Volume 43 Number 28
                 Produced: Mon Jun 28 23:09:48 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Birkat Kohanim question
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Clerical garb (2)
         [Edward Ehrlich, Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Deliberately invalid marriages
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
The Hot Water Boiler on Shabbat
         [Carl Singer]
         [Martin Stern]
"Madonna Esther"
         [Immanuel Burton]
Mercury vs. Digital Thermometers
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
One-handle water faucets
         [Andrew Marks]
Tzedakah - Calculating Maaser
         [Aliza Berger]
weddings on a fast t day
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
What did the Baal Shem Tov do?
         [Andy Goldfinger]
What we say during Hagba
         [Mark Symons]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 15:30:47 +0300
Subject: Re: Another Birkat Kohanim question

Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...> stated the following:

      One weekday morning, the Chazan was a member of the Eidot Mizrach
      and a Kohen.

      While reciting Modim aloud in the Chazarat Hashatz, he walked over
      from the Bimah in the center to the front of the Aron, and joined
      me for the Birkat Kohanim.

This seems to be the way the Mishna Berura says you should do it, but
I've certainly never seen any Ashkenazi sheliah tzibbur kohen leave his

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 14:07:46 +0300
Subject: Clerical garb

Martin Stern wrote:

>These customs are similar to the shtreimlach worn by chassidim which
>also were the standard headgear of the nobility in 18th century Poland.

I always heard that Chassidic headgear (and other clothes) was based on
that of the 18th Century Polish middle class or some group such as tax
collectors who came from the middle class and not of the nobility.

Does anybody know for sure whether the origin of Chassidic garb is
either the middle class or the nobility of Poland?

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel

From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:04:43 +0200
Subject: Clerical garb

bh, yom sheni blak

> I do not know if there is a Hebrew or Yiddish word to describe this
> specific type of hat.

It's called a <tzilinder>


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 15:31:47 +0300
Subject: Re: Deliberately invalid marriages

Avinoam Bitton <avib@...> stated the following on Thu, 17 Jun 2004
01:42:15 -0400:
      I can verify this from personal experience.
      I was one of  two observant edim at the wedding of a non-frum
      friend, some 25 years ago in NY.  My Rav advised that I
      deliberately avoid viewing the critical moments under the
      huppa, which I did. (I'm quite sure that there were no other
      frum Jews among the celebrants.)

This seems likh'ora to be shocking.  A witness who intentionally does
not perform the function of a witness.  Has anyone a source for the
permissibility or prohibition regarding doing this sort of thing?

Especially since, in many weddings the groom says to the witnesses
"atem, veraq atem, eidai."  (You, and only you, are my witnesses.)  To
accept the job with the intention of not performing it!?

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 07:58:17 -0400
Subject: The Hot Water Boiler on Shabbat

> As far as I know, the cold water that enters a hot water boiler when the
> cold water tap is opened, enters from the bottom, not the top.  So that
> first of all, the water that is drawn from the boiler is not "cooked"
> (bishul) on shabbat. And secondly, if we argue that nevertheless
> "cooking" takes place at the bottom, in Y.D. 105:3 we pasken (
> concluding opinion) that when two items of different temperatures and
> mixed, the bottom overwhelms the top ( tatatui govar) . If so, we are
> not "cooking" the cold water, but rather the cold water is cooling the
> hot water.  And even if we consider that ad demekar bolah purtah that
> is, that a thin surface of the cold entity is affected by the heat of
> the upper entity, (YD.Shakh 91:7) that's only as far as absorption of
> forbidden a substance (issur) is concerned, but not necessarily for
> "cooking" on shabbat.

YES -- perhaps it's different on Israeli hot water heaters -- but both
intake and outflow on most U.S. water heaters are located on the very
TOP of the cylinder.

This appears to be a design feature -- if you were to have a leak at the
juncture where the pipes entered / exited the boiler, you'd want it on
top, so cutting off the (cold) water supply would stop water flow --
Were either pipe located towards the bottom and a leak to occur at that
juncture then cutting off the water would only stop additional water
from entering the boiler, but you'd have all of the water in the boiler
(above the pipe entry point) leaking / pouring out.

The only piping going to the bottom of the hot water heater is the gas
(fuel) pipe and it's external to the boiler itself.

Carl A. Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 13:14:34 +0100
Subject: Re: Madonna

on 28/6/04 12:06 pm, David Charlap <shamino@...> wrote:

> But if a popular celebrity (Jewish or otherwise) is
> publicly refusing to perform on Shabbat, it may encourage less-observant
> Jews to also begin keeping Shabbat - which can only be a good thing.

There is a principle enunciated in the Gemara that non-Jews are not
permitted to observe Shabbat which gives rise to the problem of how we
can say that the patriarchs kept all the mitsvot prior to Matan Torah
which would be problematic if they had a status of ben Noach. There are
many suggested solutions to this which may be relevant to Madonna if
(formerly) she has not formally converted to Judaism. In any case I
can't somehow see her reported behaviour on or off stage as a useful
role model any more than that of other pop artists even if they are
Jewish or even (in some scandalous cases) purport to be frum.

Martin Stern


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 14:36:00 +0100
Subject: RE: "Madonna Esther"

In Mail.Jewish v43n24, Stan Tenen wrote:
> The advent of (mostly Berg-trained, but not exclusively so)
> "Kabbalah-ists" is hardly less damaging to the public perception of
> what Judaism is really about, than are the "Jews for J" and "messianic
> Jews".

