Volume 33 Number 52
                 Produced: Fri Sep  8  6:30:26 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Another Molad question
         [Alan Rubin]
Children in Shul
         [Batya Medad]
Children's Minyan
         [Yisrael Medad]
Eres-Zet Shemen
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Fortified Wine and Brandies
         [Steven White]
Jewish Law prohibits theft of objects & services
         [Jonathan Schiff]
A Mesorah of Kashruth
         [Carl Singer]
Mila with Brit?
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Pesach in the Spring
         [Ben Katz]
Saving the Non-Jew
         [Sharon and Joseph Kaplan]


From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 12:20 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Another Molad question

I hope I have not made any major error in the following.  I am having
difficulty resolving the calendar as observed and as calculated.

Supposing the molad is on Sunday evening at 11pm.  Rosh Chodesh (New
Moon) as calculated will be on Yom Sheni (Sunday evening and Monday).
However when could the new moon first be observed?  As I understand it
the New Moon can only be seen soon after sunset so in this case
witnesses would not see the new moon until Monday evening in which case
Rosh Chodesh would be declared on Yom Shlishi, (Monday evening and
Tuesday).  Does this mean that nowadays, when the calendar is
calculated, in many cases we celebrate Rosh Chodesh ( and the rest of
the month ) one day earlier than would have been the case had the
calendar been set by Bes Din through witnesses.

Alan Rubin


From: Batya Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 15:12:03 +0200
Subject: Re: Children in Shul

>  I am amazed that the British institution of the Children's Service
>has not become more widespread.

In Chutz L'aretz the synagogues are more like community centers with
classrooms and meeting rooms where place can be found for Children's
Service/Jr. Congregation etc.  In Israel it's much less common to have
extra rooms.  Our shul in Shiloh doesn't even have an indoor place for a
kiddush.  We have a Main Sanctuary for the Ashkenaz minyan, and some
Yeminite families took over the shelter for their dovening.  We're luck
enough to have a "wc."  

Batya Medad


From: Yisrael Medad <isrmedia@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 20:24:52 +0200
Subject: Children's Minyan

David Weitz <weitzd@...> wrote:
>    I am amazed that the British institution of the Children's Service
>has not become more widespread...Isn't it about time this practice 
>was adopted by Israeli shuls where...

In 1982, a year after moving to Shiloh, I was asked to join the Building
Committee of our synagogue and after looking at the plans, I suggested
that the topography lent itself to a basement room which could be a
Kiddush Hall and...  Youngsters' Minyan.  That was my next-to-last
meeting as a member.  Children daven with their parents I was told.
Period.  When they leave for High School, then they can daven in their
own minyan.


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 10:55:22 +0200
Subject: Eres-Zet Shemen

Regarding the maqqaf in ERES-ZET SHEMEN: I had hoped that one of the
Masorah experts on the list would answer this one, but so far none has
done so. Therefore, I'll step in and try to do it myself. Here is the

As first pointed out more than forty years ago by R. Mordechai Breuer in
his definitive work on taamei miqra (Pissuq Te`amim Shebbammiqra,
Jerusalem 1958, p. 153 note 2), there are a number of similar cases in
which we would expect the accents to be tevir, mercha, tippecha, the
stronger connection being between the second and third words, and yet
the first word has "lost" its accent and the tevir has metamorphosed
into a maqqaf. Common to all these cases is that the first word, the one
that "should" have gotten the tevir, is a short word (milla ze`ira),
namely, a one-syllable word, a word with one syllable preceded by a
shewa na, or a two-syllable segolate. The examples he brings include
ours (Deut 8:8): Instead of the expected ERES (tevir) ZET (mercha)
SHEMEN (tippehca), we read ERES-ZET (mercha) SHEMEN (tippecha). The
other examples he brings are:

1. Exod 25:35 TAHAT-SHENE (mercha) HAQQANIM (tippecha)
2. Exod 84:1 SHENE-LUHOT (mercha) AVANIM (tippecha)

Following this, the late Michael Perlman commented on this phenomenon,
again adducing the example of ERES-ZET SHEMEN (Hug Leta`ame Hammiqra 1,
Tel Aviv 1972, #8), and added the following examples:

