Volume 20 Number 18
                       Produced: Sun Jun 25 10:01:36 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Authorship of Torah
Chazon Ish and Rashi
         [Yisrael Herczeg]
Feet together after the Amidah
         [Shmuel Himelstein (n)]
Moshiach and the death of Jews
         [Micha Berger]
Naming children
         [Yitzhak Teutsch]
Number of first-borns,  2/3 dying in Zechariah
         [Yechezkel Schatz]
Physical Therapy and Negiah
         [Gerald Sutofsky]
Wife and Mother: Same Names?
         [Chuck Karmiel]
Yom Tov 2
         [Zvi Weiss]
Yom Tov Sheni
         [Louis Rayman]


From: <dmw2@...> (D.M.Wildman)
Date: 23 Jun 1995  17:29 EDT
Subject: Authorship of Torah

I recently came across a surprising Rashi that may provide a new twist
to the discussion, several months ago, about authorship of the Bible and
levels of Divine inspiration.

The Rashi is on a Mishna in Chulin (100b) that deals with the
prohibition of Gid HaNashe (forbidden part of an animal's
thigh/rear-quarter). The Mishna determines that the prohibition began at
the time of the Revelation at Sinai, but is reported in Genesis (32:33),
in the context of Jacob wrestling with the angel since that is the
historical background of the prohibition.  The Mishna is pretty

[The sages reply to R' Yehuda] "B'Sinai ne-emar, ela she-nichtav
bimkomo." [The law was pronounced at Sinai but written in its place.]

Rashi inexplicably spells this is out in more detail:

(Pardon my translation.) The (relevant) verse prohibiting it (Gid
HaNashe) was pronounced at Sinai, and until Sinai they were not
prohibited. But it (the verse) was recorded in its place (i.e., Genesis)
after it was said at Sinai. And (when?) Moshe wrote and arranged the
Torah, he recorded this verse (at the place of) the story...

Several obvious questions come to mind.

1. What in the Mishna is forcing Rashi to comment at all - isn't the
   apparent meaning of the Mishna's words adequately clear?

2. What is Rashi adding in the first part of his comment - or is he just
   being explicit in an uncharacteristic way?

3. Taken at face value, the last sentence in his comment clearly implies
   that Moshe "wrote and arranged" the Torah! This is radically
   different from the Orthodox party line I've always heard that Hashem
   dictated and Moshe transcribed. Furthermore, Rashi did not need to
   point out this radical interpretation - the Mishna is perfectly
   understandable assuming it was G-d's choice to edit His book in such
   a way - who needs Moshe to do the editing? What's going on here?

4. A possible explanation of #3 might be that the problematic comment is
   not really Rashi but an amendation from some later source.  Does
   anyone know of other versions? Is there any reason to suspect the
   authenticity of all or parts of Rashi in Chulin?

I looked for discussion of this Rashi in a few Achronim, but found
nothing in my limited library and short search. Are there particular
Achronim likely to address this Rashi?


Danny Wildman


From: Yisrael Herczeg <yherczeg@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 02:17:09 GMT
Subject: Chazon Ish and Rashi

There has been a lot attributed to the Chazon Ish here recently, including 
the claim that there are places where he "ignores Rashi because he doesn't 
like Rashi's philosophy." Does anybody know where the Chazon Ish does this?

Yisrael Herczeg


From: Shmuel Himelstein (n) <himelstein@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jun 1995 08:17:32 GMT
Subject: Feet together after the Amidah

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 123:2 rules that after a person has taken
three steps back at the end of the Amidah, "he should stand and not
return to his place until the Shatz reaches the Kedushah, but at the
least until the Shatz begins to pray (i.e., the Chazarat Hashatz)
aloud." Mishneh Berurah (n. 10) states that Lechatchilah one should
remain in the same place until the Kedushah, unless the place is

For some reason, a large number of people - including Gedolim whom I
have observed - seem to ignore this proviso (the Rinat Yisrael Siddur,
for example, which generally is quite accurate in Halachah, states that
one takes 3 steps back, waits "a little," and then returns to one's
former place.)

