Volume 28 Number 02
                      Produced: Mon Oct 26 23:48:10 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Sheva Berachot question
         [Rachi Messing]
Grave Site on first Yarzheit
         [Menachem A. Bahir]
How do you change the meaning of a name?
         [Jay F Shachter]
         [Susan Chambre]
Learning in a Bais Medresh
         [Andy Goldfinger]
On The Akedah
         [Moshe Nugiel]
         [Maurice Liberman]
Sheva Brachot Benching
         [Asher Goldstein]
Wine in the middle of a meal
         [Barry Best]
Yesher Koach
         [Paul Merling]


From: <rachim@...> (Rachi Messing)
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 08:40:04 -0500
Subject: Another Sheva Berachot question

Having finished Sheva Berachot for my sister and brother-in-law last
night, we came up with a quick question.  The custom is that during the
sixth bracha, the person making the bracha stops when he gets up to Asher
Borah and Gila Reena, and everyone sings these parts out loud.  Then the
mevoraich goes ahead and says them himself.  How are you allowed to pause
in the middle of the bracha? Isn't it a hefsek?

- RM
Rachi &  Devorah Messing
2800 Damascus Court  Apt. E
Baltimore, MD    21209


From: Menachem A. Bahir <tjvmab@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Oct 1998 18:09:24 -0700
Subject: Grave Site on first Yarzheit

Is there anything special that is to be done at a grave site after one

Thank you Menachem


From: <jay@...> (Jay F Shachter)
Subject: How do you change the meaning of a name?

Any substantial errors committed in the Saturday morning Torah reading
must be corrected (the Saturday afternoon and Monday and Thursday
morning readings are repeated, so their freedom from errors is less
important).  We all know this.  We also know that a substantial error is
any error in vocalization or stress that changes the meaning of a word,
and any error in a consonant even if it does not change the meaning of a
word (like "kesev" instead of "keves", or "za`aq" instead of "tsa`aq").

Now for the question.

Yesterday morning, in the synagog where I worshipped, the name 'Uzal
(Genesis 10:27) was wrongly pronounced 'Ozal.  This is an error in
vocalization, not an error in a consonant, so it requires correction
only if it changes the meaning of the word.  The question is, How do you
change the meaning of a proper name?  'Uzal is a proper name.  Do names
have any intrinsic meaning?  I am inclined to say that the error was a
substantial one, but only because the name is repeated in I Chronicles
1:21.  If the name is mispronounced in Genesis, then it is no longer
clear that the person named in Genesis is the same person as the one
named in I Chronicles.  If the name had appeared only in Genesis and
nowhere else, I would be hard-pressed to assert, as a matter of halakha,
that calling the man 'Ozal instead of 'Uzal is a substantial alteration
in the meaning of the word necessitating correcting the Torah reader

And I'm not even one hundred percent certain that the error is
substantial in the case of a repeated name like 'Uzal.  After all, names
in Scripture fluctuate back and forth all the time -- Eliyah and
Eliyahu, for example.  And in the middle of II Kings, `Azarya abruptly
changes to `Uzziya without so much as a by-your-leave, like that time
during Hate Week when Eurasia changed into Eastasia in the middle of a
speech.  So I'm not all that sure that it isn't all right for me to call
the fellow 'Ozal in Genesis even though he's called 'Uzal in I
Chronicles, since it's pretty clear that he's the same fellow.  God
knows more confusing things have been done.  Try making sense out of
`Esav's wives, for example.

So what do you think?

			Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter
			6424 N Whipple St
			Chicago IL  60645-4111


From: <Smchambre@...> (Susan Chambre)
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 15:58:04 EST
Subject: Judao-Christian

Does anyone know where the idea of the U.S. as a Judao-Christian culture
came from and sources where the idea is discussed?

Susan Chambre


From: Andy Goldfinger <GoldfAD1@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 08:42:44 -0500
Subject: Learning in a Bais Medresh

	I have a problem, and I wonder if anyone else out there shares
it.  Simply put, I find it distracting to learn in a Bais Medresh.  When
learning alone, or with a chevrusah, I much prefer the quiet and
serenity of a living room or dining room.  Now I should say, I never
went to yeshiva and therefore I did not grow up in the Bais Medresh
environment.  Other people (my sons included) tell me that the
excitement of the Bais Medresh helps to inspire their learning.
Everything I read encourages me to spend time in the Bais Medresh as
this is the makom Torah (place of Torah).  Yet the noise and constant
activity seem to interfere with my ability to concentrate on what I am
learning, and the "excitement" seems to detract from the relaxed pace I
feel I need to understand what I am learning.

	I should mention that I am a person who dislikes crowds in
general.  I also seem to need time alone to a greater extent than other
people do.

	So -- is this a common problem?  Is there something wrong with
me?  Are there other people out there who share my preference?  Do I
remember correctly when I recall hearing the the Chazon Ish prefered to
learn alone in his room?  

	Thanks for your inputs

-- Andy Goldfinger
Please reply to: <Andy.Goldfinger@...> 


From: Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 22:58:10 +0200
Subject: On The Akedah

	It is said that the Akedah is a test of Avraham in that it asks
him to perform an act which is antithetical to his basic nature.  It is
said that Avraham is a man of chesed (kindness), and that killing is an
act which is contrary to that characteristic.

