Volume 33 Number 59
                 Produced: Sun Sep 17  7:48:09 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Love and Death (3)
         [Perry Zamek, Chaim Shapiro, The Nugiels]
Love, Kalut Rosh, and Tisha BeAv
         [Menucha Chwat]
Pesach in Spring
         [Mike Gerver]
Shabbat in the Woods (was: Saving the Non-Jew)
         [Mike Gerver]
Some reflections on the Usages of Exact Counting
         [Russell Hendel]
Spelling of Jesus (2)
         [Mark Steiner, Eli Linas]


From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 16:05:22 +0300
Subject: Love and Death

Jay F Shachter (in MJ v33n55) discussed the development of love in the
shadow of mourning. There is also a halachic aspect here: Where an
unmarried young woman is in mourning (along with other members of the
family), she may tidy her appearance (wash her face? put on makeup? - I
don't have my halachic references here at the office), because of the
chance that a potential suitor may come to perform the mitzva of nihum
avelim (comforting the mourners).

Love and aveilut -- both life-affirming experiences. May we all
experience the first, and may we but rarely experience the second.

Ketivah vaChatimah Tova to all MJ-er's.

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: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 13:51:07 EDT
Subject: Love and Death

<<  The posting which I cited above was written by a man who saw men and
 women flirting with each other on Tisha B'Av, and disapproved.  He does
 not think that such things are appropriate on Tish`a B'Av.  These words
 are the words of someone who looks on the things that men and women do
 who are falling in love, as he would look on a necessary but slightly
 disgusting minor operation, like having an enema.  They are the words of
 someone who does not remember, or who never knew, what it is like to
 fall in love. >>

I take offense at Jay Shachter's ridiculous assertion that I, the author
of both posts in question, do not remember falling in love.  The fact is
I do, quite well, although that is irrelevant to the issues involved.

To assert that flirting at most events is a form of making shiduchim is
patently ridiculous.  Yes, it is possible that some people meet in
unusual ways (I met my wife online).  However, the vast majority of
those flirting at any occasion, be it at the pizza shop, or at tashlich
or Tisha Baav, are NOT falling in love.  Rather, they are simply
enjoying the natural needs to gain some affection from the opposite sex.
A form of flirting which Rav Moshe Zt'l expressly prohibits (Even Hazer
Chalek 4 Simon 60).

Jay's emotional examples of the Holocaust are indeed moving, but again,
irrelevant to the issue.  This is not an issue of the continuance of the
Jewish people.  This is an issue of flirting on days where it should
definitely be avoided.  That being the case, I think my point remains.
We should not encourage flirting, which would be asssur anytime, on
Tisha Baav, a day of severe mourning.

Chaim Shapiro

From: The Nugiels <friars@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Sep 2000 18:07:05 +0200
Subject: Love and Death

Jay Shachter writes very powerfully, and beautifully, about the
importance of life-affirmation during times of mourning (MJ V33N55).
This was in response to Chiam Shapiro's (MJ V33N2) question as to
whether it is appropriate to offer "educational" venues which are used
in a frivolous manner on Tishe B'Av.  Shachter holds that the flirting
that goes on at these gatherings is not frivolous, but rather an
expression of people "falling in love," and that the characteristics of
this wonderful experience are positive, life affirming, and open our
awareness to the existence of the Almighty in a way that nothing else
can. He therefore holds that such behavior is appropriate for Tisha
B'Av. Shachter even goes on to wonder, cruelly, I thought, whether
Shapiro ever really experienced the raptures of "falling in love."

Despite the eloquence of Shachter's argument, it is unsuccessful because
it does not distinguish between the two very different experiences of
"falling in love" and "looking for love."  Although two parts of a
single process, they are totally dissimilar.  As Shachter correctly
points out, falling in love is a unique God affirming experience.  In
the same way that the essence of one's closest experience with God
transcends language, so the experience of loving ones mate is ineffable
by its very nature.  Language is a part of the physical, concrete,
world, while the true essence of both God and of Love are not physical,
and therefore language is not useful in these areas.  On the other hand,
in looking for love, or flirting, ones strategy is first to present ones
self in the best possible light.  We talk about ourselves, try to be
charming, witty, wise.  Language is of the essence here, because we are
trying to get someone interested in us; we are presenting our
credentials, so to speak.  If we are lucky, we connect with someone
special, and the relationship transmutes into the magic of real love.

