Volume 25 Number 77
                      Produced: Thu Jan  9 22:11:41 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

2 Sins of Yissachar: An Addendum
         [Russell Hendel]
Prayer, Fasting and Hevron
         [Arnold Lustiger]
Rinat Yisrael Siddur (Re: v25 #61)
         [Neil Parks]
Shark's Cartilege (was Cheese)
         [Carl Sherer]
Sunrise, Sunset (was: Zip Codes)
         [S.H. Schwartz]
Terach Minyan (mj 25 #72)
         [Richard Schultz]
Zip codes
         [Arnold Kuzmack]
Zmanim: a modest proposal
         [Art Werschulz]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 1997 13:24:02 -0500
Subject: 2 Sins of Yissachar: An Addendum

I would like to comment on the rich set of Midrashic reasons given for
the pronunciation of Yissachar (which were nicely summarized by Rabbi

Opening up the Minchath Shai on Gen 30:18 we find that
1) The Remah states: "Yissachar: The whole torah: two sins are written and    
   only one is pronounced.."  (Ibn Ezra is cited as concurring also)
2) Summarizing a debate between the Radack and Rav Eliyahu we find that:
   "Because of the difficulty of pronouncing two similar consecutive letters
   (particularly if they are silibants!?) the Hebrew language sometimes
   silences one of them." (Examples are then given)
3) A check with the Konkordance shows that indeed ALL occurrences of 
   MCHTZRIM and YISACHAR confirm to this pattern. In other words, it IS
   the DOUBLE SILLABANT (tz,tz or sin,sin) that causes the silencing.

My question then is: Are we "permitted" to use philosophical/midrashic
reasons when the grammar is so clear? And are we permitted, (out of
doubt?), to pronounce the first Yissachar with two sins if the reasons
are so clear.  To augment the question I cite the Rav who once said: "If
you want to really learn Midrash and Rashi you must leave the turbulent
waters of philosophy and go to the placid waters of grammar?" In other
words, why not simply admit that pronouncing one sin follows a simple
grammatical rule, act accordingly and not cite Midrashim in the presence
of clear grammar.

Russell Jay Hendel, rhendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: <alustig@...> (Arnold Lustiger)
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 17:13:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Prayer, Fasting and Hevron

The recent discussion on the necessity for prayer/ fasting in response to
the situation in Hevron holds a strange dissonance for me.

Kibi Hoffman writes:

>For everyone to cometogether and pray for something they have to have
>at least enough consensus to know what they are praying for. The
>religious/nationalist group are really praying that Chevron should stay
>a Jewish city, which they view as essential both in and of itself and
>as an insurance to the safety of the rest of Israel. The
>non-religious/leftist group are praying for Peace and a withdrawal from
>Chevron which they see as essential both of itself as an amicable deal
>with the Arabs and as an insurance of Peace in the rest of Israel.
>I happen to be in the first group, but despite vehemently disagreeing
>with the "left" I don't think that there is any way of proving the
>truth of either side (even halachically). This is the realm of "pure"
>politics- just as both socialists and capitalists believe that their
>systems are the only ones which can function, so do the left and right
>in Israel.

Yehuda Poch similarly writes:

> Today, there is no such unity, even within the Orthodox world.  My
>shul is a bastion of the right.  The vast majority of the big name
>right-wing activists in the Toronto frum community daven at my shul
>(thought not quite all).  Our membership is a cross between bnai akiva
>and yeshivish, with a strong YU bent in the middle.  Our rabbi is a YU
>grad, and the son-in-law of Rav Aharon Soloveichik.
> And yet, we have four or five prominent members who are Peace Now
>supporters and vocally so at times.  I have yet to figure out how they
>reconcile the two positions, but somehow they do. But Hevron is likely
>to be seen by most people as a political issue, and thus, such a
>program will likely not generate the desired -- and necessary --
>Are there any suggestions as to how this can be overcome?

"We" are praying for x : "they" are praying for -x. Never in recent
history have the Jewish people encountered a situation as complicated as
this one.  What happens if Israel withdraws from Hevron? The
implications are terrible: a besieged Jewish community will be adjacent
to a large population of Hamas members/ sympathizers. What happens if
Israel doesn't withdraw from Hevron? With the tacit approval of the PA
police, there will be a renewed spate of suicide bombings throughout
Israel. Hamas has hundreds of teenage volunteers clamoring for the honor
of being the next martyr: the only thing stopping them is Arafat and the
PA police. And the only thing that forces Arafat's hand is the promise
of further territorial withdrawal. Yet, how far do we withdraw? What
happens when we can withdraw no more?

