Volume 28 Number 39
                      Produced: Tue Dec  1  7:56:28 1998

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birkat Kohanim
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Compensation for Torah
         [Ira Kasdan]
DNA Testing
         [Mark Dratch]
Eruv Sefer
         [Yosef G. Bechhofer]
Escorting the Sefer Torah
         [I. Balbin]
How can a Rabbi Have a Contract--Compensation for Torah Learning (2)
         [Russell Hendel, Avi Feldblum]
         [Sherman Family]
         [Joel Rich]
         [Fred Dweck]
Using numerical measurement to supplement Common Sense approaches
         [Russell Hendel]
Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?" (3)
         [Mechael Kanovsky, Alexander Heppenheimer, Hillel Markowitz]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 09:11:34 +0200
Subject: Birkat Kohanim

As a Kohen, I am sensitive to some of the nuances related to Birkat

Unlike the Golah, there is no custom in Israel to thank the Kohanim
after Birkat Kohanim. The few people that do say anything are generally
immigrants from the Golah. The explanation for not thanking the Kohanim
- as I was told it - is that one does not thank a person for performing
a Mitzvah.

The fact that people do not thank the Kohanim in Israel may also explain
why I saw at least one Gadol who is a Kohen who did not wait for the end
of the Amidah before leaving the Duchan. As I understand it, the Kohanim
were required to stay on the Duchan until the end of the Amidah in order
to stop anyone from thanking them during the end of the Amidah
recitation - an action evidently considered forbidden during the
repetition. Thus, if no one would thank the Kohen anyway, there would be
no reason for him to prolong his stay on the Duchan.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Ira Kasdan <IKASDAN@...>
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 14:08:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Compensation for Torah

Regarding the question of receiving compensation for Torah
learning/study, see R. Leo Levi's "Torah Study: A Survey of Classic
Sources on Timely Issues" published by Feldheim (as a translation from
the author's work in Hebrew).


From: <MSDratch@...> (Mark Dratch)
Date: Fri, 27 Nov 1998 12:18:13 EST
Subject: Re: DNA Testing

For what it's worth in the discussion of the admissibility of DNA
evidence, the following is an intriguing excerpt from Sefer Chassidim,
no. 291.

"A case involving R. Saadia b. Yosef the Wise, concerning a person who
went abroad with his slave and brought with him much money.  His wife
was pregnant.  After a while, the master died, leaving behind his great
wealth.  His slave appropriated the money and claimed to be his master's
son.  When the baby son matured and heard that his father was dead, he
went to claim his money that the slave had in his possession.  He went
before the great scholars of the generation, but was afraid to open his
mouth for fear [the slave] might kill him.  He lodged with R. Saadia who
gave him food to eat, but the boy could not eat until he set the matter
before the rabbi.  He advised him to see the king.  He went and cried
and pleaded before the king and the king sent for R. Saadia to judge
this matter.  R. Saadia instructed [the son and the slave] to bleed into
a bowl.  He placed a bone from the father in the bowl of the slave, and
the blood was not absorbed.  He placed it in the son's bowl and the
blood was absorbed into the bone, because they were one body.  R. Saadia
took the money and gave it to the son."


From: Yosef G. Bechhofer <sbechhof@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 20:04:21 -0800
Subject: Eruv Sefer

Since Eruvin hve been a topic of conversation here, I hope you will
indulge me some self promotion of my sefer: "The Contemporary Eruv:
Eruvin in Modern Metropolitan Areas" availablle in Seforim Stores, and,
amazingly enough, at an extraordinarily discounted price, from
barnesandnoble.com at the url quoted below. This is a new, hardcover
edition, 122 pages, dozens of beautiful diagrams, published by Feldheim

Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer



From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 07:39:57 +1100
Subject: Re: Escorting the Sefer Torah

It is not just incumbent on the Golel or Magbia.  The Yerushalmi in
Yomah, Perek 7, Halocho 1 is the source for Acharei Hashem Elokecho
Teleychoo (after G-d you should go) from which the Rambam in Hilchos
Tfilla Paskens (Perek Yud Beis, I don't have Sforim at work) based on a
Gemora in Sotah (29b I think) that the Kohol have a specific requirement
to accompany the Sefer Torah back to the Ark. I know some of this only
because I have been looking into an issue that has been raging here in
Melbourne regarding passing the Sefer Torah back to the women before it
goes back into the Ark. I have been campaigning privately to a number of
Rabbis that simply diverting the Sefer Torah to *men* instead of walking
in a straight line from Aron to Bima is wrong. Don't get me started on
it now ...

