Volume 35 Number 2
                 Produced: Tue Jul 10  0:13:16 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hilchos Kiruv Rechokim
         [Jack Tomsky]
Interesting source material
         [Saul Davis]
Islam not Idolatry
         [Andrew Klafter]
L'shon Haqodesh (was Lashon Hakodesh) (2)
         [Ira L. Jacobson, Shlomo Argamon]
OU - Dairy
         [Eli Turkel]
Studying Nach
         [Michael J. Savitz]
         [David Charlap]


From: Jack Tomsky <jtomsky@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 12:16:33 -0700
Subject: Re: Hilchos Kiruv Rechokim

On befriending a non-observant Jew to change him.  I take exception to
this.  I feel that to befriend a Jew to steer their path to more extreme
or more observant Judaism is wrong.  The friendship must be for itself
or not at all.  If changes happen then that is for the good but it must
come of its own.

Each of us is unique and perhaps for a reason.  We are not all the same.
If G-d wanted us to be the exact same mold He would have made us that
way.  I have often wondered why He created us?  What was His purpose?
Then it came to me recently, that He created us, to learn from us.  This
is why He often listened when we asked Him to change things as Moses and
others have.  He may have learned from us too.

When He became angry, He destroyed people, but He never destroyed every
single one of us.  He always saved some.  So He had a purpose.

It said that He can see ahead - the future -  in the Torah - but He still
changes things when we ask Him.  The creator and the created have a
bond.  Who can bear a child and love that child and then kill him?  Kill
the child's seed?  If the seed is evil - then yes!  But there is a
purpose in the development of mankind.  A reason.

All of us are different - perhaps we need to be different.  Some
observant and some not so.  Some very strictly observant.  All the
varieties of human nature.

I will leave this unfinished for now.

Marilyn Tomsky


From: Saul Davis <sdavis@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 22:58:21 +0300
Subject: RE:  Interesting source material

Shmuel Himelstein wrote: "Israelis often refer to someone who is
marvellous as "Melach HaAretz" - i.e., "Salt of the Earth." If I'm not
mistaken, this, too, is from the NT".

I think many people would say that "turning the other cheek" (source is
Matthew 5:39 "whosoever shall smite you on your cheek, turn to him the
other also") is of Christian origin and that Judaism believes in "haba
lehorgekha hashkem lehorgo" which roughly translates as - go for the
pre-emptive strike. But Yermiyahu said in Eikha 3:30 "yiten lemakehu
lehey" or in English "let him give his cheek to him that smites him"
which makes turning the other cheek a lot older and more Jewish that
Matthew. Similarly see Rambam Deoth 7:7 about not taking revenge and the
"maavir al midothav" (forgiving even when you do not have to).

Some ignorant Israelis have a terrible habit of touching wood (sometimes
while spitting 3 times "per per per") to ward off the evil eye or
crossing fingers for good luck (called in Israel holding fingers but
still looks to me like a cross). I am sure this is all out of ignorance
of the Christian origins and basis for these superstitions.

I am not sure about Salt of the Earth. Maybe it is also really a Jewish

Saul Davis
Beer-Sheva, Israel


From: Andrew Klafter <andrew.klafter@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 02:16:18 -0400
Subject: Islam not Idolatry

      From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>

      Someone forwarded to me an op-ed column on the dangers of Islamic
      fundamentalism and anti-Semitism. The basic point of the column
      was fine, but the author (who I think is Jewish, but not too
      knowledgeable about Judaism) said some things which led me to
      think that he thinks that Islam is a form of idolatry.  For
      example, he wrote, "Jews do not worship Allah."  It is my
      understanding that, according to all halachic authorities, Islam
      is not idolatrous, and Muslims worship the same G-d that Jews do.
      I recall that the Rambam says something about this, but don't
      remember where. I think it was in a letter he wrote to a Jewish
      community in North Africa.

      Can anyone give me specific references, in the Rambam or
      elsewhere, to halachic statements on this topic?  I would like to
      send them to the author of the column.  Please include enough
      information, e.g. chapter and page numbers, exact titles of books,
      etc., that I can locate the references easily.  Telling me things
      that you vaguely remember reading will not be so useful; I can do
      that myself.

