Volume 43 Number 89
                    Produced: Wed Aug  4 11:23:36 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Kohen sign
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Lubavitch Practice for newbies
         [Akiva Miller]
Marriage in Poland
         [Perets Mett]
Mazal tov
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Meschlachim / Certiificates
         [Carl Singer]
         [Perry Zamek]
Most Unusual Halachic Query
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Naming and Alexander
Roshei vs Rashei
         [Martin Stern]
The Scriptural Basis for Frum Garments
         [Moshe Goldberg]
Sleeve length
         [David Cohen]
Women and Pants
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 19:26:56 +0200
Subject: Kohen sign

David E Cohen <ddcohen@...> wrote

> Are there any other non-priestly Cohens out there who spell it
> kaf-hei-nun, and have found this to be an issue?  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.

My late uncle, Shragai Cohen, z"l, was not a Kohen; I *think* that he
assumed the name of a maternal relative to expedite his emigration from
Eastern Europe to the United States in the early part of the 20th
century, a very common practice.  What's interesting is that, although
not a Kohen, he was a Levi!  He spelled his name in Hebrew with a kuf.

His son, my cousin Hillel Cohen, married a divorcee. This probably
raised some eyebrows among those invited to the wedding, but caused
absolutely no consternation at all among family members. We all had
known since his very birth that he wasn't a Kohen.

My neighbor, David Katz, not a Kohen, also spells his name in Hebrew
with a kuf.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 22:05:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Lubavitch Practice for newbies

Last week (in MJ 43:74) Joel Rich wrote <<< 3) The Lubavitcher Rebbe
believes that it is appropriate for all women and girls over three to
light Shabbos candles. This appeal was always directed at non-religious
people, with no established minhag. >>>

Am I the only one who sees a contradiction here? The first sentence says
that this minhag is intended for <<< all >>>. The second says it is only
for the newly-observant. Which is it?

Akiva Miller

[As I read it, the first sentance says that the opinion of the
Lubavitcher Rebbe is that it is appropriate for all women and girls over
three. This is his halachic (or hashkafic) position and as such is not
confined to some sub-group. This is true for all Jews. However, not all
Jews may hold him to be their halachik / hashkafic authority. So in
terms of application, it is applied to his community - Lubavitch and to
any group without a currently established minhag - i.e. the newly
observant. So I do not see any contradiction. Avi Feldblum]


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 18:41:03 +0100
Subject: Marriage in Poland

Jewish marriage was recognized in Poland, along with other religious

However, the situation was different in Galicia when it was under
Austrian rule.

The Austro-Hungarian Government did not recognize Jewish religious
marriages. Moreover they made it difficult for Jews to have civil
marriages, by imposing charges and quotas.  Consequently, numerous
Jewish births in Galicia until 1918 were registered with the mother's
name, as the registrars considered the births to be illegitimate.

In some cases the children just kept their mothers' names -as it was so
common - in others they adopted their fathers' names

For various reasons, after 1880 more Jewish couples (many long married)
underwent civil marriage in Galicia.

Perets Mett


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 21:39:47 +0200
Subject: Mazal tov

I am happy to announce that on motzei Tisha B'Av, a baby girl was born
to my daughter Michal Teichman and her husband Nadav.

Mother and daughter are doing well, b"H.

May we hear good things from one another.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 08:41:36 -0400
Subject: Meschlachim / Certiificates

This leads to a larger question -- should a meshullach need to have a
certificate or documentation?  I personally find the certificate of use
only in obtaining the proper spelling as I make out the check.  Am I a
cynic because I don't believe the certificates or a kind hearted ba'al
tzedukah because I don't require them?  (I am not offering a third
alternative of "a gullible fool" ....)

When I lived in Edison (8 years ago -- don't know the situation today)
an attempt to provide a local hescher by having a local Rabbi verify the
documentation and provide a photo ID eventually collapsed because it
took so much time and trouble.  This is in sharp contrast to when I
lived in Philadelphia which was then considered far enough "out of town"
not to be inundated with meschullachim.  There it was rare that a
meshullach would come to the door without being accompanied by a local
balabayes (an alumnus or a parent associated with the yeshiva that was
collecting) who was driving him around and also providing him room and
board for his trip.

An amusing story -- a young man (meshullach?) came to our door one day
collecting for hachnosses kallah -- my wife saw standing on the sidewalk
a house or two away a young woman wearing a sheitel and hat -- She
quickly put 1 and 1 together, this was a newlywed collecting for himself
and his wife.

Carl A. Singer


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 15:07:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Meshullachim

Immanuel Burton wrote:
><description snipped>
>(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 
>(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?

On the face of it, there was a clear attempt at deception here.,
supported by the fact that the person didn't want you to examine the
documents too closely. There is probably no problem in turning down the

As for retaining the expired certificate, that depends on the local
Va'ad's policy/rules. You should probably contact the Va'ad to determine
what is the appropriate thing to do in future.

I suspect that taking the gentleman's name would not necessarily have
helped. There is the possibility that the certificate and documentation
could be passed from one collector to another, and so the name on the
certificate may not, in fact, be that collector's name.

Unfortunately, this gentleman's actions will probably make it harder for
truly needy individuals to obtain support.

