Volume 36 Number 87
                 Produced: Sun Aug  4 12:20:43 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Birnbaum Siddur
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Fertility Questions
         [Carl Singer]
Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat
         [Zev Sero]
Kiddush Levanah
         [Akiva Miller]
PSHAT & An Eye For An Eye--a CONTEXT approach
         [Russell J Hendel]
A question about Mattos
Reason for a Mitzvah
         [Ben Katz]
Shir shel Yom Revi'i
         [Larry Israel]
Tetragrammaton in Secular Book
         [Russell J Hendel]
Third Perek of Eichah
         [Steven White]
What have we come to?
         [Akiva Atwood]
Yehoshua Bin-Nun


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Sun, 4 Aug 2002 10:29:09 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia

Hello All,

Just a message to let people know that the list may experience some
sporadic interruptions during the next 2 weeks. There are a number
of family issues, some good some bad, that are taking my attention at this
point. My thanks to all for your understanding.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Michael J. Savitz <michaelj@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 00:12:30 -0400
Subject: Birnbaum Siddur

> And how about the counter-argument that we have already addressed the
> prayer at the beginning of ya`ale v'yavo?

But this is true on Shabbat as well as on weekdays.  How does this argue
for omitting "Elokeinu velokei avoteiu" davka on weekdays?


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 07:28:15 EDT
Subject: Fertility Questions

      From: <AUNTIEFIFI@...>

      WRT to mandatory use of fertility drugs: the writer questioning
      the continued usage is assuming that the family is, indeed,
      continuing to use them.  With the tremendous costs relating to
      fertility drugs and testing (you must go through elaborate and
      expensive testing each time you want to try to conceive), it is
      NOT safe to assume that they are using drugs each time.  It has
      been noted that after the use of fertility drugs, some patients
      respond naturally after usage and therefore conceive without the
      stimulus of drugs.  If multiple births have a genetic foundation
      in their families, they may continue to have twins, triplets,
      etc. without any help.  One should NEVER assume anything like
      this.  It is not only a very private situation for the family, but
      talking about it can be very painful for them not to mention
      loshen horah for the author !

To expand on the last point well made point above: I have found this
line of posting, especially the context in which the topic was initially
introduced, to have a most objectionable theme to it -- that is it seems
to be based on the external observations of another person's (family's)
situation.  At a minimum we are in the range of MYOB (Mind Your Own
Business) but more than that we are entering into a domain of snee-ous
-- trying to figure out whether someone else is pregnant, nidah, going
or not going to the Mikvah, using fertility drugs or contraceptives is
not a matter for public speculation.  One would assume that one would
not go up to the person or couple being discussed (speculated upon,
dissected?) and ask them these same questions -- as this is, shall we
say, private matter.  Given that assumption, for one to publicly (or
privately) speculate isn't a very menchlich thing to do.  (I am, as
always, not paskening.)  And as noted in the above posting touches the
realm of loshen horah.

Carl Singer


From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:32:19 -0400
Subject: Re: Geosynchronous Orbits and Shabbat

Daniel M Wells <wells@...> wrote:

> One of the basic principles of the Jewish Calendar is that the Jewish
> day is 24 hours and that Israel celebrates the Sabbath BEFORE all the
> rest of the world (except for a few places to the east of Israel up to
> the Dateline).

A basic principle?  Since when is this a principle at all, let alone a
basic one?  You say `except for a few places' - depending on where you
put the dateline, 1/4 to 1/2 the world is east of Israel, and begins and
ends shabbat before it.  What's more, until ~1K years ago, the physical
and spiritual centre of the nation was in Bavel, east of Israel; pretty
much all Jews began Shabbat before Israel, and only a few places west of
Israel began it afterwards.

Zev Sero


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 23:45:34 -0400
Subject: Kiddush Levanah

In a post about "old nusach Ashk'naz" in MJ 36:79, Seth Mandel wrote <<<
At that time, Oleinu was not said by the tzibbur, but by each individual
before/as he left shul. >>>

I like this distinction, between what the *tzibbur* says as a group, and
what all the *individuals* happen to be saying at the same time.

It seems to me that if we applied this distinction to Kiddush Levanah,
we'd conclude that each individual begins it when he gets outside and
can see the moon, and ends it according to his own speed, and at no time
is there an organized "tzibbur" making even the most minimal attempt to
keep pace with each other.

