Volume 49 Number 30
                    Produced: Tue Aug  2  5:10:46 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aaron of Starosselje
         [Yisrael Medad]
Administrative Idea
         [Akiva Miller]
Cellphones (3)
         [Carl A. Singer, Mike Gerver, Bernard Raab]
Family Splitting
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Kaddish Pronounciation
         [David Curwin]
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Pidyon HaBen
         [Nathan Lamm]
Qaddish Pronunciation
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Threatening to do what one may not do.


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 00:20:53 +0200
Subject: Aaron of Starosselje

A while back, we were discussing Chabad and the discussion touched upon
the issue of was there a break in Chabad and another Rebbe being
considered the Admor of Chabad.  I did a bit of research and here are
the results:

R. Aaron of Starosselje, b. 1766; d. 1829.  Was the foremost pupil
("ha-echad v'ha'meyuchad sheb'talmidei rabeinu") of Schneur Zalman, the
first Rebbe.  He spent 30 years at the Rebbe's side.  He probably
expected to follow as leader of Chabad but the Rebbe appointed his son,
DovBaer.  Full name: Aaron ben Moshe Halevi Horowitz, sixth generation
to the Shelah.

He was the one to collect monies used to release the Rashaz from
imprisonment.  He himself was arrested for sending charity to the
Chassidim who had gone to Eretz-Yisrael.  The Rebbe's letters grant him
the right to "explain divrei Chassidut".  Already at the end of the
Alter Rebbe's life, he moved away to Oshwa and set himself up there, not
yet a "court" but almost.  After the Rebbe's death, when virtual chaos
reigned as a result of the Napolean campaign, he acted as a Rebbe.
Theologically, he was given to ecstasy in prayer and devotion whereas
DovBaer took Chabad to relative contemplative calmness.  His books that
are available, actually I just picked them up at the Chabad bookstore
(!), Beit Gutnick, on Yeshayahu St. in Jerusalem include Avodat HaLevi
(2 vols), Shaar HaAvodah and Shaar HaYichud v'Emunah and it seems
there's a Shaar HaTefila.

Rachel Elior has published The Chabad Theory of Divinity: The Second
Generation (1982) on the conflict that developed and Louis Jacobs wrote
Seeker of Unity (1966) on him.

 From one of the notes in the newly republished books, it may seems that
there are still some Chabadniks who view him as the rightful heir.

Yisrael Medad


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 10:46:03 GMT
Subject: Administrative Idea

My initial reaction was that it would be fun and interesting to see
pictures and get to know the group on a more personal level. And I still
feel that way.

But that doesn't mean it would be a positive development. I was
tremendously swayed by several posters, and totally agree that the
current anonymity helps to insure a high level of respect and derech
eretz for all posters, and it would be a terrible thing to lose that.

I vote "no".

Akiva Miller


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 07:09:55 -0400
Subject: Cellphones

>I've been following this subject in the news for many years.
>The anti-phone advocates are not working from a premise of "there are
>suddenly more accidents, what happened to cause them?"  They are
>starting from a premise of "we want cell phones to be banned, what
>information can we dig up to force politicians to agree."
>This is getting to such an extreme that we now have people claiming that
>talking on the phone with a headset is more dangerous than driving
>drunk.  If anybody seriously believes this, they need to think about
>that statement again.  If the road was full of drunks, we'd be up to our
>eyeballs in corpses on the highways.  But we're not, even though the
>road is full of people talking on phones.

Gory analogies aside -- 

(1) Are there scientific studies by the "pro-phone" advocates (I'd
    presume cellphone vendors, etc.) to the contrary.  That is studies
    that claim that there is no (added) danger in driving while using a

(2) Is it a sacuneh to use a cellphone while driving?

(3) If civil law bans using a (hand-held) cellphone while driving may
    you halachically continue to do so?

Same 3 questions apply to seat-belts.

