Volume 23 Number 62
                       Produced: Mon Apr 15  8:13:31 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Angels of death
         [Tara Cazaubon]
Covwering Eyes
         [Yisrael Medad]
More Books
         [Moise Haor]
Psalm 97 (4)
         [Chihal, Stan Tenen, Carl & Adina Sherer, Chaim Schild]
Sacrifices on a Private Altar
         [Alan and Sharon Silver]
Shehecheyonu on Sefirat haOmer (4)
         [Shmuel Jablon, Avrohom Dubin, Eric Jaron Stieglitz, Aaron
Why 2 days of Shavuot?
         [Gary Goldwater]
Writing On Chol Hamoed
         [Danny Schoemann]


From: <tarac@...> (Tara Cazaubon)
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 1996 15:55:26 -0800
Subject: Angels of death

>From: Andrea Penkower Rosen <apr@...>
>Someone just asked me if there was a source for the custom of Ashkenazic
>Jews to name their babies after the deceased.  All I know is that it is a
>custom.  Can anyone supply more specific origins for this behavior?

This is an old posting so I'm sure Andrea got an answer by now, but I
have a humorous story to share with you.  This topic was discussed on
BRIDGES (the Jewish feminist list) a while ago.  The reason I heard for
not naming babies after living relatives is the Ashkenazim believe the
Angel of Death might make a mistake and take the young person instead of
the old person.  The Sephardim apparently don't have this belief.  One
poster quipped, "Obviously the Sephardic Angel of Death is less easily
confused."  ;-)

Kol tuv,
Tara (Arielle)


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 96 03:27:56 PST
Subject: Covwering Eyes 

It occured to me that a new chumra was being create right before my
eyes.  As is known, it is customary to cover one's eyes during the
reciting of the first vers of the Sh'ma.  But I have seen people take
off their glasses to better cover their eyes and also to cover them with
one's Tallit.  Thinking that things were getting out of hand (no pun
intended) and that perhaps the original custom was simply to close one's
eyes, I researched to the best of my ability.

The source is Tractate Brachot 13B where Rabi says to Chiya (in
reference to Rabbi Yehuda's custom of learning straight through the
morning and only breaking off for the first Biblical verse rather than
all three portions with the fore and aft blessings), "at the moment he
passes his hands on (over) his face, he accepts upon himself the Yoke of
Heaven".  The Shulchan Aruch, OC, 61:5 has it as: "Their practice is to
place their hands on their faces during the reciting of the first verse
so that that should not look at anything that would prevent their
concentration".  The Taz has it that "hands" refers to the "right hand"
and the Mishna Brurah confirms that.  The Sha'arei Tshuvah there
clarifies further: "on their faces (means) on their eyes".

The Rambam, Ahavah, 2:8, does not mention this custom but rather
mentions a prohibition not to indicate (hint) anything during the
Reciting of Sh'ma by way of one's eyes.

After reading Le Carre's recent Our Game, I was reminded of the Moslem
custom of sort of (dry) washing, as it were, one's face during portions
of their prayers.  Moslems pass their hands over their face, from
forehead down, in a washing gesture.

And so, I though to myself, perhaps the original gesture of the Jews was
this 'washing' gesture and when it was adopted by the Moslems, it was
altered to a simple closing the eyes off from any external interference
so as not to be too close to the Moslem custom (remember, the Talmud
phrase is: "ma'avir yadav al panav" which is defintely *not* placing
one's hands on one's eyes).

Any comments?

Yisrael Medad


From: Moise Haor <pp002129@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 96 06:48:07 PDT
Subject: More Books

Talking about hard to find books, i am trying to
reach a copy of:

"The Unauthorized Bible"

Any ideas? I had no luck at the Library of congress ;)

Thanks in advance

Name: Moise Haor
E-mail: <pp002129@...> 


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Chihal)
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 12:54:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Psalm 97

Shalom, All:
Stan Tenen <meru1@...> writes:
>Just before the (Ashkenaz) chazzan's part, Psalm 97 says:
>"For You, HaShem, are supreme above the earth; exceedingly exalted above
>all powers."  (Artscroll Ashkenaz Siddur, p.310-311.)  The Hebrew word
>translated "powers" is actually Elokim.
>Is there a traditional teaching of how and why this is so? I am NOT
>interested in the standard, apologetic, explanation that Elokim can
>refer to powers in general (or any other easy out.)  The sense of the
>verse is clearly that HaShem is "exalted" over Elokim.

