Volume 13 Number 77
                       Produced: Fri Jun 24 16:19:43 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Warren Burstein]
baby toys
Baby Toys (v13n61)
         [Sam Saal]
Changing the Past
         [Barry Fruendel]
Hebrew alphabet/Hebrew Months
         [Meir Lehrer]
Holocaust and Israel Reborn
         [Jerrold Landau]
Modern Hebrew Pronunciation
         [Bernie Horowitz]
Monte Penkower's Inquiry re Holocaust & Zionism
         [Sam Juni]
science in the torah
         [Danny Skaist]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 10:11:34 GMT
Subject: Re: Astrology

Rabbi DuBrow writes that Jewish astrology may be useful for
personality analysis.  Perhaps some readers who share that belief and
others who know how to conduct research might get together to design
an experiment to confirm or refute this hypothesis.

 |warren@         an Anglo-Saxon."
/ nysernet.org                       Stuart Schoffman


From: <karena@...> (Karena)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 20:56:10 -0400
Subject: RE: baby toys

<david@...> (David Charlap) wrote:
> Regarding books, I know that they are very particular.  They will not
> allow themselves or their children to read books that were not written
> by a frum author, no matter what the content is.

I have had a close relationship with the Chabad rabbi's family while at
school.  It has been my experience that while they are machmir about
what the children wear, what the children's rooms (sheets, blankets, and
drapes) are decorated with and what the children play with... ie. there
are no trief animals in sight... not a bunny on an infant's sleeper or
diaper... not a bear on a sweater and not a horse in the play barn yard
they are more lenient with books.  The Bearenstien Bear books are on the
bookshelf along with the books published by frum authors... Not only are
some of the books not by frum authors, they are depicting non kosher

The older children in the family are all avid readers.  They read what
ever they can get their hands on, that has been approved by mommy.  That
means that they do a lot of reading of books published by non Jews or by
non frum Jews.  I have seen all sorts of books brought to the dinner
table.  Many of them are the same books that my mommy and tatti approved
for me when I was little.

In other words it depends on the family, not just the fact that the
family is Lubuvitch.  Talk to them, they should be more than willing to
explain to you what they allow in their house for their children.  (-:

				Karena	 __/\__
					   \/	<Karena@...>

From: Sam Saal <SSAAL@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 09:03:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Baby Toys (v13n61)


>As the proud stepgrandmother of a new baby girl, my thoughts naturally
>turn to cute little things for the baby. Are there any toys which are OK
>for other kids but not for Lubavitch or orthodox kids? I saw a catalog
>which had cute little animals, soft toys and things for babies but I
>noticed there was a pig on one of them, so would that be not OK? Little
>houses, infant stim things to hang up on the crib-clothing... can you
>frum folks give me some tips about this?

The following is probably not a Halachic answer, but an undoubtedly 
appropriate gift/toy for small children are the Jewish oriented products 
from a company called "Pockets of Learning." While these might not be 
appropriate for the newborn, within a year or so, they will be old enough to 
begin to appreciate them.  Specifically, PoL has a Hebrew  alphabet (as well 
as an ABC), a Noah's Ark, and others. Each involves teaching with playing. 
The products are well made but I suspect should not be given to extremely 
young kids without supervision.

I've seen them in toy stores, mail order catalogues, and Judaica shops but 
if you can't find them, send me mail and I'll see if I can find a catalogue 
to USnail mail to you.

Sam Saal
Vayiphtach HaShem et Peah HaAtone


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Fruendel)
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 00:29:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Changing the Past

You are right Sam that evidence for actual changes of the past would be
hard to find. This at least comes close because it is one of the
specific examples cited by the Talmud as an unchangeable fact. There is
one other such item.  The Talmud says that repentance from love (Teshuva
Mei'ahava) changes past sins into good deeds


From: lehrer%<milcse@...> (Meir Lehrer)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 08:05:34 -0400
Subject: Re:  Hebrew alphabet/Hebrew Months

On 16 Jun 1994  15:09 Rani Averick wrote:

