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Volume 04 : Number 476

Sunday, April 2 2000

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 22:11:32 +0100
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>

In message , Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer
<sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> writes
>> Perhaps these youngsters would have been benefited by
>> the introduction of TV into their homes.
>What benefit can there possibly be in TV?

I know that this is not the common position, but you should be aware
that there is another view on the subject of TV other than banning it -
which was the view very much held by my mother.

My mother strongly believed in *having* a TV, despite the fact that the
rules as to what we were allowed to watch were extremely strict.  The
only thing she banned was the remote control.

Because the one thing my mother *really* did not believe in was in
channel hopping, "just to see" what was on.  The rule was, you had to
read the guide before deciding to watch something, decide beforehand
that it was worth watching, and then you could watch it.  Of course
there were guidelines about what was *worth watching* - at one stage
everything on commercial TV (in Australia you had three commercial
channels and 1-2 government channels, without commercials) was banned
because of the advertisements.  My mother felt that advertisements were
designed to induce greed and wanting things you didn't have, and hence
were not suitable.  In later years that rule was relaxed somewhat (I
think partly because advertisments, by way of billboards etc, became so
much more intrusive, and partly because they could be more easily
filtered out), but it was always easier to justify something on the non
commercial channels.

My mother felt very strongly that a television was a wonderful tool for
teaching discrimination and self discipline within the home environment
so that such learning could be monitored and guided.  And that there
were some wonderful shows on that broadened the mind and the imagination
(admittedly, more of them seemed to be British than American).

Unlike some of my friends, we never had a quota (some had an hour a week
or some such).  The rule was, if it was worth watching, you could watch
it, if not, not - but a conscious decision had to be made to that
effect.  That meant that, for the year of my childhood we spent in
Britain (when I was 10), we watched a lot more television than we ever
did in Australia.

To this day, while I have a television, I confess I haven't watched
something in ages - mainly because I seem to be too busy to read the TV
guide until after the shows are over, and hence I never get around to
deciding what there is to watch, so I never watch anything.

But I do think, in theory, my mother is right - although I acknowledge
that it takes quite a lot of parenting time and effort, including quite
sophisticated articulation of values (in contrast, btw, we were always
allowed to read anything, on the grounds that we were trusted to put the
book down if it was not appropriate.  The idea being, that reading is
active, ie you have to actively turn the pages, while TV is pretty
passive, once you are watching, if something is scaring you or whatever,
you need to actively do something to turn it off, otherwise it just
unfolds in front of you).  It also requires time to discuss a)
situations where a misjudgement is made (eg the show turned out to be
inappropriate) and how to handle that; b) peer pressure to discuss shows
that we were not allowed to watch and c) differences in opinion as to
what we were or were not old enough to watch.

Also, you have to have parents who use the same system to choose what
they watch.  That is, while there were shows that we were not allowed to
watch because we were not old enough, there were lots of shows that
nobody in the family would allow themselves to watch.  Otherwise, as
with a number of my friends, it becomes that Television (like smoking or
drinking in other homes) becomes something you aspire to do as it proves
you are grown up. In my home, while my parents would often watch an hour
or so of television on a Sunday night - it was carefully selected (and
my father used to polish his shoes and my mother used to do the ironing
while watching), and it was rarely on the rest of the week, unless
something particularly interesting came up.  Another thing, was that you
were not allowed to eat in front of the television (or talk for that
matter, either you were watching, or if you wanted to talk you turned
the thing off).  Dinner time was family time (we always tried to eat
together) - and my mother discouraged eating at non meal times in

As I mentioned, not the common position, but it does exist.
>Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer

Shavuah tov


Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 23:22:36 +0300
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@barak-online.net>
No pot roast for us

 <We generally do pot roast one night>

As already posted by R' YZirkind in his reference to O"C Sh"A Harav,  my family also 
does not eat pot roast at the seder because of its faint similarity to korban Pesach.  
For the same reason, our custom is to use a chicken gorgel (neck) for the zeroa'.  My 
wife's Yerushalayim-Perushim family, however, used a piece of beef or lamb with 
bone (zeroa'?). 



