Volume 18 Number 10
                       Produced: Wed Jan 25 16:38:21 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 Adars or One
         [Chaim Schild]
2 people - 1 parachute [m.j v18#6]
         [Rick Dinitz]
Avraham's mother tongue
         [Mike Gerver]
C/R marriages
         [Yechiel Pisem]
Chinese food
         [Seth Magot]
Conservative Practice: Kehuna, Mikva, Aliyot
         [Rachel Rosencrantz]
         [Ezra Dabbah]
Moshe's free will
         [Jules Reichel]
Pronunciation in Sidrat Terumah
         [Ben Yudkin]
Sermons after the Torah reading
         [Ezra L Tepper]
Tone of Postings
         [Michael J Broyde]
YU and Homosexuals
         [Yisrael Medad]


From: SCHILD%GAIA%<SDI@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 09:03:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 2 Adars or One

Rav Feinstein z"l aside (whether he was born in a leap year or not),
did the miracle of Purim occur in a leap year !?



From: tekbspa!<dinitz@...> (Rick Dinitz)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 95 14:09:49 -0800
Subject: Re: 2 people - 1 parachute [m.j v18#6]

 Q: When is a talit not just a talit?
 A: When it's a parachute and your plane is about to crash.

 The two people should bind themselves together, cooperating to use
the one parachute to escape the doomed plane.  After they land, they
can divide the parachute as described in the opening perek of Bava
Metzia (shnayim ochazim b'talit).

 Disclaimer: I'm neither a posek nor an expert on parachutes, so I
can't posken that a parachute must support the weight of two people.
Even if I did, I'm not sure whether all parachutes would rely on my
teshuvah.  CYLPM (consult your local parachute maker).

 Kol tuv,
Copyright 1995, Rick Dinitz


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 1:47:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Avraham's mother tongue

In v17n65, Joseph Steinberg says that the mother tongue of Avraham Avinu
was Aramaic. He presumably bases this on the fact that the region where
Avraham's relatives (such as Lavan) live is referred to in Sefer
Breishit as "Aram Naharayim" and Lavan is described as an Aramean, and
even quoted (in Gen. 31:47) as speaking in Aramaic.

According to archeologists, however, Arameans didn't migrate into that
region (originally just called Naharayim) until several centuries after
the time of Avraham, in fact even several decades after Matan Torah. If
archeologists are correct, then references to Aram Naharayim and to
Lavan as an Aramean could be similar to Gen. 14:14 which describes
Avraham chasing the four kings as far as Dan (explained by Rashi). Even
if the archeologists are wrong, it is easier to imagine that they are
off by a few decades, and the Arameans came into that area at the time
of Matan Torah, than that they are off by several centuries and the
Arameans were already there at the time of Avraham. In that case,
references to Aram and Arameans would be analogous to a modern book
talking about certain tribes living in South America in the 14th century
CE. Everyone knows that the area was not called "America" until the
early 16th century, but it is an accepted convention to call the place
"America" and the inhabitants "Native Americans" rather than always
using such awkward expressions as "the place that was later to be called
South America." Perhaps the Torah refers to the region as Aram, and its
inhabitants as Arameans, simply because that would make it more
comprehensible to later generations who knew it as Aram. It's
interesting to note that this would still be a valid reason today, since
there are still a few people speaking Aramaic living in that area.

I don't have any preconceived notion that archeologists are always right
when their opinions are in conflict with Jewish tradition. A favorite
example of mine, where the archeologists were apparently wrong, is in
the references to Avraham's camels. Although Albright and others assumed
this was an anachronism, Richard Bulliet, in his book "The Camel and the
Wheel," presented evidence not only that Avraham could have had camels,
but that certain details of the story are _only_ consistent with the
period when Avraham lived, and would not have made sense later. However,
since we have the precedent of the reference to Dan in Gen. 14:14, I
don't think we have any reason to be concerned that this sort of thing
will undermine our emunah. The issues should be decided on the basis of
the evidence, both archeological and textual, keeping in mind that
additional evidence discovered later may cause us to change our minds.

What Avraham's native language would have been, according to
archeologists, is Amurru, or Amorite (not necessarily the same as the
Amori in the Torah).  See H. H. Ben-Sasson, ed., "A History of the
Jewish People", p. 34.

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


From: Yechiel Pisem <ypisem@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 21:27:20 -0500 (est)
Subject: C/R marriages

L'halacha, kidushei biah marriages are still binding.  The question is 
having 2 witnesses observe the yichud for a sufficient amount of time.  
However, I would like to pose a question: How can such a kidushin be 
binding, as it is not with the approval of the Rabbis?

KOl Tuv,
Yechiel Pisem


From: Seth Magot <MAGOT@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 11:04:08 EST
Subject: Chinese food

    The Jews who lived in China did not eat latkes.  We must remember 
that all Jews have separate/different eating customs.  There is 
nothing halachicly (excuse my spelling) wrong with eating glatt kosher 
Chinese food, nor are we following the ways of the goyim.  We are 
simply eating food that we enjoy.  Remember stuffed cabbage is a 
favorite of both the Jew and the anti-semite in Eartern Europe.

Seth Magot


From: <rachelr@...> (Rachel Rosencrantz)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 08:59:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Conservative Practice: Kehuna, Mikva, Aliyot

> >From: "Richard Friedman" <RF@...>
>      Several posters in MJ 18:1 comment on practice in Conservative
> congregations.  Without getting into questions of the validity of
> particular practices approved by Conservative rabbis (questions outside
> the ground rules of this list), it is appropriate to clarify some facts.
   .... text deleted ......
>      Jeremy Nussbaum asks about the extent of nidda observance in the
> Conservative movement, and about the extent of advocacy of such
> observance.  I am also curious about both of these questions, and would
> welcome reports.

