Volume 33 Number 99
                 Produced: Mon Jan  1  7:00:13 US/Eastern 2001


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

5th day of Chanukah
         [Elazar M Teitz]
Chag
         [Joel Rich]
Compass
         [Mike Gerver]
Hanuka Candle/Candles (2)
         [David Charlap, Wendy Baker]
Hanukah candle/candles
         [Isaac A Zlochower]
Mirrors and Tefillin
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]
Shabbat and Modern Convenience
         [Harry Weiss]
Shabbos Ha Gadol
         [Andrew Klafter]
Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Snow on Shabbat
         [Jeff Fischer]
Territorial Waters etc.
         [Mark Steiner]


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From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 23:45:43 +0000
Subject: Re: 5th day of Chanukah

Daniel Katsman asks why the fifth night cannot be on Shabbos, since it
would seem possible in a leap year if it and the preceding year both had
the first day of Pesach on Sunday.

The reason it is impossible is because when Pesach starts on Sunday, the
following Rosh Hashanah begins on Tuesday.  The difference in the Molad
(computed first possible visibility of the new moon) from one month to
the next is 29 days, 12 hours, 44 1/18 minutes.  In 13 months, this comes
to 383 days, 21+ hours, or 54 weeks, 5 days and 21+ hours. Rosh Hashana
is supposed to begin on the day of the Molad. If, in the first year, that
Molad was on Tuesday, the following year's Tishri Molad would thus be
either Sunday or Monday, and -- since Rosh Hashanah cannot be on Sunday
-- in either event Rosh Hashanah would be Monday.  

When a leap year starts on any of the other possible days (Monday,
Thursday or Shabbos), the length of the year should likewise be either 54
weeks and 5 days or 54 weeks and 6 days.  In all those cases, however, 54
weeks 6 days is impossible, since Rosh Hashanah would then be on one of
the impossible days (Sunday, Wednesday or Friday, respectively).  Hence,
in those years, a leap year is either 54 weeks 5 days or 55 weeks.

This also explains why a Sunday start for Pesach is relatively rare.
Pesach starts on Tuesday when the Molad of the following Tishri is either
Wednesday or Thursday, since in both those cases Rosh Hshanah must be
Thursday.  Pesach starts on Thursday when the Molad of the following
Tishri is either Friday or Shabbos, since in both those cases Rosh
Hshanah must be Shabbos. Pesach starts on Shabbos when the Molad of the
following Tishri is either Sunday or Monday, since in both those cases
Rosh Hshanah must be Monday.  But Pesach starts on Sunday only when the
Molad of the following Tishri is Tuesday.  Thus, while on average the
other starting days happen twice every seven years, Sunday occurs on
average only once every seven years.

(The above is a simplification, eliminating several technicalities of
calendar computation. However, it does not affect the basic explanation.)

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From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 13:33:25 EST
Subject: Re: Chag

<<  Interesting - what is your source for this definition? I'm familiar
 with the  Torah sources for the word; but when it was written, all hags
 were  Torah-based. How do we know that the word should not also apply to
 rabbinical cyclical festivals?
 Alexander Seinfeld  >>

chag implies a karban chagiga.

KT
Joel Rich

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From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 17:28:40 +0100
Subject: Compass

David Charlap says, in v33n96 (and A. Seinfeld and Danny Skaist make the
same point)

> But anyone travelling from the US to Israel by air does follow a great
> circle route.  One of the most heavilly trafficked air routes runs north
> up the east coast of the Americas and then south over Europe.  The
> planes fly this way precisely because it is the shortest path between
> the continents.

Sorry, I should have said that when I asked the shayla, I was living in
Berkeley, California, and the great circle route to Jerusalem was
oriented 17 degrees east of north, but the general practice of people
was to face east while davening, and I wondered why.  At that time, at
least, in the 1970s, there were no non-stop flights from California to
Israel, and I don't think there are any now.  Flights generally went
through Chicago, Toronto, or New York, so would start out heading only
somewhat north of east, and the answer to my question made sense.

 From the east coast, a direct flight to Israel would follow a great
circle route, but wouldn't be oriented as close to north as a great
circle route from California, so there would not be such a discrepancy
between the direction you would travel, and the direction that most
people face when they daven.

