Volume 42 Number 81
                 Produced: Tue May 25  6:48:25 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Tzvi Stein]
Fasting in France
         [Ken Bloom]
How far need one go?
         [Bernard Raab]
Indian Hair derivative Cystine - kosher?
         [Robert Israel]
Indian hair in sheitels
         [Frank Silbermann]
Jewish Economics (formely Ner Tzadikim)
         [Yisrael Medad]
Ner Tzaddikim
         [Batya Medad]
Vocalization of Mordechai
         [Ken Bloom]
         [Shayna Kravetz]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: Embarassment

> From: Debra Fran Baker <vze2b2n7@...>
> (And, well, arriving late to someone else's home on a Friday night is
> an even more obvious indicator.)

It did happen one time that my wife was supposed to go on a Friday night
when we were invited to someone else's house.  She thought people would
figure it out if she came light, so as a result she delayed going until
Motzie Shabbos.  Has anyone looked into the halacho of this, whether
embarassment is a valid reason to delay?  I seem to remember a there
being a halacha of not letting anyone know you are going.


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 11:30:24 -0700
Subject: Fasting in France

> It should be noted that the overall length of the fast varies only
> slightly due the shifting Hebrew dates vs. the solar year.  This is
> because the halachic hour (1 / 12th of the time between sunrise and
> sunset) varies by a few minutes.  For example, the earliest Yom Kippur
> is approximately September 16th, the latest October 13th -- Here in
> Passaic, the Halachic hour for the former is 62.5 minutes, for the
> latter 56.03 if you hold "72 minutes" it it doesn't matter, if you use
> other calculations, the variance is less than 7 minutes.  Tisha B'av
> similarly varies by about a month on the secular calendar.

The Tisha B'Av and Yom Kippur fasts are always the same length (and
they're always the same length as each other). I have heard these fasts
referred to as "25 hour fasts" because they begin at sunset, and last
approximately 25 hours until Tzait HaChochavim the following night [1] -
if the daytime hours are longer, then the nighttime hours will be
correspondingly shorter.

Regarding the "half-day fasts" of Tzom Gedaliah, Taanit Esther, 10th of
Tevet, 17th of Tammuz, and the fast of the firstborn, the length of the
fast will vary as Carl Singer described (v42n78, quoted above).  These
half-day fasts vary considerably from each other, and vary slightly
depending on the secular date they fall. Assuming that one eats
breakfast at the latest possible time and breaks the fast at the
earliest possible time (pursuant to relevant halachot), the 10th of
Tevet is a much shorter fast than the 17th of Tammuz.  (Parenthetically,
the practicalities of a seder tend to make the fast of the firstborn the
longest of the half-day fasts).

Waking hours on Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av may be similar. If one wakes
up the absolute latest possible (while still being able to daven before
z'man), then Yom Kippur and Tisha B'Av will have different amounts of
waking hours during the fast, and the number of waking hours will vary
slightly depending on the secular date they fall.

[1] This depends on the opinion you follow for Tzait haChochavim.

> When a Jewish Holiday falls out on a day when sunset according to the
> decreed local time is very late we tend to have a problem because we
> wake up to the wristwatch (secular time) and end our fast with the
> sundial - solar time.

Very true, although a particularly important part of the problem isn't
with waking up on the wristwatch on the fast day - it's the need to wake
up with the wristwatch the following morning to go to work or school.

> The cure is, again, sundials. -- Let me explain.  Sunrise is so late
> that the latest time for shma is, say, past 10AM, we could adjust our
> davening schedule accordingly -- that is start our day later (in
> keeping with the solar day) rather than adhere, lockstep, to
> wristwatch.  If you awake at 9AM instead of 7AM the daytime component
> of your fast is thus shorter.  Similarly, we adjust our eating
> patterns to clock time, not solar time -- that is I haven't heard of
> people who eat dinner earlier in the winter and later in the summer --
> it depends on work & school schedules, etc.
> I hope this is less confusing rather than more confusing.

