Volume 35 Number 72
                 Produced: Mon Dec 24 10:56:51 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Body of God- and Time
         [Michael Frankel]
         [Bernard Raab]
hamaqom yenaxem ethkhem
         [Saul Davis]
One Day Seminar for Gabbaim and Ba'alei K'ria
         [Olivestone, David]
Preparing for Purim
         [Sam Saal]
Public Domain Torah
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Translation from Hebrew to English requested for bio on the Degel
         [Ginsburg, Paul]


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 15:34:49 -0500
Subject: Re: The Body of God- and Time

<From: Robert Israel <israel@...> Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001
I'm not claiming that God has a body, but I don't see Eli's argument as
convincing at all. Yes, before there was a universe God would have had
no physical body, but maybe he has one now. Why couldn't God create a
body for himself when he created the universe.>

There is no "before there was a universe". It is the common appreciation
both of most Ojews (not that most Ojews, or any other flavor for that
matter, have ever devoted a nano-second of thought to the issue, or most
likely, even heard of it. but for those that have, most accept rambam's
assertions on the matter) and most physicists that time itself first
comes into being with the universe. Thus there is no "before". (not that
I am trying to conflate a physicist's perspective on the beginning of
the universe with the theologian's. they are not at all the same,
despite some popular expositions devoted to the subject). Of course if
one holds to a platonic concept of creation - i.e. accepting de novo but
abandoning b'rioh yeish ma'ayin (ex nihilo - a religiously acceptable
course according to rambam if - ostensibly - rejected by the dominant
exoteric interpretations), and apparently entertained by at least a few
rishonim, then one may indeed discuss a "before".

< From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...> 
<< Everyone is quoting various sources, many of which can be interpreted
in various different ways. However, no one has considered the following.
God created the universe. The universe is a physical entity. Anything
contained in the universe is physical, everything outside of the
universe is not. >>

there is also no "outside the universe".

<Since God had to have been around before the start of the universe to
start it> 

See "before" remarks before.

I am not sure what is the correct way to describe the presence of the
Divine in the universe (perhaps there is none) - but it is surely dicey
to attempt the description in terms (universe, before, after..) which
have precise referents in a different belief system (modern physics)
without recognizing the basic incompatibility.

<He tells me that he is certain that the Ralbag did not believe this,
nor did any major Jewish philosopher. But the bothersome part is that the
whole field of Jewish philosophy has fallen out of our curriculum. When
was the last time anyone learned Ralbag, the sefer Ikkarim of Joseph
Albo, or Crescas? When was the last time anyone referred to them? Could
you even order these seforim from, say, Eichlers? I would like to see a
discussion on why we don't learn these things anymore, and whether we
should. Bill Bernstein Nashville TN>

To provide at least a personal perspective to your discussion, one good
reason for avoiding those guys is that reading stuff like that always
gives me a headache.

Mechy Frankel                                     W: (703) 588-7424
<michaeljfrankel@...>            H: (301) 593-3949


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 17:57:24 -0500
Subject: Re: Hamakom

Thanks for resurrecting the original MJ discussion. I had a sneaking 
suspicion that was where I read it but was too lazy to research the 
If I understand your point correctly, you seek to connect the "Hamakom" 
formula with a (subtle!) reference to the messianic era and the resurrection 
of the dead. No comment on this point, although I really think such a 
reference would pass about 2 miles over the head of the average (or 
above-average) mourner it is intended to comfort.
Noting your statement that "OF" or "FOR" is not critical to your point, 
nevertheless, my main objection to a translation which says: "...among the 
mourners FOR Z&J", rather than "...OF Z&J", other than the grammatical, is 
that it converts an expression of personal condolence into a statement of 
political/national aspirations. However much the visitor may agree with the 
sentiments I don't think it's appropriate to a shiva visit or other 
expression of personal condolence.
Always a pleasure--BR

>From: I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...>
>Thanks for your comment.
>First -- You came across the explanation to which you allude on mail
>Jewish.  The original comment (by a Dr. Katz, see below) was
>"the original meaning was different.  When mourners
>came to the Temple mount on the shalosh regalim they entered through the
>opposite gate onthe Southern side that everyone else used, so you always
>passed them in the opposite direction.  When one met someone walking
>towards him (ie a mourner) one would then say "May this great place (ie
>the place of the Temple, as is being discussed currently on MJ, makom
>meant the Temple Mount) comfort you among all of the other mourners of
>Zion (who are also walking in your direction)."
>to which there was the following response --
>From: Yisrael & Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
>Re: the comment of Dr. Ben Z. Katz on "makom"
>Please see my comments in the brackets [ ] to his original message:
> >...the original meaning was different.  When mourners came to the
> >Temple mount on the shalosh regalim
>[or at any other time - people were there daily YM]
> >they entered through the opposite gate on the Southern side
>[no, they entered the Chulda Gate on the South and then turned left
>instead of right YM]
> >that everyone else used, so you always passed them in the opposite
> >direction.  When one met someone walking towards him (ie a mourner)
> >one would then say "May this great place (ie the place of the
> >Temple..comfort you among all of the other mourners of Zion (who are
> >also walking in your direction).
>[no, the actual langauge is: HaShochen Babayit Hazeh Yenachamecha - May
>He Who Dwells in the House Comfort You YM]
>A big difference.
>Source: Masechet Middot, Chapt. 2, Mishnah 2
>To follow up, I searched out the current phase which indeed does use
>HaMakom.  The "Pnei Baruch" of Rav Chaim Goldberg quotes from the
>Prishah on the Tur.  So I went there (Yoreh Dei'ah, 393, note 3) and I
>found that the exact words used are "HaShem Yenachamecha Im Shar Avlei
>Tzion".  The Prishah, Rav Yosha Valk Katz, lived in the second half of
>the 16th century, died 1614.  If anyone has a different or earlier
>source, I'd be glad to know.
>Yisrael Medad
>Second -- "sh'ar". I believe, literally means "the others" or the
>"remaining ones".  In the context of the explanation I suggested, it
>simply means that we assume (i.e, we give the benefit of the doubt) that
>the deceased was also one of the "other" mourners of Zion who along with
>those others (or those remaining on this earth) who mourned also, will
>"return' one day to see its glory. {"For" Zion simply is not critical to
>my suggested explanation.]
>All the best.  YK


From: <davis@...> (Saul Davis)
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 20:54:30 +0200
Subject: hamaqom yenaxem ethkhem

Bernard Raab wrote in mail-jewish Vol. 35 #69: "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."  And that the
word shaar written with an alef seems to be superfluous.

