Volume 37 Number 21
                 Produced: Thu Sep 26  5:59:54 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adoption of the Gregorian calendar
         [Richard Schultz]
Artscroll vs. Birnbaum
         [Jonathan Baker]
Buttons on Kittels (7)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Ezriel Krumbein, Harry Weiss, Carl Singer,
W. Baker, Frank Silbermann, smeth]
Eiruv for women and Chilul Hashem
         [E. Stieglitz]
Finding your Tallis
         [Bernard Merzel]
Havdalah Question
Michal bat Shaul (2)
         [Alex Heppenheimer, Chaim Mateh]
Socio-Economic Halacha - II
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 13:45:39 +0300
Subject: Adoption of the Gregorian calendar

In mail-jewish 37/18, Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>

: I received this reply from Prof. Ely Merzbach of Bar Ilan

:     In each country the transformation from Julian calendar to
:     Georgian calendar was done at another time.  For example in
:     France, the Gregorian calendar began in the 16th century. However
:     in England they pass to the Georgian calendar at the end of the 18
:     th century (certainly latter than 1756). In Soviet union, the
:     Georgian calendar became the official calendar only in the middle
:     of the 20th century!

I am not sure where Prof. Merzbach got his information.  As far as I know,
most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar shortly after it was
invented in 1582.  England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 (anyone
with a Unix machine is invited to try "cal 9 1752" and see what happens).
The Russian Orthodox church still uses the Julian calendar, which is why
Orthodox Christmas and Easter are two weeks later than the dates on which
those holidays are celebrated by other Christians.  For this reason, the
Julian calendar remained the official calendar of Imperial Russia.  I was 
taught that the Soviet government adopted the Gregorian calendar almost
as soon as it came into power -- certainly not in the "middle" of the
20th century.  (The difference between the Gregorian and Julian calendars
is the reason that the "October Revolution" actually took place in November.)

					Richard Schultz


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 21:55:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Artscroll vs. Birnbaum

From: E. Stieglitz <ephraim0@...>

> For the Yom Tov Amidah, the Birnbaum siddur starts the last
> paragraph of the middle section with
>  "Elokeinu v'elokei avoteinu [rtzei vmnuchateinu] kadsheinu
>   bmitzvotekha..."

> while the Artscroll has the same paragraph as
>  "[Elokeinu v'elokei avoteinu rtzei vmnuchateinu] kadsheinu
>   bmitzvotekha..."

> The words within brackets [...] are supposed to be said on
> Shabbat only.  What is the reason for the difference here?

Baer (19th C. German) notes that most siddurim have it the way Artscroll
does, while Siddur Yaavetz (18th-century) calls this a typo, and does it
the way Birnbaum does.  I tend to stick to the Birnbaum nusach, if only
because it makes more grammatical sense to me.  Without Ev"A, the rest
of the paragraph lacks a subject.  It's a series of requests without a
Requestee.  Retzeh bimenuchateinu "accept our rest" should, however,
only be said on Shabbat, since the idea of menucha (rest) is particular
to Shabbat.

  Jonathan Baker     |  Ksivechsimetoiveh!
  <jjbaker@...>  |  (It's a contraction, like Shkoiech, or Brshmo)
  Webpage: <http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker/>


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 11:04:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Buttons on Kittels

In MJ 37:16, Jack Wechsler <wechsler@...> asked:
> I wonder if other people have noticed the same as I did this year. 
> Some kittel's for the yomim norayim have the buttons on the left 
> and the buttonholes on the right.ie. they buttonup like a female 
> garment surely there is a reason ?

There is a widespread custom, particularly among chassidim, to have
_all_ of one's clothes button (or be otherwise fastened) right over
left. The reason for this is that the right represents chessed (Divine
kindliness) and the left represents gevurah (Divine severity), and so
this serves as an unspoken prayer that G-d should treat us with more
chessed and less gevurah (as well as a reminder to ourselves to act the
same in our interpersonal relationships). [It's likely also related to
the laws governing dressing, which stipulate that the right side always
comes first due to the importance the Torah attaches to it (Mishnah
Berurah 2:4-5).]

