Volume 34 Number 05
                 Produced: Thu Jan  4  6:14:34 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Being Happy in Av
         [Leona Kroll]
Centering of Tefillin on Head (2)
         [Yerachmiel Askotzky, Gershon Dubin]
         [Sylvain Cappell]
Fifth Day of Hanukka
         [Zev Sero]
Happiness and Sadness in Adar and Av
Tefillin Size Increase
         [Mike Gerver]
Tocho Kabaro
         [Stephen Colman]


From: Leona Kroll <leona_kroll@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 22:47:00 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Being Happy in Av

The Chassidishe tych, the way I learned it, is that one diminishes Av
through simcha- in other words, through simcha in serving Hashem (even
and, perhaps, especially during Av) one diminishes the negative energy
of Av and comes closer to the days when our greatest festivals will be
in Av.


From: Yerachmiel Askotzky <sofer@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 19:05:26 +0200
Subject: Centering of Tefillin on Head

 >>I would like to add that while many people are careful to use a
mirror to get their tefilin centered just so, which is really not all
that important as you mention..<<

 The Mishna Brura, which seems to be the accepted psak on this issue,
says the shel rosh must be centered and if its not the Kitzur SHulchan
Aruch says its a bracha l'vatala! Therefore, its QUITE important! I
fully agree that some are not careful as to the proper placement of the
tefillin and the vast majority of people are not careful, due to shogeg
or laziness with regards to the blackness of their straps and batim. I
could go on and on but I'll leave it at that.

 kol tuv,

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

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 12:28:53 -0500
Subject: Re: Centering of Tefillin on Head

I did not mean to imply that centering was not important, only to
contrast the desire to have the shel rosh centered to the nanometer,
while ignoring other halachos of placement.

I didn't mean to get into blackness of retzuos or batim, but laziness
combined with ignorance is usually the reason people don't have their
tefilin adjusted so they are in the proper front to back orientation.



From: Sylvain Cappell <cappell@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 16:00:24 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Chanukah

In regard to Rabbi Reuven P. Bulka'a remark on an approrpiate greeting for 
Chanuka: He wrote,

>Hag is an appellation for a Torah based holy day, excluding Hanukkah.
>The wish of "Hanukkah Sameah" is the most correct expression.

I remember hearing some leading European-born Rabbis of two generations
ago using as a greeting a slight variant of the form he suggested:
"Simchat Chanukah."

Prof. Sylvain Cappell
Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU
251 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 23:18:28 -0500 
Subject: RE: Fifth Day of Hanukka

Daniel Katsman <hannahpt@...>
> but this is the second comment in two days that I have seen about
> the 5th day of Hanukka not falling on Shabbat.  It should
> theoretically be possible, if Rosh Ha-Shana is on Tuesday
> (=previous Pesah on Sunday) and Heshvan has thirty days.  
> However, then Kislev also must have 30 days, which allows only
> two possibilities for next Rosh Ha-Shana:
>  1. Non-Leap Year -  next Rosh Ha-Shana will be on Sunday 
> (impossible).
>  2. Leap Year - next Rosh Ha-Shana will be on Tuesday again.  The
> implication is that for two years in a row, Pesah would fall on Sunday.
> That would certainly be rare, but is there any rule in the calendar
> that doesn't allow it?

Yes.  First, a theoretical discussion: if the year begins on a Tuesday,
the previous year could not possibly have been long.  A year becomes
long when the following Rosh Hashana occurs on a day when it is not
allowed, so it gets delayed to the next day, adding a day to the
previous year.  Since Rosh Hashana is allowed to be on a Monday, there
is no reason to delay it to Tuesday, so the only way RH gets to be on a
Tuesday is when that is its correct day, and therefore there was no need
to lengthen the previous year.

The only exception, when RH would be delayed from Monday to Tuesday, is
when the previous RH was delayed so much that without delaying this one
the year will be impermissibly short - the exact opposite of the case we
are looking for.

Now, let's test the theory: For Rosh Hashana (of a leap year) to be on a
Tuesday, the molad of Tishri must be between noon on Monday and noon on
Tuesday.  Without getting into the debate about what happens when the
molad is exactly at noon, let's consider the earliest molad that will
result in Rosh Hashana on a Tuesday, and add 13 months, and see when the
next RH will be.

   = RH on Tue
   = RH on Mon

Now let's consider the latest molad (in a leap year) that will 
result in RH on a Tuesday:
   = RH on Tue
   = RH on Mon

So it is impossible for a leap year beginning on a Tuesday to be
followed by RH on a Tuesday.

For completeness, let's look at non-leap years.  The earliest molad that
would result in a RH on Tuesday is in the year following a leap year,
when the molad is at  (To understand this rule, look at the
previous example, and imagine that the molad, instead of being just
before noon on Tuesday, is just after noon.  RH is therefore delayed to
Thursday, so if the following RH is allowed to be on Monday the year
will only have had 382 days.  To prevent this, the following RH is
delayed to Tuesday, allowing the year to have 383 days, the minimum that
a leap year can have.)  Now, let's add 12 months to it:

   = RH on Tue
   = RH on Sat, year has 354 days.

Now let's consider the latest molad in a non-leap year that will result
in a Tuesday RH.  This is at  Any later than that, and RH
will be delayed to Thursday, to avoid having the year end up with 356
days.  So, let's take this molad and add 12 months:

   = RH on Tue
   = RH on Sat, year has 354 days.

