Volume 37 Number 74
                 Produced: Thu Nov  7  6:36:59 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ba'al Koreh or Ba'al Keri'ah
         [Carl Singer]
         [Perets Mett]
Bar Mitzvah tutorial software - need recommendations
         [Ginsburg, Paul]
Censorship of the Gemara
         [Moshe Bach]
Confiscation of Property by a Teacher
Etrog as Etz HaDaat
         [Mike Gerver]
Facing West (was Bo-ee Kallah)
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Farmers in New England
         [Kobi Ableman]
Gathering Under the Tallit for Birkhat Kohanim
         [Stan Tenen]
Latitude 'Allowed' in Originating New Drash
         [Ben Katz]
         [Ben Katz]
Shabbos in Israel


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 17:48:30 EST
Subject: Re: Ba'al Koreh or Ba'al Keri'ah

      >Ba'al Koreh is a common mistake for the Torah reader instead of Ba'al
      >Keri'ah. Similarly Ba'al Toke'ah instead of Ba'al Teki'ah.

      >This mistake is common, and I traced it to Eastern European circles
      >where they were either not too stringent with the Hebrew grammar or
      >maybe due to the Yiddish influence.

One must first determine what language the person is speaking.  If one
is speaking Yiddish then it is ridiculous to expect him or her to
conform to Hebrew grammer.

Gans Geetz
Carl Singer


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 23:31:08 +0000
Subject: Babad

R. Yehonatan Chipman wrote
> Actually, the family is quite a well-known one.  I don't know what
> the "bet" stands for, but the "abad" part means "av bet din"-- i.e.,
> they were dayanim and rabbanim going way back.  The author of Minhat
> Hinukh was a Babad.

The Beis stands for 'ben'

The name was first used by the son of "Rebbe Reb Heshl" a famous Av Beis
Din of Krakow. His son used the abbreviation Baba"d after his name (=
son of the ABD), whenceforth it became the family surname.

Rabbi AM Babad zatsa"l who was mentioned in a previous posting was the
ABD of Sunderland, England from 1948-1967 (approximate dates). He was
a close relative of the Minchas Chinuch - possibly a great-nephew.

Perets Mett


From: Ginsburg, Paul <GinsburgP@...>
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 09:52:00 -0500 
Subject: Bar Mitzvah tutorial software - need recommendations

Could someone please recommend a good bar mitzvah tutorial software

Paul W. Ginsburg
Rockville, Maryland


From: Moshe Bach <moshe.bach@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 22:35:36 +0200
Subject: Censorship of the Gemara

Hi.  After learning Sanhedrin 43a about a week ago, could anyone provide
information on censhorship of the Shas.  Presumably, this was not a
one-time event, and presumably it happened in many places in the world.
How did our censored/edited versions of the Shas become so accepted that
most editions still do not have the censored portions?  How were the
original texts maintained and passed on to future generations?

maury (moshe) bach
(+972) 4-865-5845, inet 8-465-5845
<mbach@...>, moshe.bach@intel.com


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 3 Nov 2002 19:34:55 EST
Subject: Confiscation of Property by a Teacher

I would like to raise the issue of confiscation of property by a teacher
in a class. Assuming that the child was causing a disturbance with the
item, my questions are:

To what extent can a teacher confiscate an item from a pupil; for how
long; and what achrius (responsibility) does the teacher have over the
item whilst in his possession? For example, should that item immediately
on confiscation be locked in a safe place to avoid loss, and should any
loss or damage occur, is the school liable? Is there possibly any
shaaloh of Gezeilo (theft) at any stage in a confiscation ?

This question was raised recently in my son's school, and I was advised
by the school that a certain Dayan had given the school a P'sak, many
years ago when the school first opened, that any item confiscated by a
teacher, now belonged to that teacher to do with as he pleased. The
Dayan has long since passed away - and, it would appear, the P'sak still
remains in force today.

Any comments ?


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 2002 05:46:22 EST
Subject: Etrog as Etz HaDaat

Ilana Goldstein Saks writes, in v37n64,

> In Breishit 3:6 the word "nechmad" which describes the Etz HaDaat
>  ("v'nechmad haetz l'haskil") is translated by Targum Onqelos as
>  "m'rageg" (desirable).  I am not certain if there is an actual
>  etymological relationship between m'rageg and etrog but in all cases
>  midrashic word-play is often based on sound, not actual etymology.

