Volume 28 Number 48
                 Produced: Tue Feb 16 20:42:34 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"With Love" in Birkhat Kohanim
         [Tszvi Klugerman]
Aiyan Hora
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Astrological Halachah (????)
         [Remy Landau]
         [Shaul Bacher]
Custom of not studying Torah on Christmas?
         [Marc Sacks]
Forgiveness in Judaism
         [Carl and Adina Sherer]
Forgiveness in Judasim
         [Richard Wolpoe]
Girls in the men's section
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Intermarriage and Federations
         [Claude Schochet]
Kiddush between 6 and 7
         [Danny Skaist]
Maternal lineage
         [Bill Bernstein]
Some obscure points on Forgiveness
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Tszvi Klugerman <Klugerman@...>
Date: Sat, 6 Feb 1999 23:30:46 EST
Subject: Re: "With Love" in Birkhat Kohanim

In a message dated 99-02-06 23:23:49 EST, Shmuel Himelstein writes:

<< One possible interpretation I've heard is that in His love for us,
 Hashem instituted the Birkat Kohanim.>>

Many years ago I heard from a Dr. Perry who used to teach in a number of
yeshiva programs for Americans in Israel a different understanding for
the Be'ahava in the bracha for birchat cohanim. It was based on a
midrash which told of a Rabbi ( I believe it was Rav Yosef) who heard
the Shem hameforash being pronounced and said that it sounded very
similar to "Ahava" which would explain the blessing as the commandment
to bless His nation Israel B'ahava - in His name.which is the essence of


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:26:00 EST
Subject: Aiyan Hora

	This is a question that has bothered me for a long time.  What
is the concept of an Aiyan hora?  The way it sounds from conversations I
have had from many frum individuals, it sounds like they believe that
the evil eye has some power which is outside of the pervue of G-d Chas
	As ridiculous as that notion sounds, lets look at this
reasonably.  Stepping over a child will stunt his growth.... Don't we
believe that a child's height is determined by G-d?  That according to
the Midrash the Malach is informed before birth as to the child's
height?  How then can this Aiyan Hara change that?  And if this evil eye
is so powerful, how in the world can spitting three times get rid of it?
	The same question can be asked about all Jewish superstitions.
Eating the end of the challah will result in having boys.  Why?  G-d
determines that (while allowing for tefillah to help).  What power does
eating the challah have?
	My thoughts on the subject are simple.  While there may be some
mystical connotations to some superstitions, (something which I still
dont understand) the vast majority developed as physical non spiritual
means by which intensly religous people felt they had the ability to
control their lives outside of the methods already prescribed by the
Torah and chazal.
	It is certainly easy to argue that people feel better about
their lives if they feel they can avert disators by spitting and
throwing salt.  It gives them a sense of control over G-d's plan, making
them much more involved in guiding their lives in a physical way.  A
comforting idea to be sure, especially when infant mortality and pogroms
are common.  



From: Remy Landau <rlandau@...>
Subject: Astrological Halachah (????)

Two questions...

1. Regarding red wine at Kiddush... any Kiddush... I'm rather surprised to
see what appears to be an unreferenceable astrological explanation as the
basis for at least one rather obscure Kiddush practice.

I had heard that certain prohibitions over the use of red wine were due to
the fears that arose over the medieval blood libel accusations.
Is that a possibility?

The unreferenceable astrology of at least one of the Kiddush customs gives 
rise to the next question.

2. The first day of Rosh Hashannah cannot be a Sunday, Wednesday or Friday.
It is commonly held that this rule, also known as "Lo Adu Rosh", is used
to prevent Yom Kippur from occurring on either side of Shabbat, and also to
prevent Hoshannah Rabbah from occurring on Shabbat.

Since Pesach is always 163 days earlier than the first day of
Rosh Hashannah, "Lo ADU Rosh" prevents the first day of Pesach from
occurring on either a Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

However, I have also heard that the reason Rosh Hashannah is prevented from
starting on either Sunday, Wednesday, or Friday is because these are

     "the days of the sun and his two stars (ie Mercury and Venus)"

and that the reason Pesach cannot begin on either Monday, Wednesday, or
Friday is because these are

     "the days of the inferior stars".

