Volume 49 Number 87
                    Produced: Mon Nov  7  6:14:50 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Baruch Dayan Emet
         [Sid Gordon]
Blue Laws
         [Nathan Lamm]
Good Intentions -- was separation of church & state
         [Janice Gelb]
Mode of Dress and Tefilah
         [Robert Sherer]
Perfect Mis-Understandings - Learning Torah on the Eve of 9th of Av
         [R. Rich Wolpoe]
Seat belts and koved Av v'Aym (2)
         [Robert Sherer, Ari Trachtenberg]
See my shiny new bicycle
         [Carl A. Singer]
Shul Attire
         [Nathan Lamm]
Soft Matzah
         [Ben Katz]
Wuerzberg or Aschaffenburg, Germany
         [Marc Shapiro]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 05:46:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

My apologies to all on the extended silence here. This is going to be
the first week where I hopefully have five days at work, so I will be
able (I hope) to spend the usual time I spend on mail-jewish, and make
some headway on catching up on everything else I am overdue on.

I will get one or two issues out today, as I try and catch up on the
unread messages on this account and then move back to our regular load
by the end of the week, I expect.

I hope you all have had a good set of Yomim Tovim, and I'm looking
forward to continuing our group discussions here.

Avi Feldblum


From: Sid Gordon <Sid.Gordon@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Sep 2005 16:14:13 +0200
Subject: Baruch Dayan Emet

[My apologies to the list that this is so delayed. If anyone has an
email address for any of the family members, please post it so I can
send a message of nechama from the list. Avi.]


I wanted to let you know that unfortunately Ed Ehrlich, a frequent
contributor to this list, passed away earlier this week after a long
illness.  His parents, wife, and children are sitting shiva in

She'nishma b'sorot tovot.
Best regards,
Sid Gordon


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 06:16:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Blue Laws

It was illegal to sell liquor on Sunday in New York State until very
recently; the law was just changed to make it illegal to sell liquor
seven days a week (you get to choose which day you want off), as
Orthodox Jews were thus limiting to being open five days versus everyone
else's six.

Nu? So it was changed. I don't see a law like that impinging greatly on
religious freedom, and I think it's rather nice that aspects of the
nation's religious heritage remain on the books. Healthier for religion
in general, including Judaism, than erasing it altogether.


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 08:52:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Good Intentions -- was separation of church & state

Ira L. Jacobson <iraeljay@...> wrote:
> Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> stated on Fri, 26 Aug 2005
> <soapbox>
>> The more we encourage schools to throw in a token 
>> Chanukah song in a "holiday" program that's really 
>> for Christmas, or (don't get me started on this) build 
>> giant menorahs and sponsor civic or TV programs to 
>> compete with Christmas programs, the more we encourage
>> the belief that the two holidays are related.
> The more you let Xmas be celebrated in public and 
> intentionally exclude any Jewish holiday, the more 
> frustrated your children are, and the more convinced 
> they are that we cannot compete. 

Precisely my point. This shouldn't be a "competition" about whose winter
holiday is best!

> And the non-Jewish community remains ignorant of our 
> beliefs and way of living. And it is a fact that some 
> Jews often know more about the other religion that 
> they do of our own.  [snip]
> Why not be proud Jews and have our celebrations be 
> as  public and grand scale as our non-Jewish neighbors?

My first reason I already stated, which is that the more we tie in
Chanukah to imitate Christmas, the more people have reason to consider
it "the Jewish Christmas" and assume that "Merry Christmas and Happy
Chanukah" is an equivalent and reasonable greeting. And have people wish
us "Happy Chanukah" after Chanukah is already over!

Secondly, Chanukah is a minor, non-Biblical holiday and ordinarily would
be celebrated at home as an inspirational holiday mainly geared toward
children. If you truly want us to educate non-Jews (and even
non-educated Jews) about Judaism, then we should emphasize our own
important holidays, not boost a more minor holiday just because it
happens to fall at the same time of year as someone else's major

-- Janice


From: <ERSherer@...> (Robert Sherer)
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 09:51:50 EDT
Subject: Re: Mode of Dress and Tefilah

      which may or may not match anything else one is wearing?

