Volume 62 Number 01 
      Produced: Tue, 10 Dec 13 21:58:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Beit Yosef's and Tosefet Rosh's question 
    [Reuven Miller]
Parashas Vayhi and Inheritance Law 
    [Lawrence Israel]
Riding a bicyle on Shabbat (5)
    [Carl Singer  Yisrael Medad   Stu Pilichowski  Keith Bierman  Michael Rogovin]
Rosh Chodesh musings (4)
    [Carl Singer  Menashe Elyashiv  Barak Greenfield  David Olivestone]
Sheitel Length  
    [Stu Pilichowski]
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Toveling electronics 
    [David Ziants]


From: Reuven Miller <reuvenbbz@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 6,2013 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Beit Yosef's and Tosefet Rosh's question

The famous question of the Beit Yosef re 8 days of Chanuka and not 7 is asked
and answered in a very similar way by the Tosefot Rosh. The Beit Yosef presents
the question and answers as his own. Is their any explanation for this?

Reuven Miller - Jerusalem


From: Lawrence Israel <larry.israel@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 8,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Parashas Vayhi and Inheritance Law

We are now learning the laws of inheritance in  Bava Bathra. On 117A we learn of
the rules of the original distribution of the land. Rashbam gives the hypothetical
 example of two brothers Reuven and Shimeon, one of whom has ten sons and the
other one has only one son.

My question is -- why pick Reuven and Shimeon as examples? In Parashas Vayhi we
already have an example of two brothers with exactly that number of children,
Binyamin and Dan.
Perhaps I should have saved this question for Purim, but that would not be the
right Torah reading.


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 61#99):

> I was surprised to see a man this past Shabbat riding a bicycle down my
> street. I did not know him. He was unmistakably dressed in the manner of an
> Orthodox man, and had tzitzit outside his garments.  We are within an eruv. 
> Yet, I always thought it was not just not Shabbosdik to ride a bike but also 
> not permissible since one might be tempted to repair the bike were it to
> break.
> Do some Orthodox Jews condone riding a bike on Shabbat?

I remember a discussion on this topic some time ago -- the two basic concerns are:

(1) If the bicycle malfunctions, it being a valuable item one may wish to fix it
rather than just abandon it -- fixing might involve one of the av melachos (as
noted in the above posting)

(2) if one rides other than on the pavement, one is making ruts / furrows in the

Heterim have been granted to those who need to use a wheelchair.

Carl Singer

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

In reply to Irwin Weiss (MJ 61:99), although the Ben-Ish Chai permitted it in
response to a question from Bombay, as far as I know no other Orthodox Rabbi
today does so based on the principle that on Shabbat one should not behave as
one does during the rest of the week, even if there is no specific prohibition
such as Rav Hildesheimer suggested ("ploughing") or Rav Mashash of Haifa (one
will come to fix it if it breaks).

Yisrael Medad

From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

In reply to Irwin Weiss (MJ 61:99), I've seen bike riding on Shabbat in a
variety of Torah observant communities in Israel. Growing up in Brooklyn in the
sixties I got away with it until I was about 5 years old.

Who defines "Shabbosdik" anyway? I presume it's where you live that's the major
determining factor.

I guess it's a location thing. Minhag Hamokom . . . . ?

Aren't there some movements that permit cycling if you're on the way to the Bet
Knesset  / Bet Midrash or a Bikur Cholim visit?

Please remember: if you choose to indulge - on Shabbat or during the week - use
protection - wear a helmet!

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion

From: Keith Bierman <khbkhb@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2013 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

In reply to Irwin Weiss (MJ 61#99):

I recall studying in the 1970's in LA at what was then a branch of YU. During
several class breaks over the course of a semester we "designed" a safe-for-Shabbat bicycle (purely theoretical) for use within an Eruv. Solid (rather than
inflatable) tires, shaft rather than chain drive, internal gear (rather than
derailleur), I forget the brake solution (but something that was highly unlikely
to break, and would be impractical to try to fix without proper tools),
integrated locks, etc. Many modern "fixee" bicycles might qualify on their own,
due to the utter simplicity of their design.

I don't know if anyone accepts such a thing in practice, but in principle once
you've got an eruv, all of the "you might fix it" issues are solvable (at least
for anyone who permits parents to put their children into strollers, etc.).

Keith Bierman
kbiermank AIM
303 997 2749

From: Michael Rogovin <mrogovin118@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 6,2013 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Riding a bicyle on Shabbat

In reply to Irwin Weiss (MJ 61#99): This was discussed extensively in MJ several
years ago (search the archives). From my memory of the posts:

There are poskim in the Sephardic community that permit it (it is apparently not
uncommon to see bike riding in Deal, NJ in the summer).

