Volume 53 Number 94
                    Produced: Thu Feb  1  6:16:04 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Eilat not Halachikly Israel?
         [Stu Pilichowski]
Illusion and not Magic?
         [Michael Gerver]
Medical Equipment Shaila
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
Medical Ethics
         [Carl Singer]
School admission standards
         [Leah Aharoni]
Speaking in Shul (5)
         [Shayna Kravetz, <FriedmanJ@...>, Harlan Braude, Andy
Goldfinger, Carl Singer]


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 2007 20:18:24 +0000
Subject: Eilat not Halachikly Israel?

I just read in the popular press (<weeklynews@...>, Jan 29)
about R' Elyashiv ruling that visitors to Eilat for Pesach must hold two

[Rabbi Elyashiv Rules Two Seder Nights in Eilat and Antayla Jerusalem:
Jews who visit Eilat, one of Israel's major tourist destinations, for
Pesach (Passover) must keep two Seder nights just as Jews in the
Diaspora do, according to Kol Hair, an Orthodox publication based in
Bnei Brak. This, according to a ruling by Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv,
considered the leading international authority on halacha (Jewish
law). Eilat, according to Rabbi Elyashiv, is not part of ancient Israel
and therefore must be treated like it would be in the Diaspora. Tourist
officials and Eilat's Chief Rabbi Yosef Hecht vehemently objected to the
ruling which they believe may be detrimental to the city's tourist trade
for the Passover holiday. The rabbi also ruled that tourists in Antalya,
Turkey, also must hold two Seders. The rabbi made the ruling at the
initiative of several charedi travel agencies that rent hotels in

What about other halachot (trumot and maasrot....) that are relevant only to 
What about other yom tovim? and a million other questions. . . . .
Where can this ruling be found?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 15:50:14 +0200
Subject: Illusion and not Magic?

<Chips@...> asks, in v53n89,

> Does anyone know if a Posek discusses if it is ok for a Jew to do a
> performance if the performance is called an Illusion by an Illusionist
> instead of a 'magic act' ?

There was a panel discussion on this topic on Israeli TV a few nights
ago. I remember that one of the participants was R. Shlomo Aviner, of
Ateret Cohanim. He specifically said that there is nothing wrong with
performing magic tricks, if everyone understands that they are tricks,
and not, for example, magic in the sense of Harry Potter. The bottom
line of the discussion, I believe, was that magic acts are permissable
if it is announced beforehand that they only illusions, not real magic.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 17:31:21 +0200
Subject: Re: Medical Equipment Shaila

Dr. Andy Goldfinger asked:

>I may be wrong in the first guess (perhaps it is just more convenient
>for the dentist) but let us assume arguendo that this guess is correct.
>That is: let us suppose that a medical practitioner has a choice of two
>pieces of equipment.  One of them provides certain advantages that can
>benefit the patient, but this one is significantly more expensive
>(readers who are medical people -- please provide me with some examples
>here.)  What are the halachic (Jewish legal) obligations of the
>practitioner?  Must he or she spend the extra money, or is he or she
>free to economize as long as the less expensive equipment still provides
>the "standard of care" expected of the profession?

 From understanding the sugya in Shulchan Aruch YOREH DEAH 366:1 and the
discussion in the Nishmat Avraham YD 366 #7 quoting the Tzitz Eliezer in
Ramat Rachel 23 on the 3 different Shitot regarding damage caused by a
doctor (that of the Ramban and TUR, that of the Tashbetz, and that of
the RAN and the Shoel u'Meishiv), it would seem to me that as long as
the intervention was an accepted one (standard care) the doctor would
not be required to offer the more expensive intervention if that
additional cost came out of his pocket.

Your question isn't explicitly discussed but can be inferred from the

Kol Tuv

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 05:53:21 -0500
Subject: Medical Ethics

From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
> Yesterday, while looking through a dental equipment catalog, I saw two
> dental X-ray machines for sale -- two models from the same company.  One
> [snip]
> here.)  What are the halachic (Jewish legal) obligations of the
> practitioner?  Must he or she spend the extra money, or is he or she
> free to economize as long as the less expensive equipment still provides
> the "standard of care" expected of the profession?

I believe this is an instance of a much larger and deeper question --

I'll let the medical ethicists weigh in -- but consider that with the
more expensive machine this dentist may have to raise his or her rates
and thus some patients may skip going to the dentist or go less often
for monetary reasons.  Or conversely that the cheaper machine is just as
effective in 99% of the cases and also that there is no measurable
difference in the patient's well being due to the different dosage BUT
in order to compete with other dentists he / she must buy the fancier
machine (and raise rates) because patients only go to dentists who have
the fancier machines.

To the broader question -- does the medical practitioner (physician,
dentist ....)  suggest (treatment or preventative) alternate A or
alternate B.  THEN and only then re-ask the question adding that
alternate a costs $X and alternate B costs $2X dollars.  And THEN add in
that either A or B is more effective.  Note: I've taken a very gray area
(effectiveness) and stated it as a simple black and white which is a
disservice to serious discussion.)

Consider that, perhaps, society can pay for 100 people to be treated
with alternate A and only 50 with B -- given the cost structure, etc.

Or that alternate B may be a waste of the patient's money but is less
likely to result in the provider being sued ....

 .... and it goes on.