>The discussion on Hebrew as the first language brought to mind a
>question about the Hebrew alphabet & a sort of related question about
>the Hebrew months:
>As I understand it, our current Hebrew alphabet is not the original one
>with which the world was created.  Yet there are many writings about the
>significance of the shape of each letter in the current alphabet, and
>the holiness of the alphabet.  How is it that the original alphabet was
>replaced, and why did the replacement take on such religious

   First, the Hebrew months were named in many cases after avodah zarah
itself (ie. Tammuz, which was the name of a pagan god). I'd once asked
my Rabbi why we never changed the names back to the originals (Chodesh
Rishon, Chodesh Sheni, etc...). It's the typical Jewish answer, "Well,
you know, once something's done and it sticks in peoples' mind... who
wants to change it?". Not a good answer, but a truthful one.

   As to the language (alphabet), our modern Hebrew Lettering system
acquired new pictograms around the time of Beit Sheni (2nd Temple).
These were the letters brought back from Bavel by the exiles of Chorbin
Rishon (destruction of the 1st Temple). The reason given for the new
shapes was that they were used to differentiate the "True Jews" from the
Somarians who'd since populated the land and used our old letters. To
make it clear, there were from the time of the writing of the Torah 22
letters in the Hebrew alphabet, going from Aleph to Bet. However, upon
the time of the return of exiles of the 2nd temple a new pictograph
system (new shapes, same letter names and pronunciations) was adopted.

   As far as the Mesorah (Tradition) for large and small letters written
in the Sefer Torah, nobody is totally sure as to how far any of these
Mesorot date back. They are all individual cases, some dating perhaps
back to Moshe Rabbenu, while others may have been added by the Taanayim
during the writting of the Mishnah as a reminder to us.

- Meir Lehrer (with the help of local Language experts!)


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 94 09:12:16 EDT
Subject: Holocaust and Israel Reborn

 Monte Noam Penkower asks why there has not been much scholarship on the
concept of the connection with the Shoa and the rebirth of Israel.  I
believe that the main reason for this lack of scholarship is the close
historical proximity of our present time to these events.
 Any scholarship and discussion on this matter must take into account
the feelings of Holocaust survivors, of which there are (baruch hashem)
many still alive.  I have been present at shiurim and discussions
several times where the theological connection between these two events
was discussed, and invariably there is discomfort generated among the
 While I'm sure that most observant Jews (with the VERY understandable
exception of many -- not all -- Holocaust survivors) do indeed see the
hand of G-d in these events (even though we certainly cannot claim to
understand G-d's reasons), we must be careful not to act like neviim
(prophets), and pretend that we know all the answers to this subject.
As well, we must be very careful not to do anything that may hurt in any
way the sensibilities of the sheerit hapleita (the remnant of
survivors).  I'm sure that as the decades go on, there will gradually be
more literature in this area.

One book which does explore this subject is Rabbi Bernard Maza's book
"With Fury Poured Out".

Jerrold Landau


From: Bernie Horowitz <horowitz@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 1994 01:28:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Modern Hebrew Pronunciation

