Volume 46 Number 36
                    Produced: Wed Dec 29 22:58:39 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cell Phone Ban
         [Tzvi Stein]
Checking Tephillin
         [Martin Stern]
Cost of Simchas
         [Irwin Weiss]
Internet Ban
         [David Charlap]
Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus
         [Martin Stern]
Lateness to shule
         [Carl Singer]
"Making Recipes Kosher"
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Peshutim Mehudarim (was checking tefillin)
         [Y. Askotzky]
Squareness of Tefillin
         [Martin Stern]
Standing during Kiddush
         [Batya Medad]
Warming Tray
         [Batya Medad]


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:30:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

> From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
> In mail-jewish Vol. 46 #29, Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> writes:
> : 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. . . .
> : 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.
> If that is the correct explanation, then how do we explain the general
> refusal of those same rabbis to ban smoking, which, unlike the internet,
> has clearly proven detrimental effects on the smoker's physical health?

Simple... smoking is a perfect example of a case where they realized
that the people would not be able to follow the decree.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 09:03:22 +0000
Subject: Re: Checking Tephillin

on 28/12/04 12:29 pm, A Liza <aliza43@...> wrote:
> The bayis does not need to be a cube, so the 6 faces of the bayis can be
> and often are rectangles, not squares.

AFIK this only applies to the sides, but the upper surface has to be
square.  Perhaps someone more knowledgeable could comment.

Martin Stern


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 07:48:46 -0500
Subject: Cost of Simchas

 With regard to embarrassment over the cost of s'machot, Ben Zoma said,
in Pirkei Avot, "Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has" (4:1)
This being the case, I don't understand why a simple wedding isn't as
beautiful as a big one with all the trimmings.  Better the money should
go to Tzedakah.



From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:12:34 -0500
Subject: Re: Internet Ban

Carl Singer wrote:
> Not to be more disrespectful than usual -- but let's get back to
> jurisdictional issues : If MY Rabbi tells me something then that's one
> thing -- if another Rabbi makes a general statement to his "flock" --
> what are the implications.

If you're not a member of that "flock", there should be no impact
whatsoever on you.

Pirkei Avot says "asei l'cha rav" - "make for yourself a rabbi".  This
means select one whose judgement you trust, and do what he says, not
what others may tell you.

On a more practical matter, there has not been a time since Moshe
Rabbeinu where all of the gedolim in the world agreed with each other.
It is physically impossible to obey all of them, no matter how much you
might want to.  People (and communities) that are unable to figure this
out are dooming themselves to a lifetime of frustration and misery as
they end up banning absolutely everything in their lives.

If you were a student of Beis Shammai, and your neighbor said "you have
to follow Beis Hillel", would you try to accommodate both?  Would you
switch rabbis in order to join the "winning" side?  Or would you stick
with your rav and not concern yourself with what other rabbis are
telling other communities?

-- David


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:47:21 +0000
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul/Dan l'chaf zechus

on 28/12/04 12:21 pm,  <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman) wrote:
> I must express my admiration for Chana and her obvious generosity of
> spirit.  Yes, it is true, as I also pointed out in my posting last
> month, that one should go out of our way to judge L'chaf Z'chut.
> However there may be limits to even that wonderful trait.  How would a
> person ever be able to observe the mitzvah of "admonishing your friend"
> if he was always willing to explain away his friend's consistent
> malfeasances?  Can a Rabbi of a congregation ever try to elevate his
> flock's level of mitzvah observance, if out of the goodness of his heart
> he always condones their lack of diligence?  At one point, I think we
> are allowed to become suspicious and be judgemental.  Where that point
> is can be a point of discussion.

Perhaps the answer to Ira's question is by raising awareness that coming
late to shul is not an ideal trait through relatively anonymous media
like mail-jewish. This avoids any direct "admonishing your friend" which
could backfire as many other contributors have pointed out.

There is only one problem that worries me about the somewhat heated
attempts by some posters to find far-fetched justifications for those
who come late: Is this topic hitting a raw nerve? As a woman, who is
under no obligation to attend public worship, this obviously cannot
apply to Chana but the way some others have reacted just makes me wonderĘ

Martin Stern


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 20:22:27 -0500
Subject: Lateness to shule

> 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.

I haven't walked a mile in anonymous' moccasins -- but I don't see the
connection -- a chazzan who (to him) drags on with meaningless syllables
is certainly an obstacle to enjoying (if that's the right word) davening
-- but how does coming late or being angry address that situation or
change any of this.  We all have our coping mechanisms -- I think I'd
pull out a gemorah or some anthology and maybe learn a little -- perhaps
go for a walk.