As a practical matter, it's hard to do this with things such as shirts
and pants, which are usually mass-produced for the general public, and
in fact I can't think of anyone I know who's bought a shirt and then
gotten it redone in this style; but it's common for kapotas, bekeshes,
kittels, and other such garments - which are pretty much specifically
Jewish items of clothing nowadays, and furthermore are usually tailored
to the individual wearer - to be made so that they button right over

Kol tuv,

From: Ezriel Krumbein <ezsurf@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 13:40:51 -0700
Subject: RE: Buttons on Kittels

I am not sure about this but it probably has to do with chassidishe
levush.  Chassidim (men) have their clothing button this way.  I think
it has to do with the right going on top of the left where the right
signifies midas haRachamim and the left midas haDin.

Kol Tov

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 21:17:25 -0700
Subject: Buttons on Kittels

Many (most?) Chassidishe Bekeshes (coats) and many other Chassidishe
garment butten with the holes on the right.  Maybe the manufacturer was
Chassidish or it was made primarily for Chassidishe customers.

From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 15:43:21 EDT
Subject: Buttons on Kittels

First a bit of lore: gent's buttons are for right handed men who dress
themselves.  Women's are "left handed" because an assistant dressed them
-- ever try dressing your young child?  You might also wish to see which
way the buttons (and other design features) go on various kaptehs.  The
Yom Tov Kittel that my then fiancee made me 25+ years ago has (hidden)
snaps instead of buttons -- for aesthetics and practicality.

Kol Tuv

Carl Singer

From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 22:03:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Buttons on Kittels

I have no idea, but my husband's, which he go from our shul many years
ago, not only buttons like a womans, but has a thin layer of lace around
the collar.  It's kind of cute, but seems a bit silly.  We never made a
study of it, but many of the ones gotton through the shul are the same.

Wendy Baker

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 06:43:13 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Buttons on Kittels

I suspect that those kittels that button the opposite way were made
for/by chassidim.  I know that the kapote worn by Chabad chassidim also
has the bottons on the left.

As to why the kapote buttons that way, I don't know.  Maybe it had
something to do with avoiding shatnas -- i.e., if the coat buttons the
reverse way, then you know it was made by people who would not mix wool
and linen.  (They also round one of the corners in the tail by the back
vent to ensure that it is not a 4-cornered garment.)

Frank Silbermann
New Orleans, Louisiana

From: smeth <smeth@...>
Subject: RE: Buttons on Kittels

Jack Wechsler asks about buttons on kittels.  They button (or snap) so
that the right side is over the left side, contrary to the Western style
of men's shirts and coats.  If you notice, that is how chassidishe
bekkeshes and kapotes (various kinds of jackets) are buttoned.  The
"styles" are related, and have nothing to do with fashion.

The right is chessed; the left is gevurah/din.  When we daven, we want
to have the attribute of chessed cover the attribute of din, as it were,
to invoke G-d's chessed.  This is also why some people, when they daven
the amidah, place their left hand on their heart, and their right hand
on their left.


From: E. Stieglitz <ephraim0@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 14:18:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Eiruv for women and Chilul Hashem

> From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
> I don't know anything about the "eruv" to which reference is made above,
> but this never-the-less hit a nerve. I was concerned as to whether the
> disputed "eruv" was instituted by a talmid chacham and if so whether it
> was proper to post a PUBLIC statement that it was "assur" to carry.

This is an interesting question, and I'd like to address a larger issue
in regards to the way in which this issue is presented to the public.

Over the past year, I've seen a number of articles in local secular
newspapers which discuss the eruv situation in Brooklyn. Many of these
articles have not presented the Brooklyn Jewish communities in a
positive light. In fact, they usually tend to highlight ugly internal
fights within the community over the issue.

