Volume 13 Number 90
                       Produced: Tue Jul  5 22:32:43 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alcohol and drugs
         [Barry Freundel]
Israeli customs
         [Phil Chernofsky]
Jeffrey Woolf's comments on academic research
         [Dr. Mark Press]
         [Yechiel Pisem]
Kitniyot on Pesach (v13 #11)
         [Neal Parks]
Recitation of Yizkor
         [Michael Rosen]
Statues and Broken Noses
         [Shmuel Weidberg]
Women and Kaddish
         [Gil Y Melmed]
         [Michael Shimshoni]


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 01:58:31 -0400
Subject: Alcohol and drugs

Arnie Kuzmzk writes
> There certainly is an alcohol culture.  It is quite different from the
> 1960's "counterculture" associated with marijuana and hallucinogens but
> is similar to the drug culture of heroin and cocaine users in inner
> cities in the US.  It involves people, mostly men, who spend most of
> their free time in bars drinking and sharing a social life of sorts with
> others who do the same.  It is frequently depicted in literature and
> movies.  See, for example, Eugene O'Neill's "Long Days Journey Into
> Night" or the movie "Ironweed" (if I remember the name correctly).

I think our difference is semantic rather than substantive. What you
describe is a subculture, meaning a subgroup in society at odds with its
norms and self- consciously aware of that fact yet perceiving itself as
too weak or too benefitted to change. The drug or counter-culture was
different. It was at odds with society because it thought itself
superior and was out to replace the dominent culture. That's why it was
a drug CULTURE not a subculture.  Things have changed somewhat to the
point where most people see drugs as wrong and so it has taken on more
of a subcultural aspect-but not completely.


From: Phil Chernofsky <philch@...>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 1994 07:43:59 -0400
Subject: Israeli customs

Concerning the list of Israeli customs posted several days ago...

Birkat Kohanim is said at Ne'ila on Yom Kippur provided it can be done 
before sunset. This will necessitate a long stalling tactic by the 
Chazzan, such as reciting each line in Avinu Malkeinu responsively and 
very slowly. Even that won't be enough to make it all the way to Shofar 
time. Some shuls cheat a bit and will have the kohanim "duchin" on the 
latish side (a bit after sunset). This cuts down the stalling time but 
poses the question of halachic permissibility to duchin after sunset. 
Other shuls take the pragmatic approach. They don't rush mincha. They 
don't shorten the break and start mincha early. They don't rush to get to 
birkat kohanim before sunset. And the kohanim don't get up to bless the 
people. The reasoning is that the mitzva is once a day; they've already 
done it twice on Yom Kippur, and this way there is a smoother Ne'ila, 
fashionably late and shofar at its conclusion without the dragging. 
TTBOMK, this is what determines yes or no in Jerusalem shuls.

On the issue of the changed endings in Bracha Mei'ein Shalosh - the 
halacha sources that I have say not to change Al HaMichya; V'al pri 
HaGafen vs. v'al pri gafnah (with a sounded h at the end) is based on 
where the wine is from - not where you are. Israeli wine should get the 
change even in NY. Imported wine in Israel gets a HaGafen. Same rule for 
fruit. Dried figs from Turkey eaten here in Israel, get a v'al HaPeirot. 
Israeli dates in New York get a v'al peirote'ha. I am positive that this 
is at least the opinion of some poskim. Whether there is another opinion, 
I don't know.

The bracha for trees in Nissan is not just in Israel, TTBOMK. I remember 
trying to say it in New York. Of course, the growing seasons and 
availability of fruit trees might create a de facto difference between 
Israel and (some of) elsewhere.

Candle lighting in Jerusalem is 40 minutes before sunset. This is called 
Minhag Yerushalayim. The fact is that not every community within 
Jerusalem accepts this practice. There are s'faradim and chassidim (and 
others, no doubt) who do not accept this practice. Furthermore, there are 
Jewish in other cities who do take this Jerusalem custom. (Personally, I 
think it is a beautiful testimony to the sanctity of the Holy City that 
we also sanctify an extra portion of time prior to Shabbat and the 
regular amount of Tosfot Shabbat.)

