Volume 60 Number 60 
      Produced: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 11:55:49 EST

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Drumming" on Shabbos 
    [Carl Singer]
Another nail in the coffin? 
    [Shmuel Himelstein]
Candy Thrown 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Dairy after Meat, Meat after Dairy -- and sleep 
    [Michael Poppers]
Did You Know? - Mateh Moshe and King Arthur 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Flammable kerosene 
    [Yisrael Medad]
Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing) (3)
    [Mark Symons  Martin Stern  Michael Rogovin]
Rav Pinchas Kehati -- Picture 
    [Andy Goldfinger]
Sins and Cohanim 
    [Larry Israel]
Using the phrase "women singing" as subject 
    [Lisa Liel]


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: "Drumming" on Shabbos

Stu Pilichowski wrote (MJ 60#59):

> Carl Singer wrote (MJ 60#58):
>> One of our balabatim [members of our congregation --Mod.] was shaliach tzibor 
>> for Kabbalos Shabbos [led the prayer service on Friday evening as we  
>> welcomed Shabbos -- Mod.] and he started a lively tune for L'cho Dodi -- and  
>> he started drumming on the shulchan (which happens to be a cabinet, thus 
>> quite resonant).   His drumming (as I characterize it) was with both palms 
>> and fists on the shulchan throughout L'cho Dodi -- quite rhythmic and loud.   
>> If one hadn't been looking they might have mistaken the sound for bongo 
>> drums.
>> I thought this might come under a prohibition of musical instruments.  Any
>> comments?
> Sometimes a cabinet is just that - a cabinet and not, in fact, bongo drums or
> a musical instrument.
> Heard about the shul that restricted the throwing of candy bags during a 
> simcha? They insisted that only single candies be thrown. When thrown the 
> bags sound like Mexican maracas and therefore might come under the 
> prohibition of musical instruments.
> Heard about the shul that required all bottles be opened before shabbat? 
> Not because of the normal strictures of Tearing; Fashioning an opening; 
> Completing the formation of a utensil; or Erasing. But rather the popping 
> sound may sound like a musical instrument - especially when done in 
> conjunction with other bottles.
> I believe this is a case of taking matters to extremes and it is entirely
> unnecessary to even think in this direction.

I'm afraid that Stu's examples border on reductio ad absurdum, by
introducing extreme examples -- and then contending that my original
posting is likewise extreme. "I heard about a shul" is not quite definitive. 
Even so:

The main purpose of candy bags is not to make sound - but to either 

(1) associate with the sweetness of Torah or 

(2) to maim the Bar Mitzvah boy or knock off the glasses of some hapless person
who happens to be in the line of fire;

and likewise re bottles (which, unless they're carbonated and corked, tend not 
to pop).



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, Jan 16,2012 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Another nail in the coffin?

Ynet news in May 2011 noted that a Charedi radio station  in Israel, Kol
BaRama, refuses to allow women to be heard on the radio - whether as a
presenter or a caller. We are talking here about women speaking, not
singing. HaRav Ovadyah Yosef was asked (not by the station) about this, and
he stated that this is totally permissible. Kol BaRama, for its part, says
that it will not change its policy. 

The question: at which point does Halachah end and craziness begin?

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Candy Thrown

Stu P. mentions in MJ 60#59:

"Heard about the shul that restricted the throwing of candy bags during a
simcha? They insisted that only single candies be thrown. When thrown the
bags sound like Mexican maracas and therefore might come under the
prohibition of musical instruments."

We disallow throwing candy in our synagogue as it is disrespectful to food.
It can also take out an eye and break eyeglasses or other things that people
having fun trying to hit the Bar Mitzva boy in the back of the head ignore.

Yisrael Medad


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Dairy after Meat, Meat after Dairy -- and sleep

In MJ 60#59, Chaim Casper wrote:

> The issue of eating dairy after meat is based on Hullin 105 and a mahloket
> [dispute] there among the Rishonim....the RaM"A says (Yoreh Deah 89:1) that 
> minhag pashut ("common custom") is to wait one hour after meat before having
> dairy.  But the medakdekim (those who are meticulous in doing the law) wait 
> hours and everyone who has "the spirit of Torah in them (see the Sha"Kh 89:8)"
> should wait six hours (which is the time frame of the mehaber there).   And
> that is what rov am [most people] do today, except for the Holland community
> which waited only one hour and the German community which did a three hour
> compromise.

