Volume 38 Number 35
                 Produced: Tue Jan 21  6:36:44 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Carl Singer]
Lunar-Solar Calendar
         [Stan Tenen]
Minyan on airplane
         [A Seinfeld]
The Soloveitchik institute
         [Eli Turkel]
Synagogue Charters
         [Neal B. Jannol]
Terach Minyanim (2)
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu, W. Baker]
Transliteration of Q for kuf
         [Alex Heppenheimer]
         [A Seinfeld]
         [Daniel S. Schultz]
Woman gdola b'Torah
         [Sarah E. Beck]


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 14:27:12 EST
Subject: Re: Heimish?

      From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)

      Heimish means a person with a special personality. It is not just
      frum, it is actually a little bit chassidishe, more like the
      fishman in Daum and Rudavsky's film, A Life Apart. He was a
      heimishe guy, a person you could be comfortable with, with a frame
      of reference "you" can handle. A chasidishe guy with a slight
      awareness of the real world is the way it was when I was a kid.

The above is true.  But the term "heimishe" is frequently used, not as a
discriptive adjective (of an individual or group of people) but as a
"code word" as other posters note for members of "OUR" Hassidic
community -- Thus a Heimishe bakery is not necessarily one where you're
greeted warmly, and you're child is offered a cookie, etc, but one whose
hasgacha is within keeping of the standards of certain Hassidic Rabbaim.



From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 10:58:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Lunar-Solar Calendar

>From: Tom Rosenfeld <trosen@...>
>     From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
>     I recently learned that ours is not the only lunar-solar calendar, and
>     that the Chinese calendar is also one, with the new year in January or
>     February.  They add a leap month every three years (as opposed to our 7
>     times in 19 years). I assume that there was no communication between the
>     two groups who adopted these.
>I am certainly not an expert in history, but I have not heard of any
>communications between the 2 cultures in ancient times. However, some
>kind of luni-solar calendar was common in many ancient cultures so it is
>not at all surprising

There does not have to have been cultural contact in order for different
groups to have convergent views of something.  This happens in animal
evolution all the time.  Unrelated species figure out the same solution
to the same problem when they find themselves in the same environment.

There is a likely connection between the alphabet and the calendar.

I believe I read that there is one theory of the origin of Chinese
characters that starts with 28 ideograms representing the days of the

Our 22- and 27-letter alphabet can be reconciled by the 3,19 torus knot,
which displays the 19-year solar/lunar metonic cycle.



From: A Seinfeld <ASeinfeld@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 02:07:19 -0600
Subject: Re: Minyan on airplane

All posters on this subject agree that one should not join an airplane
minyan if it is disturbing other people.

There are poskim who hold that it is impossible to create an airplane
minyan without disturbing others, blocking the aisle or the restrooms,
etc. Even if you yourself are out of the way, there will be someone on
the edge of the minyan who is blocking the aisle. This could be
especially disturbing to a person who does not know that one is allowed
to physically move someone who is blocking the path while davvening the

Therefore, it seems that one should davven in one's seat as a rule.

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 09:04:56 GMT
Subject: The Soloveitchik institute

[I know this is too late to take advantage of, but I thought I would
send it out anyhow to let people know this occured, and maybe someone
would like to give some summaries for the list. Mod.]

For those in Israel there was an ad in JP for a series of lectures being
given by the Soloveitick institute next week in Israel.  Next sunday,
Jan. 19th Rabbi Adler will speak in Raanana (tpgther with the ROC of
Rabbi Weiss). the other lectures are by Rabbi J.J.  Schacter head of the
institute. He he speak in Bet Shemesh on tuesday, wednesday in Jerusalem
(cosponsered by ATID - sorry don't know much about them) and motzei
shabbat back in Raanana.  Some of the topics include Rav Soloveitchik's
views in the state of Israel and secular studies.

