Volume 35 Number 20
                 Produced: Sun Jul 22  8:56:56 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artificial Insemination
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Bava Batra and Berachot
         [Eli Turkel]
         [Bob Werman]
Correct Pronunciation
         [Zev Sero]
Mezonot Bread
         [Joshua B Lee]
         [Beno Freedman]
Torah & Sefer Yehoshua
         [Warren Burstein]
Vsen & Julian
         [Daniel M Wells]
Vsen Tal Umatar (4)
         [Ben Z. Katz, David Charlap, Harold Greenberg, Rachel Smith]
Info: Shabbaton in Kochav Yaakov with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler
         [Gidon Ariel]


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 11:19:12 +0100
Subject: Artificial Insemination

Mike Gerver writes <<If the halachic father were defined as the genetic
father, and there were an issue of incest at stake, I would think that you
couldn't rely on this principle of "Rov.">>

I am not sure this is true.  We rely on rov for all other issues of
paternity - you can never "know" who the father is, in the same way you can
know who the mother is.  This extends to capital crimes, eg cursing your



From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 09:36:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Bava Batra and Berachot

>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.

The way i heard the story was that berachot was longer than Bava Batra
in word count not that berachot was the longest.
Has someone verified that version?

Eli Turkel


From: Bob Werman <RWERMAN@...>
Date: Thu,  19 Jul 2001 7:37 +0200
Subject: Chas-Vechallila

A question:

If chas veChallila and chas veShalom mean the same [they do], do we
conclude that Challila and Shalom are identical?

Since Challila means far away, do we conclude that shalom occurs when
people are separated?

__Bob Werman


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 16:48:54 -0400
Subject: Re: Correct Pronunciation

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote:
> Baruch J. Schwartz <schwrtz@...> wrote:

>> 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.

The word is `CharANah' (`to Charan'), and it is always accented on
the penultimate syllable, no matter where in the verse it comes,
as are all words of this form, where the hei is used to indicate
direction, e.g. `vayeired mitzrAYmah', `ARtzah se'ir', `YAmah
vaKEIDmah tzaFOnah vaNEGbah'.

> You'll find a better counter-example in Vayishlah, Gen. 32:5.

This is indeed a better example.  The word is `ATah' (`now').
The word for `now' is usually accented on the last syllable,
but here we see it at the end of a verse, and sure enough it's
accented on the penultimate syllable.  But IMHO this example
fails as well, because what's happening here is another end-
of-verse rule, one that really does exist, which turns a
patach into a komatz.  The word for now is usually spelled
patach-ayin, komatz-tav, heh, with the accent on the last
syllable.  At the end of a verse, as here, it becomes
komatz-ayin, komatz-tav, heh, i.e. it's a different form
of the word, and therefore it should not be surprising that
the accent is different as well.  You can't generalise from
this to words that are spelled exactly the same at the end
of a verse as they are elsewhere, such as `neshamAH'.

Zev Sero


From: Joshua B Lee <barco8@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 22:30:37 EDT
Subject: Re: Mezonot Bread

On 18 Jul 2001 Michael Horowitz <mljewish@...> writes:

> I recently visited London and Paris.  I was suprised to see that it is
> common practice among Ashkanazim to eat "mezonot bread."  When I was
> in yeshiva I had learned their was no such thing for ashkenazim, and
> have found that the hechshers I am familiar with in the US do not
> allow bread to be labeled mezonot.

A couple of Chasidische heksharim, otherwise very strict, in
Williamsburg Brooklyn say "mezonos" for a number of bread-like items. Of
course, there are communities, such as Chicago where Rabbi Aharon
Soloveitchik ruled against it, where "mezonos bread" is almost
impossible to find. Rabbi Nachman of Breslov once said that there will
be a day when an ordinary simple Jew will be as unique as the Ba'al Shem
Tov. When asked what he defined as a simple Jew, he said even a Jew that
does something as simple as washing his hands for bread will be unusual.
"Mezonos rolls" and the like prove that Rebbe Nachman had a high level
of ruach hakodesh in this matter. :-)


From: Beno Freedman <bsfreedm@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 22:42:07 -0400
Subject: non-Jews

Two questions struck me recently about non-Jews:

1)  There is a Biblical commandment to love the "ger" as yourself
(parshat k'doshim, in lev. 19 or so).  I assume this means what is known
as a ger toshav, a resident non-Jew living among Jews, or at least
"observant of the Noachide laws," ie. a civilized one and non-idolator. 
(I don't think this could refer to the "ger tzedek," or convert, at least
on a simple "p'shat" level.)
I remember seeing a drasha about "loving your *neighbor* as yourself" --
but not non-Jews!  Wouldn't this seem to contradict the Biblical
commandment to love the ger?

2) The haftara we read every public fast (Isaiah, somewhere in the back)
mentions that non-Jews will also be rewarded if they only "adhere to the
covenant and keep the Sabbath."  Here, there is no question that this
refers to true non-Jews.
Incidentally, it would seem that the same "ger" mentioned earlier is also
*obligated* to keep the Sabbath, as we quote in kiddush, ". . . avd'cha
v'amatcha *v'gercha* asher bish'arecha."  This seems to me also to be
speaking of a non-Jew who lives among Jews but is not a slave.
So why is it said (Talmud, I think) that non-Jews who keep the Sabbath
are deserving of death?  Doesn't this contradict the outright "p'shat" of
the Torah?



From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:14:38
Subject: Re: Torah & Sefer Yehoshua

>From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>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.

