Volume 26 Number 25
                      Produced: Fri Apr 11  6:48:20 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alzheimer's disease and shul
         [Eli Turkel]
Alzheimer's patients in Shul
         [Evan Shore]
An internet shayleh - not for Purim
         [Carl Singer]
Davening Directions
         [Yaacov David Shulman]
Kicking ill but noisy man out of Shule
         [Carl Singer]
Mermaids (3)
         [Chana Luntz, Russell Hendel, Daniel Eidensohn]
Mikvah Location
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Parshas Zachor (3)
         [S.Z. Leiman, Joseph Tabory, Stuart Cohnen]
Parshas Zochor
         [Tzvi Roszler]
         [Richard Schachet]


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 14:31:25 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Alzheimer's disease and shul

   I asked this week Rabbi Zilberstein (Rabbi of Ramat Elchanan
neighborhood in Bnei Brak) about the problems with someone disturbing
the davening.  He said that on the spot his immediate reaction would be
that one could (gently) ask the person to leave the shul based on a
Chatam Sofer. He said he would discuss the issue in more detail in a
future shiur.

Eli Turkel


From: <JEDDA@...> (Evan Shore)
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 08:29:31 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Alzheimer's patients in Shul

 Though I have been only a reader of mail Jewish I feel I must respond
to Chaim Shapiro. My mother has Alzeimer's disease and it is imperative
for everyone to know that patience is necessary to help the individual.
 Anything else just causes further confusion.  I think we should all take
stock and realize true priorities in our lives and what we consider proper
decorum in schul.  If a person   wants to be in schul, as long as there is no
physical threat to himself or others what is the harm?  I hope that your case
is only an isolated one and is not indicative of other schuls.  People with
any type of disease or disability should be accorded the same kavod as any
one else.  For that matter these individuals need more kavod and more TLC,
sensitivity and understanding from those around him or her, the basic
components of any true mentsch.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 97 00:54:29 UT
Subject: An internet shayleh - not for Purim

If you sit down for a minute to figure it out, it's Shabbos for let's
say 25 - 26 hours at any given location on earth.  From the time Shabbos
starts in Eyr HaKodesh, Yerushalim, until it ends somewhere just East of
there, is somewhere around 49-50 hours each week.

My question thus concerns electronic communications, internet for
example, during this time period.  For example, sending to a mailing
list of people all over the world, or specifically sending email to /
through an area where it is Shabbos.  Or having a bulletin board or web
site open and accessible when it Shabbos somewhere -- even not where you


From: <Yacovdovid@...> (Yaacov David Shulman)
Date: Mon, 07 Apr 1997 04:56:40
Subject: Davening Directions

The topic of people acting in a disruptive fashion in shul has been
raised.  I'd like to mention a practice I saw in one shul that I've
never seen anywhere else.  During davening the Shmoneh Esrai, people are
facing in three directions.  There are those who face the direction of
the aron kodesh.  Others face due east, so that they are turned leftward
at a forty-five degree angle.  And still others face the same direction
as the other shuls in the neighborhood--which is facing toward the left
at a ninety degree angle to the aron kodesh.

It's a practice that I find disturbing.  I think of davening with a
tzibbur as everyone facing G-d's Presence in the same direction.  Also,
I find the whole sense of achdus vitiated by such a practice.
 And on a much more mundane level, kavanah is comparable to a state of
concentration that can be compared to that experienced when one goes to,
say, a music concert or a film.  I would certainly be distrubed while
watching an orchestra if right in front of me someone was facing

Does anyone have any experience with such a situation?  And can anyone
cite any sources, one way or the other, regarding this unusual practice?

Yaacov David Shulman


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 97 15:15:26 UT
Subject: Kicking ill but noisy man out of Shule

Chaim is rightfully disturbed, especially since this man presumptively
has no control of his actions.  A number of thought avenues follow:

1) How can we accommodate this person's desire to be in Shule without
disturbing davening.

(Presuming that he's going of his own choice, not that someone "thinks"
it's best for him, etc.)  I can speculate on alternatives depending on
his levels of awareness, etc., could he be brought into Shule during
kiddish (after davening) when the sanctuary is somewhat empty and his
noise won't disrupt davening - but so that he can get the feeling that
he is in Shule -- again, this person's level of comprehension is

Like the lady in a previous note who had cancer and was unable to go to
shule without riding -- the Halacha is clear that she shouldn't go under
those circumstances, but the question remains can the community help a
fellow Jew by providing her lodging close to the Shule or a Minyan at
her location?

