Volume 35 Number 14
                 Produced: Wed Jul 18  5:51:36 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Correct Pronunciation
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
         [Michael Mirsky]
Peh kadosh yomar davar zeh?
         [Shalom Carmy]
qamatz + heh and stress
         [Baruch J. Schwartz]
Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, zt"l on Orthodoxy
         [David Neuman]
Torah & Sefer Yehoshua
         [Bernard Raab]
Turning the other cheek
         [Dov Teichman]
A Visit to a Mosque
         [Yisrael & Batya Medad]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 05:28:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Good morning, All,

I would like to thank those of you who have used the PayPal icon on the
mail-jewish home page (http://mail-jewish.org/) for submitting mail-jewish
subscription contributions. It works fine and seems real easy. Another
modern tech marvel. Thanks as well to those who use the more traditional
methods of check and US postal mail.

I'm now about a week and half into my new job, still trying to get used to
the schedule and longer commute. I'm reasonably keeping up with
submissions, but have not had the time to respond individually to a number
of you. My apologies to those people, it is not that I am ignoring you,
just need another week or two to get better settled.

OK, and now on to getting out the issues!

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 16:03:36 +0300
Subject: Re: Correct Pronunciation

Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...> wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 35 
#4 Digest:

>it should be pointed out that words ending
>in kamatz + heh such as han-neshamah are among the many many types of
>words in Biblical Hebrew that do not have a distinct pausal form, and
>certainly are not accented on the penultimate syllable when they come at
>the end of the verse.

Please check the last word of the first verse of parashat Vayetze for a
counter-example.  You'll find a better counter-example in Vayishlah,
Gen. 32:5.


From: Michael Mirsky <mirskym@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 00:36:18 -0400
Subject: Orthodoxy

Mike Gerver wrote in v35n6:

 > In a sociological sense, Orthodoxy is defined by the observance of a certain
 > narrow range of mitzvot, such as saying shmoneh esreh three times a day,
 > buying meat from a kosher butcher, refraining from driving and turning
 > on lights on Shabbat, etc. If you said that a certain person, who was
 > convicted of tax fraud, is Orthodox, everyone would understand what you
 > meant, and no one would think it was a contradiction in terms.

I believe that this is a very sad but true commentary.  This leads to 
people who wear their frumkeit on their sleeve - appear and act for all 
intents and purposes as Orthodox, but when it comes to business dealings, 
cheating on income tax, or dealing with their family and friends - they are 
anything but what Orthodox really means.  There is a Yiddish term for 
someone who is Orthodox in ALL repects - an "erlicher Yid".

So this is the problem with labels such as Orthodox - it leads to chilul 
Hashem when Yeshiva students who are busted for smuggling drugs are called 
"Orthodox Jews" (a recent news item) - which suggests to the gentile world 
that it's OK for "Orthodox" Jews to do this.  They may look and dress 
Orthodox, but in my opinion they are anything but.

Michael Mirsky
Thornhill, Ontario


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 11:37:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Peh kadosh yomar davar zeh?

> A mildly clever remark made by Cardinal Newman, a British cleric who
> converted to Catholocism -- and learned in college some 55 years ago! --
> sticks with me:
> "I don't know who your doxy [a prostitute] is, but mine is orthodoxy."

Newman had an excellent sense of humor, but he was very makpid on lashon
nekiyya. I can't imagine him making this remark.

In fact, the quip "Orthodoxy is my doxy, heterodoxy is someone else's
doxy" is listed in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations in the name of several
Anglican ministers whose names escape me.


