Volume 50 Number 28
                    Produced: Tue Nov 29  5:01:07 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Canadian and US Thanksgiving
         [Bernard Raab]
Disclosure of Rabbi's salary
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Going to shul with a cold or flu
         [Carl A. Singer]
Internet and Television Bans
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Internet Bans
         [Akiva Miller]
Kohein marrying Convert
         [Elazar M. Teitz]
Mem het lamed
         [Ben Katz]
Minyan (2)
         [Arie, Ari Trachtenberg]
Tfilat Hatzibbur
         [Joel Rich]
Where Do Your CHildren Go to School
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 04:23:01 -0500
Subject: Canadian and US Thanksgiving

 I don't know where the impression arose that most frum Jews in the US
observe or celebrate Thanksgiving. This is definitely limited to The MO
population. The Yeshivah world has classes on Thanksgiving Day, and I am
next to certain that the Chasidic world is similarly unmoved. It is
generally regarded as a goyish holiday and another opportunity to
strengthen the barriers against mixing with the general population.

 And to answer Micheal Mirsky, who wrote:

>I'm not being judgemental or critical, but I just find it a bit odd
>that American Jews would adopt all the trapping of this
>holiday. Perhaps it was accepted because AFAIK it has no specific
>Christian religious overtones.

Actually, we do it because it is just a nice way to entertain a houseful
of family and friends when they are off from work and school and can
drive to you, so they don't have to spend the night and all of the next
day! And unlike Sunday, no regular events are scheduled, and the next
day is at least a semi-holiday also. The fact that it is not a specific
religious holiday makes it "kosher" of course, but it is NOT from
pressure to conform--those feelings are so 50's and 60's. The only
concession we make to the occasion is the inevitable weak joke about
saying "yaaleh v'yavo" at bentching.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 07:13:44 EST
Subject: RE: Disclosure of Rabbi's salary

I didn't know that I could take yet another shock to my system off of
this list. This letter, by its very nature, reveals why Judaism is in
such a sorry state. The fact that the kehilla was astonished at the low
wages they were paying their rabbi and demanded a menschlichdike
increase says volumes about the decency of the congregants, and even
more about the indecency of the board of directors now trying to hide
his salary so that he shouldn't get another increase.

501-c3s need to reveal all their budgets in all their manifestations and
expenditures and revenues. You cannot bury the rabbi's salary--you might
just as well bury the rabbi.

Why try to weasel your way out of paying him decently?

Jeanette Friedman


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 2005 05:39:34 -0500
Subject: Going to shul with a cold or flu

Now that allergy season is behind us (so I'm told.)  when people come to
shul red eyed, sneezing, etc., let's presume they have a cold or the

In general the "me" question is whether or not I feel well enough to
drag myself out of bed to go to shul.  But what about the tzibbor? (the
"you" question.)  Should someone who has the cold or the flu stay home
lest they pass along their condition?

If you must know, what prompted this note is that yesterday I was
davened in a different shul, and ended up seated near a box of tissues
-- it quickly became apparent that there were a handful of steady
customers who were sneezing their way through davening.

I've make it a point to thoroughly wash my hands when coming home from
shul.  I'll let the physicians discuss the efficacy of doing so.

But the question remains, should people who may be contagious go to
shul?  Do they have a heter to daven at home, and miss laining, based on
they're potential impact on others?  How about an issur to restrain from
going to shul when so stricken?

Carl Singer


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 09:44:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Internet and Television Bans

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> Has it never occurred to anyone that the news is probably the most
> corrupting thing on television. ... What do others on mail-jewish
> think?

Well, since you asked ... my experience is that these television and
internet bans are extremely dangerous to the affected children.  So long
as the child remains in a closed and sheltered environment, the bans
effectively protect from the vices of the outside world.

However, it is exceedingly difficult to keep children so sheltered
... and often, when they do enter (or peak into) the outside world, they
are completely incapable of dealing with what they see.  In effect, by
not exposing children to these things with proper parental guidance, the
community is setting up many of its children to collosal failures; I
would argue that they are setting a stumbling block before the blind.
After all, "who is smart - he who learns from every person."

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


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 17:54:08 GMT
Subject: Re: Internet Bans

Stuart Pilichowski wrote <<< Lakewood feels the dangers lurking on the
web are way too plentiful for average people to withstand. Therefore ban
it. Build a fence and keep out all foreign enticements. That way you'll
remain a fine, upstanding Yid. >>>

Not necessarily. It could well be that they have confidence that the
average person will be able to withstand the dangers, but that there are
some people who will not be able to withstand them. And in order to
protect that minority, a general ban is put in place for everyone.

These sort of fences are not new. The danger of fixing a musical
instrument on Shabbos is well within the ability of most people, who can
play an instrument on Shabbos, and if it needs to be tuned, he'll put it
away until after Shabbos. But there are some people who are unable to
withstand such a temptation -- To protect *them*, we have a ban against
*anyone* playing an instrument on Shabbos, and against *any* instrument,
even one which is unlikely to break and is incapable of being tuned (I
think a bugle is a good example).

There are countless similar cases: Shaking the lulav indoors on Shabbos
should be okay, but we're afraid for the person who would succumb to
temptation or forgetfulness and carry it outside on Shabbos. Buying and
selling should be okay, but we're afraid for the person would succumb to
temptation or forgetfulness and write out a receipt. It should be okay
for a non-Jewish worker to cook an entire meal in a kosher kitchen, but
we're afraid it will lead to intermarriage unless the Jew participates
in the cooking.

