Volume 43 Number 87
                    Produced: Wed Aug  4  7:41:35 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Batim (was Roshei vs Rashei)
         [Martin Stern]
The Cohanin Haploid Itaslians Hungarian Kurds and Lemba
         [David Ziants]
Dropping the dime
         [Martin Stern]
Evidence of Non-Kehuna (was "An Ellis Island Cohen")
         [Mike Gerver]
Food Thermometers.
         [Immanuel Burton]
"Glimpse of Stocking"
         [Martin Stern]
Idol Worship/ Sex
         [Nathan Lamm]
Kohanic "Choice"
         [Andrew Marks]
         [Immanuel Burton]
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 07:30:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Good Morning, All,

Just a quick note that as a number of you observed, it appears that the
main server at the system Shamash is on identified the last mailing as
"bulk", i.e. potential spam, and added the [BULK] descriptor to the
Subject line. If people are running spam software that will auto-delete or
move to a spam folder anything with [BULK] in the Subject, you might want
to check to see if you can add the mail-jewish address to your
'white-list' to avoid that. In the meantime, I will be in contact with the
Shamash staff to see what can be done to avoid this in the future.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 09:43:25 +0100
Subject: Re: Batim (was Roshei vs Rashei)

on 2/8/04 8:56 pm, Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...> wrote:

> Following the discussion on the kamats in "rashei/roshei" I would be
> grateful if someone could explain the nature of the kamats in "batim".
> This word appears several times with the kamats unaccented (and the tav
> has a dagesh) which would normally imply that it should be a kamats
> katan, but I had always assumed this was a kamats gadol.  Examples
> include Shemot 1:21 (vayaas lahem batim) and in compound forms eg
> "batei" and "bateinu" in Shemot 12:27.

> However, in other compounds, there is sometimes a stress on the kamats,
> eg "habatim" in Shemot 12:13, but not on "habatim" in Shemot 8:9 and 9:20.

I checked the last three cases and, in all of them, the stress is on the
last syllable not the one with the kamats.

In all the places Matthew mentions the tav, as a BGDKPT letter, carries
a dagesh because it is at the beginning of a syllable, as is indicated
by the position of the ta'amei hamikra, and does not close the previous
syllable.  The latter is therefore not a closed unstressed syllable and
therefore the kamats is a kamats gadol. This does not contradict my
thesis that this latter rule does not apply universally since in this
case the base word is 'bayit' spelled with a patach which is here
lengthened to a kamats as opposed to a cholam shortened to a kamats in
the case of 'roshei'.

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 13:15:11 +0300
Subject: The Cohanin Haploid Itaslians Hungarian Kurds and Lemba

From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
> There might be another explanation for the Cohani hapliod appearing
> among other than Jews. For instance the Lemba claim Jewish decent, The
 ..... Snipped ...
> conversions, and the Hungarians from theit KHazar anscestors. These
> could mean that all of these were at one time Jewish

The Khazars were supposed to be converts, and so I don't understand how
their Hungarian descendents (whether Jewish or Non-Jewish) could receive
a (physical) Jewish gene?

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 09:55:07 +0100
Subject: Dropping the dime

on 2/8/04 8:56 pm,  Anonymous wrote:

> There are people in our community who are building illegal additions to
> their homes -- that is without permits, etc., Many in violation of code
> - which for example does not allow basement apartments.
> A friend came to me with this question -- should he "drop a dime", that
> is call authorities?  His reasoning is that if, G-d forbid, there is a
> fire in one of these basement apartments and someone gets hurt or
> killed, he would feel responsible for allowing this to happen.  His
> feelings aside, what are the halachic issues?
> I heard a similar question some time ago re: Mrs. Plony, who runs
> errands leaving her 5 year old in charge of the house -- but that was
> addressed by simply speaking to her about the danger involved.

