Volume 17 Number 16
                       Produced: Sun Dec 11 15:11:04 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Elisheva Schwartz]
Hannukah Wicks
         [Amy Bernstein]
Kashering a Microwave oven
         [Daniel A. Kelber]
Keeping Torah secrets
         [David Charlap]
Looking for Siddur Source
         [Morris Berman]
Objects in Gan Eden
         [Stan Tenen]
Oil Menorahs
         [Marshall Katz]
         [Stuart Einbinder]
Rarest Shmone Esrei Twice
         [Jerrold Landau]
Shabbat Channukah Candles
         [Deborah J. Stepelman]
Torah reading - correcting errors
         [Aleeza Esther Berger]


From: Elisheva Schwartz <es63@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 10:31:54 EST
Subject: Converts

Regarding Jonathan Katz's question about non-Orthodox conversions:

1. A quibble--People don't convert to Reform or Conservative (or
Orthodox, for that matter) Judaism--they convert to Judaism under the
auspices of one of the movements.

2. Since a Reform conversion and many or all Conservative
conversions,  according to our standards, represent 
nothing (other than a sincere intention at times) there is no problem
of creating a non-shomer Shabbos Jew.  (Please, no flames on this.  As
a someone who has converted all three ways, and was a Conservative
rabbinical student, I bear members of these groups no ill will--but I
know them pretty well.  A Beit Din that includes someone who takes the
bus to Shul on Shabbos is, at the very least, problematic--even
leaving out some of the differences in the procedure involved.)
 I think that it is important the
the person realize, however, (especially if we're talkin about a woman)
the serious problems that non-Orthodox converts and children of
converts can face. Although I think that it is important that the
potential convert not feel as though any Orthodox person is giving
this path an implied hechsher, it can often be a first step, as it was
in my case. 
3. Unless someone plans to be non-observant I think that any sincere
person, who has been taught and tested in the appropriate ways, should
convert--Conversion, like teshuvah, is a long process.  I know that
when I converted (actually the first of the 3, count 'em, conversions!)
there were a number of issues that, had I known about them, I would
have said that I would never be willing to accept.  Now, some 12 or 13
years later, I can't imagine how I ever felt that way.  Any sincere
Jew, however they become Jewish, will, be-ezrat ha-shem, continue to
grow in Torah observance, and will, we hope, eventually get to an
appropriate level.  (Although this depends a bit on exactly what
obeservance we're talking about.  A conversion is not valid if the
convert says that he/she will not observe anything that is clearly
halakhah.  Cholov Yisrael or hair-covering are more the issues I'm
referring to, about both of which there are different opinions within
the Orthodox community.)


From: Amy Bernstein <bernstei%<tlc@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 09:10:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Hannukah Wicks

David Kramer asks for advice about lighting the wicks that come with the 
floating corks.  Because they are coated with a waxy substance, I have 
also found them hard to light.  What I do now, with much success, is to 
scrape some of the wax of the ends of the wicks with a finger nail, 
exposing the cotton underneath.  They light readily now and there is no 
question about lighting pre-lit wicks.
Amy Bernstein


From: Daniel A. Kelber <dkelber@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 16:58:32 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Kashering a Microwave oven

Can anyone tell me if it is possible to Kasher a microwave? My future 
father-in-law (who does not keep kosher) wants to give my fiance and I 
his microwave after we are married. Neither of us has one and it should 
be nice to get one! 

Thanks for your help,

[This is definitely a case of CYLOR, since there are different opinions
on this issue. There have been discussions on the topic here on
mail-jewish in the past. Mod.]


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 94 20:35:05 EST
Subject: Keeping Torah secrets

Stan Tenen <meru1@...> writes
>Actually, I believe that the whole idea of trying to keep kabbalistic
>teachings secret is gratuitous.  No one who is not ready to
>understand kabbalistic concepts will be able to make any sense of
>them anyway.

This is precisely why they are kept secret.  Many times, an unprepared
person will not walk away saying "I don't understand".  Instead, this
person may come to an incorrect conclusion, and teach this mistake to
others.  For instance, misunderstanding concepts like mazalim
(fortunes, constellations) and shaidim (demons) can easily lead one to
a belief in black magic, which is absolutely forbidden.

>Actually, I've always found the "secrets" theory particularly
>insulting of our sages.  Saying someone has modified a teaching to
>keep it secret is little different from saying that they did not tell
>the whole truth.  I don't believe our sages were/are untruthful.

I believe just the opposite.  I think this is another example of our
sages' wisdom.  They knew that people are likely to go down the path
of apikorsis (heresey) and possibly leave Judaism altogether if they
learn certain things before they are ready.  They couldn't simply keep
the material oral, since it would get lost (especially after the
Romans destroyed the Temple.)  And they couldn't just write down
everything in precise detail, because it would enable non-Jews and
unprepared Jews to learn it and get the wrong ideas.

