Volume 37 Number 14
                 Produced: Mon Sep 23  3:41:48 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanukah, 5516
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Folding a tallit
         [Mike Gerver]
Halacha in a non-homogenious community
         [Carl Singer]
Hebrew guide to Aveilut
         [Jay Neustadter]
         [Dov Bloom]
    [nusach] RH on Shabbat - bah/bo/bam?
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
    [nusach] yom/zichron truah
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
Pesach and Spring
         [Steven White]


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Sep 2002 21:44:12 +0200
Subject: Chanukah, 5516

 Yael Levine Katz <ylkpk@...> wrote:

>I am seeking a perpetual Hebrew calendar that will be able to calculate
>the dates for Hannukah tav-kuf-tet-zayin - I would like to know whether
>the first day was still in 1755 or already in 1756. 

One way to get an idea of the English date of an ancient Hebrew one is
to see where the year in question is in the 19-year cycle (simply by
calculating the remainder when dividing by 19), and find a recent year
in the same position in the 19 year-cycle. 5516 is year six in the
19-year cycle.  Interestingly enough, that is precisely what this year,
5763, is. So the first day of Chanukah then should be, within a day or
so, the same as it is this year, which is Nov 29-30.

What's further interesting that an even more accurate cycle of the
Jewish calendar is 13 19 year cycles (as is explained in Tur Orach Chaim
Hilchot Rosh Hodesh).  13 times 19 is 247, exactly the number of years
from the year 5516 in question to now!  We are now, in terms of the
calendar, exactly where we were then (247 years contain same number of
days in both calendar systems).

Although the questioner is perfectly correct in turning to the computer
to answer her question, applying some basic knowledge of the Hebrew
calendar can yield some interesting information we would have missed if
we just got the answer from an old DOS program.

Saul Mashbaum

By the way, from what I see, (using, gulp, a book ) the first day of
Chanukah is *never* after January 1st.  Gmar chatima tova.  Saul


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 05:53:48 EDT
Subject: Folding a tallit

>From Nachum Klafter, in v37n08,

> It would, in fact, be forbidden to make NEW creases--for example by
>  using a clothing iron to form new creases.  However, when you casually
>  fold your tallit after you use it, it does not make new creases.  Open
>  it back up and you will see that the oritional creases, which were
>  ironed in, are still there and that you have not made any new ones.

The pre-existing ironed-in creases on my tallis all correspond to
folding the tallis repeatedly in half. On Shabbat, my practice is to
fold it repeatedly in thirds. By the fundamental theorem of number
theory (that all integers have a unique set of prime factors), I know
that none of the folds I make on Shabbat will coincide with any of the
ironed-in creases. However, I have noticed that over the years, the
Shabbat folds make faintly visible creases, though not nearly as
prominent as the weekday creases. I hope this doesn't present a halachic

I actually benefitted from the existence of these faint Shabbat creases
several years ago. At that time, there was a crazy guy in our shul who
used to steal people's tallis bags, leaving the tallises themselves
neatly folded on the seats. The problem was that it is difficult to tell
your tallis from someone else's tallis without the bag, and I didn't
want to take someone else's tallis by mistake.  The only way I was able
to be sure that the tallis sitting on my seat was really my tallis was
that I noticed the faint Shabbat creases, at fractions whose
denominators were powers of three.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 07:50:06 EDT
Subject: Halacha in a non-homogenious community

      The question as I see it is whether one's understanding of halakha
      and minhagim should continue to be based on what he received from
      his father and grandfather, or does one draw a line on the past
      and begin basing his observances on the particular synagogue he
      happens to be attending at any particular time, and the spiritual
      leader there.  And thus face the prospect of varying his
      observances rather frequently by moving, or on the basis of the
      whims of synagogue boards of directors who hire and fire rabbis as
      they see fit.

Good points

Consider today that you will see frum Jews walking to one shule carrying
their tallis bags and others walking to another shule wearing their
tallasim.  Certainly the individual Torah that one inherited from
parents (both Mother and Father) is key -- but there are certain
"public" halachas -- when we lived in a community without an eruv, there
was an "accepted" form of Shabbos key that a given shule / community
(and I like the two terms together purposefully) used.  Some accept a
key = tieclasp, others (stricter? or different?) require the key to
complete a belt buckle, etc. -- both l'kovod the Rav of that community
and to not make war over these issues, it may very well be best to
conform (or as in our case, get a Shabbos doorlock so keys weren't

I also recall with pride and amusement that when a certain rabbi told my
wife that her Shabbos key "contraption" was not permitted that she
replied, respectfully and clearly, "I didn't ask you."  That's part B.
A subset of the famous MYOB.

