Volume 11 Number 37
                       Produced: Mon Jan 24 20:57:05 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Meylekh Viswanath]
Jewish education in Glasgow/Ayr, Scottland
         [Philip Beltz Glaser]
Mishloach Manot
         [Michael Lipkin]
Non-Orthodox Subscribers.
         [Leon Dworsky]
Parshat Parah & Zachor
         [Ronald Barry]
         [Mordecai Kornfeld]
Torah Codes
         [Andy Goldfinger]
Zecher vs Zeycher (2)
         [Danny Weiss, Eli Shulman]


From: <VISWANATH@...> (Meylekh Viswanath)
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 94 10:58:00 -0500
Subject: Aleph-Bet

Steven Friedell <friedell@...> says:

>	I think the issue of the final letters is a little backwards.  Except
>for the final mem, which seems to be a special case, my guess is that the
>other "final" letters were the original forms.  Scribes would add a line at
>the bottom when the letters were at the beginning or the middle of the word
>to "connect" the letters to the ones following.  Thus the "regular" Kaf is a
>final kaf with a line added to the bottom.  

This is similar to the way many letters in Arabic work (perhaps all of them).

>The "mem" is different--it maybe
>that there were two different ways of writing this letter--see Isaiah 9:6
>where the "final" mem is used in the middle of a word.

In Arabic, the medial form of mem is indeed the final form without the
vertical stroke at the left.  One could see how the medial form might
have been generated from the final form.  The medial form looks like the
final form in Hebrew, except that instead of a square, it is a circle.

However, I believe that the Arabic and Hebrew scripts derived from two
different semitic scripts; so one can only make general inferences from
comparisons of the two scripts.

Meylekh Viswanath


From: <glaser@...> (Philip Beltz Glaser)
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 00:49:21 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Jewish education in Glasgow/Ayr, Scottland

A friend of mine who teaches at a private school in Scotland has
by e-mail sent me several general questions about Judaism on behalf
of a 16 year old female student. The student is Jewish, with little
knowledge and background, but, judging by her questions, clearly eager to 
learn more. It occured to me that there might be some ml-Jewish readers 
in or familiar with that corner of the world who could tell me whether
their are any Jewish educational resources there that would be 
appropriate for this young woman. She lives in Glasgow and goes to school 
in Ayr, about 40 miles south. If any one knows of any classes, youth
groups, individuals who could provide tutoring, or what have you, please
drop me a line privately. Thanks!

Philip Beltz Glaser


From: yafo!sun-msl!<msl@...> (Michael Lipkin)
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 94 10:20:25 -0500
Subject: Mishloach Manot

>> From: Benjamin Svetitsky 
> Now in America, I hear, you make so many m.m. packages that you need
> software to solve the ensuing "traveling salesman problem."  And then
> if somebody shows up who wasn't on your list, it's cause for panic and
> a second round.  After all, since everybody else was on your list,
> why weren't they?  Like what I hear about (le-havdil) christmas lists.

When someone from New York comes to visit Rehovot does Ben ask if he
knows so & so in Seatle?  America is fairly large piece of real estate
and Mishloach Manot Minhagim are pretty diverse (as I'm sure they are in
Israel).  Actually, I don't know any individuals who use software to
assist in the process.

> rest to tzedakah."  Even better is a shul campaign to get the entire
> congregation to do this, with centrally managed lists and commercially
> wrapped peanuts (and enforced reciprocity!).  How can people do this?
> Mishloach manot is a mitzvah!  Does a proper observance really strain
> one's budget to the extent that it cannot coexist with tzedakah?  And
> do people really think that I want to know about their contributions to
> charity?

Actually, in my community, and several others I know of, the Shuls do
use software to coordinate Mishloach Manot.  The process works by having
each member submit a list of people they wish to send to.  The software
allows for reciprocals, meaning if someone not on your list sends to you
they will be added to your list (no panic here). You receive a call
confirming the reciprocals added to your list. Each recipient gets only
one basket (somewhat nicer than a few peanuts) potentially representing
100 or more families. (We actually do deliver about 10 simple baskets to
our neighbors.  Mostly, so the kids get to see and participate in this

This project is a tremendous fund raiser for the shul, i.e. Tzedaka.
Instead of spending hours preparing endless numbers of Hamentashen,
families can concentrate more on preparing for the Seuda.  As
individuals don't deliver many of there own Mishloach Manot baskets
there is little or no upward pressure to make ever fancier (and
expensive baskets). I think this process is a fine synthesis of mitzvah
observance, Tzedaka, yeah and a little controlled Hidur Mitzvah.

Maybe Ben could get a hold of one of these programs and get Sara out of
the kitchen a little (or he could learn to bake hamentashen!).

Michael S. Lipkin       Highland Park, N.J.       <msl@...>


From: Leon Dworsky <ljd@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 94 03:39:34 -0500
Subject: Non-Orthodox Subscribers.

Many of the posters to m-j write as if ALL readers are "Orthodox".  This
is an erroneous assumption.  I know a number of non-orthodox readers in
our small community.  By extrapolation, there must be many around the

I see most of these subscribers frequently, and they usually comment
about m-j.  Many topics are new to them, as well as the talmudic style
of "argumentation".  They find m-j enjoyable and enlightening.  In some
cases, their only meaningful contact with Torah True Judaism is through

They also have commented on writers who imply that all readers are
"Orthodox", and only the orthodox could possibly care about tradition.
This they see as an insult (and rightly so, IMHO).  Rather than
enhancing their opinion of traditionalist, it tends to lower it.

