Volume 31 Number 01
                 Produced: Tue Jan 18  6:11:12 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
AltNeu shul
         [Andrew M Greene]
G'nevat Da'at (was: Collect Phone calls)
         [Perry Zamek]
Hebrew pronunciation
         [Carl M. Sherer]
R. Prof. Haym Soloveitchik and "Rupture and Reconstruction"
         [Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer]
Tearing Toilet Paper on Shabbos
         [Carl M. Sherer]
Women and Minyan
         [Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2000 05:50:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello and welcome to Volume 31!

As is my custom, I increment the volume number when we hit 99 issues in
the volume, which we did last evening. In the past I've often had a 00
issue where I've resent out the Welcome message. I did that recently as a
non-indexed message, and more importantly, I've now put the welcome
message on the web page, so you can review it there at any time. The web
page address is: http://shamash.org/mail-jewish. Thanks to those who
have recently taken a look and have sent me feedback.

I will take the space to just a highlight a few points.

 From the Ground Rules:

Hebrew Usage - Please read and follow!

All transliterations of hebrew words, except those that are "common",
should also be translated. The members of the mailing list span a wide
range of knowledge and background, and we would like things to be
understood by all. Words such as Torah, Shabbat, Mitzvah fall in the
catagory of "common". If you are unsure, it is better to err on the side
of including the translation. If the translations are missing, the
moderator will either supply the translation, clearly marking that the
translation was added by the moderator, or will send the submission back
to the submitter for translation.

As I've been upgrading the web page, one addition I've thought of is to
have a Glossary page with search engine to help with the translations of
phrases used in Mail-Jewish. If there is any list member who would like
to work on that (either or both of the Glossery and the search), please
let me know.

Subscription Donation:

I am requesting a yearly subscription donation from readers of
mail-jewish. I am modeling it somewhat like some museums, in that I am
recommending a suggested subscription level, but you are free to choose
what level of subscription you wish to contribute. The suggested
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or families (i.e. if you have more than one person in your family on
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suggest waiting a month and reading this list to see what this list is
worth to you before making a decision.

 At the present time, it does not appear to me to be practical to
request this subscription fee from the non-US readers, due to the issues
of converting the currency, etc. The exceptions are Israel, where I will
take the subscription fees in Shekels (NS), at the suggested levels of
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 Just to clarify, no-one is ever dropped from the list if they cannot /
choose not to contribute. This is a voluntary contribution. I do
appreciate those of you who do contribute, thank you all.

Checks payable in US dollars may be made out to either "Avi Feldblum" or
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and send it to the address listed below.

The address to send the contribution to is: 

 USA                                      Israel (Please indicate clearly
                                          that it is for mail-jewish:)
 Avi Feldblum                             Prof. M.S. Feldblum
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Mail-Jewish Hypertext Version:
 From Barry Friedman, an Archive update

Just wanted to let you and the readers know that the hypertext archive
now contain all issues back to Vol. 6. which was the first volume
archived in mailbox format.  The full text search also covers the entire

Thanks, Barry!

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Andrew M Greene <agreene@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 06:38:01 -0500 (EST)
Subject: AltNeu shul

Zev Sero (MJ 30:93) wrote:
> It was a well-known tradition in Prague that one of the sifrei torah in
> the Altneu Shul (which itself supposedly dates back to before the 2nd
> churban) was written by Ezra Hasofer.

In response, Gilad J. Gevaryahu (MJ 30:97) wrote:
> The Altneuschul (literally "the old new synagogue" or al tenai, "on
> condition") was built at the end of the 14th century.

Although the "real" origin of the name is probably that when they built
a "newer shul", the shul formerly known as the "new shul" became the
"old `new shul'", the second etymology that you give, "al tenai", refers
to the tradition that the AltNeuShul was constructed partly with stones
taken from the churban, "on condition" that when Mashiach comes and the
Beit haMiqdash is rebuilt, the stones will be returned.

I suspect that it is that tradition to which Zev Sero refers.

