Volume 36 Number 12
                 Produced: Sat Mar 23 22:30:18 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

1492 and Tisha b'Av
         [Perets Mett]
Birkat Kohanim (was "Birkath Kohanim")
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Calendar Congruence
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Cohain Marrying a Women Divorced from Non-Jew
         [Richter Mark]
Day after Pesach -  Shabbat
         [Leah S. Gordon]
English commentary on Sefer Tehillim?
         [Robert Kaiser]
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Modim Anachnu Lach
         [Eric W Mack]
Tal Umatar
         [Ben Katz]
Torah Reading by a Minor - Women's Gomel - Kosher gum
         [David Cohen]
Unmarried Men wearing Talis


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 12:50:27 +0000
Subject: 1492 and Tisha b'Av

A. Seinfeld <aseinfeld@...> asked:
>1. The Expulsion from Spain was on 9 Av 5252 (1492)
>2. Columbus had to delay his voyage by 2 days bcs the port was clogged with
>Jews leaving
>3. Columbus set sail on Aug 3, 1492.
>3. Our perpetual calendar repeats itself every 19 years. Therefore, the
>lunar-solar calendar of 5252/1492 should have repeated itself in 19x26 years
>later, in 5746/1986.
>5. However, in that year, 9 Av corresponded to July 25. The closest we came
>in recent years was 5750/1990, When 9 Av was on July 31.
>Any ideas how to reconcile these facts?

Firstly, our calendar does not repeat itself every 19 years. It is
supposed to repeat itself every 19x13 = 241 years, as detailed in most
editions of Tur Orach Chayim, but even that is not entirely correct, as
noted in the emendations thereto. In any case, there is nothing in our
calendar which says that it must coincide with a particular solar
calendar, and it is fairly well-known that the so-called 19-year rule
for coincidence of dates can be up to five days out.

In response to the substantive question, I checked using a calendar
program (Jewish Calendar), and discoverd that 9 Ov 5252 was on Thursday
2 August 1492 according to the Julian calendar.  That's close enough for

If Columbus was due to set sail on 1 August = 8 Ov, he would no doubt
have found himself in the company of multitudes of leaving Jewish

Perets Mett


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 17:48:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Birkat Kohanim (was "Birkath Kohanim")

Yehonatan Chipman writes:
>the practice is for one of the congregation to say "kohanim" and for
>the kohanim to immedately begin with the Birkat Hamitzvah preceding the
>Dukhaning; if there is only one kohen, he begins by himself immediately
>after "ulekha na'eh lehodot... Amen" -- i.e., the end of the previous
>blessing of the Amidah.

I have indeed experienced this practice, which seems to be based on a
fear that calling "Kohanim" would be a hefseq on the part of the
sh'lia'h tzibbur.

On the other hand, the halakha seems to be clear on this issue: The
Mehaber (OH 128:10) states ". . . If they [the Kohanim] are two, he (the
Shatz) calls them, 'Kohanim.'"  The Mishna Berura (128:34) points out
that this is _not_ a hefseq, just as (when there is no Kohen and) the
Shatz recites the entire E-lokeinu vE-lokei Avoseinu .  . .  that is not
a hefseq.

Thus, the halakha appears to me from also looking at Sha`ar Hatziyyun,
that in a congregation that has the minhag of the Shatz reciting
E-lokeinu vE-lokei Avoseinu when there is no Kohen, the Shatz himself
should call the Kohanim where there are some, and not abdicate his
responsibility by passing it over to "one of the congregation."



From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 14:15:42 +0200
Subject: Calendar Congruence

In his "The Comprehensive Hebrew Calendar," Rabbi Arthur Spier notes:

"Only in 36,288 cycles (of 19 years - SH) or 689,472 years, a perfect
periodicity of the Kebioth (Keviot) takes place."

He adds, rather laconically,

"This, of course, has no practical importance."

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Richter Mark <richter-mark@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 13:24:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Cohain Marrying a Women Divorced from Non-Jew

Avram Sacks writes: 

[My understanding is that although a cohain may not marry a divorced
woman, in this case, the woman is not divorced from a Jew, so, from a
halachic perspective her marriage and subsequent divorce from a non-Jew
is not relevant vis a vis the prohibition against a cohain marrying a
divorced woman.]

