Volume 34 Number 01
                 Produced: Mon Jan  1 10:54:16 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanuka Greetings
         [Mark Symons]
Compass - Young Israel of Brookline
         [Mark Steiner]
Facing Jerusalem during davening
         [Carl Singer]
Hanukah candle/candles
         [Art Werschulz]
Shlumiel the shlemiel
         [Sam Gamoran]
Shoveling Snow on Shabbos
         [Carl Singer]
Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?
         [Mark Steiner]
Snow on Shabbat
         [Joel Rich]
Spelling of Name Osna/Ahsneh
         [Mike Gerver]
Spelling of Names
         [Leona Kroll]
Tefillin Mirrors
         [Danny Skaist]
Tefillin Mirror/Snow on Shabbos
         [Yerachmiel Askotzky]
Territorial Waters of the Land of Israel
         [Akiva Atwood]
Tocho K'varo
         [Reuven Werber]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 23:14:50 +1100
Subject: Chanuka Greetings

This discussion reminds me of the (first) Jewish Catalog suggesting to
put up signs in Adar saying "Be Happy, It's Adar", whereas it seems to
me that it would be more correct to say "Be Happier, It's Adar". This
also reminds me of a trick question I thought of recently, i.e. is it a
mitzvah to be happy in Av?  Most people say No,but I think the correct
answer should be Yes, but not quite as happy as the rest of the year. It
seems significant to me that we are told to reduce our simcha in Av
rather than to be sad.

Mark Symons
Melbourne Australia


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 14:30:14 +0200
Subject: Re: Compass - Young Israel of Brookline

Mike Gerver wrote:

> 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.

    This historical question interests me greatly, since I was a member
of that shul in 1997-8 (on my sabbatical), and I heard from members and
also the (world famous) architect of the YI that, on the contrary,
orienting the shul in an Eastern direction cost more money, and was more
difficult, and was dictated only by what the Rav felt was the halakha.
I heard rumors that the YI lost members over this issue.  The
difficulty, of course, was that the entrance had also to be constructed
from the East.  The solution was to create two wings, one facing NE for
the shul, and one facing SE for the bais medrash.  I found that the
result was beautiful.  The architect (who is not Jewish, but did a great
deal of research about synagogues, to the point of going to Israel and
visiting scores of shuls here), in a talk he gave in the shul stated
that the challenge of making the shul conform to the halakha was the
secret of his success.


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 09:17:49 EST
Subject: Facing Jerusalem during davening

The discussion seems to have turned to great circle routes, and other
airline routing issues.

Is it the geographic situation that governs -- i.e., if I were to
stretch a string from Jerusalem (or the kotel, etc.) to my shule --
which way would it snap (barring obstacles, etc.) in order to be the
shortest route -- and if I aimed along that string, which way would I be

Or might I simply bore a hole through the earth (avoiding China due to
good aim) and use that as the shortest route / direction etc.

The mathematics if somewhat straight forward, given the Latitude and
Longitude of any place along a sphere (if we can use the presumption
that the earth is spherical) -- more complex if we use more accurate but
geometrically more complex depictions of the earth's shape.

Or might I simply go with the tradition of facing east (Yes, in Poland
where I was born, it should have been somewhat South East)

When building a shule, several issues re: street orientation, neighbors,
etc., come to bear -- does anyone have sources on how these might be
dealt with?

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 10:40:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Hanukah candle/candles

Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...> wrote

> 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.

Since "hanerot halalu" is phrased in the plural ("anachnu madlikin")
perhaps it could still refer to the basic mitzvah requirement, but be
referring to the nerot lit by the entire Jewish people.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7061, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Sam Gamoran <Sgamoran@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 10:16:29 +0200 
Subject: RE: Shlumiel the shlemiel

> From: Sheldon Meth <SHELDON.Z.METH@...>
> [The shlemazel climbs the ladder with the paint bucket, the
> shlimiel walks under the ladder, the shlemazel fumbles, and the
>  bucket lands on the shlimiel.]

I think this is backwards.  I was taught as a youngster, "The shlemiel
spill's the soup on the shlemazel" or to paraphrase Z'ev Scherman (in
this same MJ issue) the shlemiel is hopeless and the shlemazel is


From: Carl Singer <CARLSINGER@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 09:05:55 EST
Subject: Shoveling Snow on Shabbos

I guess the question I'd ask is to what purpose.  Among the variety of 

    1 - to get to shule more easily (or at least dryer)
    2 - to allow others to get so shule (for example, if your sidewalk is 
used by many enroute to shule)
    3 - to avoid fine
    4 - to avoid being that one house (Jew house) that isn't shoveled on your 
    5 - to avoid or minimize property damage due to flooding, or some such 

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, 01 Jan 2001 10:40:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?

Gilad Gevaryahu writes:

> 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....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.

    Thanks to Gilad for his enlightening information.  Note that his
formulation actually implies that the original language of the siddur
(outside, of course, the many Biblical versesincorporated in it) is MH
(lashon hakhamim), as I think, but was "improved" by Ashkenazim by
"Biblicizing" the grammar. This, he says, occurred in the 17th century,

    There is no question that he's right.  I did my own spot check, and
discovered that the Modim deRabbanan prayer (Sota 40a) has been
"improved" in the Ashkenaz siddurim of today from the original MH "`al
she-anu modim lakh" to BH "...she-anahnu..."[This reminds me of the
famous Yiddish translation of Shakespeare, "ibergezetzet, fargressert,
un farbessert"] I guess we can be happy that `al she- wasn't
"Biblicized" to "`al 'asher."  Likewise in the "benshn" the "incorrect"
'anu modim lakh [as in, e.g., the Mahzor Vitry (the author was a talmid
of Rashi), Hurwitz ed., vol. 1, p. 52] has been "corrected," as well as
the "incorrect" plural "umevorkhin."

