Volume 30 Number 02
                 Produced: Wed Nov 10  4:59:36 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ashkesefard pronunciation
         [Elie Rosenfeld]
Democracy--A Torah Value? (3)
         [Jonathan Grodzinski, David Charlap, Frank Silbermann]
Ketuba Pricing
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Kinyan of a Woman for Marriage or Yabmut (levirate marriage)
         [Peter Borregard]
Preserving traditions
         [Percy Mett]
Rabbi Rackman
         [Moshe Feldman]
Shehecheyanu on the Sukkah
         [Moshe Flohr]
Who's a Chaver?
         [Moshe Nugiel]
Why no Bracha on Hair Covering
         [Yeshaya Halevi]
         [Aaron-Joseph Gilboa]


From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 13:13:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Ashkesefard pronunciation

While I agree that the prevalent Ashkesefard pronunciation (as I like to
call it) is inconsistent and also seems to violate the rule of following
one's family minhag, I have a question on the examples brought from

> ** "Bris Milah" -  which should either be "Brit Milah" or "Bris Miloh".
> ** Kabbalas Shabbos - which can't be proper Hebrew by anyone's
> reckoning. It's either "Kabbalat Shabbat" or "Kabbolas Shabbos."
> ** "Berachos" - which must either be "Berachot" or "Berochos."
> ** "Akdamus" which is either "Akdamut" or "Akdomus".

In all these examples the letter "a" is assumed to represent the sound
of a patach (as in far, hard, etc.).  But in English, an "a" can also
sound like a kometz (e.g., ball, lawn, etc.).  So while I agree with the
premise as regards pronunciation, I think people are reading too much
into the transliterations.  They may be perfectly consistently using "a"
to represent the Ashkenazic kometz ("aw") sound.



From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 21:02:42 EST
Subject: Democracy--A Torah Value?

<<  Democracy--A Torah Value?  Democracy is not the Torah ideal for our
government. (Although presumably, this is an admirable form of government
for B'nei Noach.)>>

I beg to differ with Yossi Geretz. 

In order to rule long term, any State (king, Melech Hamashiach,
President or what you will) must have the approval of the people as a
whole. Otherwise the people will revolt and establish their own rule as
has been seen throughout history. Hence even a theocracy must first be a
Democracy.  cf "Aleinu" "viYekablu choolam et ol malchootecha" and only
then "veTimloch aleyhem l'olam vaed" (or to put it another way "Derech
Eretz kadmah laTorah")

Jonathan Grodzinski London UK

From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Nov 1999 11:25:02 -0500
Subject: Democracy--A Torah Value?

Joseph Geretz wrote:
> We are in agreement though, that Democracy is not the Torah ideal for
> our government. (Although presumably, this is an admirable form of
> government for B'nei Noach.)

First off, there are no democracies currently in existance today.  The
US, and similar governments, are republics.  In a democracy, the people
directly make policy.  In a republic, the people elect representatives
who make policy.  Those representatives are free to go against the
wishes of the public.

In an ideal world, a monarchy or a theocracy would work better.  The
problem is that both of these systems assume that the person (or
organization) in charge will act for the good of the nation.
Historically, this amount of supreme power has always been abused - if
not by one king, than by his successors.  Even the Jewish kingdom had
this problem - after the northern kingdom split away, there were many
unjust kings who did far more damage than good.

Democracies (and to a lesser extent, republics) prevent some of this
abuse by preventing any single person from gaining enough power to do
serious damage.  In order for a democracy to be abused, a majority of
the nation has to be convinced to act against their own best interests.
It does happen, but it is harder to do.

So, a theocracy or a monarchy may well be ideal for the age of Moshiach,
when the leaders are chosen by God (who we can assume to be acting for
the overall good of the world), but a democracy (or republic) is better
for today, when leaders are usually more interested in their personal
good than the good of their nation.

-- David

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Nov 1999 06:54:01 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  Democracy--A Torah Value?

Moshe Nugiel asked whether we will have the humility to forgo Democracy
to accept Moshiach's Kingship.  I don't see a problem -- with all the
other miracles Moshiach is promised to do for us, unifying our opinions
should be a piece of cake.