3. Gen 7:13 VESHEM-VEHAM (mercha) VAYEFET (tippecha)
4. Exod 40:7 BEN-OHEL (mercha) MO`ED (tippecha)
5. Lev 7:21 MIBBESAR-ZEVACH (mercha) HA$$ELAMIM (tippecha)
6. Lev 26:35 KOL-YEME (mercha) HO$$AMMA (tippecha)

The interchange of tevir and maqaf is well documented in other similar
situations; I recommend looking over R. Breuer's discussion. In his
later book (Ta`ame Hammiqra, Jerusalem 1982, p. 155, note 1) he seems to
have decided to leave out the discussion of "maqqaf instead of
disjunctive accents" (unless it has moved to some other place in the
book and I just haven't found it).

This being a regular feature of the grammar of accentuation, no
interpretive importance should be attached to it. The meaning of the
phrase under discussion is just what it appears to be: "A land having
oil-bearing olive trees".


From: Steven White <StevenJ81@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Sep 2000 12:38:35 EDT
Subject: Fortified Wine and Brandies

My thanks to all who corrected my terminology in this matter.  I can now
continue my community role as "wine and spirits maven" with renewed
confidence.  (;-) ... um, right, Mr. Moderator? [I actually did go back
and check in (I think it was The Joy of Cooking) which listed cognac as
one of the three famous brandies, and defined it as a double distilled
from wine beverage. Mod]

I've never seen a kosher Madeira, Port, or dry sherry (excluding "New
York" Port, which doesn't count).  If anyone knows of the availability
of that kosher Dry Sack around New York, please let me know.  There was
a reasonably good cream sherry available for a while, but I haven't seen
it in 3-4 years.

As far as cognac (or other grape brandy) goes, though, I'm still a
little confused.  Either it's wine, it's "distilled spirits" (non-wine),
it's both, or it's safeq (questionable), right?

If it's non-wine, then its beracha is shehakol, but we ought to be able
to consume any such brandy.  Yet I don't know anyone who allows grape
brandies without supervision.  On the other hand, if it's wine (or wine
plus distilled spirits), I imagine it's beracha should be hagefen (after
the Chazon Ish), but supervision would be required.

If it's safeq, or even if it is non-wine spirits with a concern that
some "real" wine got into it, I can see where the beracha would be
shehakol.  Yet then I can't understand why such would require
supervision.  Any "wine-ness" would be at best safeq *stam yenam*
(ordinary gentile wine), which is derabanan, for which we could rule

Any insights anyone could add would be greatly appreciated.  Just to
keep the replies focused, if you can identify a specific reason (besides
stam yenam) that cognac would require supervision, fine.  If you believe
all products require supervision in principle, let's save that for a
different thread.

Steven White


From: Jonathan Schiff <Jschiff139@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 12:21:56 EDT
Subject: Jewish Law prohibits theft of objects & services

<< he sifrah commenting on the five types of denial
 listed in Lv05-21:22 says that the Torah formulated 5 types of "theft"
 (a) denial of a deposit--so the initial transfer of property was by consent
 (b) denial of loan---unlike a deposit only the value of money is returned, 
>> etc.

Fascinating.  I just realized the import of this. This would seem to
indicate that Jewish law anticipated some of the issues arising out of
the British law encounter with modernity by many centuries.  My
understanding is that the common law definition of theft only applied to
tangible objects.  It was a situation that did not anticipate the rise
of banking and a service economy where more than goods and money changed


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Sep 2000 10:38:38 EDT
Subject: Re: A Mesorah of Kashruth

> The background problem is really statistics & money matters: among 100
>  slaughtered cows, how may are going to be found stam-kasher (Rema), how
>  many are going to be found "glatt", how many "halak Bet Yosef" and how
>  many taref? Because if the Jewish community cannot resell everything
>  that is not "glatt" or "halak" to non-Jews without losing money, there
>  is no way the kosher meat market is going to be limited to these
>  categories of meat. 

The opposite story has been going around in the United States for some
time -- that is something to the effect that should a cow be found to
have a blemish, etc., that renders it unsuitable for "Glatt" or
"adjective-Glatt", it could then be sent to the "Traif" side of the
slaughter house -- similarly, the hind quarters (which are customarily
not travered and used in U.S. as kosher meat)are sent to the traif side.