They are not etymologically related. The root of m'rageg,
resh-gimmel-gimmel, is listed in Ernest Klein's "Etymological Dictionary
of the Hebrew Language for English Speakers" (Macmillan, 1987) as
borrowed from Aramaic, with cognates in other Semitic languages. Etrog,
on the other hand, is listed in the same book as borrowed from Persian
turung or Mandaic trunga. (The form "etrunga" is found in Kiddushin
70a.) The Persian word, according to Chaim Rabin's article "Lexical
Borrowings from Indian Languages as Carriers of Ideas and Technical
Concepts" (in "Between Jerusalem and Benares: Comparative Studies in
Judaism and Hinduism", page 25, edited by Hananya Goodman, SUNY Press)
comes from Tamil, and is related to "matulankam" and "matulai" which
mean pomegranite or lemon. (In modern Tamil, pomegranite is
"matulanpazham," where "pazham" means ripe fruit.) Rabin says that there
is no similar word in Sanskrit, suggesting that etrogs were originally
found only in southern India where Tamil and other Dravidian languages
are spoken, and only spread to northern India and Persia in a later
period (after Sanskrit). I'm not sure what this implies about the
question of whether "pri etz hadar" always meant only the etrog, and
whether the "etz hadaat" could have been an etrog. It is quite possible,
of course, that "trunga" did not mean an etrog, but a different kind of
fruit, at the time the word was borrowed from Dravidian, and that it was
this other fruit that was only found in southern India.

    The "kam" at the end of "matulankam" (and hence the "nga" at the end
of "trunga") are presumably related to "kaay" meaning "fruit" in modern
Tamil.  The same root is apparently found in the Persian word "naranga"
(source of "naranja" in Spanish and hence "orange" in French and
English), which was also borrowed from a Dravidian language. In modern
Tamil, "naru" means "smelly," so "naranga" could mean "fragrant fruit."
(Words that mean "fragrant" tend to evolve to mean "smelly" in any
language.) Oranges are thought to have come to the Middle East and
Europe from northern India, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica,
and to there from southern China and Indochina, so the question arises
as to why the word would be borrowed from a Dravidian language. One
possibility is that the word dates back to the period before the
Indo-European conquest of India, when Dravidian languages were spoken in
Northern India as well.

So the "g" in etrog would be cognate with the "g" in orange.

My thanks to Meylekh Viswanath for telling me about the Chaim Rabin
article several years ago, and informing me about modern Tamil

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 22:57:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Facing West (was Bo-ee Kallah)

In v37n65, Avi Feldblum commented about the direction to be faced for
"Bo'i Kallah" in Eretz Yisrael:

<<the Lecha Dodi poem and our practice of saying it, and how we say it,
is not from a Gemara, but rather from the Kabbalistic practices of the
AR"I. So how we turn when we say the Lecha Dodi poem only makes sense if
viewed within the framework of Lurianic Kabbala...>>

It would be interesting to find out which direction the Ari HaKadosh and
his followers faced since, as Avi notes, the practice of Kabbalat
Shabbat and Lekha Dodi originated with them. Tzfat is of course north of
Jerusalem, and people there face south for the Amidah, so should they
have faced north?  It is told that they used to go out to the fields to
receive Shabbat, which I imagine must refer to the valley south of
Tzfat, near the old cemetery and "mikveh shel ha-Ari."  Maybe some
contemporary university-type Kabbalah scholars know this realia.  I'll
try to ask around.  

Also, what was the minhag in Baghdad, which is more-or-less due east of
Israel, and where fifty years ago there was still a flourishing Jewish
community, with many pious and learned people, and kehilot which
followed their rabbis' instructions.  There are people still alive today
whom one can ask.

