Volume 26 Number 31
                      Produced: Fri Apr 25 10:57:57 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Davening Directions
         [Malcolm Isaacs]
Hallel on the Seder night
         [Ken Miller]
Internat/Shabbat question
         [ELHANAN ADLER]
Is There A Connection Between Hebrew & English?
         [Jan M.L. Martin]
Matzah *Before* Pesach
         [Avram Sacks]
Mermaids, Sex Change
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Mushrooms (3)
         [Lon Eisenberg, Yisrael Medad, Yisrael Medad]
Pig was Born to Another Animal
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Selling Chametz twice?
         [Reuvan Miller]
Which way to Jerusalem
         [Micha Berger]


From: Malcolm Isaacs <malcolm_isaacs@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 10:32:29 GMT+0300
Subject: Re: Davening Directions

> From: <gershon.dubin@...> (Gershon Dubin)
>What I don't follow is why there are -3- options
> rather than the way the shul faces and east, assuming those are
> different.  What is the third?

If the shul is built in such a way that the Aron HaKodesh is in 
the corner of a square shul,  the seats may be laid out like 
(apologies for my lack of ASCII (or any other type of) artistic 

 \   /  /               \  \   /
   \/  /   / ------   \  \  \/
     \/   /  ------    \  \/
       \ /   ------     \/
         \     --      /     W
           \   ||    /       |
             \ --  /         |
               \ /        S--+--N
          Aron HaKodesh      |
           (Jerusalem)       |
(use a fixed font to view - it looks really bad in proportional 
type).  For simplicity, assume that Jerusalem is to the East (not 
East Jerusalem :-)

The Aron and Bima are at the front of the shul, and there is a block
of seats directly facing them.  But there are also rows of seats at
90 degrees to the walls, facing north east and south east
respectively - giving three clear different directions.  Because
each seat appears to face the Aron, people will in general not
bother turning to face the true direction of Jerusalem, whereas if
the seats were clearly *not* facing Jerusalem, such as in a standard
shul shul with the Aron in the middle of one of the walls (where the 
seats are parallel to the walls), people *would* (and do) turn 
themselves round to face the correct direction.

An example of such a layout is the Young Israel in Kfar 
Ganim, Petach Tikva.

I hope I managed to make myself understood here!



From: Ken Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 11:14:26 -0500
Subject: Hallel on the Seder night

I have recently heard that the custom of saying Hallel during Maariv on
the Seder night(s) applies only in the synagogue, and that if a person
has this custom but is praying at home for some reason, he would *not*
say Hallel. I have two questions regarding this:

(1) Is this true? Is it documented anywhere? I am quite used to the
phrase "Hallel is said in shul on the Seder night", but I had always
presumed that those words were used simply because many people typically
do go to shul on that night, not because it was a required part of the
custom. Is there anyone who explicitly writes to skip Hallel at home?

(2) If it is indeed true, then what are the reasons for this rule, and
how is it applied? There are several reasons I've heard for saying
Hallel at Maariv (the most famous being that it gives us the opportunity
to say the blessing "Likro es haHallel"), but those reasons make sense
whether one is in shul or not! What if one is in shul without a minyan,
or one is at home and *has* a minyan -- is Hallel said in these cases?


Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 9:20:19 +0300 (EET-DST)
Subject: Internat/Shabbat question

Further to the internet/shabbat question:

I have never felt there was a problem posting to m-j on motsa'e shabbat
here in Israel - even though I know it is "arriving" on Shabbat in the
USA - because I know our moderator is not going to look at it until his
motsa'e shabbat (or later).

I do not feel so sure about sending motsa'e shabbat email to a specific
non-observant jew (particularly one I know to be an "internet freak" who
checks his mail every few hours - day or night). Since I haven't seen a
clear psak on this question I usually delay sending such communications
until Sunday morning.

What about an in-between case: posting on motsa'e shabbat to an
automatic-distribution listserver. I belong to some groups with
thousands of addresses - some of these are probably non-observant Jews
(of course, I don't know how many read their professional mail over the

# Elhanan Adler                                                      # 
# Coordinator, Israel Inter-University Library Network               #
# Email: <elhanan@...> or elhanan@ram1.huji.ac.il          #
# Tel.: Haifa: 04-8240503, Jerusalem: 02-6585005, home: 04-8236875   #
# FAX.: Haifa: 04-8343441, Jerusalem: 02-6511771                     #


From: Jan M.L. Martin <comartin@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 11:43:24 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Is There A Connection Between Hebrew & English?

