Volume 50 Number 75
                    Produced: Tue Dec 27  5:10:57 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abba/Ima (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Nadine Bonner]
Any experience with hagalah tanks for pesach? (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Carl A. Singer]
Are your tefillin straps kosher?
         [Y. Askotzky]
Is the Torah sufficient to prevent crime?
         [David Curwin]
Kosher Certification
         [Carl A. Singer]
Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?
         [David Curwin]
Other Types of Kashrut Certificates
         [David Curwin]
School Manners
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Women writing Sifrei Torah
         [Aliza Berger]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 06:48:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Abba/Ima

> From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>

> Dear friends of ours just became grandparents - -their oldest son (a
> kindergarten classmate of OUR oldest son) just became a father.
> Curious, because of the recent MJ postings, I asked what they wanted
> to be called.  It turns out there is an asymmetry -- for a simple
> reason it turns out:

> The new father wants to be called "Abba" and the new mother, "Mommy"

> WHY -- very simple -- it turns out that's what he calls his father and
> what she calls her mother.  So a merger of two different naming
> conventions resulted in a hybrid.

I happened to ask my rabbi about this in shul and he is Daddy because
his father was Daddy.  He would not let his children change it to Abba
when then tried.  The children were successful in calling his wife Ima.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: Nadine Bonner <nadine.bonner@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 08:29:23 -0500
Subject: Abba/Ima

Since the Abba/Ima topic still seems to be alive, I thought I'd add my
two cents. My children call us Abba and Ima and my grandchildren old
enough to speak call us Saba and Savta. However ALL of MY mother's
grandchildren and great-grandchildren call her Mommy because when my
oldest daughter (the oldest grandchild) was just learning to speak we
lived with my parents. She heard me calling my mom "Mommy" and assumed
that was her name. It stuck.

Because we use Abba and Ima, my #2 daughter is free to call her in-laws
Mommy and Daddy. Her younger siblings are also very close to her
in-laws, so they call them Mommy Simpson and Daddy Simpson. To my
grandson, they will Bubbe and Zaide (he's only 8 months).

It is kind of nice that everyone has their own title and feels
comfortable with it. I called my grandmothers Bubbe Freemer and Bubby
Goldstein because they both had the same first name.



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 06:56:28 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Any experience with hagalah tanks for pesach?

> From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>

> If anyone here has had experience with building and/or managing a
> community hagala tank for kashering utensils for pesach, I would be
> very interested in hearing from you.  Our shul is investigating the
> possibility.

The Agudath Israel in Baltimore has done this, under the supervision of
its Rav, Rabbi Moshe Heinemann.  The address is

6200 Park Heights Avenu
Baltimore, MD 21215

The phone number is 410-764-7778

I think that they can give you the information that they require.

When I saw it, it looked like a deep fryer but using water instead of
fat (obviously (:-)).

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water

From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 08:26:14 -0500
Subject: Any experience with hagalah tanks for pesach?

Our shul (Young Israel of Passaic Clifton) has provided this service for
many years.  Here's a summary of the logistics (not halacha)

We don't use any kind of "tank" -- only a very large (industrial size)
pot - filled with boiling water.  We also have some ladle-like utensils
& a basket like utensil for dealing with small items or items that fall
to bottom of pot.

We post hours -- and hold strictly by them -- this can be very time
consuming and the volunteers have their own home's to make ready.

Items must be clean, free of labels, etc. BEFORE coming shul.  People
are urged to bring their own towels for drying.

First come, first served - mostly.  People are asked to be reasonable --
if you just bought a service for 12 of whatever -- expect to wait until
all the folks with 2 or 3 items get done.

Donation requested -- but not mandatory -- we used to request $18 from
non-shul members.

