Volume 35 Number 10
                 Produced: Mon Jul 16  4:35:03 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Candy throwing
         [Yaakov Zev]
Islam and Idolatry (2)
         [Isaac A Zlochower, Gil Student]
Longest masechta?
         [Eliezer Appleton]
Phrasing in Prayers
         [Mark Symons]
Repeating Words
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Talmidei Chachamim (4)
         [Boruch Merzel, Michael Szpilzinger, Zev Sero, Gilad J.
Talmidim Chachamim??
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Vsen Tal Umatar
         [Mark Cymerman]


From: Yaakov Zev <yakovzev@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 09:40:48 +0300
Subject: Re: Candy throwing

The practice of Throwing Candy has bothered me for many years including
the problems raised by Marilyn Tomsky.  Not only has this "minhag"
inherent dangers in hurting people on or near the Bimah,(not everyone
has a helmet), many "machmirim" will stand in front of the Bimah and aim
directly at the Bar-Mitzvah boy from a close range.

In addition to the above physical problem, I would like to raise the
issue of the poor unaggressive youngster who scrambles, gets pushed, in
his vain and unsuccessful effort to get some of the candy. In many
cases, I have witnessed the unhappy child who often turns to tears and
cries because he wasn't aggressive enough to push all the other kids
away, and remains with nothing, while others proudly show their loot.
The negative 'chinuch" values encouraged by this "minhag' should be
enough to discourage or ban it from the synagogue.  "Kol D'Alim Gvar" is
not one of the basic tenets of Yahadut.

I have often suggested that a new minhag could be instituted, wherein
the Bar-Mitzvah boy is given an ample supply of the candy (bags) and
each of the youngsters go up to the Bar-Mitzvah boy and receive one of
the bags from the Bar-Mitzvah boy (with an opportunity to say 'mazal
Tov' to the Bar-Mitzvah at the same time).  While this suggestion may
seem radical, time consuming, and "kill the fun of hitting the
Bar-Mitzvah boy on his head or maybe his eye, it would solve many of the
inherent evils of this long-practiced "minhag". The Chinuch value would
send a message that aggression is not the way of Yahadut, and equally
eliminate the unhappiness of the young and unaggressive child who lost
out. In addition, the children also won't have to be crowding around the
Bimah beginning with shlishi or rviyi.


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 23:35:51 -0400
Subject: Islam and Idolatry

I fail to understand a pesak din which seems to equate Islam with
idolatry on the basis of a singular view attributed to the Ran (Rabbenu
Nissim).  First of all, there are those who believe that the commentary
on T.B. Sanhedrin has been misattributed to the Ran.  Possibly, the
chaverim on this list who are knowledgeable about such matters can
enlighten us about this issue.  Secondly, how can bowing down allegedly
to Mohammed be considered avodah zarah if the Muslim worshipper does not
accept him as a deity?  More importantly, nothing that I have read about
Muslim practices suggest that the worshipper bows to anyone but Allah,
which is the Arabic term for G-D (equivalent to the similar Hebrew

It must be recalled that the Ran lived in 14th century Christian Spain
and, presumably, had no contact with Muslims.  His knowledge about their
form of worship must surely be inferior to that of the Rambam who lived
in Muslim countries and who was familiar with their theological
writings.  The Rambam did not consider Muslims to be idolators.  How,
then, can the alleged view of the Ran be considered to override those of
earlier Rishonim who were more knowledgeable about Muslim beliefs and


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 13:02:59 -0400
Subject: Islam and Idolatry

David Jutkowitz already cited the Tzitz Eliezer (14:91) who quotes the Ran 
in Sanhedrin (61b) who says that the worship conducted by Muslims can be 
characterized as avodah zarah.  See also the Ritva in Pesachim (25b sv mah 
rotzeach) who says that while Muslims are not ovdei avodah zarah, Islam is 
considered avodah zarah for Jews.  The Radbaz writes similarly in a 
responsum (4:1163).

As Andrew Klafter noted, the Rambam disagreed and argued that Islam is not 
avodah zarah and its adherents are not ovdei avodah zarah.

Gil Student


From: Eliezer Appleton <eliezerappleton@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 15:54:30 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Longest masechta?

