Volume 65 Number 99 
      Produced: Fri, 14 Oct 22 10:58:39 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

A sukka under a high tree 
    [David Ziants]
Coughing and Sneezing 
    [Carl Singer]
Eating at other people's homes (3)
    [Martin Stern  Immanuel Burton  Stuart Pilichowski]
Mapik Heh 
    [Jack Gross]
Mezonot in the succah 
    [Martin Stern]
Secular education at Brooklyn yeshivas 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Whose Hashgacha Does It Have? 
    [Yisrael Medad]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 03:17 PM
Subject: A sukka under a high tree

In my posting in MJ 65#98 I should have said regarding maximum size, 4 amot, of
a "dofan akuma [bent wall]":

"just under 2 meters or 6 feet" - it is NOT 6 meters

Thank you to the subscriber who pointed this out to me. [we also missed this and
apologise - MOD]



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Coughing and Sneezing

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 65#98):

> Carl Singer writes (MJ 65#94):
>> 1. This question is not Covid related
> So he would like to believe. A friend of mine who works as PA in a local
> (Brooklyn, NY) "urgent care" office reports that about 25% of patients who 
> come in with upper respiratory symptoms test positive for COVID on a rapid 
> test. He says that it is impossible to distinguish the symptoms of one from
> the other.

In this,

(1) he misses the point and 

(2) doesn't respond to the question.

I added the "not Covid related" -- specifically to avoid tangential discussions
of Covid.

So for the 75% of patients with upper respiratory symptoms who do not test
positive -- should they be going to shul?

AGAIN -- if  you're coughing and / or sneezing may you go to shul?

Carl Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 65#98):

> I am thinking it should be rather simple:
> If one receives an invitation to eat at someone's home, and one has stringent
> kashrut standards that are unyielding, then either the host details what
> his/her standards are when extending the invitation or the guest inquires what
> they are. In a community, it should be understood that that's the procedure.
> If you don't like the standards, don't accept the invitation. If one side
> feels the food is not up to standard (and the same goes for special dietary
> needs like vegetarian or certain types of food), then one doesn't accept the
> invitation.

Sometimes refusing an invitation can itself lead to an embarrassing situation
unless one has an acceptable 'excuse' (to the prospective host). If they think
their food is kosher (even if it is certainly not by any objective criteria),
they will almost certainly take umbrage.

There is a lovely story about R. Yaakov Kamenetsky who was invited for Pesach to
a family about whose kashrut he had doubts. He excused himself by saying that he
did not eat gebrockts [matzah that had come into contact with water] though his
family tradition was to eat it. But being a stickler for the truth, he refrained
from gebrockts from then on!

> The only awkwardness I have come across is Chabadniks demanding their shechita
> for the meat. Of course, purchasing special salads and the like is no problem.
> The problem is either a certain shechita and/or pots used for the
> cooking/baking.

I consider making such a demand the height of bad manners. The correct approach
should be to say they must decline the invitation because they only eat that
particular shechitah. Of course, if the prospective host volunteers to use the
desired shechitah, that is another matter but, whether that would satisfy the
guest is another matter which might lead to the need for further excuses.

Martin Stern

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

A friend of mine told me that when he wanted to invite the Rabbi of his shul for
a Shabbat meal and asked him if he eats in congregants' homes, the Rabbi asked
him if he tovels [ritually immerses in a suitable body of water] his utensils,
and that was all he asked him.

Immanuel Burton.

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Eating at other people's homes

Before accepting an invitation to eat over at someone's home, I need to check
the following (This is a partial list and far from being exhaustive):

I review their tax returns going back at least five years to ensure no illicit
tax deductions. I make sure they have given the proper amount of charity based
on reported income.

I make sure they have set aside regular daily times dedicated to Torah study. If
feasible, I ascertain who their chevrusas are and interview them about their
learning sessions. (Is his methodology Brisk in nature or more 'pilpul'?)

I try to get a list of the social services organizations and 'gemachs' they work
on. How much time do they devote? Is it daily, weekly, or only a few times a
year. (If they're attorneys, how much time do they devote to pro-bono cases?)

I check out the car they drive. How many do they own? Are they luxury cars?
Electric, hybrid, or gas guzzlers? Does being environmentally aware factor into
their priorities?

Of course, they would have to be non-smokers and limit their alcohol intake, as
they would their dining on red meat.

Chag Sameach,
Stuart Pilichowski

Mevaseret Zion, Israel

Phone 972- 527-222-827


From: Jack Gross <jacobbgross@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Mapik Heh

Moadim l'simcha!

David Olivestone wrote (MJ 65#98):

> the mapik indicates that the vowel (patach) beneath the heh should be
> pronounced before the letter.