Carl Singer

From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 17:54:10 EDT
Subject: Cellphones

David Charlap writes, in v49n27,

      This is getting to such an extreme that we now have people
      claiming that talking on the phone with a headset is more
      dangerous than driving drunk.  If anybody seriously believes this,
      they need to think about that statement again.  If the road was
      full of drunks, we'd be up to our eyeballs in corpses on the
      highways.  But we're not, even though the road is full of people
      talking on phones.

I think I'm the person who quoted that statistic. I did not mean that
having a cell phone with a headset in the car is as dangerous as driving
drunk. I said that (according to a study I read about) talking on a cell
phone, even with a headset, is as dangerous as driving drunk. Most
people who have cell phones in their cars are not spending all of their
time, or most of their time, talking on them, while they are
driving. But during the minutes they are talking on their cell phones,
the chances of their having an accident is about the same, per minute,
as if their blood alcohol level were just over the legal definition of
intoxicated. That's what the study found, I believe, and I don't find it
implausible, though I have no way of knowing if the conclusion was
correct, or if there was some flaw in the study.

As for David's suggestion that if cell phones were dangerous, there
would be an obvious jump in the accident rate as cell phone use
increased--it's hard to say. There are many factors which cause long
term trends in car accidents, and they might mask the effect from the
increase in the number of cell phones, which after all took place over
many years. For example, improvements in safety features of cars and
roadways, changes in the speed limit and in people's attitudes toward
observing the speed limit (especially during, and in the years
following, the 55 mph speed limit in the US), changes in the price of
gas and in the miles per gallon of cars (which affect amount of driving,
and driving speed), improved enforcement of, and respect for, drunk
driving laws, and demographic changes (including the number of teenage
drivers, and the number of elderly drivers).

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 10:26:24 -0400
Subject: Cellphones

>From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
>The anti-phone advocates are not working from a premise of "there are
>suddenly more accidents, what happened to cause them?"  They are
>starting from a premise of "we want cell phones to be banned, what
>information can we dig up to force polititians to agree."

Just who are these "anti cellphone advocates"? Did we suddenly find a
new political stream? Are they the wired telephone companies
surreptitiously sponsoring a "ban the cellphone" movement? But
wait--most of them profit handsomely from the explosion of cellphone
usage. Of course there is no such movement. What we are seeing here is
the widespread realization, based on myriad personal observations, that
cellphone users are a hazard on the public roads. Perhaps the rigorous
scientific studies to "prove" this have yet to be done, but the public
is "not a ass", in the immortal words of Dickens' Mr. Bumble (in another

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Aug 2005 08:24:55 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Family Splitting

 What kind of Rosh Hashana is it when the husband is out of town or out
of the country? How to supervise the children on Rosh Hashana?  In my
previous place, in was very unpleasant on Rosh Hashana, many children
came to pray or more correct to play, their fathers being in Uman. With
all the importance of being by your Rabbi, your first obligation is your
children, all the more so when they bother others.  This last Rosh
Hashana, R. Wozner of Bnei Brak was a shaliah (agent) for a father who
went to Uman, instead of being at his son's brit.


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2005 16:08:38 +0300
Subject: Kaddish Pronounciation

Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...> quoted Guggenheim: 

> Current Ashkenazic texts deviate from the historical forms under the
> influence of R. Eliahu of Wilna in Eastern Europe and Isaac Stanow and
> Wolf Heidenheim in Western Europe.

When I read this, I thought I'd look at the introduction of David
Cohen's "Siddur Ezor Eliyahu", which discusses the background to the
GRA's "nusach".  I thought I remembered Cohen mentioning Heidenheim.

The interesting thing I found was that Cohen refers to a different
R. Eliya of Vilna - the son of R' Azriel, the authors of the siddur
"Derech Siach HaSadeh". He says this siddur is the basis of today's
Nusach Ashkenaz siddurim. This is in a list of the 5 siddurim that
shaped Nusach Ashkenaz.  Stanow and Heidenheim's siddurim are also on
the list. So perhaps Guggenheim wasn't referring to the GRA.  This is
also likely, because the GRA was actually against the changes that
Stanow and Heidenheim introduced.

