Volume 53 Number 40
                    Produced: Wed Dec 27  6:35:04 EST 2006

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Avodah Zarah?
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Binyamin's sons: Bella, Becher, Ashbel, Geira, Naaman, Eichi, Rosh,
         [Baruch C. Cohen]
Charity Priorities
         [Daniel Cohn]
Edah Chareidis
         [Perets Mett]
Inspecting tefillin at airport security
         [Michael Gerver]
List Priorities (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Anonymous1]
Sweeping Things under the Rug
         [Martin Stern]


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 20:47:07 +0200
Subject: Re:  Avodah Zarah?

Israel Caspi stated the following:

      TTBOMK, the issur is not about making a representation of a living
      thing itself, but rather making it for the purpose of bowing down
      to it or bowing down to an existing representation as though it
      was a god.  If that is not correct, how then explain the
      ever-present lions on the curtains of the aron kodesh (for
      example) and/or other representations of animals symbolic of 1 or
      another of the 12 tribes, to which it might appear we are bowing
      to at various parts of the service?

I can report that shuls that once had lions, when they redecorate, there
are suddenly no more lions.  I have heard the claim that there is an
issur involved, but more than that I do not know.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <azqbng@...> (Baruch C. Cohen)
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 12:57:04 -0500
Subject: Binyamin's sons: Bella, Becher, Ashbel, Geira, Naaman, Eichi, Rosh,

In Parshas Miketz, 43:30, Rashi reveals the names of Binyamin's 10 sons:
Bella, Becher, Ashbel, Geira, Naaman, Eichi, Rosh, Mupim, Chupim, Ard -
as they alluded to Yosef and the troubles that he encountered.

"Bela": because he was swallowed (bala) up by the nations;
"Becher": because he was the firstborn (bechor) of his mother (Rachel);
"Ashbel": because Hashem made him a captive (shaba);
"Gera": because he is a foreigner (ger);
"Naaman": because he was exceedingly pleasant (naim);
"Ehi" & "Rosh": because he was my brother (achi) and my chief (rosh);
"Muppim": because he studied Torah  from the mouth (mipi) of my father;
"Chuppim": because I didn't see his wedding canopy (Chuppah) - and he 
didn't see mine;
"Ard": because he descended (hurad) among the nations - because Yosef 
had a face like a rose (vered) - my father lowered himself (yarad) 
since my brother vanished, he slept on the ground rather than on his 

This past Shabbos, I heard Rabbi Danny Korobkin the Morah D'Asrah of
Kehilat Yavneh in Los Angeles, pose the following fascinating question:
assuming that Yaakov Avinu was the sandak at each bris of Binyamin's 10
sons, he probably had the opportunity to ask Binyamin what was the
significance of these names. If Binyamin told him the above-referenced
reasons, then Yaakov would have known that Yosef was still alive.
Further, Binyamin's 10 brothers who sold Yosef who also lied to their
father Yaakov that Yosef was mauled to death by a wild animal: what were
they thinking as Binyamin named son after son in Yaakov's presence?
Wasn't Binyamin giving away the secret that Yosef was still alive? Any

Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
Los Angeles, CA


From: Daniel Cohn <4danielcohn@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 16:29:58 +0200
Subject: RE: Charity Priorities

> GREAT idea!
> Take it out on some poor Jew - nebach shlepping himself door-to-door trying
> to make a few dollars to feed and clothe his family.


Come on! There are more than enough worthy organizations collecting
money to feed and clothes Jews that are not affiliated to organizations
that condone or at best ignore the appalling behaviour described
below. Since our resources are limited, why balk at the suggestion to
allocate them smartly?



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 18:43:34 +0000
Subject: Edah Chareidis

>  I think that is the underlying problem.  After all, much of the more
> mainstream communities (edah charedit, satmar) are extremely virulent
> in their anti israel ideology and propaganda (just sample websites
> associated with them

And which websites are associated with the Edah Chareidis?



