Volume 28 Number 96
                 Produced: Tue Jul  6  7:23:21 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

'Treading Water' during Prayer
         [David Schiffmann]
B'alma in Kaddish (2)
         [Michael R. Stein, AJ Gilboa]
Is Bilam a Rasha?
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Should working women do Positive Time Bound Commandments
         [Russell Hendel]
Sorbet - Dairy, Parve and In-between
         [Michael & Bonnie Rogovin]
Windows in shul
         [I. Harvey Poch]


From: David Schiffmann <das1002@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 17:22:52 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 'Treading Water' during Prayer


I have heard that if, during prayer, one says a wrong wrong, one can
'correct' the mistake by simply saying the correct word quickly enough

My question is, let's say you've just said a word in the 'amidah' [the
main silent prayer] that you think was incorrect, but you're not sure
what the correct word should have been.

for example, you might say:

"Baruch ata adonai eloheinu melech ha olam, hamachazir"

and then you realise that you are perhaps saying the wrong blessing.

According to the idea that saying one word quickly after the 'mistaken'
word means it's as if you hadn't said the 'mistaken' word, could you
simply say this mistaken word (in the above case, 'hamachazir') to
yourself again and again, until you work out what you should say next,
thereby 'buying time' (treading water, so to speak) to work out what you
should say - because if you were to stop altogether, you'd have to start
again (unless I am mistaken), and then you'd have said a blessing in

I look forward to hearing what the halachah is on this, and indeed if in
such a case there is something else one should do.


David Schiffmann


From: Michael R. Stein <stein@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 17:49:09 +0200 (MET DST)
Subject: B'alma in Kaddish

The question of how to pronounce the word "b'alma" which appears twice
in the kaddish, is fairly complex, and there are several considerations.

1.  The original discussion, and Art Roth's response, dealt with the
"s'fardi pronunciation" of this word.  By that I mean the pronunciation
called by that name in America and Israel, which has as one
characteristic feature that both qamatz gadol and patach have the same
pronunciation (ah), while chataf-qamatz and qamatz katan (for example, a
qamatz in a closed, unaccented syllable) are pronounced "aw".

2.  In this s'fardi pronunciation of the word, three interrelated
questions arise:

a.  Is the shva under the lamed a shva na' or a shva nach?
b.  Is the word accented on the last syllable (milra') or on
       the penultimate syllable (mil'el)?  
c.  Is the first qamatz (under the 'ayin) katan or gadol?

Since in Hebrew the qamatz in a closed, unaccented syllable is katan,
and a qamatz katan cannot occur in an accented syllable (the word "kol"
is the single exception) we deduce the following:

i.  If the accent is on the penultimate syllable (mil'el), the first
qamatz must be gadol, and the following shva must be na' (since it
follows a long vowel).

If the accent is on the last syllable, then

ii. either the first qamatz is gadol and the shva is na', OR

iii. the shva is nach and the first qamatz is katan.

3.  How do we decide among these three possibilities?  If you've
followed what I've written so far, it is clear that no FORMAL analysis
using grammatical rules will tell us which is correct.

4.  Even worse, the analysis I set forth in 2.  is based on rules for
HEBREW.  Clearly the word we're discussing is ARAMAIC.  Who says the
pronunciation/grammar rules are the same in the two languages, or that
my Hebrew based analysis even makes sense?  If there are any learned
Aramaic grammarians lurking out there, now is the time to speak up.

5.  Since formal analysis cannot take us all the way, we must turn to
the masoret, i.e. to "native" speakers of s'fardi Hebrew, and this is
the context of Roth's posting.  Those whose native accent is s'fardi as
I defined it above pronounce this word b'ALma (penultimate accent, shva
nach, and qamatz gadol.  More precisely, this is how the word is/was
pronounced in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Iraq and by those living in
the US and Israel and France whose origins are in those countries.

6.  On the other hand, in the ashkenazi edition of the Siddur Rinat
Yisra'el (which uses the sfardi pronunciation, indicates word
accentuation, and distinguishes qamatz gadol from qatan), the word is
written with qamatz gadol under the 'ayin and the accent at the end.
If Aramaic follows the same rules as Hebrew, this would force the shva
to be na'.

I have absolutely no idea how the editor, Rav Shlomo Tal, arrived at
this pronunciation, especially in light of his decision, communicated in
the Introduction, to follow the traditional "edot hamizrach"
pronunciations in other cases (like qamatz preceding chataf qamatz).

