Volume 30 Number 43
                 Produced: Thu Dec 23 14:26:46 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy
         [Aviva Fee]
Lighting Chanukah candles in glass boxes (2)
         [Yoel Finkelman, Danny Schoemann]
Ma'oz Tzur (3)
         [Joseph Geretz, Eliezer Diamond, Warren Burstein]
         [Gitelle Rapoport]
Shliach Mitzvah Money
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Wedding question
         [Jonathan Katz]
Why do we wear a yarmulke?
         [Maurice Wieder]
Women's hair covering


From: Aviva Fee <aviva613@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 06:39:44 PST
Subject: English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy

I have a nephew whose bar-mitzvah will be in a little over a year.

While neither he not his family is observant, he has shown a keen
interest in learning about Torah and Judaism.

Can anyone recommend some good English books that I could send him that
could encourage him to continue his investigation into Torah?



From: Yoel Finkelman <finkel@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 12:32:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Lighting Chanukah candles in glass boxes

Regarding Sheri and Seth Kadish's question about lighting Chanukah
candles in glass boxes outside.  Shut Har Tzvi, Orach Chayim, Vol. 2,
#114 deals with this problem.  I did not examine the teshuvah carefully,
but I believe that he allows the practice.

By the way, is this practice simply a "hidur mitzvah?"  Or, is it - at
least for people living in homes with private ground floor entrances -
the proper place to light?  Arukh Hashulchan makes it clear that he is
refering to the cold and stormy context of North Eastern Europe?  Would
the same hold true on a pleasant evening in my home town, Beit Shemesh?

Yoel Finkelman

From: Danny Schoemann <dannys@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 19:00:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Lighting Chanukah candles in glass boxes

Sheri & Seth Kadish <snip> with the glass-cased hanukkiyot, you lower
the glass back down *after* lighting so that they won't blow out.
Anyone ever hear discussion about whether this is kosher?

I seem to recall that the Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt"l
was asked this question. (There are popular pictures of him lighting
outside ion a glass case).

The answer (as my memory has it) was that "closing the glass doors" is
part of the act of lighting the hanukkiya.

Danny Schoemann


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 12:07:47 -0500
Subject: Ma'oz Tzur

Warren Burstein wrote:
> If we're discussing the tune of Maoz Tzur, perhaps we could also discuss
> the words.  The first stanza includes the words "l'et tachin matbeach
> letzar hamnabeach".  I don't have any English translations of that, but
> Rinat Yisrael explains "matbeach" as "tevach" (slaughter), so does R.
> Alcalay's Hebrew-English dictionary translate it as "slaughter,
> massacre".  That would make the line read "when You will slaughter the
> blaspheming enemy".

My Nusach reads MiTzar Hamenabe'ach, as opposed to LeTzar as you quoted.
I've checked with a couple Siddurim (Bais Tefilla, Artscroll) and they
both confirm this Nusach - MiTzar. However, interestingly, the Artscroll
translation is faithful to your translation. When you will have prepared
the slaughter *for* the blaspheming enemy. So the prefix 'Mi', usually
rendered as 'from' is translated as 'Le' - 'for'. Is this grammatically
correct? Are there other examples of the prefix 'Mi' being used
interchangeably with 'Le'? Is this standard grammar or poetic?

Kol Tuv,
Joseph Geretz
(replace nospam with FPSNow to reply by e-mail)
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.

