Volume 35 Number 69
                 Produced: Tue Nov 20  6:29:16 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An Actuarial Approach to the Raising Wage Problem
         [Russell Hendel]
"For Sacramental Use Only" grape juice
         [Michael M. Schein]
Hamakom Yenachem Etchem...
         [Bernard Raab]
Mourners leading prayers
         [Zev Sero]
Pesach and Spring (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Zev Sero]
Public Domain Torah
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Rambams 13 principles of faith EXPLICITLY in Torah
         [Bernard Raab]
Rivka at the well
         [Eli Linas]
Schechter Poultry Trial
         [Henry Cohen]
Slichot on Yom Kippur
         [Hanno Mott]


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:25:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: An Actuarial Approach to the Raising Wage Problem

The discussion on Raising wages raised many good points in v35n64. I
would like to supplement this with some elementary actuarial

FIRST: $6 an hour, for 8 hours a day (of cleaning) for 5 days a week for
52 weeks a year (with no vacation) is $12,500. Quite simply: $12K a year
is poverty level: So yes: You are exploiting her, YES: you should feel
guilty: And therefore her being exploited takes precedence over (the
otherwise possibly legitimate) concerns of your friends.

NOTE: The above is valid EVEN if she is getting paid off the books and
not paying taxes. You simply cannot live on $12000 a year (to cover
food, auto, rent, medical etc).

SECOND: What are her economic needs: Does she have children? What type
of neighborhood does she live in? Would she live in a better one if she
could afford it? Does her husband have comparable wages?

THIRD: You mention ONE of your wifes friends. Does your wife have other
friends? How much would it hurt your circle economically if you gave the
raise. Are your friends aware that she is in effect living on only $12K
a year.

Bottom line: Without knowing anything else I would pay her at $10-$15 @
hour so she would be making around $20K a year. By all means let her pay
taxes (She wont have much). I would also present the above computations
to your friends.  Maybe they dont realize that the $12K she earns covers
food, auto etc.

I hope the above helps

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


From: Michael M. Schein <mschein@...>
Subject: "For Sacramental Use Only" grape juice

Last Shabbos I came across a bottle of Kedem grape juice, purchased in
the U.S., with the statement "For Sacramental Use Only" on the label.  I
think this must be shmitta-related, but I don't have a very good
explanation.  Has anyone else come across these statements, and can
anyone explain the reason for them?  Thank you.

Michael Schein

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 23:38:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Re: Hamakom Yenachem Etchem...

Yitzchak Kasdan writes (>Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 21:16:53 -0500):

>It occurred to me that the tanchumin (comfort) to the departed is
>contained in the reference to "b'soch sh'ar aveili Tzion v'Yerushalayim"
>(that G-d should comfort the departed [along with the bereaved] "among
>those others who mourn for Zion and Yerushalayim." Perhaps this is an
>allusion to the gemorah in Taanis (30:) which says that: "All those who
>mourn for Jerusalem will merit to witness her joy" ["kol hamisabail al
>Yerushalayim, zoche liros b'simchosah"]

Perhaps not.

It must be very tempting to interpret the "Hamakom" formula as referring
to "...among those who mourn FOR Zion and Jerusalem" as I have seen this
suggested before. But this flies in the face of the plain meaning of the
sentence. The plain translation would appear to be: "May the "Makom"
comfort you among the remnants (sh'ar) of the mourners of Zion and
Jerusalem". The word "sh'ar" seems to be superfluous(what could it refer
to?), and is almost always ignored in the translations, and the word
"Makom" is, of course, generally interpreted as referring to G-d.

But not long ago I came across a somewhat different spin on the origin
and meaning of this formula. I do not remember where I read (or heard?)
this explanation and perhaps one or more of you can help identify its
source, but it goes something like this:

During the time of the Beit Hamikdash, mourners would come to Jerusalem
for prayer. They would enter a gate designated for mourners, so that
anyone passing through that gate was known to be a mourner, and would be
greeted with the "Hamakom" formula, meaning: "May this place comfort you
among those remaining here of the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem".



From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 16:01:52 -0500
Subject: RE: Mourners leading prayers

Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...> wrote:

> I have noticed that in our congregation mourners for their
> parents who are no longer saying Qaddish, but are still in the
> year of mourning, do not lead the prayers when others who are
> still saying Qaddish are available.
> Is there some kind of lessening of the Hiyuv after eleven months?