I heeded your request not to just share some vague memories, but it took
me a while to track this stuff down.  I hope it was soon enough for your
op-ed piece.  Here are the actual sources; #1 is the most explicit and
probably the one you heard about, but the others are also fair proofs:

1) Rambam, Epistel to an Inquirer (published in English "A Maimonided
Reader" by Isadore Twersky, z"l, Behrman House Publishers, p. 477.  In
Hebrew it is in Sefer Igrot HaRambam).  In this letter, Rambam responds
to the following story.  A convert to Judaism relates that his Rabbi held
that the Muslims are idolaters.  The convert said that he felt they are
not idolaters, and the Rabbi called him a fool.  This convert wrote to
the Rambam about this matter.  In this letter, the Rambam says the
following:  "When your teacher called you a fool for denying that the
Muslims are idolaters he sinned grievously....  For even if he had been
right and you in error, it was his duty to be gentle; how much more so
when the truth is with you and he in error!"  The Rambam goes on to give
a very inspiring blessing to this convert.

2) In the Rambam's interesting letter to Ibn Tibbon (his Hebrew
translator from Arabic), he give instructions to Ibn Tibbon about what
books are important to study in order to have a solid background in
philosophy.  The books listed by the Rambam include numerous works by
Islamic theologians.  The Rambam paricularly praises Alfarabi, a
rationalistic Islamic theologian, and says "On can understand and be
enlightened from his words for he was exceeding in wisdom."  There is no
way that Rambam would recommend reading works of Idolators with such
unabashed praise.  2 versions of this unpublished letter were published
in the Jewish Quarterly Review 35:374-381.

3) The Moreh Nevuchim is full of references to Islamic theologians,
especially the Mutaziallite Islamic theologians.  It is evident that
Maimonides, though he disagrees with them, about a number of theoligcal
priniciples, does NOT consider them idolaters.  In the translation by
Friedlander, start at Part I, #71.

4) In the Epistle to Yemen, Maimonides has some very harsh things to say
about Arabs and Muslims, and calls Mohammed "The Madman."  However, he
never calls them idolaters, and it seems he would have since he was
really laying on the insults there. 

5) Rambam, Mishna Torah, Hilchot Avodat Kochavim, Chapter 9, Halacha 4:
(This halakha deals with the Talmudic prohibition against business with
idolaters 3 days before their idolatrous holidays.)  "The Christians are
idolaters, and Sunday is their holiday..."  It is significant that Rambam
did NOT bring Muslims as an idolatrous group here and prohibit business
with them.  If he contended that Muslims were idolaters, he would have
been forced to discuss the halakhic rammifications of business with
Muslims before their holidays.  Also, he would not have been able to work
as the Sultan's physician.   
(Note that in the censored versions of the Rambam, Christian censors
changed "Christians" to Canaanites.  Therefore, make sure you check a
corrected text of this Moznaim mentions this.  I assume Rambam L'Am does
also, but ain li sefer zeh tachat yaday.) 

Andrew B. Klafter, MD (Nachum)
Department of Psychiatry-University of Cincinnati
Medical Arts Building 8500, M.L. 665L
222 Piedmont Ave. Cincinnati OH  45219
(513)475-8710    FAX(513)475-8023


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 14:17:16 +0300
Subject: Re:  L'shon Haqodesh (was Lashon Hakodesh)

Shlomo Argamon wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 34 #97 Digest about a particular 

>("The Holy Tongue" would be "Lashon Haqadosh".)

Actually, it would be halashon haqedosha.  That is, if you are looking for 
a literal word-for-word translation.

But I would say that stylistically, the holy language is the best English 
translation of l'shon haqodesh.


From: Shlomo Argamon <argamon@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 16:11:23 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re:  L'shon Haqodesh (was Lashon Hakodesh)

On Thu, 28 Jun 2001, Ira L. Jacobson wrote:

> Actually, it would be halashon haqedosha.That is, if you are looking for
> a literal word-for-word translation.

That is correct -- I posted far too quickly on that one, and I do know
better.  Mea culpa.

> But I would say that stylistically, the holy language is the best English
> translation of l'shon haqodesh.

