Volume 6 Number 32

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Left and Right Handedness in Halakha (5)
         [Charlie Abzug, Bruce Krulwich, Joel Goldberg, Dr. Sheldon Z.
Meth, Anthony Fiorino]
Mitzvos requiring the left hand.
         [Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth]
Size of Lice (2)
         [Yaacov Fenster, Anonymous]
Tallis and Tfiliin, Geletin, Baltimore
         [Yechiel Wachtel]


From: <cabzug@...> (Charlie Abzug)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 03:20:36 -0500
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

With respect to the mitzvah of Tefillin, there is no doubt that the left-
handed person must put on his Tefillah shel yad on his right hand.  However,
there is a very specific reason for this.  In one of the four parshiyot 
on tefillin (V'Hayah kiy y'viy'acho, which we just read this past Shabbos 
in Parashat Bo) it says, "V'Hayah l'ot 'al yadchaH" with the word yadchaH
spelled with a final Hey.  That implies the meaning "yad keyhah", or the
weaker arm.  For the right-handed person this is the left arm, but for the
lefty, HIS right arm is [functionally equivalent to] his left arm.  That
is the way it is actually discussed in Hallachah.  With respect to other
mitzvot it is not clear at all, so that, for example, on Sukkot, there is
a diversity of opinions among the posekim whether the left-handed person
picks up the lulav in his anatomically situated right hand, just like everyone
else, and the etrog in his left hand, or whether he does it in the reverse

					Charles Abzug

From: <krulwich@...> (Bruce Krulwich)
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 93 13:34:30 -0500
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

The distinctions between right and left is found throughout halacha.  The
phrase used in the Gemorah (Yoma I believe) is "every choice of a side to
proceed, go to the right."  The following examples come to mind:

(1) The Cohen Gadol turns to the right on his walking around the mizbayach
[altar] in the Yom Kippur service.

(2) Wash right hand before left hand

(3) Put tfilin on left hand (for righties)

(4) Carry Sefer Torah on right shoulder

(5) Bow first to the left when taking three steps back after Shmone Esreh.

(6) Shaliach Tzibur ["cantor"] looks to the right first in daily Birkas
Cohanim [priestly blessing].

(7) In preparing and purifying dead bodies for religious burial, whenever
doing something to one side then the other, and in putting him/her in the

(8) When holding Lulav and Esrog, or Kiddush cup.

(9) In leaning on Pesach

There's a distinction in halacha between "yemino" [his right hand] and "yemin
col adam" [everyone's right hand].  The first switches for a leftie, the
second doesn't.  My impression is that more public mitzvos are yemin col adam,
since you don't want to mislead anyone or appear to be making a mistake, but
I'm not sure that holds in all cases.  Also, some things in davening [prayer]
relate not to the sides of the person, but to Hashem's (so to speak), or to
the placement of the Menorah and Lechem haPanim [showbread] in the Bais
HaMikdosh [Holy Temple], so these things are by nature yemin col adam.  Also,
for leaning on Pesach, health issues in which way to lean outweigh the
handed-ness of the person.

I know that this note has been mish-mash-y, but I hope that it sheds some
light on the ideas involved.

Has anyone seen or heard anything about yemino/yemin-col-adam regarding
taharas mais?  Does the fact that he/she is niftar [not alive] make us
disregard his/her former handed-ness, or is there more involved?

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich

From: <goldberg@...> (Joel Goldberg)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1993 12:32:31 +0200
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

As a small data point, at my recent chuppa I placed the ring on my
wife's left index finger and not the right. The reason we did this is
because she has little control over her right hand, but when we discussed
this beforehand with a rav, he noted that yemin means cunning, and therefore
her left hand is her halachic right hand.

From: <METH@...> (Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 22:58:43 -0500
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

Kabbalistically, right represents rachamim [mercy]; left represents din
[judgement].  Thus the preference for right over left.  This is why chassidim
and others who wear bekeshes and similar coats, button them so that the
right side is on top of the left.  It is also why, when davening shemona
esrei, some place their left hand on their heart, and cover it with their
right.  It is also the reason why many people do not "fold their hands,"
i.e. intertwine the fingers of both hands: mixing rachamim and din is not 

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 11:02:11 -0500
Subject: Left and Right Handedness in Halakha

I too have heard the explanation that one favors the right since
one puts of t'filin with the right (this explanation is found in the Kitzur
Shulchan Aruch, I think), but really this only begs the question -- so why
then does one put on t'filin with the right hand?

The mishnah brurah, in the commentary on the second or third halachah in
Orach Chaim, discusses the source for favoring the right hand (The
halachah being discussed is that one should put on one's right shoe first,
then left, then tie the left laces, then the right.)  He derives the
halachic favoring of the right to the procedure for making a leper tahor
[pure], given in Vayikra 14:14 -- the blood of the korban [sacrifice] and
the oil are placed by the kohein upon the right ear, right thumb, and
right big toe of the (former) leper.

Eitan Fiorino


From: <METH@...> (Dr. Sheldon Z. Meth)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 23:06:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Mitzvos requiring the left hand.

I don't know of any, off hand (no pun intended), but I have a minhag to remove
my tallis and tefillin with my left hand, as a sign of reluctance to conclude
the mitzvos.


From: <fenster@...> (Yaacov Fenster)
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 01:16:36 -0500
Subject: Size of Lice

> Kibi Hofmann says that lice "come from something too small for the
> unaided eye to see."  I haven't had any personal experience, but I've
> been told that louse eggs are visible -- you just have to know what to
> look for.

You were told correct. From personal (and itchy) experience as a child I
can tell you that they ARE visible to a naked eye. No need for any
special equipment. After all look at the the monkeys checking each other
for lice, they don't use anything other than their eyes.

Yaacov Fenster			+(972)-3-9307239
<fenster@...>	DTN 882-3153

From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 93 11:23:44 -0500
Subject: Size of Lice

Yes, they're definitely visible, as anyone who's had to do "nit-picking"
knows.  If your kids get head lice, there's really no alternative
(after washing them with Nix shampoo) to hours of going through the hair
almost strand by strand and picking off the louse eggs, or "nits".
(This is indeed where the phrase nit-picking comes from.)  They're
tiny white eggs that are glued to the hair near the scalp.

It seems to go around the Jewish day schools periodically; our
kids' school has a frum nurse who comes in regularly to check all
the classes.  They're not harmful, but a real pain to get rid of.

Perhaps in the time of the Gemara people didn't know where to look.
Or perhaps they were talking about body lice rather than head lice
(I have no idea whether body louse eggs are visible).

	- Anonymous, since some people still attach a stigma
	  to people who have had lice


From: Yechiel Wachtel <YWACHTEL@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Feb 93 02:57:46 -0500
Subject: Tallis and Tfiliin, Geletin, Baltimore

	Two comments on some old postings.  In MJ 5/74 the earliest
time for tnt (tallis and tefillin) in two shuls I have davened at here
in Yerushalyim is one hour before netz (sunrise).
	Gelatin. I was told by a person in the food industry that there
was, many years ago, a run made of gelatin from koshered animals, and 
that the one days run was sufficient to provide the kosher food industry 
for many years, that proved to be way to costly. I am glad to hear
they are trying it again. 
	Does anyone have any information or recommendations of which hotel,
is near what minyan or kosher restaurant, Jewish community, yeshiva in 
Baltimore?  I will be there for one week.	Please send info directly
to;  "<YWACHTEL@...>"
				Thanks Yechiel Wachtel


End of Volume 6 Issue 32