Volume 59 Number 52 
      Produced: Tue, 12 Oct 2010 07:14:11 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A Cure for STS (Sliding Talis Syndrome) 
    [Mark Symons]
A good way to learn mishnah? 
    [David Ziants]
Am I too rational? 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
An American in Paris 
    [Emmanuel Ifrah]
How many? 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]
jblog roundup about kashrut 
    [Batya Medad]
Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you) (3)
    [Sammy Finkelman  Alexander Seinfeld  Russell J Hendel]
Mezonos bread/hamotzi cake 
    [Martin Stern]
Open wound vs. mikvah question 
    [Martin Stern]
Preventing Torah thefts 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Prohibition of entering a church (3)
    [Sam Gamoran  Martin Stern  Yisrael Medad]
R' Eilon and forum Takkana 
    [David Tzohar]
Shower on second day yom tov 
    [Ben Katz]


From: Mark Symons <mssymons@...>
Date: Tue, Sep 21,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: A Cure for STS (Sliding Talis Syndrome)

Stuart Wise <Smwise3@...> (MJ 59#39) wrote:

> Is there a permanent cure for STS -- that is, Sliding Talis Syndrome?
> For as long as I am married, I have battled with talis after talis, having
> to readjust it several times during anytime I wear it. I even bought one
> advertised as no-slide, but alas, it too was less than perfect.

> I don't move about a lot while davening, and my shoulders aren't
> particularly narrow, but what is there about the woolen talis that cause
> slippage and what is the practical solution, short of velcroing it in
> place?

Inspired by the joke about the non-Jew who wanted to pass himself off as a
Jew when attending a Shule (he was advised to answer, in response to a
question about what he did for a living, that he made talleisim - but when
further questioned about which part of the talleisim he made, said that he
made the sleeves) - my novel idea to solve the Sliding Tallis Syndrome is to
make holes in the tallis for one's arms to go through. I have made an early
prototype of this on an old tallis I have - it needed a bit of
experimentation to get the optimal position and size of the holes - actually
a slit seems to work, or better, 2 slits at right angles (on each side).
It's still a work in progress. It should be done by a professional, with
proper stitching and hemming etc.

Mark Symons


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 9,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: A good way to learn mishnah?

My daughter has just started grade 1 at a Mamlachti Dati Torani 
[Religious State with higher standard of Tora learning] school and, as 
well as learning 3 r's i.e. to read and write (Hebrew of course) & 
(a)'rithmetic, also has courses in other subjects, one of them being 
learning Mishnayot - Pirkai Avot [usually translated "Ethics of the 

The school is teaching this through a method called mishnayot b'shet"ef, 
where shet"ef is the acronym for shira [song], t'nu'a [movement] and p'altanut
[activity methods].

For video of method (with English sub-titles), please see URL: 

At a certain point in the video you can hear the first mishnah as on the 
CD "Moshe kibel Torah misinai umosara li'yhoshua ..."

When I first started hearing the CD of the course, I was very happy that 
there was such a pleasant way of learning mishnah - which is not simple 
language for 6 and 7 year old - by having each one sung to a (Jewish) popular 
beat/rap tune with appropriate musical accompaniment - thus each mishnah 
can be learnt off by heart after a very short period of time.

When I wanted to revise this with my daughter on Shabbat (without 
musical or electronic aids of course) she did not want to and, from her 
reaction, I think it might be that the loud music lingers in her head a 
long time after the lesson and she is thus not so happy with the approach. 
So this method might not be such a natural way for a young child to 
learn and, although she might enjoy the music at the time of hearing, the 
longer term effect might not be so good.

(She is still happy in colouring in the pictures on the activity sheets 
etc, and I still feel this is very good method to learn.)

Would be very interested in hearing opinions, especially from medical 
people/psychologists, on this way of learning.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Am I too rational?

With all the different "cure-alls" we read about in the religious press in
the guise of rabbi's-wife-endorsed wines or reciting passages from the Zohar
as "guaranteeing" one's receiving a positive verdict on the high Holydays, I
wonder what it means that we are told that "Action X" is a "Segulah Beduka"
- a proven supernationally based method - for a Shidduch, livelihood, health, etc.
Maybe I am too rational, but to me for something to be "proven," it would
need to be shown - e.g., by using a control group - to show its efficacy.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 8,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: An American in Paris

The main issue in Paris is that most of buildings are now closed by one or two 
electromagnetic doors.

There are generally a number of technical ways to overcome this situation, but 
they are not always usable as they sometimes include a dose of Chillul Ha-Shem 
(as when partially blocking the locking of the door).

