Volume 38 Number 31
                 Produced: Sun Jan 19  4:17:25 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Govt and food kitchens.
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Hebrew fonts for downloading?
         [Deborah Wenger]
lack of killing in Plagues/ Pre-Exodus story
         [David Curwin]
Making of a Gadol - Text of Ban
         [Sam Saal]
Naming Babies
         [Zev Sero]
         [Russell J Hendel]
Shehechionu on Neros Shabbos
         [Ariel Cohen]
Supersition (was baby naming)
         [Leah S. Gordon]
         [Steven White]


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 15:01:56 EST
Subject: Govt and food kitchens.

> Not to get into debate mode -- I don't think there are absolutes.  In
> the past 40 years I've seen little effective community (faith?) based
> programs.  Even an active, well financed Jewish community like
> Cleveland, where I grew up, had a hard time dealing with elderly Jews
> who had been "left behind" and were still living in former Jewish
> neighborhoods.
> <snip>
> Carl Singer

Dear Carl; Yes, sometimes it takes a little initiative to get a private
program off the ground.  Yet, programs that are community based as
opposed to bureaucratically run from central Government agencies miles
away are almost always more successful than their counterparts as they
have a better idea as to the needs of individual communities.

LA has an incredible Tomchei Shabbas program that works wonders.  I go
to school on Thursday nights, the night that Tomchei disburses Shabbas
packages.  I was asked to help on Thanksgiving this year in case the
"regulars" couldn't do their runs because of family Thanksgiving dinner
commitments.  I am happy to say I had little to do that night as the
vast majority of the regulars took time off from their family
commitments to fulfill their community commitments, only returning to
dinner after the job was finished.  I am confident that there is no
government program that can perform the absolutely necessary and
community specific work of Tomchei with even close to the same level of
success.  The same is true of chesed programs at many of our yeshivot.
Nothing the Government can do will match the work our High School kids
can do when they visit people in nursing homes, etc.

It is possible to claim that Government funding can help these programs
financially.  That is only true, however, when the disbursement of funds
does not require the compliance with never ending government imposed
regulations.  Furthermore, I still claim it does more for the community
as a whole when the entire program, from funding to administration is
community based.  Let us allow our communities to see their
responsibilities to those in need, and let us allow our communities the
pride in knowing that they live in a place which takes care of its own
with dignity and respect.

Chaim Shapiro


From: Deborah Wenger <dwenger@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 07:49:24 -0500 
Subject: Hebrew fonts for downloading?

Posting for a relative:

Does anyone know a website for downloading a Hebrew font for Word for
Windows (98)?  Please be specific.  I found a couple through random
searching that were not complete (or maybe I downloaded incorrectly).

Deborah Wenger


From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2003 00:41:57 +0200
Subject: lack of killing in Plagues/ Pre-Exodus story

I noticed today that the part of Sefer Shmot which includes the Plagues
seems relatively timid in terms of killing (or attempting to do so) -
certainly in comparison with earlier and later parts of the Torah.

There are two sides to this observation:

a) Why does Paro allow Moshe to approach him so freely? There is no
mention of any attempt to arrest him (we saw how Yosef was thrown in the
dungeon) or to kill him (we see in the story of Yosef that people who
didn't show the proper respect for the king were killed). Perhaps God
protected Moshe, but why isn't this mentioned in the text? Moshe was
someone who was challenging the entire rule of the king and bringing
economic destruction on all of Egypt. Why don't we see more opposition?

b) Up until the plague of the first born, all the plagues seem to affect
"only" the economy or personal comfort of Paro and the Egyptians. While
it is possible that some of the plagues could have caused Egyptian
fatalities, we see no mention of it at all. Later, in the desert, we see
plagues of God against Bnei Yisrael that kill thousands. There are
mitzvot that require us to wipe out entire nations. The plagues could
have been progressively more dramatic, but also have involved killing
Egyptians. Why not?

