Volume 36 Number 73
                 Produced: Tue Jul 16  6:03:02 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Mark Symons]
Beverage for Havdallah on Motzai Shabbat Chazon
         [Barry Best]
Fertility Drugs Mandatory?
         [Ben Katz]
Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat
         [Robert Israel]
Hinting to a Gentile
         [Frank Silbermann]
Modesty by Avraham and Sara
         [Normand, Neil]
North American Aliyah
         [Nomi Voroba Guberman]
Nusach Art Scroll
         [Ben Katz]
Quotations in Torah (2)
         [David Charlap, Stan Tenen]
Shabbat in space
         [Akiva Miller]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Subject: Re: Artscroll/Birenbaum

Ira L. Jacobson said:

...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...

Birnbaum says its not actually a chiddush but points out that it's
brought by Yaacov Emden and that omitting it on Shabbat was a printer's
error.  Birenbaum is one of my favorites, especially the Yamim Noraim
machzorim, where in the piyuttim the English lines match the Hebrew more
closely on the page so it's easier to have one finger on one side and
one on the other.

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia

From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 10:39:32 -0400 
Subject: Beverage for Havdallah on Motzai Shabbat Chazon

question:   what practice do people have with respect to the beverage they
use for havdallah on motzai shabbat chazon?


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 14:57:21 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Fertility Drugs Mandatory?

>From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>

>I just heard about an Orthodox couple who just had twins.  Their
>previous births were twins and triplets.  Now it's a medical fact that
>multiple births are exceedingly rare without the use of fertility drugs.
>Since this couple has had a string of 3 multiple births (one of which
>was triplets!), I think it's safe to assume that she is using fertility
>drugs.  It would also seem that she took fertility drugs even after she
>already had 5 children.

 The premise here is mistaken, altho the question may still be of
interest.  Multiple births are not "exceedingly rare".  The rate of
twins is better than 1:100 deliveries; triplets is an order of magnitude
less (at least).  However there are women/couples, who for some reason,
are prone to multiple births; this is known from the era before
fertility drugs.

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: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 14:09:05 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

Charles Chi )Yeshaya) Halevi wrote:

|         It's very logical to believe that a space station (as opposed to
| shuttles such as Challenger) could be geosynchronous. That being the
| case, what's the consensus here? Should/must an astronaut observe
| Shabbat one day per week?  The same day as the terrestrial point over
| which s/he hovers? Or does s/he do what some say is halacha for
| Antarctica, and pick any city's Shabbat?

It could be geosynchronous, but I can't think of a very good reason
you'd want a space station (as opposed to a communications, weather or
spy satellite) to be geosynchronous.  And the best reason for them not
to be geosynchronous is that it takes a lot more fuel to go up that
high, rather than to a low orbit such as what the shuttle uses.

A geosynchronous satellite is high enough that it doesn't have sunrise
and sunset in the same way that low-orbit satellites do.  The Earth only
subtends an angle of about 17 degrees from it, if my calculations are
correct.  Near the equinoxes, there would be brief periods (up to about
69 minutes) of darkness once a day when the satellite is in the Earth's
shadow, but near the solstices the sun would be visible all the time.
>From this point of view, the situation seems to be rather similar to
what you have in the arctic and antartic regions of the Earth in the
summer, when the sun doesn't ever set.

|         Obviously -- to me, anyway -- if the Jewish astronaut's labors
| are essential to the station's survival, s/he would *have* to work on
| Shabbat.  But what if observing Shabbat would endanger nobody, yet would
| cause non-Jewish astronauts to think ill of Judaism because they get no
| day off and our Shomer Shabbat astronaut does cease work one day?

Space station crew do have time off - nobody can work all the time -
although I don't know if they have full days off.  I don't see why it
shouldn't be possible to arrange the Jewish astronaut's schedule to have
24 hours off once a week, as long as the total amount of working time is
the same.

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


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 10:47:49 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Hinting to a Gentile

In v36 n65 Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> quotes the Rema (OH 307:22):
"Anything that is forbidden to tell a non-Jew to do on Shabbos is
forbidden to hint to him, although it is permitted to hint to him to
perform labor after Shabbos" and the Mishna Berura (307:76):
"... it is forbidden to tell (a non-Jew) something on Shabbos
that will cause him to understand that he should perform labor."

I remember reading elsewhere that on Shabbas one may ask a gentile to
ask a second gentile to perform labor on Shabbos.  If so, presumably we
can ask him because we are only asking him to talk, which is not in
itself labor.  But that would mean that the rule about causing something
to happen does not apply.

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana


From: Normand, Neil <NormandN@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 17:33:59 -0400 
Subject: Re: Modesty by Avraham and Sara

It is clear that the Nemukei Yosef, the Rema, and the Gra(biur haGraE.E.
21:5) see this gemara as the source of the halacha that one should
refrain from public displays of affection with one's wife. It is up to
us to reconstruct their logic. Perhaps one could say that rather than
this being an example of IF... THEN..., the gemara is an example of ONLY
IF... THEN..., meaning when Avraham Avinu responds to Rav Benaa' and
says that their is no yetzer hara in olam haba, he means that only
because there is no yetzer hara is his embrace with Sara permissible. He
statement is in effect setting the circumstances in which the activity
is permissible.

