Volume 30 Number 74
                 Produced: Thu Jan  6  7:30:24 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anonymous Poskim - a slightly different angle
         [Jonathan Grodzinski]
Bat Mitzvah Information
         [Reuven Werber]
Books for a Non-Observant Nephew
         [Sheldon Meth]
Christian "copying"
         [Daniel M. Wildman]
How to Both Learn and Work all Day
         [Russell Hendel]
Jewish references in Christian prayer (3)
         [Sheri & Seth Kadish, Jeanette Friedman, Steven White]
Mezonos Rolls
         [Carl Singer]


From: Jonathan Grodzinski <JGrodz@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 01:26:32 EST
Subject: Anonymous Poskim - a slightly different angle

Carl Singer writes:
<<  The problem is that today we have people who live in communities that
 might be called a "makom Torah" yet they skirt the community Rabbaim and
 jump on the telephone for shailahs.  Is is not a proper derech,
 halachikly or socially.  >>

By extension, I would posit that many people today whether machmirim or
meikilim, look for the answer they want and then try to get a Posek to
pasken that way.

I have deliberately written "try to get a Posek to pasken that way"
because it is vague. In the context of the debate of "Anonymous
Poskim£ you would understand me to mean that one finds a Posek who
has already given the Psak you want to hear.

However there is a (possibly more sinister) custom, which is prevalent
amongst those who follow the maxim "Aseh Lecha Rav" and wouldn't dream
of "fishing" for a Psak, and that is of forcing one's Posek to give the
Psak you want.

Are these harsh words? Am I overstepping the mark? I think not. 

Have we never heard of Rabbanim being told "Rav Ploni insists on this
chumroh/ this standard - surely our community should do so as well" or
"Our Kehilla is known to be more machmir than them generally, so if they
Assur something, how can we allow it [equivalent to "what will happen to
our street cred]?"

Is this sort of invidious pressure not more worthy of rebuke than those
who find a Rav who allows something they want and makes him their Rav
for that issue only? At least the fishers are affecting only themselves.

Jonathan Grodzinski (- London, UK)


From: Reuven Werber <reuw@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 19:22:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Bat Mitzvah Information

Would anyone on the list be aware of any articles, books, bibliographies on
forms of Bat Mitzvah celebrations in the Orthodox Community?

[There was some discussions of Bat Mitzvah around volume 17/18. Mod.]


Reuven Werber
Neveh Chanah Torah H.S. For Girls  -  http://www.nevnet.etzion.k12.il
Herzog Teacher's College - Yeshivat Har Etzion
International KidsConnect Volunteer Counselor


From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 09:31:09 -0500 
Subject: Books for a Non-Observant Nephew

There's a list of books at the Ohr Somayach web site:


From: Daniel M. Wildman <dwildman@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2000 01:14:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Christian "copying"

Shlomo Godick, after pointing out that Christian liturgy borrows freely from
Tanach, speculates that

<<you would be hard pressed to find an example of a non-scriptural portion of
the Jewish siddur that has been appropriated by the Christian liturgy.>>

I have a brief observation to offer, but first let me share this internal

Do we on mail-jewish care?
- Probably shouldn't.
Is this a halachic or even Jewish issue?
- Probably not.
Could such a discussion lead us to bitul zman (nullifying precious time) or
other transgressions by studying Christian liturgy looking for its Jewish
- Sure could.
So why am I even pursuing this?
- I'm curious. And it's fun. Like Palms on Sunday, it proves they're even
crazier than we are.

After 10 minutes of research I had learned a couple things about
Christian prayer and gained a lot more awareness and appreciation of the
Jewish prayers I've said every day of my adult life.

Conclusion 1: I ought to be doing a better job of motivating my own
reflection on davening without the need for a historical-theological
riddle to solve.

Conclusion 2: This thread should probably die an early, gracious death.

That said, I will nevertheless procede to share my counter-example to
Shlomo's speculation. Note that his challenge is not exactly trivial
since so very much of tefila IS scriptural in nature - by sheer volume,
there isn't that much non-scriptural stuff to pick from! Even paragraphs
not lifted directly from Tanach are often interweavings of sentences and
phrases from Naviim and Ketuvim.

