Volume 56 Number 79 
      Produced: Mon, 15 Jun 2009 18:29:42 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Asher Yatzar after childbirth (4)
    [Fay Berger  Martin Stern  Martin Stern  Ken Bloom]
Gabbai's prerogative (2)
    [David I. Cohen  Joel Rich]
Info About Baron Ernst Von Manstein- Abraham Ben Abraham Von  Manstein 
    [Dr. Sanford R.  Silverstein]
kol hanearim in Apt 
Kosher Meal on a Plane 
    [Aharon Fischman]
Not Treating Fellow Jews like a slave? (2)
    [Perry Zamek  Saul Mashbaum]
Pictures of Jerusalem on Flickr 
    [Jacob Richman]
Rebbe as Moshiach? 
    [Ari Trachtenberg]
The name of the Amora Plimo 
    [Michael Poppers]
Wearing a Yarmulke to Work 
    [Steven Pudell]


From: Ken Bloom <kbloom@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 10,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Asher Yatzar after childbirth

Perhaps Chazal weren't m'taken [make an edict] that women should say Asher
Yatzar after childbirth because the pain of childbirth is considered broken,
whereas going to the bathroom is considered proper functioning of the body.
Before the chait [sin] of Adam and Chava, Chava could indeed deliver without
pain, but because of the chait, Hashem broke that and made her bodily
function in this regard suboptimal. Though I have to explain why even
someone with diarrhea or other illness says Asher Yatzar.

Or perhaps that's because the process of childbirth is life threatening
as a rule (so there are problems with the beracha's implication that
when everything's working properly we can survive), while illnesses that
affect the excretory system (though uncomfortable) are not life
threatening as a rule.


From: Fay Berger <juniperviv@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 10,2009 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Asher Yatzar after childbirth

The Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks Koren siddur has a Thanksgiving Prayer 
after childbirth on page 1031.
Fay Berger

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 12,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Asher Yatzar after childbirth

On Tue, Jun 2,2009, Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:
> The custom here is "benching gomel," since technically, medically and
> halachikly there are serious dangers to life for the mother.

This should be halachah rather than custom but it seems that women do not
generally bench gomel in practice. The main reason seems to be the need for
a minyan and that, in former times, women did not go to the large gatherings
of men required.

> If I'm not mistaken at the time of the Mishkan and Beit HaMikdash
> a woman gave a Korban Chattat.

That is correct and, I suppose, should the Beit Hamikdash be re-established,
women then alive would be obligated to bring their kinnim for each and every
birth. There would then probably be an extreme shortage of doves.

> In some (or all if you're looking for a new custom) cases, a Se'udat Hodaya
> would be a good idea.

I agree though it might be a bit strenuous for the new mother. Perhaps
combining it with the seudat brit would be a better way after the birth of a
boy. This would also ensure the presence of a minyan.

> A neighbor holds by the psak that the post partum mother may bench gomel
> with a minyan of women.

Except that there is no such thing. However it is possible that a minyan in
the technical sense is not required but rather 10 people in order to
publicize the matter - a bit like reading the megillah. Tsarich iyun.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 12,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Asher Yatzar after childbirth

On Mon, Jun 8,2009, Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote:
> Because Childbirth is classified as a "life threatening emergency" one
> is required to bless the Gomel (The thanksgiving blessing after being
> saved from a life threatening emergency). But the Gomel is sort of a
> super blessing covering "all aspects of the emergency." By contrast
> the Asher Yatzar is a particular blessing covering the miracle of body
> orifices (Other things can go wrong during labor).

The problem is that in practice most women do not ever bench gomel [say the
prayer after experiencing danger], certainly not after returning from a journey
over the seas or deserts or after recovery from illness. This is probably
because the berachah needs a minyan and, in former times, a woman would have
been embarrassed to appear in public for this purpose.

I do not know if many men bench gomel when released from prison nowadays -
probably they are also too embarrassed to admit to having committed a crime
that has given rise to the custodial sentence.

Martin Stern


From: David I. Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Gabbai's prerogative

Let me add my thanks to the chorus, to all those, especially Avi, who
got MJup and running again.

Stuart Pilchowskiwrote:

> Concerning one practice that I've tried to further is giving a mourner
> the final aliyah before kaddish so he can say the kaddish- and not
> the baal koreh or the shachrit chazan.

It is my understanding that originally this chatzi kaddish [half kaddish] was
said by the baal shacharit [leader for the morning prayer], but was changed
(due to the inconvenience of re-calling the baal shacharit back) to having it
said by the baal koreh [Torah reader].  Is there a source for having it said by a
mourner? Or having it said by the person who gets the last aliya? Or
both? Without sources or an established minhag [custom], one should be
reluctant to make a change even if it feels good.

David I. Cohen

From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Gabbai's prerogative

Stu Pilichowski wrote:
> Concerning one practice that I've tried to further is giving a mourner
> the final aliyah before kaddish so he can say the kaddish - and not 
> the baal koreh or the shachrit chazan.

