Volume 33 Number 80
                 Produced: Mon Nov 13 20:28:20 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Mike Gerver]
Bedroom furniture
         [Stephen Phillips]
Halachically pregnant
         [Michael Appel]
Learning From Artscroll
         [Russell Hendel]
Looking For Partners!
         [Ben Natan Ofir]
Making distinctions in Rabbinic laws based on Reasons
         [Russell Hendel]
Narrow Tallit
         [Y. Askotzky]
Order of Hoshanna prayers
         [Michael Appel]
The Ravs Psak on InterFaith Chappels
         [Russell Hendel]
Scarf, tsitsit, and narrow silk tallit
         [Dani Wassner]


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 14:15:24 +0100
Subject: Alephbets

Janet Rosenbaum asks, in v33n79, about when and why the older,
Phoenician-style alephbet (Ktav Ivri) was replaced by the modern style
alephbet (Ktav Ashuri).

As far as I know, all extant Hebrew inscriptions from the First Temple
period and earlier are in the old style.  This includes, for example,
the silver amulet with the birkat kohanim, on display at the Israel
Museum, as well as various stone carvings and pottery.  The oldest of
the Dead Sea scrolls, from the 2nd century BCE, are already in a script
that looks pretty modern.  I don't know if there are any older examples
of the modern style.

My guess is that the Ktav Ivri was used for carved or incised letters,
and the Ktav Ashuri was used (at least later on) for writing with pen
and ink. A similar transition in style occurred going from hieroglyphics
(carved in stone) to the later Egyptian hieratic writing (ink on
papyrus), and going from the original capital letters of our Roman
alphabet (in Roman times mostly incised by stylus on wax tablet) to the
lower case letters used in the Middle Ages (written in ink on
parchment). If the printing press had not been invented, our lower case
letters probably would have replaced the capital letters completely, but
even in the Middle Ages capital Roman letters were still used for stone

Because all of our earlier samples of Hebrew writing were carved or
incised, I don't know if anyone can say how early the Ktav Ashuri was
used for pen and ink writing.  It might have been used much earlier than
the Dead Sea scrolls, maybe even at the time of Matan Torah, and we
would have no way of knowing it.  If anyone knows of any evidence to the
contrary, I would be interested in hearing it.

Janet also asks

> 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.

Mars was Roman, by the way, not Greek. Lots of English words, not just
the names of months and days of the week, come from the names of pagan
gods, for example mercurial, hermetic, venereal, martial, jovial,
titanic, cereal, plutonic.  No one has any halachic problem using these
words.  In the case of the modern names of the Hebrew months (borrowed
from the Persians in the early Second Temple period), I guess the reason
is the same: they don't have that connotation anymore.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 15:25 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Bedroom furniture

> From: Martin Dauber <mhdauber@...>
> 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
> suggestions??

Most good manufacturers of beds make twin "zip and link" beds, meaning
that they are two single beds with zips down the sides of the mattresses
and links on the bases so that they can be joined to make one large
double bed. I'm not sure if that goes any way towards answering your

Stephen Phillips.


From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 15:14:15 -0800
Subject: Re: Halachically pregnant

>From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@...>
>Joshua Hosseinof <hosseino@...> writes 
>>   b. See Encyclopedia Talmudit v.11 column 540 where you will see that
>> Most Rishonim hold that a woman without a veset kavua has to treat the
>> "onah beinonit" (the 30 day veset) as a veset kavua and as such would
>> need to wait three months into the pregnancy (and not seeing blood) in
>> order to cancel out the "onah beinonit".
>The intention of those Rishonim is that the "onah beinonit" (the 30 day
>veset)" is like "veset Kavua" concerning bedika (if you were not bodek
>in the OB - see See Encyclopedia Talmudit further in that column). It
>also dosn't get uprooted even if you don't usually see on the 30th day,
>but if you didn't see AT ALL (i.e. she has a month without seeing at
>all) there is "no onah beinonit". In other words, it's 30 days from an
>ACTUAL period. Therefore, she wouldn't keep the onah beinonit" after the
>first month of not seeing at all the whole month. See achronim YD
>189:4.(The only one who disagrees and holds like what you wrote is
>possibly the Lvush 189:13, but the other Achronim disagree).