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Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 23:22:38 +0300
From: D & E-H Bannett <dbnet@barak-online.net>
Shi'urim craze

I feel sure we have gone through the shi'urim story before because I remember 
quoting a reference from Moriah, TShN"G, that stated that:
Although the kazayit matza shi'ur given by the the Hazon Ish in his Kuntres Hashi'urim 
is 33 cc., R' Hayyim Kanievsky, who attended the Hazon Ish's seder, said that the 
Hazon Ish gave out a kazayit of about 17 cc.  R' Hayyim states also that his father, R' 
Ya'akov Kanievsky, used a similar size.

I have lived through an era of change. I remember when the kazayit was given as 1/3 
of a machine matza.  A few years later it was up to 1/2 matza.  Today, or rather the 
last few times I heard, it seems to have stabilized at one whole machine matza.  As 
the kazayit has gone up, the eating time limit, kedei akhilat peras, has gone down 
from 9 to 4 to 2 minutes.  I failed in my attempts to find a mathematical formula for 
the non-linear automatic compensation factor.

I remember too that I posted  in the past a reference to Prof. Avi Greenfield's article on 
the kazayit - beitza relationship which also lists and has diagrams displaying the 
various shitot in kazayit size.  

From my summary of Prof AG's article::
					Volume	Diameter

R' Hayyim Volozhiner			3 cc		4.6 cm (1.8")
(K'zayit shel yamenu)

Hazon Ish, lema'aseh			17 cc		11 cm (4.3")
(as per eidut of R' H. Kanievsky) 

R' Avraham Hayyim Na'eh		27 cc		14 cm (5.5")

Hazon Ish (lefi Kuntres Hashiurim)	33 cc		15.3 cm (6.0")

Mishnah Brurah 			60 cc		20.6 cm (8.1")
(k'beitza shel yamenu)

The approximate diameters given are for a circular shaped hand matza with a 
thickness of 1.8 mm (11/64").

I think there is much to learn from the Chatam Sofer's chumra as stated in the 
Hagadat Soferim..  He would take the two zeitim of matza, hold them close to his 
mouth and then make the berakhot. He then inserted the two zeitim bit by bit into his 
mouth but did not swallow.  He chewed each bit and then moved it into his left cheek.  
When the two zeitim were all in his left cheek, he swallowed the entire two zeitim at 
one time.

I'd like to see anyone put two chewed whole machine matzos into his left cheek.  I 
don't think a pelican could do it. If the pelican could fit them in, he might still choke 
when swallowing all at once.

Pesach Kasher ve-sameach,


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Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2000 17:15:02 PST
From: "aviva fee" <aviva613@hotmail.com>

Goot voch,

I was wondering what the Avodah olam thought of the Passover Family Fun Kit 

See http://aish.com/holidays/Passover/kit_passover_family_fun.asp

The following is the ad from the web page:

"The silliest, wackiest, wildest time you'll ever have at the seder table!"

(301) 881-9010
$49.95 plus shipping & handling

Jump back in time, as your kids, grandkids and adults if needed act out the 
story of Passover with a real script and character costumes. It's tons of 
fun for the whole family!

No Hebrew Required
Over 100 pieces
Includes 5 copies of the Children's Passover Play
Great Props: Megaphone, Microphone, Toy Frogs, Hail, Toy Wild Animals, 
Pharoh's Hat, Miriam's Headpiece, Toy Bugs, Moses' Beard, Toy Locusts...

(301) 881-9010
$49.95 plus shipping & handling
Aish HaTorah Washington, D.C.
11418 Old Georgetown Road
North Bethesda, MD 20852

On one side, I think it is a really cute idea that can get kids into the 
On the other side, this is not something my zaide would do.

What are your thoughts?


Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

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Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 20:02:40 -0600
From: "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer" <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu>
Re: TV

Today's TV is not the TV we had growing up, although, truth to tell, I have
no idea whether Australian TV in the late 60's through late 70's in
Australia was at all similar to what we had either!