As an aside note, I've always wondered why we should not be allowed to press the 
button in order to open the door with a shinuy (which results in cutting the 
electrical circuit and thus deactivate the magnet) since this is only a 
derabanan issue (except for the Chazon Ish) and "shvut de-svhut le-tsorech 
mistva mutar". This would allow me to go to Schule without waiting in the 
doorway for a Goy decide to exit the building.

As for automatic lights, as long as there is another source of light (such as 
daylight) the fact that a lamp automatically sets itself on is considered as a 
"psik resheh de la nicha leh" and is not assur.

I have also heard a psak le-kula in the name of Rav Wosner even in less 
favorable conditions, but could not cross-check the information.

Emmanuel Ifrah (ha-kotev mi-Galut Ariel asher be-Tsarfat)


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 11,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: How many?

How many people would Noach have to have reached out to in order to prevent
the mabul (flood)?

According to Chazal (Talmudic Sages), we are supposed to compare and
contrast Noach and Avraham. Avraham, faced with a similar situation, pleads to
save 50, then 45, etc etc.

All the numbers make sense except 45. Rashi (Medrash) tells us that 45
teaches that 9 is really enough, because Hashem can be number 10.

So back to Noach, how many people were on the Teiva (Ark)? 4 men + 4 women = 8.

In other words, he was one short. Had he been able to reach out to one
single person in those 120 years, he could have prevented the destruction of
the world. That's why it's "Noah's flood". Ouch.

How many people do you and I need to reach out to to do our job? It seems to
me the lesson is "one at a time". Or perhaps "don't count neshomos (souls)
because every neshoma counts". Or something like that.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, Oct 9,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: jblog roundup about kashrut

The latest Kosher Cooking Carnival is published.

Batya Medad


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 7,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

In MJ 59#49 Mark Steiner wrote:

> The Yiddish language refers to the days of the week (Zuntog, Montog, etc.)
> using the same pagan gods as the other European languages.  Gedolei Olam for
> a thousand years (this is how old Yiddish is) used these appellations without
> a murmur.  To make a "new chumrah" over this seems to me to cast aspersion
> on every single one of these thousands of gedolim.

This should be enough, of course, to answer any practical question, but doesn't
go into the reasons why this is not a problem.

> And don't reply to this saying that the gedolim didn't know pagan mythology,
> and had they known it, they wouldn't have said Zuntog etc.  That argument
> might work with the name "Donershtik", derived I think from Thor, the god of
> thunder; but Zuntog?  Sun-day?

I think the origin of the names of the days is actually from astrology
(each planet besides the sun and the moon was associated with one god)
and the greatest Talmudic scholars knew it because there are some
references to that in the Talmud.

The days are associated with planets because the astrologers had a way
of referring to time in which they divided a day into 24 exactly equal
periods. Now there are 7 astronomical bodies used, and 24 is not evenly
divisible by 7, so each day would start with a different astronomical body
and that gave the day its name. There was no other way to refer to exact 
time in the era of the Talmud except to use that system and it occurs in 
a few places.

From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 11,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...> wrote (MJ 59#49):

> An interesting point about the CE/BCE notation is that there are those
> that regard it as an *insult* to the religion.
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Era
> Some who oppose Common Era notation claim that its propagation is the
> result of secularization, anti-supernaturalism, religious pluralism,
> and political correctness.

They are right; the common denominator is that it is anti-Christian-hegemony.

Sabba Hillel's larger point is perhaps we Jews should consciously whenever
possible refer to the Hebrew year, even though we're not used to thinking in
those terms.

I'm interested what members of this list do on birthdays. Do you celebrate
or acknowledge your or your loved ones' solar (secular) birthday or the
Jewish one, or both, or neither? And why?

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 11,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Lo Yishama al Picha (It shall not be heard through you)

Michael Engel (MJ 59#50) introduces himself as a "Hungarian Chassidic".  Michael
further states:

> The most important thing to learn is when a religious question is
> WARRANTED...Both Jeannette and I know how to recognize a "Klotz Kasha"
> (ridiculous question)

Well if Michael introduced himself, let me introduce myself. I was trained by
the Rav (Rabbi Joseph Baer Soloveitchick). We believe in an analytic school in
which there are no Klotz Kashas. Every question no matter how rude and
irreverent has an analytic aspect which should be answered.

Hence, Michael and Jeannette vs. me had different reactions to the question on
using the days of the week. I was interested in the conceptual framework while
Michael (and Jeannette) (correctly!?) recognized it as Klotz Kasha. That of
course would justify Jeannette's "overly emotional reaction" since indeed a
"Klotz" should be responded to emotionally.