From: Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...>
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 18:49:12 +0200
Subject: qamatz + heh and stress

Ira L. Jacobson is right; I should not have said that "words ending in
qamatz + heh do not have a distinct pausal form" but rather "feminine
forms of nouns, verbs, adjectives ending in qamatz + heh". Indeed, the
pronoun atah and the adverb `atah do receive penultimate stress in a
pause. However, he is wrong about haRAnah at the end of Gen. 28:10. In
this word, as in every word containing of the locative heh ending, the
penultimate stress has nothing to do with the pause (or with retraction
"nesigah" for that matter). The locative heh ending, whether attached to
places like haRAnah, baVELah, or in words like Anah "where", leMAtah
"below", as well as the archaic case-ending heh in words like LAYlah,
meUmah, haMAVta (Ps 116:15), eMAta (Ex 15:16) and similar forms, is
always toneless, whether in a pause or not. For the rule, the various
types, the examples and the few exceptions see Gesenius, para. 90 a-i.
The issue of pausal forms is irrelevant to the discussion of these words.
Botton line: words like neshamah can undergo retraction of stress
"nesigah" (YALdah-lo) but will not ever receive penultimate stress in a


From: David Neuman <dav-el-svc@...>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2001 11:18:06 -0400
Subject: Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, zt"l on Orthodoxy

On November 12, 1989, Rabbi Mordechai Gifter, zt"l,  spoke at a lecture
series on "Diversity in Orthodoxy, An Educational series for the
1990's...and 5750's, The Path of Torah Judaism in the next 10 years"
Sponsored by  the Oheb Zedek - Taylor Road Synagogue in Cleveland.   

Rabbi Gifter, zt"l began his lecture as follows: 

 "Good evening my friends.  When I was asked to speak tonight on the
influence of the Telzer Yeshiva upon the Jewish community, I wasn't aware
of the fact that it was part of a discussion on diversity in Orthodox
Judaism.  You see my friends I'm not an Orthodox Jew.  I am Torah Jew. 
Orthodoxy is strange to me.  For years and years, I've been saying this
over and over again, that this Greek term Orthodox doesn't well describe
what we Torah Jews belive in.  And, therefore, I will not be engaged in
Orthodoxy tonight.  But, rather, in speaking a bit about Torah Jews and
it's true Telzer Yeshiva has done quite a bit for the Cleveland
community, it's nearly fifty years.   ...."

The above quote is a transcription from a tape recording.

Dovid Neuman


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 00:57:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Torah & Sefer Yehoshua

>From: Ed Werner <edwerner@...>
>Jonathan Katz writes:
> > Check out the book "Noah's Flood" by Pitman and Ryan (two professors at
> > Columbia University). They claim to have found archaeological evidence
> > supporting a flood in the Middle East thousands of years ago. The
> > following website also has a news article about this research:
> > http://www.earthinstitute.columbia.edu/news/story9_1.html
>I've read the article. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with the
>Flood described in the Torah. It speaks of a regional catastrophe on
>Black Sea shores (not exactly "Middle East") some 7600 years ago
>(aren't we counting now year 5761 since the Creation?). The Torah, on
>the other hand, describes a world-wide flood some 4000 years ago (in
>2105 BCE according to our traditional chronology), in which all humanity
>but Noah's family perished. Not only have I found no evidence of such a
>flood, but the archaeological record in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Crete,
>etc. shows constant occupation of many without any considerable break
>circa 2100 BCE, an furthermore, among quite a plenty of Egyptian and
>Mesopotamian texts of that time, there is no mention whatsoever of a
>large-scale flood -- instead, the picture reflected by those records is
>that of continuous existence of civilization (albeit with some man-made
>troubles: invasions, rebellions, etc.)  It is also hard to see how a
>flood in 5600 BCE could have influenced the compilation of the Gilgamesh
>story in the 3rd-2nd millennia BCE -- but that's quite another question.

For a serious effort to reconcile the "scientific" age of the universe with 
our biblical 5700 years, see the work of the physicist Dr. Gerald Schroeder:

The Hidden Face of God : How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth -- by
      Gerald L. Schroeder; Hardcover

The Science of God : The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
      -- by Gerald L. Schroeder; Paperback

Genesis and the Big Bang : The Discovery of Harmony Between Modern Science 
and the Bible -- by Gerald L. Schroeder; Paperback

As physicists have known since Einstein, time is not an absolute or
invariant parameter, but depends on the observer's "frame of reference".
Schroeder claims and purports to show (I am not qualified to judge with
what success) that 5700 years in G-d's frame of reference is equal to
roughly 15 billion years of Earth time. (A quirk of the theory of
relativity is that it could terefore be said with equal validity that
5700 years of Earth time is equal to 15 billion years of G-d's time.)
This is not an artifice devised to validate the Bible, but as Schroeder
argues very persuasively, the rapidly accelerated expansion of the
universe from a singular source of pure energy requires that we describe
its age in relativistic terms (in other words: as measured by whom?).

