Volume 33 Number 67
                 Produced: Wed Sep 27 20:20:58 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Eli Linas]
Aleynu's Censored Phrase (2)
         [Shlomo Pick, Aryeh A. Frimer]
Artscroll Gemorah
         [Aharon Fischman]
"Daat Emet"
         [Daniel Cohn]
Men and wedding rings
         [Gershon Dubin]
Molad (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Menashe Elyashiv]
More book questions.
         [Shaya Potter]
Science in Gemara
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 13:58:14 +0200
Subject: Re: Achan

I wrote:
>> <snip>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."

Perry Zamek replied:

>The term "infamous" as applied to Achan may be a little unfair. Yehoshua
>encourages Achan to confess his sin, which Achan does. Prior to Achan
>being executed, Yehoshua says to him: "The Lord shall trouble thee this
>day", which the Gemara in Perek Chelek (Sanhedrin) understands to mean
>that Achan dis not lose his portion in Olam Haba.
>In a sense, Achan plays a role similar to that of the Mekoshesh Etzim
>(the man gathering wood on Shabbat in the desert - Tzelofechad?) -- he
>teaches us the value of Vidui, even in the sure knowledge that he would
>be punished.

In my initial post, I noted the source for my comments was what Rav
Nebentzal, shlitta, wrote in his work Sichas l'Rosh HaShannah (available
in English, from Feldheim as Thoughts for Rosh HaShannah). He does not
seem inclined to view Achan charitably, despite the fact that he did
teshuvah, and composed the second half of Aleinu. He writes in part:
"Achan was responsible for the ruinous delay of the fulfillment of the
Jewish people's destiny. His transgression ... was the direct cause of
numerous injuries...  Although... Ai was later dealt an everlasting
blow, irreperable damage had been done. The Nations... were left with
the impression that Hashem's people were just like any other: sometimes
victorious, and sometimes vanquished... There was no longer anyone to
make kiddush Hashem in the world... We can now understand the state of
shock which gripped the people after... [the defeat at] Ai... [that was]
expressed by Yehoshua... [which] seem unnecessariy harsh... Yehoshua
felt it would have been better to remain on the Eastern bank of the
Jordan rather than have experienced such a terrible chillul
Hashem... Although the transgression was rectified with Achon's stoning
and the subsequent victory at Ai, it was impossible to turn back the
clock... This is why Achan composed this prayer, expressing longing for
a future revelation of Hashem... [He] understood that his ation had
served to psotpone the time when "all humanity will cal upon Your Name."
A complete revelation of HaShem's glory would not take place in the
immediate future.  As Perry writes, the commentators view the m'koshesh
charitably, however, this was not the case with Achan. Nothing compares
to chillul Hashem.

Eli Linas   


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 16:41:23 +0200
Subject: re: Aleynu's Censored Phrase

In the past I had asked a number of posekim in Bnei Brak and the
consensus was that leaving out "shem mishtakhavim lehevel variq
umitpalalim le-el lo yoshia" in the aleinu of malkiot would be an
infraction of the prohibition of changing the text of blessing (assur
leshanot matbeiah shel bracha). Consequently, irrespective of what is
said at the end of the service (without or without a melody), in the
shuls and yeshivot that I have davened here in the Holy Land, it is

with hope of "lehakhzir ateret leyoshna"
and a ketiva vechatima tova
shlomo pick

From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 14:18:42 +0300
Subject: Aleynu's Censored Phrase