Dr I. Balbin, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computer Science,
RMIT University, Building 10, Level 11, Room 12,
124 La Trobe St. Melbourne, 3000. Australia.
Phone: +61 3 99252803                                  Fax: +613 96621617
email: <isaac@...>  - http://www.cs.rmit.edu.au/~isaac/


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 16:31:51 -0500 (EST)
Subject: How can a Rabbi Have a Contract--Compensation for Torah Learning

There have been several postings over the last 10 issues on Rabbis Contracts.

* But it is well known that it is prohibited to take monetary compensation
          for Torah.

* It has been suggested that those who do take compensation
 -teachers,Rabbis - are taking "unemployment compensation" since if they
were not e.g.  busy teaching they could get some low paying job like a

* If that is true how can we have a "contract" for a Rabbi?

* While I am on this topic I would like to bring up the idea of Rabbis
earning a living (thru other means). About 30 years ago there was an
article in the front page of the New York Times about attempts at
Lakewood to make money thru real estate sales. Does anyone know what
ever happened to this "movement" and if other such attempts have been

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu

From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 06:55:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: How can a Rabbi Have a Contract--Compensation for Torah Learning

Russell Hendel writes:
> It has been suggested that those who do take compensation
>  -teachers,Rabbis - are taking "unemployment compensation" since if they
> were not e.g.  busy teaching they could get some low paying job like a
> waiter

Where do you get the assumption that "schar batala" - "unemployment
compensation" is valued against a "low paying job like a waiter"?

The same issue/question should apply to a religious doctor. My
understanding is that it is also forbidden for doctors to charge for
their "doctoring" and that their compensation is based on the same
principle of "schar batala". If so, does that mean that doctors and
Rabbis should get the same pay scale?

Avi Feldblum


From: Sherman Family <sherman@...>
Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 23:50:01 -0500
Subject: Klezmer

Question: Are klezmer & Jewish spirituality linked?

Does anybody know of a Jewish spiritual/religious connection between the
origin of klezmer music or is it strictly folk music of an area? This
information is requested for my friend, a very active person in the Jewish
community. Toda!



From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 15:55:05 EST
Subject: Re: Misheberachs

Strangely enough I think the issue is very much tied to the issue of
kavanah.  We need to analyze what a misheberach accomplishes. For
example, the Rav was against saying a misheberach with the text of
"mitpallim bavuro"(that we, or his family pray for him) because this is
an example of iyun tfila(just praying and waiting for hashem to answer)
which is not allowed. I've often thought that a gabbai's reading off a
list of people he doesn''t know when the provider of the name is not
there is not of great value. I was taught that the value is in the
charity or other mitzvot that one does in "honor" of the ill person that
they otherwise would not have done, and the request that the "payment"
for that act redound to the credit of the one who caused it(ie the sick
person). Alternatively the value may be in our own new realization of
how much this individual means to us and our loss at his

While a misheberach could signify these elements, all to often we're
left with the act without the meaning-its not a magic incantation La"d.

Kol tuv
Joel Rich


From: Fred Dweck <fredd@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 15:58:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Titbarechu

In a message dated 98-11-27 09:05:06 EST, Fred Dweck wrote:
> David Curwin wrote:
>  >So for a long time I have been trying to come up with an alternative
>  >response to "baruch ti'hiye". ("Thanks" just doesn't seem to cut it.)