Perhaps.  However, it is inaccurate.  "The holy language" (a) implies that
the language itself is holy, whereas the more correct "the language of
holiness" (b) implies that it is the language in which to speak of holy
matters.  The Hebrew, thus, does *not* assert that the language itself is
sacred -- thus claims against using it as a vernacular due to the
language's holiness (such as the anecdote of one who attacked Itamar ben
Avi for speaking Hebrew to his dog) are unfounded.  On the other hand,
since it is the language of holiness, it is the only language in which one
may speak precisely and correctly regarding holy matters.  Translation is



From: Eli Turkel <Eli.Turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 11:25:34 +0200
Subject: OU - Dairy

> Not to butt in and answer someone's question -- but two points to
> consider: 1 - why not go to the O-U and get their stated 
> position rather
> than have everyone (myself included) try to either defend / 
> attack them.


they list
OUD - The products are DAIRY. These products either contain dairy
ingredients or have been processed on dairy equipment.

note they do NOT distinguish between dairy and made on dairy equipment!

parts of their primer include


VII. . The Torah forbids cooking meat and milk together in any form, eating
such cooked products, or deriving benefit from them. As a safeguard, the
Rabbis extended this prohibition to disallow the eating of meat and dairy
products at the same meal or preparing them on the same utensils. One must
wait up to six hours after eating meat products before any dairy products
may be eaten. However, meat may be eaten following dairy products with the
one exception of hard cheese (6 months old or more), which also requires a
six hour interval. Prior to eating meat after dairy, one must eat a solid
food and the mouth must be rinsed. 

note they only mention waiting 6 hours after meat and until dairy and
do not mention customs of 1,3,5+ hours.

They discuss Cholov Yisrael but I did not see any discusion of dairy
equipment in their kosher primer.

There is a veebe rebbe where one can send in electronic questions

Eli Turkel


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 08:15:32 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Studying Nach

>The Jewish Bible Quarterly has a much more reasonable, but still
ambititious, trienniel Bible study program, but they don't tell you how
long to spend each day on your assignment.<

Also, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has been running a
"perek yomi" program for learning one chapter of Tanach each day,
complete with study questions and an online discussion group.  They
started, with Sefer Yehoshua, 1-1/2 years ago, just after Simchat Torah,
are now in Megillat Esther, and are due to finish Divrei Hayamim in
mid-October, cycle back to Bereishit, and finish Devarim next March: a
2-1/2 year program for all of Tanach.  See www.perekyomi.org for more
information.  (I'm not affiliated with the the program.)


From: David Charlap <shamino3@...>
Date: Thu, 28 Jun 2001 11:16:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Transliteration

Stan Tenen wrote:
> But Torah Hebrew is not only a phonetic system, it's also a formal
> system at the letter level.  Considered as operators rather than as
> phonemes, it is possible to come up with a fairly unambiguous
> _operational_ (not phonetic) trans-"literation" of the Hebrew letters.
> Here's the one I use.
> ...
> When you use these substitutions, letter by letter, you get an
> absolutely accurate trans-operational equivalent.  But of course, the
> phonetics are not there.

I think Stan's message summarizes the two sides of this debate quite

It all depends on what the purpose of the transliteration is.

If its purpose is to represent a word such that a typical English
speaker (who does not necessarily know Hebrew) can pronounce the word
correctly, then it makes sense to use a phonetic transliteration, even
if multiple Hebrew letters end up getting mapped onto identical English
letter sequences.

On the other hand, if the purpose is to represent the word so that the
original Hebrew can always be derived back from the English, then a
different kind of transliteration is required - one that may not always
be easily pronounceable by the uninformed English-speaker.

As for my personal opinion, I think it makes the most sense to use a
phonetic transliteration in the context of a mailing list like
mail-jewish.  IMO, the only need for a "trans-operational equivalent"
(to use Stan's phrase) is for those doing letter-level research and
analysis.  I would hope that people doing this kind of work would be
able to work in Hebrew and not require transliterations in the first
place (except perhaps for the purpose of integrating with computer
software that doesn't allow Hebrew characters.)

-- David


End of Volume 35 Issue 2