Volume 33 Number 13
                 Produced: Wed Aug 16  6:00:57 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Comparitive Accuracy of the Hebrew and Roman Calendars
         [Eli Linas]
Disabilities, disturbances and shul
         [Aharon Fischman]
Eretz-Zayt Shemen
         [David Mescheloff]
Female Jewish Slave
         [Ben Katz]
Kaddish Recital Strategy
         [Aharon Fischman]
Kaddish speed
         [Esther &Sholom Parnes]
Kosher label on mineral water
         [Daniel Cohn]
L. D. Schools
         [Carl Singer]
Learning Disabled
Pikuach Nefesh for a community
         [Maslow, David (NCI)]
Shabbath 55a: Talmud-Mesorah Disagreements
         [Russell Hendel]
Split or Join
         [Yosef Stern]
Request: Antwerp
         [Jack Gross]


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2000 21:47:32 +0300
Subject: Re: The Comparitive Accuracy of the Hebrew and Roman Calendars

In a discussion about the relative accuracy of the Hebrew and Roman
calanders, Jay F Shachter <jay@...> wrote in part:

>I know of no article of faith which requires Mr Wells to believe that we
>are better mathematicians and astronomers than our neighbors.  On the
>contrary: my experience has led me to believe that quite the reverse is
>true.  All the Moslems with whom I am acquainted know where to face when
>they pray.  But I know very few Jews in Chicago who can be made to
>understand that they must face Northeast when they recite the Amida.

	I am new to this list, and so obviously haven't fully followed
this thread. Moreover, I'm no expert in the accuracy of the Hebrew
calander, although I've heard over the years that at least in certain
areas, the calculations are amazingly correct. However, despite my
layman's status in this area, it seems to me that Yaakov's comparison of
Jews to Muslims is incorrect - we're not talking about a ba'al habas
here, we're talking about talmidei chachamim who are versed in the
subject of making these calculations.

	As for not knowing an article of faith that Jews are better
mathematicians and astronomers, there may not be one in the sense of the
Rambam's 13 principles, but there is most definitely a Chazzal on this
subject: In V'eshchanon 4:6, the Torah says that "For it is your widdom
and discernment in the eyes of the nations, who shall hear all these
decrees and say, 'Surely a wise and discerning people is this great
nation.'" According to the Gemara, Shabbos 75a, that the nations will
consider us wise refers to our knowledge of astronomy. See also Rabbeinu
Bachya on this pusik as well as some discussion on this point in Moreh
Nevuchim 2:11 and 3:31, and the Kuzari Maimer Shlishi, Ohs 20-60.


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 18:56:12 +0000
Subject: Re: Disabilities, disturbances and shul

I believe that somewhere in the beginning of this thread was a
discussion of 'grama' driven wheelchairs for use on Shabbat and Yom Tov.

While visiting the Old City in the middle of last week (and thanks to
all that suggested eLuna) I saw an elderly man driving a wheelchair/cart
with a big sign on the back that said that it was made for use on
Shabbat and a contact phone # (050) 242-785.  This is not an observation
of halachot on the matter, but rather an avenue of information for those

Aharon Fischman
H (201) 833-0801; F (208) 330-1402


From: David Mescheloff <meschd@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 08:26:17 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Eretz-Zayt Shemen

In this week's torah portion we read at the end of Devarim 8, 8:
"eretz-zayt shemen u'dvash".
Why are the words "eretz" (a land of) and "zayt" (olives of) connected as
one for the reading, and not the words "zayt" and "shemen"?  The latter
would seem to make more sense, since the reference is to "a land of
'olives of oil'".
My hypothesis, which I seem to recall from my study of dikduk 4 decades
ago, is that when two words in possesive form appear in
immediate succession, since it is a diminutive form for both they are
connected (as if they were sharing the "of" implied in the form of each
Can any of our list's experts confirm my hypothesis and provide some
supporting examples, or disprove my hypothesis with some counter-examples?
In the second case - what is the correct explanation of the joining of the
words in this verse?

