Volume 64 Number 84 
      Produced: Wed, 11 Nov 20 15:45:57 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Corona shortcuts (3)
    [Ben Katz, M.D. Yisrael Medad   Ralph Zwier]
Forced vaccination (2)
    [Shayna Kravetz  Ari Trachtenberg]
Mixed choirs (2)
    [Shmuel Himelstein  David Olivestone]
These states? 
    [Joel Rich]
Which garment?  
    [David Tzohar]
Yishtadel (Try?) 
    [Joel Rich]


From: Ben Katz, M.D.<BKatz@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 5,2020 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Corona shortcuts

David Tzohar wrote (MJ 64#83):

> Menashe Elyashiv wrote (MJ 64#82):
>> David Ziants wrote (MJ 64#81):
>>> ...
>>> Obviously, this special year allows for short cuts, where in any case the 
>>> places where we are davening are often much less comfortable.
>>> ...
>> In my beit knesset, we do not shorten the prayers, we shorten other things 
>> (we pray inside all the time, of course not crowded). Pray Minha & Maariv 
>> together, on Shabbat Rosh Hashanah no shofar - no speech, cut back the mi
>> shebeirachs.
> As opposed to Menashe's shul our gabbai and our Rav insisted on following all 
> of the corona "GZeiRot" to the letter (super MaMLaCHti)
> IMHO most of these restrictions were exaggerated if not to say discriminatory
> considering the government's leniency on political demonstrations and a lack 
> of observance in the Arab sector. This led to some GeDoLei HaDoR including R'
> Kanyevsky, ADMoRei Breslav, Bobov, Gur and Vizhnitz all SH'LiTa to ignore all
> GeZeiRot" concerning religious events, Torah Learning and SeMaCHot. 
> Halachically they base their psakim on a DA'at YaCHid of the Magen Avraham  
> ZTZL who said that if the chance of dying from the plague is less than one in 
> one thousand it is not PiKuACH NeFesh and the rules of "VeNISHMARTEM" do not 
> apply. (I discussed this view in a previous post on this list last month).  
> The Rabbanim did the Math and the chance of a healthy person under the age  
> of 80 dying is less than .001% Besides that they don't accept that GeZeiRot 
> of MaMLeCHet MeDiNaT YiSRAEL are obligatory. The vast majority of PoSKim 
> including both Chief Rabbis disagree. But you must admit that the dissenters 
> have a point both Halachically and socially.

The dissenters do NOT have a point medically or socially. The mortality from
covid is not yet known but will prob end up to be at least 0.5% overall and
higher in certain risk groups.

The question then becomes what is one's chance of getting covid?  If one doesn't
follow precautions it can be fairly high (eg 10-40% in a family setting).  If
one doesn't follow public health guidelines it is going to spread pretty quickly
(see what happened at the White House, where despite daily testing there was a
superspreader event; no one died but Governor Christie was hospitalized).  How
are you going to prevent spread, esp to those at risk, if you don't do anything
to prevent it (eg, wear a mask and socially distant till there's a vaccine, or
take the vaccine once it's available)?

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 5,2020 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Corona shortcuts

David Zohar includes in his list of Amorim Shlita also "Breslav". If I am not
mistaken, the last and only Breslav Admor died 210 years ago.

Yisrael Medad

From: Ralph Zwier <ralph@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 5,2020 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Corona shortcuts

Though it's obvious he doesn't hold these views himself, R David Yitzchak Tzohar
writes (MJ 64#83):

>  ... the Magen Avraham ZTZL ... said that if the chance of dying from the 
>  plague is less than 1/1000 it is not PiKuACH NeFesh and the rules of 
> "VeNISHMARTEM" do not apply.  

It's not about the value: 1/1000 safek pikuach nefesh from the Magan Avraham.
It's about the direction in which the numbers are moving. 

I'm about to greatly oversimplify to make a point. So the pandemic starts off
with one person in Israel infected, then 2, 4, 8, 16 etc. It takes 14 periods to
get to 16000 cases. At that point it's much > 1/1000 of the population infected
(not dead ch'v). If the doubling period is 5 days (which it was here in
Australia in March), it'll take under 70 days to get to 1/1000 infected. 
During those 70 days everyone can watch it happening. 

Would the Magen Avraham, watching this unfold, hold that it's not necessary to
do anything for the first 70 days?. I doubt it.

