Volume 46 Number 29
                    Produced: Mon Dec 27 20:20:10 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cell Phone Ban
         [Tzvi Stein]
Checking Tefillin
         [Y. Askotzky]
Cost of Simchas
         [Y. Askotzky]
Kashrus of Torahs
         [Ben Katz]
Kashrut of Sifrei Torah
         [Michael Mirsky]
kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh and Rebuking Others
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Mourning Minimalist Marriages
         [Bill Bernstein]
Nittel (2)
         [Martin Stern, Mike Gerver]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 08:21:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

> From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
> However, the rabbis of Agudah/Degel haTorah in Israel have recently
> prohibited internet enabled cell-phones.  Makes this a mitzva ha-ba
> be-averah :-) .

They have only done this as a "fence" of their general ban on the
internet from 5 years ago.  Everyone on this list is violating the
"Internet ban", so I don't think it makes particular sense for us to be
worrying about the "fence" of the "internet-enabled cell phone ban".

I remember a question being posed a few years ago about the so-called
"Internet ban" and why it seems to be ignored by most people.  There
didn't seem to be much discussion in response.  Maybe it's time to
revive that question.

Maybe there's an Isreal/America difference there, and for all I know, in
Isreal they are following the ban, or (more likely) pretending to.

Personally, I think the rabonnim that issued the Internet ban were (as
usual) being pressed by zealots and they (the rabonim) did not
appreciate the extreme unlikelihood that most people would be able to
follow such a decreee. On the other hand, however, I never would have
expected the "sheitel ban" to have such an effect, at least in Israel.


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 16:17:18 +0200
Subject: Checking Tefillin

I seem to have missed the beginning of the string but I would like to
make one additional comment regarding peshutim and gasot batim. While
peshutim batim are at best only kosher bedieved, (not preferable) as the
upper cube is made from more than one piece, the gasot batim, made
properly, are kosher lechatchilah (preferably kosher). Even among the
gasot batim there are varying qualities and levels of kashrut.

kol tuv,
Yerachmiel Askotzky
certified sofer & examiner
<sofer@...>  www.stam.net  1-888-404-STAM(7826)  718-874-8220


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 03:13:20 +0200
Subject: Cost of Simchas

After reading about the cost per person to make a wedding in NY/NJ I
thank G-d I live in Israel where a nice wedding can be made for under

Aliyah anyone? :)

Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer & examiner
<sofer@...>  www.stam.net  1-888-404-STAM(7826)  718-874-8220


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 15:58:40 -0600
Subject: Re: Kashrus of Torahs

      From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>

      The point of the question then remains unanswered: Because of the
      fact that most old sefrei Torah turn out to be unfit after
      computer inspction, we can assume that the previous generations
      were in general not ever hearing Torh readings from a kosher

        This last statement is what I find absurd, to think that the
Rambam, Abayay or the Vina Gaon never heard a kosher kriyat haTorah
because they didn't have computers to check their Torah scrolls!  I am
sure (but cannot prove) that Chazal meant for sifrei Torah to be as
humanly correct as possible, just as food should be as bug-free as
possible by human eye (not microscopic) standards.

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: Michael Mirsky <b1ethh94@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 15:32:41 -0500
Subject: Kashrut of Sifrei Torah

Yossi Ginzberg said:

>The halacha is clear AFAIK that a single missing letter makes it unfit,
>and since the historical record shows that the great majority of old
>Seforim had at least that, ergo they were mostly posul.

>As long as that disqualification remained undetected they were okay to
>use "bechazkas kashrus" (presumption of kosher), but once the ability
>exists to detect these defects, why should we not be required to use
>them? This is not (IMO) analagous to bugs in vegetables, where there is
>a question of how large a bug is halachically problematic.

>The point of the question then remains unanswered: Because of the fact
>that most old sefrei Torah turn out to be unfit after computer
>inspction, we can assume that the previous generations were in general
>not ever hearing Torh readings from a kosher Torah.

As you say, if an error is undetected, then it is presumed kosher.  But
as far as I know, Halacha does not require us to "go looking for
trouble".  In other words, just because the technology is available to
check all Sifrei Torah by computer, this doesn't compel us to check all
our Sifrei Torah now before using them.  If, in the process of leyning
an error is found, then it must be corrected.

As proof, we don't ask Soferim to check all our Sefrei Torah on an
annual (or even less frequent) basis.  We do so if there's a reason to
do so; such as sale of the Sefer Torah or the Sefer Torah got exposed to
damage (water etc.).  So just because computers are now available that
can do it faster, why should we undertake this if we needn't "look for

This is not the same as bugs in vegetables.  We must check vegetables
because it is known that it is very common for bugs to be present.  But
it isn't very common for Sifrei Torah to be in error.  That is
disparaging generations of Soferim.  It that were true, how is it that
after so many generations, aside from some minor differences in masora,
our Sifrei Torah worldwide are identical.  If errors were commonplace,
then you would expect that there would be many versions of the text.