I've frequently heard it said that although Bava Basra is the longest
masechta in terms of number of dapim (~176), Berachos, while only ~64
daf, is actually the longest in terms of the number of words in the
masechta (since it's dapim tend to be longer and wider than average).

So, here's the challenge for those of you with a digital Shas and a yen
for programming: Is this fact or fiction? Toras emes or Jewish urban

While your at it, for curiosity, I'd like to see the complete breakdown
in largest to smallest masechtos in terms of number of words.

Also, what is the >average< number of words on a daf/amud and the
average for each masechta.

Eliezer Appleton
Chicago, Illinois


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 21:06:10 +1000
Subject: Re: Phrasing in Prayers

Ben Katz wrote
>    We can infer from the break (i.e. the "amen") that the proper
>phrasing in our own (Ashkenazic) text should also be "tishkon, titgadel,

That version does seem to make more sense then the Ashkenaz version,
because "bekarov beyameinu leolam vaed TISHKON" is not really an answer
to the question "matai TIMLOCH betzion?" (though presumably there's a
rationale for the Ashkenaz version also)

Mark Symons


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 13:53:26 +0300
Subject: Re:  Repeating Words

Baruch J. Schwartz wrote in  mail-jewish Vol. 34 #81 Digest:

>The author [of Ishei Yisrael, Avraham Yeshaya Pfoifer, Jerusalem 5758] 
>rules against the repetition of words in the tefillah (i.e. the amida) and 
>kedusha, noting specifically the repetitions of phrases in hallel as fixed 
>by the Sages as the only exceptions.
>Note 35  also mentions the Arukh HaShulhan 338:8 who defended the practice 
>of repeating.

I'm sorry to report that this appears not to be a totally accurate
rendition of what the Arukh Hashulhan had to say on the subject.

What he said, in free translation, is that ". . . all G-d-fearing people
are sorry about those who repeat words and phrases, but it is beyond our
power to voice our objections, because the masses are wild and would not
listen to the objections of wise men.  Rather, they would reply that
this is their oneg shabbat. . . .  And we should therefore not state
that this is forbidden, so that the perpetrators would be doing so only
as shogegin (unintentional violators)."

It would take a rather fertile imagination to characterize this attitude
of the Arukh HaShulhan as *defending* the practice of repeating.

Further, R' Baruch calims:

>However, the author takes pains to mention (citing Orah Neeman 53:22)
>that the shat"z must in no circumstances change the traditional melody of
>the prayers, reminding us of the story of the Maharil who attributed
>the untimely death of his daughter one year to the fact that at the
>beginning of that year he had made the mistake of changing the
>traditional melody of one of the selichot.

Now I have found several women named Orah Ne'eman in Israel telephone 
directories, but none of them claims to know what the Maharil is supposed 
to have said <g>.

OTOH, R' Baruch supplied me with a reference to a reference [my
intentional repetition <g>] by the Rema to the Maharil in OH 619:1.  But
there the Rema merely quotes the Maharil stating that one should not
change the city's customs, even with regard to melodies.  I wonder what
he would have said to those who introduced the Bavarian beer-house
melody for the singing of Ein Ke-loheinu.  Interesting that some have
raised *this* perversion to the status of a custom that must not be

I wonder what the Maharil would have said to the Sefardim down the block
from me who have departed from the Petah Tiqwa tune for Kol Nidrei.

In any event, I have not come across an omniscient statement by the
Maharil to the effect that the change of a melody brought about the
death of a child.



From: Boruch Merzel <BoJoM@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 18:56:39 EDT
Subject: Re: Talmidei Chachamim

See well known quotation from Talmud (B'rachos 64) 
Amar R.Elazar, Amar R. Chanina: Talmidei Chachamim marbim Shalom ba'olam"
translation would be: "Students of the Sages" (s'michus) 
"Students of Sages" are ipso facto assumed to be wise and learned because of 
their mentors, the source of their knowledge.
Hence the proper term, as used in the Talmud, for Torah scholars, plural,  
would be Talmidie Chachamim
Boruch Merzel

From: Michael Szpilzinger <mikes@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 09:25:13 -0400
Subject: Talmidei Chachamim

Netanel Livni writes:

> I noticed that some books use as the plural form of talmid chacham,
> talmidei chachamim while some use talmidim chachamim.  Each form assumes
> that the term talmid chacham means something different. talmidei
> chachamim assumes that a talmid chacham is a student of a chacham while
> talmidim chachamim assumes that the talmidim are chachamim.  Does anyone
> have any clues as to which is the correct form?