   Phil Chernofsky, associate director, OU/NCSY Israel Center, Jerusalem
   Email address (Internet): <philch@...>
   Tel: +972 2 384 206   Fax: +972 2 385 186   Home phone: +972 2 819169
   Voice mail (to record a message): (02) 277 677, extension 5757


From: Dr. Mark Press <PRESS@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 94 23:19:52 EST
Subject: Jeffrey Woolf's comments on academic research

One is struck by the willingness of "scholars" to engage in ad hominem
arguments rather than addressing the issue.  Such phrases as "hysterical",
"shows how little he knows",etc. hardly belong in an issues-oriented
 In fact, it is Mr. Woolf who appears to misread the world of academic
research.  Anyone familiar with the burgeoning literature on the
sociology and psychology of academic research (sources on request) is
aware that most published research is regarded as of little or no value
by the community of scholars, at least as evidenced by frequency of
citation.  In addition, peer review fails to ensure either accuracy or
honesty, as witnessed by the increasing frequency of the publication of
fraudulent material.  Every major journal in my areas of interest has
been shown to publish material containing profound flaws of logic,
experimental design and data analysis; I find it unlikely that journals
in other areas of knowledge differ.  In sum, there is a great deal of
readily available evidence indicating that some academics are "sloppy,
dishonest or worse" (to quote Mr. Woolf). This, of course, does not tell
us how many academics are such but merely that Hendeles points are well
supported by data.

The assertion that academic research is part of "an attempt to reach
truth" (again quoting Woolf) also needs qualification (independent of
the problem of defining truth), since studies also show that articles
questioning the current wisdom, failing to support popular theories,etc.
have great difficulty being published regardless of their conformity to
scholarly standards.  In sum, let us not be quick to dismiss Hendeles'
points as hysterical; they reflect a painful reality of the world of

I cannot comment on the world of Israeli universities but it is
absolutely clear that in American universities there is great pressure
on faculty to publish and that this has led to a burgeoning of journals
that have difficulty filling their pages with quality material.
 This is not to say that academics are necessarily dishonest nor that
Hendeles' basic Halachic argument has any merit but merely to observe
that he has strong factual support in his concern.  This is particularly
true in the area of Jewish scholarship where much is published that is
laughably incompetent.  My favorite example is a long scholarly article
based on the author's inability to translate a simple term in the
Rambam's Perush Hamishnayos; the article was published nonetheless.
 As to Woolf's claim that he takes his view from Maimonides, nowhere
does the Ra mbam (at least to my knowledge) assert that it is essential
to bring the full weight of knowledge to bear on the study of Torah;
indeed, he specifically prohibits such (Avodah Zarah, ch.2) where the
application of "knowledge" may lead to the questioning of received
truths. Much of what passes for scholarship even by Shomrei Mitzvot
would seem to be problematic in the Rambam's eyes. On the other hand,
scholarship which does not raise such questions is not only acceptable
in the Haredi world but far more actively supported than in the world of
the Modern Orthodox, as cited by Woolf himself in his reference to the
impressive work of Machon Yerushalyim.
 As to threats, it is clear to any disinterested observer that it is the
world of Modern Orthodoxy which feels threatened by that of the more
traditional rather than the reverse.  In fact, Modern Orthodox
apologists are infuriated by the indifference to them in the more
traditional circles as is evident in the publications of both groups.
 Finally,"critical" scholarship that is not heretical is not a threat to the
traditionally religious at all; it is essentially irrelevant.  It is this
irrelevance which angers those scholars, since they wish to be taken
seriously by the world of Torah scholars and are not(even when they are
indeed learned).  Of course, the serious textual work done by scholars
who were both outstanding in traditional modes of learning and in modern
research are widely accepted (witness the editions of various texts) but
this is presumably not the type of work Woolf refers to.


From: Yechiel Pisem <ypisem@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 1994 09:41:58 -0400
Subject: Re: Kesubos/Ketubot

In response to Stephen Phillips' post about Kesubos/Ketubot:

