Volume 33 Number 79
                 Produced: Mon Nov 13  6:23:10 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Bedroom furniture
         [Martin Dauber]
Best Kosher
         [Ben Z. Katz]
         [Ben Z. Katz]
Full Defective spellings
         [Ben Z. Katz]
Scarf, tsitsit, and narrow silk tallit
         [Carl Singer]
         [Robert Tolchin]


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 11:27:42 +0200
Subject: Alephbets

Is there any mention in sources of how the transition between alphabets
in text transcription occurred --- was it gradual or sudden, and if
sudden what spurred the switch?

Which alphabet was the Torah given in --- the older (Phoenician-style?)
alphabet or the newer (Aramaic) alphabet?

Also, speaking of foreign influences, why is it not a halachic problem
that our calendar uses month names from foreign gods?  It seems
understandable that there is no problem with thorsday (from the Norse
god thor) or March (from the greek god mars), since they don't have that
connotation anymore, but I would think we would have higher standards
for our own calendar.



From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 18:30:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Bedroom furniture

After avoiding the issue for 16 years of marriage, I now seek to
purchase a master bedroom set that is halachically good.  That tis to
say, Has some sort of head frame but separatable twin beds.  Any


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 22:47:41 -0600
Subject: Re: Best Kosher

>>From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
>>> The real problem that some people I have talked to have with Best's
>>> Kosher/Sinai 48 is that the owner is Sara Lee, and therefore no longer
>>> a jewish ownership. That is why there has been problem in trying to
>>> obtain Chicago Rabbinical Council (CRC) supervision,
>>I do believe the CRC did not recommend Best/Sinai prior to the change in

I am not sure when Sara lee took over Best/Sinai, but the CRC DEFINITELY
did recommend this product when I first moved to the Chicago area, almost 9
years ago; Best products were sold in the CRC approved Hungarian's Kosher
supermarket at the time.    

>From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
>Anyone using or considering using Best or Sinai 48 products should first
>contact the Chicago Rabbinical Council. I am personally familar with
>many of the details but I will leave it to the kashrus organizations
>that brought the problems to light. The CRC has no personal interest in
>whether or not these products have a hechsher as the hechsher has always
>been under private certification.

With all due respect, I do not see how anyone can argue that "[t]he CRC
has no personal interest ... as the hechsher has always been ... private
 ..." .  On the contrary, since the CRC derives income from hechsharim,
any private hechsher is competition.  To believe that semicha somehow
makes one immune from economic pressure is naive.  Hechsharim in the US
are a billion dollar business.  They are also a source of antisemitic
rhetoric.  (Antisemitic publications routinely urge their readers to
boycott products with hechsharim so that they do not pay a kosher tax.)
I know of rabbis who work for the CRC who will not eat in an
establishment not under CRC supervision in Chicago, no matter how
reliable the hechsher.  I believe that we in the observant community,
not the companies or restaurants, should pay for hechsharim, or that
local rabbis should supervise local businesses, as part of their
salaried duties.  Only then there would there be no economic taint on
the reliability of any hechsher or organization.

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: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 22:47:41 -0600
Subject: Conversion

>>From: I.H Fox <ilan_25@...>
>>Does anyone know of a posek that had a different view for a conservative 
>>conversion than a reform one? I saw this idea in a short essay that also 
>>added that the reason for this was that some of the Conservative leaders 
>>were shomrey mitvot.

There is a teshuva by R Y Weinberg (the seredei aish) where he deals
with this matter.  He writes that even though we know there are some Reform
rabbis who are shomrei mitzvot that we cannot rely on their conversions.  


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 22:47:41 -0600
Subject: RE: Full Defective spellings

>>From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>

>>Ben Katz continues the thread on full-defective spellings in v33n68
>>He writes
>>>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.
>>Excellent error. In fact without any cleverness you can simply open
>>up a Konkordance and see that MIGDOL does occur twice (Ez29:10 and
>>Ez30:6) Furthermore the word MIGDAL (With a Kamatz vs a cholam) occurs
>>about 2 dozen times.