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
http://www.aishdas.org/baistefila    ygb@aishdas.org

----- Original Message -----
From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
To: <avodah@aishdas.org>
Sent: Saturday, April 01, 2000 3:11 PM
Subject: TV

> In message , Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer
> <sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> writes
> >
> >> Perhaps these youngsters would have been benefited by
> >> the introduction of TV into their homes.
> >>
> >
> >What benefit can there possibly be in TV?
> I know that this is not the common position, but you should be aware
> that there is another view on the subject of TV other than banning it -
> which was the view very much held by my mother.
> Chana
> --
> Chana/Heather Luntz

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Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 22:50:11 EST
From: Tobrr111@aol.com
More Dor Rivii

In a message dated 4/1/00 4:25:23 PM Eastern Standard Time, David Glasner 
responded to my post and wrote:
>> First, I appreciate your kind words about the Dor Revi'i, but I am afraid 
that I am 
 having trouble with your use of the term "normative."  On the one hand you 
 that I am allowed to argue on behalf of the positions or opinions that the 
 Revi'i espoused on the other hand, you say that because he remains a daas 
 yachid, his position cannot be normative.  I would be the last one to say 
 because the Dor Revi'i said something, it must be right.  Actually that's not
 true.  The Dor Revi'i would be the last one to say that because he said 
 something, it must be right.  (I will spare you a quotation of the passage I 
 thinking of, but it's in the hakdamah.)  But I do say that if the Dor Revi'i 
 something, what he said cannot be beyond the pale.  If it's not beyond the
 pale, then I can also say it and argue for it and try to convince others, 
and if 
 others accept it, hinei mah tov u-mah naim, and if not, not.  I never said 
that you 
 must accept my position, but you seem to be suggesting that my position must 
 rejected as a matter of principle (though you seem to be willing to grant me 
 special dispensation based on a great-grandfather clause).
Let me just clarify. I agree, and wrote clearly in my original post, that due 
to his gadlus nothing the Dor Rivii said or wrote is beyond the pale. And I 
agree that you have a right to argue his position, and, in fact, as a 
descendant you should do so. However, I still feel his position cannot be 
considered normative. What makes a position normative is a very complex 
question. But lets say I was a Rabbi or spiritual leader and I was teaching 
about the law that one is required to forfeit all ones possessions rather 
than transgress a negative prohibition. Naturally, this is somewhat of a 
tough halacha to swallow. It goes against our sensibilities (which is part of 
the reason the Dor Rivii has trouble with it). When teaching this law, 
although I would be aware of the Dor Rivii's position, I feel as a teacher it 
would be misleading to highlight it. If one were to read the vast majority of 
Rishonim and Achronim on the matter one would be forced to come to the 
conclusion that the position of the dor rivii is not normative, meaning the 
overwhelming evidence is against him. To highlight his position would be a 
case of being uncomfortable with a halacha, and searching for an opinion to 
fit my sensibilities. If one is a student, follower or descendant of the Dor 
Rivii it is understandable to follow his positions. However, I always have a 
problem with shopping for a gadol who fits ones preconceived notions, 
especially when one takes one position from this gadol one from another when 
these positions might even be contradictory. Doing so is probably not assur, 
but seems to me to be "naval berishut haTorah."  
(I am using the Dor Rivii's position on losing all ones money in order not to 
transgress a negative prohibition as an example, in fact he has many original 
positions, both halachic and hashkafic that I would label non-normative.)
>>Finally, I would be grateful if you could provide a citation for the Bach 
to which 
you are referred.<<

The Bach is in Orach Chayim end of 658. 

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Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 09:04:34 +0300
From: "Kira Sirote" <ksirote@fenics.com>

RYGB wrote:
>Remind me if we discussed this, but since every morsel of matzo on the
of Pesach is a mitzvah d'orysa. why would you not eat as much matzo as
possible, leaving room for the other mitzvos achila and  a seudas Yom Tov?

I learned that halakhic "Eating" is defined as at least a kezait eaten in at
least "bichdei achilat pras" ~5 minutes.  If you're consciously performing
the mitzvah of Achilat Matza, you take a nice piece of Matza and eat it,
you're pretty much going to be yotzei any shiur.  But - if the leader of the
Seder takes one piece of shmura matza and breaks it up among 20 people -
that's not eating, that's tasting.  To be yotzei the mimetic aspect - if
it's your minhag for the matza to be given out like that, so do that and
make sure that each person takes a real piece of matza in addition.  That
way everyone is happy.   R' Reuven Aberman suggested that every adult be
given 3 whole matzos for the Seder and follow all the rules in the Haggada
about when to eat from which piece.  It also yields a lot of afikomans...