So we see that a year beginning on Tuesday can be neither short nor
long.  In such a year, Marcheshvan will always have 29 days, and Kislev

Zev Sero


From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 07:06:43 EST
Subject: Happiness and Sadness in Adar and Av

<< From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
 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. >>

I believe that the commentaries say (esp. with regard to Av) that
'mishenichnas Adar marbin bisimcha' (when Adar arrives we increase joy)
and 'mishenichnas Av mamaatin bisimcha' (when Av arrives we decrease
joy) refer to doing activities connected with / that lead to simcha - as
opposed to being directives solely directed to people's mental states,
unconnected to actions. I believe Torah does not usually command us
solely regarding mental / psychological states, without connection to
actions (an essay on 'mitzvoh gedola lihiyos bisimcha tamid' on the M-J
homepage touches on this).

Also - re being happy in Adar - I believe that may be related to what
was discussed here a while ago - whether there is a mitzvah to be happy
always (also discussed in the aforementioned essay on the topic on the
M-J homepage). Someone wrote in to M-J a while ago to the effect that
Rav Y.  Soloveitchik z"l told his students not to sing 'mitzvah gedola
lihiyos bisimcha tomid' (it is a great mitzvah to be happy always) as it
was not a mitzvah - rather perhaps the alternate formulation 'simcha
gedola lihiyos bimitzvoh tomid' (it is a great joy to be always involved
with mitzvoh([s]).

re being sad during the month of Av, especially the beginning of it - I
once heard someone say (a Rabbi on 9 Av evening in the course of an
address to a congregation) that there is a mitzvah to be sad on 9
Av. With any and all due respect, I think he is wrong. Although there
may be such a common misconception that aveilus ('mourning') goes
together with sadness, and therefore since there is aveilus on 9 Av,
there should be sadness too (and perhaps to a lesser degree in the
beginning of Av, etc.), I believe it is a mistake. Where is it stated
that an aveil ('mourner') must be sad? On the contrary, there is a
comment of Rashi in Maseches Sukkah (25a, s.v. 'tirda dirishus') that
says that an aveil (mourner) is not obligated to pain himself - and that
the laws of aveilus are only to show respect for the niftar (departed)
(I understand this as meaning that if people would not follow the laws
of shiva, etc., it might appear as if the deceased was not dear to
them). I have understood this to mean that an aveil is not obligated not
be sad - believing Jews are supposed to accept a death as the will of
Hashem and make a special blessing to that effect (boruch dayan haemes -
blessed is the true judge).

Also, we actually are supposed to mourn the loss of the Beis Hamikdosh
(Temple in Jerusalem) all year - not only in Av or on 9 Av.



From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 13:47:54 +0100 
Subject: Tefillin Size Increase

The discussion of the size of dakos and gasos tefillin in v34n03 brings
up the issue of the growth in the size of what are considered "standard"
batim, over the years.  The batim in my first pair of tefillin were
approximately 1 inch cubes.  In the 1970s, most people wore tefillin
like that, at least in Berkeley, California, where I was living then.
By the early 1980s, when I was living in Boston, most people, especially
younger and frummer people, were wearing larger batim, and I bought a
pair too.  Based on old engravings, tefillin were much smaller a few
hundred years ago, and that was certainly true in the time of the
gemara.  Brachot has a discussion of what to do if you are wearing
tefillin (as people used to do all day long) and have to go the
bathroom, and don't want to leave your tefillin unguarded outside the
beit kisseh-- you enclose them entirely within your hand!  That wouldn't
be possible with today's standard tefillin, or even with my first pair.
A look at the tefillin found at Qumran, and exhibited at the Shrine of
the Book at the Israel Museum, confirms this-- they're tiny!  The
writing looks like microcalligraphy.

What is the reason for this increase in size?  I have heard it explained
as being due to the fact that sofrim are no longer as skilled as they
used to be, and cannot make kosher tefillin so small.  There may be
something to this-- it amazes me that any sofer could write tefillin as
small as the ones from Qumran, and before the invention of eyeglasses
yet. I wonder if it is also because sofrim today are more particular
about avoiding the slightest possibility of making a non-kosher letter,
or there are more chumrot about what constitutes a kosher letter.  Or
maybe they are more modest about their abilities, and reluctant to show
off.  It may also be that nowadays the cost of leather is lower,
relative to the cost of hiring a more skilled sofer, so it pays to make
bigger tefillin.

One day a few years ago, I wore a pair of tefillin that was even smaller
than my first pair.  They were tefillin that had been worn by the famous
Soviet physicist Lev Landau, I guess when he became bar mitzvah in 1921.
I borrowed them from a friend, whose grandmother had been Lev Landau's
first cousin.  My friend, who inherited them from his grandmother, did
not know how she had acquired them.  He had them checked by a sofer, and
they were found to be kosher.  Perhaps this is not surprising, since
they appeared to be in mint condition.  Landau was a devout Communist as
a young man, up to the time when he was arrested by Stalin in 1938, and
probably had hardly if ever worn the tefillin after his bar mitzvah.
Together with the tefillin was some kind of school medal that Landau had
won, hanging from a cloth strap that could be worn around the neck.  The
strap had been buttoned so that it formed a Moebius strip-- just the
kind of thing that you might expect a mathematically inclined 13 year
old to do.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Stephen Colman <stephen.colman@...>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 02:34:51 -0000
Subject: Tocho Kabaro

> From: Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...>
> Does anyone know where in the Torah I can find the reference "tocho
> kabaro"?

According to a new cd program I am testing out (called Otzer Haposkim) a
reference to Tocho Kabaro can be found in the following meforshim:

Daas Zekenim	    Shemos 25:10
Baal Haturim        "      " :11
Rabeinu Bachai      "      " :11/32/39
Seforno             "      "  :8-9
Klei Yokor          Vayikro   11:4

In addition, see Talmud Bovli:

Brochos 28a
Shabbos 16b
Yumo 72b

 There are also a number of references in Nach & Rambam

(Not a bad program  -  eh!!)

Hope this is of some help


End of Volume 34 Issue 5