Volume 28 Number 95
                 Produced: Tue Jul  6  7:02:37 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Computer vocalization of God's Name
         [Etan Diamond]
Direction of Prayer (3)
         [Eliezer Finkelman, Abe Brot, Menashe Elyashiv]
Electric timers on Shabbat
         [Moshe Feldman]
Mitzvah of Procreation
         [Ruth Tenenholtz]
Morid hatol
         [Gershon Dubin]
Operation Refuah
         [Hadassa J Goldsmith]
Standing for Kaddish
         [Michael Poppers]
Tefillin on Chol HaMoed
         [Moshe Feldman]


From: Etan Diamond <ediamond@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 14:37:58 -0500
Subject: Computer vocalization of God's Name

Someone who does not read this listserv asked me to post this.  Please reply
to me and I will forward the responses.  Thanks.

	I am working at Bell Labs this summer and my project has to do
with natural language processing. The language that I am working with is
Hebrew, and my present objective is to train the computer to vocalize
(supplement the nikkud for) Hebrew text. We use a mathematical learning
model which we train on a large corpus of vocalized text.  Our corpus of
choice was the Tanakh, because it is already available in suitable

	My question is on the issue of propriety. The text I am
processing contains the various names of God, including the
Tetragrammaton. None of this is printed out, so there is no possibility
of defiling the Name on paper. But are there any injunctions against
processing holy texts electronically? In particular, for the purposes of
vocalization, should I replace "Elohim" with "Elokim" and the
Tetragrammaton with "Hashem" throughout the corpus?

Etan Diamond, Ph.D.			<ediamond@...>
The Polis Center				(317) 274-3836
425 University Blvd., 301CA			(317) 278-1830 (fax)
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140


From: Eliezer Finkelman <Finkelmans@...>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 19:30:26 EDT
Subject: Re: Direction of Prayer

Ancient maps "face" east, just as Biblical Hebrew assumes that one faces
east.  Kedma goes foward to the east, the Yam HaAharon lies behind you
to the west, Teiman lies on your right to the south.  As long as the
best way to get ones bearings involves finding the sunrise, it makes
sense to "orient," to discover how to face east.

When the magnetic compass came into use, suddenly north became the prime 
direction. Then we reoriented our maps. 

Our language follows the technology.

Similarly, when the sundial best serves as a clock, we use Sha'ot
Zemaniot, which devide the daylight hours into twelve even intervals.
An hour means a twelfth of the daylight.  When someone invented the
mechanical clock, which could hardly measure variable hours, the hour
became what the clock could measure, a standard unit in Winter and



From: Abe Brot <abrot@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 05:15:55 +0200
Subject: Direction of Prayer

Eliyahu Teitz commented on my posting advocating praying in the
direction of the "great-circle" connecting your location and
Yerushalayim. Mr Teitz stated: "While the shortest path might be along
the great circle, that does not define direction". This is not
correct. The great circle is defined by a straight slice through a
sphere which goes through two points (your location and Yerushalaim) and
the center of the sphere. Since the Earth is nearly a sphere, this is
applicable.  The great-circle has the property of being the most direct
(shortest) distance between the points, without going below the
surface. This path has a very specific direction.  For example, from
Seattle, the great-circle route to Yerushalaim lies 19 degrees east of
north. Mr Teitz also mentioned keeping to the accepted custom and pray
to Mizrach.  I am not advocating changing existing customs, but many
poskim say that the prayers should be directed towards Yerushalayim, I
am giving my opinion how to do this while accounting for the fact that
the Earth is closely approximated by a sphere.  

Perets Mett also commented on my suggestion.  He says that "between two
points in general on the surface of a sphere there are TWO great
circles".  This is not correct!  There is only one way way to slice a
sphere through the three points specified above! Perhaps Mr Mett means
that the great-circle path has two directions, as every circular path
has.  For example, Seattle to Yerushalayim has a great-circle route
leaving Seattle at 19 degrees east of north and has a length of about
6700 miles along the Earth's surface.  The other direction is 199
degrees from north and the length of the path to Yerushalayim is about
19300 miles. It seems clear which path to follow! 

