klal yisrael kula (as
"kashrut" in general is) so there's going to be more homogeneity of
practice, and possibly even psak.


From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 12:14:53 -0400
Subject: Re: Mechitza - Chumrah

Eli Turkel notes that:
> In this case even R. Moshe Feinstein does not claim that his low
> heights for a mechitza are optimal. He gives a minimal height for it
> to be kosher given the times that there were great pressures to
> completely remove mechitzot. It is clear that he would advise a higher
> height when feasible.

Yes, and that is the difference between his psak halacha and his
advice. Like most poskim, Rav Moshe had to balance what he believed to
be the proper behavior of a halachicly observant Jew and what the
halacha requires. Halacha is a floor, not a ceiling, on observance and
even according to many on morality. Examples from Rav Moshe: whether a
man could use a a toupee as a head covering (yes but it is better not
to) or whether one need drink only Chalav Yisrael in the US (no, but a
baal nefesh should). Whether there is value in chumra (personal or
communal stringencies) is another topic which has been discussed here
before, but being machmir is certainly permitted, so long as u'arah is
not present. Nonetheless, there is a difference between being machmir
and being kosher. Being machmir is not more kosher, very kosher or
strictly kosher; it is being machmir.  Semantics? Yes. But language is
important and I don't like the implication that someone who follows
normative standards or a psak halacha of their LOR or any orthodox Rabbi
is deemed to accept something that is somehow "less kosher."

As to the halachot of mechitza (which was not the point of my posting),
I am no expert. I know that different communities attribute many
practical reasons for them, most tangentially related to the actual
purpose. I understood the purpose to be a physical separation to prevent
physical mingling in a synagogue, modelled on the Beit Mikdash, which
separated men only areas from mixed areas. As I understand it, mechitzot
need not prevent men from seeing women or vice versa, though that is
increasingly the norm, particularly influenced by hasidic circles. I
also understood that mechitza is not generally required outside a
regular place of worship (such as an ad hoc minyan or a home). Mechitza
rules, designs, and attitudes toward them would make an interesting
discussion. But I digress...

Michael Rogovin


From: Ronald Greenberg <rig@...>
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 16:38:22 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Naming babies

  >people.  Some specific questions I have in mind include: When naming a
  >baby after another person, what exactly is the purpose? Does the purpose
  >apply even if one (or both) of the parents have never met the person for
  >whom the baby is being named?

Sorry for such a late response after going through a large email
backlog.  Here are five reasons for naming after ancestors that I
found in Sefer Otsar Habrit (published by Machon Torat Habrit 5753; I
think I ordered it from Eichler's).  (I'm pretty sure the book said
nothing about any significance to whether you've met the person.)  I
give a translated, paraphrased, and perhaps elaborated formulation
that I extracted some time ago; I don't have the book at hand now.
   (1) It is a spiritual aid towards achieving a long life,
   (2) Our ancestors named after their ancestors, and so on, so we can
invoke a recollection reaching back to the Biblical patriarchs and
   (3) It reflects our desire for the child to inherit the good
qualities of his or her ancestors.
   (4) It brings satisfaction to the souls of the departed, and
   (5) We fulfill the commandment of honoring our parents, which the
commentators interpret as including a more general obligation of
honoring ancestors.


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 11:38:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Potato Starch as kitniyot

> From: <FriedmanJ@...>
> Potatoes are not a grain. They are a tuber. Wheat and Corn and Rice are

Legumes, like beans are not grains, but the fruit of dicotyledonous
plants.  Grains are all botanically the fruits of monocotyledonous grass
plants.  Kasha is not either a legume or a grass, but the fruit of
another dicotyledonous plant.  If you are going to forbid all the fruits
of plants we must start to worry about tomatoes, peppers, eggplants,
squashes, cucumbers, etc.  all of which contain the seeds of flowering
plants.  I observe the laws (rules) of kitniyot, but cannot fathom the
reason for their still being necessary, not why they include what they
do.  Could anyone imagine mistaking ground mustard seed for flour?  One
sniff or taste would let you know at once.  Mustard cake anyone?

Wendy Baker


From: Saul Stokar <dp22414@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 12:03:48 +0200
Subject: Sefira Beard

I am surprised that the discussion of shaving during Sefirat HaOmer (see
vol 39, nos. 19 and 36) ignores the alternate view that permits shaving
in the week on "first principles" rather than as a concession for those
who need to work among the Gentiles. Indeed this view requires shaving
for Shabbat. This opinion is presented in detail in a shiur (lecture) of
Rav Lichtenstein, the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut,
found at the yeshiva's web site
<http://www.vbm-torah.org/shavuot/20shavin.htm> . Whether you personally
accept the halachic conclusions of this position or not, there is no
question that those who shave regularly during Sefira have a defensible
basis for their actions. We should all avoid assuming that we have a
monopoly on the truth when legitimate alternatives exist.

Saul Stokar


From: <Brikspartzuf@...> (Tzvi Briks)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 19:17:38 EDT
Subject: Re: Sefirah Beard

As for Yisrael Medad's sefirah beard on the news Media, I'm sure he
looked great.  I've seen him sport different types of beards over the
years including Gotees, long sideburns, full beards, and Sefira beards.
I'm hoping he's connecting to the spiritual significance of the Sefira
beard, which is the entrance of the Supernal Spiritual Mochin of
correction during this time.  By growing the beard we emulate the
building of the Keilim by which the greatest 'lights' or perceptions of
the Holy One, Be He, will enter on Shavuot.  Yishar Kochacha Yisrael.

Tzvi Briks


From: Gamoran, Sam <Sgamoran@...>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 09:23:49 +0300
Subject: RE: Shechitah In The United Kingdom

> From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
> ...
> The Farm Animal Welfare Council, which is appointed and funded by the
> British Government, has concluded after a 4-year study that shechitah
> and halal methods are inhumane.  (Yes, I know, we've all heard this
> before.)  The Council is therefore insisting that shechitah and halal
> methods be brought into line with the mainstream regulations of
> pre-stunning.
> The Council has cited scientific evidence which suggests that cows and
> poultry take up to two minutes to lose consciousness after their throats
> are cut, while for sheep it is between 14 and 70 seconds.
> ...

Would it be halachically permissable to do post-stunning?  (i.e. perform
the Shechitah and them immediately (< 10 seconds) later drive the stun
bolt into the animal's head.)  This could be messy, drive up costs (an
extra person to do the stunning) but it would render conjecture about 14
- 120 seconds moot.

On the other hand if the motivation is to denigrate Jewish tradition, no
compromise would be accepted.



From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Wed, 21 May 2003 06:18:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Tachanun

In mail-jewish Vol. 39 #37, Shimon Lebowitz writes:

<< And from Yom Kippur till Rosh Chodesh Cheshvan we again say no
tachanun, so we do not need the rule for Erev Sukkot either. >>

 This is not the universal custom. Unlike Nissan many communities
recommence tachanun immediately after Issru Chag since in the case of
Tishri, the majority of days in the month have not passed without saying

Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
( +44(1)61-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 22:52:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Word Genders

The discussion and confusion about words that would seem to be masculine
or feminine gender by nature of their meaning, and are the opposite,
reminds me of an interesting fact I recently read.
  The Hebrew word for a male mountain goat or ibex is YAEL.  That is also
a common girl's name and Eyshes HaKeyni.  A female mountain goat is a
YAELA.  In Ezra 2:56, it is cited as the name of a male head of a family
of Nesinim.  Go figure.                  
                  Ira Bauman                                             


End of Volume 39 Issue 46