Under such conditions, it seems to me that Kiddush Levana is *not* a
congregational service, and we should *not* say a Mourner's Kaddish at
the end of it. We don't have quick daveners saying kaddish during Uva
L'Tzion; why do they say it when so many people are only 1/2 or 2/3 done
with Kiddush Levanah?

Of course, what I'd really prefer is an actual chazan for Kiddush
Levanah, so that we can keep pace with each other. Are there any
communities which do that?

Akiva Miller


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 10:40:37 -0400
Subject: RE: PSHAT & An Eye For An Eye--a CONTEXT approach

Shaya Porter in v36n74 talks about the meaning of Pshat

>When I was taking bible classes at YU, the classes that opened my eyes
>the most were R' Hayyim Angel.  As he explained it, and what makes most
>sense to me, is that pshat is not "simplest meaning", but "primary
>meaning of author".  In that case, rashi and ibn ezra are arguing on
>what the pshat is.  I don't see how one can say the pshat is not the
>"true meaning".

I made a similar point in my Tradition article PESHAT & DERASH (Winter
1980). With regard to the EYE FOR AN EYE, I analyze it as follows on the
Rashi website (URL below).

- If you interpret PSHAT as the meaning of the sentence BY ITSELF then
the text means an eye for an eye (literally)

- But if you interpret PSHAT as the meaning of the sentence IN THE
take into account similar Tort cases. There are in fact 5 Biblical tort
cases and in the majority of them (3 of them) MONEY not retribution is
required (See the refernece below for detail). HENCE, IN CONTEXT eye for
an eye could be reasonably interpreted as Monetary because that is the
way the Torah reasons.(In the posting below I in fact show that in
general the Torah was merciful in punishment and therefore the CONTEXT
requires a merciful interpretation).

It seems to me that this answers Shalom Carmy: Pshat to use Shaloms own
words is NOT identified with DICTIONARY meaning for indeed most Hebrew
words have several meanings. Rather Pshat is identified with Hebrew
meaning IN CONTEXT.

And if Shalom wants a vigorous assertion of Torah Shbeal peh WITHOUT
apolegetics what can be stronger than the assertion that SIMPLE MEANING
IN CONTEXT DOES AGREE with the traditions handed down to Moses at

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/dt19-21a.htm


From: <Sandyeye@...> (Sandy)
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 15:47:11 EDT
Subject: A question about Mattos

Something has always bothered me about Mattos. Our ancestors have been
wandering around for about 40 years. All kinds of grumbling, problems,
sinning, revolts, plagues, etc. Everytime things go against the people
or gets a little tough they run to Moshe with their complaints. Moshe,
in turn, kicks the problem upstairs and asks God for guidance, advice
and the LAW.

All of a sudden 2 tribes approach Moshe about wanting to live on the
East Shore of the Jordan. They'd rather not take their land in the Holy
Land itself but where they have conquered land that looks great for
cattle and sheep. Moshe, of course, goes ballistic. He sees a recurrence
of the "spies" story and gives the tribes of Reuben and Gad "hell". Gad
and Reuben mollify Moshe by promising him all sorts of goodies. We'll go
first in conquering the Land, we won't settle East of the Jordan until
the rest of the people have conquered the land to the West. Now, what
does Moshe do? This is a major departure from the divine plan. Here are
a bunch of "cowboys" who want to stay on the plains of Gilead rather
than follow God's plans for the children of Israel. Moshe says O.K. if
you will fulfill your oaths and fight for the land etc. you can stay
here and raise your animals. My question is why didn't Moshe consult God
on this important issue? It seems odd to me that he consults God when
the daughters approach him about inheritance or he consults God when
they find some poor snook out there gathering on the Shabbos and Moshe
wants to know what to do to him but he doesn't Consult God on this issue
which to me to be much more important and momentous.

I have not been able to find any satisfactory answer to this. In fact, I
can't even find anyone who asks this question or seems in the least
bothered by it.

