Volume 57 Number 76 
      Produced: Fri, 08 Jan 2010 08:38:34 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Becoming a Minhag 
    [Susan Kane]
Chazak chazak v'nizchakaik 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Editing Policy (2)
    [Akiva Miller  Ira L. Jacobson]
el erech apyim 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
elevators on Shabbat 
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Kosher Gatorade 
    [Yaakov Shachter]
Pronunciation of kamatz katan 
    [David Ziants]
Shabbat elevators, Refrigerators, etc etc. 
    [Richard Fiedler]


From: Susan Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 17,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Becoming a Minhag

Orrin Tilevitz wrote:
> By speculating that Sepharadim (and those who daven nusach sefard) were
> expansionists I was merely observing, not criticizing. But surely you will
> concede that loudly asserting one's minhag in a foreign shul is more likely to
> result in others following than the reverse.

-- Thank you for clarifying, it's hard to read "tone" online, so apologies 
if I assumed incorrectly.

-- In a system where everyone daavens [prays --MOD] their own minhag [custom
--MOD], loudly asserting one's minhag does not necessarily have an expansionist
effect.  (If one is in a foreign shul, one might need to be louder than usual in
order to stay on track with one's own daavening.)

-- If the Sephardi assumes that everyone follows his own minhag, he will 
also assume that his behavior will influence no one, because people in his 
system are committed to their own minhag and thus "immune" from outside 

Orrin continued:
> > You could just as easily say that Jews "insist" on keeping kosher even
> > though Gentile willingly eat in our homes.
> I don't understand the comparison.

-- Insist is a strong word.  It implies that someone is taking forceful 
action, perhaps inappropriate action.  It implies "overly willful" 
behavior.  For example:

  I tried to talk to my sister-in-law about her problem, but she insists 
  that there is nothing wrong.

  My son wanted to play soccer, but I insisted that he come to the hospital 
  with me for bikur cholim.

In both cases above, there is some implied criticism and some implied 
conflict.  The two actors are not in harmony with each other.

If you say that someone "insists on following their own minhag", it 
implies that there is another option.  The full and unspoken sentence, to 
my mind, seems to be:

"This group of people could follow our minhag, but they insist on 
following their own minhag."

I'm only pointing out that there is no other option in this case.  This 
group of people *cannot* follow your minhag.

The misunderstanding seems to me to be similar to misunderstandings that 
arise between Jews and non-Jews (and more often, between Jews and Jews) 
about things like kashrut.

You could easily hear a sentence like:

  "I eat in his home, but he insists that he can't eat in my home" or

  "I keep kosher too, sort of, but he insists on being so strict."

In both cases, there is an implied criticism.  The criticism in the first 
sentence is inhospitable behavior.  The criticism in the second sentence 
is extremism -- taking things too far.

If the speakers above truly understood and truly assimilated the knowledge 
that the person keeping kosher *has no other choice*, they might choose a 
different sentence, such as:

  "I eat in his home, but he can't eat in my home because of his religion."

  "I keep kosher, too, sort of, but he keeps more strictly than I do."

I think that if Ashkenazim truly understood and truly assimilated the 
knowledge that Sephardim are bound by their poskim to daaven their own 
minhag, their actions when visiting would not be seen as either 
expansionist or insistent.

They would be seen as halachic, end of story.


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 6,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Chazak chazak v'nizchakaik

> From: Jerry Weinberg <wjerryes@...>
> When we finish reading a chumash, the baal koreh repeats these three words after
> the congregation.
> Does the baal koreh need to look inside the Torah as he says the words
> as if it is there? Could he close the sefer Torah and say these words?
> Please reference sources rather than your own thoughts. Thanks

Here is a quote giving sources. It is the same reason that one does
not look into the Torah when saying the brocho.



At the end of this parashah, as with every parashah that completes the
reading of an entire Chumash, the custom is for the congregation to
call out "Chazak! Chazak! V'nischazeik!" Several reasons are offered
for this custom(18).

The person who was called up for this aliyah should not say Chazak.
Since he must still recite the final blessing after the Torah reading,
some poskim consider reciting Chazak as an improper interruption

The custom is that the reader repeats Chazak after the congregation.
The Sefer Torah should be closed at the time so that it does not
appear as if those words are being read from the Torah(20).

Some have a custom to say the word Chazak three times, since the
numerical equivalent (gimatria) of the thrice-repeated Chazak -345-is
the same as that of "Moshe"(21).