- Andrew Greene


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 10:10:00 +0200
Subject: G'nevat Da'at (was: Collect Phone calls)

Avi Feldblum, in MJ v30n95 wrote:

> You go into a store to look at the selection of items in the store, but 
> know that you have no intention of actually buying anything in that store. 
> Your actual purchase will be elsewhere, but you go here for convienence to
> see what the items look like before purchase (in todays world, maybe 
> you want to buy the item over the Internet, but want to actually see it 
> first). <snipped>

As far as I remember, the issue of g'nevat da'at (deceit) applies when
one enters a shop to ask the price of an item, when one has NO intention
of purchasing. On the other hand, when one definitely intends to
purchase an item, even if one will eventually buy elsewhere, there is
not deceit involved in pricing it in a number of stores, in order to
find the cheapest.  In Avi's case, since the potential exists for the
sale to still be made by the store -- the store may have reduced its
price, may offer better terms, etc. Hence, it would probably not be

What would be appropriate to say to a salesperson if you have a
long-term thought of buying, say, a freezer, but would like to know the
price *now*, in order to take it into consideration in future financial
planning? My approach would be to tell the salesperson exactly
that. (Naturally, that would not be appropriate if one actually was
looking to buy now.)

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should live his life in such a way
Peretz ben    | that people can say of him: "There goes
Avraham       | a living Kiddush Hashem".


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 02:53:49 EST
Subject: Hebrew pronunciation

<< From: Ari Z. Zivotofsky <azz@...>
 I am interested in both the historical development of the various
 pronunciations of Hebrew as well as the halachik ramifications. I find
 it perplexing that despite the fact that most of the early settlers of
 modern Israel were Ashkenazim, the Sephardik pronunciation became the
 dominant one. Does anyone know how this came about? Is anyone familiar
 with scholarly research (as opposed to halachik) that discusses how and
 when the various pronunciations of Hebrew developed and which are more
 "authentic"? Thanks.  >>

In the book 'Hebrew in Ashkenaz' (subtitled 'A Language in Exile')
edited by Professor Lewis Glinert (Oxford University Press 1993), one of
the articles ('The Emergence of Modern Hebrew : Some Sociolinguistic
Perspectives' [chapter 13] by Shelomo Morag) touches upon this. He
states that the leaders of the revival of Hebrew as a day to day spoken
language of the masses, who came from eastern Europe, deliberately chose
the Sephardic pronunciation to distance themselves from the Ashkenazi
religious culture from which they came, which they considered backward,
exilic and ghetto - like. He states that the 'Sepharadic pronunciation'
was adopted only after much debate and dispute.

Further on in the chapter, though, he shows that the 'Israeli'
pronunciation is not strictly / totally Sepharadic - rather

Another book that touches upon this area is 'Mivtaei Sifaseinu' by Y.F.
Gumpertz (Jerusalem 1953, Mosad Harav Kook).

Other interesting writings in this area are the words of Rav Yaakov
Emden in his sefer 'Mor Uktzia' (on Shulchan Oruch Orach Chaim) siman 53
[about half-way through, on the Tur ] and teshuvos Minchas Yitzchok 3:9
(by Rav Y.Y.Weiss z"l, recently deceased head of bd"tz of Edah chareidis
Yerushalayim) where he prohibits Ashkenazim changing their traditional
pronunciation and elaborates on the matter.



From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 15:59:47 +0200
Subject: Poskim

Carl Singer writes:

> But there are two other issues of local vs: distance in the following
> question.
> >3) As long as you are going to a posek consistently, does it really
> > matter if it is a local Rabbi or one in a distant place - maybe your old
> > Rosh Yeshiva or former chevrusa (learning partner) or someone else with
> > whom you've established an ongoing relationship?  What relationship must
> > pre-exist or be formed (if any) to qualify as a "posek relationship"?
> 1 - Community Standards - I think it's stretching a point to presume
> that a distant Rabbi can address this correctly

I'm not sure what you mean by community standards here. If you mean
whether or not the Eruv in your town is Kosher, then yes, I think you
have to ask the local Rav (unless of course the Rav from outside the
community that you are asking for psak has actually seen the Eruv). If
you are asking whether a mixed or separate seating affair is more
appropriate for your community, then again, I see your point. But if you
regularly ask questions of a posek who holds from the Brisker psak in
Eruvin (i.e. they don't use them), then I don't see what is wrong with
you holding your posek's chumra (I guess I don't have to translate that
word this month, do I?  :-)

> 2 - Proper Derech and Koved for local Rabbi (Rabbaim) -- there is a
> proper way of doing things, and skirting one's shule Morah D'Asrah is
> improper.  Again, if that person feels himself out of his depth or
> comfort level, he can take the question forward to those who are more
> expert.