    Of course, not all of the Ashkenaz siddur was so doctored.  In the
`al hanissim prayer we said for Hanukkah, words like MH 'eilu [could
easily have been "improved" to BH 'eileh] and qav`u [the root appears in
the Tanakh but not with this meaning], to say nothing of "purqan,"
escaped our Biblicizing editors.

Gilad further writes:

> 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.

    Nice point, but Gilad doesn't note the irony that these very
Ashkenazim continue to use MH "lakh" instead of BH "lekha."  Their
excuse may have been that "lakh" is the "pausal" form of "lekha," but I
don't see the "etnahta" here.


From: Joel Rich <Joelirich@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 09:14:35 EST
Subject: Re: Snow on Shabbat

<<  From: Jeff Fischer <NJGabbai@...>
 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  >>

Probably because shoveling is considered an "uvda dchol"(doing something
which is "weekday" by its nature and thus not having a "shvita
hanikeret"(obvious cessation). While there's a lot of give and take, I
don't think the majority of poskim hold that snow(even freshly fallen)
is muktzeh.  Next time ask about snowball manufacture :-)

Joel Rich


From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 08:47:04 +0100 
Subject: Spelling of Name Osna/Ahsneh

>From Boruch Merzel in v33n98,

> What to me is most puzzling in the grandmother's ketuba, is the use of
> the letter Sav (or Tav) in place of the Samech.  In all my Yiddish
> reading over the years I have never seen a Sav used for the "S" sound.
> Certainly, the Sav makes no sense in this instance. So, whoever, filled
> in the Ketuba got the last Aleph right, but made a whopper of a mistake
> in using the "Sav".

Arnie Kuzmack, in an offline message to me, pointed out that "tav" is
only used in Yiddish for borrowed Hebrew and Aramaic words, and
speculated that whoever filled in the ketuba used "sav" instead of
"samekh" in the name "Ahsneh" in order to make it more Hebrew-looking.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 06:52:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Spelling of Names

Although there are spellings which are considered standard, we were told
in connection with a kesubah that if a woman has already established her
name as being spelled a particular way, then for her that could be the
legal spelling. On the other hand, in names with certain letter
combinations (such as aleph lamed) there are some who replace or leave
out letters when writing anything other than a ketubah, get, or
gravestone. However, it doesn't establish a new spelling and for any one
of the three mentioned things, the "correct" letters are used. In other
words, today there are alternate spellings it seems.


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 10:39:35 +0200 
Subject: Tefillin Mirrors

<<Rabbi Yerachmiel Askotzky, certified sofer and examiner 
     Many people do not use a mirror. The mirror. etc should
not be kept in the velvet bag with the tefillin but rather in the
plastic bag protecting the velvet bag.>>

I have seen a mirror built right into the tefillin cover of the shel rosh. 


From: Yerachmiel Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 14:47:30 +0200
Subject: Tefillin Mirror/Snow on Shabbos

The divrei hachaim refers to two pairs worn side by side. If u wear 2
side by side then you see that a single pair doesn't need to be exactly
centered b/c if u wear 2 at once neither one is centered! If its
referring to one above the other then you have no proof! I believe this
is brought down by Rav Menashe Klein in his teshuvos. Anyways, halacha
lemaase, we see from the Mishna Brura (36) and the Kitzur (10/3) that it
must be centered and if not is a bracha in vain. Yes, the Machaze
Avraham and the Divrei Hachaim argue.

Rav Dovid Morganstern told me that Rav Elyashiv personally uses a mirror
and Rav Sheinberg says its okay to use, albeit a small one. I saw
brought down in the name of Rav Moshe and The Ugvar Rav (if I'm not
mistaken) that they are against using a mirror.

Reagrding shoveling on shabbos, to share such a psak with the general
tzibbur that one can shovel snow on shabbos is iresponsible. Under
certain circumstances it could be (safek)pikuach nefesh but in general
it is not. I grew up in the Midwest and if we had no need to get the car
out of the driveway or the blizzard was so bad we didn't shovel that

[I'll note here again, although I make this comment on a regular
basis. Any psak quoted on mail-jewish is not meant as a psak le-halacha
(a psak for one to rely on) but rather as part of the discussion in
understanding what are the ranges of psak and the sources/reasons for
such psak. Mod.]

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


From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 11:59:24 +0200
Subject: RE: Territorial Waters of the Land of Israel

> 2. If underwater cities were to be developed

What about the man-made islands they are planning on building off the
coast of Tel Aviv? The same question would apply, and that's looking
more likely every day.



From: Reuven Werber <reuw@...>
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2001 07:46:10 +0200
Subject: Tocho K'varo

Occurence of Tocho K'varo.

Talmud Bavli Tractate Brachot - Page 28a
       [This reference was also submitted by: 
       Joel Rich <Joelirich@...> and by Gershon Dubin
       <gershon.dubin@...>		 Mod.]

Talmud Bavli Tractate Shabbat 47b
Talmud Bavli Tractate Yoma 72b

The first & last relate to Tamid or Talmid Chacham Sh'ein tocho K'varo -
Student or scholar whose "inside is not like his external image".

Kol Tuv,



End of Volume 34 Issue 1