Volume 51 Number 15
                    Produced: Wed Feb  1  6:15:52 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hinduism and Monotheism
         [Rabbi Meir Wise]
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
No Meat during Sheloshim
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Reasons for not saying Tahanun
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Scientific Meaning
Tachnun - w/ Torah in the room
         [Carl Singer]
Tu B'Shvat (The New Year for Trees) on the J Site + 54 hotsites
         [Jacob Richman]


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 06:32:51 EST
Subject: Re: Hinduism and Monotheism

In response to Russel Hendel - the camel cannot see its own hump. It is
not I, but he who is playing with words. Reading Rashi, one can see that
"elohim acherim" can be taken either as "other gods" or "gods of
others". There is only a fine symantic difference. As a rabbi who deals
with many young people who travel far and wide nowadays, I have been
asked about visiting Hindu temples, shrines etc and their status. I
would not wish to forbid something that might be permitted even on a

I repeat, both Rabbis Abner Weiss and Jeremy Rosen, who are older and
wiser than me seemd to hold that Hinduism is not avoda zara.


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 11:06:00 +0200
Subject: Marriage/Dress

> From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
> >>>daughters-in-law, making a point of insisting even if the kalla's
> >>>family hadn't known of its importance.  She says that yichud changes
> >>>the status
> >>
> >>Um...I'm not sure I know *any* brides who reliably go along with their
> >>future-MIL's opinions for dress.   ;) 

Actually, from my experience as a Kallah councelor, the question isn't
the minhag/halacha -- it's the way it's discussed.  Any case where it's
presented as "laying down the law" would indeed not go over well.  In
fact I agree with Batya's point below that she has no chance for a happy

> >This isn't a "dress" opinion; it's a halachik issue.  If the bride has
> >trouble with the chatan family's psak, she has no chance of a happy
> >marriage.  Of course all families are different, but I'm referring to a
> >specific one which is very "chardal."

One of the excercises I do with brides is to send them to their future
MILs (with specific guidance on how to do this!!!) and ask them a list
of questions.  One of the questions has to do with Minhag/halacha as
acceptable in the future husband's family.

For example, I once got a call from a future mother in law (MIL) telling
me that "she didn't have any special minhagim to teach the bride".  As
the marriage was taking place between an Ashkenazi bride and a Yeminite
groom, I asked her if she did Chalitta as g'mar Hachshara (many
Yeminites follow Rambam that the final step in kashering is to boil the
meat in hot water, methods/details defer).  She answered "Of course!!!!
My son won't eat meat that didn't undergo Chalitta!".  I explained to
her that her Ashkenazi bride didn't know this, and that she thought that
boiling the meat was just part of the cooking process.  She was
overjoyed to find that she had something to teach the bride.

But more importantly -- both sides were prepared to listen and learn.
They knew it was important, and accepted it not as a duty but as a
joyful sharing.

In another case, the future MIL had minhagim that were extremely
complex, and she was knowledgeable enough to realize that those customs
were not common today -- so she explicitly gave the kallah a waiver on
them.  Of course I discussed these minhagim with the kallah so that she
would know and understand what was involved both halachically and from
the view point of Minhag.

> But Batya, that is much too simplistic.  Many times, parents and their
> children do not see eye-to-eye on every "psak" issue.  This is one on
> which reasonable Orthodox people/sources seem to disagree.  So my
> point stands, and I would not be surprised to see some daughter-in-law
> rebellion.  I hardly think that not wanting to listen to a MIL on this
> would lead to "no chance of a happy marriage".  --Leah

Leah, I think this is very sad, that the idea "Al Titosh Torat Imecha"
is so easily discarded.  Yes, there are issues that are harder to deal
with, but that's where a good bride councelor and a good sensible rabbi
could definitely help the couple and the in-laws come to terms with any
issues that come up.

As another example, I am a Litvak and my husband's family is from
Tripoli (minhag Livorno/Sepharadim).  Before our wedding we studied all
the halachot and minhagim that were relevant, especially those that were
in conflict (we got mechila from all sides to prevent problems) and we
decided what made sense for us.  So, we didn't see each other before the
wedding -- but we had a Cheder Yichud.  A member of the family tried to
prevent this saying that it was "halachically not done" but we had the
backing of the family and rabbis, and he was forced to step aside.

To conclude -- dialogue, willingess to accept differences is very
important for any marriage to work.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jan 2006 15:03:37 +0200 (IST)
Subject: No Meat during Sheloshim

My father in law came from Morocco, he did not eat meat during
sheloshim.  I asked him what about Shabbat, he said that they ate
fish. They came to us for the Seder, still in the sheloshim for a
parent. I told him that on Yom Tov he should eat meat (he did).


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 16:43:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Reasons for not saying Tahanun

<aliw@...> (Arie) stated:

      > To Ira - also Av Harachamim before Musaf is an indicator of yes
      > or no tachanun.
         and noted:
      >I used to think that also.  It is often not said on such an occasion,
      >but not always.

      Ramoh, on o"h 284/7 says that it is the custom to say Av
      harachamim after yekum purkan, but on days when you would not say
      tachanun during a weekday, you don't say it, nor when there is a
      wedding or a brit. He continues to say that there are places where
      Av harachamim is not said on shabbat mevorchin (like this morning)
      other than during the sefira, and this should follow the custom.

