Volume 24 Number 59
                       Produced: Wed Jul 10 23:24:37 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Prayer Error with Rabbinical Controversy in the Shema
         [Russell Hendel]
Grammer and learning Torah
         [Gershon Dubin]
Images of People on the Net
         [Zvi Weiss]
Pikuah nefesh & milhemet mitzva
         [Israel Pickholtz]
Random thoughts on the Rav's Essay
         [Micha Berger]
Thermostatic Control, Gramma, Processor Chips
         [Adam Schwartz]
Women & kippot (was: vows & respect)
         [Zvi Weiss]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 20:36:15 -0400
Subject: A Prayer Error with Rabbinical Controversy in the Shema

Believe it or not I just found a davening error which many people
perform every day and yet according to one Posayk it is a blatant error.

I refer to the words in Keriath Shemah..."BECAL LEVAVCHAH...".

According to the Rambam (and other Poskim) the lamed at the END of becal
should be separated from the lamed at the BEGINNING of LEVAVCHAH. This
sounds simple enough and many people do this.  Yet according to the
Minchat Shai the Rambam did not mean what we think he meant.

To explain his position we list three possible pronunciations
To clarify: in 1) we separate the two words. In 2) we slur the two
words one into the other. In 3) we slur the two words one into the
other BUT prolong the "L or LAMD" sound to equal the length of time 
required to say two letters (thus even though we slur it without a 
break we do use the time required for two).

Let us now get down to halachah.  The Rambam seems to be saying  that
1) is proper and 2) or 3) are improper.  The MINCATH SHAY says that
the Rambam only meant to declare 2) improper (sluring); but 3) (slurring
with double time for the l) is the proper way of saying it.

The MINCHAT SHAY further objects and claims that it is clear that 1)
(separation of words) is IMPROPER. The reason for this is that the two
words are connected with a MAKKAF or hyphen and according to the Minchat
Shay that requires that the words be slurred into each other. (In
passing I note that there is some support for this view: E.g. The
frequently recurring Posook VAYEDABER HASHEM EL MOSHE LAYMOR should
really be read ...MOSEHLAYMOR (because the L of LAYMOR has a Dagesh
which REQUIRES one to slur (the so called DAGESH CHAZAK).

In closing I note that this is more than "another mail jewish davening
error" This is a *real* halachic problem.  I raise the issue: What do we
do in this case? Do we simply follow the shulchan aruch which *seems* to
be saying the 1) is proper.  But the MInchath Shai has a right to
interpret the shulchan aruch and tell us that it is only 2) that is
improper and in fact 1) is also improper and use such precedents as the
Dagesh Chazak.

  I am curious about both practice AND Methodlogy. Anyone out there know
or has heard of something authorative.  For what it is worth my own
practice is as follows: I follow the Michath Shai in Keriath Shemah.
When I lain however I frequently follow the literal method (of
separating words) since it might cause too much confusion to the Tzibbur
if I slurred words.

Ideas are welcome.

Russell Jay Hendel, Ph.d. ASA rhendel @ mcs . drexel . edu


From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
Date: Thu, 04 Jul 96 01:11:00 -0400
Subject: Grammer and learning Torah

> The mistake I refer to is the so-called silent aleph. In benching the
> proper pronunciation is "YERU eth hashem kedoshauv"; NOT "YIRU eth
> hashem kedoshauv"(The aleph is silent). (See Psalms 34:10).  Similarly
> the correct pronunciation is "HARUVANI" not "HAREUVANI" (Num 26:7;
> 34:14; ) and also in Deut 5:43 it is "LARUVANI" and not "LAREUVANI".

	Also, in the chapters of Tehilim that we say in Kabolas Shabbos:
Moshe v'Aharon...korim el hashem.  Many people mispronounce this as
kor'im as though the chirik were under the aleph rather than under the
reish.  Most good siddurim have it under the reish with the aleph

> these halachot lately? Anything about this in print emanating from
> those authorized, standard, hashkafically-correct publishing sources
> which hit the English speaking market? Hardly.

	Have you seen Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt"l's sefer, and in
particular his introduction, explaining the topics that he covers and

> one must learn Torah in order to know how to do all this, but that is
> the means to an end, not an end unto itself.  

