Volume 50 Number 39
                    Produced: Mon Dec  5  5:22:04 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Thanksgiving Observance
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Attitude toward Tefilah
         [Martin Stern]
Davening with a minyan
         [Andy Goldfinger]
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Last 8 vs 12 verses of Torah
         [Russell J Hendel]
Rabbi's needing other jobs
         [Stuart Pilichowski]
responsibilities of the visitee
Tahanun and presence of a Hatan:  different question
         [Rise Goldstein]
TV News (was Internet Ban)
         [Frank Silbermann]


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 08:33:58 -0500
Subject: Another Thanksgiving Observance

In my opinion, there is one part of Thanksgiving that is definitely
ossur (forbidden).

For those of you who do not live in the US:

The Friday after Thanksgiving is called "Black Friday."  The reason for
this is that it is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, and the
day companies figuratively expect to get "into the black" financially.

On black Friday, there are large special sales.  And -- I do mean sales!
Prices are deeply discounted, and the stores open early -- very early.
Some people wait in line over night to be among the first into the store
to snap up bargains before they are sold out.

Well -- last Friday morning, I woke up at 3:30 AM, and I felt wide
awake.  I knew I couldn't get back to sleep.  So, I got into my car and
drove to a local large (very large) discount store (Wal-Mart).  I
arrived at 4:30 AM, and there were already several hundred people on
line (in the queue).  The temperature was 18 degrees (Farenheight, -8
degress Celsius).  By mistake, I was still wearning my sleeping
yarmulka, made of light weight shiny stuff, instead of my much warmer
daytime plush velour one.  Also -- there was no coffee.

By the time the store opened at 5AM, there were hundreds of people
behind me in line.  When the doors opened, the lines dissolved and there
was an amorphous mob running for the door.  There were two poor young
policeman watching this, and simply urging people to be calm.
Eventually I did get in.

The $378 (320.6 Euros, 1646.18 Shekels, 4526.56 Estonian Kroonis) HP
Laptops were sold out in 10 minutes.  I did get some good bargains.
However, I neglected to bring my football (American) helmet and shoulder
and elbow pads, so I was at a major disadvantage when it came to
reaching some of the sale items.

Now -- I admit that it was a lapse in sanity that caused me to go to
this sale.  Fortunately, there is medication that helps.  But even
though I was in a state of Onus, I believe that there is a clear
Halachic Issur in taking part in this Thanksgiving tradition -- m'shum
sakanah (because of the danger).

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2005 21:07:40 +0000
Subject: RE: Attitude toward Tefilah

on 1/12/05 10:53 am, Joel Rich <JRich@...> wrote:
>> I don't agree that this should be our motivation. It is a privilege that
>> we are allowed to present our subjective wishes which Chazal have
>> formulated as the Shemonei Esrei but we should not routinely 'pester'
>> HKBH (as opposed to sudden emergency situations). He will do for us
>> whatever He knows is in our best long-term interests.
>> Martin Stern
> You're certainly entitled to this approach but all should be aware that
> there is an entire school of thought around tfilla that HKB"H wants us
> to continually "pester" him as well as search our souls and consider
> what we are pestering him about.

Soul searching is certainly correct but extending one's tefillah with
requests which, deep-down, one knows are trivial is another matter

> In your formulation why is what you decide is an emergency situation
> any different than any other request, doesn't "He will do for us
> whatever He knows is in our best long-term interests" still apply.

Of course it applies to an emergency situation but by the term I mean
some overwhelming one which so takes up one's concentration that one is
unable not to communicate one's predicament to Him. If something does
not really worry one why should one worry HKBH about it.

Everything depends on the individual and varies from person to person.
However one need not become obsessive about one's daily needs and
therefore should rely on Chazal's formulation as adequate for 'ordinary'

Martin Stern


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 07:25:37 -0500
Subject: Re: Davening with a minyan

Regarding the speed at which the shaliach tzibur (prayer leader) dovens:

When I was an Ovel, I determined that I was dovening at the correct
speed when half of the people complained that I was too slow and half
too fast.