As for Marror - there's an easy way to eat a k'zait of Marror: Romaine
Lettuce.  Horseradish is the third-best choice for northern climates.  See
Sh"A 473:5, and M"B 42 there.


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Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 20:37:04 +0200
From: "Akiva Atwood" <atwood@netvision.net.il>
RE: Shi'urim craze

Why wouldn't suffek D'orisa L'Chumra apply to the shiur of matzo?


A reality check a day keeps 
the delusions at bay (Gila Atwood)

Akiva Atwood, POB 27515
Jerusalem, Israel 91274  

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Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 23:12:37 +0200
From: "Akiva Atwood" <atwood@netvision.net.il>
RE: Shi'urim craze

> Hazon Ish, lema'aseh			17 cc		11 cm (4.3")
> (as per eidut of R' H. Kanievsky)

according to my LOR, the Chazon Ish's 17cc shiur was for d'Rabbanim shiurim.


A reality check a day keeps
the delusions at bay (Gila Atwood)

Akiva Atwood, POB 27515
Jerusalem, Israel 91274

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Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2000 15:34:13 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>

--- "Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M. Bechhofer"
<sbechhof@casbah.acns.nwu.edu> wrote:
> > In message , Yosef Gavriel and Shoshanah M.
> Bechhofer

> > >What benefit can there possibly be in TV?

I quote the famous Polish American philosopher,  James

 "Television... What am I, nuts?!"

I have discussed in the past the virtues of Television
and it seems interest has been rekindled once again. 
So I will try and reprise... and revise what I have

Firstly, What passes for entertainment on TV today
must be condemned as inappropriate viewing for young
impressionable minds full of mush.  Virtually every
sitcom has situations and humor which are anathema to
Torah values.  Yet all characters portrayed on TV are
set up as positive role models.  What is an
impressionable young mind to think when he watches a
mega-hit like "Friends"?  Yes, "Friends" is a very
funny show. But, by watching a group of young, hip,
people interact, on a show like "Friends" the young
mind is led to believe that it is OK to have complete
and total abandon when it comes to matters of Arayos. 
Marriage, when it does come up is always treated as
though it is an OK thing to do but has nothing to do
with ones Arayos activities.  TV dramas are often even
worse.  One of most common subjects of TV drama is
almost always some form of Arayos or deviant Arayos. 
In some cases dramas have broken  old taboos about
displaying nudity on TV.   Even the old taboos about
language have been broken and a certain degree of
profanity is tolerated.  Anyone who thinks that just
because certain words are not used in the home by the
parents will automatically preclude their children
using those words are sadly mistaken.  I've heard the
most forbidden of four letter words...  expressions
that mimic the language one hears in movies, and now
even on TV coming out of the mouths of high schoolers,
all from good homes.  Often, parents don't even
suspect that their kids are talking that way.

But even if we could go back to the good old days of
TV, the Ozzie and Harriet days, TV is a humongous
waste of what would otherwise be time more
constructively spent on both the part of children and
adults.  For men, certainly watching TV would be
Bittul Torah, if nothing else.

So... Why do I own 7 TVS, one of them being a big
screen and 6 VCRs? Because TV, like anything else in
life can be used for good as well as bad.  One CAN get
a tremendous education from even the worst of TV.  The
best of what is on TV Drama today  often asks and
attempts to answer ethical questions.  For example, to
Torah observant adults it is interesting to compare
the TV resolution of an ethical crisis to the Torah
resolution, this being done in the context of
entertainment television.  TV IS passive.  But it can
entertain and educate at the same time.  No one would
advocate replacing a formal education with TV. That
would be ridiculous.  But if one chooses wisely what
he/she watches, one can relax, rehabilitate, and be
educated without the pressures of the classroom,
without moving a finger, while he/she is being

Then, there is PBS.  I have come to watch more and
more of what is on that channel because of the
entertainment/educational material that is presented
on it almost every night. I have learned of the
biography of great men and women, all in the comfort
of my den couch, while being passively entertained.  
Again, learning the biography of a Andrew Carnegie on
a 2 hour PBS documentary does not replace a university
education on the same subject.  But I would probably
never have done an independent study of Carnegie in
college either.  I have learned about the lives of
Cecil J. Rhodes,  John Brown, all of the Presidents
since FDR, Isaac Beshevis Singer, and a wide variety
of other historical figures, too numerous to mention. 
None of these would I have learned about formally. 
But, in the comfort of my own home...during what one
would call "vegging out"... I have picked up a lot of
information about a lot of people... and events. 

