Volume 52 Number 32
                    Produced: Wed Jun 28  5:29:31 EDT 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Derashoth and God Wearing Tefilin
         [Russell J Hendel]
Disproportionate emotional impact (3)
         [Carl A. Singer, Irwin Weiss, Carl Singer]
El Al question
         [Alan Friedenberg]
More on airline meals
         [Carl Singer]
PETA, Battery Farms and accuracy (3)
         [Mordechai Horowitz, Bernard Raab, Mark Goldin]
Religious intolerance
         [N Miller]
Siddur Ergonomics (2)
         [Tzvi Stein, Nathan Lamm]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 23:07:05 -0400
Subject: RE: Derashoth and God Wearing Tefilin

The Rav, Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchick explained the Rambam's position
GODS ACTIONS ARE MORAL NORMS. In simple English you can EQUALLY say a)
It is moral to bury the dead or b) God buried Moses (Last chapter in the

The statement that GOD WEARS TEFILLIN therefore means that putting on
Tefilin is a MORAL NORM (It is a man-man commandment and not a man-God

This is not hard to understand. The tefillin are our engagement ring. So
they APPEAR to be God-Man in nature. But the tefillin commemorate the
exoduds from Egypt=slavery---so putting on tefillin means respecting all
people and hence is a man-man commandment. To put it another way a
person wearing tefillin who abuses a fellow human being has violated
what the Tefillin commemorates.

RE: DERASH: I have spent my life arguing that DERASH and PESHAT are one
and the same(See the Rashi website below). In this case once we
understand that GODS ACTIONS ARE MORAL NORMS the simple meaning of God
wearing tefillin is that a co-occurrent action must accompany all
tefilin wearing

Similarly the Rav once explained the Talmudic statement that God prays
as indicating that prayer is a moral norm (There is a subtle halachah
that if you are davening maariv then you must wait for all people to
leave the synagogue so that no one goes home alone and gets hurt---here
the prayer is a communal act with caring for other people)

I think some threads on Derash would really be welcome and look forward
to them if others are interested

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


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 13:08:51 -0400
Subject: Disproportionate emotional impact

> I have long wondered at the oddity of people's disproportionate
> emotional reactions to certain halachic issues, and this has been highly
> visible here lately with the interminable discussion of women and
> kaddish.

I think the label is the key -- "emotional" 

We do very poorly when we try to evaluate or respond to "emotional"
issues with logical solutions.

I certainly don't have real data -- only vignettes -- but I find that
people who are infrequent daveners, say for example those who we see
only on Yom Tov or Yahrzeit - have packed so much emotion into their
infrequent shul attendance that they may be ready to boil over (good or
bad) at the drop of a feather -- Being granted an aliyah (good), finding
someone sitting in THEIR seat, i.e., the seat that was their father's
seat ten years ago (bad.)

I had a co-worker who wouldn't put ice cream in his freezer (with meats)
-- he didn't keep kosher, Shabbos or attend davening, but this one
emotional thread linked him to his grandmother.


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 13:12:21 -0400
Subject: Disproportionate emotional impact

Joseph Ginzberg asks why there is such a difference in reaction to two
different things. (He notes the large reaction to issues of women and
kaddish, among other things).  The answer is "perspective".

How can 10 spies go into the Eretz Yisrael and see the same facts as
Calev Ben Yefuna and Yehoshua Bin Nun, and come up with such different
opinions as they do? (Parshat Shelach L'cha).  Perspective.

In mathematics, two plus two is always four, and you can't really have
different opinions about how much two plus two is. But other things just
don't seem quite as clear.

It's one reason I don't like the expression, "It's a Big Mitzvah" to do
such and such.  Which are the Big Mitzvot and which are the tiny ones?
Who can tell me?

What I have a very hard time with is people who are really m'dakdek
(punctilious) with the observance of rituals, but extremely lax with
regard to the observance of ethical mitzvot.

Irwin E. Weiss

From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:19:39 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Disproportionate emotional impact

Perhaps it suffices to say that emotions are not rational.  And we will
fail to explain them using a rational approach.  We can only observe and
make comments on those observations.

For example, many people have hightened emotions and hightened
sensitivity when going to shul is, for them, a rare occurance.  An
example I recall is someone showing up for a yahrzeit and getting bent
out of shape because there was someone sitting in his late father's

To a limited extent emotion is a good thing -- vice a routine,
mechanical, unemotional approach -- but to everything there are limits.



From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 06:13:46 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: El Al question

My daughter left yesterday from Newark for her long awaited summer in
EY.  She asked me an interesting question.  How do Cohanim know if there
is a "niftar" on board a particular plane?  What arrangements are made
for any Cohanim who may be flying on that flight?

Alan Friedenberg
Baltimore MD


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:06:42 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: More on airline meals

meaning "rubber meats the road travel", not "resort travel". 

I believe the meat is often rubbery, hopefully it hasn't been on the

I used to fly a first class round trip every Tuesday (for a year)
Philadelphia / Boston.  As a business traveller and a first class
passenger my meals were ALWAYS right.  You do have some leverage as a
frequent flyer -- but in times of cost cutting, airlines realize that
their primary job is to get you there, not to feed you.



