Volume 41 Number 28
                 Produced: Wed Nov 26 21:16:09 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chofetz Chaim - business
         [Carl Singer]
Good Manners (4)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Carl Singer, Ira Bauman, Yisrael and Batya
Rambam's proof for Hashem's incorporeality (3)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Ben Z. Katz, Akiva Miller]
Reporting Child Abuse
The Rogatchover Gaon and Sha'atnez (2)
         [Joshua Seidemann, Gil Student]
Sha'atnez (2)
         [Jeremy Rose, David Charlap]
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 11:38:06 -0500
Subject: Chofetz Chaim - business

Many years ago I was the MC at a Philadelphia Yeshiva Dinner and we were
honoring a gentlemen who owned a car repair business -- a truly honest
mechanic as well as a b'al tzedukah, etc.  -- I dug into the Chofetz
Chaim as an example of how difficult it is to be an honest businessman.
The example often told is when he found that he had salt stuck to his
scale and thus had misweighed products.  He "made good" to everyone on
the community, "just to make sure" as he couldn't identify who
specifically had been impacted.



From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 09:47:28 EST
Subject: Good Manners

Carl Singer (MJv41n27) wrote: << teenaged Yeshiva Bocherim are in great
portion rude or ill mannered.  To wit, they don't reply to Good Shabbos
-- often looking away as you approach; they push in line at stores, they
double park, they don't hold doors open for older folks, etc.>>

I live close to the Talmudical Yeshivah of Philadelphia, and I find the
student there are exceedingly nice, polite, courteous, and
pleasant. Some people must be sending their kids to the wrong yeshivot,
as Derech Eretz Kadmah la...Torah (Eliyahu Rabba 1; Yalkut Shimoni,
Breshit 34)

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 11:21:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Good Manners

Gilad -- I very much agree.  Philadelphia is a different story.  I lived
in Philadelphia for a dozen years and whenever I visit the Yeshiva (I
attend an occasional board meeting) the bocherim are invariably
courteous and hospitable -- "Here, please sit here."  "Can I get you a
siddur," ,"How can I help you?"  etc. -- They follow the example set by
their Roshei Yeshiva and the other Rebbeim -- Then again, whenever I see
any of the Rebbeim at a dinner or a simcha I'm always greeted with a
warm smile and a friendly hello.

My wife says that you can tell a Philly Yeshiva graduate, the same can
be said in a positive vein about certain other Yeshivas, too.  I've
thought at times of asking a rude bocher what yeshiva they went to --
but why prolong the encounter.

As a parent Derech Eretz was an important criteria in selecting Yeshivas
for each of our sons.

From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 10:24:48 EST
Subject: Re: Good Manners

      I've discussed this with others -- and many share similar
      observations.  Some say it's the "Brooklyn influence" or the new
      generation is too self-centered -- but that's of no comfort

I recently saw an ad in a Jewish newspaper for a Yeshiva that purports
to teach "out of town" midos.  This surprising statement just expresses
what many of us know but are hesitant to say at the risk of impugning a
whole community.  In my limited travels to Jewish communities around the
USA (Seattle, San Diego, Savannah, for example) I am always amazed at
the hospitality that is extended and the manners that the young people
are taught.  There is, no doubt, a discrepancy between "in town" and
"out of town".  I don't know how this situation can be fixed since when
one lives in an isolated community one becomes quite confident that
their way of doing things is the only correct way and that no problem
exists.  As proof of this contention, a writer to the Jewish Press
recently condoned the practice of Yeshiva Bochrim not returning
greetings on the street to be a result of their immersion in Torah

Ira Bauman

From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 20:47:10 +0200
Subject: Re: Good Manners

      It seems that some of our yungeleit are not learning Torah
      principles bayn Adom l'chaverot (between man & his fellow man.) --
      or simply good Midots.  Certainly the majority of b'nai Torah are
      well mannered -- reflecting their upbringing and their education
      -- but those who aren't

This is also true in Israel, especially among chariedi males. who have
no compunctions about letting pregnant and older (middle-aged) women
stand in buses.  I wasn't going to mention my latest bad experience, but
it suits this letter.  Recently I took a bus to Jerusalem that
originated in a chareidi area.  The front of the bus was mostly younger
than I chareidi males with a few married couples.  I had to stand by the
driver.  No one offered a seat, not any of those younger than me, and
the older ones didn't instruct them to do so, either.  Then two teenage
girls got on, one in slacks and one in a long denim skirt.  (not a
chareidi uniform) They asked the driver about the folded seat, sometimes
used for tour guides.  They said it would be for me.  They helped
uncover and unfold it.  Those girls were wonderful, but the males....

Peyot and black suits don't mean true Torah observance.  Forget about
the costumes and start teaching the real thing.



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 10:45:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Rambam's proof for Hashem's incorporeality

 >Question on the Rambam's proof for Hashem's incorporeality

 >a) therefore there must be a continual force turning it so b) that
 >force must come from something incorporeal, since anything physical
 >would cease after some period of time so c) Hashem is eternal and
 >therefore incorporeal.

 > Therefore, according to present-day physics, the continual turning of
 >the world does not indicate any force, much less Hashem Himself,
 >pushing it.

I don't see any problem with Rambam's reasoning.  Certainly, Newton's
law does not explain *why* a body in motion stays in motion (until acted
upon by an unbalanced force) - only that this happens.  The fact that
we've build a (mostly) consistent system of physics around Newton's law
simply testifies to its accuracy in describing the world ... but does
not provide evidence of why it is the case.

