Volume 16 Number 90
                       Produced: Mon Nov 28 23:25:05 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"..uchtil [sic] lo yavin et zot"
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Converts to Judaism
         [Jules Reichel]
Empire Chicken
         [David Steinberg]
Etymology of "pitriah" (mushroom)
         [Mike Gerver]
Flat earth society, Rabbinic branch
         [Shalom Carmy]
Generational Decay
         [Esther R Posen]
Interpreting Rav Kook....
         [Zvi Weiss]
Praying for Welfare of Soldiers
         [Yisrael Medad]
R. Soloveitchik on literal reading
         [Shalom Carmy]
Rarest shmoneh esreh
         [Amos Wittenberg]
The new concept of Messorah
         [Steve Levy]
Work on Shabbat
         [Harry Weiss]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 1994 12:35:32 -0500
Subject: "..uchtil [sic] lo yavin et zot"

On November 25, 1994 (MJ 16#87) I found the following quote: "(Tehillim
92:7) "...uchtil [sic] lo yavin at zot".

It is clear that the writer, who knew the verse by heart in Ashkenazic
Hebrew wrote it in Sephardic Hebrew and did not verify the spelling. The
problem is S sound for the letter Taf (without a daggesh) vs. S sound
for the letter Samekh.

I heard recently an Havdallah where it was said "Kot [sic] yeshuot esa",
and also I heard of a wedding where it was said "atar [sic] lanu et
ha'aturot [sic] lanu..."

Maybe the time has come to reexamine the issue of Sephardic usage of
Hebrew in all institutions of Jewish learning. I understand that there
is an Halakhic issue for change in the pronunciation of the Tefilah
where one is required to follow his parents custom.

Chag Chanukkah sameach,

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 13:05:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Converts to Judaism

Jonathan Katz asks about his obligation to turn away converts, "Do I
determine sincerity". IMHO, you have no obligation to turn away
converts, and in most situations, taking on such an obligation would be
wrong. Only a person who respected you, and considered himself to be a
friend would want to ask you about such a major change in his life. You
should treat your friend with corresponding respect and kindness. You
cannot read his heart. The process of conversion is long and demanding,
and provides the mechanism for turn-away when it's appropriate. Your
friend will soon enough understand whether a life of such learning and
practice is beautiful in his eyes.  



From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 00:42:42 +0000
Subject: Empire Chicken

I have recently seen Empire products at BJs and in supermarkets at prices 
that are considerably better than offered at the local kosher stores.

What are the relevant issues in buying meat in a supermarket Shelo 
B'Shaas Hadchak - when it is not an emergency?  




From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 2:31:41 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Etymology of "pitriah" (mushroom)

In v16n73, Stan Tenen asks if anyone knows the etymology of the Hebrew
word "pitriah" meaning mushroom. The Evan Shoshan dictionary says it comes
from Arabic "futrah" which also means mushroom. My Arabic-English
dictionary lists this word as a colloquial derivative of the verb
"fatar" whose basic meaning is to split, and which has derivative meanings
including create, endow, nature, natural disposition; crack, break, break 
a fast, breakfast, unleavened bread, pastry. It is cognate to the Hebrew
verb pe-tet-resh, to separate, remove, set free, and has cognates in
other Semitic languages meaning split, break through, escape, set free,
depart, and create. So Stan is correct in assuming that "pitriah" comes
from the shoresh pe-tet-resh, but it comes indirectly through Arabic, and
the meaning of mushroom originated in Arabic, probably relatively
recently. It's not clear to me how it came to mean mushroom in Arabic,
maybe it would be clear to an Arabic speaker. Maybe because mushrooms
spring up overnight (from the meaning "create"), or because you find
them growing naturally in the woods (from the meaning "nature"), or
because you have to break them off the ground to eat them, or because
they were commonly eaten for breakfast, or because they resemble some
kind of bread or pastry. Although the Hebrew shoresh pe-tet-resh has some
meanings, such as "set free", or "depart" which might be associated with
injestion of psychedelic mushrooms, none of these meanings is found in
the Arabic "fatar", so it is unlikely that this sort of thing has anything
to do with the meaning "mushroom."