While it may not be "shabbosdik", the rationale about repairing bicycles is
somewhat spurious (unless your bicycle is not maintained or you are a very
heavy user, it is unlikely to break; do we not sit in chairs or push
strollers since they could break and require repair?) and was, I believe,
explicitly rejected by R Ovadia Yosef (he nevertheless did not permit
riding for other, apparently meta-halachic reasons, but his arguments seem
inexorably to point in the direction of finding no issur; note that this is
based on reliable reports of his ruling and conversations, not a first-hand
account or my own reading).

Since Baltimore has a large Sephardic population, I would assume that the
rider follows one of the poskim that permit it, which seems perfectly
rational to me. Would that it was acceptable here in Teaneck -- it would make
it easier to attend more distant shuls on occasions when they have speakers
I'd like to hear. But I am not holding my breath.

Michael Rogovin


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Rosh Chodesh musings

My friend and neighbor, Harlan Braude, wrote (MJ 61#99):

> So, some folks klap on shtenders, holler "ya'aleh v'yavo" either before or
> during the shemoneh esrei (or both), or exhibit other "interesting",
> not-confined-to-R"C behaviors (e.g.: competing with the chazan at a different
> pace,  drowning out other mourners when reciting the Kaddish, charity 
> collection
> at random times - sometimes with announcements!, marathon shemoneh esrei
> daveners blocking aisles and doorways, the chronically late, noisy early
> departers, "wandering Jews" (constantly pacing in and out of the shul), men in
> the women's section when no women are present (what's up with that?), etc.).

Unfortunately, many of us can relate to one or more of these behaviors.
Apparently some people have learned bad habits from others -- or, conversely,
not learned midot tovot.

An underlying question is should one person's behavior be allowed to disturb
other people?  (1 on 1, or 1 on many.) Most of us, having learned certain social
skills and not wanting to risk a confrontation, simply tolerate bad behavior --
this is quite unfortunate. I do not advocate shaming someone in public -- but
one should certainly speak up for themselves?

Rabbi Chaim Wasserman, now the Rav emeritus of the Young Israel of Passaic
Clifton, let it be known that he frowned upon "klopping" for Rosh Chodesh --
an announcement was made prior to Borchu.

Signs requesting that those collecting for charity wait until after davening
have met with mixed success -- the "professionals" who drive in from New
York and try to "hit" several shuls each morning are hindered by such  

The story tells of a Rosh Yeshiva who upon being blocked by a bochur davening in
the aisle gently pushed him back to his seat.

I question how many of us would rather daven in the vestibule than possibly
jostle someone who's blocking the entrance to the sanctuary.

Two Shabbosim ago, I was visiting at another shul (one with tables) and I was
sitting in a chair at the aisle.  Someone who came in late ended up pacing up
and down the aisle (seats were available) -- I'm not professionally licensed to
diagnose ADD or any other disorder, but I decided it was easier and less
confrontational for me to move to another seat.  How about someone davening
loudly but not in synch with the tzibur?

Re: Kaddish -- I've seen several synagogues -- including some very large ones --
where the practice is for all those saying kaddish to congregate behind the
bemah and recite in unison.

Which brings up another issue -- the Minhag of many Yekies is for only one
person to recite kaddish -- we have an occasional visitor who holds by this
minhag and thus did not say kaddish on a yahrzeit because there was someone else
who said each of the kaddishes during davening.  A simple request to this other
person that he NOT say kaddish once, alleviated this dilemma -- but I'm not sure
if it was the right thing to do.

As to men davening in the women's section -- I know one person who does so
(only) on Hol Hamoed, because he put on tephillin on Hol Hamoed and the
majority of others at that minyan do not.

My wife, upon going to shul at mincha / maariv for one of her parent's
yahrzeits, was faced with men davening in the women's section (not due to
crowding or any such "excuse') -- she moved to her normal (Shabbos) seat and
davened.  It was an action that I condone and applaud.

Back to the initial question -- is it proper to request that someone refrain
from behavior that is disturbing to you or to others.

Carl Singer

From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 29,2013 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Rosh Chodesh musings

As a gabbai of a learned minyan, sometimes I do mention and request:

1. We ask not to package the 4 minim on Succot during Kadish 

2. We ask, not that it always helps, not to start a late amida (shemona esrei)
that will block the aisle

3. We demand closing all types of phones 

I know that people get used to bad habits. Some are in a rush to get out, even
when they (or their wives) don't work.

From: Barak Greenfield <docbjg@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 3,2013 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Rosh Chodesh musings

Ben Katz M.D. wrote (MJ 61#99):

> The reason one need not repeat the maariv amidah if he or she says it wrong is
> because it is not obligatory."

The reason we don't repeat ma'ariv if we forget to say ya'aleh veyavo on Rosh
Chodesh is that when the new month was declared by beis din upon accepting the
testimony of witnesses who saw the new moon, such proceedings did not occur at
night. As a result, the sages did not require us to repeat maariv if we
neglected to acknowledge Rosh Chodesh.

