Volume 36 Number 80
                 Produced: Wed Jul 24  1:13:27 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Book of Haftaros
         [Mordechai Trainer]
English translation of Ramban's Iggeres HaKodesh
         [Steven White]
Preparing for after Shabbos
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Queen=wife of king - was groom/bride=melech/malkah
         [Aliza N. Fischman]
Sheimot in Senge; holiness in halakha
         [Zev Sero]
Shir shel Yom Revi'i
         [Alfred Silberman]
Torah as Historical Record
         [Ben Katz]


From: <mort.trainer@...> (Mordechai Trainer)
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 15:17:46 -0400
Subject: Book of Haftaros

I recently saw a posting about use of the Koren Tanach for reading
Haftaros.  The poster had trouble bookmarking and finding the proper
passage for a particulat Haftara.  I remembered that I saw a better
alternative to the Koren in a shul but I didn't visit that shul until
this morning.  By now, however, I had discarded the original posting so
I don't remember the issue number nor the poster's name.

There is a new publication that has everything you might want, and more.
Its title is Sefer Haftoros Hashalem, published by Machon Ohr HaChayim.
It has the entire text of the Tanach in a smaller font.  However, the
section of the text that is the Haftara appears in much larger font.
There is an index at the beginning of the sefer showing the location of
each Haftara.

Additionally, the authors have done a masterful job in the text itself.
Some examples: "Sh'va na"s appear larger than "shva nach"s; "kametz
katan"s are shown distinct from regular "kametz"; "nasog achor"s are
indicated.  Also, I always had a personal gripe with the shapes of some
of the letters in the Koren; most notable is the difficulty in
distinguishing between a dalet and a resh.  The letters in this new
sefer are much clearer.

Mordechai Trainer


From: <benrothke@...> (Avroham)
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 15:04:40 -0400
Subject: English translation of Ramban's Iggeres HaKodesh


Does anyone know if there is an English translation of Ramban's Iggeres

Thank you, 


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 23:01:13 EDT
Subject: Re: Estrogen

This isn't a contraception forum, nor am I suggesting anything
halachically about birth control in what follows.  But I do want to
clear up a question recently raised that I have some knowledge on.
Opinions are solely mine, and not my employer's.

In MJ 36:68, Rav Yehonatan Chipman writes (on birth control pills):

      Withot answering the question as such, I know of cases where
      Orthodox women used regular birth control pills (i.e, estrogen)
      beyond the usual 20 days so as to prevent menstruation for
      specific occasions (e.g., a wedding and/or honeymoon trip, a
      long-planned romantic vacation with their spouse, etc.), for a
      limited time (a week or so).

            I find it hard to believe that habitual use of such methods,
      which wreak havoc with the woman's natural hormonal balance, may
      not have deliterious, unexpected effects on her overall health.
      But I'm not a doctor, and if control experiments show otherwise (a
      point that must be checked) who am I to argue?

Indeed, in the same issue, Leah Gordon responds to part of this concern:

      I would be shocked if there were a source disallowing the
      cessation of menstruation for the following reason: the current
      anthropological belief is that until relatively recently (a few
      hundred years), it was rare for a woman to have very many periods.
      She might have one or two irregular ones at first and a relatively
      late (by our standards) menarche, then spend much of her life
      pregnant or lactating, then have a relatively early (by our
      standards) menopause.  Meanwhile, lactating would (in these times
      of less abundant food and no formula supplmenting at all) usually
      cause lack of menstruation.  Also, remember that the original nida
      laws were much stricter for disease-type emissions than for
      menstrual-type emissions.

Given all the controversy about estrogen these days, it is interesting
that oral contraceptives have not been shown to increase breast cancer
risk, even though the estrogen dose is actually higher than in
menopausal estrogen replacement.  The reason is just what Ms. Gordon
said: It is only relatively recently (probably closer to 100 years than
400) that women have had quite as many menstrual periods in their lives
as they do now.  Natural menstrual cycles feature very high levels of
estrogen and progesterone, because this is needed to support ovulation
and implantation of a fertilized egg.  Birth control pills suppress
ovulation for the most part, and deliver far less estrogen than the
ovary would produce on its own.  Hence no increased cancer risk.

In a similar vein, oral contraceptives were originally created and
tested on a cyclical basis prinipally to try to make them more
acceptable to the Catholic Church.  (Sources on request, but needless to
say, it didn't work.)  The lower amounts of progestins in the birth
control pill (vs. a natural menses) do not cause as much endometrial
proliferation; research suggests that 4-6 "off weeks" (= periods) per
year, rather than one per month, may be sufficient to maintain uterine
health.  (Sources on request.)

At least one company has a three-month contraceptive regimen in clinical
trials now, while another has a continuous progestin-only intrauterine
contraceptive on the market already.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: Russell Jay Hendel
Date: Sun, 14 Jul 2002 02:53:30 -0400
Subject: RE: Preparing for after Shabbos

Arieh Kadosh in v36n71 brings down 4 issues of Preparation for after
Shabbath. Allow me to comment on each one

>I've seen people remove plates and utensils, left over food on the
table after Seuda Shlishit/Shalosh Seudos (the 3rd Meal), just out of
habit when **it is** considered HaChana L'Ahar Shabbos (preparation for
after Shabbos)<

RESPONSE: I have heard that since you also remove plates to prevent dirt
germs and insects from congregating-- therefore if it is your habit to
do so immediately it is considered permissable.

>> Even placing one's coat upon arrival after Mincha in the closet if
one does not intend to return to Shul for Maariv can probably be viewed
as no less than HaChanna.<<

RESPONSE: I think we should distinguish between actions done ONLY for
preparation after Shabbath and those that have a DUAL purpose.

