Volume 54 Number 75
                    Produced: Sun May 27 10:05:43 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

bicycle vs tricycle on shabbat
         [David Curwin]
Bimah in Shul vs. Beis Medrash
         [David E Cohen]
Chalav Yisrael
         [Joel Rich]
Confluence of Psychotherapy and the Rise
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Cost of Synagogue Membership (3)
         [Kenneth H. Ryesky, Carl Singer, Harlan Braude]
Married Women and Hair Covering (3)
         [Carl Singer, Shayna Kravetz, Akiva Miller]
Rise and Fall of the Bima (2)
         [SBA, Jonathan Baker]
Turning for L'Cha Dodi
         [Shayna Kravetz]


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 12:33:40 +0300
Subject: bicycle vs tricycle on shabbat

In Shmirat Shabbat K'Hilchata (16:17) it says that riding a bicycle on
Shabbat is forbidden, but a tricycle is permitted. Does anyone know the
reason for the distinction?


David Curwin
Balashon - Hebrew Language Detective


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 16:21:39 +0300
Subject: Bimah in Shul vs. Beis Medrash

In my experience, nearly all permanent main sanctuaries of shuls have a
raised bimah, while most batei midrash do not.

I once heard an explanation of this along the following lines:

In a shul, the bimah is raised in order to give special honor to the
Torah, which is read from there.  In a beis medrash, however, the Torah
is being read (studied) throughout the room, so the entire room is the



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 09:37:28 -0400
Subject: Chalav Yisrael

Does anyone have any practical knowledge of exactly what level of
supervision takes place in chalav yisrael (what is the mashgiach's
involvement/view from the time the cows are being brought in to be
milked to the time the container is sealed?)

Joel Rich


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 09:20:19 -0500
Subject: Re: Confluence of Psychotherapy and the Rise

Responding to Irwin E. Weiss, Esquire <irwin@...>'s post of Tue, 15
May 2007 07:13:35 -0400:
>I had heard once that one of the reasons that the Bimah was raised, was
>based upon the verse, "Min Ha'Metzer Karati Kah".  (Out of my depths I
>called upon the L-rd").  That is, the Kahal (Congregation) would be
>below (depths) the Bimah.... In the movie "The Sixth Sense", the young
>boy is in church at the beginning of the movie and reading Latin
>phrases, one of which was this same verse translated into Latin.  (I
>can't recall the Latin, sorry).

The verse is very well known in both its Latin and English forms to the
literate Christian (and, of course, known to atheists and others too).

"De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine."
"Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord."

Indeed, "de profundis" is a latinism that has been adapted into English
to refer to a mood of deep sadness or depression.

Have a cheesy and studious Shavu'ot.
Shayna in Toronto
Omer Day 49 -- ta-da!


From: Kenneth H. Ryesky <khresq@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 09:45:21 -0400
Subject: Cost of Synagogue Membership

Carl Singer lists, in 54:73, a bushel basked of 10 "shoulds" as
imponderables in determining how the cost of operating a synagogue is
funded.  To which I will add an 11th:

Should the regular participants be required to foot the added expense of
a large edifice to accommodate those participants who only show up on
the Yom Tovim?

-- Ken Ryesky
E-Mail:  <khresq@...>

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 19:45:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Cost of Synagogue Membership

Kenneth H. Ryesky, Esq. wrote:
[See above]

Asked that way, of course not.  But then let's ask should the synagogue
be built to accomodate only the current weekday / shabbos membership.
Should it be built in such as way that it can handle Yom Tov peak crowds
-- are there Yom Tov peaks.

In the last three synaogues that I've belonged on the men's side of the
mechitzah the normal Shabbos crowd is perhaps 80 to 90% that of the Yom
Tov crowd.  The difference being adult children and grandchildren coming
home to their parents for Yom Tov.  Few and far between are the people
who are locals who attend only on Yom Tov.

This clearly does not reflect everyone's experience and every synagogue.

Some synagogues build a social hall in such a manner that it can open up
into the sanctuary to accomodate large crowds.  Others hold multiple
services, in multiple rooms.

Being crowded is a wonderful "problem" for synagogues.


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 22:29:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Cost of Synagogue Membership

In mail-jewish Vol. 54 #73, Carl Singer wrote....

> 4 - should fees be based on ability to pay?  (i.e. marginal expendable
> income.)
> 5 - should fees be based on income and family size?
> ...
> 8 - should there be non-financial forms of payment required of all (or
> some) members re: working for the synagogue (clean up, tutoring,
> baby-sitting during services?)
> 9 - should those determining how much someone should pay look at their
> lifestyle? -- Does it matter that the person pays tuition?  Does it
> matter that the person goes to a hotel for Pesach?  Does it matter that
> this person drives a new car?  Or has a maid / gardener, etc.?
> ...
> What is fair?   Does "fair" matter?

All great questions that apply to schools as well as synagogues, though
our attitude toward the two institutions differs. I introduce that
connection because most of the same questions have been addressed by

I think questions 4 & 5 are fundamentally the same and one's ability to
pay is a factor difficult to ignore. Question #9 is a leap in the
direction toward answering 4 & 5. However, it's a fairly touchy subject.

Education of their children is accepted by parents I know as a necessity
and not something they feel qualified to arrange independent of an
accredited school (though I do know a couple who do home education for
their kids).  When it comes to synagogues, however, people seem to feel
more confident in their ability to organize - and to finance - one that
suits their needs.  Hence, a synagogue is in a far more vulnerable
position than a school. That limits the control a synagogue can exert
upon it's constituents. As funding strategies approach "my way or the
highway", people are more likely to choose the highway in the case of a

Of course, branching off to set up a new synagogue in response to
fund-raising strategies employed by the old synagogue begs the question
of how to fund the new synagogue.

