Volume 56 Number 40
                    Produced: Tue Sep  9  5:27:08 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Blessing for the Head of State (3)
         [Russell J Hendel, Stuart Feldhamer, Ben Katz]
Haredi Hashkafa and Science
Hatam Sofer
A plurality of customs
         [David Ziants]
         [Richard Dine]
Prayer for the Country
         [Martin Stern]
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Ultra Orthodox hashakfa
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
Wearing Tzitzis at Night
         [Shimon Lebowitz]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 12:20:16 -0400
Subject: Blessing for the Head of State

In passing, there was a presentation on this very issue at the Midwest
Jewish Studies Conference some years ago. I have my notes. A collection
of prayers in various countires. The author went throught the
commonalities and details. I haven't checked but the abstract or program
may still be up on the internet.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/

From: Stuart Feldhamer <stuart.feldhamer@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 10:46:31 -0400
Subject: RE: Blessing for the Head of State

> From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
> I've always presumed that the authority behind this prayer is from
> Pirkei Avos 3:2 -- "Pray for the welfare of the kingdom, for if not for
> the fear of it, each person would swallow his neighbor alive."
> ...
> Can anyone offer a little more history about the development of this
> prayer? (I sure hope I don't end up finding out that Pirkei Avos has
> nothing to do with it, and that the prayer was simply written to
> placate or impress someone.)

See Yirmiyahu 29:7.


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 09:17:40 -0500
Subject: RE: Blessing for the Head of State

> From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
> Can anyone offer a little more history about the development of this
> prayer?

Praying for the welfare of the government is based on a verse in
Jeremiah when the remaining community goes down to Egypt.  See the note
in Birnbaum's siddur.


From: <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 15:54:16 +0000
Subject: Haredi Hashkafa and Science

Akiva, Sorry i was insufficeintly clear, but please reread carefully.  i
said EXPLICITLY around the spring/ fall in the middle east when
describing the source for 72/90 minutes. TO QUOTE : "...are (an
adjusted) 72 and 90 minutes before sunrise (accurate only in the
spring/fall in the Middle east.)"  clearly it varies by season/day and
latitude, but that was not what i was writing about.  I covered those
important variations in a set of lenghty exchanges about 9 months ago on
mail-jewish, discussing in particular the winter time when many make
some errors.

i am well aware of multiple secular definitions of twilight; HOWEVER the
only one EVER proposed in halakha to correspond to alot hashachar AMONG
those THREE is 18 degrees and it was that, that I was referencing.  If
you know of any one suggesting 6 or 12, pls send me a reference; i do
not think you will find one from a reputable source.  6 and 12 may have
other application, but that is a story for a different day and hardly
clear.  What type of instrument? give me a break; this is not
mail-astronomy.  Clearly, halakha assumes the naked eye!

If you just look at the tables you kindly produced you will note that
the times around the equinox in jerusalem and bahgdad is 82 and 83
minutes close to the 80 i used as an approximation. Using a smaller
angle as you suggest is obvioulsy OK and that is how the normal 72
minute shittah is defended.  In fact 72 minutes corresponds to 16.1
degrees that is used by almost all internet sites and supported by many
POSKIM.  it is clear that halakha often chooses to disregard very minute
quantities, especially those not visible to the naked eye, as the amount
of light at 18 degrees.  72 minutes fits that pattern and is a strong
reason to support that shittah in halakha.

all of this is accurate, but irrelevant to my point.  My point was about
this sefer's evaluation of 90 minutes.  the sefer invalidated it to be
used leKula based on being TOO EARLY.  IF the most extreme scientific
definition gets to 80 or 83 minutes, then you need either to disprove
the observation, which no one has, the amount of light at that time and
certainly at 90 minutes is not visible to the naked eye, OR come up with
a different rationale for the 90 minute halakha.  I can easily
rationalize 90 minutes, as i suspect many who know the rishonim on this
topic, can as well.  the author did NOT - he chose to rely on the
science.  that was my point.