Isn't a veset kavua also time from an actual period. (ie If a woman has
a veset kavua on the 28th day and misses a month, I would think that she
doesn't have to necessarily check on the 55th day. She would have to
check on the 28th day from her next period.)  OTOH, this could get more
tricky if her veset kavua wasn't a set number of days, but another



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 19:28:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Learning From Artscroll

In v33n70 Carl Sherer agrees with Chaim about the artscroll issue and
states 3 points which I would like to answer. Carl defends NOT using
artscroll because...

Carl's 1st point: It encourages people, who are not truly capable of
understanding the Gemara on their own, to learn without a Rebbe, and
sometimes without a Chavrusa.

My response: But this is not a criticism on Artscroll but rather a
criticism on Rabaynu Hakadosh who wrote down the Mishnah precisely so
that people who did not have a Rebbe or chevrutha could learn (Another
reason often given is so that people should not rely on their memory--be
that as it may--the Mishnah was written to deal with the 'unfortunate
learning situation' which has not changed--hence we are justified in
applying this to artscroll

Carl's 2nd point: Artscroll is more than just a translation.

My response: Good--then in effect when I learn Artscroll I am learning
from the "Artscroller" rebbe.

Carl's 3rd point: To the extent that Artscroll causes people with no
grounding in the basics to take on Daf Yomi and similar endeavors, it is
diverting resources from where they could be more gainfully employed.
The whole point of learning Gemara is to learn how to attack a sugya,
how to attack a halachic problem and follow its development through. The
result of Artscroll - IMHO (and without having done a scientific survey)
is that there are people out there who don't know how to wash Netillas
Yadayim properly who delude themselves that they are "learning Shas"
once every seven years.

My response: This is a valid criticism of Daf Yomi (Which I oppose).
However you can spend the seven years learning one tractate of Artscroll

In summary: I think Artscroll gives opportunities to people who didn't

Russell JaY Hendel; Phd ASA
Dept of Math; towson Univ
Moderator Rashi is Simple
http://www.RashiYomi.Com/calendar.htm CHECK OUT THE NEW RASHI YOMI CALENDAR


From:    Ben Natan Ofir <ofirb@...>
Date:    Sun, 12 Nov 2000 08:48:48 +0200
Subject: Looking For Partners!

Hi all,

I work at The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, (AJJDC), an
American non-governmental, not-for-profit organization that works in 58
countries around the world, outside of North America.  Our aim is to
identify the unmet social welfare needs of our target populations,
(i.e., the elderly, immigrants, and children and youth-at-risk), and to
help develop strategic interventions usually in the form of model
programs, which address the various problems these groups are facing.

Our organization seeks local partners such as local municipalities,
government offices and other NGOs, who specialize in the specific needs
of these groups.  Together with our partners, we develop and test the
model program and once the program has proven worthwhile, we phase out,
helping our partners to integrate the approach into their own systems.

Presently we are looking for organizations who have similar interests
and methodology, and are seeking initial contact with them in order to
share techniques and knowledge.

If you work at, or know of similar organizations, I would be happy to
get the details.

If you are interested, I would be happy to forward you a package of
materials which describe our work in more depth.


Ofir Ben Natan
Information Specialist


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 19:34:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Making distinctions in Rabbinic laws based on Reasons

In Mail Jewish v33n77 Eli Linas gives several erudite sources to defend
the viewpoint that science in the Gmarrah is correct (according to those
rishonim he cites).