I plan on going to the ones on Jan. 19th in Raanana and the one in
Jerusalem. Rabbi Weiss has promised to tape for me the lecture motzei
shabbat back in Raanana which I cannot attend.  If anyone is going to
the lecture in Bet Shemesh please let me know and we can see what can be
done about exchanging notes.

kol tuv,
Eli Turkel


From: <NJannol@...> (Neal B. Jannol)
Date: Mon, 23 Dec 2002 09:45:22 -0800
Subject: Re: Synagogue Charters

not sure what a "takanon" is, but i advise nonprofits and use this form
of bylaws occasionally for ideas.


Neal B. Jannol
Loeb & Loeb LLP, 10100 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone - (310) 282-2358, Fax - (310) 282-2200


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 15:40:54 EST
Subject: Terach Minyanim

Two responses, Asher Samuels and Rubin (v38n29), suggested that Terach
Minyanim is a sort of a joke, built on the concept that if Avraham,
Itzchak and Ya'acob instituted Sacharit, Minchah and Arvit respectively,
then a Terach minyan will be the pre-shacharit one. This is based on the
parental line: Terach begot Avraham who begot Itzchak who begot Ya'acov.

I would like to expand the above. Terach in Jewish lore is an Oved
Avodah Zara (Bereshit Rabah 38:13 and other places), and as such, a
Terach minyan is of idol worship! It is true that according to our
tradition he also made a teshuva just before his death, and for having
Avraham as a son he even got a place in the Olam Haba, but nonetheless,
he was a pagan, which was the reason Avraham was forced to move out of
Charan. So a Terach Minyan is a pre shacharit pagan service.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu

From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Subject: Re: Terach Minyanim

> From: <rubin20@...>
> > By the way what is the origin of the term "Terah minyanim" ?
> It's a joke. The idea is that if Yackov instituted Marive, and the
> prayer before that (Mincha) was instituted by the forefather before him
> (Yitschak) and the prayer before that (Shachris) was instituted by the
> person before him (Avrohom), the davaning before schacris must have been
> instituted by the person before him which is Terach (Avrohoms Father)

Just a thought here.  If we are looking at each earlier patriarch as
establishing an earlier prayer, are we assuming they started the day in
the morning, or in the evening, with ma'ariv?  Are they followers of
Rashbam and his take on creation?

Wendy Baker

From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 11:27:51 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Transliteration of Q for kuf

In MJ 38:26, A Seinfeld <ASeinfeld@...> wrote:

>>Using the letter Q for a kuf (19th letter of alef-bet, but not a kaf,
>>11th letter of the alef-bet) should not look too strange. Both letters
>>derive from the same letter in the ancient semitic alphabet 
>>(Phoenician alphabet) which looked like a circle with a vertical line
>>going through it.

>This comment does not seem consistent with the Gamara (Sanhedrin 22b,I
>think) that states that Hebrew predates all other alphabets.

I don't find any statement there that the Hebrew alphabet is the oldest
(there may be such a statement elsewhere, but I don't know where). The
Gemara there (21b-22a) cites three opinions: (1) that the Torah was
originally given in "Ivri" or "Livonaah" script*, and then Ezra
instituted the use of Ashuris (our present-day script); (2) that the
Torah was originally given in Ashuris, but that the Jewish People forgot
this script due to their sins, and then it was reinstituted by Ezra; (3)
that no change ever took place - the Torah has always been written in
Ashuris script.

* Rashi identifies Ivri as the script of "those on the other side of the
[Euphrates?] River," and Livonaah as "large letters, similar to those
used in amulets and mezuzos." Tosafos there offers a couple of other
possibilities. Some of the commentaries - Meiri is one of them, IIRC -
identify this as what's generally called Phoenician script, or some
variant thereof. [This is strengthened by the fact that the Gemara there
notes that the Cutheans (Samaritans) kept using Ivri script; to this
very day, the Samaritans' "Torah" scrolls are written in a variant of
Phoenician script.]

