Volume 48 Number 03
                    Produced: Tue May 24  4:28:42 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips
         [Batya Medad]
         [Leah Perl]
         [David Charlap]
Insurance Query (Car Damage) (3)
         [Carl Singer, Michael Poppers, Chana Luntz]
Schule Hopping
         [Yisrael Medad]
Shabbas Brachot and gender


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 15:14:41 +0200
Subject: Can you live 7 days w/o potato chips

Yes, some of us laugh at the things now make kosher for Passover.  If
there's a market, things will be produced.  Nowadays the purchase of
ready-made food and junk food is no longer the treat it once was, so
families are really used to having all that nosherei on a daily basis.
If someone had told me twenty, or thirty years ago that I would only
serve bought cakes on Pesach, I'd consider hem nuts.  But now I just
don't consider it worthwhile to bake a Pesach cake.  Especially since
the family likes them and I don't, they're perfect.  And if children
have been raised to eat potato chips and other stuff daily or on school
vacations, I can understand that their parents will want to buy them the
same on Pesach.



From: Leah Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 10:49:07 -0400
Subject: DST

I find DST to be difficult -- especially if one has young children.
They don't really get tired until it gets dark.  Once DST arrives, until
summer vacation starts, it is hard to get them into bed on time, and out
on time!  The sun shines more already in the summer, which has to do
with the tilt in the orbit -- I don't think we need to turn the clock on
top of it!  (I happen to LOVE sunlight).

Leah Perl 


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 12:06:48 -0400
Subject: Insurance

> But INSURANCE is separate from DAMAGES. The idea of insurance is to
> REPLACE the object. Insurance as such IS mentioned in Jewish law
> (Rambam, Theft, Chapters 12 and 13 "Shippers can agree to an insurance
> contract. If one of the agreeing parties loses his ship, PROVIDED he
> wasnt reckless(go to a place where ships get recked), then the others
> must replace the ship" Further laws are given there.

Bingo!  Insurance is separate and can take on a great many forms,
depending on how your contract is written.

For instance, consider homeowner's insurance.  If there's a fire and my
couch is destroyed, insurance will pay for that.  My insurance may cover
the value of the object or it may cover the cost of replacement.

If my policy covers the value, then I have to tell them the age and
possibly condition of that couch.  They will pay what it's worth, which
will probably be the result of running the purchase price through some
depreciation formula.

If, on the other hand, my policy is for cost of replacement, then they
will pay me what it costs to get a new couch of similar size/style, even
if that amount is more than what I paid for the old one.

In the case of auto insurance, it's similar.  Insurance is not paying 
damages.  They are paying the cost of repair or replacement for the car.

If a bumper needs to be fixed, they will replace it.  While you might
technically be obligated to tell them that there was a dent in that
bumper before the collision that destroyed it, it's not going to change
what they pay you.  The cost of buying a dented bumper from a junkyard
(assuming you even can) will be almost the same as the cost of buying a
like-new bumper from a junkyard.  The cost of installation and painting
will be the same in both cases.

It may be different in a case where we're talking about repair instead 
of replacement, of course.  If someone dents my door, that can often be 
repaired without replacingt he entire door.  If there was a pre-existing 
dent, I should be obligated to tell the insurance company, since the 
cost to repair one dent will be less than the cost to repair two.

What I'm trying to say is that in some cases, the existance of the prior 
damage will have no effect on the cost of the repair/replacement, while 
in other cases, it will.  I would expect to be required to report the 
prior damage when it does affect the cost, but not when it doesn't.

-- David


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 07:31:06 -0400
Subject: Insurance Query (Car Damage)

> b) there are questions in halacha regarding whether a law that
> everybody (including all the non Jews of the realm) ignores really
> falls into the category of dina d'malchusa dina.

With apologies for taking a small portion of a comprehensive response to
task -- the above sentence continues to stick in my craw.

It's a very slippery slope to assume that EVERYONE ignores or EVERYONE
does something.  I find that this type of logic / argument is often used
as an excuse to justify a questionable action (or inaction.)

In this case we're assuming that everyone ignore the terms of their
insurance contract and / or cheats on same.

Carl Singer

From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 10:22:52 -0400
Subject: Re: Insurance Query (Car Damage)

In M-J V47#96, Chana Luntz wrote:
> Insurance companies make money by having insurance policies in place.
> If they cancelled the policy of those people who kept to the contract,
> that in theory would mean that they would have no policies in place -
> hence it seems rather likely that in fact they do not want people to
> do what the contract says that they should do.

Sorry, don't understand Chana's logic.  Yes, insurance companies want to
"make money"; no, they don't want a net loss, and a customer who has
followed contractual terms and reported a few minor accidents can now be
considered a "high risk" policyowner who, speaking statistically, is
likely to cost the company more in payouts than the company earns from
premiums on that policy.  When a company insures someone, it does so
based on many factors, including the likelihood that he (or any other
drivers in the policy) will end up causing the company a net loss, and
it writes a requirement to report accidents into the contract (similar
to its requiring the policyowner to report everyone who may drive the
vehicle, to put this colloquially, more than once in a blue moon)
because that likelihood changes over time.

All the best from
--Michael Poppers via RIM pager

From: Chana Luntz <Heather_Luntz@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 16:49:32 +0100
Subject: Re: Insurance Query (Car Damage)

Quoting Carl Singer <casinger@...>:

> It's a very slippery slope to assume that EVERYONE ignores or EVERYONE
> does something.  I find that this type of logic / argument is often
> used as an excuse to justify a questionable action (or inaction.)