With respect, "compromise" implies a methodology not based in either our sources 
or our tradition.  I would humbly note two other ways of understanding the 
three-hour custom: it is a chumra of [stringent variation upon] the one-hour 
custom; or it is a basic interpretation of the noted sugya re "b'ha 
s'udasa...lis'udasa acharisa" [not eating dairy after meat during a given meal 
but being allowed to eat dairy at the next meal].  Perhaps re the former 
understanding, see 
en_meals/ ; and re the latter understanding, see
(or http://bit.ly/yCfmqi ) and 
http://www.ohrtorahstone.org.il/features/q&a26.htm .

All the best from
Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ, USA


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 15,2012 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Did You Know? - Mateh Moshe and King Arthur

There is a legend going back perhaps to the twelfth century about King
Arthur and his legendary sword (Excalibur according to some).  The legend
has it that whoever could retrieve the sword from the rock would become the
king of England.  While many tried, it was only Arthur who was able to
remove this magical sword and he became king of England and united the

What is the source of this legend?

Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus (early 2nd century Tanna) was born into a
prominent family.  However, he did not know any Torah, even lacking the
ability to recite Kriat Shema, Shemoneh Esrei and Bircat Hamazone.  At age
28, he traveled to Jerusalem and studied with Rav Yochanan ben Zakai,
eventually becoming a great scholar.  The Talmud (Bava Metziah 59b) records
a story in which a Bat Kol (Heavenly Voice) declared that the Halacha is
always according to Rabbi Eliezer.

There is a collection of Midrashim written by Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus
entitled, "Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer."  There is a fascinating account of
Mateh Moshe, Moshe Rabbeinu's staff, in chapter 40 of Pirkei DeRabbi

The staff was created Bein HaShemashot (dusk) on the sixth day of Creation
when 10 other miraculous things were created (e.g. the well that provided
water for the Jews in the desert, Bilam's donkey, etc.).  This special
staff was handed down from Adam HaRishon to Chanoch, Metushelach, Noach,
Shem, Avaraham, Yitzchak, Ya'akov and Yosef.  When Yosef passed away, it
was taken by Paroh's court.  One of Paroh's advisors was Yitro (along with
Iyov and Bilam).  Yitro was the priest of Midyan (Kohain Midyan) .  Yitro
saw the letters (signs) engraved on the staff that had been taken from
Yosef and realized that it was very special indeed.  When he fled from
Paroh, he took the staff with him and planted it in the ground in his yard.
He said whoever would be able to retrieve the staff from the ground would
be able to marry his daughter.  No one was able to remove the staff from
the ground until Moshe came along, brought home by Zipporah.  Moshe was
able to retrieve the staff from the ground and Yitro realized that Moshe
was destined to be a great leader, King of Israel, who would go on to
redeem his people.  He gave Zipporah to Moshe to be his wife and the story
of Moshe and this special Mateh (staff) are recorded in our Chumash.

Centuries after the recording of this story by Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkanus,
the myth of King Arthur and "the sword and the stone" became popular.

And now you know the rest of the story!

See here for the Pirkei DeRabbi Eliezer citation:


Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Yisrael Medad <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 15,2012 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Flammable kerosene

In the laws of Yom Tov cooking, the Rambam wrties, Hilchot Shvitat Yom Tov
"v'chen haneft ha-chad b'yoter she'hu kamayim, shemenidin oto ad sh'yidalek
[the clean/clear/purified kerosene that is like water, that when you shake
it about it will ignite]" (which one site has as "flammable oil").

Are there any chemists or physicists on the list who can clarify what he is
referring to?

Yisrael Medad


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing)

Tal S. Benschar (MJ 60#59) wrote:

> ..."Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in
> her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.   
> And Miriam sang to them: 'Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the
> horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.'" (Shemos 15:20-21)
> It thus appears that the men did not hear them sing.
> What is clear is that there was no combined singing -- Moshe led the men,
> and Miriam led the women.  As Rashi explains, quoting the Mechilta...

The topic is discussed in Bar-Ilan University's Parashat Hashavua article
on Beshalach of 2004:


Various commentators' opinions are given, however, including that the women, or
Miriam alone, did sing before the men.