Does anyone have a halachic explanation for the seeming dichotomy
between what the Halachah dictates and the present-day practice of so
many people?

       Shmuel Himelstein
Phone: 972-2-864712   Fax 972-862041
<himelstein@...> (that's JerONE not Jer-L)
             Jerusalem, Israel


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 08:20:21 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Moshiach and the death of Jews

For those Zionists who believe that Israel is "reishis tzmichas
ge'uloseinu - the begining of the bolossoming of our redemption" we need
not worry about the "birthpangs of the Messiah".

It quite likely happened already.

As Jonathan Katz pointed out in v20n14, Zecharia prophesied that 1/3 of
the Jewish people would be killed. The same percentage we lost in the


From: Yitzhak Teutsch <TEUTSCH@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 13:19:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Naming children

Ronald Greenberg asks in mail-jewish v. 20, no. 13, about principles for
naming children.  In Hebrew, the book Sefer Otsar ha-Brit, vol. 1, by
R. Yosef David Weisberg (Jerusalem, 1985) has an excellent survey of the
many issues involved in naming both boys and girls (see pp. 203-236).  A
few of the topics covered: importance of a person's name (sources quoted
at length); time of naming; who is entitled to name the 1st child, 2nd,
etc.; using the name of someone who died young; using names from the era
before Avraham Avinu; naming a boy after a woman and vice versa;
combining the names of two people; giving two names; making an error in
the naming.  Both Ashkenazic and Sephardic practices are covered.  In
English, there is a general discussion in the Artscroll Bris milah book
by R. Paysach Krohn (see pp. 35-51), but it offers much less detail and
discusses the names of boys only.  Hope this helps.

                           Yitzhak Teutsch
                      Harvard Law School Library
                         Cambridge, Mass. USA


From: Yechezkel Schatz <lpschatz@...>
Date: 25 Jun 1995 09:45:59 +0200
Subject: Number of first-borns,  2/3 dying in Zechariah

Jonathan Katz writes:
1) To paraphrase Harry Weiss, 4/5 of the Jews in Egypt dies during the
plague of darkness. In Sanhedrin 111a, there is an opinion that only
2/600,000 did _not_ die during the plague of darkness. "Incidentally,
the gemarra goes on to say the same proportion will apply to the coming
of Moshiach."
2) In Zechariah (I believe chapter 12, but I am not sure) there is a
prophecy which states that at the time of moshiach 1/3 of all the Jews
will be killed.  (it might be 2/3; sorry I don't have a tanach with
me. The main point, though, is not obscured).

My remarks:
 as to 1) An alternative theory to the midrashic approach suggested in
mj, is the possibility that the number of first-borns stated in the book
of Numbers refers to a select group of first-borns.  Possible evidence
for this interpretation is the mention of the "N'`arim" who helped Moshe
with the sacrifices in Exodus chapter 24, before the tribe of Levi was
chosen for that purpose.
 2) The passage in Zechariah speaks of 2/3 of the people dying in the
big war over Yerushalayim.  I pray to G-d that the correct
interpretation for those p'sukim is that they are referring to the enemy
coming against us!


From: <gerald.sutofsky@...> (Gerald Sutofsky)
Date: Fri, 23 Jun 95 09:25:11 EST
Subject: Physical Therapy and Negiah

I submit the following for help and replies with regard to the following
problem related to me by a young orthodox man that I am acquainted with.
After suffering an injury to his hand he was compelled to go through
surgery to correct the injury. The operation was performed by a frum
surgeon who wears a kipah. The problem now is that he needed therapy, so
he was sent to a group for this treatment. He was shocked and totally
bewildered as he found that the therapists are all women who use various
manuvers to twist the hand, fingers and massage the arm up to the elbow.
Please let me know yours thoughts if he can accept this treatment as
there is most definitely "negiah" between the therapists and this young


From: <CBKARMIEL@...> (Chuck Karmiel)
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 1995 23:46:32 -0400
Subject: Wife and Mother: Same Names? 

