Volume 36 Number 96
                 Produced: Sun Sep  1 18:57:46 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew
         [Chaim G Steinmetz]
Iggeret Hakodesh
         [Jonathan & Randy Chipman]
         [Lawrence Kaplan]
A question about Mattos
         [Ezriel Krumbein]
"Seating for men only," an organized response
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
There are 2 sides to most legal cases
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Torah as Historical Record & extra words
         [Shalom Ozarowski]
A trop question (2)
         [Shalom Ozarowski, Mark Symons]


From: Chaim G Steinmetz <cgsteinmetz@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 18:58:40 -0400
Subject: Asking a non-Jew to ask another non-Jew

Concerning asking a non Jew to ask another non Jew (where someone wrote
that it's considered a shvus deshvus), see Mishnah Brurah 307:24 where
he brings a machlokes, and it seems he is lenient (to consider it a
shvus deshvus) ONLY by hefsed merubah. In addition there is discussion
whether the lenient opinion applies if the non Jew knows it is being
done for a Jew, according to some the disagreement is only if the non
Jew dosen't know, if the non Jew knows everyone agrees it is one shvus.

Chaim G. Steinmetz


From: Jonathan & Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 17:56:27 +0300
Subject: Re:  Iggeret Hakodesh

In response to both Avrohom's query (v36n80) about an English
translation of Ramban's "Iggeret Hakodesh," and Eliezer Wenger's
response in v36n88, that "Artscroll has published an english translation
of the Ramban's Iggeres":

      There are two different works by Ramban which carry the title
Iggeret ("epistle" or "letter").

One is the well-known "Iggeret ha-Ramban," which is a one page letter of
mussar and general advice addressed to his children, which he asked them
to read every Friday night.  It is printed in some Siddurim, and I
imagine that it is this which was translated by Art Scroll.

     "Iggeret Hakodesh" ("The Holy Epistle") is a partly-halakhic,
partly-Kabbalistic treatise about the proper manner for married people
to conduct their sexual life (in the positive sense of how one is to
perform the act, not Laws of Niddah and so forth).  It is about thirty
pages long, and is printed as an appendix to some editions of Rabad's
Ba'alei ha-Nefesh.  But I should mention that some scholars, including
such Orthodox scholars as Rav Chavel, question the attribution to
Ramban, and suggest that the bulk of it is by R. Azriel of Gerona, a
major Spanish Kabbalist of the generation after Ramban.

   In any event, both of these letters appear in the two-volume Hebrew
collection of Ramban's writings (Kitvei ha-Ramban; Jerusalem, 1963)
published by Mossad Harav Kook, edited by Rav Chavel, z"tzl.  This book
also exists in Chavel's English translation, but I'm not sure whether
everything in the Hebrew--i.e., especially the more technical and
difficult halakhic material, such as this and "Torat ha-Adam" -- appears
in the English.  In any event, the English edition of Chavell would be
the logical first place to look-- but it may be out of print.

    Yehonatan Chipman, Yerushalayim


From: Lawrence Kaplan <lawrence.kaplan@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 17:18:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Pshat

> 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".

This view has already been set forward by Moses Mendelssohn in his
Introduction to his Commentary on Koheleth as well as in his
Introduction to the Bi'ur on the Pentateuch. Mendelssohn uses the terms
"Kavanah rishonah" (primary intention) and "Kavanah sheniyyah"
(secondary intention) to decribe peshat and derash respectively. The
terms themselves are borrowed from the Guide 3:32, where they are used
in a different context.

Lawrence  Kaplan
Department of Jewish Studies
McGill University


From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 12:20:17 -0700
Subject: RE: A question about Mattos

From: <Sandyeye@...> (Sandy)

>Something has always bothered me about Mattos.  All of a sudden 2
>tribes approach Moshe about wanting to live on the East Shore of the
>Jordan.  Moshe ... doesn't Consult God on this issue which to me to be
>much more important and momentous.

