Volume 30 Number 88
                 Produced: Fri Jan 14  5:17:45 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Authenticity of the Letters of the Torah
         [Joseph Tabory]
Aveylut and being Shliach Tzibur on Shabbat (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer]
Collect Phone calls
         [Akiva Miller]
Difference between Univ Research and Kollel support
         [Russell Hendel]
Easing into Shabbos
         [Zev Sero]
Praying with Avaryonim (Sinners)
         [Joseph Geretz]
Source of Phrase
         [Bernard Katz]
State of Israel Bonds (2)
         [Frank Silbermann, Jeanette Friedman]


From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 04:00:29 +0200
Subject: Authenticity of the Letters of the Torah

 1. It is true that in modern sifrei torah there are only two
disagreements about the actual text. Nevertheless, even one causes a
 2. In ancient times, there is more evidence for problems with the
text. the classic statement is that of the talmud and other sources
which stated that Ezra had variant texts which he conflated in his own
way to produce the modern torah.
 3. This does not have to be a doctrinaire issue. I refer to the
statement of Rabbi Noah Weinberg, in book callled Faith and
Fundamentals, an explanation of the thirteen principles of the
Rambam. In his discussion ot the principle that the torah will never be
changed, he explains that this does not include a belief that there have
not been changes in the letters due to the process of transmission

Joseph Tabory
Department of Talmud, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, 59200, Israel
tel. at office: (972) 3-5318593
email:  mailto:<taborj@...>


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 09:27:06 EST
Subject: Aveylut and being Shliach Tzibur on Shabbat

Ari Golman asks:  
"I am in aveylut for my father and find one restriction
mystifying: not be allowed to be a shliach tzibur on Shabbat and Yom
Tov. [Why?]" 

This is an Ashkenazi minhag; on the other hand Sepharadim (that I know)
do not hold by this, and the chiyuvim do act as shatzi"m (shelichei
tzubbur) on Shabbatot.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 17:02:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Aveylut and being Shliach Tzibur on Shabbat

Because the Aveil Davens for the Amud regularly, it is a sign of aveilut
for him - and on Shabbat there should be no public morning.

[Same response from Jeff <NJGabbai@...>. Mod.]


From: Akiva Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 17:46:57 -0500
Subject: Collect Phone calls

Someone wrote, in MJ 30:79, <<< When I was in yeshiva, we were told not
to play the Collect call game in which we call home collect, having a
deal with our parents that they'd call back after refusing the call. My
question is, What form of genivah is that?  Are you stealing money by
using the phone system in a manner they did not intend?  Or, is it
Genivas daas, pretending that you did intend to make the call for the
operator that helped you? >>>

This is a reasonable question. If the Chofetz Chaim saw fit to detail
exactly which mitzvos are violated with Lashon Hara, we can certainly
investigate the precise parameters of other obvious sins.

It seems to me that The Collect Call Game, when a human operator is
involved, violates both forms of geneiva (stealing), Geneivas Mamon
(financial theft) and Geneivas Daas (deception), just as Chaim

Financial Theft, it seems to me, applies in every conceivable variation
of this procedure. No matter how you work it, one is directly operating
various wires and switches in the phone system, getting real hanaah from
the phone system, and is doing so with deliberate intent to avoid paying
for those services.

<<< Would the fact that services like 1-800 Collect do not use a human
operator to process the calls make a difference? >>>

I imagine that it would remove the Deception, but Theft Of Services
still remains, no?

<<< Would there be a halachik difference if, on occasion, my little
brother answered the phone not understanding the game and accepted the
call eliminating the inevitability of refusal? >>>

I think it would make a difference. The cases where my brother accepts
the call are somewhat similar to cases where my brother reminds me to
pay for the object which I had intended to shoplift.

