Volume 26 Number 53
                      Produced: Fri May 16  6:57:36 1997

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Rabbi Rakeffet's remarks
         [Avi Feldblum]
         [Michael Frankel]
Hagbah - Further Query
         [Yisrael Medad]
Jewish Calendar in Emacs
         [Danny Bateman]
Megan's Law
         [Gershon Klavan]
Time of Ma'ariv on Shavuos night
         [Merling, Paul]
Time of service on eve of Shavuot
         [Akiva Miller]
Tumah v' taharah
         [Bill Page]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 06:55:12 -0400
Subject: Administrivia - Rabbi Rakeffet's remarks

The posting of the transcript of Rabbi Rakeffet's remarks have generated
a good number of replies. From some discussions with Rabbi Rakeffet via
some of the list members, it is clear that his remarks were from a class
with his talmidim, not from a public lecture. Rabbi Rakeffet will
hopefully be sending us a more public version of the remarks next
week. I would like to hold off in much of the discussion until then. I
will put together what comments I have received until now and send to
him, so as to help focus on the areas that people may wish to
explore. I'm looking forward to a good discussion on this topic next

There were a number of points outside the main focus of his discussion
that also generated responses. I will try and extract what I think is an
interesting general issue that is one I would like to see discussed on
the list. Look forward to that next week as well.

As a general rule: If something is a transcript of a "public lecture",
i.e. a lecture or shiur that is open to everyone and has been
advertised, I think it is appropriate if you take notes to send a
summary to the list if you think it is a subject of general interest. If
you have a personal relationship with the person giving the shiur, I
think it would be very good to have them review it before sending it in.
If it is a private shiur or discussion, it is very important to get the
persons permission before sending it to the list. Of course, if you are
the one giving the shiur, then you can submit it, I always appreciate a
good post.

Avi Feldblum
Shamash Facilitator and mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Michael Frankel <FRANKEL@...>
Date: Wed, 14 May 1997 22:44:45 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Chatafs

B. Best writes in a recent posting:
<On a related theme, I have seen the same word in different Chumashim,
one with a chataf patach under a resh (or sometimes a mem) and one with
a sh'va na.  The one instant I remember off the top of my head is in the
word "Va-y'mawr'ru" ..
 If this were in a siddur or other text I would say that the difference
is meaningless, but in Chumash, I would expect that there would be a
unique correct vowelization ...can someone shed light on the rules for
when a resh (or any other letter) gets a chataf-patach and when it gets
a sh'va na -- specifically in Chumash.>

As a simultaneous service and conscience stricken attempt to lower the
likely incidence of induced catatonia that dikduk related discussions
are known to precipitate in otherwise healthy individuals, I offer the
following executive summary up front. Alas, the bottom line is that
there are no real rules - though that hasn't prevented people from
attempting to discern them.

Warning: you are entering a snooze zone. Read on at your own peril.  The
simple fact is that there is no consistency at all in deployment of the
chataf between one ms to the other , or indeed within any single ms.
The most authoritative ms, the keser aram tzovoh which is likely the
very document pointed by Ben Asher himself and vouched for by the Rambam
in Hilkhos Sefer Torah uses the chataf more freely than many others, but
also not consistently.

Quite a number of chatafs appearing in early ms were dropped from the printed
Mikraos Gidolos, possibly because they were initially included in ms only to
emphasize a masoretic (Tiberian) pronunciation of the shivoh noh which was no
longer extant by the 16th century (except for the yemenites), e.g. while
many/most shivoh nohs within words were unvocalized, even if they followed a
long vowel, in the various circumstances when they were vocalized a shivoh noh
was generally pronounced as a very short patach, but before a gutteral was
pronounced with same vowel as under the gutteral (except when it too appeared
under another gutteral, in which case it got sounded as a patach again).

Basically , the Masoretes felt that a chataf under a gutteral letter was
required to distinguish the vocalized shivoh noh from the unvocalized
noch, but under a non gutteral its usage was optional at the discretion
of the individual scribe writing the ms.  Since these usages were no
longer generally observed, some of the chatafs associated with these
distinctions (i.e. they were initially inserted to call attention to the
fact that the letter required some care to properly articulate as a noh)
were dropped..  The very earliest masoretic related works, such as the
Dikdukei Hati'amim by A. Ben Asher himself and the Horoyas HaQoreih by
whoever, both explicitly reference the lack of consistency in deployment
of the chataf, ascribing its usage in various situations to be at the
discretion of "some scribes", with all the traditions accounted as

Some sense of the confused state of affairs here may be gleaned from the
Minchas Shai's brief discussion of some chataf rules in Bireishis
12:3.  He quotes rules he "found in the Masoroh" and also provided by,
amongst others, R.  Elyohu haMidakdek (Levitas), regarding the proper
deployment of the chataf in words with roots of b-r-kh (va-avorikhoh
mi-vohrakhekhoh) and a-kh-l (toa=92khalenoh) as well as words with
doubled letters (e.g. re-vavos, ha-rarom, va-yimoraru - the example
cited by the poster ), but then explains that he is going to ignore
(some of) them based on the testimony of some of the old ms, but
doesn' convey confidence in the correctnes of this position.

