Volume 49 Number 74
                    Produced: Fri Aug 26  5:04:57 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are we ever permitted to lie? (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Michael Kahn]
Baruch Dayan Emet
         [Avi Feldblum]
Cleaning Shofars (2)
         [Leah S. Gordon, Dov Bloom]
Dibur hamatchil
         [Lipman Phillip Minden]
Hot Water on Shabbat
         [Gershon Dubin]
Mir Yeshiva Bochor murdered in Jerusalem
Noisy davenning (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Gershon Dubin]
Rabbinical Mathematics (4)
         [Mike Gerver, Richard Dine, Josh Backon, ben katz]
Removing hats
         [Carl A. Singer]
Volume of kaddish (was: Volume of tephilah)
         [Mike Gerver]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 09:56:49 EDT
Subject: Are we ever permitted to lie?

As this question came up recently I would like to quote from "Diyunei
Halacha" The Weekly Halacha Discussion by R. Neustadt, the grandson of
R.  Yaakov Kaminetzky.(Feldheim Publishers, 2001, pp. 45-48).


The following, however, are some real-life situations with which the
Poskim deal:

If one is asked information about a matter that is supposed to remain
secret, he may answer, "I don't know"(5). Similarly, although one is not
allowed to lie in order to avoid telling bad news (6), it is permitted
to say, "I don't know" (7).

A wealthy man is permitted to lie about his wealth if he fears "the evil
eye" (ayin ha-ra) or if he does not want to arouse jealousy (9).

When collecting funds for a poor Torah scholar, one may say that he is
collecting for hachnasas kallah, marrying off a bride, if he thinks that
people will be more receptive to that cause (10). It is also permitted
to raise funds for hachnasas kallah even when the collection is
primarily for the benefit of the groom (11).

If one fears that a package will be mishandled, it is permitted to write
"glass" on it, even though it does not contain any glass (13).

If one sees that his wife will be late for Shabbos, he is permitted to
tell her that the hour is later than it really is. This is permitted
only when it is clear that she is procrastinating. If, however, she is
rushing and harried and telling her that the hour is later that it
really is will only pressure her further, it is forbidden to do so (14).

If, by refusing to receive a visitor, the visitor's feelings will be
hurt, one is permitted to leave instructions saying that he is not home
(15). One should not, however, instruct a minor to lie about his
parents' whereabouts, since that teaches the child to lie.

(5), (6), (7), (9), (10), (11), (13), (14), (15) are footnotes in the
book of citations for the above.
[The part between the double line {=} is a direct quote from the book.]

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 12:06:46 -0500
Subject: Re: Are we ever permitted to lie?

> From: Anonymous
> Is there a commandment for Jews to be honest?

Definitely. The Tora says, "Midvar sheker Tirchak," or, stay far from 
falsehood. Honesty is a cornerstone of Judaism.

>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?

There is a concept that it is permited to "change the truth" to preserve
peace. (Mutar Lishanos Mifnay Hasholom.) I assume this would mean you
could tell your wife you like her dress even when you think it is
ugly. However, as in all halacha, there are guidlines to when one may
bend the truth.  Unfortionately, I do not know them in more detail.


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2005 04:26:49 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Baruch Dayan Emet

It is with great sadness that I would like to extend my condolences, and
I'm sure the condolences of the entire mail-jewish community to our long
time member, Rabbi Perets Mett and his wife Judith, on the tragedy of
their son's death, Shmuel Eliyahu Mett who was murdered by a terrorist
Wednesday evening.  (See http://tinyurl.com/adaoh)

The family will be sitting shiva in Jerusalem. Feel free to contact me
for address information.

Avi Feldblum


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 03:13:31 -0700
Subject: Cleaning Shofars

I don't know if it is officially sanctioned, but I regularly clean our
shofar (at least as far as I can reach from the mouth end) with rubbing
alcohol...otherwise, yuck!

Then again, our shofar isn't terribly expensive, so if it cracked or
something from the alcohol, I wouldn't be heart-broken.


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 23:54:31 +0300
Subject: Re: Cleaning Shofars

The best thing is alcohol, it evaporates completely and does not hydrate
the shofar which tends to ruin its tone. It also sterilizes.

