Volume 37 Number 37
                 Produced: Wed Oct 16  5:24:23 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adoption of the Gregorian calendar
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Birenbaum Siddur
         [Mark Symons]
Buttons on Kittels
         [Nadine Bonner]
Erev Shabbos
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Listing the Tribes
         [Yisrael Herczeg]
Mei Raglayim (2)
         [Ben Katz, Sammy Finkelman]
A Simple Truth
         [Stan Tenen]
Singing L'cha Dodi and Kale Adon
         [Alan Friedenberg]
Tallis at lunch
         [Carl Singer]
Techum (was Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov)
         [Aharon Fischman]
What Was That Fruit?
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 06 Oct 2002 23:48:26 +0200
Subject: Adoption of the Gregorian calendar

      From: Ely Merzbach <merzbach@...>

      I am quite agree with my colleague R. Schulz.
      To be precise, the important dates of adoption of the
      Gregorian calendar are the following:
      1582 : France
      1584: Catholic Germany
      1700: Protestant Germany, but for the date of the easter it
      was accepted only in 1776.
      1752: Great Britain.
      1867: Alaska
      1873: Japan
      1911: China
      1918: USSR
      1923: Grece.
      1926: Turkey.

      Prof. Ely Merzbach
      Dept. of Mathematics, Bar-Ilan university, 52900 Ramat-Gan, Israel
      Tel: (972) (3) 5318768, 5318556, (50) 352766.


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Subject: Birenbaum Siddur

Another difference is in Al Hatzadikim where Birenbaum follows nusach
sefarad with V'sim Chelkeinu Imahem, UL'olam Lo Neivosh, instead of the
usual Ashkenaz version V'sim Chelkeinu Imahem L'olam, V'lo neivosh. I
can't remember if he refers to this in his preface. What is the basis
for it?  Interestingly, the Koren nusach Ashkenaz siddur does the same

Mark Symons
Melbourne, Australia


From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 09:29:40 -0400
Subject: Buttons on Kittels

Peretz Metts asked how the custom arose of women's clothing have buttons
on one side and men's on the other. Buttons were once pimarily used on
clothing for women of wealth--they were a fashion accessory more than
anything else and there were usually many of them on a garment. In fact,
the more buttons, the most costly the garment. These women had servants
who dressed them and buttoned their clothes. If you button someone
else's clothes, it is more efficient to have the buttons on the left and
the holes on the right on the garment since most people are
right-handed.  Men, even those with servants, apparently buttoned their
own shirts or used shirt studs, so the holes are on the other side for
greater efficiency.

As happens with many customs, this one persists until this day when
buttons are common and personal maids are not.


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Erev Shabbos

I know it goes against the idea of using all of Erev Shabbos to prepare
for Shabbos, but I kind of welcomed the change that hapenned when we
moved from Eretz Yisroel to America.  In Eretz Yisroel I had off from
work on Friday but had to work on Sunday.  In that situation, I frankly
found Friday to be a very boring and rather unproductive day.  We
couldn't really justify going anywhere or doing anything on Friday that
wasn't Shabbos-preparation oriented.  And since we had the whole day, it
just seemed like everything took much longer than it really needed to.
Now, in America, I have work on Friday, so the Shabbos preparations are
much more rushed but more time-efficient too, since time is very
limited.  Having Sunday off instead of Friday is a real blessing in my
opinion, because we can use the time for family connection, such as fun


From: Yisrael Herczeg <yherczeg@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 14:09:47 +0200
Subject: Listing the Tribes

David Farkas writes:

>There appear to be numerous different ways of listing the ten tribes.
>While we know the proper order of their birth, they seem to be listed
>under all sorts of configurations throughout Tanach. I am looking for a
>list of all places in Tanach where they are listed, and perhaps an
>explanation for each variance. Does anyone know any references?