Regarding the flood, Rabi Yocahanan argues in Zevachim 113a (in a
dispute with Reish-Lakish) that the flood did not reach to Eretz
Yisroel. In other words it need not have been "global" if indeed it did
not reach to a neighboring region! The gemarah proceeds to entertain
this possibility briefly as a way to explain the survival of the
"Re'em", a beast so big that it could not have conceivably fit into the
ark. The gemarah has many practical problems with the various claims
surrounding the text, as indeed do we, and it ultimately must invoke
many miracles not revealed in the Torah to explain it all away.  When
the Torah says "kal ha'aretz" we translate it as "the whole world".
With our accustomed global perspective, we assume this means the entire
planet. There was of course no such perspective in the time of matan
Torah.  The "world" of that era was much more constrained. The Torah was
not given as a textbook of planetary science; it would certainly have
been rejected as unintelligible nonsense if it were. As Dr. Wolowelsky
points out so insightfully (earlier recent issues of M-J), the flood
story must be understood in the cultural context of its time. 

 (Many thanks to Rabbi Yehudah Henkin for pointing me to the gemarah


From: Dov Teichman <DTnLA@...>
Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2001 12:01:57 EDT
Subject: Turning the other cheek

Incidentally, on Rabbi Avigdor Miller z.t.l.'s tape "The Ten
Commandments of Marriage", he explains the difference between the
Christian idea of "turning the other cheek", and the Jewish idea of "Let
him give his cheek to him who strikes him" (Eicha 3:30). He explains
that the Christian idea is that even after being struck once, one must
give your enemy your other cheek to strike again. But the Jewish idea is
that sometimes one must be prepared to receive a blow for doing God's
will as in the case of a Prophet (like Jeremiah) who by preaching God's
will will be struck, but certainly not to allow oneself to receive blows
for no reason.

The Christian view is seen clearer in Matthew 5:39 "...whosoever shall
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." or Luke 6:29
"And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other;
and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not [to take thy] coat also."

Dov Teichman


From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 14 Jul 2001 23:17:46 +0300
Subject: A Visit to a Mosque

I reviewed the Responsum of Rav Waldenberg (14:91) regarding visiting a
Mosque and the quotation from the Ran (in Sanhedrin).

Well, I see an immediate problem:
besides everything else which I will presently note, the major
assumption made there is that Islam has idolatrous characteristics.
This, of course, is in opposition to the Rambam's opinion.  And as we
say, I am not about to place my head between any two mountains a lot
bigger than me.

Even so, I would like to point out that the Ran there quoted reads
"hakdeishim shel hakutim v'gam ham'shuga shel hayishmaelim af al pi
she'ein to'in achreihem la'asoton elohut, ho'il u'mishtachvim lifneihem
histachave'ah shel elohut...".

Here are my queries:

a)  as there are no k'deishim in the sense of figurines, shrines.
statutes, etc. in a Mosque, is this a valid comparison?
b)  if he admits there is no Divinity involved, why be stringent?
c)  are their prostrations actually actions of a different concept
of divinity more than any other monotheistic religion?
d)  are their prostrations identical to ours, including pisuk yadayim
v'raglayim (the stretching out of hands and legs) which would make
it a idolatrous action and do they not place a separation between
the ground and themselves, similar to what we do on Yom Kippur to
avoid having our prostration defined as a "full" one which would 
be prohibited?

Yisrael Medad

P. S.  are there any members of the YI of Brookline, Mass. on this list?
If so, please contact me directly <ybmedad@...>


End of Volume 35 Issue 14