Volume 44 Number 37
                    Produced: Mon Aug 23  4:46:09 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The alleged hijacking of Kabbalah
         [Michae Kahn]
Chumrot At Other's Expense (2)
         [S. Wise, Martin Stern]
Ebay & Shabbos
         [Carl Singer]
Hijacking of Language
         [Shoshana Ziskind]
Israel in September
         [Joseph Mosseri]
Matrilineal Descent
         [Daniel Cohn]
R. Aharon Kotlar's name
         [Harry Weiss]
"SO" vs. "partner"
         [Immanuel Burton]
Tefilin and source of Machloket
         [Joel Rich]
White South Africans (2)
         [Susan Shapiro, Janice Gelb]


From: Michae Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 00:42:52 -0500
Subject: Re: The alleged hijacking of Kabbalah

In my opinion, this is something that must be shouted from the rooftops.
I once read that mysticism often flourishes at the end of
centuries. This is called the Fin De Cycle. Thus many TV programs in the
90's focused on the paranormal (X-files was the first. The list is
long.) Y2K panic ('the world is over") was the culmination of this
mishagas. This is what set the stage, in part, for the hijacking of the
Kaballah. (The anti-rationalism of postmodernism is related to this


From: <Smwise3@...> (S. Wise)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:34:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Chumrot At Other's Expense

Leah Shollar writes:

      Here's a thought:

      Usually families follow the minhagim of the husband.  What if the
      husband is not comfortable with using the eruv, whereas the wife
      is?  She does not want to stay inside all Shabbos, and feels that
      if there is a halachically suitable solution she wants to use it.
      The husband could say that it creates an odd dichotomy in the
      family, and what about the message given to the children, etc.,
      But he accepts her choice to use the eruv.  Why should he then
      have to push the carriage if they are walking together?  And, if
      she says, "Why don't you put your tallis in the stroller", must he
      refuse?  She is not doing anything wrong according to her view.

In my opinion, out of respect for her husband, she should abide by his
custom when it comes to anything halachic.  To do otherwise is to
minimize the role of the husband/father when it comes to determining the
derech of the home, which traditional is the male figures.  What does it
show the children, if the mother departs from the father's custom--and
then where does the freedom of choice end?

I would hope the above example is only a hypothetical. And lest anyone
think I say this because I am a man, 16 years ago when I got married I
adopted my wife's minhag of eating cholov yisroel. Several years earlier
I heard an engaged couple discussing this issue, and I was appalled to
hear the kallah, who didn't want to adopt chalav yisroel, say, "I'll
have my dairy products and he'll have his."


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 09:00:49 +0100
Subject: Re: Chumrot At Other's Expense

on 20/8/04 2:37 am, Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote:

> Martin Stern wrote <<<  ... the opinion that to be a reshut harabbim d'oraita
it must be used by 600,000 people daily. this is a da'at yechidi among the
> rishonim, ... >>>
> But the Mishnah Brurah 345:23 says. "... this opinion is NOT a da'as
> yechidaah, as I wrote in the Beur Halacha." And if one looks halfway
> down the page, you'll see where he lists *twelve* authors who hold this
> view: Baal Halachos Gedolos, Rashi, Sefer Mitzvos Gadol, Sefer Mitzvos
> Katan, Sefer Hatrumah, Rabenu Meir, Rokeach, Tosfos, Rosh, Or Zarua,
> Tur, and someone whose initials (Resh Yod Vav) are unfamiliar to me.