I'm slightly confused by that last paragraph, but here's my attempt to
decipher it. Carl recommends adjusting our sleep schedules on a fast day
to wake up with sundial time, rather than clock time. I discussed the
implication of this above, concerning waking hours on Tisha B'Av and Yom

I'm unsure whether Carl recommends adjusting our eating schedules to
follow sundial time on a regular basis, but I have noticed that one is
much more likely to eat three large meals on a summer shabbat than one
is to eat three large meals on a winter shabbat (where Seudah Shlishit
must be much closer in time to Seudat Yom Shabbat). Your appetite
follows the watch, apparently. I assume the halachot about eating dairy
after meat follow the watch as well.


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 20:24:22 -0400
Subject: How far need one go?

from Shmuel Himelstein:
> ... I recently bought a religious English-language magazine published in
> Israel, which had "HaSh_m," and - this one I had never seen - "Heav_n
> forbid."

Many years ago I predicted that the day would come that (some) people
would say "ka-Shem". My son, then a teenager, derided this idea of his
"old man". I am forwarding this posting from Shmuel to him.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 17:47:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Indian Hair derivative Cystine - kosher?

 Daniel Friedman <dflawyers@...> wrote:

> I just heard that Indian hair is also exported for the manufacture of
> Cystine, a protein ingredient in shampoos, vitamin supplements and
> food preservatives, which might including items certified kosher:

A discussion by Rabbi Zushe Yosef Blech of the issues of kashrut related
to L-cysteine, whether from human hair or other sources, can be found at


I think this was written before the current controversy arose, but it
makes a number of interesting points.  In particular, something that I
don't think I saw discussed in this forum: the precise manner in which
the hair is donated to the local deity could be important in deciding
whether it is "takruvas avodah zarah".

If the Indian hair shaitels are prohibited, I would presume that
L-cysteine from the same source would also be prohibited.  Fortunately, it
seems that other sources are available.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 19:53:08 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Indian hair in sheitels

An extremist approach to not benefitting from anything connected with
Avodah Zara would seem impossible to maintain.  Certainly, there have
been at times water offered to idols, and even a single cup of such
water once well-mixed into the worlds oceans will distribute millions of
molecules into any cup then taken.  Perhaps we have a principle that
water cannot become tamei, but could not the same be said for gold?
People do not generally throw away gold items, but rather re-use the
gold.  (Gold does not corrode under normal circumstances.)  So can we be
certain that any piece of gold jewelry contains no gold atoms whatsoever
that might have been used in idolatry in ancient times?  What about

Aside from the question as to whether Hinduism is idolotry, and whether
hair given to a temple priest for fundraising in fulfillment of a vow
constitutes an idol-dedicated object, it seems that there must be some
practical limits to the application of the principle not to benefit from
anything used in idol worship.

So rather than speculate, it seems to me that we should be looking into
the Responsa literature for precedents and guidance.

Of course, not every halacha's application has been spelled out on
paper.  Some laws -- such as "do not copy the ways of the gentiles" --
are deliberately left ambiguous so that rabbis can make ad-hoc decisions
as we go along as to what does or does not constitute a violation.  Is
this the case wrt benefitting from Avodah Zara?

[I would think that, among other reasons, while we may speculate here on
mail-jewish to our hearts content, when it comes to practical halacha we
look to the reasoned and authoratative responsa of the current Rabbinic
authorities. Clearly, R. Eliyashuv is a posek that we expect to be able
to balance all the intricate issues involved here, and his responsa are
what are at the center of the discussion, both his original teshuva
which has been published in Kibutz T'shuvot, as well as the more recent
letter which is probably more in the way of a work in progress, but will
result in a formal responsa. Mod.]


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 22:20:31 +0200
Subject: Jewish Economics (formely Ner Tzadikim)

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> wrote:
      ...a Yohrzeit candle...labelled "Ner Tzaddikim."...is supposed to
      burn for 48 hours Can anyone enlighten me about what this is all

a) in any case, my wife always prefers using the 48 hours as she doesn't
trust the 24 to really last that long, so any 48 hour candle is

b) what's wrong with a Jew making money?  give it a brand name, a little
snazzy graphics, say it is new - all marketing works that way.

