Volume 41 Number 38
                 Produced: Sun Dec 14 15:18:08 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gevinas Akum
         [Barak Greenfield]
Good Manners
         [Immanuel Burton]
Kitl at the chupo
         [Perets Mett]
"Out of Fashion" Halachos
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Rav Soloveitchik
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Rabbi Gedalia Walls]
         [David Riceman]
         [Immanuel Burton]
Tefillin while driving
         [Jack Hollander]
Test of Faith
         [Michael Toben]
Top coats over kittels under the chuppah
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]


From: Barak Greenfield <DocBJG@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 15:43:13 -0500
Subject: RE: Gevinas Akum

> > So it follows that if a kashrus agency would supervise gevinas akum,
> Would that even BE "gvinat akum" any more?  If a Jew supervises chalav
> akum, doesn't it become chalav yisrael?

OK, my mistake in the choice of wording. By "supervise" I meant "give a
hechsher on." Obviously, just because milk has a hechsher doesn't make
it cholov yisroel; the hechsher attests to the fact that there are no
non-kosher ingredients (e.g. vitamin supplements, not made on traif
equipment, etc.). But no Jew is present for the actual milking, hence
the milk is not cholov yisroel. The same could be done with cheese--a
hechsher to confirm that, for example, no non-kosher rennet or other
ingredients are used. The cheese would still be gevinas akum, but we
would know for a fact that it was otherwise kosher, and hence avoid the
problems that necessitated the whole issue being "halacha ve'ein morin



From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 10:40:29 +0000
Subject: RE: Good Manners

In MJ v41n33 it was written:

> But I did look in Shaarei Teshuva and in Shaar Gimel #147 and onward-
> he writes at length about the severity of speaking against Talmidei
> chachomim and those who are in Yeshiva.

I think a bit of perspective is needed here.  This surely cannot apply
to everyone in Yeshiva.  To give an extreme, if a Yeshiva student was a
philandering, thieving murderer with a penchant for idolatory, would it
be forbidden to speak against him?  A student in Yeshiva is not
necessarily a student of Yeshiva.

Surely the purpose of learning Torah is to put it into practice.  One
can hardly be a light unto the nations if one shuts oneself away from
the public eye.

As for the matter of good manners, there are probably two sides to the
story.  I have noticed that when I hold a door open for the person
behind me (especially if it's a lady with a baby buggy [stroller?]), the
vast majority of the frum-looking Jews who don't say "thank you" are
those ladies with the baby buggies.  I have therefore come to the
conclusion that they think it inappropriate to speak to a man they do
not know and that it is therefore a matter of modesty, and so I do not
think anything if it.

However, not saying "please" or "thank you" after having initiated a
conversation is plain rude.  My father has said to me on many occasions
that middos cannot be taught other than by example, so if young people
see others behaving rudely, why should they feel they should be any
different?  If their teachers aren't polite, why should they be?  One
can study middos as much as one likes, but until one puts it into
practice the knowledge is of little use, in the same way that reading a
book on how to drive a car doesn't make one a driver.  One should not
confuse knowledge with character.

I do agree with the statements that one should not generalise and say
that all Yeshiva students are rude.  However, surely someone spending
all their time studying Torah should know better, so can we expect a
higher standard from them?

Perhaps the way one should react is always to behave politely to people,
and hope that it spreads.

To conclude on a semi-humorous note, I once asked a friend why there are
learned people who are plain rude, and cited the phrase, "Derech Eretz
kodmah la'Torah".  He jokingly explained this as meaning that Derech
Eretz was before the Torah, but now that we have the Torah we need not
concern ourselves with what was beforehand...



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 08:49:27 +0000
Subject: Kitl at the chupo

On Thursday, December 4, 2003, at 12:18  pm, Neil Normand wrote:

>  I personally find the entire Kittel and overcoat over Kittel business
> unnecessary. Perhaps I'm incorrect but it is found nowhere in the
> Shas, Rambam or Shulchan Aruch for a Chatan to wear a Kittel, let
> alone an overcoat.  Does anyone know whether 30-50 years ago, in the
> Yeshivish world, Chatanim were wearing Kittels?  My gut instinct is
> no.

