Volume 53 Number 11
                    Produced: Mon Nov 20  5:18:17 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bdivrei Thalmud Torothekho
         [Perets Mett]
Carnivorous Jews
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Early minyan UWS
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
Holding Babies during Mouring--another look at the sources
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
A not-so wayward kohen
Philippines Trip
         [Mark Goldin]
Windup LED flashlight
         [Michael Mirsky]


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 18:56:14 +0000
Subject: Bdivrei Thalmud Torothekho

Shimon wrote:

>>> She noticed that the bracha "ahavat olam" had the phrasing
>>> "v'nismach b'divrei *talmud* toratecha".  I've never seen that word
>>> "talmud" in this bracha (my sample consisting of Ashkenazi siddurim
>>> for both Eretz Yisrael and chutz la'aretz).  Is the word "talmud" a
>>> variant of some kind or another?  Or is it a misprint?
>> Nusach sefard.
> Not the nusach sefard siddurim that I checked. However the eidot
> mizrach version did have it.

Where did you find a nusach sfard sidur with the word 'talmud' missing
from ahavas olom?



From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2006 13:56:40 -0500
Subject: Carnivorous Jews

>As factory farming was unknown prior to the mid-20th century, it is
>impossible to know how many Gedolim would have chosen to be
>vegetarians.  I would like to think that Rav Kook would have had
>company.  A morsel of meat is what differentiated Shabbos from the rest
>of the week for our ancestors.  We've lost that differentiation

Be that as it may, in the 20th century we have had Torah giants from the
Chofetz Chaim, the Chazon Ish, R. Aharon Kotler, R. Moshe Feinstein,
umpteen Rebbes, and dozens more. ALL elected NOT to become vegetarians.

Yes, farmimg methods may be "tzaar baalei chaim" and so on, but that
doesn't change things. Halachically food produced by someone who does it
in a forbidden way does not become forbidden (Yes, I know about kilaim
and so on, I mean animals). For example, castrated animals do not become
unkosher.  I don't want to reopen all the old beaten threads, but pate
via fattened geese and hunting both are permitted if not encouraged.
The same goes for the use of leather.

I stand by my statement: the Torah and corpus of halacha not only permit
meat, they encourage it, and while anyone who wishes may be a
vegetarian, it is incorrect to call this a "Jewish ideal"- it is not.
Individual choice, no matter who the individual is, does not make it a
halacha or an ideal, EVEN ACCORDING TO THAT PERSON, unless he
specifically says so, and even then it would be a "Daas Yachid", a
single opinion.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 20:01:44
Subject: Re: Early minyan UWS

>Both Lincoln Square synagogue [Amsterdam & 69] and The Jewish Center
>[131 W. 86] have Hashkama minyanim at 7:45 AM on Shabbos

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry. In America, 07:45 am is called
the HASHKAMA minyan ?? Our shabbat hashkma minyan in Jerusalem (and it's
a late one !!) starts at 06:00 am. By 8 am, shul being over, we have our
daf yomi and Kiddush.

In the immortal words of Albert Einstein, "Everything is relative" :-)

Josh Backon


From: Russell Jay Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2006 00:02:42 GMT
Subject: RE: Holding Babies during Mouring--another look at the sources

There are 3 sources that were cited with regard to holding babies. Many
discussants act like the issue has been settled because of the ruling of
the code of Jewish law that it is impermissable. Actually as most
deciders of law know discussion begins, not ends, with citation of the
code of Jewish law. Therefore let me use the 3 sources-- the BIble,
Talmud and Rambam--and show TWO possible approaches to reading them.
After I present these approaches I will discuss how I interpret the
ruling of the code of Jewish law.

APPROACH 1: The verse in Ezekiel says about mourning: "BE
STOPPED--SILENCE" The Talmud says one should not hold babies in ones lap
during mourning since it may lead to frivolity. The Rambam also
prohibits the holding of babies. It would thus appear that this is the
end of the story---it is simply prohibited and there is nothing further
to say.  A person who contested this ruling would have a burden of proof
to bring other sources which they cannot.

APPROACH 2: First some simple background on what linguists call
subsective adjectives: "White wine" is not necessarily "white" but
rather "whiter" than most other wines. Similarly "making a person red"
does not mean they become "red" but rather means that there face is
"redder" than before...in reality the color of the face is still flesh
not red. The rule of thumb on subsective adjectives is that they are not
interpreted absolutely but in context.

Proceeding we consider the case of a group friends one of whom is very
non-wordy. He speaks in syllables and seems absorbed say with a coming
school test. His friends might ask him "Why are you SILENT today." Here
the word SILENT is used subsectively to indicate a RELATIVE not absolute
silence.  So too when the prophet Ezekiel says "SILENT" he is saying
"Dont be chatty" There is no requirement for a mourner to being
absolutely silent.

If we read the Talmud in Moed Koton 10b carefully it says "Mourners dont
hold a baby in their lap because they might start playing with them AND
LOOK BAD AMONG COMPANY(Shemah YithGaNeH al habrioth)". This seems
consistent with the verse interpretation---there is no absolute
prohibition ...just dont overdo it because of what people may say.
Finally the Rambam states "He should not be EXCESSIVE....Similarly he
should not hold babies" WHile it is debatable whether the adjective
EXCESSIVE applies to holding babies it would be consistent with the
verse interpretation that I have given and with the exact citation of
the Talmud---There is no ABSOLUTE prohibition of holding a baby...but
one should not overdo it to the point where one is playing and forgets
they are a mourner.

