Volume 33 Number 20
                 Produced: Wed Aug 23 12:11:51 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Al Naharos Bavel
         [Dov Teichman]
Book Burning
         [Robert Schoenfeld]
Candle lighting
         [Yitz Weiss]
Female Jewish Slave
         [Eli Linas]
Hebrew & Roman Calendars
         [Deborah Wenger]
Kaddish speed
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Lights on Yom Tov
         [Oren Popper]
Passover in the SpringTime
         [Russell Hendel]
Reading of Eichah
         [Daniel Israel]
Shabbos Candles for Girls
         [Susan shapiro]
Size of yarmulka (2)
         [Rachel Smith, Gershon Dubin]
Spices for Besamim
         [Aliza Fischman]
Splitting Sedrot
         [James Kennard]
Using verses and midrash to establish facts (2)
         [Josh Backon, Avi Levi]


From: Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:52:59 EDT
Subject: Re: Al Naharos Bavel

It is written in Hassidic seforim that the Baal Shem Tov enacted that we
say "Shir Hamaalos" instead of "Al Naharos Bavel" all the time, even
during the week. The only exception is the Seudah Mafsekes (Final meal)
before Tisha Bav, where we say "Al Naharos Bavel."

Is anyone familiar with the 60's song "By the rivers of Babylon"? I dont
know who sang it, but I remember hearing it years ago and the lyrics
were from that Psalm.

Happy Tu B'av,
Dov Teichman


From: Robert Schoenfeld <roberts@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 03:59:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Book Burning

In this thread noone actually quoted what the Talmud said. The actual
quote is from Shabbat 13:5 and is about saving a Torah scroll written by
a min on Shabbat. It goes on to say that such a scroll is not holy and
need not be saved in addition Rabbi Tarfon says that he would burn a
book wriiten by a min IF it got into his hands The entire passage does
not condone book burning as a rule nor specify that one must burn books
but the basic tenor is "Is a Torah scrool written by a min holy" and the
answer is "No" and need not be saved on Shabbat

				73 de Bob
+            e-mail:<roberts@...>                   _____              +
+            HomePage:http://www.liii.com/~roberts     \   /              +


From: Yitz Weiss <YitzW@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:07:27 EDT
Subject: Candle lighting

Aliza Fischman wrote:
<<I always learned that when anyone, even a single person, lights
shabbat candles, 2 candles should always be lit>> 

Our family minhag has always been that our daughters light one candle
while at home. When staying away from home (assuming they are over
bas-mitzvah) they are either yotzei from the person who's home they are
in or they light two candles for themselves.

Yitz Weiss


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 15:27:11 +0300
Subject: Re: Female Jewish Slave

Ben Tzion Katz wrote:

>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.

According to what I know, the Rambam is basically a da'as yachid on this
issue, and most, if not all, other Rishonim blast him for his theory on
korbonos. Moreover, a strong case can be made that this shitta, put
forth in the Moreh Nevuchim, is not the Rambam's true opinion on the
subject, because although he says there that korbonos will be abolished,
he poskins in the Yad that they will be reestablished. I've heard it
said that the Rambam said what he did in the Moreh because of the
audience he was addressing - secularized, "cultured" Jews so that they
could feel comfortable returning to observance, and once returned,
they'd see the emes for themselves. Moreover, isn't the Torah immutable
and unchangable? The Rambam himself says so in the 13 Principles - so
it's difficult to say that it would be different if given now, even
according to him...

Eli Linas 


From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:41:35 -0400
Subject: Hebrew & Roman Calendars

I would just like to correct what is most likely an inadvertent misstatement
by Daniel Wells in v.33#15, when he says:

> The solar year length is important to both Judaism & Christianity since
> both Passover & Easter should be before the Vernal Equinox.

In reality, Pesach must be AFTER the vernal equinox - the vernal equinox
signals the beginning of spring, and Pesach must be during "chodesh
ha'aviv," or the "month of spring." The vernal equinox falls on or about
March 20 or 21, and Pesach (at least in a non-leap year) generally falls
around the first full moon after that.