	I will respond without the sarcasm.  The 2 citations that
Dr. Hendel brings for migdol (and there are 4 others in my concordance:
viz., Ex.  14:12, Num. 33:7, Jer. 44:1 and Jer. 46:14) are to a PLACE
NAME.  A place can be named anything.  I was referring to the fact that
there is no Hebrew WORD migdol.

>>In other words I reassert what I said originally---problems of
>>spelling only emerge if one does not check the facts.

	see above.
>>>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").
>>Another excellent error! Does Ben Katz really believe that
>>substituting adonai for the tetragrammaton(for reasons of respect)
>>is NOT a reasonable explanation.

Again without sarcasm: I was just pointing out how many kri/ketiv's
there are.  When there is a single unifying explanation (as with the
tetragrammaton) I have no problem.  When there is no possible unifying
explanation (as with Yerushlem vs yerushalayim and all of the others
discussed by Dr Hendell) that tendentious individual explanations (no
matter how clever) become unconvincing apologetics.

>>To put it another way, Ben Katz has looked at 5000 spellings and
>>has made a determination that since HE can't explain SOME of them
>>THEREFORE NONE of them have any reason! Surely this is incorrect.

	see above

>>I would respectfully submit that we should start the discussion by
>>agreeing on WHICH cases (like adonai-tetragrammaton) have reasonable
>>explanations and which don't

	see above.  (I like the tone here much better.)

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: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 07:25:50 EST
Subject: Re:  Scarf, tsitsit, and narrow silk tallit

<< I always find it annoying when I see people
 > wearing those narrow, silk-like tallitot around their necks. They often
 > seem to be worn by non-Orthodox Jews who are davening at an Orthodox
 > shul for a bar mitzvah, etc. I want to tell them to pull it down around
 > their shoulders, since they might have made a bracha bitala if they are
 > wearing it only around their neck, and in any case they are not
 > fulfilling the positive mitzvah of wearing a tallit.  But I have never
 > had the chutzpah to tell them. >>

I'm pleased that you don't have the chutzpah -- presuming that you are
correct re: the "non-Kashruth" of their tallasim (and I'm not paskening
re: minimum shir for a Tallis or how it must be worn) -- what would you
accomplish? -- embarassing another Jew, making another Jew feel
uncomfortable, spoiling someone's simcha, showing that you have
different (one would presume "higher") standards?  Come-on now, what
benefit would come?

The only positive response would be to buy several (to you) Kosher /
acceptable Tallasim and make them available to guests -- but still, a
thin line as they may bring / wear their own.

I know that the tallis that my Father (ztl) got married in and wore for
many years was much smaller than the one he wore in later years -- but
that former was purchased in Europe right after the churban, and I
imagine luxurious tallasim where not that readily available -- my sons
have replaced the worn tziszis on this tallis and have used it on
special occaisions.  Maybe people have a "link" to their tallasim.

I was upset yesterday (Shabbos) Mincha when our gabbai asked someone who
was not wearing a jacket (only a sweater vest) to daven for the Amid for
Mincha -- then this person refused the tallis on the bimah because it
did not have techalis -- we got to wait a few minute while the gabbai
found him an "appropriate" talis --- I'll bring it up at a board meeting
-- but certainly not worth a Shabbos confrontation.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Robert Tolchin <tolchin@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2000 10:15:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Upsherin

WIth regard to upsherin:

    The explanation given by Chaim Mateh has to do with cutting the hair
and leaving the payot.

    Another explanation I have heard is that we don't cut hair for three
years because we don't harvest fruit from a new fruit tree for three
years, and a man is like a tree.

    Is there validity to this explanation? If so, why not apply it to

--Bob Tolchin


End of Volume 33 Issue 79