Volume 45 Number 79
                    Produced: Mon Nov 22  6:17:34 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Bodies of Tzadikim (2)
         [Leah Perl Shollar, Avi Feldblum]
Gift-giving to non-Jews
         [Gil Student]
"Happy Holiday Season"---Bah, Humbug!
         [Art Werschulz]
Lateness to shul
         [David Maslow]
Lateness to Shul - symptoms, root causes and suggestions (2)
         [Carl Singer, Tzvi Stein]
"Merry Christmas"
         [Frank Silbermann]
         [Leah Perl Shollar]
To Turn the Other Cheek
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Two Pair Tefillin
         [Andrew Marks]


From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 09:45:02 -0500
Subject: Re:  Bodies of Tzadikim

> My thanks to Gilad J. Gevaryahu who mustered the aggadic sources to show
> that we do have a traditional belief that the bodies of tzadiqim do not
> transmit tumah.

In reference to why the Jewish people did not participate in the burial
and mourning of Miriam (for which they were punished by having their
water dry up) the Sefer HaParshiot says that they mistakenly thought
that they would become tamei from contact.  (I suppose for
Leviim/Kohanim this was a 'real' issue, as they actually brought the
korbon Pesach, and since she died on 10 Nissan, this would have
prohibitted them from doing so).  However, since she died through
'neshika' and not the malach ha mavet, her body retained its purity even
in death.

I have also seen kohanim at the kevarim of tzadikim, either surrounded
by a ring of people, or in a cardboard box (with the bottom cut out) to
create a 'daled amos' of purity.  (Although this is all minhag in any
case, since everyone is tamei meit today).

Leah Perl

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 06:04:10 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re:  Bodies of Tzadikim

On Fri, 19 Nov 2004, Leah Perl Shollar wrote:

> I have also seen kohanim at the kevarim of tzadikim, either surrounded
> by a ring of people, or in a cardboard box (with the bottom cut out)
> to create a 'daled amos' of purity.  (Although this is all minhag in
> any case, since everyone is tamei meit today).

I do not think that all agree with that last statement. Even though we
have a rule that the land of places outside Eretz Yisrael has a rule of
being considered like the level of Tumah of a dead body, that does not
allow me, as a Cohen, to actually go to a grave. My understanding, and I
am open to sources to show me I am wrong, is that I am still bound by
the the positive commandmant that says I am not allowed to become tameh
from an actual dead body (or the grave of one).

Avi Feldblum


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 09:35:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Gift-giving to non-Jews

Fran Glazer wrote:
>Rav Frand addresses this issue in one of his tapes (Vayishlach, 1998 or
>1999, titled "Nittelnacht").  As best as I can recall (any errors are
>mine, not his!), he states that giving a gift to a non-Jew around the
>time of their holiday is permissible given the following...

His rules seem to be based on the Rema in Yoreh Deah 148:12 who, based
on the Tur and Terumas HaDeshen, is very lenient on gift-giving.

Gil Student


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 09:20:51 -0500
Subject: "Happy Holiday Season"---Bah, Humbug!

While we're on the topic, I'll get something off my chest.  I guess it's
because of a misguided attempt of the majority to be inclusive, or
politically correct, but we USAans are constantly informed about how
this is the "holiday season".

Beg pardon?  *My* holiday season started on 16 September, and has been
over for a long time now.  Moreover, even for those who would like to
include Chanukah in the general "holiday season" of the USA majority
culture, that won't work this year, since Chanukah ends on 15 December.
Actually, that gives us a chance for a wee bit of sardonic humor:

  "What did you do before Christmas?"
  "Well, three days before Christmas, I fasted."

YA mild rant ... the "holiday party".  I really wish they'd be honest,
and call it a "Christmas party".  Again, I appreciate the sentiment of
inclusion, but it's really intellectually dishonest.  In particular,
since I teach at Fordham University, the self-styled "Jesuit University
of New York" (JUNY, as opposed to CUNY or SUNY?), I wouldn't find it all
that offensive if they were to "tell it like it is", and call it a
"Christmas Party".

Maybe I'll find my copy of Tom Lehrer's "A Christmas Carol", and throw
it on the old Victrola for a few laughs:

  On Christmas Day you can't get sore,
  Your fellow man you must adore,
  There's time to rob him all the more
  The other three hundred and sixty-four.

Shabbat shalom.

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y?
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 11:00:11 -0500
Subject: Lateness to shul

In all the discussion on lateness in arriving at minyanim at shul, I
don't think anyone has raised the issue of whether these individuals who
are late for davening are habitually late.  In my congregation, there
are a number of people of high religious commitment, who are always late
for minyan, regardless of its start time, but also late for meetings,
classes, and social events, and these are usually the ones who are
coming home from work at the last minute on Friday afternoons.

While is can be fairly argued that a special effort should be made for
timeliness at minyan, and the disruptions caused to the on-time folks
are the same regardless of the reason, but some of the harsh language
directed to latecomers makes it seem that they are either doing it on
purpose or only for this occasion.  Punctuality is a trait that some
people just don't have, and we should encourage attendance even if it is
late.  Ameliorating the disruption it causes is another issue.

