Volume 35 Number 23
                 Produced: Wed Jul 25  5:09:25 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Yeshaya Halevi]
Repetition in prayer
         [Sharon and Joseph Kaplan]
A simple rule for Expressionist Laining
         [Russell Hendel]
Solar Calendar
Sperm donors for artificial semination
V'Ahavta L'Reyacha Kamocha
Vsen Tal Umatar (7)
         [Zev Sero, Michael J. Savitz, Jack Gross, Hillel E. Markowitz,
Zev Sero, Russell Hendel, Michael Appel]
Request: Binghamton, NY
         [Deborah Wenger]


From: Yeshaya Halevi <chihal@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 23:56:51 -0700
Subject: Calendar

Shalom, Dan:

You cited a questioner who asked, <<why does halacha still apparently
use the Julian calendar?>>, then added <<An earlier poster also asked
why use the goyishe names for the months.>>

You answered your own question by stating <<The simple answer is that a
beis din/sanhedrin many centuries ago made those decision and until we
can put together another beis din/sanhedrin of comparative stature, we
are stuck with those descisions.>>

If we go back to the Tora, N'vee'eem, and K'tuveem, we see that the
Jewish calendar did not have such names as Tammuz and Heshvan. FYI,
these latter names are a legacy from our years in the
Assyrian/Babylonian Exile, and these months are named after
idols. Almost any college level English language dictionary will tell
you, black on white, that Tammuz was an Assyrian/Babylonian fertility

Don't take my word for it. Check it out in a halfway decent dictionary or
adult encyclopedia.

   Yeshaya Halevi (<chihal@...>)


From: Sharon and Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 10:23:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Repetition in prayer

Zev Sero writes about "Ushemo, ushemo, ushemo echad": "I have taken,
whenever I hear it sung, to ostentatiously counting on my fingers, one,
two, three, and then one, in the hope that people who notice will feel
uncomfortable."  I don't know the mores in his shul, but if someone did
that in my shul he would be considered both obnoxious as well as
disrespectful to the shul's rabbi who sets the halachic standards for
davening.  In general, being ostentatious in anything is usually not a
very good idea.  That goes double or triple for shul and davening

Joseph C. Kaplan


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:48:32 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: A simple rule for Expressionist Laining

Mark and Mordechai brought up(again) the issue of an expressionist
approach to laining.

For years I have been using one simple rule to make my laining
expressionist: I literally pause (about a breath) on every Level 1,2,
and 4 pause (ie. at each Zakef, Segol, Ethnach, Siluq, Pazer, Telish and

As I tell people who ask me >You have to come for air somewhere and
these seem to be the best spots<

By the way: You cant just intend to do this; You have to practice

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A.;http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm VISIT MY MAIL JEWISH ARCHIVES


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 09:30:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Solar Calendar

> 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

HUH! Says who. There is a custom in chassidish communities not to study
on Xmas. This varys according to the region, Russian Chasidim have a
different day than others. The reason seems to be either fear of walking
in the street (for pogroms), or in order that everyone should get up at
midnight to study, so while the goyim are celebrating midnight mass, the
Jews wouldn't be sleeping, which would be a accusation on the Jews. In
any event, its no halacha, I and all Lithuania Jews don't pay any
attention to it.


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 00:55:50 EDT
Subject: Re: Sperm donors for artificial semination

    I personally know people who asked a she'elah of Reb Moshe Feinstein
through his son-in-law, Rabbi Tendler about the permissability of
artificial insemination by a donor.  Reb Moshe -- and this was long
after he supposedly retracted his heter -- gave permission for this
couple, but warned that the donor must be a non-Jew to avoid the
potential problem of the resulting child marrying a sibling.


From: <HHgoldsmith@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 15:51:01 EDT
Subject: V'Ahavta L'Reyacha Kamocha

Now, during the Three Weeks, is a great time to increase Ahavat Yisrael
(Love for one's fellow Jew). Please visit OPERATION REFUAH's website at
www.operationrefuah.org and sign their Chaverim Kol Yisrael scroll
promoting the fundamental mitzvah of V'Ahavta L'Reyacha Kamocha (Love
Your Neighbor as Yourself).


From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 16:55:27 -0400
Subject: RE: Vsen Tal Umatar

David E Cohen <ddcohen@...> wrote:

> R. Moshe Feinstein zt"l [...] claims that the Abudraham was aware
> of the inaccuracy of that calendar [...]  I don't remember how he
> showed that the Abudraham was actually aware of this problem.

It's easy to show that he was aware of the problem - there was no
educated person in his time who was *not* aware of the problem.
The only question anyone had was what to do about it.

> It would seem to me that perhaps a Sanhedrin is not technically
> required to change our practice, since if the use of "tekufat
> shmuel" to calculate the date was not actually instituted as
> halacha, but was simply the most accurate method available at the
> time for calculating when the equinox actually was.

Tekufat Shmuel was not the most accurate method available, but it was
the most accessible to the common person, who had to actually decide
when to change the text of the beracha.  If the Gregorian calendar had
been in common use at that time, undoubtedly it would have been used for
this calculation.

> However, practically speaking, it would probably be only the
> Sanhedrin that could make this change, since there needs to be
> one uniform practice for this throughout the Jewish people.

Let me point out that if some Rabbinic body were to assemble, with the
clout to get everyone to change when they start saying Tal Umatar, this
body would *not* institute a uniform practise throughout the Jewish
people!  Instead, they would surely do as the ROSh wanted to, and
mandate that the Jews in every country and region start saying it at a
time that is appropriate to the agriculture of that country.  The fact
that all Jews outside EY pray for rain at a time when it is appropriate
for Iraq, a country with fewer than 100 Jews, is absurd, and the only
reason that we do it is because nobody has the clout to persuade
everyone to change it, and the ROSh ruled that it's better that nobody
change than that some do and some don't.