In summary, if it is indeed a mitzva to pray towards Yerushalaim, and
many authorities have said that it is, then we must throw out our flat
maps and flat-earth concepts and start thinking in terms of a sphere. A
short experiment with a globe and a piece of string will bring one to
the conclusion that the direction to Yerushalayim from Seattle is only
slightly East of North. Other locations in the Western Hemisphere will
give different results, but the principle is the same. 

[I suspect that there may be some semantic ambiguities here that are
causing people to make absolute statements in a place where it may not
be warranted. The question I see is "How is the halachik concept of
'towards [fill in here the correct hebrew/aramaic words used in the
sources people have quoted]' related to the issue of 'direction' in our
three-dimensional approximately spherical space". If you equate the two,
then you are clearly led to the conclusion that the shorter of the two
great-circle orientations is the correct way to be pointing. I am not
sure that everyone agrees that the two are equated. Mod.]

Abe Brot

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 20:00:45 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Direction of Prayer

In Petah Tikva - some synagogues face east and some face south.
Kaf Hahaim to O.H. 94/7 writes in the name of the Zohar Tikunim that in
east Israel one should not face west because it is called ahur (=behind)
and that is like other gods (=ahar). But outside of Israel easterners face
west. Is this followed? On reserve duty in the Jehrico area, when it was
in our hands I saw that the Aron faced west in the army bases.
BTW, when turning for Kabbalat Shabbat, as the custom of the ARI, one
turns west to the setting sun. As in our place, we turn 90^ to the right
to face west. In Jehrico, we did not turn at all.            


From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 14:54:16 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Electric timers on Shabbat

Ari Kahn wrote:
<<The Rov said that his understanding was in line with the Ramban
(Vayikra 19:2, 23:24) who said that the Torah prohibited certain
things on Shabbat because we must rest on the Shabbat, nevertheless
the sages of each generation are given the authority of applying the
specific prohibition. .... 
By the way the most extreme position associated to this is in the
Chatam Sofer (responsa 195 cited by Rav Chavel in his notes to the
Ramban (Vayikra 23:24) who insists that the person who breaks even
these types of laws on Shabbat is considered a Shabbat desecrater
from the Torah!

I understood (based on a shiur from Rav Lichtenstein) that what you
quote in the name of the Chatam Sofer is the simple pshat in the Ramban
himself.  The Ramban cross-references his commentary on "tishbot" with
his commentary on "kedoshim t'hiyu" and on the pasuk of "v'aseta
hayashar v'hatov" (in sefer devarim).  He develops the concept that the
Torah, in addition to many specific mitzvot, has certain catchall
mitzvot, the details of which are to be filled in by the chachamim or by
the individual himself.  Muktzeh is one example he gives.  According to
Ramban, abstaining from moving Muktzeh is a fulfillment of "tishbot"--a
Biblical commandment!

<<Given the understanding of the Ramban - this is not a case of
making a new gezirah, rather applying an old principle in a new case.
I really can not understand the logic in all those people who said we
can not make new gezerot - of course that is correct, but that does
not mean to say that we can not apply old principles to new cases.
All would agree that one can not ride in a car even though it did not
exist in the time of Chazal. Likewise, automation presents new
challenges. This may mean applying old principles in new ways. >>

When you put this issue in the context of the Ramban, I agree with
you since you don't really need chazal to create prohibitions; it's
enough that the gedolim of the generation make clear that it ought to
be prohibited under the category of "tishbot."  

However, to the extent you don't accept Ramban (which is a chiddush), I
would think that you need a gzeirah here to prohibit automation, which
is not like the case of riding a car ( which is a direct extension of
lighting a fire).

Your original post stated:
<<had chazal known about [electric timers] they would have
prohibited them, as they did work by animals and non-Jews (in
situations where the Torah did not prohibit the usage). ... As the
use of machines becomes more complex, it is easy to imagine a time
when due to complete automation factories can function on Shabbat
without any external input, clearly Chazal would have disallowed

 From a technical halachic perspective, prohibiting timers or automated
factories cannot be an extension of amirah l'akum (asking to a non-Jew
to do work).  At most, one could argue that the underlying rationale,
which cause chazal to prohibit amirah l'akum, would have caused chazal,
were they living today, to create a *new* gzeirah.  But that is indeed a
*new* gzeirah (unlike a car), where the rule of "ein anu gozrin gzeirot
me'atzmeinu" [we do not create new prohibitions in the absence of
chazal] should apply.  The case of Rav Lichtenstein's psak regarding
VCRs is inapposite, since he applied an existing gzeirah (uvdah d'chol).

