Volume 54 Number 58
                    Produced: Thu Apr 12  4:47:27 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Am I growing shorter?
         [Michael Gerver]
Conservative Responsa
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Copyright Law and Learning
         [Elliott Hershkowitz]
Drug abuse (and depression) in the frum community
         [Rise  Goldstein]
Gezel Akum
         [David Neuman]
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Luchos mentioned
         [Sammy Finkelman]
Torah Centered Judaism
         [Alan Rubin]
         [Andy Goldfinger]


From: Michael Gerver <mjgerver@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2007 19:13:01 +0200
Subject: Am I growing shorter?

Menachem Petrushka writes, in v54n34,

      The truth is that Carl is growing shorter. Studies have shown that
      men shrink an average of 3/8 of an inch every five years after
      30. Some men in their nineties still are wearing the tsitsis that
      they had since their marriage.  A man at approximately 44 would be
      an inch shorter than at 30, at 57 he would be 2 inches shorter,
      etc, Therefore a shift to the right might not be the explanation
      for Carl Singer's dragging fringes.

I'm 57, and I just measured myself. I have only shrunk one inch since I
was 30, from 5'10" to 5'9". I guess I'm doing better than average.

But I don't see how anyone in his nineties could be wearing the same
tallis he got when he was married, unless he hardly ever wears it. I'm
on my third tallis already. They seem to last about 12 years before they
get worn out.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 03:45:54 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Conservative Responsa

>From me:

<The issue here was not sifrei torah but Conservative responsa.  It is
quite ok to learn Torah from an apikores>

>From Dr. Josh Backton:

<I see Mr. Tilevitz didn't see my recent post. Since there are so many
egregious errors in what he writes above, I will take the liberty of
reposting and adding some further material: . . .>

As to Josh's rhetorical question about whether I want to learn from
Apikorsim, R. Meir did.

The rest of his post, which asserts that mine is riddled with errors,
seems to prove only, without doubt, that sifrei torah written by
apikorsim or minim are either destroyed or hidden.  For present purposes
it doesn't matter which, because I asserted only that I knew of no
halachic basis to destroy books, not sifrei torah, written by such
people.  It seems improbable that the halacha requires 99% of the books
in a public library, or most school libraries, to be destroyed.


From: <eeh43@...> (Elliott Hershkowitz)
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:29:09 -0400
Subject: Copyright Law and Learning

Photocopying the Artscroll for the text is just a matter of laziness
since there are several public domain sources including
http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/t/t0.htm.  Photocopying the rest of the
page to obtain translations, citations, etc. is taking their work
without permission.

Elliott Hershkowitz


From: Rise  Goldstein <goldsteinrb@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 06:05:42 -0400
Subject: Drug abuse (and depression) in the frum community

Mark Symons wrote in his very cogent and eloquent response to
Dr. Hendel's assertions that drug abuse and depression reflect, in
various ways and to various extents, religious and spiritual
deficiencies in the affected individuals:

> What is your evidence for this? On the other hand, there is good
> evidence that loss of a parent early in life, a family history of
> depression, increase the risk of depression later in life. Marriage
> reduces the incidence of depression in men, not necessarily in women.

Dr. Symons also wrote:

> Why should going to the doctor be seen as a last resort?


> Why is coming off medication regarded as such a positive thing? Too
> many times patients with depression discontinue their medication
> prematurely and relapse. [...]  There is good evidence that various
> antidepressant medications, ECT (EST), psychotherapy, exercise, bright
> light treatment can cure/control depression. I am not aware of
> evidence that praying, doing chesed or chicken soup can also do this.

First of all, I thank Dr. Symons for articulating the points I wanted to
articulate and doing it much more eloquently than I would have done.  As
an epidemiologist and health services researcher specializing in mental
illness and substance abuse disorders, however, I would add one point.
Developing and exercising prosocial middot, including by doing hesed, is
not anything we want to discourage.  However, to the extent that such
middot appear to be protective against either drug abuse or (to a lesser
extent, based on the research literature) depression, this association
probably reflects shared propensities, which the research evidence
suggests to be substantially but not completely heritable, toward both
less desirable middot, including antisocial behavior, and toward the
mental disorders at issue.