Kol tuv,


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 07:56:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Kaddish speed

Sholom Parnes wrote:

> 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.

Very nice!

And if the shul is divided left-right instead of front-back wrt men/women,
the women could do this too.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbb6@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: Oren Popper <opopper@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 22:25:30 -0400
Subject: Re: Lights on Yom Tov

One problem which exists whenever lights (or any other electrical device)
are turned on is that a spark (a form of fire) is created at the switch.
There was obviously no fire there before, so this is not "aish m'aish".

> From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
> According to physics, energy is not "created", execpt in cases of a
> nuclear reactions, but transformed from one form to another.  Turning on
> an electric light transforms the electric energy of the electrons to
> light and heat energy.  I assume that the halahic problem is regarding
> the creation of light.

This transformation is austensibly no different than any other
transformation which light a fire, so why differentiate?



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jul 2000 19:26:26 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Passover in the SpringTime

Just a short comment to Daniel Well's long posting in v33n2
in a thread discussing the Jewish calendar. Daniel asks

> Why, or rather I should say 'what' makes Pesach more 'reasonable' in the
> summer or fall, than say in the winter? Perhaps the technicality that it
> should fall before the vernal equinox? Surely the temperature outside or
> the secular month has little relevance to Pesach

There is a BIBLICAL commandment to have Passover fall out in the SPRING
TIME. This is explicitly stated in the 7th aliyah of REAY which is read
on the 3 festivals "Be involved in watching the Spring Time (so that )
you can make Passover for God (then) since God took you out of Egypt in
the Springtime"

This (having Pesach fall out on Passover) is one of the guiding
principles in making our calendar

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA; <rhendel@...>
Moderator Rashi is Simple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com  -------------NEW NEW CHECK IT OUT


From: Daniel Israel <daniel@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 15:21:59 -0700 (MST)
Subject: Re: Reading of Eichah

I have seen the other Megillos (Shir HaShirim, Ruth, and Mishlei) split
between several readers.  I assume that this is a matter of convience,
not halacha.  If it is more common for Esther and Eichah, perhaps that
is because the former is always read from a klaf [scroll] without trop
[cantillation markings] and so it is more work to prepare.  As for
Eichah, the trop is so simple that there may be more volunteers.  (As
evidence for the latter theory, I volunteered to read part of Eichah
this year, but I have never volunteered to read any of the other

Daniel M. Israel
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ


From: Susan shapiro <SShap23859@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 11:17:42 EDT
Subject: Shabbos Candles for Girls

> I always learned that when anyone, even a single person, lights shabbat
> candles, 2 candles should always be lit: one for "shamor" and one for
> "zachor", the two main elements of shmirat shabbat.  Does anyone know
> why the Chabad minhag differs?

I believe that a woman is only OBLIGATED once she is married, so a child
lighting is a custom.  I'll do some research and come back with the
answer if I find it.

Also a little girl MUST always light before her mother, so that her
mother can help her.  I believe it is either an halocha or a minhag, but
that the Ba'alas HaBayis should always light LAST so she is actually the
one who brings in Shabbos at the home. So guests light first and kids
light first, etc.

Susan shapiro


From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 10:00:25 -0700
Subject: Re: Size of yarmulka

On Mon, 14 Aug 2000 15:16:42   Gershon Dubin wrote:
>	The high yarmulke was a Lithuanian/Russian singularity.  Not *all*
>of the gedolim of the previous generation wore them;  some,  depending
>on their land of origin,  wore the type we wear;  some wore turbans
>for that matter.

Judging from the drawing of Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch on the cover of
his Artscroll biography, and the photo of Rav Joseph Breuer in his
twenties in his Feldheim biography, the high yarmulke was known in
Germany (or at least Moravia/Hungary) as well.  In fact the chazzan and
ba'al k'riah in KAJ put on a large yarmulke specifically before davening
or laining.

