Volume 41 Number 29
                 Produced: Sun Nov 30 10:33:08 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yisrael Medad]
Abuse and Repentance
         [Mona Berdugo]
Child Abuse
         [Steven Oppenheimer]
Child Abuse and Kibud Av v'Am
         [Bernard Raab]
Good Manners
         [Carl Singer]
"Out of Fashion" Halachos
         [Eli Delman]
Rambam's proof of Hashem's Incorporeality (2)
         [Joshua Sharf, Haim Snyder]
The Rogatchover Gaon and Sha'atnez
         [Janice Gelb]
         [Chaim Tatel]
Steipler and Shaatnez
         [Leah Aharoni]
Tip Top in Mail_Jewish
         [Harold Greenberg]
Top coats over kittels under the chuppah


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Nov 2003 00:13:12 +0200
Subject: Abuse

The weekly sheet "M'At min HaOr" published the phone numbers of a group
called Bat Melech - Center for Aid for Religious Women in Distress here
in Israel.  It is 052-864541 and 052-400581.

Yisrael Medad


From: Mona Berdugo <yignmona@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 21:00:15 +0200
Subject: Abuse and Repentance

I hate to revive a topic that's already died, but I didn't have access
to my computer for the past week and was surprised that no one mentioned
what I think is the most obvious problem with the idea of an abusive
partner doing teshuva.

We can never really know if the person's teshuva is really sincere until
he is put in the same situation again and acts appropriately.  In this
case that would mean that he has to be married to someone (not just
dating) for a significant amount of time and treat her with respect.
Only then would we know that he has really done teshuva.  Personally, I
would not want my daughter (or myself or anyone else I care about) to be
the one to "test" if the (formerly?) abusive man has really changed.
That would be putting her in a life threatening and halachically
unacceptable situation as others have already pointed out.  So we all
just have to learn to live with the doubt and act accordingly.

Mona Farkas Berdugo


From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy49@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 17:51:43 -0500
Subject: Child Abuse

For a detailed discussion of this very important topic, see my article
"Confronting Child Abuse" in The Journal of Halacha, Fall 2002.

Steven Oppenheimer, DDS


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 00:34:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Child Abuse and Kibud Av v'Am

Shoshana Ziskind asks:
>In a situation as described by this woman [extreme abuse by parents] how
>do you deal with the mitzvah of kibud av v'em? What would an abused
>child need to do would they be somewhat "released" from doing this

It seems that the minimum requirement of the halacha (gemara in
Kiddushin), is to see to it that your parents have shelter and food in
their old age, using their own money, if they have any. This is
something society does for the worst sociopaths behind bars, and will
fulfill the mitzvah.  

b'shalom--Bernie R. (not a rabbi but it's fun to play one play one on


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 8:31:01 -0800
Subject: Chutzpah

I was at a wedding Sunday in the West Coast of the USA where they
announced at the beginning of the Chupah that the `minhag hamokom` was
NOT to stand for the groom or bride.

sure enough, some East Coasters (but none of them professional rabbis)
knew they knew better and did stand for groom/bride.


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 07:53:32 EST
Subject: Re: Good Manners

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

Perhaps a contributing factor to the way "learning" males conduct
themselves has something to do with the way they are meant to
feel--namely, that the fact they are learning is saving the world.

Yeshiva bochurim are put on pedestals just because they sit and
learn--regardless of their middos.  They become an expensive commodity
for shidduchim--regardless of their middos, as long as they are
considered good learners.  And they obviously know it.  I fear it is the
yeshivos that create this illusion and do nothing to change it for fear
that if there is was no material gain (such as a particularly good
shidduch or standing), the yeshivos will empty out.

This seems to follow when these prize packages become bad husbands and
fathers, with some rebbi rushing to their defense.  I know personally of
cases where this happened.  Maybe it's a sexist attitude that the woman
is to blame, or maybe it's blind loyalty.  Bottom line: It's sad.

I recall years ago a young kollel man, then with three kids, decided it
was time to work.  I overheard the following conversation.  Someone
asked him how he was going to find a job.  The young man said he was
going to go up and down a major business avenue in Brooklyn (13th Ave)
and ask for a job that would pay about $25,000 (this was 1977).  The
older person asked why should someone hire him.  The response: "Because
I've been sitting and learning."  Now there is the sense of entitlement
that makes you wonder.

S. Wise


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 07:30:35 -0500
Subject: Manners

I've found that smaller communities (OK "out of town") have treated me
-- and each other -- most kindly.  I once called a town Rabbi (a total
stranger whose name I got out of the day school directory) and asked him
what I might do about Shabbos accomodations, as I would be visiting a
few weeks hence -- he immediately replied -- "you'll stay by me."  The
"and each other" (above) is probably the most important message.

Carl Singer


From: Eli Delman <eli.delman@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 10:53:16 -0500
Subject: Re:  "Out of Fashion" Halachos

>From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>

>2.  The Shulchan Aruch states quite clearly that people visiting an avel
>should sit on the floor along with the avel.  Today, it seems to be the
>custom that only the avel sits on the floor or stool, while others sit
>on regular chairs.  If the Shulchan Aruch is so definitive in the
>halacha, then why isn't this done today?

The Taz and Baer Hetev (Yoreh Deah 387) write that the reason the
visitors don't sit on the floor is that there is an implied mechila
(waiving, forgoing) on the part of the avel.