The Mei Hashiloach (Izhbitzer Rebbe) in either Vayeitzei or Vayishlach
says that the 12 tribes are listed 16 different ways in the Torah,
corresponding to the 16 adjectives in the series, "Veyatziv,

kol tuv,
Yisrael Herczeg


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 13:46:05 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Mei Raglayim

>	Remember: when the prophets wanted to use a vulgarism in place
>of the word "male," the Nach used the term "mashteen bakeer" --
>correctly translated, as I recall, as "those who urinate against the

        I don't believe it is the Nach so much as King David who tended to
use this expression.  From the context (eg in the story of Naval) it is used
for certain literary purposes and probably was intended to be at least
mildly vulgar.

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: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Oct 02 00:22:00 -0400
Subject: Re: Mei Raglayim

From: chihal <chihal@...>
>    It is therefore totally within the realm of reason and
> practicality that the catalyst/chemical/ingredient enumerated in the
> manufacture of ktoret is plain old urine.

No. Actually "mei raglayim" was *NOT used.

Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel (who lived after the destruction of Temple
brought this up. He added some additional information to the main part
of the Mishnah. (The Mishnah kept on being expanded until the time of
Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi - even later but it was called the Tosephta if I
underdstand things correctly)

He was explaining some things that may not have been clear to his
students. And we get here what he taught.

At this point he put in the reason for the Cyprus wine (To make it more
sharp or pungent) And then the question he asks at that point in the
Mishnah is:

But isn't "Mei raglayim" better? [than Cyprus wine * to make it more
pungent]. Only, we don't bring "Mei Raglayim" into the Azarah out of

* And if you don't have Cyp[rus wine than you bring strong white wine.

However even the idea of using urine as an ingredient in anything may
have bothered some people a thousand years or sop later, when it was no
longer used. Actually it may not have been so much used in taht time,
but after the Churban they were undoubtably poorer. In any case it
apparently became known that this had such an effect. It may even be
that it was the answer that bothered some Rishonim. Because it implies
the only problem is that the urine exists for a period apart but once
mixed in it is no problem at all and maybe they felt it did not lose its
character in such a mixture as the answer implies. So they came up with
some other possible explanations for the term "Mei raglayim"

But that it means urine is a reasonable idea. But it is not that it was
used in the Ktoret - it's just the idea that the only thing wrong with
it derives from WHERE the Ktoret was manufactured seems to them to rulke
out urine.


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Wed, 09 Oct 2002 18:42:19 -0400
Subject: A Simple Truth

Regardless of the formal (partial) truth that any point in the universe
can be taken as the center, including the Earth, there is still a proof
of why an unbiased, reasonable person -- AND -- a "God's Eye View" can
only find that it is much more honest to say that the Earth circles the
Sun, than that the Sun circles the Earth.

By a "God's Eye View" I mean a distant overview that sees the entire
universe, including the Sun-Earth system.  Unlike our view from the
surface of the Earth, which initially makes it appear to humans living
on the surface of the Earth that the Sun rises in the East, circles the
Earth, and sets in the West, the view from "deep space" far away from
the Sun and the Earth looks more like this.


Hopefully, this will print out for you showing a large circle on the
left, representing the Sun and its enormous mass and size compared to
the Earth, and a small circle on the right (much bigger than it really
is), representing the tiny Earth, and a + sign almost coincident with
the position of the Sun (the large circle on the left) that both the Sun
and the Earth can be seen to revolve around when viewed from deep space.

This is not to scale.

But it makes the case.

The enormous mass of the Sun means that the center of mass of the
Sun-Earth system is either very close to, near-coincident with, or
possibly even inside of, the surface of the Sun (I haven't done any
calculations, but it really doesn't matter which is true).  Thus, the
Sun in fact -- from a "God's Eye View" rotates about a point very close
to its surface, or possibly even within itself, while the Earth rotates
about the same point, very far from itself.

It's because of this extraordinary asymmetry that it is "much more true"
to claim that the Earth is rotating about the Sun, than vice-versa.