Re: Liability -- I don't think we've ever addressed that -- Individuals
DO NOT PARTICIPATE in the dunking -- they only hand the items over to
one of our helpers who brings item into kitchen and lines it up for our
Rabbi who handles the rest.  I imagine there might be liability re:
damage to the items -- but that's never come up.  (Consider, for
example, that boiling water may be a problem for hollow-handled knives
where handle / blade are somehow stuck together.

Carl Singer


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 16:31:15 +0200
Subject: Are your tefillin straps kosher?

Shalom and chanukah sameach!

I'd like to invite you to read my latest article titled, "Are your
tefillin staps kosher?" posted on our website at
http://www.stam.net/tefillin_straps.html. Feel free to forward or
distribute it or post it on your website.

Kol tuv,
Yerachmiel Askotzky


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 15:05:52 +0200
Subject: Is the Torah sufficient to prevent crime?

 Carl A. Singer <casinger@...> wrote:

> Is the purpose of the Torah to prevent crime?  Especially crime by
>people who don't abide by Torah laws.

Well, first of all, according to the Ran, all humans - Jews and non-Jews
- are required to have a system in place that will prevent crime. What I
don't get is why shouldn't the Torah be sufficient to do so?

I also think it's more than a question of asking people who "respect"
the Torah not to commit crime. The Torah is binding on all members of
the Jewish nation in the same way that the US criminal law applies to
all US citizens - whether or not they respect the US.

-David Curwin


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Dec 2005 07:49:22 -0500
Subject: Kosher Certification

> That steak might have every hechsher, badatz, glatt, etc, but you still
> can't eat it on Yom Kippur

I'm not sure I get the point -- Kosher certification attests (only) to
origin, schita (where applicable) and chain of custody.

It does not attest to permitted uses.  Halachically, you also can't eat
that steak if you then cooked it in a milchik pot or if you poured cream
sauce on it.

Or if you, a rich man with plenty of food to eat, stole the steak.

And if you happened to leave it out of the fridge for a period of time
and it spoils you probably couldn't eat it because you would be
endangering your health.

What if you choose to take a kosher chicken and prepare and eat
greebinis (chicken skin fried in chicken fat) -- a cardiologist's

What are the implications of a certifying agency attempting to legislate
whether packaged greebinis (or a jar of chicken fat or duck fat) is
"healthy" by providing or withholding their haschaga based on reasons
other than origin, schita and chain of custody?  I think it opens a
pandora's box -- salt?  sweets?  -- moreover it delves into an area
where the certifying agency is not necessarily competent.  Are they
nutritionists, physicians, etc?

In a complex, non-agrigarian society where most of us are far removed
from original food sources (save for our vegetable gardens) kosher
certification enables us to obtain foods and treat them as if we
originally harvested and / or prepared them.  No more / no less.



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 15:39:33 +0200
Subject: Mattityahu = Kohen Gadol?

Lisa Liel <lisa@...> wrote: 

>Really?  I understood that Yehudah was made Kohen Gadol as soon as
>Yerushalayim was retaken and the Mikdash purified.  And that Yonatan
>became Kohen Gadol only after Yehudah was killed.

Any sources?

>Al HaNissim doesn't say that Mattitiyahu was a Kohen Gadol.  It does
>say that he was the son of a Kohen Gadol.  It can actually be read
>either way, but I don't believe there's any source that says
>Mattitiyahu was a Kohen Gadol.

Well, that doesn't actually help with my question. If either Yochanan
(from what I've read) or Yehuda (from what you understood) was the first
Kohen Gadol from Beit Chashmonai (and not from Beit Tzadok) then neither
Matityahu or his father would have been one.

After looking a bit more online, I found this article, by Eitan Arel:


He says (in a footnote with an asterisk) that Chazal added "HaGadol" to
Matityahu due to their appreciation of him. I don't know his source, and
can't find any contact information for him. Anyone familiar with that?

