Volume 46 Number 35
                    Produced: Wed Dec 29  7:38:06 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Cost of Simchas (3)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, c.halevi, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Cutting down number of guests at weddings
         [Carl Singer]
Eyver Min HaChai
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Jewish World Review (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, <rubin20@...>]
Tefillin and Watch
         [Hosseinof, Joshua (Exchange)]
Using a Warming Tray on Shabbos
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Watches and Tefillin (2)
         [Irwin Weiss, Nathan Lamm]


From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 22:33:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah

<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.>

        The comparison of checking the squareness of tfillin with a
micrometer and the kashrus of a sefer Torah with a computer is flawed.

        Technological advances cannot change the nature of a mitzvah.
What was verifiably square by the methods available at the time the
Torah was given is still considered square today for the purpose of the
mitzvah of t'fillin.  There is thus no requirement to check with a
micrometer, which redefines the notion of being square, rendering
not-square what for generations would have been considered square.

        The standard for the fitness of a Torah, however, has never
changed -- the letters must be the correct ones, in the correct order.
The computer does not redefine what is kosher in a Torah and what is
not.  All it does is make it easier to find all mistakes which would
have been mistakes since Moshe wrote the first Torah, mistakes which are
visible to the naked eye, and which that naked eye should have caught.
Since the computer makes it possible to reach the degree of perfection
the eye should (but does not always) attain, not only _may_ it be used,
it _should_ be used.

        Incidentally, the claim that "with a precise enough check not a
single one would likely be kosher" is not quite so.  When the computer
check was first introduced, about 85% were found to have mistakes. The
other 15% prove that it _is_ possible to have a perfectly written Torah
without technological assistance. If that assistance helps render the
other 85% of Torahs more accurate, it should be utilized.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <SabbaHillel@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:51:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
> Dov Teichman, paraphrasing a lubavitcher rebbe says that there should be
> no limits on spending for simchas for rich people
>       Because, in proportion that they spend on themselves, they will be
>       generous when giving tsedaka as well
> What is the logic behind that?  On what is it based?

There is a story of a rich man who subsited on "bread and water", that
is restricted himself to a very spartan diet.  A great rav (sorry I
forgot who) is reported to have told him that this was incorrect.  THe
reason being that if he, who is rich, restricts himself so intensely, he
will feel that poor people can get along with even less.  A person who
lives at a certain level, will tend to act as if everyon can get along
at (or needs) that level.  Thus, a rich man who spends a lot of money on
a chasuna, will react to help poor people making a chasuna, since they
too need to be able to get a similar level of expense for their chasunas
(or other needs).

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<SabbaHillel@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net

From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 07:04:09 -0600
Subject: RE: Cost of Simchas

Shalom, All:

After Dov Teichman -- paraphrasing "a lubavitcher rebbe"" wrote that
regarding spending for simchas for rich people >>Because, in proportion that
they spend on themselves, they will be generous when giving tsedaka as
well<< Chaim Shapiro asked:
>>What is the logic behind that?  On what is it based?<<

It sounds like an old anecdote I heard -- attributed to an anonymous
rebbi -- about a rich man who bragged he ate almost nothing most days
and fasted out of piety every Monday and Thursday. A rabbi reproved him,
and ordered him to eat food befitting his station.

When a student asked why, the rabbi answered, "Because if he is content
on this diet, he will think that poor people can eat stones, and stint
on tzdaka."

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <SabbaHillel@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:56:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> From: <HHgoldsmith@...> (H. Goldsmith)
> One way to cut down on the cost is to include on the reply card the
> option of the guests only attending the chuppah. Many people are
> hesitant to indicate this in their reply, but end up leaving before the
> main course is served. If guests felt comfortable choosing this option,
> it may greatly reduce the number of people staying for the meal, which
> is a large part of the cost of the wedding.

Based on my experience witht he chasunas of my children, I need to point
out a point that you did not say explicitly.  If someone states that he
is coming for the meal, the baal simcha will often have to pay for that
meal even if it is not eaten.  The reason is that the price is based on
the number of people who have responded that they are coming.  Thus, if
someone leaves before the meal, then they have still cost the baal
simcha money.  You are correct that if people are leaving before the
meal, they should put this on the reply card.

Some people have invited guests for the dancing and/or dessert only or
the chupa only.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<SabbaHillel@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 06:40:15 -0500
Subject: Cutting down number of guests at weddings

Building on a few recent postings:

I don't think caterers much care whether people eat the food or not --
as long as they get paid for the number of people.  Weddings are a big
business and a source of livelihood for many people -- even an income
"prop" for schools & synagogues that have wedding halls.  There is an
issue of great waste as with evening weddings many guests don't stay for
the entire meal.  I imagine a caterer may figure this into his / her
planning - despite being paid for X guests.

