Volume 29 Number 43
                 Produced: Mon Aug  9  6:36:45 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Books on Mitzvot dependant on Eretz Yisrael
         [Yussie Davivowitz]
Calculating Halakhic Hours
         [Daniel Israel]
Dagesh in the First Letter of "selah"
         [Michael Poppers]
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Explaining Yesh Mei'Ayin to a 6 year old
         [Joseph Geretz]
Exploitation of Jewish children
         [Richard Alexander]
Incidence of disease
         [Warren Burstein]
Mourner as Sh'liach Tzibur
         [Daniel Mehlman]
Operation Refuah
         [Hadassa Goldsmith]
Software Licenses
         [Aliza Berger]
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
The Tetragrammaton
         [Moshe & Davida Nugiel]
When to go back in prayer
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Yussie Davivowitz <jsd2001@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 05:29:47 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Books on Mitzvot dependant on Eretz Yisrael

Does anyone know of books that deal primarily on Mitzvot Hateluyot
Ba'Aretz, Mitzvot dependant on Eretz Yisrael. Thanks in advance.

Yussie Davidowitz


From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 1999 15:36:29 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Calculating Halakhic Hours

Etan Diamond <ediamond@...> wrote:
> I have always wondered how they calculated halakhic hours in an era
> when one could only rely on the sun.  How did they know how long the
> period was from sunrise to sunset if they had no way to measure it
> accurately.

To the contrary, to people relying on the sun halachic hours are much
more natural.  In fact, the Mishnah often talks about 1/4, 1/3, and 1/2
the day, rather than 3, 4, or 6 hours.  If you tell time using
astronomical measurements, e.g. sundials, this is the natural way to
think about it.  An hour is the time it takes the sun to traverse 1/12
of its path through the sky.

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


From: Michael Poppers <MPoppers@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 1999 09:55:45 -0400
Subject: Dagesh in the First Letter of "selah"

Checking the usage of "selah" in TaNaCH, there is no dagesh in the
"samech" most, but not all, of the time.  (One of the notable "selah"
exceptions is the one in "Ashrai" [T'hillim 84:4].)  Admittedly, I've
only seen most, not all, the usages; that said, I haven't been able to
formulate an ironclad rule for when the dagesh appears -- if someone can
come up w/ one and/or with a theory for when it should occur and when it
shouldn't, I'd be grateful.  Thanks.

All the best from
Michael Poppers =*= Elizabeth, NJ


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 1999 09:22:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Diversionary??

Mark Feldman wrote:
> I have also heard in the name of Rav Lichtenstein that one may listen
> to music on the radio while driving since this is not joyous, just
> diversionary.

I don't mean to be nit-picky, but is it really a good idea to be
"diverted" while driving?  There's already been a spate of articles
about cell phone usage while driving.  I suppose if it keeps you
awake... but talk radio could do that too.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 20:18:10 -0400
Subject: Explaining Yesh Mei'Ayin to a 6 year old

Steve Pudell Wrote:
> This may seem as an easy question but my six year old daughter asked me
> "who created Hashem."  To wish I tried to answer that no one created
> Hashem.  To which she answered, and i quote, "what do you mean, just
> poof?"  Now, I beleive that she touched on a few issues including the
> "impossibility" of yesh me'ayin and the "timelessness" (ie. bl'i
> reisheis, bli tachlis).  Nonetheless, how do you BEGIN to explain this
> to six year old.

When discussing the timelessnes of H-shem, Yesh Me'Ayin is not the
correct concept. Yesh Me'Ayin is indeed a manifestation employed by
H-shem himself, the creation of something from nothing. However, Yesh
Me'Ayin posits an objects non-existence prior to it's creation. This is
not the case at all regarding H-shem the Creator, who has Always Been,
Is, and will Always Exist. So Yesh Me'Ayin (i.e. Poof!) is off the mark.

