Volume 28 Number 97
                 Produced: Tue Jul  6 20:31:11 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An explanation of "Who did not make me a woman" based on Caring
         [Russell Hendel]
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Citation for ein simcha k'hatarat hasafek
         [Reuven Miller]
Distinction of Aleph and Ayin
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Fish Blood
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Following the Zohar
         [Isaac A Zlochower]
Name - Amissa
         [Sanford R. Silverstein]
Tfillot in Australia
         [The Houminer Family]
Vered as a name
         [Roger & Naomi Kingsley]
Yom Tov Sheni
         [Zvi Weiss]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 16:20:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: An explanation of "Who did not make me a woman" based on Caring

The issue of the blessing "Who has not made me a woman" came up in
v28n88.  I just wanted to repeat a possible explanation of mine that was
published on the email group Torah-Forum about a year ago.

The blessing "Who has not made me a woman" occurs in a context of other
blessings that help disabled people: "Who openeth the blind", "Who closeth
the naked", "Who releaseth the imprisoned".  Thus the CONTEXT suggests
that all these blessings were instituted to remind me of my obligation
to help people who are not as well off as me. If I see a naked, imprisoned,
or blind person I should bless God that I can help them. Similarly if I see
women who tend to get picked on in the workplace more than men
(even today!) then I should thank God that I can help them.

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


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Jun 1999 13:51:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Astrology

> From: cp <chips@...>
> I have heard from several sources that Astrology may very well have not
> been so much garbage for societies 2G years ago.  The scientific
> explaination of Astrology and why in the past it was ok to use as a
> "guide" was not becuase of the time of the birth, but becuase of the
> time of conception! A mother's diet has consequences to the child and
> pre Industrial Revolution the diet was much more dependent on the
> seasons. Anthropology wise, cultures around the Equator do not have home
> grown astrology beliefs nearly as varied as European or South American.

I read some time ago an article that the astrological signs where not so
much for individuals but were signs as to the best time for trading
expeditions to start for the cultures symbolized by that sign.  Thus,
the sign of the fish would be the best time for the expedition to start
for the seacoast so that when they arrived, they would be in time for
the best trading season of the year, Similarly, the ram for the
shepherds (that is arrive in time for the sheep shearing to be done and
the wool purchases made).  This is from memory and I cannot recall
enough to give full details.  However, the author did assign
destinations for each sign of the Zodiac and various astrological
conjunctions that we nowadays put down to superstition.

Over the years, as the original reasons were forgotten, the signs
themselves were thought to cause the favorable time rather than having
been determined by the favorable time.


From: Reuven Miller <millerr@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 11:12:12 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: Citation for ein simcha k'hatarat hasafek

Can someone give me the makor (citation) for 

"ein simcha k'hatarat hasafek"



From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 15:42:04 -0400
Subject: Distinction of Aleph and Ayin

Warren Burstein wrote:

> Is there any way if we can know if careful baalei kria made this
> distinction before contact was reestablished with Arabic-speaking
> communities?

I'm sure many will provide personal examples but rather than do so, let
me point to the clearest evidence of Western knowledge of this
distinction.  English bibles for hundreds of years have often
transliterated Ayin, especially at the beginning of a word, as "G".  Two
well-known examples: "Gomorrah", "Gaza".  So clearly, it was known back
then that Ayin had a more gutteral sound than Aleph.

On a related note, I recall the Gemara states that one who does not
distinguish between Aleph and Ayin or between Ches and Chuff is not
supposed to lain.  Unfortunately, this rule would be impossible to enforce
in most Ashkenazic shuls.  What's worse is that most day schools and
yeshivas not only don't teach children how to make such distinctions, they
don't even teach that they ever existed!  I'll never forget a "match-up"
homework sheet that one of my kids brought home from Kindergarten, where
the exercise was "Connect the letters that sound the same".   Sure enough,
to get it right, you had to connect Aleph and Ayin, Ches and Chuff, Koof
and Kuff, Vais and Vuv, etc.!  All of which, of course, are supposed to be
pronounced differently.  Not that I can do so myself; I'm a product of the
same form of education!  Oh, well.

