Volume 6 Number 51

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hot Water Heater Source?
         [Len Moskowitz]
Surrogate Motherhood
         [Yosef Bechhofer]
Tefillin Question
         [Yisrael Sundick]
What it is the best Jewish area in the US?
Women Bentsching Gomel After Giving Birth (4)
         [Bruce Krulwich, Danny Geretz, Shlomo H. Pick, Zvi Basser]
Yeshivas in Israel
         [Seth Ness]


From: Len Moskowitz <moskowit@...>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 11:09:18 -0500
Subject: Hot Water Heater Source?

We're about to replace our hot water heater.  Does anyone know of a
company that manufactures hot water heaters that are activated by a
timer rather than a thermostat?  Or perhaps one that runs on both?
By the way, we live in the US, on the East Coast.

Len Moskowitz


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 11:10:25 -0500
Subject: Surrogate Motherhood

        In Techumin 5:248, Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg writes an
extremely long teshuva on the topic. His conclusion:

According to Rabbi Akiva Eiger, the provider of the ovum is the
mother, but most sources indicate that the birth mother is the mother.
This is distinct from fatherhood, which is determined at conception
according to everyone.


From: Yisrael Sundick <sas34@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 93 15:47:43 -0500
Subject: re: Tefillin Question

>Can anyone advise me as to the importance of having tefillin made from
>behemot gassot (heavy animal such as a cow) as opposed to behemot dakot
>(lighter animals)?  I am about to buy my son tefillin for his bar
>mitzvah, and it is unclear to me just how important this hiddur mitzvah
>(beautificaton of the mitzvah) is.

	One of the main reasons tefillin made from behemot gassot have
become popular in recent (as in the last 80 or so) years is that they
are much more durable. If tefillin made from behemot dakot are dented it
is frequently not possible to repair them. Since tefillin must be square
in order for them to be kosher, even a moderate dent can render the
batim (the boxes) unkosher. With tefillin made from behemot gassot, in
all but the most severe damage, it is possible to repair them.
	As a historical note, tefillin made from behemot gassot are a
recent inovation. Until the invention of modern hydraulic presses, it
was not possible to force the leather into the required shape. The
lighter leather of behemot dakot is fairly easy to shape by hand. Both
of these types of tefillen are made from one piece of leather. There is
a third type of tefillin which is made by glueing several pieces of
leather together, while some halachic athorities do accept this, it is
by no means universally accepted.  Additionally, they tend to be of very
poor quality.
	Since these tefillin will be used by your Bar Mitzvah aged son,
you should also make sure that they are not excesively large (in
particular the bayit for the head) as to make it difficult for him to
place it on his head and not have the bayit extending below his hair
line. I have noticed a number of Schuls in the New York area displaying
posters to this effect in the last few weeks.
	I am not sure that there is a specific hiddur mitzvah in
tefillin gassot, however, from what I have seen, the tefillin gassot
being produced tend to be finished in a much nicer maner.
	Since these tefillin are being bought for a Bar Mitzvah aged
son, and will be used G-d willing ad Mehahesrim this will give them 107
years worth of use (with a little bit of care, there is no reason
tefillin should not last this long, I have seen several hundred year old
tefillin which were still kosher) they will be used about 6 days a week
and subtracting Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days of the festivals) we
have 50 weeks left in the year. This means he will recieve about 32100
uses from this pair of tefillin. Even a very good pair of tefillin
should only cost about $500. This works out to less than $0.02 per day.
There really is no good reason not to buy good quality tefillin.

Mazal Tov,
 Yisrael Sundick    <sas34@...>


From: <Joel.Grinberg@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 93 14:49:04 PST
Subject: What it is the best Jewish area in the US?

I live with my family in the Silicon Valley. We have one young child
and another one to be born soon.
The Jewish environment in this area does not fulfill our needs: the level
of affiliation is too low, hence the number of synagogues and Jewish
schools is small, and there are no neighborhoods with high concentrations
of Jews.
So I am prepared to move to a place which would provide a richer Jewish
life. Ideally, it would be a community where most people know and help each 
other, where most households have children, where there are many classes for
adults in synagogues or elsewhere, where there are high quality Jewish day 
I am an integrated-circuit designer, so the place must also have computer
or electronics companies. 