Kol Tov
Carl Singer


From: Jay Neustadter <jay-neus@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 13:10:00 +0200
Subject: Hebrew guide to Aveilut

I have noticed a need for a Hebrew/Israeli equivalent to Rabbi Maurice
Lamm's "Jewish Way in Death and Mourning".

At my local (Tel Aviv) mocher seforim, I found only (a) general guides
to the Jewish life cycle, with 3-10 pages on mourning and (b) guides
intended for the religiously educated, in a format similar to "Shemirat
Shabbat Kehilchata".

Can anyone make a recommendation?

Jay Neustadter


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 01:27:49 +0200
Subject: Legarmei

I enjoyed reading Alfred Silbermans rejoinder to my post of MJ37
#06. Its good to know that there are those in the Jewish world - cyber
or not - who are well conversant with the Massorah. Silberman is correct
that the Massorah implies that the cases being discussed (munach with a
paseq\legarmei line immediately before a revii) are legarmei. I would
parenthetically add that Silverman's reliance on the Ginsburg Paseq
lists is shaky.

I think that there are two intriguing questions here which are not
addressed by Silverman.

The first is a Massorah related question. Why do we have to go to the
paseq lists (problematic) and to the legarmei lists (even more
problematic). Shouldn't there be a list: the following are (irregular!)
legarmei before a revii: followed by a listing of all the
catchwords. This would fit in the Massorah Finalis, or could appear
numerous places in the Massorah Gedola. I found no reference to the
printed Mikraot Gedolot or any Major Massorah Manuscript ( such as
Allepo, Leningrad, Cairo or British museum codices) calling these
legarmei directly, only the Hilleli Codex manuscript to Shmot 30:13
directly refers to one of our cases as a legarmei.

Why doesn't the Massorah relate directly to this "strange" set of cases,
as is typical for the Massorah?

The second and more important question is related to accentuation rules.

The basic rule of Biblical Accentuation (teamei hamikra ) is that there
are disjunctive accents (pausal accents - teamim mafsikim) and conjunct
accents (joining accents - mehabrim). A small pausal unit can be a one
word unit with a disjuct or as is most common: two words: conjuct
followed by disjunct. { Rarely, three words conjunct-conjunct-disjunct
and I am not getting into the problem of tertiary disjuncts and
disjuncts which replace conjuncts and visa versa in a general forum like
this }.  Revii is a second level disjunct. If it closes a two word unit
it is preceded by a munach-conjunct. A legarmei is a tertiary
disjunctive pause 2 words before a revii . This gives us the classic
munach-legarmei (disjunct) munach (conjunct) revii(disjunct) pattern.

The paseq is a minor pause impelled by some reason (the reasons have
been discussed by generations of scholars from Diqdukei Hateamim of Ben
Asher 1100 years ago to, for instance Widowsky in 1990). But the rock
bottom rule is that a paseq will only follow a conjuct accent. What
would be the point of a paseq after a pausal accent?? Who needs a minor
pause added to a real pause? Since our cases are 2 word units, anyone
who learned about teamim would put here a plain munach + revii. Since we
find a paseq after the munach-conjunct, the obvious conclusion is: since
the pausal unit is a two word unit syntactically, this must be a munach
+ paseq.

