Volume 38 Number 42
                 Produced: Sun Jan 26 10:46:58 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Becoming a Gadol
         [Gil Student]
Disney kosher
         [Sarah Elizabeth Beck]
Golem of Prague
         [David E Cohen]
Kollel sending people to work force
         [Michael Kahn]
Lunar-Solar Calendar
         [Richard Fiedler]
Rambam and payment for learning
         [Bob Werman]
Rambam, Rabbi and Preferences
         [Batya Medad]
Requirement of Saying blessings on Eclipses
         [Russell J Hendel]
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Soloveitchik Institute
         [Mike Gerver]
Terach Minyanim
         [David and Toby Curwin]
         [Batya Medad]
         [Sarah Elizabeth Beck]
A Tzedukkah Portfolio
         [David Charlap]
Woman gdola b'Torah
         [Reuben Rudman]
X for Chet
         [Louise Miller]
Yom Kippur
         [David I. Cohen]


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:47:57 -0500
Subject: RE: Becoming a Gadol

I heard from R' Hershel Schachter more than once that R' Soloveitchik
encouraged those in the YU kollel to learn the Chazon Ish's chiddushim
because he [the CI] did not have any particular talent in learning but
because of his sheer persistence and unbelievable effort became a gadol
ba-Torah anyway.  This was supposed to inspire students to try to reach
those heights as well.

Gil Student


From: Sarah Elizabeth Beck <sbeck@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 00:11:40 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Disney kosher

I vaguely remember that there are actual condos in the Disney complex
that one can rent for as few as a couple of days. Kasher them burners
and have at it, as my grandmother, if she had davened at KAJ of San Saba
County, would have said.


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:01:58 -0500
Subject: Golem of Prague

This summer, I was in Prague for a few days and davened at the
Altneuschul.  On Friday night, I noticed that the chazan recited the
mizmorim of "Mizmor shir leyom haShabbat" and "Adonai malach, gei'ut
laveish" twice.  I asked the gabbai what the reason was for this unusual
minhag, and he told me that allegedly, this is based on the story of the
golem.  One Friday night, the Maharal had forgotten to take the piece of
paper with Hashem's name out of the golem's mouth, and he went to shul
and began kabbalat Shabbat.  Meanwhile, the golem started going wild in
the streets, and somebody came and told the Maharal after the shul had
already recited "mizmor shir."  He left the shul to go remedy the
situation, and when he returned, they started again from "mizmor shir."

However, the gabbai added after he had told me this story, we know that
it cannot be true, as the custom of reciting "Kabbalat Shabbat," which
began in Tzefat, had not yet been adopted in Prague by the time of the
Maharal.  (In truth, I believe that the custom of reciting "mizmor shir"
is earlier than that -- I recall seeing a note in the Birnbaum siddur to
that effect.  But I guess the hole in the story is that it implies that
they had already been in shul for a while.)



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 23:54:28 -0500
Subject: Re: Kollel sending people to work force

>But when was the last time a Rebbe told a talmid: "Yosele, you are
>serious enough or talented enough; you will have to leave the Kollel."?
>Not very often, I'd guess.

My Rosh Chabura in Lakewood(!) told me it was time to go to work, and I
listened to him. I obviously wasn't the only one he told because he said
there was someone else he told to go to work who refused to listen to
him.  Without mentioning that persons name he said "Don't be like the
other person who won't listen to me..." There are no rules. Some people
in yeshivah belong in the work force; some people in the work force
belong in yeshivah.


From: Richard Fiedler <richard.fiedler@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 11:21:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Lunar-Solar Calendar

In this case I think one will find that our calendar much in the present
form came to us from Bavel.

I need to search for my source but I believe that Bavel may have had a
connection with a similar calendar in India. And it would thus not be so
unlikely to have a Chinese connection as well.

However from R. Saayda our calendar was always calculated and was
established at Sinai.  Thus the Chinese may have gotten it from us.

