Volume 11 Number 62
                       Produced: Fri Feb  4  7:08:57 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 Requests for Information
         [Rabbi Newman]
Genesis and the Big Bang
         [Howard Reich]
Gertrude Hirschler a"h, Hirsch translator
         [Freda Birnbaum]
Ha GRIZ al Harambam
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Support and Understanding
Tefila B'tzibbur and Tzarchei Tzibbur
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Tircha D'tzibburah
         [Danny Skaist]


From: Rabbi Newman <newman@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 17:20:13 -0500
Subject: 2 Requests for Information

1. Computerized Mezuza Checking:
   I've heard that computers are being used for the checking of
   the accuracy of Sirei Torah. Is anyone doing this for mezuza
   checking as well?

2. Ya'avetz Genealogy:
   A good friend of mine requests help in tracing the lineage of
   a well-known family. His family name is Ya'avetz and is told 
   by his family that he is descended from Rav Yaakov Emden. He
   is able to trace his family background for 5 generations, when
   they came to St.Louis from the Ukraine - but is unable to fill-in
   a few generations that would bridge the gap. Anyone familiar
   with the genealogy of this renowned family?

Moshe Newman


From: <HREICH@...> (Howard Reich)
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 1994 12:24:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Genesis and the Big Bang

     I don't know whether this will satisfy Ezra Bob Tanenbaum's 
request in v11n56 for a theoretical reference point, but there 
was a very interesting report on page 66 of the Fall 5752 issue 
of Jewish Action (a publication of the Orthodox Union) of a talk 
Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan gave at a 1979 meeting of the Association of 
Orthodox Jewish Scientists.  Paraphrasing:

     Sefer Hat'Munah, a kabbalistic work ascribed to the first 
century Tanna, Rabbi Nechunya ben HaKanah, places the age of the 
universe at 42,000 years.  When the Talmud speaks of a world 
which lasts 6,000 years, to be destroyed in the seventh 
millennium, it only refers to one shmitah cycle in a series of 
seven such cycles, each of 7,000 years, adding up to one yovel 

     Rabbi Kaplan had obtained a photocopy of a manuscript in the 
Lenin State Library in Moscow, called Otzar HaChaim, written by 
Rabbi Yitzhcok of Acco, who was a student and colleague of the 
Ramban (Nachmanides), one of the foremost kabbalists of his time, 
and renowned as the individual who investigated and verified the 
authenticity of the Zohar, and himself quoted in Rabbi Eliyahu de 
Vidas' mussar classic, Reishit Cochma.  Rabbi Yitzchok wrote -- 
remember, over 700 years ago -- that since these Sabbatical 
cycles existed before Adam, their chronology must be measured not 
by human years, but by divine years.  Since according to many 
midrashic sources, a divine day is a thousand earthly years, each 
of the 42,000 years would be equivalent to 365,250 years, or a 
total of a little more than 15 billion earthly years.  QED?<g>

          Howard Reich (<hreich@...>)


From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Thu, 3 Feb 94 22:32:43 -0500
Subject: Gertrude Hirschler a"h, Hirsch translator

I have the sad task to inform mail-jewish readers (and anyone they care to pass
it on to) that Gertrude Hirschler, the translator and editor of many important
German, Yiddish, and Hebrew texts into English, most significantly those of
Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, has died at the age of 64.  (I've appended below
the text of the press release my husband prepared; a few personal reflections

One of her most well-known works was her translation of Hirsch's
Tehillim translation and commentaries from German into English; she had
long regarded it as her magnum opus.  When _T'rumath Tzvi_, the
magisterial new translation of selected portions of Hirsch's Chumash
commentary, was published in 1986, I asked her if she still thought of
the Tehillim as her magnum opus and she said, well, both of them.  She
took particular pleasure in the fact that Rav Ruderman of Baltimore gave
a haskomah to _T'rumath Tzvi_.  I recall one day running into her
shortly after its publication, and commenting on how helpful and fresh I
had found her translation, and how her response managed to convey
neither false modesty nor false pride -- she knew she had done a good
job and took satisfaction in it.  (Not that it was my place to evaluate
her work!)  In our house it is affectionately known as "the Gertrude
Chumash", as in "let's look it up in the Gertrude"... (if we say "let's
look it up in Hirsch" we're referring to the 5-volume Isaac Levy
translation).  She also had the pleasure that one of the local
Washington Heights shuls uses it as its standard Chumash.

She made available to the English-speaking world (and thus particularly
to baalei tshuva, to whom these works would otherwise be inaccessible) a
wealth of Jewish material.  She did not have children but she leaves a
lasting legacy.

It was particularly fitting that it came to pass that of the two women
who were shomrim and said tehillim at the funeral home in New York, one
used her Tehillim translation and the other was a Judaica librarian.

