Avodah Mailing List

Volume 05 : Number 106

Tuesday, August 22 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 23:07:17 EDT
From: Tobrr111@aol.com
Pesik Reisha

> FWIW, it's almost certainly movement of your head if you are wearing a coat
> or your body if not. Exteremities, being less warm, would only be picked up
> once you are closer -- and your head or body already tripped it.

But still as you near the eye, you frequently would not know exactly which
second your head or body will trip it. Is it this step I am presently taking or
do I need to get a drop close etc. According to the sevara we are saying this
would not be a pesik reisha. As far as your other point of what is considered
"one action" and if all toch keday dibur is considered as one, this is a good
question that I don't have an answer for, except that I am not sure if toch
keday dibbur is used to connect actions, I think it is used to connected words.

Aaron Rubinson 

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Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 23:12:03 EDT
From: Tobrr111@aol.com
Pesik Reisha

Gil Student:
> I think that the heter used is that this is a pesik reisha delo nicha leih 
> bederabbanan which does not work for incandescent lights.  Rav Chaim 
> Soloveitchik held like the Aruch that pesik reisha delo nicha leih is 
> permissible and that would include incandescent lights. 

I don't think it is "lo nicha ley." The definition of Lo nicha lei is if you 
wouldn't want (or care) if this would happen during the week. The fact that 
you don't want it to happen because of the issur Shabbos does not make it lo 
nicha lei or else every PR would be lo nicha ley -- you don't want to 
transgress the issur. And in this case during the week you frequently are 
happy that the electric eye goes on.

Aaron Rubinson

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Date: Sat, 19 Aug 2000 23:13:40 EDT
From: Tobrr111@aol.com
Pesik Reisha

> I have yet to clarify, in my own mind, Halacha's approach to invisible
> effects such as electric eyes, etc. I attempt, out of admitted ignorance,
> to be machmir as much as possible.

I have friends who do not have the option to be macmir, it is impossible for 
them to get home without tripping an electric eye.

Aaron Rubinson

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Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 18:12:30 EDT
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Combing hair on shabbos

For many years, I have struggled in vain to understand what is wrong with
combing one's hair on Shabbos. I am unable to compare the way I experience
combing, with the way Chazal describe it. I'm basically clueless, and I need
some help.


What goes on when *you* comb or brush *your* hair? In *my* experience, it
is not unusual for my comb or brush to have several strands of hair in it
when I am done, but the melacha under discussion is gozez, not borer. But
I don't *always* find hair in the comb, and I *never* feel it being pulled out.

The presumption of all the poskim seems to be that the act of combing actually
uproots the hair from the follicle. But I cannot ever recall feeling that I
was pulling the hairs out of my head, except when my hair was in knots and
I tugged on the comb to unknot it. In the great majority of cases, the comb
or brush merely serves to place the hairs in a neat, orderly pattern. I am
unable to understand the whole presumption of the poskim in this matter.

One exception to the above was once when (for lack of anything more convenient)
I combed my hair with a lice comb. In this sort of comb, the teeth meet
in a narrow "V" shape, rather than a wide "U" shape, and this shape is
specifically designed to grab the hair and separate the lice from it. Using
the lice comb as a regular comb was a painful experience, and it suggests
to me that perhaps the combs used by chazal are different than the ones we use.

To summarize the above: When a typical person combs their hair (even if we
count all the strokes as one action, per the recent discussion) how can you
determine that any hairs have been uprooted? And beyond that, how does one
come to the conclusion that uprooting the hairs is UNAVOIDABLE?


Furthermore, I'd like to ask about the presumption that this alleged gozez
is "nicha lay": Who really likes losing their hair? Keep in mind that the
melacha is gozez, not borer. I could understand it if they said that your
not allowed to comb your hair for the purpose of preventing already-detached
hair from falling in your food. But that's not what they're saying.

They're saying that NO ONE is allowed to comb their hair, because for EVERYONE
it is a Pski Reishei D'Nicha Lay that the hair should get uprooted. This
includes both men who have a full head of hair, and also men who a going
bald. In my view, for the first group combing is not Psik Reishei, and for
the second group it is most definitely not Nicha Lay. What gives? Do you
know any 40+ year old men who like the idea of losing their hair?


Further, the Shaar Hatziun 303:74 writes <<< Even according to the shita that a
Psik Reishei d'LO Nicha Lay" is allowed... nevertheless, since he wants to make
a part in his hair, and that is impossible without plucking the hairs, it is
considered to be a Psik Reishei which IS Nicha Lay [and therefore assur]. >>>

I don't get it. Does anyone among us perceive parting his hair as IMPOSSIBLE
to do without plucking the hairs?


Note the Mishna Brurah 336:24, on the question of walking on grass on Shabbos:
<<< Even if the grass is long and he is barefoot, where the grass usually
get stuck in the toe-knuckles, even so, it is mutar, because it is not a psik
reishei that [the grass] would get detached, and therefore even if it *will*
get detached, there's still no issur, because he does not intend for it. >>>

I certainly don't want to accuse the Chofetz Chaim of closing his eyes to the
similarity between combing hair and walking on grass. Thus I must conclude
that he was dealing with a different reality than I am.


I can't help wondering if chazal's combs and brushes were constructed
differently than ours. Does anyone think that nowadays, it is impossible
to use a typical comb or brush without uprooting the hairs? Or maybe the
fact that we use mirrors has something to do with it? Was hair-combing more
violent when using a mirror was considered a violation of Beged Isha?

Anyone have any thoughts or other ideas on this?

(Just for the record, my hair tends to be on the oily side, and I thought
that might explain why my combs and brushes merely move my hair without
uprooting it. But my experiences are similar even when I comb or brush my
hair immediately after washing it, so there must be another explanation.)

Akiva Miller

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Date: Sun, 20 Aug 2000 22:04:39 EDT
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Boneh/Boney Yerushalaim

R' Micha Berger wrote:
> the ambiguity between "boneh" as a noun (builder) and as a verb (hu boneh
> achshav) ... Lashon hoveh and adjectives are *supposed* to be one notion.

Gil Student wrote:
> Rabbi Mordechai Cohen, professor of Bible at YU, told me that there is
> no present tense in biblical Hebrew. It is due to the influence of modern
> hebrew that consider adjectives to be present tense verbs.

There is a fascinating gemara (Brachos 38a-b) which discusses the text of
the bracha "Hamotzi", and the meanings of the words "Hamotzi" and "Motzi". A
cursory reading of the gemara, especially with Rashi's comments, seems to
be that the Gemara is arguing about whether these words are in the past
tense or future tense. That contrasts sharply with what *we* would ask,
which is whether they are verbs or nouns.

However, see also the Aruch Hashulchan, O"C 167:8, who says that "Hamotzi" is
unquestionably a present tense verb, and the gemara is merely asking whether
it *also* has past or future tense overtones. Alternatively, Steinzaltz (in
the Iyunim) says the machlokes is whether "Hamotzi" is a verb or an adjective.

Akiva Miller

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