A few more things may be relevant here. First: I didn't find anything improper
in the tone of Michael's email (Which he apologized for). In fact, I wish some
other people disagreeing with me would learn from Michael how to disagree!

Second: Michael states:

> I leave it to you whether you owe Jeannette an apology.

In fact Jeannette wrote to me off list and we discussed the matter.
(What was needed was some clarification not an apology).

Third: Michael states:

>Either way it never hurts to have a little humility.

Of course. I do have humility and I explained the conceptual issues bothering me
which I now expand.

First: I previously cited the Rav (but not in full). I forget the exact medical
example the Rav used but let us use the following example: Suppose someone wants
to test the efficacy of chicken soup on curing the common cold (That is not the
example the Rav used but it is just as good). The Rav explained:

"Would you say that the scientist investigating this must first ascertain public
opinion? Would you require that public opinion on using chicken soup be a factor
in the scientists report? Should the scientist worry about how many people he
would be hurting if he found that chicken soup does not cure the common cold?

The Rav's point is that while science is concerned with people and their
feelings it operates objectively without INITIAL reference to them. Science as
we know it would be in bad shape if a scientist thought "I can't study chicken
soup because too many people believe it".

A second point (which I did not bring up last time) is a famous example of a
religious decision affecting all of us where non-Jewish reaction was not
factored in: PURIM! The Talmud states that Mordechai did not want Purim. He said
to Esther "If we create a holiday celebrating our defeat of non-Jewish enemies
it will cause a reaction that could hurt the Jewish community". Esther however
insisted that the holiday happen (It is RIGHT to thank God even if it irritates
non-Jews). That is why we have Purim today.

Therefore, my point (which I still hold) is that when someone asked about using
the terms Monday, Tuesday etc...the proper response is to FIRST see why it is
permissible or impermissible and ONLY AFTER THAT to worry about consequences
among non-Jews. (Hence my comment to Jeannette).

I leave everyone with a final thought that if you want a juicy mail-Jewish
thread please note that in the above example, even though women were not on the
Sanhedrin and couldn't officially decide Jewish law, it was the women who made
Purim not the men!! The conceptual point here is that women could be prophets
and prophets have more say than a bunch of Rabbis worried about non-Jewish
reaction. So there is a good strong argument, that equality (or balance of
power) exists in women's rights even in Talmudic Judaism.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. ASA http://www.Rashiyomi.com


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 6,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Mezonos bread/hamotzi cake

Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...> wrote (MJ 59#47):

> But my main question is: What does being "Modern Orthodox" or "charaidi" have
> to do with the proper bracha to say on a certain food?

In theory nothing, yet a chareidi posek might be more inclined to suggest
only eating that food as part of a meal in order to avoid any safeik
berachah [doubt as to the correct blessing on it] however slight. It is such
considerations that lie behind the term 'chareidi' which might be translated
as 'quaking in fear of doing something that is not absolutely correct
according to all opinions'. Perhaps a Modern Orthodox posek might be
expected to stick his neck out and come down definitely on one side of an
argument, but this is not entirely certain.

Martin Stern.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, Oct 6,2010 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Open wound vs. mikvah question

Avraham Friedenberg <elshpen@...> wrote (MJ 59#48):

> One Shabbat last year, I dragged myself out of bed in the morning to go to
> shule.  I had a terrible cold; I was sniffling, sneezing, and coughing.  As
> I got dressed, I asked myself a question - if I was another person in the
> minyan, would I want to sit next to me?  The answer was no, so I davened at
> home that day.
> There's certainly the issue of bein adam l'chaveiro here, as I don't want
> sick people around me.  I would hope that people who are ill would have the
> decency to stay home and not infect others.

The problem would arise with people like me who suffer from time to time
from acute allergic rhinitis which has symptoms very similar to a common
cold but is not infectious. Since others may not know that, should I not go to
shul when suffering from it?

Martin Stern


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 10,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Preventing Torah thefts

As you may know, Israel has been plagued with a series of Torah thefts, with
more then 100 scrolls stolen this year - primarily in small communities off
the beaten track. The thieves generally remove the parchment from the
rollers, thus removing all identifying marks.

I wonder if people are aware of the Universal Torah Registry, where - at
five specific points in each scroll - a code consisting of a series of
unique pinpricks to that scroll is pricked into the bottom of the parchment
in each place. If a Torah scroll has been marked that way and is stolen, the
stolen scroll can be easily identified as to its owner. I forget what the
initial fee is, but the renewal fee for keeping the record - essential for
tracing back the Torah - is only $10 per year. 

