Volume 28 Number 04
                      Produced: Wed Oct 28  8:56:09 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Accessibility of Har Hazaytim
         [Joseph Greenberg ]
Ill who want to daven in a minyan
         [Ben Waxman]
         [Michael and Abby Pitkowsky]
Meaning of Yesher Koach
         [Robert Werman]
Names have meaning
         [Seth Magot]
Quick Shatz - Late Kohanim
         [Yisrael Medad]
Quiet while Learning
         [Daniel D. Stuhlman]
         [Danny Schoemann]
U.S. as a Judao-Christian culture
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Vitamins and kashrut
         [Robert A. Book]
Yasher Koach
         [Hershy Stauber]
Yesher Koach
         [Moshe Rappoport]
Yishar Kohakho
         [Saul Davis]


From: Joseph Greenberg  <jjg@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 10:10:13
Subject: Accessibility of Har Hazaytim

I hope (i"yh) to be in Israel in mid-November. I'd like to visit my
father's grave, which is located on Har Hazaytim, in the shadow of the
Intercontinental hotel (way at the top). For those that know about such
things, it is in the same basic area as the kever of Rav Unterman
(z"l). The question: on previous trips, I have called the chevra kadisha
to take me up there, as I was under the impression that most Israeli cab
drivers don't like to drive through those neighborhoods. (The guy from
the chevra typically carries at least a pistol, by the way). Is it still
"dangerous"? How do most people visit the graves today on Har Hazayitm,
when they are not in a large group?  Likewise, and I realize that this
is at least as much political as it is security-oriented, is it
considered safe to walk through the "rovah" (the Jewish Quarter of the
Old City) to the kotel? Are there times when this should be avoided (I
assume that at no time should an unarmed American wearing a kippah walk
unescorted through the shuk)?

Joseph Greenberg   Human Synergistics, Inc.
<jjg@...>  http://www.humansyn.com


From: Ben Waxman <bwaxman@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 09:22:35 +0200
Subject: Ill who want to daven in a minyan

Given that according to most(?) sources, davening in a  minyan is not
obligatory, should someone who has a communicable disease pray in a
minyan?  This is especially relevant if the sick person has a choice of
davening in a crowded minyan, such as a minyan factory, or praying by
himself somewhere.


Ben Waxman
Technical Writer, Foxcom
Phone: 972 2 589 9822
Fax: 972 2 589 9898


From: Michael and Abby Pitkowsky <pitab@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 98 23:17:11 PST
Subject: Judeo-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?

I think that one of the influential books promoting the idea of a
"Judeo-Christian" culture was by Will Herberg in his book "Protestant,
Catholic and Jew".  I think that the book was published in the 50's
or 60's.  Herberg was an ex-Marxist who later become an influential
liberal Jewish philospher and social critic.  His book "Judaism and
Modern Man" is a moving liberal interpretation of Judaism. 

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


From: Robert Werman <rwerman@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 16:01:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Meaning of Yesher Koach

In Vol. 28, #02, Paul Merling writes:

"May I conjecture that the Yesher Koach goes back to a time when
Yesher Koach meant something like the Sephardic Chazak (Be

It is likely that the yod-shin-shin of Yesher derives from the
root shin-resh-resh meaning to be great, to rule, be strong,
existant, implying that the meaning of Yesher Koahakha was
originally, may your strength be preserved.  Confirming, btw,
Paul Merling's conjecture.

__Bob Werman	Jerusalem


From: <magot@...> (Seth Magot)
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 08:27:19 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Names have meaning

Jay asked if names in the Torah have meaning - the answer is yes.  The
quick example that we read about this week is Isaac, which means 'laughing
one.'  So, if a name is mispronounced, then it is possible that the meaning
can be misunderstood.

Dr. Seth Magot
Computer Science/Information Systems Department
e-mail: <magot@...>


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 98 09:13:49 PST
Subject: Quick Shatz - Late Kohanim

We had a problem this past Shabbat.  The Shaliach Tzibur (Shatz) was
fast and quick and so by the time the Kohanim entered the Shul he was
already past Modim and into V'al Kulam but didn't yet say the Bracha.
One Kohen got up but the others stopped and retreated.

Since there are two "akirot" (removing one's feet in the direction of an
action) - to wash and from the washing, were they right to not go up?
Is there a specific Sefer rather than the paragraphs in the Mishneh
Brurah that can help?

(Our Rav, Elchanan Bin-Nun, is on a hunger strike as his son was
murdered last August at Yitzhar and wasn't available, so now I'm

Yisrael Medad


From: Daniel D. Stuhlman <ssmlhtc@...>
Subject: Quiet while Learning

 Andy Goldfinger wrote:

> I have a problem, and I wonder if anyone else out there shares
> it.  Simply put, I find it distracting to learn in a Bet Midrash.  

I, too, like to work and learn in relative quiet.  Here are HTC we have a
Bet Midrash and a quieter library reading room.

Daniel D. Stuhlman
Hebrew Theological College - Saul Silber Memorial Library
7135 N Carpenter Road - Skokie, IL  60077


From: Danny Schoemann <Dannys@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 12:38:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Respect

On 26 Oct 98, in Mail-Jewish Vol. 28 #02 , Maurice Liberman 
<mlib@...> wrote:  

> 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?

I look at it this way: You have to give respect as your obligation to be
a mentsch (besides for the numerous times when it's an explicit
commandment).  It's common decency to respect other people made in G-d's

On the receiving end: You must realize that it's not not *you* being
respected but rather G-d in who's image you are made who is being
indirectly shown respect.

