Volume 30 Number 46
                 Produced: Fri Dec 24 13:44:22 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

"Anonymous" Poskim
         [Jonathan Katz]
         [Eli Lansey]
         [Dani Wassner]
English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy (4)
         [Cheryl Maryles, Alan Cooper, Rabbi Shmuel Jablon, Janet
sunrise/ sunset/ solstice question
         [Joel Ehrlich]
         [Yosef Gilboa]
What Jews do on Christmas Eve
         [Joshua Plaut]
Why do we wear a Yarmulke
         [Boruch Merzel]
Why do we wear a yarmulke?
         [Jonathan Katz]
Yonatan vs. Yhonatan (was Eliezer or Elazar) (2)
         [A.J.Gilboa, Akiva Miller]


From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:04:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: "Anonymous" Poskim

While sending in a question to mail-jewish, I began to wonder whether
anyone knew of rabbis or other sources who are willing to take
"anonymous" questions are give a psak halacha over the internet. By
"anonymous" I don't even necessarily mean that the asker must remain
unknown, although I could see uses for that. I meant more for people who
lived far away from Jewish communities, people who didn't have any local
posek they feel comfortable going to, etc.

It seems like, with the rise of the internet, there must be someone out
there doing this!

[I have several times acted somewhat in that matter, as I have connected
up people on mail-jewish that had questions that needed a Rav with one
of the several Rabbanim I know who are on the Internet. Mod.]

Jonathan Katz


From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 19:10:29 -0500
Subject: Anakim

Ron Hunter wrote:
> I came across this reference to 'Anakim' in some reading can anyone
> explain thier fate?
> "As to their final destination or what became of them, the
> Hebrew records are strangely silent."

The anakim basically died out along with all the other man-like homonids
like the "Adnei Hasadeh" (possibly Neanderthals?) mentioned in mishnah
Kilayim, perek 8, mishnah 5. For more information about the anakim look
at the Malbim on Bereisheit, perek 6, pasuk 4.

Eli Lansey


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 13:44:02 +0200
Subject: RE: Christmas

A friend of mine (also an observant Jew, living in Israel) has invited
me over for Shabbat dinner next week (25 December). She told me that it
will be a "Christmas dinner". When I expressed my shock, she said it is
"just for a laugh"- She told me that she thought it would be fun to have
"tinsel on the table, mince pies, and turkey" as she "misses all of the
Christmas stuff from England".

She insists that it is all just for fun and that it will really just be
a regular Shabbat dinner. What do people think? Is this appropriate? Is
it permitted? Can I go? (Also, why is that English olim seem to "miss
Christmas" when no one else around the world seems to care?)

Dani Wassner
Ph: 972-2-622-0556    Fax: 972-2-622-2412 
30 Agron St, Jerusalem 94190, ISRAEL 


From: Cheryl Maryles <C-Maryles@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 17:50:00 -0600 (CST)
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?

There is a two volume set written by Rabbi AryeH Kaplan zt'l called "the
handbook of jewish thought" this would be an excellant choice. It also
happens to be a great choice for observant people as well.

From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 17:27:36 -0500
Subject: English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy

I would recommend two books by Louis Jacobs: The Book of Jewish Belief and 
The Book of Jewish Practice.  They are inexpensive paperbacks published by 
Behrman House.

Cordially,  Alan Cooper

From: Rabbi Shmuel Jablon <rabbij@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 17:08:30 -0800
Subject: English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy

Mazal tov on the upcoming simcha...and the simcha of having a nephew who
wants to learn more.

Depending on his interest level and reading level, you may wish to try
some of the following.-

an Artscroll Tanakh
Generation to Generation (Rabbi Dr. Twerski)
Forever My Jerusalem (Puah Shteiner)
The Commentator's Siddur and/or The Commentator's Gift of Torah (Rabbi
Yitzchok Sender)
any of Rabbi Berel Wein's history books
any of Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan's NCSY books

Good luck!