As a computer programmer, I compare our lack of understanding of
H-shem's timeless nature to a software program which has allocated a
two-digit number for counting. As this program increments the counter
way up into the high 90's it will increment 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02,
etc. The software simply cannot 'conceive' of a number higher than 99
since it was not programmed (or created) with the ability to understand
three digit numbers. (Does the term Y2K bug ring a bell?) Nonetheless,
three digit numbers, and the coming 21st century do exist,
notwithstanding the software's inability to 'understand' then. Thus, my
approach to H-shem's timelessness has always been as follows:

1. H-shem has Always Been, Is, and Will Always Be.
2. We are not able to fully understand how this works, since H-shem has not
created us with the ability to understand this.
3. Just because we don't understand it does not contradict the truth and
reality stated in point 1.

As of yet, I have not had experience explaining this to a 6 year old.
Perhaps you could use some other fact which a 6 year old would not
understand but which can subsequently be demonstrated to be true, thus
making the point that our lack of understanding and comprehension does
not negate truth and reality. Good Luck and lots of Nachas!

(Tangentially, many years ago I read an excellent book called Flatland.
Flatland is inhabited by 2 dimensional creatures. Part of the book deals
with the inability of the Flatlanders to conceive of a 3 dimensional
world which exists despite the inability of the Flatlanders to come to
an understanding of it. Perhaps this book is meant as a religious /
philosophical satire of sorts.)

Kol Tuv,

Joseph Geretz


From: Richard Alexander <JAlexan186@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 18:28:08 EDT
Subject: Exploitation of Jewish children

I thought I would post this on Mail Jewish, both to alert your readers
to a situation dangerous to our children, as well as to gather their

My 17-year-old daughter arranged to get a job this summer as a camp
counselor at a frum bungalow colony in Monticello, NY.  In the weeks
before she was supposed to go up to there, she spent a lot of time and
money packing the things she would need for the summer.  On July 4th (a
Sunday), my wife and I drove our daughter to this bungalow colony.  When
we got there, we saw that the bungalows were quite well-kept, and the
families renting them seemed to be decent people.  We were then taken to
see the trailer for the girl camp counselors.  To describe it as
slum-like would be complimentary.  Among other defects, it was filthy,
wires were hanging from the ceiling, insulation was coming out of the
walls, and there was no door on the bathroom.  Except for the lack of
glass vials on the floors, it reminded me most of crack houses glimpsed
on the 6PM news.  The boys' trailer was marginally better (Yes, I have

I was appalled and complained to the people in charge.  These people
said to me that they had not had time to fix up the trailers (since the
previous summer).  One person even had the nerve to ask me, "What can we
do to improve it?" When I told him that it was a Chillul HaShem to house
Jewish children in such squalid conditions, he just shrugged his
shoulder.  When I asked him for his name, he walked away.

Obviously, I refused to let my daughter remain in such a place, or with
such people.

There is one additional point.  Four or five girls were supposed to be
housed in one trailer.  Even had it been in pristine condition, it was
far too small for 4 teenagers and their stuff (clothes, books, and even
food - since the bungalow colony forced them to fend for themselves for
at least some of their meals).

Parents of children who are considering positions at bungalow colonies
should check out the conditions prior to bringing their children.  If
the bungalow colony refuses to let them see the living quarters meant
for their children, parents must not allow their children to work at
these places.

And, finally, there is something particularly vile about frum people who
are willing to exploit children.  In the Torah, an Eved Ivri must be
treated as family.  These people wanted to treat a Jewish child as
something less than an Eved K'nani.

Richard Alexander


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 1999 14:44:04
Subject: Incidence of disease

I don't think that a misheberach list is a useful source of statistics.
Someone tacking a notice on a bulletin board in a hospital, or posting
an email address to a mailing list for parents of sick children can
cause an increase in listings.

Perhaps 30 years ago, a child with a potentially life-threatining
disease was quietly taken out of school, when you asked the teacher or
your parents they told you not to ask, and people didn't talk about
serious disease in front of the children, and when they spoke to one
another, they wouldn't say "cancer" out loud.  Today, when there is a
greater chance that the child can be cured (perhaps 30 years ago the
particular chemotherapy that the child is getting didn't even exist,
perhaps even in the last five years, before that there was nothing the
oncology ward could do), the parents keep the child in school, and
people talk about it.