I don't think anyone was suggesting that one need not behave
respectfully towards the local Rav. And clearly questions that impact on
his shul must be asked of the local Rav (do we say Av HaRachamim on
Shabbos Mvorchin of Iyar, etc.). But if, for example, I am taking my
wife's Bedika cloths to someone else, no one should know that other than
my wife and I and the "someone else" to whom we are taking Bedika
cloths. That doesn't have to signify disrespect to the local Rav.

> i.e. - appropriateness -- is this the proper derech?
> We undermine the local community and avoid building relationships with
> local Rabbaim when we grab the phone or the net.

I don't think the question of building a relationship with your local
Rav is quite what it was 50 or 100 years ago. Before the telephone, for
example, either you asked the local Rav or you didn't ask anyone at all,
which is a much worse situation. That isn't true today. And yes,
sometimes a fast answer is important, and you have to ask someone other
than the person whom you really wanted to ask.

I think it's also important to point out that at least in Eretz Yisroel,
and maybe in larger communities in chu"l (outside of Israel) as well,
where you daven has become more and more a matter of convenience, and
may vary from day to day or week to week.  Jewish life in larger
communities is (or is becoming) less and less shul centered. Most people
in my neighborhood do not daven in the same shul for all their tfillos
of the week. In fact, most of the shuls in my neighborhood do not have
"shul Rabbis" in the sense that Americans (at least) think of them.

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...>  or  mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 09:02:37 +0200
Subject: R. Prof. Haym Soloveitchik and "Rupture and Reconstruction"

Regarding R. Prof. Haym Soloveitchik's seminal paper in 1994 Tradition
on "Rupture and Reconstruction": Other than the two articles in a 1997
issue of Tradition and the two in the 1997 Torah and Mada - have there
been any other pieces published?


From: Carl M. Sherer <cmsherer@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 14:54:28 +0200
Subject: Tearing Toilet Paper on Shabbos

Akiva Miller wrote:

> Carl Sherer wrote <<< I once heard from R. Moshe Tendler shlita that if
> one finds oneself in a bathroom without any pre-torn toilet paper on
> Shabbos, one is allowed to tear it because of kavod habriyos (human
> dignity).  Nevertheless, one should attempt to tear the toilet paper with
> a shinui (change from how one would normally tear it). AFAIK the issue
> involved is tearing on Shabbos, which is a mekalkel (non-constructive
> act). Therefore, although there is no Torah prohibition, I believe there
> is a Rabbinic one. >>>
> This may be Rav Tendler's view, 

It may or may not be Rav Tendler's view - I never asked him.  Everything
in the above post starting from "AFAIK" was my own and not
R. Tendler's. Sorry if that was not clear.

Someone else has already pointed out to me off list that I was likely
mistaken and that tearing toilet paper on Shabbos is an issur d'oraysa
(Torah prohibition).

Carl M. Sherer
mailto:<cmsherer@...> or mailto:sherer@actcom.co.il
Please daven and learn for a Refuah Shleima for my son, Baruch Yosef ben
Adina Batya among the sick of Israel.  Thank you very much.


From: Prof. Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 08:56:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Women and Minyan

In a recent letter to Mail-Jewish, Jay F Shachter discussed Counting
Women for a Minyan. Over a decade ago I published two articles on the
subject: (NOTE: e-mail copies of the Tradition paper are available upon
(1) "The Status of Women in Halacha - Women and Minyan," Aryeh A.
Frimer, Or HaMizrach, 34, 69-86 (5745/1985). (In Hebrew).
(2) "Women and Minyan," Aryeh A. Frimer, Tradition, 23:4, 54-77 (Summer
	Jay is correct in noting that many poskim believe that the
concepts of Obligation and Minyan go hand in hand. Hence, women are
obligated in Martyrdom, mikra megilla, birkat haGomel, neirot hanuka -
hence count for a minyan; Women are freed from public prayer, kri'at
ha-Torah and haftorah, and other dvarim she-bi-kedusha - hence they are
not counted to such minyanim even alone.
	But Jay has neglected to note that there is a major group of
poskim who exclude women from ALL minyanim (including Kiddush hashem);
and another which counts them only if the minyan is for pirsum
(megillah, hanukah, mila). See the above article for extensive sources.


End of Volume 31 Issue 1