>  The answer is "Titbarechu min hashamayim." (May you be blessed from
>  heaven) This is the response in the Syrian (and other Middle Eastern)
>  Community

Mordechia wrote:
>That is interesting; the Mishnah in Sanhedrin (18a) records that this
>was the Kohen Gadol's response to people who came to comfort him on the
>loss of a relative.
>HaMakor! http://www.aishdas.org/hamakor Mareh Mekomos Reference Library
>WEBSHAS! http://www.aishdas.org/webshas Indexing the Talmud, Daf by Daf

My sincere thanks to Mordechai. That may very well be the "Makor" for our
custom, and Thanks for the above sites. "Hazak Ubaruch!"

May I suggest that everyone, who hasn't yet done so, should bookmark the
above sites, as they are wonderful reference sources.

Fred E. Dweck


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Nov 1998 16:35:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Using numerical measurement to supplement Common Sense approaches

Seth Kaddish, V28n32, wrote about concentration in Prayer that
> So I am not really into the kind of "timing" that Russell Hendel
> wrote about. What is really needed is not stopwatches but common
> sense. When I pray, am I talking to God in a meaningful way?

Is that really true? Let us look at an analogy--diet patterns. Of
course, any doctor will tell you that the important thing is a COMMON
SENSE approach to dieting---variety and moderation are the
keywords. BUT, a good doctor will also take numerical readings--e.g. a
high blood pressure will suggest that perhaps his patients COMMON SENSE
dictates alot of salt. Thus the readings are used to guide the
discussions on common sense.

So to with prayer. Of course I agree that the real issue is "am I
talking to God in a meaningful way?". But like the doctor I will take
readings--timings of prayer and use them as a guide to diagnosis. e.g
Take the actual 3 chapters of Shma: If my patient is taking 2 1/2
minutes or more maybe he is suffering from emphasizing individual words
vs praying in phrases--so we should talk.  If his shma is only about a
minute maybe he is in a rush and thinking about what he has to do at the
office. If his reading is 1 1/2 to 2 minutes then he is normal.

I hope this clarifies my position--I also hope people like Seth will
begin to appreciate the SUPPLEMENTAL utility of using numerical timings
in discussing common sense approaches.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA RHendel @ mcs drexel edu


From: Mechael Kanovsky <kanovsky@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 10:39:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?"

>From: <CHIHAL@...> (Yeshaya Halevi)
>       Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...> notes that at the
>Akeida Yeetzchak was 37 years old and Yishmael was 50.  Even if these
>figures are not exact, the general consensus is that neither was a
>youngster at the time, but long past the age of adulthood.
>       That being the case, how could they be the ones referred to as
>"Avraham took shnay **na'arav** eeto?"  A naar is a lad, not a
>50-year-old or a 37-year old!
>    Yeshaya Halevi

The word Na'ar does not have to mean a youth it also means a servant or
a student. Yehoshua is also called a na'ar even though at the time he
was well into his fifties. By Avraham too the bigger problem according
to you would be Elazar who was even older than Yishmael (see the war
that Avraham fought against the four kings).  mechael kanovsky

From: <Alexander_Heppenheimer@...> (Alexander Heppenheimer)
Date: Wed, 25 Nov 1998 11:18:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?"

Actually, we find the word "naar" used in Tanach even for older people,
such as in Shemos 33:11, where Yehoshua (then 42 years old according to
most opinions, or 56 according to the Ibn Ezra) is called a "naar." If I
remember correctly, some of the commentaries there explain that the
Torah uses "naar" for someone who shows the qualities of a young person
(alacrity, and maybe a touch of heedlessness), regardless of their
actual age. Same goes for Rivkah, whom the Torah repeatedly describes as
a "naarah" even though the Midrash says she was only three years old -
because of her eagerness to assist Eliezer.

Kol tuv y'all,

From: Hillel Markowitz <hillelm@...>
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 22:57:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Were Yeeshmael and Yeetzhak "Na'areem?"

I have read that in this case (and many others) it is not a case of the
age but of the relationship of the two to Avraham.  Since they attended
Avraham as his servants, their relationship was that of a "naar" to a


End of Volume 28 Issue 39