The same principle applies.  Both Kaddish and going before the amud are
things that are done for the benefit of the deceased; in fact, in many
sources, Kaddish stops a month short of the year, so as not to imply
that the deceased needs the benefit of a full year of kaddish-saying;
for exactly the same reason, one should not imply that the deceased
needs the benefit of a full year of prayer-leading.

Zev Sero


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 16:21:56 EST
Subject: Pesach and Spring

Pesach occurs as early as possible relative to the vernal equinox in the
16th year of each 19-year cycle, according to the fixed Hebrew calendar.
This will next happen in the year 5773 = 303x19 + 16.  It could vary by
a day or so from cycle to cycle, due to the fact that the length of a
regular year or of a leap year can vary by plus or minus one day, in
order to keep the first day of Rosh Hashana from falling on Sunday,
Wednesday, or Friday.  But generally, in the present century, the
earliest Pesach in each 19-year cycle is on March 26 or 27.

This was not true a few hundred years ago, however.  The 19-year cycle
is based on 235 synodic months (period from one new moon to the next),
which is slightly longer than 19 tropic years (period from one vernal
equinox to the next).  So, using the Gregorian calendar, which makes an
excellent approximation to the tropic year, the earliest possible Pesach
gradually gets later in the year, slipping by about one day every 218
years. (I'm quoting that number from memory, but I know it's close to
that.) At the time that Hillel Sheni established the fixed Hebrew
calendar, in the early 4th century CE, the earliest Pesach would have
been about 7 or 8 days earlier than it is now, putting it at March 18 or
19.  This is pretty close to the vernal equinox, which can fall on March
20 or 21.  I'm not sure why it's not exactly the vernal equinox, but
perhaps Hillel Sheni wasn't so concerned about Pesach being a day or two
before the vernal equinox once in a while. Or maybe some adjustments
were made to the calendar after the time of Hillel Sheni, and the rules
for the fixed calendar did not reach their final form until a few
hundred years after the 4th century CE.  (Can anyone disprove this
idea?)  Certainly they had reached their present form by the time of the
Rambam, he gives the rules in their present form.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

(Please note that I have changed jobs since the last time I posted to
mail-jewish a few months ago.  Anyone who wants to write to me should
use my home e-mail address, <mjgerver@...>, rather than the e-mail
address I have used previously in my postings.  E-mail sent to my old
address will NOT be forwarded to me.)

From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 16:27:30 -0500
Subject: RE: Pesach and Spring

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahem@...> wrote:

> In various shiurim that I learned, I have been told that one of
> the determinants of a leap year is that most of the month of Tishrei
> must come in "tekufas Tishei" (fall equinox) and most of Nisan in
> "Tekufas Nisan" (spring equinox).  That is, the fifteenth of Nisan
> (the full moon) must be the full moon that is immediately after the
> Spring equinox. 

When the leap years were managed by the Sanhedrin on a case-by-case
basis, Pesach could be delayed not only to keep it after the equinox,
but also if the weather was bad, or if the lambing was late.  In other
words, Pesach must be after the equinox, but it does not have to be the
*first* mid-month after the equinox.  Even nowadays, with our calculated
calendar that by its nature can only take into account astronomical
considerations, Pesach is often more than a month after the calculated
equinox, which itself is ~6 days after real equinox.

> Thus, the theoretical earliest that Pesach could
> occur (when there is a Sanhedrin, and the determination is based
> on witnesses) would be when the full moon occurs on March 21 or 22. 
> If the Sanhedrin decided that it was too early, then it would be
> pushed off a month to April 21.

The spring equinox is usually on 20-Mar, not 21-Mar.  The accumulated
error in our calculation of the spring equinox is about 6 days, so the
earliest Pesach is on 26-Mar, and is getting gradually later as the
error builds up.

> The church made this the rule for their holiday of easter, with a
> modification so that their holiday would never fall on the same day
> as Pesach.

Not true.  In the 20th century, Easter was on the first day of Pesach in
1903, 1923, 1927, 1954 and 1981.  It probably would have happened more
often if we weren't working with a calculated tekufa of 26-Mar, while
they use one of 21-Mar.