Yisrael Medad


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 24 May 2004 05:06:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Ner Tzaddikim

      I saw a new product labelled "Ner Tzaddikim." What is special
      about it is that it is supposed to burn for 48 hours (rather than
      the customary 24 or 25). I didn't look closely enough to see
      whether "Ner Tzaddikim"

I like the 48 hour ones better, especially for Rosh Hashannah, than the
24 hour.  It's more reliable.  Every few years the Israeli 24 hour ones
go out early.  Almost every year my next door neighbor and I "take
turns" needing a light for the second night of RH.  One year both of us
found that the candles were out and had to go to a third neighbor for a
light.  If there's a yomtov after Shabbat, the reliability is important.



From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 11:53:10 -0700
Subject: Re: Vocalization of Mordechai

> > Try saying "cordless" in English - it has roughly the same consonant
> > pattern.  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).
> The "r" in cordless is not in reality a consonant at all but a marker
> indicating that the the "or" is the diphthong as in the word "awe".
> The same applies to the pronunciation of "Mordche" so this is not an
> example of two consonants with a sheva nach.

My linguistics professor this quarter has pointed out repeatedly a
couple of things that make these last two posts an exercise in
pointlessness. The first is that different languages have different
phonetic rules, and the second is that English has dialect differences
in how words are pronounced.

In the California accent that I and my peers speak, "r" in cordless can
most definitley be heard, and it is not simply the diphthong as in the
word "awe". Your dialect of English may be different. Similarly for

Secondly, although Hebrew and English have similar pronunciation rules,
there are differences. (Examples are Hebrew's use of [x] which isn't in
English at all, and Hebrew's use of [ts] at the beginning of syllables
which is never done in English.)

Thirdly, the [l] in cordless is a liquid consonant (which is capable of
acting like a vowel in a syllable in English) and the [x] in Mordechai
is a fricative. They behave differently, and at least in my mouth, I
cannot pronounce Mordechai without a voiced sheva after the d (while I
can with cordless).


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, 23 May 2004 12:53:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Wigs

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:
>> It was explained to me (sorry, I don't remember from who) that the
>> authorities who allow wigs feel that a woman's hair has different laws
>> than the rest of her body. The rest of her body must be covered because
>> of the "attractiveness" issue, as explained by the poster above, but
>> covering the hair is a "chok" - a law which is not subject to logical
>> arguments. Evidence for this distinction can be found in the fact that
>> unmarried women do NOT have to cover their hair.
and Martin Stern <md.stern@...> replied:
>We learn the din that a married woman must have her hair covered in
>public from the ritual of Sotah (woman accused by her husband of
>consorting with another man) in which the kohen uncovers her hair. This
>obviously only applies to a married woman.

Not so fast!  Those poskim who allow women to wear hats alone (i.e.,
without wigs) so that their heads are covered but their natural hair
also shows would disagree.

The line of reasoning supporting at least some hair covering is
precisely analogous to that which we use to infer mourning customs from
what Aaron is told *not* to do after his sons' deaths.  Here we infer
from the description of what happens to the Sotah that her physical
presentation was changed to reflect her suspect status.  So what the
priest does to her during the ceremony is a deviation from normative
dress and demeanour for a Jewish woman.

The crucial question is the interpretation of the root P-R-'A in the
description of the Sotah process at BaMidbar 5:18.  Does the word mean
"to uncover" or does it mean "to disarrange" or "to loose"?  The
makhloqet goes back to Masechet Sotah 7a and Sifrei on K:tuvot 72a where
the word is treated as analogous to the root Samekh-Tav-R which means
"to undo".  It also appears in Rashi's comment on the verse in BaMidbar,
amplified in Siftei Khachamim.

The authorities are conveniently collected in R. Mayer Schiller's
excellent article in Journal of Halacha, vol. 30, pp. 81-108.

Kol tuv and (where still applicable) Khag Sameiakh from
Shayna in Toronto


End of Volume 42 Issue 81