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Re: What are we going to do for Chol Hamoed?? Ticket to Ride, Catan, Risk, Pandemic. ;)
March 15, 2020, 02:17:57 PM
Re: Weddings in next few weeks
so many small weddings going on and i literally cry by each video.  its less than what they did in the old shtetl.  barely minyan for bentching. and there is nothing we can do about it.  many couples are taking it in stride. but some looked like they were on the verge of crying   :'( :'( :'(

Hopefully this can teach us that we dont need to spend tens of thousands of dollars for one nights party,

March 19, 2020, 07:08:04 AM
Re: Pesach Programs There is no way any rav, considered mainstream chariedi, will sign such a  hetter.
Have you heard of ANY of these "Rabbis" before????
None of Chacham Ovadia Yosef's children signed, no one from the Moetzes Chachmei Hatorah, not even from the Chavrei Moetzes Harabanut Harashit L'Yisrael!!!!!!!

You need "shoulders" to start with hetterim like this, its not for the Ram in some Yeshiva to sign on, or the Mara Dasra of some small Yishuv, or the Rav of a Beit Knessset.

March 25, 2020, 08:10:49 AM
Re: Areivim USA - Coronavirus I'm going to post something that was writen by an actuary about 10 years ago when Areivim was making a big startup splash. It was posted on a blog that seems not to exist any more, but I know who the author is. I vaugley recall that he met with the askanim behind it and was unimpressed with their responses.

AREIVIM and Why I Dont Like It

This is just my opinion so you are more than free to disagree. Of course some numbers to back up any counter claims should be a requirement.

 Here is the Areivim plan:

A group of 14,286 (families) enroll by submitting an application and a credit card number. If someone in the group dies, the remaining members will be charged $7 per surviving unmarried child, for a total of $100,000 per child. No more than $28 will be collected per member per month.  For example, if someone dies and has 7 children, the first months collection will be $400,000 (14,286*$28) and the second months collection will be the remaining $300,000.  If there are no deaths, there are no charges.

 Now for the problems:

With 14,286 people and a maximum charge of $28 a month, the maximum amount that can be collected in one year is 14,286*$28*12 = $4.8 million. This means the maximum number of children that the group can pay for in any year is $4.8m/$100k = 48 per year. Since this arrangement is marketed to the Chasidic and RW communities, I am going to assume that the average family has 6 children. With an average of 6 kids per family, that means the fund can handle no more than no more than 8 deaths per year.

 How many deaths can we expect from a group of 14,286 people? The answer of course depends on the age of the cohort. But from the mortality tables I looked at, there is no way that this will work.  Remember, that there is no underwriting.  Furthermore, the latest mailing states that not only will they give $100,000 per child, they will also give money to a surviving female spouse with 3 or more children. Last, it also appears that they will pay money to the surviving children whether it is the father or mother who pass way. This means that in the cohort of 14,286, there are actually over 28,000 people at risk for dying.  Assuming 8 deaths or less from a group of 28,000 is well below any mortality table at any age.

 Another question I had was as follows:  As more people die the group gets smaller, so that later deaths do not have 14,286 people each chipping in $7 per child. So unless there is a constant flow of new people signing up and paying, by definition the plan fails. And any plan that requires constant new entrants to be able to pay the older ones is not an insurance plan but rather a Ponzi scheme.

 Furthermore, credit cards get cancelled or expire. Who is going to track down the large number of uncollectable funds after each death?  Isnt there a cost for collecting money out of credit cards?  Who is paying for that?

 Yet another issue I have is regarding their rule on what happens to the $100k after collection. According to their brochure, special accounts will be set up with the oversight of rabbonim, run by askonim who will distribute the money over time, to and through the wedding.  I am pretty sure that Bernie Madoff himself would have passed the rabbonim oversight test.  If there is any potential for fraud and abuse, this is it. Having a multi-million dollar fund in the hands of an askan is a recipe for disaster. And cynics like me will be the first to point it out to anyone who asks.   

 Last but not least, are the distortions and outright lies in their most recent mailing.  The brochure begins by stating that after two years the program is working, so all the naysayers were wrong. First, I am not sure two years would be enough time to prove any such thing. Second, according to my sources inside the organization, they still do not yet have a cohort of 14,286 people, so how can they say this?  Third, this statement is completely un-auditable. We have no idea how many people have signed up, how many deaths there were, and whether or not outside collections were used to pay for them.

 Later in the brochure they state that as of now 3 out of every 5 people have not yet signed up for Areivim.  Using my brilliant analytical skills I determined that they are therefore saying that 2 out of every 5 people have signed up.  Do you believe that 40% of Klal Yisroel has signed up for this plan? Lets put it this way, do you know anyone who has?

 The brochure also says that ALL the Gedolim in EY and America have endorsed it. Well, my sons Rosh Yeshiva put up a sign in his Yeshiva saying that he doesnt; though perhaps all that proves is that my sons RY is not a Godol.  J  My Rov was also asked to endorse and he too refused.

 The brochure makes mention that the number of deaths experienced so far is far lower than Al Pi Derech Hatevah (expected).  This is in fact quite possible even if I cant audit them. And perhaps that can be their selling point - join Areivim and Hashem will bless you with a lower-than-expected mortality.  But I think we are all better served by buying insurance from a reputable insurance company, with an annual financial statement and appropriate reserves, that pays the beneficiaries upon death

May 05, 2020, 12:00:56 PM
Re: Couples Stuck in USA - Rent on Israeli Apartments I dont understand the Ramat Eshkol psak at all.
I am an American Avrech currently living and renting in EY. After Purim when other Avreichim were leaving to the US and Europe, I wished them all "A Gmar Chasima Tova". Every single one of them understood what I was saying... i.e. that they probobly will not be able to get back in to the country after Pesach.
Everyone who didn't leave can continue using their appartment.
Why should the owners lose because their renter made a stupid/self-centered/whatever-you-want-to-call-it decision? The renter left knowing that he will not be able to get back in!!!
---edit: I understand why people left. Its just unreasonable to use their reasons to get out of fulfilling your contract---
There is no makas medina on the use of the appartment. there is no makas medina on the borders being closed because it was forseeable that they would be closed and you left anyway!!!
Maakos Medina is something that is unforseeable and there is nothing you can do to prevent the loss. Look the Gemaras up. Baba Metzia 103b - 106b.

