Volume 63 Number 73 
      Produced: Thu, 08 Mar 18 03:46:16 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aruch Hashulchan and Women Covering Hair 
    [Steven Oppenheimer]
Gezel Akum (stealing from non-Jew) 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Horses in Biblical Times 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Kojel (was Was Rav Soloveichic "Orthoprax"?) 
    [Orrin Tilevitz]
Mixing Nuscha'ot Tefilla 
    [Michael Mirsky]
Questions about Zeresh (3)
    [Martin Stern  Sammy Finkelman  Elazar Teitz]
Shetarei hedyotot 
    [Dr. Josh Backon]
Succah walls 
    [Sammy Finkelman]
Telling the truth 
    [David Lee Makowsky]
The appropriate route for the sefer torah 
    [Sammy Finkelman]


From: Steven Oppenheimer <steven.oppenheimer@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Aruch Hashulchan and Women Covering Hair

Rabbi Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 63#72):

> I would say one should look at the Arukh Hashulhan 75:7 where, after decrying
> that women do not cover their hair nowadays, Rav Epstein, zt"l, says it is
> permissible for a woman to be in public without her head covered.

With apologies to Rabbi Casper, perhaps in his haste to pen a response, there
was a "pelitat ait [slip of the pen]".

The Aruch Hashulchan does *not* say it is *permissible* for a woman to be in
public without her head covered. He does make the observation that since most
married women in his day, like single women, were not covering their hair (and
he inserts "Oy Lanu" - woe unto us) After decrying this, he rules that it is
like other normally uncovered parts of the body and, therefore, men were so used
to seeing women with uncovered hair that this did not cause "hirhur" (feelings
of arousal) so that it is permitted by the strict letter of the law to pray or
make blessings (such as kiddush or Shema) where there are married women present
with uncovered hair.

This is similar to the Levush who writes at the end of Minhagim #36 (at the end
of Levush HaChur), it says in Sefer Chasidim that when men and women see each
other e.g. at weddings, that one may not recite at Sheva Brachos, Hasimcha
Beme'ono, because there is no simcha before Hashem when there are "hirhurei
aveirah."  Today, however, writes the Levush, we are not concerned with this
because it is commonplace for men and women to be present together and,
therefore, there are no "hirhurei aveirah" because (the women) are like "Kakei
Chivarei" (white geese - see T.B. Berachos 20a).

As an aside point, some refer to this Levush as a basis to permit mixed seating
at weddings.

So I think that it would be a gross overstatement to say that "Rav Epstein, z"l
says it is permissible for a woman to be in public without her head covered".

Steven Oppenheimer, D.M.D.


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Gezel Akum (stealing from non-Jew)

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#71) that in Sanhedrin 113a the gemara quotes 2 drashot
about this - one by Rabbi Akiva, a 3rd-generation Tanna, and one by Rav Huna, a
2nd-generation amora.

I can't find anything like this in Sanhedrin 113a, which is mostly about the
rebuilding of Jericho, getting to that subject by way of dealing with what to do
with hekdesh found in a condemned city, getting to that from the issue of Maasar
sheni in Jerusalem that became tamey.

I assume this is some kind of mistake. What is the correct source?


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 7,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Horses in Biblical Times

Yisroel Medad wrote (MJ 63#71):

> Sammy Finkelstein (MJ 63#70) may be correct that I misunderstood him when he
> wrote "ORDINARY PEOPLE" and "NORMALLY". Nevertheless, in Genesis 49:17 we 
> read:
> "Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a horned snake in the path, that bites the
> horse's heels".
> The question is obvious: would an illustration of a situation be applied when
> ordinary people normally would not be that aware of a horse? 
> Or, can we assume that being in Egypt, they were? Possibly.

I think it is not that they were in Egypt. And it is not really that this is not
speaking of something that a person might have too much personal awareness of.
This is in a military context, because it is in a military context that you
would want to topple the rider.