18 See Maharam Mintz 85. See also Rama O.C. 139:11 and Pri Chadash, ibid.

19 See Shulchan ha-Kriyah O.C. 139.

20 Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 145.

21 Elef ha-Magen 669.

       Sabba     -          ' "        -     Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
 <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 7,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Editing Policy

In the past few days, there has been a lot of off-list talk among some
listmembers, about one particular poster who felt mistreated in several ways. I
am here now to discuss one aspect of that situation. Specifically, I want to
discuss the policy about editing submissions to the list.

Part of the Administrivia message from volume 57, number 1 reads:
> * We reserve the right to make edits to your submissions. In
> general, we try to make the fewest edits needed to bring a
> submission into compliance, and we will try to contact the author
> if our changes are significant, but our time is limited and this
> may not always happen. 

Several months ago, the moderators edited a post of mine, deleting what I felt
to be an important part. They did this without consulting me, and I felt very hurt.

The person who started the recent off-list discussion sent me copies of some
posts, and I can very easily see how the published version was a terrible
distortion of that person's views.

I am not going to take a stand on whether the original version of those posts
was fit to print or not. But I *am* going to tell you that I am opposed to the
idea of editors unilaterally changing a person's words, notifying neither the
author nor the readers that this was done.

I would like to suggest a policy change. Namely, that the editors should do no
major editing of posts at all. It they consider a post unprintable, it should be
rejected entirely, with a note to the author explaining what is wrong with it,
so that the author can try to make changes so that it will become acceptable.

I realize that this would delay the author's posts, but at least the author's
views will not be misrepresented. I also think that this will make the work of
the moderators easier, because they won't have to rewrite anything; they'll only
approve or reject. Surely it is easier to write an explanation to the author
than to figure out how to edit the post with minimal changes.

My goal is nothing other than to avoid having people's views misrepresented by
some anonymous editor, which is certainly what is happening when entire
paragraphs are deleted from a published post without even a note that any
editing has occurred.

Therefore, I am not (at this time) suggesting any change to any other sort of
editing which the moderators want to do. For example, if they want to correct
spelling errors, that's okay by me. And if they insert English translations,
that is especially okay, because they put it in brackets, and sign it as -MOD. I
also want to compliment them on how they format the posts, and quoted sections,
and in general keep Mail-Jewish easy to read. (I'm pointing this out because we
all use different programs for our email, and they handle line breaks and
paragraphs breaks in many different ways, and I see that the moderators do a
great job of putting all the posts into a consistent format.)

I wrote to the moderators about the current policy, and Ari Trachtenberg answered:

> This policy was the result of extensive discussions when
> mail-jewish was restarted, and it has not changed.  Some
> of the arguments are that rejection for small (e.g.
> grammatical) errors would simply increase our load as the
> same submission is resubmitted over and over.  I think that
> there is also concern that a hard decision could result in
> unnecessarily stringent rejections (and consequently less
> discussion).

Along with my main suggestion to stop editing posts, I now offer a second
suggestion: Reject posts only for reasons of their content. Do not reject a post
merely because of spelling or grammatical errors. If you feel you must correct
them, then okay, do so. But be sure to append a note about it, because sometimes
a person may have a reason for writing it a particular way, and that may not be
obvious to a moderator.

Instead, let it go through. Not every post has to be perfect. If we notice that
someone has bad spelling or bad grammar, maybe we'll bring it to their attention
off-list. But the moderators have better things to do than spend time correcting us.

"Unnecessarily stringent rejections" is a real problem, I'll grant you that. But
it is not nearly as big a problem as butchering a post to the point of
misrepresenting a person's views. But that's just my opinion. And now I'd like
to hear what the rest of the group thinks.

Akiva Miller

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 8,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Editing Policy

My impression of the new system of moderation is that the 
moderator(s) seem to be strict and reject or edit my postings rather 
frequently.  But I also have been given the opportunity to revise 
based on a moderator's comments.

Thus, my overall impression is that in general there have been 
justifications for these changes or rejections, and overall I think 
the moderators are doing their job well, and we owe them a vote of 
thanks for their efforts during their unpaid hours.

A hearty yasher ko'ah to the moderators!



From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 7,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: el erech apyim

In the Sephradi siddur - both are said on Tahanun days. On non-tahanun 
days 3 verses are said. So it seems to be part of tahanun


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 7,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: elevators on Shabbat

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> These are precisely my feelings regarding the many
> 'grey areas' in halachic practice where something may be permitted in cases
> of great need but those for whom it is not quite so pressing should take the
> stricter option for themselves.

