Volume 46 Number 33
                    Produced: Tue Dec 28 21:22:21 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Checking Tefillin
         [Harry Weiss]
Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah
Cliques in the camps?
         [Tony Fiorino]
Eyver Min HaChai
         [Carl Singer]
Ezrat Nashim in the Beit Hamikdash
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Hakirah, The Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought
         [Hakirah Flatbush]
Jews from India
         [Bernard Raab]
Lateness to shul
         [Martin Stern]
Making recipes kosher
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Refusal to Grant Aliyot (2)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Tal Benschar]
Standing / Sitting during Kiddush
         [Akiva Miller]


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 19:32:23 -0800 (GMT-08:00)
Subject: Checking Tefillin

From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>

> 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.

There are Peshutot Mehudarot - that are identified as Or Echad - from
one skin.  They are from a single piece of sheepskin or other daka
animal leather.  They do not last as long as those from gasot, but are
just as kosher.



From: <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 10:52:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah

Bill Bernstein asked:

> The two threads here recently bring up an interesting question.  When more
> precise methods and tools are available than what was available are we
> obligated to use them?  Are we even allowed to use them?  For example,
> many have mentioned the requirement of squareness in the batim of
> tefillin. But if one were to use a precise enough micrometer he would find
> that not a single pair of tefillin is exactly square.  Similarly, with
> sifrei Torah, with a precise enough check not a single one would likely be
> kosher.
> So my question is, where both halakha and tradition have decreed a
> certain standard or method, can we use some other method that might be
> more precise?

And Ben Katz said:

>  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.

I think it is important to note a great difference between using new
technology to find "problems" which were NOT VISIBLE to the human eye,
and using it to bring to your attention those which were, but were just
not noticed.

If a microscope sees a "bug" which is invisible to the unaided eye, I
believe such a "bug" is perfectly permitted to be eaten.

But if a computer sees a spelling mistake that was not *noticed* by a
scribe or proofreader, is that mistake also invisible? Once the computer
tells you where to look, don't you also see the mistake?  And wasn't
that mistake there all along?

If a micrometer says that my tefillin are not a perfect square, then so
what? If they *look* square, who cares about the micrometer, and if they
don't look square, who needs one?



From: Tony Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 17:35:21 -0500
Subject: RE: Cliques in the camps?

> 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.

I have read in at least one or two memoirs and heard first hand from
several Italians that they were not even considered Jews by Eastern
Europeans because they did not speak Yiddish.  This happened both in the
camps and when Italians came into contact with Estern Europeans when
trying to flee the Nazis in Switzerland.  This experience, I understand,
was shared by other non-Yiddish speaking Jews such as Sephardim deported
from Greece.



From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 17:49:31 -0500
Subject: Eyver Min HaChai

I've seen / heard of recent culinary practices that make me wonder --
does Eyver Min HaChai (as in the 7 Noachite Laws) apply to fish?

Carl Singer


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 12:14:02 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Ezrat Nashim in the Beit Hamikdash

Many years ago someone explained to me that the official shabbat minyan
at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York had separate seating but
no mechitza (although there were columns one could hide behind) because
according to Prof. Saul Lieberman, Z'L, who ran the minyna, there was no
mechitza in the beit hamikdash.  Prof. Lieberman was a well-known expert
in Hellenistic Jewish practice, but I never understood this position.
Can someone explain?


From: Hakirah Flatbush <HakirahFlatbush@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 14:00:07 -0500
Subject: Hakirah, The Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and Thought

Ten free copies of the inaugural issue of Hakirah, The Flatbush Journal
of Jewish Law and Thought (160 pages), have been reserved for the first
ten requests received from Mail-Jewish subscribers who reside outside
the New York City area.

Hakirah contains a collection of nine scholarly articles seven of which
are in English and two in Hebrew. The topics addressed include 1. The
nature of humrot, 2. Truth, 3. The Early Shabbos, 4. Teaching Chumash
properly to children, and 5. Divine Prophecy, and 6. The Yerushalmi. A
review of Hakirah can be found at


If you live outside of New York City and you wish to receive a free copy
of Hakirah please send an E-mail requests with your name and address to


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 22:51:25 -0500
Subject: Jews from India

Hello--I am researching Jews in Israel formerly from India. There are
two events I am asking for more information on, if anyone can help me:

 *  In the i960's, after a period of protest, the Jews from India were
    apparently granted formal acceptance as Jews by the Israeli
    government. I have heard it described variously as an act of the
    Knesset, a statement from the Prime Minister or some other such act
    of government.
 *  At some later point in time the Chief Rabbinate is said to have
    declared the Jews of India fully legitimate Jews.

If any listers can help point me to more definitive information on
either of these two supposed events I will be very grateful. Direct
Email would be appreciated.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 09:16:07 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to shul

on 24/12/04 6:32 pm, <casinger@...> (Carl Singer) wrote:

> I've been observing that a significant variable in the discussion re:
> lateness to shule is the importance (or lack) that people place on
> punctuality (in general? or to shule?)   It seems that nothing will
> overcome that bias of attitutude.  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.   Where
> does halacha fit in -- perhaps in establishing that initial bias.