From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 16:48:15 -0400
Subject: RE: PETA, Battery Farms and accuracy

> I would be happy to.  There is ample evidence of animal suffering inside
> the factory farming system, and I have studied the subject reasonably
> well.  Battery hens lead a particularly miserable life.  There are many
> books and online articles on the subject, but for a quick overview take
> a look at http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming_chickens_egg.asp if you
> are interested.

The subject of the halachic issues around tzar balei chaim are important
and should be discussed.  The issue itself brings up the need for a psak
to include not only the halachic issues but also the secular facts of
the issue.

One question that arises is how to validate secular facts.  One is not
to use anti semitic hate groups as a source for information.  The
website Reb Gold quotes is for Peta, People for the Ethical Treatment of

PETA is as anti Jewish as any organization can be.  An example of this
was their response to the PLO using animals to deliver bombs to kill
Jews.  They sent a letter to Arafat, not condemning the killing of Jews
that was OK, but condemning the killing of the animal used to kill Jews.

Peta is also at the forefront of trying to ban Kosher meat in the US. 

Beware of what you use at sources 

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 2006 17:35:22 -0400
Subject: RE: PETA, Battery Farms and accuracy

I thought the PETA response to the Postville issue was restrained and
responsible. They tried to get the slaughterhouse to improve the
situation but did not attack shechita itself, at least not publically,
and that is what counts. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

Bernie R.

From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 00:09:43 -0700
Subject: Re: PETA, Battery Farms and accuracy

I don't know if I agree with you about Peta which has many Jewish
members, but fair enough.  There are Jewish sources. and I wish there
were more.  Richard Schwartz has written extensively on the subject, as
has Rabbi David Rosen.  Take a look at http://www.jewishveg.com/

I think many in the Orthodox dismiss these concerns too quickly and will
use Peta's alleged extremism as an excuse.  For the record, there are
many other secular sources.  It is also interesting to note that the OU
responded positively to certain Peta allegations recently and has
improved conditions at certain Kosher meat processors.



From: N Miller <nm1921@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 2006 14:57:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Religious intolerance 

Martin Stern asks:

>Can anyone explain what motivates his sort of religious vandalism? Do we
>all have to be clones of some Yeshivishe model?

I should think the answer would be obvious: the price of religious
fanaticism is bigotry.  Unless you prefer that religious bigotry breeds
fanaticism?  What puzzles me is how the sub-Carpathian mentality seems
to have gained the ascendancy over the frum Jewish world.

Let me pose an additional question.  How does it happen that questions
of ritual and ritual variations should be of such stupendous importance
that they crowd out any discussion at all of such matters as the charge
of unfair labor practices at AgriProcessors in Postville, Iowa?

Noyekh Miller


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 07:51:14 -0400
Subject: Re: Siddur Ergonomics

> From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
> It dawned on me this morning at Shacharis that several of my fellow
> daveners were bobbing their heads up and down during that portion of
> tachnun where they were trying to lay their heads down.
> The reason is rather simple, the siddur that they were using has that
> portion of tachnun across two pages and necessitates turning a page in
> order to complete the entire tefillah.  Same happens in certain siddurs
> where that portion of Shma that involves tzizits requires page turning.

I know exactly what you mean.  I have noticed similar disregard to
ergonomics in the printing of Kiddush and Havdalah in benthcers and
siddurim. These ceremonies are certainly short enough to print on one
page, yet almost every siddur and bencher manages to make it necessary
to turn a page in the middle of Kissush or Havdala, while you are
holding a full glass of wine.

It seems clear that most siddurim published over the years have been
designed with no thought at all to ergonomics or aesthetics (beyond the
cover).  Rather, the only concern seems to have been to produce it as
quickly and cheaply as possible.

Notable exceptions that I have used are the siddurim from the Koren
publisher in Israel.  Each page is laid out in a deliberate way and is a
joy to daven from.  They even designed their own Hebrew font, which is a
cross between the font used in a Sefer Torah and modern Hebrew fonts.
However, it is hard to find Koren sefarim any more. I believe they went
out of business a number of years ago.  In addition, the quality of the
binding was often poor and the print, while beautiful, was quite small.

The siddur I use now is the Siddur Chinuch Chaim Shlomo by ArtScroll.
It is intended for young Cheder children to learn the Siddur. Despite
being published by ArtScroll, it is in Hebrew only, although the
instructions are in simple English.  You can recognize it immediately by
the "line numbers" in the margin on the pages.  Despite its "juvenile"
intention I love this siddur because it is immediately clear that each
page was laid out with care.  Page breaks do not occur randomly as with
most siddurim, and you rarely need to turn a page in the middle of a
bracha or paragraph of davening, including Kiddush or Havdala.  Also,
the print is very large.  I don't even notice the "line numbers" any
more.  Its intention as a children's siddur also makes it one of the
cheapest siddurim on the shelf.

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2006 06:27:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Siddur Ergonomics

It's interesting to note that the first edition of the Artscroll Siddur
spread nefillat apayim over two pages. By the second edition (or perhaps
even second impression), this had been corrected, and it was on one
page. I have no solid proof as to why, but I think we can safely assume
that someone pointed out the physical challenge of saying tachanun.


End of Volume 52 Issue 32