Volume 34 Number 07
                 Produced: Sun Jan  7  8:09:53 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Happiness and Sadness in Adar and Av
         [Mark Symons]
Learning with a nigun
         [Aliza Fischman]
Map of the Rise of the Hasidic Movement
         [Paul Ginsburg]
Mardi Gras
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Non-jewish parent under the chupa
         [Geoffrey Shisler]
Ohr Hamizrach
         [Eli Turkel]
Rosh Hashana vs. January 1
Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day (3)
         [David Herskovic, Perry Zamek, Janet Rosenbaum]
Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Your question re Al Naharot Bavel
         [Judi Goldberg]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 00:34:09 +1100
Subject: Re: Happiness and Sadness in Adar and Av

Mordechai <Phyllostac@...> said <...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?...>

I would think that the reason a mourner is not commanded to be sad is
that a mourner doesn't need to be commanded to be sad, s/he is naturally
sad; sadness is an emotion that is part of the state of mourning, that
is psychologically undesirable to suppress or deny (but is not
incompatible with acceptance of G-d's judgement as well). Thus I would
understand the Mitzvah of being sad on 9 Av as meaning to get into a
state of mind where we really feel the loss of the Bet HaMikdash and all
that goes with that; the 9 Av rituals are designed to help this
process. If we do this successfully, then sadness will naturally follow.

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia 


From: Aliza Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 09:14:17 -0500
Subject: Learning with a nigun

>From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
>In a wonderful story, Oliver Sacks (_An Anthropologist on Mars_) tells a
>story of one of his patients "The Last Hippie" (pp. 42-76) who loved
>music and later in life developed a benign brain tumor which was removed
>too late.  He could not retain any new memories, but upon visits
>Dr. Sacks discovered that he could retain new music as it is stored in a
>different part of the brain<SNIP>

This makes perfect sense to me.  How many of us can recite a Rashi we've
learned 20 times completely by heart?  Probably not too many.  (I
include myself in this.)  How many of us can sing the Brady Bunch theme
song - including instrumental parts?  Probably a lot more.  My mother
used to always say to me, "If only you could remember your Chumash as
well as you know the songs on the radio!"  As a matter of fact, many of
the things I remember best from the younger grades are things that were
put to song.  That is why we sing the Aleph Bet, the ABCs, Mode Ani, and
Shma to our children instead of just saying them.

As a matter of fact, among educators there is lots of talk about
"Multiple Intelligences".  MI discusses how children learn in 7
different ways, not just by reading and writing.  One of those
intelligences is that of the musical learner.

Kol Tuv,
Aliza Fischman
(201) 833-0801


From: Paul Ginsburg <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 13:15:06 -0500 
Subject: Map of the Rise of the Hasidic Movement

The following website has a map which shows the rise of the Hasidic


Please take a look!

Paul W. Ginsburg
Bethesda, MD


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 08:55:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Mardi Gras

>From MJ v34n6:

>their holiest day, to our holiest days.  While there is nothing similar
to Mardi Gras in Judaism, <

Purim is similar to MG in some ways: Costumes, parades, hilarity,
drinking, noisemakers, raucousness, etc.  And it comes around the same
time of year: in boht cases, a fixed number of days in advance of the
major, solemn spring holiday.  (The connections and parallels between
Pesach and Easter are well known.)  Of course, the concept of a period
of Lent to follow is not there in the case of Purim (although sometimes
Pesach cleaning comes close!).


From: Geoffrey Shisler <geoffrey@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 20:10:46 +0000
Subject: Re: Non-jewish parent under the chupa

Among four other suggestions as to how to solve the problem, Carl Singer

>5 - one can shop around and get many opinions and attempt to
>"intellectualize" an answer with which he, she or they are comfortable.
>I submit the alternative #5 is a great way to gather data and make
>business, academic and technical decisions, but an improper way to
>reach an halachik decision....................  