Can you help me?  i would be interested in what your readers think about



From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 10:12:21 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Reason for a Mitzvah

>From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
>      I was having a discussion with someone at work and the question
>      came up of why Orthodox Jews are not allowed to have physical
>      contact (specifically hugs) with members of the opposite sex.  I
>      explained that it was to prevent temptation of leading to anything
>      more, but the person did not find that sufficient.
>Why is an explanation necessary, even appropriate? -- Do you need to
>explain that you keep kosher because in the desert heat the "Israelites"
>would get sick from eating traif animals -- or some similar balderdash?
>To ascribe a "technical" reason behind a mitzvah in a way demeans the

      I have refrained from joining in this thread, but I cannot hold
back any longer.  The attitude Mr. Singer takes, while cerainly within
the bounds of tradition, and perhaps even the domoinant tendency, must
be recognized for its completely anti-Maimonidean stance.  The Rambam in
the Guide provides rationales for nearly every mitzvah that he can (the
red heifer being the one notable exception that comes to mind).
According to the Rambam the difference between chukim and mishpatim are
not that chukim don't have a reason, but that they don't have an OBVIOUS
reason.  According to the Rambam the idea that a Supreme Intelligence
would promulgate a law that does not make sense is anathema.  And, BTW,
regarding the original issue of hugging -- There is a Tosafot at the end
of kiddushin which makes a distinction between derech chibah and lo
derech chiba.  The way I hug my mother in public or in private is not
the same way I hug my wife in private.  It would therefore seem to me
that at least according to tosafot one could hug an opposite sex friend
in a chaste manner publically.  

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: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 02 14:12:55 +0300
Subject: Re: Shir shel Yom Revi'i

The custom, at least in our synagogue in Israel that more-or-less
follows Minhag Hagra, is to say Psalm 94, on Hol-Hamoed Sukkoth, as the
daily psalm. The second half is said one day, the first half the next.

Now if we wanted to avoid ending on a sad note, it would seem that we
should add the beginning of 95 to the end of 94. But we do not. We just
say the end of Psalm 94.


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Jul 2002 10:33:17 -0400
Subject: RE: Tetragrammaton in Secular Book

Charles Halevi in v36n74 answers Leah Gordon about a secular book that
had the tetragrammaton.

>I'm not a posek (nor do I play one on TV), but in my ignorance it seems
>to me that Leah could just tear out the page with God's name, turn that
>into the Shaymot collection for burial -- and recycle/throw away the
>rest of the book.  Or is that forbidden?

I would just add that Leah can scotch tape some opaque paper over the
Tetragrammaton and photostat the page.  That way she will have a copy of
the page after she tears it out and gives it to the Shaymoth

Russell Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 13:26:34 -0400
Subject: Re: Third Perek of Eichah

These posts have all been interesting.  But as the moderator himself has
heard me layn the third perek of Eichah using the special tune, I
thought I ought to weigh in.  Very simply, I learned this tune as a
teenager in the Washington, DC, area during the 1970's.

It is a unique tune, and isn't exactly chanted according to the ta'amim,
although one uses the ta'amim for phrasing.  Each time through the tune
is three pesukim.

I was told by the person who taught it to me (whose name now eludes me,
I'm afraid) that it was a correct minhag, but one not necessarily well
known to most people.

That's not much to go on, to be sure, but given everything I have come
to learn about minhagim of nusachot and hazzanut since then, it sounds
like a very credible story to me.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: Akiva Atwood <atwood@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 10:17:08 -0400
Subject: Re: What have we come to?

The REASON is to prevent male/female mixing.

> My question: where is there any place in Yiddishkeit (at least the
> Yiddishkeit I grew up in) for such blatant discrimination against
> Jewish women?

Well -- Aliyot to Torah, Tefillin, Davenning on th *men's* side,
rabbinic ordination, etc

If you accept the idea of sexual segregation, then what's the problem?

If it had said "seating for WOMEN only" how would you react?



From: <EG718@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 01:35:22 EDT
Subject: Re: Yehoshua Bin-Nun

The "p'shat" that I heard (from Rabbi J. Love?) is that it is easier
phonetically to say "Bin-Nun" than "Ben-Nun"...but a sweet "d'rash" that
could serve to arouse a debate of some sort is that "Bin" is used to
imply that while Yehoshua was the son of Nun biologically, he was really
to be considered the Ben of Moshe, his teacher (based on the principle
that someone who educates someone else's son is considered as though he
parented him)...



End of Volume 36 Issue 87