All other alterations in the amidah, if neglecting them requires the amidah to
be repeated in shacharis or mincha, require maariv to be repeated as well, its
"not obligatory status" (such as it may be) notwithstanding.

Barak Greenfield

From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 4,2013 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Rosh Chodesh musings

Harlan Braude wrote (MJ 61#99):
> So, some folks klap on shtenders, holler "ya'aleh v'yavo" either before or
> during the shemoneh esrei (or both), or exhibit other "interesting",
> not-confined-to-R"C behaviors.

Unfortunately, not only do too many people in shul interpret and practice
this minhag in their own ways, many gabbaim themselves fail to grasp all the
rules of the game. 

Rule number one seems to be, when in doubt, klapp! To take just one example,
more than once I have heard a gabbai give a resounding klapp on the bimah
immediately after the kaddish prior to mussaf on chol hamoed. I wondered if
perhaps I should be adding "va-todi'einu", or maybe "nachem." After davening, I
politely suggested to the gabbai that a klapp at that point is totally
superfluous (besides the fact that it's meaningless) because we have a built-in
reminder of the character of the amidah that follows, namely the yomtovdik
nusach in which we conclude the chatzi kaddish. 

However, I certainly agree that an announcement, such as Chaim Casper makes in
his shul, would be appropriate and helpful where there are people who need a
little guidance (and as Chaim points out, today that's pretty much every shul).

It just so happens that even before this thread began, I was contemplating
writing an article (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) on "The Klapp". So who better
to turn to for anecdotes about shul behaviors than the readers of mail-jewish? I
would welcome receiving your stories, your frustrations, your ideas and
suggestions, the rules of the game as you see them, and any other comments you
may have. And don't forget what is the most intricate and complex question of
all: when should the gabbai give one klapp, and when two?

If you prefer, please email me directly at <david@...>


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Sheitel Length 

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 61#99):

> A dear friend who has moved to warmer climes recently stopped by for a brief
> visit with my wife and me. She mentioned that in a community (I won't say 
> which) a Rabbi paskened that women's sheitels should NOT be beyond shoulder 
> length. Apparently many members of this community have hearkened to the voice 
> of this Rabbi, and local sheitel-machers are offering free cuts.
> This leaves me wondering about several factors:
> 1 - Is this really a p'sak halacha or an edict -- I recall that a p'sak is in
> response to a question.  A proper response to a unilateral "p'sak" might be a
> polite "thank you, but I didn't ask."
> 2 - Presuming the "why" is that, because long sheitels are alluring, they may
> not be sneeusdik -- if so, why not any sheitel that is styled or colored to be
> alluring.
> 3 - The dynamics of a community where a Rabbi's statement (be it p'sak or 
> edict) and/or social pressure causes a radical change.

1. Are there really "edicts" pronounced these days? Any examples?

2. Ayn hochi namee. You are absolutely correct. Anything not sneeusdik should be
frowned upon (Downright Prohibited!) The community sets those standards, right?
What's OK in Teaneck may not be OK in Passaic.

3. Are there really communities (not Chasidic or Chareidi) these days that 
follow the psak or lead of one Rabbi? (Rabbi Teitz in Elizabeth, NJ - once upon
a time.)


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 6,2013 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Thanksgivukah

As I point out on my blog, sabbahillel.blogspot.com, as of 1910, 15 Adar II was
on March 26, after the equinox. If the Sanhedrin had been re-instituted, that
may have been the year that the leap year would have been postponed to the
following year. This last occurred in 2005 and will occur again in 2024. If leap
year would be postponed, then since Passover would be March 26, the following
year would have Passover before the equinox (March 16) which would not be
allowed. Thus, that year would be a leap year and 15 Adar II would be on March
16 and Passover would be the following month on April 15. Similarly, Chanukah
following the "skipped" leap year would be November 26 instead of December 26,
while the Chanukah following the "new" leap year would be approximately 20 days
later or December 6. This would reset the 19 year cycle and we would have to 
recalculate the following years.

Of course for this to occur, Mashiach would have to have come and we would no
longer be in exile. As a result, Thanksgiving would no longer be immediately

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 28,2013 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Toveling electronics

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 61#99):

> This question and answer appeared in the Chicago Rabbinical Council's recent 
> FAQ's:
>> Q: Does one need to toveil a Keurig coffee maker?
>> A: A Keurig coffee maker does not need to be toveled. Although there are some
>> metal components on the inside, it is still considered to be a plastic 
>> machine.
>> Additionally, Rav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a is of the opinion that
>> electronic machines that will be ruined by immersion in the mikva do not need
>> to be immersed. An example of this would be a Keurig with an electronic
>> screen.
> Does anyone know the halachic reasoning for R' Schwartz's psak?

A Rav once gave me a similar p'sak but felt it was very b'dieved. He explained
that my utensil in question has its use when it is plugged in to the electrical
wall socket and utensils joined to the wall do not need tevilla.

David Ziants


End of Volume 62 Issue 1