Zev Sero


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:24:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Public Domain Torah

Robert Kaiser asks for items in the public domain on Tnach.

I know of at least 4
1) http://www.mechon-mamre.org/mtrpromo.htm
Gives for free and with download, complete e-text of Tnach, Talmud
Rambam etc. This is the famous MTR (Mishneh Torah Rambam program)
2) http://www.mnemotrix.com/metsudah/
Rashi text in English
3) http://aish.com/literacy/reference/Search_the_Chumash_with_Rashi_-_in_English.asp
4) http://www.RashiYomi.com/
A Rashi website whose goal is to reduce the 8000 Biblical Rashis to
grammatical intuitive principles.


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


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 23:18:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Rambams 13 principles of faith EXPLICITLY in Torah

>From: Zev Sero <Zev@...>
><rhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel) wrote:
> > Bernard Raab <beraab@...> in v35n57 explicitly (grin) asks me:
> > This is a good question. What is mentioned explicitly is the
> > MESSIANIC ERA. So the king during that Messianic era would be
> > the Messiah. Here are the details.
> > ...
> > It seems reasonable to call this era the Messianic era. The king
> > that reigned during that era is the Messiah.
Apparently, the problem is what we each call "explicit". See below...

>The 12th principle, though, is not to believe in a messianic era but in
>a messiah.  This person is mentioned *explicitly* in Bil'am's prophecy,
>as the Rambam explains in *Hilchot* (not midrash) Melachim chapter 11;
>it is from this prophecy that the Rambam derives the *halacha* that
>someone who does not believe in a human messiah denies not just the
>prophets but the Torah itself, and is therefore a heretic.

While it is true that both Rambam and Rashi read the prophesy of Balaam
as describing the coming of the Moshiach, it can hardly be said to be
"explicit". In fact each of them derives this result from different
parts of the prophesy:

RAMBAM: Balaam prophesied: "When their kingdom is established, their
king shall be greater than Agag" (Numbers 24:7). Targum Onkelos
translates this, "A king shall come forth from his children, and he
shall rule many nations."  Balaam also said, "I see him, but not now
(RB:King David); I behold him, but not near (RB:Messiah). A star shall
come forth from Jacob (RB:King David); a scepter shall arise in Israel
(RB:Messiah) (Numbers 24:17).

RASHI, on the other hand explains these passages as referring to Kings
David and Solomon, but finds a reference to the Moshiach in verse 24:19,
"And out of Jacob he shall rule, and destroy the remnants of the city."
Rashi says that the city referred to here is Rome, the most important
city of Edom, and that the reference is to the Moshiach, which he
further derives from a verse in Obadiah (v. 18).  No doubt both Rambam
and Rashi thought these passages quite explicit, each his own. But that
was their genius.


From: Eli Linas <linaseli@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 22:58:05 +0200
Subject: Re: Rivka at the well

><davis@...> (Saul Davis) wrote:
>As for Yitsxaq, Ibn Ezra (at Bereshith 25:34) says that he was actually
>very poor!
Yes, but you should take a look at the Ramban and see how he tears into 
this Ibn Ezra and destroys his peshat.



From: Henry Cohen <hcohen9@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 21:25:47 -0500
Subject: Schechter Poultry Trial

 Several people responded to my question regarding the schechter poultry
trial. I looked up the references suggested and it did indeed take place
in New York in the thirties, The original conviction was overturned by
the U.S. supreme court and did have implications for New Deal
legislation. Go know. Thank you.  Henry Cohen


From: Hanno Mott <hdm@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2001 18:45:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Slichot on Yom Kippur

> Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...> asks
> >I am interested in knowing whether this practice
> >has spread to other communities,

In the shul in which I grew up in Cincinnati which followed the
Frankfurt Minhag, Selichot were said on Yom Kippur at Shacharit, Mussaf
and at Mincha.

In fact I am right now looking at the timetable which used to be
distributed with the time of the various services during the day, [I'm a
real saver] at the bottom of which there are listed the Selichot -
together with their page numbers in the Roedelheim Machzor - which were
said in a given year.  They always varied a little.

Hanno D.Mott


End of Volume 35 Issue 69