Volume 36 Number 52
                 Produced: Mon Jun 24 22:06:32 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Artscroll (4)
         [Immanuel Burton, Shayna Kravetz, Mark Steiner, Stan Tenen]
Card-Operated Locks (4)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Eli Turkel, Ben Katz, Shayna Kravetz]
Kosher food, but what about Shabbat in space
         [Edward Ehrlich]
Origin of Tehilas Hashem
         [Elozor Preil]
Rav & Mathematics
         [Jeffrey Saks]
The Rav and Math
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
The Rav zt'l and the study of mathematics
         [Saul Mashbaum]


From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 10:00:55 +0100
Subject: Artscroll

The Artscroll Siddur translates the Tetragrammaton as Hashem, rather
than as the more conventional L-rd.  If one decides to recite prayers in
English (as is permitted with certain prayers provided, of course, that
one understands English) and one uses the Artscroll Siddur, has one
fulfilled one's obligation of prayer if one says "Hashem" rather than

Immanuel Burton.

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 17:29:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Artscroll

Bernard Raab wrote in  mj#36-48
>With all of the kudos to Artscroll offered here recently, I wonder: Am I
>the only one who is incensed at the Artscroll "translation" of Shir
>Hashirim? I wonder when they will see fit to "edit" the Hebrew version
>in the same way!

Nope. I'm with you 100% on this one. My shul bought the Artscroll
version of the Megillot, much to my dismay, and I always feel as if the
Rabbi should stand up before the public reading on Shabbat Pesach and
instruct the kehila that the English is a collection of various
interpretations and completely independent of the Hebrew text. I am
particularly sorry for those with little or no Hebrew who are relying on
the English for their entire understanding of this beautiful book. The
Italians say, "Traditore tradutore" - To translate is to betray, but the
Artscroll Shir Ha-shirim really makes me indignant.

I have been told by those who support the Artscroll version that Shir
ha-Shirim has no pshat. I cannot understand such a position. Surely
everything has a pshat meaning? How did chazal arrive at their
interpretations except by starting from the pshat and treating it as
metaphor rather than narrative? The interpretation of a text does not
make the original disappear.


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 16:35:19 +0300
Subject: Re: Artscroll

Though the allegorical interpretation of Shir Hashirim is almost an
article of faith, and is the source of the holiness of the Shir Hashirim
scroll (metame et hayadim) as R. Akiva and, in our generation, Rav
J. B. Soloveitchik (cf. his essay, Uvikashtem Misham) say, it has always
seemed absurd to me to do away with the literal meaning, not only
because then the allegory is meaningless, but because the literal
meaning of Shir Hashirim is also an article of faith: the Talmud derives
the laws of modesty from the various descriptions of the female body
therein, and concludes that one may not recite the Shema in the presence
of any parts of the female anatomy praised by the lover in the Song of
Songs.  The Artscroll "translation" of Shir Hashirim thus erases a good
portion of Tractate Berakhot along with the literal meaning.

Mark Steiner

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 07:58:58 -0700
Subject: Re: Artscroll

At 03:28 AM 6/18/02, Ben Katz wrote:
>         No, you are not the only one.  ArtScroll also attempts to have
>it both ways.  In their Introduction they say they strive for a literal
>translation, while in the Intro to Shir HaShirim they say that a literal
>translation goes against 200 years of rabbinic exegesis.  One can't have
>it both ways.  Either one translates figuratively, or not.  One can't
>translate literally what one wants, criticize more figurative
>translations, and then translate figuratively what one finds
>uncomfortable translating literally.

Several participants have mentioned the problem with ArtScroll's
"translation" of Shir haShirim, and bemoaned the fact that they don't
provide a literal translation.

This is a poor example to pick to criticize ArtScroll.  I happen to
agree with most of what's been said about the limitations of the
ArtScroll "minhag", but Shir haShirim is in a different category,
because there can be no acceptable exclusively word-based translation.

Many people have read many different interpretations of Shir haShirim,
which is one simple reason why no one translation would satisfy
everyone.  But the real reason why ArtScroll's non-translation is hardly
better or worse than supposed literal translations is that the
_metaphor_ underlying the composition is Kabbalistic, and not possible
to be understood in words alone.  Kabbalistic principles can not be
properly understood -- or sometimes, even identified -- without some
sort of experiential and/or apprenticeship training.  Without the proper
context, _ALL_ translations of Shir haShirim must be misleading.

Once it's understood that there can be no completely appropriate and
accurate verbal/narrative/poetic translation, then it's a matter of
taste as to which less-than-perfect mode to use.  ArtScroll made its
choice; others make different choices.  But the important thing to
remember is, _none_ of these conveys the truest, deepest meaning.
Contrary to the beliefs of many exclusively wordsmith scholars, the
deepest lessons of life simply cannot be conveyed in words.  And the
deepest thoughts are non-verbal, and pre-verbal.  This is where our
sages should look for a translation of Shir haShirim.  (BTW, my own
investigation suggests the possibility that Shir haShirim is a
commentary on the cosmology of B'reshit.  It may even be related to
Russell Hendel's recent suggestions that B'reshit is about the coming of



From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 10:34:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Card-Operated Locks

Typically in a hotel or the like, I simply use a card (or sometimes even
the "do not disturb" sign) to keep the door from locking.  This way,
when I want to enter, I just open the door and the card falls out.  If
done properly, the card is not visible to the outside, giving a sense of

On a related matter, my wife and I went to Disney world 6 years ago as
half of our honeymoon (the other half, of course, was in Israel).  We
stayed on property and were there through Shabbat.  I asked the customer
service person there what we could do about entering or exiting our hut,
since it was pretty far from the main staff house.  Customer service
then proceeded to send a mechanic to our hut who physically changed the
electronic lock to a mechanical one, and gave us the key.  Now THAT'S
what I call service!