I thought of another question, though. I remembered that mules were maybe
mentioned in Berishis outside of Egypt. And a mule is the result of the mating
of a horse and a donkey. This is in Parshas Vayishlach, dealing with the
descendants of Esav, at Bereishis 36:24.

There's a lot to write about this. The regular Hebrew word for mule is Pered,
but in two different places including Megillas Esther some at least translate
another word as mule, and there's another one in the mishnah. Even if Yeimim
meant mules it could still be horses were rare and expensive outside of Egypt or
any place near it.


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Kojel (was Was Rav Soloveichic "Orthoprax"?)

Rabbi Chaim Casper writes (MJ 63#72) in a discussion of covering women's hair:

> The Orthodox community of 2018 is light years away from the Orthodox community
> of 1868-1968. (We ate KoGel then. Can we eat it today? Definitely not.)

That's only half, or maybe three-quarters, right. Kojel then was made from the
bones, thoroughly cleaned of the skin, of random (probably not kosher) animals,
and the hechsher, from a Belgian rabbi, was based on the theory that this made a
difference. Presumably, "we" -- at least outside of Israel, whose rabbis (I
understand) accept the ruling of R. Chaim Ozer that all gelatin is kosher --
can't eat that formulation now, although it is probably more true to say only
that major U.S. certification organizations wouldn't give it a hechsher. But
Kojel now is now made with vegetable gelatin and is certified by the OU, so even
"we" certainly can eat it.


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Mixing Nuscha'ot Tefilla

Yisrael Meidad wrote (MJ 63#72):

> That reminds me of the time I was davening Kabbalat Shabbat many years ago,
> before 1970, and used the tune of "Scarborough Fair" (try it) for Lekha Dodi.
> A voice from the back spoke up loudly, demanding I stop. I was caught out - 
> using a 17th century English folk melody recently renewed by two Jews, Simon and
> Garfunkel. 
> But no.
> When the Rabbi asked him why I was to be stopped, the old man replied, "In
> Poland that was the tune we used for reciting Kinnot on Tisha B'Av".

Methinks that that elderly gentleman was confusing Scarborough Fair with the
final kina sung on Tisha B'Av called Elei Tzion. They sound similar.

Michael Mirsky


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Mar 5,2018 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Questions about Zeresh

Leah Gordon wrote (MJ 63#72):

> I wonder about this every year - maybe some on MJ have wisdom to share:
> In Esther, Chapter 5, Haman clearly describes "Mordechai the Jew" when
> speaking to "his loved ones and Zeresh his wife" - in response to which Zeresh
> and the gang suggest that he make plans to hang Mordechai.

I think a better translation of "ohavav" in this context is "his friends"
rather than "his loved ones"

> However, in Chapter 6, in the same context, Haman's advisors and Zeresh
> counsel him that "if Mordechai is a Jew, you will lose".
> Some questions:
> 1. Did Zeresh not notice that Mordechai was a Jew when giving the initial
> advice?  Why?
> ...

Perhaps Zeresh at first thought he was using the description "Jew" as a term
of abuse (as has been common throughout history) rather than as an ethnic
description and only made the second comment when she realised her mistake
and it should be read as "if Mordechai is REALLY a Jew, you will lose".

Martin Stern

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2018 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Questions about Zeresh

In response to Leah Gordon (MJ 63#72):

> ...
> 1. Did Zeresh not notice that Mordechai was a Jew when giving the initial
> advice?  Why? ...

Of course. That's not what's puzzling - what could be puzzling is her
paradoxical position.

The megillah just does not go into what the discussion was, which is greatly
abbreviated - and what you get is the final point.

Remember they both were believers in astrology, signs, omens, portents and
things like that.  Zeresh was saying this was a bad sign. But maybe Mordechai
was not in fact a Jew. But if he was that was a portent. Now Haman did not take
to this line of reasoning easily and so they kept on arguing till they came to
grab him to go to Esther's meal.

> 2. Is it possible that the text in Chapter 6 was written to be a sort of
> warning to anti-semites later to come in history, and wasn't meant to have
> literally occurred at that point at all?

