Volume 28 Number 47
                 Produced: Tue Feb 16 20:19:40 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

DNA testing in Halakha
         [Saul Davis]
Faith and Trust
         [Alan Cooper]
Forgiveness in Judaism
         [Susan Shapiro]
Making Kiddush on Friday Night between 6 and 7
         [Steve Albert]
Response to Intermarried Couple
         [Shaya Goldmeier]
Response to Tragedy
Yiddish name Breindel (2)
         [Stuart Wise, Levkowitz, Ahuva]
Yiddish names
         [Leah Wolf]


From: Saul Davis <sdavis@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 20:04:27 +0200 (IST)
Subject: DNA testing in Halakha

I agree with Shalom Krischer that DNA can and should be used to verify
an agunah's husband's body and NOT used in the case of a mamzer so to
avoid a positive parentage test.

Recently there was some controversy surrounding the use of DNA in

The IDF Rabbinate does not use DNA testing to confirm the identity of
soldiers' corpses before burial. In one very upsetting incident it is
alleged that the body parts of one soldier were subsequently buried with
a different soldier's corpse. The IDF Rabbinate uses anthropological
testing which is based on a visual match of skin colour etc. It is
possible that the IDF Rabbinate is not willing to abuse a dead person's
corpse by taking samples. It was also alleged that the IDF Rabbinate
does not want to lose their monopoly on, and the mitzvah of, the burial
of dead soldiers. The outcome was a very traumatic incident for the
families involved. Can any shed some halkhic light on this problem?

Yishmeranu Hashem Mikol Tsoroh. Beezrath Hashem this should be a
theoretical discussion only and all soldiers should return home safely.

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Feb 1999 17:13:55
Subject: Re: Faith and Trust

Bill Handley <bhandley@...> wrote:

>What is the difference between faith and trust? Bitachon and emuna?
>I have heard several explanatios but they don't satisfy me.
>I have been told that where there is knowledge, you can't have faith.

This is an important topic in Jewish thought, so as you would expect, it
has given rise to many opinions.  Asserting a dichotomy between
"knowledge" and "faith" is not helpful as a starting point.  The
opposite view is just as valid: without knowledge, there can be no true
faith.  It all depends on whom you are citing.

The term emuna reflects two underlying concepts: acceptance of religious
doctrine, and belief that is confirmed by rational speculation.  These
two distinct senses of emuna are found, e.g., in Saadia's Emunot
ve-De`ot (usually rendered "Beliefs and Opinions," but more accurately
"Doctrines and Beliefs," following Professor Altmann).  The two senses
are expressed by two different Arabic words, both of which are rendered
as emuna in the standard Hebrew translation of the work!  Saadia would
like everyone to progress from the first kind of faith (acceptance of
doctrine) to the second (confirmed by reason), and he is followed in
this view by many medieval rationalists, perhaps the best known
formulation being Maimonides' Guide for the Perplexed, 1.50.

Other authorities deny that reason is essential or even necessary for
the attainment of "faith."  One famous statement to this effect is
Albo's Iqqarim ("Principles"), 1.19, which concludes, ". . . emuna
applies to things which we have not perceived with our senses at the
time of their occurrence, nor proved with our reason, but have only on
the authority of continuous tradition."  Albo's discussion of emuna here
and in the subsequent chapters is essential reading.

The relationship between emuna and bittachon ("trust, certainty") is
interesting.  I immediately thought of the Ninth Gate
(simcha="Felicity") of the anonymous ethical treatise Orchot Tsaddiqim,
which discusses nine matters in which one must have bittachon in God.
After enumerating them, the author declares, "bittachon is impossible
without emuna, as it is written, 'those who know your name trust
[yivtechu] in you' [Ps 9:11], for only those who know His great name and
recognize His might and power, who believe [ma'aminim] wholeheartedly,
are able to trust [livtoach] in Him.  For bittachon and emuna are
partners; if there is no emuna, there is no bittachon."  The author goes
on to explain that the First Commandment ("I am the Lord your God") is
an expression of the belief that is the first principle of Torah [rosh
ha-tora].  When he finally gets back to the main topic of his discourse,
he asserts: "One who believes [ma'amin] wholeheartedly, and trusts
[boteach] in the help of the Rock, has eternal felicity."