I do not have first hand knowledge that can verify or refute this the
above -- to me, meat "grows" in the butcher shop -- nowadays in plastic
containers with too-high price stickers affixed to them.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, 04 Sep 2000 20:42:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Mila with Brit?

> From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
> I recently learned that someone born a Jew, who was circumcised, but not
> by a mohel, is required by Halakha to undergo "hatafa dam".
> Can someone explaining the reasoning behind this?  The mitzva of
> circumcision is placed upon a Jew's father.  So what is the halakhik
> necessity of a Jew circumcising himself?  Is this somehow connected with
> Avraham Avinu circumsing himself?
> Also, under what conditions must a previously circumcised Jew undergo
> "Hatafat dam"?  What happens if the the doctor who performed the
> circumsion is a Jew?

A person who has undergone a surgical procedure but not a mila is like
an infant who is born already circumcised.  In order to be valid, the
"symbolic" procedure must be done.  The circumcision must have been
performed not as a surgical procedure but "leshaim mitzvas mila" (for
the purpose of performing the mitzva of bris mila).  Thus, when a doctor
does it (without the correct intention and brachos) it does not matter
whether or not he is Jewish, he has not performed bris milah.

One other point.  The main (original) mitzvah is to have it done on the
eighth day.  HOWEVER, if it was not done (for whatever reason including
the health of the infant) then it must be done as soon as possible.  If
the father cannot have it done and the child grows up, it still must be
done.  Since the child is now an adult, he must arrange to have it done

Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore" | Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
 Jews are the fish, Torah is our water | Zovchai Adam, agalim yishakun


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 09:16:57 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Pesach in the Spring

>         [Mike Gerver]
>It is true, as Steven points out, that if you trace the fixed calendar
>back to the fourth century CE, when it was established by Hillel Sheni,
>you will find that Pesach sometimes would have fallen a few days before
>the vernal equinox then, and this has always struck me as curious.  Only
>since about 1000 CE has Pesach always occurred after the vernal equinox,
>according to the present fixed calendar.  I wonder whether the present
>fixed calendar really was followed continuously, with no exceptions or
>adjustments, since the time of Hillel Sheni.  Between the time of Hillel
>Sheni and Saadya Gaon (in the 900s CE), the Roshei Galut (Exilarchs) in
>Bavel probably had enough prestige in the Jewish communities throughout
>the world to make adjustments in the calendar and make them stick.
>Saadya Gaon got into a famous fight about this, and won it, though the
>issue there was the day of the week of Rosh Hashanah, not whether to add
>an extra Adar.  So maybe the Roshei Galut did make occasional exceptions
>to the 19-year cycle established by Hillel Sheni, precisely in order to
>keep Pesach from drifting too far past the vernal equinox.

       There is data from Jewish tombstones around the year 500 where
days of the week as well as Jewish and corresponding secular dates occur
that Pesach apparantly fell out in some years before the vernal equinox
after the time of Hillel II.  I say apparantly because there appear to
be some errors on at least some of these tombstones.

        I have not seen these data in print, but there was a talk about
this at the 1998 American Jewish Studies Conference in Boston, sponsored
by Brandeis University.  Tapes of the lecture may still be available.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


From: Sharon and Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Wed, 6 Sep 2000 21:13:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Saving the Non-Jew

Chaim Mateh writes that it is probable, in his opinion, to save the life
of a non-Jew on Shabbat by means of desecration of Shabbat because of
eivah (emnity) and not because of pikuach nefesh. What, however, should
a Jew who follows halacha do in a situation where eivah does not apply;
e.g., where no one else is around and the Jew could walk away from the
situation and no one would ever know that it was the Jew's failure to
save his fellow human being, also created b'tzelem elokim (in God's
image), that resulted in the death of the non-Jew?  Does halacha demand
that the Jew, in such a situation, must allow the non-Jew to die?  I
wonder if there is anyone on this list who, placed in such a situation,
would do nothing. I simply cannot believe that halacha requires such a

Joseph C. Kaplan


End of Volume 33 Issue 52