Volume 38 Number 45
                 Produced: Mon Jan 27 22:15:50 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Becoming a Gadol
         [Freda B Birnbaum]
Black Tie
         [Bill Bernstein]
Cholah or Cholanis
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Cholah or Cholanit(s)?
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
         [Robert Rubinoff]
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Jewish Parenting Leil Iyun - THIS SUNDAY (Feb. 2)
         [Judah Diament]
Kol Nidrei food drive
         [Wendy Baker]
On Holanith vs. Holah
         [Mark Steiner]
Terach in Israel
         [Danny Skaist]
Tzdakah at the Kottel
         [Stephen Colman]
Tzedakah Appeal
         [Irwin Weiss]
Woman Gadol
         [Harlan Braude]


From: Freda B Birnbaum <fbb6@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 13:16:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: re: Becoming a Gadol

Gil Student wrote:

> 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.

I _can_ see where this can be inspirational to someone who really does
have the talent to make it if they keep trying, and needs that push from
a respected person to stay with it when it seems so uphill, but to the
person who hasn't a snowball's chance in the hot place of getting that
far, it's very oppressive.  Sort of like telling me if I just TRIED
harder, and WORKED harder, I could learn to play the piano, or read
music.  Not gonna happen.  Better for me to find appropriate places
where I CAN succeed.

I'm reminded of that saying, I forget from whom, that a society which
values bad philosophers over good plumbers will end up with both bad
philosophy and bad plumbing.

Sometimes a person has to know when it's time to move on.

Freda Birnbaum,
rowing upstream as usual, but hey, it's good exercise


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 08:37:06 -0600
Subject: Re: Black Tie

Perhaps one reason that rabbis do not wear black tie is that tuxedoes
are, properly, worn only at night.  The day-time wear would be white
jacket.  I also suspect that the general cheapening of the tuxedo, as
seen by its use in piano bars and the like, probably makes it something
no rabbi would want to be seen in.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 17:13:40 -0500
Subject: re: Cholah or Cholanis

My understanding from various people is that Cholah is the proper term
for a sick female.  Cholanis is supposedly a perpetually sick person,
certainly not the adjective one would like to use describing someone.

On that note, the custom I follow is not to refer to them as Choleh or
Cholah at all - as the saying goes "al tiftach peh lasatan" (don't open
the satan's mouth) - there is no added benefit by calling them a Choleh,
and you can still give a prayer for them to have a Refuah Shleimah
without giving the person the title of choleh.  In our shul the text of
the "Mi sheberach" that we say goes something like - "Mi sheberach ....
- He should give a refuah shleimah to all the sick and injured amongst
Israel and within the blessing should be included <insert names here>,
etc. etc. "  (In hebrew it's "Mi sheberach .... Hu yishlach refuach
shleimah le'chol cholei amecha beit yisrael, uvichlal haberachah
Yishlach refuah shleimah le.... <insert names here>, etc, etc.")

Joshua Hosseinof


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 15:44:20 EST
Subject: Cholah or Cholanit(s)?

Andy Goldfinger (v38n41) asks about the proper Hebrew term for a sick
female person. He said that two terms are used "cholah" and "cholanit"
[cholanis for Ashkenazi pronunciation] and asks which one is right to be
used for a "misheberach."

I noticed years ago in my own shul the same problem, the word "cholanit"
appeared from somewhere. In modern Hebrew cholanit does not mean cholah,
but rather a female who is sickly.

The term cholah for female is Biblical (Yechzkel 34:4 and maybe Yirmiyah
4:31). According to Harkavy (Vertbuch, 4th edition, NY, p. 225) cholanit
is in Yiddish a sickly woman, which is exactly the same meaning of the
modern Hebrew. Weinreich Yiddish dictionary does not bring the word in
his Yiddish dictionary.

The above suggest that if we use in prayer for the sick, the word choleh
for male, and cholanit for female, we in fact say that men are sick and
female are only sickly, a clear mishmash of terms which sounds to me
discriminatory. Even if cholanit was a Yiddish term for a sick female,
it ought not to be used in a Hebrew tefila in the first place. So, in my
view the correct usage should be "cholah" and not "cholanit." Passing
this information to users (gabayim, rabbis) requires sensitivity since
"cholanit" has been published in some siddurim for years.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 12:33:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Ellul

> From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
> 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
> involved.

Except that Elul is always *29* days, i.e. Rosh Hashana is always the
*first* of the two possible days.  While the Sanhedrin could lengthen a
month by not hearing the witnesses, I don't see how they could *shorten*
a month; it's not like they could make the witnesses see the moon a day



From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 11:42:51 -0400
Subject: Re: G-d

In reply to Bernard Freedman,
>>The Torah does not name the months of the jewish calendar. The names we
>>have given our months are derived from the Babalonian, which are based
>>on the Babalonian dieties or g-ds.

Ben Katz notes:
>I'm sure you will get many comments similar to this, but I am sorry to
>tell you that writing "g-d" for a pagan deity is a hilul hashem because
>you are showing importance to a non-entity.

This particular problem sets off my alarmbells. There is never any
reason to write "God" with a blank, even when referring to the Qadosh
Baruch Hu (the Holy One blessed be He), since "God" is not one of the
specific sheimot (names) which we are enjoined from writing or using for
non-sacred purposes. The problem with the idea of breaking up any name
that has God as its referent is that, as with the spare wife for the
Kohein Gadol (High Priest), ein sof la-davar (there's no end to the
thing). I have now seen texts in which the Hebrew word "hashem" (lit.,
"the name") is written with a blank or a split-something for which there
is absolutely no necessity since "hashem" is itself a way to avoid the
use of the sheimot. I don't know whether this springs from an excess of
piety or a lack of knowledge but, in either case, it is misleading if
not actually wrong.