A concrete example: A Torah scholar realizes that people are standing up
in honour of the Torah that he has learnt.

Sure it's a stumbling block - but it's one that we were commanded to
do. The same G-d who forbids putting stumbling blocks commanded us to
honour people and expects us to act with humility when being honoured.

- Danny
Danny Schoemann
MIS & Setup Coordinator - Accent Software International, Ltd.
28 Pierre Koenig St., POB 53063 - Jerusalem 91530 Israel
Tel +972-2-679-3723 Ext 273 - Fax +972-2-679-3731
<dannys@...>  -http://www.accentsoft.com


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 08:06:46 EST
Subject: Re: U.S. as a Judao-Christian culture

<< 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 >>

According to the history books, the original language of the U.S. was
supposed to be Hebrew, and Harvard has Hebrew on its seal. Contact the
American Jewish Historical Society in Waltham, Mass. (They are in the
process of moving to Manhattan, but that's ok) and they'll give you the

Jeanette Friedman


From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 01:03:52 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Vitamins and kashrut

I was wondering if anyone knows about the issues relating to Kashrut and
vitamin pills.  I am not looking for a psack halacha from the list, but
I can think of the following reasonable lines of reasoning, which lead
to different conclusions:

1.  Vitamins are generally taken for nutrition, not to cure an
    illness, so maybe they are more like food than medicine, and have
    to be kosher.

2.  Vitamins generally do not have any taste (except some children's
    vitamins and liquid vitamins; let's leave these aside for the
    moment), so maybe they are not food, and don't have to be kosher.

3.  Some people are told by doctors to take specific medicines for
    specific reasons, which are health-related but generally not
    life-threatening.  For example, pregnant and nursing women are
    often told to take folic acid and/or iron supplements.  Perhaps
    for people in these situations, vitamins are like medicine, and
    don't have to be kosher, even if this would not be the case for
    other people.

4.  If vitamins are in some sort of intermediate category, might we be
    obligated to check the ingredients but not demand full-fledged
    hasgacha?  If so, many brands of vitamins have gelatin in them
    (not as a vitamin, but as part of the pill).  If vitamins
    themselves don't have to be kosher like food, should we still
    avoid taking vitamins that we know contain non-kosher ingredients?
    (I know there are some people who hold that gelatin is kosher
    regardless of source -- but suppose you are not one of those
    people, or suppose there is some other unquestionably non-kosher
    ingredient.)  Does it matter if this ingredient is part of the
    vitamin, or is just there to hold the pill together?  Does it
    matter if it's less than 1/60th of the pill?

--Robert Book    <rbook@...>
  University of Chicago


From: <HershyS@...> (Hershy Stauber)
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 00:12:09 EST
Subject: Re: Yasher Koach

I remember reading somewhere that the reason for saying yasher koach to
someone who was just oleh is because of chazal's statement that "Torah
mateshes kocho shel odom," which means that the Torah weakens the man,
thus we bless him to increase in strength.


From: <mer@...> (Moshe Rappoport)
Subject: Yesher Koach

I once heard an explanation that since Torah Mateshes Kocho shel Odum, we
wish the Oleh a restoration of his energies. BTW, I usually hear it
Yasher Koiach(achu / achem).

Moshe Rappoport


From: Saul Davis <sdavis@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 1998 20:15:30 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Yishar Kohakho

The phrase yishar kohakho is pure Hebrew and the two words come from
roots that mean strength or power and, straight or righteous. Note the
spelling: yud(hiriq)-shin(pathah)-resh
kaf-vav(holam)-heth(patah)-kaf(qamats). The concept behind the phrase is
a blessing "well done" or more literally "you have used your strength

I know of only one classical source for the phrase and that is in
Gemorah Bava Bathra 14b. There Rish Lakish explains the phrase verse in
Devarim 10:2, "that you broke", to mean that Hkb"h (= G-d) insinuates to
Moshe "yishar kohakha" that you broke the tablets of the Ten
Commandments. Rashi there explains that Moshe broke the tablets on his
own initiative and G-d agreed with him and praised him for it. Rashi
does not explain the phrase yishar kohakha which suggests to me that it
was in common usage during Rashi's period. The meaning is also clear
from the context.

Jastrow in his "Dictionary of the Talmud" translates the phrase into
English: "may your strength (health) be firm", a phrase of approval and
thanks". I also have a very interesting book called the Hebrew Lexicon
of Phrases and Expression by Moshe Levanon (published Z. Zack, Jerusalem
1989) who also explains the phrase. Levanon writes as follows (my
translation): "Expression of blessing meaning: may your strength
increase, have strength and courage. Praise and thanks." He also quotes
the Gemorah and 3 Hebrew writers (Agnon et al) who use the phrase in the
same manner.

In answer to Paul Merling: 

Etymologically, yishar kohakho is definitely not Yiddish. I am fairly
sure there is no esoteric or mystical meaning to the phrase and it
simply means what I have written above. (Coming in contact with holy
should not dull strength - the opposite is true.) The phrase could and
is used in non-holy situation as "thanks" or "well done". As far as I
know the phrase is in full use in the Yeshiva and Hassidic world equally
and both inside and outside of synagogues large and small. Like most
practices it does not need a Halakhic source even for the Yeshiva world
to use!

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


End of Volume 28 Issue 4