Volume 8 Number 31

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Lucia Ruedenberg]
Discounted airline tickets
         [Chavie Reich]
Help with a Rav footnote
         [Arnold Lustiger]
Mezuzah in Chutz La'Aretz
         [Isaac Balban]
Modest Yemenite Girls (2)
         [Shaul Wallach, Warren Burstein]
Torah Tapes
         [Lawrence J. Teitelman ]
Yam Shel Shlomo
         [Mike Gerver]


From: <RUEDNBRG@...> (Lucia Ruedenberg)
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 93 12:36:07 -0400
Subject: ASCII Art

Hi. I'm looking for ascii art with Jewish themes. Not .gif files.
I've checked the archives at nysernet but they seem to be mostly gif files.
Am I wrong?
If anybody has any they'd willing to share, send them to me.
Or if anyone knows where to point me, I'd appreciate it.


Lucia Ruedenberg
New York University
Dept. of Performance Studies
Email: <ruednbrg@...>


From: Chavie Reich <BANK1@...>
Date: Fri,  9 Jul 93 11:28 +0300
Subject: Discounted airline tickets

Discounted airline tickets: Call Chavie Reich at 02 519164 (evenings).
Prices too low to quote over the e-mail!!!


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 93 08:59:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Help with a Rav footnote

I am presently hard at work on writing up the 1977 Teshuva Drasha in
time for Aseret Yemei Teshuva for mail-jewish subscribers. In my
transcript, I am attempting to footnote, when appropriate, similar
thoughts as they appear in other of the Rav's writings. I would like to
ask those subcribers who are talmidim of the Rav to help me with a
specific citation:

I remember reading in one of the Rav's works that the Rav's grandfather
Reb Chaim zt'l would observe sunset on Yom Kippur and comment that this
sunset was qualitatively different than all other sunsets throughout the
year, because through this sunset Hashem grants Israel forgiveness of

Does anyone out there remember where this anecdote was published?            

Arnie Lustiger         


From: <isaac@...> (Isaac Balban)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 93 18:24:29 -0400
Subject: Mezuzah in Chutz La'Aretz

  | From: <cabzug@...> (Charlie Abzug)
  | Subject: RE: Woman as Sofer STAM
  | 	Finally, the mitzvah of Mezuzah.  A positive commandment, surely.
  | Ordained by time?  I am not sure.  The obligation to place a mezuzah does 
  | not begin until day 30 of the dwelling's habitation (when I bought my 
  | house 17 years ago I was careful NOT to place the mezuzot until day 30
  | for fear of making a B'rochoh levatoloh, an unneeded [and therefore 
  | forbidden] blessing.  

I believe this is incorrect. In Chutz Laaretz (outside Israel) when
you have bought a house, you must have a Mezuza affixed IMMEDIATELY upon
moving in. If it is rented you have 30 days. I assume from Charlie's
Maryland address that the house is in Chutz La'aretz.


From: Shaul Wallach <f66204@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 93 06:18:09 -0400
Subject: Modest Yemenite Girls

     Jonathan Ben-Avraham has some very enlightening comments about
hair coverings for girls:

>My wife gre up in Kfar Avraham, just to the east of Petah Tikvah.  She
>relates that as a girl she saw Yemenite girls with head covering like
>the Arab girls in our neighborhood wear (a large scarf of blue or
>turqoise color) on the #77 bus from Rosh HaAyin to Petah Tikvah. This
>custom continued until about 1957 she states, then it stopped.

     I was not aware of this before (I first came to Israel in 1973 and
visited Rosh Ha-`Ayin first in 1974), and am surprised that the custom
lasted as long as it did. Secular European culture was very dominant in
Israel in the 1950's and I'd rather not go into detail here about what
happened to the Yemenites in particular. Interested readers can refer
to the recent book by the journalist Tom Segev, "1949: Ha-Yisre'elim
Ha-Rishonim" or the English version "1949: The First Israelis"
(Free Press, New York, 1986) for a few upsetting details.

     Today there are a few Jewish families in Israel who have arrived
recently from Yemen. I have heard from people who are active in
absorbing the immigrants that the girls still cover their hair. But
my friends likewise don't hold out much hope that this custom will
last very long. There is also a controversy raging in Israel today
between the Shas party (which has assumed responsibility for taking
care of the religious needs of the immigrants) and the Degel Ha-Torah
newspaper "Yated Ne'eman" which has published a series of articles
charging that the immigrants are being exposed to secular influences
in the immigrant centers in Rehovot and Ashqelon where they have been
housed. It does appear that all the immigrant children are being sent
to Haredi schools affiliated with the Shas educational network "El
Ha-Ma`yan", but there are contradictory versions of testimony from
those involved with them as to their other activities.