The reason Moshe gives for being upset with the 2 tribes is in Chapter
32 verses 8-15. Essentially Moshe thought this action was going to lead
to a rejection of Eretz Yisroel just like there had been at the time of
the meraglim.  If you look at the Rash"i in Shlach.  You find that
Moshe's consulting with Hashem at that time did not help. Rash"i on
Chapter 13 verse 2 Shlach Lecha: for yourself; I am not telling you to
do this , if you want to go ahead and send them.

Apparently this was something that Hashem wanted cllal Yisroel to work
out for itself.  There was not going to be a solution from on high.  If
Bnei Yisroel were accepting it would work.

One other thing to consider.  At this point clal Yisroel was on the
verge of leaving their midbar state and going in the Eretz Yisroel
state.  Maybe this was a precursor of how they would have to live.

Kol Tov


From: <ARIEHNYC@...> (Arieh Lebowitz)
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 17:07:29 -0500
Subject: Re: "Seating for men only," an organized response

Chaim Wasserman, in a comment on an earlier post entitled "Seating for
men only," by Shmuel Himmelstein on a experience in Meah Shearim, opined
that it "sounds like the situation is ripe for an Israeli version of a
Rosa Parks demostration which changed American history in the 60s ..."
adding that it "[s]ounds like a group of assertive women demonstrating
daily in front of the store could create a real huff-and-a-puff."

Well, of course.  There are, from what I can tell, an increasing number
of women, in communities in Israel, the U.S., and around the Jewish
world who are working within and "pushing the envelope" of halacha and
halachic observance in terms of "creating a real huff- and-puff"
 ... There are a number of resources online for interested people "here.
The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance website - www.jofa.org - for
instance, which includes the JOFS's mission statement:

"The mission of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Allliance is to expand the
spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women
within the framework of halakha. We advocate meaningful participation
and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning
and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within
halakha. Our commitment is rooted in the belief that fulfilling this
mission will enrich and uplift individual and communal life for all

Arieh Lebowitz


From: Russell Jay Hendel
Date: Wed, 31 Jul 2002 07:30:10 -0400
Subject: There are 2 sides to most legal cases

Shmuel Himelstein in v36n80 writes about a Meah-Shearim restaurant
that had a sign SEATING FOR MEN ONLY. Shmuel elegantly argues

>>My question: where is there any place in Yiddishkeit (at least the
Yiddishkeit I grew up in) for such blatant discrimination against Jewish
women? Whatever happened to "B'Tzelem Elokim bara OTAM" (and not only
the males of the species or the faith)?<<

I certainly feel for Shmuel who in turn feels for the woman. But there
are other people involved. For example the store owner. Suppose that
Meah-Shearim men will not eat in a restaurant where some couples sit
together (independent of whether this attitude is right or wrong). THEN
if the storeowner does not cater to these people he will lose business.

My point is not to give in to the owner or to the women---my point is
that there are two sides in this case. They should both be
addressed. There are a variety of vehicles for doing this (of which I
mention 3).

-- There can be a state law that such signs (Seating for men only) are
prohibited even in meah shearim!! (But I doubt such laws would pass in

-- There can be men-women days (We act similarly for swimming---would
Shmuel be offended if a beech had a sign MEN SWIM ON MONDAY-WED-FRI and

-- There can be men-women cafes on the same block.

I dont want to be misunderstood--- I do think Shmuel has a valid
point. But I think the proper approach must take into account all sides
and suggest meaningful resolutions.

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


From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 00:12:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Torah as Historical Record & extra words

In v36n80, Ben Katz wrote:
<< 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). >>

i agree.  as i pointed out in an earlier post, i personally understand
the purpose of these types of details (in pshat at least) as
contributing to an emerging general theme in any given part of the
chumash.  (for those familiar with menachem leibtag's shiurim, he often
pays attention to this.)  for example, i think it's reasonable to view
the historical details in moshe's dvarim speech (the examples dr. katz
gave) as reminders of the nations' size & power to embellish the account
of conquering sichon & og.  By graphically describing the current
political and geographical situation, moshe engenders the people's
appreciation for G-d's help.  [Like we say in tehillim 136- "l'sichon
melech ha'emori...ul'og melech habashan ki l'olam chasdo."]  Similarly,
the digression in chukat (bam. 21:26-30) of the emori conquering moav
(which had been a powerful kingdom) way before Bnei yisrael came along
also serves to magnify Hashem's greatness in handing over such an empire
to the Jews.