Elie Rosenfeld


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 14:09:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Fish Blood

I've been curious about fish blood.  One doesn't have to drain it out in
any particular way, so it is apparently not dam b'nefesho, but is it
b'nefesho dam?  That is, assuming that goldfish are kosher, could one 
eat a live goldfish?

Also, I know that one has to label jugs of fish blood, but can one eat 
around them (as is prohibited for animal blood in lev 19:26)?




From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Fri, 02 Jul 1999 18:53:40 -0400
Subject: Following the Zohar

Recent issues of mail-jewish have featured discussions of the basis for
the custom of not making kiddush on 6-7 pm Friday that some have.  Some
of these discussions have been critical of Russell for asserting a
Maimonidean view of the inadmissibility of allowing astrological type
considerations to dictate our lives, particularly our religious life.
While Russell may not have shown a Zoharic source for this custom, and
omitted to mention a talmudic allusion to the alleged ascendancy of Mars
on Friday - as well as the views of later authorities (Maharil, Magen
Avraham and others) who supported this custom based on the Mars
"problem", his use of the Rambam is correct.  Maimonides (the Rambam) in
his Mishne Torah, Laws of heathen worship 11:8,9, and 16 proclaims that
astrology and all the occult arts are nonsense and should be disdained
by thinking people and all Jews.  Moreover, whoever is guided by
astrological considerations violates a biblical proscription.  Later
(Yoreh Deah 179) authorities such as Rabbi Yosef Karo and the Vilna Gaon
disagreed with the Rambam on astrology, and argued that the talmud cites
many cases where the sages appeared to believe in the strong influence
of the heavenly bodies on our lives.  The Vilna Gaon was particularly
critical of the Rambam on this topic.  The Rambam presumably did not
accept any of those talmudic instances as halachic, but accepted,
instead, the talmudic dictum, "eyn mazal leyisrael (the Jewish people
are not under the influence of the stars)" as the prevailing halacha.
However, none of these disputants expressed an opinion on the question
of not making kiddush at a certain hour on Friday.  The Rambam had,
presumably, never heard of such a custom, nor may Rav Karo been aware of
it.  The Gaon chose, apparently, to ignore the Magen Avraham's
commentary which raised the issue.  Closer to our time, Rav Yechiel
Michel Epstein, the author of the Aruch Hashulchan, has taken an adamant
stance against the view of the Magen Avraham (Orech Chaim, 271:11).
Without mentioning the latter by name, he finds it astonishing that
someone would suggest basing the sanctification of Shabbat on some
consideration about Mars exerting an allegedly baleful influence on a
particular hour on Friday.  He argues, "G-D forbid, it can not be said
that we are under the authority of the stars.  On the contrary, I have
seen in old books that the ancient nations sat and cried in the dark on
shabbat because the shabbat constellations indicted evil. But G-D
commanded us the opposite, to light many candles and to enjoy ourselves.
Thereby showing that we are above the constellations, and we were taken
by G-D from under the influence of the heavenly hosts".

Yitzchok Zlochower


From: Sanford R. Silverstein <Sandyeye@...>
Date: Thu, 1 Jul 1999 17:15:26 EDT
Subject: Re: Name - Amissa

Has anyone heard of the name AMISSA given to a girl. Is it a variation of the 
word for truth?


From: The Houminer Family <tirzah@...>
Date: Sun, 04 Jul 1999 14:52:48 +0300
Subject: Tfillot in Australia

 My daughter is going to spend six months in australia (from tammuz to
kislev) and asked us the following question - since their winter is
concurent with our (we live in eretz yisrael) summer, what nusach should
she be saying in shmoneh esray - "moreed hatal" or "vetayn tal umattar
livracha" . I thought she should say whatever we say here in eretz
yisrael, as the tfillah is for rain here, others in the family thought
it would be more correct to be attuned to whatever the people there
say. We remembered that in NY the nusach changed around December 4th and
not when it changed in Israel.



From: Roger & Naomi Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Sat, 03 Jul 1999 23:13:43 +0300
Subject: Vered as a name

> I think I asked on this list before if anybody could point to early
> uses of the name Vered (rose in modern Hebrew)...  I still haven't > been enlightened much.

According to Even-Shoshan's dictionary, the name Vered is of modern
Hebrew origin, in both its male and female incarnations.  So, if he is
right, you probably shouldn't expect much further enlightnment.