Nonetheless, I think that what the Christians call "The Lord's Prayer"
provides a good example of non-scriptural but very Jewish
content. Significantly, it is apparently paradigmatic for Christians of
well-formed prayer, supposedly demonstrated by their chief prophet
himself. (Sounds like that idea came from the midrash that Gd
demonstrated selichot for us!) I'm not going to quote their text
literally, but it's the one that starts "Our father in heaven,
sanctified/hallowed be your name...."

I would submit that the first phrase is pulled from the our evening
prayer, just before Yiru eineinu: Elokeinu shebashamayim, yached shimcha
v'kayem malchutcha tamid, u'mloch aleinu l'olam va'ed. Easy to
interchange the first two words with the common Hebrew usage of *Avinu*

I guess the import of "kingdom come" may have unJewish messianic
implications, not sure. But the theme of everlasting sovereignty is
consistent with our approach and the words of our prayer.

The prayer asks that His will be done on earth as it is done in
heaven. Sounds to me like "Oseh shalom bimromav..."

Give us bread every day: Hu notein (ongoing, every day) lechem l'chol
bsar - or - Harachaman Hu y'farniseinu bechavod (Grace after Meals).

The next passage asks that He forgive us our sins just as we forgive
others the wrongs they've done to us. I don't have a quote from
davening, but it sounds like a familiar leitmotif of the High Holidays,
e.g., Rambam Hilchot Teshuva 2:10, Kesef Mishna ad. loc. and perhaps
implicit in the Tefila Zakka prior to Kol Nidrei.

Lead us not into temptation - Ok, I don't have anything explicit for
this one.  In Hashkiveinu, the phrase "V'haser satan" may have that
connotation. At least, the positive complement is apparent in Shemona
Esrai, the bracha of Hashiveinu and at the end, in Elokai Netzur: P'tach
libi b'toratecha uv'mitzvotecha tirdof nafshi.

..and deliver us from evil: Also in Elokai Netzur, thematically, and
almost explicit in both Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu. Literary overtones
here of "Hamalach hagoel oti mikol ra," but that is, after all, from
Chumash. I was surprised, however, not to find it in the main body of
Shemona Esrai - geula and yeshua are present but "from evil" isn't.

There's an additional clause in a different girsa (version) of the
Lord's Prayer, but I haven't given it any thought. In general, though,
the prayer strikes me as consistent with, and semantically reminiscent
of many Scriptureless Jewish prayers. For example, the Kaddish is also
replete with sanctification of His name and that He is of both heaven
and earth. The series of short Harachamans in the Birkat Hamazon (Grace
after Meals) also emphasize Gd's eternal sanctity and sovereignty.

Looks to me like liturgic borrowing from non-Tanach siddur sources.

Kol tuv,
Danny Wildman


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 2 Jan 2000 20:23:37 -0500 (EST)
Subject: How to Both Learn and Work all Day

Just a quick footnote on some of the postings in Volume 30 Number 53
which suggest that there are two possibilities a) learning all day
in a Kollel b) working and learning.

available upon email request with an address) I suggested (based on
a Rav Hirsch) that the Messianic goal is to COMBINE both these goals.

For example, suppose you work in a hardware repair shop. There is a
whole tractate called UTENSILS. Thus every time I pick up a broken 
utensil I immeidately think of many halacoth---eg i) what type of
utensil is it--functional or spatial, ii) what is the status of its
handles, iii) which of its nails/screws are capable of receiving 
unclean/clean status iv) what is the status of its cover etc.

In this way I spend my entire day learning--some learning will be 
intense while during my work hours I am 'randomly reviewing'. 

In a similar manner a surgeon can review 'the laws of ritual
slaughtering' while doing surgery, the high school math teacher reviews
the laws of calendars while teaching.

Russell Hendel; Math; Towson; <RHendel@...>
Moderator Rashi Is SImple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Jan 2000 22:35:26 +0200
Subject: Jewish references in Christian prayer

Christian prayers with a scriptural basis are not at all surprising,
because Christians share our Bible.  But parallels to Chazal are more
fascinating.  The most famous example surely must be the similarity
between Rabbi Eliezer's version of a "short prayer" (Berakhot 29b) and
the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10).