The world deaths at the moment are 1.6% of the cases. It will likely become much
lower as time goes on. On my oversimplified arithmetic it will take between 6
and 7 doubling periods, 35 further days until the death rate itself is 1/1000 of
population. I am fully aware that the doubling rate slows down (ie the period
becomes greater) as more population gets infected, but halachically we want to
"put the brakes on as early as possible", meaning that when the 
numbers are tiny it's a better time to control it than when the numbers get to
1/1000 as they surely will. Even though the figures I have used may be
amplified, and it doesn't happen 100 days after day one, it will happen
eventually if unchecked. 

Whatever actions are implemented to slow down the spread of a 1.6% death rate
disease are all done (halachically) because of safek pikuach nefesh for each
individual member of the population, but in fact it's a vadai pikuach nefesh for
the populaton as a whole. (I don't think that's a halachic concept but still ...).

So people who quote the low numbers as evidence of danger or safety are
mistaken. It's the movement of the figures which should be used as the evidence
of danger or safety. 

BH in Israel the direction is downward, and here in Australia we have hardly any
infection at all, but it is almost certainly because of the tough measures taken
by governments.

Ralph Zwier

Ralph Zwier
Double Z Computer
+61 3 9521 2188 Telephone
+61 3 9521 3945 Fax


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Thu, Nov 5,2020 at 05:01 PM
Subject: Forced vaccination

Chaim Casper (MJ 64#83) writes:

> In response to Ari Trachtenberg (MJ 64#82):  
> He refers to an article in Tradition magazine's on-line version strongly in
> support of the science behind vaccination. 
> I personally think the halakhic question is moot, at least here in America.
> As long as there is a strong personality, Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetsky, on the
> Moetzes Gedolai HaTorah, leading the charge against all vaccines (Covid,
> measles, et al), the majority of Boro Park, Monsey and Lakewood residents, and
> similar thinkers like them throughout the American haredi community, will not
> accept any vaccine. They may come up with halakhic reasons to avoid the 
> therapy
> but the bottom line is they are against all vaccinations. C'est la vie.

No. C'est la morte, rakhamana litzlan!

Shayna Kravetz
Toronto, Ontario

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 8,2020 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Forced vaccination

I don't think that the case against some vaccines is as simple as has been
suggested.  The following site has some interesting and relevant citations from
well-known rabbanim:


In the case of the flu vaccine, which is increasingly being mace mandatory for
children as a condition of education, there is poor safety research and weak




From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 6,2020 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Mixed choirs

My father, z"l, was a choir conductor throughout his life, at first in Warsaw
and then in Johannesburg. I have a number of photos of him with his choir, going
back to the 1930s and Poland. In all of them, the choir consisted of men and
boys. In one of my father's first positions in South Africa in the 1930s, the
shul choir had both men and women. My father began by replacing the women with
boys. At its peak, his choir coinsisted of 40 boys ad 6 men.

Shmuel Himelstein

From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 8,2020 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Mixed choirs

David Tzohar wrote (MJ64#83):

> IIANM I have seen videos on YOU TUBE where Yossaleh Rosenblat ZL sings with a
> mixed choir.

David is indeed mistaken and I must defend Yossele Rosenblatts impeccable
reputation. The high-pitched voices he hears in the choirs accompanying
Rosenblatt on the YouTube videos he referred to are in fact the voices of boy
sopranos, and not those of women.

David Olivestone


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 11,2020 at 03:01 AM
Subject: These states?

The Rama frequently use the term bmidinot eilu (these states) to describe where
a practice exists. Much less frequently the term aratzot (lands) is used in the
same context - actually only one I could find - see Y"D 39:18. Any ideas as to
the (halachic) difference and why just in this one case?

Joel Rich


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 6,2020 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Which garment? 

Martin Stern (MJ 64#83) asked about the source of Ibn Ezra's interpretation that
Noah's garment was "HaYaDu'A" (known).

One of the Chassidic admorim (IIRC SFaT EMeT MiGuR) brings a midrash which says
that the garment was a garment worn by ADaM HaRiSHoN; not the fig leaves or
skins but a garment that he later made out of linen. This is the "Beged Hayaduah".
David Yitchak Tzohar Yeshivat Machon Meir


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 11,2020 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Yishtadel (Try?)

Rabbi Y. Sacks notes that the targum for "vaye'avek [struggle]" - as in
"vaye'avek Ish Ito" - is vishtadel [try]. I see that other meforshim there focus
on the intensity of the struggle. Worth keeping in mind when thinking of
yishtadel to daven with a minyan (ongoing, intense effort?). The other places
this term appears in S"A are Shabbat preparations and finding the right wife.

Any comments?

Joel Rich


End of Volume 64 Issue 84