There is much more to be said on this topic, but I hope that these few
remarks will steer you in the right direction.

Alan Cooper


From: Susan Shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 00:23:33 EST
Subject: Forgiveness in Judaism

<< perhaps it's not wise to unilaterally and
 automatically be 'mochel' everyone who has sinned against you every
 night-this is perhaps something that great people might do-but I
 question prescribing this for all-if people know that they will receive
 forgiveness automatically,they might not hesitate to do things that are
 injurious to others >>

Not based on any halachic authority, but surely, it is our job to
forgive a person, because that is better than bearing a grudge, and that
doesn't give the other person PERMISSION to do what they did. Because,
if they "hurt" us in any way, they still have an avayra.  I don't think
the Mechila and the avayra cancel each other out.

They have the obligation not to do the avayra and WE have the obligation
to FORGIVE.  I see it as two separate, non-related entities.  Am I



From: Steve Albert <SAlbert@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:11:15 EST
Subject: Re: Re: Making Kiddush on Friday Night between 6 and 7

 Rachel Rosencrantz wrote:
<<For those of you who would point out that the hours of the day are
usually 1/12 of the daylight hours for day time hours and 1/12 of night
time for night-time hours, (my husband and I wondered about this), the
hours used to determine which the planets rule when are the 60 minute
hours, not daylight/dark hours.>>

Thanks, I actually had wondered about that.  Does anyone know the answer
to this related question: Why does our local time matter?  Specifically,
does one planet rule over the entire world for an hour, or does each
rule over 1/24 rotating across the planet?  What about daylight savings
time, etc. -- it doesn't seem to make sense that the mazolos would be
affected by legislation here determining time zones and the period for
daylight savings time -- so why does local clock time matter?

Steve Albert


From: Shaya Goldmeier <JGoldmeier@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 03:57:48 EST
Subject: Re: Response to Intermarried Couple

<< >>(1) IMHO means absence from the wedding ceremony and reception; it
 means not addressing the couple as husband and wife, nor Mr. and Mrs.;
 it means not sending any wedding gift; it means not participating in any
 way in any anniversaries or any other occasions which recognize the
 couple as husband and wife.  [ mj 28:42 ]<< >>

	Actually, this is a wonderful idea if you never want to give
them a chance to right their wrong.  This is a great way to hide behind
a halacha that has obviously been misunderstood and allows the poster to
avoid confrontation of "Kiruv."  The fact is it's easier to be angry and

	As it turns out, I have discussed this with my Rov, and the
halacha is that one may not attend the CEREMONY only.  The reception,
one should or could attend in order to maintain contact with the Jewish
side of the couple in order that complete rejection of the Judaism not
develop.  This is a hard thing to do.  It does not mean swallow your
tongue and be afraid that that someone will say "It's not PC to
disagree."  It means debate and argue respectfully and like a mensch all
you want.  BUT, with the intent of eventual KIRUV, not just anger and
frustration.  It means saying hello and letting them know that while you
disagree and are terribly hurt by their choice, you let them know that
they are still human beings deserving of basic respect.  If the poster
meant to imply this I apologize but it didn't seem so from the post.
This issue was raised by me to my Rav, because, we as frum Jews, have
this in every family.  But if one makes it sound like your hurt and
therefore cut them off, That's not halacha, just a bruised ego.

Shaya Goldmeier


From: <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 1999 00:28:44 EST
Subject: Re: Response to Tragedy

 From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
 My question is this: Aside from admonishing us concerning davening, 
 fasting and trying to be a better frum person, is there anyone who has 
 heard any insights as to why such tragedies are occurring? Are the 
 occurrences disproportionate to similar instances in the general 
 community?  Have we run out of zechusim? After all, nissim still do 
 occur.  What lesson can we be learned?

Here is my response to something of this type that I was sent-
I was sent the following-
 It is time for Klal Yisrael to respond!

