Volume 12 Number 75
                       Produced: Thu Apr 21 23:38:44 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Are Jewish mommies exempt from davening?
         [Janice Gelb]
Calendar Information
         [Leah S. Reingold]
Jewish Calendar Algorithms
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Sechvi (3)
         [Israel Botnick, Michael Shimshoni, Joey Mosseri]
Teshuvah on ex-Nazi converting to Judaism
         [Yitzhak Teutsch]
Yom Tov Sheini
         [Jerrold Landau]


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 10:10:28 PDT
Subject: Are Jewish mommies exempt from davening?

Maidi Katz in vol 12 #67 says, after an illuminating look at what 
prayers women are obligated in:

> Of course, the issue raised is a good one.  The fact of the matter
> is that it is nearly impossible to daven with little kids around. 
> So does that mean that it's ok to rely on the Magen Avraham or
> does that mean that possibly our community should think harder
> about what it encourages and discourages--and encourage men to be
> better about dividing responsibilities in such a way that women
> can daven too.  And just as an aside--I have observed that when
> kids think its ok to bother mommy while she's davening, but not
> daddy--it's largely due to messages and vibes sent out by the
> parents themselves.

The obligation of children certainly makes concentrated prayer
difficult. However, not all women have the distraction of children. I
would venture to guess that even these women often tend not to daven
because the message sent out by the whole Orthodox community (not just
by parents to children) is that women are not obligated to pray, and
that their community prayer is not important. The reason given for
women not being counted in a minyan and not being eligible to be
shlichot tzibbur is usually stated as "women aren't obligated to pray
because that's a time-bound mitzvah." Most of the time when this
rationale is cited the details are not provided, so I assume the
message most women hear is "you're not obligated to pray" and not
"you're not obligated to pray at these times but you *are* obligated to
pray this particular set of prayers every day." Therefore, it shouldn't
be too surprising that they feel that their praying, especially in a
community environment, is not important or obligatory, and that they
then behave accordingly.

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. Reingold)
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 17:45:21 -0400
Subject: Calendar Information

My father asked me to post the following on his behalf, in response to the
poster's request for information about Jewish time calculations in a format
useable by a non-Jew.  Of course, the information would be kal-va-chomer
[all the more so] lucid for those who are familiar with Jewish law:

  A comprehensive description of the Jewish calendar and its calculation
  can be found in

  ``Calendrical Calculations'' by Nachum Dershowitz and Edward M. Reingold,
  Software---Practice & Experience, vol. 20, no. 9 (September, 1990),
  pp. 899--928

  See also

  ``Calendrical Calculations, II: Three Historical Calendars'' by Edward M.
  Reingold, Nachum Dershowitz, and Stewart M. Clamen, Software---Practice &
  Experience, vol. 23, no. 4 (April, 1993), pp. 383--404.

  Hard copies of these papers can be obtained by sending email to
  <reingold@...> with the SUBJECT field "send-paper-cal" (no quotes) and
  the message BODY containg your snail-mail address.

  All of this (and much more) is implemented in Emacs version 19's calendar

-Leah S. Reingold


From: Shimon Lebowitz <LEBOWITZ@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994 13:24:19 -0400
Subject: Jewish Calendar Algorithms

> However, he would like to also label when some
> Jewish holidays occur.
> (However Rick is not Jewish - this might mean that the answers for him
> could involve some terminology that might be unfamiliar to him).

there is a shareware pc product i have seen in use called 'jewish',
available for $18 from Rob Singer on Compuserve 74017,2067.
(to write to compuserve from internet, use: <74017.2067@...>)
it has full date conversions, creates calendars, parashot shavua,
and all the daily times (light, sunrise, shma gra+m.a.,
tefilla, etc. etc...).
(he might also share algorithms - i dunno).

if you really just want to get a goyish date of a given jewish date,
you really need the following:
1. goyish date of rosh hashana in the jewish year you are dealing with.
2. which of 6 year types the jewish year is (regular/leap - 1 or
   2 'adar's, and deficient/standard/full - heshvan/kislev
   both 29, or 29/30, or both 30 days.)

now you calculate the days from rosh hashana till the date you need.
remember - months are 30, 29, 30... from tishre, with heshvan/kislev
varying according to year type, and add the extra adar if leap year.

then find the goyish date of that many days after the day of rosh hashana.
if you're interested - i have it in rexx for cms.