       Why _not_ understand it in the simplest sense?  Our ancestors lived
among polytheists, and there's tons of archaeolgical evidence showing that a
main Canaanite idol was named El.  So were other regional deities.
 Therefore, Psalm 97 is merely stating a fact: God, the real McCoy, is
exalted above the pagan gods, the real McGoys.

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 11:07:55 -0800
Subject: Psalm 97

I would like to thank Richard Schultz for his "non-apologetic" comments 
on my questions about the use of Elokim to mean "powers."  The inclusion 
of Kol does make sense as a means of distinguishing the name of God from 
the word meaning powers.


From: Carl & Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 00:02:28 +0200
Subject: Psalm 97

There has been much discussion of late regarding Psalm 97 and the phrase
therein that Hashem (using the four-letter name) is elevated above Elokim.
I'd like to propose a simplistic (well maybe) explanation.

Often in the Torah, Hashem's four-letter name is used to represent the Midas
HaRachamim (the attribute of mercy) while Elokim is used to represent the
Midas HaDin (the attribute of judgment).  Could it be that King David is
praising Hashem for kaveyachol (if we could say such a thing) causing his
attribute of mercy to rule over his attribute of judgment, and therefore
being merciful to us?

Just a thought....

-- Carl Sherer
Carl and Adina Sherer

From: <SCHILDH@...> (Chaim Schild)
Date: Thu, 28 Mar 1996 10:51:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Psalm 97

Of course, many sets of "tools" exist to understand the
interrelationship between the two Divine Names - Havaye (Hashem) and
Elokim....Stan prefers his chiddush of geometry...The two names have
been discussed previously in thousands of pages of Chassidus and
Kabala. There are many Names for various attributes of "G-d" and each
scheme tries to explain the connection..  Eliyahu of course said "Havaye
Hoo HaElokim" to the people upon on the mountain...Any complete
understanding would of course have to explain each system.....Aylu
v'aylu divrei Elokim Chaim...each of these is the worlds of the living
G-d (Elokim) but as the gemara says in terms of the Halacha....Havaye
ee'mo...HaShem is with the ruling opinion :) ...so even the Gemara
interrelates the two names and that is nigleh....I offer a few gematrias
of Rabbi Yitzchok Ginsburgh who hopefully will get to spend Pesach with
his family if Peres lets him "out of Egypt". [He has been released
according to information received. Mod.]

Olam = Keli Elokim Elokim = Keli Havaye ....thus and Stan should realize
that algebra is related to geometry one could imagine a concentric set
of vessels (Kelim) encompassing one another; indeed chassidus explains
from elsewhere in Psalms that Elokim is a sheath (a keli over ;) )

and moreover...

the AT"BASH (inverse alef bais cipher) of Havaye equals the milui
(spelling out the letters Aleph Lamed Hey Yud Mem) of Elokim....which
can be visualized as "turning the bag inside out reveals all of its

The importance of all these games is that:
1. They have a firm basis in  Torah (as explained by the Lubavitcher
Rebbe quoting the Ramban, for example)
2. They offer a lesson in avodah, i.e. they teach a person how
to ready the world for Moshiach for it is well known that Moshiach is
the gematria of Nachash (Snake) which is a tziruf (switch the letters
around, permutation..) of Choshen which is the holy form of the
life force of these letters...........


PS One could go on for megabytes but also realize that Elokim is the
only name of G-d which is plural and has possesive suffixes added (our,


From: <silver@...> (Alan and Sharon Silver)
Date: Sun, 7 Apr 96 21:56:47 BST
Subject: Sacrifices on a Private Altar

In MJ V23 #58, Ed wrote ...