I am in no way involved with the organization, although I have had my Torah
scroll marked that way. (It took maybe half an hour.) 

For information, contact Universal Torah Registry, 70 West 36th Street, New
York, NY 10018, phone 1-212-983-4800 Extension 127. 

I wonder if the Israeli police are aware of this public service, and if
anyone on the list has contact with the police, it might be worthwhile to
bring this to their attention.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

In reply to what Chana Luntz <Chana@...> wrote (MJ 59#51): 

All the discussion of the Gemara and particularly Tosaphot is referring to Mass
and Communion as practiced in the Catholic Church.

Skipping ahead a few centuries - the Protestant Reformation was 16th century:
What about entering a Protestant Church where these practices do not exist?

Sam Gamoran

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Chana Luntz <Chana@...> wrote (MJ 59#51):

> But you don't need to know an awful lot about Christianity to know that the
> central point of the Catholic mass is the bringing of wine and bread in a
> procedure that:
> (i) is then considered by them to turn the wine and bread into the body and
> blood of Jesus;
> (ii) is offered on the altar (and is considered a re-enactment of Jesus'
> supposed original sacrifice in sacrificing his life analogous to the lamb
> offered as korbanos in the Beis HaMikdash);
> ...
> (iv) it is then eaten by those participating in the service as analogous to
> the way the priests in our temple ate from the sacrifices.

Can one infer from what Chana writes that we must make a distinction between
those Christian sects who believe in transubstantiation, such as Roman
Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, and those who reject this doctrine, like
most Protestants who consider the bread and wine as merely symbols rather
than real flesh and blood, as regards as being full-blown avodah zarah even
for non-Jews? How would she view Unitarianism which explicitly rejects the
attribution of divinity to the founder of Christianity, for which many other
Christian denominations do not consider it a form of Christianity at all?
How might such considerations apply as far as Jews are concerned?

Martin Stern

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, Oct 12,2010 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Prohibition of entering a church

Following up on Chana Luntz's massive and majestic post (MJ 59#51): 

I am going out on a limb but I have the feeling that despite all the intricate
Halachic discussion, in today's Modern Orthodox world, I don't think very many
people would think twice about entering a church if on, for example, a tour of
Europe and so, is all this academic? If a meeting was held in a church to
discuss antisemitic instances so as to calm down fears and violence, would a MO
Rabbi absolutely demand a meeting in some other venue? If no "services" are
involved, would MO Jews really consider it prohibited?



From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 10,2010 at 12:01 PM
Subject: R' Eilon and forum Takkana

I would like to clarify a few points in response to criticism of my post in
MJ 59#49.

Whether or not this subject is worthy of discussion is the responsibility of
the moderators. I think that they have taken this responsibility seriously
as indicated by the fact that this post was under consideration for months
before it was published. As for myself, I thought long and hard before I
pressed the send button. I think I made it clear that I have the utmost
respect for the rabbanim of Takkana, and I believe that they were motivated
to do what they felt was the best for the community.

After the media circus that surrounded the case, I felt that it was already
in the public domain, and should be part of the public discourse. This case
was not sub-judice, but sub-rosa. We must realize that there can be no
washing of the dirty linen in private. No rabbinic forum no matter how
esteemed has the ability to arrive at the truth in a case like this.

The sources that Josh Bakon brought are irrelevant since they all relate to
the procedure of a bet din. As I emphasized Takkana does not have the
authority of a bet din. He also wrote that R'Eilon admitted that the
complaints were factual. This is not true. The only thing he admitted to is
the fact that he met privately with the students.

In answer to the contradiction that Akiva Miller saw in my saying that R'
Eilon agreed to the "verdict" but was forced to go into galut. He was
pressured to agree. A recalcitrant husband will also "agree" to grant a
divorce after being whipped by the order of the bet din.

Finally David E. Cohen asked, who is David Zohar. My name is David Tzohar. I
am not anonymous and I take full responsibility for what I write and I would ask
Mr. Cohen to relate to what I write, not who I am. I will reveal this much: I am
a talmid chacham only in the sense that I am a talmid of chachamim and I only
allow my talmidim to call me "Rav".

David Tzohar


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, Oct 11,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Shower on second day yom tov

There is at least one other difference between 1st and 2nd day yom tov that I
can recall, related to the above issue:

If one wishes to have marital relations on the 2nd night of yom tov, one may put
a candle into a dish of water (presumably right below where it is burning) so
that the candle will extinguish itself.


End of Volume 59 Issue 52