Volume 16 Number 65
                       Produced: Sat Nov 19 21:11:24 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanuka gifts and Yaakov
         [Adina Sherer]
Payment for Work on Shabbat etc.
         [Jonathan Katz]
Rivka's Age
         [Jay Bailey]
         [Zvi Weiss]
Yaakob and Lying
         ["Ezra Dabbah"]
Yaakov's deception
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Zmanim program
         [Motty Hasofer]
Zmanim software
         [Zal Suldan]
Zmanim software - HAYOM
         [Kevin Schreiber]


From: <adina@...> (Adina Sherer)
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 94 23:14:24 IST
Subject: Re: Chanuka gifts and Yaakov

Re - Chanuka gifts -

Does anyone know the origin for giving gifts and gelt only on the 5th
night?  That was always the custom in our family, and I used to joke
that it was because we were so disorganized that we just weren't ready
by the first, but then I heard that Lubavitch (?) mentions it somewhere
and that there really is a serious basis - anyone know?

[This was also the custom I remember growing up with. Mod]

Re Yaakov -

>      But the real point that the Torah makes is that Yaakov was forced
> to suffer his entire life for this deed, mida keneged mida [measure for
> measure]:

I heard a small play on words once. When Rivka is urging Yaakov to do
this, she tells hims - don't worry, if Yaitzchok curses you I'll take
the curse on myself, since this is my idea.  THe language used is 'alai
yeheya klallecha ' 'your curses will be 'alai' - on me' .  Alai is
spelled ayin lamed yud - and the explanation given was Ayin - Eisav,
Lamed - Lavan, and yud - Yosef.  Alai will be your curses - these three
people will be the source for your life's pain as a result of this
deception. And Yaakov did in fact suffer greatly from his troubles with
Eisav, Lavan and Yosef.

> It is interesting to note that in the eyes of our sages Yaakov
> epitomizes truth.  The pasuk says "Titten emet l'Yaakov" - Grant truth
> to Yaakov.  It seems, we are told in holy sefarim, that in "alma
> d'shikra" (this world of falsehood) even lies must occasionally be used
> to find the truth.

Yaakov does epitomize the midah of Emes, but on the other hand it was
actually his greatest nisayon -test - as well.  One of the reasons he
was sent into 'exile' be lavan was to work on this problem of emes and
sheker - even in the most extreme circumstances, someone on
Yaakov's level, who was suppoed to epitomize honesty, was expected to
find a way to handle all situations with Emes.



From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 12:33:58 EST
Subject: Payment for Work on Shabbat etc.

Bobby Fogel brings up the interesting question of people who seemingly
get paid for work done on Shabbat (like Rabbis, Torah readers, etc.)

I have a few thoughts on this matter:

 1) Even assuming that it is complete "Legal Fiction" (see my next point
on why this might not be the case), that doesn't at all make it "wrong".
Legal fiction is used often in halacha, in the Talmud also. On the one
hand, it does seem "silly" to resort to a legal fiction when one is
(clearly) violating the intent of the law. On the other hand, in today's
world, this would lead to a shortage of Rabbis willing to work, which is
clearly not a desired effect. So, to strike a balance, the letter of the
law is upheld even though the spirit may not be 100%.
 2) Bobby Fogel asks: "If the Baal Koray did not show up, that would be
the end of his layning career..." True enough. However, I would think
that the shul would legally have to pay him for the time he spent
learning the parsha for that week. Then, they could decide to fire him
before the next week, ratioanlizing it by saying "he obviously didn't
prepare well if he didn't come in to shul...". Whether or not he would
accept the money for his study time is irrelevant; legally, he would be
entitled to it. So, the contract he signs is legally binding, and not
"just" legal fiction...

 3) A more interesting, but related, point is the question of Yeshiva
teachers.  Apparently, it is forbidden to be paid to teach Torah. This
came up one time in a class of mine, so we asked our Rabbi what he did
and he gave the answer that he is not paid for teaching Torah but for
the loss of his time during which he could be out earning money at
another job (Maybe the phrasing could be better, I don't know). Any
comments on this?