-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 02:28:08 -0800
Subject: Freakonomics

>But then several pages later (p. 198), Levitt lists the most popular boy
>names for blacks (in the same study area). The top five are: Isaiah,
>Jordan, Elijah, Michael and Joshua. These names don't make the
>"blackest" list, presumably because they occur with some reasonable
>frequency among white children.
>The interesting thing is that none of these Biblical names occur in the
>list of boys names most likely (i.e., statistically) to signify
>high-education parents, which, as Leah points out, includes names like
>Dov, Akiva, Elon, Yonah and Zev.
>To me this signifies that Hebrew, aka Israeli, but not Biblical names,
>are more associated with our traditional identifiers of success,
>education and income.  Hmmmm .... I think I will have to re-read
>Levitt's chapter ....
>Avi Hyman, Toronto

Right, but you have to remember - the "educated" names can't just be
names likely for educated moms to pick - they have to be *unlikely* for
uneducated moms to pick also.

The authors looked at all names that occurred at least ten times in the
1990's in California, and then for each they calculated the average
maternal education.  Thus, it wouldn't be sufficient for a name like
"Michael" to be used by a lot of educated Jewish families; it has to
also *not* be used by very many uneducated mothers.  This explains why
modern-Hebrew or more Talmudic (obscure?) Jewish names made the cut
instead of "Joshua" et al.  I.e. *only* Jewish mothers are choosing
names like "Akiva"...or at least that's how it was in the 1990's in CA.
I read that now there is a resurgence of all the "good" _Freakonomics_
names as parents try to make their kids sound educated/rich/etc.

It may also be the case that educated Jewish women choose modern Hebrew
(or Talmudic) names with more frequency and that less-educated Jewish
women choose more biblical names, but we can't deduce this from the book
in question because we don't have a list of most popular Jewish names.



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 22:45:59 -0500
Subject: RE: Last 8 vs 12 verses of Torah

First I thank Rabbi Teitz for explaining to me something that no one
else ever explained to me: That the last 8 verses couldnt be aprophecy
because they are in the PAST vs FUTURE tense.

That being said, I respectfully remind Rabbi Teitz that attacks on
personality ARE AGAINST the policies of this group. Furthermore the
accusations which Rabbi Teitz made against me are simply not true.  I
***DID*** identify myself as the source of Ignorance. I did not attack
Chazal on this section. Here are the quotes: Rabbi Teitz accuses me

>Because Dr. Hendel does not understand a Talmudic statement doesn't
>mean "it doesn't make sense."  It means he doesn't make sense.

>It is the epitome of disrespect for Chaza"l (the Talmudic sages) for
>someone to state that it doesn't make sense.  Anyone with the barest
>modicum of understanding of their greatness would have said that its
>understanding escapes him, but never that it doesn't make sense.

But here is the exact citation (From Rabbi Teitz's own email)
> "And now that I have defended the IE let me ask his question: What
> **is** the problem with saying that moses wrote the last 8 verses
> of the Torah? What **should** it bother anybody? Why shouldnt other
> prophesies bother people such as the last 12 verses?

> I for one never understood this Talmudic statement and I regard IE as
> illuminating why the statement doesnt make sense."

It would really have sufficed for Rabbi Teitz to say "IF IT WERE A

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Stuart Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, 01 Dec 2005 14:45:14 +0000
Subject: Rabbi's needing other jobs

>I strongly disagree.  Everyone wants a full-time Rabbi at a part-time
>salary.  "You'll only have to be available 2 hours per night for
>shailehs" --

When a shul I was affiliated with "asked" the Rabbi to establish offices
hours one night a week for about two hours my friend started setting up
15-30 minute appointments with the Rabbi.

Upon sitting down with the Rabbi, the Rabbi asked him what was the issue. My 
friend answered, "We have 30 minutes. What would you like to learn together 
with me?"

