Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 083

Monday, January 9 2006

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 05 Jan 2006 21:40:36 +1000
From: sba@sba2.com
Tallis over the head

From: "Joshua Kay" <>
> I am aware that many Yekkes and Oberlanders (as R'SBA will be aware
> from his shul in Melbourne) keep their hats on during davenen and do
> not cover their heads with the tallis.

That's how it used to be. Today most do. {I would say many simply because
it is lighter on the head than a hat..]

As I understand 'in der heim' in Oberland - only a TC [or in some places
a person who had 'earned' a moreinu' in his yeshiva] covered his head
with a tallis.

Which led to the oft-repeated joke about someone approaching an am
ho'oretz who decided to cover his head with his tallis, saying to him "You
are obviously a TC - as you have 'tallis ibern kop". So how come you don't
know that the minhag is that an am ho'oretz doesn't cover his head..?

It actually happened here once ..


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Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 21:01:41 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Xmax and Assimilation

On January 5, 2006, Chana Luntz wrote:
> In message , S & R Coffer <rivkyc@sympatico.ca> writes
>>the goyim are merely giving gifts because
>>'tis the season to be jolly'. It is an expression of camaraderie which is
>>found equally in all classes of mankind.

> I am not sure you are right.

Unfortunately, neither am I. I hope I am because if it has theistic
undertones, we could be getting into issues of abuzrayhu d'AZ. I've
been listening to R' Avigdor Miller for many years and although I did
once hear him proclaim that eating turkey on Thanksgiving b'davka to
celebrate the day is abuzrayhu d'AZ (because he felt that Thanksgiving
is a church holiday) but I never heard him protest gift-giving on Chanuka.

I have a question. If something starts out as theistically motivated but
ends up being driven by other motives to the point where the initial
underpinning is all but forgotten, what is the halacha? I have some
sources but I'd like to hear the chevra's take on it. No speculation
please. This is a halacha / hashkafa l'maaseh shaala, not an elective
hashkafa / elu v'elu type question.

> (Who indulged in loads of gift giving this Chanuka, because my younger
> son was born on 7th day Chanuka, 

Ditto...In fact, we had two birthdays. Personally, I think the whole
gift-giving thing should be abolished :-)

Best wishes
Simcha Coffer

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Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 21:14:04 -0500
From: "Herb Basser" <basserh@post.queensu.ca>
Re: Echod bepeh ve'echod beleiv

The earliest source seems to be the bavli:
See Baba Metzia 49a, Pesachim 113b for the girsa echod befeh
ve'echod beleiv-- RIF to BM 49a has achas etc.

Zvi Basser

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Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 04:49:55
From: "Dr. Josh Backon" <backon@vms.huji.ac.il>
Veset Kavua

Here's a post I made on Avodah 6 years ago:

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1999 1:31 +0200
From: BACKON@vms.huji.ac.il
Subject: Re: Changes in Nature and Hil. Niddah

There are many factors (dietary, stress, autonomic) that can affect
the menstrual cycle. My guess is that in the past 65 years, both
oligomenorrhea and normal cycle lengths with anovulation or short luteal
phase have increased as a result of dietary factors [e.g. vegetarianism
may induce menstrual cycle irregularity (See: Am J Clin Nutrition 1999;
70(Suppl 3) 549s); decreased dietary fat affects autonomic activity (Clin
Exp Pharmacol Physiology 1999 26:656-660); increased phytoestrogens in
the diet (e.g. soy) or pseudo-estrogens leached from plastic containers]
as well as changes in environmental lighting (effect of pineal hormones
on fertility).

And with the primacy of the autonomic nervous system regulating
ovulation, reproduction, and cervical secretions (see: Human Reproduction
1993;8:1168; Pharmacol Rev 1972;24:657-736) *anything* that affects the
ANS will effect changes in cycle length (and this ranges from watching
too much television (!) to type of mattress used for sleeping, from
native language spoken to sleep-work schedules).

A recent paper (late 1998) showed that in primitive societies (Africa,
etc.) cycle length has not changed over the past 3 generations.

