Volume 56 Number 55
                   Produced: Wed May 13 22:26:39 EDT 2009

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Beracha on Mail-Jewish
        [Jeanette Friedman]
Birchat ha Chamah
        [Jeanette Friedman]
Birchat Hachamah
        [Robert Schoenfeld]
Diskin Orphanage (2)
        [Menashe Elyashiv, Joseph Ginzberg]
Internet dangers (2)
        [Alexander Seinfeld, Batya and Yisrael Medad]
Leather and Fur of Nonkosher Animals (3)
        [Perets Mett, Jeanette Friedman, SBA]
Number of Olim on Simhat Torah (2)
        [Baruch J. Schwartz, Adam M Charney]
Question regarding saying the Viduy before tahanun on weekdays
        [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Rav Moshe Feinstein's Position on Mixed Seating on Public
        [Yisrael Medad]


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 8:35 AM
Subject: Re: Beracha on Mail-Jewish

Just another observation.

I consider the source of the rejection of Russell's idea of making
the brocha, and disagree with Jay Schachter. I solidly stand with Russell
on this.

If we can make the brocha on the sun, with all its controversies, and if
we can stand to daven in front of a pile of huge stones put there by an
avodahzoranik, ader rabba, we should be able to make a brocha on silent
Torah learning in any language!!!!!!!!! We are still learning Torah!!!

What we are doing is in real time and doesn't require mental calisthenics
to make it so! It bears repeating. We are learning Torah, and nowhere
does it say that it has to be out loud! People don't think out loud. When
they do, we lock them up for their own safety--even if some of us DO
scream at our computer and TVscreens on occasion.


> POLICY ISSUE: Even if silent reading did not require a blessing we
> still have a policy issue: Should we try and avoid the Birchat Torah.
> Wouldnt it be advisable to recommend that the reader say a few words
> so that (s)he is obligated to say the blessing and then continue
> reading silently.


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 8:22 AM
Subject: Re: Birchat ha Chamah

Observation: How appropriate that with the issue of birchat ha chamah we
are starting literally at the beginning.  BTW, in Teaneck, thousands
showed up in Votee Park. I will ask my daughter for some of her photos if
anyone is interested....

Since we are speaking of Creation, and therefore, in some form, of
parshat Bereishit, and since we know we do not know how long a day is,
and most of us accept that the Torah has been reconciled with science at
higher levels by many frum scholars of Torah and Science so that we
KNOW the earth is very, very, very old,....I have some questions.

1. Can we safely say that the beginning of the Torah, in addition to
saying what was created on each day, the Torah is also nullifying one by
one, all the gods and idols of avodah zorah, so that the parsha that
starts us off is really a negation of everything the pagans around the
Israelites believed and a pointing to Hashem as the Creator? Isn't the
purpose of Judaism to be the opposite of idolatry?

2. A young lady from Yerushalyim asked me a few months ago, "How could
Yiddishkeit possibly survive without the Kotel?" I pointed out to her
that the Wall is not Yiddishkeit and that we had survived for more than
2,000 years without it...after all, the Wall is NOT the Beis Hamikdash!

Was the Wall built by a usurper-idol worshipping king or not? (Herod II
was hardly a paragon of virtue! He murdered his own family, even!)

What is it that I do not understand when someone tells me that she was
taught in Beis Yaakov that her Yiddishkeit is invested in old
rocks instead of Torah?

Why are children being taught that the Kotel (and owning it) IS
our Judaism? Even the Pope and the President put kvitlach in the
Wall--yet there are rabbonim who do not believe in kvitlach....

Aren't we losing focus? Isn't Yiddishkeit about how we treat our fellow
humans of all races, nationalities, ethnic groups and social
classes, with respect and love according to the Torah?

I am "cornfused," as usual.


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 01:17:13 +0000
Subject: Birchat Hachamah

Interesting enough aatleast 2 ancient civilizations used a 56 year cycle
between the sun and the moon One was the neolithic one in Britian and
the other was the Mayas. The Maya long cont was of the 56 year cycle and
their short count was our year Both were more acurate than even the
current Gregorian civil calender and equal to our calender



From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 5:52 AM
Subject: Diskin Orphanage

The place does exicts, but as far as I know it does not function anymore.
It is rented out to a few Yeshivot, a son studied there for 3 years. The
place looks and is old! Many interesting signs from way back. It belongs
to some Hekdesh, the property is worth a fortune, and the sides have been
fighting in Bet Din for years. The orphan home helps orphans with
clothing and weddings et.

From: Joseph Ginzberg <JGinzberg@...>
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 13:02:57 -0400
Subject: Diskin Orphanage

Welcome back- You were missed!

In the early '60s, there was a Yerushalmi belief that the Diskin
Orphanage, at the time still in it's original location on Rechov
Yechezkel at the time, made an important contribution to halacha.

Apparently, Maharil Diskin wrote in his fund-raising letter that the
orphanage would be in Yerusalayim.  When years later there was a
question about what day to observe Purim in the rapidly-growing new
city, this letter was used as proof by R. Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld that
the new city was also to observe Shushan Purim.

Obviously, there is the possibility that this is an urban myth, but at
that time it was the "conventional wisdom".  At that time, there was at
least one minyan in Bayit Vgan that kept both days.

Yossi Ginzberg

Subject:Re: Internet dangers

Your comments imply that because I don't allow my kids any internet
access, I'm a fanatic.

Kindly explain what is the parenting goal of allowing kids to watch TV or
use the internet other than email, given the dangers we know about each.