David Mescheloff


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2000 11:40:45 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Female Jewish Slave

>From: Moshe and davida Nugiel <friars@...>
>I thank Chana Luntz for her well thought out and informative reply.
>If I understand it correctly, the practical basis for female infanticide
>is the following:
>"Boys are valuable because they can take over the land and work
>it, girls tend to be a financial liability. "
>Now my question is, what is the Torah's opinion about that dichotomy?
>According to Chana's analysis, given that the Jews lived in an agrarian
>society, and given the factual truth of the above dichotomy, the Torah
>is interested in not having the girls killed at birth, and so it allows
>the fathers to sell the girls instead.  What I would have liked the
>Torah to say (I know I'm treading on dangerous ground here) is something
>like, "Since girls are also created in the image of God, they need the
>same protection and nurturing which boys need, despite the fact that
>they may be somewhat of a financial burden."  Sort of like the Torah's
>protection of widows, orphans, and aliens; and that the Torah does not
>allow us to charge interest on loans to our fellow Jews (a truly
>revolutionary concept).  What I have, instead, is the perpetuation of a
>sexist dichotomy, one which teaches that since girls are physically
>weaker, it is OK to sell them, just as long as you don't kill them.
>Does this doctrine really make us a light unto the nations?  Maybe it
>did then, but probably not now.

       IMHO Moshe has hit the nail on the head with his last statement.
If one follow's the Rambam's approach, the Torah can be seen le-havdil
as a kind of programmed text, at least in some of its legislation.
This, of course, is most clearly seen with his explanation of scarifices
as a means necessary to wean the Israelites from idolatry.  The
implication is that if the Torah were given today, some of the
legislation might/would be different.  Arguing how advanced the Torah
was for its time has no meaning if that process does not continue today.
How one should continue that process is a source of much discussion and

        Hoping everyone had a meaningful fast...

Ben Tzion Katz  
Children's Memorial Hospital
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187; Fax 773-880-8226


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 12:28:44 +0000
Subject: Kaddish Recital Strategy

Growing up in Elizabeth (and I'm sure others on this list will probably
know more details than me) at one point all people saying kadish yatom
[mourners] were asked to come to the front of the synagogue in an
attempt to consolidate all of the mourners voices.  If I remember, it
accomplished its goal.

H (201) 833-0801
F (208) 330-1402


From: Esther &Sholom Parnes <merbe@...>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2000 21:27:38 +0900
Subject: Kaddish speed

I once saw a very nice custom at the Young Israel of Montreal. (This was
about 35 years ago.)  All the mourners/ kaddish reciters were seated in
one row between the bima and the Torah reading lectern.  Because of
their proximity it was much easier for the group to recite Kaddish in
unison.  Thinking back (I was a child at the time) I realize that this
probably served another function, that is to have the mourners change
their regular seats during the year of mourning.

It might be a good idea to publicize and adopt this custom.

Shavua Tov

Sholom & Esther Parnes
Hamelech David Street 65/3, Efrat 90435 ISRAEL
tel. 972-2-993-2227
fax. 972-2-655-5312 (attention : Sholom Parnes)


From: Daniel Cohn <dcohn@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 23:08:41 -0300
Subject: Kosher label on mineral water

On a recent trip to the US, apart from being impressed by the incredible
amount of products bearing hechsherim, I was surprised by finding many
mineral water brands with the OU label. Question is: has anybody ever
heard a story of mineral water going through some process or being added
some ingredient that makes it non kosher? If the answer is negative (as
I would assume), is it right for the OU to charge for supervising a
product that does not need supervision? And to make people think that
water needs supervision and that one should not drink unsupervised
water?  I know, I should be directing the question to the OU first and
foremost, but as my experience goes they are not good at answering

Daniel Cohn


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 17:10:50 EDT
Subject: Re: L. D. Schools

Re: Catherine S. Perel's postings -- and I'm sure she knows better than
I, from the other side of the experience -- I would agree that any group
characterization (Yeshiva vs. public school, etc.) is probably flawed
anectdotal "insight."

I would point out one distinguishing characteristic -- and I cannot
compare "Yeshiva" society with general society on this topic, as I
simply don't have the "data" -- with the issues re: Shidduchin, etc.,
Yeshiva society is likes to hide (those hideable) disabilities because
they fear it may impact the marriageability of the person in question --

Good Shabbos

Carl Singer


From: Chaim <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 15:27:11 EDT
Subject: Learning Disabled

Catherine writes

<< Sorry, again there is no difference in behavior between Yeshiva students
and public school students, though there should be.  The stories I could
tell from personal experience would shock you.  The physical and
emotional toll I paid, keeps me up at nights.  >>

I am sorry to disagree.  I don't mean to discount your testimony, but on
a whole Public School treatment is better!  I don't want this to digress
to a he said she said, but my experince is vastly different than yours.