 What is the source of the law/custom preventing one from marrying a
woman with the same Hebrew name as one's mother?  Is it a universally
accepted, Ashkenazic/Sephardic, law/custom?
 Any information regarding this subject would be welcome, including any
common "heterim" or circumstances which would allow it.

 <cbkarmiel@...> Thanks.


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 1995 19:04:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Yom Tov 2

Norman Singer misunderstands me... I did *not* say that we keep Yom Tov 
Sheni because it caught on -- even if the reason is wrong.  I supplied 
source material to state that the Sanhedrin EXPLICITLY declared that even 
though we NOW know when the calendar comes out, we are to continue 
keeping this "custom".  thus, there has been an explicit halachic 
decision that -- in effect -- redefines the rule of Yome Tov Sheni from a 
pure "Safek" (case of "Doubt") to a special "Minhag" (Custom) to be kept 
in the Diaspora.  An interesting ramification of this is the fact that we 
keep 2 days of Shavuot even though THAT holiday is not dependent upon the 
determination of Rosh Chodesh....



From: <lou@...> (Louis Rayman)
Date: Wed, 21 Jun 95 9:59:28 EDT
Subject: Yom Tov Sheni

Norman Y. Singer (<nsinger@...>) reviews his objections to the
continued observance of Yom Tov Sheni shel Galyus (the second day of
yom tov in the Galut) in mj 20.14 (these are points 2 and 3 of 5):

  - The second day was perpetuated after the establishment
    of the calendar in anticipation of the rebuilding of the
    Bet Hamikdash.
  - When the Bet Hamikdash is rebuilt, the second day will
    not be observed because with modern communications
    everyone interested will know when the holidays fall.

I fail to see the connection between Yom Tov Sheni and the destruction
and (bimhera b'yameinu) the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash (BH"M).
As the mishna and gemara in Rosh HaShana explain, various methods were
tried to get the message to the Jews of Bavel when the Sanhedrin
proclaimed a new month.  None proved totally effective in reaching
everybody - those places that could not be reached by the 15th of the
month had to keep 2 days yom tov.  This was the case before the
destruction of the BH"M as well as after.

Also, when the gemara in Betzah turns its attention to 2 days of Rosh
Hashana, it is clear that the ONLY reason to keep 2 days (even in
Yerushalayim) was because the BH"M was standing, and the Levi'im did
not know whether TODAY was the 1st of Tishrei or the last of Elul.
Again, it has nothing to do with the destruction of the BH"M.

As Yochanan Meisler (jm8o+@andrew.cmu.edu) points out (also in mj
20.14), after the institution of the fixed calendar, there was a
takanah made for the Jews of Chutz La'aretz to continue keeping 2 days
of yom tov.  In order to override that takanah, we would need a new
one to take its place.  Unfortunately, in our day, not only are a
great proportion of our people in Galut, the Halacha is in Galut too.
(Besheim Omro: the following point was made to me by my brother, Rav
Moshe Rayman) The Gemara in Sanhedrin discusses how, with the
departure of the Sanhedrin from it usual meeting place in the BH"M, it
lost certain powers.  The further from the BH"M it met, the weaker it
grew.  What we are left with is a legal system with very limited
powers of enforcement (and even those are at the sufferance of the
local governments), and almost no powers of legislation.  Until this
situation is rectified with the reestablishment of the Sanhedrin, we
are limited in what we can do about reletivly minor inconveniences
like two days of yom tov, or major tragedies like the man who is using
his daughter as a hostage in his fight with his ex-wife.

Lou Rayman - Hired Gun                                   _ |_ 
Client Site: <lou@...>    212/603-3375         .|   |
Main Office: <louis.rayman@...>                  |  / 


End of Volume 20 Issue 18