2) What should we do about people who consciously make or cause noise,
by talking.  Would your Rabbi throw them out!  Admonish them
(privately).  Stop services (not for 5 seconds, but for a tedious 5
minutes until everyone feels quite uncomfortable.)

Carl Singer     <csinger@...> 


From: Chana Luntz <heather@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 23:13:43 +0100
Subject: Mermaids

In message <199704091100.HAA03349@...>, MIchael Broyde  writes
>A person mentioned to me that there were a series of midrash agadot about
>the kashrut of mermaids (I promise).  I have looked a bit for them, with
>no luck.  Has anyone seen any such midrashim.  (For a similar discussion
>about animals with human form, see Yerushalmi, Niddah 3:2).

I don't know if this is what the person was referring to - but have you
checked out Bechoros 8a - and the discussion of "dolphanim"?  The
gemorra is in the midst of discussion kosher and non fish and the nature
of their breeding habits - and it states that "dolphanim" breed like
people - and the gemorra asks "what are these dolphanim" and Rav Yehuda
explains they are people of the sea.

Rashi there explains that "people of the sea" means fish in the sea that
are half fish half person (ie mermaids) - and Tosphos adds that they can
interbreed with people!

Hope this helps

From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 21:42:16 -0400
Subject: Mermaids

Michael Broyde raises the issue of Kashruth of Mermaids.

Besides the Yerushalmi source that Michael mentions, another good
source(with references to other sources) is

	MALBIM: On Sifra, Lev 11:10---Malbim Footnote 80

Malbim makes an interesting phonetical correction to the Sifra and then

Talmud Bavli, Becoroth 8: --"Dolfinin"
		Rashi there--"Sea fish, half man and half fish"

Mishnayoth, Cilayim 8:5, and Yalkut on Numbers 19 (A man when he dies in
a tent)
		"A 'man'---and not creatures that resemble a 'man')
Russell Hendel, Ph.d, ASA
rhendel @ mcs drexel edu

From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 18:03:08 -0700
Subject: Mermaids

Michael J Broyde wrote:
>A person mentioned to me that there were a series of midrash agadot about
>the kashrut of mermaids (I promise).  I have looked a bit for them, with
>no luck.  Has anyone seen any such midrashim.  

Look at Bechoros 8a at the top of the page where there is a discussion
of dolphins. According to Rashi these are creatures who are half man and
half fish and are known as sirens.  This explanation of Rashi is based
on a text which is different than our current gemora. See the discussion
of the Aruch who had the same text as we and describes them as animals.
The legends of mermaids were common in Rashi's time in the Legends of
Charlemagne. They are also discussed by Plato. There is also a principle
that "whatever is found on land there is a corresponding creature in the
sea except of a Chulda (weasel). Chulin 127a, Yerushalmi Shabbos 14a.


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 08:47:25 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Mikvah Location

In v26n24, Martin Rosen asks:
> As far as tzniut is concerned, by showing up at the (shul-based) mikvah
> at the same time as men are attending mincha/maariv in the same
> building, certainly makes for much more visibility than would arrival
> say, sometime in the early afternoon when almost no men are ever at
> shul.  (Which all connects to another pet peeve: why do the designers of
> synagogue mikvahs so often put their entrances in the most indiscrete
> locations?  Are there no halachic guidelines on this?)

A practical guideline (and very useful thing to do!) would be to include
a dishes mikvah in the same location.  Then nobody has to know who's
going to do what.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: S.Z. Leiman <szlyu@...>
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 01:28:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Parshas Zachor

A brief response, due to constraints of time, to Mechy Frankel's query
about zaykher/zekher.

At least three separate issues need to be addressed:

1. Is there any Masoretic evidence for zekher (with segol under the
   zayin) at Deut. 25:19 (or, for that matter, at Ex. 17:14)?
2. How did the Gaon of Vilna read Dt. 25:19?
3. Who instituted the practice to read verses twice when in doubt? When 
   was the practice introduced? And for which verses?

