Volume 41 Number 09
                 Produced: Fri Nov  7  4:30:17 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Auctioning on Simchas Torah
         [Carl Singer]
Behavior in School
         [Carl Singer]
Corn on the cob
         [Yisrael Medad]
Hair Covering
Modest Clothing (4)
         [Chaim Tatel, Gershon Dubin, Akiva Miller, Yisrael Medad]
Muslim Hair Covering
         [Yisrael Medad]
Pants and modesty
         [Alana Suskin]
question on parshat Noach
         [Normand, Neil]
Rabbi Twersky's Book
         [Jeanette Friedman]
repeating words during prayer (was Re: Aleinu backwards)
         [Michael Savitz]
Spousal Abuse
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Substandard English
         [Jeanette Friedman]
         [Sue Goldstein]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 07:37:28 -0500
Subject: Auctioning on Simchas Torah

A practice that I saw in my previous home was the the auction was done
on the first night of slichos -- still a great fund raiser, etc. -- but
one less interruption of an already long Simchas Torah celebration.

Wondering how wide spread this is -- or other variants.

Carl Singer


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 07:20:30 -0500
Subject: Behavior in School

It depends on school's  leadership and the leadership's attitude.

Walk into some Yeshivas and while you'll see the lemudai kodesh texts
stacked on window sills and tables, while secular texts are literally
lying on the floor.

Disrespect for secular faculty, etc. also is tolerated in certain
schools -- especially when this faculty is not "frum" -- but from
outside the community.

My suggestion to a parent "shopping" for a school is to look for such signs.

Carl Singer


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 01 Nov 2003 20:58:12 +0200
Subject: Corn on the cob

Picking up again the discussion, I have just read the weekly Daf Yomi
bulletin of the Sucatshuv Chasidim and noticed something that pertains
to our issue.

It starts with the question whether the separation between two letters
on the Torah parchment can be perceived by the naked eye.  It does not
help if a magnifying glass is used to prove that the two letters are
actually separated, for one depends on "mar'it ayin", what is seen by
the eye.

In the same logic category, if, theoretically, there is a hole in the
parchment but cannot be seen - unless, for example, the parchment is
held up to the light and then the hole is clearly seen, - the parchment
is considered okay for the scribe.  (Shulchan Arukh OH 32:13).

Then the discussion moves to bugs and worms and quotes from the Responsa
of the Vazner Rav shlita (with whom I am not acquainted), the Shevet
Levy I, 7:8, based on the Shulchan Arukh YD, 84, and I quote, "bugs
unseen to the human eye are not prohibited even if the one who looks at
them with a microscope can see a creature before him for as the Poskim
say 'for if so, we would not find our arms and legs in the matter of
prohibition of worms for in one drop of water there are multiple bugs'".

Even before this, I asked the Rav of Psagot, Yossi Weitzen, and he said
his custom is to purchase the corn cobs and place them in a plastic bag
and seal it for 24 hours assuming that the lack of air will kill all the
bugs.  I am not sure that this lack of oxygen is sufficient - nor have I
heard any further explanations (nor even seen) of the Chief Rabbinate's
instruction - but I am continuing to eat corn on the cob.

Yisrael Medad


From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Nov 2003 18:41:53 -0800
Subject: Re: Hair Covering

it was written in regards to women who don't cover their hair

> "Judging people (stam) is a problem.  Judging their frumkite based on
> their outward appearance and OUR own interpretations of halacha is
> devisive."

I have to disagree. When I was growing up in the '60s and early '70s the
rule was that if the wife/mother had her hair covered it was ok to eat
what you were given by her at her house. If it wasn't , you had to ask
your own Mother first.



From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 06:47:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Modest Clothing

Israel Caspi wrote: 

>Regarding the question of clothing, ...
>So let's now ask the question: if wearing pants is immodest for women,
>what makes it modest for men to do so?

Hashem commanded Kohanim to wear pants in the mishkan specifically for this
See Shemos 28:42-44: 
" 42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their
nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach. 43 And they
shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they go in unto the tent of
meeting, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place;
that they bear not iniquity, and die; it shall be a statute for ever unto him
and unto his seed after him." 

Chaim Tatel

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 19:05:22 -0500
Subject: Modest Clothing

The Gemara in the beginning of Pesachim says quite clearly that the idea
of showing legs separated is a lack of tzenius for women, specifically.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 09:59:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Modest Clothing

Israel Caspi asked <<< My daughter points out that in a patriarchal
system, such as our rabbinic establishment, women would not have been
consulted about whether men's clothing ... were a turn on for females.
... So let's now ask the question: if wearing pants is immodest for
women, what makes it modest for men to do so? >>>

Let's define "modesty" not in terms of what body parts are covered and
in what manner they're covered, but in terms of drawing undue attention
to those body parts. "Drawing attention" is the key factor, and certain
clothing styles on a woman will attract men's attention, whereas the
same styles on a man will not attract the attention of women.

Furthermore, even if women *would* be attracted by what a man is
wearing, that is less problematic than the reverse. According to Rav
Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe, Even Haezer 1:69), both men and women are
bound by the prohibition of "Don't stray after your eyes" (Num. 15:39),
but the prohibition of "Guard yourself from any bad thing" (Deut 23:10)
refers to nocturnal emissions, which only applies to men.

The result of this is that there are some things which both men and
women are forbidden to look at, but there are other cases where women
may look but not men. To see what cases are in each category, I
recommend seeing that Igros Moshe (especially the last paragraph there),
or see the discussion of Gemara Avodah Zara 20 online at
http://tinyurl.com/tlqq (especially the bottom half) where these two
prohibitions are discussed and contrasted, and several views (including
the Igros Moshe above) are explained.

