Volume 33 Number 89
                 Produced: Mon Nov 27  5:51:48 US/Eastern 2000

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bracha by phone, and in movies
         [Mike Gerver]
Kosher/Channukah in Disneyworld
         [Aliza Fischman]
Plural of Heb. tallit
         [Mark Steiner]
Plural of Tallit
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
         [Leah S. Gordon]
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Taleisim, etc.
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Talis katan/godol
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
v'tain tal umatar
         [Carl Singer]


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 12:18:28 +0100
Subject: Bracha by phone, and in movies

In v33n87, Aharon Fischman asks,

> My sister in law in recently had a boy and my other brother in law
> called us from the bris so that my wife and could hear the goings on.
> As we heard the brachot we were wondering: were we supposed to respond
> Amen as if we were there, were we not required to repspond but were
> allowed to, or should we not respond?

First of all, I can't imagine what harm it could do to say "Amen," in
that situation, even if you weren't sure it was required.  And I can't
imagine why it wouldn't be required.  How would it differ from saying
"Amen" to a shliach tzibbur who was davening using a microphone (on a
weekday, say)?  Or to someone saying "Hamotzi" for everyone at a big
banquet, using a microphone?  I once asked a shayla about making
havdalah over the phone for my daughter, who had to rush off to a
babysitting job right after Shabbat, before I got back from shul, and I
was told it was perfectly proper to do that.  Certainly she was supposed
to say "Amen" to my brachot "Borei minei besamim," and "Borei me'orei
ha-eish" even though she didn't smell the besamim or see the havdalah
candle herself.  In fact it was only by saying "amen" to these brachot
over the phone that she could fulfill her obligation of havdalah.  I
have even heard somewhere (I forget where) that it is proper to say
"Amen" to a bracha that you hear over the radio.

A more interesting question is whether you should say "Amen" to a bracha
said in a movie, or in a recording.  Within about one month in 1975,
when my wife and I were still frequently going to see movies, we saw two
films with similar themes, "Hester Street" and "Lies My Father Told Me."
In "Hester Street," in a wrongheaded attempt to be authentic, one of the
characters says a bracha that would have been a bracha livetala spoken
by the actor in the real world, although in the fictional world of the
movie it was a valid bracha.  That grated on me, because it reminded me
that the actor, who was playing a frum character, was not in fact
frum. I certainly did not say "Amen" to that bracha while I was watching
the movie.  In "Lies My Father Told Me," in contrast, Yossi Yadin, the
actor who plays the grandfather, uses "Hashem elokeinu" for a bracha
that would not be a valid bracha in real life, but when he gets to
"borei pri ha-gafen" he makes a real bracha, and drinks the wine!  I
didn't know if Yossi Yadin was completely observant, but it was clear he
was knowledgeable enough and observant enough not to want to make a
bracha livetala even when he was acting, and hence it was clear that he
really was drinking wine when he said "borei pri hagafen."  I did say
"Amen" to that bracha, though I don't know if I was required to.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 16:15:10 -0500
Subject: Kosher/Channukah in Disneyworld

Hi all,

Aharon and I are planning a trip to Disneyworld during Chanukah.
(Hakarat Hatov to VocalTec, Inc. which is sending us as part of their
"Let's keep our employees happy" program.)  Does anybody know of
anything kosher in the area?  Does Disneyworld itself have any kosher
amenities?  Any information would be very helpful and appreciated.

Also, because it's Chanukah, we will obviously be bringing a Chanukiah
with us.  Assuming the hotel is okay with any of the following options,
which would be halachically better: (A)to light in our hotel room by the
window, (B)to light in the lobby near a window (where it may be seen by
only those outside) or (C) to light in an open area in the lobby where
it can be seen by passersby inside and outside?  Note: if we lit in the
lobby we'd probably stay with the candles while they burn -- for safety
sake and to help along the Pirsumei Nissa for those onlookers who are
willing to ask questions.