Yehonatan Chipman,


From: Kobi Ableman <nadkobi@...>
Subject: Farmers in New England

There has been some coverage recently regarding a new farming community
that has been set up in Sunderland Massachusetts -
I will admit straight up front that I am a strong Zionist.  First, (and I
guess this should more be directed to the NY Times) there is nothing
experimental about Orthodox (or even 'ultra-orthodox) Jew doing
agricultural work.  It happens 6 days a week here in Israel.  There are
religious kibbutzim, moshavim, and individual farmers.  I am sure I am
not revealing any thing to most of the readers of 'mail-jewish'.
My question - the article refers to the fact that the group in Sunderland
will be leaving the land fallow every seven years - and refers to other
agricultural mitzvot- Wouldn't introducing this practice in the Golah
(diaspora, dispersion whatever) be an example of ba'al tosef. 
I do recall that orlah (and maybe chadash) is kept abroad but that the
remainder of the agricultural commandments are only practiced in Israel.
Any comments?  Is this community an example of a post-zionist American

Kobi Ableman


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 03 Nov 2002 00:45:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Gathering Under the Tallit for Birkhat Kohanim

At 11:16 PM 10/30/02, Abraham Lebowitz wrote:
>I wonder if anyone has any information as to the source of the minhag of
>covering one's head with the tallit during birkhat kohanim, which is is
>followed by some people who do not otherwise cover their heads (with a
>tallit) during davening.

We cover our head with the tallis because kabbalistically, this is the
_natural_ covering of Adam Kadmon.

When we pull the four corner tzitzis together, our rectangular tallis
takes on the topology of a torus (doughnut, inner tube).  This is the
form drawn by pairing the letters at the beginning of B'reshit, and it
encompasses the "head" of Adam Kadmon.

Our customs and traditions _are_ the means by which the Sod and priestly
levels of Torah and kabbalistic knowledge have been woven into the
fabric of Jewish life, so that they could never be permanently

This, like the related discussion of "shekhina entering from the west,"
is an explicit externalization of part of the Pardes meditation.

Good Shabbos.


PS We'll have a jpeg on our website right after Shabbos, which I'm sure 
will be before anyone has a chance to read this message.


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:13:10 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Latitude 'Allowed' in Originating New Drash

>From: <avirab@...>
>Although usually Rashi relied on Midrash and Ramban on Kabbalistic
>teachings, traditional Bible commentators do not usually give sources
>for their interpretation, and do not make it clear whether they are
>repeating a teaching supposed to have come from ancient times, or are
>originating a new drash.
>What is the latitude they allowed themselves, and others, in originating
>novel interpretations? Were any guidelines ever discussed or agreed
>upon? (obviously there was opposition to some, such as to Rambam in his
>time). Do there exist guidelines that we today are 'expected' [a
>loaded word, depends on who is doing the expecting of course] to follow
>in creating drash? What's a good reference discussing this issue? 
>[BTW, what's the best counter-work to Heschel's 'Aspeklaria'?]

      Avraham Ibn Ezra (12th century) often used just plain-old common
sense, even when it disagreed with older sources (he uses the wrod
"kabala").  See for example his comment of Isaac's age at the akedah,
where he says (my paraphrase): Some say he was 37 years old at the time.
And if we need to accept that, we should. However, then he should have
gotten twice the credit of Avraham because he was willing to offer
himself. Some say he was 5, but then he would have been too young to
carry the firewood.  Therefore, logically speaking, he was probably
about 12 (old enough to carry the wood, but too young to get credit.)
And the proof is that Avraham didn't tell him he was the intended
sacrifice, otherwise he would have fled!

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: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 15:04:23 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: Naitz

>From: <Aronio@...> (Aron Mandl)
>Which is better - davening at Naitz HaChama without a minyan or davening
>not at Naitz with a minyan?

according to the shulchan aruch,davening vateken without a minyan is

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.


From: <Aronio@...>
Date: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 19:34:58 EST
Subject: Shabbos in Israel

I am an immigration lawyer and I have a lot of clients in Israel.

If a client calls me when it is 12:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon EST -
when it is 7:00 p.m. and already Shabbos in Israel - must I immediately
hang up on them or simply tell them that I am not allowed to speak with
them since it is Shabbos for them (even if they are chiloni) and then
hang up on them?

If I do speak with them at all, is it a question of lifnei ivair?  (I
don't know how to spell hebrew words in english)



End of Volume 37 Issue 74