Volume 13 Number 44
                       Produced: Thu Jun  2  7:48:29 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Astrology (2)
         [Shmuel Weidberg, Doug Behrman]
Changing the Past
         [Rabbi Freundel]
Chumrot and Aryeh's pants
         [Jules Reichel]
L'cha Dodi - West
         [Yisrael Medad]
Lekhah Dodi
         [Joey Mosseri]
Modes of Address
         [Pinchus Laufer]
Non-Jewish legal holiday (or- Christianity and the US government)
         [Ira Rosen]
On Time and Ethics
         [David Charlap]
Scientific Accuracy
         [Harry Weiss]
Sim Shalom
         [David Curwin]
Standard Israeli Hebrew Pronunciation
         [Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank]


From: <shmuel@...> (Shmuel Weidberg)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 00:41:40 -0400
Subject: Astrology

>Just wondering what is the halakhic opinon on astrology. Is it permissible
>to cosult astrology or is it considered 'Abodat kokakhabim ?
>Before anyone answers please consider the following.
>The Talmud (Mo'ed Qatan 28a) records Raba as saying that whether a man
>enjoys long life, whether he has children or whether he earns an adequate
>living depends not on his merits but on the stars (mazal).

Ein Mazel B'Yisroel - Astrology does not have the final say with Jews.
While the stars do say what will be a Jew can overcome what the stars
say. In any case I'd warrant that there is nobody around who can read
the stars with any degree of accuracy so there is no point in
consulting any astrologers.


From: <ASLAN7@...> (Doug Behrman)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 06:22:48 -0400
Subject: Astrology

 I believe the Ibn Ezra states that astrology is in fact a valid science
but that it does not have an effect on Bnei Yisroel, only the other
nations.( I think he talks about this during the episode of Avram
changing his name to Avraham so that he could have children and not be
effected by his old mazal.)


From: <Dialectic@...> (Rabbi Freundel)
Date: Mon, 30 May 1994 16:44:18 -0400
Subject: Changing the Past

One miracle that comes close to changing the past is the midrashic sex
change of Dinah (in response to Leah's prayer) from male to female so as
not to limit Rachel to only one son/tribe which would put here on a
lower plane than the concubines Bilhah and zilpah who each had two
sons/tribes. Since only 12 tribes would be born a seventh son for Leah
would have deprived Rachel of this possibility.


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 21:36:28 -0400
Subject: Chumrot and Aryeh's pants

The strange case of Aryeh's daughter's pre-school teacher's pants should
further help to clarify the trouble with chumrot. The child asks if the
teacher is Jewish when the teacher wears clothes which are marginal to
Aryeh (or maybe unacceptable, it doesn't matter). One would think that
he would say that "who is a Jew" is not determined by attire. But he
feels trapped. If he says that attire is optional, then he's worried
that his concept of modesty will be viewed by his daughter as just one
of dad's oddities. If he says that the teacher disregards the law, he's
weakened the relationship with the teacher for no good reason, and he'd
feel uncomfortable asserting that he knows that the law has been broken,
just as he feels a little uncomfortable reporting his answer to the
list. I was startled that he felt obligated to assess women wearing
pants BEFORE he told his daughter HIS view of who is a Jew. That's what
she asked. Chumrot seem to inevitably generate hostility. I suspect from
the stories told in various postings that some people are saying to
themselves, even so, so what? I could care less! Please understand that
I am NOT attributing this view to any particular person, and NOT to
Aryeh. It's just my overall view of what's happening.  


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Thu, 2 Jun 1994 01:48:57 -0400
Subject: L'cha Dodi - West

Re which way to turn for L'cha Dodi:

Rav Ovadia Yosef in his *Yacheveh Daat*, Vol III, Responsum 19 brings
the source from the Ari Zal in his Shaar Hakavanot that one faces the
descending sun and recites "Bo'i Kalah, bo'i kalah, bo'i kalah, Shabat
Malkata". R. Yosef also brings down two other sources (which I do not have
at the moment).

So it would seem that West is best.

Yisrael Medad


From: <JMOSSERI@...> (Joey Mosseri)
Date: Wed, 25 May 1994 22:30:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Lekhah Dodi

On the subject of lekhah dodi and turning towards the West, it seems like
this is entirely based upon Kabbalistic sources.
I checked into Rabbi Yosef Hayims BEN ISH HAI (year 2, perashat vayera,
halakhah 2) and he basicaaly quotes the AR"I from Sha'ar Hakavanot page 64
side 3. And he says that you should stand and face the west and close your
eyes and place your left hand upon your chest and then place your right hand
over your left hand and concentrate . And stand with awe in front of hashem
to accept the holliness of Shabat. Then say Psalm 29 then LEKHAH DODI......
 ....then Psalms 92 & 93 then open your eyes then turn back to the East.

In the same halakhah he places a lot of importance on discussing how to turn
and how to bow when saying Bo-ee Kalah at the end of Lekhah Dodi.

Joey Mosseri


From: <plaufer@...> (Pinchus Laufer)
Date: Tue, 24 May 1994 09:15:20 -0400
Subject: Modes of Address

Sam Juni's missive about modes of address puzzled me. 
Does he think that this is restricted to "mami" and "tati"?!  Throughout
American society (all I have experience with) there are families which are
concerned with proper respect and refer to the parents as "MOM" "DAD" or
some other form.  This occurs in literature as well.

The indirect reference to one's spouse is generally tzniut, I leave it to
other members of the list who have beter recall than I to quote the relevant
stories in the Gemara that support this.

His reference to Bobov ("Zug nor") is incorrect - he was thinking of Ger.