From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 22:56:35 +0200
Subject: Re: Plural of Heb. tallit

Probably the readers are getting tired of this discussion, but as a
diversion from the distressing news here, I would like to enlarge on
Gilad's comment:

      The plurality of words with "it" suffix is sometimes with
      "yot" and sometimes with "tot" and occasionally with both.
      Therefore "tarmit" is only "tarmiyot" (Rashi, Sanhedrin
      109a); but "brit" is only "britot" since "briyot" was taken
      already for the plurality of "briya."

    The difference between the two kinds of plural is simply whether the
final t (tov) in the word is indeed a suffix or part of the "shoresh"
(root).  Brit becomes britot in the plural because the final t is part
of the "shoresh."  In the case of t.alleyt the final t is not part of
the shoresh in Mishnaic Hebrew.  My brother referred me to medieval
grammars which already pointed this out.  Compare the word matlit
(mt.lyt) "patch" which becomes matliyot.


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 21:14:00 EST
Subject: Plural of Tallit

 Sid Gordon (v33n87) says:

>  This may be getting a little far afield but the anecdote is amusing
>  anyway (though possibly apocryphal).  The plural of "hazit", meaning
>  "front", is "hazitot".  During the Six-Day War when the Jordanian
>  announcer on the Hebrew news was broadcasting (prematurely) about the
>  great Arab victory, he said their forces were advancing "b'chol
>  hahaziyot".  He meant to say they were advancing on all fronts, but what
>  came out is that they were advancing on all the bras ("haziya" means bra

I was a soldier during the Six Days War and indeed it was said, but it
was "Kol Kahir" that is the voice of Cairo. I heard it in my own ears
while I was on the Egyptian front so it is a true story.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Leah S. Gordon <lsgordon@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 20:22:02 -0800
Subject: Pregnancy/Menstruation

Catherine S. Perel writes:

>You are slightly mistaken.  While it is usually the case that
>menstruation marks the expulsion of the uterine lining when an ovum is
>not fertilized, there are instances, rare and unusual as they may be,
>when a pregnant woman continues to have menses throughout her pregnancy.
>One other point: logic and the human being (in body, soul, and mind), do
>not always coincide

It is rare and possible for a woman to have bleeding during pregnancy,
and even to have blips in hormones on an approximately monthly cycle.

However, these events are not "menses" any way you define scientfic
menstruation.  The definition scientfically would be bleeding related to
the lack-of-pregnancy: the hormone drop prepares the body for the next

Halakhically, it is certainly possible that there could be uterine
bleeding during pregnancy--and the question is whether this necessitates
'niddah' status...or if rather, there is no such status because there is
no brush with death (lack of life?) as is usually related to
mikvah--with menstruation being an extension of same.

I find the last sentence, divorcing logic and humanity, to be not at all
descriptive of things I have observed, learned, read or believe.  (I
should add, though, that I usually agree with Ms. Perel's comments.)

--Leah S. Gordon


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Thu, 16 Nov 2000 19:09:13 -0500
Subject: Smichut

>  If the person who wrote the above pronounced a qamatz differently from a
> patax, as many Ashkenazim do, he would probably have been less confused
> and uncertain about the above-cited phrase "Shabbat HaGadol", in which
> the Bet is vocalized with a patax, clearly indicating that "Shabbat" is
> in its smikhut form, and confirming the poster's speculation that we say
> "Shabbat HaGadol" for the same reason that we say "Shabbat Shuva" or
> "Shabbat Xazon".  Similarly, "lashon" and "`ayin" are both feminine
> nouns, thus no one who has received a minimal Jewish education would
> ever say "lashon hara`" or "`ayin hara`", since, clearly, the smikhut
> form of the noun must be used.
>                         Jay F. ("Yaakov") Shachter

I would like to point out that it requires far more than a "minimal"
Jewish education to correctly pronounce "lashon hara" or "ayin hara"
than Mr. Shachter would like to think. I received my far more than
"minimal" Jewish education in college from an excellent grammarian,
Dr. Shmuel Morell at SUNY Binghamton (now Binghamton University). My
children are in the process of going through a Day School education
which is certainly more than "minimal" and I doubt that they would
notice the subtlety of a kamatz or a patach in the spelling of a word,
particularly as most of their higher reading is done without
vowels. Knowing, using and understanding the smichut (as Mr. Shachter
clearly does and as do I) should not be considered a simple concept
available to everyone with a "minimal" Jewish education.

