Volume 40 Number 90
                 Produced: Fri Oct 17  9:18:08 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll Siddur for Israeli market
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".
         [Bernard Raab]
         [Rachel Swirsky]
Damo Berosho
         [Martin D Stern]
Hebrew copies
         [Josh Backon]
inappropriate humor (was Children in Shul)
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Motion Sensors - A simple solution?
         [Michael Poppers]
Order of birkot hashachar as printed
         [Ken Bloom]
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Wine touched by a non-shabbat-observant Jew
         [Barak Greenfield]
Women's Clothing over Time
         [Martin D Stern]
Women's clothing over time
         [Leah Aharoni]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 12:38:02 +0300
Subject: Artscroll Siddur for Israeli market

I once asked this question with someone from Artscroll. There are no
nefarious "anti-Zionist" motivations behind it. The reason is simple:
what they would have to charge for it would not make their Siddur
competitive in the Israeli market against the local Siddurim.

BTW, they do have a version of their Siddur with the Prayer for the
State of Israel and for the IDF, put out by the Rabbinical Council of

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2003 13:46:30 -0400
Subject: RE: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".

An idle question:
How appropriate is this bracha for a convert? Are they instucted to say 
something else or just skip it?


From: <swirskyr@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 10:19:48 -0400
Subject: Clothing

>From: Martin D Stern
>Her comments are interesting but hardly relevant since the main problem
>is not women in general but young single ones.

So how about the story off the Rebetzin in the tight fitting suit whom
we were discussing?  We were discussing women on the beach, do only
young women go to the beach?

>Hot flashes are a menopausal symptom hardly likely to affect the latter
>and, hopefully, pregnancy would also not be a factor.

Many women experience hot and cold flashes every single month not only
when they get to menopause.  Pregnancy would not be a great factor?  I
myself am 4 months pregnant.  Not even half way.  MY body temperature is
such that while other people were in the succah in coats I was wearing a
summer shirt.  Every book and OB will tell you that you are much warmer
as your pregnancy progresses as will any husband who has been force to
sleep with the windows open all winter long.  Now, I manage to dress
appropriately an will continue to do so, but that does not mean everyone
manages to feel the same way.  I have known frum women to revert to
shorts and a t-shirt while pregnant and just never leave the house.
Some people do not have the option of staying home and make other

> As far as I am aware, the distribution of sweat glands is much the same
> in both sexes so, apart from those points of anatomical distinction to
> which she alludes, there should not be any such places as she asserts.

Right, you said it yourself, "Apart from those points of anatomical
distinction" well those parts certainly are there are they not?  And if
I am not mistaken God did put them there for a reason.  And again I
would have to say that pregnancy or ageing or cycling plays a serious
role in when and where they are activated.

> Possibly, wearing tight and constrictive clothing might inhibit the
> evaporation of sweat and cause discomfort but such clothes are in any
> case halachically objectionable.

Bras and underwear are objectionable?  They are constrictive, require for
tzanuah reasons and can cause discomfort in hot weather.

> There is no real reason, apart from the dictates of fashion and the
> yetser hara, for women not to wear loose fitting clothes which cover all
> the halachically mandated areas of their bodies and feel reasonably
> comfortable.

Again, I think this comment shows you certainly sit high on your
laurels.  Throughout history it has been noted that if it is hot outside
men take off their shirts and feel cooler.  I am not saying it is
halachically correct.  I am saying there are "reasons apart from the
dictates of fashion and the yester hara" that women might do so.

>I very much doubt if things are significantly different to what happens
>in Europe

Perhaps instead of judging without seeing you should go take a look. 
Seems that you are posting with little first hand knowledge and lots of

Rachel Swirsky


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:23:46 EDT
Subject: Re: Damo Berosho

In a message dated 10 Oct. '03, Gilad J. Gevaryahu wrote:

<< There is a long list of acts that can cause a person to endanger himself
which were labeled as "damo berosho"  >>

Could he let us know the (secondary) source from which he has culled his long 

    Martin D Stern


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  16 Oct 2003 12:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Hebrew copies

The good news (re: getting photocopied ms. of sefarim at the Jewish
National Library in Jerusalem) is that there is the JERUSALEM ARCHIVAL
PROJECT that does this work for a low fee. They can be reached through

The bad news: someone stole their Internet domain name and it may take
1-2 weeks until archival.org gets reinstated.

Josh Backon


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 04:49:16 -0700
Subject: inappropriate humor (was Children in Shul)

>raised at a shul meeting, my uncle would suggest facetiously that tha>e
>shul should hire someone with a machine gun and that all the kids who
>made noise in shul should be lined up outside the building and shot.

How can anyone even make a joke like this?  I consider myself willing to
laugh at a good joke, but to make fun of mass murder of Jewish children?
That just goes way too far.  Way too far.

Leah S. R. Gordon


From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 10:01:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Motion Sensors - A simple solution?

In mail-jewish Vol. 40 #76 Digest, Joel Wiesen replied:
> Can't one just cover the sensor with a piece of masking tape and paper or
tin foil? <

I think you can eliminate the individual-sensor problem by covering up
the sensor, as Dr. Wiesen suggested, but then you have to repeatedly
remove the covering and reinstate it for chol and prior to Shabbos or YT
if you want it active as much of the time as possible (and some might
want to choose as unobtrusive a covering as possible, for both cosmetic
and security reasons).  More importantly, you haven't eliminated the
similar problem of the control panel lighting up with the number
representing a triggered detector, which is an issue when the front and
back doors, for which a covering may not be as easy to install, are also
wired with detectors.

