Volume 35 Number 71
                 Produced: Sun Dec 23  8:51:21 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An Actuarial Approach to the Raising Wage Problem
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Birkat Kohanim
         [Janine Weinstock]
The "Body" of G-d
         [Moshe Goldberg]
For Sacramental Use Only
         [Jonathan Grodzinski]
Grape Juice (2)
         [Barak Greenfield, MD, Avi Feldblum]
Itzchak Poor or RIch
         [Steven Weisberg]
Mikvah Shampoos
         [Susan Shapiro]
Pesach and Spring
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Sacramental Wine
         [Hillel E. Markowitz]
Tune of Ma'oz Tzur (4)
         [Geoffrey Shisler, Saul Davis, Robert Israel, Jay S. Lapidus]


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 11:16:48 -0500
Subject: Re: An Actuarial Approach to the Raising Wage Problem

> From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
> Quite simply: $12K a year
> is poverty level: So yes: You are exploiting her,...

According to the Federal government
(http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/01poverty.htm), the poverty guideline for a
single-person family is $8,590.  $12K/year is above the poverty level
for a 2-person family.  If the woman's husband is working at $12K/year
as well, then you have a combined income that can support a family of 6
above the poverty line.

> You simply cannot live on $12000 a year (to cover
> food, auto, rent, medical etc).

As a graduate student not too long ago, I lived perfectly well on
12k/year, and that included book costs in addition to food, medical,
dental, and rent costs (auto is not a necessity).  In fact, I was able
to save about $1,500/year, after taxes.

Thus, it is very possible to live on $12,000 a year...but it depends
where (probably not Boston, for example) and in what environment.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: <Omaj@...> (Janine Weinstock)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 19:10:15 EST
Subject: Birkat Kohanim

Recently, while reading a short story by S. Y. Agnon, I came upon a
description of special tunes sung by the Kohanim during Birkat Kohanim
(the priestly blessing).  Agnon describes one called (in Yiddish) "Shlaf
Kratzel," apparently sung on the first day of Shevuos (possibly in a
grating manner?) to keep awake those who had been up learning throughout
the night.  He also discusses a second tune, the "Meisim Tanzel" (Dance
of the Dead?) used by the Kohanim on a day of Yom Tov upon which Yizkor
is said.  Does anyone know of a community in which these tunes were used
or are being used?  Or was Agnon writing tongue-in-cheek?


From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 09:55:50 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: The "Body" of G-d

> From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
> We have had a number of postings on this subject and I am still bothered
> by the original one.  The original post, as I recall, postulated that
> the Ralbag held that G-d had a body and that many other medieval Jewish
> philosophers held so too.

Here is what Prof. Menachem Kellner writes about this (copied here with
his permission):

> This is in reaction to the posting to mail-Jewish about the Ralbag and
> other medieval Jewish philosophers. First of all, a lot of people read and
> study medieval Jewish philosophers, but they are almost all employed by
> Universities (like my friend Lenn Goodman and myself). With respect to
> Ralbag, you can my visit my website (below) and you will find there an
> annotated bibliography of writings by and about Ralbag. About Rambam,
> literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of books and articles have been
> written over the last half century.
> As to the question itself, if there is anything ALL the medieval Jewish
> philosophers agreed on, it was the absolute incorporeality of God. Anyone
> who attributes to Ralbag or any of his colleagues belief in a corporeal God
> should be made to stand in the corner!
> Professor Menachem Kellner
> Wolfson Professor of Jewish Thought
> University of Haifa, Haifa, Israel
> email: <kellner@...>
> http://hcc.haifa.ac.il/Chairs/Wolfson/


From: <JGrodz@...> (Jonathan Grodzinski)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 19:02:04 EST
Subject: For Sacramental Use Only

In the UK plain food (e.g. bread, butter, fruit, vegetable etc.) is not
taxed, "luxury" food (e.g. fizzy drinks, hot "take-away" , chocolate,
fruit juices etc.) is. Items for sacramental use are not taxed even if
they would otherwise be considered a luxury item.

The label "For Sacramental Use Only" ensures that tax is not charged on grape 

<<  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.  >>

Jonathan Grodzinski (London UK)


From: Barak Greenfield, MD <DocBJG@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 20:49:40 -0500
Subject: RE: Grape Juice

David Charlap <shamino3@...> wrote:
> I asked my rabbi about this several years ago..
> According to him, halachic opinion is not uniform regarding the status
> of un-fermented grape juice.  Some hold that it must be supervised like
> wine, and some hold that it does not have to be.

Which halachic authority states that grape juice is not stam yeinam?

> Anyway, the status of whether grape juice requires such supervision ties
> directly in to its usability for ritual purposes.  If grape juice is OK
> for use for kiddush and havdala, then it is like wine and requires
> similar supervision.  If it does not require supervision, then it may
> not be used for ritual purposes.

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 272:2 states that one may use grape juice; who
disagrees with this?

Barak Greenfield

From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 08:45:36 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: Grape Juice

On Tue, 20 Nov 2001, Barak Greenfield, MD wrote:

> Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 272:2 states that one may use grape juice; who
> disagrees with this?

I need to take a look again, but I strongly suspect that the Ramban would
disagree. If I remember correctly, the Ramban does not allow white wine to
be used for Kiddush, as he holds that it was not used on the mizbeach. I
do not think he discusses grape juice explicitly, but he does have his
requirements fro what can be used for kiddush. I'm pretty sure that there
are other among the reshonim that would not permit grape juice.