Could we have a definition of what "messianic Jews" are?  Shouldn't all
Jews believe in the arrival of the Messiah, as per the Rambam's Twelfth
Article Of Faith?

Immanuel Burton.

[In the US, the term "messianic Jews" or some similar term has been
co-opted by those that believe that he has already come - i.e. they are
Christian groups who work to convert Jews and do it in a way that keeps
the environment more "comfortable" and "jewish-feeling". Avi]


From: <BACKON@...> (Dr. Josh Backon)
Date: Mon,  28 Jun 2004 14:10 +0200
Subject: Re: Mercury vs. Digital Thermometers

First of all, if there is a need to to check if someone has a fever on
Shabbat, it is permitted to take temperature with a thermometer (Minchat
Yitzchak III 142; Tzitz Eliezer III 10) and one is not permitted to be
stringent and not take the temperature (Sefer Refuat haShabbat
33:20). Using the back of one's hand is not a substitute.

If one has a choice between a mercury thermometer and a digital one, the
mercury one is preferred (Minchat Yitzchak III 142). One should avoid
use of a plastic band with liquid crystals (this topic is discussed in
Beer Moshe VI 77, Tzitz Eliezer XIV 30/31, Yechave Daat IV 29). Use of a
digital thermometer is permitted only when there is SAKANA (danger) and
no other thermometer is available.

One is permitted to clean the thermometer with alcohol before use
(Shmirat Shabbat K'hilchata 40:2; TZitz Eliezer VIII 15, perek 14 oht

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine


From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Subject: One-handle water faucets

One thing I've noticed is that most sinks have knobs underneath that one
can simply turn to shut off the hot and cold water independently.  The
hot one is usually on the left.  Just shut the valve, and no hot water
will flow through that sink no matter how the handle is positioned.  You
can even test it by putting the handle on the hot side--if no water is
coming out, you're fine.  I know crawling under the sink is a little
awkward (I do it every week), but it's a far simply and surer solution
than messing with the water heater and it's a solution that works for
people in apartments.  You do however lose the advantage of having warm
water available.



From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 13:26:27 +0200
Subject: Tzedakah - Calculating Maaser

A few weeks ago someone posted the idea that if you are spending your
entire income on basic living expenses, you are exempt from
maaser. Other objected, saying that if you underwent a pay decrease, you
would learn to manage on that amount, so clearly there is always SOME
disposable income that could go toward tzedakah.

I tend to disagree that this objection applies in all cases. For
example, the percentage of people in Israel living in overdraft is very
high. Surely, some of these people spend more than basic living
expenses, and just use overdraft as a way of life, but many others are
in overdraft even spending only basic expenses. I suspect a silent
minority of people in other countries, even the US, are in a similar

What is a source for the idea that you are exempt from maaser if you are
not making it through the month? I don't recall that the original poster
gave a source.

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


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 17:23:35 +0200
Subject: weddings on a fast t day

> I have heard that in cases of extreme need, such as avoiding forced
> conscription in the Tsarist army, there was a hetter for weddings even
> on Tisha beAv! Anyone know of a reference?

See Tosafot E"ruvin 40b there, record a wedding on asarah betevet and
the wine was given to a child to drink


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 08:17:16 -0400
Subject: What did the Baal Shem Tov do?

I have asked this question to a number of rebbaim, and have never gotten
a clear answer.

What did the Baal Shem Tov do?

Did he introduce a new derech (approach) in Torah life, or did he
re-introduce a derech that had previously been lost?

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Subject: Re: What we say during Hagba

      Yakir <yakirhd@...> stated:

      If you want to be "picky" (and show how makpid you are), what
      should be said is:
      "Vzot haTora asher sam Moshe lifnei Bnei Yisrael."
      This is because we should not "quote" pesukim that don't
      exist or that are only part pesukim.

IRA L. JACOBSON  stated:
       Regarding the seifa [last part - Mod.], that is in accordance with
       the Mishna Berura, while the Arukh Hashulhan permits.

The "al pi Hashem b'yad Moshe" is the end of another pasuk, and the
nusach in the Siddur HaGr"a is to say BOTH p'sukim in full ie: "Vzot
haTora asher sam Moshe lifnei Bnei Yisrael" (D'varim4:44) "Al pi Hashem
yakhanu v'al pi Hashem yisa'u, et mishmeret Hashem shamaru, al pi Hashem
b'yad Moshe" (Bamidbar 9:23).

Re not quoting part-p'sukim, there are exceptions, eg as ArtScroll
points out, in the frequently appearing verse in Tefila "H' melech H'
malach H' yimloch l'olam va'ed", which sounds like a pasuk in its own
right, "H' melech" and "H' malach" are only parts of p'sukim.

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia


From: <Rebyitzmotcha@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 00:17:22 EDT
Subject: Wigs

>There is a principle that "mitsvot lav lehe'enot hen - mitsvos are not
>for private benefit" so any merit is really not relevant. The problem
>with donating a forbidden sheitel, if it is an idolatrous offerings from
>which no benefit may be had, is the subjective feeling of 'virtue' felt
>by the donor in having performed what to them is 'a good deed'.

True. But the PHYSICAL hanaa a person feels from wearing a wig IS
considered hanaah, mitzvos laav lehenos notwithstanding, as stated by
the Ran, second perek Nedarim.


End of Volume 43 Issue 28