Volume 33 Number 38
                 Produced: Thu Aug 31 21:38:33 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleynu - the censored verse
         [Paul Shaviv]
Baby Intercom on Shabbat?
         [Gershon Dubin]
         [Steven White]
         [Barry Best]
Inspiring Intro to Judaism Books
         [Jay Kaplowitz]
Jewish Names
         [Sheldon Meth]
The Number of Commandments women are exempt from
         [Russell Hendel]
A Psak from the CHAZON ISH on ALiyah (3)
         [Moshe Feldman, Batya (Beth Spiegelman) Medad, Shlomo Argamon]
Talmud Torah (beyond 1 chapter a day) IS OPTIONAL
         [Jonathan Baker]
Titles of 'chover' and 'moreinu'  - Additional Information


From: Paul Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 08:37:43 -0400
Subject: Aleynu - the censored verse

Surely the explanation of why the verse was censored out of Aleynu is
much simpler? It is stretching credibility to assume that the censors
were masters of gematria (although some censors in some places were
Jewish converts to Christianity).. The phrase "el el lo yashia" ([They
worship] 'a god who does not save'] is clearly a too-close pun between
yashia and Yoshua(=Jesus).  The spitting is more likely a contemptuous
gesture by the 'mitpallelim'; the pun is surely the cause for the

Paul Shaviv


From: Gershon Dubin <gdubin@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 16:40:37 -0400
Subject: RE: Baby Intercom on Shabbat?

Mark Dratch <MSDratch@...> writes:
>In mail-jewish Vol. 33 #22 Digest Gershon Dubin writes "There is a
>considerable body of halachic discussion related to hearing aids on
>Shabbos, which appears to have the same parameters as the baby intercom.
>Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach wrote one of his first sefarim on this, and
>contemporary/later poskim deal with it."
>Actually, there is a fundamental difference--the concerns of hashma'at
>kol and avsha milta (making noise): The hearing aid is heard by no one
>but the wearer, the intercom amplifies and projects the sound.  Now,
>there are poskim who may permit this, but hearing aids and intercoms are
>not the same.

I did not pasken that they were the same;  the poster had
said they could not find anything on baby intercoms so I
suggested a more fruitful search avenue.



From: Steven White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 17:59:34 EDT
Subject: Cognac

Why does Peretz Mett assume the beracha on cognac is Shehakol?  Cognac,
like other grape brandies, as well as sherries and ports, is a fortified
wine.  In other words, wine is made by fermentation, and then distilled
to a higher concentration of alcohol.  I would therefore assume (and
have always practiced) that cognac gets "Pri HaGafen."

Steven White


From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 17:55:22 -0400
Subject: RE: eretz-zais-shemen

Interestingly, halachah is learned based precisely on eretz and zais
being completely separate words.  We determine the order of brachos
rishonos on the "7 species" by their proximity to the words eretz in the
pasuk, so that a m'zonos precedes any boray p'ri haetz, but a b'rachah
on an olive would precede one on a grape, since zais shemen is mentioned
right after the second "eretz" while "gefen" is third from eretz.  If
eretz and zais were indeed "connected", we might hypothetically paskin
that the b'rachah on olives would precede a m'zonos since 'connected to'
eretz is closer than 'right after'.


From: Jay Kaplowitz <iii@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 09:04:04 -0400
Subject: Inspiring Intro to Judaism Books

A few nominees:

This is My G-d by Herman Wouk

Lishmor V'Laasos: A Guide to the Basic Principles of Jewish Law By Rabbi
Mordechai Katz of the Jewish Education Program.

Encounters by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan


From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 11:10:31 -0400
Subject: Jewish Names

In the Shulchan Aruch Even Ha'Ezer, I believe after Hilchos Gitten, you
will find a long list of names for men and women.  They include names in
Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, and, I am sure, other languages.  Many (most?)
of these names are decidedly "UnJewish" to contemporary eyes.


