Volume 38 Number 28
                 Produced: Thu Jan  9 23:56:26 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Linguistic test for NEW STATUS
         [Russell J Hendel]
Mah Yofis -- A Reconsideration
         [Arthur G. Sapper]
Minyan on Airplane (2)
         [Ari Trachtenberg, Zev Sero]
Naming babies
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
A Politically Correct Mem ?
         [Ben Z. Katz]
Rabbi Lau's statement on cloning and the Golem (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, .cp.]
Rambam, Moshe and Moshiach
         [Gil Student]
Rashi's gravesite?
         [Zev Sero]
Request for archive
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Torah Measurements
         [Bernard Raab]
A Tzedukkah Portfolio
         [Raphi Cohen]


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 22:58:23 -0500
Subject: RE: A Linguistic test for NEW STATUS

I recently suggested that the Talmudic concept of NEW STATUS can be
operationally recognized by whether the NAME changes.  As a simple
application, before the fax is received we refer to it as paper while
after the fax is received it is called a fax.  This change of name
indicates that a new status has been created (And hence the fax should
not be touched on Shabbath).

Anonymous demurred to my logic in v38n12. Anonymous gives 2
arguments. First anonymous discusses putting raw vegetables on the stove
before shabbath--during the shabbath these vegetables become a
CHULENT. Using my logic it would therefore be prohibited to eat CHULENT
on Shabbath.

Sidney Gottesman v38n18 already points out that one cannot put a raw pot
up before shabbath (According to the book Shmirat Shabbat). I would
quickly add that the pot (if not totally raw) would still be called
CHULENT before Shabbat (eg put the SHULENT on the stove before candle
lighting).  So indeed the operational test I advocated above does work.

Anonymous then contrasts the following 3 statements to bring a further
objection (1) Listen to the FAX I got (2) Listen to the BOOK I got (2')
Listen to what it says in the book I got. Anonymous argues that (2') is
more precise than (2) and hence (1) should be amended to (1')Listen to
the message that was faxed to me.

I dont think this is nitpicking as I believe the concept of new status
is at the heart of many areas of Jewish law. My response is that the
fact that we use (1) as an abbreivation for (1') (FAX vs MESSAGE FAXED
TO ME) shows that we do perceive the paper to have achieved a new status
called THE FAX.

In a nutshell I am saying that if common usage is willing to make
abbreviations and call the paper a new name, FAX, then halachah will
recognize the FAX as being NEW and having a new status.

I think this operational test is useful and clarifies many difficult
Talmudic passages.

Russell Jay Hendel; RASHI: http://www.RashiYomi.com/
WEB:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/RashiYomi_Job/
EMAIL: <RashiYomi_Job-subscribe@...>


From: <asapper@...> (Arthur G. Sapper)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 14:49:00 -0500
Subject: Mah Yofis -- A Reconsideration

Mr. Schwartz asks whether singing the zemer constitutes "ignoring [our
ancestors'] suffering and continuing our Shabbat pleasures as though
their humiliation meant nothing to us?"  His question is
thought-provoking but I respectfully disagree with his suggested answer.
When we sing this zemer, we redeem the suffering of our ancestors.  By
taking the trouble to revive a song that they loved, we show that their
suffering and humiliation means a great deal to us, not that it means
nothing to us.  There is no better way to honor our ancestors than to
revive what they struggled to retain but were forced against their will
to lose.  To perpetuate a loss that they resisted, to willingly
acquiesce in the loss of a piece of Yiddishkeit, to allow dead pages to
inhabit our siddurim and benchers, to effectively allow non-Jews to
dictate what we may or may not sing, dishonors their suffering, devalues
our mesorah, and demoralizes our children.  Did not Yitzhaq re-dig the
very same wells his father dug and that the Philistines had filled with
earth?  Did he not give them the same names that his father gave them?
Let his actions be a lesson for us.