This reminded me of the story of the new Halachic computer.  You type in
the answer you want, and out comes the name of the Rabbi you should

Rabbi Geoffrey L. Shisler
New West End Synagogue
London, UK
<Rav@...> or Rav@newwestend.org.uk


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 12:52:45 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Ohr Hamizrach

I would appreciate it if anyone has access to old issues of Ohr HaMizrach
(it is presently out of business).
In particular I am looking for an article by Samuel Turk
"Im Yesh reshut la-Ahronim la-Halok al Rishonim"
Ohr HaMizrach 22 (1973) 178-84

Anyone who knows of other articles about why Amoraim don't disagree with
Taanaim (or similar issues) please contact me


Eli Turkel


From: <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 06:21:50 EST
Subject: Rosh Hashana vs. January 1

<< From: Chaim Shapiro <Dagoobster@...>
 Every year I hear it at least once.  Look how Jews celebrate their New
 Year Vs the non Jewish world.  Ours is a day of reflection, theirs is
 partying, drugs and drinking.

 True enough, but not at all fair.  These are not analogous holidays.  We
 know how to behave on Rosh Hashanah based on the Torah and our
 tradition.  There is no similar Biblical reference to New Years for non
 Jews to rely on to guide their behavior.  What's more, January first is
 the celebration of J's Bris (in their belief), and not a day of any kind
 of judgment.  I must admit that I have seen many frum Jews drink at

 More appropriate would be to compare how Christians behave on Easter,
 their holiest day, to our holiest days.  While there is nothing similar
 to Mardi Gras in Judaism, one would have to agree on the day closest to
 our Rosh Hashanah, Christians do behave in a dignified manner (at least
 in this country and time.  I am not denying the plethora of pogroms that
 occurred on that day). >> 

I agree with Chaim that comparisons must be fair and of equivalent days.
Having said that, I think that he is going a bit too far. Even if
(questionable in my opinion, as they sometimes accept things from the
chamisha chumshei Torah) they have no teachings of the new year being a
day of judgement and introspection, nevertheless, 'common sense' and
conscience would indicate that wild and raucous partying, drugs and
drinking [esp. to excess] are not proper components of a holi-day
[holiday - from 'holy day'].  In fact, I bet that some non-Jews
[e.g. perhaps some thoughtful clergy, etc.] have, over the years,
criticized such behavior.

As for the fact that some Jews may at times 'drink' at a bris - I don't
think any drinking at such events usually comes remotely close to what
happens in many places on January 1 (there may be rare exceptions, but I
think this is so - especially on weekdays when people have to work
afterward and on other days as well).

Finally, re Chaim's comments about the unfortunate deterioration of
Simchas Torah in some areas

<<Think of what a Christian might think if you told them about Simchas
 Torah.  My guess would be that you would find many aghast at the idea
 that people drink and act crazy on the day that celebrates the finishing
 of the law!

 I do not fully understand the need to make these kinds of comparisons in
 the first place.  But if they are made, we must realize two things.
 First, we must keep them fair.  No adding apples and oranges.  And
 second, doing so may very well open it own can of worms about our own
 holidays. >>

There is no mitzvah to drink excessively on simchas Torah. Drunkenness
is something condemned harshly by Torah and Torah authorities. Any
mention of imbibing on any Jewish holiday, including Purim, means
drinking in moderation and in a spirit of holiness and with limitations
- not to the extent, G-d forbid, of leading to people acting crazy and
flirting with [or committing] sinful, dangerous and foolish behavior.

I believe that the semi - wild behavior [including tying tallis of
shliach tzibbur, etc.] that unfortunately exists in some quarters on
Simchas Torah is an unfortunate [recent?] development among some of the
unlearned classes which must be roundly condemned as
improper. Unfortunately, among some people, it seems that they believe
that Simchas Torah is a second [albeit somewhat different] version of
Purim, to the extent that I have seen some people don masks on that day,
in addition to drinking, etc. There is no basis for such a
belief. Simchas Torah is a different sort of holiday, for one
thing. While on Purim, there is a rabbinic teaching to imbibe to a
limited degree, that teaching is limited to that holiday. Also, even on
Purim, we are not instructed to drink to drunkenness, which the Torah
strongly opposes and denigrates - rather to 'sweeten' ourselves with a
limited amount of drinking (there is a fine discussion of this in one of
the [later I believe] volumes of 'minhagei Yisroel' by Professor Daniel

One must study the origins and laws of our holidays from our sources to
properly understand them. Just because a few unlettered individuals may
engage in improper and excessive behavior doesn't mean that what they do
is something prescribed by our holy Torah.