From: Eliezer Diamond <eldiamond@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 1999 17:27:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Ma'oz Tzur

	To understand the first stanza of Ma`oz Zur one must look back
at the biblical verses to which it alludes. The phrase "tikon bet
tefillati ve-sham todah nezabeah" is a paraphrase of the utopian vision
of Isaiah 56:7: "And I will bring them to My sacred mount and let them
rejoice in My house of prayer [bet tefillati]. Their burnt offerings and
sacrifices [zivhehem] shall be welcome on My altar; for My house shall
be called a house of prayer a house of prayer for all peoples" (NJPS
translation). The irenic universalist vision of Isaiah is given a
decidedly nationalist and apocalyptic character by the author of Ma`oz
Zur. The next section of Isaiah 56 refers is an invitation to the other
nations, the "wild beasts" of v. 9, to devour the people Israel. The
time is ripe, the prophet says, because "the watchmen [of Israel,
presumably its leadership]...are all dumb dogs that cannot bark
[linboah]. The author of MZ has transmuted the image of Israel's
watchmen as dogs that cannot bark into the image of hostile enemies that
bark like attacking dogs [zar ha-menabeah].  The poet argues that the
establishment of God's house of prayer [tikon bet tefillati] is
contingent upon God preparing a "matbeah" from among, consisting of the
howling enemy [mi-zar ha-menabeah]. "Matbeah" can mean a place of
slaughter, as Isaiah 14:21: "Prepare [hakhinu] a slaughtering block
[matbeah] for his sons because of the guilt of their father." MZ clearly
echoes that verse but uses "matbeah" in the more abstract sense of
slaughter. However, MZ also undoubtedly has Genesis 43:16 in mind as
well, where Joseph commands his house steward: ""Take the men [=Joseph's
brothers] into the house; slaughter and prepare an animal [tevoah tevah
ve-hakhen], for the men will dine with me at noon." Here "tevah" has the
sense of prepared flesh. Thus the meaning of MZ seems to be as follows:
the poet asks that the house of prayer, that is, the temple, be
established so that sacrifices can be offered there by the Jewish
people.  However, for this event to take place in its fullest sense [az
egmor be-shir mizmor hanukkat ha-mizbeah], another offering must be
brought, an offering at which only God Himself can officiate: the
slaughter of Israel's enemies.
	In short, this stanza of MZ is one of rich symbolism which,
unlike some of the translations cited in the discussion heretofore,
explicit and unapologetic in its vision of an endtime in which death and
destruction will befall those who have been Israel's persecutors and
adversaries. This vision presumably reflects both the frustration of the
poet at being the member of a (at his time) politically and militarily
powerless minority and a belief that justice calls for punishment in
kind for those who have brought death and suffering to the Jewish

Eliezer Diamond

From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Sat, 18 Dec 1999 19:58:14
Subject: Ma'oz Tzur

Alan Rubin brings a translation from The 1990 Authorised Daily Prayer
Book that translates "tachin matbeach" as "utterly silenced".  Saul
Davis brings the same siddur and adds that "This is not a literal
translation but is still very accurate ie faithful to the original

Matthew Pearlman finds the same translation in Singer's Prayer Book.

Perhaps one of these siddurim was influenced by the other, but how do
they get "silence" out of "matbeach", how is this in any way a
"faithful" translation?

Yisrael Medad would put it that the word "matbeach" refers to the altar
Is this translation original with you?

Alan Rubin also asks
>What edition has "l'et tashbit matbeach, vtzar hamnabeach?"

The dust jacket says "The Authorized Daily Prayer Book With Commentary,
Introductions and Notes, by the Late Chief Rabbi Joseph H. Hertz".  The
cover page says "The Authorised Daily Prayer Book, Revised Edition,
Hebrew Text, English Translation, With Commentary and Notes, by
Dr. Joseph H.  Hertz, The Late Chief Rabbi of the British Empire".  It
was published by Bloch Publishing Company, New York, the copyright date
is 1948, I have the 14th printing, from 1971.  Maoz Tzur is on page 951.


From: Gitelle Rapoport <giteller@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 12:23:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Negiah

Russell Hendel wrote that <even the Rambam would agree that Leviticus
18:6 explicitly classifies Negiah as a Biblical prohibition.>

I'm confused. What definition of "negiah" are you using? I had thought
it meant any non-major physical contact, as opposed to hugging and
kissing -- considered biblical prohibitions -- which are major forms of
contact. How do you derive the conclusion that Rambam considers any
touching -- e.g., handshaking -- a biblical prohibition? In his recent
posting, as I recall, R. Yehuda Henkin indicated that such activities
are not in the biblically forbidden category.

