Volume 58 Number 39 
      Produced: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 21:25:26 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

buyout at Gush Katif 
    [Sandy Silverstein]
daughters of Zelophchad question 
    [Irwin Weiss]
excluding Students from school 
    [Carl Singer]
halakhic times (correction) 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
interesting Tefillin item 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
kashrut of kahlua 
    [Moshe Bach]
magical influences on halacha 
    [Eitan Fiorino]
on the passing of Rav Yehuda Amital ZatZal 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Sephardic segregation (3)
    [Martin Stern  Akiva Miller  Martin Stern]
some details on zemanim 
    [Dr. William Gewirtz]


From: Sandy Silverstein <sandyeye@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 6,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: buyout at Gush Katif

I'm not sure this is the best forum to ask this question but I can't think of a
better one.  

When the Israeli government forced families to withdraw from their homes in the
Gaza Strip and then unilaterally turn over the strip the the Palestinians, I
remember that the families were offered a monetary settlement to move out.  I
would like to know what percentage of the settlers that accepted this offer.  I
would also like to know what were people offered for agreeing to withdraw.  I
would also like to know if the government kept their promises and paid the

Sandy Silverstein


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 9,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: daughters of Zelophchad question

Toward the very end of Parshat Mas'ei the daughters of Zelophchad are listed by
name. The order is somewhat different than when they are first mentioned in
Parshat Pinchas.

I remember reading somewhere something about the change in the order, but cannot
find it. Can anyone enlighten me with an explanation for why the daughter's
names are in different orders in the two places, and provide a source?

Thanks in advance. 

Shabbat Shalom.

Irwin Weiss


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Jul 7,2010 at 11:01 PM
Subject: excluding Students from school

Discussion re: excluding students based on their and / or their family's
"religiosity" are interesting. Much of it seems to revolve around "spin."

If, for example, one has a set of meaningful and enforceable standards -
dress, behavior, kashruth or  "NO TV", "NO INTERNET", etc.,
then one might be deemed as positively trying to maintain or raise the level
of observance of the student body (and their families.)

I find this intriguing because (1) it reflects the needs of some communities
to remain insular and (2) it devalues the opportunity for kiruv.

Clearly the implications and dynamics are different in a community with many
suitable schools but it still is troublesome.

Perhaps 20 years ago a well known girls high school dramatically raised
their admission standards and stopped accepting (let's say "B") students
from those K-8 schools which were considered their "feeder" schools.
The impact was multi-dimensional: children who had expected to go to this
school were turned away (doubly troublesome when an older sibling was
already at that school).  Other schools were "forced" to accept these
students so as not to deprive them of an education - this changed the
demographics of these other schools.  Individual children who had expected
to go to this school felt somewhat stigmatized, elitism reared its ugly
head, etc.

OK -- above is social commentary -- what are the halachic aspects of these
situations -- beyond ...."al pee darko" -- can a school exclude .....   must
a school include .....



From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 9,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: halakhic times (correction)

I wrote:

"It looks like that's the only thing we use Misheyakir [the earliest time at
which one can recognise an acquaintance - MOD] for. I notice that the myzmanim
calendar says only Talis."

That's wrong. The myzmanim calendar doesn't actually say the word Misheyakir  It
only says 10.2 degrees. But it does say above it, "earliest Talis and Tefillin"

I got lost in the thickets. I am still not certain as to why Misheyakir,
which is different from Alos Hashchar [dawn - MOD], should be a time applied to
Tefillin, which should be based on whether it is a new day or not, and that
start at whatever time you start counting the "hours" of the day.

Maybe they are linked because Tefillin isn't usually put on without a Talis
being on also, so the myzmanim web page says both. Now for most people the
earliest time for putting on a Talis is earlier than the earliest time for
Tefillin (if you go by the Vilna Gaon and the Baal Tanya) but once on,
people will keep on Tefillin past Hanetz HaChamah [sunrise - MOD].

But still the distinction is important for the question of whether or not to
make a Brachah on the Tefillin. Or perhaps not, and you can make the brachah
before the Z'man [time - MOD]? And they will certainly still be on at the time you
consider it right to say Shema so it would be OK to put on the Tefillin at
the same time the Talis is put on.  Except I remember there's a Siddur which
gives instructions as to what you can interrupt yourself with and one of
those things is putting on a Tefillin and a note explains this means that,
say, he just got them or the time arrived, if I remember rightly.


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 11,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: interesting Tefillin item

When we were in the Golan Heights, praying at a synagogue of one of the
hotels there, I noticed a man who took out a standard-size tefillin bag,
opened it, and then proceeded to take out a smaller cloth bag which
contained only his tefillin of the hand. After putting that on, he proceeded
to take out another little cloth bag with the tefillin of the head.  