It seems to me that there is a contradiction between attributing a frame of
reference to God and the statement in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 1:11 that God
has no physical attributes.


From: Daniel M Wells <wells@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:21:15 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Vsen & Julian

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

An earlier poster also asked why use the goyishe names for the months.

The simple answer is that a beis din/sanhedrin many cenuries ago made
those decision and until we can put together another beis din/sanhedrin of
comparative stature, we are stuck with those descisions.

Just out of interest, we also count our years differently. Thus what the
seder olam calls 2448 (yexias mizrayim) is by our reckoning 2450. Rambam
brings down why. In fact there are at least 3 systems if not 5.

Seder Olam reckons years according to the age of Adam if he still would be
alive. Adam was created on RH of year 2 according to our current system.
Take the current molad and month by month detract 29 days 12 hours 793
chalakim. It turns out that year 2 had molad on day 6 -friday- at the
fourteenth hour which is when Adam was reported to have been created.

However according to seder olam, year one was when Adam was one year old
ie a year after he was created, year 3 by our counting.

Others hold that year one was the year Adam was created.

This accounts for the minor differences when the second temple was
destroyed - 68, 69 or 70 CE.

As far as the big difference between the jewish version of the length of
the first temple and the goyishe count, this has been discussed by the
rabbonim and apperntaly the question is over the length the Persian kings
ruled in Eretz yisrael.



From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

>>From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
>>Now I have a question - since we know that the Julian calendar is
>>incorrect and the Gregorian calendar is accurate, why don't the Jews in
>>the Galut begin praying for rain 60 days after the Autumn equinox which
>>is about November 21?

Shmuel's approximation of the 90 day tekufot was accepted, and even if
it's wrong, Orthodoxy still follows it.  This is a serious problem with
our calendar.  We gain about 1/2 day a century compared with the secular
calendar.  One can calculate that in the year 22,000 we will be saying
v'tayn tal u-matar AFTER pesach!  Interestingly, in Russia, where the
Gregorian calendar wasn't accepted till the 20th century, Jews used to
change to ve'tayn tal u'matar on the 22nd of Nov.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226
From: David Charlap <shamino3@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2001 10:59:33 -0400
Subject: Re: Vsen Tal Umatar

Harold Greenberg wrote:
> ... It was decided that the Jews in the Galut would start to pray
> for rain (as opposed to mentioning rain) 60 days after the Autumn
> equinox (as determined by the calendar based on the sun) when they
> would be arriving home.  ...
> Now I have a question - since we know that the Julian calendar is
> incorrect and the Gregorian calendar is accurate, why don't the Jews
> in the Galut begin praying for rain 60 days after the Autumn equinox
> which is about November 21?

There is another more fundamental question here as well.  If the reason
for not praying at the equinox is due to the hazards of traveling in the
rain, why should we have any delay at all today?  When Moshiach comes,
surely people will travel by air or on paved roads for the holidays.  So
the dangers of traveling in the rain won't be there anymore.

I suspect that the reason we don't change the date to November 21 today
is the same reason we don't change it to the date of the equinox. 
Because we don't have rabbis who are able to make such a fundamental
change.  Such changes will have to wait for Moshiach.

-- David

From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 07:09:46 +0300
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

Sam Gamoran asks
>Interestingly, I think this is the only event in halacha tied to the
>solar calendar.  Can anybody mention something else?  

We are forbidden to study Talmud on the evening of December 24.

Zvi Greenberg
Eilat, Israel

From: Rachel Smith <rachelms@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 06:54:55 -0700
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

Halacha doesn't use the Julian calendar; it uses Shmuel's
calendar. Shmuel predated Julius Caesar by about 200 years.  The Gemara
(Eruvin 56a) defines the duration of a t'kufa as 91.3125 days, so
Shmuel's year of 4 t'kufos is 365.25 days long, which happens to be the
same value used by the Julian calendar 200 years later.  The Gemara ties
the saying of "v'sein tal umatar" to 60 days after Shmuel's t'kufas
Tishrei.  This "t'kufas Tishrei" is not nowadays related to the autumnal
equinox, although presumably in the times of Shmuel they were the same
day.  Once Shmuel defined his calendar, it defines t'kufos 91.3125 days
apart for eternity, regardless of equinoxes or other solar year


From: Gidon Ariel <Gariel@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 13:17:27 +0300
Subject: Info: Shabbaton in Kochav Yaakov with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler

Shabbaton in Kochav Yaakov with Rabbi Mordechai Tendler

A community is being planned 8 minutes from Jerusalem, patterned in the
manner of the hashkafa of Rav Moshe Feinstein zt"l.

* An uncompromising Torah environment, open to people seeking spiritual
* A warm Kehilla, with strong central Rabbinic guidance. 
* A spacious, cleverly planned community. 

This shabbaton will:
* Give us all a chance to get to know one another better, 
* Hear and speak with Rav Mordechai Tendler shlit"a,
* Acquaint ourselves with the Yishuv we are strongly considering as our
  target location, and 
* Make considerable progress with this project.

If you are interested in hearing more please contact: Gidon Ariel at
055-665037 or <gidon1@...> 
See our website: http://excellenceweb.com/tendler.

Date:  Parshat Ekev, August 11
Program and subsidized price: to be finalized

As people who attended last year's shabbaton can attest, the weekend will
probably be a very enjoyable one. Space is limited.
Protected busses will be available for transport from Jerusalem on Friday
and back on Motzaei Shabbat.

If you will not be able to attend the Shabbaton but are interested in the
planned community, please contact me as well.

Gidon Ariel


End of Volume 35 Issue 20