Volume 46 Number 11
                    Produced: Sat Dec  4 23:49:30 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Brit - Mother Drinking Wine (2)
         [<Shuanoach@...>, Gil Student]
Checking Tephillin (was Old Tephillin)
         [Michael Mirsky]
Correctness of old sifrei Torah
         [Akiva Miller]
Echo Effect
         [Joel Rich]
Expecting Perfection
         [Ben Katz]
Fixed Seats in Shul
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Roite Bendel
         [Leah Perl Shollar]
Seating Problems
         [Ben Katz]
Shul and fixed seats
         [Carl Singer]
Shul Pet Peeves
         [Chaim Shapiro]
When mourning (r"l) commences
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]


From: <Shuanoach@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 09:36:09 -0500
Subject: Brit - Mother Drinking Wine

The issue is dealt with in depth in the 1st volume of D. SPerber's
minhagei yisrael


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 10:57:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Brit - Mother Drinking Wine

Aliza Berger wrote:
>In your community, how common is it for the mother to
>drink from the wine at her son's brit?

I've never seen it done and I'm not sure how it could be done, since
according to the Rama (YD 285:11) the mother is not supposed to enter
the men's section of the shul.

Gil Student


From: Michael Mirsky <b1ethh94@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 10:39:08 -0500
Subject: Checking Tephillin (was Old Tephillin)

Sammy Finkelman said:

>But this is a key point - if there is a problem with Tefillin, they were
>probably never kosher to start with. The Batim of known kosher tefillin
>should not be opened (unless an external examination would give you a
>reason to suspect damage.)

>It is a complete mistake to "examine" Tefillin by opening them up. My
>Rabbi indicated this was a - I think some word meaning disgrace or
>more. Tosfos everything is against that. Opening them up is not what the
>Halacha is, as you can see by just checking the wording of anything
>where this is written about.

I have heard hints to the effect that "gasos" (thick leather batim) do
not need to be checked, but it's better not to rely on that.  But for
regular tephilin (Pshutim) they should be checked twice in 7 years.  I
have a booklet at home somewhere from Vaad Mishmeret STAM and I'll look
this up to confirm after Shabbat (bli neder).

Michael Mirsky


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 09:00:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Correctness of old sifrei Torah

Joseph Ginzberg asked <<< When the computer examination of Sifrei Torah
began about 15 years ago, I remember hearing that of the first 100
checked, not a single one was kosher. ...Hard for me to accept. Do the
standards change with the improvement of the checking technology? >>>

When I got my current tefillin about ten years ago, it came with a
printout of the computer exam, which explicitly said that the only thing
it checks is the spelling -- extra letters, missing letters, etc -- and
NOT the kashrus of the individual letters. I don't think these standards
have changed much in the past 3000 years or so.

The computer exam was never intended to substitute for a person
checking; it's just another tool for the sofer's arsenal. If the
computer says you're missing a letter in such-and-such a word, or that
such-and-such a word has an extra letter, the sofer will then look at
that word with his own eyes, and the ball game is pretty much
over. Maybe it's a fixable error, and maybe it's not, but there's no
denying that it's been posul ever since that word was written (unless
you're lucky enough for that word to be one which had a disputed
spelling, or something like that, giving you some wiggle room and
lenient authorities).

Akiva Miller


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 05:13:59 EST
Subject: Echo Effect

<< Rabbi Yehudah stated: Whoever has not seen the Diuplaston (double
 gallery) of Alexandria, Egypt has not witnessed the glory of the Jewish
 People. (Sukka 51b) It was a beautiful palatial building whose center
 was raised to form windows. Inside there were seventy-one golden seats
 to represent the great Sanhedrin. At times, the congregation numbered
 twice the amount of the Exodus of the Jewish People from Egypt
 (1,200,000!) >>

iirc the commentaries state that either the people were not yotzeh with this
amen or they needed to know which bracha was being said.

joel rich


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 07:59:47 -0600
Subject: Re: Expecting Perfection

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>on 29/11/04 3:06 am, Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...> wrote:
> > It seems to smack of hubris to suggest that - barring a personal
> > relationship (like parent or rebbe) that gives me the responsibility - I
> > have the right to tell someone else what specific flaw they should be
> > fixing, when presumably I have my own flaws to fix. "Let he who is
> > without sin..." so to speak.
>This last quotation is a Christian concept completely alien to Jewish
>tradition which considers kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh - all Jews are
>responsible for one another - which obliges us to rebuke our fellow if
>we can do so in an effective manner, something which is very difficult
>in practice. Since "there is no righteous person in the world who does
>not sin" accepting Binyomin's suggestion means that no one can object to
>any evil doing whatsoever.

         I will take Mr. Stern's concept a step further.  I do not
believe there is technically even a Jewish idea of hypocrisy.  In other
words, if I rebuke someone for not keeping kosher, technically it makes
no difference whether I myself keep kosher.  Obviously, the
effectiveness of my rebuke may be worse than nil, and I still believe we
should work on improving ourselves before trying to improve others (as
in my recent comments re the "lateness to shul thread"); nevertheless,
in the face of evil, one must speak up.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 10:19:35 EST
Subject: Fixed Seats in Shul

Perhaps the most egregious violation, I waddled into shul on crutches
and in a cast the first day after tearing up my ankle.  I had someone
bring me my teffilin from my Makom because as the shul was laid out, my
Makom was hard to get to on crutches (up and down stairs, etc).