Yesterday, I taught my twelve year old daughter about the missing line
in the Aleynu, the line that church censors removed but which our
ancestors continue to teach orally to their children (another lesson for
us).  My daughter was happy to see that the line had been restored to at
least some siddurim.  More importantly, she resolved to recite it

 These are not only healthy and normal reactions; they are the reactions
of the kind of proud Jews we should be raising.  We demean our
tradition, and demoralize our children by teaching them to perpetuate a
humiliation forced upon our ancestors.


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2003 11:31:02 -0500
Subject: Re: Minyan on Airplane

> From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
> middle of shmone esrei).  But I cannot understand those who insist on
> organising a minyan on the plane for mincha or maariv, when there will
> be plenty of time to daven after the plane lands...

There is a certain, indescribable beauty in being part of a minyan on a
plane.  Being a part of a collection of otherwise unrelated Jews praying
together, of all different walks of life and religious observances, is
an expression of klal israel unlike any other I have personally
witnessed.  I try, at every opportunity, to join a minyan on the plane,
though, of course, with consideration to others onthe plane and the

Kol tuv,
Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>

From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 13:47:46 -0500 
Subject: Re: Minyan on Airplane

> Zev Sero <zev.sero@...> wrote:
[see above]

And how will any of this beauty be lost if the minyan is held, as I
suggested, in the baggage claim area?

Zev Sero


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 08:36:15 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Naming babies

In MJ 38:18, Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...> asked:

>I would appreciate any information, sources, or perspective on "baby
>naming"; in particular on the custom of naming babies after other
>people.  Some specific questions I have in mind include: When naming a
>baby after another person, what exactly is the purpose? Does the 
>purpose apply even if one (or both) of the parents have never met the
>person for whom the baby is being named? Is there a "precedence list" 
>for choosing whom to name the baby after?

I would highly recommend the book "What's in a Name," by R. Zushe
Wilhelm (Brooklyn: Sichos In English, 1998). (There's also a Hebrew
version, Ziv HaSheimos, published several years earlier.) It's got just
about every possible detail on the laws and customs connected with
Jewish names and naming, and is extensively footnoted with sources. (I
don't have my copy at hand now, otherwise I'd write some brief answers
to your questions.)

Assuming you're asking this for yourself, then either Mazel Tov or
B'Shaah Tovah Umutzlachas, as the case may be!

Kol tuv,


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 21:54:09 -0600
Subject: Re: A Politically Correct Mem ?

>From: Yitschak Maser <simone.maser@...>
>In a few chumashim you find a large final mem in the word shilayshim at
>the end of parshat vayechi (4th last pasuk - Gen.  50 :23), for example
>in the small set with the Malbim's commentary. But in most chumashim
>that I've seen there is no indication of this large letter.

Norzi (Minchat Shai) states that the mem is not enlarged in all of the
"meduyak" books and ms. that he examined.  He says he found it listed as
enlarged in only a single source.

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


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 10:05:21 EST
Subject: Rabbi Lau's statement on cloning and the Golem

Mail Jewish (v38n21) Someone said:
<<So is Rabbi Lau against the use of pacemakers?
Why should there be an halachic problem with having a clone? I can
understand halachic questions of parentage and the such, but if there
can be golems, why not clones?>>

The Golem of Pargue, you are referring to was invented by Rabbi Yudel
Rosenberg (1859-1935) about 100 years ago. See an article about the
whole story by Sid Leiman.  Shnayer Z. Leiman,  The Adventure of the
Maharal of Prague in London: R.  Yudl Rosenberg and the Golem of Prague,
TRADITION, Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring 2002, p. 38, fn. 8.

One can read the biography of Rabbi Rosenberg at:

"The Maharal was one of Rosenberg's favourite protagonists and appears
in several of his books. In fact, Rosenberg (who apparently believed
himself to be a descendant of the Maharal) is responsible for inventing
the one detail about the Maharal with which most people are familiar;
the famous "Golem," the artificial monster allegedly created by the
Rabbi to save the Jews of Prague from anti-Semitic plots. So popular did
this "super-hero" become that we find it difficult to believe that the
story had no basis in either fact or legend before Rosenberg introduced
it in a book published in Warsaw in 1909!" Source:

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: .cp. <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 08:10:15 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Rabbi Lau's statement on cloning and the Golem

No, i was not referring to Prague. I was referring to the golems
mentioned in various Gemorahs.