> From: <DaveTrek@...> (David Brotsky)
> A friend of mine was wondering about the relationship between Hebrew and
> English. I thought the list might be able to answer his question.
>  Is there some sort of connection between Hebrew and English?  The two
> alphabets start out pretty parallel (at least phonetically) but then
> fall apart.
>       A - Aleph  (match)
>       B - Beth   (match)
>       C - Gimmel (not really)
>       D - Dalet  (match)
>       E - Hey    (sort of close) 
>       etc.
[speculations deleted]

The Greek alphabet, from which descend the two branches in which all
European languages are written, the Latin/Etruscan and the Cyrillic one,
belongs, in its oldest form, to the North Semitic family. The
relationship between the letter names in Greek and Hebrew  is quite clear,
although the ordering is different and each alphabet has some letters
without equivalent in the other:
aleph - alpha; bet - beta; gimel - gamma; dalet - delta;  
zayin - zeta; chet - chi; tet - theta; 
yud - iota; kaf - kappa; lamed - lambda; mem - mu; nun - nu; samech -
sigma; pe/fe - pi/phi; resh - rho; tav - tau; 
Moreover, the oldest surviving Greek inscriptions have a right-to-left
direction, later followed by alternating lines L-to-R and R-to-L
(boustrophaedon, "as the ox draws the plow"), with finally around 500 BCE 
left-to-right becoming the accepted direction.

The Latin alphabet, which all Western languages adopted in one form or 
another, is descended from the Etruscan one, which itself is a
superset of the classical Greek one. 

Note that the present "square" Hebrew writing is actually derived from the
Aramaic one, as is the Brahmi script, the ancestor of those used on the
Indian subcontinent and indirectly South-East Asia.

For more information (this is a VERY long story), see the article on 
Alphabets in the Macropaedia of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Chag kasher v'same'ach,
dr. Jan M.L. Martin                 Senior Lecturer, Computational Chemistry
            Weizmann Institute of Science/Rechovot 76100/ISRAEL
FAX +972(8)9344142  Phone +972(8)9342533  E-mail <comartin@...>


From: Avram Sacks <Avram_Sacks@...>
Date: 15 Apr 97 13:18:09 
Subject: Matzah *Before* Pesach

I had learned some years ago that one should not eat matzah of any type,
including egg and whole wheat, during the 30 days that precede Pesach,
but we have been invited to someone who will be serving egg matzah on
the shabbat that PRECEDES Pesach, this year.  What is the exact nature
of the prohibition?  in terms of time frame (is it limited to just the
day of the first sedar, the 24 hrs preceding the sedar, the week, or the
entire 30 day period) and, in terms of what is prohibited (ie. is it
limited to regular plain matzah, or, does it encompass egg, whole wheat,
and even "Not-Kosher for Passover" matzah?  Is the prohibition minhag,
minhag k'halacha, or halacha.  Sources?  Thanks, and a chag kasher
v'sameach to all.

Avram L. Sacks        <asacks@...> 


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 97 22:44:47 PDT
Subject: Mermaids, Sex Change

I am not sure if anyone brought this source for the appearance of
mermaids in the midrash but Elijah J. Schochet in his book _Animal Life
in Jewish Tradition_, pg. 89, sites Sifra, Shemini 3:7 (ed. Weiss).  The
Hebrew word is "sironeet", apparently from the Greek mythological figure
siren.  It also occurs as "silonee/t" in Yalkut Shimoni, Levitucus 537
and Midrash VeYosha found in _Beit HaMidrash_ ed. Yellenik.

J. David Bleich has written about transexual surgery in _Contemporary
Halakhic Problems_ vol. 1 pgs. 100-105.

Name: Michael Menahem and Abby Pitkowsky
E-mail: <pitab@...>


From: Lon Eisenberg <eisenbrg@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 11:50:22 +0000
Subject: Mushrooms

About 15 yr. ago, Rabbi Pessin of Monsey told us about the problem of
mushrooms being grown in barley, and that they shouldn't be used for

Apparently, those canned mushroooms that are kosher for Pesah are grown
in something that has no possibility of becoming hamez.

