Volume 54 Number 02
                    Produced: Fri Feb  9  5:20:45 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Drug abuse in the frum community
         [Jonathan Baker]
Eilat not Halakhically Israel
         [Jacob Sasson]
Mirrors and teeth in babies
         [Nachman Yaakov Ziskind]
         [Joel Rich]
Purim and History
         [Lisa Liel]
Rabbi Jacob Kret, zt"l
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Talking during Davening
Talking in shul
         [Joel Rich]
True smicha
         [Joel Rich]
update to the bus beating story
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Vomitting and Bentsching
         [Baruch C. Cohen]


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 16:47:45 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Drug abuse in the frum community

From: Frank Reiss <freiss47@...>

> The drug problem is within those who feel stuck in orthodoxy. The
> person fully indocrinated and who adheres to frumkeit will not
> understand the need for recreational drugs.  Thus, it is not
> delusional to say you do not know anyone into drugs and Frum.

That's a cop-out, which you probably know.  It's like saying "there's no
violence in the frum community, against the non-religious, or against
women, because anyone who would engage in such behavior is by definition
not keeping to Torah."  Therefore "the frum community" need not address
the issue.

But "the frum community" is a social grouping, with people who are
better and worse at adhering to the community's ideals.  Among that set,
there are those with problems, that can be dealt with, ignored, or
denied.  Now, which is healthiest for the person with problems?  Which
is healthiest for the community?

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: <jjbaker@...>     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


From: Jacob Sasson <JSasson@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 11:30:58 -0500
Subject: Eilat not Halakhically Israel

Rabbi Wise wrote:

>I do know that the kehilla in Aram Zova and Haleb (and other towns in
>Syria and Lebanon) kept ONE DAY! relying on their tradition that the
>sheluchim always arrived there despite Chacham Ovadiyah saying that
>they should keep 2 days outside Israel.

I do not believe that is true.  My father was born in Halab and I live
in the Syrian Community and I have never heard that before.  Sources

(Perhaps Rabbi Wise is confusing Yom Tov with Purim.  Halab was a safek
walled city and its Purim practices were thus affected)



From: Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 12:15:28 -0500
Subject: Mirrors and teeth in babies

Anyone know what's behind the custom not to let babies look in the
mirror until they have (one? two?) teeth?

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind, FSPA, LLM       <awacs@...>


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 19:13:22 -0500
Subject: Muzinka

Anyone know of a source for the custom of a muzinka(sp?) - the dance
when a last child is married off?

Joel Rich


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Feb 2007 17:53:40 -0500
Subject: Purim and History

With Purim coming up, I was hoping to share the work of Dr. Chaim
Heifetz, who has done a lot of work on the history of that period, in
terms of reconciling conventional history with Jewish chronology.

Heifetz's work was published in Hebrew in Megadim, an Israeli journal,
back in the 1990s.  For those who are interested in reading the original
article, it can be found at:


A review of the work, in English, was published in Jewish Action in
1990, and can be read at:


The letters which ran in response to this article in the following issue
can be read at:


The historical context Heifetz found for the events of the Megillah was
taken from the book _The Book of Esther in the Light of History_, by
Jacob Hoschander, which was published in 1923, and which was out of
print for more than half a century.

Hoschander was an old-style bible critic, so he had no problem disputing
details of the Megillah, and the conventional chronology of the period,
which conflicts so strongly with Jewish chronology, made it almost a
foregone conclusion that he would do so.

Hoschander places the events of Megillat Esther at the time of
Artaxerxes II, much later than Jewish tradition puts it, but according
to Heifetz, Artaxerxes II *was* Ahasuerus, son of Darius the Mede.
Hoschander brings Persian and Greek sources to show that during the
reign of Artaxerxes II, there was an attempt to wipe out monotheism
itself.  Hoschander writes in his preface:


THE aim of the present book is to interpret the Book of Esther from the
historical point of view and to show the historical origin of the
Festival of Purim. It is this historical aspect which fundamentally
differentiates the present interpretation from all previous attempts at
explaining the origin of the Purim Festival on which the Biblical
narrative is based, as in none of them has there been suggested an
historical reason, drawn from non-Biblical sources, for the danger
impending over the Jews during the Persian period. The very fact,
however, that outside of the Biblical narrative which attributes this
danger to the enmity of a Persian grand vizier toward a single Jewish
individual, nothing was known from external historical sources to
account for such an event, was reason enough for doubting or denying
altogether its historical character. My interpretation, however, is
based upon an historical event during the Persian period, well known
from non-Biblical sources, the consequences of which must have been
disastrous to the Jews of the Persian empire. This event I considered of
so great importance for the Jews of the Persian empire that, in
investigating the subject, I felt constrained to declare, that if the
Book of Esther had never been written, historians might have found out,
that during that period the Persian Jews were threatened with complete
extermination. The real problem is not, whether such an event did
happen, but how the Jews escaped the danger, and its solution is
presented, I claim, in the Book of Esther. The historical event, on
which the Biblical narrative is based, is treated in the sixth chapter.


_The Book of Esther in the Light of History_ is back in print now,
and it can be found at http://www.lulu.com/content/272762

I can't recommend this book highly enough.  Purim is an odd holiday.  No
one disputes the basic historicity of Hanukkah or Tisha B'Av, and those
who think the Exodus never happened only do so in the context of
rejecting the Torah itself.  Purim is probably unique, in that even some
Modern Orthodox Jews have been known to question whether it is
historically valid, and almost all non-Orthodox Jews discount it
entirely as myth and legend.

But more than that, even coming from the view that Purim obviously
happened as the Megillah describes, learning something about the events
surrounding it can really enhance our celebration of Purim.  Make it
much more vivid and real.