As a Churban Europe buff, I read everything I can
about the Churban Europe.  I also, watch everything I
can whether it is presented on PBS or commercial
television.  Without TV I would be lacking a visual
that I could not possibly have had through a print

Then there is TV news.  I have heard the argument that
whatever benefits one gains from TV's immediacy one
gains even more so from the Radio. Not true.  All the
resources of the broadcast media are put into the TV
newscast. When covering a news event, nothing can
replace the visual image. Of course when it comes to
details of an event,TV won't do it for you.  That's
when the print media comes in. But in terms of seeing
what happened, nothing beats the TV image, short of
actually being there. The expression "one picture is
worth a 1000 words" comes to mind.  Listening to a
political debate on the radio will not have as
accurate an impact as will a visual image, where one
can observe a candidate's expressions as well as
listening to his/her words. Body language can often
say more than then words.

Children's programming on PBS is by far the most
positive force on TV today. Programs like Mr. Rogers
and Barney teach nothing BUT positive values to kids.
These are values that are in full consonance with the
Torah.  Watching Sesame Street will often put
pre-schoolers  in a far better position when they
enter school. And a minor fringe benefit of these
programs is that they tend to keep kids time occupied
in a positive way and leave less time  to get into
mischief around the house.

Finally, TV enables one to know the mores of one's
environment. TV does indeed reflect those mores.  It
is indeed a "window to the world" (WTTW are the call
letters of Chicago's primary PBS channel). I believe
it is important to know what the surrounding culture
of one's environment is in order to effectively
counteract it when it comes in conflict with ones
Torah values.

So, How does one reconcile the pros and cons of TV? 
Should one just eliminate it from one's domain,
thereby eliminating both the good and the bad.  I
think not. One cannot completely eliminate the
influence of TV on one's children or on themselves. TV
is too pervasive in our culture to be completely
eliminated.  Our children will always have
opportunities to watch TV. All we can do is minimize
its impact by minimizing and controlling contact.  

To say that TV is Assur to have in one's home  would
fly in the face of those Gedolei Israel who have TVS
in their homes.  I know for a fact that R. Ruderman,
ZTL of Ner Israel had one.  I know that R. Aaron
Soloveichik has one and that he watches the news and
some of PBS. He has stated so publicly as he has
indeed also, condemned most of what is on TV today.

I allowed unfettered TV access to  my four children. 
Were they harmed? I think not: 

One of them, (my son) lives in Israel and is now in
his 7th year in the Mir (Yerushalaim) Kollel and is
well on his way to Gadlus.  Two of my daughters
married Talmidei Chachamim who are going into Chinuch.
 One of them is in the Smicha Program at YU and the
other is in the HTC Kollel. My youngest daughter is
engaged to one of the best Beis Hamedrash Bachurim in
HTC with a very bright future in Chinuch.  Two of my
daughters are in Chinuch themselves, teaching in the
best Girls high school in the country (HSBY) and the
best day school in the country (ACHDS).  

Even though, I do not think they were hurt by TV, we
must all know our own children and treat it in
accordance with what is in their best interest. We
must be vigilant in that regard.

Television can be a great tool but can easily be
misused.  I think it is better not to "throw out the
baby with the bath water", but instead to own it and
use it wisely. Hopefully with the advent of the
Internet and it's inherent dangers, which are far
worse than anything that has ever been on TV, we can
come to a more sane attitude toward s TV then what has
heretofore been adopted by the those on the "Right" of
the Torah community.  The "Right" has backed off of
outlawing the Internet because they have recognized
it's intrinsic value, while also recognizing it's
inherent dangers.  The solution of the "Right" to the
Internet is to minimize it's use and to carefully
monitor their children's use of it. But it is
important to note that it is not Assur to own a
computer.  In the same way, I believe that not only is
TV not Assur but it is even beneficial.  The relative
merits of computers versus TV are not the issue.  The
issue is whether if one has a tool with an inherent
set of dangers, do we reject the tool in it's entirety
or do we learn how to harness it's energy and use it

I think we all know the answer.


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