Volume 44 Number 55
                    Produced: Tue Aug 31  5:28:03 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Brit - kvatter/in
         [Martin Stern]
Chofetz Chaim name change
         [Nathan Lamm]
Chumrot At Other's Expense
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Following the minhagim of the husband
         [Ira Bauman]
Follow-Up on Clothing/Sleeves
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Ger, 7:30
         [Nathan Lamm]
Nusach Questions
         [Wanderer, Simon]
Pregnant Kvatterern
         [Nathan Lamm]
Rambam question
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Vegetarianism (2)
         [Robert Israel, Fred Dweck]
         [Akiva Miller]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 11:49:17 +0100
Subject: Re: Brit - kvatter/in

on 27/8/04 11:01 am, Joseph Tabory <taborj@...> wrote:

> German dictionaries give the word "gevater" as meaning
> Godfather. Since "vater" by itself means father, I would assume that
> the "ge" at the beginning of the word has something to do with
> God. However, this is conjecture as I do not have a German
> etymological dictionary. Obviously, the Germans got this from the
> Jewish custom.

Not at all obvious; it is used in German to mean not only godfather but
sponsor and, colloquially, an intimate friend. It is therefore much more
likely that the word was originally German and borrowed for an analogous
person in Jewish ritual.

Martin Stern


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 05:49:35 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Chofetz Chaim name change

The Chofetz Chaim's legal surname was Poupko, his mother's maiden name,
although he went by his father's name, Kagan (i.e., Cohen, or Ha-Kohen).


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Aug 04 10:56:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Chumrot At Other's Expense

From: <Smwise3@...> (S. Wise)

> 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."

This is exactly the situation, though, that prevailed in the household
of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein. (R Moshe Feinstein considered his use of only
Cholov Yisrael to be in the nature of a Neder, which of course does not
apply to anyone other than the person making the vow. He did not
consider this halachah at all, not even a Safek (doubt)

Of course with respect to other things we do our best to avoid making
any kind of Neder and the rabbis have been trying to stamp it out for
some 2,000 years or more, and we are matir meder and declare that we
should not be considered to have made any in the next year on Yom
Kippur, because a Neder exposes use to risk of sin, but if you don't
make any nederim there is no sin or omission


From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 09:52:02 EDT
Subject: Re: Following the minhagim of the husband

As usual Chana Luntz makes many learned arguments for her opinion that
husband and wife are each entitled to their own ability to oppose
chumras on themselves.  I couldn't agree more but I can comment from a
different angle.

Husband and wife may have sensitivities about certain issues.  We are
not monolithic in thought before marriage and as any married person can
testify, marriage doesn't change that.  My wife has slowly changed us
over to cholov yisrael in the house.  Her reasoning is that our dairy
purchases, if possible, should be with Jewish companies.  On my side, I
find that the Cholov Yisrael milk usually spoils before it's due date
(and my wife concurs) and I am hesitant to adopt a chumrah that was
originally instituted for a non-existent fear of donkey milk.  However I
drink it in deference to my wife's sensitivities.  On the other hand, I
don't eat veal (unless it's been purchased, cooked and would be thrown
out otherwise, such as at a simcha) because of cruelty to the calves.
(See Sefer Hachinuch and the Ramban on this week's portion about
Shiluach Hakein).  My wife doesn't buy veal even though she enjoys
eating it and doesn't share my sensitivity regarding this.  We feel
there is room for individuality and as long as the 2 practices are not
mutually exclusive, and a couple has respect for each other there should
be no problem.


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 14:33:00 +0300
Subject: Re: Follow-Up on Clothing/Sleeves

Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...> wrote:

> Women have the same requirement when they are alone and wish to make a
> beracha as men do in that circumstance-the erva area only.  However, even
> a woman may not make a beracha in the presence of a woman who is not fully
> covered as the halacha dictates when in the presence of men.

According to "The Halachos of Brochos" by Rabbi Yisroel Pinchas Bodner,
Lakewood NJ, 1989, chapter one, section A.3.c "Woman in Front of Another
Woman" (page 15): "A woman is permitted to make a brocha in front of
another woman who is improperly clad (i.e. exposed elbows and above,
knees, etc.) but may not make a brochain front of another woman whose
private areas are uncovered."

The footnote quotes the Rashb"a who differentiates between "erva mamash"
(private areas) and other normally covered parts of the body, which are
covered to prevent hirhur (improper thoughts) which are not a problem
before women.

He quotes the Gra"z (I am guessing that means the Ba`al haTanya) as also
siding with the Rashb"a, and says the Mishna Berura implies the same

The end of the footnote implies that Rav Moshe is more stringent, as R'
Gershon wrote above.

(I have not written all the details of the references, it was enough
typing without them).

Ketiva veChatima Tova,
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 05:51:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Ger, 7:30

Shimon Hubberband was writing from first-hand knowledge of life in
Poland and with the frustration he felt as he saw the Jews of Warsaw
exterminated around him; I believe his opinion should be given
considerable weight. (The quote appears in the Ringblum archive; it has
been translated as "Kiddush Hashem.")


From: Wanderer, Simon <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 13:35:46 +0100
Subject: Nusach Questions

Mark Symons asked some questions about the correct Nusach (in the sense
of melody) for various Minchas. Some answers have been given that appear
to demonstrate great knowledge of the subject, setting out the rights
and wrongs.