>Please note that the Yalkut Yosef in part aleph, hilcot tfila, para 25
>states that unmarried women (naarot is the term he uses) have al mi
>lismoc for not wearing a head covering but that it is incumbent upon the
>teachers in beit yaakov and such schools to teach the girls to wear a
>head covering, at least when making any kind of braca or tfila. This is
>a very interesting psak, and I recommend that all of you who have taken
>an interest recently in this issue read it.

     Yes, it is quite an interesting pesaq. I'm not sure Rav Ovadia
meant that according to halakha girls are required to wear a hair
covering. The examples of women saying the blessings over Halla
and Tevila (ritual immersion) would seem to indicate otherwise.
The preponderance of opinion is that indoors, at least in places
where men are not allowed (such as in girls' schools), even married
women are not required to wear a hair covering as part of Dat Yehudit.
It therefore seems to me that R. Ovadia believes that it is indeed a
good practice to be encouraged, and that the best place to start it
is in the classroom. However, I haven't heard yet of R. Ovadia's ruling
actually being followed anywhere.

>My personal plug: I cannot understand why almost everyone who has posted
>recently on this issue seems to want to get rid of the hear covering,
>especially our Jewish sisters. Isn't this mitsvah something special that
>distinguishes us? Shouldn't it be haviv alenu, like tsitsit, kipa,
>tfilin, etc.?

      At the time of the Tosafot, zizit and kippa were not as Haviv
`Aleinu (dear to us) as they are now. In fact some French rabbis of
the time would even say the blessings without a head covering. But in
the course of time they did become more Haviv `Aleinu. Unfortunately,
the custom of Dat Yehudit requiring women and girls to cover their
hair has suffered the opposite fortune among the culturally dominant
European Jews. Since the practice has become entrenched to permit
married women to wear wigs and girls to go out with no covering at
all, it will take great efforts le-hashiv `atara li-yoshnah ("to
restore the crown to its dignity of old").

     The issue of wigs for married women, for example, has been
the subject of a spirited debate in the Sefardic monthly Torah
journal Or Torah. After the halakhic perspective had been discussed
for several months, one scholar published a letter in which he
pointed out that the main reason why women wear wigs outside the
home while "permitting" themselves to wear scarves at home (the
exact opposite of Dat Yehudit, according to most poseqim!), is that
they regard the more modest scarf as something more "primitive" (like
the Arabs...) or "old-fashioned" and are ashamed to be seen in it in
public. Unfortunately there are also cases where the husband actually
wants his wife to go out with a wig. I agree the time has come for
our leaders to lead us in getting rid of this inferiority complex
and help restore our authentic, beautiful Jewish customs of old.


Shaul Wallach

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 93 17:59:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Modest Yemenite Girls

Jonathan Ben-Avraham writes:

>My personal plug: I cannot understand why almost everyone who has posted
>recently on this issue seems to want to get rid of the hear covering,
>especially our Jewish sisters. Isn't this mitsvah something special that
>distinguishes us? Shouldn't it be haviv alenu, like tsitsit, kipa,
>tfilin, etc.?

I wear a kippa.  I also wear hats when it seems like a good idea for
protection from the weather.  The kippa doesn't bother me at all, and
the only reason I take it off before going to bed is that I would lose
it if I did not so.  The hat comes off as soon as I'm out of the sun
or rain - it's uncomfortable.

While I'm in no way suggesting that halacha ought to be changed in
order to make it more comfortable, were the Gedolim to announce that
it's perfectly acceptable for married women to wear something closer
to a kippa than a hat, I'm sure there would be great rejoicing.

For that matter, I think if we wore tefilin all day long they wouldn't
be so chaviv, either.

 |warren@      But the cabbie
/ nysernet.org is not worried at all.


From: Lawrence J. Teitelman  <csljt@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 93 18:35:54 EDT
Subject: Torah Tapes

Yeshiva University maintains a substantial Torah Tapes library including a
large selection on halakha (and in particular, topics in contemporary


	Rabbinic Alumni
	Yeshiva University
	Furst Hall, 4th Floor
	500 West 185 Street
	New York, NY 10033
	(212) 960-5263


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1993 2:14:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yam Shel Shlomo

Michael Shimshoni, in v8n18, commenting on Saul London's earlier posting,
is skeptical of Saul's suggestion that the Rambam knew that pi is
irrational (centuries before it was proven by mathematicians) and suggests
that perhaps the Rambam was only saying that it was not an integer, or
was a number, perhaps a rational number, that was difficult to express.
I was thinking along these lines, too, until my friend Barry Wolfson pointed
out what should have been obvious. It's true that pi was not _proven_ to
be irrational until relatively recently (early 1800's, I think), but surely
the Rambam, or anyone with a decent education in mathematics in his era,
would have strongly suspected that pi was irrational. The concept of
irrational numbers, after all, was discovered by Pythagoras, whose proof
that the square root of 2 is irrational is simple enough for a bright
sixth grader to understand. The Ramban may simply have been asserting
that, in all probability, pi is irrational, and not necessarily asserting
that he had a rigorous proof of that fact.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


End of Volume 8 Issue 31