A Kesubah, as far as I know, does not have the same "din" (law) as a Get
(divorce contract).  In a Get, you have two sections: the "Toref HaGet"
and the "Tofes HaGet".  The Tofes HaGet can be printed in any form at
all, because this section doesn't totally relate to the 2 people.  The
Toref HaGet, however, must be written "Lishmoh/Lishmah"--for the sake of
the 2 people.  If the Sofer (scribe) was practicing his writing and he
wrote a Toref HaGet for 2 people (effectively a John and Jane Doe on
Jan. 1, 1111) and then 2 people by those names came to him and said that
they wanted to be divorced that day, he must re-write it as what he
previously wrote is invalid for use as a Get.  I would think that the
Kesubah, though, is no more that a Shtar (proof document {?}) into which
you just write the names and it isn't necessary for it to be Lishmoh.  A
Kesubah De'Arichsa/De'Arichta (a replacement for a lost Kesubah)
probably has the same Din as a Get...but the bottom line is, ask your

Kol Tuv,
Yechiel Pisem


From: Neal Parks
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 13:32:19 -0400
Subject: Kitniyot on Pesach (v13 #11)

 >> (Danny Skaist says:)
 >>Any and all reasons given for banning kitniyot do not make any
 sense when >>applied to derivatives.  That is why kitniot
 derivatives were never included >>in the ban.

If the derivatives are not banned, then why does Coke need to be
made specially for Pesach with sugar instead of corn syrup??


From: <MRosenPSI@...> (Michael Rosen)
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 94 10:58:23 EDT
Subject: re: Recitation of Yizkor

Sephardic Jews recite Yizkor only on Yom Kippur. The reason I have heard
for Ashkenazic Jews reciting Yizkor on the Regalim as well as Yom Kippur
is that this custom arose during the Middle Ages. Your basic religoius
pragmatism.  You might not make it through the next pogrom to recite
Yizkor for your loved ones.


From: <shmuel@...> (Shmuel Weidberg)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 21:49:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Statues and Broken Noses

>   A statue is not considered as avoda zarah unless it was worshipped,
>or was made with the specific intention to be worshipped. Therefore, 
>thereason why a mum (flaw) is made on the statue, such as 
>breaking/chippingoff the nose (the shita, view, which I personally hold 
>by) is due to thepossible infraction of 'Morit Ayin' (wrongful/evil 
>appearance). In orderthat others should know for sure that we don't 
>possess this statue forthe purpose of idol worship, we make a flaw.    

That is probably the case in many instances. However, Roman rulers 
considered themselves gods just like the Egyptian rulers did. A good 
portion of the Roman statues are of the rulers. I therefore assume that 
they are idols.



From: <gmelmed@...> (Gil Y Melmed)
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 10:38:50 -0400
Subject: Women and Kaddish

	I have been trying to understand the issues regarding the saying
of Kaddish by a woman (specifically for her father - would there be a
nafka mina (practical difference) if it were for a mother?).  After
perusing through the Pnei Baruch and the Gesher Hachayim, it seemed that
there was basically no allowance for such a practice (even upon request
from the deceased).  I discussed the issue briefly with Rav David Cohen
in NY, who told me that if she had no brothers to say kaddish, then it
would be perfectly permissible for a woman to say kaddish, by herself,
in shul - the source being that 'that was what was done in the old days
in the Orthodox shuls'.
	Can anyone direct me to specific references to the issue?  Or
perhaps explain where/when the "old days" were?

[This issue has been discussed at length on this list, take a look at
the folowing before submitting follow-ups:

	Some questions re women saying kaddish and related issues [v8n36]
	Women & Prayer, Kaddish, & Hair [v7n92]
	Women's Tefilla Groups and Kaddish [v7n88]
	Women and Kaddish [v7n92]
	Women Saying Kaddish [v7n75, v7n82, v7n92, v7n101]



From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 94 15:19:18 +0300
Subject: Re: Yizkor

Henry Edinger stated inter alia:

> The Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, of which I am a member, has never
>had the minhag of Yizkor although it has other types of memorial
>prayers. To the best of my knowledge, Yizkor is unknown among Sephardim.
>German Jews also did not possess the Yizkor prayer, although they did
>adopt the custom in the United States following the Holocaust. German
>machzorim printed before World War II do not include a Yizkor service.

I know nothing about Spanish & Portuguese customs in America, nor do
if the Sepharadim in general also did not have Yizkor in their services.
On the other hand as far as my "landslayt" the Yekkes (i.e. German Jews)
are concerned, I can state that they did have that prayer and in all
relevant machzorim printed in Germany even as far back as last century,
which were in the possession of my late parents.   The prayer was referred
to as "mazkir", I am not sure why.

 Michael Shimshoni


End of Volume 13 Issue 90