Obviously people who left before Purim is a different shaila completely.

May 22, 2020, 07:40:39 AM
Re: Couples Stuck in USA - Rent on Israeli Apartments I am a renter, who enjoys practical halacha.
May 22, 2020, 07:44:16 AM
Re: Will there be Sleep Away Camp this summer?
Its called "Herd Immunity" when most of the herd had the disease the chances of others contracting it is very low. Look it up.

Exposure≠Had the Disease≠Herd Immunity

June 17, 2020, 11:50:38 AM
Re: Mezuzah Fraud As someone with some idea of the inside of the industry, I'm going to try and write a coherent overview.

I am not Chabad, and as such have no dog in this scandal/debate.

You can go into ANY Judaica store in the US and Canada, and ask for Mezuzos and their prices. Below a certain price point, the Mezuzos will probably have major issues. This is known to anyone who does a little research. The chiddush of the expose is that R' Wolf is picking on the retailers in a certain neighborhood.

What is the price of a Mezuza? After all, its just a piece of parchment and black ink. How much should it cost already, $20?
The Mezuzah Supply Chain
A sofer contracts with a wholesaler who guarantees to buy his mezuzos at a given price. They may contract for a specific number of mezuzos/tefilin each month or whatever the sofer manages to write.
The wholesaler (who has a number of sofrim writing for him) supplies stores that need mezuzos to sell.
There maybe additional middlemen involved, for example a wholesale buyer in Israel who sells it to a distributor in the US.
Some larger stores will have enough demand to do their own wholesale buying directly from sofrim.
At some point in the chain, the Mezuza is checked by a Magia to make sure its Kosher. The widespread custom today is to ALSO have it checked by a computer.

On every Mezuza, all of these people need to make money. 0)The Klaf maker 1) The Sofer 2)The Magia 3)The Computer Checker 4)The wholesaler 5)The final Retailer

The Klaf
Klaf is made either Avodas Yad (hand made) or Avodas Mechona (machine made). The lower level of mechanization, the higher the price of the Klaf. There are other chumros in the making of the klaf that can add to the price of the klaf, but this is irrelevant to the lower level commodity mezuzos we are dealing with.

The Sofer
Generally, sofrim who write for a living are located in Israel. There are sofrim in other countries but they are the exception. The Sofer has the expense of buying the klaf. He may also rent a work area (In EY this is very common).

It takes time to write a mezuza. The faster the sofer writes, the more mezuzos he can sell. The faster he writes the less time/care he takes on each letter in the mezuza. This can lead to issues in the proper forming of each letter, negios between letters, placing the letters below the sirtut (the embossed lines) which can all make the mezuza PASUL - with NO way to kosher it. he may also leave out Tagim (crowns), and look sloppy (a chisaron of Zeh Keli)
The more hours in a day that the sofer writes, the more mistakes he will have, and the sloppier he writing will appear.

The Magia and Computer Checker
Sometimes this is the one person, many people specialize in one or the other.
As with the sofer, the quicker he checks the less care he takes.
The computers also NEED attention. they DO NOT check automatically. They will bring up a list of possible issues in the mezuza. Depending on the neatness of the writing there can be many false positives, (and there can be false negatives, which is one of the reasons that it does not replace a Magia). The computer checker needs click a button two say that he looked them over and it's false positives, or click what the problem is. He the quicker he checks, the more mezuzas he checks, the less care he takes on each one.

The wholesaler
He may carefully select which sofrim he uses, or take anyone who gives him product. He may check that they have Smicha to write, that they have Yiras shomayim, that they know the halachos or he may not check at all.

The retailer
May be a certified Sofer or Magia who knows the halachos, or may just be a salesman.
Like the wholesaler he may or may not be selective in whose stuff he offers for sale.

To summarize The price of the Mezuza depends on:
1)How many Mezuzos the sofer writes a month i.e how quickly he writes. The more, the cheaper.
2)The speed of the magia. The quicker the cheaper.
3)The markup of the wholesaler and the retailer

Below a certain price point, , after the retailer and wholesaler's profit and the sofer's expenses, very little remains for the sofer to live on. He can only make up for this with volume. Volume = speed = lower quality.
It is more difficult to write tefilin than mezuzos, and both are more difficult than a Sefer Torah or Nach. The writing is smaller, and the din of Kesidran makes it impossible to fix many mistakes, if found after the sofer wrote more.
Considering that a sofer who can write a line in a safer torah in 5 minutes, writes REALLY fast, how fast can a sofer write a mezuza which is 21 lines?

June 17, 2020, 12:35:28 PM
Re: Will there be Sleep Away Camp this summer?
Exposure is meaningless.
The only thing that matters is exposure to someone contagious, and the vast majority of people with COVID-19 are not contagious.

I don't think that even that is enough. If the virus doesn't enter the persons body, they won't have antibodies/immunity. It doesn't matter how many people they were exposed to.

June 17, 2020, 12:41:10 PM
Re: Mezuzah Fraud
... putting up 10, 15 or more mezuzos on a house sometimes gives a person sticker shock, so they might opt for 1 or possibly 2 or 3 better mezuzos with the rest being kosher but basic.