Thank You,


From: Ira Rosen <irosen@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 94 0:10:23 EDT
Subject: Non-Jewish legal holiday (or- Christianity and the US government)

In response to Dr. Juni's query about Christmas as a legal holiday:
There is no doubt that the separation of church and state would forbid
this sort of thing but we as a religious minority must face the fact
that the U.S.  - despite legal decisions to the contrary - is a
Christian nation. This is most probably at the root of Chrismas being a
legal holiday. Government apologists could, possibly, give a more
pragmatic rationalization that, given the number of people celebrating
Christmas, it doesn't make any sense to attempt to keep government
offices open on that one day (despite constitutional assertions to the
contrary). I doubt that a grass roots effort to change this situation
would do any good (what politician would stick his or her neck out to
legilate work on Christmas?)

There are other cases of 'violation' of the separation of church and
state on both the federal and local levels, however, making it clear
that the government of the U.S. will not ever divorce itself from
religion (read: Christianity). The 'Pledge of Allegiance' mentions god
(although this was not always the case). 'Blue laws' still exist in
certain areas of the country (as anyone who has ever lived in Bergen
county, NJ can tell you), limiting the religious jews' ability to shop
on the weekend. Our country has a national Christmas tree (along with
the day off) adding - if I'm not mistaken - Druid tradition to the
Christian holiday. Children in public schools are taught hymns in chorus
class. I - sadly - could go on.

The reality is that the U.S. is not as free and open as it claims. It
IS, however, about as free as one could expect, given the constraints of
democratic rule and a Christian majority. Other than the occaisional
religious disillusion, it's really not a bad place to be a jew.

Not the most eloquent opinion, but it's mine - Ira


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 94 19:38:48 -0400
Subject: On Time and Ethics

I can't speak for other companies, but where I work, using things like
the phone, the printer, and the Network for personal use are permitted
as long as you get your work done and don't abuse the privilege.  This
is a matter of informal policy, and everyone from the president down

In my situation, I don't consider such use theft - I've been given


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Wed, 01 Jun 94 22:42:39 
Subject: Scientific Accuracy

I would like to complement Dr. Juni for his excellent submission
in MJ 13#36.  

There are numerous places throughout the Talmud and more recent writings
that we find items that we now consider to be scientifically inaccurate.
(Who knows, maybe in some future time what we consider to be fact will
turn out to be erroneous.)

It appears to me that these fall into three categories.  One of these is
where this "data" is used to explain a Halacha or application of a
Halacha.  An example of this would be in Mesechet Psachim where the
distances of being exempt for the Korban Pesach (Passover Offering) is
discussed in relation to Pesach Sheni. (94a) The description of
astronomical processes is definitely wrong in accordance with modern
science.  I was taught that the Halacha is known and the "scientific"
data is just an illustration and has absolutely no impact on the
validity of the Halacha.

A second category would be a Rabbinical decree where the reason no
longer exists or is not considered accurate.  Since they became accepted
practices we continue to follow them using the dictum of Minhag Avoteinu
b'yodenu (We follow our father's customs).  An example of this is the
second day of Yom Tov in Diaspora.

The third category is the difficult one.  These are more recent rulings
made based on inaccurate or outdated data.  How long do these have to be
in place and be accepted by what share of the observant population to be
fall into the second category.  When can these be changed?  Who can
change these?



From: <6524dcurw@...> (David Curwin)
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 22:42:47 -0400
Subject: Sim Shalom

According to the Rama (Orach Chaim 127:2) who quotes the Hagahot
Maimoniot (Hilchot Tefila, Chpt. 8, but I didn't see it) the basis for
those who say Sim Shalom in Mincha of Shabbat is because in Sim Shalom
it says "Ki v'or panecha natata lanu" (for with the light of your face
you gave us) and that light is Tora, which we read from on Shabat


From: Alan Cooper and Tamar Frank <Alan.Cooper@...>
Date: Wed, 1 Jun 1994 20:27:02 -0400
Subject: Standard Israeli Hebrew Pronunciation

In response to Pinchus Laufer's queries about Hebrew pronunciation: (1)
the differentiation of segol from tsere disappeared a long time ago in
most words.  See already Rosen's _Textbook of Israeli Hebrew_ (more than
30 years old), p. 2.  He cites the words DOfeq and doFEQ ("pulse" /
"knocking"), and states that the /e/ vowels are bascially the same
(irrespective of the facts that the former is a segol and the latter a
tsere, and that one is stressed while the other is not).  There is a
most illuminating discussion of the proper pronunciation of tsere in
Bentzion Hakohen's book, _Sefat Emet_, pp. 208-219.  Hakohen raises
interesting questions about the age and authenticity of the
pronunciation of tsere as /ey/.

(2) I have not observed the accent shift noted by Pinchus, nor is it
remarked upon in the latest grammar, Glinert's _Grammar of Modern
Hebrew_.  Perhaps I mis- understood the phenomenon he was describing.

I do not wish to re-open the great pronunciation controversy that
raged on mail-jewish some time ago.  I would only observe that it seems
obvious to me that speakers of standard Israeli Hebrew who wish to be
ba'alei qeri'ah need to be functionally bilingual, since even the most
punctilious speakers tend to obliterate important features of the
Masorah.  Loss of shva in such forms as /kotvim/ and /katvu/ (as opposed
to Masoretic /kotevim/ and /katevu/, where /e/=shva) comes immediately
to mind.  Given the character of Sephardic and Yemenite pronunciations,
however, I would not think that the segol/tsere distinction is in that
category--that is, that it would have to be reinstated against the grain
of everyday speech.

With good wishes,  Alan Cooper


End of Volume 13 Issue 44