Volume 47 Number 09
                    Produced: Fri Feb 25  6:29:37 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An alternative approach to the reason for Mechiza (2)
         [Robert Rubinoff, Stuart Feldhamer]
Early New York Jewish Community
         [Binyomin Segal]
Hebrew for 'ladybug'
         [Ben Katz]
Jewish Ed. in Lit.
         [Mike Gerver]
         [David I. Cohen]
Metzitza Bapeh
         [Binyomin Segal]
Not a Kook
         [Yisrael Medad]
Pores Mapa
         [Binyomin Segal]
Proper time for Purim Seudah
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Purim on the J Site and 101 Purim Hotsites
         [Jacob Richman]
Testing a mohel for herpes
         [Akiva Killer]


From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 12:00:57 -0500
Subject: Re: An alternative approach to the reason for Mechiza

> From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
> Most people take the reason for Mechiza to be modesty. The argument goes
> that when we pray to God we should be thinking about our helplessness
> and not praying with our spouses who give us a sense of comfort

I have never heard an explanation even remotely like this.  I've always
seen it as an issue of distraction - that being together with the other
gender would be too distracting.


From: Stuart Feldhamer <Stuart.Feldhamer@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 12:59:18 -0500
Subject: RE: An alternative approach to the reason for Mechiza

I've never heard this argument about comfort before. I have heard people
associate mechitza with modesty, but this is not what modesty means to
me. I have never heard anyone associate modesty with comfort (except
maybe very loosely).



From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 09:11:26 -0600
Subject: Re: Early New York Jewish Community

On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 05:25:37 -0500, J Friedman wrote:
> From the beginning, in New York, there was the only religious freedom in
> the colonies
> ...
> Truth?

I can't speak to the rest of your post, but this is not true. The
earliest religious freedom in the colonies was in Rhode Island. Roger
Williams ran away from Mass Bay to start Providence RI. His experience
motivated him to insist on religious freedom in his colony. As a result,
one of the earliest Jewish communities in the US was in Newport RI. The
Touro synagogue there is now the oldest synagogue still standing in the



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 11:12:20 -0600
Subject: Re: Hebrew for 'ladybug'

I have a question for the collective wisdom of our group:

Why is a "ladybug", in Hebrew, called "porat moshe rabeinu" (literally
"the cow of Moses, our teacher")?

shabat shalom and purim sameach to all

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 16:37:07 EST
Subject: Jewish Ed. in Lit.

Jeffrey Sacks writes, in v47n07,

      I'm looking for examples of good literature that depicts scenes of
      Jewish education or learning--from any and all periods or genres
      (up to and including modern English or Hebrew fiction).

Chaim Grade and Chaim Potok (particularly "The Chosen") are obvious

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 14:10:14 -0500
Subject: Metzitza

Sam  Gamoran wrote:

> The simple reading of the text states that a circumcision is unfit
> (pasul) if metzitzah is not done.  Even though this poem is not a
> halachik psak, it is no stretch of the imagination for one to assume
> from this that metzitzah is an integral required part of the
> circumcision.

That "Harachaman" does not specify the type of metzitzah.  On its face,
it does not require metzitza b'peh (oral). Metzitzah with a glass tube
or metzitzah by squezing with sterile gauze are also encompassed by that

David I. Cohen


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 10:16:02 -0600
Subject: Re: Metzitza Bapeh

> Rabbinic pronouncement made in Hungary in 1901 that metzitza cannot be
> changed.

Just because some rabbis said something does not mean that it is the
accepted halacha - then or now. In fact in regard to this particular
issue I find it bizarre that no one so far has quoted the mishna brura.

In siman 330 in the biur halacha (uporin umotzitzin) he first quotes the
bnei tzion that requires metzitza with the mouth. but then he quotes the
yad eliezer that accepts metzitza with a SPONGE as preferable based on
the then current science. and therefore permits the use of a sponge on

First off, the chofetz chaim seemed unbothered by the fact that the yad
eliezer accepted modern science in his understanding.

Second, I would assume that the Mishna brura ACCEPTS the yad eliezer,
and this means that he did require metzita, but not with the mouth. That
is, squeezing blood out with a sponge qualified as metzitza.

Finally, even if the Mishna Brura does not accept the yad eliezer as the
halacha, he certainly does not find his position untenable.

As a result, I find it intellectually dishonest of those that wish to
require metzitza bpeh not to acknowledge that there are acceptable
positions that do not require it.



From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 22:48:09 +0200
Subject: Not a Kook

Shmuel Himelstein wrote:

>...I noted by R' Shear Yashuv Hakohen Kook about treating the state as
>any other state...

Rav She'ar Yashuv Cohen is not a Kook.  Just a plain Kohen.  He is Rav
Shlomo Goren's brother-in-law, though.

Yisrael Medad


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 09:06:15 -0600
Subject: Re: Pores Mapa

On Thu, 24 Feb 2005 05:46:11 -0500, Avi Feldblum wrote:
> [Question: Does pores mapa require covering all the food or just all the
> bread. It was unclear to me from the sugya how to interpret. Avi]

It is not entirely clear to me either. The sugya is talking about small
individual tables (think tv trays), and seems to imply that everything
should be covered. Based on this my family custom is to bring no food to
the shabbos table till after kiddush and hamotzi. But I would imagine
that the halacha is that only bread (and maybe mezonos) need be covered.