Lon Eisenberg   Motorola Israel, Ltd.  Phone:+972 3 5658422 Fax:+972 3 5658345

From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 96 07:14:18 PST
Subject: Mushrooms

Regarding the mushrooms on Pesach discussion:

I spoke with Oren Kessler, owner of the Tekoa Mushroom Farm
in Israel (Tel. 972-2-9964718) and I hope the following represents
his response to the quote of Rabbi Blumenkrantz's words -
First of all, the Tekoa mushrooms are grown erev Pesach on cotton
But secondly, the mushroom is the fruit body of a fungus.  The grain 
spawn is the handling material.  Of itself, the spawn is a changed
substance.  Moreover, the so-called wheat straw is a celluouse material
after the wheat has been removed.  The grain material is cooked,
sterilized and innoculated.  Therefore, from the point of "chametz", it
is very altered, having undergone much microbiological activity.  Being
compost, if not totally inedible, it would certainly cause an adverse
reaction to anyone eating it.  The compost changes the grain material,
breaking it down and pasteurizing it.  In the case of sawdust, this material
is sterilized.
In his opinion, only mushrooms grown and produced during the Holiday
itself might sonehow present a problem.
He also used words like myceilium and spores which I won't throw in.
By the way, the mushroom is not the root, as noted, it is the fruit.

I hope this clarifies the issue.

Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia

From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 97 07:16:08 PDT
Subject: Mushrooms

Further to my posting of the reaction of Oren Kessler of
the Tekoa Mushroom Farm, I showed the material to my
next-door neighbor, Rav Nechemia Taylor, of the Bar-Ilan
Kollel.  A no-nonsense posek, his immediate reaction was
disbelief at the new p'sak.  He said that if one
can drink milk on Pesach that has been milked by a Goy
from a cow that has fed on chametz, what is the problem
with mushrooms?

Yisrael Medad


From: Israel Rosenfeld <iir@[]>
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 14:59:55 +0000
Subject: Re:  Pig was Born to Another Animal

> From: Eliyahu Segal <segaleli@...>
>  A similar question was asked to Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg
> SHLITA.  The question was if a pig was born to another animal would it
> be kosher.  I believe he said no because just because it is not born to a
> non-kosher animal doesn't change the fact that it is still itself not
> kosher

I'm sorry but IMHO either the question or answer was something else.

I quote:
Rambam - Laws of Forbidden Foods (Maachalot Asurot) 1:5
   A kosher animal that gave birth (in the presence of a human)
    to an apparently non-kosher animal, even if the new-born
    does not ruminate, has no split hooves, even if it is a horse
    or mule, it may be eaten.

Behatzlacha raba.



From: <millerr@...> (Reuvan Miller)
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 12:15:28 +0300 (WET)
Subject: Selling Chametz twice?

> From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
> If I have a house both in the states and in Israel and I have chametz in
> both places. If I will be only in one of the countries for pesach, say
> Israel for example, do I have to sell the chametz in both countries to
> two non jews or can I sell the chametz of both places to a non jew in
> Israel (through the local rabbi) knowing that the chametz will be bought
> back before pesach is over in the U.S. (a sort of cheftza gavra
> question).

I have a similar (altho different) question
My brother has just come to ba"H live in Eretz Yisrael. He has left an
apartment in the USA that he he be returning to "close up" after Pesach.
The Rabbi in the US told him to to keep 2 days Yom Tov because he is
coming back after Pesach and to sell his chametz through him so that it
will be bought back only after the second day of yom tov but to ask a Rov
here also about the 2 days.

My brother asked a Rabbi here who,despite the previous psak told him to
keep only one day because he already has decided to live in Israel and to
sell his chametz through him(although it was already sold thru the Rabbi
in the US.

Can anyone help me understand whats going on?

Reuven and brother Sam Miller


From: <micha@...> (Micha Berger)
Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 09:59:31 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Which way to Jerusalem

We face east, around 30deg from the aron.

But this brings up another question. On a map, Israel is South-East of
New Jersey. Using the shortest path on the surface of the globe, a Great
Circle, it is actually North-East (which is why you fly over England to
get there). The real shortest path would have a facing downward.

So, why do we face due East -- especially if the aron is slightly North
or South of it, so you can make an argument that you are facing both?

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3770 days!
<micha@...>                         (16-Oct-86 - 15-Apr-97)
For a mitzvah is a candle, and the Torah its light.
http://aishdas.org -- Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed


End of Volume 26 Issue 31