If someone has that many doors it is very likely that some of of them are only chayav m'drabanan.
When counting the doors in the house for mezuzos, it's a good idea to count how many need Mezuzos Deoraysa, how many Drabanan, and how many are chumra. These are how many level one, two, and three mezuzos you need. Better ones for the deoraysa...
Many peoples front door may only be chayav Drabanan!!! (If it's to an entryway that is smaller than 4x4 amos)

The best english resource i know of, is "Inside Stam" by R Reuven Mendlowitz from ?Beit Shemesh. It can be found in most judaica stores.

I apologize for feeding the trolls, that was not my intention.
I don't know what the backstory is with R' Wolf; if he first tried to go to the stores directly or through rabbanim to get the stores to upgrade their standards or he hit them with his "Expose" out of left field.

June 18, 2020, 03:18:24 PM
Re: Will there be Sleep Away Camp this summer?
This says it the best. Enough with these overly worried and overly emphasizing the greatness  and infallibility of the scientists. The most they are doing at this point is educated guesses.
There is a bashefer of the velt!!!

and what you do is an uneducated guess with a side of negius, and you have the azus to blame it on emuna!

June 23, 2020, 06:17:26 AM
Re: Israel Reopening To Foreigners
I have tickets to EY for succos (booked before covid) and was really looking forward to succos in EY. what are the chances we will be able to go? :( (obviously noone knows but opinions are good for discussion and hoping)

Based on what my Yeshiva is hearing from the various govt office, Sukkos tourism is not happening, Period.

I get it that everyone wants things to be back to normal, like last week, but thats not realistic.
Whether you like it or not the Israeli Govt places more weight on the current scientific consensus than on the firmly held beliefs of the heimishe crowd - even if they do base their conclusions on what they have seen with the two eyes that God gave them.

The borders are closed to non-citizens of Israel.
After much lobbying they agreed to allow case by case exceptions in a limited number of situations.
These include people coming in for the funerals and weddings of immediate family (B-I-L and S-i-l have been refused)
They also agreed to allow married students - whos center of life is in Israel to return. This is not intended to open the borders to them, rather grant them a one time exemption to return to "their center of life".
The recent news is that Non-Israelis who leave will not be granted permission to return for at least 30 days after they leave. (After lobbying they agreed to consider allowing those who left for a legitimate reason - funeral, wedding,medical treatment...- to return before the 30 days are up)
The Mir sent out the following
Leaving Israel for a vacation Truly painful for me to even write about it.
We live in unique times and לכל זמן ועת, I understand that the requests we received in this topic came from a desperate need but I have to relay to you the following statement from the Rosh Hayeshiva Harav Eliezer Yehuda Finkel Shlita - someone who is already in Israel cannot apply again for an entry permit if he needs to leave Israel unless he has a medical or other very important reason which he should clarify with the Yeshiva office in Israel before planning on leaving the country. We are working hard to help yungeleit learn Torah in our yeshiva. This is our mission and we are happy to do whatever we can to help you get there.
They also heard from one of the Chareidi MKs that the tourisim, interior, economy ministries are not currently presuring to open the borders to tourists.

The Interior Minister, who is Charedi, canceled the permission given to unmarried students to return, very shortly after it was granted.

Israel is probably closer to returning to shelter-in-place than opening to tourists.

Things could change. the infection rates in the US could drop. the virus could just stop spreading. We could discover that eating peanut butter and asparagus cures the virus. but Al Pi Derech Hateva this will not happen. This is not a chisaron in Emuna. This is understanding that HKBH runs the world, and doesnt always run it exactly the way we want.

June 25, 2020, 02:39:14 AM
Re: Will there be Sleep Away Camp this summer?
Wow. Yes, calling yourself an orphanage in order to open a camp sends a horrible message to kids. And if your accountant needs to lie on your tax return in order to save you money, he's not really a good accountant. He's engaging in fraud, as are you.

What the hell happened to us?

What has happened is that we are a bunch of spoiled overgrown teenagers who think that if we dont get exactly what we want it's the greatest churban in the history of Klal Yisroel, and we can do what ever we want to get what we want.
We don't run our lives by asking "what does the torah want from me now?" rather "How I find a loophole to allow what I want?"
We dont trust those that know better than us. Rabbanim, Poskim, Doctors, Scientists, Economists, Accountants... If they dont allow me to do what I want, they "dont know what they're talking about" "Its an educated guess" "they get paid off" "There's a Bashefer" "they dont understand" "I think differently" "

June 25, 2020, 04:58:10 AM
Re: Mezuzah Fraud
Understanding the Mezuzah Debate

1. That there is a unified, objective standard by which to be machshir or passel a mezuzah.

There is not. The way it actually works is that a sofer develops what is called a tviyas ayin, an instinct of sorts that after a couple of years will guide him while checking. Tvias ayin is subjective in nature and this is crucial   no two tvias ayins are alike.

2. That all magihim pasken according to the same set of rules.

They dont. As with every area of halacha there are myriads of poskim whom to follow and every sofer has his own mesorah of how to pasken. In my years in the business I have noticed that generally, the older generation of sofrim follow the tradition to rely more on meikilim and are machshir in many more situations.

Whereas many of the younger sofrim tend to rely on more contemporary poskim who are machmir and passel.
What this means in simple terms is that A. No two sofrim will necessarily find the same shailos and B. Even if they do one will be machshir and one will not. 

Point one is hogwash. Period. Tvias Ayin for what exactly??? how beautiful it is? how much he can charge for it???? Hogwash.
He is right that there is no unified standard, but that is because different communities can consider different achronim, posek achron. Mishna Berura vs. Shulchan Aruch HaRav vs. Aruch Hashulchan vs Yalkut Yosef etc. (but this is his second point!)
Within one community there should basically be a standard what is Leikuva and pasels, and what is bedieved, and what is lechatchila.

