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Volume 18: Number 8

Wed, 30 Aug 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.du...@juno.com>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2006 00:20:27 -0400
[Avodah] Rhyming

On the question of rhyming:

Shemos 29:35 (first half of pasuk).


Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <bac...@vms.huji.ac.il>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 21:07:50
Re: [Avodah] Pregnant women's sakana brought on by sense of

R. Chaim Manaster asked:
>Any medical types on the list? Is there any syndrome known to modern

Medical types? 
My boss at the hospital says, "Dr. Backon? EHR FARSHTEYT
A KRENK !!" :-)

>medicine that sounds like the Mishna on Yoma 82a about a pregnant woman
>who may eat on Yom Kippur to satisfy a desire brought on by an aroma of
>food, because she would otherwise be in a sakana if the desire is not
>satisfied. I can not think of any off hand. Or is this another case
>where we have to come unto the fact that "nishtane hateva"? So in the
>time of the mishna there was a sakana to pregnant women from this, but
>this is no longer within the nature of pregnant woman?

There may be enhanced olfactory sensitivity in bulimia [what may be what
the gemara 
calls "bulmus"]. There is olfactory dysfunction in neuropsychiatric
disorder (Martzke JS,
Kopala LC, Good KP. Olfactory dysfunction in neuropsychiatric disorders:
and methodological considerations. Biol Psychiatry. 1997 Oct

>The closest I can come up with (but no cigar) is the strange eating desires
>of women when pregnant, I guess brought on by all the hormonal changes
>on by pregnancy, (I assume this is true and not fiction), as well as morning
>sickness. But I doubt these conditions can put the mother in significant

The hypothesis that there is enhanced olfactory sensitivity in pregnant
women has
been recently debunked (Swallow BL, Lindow SW, Aye M, Masson EA, Alasalvar C,
Quantick P, Hanna J. Smell perception during early pregnancy: no evidence
of an
adaptive mechanism. BJOG. 2005 Jan;112(1):57-62). 

>Rashi seems to learn that the fetus smells the odor. Does a fetus in
utero  have
>a sense of smell? Can the odor wafting about in the atmosphere get through
all the
>layers to reach the fetus even if it has a developed sense of smell? I
>it would not? Anyone who knows? I think some are maghia rashi so that it
is the mother
>who smells the odor, not the fetus?

The fetus may be sensitive to certain odors. RASHI was 100% correct.
Indeed, the
Nishmat Avraham ORACH CHAYIM 617 #4 specifically indicates that the
Mechaber's use
of the term "lochashin lah b'ohzna" is for the fetus as per the gemara in
Yoma 82b.

Semke E, Distel H, Hudson R. Specific enhancement of olfactory receptor
sensitivity associated with foetal learning of food odors in the rabbit. 
Naturwissenschaften. 1995 Mar;82(3):148-9.  
Schaal B, Marlier L, Soussignan R. Human foetuses learn odours from their
mother's diet. Chem Senses. 2000 Dec;25(6):729-37.

Olfactory responsiveness was assessed in 24 neonates born to mothers who
had or had
not consumed anise flavour during pregnancy. Both groups of infants were
for behavioural markers of attraction and aversion when exposed to anise
odour and a
control odour immediately after birth and on day 4. Infants born to
mothers evinced a stable preference for anise odour over this period,
whereas those
born to anise non-consuming mothers displayed aversion or neutral
responses. This
study provides the first clear evidence that through their diet human mothers
influence the hedonic polarity of their neonates' initial olfactory responses.
The findings have potential implications for the early mother-to-infant
transmission of chemosensory information relative to food and addictive

Schaal B, Marlier L, Soussignan R. Olfactory function in the human fetus:
from selective neonatal responsiveness to the odor of amniotic fluid. Behav
1998 Dec;112(6):1438-49.




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