Volume 25 Number 44
                      Produced: Sun Dec 15 23:32:34 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Behind the hechsher "k"
         [David I. Cohen]
Different readings among the chumashim
         [Akiva Miller]
Giving directions on Shabbat
         [Jacob Levenstein]
Minyan on Northern Exposure
         [Joshua Cole]
Missing "Girgashi"
         [Al Silberman]
Obsessive Compulsive Behavior
         [Tszvi Klugerman]
Rav Soloveitchek's Chumash Shuir Notes
         [Russell Hendel]
Word pronunciation problem
         [Zev Barr]
Working Together and Compromise
         [Eliyahu Segal]
Yissachar/Yissaschar and Torah reading
         [Jonathan Katz]
Yosef vs. Reuven
         [Nahum Spirn]


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 10:10:03 -0800
Subject: Behind the hechsher "k"

Jay Rovner recently inquired if there is a source of reliable
information concerning the hechsher of Rabbonim who simply use the
non-copyrighted "k" symbol. We have found that the most extensive
kashrut information can be found in Kashrus magazine published by
Yeshiva Birkas Reuven in Brooklyn. Not only do they publish a
comprehensive list of who is behind all the proliferating synbols, at
their last count numbering 245, but they also investigate who is behind
those anonymous "k"'s. While they do not poskin on who is reliable or
not, they provide contact information and affiliation so that a local
Rav can make the appropriate inquiries to guide the community. They also
provide an extensive listing of mis-marked products, a serious kashrut
    Although I am not aware of their having a web site, they can be
reached for credit card orders at 718-336-8544, or at POB 204, Brooklyn,
NY 11204. Their info is a real eye-opener.
    You can also check the OU web site (www.ou.org) for other kashrut
info. Hope this helps.


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 14:34:12 -0500
Subject: Different readings among the chumashim

Recently, there have been several discussions about various differences
among the published chumashim. For example, in MJ 25:41, Gilad J.
Gevaryahu commented (on what David Herskovic wrote in MJ 25:33):

>>We discussed this in my Beit Knesset, and we noted that both Koren and
>>Redellheim have Reviyi, while Letteris (Spl?) has Azla on the word
>>"Katonti" (Breshit 32:11). I venture to guess that the dispute over
>>the correct ta'am over this word goes back to antiquity. I also noted
>>that some (such as Koren) count this pasuk as 32:10, whereas in other
>>chumashim it is 32:11. The different stems from counting pasuk
>>"va'yashkem Lavan ba'boker..." as 31:55 or as 32:1. I wonder if there
>>is a relation between these two masoretic differences?

There are several aspects to this whole situation which bother me agreat
deal. But before I start complaining, let me first praise something, and
my complaints will be clearer in contrast to that.

Many chumashim print a footnote to indicate unusual features of the
text. For example, when a word has dots over it, or a letter is
unusually large or small, there will be an asterisk in the text, and a
note in the margin will reassure the reader that this thing was done
intentionally, and was not a printer's error. These notes frequently
point out unusual trop combinations as well. This is a very good thing.

But it is also very incomplete. The vast majority of chumashim offer
absolutely no information about their sources and decisions. The only
information given by these footnotes is that it was done deliberately.
But WHO did it deliberately? Was it a learned individual who got the
same answer from three poskim? Or was it an ignorant (possibly even
non-Jewish) book publisher who is perpetuating someone else's mistake?
The questions raised above by Mr. Herskovic and Mr. Gevaryahu are not
highlighted in their chumashim by these asterisks. (Well, I didn't
actually check, but my point would still apply to other such questions.)
Mr. Gevaryahu is presuming that these are "masoretic differences". I
humbly suggest that one other the other might be a printing error with
no masoretic tradition whatsoever to back it up.

There are some scholarly works which investigate this sort of thing,
analyzing and comparing a wide range of texts. That's the sort of work
which I would like to see quoted when these questions come up. How can
one pasken from an ordinary chumash which lacks that information? Even
if we accept them as responsible and reliable (which I question, since
even the best of the best is *bound* to have an occasional typo), if
they have different readings, we are going to need additional
information in order to decide between them. The editors of each chumash
printed it that way for a good and specific reason. Unless my rabbi
knows what the reasons are, how can he decide which is more proper for

Summary: When we find different chumashim with different readings, I
don't see how we can simply follow the version found in the majority of
the chumashim in shul that day. Rather, I think we should ignore all of
them except the ones that explain themselves.