To sum up: it is very likely that due to environmental factors (diet,
stress, autonomic) a VESET KAVUA today is quite rare in the USA, Europe
or Israel.


BTW here's an email correspondence I had with Rav Yitzchak Zirkind on
Veset Kavua in 1999:

Subject:  6 categories of VESET KAVUA have same underlying mechanism

Dear Reb Yitzchak

I'd like your input on what I just stumbled on: all 6 categories of
VESET KAVUA (guf/ones [indirect]/ones [direct]/haflaga/chodesh/day of
the week) have the same underlying mechanism. It also explains why for
veset haflaga you need 4 times in a row !

I'm in neurocardiology and have been investigating ultradian (90 minute
rhythms) and circaseptan (7 day rhythms) chronobiology for over 20 years.

VESET HA'GUF: sneezing and bodily aches: can be explained by a paper that
came out over 100 years ago (1898) in the NY State Journal of Medicine
on the nasal cycle and autonomic nervous system

VESET B'ONES (indirect, eating garlic, onions, peppers): these substances
are powerful inhibitors of thromboxane synthetase which indirectly
influences the ANS (autonomic nervous system [which, in turn, regulates
ovulation and menstruation]

VESET B'ONES (direct: jumping: skin pressure vegetative reflex immediately
affects ANS

VESET HAFLAGA: (every X days): we accidentally found the 1/f mechanism
of the ultradian and circaseptan rhythms in 1993 in standard heart rate
variability measures (time and frequency)

VESET day of the week: ditto

What's more interesting is that DILUGIN and L'SEYRUGIN can also be
explained this way as can SHA'A KAVUA and TZIRUF.

PUNCHLINE: if some data we are analyzing today shows what we're looking
for then it's possible that we may have a device that could engender a
VESET KAVUA in all women today. [UPDATE: JANUARY 6, 2006: THE HARDWARE

What's your reaction ?


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Date: Thu, 5 Jan 2006 22:48:20 -0500
From: MPoppers@kayescholer.com
Re: Three steps forward

In Avodah V16 #82, RLPM replied:
> I just received from a friend the following: "At KAJ today, the
> prerogative of `atifo be-talleis belongs basically to the Raf and the
> dayyonim, though a few upstarts (NOT ME) do it with impunity."

The current Rav of KAJ, Rav ZGelley, didn't keep the talis over his head
for any longer a period of time than his predecessors during the period
of time I observed him. Let your friend explain precisely what he means
(and feel free to reply to me offline), because to me either he can only
be referring to the prerogative of priority (e.g. first in the tzibbur
to make the b'rachah & enwrap on YhK [before "Kal-nidrai" and again in
the morning before "Baruch sheawmar"]) or something has changed at KAJ,
and while change can occur, I find it strange that the Rav of KAJ would
change what he had previously been doing and nowadays keep the talis
over his head the entire morning (or, on 9Av or YhK, at other times).
As for "upstarts," they existed in the past, too -- e.g., yours truly
dared daven weekday Ma'ariv sans a hat, and I knew certain members
who were hatless even on Shabbos vYT -- so it wouldn't surprise me if
certain participants nowadays kept the talis over their head (in my day,
I would have expected a talking-to from someone if I had done so).

Shabbas Shalom and all the best from
 -Michael Poppers via RIM pager

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Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 17:55:30 +1000
From: sba@sba2.com
Al ta'amin b'atzmecha

From: Shaya Potter <>
> R' Shalom Kohn:
> As I think you recognized with respect to your sons, you have enough
> confidence in their upbringing to let them be exposed, despite the
> statistics. May Hashem vindicate your faith.  Charedi leaders apparently
> lack this confidence.>

> So did Chazal: Al ta'amin b'atzmecha ad yom moscha.

you are skipping the first part of the mishna."don't seperate yourself
from the community" R Levi Yitzchak mi'Bereditchev taught that these
can't be viewed separately. The only way you can be spiritually secure
is to get other's to do mitzvot.

Where does RLY miBerditchev say this?

