Volume 48 Number 98
                    Produced: Thu Jul 14  5:33:28 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

aveyrah being bigger than another
Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah (3)
         [Eli Turkel, Carl A. Singer, Michael Feldstein]
Congratulations to the new olim - posted pictures and articles
         [Jacob Richman]
Giving Psak
Halacha and Business Competition (3)
         [<CARATSTONE@...>, Jeanette Friedman, Jeanette Friedman]
Jewish Paper
         [Harry Weiss]
"Kidush levono oysies"
Mishne Tapes
         [Jack Wechsler]
Mixed Swimming
         [Sam Gamoran]
Where is the border
         [David Charlap]


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 20:43:14 -0700
Subject: Re: aveyrah being bigger than another

> My source for one aveyrah being bigger than another is simple.  Hillel
> said: Don't do anything to anyone you don't want them to do to you.
> The rest is commentary.
> Period.

i really hoping this was written in jest and not meant to be taken



From: Eli Turkel <eliturkel@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 17:49:58 -0400
Subject: Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah

> Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky z"l is quoted as having said that to pasken a
> sh'eilah one must be fluent in every Tosefos in Shas.  How many
> communal Rabbis can make this claim?

I basically agree with R. Teitz especially in terms of upholding the
authority of the local rabbinate. I have heard many complaints about the
modern tendency to run to the gadol with every question.

However, I doubt that my LOR knows every Tosafot in Shas by heart. I
also doubt most RY know that either. However, my LOR is well versed in
practical halacha. When he is not sure of a question he either looks it
up or else consults a higher authority. In fact in the olden days most
sheelot to gedolim came from local rabbis who wanted an outside
opinion. It is no shame for a local rabbi to say that some question is
outside his expertise.

Eli Turkel

From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 06:54:21 -0400
Subject: Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah

One aspect that Rabbi Teitz didn't touch upon is the definition of a

A (halachic?) community is not simply a bunch of people who happen to
live in the same zip code.  Today, it (still) takes insightful,
hardworking and visionary religious leadership to build or maintain a
community.  Few "zip codes" qualify as communities.  Elizabeth, New
Jersey, is a community.  Breurs is a community.  Many chassidishe
enclaves are communities.

It seems to me that the demise of communities in the past 50 years
correlates with the demise of civility (bain Adam l'chavayroh) within
many zip codes.

Carl Singer

From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 06:19:10 EDT
Subject: Communal Rabbi vs. Rosh Yeshivah

> Through generations, the posek was the community Rav. It's only in the
> last few decades that the Yeshiva world had come to the fore, and our
> local communities suffer because of it.
> David I. Cohen

I echo David Cohen's feelings.  I would also add that the year-in-Israel
program has contributed greatly to the rise of the Rosh Yeshiva as a
posek, as many of our youngsters have connected with their rebbeim in
Israel and have continued a relationship with them for halachic matters
after they return to America.  Furthermore, I'd say that this phenomenon
suggests a failure of our current pulpit rabbis to connect with the
teenagers in our communities.  When I was a teenager, if you asked me to
identify our shul rabbi, I'd probably say, "He's my rabbi."  Most
youngsters in today's generation, when asked the same question, would
say instead, "He's my parents' rabbi" or "He's the rabbi of the shul."

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:31:08 +0200
Subject: Congratulations to the new olim - posted pictures and articles

Hi Everyone!

Congratulations to the new olim who made aliyah today from the USA and

I posted articles and pictures on my site at:

If you do not see July 13, 2005 on the top of the web page, hold the
control key and press the F5 key to refresh your browser.

Several more olim plan to send me additional pictures (including
pictures from inside the airplanes).  I will post them as they come in.
Each time you visit the page, refresh your browser to see the newest

May the aliyah from the USA and Canada grow and bring more Jews back to
their homeland, Eretz Yisrael.

Have a good day,


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 20:43:15 -0700
Subject: Re: Giving Psak

> A psak is not just being able to amass the broadest range of sources
> and weigh their relative significance (or whose in the majority). If
> that's all there was, then one proficient in using the Bar Ilan CD
> would be the winner.  Psak is also about knowing the individual's
> situation and the situation of the community ---psak involves real
> world questions, not just book theory.  

I still recall an incident from the mid 90's when 2 people asked the
community Rabbi the same question and he gave a different answer to
them.  One of them happened to not have grown up in a frum community and
was absolutely shocked and scandalized that the answers were not the
same.  It took me and an acquaintance about 3 weeks to convince the
person that giving psak was not just like reading a recipie book but
that the Rabbi is allowed to take a wide approach to who is doing the
asking and what the issue is.

But I don't think was really totally convinced :-)



From: <CARATSTONE@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:34:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Halacha and Business Competition

None of the discussions I have seen in this thread discuss non-profit
organizations, including synagogues, museums, etc. that not only have
gift shops, but actively market their wares through mail order
etc. using their extensive mailing lists of contributors.  This is
unfair competition against the for-profit sector, that must pay full
fare for their advertising (regular postage rates etc) employees, rents,
etc.  Organizations that solicit and collect funds per their charter
should not run businesses that compete with the private sector.

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 12:37:00 EDT
Subject: Re: Halacha and Business Competition

      If the existing store lost business, it must have been the case
      that they were more expensive, lower quality, and/or less
      convenient, or in some other way inferior to the new stores, at
      least in the perception of enough people that they couldn't hold
      on to their customers.