Isn't it ironic? The margins of every gemara are packed with loads of
variant readings, to help the student be sure of reading the gemara
correctly. But the vast majority of chumashim (i.e., printed Torahs!)
deliberately mislead the user into thinking that this is the one and
only correct version...

Akiva Miller
(now at both <Keeves@...> and at KGMiller@DatacorInc.com)


From: <levenstein@...> (Jacob Levenstein)
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 19:18:26 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Giving directions on Shabbat

> From: <eehrlich@...> (Ed Ehrlich)
> One of the arguments presented by the haredi representatives is that
> closing Bar Ilan street would make the route travelled on Shabbat by the
> secular only slightly longer.  If the actual issue was Shabbat, then the
> possibility of even a "small" additional Shabbat desecration would be a
> powerful argument AGAINST closing the road on Shabbat.

This reminds me of the various possible responses one can make when one
is walking on Shabbat and someone Jewish pulls over in his car to ask
how to get to place ploni. One response is to answer, "On Shabbat I
don't know how to get to ploni". I don't remember who used to say this.

There was a Rabbi in Jerusalem, the Umshenover Rebbe, zatza"l, who lived
in Bayit Vegan. Sometime during the 1960s someone Jewish drove into
Bayit Vegan on Shabbat, by mistake, and pulled over to ask the
Umshenover Rebbe, who was walking by, for directions. The Rebbe looked
at the people in the car and started crying with great feeling. The
people were so moved that they parked their car and didn't drive any
more on that Shabbat. They eventually became shomrai Torah
umitzvot. This story was told to me by Rav Aharon Rakeffet who heard it
from eye witnesses, residents of Bayit Vegan, who saw this event that

Rav Rakeffet also told me the policy of Harav Yosaif Dov Halaivi
Soloveitchik, zatza"l (The Rav). The Rav would try to tell the driver
what he felt was the fastest, shortest way to get to the driver's
destination.  The Rav felt that if one could not eliminate chilul
Shabbat that it was important to at least minimize the chilul Shabbat as
much as possible.

Jacob Levenstein
P.O. Box 4548 - Jerusalem
91044 Israel
Voice: +972-(0)2-5619006 - Cellular: +972-(0)50999466


From: <jcole213@...> (Joshua Cole)
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 1996 23:17:30 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Minyan on Northern Exposure

I have a friend that is writing a paper on the Northern Exposure
television show where the character Joel Flieshman needs a minyan but
there are no Jewish males in the community in which he lives so the
non-Jewish community comes to help help and be his minyan.  I think he
is more interested in the halachic validity of this and a history of the
minyan itself.

If you have any ideas or know of someone who might please email me back.

[I think it is completely clear that this has NO halachik validity, so
please do not send in posts saying that a minyan is only defined as 10
Jewish males. If someone would like to respond to the second portion,
history of minyan, or if I have misunderstood the question, please
respond. Mod.]

Thank you,

Joshua Cole


From: <asilberman@...> (Al Silberman)
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 1996 08:37:52 -0500
Subject: Missing "Girgashi"

In MJ V25n33 Carl Sherer <sherer@...> writes:

>This doesn't quite work.  The six nations mentioned in the pasuk in
>Nechemia 9:8, which we say every day in davening, are Cnani, Chiti,
>Emori, Prizi, Yevusi and Girgashi.  Yet, according to Rashi in Shmos
>33:2 (from the Yerushalmi in Shviis 6:2), the nation that ran away was
>Girgashi.  The nation which is missing from our every day davening is
>the Chivi.  At least some of the Chivi were the people of Givon, who
>deceived Yehoshua and the Elders (see Yehoshua 9 and especially Pasuk 7
>which says the Givonim were Chivi).
>I have now given a source which says that the Girgashi was the one that
>ran away, but I have not found a source yet as to why the pasuk in
>Nechemia skips the Chivi.

The Yaakov Emden siddur gives this as precisely the reason why it is
missing here. Since Yehoshua promised the Chivi that they can remain,
Nechemia couldn't ask for their portion as well.

The Likutei MaHarich brings down only the Yaakov Emden's answer to this
question so I assume it is original with R' Yaakov Emden.


From: <Klugerman@...> (Tszvi Klugerman)
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 1996 21:20:24 -0500
Subject: Obsessive Compulsive Behavior

Does anybody know any sources that "defend " (for lack of a better term)
Judaism against the Freudian claim that halacha leads to obsessive
compulsive behavior.