	This is not true.  The highest level of learning Torah is the
learning of Torah lishma, for its own sake.  This applies even to
halachos which do not apply nowadays or even, as the Talmud states
explicitly, for halachos which **never** applied.  The learning of the
Torah associated with those halachos is an intrinsic good, independent
of any need to apply the knowledge in any way.  See, for example, the
first piece in the Bais Halevi on parashas Mishpatim wherein he explains
that for women, there is a mitzva to learn Torah as it relates to the
mitzvos that they are required to keep, thus their Torah learning is, as
you say, a means to an end.  For men, there is that same requirement but
an additional one as well: that of learning Torah as an end onto itself.
He explains with this idea the proclamation at Sinai of "naaseh
venishma" we will do and we will hear.  He interprets "we will do" as
doing mitzvos, including learning those laws necessary to their
performance.  "We will listen" is an additional acceptance of learning
Torah as an end to itself.

<gershon.dubin@...>        |
http://www.medtechnet.com/~dubinG   |
consultants in CLIA/OSHA compliance |


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 08:58:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Images of People on the Net

> From: <hoozy@...> (Avraham Husarsky)
> >write, I have made incorrect images in my mind as to what they "look
> >like". One of my hopes with this list is that some people at least may
> >be more open to listen and say, yes even if s/he may look different from
> >me, what they are saying/thinking/feeling etc is similar and we all, as
> >part of Klal Yisrael are brothers. This is not to downplay the concern
> >Mod]
> The only response to the above should be - why is the moderator of the list 
> forming images as to what the posters look like and is this affecting his 
> decision whether or not to post certain items?  the criteria of whether or 
> not a post makes into the public forum should be based solely on content 
> and not the moderators "image" of who the poster is, what the posters 
> beliefs are or what is the posters personal situation.  we can only feel 
> open to participate and perhaps look at another viewpoint (and perhaps even 
> present a viewpoint contrary to what we might believe in) if we are indeed 
> guaranteed some degree of "anonymity" and the only one who can guarantee 
> that is the moderator.

 As someone who DOES know the moderator (i.e., and he knows what I look
like), I can certainly say that the moderator has no hesitation telling
me when a submission is (in his opinion) inappropriate (and I usually
end up agreeing post facto <g>...)  While the modertor is very much
"ma'a'ver al midosav" ("tolerant"), *I* have no qualms pointing out that
I find the substance of the above pretty insulting and uncalled for...



From: Israel Pickholtz <rotem@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 10:30:47 +0300
Subject: Pikuah nefesh & milhemet mitzva

I seem to recall learning that in a true milhemet mitzva no one is supposed 
to die so there is no issue of pikuah nefesh.
The source for that logic was the reaction of the people to the unexpected 
loss of life in the first battle for HaAi.  the very fact that anyone was 
killed meant that something was amiss.  Ergo under normal circumstances no 
one gets hurt so there is no pikuah nefesh.

Israel Pickholtz


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 22:53:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Random thoughts on the Rav's Essay

I had a couple of thoughts on the essay I submitted excerpts of in

First, it shows have R. YB Soloveitchik zt"l's (the Rav's) derekh
halimud (methodology of learning) was related to Brisk, but was not the
pure Brisk derekh. Pardon me for the sacrilege.

In R. Chaim's hashkafah (world-view), halacha's status as one's primary
system meant that halacha should only be understood within itself. There
is no appeal to philosophy, linguistics, or other external principles.
When one tries to resolve a halachic principle, one only appeals to
other principles and test cases.

So, while the Rav's resolution of the sanctity of the Jewish people into
eidah vs am was characteristic of Brisk's tzvei dinim (two laws)
approach, the means by which he did so was not. Perhaps the same netiyah
(inclination) that interested the Rav in philosophy as a major also
expressed itself as a need to find a priori basis for halachos.

Personally, I find this variant approach far more fitting to my own
religious needs.

Second, I wonder what would be the Rav's attitude today, in light of R's
acceptance of patrilineal descent as a factor in determination of
Jewishness.  A point the Rav makes is that R, by abandoning the idea of
Torah Misinai (that the Torah was dictated word-for-word by G-d to Moses
at/starting at Sinai), rejected the testimony, the eidus, which makes us
an eidah. However, as an am, a togetherness with a common past and
common fate, R still is counted in our numbers, and shares the sanctity
of Am Yisrael.