No, this is very believable, and if it happened they would be sure to include
that in it.

Where the megillah has something left out is where it is not clearly explained
why Mordechai did not bow down to Haman. And I think the reason is that
Mordechai believed that any kind of bowing, at least in this kind of context,
was idol worship but the halachah is not according to Mordechai. So the Anshei
Knesses HaGedolah removed the clear explanation. But his not bbowing down to
Haman was because he was a Jew meaning it was religiously motivated.

> 3. Why are we so quick in the liturgy (e.g. the hymn, Shoshanat Yaakov) to
> condemn Zeresh, just for being "the wife of my destroyer" when she does warn
> Haman against tangling with the Jews?

No she is not really telling him not to do anything. She's just predicting -
with no recourse or advice - that he will lose, based on the fact that instead
of hanging Mordechai, as she suggested, he had to honor him. Now she says
nothing is going to work. Maybe she was going to suggest that he appeal to
Mordechai for mercy - he had to act fast.

This is all true, anyway, she asserts, unless Mordechai is not really descended
from Jews. Then maybe it has nothing to do with anything.  She seems to imply
that his whole scheme to kill all the Jews because of Mordechai will come to
nothing, but if he ends it fast he might save his life.

> 4. Why do we condemn Zeresh explicitly for who her husband is, when we do
> not do that to Esther - I see that the text includes both Zeresh and Esther,
> at least at some point, speaking up to their respective husbands, on behalf
> of the Jews.  I also feel sympathy for Zeresh losing her entire family in the
> killing spree.

It's because Zeresh encouraged him to do bad things and even came up with the
idea hanging Mordechai herself. She never spoke up in favor of the Jews. She
only predicted he would lose, which you might say a wife shouldn't do, but her
belief in omens, portents and that sort of thing was stronger.

To summarize, the discussion in Haman's home is abridged, but the way to
understand it is that Zeresh was telling Haman that Mordechai was indeed a Jew
then what happened to him that day meant that his plot was doomed to fail, and
he was going to fall to Mordechai. And the point would have been that he should
reconcile with Mordechai as quickly as possible, while he still had some power,
so as to save his life. And Haman apparently resisted this reasoning.

From: Elazar Teitz <emteitz@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 7,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Questions about Zeresh

In response to Leah Gordon (MJ 63#72):

Zeresh did not warn Haman about starting up with the Jews. To the contrary, she
was the first speaker to advise hanging Mordechai. (Note that the verse says
that "Haman called to all who loved him, and to his wife Zeresh", while the
advice to make the gallows was from "his wife Zeresh and all who loved him". 
She was the last to be called, but the first to advise hanging.

When she made the comment about Haman afterwards, she did not say "If he is a
Jew, you will fail".  If that were the case, how could she advise hanging him? 
What she said was, "If he is Jewish, then having started to lose to him, you
will surely lose completely", indicating that once Hashem has smiled on a Jew in
battle with an anti-Semite, his full success is assured.  It's not a warning not
to oppress Jews; it's a warning that if early attempts lead to setbacks, be
prepared for total failure.

Zeresh's mention as "eishet mafchidi" is not the reason for her being cursed; it
is for identification (and rhyme -- note "l'ab'di, haY'hudi, mafchidi, ba'adi).

And why in the world should Esther be equally culpable for who her husband was?
She didn't choose him as a husband -- she was taken without being asked.

Compassion for Zeresh on losing her family is totally misplaced.  Her calamity
was brought about by her calamitous advice.  (And there is no mention that she
was Haman's only wife, or that she was the mother of his children.)

One nit-picking final note  "Shoshanas Ya'akov" is not the hymn.  It is the
final tropes of the alphabetic-acrostic hymn "Asher Heini" which we recite after
the evening reading of the megilla.  In the morning, we skip the first twenty
lines, the letters from alef to reish, and begin with the shin line, "Shoshanas



From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Tue, Mar 6,2018 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Shetarei hedyotot

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#71):

> On the topic of shetarei hedyotot [ordinary documents prohibited to be read on
> shabbat], I wonder why the reading of newspaper advertisements on Shabbat is
> rarely addressed (I'm thinking specifically of all the weekly divrei torah
> publications).