Akiva Miller

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 22:32:25 +0200
Subject: Modest Clothing

      Regarding the question of clothing, in times gone by, men -- like
      women -- wore skirt-like robes.  Clothing historians have traced
      the wearing of pants for men to the 13th century (or so), when
      sailors began the "fashion" for reasons of both practicality and

Sailors? Maybe Priests in the Temple?

Exodus 28:42            linen breeches
Leviticus 6:3                   "
Leviticus 16:4                  "

Yisrael Medad


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 22:22:24 +0200
Subject: Muslim Hair Covering

Further to the recent exchange and my wife's comments,
I too see many Muslim women daily and since we lived in the Old City of
Jerusalem for a year when we first made Aliyah in 1970 and literally
lived among them, I would like to mention that not only hair-covering
is something to be studied but many unmarried girls, while covering their
hair in a variety of fashions, wear pants/jeans, some with a skirt over
or not.

Yisrael Medad


From: Alana Suskin <alanamscat@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 07:05:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Pants and modesty

> From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>

> Regarding the question of clothing, in times gone by, men -- like
> women -- wore skirt-like robes.  Clothing historians have traced the
> wearing of pants for men to the 13th century (or so), when sailors
> began the "fashion" for reasons of both practicality and modesty,
> i.e., so they did not constantly have to grab at wind-whipped robes
> while at sea.> So let's now ask the question: if wearing pants is
> immodest for women, what makes it modest for men to do so?

As an interesting aside, I have seen the invention of pants attributed
not to sailors, but actually to the great Queen and warrior Semiramis
(born Chaldean, eventually married to King Shamsi-Adad 5 of Assyria) in
order to lead military campaigns on horseback against the Medes after
the death of Shamsi-Adad (she was regent for her son starting around 812
BCE). I've heard it explained that she felt it made it harder to tell
women from men, although eventually it was more men who liked the new
fashion - perhaps that would make it a modesty advantage?

Alana Suskin


From: Normand, Neil <NormandN@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 09:37:08 -0500
Subject: question on parshat Noach

In parshat Noach, as the waters of the flood are receding, Noach sends
out a Raven, and on three occasions a dove to see how dry the land has
become.  Yet he did not exit the Ark until commanded so by G-D.  If so,
what was the function of his sending out of the birds?


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 13:00:33 EST
Subject: Re: Rabbi Twersky's Book

the name of rabbi twersky's book is Silence is Deadly.


From: Michael Savitz <michael.savitz@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Nov 2003 17:25:53 -0500
Subject: Re: repeating words during prayer (was Re: Aleinu backwards)

> I see three cases where I have an issue with repeat words:
> ...
> 3) Where the context of the repetition may have theological implications
> (e.g. the case of the Gemara of repeated Modim)
> ...
> A good example for me in during opening the Aron. The common tune for
> Vayehi Binsoah HaAron has repetitions in the last two sentances. The
> next to the last, Ki mitzion has the first part repeated twice. This is
> a pasuk, so I do not repeat this. The last has a double type
> repetition. The first half is repeated twice, and within that half, the
> word Torah is repeated twice. This is not a pasuk, so I have no problem
> repeating the sentance fragment twice. However, I find Torah/Torah to
> close to Modim/Modim that the Gemara forbids, so I stretch out the word
> to cover other people repeating it.

Or could "Torah/Torah" be justified as referring to both the written
Torah and the oral Torah?

Cf. Rashi on Bereishit 26:5, where "vayishmor ... torotai", plural, is
explained as including both Oral and Written Torah.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 12:59:23 EST
Subject: Re: Spousal Abuse

      The Jewish community is small enough that this woman is bound to
      hear about it. Let us hope that she keep her eyes and ears open

Not so, and does that makes it her responsibility to find out? If she
doesn't hear about it, it becomes her fault she gets victimized later?

Jeanette Friedman


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 2003 08:20:56 EST
Subject: Re: Substandard English

      If you are learning English for the first time as an adult then
      you will follow all the rules as set down in textbooks and as
      taught by teachers.  If you grow up with English as your first
      language then you will use it as you hear it in the street and
      from your friends.  Does this include colloquialisms and incorrect
      usages?  Yes.  Why should Jews speak a different language than
      other Americans?  I speak with my Gentile neighbors in Brooklyn
      and their English ain't so good neither.

There is street talk and then there is English. There is also Ebonics,
in which I am fluent. Does that mean I write in Ebonics or Yinglish?
No. It doesn't. There are standards or there should be, and not just for
yeshiva people. It should be a rule that, for example, if you aren't
fluent in English, reading and writing and speaking, you shouldn't be
working anywhere near a medical facility like Maimonides or Metro Jewish
Geriatric on 10th in Boro Park. My mother was almost killed in both
places because people either couldn't read or speak English, esp. at
Metro Jewish Geriatric--where they insisted she was a diabetic (she is
not) and tried to give her insulin IV. She ripped the IV out of her arm,
got dressed and left. After all, when she came to America, she went to
school to learn English, as did my Talmid Chocham father.

Not being able to speak a word of English until I was in school, I
learned very quickly that English is a vital tool. I was lost on the
streets, a police officer found me, and I couldn't understand a word he
said, and he couldn't understand me.


From: <Suzannbg@...> (Sue Goldstein)
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 13:49:09 EST
Subject: re: Superstitions

Where did the gesture of spitting come from & what does it mean? I have
a friend who always does a pretend 'spit spit' when something
happens. Is it for good luck, or to prevent something bad from
happening? Thanks for any information you can give me.

Sue Goldstein


End of Volume 41 Issue 9