Carl has hit the nail on its head. This whole discussion should revert
to the original topic: why is it generally considered that coming to
shul in good time is not important? While there are dinim about what to
do if one is late, these were never meant to be ideal behaviour but,
rather a recognition that sometimes factors beyond one's control can
cause delay; the Torah was not given to malakhei hasharet (angels) but
to humans.

> To use a weak analogy, there are people who in bad weather leave home
> earlier to get to work on time; others justify their lateness due to
> weather.

Perhaps those who come late to shul, but are otherwise on time for work,
or catching a train or plane etc., should think about Carl's analogy. Is
it not an insult to HKBH to imply that his service is not as important
as these? We should not be criticising other people for coming late, as
most posters seem to assume, but consider whether we are personally
justified in our own practice. It is one thing to try to justify any
particular individual's lateness and quite another to justify what seems
to have become a societal norm.

Martin Stern


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 00:00:52 +0200
Subject: Re:  Making recipes kosher

     My wife discovered an interesting substitute for milk, butter, and
other dairy products needed in creamed soups, e.g. as in Molly Katchen's
recipes in "Broccoli Forest" or "Moosewood": tehina paste.  It has the
same general consistency, and is of course parve.  But one must be
careful not to allow the soup to boil once the tehina has been added, as
it tends to break down.

    Yehonatan Chipman


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Subject: Re: Refusal to Grant Aliyot

> From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
> A congregant doesn't pay his dues.  The board wants to prohibit him from
> receiving aliyot.

This is absolutely terrible and reduces the religion to a terribly mercenary
level.  Besides my revulsions, I could see several problems with this:

1) There are some categories of people for whom an aliya priority is
halachicly mandated.

2) It establishes a terrible precedent/slippery slope.  One could then
argue that visitors should not get aliyot, people with unfashionable
political/religious opinions, etc.

3) In the US, such a policy could run amok of laws regarding donations.
In effect, it could require shul memerships to be taxed because they
provide tangible benefits.


From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 10:19:28 -0500
Subject: Refusal to Grant Aliyot

About ten years ago, my parents lived in a town in Southern New Jersey
which had a small Orthodox shul.  (Although I only came there sometimes
on Shabbos, I would hear about all the goings on.)

Some of the congregants had a fight with the Rav and decided to withhold
their dues.  He paskened that they should not be permitted to have
aliyos.  Some of the members, unhappy with the psak, decided to go
behind the Rav's back and ask a prominent Talmid Chacham in Lakewood.
After hearing the shaila, he responded: "What, they refuse to pay their
dues?  Of course they cannot have an aliya!"

Tal Benschar
Clifton, New Jersey


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 19:06:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Standing / Sitting during Kiddush

Tzvi Stein asked <<< Many guests have remarked that we are the only
family they know of that sits throughout the whole kiddush, even "Vayehi
Erev, Vayehi Boker, Yom HaShishi".  Some even suggested that what we do
is assur. >>>

The Rama 271:10 writes: "One can stand during Kiddush, but it is better
to sit, and the custom is to sit even when saying Vayechulu, except that
when beginning it, stand a little bit in honor of The Name, because when
you begin Yom Hashishi Vayechulu Hashamayim, that hints at The Name by
its initial letters."

The Mishna Brurah 271:46 comments on "It is better to sit" -- "Because
this is more of a fulfillment of the requirement that Kiddush Must Be
Done In The Location Of The Meal, when you are sitting in your seat
during Kiddush. The Gra agrees with this, and for a different reason:
Since one is saying Kiddush on behalf of another, they have to be
established as a united group, and sitting will achieve this. According
to that, even the listeners must sit, and it is good to be careful about
this. One could say that this is only the first preference, but in any
case, the listeners *have* to be careful to be established as a united
group during Kiddush, in order to fulfill the mitzvah; they shouldn't be
scattered and spread out, one going this way and another that way, for
this is not 'established' at all."

Mishna Brurah 271:47 continues, commenting on "Even when saying
Vayechulu" -- "Since he already said it standing in shul, there's no
further necessity to do so, so he can say it seated like the rest of

This part is my own commentary:

It is important to distinguish between the paragraph "Vayechulu..." and
the four words "Yom Hashishi Vayechulu Hashamayim". The paragraph as a
whole is said standing, because our recital of it is in the nature of
testimony to G-d's creation, and testimony (according to Jewish law)
must be given when standing. I believe that the point of MB 271:47 is to
tell us that this was already accomplished in shul, and so the paragraph
as a whole does not need to be said standing at home. However, none of
that affects the need to "stand a little" in honor of The Name when
saying those four words.

It seems that some people have told Mr. Stein that it is "assur" -
forbidden - to remain seated and thereby fail to honor The Name. I
really can't answer that. It is hard for me to imagine that it is really
*required* to stand for four words which merely form His Name when one
looks at the initials, but the Rama does say to do it. It takes someone
a lot bigger than me to clarify whether the Rama is actually requiring
such a thing, or merely suggesting it, or somewhere in the middle.

Personally, I do sit for all of Kiddush, except rising a bit for those
words as the Rama suggests. The main exception is if I make Kiddush
before Maariv for some reason, in which case I would stand for all of

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 46 Issue 33