My question is, where does this information come from? Is there a rule
book somewhere, are any of these issues dealt with in Sifrei Halacha or
Minhagim? Are people answering simply from there own experience? If so,
how can they be sure they're correct? How universal are these practices
(presumably they far within the realm of Minhag)? When we say something
is wrong (eg one poster said it was wrong to use the Rosh Hashana Nusach
at Mincha from the beginning of Chazaras HaSha"tz), what do we mean, how
serious a mistake is it; how authoritative are the rules stated?

Thanks in advance


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 05:48:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Pregnant Kvatterern

I believe the kibud of Kvatter is often allocated to a childless couple,
so they will have the zechut to have a child. Obviously, one wouldn't
give it to a pregnant woman, not that there's a rule against it.


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 23:17:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Rambam question

Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...> asked about the Rambam's use
of of the word "chochma" in Rozeach (5:5).

I once heard a lecture (circa 1971) by Dr. Isadore Twersky of Harvard on
which he pointed out that the Rambam in several places in the Yad uses
"chochma" in conjunction with Torah. I have forgotten the examples he
cited, but have found a good example: Talmud Torah 3,17 "Although one is
obligated to learn Torah both during the day and at night, one learns
most of his wisdom at night; therefore one wants to attain the crown of
Torah should be careful to properly utilize all of his nights, not
wasting even one in sleep, eating, drinking, idle discussion and so on,
but rather engaging in learning *Torah and chochma*".

I believe that Prof. Twersky wrote a scholarly article on this subject,
but can provide no precise source.

It seems to me that Ben Katz's conjecture that chochma refers to
philosophy is correct.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 09:54:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Vegetarianism

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:

|4. The person believes that killing animals for human consumption is
|wrong i. e. we have no right to put our diet above the right to life of
|other sentient beings

|It is the placing of animals on the same level of importance as human
|beings that suggests a form of neo-paganism. In the view of the Torah,
|though we must avoid causing suffering to animals, if there is a
|conflict between human and animal needs then the former takes
|precedence. Thus to suggest that an animal's right to life is on the
|same level of importance as a human's need for sustenance is a denial of
|the Torah's having made them subservient to us. Whether we are obliged
|to eat meat is a quite different matter but, if it is necessary for our
|well-being, then there can be no room for super-piety.

I don't think any of the vegetarians I know place "animals on the same
level of importance as human beings".  If eating meat were essential for
human sustenance, they would eat meat.  But a person in our society can
get along quite well without eating meat, and in fact a vegetarian diet
can be healthier than a meat-eating diet.  So it's not really a conflict
between animal needs and human needs, but rather a conflict between the
most basic animal need (life) and a non-essential, perhaps not even
healthy, human craving.  In this situation I don't think it's so
unreasonable to take the position that killing animals for food, just
like killing animals for entertainment, constitutes causing them
unnecessary suffering.

There is, of course, a well-publicised "lunatic fringe" of animal-rights
activists that do put animal life on the same level as human life.  You
could perhaps call those people neo-pagans.  But I don't think it's fair
to put the average vegetarian in the same category with them.

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

From: Fred Dweck <fredd@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 14:19:47 -0700
Subject: Vegetarianism

Martin Stern wrote:
> 4. The person believes that killing animals for human consumption is
> wrong i.e. we have no right to put our diet above the right to life of
> other sentient beings.

King Slomon A"H in Mishle writes:
"A righteous man regards the soul of his beast; but the mercy of the
wicked is cruel:" (Proverbs 12:10)

Most regard the writings of King Solomon A"H as having deep secret
meanings. This passage is understood by Kabbalah to mean that a
righteous man understands the need for Tikkun (repair) by slaughtering
the animal and eating the meat (with berachot and Kavanah) whereas the
wicked (in this case those who have no knowledge of the secrets of the
Torah) who think they are having mercy on the animal, are really being
cruel by not bringing about the Tikkun accomplished by the slaughtering
and eating.  This is why the Torah allowed eating of meat, and the
Rabbis required the eating of meat on Shabbat and Yom Tob.

If we look carefully, we will see that the eating of meat was only
permitted after the sin of Adam and Eve. That's because after the "sin"
the worlds fell and thereby required Tikkun. So Hashem then permitted
the eating of meat, in order to raise up the "fallen sparks" and bring
about the rectification of the worlds. So in that case, the mercy of
those "well meaning" people ends up to be cruelty, by not allowing the
Tikkun of the animal's soul, and not allowing the raising up of the
sparks of holiness which fell.

Fred E. Dweck


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2004 13:22:11 GMT
Subject: re: Yuhara

Joel Rich questioned <<< So the first people who do it constitutes
yuhara but when enough people join them it's not? >>>

I totally agree that it is disturbing to consider that two people did
the exact same action, and we're saying that one acted improperly and
the other acted acceptably, and the only difference is when the action

But the truth is that the exact date when the action occurred is NOT the
only difference between the two cases. Because in the interim between
the two actions, the society around them changed.

We find this principle in any area of halacha which depends on the local
custom, which by definition will develop over time. For example, I think
that it safe to say that when the first women of a community began to
wear slacks, it was a violation of "wearing men's clothes", but when
enough women of that community joined them, the new ones were *not* in
violation of "wearing men's clothes" (at least according to the poskim
who hold that way).

Of course, the logic works just as well in the other direction, when an
action begins to be shunned by a community. For example, as long as only
a few people were avoiding kitniyos, the people who kept on eating it
did absolutely nothing wrong. But at some point, the number of
abstainers grew to a level where it became a community minhag, and from
there onwards, the ones who ate kitniyos *were* doing something wrong.

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 44 Issue 55