Kol Tuv


From: Nomi Voroba Guberman <Nomi.Guberman@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 22:06:39 +0200
Subject: North American Aliyah

Yasher Koach to the North Americans on the mailing list who are part of
the new wave of aliyah supported by Nefesh b'Nefesh!

As for those who "are not yet olim", as well as the "vatikim", I
recommend that during the "9 days" we all try to learn the books of Ezra
and Nechemia. My gut feeling is that most of us who grew up in
yeshiva-day-schools never learned from the source, regarding "shivat
zion." Educators and students, PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.

I remember the little bit we learned about that period, as being
derogatory - in that "so few" came back, while the rest stayed behind.
(Ha and double ha! Event the scant few were more than 40,000 coming at
one go!)  B"H, the four hundred olim arriving in Israel today, July 9,
is a good start. Now, HOW MANY people are on this mailing list :-) :-)

At this crossroads of Jewish history, and particularly during the next 9
days, we should not only look back mournfully at the destruction of our
holy places, but looking forward hopefully to the imminent
rebuilding. May we all be zocheh!


Nomi Voroba Guberman
Maaleh Adumim


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 15:43:29 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Nusach Art Scroll

>From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
>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.
>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?

  Birnbaum was correcting what he felt were obvious typographical errors
that crept into the text of the siddur.  Many of them had halachic
support (eg the "Elokeynu vEloyei avoseinu" before "qadsheynu" in the
Yomtov silent devotion, for which Birnbaum cites Emden), a few did not
("honah" rather than "honi'ah" in Shabbat grace).
  A related issue is that I do not see why an error should be someone's
minhag.  If Birnbaum is correct, one should use his nusach, it seems to

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: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 10:05:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Quotations in Torah

Akiva Miller wrote:
> It is my feeling that at least some quotes in the Torah are not
> *exactly* what the person said, but are (as Mr. Lefkowitz put it) G-d's
> edited version of what they said. ...
> Now that I have demonstrated that certain quotes have been edited
> (namely Yosef speaking to his brothers), then it seems to me that we
> have lost any presumed guarantee that any other pasuk is
> unedited. (Certainly, some might be unedited. We just don't know which.)
> That conclusion is vaguely disquieting to me, but it should not
> be. ...

I don't see any problem with the concept at all.

The Torah is God's word to us.  It is not a historical transcript of
events.  It is well known that information that God considered
irrelevant to our observing the mitzvot was ommitted.

For instance, Cain took a wife from the land of Nod, but we aren't told
who those people are, what their geneaology is, or how they got there.
God ommitted this information, because that knowledge is irrelevant to
our study and practice of the mitzvot, and the Torah does not have any
wasted text.

-- David

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 09 Jul 2002 08:25:14 -0700
Subject: Re: Quotations in Torah

If we accept the traditional teaching that Torah was given to Moshe as a
sequence of unvowelized letters that were not divided into words, and
could not be read until after history had occurred, then we have no
problem with any of this.

The Torah that was given is the _unvoweled,_ undivided letter-text.  This 
is what was "revealed" to Moshe, not the stories.

So, no editing would ever be required (nor possible).



From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 9 Jul 2002 13:29:31 GMT
Subject: Re: Shabbat in space

Binyomin Segal wrote <<< He claimed that there is NO evidence that Mars
orbits the sun. The relativity of motion means that we can easily assume
any place is "stationary" and everything revolves around that place. We
tend to use a heliocentric model NOT because it is "more correct" but
rather because the math is easier to do (that is to say, the orbits are
more regular). 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. >>>

Sorry to take the fun out of it, but it seems to me that everywhere in
halacha, how things *appear* is much more relevant than how they *are*.

Example: It doesn't matter if the corners of your tefillin *are* square,
measured scientifically. What counts is whether they *look* square to a
typical observer.

Example: It doesn't matter whether your vegetables have microscopic
bacteria on it. It matters whether there are visible bugs present.

Example: When the sun goes below the western horizon, it is irrelevant
whether it keeps going in the same circle below your feet until it comes
up in the east the next morning (like our scientists say), or whether it
makes a u-turn and travels to the east *above* the earth by hiding
behind the firmament (as the Gemara took for granted). What matters is
that the sun *appears* to set in the west, and *appears* to rise in the

Example: Continuing from the previous paragraph, it doesn't matter
whether the sun is going around the earth or whether the earth goes
around the sun. Likewise, for all matters relating to Rosh Chodesh, it
is irrelevant whether the moon goes around the earth or the earth goes
around the moon. In fact, my understanding is that according to current
practices in Orbital Mechanics, it is incorrect to say either of those,
for what is actually happening is that the earth and moon both orbit a
point somewhere between them. That is, the earth's apparent path around
the sun has a distinct "wobble" to it. (Compare it to the wedding dance
where two people grasp each others wrists. If the two are nearly equal
in weight (okay, "mass"!), then they will circle the wrists. But if they
are not balanced, they'll circle a point closer to the heavier person;
that is similar to the earth-moon system. And if one person's weight is
negligible compared to the other, the heavier one will remain relati!
vely stationary; this is similar to the sun-earth system.)

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 36 Issue 73