 While I'm at it, I would like to respond respectfully to one point in
Izzy's poignant post, concerning his determination to avoid strong
("narcotic," including morphine and other opioids) painkillers in the
face of a painful medical condition because of his prior addictive
history.  Obviously, I'm not a physician and don't play one either on or
off the TV :-).  I also don't know the details of Izzy's personal case.
Nevertheless, the available evidence base speaks well to several
important general points here.  Anyone who wishes a bibliography on any
of these points is welcome to request one from me by private e-mail.

 First, inadequately controlled pain is itself a serious, potentially
lifethreatening, medical problem.  It interferes with wound healing
after traumatic injury and surgery and slows down recovery from acute
medical insults like heart attacks; more generally, without getting into
all the biologic detail, it's a major "drag" on the body's normal
physiologic processes.  Second, nonopioid analgesics like Motrin carry
their own serious medical risks, some of which are *much* more serious
than the remote risk of addiction to properly prescribed and medicinally
used opioids, including bleeding from the digestive tract and damage to
heart, liver, and kidneys.  Moreover, depending on the type and source
of the pain, they may well be much less effective analgesics than
opioids. Third, it is now clear that even many patients with histories
of substance use disorders who have painful medical conditions *can*
have their pain treated with opioid analgesics and *not* inevitably
relapse to addiction.  Clearly, in these cases, consultations between
pain specialists and addiction medicine specialists are critically
important; equally clearly, patients have to be carefully monitored and
analgesics appropriately chosen (e.g., long-acting, slow-onset
preparations in preference to short-acting, rapid-onset ones) and

 Nevertheless, one should not *automatically* "say no to [opioid] drugs"
that are medically prescribed for a seriously painful condition, absent
a careful evaluation of risks and benefits with medical experts, in the
face of a past history of addiction, especially if the patient is in a
long-term stable recovery and, depending on individual circumstances,
*perhaps* even if the patient is *not* in a long-term stable recovery
MERITS).  Qal vahomer (how much more so), the general populace should
not eschew appropriate pain relief, and physicians should not withhold
appropriate pain relief, based on *fear* that a patient will become
addicted.  Apart from the risks attributable to undertreated and
inadequately controlled pain, the best available evidence is that
genuine cases of iatrogenic addiction, i.e., addiction that *began* with
a medically appropriate prescription by a physician for analgesics in
the presence of a severely painful injury or illness, especially when
there is neither personal history nor family history of substance use
disorders, nor of serious, persistent antisocial behavior, is very

Rise Goldstein (<goldsteinrb@...>)
Silver Spring, MD 


From: David Neuman <daveselectric@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 06:29:34 -0500
Subject: Gezel Akum

> Regarding Meir Shinnar's post that:
>> Recently, R David Cohen, a well known major posek, came as a scholar
>> in residence to Teaneck, and talked at length about how gezel akum
>> and cheating and stealing from the government and nonjews is
>> perfectly mutar if one can get away with it - and yet he is still
>> considered a major posek with no wide outrage. After all, he is a
>> posek...
> Was there any listmember at this talk of RD Cohen?

I had a friend who is a Talmid of HaRav Cohen discuss this posting with
HaRav Cohen.  HaRav Cohen was upset with the posting and states that he
has did not say this.


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:37:44 -0400
Subject: Infertility

Jackie Horowitz writes:

"One of these challenges, which one of every six couples deals with, is

I was shocked when I first learned just how common infertility is.  It
is a private problem and just about everyone reading this list has
friends who have experienced this pain, even though the reader may not
know it.  And -- it is pain.  Especially in the observant community,
where family life is a primary goal and value, the hidden suffering
experienced by infertile couples can be devestating.