So, here's the solution to our problem.  The answer depends on our point
of view, and whether we are "flatlanders" who insist on viewing
everything as if the Earth were flat and the center of the universe,
from the perspective of creatures living on the surface of the Earth
(which means we would think the Sun orbits the Earth), or whether we are
taking the perspective consistent with the infinitely higher overview of
the Universe available to Hashem, which makes it clear that the Earth is
much more accurately described as circling the Sun.

I hope this is helpful.



From: Alan Friedenberg <elshpen@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 08:16:18 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Singing L'cha Dodi and Kale Adon

Why do some shules sing L'cha Dodi and Kale Adon, while others repeat
the verses after the chazon sings/chants them?  Is there something in
Halacha about this, or is it mearly preference and/or minhag?

Alan Friedenberg


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 07:04:49 EDT
Subject: Tallis at lunch

     > I believe it's ...  so as not to have a hefsik (break) in wearing it
      > from davening ....  Some would say that if you took off your tallis
      > after davening (say for kiddish or perhaps an in-shule luncheon),
      > then to put it back on again to wear it home would be questionable.

      If one follows this practice, then would the tallis lose its
      sanctity as an object dedicated for use during prayer, therefore
      allowing one to wear into a bathroom (assuming no bracha
      embroidered on it)?

The issue isn't sanctity of the Tallis which is likely static (to quote
Ms. Stein -- A Tallis, is a Tallis, is a Tallis) but the CONTINUITY of
its being worn by the person who holds by this viewpoint (chumra?)  As
described above having put on the Tallis for davening, the continuity of
wearing it during and then after davening (even, apparently, through
lunch) allows him to continue wearing the Tallis all the way home.

Kol Tov

Carl Singer


From: Aharon Fischman <afischman@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 11:36:42 -0400
Subject: Techum (was Travel on (or close to) Shabbat & Yom Tov)

Nachman Yaakov Ziskind wrote (and birshut R. Teitz)
>| From: Elazar M Teitz <remt@...>
>|         One factor not taken into account: if the train was outside of
>| t'chum Shabbos (the limit to which one is permitted to walk) of his
>| destination when Shabbos began, the person is restricted from going more
>| than 4 amos (6 to 8 feet) from the station in which he detrains.
>This open up another thread: where are the the t'chumim in today's
>society, with one city spilling on another? In NYC, for example, is the
>(western) t'chum at the Hudson? Or someplace in New Jersey?

If I recall from Mishnayot Eruvin that one squares off the border of a
town to establish a techum.  Using NYC as an example of a town, the
border within the square would include large portions of NJ, and make
the issue of crossing the George Washington Bridge on Shabbat moot since
both sides could _theoretically_ be in the same techum.

The next theoretical question might be: using the fact that bordering
towns (within 70 amot) can be in the same techum, could the
Boston/NY/Washington corridor be one techum if following the heavily
populated state highways have an almost constant populated presence?

Aharon Fischman


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Thu, 10 Oct 2002 08:59:37 -0500
Subject: What Was That Fruit?

A recent post on a completely different subject mentioned that according
to some the Pri Eitz Hadas was an esrog.  I remember hearing there were
three opinions on this: esrog, grape, and wheat(!).  Sorry I do not have
a source for this as I heard it about 15 years ago.

This time I noticed a Rashi who says (as far as I can tell) that the
fruit was a fig (see Rashi on Breishis s.v. alei t'eina) and this is why
Odom and Chava made their coverings from fig leaves.

My question is why Rashi does not mention esrog and why the Gemoro (I
believe the source for what I mentioned at first) does not list fig as a

And as an aside, the common (and incorrect) translation is "apple."  I
think that the source for this comes from St. Jerome's Vulgate
translation of the Septuagint, where he would translate pri as pomis,
which in Latin is normally apple.  My recollection is that John Milton
actually uses the word apple, and this is how it came into common usage.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


End of Volume 37 Issue 37