Stan also asks if there is any connection to Greek pater and Peter. These
words themselves are not related to each other. Pater comes from the
Indoeuropean word for father. Peter comes from Greek petros, meaning
rock, and is of obscure origin according to my etymological dictionaries.
It could come from Semitic pe-tet-resh, particularly if it originally 
meant a broken off piece of rock, or a building stone, rather than a
naturally occuring rock attached to the earth, but I don't know of any
historical evidence for this.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 1994 23:25:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Flat earth society, Rabbinic branch

Skepticism has been raised as to whether any contemporary Rabbinic 
scholars reject the heliocentric theory or assert the flatness of the earth.

Such views are adduced in at least two collections known to me:

1. R. Menachem Mendel Kasher's monograph on the International Date Line.

2. One of R. Harvey Korman's books on science and religion contains, and 
attempts to mollify, attacks on a previous book in which Korman had 
assumed a round earth revolving around the sun.

3. All those halakhot that are derived from geocentric presuppositions,
and that are known to me, can readily be reinterpreted so as NOT to depend
on dubious scientific foundations. Thus, to take one example, maran haRav
Soloveitchik zt"l explained Rabbenu Tam's analysis of halakhic sunset
while silently detaching it from its geocentric moorings (see Shiur on
"Day and Night" in SHIURIM L'ZEKHER A"M Vol. I)


From: <eposen@...> (Esther R Posen)
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 11:21:11 -0500
Subject: Generational Decay

Without entering into a discussion vis a vis deteriorating genes, I
thought it was accepted Jewish belief that the greatness of one
generation is less than the generation before it. (Hadorot holchot
umismaatot) The absence of Nevuah is one obvious example of this

Esther Posen


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 1994 09:22:59 -0500
Subject: Interpreting Rav Kook....

I am indebted to Pinchas Roth for his citations re Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook
ZT"L as well as references to other disciples of Rav Kook ZT"L.  My
original objection had been that it appeared that Shaul -- on his own --
was choosing to interpret Rav Kook against Rav Kook's own son's
understanding... and Shaul appeared to be doing this on his own...
Perhaps, Pinchas Roth could provide information as to whether the other
disciples of Rav Kook (e.g., Rav Amital....) agreed with Rav Tzvi Yehuda
in this area ... This would provide greater understanding of how his own
students understood Rav Kook in this important area.



From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 94 11:47 IST
Subject: Praying for Welfare of Soldiers

Re posting of I. Hammerman, Vol. 16 No. 83:

I remember vividly the announcement over the Israeli radio during the
Lebanese Action of 1982 that even the Charedim were praying for the
welfare of the soldiers.  The secularists were ever so pleased until
it turned out that what the Charedim were referring to was the Monday
and Thursday prayer after Torah reading which  v e r y  general in
application and was actually meaningless to the point of praying
specifically for the welfare of the Jewish soldiers (who, incidentally,
according to most poskim, were actually fighting for Eretz-Yisrael as
the area of Southern Lebanon is within the borders of the Tribes and
indeed, the residents of South Lebanon did not observe 2nd Day Yom Tov
of the Galut).

Yisrael Medad


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 1994 23:13:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: R. Soloveitchik on literal reading

I have scanned some of the remarks on the need for, and necessity of,
literal reading of Scripture, without regard for inquiry into the message
that the Torah is presumably communicating, and without consideration for 
the pressure of evidence coming from the various sciences.

Frankly, I find some of the comments frightening. At the same time my 
faith in the wisdom of the Rambam, who deliberately wrote in such a 
manner that not all readers would fully comprehend his ideas, is 
strengthened immeasurably.