The Medrash discusses how the Amalekim disguised themselves as Canaanim
so that B'nei Yisrael would pray to Hashem for victory over the
Canaanim, ultimately leaving them vulnerable to the Amalekim in
battle. B'nei Yisrael instead prayed for a general victory, and hence
won the battle. Today, our problem is that we perhaps misconstrue the
nature of the battlefield: we really don't know who the enemy is, and
are praying for a specific outcome that maybe is not in our ultimate
interest. Is it possible that Oslo prevents a terrorist conflagration?
Perhaps Oslo forms the underlying basis of Israel's export based economy
- an economy that would explode into massive unemployment if
multinational firms would leave an internationally isolated Israel which
is constantly under international censure and internal/external threat?

I don't have the answer. I spend a half hour daily reading the news from
Israel, updated to the minute, on any number of web sites. The more I
read, the more confused I become. I can argue both sides of the Hevron
or Oslo issues equally convincingly.  We all yearn for the clarity of a
six-day war, or of 1973, when we knew who the enemy was and united we
could act, and pray, accordingly.

 From the midst of all the uncertainty, one fact has emerged: Hashem has
set up a situation which has no real solution. Prominent Rabbonim have
weighed in on both sides of the Hevron issue. The most preeminent of our
Rabbonim have expressed no opinion at all. What can our response be
under such conditions?

When Yaakov left the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever, he was bound for a
prolonged sojourn with an evil Lavan, penniless, and uncertain. At this
critical juncture, at a time of great personal doubt, that he introduced
the tefila of Ma'ariv . According to the Rav, the word "erev" or evening
comes from the root "me'arev": to mix up. Evening is a time of lack of
clarity. In answer to his prayer, Hashem appears in a dream with a
crystal clear directive how to proceed. Yaakov left Har Hamoriya at
morning ("boker" - from "levaker", to clearly distinguish,
differentiate) with a renewed sense of purpose.  "Vayisa Yaakov raglav":
according to Rashi, Yaakov's heart lifted his feet, and it became easy
for Yaakov to continue on his journey.

We must stop praying specifically for outcome x or -x.  It is erev: we
do not have the solution to this problem, and it is time to daven
Ma'ariv. As Yosef told his fellow prisoners: "Halo L'Elokim Pitronim".
We should simply pray for salvation, from whatever direction it may
come, leaving open the possibility that our preconceived notions
regarding the Oslo peace process or Hevron withdrawal may be
fundamentally incorrect.

Arnie Lustiger


From: Neil Parks <nparks@...>
Date: Tue, 31 Dec 96 12:48:20 EDT
Subject: Rinat Yisrael Siddur (Re: v25 #61)

>From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
>siddur, Israel's Rinat Yisrael, they've printed the one vowel with an
>elongated leg and the other with a shorter leg to be able to quickly
>distinguish one from the other.)

As I recall, this is the same siddur which puts an infinity symbol 
over some words.  What does that stand for?

...This msg brought to you by NEIL PARKS      Beachwood, Ohio    
 mailto:<nparks@...>       http://www.en.com/users/neparks/


From: Carl Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 22:32:00 +0000
Subject: Shark's Cartilege (was Cheese)

Akiva Miller writes:

> There is a big difference between non-Jewish milk and non-Jewish
> cheese which is not solved merely because most (or even all) cheese
> producers might use acceptable rennets. Namely, the federal
> government prohibits the use of the milk of any animal other than a
> cow (unless clearly labelled otherwise). That is the major (or
> perhaps only) argument to allow unsupervised milk.

I'd like to thank Akiva for writing this because he reminded me of an
issue that I've wished to raise since the summer.

This summer, I was on a trip to the States that included about ten days
in Boston.  Shortly before I got to Boston, one of the dairies
(non-Chalav Yisrael) had their hashgacha lifted because they started
advertising that they were adding shark cartilege to their milk.  (For
those who do not deal with such things regularly, claims have been
advanced in recent years that shark cartilege has an anti-cancer effect.
AFAIK there is no conclusive proof as to the efficacy of shark cartilege
as a cancer preventer or cure but this is not the place for that
discussion).  This raises couple of issues in my mind:

1. In light of the Boston incident I referred to, may we continue to
drink chalav stam in the United States in reliance upon the government
regulation (or at least those of us who rely on Rav Moshe Feinstein
zt"l's tshuva regarding chalav stam)? (Chalav stam is milk without a
special Chalav Yisrael hashgacha).