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 01:19:13 +1000
Subject: Hatam Sofer

>From: Frank Silbermann 
>> Eric Grosser asks about the psak of the Hatam Sofer, and how it 
>> relates to a specific worldview To my mind the Hatam Sofer is a very 
>> specific historic case.
>>.. His well known expression was "Hadash assur min haTorah"
>>(lit. Innovation is prohibited by Torah law).
>A local rabbi who says he's a direct descendant of the Hatam Sofer told us
>in a shir that that expression "Hadash assur min haTora" was merely a
>whimsical response to a specific proposed innovation.

Whimsical? Very far from it.

He writes it at least 7 times in his Teshuvos.  He definitely meant it.



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 14:20:18 +0300
Subject: RE: A plurality of customs

With regards to Eitan's remark on my posting, I don't mention here any
names of specific communities and so don't see how this could insult or
potentially shame anyone.

In a previous posting I mention "where I grew up in the UK" also without
mentioning a specific name of a community. There were at least four
orthodox shuls within walking distance from where we lived in London
more than 30 years ago. I also lived in other parts of London when I was
a student. There might be a few people who follow this list who know or
remember me personally and thus know which shuls I went to at different
periods 30 years ago and more, but I doubt my talking about specific
customs (and it is not the first time I have done so on this list) can
embarrass anyone because whether ideal or not ideal, they were followed
widely and no individual can be pin-pointed.

I also mentioned a specific synagogue organization, to which some of the
shuls I have frequented belong to. I remember that some of the Rabbannim
put lots of effort in building up these communities spiritually using
the resources that they had. It mustn't be forgotten that one of the
first priorities that the communities had to address was to build a
social setting for young people so that they would not fall into
intermarriage (lo alainu). Occasionally looking at the web sites, I see
that these shuls are continuing to grow and flourish (and b"h the aliya
rate from these shuls also grows) and would not put them into the
category "where Jewish learning is/was not so strong". These communities
are also ridding themselves of some of the archaicness that has nothing
to do with halacha or Jewish custom that was prevalent in Anglo-Jewry
one or two generations ago.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel

From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
> > I now think that I answer part of my own question here
> > concerning certain types of communities where a lot of people
> > answered whereas in others they did not:-
> >
> > Those communities where Jewish learning is strong, the habit
> > of answering BHUV"Sh in a place where hefsek is not allowed
> > has now been obliterated as the individuals have a strong
> > will to do everything correctly.
> >
> > The communities where Jewish learning is/was not so strong,
> > people continued following force of habit, not even
> > necessarily knowing that what they are/were doing is not
> > halachikally acceptable (hoping this premise is now proven).
> > In these communities, it might take another generation for
> > the error to disappear, as the individuals in the next
> > generation, who hold onto their Judaism, tend to be more
> > knowledgeable.

From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
>> As an aside, AFAIK even if one says "baruch hu u'baruch shmo" during a
>> beracha which has daat to be yotzei (e.g., kiddush), one is still
>> yotzei.  While I'd agree this is not a practice that one should
>> advocate, among the transgressions that need be stamped out in our
>> community, one would have to put this pretty low on the priority
>> list. And I think the issurim involved in insulting and potentially
>> shaming individuals and communities who engage in this recitation are
>> more problematic than the practice itself.


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 14:34:47 -0400
Subject: Podcasts

Avi: Let me add to the chorus of "welcome backs" you have deservedly
received.  I am so glad to see Mail.Jewish again.  I have two separate

Podcast Question: While there has been some discussion of Jewish blogs,
I would like to open a discussion on Podcasts and other audio available
for the ipod.  What sites, programs, do people like best?  So far I have
found Pardes.org has a good Parashat Hashavuah podcast in English and
Keshet has one that I can more-or-less understand in Hebrew (the problem
being my Hebrew not Keshet's quality).  What else worth listening to is
out there, in either English or Hebrew?  And not just Parashat
Hashavuah.  Thanks.