There is no need to be so dismissive of minhogei Yisroel

Chasanim have worn a kitl under the chupo for a lot longer than 50
years.  Instinct does not enter into it.

The minhog to wear a kitl under the chupo can be found in the Maharil
and the Matei Moishe - more than 500 years ago.

Rachel Swirsky  wrote:

> However the bride wearing white is a much more recent innovation than
> the groom wearing a kittle.

The minhog for a kallo to wear white is very old - it is mentioned by
both the Maharil and the Maharam Mintz. (Actually mentions sargeinez =
kitl) However, nowadays there are some who prefer the kallo to wear a
cream or pink dress (apparently because they consider a white dress to
be chukas hagoy, but I don't really know)



From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Dec 2003 21:25:14 +0200
Subject: Re:  "Out of Fashion" Halachos

 In MJ v41n25, Alan Friedenberg asks:

<<Last night at my gemara/halacha shiur we were discussing halachos that
seem to have gone "out of fashion," for lack of a better term. ... 

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?>>

    I don't know about the first question he asks (about tefillin), but
the latter halakha refers, not to everyone, but is based on a beraita in
the sugya of mourning in Moed Katan which states that "those who mourn
for a person, mourn with a person."  That is, when children, who after
120 will sit shiavh for their parents, visit one of them sitting shivah
for their parents (i.e, their own grandparents), they should exhibit
mourning behavior with them.  Likewise for spouses, siblings, etc. See
Shulhan Arukh,Yoreh Deah 374.6; Rambam, Hilkhot Evel 2.4; Moed Katan

   Having noted that this rule is not all inclusive, I would concur that
this halakha has clearly fallen into disuse, and the question reamins as
to why. I have never heard a good explanation for this, and would like
to hear one.

    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Dec 2003 14:03:11 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Rav Soloveitchik

For those in Israel there is a 3 day set of talks on Rav Soloveitchik
De. 29-31 at the VanLeer Institute in Jerusalem


Eli Turkel


From: Rabbi Gedalia Walls <gedaliawalls@...>
Date: Wed, 03 Dec 2003 18:09:22 
Subject: Re: Shaatnez

A friend of mine has been forwarding me the shaatnez discussions and I
have been replying to him. He suggested I arrange something to share
with the email group.

I personally am an NCSTAR Shaatnez tester and trained under r yoel
shochet of Lakewood, NJ. I just wanted to make a few points about the
discussion of chazaka of no shaatnez and the chiyuv bedika (requirement
to check).

Firstly, the only time we are allowed to rely on a chazaka is if nothing
changes. Just because it tends to be that way does not equal a chazaka
if it constantly changes or if there are reyusas (inconsistencies). For
example, a person need not examine the mikva to make sure it has the
requisit amount of water every time he visits it because there is
nothing that has happened to it that would change its status. However,
to illustrate the other extreme, one must check tzitzis before making a
brocho or check a chalif (knife) before Shechitah. This is because they
are in an environment that leaves them prone to blemishes.

Secondly, if there is tircha (excessive exertion) we rely on the
chazaka.  I quote these ideas from the Chochmas Adam Klal Rov v'Chazka

Regarding Shaatnez, we have MANY reyusas. Blended fabrics may give one
outward appearance but have a different true content. I.e. just because
it looks like wool or looks like cotton doesn't mean it is all the same
until the core. Especially since mislabeling does occur, it is very easy
for the trained eye to examine the threads of the garment to determine
their content. See Y"D Shach 302:3.

Also factories use lots of scrap material to reinforce parts of suits,
skirts, and even sweaters. Do not underestimate the ease of use of linen
to stich by hand, even though it cannot be used in a machine. I do not
understand why anyone would think that there could be a chazaka on all
suits just because nothing has been found recently. Would anyone eat
lettuce without checking it first? Just because the last three heads
were bug free doesn't mean the next one doesn't need checking!

