Volume 38 Number 48
                 Produced: Tue Feb  4  5:55:40 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cholanit vs. Cholah (2)
         [Mark Steiner, Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Ellul (2)
         [David I. Cohen, Zev Sero]
G-d, Ha-Shem (2)
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman, Shayna Kravetz]
Kol Nidrei food drive
         [David Eckhardt]
         [Akiva Miller]
Name of Months
         [Immanuel Burton]
writing G-d (3)
         [Daniel Wells, Shayna Kravetz, Daniel Wells]


From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 20:51:01 +0200
Subject: Re: Cholanit vs. Cholah

Despite Gilad's useful comments, I'm still a bit skeptical that the
original meaning of holanith was "sickly."  The fact that the word
holanith is used to refer to a person who happened to be chronically ill
doesn't prove that the word holanith means "chronically ill."  The
reference to Y. Horayot (for which I'm grateful) reference to somebody's
face, so we can't prove anything from that reference.

In the meantime, I found a rishon who actually defines the word
holanith: the Meiri to Kethuboth 51b.  He says the difference between
holanith and holah is that the former means "borderline sick" (holah
ve-aynah holah) whereas the latter, i.e. holah, means definitely sick
(holah le-gamrei).  I.e. it's just the opposite!  If anything, holah is
chronic.  Accordingly, it would be better to use holanith in shul, as is
the custom.

Mark Steiner

From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 15:53:38 EST
Subject: Cholanit vs. Cholah

Mark just confirm based on the Meiri to Ketubot 51b (which I did not
know-thank you Mark) that "cholanit" is indeed someone who is borderline
sick, that mean less than full sick. This is the very modern meaning of
cholanit in Hebrew.  When I defined Cholanit before, I omitted
inadvertently one word from the definition. Cholanit is chronic
sussetibility to sickness, which comes very close to the Meiri
definition. So if a woman is sick (cholah) and needs the help of God, we
should give her the same misheberach as a sick man (choleh) gets - not
less. Mark did not address my second issue that both male and female
should be mentioned in the same linguistic form. Therefore, the
conclusion in my original post stands correct.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 12:59:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Ellul

> From: Robert Rubinoff <rubinoff@...>
>> From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
>> 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

They could manipulate the beginning of Ellul (end of Av) so the new moon
for Tishri would make Ellul 29 days.

David I. Cohen

From: Zev Sero <Zev.Sero@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 11:03:37 -0700
Subject: Re: Ellul

They could increase the chances tremendously by making sure that Av had
30 days.  This ought to ensure that the Tishri moon would be visible,
barring bad weather, which should be very uncommon at that time of year;
with a sufficient number of people out looking, *someone* will see it
and report to bet din by noon.  As chazal said `hechacham einav berosho'
(a wise person plans ahead).

Perhaps the reason why this system broke down after the days of Rav (as
evidenced by the fact that the gemara attests to 30-day Eluls) was that
there were fewer people out looking for the moon, and travel was more
difficult, so that even after ensuring a 30-day Av it sometimes happened
that no witnesses would appear on the 30th of Elul.

Zev Sero


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 10:10:30 +0200
Subject: Re:  G-d, Ha-Shem

In MJ v38n45, Shayna Kravetz wrote:

<<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...  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 fully agree with Shayna's main statement.  I once heard something
in the name of Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l to that effect.

    OTOH, I always write "Ha-Shem" with a hyphen, not out of piety (it
never even occurred to me that could be a reason), but to separate the
definite article from the noun.  I do this whenever I transliterate any
Hebrew word with "Heh ha-yadu'a," or for that matter with the prefixes

    Yehonatan Chipman

From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 08:09:43 -0400
Subject: Re:  G-d, Ha-Shem

Yehonatan Chipman replied:
>     I fully agree with Shayna's main statement.  I once heard something
>in the name of Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l to that effect.

Thank you for bringing an authoritative voice to the issue.