Tszvi Klugerman


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 19:20:10 -0500
Subject: Rav Soloveitchek's Chumash Shuir Notes

1) I heard the Rav give shuir for 7 years--4 of which were on Chumash
(Gen 2,3,4 and one other pereck). There are a variety of sources for
notes on these

2) Dr Steve Oren (who posted on MJ a few months ago) used to distribute
notes every week (more than Dr Lee Michaelson). Also a copy of his notes
wound up in one of the Graduate Harvard student apartments (I believe 64
Hammond street) but I don't know what happened to them.

3) My sister's Father in Law Rabbi Abraham BesDin has written a series
of books on the Ravs lectures.  He had a contract with the Rav and had
legal access to the Rav's tapes.  Many of the Ravs ideas are contained
in these books.

4) I wrote an articel PESHAT and DERASH: A New INTUITIVE ANALYTIC
APPROACH, which was published in Tradition Winter 1980, which contains a
focused group of examples many of which come from the Rav's shiurs which
I believe illustrates his methodologies.

5) I have a set of private notes (some of which were distributed to
friends)--from time to time I have posted on MJ some of the Rav's

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


From: Zev Barr <zevbarr@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 05:34:05 +1100
Subject: Word pronunciation problem

In reading the 2 recent questions about trop - 

>Subject: Trup Trivia: The Missing Segol
>Everyone knows that after every Zarkah is a Segol
>Where in Tenach do we find a Zarkah without a Segol following it.
>From: <mshalom@...> (Saul Mashbaum)
>Subject: Verse without an Etnachta

I am reminded of what I consider to be a far more important unanswered
question, one of lettering rather than musical notes. 

How does one read the first word of Bereshit (Genesis) 9:29?

In recent years, the Breuer Aram Zova edition has gained authority over
the Koren/Artscroll/Ashkenaz scrolls and there are about 13 differences,
nearly all minor with regard to pronunciation.  However, one difference,
namely this one, relates to actual lettering difference -

Does one say Vayehi or Vayihyu?

  ,-._|\   Zev Barr                        
 /  Oz  \  <zevbarr@...>  Member, Melb PC User Group.
 \_,--.x/  Phone 061 3 95236482, Fax 061 3 97732012


From: Eliyahu Segal <segaleli@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Dec 1996 20:17:33 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Working Together and Compromise

> From: Eli Clark <ECLARK@...>
> Note, however, that these rulings relate to dealing with a specific
> person with whom a relationship already exists.  In contrast, R. Eliezer
> Waldenberg holds that one should not give directions on Shabbat to a Jew
> who is driving a car, even though this may lessen the person's
> desecration of the Shabbat.  His rationale may be that, under those
> circumstances, there is very little possibility that giving directions
> would draw this driver closer to Halakhah.

My father told me that Rav Shlomo Zalman said that you should first tell
the person that it is shabbos today and then tell him the quickest way
to get their.  Could anyone confirm that?

Write to :


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 00:33:22 EST
Subject: Yissachar/Yissaschar and Torah reading

I have never understood how and why Yissaschar's name is read with only
one "sin". Regardless of the reason for the name change (that he "gave"
a sin to his son, or that the "sachar" alluded to by the first sin is
uncomplementary), the fact is that, in the Torah, the name appears with
two sins. We are always so careful the rest of the time to not mispronounce
one letter or vowel, and here we do it on purpose! (Kri-Ktiv is similar,
but the origin is masoretic. That doesn't seem to be the case here.)

If his name was changed, the Torah could have easily reflected that change.
Witness Avram-Avraham. In fact, I believe it is considered improper to
refer to Avraham as "Avram", but when we read in the Torah those portions
before his name is changed, we still read it the way it is written.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive - Room 233F
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: Nahum Spirn <spirn@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 11:27:28 -0600
Subject: Re: Yosef vs. Reuven

        In MJ #41 David Herskovic asks why do Chazal vindicate Reuven,
saying that he did not in actuality sleep with Bilhah, but vilify Yosef,
saying (with no apparent compelling reason from the text) he had
intentions of sleeping with Mrs. Potiphar?
        In Rav Zvi Hirsch Chajes's Introduction to the Talmud, he asks
this question on the Chazal regarding Yosef - not just Reuven, but *all*
tzaddikim in Tanach are generally vindicated by Chazal (to bring out the
idea of mitzvah goreres mitzvah, one mitzvah leads to another). Why is
Yosef the exception?
        He answers: It is no big deal to control your passion when you
are not turned on.  Yosef is called "hatzaddik" precisely because he
controlled himself *despite* having the desire to be with Potiphar's
wife.  Chazal are pointing to Yosef's greatness, not the opposite.


End of Volume 25 Issue 44