As for teenagers' activities -- well, maybe the results would be
different for adults. As for R.  Irving Greenberg's statement, while I
admire him and his thinking, some of us have come to different
conclusions about negiah as we get somewhat older. For many women at
least, touching is not automatically nor always sexual in nature. A
momentary touch can be an expression of comfort, reassurance,
friendship, or merely shared humanity. IMHO, barring us from that
forever with any member of the opposite gender who is not an immediate
relative makes life colder and harsher than it needs to be.

Kol tuv,
Gitelle Rapoport


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 1999 12:23:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Shliach Mitzvah Money

> From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
>   The concept of Shliach Mitzvah money is, to say the least, an
> interesting one.  Several questions arise.  #1 Does the giving of a
> dollar or two for tzeddakah make one a Shliach Mitzvah?  If someone
> gives me a Mitzvah to do, should I not do it right away?  Shouldn't I
> put the money in the first tzeddakah box I see, even if it is before my
> trip (invalidating the purpose for which it was given)?  If the argument
> is made that the money was intended to be given after the trip, is there
> a time limit for its deposit?  Can I hold it indefinitely, using it for
> future trips as well?

When given the money, as "shaliach mitzvah money" you are being made a
shaliach (messenger) to take the money to Israel and give it there.
Thus, you would not be allowed to give it elsewhere.  Usually, there is
an implicit expectation that you will give it to a tzedaka that the
giver would approve of.  If he mentions a specific tzedaka (such as a
given yeshivah) then you must give it to that tzedaka (such as being
told to give it at the kosel).  The usual assumption is that it must be
given on that trip.

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun


From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:00:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Wedding question

I have heard that there are possible issues with getting married (i.e.,
having the chuppah ceremony take place) during the time period between
sunset and tzeit when the stars arrive (tzeit ha'kochavim). The reason
being that the ketubah must be filled in with the precise date of the
marriage, and there is some debate about which day this time period
belongs to.

Is this correct? 

Jonathan Katz


From: Maurice Wieder <maurice@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:14:45 -0500
Subject: Why do we wear a yarmulke?

Does anyone know the origin of wearing a kippah?  
Why do men wear it and not women?
Why do some wear it all the time and others some of the time?
Why do some wear a yarmulke and a hat? 
Why do some put on a hat at certain times, e.g., Birkhat Hamazon., and
others do not?



From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 16:34:08 -0800
Subject: Re: Women's hair covering

Chaim Mateh wrote -
> I personally find it quite hard to believe
> that any Rabbi would take a Biblically forbidden law (women's hair
> covering) and take it past a Rabbinic Law, to a completely permitted
> lechatchila.

Perhaps not so hard to believe. For example, many Rishonim perceived the
prohibition of teaching Tora to anyone who did not qualify as a
sincerely committed individual (she-en tocho k-varo) as a Tora
prohibition or, at very least, a Rabbinic prohibition. Gradually,
however, most posqim, for at least the last century, have come over to
the view that it is not only permitted but it is obligatory to teach all

Chaim Mateh also -

> And yes, he posits that according
> to his possible pshat, uncovered hair is not a Torah prohibition.
> However, he prefaces his entire pshat with the words "ee lav demistafina
> miperush Rashi .. vehaRambam.." ("were I not fearful of Rashi's pshat
> and the Rambam's pshat..").  This means that while he thinks he has a
> good pshat, he does NOT put it forth as a _the_ pshat, nor as a ruling
> (psak). 

This does not contradict Rabbi Broyde's statement. Shvut Ya`aqov does
represent a valid school of thought that must be considered by other
posqim even if he himself did not find it possible or appropriate to
translate into halacha for his generation.

Yosef Gilboa


End of Volume 30 Issue 43