Regarding issue 1, there is solid evidence for a minority reading of
zekher at Deut. 25:19 (and at Ex. 17:14, though less so). The evidence
appears in medieval biblical manuscripts, printed Tanakhs, and in other
writings (e.g., Redak, Sefer ha-Shoroshim; and R. Uri Shraga Faivush,
Minhat Kalil -- who rules le-halakhah that one reads zekher at Deut. 25:19
-- and whose sefer has an enthusiastic haskamah from R. Hayyim of

Regarding issue 2, there is solid evidence that the Gaon of Vilna read
zekher (not: zaykher) at Deut. 25:19. This, despite the testimony of R.
Hayyim of Volozhin that he heard the Gra read zaykher. (This latter
testimony is what led R. Moshe Sternbuch to label as "doubtful" the
tradition about the Gra having read zekher.)

Regarding issue 3, to the best of my knowledge the earliest authority to
whom the practice of reading a verse twice is ascribed was, in fact, the
Gaon of Vilna. The ascription appears in an essay written in 1832, but
not published until long after its author's death, in 1913. See
R. Zekhariah Yeshayahu Jolles, ha-Torah veha-Hokhma (Vilna, 1913),
p. 220. The verse, however, was not Deut. 25:19 (which all witnesses
agree he read only once); it was Esther 8:11. Later authorities who
instituted "double readings" of verses include R. Moses Sofer, R. Hayyim
of Volozhin, and the Hafetz Hayyim.

For fuller discussion, and more references than anyone will ever need,
see M. Breuer, Miqra'ot Sheyesh Lahem Hekhra (Jerusalem, 1990), and Y.
Penkower, "Minhag u-Mesorah: Zekher Amalek be-Hamesh 'o be-Shesh
Nequdut," in R. Kasher et al, eds., 'Iyyunei Miqra u-Parshanut (Ramat
Gan, 1997), pp. 71-128.

				Shnayer Leiman
				Brooklyn College

From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 15:21:22 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Re: Parshas Zachor

There is a discussion of this issue and its sources by J. Penkower in the
latest issue of "Bikoret and Parshanut" published by the Bible department
of Bar-Ilan University.

From: Stuart Cohnen <cohnen@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Apr 1997 20:38:21 -0400
Subject: Parshas Zachor

Mechy Frankel <FRANKEL@...> writes:
>Since there does
>not seem to ever have been the slightest doubt in any of the traditional
>historical and halakhic sources (any available codices, masorah, minchas
>shai, shulkhan arukh,..) that the correct girsoh is with a tseireih, my
>problem is trying to find a satisfying source for this custom.

If I may, I would like to add a question and an observation.

Question: Since we have a rule that correcting (or repeating) one's self
Toch K'day Dibbur (right away) negates the first utterance, why is

Observation: The followers of Minhag Frankfurt (such as K'hal Adath
Jeshurun in Washington Heights, NY, better known as Breuer's) do NOT
repeat at all, neither Zechar or the possuk.

Stuart Cohnen (<cohnen@...>)
The "Breuer's (KAJ) Pessach list is available at:


From: <TzviR@...> (Tzvi Roszler)
Date: Sun, 6 Apr 1997 17:09:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Parshas Zochor

Regarding Machi Frankels question of "zeicher"and "zecher", to my
recollection I have never seen that in Europe,nor in some of the chasidishe

                         Tzvi Roszler.   <TzviR@...>


From: Richard Schachet <lvrabbi@...>
Date: Fri, 28 Mar 1997 09:10:30 -0800
Subject: Transexual

I pose to you a very real question.  Althought I know what I will do, I
am looking to get a tradional interpretation from some of you.

A member of my congregation is in the process of converting to Judaism.
This member is very bright, committed and practises Judaism from
synagogue attendance to Kashrut.

This member is also about to undergo sex reassignment surgery.  What
this means is that the individual, in this case was born a male but has
always considered herself to be a female.  In a few months, prior to
conversion she will have the surgery which turns her, physically from a
male to a female.  She already has developed as a woman would except for
the "physical" redoing of the genetalia.

So here is the question - When I do the conversion, do we do it as if
the individual is male or female?

Since I regard her as a woman, my choice is to do it as a female.  Can
anyone come up with a law or suggestion for future situations?

Rabbi Richard Schachet
Valley Outreach Synagogue


End of Volume 26 Issue 25