Maran haRav Soloveitchik zt"l, who was strongly affected by the Rambam's
example in all areas, wrote the following in the published under the title
THE HALAKHIC MIND (119). I present his words for those who are interested
in them, with the counsel that they are to be read carefully and placed in
their appropriate context: 

	The frequent collisions of the church and positive science will
	confirm	our thesis that there are cognitive trends in the world 
	of religion and that the homo religiosus is concerned with the 
	sensible universe reality. It would be absurd to maintain that
	the interference of organized religion with scientific advancement
	was prompted by political or practical motives alone. The conflict
	arose rather from the essential cognitive interests of a religion
	challenged by science. The controversy did not rage so much about 
	single scientific propositions as it did about an entire world 
	perspective which was incommensurable with the basic religious 
	cognitive outlook. Religion could not (and will not) recognize
	the scientifically postulated universe as its own.

	Moreover, aside from all historical considerations, cognitive 
	tendencies are to be discerned in the unshakable feeling of 
	certainty accompanying the religious experience. We know that 
	the homo religiosus claims the highest degree of truth for the 
	objects coordinated with his beliefs. Indeed, in many instances
	this surpasses in intensity, clarity and certainty the truth-awareness
	of the scientist. In some cases the homo religiosus is so 
	overwhelmed by the impact of his experience that he very distinctly
	perceives the reality of his object. He is fully conscious of the
	existence of the transcendental order. If the religious object be
	real, the worshipper is impelled to interpret it, and the 
	interpretation is always in terms of an autonomous method.

And so forth.


From: <awittenberg@...> (Amos Wittenberg)
Date: Sun, 27 Nov 94 11:28:52 GMT
Subject: Rarest shmoneh esreh


Re the rarest weekday sh'moneh `esrei having occurred 95 years ago for
the last time until this year: has anyone considered 5725 when 2nd day
Rosh CHodesh Teves was on Dec 6, a Motzo'ei Shabbos Chanukkoh?  Did we
already say Tal Umotor then or not?  My neighbour in shul, Max
Sulzbacher, claims we did *not* but I think he is wrong.  Mike Gerver?


From: <Apikorus@...> (Steve Levy)
Date: Thu, 24 Nov 1994 23:28:27 -0500
Subject: The new concept of Messorah

Yosef Bechhofer says
>Is the Torah not history? 

The Torah is not a book of history! The Torah teaches us about "events"
which should teach us a lesson. These events do not need to have ever
occured. The lesson is what is important not the history! Certain events
recorded in the bible might have occured in the past. The prophetic
lessons given to us by Moshe Rabienu transmitted from G-d need not be
studied like history.

While on the subject of History, I believe that even history books are
not to be taken litterally. The authors have to make "American History"
look good.  Today was thanksgiving. The pilgrims were taught by the
Indians how to grow certain crops. In exchange for the help the
Europeans willfully and intentionally commited biological warfare and

We need to learn from any story whether it is a holy fable from the
Tanach or a fake American History book.

>that  parents would not perpetrate grand hoaxes...

I have heard this argument from the Discovery people. It does not hold true.
Billions of people mislead their children into believing that [Jesus] is the


From: <harry.weiss@...> (Harry Weiss)
Date: Sat, 26 Nov 94 18:54:06 -0800
Subject: Work on Shabbat

Barnard Horowitz correctly pointed out that I did not adequately discuss
the acceptance of payment for work on Shabbat.  The primary purpose of
my posting was to discuss the use of legalisms.  I pointed out that one
is prohibited for receiving payment for Torah and one does will not see
reward for their Torah.  In contradistinction I gave a couple of
examples of work that is permitted on Shabbat and for which one can
receive remuneration.  I was remiss in failing to explain that there are
specific conditions that must be present to accept this remuneration.
There is some discussion of this in Chapter 28 of Shmirat Shabbat as
well as numerous other sources.  This is all for general discussion
purposes only.  For practical application, if one wishes to work or hire
someone for work on Shabbat CYLOR.



End of Volume 16 Issue 90