Volume 22 Number 57
                       Produced: Tue Dec 26 23:11:23 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanukah trivia
         [Tova Taragin]
Cleaning Glass Candle Holders
         [Yoni Greenfield]
         [Stan Tenen]
Kriah for Chanukah
         [Bert Kahn ]
Kriah on Chanuka
         [Dave Curwin]
Maoz Tzur
         [Louise Miller]
Regular Haftorah for Miketz
         [Baruch Schwartz]
Regular Haftorah for Parshat Miketz
         [Steve White]
Tal Umatar
         [Steve White]
The Tekufah
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
V'sain Tal Umatar
         [Yehudah Prero]
Women & Chanukiyot
         [Edwin Frankel]


From: <Tovt@...> (Tova Taragin)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 06:28:22 -0500
Subject: Chanukah trivia

Chanukah trivia (a little late)

This Chanukah trivia question is thanks to my son-in-law Meyer Shields
who heard it from Jay Rosenblum in Philadelphia.  I'll supply the answer
in a day or two...Why was there no Shabbos Chanukah in the year 1948?


From: Yoni Greenfield <sdb@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 08:41:00 PST
Subject: Cleaning Glass Candle Holders

Someone suggested this over Mail-Jewish about a year ago and I've used
it with very satisfactory results.

To clean the glass holders, simply spray them liberally with an oven
cleaner and let them sit overnight.  Then wipe them clean with a soft
cloth.  I wipe them under flowing water.  Since this chemical is
caustic, handle it only with the proper hand and eye protection.

Yoni Greenfield


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 14:52:01 -0800
Subject: Dreidel

Warren Burstein writes:
  >Stan Tenen writes:
  >>The Dreidel or sevivon ("spinner") was originally used as a 
  >>kabbalistic teaching tool.

  >I'm unclear if this is Mr. Tenen's opinion or if this is documented

In that same earlier posting on the dreidel, I wrote:

  >I sincerely doubt that anyone reading this without seeing the 
  >drawings will be able to make any sense of it.  This is work in 
  >progress and it is speculative.  However, it simultaneously resolves 
  >several different questions and kabbalistic riddles and in doing so, 
  >it does seem to generate the shape of our dreidel complete with a 
  >spin axis, the particular letters we now use on the dreidel (in 
  >Israel) and an explanation of how and why the triple tagin (keterim) 
  >appear on some of the letters of the alphabet.

That the Dreidel was originally used as a kabbalistic teaching tool is 
my considered opinion, based on my research findings.  I would be very 
grateful for any supportive (or contrary) references to this.



From: <bilk1@...> (Bert Kahn )
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 21:05:40 -0800
Subject: Kriah for Chanukah

Responding to Dave Curwin Why we read the portion for the day and the
portion for the next day in chutz laaretz. The Maccabies entered the
temple on the 24th but the rededication was not until the evening being
the 25th.  So for example on the 25th we read for the first day . But
since the 24th may have been the first day we add the reading for day
2.My source is our shul Rabbi and his between mincha & maariv shiur on
the halachos of Chanukah.


From: Dave Curwin <6524dcurw@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 09:27:01 EST
Subject: Kriah on Chanuka

I would like to make a correction: 
In the daily kriah for chanuka in Aretz, the first aliya gets the
first half of that day, the levi gets the second half, and the yisrael
gets the whole day.

David Curwin		With wife Toby, Shaliach to Boston, MA
904 Centre St.          List Owner of B-AKIVA on Jerusalem One
Newton, MA 02159                   <6524dcurw@...>
617 527 0977          Why are we here? "L'hafitz Tora V'Avoda"


From: <miller@...> (Louise Miller)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 16:48:56 PST
Subject: Maoz Tzur

OK, this question is a little late, but during Chanuka my husband and I
always wonder about Maoz Tzur.  Since Chanuka is not the only holiday
mentioned, why is it only sung then?  Why don't we sing it on Purim?