BTW, the Rambam also talks about those who are 'poresh min hatzibur'
and he clearly describes them - as what we call simply - baalei aveireh -
who are oyver on Torah and Mitzvos.

Not only MAY we keep away from them and have nothing to do with them -
we MUST!


PS Transfered from Arvm - by order of the moderators

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Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 18:05:13 +1000
From: sba@sba2.com
Re: Al ta'amin b'atzmecha

Quoting Shaya Potter <spotter@yucs.org>:
>>> R' Shalom Kohn: So did Chazal: Al ta'amin b'atzmecha ad yom moscha.
>> you are skipping the first part of the mishna."don't seperate 
>> yourself from the community"
>> R Levi Yitzchak mi'Bereditchev taught that these can't be viewed
>> separately.  The only way you can be spiritually secure is to get
>> other's to do mitzvot.

>> Where does RLY miBerditchev say this?

> quoted in Vayaged Yackov.
> http://www.torah.org/learning/hamaayan/5758/shlach.html

I clicked there [though I would really like to see it inside]. Vezeh
>>> R' Levi Yitzchak of Bereditchev z"l writes that the statement, "Do 
>>> not believe in yourself until the day you die," is part of the 
>>> statement that comes before it, i.e., "Do not separate yourself 
>>> from the community." Chazal promise that a person who causes others 
>>> to do mitzvot will be protected from spiritual harm. "Do not 
>>> separate yourself from the community;" rather, attempt to teach 
>>> them. Only in this way can you be spiritually secure. <<

Is it only me that can't understand this?

Is RLY disagreeing with the Mishna? or what?

>> BTW, the Rambam also talks about those who are 'poresh min hatzibur' and he
>> clearly describes them - as what we call simply - baalei aveireh - who are
>> oyver on Torah and Mitzvos. Not only MAY we keep away from them  and 
>> have nothing to do with them - we MUST!

> note when it quotes in the name of Rav Elya Meir Bloch.

I did.
Are you saying that his comments refer in any way to the Rambam?


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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 04:41:31 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>
RE: vest kavua nowadays

From: <myb@yeshivanet.com>
> From what I heard from several Rabanim and madrichim, mostly at shiurim in
>Hilchos Niddah and some of whom I've spoken to personally, a steady veset
>kavua is virtually unheard of nowadays.

I was fortunate to have learned Hilchos Niddah as a chosson with one of
the four official Lakewood poskim. He introduced vestos by saying that I
basically wouldn't need to worry about a vest kavua for the rest of my
life, it is that unheard of.

>In the days of old, day was day, and when the sun went down, those who
>could afford candles stayed up a little longer, but sooner or later the
>day came to a close, v'haya lonu halayla mishmar v'hayom melacha (Nechemia
>4:16). Therefore the body sensed when it was day and when it was night,
>va'yehi erev va'yhi boker yom echad... Nowadays with electricity, most
>hours of the day are spent indoors with artificial lighting, and layla
>kayom ya'ir with the same artificial lighting, the body sort of lost
>sense of it's biological calendar.

He told me this theory as well. Except he said it works to stabilize
periods. If the woman will go to sleep with the light in the room
simulating the light of the moon, i.e. nights with no moon no light
at all and slowly increasing the light as the moon waxes, she can many
times get a more regular period.


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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 08:28:29 -0500
From: "Rich, Joel" <JRich@Segalco.com>
Child's interests

Lots of recent discussion on areivim re: metzitza bpeh. Question-who is
charged in halacha (vs. secular law) to look out for the child's welfare?
Obviously the first response is the parents but how broad is this charge?
For example, if there is a procedure/activity that society considers
dangerous but the parents want to do for/with the child, does society(e.g.
the melech, beit din...) have the right and/or responsibility to step in?
even if not asked?

Any sources would be appreciated

Joel RIch

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Date: Fri, 06 Jan 2006 12:05:57 -0500
From: Mendel Singer <mendel@case.edu>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha (science of origins is speculative and suspect)

At 08:30 AM 1/2/2006 -0800, RHM wrote:
>To say that observing a star that is measured as being 100 million light
>years away is merely a trick of God to try and trip up in our Emunah
>and that really it is only created to look like it is 100 million light
>years away is to say that God's purpose for mankind is to lead us astray.