The fact that an argument can be used as a justification or a slippery
slope, however, is not necessarily a legitimate reason for ignoring the
situations where it may be appropriately applied.

> In this case we're assuming that everyone ignore the terms of their
> insurance contract and / or cheats on same.

No, we are not necessarily assuming that, we are postulating that *if*
that assumption were correct, there might be valid reasons for doing
similarly.  Whether the assumption is or is not valid first does have to
be determined.

However, there are cases where that assumption is correct.  To take a
humorous (and probably apocraphal) story, it is told about a student at
Oxford University who put up his hand during an examination and demanded
his ration of mutton and mead, such being written in the statutes of the
University as having to be given to students during their
examination. Whereapon the proctor promptly failed him because he had
failed to turn up to the examination wearing his ceremonial sword. Now
whether in fact these statutes are on the books of Oxford or any other
University, there are often laws and regulations technically on the
books which nobody expects to be obeyed- and turning up to an
examination in a ceremonial sword is certainly one of them.  On the
other hand, Oxford students do sit examinations in their academic gowns,
and one could expect to be turned away if one failed to wear one.  In
such a context, the concept that the halacha would not require one to
obey a law that had fallen into disuse in this manner should not appear
such a strange one.

But a less humorous example was suggested by the case I was commenting
on itself.  The person to whom I was responding referred to a case of a
woman who had indeed reported all the damage ever suffered to her car,
all below the excess, and had had her policy cancelled.

Now it may be that in fact she was an unusually bad driver and no
insurance company should insure her.  But contemplate the alternative
for a minute. Let us say that the situation was rather that the
necessary consequence of fulfilling your part of the contract would be
to have your policy cancelled.  It is not such a far fetched scenario.
If the insurance company in fact sets up its computers in a certain way,
based on the way that most people behave, and most people do not report
the small damage incurred by almost every driver, it is quite
conceivable that an inevitable consequence of reporting every bit of
damage suffered by your car is that your policy will be cancelled
(meaning of course that you are not by law permitted to drive a car)
despite you in no way being a bad driver, and maybe even better than

Now there could be a number of reasons why the insurance company retains
a clause in its contract that allows this to occur.  It may not have
realised the issue, it perhaps cannot be bothered with the few people
who are committed to reading the small print and keeping what they sign.
However there is another less pleasant alternative, which is that it is
useful for the insurance company to always have contracts that have been
breached by its customers, on the grounds that should it ever need to,
it can always demonstrate breach by the customers, possibly getting it
off the hook for its own breaches.  In such situations it may not suit
it to have customers who do keep to their side of the bargain.

Now whether in fact the reality is:

a) that by not reporting small damage the insurance company is being
cheated of information to which it is validly entitled and which
presumably assists it in its business in some way, or

b) the insurance company is using its contracts to be nosy and to build
up databases about people when such information is not really necessary
for its business, and it is using contract, but effectively the law of
needing insurance to drive, coupled with the modern day necessity in
many cities to drive, to extract such information (something civil
libertarians might be worried about, but I am not sure that data
protection has any basis in halacha - unless is comes under the rubric
of loshen hora - if the insurance company does not really have a toeles
in terms of its business of providing car insurance is the data that it
collects loshen hora?) or

c) the insurance company does not really want this data at all and does
not really expect to get it (although it may have other reasons for
including the requirement in its contracts) is obviously very difficult
to determine from the outside.  And while I would agree that one's
initial presumption should be a) to pretend that b) and c) cannot exist,
and therefore should never be considered because of the dangers of
people using there existence as justification for wrongful behaviour
does not seem right to me either.

Shabbat Shalom


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 17:30:45 +0200
Subject: Schule Hopping

Martin, in responding to my widening of the subject as to how this list
works in terms of its input from a variety of Halachic-committed people
and places, and the danger of a too insular outlook on other persons'
customs, wrote:

>The Gemara in Berakhot tells us that we should have a fixed place to
>pray.  While it may not be possible to do so at every tephillah, the
>idea of 'shul-hopping' as Yisrael seems to suggest surely is in direct
>contradiction to this. I would not opt to daven in any other shul
>except, obviously, when I am out of town or otherwise occupied (e.g. at
>a shiur or at work) at the time.

a) i am not sure as to Martin's specific reference in B'rachot, but I
would venture to suggest that the "makom kavua", if that is his phrase,
refers to a synagogue, any synagogue, rather than outside or just some
room but that it should be a special place set aside for prayer.

b) from my reading of 6B and 7B, i don't think they would support the
(il)logic of prohibiting "schule hopping" nor is it in "direct
contradiction" as suggested.

c) and finally, i would think that going to other synagogues and
listening to other forms of davening, such as non-Germanic, would result
in exchange of tunes and niggunim, and other customs which would only
improve one's davening.

d) and Martin's approach reminds me of certain events in Jewish history,
such as those in Galicia in the 1770-1792 period, where Rabbis tried to
intervene in how and how not to daven and whether shteiblich could or
not be set up.

Yisrael Medad


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim)
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 09:41:06 EDT
Subject: Shabbas Brachot and gender

I have seen two ways in which the Shabbas Brachot a father gives his
children on Friday night are administered.  The first is by age,
irrespective of gender.  The second is all male children followed by all
female children.  Which is preferable?



End of Volume 48 Issue 3