Volume 24 Number 32
                       Produced: Tue Jun  4 23:44:43 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

613 Mitzvos
         [Israel Botnick]
613 Mitzvot
         [Janice Gelb]
Coping with Tragedy and Loss
         [Marc Leve]
Duchaning and "Ribono Shel Olam"
         [David Charlap]
         [Geoffrey Shisler]
First Night of Sukkot
         [Steve White]
How many blessings
         [Jerrold Landau]
Jerusalem, Jerusalem
         [David Rier]
obligation to pets
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]
         [Micha Berger]
Shatnez Couch
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Shiduchim - Oh what a Hassle...
         [Joseph P. Wetstein]
Torah & evolution
         [K. H. Ryesky]
While the cohanim duchen (2)
         [Andy Goldfinger, Avi Feldblum]


From: <icb@...> (Israel Botnick)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 12:25:52 +0500
Subject: 613 Mitzvos

I recall that the Ramban in his commentary to the Rambam's Sefer
ha-Mitzvot discusses how R. Simlai (the amora quoted in makkos 23a) knew
that there were 613 mitzvos. He says that either the number 613 was
given to Moshe at sinai (that the number of distinct mitzvos totals
613), or perhaps R. Simlai counted up what he considered to be all of
the distinct mitzvos and he came up with 613.

As another poster previously mentioned, the Ramban discusses the
possibility that if it was indeed based on counting, perhaps not
everyone agrees with the number 613. Ramban wonders then why so many
works have been written about the 613 mitzvos and many songs have been
written about the 613 mitzvos. The Ramban concludes though that 613 must
be agreed to by all amoraim since the gemara quotes this number in a
number of places.

Israel Botnick


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 09:35:59 -0700
Subject: 613 Mitzvot

Has anyone done a count of the mitzvot that are still possible today now
that the Temple is no longer standing?

Janice Gelb                  | The only connection Sun has with this      
<janiceg@...>   | message is the return address. 


From: Marc Leve <72440.1657@...>
Date: 04 Jun 96 01:13:37 EDT
Subject: Coping with Tragedy and Loss

 A few months ago a friend and co-worker was tragically killed. His
family, especially his teenage children, are struggling with their
terrible loss.
 1) A while ago there was a discussion in mail-jewish re: Rabbi
Kushnir's book When Bad Things Happen to Good People.  I vaguely recall
that a few books dealing with the subject from an Orthodox Jewish
orientation were recommended.  I would appreciate if this list could be
 2) The teenage children, who study at an Orthodox institution in the
Greater New York area, have found the counselling available at their
school(s) to be inadequate.  They are seeking a peer group (live - in
GNY area, or through the internet) that deals with this area of personal
loss and grief, especially from an Orthodox Jewish perspective.  Any
information would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.



From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 96 22:36:54 EDT
Subject: Duchaning and "Ribono Shel Olam"

<rabbi_gabbai@...> (Jeff Fischer) writes:
>The main problem are the Ribono Shel Oloms in between.  Those we omit 
>on Shabbos because those are personal supplications which are not
>allowed on Shabbos.

In my synagogue (in the USA, where we don't duchen every day), the rabbi
has instructed the congregation to never say the "Ribono Shel Olam"
parts.  He says that it is a hefsek (interruption) and that an
interruption in the middle of the Blessing is very wrong.  From what I
hear, however, most synagogues do not practice this.


From: Geoffrey Shisler <geopffrey@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 1996 10:46:20 +0000
Subject: Re: Eisenstein

Some years ago I met Eisenstein's daughter. To my astonishment she told
me that her late father was not a religious Jew! She also said that she
had in her possession some unpublished manuscripts of her father that
she was finding very difficult to get published. I don't know if she's
had any success yet.

Geoffrey Shisler


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steve White)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 17:14:44 -0400
Subject: Re: First Night of Sukkot

In #31 Rick Turkel writes in response to Jay Schachter:
> >I don't want anyone to tell me that the first night of Sukkot can't be
>  >on a Saturday night, because it isn't true. 
>  I'm sorry to have to disappoint him, but here goes:
>  One of the more interesting features of the Jewish calendar as fixed by
>  Hillel is summarized in the phrase, "lo' bd"u pesach velo' 'ad"u rosh,"
>   ...