 This Sunday, Erev Rosh Chodesh, the eve of the month of Shvat, has been
 declared a Yom Tefilla by leading Rabbonim and Roshei HaYeshiva due to the
 overwhelming rate of tragedies in our communities.  In order to strengthen
 everyone in Teshuva and Tefilla, repentance and prayer, many communal
 gatherings have been arranged. >>

My response-
Teshuva,tefilla,tzedakkah,etc.,are always good.
I do question,though,whether it's correct to say that there is an
'overwhelming rate of tragedies in our commmunities'.Of course,we would like
there to be none-and that even one would be too much.But things like sudden
death and accidents are not exactly new.Not long ago,there were many cases of
mothers dying in childbirth (which thankfully are rare nowadays) and cases of
children dying young from certain diseases and even adults dying at relatively
young ages.Have we forgotten things like polio,scarlet fever,deadly flu
epidemics,rubella,tetanus,typhus,whooping cough,etc.? Also-Is the rate of
'sudden death,cancer and tragic accidents' among the gentiles lower ?
The fact seems to be, that nowadays our lives are healthier and longer than
those of others in the recent past.Have we given thanks for that?Or are we
just complaining when new ailments arise to replace those that 'medicine' has
supposedly 'conquered'?Do we give thanks to Hashem sufficiently for every day
we are healthy and not in any 'accidents'?
I think teshuva and introspection are always called for-not only when a few
people die before reaching their 'four score and ten years'. 


From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Mon, 8 Feb 99 10:29:39 -0400
Subject: Re: Yiddish name Breindel

>From: Eliezer Finkelman <Finkelmans@...>
>Can anyone at Mail-Jewish help me with information about the derivation and
>meaning of the Yiddish name Breindel?

When I was looking through books on baby names, I saw in one (the name
of which I forget) that Breindel is a yiddishization of Bracha. It is
feasible, but I must admit your derviations sound more interesting.  I
accept the Bracha derivation for the same reason, it makes sense to me
that the yddish name Shprintze is derived from the spanish Esperanza,
Yente derives from Gentile (jahnteel), etc,.

From: Levkowitz, Ahuva <Alevkowitz@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 16:51:09 +0200 
Subject: Yiddish name Breindel

	"Breindel" in Yiddish means a flame ("Shalhevet" in Hebrew).
Perhaps it was first given for a girl who was born on Channuka?

	I don't know when such names became popular ("Kreindel" is a
crown = Atara, "Hinda" is a deer = Ayala, "Freidel" means happiness =
Aliza, Gila, Rina, etc.).  It may be that these name were Yiddish-ized
is Eastern Europe since many of the Hebrew versions remained as such in
the Sephardi countries.  I actually heard that the Yiddish name
"Shprintza" originated from "Esperanza" (sp?) which means Hope ( =
Tikva) in Spanish.

	Something to keep in mind is that very many of these name were
'invented' out of ignorance (people didn't know how to spell, or they
gave a name after what a ancestor was *called* rather than what that
ancestor was *named*.  Other names were purely original at one time.
(There is a story about the male name "Shneur" which was given when one
grandfather was name Meir, and the other Yair (or maybe Meir as well?),
so they gave the name "Shnei-Or" [two lights]).

	Anyway, this is a subject that I too, would like to get further
information on.  If anyone can recommend a good book or two which
researches the issue of Jewish names, I'd love to receive some leads!

	Ahuva Levkowitz


From: Leah Wolf <ldwolf@...>
Date: Sun,  7 Feb 99 17:04:41 PST
Subject: RE: Yiddish names

Since the subject of Yiddish names was brought up, I've got more
questions on the subject.   Did most Yiddish names derive from Hebrew
names or were they original names?  For example, was Hinda related to
Chana or was it really an "ayala" as is commonly used today?  Was the
name Hudus really from Yehudit or was it Hadas or neither one?  What
about Neche? Was it Nechama or was it a separate Yiddish name? 
Would love to hear from experts on the subject!
Thank you!


End of Volume 28 Issue 47