Volume 36 Number 72
                 Produced: Fri Jul 12  6:04:42 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birnbaum Siddur (2)
         [Shmuel Himelstein, Joel Rich]
card operated locks
         [Binyomin Segal]
El Am Talmud
         [Jonathan Baker]
         [Rabbi Shmuel Jablon]
         [Danny Skaist]
Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat
         [Eli Lansey]
Hotel on Shabbat
         [Carl Singer]
Interesting Gemara
         [Lawrence Feldman]
Shabbat in space
         [Reuben Rudman]


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 14:44:46 +0200
Subject: Birnbaum Siddur

A reader writes:

> In this context, I wonder what one who grew up with the Birnbaum siddur,
> with its hiddushim (such as adding "Elokeynu vEloyei avoseinu" before
> "qadsheynu" on Yomtov silent devotion, or saying "honah" rather than
> "honi'ah" in Shabbat grace) is required to say or do when he prays in a
> synagogue that uses a different prayerbook.

If one checks the commentary of R' Yaakov Emden on the Siddur, one can
see that he gives "Elokeinu veilokei ..." as the proper Nusach on all
days, and not only on Shabbat. After all, what possible reason would
there be to omit it on weekdays, and to start with "Kadesheinu
bemitzvotecha"? I believe R' Yaakov Emden attributes this "nusach" to an
error of transcription, and while the original nusach had "retzei
bimenuchateinu" in brackets as being said only on Shabbat, someone at
some point erroneously extended the bracket to include Elokeinu veilokei

Another "change" of Birnbaum, which is totally obvious when one thinks
about it, is the fifth line of Yigdal, beginning "Hino Adon olam ..."
This is supposed to correspond with the fifth of Rambam's 13 Principles,
which - in the present nusach - it clearly doesn't. Rambam's fifth
principle is that one may pray only to Hashem. The prevailing nusach
says something about Hashem showing His greatness to everyone, which is
hardly the same thing.  Birnbaum changes "lechol notzar" to "vechol
notzar," which effectively translates as "every creature will extoll His
greatness and royalty" - a perfect correspondence.

Shmuel Himelstein

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 05:33:25 EDT
Subject: Re: Birnbaum Siddur

> In other words, did the Birnbaum text become that person's minhag and he
> is therefore required to continue using it, or is it perhaps regarded as
> a minhag tau'oos?  Or is it actually the authentic text that all Jews
> should be using?

What about all those people who have adopted the Ari's kabbalistic
minhag of giving tzedaka in the middle of psukei dzimra because the
Artscroll Siddur says this is customary? FWIW IIRC the actual minhag Ari
was to give txedaka when the congregation (Not the individual) was at
that point.  While we're on the topic, is there any halachik source for
"interrupting" the repetition of the shmona esrah to give tzedaka?  Why
interrupt psukei dzimra versus the practice (complete disclosure-this is
our family practice, consistent with the non-ari practice brought down)
of giving before davening?

Joel Rich


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 07:42:01 -0500
Subject: Re: card operated locks

A bit of clarification for Stan and Ira

>> As I understand it, the difference between psik raisha and grama is more
>> than simply one of time delay. I recall reading that when they designed
>> the grama light switches for Sharei Tzedek they built in a level of
>> "imprecision" to insure it would be considered a grama. The causing
>> action would eventually turn on the light, but it might be in .1 second,
>> and it might be in .5 seconds. Hence there was no specific moment at
>> which it would definately happen - no psik raisha.
> If this is so -- if it's okay to cause action which will eventually turn on
> a light, as long as there's a built-in uncertainty -- then adding and
> subtracting pins from a mechanical timer would always be acceptable,
> because a mechanical timer (the kind that are available for household use)
> is hardly ever accurate to more than half a minute (at best).
> Does this mean I can turn lights on and off, simply by inserting or
> removing a pin from a mechanical timer a few minutes -- give or take --
> before I want action?  It seems to me that this is pushing things a bit
> far, particularly if used to excess.  But then, where's the dividing line?