While it is true that the Jewish woman who was married to a non-Jew is
not considered a grusha (divorcee), she is labled a zona.  According to
the Rambam, there are three types of women who are labled zonot: 1)one
who is not a "Daughter of Israel" (i.e. a liberated slave or convert),
2) a Jewish woman who had relations with someone who neither she nor any
other Jewish woman could marry (e.g. non-Jew), and 3) a Jewish woman who
had relations with a chalal (son of a Kohen who, for a variety of
reasons, may be disqualified from priestly privileges and
responsibilities).  (MT, Isurei Biya 18.1-2; BT Yevamot 59a and Rashi ad
loc.). A Kohen is prohibited from marrying a zona. (Viyikra 21.7; SA,
Even HaEzer Hilkhot Ishut 7.1,12,13)

[would the marriage cause him to lose the k'huna?  And then, what would
be the status of the children?]

Although this may seem counter-intuitive, I don't believe that entering
into this prohibited marriage would disqualify the husband from
functioning as a kohen.  However, any sons from this marriage would be
disqualified from the kehuna and any daughters would not be allowed to
marry kohanim. (See SA, Even HaEzer Hilkhot Ishut 7 and Viyikra 21.7)

- Mark Richter


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 06:48:16 -0800
Subject: Day after Pesach -  Shabbat

Frank Reiss writes:
>I was wondering, if Pessach started on a Thurs. night, it would end Fri
>night, so for that Shabbos it's no longer Pessach. Could one eat
>Kitniyos then? If so, how did you store the Kitniyos? Were they not sold
>together with the Chometz? It would have to be a prepared food or dry
>package. Has this ever occurred?

I thought Pesach couldn't start Thu night, but in any case the
equivalent situation happens frequently in Israel (maybe even in the
last two years?  I can't remember off-hand)--when Pesach starts on
Friday night.  Then in the US our second chag is Fri-Sat, but in Israel
just Fri (with Sat being no longer Pesach).

My understanding is that in such circumstances, you could have prepared
your kitniyot for shabbat in your Pesach dishes, before chag, no
problem.  Presumably the food had a Pesach-for-kitniyot-eaters

Another interesting question is whether (and if so, how) one could eat
*chometz* on this shabbat.

--Leah Gordon


From: Robert Kaiser <rkaiser1@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 22:30:20 -0500
Subject: English commentary on Sefer Tehillim?

Paul Ginsburg writes:
> Does anyone know of a good commentary on the Sefer
> Tehillim in English?

Psalms: The Soncino Books of the Bible series, Ed. Rev. Dr. A. Cohen

"Four Approaches to the Book of Pslams, From Saadiah Gaon to Abraham Ibn
Ezra", Uriel Simon (SUNY Press)

The Anchor Bible Pslams, Mitchell Dahood (3 volume set from Doubleday)
    [Note: The above recommendation is not a Jewish based commentary,
    and as such care should be taken in using it. Mod.]


Robert Kaiser


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 14:24:29 +0200
Subject: Kitniyos

Frank Reiss wonders, if Pesach would occur on Thursday night with the
last day of Pesach Friday, whether one can eat Kitniyos on Shabbat, the
day after Pesach.

First off, this is an impossibility, because of the rule of "Lo Bad"u
Pesach" - that Pesach cannot begin on a Friday.

Second, one does not need to go that far afield. If Pesach begins on
Shabbat, in Israel, where it is only seven days long, the day after
Pesach is Shabbat, so the same question is o practical significance,

Anecdotally, our oldest grandson was born in Israel during the Seder,
and it was Shabbat. We consulted with Rabbanim and were told that there
was no Issur whatsover in storing Kitniyos during Pesach, because they
are no Chametz. Consequently, during Chol Hamo'ed we bought a number of
products marked "Only for those who eat Kitniyos," which we served on
the eighth day - and these were consumed by all the invited guests
without any demurrer.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Eric W Mack <ewm44118@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 09:24:37 -0500
Subject: Modim Anachnu Lach

I'm *not* asking why the first line reads "lach" instead of "l'cha" -
I'm pretty sure that's been answered before - but, rather, why is the
nikud [vowel] beneath the shin in the fourth word of this t'fila
[prayer] a 'kamatz' and not a 'segol'.  (The fourth word is "sheh-atah"
or, perhaps, "shah-atah".)

