Volume 13 Number 18
                       Produced: Fri May 20 12:56:37 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Coming Millenium
         [Jerrold Landau]
         [David A Rier]
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Jack Reiner]
Gemara computer program
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Lecha Dodi
         [Reuven Cohn]
Origins and History of Kitniot
         [Jeff Woolf]
Question on Parshas Bamidbar
         [Arthur J Einhorn]
Shavuous Dilemma
         [Isaac Balbin]
Sheva Merachef: Ongoing Discussion with Arthur Roth
         [Mechy Frankel]
         [Joshua Sharf]


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Fri, 20 May 94 09:46:40 EDT
Subject: Coming Millenium

Re the question on the coming millenium posed by Etan Diamond  (mazel tov to
Etan on his forthcoming marriage).  Aside from the concept of 6000 years,
there is also a concept that the 6000 years are divided into 3 groups of
2000 years.  The first 2000 years are the period where the world was without
Torah.  These 2000 years end during the time of Avraham avinu.  This period
is refered to as the time of Tohu Vavohu.  Th next 2000 years are the
period of Torah.  This period extends from the time of Avraham avinu until
approximately the beginning of the Mishnaic period.  The final 2000 years
are the years prior to the coming of the Mashiach.  We are now toward the
end of that final 2000 year period.  This period was marked by galus (i.e.
the second beit hamikdash was destroyed just prior to this period, and the
galus has continued ever since).  In the latter part of this period, as we
have witnessed, the pace of civilization has increased rapidly, as the world
gears up for the messianic era (shetavo bimhera biyameinu).

Jerrold Landau


From: David A Rier <dar6@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 94 7:34:07 EDT
Subject: custody

Somebody's asked me some questions about halachic divorce which I can't
answer: 1)How does halacha award child custody?  Is there a presumption
for the father?   2)is the decision influenced by concern for a child
being raised by a parent of the same sex?  3)Is any of this influenced
by differences in parents' degrees of religious observance?    David Rier


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Fri, 20 May 94 15:40:39 +0300
Subject: Electricity

Gedalia Berger writes:

> The water and the pipe are indeed separate entities, while the 
> electrons which comprise the current are part of the crystal structure of 
> the metal wire; if (even just the conduction band) electrons were not 
> there, the material would be completely different (if it would remain 
> solid at all).  A pipe is a pipe, water or no water.

    Electricity moves at the speed of the electromagnetic waves that
propogate down the conductor not at the speed of the elctrons within
the metal wire. In fact the electrons individually move only a very
small distance. Hence the existence of an electrical circuit does
not materially change the physical properties of the wire.

Eli Turkel


From: Jack Reiner <jack@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 11:05:50 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Farewell

Farewell, my net friends.

I need to share some thoughts with the readership of the mail-jewish and 
baltuva mail lists.

I have been reading these two lists for just about one year, and now I 
must sign-off.  I am moving to a new company (which is a plus) and I am 
losing network access (which is a minus).

During the past twelve months, I have traveled far on the road to observancy.
You, the posters and readers of mail-jewish and baltuva, have contributed 
to this in a significant and positive way.  The discussions, stories,
arguments :-), explanations, and shared personal experiences have enlightened 
me to our rich heritage and culture by allowing me _far_ greater exposure than
just our local community.

During the past twelve months, I have committed to keeping Shabbos, daily
davening, putting on tfellin, learning with my LOR, putting up mezuzot, 
and generally thinking from a Jewish perspective.

I may not be saying this well, but my point is that mail-jewish and
baltuva are both performing the mitzvah of encouraging yiddishkeit by 
providing a broader Jewish community. 

One final question:  I would like recommendations for a pocket-size
siddur.  I need mincha, maariv, bentching, and preferably sacharis.  
It MUST have Hebrew-English.  Also, from your personal experience, 
if any other daily prayers (not Shabbos) are useful in a pocket siddur, 
please mention them.

I plan to be in NYC the first week of June, so I should be able to 
find something suitable there.  I would just like to have some ideas
with which to start my search.  My last day of net access is May 25,
so please try to respond by then.  Thank you.

I do not know how to say farewell in Hebrew or Yiddish, so I will 
say it in English.

Farewell and Kol Tuv,             POPS SuperComputer User Support
Jack Reiner                       Naval Oceanographic Office
<jack@...>           #include <standard_disclaimers.h>
New Orleans, USA


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 10:25:19 -0400
Subject: Gemara computer program

Does anyone know of an interactive computer program for learning gemara, 
other than Talmud Tutor (which is too elementary)?  

Please respond by private e-mail to <gberger@...>
Thanks a lot.

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS


From: Reuven Cohn <ReuvenC@...>
Subject: Re: Lecha Dodi

 I recall growing up davening with Rav Soloveitchik that one year he
announced that the appropriate way to recite the last paragraph of lecha
dodi was to face not the back of the shul, but rather the door wherever
it might be located.  I think that this was an instance not of received
minhag on his part, but rather an intellectual analysis that led him to
change his prior practice.

My father, alav ha-shalom, who enjoyed seeing the humor in situations,
told me that he suspected that the custom of facing the back for the end
of lecha dodi had some possible connection with something that he had
heard about growing up in Germany.  There was a small town in which the
custom was to face the back of the shul for Av ha-Rachamim [or perhaps
he told me that it was Yekum purkan].  No one knew the reason for the
minhag or when it had originated.  Then during some work to fix up the
shul building, it was discovered under many coats of paint, that the
prayer for which they turned to the back of the shul had been painted on
that wall.

