Volume 47 Number 04
                    Produced: Sun Feb 20 11:35:04 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are there two classes of Jews?
         [Jonathan Sperling]
Circumcision Issues
         [Andrew Sacks]
Indeed, there are two classes of Jews
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Ink used in Declaration of Independence
         [Carl Singer]
Le'elah u'le'ela (2)
         [Joshua Hosseinof, Ira L. Jacobson]
         [Mark Steiner]
         [Andrew Sacks]
Mixed Pew Seating (2)
         [Martin Stern, Shalom Krischer]
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Women in Shul
         [Batya Medad]


From: Jonathan Sperling <sperling@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 21:17:02 -0500
Subject: Are there two classes of Jews?

      I think it's simpler than that -- people are paskening differently
      for two classes of Jews.
      The statement appears to say that for the ignorant Jews or those
      who doesn't know the difference (should we read "less observant")
      we can skip metzitza all together -- but for the frum we should do
      it, but not b'al peh.  This is an a priori statement.

Carl's admirable sensitivity to creating divisions among Jews may be
interfering with his sensitivity to the nature of this psak.  At least
as I understand it, it is not true that the psak says that we 'should'
do metzitza for the frum, while we 'can' skip it for others - as if the
latter were a b'dieved.  Instead, the psak is that, l'chatchila, one
should not perform metzitza among those who might vociferously object to
it.  This difference in psak is based solely on preserving the peace,
and - this cannot be stressed enough -- has nothing to do with the
kashrus of the mila.

 It's less clear to me than it is to Carl that the generally-laudable
goal of avoiding stratification among Jews should trump the need to
avoid unnecessary machlokes, especially when the machlokes might
interfere with the performance of a mitzva (i.e., mila, regardless of
what type of metzitza, if any, is performed).


From: Andrew Sacks <raisrael@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 14:52:37 +0200
Subject: Circumcision Issues

I would like to compliment Dr. Klafter for his willingness to write
about the Bronstein Clamp.  I too, as a Mohel, find that this clamp
makes Milah safer and causes far less bleeding (it does allow for Dam
Brit).  While there are Poskim who do not approve of its use - many did
approve.  I have a copy of a Tshuva written by Rav Herzog allowing the
use of the Bronstein (also called the Mogen Clamp, the Rabbi's Clamp,
etc.).  Many people have told me that he changed his mind.  I have yet
to see any written proof that he did, in fact, change his thinking on
this matter.  Even Rav Moshe Feinstein, who did not like to see clamps
used (Mihag Avoteinu B'Yadeinu) allowed that a Brit so performed was

Andy Sacks


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 07:57:40 EST
Subject: Indeed, there are two classes of Jews

yes, there are two classes of Jews and have been ever since I was told I
could think ( when I was about six years old.)

Class one, the Good Jews,  are the victims of Jewish sinners.
Class two are the Bad Jews, the sinners, who victimize Good Jews

I was taught this by my parents, by my rabbis and morot, and it was
expressed in exactly this way:

"The Holocaust was the fault of the Reform Jews and the Bundists who ate
chazer treyf in the Rebbe's hoyf on Yom Kippur. That is why Hashem
killed 6 million Jews, including 1.5 million innocent children. THEY did
that to us."

 (See Curriculum Churban Europa by R. Joseph Elias, he says it in a much
prettier way, but he says it.)

They meaning the Jews, not the Jew Haters of Europe. The JEWS did this
to them, not the NAZIS, not the POLES, not the Ukrainians and the Croats
and the French and Germans, and Italians and Bulgarians and Roumanians,
etc.  not the Catholics and the Protestants and the Orthodox Church and
Muslims of Europe, not Hitler.

I also know this:
     the chillul Hashem was in the perpetrators, not the victims
     blaming the victim absolves the perpetrator from responsibility

What this thinking--that the Jews brought the Holocaust on
themselves--has to do with historical facts of how the Holocaust was
carried out by human beings as the logical conclusion of 2,000 years of
vicious Jew-hating political, social rhetoric and physical actions, in
countries where communism, psychology, industrial revolution and
technological change was taking place and causing failing governments to
seek scapegoats, is beyond me, but....