From: Maslow, David (NCI) <maslowd@...>
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 08:05:28 -0400
Subject: Pikuach Nefesh for a community

There has been much recent discussion about violation of the Sabbath by
government officials in the name of Pikuach Nefesh (saving life) for the
governed.  Is there any discussion in halachic literature about
violation of the Sabbath (both the letter and the spirit) in order to
potentially save lives through broad activity (eg. legislative activity)
not specifically related to an identifiable threatened individual or

David E. Maslow


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 00:16:29 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Shabbath 55a: Talmud-Mesorah Disagreements

Ben Katz in Volume 32 Number 61 states that
However, the issue becomes more complex when we consider that
there is ample evidence that the Talmud on occassion had a different text of
the Bible than we do.  (See gilyon ha-shas and Tosefot on Shabbat 55b; R.
Akiva Eger quotes about 20 such examples [there are more] and Tosefot says
words to the effect "hagemara cholek al haseforim shelanu".)  This is
especially problemmatic when the gemara uses a letter not in our sifray
Torah to derive (at least in an asmachta sense) a halacha.  Many medieval

This is not a problem since ample commentary exists to show that
it is a misinterpretation of the Talmud to think it EVER disagreed
with our Mesorah. Let me give two simple examples

1) The Talmud at times **seems** to derive laws from the **number** of full
and deficient spellings of words. These numbers usually differ from
the actual text. However a brilliant analysis by Rabbi Hirsch shows
that the analysis is not based on numbers.  It is rather based on
a grammatical rule that a collective noun spelled fully refers to the
FULL object with all its parts while a defectively spelled noun refers
EVEN to an object missing parts. (A simple example might be the word
TABLE. TABLE refers to a table with 4 legs but TABL (Spelled without
the "e") refers to any table even if it was missing a leg or two)
(See Rav Hirsch on Emor by the word SCOTH for a reference)

On my Rashi website I give about half a dozen examples where this
rule is used (See http://www.RashiYomi.Com/fd-12.htm which summarizes
Rashis in Dt06-09a, Dt09-10a, Ex31-05e, Lv23-40c, Gn01-21a, Gn09-12a,
Gn01-28a). Thus there is no contradiction to the mesorah

2) An infamous Rashi on Ex25-22b (also on the Rashi website) seems to
state "This verse has an extra "VAV" and this is normal". What I show
in the cross referenced posting (http://www.RashiYomi.Com/h1n13.htm)is
that Rashi uses the word "VAV" not to refer to the letter vav but
rather VAV refers to the second clause of the sentence which is extra
((a)I will SPEAK to you by the Cerubim (b)
Everything that I will SPEAK to you") The word VAV refers to clause (B)
which is extra (I have evidence that Rashi uses VAV like this).

This is a broad topic and I have only scratched the surface. The Shabbath
55a Gmarrah came up in the BaisTefillah group (now Avodah) several years
ago. I offered to explain each of the 2 dozen examples brought by the
Gilyon Hashas AND to give long lists of examples to back me up.

The offer is still valid (provided there is serious interest in it)

Russell Jay Hendel; phd-asa <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Yosef Stern <meyoz11@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 02:44:13 EDT
Subject: Split or Join

It is interesting to note that in the YOCHEN UBOAZ MISHNAYOTH in the
first part of SEDER MOED in the SHIVILEI ROKEA (SOD HAIBUR #15) he
mentions that if there is a choice between joining CHUKAS-BALAK and
MATOS-MASEI we join CHUKAS-BALAK because they're shorter. Yet nowadays
we join MATOS-MASEI while leaving CHUKAS-BALAK separate!

BTW - the last time MATOS-MASEI were separate was in 5744! and the next
time will be in 5766! (22 years)

Yosef Stern


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Sun, 13 Aug 2000 21:39:23 -0400
Subject: Request: Antwerp

Anyone know if there is a Minyan KeVasikin in Antwerp?


End of Volume 33 Issue 13