But you're right, it is odd that people on the east coast, like the
fellow I described, are so particular about facing east rather than
northeast, when even according to the direction you would travel to
Jerusalem, northeast is the proper direction.  And it's not just
isolated individuals who do this.  When Young Israel of Brookline was
rebuilt in 1997, after the old shul burned down in 1994, the ark in the
new building was oriented due east.  In the old building it had been
facing northeast, because the building was parallel to the street, which
is oriented in a northeast direction.  Of course it's possible that
other architectural considerations (such as getting all of the new shul
to fit on the lot, and to conform to legal requirements regarding the
distance of buildings from property lines) dictated the orientation of
the new shul.

Maybe people are just used to thinking in Mercator projections.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

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From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 15:01:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Hanuka Candle/Candles

Yeshaya Halevi wrote:
> This may be a no-brainer to most folks, but I ever learned it I forgot
> it.  So: Why do we recite the Hanuka candle bracha (blessing) in the
> singular form ("lihadleek ner") and not in the plural ("lihadleek
> nayrot") -- especially when we immediately follow up by saying
> "Hanayrot halalu" ("These candles")?

I don't know an official answer, but I think I can figure it out.

The minimum requirement for the mitzva is to light one candle.

Despite the fact that it is done universally, the practice of lighting
an increasing number of candles each night is "mehadrin min ha-mehadrin"
- a practice which goes above and beyond the halachic requirements.

Since one fulfils his obligation by only lighting one candle, it makes
sense that the blessing will read "...and commanded us to light the
candle...".  If we made it plural, it would imply that lighting only one
would not be acceptible, which is not true.

-- David

----------------------------------------------------------------------
From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 20:36:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Hanuka Candle/Candles

> From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
>         This may be a no-brainer to most folks, but I ever learned it I
> forgot it.  So: Why do we recite the Hanuka candle bracha (blessing) in
> the singular form ("lihadleek ner") and not in the plural ("lihadleek
> nayrot") -- especially when we immediately follow up by saying "Hanayrot
> halalu" ("These candles")?

Don't we also use the singular every week when we light our, at minimun,
two Shabbat candles.  Maybe we should always use a plural, but these is
no reason for it to be different for Hannuka

Wendy Baker

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 15:09:35 -0500
Subject: Hanukah candle/candles

Yeshaya asked for the rationale for using the singular "ner" for the
beracha before lighting followed by the plural "ha'nerot" afterwards.
The distinction is between the Rabbinic mitzvah which is to light one
candle each night, and the universal "mehadrin" custom to add a light
for each successive night.  The "Hanerot halalu" that we say after
lighting reflects that universal custom rather than the basic mitzvah
requirement.

Yitzchok

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From: Emmanuel Ifrah <eifrah@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 20:26:02 +0100
Subject: Re: Mirrors and Tefillin

In Volume 33 Number 92, Bob Werman wrote:
>I wonder if someone could enlighten me about the use of mirrors to
>center tephillin shel rosh?  When did this become a custom?  Everyone
>carrying a small mirror in his tephillin/tallit bag?  I don't remember
>it 25-30 years ago.  When did it begin?  Where?

>And where is the mitzva to center the head tephillin to the millimeter
>written first?

As a quick answer, let me bring the free translation of a responsum on
this subject from "Sheelot U-Teshivot Divrey Hayim" (Rabbi Hayim of
Sanz), vol.  II, Orah Hayim  6):

"Regarding your question whether one should look in a mirror to check
that the tefilin are in the middle of the head -- this is a practice due
to ignorance (divrey borut) because even if they are not totally well
oriented, its is kasher, as it is known that there is enough space on
the head to place two tefilin [I assume in height as it is the custom by
sefaradim who wear Rashi and Rabbenu Tam at once, assumption supported
by what follows--my note] and even in width and there is no measure
(shi'ur) for tefilin in width."

This responsum is quoted in "Piskey Teshuva" by Avraham Pietrkowsky,
siman 12.  This author also refers to Responsa Mahazeh Avraham siman 3
by the Gaon of Brody.