From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 01:15:42 -0500
Subject: Proper time for Purim Seudah

Rav Ovadia Yosef does indeed give his explicit opinion on the proper
time for the Purim Seudah, but not in a place where many people would
look.  Normally the first place to check for something like this would
be in Yalkut Yosef, which although it was mostly written by his son Rav
Yitzchak Yosef, is completely based on the halachic decisions of Rav
Ovadia.  Yalkut Yosef, however, is silent on the appropriate time of day
for the seudah.  But, the recently published (5763) sefer "Chazon
Ovadia" on Purim written by Rav Ovadia Yosef himself does cover the

On page 179 he writes "It is preferable to have the Purim seudah 
together with friends and family in the morning."  In the footnotes he 
cites as sources the following:
1. Siddur Harasha"sh  (Rav Shalom Sharabi - according to the kabbalah)
2. Kaf Hachaim 695:23
3. Shela"h
4. Pri Megadim
5. Maaseh Rav #238
6. Shu"t Zichron Yehudah  Orach Chaim #208
7. Sefer Netivei Am (Rav Amram Aburbia) which documents Minhag 
Yerushalayim- He writes that the minhag of everyone in Yerushalayim is 
to have the seudah after Mincha and to continue it past nightfall, 
except for the mekubalim who will only make the seudah in the morning.  
He adds that minhag Beit-El is also to have the seudah in the morning.
8. Shu"t Mishneh Sachir 234:2 (Not clear if this source is relevant).

In this section he is writing about every Purim, regardless of what day
it falls on and not specifically about Purim on Friday.  Quoting the
"Seder Hayom" he also writes that a person cannot really be happy if one
has the seudah alone, thus hinting though not saying so explicitly that
if it is not possible to gather people for a seudah in the morning it
might be better to actually hold the seudah in the afternoon.

On page 183 he writes that if the seudah has continued past nightfall,
one should still say "Al Hanisim" in birkat hamazon, and only if one has
said Arvit, then one can no longer say Al Hanisim.

Regarding the question of when to say Kabbalat shabbat and Bameh
Madlikin, one could argue that the correct time to say it on this erev
shabbat is around candle lighting time , since the original enactment of
saying Bameh Madlikin was timed to coincide with when the women were
lighting candles (of course in those days that time was actually at the
end of Arvit).


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2005 16:48:44 +0200
Subject: Purim on the J Site and 101 Purim Hotsites

Hi Everyone!

Purim, the fun-filled Jewish holiday, falls on the 14th of the Hebrew
month of Adar. This year Purim begins Thursday night March 24, 2005.
(In Jerusalem, it is usually celebrated one day later. This year this
day falls on Shabbat. People living in Jerusalem will celebrate
different parts of the holiday on Friday, Shabbat and Sunday.)

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 
<a href="http://www.j.co.il"> 
has several entertaining features for Purim:

Purim Trivia
Why do people eat poppy seeds on Purim ? 
From what tribe was Mordecai ? 
Why was Haman angry at Mordechai ? 
Who was queen of Persia before Esther ? 
Esther had another name, what was it ? 
How many times is Haman's name mentioned in the megillah ? 
What did the king do when he couldn't sleep ? 
What does the word "Esther" mean ? 
How many advisors did king Achashverosh have ? 

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it enjoyable.

Purim Clipart
Whether you need a picture to attach to your "Mishloach Manot",
a picture for your child's class project, a graphic for your 
synagogue, Hillel or JCC Purim announcement, the Jewish Clipart 
Database has the pictures for you. 
You can copy, save and print the graphics in three different sizes. 

Multilingual Hangman - Purim
It's the classic Hangman game recreated in an online Flash version. 
If you expect your simple "hang the man by the rope" drawing then 
you are in for a surprise. The game can be played in English or 

Purim Word Search Game
Enter the Multilingual Word Search game and choose the
language you would like to play in: English, Hebrew or
Russian. There is an easy mode for the kids and a harder
mode for us big kids. Learning Purim words has never
been more fun. Each game is randomly generated from a 
special list of Purim words. You can even print out a 
blank game (and the solution page) for offline playing. 

My Jewish Coloring Book - Purim Pictures
Young kids love to draw and this online coloring book
is made just for them. Three different size "brushes"
and 24 colors to choose from. You can print the completed
color pictures or print black and white outlines to color 
offline. No need to go buy a coloring book this Purim.

Hebrew Purim Songs with Vowels (Nikud)
Enter My Hebrew Songbook and choose the category Purim.
You can view any song online or create a printed song sheet 
with several songs together for a sing along. All Hebrew is 
graphic so you do not need Hebrew support to view or print 
the songs. 

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not 
enough, there are now 101 Purim links on my holiday hotsites.
The sites have everything ranging from laws and customs to 
games and recipes. Site languages include English, Hebrew, 
Russian, Spanish, French, Portugese and German.
All 101 links have been reviewed / checked over the past week.
The address is:
<a href="http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaypu.htm">


Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.

An early Happy Purim!


From: Akiva Killer <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2005 02:39:45 GMT
Subject: Re: Testing a mohel for herpes

Andrew Sacks asked <<< Here in Israel there are no laws governing who
may serve as a Mohel (and I am not aware of laws in the States). So who
would track the testing? How would it be known to the public that the
Mohel was up-to-date on vaccines or blood tests. >>>

There are several organizations whose function is to certify sofrim
(scribes) as reliable. One of them, the Vaad Mishmereth StaM, began in
Brooklyn in 1975, and I think there are a few in Israel as well. They
are self-governing organizations which survive on the strength of their

Perhaps the time has come for mohalim to band together in similar
fashion? They could examine and certify mohalim who meet their
standards, which could include halachic knowledge, technical expertise,
medical ability, and other areas. They could also establish and
publicize what each mohel's practices and minhagim are: Ashkenaz,
Sefard, Chassidic, and which group; whether he uses a glass tube or
mouth; up-to-date health information for those who do metzitzah b'peh -
or maybe even for all mohalim!

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 47 Issue 9