See Orach Chaim 

307:13 re: issur of reading iggrot shalom and 
307:16 re: sichot chulin, sipurei milchamot, etc. 

Although the Rema (307:16) indicated the issur was only on non-Hebrew material,
most poskim disagreed and indicated that also secular material written in Hebrew
was also not permitted to be read on Shabbat (see: Mishna Brura s"k 64 who brings
down many poskim [Aguda, TAZ, BACH,GRA] who forbade reading even secular
material in Hebrew).

However, the She'elat Yaavetz 162 permits reading even non-Hebrew secular news
as long as one doesn't read any commercial material (e.g. adverts) or business
matters, since reading news (about local wars, etc.) doesn't fall into the
rubric of "shitrei hedyotot".

So the Wall Street Journal would be assur but perhaps the front page of the NY
Times would be OK.

Josh Backon


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 7,2018 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Succah walls

David Ziants wrote (MJ 63#72):

> My question is where is this "three new walls" and "fourth already standing"
> business from?

That looked like my question but I see he asks further why does one need even 4
walls? I would say that had William Helmreich just mentioned the number of
walls, that woulkd be nothing. He was describing what they actually did, so I
focused on the claim that three of the walls had to be new.

I am thinking maybe he's not talking abouit old and new, but whether the walls
are part of a pre-existing OTHER structure. But I don't think that's right either.

> The only thing I can think of, is that in the locale of the author of the above
> mentioned halachic work,

It is not a halachic work,  it is autobiographical, or a memoir but by someone
who received a Yeshiva education, so he should know what he was talking about.

> - the normal winds are strong to such an extent one of the walls had to be
> "already standing" - implying from a permanent building.

No, he's saying that AT MOST one wall could be from a permanent building - he's
saying that by law it had to be that way. This was in Manhattan mostly before
his bar mitzvah in 1959.


From: David Lee Makowsky <dmakowsk@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 7,2018 at 12:01 PM
Subject: Telling the truth

Adding on to the comments of Joel Rich (MJ 63#70), Bill Bernstein (MJ 63#69),
Irwin Weiss (MJ 63#71) and Sammy Finkelman (MJ 63#72), I believe there are
situations where one should be expected to lie, and I am not referring at all to
Pikuach Nefesh where obviously one could lie.

One example I can think of is a woman who must leave a wedding to go go the
Mikvah.  She is certainly permitted to say something like "I have to check on
the kids" in such a circumstance.

I would check with a Rav just to be sure but there are certainly situations
where lying is permitted.

David Makowsky


From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 7,2018 at 02:01 PM
Subject: The appropriate route for the sefer torah

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 63#66):

> This is from the Avodah website but may be worthy for discussion on Mail Jewish:
>> R' Aviner: Bringing the Torah to People to Kiss
>> Q: Is it permissible to bring the Sefer Torah in the Shul towards people who
>> want to kiss it?
>> A: No. This is a disgrace to the Sefer Torah. They should approach the Sefer
>> Torah. Piskei Teshuvot 134:6.
> I have been to more than a few shuls that particularly on Shabbat take the 
> long road - any ideas on who they are relying on? (not to mention those who  
> lower the sefer torah so the kids can kiss it too)

This is what goes on in our shul for a good number of years - The Torah is taken
all the way to the back, and then back to the front. (This also gives some extra
time for the bima to be prepared)

One time, after we started doing this, the late Rabbi, Rabbi Phillip (Pinchus)
Singer ZT"L said (at least a dozen years ago and probably longer) that you go up
to the sefer Torah, the Torah doesn't go down.

But there was no reaction, and he wasn't that forceful.

I suppose the reason people do this is because they do this on Simchas Torah,
and if it is OK on Simchas Torah, it's OK any time. Simchas Torah is also used
as proof that you can read the Torah at night (although nobody does at any other


End of Volume 63 Issue 73