Eli (correctly) anticipates my attempting to make distinctions. I argued
that if a Talmudic passage is agaddic then we need not take it as
correct.  I similarly argue that since the prohibition for drinking
uncovered water is because of the possibility of drinking snake venom
therefore if I was assured by scientists that there are no snakes in my
area, whose snake venom is poisonous when ingested, then I WOULD BE

Rabbi Linas responds >No you would not, because of the well grounded
halachic concept of LO PLUG, which does not allow for exceptions.>

Since Chanukah is coming up I will relate to Rabbi Linas (and everyone
else) something I personally heard from the Rav (Rav Yosef Baer
Soloveitchick) on this very subject on whether we can accept

In Laws of Chanukah Chapter 4, Law 5 the Rambam says as follows
>You light as long as PEOPLE ARE WALKING IN THE STREET--and how
>long is this amount of time---ABOUT A HALF HOUR<

The Rav explained that there were approaches to reading this

APPROACH 1: Our sages decreed that you should light candles for half an
hour--end of story. (The other comments in the law are simply
historical--they tell us where the sages got half an hour from)

APPROACH 2: Our sages decreed that you should light candles as LONG AS
PEOPLE ARE WALKING IN THE STREET---in talmudic times this lasted a half
hour(But the Rav ruled that since today rush hour is like from 5-8
therefore your candles should last 3 hours..which is why he used
shabbath candles to light)

In other words the issue is that since the Rambam gave BOTH the reason
and the law therefore if the reason dictates that the law changes it

So these 2 approaches mirror whether rabbinic laws are absolute or
whether they follow reasons. It would follow that according to approach
2 we would be allowed to drink uncovered water in areas where snake
venom is not poisonous when ingested.

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


From: Y. Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 17:12:59 +0200
Subject: Narrow Tallit

It is my understanding, without confirming it in the Mishna Brura, that
the narrow tallesim that only rest on the shoulders is not halachically
acceptable as the majority of the back must be covered. I agree that its
best not to embarrass those guests who come to shul with such tallesim-
to tell them its not kosher or to offer them a kosher one in its place
(at least once that have already put on their own or to do so in
public).  One who frequents the shul could be quietly approached by the
rabbi and offered a kosher one, by saying the custom in an Orthodox shul
is to wear a tallis that covers most of the back. Be honest but
thoughtful.  Carl mentions the man in the sweater demanding a tallis
with techeles.  Even if he was wearing a bekeshe, it would seem
inappropriate to demand techeles when its 100% kosher without and
especially to hold up the davening for that which the vast majority
would not even consider a chumra (strictness).

Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner
<sofer@...>   www.stam.net   1-888-404-STAM(7826)


From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 15:21:42 -0800
Subject: Re: Order of Hoshanna prayers

><< From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
>Parenthetically, according to the GR"A, no hoshannas are said when
>Sukkos falls on Shabbos, while others say 'om ani chomah'....

This was an interesting piece to read. However, I think you meant that
those who do say Hoshanot on Shabat say "Om Netzurah Kevavat" whose
subject is the merits of Klal Yisrael for Shabat observance.  This
Hoshana also has its own "Ani Vaho" following it, as opposed to the one
said on other days.



From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 19:29:27 -0500 (EST)
Subject: The Ravs Psak on InterFaith Chappels

>From: David Schiffmann <das1002@...>
>This reminds me of a related question. I read recently in 'Halachah for
>the business traveller', or a similarly titled booklet (I can't remember
>the author off-hand), that one cannot pray in a non-denominational
>prayer hall of the sort one might find in an airport; if I remember
>correctly, it said this is the view of all the poskim.
>I was wondering, what is the origin for this prohibition?

We had a similar situation at MIT where I was an undergraduate and we

The chappel was made interdenominational: The base room had NO REIGIOUS
OBJECTS of any religion(It had lights and seats). Each religion brought
into the room ITS OWN OBJECTS.

Thus on Shabbath, a Goy would bring up the Aron (on a specially designed
elevator) and we would have separator mechizahs.

I know it was a big issue of what to do. The Ravs allowed it---I think
the important point in the allowance was that there were no religious
objects in the room but each religion brought its own objects up.

I dont know if this does or does not apply (or can be made to apply) to

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


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 13:53:01 +0200
Subject: Re:  Scarf, tsitsit, and narrow silk tallit

>Maybe people have a "link" to their tallasim.

Interesting how so many people use the word "tallasim" or "tallesim"-
The correct word is "tallitot" or "tallisos" in an ashkenazik
pronouciation.  "Tallit" is feminine.

Dani Wassner
Investment Promotion Center
Ministry of Industry and Trade


End of Volume 33 Issue 80