Volume 33 Number 81
                 Produced: Sat Nov 18 20:11:03 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Can we know >THE< reason for a commandment
         [Russell Hendel]
Chicken and Eggs
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Halachically pregnant
         [Chaim G Steinmetz]
Jewish month names
         [Danny Skaist]
Macular Degen
         [Howie Sherman]
Making distinctions in Rabbinic laws based on Reasons
         [Eli Linas]
Narrow Talit
         [Rachel Swirsky]
Plural of `tallis' (5)
         [Zev Sero, Eli Linas, Carl Singer, Harry Weiss, Mike Gerver]
Rav Hirschs Beautiful Derivation of Parenting From Ben Sorer& Morer
         [Russell Hendel]
Resources for the Blind
         [D & J Weil]
Tallit (2)
         [Michael J. Savitz, Menashe Elyashiv]
Request: Looking to rent in Jerusalem


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 19:37:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Can we know >THE< reason for a commandment

In the slavery thread the issue of reasons for the commandment came up
(mjv33n73). This is a complex topic. Allow me to make two clarifying
comments, one from Rav Hirsch and one from Rabbi Soloveitchick.

The Rav pointed out in a shiur he once gave using sefer hachinuch that
the sefer hachinuch begins its discussion of many commandments with the
phrase >From the ROOTS of this commandment are that...<

The Rav explained that this corresponds to the point of view that the
reason we observe Gods commandments are because He is King and that is
His will. However what we can do is observe the EFFECTS of the
commandments. Thus eg if we say observing Kashruth helps give us a
national identity and separate us from non-jews what we are really doing
is OBSERVING AN EFFECT of KEEPING KASRUTH--we are not giving the
reason. The Minchath Chinuch calls this the ROOT of the commandment.

However my understanding is that Rav Hirschs views are the opposite.
Rav Hirsch introduced introduced 3 fundamental principles which allow us
to actually arive at >THE< reason for a commandment.

Take Shabbath. Rav Hirschs 1st principles is to listen to the Bibles own
quotes: If the BIble says "OBserve the Shabbath because it is a symbol
between Me and the Jews< then I am ***sure*** that this commandment must
be observed symbolically. Rav Hirschs second principle is to apply known
methods of symbolic interpretation: If the Bible says >abstain from work
on Shabbath< because >God created the world in 6 days and rested on the
7th< then I am sure that my resting is a symbolic affirmation of Gods

Finally Rav Hirsch's 3rd principle is the scientific principle--Rav
Hirsch consistently tested theories of reasons for commandments by
examining all details of the commandment (He was the first of the
Rishonim and acharonim to do this and as such he disagrees with the
Ramban). As an example Rav Hirsch in his commentary on Nu19 cites every
detailed Biblical law on the Red Heiffer and shows that it is consistent
with his symbolism.

It would emerge that according to Rav Hirsch one can speak about THE
reason for observing a commandment---however one must check the reason
against all details.

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


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 12:13:26 +0200
Subject: Chicken and Eggs

I met some Portuguese Jews whose families had been crypto-Jews for the
past 500 years.  In listing their families' Jewish practices, they cited
in particular the practice not to eat chicken with eggs, in addition to
not eating meat with milk.  Does anyone know if this practice appears in
any (particularly Sephardic) sources?  I am curious whether they began
the practice as a logical extension of avoiding meat and milk, or
whether it is a minority custom which survived only through them.



From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 20:48:25 -0800
Subject: Re: Halachically pregnant

> From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
> 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 pattern.

If her  veset kavua was to a specific day of the month ("veset hacodesh")
she would check even if she misses a month.

Chaim G. Steinmetz


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 11:46:48 +0200
Subject: Jewish month names

<<Also, speaking of foreign influences, why is it not a halachic problem
that our calendar uses month names from foreign gods?
Janet >>

As I heard it, the month names reflect the "geula" [redemption] .  In
the torah, the month names are "ha-rishon", "ha-sheni" etc.  counting
the months from geulat Mitzrayim.  After geulat Bavel the names were
changed accordingly.  I suspect that the names used during bayit rishon
(Ziv etc. )were based on "minor" geulot.


[I do not understand from your posting why we should name the jewish
months after babylonian false gods as part of a geulat Bavel
process. Avi]


From: Howie Sherman <HowieSherman@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 00:08:27 EST
Subject: Macular Degen


My name is Howie Sherman.  I saw your posting on Mail.Jewish about your
friend the talmid chochom.  I am an optometrist and recommend you look
for a local Optometrist who does vision therapy and especially one who
does light therapy.  There are two types of Mac. Degen., the wet type &
the dry type, the wet being more amenable to treatment.  Also vitamin
supplements with LUTEIN are recommneded.  Lutein is also available from
green vegetables i.e.  broccoli, spinach, collard green & brussel
sprouts taken 4-5 servings /week/not overcooked, etc.  There are several
companies making the supplements - of varying quality - and as with
everything else - you get what you pay for...  you can contact me if you
need more info.

Dr. Howie,  OD 


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 11:36:54 +0200
Subject: Re: Making distinctions in Rabbinic laws based on Reasons

Russell Hendel <rhendel@...> writes concerning the prohibition
of Gilui:

>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
> [snip]
>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.