I think Jay was trying to say that he knows the rule about lo ad''u rosh
(= lo ad''u sukkot), but was simply pointing out that when the bet din
is declaring Rosh Hodesh, rather than the fixed calendar, Sukkot could
perfectly well be on motza'ei shabbat.



From: <landau@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 96 09:21:04 EDT
Subject: How many blessings

Rick Turkel indicates that Jay Shachter's maximum count of blessings is
impossible, since, by our calendar, the first day of Sukkot cannot fall on
Motzaei Shabbat (due to the principle of lo b'adu Rosh -- Rosh Hashana, and
consequently Sukkot, cannot fall out on Sunday, Wednesday or Friday).  However,
in Jay's scenario, where there is a Kohen making Kiddush over Chala that is
Teruma and Kodshim, it is evident that this must be in the time of the
Beit Hamikdash.  During the time of the Beit Hamikdash, either in the past,
or, bimhera beyameinu (speedily in our days) in the future, the setting of
the date of Rosh Chodesh happens by witnesses coming to Yerushalayim
announcing the sighting of the New Moon. The principles of Hillel's calendar
did not (and will no longer) apply, and it is quite feasable to have
Sukkot falling out on Motzaei Shabbat.

Jerrold Landau


From: David Rier <rierda@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 11:47:20 +0200 (WET)
Subject: Jerusalem, Jerusalem

Yes, it is apparently true that the US gov't., in accord with its
interpretation of international law, does not regard Jerusalem as part
of Israel.  Imagine how I felt when I went to the US Consulate in
Jerusalem and had something stamped "Jerusalem, Jerusalem".  The US does
not regard even PRE-67 (ie, West, or "New City") Jerusalem as part of
Israel.  Silly me, I thought that when I moved to Jerusalem, I was
moving to Israel.  While I know that our claim to Jerusalem is
registered with a Higher Authority than the US State Department, it
still makes me crazy.
                 Dovid Rier


From: <jeremy@...> (Jeremy Nussbaum)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 96 0:19:49 EDT
Subject: obligation to pets

A friend of mine is faced with a dilemma, and I am curious where to
look in the classical sources for some approaches to the problem.  She
has a pet cat, who was injured in a fall and tore knee cartilage.  The
cat is mending well enough to be jumping around, but the vet
recommends a $500 operation to repair the knee.  It's a serious
unbudgeted expense for her, so she is reluctant to do so, but
thinks that if it was an issue of life and death for the pet, she
would spend the money.  What principles have been applied to the
obligation of pet owners (or even farm animal owners) to their
animals?  Clearly we are not allowed to cause (unnecessary)
pain to animals nor to allow an animal to falter under an unduly
heavy burden, but what other intervention is required?

Jeremy Nussbaum (<jeremy@...>)


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 08:41:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sha-atah

While we're on the topic of pronunciation in davening, about a year ago
I noticed that the words to modim (2nd to last brachah of the Amidah)
begin "Modim anachnu lach sha'atah - we acknowledge to You that The
You..." I have been saying "she'atah - that you (without the the)" all
these years.  Grammatically, she'atah makes more sense (I think). In
fact, in my Aleppo siddur it says "she'atah".  But the kamatz (a as in
father?) appears in every other siddur I've checked.

Similarly, in the other places the word is used, for example, Shabbos
Mincha "... sha'atah rotzeh bah", with a kamatz in all the siddurim I
checked, accept the "Kol Yaakov Nusach Aram Tzovah", the Aleppo siddur.