I agree with Shapiro that Tisha B'Av is not the appropriate time or
place to engage in flirting.  Although it may not necessarily be called
kalut rosh, flirting is fun and exciting, and not the proper mind set
for a mourner.  The rituals of mourning tell the world, "see how
insignificant my life has become due to my loss," and on Tisha B'Av the
entire Jewish people say this collectively.  One who is "looking for
love" is saying, "see what a wonderful person I am. Come meet me..."
The two vectors simply clash.

There are those lucky few of us who do not go through the "looking for
love" game.  They find their perfect match right off the bat, and fall
in love without having to "sell themselves."  Perhaps Shachter was one
of these lucky few, and has never experienced the tribulations of real
flirting.  That would explain his naivete in advocating flirting on the
saddest day of the year, the day on which we are not even allowed to say
a simple hello to our fellow Jew.

Moshe Nugiel


From: Menucha Chwat <menu@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 13:53:06 +0200
Subject: Re: Love, Kalut Rosh, and Tisha BeAv

Jay Shachter, claiming not to be a romantic poet ,writes eloquently of
falling in love after a co-ed viewing of a tragic movie on Tisha Beav,
and points out that it is not "Qalut Rosh" and therefore should not be

The issue here is not Kalut Rosh.  Not everything prohibited or
inappropriate on Tisha Beav is because of Kalut Rosh.  For example,
learning Torah, the farthest thing from Kalut Rosh is prohibited because
of "Mesamchei Lev".

No one ever said that falling in love was seen as Kalut Rosh, or
inappropriate for a holy occasion.  (See Rav Kook Zt"l's intro to Shir
Hashirim) Indeed, Yom Kippur was one of the days on which unmarried
girls danced to be taken as wives.

Tisha Beav is different.  We are forbidden in anything which is "mesich
daat" takes the mind off the mourning.  Davka the poetic feelings
brought by Jay Shachter strengthen the position to deem them
inappropriate on Tisha Beav.

menucha chwat


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 07:50:14 +0200
Subject: Pesach in Spring

Steven White asks, in v33n53,

> I'm sure even the Bet Din does not have infinite flexibility in
> setting the time.  I think we would intuitively agree that Pesach cannot
> realistically start before March, nor can it realistically start, say,
> in June.  But why?  Are there specific criteria for the Bet Din, or is
> it assumed that the Bet Din "knows [spring] when it sees it."

The criteria are listed by the Rambam in the Mishneh Torah (Kiddush
Hachodesh, Perek 4).  An extra Adar must be added if any one of the
following conditions would otherwise occur:

1) The first day of Pesach would fall before the day of the vernal equinox.

2) The barley crop will not be ripe in time to bring the omer on 16 Nissan.

3) Fruit which normally starts growing by the beginning of Nissan has
not started growing yet.

In addition, an extra Adar can be added, at the discretion of the Beit
Din, for the following reasons:

1) The roads are not in good repair, because it is still raining.

2) Rivers are difficult and dangerous to cross, because of the rain.

3) The ovens for roasting the paschal lamb are not usable, because of
the rain.

4) People in chutz la'aretz have been "uprooted from their place," [I
suppose due to unsettled conditions] and cannot reach Jerusalem in time
for Pesach.

These additional reasons are not applicable, however, if there is a
famine, or during the shmita year, since in those cases it would be too
great a hardship on the people to make them wait an extra month to bring
the omer and be able to eat the new grain. It is customary to add an
extra Adar in the year before the shmita year, if it looks like it will
be necessary, in order to avoid having to add it in the shmita year and
causing undue hardship.  But if any of the first three reasons apply,
then an extra Adar is added even in the shmita year or in a famine.

The rest of the perek is devoted to listing conditions that do not cause
an extra Adar to be added, for example there are not enough lambs being
born, it's snowing, most of the people are tameh, etc., as well as to
the procedures used to declare an extra Adar (when it must be done,
where it must be done, who gets to make the decision, etc.).