Dov A Bloom


From: Lipman Phillip Minden <phminden@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:44:44 +0200
Subject: Dibur hamatchil

Martin Stern wrote:
> 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.

I thought it was "sub voce".

Lipman Phillip Minden

[A quick look at the all knowing Reb Google, shows that the on-line
glosseries identify s.v. as primary from sub verbo (e.g. Quick Reference
Guide to the Chicago Manual of Style), with sub voce as an alternate
(http://www.plexoft.com/SBF/S12.html). I note that I also find sub vero
as being given (http://www.aeaweb.org/aer/sampleref.html and
http://www.main-vision.com/richard/Latin2.htm). Signum verbum only has
one hit as a phrase, and that is once in Augustinus, De magistro. Avi]


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 09:18:01 -0400
Subject: Hot Water on Shabbat

> From: <aliw@...> (Arie)
> similar to heating or even cooking food in the direct sun - which is
> not considered cooking on shabbat, except that in a solar hearter the
> sun is direct on the panels, not on the water.>>

I don't know enough about the technology to discuss the pesak, but
clearly from the halacha, something cooked DIRECTLY in the sun is called
Chamei Chama and is permitted (mutar lechatchila) while something heated
by the sun (e.g. the panels) that heats food is Toldos Chama and is asur
miderabanan (rabbinically prohibited).



From: Anonymous
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:39:42
Subject: Mir Yeshiva Bochor murdered in Jerusalem

Those of us who live in Jerusalem, or who have family living in
Jerusalem must learn to be alert. Last night (Wednesday) Shmuel o'h, son
of one of Mail-Jewish's contributors, Dr Peretz Mett of NW London, was
murdered by an Arab terrorist - yemach shemo - on Rechov David -a street
leading from Shaar Yaffo to the Kossel. Shmuel, who was engaged to be
married, was with 2 other bochurim, all learning at the Mir Yeshiva,
when they were stabbed. The other 2 bochurim were slightly injured,

PLEASE be alert, and make sure you and your family are aware of the
dangers and are ever vigilant. Whilst I am not, chas vesholom,
suggesting for one moment that we should avoid the the Old City and the
Kossel, (on the contrary - not one inch of Eretz Yisroel must be
considered as a no-go area for Jews) however extra caution must be
exercised in this time of Sakonoh.

Peretz, our deepest sympathies lie with you and your family.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 13:58:26 +0300
Subject: Re: Noisy davenning

Ben Katz <bkatz@...> stated:

      No one, to my knowledge, has an obligation to daven betzibur.

I think there is a specific gemara that states something like one who
has a minyan in his area and does not pray in it is an evil person.  I
cannot put my finger on this at the moment.

The Hafetz Hayyim also brings this.

       Note that the shulchan aruch says that it is better to daven by
      yourself vatikin (early in the morning) than later in the morning
      with a minyan.

Which is to say that praying kevatiqin is so important that it even
overrides the requirement to pray in a minyan.

IRA L. JACOBSON         

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 09:25:28 -0400
Subject: Noisy davenning

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
<<No one, to my knowledge, has an obligation to daven betzibur.>>

How about Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 90:9?  See also halachos of what
parts of davening one may skip to daven betzibur, preferences re: which
shuls, shul vs. minyan in the house etc.

There most certainly is an obligation.

<<Note that the shulchan aruch says that it is better to daven by
yourself vatikin (early in the morning) than later in the morning with a

This halacha (which is not agreed on by all poskim, BTW) only shows the
greatness of davening kevasikin, not the non-obligation of tefila



From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:17:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Rabbinical Mathematics

Reuven (<Rt235@...>) asks,

      Hi, I'm looking for some resources in Rabbinical Mathematics and
      Rabbinical Astronomy. I'm trying to develop courses in these

"Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy" by W. M. Feldman (third edition,
Sepher-Hermon Press, 1978) is an excellent resource, though unfortunately
it has been out of print for some time, and (because few people who own
it want to sell it) very expensive to buy used. You should be able to
find it in a good library.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 05:30:53 -0400
Subject: Rabbinical Mathematics

I do not know if it is still in print, but there was a book by W.M.
Feldman, "Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy" published in 1978 by
Sepher-Heerman Press.