The business about og's bed in parshat dvarim (3:11, "hinei arso eres
barzel") sparked a lot of discussion at our shabbat table that weekend.
our understanding was that, now that og & his people had been conquered,
this giant bed became a museum piece of sorts and was in fact a
well-known item in the city ("haloh hi b'rabat bnei amon!" exclaims
moshe).  what do you see in that reference as problematic to Mosaic
Torah authorship?  I'm not sure how it's relevant to the ibn ezra on
authorship of the end of sefer dvarim.  Mention of the colossal iron bed
is another reminder & symbol of og's power, making the victory over him
greater in the Jews' eyes (I think a note in the Artscroll chumash
actually makes a similar comment, although meforshim i've seen on it

In a different but parallel vein, the gemara on shnayim mikra v'echad
targum (r. ami in brachot 8b) says the obligation to read the parsha
with targum applies even for place names like "atarot v'divon."  even
though as proper nouns they have no targum in aramaic, the hebrew words
must be repeated in shnayim mikra simply because the place names are an
integral part of chumash.

Russel Hendel also posted some interesting comments on this (v36, #s 81
& 85); he gave examples from rashis on extra words & concludes

>To recap: The fundamental issue is what style rules apply to a verse?
>How does one recognize these style rules? How does one apply these style

the only thing i would emphasize is (as he did imply) rashi wasnt
necessarily working with the same exegetical/stylistic assumptions as
ibn ezra etc., & they didnt always accept the same approach to
interpretation- e.g. a midrashic eye for darshening extra words vs. what
we might call 'expressions' or lashon bnei adam.

the example of balak's & bilam's exchanges that dr. hendel brought up is
also a 'favorite' of mine.  besides repeating over what the other says,
the entire dialogue was quite possibly not in hebrew (how about the
donkey?) and rendered as such by HKB"H (or moshe, through
nevuah?). despite this, we find some seemingly identical synonyms but
different hebrew words.  a good example is 'arah'/'kabah' to curse.  is
there subtle significance to that? (i don't recall the rashis offhand).

kol tuv
shalom ozarowski


From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 00:13:02 EDT
Subject: Re: A trop question

<< The usual Mafsik way that I do is (picking a key at random) E-D-E-G-E-D
 (la-down-la-up-la-down [where la is the starting position]).  What he
 did was just eliminate the final D or down. If you do this, you find
 that it leads naturally on to the Mahpakh. >>

I also sing the 'mafsik munach' as i suspect many other ashkenaz leiners
do too.  if my keys are correct, i think the way i do it is C-E-C-D
(following the above sample).  i do this for a munach preceding another
munach also (e.g. when often a revi'i follows 2 munachim).  I'm
intrigued by your posts because to be honest i never thought about
whether it should NOT be that way.  Do s'faradi or yemenite baalei
kriyah do something like this too?

kol tuv
shalom ozarowski

From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Aug 2002 22:01:41 +1000
Subject: Re: A trop question

From: <Shalomoz@...>

> I also sing the 'mafsik munach' as i suspect many other ashkenaz
> leiners do too.  if my keys are correct, i think the way i do it is
> C-E-C-D (following the above sample).  i do this for a munach
> preceding another munach also (e.g. when often a revi'i follows 2
> munachim).

The case of the first of the 2 munachim that precede a revi'i is
different.  That actually is a mafsik (of slightly more separating
degree than gershayim), and although it's commonly called a munach,
because it looks like one, it is actually called a l'garmei. You can
tell that it's not a munach because of the vertical line that follows it
(that looks like a p'sik). Sometimes you have only this l'garmei
followed by the revi'i (without the usual munach), eg umikneh rav (in
Matot) sh'neyhem m'leyim (in the Nesi'im in Naso - Chanukah), which I
understand should be leined as a l'garmei, though most people I've heard

Mark Symons


End of Volume 36 Issue 96