I hope this is helpful and appeciate any response, positive or negative,
to this statemnet

Kol Tuv

Rabbi Gedalia Walls


From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Subject: shatnez

RTBS wrote:
<<Another poster raised the issue of bittul berov -- nullification of the
minority in a mixture.  That principle does NOT apply to sha'atnez
because by definition sha'atnez is only prohibited as a mixture of two
otherwise permitted items, wool and linen.>>

I may have been unclear, but my question was whether a linen thread
could be halachicly considered present if it was not perceivable by the
naked eye.  I probably shoudn't have used the term battel.

David Riceman


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 09:16:46 +0000
Subject: RE: Techelet

With regards to techelet having an absorption spectrum of 613nm, is this
really significant?  Techelet absorbs light with a wavelength of 613nm,
and reflects blue light, which has a wavelength in the range 450-480nm.
In other words, the light we see reflected by the techelet and which is
supposed to remind us of the 613 commandments of the Torah is in fact in
the 450-480nm range.  The light with the wavelength of 613nm is absorbed
by the techelet, and is therefore hidden by it.

What about other coincidences?  A water molecule is made up of two
hydrogen atoms and one of oxygen.  Hydrogen has a molecular mass of 1,
and oxygen of 16.  Therefore, water, which is essential for life and
which is also a symbol of the Torah, has a molecular mass of 18, which
is the gematria of chai - life.

Or how about the volume of a reviis, given as 86cc?  86 just so happens
to be the gematriah of kos (cup).

Immanuel Burton.


From: Jack Hollander <jhollander@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Dec 2003 14:29:13 +1100
Subject: Tefillin while driving

It happened to-day, in Sydney Australia, we had nine adults for
Shacharit, we needed one more urgently, so with Tefillin still on,
number nine drove home to collect his son.

Kol Tuv  Jack H.


From: Michael Toben <tobenm@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2003 11:39:16 +0200
Subject: Test of Faith

A question concerning the Akaidah has been on my mind for some time,
maybe somebody can help me with it. Avraham is tested for a tenth time
and last time. He has to prove his faith in Hashem despite the fact that
he is instructed to do something he believes is wrong; wrong in Hashem's
eyes, wrong morally (and Halachicly- if the Avot kept to the whole
Torah) and emotionally. That is if he is really ready to carry out the
absolutely absurd, evil, and revolting decree, he will have proved his
perfect faith! I have to say this - with trepidation - that I think/feel
that Avraham failed the test! Just as he challenged Hashem concerning
Sdom and Amorah, he should have done the same in this case.  This would
not have shown any lack of faith, only great strength of character to
challenge Hashem to follow his own moral system.

Any thoughts on this issue? Thanks.



From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Dec 2003 15:21:56 +0200
Subject: Re: Top coats over kittels under the chuppah

> From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
> I went and looked at the wedding album from my fathers z"l wedding. That
> was about 50 years ago. He walked down wearing a tux or some similar
> outfit with a top hat, but then under the Chupa, he put on a kittel
> (with no overcoat or anything over the kittel). From a minhag
> standpoint, my father is from the Lita Yeshiva world, my mother from the
> Polish Chassidish word (Sambor Rebbe / Strijer Rov). So the custom is
> likely quite a bit older than 50 years.

I remembered that my father, Prof. Aaron Skaist (shlit"a), wore a kittel
under the Chuppa when he got married over 44 years ago.  He comes from a
Litvische family and studied at YU and later taught there.

I called and asked him if he remembered anything about wearing top coats
over kittels and he answered: yes, when it was cold.

Apparently the Chuppa was usually out doors in the shul courtyard and it
was cold outside.  As he got married in September, indoors, he wore the
kittel without a top coat <g>.

Shoshana L. Boublil (nee Skaist)


End of Volume 41 Issue 38