Shimon Lebowitz                         Bitnet:   LEBOWITZ@HUJIVMS
VM System Programmer                    internet: <lebowitz@...>
Israel Police National HQ.              fax:      +972 2 309-888
Jerusalem, Israel                       phone:    +972 2 309-877


From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 10:22:15 EDT
Subject: Sechvi

Gedalya Berger asked
<< As far as I know, a "sechvi" is a rooster, not a heart.  Is this a 
<< "midrashic" interpretation of some sort?

Actually I got the translation for the bracha from the artscroll siddur.
Looking into it a little further I found this explanation in the Rosh to
masechet brachos - loosely translated

"When one hears the sound of the rooster one says the bracha of hanosein
lasechvi vina. In scripture the heart is called sechvi as it is written
(Job 38) 'who gave the heart understanding'. The heart understands, and 
with this understanding, one distinguishes between day and night. 
Since the rooster can also make this distinction, and in arabia a rooster
is called sechvi [quite a coincidence!!], the bracha was established to be 
said upon hearing the sound of the rooster."

Israel Botnick

From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 09:09:30 +0300
Subject: Re: Sechvi

I was not surprised to read the question of Gedalyah Berger:

>> From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
>> the bracha of hanosein lasechvi vina lehavchin bein yom uvein loyla
>> [who gives the heart understanding to distinguish between day and
>> night].
>As far as I know, a "sechvi" is a rooster, not a heart.  Is this a
>"midrashic" interpretation of some sort?

Gedalya is  quite right in  the sense that  most present day  Jews who
came across  "sechvi" chiefly in  the above quoted bracha  "know" that
this refers to a rooster.

Such a problem arises, as in a  few other cases, when one deals with a
word that appears  only once in the  Tanakh, in our case  just in Iyov
(Job) 38,36, and there it says "... mi natan lasechvi vina".  As Rashi
points out there "lashon hakhamim" (i.e.  what we would call Hazal) is
that it is a tarnegol, a rooster,  and adds that *some* think that the
heart is meant.   But in the commentators which I  have in my Miqra'ot
Gedolot,  there is  practically a  unanimous  opinion that  it is  the
heart.  I  found this in  Metzudat David, Metzudat Tziyon,  Rashi (see
above),  Ibn Ezra  and the  Targum  to Aramaic  (Onkelos?) which  says
clearly "min  yahab leLIBA binta?".  Ralbag  says that it is  the mind

I know that  there was recently in Mail Jewish  some argument when and
why some of the morning blessings (shelo asa'ani...) were written.  It
*seems* that at least the "sechvi"  one was later.  What still puzzles
me is, how  all (all, with perhaps the exception  of the Targum) above
listed commentators, who are later than the Talmud, are so unanimously
"rejecting" the rooster.  I would be interested to hear an explanation
of it by some expert on such  divergences.  IMO, at least in Iyov, the
rooster meaning seems rather unlikely.

 Michael Shimshoni

From: <JMOSSERI@...> (Joey Mosseri)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 1994 23:44:58 -0400
Subject: Sechvi

Regarding Gedalya Berger's question on the translation of this word, I've
come up with the following.
 From Sefer MINHATH SHELOMO page 5:
 ..............who givest even to the cock understanding to make us
recognize  night from day.
  The allusion to the cock is based on Job 38:36:"who has put wisdom
into the inward parts and who has given understanding to the mind?" In
the Talmud (Rosh Hashanah 26a), sekhvi, rendered in most Biblical
translations as "the mind," is explained as another term for "cock" or
"rooster." Hence, sekhvi, is interpreted as denoting the bird that has
sufficient intelligence to "forsee" the approach of day. In Berakhoth
60b we are instructed to recite this blessing when we hear the rooster
crow in the morning. Even as we will thank God in the 'Amidah for the
intellect He has given to man, so we now thank Him for the instincts
that benefit mankind. From ancient times, and in primitive regions even
to this day, the rooster's crow has been the "alarm clock" that wakens
men at daybreak. In the days of the Temple in Jerusalem, the crowing of
the rooster signaled the time when the ashes from the previous day's
burnt offerings had to be removed from the alter. This clearing of the
alter in turn heralded the beginning of the day's service in the Temple
(Mishnah, Yoma 1:8).