May her memory be for a blessing, and her scholarship and dedication to
her work an inspiration, especially to a younger generation of women who
have so many more "ready-made" Jewish study opportunities than did she.

A memorial service in New York is being planned for the spring.


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 08:36:16 -0500
Subject: Ha GRIZ al Harambam

In #52, Meshulam Laks asked about the Gri"z al Harambam:

> Recently, someone mentioned that there were letters to the Rav, R Y.B.
> Soloveitchik, in the sefer "Ha GRIZ al Harambam", I have not been able
> to find references to this book in Jewish Book stores or in on line
> catalogues. I believe J Wolff or someone else may have referred to it.
> Any idea which sefer is meant? I have Hagriz on Shas.

There is indeed a Griz al Harambam, which looks much like the Grach (the 
pages are formatted exactly the same way), but it is not for sale in 
stores.  As far as I know, it is only available for purchase at the house 
of the Griz zt"l, on Rechov Strauss in Yerushalayim.

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: <mlowitz@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 19:49:28 EST
Subject: Support and Understanding

Last monday my wife miscarried in her 8th week of pregnancy. She has 2 
kids from a previous marriage, I have none. We have been trying to have
a child together for 2 years and finally thought it would happen. I'm
wondering if anyone reading this has gone thru a similar thing and if
so how do you cope with this tragedy? Also, I have been unsuccessful
in finding any Torah literature on this subject. Can anyone help?

May we all experience happiness in the future.



From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 08:36:03 -0500
Subject: Tefila B'tzibbur and Tzarchei Tzibbur

Eliza Berger wrote:

> Thus if there are still 10 men left praying it wouldn't make one bit of
> difference who sets up kiddush.  

She states this based on her sevara that once a minyan has been formed,
men and women have an equal level of obligation to daven b'tzibbur.  I
have heard that some Briskers hold something like this (that minyan is a
chiuv on a tzibbur, not on individuals), but this is not at all like we
poskin.  It is clear that the Shulchan Aruch and Mishna Brura do not
distinguish between attending minyan if one doesn't know that a minyan has
formed, and if one knows for a fact that a minyan has formed.  For
instance, the Mishna Brura discusses the question of leaving work for a
minyan, and concludes that even if one will miss out on profits, as long
as one will not loose money as a result, one is required to attend minyan. 
Certainly, if the Mishna Brura felt that there was no obligation of tefila
b'tzibbur in the event that a minyan had already formed, he would have
mentioned such a lenient ruling, perhaps in this context; perhaps he would
have written that if one is certain that there is a minyan, then one is
not required to leave work to attend that minyan.  I would like to see
some support for Aliza's claim . . . 

A better issue is perhaps balancing tzarchei tzibbur versus tefila --
perhaps one might argue that the communal needs outweigh in this case the
chiuv of davening b'tzibbur (for instance, I know several people who leave
davening early on shabbat in order to help out with beginner's services). 
Alternatively, in many shuls, the time during chazarat hashatz after
kedusha is used to set up a kiddush; thus, all have davened b'tzibbur, and
none are forced to miss this important aspect of prayer.  Finally, one
could simply find an alternative time to set up -- the night before,
leaving only the food to be laid out, or after davening completely -- after
all, what is the ikar here? -- tefila, or having a kiddush?  Surely, all
can wait until davening is over and all can participate in setting up, in
order to not disrupt davening and not cause anyone, man or woman, to
sacrifice sections of the seder hatefilah.  (Perhaps one day I will find
such a shul . . . )

Eitan Fiorino


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 94 17:20:24 -0500
Subject: Tircha D'tzibburah

>Elie Rosenfeld

>One more quick, half-joking comment: So many Rabbis today seem to be
>competing on who can be the most machmir [stringent] on nearly every
>halacha.  Just once, I'd like to meet a Rabbi who considers himself
>very machmir in the halacha of tircha d'tzibburah! [wasting of the
>congregation's time]

I agree, (but I am no rabbi) let's start a movement for hachzakat "mitzvat
tircha d'tzibburah".

The only problem is, that even you said it's a "half-joking comment".  Here
is a mitzva that is Docheh [takes precedence over] Kavod hatorah [the honor
of the torah] and it is still considered a "half joke" ???

The Torah is covered between aliyot on shabbat because of kavod hatorah,(it
is disgraceful for the torah to be left uncovered and unread), but halacha
dictates that the torah is left uncovered between aliyot for mincha on
shabbat, and on weekdays, because the time taken covering and uncovering is
"tircha d'tzibburah".  So we have the minimum shiur [measure] of how much
time is considered "tircha" by halacha.

I suspect that the reason for the halacha is that people react to "tircha
d'tzibburah" by coming later and later or not at all.



End of Volume 11 Issue 62