I did not know that the Chinese Calendar was based on a three year cycle
which is interesting because such a cycle is also found in some texts
from Qumran.

All I know of the Chinese calendar is that I was born in the Year of the
Dragon April 1, 1940.


From: <RWERMAN@...> (Bob Werman)
Date: Thu,  23 Jan 2003 9:56 +0200
Subject: Rambam and payment for learning

Didn't Rambam study and write books as long as his brother's business do
well?  He only went out to work, it seemst to me, when that source of
income dried up?

__Bob Werman


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 06:29:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Rambam, Rabbi and Preferences

      Rambam Laws of Torah 5:1 -- Rabbis get preference it return of
      lost objects Rambam ibid 6:10--Rabbis do not have to pay taxes for

Please clearly and accurately define your terminology.  What did the
Rambam mean as "Rabbi?"



From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jan 2003 18:30:28 -0500
Subject: Requirement of Saying blessings on Eclipses

Shimon Leibowitz v38n32 remarks that a Rav prohibited saying a blessing
on an eclipse because it is a bad omen!!??!?

First of all there is a Rabbinic requirement to say a blessing over any
great natural occurence (Either WHO MAKES THE WORKS OF CREATION or HIS
MIGHT AND POWER FILL THE WORLD). Hence we are required to say a blessing
over an eclipse.

I was shocked that a religious Rabbi could possibly override a Rabbinic
obligation to say a blessing because of a superstition (It is a bad
omen). This reminds me of Leah Gordons post(v38n31) that objected to
superstitiously associating names to causes of death.

Does anyone have any further sources on this halachic issue?

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


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 14:05:36 +0200
Subject: Soloveitchik

In "Harishon le-Shoshlet Brisk" (Machon Yerushalayim, 1984), a scholarly
and copiously-footnoted biography of the Beit Halevi, Rabbi Yosef Dov
HaLevi Soloveitchik of Brisk, the great-grandfather of the Rov, Rabbi
Chaim Karlinsky relates the following story (pp. 48-49):

The father of the Beit Halevi, Rabbi Yitzchak Zeev Soloveitchik, who
knew Russian fluently, used to serve as a defense attorney in Russian
courts, defending Jews accused of various crimes.

Once, the prosecutor, after a particularly telling argument against the
defendant, turned to Rabbi YZ Soloveitchik and asked ironically "Well,
what song does the nightingale have to sing now?" (i.e., what do you
have to say to that, Solve(chi)=nightingale?)

To a native speaker of Russian, the connection between the Soloveitchik
name and nightingale was obvious.

The story goes on to tell how the defence attorney, in an unusaul legal
manouver, managed to extract an acquittal for his client.

Saul Mashbaum


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:04:50 EST
Subject: Soloveitchik Institute

Regarding the lectures on the occasion of the 10th yahrzeit of Rav
Soloveitchik, Avi wrote:

>  [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.]

I believe that the lecture by Rabbi J. J. Shachter at Lechu Neranana in
Raanana is NEXT motzei Shabbat, January 25, not last motzei Shabbat, so
it's not too late to go. I think it's at 8:30 pm. Eli, please correct me
if I'm wrong. B'li neder, I'll go and take notes.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: David and Toby Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 21:04:48 +0200
Subject: Terach Minyanim

For years I've thought Terach was getting a bad rap. Avraham was the
first Jew, the founder of the monotheistic faith, etc. Obviously, he was
going to be better than his predecessors. And indeed, his father was an
idol worshipper (as was pretty much everyone else at the time). But
somehow, Terach, a descendant of Shem and Ever was compelled to head
towards Eretz Canaan. He didn't make it all the way there, but he was on
his way. The Torah doesn't say why Terach was going (economic reasons/
political persecution/ etc), but it is certainly in strong contrast with
Avraham who received a divine command to go.