David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 12:17:12 -0800 (PST)
Subject: re: Making of a Gadol - Text of Ban

Rabbi Leonard Oppenheimer <rabbi@...> wrote:

>The text of the ban against "The Making of a Gaodol" can be found at

While I believe I recognize some of the names signing this ban, part of the
text is surprising:

>...our rabbonim, gedolei hadoros, who raised loud and bitter cries,
>and  wholly dedicated themselves throughout the last fifty years to
>the task of uprooting the terrible breach of blending external studies
>together with the pure study of our holy Torah

I am having difficulty understanding this in light of several issues. For
example, how did they put this on the internet without this very blending of
external studies?

Sam Saal         <ssaal@...>


From: Zev Sero <Zev.Sero@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 12:54:10 -0700 
Subject: Re: Naming Babies

> Also, we learn in Parshat Vayetzei, from Leah, that the mother gets
> "first dibs," so to speak, on naming the child. (However, she may give
> this right to her husband)

On the contrary, we learn from Bereshit 38:3-5 that the father gets
naming rights on the odd-numbered children, and the mother on the even-
numbered ones; Yehuda named his first son, his wife named the second,
and when she also named the third we are told that this was because he
was out of town - no phones or telegrams!

Zev Sero


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 2003 23:00:53 -0500

Mendy in v38n10 asks about the Biblical phenomena of ONE word with TWO
spellings. Ira, Jacobson answers her by citing the Radack.

It is not generally known but one of Rav Hirschs strong points in his
commentaries was the skillful explanation of all words that were written
and read differently.Rav Hirschs technique was to emphasize the duality
of roots and apply them to the situation.

Applying this method to 1King11:17 we immediately see that
Hey-Dalet-Dalet means (roughly) HEY and is an interjection indicating
comradery. By contrast the root ALEPH-DALET means MIST and emphasizes
something barely visible.

So when 1King11-17 says AND ADAD( ALEPH--MIST) FLED WITH HIS FEW
SURVIVORS, the Bible is punning---this great King who was known for his
hearty battle cries and comraderie was fleeing as a MIST. A pithy
emphasis on all the soldiers he lost.

I believe such an approach to the Bible adds luster and beauty.

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


From: Ariel Cohen <robin@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 22:07:31 -0000
Subject: Shehechionu on Neros Shabbos

Could anyone point me towards some mekoros with regard to the following

Does a Kallah on the first Shabbos following her wedding make
shehechionu on the candles on Friday night?

[Most meforshim seem to argue not, but there appears to be two
conflicting views brought down in the Taamei Haminhagim both in the name
of the Ya'avetz.]

Ariel Cohen


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Tue, 7 Jan 2003 17:40:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Supersition (was baby naming)

(in a recent issue of MJ:)

>horrific stories of "history repeating itself."  My neighbor's brother
>was named after an uncle killed at the age of 44 in the Holocaust.  Her
>brother was killed in an army accident at the age of 22, and another
>brother named his son with the same name.  Not long ago that young man
>at the age of 22 was killed in a freak accident.  There are many stories

IMO, this kind of superstition is both baseless and destructive.  It is
baseless because there is no scientific or halakhic evidence that you
cast some kind of spell for early death on a person by naming them.  It
is destructive because it sets up a terrible guilt or worry situation
for parents or prospective parents.

Superstition is common surrounding conception, birth, and child-rearing
(e.g. don't buy a nursery ahead of time and so forth).  But it is
anathema to anyone who considers herself/himself to be a rational adult
or a halakhic Jew or both.

I am somewhat surprised that this posting even made it to MJ.

--Leah S. Gordon


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Tue, 07 Jan 2003 10:52:26 -0500
Subject: Re: Transliterations

Ira Jacobson (<laser@...>) wrote:

> <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White) quoted me and then continued:
> >In MJ 38:15, Ira Jacobson writes:
> >
> > > Precisely.  The siddur I was using had "H" for our "N", "Y" for our
> > > "U" and "C" for our "S".  I also do not recommend adopting these
> > > conventions, although they make sense in and of themselves.
> >
> >Well, not quite.  The siddur you were using had letters that _resemble_
> >H, y and c, but are actually Cyrillic (Russian alphabet) letters that
> >correspond to n, u and s.
> I hate to engage in nitpicking, but the letters that are identical to the 
> English letters h, y and c are present in Russian and have sounds that are 
> different from those that the identical letters have in English.  In 
> appearance, the English and Russian letter are identical and not just
> similar. 