From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 11:17:32 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Rabbi Jacob Kret, zt"l

Rabbi Jacob Kret, one of the last surviving pre-war Eastern European
roshei yeshiva and rabbi emeritus of the Old Broadway Synagogue in
Harlem, passed away this morning.  He was 97 years old.

Rabbi Kret grew up in Poland, where he studied and eventually taught the
second highest shiur at the Bialystoker Yeshiva. Among his rebbeim was
the Steipler Gaon.  He also spent shabbos with the Chafetz Chaim, who
gave him a blessing of long life.  He later established his own yeshiva
in his home town of Ostrow Mazowiecki, near Warsaw.  After the Nazi
invasion of Poland, he was arrested by the Soviet authorities while
smuggling his student into Russia, and was sent to Siberia.  There he
met and married his wife, Chana, who survives him.  After the war,
nearly his entire family having been murdered by the Nazis, he made his
way to occupied Germany, where he established a yeshiva for survivors.
In 1948, he came to New York City, obtaining the position at Old
Broadway (which remains the last functioning shul in Harlem) through the
efforts of Rav Henkin, zt"l.  He would remain there for 48 years, also
ministering as rebbe and posek to generations of students at Columbia
and the Jewish Theological Seminary, introducing many to Orthodox
Judaism, despite offers of more prestigious employment.

In addition to his wife, Rabbi Kret is survived by two children, 8
grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchldren.


From: <skyesyx@...>
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 05:59:45 -0500
Subject: Talking during Davening

How about making shul more interesting?  My experience in MO shuls has
been anything but positive.  Everything is fine until you get to kedusha
or layning/reading the Torah (depending on the chazan).  Then it starts
getting shleppy.  Once you get to psichah (taking the Torah out) the
davening turns interminable.  What with the misheberachs, speeches, kel
malehs, etc. By musaf you are just itching to get out of there.  (You
are sitting next to a friend you haven't seen all week; why shouldn't
you talk to him?)  But wait!  Then you have a president's announcements,
Adon Olam, and whatnot.  This does not inspire anything other than
tardiness and lack of decorum, to say the least.


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Feb 2007 08:23:54 -0500
Subject: Talking in shul

>   A shul is NOT the beit hamikdash and mystical speculation about God's
> immanence aside, I don't believe hakadosh baruch hu is more "present" in
> a shul than anywhere else.  A shul is a place where people convene to
> fulfill the mitzvot of tefila, kriat hatorah, etc - I'm not saying there
> is not kedusha in a shul but that does not mean that God is any more
> present there than anywhere else.
> -Eitan

I suggest listening to this shiur by R. H Reichman - What you present as
a fact is actually a difference of opinion amongst the poskim.

As to the whole issue of prayer and talking I suggest reading the
recently published "Days of Deliverance"" by R' JB Soloveitchik ZT"L -
in particular P 43-46 which imho explains talking in shul and why
shushers won't work. Allow me to quote the first line of the section "A
Prayerful Life"

"However, prayer is not a recital only; it is more than that. It is a
world outlook and a way of life as well, a service of the heart"

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 19:15:09 -0500
Subject: True smicha

The gemara in horiyot 2b describes ben zoma as a talmid raui lhoraah
(student worthy of providing judgment).  The commentaries discuss why he
never got smicha even though there was none like him in torah. The beer
sheva says it's because he died young..  Is anyone aware of a source
that someone would not be eligible for smicha, even thought he was gamir
vsavir (knows and can use logic to apply) simply due to age?  If so, how
did "harei ani kben shivim shanah" work for an 18 year old?

Joel Rich


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2007 06:50:34 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: update to the bus beating story

> [The full story does not appear to be available as an available link via
> the Mishpacha web site, but only as a paid download. See
> http://mishpacha.com/indexes/1/145/. As such, I have just included a few
> of the paragraphs that I think are most relevant to the discussion at
> hand. Mod.]
> Knowing our Limits
> by Jonathan Rosenblum
> Mishpacha
> February 7, 2007

A full free link to this article is on the Jewish Media Resources

[Thanks Hillel! I think the article is worth reading. Mod.]

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: <azqbng@...> (Baruch C. Cohen)
Date: Wed, 07 Feb 2007 07:36:51 -0500
Subject: Vomitting and Bentsching

It is my understanding that the Halachic obligation to Bentsch Birchas
Hamazon (Grace after Meals) is based on the Posuk in the Torah:
"VeAchalta Vesavata Uveirachacha" / ... and you shall eat, be satisfied
and bless. Further, it is my understanding that the time period for
Bentsching after eating is approximately 72 minutes, because that is the
period of time for food to be properly digested within the body. My
assumption is, therfore, that Bentsching is predicated on Seviah -
digestion, and not necessarily the Achilah - eating, since it is the
72-minute period of digestion that controls when one Bentschs. In
support of my assumption, I recall learning that during our 40-year
sojourn in the desert before entering Eretz Yisroel, while Hashem fed us
the Mon, that while we ate it, it absorbed into our bodies immediately
thereafter, in essence - dissolved, so the Mon never actually entered
our digestive systems, we therefore didn't need to defecate the digested
waste, and we therefore did not need to Bentsch.  I cannot recall the
source or the accuracy of the Mon vis-a-vis our digestive system and our
obligation to Bentsch, and would appreciate you pointing it out to
me. What would be the Halacha if someone ate, but then threw up his
food. Would he still have to Bentsch Birchas Hamazon? Again, I'm
assuming that his throwing up the food demonstrates that he never really
digested the food, and therefore would not have to Bentsch. I'm hoping
that you can direct me to the actual citation in Halacha on this point.

Baruch C. Cohen, Esq.
Los Angeles, CA


End of Volume 54 Issue 2