Arie wrote:
> To my best knowledge, the baal kriah does not have to be the one to say
> kaddish.
> In our shul we often have an aveil go to the bimah and say kaddish after
> shvi'i on shabbat instead of the baal kriah.

Would you allow a different person to go up to say the chatzi [half] kaddish
before yishtabach?

In any event, I do recall seeing someone bring down (really where or
when) that the kaddish should be said by the baal korei [reader] specifically to
show it's not "up for grabs" - but I have frequently seen the practice
you describe.
Joel Rich


From: Dr. Sanford R.  Silverstein <Sandyeye@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 10,2009 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Info About Baron Ernst Von Manstein- Abraham Ben Abraham Von  Manstein

While this request is not the usual fare of Mail Jewish, I am hoping that
some of your members might have some information about the man described

While doing research into the history of the Jews of Bavaria, Germany, I
came upon the name Baron Ernst von Manstein.  Manstein was a member  of a
prominent military family. [he was the Uncle of Field Marshal Erich von
Manstein]   He was born in 1869 in Prussia.  He came to Wurzburg Germany and
sometime in the 1890s converted to Orthodox Judaism. He became a part of the
Jewish community of Wurzberg. In the 1890s he married a woman considerably
older than he was and who was also a convert to Judaism.  During the Nazi
years he taught in a Jewish school in Wurzburg.  In 1942 the remaining  Jews of
the city were ordered to report to the railroad station for deportation to
the Theresianstadt concentration camp.  Manstein appeared with the other
Jews in his Tallis and T'fillin.  The SS guards who knew him told him that he
was not a Jew, and that he should return to his home.  Echoing the words of
Ruth, Manstein said, "Where the Jews go, I go." He was allowed
to join the transport. He died in Theresianstadt, probably of starvation,
in 1944.

The uniqueness  of this story intrigues me. If any of your contributors
have any knowledge of Baron von Manstein, I would appreciate hearing from them.
I would especially like  some insight on his reasons for conversion.  In the
Jewish community he was known as Abraham ben Abraham von Manstein.

Dr. Sanford R.  Silverstein


From: <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: kol hanearim in Apt

The other night I went to the Jewish Museum as part of the Museum Mile 
night, and spent a lot of time at an exhibit of paintings by Mayer Kirshenblatt, 
father of the cultural anthropologist Barbra Kerenblatt Gimblatt. Under her 
encouragement, Kirshenblatt painted scenes of his boyhood home of Apt (Opatow),
which he left in 1934 at the age of 17. I did not look at the book that 
his daughter published containing the paintings, so I don't know to what 
extent, if any, she commented on the reliability of the memory of a  man in 
his late 80s, and now early 90s, in depicting a town which he left when he was 
17, but I do have a question about one of the paintings.  In a painting of 
the Simchas Torah scene at night in his shul in Apt, he has a man holding a 
sefer Torah in front of a group of children carrying a talis over their heads 
as a chupah. In the explanation provided for the painting, it says that all 
the sifre Torah were taken out of the aron so that everyone would have a 
chance to dance with one. However, the children were too young to carry one, 
so instead they appointed a 'malach,' a man to carry one for them, and 
they walked behind under a makeshift chupa. Does anyone know if there was any 
such minhag [custom] (perhaps it is some kind of Polish or chassidic minhag?)
or was  he just confusing the minhag of the aliyah of kol hanearim [the
children's aliyah] (e.g. the 'malach' he mentions is really a confusion based 
on the recitation of hamalach hagoel [the angel who redeems me ... typically a
children's prayer based on Genesis 48:16]) and switching it from Kerias HaTorah
[reading of the Torah] in the morning to hakafos at night? 


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Kosher Meal on a Plane

Frank Smiles said
> Has this happened to anyone else.

I was in Madison Wisconsin and the meal that the hotel from Teaneck had a 
similar problem - the meal was double wrapped - but in tinfoil and plastic 
so there was no way of heating up the food.  I ended up finding (with the 
kitchen's help) a clean Chinese food container and wrapped that in Saran 
Wrap so I could then microwave dinner.

Overall it was an interesting trip :)

Aharon Fischman


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Not Treating Fellow Jews like a slave?

David Curwin asked:

> I once heard a shiur that said that there's a prohibition against treating a
> fellow Jew like a slave. The example given was that you shouldn't leave
> something for someone else to clean up (in a restaurant for example), just
> because they're an employee.
> Is anyone familiar with this concept? Do you know where it is mentioned in the
> halachic sources?

I don't have a Torah Temimah to hand for the source in Sha"s [Mishnah/Talmud]
(it's packed in readiness for a house move), but you should look at the
passage in Parshat Behar (Vayikra 26:39-46), about a Jewish servant.
The Torah stresses that one should not work him be'farech [harshly], which Rashi
explains as "unnecessary labour" - work that the servant is made to do
when there is no need for it.  Rashi gives the example of asking the
servant to heat up a cup (of water?) when the master has no intention
of using it.