There are a number different areas a person must master to become a magia.
1) He has to learn the relevant halachos well - and remember them! Mukaf gvil, kesidran, Chuk tochos, Tzuras Haosios. What can be fixed, should be fixed, should not be fixed, what is Pasuk, bedieved, hidur, what can be a shaylas tinuk, how to do a shaylas tinuk etc...
This is the Standard. Each kehilla has its seforim that it regards as the posek achron. In the litvishe world its generally the Mishna Berura,and Keses Hasofer (Rav Shlomo Gantzfried - author of the Kitzur SA). Every magia in a particular Kehilla SHOULD be checking to his kehillas standard.
2) learning how to SEE the issues in a parsha. practice, practice, practice. how to look closely, pay attention to the fine details. See touching letters, shinuy tzuras haois, writing off the sirtut, missing/extra letters.... Every would-be magia gets tested with parshios that have known issues on them to see if they find them ALL.
3) Learning the Grey areas. THIS is where tevias eyin comes in to play. For example, the letter VAV. If the leg is too short it looks like a YUD, if its too long it can look like NUN Sofit or KAF Sofit. If the head is too long, it becomes a RAISH. A magia sits with a more experienced magia to get shimush, what is too long, what is too short... After a while he gets a tevias ayin in this shayla.
When I was learning Tzuras Osios from a master Magia in Yerusholayim, he told me that you can find shinuy tzurah shaylos in the  letter YUD where it can appear like most other letters. Figuring out when has the tzura has changed, is also a skill learned with shimush, . He showed me a YUD, and told me that it was pasul because the KUTZ on the left side was too long and it now appeared to be a CHES.

With regards to his second point, It is true that there is an evolution in the way the shaylos are decided and even in the proper tzuras haois, but I have no way to comment on his experiences.
However  the statement  "No two sofrim will necessarily find the same shailos" is problematic for us all. How could it be that a magia will miss a shayla??? what is he doing??? his job is to find every shayla!!! If a magia ever discovers that other magiim are consistently finding shaylos he missed its time to find a new job! He may pasken that its ok, with no need to mention it on the report of the check, but not to find it at all??!!

Heres the thing though: Being meikil doesnt make one an unreliable sofer. Just as being machmir doesnt make one a more reliable sofer. Again, this is not a judgement call as to which is better, I am merely explaining why we have this range of opinion from one sofer to the next.
I'll fix it for him
Being meikil and not telling me about it makes one an unreliable sofer.
We have two shaylos here. One is the Kashrus of a particular mezuza/tefillin, a shalya in Orach Chaim. The second is is it approprate to market this mezuza as being a particular standard, a shayla in Choshen Mishpat.
In my opinion, someone who is machmir in the Choshen Mishpat shayla is reliable, someone who is maykil in the CM shayla is unreliable.

His next point is incomprehensible.
A Tale of Two Lchatchilas

So now youre saying OK fine, theyre kosher mezuzos. But how can you say they are kosher lchatchila? These mezuzos have real shailos in them and are written in a way that the Shulchan Aruch says lchatchila not to write like that?

There are two lchatchilas here: First there is the lchatchila of writing. That is to say the way a sofer should write lchatchila. And then there is the lchatchila of fulfilling the mitzvah of mezuzah. That is to say that now that the mezuzah is before us can I put this mezuzah on my door?

To be clear: the question before us is not should I take it down if it is up already. The question is can I put it up with a bracha to begin with? And the answer is yes.

Why? Because they were checked by a highly qualified sofer, a yerei shomayim who determined that they were kosher. And now that we have determined that they are kosher even though we were soimech on a meikil one can certainly put it on their door lchatchila.

So, to recap: it should have been written like this originally but now that it exists you can lchatchila use it.

So if I have a piece of meat that almost every Rishon and Achron says is treif, the tur and Rema, Shach, Taz Bach GRA Knesses Yisroel, Rashba Ritva Rif Rosh Riaz Rid Issur Veheter Haaruch, SA Harav, etc, etc... says is treif, and someone who is "highly qualified...a yerei shomayim" finds a shita in the back of a sefer from Rav Eliyahu Bachur who writes a snif lehakel beshas hadchak and therefor paskens that the meat is kosher based on that...You want to tell me that the meat is Kosher Lechatchila??? What are you talking about???
So anything that is bedieved, once the Rav says that it's ok bedieved, It's Lechatchila???????

Lets say this differently. Lechatchila means that it's first choice, the correct way to do something from the start, from the shoresh "TECHILA". Bedieved means since it's already done, we won't make you change it, its good enough , from the shoresh "AVAD".
Lechatchila, you buy and put up a mezuza that is kosher lechatchila. Bedieved, once it's up, we dont make you replace a mezuza that is kosher bedieved.

Of course you can say a bracha when you put up a bedieved mezuza, it's a kosher mezuza! But it's not Lechatchila to buy it in the first place! It's Bedieved.

I dont know the author at all, but he seems to be a Mocher who has written a piece defending their business practices. It appears that he may have never studied the halachos, which is another issue entirely. Opening a Judaica shop does not grant one any amount of halachic knowledge, and def not smicha in anything. The proprietor is at the mercy of his suppliers, and just parrots "this is kosher lechatchia, this is hidur level one, two, three..." the same way he sells silver.

also @Mtrasb it would be nice if you credit where you copied from...

July 01, 2020, 04:18:40 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel I have no idea what they're trying to accomplish with the lockdown in Romema.
I live in a different shcuna in JLM, had no problem entering through the simtaot on foot friday afternoon or leaving motzoei shabbos. Friday night they bothered my S-i-L crossing between the tnuva buildings and the Shaarei Revacha building, but couldn't do anything as "you probably dont have your Teudat zehut".
Today its wide open for pedestrians, cars have to go through checkpoint, where they're not stopping anyone.
Many avreichim are going to kollelim in other neighborhoods...