Wrong again. There weren't enough customers to go round. In the end, two
other bakeries closed, another opened, and now there are three, each one
struggling to stay afloat.

From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 12:37:33 EDT
Subject: Re: Halacha and Business Competition

      There are situations where competition is unfair: e.g. if someone
      has invented a new product or process then they are entitled to
      benefit from their creativity, becasue they are providing
      something new that no-one else could have (but that's what
      patents/trademarks/copyrights are for); or if someone is selling
      at a loss to drive their less-well-capitalized competitor out of
      business (but that's what anti-trust laws are for).  But to say
      that just because someone's business was opened first they "own"
      the market is saying that the business can hold its customers as
      prisoners, forcing them to buy there even if they would rather buy
      from someone else.

Hasagas Gvul is the answer. Not me.


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 22:25:22 -0700
Subject: Jewish Paper

>From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
>Sort of related and I'm sure some of the people here know the answer.
>The Jewish paper in this town has hired gentiles to actually interview
>Jews etc. and write some of the articles in the paper.  Is this required
>because of the law against religious discrimination in employment?  Does
>it make a difference that this paper is privately owned, compared to
>those owned by Federations, and Jewish magazines owned by Jewish
>non-profits?  (I don't like it, and I would argue that being a Jew is a
>requirement to do a good job writing for a Jewish paper, IF the Jews
>themselves consistently did a better job.  But so far, I'm not convinced
>they do.)

When my father died were were inteviewed by the local Jewish Newspaper
in Miami.  They also sent a photographer.  She was an Egyptian Arab.  I
found that quite interesting.


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 20:25:01 -0700
Subject: Re:  "Kidush levono oysies"

> > However in the course of my research I discovered that numerous
> > Synagogues in Europe used to have Kiddush Levana either inscribed or
> > painted on the walls outside the Shul.
> And, of course, the writing was sufficiently large to enable everyone
> to read the words. Hence the expression "kidush levono oysies" for
> oversized writing.

but why were they not printed with white letters on black background?



From: Jack Wechsler <wechsler@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 06:54:14 +0200
Subject: Mishne Tapes

Does anyone have a phone number /address of an organization in Israel
that sells Mishne Tapes (Eruvin) in English or Hebrew ?

Jack Wechsler


From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 21:03:02 +0300
Subject: Mixed Swimming

I just spent a very nice afternoon with my younger son.  We visited his
grandmother, my mother-in-law to take advantage of her membership in the
Netanya Country Club.  Wednesday the indoor pool has men/boys-only
swimming from 1-4PM.  A michaye on a hot day when I had vacation and a
mitzvah of kibud em (mother-in-law, grandmother) that was enjoyed by

The indoor pool was men-only.  The outdoor pool was mixed swimming.

As we did some laps in the indoor pool I started wondering about the
limits of mixed swimming.  Is mixed swimming: - an inherently forbidden
act - an act which is forbidden because it could lead to frivolity and
improper behavior - an act which is forbidden only because the clothing
in which it is done is immodest.

Ignoring the practicality of it, if you believe the latter to be true
then mixed swimming while wearing street clothes ought to be permitted.

What about a pool that has a mechitza down the middle?

I have no particular practical need for an answer to these questions.  I
am just interested in learning the halacha/hashkafah.


Sam Gamoran


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 14:24:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Where is the border

Meir wrote:
> ... AIUI, we're not allowed to pray in G-d's name for things that are
> impossible, such as praying one got an A in a course, if he is
> holding the envelope in which his grades have been mailed to him, 
> because the grade is already determined. ... But we can still pray
> for miracles.  So if we know someone who a) has advanced brain cancer
> and kidney failure and liver failure and heart deterioration, one can
> still pray for his recovery, and although it would be take a miracle,
> it may occur.  But does this mean that if he just died, we can't pray
> that he live again, because that would be a bigger miracle than in
> case a) in the previous sentence?

No answers here, but I would argue that many "miracles" that people pray
for are not impossibilities, but are simpl highly improbable.

An advanced cancer patient may still recover.  The drugs he is receiving
may start to work unusually well, or the cancer may spontaneously go
into remission.  Although these things are very uncommon, they do
happen.  As such, it is reasonable to ask God for assistance.

It is worth noting that the big miracles of the Torah (like splitting
the Reed Sea) are not impossibilities, but "merely" highly improbable.
Many scientists have done a lot of work to demonstrate hos these
miraculous events could take place without violating the laws of nature.
In other words, the fact that the sea split is not the miracle.  The
miracle is the fact that it split at exactly the place and time where it
was needed, and that it lasted long enough for the entire nation to
cross through.

On the other hand, praying that the text on a paper change (along with
the memories of everybody who read or wrote that text, would require God
to violate the laws of nature He created for the world.  Sure, God could
choose to violate them, but our experience and our tradition tells us
that He will not make that choice - which is why it is wrong to ask.

Praying for the dead to come back is more problematic.  First off, the
definition of "dead" has changed over time.  For instance, modern
medicing can treat people with stopped hearts - a condition that would
be defined as "dead" 100 years ago.  So praying for a recently-dead
person to recover may not be praying for the impossible.  (Although
praying for the recovery of someone that's been dead and buried for
several years certainly would be.)

-- David


End of Volume 48 Issue 98