There's a child in my shul undergoing chemotherapy.  Each week her
mother sends me a report on her child's condition which I send to the
shul's email list with the week's other announcements.  30 years ago,
you wouldn't have heard a word.

The point is, you can't tell from just looking around if disease is
increasing or decreasing.


From: Daniel Mehlman <Danmim@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 1999 10:39:01 EDT
Subject: Re: Mourner as Sh'liach Tzibur

Question: 1-why cant an avel be a sh'liach tzibur on shabbos and yom tov
and where are the sources.
          2-there is a minhag for one who has yarzeit to be a sh'liach
tzibur on the shabbos prior to the yarzeit...what would be the halacha
if that same person is an avel can he still do so on that shabbos before
the yarzeit?


From: Hadassa Goldsmith <hbgold@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 1999 23:05:06 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Operation Refuah

Please note that the correct website address for Operation Refuah is 

Thank you most kindly.

Hadassa Goldsmith


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 1999 23:07:24 +-300
Subject: Software Licenses

Situation: A workplace purchases a license to a software program for one
user, and rigs it so that several employees use the program.  Question:
Is there a halachik problem to be one of these users? Or is this
indirect enough that it is not a problem? (I.e., vs. copying software
for one's own use, which is definitely a problem.)

I just subscribed to the list (or more precisely, i used to subscribe
about 5 years ago...). So, if this question has already been discussed,
please let me know.

[Welcome back! At a minimum, it has not been discussed in the last few
years, only possible previous discussions in volume 4 and 15, 4 is on
pirating software. Mod.]

aliza berger


From: Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 23:54:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: re: Tevila

>Ruth T. wrote:
> How can TeVilat Nashim not be a mitzva if you SAY- BARUCH ATA....

According to most minhagim, the blessing that is said is "Vetzivanu 'al
ha-tevila"  and NOT "'al mitzvat tevila".
Presumably, the different minhagim depend on the disagreement among the
poskim about whether going to the mikveh for a woman is a mitzvah in its
own right, or if it is a "matir", an act which enables the woman to be
permitted again to her husband.  If it is a "matir", then the act of going
into the mikvah is similar to the covering the blood of a slaughtered
animal.  We are not commanded at all to slaughter an animal, but if one
wants to eat the meat of the animal, he (or she - another topic) must
first cover the blood and say the blessing of "'al kisui hadam".
Similarly, if a woman wants to be permitted to her husband she must go to
the mikvah first, but there is no commandment for a woman to go to a
mikveh after her seven clean days just for the sake of going.


From: Moshe & Davida Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 1999 09:37:16 +0300
Subject: The Tetragrammaton


1) It is well known that it is forbidden to say the name of God known as
the Tetragrammaton.  However, is one allowed to think, i.e., "mentally
say" this name?

2) If the answer to the above is yes (or maybe), is it legitimate to
inquire into the correct [mental] pronunciation of this name?

Thanks for help (sources would be appreciated).
Moshe Nugiel


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jul 1999 19:22:44 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: When to go back in prayer

A quick answer to David Shiffman who in v28n96 asks about whether we
can/should go back in cases of doubtful mistakes in the Shmoneh Esray.

Mistakes in Tefillah are governed by 4 principles (Shma 2 End of chapter)

(1) An immediate retraction nullifies the previous remark
(2) If you know you made a mistake but don't know where you go back to
the beginning of the paragraph
(3) If you know you made a mistake (eg did I say LAMALSHINIM) but find
yourself in eg SHMA KOLAYNU you don't have to go back because you can
trust the HABIT OF YOUR TONGUE to continue the way it always has
(4) If you have a doubt about whether you made a mistake but aren't sure
then you should not go back since Shmoneh Esray is Rabbinical

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Moderator Rashi Is simple


End of Volume 29 Issue 43