There is an edot hamizrach edition of this siddur which I have not been
able to find in Strasbourg.  However, the Siddur Patach Eliyahu, the
leading edot hamizrach siddur here, clearly indicates that the word is
mil'el (this siddur does not indicate kamatz katan).

7.  Michael Popper's remarks are off the point.  There is no a priori
justification for assuming that the word is milra'.  i.e.  no way of
deducing from abstract principles where the accent lies in this word.
His example from Washington Heights may be relevant to the ashkenazi
masoret for pronouncing this word, but is not relevant for the s'fardi

(The connection with what locals here in Strasbourg call Nusach Ashkenaz
and the nusach of edot hamizrach is much more complex than he implies,
and certainly does extend to the pronunciation of Hebrew or, for that
matter, to the actual words that we say).

8.  Two additional comments.

a.  The new Jewish museum in Paris has on display a Swiss machzor from
about 1300 that by chance is open to a kaddish.  The qamatz under the
ayin is marked with a small vertical line, that looks something like a
meteg, and could conceivably indicate the accent.  Obviously one would
have to study the whole machzor carefully to discover exactly what
system, if any, it uses,

b.  There is one other "tradition" we might consult -- the Aramaic
portions of the Tanach, in which the ta'amim indicate where words are
accented.  I recall checking this several years ago and, if memory
serves, found no occurences of the precise word b'alma.  I think I may
have found L'alma, with the accent on the last syllable.  What
significance does that have?

Mike Stein

From: AJ Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 16:09:34 -0700
Subject: Re: B'alma in Kaddish

> From: Yehuda Poch <yehudap@...>
> >On 14Jun1999, Art Roth replied:
> > > To my knowledge, everyone who pronounces this syllable with a qamatz
> >gadol and sh"va' nax also accents the syllable --- b"ALma' rather than
> >b"alMA' (capitals indicate accent). <
> Not me.  I pronounce the kamatz gadol-shva nach, and I emphasize the second
> syllable.  "be-ol-MA"

Too bad the editor didn't catch this confusing message. It is the qamatz
GADOL that is pronounced like patax and the qamatz QATAN that is
pronounced like xolam. Perhaps Yehuda's confusion is the result of the
use in many modern siddurim of an extended and bold-face qamatz for the
qamatz QATAN in order to draw attention to its exceptional
pronunciation. I may be wrong, but I believe it was first used in a 
siddur edited by Rabbi de Sola-Pool for the use of British and American
Sfaradim at a time when he felt that the oral tradition of this
distinction was in danger of being lost. It is also used in the popular
Rinat Yisra'el. In all cases, the LARGE qamatz is the qamatz QATAN,
pronounced "o". Now check out your Rinat Yisrael and see how the editor
thinks it should be pronounced. 

The particular case of b-`alma versus b-`olma has a few twists:
a. Is the qamatz in this word gadol or qatan?
b. Even if it is qatan (arguably NOT), is there a distinction in
pronunciation in Aramaic or is every qamatz pronounced the same, i.e.,

Yosef Gilboa

[I read the message as Yehuda saying that he viewed the word as having a
qamatz gadol, but pronounced the qamatz gadol as "o" not "a", but was
also of the opinion that the word is accented on the last character. 
Main reason I included the post, as I am not interested in actually
listing hoe each person on the list pronounces the word, is to caution
people against saying "everyone" or other statements of absolute
opinion. Usually when one does that, one is mistaken. Mod.]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 13:38:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Is Bilam a Rasha?

Rabbi Yisroel Ciner, in the Project Genesis parsha Insights mailing,
quotes Rabbi Isaac Sher on an interesting point.  Avaraham Avinu was
tested ten times and overcame them all to force himself to do what he
wanted to accomplish, serve Hashem, against all obstacles.  Bilaam also
was tested ten times and overcame all obstacles to accomplish what he
wanted, curse the Bnei Yisrael.

Both perservered and strove to overcome the obstacles that faced them to
accomplish their mission in life.

Who but a rasha would make it his mission in life to destroy the Jews.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 16:16:40 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Should working women do Positive Time Bound Commandments

I recently cited Rav Hirschs theory of which commandments women are
exempt from: They are exempt from periodically recurring symbolic
commandments whose purpose is to (symbolically) strengthen one against
forces in the outside world which threaten to lead him astray (the idea
being that women are not as involved in the outside world and don't need
these reminders).

