Volume 62 Number 49 
      Produced: Mon, 23 Mar 15 09:39:27 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Beit Yosef 
    [Joel Rich]
    [Joel Rich]
    [Joel Rich]
Nutrition among US Chareidi girls 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Question for parents of Parsha Pinchas bar/bat mitzva kids 
    [David Ziants]
Seating on planes (2)
    [Martin Stern  Carl Singer]
Sex Ed for Chareidi Girls/Women 
    [Martin Stern]
The Amaleki resurgence 
    [Martin Stern]
Yuhara (halachic presumptuousness?)  
    [Joel Rich]


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Feb 19,2015 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Beit Yosef

The Beit Yosef in his introduction provides his algorithm for arriving at psak.
The first step is to look at Rambam, Rif and Rosh and go by the majority.  He
then states what to do in cases where one of the 3 has no opinion etc.   I was
wondering if anyone has ever done a study of all or a subset of the Beit Yosef's
rulings to see what percentage of the rulings support the claimed algorithm.   I
have a specific example in mind where all 3 of the amudim omit a particular
requirement/ruling and yet the Beit Yosef follows the Tur who does quote/require
 the ruling.

As a follow up issue: If you always reach a conclusion on an issue based on a
vote of 3 authorities (assuming the only choices are permitted or forbidden), if
you then codify the results without the reasoning and then try to produce a
function to project results in other cases, won't this data set of results yield
a function which is likely to project results in some other cases which differs
from what the 2-out-of-3-authorities'-algorithm of Psak would have resulted in
and which does not have a consistent theoretical basis?

Joel Rich


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 16,2015 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Haftarah/Yahrtzeit

As best I can tell, the source for saying haftarah the Shabbat before a
yahrtzeit is the Zohar in Acharei mot (77a) which refers to a "yanukah" (tinok -
young child) saying a haftarah. Given the "lower" level of the maftir aliya - we
let a child below bar mitzvah age have it in circumstances - doesn't it seem odd
to make it the perceived priority? Or am I missing something?

Joel RIch


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 23,2015 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Minhag?

I recently received correspondence responding to a question concerning "when did
minhag become a family rather than a geographical community centered concept?"
The claim was made that some 20th century poskim, recognizing the facts on the
ground (mass diverse communal dislocations) in essence established a new
paradigm. It is unclear to me whether the claim is that this was a conscious
process or not.

I think R'Asher Weiss, from time to time, consciously uses a similar approach to
halacha in changing circumstances, there are others I'm not so sure about. Any
thoughts appreciated, especially on the topic of what specific historical
halachic process/source supports such a conscious approach to a paradigm change.

Joel Rich


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 3,2015 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Nutrition among US Chareidi girls

I had a concerning conversation yesterday with a friend of mine who teaches in a
Chareidi girls' elementary school in the USA.

Apparently, they have been seeing more kids breaking bones after relatively
minor falls.  My friend told me her hypothesis:

1. With the high price and relatively low quality of chalav yisroel dairy
products, families might be choosing more fleishig meals (some are less pricey
for large families, particularly factory-farmed kosher).

2. Leafy greens, which can also provide Calcium, are restricted or avoided due
to bug fears.

3. Some of these girls are discouraged from, or overscheduled so they can't
participate in, load-bearing exercise like jumping rope, especially in the
sunshine for Vitamin D (which may not be added to c"y milk in all cases, even if
the girls do have the milk).

I find this pattern alarming regardless of its cause, and it is a quite
different picture than I remember while attending a similar school in Jerusalem
many years ago.  We all ate lots of dairy, less meat, maybe more vegetables, and
of course lots of skipping rope in the sunshine that is so plentiful in E"Y.


Leah Gordon


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 8,2015 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Question for parents of Parsha Pinchas bar/bat mitzva kids

Joel Wiesen wrote (MJ 62#48):

> How does one go about dealing with the adult nature of the beginning of Parshat
> Pinchas?

My children, when kindergarten age (or maybe grade 1) were taught "they kissed
in public". I think at an older age you have to give it a bit more graphic so
how about: "they kissed and cuddled in public"

Another possibility, used in oneg shabbat very young children's book (my approx.

"Pinchas ..... heard something terrible! He heard that one Jew, called Zimri,
wanted to do a great sin, he wanted to marry a non-Jewish lady. He had such
great sorrow on such a great sin that he killed Zimri, despite it was very
dangerous because Zimri was a Prince and everyone from his shevet (tribe) wanted
to help him."
I do not know whether I agree on this direction of wording or not - and we can
see that some of the story was censored - but I am submitting this to open up
the discussion.

David Ziants


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 8,2015 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Seating on planes

Immanuel Burton wrote (MJ 62#48):

> Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#46):
>> Obviously, once all reasonable efforts have been made to accommodate
>> passengers' requests, there would be nothing else to be done. This would be
>> similar to where an ordered kosher meal turns out to be unavailable. All the
>> cabin crew can do is apologise to the person concerned who, one would hope,
>> would not make a fuss. The problem is that El Al is perceived, probably
>> incorrectly, as not being interested in chareidi passengers' "meshugassen
>> [stupid idiosyncracies]".
> Well, if it's not a stupid idiosyncrasy, what exactly is the Halachic issue
> with sitting next to a woman on an aeroplane?  And if there is an issue, does
> it outweigh any associated public desecration of Hashem's name that seems to
> have happened?

