Volume 35 Number 61
                 Produced: Mon Nov 12  5:17:26 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Assisted fertilization
         [Jeffrey Bock]
barley = aviv
         [David and Toby Curwin]
Birchat Kohanim during Neila, and slichot on Yom Kippur
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Birkat Hashanim (2)
         [Emmanuel IFRAH, Netanel Livni]
The body of God
         [Yitzhack Rubin]
Deriviation of Midrash that Adam Loaned 70 yr to David
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Dt04-15: Bible explicitly says God has no body!!!!(Not Rambam)
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Grumma Phone
         [Daniel Geretz]
Hashem's body?
         [Gil Student]
Is this public domain?
Se'udot Hodayah
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Shalom Aleichem
         [Michael J. Savitz]


From: Jeffrey Bock <bockny@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 16:09:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Assisted fertilization

There is a very good shiur (60 minutes) on the web on this very topic.

It's by Rabbi Eliyahu Rominek, called Artificial Insemination (delivered
Jan. 17 , 1999)

Go to the page at:

Listen to the shiur (Real Player):

Jeffrey N. Bock  (<BockNY@...>)


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 23:25:29 +0200
Subject: barley = aviv

> >>Pesach - Barley, the omer sacrifice brought first on Pesach is barley,
> "aviv" in Hebrew, and Pesach is in the month of Aviv <<
> Since when does "aviv" mean barley?  I thought it was spring, and that
> barley was "sheorim"?

See Menachot 68b, and 84a, which base this conclusion on Shmot 9:31. See
also Rashi, Ralbag and Malbim on VaYikra 2:14 and MT Hilchot Tmidim
U'Musfafim 7:11.

David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Sat, 20 Oct 2001 22:35:43 +0200
Subject: Re: Birchat Kohanim during Neila, and slichot on Yom Kippur

Mark Steiner wrote in Volume 35 Number 59:

> An opinion of R. Eliashiv states that if sunset is approaching on Y.K.,
> one can have the duchenen before selihot of neilah.

This is stated explicitly in the Mishna Brura 623 (note 8), and the Magen
Avraham there.

I wish to bring up a point related to the formentioned topic of slichot
on Yom Kippur.  The accepted practice is to say slichot during maariv
and neila. The Rov, Harav Yosef Dov Halevi Soloveitchik, zt"l, held that
slichot should be said in all the tfillot of Yom Kippur, and instituted
this practice in Maimonidies and in YU.  Rav Hershel Schecter notes this
in Nefesh Harav, and lists the slichot that the Rov siad in shacharit,
mussaf, and mincha. The rav of the Young Israel of Ramot Gimmel, Rabbi
Stanley Fass, an outstanding talmid of the Rov, also instituted this
practice in his shul. I am interested in knowing whether this practice
has spread to other communities, and if it has continued in Maimonidies
and YU.

Saul Mashbaum


From: Emmanuel IFRAH <eifrah@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 10:46:31 +0200
Subject: Birkat Hashanim

In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #60, Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...> wrote:

> It is said that on Rosh Hashana one's parnassa [income, sustenance] for
> the coming year is determined.
> Yet, as part of the weekday Amidah, we recite Birkat Hashanim in which
> we pray to HKB"H to make the current year a good one in terms of sustenance.
> If the year's sustenance has already been determined from above, so to
> speak, why is this not considered a "tefilat shav," a vain prayer?

This is a very interesting question that many people ask at this period of
the year.

An explanation to this apparent contradiction is given by Rabbi Shalom
Dov Baer of Lubavitch (1860-1920) in his first will, published under the
title "Chanoch la-na'ar:"

The good things granted to us on Rosh ha-Shana are only granted
"be-he'lem," in a hidden manner. It is with us to do what is necessary
so that what was allotted to us "in power" is realized "in act." If,
chas ve-shalom, we should not behave as required during the year, what
had been granted to us on Rosh ha-Shana would not realize materially,
but would remain with us for the future world.

This work of passage from power to act is done through Beracha,
blessing.  This is why we are praying three times daily "barech alenu"
or "barechenu."

However, our future is not entirely determined by the decree taken on
Rosh ha-Shana: many cases are reported in the biblical and rabbinical
literature where the repentance of condemned characters made it possible
to cancel the decree taken against them. This is the case of the city of
Ninve as told in the book of Yona, which is read the afternoon of
Kippur.  Such is the essential role of prayer (Tefila). Only Tefila can
break the decrees and to attract towards us what is good for us.