One article painted the issue as one where some men in the community
wished to keep women with children homebound on Shabbat. Another
described how a faction opposed to the eruv would constantly complain to
utilities and local community boards that the eruv was technically
violating some local law.  In the latter case, it was reported that it
took the intervention of an Orthodox legislator from Brooklyn to prevent
the removal of the eruv.

While I live in NY, I am not familiar with the Brooklyn community and
cannot comment on the truth of any of these newspaper articles. What I
can say is that I have wanted to cringe upon reading every one of
them. The sign described above seems to be one symptom of Jews fighting
Jews very publically with an obvious lack of respect for the different
halachic opinions that we may have. When the issue becomes large enough
that it attracts the attention of local and national news reports, it
creates a huge Chilul Hashem.

Since I'm unfamiliar with the exact halachic issues involved in the
Brooklyn eruv, perhaps somebody on the list familiar with the area could
explain the different sides to the issue?


From: <BoJoM@...> (Bernard Merzel)
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 12:17:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Finding your Tallis

IAndy Goldfinger has a problem:

<< The only way I could recoginze my previous tallis was by the
 cholent stain on it.  What am I going to do now? >>

Name tags can easily be sewn on the back of the collar of a Talis


From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 20:42:58 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Havdalah Question

My grandfather who had smycha from Europe Teles used milk.


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 14:52:03 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Michal bat Shaul

In MJ 37:18, Ben Katz <bkatz@...> wrote:
> It is indisputable at least in so far as it is in the Talmud.
> However, (an I know many will disagree with me for saying this -- 
> see below) the Talmud is interested in explaining how Michal could
> have been given back to King David after being given to another man
> in the interim by her father Saul, in clear violation of Torah law. 

This seems to be incorrect. The discussion concerning Michal's marriage
to Palti(el) ben Layish appears in Sanhedrin 19b-20a, and there's no
mention of her wearing tefillin there. Conversely, where it mentions
that Michal wore tefillin (Eruvin 96a), there's no mention of her
marital status.

Furthermore, in Sanhedrin, the focus is pretty much exclusively on
Palti's heroism in refraining from sinning, not on Michal's piety. (I
don't currently have any sources available to research this further, but
I would venture to guess that the reason for this is that it _was_
entirely Palti's initiative: as the Talmud explains there, Saul took the
view that Michal's marriage to David was based on invalid premises -
that was precisely why he felt free to marry her off to someone else
without first securing a divorce from David - and Michal might well have
followed her father's opinion had Palti not held differently.)

Kol tuv,

From: Chaim Mateh <chaim-m@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 16:07:25 +0200
Subject: Michal bat Shaul

The only place in Talmud Bavli that I was able to find that describes
Michal's being given as a wife to Palti (Shmuel A 25:44) and having the
sword between them, is in Sanhedrin 19b.  There is no mention there of
Tefillin, on Michal or anyone else.

So where _is_ the source for Michal's wearing Tefillin? [See Alex's post
just above. Mod.]

Kol Tuv,


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Sep 2002 21:51:12 +0200
Subject: Socio-Economic Halacha - II

To remind you, I found an instruction of the Mateh Efraim (Rav Efraim
Zalman Margolies, Brody, 1761-1828) regarding forcing shechitah on the
butcher before Rosh Hashana.  Well, I continued reading and found
another item on a similar theme:

Siman Tav-Reish-Mem-Chet, Para. 8:
"...those whose custom it is to purchase Ethrogim in sealed and closed
boxes, that sometimes the purchaser will become successful and buy a
very nice Ethrog, so that he will be happy but the seller will be sad,
and at other times, just the opposite, this situation is full of
perturbations and therefore one should distance himself from this matter
and davka [sorry, untranslatable by me] he should purchase one that all
can see...".

Yisrael Medad


End of Volume 37 Issue 21