	I would like to offer the opinion that the test of the akedah is
rather a tikun (correction) for Avraham's demonstrated characteristic of
being able to spill blood.  Whether or not it is true that Avraham's
basic characteristic is chesed , it is certainly true that Avraham,
alone amongst the avot (forefathers), was a killer of men.  Unlike
Yitzchak, the man of gevurah(strength, who, when threatened by
Avimelech, retreats from confrontation; and unlike Yaakov, who is
continually trying to appease his many enemies, Avraham volunteers to go
to war against the four kings and to kill them.  This, in fact, is seen
to be an act of chesed on his part in that he goes in order to save Lot
and his family from captivity.  So we see that chesed and killing are
not contradictory to each other, but rather they are compatible, at
least in the person of Avraham Avinu.
	When Hashem orders Avraham to listen to Sarah and to get rid of
Yishmael, Avraham essentially sends Yishmael and Hagar out to their
deaths.  If he had wanted them to reach Egypt, or some other safe haven,
he could have sent them out with many camels and servants and provisions
to ensure their safe arrival.  Avraham was very rich.  Instead he sends
them out alone, with a bottle of water.  Just enough provision so that
they will die somewhere out in the desert.
	Avraham has blood on his hands.  He finds it too easy to take
human life.  Granted that these deaths were the will of Hashem.
However, he has demonstrated that he can kill if necessary, and God has
decided to show him that the killing of any human life is not a small
matter.  That God asks him to kill Yitzchak is not antithetical to his
character, it is basic to his character.  Avraham kills when God asks
him to.
	 In asking Avraham to kill Yitzchak, God is seeing whether or
not the previous killings had been done totally for His sake.  Avraham
passes his final test.  He demonstrates that his first priority is
service to Hashem.  In passing through this trial, Avraham grows and
achieves his final growth.  He learns that all human life is precious,
that all men are tzelem Elohim (made in the image of God).  Having
learned this lesson, he passes the fruits of it onto his descendants.
Yitzchak and Yaakov shun violence.  And although, in the course of our
history, it becomes necessary again to take life in order to perpetuate
the life of the Jewish nation, we all are heir to Avraham's tikun.  All
shedding of blood has the imprint of the akedah accompanying it.  We are
aware of the gravity of such an act.


From: Maurice Liberman <mlib@...>
Subject: Respect

I am troubled by the concept of humility.  If humility is a desirable
trait, and one is supposed to shun personal honour, why do we treat
others with such honour and respect?  Is that not like tempting others
to sin, or like leaving a stumbling block in the way?


From: Asher Goldstein <mzieashr@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 15:37:01 +0200
Subject: Sheva Brachot Benching

Apropos of the shaila on drinking wine at the sheva brachot/seuda shleshit,
which we almost made last Shabbat (Noah) for a young couple but instead
made as a kiddush/seudah sheniya, does one recite the Aramaic line in the
zimun, "dvei...," on Shabbat?  And why not if not?  


From: Barry Best <bb01019@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 13:08:07 -0500
Subject: Wine in the middle of a meal

A related question (just to keep the ball rolling).  I believe I have
seen that when wine is consumed in the middle of a meal where one has
already said Ha-Motzee, that a Boray P'ri HaGefen is still required.  Is
this how we practice for halachah L'Ma-aseh

-barry best


From: Paul Merling <MerlingP@...>
Subject: Yesher Koach

         I am sure that most people observe that in the large Orthodox
synagogues (and also by the Conservative) people give a Yesher Koach to
those who get an Aliye or open the Ark or get Hagbe or Gilela. Among
Chassidim the Yesher Koach which in Yiddish is the ordinary way of
saying "Thank You" is given only to one who is Oleh and makes either a
specific or general Me Shabeirich. In other words , Thanks for the
Bracha. When I was a youngster in the Yeshiva, I do not remember Me
Shabeirichs and Yesher Koachs. I would appreciate if someone would
report on the German and Hungarian Oberland Ashkenazik custom. I
understand that the Sephardic custom is to give a "Chazak Ubaruch" to
those who are Oleh. Maybe someone knows the source for the Minhag in
large synagogues.
        May I conjecture that the Yesher Koach goes back to a time when
Yesher Koach meant something like the Sephardic Chazak (Be
strengthened.) In other words that one may have been weakened or harmed
(we would say Ginizikt) by contact with the Holy while not being worthy
of such closeness.  The Yeshiva world which needed a specific Halachik
source in order to continue a Minhag, discarded the practice. Chassidim
despite their reverent attitude towards old Minhagim would say "Kirvas
Elokim Le Tov/ It's good to be close to Hashem and could find no meaning
in such a custom. They continued the old custom only as a Thank You when
the Oleh had blessed them.

        As appealing as this conjecture is, my heart tells me that the
custom of the large synagogues is not very old, and that it came out of
a misunderstanding. People who no longer spoke or understood Yiddish
remembered the custom of giving Yesher Koach to an Oleh, but did not
understand it's purpose. They thought that it was some kind of
ritualistic greeting to someone who had an honor in Shul, and then
expanded it to the weekdays, Mincha Shabbos etc. I would like to be
shown to be mistaken.  Minhag Israel is Torah and is holy.
       Yesher Koach/Chazak Ubaruch. May you go from strength to strength in
spreading Torah and Yiddishkeit.    


End of Volume 28 Issue 2