Volume 42 Number 79
                 Produced: Sun May 23 16:29:36 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Indian Wigs and Religious Priorities
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Kashrut and Water (4)
         [Stan Tenen, Martin Stern, Michael Rogovin, Nathan Lamm]
KosherLamp(tm) (2)
         [Daniel Nachman, Sam Saal]
KosherLamp(tm) - Safety Addendum
         [Stan Tenen]
         [Nathan Lamm]
Vocalization of Mordechai (2)
         [Meir Possenheimer, Meir Possenheimer]
         [Debra Fran Baker]
WSJ on the wig issue
         [Sam Saal]


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 10:12:34 -0400
Subject: Indian Wigs and Religious Priorities

When the "Avodah Zarah hair" issue first became headline news last week,
the immediate chord it struck for me was the famous quip, attributed (in
the perhaps apocryphal version that I heard) to Rav Aharon Lichtenstein,
the Rav's son-in-law.  The observation was that it's a shame that "lo
signov" ["do not steal*"] is one of the Ten Commandments; that's why
dishonesty is so unfortunately prevalent among otherwise frum
individuals.  If only the prohibition against theft originated in, say,
the kitzur shulchan aruch, stated as "yesh nohagim shelo lignov, v'tov
l'hachmir" - "there are some who have the custom not to steal, and it is
meritorious to be stringent" - then nobody in the frum community would
*dare* even give the minutest appearance of violating this chumra!

The connection is that untold thousands of people have collectively
spent untold millions of dollars to keep *one aspect* of the law of
tznius [modesty] in the most expensive and fanciest possible way, and
yet (inadvertently) ended up possibly violating the most basic law in
the Torah, Avodah Zarah!

But what's truly amazing, as has been pointed out by others here, is
that a single ruling on this issue caused an overnight, drastic cultural
and sociological change in the frum community.  One wonders whether the
same results would be achieved if an edict was issued by the same
authorities, stating that any money earned through dishonesty/theft -
e.g., off-the-books cash-only businesses, welfare fraud, illegally
sub-let apartments, etc. - was also assur b'hana'ah [forbidden to derive
benefit from] as with the Indian wigs??

Something to think about.

Elie Rosenfeld

* PS: Yes, I'm sure the author of the quip was aware that "lo signov" in
the Ten Commandments actually refers to kidnapping, not monetary theft,
but it's a great point anyway!


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 08:08:41 -0400
Subject: Re: Kashrut and Water

>From: <Smwise3@...>
>What did people do before there was water purification hundreds of years
>back?  Not drink water?

This is correct.  They did not drink water.  However, I'm sure water
which was known to be safe, which came directly from, say, a live
upwelling mountain brook source or an established safe well, might have
been used when it was known to be reliable.

Otherwise, weak wine or weak beer were used for drinking.  The
fermentation process and the alcohol took care of most of the
potentially dangerous biological contaminants.  (And if there were any
-- even crude -- filtering, this might also remove tiny crustaceans and
the like.)

I remember when I was supposed to go to a Peace Corps program in South
America (in the early 1960's), they told us at the time not to drink any
water, and they also told us that we should get used to beer on our
cornflakes for breakfast, because beer was known to be safe (being
brewed/boiled/filtered, etc.), while neither milk nor water were
reliably safe.  We were told that this was common practice throughout
South America at the time. I'm not sure if this is so, since the country
where I was supposed to go and teach physics had a riot at their
University, and the students burned down the physics lab that
year. <sigh>

Good Shabbos.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 12:17:33 +0100
Subject: Re: Kashrut and Water

They filtered it themselves with a piece of cloth, as we had to do in
Manchester until the problem was resolved with the installation of a new
filtration plant.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 09:47:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Kashrut and Water

I believe the answer is yes, and that is why beer was so popular and not
considered to be a problem like wine. Beer, or in France, wine, was the
common table drink in ancient times for precisely the reason that it was
pure and potable water was scarce. Water could be used in cooked foods,
but was not healthy to drink "raw" unless one had access to an
unpolluted source, such as a well far from areas where sewage was buried
(not too likely in urban areas).


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 05:47:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kashrut and Water

The answer is, they didn't drink it. In the middle ages, no one (in
Europe, at least) drank water, but rather beer or some other mild
alcohol. I doubt this had (or has) anything to do with kashrus, however.


From: Daniel Nachman <nachman@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 08:04:47 -0500
Subject: KosherLamp(tm)

Stan Tenen <meru1@...> writes:
> Assuming that it is Shabbos-appropriate to cover an electric lamp so as
> its light will not get out on Shabbos, there is no need to buy anything
> besides some pre-cut aluminum foil.