Louise Miller


From: Baruch Schwartz <SCHWARTZ@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 07:13:58 IST
Subject: Regular Haftorah for Miketz

When Rosh HaShanah comes on Shabbat, and the months of Heshvan and Kislev
are both haser (have 29 rather than 30 days), the 25th of Kislev will then
come out on Friday. The Shabbat of Hanukkah will then be the second day
of Hanukkah, and the parashat shavua will be Vayyeshev. In this situation,
the haftarah of Hanukkah is of course read on the Shabbat of Vayyeshev,
and when Mikketz comes around, on 4 Tevet, Hanukkah will have been over
for two days and the "regular" -- rarely read -- haftarah for Mikketz
will be read. This will happen, I believe, next year 5757. Of course,
historically speaking, it may be that the haftarah of Mikketz was fixed
without regard to the fact that Hanukkah may or may not come out on
this Shabbat; the totally fixed character of the lectionary calendar
being somewhat later to develop than the assignment of prophetic readings
to each parashat shavua.
The table of special readings and haftarot in the back of the Rinat
Yisrael prayer book, which indicates that Shabbat Hanukkah is "always
Mikketz" thus needs to be corrected; this is an error.
Baruch J. Schwartz


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 11:15:31 -0500
Subject: Regular Haftorah for Parshat Miketz

In #54 Dave Curwin writes:

>a) Shabbat Chanuka always falls on Parshat Miketz, and with it comes a
>special haftora. Yet Parshat Miketz has its own haftora. Is it ever
>read? Was it ever read?

Yes, it's read, and in fact will be read G-d willing next year.  The
Haftarah (from I Kings, perek 3) is the famous story about Shlomo
HaMelekh judging the maternity claims of two women, and ordering the
child divided in half.

According to Rabbi Hertz' commentary (which, for whatever merits and
demerits it has, usually gives a quick explanation of this kind of
thing), the connection to the parsha is that both open with dreams --
Par'o's dream in the parsha, and Shlomo's dream in the haftara.  But
interestingly, the real discussion of Shlomo's dream -- where Shlomo
asks the KB''H for wisdom -- comes in the verses just preceding the
haftara.  But like in the parsha, the focus in the haftara is on the
consequence of the dream -- in this case, Shlomo's unusual but wise
method of determining the valid claimant.

I believe this is the least frequently read Haftara, for as Mr. Curwin
has written usually Miketz falls out during Hanukkah.

Steven White


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 11:15:36 -0500
Subject: Tal Umatar

In #54, Richard A. Rosen writes:
>The explanations of the start of tein tal umatar on December 4th or 5th
>based on the start of rains in Bavel are interesting, but I'm still
>confused.  Notwithstanding what we call the day, 60 days after the
>equinox is 60 days after the equinox.  If that is the origin of this
>custom, then it is surprising that we have altered our observance to
>follow an artificial calendaric shift whose purpose was entirely
>different.  Both the equinox and 60 days thereafter are solar events,
>and the time period between them remains constant no matter what name we
>give to the dates.

Well, the halacha is that we recite tal u'matar in hutz la'aretz
starting *the 60th day after the tekufa as given by Mar Shmuel*.  This
is not an "artificial calendar shift" -- it's Mar Shmuel using a 365.25
day calendar (commonly known as Julian) rather than a 365.2425 day
calendar (commonly known as Gregorian), or an even more accurate
calendar, or even Rav Adda's year (235/19 lunations).  Is that a wrong
interpretation by our generations of rabbis over a halacha that _should_
be based on the equinox?  I'm certainly not wise enough to make a strong
claim like that!

The truth is that on an objective astronomical basis, there are other,
more serious problems with the calendar: Pesach is more than 30 days
after the astronomical vernal equinox in two years out of each 19-year
cycle.  But as I've been discussing off-group with a few people, it's
not clear whether that's actually enough to trigger a halachic problem

More broadly, in each approx. 6,500 years, the calendar gets later by
one lunation -- that is, one would have to skip one intercalation to
keep the calendar accurate with respect to astronomical vernal equinox.
So if Moshiach tarries (G-d forbid) for 19,500 years, Pesach will surely
be in the summer every year.  If that were to happen, we'd have to do
something about it.  But the mechanism for doing so in the absence of an
appropriate bet din in Yerushalyim is not at all clear.  It will take
someone(s) much wiser than I am to figure out how to sort things like
that out.  But in any case sorting the Pesach issue out should then lead
to a symmetric sorting out of the tal u'matar issue.