What's the point????
There is effectively no lock-down at all.
Unless cars and buses get infected by corona ;D

July 15, 2020, 12:59:50 PM
Re: Uman, Uman, Rosh Hashana???
keeping a low profile may be a good idea, but that has nothing to do with masks and disease spreading.
masks is a "machlokes haposkim" by the goyim just as well as by the jews. whichever side u seem to take, the anti semites on both sides are sure to take it as a provocation. their lists of nonsensical excuses for their hatred is non ending.
same for all the on and off of ddf

I don't think "masks is a "machlokes haposkim" by the goyim" at all.
The politicians may debate whether or not to mandate mask wearing, but I dont recall any legitimate scientific side that advocated against mask wearing.
In any case, if you're in a local where it's mandated or advised, "keeping a low profile" includes wearing a mask -especially if you're asked to.

August 31, 2020, 07:36:45 PM
Re: Lakewood cases I want other people to wear a mask for the same reason I wear a mask: To be considerate of other people, and not get them sick.

I hate wearing the mask, it can be uncomfortable, it's hard to breathe especially when it's hot....but I wear it anyway, so if chas veshalom I'm carrying it, I won't spread it.

and yes, I expect other people to also be considerate human beings.

September 02, 2020, 01:59:49 PM
Re: Lakewood cases
People don't care about a greater good or society, only about themselves. People are scared of the high number of covid cases because impact their lives. They aren't concerned about others lives.

Ipcha Mistabra. People dont care about the high number of covid cases because the preventative measures impact their lives. They aren't concerned about others lives.

If one side says do something for the good of society, and the other side says "don't have to, don't want to, can't make me"... who doesn't care about others??

September 02, 2020, 02:20:43 PM
Re: Welcome to the Coronavirus Board
When (if?) this all blows over this board will be dissolved and all threads moved to the applicable original boards.

Is this still true??
I doubt all threads here have another applicable board.
In the short-medium term this board will have traffic.
In the long term...?

September 02, 2020, 02:45:11 PM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
If the govt falls, will the seger end?

It's easier for the govt to do what ever it wants without Knesset oversight.

September 15, 2020, 06:59:43 AM
Mossad HaRav Kook Yearly Sale - Part 2 Tomorrow through Tuesday, by phone or Internet only
Its the same way the did it Pesach time. Make order, they either ship it to you or call you when you can come pick it up.
Pickup is in Yerusholayim, they do shipping worldwide.

October 13, 2020, 11:52:12 AM
Re: Settlers Of Catan Nordic Countries was designed for 2-3 players, so the board is tighter.

We own most of the Ticket to Ride games.
I would recomend the Japan/Italy expansion for couples playing together.
Japan introduces a cooprotive element to the game.
For a more complex game, the UK map is highly recomended

I also recommend our house rule: If you win, you make supper!

October 22, 2020, 01:30:15 PM
Re: Lines from Old Tapes that Come to Mind from Current Events I am not a crook!
October 28, 2020, 01:36:00 PM
Re: Mezuzah Fraud

Nothing at all to do with the Mezuzas in Crown Heights but relevant to the topic at hand.

The Federation Bais Din in London (a respected BD led by the former Gateshead Rav)  sent a letter to it's member Rabanim, advising them to warn their congregants to have have their Sta"m bought in a particular shop rechecked.
The letter stated that among other things they found old Parshiyos being sold in New Tefillin, totally pasul mezuzos and parshios, even Sifrei Torah bought in this store were found to be pasul.
The letter stated that the store has agreed to no longer sell Stam. They also implied that the BD have now started a hechsher for sellers of Stam.
Londoners tell me that the store has been around for a long time, and has had a generally good reputation, the proprietor regarded as a "sweet man, good...."

Unless you absolutely trust the seller, and know who he goes to with his shailos and he is certified by the Vaad Mishmeres Stam (or another body the requires periodic recertification) or has a hechsher, take your STaM for a second opinion.

December 01, 2020, 12:38:10 PM
Re: Looking to buy a New easy to use great camera If you want one that'll fit in her purse, I think you want a "Point and Shoot" camera. prices range from $100-1000+. Picture quality varies (usually) in line with price. We are happy with the Canon SX740 (about $400). It has a long zoom and the pics are pretty good. Our last camera was the Canon SX620 which is def a step down.
If your wife wants a CAMERA, (to hang around her neck on a long strap and say she's a photographer) you want a DSLR or Mirrorless. Prices from about $450-10,000+. these are the cameras that you can buy different lens that can improve the camera. Once you learn how to use it, the pics will be leagues better that a point and shoot.

January 03, 2021, 06:02:48 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel I'm not anti vax at all. I've taken almost all the standard ones, and also some non standard vaccines.
Push comes to shove, It's a new vax, using new tech, and companies have made mistakes before, I'll take them next year.

January 12, 2021, 11:39:42 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
The worst kind of anti-vaxxer hides behind science. What makes you think fertility/birth-defects are an area of concern more than any other area?

(Not posting as a mod)

I wrote "fertility/birth-defects" as examples of what unknown side effects may be, and ones that particularly worry me. It is theoretically possible that there are others.
As I responded before, well meaning med companies have made mistakes before. The Dengue vaccine in the Philippines and Thalidomide are examples of unforeseen side affects caused by vax/drugs provided/recommended by the best intentioned doctors and health authorities. So, as ExGingi correctly edited my post
I'm not anti vax at all. I've taken almost all the standard ones, and also some non standard vaccines.
Push comes to shove, It's a new vax, using new tech, and companies have made mistakes before, I'll take them next year AS LONG AS NO NEGATIVE INFORMATION ABOUT THE VACCINES COMES FORTH BY THEN.