>    OTOH, I always write "Ha-Shem" with a hyphen, not out of piety (it
>never even occurred to me that could be a reason), but to separate the
>definite article from the noun.  I do this whenever I transliterate any
>Hebrew word with "Heh ha-yadu'a," or for that matter with the prefixes

Indeed, I too often set apart the 'heh ha-y'diah' and other prefixes. (I
would add "she-" toYehonotan's list.) In my original post, I
transliterated "ein sof la-davar" with the hyphen as shown and approve
this practice as making for a clearer delineation between prefixes and
root words. I was mainly referring to Hashem being written with a hyphen
*in Hebrew* -- i.e., heh-hyphen-shin-mem sofit -- or in English when no
other Hebrew word is transliterated with hyphens in the same piece of
writing. In these cases, I think the superfluous hyphenation is, as I
said, the result of either excessive piety or error.

Kol Tuv


From: <David.Eckhardt@...> (David Eckhardt)
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 12:07:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Kol Nidrei food drive

Wendy Baker writes:
> 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.

Mazon (www.mazon.org, www.mazoncanada.ca) is a Jewish anti-hunger
organization, operating since 1985.  Among their many activities is a
yearly Yom Kippur food drive.  I asked them today, and they know of 1849
synagogues participating in their programs; 825 are official partners in
that the board voted to participate officially in an on-going way.  They
believe 24 of those 825 are Orthodox.

Dave Eckhardt


From: <kennethgmiller@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 21:35:46 -0500
Subject: re: Marijuana

This question was raised in mid-December. My apologies for the delay.

In MJ 38:04, Frank Reiss asked: <<< Is there any view whether using
Marijuana when one is in a country where it is a legal item is going
against any Halacha? >>>

In MJ 38:10, Michael Kahn replied <<< Reb Moshe has a tshuva where he
prohibits the using of drugs because he interprets the commandment of
"Kedoshim Tihyu", to be holy, as requiring one to always be in control of
ones faculties. >>>

The teshuva Michael Kahn refers to is by Rav Moshe Feinstein, in Igros
Moshe, Yoreh Deah 4:35. He begins: "Regarding the fact that some boys
from the yeshiva have begun to smoke hashish (marijuana), it is clearly
forbidden by several basic laws of the Torah. First..."

There can be no doubt which drugs Rav Feinstein was referring to. He
spells them "ches shin yod shin (mem ayin resh alef vav vav alef nun

He then gives his reasons. I found it interesting that violating the
local civil laws is *not* among them. Of course, it is best to study his
actual words directly, but my summary of his reasoning is:

-- It is physically harmful.
-- It damages the mind so that one cannot think straight, which prevents
one from learning Torah properly, and also prevents one from prayer and
other mitzvos.
-- It leads to a desire (addiction?) which some are unable to keep in
check, which is the prohibition faced by the Ben Sorer uMoreh.
-- The reason given for the Ben Sorer uMoreh also applies to this case:
He will eventually come to rob others.
-- The anguish which the smoker gives his parents is a violation of
honoring them.
-- It also violates Kedoshim Tihyu as explained by Ramban.
-- It also leads to many other prohibitions.

These arguments sound pretty reasonable to me, but I wish I knew whether
he was referring only to a frequent or heavy marijuana user, or even to
an occasional or light user. Somehow, I can't help suspecting that he
would hold that even occasional and light use is forbidden.

But if that is so, then what would he say about occasional and light use
of alcohol? Which of Rav Moshe's arguments would apply to a few puffs of
a marijuana cigarette, but not to a few shots of whiskey? Does anyone
know if he ever spoke or wrote about this?

Akiva Miller


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Jan 2003 16:31:12 +0000
Subject: RE: Name of Months

In MJ Vol 38 No 38, Bernard Freedman raised the question of using the
Babylonian names for months as a form of forbidden avoda zara.  The
possuk in the Torah that comes to mind is "ve'shaim elohim achairim lo
sazkiru lo yishoma al picho" - "and the name of other gods you shall not
mention; it shall not be heard on your lips" (Exodus 23:13).