Reuven Cohn


From: Jeff Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Fri, 20 May 1994 06:05:43 -0400
Subject: Origins and History of Kitniot

The best two studies on the origins and history of kitniot are by
Israel Ta Shema in his book "Minhag Ashkenaz HaKadmon" and Yaakov
Katz,'Hlakha BaMetzar."


From: Arthur J Einhorn <0017801@...>
Date: Sun, 15 May 1994 15:35:42 -0400
Subject: Question on Parshas Bamidbar

I have a question on parshas bamidbar. Posuk 3 parek 2 and subsequent
posukim discuss the location of the tribes as they camped and
travelled. Yehuda is to the East relative to the mishkan and also
travelled first. This seems paradoxical. Since if they were on the East
of the mishkan they would be last when travelling west as they did (see
map in Kaplan version).  Aharon Einhorn


From: Isaac Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Tue, 17 May 1994 21:39:22 -0400
Subject: Shavuous Dilemma

Well there we were, invited to a friend's house for dinner. They are
Chassidim who eat Fleishig on Shavuous. We aren't really anything,
although we have some roots in Amshinov, but we eat Milchiks
exclusively.  The meal is proceeding nicely, and it is obvious that our
hostess has gone to some effort to produce a nice meal. Everything is
parve until we get to the main course. The main course is fleishig!
Further, it wasn't served in such a way that enabled one to choose.
Instead we each got a plate filled with three different types of meat
and assorted appendages.  I was sitting next to the Baal Habayis, and
their was only one other couple with their kids. I sat there momentarily
looking at the food and became rather uncomfortable. Halocho seemed to
dictate, I thought, that I would need to make Haforas Nedorim [annulment
of vows] if I was to eat meat.  I couldn't quickly leave the table and
find three people to constitute a Beis Din! On the other hand, and maybe
I was wrong, I had this overbearing feeling that it would be a great
disappointment to the woman of the house if we were to sit through the
greater part of the meal without eating.  What could I do? I was faced
with a dichotomy of being machmir L'Bein Odom Lechaveiro [laws between
man and man] and being meikel on Minhag Yisroel [Jewish Custom/Law] (in
my family). I chose not to potentially cause angst to the woman of the
house ... although I also found each spoonful difficult to eat!

Any amateur poskim out there want to pasken [decide] le-achar ma'ase
[after the fact]?

Yes, next year we will ask ....


From: Mechy Frankel <frankel@...>
Date: Tue, 3 May 1994 12:01:20 EST
Subject: Sheva Merachef: Ongoing Discussion with Arthur Roth

Ongoing, but petering out since I think I'm running out of things to
say.  After all, shevas are many but life is short and only a finite
number of thoughts can one devote to shevas before the brain turns to
mush and terminal, catatonic boredom sets in - but once more into the

1. I think its wimpy to explain "miketzay" as special case in which a
dagesh chazak should appear in the kuf, but doesn't because it is so
"special". You might as well call every sheva merachef situation a
special case which should produce either a dagesh chazak in the second
letter or a sheva nach in second/dagesh kal in the third, but doesn't
because it is "special".

2. The exhibit of a "rafeh" symbol in some chumashim (actually, which
ones do that?, our shul just uses the standard fare which does not. of
course the codices do so) is hardly definitive without an associated
understanding of pedigree and provenance for the marking. Otherwise we
simply have a case of "gavra agavra karamis?"

3. I guess I tend to classify the lamid prefix in an infinitive as a
"true prefix" while Arthur doesn't. This would then reduce our
disagreements to mere semantics (please, no hate mail from semanticists)
or in how one articulates the scope of an expected merachef situation,
(to Arthur in any case of a "true non-infinitive prefixed lamid " while
I would say only sometimes since my "prefixes" include infinitives)
without any real disagreement on expected occurances.

4. Arthur's last remark that "there does not seem to be a systematic way
to predict based on context how a specific occurance will appear" is a
sentiment I heartily concur with. In fact, to paraphrase Yeivin in a
related context, we must take care to avoid being captured by the
tyranny of the grammarians. The Baalei Mesorah were trying to preserve a
received oral tradition, not to ensure the development of a consistent
grammer. I have come to believe that this latter is the principle defect
of the Koren Tanach edition.

If Arthur has another good comeback for this (and he's proven quite
difficult to put away) I warn him in advance that I am ready to cry
UNCLE, but please don't make me look up another sheva.

Mechy Frankel                                  W: (703) 325-1277
<frankel@...>                            H: (301) 593-3949


From: <jsharf@...> (Joshua Sharf)
Date: Sun, 15 May 94 08:51:23 EDT
Subject: Spices

Douger Behrman wants to know about spices, specifically about asafetidah.
Asafetidah is a resin from a carrot-like plant in India, according to the
many Indian cookbooks I consulted.  It comes in two forms, block and ground.
Now the OED, published by the previous owners of the country, states that
asafetidah is a gum, which *may* indicate some processing before it gets
to the store, even in block form.  
Spices themselves generally require hasgacha since things that are ground
are treated as though they were hot.  However, if asafetidsah is just resin,
in block form it may be o.k.

-- Joshua


End of Volume 13 Issue 18