Richard Dine 

From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  25 Aug 2005 14:56 +0300
Subject: Re: Rabbinical Mathematics

For an analysis of game theory and knot theory in the gemara, see the
website http://www.math.umd.edu/~jmr/MathTalmud.html

Apart from issureita d'bei rebi (Naperian limits) in Ketuvot 93a,
elements of calculus in Mikvaot (water seeping out), Hilchot Sfeik
Sfeika in Yoreh Deah, there's the mathematics of epidemiology at the end
of the gemara in Taanit. The gemara in Eruvin and Sukka has lots of
math: calculating diameter of a circle: Eruvin 13b-14a, 76a,b, Sukka 7b.
calculating square units of a circular area: Eruvin 14b, 56b-57a, Sukka
8a,b.  calculating hypoteneuse of a square Eruvin 57a, 77b, Sukka 8a.
Use of ratios to determine height of distant object: Eruvin 43b.

There's a nice diagram in a Tosfot in the beginning of Sukka which looks
like elementary calculus. Then, of course, there's the commentary of the
Chazon Ish on the Rambam Hilchot Ibbur haChodesh full of diagrams of
spherical trigonometry (of which I understood gurnisht :-) ).

Incidentally, Professor Moshe Kopell (who might even be a reader of MAIL
JEWISH) wrote a fascinating book on Messechet Kinnim (the math was way
out of my ballpark to understand even the first line).

Josh Backon

From: ben katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 16:14:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Rabbinical Mathematics

         I assume you know about the classic Mathematics in Antiquity by
Neugebauer; i believe this is even available as an inexpensiver Dover
paperback.  There is also a nice introduction to medieval astronomical
mathematics in the Yale Judaica Series volume of the Rambam's Yad
Hachazakah - the volume that deals with the new moon, that i believe was
translated by the late Isaac Klein.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 07:38:08 -0400
Subject: Removing hats

> action today, see what is done by people in uniform (military,
> police), who still cover their heads: Upon entering a building, their
> headgear comes off.

If you ever go into a Officer's Club you may see the following on the
wall.  HWWHHIHBTBAROC He who wears his hat in here buys the bar a round
of cheer.

More to the point there are specific uniform regulations re: the wearing
of headgear.  If you see a (US) Soldier wearing his hat indoors -- be
nice to him / her -- as they're carrying a weapon.  One does not remove
one's cover (hat) when under arms.

I find it amusing, but when going to a ball game, etc., I keep a
yarmulke under my baseball cap so that when I do remove my hat for the
anthem (and it's to be placed over one's heart) -- I'm still wearing my
yarmulke -- not that lightning will strike me should my head be bare for
a minute or so.

Carl Singer


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 2005 18:37:12 EDT
Subject: Volume of kaddish (was: Volume of tephilah)

I agree with everything Mordecai (<Phyllostac@...>) says in v49n72,
regarding the man (mentioned by Evan Rock) who shouts out loud when he
says kaddish, drowning out others and annoying everyone. But I'd like to
mention the opposite problem, which I have sometimes noticed--people who
say kaddish so quietly that no one can hear them.

My understanding is that if someone says kaddish so quietly that no one
hears him, and hence no one responds "Yehei shmei rabba...," then he
hasn't accomplished anything by saying kaddish. Isn't the whole point of
saying kaddish in order to have the merit of causing lots of people to
praise G-d, and hence to honor the person you are saying kaddish for?
These people who say it very quietly seem to think that it is some kind
of magic incantation to benefit the dead. Perhaps these people are not
used to going to shul, and feel awkward in general in shul, so are
reluctant to call attention to themselves by saying kaddish out loud. I
have often felt that I should say something to them, but have never had
the chutzpah to do so. It seems to me, though, that the Rav of the shul,
if he sees someone doing this, should quietly take them aside and tell
them how they should be saying kaddish. Not shouting, but loud enough
for everyone around them to clear hear.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


End of Volume 49 Issue 74