grama is NOT universally allowed. rather, it was used in the case of
light switches for sharei tzedek HOSPITAL. that is to say, it is not a
torah prohibition, only rabbinic and rabbinic rules are generally
speaking put aside for people sick enough to be in the hospital.

further, and i know i was not clear about this because i struggled with
how to explain it, there is a difference between the grama i describe
and the situation of a timer.

when the timer passes the switch it will turn on (or off). no exception,
no doubt. we dont know exactly when it will happen in a practical sense,
but it will happen as a direct result of that pin.

the situation i spoke about is more complex. basically, there is a
"tester" circuit. it tests to see if the switch has been moved. if the
switch has been moved, then it randomly decides whether or not to turn
on.  THEORETICALLY, the light might never turn on as a result of my
moving the switch. in practice though, because the switch is tested VERY
frequently, the result is that i flick the switch and the light goes on.

cutting off a head is definately going to cause death to the animal, and
therefore is a psik raisha.

is that clearer?

Contact me via my NEW address


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 07:23:56 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: El Am Talmud

Art Werschulz wrote: 
> Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> asked for information
> about the El Am Talmud.
> The El Am project produced thin folios that were suitable for putting
> into a three-ring binder.  Only a few folios were produced, consisting
> of portions of Berachot, Bava Metzia, and Kiddushin.

That's not strictly true.  They finished Brachot, and had parts of Bava
Metzia and Kiddushin.  The final versions were bound, and you can
sometimes find them the on used book servers.  I think they were in
print into the '90s.  I know I bought a couple of volumes in the early
'90s for my mother.

   - jon baker    <jjbaker@...>     <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker> -


From: Rabbi Shmuel Jablon <rabbij@...>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 15:45:46 -0400
Subject: eMezuzah

I ended up involved with a unique program called eMezuzah.  I though
people might find this educational and spiritual tool interesting.  I am
attaching the press release below.

Shmuel Jablon   

  ************* FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE *************

I am pleased to announce the release of version 1.0 of eMezuzah, the
first electronic mezuzah.  Developed by programmer Marc-Alexandre
Cartiant and with the guidance and assistance of Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
(www.rabbijablon.com), this is a wonderful program which provides a
constant reminder of G-d on your desktop.

The program features:

 - the print Mezuzah scroll in Hebrew and English, also read aloud by
Rabbi Jablon
 - a beautiful scroll box which can be placed anywhere on your desktop
 - features which allow you to control the behavior of the eMezuzah by:
    - showing is on your desktop at all times
    - hiding it when desired
    - hiding it for periods of time you can set, with the ability to
play a WAV (audio) file when the time has elapsed
    - hiding it until your computer is inactive for a variable period of
time, when it will reappear

Rabbi Jablon, author of "Jewish Answers" has written a brief article
which serves as our "About" file -- WHAT (AND WHY) IS A MEZZUZA?  He
explains this important mitzvah and how the eMezuzah, while not
fulfilling the mitzvah, is "... a beautiful educational tool that is
designed to teach all who use it about this precious mitzvah."

Copies are feely available on the program website www.emezuzah.com.
Registration is $10, with $2 of each sale going to Jewish charity work
in Israel.  Currently we have designated that funds go to relief efforts
for Israeli victims of terrorist attacks.

Interested institutions can contact us for information on our
co-branding program.  This allows an institution to insert an
advertisement below the program menu.  The 20% normally set aside for
charity from registrations will go to the institution in a co-branded
copy.  This makes the program a wonderful fund-raiser for Jewish
schools, charities and organizations.  Contact <partners@...> for
more information.

For further information, contact <info@...>

J. Eric Slone
SCS International
Phone 703-680-4757

Rabbi Shmuel Jablon
Find out about my book, JEWISH ANSWERS, at www.rabbijablon.com!