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 07:47:24 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: The Number of Commandments women are exempt from

Ben Katz v33n25 states
>>There are only 7 commandments that women are not obligated in,
most of which they have already accepted (eg shofar and succah).  The
two general exceptions are tzitzit and tefillin<<

Actually Rambam at the end of the Book of Commandments lists "those
**normal** commandments that a women is not liable in". There are about
14 (listed below) and in fact when one considers all 613 commandments
there are many more.

Here are the 14: shofar, succah, lulav, learning, tzitzith, head and arm
tefillin, saying the shma, reproduction, "blessings of the priest",
circumcision, writing/possessing a sefer torah,counting the omer, being
exempt from military conscription in the first year of marriage

In passing, this topic has been discussed several times in the past on
Mail Jewish with reasons given as to why people are exempt.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is Simple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com        NEW NU IMPROVED


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 17:53:09 -0400
Subject: RE: A Psak from the CHAZON ISH on ALiyah

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> in v33 #28
> A person (eg teenager) who cannot affor to marry a woman is certainly
> "better off" praising her continuously and NOT visiting with 
> her till he can afford it.
> Furthermore (really), I am sure we would all advise this teenager
> **not** to walk into an early marriage on the grounds that it 
> is having "Faith in God" and hope that "things work out".
> So I reiterate the point I (and others) have been making on 
> mail jewish:
> It would be wrong to jump into aliyah unless you can really afford it.
> Most people do not realize what it feels like to go to a 
> lower standard of living--such a descent can really offset all the
> advantages of  aliyah.
> Finally (for what is worth) I have finally recalled a PSAK on this
> issue.  My uncle when he was 13 went with my grandparents to
> Israel. It was love at 1st sight and my uncle did not want to go back
> (this was in the 50s).  My grandparents did not know what to do. They
> finally all agreed to abide by a psak of the CHAZON ISH who spent a
> half hour with my uncle and convinced him to go home.
> The point is, that Aliyah with the wrong preparations can do more harm
> than good.

First, I disagree with the comparison of Aliyah to teenage love.  A
teenager should be told that he is expected to marry at an older age,
when he is able to handle marriage, both emotionally and financially.  A
bachelor in his 30's, OTOH, would have difficulty convincing a posek to
allow him to postpone marriage on the grounds that the bachelor has
gotten used to a swinging singles lifestyle and would find it difficult
to cramp his standard of living.

As I result, I consider the psak from the Chazon Ish to be irrelevant to
the issue.  The psak implies merely that a person who is young may have
to delay his fulfillment of certain mitzvot until he is ready.  The psak
cannot be used to justify abrogation of the mitzvah of Aliyah based on
the discomfort of a lowered standard of living.

However, I do agree with Russell's general statement that "Aliyah with
the wrong preparations can do more harm than good."  I have heard in the
name of Rav Hershel Schachter (citing the Avnei Nezer) that one should
not make Aliyah if he will not have a "klitah tovah" [literally: a good
absorption into the country].  But I would think that every person
should make the effort, while in the US, to ensure that he or she will
have a klitah tovah when he or she makes Aliyah.  This would especially
apply to a younger person starting his or her first job, who should be
encouraged to live at a standard of living appropriate to Israel rather
than America.  I have been told of people who lived in the US at a
standard of living which was *lower* than the standard at which they
expected to live in Israel, so that they would experience Aliyah as a
morale booster.  Older people might have to decrease their standard of
living gradually while in America prior to making Aliyah.

Kol tuv,

From: Batya (Beth Spiegelman) Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Aug 2000 20:44:23 +0300
Subject: Re: A Psak from the CHAZON ISH on ALiyah

"My uncle when he was 13"

What the Chazon Ish told a 13 year old was specific for that 13 year old
at that time.  It cannot provide halachik justification for adults
looking for excuses not to make aliya.

My husband and I made aliya 30 years ago, (yes, it's anniversary time) a
few weeks after our wedding.  And believe me, we were as young, naive
and immature as any 23 and 21 year olds can be.  We've muddled through,
never once questioning that this is the only place to live for Jews.
Way back then in 1970, aliya was still pretty rare, and the only people
our parents knew who had kids in Israel were each other.  None of our
kids were born in America; we never had to pay for outrageously high
cost medical care, nor day school tuition.  We didn't buy our furniture
and appliances in America, so we didn't have to redesign our Israeli
apartment to make it fit.  I have no doubt that if we had "stayed in
America to make more money", we would have found ourselves financially
poorer and without some of our kids.  And we'd probably be in America to
this day.