But to carry the idea further -- one can invite people ONLY to the
chupah. (Actually, I've seen open invitations posted to the community
inviting everyone to the chupah.)  Frequently the bride and groom's
contemporaries may be invited to the "simcha dancing" (i.e., that
dancing which goes on after the meal -- when sane adults are heading for
the coat room because they need to be at work the next morning.)  Lastly
something that worked for us was to have (one of the) sheva brochas in
the town where we previous lived -- this was an hakoris haTov to our
former neighbors who had seen our son grow up and contributed to same --
but where too numerous to invite to his wedding.

As a would-be guest to weddings -- I UNDERSTAND.  I have no problem
attend the chupah only -- just because I daven within 50 feet of where
you daven or live within a mile or two of your house, or I'm your third
cousin twice removed doesn't mean you need to feed me.  I don't care
that you invited plony and didn't invite me -- the people who make those
types of "broigus" (argument) will probably find something wrong with
the fact that you invited them but didn't seat them at the right table.

One additional thought -- wedding planning should be a time of simcha --
a time when two families get to know each other a little better, learn
to work together to make joint decisions, to compromise.  ... where the
bride and groom learn to cooperate and further build the basis for their
future life together.  If, as in a few of the postings, it becomes a
time of tension and animus -- maybe we should supply the bride & groom
with a ladder (along with a few kosher aydim.)  Seriously, like the old
"bar mitzvah" joke with too much "bar" and not enough "mitzvah" --
there's got to be a better way.  And I think a key factor is
expectations -- both those of the bride & groom and those of the

Carl A. Singer


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:18:33 +0200
Subject: Re: 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?

Eiver min hachai is forbidden in beheima (domestic animals), chaya (wild
animals), and fowl. Yoreh de`ah 62:1.

I did not see the Shulchan Aruch mention it, but the Tur (also in
Y.D. 62) and the Rambam (maachalot asurot 5:1) add that the animals
included in the prohibition are only the kosher animals.

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <SabbaHillel@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 09:02:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Jewish World Review

> From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
> The Jewish World Review website generally had very interesting and
> unusual essays on Jewish topics, including a series by Rabbi Dr. Abraham
> Twersky.  However, its secular political articles and cartoons, IMHO,
> tilt very hard right.  Its effectiveness as a kiruv instrument would
> probably be greater if it expressed a broader spectrum of political
> views.

Most of the leftist political views (currently) are completely
anti-Torah and designed to attempt to destroy all religions, not just
Yiddishkeit.  The problem has always been that we need to regard the
political views through the spectrum of Torah.  Thus, at times, we would
need to fight the right (as in the early days of the civil rights
movement) and at others fight the left (as is occurring currently).

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<SabbaHillel@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net

From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 08:51:29 -0500
Subject: Re: Jewish World Review

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com/ is diivided into several sections. The
Jewish features are separated from the secular material precisely in
order that folks who are not traditionalists not feel unconfortable.
While somebody who tends to vote center-right will no doubt feel at
home, there's quite a bit of politically pareve material -- consumer
affairs, a "cheapskate" column, health and finance articles, etc. -- and
there are at least a dozen center-left and humor columnists that round
out its offerings.

The truth is, there's a little bit for everybody there.

I suspect that you are not a regular reader of the site. Am I wrong?


From: Hosseinof, Joshua (Exchange) <JHosseinof@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 11:25:44 -0500
Subject: Tefillin and Watch

Yabia Omer (Rav Ovadia Yosef) Vol 2 Orach Chaim #2 deals with the exact
question of whether it is necessary to remove a wristwatch when putting
on tefillin.  He concludes that one is allowed to put on tefillin
without taking off the wristwatch, and "those are strict in this matter
only do so because of midat chassidut (a principle of going beyond the
requirements of the law)".

See also Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 27:4, where the Rema clarifies the
Mechaber's statement to mean that the issue of a chatzitzah
(impermissible separation) only applies to the batim of the tefillin,
and not to the straps.  The Rema bases this position on the Rashba's
teshuva #827.


From: Michael J. Savitz <michael.savitz@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 21:56:05 -0500
Subject: Using a Warming Tray on Shabbos

Michael <mordechai@...> wrote:

<<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 in.

Anyone know a good summary of these disputes and issues.>>

See the summary by R. Asher Lopatin of Chicago at www.asbi.org (click on
"Kashrut" at the bottom, then click on "How to re-heat foods on Shabbat").


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 06:55:35 -0500
Subject: Watches and Tefillin

I don't know the Halachic source for this, but I was taught always to
remove my watch.  I just put it in my pocket, no big deal.  Would you
put your tefillin on your arm without rolling up the sleeve of your

I was taught also to make sure that one's kippah is not between the
straps on the Shel Rosh and your hair.


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 05:58:49 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Watches and Tefillin

The only part of the strap of the shel yad that cannot have a chatzitzah
between it and the skin is the part above the elbow. Therefore, there's
no real problem leaving on a watch (or a wedding ring, for that
matter). However, most people (myself included) remove all chatzitzot,
because it's preferable to do so.

(The strap of the shel rosh, by the way, should have no chatzitzot
[apart from hair] all the way around to the knot. And, of course, if one
has a cast or the like on one's arm, it's best to ask a she'ala.)


End of Volume 46 Issue 35