 I want you to think about all the sinat chinom that this line of
thinking has created between Jews, even Jews in the same family, over
the last 60+ years.

 I also know this.  Not one human being I have ever met has ever had a
conversation directly with Hashem about this subject or any other
pertaining to who is a good Jew or a bad Jew, so I have yet to figure
out how they know what Hashem was thinking.

If Hashem is as described, no thinking child will love Hashem, no
thinking child would love Judaism, no Jewish child would feel safe as a

But hey, what difference does that make? Sigh.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 23:12:25 -0500
Subject: Ink used in Declaration of Independence

I heard an interesting presentation recently regarding the writing of a
Sefer Torah.  The gentlemen giving this told me that an historian once
told him that when the U.S. "Founding Fathers" wrote the constitution
they choose to use the same ink used for writing a Sefer Torah because
they knew these lasted for a long time.  His source historain, however,
didn't follow-up with documentation.  Apparently, also, some exhibit in
Philadelphia shows the ingredients used and they are, indeed, the same
as that for making "Torah Ink."

Does anyone have sources / verification?  All I found in with a quick
web search was the term "Iron Gall Ink" to describe that used for the
Declaration of Independence.  And many treatises on this type of ink.

Carl Singer


From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 16:52:15 -0500
Subject: Le'elah u'le'ela

Emmanuel Ifrah wrote:
> This is incorrect. Sefaradim usually do say "le'ela u-le'ela" during
> the "asseret yemei teshuva" - at least among North African
> communities.

I believe you are mistaken there.  I just checked the Siddur Ish
Matzliach (Djerba Minhag of Tunisia - Rav Matzliach Mazzuz), Siddur
V'Zarach Hashemesh (R' Shalom Messas - Morocco), and Siddur Knesset
Israel (Baba Sali - Morocco) and not one of those three siddurim changes
the text of the kaddish during the asseret yemei teshuvah as you have
asserted.  In the past I have looked at Libyan and Egyptian minhag
siddurim, and I do not recall seeing the change you are mentioning here.
Please give a source siddur in which you have seen this documented.  I
would point out that the Siddur Ish Matzliach and V'Zarach Hashemesh
were both printed in the last couple of years, and the authors went to
great lengths to have a very accurate text documenting the nuances of
the minhagim and textual variations of the Tunisian and Moroccan
communities.  Both siddurs for example, accurately depict that during
the asseret yemei teshuvah, one says "Oseh Ha-shalom" at the end of
Kaddish Titkabbel of Shacharit and Minchah only (but it is not said at
the end of other kaddishim or kaddish titkabbel of arvit).

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 14:30:37 +0200
Subject: Re: Le'elah u'le'ela

I have thus far checked Siddur `Avodat Hashem Hashalem Keminhag
Hasefardim Va`edot Hamizrah"--with hamlatzot from Harav Ovadya Yosef and
Hrav Meir Mazuz--and Siddur Minha Va`arvit Hashalem lefi Minhagei
Hasefardim Ve`edot Hamizrah.

Also Siddur Imrei Fi Hashalem Keminhag Hasefardim Va`edot Hamizrah.  And
also Siddur Or Vaderekh Minha Va`arvit Hashalem Keminhagei Hasefardim
Uvenei `Edot Hamizrah.

And then I checked Siddur Tefilay Yesharim Keminhag Hasefardim Uvenei
`Edot Hamizrah.

There is no doubling of le'eyla in a single one of those prayer
books--not for `asseteret yemei tesuva and not for any other occasion

I also consulted a Marokai who prays in various synagogues and knows
liturgy well, and he concurs that no `eda among the Sefardim ever
doubles the word.

I would be interested in seeing a page from a Sefardi siddur that has
the doubled word.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 2005 15:26:46 +0200
Subject: RE: Mah-dokh

Mah-dokh is a hyphenated Yiddish expression beginning a kal vehamur
argument (a fortiori argument): it means "If even....". It is pronounced
madekh in so-called "Standard Yiddish."