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

From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 17:34:32 GMT
Subject: Card-Operated Locks

Should we not be differentiating between specifically asking a non-Jew
to do this action and "rmiza"(hinting) {e.g. standing in front of the
closed door looking sad:-)

Good luck waiting for someone to help. You may end up sleeping in the
hallway. Also you have to get to your floor by elevator as most places
have the stairs for emergency use only.

As technology improves the situation will get worse as rooms are
beginning to get automatic lighting and automatic toilets that turn on
based on motion.

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:29:48 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Card-Operated Locks

>From: <ROSELANDOW@...> (Rose Landowne)
>What I find is that it helps to use a piece of card or heavy paper to
>cover the part of the lock that you have to push in, and then tape over
>it.  Then hang out the Do Not Disturb sign. Never travel anywhere
>without duct tape.

   One should never travel anywhere without duct tape.  It can save your
life in the case of a hotel fire.  90% of deaths in fires are from smoke
inhalation.  Taping up the ducts (if you cannot escape your room) in
your room is what firefighters recommend.

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, Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...>

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 12:12:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Card-Operated Locks

I am unfamiliar with the brand names of the various companies involved
but I wonder if there is not a distinction for our purposes between
those card locks that read a magnetized strip in order to open the door
from the corridor and those card locks which let pins fall through a
pre-punched card to allow the doorknob to turn. The latter type of lock
is less common but my sense, without deeper investigation, is that it is
a purely mechanical lock - without even an indicator light on the door
panel, as I recall - and would be kosher to use on shabbat.



From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 17:44:02 +0200
Subject: Kosher food, but what about Shabbat in space

The situation of astronauts in space is similar to someone on a long
submarine voyage.  Submarine crewmen do no usually even know their exact
location (local time gets very complicated near the North Pole) and so
all crewmen go by the local time of their last port.  According to
astronaut William R. Pogue in his book "How Do You Go To The Bathroom In
Space?" the astronauts use Central Standard Time for daily activities
such a meals, waking up and going to bed, which is the same as that in
Houston, Texas.  Being in a space shuttle or the International Space
Station does not pose any special problems.  Things will get interesting
when Jews start settling on a colony on Mars or any other planet with a
time system separate from that of the Earth.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 01:41:56 EDT
Subject: Re: Origin of Tehilas Hashem

I had recently asked this question of R. Elazar M. Teitz, and he replied
that it was a German custom that evidently spread.

Kol tuv,


From: Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 10:03:37 +0200
Subject: Rav & Mathematics

In response to I. Kasdan's question:
R. Soloveitchik made many references to mathematics and mathematicians in
his "Halakhic Man."
Such references can be found (in the English JPS version) on pages:
18-19, 23, 25-26, 29, 55, 57, 83, 116, 120-21, 144 (note10), 146 (note 18),
147 (note 24).

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, ATID-Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
Tel. 02-567-1719 * Fax 02-567-1723 * Cell 053-214-884
E-mail: <atid@...> * Website: www.atid.org


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Jun 2002 11:28:33 +0300
Subject: Re:  The Rav and Math

In v36n49, I Kasdan <Ikasdan@...> asked:
 << Can anyone point to a written source discussing (or even mentioning)
what I believe was the Rav zt'l's high regard for the study of
mathematics?>> Thanks in advance.

     There is a clear analogy drawn between study of the exact sciences
and study of halakhah in his first major essay, "Ish Ha-Halakhah"
(published in English as Halakhic Man). That essay is essentially
constucted around the typology of Ish ha-Da'at ("the man os science" or
"knowledge") vs. Ish ha-Dat (homo religios, mostly in the Christian,
subjective & emotional sense), where "halakhc man" or the talmid hakham
clearly is closer to the latter.

      Two oral testimonies:
       In a talk given at the annual Hevrah Shas breakfast in Boston in
Spring 1974, the Rav spoke at length of the similarity and analogy
between Torah learning and mathematics.
      At a weekly shiur on "Ish ha-Halakhah" given by his son-in-law,
Rav Aharon Lichtehnstein, sheyibadel lehayyim arukim, at Yeshivat Har
Etzion in 1974-75, he mentioned that when the Rav first came to America
in the 1930's, during the "Boston period" prior to hsi father's death
and his being to teach at YU, the Rav devoted much time to the study of
math and physics.
    I believe that these preoccupations are reflected in another book
written around that time, although published only relatively recently,
"The Halakhic Mind."
     You might also look at the short biography in Aharon Rakefett's
two-volume set, "The Rav."

     Yehonatan Chipman, Yerushalyim


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 22:03:40 +0300
Subject: The Rav zt'l and the study of mathematics

I Kasdan wrote:
> Can anyone point to a written source discussing (or even mentioning)
> what I believe was the Rav zt'l's high regard for the study of
> mathematics? Thanks in advance.

While I can't point to any written source, I believe that it is of
interest that in his hesped for Dr. Belkin z"l in Lamport Auditorium on
Chol Hamoed Pesach, 1976, the Rov zt"l used mathematical (geometrical)
concepts extensively.

Saul Mashbaum


End of Volume 36 Issue 52