>Weren't sacrifices given to G-d before the temple(s) were ever built?  I
>seem to recall that an alter was used in any general local for such
>sacrifices.  As in the case of Abraham, he built an alter to sacrifice
>Isaac upon.  Of course G-d did not permit this, but the point is that
>sacrifices were given before the temple was ever in existence.  So why
>is the temple necessary now for animal sacrifices to be given?  How was
>atonement for man's sins to G-d made before a temple was ever built?
>And can't atonement today be made using an alter as was done before the


As far as I know (and I am fairly certain of this), once the Torah had
been given, Hashem gave a specific commandment that offerings could
*only* be brought in the Beis Hamikdosh and not on a private (ie
non-temple) altar. If you look through Tanach, I am pretty sure that you
will not find any offerings after Mattan Torah except in the Mishkon or
Beis Hamikdosh.

Hope this helps

Alan Silver (Prestwich Smile Gemach)       <silver@...>


From: <ShmuelAJ@...> (Shmuel Jablon)
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 22:00:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Shehecheyonu on Sefirat haOmer

Rafi Stern, <iitpr@...> writes:
  > When we counted the first day of the Omer I was struck by the fact that
  > we do not make the Bracha of SheHeheyanu. I cannot think of any parallel
  > case where we do a yearly occurring Mitzva for the first time but do not
  > say SheHeheyanu. Does anyone have a good reason why we should omit this
  > Bracha.

I recall seeing somewhere that we do not make a Shecheyanu over sefirat
ha-omer as we are sad while doing this mitzvah since we can not bring the
real omer in the Beit haMikdash!

From: <AbePd@...> (Avrohom Dubin)
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 23:46:52 -0400
Subject: Shehecheyonu on Sefirat haOmer

This is discussed in the very last piece of the Chidushei Haran and the
Baal Hamaor of Mesechta Pesachim.  Essentially, they take the position
that the Bracha is inappropriate because the Mitzva does not carry with
it any special Simcha (happiness).  The discussion therein answers other
common questions, for example, why we don't count twice outside of Eretz
Yisroel, for today and yesterday, as with Yom Tov.

From: Eric Jaron Stieglitz <ephraim@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 21:44:10 -0400
Subject: Shehecheyonu on Sefirat haOmer

  I always thought that the Shehechiyanu that we make for the second
seder was for Sefirat HaOmer.

Eric Jaron Stieglitz    <ephraim@...>
Home: (212) 853-4837/6795       Assistant Systems Manager at the
Work: (212) 854-6020            Center for Telecommunications Research
Fax : (212) 854-2497    http://www.ctr.columbia.edu/people/Eric.html

From: Aaron Greenberg <greenbah@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 00:20:07 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shehecheyonu on Sefirat haOmer

If I recall correctly...

The reason is connected to the argument as to whether counting the Omer
is one whole mitzva, or 49 separate mitzvot.  This is also why we
do not continue to say a bracha if we missed one night - If it is one big 
Mitzva, then by missing a night we do not complete it, so any further 
brachos would be in vain.  Back to the SheHecheyanu. -If it is one extended
mitzva, then a SheHecheyanu would be inappropriate because the mitzva is
not completed shortly after the bracha (like reading the Megilla) but
has many interuptions and a reasonable degree of uncertainty that the 
mitzva will be completed.

Aaron Greenberg


From: Gary Goldwater <GOLDWATER@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Apr 1996 17:33:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Why 2 days of Shavuot?

The date of Shavuot is determined by the 7 week Omer count. How, then,
could there develop a 2nd day of Shavuot? There could be no doubt about
the exact date even in days of yore.
 Gary Goldwater


From: Danny Schoemann <dannys@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 1996 12:23:50 +0300
Subject: Re: Writing On Chol Hamoed

>From: <DaveTrek@...> (David Brotsky)
>In light of the prohibitions on writing  on chol hamoed, is
>there a similiar prohibition on typing on a computer fo
>nonessential reasons, such as email to a friend?

I seem to recall that writing to friend is permitted on Chol Hamoed...



End of Volume 23 Issue 62