Kol tuv


From: Judah Diament <diam7644@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 21:21:57 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Jewish Parenting Leil Iyun - THIS SUNDAY (Feb. 2)

The TorahWeb Foundation Proudly Presents......

Jewish Parenting: Obligations, Challenges, and Practical Application
Sunday, February 2, 2003

Location: Congregation Beth Abraham - 396 NewBridge Road, Bergenfield
In Conjunction With: Bnai Yeshurun, Keter Torah, Rinat Yisrael, and
Tzemach Dovid

8:00 pm - Rabbi Herschel Schachter
8:45 pm - Rabbi Mordechai Willig

color flyer available at http://www.torahweb.org/yomIyun.pdf
audio from past yemei iyun is available at http://www.torahweb.org/audio


From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 12:37:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Kol Nidrei food drive

Art has given a nice description of the food drive his Shul makes for
Yom Kippur.  Many shul do hold these drives and the conservative
movement has made an organized activity of this, under the name Project
Isaiah.  there are many wys to run such drives, but that ws not my

I am interested in somehow institutionalizing this drive across all
types of synagogues, making this an opportunity for Chaverim Kol
Yisrael, as I mentioned before.  There is no single way to run such a
drive, but the impetus of joining with all other synagogue going Jews on
this holy evening in helping those who must fast all the time might help
to bring us all together, even momentarily.  This is what I would love
to see your thoughts on.  Once this is in place, everyong's suggestions
for running such drives would be welcomed to help those who are doing it
for the first time.

Wendy Baker


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Sun, 26 Jan 2003 20:09:25 +0200
Subject: Re: On Holanith vs. Holah

As in the past, I urge the members of this list to distinguish between
historical "levels" of Hebrew.  Holah is Biblical Hebrew.  Holanith is
Rabbinic Hebrew, though I have been able to trace it only as far back as
Rashi, Sota 12a.  In any case it is not a Yiddishism, and certainly not
an adverb.

In Israeli Hebrew, holanith and holah are retained for two different
meanings: holah means "sick" and holanith means "sickly."  The latter
meaning is a plausible one for some of the many occurrences of the word
I have found in the rishonim.

This is a general phenomenon in Israeli Hebrew: where Biblical and
Rabbinic Hebrew have two forms of the same word, Israeli Hebrew tends to
keep both of them, with two different meanings.


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 07:20:57 +0200
Subject: Terach in Israel

> 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.

Both Shem and Ever moved to Eretz "Canaan"   along with all of Ever's
descendants before the Canaanite conquest.  In fact Yosef still referred
to it as "Eretz Ha'Ivrim". We also know that Avram was there when he was
70 years old.  
Is there any reason to believe that Terach didn't get to Eretz Ha'Ivrim
(and left when the Canaanites invaded) ?  In which case, when Avram was 75
years old he still hadn't left his homeland (Eretz B'ne Shem) or his
father's house.


From: <StephenColman2@...> (Stephen Colman)
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 06:27:26 EST
Subject: Tzdakah at the Kottel

From: <REBSHAYA@...> (Rabbi Shaya Kilimnick)
>   Having the merit to once again arrive at the Kotel to empty my heart
> into the sea of Tfillah...I was disrupted by the many who persist in
> asking for Tzdakkah. My tfillah was interrupted...I felt as though my
> rights to doven were being denied....If I give to one there are 10 who
> follow. This goes one the whole time of tfillah, regardless of
> Shacharis,Mincha& Maariv or even to come and say T'hillim.

Robert Tolchin's reply......
'If it really bothers you, come prepared with a xeroxed note explaining
yourself. Hand it out to the first few, and there will likely be few

 ....evades the problem. It is often very difficult to concentrate on
the whole tefilah at the best of times, and for me at least, it can ruin
all chances when a hand shaking a few coins is pushed in front of my
face with the sole intention (usually successfully) of capturing my
attention and thereby interupting my davenning. Perhaps a large sheet of
paper pinned to my Talis requesting people not to disturb, is the answer
(of course written in English, Hebrew & Yiddish).

At least in my shule (Chutz LaAretz), the Rov is very strict in not
allowing any collectors in from Barchu till after the Amidah, so that we
can at least try to concentrate on our tefillah without
interruption. The Kossel is another problem as it is totally hefker.


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 08:21:39 -0500
Subject: Tzedakah Appeal

I recently received a mass mailing appeal from some highly respected
local Rabbanim, seeking funds for a woman (unidentified) who has some
small children, is divorced, and needs the funds for the education of
her children.  The letter, while not identifying the husband by name,
accuses him of all sorts of wrongdoing and criticizes the civil court
judge who is handling the divorce and support matters.  Anyone who knows
the family would be able to identify the ex-husband.

I know the ex-husband, his lawyer and the judge, and I know that the
letter is quite unfair to his position.

What would the proper response to the letter be?  Should I remain quiet,
out of respect to the Rabbanim? Should I speak up privately, to adhere
to the rule "Lo Tahmod Al Dam Re'echa?" (Excuse please my
transliteration, something I have never been good at).

Irwin E. Weiss, Esq.
Suite 307, 920 Providence Rd, Baltimore, MD 21286
410-821-5435, fax: 410-821-8060


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Jan 2003 08:13:48 -0500
Subject: RE: Woman Gadol

In V38#43, Gill Student wrote:
> whether being a brilliant expert in Tanach is sufficient to being called
> a gadol/gedolah ba-Torah.  I would think that the term is reserved from
> those who are masters of ALL AREAS of Torah.

Reserve away! :-) She was also a master in Talmud as well as a
remarkable moser nefesh in her personal life. IMO, she was a role model
on many different levels.  I cannot think of anyone more deserving of
that appellation.


End of Volume 38 Issue 45