Resh Yod Vav probably is Rabbi Ya'akov Weill, a contemporary of the Maharil

> It is true that the Beur Halacha brings another dozen rishonim who take
> the opposing view, and that the Mishneh Brurah himself would strongly
> prefer that we follow the stricter view. My only point is that the views
> of the rishonim is FAR from being as unbalanced as that post would lead
> us to think.
on 20/8/04 2:37 am, Elozor Teitz <remt@...> wrote on the same topic:

> This is a gross inaccuracy.  There are two criteria for a r'shut harabim
> (public thoroughfare), for which an eruv does not help: that it be 16
> amot (24-32 feet) wide, and that multitudes walk in it.  Whether the
> definition of "multitudes" is 600,000 (the number of men between 20 and
> 60 when the Jews were in the desert) or a lesser number is indeed a
> dispute among the rishonim, but it is hardly the opinion of an
> individual.  The Mishna B'rura (Siman 345, in Bi'ur Halacha) cites 24
> rishonim, 12 for each opinion.  Among those adopting the more lenient
> opinion are Rash, Rosh and the Tur.

I am most grateful to them for their clarification that there exists
more than one Rishon who holds with the 600 000 criterion. However it
does not weaken the fact that this is a point of dispute in halachah, on
which, as he points out, there is good reason to take the stricter
view. This is especially true in view of the fact that the 16 amot
criterion fits in better with 'common-sense' sense, otherwise, there
would not have been any reshuyot harabbim until very recently. Thus Meir
Shinnar's claim that being strict amounts to mechaze keyohara -
appearing arrogant is unfounded. On the other hand one should not imply
that taking the more lenient opinion is a sign of being less frum; one
cannot assess other people's needs which are crucial to this
problem. Contrary to his assertion, it is not a case of a psak that
eruvin are or are not permissible in general. As Eliezer concludes:
"That it is commendable and that a y'rei shamayim should refrain from
using an eiruv where possible is stated in that same Biur Halacha, and I
doubt that anyone can accuse the Chafetz Chaim of any action or
statement that would "serve to divide k'lal Yisrael.""

Martin Stern


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 21:32:47 -0400
Subject: Ebay & Shabbos

I recently saw the article discussing Rabbi Heineman's halachik rulings
re: internet business on Shabbos.  Interestingly it refers back to the
situation where people owned vending machines.

Here's a new twist / question.  Consider Ebay -- some auctions last for
several days.  One can put in a maximum bid which is only exercised as
needed -- for example -- if the current bid is $10, I can enter a
maximum bid of $30.  My bid will register as $11.  However, if someone
else bids, say, $15, then the computer will up my bid to $16 -- if,
however, someone bids $31, then I'm out of the auction (unless I choose
to rebid.)

Well -- what happens if there's a 5-day auction starting on Thursday --
the auction will not end until Tuesday, but depending on what and when
others bid, my bid may ratchet up on Shabbos.

Carl A. Singer


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:23:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Hijacking of Language

On Aug 19, 2004, at 10:09 PM, Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...> 

> Not being much of a reader of Agudah publications <g>, I was unaware
> of this practice.  If Bill is referring to publications in English, I
> can't think why the word homosexual is not used -- unless it is to
> avoid the whole idea of what this word means.  "To'eivah" is used to
> describe a number of sins in the Torah, not just this one, and so I
> think its use as a synonym for homosexual activities muddies the
> meaning.  "Homosexual" is the correct term in English and is not
> supportive in the way that "gay" and "queer" have become.  Of course,
> all three used to be pejorative in common speech, but no longer.

I agree. I think homosexual doesn't necessarily imply approval.

One thing I did note is that I got the weekly english Hamodia today and
it mentions McGreevey's resignation but it neglects to mention _why_ he
actually resigned.  Part of me was annoyed because they're not telling
me what happened but part of me understands that they're trying to have
a family paper but couldn't they have said something about his
resignation in a carefully worded way?

Shoshana Ziskind


From: Joseph Mosseri <joseph.mosseri@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:07:43 -0400
Subject: Israel in September

There is a good chance that I may be in Israel for a few days. Hopefully
I will be traveling with my brother-in-law. He has never been to Israel.
As of now our schedule looks like this:

Arriving September 1
Sept 1-2 Ramat Gan
Sept 2-5 Jerusalem
Sept 5-7 Haifa
Flying out September 7.