I will qualify, that I did tell my relative (it's an in -law) to ask his (our joint) Rav. If he tells us to take it before next year, we will.

January 14, 2021, 06:19:45 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
I would be hard pressed to believe that the antibody testing and the relevant data and analysis aren't deliberately supressed.

Anecdotal DP: Many people in the Mir took the free antibody test from Kupat Cholim (mostly Meuchedet) and were given negative results. (They only give negative/positive, not the level of antibodies, and you need at least 40(?) to be positive). Many of these people also took a paid antibody test through Sheba? Shamir? and got back results with levels...many had antibody levels much higher than 40. (The ones I saw were in the 70-90 range.)
I know that there are people in the hanhala (that are taking care of the bachurim, and have seen hundreds, if not thousands of test results) that do not trust a negative antibody test through the Kupot Cholim

January 19, 2021, 04:43:06 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel
How do they make sure no one is exposed when they come to vaccinate?

DP: My chavrusa had an appointment at Meuchedet Haturim. There were two long lines right next to each other. One for the Vax, one for Corona Tests....

January 28, 2021, 09:19:52 AM
Re: Should Rabanim Be Open To Scrutiny?
That worked out wonderfully for them the last time they tried it.

Actually, in the last round of municipal elections, in most cities Degel ran separately from Agudah, and did amazingly well.

To summarize a very complicated situation in a few sentences: There are long standing agreements on division of power and representation between the Degel and Aguda. This is both nationally, and in every city with Charedi representation on the town council. Aguda, internally, also has representation agreements between the different chassiduses that make up the Aguda. Most of the Degel/Aguda agreements date back to the 1980s, while much of the internal Aguda agreements date to the 1960-70s.
There is/was dissatisfaction with both these deals, as they are based on the demographic makeup of the Chareidi world at the time the deals were negotiated, which some of the parties feel has changed since then. Obviously the sectors that feel that they will lose out if the deals are renegotiated, resist redoing the deals.
There also are/were claims that some of the parties to the deals are not keeping their side of the bargain, and allegedly cutting there own separate deals with other parties to benefit their sector, at the expense of the common agreed platform and priorities. (Gur and Barkat in Yerusholayim is one of the claims)
Due to this, and other considerations, in many cities Degel ran separately from Aguda. In many places, the degel share of the vote far outstripped the proportions that the deals were based on and in most cities the Degel supported candidate for mayor won over the Aguda supported candidate. (Example: in JLM, degel received 9 vs Agudas 5, when the previous agreement barely gave them parity; Leon, supported by Degel won)

January 28, 2021, 09:44:46 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel The way the stores are keeping the seger in the chareidi area could best be described as:
Mishluchim B'Shirut Atzmi Bilvad

February 03, 2021, 06:42:46 AM
Re: 2019-2020 Israeli Election (See Also: Definition Of Insanity)
What's the infighting in Agudah that they're referring to? (Hope I'm not opening a can of worms).
Oh, I dont even know. Theres a pretty good post from @yfr bachur explaining some of it somewhere
It's here:

My filter/browser doesn't allow me to see the tweet (its all coming up in Unicode ^$%#$) gibberish) so I don't know exactly what it's talking about, but I assume it's the following:

"Aguda" is not actually a unified political party, rather it's power/vote sharing arrangement where Gur, Viznitz, Belz, Boyan, a conglomeration of smaller chasidusen (that vote) all get representation (An MK, city councilmen...). In practice, they coordinate on many things, but each also run their own program...
If the "Moetzes" of Agudah decides on a particular position, and the Rebbe of Gur, or Belz feels differently, in many case the personal representative of the Gerrer/Belzer Rebbe will not follow the Moetzes rather his Rebbe. (Not picking on Gur or Belz, each chasidus can act this way). In effect each MK is not a representative of the Agudah party, rather a representative of his Chasidus.
The division within Agudah also extends to jobs within the party, shares of funding, land allocation...

The basis for the proportion of power within the Aguda is mostly based on a number of "primary" elections, that as far as I can tell were last held in the 60s or 70s. This basically has resulted in a status quo based on the relative sizes of the chasidusen at the time of the primaries since then.
Today, some of the constituent parts of Aguda feel that the division of power is outdated and should be updated. Calls have been made by various Mks and other parties to hold new primaries, but the effort has basically been blocked by the parts of the party that are happy with the current arrangements (read: their share will likely be reduced), and by worries on how to hold fair primaries (how to ensure that only members of Agudah constituent chasidusen can vote, and prevent other parties from messing with the results)
Before elections, when the parties have to set the order of their lists, is a time that the sections of Aguda can air their grievances with the power setup. It's also the time that they have leverage. In a theoretical situation, Degel could decide to run separately from Agudah, and Belz (to pick a name out of a hat) could join their list, ensuring that the degel list will pass the threshhold, while endangering Agudah... =leverage.

I am sure that there are many parts of the political puzzle that I do not know about, and there are many people that know much better whats going on...

February 03, 2021, 08:29:23 AM
Re: 2019-2021 Israeli Election (See Also: Definition Of Insanity) It seems that the the "unpleasant feelings" within UTJ/Aguda have been resolved, for now, by giving Degel the odd spots on the list and Aguda the even ones, and flipping the spots of the representatives of Viznitz and Belz.

The first ten slots:
1 Moshe Gafni (Degel), 2 Yaakov Litzman (Gur), 3 Uri Maklev (Degel), 4 Meri Porush (Shlomie Emunim=Klal Chasidi), 5 Yaakov Asher (Degel), 6 Yisroel Eichler (Belz), 7 Yitzchok Pindrus (Degel), 8 Yaakov Tessler (Viznitz), 9 Eliyahu Baruchi (Degel), 10 Moshe Shimon Roth (Sanz)

Gafni from Degel is official head of party.
The addition of Roth as a representative of Sanz is an interesting bellwether of the current internal power dynamics within Aguda. Though the tenth slot is only realistic if UTJ enters the coalition and at least two-three members become ministers, on the list for the previous Knesset, the fifth Aguda slot was given to Eliyahu Chasid as a second representative of Gur

My take: It maybe that Degel is now acknowledged as bringing more voters to the table. Belz has gained power, at the expense of Gur, being forced to acknowledge that even though it is the largest chasidus, it must allow others to the table...