These links are about TV, but it seems to me that internet is ^=D3all the
more so^=D4

Here are two articles on the latter:

Alexander Seinfeld

     From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>

     I'm no "fanatic" but I'm worried about the kids using facebook,
     youtube and sites like that to display/post/exchange family and
     personal photos.  You don't know what your child or grandchild may
     stumble upon or who may "friend" them.  For videos, at least,
     there's WEJEW http://wejew.com/profile/shilohmuse/ . I set up an
     account and there's also a photo option on it.  It's also easy to
     transfer your youtube videos.

     The disadvantage there, which is also its advantage, is that
     there's no instant posting.  Everything gets checked first.

     It may be hard to wean yourself and your kids off of facebook and
     youtube, but it may be a good idea.


From: Batya and Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 22:23:23 +0300
Subject: Re: Internet dangers

You're reading something totally different into what I wrote. You're
projecting something unrelated.

My "not a fanatic" means that I don't search for chumrot. My Tunisian
grandchildren ate rice at our no kitniyot Pesach table.  My children are
grown, and I haven't a clue how I would handle the internet if I had
school age kids. I don't think kids should be on facebook, even if it's
"only family photos."

I was always the mother who told the BA madrichim that my kids couldn't
go on activities school nights.



From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 6:12 AM
Subject: Re: Leather and Fur of Nonkosher Animals

Only the edible parts can become contaminated (tomei)


Frank Silbermann wrote:

> The Torah mentions that the carcasses of nonkosher animals make us
> impure. Without the Temple we are no longer concerned about ritual
> purity, but in the days of the Temple what was the status of leather
> or fur from these animals? Would mink coats, alligator watchbands and
> pigskin footballs have made people in the time of the Temple impure
> (and if so, would they have been forbidden?), or are processed hides
> considered to have become "another thing" (mineralized, as it were,
> like the ancient bones used to make parve kosher gelatin)?

From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 8:41 AM
Subject: Re: Leather and Fur of Nonkosher Animals

The vegans and PETA people certainly believe that we should not use ANY
leather or fur, EVER!!! But we know that during the days of old, people
wore leather on their feet (which is why we switch to non-leather for Yom
Kippur and Tisha B'Av) and belts and cloaks...

On the other hand, if an Islamist extremist is holding a pigskin football
in his hands when he blows himself up, he certainly doesn't get his 72
virgins (That was a scene in a Tom Clancy novel, I think...suicide bomber
in a shopping mall has a football shoved at him just before he croaks so
that his death is in vain.)


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 9:56 AM
Subject: Leather and Fur of Nonkosher Animals

From: Frank Silbermann

> The Torah mentions that the carcasses of nonkosher animals make us
> impure. ... in the days of the Temple what was the status of leather
> or fur from these animals? Would mink coats, alligator watchbands
> ..have made people in the time of the Temple impure (and if so, would
> they have been forbidden?),..

Oy Vey!!
That would mean no shtreimels or the chassidish "beeber hit" hat, which,
AFAIK, is made from rabbit skin...

But then I looked up the RambamHilchos Avos Hatumos 1:7 where he states
that hides/skins/bones etc - once separated from the carcass is no
longer considered as tamei.



From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 08:07:03 -0400
Subject: Number of Olim on Simhat Torah

In MJ 56:52 Menashe Elyashiv asked:

     Does anyone know of places that do not call everybody for an
     aliya on Simhat Torah? We do not, but I am trying to prove my
     point to some one who does not believe me.

Please look in B. S. Hamburger's Luach (=3D Minhagei Bet Hakenesset Livnei
Ashkenaz; the current year's luach is published in Yerushatenu, Volume
III; see page 425 [top]): liqriat hattorah pefarashat vezot habberachah
olim shiv`ah qeruim bilvad -- after which it is explained that any
kohahim that wish to do so may accompany the kohen; any leviyyim that
wish to do so may accompany the levi, and any yisreelim that wish to do
so may accompany the yisrael (presumably, shelishi). Since I assume this
practice reflects what is actually done at Breuers as well as at KAY in
Jerusalem, this would be good evidence that the ancient custom is in
fact still upheld, to some extent at least, in a few places.

Baruch J. Schwartz

From: Adam M Charney <adam@...>
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 09:41:01 -0500
Subject: Number of Olim on Simhat Torah

See a book called Toldot Chag Simchat Torah published by Magnes Press,
it will give you all of the various Minhagim practiced over the years;
there were many places that did not call everyone.



From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 10:50:48 -0400
Subject: Question regarding saying the Viduy before tahanun on weekdays

Question regarding saying the Viduy before tahanun on weekdays:

I have noticed that some minyanim that recite the Viduy before Tahanun
(every day for Nusah Sefarad; Mondays and Thursdays for Nusah Ashkenaz
in Israel) skip it on days when selihot are said. This makes sense to
me; the selihot contain the full Viduy and are recited right before
davening, so the repeated Viduy would seem superfluous. I have not found
anything in writing about this practice, and I wonder if anyone has seen
it discussed anywhere. And a follow-up: has anyone seen a distinction
made here between fast days, when selihot are said during shaharit, and
Elul and the aseret yemei teshuvah, when they are said prior to
shaharit, regarding whether the Viduy needs to be repeated before
Tahanun (which, on fast days, would only be moments later)? Any
information would be appreciated.



From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 14 May 2009 15:04:41 +0300
Subject: Rav Moshe Feinstein's Position on Mixed Seating on Public

Can anyone help me?
The exact source reference is needed and does anyone know if it's on an
online, i.e,, scanned, copied format anywhere?



End of Volume 56 Issue 55