The Battle over "She-heim Mishtachavim..." is not at all new, and it
goes back at least 300 years. When I was an undergraduate at Brooklyn
College I did an honors paper on the issue of equality/citizenship for
Jews and Blacks during the French revolution based on the original
sources.  This verse was THE center of hours/pages of debate on whether
Jews should be granted French Citizenship. After all, they weren't
Christians, they even daily belittled Christianity - how could they
mesh, assimilate, be trusted. The Abbot Gregoire fought valiantly for
the Jews on the grounds that once they were given citizenship, they
would assimilate and convert! As to the problematic verse, he argued
that it referred to the "Old" idolaters. Robespierre waffled on the
issue, and the Anti-semites of Alsace Lorraine staunchly opposed
equality for the Jews - claiming that Gregiore's explanations were all
apologetics and the Jews were low-lives.
	The truth seems to be that the vast majority of Poskim consider
Catholicism and Greek Orthodoxy, Anglican church and many other
Christian sects as Avodah Zarah for Jews. This would have all sorts of
monetary/livlihood results which would have made Jewish life in
Christian Europe intolerable. The Rama maintains that Christianity is
"Shituf" (a combination belief in a corporeal god - hence AZ - and a
non-corporeal god) and hence technically not the classic AZ for
non-Jews. Hence, the Halakhic rules can be relaxed. But the aleinu verse
is still valid.
	There is no doubt that in all of pre-World war Europe the verse
was removed because of the censors. It was out for hundreds of
years. And once out - it becomes T-R-A-D-I-T-I-O-N.  It's almost like
the hesitancy most males (myself included) have about wearing techelet
on their tsitsit - even though according to most poskim there is nothing
to lose!

	But as Tevya says: T-R-A-D-I-T-I-O-N!


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 07:32:17 -0400
Subject: Re: Artscroll Gemorah

Chaim Shapiro writes:

>What's worse, I must admit, the ease of the Artscroll is a very tempting
>"crutch" to lean on when one does not want to spend the time figuring
>out a Gemorah on his own.

I would respectfully disagree with Chaim's concern.  For a good number
of observant but not well versed in a methodology of learning Gemorah,
the Artscroll is a great way of being able to learn and study without
embarrassment or frustration.  In many cases one could assume that study
with an Artscroll is a replacement for _not_ learning not for more in
depth learning.  For this, Artscroll should be commended.

As far as using is as a crutch for more serious learners you supply the
>In fact, my Chavrusah and I have agreed to
>use regular Gemorahs and only refer to the Artscroll if we are
>absolutely, positively stuck and going nowhere.

There are always alternatives available, and the seriousness of one's
study can only be based on one's desire, and not on what is readily

Personally, I used Artscroll Mishnayot to learn Mo'ed and Nashim, but
used Hebrew Kehati for Zeraim, Nezikin, and Kodshim.  Only when I hit
Taharot did I need a constant English translation so I used an English

Aharon Fischman
<afischman@...> (not .com any more)


From: Daniel Cohn <dcohn@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 20:44:17 -0300
Subject: "Daat Emet"

A few days ago I got an email from an organization called "Daat Emet"
containing a pamphlet intending to disprove the authenticity of the
Torah.  It was written in an obvious "sefer kodesh" (le'havdil) style
(for instance, it began with the words "Please safeguard the sanctity of
this publication"). I'm curious as to where they got my email address,
and since I hardly send it to any public forums, I suspect they might
have gotten it from mail-jewish. Also, the current issue dwelled on the
"rabbit and hare" subject, which looks too much like a coincidence
(caught me well prepared at least). Their web site encouraged people to
send in religious people's email addresses.  Has anybody else in the
list received such a message?

Daniel Cohn

[As far as I know, the actual subscriber list is not available as a
query to the listproc, we turned off the ability of people to get that
(there was a period where people would subscribe, send a request for the
subscriber list and then drop off the list). However, as the list is
available on the web, one can create a list of addresses of people who
have posted to the list. There is nothing I can do to prevent that,
except to not include the email list of people in the from line, which
would interfere with private replies to postings. Moderator]


From: Gershon Dubin <gdubin@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 10:04:39 -0400
Subject: Men and wedding rings

From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>

<<On the subject of men wearing rings, the gemoro in the second perek of
Rosh HaShono discusses a signet ring and whether it can be worn or not,
or used or not.  (The answer seems to depend on whether it has a raised
or incised design).  But from this it would seem obvious that men wore
signet rings in the time of the gemoro.  Maybe signet rings were
different and women didn't wear them, but at least it suggests that
wearing decorative jewelry per se should not be prohibited.>>

	As a matter of fact, you have proved the opposite.  The Gemara
in Shabbos implies that only men wore signet rings, and only women wore
rings without insignia, i.e., decorative.