So it it clear that according to all the rules of accentuation that our
cases should be paseq, on the munach conjunct. The question is, why does
the Massorah seem to categorize them - indirectly - as legarmei! (
disjunctive-accents ).  Alfred Silberman is correct. Technically we see
a rule in Heidenheim that these cases are legarmei contiguous to a revii
without an intervening munach. That should solve the Baalei Kria's
problems. The deeper issue not addressed is however, why are these cases
considered by the Massorah as legarmei - pausal disjuncts (taam mafsik)
when according to the rules of accentual syntax, a regular munach
(conjunct - taam mehaber) followed if need be by a paseq , is called

{In general, we do find two disjuncts in a two word unit if one of the
words is long, or immediately before a sof pasuk or etnachta. But our
cases are mostly all short words and before a revii, and according to
the general rules would not need to have a disjunct in a place where a
conjunct is called for (called in Hebrew Hamarot). }

Riviere and Serfaty (proceedings of the 4th Congress of the IOMS - the
Int'l Organization for Massoretic Studies, 1983 ) called these cases in
an article in French "faux Legarmeh" - false legarmei, because they fly
in the face of the legarmei rules. Widovsky calls them "technical
legarmei" because according to all rules of Teamim they should be munach
+paseq, but we bow our heads before the Massorah that rules them to be
lagarmei. So she says they are "technically" legarmei but syntactically
they are paseqs and she treats them in her thesis together with the

Widowsky summarises in an apt sentence at the end of footnote 16 in her
first chapter - my translation -
        " the technical legarmei and the real munach legarmei are widely
        different in their essence. They have nothing in common except
        that they both occur in the province of the revii, they look
        alike and have the same name!"

So in my mind the tough question is not "how to sing" ( easy answer:
legarmei because of the Messorah Paseq lists, Heidenheim et al) or as
Silberman infers correctly from Breuer "there is no doubt whatsoever as
to whether the cases listed are a Paseq or a Legarmeh. That is known
from the Masorah."  The question is why are they legarmei when they
should according to all logic be munach+paseq? Why does the Massorah
treat them legarmei disjuncts when they really aren't such?


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 09:46:01 +0200
Subject: [nusach] RH on Shabbat - bah/bo/bam?

I was obviously not 'looking inside' at the appropriate moment on Friday
night, but at Mincha I did notice, and then went back to check all the

For some reason my Machzor Rabba and my son's Rinat Yisrael both say
that when RH is on Shabbat, and we add the words of Shabbat to Kedushat
haYom, we say 'veyanuchu VO' in all of the tefillot. I noticed this when
I had just reflexively said 'veyanuchu VAM' at mincha.

Is this standard? How does it mesh with the standard of saying bah at
night, bo in the morning, and bam at mincha, as is customary on other
shabbatot of the year?

Gmar chatima tova!
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://shimonl.findhere.org/PGP/

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Sep 2002 09:54:07 +0200
Subject: [nusach] yom/zichron truah

In a shiur on RH, I heard something new to me about the RH nusach on
Shabbat. According to the rav who spoke, the correct formula when saying
'zichron truah' is to omit the word 'yom' which precedes it. He said
that when RH is on a weekday, we say 'yom truah', as the Torah calls it,
but when RH is on Shabbat, we should simply say 'zichron truah', also as
the Torah phrase, and *not* 'yom zichron truah', which appears nowhere
(but our machzorim, I guess).

Is such a nusach known to exist? I believe he was quoting some "source"
on this, and even went so far as to "admit" to having made this "common
mistake" himself, but I have never heard of it before.

Gmar chatima tova!
Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://shimonl.findhere.org/PGP/


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 10 Sep 2002 09:47:05 -0400
Subject: Re: Pesach and Spring

In MJ 37:09, David Curwin states (on Avraham Frankel):

> He rejects the calls to reform the calendar so Pesach falls in
> "Chodesh HaAviv" (the month of spring). His rejection is based on the
> idea that the term "Chodesh HaAviv" is based on agricultural
> considerations, not astronomical ones. He claims any changes in the
> calendar won't be needed for at least 1000 years.

I often wondered whether there was a specific definition of what
"keeping Pesach in Chodesh HaAviv" means.  After all, it is well known
that sometimes the Bet Din delayed Pesach because the roads were too
muddy for pilgrims.  (This also possibly implies an agricultural issue
in that the rains were late, etc.)  Yet, I'm sure everyone would agree
that if Pesach _always_ fell out on the second full moon after the
equinox, rather than only 3 times in 19 years, it would be a problem.
Or maybe it's sufficient that Rosh Chodesh "Aviv" be no later than the
first new moon following the equinox ...

My point is that I can think of a dozen ways to define this that might
legitimately be thought of as meeting the requirements.  Does anyone
bring down a specific shita on this?

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


End of Volume 37 Issue 14