In a somewhat related matter, going off on a tangent - As I stated
above, that I believe there exists unfortunate blurring of the lines
between simchas Torah and Purim, so I believe that a similar situation
exists with the two different holi-days of Yom Kippur and tisha be'Av,
with some people not realizing that Yom Kippur is a happy day, and
treating it somewhat like 9 Av in terms of their moods on that day,
etc., due to some surface similarities.  I hope that Rabbis and learned
individuals will teach the masses proper behavior on our holy days and
any abberrant behavior of the type[s] mentioned above will
disappear. Hashem, please help us to accomplish this, before the
abberrant behavior gets overly entrenched.



From: David Herskovic <crucible@...>
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2001 12:28:35 -0000
Subject: Re: Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day

I heard in the name of the Rebbe of Berditchev who said that as the
first of January is some kind of Rosh Hashone it is also a time for
t'shuve. He cited the posuk in tehilim 87:6, which, with some ingenuity,
can be translated as 'God will count with numerals of the nations', as a
'remez' (source?) for the above.

Dovid Herskovic

From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2001 09:20:33 +0200
Subject: Re: Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day

Chaim Shapiro (in mj v34 n06) wrote:

>Think of what a Christian might think if you told them about Simchas
>Torah.  My guess would be that you would find many aghast at the idea
>that people drink and act crazy on the day that celebrates the finishing
>of the law!

The noted English diarist, Samuel Pepys, was taken to "the Jews'
synagogue" -- from the description, it was Simchat Torah, and he was
most perturbed by the apparent lack of decorum. And that was only
because of the hakafot and singing.

Pity he wasn't taken on Yom Kippur.

BTW, this would have been not too many years after the Jews were
permitted to return to England by Oliver Cromwell, although I think it
was after the restoration of the Monarchy.

Perry Zamek   | A Jew should live his life in such a way
Peretz ben    | that people can say of him: "There goes
Avraham       | a living Kiddush Hashem".

From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 09:22:02 +0200
Subject: Rosh Hashana Vs. New Years day

I agree with everything you wrote about this being an unfair comparison,
but it is interesting that even the most secular people of every
religion (including Jews) treat the secular new year as a time for
tshuvah as well as levity, as we see in the institution of the new
year's resolution.



From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2001 10:42:27 -0000 
Subject: Re: Siddur - Leshon Mikra or leshon hakhamim?

Mark Steiner wrote: 34:01
<<   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.>>

Not quite so ironic perhaps as the whole phrase "modim anachnu lach" has
been copied verbatim from Divrei Hayamim I 29:13, which is the only
place in Tenach where the word "modim" appears.



From: Judi Goldberg <beaniezanie@...>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 09:35:19 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Your question re Al Naharot Bavel

Hi, I just read you question regarding "Al Naharot Bavel" in Volume 33
Number 09 (Produced: Mon Aug 14 5:44:09 US/Eastern 2000), in which you

"In most siddurim and bentchers right next to the shir hamaalos is
another kapitel, al naharos bavel, which would seem to be for weekdays.
I looked in my Otzar HaTefillos and found that this seems to come from
the Shl'a HaK' who writes to say this during the week because mourning
for the Beis HaMikdash is forbidden on Shabbos.

However, I don't recall seeing anyone actually say this during the week
and wondered if there is a widespread custom to do so.  Also (and a
little more facetiously) I wonder if there is a tune to go with it."

I just wanted you to know that when I was younger and went to Camp
Moshava (Wisconsin), we used to sing Al Naharot Bavel daily before
bentching.  It has a beautiful and haunting melody.  However, my
children went to Mosh the past several summers, and none of them have
ever heard it or heard of it.  I think its a beautiful prayer, and one
that should be more well known, especially considering the state of
affairs in Israel, but maybe the Rabbeim have their reasons.  If you'd
like to hear the tune, I could record it (or have my husband record it)
and e-mail it to you.  If you find out more about this beautiful prayer
and why it's no longer said, let me know.

Judi Goldberg


End of Volume 34 Issue 7