There is a problem of mesirah, denouncing a fellow Jew to the non-Jewish
authorities. Perhaps the distinction between this case and that of Mrs
Plony leaving a five year old alone is that in the latter there is a
problem of direct risk to the life of the child whereas in the former
the risk is only potential and not directly related to the violation of
code as such. I cannot give a halachic ruling so I suggest he consult a
competent Orthodox rabbi before doing anything.

Martin Stern


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 04:00:12 EDT
Subject: Evidence of Non-Kehuna (was "An Ellis Island Cohen")

David Cohen writes, in v43n84,

      I remember when I was younger, my parents saying that perhaps we
      should gather evidence of the family's non-kehunah, in the event
      that I should one day want to marry a convert or divorcee (as
      things turned out, my wife is neither) and have to prove it.

I was called on to do this a few years ago. A distant cousin, a young
man whose parents were quite assimilated, wrote to me. He was a baal
teshuvah, and was engaged to marry a divorcee. Even though his family's
name was not Cohen, and he had never heard anything about being a kohen,
he was worried that maybe he was a kohen, and that none of his relatives
remembered that fact. Another cousin of his, knowing that I was the
family historian, suggested he get in touch with me. I was able to
supply him with a photograph of his great-great-grandfather's grave, on
the paternal line, with an inscription in Hebrew, from 1921, which did
not say "ha-kohen" at the end of his name. It is very unlikely that, if
he had been a kohen, this fact would not have been noted on his
headstone, in those days. As further evidence, I told my cousin that his
great-great-grandfather's second wife had been a divorcee, according to
family lore, and they had been married in Europe, in the shtetl they
came from-- again, something that a kohen would be very unlikely to
do. My cousin was very glad to have this information, and when I last
saw him, about a year ago, he was happily married.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 10:34:01 +0100
Subject: Food Thermometers.

Do food thermometers consisting of a metal probe that is inserted into
food to measure its core temperature require tevillah before they may be
used?  Although they are not used in food preparation in quite the same
way as knives, pots, etc, they do still come in direct contact with the

Immanuel Burton.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 06:36:09 +0100
Subject: "Glimpse of Stocking"

Further to this discussion the following extract from an article by
SHIRA LEIBOWITZ SCHMIDT in the Jerusalem Post (Standing up for our right
to sit in the back, Aug. 3) might be of interest to posters:

She [Naomi Ragan] too says, "There comes a time that people get tired."
But she, and many haredi men and women like her in the ultra-Orthodox
sector, are tired of the drastic deterioration of deportment and dress
in public.

In billboard and newspaper ads women are shown posing and exposing in
ways that were not done two decades ago. Beach attire is worn and bare
midriffs are displayed in downtown shopping areas, in schools and on

Relegating a group to the back of a bus raises the specter of
discrimination. However, a sizable segment of religious people view a
voluntary "back of the bus" custom as positive.

Many Orthodox women prefer the back of the bus because of the greater
privacy it affords. In addition, Jewish law recognizes that in order for
men and women to function in the public domain, the natural attraction
between the sexes must be muted to facilitate family focus.

The women try to be attractive but not actively attracting (or nicely
distracting) in public. The men try to avoid wandering ruminations (the
halachic rubric of hirhurim) and to avoid roving eyes (shmirat
einayim). The twice-daily declaration Shema Yisrael warns, "you shall
not go about after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you go

In her novel Jephte's Daughter, Naomi Ragen uses her superb narrative
talents to convey the cruelty of a father who tries to train his toddler
not to eat a forbidden food by dangling it in front of the child.

We, in addition to exercising self-control, try to minimize our exposure
to attractions for which there is no legitimate outlet. Haredi women
consider themselves partners in this endeavor. They see benefits
accruing to them when practical steps are taken by their menfolk to
adhere to this high standard.

The reason the men don't sit in the back of the bus is that men are much
more subject to the visual stimuli of women, as the advertising industry
well knows. The feminism of the 1970s, which maintained that to have
worth women must be identical to men, has given way to a feminism which
celebrates the fact that women are different.