We should all take a lesson from Samson Raphael Hirsch.  His HOREB and
Torah Commentaries addressed Kol Yisrael (All Israel), regardless of
background.  If we proof read our submissions with the thought that Kol
Yisrael is reading, and that each reader is entitled to respect whatever
their "religious" proclivities, then perhaps we can "increase peace in
the world", weather or not we are chuchmim (wise ones).

Leon Dworsky    <ljd@...>


From: <RONBARRY@...> (Ronald Barry)
Date: Sun, 23 Jan 94 01:23:39 -0500
Subject: Parshat Parah & Zachor

This is in response to Alan Mizrahi's question of whether there is a
generally accepted Sephardi p'sak on the issue of hearing Parshat Zachor
(and possibly Parshat Parah).

 From Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's writings it appears that it is appropriate for a
Sepharadi to make an effort to hear Zachor read according to his minhag but
if he heard it according to the Ashkenazi reading (of which he is not
unfamiliar with) he does fulfill his obligation (Yalkut Yosef vol - Mo'adim
(Holidays) p.260).

For a Sepharadi approach to related questions on pronunciation see Yalkut
Yosef vol.#2 pp.111-114 paragraphs 16-19, including the lengthy footnotes on
the lower part of the page. 

Ronald Barry


From: Mordecai Kornfeld <yoy@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 94 10:20:22 -0500
Subject: Question

   R. Lopianski of Yeshiva Ohr Yerushalayim asked me an interesting question:
           R. Lopianski's question: Rashi tells us (22:30) that a dog
   received the "terefot" in exchange for keeping quiet when the Jews left
   Egypt. But we find that Moshe informed Paraoh in advance that "No dog
   will bark at the Jews, in order that the distinction between the Jews
   and others should be made clear to everyone" (11:7), so the dogs had
   their mouths muzzled, and didn't seem to keep quiet "of their own
   volition"! Why then did they receive reward for this?

Mordecai Kornfeld (Ohr Yerushalayim-YOY for short)


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 21 Jan 1994 07:56:12 U
Subject: Torah Codes

Mike Gerver has has made some interesting comments (v34#11).  Let me
respond to them:

1.    It is true that there could be more that one way of selecting the
names and dates, and in defining the metric (the "distance" between the
name-date pairs).  Rips and Witztum tried to do this in as objective a
manner as possible, but they were concerned that biases might have
crept in.  Therefore, they repeated the experiment with a second set of
names and dates to show it was reproducible.

2.   They researchers did not look through the list of names and dates
to somehow select those with the highest correlation.  This would
definitely have biased their results, and they were therefore carefule
to tabulate both successes and failures.

3.    The significance levels of 1E-9 for each of the experiments is
arguable, since it is based upon an assumption that some critics have
questioned.  Therefore, the researchers ran a series of 1E6 control
cases as a Monte Carlo study and can now bound the significance levels
in the 1E-6 range.

4.    Yes, errors in name selection and coding were possible.  So, an
independent researcher (Harold Gans) replicated their work with
slightly different algorithms and completely different code.  He
confirmed their results.

4.   Mike Gerver's most interesting comment is his hypothesis that
name-date correlations might exist because of either "popularity" of
certain names in certain time periods, or biases in which dates are
remembered.  This certainly deserves further study, and I will bring
this to the attention of the researchers.  I do feel that the first
idea (names correlate with time periods) is very unlikely since month
and date are used as part of the yarhzeit and this would randomize away
any such correlations due to era.  The second idea (significant
date-memory correlation) is an interesting one, and one that should be
easily testable by looking at the date distribution.  I will ask the
researchers about this.

    In summary -- no one can prove that the Rips - Witztum work doesn't
have an error, but then again, no one has yet found such an error (an
many high power people have tried).  It is interesting an serious
research.  As with all research, the conclusions drawn from it are left
to others to decide for themselves.


From: Danny Weiss <danny@...>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 12:00:11 -500 (EST)
Subject: Zecher vs Zeycher

Regarding the possible requirement to read the final pasuk in "parashat
zachor" twice, once as zecher (segel) and once as zeycher (tseyrey), the
Torah Temima, in his commentary on that pasuk, paskens (rules) that one
need not do so - one reading as zecher (segel) is all that should be done.

Danny Weiss
Baltimore, MD

From: Eli Shulman <shulman@...>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 94 23:46:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Zecher vs Zeycher

Regarding the authorship of the Zohar, see "Al Kadmut Sefer HaZohar" by 
R. Dovid Luria.

Regarding "zeycher Amalek" vs. "zecher Amalek", cf. Baba Basra 21b where 
it is recounted that Yoav was taught as a child to read the verse as 
meaning the menfolk of Amalek and therefore he, mistakingly, only killed 
the men of Edom when he commanded the army of Dovid. When informed of his 
mistake he wanted to kill his childhood teacher. The Gemara is usually 
understood in the sense that Yoav was tuaght (mistakingly) to read 
"zochor". However, see resp. Kol Mevaser (I don't recall which number) 
who maintains that Yoav's mistake was being taught "zecher" (with a 
segol) which can be read as the possesive of "zochor", just as "eshen" in 
"eshen  hakivshan" (Ex. 19:18) is the possesive of "ashan hakivshan". 
Obviously according to this interperatation "zecher" is incorrect.

But cf. "Maaseh Rav" (printed in Sidur HaGra) who writes that the Vilna
Gaon read "zecher". R. Chaim Volozhin, in his approbation, writes that 
he, on the other hand, clearly heard the Gaon read "zeycher". The author 
of the "Maaseh Rav", in a footnote (loc cit) maintains that his testimony 
(viz. that the Gaon read "zecher") represents the Gaon's later, and 
therefore more authoritative, practice.


	Eli Shulman


End of Volume 11 Issue 37