As someone who has done this with near-disastrous results, I want to
sound a note of caution here.  When my first child was born, we needed a
"nursing" light for Shabbos.  I took clip-on lamp with a 40w bulb and
covered the business end with tinfoil, leaving a very small opening to
let just a little light through.  All seemed well, but in the middle of
the night I smelled something burning.  The lamp body was metal, but the
bulb socket itself had a plastic liner that had completely melted.  I
could see that the electrical connections inside the lamp weren't
properly insulated anymore and guessed that there was a pretty
substantial risk of fire.  Perhaps a tzaddik would have sat up all night
watching it to see whether it actually combusted, but I, not being a
tzaddik, unplugged the whole thing and put it in the kitchen sink.  The
metal body of the light was astonishingly hot - I had to use towels to
hold it.  The house smelled of burned plastic for days.

So just a note of caution here.  Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of
heat when enclosed.


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 08:41:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: KosherLamp(tm)

David Lichtman <davidx@...> (any relation to the Lichtmans
in Elizabeth, NJ?) asked:

>A complete example advertorial can be found at
> .  Would
>anyone care to comment on this interesting device?

I'm no posek, but it seems to be similar technology to laving a light on
in the closet. When you don't want the light, you shut the door. The
light stays on.

Sam Saal


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 10:12:35 -0400
Subject: KosherLamp(tm) - Safety Addendum

I've realized from receiving some email that apparently, a number of
people don't distinguish between "lamp" and "bulb".

It is only safe to cover a relatively low-wattage light _bulb_.  It is
rarely safe to cover the opening of any _lamp_ or _lampshade_, because
to do so would turn the entire lamp or lampshade into the equivalent of
an oven, and because the lamp or lampshade is often made of paper or
plastic or cloth, which is flammable and/or meltable (whereas the light
_bulb_ itself, being made of metal, plastic, and glue that are designed
to take high temperature, is not a fire or melting hazard).

Good Shabbos.



From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 05:47:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Parodies

Richard Schultz makes a reference to "Na-nach" having its origin in a
parody. What does this mean?


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 17:05:45 +0100
Subject: Re: Vocalization of Mordechai

> From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
>  I have certainly heard many people refer to the Rishon (found
> at the back of the standard gemara) as "Mordche" (difficult to get the
> proper pronunciation across in an email).

With respect, I was referring to people who are interested in reading
correctly and who seem to have a doubt as to whether to read the dalet
with a sh'va na or nach.  Slovenly reading is unfortunately all too
common, and is certainly not helped by schools which may employ teachers
who themselves have never been taught to read correctly.

From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 16:51:49 +0100
Subject: Re: Vocalization of Mordechai

> From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross2@...>
> From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
> <...and, anyway, the dalet of Mordochai has a dagesh which of itself
> requires the sh'va na.>
> "Vayyihad Yitro" (dagesh kal, shva nach) is a counterexample.  Similarly
> "Vayyishb", "Vayyevk", and "Al Tosp".

Which is precisely why I wrote in my original submission:

I would be very interested to know how else one would have pronounced a
second sh'va "in the middle of a word"


From: Debra Fran Baker <vze2b2n7@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 12:39:13 -0400
Subject: re: Wigs

Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...> wrote:

> Another good thing is that if you have to toivel on Shabbos its much
> easier as your hair dries pretty quickly.  OTOH, if you have long hair
> which you can't really dry properly it will leave wet streaky marks on
> your Shabbos outfit and be somewhat of an obvious indicator also that
> you went to mikvah.

My hair reaches my waist.  I've never had wet streaky marks on my
Shabbos outfit after toiveling - by the time I get dressed again, it's
dry enough for me to pin up.  Even in the winter, all I ever need to do
is wear a tight snood under my Shabbos hat.  (And, well, arriving late
to someone else's home on a Friday night is an even more obvious

> Another thing is how often does the husband see the hair anyway? I know
> someone women don't cover their hair indoors but I've got my hair
> covered indoors. I can think of a few good reasons but the main one is
> that I'd then forget I'd have my hair covered and go to the answer the
> door with my hair covered.  This happened shortly after I was married
> and I was horrified and decided that IY"H from then on I would always
> have something covering my head.

But many women do leave their hair uncovered in their own homes.  I do -
I can stuff my hair into a snood in seconds even on the rare occasions I
wear it down.  With long hair, trust me, you know when it's uncovered.
:) Also, because I always leave it uncovered at home, I know I have to
find a hat when my doorbell rings.

> And lastly, short haircuts can look good!

That, on the other hand, is perfectly true.  And long hair can look


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Fri, 21 May 2004 09:55:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: WSJ on the wig issue

I haven't read this, yet, but the Wall Street Journal's
Opinionjournal.com weighed in in the wig issue:


Sam Saal

[I read it, it does not add much to the discussion, except to support
that it is likely in my reading that the average person in India
undergoing tonsure views it as some type of ritual activity, and many
people see the entity to which it is being done to as a "local diety" as
described in the opinion piece here. Avi]


End of Volume 42 Issue 79