Yossi Geretz adds: "We are in agreement though, that Democracy is not
the Torah ideal for our government."  Nor is Democracy ideal for secular
government.  The American ideal is a republic whose powers are
Constitutionally limited.  (A voting public can just as despotic as a

Frank Silbermann


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 20:38:24 +0200
Subject: Re: Ketuba Pricing

>From: Asher Goldstein <mzieashr@...>
Admittedly I don't know [del] whether a civil court
>here has ruled on the validity of the ketuba as a binding contract, but
>it would seem to be a legal document in every respect.  Are dollar
>amounts never written into ketuvot signed in the U.S.?

I don't know if this answers the question, but the Ketuba has been used
as a legal binding document in the rabbinical courts in Israel in cases
of widows battling with heirs and also in cases of Chalitza where the
BIL was trying to blackmail the widow.

Another case I heard of was when a man left his wife Agunah in Israel,
and b/c of the content of the Ketuba, his wife was able to use it in her
battle to get her Get.

Shoshana Boublil


From: Peter Borregard <peb162@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Oct 1999 19:33:24 -0700
Subject: Re: Kinyan of a Woman for Marriage or Yabmut (levirate marriage)

Certainly he is not acquiring the woman as chattel but the mishna's use
of the term kinyan is (yibum aside) not purely stylistic either. First
we learn that the passive lashon 'nikneit' means her consent is
necessary.  This consent plus the kinyan means she can no longer accept
another man as her husband.

Then, Rashi on the mishna's "koneh et atzmah" tells us that this means
"l'hiyot bireshutah l'hinase l'acher". That is, what she has once again
acquired by divorce or her husband's death is the reshut, the power, to
say 'I will marry this one and not that one', which she obviously no
longer has while she is married. Since that is what "she acquires
herself" means, therefore, what her husband is acquiring by his kinyan
includes this reshut.

> From: Jay Rovner <jarovner@...>
> it would be helpful to know that the mishhah realizes that the language
> of kinyan ("niknet") does not really apply to the situation of
> marriage. it uses instead "mitkadeshet" ("is betrothed") everywhere else
> (kidd. 2:1, Bava metz. 4:7, eduy. 4:7, and nidda 5:4)
> the reason that kidd. chapter one uses "niknet" is stylistic.  there is
> a symmetry to first few mishnayot in the first chapter of mishnah
> kiddushin, effected in part by structuring the beginning each as "x is
> acquired by "y" (and this is further balanced for some by saying how the
> acquisition can be reversed). each "x" differs in nature from the
> others.  the purpose of the mishnah is to compare and contrast them. to
> this end, it subsumes each "x" under the same overall formula in order
> to specify their differences.


From: Percy Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 15:41:56 +0100
Subject: Preserving traditions

An anonymous contributor wrote (MJ 29 #92)

>    So, what do I perceive is going on? Instead of mainly educating our
>children, parents teaching and showing their sons and daughters, witn
>the Yeshiva a place for the advanced scholars, we have abdicated the
>educational responsibility to a universal Yeshiva education (including
>the now almost obligatory post high school two years in Yeshiva in
>Israel), homogenizing our children into one uniform halachic thought
>pattern, completely abandoning minhag avotaynu (the family
>traditions). Since the education is the universal standard, the advanced
>scholar who could appreciate the subtelties and nuances of halacha,
>using a balanced approach, is rarely allowed to develop.  If one doesn't
>have the ability to grapple with the text and tradition, well, there's
>always Artscroll's instant halachic capsules to spoon feed you the
>"correct" answer. And that, to my way of thinking, is a tragedy.

The remedy is in your own hands. As a parent you can choose to be
actively involved in the education/chinuch of your offspring or, as so
many do nowadays, leave the job to the school/yeshiva system.

My sons - yeshiva & kolel educated - are quite comfortable maintaining
the traditions/minhogim which I saw in my father's house. But too many
people nowadays find themselves too busy to be sufficiently involved in
their children's chinuch and are happy to to let their children, in the
company of good chaveirim, be educated within the school/yeshiva
system. The parents choose the institutions their children attend, and
are willing to entrust their children's furute to them.