If you live in what you think is a good Jewish area, I would very much
like to hear from you.  Places which come to my mind, although I have no
first hand knowledge of them, are: Boston, some parts of New York (reasonably
close to IBM or other potential employers), parts of New Jersey (near AT&T?).

Thank you,


From: <krulwich@...> (Bruce Krulwich)
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 93 08:47:25 -0500
Subject: Women Bentsching Gomel After Giving Birth

When my wife gave birth my Rav suggested the following: Her first time
out of the house after giving birth was to a minyan (in this case
Maariv) where she waited until the minyan was done and then (from behind
a mechitza) bentched gomel [said the blessing for a person who survived
a dangerous experience] loudly enough that a minyan could hear.  The
minyan then responded the traditional response.

According to my Rav there's no reason that gomel _must_ be said at the
time of Torah reading, and there's no problem with a woman saying the
brocha from behind the mechitza (or through a doorway) as long as it's
done modestly.  It's a good idea to talk to 10 men in advance so that
they'll listen carefully.  Also he says it's a good idea for this to be
the woman's first time out after giving birth.

Dov (Bruce) Krulwich

From: imsasby!<dgeretz@...> (Danny Geretz)
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 93 00:12:12 GMT
Subject: Women Bentsching Gomel After Giving Birth

Zvi Basser writes:

   ... However, many poskim say "lo nohagim" and indeed
   it is not the custom here to do this. ...

   ... It seems today no one says it-- but perhaps we should..

I *do* know that at our shul (Ahavas Achim in Highland Park, NJ) that
this *is* done.  When my daughter was born, and I was given an aliya to
name her, my wife bentsched gomel (publicly) after my aliya.  Also, the
same thing was done after my wife was in an automobile accident.

However, I do concur with the writer that this does not seem to be
commonly done, and wonder why not.

Danny Geretz

From: Shlomo H. Pick <F12013@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 93 15:18:57 -0500
Subject: Women Bentsching Gomel After Giving Birth


When my wife asked Rabbi Shmaryahu's (the Chazon Ish's nephew) wife
whether to bless hagomel or not, she answered that there custom was not
to.  I will try to find out whether the source is the Chazon Ish himself
or not.

p.s. accordingly, after 5 births, my wife has yet to bless hagomel.

From: <fishbane@...> (Zvi Basser)
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 93 15:18:39 -0500
Subject: Re: Women Bentsching Gomel After Giving Birth

The query concerning a woman benching gomel was meant to apply to chutz
la'aretz, outside of Israel. When I looked in to the custom of chutz
la'aretz, I discovred the common custom in yeshivas is for the husband
to have an aliya and when he says borchu to have in mind that his wife
has to give thanks and she has in mind to do so wiht this word and after
that there is no obligation for her-- I also saw it mentioned that a
woman can gather 9 women and one man for the blessing. I couldnt
understand that at all. In Toronto, in the kolels and stiebels and
"ultra(?) orthodox" places i have never heard it-- and the views i asked
here from the poskim for these groups said they were against it. It
wasn't done in Europe apparently. However I do know as I said and Aryeh
listed in authoritative fashion that rishonim and acharonim cite it as
halacha and I know some some acharonim wonder why its not done.  Thanks
to everyone for filling out the picture for me.  The answers told me
things about current practice that I did not know.

Zvi Basser


From: Seth Ness <ness@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 93 08:29:02 -0500
Subject: Yeshivas in Israel

A friend of mine is planning to spend next year learning in israel after
graduating from medical school and before starting residency. He has a YU
education and knows how to learn. The three places he's thinking of are
Shappels, Brovenders and Machon Shlomo. He'd appreciate it if anyone who
knows anything about any of those places or has any other suggestions
would write to him   <bell@...>  or to me and I'll forward it.
Thanks in advance.

Seth L. Ness                         Ness Gadol Hayah Sham


End of Volume 6 Issue 51