Shmuel Jablon
Visit my new homepage!:  www.rabbijablon.com
Send an e-fax!: 810-314-2515

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 21:45:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: English books for non-observant, but interested 12 year old boy

You have to vet these yourself as far as being appropriate for his
reading level since I'm not sure how to.

Blech, Benjamin, _Judaism:  The Basics of Deed and Creed_
	A very good introduction, but on the other hand a little heavy:
	he spends a lot of time discussing yehareg v'al yaavor
	(dying rather than transgressing) and then ends talking about
	the messiah.  Important stuff, but might turn someone off if
	it's their first book.  Barely they find out about observance
	that they find out they have to die rather than do certain things.

Wouk, Herman, This is my god
	Standard and informative, but not life-changing.  Still, maybe
	this is a safer book because it doesn't require anything of the
	reader:  the reader wouldn't feel automatically alienated from
	the book for being agnostic, e.g.  (I really wish Wouk had named 
	his book something else, though.  The title sounds so evangelical,
	which is ironic because it's the most objective of all of these.)

Prager, Dennis and Telushin, Joseph, Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism
	In some ways, this is the best book and in some ways, it's the
	worst book.  It's the best book because it's easy to read and 
	covers a number of important points in a very straight-forward
	way.  It's the worst book because the first chapter or two might 
	make an agnostic uncomfortable and make him give up on the book 

Abraham Joshua Heschel's _The Sabbath_ is highly appropriate, giving 
	a really good background and motivation for shabbat.  

Some books which are definitely too old for him, but I'm including in
case this is useful for someone else:

Berkovits, Eliezer, Crisis and Faith, which is a very philosophical
	introduction to Judaism.  I really enjoyed it for its contrast
	between Jewish theology and existentialism.  It is unfortunately
	out of print.  Berkovits's Not in Heaven is very good for
	giving people a sympathetic feel for halacha.

Boteach, Shmuel, Kosher Sex.  
	First, for the nervous, this book is mostly about marriage and
	relationships, as is only appropriate.  This is a strange choice, but 
	I think it's extremely sensible to show people such healthy attitudes, 
	especially since one of the major associations people have with 
	Orthodoxy is that it's totally repressive, or rather that the ways 
	in which it is repressive have no purpose.  It is also very in sync 
	with modern attitudes and not at all preachy or condescending, which 
	is extremely rare for a book on such a divisive and personal
	topic (marriage, that is.)  Be forewarned that there is one point 
	on which he makes a very controversial statement.



From: Joel Ehrlich <ehrlich@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 1999 09:30:18 -0500
Subject: sunrise/ sunset/ solstice question

Why do the latest sunrise, earliest sunset, and shortest day all occur
separately?  For example, this year in New York, the earliest sunset was
at 4:29 PM on about Dec 7; the latest sunrise is about Dec. 30 at 7:20
AM; and the shortest Sha'a Zmanit (46 min., 16 sec) was, by definition,
on the winter solstice, Dec. 21.  A similar pattern occurs around the
summer solstice as well.  I would have assumed that these three events
would all occur on the same day, the solstice, but apparently sunrise
and sunset are "out of phase".  Can anyone provide an astronomical
explanation for this?

    - Joel


From: Yosef Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 16:45:25 -0800
Subject: Tsitsit

One practice that has not been mentioned yet is to kiss the tsitsit only
at "v-haya lachem l-tsitsit". The other three occurrences of the word
"tsitsit" are in the middle of a phrase, where stopping to kiss the
tsitsit would interfere with the proper continuity of the recitation of
the parasha. "V-haya lachem l-tsitsit", on the other hand, is a complete
phrase, as is clearly shown by the t`amim (munah zarqa sgol), therefore
it is appropriate to pause briefly to kiss the tsitsit.

Yosef Gilboa


From: Joshua Plaut <rjplaut@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1999 11:28:44 -0500
Subject: What Jews do on Christmas Eve

I was wondering if anybody can enlighten me about a new discussion topic I
would like to introduce:

The customs and prohibitions associated in law and minhag in terms of what
Jews do on Christmas Eve and Day?


