Volume 33 Number 68
                 Produced: Tue Oct 10  5:53:45 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleynu's Censored Phrase
         [Kochav ben Yehuda]
Biblical Hyphens
         [Russell Hendel]
Halachikly pregnant
         [Rachel Smith]
         [Israel Rosenfeld]
Saving a life on Shabbat
         [Perry Dane]
Science in Gemara (2)
         [Eli Linas, Israel Rosenfeld]
Why do some masoretic explanations appear simpler than others
         [Ben Katz]
Why we don't wear Tfillin
         [David Charlap]


From: Kochav ben Yehuda <kochav_benyehuda@...>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2000 02:35:57 CEST
Subject: Re: Aleynu's Censored Phrase

>>From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
>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

With all due respect, but even shituf is considered AZ for benei Noach by 
many poskim.

Following are a few of the Gedolim that paskened shituf to be assur
(prohibited) for a ben noach:
The Pri Megadim (O"C E"E 156:2, Y"D S"D 65:11)
The Machatzis HaShekel (O"C 156:2).
The Chasam Sofer (hagahos to S"A O"C 156)
The Minchas Chinuch (86:1)
The Sha'ar Ephraim (Shu"t 24) and the Meil Tzedakah (22).
The Pischei Teshuvah (Y"D 147:2)
The Darchei Teshuvah (Y"D 147:12)

So shituf is always considered idolatry for a Jew, and by many poskim also 
is considered to be idolatry for a bn.

With best wishes for a ksiva vachasima tova,


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Oct 2000 12:49:36 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Biblical Hyphens

Mark Symons writes (v33n65)

>>There are many similar parallels where you wouldn't expect a hyphen
and this consideration may be relevant in those cases also e.g. "Az
Yashir-Moshe Uvney Yisrael" ( with a hyphen between Yashir and
Moshe). This may imply that Moshe was so closely linked to the singing
it was as though the singing had so completely taken over Moshe that it
became part of his being so to speak.>>

I have answered this question on Mail Jewish several times in the past.
Hyphens serve TWO PURPOSES: a) Closeness of meaning (as Mark notes) b)
units of breathing.

Very often a hyphen will just make breathing or enunciating certain
phrases easier even though in terms of meaning it should not be there. A
good reference is Mordechai Breuers book Cantillations, Chapter 7.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Moderator Rashi is Simple


From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 10:14:06 -0700
Subject: Re:  Halachikly pregnant

 Louise Miller wrote:

>So the simplest explanation I can think of for >the three month waiting
>period, is that it takes three months to set a >new reality, that of the
>non-appearance of menstruation.  After that, >there is no requirement to
>abstain barring any other complications.

Our Rav (a musmach of R. Moshe Feinstein z'tl) quoted R. Moshe that a
pregnancy test (e.g. over-the-counter >90% accuracy type, or a blood
test) is halachically sufficient to confirm pregnancy and to allow
relations.  The number of halachically possible days to expect the
period (which of course won't come during pregnancy) based on past
periods grows unwieldy very fast in those 3 months, and preventing
husband and wife from sleeping in the same bed (even without relations)
on all those halachically-possible nights would be unwieldy as well.


From: Israel Rosenfeld <israel.rosenfeld@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 16:57:22 +0200
Subject: Re: Molad

> From: Alan Rubin <arubin@...>
> 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.  This seems to be a remarkable example to show how
> the practice of even the most stringent of commandments can be altered
> by Bes Din.  Could this be used as an argument for suggesting that
> people in Israel keep two days of Yom Tov?

Not really. Hashem gave over to Beis Din (religious court) the
    decision of when the Jewish month starts.
And not only that, the Mishna (Rosh Hashannah 2:9) says that
    Hashem will accept their ruling even they are off target!
And the Gemara adds - even if done intentionally!

Ketiva VeHatima Tova.



From: Perry Dane <dane@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2000 13:27:01 -0400
Subject: Saving a life on Shabbat

>In 33:52 Joseph Kaplan writes:
> > 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
> > result.

         I think we need to notice something important here: There are
lots of things that halakhah requires Jews to do (or not do) that might
instill hatred or resentment in non-Jews.  Some Roman authors, for
example, thought that the very notion of casing to work on Shabbat was

         But as to certain behaviors, such as refusing to save a life,
the halakhah concludes, not only that non-Jews would hate or resent us,
or think less of the halakhic system (raising the related issue of
hillul Hashem), but that they would __justified__ in doing so.  That, it
seems to me, is the key.  The halakhah often takes general morality into
account, and incorporates it through such tools as the doctrine of



From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 13:18:23 +0200
Subject: Re: Science in Gemara

Ahron Wolf <awolf@...> wrote:
>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

When Rav Shlomo Zalman, z"l, asserted that the ikker de'ah is like the
Rosh, he did not say it only in reference to halacha; it was an
unqualified statement. As to the refuahs in Gitten, I believe that most
if not all poskim say not to try them, and that they can be dangerous
today, because of shinui hatevah. This topic is also dealt with in the
introduction to Shmiras HaGuf v'haNefesh. Other things can also be
simply explained - like spontaneous generation: Chazzal went by the
appearance, as they often do - for example, regarding the necessity to
check for bugs. One interesting thing I found out in my researches:
Chazzal tell us that the problem of gilui is that a snake might drink
the water and leave venom. The only problem is, snake venom isn't
poisonous when ingested! Nasson Slifkin, however, tells me that in fact,
cobra venom is poisonous when ingested!