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 4:36:20 -0800
Subject: responsibilities of the visitee

Is anyone aware of published discussions on what the requirements of the
host are when the host is being visited due to the host being ill [a
choleh] ? For instance, is the host automatically free of the
requirement to accompany the visitor a few steps when the visitor


From: Rise Goldstein <rbgoldstein@...>
Date: Fri, 2 Dec 2005 05:30:48 -0500
Subject: Tahanun and presence of a Hatan:  different question

My understanding, which may or may not be correct, is that tahanun *is*
said in the presence of a second- (or third-, or higher-order) time
hatan, even if the kallah he has just married is a first-time bride.

First, is this understanding of halachah lema'aseh (the way things are
actually done) correct?

Second, if I understand the halachah correctly, what does this reflect
about the sociohalachic "status" of second or higher-order wives, even
or perhaps especially when the wives in question are marrying for the
first time?

Rise Goldstein (<rbgoldstein@...>)
Silver Spring, MD


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Dec 2005 15:56:13 -0600 (CST)
Subject: TV News (was Internet Ban)

In V50 N29 Bernard Raab (<beraab@...>) noted the extremely
biased anti-Israel reporting in even "the best news organizations" (his
description) such as NPR and the BBC, but dismissed the notion that
these are controlled by antisemites, arguing:

> ... I believe the real culprit in most cases is the need to
> "tell a story" to a public suspected of miniscule attention span.
> ... the "news" must be put in context ...new developments
> have to be explained as part of an ongoing story.  In TV especially,
> the "story" must be one which can be told in a single sound-bite,
> which means there is no room for subtelty. Thus Israel is always
> going to described as the "occupier" of "Palestinian territory".
> There is simply no time, or desire, to complicate the story with
> historical details.

The miniscule attention span might apply to viewers of Fox News, but not
to consumers of NPR and the BBC.  Even if it did, it would be quite easy
to tell a simple story in which "the civilized Israelis are willing to
give land in exchange for peace and acceptance of the Jewish State, but
savage and intolerant Arabs don't want concessions on those terms."

No, Bernard's explanation is unpersuasive, but the accusation of
antisemitism is also wrong.  (To refute it, one need only note that the
news media always take the Jews' side when doing a story about the

The only explanation which is consistent with _all_ the facts and
observations (including stories having nothing to do with Jews, Israel
or religion) is that the people running most news organizations lean
left politically, and they use their positions to try to move public
opinion in a leftward direction.

Leftists were pro-Israel in the 1950s when there was still hope the
country might become a Soviet satellite.  It was only when the Soviet
Union decided it was in their interest to court the Arabs that the Left
became anti-Israel.  After the fall of the Soviet Union the Left remain
anti-Israel, partly because it would be embarassing to try to to
withdraw so much anti-Israel propaganda, and partly because Israel
remains an ally of the hated United States.  _That_ (and not
antisemitism or simpleminded viewers) is the reason for the news media's
anti-Israel bias.

Likewise, most news editors want and expect politically conservative
religious people to be portrayed as being unreasonable and extremist.
Therefore, their stories neglected to mention that the Lakewood internet
ban did take into account the needs of parents whose jobs required
Internet access.  Someone suggested that maybe the Lakewood community
should be more careful in their public relations, but I don't think it
was their fault.

Lately, in national U.S. elections, the two major political parties have
each gotten almost precisely 50% of the national vote.  Therefore, one
might define "the political center" as falling precisely between the
policies of those two parties.  I can find a great many other examples
in which the American news media is biased to the left of that center so
defined -- issues that have nothing to do with Jews, religion or Israel.
One could make an analogous comparison between the politics of the BBC
versus that of the average Englishman (both of which are to the left of
their American counterparts).  To do so, however, would fall outside the
scope of this mailing list.  (Anyone who wishes to discuss specifics may
e-mail me personally.)

In summary, the news media is indeed biased against Israel and Orthodox
Jews, but their motivation is neither antisemitism nor short viewer
attention span.  Rather, the motivation is politics.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee	<fs@...>


End of Volume 50 Issue 39