I love this idea. I also heard this when on an archeological tour of the
Har Habayith. I think the gate are Shaarey Xulda. I would like to add
that "shaar" should be read with an ayin and thus meaning gate. Thus it
all means "May this place [or better Hashem] comfort you among those
inside The Gate of the Mourners of Zion and Jerusalem."

IMHO a very neat idea indeed which only requires a little emendation!
May we have no need to use it.

Saul Davis


From: Olivestone, David <davido@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2001 11:57:56 -0500
Subject: One Day Seminar for Gabbaim and Ba'alei K'ria

As part of our ongoing programming, the OU Department of Synagogue and
Community Services is planning to run a one day Seminar (Yom Iyyun, if
you prefer) for gabbaim and ba'alei k'ria. The tentative date is Sunday,
February 10, 2002 (28 Shevat, 5762), and it will be held somewhere in
the New York area. (If it is successful, we could repeat it elsewhere,
or make it available on our website.)

The idea, as at any professional seminar, is to hone the skills of those
attending and, through the exchange of information and experiences, to
open up discussion of how these areas of our shul life could be improved

It occurs to me that many members of this list might be interested in
attending and/or participating in some way. (In fact, there was some
discussion here a few months ago about "making lehning more meaningful",
and networking amongst ba'alei k'ria, and so on.) Therefore, it would of
great help to us in planning the program if those who do have an
interest would answer the following questions: [either here, or off-list
to <davido@...>, as Avi will direct] [Either is fine. Avi/Mod]

1. Do you think this a good idea?
2. What topics should be covered?
3. Can you suggest any names for speakers, presenters, workshop leaders,
4. Would you attend?

Thank you for your help.

David Olivestone
Director of Communications and Marketing, Orthodox Union
Eleven Broadway, New York, NY 10004
<davido@...>   212.613.8221
Visit our web site at http://www.ou.org


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2001 09:11:09 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Preparing for Purim

Dear mail.jewish readers

Although we've just finished Chanukah, it's not too soon to start
thinking about Purim. I'd like to solicit input for this year's
mail.jewish Purim edition and for a new Purim Spiel.

The Purim edition is a collection of Purim Torah and other bits relevant
to a fun edition (not that our normal editions _aren't_ fun!).

This year's Purim Spiel will be on the topic: "The Halacha of Converted
Rice." (While the timliness of "the Halacha of Oreos" hs its draw, I
think we'll wait till more are available before tackling that one.)
Here are some of the converted rice issues we might cover:

- Is it appropriate to call it "converted"? After all, once someone
  converts, we don't refer to their previous status.
- Is short grain rice just long grain rice after conversion (and mila)?
- What about Basmati and other fragrent (oriental....Sephardi?) rices?
- Is non-Orthodox converted rice kosher?
- What Masechta of the talmud are we discussing? Is it even talmudic?
  Might the issue be from the Acharonim or even the ricearonim?

And so on....

As in past years, I'm looking for help with this project. I'm looking
for the creative Purim Torah mavins who will help contribute to this
endeavor.  I'll share "source" material (anything I get) and I'll put
together the spiel (I'll be editor/compiler) and will look for help in
all phases.

Past efforts are available on the web, under the mail.jewish home page,
and include:

The Halachah of M&Ms
The Ultimate Egg Cream
The Halacha of the Internet

Please send all contributions directly to me. The deadline for the purim
edition is the first week of Adar. For those interested in the Purim
Spiel, please contact me as soon as possible so we can start work on

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>
Vayiphtach HaShem et Pea haAtone


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 07:57:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Public Domain Torah

Russell wrote:
> Robert Kaiser asks for items in the public domain on Tnach.
> I know of at least 4

I am no meivin on copyright law, but in my years on the internet I have
seen innumerable works labelled free, but copyright by... (e.g. the
Linux operating system).  To the best of my meager knowledge, there is
no correlation at all between a free-to-use resource, and public domain.


Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://shimonl.findhere.org/PGP/


From: Ginsburg, Paul <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2001 13:12:46 -0500
Subject: Translation from Hebrew to English requested for bio on the Degel

In the beginning of the sefer "Degel Machaneh Ephraim" which I have
(edition: Jerusalem, Machon Zohar V'Chassidus), there is a 27 page
biography/toldos of the author, R. Moshe Chaim Ephraim of Sudilkov.

Would anyone on the list volunteer to translate this biography into
English for me?  I plan to post the translation on a website which I
have created regarding Sudilkov.

This once vibrant shtetl was completely destroyed by the Germans.  The
Sudilkov website serves as an on line memorial to this community.
Information from this translation about Sudilkov's Chassidic Master
would be greatly appreciated!

If you would like to volunteer to translate this biography/toldos please
contact me.  I am willing to send a copy of this sefer for anyone who
will translate this first biographical section.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Paul Ginsburg
Sudilkov Online Landsmanshaft


End of Volume 35 Issue 72