BTW, if those ~100 Jews in Iraq have a Rabbi, he is surely the most
prayed-for person of all time!  Every Shabbos, every Jew who davens
nusach Ashkenaz or `Sefard' (see other thread) says a Yekum Purkan for
all the Rabbis of EY and of Bavel; surely it would make sense to change
this to `di bear'a deyisrael vedi begaluta', or, as we say in kaddish
derabanan, `vedi bechol atar va'atar'.  Surely the Rabbis of America,
Europe, Australia, etc, deserve our prayers and blessings as much as
that one Rabbi (if there is even one) left in Bavel.

From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 21:45:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

>>> 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?  <<<

OTOH, if the reason for delaying the prayer for rain until some period
after Shemini Atzeret (with a different period for Eretz Yisrael
vs. chutz la'aretz) is due to the hazards of traveling in the rain for
those returning from Yerushalayim, then why do we continue the prayer
for rain right up until Erev Pesach?  Wouldn't the same considerations
apply to those traveling _to_ Yerushalayim in the weeks before Pesach?
One might expect to stop praying for rain a few weeks before Pesach,
with an earlier cessation in chutz la'aretz than in EY, based on when we
start praying for rain in the fall.

From: Jack Gross <vze2dstx@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 09:45:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Vsen Tal Umatar

From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
> 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.

I recall decades ago seeining an (already then) old siddur which included
as a siman (mnemonic device) for the November 22 rule:
  "Becha yevarech Yisrael leimor..."  (from Parshas Vayechi)
-- BeCHa = Beis + Caf = 22.

From: Hillel E. Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 2001 23:49:23 -0400
Subject: Re: Vsen Tal Umatar

This is from memory of a shiur I attended many years ago which was given
as part of explaining why Birchas Hachama is given every 28 years, even
though the calculation is not accurate.  The result of the gemara you
quoted is that Rav Ada's tekufa is indeed more accurate.  However, in
order to allow the regular members of Bnai Yisrael to keep track of the
tekufah (within a "good enough") range, Sh'muel's calculation is used
(even though it is known to be off).  Once the decision was made, we
continue according to that psak.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<sabbahem@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 16:30:37 -0400
Subject: RE: Vsen Tal Umatar

Rachel Smith <rachelms@...> wrote:
> Halacha doesn't use the Julian calendar; it uses Shmuel's
> calendar. Shmuel predated Julius Caesar by about 200 years.  

Julius died in 3717 (44 BCE, 113 years before the churban), and
was therefore more or less a contemporary of Shmaya and Avtalyon,
or Hillel and Shammai.  Shmuel lived about 300 years later.

[Similar reply from : Robert Israel <israel@...>
		      David Cohen <bdcohen@...>

The reason we use the Julian calendar to decide when to change
the text of Birkat Hashanim is simply that this decision has to
be made by every individual, so it was based on a calendar that
was accessible to everybody.  If the Gregorian calendar had been
in common use at that time, it would have been used instead.

Shmuel, R Ada, and all the other Amoraim knew very well that
*both* Shmuel's and R Ada's tekufot were wrong; they were both
approximations, to make things easy for people.  The difference
between them is merely that Shmuel's tekufa is for the common
people, who need an extremely simple way of deciding when to
start praying for rain, and can't be expected to make calculations
of any sort.  For this purpose, Shmuel said they could just look
at a goyishe calendar, and that would be close enough.  R Ada's
approximation (which is closer to Shmuel's than to the true
value) is designed for people who publish calendars, for the 
local Rov who needs to inform people when Pesach or Rosh Hashana
are coming, and these can be expected to perform simple arithmetic,
of the sort that the Rambam says can be done by a young child, so
they use R Ada's approximation, that 19 years = 235 months.

From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 00:47:05 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Vsen Tal Umatar

Sam and Zev (v35n15) respond to the issue of why VTHEN TAL UMATAR
is begun 60 days after Tekufat Tishrey.

I just would like to bring to peoples attention an obscure Rambam in
Prayer 2:16-17 which gives 3 cases (A) In Israel we ask for rain (VTEN
TAL UMATAR) from 7 days in Marcheshvan (B) In countries surrounding
Israel we ask 60 days after Tekufat Tishray (C) On the far out islands
where rain is only needed in the Summer, they pray for rain when they
need it and they pray in the blessing SHOMAYAH TEFILAH.

Does anyone know the halachic applications of Case C.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. A.S.A; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/mj.htm VISIT MY MJ ARCHIVES

From: Michael Appel <mjappel@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 11:47:24 -0500
Subject: Vsen Tal Umatar

I didn't see the following point made yet in this thread.In case there
was any confusion, it should be noted that the only two applications
that Shmuel's Tekufa has on Halakhic practice is the Dec. 4th start date
of Tal u'Matar, and the Blessing of the Sun every 28 years. Shmuel's
Tekufa is not used to establish the calendar so that Pesach falls in the
Spring. A more precise (though still inexact) calculation of the Tekufa
is used. I believe that the calculation is attributed to R' Adda bar
Ahava, but I don't think/know if there is an explicit source in the

Michael Appel


From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 12:27:42 -0400
Subject: Request: Binghamton, NY

I am going to be traveling in the Binghamton, NY area the week after
Tisha B'Av, IYH.

If anyone can help me with information on where to obtain kosher food
(restaurants, takeout, etc.), including directions from Route 17, please
respond to me off-list.



End of Volume 35 Issue 23