From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 00:39:59 +0200
Subject: Inspecting tefillin at airport security

Art Sapper wrote, in v53n19,

> Asking that tefillin be searched by x-ray won't solve the problem.
> According to a news report, an April 2005 report by the Department of
> Homeland Security entitled, "Systems Engineering Study of Civil
> Aviation Security - Phase I," concluded that current airport x-ray
> machines don't detect explosives.  (That's why x-raying shoes is
> pretty pointless.)  It would be better for Agudah and/or OU to
> approach the Transportation Security Administration and ask that their
> employees be sensitized to the matter.  The issue remains, however --
> what should be done if a TSA employee believes that the tefillin could
> hold enough explosive to bring down a flight?

In principle, at least, it ought to be possible to detect explosives by
nuclear quadrupole resonance, since the most common isotope of nitrogen
has a nuclear quadrupole moment, and the kind of explosives that would
be used by a terrorist pretty much all (I think) have a higher
concentration of nitrogen atoms than most materials. I do not know
whether installing NQR detectors at airports is practical or cost
effective, in terms of the cost and sensitivity of the equipment, and I
also do not know whether there are nitrogen-free explosives that
terrorists could start using if they knew they would be inspected by
such equipment. But if it were practical, it would avoid the need to
open up tefillin to verify that it does not contain explosives.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 13:38:16 -0500
Subject: RE: List Priorities

>From: Joshua Goldmeier
<SNIP> My own rov, an agudahnik first class, has publicly stated
>they (i.e. Naturei Kartaniks) are rotzchim di'orayso and a kanoi (like
>pinchas) has the right to beat them up when they are prepared to do
>damage like they did the other day.  Who on this list disagrees?

Well, I for one. Does it occur to you or your Rov that the young man who
beat the woman on the no. 2 bus was acting as a kanoi, probably with the
encouragement of his Rov?

Who was it who said "Your freedom ends where my nose begins"? --Bernie R.

From: Anonymous1
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 13:59:31 -0600
Subject: RE: List Priorities

On  Thu, 21 Dec 2006 17:07:40 +0000 (GMT), <bdcohen@...> (David I.
Cohen) wrote:

> Two comments on the anonymous post in 53#30:
> 1) The issues he raises with respect to his being a stay at home father
> while his wife is employed outside the home would be properly raised in the
> first instance with his own Rav. If he then (with permission) wished to
> share that opinion with the list for discussion, that would be appropriate.
> To try to get a halachic opinion on that difficult issue from the members of
> this list who have varying levels of expertise is useless and dangerous. The
> lack of response from list members  was, IMO, a wise choice.

An absolutely valid point of view.  The facts of the case are these: I
*did*, in fact, check with my rabbi.  He (and I; I was a stay-at-home
Dad, and actually had time to study Halacha, which was one of the joys
of that period of my life, I must say) both studied the relevant
writings on the topic, and it turns out that very very few Ravs have
considered such a thing.  The ability for women to support a family
outside the home, and to have a stay-at-home Dad, is something that was
really not considered up until the previous (i.e., 20th) century, and
most Ravs who have written on the topic have taken the view that I
describe the list taking, i.e., "It's a bad idea; fix it as soon as
possible."  In other words, it is topic that is very little explored in
the O world (more in the C and R world, obviously, but even in the C
world the opinions are, shall we say, mixed), and most Ravs seem to not
want to consider it.

It is just *my* opinion as a modern man raised in a feminist household,
but honestly, it seems like a sexist holdover.  I believe, firmly, that
when scholars wrestle with this particular topic, poskim will appear,
but at this point, there seems to be a strong "I don't want to think
about that kind of thing!" attitude.  But I may be reading more into it
than is really reasonable.

In any event, I was in a very real situation, and needed some help and
guidance, and the rabbis to whom I had access were unable (or
unwilling?) to provide me with clear rules.  As such, I felt it
contingent upon myself to get as much information as possible so that,
if I was going to be making choices on my own, at least I would be doing
so knowledgably, rather than "Well, this is what I *think* I should do."
If you follow me.  So I appealed to the list, as I have often been
amazed by the amount of scholarship and knowledge here.

But that is, honestly, a side issue.  My main point is this: if I am
struggling with the larger issues of how to live Jewishly in a very
Christian environment--and believe me, it doesn't get much more
Christian than where I'm currently living now, here in the American
South--I have to prioritize.  And so making sure I am available fill my
obligations to fill local minyans has to be higher priority to me than
(e.g.) the ink-in-the-pen issue.  Does that make sense?