Another point, that I have discussed with Israeli rabbis, is the
difficulty in asking chutz l'aretz rabbis for a psak on aliya, because
they themselves don't live the mitzvah.  Their halachik status is
definitely problematic.  Sorry, I'm sure I've offended some people.  I
remember when I told my parents that I planned on living in Israel (the
decision was when I was still single).  I said: "You couldn't stop me
from keeping Shabbat, and you couldn't stop me from eating kosher.
Living in Israel is a mitzvah, too, and you're not going to stop me from
that either."  They never tried to talk me out of it.  I think that the
people who call themselves "shomrei mitzvot" have a lot to learn from
them.  May they be blessed with refuah shleimah ad meah esrim.

Batya (Beth Spiegelman) Medad  

From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2000 14:16:50 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Re: A Psak from the CHAZON ISH on ALiyah

> From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
> So I reiterate the point I (and others) have been making on mail jewish:
> It would be wrong to jump into aliyah unless you can really afford it.
> Most people do not realize what it feels like to go to a lower standard
> of living--such a descent can really offset all the advantages of
> aliyah.
> [Snip]
> The point is, that Aliyah with the wrong preparations can do more harm
> than good.

Indeed.  But this fact does not in any way excuse one from making the
appropriate preparations while still in Chu"l.  There is much that can
be done: save money, find the right profession, visit and make
connections, etc. etc.  One who says "it's hard to move to Israel, so
I'll just forget about it" is not IMHO acting in accordance with the
psaq you mention.



From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 00:43:43 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Talmud Torah (beyond 1 chapter a day) IS OPTIONAL

I gave a talk on this on Shavuot, based on a shiur with R' Meir Twersky
some years ago.  Here are some more sources on the minimum daily

1) Shma: beshachbecha uvkumecha: study Torah day & night

2) Avot 1 (end): Shammai says, aseh toratcha keva (make your
Torah fixed) Rashi: kviat itim: fix times for study.

3) Talmud:
   Shabbat 31a) Rava says when they judge you after your life they
ask...did you have fixed times for torah study?...
   Nedarim 8b) brings day/night from (1) and fixed times together
to require fixing times day & night.
     Rashi ad loc) saying Shma night & morn suffices for the minimum
   requirement of Torah study.
     Ran ad loc) saying "when lying down, when rising up" suffices,
   but really you have to learn as much as you can. based on Kiddushin
   30a, of all 3 kinds of Torah.
   Kiddushin 30a) Veshinantam? Veshilashtam: where it says in Shma
"you shall teach them", it means "you shall divide your time in 3
parts, to learn Tanach, settled halacha, and halachic thought-processes"
(per Rambam).  

3) Resolution of conflicting priorities: learn all you can, vs.  learn a
bit daily) Learning all you can is a lifetime committment.  But you can
satisfy your daily requirement with just saying Shma in the morning and
evening.  It's a dual obligation: one for your whole life, one for each
day.  Rema paskens like Rashi in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 246:1, that
in an emergency, saying Shma twice a day suffices.

    Jonathan Baker    
      Web page update: new divrei torah. <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker>


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Aug 2000 09:36:08 EDT
Subject: Titles of 'chover' and 'moreinu'  - Additional Information

Some time ago there was some discussion about the titles 'chover' and
'moreinu' for men.

I have just gotten a copy of the classic 'Minhagei Vermayza' (book of
customs of the ancient Worms community) (edition of Machon Yerushalayim
5752) and noticed a section (291[3]) dealing with holders of the above
title. The accompanying notes list many places in various seforim where
matters related to the titles are discussed. It is the best collection
of information on the (somewhat obscure) matter that I am aware of.

Anyone interested in the topic should take a look at it.



End of Volume 33 Issue 38