Thanks to the alarm-system installer, who did the work in return for a
nice "tip," our house has a different solution in place: a switch at the
system's power source (I believe it's DC and connects the battery with
the system).  This way, one button push disconnects power to all the
detectors in our house as well as the control panel.  FWIW, we also
cover one detector manually: it was installed after the initial
alarm-system (and button-switch) installation and doesn't light up when
triggered, so we have no idea if it's receiving power even after we've
pushed our button to deactivate the system as a whole and are "taking no
chances" by covering it up during Shabbos v'YT.

All the best from

--Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 08:48:05 -0700
Subject: Order of birkot hashachar as printed

The ArtScroll siddur prints the order of putting on Tefillin, Tzitzit,
and the Tallit Gadol, (and their associated scriptural passages) before
it prints birkat hatorah, and nevertheless it prefaces Birkat haTorah
with the comment "It is forbidden to study or recite Torah passages
before reciting the following blessings..." What is the rationale for
printing the siddur in this order?


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 13:38:47 -0400
Subject: Semachot

I have seen several people lately signing their submissions with a line
such as "may we know only semachot" or just generally using the term
"semachot" as a Sephardic/Israeli pronunciation of the word "simchas" in
Ashkenazi/Yiddish usage.

I have always seen "semachot" and specifically the term "inyanei
semachot" used as a euphemism for the topic/laws of death and
bereavement.  This is found in numerous siddurim and is in line with
several other cases in the Gemara or earlier, where an agreed,
formalized positive term is used as a euphemism for something negative -
e.g., "Sagei Nahar" literally "enough light" used to mean blind.

So my questions are as follows:
- How ancient is the usage of "inyanei semachot" to refer to funerals,
etc?  Does this date back to the Gemara as does Sagei Nahar?
- When did the term "semachot" begin to be used to mean happy occasions? 
Was this the original Sephardic pronunciation of "simchas", or is it of
modern Israeli vintage?  And if the latter, why wasn't a term chosen
(e.g., "simchot") that would be less jarring/upsetting to those that are
used to the established, euphemistic meaning of the term semachot?




From: Barak Greenfield <DocBJG@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Oct 2003 12:35:52 -0400
Subject: RE: Wine touched by a non-shabbat-observant Jew

  From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
>  >From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
>  > If a non-Jew, even one who thinks s/he is Jewish, does so it
>  >immediately becomes forbidden; many authorities extend this to a
>  >non-shabbat-observant Jew.
> Wow!  Which authorities are these and on what grounds?

That Jews who are not shomrei shabbos make wine into stam yeinam? There
is a general concept in halacha that a Jew who is mechalel shabbos
evinces thereby a lack of belief in God, hence the various ways in which
he is treated like a non-Jew (shechita, wine, nesias kapayim, etc.) With
regard to the wine issue, see Shulchan Aruch OC 124:9, Rema (even Jews
who were forced to live publicly as Gentiles, if now they also are
mechalelei shabbos in private, their wine is forbidden), Iggros Moshe OC
5:37(h) ("it's the general custom" to treat their wine as prohibited),
ibid OC 3:22 (middle of paragraph--prohibited), ibid YD 4:58(c)
(prohibited--along w/ a long discussion written by others as to the
potential differences between those who are mechalelei shabbos because
they really don't believe in God, and those who do it to make more money
or out of laziness.)


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern)
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 07:46:11 EDT
Subject: Re: Women's Clothing over Time

In a message dated 12/10/03, Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> wrote 
on the subject 'Women's Clothing over Time':

<<I am puzzled by the spate of recent posts claiming that the only
reason frum women used to wear "miniskirts" or go without a headcovering
was due to inability to get the appropriate garments.  Can anyone
seriously believe this to be true? >>

    I have been puzzled by the prevalence of otherwise frum married
women who go out without covering their hair, considering that the
Gemara considers it so serious an offense that she can be divorced and
not receive her ketubah.  This is not just a recent problem and was so
common by the end of the nineteenth century in Lithuania that the Aruch
Hashulchan ruled that a man could possibly say Shema in front of such a
woman (Contrary to many misinterpretations he did not say that what she
was doing was permitted).

    I would like to put forward a hypothesis as to how this sad state of
affairs came about and hear the opinion of other posters on it:

    "At one time, up to say 300 years ago, all women, both Jewish and
non-Jewish, covered their hair in public and so it was not perceived as
a halachic requirement as such. Pictures of peasant women up to recent
times seem to confirm this. As fashions changed in the baroque period,
many women, following fashion, stopped doing so and, at first, this was
seen merely as an issue of fashion rather than halachah. By the time the
halachic aspect was realised this had become so widespread that it was
almost impossible to reverse the trend since hair covering had come to
be associated with backward peasant ways from which urbanised 'better
class' women wished to distance themselves."

    Martin D Stern

From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 13:21:41 +0200
Subject: Women's clothing over time

Leah S, Gordon wrote:

	I am puzzled by the spate of recent posts claiming that the only
	reason frum women used to wear "miniskirts" or go without a
	headcovering was due to inability to get the appropriate
	garments.  Can anyone seriously believe this to be true?

	Is everyone ignoring the elephant in the room, i.e. that perhaps
	these women were less stringent on the halakha?  Or that maybe
	it would still be ok to wear those clothes?

The only way to determine the appropriateness of certain garments (or
lack thereof) is by following psak. The fact that during certain periods
in history people dressed differently, does not give us the heter to do
the same.

As for kisui rosh in Europe before WWII, it's common knowledge that this
mitzva was disregarded. This is not the only such example. If I am not
mistaken, Aruch Hashulchan wrote that tvilat kelim was a very rare
practice at the time. Similarly, before the publication of Chafetz
Chaim, shmirat halashon was not exactly a popular mitzva.

Leah Aharoni


End of Volume 40 Issue 90