2. Does anyone know how the situation with the dairy in Boston was
resolved? My recollection was that they got the hashgacha back on the
basis that the shark cartilege was batel beshishim (it's presence was
nullified by the fact that there was sixty times as much milk in the
mixture as shark cartilege).  Can anyone confirm that?

-- Carl Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.

Carl and Adina Sherer


From: S.H. Schwartz <shimmy@...>
Date: Thu, 02 Jan 1997 21:15:09 -0500
Subject: Sunrise, Sunset (was: Zip Codes)

From: Steven Oppenheimer <oppy>
>Does anyone know if there is a program or book that will allow you to find
>the latitude and longitude of a city if you know the zip code?  This would
>be very useful in conjunction with the calendar programs that give
>information on sunrise and sunset times, etc.

The U.S. Naval Observatory Astronomical Applications Department has a
web site that gives you the whole deal.  Type in the city and state (USA
cities, sorry Aretzim) and get back the lat/long, -plus- sunrise,
sunset, and other astronomical data for a single day or the entire
(Gregorian) year.

The single day request form web page is at

The entire year request form is at

Steven (Shimon) Schwartz
With Rebecca, Forest Hills, NY: <shimmy@...>
NYNEX Science & Technology, Inc., White Plains, NY: <schwartz@...>


From: <schultr@...> (Richard Schultz)
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 1997 07:21:44 +0200
Subject: Terach Minyan (mj 25 #72)

The way I heard it was:

Yaakov was the first to daven ma'ariv.
Yitzchak was the first to daven minchah.
Avraham was the first to daven shacharit.

. . .so if you get up *before* shacharit to daven, whose example must
you be following?

(From a fellow member of our 5:45 am minyan)

Richard Schultz                              <schultr@...>
Department of Chemistry                      tel: 972-3-531-8065
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel       fax: 972-3-535-1250


From: Arnold Kuzmack <kuzmack@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 1997 00:52:49 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Zip codes

Steven Oppenheimer asks about relating Zip codes (US postal codes) to
latitude and longitude.  The US Census Bureau actually has a file
including this information that can be downloaded from the World Wide Web.
It shows the lat/long of each 5-digit Zip code (really the population-
weighted centroid).  The URL is:


Read the FAQ for information on data limitations concerning coverage and

Shavua tov,

Arnie Kuzmack


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 1997 09:20:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Zmanim: a modest proposal


Steven Oppenheimer (<oppy@...>) asked about a way of
finding latitude and longitude from zip codes.

There's a geographic name server, run out of the University of
Michigan.  The host name is martini.eecs.umich.edu; the port number is
3000.  So, from a command line interface, you would access the server
by doing
  telnet martini.eecs.umich.edu 3000

Using "help" gives the followwing:

  Data came primarily from the US Geological Survey and the US Postal
  Service.  Coverage includes all US cities, counties, and states, as
  well as some US mountains, rivers, lakes, national parks, etc.  A few
  international cities have also been included.

Frinstance, if I were to type in "Cranford, NJ" or "07016", I would
get the following output:

  0 Cranford
  1 34039 Union
  2 NJ New Jersey
  3 US United States
  F 45 Populated place
  L 40 39 30 N  74 18 00 W
  P 24573
  E 81
  Z 07016


  0 <city name>
  1 <county FIPS code> <county name>
  2 <state/province abbreviation> <state/province name>
  3 <nation abbreviation> <nation name>
  A <telephone area code>
  E <elevation in feet above mean sea level>
  F <feature code> <feature name>
  L <latitude DD MM SS X> <longitude DDD MM SS X>
  P <1980 census population>
  R <remark>
  T <time zone>
  Z <postal ("ZIP") code>

It should be a simple matter to write an "expect" script that, given a
US city-state or ZIP code, produces the latitude and longitude.  These
would then be presented to David Skoll's "remind" program, which could
calculate the appropriate zmanim.

It would be really spiffy to make a Web page that does all this.  
Even better: the associated cgi script would ...

(1) Look in a local (on the WWW server) database to find the latitude
    and longitude.
(2) Try the geography server.  If it succeeds, add the new latitude
    and longitude into the database. 
(3) If (2) fails (e.g., non-US site), prompt the user for the latitude
    and longitude, entering it into the database.

I have often thought about doing this myself, but laziness (and a
never-ending list of more important stuff) has always gotten in my

Any takers?

[If anyone does take this up, I'll be happy to add it to the mail-jewish
home page. Mod.]

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


End of Volume 25 Issue 77