So in summary: one who holds with the first opinion in the Gemara might
well say that our letter Kuf derives from its counterpart in the Ivri
alphabet, while someone who maintains one of the other two positions
might express it in reverse - that the Ivri/Phoenician Kuf is a
modification/simplification of the Ashuris letterform.

Kol tuv,


From: A Seinfeld <ASeinfeld@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 02:09:58 -0600
Subject: Re: Transliterations

The points about conventions is well-taken....if you're writing your
transliteration for the initiated. We all know how to pronounce
"Chanuka" - but there are many Jews out there who don't.

I faced this problem in writing my book (the Art of Amazement) which
teaches a "meditative" approach to brachos/brakhot, Sh'ma and other
parts of our liturgy. Some of the readers are active Jews, but others
are beginners who don't know how to pronounce the words. What system
would you recommend for them? In the end I chose to go Ashkenaz and to
use kh for both chet and chaf because I felt that this would help the
reader (without a teacher or community) to get the most accurate
pronunciation. Working on a 2nd edition, so your comments would be

Alexander Seinfeld


From: Daniel S. Schultz <danschul@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 11:42:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Various


I think that I can make a worthwhile contribution in response to these

1. My understanding of Yiddish vowel spelling conventions is sort of a
Hebrew transliteration of German where:

 ayin=German "e"
 alef + I think the name is kamats="o" (like the song "oyf a pripitchik")
 alef + I think the name is patakh="a"
 yud=German "i" as in "Berlin"
 vav=German "u" as in "Blut"
 yud-yud=German "ei" as in "Edelweiss"

Yiddish doesn't have "umlaut" sounds so there is no need to make letters
for them.

Dipthongs are the logical extensions of this, e.g. "oy" is
alef+kamats-yud. Watch out for vav-vav, which is the English sound "v".
Yiddish has its rules for consonants, since in Yiddish you can have a
"f" sound at the beginning of a word, and Yiddish does use Slavic sounds
such as "Ch" (as in "cheese") and "Zh" (like "s" in "measure").

2. Cyrillic capital letters can look like Latin ones, but the small
letters look different. So the symbol "H" has a "n" sound in Russian,
but "h" doesn't exist. Similarly, "B" sounds like "v" but "b" looks like
a large "soft sign" in Russian, etc.

3. In Russian, "Solovei" means "nightengale", "Soloveitchik" would mean
"little nightengale".


From: Sarah E. Beck <sbeck@...>
Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2003 10:21:44 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Woman gdola b'Torah

As a woman who LOVES to talk politics, I would suggest...

The only way my generation (I am 25) will produce a female scholar on a
par with our 20th-century gedolim (to say nothing of those gone before)
is if we stop talking gender politics and begin to sit and learn. (That
is why I opened w. an admission of my own weakness--I am part of the
problem myself, and point the finger at no one.)

We do not need a movement, a dialogue, or even (with no disrespect to
women's yeshivot, their faculty, or their students) an institution
devoted exclusively to women's learning, which last is very helpful, but
not indispensable. We need a good library-cum-beit-midrash and someone
to ask when we don't understand. In the communities where "women's
learning" is "an issue," we have had access to both of these for a long

(Joni Mitchell adds, apropos of some guy, that "we don't need no piece
of paper from City Hall..." Kal vahomer when the beloved is Torah ;-)

When there does emerge a woman who is more of an ilui, in some narrowly
defined, Litvak intellectual elitist's sense of the word, than everyone
else in the vicinity, then we can worry about her hechsher.

The most honest remark I've heard on women's learning came from someone
who, despite his lack of currency on the MO lecture circuit, does know
the difference between gadol and not. I asked him whether I should start
on some project, "not having sat and learned for any length of time."

He looked at me. "Do you think those women in [Learning Program X] have
'sat and learned for any length of time'?"

Infelicitous? Yes. Patronizing? What _I_ find patronizing is a milieu
that doesn't ask that question. Someday soon we will answer him "yes."



End of Volume 38 Issue 35