Volume 33 Number 76
                 Produced: Mon Nov  6 21:00:05 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll Gemorah (3)
         [Eli Turkel, David Herskovic, Jordan Hirsch]
Chazan's watch revisited
         [Bob Kosovsky]
Chevra Kadisha
         [Joseph P. Wetstein]
Halachically Pregnant
         [Yitzchok Zirkind]
A Mesorah of Kashruth - Chalav Yisroel & Glatt Kosher
         [Alexis Rosoff]
Science in the Talmud
         [Russell Hendel]
Torah study
         [Eli Linas]


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 08:12:22 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Artscroll Gemorah

> However, I must say, Artscroll is not like Rashi.  Rashi is a
> continuation of the belief that only the bare minimum necessary for
> understanding Torah Shel Bal Peh be written down.  Rashi felt, as did
> Rebbe Yehuda and Ravina, that without his input, Torah Shel Bal Peh
> would be lost.  Please note that even Rashi is not a bare all
> explanation that is easy to understand.  It still requires Amalus
> (toil), even from the most advanced learners.

I am not convinced that Rashi on purpose said the bare minimum in order
to increase the level of difficulty.

Also what about Rashbam and Ran on nedarim who are much more verbose?

One nice point of Artscroll not mentioned is that give references to
advanced topics not discussed in detail. Most learners who are not
fluent in all of shas would have a hard time finding the shach or ketzot
that is relevant to the sugya at hand.

Eli Turkel

From: David Herskovic <crucible@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 2000 00:15:49 -0000
Subject: Artscroll Gemorah

I would like to make three points regarding the Artscroll gemores, or,
as it known here, the Schottenstein Shas.

1) What are we to make of gemore education if adults who spent their
formative years learning almost nothing but gemore can't manage to learn
a blat on their own without the assistance of the Artscroll gemore?

2) If the Gemore is served on an Artscroll platter then where is there
room left for creativity and innovation. Would Reb Chaim have invented
his method if he was brought up on a Schottenstein? Will there come a
day when a kashe by Reb Akive Eiger is dismissed as stemming from his
not having had the benefit of the new gemores? Or is it a symptom of our
times that things are presented as having only a single true explanation
with which we all must agree. I had a magid shiur who would tell us that
when we prepare for the shiur and we encounter a difficult passage we
should try to understand it without even looking in Rashi. If after
looking in Rashi we find Rashi understood it differently we should
analyse why Rashi didn't see things in the same light as us. Imagine
what he would have made of Schottenstein.

3) When I had reason to buy my first Shakespeare text I came across an
edition which had a line by line 'translation'. I sought the advice of
the shop assistant and she gave me such a look that I promptly returned
it to the shelf. And this was no Shakespeare scholar but a mere bale
boste. vloy they koyhenes k'pundokis? By all means provide a glossary
for the uninitiated and some assistance with tricky bits, but this?
Resources should be directed at good critical editions on the lines of
the Frankel Rambam not dumbed down nursery versions.

Dovid Herskovic

From: Jordan Hirsch <TROMBAEDU@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 07:42:01 EST
Subject: Re: Artscroll Gemorah

> First, labeling Rashi a "Rishon" (which he was) in no way makes his
> peyrush (commentary) on Shas any less relevant to the
> discussion. Rashi is primarily (not exclusively) an explanation of the
> p'shat, the basic meaning of the Gemora. As every Rebbe I ever had
> said, One cannot understand the gemara without Rashi. He basically
> "opened up" the gemara. On a much lesser scale,