As I have written on numerous occasions, my personal opinion is that there is no
halachic problem. In fact, I would suggest that the only woman next to whom one
might have a problem sitting could be one's own wife, when niddah, though even
this is not the case since there are arm rests between the seats. 

What I am prepared to accept, though, is that others may disagree and, if their
views can be accommodated without undue problems, this should be done.
> I have at home a booklet called "On The Road and In The Air:  A Halachic Guide
> for the Business Traveller" by Rabbi Donneal Epstein.  It has a section about
> halachos that apply on a plane; the fourth paragraph in this sections starts:
> What do you do if you are seated next to a woman who is not properly attired,
> and therefore halachically prohibited to daven in front of?
> Various answers are suggested, such as davenning at the back of the plane,
> and, if this can't be done, turning one's head and body away.  None of the
> answers suggested including asking to moved to another seat, though.

This may well be true but are we entitled to force those taking an alternative
halachic position to follow our preferred solution?

Martin Stern

From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 8,2015 at 03:01 PM
Subject: Seating on planes

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 62#49):

> This might be possible to arrange if a suitable box were put on the booking
> form. Since the feeling would be mutual, lefties (and righties) might be
> inclined to reply!

Again, it's not a matter of computers and checking a box.

We're also dealing with expectations -- If I request a kosher meal (and I
always double check) and don't get one,  you can be sure that I will follow
up with management.

Once the airline gives me an option for any kind of request -- in this case
lefty / righty -- then they're setting up expectations.  Since I am right
handed and I request that no lefty be to my right -- what do I do if, indeed,
there is a lefty on my starboard?   Do I accost him -- berate the stewardess --
write (right :) a nasty letter ....

Back to the initial issue - sitting next to a woman -- if I check the box
and it doesn't happen what would be acceptable behavior -- do I demand that
seats be rearranged .....



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Feb 1,2015 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Sex Ed for Chareidi Girls/Women

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 62#47):

> And don't forget, as soon as a young woman gets her first period, she needs to
> know a whole lot about her anatomy to handle things in a healthy way.

This is certainly a valid point. Though such information should ideally be
passed on to her by her mother, this is not always possible if she is not in
her mother's care -  a father in a one parent family may not be able to
provide the necessary guidance.

Also the age of menarche is getting younger, so it may catch even her
mother unawares. The result can be devastating. The Rev. Chad Varah was
prompted to found the Samaritans as a result of his officiating at the
funeral of a girl who had committed suicide thinking her first period was
evidence of some venereal disease.

Whether boys need to burdened with this is not so clear but I would think
that sufficient to understand references in the Torah or Gemara would not go
amiss. It might also make them understand their sisters' otherwise
incomprehensible mood swings.

Unfortunately, menstruation seems to be one of the last taboos in 'enlightened'
Western society, as opposed to its more matter-of-fact treatment in our
traditional sources. As Carl, quoting Rabbi Chaim Wasserman, Rabbi Emeritus of
the Young Israel of Passaic-Clifton, put it (MJ 62#47):

> Wie es chriselt so judelt es auch [What goes on in the community at large
> goes on in the Jewish Community].

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Mar 1,2015 at 05:01 AM
Subject: The Amaleki resurgence

In the Haftarah for Parshat Zachor, (I Sam. 15) we are told that King Shaul
was condemned for not carrying out the command to completely wipe out the
nation of Amalek by sparing its king, Agag, and the best of its sheep and
cattle (v.9). This would seem to imply that he did kill all the other
Amalekites yet a few years later we find the Amalekites were able to mount
an attack on the city of Tziklag, burning it down and abducting its women (I
Sam. 30).

The problem is where did those Amalekites come from. The explanation that
they were adept in sorcery and managed to change themselves into animals,
i.e. the 'best' spared by Shaul, later to revert to human form, seems rather

On the other hand, the Rambam's suggestion that many Amalekites had accepted
to keep the 7 Noachide mitzvot and therefore were exempt from annihilation,
but later reverted to their previous lifestyle, seems more likely.

A thought that occurred to me, which might back this up, was that when Shaul
called on the Kenites to separate from Amalek, those Amalekites who
disagreed with their national policy of wiping out Yisrael left with them
and were not included in the command to wipe out the nation of Amalek. Hence
no mention of them is found in Shmuel's condemnnation of Shaul.

Has anyone seen such a suggestion in any of the commentaries?

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 9,2015 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Yuhara (halachic presumptuousness?) 

Is there a philosophical or practical halachic difference between the concepts
of yuhara (halachic presumptuousness?) and mechzei k'yuhara (appearance of
halachic presumptuousness)? 

Consider the following case - an individual has rabbinic ordination but has
moved to a community where no one is aware of it and he does not tell anyone. On
Simchat Torah the gabbai asks all Rabbis to come up for an aliyah and he comes
up. Is it yuhara? mechzei kyuhara? [Is yuhara a din in the observer or observee?]

Joel Rich


End of Volume 62 Issue 49