The recent postings about pronunciations these days in Sepharadit
Hebrew, bring to mind a 'problem' which I encounter frequently when I
listen to Hebrew as read by students and graduates of American day
schools.  Most often, these people were taught to daven, lein (read the
Torah) as well as speak in Sepharadit.  The 'problem' is that their
teachers frequently have very little training in dikduk (grammar).  As a
result, every qametz ('aw' sound in Ashkenazic pronunciation) becomes a
patach ('ah' sound).  The only universally known exception is the word
'cawl'; every other qametz katan is unknown and lost.
 As a student of Yeshivah Salanter in the Bronx in the 40's and 50's, I
naturally learned Ashkenazic pronunciation and still follow this
tradition when I daven and when I lein (though I admit that I have been
tempted from time to time to adopt the so-called more modern
pronunciation).  But over the years I have learned enough dikduk to
distinguish between t'nuot g'dolot (long vowel sounds) and k'tanot
(short ones) and feel perfectly comfortable reading in Sepharadit.  When
I teach davening and leining to boys learning for their bar-mitzvah, I
use whichever pronunciation the boy has been taught.  It is here that I
encounter blank stares when I correct mistaken pronunciations.  When I
tell them that the word is va-YA-kawm, for example, they look at me very
suspiciously, since they have never even been taught that such a
distinction exists.  One particularly nervous young man was very
resistant because he was afraid that if he pronounced the words _MY_ way
the people in shul would yell out corrections and he would be
embarrassed.)  Possibly compounding the problem are the many Israeli
teachers in the day schools who surely know how to pronounce the words
but have little idea which vowels to fill in.
 I have suggested using the Rinat Yisrael siddur which uses a different
qametz symbol to distinguish between qametz gadol and qametz katan.  For
leining, I have a fine little book called 'Ba'al Hak'riah' (in Hebrew)
by Michael Bar-Lev, which runs through all of the parshiot, haphtarot
and megillot, listing every qametz katan, as well as sh'va na/nach
distinctions, and accents.  If anyone has other suggestions I would love
to hear them.
 Bernie Horowitz


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 17:22:19 -0400
Subject: Monte Penkower's Inquiry re Holocaust & Zionism

 From years of reading "Der Yid", I remember recurring presentations of
an alleged quote by the Zionist Establishment during the Holocaust which
read something like "Rak B'Dam Tihiyey Lanuh Ha'Aretz" (Only via blood
will we get the land). This was supposedly an understanding that the
international communitywould look more favorably on voting for parition
as a compensatory reaction to losses at the Holocaust.  The particular
angle of "Der Yid", I think, involved rescue efforts of Rabbi
Weissmandel and, I think, Eichmann's Jewish barter emmisarry (Joel
Brand?). The latter was sent to "sell" Jews for trucks. The story goes
that the Zionist Agency in Britain had Brand arrested (as a spy?), to
thwart his efforts. While one may assume that such thwarting was due to
a strategy to prevent equipment from getting to the Germans ("even" if
it meant saving Jews), this particular interpretation posits that it was
thwarted precisely "because" it would have saved Jews, so as to have a
better case for partition.

There are also stories "around" (no citations) by people who were
involved in the certificate quest to emigrate to Palestine during the
war, that the Zionist powers discriminated in giving such certificates,
using crietria which might be described as questionable. I heard some of
these stories from "victims."

     Dr. Sam Juni                  Fax (212) 995-3474
     New York University           Tel (212) 998-5548
     400 East
     New York, N.Y.  10003


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 09:29:11 -0400
Subject: science in the torah

>>there is a Klal (rule) that the further away from the Relevation at Sinai
>> the scope of knowledge is less.

>Jonathan Katz
>First of all, this rule only applies to matters of Torah and halacha; it
>was never inetended to refer to other disciplines, including the
>sciences.  Second, do you really mean that the scope of knowledeg is
>less? The way I always saw it was that our mental capacity was less:

The first things that were lost when our mental capacity was lessened
was the sciences and other diciplines, (also found in the torah) since
more of our mental capacities were needed just to retain hallacha.

Look at it this way.  The torah is the owners manual for the world.  It
contains both the schematics and the operating instructions.  If an
Engineer buys the device he can understand both. I, personally just put
the schematics in the back of a drawer and stick to the operating
instructions, I can understand what to do, but not why to do it.

The mishna in Nidda asks a question. If the first son was born by
Ceaserian section and the second son born normally who is the b'chor
[First born] for hallachic purposes.  The Rambam in parush ha'mishnayot,
states that mishna was talking about twins since Ceaserian sections are
ALWAYS fatal to the mother.  Later in the mishna there is a discussion
of how long if at all a woman is tameh/tahor after a Ceaserian, and the
mothers obligation to bring a korban.

Obviously in the time of the mishna Ceaserian sections were performed
successfully with all parties surviving, where at the time of the Rambam
they were not.



End of Volume 13 Issue 77