Has anyone seen such a custom or have an explanation of it?  

Of course this might be a single person's action, with no corresponding
precedent elsewhere. 

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 8,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: kashrut of kahlua

Following the thread on kashrut on southern comfort, I looked at the website


Kahlua instantly caught my eye.

The subsite

says that the Bet Din of London authorizes Kahlua that was not purchased in the US.

The subsite

says that Kahlua was formally certified kosher by the OU if bottled in Mexico,
but is no longer certified by the OU - in their opinion (presumably the OU's) the
product is dairy.

Can someone WITH THE FACTS discuss the apparent discrepancy and reasoning here?

maury (moshe) bach


From: Eitan Fiorino <afiorino@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 6,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: magical influences on halacha

David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...> wrote:

> Eitan Fiorino complained that "despite a much better 
> understanding of  how the world works we have huge sections 
> of Jewry believing in magical concepts"
> and that "this represents a major failure of Jewish 
> education...we have failed to teach both proper Jewish 
> thought and belief"
> In contradistinction to Eitan's view the Torah greats from 
> Chazal through the Rishonim {perhaps with the exception of 
> RAMBAM} the Gra, Baalshem Tov down to Rav Kook and the 
> Lubavitcher Rebbe all believed in a spiritual world parallel 
> to our material world. It is difficult for the Western 
> educated Jew to accept a concept that cannot be proven 
> empirically, but that is what belief is all about. I fail to 
> see why it is more difficult to believe in the existance of 
> angels and other spiritual beings than it is to believe in an 
> invisible G-d who intervenes in human affairs. I think that 
> modern man has much less of an understanding of how the world 
> works since he is less in touch with the spiritual. As 
> someone who has witnessed moftim (miracles) brought about by 
> one of the great Rabbis of our generation, Rav Mordechai 
> Eliahu,ZYA, things that in no way could be explained 
> rationally, I can no longer dismiss the spiritual dimension 
> simply because it is unproven.
> I also think a little anava (humility) is in order before 
> deciding what is "proper Jewish thought and belief"

While I hold with the Rambam (and I thank God for the Rambam), and moreover I
categorically reject mysticism - without, as an aside, any adverse impact on my
avodat hashem - that was not the thrust of my posting.  I am a physician and a
scientist - I have witnessed many miracles in my life, I know that the very
complexity of my own cells, tissues and body is a symphony of millions of
miracles.  My approach does NOT come from being indifferent or having had my
senstivities dulled by the "Western education" that you deride.  One man's
miracle is another man's trickery and another man's coincidence and another
man's shrug of the shoulders - let's agree to disagree on the specifics and
leave it at that.

I have a problem with people believing that if they, for example, bake a key
into a challah after pesach, it is somehow going to impact their material well
being for the coming year.  There is no explanation, rational or mystical or
whatever, that can justify such a belief, and one could easily argue that
holding such a belief contradicts important tenets of Jewish law regarding
sorcery and magic.  As for people who don't really "believe" it but do it anyway
just to hedge their bets or because it is some kind of "minhag" - well, that may
be less problematic halachically although I find it just as troubling, in a
different way, from a theological perspective.

I don't think I am displaying arrogance or a lack of humility in claiming that
belief in amulets and other magical objects and magical rituals that are
believed to change the will of God - indeed, one would have to argue that such
objects limit God by forcing Him to act in a way that He otherwise was not going
to act - do not constitute "proper Jewish thought and belief."



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 11,2010 at 06:01 AM
Subject: on the passing of Rav Yehuda Amital ZatZal

The link below is to a 19 page PDF article from Eidah (2006), entitled:
"Worlds Destroyed, Worlds Rebuilt:

The Religious Thought of R. Yehudah Amital," by Alan Brill. It is, in my
opinion, fascinating reading.


There is a companion piece by the same writer (18 PDF pages) about - may he
have many long years - Rav Aharon Lichtenstein:

"An Ideal Rosh Yeshiva: By His Light: Character and Values in the Service of
God and Leaves of Faith by Rav Aharon Lichtenstein" (2005). 

This is to be found at:


Shmuel Himelstein


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 8,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

Ira L. Jacobson" pointed out to me (off line) an error in my recent submission
(Vol 58 # 38):

> You wrote:

> Their stream in the Beis Yaakov did not exclude Sephardi girls per se, only
> those who did not come from families leading a lifestyle incompatible
> with theirs.

> Didn't you mean COMPATIBLE?

He is, of course, correct and I apologise for the error.