Eric Mack
Cleveland Heights, Ohio


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 12:03:42 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Tal Umatar

>       Incidentally, an interesting quirk of Jewish observance based on
>the extra 11 days: the recitation of "Tal umatar" beginms outside of
>Eretz Yisrael on December 4.  Why?  It's supposed to begin 60 day after
>"tekufat Tishrei" -- i.e., the vernal equinox, which falls on September
>21.  So it should begin on November 21 or 22.  But the additional 11
>days bring one to December 4.

        The oddity about this is that one can calculate in what year we
will be saying "tal umatar" AFTER Pesach (I think in about the year
22,000).  One answer is that hopefully mashiach will come by then, but
it is odd that Jews haven't adjusted to the Gregorian calendar.

        Interestingly, the Russians didn't adopt the Gregorian calendar
till the early 20th cetury, and I have come across Russian Jews who
still used November 22 for the date to start saying "tal umatar".
Therefore, there is at least one minhag to do it right (for the wrong

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph. 773-880-4187, Fax 773-880-8226


From: David Cohen <davidaco@...>
Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 14:26:39 -0500
Subject: Torah Reading by a Minor - Women's Gomel - Kosher gum

Just to catch up on some issues that were spoken about but may or may
not have been fully answered.

1) With regard to Taroah reading by a minor, Rav Ovadiah Yosef brings
down that there are basically three shitas with regard to this.

A) that a minor who has reached the age of chinuch (usually accepted at
nine years old) can read the Sefer Torah for the Tzibur at all times.
This, Rav Ovadiah says, seems to be the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch,
and is the stam opinion that is brought down in gemarah megillah (the
daf eludes me at this moment).

B) that a minor cannot read the first three aliyot during the week and
cannot read the first three aliyot on shabbat, but he can read anything
after the first three aliyot.

C) that a minor cannot read at all.

There seems to be no real makor for this last opinion, although many
shuls do hold of it. In our Syrian community, the children's minyanim
allow minors who have reached the age of chinuch to read anything after
the third aliyah. Rav Ovadiah's opinion is also that a community should
be machmir to hold of shitah B, but at a time where the only person who
can read the sefer torah is a minor, it is certainly permissible to have
the minor read the whole thing, especially as the mechaber's opinion is
that the minor can read the whole thing, even the first three aliyot.

2) regarding women's Gomel, again, Rav Ovadiah brings down that it is
preferable that the woman bench Gomel, if it is because of just having
given birth, during the mesibah that you make for the birth of a girl or
during the bris, and if she did not do it there, or she is chayevet for
any other reason, she should bench hagomel in between aliyot or after
kriyat hatorah, while the sefer torah is still out, and that the tzibbur
answer amen, etc. so there is definitely a good makor to this
custom. The Ben Ish Chai also brings down that a woman should
definitely, lechatchila, bench hagomel in front of ten men.

3) regarding kosher gum, the ruling of rabbi Abadi that wrigley's gum is
kosher for Passover applies only to sefaradim who hold, as Rav Ovadiah
does, of the shita of kosher gelatin. Thus, for sefaradim who hold of
this shita, ALL GUM IS KOSHER except for any gum that is grape-flavored,
for obvious reasons. Ashkenazim generally do not hold of the shita of
kosher gelatin, and so that ruling would not apply to them.

David A. Cohen



From: abagabai <abagabai@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Mar 2002 09:24:08 -0500
Subject: RE: Unmarried Men wearing Talis

I started wearing a Tallis when I was app 8 years old when I davened for
the amud.  I have been wearing a Tallis ever since.  When I was in my
early 20's, I asked the rabbi about not wearing the Tallis anymore so
women can see I was single, but he said that since I was wearing it for
so long, it is my minhag now and I should say a brachah on the Tallis,
even though I was not married.

I have now been married for 1.5 years.


End of Volume 36 Issue 12