Best regards,

Emmanuel Ifrah

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 21:21:36 -0800
Subject: Shabbat and Modern Convenience

> From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
> A even harder question is automatic doors and even toilets in hotels
> that also operate on automatic sensors.
>
> Does anyone have a reason why there should be a difference between an
> automatic sensor light and an automatic door opener or toilet flusher?
>
> eli turkel

A person has no interest or desire in having their neighbor's light go
on.  Thus, it could be a psik reisha delo ichpat leh.  A person does
care about the door opening or the toilet flushing.

A more comparable case would be walking down a hallway, and passing a
trigger that opens a door that one has no intention of using.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2000 17:01:45 -0500
Subject: Shabbos Ha Gadol

> ><<pasuq). Personally I would have preferred "Wearva" which is the first
> >word - as are "Nahamu" and "Shuva" - and I still need to explain why
> >"hagadol" was chosen and not the more obvious "Wearva".
> >Saul Davis >>
>
> Not every minhag is to read "Wearva" on Shabbat Hagadol.  Chabad only
> reads it when shabbat hagadol is erev pessach.  There are probably other
> minhagim like that.  So I doubt if shabbat hagadol is named after a
> quote from the haftora.
> > danny

    Here is a source for you: Shulchan Aruch Hilchos Pesach, Orach Chaim
430:1.

    "The Sabbath preceeding Pesach is called SHABBAS HAGADOL because of
the the great miricale (nes GADOL) which occurred on it..."  (And see
the Magen Avraham there.)

-Nachum Klafter
Dept. Psychiatry
University of Cincinnati

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From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 15:33:43 EST
Subject: Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?

Mark Steiner (v33n97) says:
<<When sefardim every day say "umvarkhin...uma`aritzin umaqdishin" are we
 to say that their davening is not kosher lemehadrin (another "incorrect"
 plural) because it violates some imaginary standard of "correct"
 grammar?  In fact, the siddur (all versions) is written basically in
 lashon xakhamim and the way it is vocalized by all the different
 segments of our people violates in many cases Biblical Hebrew. >>

First I would like to compliment Mark on a very thoughtful presentation
of a very complex grammatical issue. The above citation suggests that
both the Sefaradim and the Ashkenazim are using the same grammatical
rules in the Siddur. I believe that generally, the Sefaradim are using
leshon hakhamim, and the Ashkenazim are using leshon hakhamim unless
they can find a nikkud for a word in the Mikra. Professor Yehezkel
Kutcher Z'L wrote about it in an article.

Therefore, for example, the Ashkenazim will say "modim anahnu lach
shA'ata hu" while the Sefaradim will say "modim anahnu lach shEata hu."
The Ashkenazim, looking in the Bible for the nikkud of this word, found
it in a single word in Jud. 6:17 and used its nikkud, whereas the
Sefaradim looked to leshon hakhamim. Philosophically, the Sefaradim
thinks that we should daven in the language of hazal, and not in
Biblical Hebrew. Much more emphasis was put into this accuracy of leshon
hatefila starting with Rabbi Shabtai Sofer from Permishla (spl?) who
printed his famous siddur on (1614-1618) and started the masort of the
nikkud ha-Ashkenazit of the siddur. There are many more issues on the
question of the nikkud of the siddur, and the above is a very big
oversimplification to a complex question.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2000 15:55:03 EST
Subject: Re: Snow on Shabbat

I asked my rabbi that question a few years ago when we had a blizzard on
Shabbos.  He said that you are absolutely able to shovel on Shabbos
since there is Bikuach Nefesh involved.

This is only if the snow fell on Shabbos

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From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 08:30:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Territorial Waters etc.

    The question of the territorial waters of Eretz Yisrael (with
respect to islands) is dealt with explicitly in the Tosefta, Terumot
2:11: you stretch an imaginary string from "Tur Amnon" [Mount Amnon] to
"Nahalei Mitzrayim" [the streams of Egypt]; what is within the string is
Eretz Yisrael.  The former place is in the North, and has been
identified with various mountains in Lebanon (cf.  Shir Hashirim 4:8);
Nahalei Mitzrayim is often identified with Wadi El-Arish in Sinai,
though the matter is not certain.

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End of Volume 33 Issue 99