I have heard one opinion regarding this issue. Rabbi Steven Pruzansky,
leader of Kehilas Bnei Yeshurun in Teaneck, NJ, discussed this in a
Shiur that I attended a few weeks ago. He was of the opinion that the
translation of Talmid Chacham is indeed a student of a wise person. The
focus of the term is that one must always strive to have a Rebbe or
teacher from which to draw wisdom from. Even the Gedolim and other
leaders have at least one person who they consider as their Rebbe. He
said that this view is proven by the fact that the most common and
accepted plural term that we use is Talmidei Chachamim (students of the
wise) and not Talmidim Chachamim (wise students).

He carried this principle a bit further and mentioned anecdotally that
he was in the presence of a group of Rabbis when he staunchly used the
term "Talmidah Chacham" referring to a female as opposed to what he felt
was the incorrect "Talmidah Chachamah". This was met with mild derision
but Rabbi Pruzansky still defends his position.

Michael Szpilzinger
Visit our web site at http://www.ou.org

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 14:50:54 -0400
Subject: RE: Talmidei Chachamim

Netanel Livni <n_livni@...> wrote:

> I noticed that some books use as the plural form of talmid chacham,
> talmidei chachamim while some use talmidim chachamim.

Which books use `talmidim chachamim'?  I can't recall ever having
come across that form before.

Zev Sero

From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 18:27:56 EDT
Subject: Talmidei Chachamim

Netanel Livni asks (MJv35n3) about the meaning and correctness of "talmid 
xacham" vs. "talmid xachamim" and their plurals.

"Talmid xacham" appear in the Tosefta, Bavli and Yerushalmi whereas
"talmid xachamim" appear in the Mishnah and in Talmud Yerushalmi, and in
all cases the meaning is of "a pupil of a sage/s" or "the disciple of,"
"talmid shel chacham/im". Later it developed into the current meaning of
a learned man.  Many authorities (Goitein, Heinemann) suggest that the
original expression was "talmid xachamim" as in (Mishnah Yoma 1:6; TY,
Succah 2:53:1) A support for this is found in the plural form "talmidei
xachamim," but never "talmidei xacham" Usually in somech-nismach
construct only the first word becomes plural, but in this case both
become plural, suggesting that the second word (xachamim) was plural all
along. See "talmidei xachamim" in TB Shabbat 114a, 152a.

"Talmidim xachamim" means smart pupils in any subject, whereas "talmidei
xachamim" means learned men in Judaism.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 06:38:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Talmidim Chachamim??

I don't recall ever seeing "talmidim chachamim".  I would be interested
to know where have you seen that form.  As far as I know it's "talmidei
chachamim": See the last sugya in Berachot, which we read on Friday
night before Barechu and Shabbat/Y"T morning before Aleinu: "...talmidei
chachamim marbim shalom ba-olam...".

Not sure why the singular is "talmid chacham" as opposed to "talmid
chachamim"; I would think a "student of the wise" would be a student of
more than one wise person, i.e. a "student of the Sages."  More
generally, my understanding is that with these "semichut" form compound
nouns, the second noun does not change from singular to plural.  Thus,
"beit midrash" -> "batei midrash" NOT "batei midrashim/ot", "baal
chesed" -> "baalei chesed" NOT "baalei chasadim", etc.


From: Mark Cymerman <mark@...>
Date: Wed, 11 Jul 2001 14:18:32 +0100
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

I wonder whether anyone can tell me why we start saying Vsen Tal Umatar
on Dec 5 each year.I am aware of the Gemoroh in Taanis 10a that it
represents 60 days after Tekufas Tishri,but what is the significance of
the 60 days and why from Tekufas Tishri and not say from Succos?


End of Volume 35 Issue 10