      Joel Rich

   As a practicing lawyer, I know that I would never appear in any court
wearing shorts, sandals and no socks. Nor would I show up for a job
interview so dressed. There's a practical reason for this. When I am
addressing a court or a potential employer, I am trying to persuade the
party so addressed to do something that I want him to do. I want him to
listen to what I ask and hope he considers me favorably. I want him, in
making his decision, to keep in mind what I said, not how I was dressed.
If this applies to appearing before a judge or a potential employer,
isn't the Being one addresses when going into a shul not entitled to the
same respect?
   I would like to add a personal footnote. Thirty-five years ago, I
appeared in the U.S. District court in Boston while I was in shloshim for
my father. The judge, before whom I had frequently appeared, was then
about 88 years old. As the hearing ended, he called me over to the
side-bar and said, "Hey, Bob, have you become a hippy now?" I told him
that the beard was because I was in mourning for my father, and could not
shave for 30 days. He apologized, asked how old my father had been (he
was 77), and commented "He was a young man!"
     Robert Sherer


From: <rabbirichwolpoe@...> (R. Rich Wolpoe)
Date: Wed, 07 Sep 2005 00:42:19 -0400
Subject: Perfect Mis-Understandings - Learning Torah on the Eve of 9th of Av

According to some authorities, one may not {ought not?} learn Torah on
the afternoon of the Eve of the 9th of Av - except for those subjects
that are permitted on the 9th of Av itself. AND some assert this is true
EVEN when the EVE of the fast is on Shabbat.

  This "prohibition" has been attacked as overly stringent. Those who
attack it argue as follows:

    <<Since none of the other restrictions apply on the eve of the 9th
of Av until nightfalll, therefore it makes no sense to be stringent re:
the Study of Torah before the fast.  This is especially so on Shabbat
when one may wear shoes until the beginning of Maa'riv etc.  {i.e. after

This attack is IMHO predicated upon  a simple misunderstanding.

 Let's look at a hypothetical prohibition:

  "It is prohibited to eat on the afternoon before the 9th of Av any
highly salty or spicy foods. This is in order not to cause undue thrist
during the fast itself."

Certainly this hypothetical prohibition would apply equally to the eve
of the 9th of Av {Erev Tisah b'Av} regardless of whether it fell on
Shabbat or on a weekday!

Similarly, the prohibition on learning Torah on the eve of the fast is
not so much a STRINGENCY but rather a precaution due to the fact that
Torah thoughts tend to linger for hours. And therefore, if one were to
learn topics NOT fitting for the fast, these Torah Thoughts would likely
distract from the mourning DURING the 9th of Av itself.  Therefore,
regardless of whether the eve of the 9th of Av is a weekday or Sabbath,
the precaution is appropriate and is not necessarily an excessive
stringency {i.e Chumra} at all..

 Ksiva Vachasima Tova


From: <ERSherer@...> (Robert Sherer)
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 10:02:58 EDT
Subject: Re: Seat belts and koved Av v'Aym

      And if your (aged?) parent / grandparent refused to take their
      medicine or go to the doctor would you simply acquiesce?  Koved
      doesn't mean kowtowing.

   Absolutely right! If you are the driver, it is your responsibility to
see that no one traveling in a car operated by you does not have his seat
belt fastened. In some states you might even be held responsible for
injury to a passenger not wearing a seat belt.

          Robert Sherer

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 11:40:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Seat belts and koved Av v'Aym

From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
> And if your (aged?) parent / grandparent refused to take their medicine
> or go to the doctor would you simply acquiesce?