-David Curwin


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 15:51:42 +0200
Subject: Other Types of Kashrut Certificates

 Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...> wrote: 

>If there is a definite health issue so that the item is a definite
>danger, then the medical authorities should ban it.  It is not the
>function of the kashrus organization to assume that something is or is
>not dangerous because of publicity or scare tactics.  Thus, if the
>medical authorities or the government do not consider something
>"dangerous", then how can the kashrus organization do so.

Not sure I agree. The case of fish and meat would seem to indicate that
halacha obligates rabbis to ban unsafe foods. I'm not sure that
obligation ceased to exist once "medical authorities or the government"
began to worry about the same health issues. In any case, practically I
can see many Orthodox Jews ceasing to eat a dangerous food once it
didn't have a hechsher, but not stop similarly if medicine or government
expressed a concern.

>Secondly, when talking about sakannah (as with fish and meat or
>smoking) the halacha is clear that this is not a matter of kashrus but
>a matter of health.  The halachos involved are totally different.
>Consider the idea of bitul (nullification), kashering silverware that
>has become treif, etc.

Are they so different? See the discussion that has been held here in the
past about the status of Worcestershire sauce in relation to bittul.

-David Curwin


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Dec 2005 05:47:56 -0800
Subject: School Manners

Batya wrote:

>Issue number 1 is the status of the teachers room; read:

I read your spot with interest.  All I can say is, there seems to be a
difference in how high school (HS) vs. middle school (MS) teachers view
these kinds of things.  I, too, teach mostly HS.  But, last year I had a
part-time appointment at a MS as well.  The habits there seriously
annoyed me, around exactly this kind of issue (separation and/or manners
between teachers and students).

It seems to be a cultural norm that MS teachers expect more of a
'family' relationship and less privacy.  There is also the issue that
while you can send HS students to microwave their own food, MS students
need a bit more supervision so it might not seem "fair" to the MS
teachers to have that plan in place.

My strong suspicion is that issues around teacher-room privacy/use are
purely cultural/etiquette.  Rather than finding halakhic bases for your
etiquette preferences (which I share), you will have to evaluate whether
this cultural mismatch is worth a change of jobs....

Regarding other issues of teacher/school-respect, I can tell you that I
have taught in public school, private [nonreligious] school, and two
different Jewish schools.  Manners can be horrible at all of the above,
but sometimes a really strong/bossy personality right at the start of
the year can get the kids to be respectful to you.  The key, in my
professoinal opinion, is very strict routines with a lot of teacher

Personally, I have been shocked at the bad manners I've seen in some
Jewish environments.  But those have been endemic in the institutions,
including the administration not paying for decent benefits; the
teachers not taking classes/preparations seriously; the parents
undermining various aspects of education; the students talking back or
skipping their work.  Probably there are halakhic sources against all of
the above....

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sat, 24 Dec 2005 19:16:45 +0200
Subject: Women writing Sifrei Torah

I passed the initial post on to a female soferet friend of mine. She


CNN is wrong; Aviel is not nearing completion at all, and isn't going to
any time soon. Anyone interested in the status of the project should
call Kadima and ask them about it.

As far as the halacha goes, whether women are obligated to write sifrei
Torah or not is pretty much irrelevant; sifrei Torah have the same rules
re: persons writing as do mezuzot, and women are prohibited from writing
mezuzot despite most certainly being obligated in the mitzvah. Likewise,
those who think that women are obligated to write a sefer Torah agree
that she has to fulfil her obligation by having a man do it for her.

In a nutshell, there's a baraita which says that women and other ethnic
minorities can't write sifrei Torah, tefillin or mezuzot; a prohibition
for tefillin and mezuzah is derived from the verses in the Shema, and
linked somewhat tenuously by the rishonim to sifrei Torah.

I believe that we can demonstrate a hiluk between sifrei Torah for the
mitzvah and sifrei Torah for public reading; the best support for this
position is found in the Ran and the Beit Yosef. This clears the way for
women to write sifrei Torah for kriah, at any rate. I have an extensive
article on this subject approaching publication.


Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


End of Volume 50 Issue 75