Kol tuv,


From: Ruth Tenenholtz <ruthaifa@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 1999 11:19:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Mitzvah of Procreation

HaRAv Elon spoke about this mitzva in one of his Friday before Shabbath
talks on Israeli t.v. and said that the Torah indeed would not command a
woman to have children since this may be dangerous and the Torah would
not force this upon her. However, he adds that it is to the woman's
credit that in spite of the personal inconvenience and sometimes danger,
she chooses to have children and usually has many. This is one of the
instances in which woman proves herself to be indispensible to the
jewish people.  In the case of Hana and Shmuel the notion of prue urevu
also comes to the fore. here Hana clearly demands her right to
contribute her gene pool to the Jewish People and G-d relents and she
has a child. In fact, many children and the explanation here is that
Hana was willing to go to great length in having Shmuel. Therefore, G-d
rewarded her with other children. Perhaps this answers the question of
suffering in order to have a child.  Isn't it a matter of sahar- a
direct case of action/reaction or input/output?
 Ruth Tenenholtz- Israel


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 19:51:24 -0400
Subject: Morid hatol

>I have a grammatical problem in the davening. Some siddurim say 
>"Morid hageshem" and some say "Morid hagashem (kamatz)". According to
the nusach which says "Morid hageshem", why does it say "Morid hatal
>(Kamatz)" and not "hatal" with a patach? Thanks.
> Jack A. Stroh  <jackstroh@...>

Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky addresses this in his sefer on Chumash.  He says
to say hageshem because it's all one sentence with the following phrase,
separated only by a comma.  However, Tal is the vehicle for techiyas
hameisim, and therefore the phrase "mechaye meisim atah rav lehoshia
morid hatol" ends in a period.  Hence Tol, not Tal.



From: Hadassa J Goldsmith <orefuah@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 16:32:54 -0400
Subject: Operation Refuah

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From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 17:37:26 -0400
Subject: Re: Standing for Kaddish

 From the Project Genesis Halacha-Yomi mailing list, here's a
translation (excerpted from the new translation of the Kitzur Shulchan
Aruch by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger, published by Moznaim Publishing
Corporation) of Chapter 15#6:

6. Certain opinions maintain that it is not necessary to stand while
Kaddish is being recited. However, during every Kaddish which [follows a
prayer that is recited while] standing - e.g., the Kaddish after Hallel
- one should remain standing until after Amen; Y'hei Shmei
rabboh.... Other opinions maintain that it is always necessary to stand
for Kaddish and all other holy matters.

It is possible to support the latter opinion by comparison to Eglon,
King of Moab. [Judges 3:20] relates how "Ehud came to him... and Ehud
told him... I have a word of G-d for you, and [Eglon] arose from his
throne." If an idolater, Eglon, the King of Moab, rose for the word of
G-d, surely, we, His people, should do the same. Therefore, it is proper
to follow the more stringent view.*

* {The Mishnoh Beruroh 56:8 relates that the Ari zal would stand for all
the Kaddishim.}

Michael Poppers * Elizabeth, NJ


From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@...>
Date: Thu, 24 Jun 1999 15:25:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Tefillin on Chol HaMoed

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 
<< Since the mechitza runs from the front to the back, the two groups
cannot see each other.  The rav paskened that in this case, it was
not lo titgod'du.  As you stated davening in the women's section was
allowed. >>

I would like to add another qualifier.  It is well-known that many
poskim are against the Yom Tov Sheni minyanim in Israel because they
are public and therefore violate lo titgod'du.  This is the case
despite the fact that the place where the minyan is held (e.g.
Ponovitz Yeshiva) is not hosting an Israeli minyan simultaneously.

According to such poskim, even if tefillin-wearers sat on the other
side of a "front-to-back" mechitzah, there should be a violation of
lo titgod'du so long as the shul publicizes to its congregrants that
tefillin-wearers sit in the women's section.  The only solution would
be to have this arrangement de facto, not de jure.

Kol tuv,


End of Volume 28 Issue 95