Carl also asked what impact this might have on the halakhic status of
Christianity.  I doubt that liturgical details would have much impact -
it is the basic theology of the trinity that is more important here.

I myself posted a similar question some time ago on mail-jewish, about
whether piskei halakha regarding classical Christianity necessarily
apply to today's Christian denominations.  I never got any replies, so
it seems that the issue simply isn't on very many people's minds.

Nevertheless, I finally did stumble across a serious discussion of the
issue in Rav Henkin's Shu"t Bnei Banim.  In his introductory comments he
too writes that the issue has, for some reason, been entirely ignored in
halakhic discourse despite its great importance.  Barukh she-kivvanti.
In any case, my great problem is that I haven't had time to copy the
teshuva and read it carefully yet, and I probably won't be able to in
the near future.

In any case, no, I don't think this is bittul Torah.  If anything, it's
a good example of what the Rambam called "le-havin ule-horot" (to learn
about paganism for halakhic purposes, and here it is not even paganism).

Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel

From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 10:51:55 EST
Subject: Re: Jewish references in Christian prayer

Virtually all Catholic and Protestant prayers from the old testament,
like Psalms, are the same as ours. They always have been. Nothing has
changed in 2,000 years. I think that Jews need to study comparative
religion more so that they understand the history of the religions and
why the "new" theology was so important to Christians. Also, by studying
colonial American history, we can see why in America we are not the
targets of messianists, as a rule.

Ignorance is as far from bliss as we can get.

Jeanette Friedman

From: Steven White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 16:27:33 EST
Subject: Re: Jewish references in Christian prayer

In #64, Shlomo Godick responds to Carl Singer:
>  Your examples are not particularly good ones since they are psukim.
>  "Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh" appears in Yeshayahu perek 6.  "Pitchu li
>  shaarei tzedek" is in tehillim.  As you know, the Christian world highly
>  regards the Hebrew Bible (the "OT" in their lingo) and appropriates many
>  of the psukim and tehillim for liturgical use.  On the other hand, I
>  think you would be hard pressed to find an example of a non-scriptural
>  portion of the Jewish siddur that has been appropriated by the Christian
>  liturgy.

Reb Shlomo, with all due respect you miss the point.  The fact is that
there is a whole section of the Mass (or Eucharist, I believe they call
it these days) called the "Sanctus," which is built around the (once
Latin, now usually vernacular) translated pasuk of "Kadosh."  In its
solemnity and its status within the prayer service, it is functionally
equivalent to our "Kedushah."

I've been to a few Masses in my life.  (OK, never mind whether I should
have or not; that's not the point.)  In many aspects, I could readily
observe how the service has grown organically from the roots of a basic
Jewish service.  It's *not* that somebody walked into a shul and started
borrowing prayers.  It's that the early Church was set up by practicing
Jews, and that they arranged their prayers much like Jewish prayers --
because they were familiar with the structure, because it would make it
easier/ more appealing for other Jews to join them -- and quite frankly,
like it or not, because they saw themselves as perpetuating an honest
extension of Judaism, post-Messiah, as opposed to a religion for
Gentiles, which only developed with Paul a bit later on.

FWIW, I've been to a few Protestant services too, and the resemblance
still exists, although it is harder to see.  Protestantism started 15 or
so centuries after Christianity left Judaism, and the need to stay quite
that specific to past Jewish forms was not as high.  It's amazing to me
that after these twenty centuries, Catholic (and I am led to believe
Eastern Orthodox) liturgies can still be so recognizable to us.

Steven White


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 09:27:58 EST
Subject: Re: Mezonos Rolls

I don't know the full story -- perhaps someone from OU should better
answer this -- I am, B"H, no longer a frequent flyer -- but there was
much pressure / discussion re: the implication of not having to wash
with a mezonos roll even though one was keviah Suedah.  The OU, I
believe, chose to take a more stringent stand so people might not err on
this topic. (Similar issues at smorgasbords, with most caterer's now
offering bread and washing before.)  Clearly, different communities have
different view / standards on this matter.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 30 Issue 74