Are any MJer's out there members of these kind of Va'adot, and, if so,
can they enlighten us on the rules that apply (and how they are

Perry Zamek


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 21:06:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Most Unusual Halachic Query

In MJ Volume 43 Number 65, Yisrael Medad asked about reaffixing a mezuza
of a mobile home after it was suspended in air and restored to the

R. Yaakov MiLisa, the Netivot Hamishpat, deals with a far less dramatic
but halachically equivalent case in his siddur, Derech HaChayim, hilchot
mezuza.  (The siddur is largely a halachic work).  The Rambam holds that
a structure without a door is not obligated in a mezuza. This opinion in
quoted in YD 286:15 ("yesh mi shepoter").  The Shach sk 25 says that if
a structure does not have a door, the mezuza should be affixed without a

What if the mezuza was affixed when the structure had a door, and the
door was removed? When the door is restored, does the mezuza have to be
removed and reaffixed (with a bracha)? Although he quotes a dissenting
opinion, the Derech HaChayim is emphatic that one does not. The
temporary suspension of the obligation does *not* create a problem of
"Taaseh velo min haasuy" when the obligation is restored. He compares
this to a succah above which a canopy may be unfurled, covering the
schach. When the canopy is rolled up, revealing the schach, the succah
regains its kosher status automatically;the schach does not have to be
placed again; this is explicitly stated in the Rama OH 625:3.

Saul Mashbaum


From: <Shuanoach@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 12:57:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Naming and Alexander

Nathan Lamm wrote:

"To put it another way: If the story is true, why are there no Sephardic
"Alexanders?" Or are there?"

I don't think that there is any way to really tell why some names are
popular in some communities and times and others are not.

In his Shem Ha-Gedolim, the Chid"a twice discusses this point. He cannot
explain why no Tannaim, or Amoraim were named Moshe or Avraham (names
which are quite popular today). Also, he noted that though yitzhak was a
popular name among the amoraim, it cannot be found among the tannaim.

Who can say why alexander became a name found among ashkenazim, but
disappeared among the sephardim. If I had to give a guess, perhaps it
might be related a greater diffusion of sefer yosippon among the
ashkenazim than in sephardic lands.[post-spanish expulsion] (in
christian europe the book, in its josephus form, was popular) (The name
was often paired as 'alexander sendor' and a number of great rabbanim
had the name alexander, including the author of the Sefer Agudah and the
author of the Tevuas Shor on yoreh de'ah.)  

y. l.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 08:51:56 +0100
Subject: Roshei vs Rashei

Many posters have claimed that a kamats as a kamats katan if it appears
in a closed unaccented syllable, which I have challenged as not entirely
reliable. It struck me the other day that the reason for this
unreliabliity lies in its incorrect formulation.

The correct rule in Hebrew grammar is "A long vowel cannot occur in a
closed unaccented syllable" and is therefore shortened. This applies
even if the syllable has lost its stress by being attached to the
following word with a makaph e.g. 'v'et-kol-asher-bam' (Teh. 146.6)
where the tsere and cholam have been shortened to a segol and kamats
katan respectively.

Thus a kamats in a closed unaccented syllable cannot be a kamats gadol
but this does not mean that a kamats in any other type of syllable
cannot be a kamats katan since, according to the usual laws of logic,
the converse of a true statement does not necessarily have to be
true. In view of this the 'phonological' argument that we should not
read the word 'roshei' with a kamats katan is seen to be unsound. We are
therefore forced to revert to the word's etymology which is clearly a
derivative of the word 'rosh' with a cholam, implying that the kamats
here must be a kamats katan.

Quod erat demonstrandum

Martin Stern


From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 12:04:44 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: The Scriptural Basis for Frum Garments

> There is no doubt that the purpose of frum garments is to separate their
> wearer from the rest of Klal Yisrael.
> This is not only borne out empirically, but it is also clear from
> Leviticus 13:45, the original Mosaic source for wearing frum garments.

It seems to be quite a leap to go from the requirement in the above
verse that a "tzarua" (leper) should wear tattered clothing, look
unkempt, and declare loudly that he is ritually impure -- to a Biblical
goal of "frum" people wearing special clothing.

Are we to assume that everybody who is not "frum" is a leper? Perhaps
some clarification of the original line of thought would be useful.

Moshe Goldberg


From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 13:44:28 -0400
Subject: Sleeve length

Aliza Berger wrote:

> This point underlay the psak I received from Orthodox Rabbi Charles
> Sheer, Hillel rabbi at Columbia University. He said (I am paraphrasing
> here) that women are required to dress one degree more modestly than
> women in general society, e.g. loose pants instead of tight jeans,
> short sleeves instead of sleeveless.

The above shows the dangers of taking a psak that one has received
personally and trying to extrapolate that rabbi Sheer will give the same
psak to a different person in different circumstances. If Rabbi Sheer
had published his psak as a written tshuva, then one could judge based
on the circumstances presented whether one could extrapolate (that is,
one's posek could).  

Secondly, one should never "paraphrase" a psak. Wording can be quite

Thirdly (and closely related) one should obtain permission of the Rav
before taking a personal psak and disseminating it to the public where
it may not be applicable.

David I. Cohen


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 20:40:12 +0200
Subject: Women and Pants

Rav Ovadia Yosef deals with it in one of his Responsum.  But I cannot
recall which or whether he was for or against.

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 43 Issue 89