Volume 51 Number 98
                    Produced: Mon Apr 17  5:42:40 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Frank Silbermann]
Counting for a Minyan
         [Batya Medad]
Kiddush Cup of the Chafetz Chaim (2)
         [Martin Stern, Joseph Ginzberg]
Measurement and yad soledet bo
         [Daniel Nachman]
Neturei Karta / Satmar Rebbe
         [Jack Gross]
Seder Start Time
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Warning about library donations (2)
         [Shoshana Ziskind, Carl Singer]


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 11:57:54 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Contradiction?

>> ... Rabbi Wolf, zatza"l, considered including non-frum men in a
>> minyan as a way of bringing them into observant Judaism.  The idea
>> that regardless of their observance they are accepted as Jews is of
>> the utmost importance.  Just that acceptance --"You count!"--can be
>> the key.

>> obviously is reflected in my response but I think of myself as an
>> official part of the community even if I don't count for the minyan.

Comparing the above two statments, Leah S. Gordon (v51 n95) wrote:
> Doesn't anyone except me see the inherent contradiction here?  These
> statements cannot both be true.  Women do not have different
> self-consciousness/self-esteem from men in my experience.  This is why
> it is important to question/struggle with a choice not to count women.

The apparent contradiction disappears when one considers that the Jewish
community contains two sub-communities -- the male Jewish community and
the female Jewish community.  Counting a non-observant man in a minyan
says that he's part of the _male_ portion of the Jewish community.
Since he's a male, that it the only way he can belong to the overall
Jewish community.

A woman, in contrast, can belong to the Jewish community without being a
part of the male portion.

With respect to women's lack of obligation in most time-bound mitzvot
due to the pressures of child-rearing Janice Gelb and Annice Grinberg
(v51 n95) pointed out:

> a) Not all women marry
> b) Not all married women have children

True, but even females without young children -- girls, unmarried women,
married women without children, older women whose children are grown --
have traditionally born the responsibility of helping care for the
children of close relatives.

Annice Grinberg also suggested that men _should_ have child rearing
responsibilities, and Mordechai Horowitz pointed out that the
traditional norm of women taking care of the small children is not
followed when women go out to work to support their husbands in Kollel.

I would point out that aspects of Western society which permit this sort
of behavior are historically anomalous.  Until urbanization and the
invention of repeating firearms, society simply didn't have the means to
protect lone women from the dangers of rapists, white-slavers, and
what-not.  Likewise anomalous is the prosperity which allows many
families to purchase quality care for small children from nonrelatives
(schools and daycare).

It is simply not certain that these changes for the better will be
permanent.  They have already been reversed in the Muslim suburbs of
Paris, and changing demographics threaten the death of the West (most of
it) in just a few generations.  We simply do not know whether these
social changes will stand the test of time, especially if rising
populations and the shortage of natural resources forces people to
abandon the energy-profligate Western lifestyle.

If we make changes to the Torah reflect present conditions and then new
conditions make our changes unsupportable, the concept of an eternal
Torah will be severely wounded.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 17:07:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Counting for a Minyan

>> Has it ever occurred to those objecting to the "women in a minyan issue
>> being ignored by the Rabbis" that by their silence the Rabbis were
>> offering their hashkafa that women belong at home bringing up their
>> children in the Jewish derech? That by counting women in a minyan they
>> would have to leave their homes to participate in minyanim in shul?
>> (Perhaps after or before child rearing responsibilities the question to
>> the Rabbis could set in.)
>This is indeed the standard reason given that women are not
>obligated. However, as you note, the reasoning breaks down in relation
>to women who have no children for whatever reason (not married yet,
>married with no children, children have grown and are out of the house).
>If the primary reason was related to child-rearing responsibilities
>(leaving aside a gender responsibility discussion), one would think that
>the release from the obligation would only apply when a woman had this
>other, more pressing obligation.
>-- Janice

>From: Annice Grinberg <annice@...>
>No, it hasn't and for several reasons, including:
>a) Not all women marry
>b) Not all married women have children
>c) Men also have (or should have) child rearing responsibilities

> From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
> If that were the issue then it would be equally prohibited for women to
> go to work to support their husbands in Kollel. After all the women are
> supposed to be home.