Caela Kaplowitz


From: Arnie Kuzmack <akuzmack@...>
Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2000 12:36:59 -0500
Subject: Taleisim, etc.

Somebody said (I've lost track):

<<In standard (academic) Yiddish as it is used today, any imported word
follows the rules of the language from which it is borrowed.  It was not
uncommon 100 years ago to spell "shabbos" in Yiddish as follows :shin
aleph beis ayin samach.  This is no longer done,>>

I don't think this is correct.  Nobody, even academics, says "nudniki"
(nudiks) or "padlogi" (floors), from Russian and Polish, respectively.
In any case, treatment of Hebrew words in Yiddish is different, since
there are so many of them and they are "ours" in a way that Polish,
etc., aren't.  Many conserve the Hebrew identity of the words, even if
the plural is different from standard Hebrew.  An example is
"yom-toivim" (holidays), where there is not only the -im ending but a
Hebrew-style vowel change.

OTOH, I would disagree with Melekh Viswanath that -im is just another
plural ending in Yiddish.  There are only a handful of cases where it is
used with non-Hebrew words, most of which he cites.  But it is used with
hundreds of Hebrew words.

Also, AFAIK, phonetic spelling of words of Hebrew origin was only done
systematically in the Soviet Union for ideological reasons.  There are a
few exceptions: "balabos" was frequently spelled phonetically, though
its plural is "balebatim".

BTW, someone mentioned a pet peeve of mine, the term "bnei mitzvah".
While it is now pretty entrenched, and a language is what it's speakers
speak, this is based on a misconception that "bar" means "son" in the
term "bar mitzvah".  The term "bar" in smikhut is used in Hebrew to
refer to a person to whom the following noun is an appropriate category.
Thus, "bar daat" (a sensible person), "bar mazal" (a lucky person), "bar
hatzlakhah" (a successful person), "bar mitzvah" (a person to whom the
category of mitzvah is applicable).  In this usage, the plural is
"barei", and the feminine forms are "barat" and "barot".

Gut shabes, y'all.

Arnie Kuzmack


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 21:51:01 EST
Subject: Re: Talis katan/godol

Some members gave various reasons to the expressions "talit
katan/gadol", "Shabbat ha-gadol", and explained why they were used
instead of the correct grammatical form "talit ketana/gedolah", Shabbat

This forms are pseudo "somech-nismach" structure, not a real one. It
stood originally for the "SHABBAT where the haftara of 'lifnei bo yom
hashem HAGADOL vehanora' (Malachi 3:24)" was recited. Later the
explanation was dropped and we were left with "Shabbat
hagadol". Likewise "Shabbat shuva", and "Shabbat Hazon" are also named
because of a key haftara word, "Shuva Israel ad hashem..." (Hosea 14:2),
and "Hazon Yeshayahu ben Amotz..." (Isaiah 1:1).

In similar fashion "talit katan/gadol" the katan/gadol is not a
"nismach/modifier" of talit. It was originally "TALIT shel yeled KATAN"
or "TALIT shel adam GADOL" over the years the middle words were dropped
and we were left with the seemingly grammatical incorrect form. (This is
the explanation of Rabbi Yacov Kamenetzky, but shown differently)

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <NJGabbai@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 13:51:34 EST
Subject: Re:  v'tain tal umatar

We start reciting Vetayn Tal UMatar livracha on Monday night, December 4

      Could someone from the MJ community tell me exactly on what day
      and in which service, we are to start saying "v'tain tal umatar
      lebrachah" in our amidah?


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Nov 2000 17:16:40 EST
Subject: Re:  Yiddish

<<  And by the way, in Standard Yiddish, the
 plural of 'oytobus' is 'oytobusn,' not 'oytobuses' or 'oytobusim,'
 though I don't doubt that street speakers might use 'busim.'  (And I
 wouldn't tell a native speaker -- you're wrong!  But I would tell
 somebody learning Yiddish to use 'oytobusn.')

 Meylekh Viswanath>>

Professor Viswanath is correct -- it is "busin" not "busim" -- my
phonetics are slipping.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 33 Issue 89