However, by drastically redefining who is a Jew, even the am-ness of the
R community becomes compromised. If the day (chas vishalom) comes that
we can not determine or assume the Jewishness of most given members of
the R community, would we be obligated to distance ourselves from them
politically as well?

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3492 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 17-Jun-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://aishdas.org>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Adam Schwartz <adams@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jul 1996 09:12:43 +0300
Subject: Thermostatic Control, Gramma, Processor Chips 

Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...> wrote
> Similarly (as was mentioned by someone in a
> previous post), to be consistent, you should then also not be allowed to
> open the door of your house (to go in or out) when the heater or air
> conditioner is not running (or close it when it is running), since that
> also affects the thermostat of the heating/cooling system.

I was wondering, at what point in chain of 'gramot' = causes, do we
consider the initial cause to be irrelevant.

How smart or complicated, does the chip logic have to be, to consider
the act of opening the door of your fridge to be unrelated to its motor
eventually turning on or off?  Because really, you're just opening the
door, the wind blows the warmer air into the fridge, which touches the
thermostat, which changes its chemical properties, which causes a
voltage change, which is interpretted as a temperature change in the
fridge, which then flips a whole set of transistors to activate the
motor.  (You can get much more granular and accurate than that.  I was
just trying to give an example of the long sequence of events that occur
before the motor actually turns on.)

This has ramifications to "smart homes" that 'thank' you for your heat
output when you walk in the door, that turn on lights for you when you
enter a room, that close window blinds automatically when the temp gets
too hot, etc.

Today, millions of transistors are packed into a single chip.  the
processing power/speed of these guys is huge.  But what is actually
ocurring are thousands of linked sequenced events in the time of a
millisecond.  You can't let the small size and incredible speed lull you
into thinking that not too much is going on in that chip.  At what point
in the sequence to we stop caring about the initial cause?

>From a different angle, you could argue that since the chips themselves,
at the device level, are subject to the probability equations of quantum
mechanics and not the determinism of classical electrodynamics, absolute
sequencing is really just a fiction.  Probability governs the outcome.

How does grama work in a probabilistic 'chain' of events????  Does
'grama' require absolute cause and effect sequencing or is there a
category of probablilistic 'grama'??

Another very interesting question is, which poskim today answer such
questions themselves?  Or does every Gadol defer to, rely on the experts
at Bar Ilan or Machon Lev, who can translate the science into halachic

(my unjustified? fear with that is, perhaps the scientist doesn't know
enough halachah to give an accurate translation and that the posek
doesn't know enough science/technology/engineering to get an accurate
one.  in the end, both sides may just be approximating or guessing, and
wind up forbidding something, just to be safe.)

Is it feasible that after some research that some posek would say that
all appliances that are based on chips with some specific architecture
are considered Nth level grama and are therfore (not) permissible to use
on Yom tov?  have certain chips been deemed OK for use on Yom Tov?

Anyone ever see the schematic of the grama-phone and can tell me how i
can go about getting it?

Anyone with firsthand knowledge of this process??  I find this a
fascinating topic.



From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jul 1996 09:11:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Women & kippot (was: vows & respect)

> From: <GERSHON@...> (Hannah Gershon)
>   Greetings --
>       I wish to respond to Anonymous, a woman who wears a kippah but
> wishes not to offend folks in the mainstream community.
>       I have chosen a similar path. I also daven with tallis (and
> tefilin), and I also keep my head covered. This was one of the toughest
> decisions I have ever made in my life. I agonized over it for about 20
> years before I finally realized that I just couldn't live with myself
> any more in that state of believing I *should* but not practicing what I
> believed.
> ...

 On a side note, I would like to add that Ms. Gershon's care and low-key
manner in choosing how to deal with an intensely personal (for her)
issue WITHOUT doing so in a manner that antagonizes (rightly or wrongly)
other people bespeaks an enormous sensitivity.  IMHO, *this* is an
example of what R. Moshe ZT"L was referring to when he discussed the
possiblity of women *sincerely* seeking to do Mitzvot (in that oft-cited
teshuvah)...  I believe that similarly, the rEST of the community must
begin to develop the sensitivity todeal with such deep seated feelings
in an appropriate and supportive fashion.



End of Volume 24 Issue 59