This is why we pray each day for our children, our health, our
subsistence (bane, chaye, mezone). Indeed, nobody knows which share was
granted to him on Rosh ha-Shana: it is thus necessary to pray so that
what was allotted to us, and even what was not allotted to us and that
we desire, are carried out fully.

Emmanuel Ifrah (<eifrah@...>)

From: Netanel Livni <n_livni@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 09:17:25 -0700
Subject: RE: Birkat Hashanim

The Tzemach Tzedek answers this problem in the following way

At Rosh Hashanah we get all the blessings that we deserve deposited into
our spiritual bank account.  But the blessings just sit there in an
inaccessible state.  Therefore we withdraw the blessings from our
spiritual bank account a little at a time year round.  Therefore the
depth at which we pray year round is the measurement of how well our
blessings get translated from the potential to the actual.

Netanel Livni


From: Yitzhack Rubin <ytzrubin@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 20:35:23 +0200
Subject: The body of God

Dear Ben,

The Raavid - was of the opinion that the Rambam was wrong in criticizing
those who believed in God having a body...hilchot teshuvah3-7.  the
Talmudic scholar Rabbi Moshe taku felt that the Jew should take
literally the anthropomorphic expressions found in the tenach.  Perhaps
you might look up the article in the Jewish Encyclopedia [ Funk and
Wagnall-1907] and the Encyclopedia Judaica.Husik and Guttmann probably
touch on this.  We follow the principles of Maimonides as formulated in
his third princple of faith that God is incorporal.  good hunting,

Yitzhack Rubin, Jerusalem    <ytzrubin@...>


From: <Leavic26@...>
Subject: Chupa

A group of elderly Jews, we were rather embarrassed to learn that
although we had all been married under a chupa, we had no idea as to its
meaning.  Could some one enlighten us?  thank you 



From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 21:50:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: RE: Deriviation of Midrash that Adam Loaned 70 yr to David

Jerome Taragin(v35n63) asked for the source of the Midrash that Adam
lived 930 years vs 1000 and loaned 30 years to Adam Harishon.  I dont
know the source but my goal is to justify the midrash from rules.

This actually appeared on a pre-Rashi email discussion group that I had
before I started my Rashi email group.  I never repeated it on my Rashi
Website because there are problems with it

Here is the explanation: First we review how ages are listed in the
Bible. A good starting place is Gn05 or Gn11. The rules are easy to
infer (if you are looking for them). They are as follows:

If you want to list a 3 digit number like 782(Gn05-26) then
(a) First list the digits number: 2 (b) Next list the tens number: 8
(c) then list the word YEAR (d) then list the hundreds number: 7
(e) then list the word year again. So in Hebrew it would be
>2 & 80 years and 700 years<. (Special rules govern singular plural etc)
Unfortunately the rule is not as universal as I would like.

There are 5 exceptions to this in Genesis. Gn23-01 says that Sarah lived
100 year and 20 year and 7 year. There are 2 problems. Why is year
repeated 3 vs 2 times and why is the hundreds mentioned before twenty &
seven. Rashis famous answer is that the age in Gn23-01 is not NUMERICAL
but QUALITATIVE: Sarah lived the 100 year life(Mature) the 20 year life
(Beauty) and the 7 year life(Innocence) (& Yes there are many more takes
on this Rashi).

We can also apply this explanation of Rashi to Gn25-17 and Gn25-07.

Gn47-28 mentions that Jacob lived 7 years and 40 & 100 years.  (It
should read 7 & 40 years and 100 years).No Midrash but it is easy to
suggest:Jacob had a very hard life for 140 years & a good last 7 years

The last exception is Gn05-05 ADAM LIVED 900 YEARS and 30 YEARS (It
should read ADAM LIVED 30 YEARS and 900 YEARS). Thus the grammatical
form makes it appear as if the verse would say he lived 1000 years. I
believe this is the source for the Midrash.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 21:51:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Dt04-15: Bible explicitly says God has no body!!!!(Not Rambam)

Ben Katz in v35n63 argues that some Rishonim believed that God
had a physical body. Bens exact defense is

> torah are not meant to be taken literally.  obviously people did.  We
> are used to the idea of God not having a body, but if one thinks about
> it, there are 1000 references in the Bible to God's hand, feet,
> nostrils, etc.  If we believe the bible to be true, why shouldn't we
> believe He has a body?  This is the notion rambam had to combat.