From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 14:23:59 +0200
Subject: School admission standards

I know, this is a touchy subject, but we are in the process of placing
one of our children into school and this issue really bothers
us. Namely, many frum institutions set external, NON-HALACHIC standards
for admissions (I don't mean mother's tznius standards, but the color
and the material of father's kipa, etc). Even once the kids are
accepted, they are made feel as strangers. The latest cases I heard
about were of a fine heder boy, sent home from school for inadvertently
wearing a black knitted kipa, instead of a velvet one, or of a Beis
Yaakov girl from a Chabad family, living in a MO community, who can't
bring friends home.

I am not looking to vent my frustration, but would like to hear about
the experiences of other people, who do not fall into exact stereotypes
(especially in Israel).

Thanks in advance,
Leah Aharoni
Email:  <leah25@...>


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:12:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Speaking in Shul

Responding to Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>'s post of
Mon, 22 Jan 2007 12:41:41 -0000:

>Similarly, I feel that speaking in Shul exhibits a lack of respect for
>what it a house or worship to Hashem, not to say a discourtesy to those
>who might actually want to pray and be able to listen to the
>proceedings.  I find it odd that people won't talk in the cinema, and so
>feel that the works of Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, George Lucas
>and John Woo (to name but a few) engender more respect than being in the
>presence of God.  I feel that it is the lack of respect (possibly
>bordering on chutzpah) displayed by speaking in Shul that is more of a
>problem that the actual speaking, and it this that could be used as a
>rationale for explaining a catastrophe.

I have no problem with your main point (indeed, in my shul I have been
known to shush people), but your evidence for how disrespectful this
attitude is -- that people are silent in the cinema -- is certainly no
longer true in North America.  It is now quite common for people to
whisper and even talk aloud during movies.  I suspect that this is, at
least in part, because most movie theatres have come to resemble your
living room, only with more junk food provided.  The rooms and screens
are small, the architecture is unidentifiable building block-modern, and
the experience is only slightly different from what you can achieve on
your couch at home with a VCR/DVD/some-other-set-of-initials.

The more interesting question to a curmudgeon like myself is, why the
decline in consideration and respect in general?  In fact, I think that
the emphasis on decorum--which is the outward trappings of
respect--instead of the reasons for respect itself is a kind of
political correctness in how we relate to each other.  It's too scary to
say to someone else, "Don't you have any respect for God?  Don't you
understand before Whom you stand?" and much simpler to say, "Don't you
have any idea of how to behave?"  We don't want to call in the big guns;
we prefer to shoot at smaller targets.

Kol tuv and shabbat shalom,
Shayna in Toronto

From: <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:43:01 EST
Subject: Re: Speaking in Shul

      With respect, Eitan, would you dare talk if you had an audience
      with President Bush and were directly in his line of sight &
      hearing? How about if you had an audience with Queen Elizabeth?
      Now, what kind of punishment would you be liable for in monarchic
      days of yore if you had dared utter a word out of turn in the
      King/Queen's presence?  Take these thoughts and run with them

With all due respect, I wouldn't compare GWB or the Queen or anyone
else to God. Even our "sainted" (we don't have saints) forefathers talked
back to God.

You have strange notion of God, if you think he will destroy 6,000,000
jews, 1.5 million of them babies, for talking in shul.

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:18:42 -0500
Subject: Re: Speaking in Shul

> But it seems very clear to me that people are quiet at the movies
> because they are interested in the story, and they are talkative at shul
> because they are bored and uninterested in what's going on.

Not necessarily. Someone may attend a movie, a concert or some other
live performance and be totally bored, but will nonetheless remain
quietly seated throughout the performance (or until intermission) out of
respect for the other patrons and the performers. That's simple
etiquette. Why would one advocate less respectful behavior in the

Typically, people feel more "at home" in the synagogue and that is
potentially a good thing. But, sometimes a good thing can be taken too
far.  That's what I think is happening here.

From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 08:34:55 -0500
Subject: Re: Speaking in Shul

Akiva Miller writes:

> But it seems very clear to me that people are quiet at the movies
> because they are interested in the story, and they are talkative at
> shul because they are bored and uninterested in what's going on.

I would like to suggest another reason.  People in the movies are aware
of the fact that the other movie goers will get upset at them if they
talk.  In one shul I attend, talking is met with deep disapproval by the
congregants, and it seldom occurs.  In another shul, talking is
tolerated and quite frequent.

Disclaimer -- I personally have trouble controlling myself some times,
but I am working on it.

Andrew D. Goldfinger

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 2007 07:21:33 -0500
Subject: Speaking in Shul

> Do you really think that the reason they are quiet at the cinema is
> because of their respect for the producers? If you really think that,
> then I apologize.
> But it seems very clear to me that people are quiet at the movies
> because they are interested in the story, and they are talkative at shul
> because they are bored and uninterested in what's going on.

I disagree with this analysis. 

I believe people do not talk at the cinema or a concert because these
are the accepted social norms.

(I was at the symphony on Sunday and some lady attempting to turn off
her cellphone dropped it noisely -- if looks could kill she would have
been murdered by at least a dozen people sitting near her.)

There are shuls where there is no talking and shuls that sound like a
bazaar -- given that the davening and leyning content is essentially the
same at both, it would be hard to imagine that the one group is bored
and uninterested while the other group is not.  I believe it's that the
socially acceptable behavior in the quiet shul is to be quiet and
unfortunately that in the "talking" shul is to talk.

As davening was ending a week or two ago and a young boy was leading Ayn
Kelokaynu one of our balabatim was standing, turned around and speaking
to the person behind him -- after davening I told him that when his sons
are old enough to lead Ayn kelokaynu that he will be very angry if
anyone makes a peep during their moment.  It was water off of a duck's
back -- unfortunately.



End of Volume 53 Issue 94