I think these examples are similar to one who purchases an appliance of
some kind, fully intending on returning it after a few days of use,
merely pretending to be dissatisfied with it, relying on the store's "No
Questions Asked" return policy. It is one thing to be genuinely
dissatisfied with a purchase -- even if only slightly so -- but quite
another to take advantage of a liberal return policy, with deliberate
intent to defraud.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 21:33:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Difference between Univ Research and Kollel support

The discussion on Kollel continues. Someone asked the difference between
'getting paid for doing university research' and 'getting paid for
learning torah'. Isn't this a legitimate business activity these days.

I actually asked this question once during shiur to Rabbi Soloveitchick.
His response was that University research has 'no Kedusha' and therefore
it is permissable to take money for Torah.

I have tried to understand the underlying prohibitions in more basic
categories. Perhaps the following has some value. In a profession there
are 'standards' 'hierarchies' and 'ways of doing things'. I for example
cannot train people to be electrical engineers--I am not qualified. If I
did so train them and something happened I could be sued. Furthermore
the professional leaders may have set 'quotas' on how many engineers
they want per year--this would then inhibit certain people from coming
after the threshold.

But these 3 things---standards, lawsuits, quotas--are exactly what we
DON'T want in Talmud Torah. Let us go over each of them separately

STANDARDS: Of course we want standards in halachah. But not in Talmud
Torah. If a person loves Gematrias, or a certain Midrash or an obscure
seder of Mishnah then he should feel free to learn it, teach it, or
enter into chevrutha. We do NOT want him attacked because he is not
using the 'standard' learning tools. We want to encourage all learning.

QUOTAS: We never want a situation where the Rabbonim say 'we have too
may people in the Rabbinate--let us upgrade standards to lower the flow

LAWSUITS: Of course, we want posayks to be responsible for what they are
doing. But we want the general public to be able to learn without fear
of reprisal. The goal of talmud torah is the PROCESS of learning not the
RESULT. If a person wants to add a chumash and rashi shiur then whether
that person is Dr Leibowitz or John Doe (and not explaining every Rashi
properly) we want to encourage the learning process and activity itself.

I feel that it is for this reason that it is prohibited to take money
for Torah---it discourages an atmosphere of 'standards', 'quotas' and
'lawsuits'--it encourages an atmosphere where anyone can set up a shiur
and pursue things according to their own understanding. (Again: Psak
halachah is an exception). I hope this insight helps

Russell Hendel; Phd ASA; Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi iS Simple; http://www.shamash.org/rashi/


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 22:53:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Easing into Shabbos

Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...> writes:
>With the possible exception of when she was confined to a hospital bed 
>in labor, my wife follows her mother's and grandmothers'.... tradition 
>of having the Shabbos Table set Thursday night, before retiring.

My grandmother AH had the same custom.

My father often points out an often-overlooked Rambam, where he rules
that if a person is running in the street and does damage, then if it's
on Friday he is not responsible, because he had the right to run - i.e.
it's normal for people to run on Friday, and bystanders can be expected
to take the appropriate care.  What's interesting is the reason the
Rambam gives for it being OK to run on Friday.  One would expect the
reason to be very simple - there is a lot that must be done for Shabbat,
and it must all get done before Shabbat comes in, so of course people
are in a hurry.  But the Rambam doesn't say that a person hurries in
order to prepare for Shabbat; he says that a person hurries in order not
to enter Shabbat while busy.  IOW, the Rambam holds that there is a
positive obligation to enter Shabbat in a state of mind where one is not
busy, all ones work having already been done, and that it's for this
reason that a normal person can be expected to hurry on Friday.

Zev Sero                Give a man a fire and he'll be warm for a day;
<zsero@...>       set him on fire and he'll be warm for the
                        rest of his life.   - Ankh-Morpork proverb


From: Joseph Geretz <jgeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2000 21:22:11 -0500
Subject: Praying with Avaryonim (Sinners)

Our Yom Kippur prayers commence with the declaration that by G-d's
consent, and by the consent of the congregation, we are permitting
ourselves to pray with Avaryonim (sinners). I'd like to examine this.

We have two basic options.