Excuse me. But I reiterate what my colleague Andrew Klafter in v35n45
said: >Really? Who (among rishonim) for example(Believed this)?<

In particular I remind Ben of an EXPLICIT Biblical verse
>Dt04-15 Be very careful: For you didnt see ANY picture of God at revelation<

In particular I resent the notion that this is an issue between a
rationalist Rambam and other Rishonim. It seems to be an apolitical
issue which is DEEPLY rooted in the Biblical theology

I would of course love this thread to continue and invite comments but
PLLL..ease...do address the explicit verse Dt04-15

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.Com/


From: Daniel Geretz <dgeretz@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 09:05:02 -0400
Subject: Grumma Phone

A grumma phone was donated to our shul about 6 months ago, and it seems
to have started malfunctioning recently.  The phone is manufactured by
Tadiran Telecommunications, and has the Institute for Science and
Halacha logo on it.

Does anyone know of (a) a place in the NYC area where the phone can be
repaired, or (b) a place in the NYC area where a new grumma phone can be
purchased.  Please reply off-list to <dgeretz@...>

Thank you,

Danny Geretz


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 17:33:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Hashem's body?

>Really? Who for example?

For one, we have R. Moshe Taku in his Kesav Tamim.  R. Menachem Kasher
discusses his view extensively in Torah Shelemah vol. 16 pp. 308-319.
As R.  Kasher explains, R. Moshe Taku holds that G-d is incorporeal but,
when He chooses to, He can appear in a physical form.

R. Avraham ben HaRambam in his Milchamos Hashem quotes R. Shlomo min
HaHar as saying that G-d can have a body.  However, he does not give us
too much detail.  It is possible that he held like R. Moshe Taku.

Realize, of course, that in order to ascribe a body to G-d one would
have to disagree with Targum Onkelos as well as many Gaonim.  I can't
imagine that would be too easy for a rishon.

Josephus also says that the Pharisees did not believe that G-d has a
body.  I haven't looked into it, but I've got to believe that Philo did
not believe in a corporeal G-d.

The Ra'avad explicitly says in Ba'alei HaNefesh (p. 4) that G-d is
incorporeal.  Also, R. Kasher quotes a manuscript edition of the hasagos
in which Ra'avad does not say that others believe that G-d has a body.
He only says that this position, should anyone hold it, would not be

Gil Student


From: Robert <rkaiser1@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 23:37:03 -0400
Subject: Is this public domain?

I was just thinking about Joseph H. Hertz's magnum opus, his commentary on
the "Pentateuch & Haftorahs" that is used in so many synagogues as the
standard Chumash.  The English commentary was written back in 1936; doesn't
that mean this text is now in the public domain?  If not, why, and when
will it be public domain?  My copy of this book says copyright 1960, but I
don't understand why it says that.  The text was written in 1936, and the
particular volume I own was printed in 1960. Can anyone shed any light on

Are there any good books that give commentary on any of the books of the
Tanakh (Bible), or on Jewish theology or history, that are in the public
domain?  Web sites?  Tanakh commentary is my primary interest, but other
categories are of interest as well.


Robert Kaiser


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 15:03:16 +0200
Subject: Re: Se'udot Hodayah

Regarding the question posed by Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>:
>Does anyone know what those who were
> saved from terrorist bombings in israel (EG, those in Sbarro's who
> escaped uninjured) do, if anything, about a seudat hodaya?

Here in Shiloh, we have always had Se'udot Hodayah after escapes from
terror attacks.  I remember Rav Yaakov Libi doing so after taking a
bullet in the shoulder returning from Jerusalem and, unfortunately, many

I also know that Rav Yitzchak Shpatz holds a yearly Se'udat Hodayah on
the day when he was saved (a custom authorized by Rav Mordechai Eliyahu)
after an incident when he had stopped his car to fix a fallen muffler at
the southern approach to Ramallah some dozen years ago.  A trampist
(hitchhiker) got out to help him and while both were on theri backs
under the car, a terrorist riddled them with bullets.  The kid (Rabbi
Dolgin's grandson) was killed but nothing happened to Rav Yitzchak.

Yisrael Medad


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 13:03:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Shalom Aleichem

Why do we always use the plural form in the greeting "Shalom aleichem",
even when speaking to one person?  I have never heard anyone say "Shalom
alecha" or "Shalom alayich".  Similarly, in comforting a mourner, even
if it's only one mourner, we say, as far as I know, "Hamakom yenacheim
_etchem_" (rather than "otcha" or "otach").

By contrast, as I understand it the traditional Rosh Hashana greeting
for the first night changes with the number and gender of the person(s)
being greeted: "... tikateivu vateichateimu" or "... tikateiv
vateichateim" or "... tikateivi vateichateimi", etc.

Why the apparent grammatical incorrectness in "Shalom aleichem" and
"Hamakom yenacheim"?  Is there a deeper meaning here?


End of Volume 35 Issue 61