February 07, 2021, 04:35:53 AM
Re: 2019-2021 Israeli Election (See Also: Definition Of Insanity)
Radical case scenario for Bibbi:

Polls tend to discount the Likud by ~5 seats, so that puts him at 35 (same as they got in the last elections). Zalika, B&W/Gantz, Raam, Meretz, & Labor may all not pass but wast 15% of the vote (4 out of 5 almost definitely won't pass), which gives the Likud a 20% boost to 42. Shas and Gimmel retain their 16 + 20% for 19, giving the Likud + Charedim a government of 61. 

A less extreme outcome is for Labor to get in, bringing the Likud down to 39 and Charedim to 17, but Smotrich gets 5 which gives them 61.

A very likely outcome is for Labor to get in, the Likud to still be only 30-35, Charedim 15, and then if Smotrich gets in they can form a government with Bennet or Saar, and if Smotrich doesn't get in they need Saar.

Radical worst case scenario for Bibbi:

B&W, Meretz, Labor, and Raam get in, Lapid gets 18, Bennet 10, Saar 13, Liberman 7, creating a bloc of 61 anti-Bibbi seats even without the Arab parties, however, it all hinges on them all convalescing behind a single leader and somehow forming a government when the only thing they have in common is a desire too unseat Bibbi. Ego is very likely to impede that, especially if Saar and Lapid are closer together and there isn't a clear leader.

In these elections there are three possibilities:
1)Bibi Win
2)Anti Bibi Win
3)Stalemate (like after three of the last four elections)

Anti Bibi can only win if they have 61 seats who will sit together. It is almost impossible to see a scenario where Bennet and/or Liberman sit in a Govt with the likes of Meretz/Labour, and vice versa.
Stalemate wins if neither the Bibi or Anti Bibi can come to 61...this possible because it's even more unfathomable to see bennet/saar/liberman/gantz (to various degrees) sitting with the arab parties.
Bibi wins if he can convince 61 MKs to support him. Whatever the leaders of the Center-Right parties say now...lets see how much they really believe in "Never Bibi" after the elections. Israeli election declarations after the elections are worth less than an esrog after sukkos... In Bibi's favor is the fact that there will likely not be any "wasted" vote on the right vs the high likelihood of "wasted" votes for the left and Arab parties.

Interesting/important question
Has the last year caused any significant proportion of the Chareidi electorate to become disillusioned with Gimel, or to support the Peleg/Eida veiwpoint on elections?

February 10, 2021, 10:07:01 AM
Re: 2019-2021 Israeli Election (See Also: Definition Of Insanity) Great, I go to talk politics, and a Sugya breaks out... ;D
February 14, 2021, 08:54:32 AM
Re: Israel (Not) Reopening To Foreigners

If anyone says they weren't warned....

I would add that NOW is the time to plan where you're going to get Matza from, and plan other pesach orders. Many of these have deadlines close to or before RC Nissan.
Unless you dont mind eating whatever they can find in the local stores

February 14, 2021, 09:00:15 AM
Re: Jewish Music (New CDs, hock, and opinions)

It would have been nice if they included the lyrics of the entire song, not just the part they sung on the CD.

It's a PDF. It doesnt cost them any more.

February 14, 2021, 09:10:03 AM
Re: The current state of COVID-19 in Israel My current favorite hobby is reading the pashkevilin against the vaccine, and finding what they have wrong. The total non-comprehension of scientific terms, cluelessness in math and statistics, mistaking anecdotes for data...

This weeks poster was trying to show that the Vax doesn't work by comparing the daily total number of new infections and deaths in Israel as compared to in the PA since the start of the Vax drive.
Comparing absolute numbers with an area with a third to a half the population and much worse testing and has a significantly younger population

A couple of weeks ago there was a poster that claimed that the Vax is deadly because people in the control group died... 

February 15, 2021, 06:25:52 AM
Re: Israel Reopening Ben Gurion, Still Closed To Most Foreigners
Foreign medical records (PCR, vaccination, etc.) aren't currently accepted without some kind of medical proof verified in Israel. The only proof currently accepted is an Israeli antibody test (this is actually an improvement over prior procedure, which also required an Israeli doctor to sign off, which would be a problem for someone who doesn't live there and isn't a member of Kupat Holim).

If anyone wants to complain that it's not fair that Israel won't accept foreign medical records, they can drop off their complaints at the Photoshop labs.

March 04, 2021, 04:26:28 AM
Re: Israel Reopening Ben Gurion, Still Closed To Most Foreigners
Given that foreign vaccinations aren't going to get a green passport yet, how do those of us that exit quarantine with a foreign vaccine (and serology test) get into locations that require a green passport?  Meaning, getting into a hotel, mall, gym, etc?

Local serological test. Either through your Kupah or privately.
If the test is positive, you can get a Dr to enter you as Machlim.
The English speaking doctor in Bais Yisroel is taking 50 shekel for the secretarial work.

It isn't (just) an airline, it's Israel.  ;)
הכי בבית בעולם

The hebrew one would be true if your house was run by your toddler having a tantrum

March 08, 2021, 10:06:56 AM
Re: Jewish Music (New CDs, hock, and opinions)
I've been told by an insider in the JM industry that Isaac Honig sells a vast amount of albums, far more than any other singer in his caliber.