An example (that I have seen) is someone who will wear his tallis to
shul (not use the eruv for himself), but will push the baby carriage
(use the eruv in that circumstance). There is the story of people who
become so used to the eruv that they forget to wear the tallis when
spending Shabbos in a place that does not have an eruv. A person can
be machmir [strict] on himself but should not impose it on his family.
Consider a person who can walk up the stairs but has small children
who need to use the elevator.
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore"
 <SabbaHillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water


From: Yaakov Shachter <jay@...>
Date: Wed, Jan 6,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: Kosher Gatorade

I donate blood regularly, because I am a tsaddiq, and whenever I do,
toward the end, I feel nauseous, and light-headed, and I start to
sweat, and it is very unpleasant.  It may not sound all that
unpleasant from my description of it, but it is much more unpleasant
than it sounds, so much so that every time I donate blood I am
strongly tempted toward the end to ask them to stop before we're done.
I don't, because I am a tsaddiq, but I always go away hoping that I
won't die from exsanguination, because that would be an awful way to

I attribute these symptoms to low blood pressure, which, together with
my under-60 pulse rate, I consider to be a sign of cardiovascular
health, and I am therefore glad that I have low blood pressure, and I
don't want to change my blood pressure, except it does make for a very
unpleasant experience when I donate blood.

I asked one of the technicians there what I could do about it, and he
told me I should drink Gatorade before I donate blood.  I don't think
Gatorade has rabbinic supervision, so I asked him if there was
anything else I could do, and he answered, "Gatorade, Gatorade,
Gatorade".  I understood, from this triple invocation of the word
"Gatorade", that he had no other advice to give me.

There are little orange juice cartons at the place where I donate
blood, and I always drink a few before donating, but it doesn't help.
I always eat breakfast on days when I donate blood, because I donated
once on a day when I had not eaten breakfast, and I felt even worse
than I usually feel.  Also, I don't do my Royal Canadian Air Force
exercises on mornings when I donate blood, because I donated blood
once on a day when I hadn't done my exercises, and I felt a little
better.  Presumably the exercises dehydrate me.  Even so, I still feel
very, very bad when I donate blood, even when I don't do my exercises,
and I eat breakfast.  The only thing left to try is the Gatorade,
unless the readership of mail-jewish has other advice to give, but
Gatorade, to the best of my knowledge, does not have rabbinic
supervision.  Is there a kosher beverage that has the properties of
Gatorade?  Can I make one, out of items that can be found around the
house?  I thank you all in advance for your replies.

Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter

[I believe that Powerade, manufactured by coca cola, is essentially the same
thing as gatorade, and is under supervision - MOD]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 8,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Pronunciation of kamatz katan

I wrote:
> > Artscroll is from America . When I hear Americans speak English I hear
> > many of them turn their short "o" sounds to "a" sounds.
> > Thus we get "baaaastan" rather than "Boston". They "baaanded waill
> > toooogaiva" rather than "bonded well together".

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>:
> Artscroll use an "a" for every kamatz even though according to sefardic
> pronunciation a kamatz katan is pronounced as a short "o". If they had 
> used
> an "o" everywhere, one could accept David's argument but I think he 
> has got
> the problem back to front.

What I said better explains why there are Americans who are not makpid 
[=careful] about pronunciation of a kamatz katan.
Artscroll is following what they see is often done in practice in their 

David Ziants


From: Richard Fiedler <richardfiedler@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 7,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Shabbat elevators, Refrigerators, etc etc.

> From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
> The question for that is not timers but thermostat.    AFAIK  for 
> heat everyone allows thermostat because of the rule that everyone has a 
> status of a sick person regarding the cold.  For air I am not sure.

Finally the point that has been bothering me. Heating with gas or oil is
obviously a d'orita type of action on Shabbat. So we invoke pikoach nefesh? Why
is this different than throwing a log on a fire or maybe this is permissible
too. After all thermostats did not exist a century ago. In Chicago when the
temperature is below freezing one can measure and show a direct relationship
between opening the door to a home and the ignition of the heating furnace. This
is a psek resha that is nicha. Yet no one is out there demanding that all homes
install thermostats that avoid this problem.

But whole body of halacha on electricity is make believe halacha and everyone is
being mdachdek with multiple posts on little nuances on Shabbat elevators.


End of Volume 57 Issue 76