Well, I didn't think my reference to counting for minyan=kiruv would
develop into, women's status.  I guess that's because I don't mind not
being obligated to dovening in a minyan, which is connected.  I'm also
the nasty old lady in the Ezrat Nashim who shushes the kids and tells
their mothers to take them home when they're crying and saying: "rotzeh
habayta," "wanna go home."  There's a time for everything, as Shalomo
Hamelech said.  If he had been asked to posken on that issue, he'd have
said, that there's a time to doven and a time to take care of your kids.
That flexibility gives us a different status in communal prayer, and I'm
thankful for it.  And yes, there are men, who are the single parents and
they get a heter to be with their kids rather than leave them alone
(which may endanger them), or disturb the kehila.  And if they haven't
found that chessed and understanding in their rav, well, maybe they
should find another one.   

And I agree with Mordechai that there's an inherent hypocrisy in the
chareidi world, which tries to cloister their women, but expect them to
support their families simultaneously.

Bedikat Chametz is soon, and the house already smells of geffilte fish,
chicken soup, etc.

Baruch Hashem, 
Chag Kasher, V'Sameach,


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 2006 10:04:55 +0100
Subject: Re: Kiddush Cup of the Chafetz Chaim

On Sun, 09 Apr 2006 11:14:48 -0400 Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>

> Yesterday I heard a short d'var Torah at Shacharis that began with "The
> Chofetz Chaim's Pesach Sedar did not follow everything in the Mishnah
> Brurah."
> A skeptic might ask, "says who?!" -- the answer is this is first person
> knowledge from someone who sat at the Chofetz Chaim's Seder Table. (A
> Rabbi now in his 90's whose son was giving the d'var Torah) More
> important is the lesson to be learned -- that one's messorah (family
> traditions) trump.

The becher which he used for making kiddush still exists but is rather
smaller than the shiur currently in vogue and would be frowned upon by
most latter-day saints!

Martin Stern

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 12:11:21 -0400
Subject: Kiddush Cup of the Chafetz Chaim

>There is considerable halachic debate about what exactly the minimal
>amounts needed for the mitzvot of the seder are. That such minmal
>amounts exist is beyond dispute.

Years ago, when the Russian emigration to the U.S. started, there was a
rumor going around that a grandchild of the Chofetz Chaim had arrived
with a kiddush cup that he had inherited from that Rabbi, and that the
cup did not hold the amount alleged to be his minimum shiur.

Does anyone know if this is factual, or an urban myth?

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Daniel Nachman <lhavdil@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 16:17:16 -0500
Subject: Measurement and yad soledet bo

This thread about measurements reminds me of the modern speculation
about the temperature range of yad soledet bo (the temperature at which
a liquid is considered "cooked," used, among other things, to determine
whether the Torah prohibition against bishul - cooking - has been

Rav Mordechai Willig gives a very engaging shiur where he brings many
different ways to try to pin down a range for this temperature (audio
for his shiur is here: http://tinyurl.com/pe795).  He looks at the
common temperatures for bathwater (because of a Ramban that apparently
states that it is not a practice to bathe in water above yad soledet
bo), and he interviews caterers to find out what temperature soup is
commonly served and what is considered a hot drink.  He even interviews
emergency room doctors to determine at what temperature a baby's belly
skin might scald (following Shabbat 40b).  He doesn't reach a conclusion
with this investigation other than to state a suspicion that yad soledet
bo is higher than most poskim these days would say.

What struck me, though, was that clearly this shiur (the shiur of yad
soledet bo) has historically been a subjective measurement - that is, in
the era before thermometers, if you needed to know whether something was
"yad soledet bo," you put your finger in it to see what happens.  This
would differ from person to person.  Converting this into an objective
measurement ( i.e. 113F, 176F, etc.) seems to fundamentally alter the
nature of the measurement.  This seems to me to be no small change,
especially with a measurement that is so fundamental to a Torah law
(bishul - cooking).  Yet in a set of lectures probing the intricacies of
this measurement, this change passed unremarked.  It seems taken for
granted these days that yad soledet bo is an objective temperature.