Perets Mett


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1999 17:26:19 -0500 
Subject: Re: Rabbi Rackman

Upon reflection, I apologize for juxtaposing Rabbi Rackman's name in a
parenthetical next to the phrase "halakhic lightweights."  What I should
have said is that Rabbi Rackman is not considered a posek of note.
While as a talmid chakham he has every right to express his opinion as
to what the halakha *should* be (and for that matter I believe that his
arguments deserve consideration), here he has taken the step of
establishing a bet din to *actively pasken* according to his view.
Since the entire halakhic world disagrees with this view, the result is
that the future children of the women whose marriages he "annulled" will
be viewed as mamzerim.  (If he were considered a posek on the level of
Rav Moshe Feinstein, the children would not be viewed as mamzerim even
if the rest of entire halakhic world were to differ with this psak.)
Consequently, I believe that the "vituperative rejections" of Rabbi
Rackman's position are understandable.

Kol tuv,


From: Moshe Flohr <maven@...>
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 12:53:51 -0400
Subject: Shehecheyanu on the Sukkah

In vol. 29 no. 89 Akiva Miller wrote:
>As I understand it, the bracha of Shehechiyanu on the first night of
>Sukkos covers three distinct things:
>1) The holiday itself
>2) Eating in the Sukkah for the first time this year
>3) Distinct from #2, Shehechiyanu also relates to the building of the
>Sukkah, and could technically be said upon completion on the building,
>*prior* to Sukkos

>My question is this: If a person is a guest at someone else's sukkah on
>the first night, or for any other reason (such as illness) does not say
>Shehechiyanu in the sukkah he/she built, what happens to that aspect?

A similar question is discussed by Rabbi Ya'akov Ettlinger z"l (author
of Aruch Laner) in his sefer Bikurei Ya'akov on hilchos Sukkah & Lulav.
In 641:2 he states that if one did not say shehecheyanu in his sukkah on
the first *night* i.e. he did not eat in ANY sukkah at all, he should
say it when he eats there on the first *day*.  In 662:2 he discusses the
question of someone who (in Chutz La'retz) did not make kiddush in his
sukkah on the second *night* of Yom Tov and on the second *day* is
eating in a sukkah other than the one he ate in on the first night, does
he make another shehecheyanu ? He ends with "tzarich iyun".  Now in your
case, the person DID eat in a sukkah (i.e. he was invited out) BUT not
his own. The question of shehecheyanu would arise when he would now eat
in his own sukkah on the first day. It would seem to me to be similar to
the case the Bikurei Ya'akov discusses in 662:2 and which he remains
with tzarich iyun.  It would seem that it would perhaps be best not to
be in that situation and to eat in one own's sukkah on the first and
second night.  As far as what to do in case one already has eaten
somewhere else on the first night, based on the rule "safek b'rachos
lehakel" I would presume that another shehechyanu would not be made.  I
have only raised these points for discussion and not for any p'sak for
which you should consult you LOR.

b'Hatzlacha, Moshe Flohr


From: Moshe Nugiel <friars@...>
Date: Tue, 02 Nov 1999 22:08:54 +0200
Subject: Who's a Chaver?

In my shul, if you pay your dues, you're a chaver.

Moshe Nugiel


From: Yeshaya Halevi <CHIHAL@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1999 13:29:53 EDT
Subject: Why no Bracha on Hair Covering

        There are many mitzvot which are clearly post-Sinai and
rabbinic in origin, such as lighting Hanuka candles, but we nonetheless
say a bracha which includes the words blessing God "Who has commanded
us" to etc etc.
        This leads me to ask, if covering a man's head is so important, and 
ditto for married women, then why is no bracha said when donning a keepa or 
    Yeshaya Halevi (<Chihal@...>)


From: Aaron-Joseph Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Oct 1999 17:33:28 +0200
Subject: Re: Zochreinu

> From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...> 
> Does anyone know the origin of the custom to repeat the insertions 
> "zochreinu lechaim", "mi chamocha"etc. when the sh"tz repeats Shemone 
> Esreh? 

As far as I am aware, the minhag is for the congregation to recite these
insertions aloud BEFORE the hazzan. Could it be that it started off as a
reminder by the congregation to the hazzan not to omit these insertions?
In this spirit, I say "ha-melekh" really loudly just as the hazzan gets
to the end of birkat qdusha. (Can't say if this really helps.)

Don't you hear people trumpeting "`anenu" at the appropriate place on a
ta`anit in order to remind the hazzan?

Come to think of it, why do we say "v-te`rav lfanecha `atiratenu ..."
BEFORE the hazzan in musaf of the haggim?

 Yosef Gilboa


End of Volume 30 Issue 2