Mark Symons

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing)

Wendy Baker wrote (MJ 60#59):

> Why is it always assumed that men have these "overpowering attractions"?
> Is it considered impossible for women to have such attractions, say to a
> good looking young hazan with a beautiful voice?  Women listen to men
> singing all the time and don't rush out to attack the desired singer

The behaviour of female fans of pop stars would seem not to be as Wendy
thinks, so possibly there is a problem. I would assume that women are more
spiritually inclined than men and their minds are much more concentrated on
their davvening and their relationship to Hashem. It is certainly not the
case [continuing to quote from Wendy's post]...

> that women's prayer somehow doesn't count or that they are assumed to not have
> sexual attractions.

Martin Stern

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 15,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Men Listening to Women Singing (was Women Singing)

I do not understand the issue in the IDF. The women singers use microphones
so it is not their natural voice. That is then once removed from the kol
and would be a chumrah. Many poskim also state that it is only forbidden if
you see the singer, which is unlikely in a large concert, so that would be
another chumrah (one could also close one's eyes). There are other reasons
to suggest that this might not qualify as kol isha.

It would be wrong for the army to force soldiers to do something clearly
against halacha. Having soldiers attend official ceremonies is part of
being in a unit. The state could and should be sensitive to differing
degrees of observance, and make reasonable accommodations, but I suspect
that this is yet another case of hareidi rabbis (and their yeshivish
compatriots) attempting to impose their sexual chumrot on everyone and
claiming that it is THE halacha. The state is not obligated to conform to
the strictest viewpoint on halacha and there are good reasons to be lenient


From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Rav Pinchas Kehati -- Picture

For quite a long time, I have been searching for a picture of Rav Pinchas
Kehati.  I believe I have found one.  Can someone confirm that the picture shown
on this web site is indeed correct?


Thank you

Andy Goldfinger


From: anonymous <DoNotReply@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 15,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Sins and Cohanim

In a discussion recently, the following questions were posed (but no one knew
the answers, including the resident Cohen):
-- What sins, if any, would bar a Cohen from duchaning (ascending to recite the 
priestly blessings on yom tov in the diaspora or every day in Israel)?
-- Would any of the following be such a bar: eating non-kosher food, non-
observance of the shabbat, carrying on illicit liaisons with a niddah or non-Jew 
(or engaging in other prohibited sexual acts), cheating on taxes, etc?
-- Does it matter if any such acts are done publicly as opposed to in secret?
-- Does it matter if the act was, however deliberate, giving in to temptation as
opposed to a deliberate act of denial of God or Torah law?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.


From: Larry Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 15,2012 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Straw

In the last Torah reading, the Israelites are told that they will no longer 
receive straw. Several sentences end with "straw." In Hebrew (pardon my Ashkenazic 
transliteration) the word "teven" is used. However, I wonder why the word is not 
pronounced "tawven," as it is the end of a sentence.


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Thu, Jan 12,2012 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Using the phrase "women singing" as subject

Leah S.R. Gordon wrote (MJ 60#59):

> I'm sure no one meant offence, but I think it's reasonable for me to
> explain why no one on M.J should be using "women singing" as the subject
> heading when they're talking about men hearing women singing.
> On Mail.Jewish, lots of women are participants - reading, posting,
> discussing issues.
> When a subject heading seems to apply only to some (i.e. why would it
> matter to women if a woman is singing) it seems to exclude women from the
> klal.
> A subject header such as "men hearing women sing" or even "men hearing
> women sing, halakhic concerns" would be both more accurate and more
> pleasant for us women to read.
> For a more obvious example, suppose the topic was called "relations with
> your wife" - anyone who isn't a married man will then feel excluded.
> I think that in the religious Jewish domain, it is particularly
> mentsch-like to make sure that all readers of this forum feel included in
> the study and conversation.

For what it's worth, I don't agree.  The subject line describes the 
subject of the mail.  I wouldn't be bothered by a subject line of 
"relations with your wife", either.  Maybe I have more perspective than many
on this issue because I've experienced more exclusion than many.

For my part, I feel much more uncomfortable with the idea that I should 
have to worry about that level of political correctness when choosing a 
subject line for a post.



End of Volume 60 Issue 60