History Question: We all know that the numbered paragraph divisions were
developed in the Middle Ages by the Christians, and often do not follow
the logical breaks of traditional Jewish interpretation.  Does anyone
know why no Jewish printer offered up a "Jewish" version of the Chapter
breaks (or did someone do so)?  Koren tried several years ago but the
Christian system is so prevalent now that it is unlikely something like
it could take hold.  The historical background would be of interest.

Avi, thanks again and welcome back.   Richard Dine


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 08 Sep 2008 14:53:43 +0100
Subject: Prayer for the Country

After the end of WW1 and the establishment of the Weimar republic,
German Jewry realised that the traditional prayer for the state
"Hanotein teshua lamelachim ..." was no longer appropriate and a new
version more suited for republics was composed. It can be found in the
siddurim published at that time and is to be found in those published
today in Switzerland where, presumably, it is still used. It did not
catch on at first but after 1933, its reference to "a thousand years in
Your sight are as a passing day" rendered it much more popular to those
forced to endure life under the "Tausend-jaehrige Reich" which B"H only
lasted 12 years in the end.

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 15:22:17 +0300
Subject: Shay'mes

Our Jerusalem Shul has a large metal receptacle for used Torah papers,
commonly known as Shay'mes. In the receptacle is a small square opening
for Tefillin that are no longer usable, but a note above the square
opening states clearly that it is "only for the Shel Rosh" boxes. Does
anyone know why there should be such a limitation?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 18:26:05 +0300
Subject: Ultra Orthodox hashakfa

>    Do you still use a separate fork for fish and meat? This is
>based on faulty medicine.

Not so fast :-)

There actually **is** an adverse affect between stearic acid (in beef)
and omega-3 in fish inducing lipid peroxidation and formation of free

EATING MEAT WITH FISH: the danger of eating both together is mentioned
in the gemara in Pesachim 76b and in the TUR YD 116 and YD 116:2 with
the danger in inducing TZARAAT (which some scholars have linked with
modern day psoriasis).

Recent research has found that stearic acid found in beef may actually
lower LDL cholesterol (see: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
1994;60 (Suppl): 1044s ). On the other hand, fish contains
eicosapentaenoic acid which has been found (paradoxically) to INCREASE
lipid peroxidation (J Invest Dermatology 1994;103:151; Intl J Vitamin
Nutrition Res 1994;64: 144; Journal of Nutrition 1992;122:2190; Journal
of Lipid Research 1991; 32:79). In addition, there may be an interaction
in the liver (P450) between stearic acid and eicosapentaenoic acid.
There is extensive literature on fish oil induced diabetes (probably in
the situation when fish is eaten with meat).

[This came out about 20 years ago when the first reports on fish oil
came out. It seems that only 3 out of 12 (??) Eskimo tribes actually ate
marine blubber exclusively and the positive findings were derived from
these tribes. When the other 9 (?) tribes were examined, the positive
effects of fish oil were much lower and one of the reasons posited was
their eating fish AND meat together]

In psoriasis there's: increased lipogenesis, increased susceptibility to
diabetes, increased tendency to thrombosis, and elevated plasma lipid

So please, let's not ridicule what Chazal wrote about eating fish with
meat !

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2008 00:19:07 +0300
Subject: Re: Wearing Tzitzis at Night

> Many long years ago, in my single days, I dated a girl who suspected
> that I was not quite religious enough for her. Finally, after many
> dates, she put me to the test: She casually, I thought lovingly, ran her
> hand over my back, but not so innocently after all. She was feeling for
> my tsitsis, and failing to find them, she confronted me. I protested
> that it was nightime, and that it was not required that I wear them at
> night, but alas, to no avail. Our romance was doomed. I was crushed,
> but, in retrospect, although I might have been right halachicaly, she
> was probably right hashkaphicaly.

Well, I don't know about her tzitzis hashkafa, but obviously she thought
*you* wearing tzitzis was more important than *her* refraining from
casually, or possibly lovingly, running her hands over you.  Maybe she
should have been told "Tol korah mibein einecha"?  (loosely: take care
of your own faults before worrying about those of others)

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


End of Volume 56 Issue 40