1) This declaration is an empty declaration and there is no difference
between Yom Kippur and the rest of the year. (Not an option I'd be
comfortable with.)

2) There is some difference between the rest of the year and Yom Kippur,
in regards to praying with sinners.

For this latter option, we again have two sub-options, to explain the
difference between the rest of the year and Yom Kippur.

2a) All year round, we are not even permitted to pray with Avaryonim. If
an Avaryon wishes to join we either induce him to leave or we leave
ourselves, and form the minyan elsewhere. This is an extremely strict
interperetation.  I'm proposing it mainly for the purpose of eliminating
it outright, see Mishna Berura Laws of Tefilla Siman 90, Os 22, where
the MB discusses the importance of praying with the Tzibbur he states:
and even if there are among them sinners, he should not refrain from
praying with them. (Although please note, it's not clear from the MB's
words whether the sinners are necessary in order to complete the count
of 10 for the minyan. I'd have to assume that this is NOT the case
(e.g. the minyan does not depend on the sinners) in order to leave room
for option 2b below.

2b) All year round, we are not permitted to count Avaryonim for a
Minyan. On Yom Kippur (for whatever reason, perhaps because the day
itself effects attonment) we do count an Avaryon for a Minyan.

I can't think of any more standard options. So the bottom line, unless
you want to vote for option 1, and render this declaration an empty
declaration, or vote for option 2a and go against the Mishne Berura, it
seems to me that the only option left is 2b, that during the year, an
Avaryon can not be counted for a minyan.

Now, I did think up a 'non-standard' option: Just like the Kol Nidrei
itself, covers the entire year ahead of us (MiYom Kippurim Zeh Ad Yom
HaKippurim Haba Aleinu L'Tova), so too, this declaration of permission
to pray with Avaryonim covers the entire year ahead of us, so that
ultimately, there is no difference between Yom Kippur and the rest of
the year. So then you'd be able to say that you can always count an
Avaryon for a minyan. I'm not sure that I buy this.

Ultimately, we can discuss who exactly qualifies as an Avaryon, but
before we get to that, can we agree on the basis for the discussion?
Which is it, option 1, 2a, 2b or 3?

Kol Tuv,

Yossi Geretz
Focal Point Solutions, Inc.


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 06:55:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Source of Phrase

I assume that the custom according to which the congregation rises
and exclaims, "Chazak chazak v'nitchazeik" at the end of the reading
of each of the books of the Chumash is universal among both
Sephardim and Ashkenazim. Does anyone know the source of the phrase
and of the custom? Do we know, eg, when it was started? 

Bernard Katz  


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 100 17:51:35 -0600 (CST)
Subject:  State of Israel Bonds 

I presume that the motivation for selling Israel Bonds, rather than,
say, requesting contributions to the Israeli government, is that the
U.S. government does not consider donations to foreign states to be tax
deductible.  By buying Israel Bonds with an interest rate a bit below
the market rate, not only does Israel pay less interest on its foreign
debt, but one's contribution is in the form of a reduced income.  As
with deductible contributions one is contributing with pre-tax money.

/Frank Silbermann

From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 23:29:31 EST
Subject:  State of Israel Bonds 

This is not a change. Israel Bonds were never charity. They were always 
investments. That is the point, you know. That it is not charity. Investments 
in Israel Bonds were the seed monies for the birth of a nation. The bonds do 
pay interest, and always have, much as do U.S. Savings Bonds.

<< This change in marketing style may be a reflection of an overall
 diminishing emotional connection to Eretz Yisrael (in the complete
 Jewish spectrum) or simply a response to the general bull market where
 every cent must be given a cost/benefit analysis to see where it will be
 more profitable so we're not left behind the Jonses. Should we be
 concerned about the possible blurring of the lines between Cheshbonot
 Shel Mitzva and, to quote the words of the zemer, "Chafatzecha Asurin,
 Ve'gam LaChashov Cheshbonot"? >>


End of Volume 30 Issue 88