I put my teffilin on, but right before Davening started, the person
whose Makom I had presumed (the first seat in the Shul) kicked me out.
My cries of explanation fell on his deaf ears.  It was his Makom and he
couldn't move.

As a side note, years later I was asked about my opinion of that person
for a shidduch......

Chaim Shapiro


From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2005 11:54:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Roite Bendel

> During the last 10 years or so I noticed people tying a red string or
> strings around their wrist. These red strings, according to them,
> circled the tomb of Rachel in Beth-Lehem and are used as good omen or
> against evil eye (kabbalistic reasons). When one reads the Tosefta
> Shabbat (Lieberman) chapter 6 is says explicitly: "Elu devarim mi-darkei
> ha-Emori...ve-hakosher...hut adom al etzba'o...harei zeh mi-darkei
> ha-Emori" [=These items are the ways of the Emorites.. [he] who
> ties...red string around his finger..these are Emorite practices] My
> free translation-GJG.
> How do we explain the practice among the Orthodox which appears to be
> specifically prohibited by the Tosefta? I noticed that we discussed it
> briefly in
> http://www.importersparadise.com/mj_ht_arch/v27/mj_v27i04.html#CZ but
> would like to bring the issue back as now it became more abusive with
> Kabbalah centers selling it as a cure all-protect all for Jews and
> Christians, and for hefty fees to boot.

I recall bendels going back 20 years ago, and my husband's grandmother
says they were used when she was a young mother (60 years ago).  They
are in the category of 'anti-ayin hara' devices, however they are not
halachikly approved of (like many of these anti-ayin hara practices).
According to an article I saw on Aish.com addressing the issue, they are
actually assur.  I guess the question arises as to whether one should
tell someone they are assur if they are probably going to continue to
wear one.

The other part of it is the merchandizing of what should theortetically
be something spiritual (not that we are approving of the practice
itself...)  I was in a hair accessory store with my daughters, and there
on the counter was "Kabbala string!  3 for $10!  Ward off bad karma" and
other such drivel.  The exploitation and consumerism associated with
Kabbala now, is very sad.

Leah Perl


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 08:05:02 -0600
Subject: Re: Seating Problems

>From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
>However, what should Bill do if he came to shul one weekday morning and found
>someone in his place where his tallit and tefillin were kept. Surely he
>could not avoid disturbing the visitor in such circumstances.

         Here's what I would do if I were Bill.  I would introduce
myself and meet the newcomer, say excuse me, and start taking out my
tallis and tefillin.  If the newcomer realizes that this is my regular
seat, he will probably volunteer to move and I could help him find
another seat (preferably right next to me).  If not, I would move a seat
or 2 away.  It is not the end of the world.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2004 07:18:40 -0500
Subject: Shul and fixed seats

>One Shul that I've been in alleviates the problem of visitors taking the
>permanent seats of others by a simple device: people have the right to
>their seats only up to a specified time as determined by the Shul
>(Barechu?), and may ask visitors to leave the seats until then. After
>that, one has no right to ask for or expect his permanent seat. With
>education, this has become an accepted practice in that Shul.
>Shmuel Himelstein

I don't see how this helps -- (1) those most impacted, the guests, are
likely not aware of this policy -- and (2) they are subject to being
displaced (multiple times?) until Barechu.  .... (optional) "Hello" ...
(optional) "please" then "move you're in my seat and it's not yet
Barechu -- our shule policy is that I may displace you"

This may be satisfying for shule members who come late (but in time for
Barechu) and find their seats occupied, but that's not quite the way to
treat guests.

Carl Singer


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 10:24:08 EST
Subject: Shul Pet Peeves

This has been driving me crazy for years.  People who walk into a
crowded shul (often late for davening) put on their Talis swinging the
Talis over their shoulder with such reckless abandon for EVERYONE else.
I have been hit by more strongly swung Tzizis from people saying the
Bracha on their Talis then I care to count!

Chaim Shapiro


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 2004 13:57:11 +0200
Subject: When mourning (r"l) commences

Carl Singer asked about when avelut begins for those mourners who are
unable to be at the funeral. This issue is treated very thoroughly in
Chapter 8 of Pnei Baruch, where all of the sources and opinons are
given.  Particularly noteworthy is the appendix to the Pnei Baruch,
"Ohel Channa," written by the renowned expert, R. Seraya Dvelitsky. He
states (p. 478) that the laws according to which "distant" mourners
begin their avelut prior to the burial [depending on circumstances:
either at the time of death, or as soon the news of the death is
received, or at the moment the cortege departs for the burial if it is
to take place in another location and some of the mourners are not going
along] need to be reevaluated in light of the fact that "throughout the
world today, and especially in civilized countries, every cemetery has a
telephone and it is possible to inform people in any part of the world
of the exact moment of burial. In light of this, the entire world now
has the status of a 'cemetery near the city,' in which case it is
necessary to wait until after the burial to begin avelut. And even for
those authorities who rule that when the mourners know [in advance] when
the burial is scheduled to take place they should begin avelut
immediately, there is a big difference between that sort of knowledge,
which depends on approximation, and ours, by means of a phone
call....thus, whenever I am asked about this,,, I rule that avelut
commences after the burial has taken place."

The entire section is highly informative, and worthwhile to study

Baruch Schwartz


End of Volume 46 Issue 11