Mah is spelled as in Hebrew; in Rabbinic Hebrew, mah by itself often
begins an a fortiori as in "mah...eyno din..." (Given that....it is
certainly the case that...).

Unstressed dokh in Yiddish means "obviously."  It is spelled
daled-alef-final khof.

Mark Steiner


From: Andrew Sacks <raisrael@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2005 16:04:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Metzitzah

Contrary to what Yerachmiel Askotzky writes most Britot in Israel
(outside of the Haredi world) are indeed performed using the glass
straw.  I have attended the Yemei Iyun for Mohalim offered by the
Rabbanut and can attest to this.  I personally do Metzitzah with a
sterile gauze and not with my mouth.

In addition, he claims that he has not heard of babies suffering ill
effects here in Israel from Metzitzah.  Just last year there was a Mohel
arrested for transmitting a venereal disease to three babies in the
central part of the country.

Finally his claim that "All halachic milah is done with metzitzah-
whether with direct contact or via a straw" is just false.  Since an
outbreak of venereal disease in the late nineteenth century (if not
before) there have been some poskim that have held that the idea of
Metzitzah is to draw out the blood - the mouth is only a tool to
accomplish this.  So there are Mohalim who use gauze and others who use
a syringe and draw out the blood with a plunger.

Andy Sacks


From: <md.stern@...> (Martin Stern)
Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 20:25:03 +0000
Subject: Re: Mixed Pew Seating

From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
> My understanding is that separate seating was the norm in the European
> Reform synagogues and that "Mixed Pew Seating" was introduced by Isaac
> Mayer Wise in his Cincinnati (Reform) congregation. The story is that

If I am not much mistaken, Isaac Mayer Wise introduced mixed seating
while 'rabbi' in Albany, New York. He founded his Hebrew Union College
in Cincinatti but that was much later.

Martin Stern   

From: Shalom Krischer <PGMSRK@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 12:59:58 EST
Subject: Re: Mixed Pew Seating

>> I seem to recall hearing from a student of Rav JB Soloveitchik that the
>> Rav's reasoning for banning mixed seating is because of Chukat Hagoyim,
>> i.e.  not using seating arrangements in shul that are used in the
>> church.
> In the above context I'd like to mention that I was in Germany last
> summer (the whats whys and wherefores are a story in themselves) and
> while there visited the shul in Worms. Our guide, who was not Jewish,
> said that even when Worm's Jewish community was nearing Reform it
> retained separate seating, although without a mechitza, because non-Jews
> also sat separately in church.

I suggest that we now sit MIXED in shul to avoid ANY "Chukat Hagoyim" Problems!

Happy Adar!



From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 08:25:29 +0200
Subject: thekotel.org

> Who runs thekotel.org? Why do they see fit to leave three TV cameras
> running live well into Shabbat?  (General view of the Kotel plaza,
> closer in, and Wilson's Arch area)

And was this a Jewish camera? Or was the software running it Jewish?
Seriously... what melacha is performed (and by whom???)  when an
automated system runs on Shabbat? The webcam is not motion sensitive, it
is not being run by those people davening at the Kotel. So why should
they care?

And once Shabbat started in NY I assume that you would no longer be
watching it. I find it hard to believe that the existence of such a
webcam would *cause* someone to log onto the Internet on Shabbat.

I just don't see the problem that is bothering you.

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


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2005 06:45:07 +0200
Subject: Women in Shul

When I first arrived in Israel as a student we were in Ein Kerem, the
small village/neighborhood, a few weeks, and the only shul we found was
a tiny sfardi one.  The Ezrat Nashim consisted of a couch or two in an

A few weeks ago, I was stuck in Geula as mincha time was ticking.  Men
were being called to join all sorts of minyanim, but I highly doubted if
I was invited.  There are times when it's not so easy for a woman to
find a place to doven; here's the story:




End of Volume 47 Issue 4