Chag pesach kasher v'sameach,

D. Nachman


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 13:48:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Neturei Karta / Satmar Rebbe

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
> Around 1955 (maybe some of the people on the list know more about the
> details / dates) the / a Satmar Beis Din put the Lubavitcher Rebbe in
> cherem. This very much bothered the LR, and he asked my grandfather to
> go to the SR to talk to him about the incident. When my grandfather
> spoke with the SR, before the SR agreed to take care of the incident,
> his response was that (apologies in advance for mangeling the Yiddish) -
> dos is kinder shpeilin - this is "youngsters" playing. My understanding
> is that the average age of people on this Beis Din well well over 50
> years of age, yet based on thier actions (my assumption here) the SR
> refered to them as "children / youngsters"

I hope that's not accurate.  If the Satmar rov regarded the community's
Bes Din capable of "juvenile" actions, he had a responsibility to reform
or disown the Bes Din. 



From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 15:44:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Seder Start Time

J Zangvil <j.zangvil@...> wrote:
< "I am guessing that the obsessions with time, like the obsession with
> measurement, is an advent of the Artscroll era".>

Saul Mashbaum replied:
> I am well aware that for many well-meaning and basically committed
> people, determining the minimal measurements required for such things as
> matza and maror means dealing with trivialities, and for some borders on
> the ridiculous. This is not at all the case; these requirements are
> fundamental and significant.
> . . . .
> There is considerable halachic debate about what exactly the minimal
> amounts needed for the mitzvot of the seder are. That such minmal amounts
> exist is beyond dispute.

About 35 years ago, home from college for Pesach and newly acquainted
with the idea that such minimum amounts exist, I asked my shul rabbi how
much matzoh I had to eat.  The rabbi, a serious scholar (I think his
expertise was the triennial cycle) and a learned man as well, replied
(shockingly, to me at the time), 'I don't know; ask my son.  He has a
plastic sheet', with shapes; you stick your piece of matzah on it to see
if it's the right size.  Several years later, this rabbi's replacement
would give classes on such things.  I mentioned the earlier incident to
someone in the shul, who disparaged the latter approach, explaining that
people of the former rabbi's generation were concerned about more
important things, but that they wound up fulfilling their eating
obligations at the seder anyway because 'you ate until you were finished

I think the post-Art Scroll emphasis on measurement causes people to
confuse ikar with tafel, basically missing the forest for the trees.
For example, the obligation to eat certain minimum amounts at the seder
is an obligation to eat, not merely to consume.  Halachic eating is
defined as 'kederech achila', the way one eats, which I would translate
as 'eating like a mensch'.  If one eats with a stopwatch to make sure
that you eat a whole shmura matzoh in two minutes (or whatever the
estimate is of achilat pras), I am concerned that one does not fulfill
his obligation, not because one has not consumed the matzoh, but because
one has not eaten it.  Some shuls in our neighborhood wait until dark to
daven maariv the first night of Pesach, and the excuse I've heard is 'if
you daven early, people will start the seder before the right time.'
But the ikar, the important thing, on the first of pesach is the seder,
and the requirement - probably from the Torah, or close-- is to start it
- not maariv - as soon as possible after nightfall.  Part of the
problem, at least in the U.S., is that the seder almost always falls now
during daylight savings time, and beginning in 2008 will always do so.
Before the extension of DST in the mid 1970s after the oil embargo, it
almost never did.  So I guess the late start time for the seder is all
the Arabs' fault.

Chag kasher vesameach
Orrin Tilevtz
Brooklyn, NY


From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 11:04:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Warning about library donations

> From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
> Be very careful about donating to a public library. Their practice
> often is to simply discard any books that they were not planning to
> add to their collection. ...

Thanks for the warning. I do tend to give the secular books to the BPL
and give the Jewish books I have to the local Jewish library.  I'm not
suprisred about anything about the BPL, however. Where I grew up, in
Northern California, where money is actually put into libraries to fill
them with books and the librarians loved helping people, we had library
sales and tons of people went to them.

Shoshana Ziskind

From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2006 11:35:31 -0400
Subject: Warning about library donations

We had the reverse situation in Philadelphia.  For many years people
would donate books to the Philadelphia Library from their grandfather's
"attic" collections -- these included siddurs and other books that
should not be thrown away.  The library had a used book sale at the main
train station (30th street) and many people took it upon themselves to
buy up such books to see to it that they were dealt with properly.  I
believe an arrangement was made so that "Jewish" books would be held for
them prior to being thrown away.



End of Volume 51 Issue 98