From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 16:21:42 EST
Subject: Why do we wear a Yarmulke

In a message dated 12/23/1999 2:26:21 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
<mljewish@...> writes:

Maurice Weider asks:
<< 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? >>

 The Yarmulke or Kippa was originally worn indoors only.  Sforim refer
to it has the "house hat" or "small hat."  This goes back to the time
when it was considered unseemly and not properly dressed to be outdoors
without a formal or proper hat.
 Hence when one was "davening" he was expected to be attired properly,
even at home alone, as he would appear in public.  As the Aruch
Hashulchan (91:6) says: "In our communities one does not pray with a
small head covering (i.e.  yarmulke), but is required to wear a "Kovah"
(i.e. hat) as he would when walking in a public street."  Birkas Hamozon
is considered no less important than other prayers and, therefore,
required the same formal attire.
 At home at leisure, or at work, all that was required was any form of
head covering so that one does not go about bare headed.  Hence the
Yarmulke or kippah.

In our less formal society, when the general public finds a hat
unnecessary for proper dress, (thanks to Jack Kennedy) many feel that
wearing a hat during prayer may not be required as long as one's head is
covered.  Therefore, davening in a Kippah may not be objectionable.
 Boruch Merzel

From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:39:18 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Why do we wear a yarmulke?

I have an old issue from the Practical Halacha mailing list which deals
with this issue. I can forward a copy to anyone who is interested.

Jonathan Katz


From: A.J.Gilboa <bfgilboa@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 14:34:31 -0800
Subject: Re: Yonatan vs. Yhonatan (was Eliezer or Elazar)

> From: Louise Miller <daniel@...>
> I've always thought that Yonatan and Yehonatan (Yhonoson) were
> different names.  Am I wrong?
> Yonatan's Mommy
> (Louise Miller)

 Yes and no. As I mentioned previously, Yonatan, the son of Sha'ul, is
referred to in the Tanach just as frequently as Yhonatan. There are lots
of other examples of "Yo" and "Yho" being used interchangeably. Both are
perceived to be abbreviated forms of God's ineffable name. You have
Yoram-Yhoram, Yosef-Yhosef, also Yirmiyah-Yirmiyahu, etc. Clearly
though, we parents don't want people to go around "correcting" our sons'
names to Yhonatan if WE named them Yonatan.
 The case of Eli`ezer-El`azar is a bit different. Although it seems that
both names MEAN essentially the same thing, there are two distinct
people (cousins actually) one named Eli`ezer (ben Moshe) and one named
El`azar (ben Aharon). Now, just to make things worse, my son is Yonatan
El`azar (named after two of the brothers of Yhuda (Yuda?) Ha-makkabi).
Don't you think that his names are both "corrected" to Yhonatan Eliezer
by well-meaning clerks, etc.?!

Yonatan El`azar's Daddy
(Yosef Gilboa)

From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 1999 13:38:49 -0500
Subject: Yonatan vs. Yhonatan (was Eliezer or Elazar) 

Similarly, what about the many names which end either in "-ah" or
"-ahu", such as Yeshaya, Yirmiya, Eliya, vs Yeshayahu, Yimiyahu,

Clearly, these are alternate versions of the same name (like
Yonason/Yehonasan) rather than distinct names (like Eliezer/Elazar), but
which one is the "real" name, and which is the "nickname"? Or are they
equally "real"? They seem to be rather interchangable in Tanach,
especially if you look at the many places where the k'siv is "-ah", but
the k'ri is "-ahu".

There are a number of names which appear only in the "-ah" form (or at
least, I have not heard the "-ahu" version) such as Ovadyah, Zecharyah,
and Nechemyah.

Somehow, I suspect there is a fascinating story behind these nuances.
Anyone know what it is?

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 30 Issue 46