Every other source which I checked into also said rooster the only
exception was in the ME'AM LO'EZ. There it was translated as "heart"

Joey Mosseri


From: Yitzhak Teutsch <TEUTSCH@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 12:24:39 -0400
Subject: Teshuvah on ex-Nazi converting to Judaism

Barry Freundel asked in mail-jewish v.12, n.47, for teshuvot on ex-Nazis 
converting to Judaism.  One teshuvah I've come across is by R. Mosheh 
ha-Levi Shtainberg in his Hukat ha-ger (Yerushalayim : Rubin Mass, 1971),
pp. 103-104.  He writes that as long as the bet din [rabbinical court] 
is convinced that the individual has done complete teshuvah [repentance] 
and has no ulterior motives, there is no prohibition from the standpoint 
of halakhah in accepting him to Judaism.

By the way, those interested in the general topic of gerut [conversion]
should look at three other books by R. Shtainberg: Torat ha-ger
(commentary on Masekhet Gerim); Al gere ha-tzedek ha-muzkarim ba-Talmud
uva-Midrash (concerning the converts mentioned in the Talmud and the
Midrash); and Sha'are Mosheh, part 2 (contains teshuvot on conversion).

                             Yitzhak Teutsch
                        Harvard Law School Library
                          Cambridge, Mass.  USA


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 94 13:04:12 EDT
Subject: Yom Tov Sheini

Aside from the halachic reasons of keeping yom tov sheini, there is
another reason, which, I believe, is brought down in the Zohar.  Since
the shalosh regalim are very closely tied to Eretz Yisrael (i.e. mitzvot
of alyia laregel, korban pesach, korban haomer, shtei lechem, etc.) it
is impossible to attain the same level of kesusha in chutz laaratz as is
possible in eretz Yisrael.  To properly appreciate the kedusha of the
yom tov, in chutz laaretz we require two days to accomplish what can be
accomplished in one day in eretz Yisrael.  Even when we don't have the
beit hamikdash (sheyibane bimhera beyameinu), the atmosphere of eretz
Yisrael is still more conducive to appreciating the kedusha of the yom
tov.  From the few yamim tovim that I had the zechut to spend in Israel,
I can certainly testify to this myself.  While this is not the halachic
reason for Yom Tov Sheini, it may have a lot to do with why chazal
insisted on two days in chutz laaretz even with a set calendar.  This
reason also explains why Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur have a uniform
number of days in chutz laaretz and in eretz Yisrael (again, not the
halachic reason for this).  The yamim noraim are more personal than
national celebrations, and one can accomplish the same kedusha with them
im eretz Yisrael and in chutz laaretz.  Of course, this does not answer
the question of what is appropriate for a ben chutz laaretz who finds
himself in Israel for Yom Tov, and vice versa, as perhaps a ben chutz
laaretz who is only in Israel temporarily cannot really appreciate the
full sancity of the Yom Tov as a permanent resident might.

A recent poster has asked about tefillin with regards to the day and a half
pesak for a ben chutz laaretz in Israel.  In that case, one would put on
tefillin with a beracha.  I have also heard a psak (which makes a great
deal of sense) -- I don't remember who gave it though -- that even a person
keeping 2 days should put on tefillin (without a beracha) on the last day
of yom tov, since there is a sofek deorayta involved with tefillin.

Of course, this would not apply on the second day of Pesach and
Succot, which are chol hamoed in Israel.

Jerrold Landau


End of Volume 12 Issue 75