Now let us go a step further. People certainly take on stringencies all
the time. For example I might abstain from buying flowers during my year
of mourning. There is nothing wrong with this. But stringencies should
never take place at the expense of other people. What about the infant?
Is the infant to miss cuddling and other maternal attention for a week
because of a stringency? What effect would that have on the infant. Do
we allow it simply because there is no evidence that the harm is not
permanant (And suppose it is permanant sometimes?)

Also: The Talmud speaks about "looking bad in company" as the reason for
the prohibition. This seems to imply that private cuddling is ok and
again "as long as it is not so excessive that you forget you are

Based on the above I would recommend the following: a) One should
certainly not go out of their way to hold other people's babies. b) If
one is say a 25 year old widow who just lost her husband one should not
play with her baby in public but go, at given periods, into the babies
room and hold and play with them there (possibly till they respond or
stop crying). c) If a baby crawls into a mourning room and grabs the
mother I would not recommend shoving the infant off. One can hold the
baby in ones lap for a second or two until a response is elicited and
then either place the baby on the floor or leave the mourning room.

I have only given the 3 above examples to start a conversation--not to
issue a final "psak". My point? Well I have two points: First as
indicated above I dont believe a literal interpretation of the sources is
warranted. I believe a close reading of Talmud and Rambam leave room for
broader interpretation. But a second point is that I dont believe the
intent of the laws was to cause infants to cry and scream because parents
arent giving them their usual attention. I believe the above
interpretations show some leniency in holding babies in ones lap but are
still consistent with the probiitions of excessive play causing one to
forget their mourning status.

Finally if you are in a house of a mourner and you do see someone
violate the law...e.g. they ARE playing with their baby excessively ...I
see no reason to embarass them. I would not eg say "That is against
Jewish law."  Rather I might shift the conversation "Did the deceased
play with the baby alot? Does the baby know that someone is missing" I
would push the conversation around till the mourner reentered the
psychological reality of their state. Jewish legal stringencies should
never be used as a basis for embarassment.

I believe the above is food for thought and would encourage continuing
this thread

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


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 13:41:12
Subject: A not-so wayward kohen

At our Shabbos hashkama minyan we have a cohen who davens shacharis with
us but leaves during leyning (I presume to spell his wife by
babysitting) and then (again I presume) davens elsewhere.  When we give
him an aliyah, he stays through levi and packs up and leaves at the end
of shlishi.  (1) Should we give him an aliyah if he is the only kohn
present?  (2) Should we EVER give him an aliyah when there is another
kohen present?  (3) am I making a mountain out of a molehill.

In general I think it is strange to see someone walking out during
davening ESPECIALLY after they've had an Aliyah.

(4) Perhaps someone who knows that they are not going to remain for the
end of layning or mussaf should refuse am aliyah -- a different, but
interesting question.


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 23:09:35 -0800
Subject: Philippines Trip

Thanks to all of you who offered advice re eating in the Philippines.  I
took all my own food as suggested and survived quite nicely.  The people
there are extremely easy-going and the 2 restaurants I ate in for
business reasons did not mind me eating La Briut self-heating meals
which they found quite the curiosity!

The trip also gave me the opportunity to learn about and then experience
the bizarre davening times one observes when traveling West over the
international date line.  Monday's shacharit disappeared to be replaced
by two on Thursday.

Mark Goldin
Los Angeles
Glad to be home. 


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Nov 2006 13:06:52 -0500
Subject: Windup LED flashlight

I said:

> > As far as creating and breaking a circuit being boneh and soter, this
> > seems to me to be fairly clear.  The same applies to turning on and
> > off a light switch.  You are creating a path for the current to flow
> > to deliver power to the bulb, and then you are breaking that circuit
> > and stopping the power.  This is one of the prime reasons given for
> > not turning on electric devices on Shabbat.

Ari Trachenberg said:

> I've always had a problem with this logic, because you do the same
> thing, for example, by turning on your faucet on Shabbat.  You are
> creating a path (through air, assisted by gravity) for water to flow
> from higher potential to lower potential.  For that matter, water can
> be used to generate work (e.g. light a lamp) as well!

I think your analogy is faulty.  Gravity is natural so letting objects
(or water) go from higher potential energy (a high location) to a lower
potential energy (lower location) through gravity is fine.  Just like
picking up and dropping a (non-mukzeh) object - that isn't assur - smae
with a faucet.  But with electricity, you're building a path through a
wire circuit - something not natural.

> >  Another (reason why closing an electric circuit is fobidden is 
> > that it is like) is makeh bpatish (lit. banging with a hammer) which
> > applies to putting the final touch on some device to make it
> > usable. This is another melacha forbidden on Shabbat.

> How could this be an issue in a device that is constantly turning (by
> design), taking apart and putting together the circuit on a schedule?

If a circuit is open and closed (on and off) on a schedule you preset
(like a shabbat clock), then you are not actively involved at the time.
But with a windup flashlight with a generator with a commutator, *you*
are turning the crank, which turns the commutator, which opens and
closes the circuit.  So you are directly involved and is no different
than turning on a light switch in that respect.

Michael  <mirskym@...>


End of Volume 53 Issue 11