 From a brief skimming of the procedural issues, it appears to me that
if the Beit Din ignored the requirement that Pesach must fall after the
vernal equninox, and failed to declare an extra Adar, perhaps because
they were unable to meet, then Pesach would occur before the vernal
equinox, i.e. an extra Adar would not automatically be added. So in this
sense, Pesach can occur before the vernal equinox.  I think that's what
happened at the time of the Chashmonaim, when there was no extra Adar
added for several years, and the original Chanukah was actually in
October.  So it was certainly possible for Pesach to occur before the
vernal equinox, as it occasionally did for the first few centuries after
the calendar was fixed by Hillel Sheni (if the tombstone data mentioned
by Ben Katz in v33n52 is correct).  But it's not clear to me why Hillel
Sheni arranged the calendar that way.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 15:21:51 +0200
Subject: Shabbat in the Woods (was: Saving the Non-Jew)

David Charlap, in v33n56, says

> If you're so far away from civilization that you are certain that
> there are no witnesses, you're already violating Shabbat - you're not
> allowed to walk more than 2000 amot outside of a town on Shabbat.  So
> a sabbath-observant person would never find himself in this situation
> in the first place.

This isn't true. You are not allowed to go outside of the tachum on
Shabbat, which extends 2000 amot past the end of the inhabited area
where you are.  But there is no requirement that that inhabited area has
to be a town. It could be a tent in the woods. I used to go camping on
Shabbat sometimes when I was a grad student at Berkeley in the 1970s,
including one memorable occasion at Furnace Creek (in Death Valley), and
another time in the high country of Yosemite.  So did the rabbi from the
shul in Berkeley. I admit I haven't done it since then. Of course the
Shabbat camping I did then was not by myself, but I don't see why there
would be any prohibition on spending Shabbat by yourself in the woods,
if that's what you wanted to do.  Wasn't there some famous rabbi (maybe
R. Israel Salanter??) who went off by himself in the woods for several

There's also the possibility, of course, of being in a shipwreck,
chv"sh, and finding yourself forced to spend Shabbat clinging to a raft,
or on a desert island. That's a situation where you're likely to have to
save someone's life.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 22:44:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Some reflections on the Usages of Exact Counting

Reuven Rudman in v33n47 asks why I stated there were exactly 7800 Rashis
(Why not simply say there are about 7800 Rashis).

1st) I have rules for settling how to count these ambiguous rashis. Some
of these rules are being presented on my Rashi-is-Simple list.  Reuven
or anyone else is welcome to join my list and raise the issue

2nd) "Exact counting" happens to be an old tradition among Jewish sages.
In fact the Sages in Ezras time were called 'Counters (Sofrim)' because
they enumerated lists. The purpose of such enumerations was as a 'parity
check' to help preserve the Mesorah.

3rd) "Exact counting" besides preserving the Mesorah also helps to
establish 'standards and learning schedules'. In my RashiYomi Series I
criticize the Daf Yomi series for 'learning new material on Yom Tov and
Shabbath'. This is impractical. Shabbath and Yom Tom should be used for
review not new material (That was also the custom in olden times).

In fact using the 7800 exact count I arive at a very 'implementable'
Rashi learning schedule: 3 Rashis per weekday with 2 days off per week
when we learn 2 Rashis per day (Those into Running will recognize a
similarity to training schedules for races)). I give off all holidays.
But we will finish all Rashis WITH ALL PRINCIPLES in 10 years.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA;
Dept of Math Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is SImple


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 14:32:21 +0300
Subject: Re: Spelling of Jesus

A clarification concerning my posting on "yeshu."

    When I say that first generation amoraim did not consider
Christianity avodah zarah (though of course the rishonim, with the
possible exception of the Meiri, did), I meant only that the view that
Christians actually worship Jesus himself, i.e. a dead Moshiach, as
divine, could not have been prevalent among Jews then (though it
certainly was later), and thus "vorik" in Aleynu could not have referred
to Jesus.  Obviously, however, the early Christians were regarded as
heretics (minim) by Hazal.

Mark Steiner

From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 14:43:42 +0200
Subject: Re: Spelling of Jesus

Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote in part:
>In case anybody questions my statement that vorik in aleynu has nothing
>to do with Jesus despite the gematria, here's an historical proof:
>aleynu was written for the Musaf of Rosh Hashana, and thus could not
>conceivably have been written later than the first generation amoraim.

In Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, shlitta's, sefer, Sichos l'Rosh HaShannah, he
writes that according to mesorah, the first half of Aleinu was written
by none other than Yehoshua, with his original name, Hoshea, alluded to
in a reverse acrostic appearing in the verses "*A*leinu lishabeiach,"
"*Sh*elo asanu," "*v*'anachnu korim," and "*H*u Elokeinu." According to
another mesora, although not as reliable as the first, the second half
was written by the infamous Achan, with his name being hinted to in the
opening words, "*A*l *c*ain *n*ekaveh."

Eli Linas 


End of Volume 33 Issue 59