In this case I have to put my coat someplace...(My goal is to take it
off because it is too hot to wear). I dont know that it is prohibited to
put it in the closet simply because I AM ALSO benefitting from
preparation after Shabbath.

>>And what about getting up from the table AND Tucking one's chair in --
Could that be considered HaChanna? <

RESPONSE: Another reason for tucking the chair in is to give the room a
nice appearance--hence my action can be dually perceived as for shabbath
(as well as preparation for the next time I use the Table)

>>Placing Seforim on the Shelf after learning right before Maariv as
opposed to leaving them closed and neatly placed on the table?<<

RESPONSE: Again...the return of the books to the shelf gives a nice
appearance which is shabbathdick.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.RashiYomi.com/


From: Aliza N. Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 19:56:44 -0400
Subject: Queen=wife of king - was groom/bride=melech/malkah

> From: Perry Zamek <jerusalem@...>
> How can you say that she was not a woman, when the text refers to her in
> the feminine?! Rather, his point is that the usual meaning of the term
> "malka" is "the wife of the king". Here, however, she was a queen in her
> own right.

If you look in Megilat Esther, you will see that Achashverosh was only
king because he was married to Vashti, the granddaughter of


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 17:14:03 -0400
Subject: Re: Sheimot in Senge; holiness in halakha

Yaakov Shachter <jay@...> wrote:

> The classic example in halakha is a Sefer Torah written by an Epikuros.
> We are accustomed to thinking of a Sefer Torah as the holiest object in
> our experience; people take their most solemn oaths on a Sefer Torah;
> but a Sefer Torah, otherwise 100% kosher, written by an Epikuros, has no
> holiness whatsoever, and to prevent it from ever being used, it must be
> burnt.  The halakha also discusses a Sefer Torah written by a non-Jew.
> Such a Sefer Torah could not be used for ritual purposes, because the
> necessary level of holiness is lacking, but it can be used for nonritual
> purposes, and when it is discarded it must be discarded in a reverential
> manner, since the non-Jew may have believed in God the same way we do,
> and may thus have conferred a certain level of holiness on the Sefer
> Torah when he wrote it.
> (Similarly, a publisher who intentionally falsifies or mistranslates the
> texts that he publishes confers no holiness on them.  Such books may be
> taken into the bathroom, and need not be discarded in a respectful
> manner.)
> Thus, the question is not whether Senge knew that yhwh is our Name for
> God.  The question is: What is Senge's attitude toward that Name?

I think Yaakov has fundmentally misunderstood this halacha.  As I
understand it, the only question is what the writer meant by putting
those letters together, not what his attitude is to his intended
subject.  As R Chaim Chizkia Medini (the author of Sdei Chemed) explains
in the pamphlet Ba'er Bisdei, when the three letters shin, dalet and yud
are written with the intention of signifying the Alm-ghty, they are
holy, but if the exact same combination of letters is written with the
intention of signifying `fields of', it has no holiness at all.

As I understand the gemara, a Sefer Torah written by a pagan is holy
(though it may not be used), and must therefore be hidden away, because
when he wrote the Names, he meant them to signify the Jewish deity.
Whether he *believes* in that deity is irrelevant, the point is that he
intended the combination of letters to refer to Him.  The same law would
apply to a Name written by an atheist.

The Sefer Torah that must be burned is written, not by an Epikores, but
by a 'Min', which is a code-word for 'Christian'.  When a Christian
writes the letters that make up one or another of the seven Names, he
does *not* intend them to refer to Hashem, but rather to his god, who
has the same names.  A Christian understands the whole Tanach as talking
about his god, not ours, so when he puts together the letters shin,
dalet and yud, he means 'Jesus', and the word is no holier than if he
had meant 'fields of'.

Zev Sero


From: Alfred Silberman <alfred.silberman@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Jul 2002 08:38:06 -0400
Subject: Shir shel Yom Revi'i

I have my own theory as to why some pesuqim are added on to the end of
the Shir Shel Yom on Wednesdays based on the Gemara in Talmud Bavli
Erekhin 11b.

The Gemara there says that: 
The day on which the first Temple was destroyed was the ninth of Av. It
was the day after the Sabbath; it was the year after Shemittah; the
priestly guard was that of Yehoyariv; the Kohanim and Levites were
standing on the platform singing. Which song was it? (Tehilim 94 :23)
And he brought upon them their iniquity and will cut them off in their
evil... The same happened during the second Temple's destruction.

The Gemara explains that the song mentioned accompanied the daily
offering (Tamid) and was the Shir Shel Yom. The Gemara then goes on to
ask - How could you think so? The Shir Shel Yom (since it was on a
Sunday) was Tehilim 24 whereas Tehilim 94 belongs to the fourth day of
the week?

The Gemara answers that a Lamentation text fell into their mouth. See
the Maharsha that the last pasuq of the Shir Shel Yom of Wednesday was
an indication and omen of the retribution which was befalling them for
their sins. This Shir Shel Yom was therefore the last one said before
the destruction of both Temples.

I assume that someone decided that ending the Shir Shel Yom with the
lamentation was a bad omen and should be avoided by adding on some
verses from the following Psalm.

Moshe Silberman


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 07:28:01 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Torah as Historical Record

>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.

        To continue with the theme I have been stressing in my last few
responses to comments such as these, take a look, for example, at last
week's parasha of Devarim.  There are many historical asides that do not
have any mitzvah ramifications to the best of my knowledge.  Moshe tells
us 3 times about the historical backgrounds of certain peoples (what
they used to be called, where they came from).  In fact, at least one
historical reference is problemmatice [in understanding] Mosaic
authorship of the Torah (the reference to Og's bed; see the comments of
Ibn Ezra to Deut 34:1).

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@...>


End of Volume 36 Issue 80