Not exactly. 

The mapik dot in a Hei just signifies that, while Hei at the end of a word is
typically silent, this Hei is expressed as an audible sound: a consonantal Hei. 

Mapik is derived from nefak, the Aramaic verb meaning to emerge or exit (as in
the phrase "mai nafka minah?" [What (practical difference) emerges from this)]

Once the Hei is consonantal, the Patach Genuva rule kicks in:

Whenever a 'weak' consonant (Chet, Ayin or Hei) is the final sound in a word,
and follows one of the vowels that entail a Y or W sound, which are generally
indicated in the text by a Yud or Vav, we sneak in a Patach sound before the
weak consonant to separate it from the W or Y sound and make it more audible. We
write the Patach symbol under final letter, although it is pronounced before the
letter. Thus we have Si-ach, Rey-ach, Ru-ach, No-ach, all ending with Patach
Chet (without a mapik dot, of course) [or e.g. Shamo-a', Hoshi-a' ending Patach
Ayin - MOD]

It should be noted that in the middle of a word the Mapik dot is not employed.
Instead, the status of a Hei (closing a syllable) as pronounced or silent is
indicated by the presence or absence (respectively) of a Schwa. (For examples
see Gen. 19:16, Num. 35:28; and Num. 7:44)

The Patach Genuvah rule is not applied in Aramaic to the masculine possessive
suffix Hei, as in ShmeH Rabba for example. 



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Oct 14,2022 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Mezonot in the succah

Generally we make a point of eating mezonot in the succah but it occurred to me
that the real chiyuv [duty] may only be for pat haba bekisnin [untranslatable],
which is a form of baked goods that is not quite bread. There are various
opinions as to what distinguishes it from 100% bona fide bread but it certainly
does not include, for example, pasta which is boiled rather than baked.

The practical difference would be whether one would make 'leishev besuccah' when
eating pasta outside a bread meal. This hinges on whether we make that berakhah
on, for example, cake or biscuits because they are tantamount to bread or
because Chazal required it for any mezonot. If the former then 'leishev
besuccah' would be a berakhah levatalah [wasted blessing] and should not be
said. So, if one were to have, say, spaghetti bolognese for supper, one might
come into this problem. Even more problematic would be lockchen kugel where the
pasta is first boiled and then baked.

I think that bediavad [ex post facto] these might not be a problem because we
only make the berakhah when having a meal, rather than when just sitting in the
succah, because eating a meal is a more fixed situation [keviut], but we could,
theoretically, do so if we intend to stay in the succah for an extended time.

Does anyone know the correct procedure?

Martin Stern


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Secular education at Brooklyn yeshivas

New York Jewish Week reported: 

> New York State's commissioner of education has ordered the city to work with
> a yeshiva in Williamsburg on a plan for improving its secular education.
> The decision, issued last week by commissioner Betty Rosa, is a response to a
> lawsuit brought by Beatrice Weber, a formerly Hasidic mother of 10 who now
> heads Yaffed, the leading advocacy group pressing for improvements in secular
> learning at haredi Orthodox private schools.
> ...
> A spokesman for a group that represents yeshivas on religious liberty grounds
> defended Yeshiva Mesivta Arugath Habosem, and called the ruling
> "disappointing"


I am certain that this is just the beginning. Not only Satmar but other
Chassidic groups also have yeshivas in which boys receive no secular education.
Lubavitch has an elementary and high school in Crown Heights that does not teach
any secular subjects.

You will find young men in Williamsburg whose parents and grandparents were born
in the US who can barely speak English. If these men stay within the community,
they will be able to find jobs. Some will overcome their lack of secular
education and become highly become successful businessmen.

There are certainly many aspects of the secular education given in public
schools that are anathema for Orthodox children. However, I do think that every
Orthodox student should receive a basic secular education. What do other MJ
members think?

Professor Yitzchok Levine


From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Thu, Oct 13,2022 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Whose Hashgacha Does It Have?

Professor Yitzchok Levine (MJ 65#98) appears to be upset that a frum woman had
bread bought for her from a bakery which he admits is "used by many in the
Orthodox community in Brooklyn" yet the woman involved was unaware of the
specific supervisory authority involved. He even placed the word bakery in
warning/alarm brackets.

He explained his alarm so: "it is not under a supervision that I personally
use". He added: "I cannot understand how anyone can buy anything without knowing
whose supervision the product has".

I can understand Prof. Levine's concern if the bakery was actually non-kosher.
But he does not quite define that as such. For him, it is a matter of "supervision".

Disregarding the specific woman involved, can we know what supervision he
considers not adequately kosher so if we are in the neighborhood we could think
twice about purchasing baked goods from it?

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 65 Issue 99