However, I'm not so sure that the Babylonian month names are actually
names of their deities - after all, it's unlikely that every Babylonian
word is a name of a god!  I looked up the names of the months in a copy
of A Compendious And Complete Hebrew And Chaldee Lexicon Of The Old
Testament, based on the works of Gesenius and Faust, with Improvements
from Dietrich and other sources (Asher & Co, London).  The only month
names not mentioned therein are Iyar, Tishrei and Cheshvan, but this
dictionary provided the following etymologies for the remainder:

Nissan: Said to be from the Persian word navacan, meaning new day, i.e.
the month of the new year's day, but possibly Semitic from the word
nitzah meaning a blossom or flower, as in Shir Ha'Shirim 2:12.

Sivan:  Probably related to the word ziv, meaning bright.

Tammuz:  A Syrian male deity, mentioned in Ezekiel 8:14.

Av:  From the Chaldean word av meaning fruit.

Ellul:  From the root meaning ingatherting (of harvest), as in Nehemiah 6:15.

Kislev: Named as the time of Nature's inertness or exhaustion, from an
obscure owrd koshal meaning to falter, as in Lamentations 5:13.

Teves:  Possibly related to the Sanskrit word tapas meaning winter month.

Shevat: Said to be Persian, but perhaps from an obscure Hebrew word
shovat and perhaps akin to shabbos, meaning to rest, and alluding to the
inert state of Nature in this harvest time of winter.

Adar: Possibly an old Syrian deity.

I have not found etymologies for the three months mentioned above, but
of the etymoligies I have found only two are named after gods.  Does
anyone have etymoligies for the other three months?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 14:52:39 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: writing G-d

The Minchat Yitzchak 1:17:(14)holds that when the name of Gd is used in
a language other than Hebrew, no technical prohibition against erasing
it attaches, but yet it is improper to dispose of this material in an
undignified manner or take such reading material into a bathroom.

Thus until 'G-d' becomes an accepted English word, the problems of
undignified disposal presumably do not apply.


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 08:22:02 -0400
Subject: Re: writing G-d

Unfortunately, I don't have the Minchat Yitzchak at hand, but presumably
his reasoning is that "God" deserves some level of dignity because its
referent is haQadosh baruch hu. But striking out the 'o' doesn't change
the referent. The concept that we call to mind when we read the word
"G-d" is the same as the one called up by "God".  Both are an arbitrary
set of signs in English (I expect a rebutting note from Stan Tenen on
this!) to which we attach the concept of God. Thus I think that changing
the English set of signs in ways that don't change the meaning behind
them does not solve the problem. Changing the signs in a way that does
change the meaning obviously defeats the purpose of language -- the
conveying of meaning.

Kol Tuv.

From: Daniel Wells <wells@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2003 16:05:02 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Re: writing G-d

> its referent is haQadosh baruch hu. But striking out the 'o' doesn't
> change the referent. The concept that we call to mind when we read the
> word "G-d" is the same as the one called up by "God".

But its not a referent as yet accepted by the world.

It's as if I would write 'G created the world'. We all know that in this
sentence G refers to the Almighty but it would not be found in any
dictionary and as such irreverent disposal of the above sentence would
be much less objectionable.

Another point to consider is that of familiarity, a trait sadly lost in
English. In most European languagues and Hebrew, a person of a higher
status such as one's father, mother, boss, rabbi and the Deity would (or
used to) be refered to either in the second person plural (Vous instead
of Tu in French, Sie instead of Du in German) or in the third person
singular ('would father let us do this or that' -when talking directly
to him).  Thus also in writing we desist from famiarity by writing G-d.

A third point is that the word god is also used by pagan deities. So to
differentiate we write G-d. In the same vein when reading the Chumash,
its usual to say Elokim instead of Elohim, but when reading in the same
Chumash the passage about the mortal lords we would of course say



End of Volume 38 Issue 48