It is thus not unreasonable to assume that G-d maintains the law of
inertia as a means of continuing the world.  It is an interesting
thought experiment to imagine what would happen to the world without
this law.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>

From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 24 Nov 2003 23:00:32 -0600
Subject: Re: Rambam's proof for Hashem's incorporeality

	There is nothing "to do" with the Rambam.  He was unaware of
Newtonian mechanics because he predated Newton's time by 500 years.
What one needs to learn from the Rambam in this instance is his
APPROACH.  He dealt with "modernity" in his day by reconciling the God
of Aristotle (the Prime Mover) with the God of the Chumash.  It is no
more insulting to the Rambam that he didn't know Newtonian mechanics as
it is to say that he couldn't envision an airplane.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 08:14:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Rambam's proof for Hashem's incorporeality

In MJ 41:26, Anonymous raised some strong questions on one of "the
Rambam's proofs".

It is my opinion that the word "proof" is slightly off-target in this
context. Over the centuries, many such "proofs" have been offered for
HaShem's existence and various aspects of Him. I have not yet found one
which is totally iron-clad and lacking any holes whatsoever.

Every such "proof" has problems. The bottom line is whether *you*
perceive a problem as big enough to worry about, or whether *you*
percieve the problem to be so small as to not really be a problem at
all.  But that same problem could be viewed differently by someone else.

I believe that HaShem deliberately designed the universe in such a
manner that a totally undeniable proof would not be possible. Every
proof has a certain element in it which allows a person to say, "Nah, I
just don't see it that way." It *must* be like this, because if there
*was* a proof which simply *had* to be believed, we'd lose our free
choice whether to believe in Him or not.

This is not to say that the search for such proofs is futile or
worthless. To each individual, some of the proofs will resonate as
valid, and will help strengthen his faith. Personally, the proof known
as "the Kuzari's proof" is the one I like best. I *am* aware of some
arguments against it, but I've also heard some good counter-arguments to
defend it, and I'm pretty much satisfied with that, and it keeps me

If you have problems with the Rambam's proof, don't worry. Look for
counter-arguments, or try another philosopher entirely, but don't give
up. Just because the Rambam was based on Aristotle, and Newton gave us a
whole new way of looking at it, that doesn't mean that HaShem *doesn't*
exist. It just means that *you* should set this proof aside in search of
something else.

Akiva Miller


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 11:50:35
Subject: Reporting Child Abuse

My spouse was a school official (at a "frum" school) and thus a
"mandatory reporter" (one required, by secular law to report child abuse
to proper authorities.)  When a case was discovered, the school's head
was hesitant to report (or allow my spouse to report) hemming & hawing
re: it looks bad for the Jews, etc.  My spouse got his agreement to
contact this school's Posek -- a well known Rosh Yeshiva who would be
termed a Gadol haDor -- as the story was being told to him -- he cut the
discussion off with his firm reply: "You MUST report this."


From: Joshua Seidemann <quartertones@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 05:37:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: The Rogatchover Gaon and Sha'atnez

       He got on the train and discovered that the seats
      were shatnez and stood the entire way thus getting no sleep.

Great story.  Got a question -- how did he know the seats were shatnez?

From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 13:48:18 -0500
Subject: The Rogatchover Gaon and Sha'atnez

 From R' Pinchas Teitz's introduction to the 1989 edition of the
Rogatchover's Tzofnas Panei'ach on Bava Metzia, translated by Dr.
Rivkah Blau in Learn Torah, Love Torah, Live Torah pp. 47-48:

"When our teacher had to see doctors, he did not go to the most renowned
practitioners; he went to a local doctor in Dvinsk. But when the
rebbetzin needed medical care, he insisted on going to the best doctor
in the capital city Riga, and accompanied her on the four-hour train
trip. These trips were difficult for him. To avoid other passengers
disturbing his learning, they traveled second-class in a private
compartment. But since the seats were upholstered with a material that
perhaps was a mixture of wool and linen, the prohibited sha'atnez, he
stood for the entire trip until he reached Riga exhausted. Rebbetzin
Rosen was very upset, and pleaded with him not to accompany her. But it
seemed that our teacher wanted to fulfill what our sages of blessed
memory said in Y'vamot 62b, that a husband 'should his wife more than


From: Jeremy Rose <jeremy@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 07:12:15 +0000
Subject: Sha'atnez

My record is buying a really nice sweater on sale at Austin Reed - on
sale but still rather expensive.  Got it home and it was 50 per cent
wool and 50 per cent linen ;-)

Jeremy L Rose                                   Tel:  +44 1727 832288
Communication Systems Limited                   Fax:  +44 1727 810194

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 09:55:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Sha'atnez

Many people replied to my message, saying:

> Why could you not use cotton thread?  Only linen and wool are 
> shatnez, not cotton with either.

[This one came closer to 37 :-). I'll use this as a general
acknowledgement that quite a number of people sent in this
comment. Mod.]

Since when?

I've always been under the impression that it is prohibited to mix any
animal-based fiber with any plant-based fiber, and that wool/linen is
only a common example used for illustration when teaching the halacha.

-- David

[As far as I know, since always. Shatnez is wool and linen in a
technical mixture, nothing else. Mod.]


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 03:34:43 EST
Subject: Techelet

Someone showed me an pamphlet about techelet, which said, among many
other interesting facts, that the absorption spectrum of techelet (the
modern material made from the chilazon) has a peak at exactly 613
nanometers. Is there someone here who wears techelet on his tzitzis, and
has access to a spectrophotometer? If so, could you please check this
out and report the results here? I'd love to know if it's true!

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


End of Volume 41 Issue 28