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 241C
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: Jay Bailey <jbailey@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 14:24:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rivka's Age

The following suggestions were submitted for an explanation of the 3-year 
old idea:

1- The gemara asserts that the avos (forefathers) kept all the mitzvos.
   This is taken to include, for reasons not clear to be, even dirabbanan's
   (Rabbinically enacted laws). Yitzchak kissed Rivka when they met, even
   though this would be in violation of the gezeira (Rabbinic protective law)
   of negi'ah (touching a member of the opposite gender in a way that might
   engender romantic feelings). This would not be an issue if she were 
   than 3, since there was no need for such a gezeira when sex is impossible.
   This would indicate that she wasn't three yet when Eliezer brought her
   to Canaan to marry Yitzchak.

2- After the Akeidah, when Yitzchak was placed on an alter and nearly
   sacrificed, Yitzchak had many of the same laws as a kohein. A
   kohein may not m   by a kohein -- and therefor, neither by Yitzchak. 
   Yitzchak must have then married her at the earliest possible time.
[end of quote]

All I can say is this: I hope that these were submitted as "interesting 
ideas" rather than bona fide attempts at an explanation.  This type of 
interpretation is so strained that it taxes the imagination (Yitzchak 
observed a future _gezeira_?)  It seems that we should be honest when 
using midrashik material like this. There may be nice concepts bound up 
in these, but they simply don't explain her age. (As does an earlier 
submission that does a step-by-step analysis of the chronology that may 
lead to this conclusion, a chronology that assumes that adjascent p'sukim 
indicate immediate consequutive events - a tough assertion, but almost 
definintely the source of the 3-year old idea.)

Jay Bailey


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 13:58:51 -0500
Subject: Swearing

Tehre is a Pasuk in Sefer Devarim which begins something like:Es Hashem 
Elokecha Tirah.....
If you check the Torah Temima on that spot, I beleive that you will find that
there is the idea that ONLY someone who "fulfils" the other aspects in those
verses of being especially G-d fearing, etc. is allowed (or "required") to
take a vow in G-d's name.  because we usually feel that we are not at that
exalted level, we shy away from such oath-taking.



From: "Ezra Dabbah" <ny001134@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 94 20:07:35 -0500
Subject: Yaakob and Lying

Mark Steiner responds to Yitzhak Cohen's question about lying and how
to teach our children the lesson here as "honest graft"--i.e. lying to
get what you deserve anyway. I couldn't disagree more! What kind of
message is that for an adult let alone a child.

I think there is more to the story of Yaakob than we were taught as
children. That is where we probably maintained our understanding through
adulthood. As Mark correctly points out Yaakob was punished mida keneged
mida (measure for measure). If Yaakob did right why was he punished at all?

It seems clear that Ribka underestimated Yiztchak. If you say that Yaakob
did right by taking THE blessing what does that say of Yiztchak? Certainly
as a prophet he knows where THE blessing should go. The problem is that
everyone thinks that Yaakob got THE blessing when he actually received A

What did Yaakob take? (Gen. 27:28) "So G-d give thee of the dew of heaven
and of the fat places of the earth and plenty of corn and wine.
Let people serve thee and Nations bow down to thee. Be lord over thy
brethren and let thy mothers sons bow down to thee. Cursed be every one
that curseth thee and blessed be everyone that blessed thee."

Is that the blessing that G-d gave Abraham and Yitzchak? When Yitzchak 
found out that Yaakob tricked him he was furious and rightly so. Why?
Because Yiztchak had a separate blessing for Yaakob. (Gen. 28:1)
".. Thou shalt not not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise go
to Padan-Aram to the house of Betuel thy mother's father and take thee a
wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mothers brother. And G-d
Almighty bless thee and make thee fruitful and multiply thee that thou 
mayest be a congregation of peoples. And give thee the blessing of
*Abraham* to thee and to thy seed with thee that thou may inheret the
land of thy sojournings which G-d gave unto Abraham." The blessing of
Abraham is THE blessing which contain 2 important aspects; progeny and
land. We don't see these critical factors in Esau's blessing.

I think the subtle lessons here are don't think you can outsmart your
father because he knows what's best for you and you need not trick
anyone into getting what you think you deserve, you'll get it regardless
of your schemes. I'm sure there are many more lessons to be learnt from
this that teach us positive lessons.  