David E. Maslow


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 07:35:58 -0500
Subject: Lateness to Shul - symptoms, root causes and suggestions

>From:  (Mordechai)
>I have been reading the postings on this topic with interest.
>I am surprised and disappointed though, that people have not addressed
>another, very important angle of this issue - namely that chronic
>lateness to Shul is a symptom of a deeper and very serious problem -
>namely that many people have no or little 'geshmak' (enjoyment,
>fulfillment) in davening.  ....

Has davening gotten too long -- that is over the generations has too
much content been added? Do some ba'al tefilla stretch?  Or mechanically
is there too much "dead air" as Gabbaim fumble with this that or the
other thing (for example, time between aliyahs), are speeches and
sermons too long, even the announcements can run to 5 minutes or so.)

Or has our "modern clock" become so tightly wound that 3 or 4 hours
spent davening (Shabbos Schaharis) seems too long -- as if we have
something better to do?

Carl Singer

From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 08:07:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul - symptoms, root causes and suggestions

> Instead of focusing on latecoming alone, why don't we ask ourselves why
> these people are always coming late ? Perhaps our divine services (at
> least many of them) are in need of serious overhaul, and, while they
> haven't stopped coming entirely, they don't think much of them, and
> therefore minimize their time spent at them by coming late (and/or
> leaving early/quickly) ? What can we do to make them more meaningful?
> I highly recommend the book 'Kavvana : directing the heart in Jewish
> prayer' by Seth Kadish, who discusses various issues related to making
> tefilla more meaningful. Also, shiurim in / study of peirush hamilim
> ('iyun tefilloh') can help as well. Boruch Hashem today there are quite
> a few fine seforim on tefilloh and siddurim with peirushim.

I think you're right on in this analysis.  Actually I would go even
further that often it's not just individual "divine services" that they
don't think much of, but the whole concept of
Yiddishkeit/frumkeit/Hashem, etc, which is an even deeper problem.  In
that case, recommending a book that will improve their kavanna in
davening won't be effective, because they lack the emotional connection
to Yiddishkeit and motivation to improve any specific aspect of it.  I'm
not sure what the solution to that deeper problem would be.


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 06:53:09 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  "Merry Christmas"

WRT the recent thread on whether/how to wish "non-Jews" a "Merry
Christmas" or not--

Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> V45 N75:
> First, please be sure that you are wishing only *Christians* a "Merry
> Christmas".  (Not all "non-Jews" are Christians.)  Surely all of us know,
> better than anyone, that it is offensive to be wished a merry xmas when
> we don't celebrate it!

My wife and I have a disagreement over this.  I maintain that it is
going to be Christmas on December 25th regardless of whether I celebrate
it.  Is it better that a gentile should hope for my _unhappiness_ on
that day?

Should I tell a gentile, "In two days is Purim.  I wouldn't want to you
be unappy, but I know you don't celebrate it so I hope you feel blah
that day!  Or, at least, I don't hope you're happy then."

Frank Silbermann        New Orleans, Louisiana          <fs@...>


From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 09:49:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Mirrors

> Recently, several poskim have been quoted as saying that beged isha
> still applies to mirrors, even today when it is very common among men.

Isn't there a difference between glancing in a mirror to check that one
is neat and proper, versus using a mirror the way that woman does
i.e. for a long time, critically analyzing one's appearance, etc.,

The example that comes to mind is Yosef HaTzaddik, who was criticized
not for looking in the mirror per se, but for 'acting womanish' in that
he was overly concerned about his hair, etc.,

In fact, there is a halacha that a talmid chochom may not go out with
torn, dirty, stained clothes, since he represents kavod haTorah.  And if
he does -- he is chayav missa!

This would seem to indicate that use of a mirror for the right reason is
actually required.

Leah Perl


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 14:35:07 +0200
Subject: Re: To Turn the Other Cheek

      But the meaning could well be reversed.  In the ancient world,
      "turning the other cheek" could have implied getting one's
      fighting right arm in position to strike a counter-blow.  "To turn
      the other cheek" does not advocate passivity in the face of
      aggression, but rather, the "aikido" of taking a breath/pause,
      firming up one's posture, and then (if it's still necessary),
      being able to strike an effective blow on the opponent.

I don't know what the ancient world "could have" thought.  Nonetheless,
the Xtian bible has Jesus saying (in a slightly different form of the
cliche) "I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." This is
clearly an admonition to permit the other fellow to smite the
unfortunate victim's other cheek.

Or, as has been restated, to accept injuries and not to seek revenge.
This is underlined by the use of the word "also," implying that the
second cheek should also be smitten.  And "resist not evil" cannot
possibly be interpreted as "hit him back."

Let us consider the context:

"But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite
thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if anyone would
sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any
one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles."

In other words, "let him have your cloak" means **not** to resist.  The
opposite would have him saying, "take his coat and his cloak and his hat
also."  But the common theme of not resisting applies to not fighting
back and not trying to get your own coat back.

      This is, of course, the opposite of the current

This is not only opposed to the "current understanding," but it goes in
the face of common sense and understanding of language.  Nor do we have
any evidence that Xtian theologians ever understood this any way other
than the way it is understood today.  If I am wrong, please correct me
with examples.



From: Andrew Marks <machmir@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2004 10:37:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Two Pair Tefillin

Just out of curiosity, how did they center two teffilin shel rosh
simultaneously?  One on top of the other?  Also, how did they place two
shel yads while keeping them in the middle half of the arm?  Finally,
what did they do with two straps at their hands?  Also, anybody have any
idea how this is not yuhara?



End of Volume 45 Issue 79