There are things that can be done to help.  I know of cases in which
brachos from Gedolim or other tephillos have been effective.  However,
we are commanded not to rely on miracles but to use whatever medical
expertise exists in our generation.  Nowadays, there are many medical
interventions that can be used.  Some are inconvenient, such as women
who must inject themselves with medications, and others are extremely
expensive.  A single cycle of In Virto Fertilization (IVF) can cost
$15,000 or more, and several cycles may be needed.

It is this last sentence that I want to stress.  ATIME is an excellent
organization and it has helped countless couples through fertility
treatments, counseling, support, and very well attended Shabbatons.
However: THEY NEED MONEY.  Their work is of the highest importance, but
it is expensive.

Note: I have ABSOLUTELY NO asssociation with ATIME -- I just have
friends who have experienced the hidden pain.

Here is the ATIME  web site. 


-- Andy Goldfinger


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Mar 07 06:22:00 -0400
Subject: Luchos mentioned

Russell Jay Hendel writes on Rashi to Shemos 25:2 where Rashi says the
"13" items that are mentioned in this inyan (at the beginning of Parshas
Terumah) were all needed to make the Mishkan or the Bigdei Kehuna
(priestly garments) - and yet when you count the number of items listed,
there are 15 different things to donate listed.

The Slibermann Rashi in a note on page 258 (note 2 to page 132) says
that Mizrachi says taht the Techoles, and Argaman, and Talashos Shani
are counted as one item by Rashi since they are all made of wool. the
Shach says that the last two items (stones) are not being counted by
Rashi since they were in the end donated by teh Nesiim (I don't know who
these commentators are)

Silberman notes that if the Nesiim is the reaosn we should also subtract
the spices. He gives this explanation:

Mirachi misunderstood Rashi. It is not "the" 13 articles bu 13 articles.
The Torah specifies the reason for 4 of them. It does not say where 11
were used. Rashi is simply telling us, taht if you look carefully you
will see 13 items were used for the purposes he mentions. (Two it is
clear are not, but Rashi is only explaining what might not be completely

>In commenting on the other explanations: I would point out that the OIL
>and SPICES were NEEDED for the temple construction. For example the
>MISHKAN had to be annointed with OIL at the time of construction (See
>Ex40-09). One COULD even argue that although the OFFERING of incense
>was not part of the TEMPLE construction the CREATION of INCENSE (to be
>deposited in Temple storage bins) was part of the construction.


Weren't these Incense a special one timer by Moshe? In which case,
according to this train of thought, shouldn't the Luchos been mentioned
as well as they were needed to be placed in the Aron?


Not the Luchos - they were not made by Bezalel nor were they from
anything donated. They definitely don't belong in that list. To hold
them was the main purpose of the Aron. The luchos existed before
construction of the Mishkan began.

The Luchos are mentioned in connection with putting together the Mishkan
as the "Edus": Shemos 25:16, 31:7, 40:20.


From: Alan Rubin <alanrubin1@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 11:29:34 +0100
Subject: Re: Torah Centered Judaism

Russell Jay Hendel wrote:
> IN ALL legal systems parents have a right to hit their children.

Not in all, with year law enacted

Austria (1989), Bulgaria (2000) Croatia (1999), Cyprus (1994), Denmark
(1997), Finland (1983), Germany (2000), Hungary (2004) Iceland (2003),
Israel (2000), Latvia (1998), Norway (1987), Romania (2004) and Sweden

Alan Rubin


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 08:12:38 -0400
Subject: Translation

Orrin Telivitz writes:

> De gustibus non est disputandum (a phrase I need not translate, under
> Avi's rules, because it's Latin, not Hebrew), and anyway chazal viewed
> matzah--lechem oni, or poor bread--as inferior to real bread."

I will translate it:
Taam V'Reach Ayn L'Hitvakeach

[but now you do trigger my requirement to translate further, and as you
have not, I will have to do it :-) - On matters of taste (and smell) one
should not dispute. Mod.] 

Andrew D. Goldfinger


End of Volume 54 Issue 58