Martin Stern

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 8,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

Janice Gelb wrote:
> If a private school with private funding wants to have more stringent
> criteria for the students they accept, that's one thing. However, if
> a school receives state funding, they should not be allowed ...

I agree. But this focuses precisely on the question which has confused me the
most: What sort of school are we talking about?

Some of the reports I've read describe the Emmanuel school as "Chinuch Atzmai",
which is government-run. I've also read reports which describe it as "Bais
Yaakov", which is a private school. I've even seen some articles which use both
descriptions in the same article!

I've read so much - too much, perhaps - about what the school is accused of
doing... Can someone please clarify for me the nature of the school itself? If
it is private, then what is the government's complaint? And if it is public,
then what is the rabbis' complaint?

Akiva Miller

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 8,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

In M-J V58#38, Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...> wrote:

> Martin Stern wrote:
>> Shmuel is correct here since about 30% of the chassidic
>> stream were Sephardim, whereas 30% of the other were Ashkenazim, and no
>> Sephardi girl who wished to join the chassidic stream was refused. This
>> shows that all claims that this was a case of ethnic discrimination are
>> unfounded.
> Could you please provide your source for these figures?

Press reports. While one cannot always believe everything one reads in the
papers, especially those with a strong anti-Orthodox position, the fact that
several of the jailed fathers were Sephardim would seem to corroborate these
>> From what I have read, it seems that the absence from their homes of
>> Television and Internet access were others.
>> There may well have been other stringencies but I do not
>> see why a chassidic school should not have its own more stringent religious
>> criteria even if I do not accept the necessity for them. [snip]
> Because they were receiving state funding?

What has state funding got to do with it? AFAIK state religious (Mizrachi)
schools only accept Jewish students. Is this not discriminatory against
non-Jews? Does not every Jewish school discriminate likewise in favour of
those they deem to be Jews according to their criteria?

Would Janice object to a strictly Orthodox Jewish school not being willing
to admit children from families who publicly desecrated Shabbat or insisted
on supplying their children with non-kosher snacks to take to school? What
about halachically Jewish children whose families belonged to the Jews for J
or some other Messianic cult?

The only difference is that the Emmanuel parents are expecting more
stringent religious standards but I don't see why there should be any
objection so long as they are clearly stated and prospective parents are
aware of them and agree to abide by them.

Just because we do not agree with the necessity of such stringencies does not
mean we have the right to dictate to others that they may not observe them.
Any other attitude is simply the liberal bigotry in the Enlightenment tradition
that has its origins in the writings of Voltaire.

Martin Stern


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 8,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: some details on zemanim

Some clarifications in response to Mr. Finkleman's comments (vol 58 # 38).

There is a (minority) view that misheyakir [the time a person can recognise an
acquaintance - MOD] is only a zman that defines a requisite level of certainty
that alot hashakhar [dawn - MOD] has occurred. Such a view might imply that the
zman is personal and perhaps even unnecessary now that we can specify the time
of alot hashakhar with precision and without the need for observation.
Personally, I believe such a view makes a great deal of sense and can be relied
on particularly in a case of need; of course consult your local orthodox rabbi!
Even if misheyakir is a fixed measurement like say a kezayit [olive's bulk
-MOD], it may still be left to a person's perception as was hypothesized by
Geonim [post-Talmudic rabbinic leaders in Babylonia - MOD] with respect to other

Misheyakir is equally relevant to tallit and tefillin and mitzvot in general
that can be performed from alot hashakhar. As you note, sunrise (or a few
minutes before) is preferable for almost all mitzvot.

The smaller depression angle (and hence closer to sunrise than a larger
depression angle) is NOT meant to keep the time duration equal between the
Middle East and Europe. A depression angle of say 10.2 degrees in Prague today
occurs about 85 minutes before sunrise. Alot hashakhar in Jerusalem is only 82
minutes before sunrise today, and misheyakir is yet closer to sunrise in
Jerusalem. Assuming 11.5 degrees (some poskim in the Middle East used a yet
larger angle), misheyakir is 55 minutes before sunrise in Jerusalem today.
The reason why Middle East and European poskim differ on misheyakir is both
complex and controversial. Realize that until 200 years ago almost all European
poskim followed some version of the approach of Rabbeinu Tam and almost all
Middle Eastern poskim followed the Geonim with respect to the end of the day.
While there is no logical connection between those two zemanim (the end of a day
and misheyakir), those following Rabbeinu Tam had to deal with any number of
challenges that delaying misheyakir helped address.

The depression angles used by all/most websites follow formulas like those given
in the book Halakhic Times by Prof. Leo Levi, that are just standard spherical


End of Volume 58 Issue 39