I beg to differ with this point. My exact point is that in most cases,
one can develop a working pshat of the Gemara using a dictionary and a
halachah reference work like Otzar Hatalmud. The reason why one would do
this is to be able to read Rashi, which is certainly indispensable, with
a fresh outlook.  Often, Rashi, in his succinct way, develops over the
course of a number of entries an approach to a sugya which goes far
beyond simple explanation.  Many times, when the Baalei Hatosfos argue
on Rashi, it takes a bit to get up to speed to see their question. By
making a working Pshat of the Gemara, one can then see how Rashi
constructs a holistic approach to his pshat, and not merely
definitions. It makes it easier for us to understand why Rashi stands on
his own against the Tosfos, but also how Tosfos' question may be a
strong one. When we use Rashi as an automatic device to get us through
the daf, the complexity of his pshat ! and the Baalei hatosfos is more
difficult to understand.  This is not to suggest that one should never
use the two finger approach.  But as a pedagogical device, Rashi can
often be best appreciated if one tries to look at the Gemara as if one
were Rashi, instead of through the eyes of Rashi.



From: Bob Kosovsky <kos@...>
Subject: Chazan's watch revisited

In the space of two weeks, I've been contacted by two people who saw my
Mail-Jewish posting from 1995 (!) and wanted further information.

The original thread began as a question on the use of tuning forks on
Shabbat in order to help a Chazan start on the correct pitch.

In my 1995 post, I mentioned how the choir of K'hal Adath Jeshurun (i.e.
"Breuer's") frequently depends on a watch that emits a musical pitch.
In addition to these recent queries, I've received a number of messages
from people in the past five years wanting more clarification.

The specific watch used by the choir at Breuer's is a Bulova Accutron,
which has the model or serial number (on the reverse): K61637.

(In my 1995 post, I mentioned how the previous watch used was made by
Omega, but we no longer have access to that watch.)

I have been told that prior to the mid-1970s when they switched to
quartz, the device Bulova used to maintain accuracy in their Accutron
watches was an actual tuning fork, which goes far to explain the
emission of a pitch (F above middle C).  It's not really audible unless
you hold the watch tightly to your ear.

Apparently these pre-mid-1970s Accutron watches turn up occasionally on
EBay and other auction sites.

Bob Kosovsky -- Librarian 
Music Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
<kos@...>                             bkosovsky@nypl.org
    Listowner:  <OPERA-L@...> ; smt-list@smt.ucsb.edu
                    Administrivia to:  <rjkgc@...>


From: Joseph P. Wetstein <jpw@...>
Subject: Chevra Kadisha

I would like anyone who is a member of a chevra kadisha to please
contact me via email. I have a brief question.

 Joseph P. Wetstein, P.E.	  
 (707) 202-0600 fax


From: Yitzchok Zirkind <Yzkd@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 17:38:39 EST
Subject: Re: Halachically Pregnant

> From: Yehonoson Rubin <rubin20@...>
>  I think there is a misunderstanding here, After the first period passes,
>  there is no obligation to start reckoning "if I would have had a period
>  it would be on the 30th (or 31st), so I will now reckon as if it did
>  occur". Also just which posek allows sleeping in the same bed during
>  vest? To the best of my knowledge it is universal, source being either a
>  Gemra or Medresh.

There are cases where even after the first period is missed one still
has to consider others.

Kol Tuv, 

Yitzchok Zirkind


From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis1@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 14:29:48 -0400
Subject: Re: A Mesorah of Kashruth - Chalav Yisroel & Glatt Kosher

On Wed, 20 Sep 2000 15:18:50 +0200, Carl M. Sherer wrote:

|> Carl Singer writes:
|> > With Glatt Kosher -- there no longer seems to be a reliable / available
|> > / convenient supply chain for kosher (but not Glatt) meat -- the metziah
|> > has changed, to where Glatt Kosher is essentially synonymous with
|> > "reliable" kosher, I personnally know of not even a single organization
|> > that supplies (non-Glatt) kosher meat that anyone in the Orthodox
|> > community uses (correct me if I'm wrong.)  

I have a theory on this one. 

First, only the people who keep the stringency are bothered: less
observant people will buy without checking if it is glatt or not (I have
yet to meet someone who insisted on non-glatt).