Roger Kingsley


From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 10:39:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Yom Tov Sheni

> From: Rabbi Freundel <Dialectic@...>
>  I have a theory as to Yom tov sheni after the point where we all came
> to rely on mathematical calculations that solves all the problems.
>  There are many areas of halachah wherein chashivus (special importance)
> is given to Israel (eg. the original semichah (ordination) of Rabbis
> passed down from Moshe that can only take place in Israel and many other
> examples).  I believe that minhag avoteinu (our ancestral custom) was
> kept regarding 1 vs 2 days to make Israel different, more focused and
> less burdensome on the holidays than outside of Israel.

 The problem that I see with this approach is that it appears to
contradict the Gemara.  The gemara states that the reason to "hold on
to" Minhag Avoteinu is that there is a fear that something will happen
which will cause the Diaspora to be unable to properly calculate the
Mo'adim.  Also, are there ANY Rishonim who (even as an auxiliary reason)
cite the "need" to make Israel "different".  (If you note the Netziv in
Parshat Emor [who cites from R. Sherira Gaon (I believe)] you will see
that he *explicitly* relates the issue of Yom Tov Sheni to a matter of

>  For this reason Shavuout about which there should be no doubt has 2
> days anyway However Yom Kippur was not included because of its
> difficulty in fasting for a 2 day holiday

 See the same Netziv who states that while the Torah requires being
"machmir" (being stringent) for certain types of "doubtful cases" rather
then relying upon "Rov" (statistical likelihood) -- that is only when it
is reasonably feasible to do so.  Hence, in the case of Y"K (where, I
think, the Gemara records that people *died* trying to do 2 days), there
would be no obligation to not rely upon the Rov.  As for Shevu'ot, the
Formulation that the reason is so as to not "differentiate" between the
"3 Holidays" seems a direct enough explanation.

>  For that holiday (as for sefirah) I suspect that originally as today
> they relied on the mathematical calculations we use today which were
> known to the babylonians when we were taken into exile by them and may
> have been known by the Egyptians when we were slaves there (although the
> nosei keylim of the Rambam say that they followed the rule that ellul is
> usually 29 days in length when it came to keeping 1 day Yom Kippur)

 Since the Torah states that Sefira MUST be linked directly to Pesach, I
cannot see how lechatchilla (ab initio) they could rely upon the
calculations as long as there was a B"D doing Kiddush Hachodesh.  Again,
since we have a source that Elul was NOT more than 29 days (since the
days of Ezra) -- and this was when they WERE relying upon Witnesses --
the Rov would clearly allow them to be lenient by Y"K.

>  Further the mishnah Ta'anith 1:3 says that it takes 15 days for the
> slowest Pilgrim to Jerusalem to reach the Euphrates river, therefore the
> Jews in Bavel should have had no doubt regarding either Pesach or Sukkot
> as they are on the 15th of the month and even with the Tishrei holidays
> to slow the m down, fast riding messengers of the court would have to be
> several days faster in reaching the Euphrates in Babylon than slow
> moving pilgrims burdened with children and old people. yet Bavel kept 2
> days when calculation became the rule for all Jewry

 Reaching the border is NOT the same as reaching the communal areas of
Bavel.  For "Tal U;Matar", it is only necessary that the travelers be
out of Israel.  There is NO indication that they were anywhere near
"home" at that point.  In addition, given that Bavel corresponds to
Iraq, it is not at all clear to me that they COULD have traveled that
quickly.  The very fact that the gemara records the question because of
expertise in "Sod Ha'ibbbur" and NOT in terms of actually having that
information would also indicate against this POV.  According to the
poster, the query should have been as to the necessity of observing Yom
tov Sheni EVEN THOUGH the messengers actually REACH there!

>  Certainly today the trouble the 2 days creates for most of us makes the
> impetus to make aliyah something tangible when we contemplate how much
> easier 1 day would be

 I agree that as a PRACTICAL CONSEQUENCE, Y"T Sheni makes us "miss"
Israel even more -- nevertheless, I do not think that it is a good idea
to let our attachment to Israel cloud us as to the reasons for Y"T



End of Volume 28 Issue 97