In some ways I think the non-religious immigrants can be compared to
Terach, in that perhaps, despite their religious inclininations,
something is pulling them towards Eretz Yisrael, and from them can come

David Curwin
Efrat, Israel


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 07:32:08 +0200
Subject: Transliterations

I'm an English teacher, and in my opinion, the biggest problem in
transliterating is with the vowels.  The various English accents are
distinguished by vowels more than consonants.  We're originally
American, and when we were on shlichut in London I was amazed by the
transliteration on a chart the kids made.  I translate the Hebrew for
"please" as b'vakashah, while the kids wrote "buvukushuh."



From: Sarah Elizabeth Beck <sbeck@...>
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 00:14:20 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Tuxedos

My prominent MO rabbi compadres say that they don't wear black tie
because they don't want to encourage excess. Sheker ha-chen and all



From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 10:40:37 -0500
Subject: Re: A Tzedukkah Portfolio

Perry Zamek wrote:
> As far as I recall, there is a teshuva in Igrot Moshe (I don't have the 
> reference here) in which he discusses the status of the money refunded by 
> the income tax authorities for charitable donations. He rules there that 
> the donor may keep the refund money, i.e. it is not deemed as money 
> belonging to tzedaka. I don't recall the logic he used there. Maybe someone 
> can check and summarize for us.

I will be interested in his ruling.

Every nation's tax code is a bit different, but in the US, a tax refund
is not income.  It is a return of overpayment.

Money is withheld from paychecks throughout the year.  At the end of the
year, you calculate how much tax you were supposed to have paid, and if
you paid too much, you are sent the difference.

I don't see this as being any different from getting change from a 
store.  If you buy a $9 item and pay with a $10 bill, your $1 change 
isn't income.  If the store has no cash on hand and mails you your 
change, it still isn't income.  If you fill out a form and get your 
change a year later, it still isn't income.

> Of course, in that case, there is nothing to stop you from recycling this 
> money as maaser from the current year's income.

You can spend your money on anything you want, but you shouldn't confuse 
your obligations with what you do voluntarily.  Especially if others 
(like your children, perhaps) are learning from your actions.

-- David


From: Reuben Rudman <rudman@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 15:24:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Woman gdola b'Torah

With respect to the comments that appeared in MJ Vol. 38#35 -

There is an interesting comment in the Malbim at the beginning of the
4th Perek of Shoftim, which incidentally was the Haftorah last week (at
least for Ashkenazim).  In commenting on the fact that people came to
consult with Devorah, the Malbim states that during that period of
Jewish history there were not very many male scholars (talmidei
chachomim), because if there were then people would not have travelled a
long distance to Devorah.  Note, he does not ascribe her authority to
being a prophetess (neviah).  So, by implication, the Malbim seems to
say that she was a "gdola b'Torah" who was accepted by the people.

Have I interpreted him correctly?   I am sure many of the Malbim's
contemporaries, as well as our own contemporaries, would not agree with
his statements or with my understanding of it.

Reuben Rudman


From: <daniel@...> (Louise Miller)
Subject: X for Chet

Friends, the convention of "X" for chet comes from the International
Phonetic Alphabet.  I learned it when I studied diction in college.

X in IPA has the sound of the gutteral in the German "Ach," and would be
closed to the Hebrew chof.

I don't remember how to write the other gutteral, the German "Ich"
sound, but it would be the correct one to use for chet.  (I think it is
that c with a thing under it, like in French.)

(aka Louise in La Jolla)


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 11:56:01 -0500
Subject: Yom Kippur

Even though the sanctification and declaration of the New Month was done
by eyewitness testimony, the Sanhedrin had the power to artificially
adjust the calendar for certain needs, e.g. not have Yom Kippur fall on
a Sunday or Friday. They did this by delaying witnesses etc. This is
discussed in the gemara Rosh Hashana. Thus, they manipulated the
situation so that Ellul was almost always a uniform length. No miracles

David I. Cohen


End of Volume 38 Issue 42