Volume 49 Number 65
                    Produced: Tue Aug 23  5:03:52 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dibur hamatchil
         [Martin Stern]
Forceps Vaginal Delivery and PHB
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Impurity Conundrum
         [Yisrael Medad]
Is this meat?  Is this kosher?
         [Art Werschulz]
         [Sam Gamoran]
Language... and Pidyon-ha-Ben (2)
         [Martin Stern, Leah S. Gordon]
Learning on Tisha b'av
Mezuzah Question (2)
         [Jeanette Friedman, Harold Greenberg]
Noisy davenning
         [Martin Stern]
Teaching sefer Shoftim
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 11:34:22 +0100
Subject: Dibur hamatchil

on 18/8/05 10:14 am, <bdcohen@...> wrote:

>> Pesachim 49B, the first tosafot, 'dibur hamatchil' (beginning with...
>> - is there an English term for that?)
> Yes, "Starting Verse" usually abbreviated in a footnote as s.v.

Actually s.v. is the Latin signum verbum - key word - almost the same
idea as dibur hamatchil, possibly sub verbo under the word, not sub vero
as Dave Curwin suggests, which means under the truth.

Martin Stern


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 04:35:28 -0700
Subject: Forceps Vaginal Delivery and PHB

Martin Stern wrote, in part:
>matter of dispute if the forceps are inserted before the child leaves
>the womb proper (par. 13), some holding pidyon is required with a
>berakhah, some that the boy is completely exempt and some that pidyon

I think he must be referring to the use of "high forceps" which to my
understanding does not exist in modern US obstetrics any longer.  Babies
who formerly were delivered using high forceps are now invariably
C-sectioned.  (Please correct, OB's on list, if I am wrong on this

What we learned in all birthing classes (1997-98 and 2001-2002) was that
forceps are used rarely now, but when they are, it's like the vacuum
extraction tool, i.e. when the baby is already on the way out.  (Martin
Stern did not mention the vacuum extraction tool...?)

Also, why would an episiotomy have "no halachic significance" if the
point was the baby coming out "on his own"?  (BTW no baby comes out "on
his own" at full term; the mom *has* to push!)



From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 12:10:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Honesty


Is there a commandment for Jews to be honest? Is it okay to lie in order
to protect the ones we love? Are we authorized to make this decision on
a personal level or is there a halachic guideline?


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2005 01:24:20 +0200
Subject: Impurity Conundrum

[After all our activities connected with Gush Katif, our Motzei Shabbat
shi'ur in Rambam, now at Hilchot Korbanot, has begun again.  Some of us
were marching through the night towards Kissufim, some were in Gush
Katif, some were involved in the demos and spokeperson work.]

So, here's a bit of a conundrum we encountered.

At 7:6 of Korban Pesach, the Rambam writes that we know how much is a
"majority of the public" - for reasons of whether ritually impure or not
- by not counting how many eat, because there could be 20 eating one
goat and they send but one emissary but rather we count all those who
enter the Azarah from there and up to the gate.

The question is: that's like a Catch-22 situation because one doesn't
expect any impure people to be there.  Can there be any impure inside
the Azarah, or is that a 'stacked deck', to borrow a phrase?  We only
found one source that suggested that some impure came out of curiosity
to ascertain if they were in the minority and had to wait for Pesach
Sheni, or that they could eat with everyone.

Any other answers?

Yisrael Medad


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2005 16:27:00 -0400
Subject: Is this meat?  Is this kosher?


>From http://www.gizmag.com/go/4439/1 ...

"Experiments for NASA space missions have shown that small amounts of
edible meat can be created in a lab. But the technology that could grow
chicken nuggets without the chicken, on a large scale, may not be just a
science fiction fantasy. In a recent paper in the Tissue Engineering
journal, a team of scientists has proposed two new techniques of tissue
engineering that may one day lead to affordable production of in vitro -
lab grown - meat for human consumption."

What are the kashrut implications here?  Is this food kosher?  Is it

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 02:22:28 +0300
Subject: Re: Jewess

I just saw a story distributed by AP that made the Jerusalem Post's
headlines in the "Jewish News" category:

The headline reads:
"New Jersey restaurant writes 'Jew Couple' on check".  The restaurant's
practice was to use descriptive terms rather than table numbers to
identify the patrons.

I wonder if this would have been deemed newsworthy (i.e. offensive) if
the descriptive term had been "Jewish couple" instead of "Jew couple"?

Sam Gamoran


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 11:45:17 +0100
Subject: Re: Language... and Pidyon-ha-Ben

on 18/8/05 10:53 am, Art Werschulz <agw@...> wrote:
> Regarding a seudat pidyon haben, Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:
>> One should do what one feels adequate which might be only a family
>> gathering with a few close friends and not be forced to "keep up with the
>> Cohens".
> There's no danger of that in this case, since the Cohens wouldn't be
> holding a seudat pidyon haben. :-)

I take it this is a joke but it seems to assume everyone with the
surname Cohen must be a kohen which is simply untrue.