Is the language of the prohibition of gilui phrased in the way the
Rambam does the above halacha? If not, then it cannot be read in that
manner.  Secondly, gilui is a prohibition not a mitzvas aseh. It
therefore seems to me that there is good reason to say that there's no
basis for comparison.  It seems that one would need to bring raiyos from
other similar prohibitions and whether they are plug or lo plug. Off the
top of my head, I am not aware of any.

Eli Linas  


From: Rachel Swirsky <yu211366@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 14:40:17 -0800
Subject: Re: Narrow Talit

>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 was under the impression that there is nothing halachik about a talit
one way or the other.  I thought that it was just a very strong minhag.
Can someone plese give me the halachick sources?


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 17:58:29 -0500
Subject: Plural of `tallis'

Dani Wassner wrote:
>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.

The Hebrew plural is `Talitot' (or `talisos').  The Yiddish plural is
`Taleisim'.  It is just as incorrect to say `talisos' in Yiddish as it
would be to say `talitim' in Hebrew.

Ditto for `shabatot'/`shabosim', `bnei mitzvah'/`barmitzvahs',
`shaatnez'/`shatnes', `terefah' (Hebrew for a specific type of forbidden
food) / `treif' (Yiddish for all forbidden food), etc.

Zev Sero

From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 11:05:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Plural of `tallis'

This observation recently came up on another email group I'm on - Hebrew
Translating. If I recall correctly, someone noted that "talleisim" is
Yiddish, not Hebrew, and thus the masculine ending.

Eli Linas

From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 08:22:37 EST
Subject: Re: Plural of `tallis'

Dani -- with all due respect -- I was transliterating Yiddish (my first 
language) not Hebrew (my sort of 3rd language)

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 21:02:58 -0800
Subject: Re: Plural of `tallis'

You are correct in Hebrew.  The word talis was imported to yiddish where the
term talesim was coined.

Harry J. Weiss

From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 08:33:03 +0100
Subject: Plural of `tallis'

I believe "talleisim," with the stress on the second syllable, is the
correct Yiddish plural, similar to "shabbosim."  Most Ashkenazim, if
they were speaking English or Yiddish, would say "talleisim," and
"shabbosim."  Or, if they were careful to use the correct Hebrew plural,
they would probably also use Israeli (quasi-Sephardi) pronunciation, and
say "tallitot" and "Shabbatot," with the stress on the final syllable.
Forms like "tallisos" and "shabbosos" would therefore not be used very
often, except perhaps by an Ashkenazi speaker who was reading aloud from
a halachic text written in Hebrew.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 19:31:28 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Rav Hirschs Beautiful Derivation of Parenting From Ben Sorer& Morer

In v33n76 Eli Linas says
>Why should the study of sacrifices be different from Torah study about
>something that never, or super seldomly ever happened, such as the rebelious
>son, which we should certainly study, as the Gemora itself points
>out, I believe?

Correct. However just as Rav Hirsch applied symbolic methods to
Sacrifices he also applied psychological methods to the rebellious son.

Indeed, Rav Hirsch derives all guiding principles of parenting from the
the laws of the rebellious son. You can find this peach of a Torah
Midrash in Rav Hirschs beautiful essay "The Rebellious Son" reprinted in
the collected works of Rav Hirsch (now in English and published by

Here is one short but pithy example. The rebellious son is sentenced to
death because he will probably end up becoming a criminal. However there
are circumstances that exempt him from the death penalty. For example,
if his parents used different voices in disciplining him(eg one soft and
one harsh) he is not put to death.

Rav Hirsch explains as follows: Good parents most be UNIFORM in their
discipline. By contrast if one parent is soft and one harsh then the
child learns to play power politics. Hence if he steals when he becomes
a teenager then it is not "his fault". Maybe it was his upbringing. We
can't be SURE he will become a criminal. Hence although he must pay for
the theft he is not put to death.

It emerges from the previous analysis that every law in the rebellious
son can teach us what good parenting SHOULD BE LIKE.

I warmly encourage readers to read this beautiful essay

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


From: D & J Weil <weildj@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 09:39:25 +0200
Subject: Re: Resources for the Blind

Further to the below, there is a Bnei Brak-based organization called
Messilah that brings out sifrei kodesh in Braille.



From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 08:00:13 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Tallit

I would have thought that "tallit," like most words ending in a tav, is
feminine.  But then why do we refer to a "tallit gadol" and a "tallit
katan"?  I have never heard of a "tallit gedola" or a "tallit ketana."
Is this one of the rare exceptions, like "bayit"?

  Michael Savitz

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 08:37:44 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Tallit

I have seen in many places that when the Hazan - Shaliah Sibur- is not
wearing a jacket - he is given a Talit - which he then covers his
shoulders - still leaving is arms uncovered. So - why the Talit? (these
places the Hazan doesn't wear a Talit for Minha or Arvit).


From: <Rashalb@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Nov 2000 23:24:41 EST
Subject: Request: Looking to rent in Jerusalem

  I am looking for a small apartment (1 or 2 bedrooms) for the month of
December in Jerusalem, Kiryat Moshe.  Please respond to <Rashalb@...>


End of Volume 33 Issue 81