Volume 35 Number 17
                 Produced: Thu Jul 19  5:03:08 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Broder's Books Jewish Catalogue - July 11, 2001
Longest masechta?
         [Shlomo Abeles]
Making 'leining' More Meaningful
Nusach Sefard (Chasidim) in Israel
         [Seth & Sheri Kadish]
OU Dairy
Torah and Sefer Yehoshua
         [Mike Gerver]
V'sen Tal Umatar
Vsen Tal Umatar
         [Eric Simon]


From: <Bookssss@...>
Subject: Broder's Books Jewish Catalogue - July 11, 2001

We have just issued our July 11, 2001 latest Jewish Books Catalogue

You may view this catalogue at


Broder's Rare & Used Books
205 Columbia Blvd
Waterbury, CT  06710-1402


From: Shlomo Abeles <sba@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 10:44:53 +1000
Subject: Longest masechta?

From: Eliezer Appleton <eliezerappleton@...>
>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).

Response from a friend:

A few years ago I had the same question, so I tested it.  Using the
Bar-Ilan CD I searched for all words starting with an alef (a*) then
with b*, g* etc..  The longest mesechta was Shabbos followed possibly by
Chullin.  Despite the "well-known" fact, Berachos wasn't even close.



From: Mordechai <Phyllostac@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 19:02:45 EDT
Subject: Making 'leining' More Meaningful

<<From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Does anyone know how I could obtain  the article:

'Putting the meaning back into leyning : An expressionist approach to
the Taamei Neginah', Le'eyla, 32, pp. 16-18. (It is a publication of the
British Chief Rabbinate. Email to the address at their website won't go
through). Thanks>>

Although I replied to the above post previously with a suggestion about
how to get the article, I am happy to report that I recently finally got
a copy of it myself (via the N.Y. Public Library) and was quite
impressed with it.

The article was written by Dr. Lewis Glinert (author/editor of 'Hebrew
in Ashkenaz : A Language in Exile [Oxford U. Press], as well as a few
other books) in Le'eyla (copyright Jews College publications in London),
a veteran baal kria himself. Among the topics discussed in it with
regard to leining, are absolute key, volume, tempo, rhythm, spacing and
intonation. I highly recommend the article to all baalei kria - past,
present and future - and would be interested to hear comments on it.

If anyone cannot get the article themselves, they can drop me a line and
I will try to get a copy to them soon, bli neder.

Also, I recently started working on a 'survey of baalei kria'. I think I
may have lost it somewhere in computer-land, but hopefully I will be
able to find it or reconstruct it and then finish it and perhaps post it
in this forum, if approved. I think baalei kria should network with each
other and knowledgable people in general, to improve the very important
'leining' (krias HaTorah - Torah reading) experience for us all.



From: Seth & Sheri Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 17:11:32 +0200
Subject: Nusach Sefard (Chasidim) in Israel

> Seth (Avi) Kadish wrote about Nosach Achid that << Religious Zionist
> schools were faced with ethnically diverse students, and adopted NH,
> calling it "Nosah Ahid" in order to placate the different groups. >>
> If I am not mistaken, the impetus for Nosach Achid originated in the
> army with Rav Shlomo Goren as chief chaplain. It then spread to the lay
> community.  Anyone have authoritative documentation on this?

Maybe I was unclear, but that is exactly what I meant: it started in the
army (where it never succeeded), but gained steam in the lay community,
where the state religious schools helped spread it.  The only printed
documentation I'm aware of are the Siddurim and Machzorim of Tzahal,
Nosah Ahid, commissioned by Rav Goren zt"l.

> All nuschei sefard are based on the Ariz"l's nusach.  It is not accurate
> to say that nusach sefard has nothing to do with sephardic nusachim
> since the kabalistic influences exist in a very similar way in both
> "sefard" and "sefardi" nusachim.

What happened, to the best of my understanding, is this: The Ari
(despite the fact that his father was Polish) developed his system of
kavvanot according to a sefardic nosah.  Thus the chasidim, quite
understandably, wanted to davven according to the nosah of the Ari,
which they knew was "sefardic".  But in reality a "chulent" was created
when the attempt was made to adapt the traditional Ashkenazic nosah to
the sefardic one. The most important attempt to impose some order on
this hybrid nosah was made by the Alter Rebbe of Lubavitch, which is the
reason why Lubavitcher chasidim call their nosah "Nosah ha-Ari."