Martin Stern

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 04:30:45 -0700
Subject: Language... and Pidyon-ha-Ben

>> Martin Stern wrote:
>> One should do what one feels adequate which might be only a family
>> gathering with a few close friends and not be forced to "keep up with
>> the Cohens".

>and Art Werschulz replied:
>There's no danger of that in this case, since the Cohens wouldn't be
>holding a seudat pidyon haben. :-)

Ooh, ooh...do I get a chance to show Martin that I *do* have a sense of
humor and knew he was making a joke on purpose when he said that in
reply to my earlier post??



From: <RYehoshua@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 09:23:25 EDT
Subject: Learning on Tisha b'av

Having learned each year the usual recommended texts in the Gemorah and
in Navi appropriate for Tisha b'Av with my son, we wished to study
something else.  My son remembered that the end of Sotah is an
acceptable text to be learned on this day of mourning.  Howver, we could
not find a source for this ruling.  Does anyone have a citation?

Secondly, the last line of Sotah needs an explanation: The last Mishna
of that Tractate states that the death of R" Yehudah Hanassi marked the
end of humilty (anivut).  Yet one amorah challenges that remark by
pointing out that as long as he is alive humility still lives.  Has
anyone come across a good pshat for this comment - other than the one
that would interpret this as a sarcastic comment.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 07:47:27 EDT
Subject: Re: Mezuzah Question

      With that background in mind - I am curious as to how everyone,
      myself included, has had the impression that when you sell a home
      to another Jew you must leave the mezuzahs behind.  Now I'm not
      advocating to anyone that when they sell their homes that they
      should take their mezuzahs with them.  I just want to know if the
      halacha is truly that a home-seller can take the mezuzahs, or if a
      home-seller is not allowed to take the mezuzahs then what is the
      source of that requirement since the sources in Gemara and
      Shulchan Aruch only talk about renters.

At $100 or more a pop for mezuzahs, why do I have to give them away? In
my house there are more than a dozen mezuzahs. If I leave them, I want
them paid for. 

From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 13:12:28 +0300
Subject: Mezuzah Question

My son bought a house from a CHaBaD family.  Before they moved out, they
took all the bayits (containers) off the doorposts and then taped the
clefs (scrolls) back on.  They did not leave the bayits.  What a strange
sight.  However, I believed then that what they did was perfectly OK.
When I sold my condominium, I took down the expensive containers, put
the scrolls into cheap plastic containers, and reattached them to the
doorposts.  Should one leave both the scrolls and the containers, or the
scrolls only?

 Harold Zvi Greenberg
 Eilat, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 09:49:54 +0100
Subject: Re: Noisy davenning

on 18/8/05 10:14 am, Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> Meaning it doesn't justify all of the non-handicapped people who clap,
> bang, tap, raise (swing) their arms to the side like a cross etc
> during dovening.  Some of us are "disabled" in a different way and
> totally lose our concentration (kavanah).  It's terribly distracting
> and selfish for people who can pray conventonally and quietly to put
> on shows.

I entirely sympathise with Batya. Only this morning I was forced to move
my place during Kriat Shema because the gentleman sitting in front of me
raised his voice so much more than his usual excessive level that I
simply could not concentrate. I suppose I should be grateful that it is
holiday time and the similarly megaphonic gentleman who sits behind me
was away. Between them, they give a whole new meaning to the phrase
"vehaseir satan milephaneinu umeiachareinu" which we say every evening.

Perhaps, also, those who wander around shul during davenning, disturbing
those trying to daven, should be told about the concept of makom kavua'
but I doubt if they would listen so "mutav sheyihyu shogegim velo yihyu
meizidim!" As Batya observes

> A minyan, t'fillah b'tzibbur is a group effort, not an opportunity for
> people to show their originality to a syncopated beat.

Sometimes I envy her, as a female, not being obligated in tephillah
betsibbur. With some of my neighbours in shul, I would be able to daven
with far more kavannah at home.

Martin Stern


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 2005 09:20:20 -0500
Subject: Teaching sefer Shoftim

I began teaching sefer Shoftim to my daughter recently and to help
myself bought a little pamphlet sold as a teacger's guide to teaching
it, put out by a well-known Orthodox educational organization.

The pamphlet takes the form of a dialogue, in Hebrew between the teacher
and students.  On Chapter 3 verse 5-6, where the Navi writes that the
Jews intermarried with the Canaanites, etc the guide presents it as
follows: First, it points out similarities to our own day.  Then it
distinguishes the situation by saying that in the times of the Shoftim
the non-Jews had conversion before they married but the conversions were
effected by a beis din shel hedyotos, one made up of average people and
not talmidei chachamim.  Thus after the fact these conversion were valid
but because they were not done by talmidei chachomim the results were
that the Jews ended up worshipping the Canaanite gods.

I did not find this explanation in any of the commentators on those
verses.  It smacks to me of historic revisionism but I wondered whether
there were actually classic sources that explained the situation in this

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


End of Volume 49 Issue 65