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 15:39:06 -0500
Subject: Re: Rambam, Moshe and Moshiach

Lawrence Kaplan wrote:
>In light of this evidence, I now believe that, contrary to what I
>wrote earlier, the Rambam in Hilkhot Teshuvah 9:2 in using the
>phrase "karov mi-Moshe" means that the Moshiach will be, as
>we would say, "karov le-Moshe," i.e., approximately on the
>same level as Moses, but a bit less than his stature.

I thank Professor Kaplan for this clarification (I was one of those who
had written to him privately).  After sending him my e-mail I checked
for further sources and note that both R' Nachum L. Rabinovitch in his
Yad Peshutah (ad loc.) and R' Yosef Kafah (in his edition of Iggeros
HaRambam p.  50 n. 26) understand the Rambam's statement in Hilchos
Teshuvah as such.

This, of course, solves the problem that the Rambam lists as part of the
eighth principle that no other prophet can reach Moshe's level of
prophecy.  Had he contradicted this in Mishneh Torah we would find that
the Rambam disagrees with one of his own fundamental principles of

Gil Student


From: Zev Sero <Zev.Sero@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 15:08:41 -0700 
Subject: Rashi's gravesite?

> Why don't we know where Rashi is buried?  We know that it is probably
> somewhere in France.  Wouldn't it be a safe assumption to think he was
> buried in the last town/village he lived in?

Supposedly there is a tradition that he was buried in Prague, having
travelled there towards the end of his life.

Zev Sero


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 19:26:49 +0200
Subject: Request for archive

Does anyone know of any archive which contains photos of great Jewish
leaders (not limited to Gedolim) of the past century (the 20th century),
and which licenses such photos for publication?


Shmuel Himelstein


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Mon, 06 Jan 2003 14:41:00 -0500
Subject: Torah Measurements

see A Reference Guide to the Steinsaltz Edition of The Talmud published
by Random House in English. (BM499.5 E4 1989) starting on pg. 279.


From: Raphi Cohen <raphi@...> 
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2003 00:45:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject: A Tzedukkah Portfolio

Carl Singer suggests a tentative portfolio, then adds:

> I can't really plan who's going to come to my door -

> what if I've run out of my $100 and the doorbell 
> rings when I don't even have a single dollar left.  
> If I've planned my tzedukkah, am I exempt from 
> giving the $101st dollar?

One additional complication is tax refunds. The receipts of some
organizations (at least in Israel and in Europe, I guess also in the
U.S.) make the donor entitled to an Income Tax refund. In Israel this
refund is 35% of the donation, in Europe that rate can go up to 50% and
60%. Now, if the donation comes from Maaser funds, it is quite fair to
reallocate the coming reimbursements to Maaser again. The simple fact
that some Tzedaka organizations will originate a refund, while other
organizations (or individuals) will not, creates an allocation problem:
if I send 100$ to Tzedaka A, I will receive back 35$ from Income Tax
which I will be able to send to Tzedaka B, from which I will receive a
refund of 35$ * 35% and so on.  At the end of the chain, this generates
more than 50% additional funds with respect to the original sum. On the
other hand, sending 100$ to Tzedaka C, which is not recognized for tax
purposes, will be the end of the story. Which makes some organizations
more atractive than other. What happens if I REALLY want an organization
to get some money, but on the other hand I know that the same sum would
bring 50% more, if spent somewhere else? Can I let Income Tax agencies
decide for me who is entitled to Maaser? Or, alternatively, can I give
up this free opportunity to increase the benefits of Tzedaka? What is
the right mix?

Suggestions are welcome.

Raphi Cohen


End of Volume 38 Issue 28