As a former applicant to UJ (Calfornia branch of JTS) I can give you
some insight into nidda observance.  Sometime last year there was a
Pastorial Letter published that did recommend that should someone be
involved with pre-marital sexual relations (although they are not viewed
as halachicly ok) that the participants should follow Taharat
Hamishpacha.  Although several Conservative Rabbis I have talked with
are markedly uncomfortable and un-informed about Taharat Hamishpacha
(THM) I suspect that there will be an increase in discussion of, and I
would hope practice of THM.  I know that on the University of Judaism
campus that there is a Mikvah and that several students at the school
have begun observing this mitzvot.  I also believe that Rabbi Elliot
Dorf recently released (or will soon release) a book on the Conservative
view on THM.

My inital exposure to THM came from either Blu Greenberg's book on
Making a Traditional Jewish Household, or from Faye Kellerman's mystery
book "The Ritual Bath".  It is my sincere desire that THM becomes more
widely discussed by all Rabbi's to prospective Kallah's and Chosen's.

Although nothing can replace having someone teach you, if someone
out there is interested in learning about Taharah Hamishpacha I have
a number of books on the Halacha (and practical guides as well) that I
can recommend.  Of course, I recommend talking with your Rabbi as well. 



From: <EDABBAH@...> (Ezra Dabbah)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 20:38:09 -0500
Subject: Envy

During this weeks reading a question hit me. 9 of the 10 commandments have
punishments and are based on moral themes.
However the 10th commandment is a law on an emotion. It doesn't
seem possible or at least this is not the place to rule on something
which is part of human nature.The Rambam devotes many pages
to Hilchot De'ot (laws of chracter) but it seems his message is more
on advise than halacha. Does anyone have an explanation as to why
"Thou shalt not envy" is included as a commandment?  


From: <JPREICHEL@...> (Jules Reichel)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 15:45:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Moshe's free will

R. Karlinsky clarified (for me) his earlier postings on Moses as an
angel, by saying that the issue is, "how could G-d be absolutely sure
that despite a definite communication with G-d, later in life Moshe
would not deviate from faithfully transmitting the word of G-d?" This
leads to the speculation that "free will was taken from Moshe...he was
able to nullify his free will to do anything but the will of G-d." I am
sympathetic to the conjecture but I certainly fail to see it as a
logical necessity.

The problem IMHO remains our failure to accept that Moshe had a clear
insight and not a reasoned conclusion. We have such experiences
ourselves on a very small scale without being angels. If one "sensed"
G-d's command with the same clarity with which we senses the physical
world, there would surely be no tendency to report anything else in
later life except through forgetfulness. Even a frail human reliably
reports what he knows for sure, without a scintilla of doubt. Such could
surely be true of Moshe without any necessity to end his status as a
human, or any necessity to deny him free will.  



From: <oujac@...> (Ben Yudkin)
Date: Mon, 23 Jan 1995 12:38:06 +0000
Subject: Pronunciation in Sidrat Terumah

Walter Poor asks:
> The English meaning is "twisted".  The Hebrew word is spelled
>    mem (with kamats), shin (with sh'va), zain (with kamats), resh.
> The accent is on the second syllable, and the adjective is derived from the
> verb shazar.
> According to the grammar rules I think I understand, there are two possible
> pronunciations:
>    ma - sh'zar   (if the first kamats is a kamats gadol)
> or
>   mosh - zar     (if the first kamats is a kamats katan)

IMH understanding, the second is the correct pronunciation.  If the
first syllable were open, the kamatz would be long and the sheva under
the shin would be at the beginning of the syllable and therefore voiced
(first option).  However, this would be indicated by a meteg, a short
vertical line, under the mem.  Compare, for example, any occurrence of a
3rd pers. singular feminine regular verb in binyan kal.  An example is
about the 3rd verse (from memory) of this week's parashah, mishpatim:
veyatze'ah ishto )imo.  The yod of "veyatze'ah" has a meteg and
constitutes a complete syllable.  The rest of the word is the other
syllable and the sheva is voiced.  If there were no meteg we would read

Ben Yudkin


From: Ezra L Tepper <RRTEPPER@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 95 07:50:20 +0200
Subject: Sermons after the Torah reading

The halachic literature records the rabbi delivering a _drasha_ (sermon)
on Shabbos Shuvah and Shabbos Hagadol.

Does anyone know the origin of the tradition to give a sermon every
Shabbos morning after the return of the Torah?

Ezra L. Tepper <weiamann.weizmann.ac.il>


From: Michael J Broyde <relmb@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 09:15:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tone of Postings

One of the readers of mail.jewish wrote to me privately to complain about 
the "churlish" tone of one of my postings concerning an agricultural 
issue.  I deeply deeply appologize if the tone of my posting was "hot" 
and any one (reader or writer of the original posting) was insulted.  
This forum should be about ideas and ideals and not tone.
Michael Broyde


From: MEDAD%<ILNCRD@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 22 Jan 95 09:18 IST
Subject: YU and Homosexuals

As a result of a story in the Maariv two weeks ago, regarding the
Homosexual & Lesbian issue at YU's Law School, the RIETS Yeshivah placed
an ad in this week's Maariv (Parshat Yitro) expressing their opposition
to such practices and, by implication, their dismay that the Yeshiva was
linked to the awkward situation.

Has their been any serious discussion of this issue in the NY or
national Jewish press?  What have the Rabbis said taking into
consideration, as I understand it, that by law they can do nothing as YU
is not a private institution?

Yisrael Medad (YC, 1969)


End of Volume 18 Issue 10