Volume 42 Number 59
                 Produced: Mon May  3  5:38:27 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening in a Room where a Pet may be Present
         [Akiva Miller]
Davening with a dog in the room
         [Carl Singer]
Dog Ownership
         [Irwin Weiss]
Drisha Dinner, Summer Programs
         [Judith Tenzer]
Is Sifri halacha? (2)
         [c.halevi, Avi Feldblum]
Not mourning excessively (2)
         [c.halevi, Avi Feldblum]
Standing in the Temple Ruins
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Torah says to feed dogs
Yakov Birnbaum (2)
         [<carmy@...>, Aliza Berger]


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 13:36:44 -0400
Subject: Re:  Davening in a Room where a Pet may be Present

Yehonatan Chipman wrote <<< The prohibition agaist touching an animal
while wearing tefillin is because the animal is considered unclean, and
contact with it requires netilat yadaim. >>>

I don't recall ever seeing such halachos, that the dirt-free fur of a
pet dog is considered unclean, or that touching it requires netilas

If the "unclean" reference is to the fact that a dog is a tamei species,
then I have tow additional questions: a) I thought that animals don't
become tamei until they're dead; am I mistaken on this? b) Would
touching the skin of a living tahor animal (such as a cow) be okay?

If the "unclean" reference is to the idea that some events require us to
wash our hand, even though they don't appear to have gotten dirtied,
then I would expect this to appear in the list of such events in
Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 4:18. I couldn't find it there, unless you're
presuming lice to be present.

Please note: I am definitely not advocating that one should pet his
animals while wearing tefillin. Such an act wouldprobably fall in the
general category of things to be avoided because we must always be aware
of the tefilin's holiness, and these activities distract us from
that. My only objection is that I don't see where this activity
(touching an animal) is singled out.

Akiva Miller


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Subject: Davening with a dog in the room

Those of you from West Philadelphia and Edison, NJ may remember Farfel
who graced our home for 16 years as a friend, confident, watchdog and
babysitter.  He was a most capable dog, but try as I might, I could not
teach him to open a closed door.  So davening with him in the room was
never an issue.

Carl Singer


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 10:09:30 -0400
Subject: Dog Ownership

The Chassidim who live next door to me have a dog. The Chassidim who
live across the street have a dog. Numerous other Frum Jews in my
neighborhood (or maybe I am in their neighborhood) have dogs.  I have
great respect for these people, not only as far as their level of
observance, but also they are genuinely wonderful people in all

At a minimum, there must be a dispute as to whether dog ownership is



From: Judith Tenzer <jtenzer@...>
Subject: Drisha Dinner, Summer Programs

Drisha 25th Anniversary Dinner on May 9th

Drisha's 25th Anniversary Dinner honoring Bethia Straus and Paul Quintas
will take place on Sunday, May 9 at the Ramaz School at East 78th
Street.  The theme of the evening's Torah study, dedicated to the memory
of Gwendolyn Straus, is Em B'Yisrael. To mark Drisha's 25th anniversary,
all classes will be taught by Scholars Circle and HaSha'ar alumnae. If
you have not yet made your reservation, please call 212-595-0307, email
<jtenzer@...> or go to
http://www.drisha.org/community/anniversary_dinner to download a
reservation form.

Pre-Shavuot Tikkun on May 18th

Drisha Institute for Jewish Education and Ma'yan: The Jewish Women's
Project of the JCC in Manhattan are again co-sponsoring the Pre-Shavuot
Tikkun. This year's program will center on the film Tehora/Purity:
Breaking the Codes of Silence by Anat Zuria, followed by discussion with
Devorah Zlochower, Director of Full-Time Programs, and Rabbis Jill
Hammer and Rona Shapiro of Ma'yan. The program will take place on
Tuesday, May 18, 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. Admission is $25; $18 for students and
seniors. Light dinner will be served. This program will take place at
the JCC in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Avenue (between 75th and 76th
Streets). Register online
http://www.drisha.org/community/preshavuot_tikkun, phone Ma'yan at
646-505-4432 or email <paulette@...>

Summer Programs begin June 7

Drisha's Summer Institutes run from June 7-25 (three-week program) and
June 28-July 30 (five-week program). Both programs offer full-time and
part-time programs of study. This is a wonderful opportunity for women
to build their skills in Talmud, Jewish Law, Bible, Philosophy, Biblical
Hebrew, and Midrash. Courses in the Summer Institutes are offered on two
levels.  Concurrently, part-time continuing education courses are
offered on all levels. For information, contact Program Director Judith
Tenzer, <jtenzer@...>

Summer High School Program begins June 28

The five-week Summer High School Program begins on June 28th with
classes in Talmud, Bible, Midrash, Jewish Law, and extra-curricular
activities including a barbeque, swim-party, sports, chessed projects,
and two Shabbatons. The program provides a unique blend of serious text
study with a full range of fun activities. Partial and full scholarships
are available. For information, contact Miriam Udel-Lambert, Director,
Summer High School Program, <udellamb@...>

Remember:  Summer programs will take place at our new location, 37 West
65th Street (between Central Park West and Columbus Avenues), 5th floor.

