Volume 46 Number 38
                    Produced: Wed Dec 29 23:22:22 EST 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Cell Phone Ban
         [Akiva Miller]
Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah
         [Elozor Reich]
Coming late to shul -- A Curious Anecdote
         [Tal Benschar]
Cost of Simchas
         [Tzvi Stein]
Going to minyan
         [David Cohen]
         [Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi]
Jews in India (2)
         [Robert Israel, Brian Wiener]
Kashrut of Torahs
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Lateness to Shul
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
New Sefer Torahs
Turning down an aliya
         [Nathan Lamm]
Watches and Tefillin (2)
         [Y. Askotzky, Akiva Miller]
Who is the Mother?
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 18:48:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Cell Phone Ban

In MJ 46:34, Richard Schultz asked <<< ... 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? >>>

I *do* realize that this was probably a rhetorical question. I too wish
that today's rabbis would protest against smoking more than they are
actually doing.

But still, those rabbis who refuse to protest against smoking do have
reasons for doing so, and those who want to be fair should try to keep
an open mind, and review Igros Moshe YD 2:49 and other sources.

Akiva Miller


From: Elozor Reich <lreich@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 15:09:08 -0000
Subject: Checking Tefillin AND Old Sifrei Torah

With reference to the "Checking Tefillin and Old Sifrei Torah"
discussion the following episode may be of interest.

Some 40 years ago my father-in--law (author of Leket Hakemach Hachodosh)
gave me an old Sefer Torah, which had originated in Hungary. Around ten
years ago the institution which does computer checking circulated an
offer - there would be no charge for any Sefer checked and found error

I submitted my Sefer which must have been around 100 years old at that
time.  The test confirmed its fault free chazakah.



From: Tal Benschar <tbenschar@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:43:49 -0500
Subject: Coming late to shul -- A Curious Anecdote

Just thought I would share a curious anecdote told to me by a Rav of a
large shul (hundreds), who as you will see in the story, has a
phenomenal memory.

As in most shuls, people come at different times; some come earlier to
learn, some make it to shul a few minutes early to put on their tallis
(and tefillin on weekdays), some come a few minutes late, some show up
at Shochen Ad, etc.

This Rav's shul starts at 9 a.m. on Shabbos morning.  Over the years, he
noticed that people consistently come at the same time relative to 9:00

One year, Erev Pesach fell out on Shabbos, requiring an earlier davening
(to permit the tsibbur time to go make it home for kiddush and the
second seudah).  So the minyan was set for 6:30 a.m.

Lo and behold, practically everyone came at the same time relative to
6:30 a.m. as they normally would relative to 9:00 a.m.; the early birds
came early; the five minute laters came five minutes late; the
come-in-at-Shochen-Ad came in then, etc.

I think this shows that, for most people, when they make it to shul is
preimarily a matter of how much importance they attach to shul and


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 08:38:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Cost of Simchas

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Having acted as mashgiach at some 'fancy' weddings I have noticed that a
> large part of the food is not consumed and is simply thrown out at the
> end which might partially explain the excessive charges made for the
> catering.  This might also possibly violate the prohibition of bal
> tashchit (unnecessary waste).

One great thing I saw in Israel is that they give the excess food to the
poor.  Somehow it hasn't caught on in the U.S. (probably because of
government regulations)


From: <bdcohen@...> (David Cohen)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 12:13:14 -0500
Subject: Going to minyan

Russell Hendel wrote:

"I think this thread has missed the REALITY of shule going---people by
and large dont go to shule during the week...if someone does go what
difference does it matter whether he is on time or not."

I think, then, that real question that we, as acommunity, should grapple
with is: why is it that most people do not go to shul during the week.
Leaving aside those that because of work obligations cannot do so, that
still leaves many, many people who would consider themselves observant,
who simply ignore "tefilla b'tzibbur". And these same people, with the
very same obligations on their schedule, move heaven and earth to get to
shul if they are saying kaddish, God forbid.  Of course, they assume
that someone else will be there daily so he can have a minyan available.

I am not referring to any individual, as I want to avoid the whole side
issue of judging favorably. I am talking about a systemic failure, a
cultural within the observant world that condones this mentality.

David I. Cohen


From: Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 17:26:21 -0600
Subject: http://www.godaven.com/

Shalom, All:

Anybody have any thoughts on http://www.godaven.com/ ? They bill
themselves as "The Worldwide Orthodox Minyan Database -- currently
listing over 2,450 Minyanim, updated daily."