One other item for thought: Birkat HaHammah (the sun beracha) is recited
each 28 years, because a Mar Shmuel (Julian) calendar's tekufa returns
to the same day of the week and time of day each 28 years.  But a
Gregorian, Rav Adda, or true astromomical calendar doesn't have such a
nice piece of symmetry in it.  So what do you do about that?

Related question: I once read that someone travelling from Israel to
Hutz La'aretz between 7 Marheshvan and December 4-5 continues to say tal
u'matar privately, and does not daven from the amud (for that reason)
for weekday shaharit and minha if that is at all possible, even if he
has a chiyuv (obligatory priority).  (If not possible, in the repetition
he omits tal u'matar outside of Israel.)  But I couldn't find a source.
Any helpers there?

Steve White


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himelstein@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 08:59:26 +0200 (IST)
Subject: The Tekufah

Arthur Spier's "The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar" has an excellent 
analysis of the Tekufot (see pp. 223-4). Some of the more salient 
points are:

a) The Tekufot are used for TWO calculations: the saying of "ve'ten tal
u'matar" outside Eretz Israel; and the reciting of *Birkat Ha'Hamah* -
the blessing on the new sun cycle, every 28 years.

b) The length of the solar year was estimated by Shmuel Yarhinai (3rd
century) as 365 days and 6 hours, whereas Rav Ada gave the figure of 365
days, 5 hours, 997 parts ("halakim*) and 48 moments (*rega'im*).  (As an
aside, a "part* is 1/1080 of an hour, with each *part* equal to 3 1/3
seconds, while each *part* is divided into 76 "moments", with each
*moment* being 5/114 of a second).

c) Taking Shmuel's year as 365 days and 6 hours, Shmuel divided this by
four, to give the four *tekufot* ("seasons"?) of the year, with each
*tekufah* being exactly 91 days and 7 1/2 hours long.

d) Starting with the beginning of the world, one adds 91 days and 7 1/2
hours successsively, to calculate the *tekufot*.

e) Due to the fact that the actual length of the year is somewhat less
than Shmuel's figure (we compensate by leaving out a leap day in every
year which is divisible by 100, *unless* it is divisible by 400, in
which case there is a leap day), the date of the *tekufot* will vary by
century. In the 20th century, the date for *ve'ten tal u'matar* is on
December 5, EXCEPT in a leap year, when it is on December 6. (NOTE: the
saying of *ve'ten tal u'matar* begins on the *previous* evening in each

f) As the year 2000 will have a leap day, the same dates will hold for
that entire century.

g) On the other hand, the date in the 19th century was one day earlier,
and in the 18th century two days earlier (i.e., December 4 and December
3 respectively).

h) The date of *Birkat Ha'Hamah* this century (and the next century as
well) is always April 8 (the next occasion will be the year 2009).

           Shmuel Himelstein


From: <DaPr@...> (Yehudah Prero)
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 22:49:38 -0500
Subject: Re: V'sain Tal Umatar

For information on this topic, one can go to the YomTov home page,
http://www.pcnet.com/~deuwest/yomtov-1.htm , and go to the "Assorted
Topics" area. There are two articles on this topic, one which should be
available on the Home Page later this week ( this is the time that all
of the Chanukah articles will be available as well). If any further info
about the Home page or its contents is needed, just follow the
instructions there.


From: <frankele@...> (Edwin Frankel)
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 20:05:49 -0100
Subject: Re: Women & Chanukiyot

>Eli Turkel writes:
>     As an aside I recently saw a quote from Rav Soloveitchik that wives
> should also light hanukah candles as the reason "ishto ka-gufo" (a man's
> wife is like his own body) never appeared relevant to him. Does anyone
> know of cases where this is actually done?

Our minhag, too.  However, some may argue that it is halacha, and give as
its basis Shabbat 21b, the very source of lighting the chanukah licht from
the Talmud.  After all, there the mitzvah is foreach uveyto to light one
light.  Bayit in Talmud often means wife.  However, whether it does or not,
the mitzvah for mehadrin is ner l'chot echad v'echad.  Assuming that a
nminimal family is two members, the Talmud itself seems to suggest that
women lit with their husbands. Using talmudic terminology, most of us on
Chanukah are mehadrin min hamehadrin.  The difference between mehadrin and
mehadrin min hamehadrin is not stated in terms of who lit, but how many
candles were lit.

Hope this helps.

Ed Frankel


End of Volume 22 Issue 57