With all due respect -- and we're pretty far off list topic at this
point -- I never suggested the letters do not _appear_ identical.  What
I was trying to say is that if you look at historical development of
various alphabets, you will see that, for example, the letter that
appears as "H" in Russian is the same letter as the Latin "N" or the
"Nun" or the Greek "Nu."  It appears after the equivalent to m/mem/mu
and before the equivalent of samech/xi and o/ayin/omicron.  That letter
is not the same as H/het/eta. 

> >I might point out the following.  In the United States, chet and chaf
> >are generally transliterated as "ch."  This transliteration is based on
> >German usage.  [snip]

> The historical development that you describe sounds 
> reasonable.  Nevertheless, there are international conventions for 
> transliteration, based in part on the objective on unambiguous 
> usage.  Thus, if k is used to represent kaf, and q is used to represent 
> qof, there can be no confusion when one reads the transliterated version.

True enough.  But the case of k/q is intuitive to an English speaker.
The case of tzadi=c or het=x is not intuitive to an English speaker.  I
do not agree that unambiguous usage is always the goal of
transliteration.  (In fact, only recently, due to the proliferation of
latin-alphabet-based databases, is that purpose becoming so much more
important.)  Rather, the purpose of transliteration is to allow someone
who does not know the original alphabet intuitive access to the text.
If there is time to learn the non-intuitive version, there is time to
learn the second alphabet, which all would agree is a more ideal
solution, anyway.

Besides, my point above also implies that the _transliteration_to_
language must therefore influence the transliteration.  Ch was a
perfectly reasonable chet or chof for German/Yiddish speakers.  But in
French, one greets his fellow on the day of rest with "Chabbat Chalom."

> And if one uses a "ch" combination to represent both khof and het, the 
> result can be like the confusion that I saw in an even more extreme form in 
> Philadelphia many years ago.  A Conservative cantor wrote the introduction 
> to the Shabbat morning qiddush in Hebrew letters as "Al ken berach . . . " 
> using a het.  The Hebrew Language Academy system of transliteration avoids 
> such nonsense.

That's just plain sad.

> I am still troubled by the habit of decent people to reject writing 
> conventions and to choose to spell in accordance with their own 
> perceptions, rather than to admit that the standards may have been 
> formulated with a sense of logic, and more importantly, they preserve a 
> degree of uniformity throughout the world.

I agree.  But keep in mind that transliteration is not a pure writing
convention, and does not have the same purpose as pure writing

> >In Israel, het and haf are at least as frequently transliterated as "h" as 
> >"ch."
> No.  No.  No.  Het as h and khaf as kh.  

You're right.  I was getting tired at that point.  I apologize.  On the
other hand, you might have tried responding to me in a tone of voice
other than scolding.


> >I'm guessing there are a couple of reasons that come together
> >here.  First, regardless of how one lains or davens, Israeli _spoken_
> >Ivrit tends to favor a more correctly pronounced het near the front of
> >the mouth; that sound is fairly close to an aspirated "h" in English.
> Depends on who's doing the pronouncing.  Yemenite, Yekke, Hungarian?

I said "tends to favor." 

> >Second, transliteration in Israel is more influenced by English than by
> >German, because of the British mandate and because of the influence of
> >North Americans after the creation of the State.
> The influence of North Americans?  That's an interesting thought, but 
> hardly likely, in my experience.

I guess, to be more precise, what I meant was this.  Transliteration in
Israel became important as Hebrew resumed its importance as a language
in general use.  And at that time, the main purpose (or at least one
main purpose) for transliteration in Israel was for communication with
the Mandatory authority.  Hence the transliteration schemes are based
more directly on English, not on Yiddish or German.  Communications with
the US and North American olim only serve to reinforce those

Steven White


End of Volume 38 Issue 31