This might all be a moot point however, since, the Shulchan Aruch (OH
91:4) says that one may put his hand on the head of another as an
acceptable head covering for tefila, and a typical hand does not have
any significant height (certainly less than a tefach, even if cupped).


From: Gershon Dubin <gdubin@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 13:04:37 -0400
Subject: RE: Size of yarmulka

<<In fact the chazzan and ba'al k'riah in KAJ put on a large yarmulke
specifically before davening or laining.>>

	Then it might have been used for special occasions.  This would
explain why the photos have them wearing them, since a photograph was
then considered a formal occasion.

Gershon    (whose Russian born grandfather wore a high yarmulke
when officiating as gabbai and when conducting his seder but not


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 08:42:32 -0400
Subject: Spices for Besamim

David Fox asked:
>What is the proper or traditional spice to put in the Besamim ?

Traditionally, from what I've seen, either cloves or cinnamon (or a
combination of the two) have been used.  You do not HAVE to use only
these, though.  The only rule is that it must be a spice used for taste
AND smell.  This would rule out bay leaves, for instance which are
really only used for taste .  I can't think of a spice which is only
used for smell, but I know that there are some.

I hope this helps,
Be well,

From: James Kennard <James@...>
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2000 16:22:03 +0100
Subject: Splitting Sedrot

The Machon Yerushalayim edition of the Minchas Hinuch, which presumably
is based on the most reliable manuscripts of the Sefer HaHinuch, lists
Mishpatim as split into two sedrot, with the second beginning with "Im
Kesef". I don't have the text with me but I remember the footnote
explaining that the minhag in Barcelona (the home of the Sefer HaHinuch)
was to split it in certain years, in order to make the correct sedra
fall before Pesach.

James Kennard


From: Josh Backon <BACKON@...>
Date: Wed,  16 Aug 2000 21:41 +0300
Subject: Re: Using verses and midrash to establish facts

Apart from the gemara in Eruvin 14a on calculating the diameter of a
circle (see also: Eruvin 76a,76b; and Sukkah 7b), there's also the use
of ratios to find the height of objects (Eruvin 43b).  Then, of course,
there's *issureita d'rabi* which as a form of limits or calculus, was
discussed 1300 years before it was formally "discovered" by Leibnitz.

Josh Backon

From: Avi Levi <av_levi@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Aug 2000 22:00:20 IDT
Subject: Re: Using verses and midrash to establish facts

><<I wanted to ask if there are other similar examples in the Talmudic
>literature in which verses (or midrash on verses) are used to "find" or
>establish facts in mathematics or empirical sciences, that could have >been
>found using analysis, measurement or experimentation.>>
>I know of no other,  although the Gemara does refer to different
>geometric relationships other than that.

I know of at least one other such example - regarding the gestation
period of a snake (in Bechorot 8a), but this example seems to have no
Halachical relevancy. I wanted to know if there are other such examples,
in matters of Agadah, and particularly in matters of Halacha.

>The Vilna Gaon asks why the Gemara in fact felt it necessary to learn
>this from a posuk where it could have been measured just as easily.

Before the Gaon, it was asked by Tosfos Harosh. BTW- It is interesting
to note that he speaks about measurement, rather than mathematical

>Further, he asks,  why 3.0 when we know the value to be 3.14....?
>	He answers in a typically "Gaonic" way that the posuk which Avi
>mentions,  refers to a "kav" or line which ran the circumference of the
>yam (bowl?) which was 30 long compared to the diameter which was 10.
>The word kav is spelled,  instead of kuf vav,  kuf vav heh.
>(kri ukesiv).  The ratio between gematria of the full spelling,  111, and 
>the deficient spelling, 106,  is the ratio by which one multiplies >3 to

Of course not pi, but only a better approximation of it. BTW- I heard
that this gematria is probably not from the Gaon, though I don't know
what is it's source.


End of Volume 33 Issue 20