Normative Judaism resolves this paradox by incorporating these seemingly
mutually exclusive views. The Torah expounds an axiom of dissimilar
equality of men and women.

Thus sitting in the back of a bus, or synagogue - for practical reasons
- does not impinge on the equality in status. It is simply a practical
expression of the fact that men and women are differently wired.

Martin Stern


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 05:24:47 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Idol Worship/ Sex

--- "c.halevi" <c.halevi@...> wrote:
> how could our Sages have made the statement that "Nobody serves
> idolatry except to permit themselves forbidden sexual activity,"
> whether in public, private, brazenly or otherwise, when sex never
> entered the equation in the instances I cited above?

1) It does enter the equation with Ba'al Pe'or, and it does with other
Avodah Zara mentioned in Tanach- for example, the Ashera tree that one
queen (I forget which) made in Melachim is described in meforshim as a
sex object, and we know that many of these idols had fertility and/or
sex motifs associated with them.

2) It may mean in a more general sense: Hashem forbids certain sexual
practices, and our desire to do them is so great, we "drop" Hashem and
turn to idol worship so we need not concern ourselves with His
commandments.  In other words, the sex is not *part* of the idol
worship, but worshipping idols "frees" is to do these acts, and is,
perhaps, the main reason for doing so.

Nachum Lamm


From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Subject: Re: Kohanic "Choice"

Of course, if a Kohen marries a grusha or some other woman forbidden to
him from the Torah, the marriage is still valid, so I'm not sure how
relevant that is.


> From: Rephael <raphi@...>
> The reason (my wording) to that Issur is that a Cohen must marry a bat
> Israel, and the offsprings of 2 converts were never mixed to any "Zera
> Israel".  However, if a Cohen marries their daughter anyway, their union
> is valid.


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 12:28:40 +0100
Subject: Meshullachim.

A meshullach rang on my doorbell yesterday, and said that he was
collecting for some medical case in Israel.  He showed me various
letters from various hospitals in Israel, but didn't allow me to check
them too closely.  He then presented a certificate issued by the lcoal
Vaad Hatzedokah, saying that the certificate showed the legitimacy of
his collecting.  (These certificates can be thought of as a sort of
'hechsher' to collect, i.e. that the cause is worthy, that the
inidividual is trustworthy, and so on.)  However, I noticed that this
particular meshullach kept one corner of the certificate covered with
his fingers, and after managing to get him to move his fingers I saw
what he was covering: "Expiry Date 16/07/03", which was over a year ago.
I told him that since his certificate had expired and he had presented
it to me in such a way as to make me think that it was valid, namely by
covering up the expiry date, I did not feel I was in a position to help

My brother has told me that he's heard of several cases of people
presenting expired certificates, and I would like to ask the following

(1) Was I right in not giving this meshullach anything on the grounds
that he had tried to mislead me with the way in which he had shown me
his certificate?

(2) Does presenting an expired certificate in such a way as to make out
that it is valid constitute genaivas ha'daas [misrepresentation]?  Can
it be considered attempting to obtain funds by deception?

(3) Is there any Halachic justification in retaining an expired
certificate in order to stop the person from trying it on with others,
and returning the certificate to the Vaad?

(4) Should I have taken the meshullach's name and referred the matter to
the Vaad?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 14:04:52 +0200
Subject: Shtreimel

bh, yom shelilshi   ekev

Perets Mett , who signed "descended from a long line of Polish hasidim,"
claims that a shtreimel does not necessarily have to have tails, as I
wrote in a previous post an old hasid told me.  Could be he is correct ,
but whose testimony shall I accept , one who comes from a long line of
hasidim or an old hasid who was in the line itself?

[I see no reason for you to have to accept one testimony of the
other. It is very likely that the word can have different meanings to
different groups. Your old hasid may be from a group that defines the
Shtreimel as limited to a low fur hat made with tails, while the group
of Polish hasidim that Perets is part of may have a wider definition of
the term Shtreimel. Mod.]


End of Volume 43 Issue 87