>My belief is that God gave us a mind for a reason and He does not mislead
>us. The Nisyonos we get in our daily lives are enough of a test. If it
>walks like a duck... well it's possible it's not a duck but... common.

We've been through this before, harry, so I'll try not to repeat myself
(too much).

You see this as a trick, albeit a trick that has only appeared that way
for a short span of time in the context of 5766 years. But, let's put
that aside.

Let's say Hashem wants the world to be in a certain state when man
is created, and that man is the ultimate purpose of the creation.
Why does He need to have the "natural" process of eons of time take
place if it serves no purpose, and He could just create the result of
those eons? That seems far less logical to me than the argument that
this creates an unnecessary test of emunah since it appears to some
to be tricking people? Maybe this is a needed test of emunah. It is
very hard to form a convincing argument that something is *not* needed
as a test because there are enough nisayonos. How can we know Hashem's
thinking on this type of matter. You can conjecture, but you can't take
that argument very far. And, of course, since we have a mesorah that
at least part of creation was done with a history (Adam, fruit trees,
etc...), saying that the whole creation was done with a history would
seem to be an obvious extrapolation that one could conjecture. While
this might not be intellectually pleasing to everyone, how can you say
that the planting of bones is trickery?

Sorry. I just don't see this is as tricking people. I can understand why
people might not like this approach, and why people would find others
more satisfying, but this isn't trickery.


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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 13:37:40 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis

On Mon, Jan 02, 2006 at 10:13:03PM -0500, Zev Sero wrote:
: Since we seem to be back to this question yet again, let me trot out my
: standard reply: artistic completeness...

... And my reply: Complete compared to what? Art might imitate nature,
but when we're talking about the artistry of nature, Hashem defines
what "normal" is. Therefore had He chosen to draw a teva exaplanation
that didn't involve billions of years, and otherwise were closer to
Bereishis 1, we would find that equally artistic, complete, and in line
with current teva.

Which brings me to idea #2: That scientific findings are man's projection,
and not purely about what is "out there". This is the position of
Kant, Mach, and Einstein (who was a big Mach fan). In which case,
what scientists perceive about how the world came to be says at least
as much about the scientist as about the world. As already noted, R'
Dessler blames their explanation on their being overly teva.

Now, my idea #3: AS I argued last week, teva today wouldn't work unless
teva were seemless. Thus, had HQBH made a universe that didn't appear
old, the laws of physics we have now would be different. A motivation
that has nothing to do with wanting to mislead man.

And of course, #4: We really expect to intelligibly discuss Hashem's
motives? How could we possible know why He would choose to make a pre-aged
universe, or not to?

I have a problem with the notion of false age, but not the "Why would
G-d fool us?" one.


Micha Berger             The Maharal of Prague created a golem, and
micha@aishdas.org        this was a great wonder. But it is much more
http://www.aishdas.org   wonderful to transform a corporeal person into a
Fax: (270) 514-1507      "mensch"!     -Rabbi Israel Salanter

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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 13:40:00 -0500
From: "M Cohen" <mcohen@touchlogic.com>
pray for the recovery of a given a Jew

Saul.Z.Newman@kp.org asks ...would it be halachically problematic to say one
shouldn't pray for the recovery of a given a Jew, either due to their
political or religious views?

I don't see why someone shouldn't doven for the recovery of such a Jew, and
at the same time doven that HKBH should save/protect us from any mistaken
decisions he might make..

Mordechai Cohen

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Date: Fri, 6 Jan 2006 12:16:18 -0500
From: eli neuberger <eli.neuberger@gmail.com>
Tefilah La Medina

Sol Newman wrote;
> eg  ex-Gaza jews [ or current Yesha jews]  praying on behalf of one who
> would exile them...

Why stop there? What about "tefilah la medina"?

Eli Neuberger

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