The origin of this gramattic oddity appears to be in Shoftim (Judges),
where Gidon addresses a mal'ach (angel) as "sha'atah".  Perhaps the
implied "hei hayehidiy'ah" (loosely: definite article) is a show of
respect. Today it is often considered repectful not to call an Adam
Godol (a "Great Man") by the word "you" at all.  OTOH, the same brachah
from Shabbos Minchah opens "Atah Echad" (You are one), not "HaAtah
Echad" (The You are one). In fact HaAtoh isn't anywhere in Tanach or the

Either way, it is helpful to look into the story of Gidon and the
mal'ach.  It appears to me that Chazal intentionally wanted to invoke it
by the odd turn of phrase.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3476 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 - 31-May-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 00:45:28 -0400
Subject: Shatnez Couch

Shalom, All:
        Regarding the question of a couch made with shatnez -- which, by
the way, is indeed a mixture of wool and linen, not wool and cotton --
I'll go out on my non-posek limb and say the following:
        At first the question seems odd.  The language of the Torah in
both Vayeekra 19:19 and D'vareem 22:11 says we are not allowed to WEAR
it.  Owning it, particularly in a non-garment setting, does not appear
to be a Torah prohibition.
       On the other hand, the fact this law is given twice makes me ask
those who know better: is shatnez in the category of assur b'hana'a
(forbidden for us to derive any benefit at all)?  If not, wouldn't a
couch be OK?
   <Chihal@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)


From: <jpw@...> (Joseph P. Wetstein)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 15:27:46 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shiduchim - Oh what a Hassle...

As someone who is in 'the parsha' when it comes to shiduchim, I would be
somewhat concerned with the idea that if A calls B to check out C, and B
replies "I cannot say anything because we aren't really that close" or
"well, let them meet first and then we can discuss p'ratim" (A Rav told
me that he has used that to avoid background checks prior to first/blind
dates as the date may not pan out for visual reasons), or anything else
equally pareve.

Those types of answers, as well meaning as they may be, are often seen
as a 'warning' because many people in the frum community see anything
other than a glowing report of "excellent mishpacha, wealthy,
well-learned guy with fabulous midos, etc" as being a panned-report.

Kriyas yam suf already happened. Please join me in davening for a more
difficult miracle.



From: <KHRESQ@...> (K. H. Ryesky)
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 18:20:15 -0400
Subject: Torah & evolution

 To put the Torah:Evolution problem into perspective, I recommend
"Genesis and the Big Bang" by Gerald Schroeder.

  -- K. H. Ryesky, Esq.


From: Andy Goldfinger <andy_goldfinger@...>
Date: 4 Jun 1996 09:55:56 -0400
Subject: While the cohanim duchen

Jeff Fisher writes:

"So, what we do (at our Young Israel) is duchen without the long tunes
since people do not need the time to read the Ribbono Shel Olom in 
between phrases."

I find that the "long tunes" are not long enough.  I never seem to be
able to finish the "Ribbono Shel Olom's" in the time available.  Do
others have this problem?  What do they do?

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jun 1996 23:30:04 -0400
Subject: Re: While the cohanim duchen

Andy Goldfinger writes:
> I find that the "long tunes" are not long enough.  I never seem to be
> able to finish the "Ribbono Shel Olom's" in the time available.  Do
> others have this problem?  What do they do?

Well, I'm on the other side of the talit, so I surely am not saying the
"Ribbono Shel Olom's". This question of "time available" is one I find
very interesting. As a number of the people who know me know, this is an
issue I have strong opinions on.

The source for the whole thing is a Gemara, that says that if one has a
dream and does not know the meaning of it, let him get up in the morning
and say the following (fairly short) prayor while the Kohanim are
raising their hands. I find it interesting that there are a number of
interesting pieces of advice in that daf, yet this appears the only one
that makes it to the Halacha books (but this is all from memory, so
please check yourselves).

What is brought down as Halacha is that while the Kohanim are "ma-arich
b'ot acharon" - are drawing out the last letter of the word, one may say
the prayor. I would be very interested to know when the custom changed
from extending the last letter to singing before saying the last
word. It appears to me that both concepts appear in the Mishnah Berurah,
so it may have been changing over then, but that is speculation.

The interesting question is whether you can say the prayer if you HAVE
NOT had such a dream during the previous night. Even if you say that you
can say it during the first day of Yom Tov, because you can say it for
dreams in the past months (see the Biur Halacha I think) I see no
justification for saying it on the second day of Yom Tov. Of course, in
Israel or a Sephardi shul, you should only say it if you had a drean the
previous night.

To answer the original question, at the Ahavas Achim Hashkama minyan
(where I daven) we never sing, but I do extend the last letter of the
last word of each verse.

Avi Feldblum


End of Volume 24 Issue 32