Can anyone explain what could have been meant by the above astrological
reasons, and perhaps, indicate any reference(s) which could have led to
these astrological reasons for the first days of Rosh Hashannah and Pesach?

|/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ Regards From  Remy  Landau /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/|
|\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/ Downsview, Ontario, Canada \/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\|


From: Shaul Bacher <sbacher@...>
Subject: Re: Be'Ahava

>From: Shmuel Himelstein <shmuelh@...>
>One of the areas that is worth discussing is the meaning of the word
>"Be'Ahava" as the last word of the Birkat Kohanim blessing
>("...vetzivanu levarech et amo yisrael be'ahava"). There is certain no
>indication in the Torah that the blessing must be given "in love."
>One possible interpretation I've heard is that in His love for us,
>Hashem instituted the Birkat Kohanim.


One short interpretation is that Behavah refers to that which we say in
the Amidah awhen we recite Sim Sholom. We say " Borcheinu ovinu kulanu
ke'echod". When do we receive the greatest Blessings from HaShem, when
we are all ke'echod with the true Ahavah and Achvah that should be
present amongst Klal Yisroel.


From: Marc Sacks <msacks@...>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 10:44:36 -0500
Subject: Custom of not studying Torah on Christmas?

A recent list, posted on Mendele, of Yiddish words with no Hebrew
equivalents included the following:

>nitl - The practice of not learning toyre on Christmas

Does anyone in mail.jewish know of this practice?  Is this an
East-European tradition created in fear of anti-Semitic outbursts, and
does it still go on?  I would think that Jews should not change their
religious practices out of respect for another religion's holidays.

Marc Sacks


From: Carl and Adina Sherer <sherer@...>
Date: Wed, 10 Feb 1999 00:47:36 +0200
Subject: Forgiveness in Judaism

<Phyllostac@...> writes:

> I believe that the 'Ribbono shel olam' printed in siddurim before/as
> part of krias Shma al hamita is of recent vintage,possibly of hassidic
> origin. I stopped saying it,for several reasons,some of which are- 1)one
> is not obligated and 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

The Mishna Brura in 239:9 cites a Gemara in Megilla 28 that says 
that it is proper (as part of Kriyas Shma al HaMita) "to forgive all 
those who sinned against him and caused him pain, and in this 
merit man lives long days." [Translation mine].

Bill Page writes:

> I agree that the blanket forgiveness (without being asked) of "anyone
> who angered or antagonized me or sinned against me" in the introduction
> to the bedtime shema is unusual (perhaps unique) in tefilla.  I'm not
> sure of the origin of this passage--it's not in some of my older
> siddurim.  The Artscroll siddur links the passage to Mishnah Berurah
> 239:1:9, which states that is meritorious to forgive and the reward for
> doing so is long life.  

See above. The blanket forgiveness is not unique. A similar 
passage is contained in the Tfilla Zaka that is said before or after 
Kol Nidre, and again by many before Musaf on Yom Kippur. The 
Artscroll Machzor brings down that the Chafetz Chaim specifically 
urged that the passage in which we grant blanket forgiveness be 
moved to the beginning of the tfilla in case people do not have 
sufficient time to complete the tfilla.

It should be noted that the text in Tfilla Zaka specifically excludes 
"someone who sins against me and says, 'I will sin against him 
and he will forgive me.'" [Artscroll Machzor Translation, Page 41]. 
So this is clearly NOT the Xtian concept of turning the other cheek.

IMHO all of this is consistent with MANY Jewish sources which 
speak about how it is bad for you if someone is punished on your 
account, and how if you daven for Hashem to punish your enemies 
your own actions will be examined more closely. Statements of 
blanket forgiveness strike me as being the mirror image of those 

-- Carl M. Sherer

Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for our son,
Baruch Yosef ben Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  
Thank you very much.


From: Richard Wolpoe <richard_wolpoe@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 10:06:21 -0500
Subject: Forgiveness in Judasim

Today's posting from R. Zelig Pliskin:
One concept that will make the most difference in the emotional quality
of your life is... the awareness that all the Almighty does is for your
benefit. There is no greater wealth than mastering this attitude. When
you reach this level, you will not be broken or become sad regardless of
how the Almighty sets up your life. You will accept whatever happens
with love.  (see Rabbi Chaim Zaitchyk - Maayanai Hachaim, vol.3, p.176;
Rabbi Pliskin's "Consulting the Wise")<<

If you accept all that happens, there is no reason to bear anyone a
grudge, because you see everytning that happens as beneficial.