By the way, my knowledge of this interesting piece of history (the
history of Nusach Ashkenaz) is pretty much limited to Cohen's
introduction to his siddur. I'd be happy to hear about any other

-David Curwin


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 08:32:03 -0400
Subject: PETA

In the United States, there is an organization called PETA -- People for
the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  This organization is dedicated to
"animal rights," and is opposed to using animals for food.  Recently, it
has attacked practices in the kosher slaughter industry.

Here is a piece from the PETA web site.  It was written by the president
of the organization in 2003.


-- Andy Goldfinger 


From: <Danmim@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 08:57:52 EDT
Subject: Re: Pidyon HaBen

Does a Jewish man married to a geyoras [convert] and has a son who is
the first born to mother and father need a pidyon haben? Can you quote


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2005 07:18:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Polygamy

Martin Stern is to be commended for pointed out the actual extent of the
"Cherem Rabbenu Gershom." (I use quotation marks because the exact
historical background and author of the prohibition is unclear.  In
addition, I recall once hearing that the cherem was not imposed on all
Ashkenazim, but was accepted by them.)

However, I believe that in 1948, the Israeli Chief Rabbinate outlawed
polygamy for both Ashkenazim and Sephardim (and others), and since there
was no dissent in the Jewish community, it became binding worldwide as
part of accepted halachic process. Does anyone have more details on
this? I've also seen conflicting reports of whether or not this decree
allowed those already in polygamous relationships to remain so.

I imagine that polygamy, simply, was more widely practiced among Jews
who lived in countries where the general population practiced it. Of
course, as Mr.  Stern points out, it was still quite rare. In fact, it
seems to have been quite rare even in earlier times: The only non-royal,
post-Sinai person with more than one wife in Tanach (or Talmud?) I can
think of offhand was Elkanah, and there was the circumstance of
childlessness there. Am I missing anyone? Doesn't the Rambam limit
polygamy to royalty?

Nachum Lamm


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 22:44:22 +0300
Subject: Re: Qaddish Pronunciation

Martin Stern stated the following:
on 27/7/05 10:27 am, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:
>> An example of the reflexive sense in Aramaic of the root qof dalet
>> shin is in itqad'shat (Nedarim 50a), she betrothed herself.

> This cannot be a reflexive formation since nobody, whether male or
> female, can be betrothed to themself. The phrase "she betrothed
> herself" must be understood as meaning "she caused herself to be
> betrothed".

The Soncino translation has it as: "The daughter of Kalba Shebu'a
betrothed herself to R. Akiba.  When her father heard thereof, he vowed
that she was not to benefit from aught of his property."

Perhaps "to cause oneself" to do something is a true reflexive usage.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 21:10:53 -0400
Subject: Threatening to do what one may not do.

Is a Jew allowed to threaten to do what he may not do?

None of these are actual problems I face, and I"m not limiting these
scenarios to frum Jews or Jews (an assumption I think readers here
sometimes make) except for "I","me", and "my".

If someone says that he is going to tell bad stuff about me to others,
is it allowed to threaten to tell bad stuff about him?  To do so aiui
would be LH and vengeance or certainly a bad practice to get into, but
what about threatening to do so even though one wouldn't actually do it?

If someone threatens to rob my store, or burn it down, may I threaten to
break his legs or kill him?  1) If he does it, or 2) if I see him near
the store?

In practice, I think a lot of bad behaviour is prevented when the
potential bad doer is threatened, with no need to implement the threats.
And even if the the person does the bad thing, the other person need not
carry out the threat.  He can call the police or sue instead.  But the
threat of the police or a lawsuit may not be realistic for small bad
things, and may not scare someone even for big bad things.  More direct
threats, like a beating or secrets revealed can sometimes I think be
more effective.

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


End of Volume 49 Issue 30