Wendy Baker and Gitelle Rapoport asked (v28n86) "But what about today when
many women are in the workforce?" I actually had a similar conversation
with Rivkah Slonim who told me that she didn't prefer Rav Hirschs theory
precisely because it is not relevant today with so many women in the
workforce (Wendy's and Gitelle's question).

However after thinking about it for a while I realized that if we accept
Rav Hirsch's observations as accurately descriptive of those commandments
that women are exempt from then indeed, we would encourage women who work
in the workforth to e.g. go out of their way to these commandments which
she is only optionally obligated to perform. As a simple example a primary
reason for Tzitzith is to prevent sexual temptation (Nu 15:39). But if a
woman is in the workplace and exposed to these sexual temptations then she
needs these reminders also--hence she should wear them.

Another point: Michah Berger pointed out my omitting explaining why this
applies to PERIODICALLY RECURRING commandments. The answer is because
these commandments are only SYMBOLIC strengtheners against outside influences
--they are not actual acts (such as eg charity) that we do to prevent evil.
But then its the nature of symbolic acts that they are done periodically.

A final point: Josh Hoffman(v28n88) says "Look at all this confusion--why
not go back and say that women are exempt from positive time bound
commandments by Divine decree"--the answer is (As Rav Hirsch points out)
that there are too many exceptions to the rule (A Divine decree couldn't have
so many exceptions---rather, as I indicated, it is an attempt by Chazal to
formulate a unified hypothesis (similar to their attempt to formulate a
unified hypothesis to which birds are Kosher).

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA: <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi Is Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Michael & Bonnie Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 15:02:44 -0400
Subject: Sorbet - Dairy, Parve and In-between

I have noticed what appears to be a trend in the marking of parve foods
as dairy to which I invite comment and hopefully clarification.  My
understanding (feel free to correct me) is that a food which has only
parve ingredients but which is prepared on dairy equipment remains
parve, but (at least in Ashkenazi practice) cannot be served with meat
or cooked in meat pots.  For example, sorbet (not sherbet which is
always dairy, at least in the US) could be served after a meat meal,
even if it was prepared on equipment which had been used to process ice
cream and not kashered in between. Likewise, eating vegetables prepared
on meat equipment does not mean one must wait 1/3/6 hours before
consuming dairy, although one could not serve such veggies on dairy
plates with a dollop of butter (query as to, once cold, such veggies
could be served or processed on dairy equipment?).

Sorbets used to routinely carry a hechsher with no clarification
(generally, but not always, this means parve, unless it is obviously
something else).  Some companies (Kof-K) added a "DE" to denote dairy
equipment on some brands (e.g. Ben & Jerry), although that marking seems
to be replaced with a "D".  The OU marks Haagen Daz sorbet with a "D"
notwithstanding the lack of dairy ingredients (at least on the label).
Since sorbet is always served cold and cannot therefore affect the
dishes it is served on, and since it is not likely to be served with
meat, (a) what is the significance of a DE or D marking for those of us
who crave sorbet after a meat meal (aside from switching to brands
marked "parve"? (b) why would the OU or any other company use a "D"
rather than parve or DE.  Isn't it somewhat deceptive, especially in the
example given? (The OU never used the DE symbol and has a policy of
marking parve items made on dairy equipment as dairy.  OK and KofK use
or used to use the DE symbol).

Michael Rogovin


From: I. Harvey Poch <af945@...>
Date: Sat, 26 Jun 1999 22:49:01 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Windows in shul

How interesting to catch up to this subject when we had just discussed
it at our Shabbos table. The custom was generated, at least in part, by
Daniel (he of the lions' den) davening before a window.

I remember when the 'chapel' of the Hillel House in Montreal was
rebuilt, some thrity-four years ago, the aron kodesh was put into an
alcove, covering the window which had been there. The daily shacharis
and minchah minyonim moved to the library until someone had the wise
idea of checking with our LOR. It only took two days before we moved
back into the new chapel. It seems that, like facing Yerushalayim during
davening, windows in a beis tefilloh are preferable but not mandatory.

Thanks for bringing back those memories.

I. Harvey Poch  (8-)>


End of Volume 28 Issue 96