Judith Tenzer, Program Director, Drisha Institute for Jewish Education
131 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024
(212) 595-0307


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 12:57:59 -0500
Subject: Is Sifri halacha?

Shalom, All:

After I cited two respected Jewish encyclopedias that stated that Rabbi
Akiva died in his 80s, I noted >>I've never heard before that Rebbe
Akiva lived to 120.<<

Reb Chaim G Steinmetz  then wrote >>See Sifri Parshas Brocho that four
lived to 120: Moshe, Hillel Hazoken, R' Yochanan Ben Zakai and R'
Akiva.<< (I received a personal e-mail from Yehuda Landry saying the
same thing.)

Question: Is Sifri considered halacha, and therefore unassailable?

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 05:27:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Is Sifri halacha?

On Sun, 2 May 2004, c.halevi wrote:

> Question: Is Sifri considered halacha, and therefore unassailable?

Sifri includes medrashi halacha, as I remember and therefore those
portions may be the source for halachic statements. One can speculate on
whether the quoted material is to be viewed as medrash aggadah, and
therefore exactly what is the historic strength of the
statement. However, I think it is clear that the Sifri is closer to a
primary source than a modern encyclopedia, so the burden of proof would
be on the position that is identifying a different life span - what is
their source?

Avi Feldblum


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 12:40:43 -0500
Subject: Not mourning excessively

Shalom, All:

Isn't prohibiting music year 'round against the concept of not mourning
excessively? I remember reading that Rabbi Yehoshua once encountered
people who had given up eating meat or drinking wine, after the fall of
the Bayit Shaynee (Second Temple).

"How can we now eat meat or drink wine, which were offered upon the
altar?" they asked. He countered by asking them how they could eat fruit
or bread, which were also offered on the altar. He even asked how they
justified drinking water, which was an essential part of the Sukkot

When they stood mutely before his wisdom, he gently told them that just
as it is impossible not to mourn for the Bayt Hamikdash (Temple), it is
impossible to mourn too much, because it is forbidden to impose a
hardship upon the tzibbur (community) that the community may not endure.

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 3 May 2004 05:21:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Not mourning excessively

On Sun, 2 May 2004, c.halevi wrote:

> Isn't prohibiting music year 'round against the concept of not mourning
> excessively? I remember reading that Rabbi Yehoshua once encountered
> people who had given up eating meat or drinking wine, after the fall of
> the Bayit Shaynee (Second Temple).

I would think that the definition of "not mourning excessively" is
defined as what mourning practices are mandated by Chazal and which are
not. So if not listening to music is mandated by Chazal, then it would
not fall under that catagory. If not eating meat and drinking wine had
not been mandated by Chazal, but individuals decided to take that on,
that would fall under this catagory and that is what R. Yehoshua told

The question of listening to music then needs to be analyzed from two
perspectives. 1) what exactly did Chazal establish 2) How was it
accepted by Klal Yisrael (which would include how does the halachic
responsa literature deal with the issue).

Avi Feldblum


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 20:47:49 +0200
Subject: Standing in the Temple Ruins

In Martin Stern's response to Ken Bloom, regarding R' Akiva and
his standing at the ruins of the Temple that:-

      they had been desolate for some time

the important point for me is not his age but rather the fact that he
actually was standing on/in the Temple esplanade.  In other words, after
the Temple's destruction, it was permitted to enter the Temple Mount
area, at least to some certain portions which would support all the
other sources and interpretations that are more lenient in the attitude
whether or not one can today enter sections of what we call Har Habayit
but which actually are not to be identified as the sacred/sanctified
portion of the courtyards.

Yisrael Medad


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 2 May 2004 13:17:12 -0500
Subject: Torah says to feed dogs

Shalom, All:

I don't understand the opinion that prohibits dogs, since the Torah
itself says in Shmot (Exodus) 22:30 that if you have trayf (unkosher)
meat, you should feed it to the dogs.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: <carmy@...>
Date: Sun,  2 May 2004 13:16:58 -0400
Subject: Yakov Birnbaum

The Jewish Week recognition was long overdue.

The article is based on a long essay in the most recent issue of Azure.

From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sun, 02 May 2004 15:36:15 +0200
Subject: Yakov Birnbaum

I thank Michael Feldstein for citing the article on Yakov Birnbaum that
appeared in the Jewish Week.

Yakov's wife, Freda, is a long-time mail-jewisher.

A more extensive, also recent article on Yakov Birnbaum, who founded the
Soviet Jewry movement 40 years ago, can be found at:



Aliza Berger, PhD, Director
English Editing: editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: statistics-help.com


End of Volume 42 Issue 59