Nevertheless, anyone who lives a true sefardic tradition needs but to
glance at a "nosah sefard" siddur for a few seconds to immediately
realize that it is not really sefardic.

> Actually, the Chatam Sofer was not from hungary.  Note that he signs
> most of his letters with "from Frankfurt Am Main."  The Chatam Sofer
> simply took a rabbinic position in Hungary.

True enough.  But I was thinking more in terms of his influence,
i.e. his yeshiva and his students, and those who accepted his psak
(i.e. his psak defending nusach ashkenaz).

Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 09:21:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: RE: OU Dairy

>As per Eli Turkel, it behooves us to do our research before we
>speculate.  Here is some information from
>A.  The halachah measures the ratio between dairy and non-dairy
>ingredients by volume and not by weight. Generally, in industrial
>settings, ingredients are measured by weight. As a result, it is often
>difficult to receive an accurate calculation from a manufacturer of the
>percentage of dairy ingredients by volume, since companies do not
>measure ingredients by volume.

This is easily calculated or researched.

>B.  It is difficult to monitor the levels of ingredients used in
>products. Even if a precise calculation of ingredient ratios is made,
>how would we know that the company does not change the percentages in a
>given product? Because of the complications in overseeing a bitul
>(nullification) situation, the OU does not wish to rely on bitul.

Changes in recipe, by even a small amount, could change the product.
Especially in larger companies, this is not done lightly. The OU out to be
supervising closely enough to notice this.

>C.  There are instances when, according to halachah, a trace ingredient
>is not nullified because of the critical function of the item. In order
>to decide whether the principle of nullification applies to an
>ingredient, it is first necessary to fully understand the effect of that
>ingredient on the food product in question. Because of the intricacy of
>the halachic principles, as well as the complexity of food technology,
>the OU requires the OU-D label on all foods containing dairy
>ingredients, irrespective of the amounts used.

But the OU claims that exactly these food technology issues are the reason
we need supervisory organizations (like the OU!).

I find these reasons unconvincing or, worse, an arguement against the OU.



From: Mike Gerver <Mike.Gerver@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 14:14:19 +0200
Subject: Torah and Sefer Yehoshua

Ed Werner, in v35n05, seems to be looking for a book which 1) presents
evidence that Noah's flood occurred at the date that is traditionally
assigned to it, and 2) uses only ordinary scientific evidence, which
necessarily assumes that the present laws of nature operated unchanged
from that time until the present.  I believe I can show that what he
wants is impossible. It might be possible to find evidence for the flood
at a different date than the traditional one.  Or, one might be able to
find evidence for the flood at the traditional date, by assuming (with
no evidence outside of Jewish tradition) that something happened to
disrupt the laws of nature and throw off dating methods.  But you cannot
get evidence for a flood at the traditional date by ordinary scientific

Using the traditional Hebrew dating system from Seder Olam, the First
Temple was destroyed in 422 BCE. Most non-Jewish historians say that
this event occurred in 586 BCE. I am going to show that the traditional
date of 422 BCE is inconsistent with the assumption that the laws of
nature proceeded normally between then and now. If that is the case,
then it is certainly hopeless to try to find evidence for the flood at
the traditional date, assuming no disruption in the laws of nature.

My argument is based on the lunar eclipse data that Ptolemy presents in
the Almagest, in order to calculate the length of the synodic month, the
mean period from one new moon to the next. (See "Ptolemy's Almagest,"
translated and annotated by G. J. Toomer, Springer-Verlag, 1984.) The
length of the synodic month that Ptolemy calculates, which is the same
figure used in the fixed Hebrew calendar, is accurate to within a
fraction of a second.  That kind of precision is what you would expect
for the several centuries of data that he uses, from Babylonian and
Greek records.  The Babylonian eclipse data is dated by reference to the
reigns of the rulers of Babylon, including Assyrian, Babylonian and
Persian kings. He makes use of data from eclipses observed in Babylon
during the reign of the Persian king Darius I (son of Cambyses), in 502
BCE and 491 BCE.  If Ptolemy^s chronology were off by even one day, let
alone 164 years, his calculation of the synodic month and other periods
of the moon could not have been as accurate as it was.  So the Persians
certainly were already ruling Babylon in 502 BCE, and the destruction of
the First Temple by the Babylonians must have occurred before that date.
The only way to avoid this conclusion is to say (with no outside
evidence) that the moon's orbital motion changed between than and now,
in such a contrived way that Ptolemy's calculation comes out right.