Beyond trying to be persuasive ... what can you do?  Can you force a
person to abide by the current medical wisdom against their feelings to
the contrary?  There is an interesting precedent that one does not make
someone fast who feels that he cannot do so safely (even, in my
understanding, if a doctor feels that the fast can be done safely).

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 08:45:50 -0400
Subject: See my shiny new bicycle

A few months ago I posted onto a local community bulletin board -- one
that deals with mundane issues such as "do you know a good electrician"
-- a question, "can anyone recommend a brand / model of electric shaver
that they like?"  The first reply on this bulletin board was from a
woman who had much to say re: the kashrus of a given brand of shaver,
how / where to make them kosher, etc.  Having been shaving for well over
40 years, I guess by now I know the relevant halachas (oh, yes, and I've
studied them from time to time and read articles, etc.)  -- at first I
was bemused -- it was something I've grown to call the "see my shiny new
bicycle" syndrome.  It's (often) a ba'al tshuva feeling that they need
to expound on everything to everyone.  I simply replied "thank you" --
and again asked the board if they had EXPERIENCE with particular brands
/ models.  My presumption being this woman didn't shave daily.

Last week in our community's kosher grocery store (an "all kosher"
market) a woman was approached by another woman who publicly scolded her
--"you know in this town you should cover your hair."  The victim of
this unsolicited advice was devastated and went to her Rabbi and is
talking of moving out of town.

My concern has nothing to do with hair covering (my wife covers her
hair, I have some friends whose wives don't.) -- it's the "see my shiny
new bicycle" (SMSNB) and its impact.  At shalosh seudot one friend said
unequivocally that had this been said to his wife, he'd be bailing her
out of jail.

If a young child came up to me and said, "the brocha for an apple is
'boray pree ha'eytz'" I'd praise them and perhaps ask them why or what
other brochas they know.  I could see replying similarly to an SMSNB
comment, but was wondering what others thought would be an appropriate
response, (1) to an information only or (2) to a you're doing it wrong
statement from (especially) a stranger.

Carl Singer


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2005 06:12:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Shul Attire

S. Wise writes:

"If the Bais Hamikdash were erected and it was the first time we
appeared, I would hope people would dress in a respectful fashion.
Somehow, sockless and sandals doesn't scream out respectful..."

I assume the second sentence is talking about shul, because one must go
barefoot in the Mikdash. (And Kohanim remove their shoes for duchaning
today.) It just goes to prove that "respectful" is subjective.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 11:20:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Soft Matzah

>From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
>Asher Grossman wrote about soft matzot, and referred to a "booklet" that
>criticizes the manufacture of machine matzot.
>As far as I know, the introduction of machine made matzot (in the late
>19th century?) led to a major polemic over the kashrut of such matzot. I
>suspect (without being an expert on that polemic) that part of the issue
>had to do with the fact that machine matzot could be produced more
>cheaply than hand matzot, thereby affecting the livelihood and/or profit
>of those involved in the matza trade. [Even now, hand shemurah matzot
>are significantly more expensive than regular machine matzot (and even
>machine shemurah).]

         Dr. Jonathan Sarna gave a lecture I believe at Touro College
that was just published in booklet form called something like: "How
matzah became square: the story of Manischewitz" in which he describes
the efforts by charedim/chassidim who argued against square machine made
matzah (this is certainly not the matzah that our father's ate when they
left Egypt) vs. those (including many prominent rabbonim) who claimed
that machine manufacturing allowed for less error and higher standards
of kashrut.  As usual, economics also played a role, everything from :
how will poor women make a living if machine matzohs are used, to rabbis
who received donations from Manischewitz arguing for their kashrut.

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: Marc Shapiro <shapirom2@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Sep 2005 15:58:28 -0400
Subject: Wuerzberg or Aschaffenburg, Germany

Does anyone come from -- or know someone who comes from -- Wuerzberg or
Aschaffenburg in Germany. If yes, please contact me. Thanks.

  Marc Shapiro


End of Volume 49 Issue 87