Volume 46 Number 32
                    Produced: Tue Dec 28  7:29:42 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Adoption and Mourning Obligations
Checking Tefillin
         [Y. Askotzky]
Checking Tephillin
         [A Liza]
Kashrus of Torahs
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Lateness to Shul
Making Recipes Kosher
         [Batya Medad]
More on Davening
         [Stuart Pilichowski]
Squareness of Tefillin
         [Nathan Lamm]
Using a Warming Tray on Shabbos
who suffered more is real


From: Anonymous
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 22:59:06
Subject: Adoption and Mourning Obligations

What are the mourning obligations of a person who was adopted as a child
(not as an infant) when he discovers that his biological mother has
died?  In the case in point, the child was removed from the mother's
care many years ago because the mother was addicted to drugs,
prostituting herself, and severely neglecting the child and often
putting him in situations of danger.  Is it halachicly relevant whether
the individual learned of the death soon after it took place or only
months later?  The individual has had no contact with the biological
mother since being placed for adoption by the Israeli authorities.


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 18:23:01 +0200
Subject: Checking Tefillin

The most common change in squareness of the batim is in the shel rosh
where the compartments open slightly making one side longer than the
other- particularly near the top. In fact, in the upper cube this is
about the only problem that can occur over time (other than corners or
edges becoming worn/dented) and any other difference in length between
the sides would almost most certainly be because they were never made

Please note that many are of the opinion that the deciding factor that
makes the squareness kosher or not is if the lack of squareness is
visible to the naked eye. The various measuring instruments (caliper
being the most common and precise [within 1/100 of a mm]) are used to
confirm what one believes he sees. In addition, reliable sources will
check each new pair of batim to confirm that the squareness is precise
as when selling someone a new pair of batim it is only appropriate/fair
that the consumer should start off with batim that are precise.

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


From: A Liza <aliza43@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 19:51:41 -0600
Subject: Checking Tephillin

I hadn't thought of the shearing of the bayis generating a rhombus, good
point.  I was thinking just of the case of the 2 outermost of the 4
p'rudos (compartments) of the shel rosh spreading apart to the left
and/or right, in which case each corner is still a 90-degree angle
viewed from the top but the lengths of the sides are now unequal.

The bayis does not need to be a cube, so the 6 faces of the bayis can be
and often are rectangles, not squares.


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 14:05:32 -0500
Subject: Kashrus of Torahs

>If a sefer was checked and read from, then a mistake was found, those
>who read from the Torah surely fullfilled the mitzvah. The sefer had a
>presumption of kashrut (chazaka) as others have pointed out. I assume
>that it might have been a common occurence for mistakes were found in
>seforim by conscientious readers or examiners many years after the sefer
>was written, well before the computer revolution

If one ate something thought to be kosher but it was not, one is still a
"shogeg" and requires some small level of atonement for the inadvertant
violation.  There are special sacrifices meant for inadvertant
violations, too.

So how can anyone say that "those who read from the Torah surely
fulfilled"?  Clearly, they did the best they could and deserve reward
for that, but bottom-line thay never heard a Kosher Torah-reading.  This
was the original question, and seems to me still unanswered.

The concept of "chezkas Kashrus" cited by several posts does not
retroactively make the non-kosher kosher, it simply allows use until the
question has been clarified.  For example, If one slaughtered an animal
in a kosher way, the meat can be eaten at once (after minimal
inspection).  If later more complete inspection shows that the animal
had a fatal flaw that renders it non-kosher, the remaining meat cannot
be eaten, although those who ate previously have no sin because they
relied on the "chezkas kashrus".  Still, they would be obligated to
bring a sacrifice if it happened during the time of the Bet hamikdash.

Applying the same standard here means that almost no one heard "kosher"
Torah-readings until computer checking came about.

Unless, of course, the halacha changes with the technology, which was
the starting point of the thread.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 15:28:47
Subject: Lateness to Shul

Carl writes: "People who feel it's important to come to shule plan
accordingly and overcome minor obstacles to do so.  People who choose to
come late also plan and act accordingly."

I believe that it was Rabbi Emanuel Feldman who observed, in one of his
books (I do not remember which one, and they are not indexed and I do
not feel like going through every single page to find the exact quote),
something to the effect that members of the congregation will remember
each and every little slight, intentional or inadvertent, that the shul
leadership (read "rabbi") perpetuates upon the congregation.

In the case of my own shul, they keep us til, say, 3:45 PM on Rosh
Hashana because the chazzan feels that he has to embellish and trill
each and every word, and add meaningless syllables such as "ah-yah-yah"
and the like.

Now never mind all the halachic issues regarding (A) whether it is
permissible to fast past noon on Rosh Hashana; (B) whether, if one
chooses to fast past noon on Rosh Hashana, he is allowed to compel
others to fast; or (C) whether one is allowed to place the overwhelming
majority of the congregation into a situation where they will most
likely talk during what is technically the Shemona Esray (or the Kedusha
portion thereof).  These halachic issues aside, the fact is that there
are many members of the congregation who remember, and WHO ARE ANGRY!