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 14:01:41 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Jews in India

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:

|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.

There are several different populations of Indian Jews.  As far as I
know the status of the Jews of Cochin or the "Baghdadi" Jews was never
questioned.  I'm pretty sure Bernard is referring to the Bene Israel,
who claim that their ancestors came from Israel in the second century
BCE.  For a very interesting article on them, see

Parfitt, Tudor (2003)
Place, Priestly Status and Purity: The Impact of Genetic Research on an
Indian Jewish Community.
Developing World Bioethics 3 (2), 178-185.

available online at
(free registration required)

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel ruled (5 Heshvan 5722, although I've seen
many online references to the year 1964) that the Bene Israel are Jews
and there is no reason to forbid marriages with them.  However, as
recently as 1997 there was a controversy in Petach Tikva over the issue.
See the article "Bene Israel Wedding Proceeds After Controversy" on p. 6
of <http://www.kulanu.org/newsletters/1998-winter.pdf>.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada

From: Brian Wiener <brian_wiener222@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 09:16:33 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Jews in India

I saw your posting in Mail Jewish re Jews in India. This is a topic of
which I am a keen student-in fact, I am writing right now from Cochin!!
I don't have time now to go into it, but it appears that you are
referring only to one of the three distinct Indian Jewish groups.-the
Bene Israel of Bombay.

Generally, your summary is correct -they were finally fully accepts after
intervention by the chief rabbinate.

We can discuss it further when I return home-to Australia

Brian Wiener


From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 13:53:30 -0500
Subject: RE: Kashrut of Torahs

There is a major difference between the kashrut example cited below.
When one eats meat from an animal later discovered to be trief, one
*knows* the facts about the status of the animal animal when its meat
was eaten (ie, the animal did not become treif AFTER it was slaughtered,
it had to have been treif before it was lsaughtered).  That is different
from checking any scroll - there is some safek about what the status of
the Torah, mezuza, etc. was before the sofer unrolled it to check it, or
to read from it, or whatever.  Thus the chazkat kashrut of a scroll I
understand to be a case in which the halacha defines the reality - the
scroll literally BECOMES treif when the error is discovered, and is
kasher until that point.



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Subject: Re: Lateness to Shul

> From: Anonymous
> 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!

Having once looked into this, my recollection is that one may fast on
Rosh Hashana (but not on Shabbat), and that one may technically avoid
fasting by simply taking a small glass of water.  Nevertheless, I think
that the anger over long davening is very real (I share it myself!) and
is no less important in its own right.  There is a halachic concept of
"tirkhat hazibur" (troubling the public) that is very relevant to such



From: HB <halfull2@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 12:39:52 -0500
Subject: New Sefer Torahs

I recently heard that people were silk screening new Sefer Torahs and
that there was no way of detecting if a sefer was handwritten or silk
screened. Has anyone heard of this problem?

If it is done Lishma is the Sefer Torah kosher anyway?


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 10:08:04 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Turning down an aliya

Joel Rich writes:
> ...in contradistinction to being asked to daven for the amud where you
> should turn it down twice...

Where is this "rule" from? Is it really better to make a gabbai's life
tougher because of misplaced "modesty?"


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 17:06:46 +0200
Subject: Watches and Tefillin

Rav Ovadiah and the Tchebiner Rav ZT"L (one of the great poskim of the
last generation) were of the opinion that one does not need to remove
their watch when putting on tefillin. It is true that most Ashkenazim
remove their watch (or ring) as many poskim are of the opinion that it
should be removed however, many Sefardim follow Rav Ovadiah's psak and
leave their watch on.

kol tuv,

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

From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 2004 19:58:09 -0500
Subject: Re: Watches and Tefillin

Irwin Weiss wrote <<< 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. >>>

My solution was to permanently move my watch to the other hand. It took
a short while to get used to, but (to me) that's much simpler than
decades of removing my watch six days a week.

Akiva Miller


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Dec 2004 00:21:24 +0200
Subject: Who is the Mother?

The press has reported that in Richmond, Virginia, a 55-year-old woman
acting as a surrogate for her daughter gave birth to triplets
Tuesday. She had carried the babies for her oldest daughter, who suffers
from endometriosis, a condition affecting the lining of the uterus that
makes it difficult to become pregnant. The grandmother underwent
test-tube fertilization. Three embryos were implanted and all three

Who, according to the Halacha, is the real mother?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 46 Issue 38