Carl Singer cited the issue of the busboy's parnassah (livelihood)
being from clearing tables, unlike fast food places where one is
expected to clear one's own tray.  Although this is not a
master-servant relationship, it is clear that leaving work for someone
to do that would otherwise not be part of their duties, would be an
issue in the spirit of this law, although not the letter of the law.

Perry Zamek

From: Saul Mashbaum <saul.mashbaum@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 14,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Not Treating Fellow Jews like a slave?

> I once heard a shiur that said that there's a prohibition against treating a
> fellow Jew like a slave.

I don't know what the shiur-giver had in mind, but there is such a
halachic principle.

The Jews are called slaves of Hashem, and chazal [our sages] say "Slaves of
Hashem, and not slaves of slaves", meaning that Jews are not slaves
of other Jews.  This principle is the basis of the law that an employee
has the right to quit at any time, even if he agreed to work for a
certain period; not being able to quit is a slave-like condition. The
laws of employees are detailed in SA ChM [Shulkhan Arukh, Choshen Mishpat]
333, and of course many conditions are set forth there.  The poskim [rabbinical
deciders] deal with the applicability of these laws to current employment
practice, based on the premise that the essential principle is still valid.

As far as I know, the halachic principle I am referring to has nothing
to do with the work an employee is expected to do in a diner. If someone
of his free volition contracts to do a certain job, it would seem that
expecting him to do this job is not treating him as a slave.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Pictures of Jerusalem on Flickr

Hi Everyone!

I created a new section on my Jerusalem hotsites page
for pictures of Jerusalem on Flickr.

The address is:

Shabbat Shalom,


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Wed, Jun 10,2009 at 03:57 PM
Subject: Rebbe as Moshiach?

I just finished reading David Berger's controversial book "The Rebbe,  
the Messiah, and the Scandal of Orthodox Indifference", which decries the
Orthodox  community's silence at the Messianization (in some cases purported
Deification) of the Lubavitcher Rebbe (zt"l) after his death.  Though I largely
agree with Berger's conclusions (full disclosure:  my most recent shul for five
years was a Chabad shul), I am left with some fundamental questions:

1.  Is there an accessible rebuttal to his book?  I am aware of Chaim  
Rapport 's "The Messiah Problem: Berger, the Angel and the Scandal of Reckless  
Indiscrimnation", but this is going for about $280 on amazon.com!

2.  It appears that many g'dolei hador ([Jewish] leaders of the  
generation) have remained silent on this issue.  What are the (halachic)
impediments to taking a stand, one way or the other?

I realize that this is an issue that can quite literally tear apart  
the Jewish community.  At the same time, I feel that it is important enough for
some public discussion, and I feel that a moderated form like mail-jewish could
provide a forum for reasonable discussion without the emotionalism that can
cause grave damage to the community.



From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: The name of the Amora Plimo

In M-J V56#72, Lisa Liel wrote:
> ....And it may have been Phlimo.  I mean, Feivel is spelled with an 
> initial peh, despite the rules of beged kefet.

A WWW search strongly suggests that "Feivel" comes from the Greek 
"Phoebus," in which case I'm not sure that BGD KFTh rules apply :).  (BTW, 
in Latin "ph" is pronounced as if the "p" had a sh'va na [Hebrew vowel]; I'm
assuming that in Greek it's pronounced like the English "f" -- in terms of the 
classical pronunciation of a language which preceded Latin, that 
assumption may very well be incorrect, but the question is how "Phoebus" 
would have been pronounced prior to the creation of Yiddish and of the 
name "Feivel.")  Thanks. 

All the best from
Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: Steven Pudell <SPudell@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 11,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Wearing a Yarmulke to Work

When I was in law school about 16 or so years ago, I spoke to my rebbe
about various "work issues" including wearing a yarmulke to interviews.
He told me that he "recommended" not to do so.  I disagreed and told him
that I'd rather wear a yarmulke and "be myself".  I interviewed for about
15 jobs  and did not get any offers. (Now, there are other very
plausible reasons why I didn't get jobs -- but the conventional wisdom
is once you get an interview -- you have a good chance at getting an

I spoke to my rebbe again -- and  he asked me if I was now
prepared to "listen" to him.  I received a job offer after the next
interview.  Again, there are MANY MANY possible explanations that have
nothing to do with "yarmulkes" as to why I received this offer and not
others.  I would add thought that the person who interviewed and
ultimately hired me -- knew I was "shomer shabbat" -- but knowing him
after I worked for him -- I am confident that if I came in with a
yarmulke it would have just been "too much" for him, and I would have not
been hired.

I would say however, now that I interview people for my
firm -- I understand how "quickly" people make decisions/determinations.
(See "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell for some good examples about quickly
and subconsciously we make decisions).  I do not think any of the people
who turned me down did so for anti Semitic (or even anti orthodox)
reasons.  More likely, they just "felt" that there were others who would
be a better "fit" or that I would not be a good "fit."  I would also say
that after I was already working, I met a  marketing consultant who told
me that wearing a yarmulke to an interview is the equivalent of wearing
a HUGE cross -- and that many people who saw that would be "turned off"
and would not hire them. 


End of Volume 56 Issue 79