We can disagree whether or not this is something dangerous enough to be
worth banning at all, but I think Mr. Pilichowski is mistaken when he
presumes that bans are instituted only when <<< the dangers ... are way
too plentiful for average people to withstand. >>>

Akiva Miller


From: Elazar M. Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 13:32:43 GMT
Subject: Kohein marrying Convert

<<those converted before the age of three were permitted to marry
anyone, even a kohane.>>

<I'm fairly certain this is not the case. Does anyone know the halakha

It's explicit in Shulchan Aruch (Even Haezer 6:8) that a kohein may not
marry a convert even if the conversion took place before the age of


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 10:49:18 -0600
Subject: Re: Mem het lamed

>From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
>      Re the dispute as to whether or not MH"L is a root: in addition to
>the classic books--Ibn Janah and the others- Mandelkern's Concordance
>and BDB -- Brown, Driver & Brigg's Lexicon of Biblical Hebrew (a
>revision of Gesenius) -- does not list this root, the concluison being
>that the word does not appear anywhere in the Tanakh.

         Machal is not a Biblical verb.  However, there is some evidence 
for its use in the Biblical period.  See the footnote to this effect in the 
article of my friend Jed Abraham that appeared in Torah Umada several years 
ago on Esau's wives (one of whom was name Machalah.)

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: <aliw@...> (Arie)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 20:45:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Minyan

in mj 50/26, Aliza Berger wrote:

>A rotation would solve this problem and might relieve stress (for
>those families where the men go all the time, leaving the wives 
>with all the work) and/or guilt feelings (for those who for various 
>reasons don't go to minyan) on the part of husbands and wives.

i have to say that i have been reading the shakla ve'tarya over the
minyan issue with growing amusement. i think the discussion a few months
back about how to deal with a chiyuv shat"z who takes too long was much
more relevant and practical.  (and i remember a few years back there was
some discussion on davening maariv in the car on the way home, timing it
to reach home for the amida. wow !)

i think it's clear, based on the many halachot surrounding t'filla
b'tzibbur, not to mention the obligation to build a shul - or to avoid
building another one if it would mean the original one not having a
minyan - that it is a halachik obligation to daven with a minyan, even
if the actual chiyuv is couched in "diplomatic" terms (just read the
perek on it in "t'filla k'hilchita").

b"H, i don't have to say kaddish, but i make a real effort to daven in a
minyan three times a day, with a b"H (again) 95 + % success rate. And i
get home in the morning in time to share the burden of getting the kids
out. And over the years when the kids' schedules changed, i changed
minyan times to accommodate the changing needs of the household. And of
course having a local late ma'ariv at 10 pm almost guarantees that i can
get to maariv.a minyan, btw, which a bunch of us got together and
created for our own needs, but which now draws thirty or forty people on
a regular basis.  mincha - here in yerushalayim i have three 1:15 pm
minyans to choose from within two minutes of my office - one with a
short halacha shiur afterwards, and if i miss them there are several
minyan factories around town, and the failsafe- the Kotel. i know there
are many places in the states where finding a mincha minyan in the city
centers is anything but a problem.

hey - i admit that my reason is a selfish one - i feel that when i daven
b'yechidut i have much less kavana and my davening just is not
real. doesn't HKB"H "deserve" that we should daven in the most
kavana-inducing atmosphere possible ? don't we owe it to ourselves ? can
ANYONE out there in mj-land honestly say that he davens better at
home/office/whatever ?

isn't it a good feeling to arrange your schedule so as to daven in a
minyan three times a day ? and have it work out ? isn't it great to
break up a secular day by responding to a totally Jewish call ?  isn't
that once in a great while being the tenth man (out of an eventual total
of ten) worth all the other times ?


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 09:51:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Minyan

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>

> Women are obviously exempt from attending a minyan and so might be
> expected to put it on a somewhat different position on their scale of
> value ... As a result some would seem to wish to prevent their
> husbands from so doing in cases of borderline need which might be
> considered being a mikhshol lifnei iver.
> ...
> The basic value of davenning with a minyan is not personal at all but
> an attempt to give greater glory to HKBH

Perhaps ... but we have been considering the issue from the man's side.
There is a reason that we have to ask forgiveness from our fellow man
before doing so from G-d (in preparation for Yom Kippur).  It's not
because interpersonal mitzvot are necessarily more important than
mitzvot between man and G-d, but rather there is a clear sense that it
is meaningless to trample over a fellow man to give glory to G-d (who,
after all, does not *need* our praise).

As such, I do not feel that one does a great service to G-d or the
community by running out to minyan and leaving your wife on the border
of sanity trying to keep the kids and house in line.

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


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 08:24:49 -0500
Subject: Tfilat Hatzibbur

> There is no consideration of selfishness in attending a minyan whether
> one needs it for one's own personal purposes like saying kaddish or not.
> The basic value of davenning with a minyan is not personal at all but an
> attempt to give greater glory to HKBH - Berov am hadrat Melekh (the glory
> of the King is magnified by the greater multitude gathered to honour
> Him).
> Martin Stern

Actually there is an element of selfishness - there is no guarantee that
HKB"H will "hear" the prayer of an individual but the Tfilat Hatzibbur
is tamid nishmat(always heard).  As they say at work - hop on the train
that you know is leaving the station.

Joel Rich


From: Bill Bernstein <billbernstein@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 09:20:57 -0600
Subject: Re: Where Do Your CHildren Go to School

Carl Singer makes the excellent point that education is frequently about
the parents' values more than about "education."  I am not certain there
is such a distinction.  In his great work Paideia, on Greek education,
Werner Jaeger begins by writing that education is the process by which a
culture transmits its values from one generation to the next.  This
formulation would seem to be very operative in the Lakewood scenario,
where the general rejection of secular culture is at the forefront.  The
ban is simply one more aspect of that rejection.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.
Homeschooling his son!


End of Volume 50 Issue 28