He says that Av Horahamim follows Tzidkos'kho tzedek, with certain
exceptions.  The Mishna Berura notes some of those exceptions.  As does
Ba'er Heitev.

Thus seeming to confirm what I said, that Av Horahamim is not always not
said on Shabbat when Tahanun would not be said on a weekday.

Whereas there is indeed such a correspondence between Tahanun and
Tzidkos'kho tzedek.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <o7532@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 15:38:59 -0500
Subject: Scientific Meaning

R. Simeon b. Pazzi said in the name of R. Joshua b. Levi on the
authority of Bar Kappara: He who knows how to calculate the cycles and
planetary courses, but does not, of him Scripture saith, but they regard
not the work of the Lord, neither have they considered the operation of
his hands. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said in R. Johanan's name: How do we
know that it is one's duty to calculate the cycles and planetary
courses?  Because it is written, for this is your wisdom and
understanding in the sight of the peoples: what wisdom and understanding
is in the sight of the peoples? Say, that it is the science of cycles
and planets.  (Shabbat 75a)

Might anyone be familiar with a discussion of the above passage on any
of the following counts.  First, the Smag and Rosh seem to rule in
accordance with this, and do not seem to relate it to intercalation of
the calendar.  Does this imply that for them, and just in general, there
is some sort of obligation or fulfillment in Einstein or Jew becoming an
astronomer, cosmologist, or theoretical physicist.  Why these sciences,
in particular.  Second, what is the kiddush Hashem implied here.  What
is the ethical lesson in being scientifically clever.  The Torah Temimah
offers that explaining the patterns of celestial bodies disabuses those
who worship these bodies of believing in their independence.  This
though doesn^t seem like the simple interpretation of the text here and
also doesn't appear to fit with the thought that cosmology inspires
belief of some sort (Mishneh Torah, Yesode Hatorah, Chapters 2-4).  Is
there only an external moral lesson other nations here, not an internal
one.  Third, is there any strand of Jewish philosophy that advocates
seeking out specific ethical lessons in Ma'aseh Breisheet, along the
lines of Mishle 6:6 and the direction to contemplate the industry of the
ant.  Is there a school that takes scientific progress as some sort of
Revelation.  Or, not to discount it but is all scientific progress just
meant as more of the same, an unfolding, never ending but generic proof
from design.  Even if this is the case, would the same be said for
fossils and paleontology.  Whether some sort of evolutionary theory or
not is accommodated, here there are these relics, vestigial items with
no apparent present day function planted by God for discovery by and for
the benefit of twentieth century man.  Is this to be taken just as
window dressing or part of enriching the overall picture, or by some
accounts might there be more particular messages to be unearthed and
gleaned here.  

Thank you.


From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 14:06:22 -0500
Subject: Tachnun - w/ Torah in the room

When saying tachnun in the presence of a sefer torah we rest our head
upon our arm.  What defines "in the presence of" -- do we use the same
concept as an "ohel" for tumah -- specifically, (a) what if the Sefer
Torah is in a different room in the same building (b) what if the Sefer
Torah is locked away in a heavy metal safe?



From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Jan 2006 20:44:54 +0200
Subject: Tu B'Shvat (The New Year for Trees) on the J Site + 54 hotsites

Hi Everyone!

Tu B'Shvat, the New Year for Trees, falls on the 15th of the Hebrew
month of Shvat, February 13 this year (5766 / 2006).  This Jewish
mini-holiday is of major importance to our appreciation of Nature and
our relationship to it.

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment 

has several entertaining features to celebrate Tu B'Shvat:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Tu B'Shvat

Which fruit is used to make wine ? 
When did Kabbalists originate the Tu B'shvat Seder ? 
How many glasses of wine are drunk at the Tu B'Shvat seder ? 
What branch of a tree did the dove bring back after the flood ? 
How many days does the Hebrew month of Shvat have ? 
What is associated with both Chanukah and Tu B'Shvat ? 
In Israel, what happens to trees starting on the 15th of Shvat ? 
Since 1901, how many trees has the Jewish National Fund 
planted in Israel ? 
According to the Torah, which fruits did the spies bring to the 
children of  Israel in the wilderness ? 

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice 
Flash quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.
Both kids and adults will find it enjoyable.

Tu B'Shvat Clipart
Whether you need a picture for your child's class project, 
a graphic for your synagogue, Hillel or JCC Tu B'Shvat
announcement, the Jewish Clipart Database has the pictures
for you. You can copy, save and print the graphics in
three different sizes. 

Multilingual Word Search Game: Tu B'Shvat
Enter the Multilingual Word Search game and choose the
language you would like to play in: English, Hebrew or
Russian. There is an easy mode for the kids and a harder
mode for us big kids. Each game is randomly generated.
You can even print out a blank game (and the solution page) for 
offline playing. 

Multilingual Hangman - Tu B'Shvat
It's the classic Hangman game recreated in an online Flash version. 
If you expect your simple "hang the man by the rope" drawing then 
you are in for a surprise. The game can be played in English or 

My Hebrew Song Book - Tu B'Shvat Hebrew songs (with vowels)
for viewing and printing. All songs are in graphic format so you
do not need Hebrew installed to view or print them. 

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not 
enough, I posted on my website 54 links about Tu B'Shvat, 
from history and customs to graphics and recipes.
Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish,
French, Portuguese and German 
The web address is:


Please forward this message to relatives and friends, 
so they may benefit from these holiday resources.



End of Volume 51 Issue 15