Second, when it comes to meat products, things have to be produced
specially for the kosher consumer (unlike dairy or pareve, where an
ordinary product can easily be made kosher). If you're going to go to
that effort, you might as well make it acceptable to as many consumers
as possible. There is no impetus for a `lowest common denominator'
standard of kashrut. Even if the supervising agencies held to the
regular kashrut standard, it wouldn't allow for more product lines.

Dairy is the opposite. If I hold to the OU standard of kashrut and rely
on the `chalav hacompanies' heter, almost any dairy product I wish to
purchase (other than rennet based cheeses) is available to me. If I
insist on chalav yisrael, my selection is very limited. There is a
strong impetus here to keep the non-strigent standard alive, as it
enables more people to keep kosher easily. (AFAIK there would be no way
to maintain the variety of kosher dairy products available in the USA
today if chalav yisrael were insisted upon.)

 Alexis Rosoff ---=--- http://alexis.dusk.org.uk ---=--- Long Island, NY


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000 21:32:33 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Science in the Talmud

Several erudite sources have been cited on the science-talmud-vs-modern
thread. I would like to respond to Rabbi Linas' posting (v33n68). I
think a few distinctions will show that his reasoning is not 100%

First: It is generally accepted that SOME talmudic passages are Agaddic.
In particular some of the medicinal gmarrahs MAY be agaddic. (I in fact
have offered a complete account of their symbolism on other email groups
and would be happy to repeat it here). SO..Rabbi Linas cannot tell me a
la Rosh and Rabbi Auerbach that the literal Talmudic opinion is
scientific UNTIL Rabbi Linas has given GOOD CAUSE to believe that the
passages in question are not agaddic (NOTICE: At this point I am not
questioning Rabbi Auerbach or the Rosh...I am questioning whether these
Gmarrahs were meant to be taken non-symbolically)

Second: I think the conversation should focus on WHICH scientific
passages are halachically binding rather than on whether we should
believe all of them. For example Rabbi Linas is correct that eg laws of
Trayfahs (dying animals) and Calendars are binding on us even if we
think we have better science.

However there are many examples where we make determinations based on
science today. To take Rabbi Linas own example if the experts told me
that only Cobra snake venom kills when digested and there are no cobras
in my area then I would be permitted to drink water left uncovered

Thirdly: I don't think it sufficient to CITE Rabbi Auerbach or even the
Rosh---we have to know both the context and the reasons for what they
said (Please don't misread this statement...I am certain that what the
Rosh was said and reasonable..I just don't believe it applies blanketly
to everything).

In summary I think this thread should switch AWAY from authority and
focus on WHICH halachas are governed by science today and the context
and reasons of rishonim in their declarations on science.

Russell Jay Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; Towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is SImple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com/calendar.htm CHECK OUT THE NEW RASHIYOMI CALENDAR


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Subject: Torah study

Russell Hendel wrote in part:
>>besides the issue of the "immutability of the Torah" there is AN
>>EQUALLY SERIOUS issue of "Learning". It is a primary Biblical
>>commandment to learn. **If** I believed that sacrifices were concessions
>>to temporary conditions then there is no reason why I should learn
>>them. On the other hand if sacrifices have intrinsic value (eg teaching
>>Psychological methods as Rav Hirsch suggested) then indeed I should
>>spend many hours studying them

I don't understand: let's say that a given area of Torah is due to
temporary concession. Why is that a reason not to study it? It is still
the Almighty's Torah! Why should it be different from Torah study about
something that never, or super seldomly ever happened, such as ben sorer
u'moreh, which we should certainly study, as the Gemora itself points
out, I believe? Similarly, the Chafetz Chaim talks about a "meis
mitzvah," a mitzvah whose study is generally neglected. He notes that
this mitzvah has tynos on klal Yisrael before Hashem because of its
neglect! He ends by noting how great is the reward of someone who takes
it upon himself to study such a mitzvah. All areas of the Torah are
worth studying, whether they have practical applications or not.

Eli Linas


End of Volume 33 Issue 76