So, by this logic, even if past generations' Sifrei Torah had actual
errors in them, since they had a Chezkas Kashrut, until the error is
discovered, the Torah reading they heard from that Sefer Torah is

Michael Mirsky


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2004 08:16:49 EST
Subject: kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh and Rebuking Others

      As far as I know, there are two different renditions of the above
      quote (depending on the gemara used):

      "kol Yisrael areivim ze bazeh" - all Jews are "mixed" one by the
      other - our behaviors affect each other.  This is the harsher,
      active reading because it implies that if I do not rebuke the
      sinner, I will be hurt by it.

      "kol Yisrael areivim ze lazeh" (the version I had originally
      learned) - all Jews are responsible one *to* the other - this is
      the more passive, lighter reading: I have a responsibility to my
      fellow Jew to guard him from sin and hurt.

And while you rebuke other Jews, and cause sinat chinom, because you had
the temerity to judge your fellow man, which you have no right to do,
you are taking care of Hashem's business, which is not yours to take
care of.

jeanette friedman, who has been rebuked on this list so many times, it's
become a joke.


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Dec 2004 21:26:17 -0600
Subject: Re: Mourning Minimalist Marriages

Jay Bailey argues that "If there's any time to do things beyond the
minimum, this is it.  It might be worth a small loan, or pushing off
other expenses."

I did say in my post that I did not advocate Reb Dovid's wedding in the
DP camp as the norm.  But when I read here that a "minimal" wedding cost
about $30,000 or more, I honestly want to vomit.  That is roughly what I
spend a year to live, with a wife and 2 children.  It was the
downpayment on my first house.  It was the price of one of my first
investment properties.  It is a year's tuition (or two, depending) in
college.  In short, $30,000 represents a lot of money that can be spent
in ways of far more enduring value than a few hours' food,
entertainment, and ambience. True, a wedding is (or should be) a once in
a lifetime event.  But there are ways to make it special that do not
involve large sums of money.  I concur with Mr. Bailey that a little
imagination would help and, I will add, substitute admirably for

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2004 21:32:00 +0000
Subject: Re: Nittel

on 21/12/04 10:48 am, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:

> Actually, the Russian Orthodox church celebrates Xmas on January 7,
> referred to as the "New Style."
> I am sorry that I erred in thinking that the day was January 6, when it
> appears to be January 7.

Ira need not apologise, prior to 1900 the Julian 25 December was the
Gregorian 6 January and most Jewish literary references to Nittel
probably were from the 19th century. It only changed since 1900 was a
leap year on the Julian system but not the Gregorian one. After 2100,
the Gregorian date will be 8 January (2000 was a leap year on both so
there was no change).

Martin Stern

From: From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 03:10:09 EST
Subject: Re: Nittel

Ira Jacobson, in v46n20, quotes Nathan Lamm as saying

      In countries where the Church followed the Julian calendar, the
      secular authorities did as well (until about 1917), so Christmas
      always fell on December 25th, even if December 25th in, say,
      Russia was January 4th, 5th, or 6th in the West. (For that matter,
      V'sen Tal Umatar would always fall on November 21st or 22nd in
      these countries.)

and then adds,

      I am sorry that I erred in thinking that the day was January 6,
      when it appears to be January 7.

Of course the Russian Orthodox church observes Xmas on January 7 now,
because Russia uses the Gregorian calendar now for secular purposes,
like the rest of the world, while the Russian Orthodox church still uses
the Julian calendar for purposes of calculating when to observe
holidays.  Before 1917, Russia used the Julian calendar for secular
purposes as well, so Xmas would have been observed on the day they
called December 25, which would have been January 7 on the Gregorian
calendar after 1900, and January 6 on the Gregorian calendar before

But if everyone in Russia called that day "December 25," where would
Jews have picked up the minhag of not learning on January 6? Because
they, like everyone in Russia, was well aware of the fact that the rest
of the world used the Gregorian calendar, and considered that day to be
January 6 (in the 19th century). In 19th century Russian vital records,
for example, dates are listed both "old style" and "new style." Part of
the reason for this might have been that in Poland, which was ruled by
Russia then, most people were Roman Catholic, and used the Gregorian
calendar at least for religious purposes, and maybe for secular purposes
as well.  Certainly Jews living in Poland in the 19th century would have
been well aware that the Russian Orthodox Xmas was observed on January
6, new style.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


End of Volume 46 Issue 29