I would hasten to add that this might require a very high level of
spiritual achievement to genuinely feel this way.

Richard Wolpoe 


From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 1999 14:09:32 EST
Subject: Girls in the men's section

	I have seen many young girls, up to age 8 or 9, brought into the
men's section by their fathers for the entire shabbos davening.  Two
questions.  #1 halchicaly until what age can gilrs be brought into the
men's section?  #2 Even if there is no halachic problem with bringing a
younger girl into the men's section, aren't those parents sending their
daughters the wrong message?  Are they not in fact telling them that you
are zocheh to be with us until a certain age, at which time you are
relegated to the other side of the mechitzah?  Is that the proper
chinuch message to send a young bas yisroel?  Chaim


From: Claude Schochet <schochet@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 1999 15:25:27 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Intermarriage and Federations

Two questions regarding the "halacha l'maaseh" of Federations in recent
years- (say, since 1995)

1. Are there any Federations that have held that marrying a non-Jew is a
bad thing for the Jews and should be discouraged? (eg, have tried to
encourage programming which projects this point of view, or have made
funding decisions based upon this idea)

2. Are there any Federations that have rules barring non-Jews from holding
positions of responsibility within Federation?

I will stipulate that "Jew" means somebody with a Jewish mother or who was
converted to Judaism according to halacha. I hope there are no arguments
on this list about that! :-) 

Claude (Chaim) and Rivka Schochet
Math Dept		04-834-6049 home (also works as fax)
The Technion		04-829-3895 office
Haifa, Israel 32000


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Feb 1999 13:58:35 +0200 
Subject: RE: Kiddush between 6 and 7

<From: Rachel Rosencrantz <rachelr@...>
<sure. Recently we had a Shabbos guest who requested that we make
<Kiddush before 6 p.m.  (or after 7p.m.).  He explained that according to the

According to my neighborhood Shaliach the current Lubavittch minhag is
to make kiddush on arriving home, even between 6 and 7 p.m.

If you wait to make kiddush (which seems to be the case here) you
shouldn't make kiddush between 6 and 7.



From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Feb 1999 09:47:50 -0600
Subject: Re: Maternal lineage

In a recent MJ someone wrote in about discovering his mother's family
was Jewish and how this would affect him.  Most if not all of the
responses unequivocally affirmed that this person was Jewish.  However,
once I mentioned this idea to a certain gadol who commented "many big
authorities hold that this business of 'the mother's mother's mother'
isn't perpetual.  If it were you couldn't walk in the street without
seeing a Jew."  I certainly do not mean to give psak halakha in this or
any other case, but to point out that the issue is not so simple and
requires a genuine sheyla.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Subject: Some obscure points on Forgiveness

Bob Werman raises the excellent question "What is forgiveness".

I am certain much will be said. I just wanted to add one short idea
which often gets overlooked: Forgiveness can be conditional and even
consistent with punishment. Here are some simple examples (from Jewish

1) Someone is careless in my house and breaks an expensive vase. When he
asks forgiveness I have a right to ask renumeration for the vase (and
only then forgive him)

2) According to our traditions (See Talmud Yuma) a person who violates
even a severe prohibition (like Shabbath or family purity) does have the
right to repent but our traditions teach us that forgiveness may have as
a prerequisite "suffering" which will "cleanse us from the sin". Indeed,
for certain sins "death" itself is a prerequisite for "forgiveness".

3) Forgiveness (See Rambam Repentance Chap 1) *intrinsically* requires
"regret" and "change of action". Here is a cute (Actual) story. A few
years ago there was one person who would always insult my laining. He
came over to me One Rosh Hashana and asked my forgiveness. I smiled and
said "Of course....PROVIDED the insults really stop". (The person a
short while later changed minyan from the one where I lain (so he could
control his great urge to attach me!! ..but the insults did stop..  and
he stills frquently heres me lain in other places). The point of the
story is I had a right to make the "forgivenss" "conditional".

4) Here is one I don't know the answer to: Reuven had been dating Dinah.
Shimon comes along and steals Dina, marries her etc. Shimon later asks
Reuven "forgiveness". My own opinion is that perhaps Reuven can make his
forgiveness dependent on God punishing Shimon for the anguish he caused
him {Perhaps this can generate some discussion}

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu
Adjunct Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science
Moderator Rashi-is-Simple


End of Volume 28 Issue 48