From: Joshua Sharf <jsharf@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 19:24:17 -0700
Subject: Rambam's proof of Hashem's Incorporeality

While we might start out looking at the law of inertia, limiting
ourselves to that misses the larger point, and the larger problem with
the thesis.  Certainly we have both Newtonian and modern physical laws
to explain the universe.  The problem isn't specifically that the earth
keeps spinning, but a more general one of how an incorporeal God
interacts with a physical universe.  By what mechanism does a
non-physical God translate his wishes and desires into physical action,
if he has no physical body?  Since the Rambam accepted the idea of a God
in history, a God who did in fact influence the world, this question is
a vital one in medieval terms, but one that he appears to finesse.
Marvin Fox deals at some length with this problem in his _Interpreting
Maimonides_, well worth looking at in any case.

Joshua Sharf
Denver, CO

From: <Haim.Snyder@...> (Haim Snyder)
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 11:47:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Rambam's proof of Hashem's Incorporeality

In Vol 41 #26, Anonymous asks about the Rambam's proof of Hashem's

He says:
> 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.
> Now, the problem with this is that Aristotelean mechanics would agree
> with point a), but Newtonians mechanics holds that a body will keep
> moving until a force acts on it to stop, rather than a body will only
> move if a force pushes it.

The point is that there is a force acting on the Earth trying to stop it
from turning - friction or air resistance.  The Earth is a) turning its
atmosphere which resists and b) is moving through space, which is not a
perfect vacuum and therefore resists.  The second force is significantly
less than the first, but it still exists.

In order for it to continue in motion at the same speed, an external
force must be applied equal to the forces which are trying to slow it

Ergo, there is no flaw in the Rambam's reasoning.

Haim Shalom Snyder


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 18:50:30 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: The Rogatchover Gaon and Sha'atnez

Gil Student <gil_student@...> wrote:
>  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
> himself.'"

I'm sure that the Rogatchover was convinced that he was verbing his wife
with whatever verb is missing from this quote from Y'vamot (honor?

However, all I could think of when I read this story was that while the
rebbetzin probably was stressed from dealing with her own illness, this
behavior by the Rogatchover meant that she also had to deal with guilt
over her husband's exhaustion when he accompanied her, and with his
exhausted physical state at both ends of the trip as well.

-- Janice


From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 09:56:20 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Shaatnez

In MJ v41n21, Chaim Tatel wrote:
> Basically, if there is wool or wool blend in the ingredient list, I
> check it.

>I recently had a jacket checked, whose label said "100% silk".  Turns
>out, it was 100% wool instead.  So you can't really tell much from the


You're right. I should have said: "...if there is wool or wool blend in
the ingredient list, OR IF I SEE FELT (WOOL) UNDER THE COLLAR, I check

Quite often, the label will state "100% silk," or linen, or
polyester. The problem is that the manufactureres are not requires to
say what the stiffeners are inside the garment. These are needed to give
the garment "body." About half the time, there will be a piece of felt
(wool) underneath the collar. You can see this by flipping up the
collar. The felt is made from wool. Often it has some type of stiffener
beneath it (inside). To check it, you have to open up the collar and
look. I have three tests that I use: checmical, fire, and microscope.
Sometimes the manufacturer takes two pieces of felt and sandwiches a
stiffener in between them before installing into the suit. The stiffener
can be cotton or linen. This most certainly must be checked. Right now I
have a dozen suits in my shop waiting to be checked today.

Chaim Tatel
Shaatnez Inspection service of Seattle


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Thu, 27 Nov 2003 11:18:05 +0200
Subject: Steipler and Shaatnez

Rav Kuperman once told that while serving in the (Russian?) army, the
Steipler would stand guard outside in his summer uniform even in severe
cold, because the winter uniform had Shaatnez.

Leah Aharoni


From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 18:17:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Tip Top in Mail_Jewish

Dear Rachel,

I am happy to read that Tip Top Tailors of Canada is helping those who
keep the mitzvot.  In 1948, they did another mitzvah - quoting from the
book - The Pledge - by Leonard Slater.

"...Benjamin Dunkelman, who had been a major in the Queens Own Rifles 
(one of the two Toronto regiments), had landed in Normandy on D Day 
and commanded the first troops to reach and take up a permanent 
position on the Rhine.
      The Dunkelman family, wealthy clothing manufacturers and 
retailers (Tip Top tailors), were longtime Zionist  sympathizers....in 
March, 1948,  Dunkelman did go to Palestine , where he became the 
commander of the Seventh Brigade, which spearheaded the fighting in 
central Galilee and occupied the northern part of the country to the 
Lebanese border. "

Old-time Torontonians know that Tip Top supplied  materiel to the 
seventh Brigade.

  Harold Hershel Zvi Greenberg
  Eilat, Israel


From: <asapper@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2003 14:07:00 -0500
Subject: Top coats over kittels under the chuppah

A young man I know expects to wear his top coat over his kittel under
the chuppah.  Is this a firmly established minhag?  Could it have
originated in northern Europe, such as Russia, when weddings were
traditionally held outdoors, under the stars, and the weather was cold
enough to require a top coat?  This young man is getting married inside
a heated shul.

        Any insights would be appreciated.


End of Volume 41 Issue 29