Thus the different printed chumashim today can and do display different
chataf usage, reflecting the underlying manuscripts which may have been

The choices made back in the 16th century by Mikraos Gidolos continue to
be reflected jn many chumashim while other editions, which approached
the task afresh, reconsulted with available codices, which didn't
necessarily agree with each other, and then made their choices.  Little
wonder then there is no uniform agreement.  Qoren seems, to my eye,
never to have met a chataf opportunity they didn't like, while on the
other asymptote, the new Breuer edition of the torah published by Mossad
harav Kook decided to resolve the "discretionery" chatafs, mostly under
non-gutterals, by systematically, and by editorial fiat, doing away with
almost all of them. As Breuer explains in a published appendix, if
they're all ultimately discretionery, this may be a cleaner solution.
Personally, while I admire very much the work Breuer has produced here,
I find it uncomfortable to literally stare at a photograph of a
preserved folio of the Ben Asher codex, helpfully reproduced at the back
of Breuer's torah, and see chataf patachs (e.g. in shiras Ha'azinu,
Divorim 12:10 where BA points ..yi-soVAvenhu yi-voNAnenhu) where Breuer
deliberately deletes them.

Anyway, sorry about that, but I didn't start this thread.

Mechy Frankel			H: (301) 593-3949
<frankel@...>		W: (703) 325-1277


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Fri,  9 May 97 16:56:59 PDT
Subject: Hagbah - Further Query

Further to the Hagbah query about pointing, is there any preference for
how many "amudot", columns, are to be shown while lifting up the Sefer?
 For some reason, I remember that the more the better and on one Yom
Kippur, the Sefer was light so I got up to 12.  Any sources?

Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia

[I'll let someone else send in the source, but I'm fairly sure the
answer to your question is "3". I think this is understood as 3 full
columns, so there may be parts of two additional colums partially
showing. Opening more than that is viewed as improper. I'm pretty sure
the Mishne Brura brings this down, I do not remember if it is in the
Shulchan Aruch. Mod]


From: Danny Bateman <danny.bateman@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 14:52:45 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: re: Jewish Calendar in Emacs

Does someone have the correct settings for Jerusalem?  BTW, 4 Iyar this
year is listed as Mother's Day and not Yom Hazikaron.

| Danny Bateman            Telrad Telecommunications    TX1 S/W Department |
| <Danny.Bateman@...>  Phone: +972-8-927-3408  Fax: +972-8-927-3487 |
| <bateman@...>         http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/6113 |


From: Gershon Klavan <klavan@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 11:48:58 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Megan's Law

Without making any comments about the necessity in today's society for
Megan's Law, the following halachic issue should be raised.

The Gemara has a limud:(I believe somewhere in Makkot) "VeNiklah Achicha
B'Einecha - Kaivan she-laka, harei hu KeAchicha" - That once someone has
received his punishment of Malkot, he should be treated like any other

Now, if this means that we assume that someone who has received his Malkot
can be truly considered a chozeir b'tshuva, would this apply to someone
who has served his prison sentence?  If so, then the issur of Lashon Hara
should definitely apply.

Gershon Klavan


From: Merling, Paul <MerlingP@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 97 14:46:00 PDT
Subject: Time of Ma'ariv on Shavuos night

           Geoffrey Shisler (vol 44:51) reports from a Poseik that we
should Daven Ma'ariv early on the first night of Shavuos in order to
fulfill Moseefen Meechol El Hakodesh(increasing the length of the
Sabbath or Holiday.) But is it really necessary to fulfill this Mitsva
with Davening Maariv early? Isn't it enough that we abstain from
Melachaa ( forbidden work) from before sunset? Also, I believe that
there is disagreement whether Moseefin Meechol El hakodesh is D'o'raisa
only for Yom Kipur or also for Sabbaths and other Holidays.  The
argument from the Gemara in Menachos makes alot of sense. But, Kvar Hora
Chochom - the position of the Taz has become the Minhag all over.


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 10:26:14 -0500
Subject: re: Time of service on eve of Shavuot

In MJ 26:51, Rabbi Shisler posted some very interesting comments about
the common practice of waiting until dark to start Maariv on the first
night of Shavuos. My feeling, based on the plain meaning of the verses
involved, has long been exactly as he explained it:

> The ruling of the Taz is based on the requirement that we must count
> 'seven *complete* weeks.' Therefore we must wait until the completion of
> the seven weeks between Pesach and Shavuot, before we can bring in
> Shavuot

Since it is the Torah itself which says that these seven weeks must be
complete, I had always presumed that the Torah is explicitly pointing
out that the mitzva of "addding from the weekday to the holiday" simply
does not apply to the beginning of Shavuos. That is, Shavuos, by
definition, cannot begin until the seven complete weeks are over.

On the other hand, what is meant by a "complete week"? Perhaps it means
a week which is not missing any of its days. If so, then we do not see
any requirement that the *days* have to be complete. And if the days do
not have to be complete, then what's wrong with beginning Shavuos at
sunset or even earlier?

Here's a new question, which may or may not be related to the above: Why
is there such an emphasis on performing the daily count at *night*? The
counting is done at night, *not* simply to do it at the first
opportunity, but because a counting done by day is lacking certain
essential aspects. If there would be an importance to the *day* being
complete, would it matter at which point during the 24 hours I did the

Akiva Miller
(the former <Keeves@...>, now at KennethGMiller@juno.com)


From: Bill Page <Page@...>
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 09:46:47 -0500
Subject: Tumah v' taharah

In a discussion a few weeks ago, someone stated that the Torah's
prohibition on touching the carcase of a pig was not in effect because
the Temple is not in existence.  As I recall, the statement was
something like "there is no prohibition on becoming tamei."  I told this
to someone recently, and he asked why, if that is true, are the laws of
niddah still in full force. I didn't have a good answer, so I pose the
same question here. Why are the laws of _family_ purity in a special

Bill Page


End of Volume 26 Issue 53