> 2) Halchic discussions of issues such as using the ink in anothers pen: If
> one thinks that this is the "minutae" of halacha, using that as a derogatory
> term, then you are missing the proverbial forest.  But if you teach your
> children (even in the galus in which you live) that caring about even such a
> minimal amount of someone else's property is a Jewish value, then you have
> accomplished something. The "devil" of Jewish values is in the (halachic)
> details.

You are absolutely right, and I did not in any way mean to cast
aspersions on such issues.  My only point was, as I stated above, that I
am currently wrestling with much larger issues, and the (in my view)
recent focus of the list on these smaller issues, while sometimes
interesting, is so far away from what *I*, personally, am dealing with
in day-to-day life as to be completely below my radar screen.  I would
*love* to be in a position where I could worry about such issues, but I
am not; I have to use my bandwidth to make sure that my Challah is baked
prior to sunset Friday, and make sure the kids remember to put their
musical instraments away, and such.  In this environment, the level of
ink in pens is something I simply don't have the brain-space to deal
with.  I wish I did--I think about making Aliyah all the time because of
that very reason--but I don't right now.

I hope that clarifies what I was saying.  I was *not* using "minutae" as
a derogatory term, not at all.  But I *do* have to make sure I don't
spend so *much* time looking at individual trees--or individual leaves,
or even the veins on the leaves!--that I forget about the forest
entirely.  If you see what I mean.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 20:14:45 +0000
Subject: Re: Sweeping Things under the Rug

On Thu, 21 Dec 2006 13:28:35 GMT, Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>

> Martin Stern posted the text of a poster which was put up "in the
> chareidi shuls in Manchester".
> Then he commented that:
>> It is well known in Manchester to whom he is referring.
> I feel that this is an example of what Jeanette Friedman was referring
> to, when she wrote:
>> We have to convince the rabbis to stop sweeping things under
>> the rug
> Yes, I am serious. This is an example of sweeping things under the
> rug. Why did the authors of that poster refrain from specifying who they
> are talking about?
> The way it is written, it is a mild reminder that dangerous people
> should not be allowed into shul. Duh!! Of course one doesn't allow
> dangerous people into shul!!
> Where is the new information in this poster? What is it trying to tell
> me that I don't already know? If it wants to warn me about a danger that
> I might not be aware of, then it failed miserably, because I am still
> unaware of it. It should have named names. Why didn't it? What is it
> afraid of?
> I find it hard to imagine how this poster might improve the situation,
> even in the slightest way. I hope I'm wrong. But until someone can show
> me any value, I can't help but see this poster as the sort of thing
> about which its authors might say, "Heh, heh. Now they can't complain
> that we've been silent!"

Akiva is making several mistakes in his analysis quite apart from the
problem of UK libel laws which are much more stringent than those in the
USA and might well inhibit any direct reference to any specific

The community as a whole is fully aware of the name of the person who
went to Tehran and spoke at the conference and the rabbinic declaration
has the effect of excluding him from communal facilities. The burial
board has informed him that his membership has been terminated and that
they will not bury him, returning his subscriptions. To all intents and
purposes he has been placed in cherem which has always been the ultimate
sanction available to Jewish communities. A formal cherem may contravene
UK law so this is about as far as it is possible to go subject to dina

As a person, the miscreant is no danger to anyone despite his obnoxious
views which one has to tolerate in an open liberal society however much
one might abhor them. It is only his action in going to Tehran and
addressing the Holocaust conference which, despite his protestations to
the contrary, was intended to deny or, at the very least belittle, it
that has outraged virtually the whole community including those who
might hold similar theological views on Zionism and the state of Israel.

I find some of the reactions on mail-jewish equally bigoted from the
opposite standpoint and suggest that everyone should think carefully
about how far they think it is reasonable to act against people with
whom one disagrees as opposed to those actively engaged in endangering
lives.  Believing that Zionism is not consistent with Judaism is an
arguable case, encouraging people like President Ahmedinejad of Iran in
his wish to wipe Israel off the map is something completely
different. This should be the red line which the Tehran seven have

Martin Stern


End of Volume 53 Issue 40