There are halachos that address the financial obligation of people in a
town to support a synagogue, though I don't know how these halachos
apply to a town where multiple synagogues operate in parallel (recently,
I was told by the gabbai of a synagogue I belong to that there are now
18 synagogues in my town. Wow!)  So, in such a town where there isn't
enough money to fund a particular synagogue (regardless of the reason
behind the shortfall), there may not be much one can do unless the
people are both financially capable and committed to the institution.


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 18:21:39 -0400
Subject: Married Women and Hair Covering

Times have changed.

I know the son of one very chosev Rabbi (a man of ww-II vintage) who
tells me his mother only started to cover her hair in the 1950's.  No
absolute statement is correct without specificity to time, locale and

Gut Yom Tov,


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 09:45:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Married Women and Hair Covering

>From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Wise)
>I found his slur on the Lithuanian Jews quite shocking and unacceptable.
>My grandmothers and great-grandmothers came from Lithuania and all
>covered their hair. I have photos of one wearing a sheitel and her
>husband was not a rabbi. When one libels a whole kehilla - it is not
>easy to repent (see Maimonides).
>Rabbi Wise

Dear Rabbi Wise,

My personal experience is other than yours, and I'm not sure that my
family (Litvaks all the way back, as far as I know) has been libelled by
the earlier post.

My parents A"H both came from tiny villages not far from Bialystok, my
father received his smichah from a rav in Poland before WWII, he and my
mother were married there, he served only in Orthodox pulpits as a rabbi
in North America, and she /never/ wore a sheitel or a tichel.  I have a
photograph of them as young marrieds in Poland and she's wearing a
charming little hat (with a feather ;-) ) perched at a 45-degree angle
atop her head that comes nowhere near to covering her head or her hair.
She would wear a hat going downtown but I suspect (with the wisdom of
hindsight) that this had more to do with the civil social conventions of
how a lady dressed than with halachah.  Around our house, she would have
her hair uncovered -- even if we had non-family visitors.  When lighting
candles and in shul, of course, she wore a hat or a lace mantilla but
the hats often did not cover all or even most of her hair. I have no
recollection of this being seen as inadequate or a way station on a path
to more thorough hair-covering methods.

In all respects (I nearly wrote "in all /other/ respects"), they were
Orthodox -- Modern Orthodox (whatever that means) but Orthodox

Kol tuv

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 10:58:26 GMT
Subject: Re: Married Women and Hair Covering

Orrin Tilevitz wrote:
> I should also point that the wife of one figure who is widely believed
> to be the greatest rabbi of the 20th century reputedly did not cover
> her hair and, when asked about it, the rabbi is reported to have said
> "I wouldn't divorce her for it", which response essentially negates
> the conclusion that the wife was "overet al dat yehudit."

I feel that the rabbi's response does NOT negate the conclusion that the
wife was "overet al dat yehudit." I have heard that story many times,
and to me, all it shows is that the rabbi loved his wife very much.

It is my understanding that if a wife commits an act which is "overet al
dat yehudit", the husband is *allowed* to divorce her, and she forfeits
her kesuba. But I do not recall hearing that he is *obligated* to
divorce her, in which case that story does not prove anything about the
issues at hand.

Akiva Miller


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 23:14:45 +1000
Subject: Rise and Fall of the Bima

From: Andy Goldfinger
> Here, in Baltimore, the Agudath Israel shul has a sunken "amud."
> Rabbi Heineman holds that the person leading the dovening should be at
> a lower level than the congregants. (Mi Ma'amakim Karasi Kah --- ...
> The main shul was built with a "davening pit" in which the baal
> tefiloh stands.  The older,..a removable wooden "hatch" that uncovers
> the floor so the baal tefiloh can be slightly lower than the rest of
> the room.  Do any of the readers know of other shuls that have similar
> arrangements?

Debrecin, 16th Ave in Boro Park.

BTW, loshon Chazal and Shulchan Aruch about the Shatz being 'yored'
lifnei hateiva, refers to this.


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 09:54:06 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Rise and Fall of the Bima

R' Gershon Dubin corrects me on Chaim Berlin: they have a bima, it is
portable, but it's not put away more than a few times a year.

Orrin avi Harris Tilevitz asks about the "sunken Bima".

I've been to one shul here in Flatbush that has this.  I don't know if
it's directly because of "mimaamakim keraticha" or the Talmudic
description of "yordim lifnei hateivah" (they go down before the Ark).

In R' Aharon Kahn's shul on E. 17th off of J, there's a small area one
step down from the floor, in front of the aron, which has a shtender;
this is where most of the services are led from.  There is also a bima,
a platform one step up, from which they read the Torah.

I haven't seen their new building, but I imagine it will have a similar

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


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 08:53:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Turning for L'Cha Dodi

Responding to Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>'s post of Mon, 14 May 2007
14:37:17 -0400:

>> From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>

>> What they are actually doing?  Turning away from the Torah to greet
>> an abstraction.
>> Does an abstraction need a door?
>And what, exactly, is the Torah if not an abstraction?  The Torah is dye
>on parchment that only has understood meaning, in the images and
>thoughts that its words invoke because they were given by G-d.  One can
>make an idol of the the Torah just as one can of a door.

Which is why the moment of "Gadlu la-shem iti" seems to me so crucial in
the Torah service.  At that moment, in the tefilah with which I am
familiar, the person /holding the Torah/ bows -- thus emphasizing that
it is not the material object of parchment and ink which is the real
object of our respect but rather its Source.

Kol tuv and have a cheesy and studious Shavu'ot.

Shayna in Toronto
Omer Day 49 -- at last!


End of Volume 54 Issue 75