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 94 09:54:16 -0800
Subject: Yaakov's deception

	>From: <COHEN@...> (Yitzhak Cohen)

>What do we tell our children about *lying*, WRT the incident in which
>Yaakov, albeit reluctantly, deceives Yitzchak, at Rivka's insistence,
>such that Yaakov receives Yitzhak's blessing instead of Esav?

IMHO this entire chapter cannot be understood without the Malbim.  The
Malbim explains beautifully why Yitzchak wanted to give Eisav the
blessings, whereas Rivka (with the benefit of knowledge told to *her* by
the prophet 63 years earlier) knew that Isaac's philosophy would not
work, and thus insisted on Yaakov's capturing the blessings.

The Malbim proves everything from a close reading of the relevant
verses.  As far as your question about lying is concerned, the bottom
line is that Yaakov never lied. You'll notice, that when Isaac says to
him who are you, Yaakov answered "ANOCHI Eisav..." [I am Eisav]; when
Eisav shows up 5 minutes later, and Isaac asks him who he is, Eisav
answers "ANI Eisav..." [I am Eisav].

Although the 2 words, ANI and ANOCHI are both translated to "I am',
there is all the difference in the world between them. And it is this
precise difference that ensured that Yaakov indeed told the truth when
he said "ANOCHI Eisav".

(Rashi has an alternative explanation of this verse, but I find his
explanation difficult to understand.)

I am reluctant to go into more detail, for fear of misrepresentation of
the Malbim's explanation (this is a post about lying, after all :-), and
the certainty that I will not be able to do justice to the Malbim.  For
those who can read the original, I recommend you do so; and for those
whose knowledge of Hebrew is limited, I believe there may be a
translation of the Malbim's works currently available.

Hayim Hendeles


From: Motty Hasofer <mottyh@...>
Date: Sat, 19 Nov 1994 23:24:34 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Re: Zmanim program

I have a program developed by my father Prof. A.M.Hasofer, which allows
you to find times anywhere on the globe for candle lighting, motzoei
Shabbos, Sha'ah Zmanis, Plag Hamincha, and a few other times as well. I
will try and arrange to make it available to this group.

Kol Tuv,

Motty Hasofer
Jewish Singles Services.  Working Group On Intermarriage.
159 Orrong Rd. East St. Kilda Victoria Australia.
Phone 61-3-5282216  Fax 61-3-5238235.


From: <z-suldan@...> (Zal Suldan)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 15:51:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Zmanim software

I found a [Mac] program about a year ago in an Islamic archive. [It
seems to] be pretty good, although admitedly, I've only checked it out
for sunset times and only in several cities...

If there is enough of a response, I can send the program on to Nysernet to
be put into the archives... alternatively, the program can be found at the
archives listed below.

If you do end up using the program, PLEASE check out the times a bit before
relying on them. They are after all figured out via a mathematical
calculation and may not be the actual zmanot.


Host cs-ftp.bu.edu    (
Last updated 06:56  9 Nov 1994
    Location: /amass/Culture
      FILE    -rw-r--r--   80686 bytes  19:00  1 Jan 1992  minaret-13.sit.hqx
[I think there are also other versions here for non-mac users]

Host ftp.u.washington.edu    (
Last updated 06:48  1 Nov 1994
    Location: /pub/user-supported/reader/mac
      FILE    -rw-r--r--   78027 bytes  05:45 15 Aug 1994  Minaret.sea.hqx

Zal Suldan
Tri-Institutional MD/PhD Program - Department of Cell Biology and Genetics
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center / Cornell University Medical College
Replies to: <Z-Suldan@...>    or   ZSuldan@Stud.Med.Cornell.edu


From: Kevin Schreiber <kschreib@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 1994 15:25:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Zmanim software - HAYOM

Regarding Zmanim software, There is a program that I have for a Mac called
"HAYOM."  This program will give sunrise/sunset times, Rosh Chodesh and
chaggim info, for any longitude/latitude or city that you input.  I'm not
sure where it can be obtained from, but I'll look in to it.

1925 Eastchester Rd.  Apt. 14A
Bronx, NY 10461
(718) 828-3862
e-mail: <kschreib@...>


End of Volume 16 Issue 65