From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 13:48:28 +0200
Subject: Molad

Alan Rubin asks (in v33n65)

> The result of this will be that in Israel people are eating chametz at a
> time when, had Rosh Chodesh been fixed using witnesses it would still be
> regarded as Pesach. 
> Could this be used as an argument for suggesting that
> people in Israel keep two days of Yom Tov?

I don't think so. There are certain procedures the Beit Din is supposed
to follow to determine when Rosh Chodesh Nissan is.  When it is not
possible to follow those procedures (using witnesses), then there are
other procedures they are supposed to follow (using calculations, and a
fixed calendar).  But the bottom line is that Rosh Chodesh Nissan is
defined as whenever the duly authorized Beit Din says it is. It is not
defined as being when the Beit Din would have said it was, if they had
been working in ideal conditions.  So there is no doubt at present as to
when Rosh Chodesh Nissan is. It is when the Beit Din of Hillel Sheni
said it is (using the fixed calendar they set up).

The situation which originally gave rise to yom tov sheni in chutz
la-aretz was completely different. Then, a Beit Din in Israel declared
that Rosh Chodesh was on a certain day, and people outside of Israel did
not know which day that was.

Yom tov sheni continues to be observed in chutz la-aretz, of course,
only because of "minhag avoteinu beyadeinu," since the original reason
no longer applied after the fixed calendar was established.  That, and
perhaps to encourage people to make aliyah.  I'm certainly looking
forward to not observing yom tov sheni for the first time after making
aliyah, when Sukkot comes up in a couple of weeks!

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2000 12:24:41 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Molad

Although we do not annouce Rosh Hodesh Tishrei - the molad time is
important -
1- for those who say Kiddush Levana before Yom Kippur (it will be about
2:15 p.m. Israel summer time on Thursday so Ashkenazim can say KL on
Moseai Rosh Hashana, Sepharadim from 7 Tishrei)
2- for early risers who say Tikkun Hasot - after the molad Tikkun Rahel is
not said, only Tikkun Leah, so on erev Rosh Hashana say only Tikkun Leah.
In Israel, this coming year, 5751 is a Shemitta year, & because of the
added holyness, thru the year only Tikkun Leah is said.


From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 00:21:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: More book questions.

Does anyone have reccomendation for books for someone who is Orthodox,
went to day schools, but was never challanged to think of what Judaism
means to them, what their Haskafa is.  These people are good people, but
they are now in college and they don't even know who they are, because
they are like the like the "She'eino Yo'deah Li'shol", they don't know
what questions to ask.  They keep shabbos, kosher... so the books
shouldn't be about those things, those they already know.  The best book
I found so far is Akiva Tatz's "The Thinking Jewish Teenager's Guide to

any other reccomendations would be appreciated as well.


shaya potter
<spotter@...>   spotter@yucs.org   spotter@us.ibm.com


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 09:26:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Science in Gemara

In v33#65, Ahron Wolf writes:

> We must distinguish between Halacha and scientific knowledge. Even
> though in regard to halachik matters we may hold that halacha is
> determined by the gemaras scientific knowledge, for instance in the
> case of bleeding gums mentioned above, this does not mean that in
> reality the science is incorrect. Chazal have a right to determine the
> halacha based on the knowledge of their times and since we all accept
> the authority of the Talmud Bavli for halacha, as the Rambam explains
> in his intro to the Yad, we cannot deviate from these rulings. However
> you cant expect me to believe that the refuas mentioned in maseches
> gitin have any worth in reality.

"Chazal have a right to determine the halacha based on the 
knowledge of their times"

So, are today's authorities not able to also use the knowledge of OUR

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


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 13:22:28 +0200
Subject: Shafan/Arnevet

If you couldn't find the web page mentioned by Michael Pitkowsky in v33n65,
it's because "shmini" should be lower-case, i.e. the page should be:


It is a persuasive and informative article and (like everything Prof. Felix
writes) well worth reading.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


End of Volume 33 Issue 67