This anger may be unjustified, it may be baseless, and it may even be
contrary to halacha, but the anger is REAL!  And dismissing this anger
as unconsequential will only, in the minds of the angry shul members,
stoke further anger.  The shul has forced them to fast on Rosh Hashana,
and has deprived them of some time to (A) socialize with their friends
and families and/or (B) sleep, all on account of the ego of the
chazzanim.  And these angry members of the congregation want the shul
(read "rabbi") to own this past misdeed, which never happens.  And so,
they remain angry.

As you likely have surmised, I am one of those angry shul members.  But
I'm admitting it.  Remember that for every one person who acknowledges
such negative feelings, there must be many who are thinking it, but who
are being polite and keeping it to themselves even to the point of
having ceased coming to shul altogether.  [In my college Marketing
course many years ago, the statistic quoted was that for every customer
complaint a store receives, there are approximately 23 people who share
the sentiments but who do not take the trouble to complain.]

And that is why I -- and who knows how many others -- allow countless
obstacles to delay my arrival at shul.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 17:54:56 +0200
Subject: Making Recipes Kosher

Most simple/basic recipes can easily be made kosher.  The problem's with
those inherently traif ones like veal parmejan.  And do you really want
to imitate something so traif?  There are so many excellent kosher and
vegetarian cookbooks that can be used.  But even in the kosher ones, you
can make things parve that aren't in the original.  Unless you're making
cheesecake, the baked goods can be parve.  I use water instead of milk,
and margarine (no salt) instead of butter.  There's no real reason to
use the expensive oils for baking, since the heat of baking destroys the
"advantages" of those oils.  Simple tasteless soy oil's fine.
Personally, I avoid any recipe that has "lots of" ingredients.
Simplicity's the key.  There's no need to be dependent on cookbooks and

Shavua Tov,


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 16:26:50 +0000
Subject: More on Davening

Getting bored at davening isn't a function of the length of time of the
services. Back in NJ, my mincha Shabbat afternoon took less than thirty
minutes and we constantly had to stop the chazzan during the repetition
of the shemoneh esray because of the noise due to talking.

It takes most daveners 10 minutes before boredom sets in. That's the
time it takes to say Shabbat shalom / gut shabbis to all your friends.

Lack of understanding of the words and the philosophy behind the
tefillot are the reason for the boredom. Certainly this is also the
reason behind the lack of fervor and excitement behind sitting in shul
for any length of time.  There's more excitement about going to a sports
event or to a movie.

In my old shul rather than allow the decorum to go down the tubes during
the me sheberach's, we at least during the mi sheberach for cholim asked
people to insert the names of thier cholim in need of a refuah
shelaymah. A drop in the bucket, but at least something. We do it in
Israel also.

Thus the success of the Carlebach minyanim. It's new and
innovative. It's a change. I don't expect the excitement to last more
than a few years. People will get bored of the singing and dancing as

In the absence of yeshivot teaching about prayer, pulpit Rabbis need to
use their pulpits to teach about the tefillot; to make them come alive
and show their relevancy to everyday life. In my old shul I posted a
sign - "was your davening this time better than it was last time?" I
don't believe shiurim and classes will help as much as sermons from the
pulpit. If the rabbi is good he has a captive audience than can learn
something if he puts forth a novel idea.

I once, prior to the recitation of the tefillah for medinat Yisrael and
the tefillah for the chayalim, spoke of a shul member's relative/chayal
that was killed that week in Israel. It created some quiet and
introspection at least for the duration of those tefillot.

Perhaps the sudden craze over kabbalah is due to some of the freshness
and novelty therein.

We've been davening for a million years and we haven't recharged our
tefillah batteries. They're old and wasted away. We desperately need to
recharge them.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Sat, 25 Dec 2004 16:01:05 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Squareness of Tefillin

Nowadays, our tefillin are perfect cubes, with sharp edges and corners;
the width of the individual batim of the shel rosh are exactly one
quarter of their of the depth; even the bases (apart from the place
where the retzuah runs) are exact squares. However, it's important to
remember that this construction is thanks to precision instruments and
hydraulic presses that were available early in the 20th Century at the
earliest, and the preservation of the shape is thanks to stiff plastic
only recently come into use. Before then, tefillin could be expected to
approximate a cube at best. Added to that is the fact that "Or Echad"
batim have become widespread only recently, and expectation of such
perfection in shape, while a very good thing, was not possible until


From: Michael <mordechai@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 15:57:02 -0500
Subject: Using a Warming Tray on Shabbos

A friend just gave us a warming tray for shabbos.  (Before this we just
had our cholent and chicken soup hot from the crock pot) As I understand
it their are alot of machlokes regarding how to use one.  Some saying
that you must have the item on the tray before shabbos and once you take
it off you cannot reheat it, with others saying you can put cold dry
products back on the warming trey if it was on a fire when shabbos came

Anyone know a good summary of these disputes and issues.


From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2004 10:38:23 EST
Subject: who suffered more is real

From: Anonymous
> My grandmother mentioned that she was aware of some sense of bad
> feelings between Jews of different countries in the concentration camps.
> Specifically she mentioned negative feelings between the
> Hungarian/Romanian Jews and Polish/Russian Jews, perhaps having to do
> with the amount of time it took for each group to be sent to the camps.

dear anonymous

The name of the game is who suffered more, your grandmother is right. it
is an ugly old game and it tires out every thinking child and descendant
of survivors. we wish our parents wouldn't do that.


End of Volume 46 Issue 32