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 12:52:45 +0200 
Subject: Geocentric

<<Now, I don't know that that means we SHOULD assume everything revolves
around the earth, but maybe it does. and that would make a few of the
questions here more fun.

just my little bit of fun for the day
binyomin >>

In a letter to the Lubavitcher Rebbi, he was asked whether the sun goes
around the earth.  He answered (I paraphrase) that in Quantum physics
there is a rule that anytime we see A going aroud B we MUST accept that
B also goes around A.  Therefore only someone who is still stuck in
Newtonian Physics will not accept that the sun does indeed revolve
around the earth.



From: Eli Lansey <elansey@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 13:32:05 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: re: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

Charles Halevi wrote:
> 	It's very logical to believe that a space station (as opposed to
> shuttles such as Challenger) could be geosynchronous.

1st of all, it is not that logical to have a space station in
geocynchronous orbit - the distance from the Earth needed to make such
orbits work (they need to be moving slowly [angular velocity=change in
angle/change in time, not tangental velocity], and thus, the can't use
forward velocity to keep them in orbit, so they need to distance
themselves from the Earths gravity to an extent where it isn't exerting
as much force [the stregth of gravity is detirmined by both mass and
_distance_ from the mass], so that a smaller angular velocity can
thereby keep it in orbit) is quite large.  It would therefor be
impractical, and therefor illogical, to have a space station at such a
far-reaching distance.

2nd of all, the Internation Space Station is not in geocynronous
orbit...I have seen it travel across the sky with my own two eyes.



From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 07:40:12 EDT
Subject: Re: Hotel on Shabbat

      >One can easily avoid it. Don't go to a hotel on shabbos

      I think you are adopting a very incorrect approach ...  namely,
      don't investigate and find a solution... just avoid the issue by
      being as machmir as possible.  I am familiar with this attitude
      and I disagree with it strongly.  It completely fails to take into
      account the ramifications of being machmir.  I think the "need" to
      go on vacation with one's family is entirely legitimate, at least
      as important as "kiruv" which you seem to grudgingly admit as

Perhaps this is mis-interpretted.

Don't put yourself in a situation that you can avoid.  It has nothing to
do with being machmir.  The extension to don't go on vacation is a
non-sequitur and, clearly, an opportunity to hop onto a soap box -- of
course go on vacation -- but one can plan vacations which include
meaningful Shabbos experiences, not being locked up in a hotel room in
the middle of nowhere, davening alone, etc.  As a matter of fact it's
refreshing to visit other Jewish communities, daven with other kehillas,

The underlying points are (1) don't be a victim and (2) you make life
choices (big & little) -- don't whine about them.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer  


From: Lawrence Feldman <lpf1836@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 02:19:11 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: re: Interesting Gemara

Related to this discussion concerning the Steinsalz shas and similar
efforts, is anyone on the list familiar with Gemera Berura, which is
software-based?  If so, what's your impression?

Their website, http://www.gemaraberura.com, describes the project as

"Gemara Berura is a structured methodology supported by computer-based
help tools and support mechanisms for learning and teaching Gemara. The
computer program works with the original Gemara text, and can be used to
study any sugiya contained in the Shas. Gemara Berura also provides
access to a growing data- bank of specific sugiot and lesson-plans
prepared by the program's development team. The program can be used by
individual learners, chevrutot, study groups, and students in
classrooms. "

Thanks, Larry Feldman


From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 09:08:07 -0400
Subject: Re:  Shabbat in space

>From MJ Vol. 36 #65:  "Has anyone tried: a) searching through back
> numbers of "Tradition"  (there's an index, so it's not that difficult)?
> b) ditto for the
> journal of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists?  I'm sure
> there's material there, in one or both of those journals.
>        Rav Yehonatan Chipman, Jerusalem"

About 30 years ago, Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld published an article in
Tradition discussing the Halachas concerning an astronaut circling the
Earth.  At the time it was considered "off-the-wall" but time has shown
he was right on the mark.

Also, at a dinner of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists,
Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm gave a masterful speech (nearly an hour in length)
about the Hashkafic and Halachik ramifications of finding life elsewhere
in the Universe.  This was later published in Tradition, also about 30
years ago.

I do not have the exact citations as my copies of Tradition are in
cartons en route to Israel.


End of Volume 36 Issue 72