If the objection is davening ending at 3:45 PM -- maybe come on time and
LEAVE early.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2004 15:57:26 -0800
Subject: Re: "Making Recipes Kosher"

Batya Medad writes, in part:

"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?
"Unless you're making cheesecake, the baked goods can be parve.  I use
water instead of milk, and margarine (no salt) instead of butter.
"Personally, I avoid any recipe that has
'lots of' ingredients.  Simplicity's the key.  There's no need to be
dependent on cookbooks and recipes."

As to her first point, sure, why not?  There is no rule or even
suggestion that we should not "imitate something so traif".  If a food
or recipe is tasty, and can be kosher, then go for it!  I was under the
impression, furthermore, that we're not supposed to think, "how yucky
that traif food seems," but rather, "how delicious that traif food
seems, but we're not allowed to eat it".

As to her second point, many [most] baked goods are far superior when
made dairy instead of parve.  Not just cheesecake, which is almost
inedible when parve.  The substitution of water or [shudder] orange
juice for milk makes for a pretty disgusting flavor IME.  And the
substitution of salt-less margarine for butter is obvious in the
unpleasant aftertaste of most parve desserts (with notable
exceptions--some brownies, oil-based cakes, and fruit pies can all be
done ok parve).

It is really unfortunate that the Jewish bakery consumer often has such
low standards...I can barely tolerate most commercially available kosher
parve desserts, because they taste so awful.  Far superior are the
commercially available hechshered dairy desserts, either packaged
nationally or in supermarket bakeries that cater to nonJews as well.

I would add that many recipes can be enhanced by replacing the water
with milk/cream, and some of the oil with butter/cream-cheese.  I've had
good luck, for instance, with hamentaschen doing just that.  If it means
fewer fleishig meals, so what....

As to her third point, simple recipes are sometimes good, but so are
complicated ones--if a person has the time and inclination, go for it!

Regarding the substitution question, I recommend looking in _Joy of
Cooking_ for general substitutions.  A particularly useful one is that
three Tablespoons of cocoa powder, plus one Tablespoon of
butter/margarine, can be substituted by a "square" of unsweetened baking
chocolate IIRC.  This allows the pleasant taste of cocoa butter in the
chocolate to substitute for any butter/margarine requirement.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 07:34:42 +0200
Subject: Peshutim Mehudarim (was checking tefillin)

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.

I didn't want to confuse things any further so didn't mention peshutim
mehudarim in my post. The PM batim are considered kosher lechatchila
according to some opinions however, most do not consider them to
be. This is so for 2 reasons. First, even though the upper cube is one
piece, it can only be held together as a cube with glue. Secondly, the
bayis she rosh lacks what is called "chut hatefira bein habatim", a gid
that is drawn in between the 4 compartments of the shel rosh. The
majority of poskim, including the Mishna Brura, Rav Elyashiv, Rav Dovid
Feinstein, to name a few, are of the opinion that this is required to be
kosher lechatchila and the PM are made without it.

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


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 09:10:06 +0000
Subject: Re: Squareness of Tefillin

on 28/12/04 12:29 pm, Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...> wrote:

> 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
> recently.

All perfectly true but then in those days tefillin were only kasher
bedieved and now we can have ones that are kasher lekhatchillah. By
doing so we are not la'ag al harishonim (denigrating former generations)
merely taking advantage of technological advantances. Should we revert
to using the pebbles mentioned in the Gemara instead of toilet paper?

Martin Stern


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 05:45:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Standing during Kiddush

Many people stand because that's what happens at the kiddush at shul,
and they think that they stand there because of kiddush, not because
there aren't seats.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 05:31:33 +0200
Subject: Re: Warming Tray

Sounds like you're referring to what's known in Israel as an electric
"platta."  It's very easy to use.  Before Shabbat you put the various
foods, already heated, on it and cover.  On Sabbat, Ashkenazim put a
extra layer, something metal with holes, and then the chicken or kugel,
bourekas, vegetables, whatever to heat.  S'fardim, according to my now
Tunisian daughter, consider the metal covering the heating elements to
be the "blech."  So they put straight on.  If you take something off for
a few seconds, like to serve a baby, keep a hand on it, with the
intention of returning it, and no problem.  A crock pot is more
problematic from what I understand.  In and out, on and off of.  Same
basic idea, if I'm not mistaken.

Our "new" oven has a Shabbat oven setting, which I've never used.  I was
told that fully closing the door on anything new, or putting something
in Shabbat morning is problematic.  But others say that since the food's
on a rack, not near the heating elements, ok.



End of Volume 46 Issue 36