Avi Feldblum


From: Steven Weisberg <sweisberg@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 18:57:31 +0200
Subject: Itzchak Poor or RIch

To be more precise, Ibn Ezra say Isaac inherited wealth, then lost it
(in the stock market?) and then became rich again in Pelishtim. His
point was that at the time Esau sold the first born rights their market
value was very low. But since the pshat indicates that at these other
two times, he was rich, Ibn Ezra takes this approach, that things
changed a few times in his life.

Steve Weisberg


From: <SShap23859@...> (Susan Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 19:46:07 EST
Subject: Re: Mikvah Shampoos

In reference to your comment:

> Is there really an issue
> about hair conditioner?!  Maybe you shouldn't tell
> me.... though it's all moot now anyway...  Is this part of
> everything getting tighter nowadays, or is it just
> something I missed?  (I'm not into makeup and stuff so
> it's quite possible

Yes, there is a thing with conditioner.  Conditioner stays in your hair,
and needs to be removed before toiveling.  Therefore, a shampoo that is
WATER based is the right one to use.  Many are ok, and there should not
be that much policing!!!  I'll speak to them!!!

I do believe that if you have real hair problems (frizzy, like Louise)
then you can put in conditioner after you come out of the water.

Susan Shapiro, S. Diego  (The "S.S" Louise was referring to!!!)
Mikvah Attendant here in S. Diego


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 18:51:18 +0200
Subject: Re: Pesach and Spring

In mail-jewish Vol. 35 #69 Digest, Zev Sero first quoted Hillel Markowitz:

> > 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.

And then commented:
>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.

I think the original (Markowitz) statement should be modified to
indicate that at a certain church conference (at Nicea ?), a change was
instituted so that the date of Easter was independent of the date of
Pesah, so that they need not fall in the same week, but may do so.



From: Hillel E. Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2001 18:44:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Sacramental Wine

A number of states have restrictive laws on selling wine and grape
juice.  To avoid many of the restrictions, wine or grape juice that is
sold for "sacramental" purposes can be sold through a synagogue or
Jewish book store.  For instance, in Pennsylvania, wine could only be
sold in an "ABC Store", but sacramental wine could be sold through the
synagogue or other authorized place.  I don't know if that is still the
law or not.

This may also be a relic of prohibition which had an excemption for
"sacramental wine".

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


From: Geoffrey Shisler <geoffrey@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 17:29:17 +0000
Subject: Re: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

>From: <jam390@...>
>       A while back, someone told me that one of the popular niggunim
>for Ma'oz Tzur (the only one that I've ever heard, actually) is taken
>from a tune used for a church hymn.  I don't know how to explain the
>tune that I'm referring to through text, but has anyone heard this
>before, to confirm or debunk? 

According to the great expert on Jewish liturgical music, A.Z.Idelsohn,
the popular melody we sing today is a fusing together of two tunes that
are indeed, of German origin.

The first is from the chorale by Martin Luther, 'Nun freut Euch Ihr
lieben Christen' which, Idelsohn tells us was in any case adapted from
the old German folk-song, 'So weiss ich eins was mich erfreut, das
plumlein auff preyter heyde'.

The second is from a battle-song, 'Benzenauer' which was composed in 

He mentions that another melody was in use in 1540, but doesn't notate

Rabbi Geoffrey L. Shisler
New West End Synagogue
London, UK
<Rav@...>	or Rav@newwestend.org.uk

From: <davis@...> (Saul Davis)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 20:40:26 +0200
Subject: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

<jam390@...> wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #68 that the tune for Ma'oz 
Tzur was a church hymn.  

I heard that there is a Xasidish niggun that was a Cossack tune.

So what! Why can we not take a treif tune and make is qodosh. The more
trief becoming qodosh the better! Also many Sefardi niggunim are from
the Marranos who used church tunes to sing Jewish things to pretend that
they were Christian.

Saul Davis

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 11:28:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

According to Jewish Heritage Online Magazine,

The most common melody for Ma'oz Tzur is of West European (Ashkenazi)
origin. Scholars suggest it dates from the 15th century, as it is
similar to the melodic line of a well-documented church melody of that
period. The earliest preserved Jewish source of the melody is a
manuscript from Hanover, dated 1744.

The melody sung by the Italian Jews was first notated by the gentile
composer Benedetto Marcello in Venice in 1724. Although less well-known,
this melody has gained in popularity in recent years.

See also the discussion in Mail-Jewish from two years ago, volume 30 #30

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z2

From: Jay S. Lapidus <jlapidus@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 07:40:04 -0500
Subject: Re: Tune of Ma'oz Tzur

An excerpt from the Encyclopedia Judaica:

"The most commonly sung melody of Ma'oz Zur is of West European
Ashkenazi origin and may be dated from around the early 15th
century. E. Birnbaum and A. Z. Idelsohn, on the basis of the similarity
of isolated motives, related it to a group of early Protestant chorales
and a German soldiers' song. There is a much closer correspondence in
the entire melodic line to the church melody Patrem omnipotentem which
appears in several Bohemian-Silesian manuscripts, the earliest of which
is dated 1474. The earliest notation attesting to the use of the melody
for Ma'oz Zur so far located is found in the manuscript of Judah Elias
of Hanover (1744) as a 'melodic reminder' in settings of Hodu for

Jay Lapidus       http://jlapidus.tripod.com


End of Volume 35 Issue 71