Any recommendations as to what he (and I) shouldn't miss seeing? Places
we should go?

Can anybody recommend Sephardic Synagogues in these cities especially
with great Selihot?  How about places to buy books especially old Hebrew
books ( Sefarim) for myself?

Thanks for your help,
Joseph Mosseri


From: Daniel Cohn <cohn3736@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 12:14:33 -0400
Subject: RE: Matrilineal Descent

Bernard Raab wrote:

	I believe that most rabbis regard this halacha to be a
        d'Rabbanan, but will be happy to hear other opinions

While I don't have access to sources right now, it doesn't sound
reasonable to me that the halacha which would determine whether a person
is Jewish, which in turns determines whether that person is commanded to
observe the 606 d'oraita (biblical) mitzvot (not counting the seven
mitzvot non Jews are also commanded to observe), would be d'rabanan
(rabbinical)! Can someone please shed some light into this?

Daniel Cohn


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 21:50:24 -0700
Subject: R. Aharon Kotlar's name

>From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
>I've heard that Rav Aharon Kotler changed his name when he came to
>America because, while it's a common enough name, it can easily be
>mispronounced into something less, well, palatable in English. Does
>anyone know if this is true?

According to the Making of a Gadol, Ravi Aharon Kotlar's real last name
was Pines, but changed because of the draft.


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2004 08:57:30 +0100
Subject: RE: "SO" vs. "partner"

In Mail.Jewish v44n20, Leah Gordon wrote:

> If it amuses you to torture the poor bureaucrat who asks for your
> "partner," then please realize that it was probably the decision of
> someone else to choose the most general term for all people who will
> use the form.

There is one heading on official forms which I do refuse to fill out,
and that is "Christian name".  When asked why I haven't filled that part
out, I say that I don't have a Christian name.  Fortunately this is
increasingly being replaced with "Forename".  I do not know if there are
any Halachic implications of describing oneself as having a Christian

Immanuel Burton.


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:35:08 EDT
Subject: Re: Tefilin and source of Machloket

> I have seen this discussed although I cannot locate the source at
> present.  Originally both versions - Rashi & Rabeinu Tam - were
> considered valid, and you could choose which ones to wear. After the
> period of Rashi and R. Tam, the opinion of the former predominated and
> normative halokho accepted that a brokho should be made on Rashi tefilin
> only
> Perets Mett

Very similar to an explanation of how there could be a difference of
opinion as to how to blow shofar(what is a truah). Originally our truah
and shvarim were each accepted, then a unified halacha was decided upon.

Joel Rich


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 22:22:43 EDT
Subject: White South Africans

In reference to your comment:

      > I know white South Africans who are now US citizens - no one calls
      > them African Americans because they are white!

      Actually, friends I know qualified for a special mortgage rate
      being "African-Americans" although they were Causcasian; the form
      did not ask for race.  The assumption that African American =
      black was implicit.  In any case, they were authentically

As a naturalized American Citizen, born in South Africa with a white
skin, I remember very clearly going to our naturalization ceremony and
the judge telling us specifically that we are "no longer hyphenated
Americans."  We are now "full Americans".

But I do use it as a joke that most people who are black and called
African Americans have less claim on the title than I do.

Susan Shapiro

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 20:28:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: White South Africans

Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...> wrote:
> Actually, friends I know qualified for a special mortgage rate being
> "African-Americans" although they were Causcasian; the form did not ask
> for race.  The assumption that African American = black was implicit.
> In any case, they were authentically "African-American".

Talk about following the letter rather than the spirit of the law! The
only categorization of African American that would enable your friends
to take advantage of this categorization would be Nationality, and I
doubt that's what the form listed. And even aside from the specific
wording, both the mortgage broker and your friends could not have been
in doubt that the lender intended the rate to be applied to black

I very much dislike this locution myself, but I dislike even more the
thought the people out there are taking advantage of the loophole of its



End of Volume 44 Issue 37