It might be possible to find evidence for a flood at a different date
from the traditional one, say 164 years earlier.  But if Ed is willing
to admit errors in traditional Jewish chronology of 164 years between
the destruction of the First Temple and the present time, why couldn't
there be other errors in the traditional chronology between the time of
the flood and 586 BCE, perhaps errors that are great enough to put the
flood back at 5600 BCE?

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 09:49:21 EDT
Subject: V'sen Tal Umatar

The reason for begining to say V'sen Tal Umatar on Dec. 5th is besause
we don't actually need the rain until that point in time. Following that
logic every country should begin to add this in thier Tefillot at
different times of the year. And in the southern hemisphere of the globe
V'sen Tal Umatar should be inserted during thier winter(ie: our summer).

This was in fact the opinion of the Rosh (see Shaalot Utshuvot
Harash). He tried for many years to institute this custom whilst the Rav
in Germany but writes (in great detail of an interesting episode) that
he never managed to implement this.

From: Eric Simon <erics@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2001 15:06:04 -0700
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

If I understand correctly:

On mljewish:
>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?

Let me answer one of your questions, but first, let me add some others.

Isn't Tekufas Tishri the equinox?  Isn't the equinox approximately Sept
23?  In which case 60 days after is November 22?  Why Dec 6th then:

 From a YHE shiur: "Halakha generally conducts its calendar system
according to a combination of the lunar and solar cycles.  The Jewish
leap year accounts for the excess days of the solar year. In some areas
of Jewish law, however, we take into account the solar year exclusively.
The halakhic expression of the solar year is the beginning of the four
seasons, referred to as: "tekufat Nissan" (the vernal equinox); "tekufat
Tamuz" (the summer solstice); "tekufat Tishrei" (the autumnal equinox);
and "tekufat Tevet" (the winter solstice)."

The tekufas needed to be caluculated so as to decide when to add a leap
month, which was important, of course, so that Pesach would never occur
during the winter.

Again, from the YHE shiur:

      Chazal  disputed the precise length  of  the  solar
year,  and  needless  to say, this argument  affects  the
determination  of  the beginning  of  each  season.   The
Rambam  (Hilkhot Kiddush Ha-chodesh 9:1)  summarizes  the
debate as follows:

   Regarding  the  solar  year,  some  Sages  in   Israel
   maintain  that  it  spans 365  and  one-quarter  days,
   while  others  claim that [the partial  day]  is  less
   than  a  quarter of a day.  A similar argument  exists
   among the Greek and Persian scholars.

   In  rabbinic  jargon, the first opinion appears  under
the appellation "Shemuel's tekufa," while the latter view
is   referred  to  as  "Rav  Ada's  tekufa."    Shemuel's
calculation corresponds directly to the Julian system.

Calendar mavens no doubt know that the Julian calendar "lost" three days
every 400 years, and that for centuries we've been using the "Gregorian"
calendar which corrects for this.

And so: if I understand it correctly, although the autumn equinox is on
Sept 23, halacha uses the Julian calendar.  And so, according to halacha,
the autumn equinox is, according to _our_ Gregorian calendars, Oct 16 (as
there is now a 13-day separation between the Julian and Gregorian calendars).

And so, we say Vsen Tal Umatar 60 days later, which is December 5.

(And, if we're still in this existence in the year 2100, we will say it on
December 6, as the year 2100 CE is when the Julian and Gregorian calendars
will begin to be 14 days apart).

If I understand this correctly.

_My_ big question: why does halacha still apparently use the Julian calendar?

-- Eric


End of Volume 35 Issue 17