He puts out an album once every 10 years (generally), and it's top quality, classic songs. Everyone in his demographic buys it, as well as many in the litvish world.

I've often thought that this is a major point that gets over looked when looking the Jewish music market.
At least ten ago, I heard MBD claim that as his proof that copying hurts the industry that he's selling the same number of copies as he had twenty years prior.

I think that that is playing with statistics.
How many CDs were released in the entire 1989???
There are probably more CDs released just in the Sefira genre each year than that.

There are a few artists that I will buy whatever they put out even before I hear it, because they have a chazaka that I enjoy what they put out.
Any others will have to work hard to get my dollar. I have a limited budget just like most people.
If even established artists made sure that 90% of the songs on that album would stand the test of time, and not just put out an album because the last one was just over a year or two ago so I have to get it out now...they would sell more.

As an aside, the best value in Jewish music may be the recordings of Rebbeshe chasunos sold internally in each Chassidus. It's a little bit of you have to know a guy, but for 50-100 Shekel you get hours upon hours of music, usually including some current hits. I bought the recordings of the first three Belzer weddings, and that's basically what has been playing in my house since.

March 09, 2021, 07:02:05 AM
Re: Site Suggestions I don't know if anyone else has this issue, or how many people it affects.
My browser blocks twitter. It lets through the actual wording of the tweet but that's it. (Netfree, if you must know)
Tweets in hebrew come through distorted, unicode like.
For Example this post

looks like this:
החיסו ים בישראל הגיעו גם לסאות׳פארק. חלק 1>>

יו ה לייבזון yuna leibzon (@YunaLeibzon) March 11, 2021

Anything to do? or live with it?

March 11, 2021, 06:09:27 AM
Re: Something Fishy's First Trip to Israel - Planning Thread
There is a guy Yankelowitz who does a very unique tour of as many gates to Haar Habayis as possible.

I've done this tour with him at least three times, very good, He does many other tours: The israel museum with a torah perspective... Quite a unique person. He was the one who convinced Rav Belskey to wear tcheles, s an expert in the ksav in old sifrei torah.

 I would recommend to get a hold of one of the good guidebooks to kevarim. I personally use "HaMekomos HaKedoshim" by Rav Yechiel Michel Stern (from Ezras Torah), and "Kadmunienu" from "Vaad Lehatzolas Kivrei HaKadmonim in E"Y". They provide accurate directions, and background on who each person was, how we know he's buried here, and some torah that each one said. Available in many seforim stores here in Israel, but worth to get a hold of, and read in advance.

My recomendations:
Abaya and Rava. aside from the opportunity to daven there, the view is amazing, prob top five in Israel.
When you decide to go to a particular kever, check who is nearby.
The Chida is at the enterance to  Har Hamenuchos. Fof har hamenuchos and Har Haziesim you prob NEED either a very  good map, or a guide.
Figure out which Tanaim, Amoraim, ext.. are meaningful for you to go to. Is it the talmidie habesht in tveria and tzfas, a particular navi...If you're a segula person which segula are you looking for ? (amuka...)

March 13, 2021, 04:46:35 PM
Re: Israel Halting Student visas for now due to fraudulent visas
Let's get the facts straight. There were very few permits that were outright 'sold'. There were some mosdos, who had big donors that want to come to EY, and they facilitated their entry ishur through the student visa/ishur.
Chag sameach


This was more than just a favor being done out of hakoras hatov, it's sort of like a business deal.
This all goes back to the tzionim being brainwashed that the chareidim are takers. The fact is that the Israeli economy would not survive without the money being poured in by frum people all over the world. Every block has a shul/yeshiva which was paid at least in part by hundreds of millions of dollars of donations annually. The frum tourists are essential to the economy.
Now the current law does allow for entry for economic reasons. So why isn't this part of the economy recognised?
Chag sameach

So get your permit through that part of the law. Dont ruin it for legitimate students.
Why is your coming for Lag BaOmer (or to see your rebbe/RY, or your cousins wedding...) more important than Avreichim (who live in Israel!) being able to come back in to the country????

April 18, 2021, 03:16:55 AM
Re: Israel Halting Student visas for now due to fraudulent visas Part of why its difficult is bec you need an appoinment, and theres over a two week wait for appointments.
April 26, 2021, 03:06:34 PM
Re: Tragedy In Meron! I am a parent that has buried a child.
There is a man, a tzadik, from Bnei Brak, who lost his son, and out of his pain and grief established an organization called Chizku to provide support for every parent in EY who losses a child. He personally visits every parent sitting shiva (from Metula to Eilat, no exaggeration) sends a personalized chizuk package to each home, stays in touch long term giving each parent a shoulder to cry on, and encourages us to not fall down. He also sends every family for private respite shabbosim, to get out, get away, and begin to recover. If he sees that the family needs financial support he does his best to help the with that too. I personally was helped by him when I buried my bechor two and a half years ago, and am in touch with him and helped by him till today. He helped over two hundred families last year. (Including families that had medium to late term miscarriages and stillborn children). The mishpacha wrote about him about a year ago: and

Why am I posting this here?
Two reasons. One, he is overwhelmed with the task of finding out where each of the 43 families are sitting shiva. If anyone has info on the location of any one of the shivas and/or the full jewish name (ploni ben ploni) of any of the niftarim (for the personalizing the chizuk care packages) PLEASE PM me.

Two, the meager resources of his organization are going to be extremely strained by the tragedy. It's basically run out of his house in Bnei Brak, with very low overhead, but the task of providing support to 40 new families in one week is basically impossible with the funds he has. I have no idea what his exact budget is but he doesn't need huge sums of money, just a few hundred dollars per family. If anyone wants to help also please PM and I'll send you the info how to donate. It's an Amuta Reshuma in Israel, and I believe that he also has a way to give tax receipts in the US.

May 02, 2021, 05:46:15 AM