On this same topic, Mike Gerver wrote:

>But if R. Avraham ben HaRambam's opinion was shared by the Rambam (which
>seems likely to me, does anyone have reason to think differently?), who
>was, to put it mildly, also a great posek in his time, then by the same
>reasoning one could say that this is tantamount to saying the gemara
>itself does not make this claim. It's not possible for both statements
>to be true, so neither can be true.  The fact that a later posek, no
>matter how great, interprets the gemara in a certain way, is not the
>same as saying that the gemara says it that way.  Similarly, a statement
>in the gemara is not the same as a statement in the mishnah, and a
>statement in the mishnah is not the same as a statement in the Torah.
>If Eli just meant that, in his opinion, one should go along with what R.
>Shlomo Zalman's said on this matter, because he was such a great posek,
>fine. But that does not answer Barak Greenfield's original question,
>which was asking what the gemara itself claimed.

While I hear Mike's point, I like to throw out the following: There is a
continual process of determining what the halacha is - and this is all
part of Torah sh'bal peh. So, when a poseik, especially a world class
one, gives a psak, that is the halacha, and that is what the Torah
sh'bal peh has to say. Is anyone aware of a gadol the stature of Rav
Shlomo Zalman who addresses this question? If not, then his is the psak,
and that is what the Torah sh'bal peh says - and the Gemora is one part,
albeit a quite important one (how's that for an understatement!) of the
Torah sh'bal peh.  So, the question would better be phrased as follows:
not "what does the Gemora have to say," but, "what does the Torah sh'bal
peh have to say on this topic?".

As for Mike's statement:

>who was, to put it mildly, also a great posek in his time, then by the
>same reasoning one could say that this is tantamount to saying the gemara
>itself does not make this claim. It's not possible for both statements to
>be true, so neither can be true.  

I don't understand what he means: we often find conflicting opinions
quoted in the Gemora, and ultimately, the halacha is decided according
to one of them. This is exactly what Rav Shlomo Zalman did: there were
conflicting opinions amongst the Rishonim, who were part of the mesorah
of Torah sh'bal peh, and the Rav was machriya like one of them -
something that the Gemora itself also does all the time. In point of
fact, we can also say that they actually can both be correct: "Eilu
v'eilu divrei Elokim chaim."

Eli Linas

From: Israel Rosenfeld <israel.rosenfeld@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 17:49:58 +0200
Subject: Re: Science in Gemara

> From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
> "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
> times?

They use present knowledge continuously.

I think it was either Harav Feinstein (the son) or Harav Tendler
    who coined the phrase, "Today, death is halachically a
    moving target; i.e., its definition changes frequently".

Ketiva VeHatima Tova.



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 11:39:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Why do some masoretic explanations appear simpler than others

>From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
>In v33n57 Ben  continues the thread on Full-Defectively spelled words in
>the Bible. Recall that I had given a simple grammatical rule for explaining
>such words. Ben succinctly explains how he feels
>>>There are about 5,000 kri/ketiv variations, many of which deal with
>defective spellings.  In many instances the same passage that appears in
>more than one location in Tanach has different kri/ketiv (a famous example
>is magdil/migdol before the last paragraph of birchat hamazon which appears
>in II Samuel and Psalms 18).  I don't see how any theory can take all of
>these into account>>(Ben refers to 2Sam22:51 vs Psalms18:51)
>Thus Bens question is (rephrased) "How can any rule explain 5000 problems".
>I think answering this is important since a great deal of talmudic and recent
>acharonim literature deals with this topic. Let me use the example that
>Ben provided (2Sam22:51 vs Psalms 18:51) First: Most students of Talmud
>are familiar with the PROCESS-COMPLETION distinction. A trained talmudic
>student could easily give SEVERAL 100 examples of this distinction.
>As I said I find this simple, clinchy and flowing---but I only find this
>so because I so often see PROCESS-COMPLETION distinctions. Someone else
>who is NOT use to seeing such distinctions may find this whole explanation
>So Bottom line: I think constant legal studying gives us the experiential
>awareness needed to cope with the several hundred (not thousand) spellings.

I believe Dr. Hendel's distinction is interesting but irrelevant.  No
amount of cleverness can cover up the fact that Migdol (as is true of
many other keri/ketive words; "havtze" in Bereshit comes to mind) is not
a Hebrew word.  And despite Dr. Hendel's assertion, there are about 5
thousand keri/ketiv variants in Tanach, NOT EVEN COUNTING "adonai" for
"yhvh" and "yerushalayim" for "yerushlaim" (the latter of which only
appears, I believe 4 times with the final "yod").

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: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 14:43:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Why we don't wear Tfillin

Chaim Mateh wrote:
> I had written my comments from memory.  The exact source is Shulchan
> Aruch Orech Chaim 37:2 -- "Their [Tfillin] Mitzvah is to be on him
> the entire day.  However, because we need a clean body (guf naki),
> that he shouldn't pass gas (shelo yafiach) while wearing them, and
> that he won't be distracted (yasiach daato) from them, and not
> everyone can be careful in these, they have become accustomed
> (nahagu) not to put them on the entire day.  But in any case, each
> one should take care to wear them during Kriyas Shma and Tfila".
> Mishna Brura, note 5 says regarding wearing Tfillin at least during
> Shma and Tfilla, "because during such a short time period, he can
> easily be careful from passing gas and from distractions."
> In note 7, the MB says that "and that [wearing Tfillin at least
> during Shma and Tfilla] is for every man, but for Anshei Maaseh
> (righteous, pious?) are accustomed to learn after Tfilla wearing
> Tfillin...".

Which then leads to another question:  Why only during shacharit?  Why
not also put on Tfillin during mincha and ma'ariv?  If one is able to be
careful during shacharit, surely one can be just as careful during a
shorter service.

-- David


End of Volume 33 Issue 68