I think their scheme of keeping some books secret (kabbala) and
"encrypting" other books so they would appear innocent to outsiders
(the Midrashim, which contain Judaism's ethical teachings) was a
stroke of genius.  It preserved the material for future generations,
and did it in such a way that people would have to learn Torah from
their rabbis, enabling them to prevent misunderstanding and

Unfortunately, as you have pointed out before, the Holocaust and other
tragedies may have dealt a crushing blow to these teachings.  Many
many great teachers and sages have died before their time, preventing
many many Torah scholors from learning all they could learn, and
preventing many potential scholors from ever realizing their


From: Morris Berman <morris%<lamp0@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 02:10:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Looking for Siddur Source

I was wondering if anyone on the list knew of a publisher/book store 
where I could find a large print (for my grandmother) siddur of the 
Nusach Sefard variety?  I knew they were published at one point, but 
haven't seen them for quite a while.

  Morris Berman, <morris@...>, http://lamp0.arl.mil:8080/~morris 
            MSB, PFD, WTD, ARL <-- Obviously a Government Employee
        Yamaha XJ550M (DoD #1237), Scuba, Skiing, AMA (R/C) #481896 
      If your reply bounces...Please reply to <morris@...>


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 19:36:15 -0800
Subject: Objects in Gan Eden

With regard to the allegorical interpretation of Tree - Serpent - Fruit 
- etc., - the other "objects" in Gan Eden - if anyone asks, I think I 
can provide an explicit geometric interpretation of most or all of 
these.  For example, the "serpent", the "fruit", and the "tree", are all 
directly related geometrically and topologically.  In fact, in a sense, 
these are just alternative language for exactly the same forms and 
relationships described and discussed in kabbalistic texts.  

Shavua tov,
Stan Tenen


From: <MarshK@...> (Marshall Katz)
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 1994 12:55:57 -0500
Subject: Oil Menorahs

David Kramer writes:
>This year I graduated to an oil CHanukia and would solicit the learned 
>cyber-crowd for advice on the best types of wicks and oil holders.

I know its a full year now to Chanukah, but I'd like to add my 2 shekels on
this subject.  What works for me is the bendable metal holders that hang from
the oil cup and keep the top of the wick outside the oil holder.  If you set
up the menorah an hour in advance of lighting, the wicks will draw some oil
and will light easily and burn brighter.  I can't deal with the floating
wicks which I have found difficult to float upright and since they sink with
the level of oil, leave burn marks on the glass oilholders I use.

Marshall Katz (Monsey, NY)


From: <stuart.einbinder@...> (Stuart Einbinder)
Date: Fri,  9 Dec 94 12:33:00 -0500
Subject: Pareve

I was told many years ago that the etymology of the word pareve was from
the spanish verse "PARa todo los VEces" ("for all times"), meaning that
the food could be eaten at all times.

Internet:  <stuart.einbinder@...>


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 94 08:50:23 EST
Subject: Rarest Shmone Esrei Twice

Michael Rosenberg wonders who many people would have the opportunity in their
lives to daven the rarest shmone esrei twice.  Anyone who forgot to daven
mincha on Shabbat,  the sixth day of Chanuka, would have had to daven the
rarest Shmone Esrei twice.  And they would not have had to wait 95 years!

Jerrold Landau


From: <stepelma@...> (Deborah J. Stepelman)
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 1994 17:54:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Shabbat Channukah Candles

	For the last several years, long thin candles designed expressly 
to burn long enough on the Friday night of Channukah have been readily 
available here in the U.S.  Most Judaica stores and/or local butcher 
mini-supermarkets carry them.  They are available individually in single 
bland colors as well as boxed with enough for the entire holday in 
multiple lively colors.  They are not very expensive.If m-j ers live in 
areas where such stores and services don't exist, perhaps they can order 
these candles through a friend.
	Concerning oil menorahs, the experiences in our home would indicate 
theat trial and error will enable users to find out the best ratio of 
water to oil.

Deborah J. Stepelman
Bronx HS of Science ... <stepelma@...>


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Dec 1994 09:47:53 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Torah reading - correcting errors

In response to Janice Gelb:
It seems to me that "bachodesh" vs. "b'chodesh" and similar errors are 
"serious" since they change the meaning of the word. "Bachodesh" means 
"in the month", i.e. includes the definite article, while "b'chodesh" 
does not. 

Someone posted to me privately a reference to the Aruch 
haShulchan Orach Chaim 142, which includes references to earlier sources 
on this topic.  One interesting one was Sefer haManhig, which was cited 
as saying never to correct, since this embarrasses the Torah reader. 

A pet peeve of mine is Torah readers not differentiating between,e.g. 
"v'yikach" and vayikach", i.e. they have no idea what the function of the 
conversive vav (vav hamehapechet) is (namely it switches the tense, 
either from future to past, or past to future - perfect and imperfect for 
the grammarians), vs. the vav hachibur (vav which means "and"). Vayikach 
means "he took", v'yikach means "and he will take". Big difference in 
meaning. Then there are the ones who don't know where to put the accents...

aliza berger


End of Volume 17 Issue 16