Volume 38 Number 59
                 Produced: Thu Feb 13  5:45:45 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Female Gedoloth
         [Esther Posen]
Formal Form in Yiddish
         [Bernard Raab]
Halchik reflections on Singles Groups
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
         [Jack Gross]
Hashem: apostrophe vs apostasy
         [Avi Rabinowitz]
Ibn Ezra and Rambam
         [Michael Frankel]
mibeis avicha: permission to leave Terach in Harran
         [Avi Rabinowitz]
Naming Babies
         [Yehonatan and Randy Chipman]
Nechama Leibovits zt'l
Secular names of God
         [Yaakov Fogelman]
Shehecheyanu for New Child
         [Shlomo Pick]
         [Elan Adler]


From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 09:34:41 -0500
Subject: RE: Female Gedoloth

Russell J. Hendel write, "Just as we bring caskets into synagogues for
great men so too do we do it for great women."  I was under the
impression that the casket of an "aishes chaver" (literally wife of a
"friend", but I believe friend here refers to a talmid chacham/godol
batorah/torah scholar) was brought into the synagogue or beis medrash.
Is there a separate minhag for an "isha chashuva"?  Or is there an
assumption that the two (chaver and isha chashuva)go together?

Esther Posen


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 10:05:16 -0500
Subject: Re: Formal Form in Yiddish

>From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
>I don't really know Yiddish myself, but my mother's friend told a story 
>that when she was a young girl, primarily an English speaker but also 
>knowing some Yiddish, she was scolded by her grandmother for addressing 
>her as "du" rather than "ihr.".  Maybe it depends on where her grandmother 
>came from. (I don't know but can find out.) Perhaps in German-speaking 
>regions the Yiddish was influenced by German, and used the second person 
>plural pronoun as a polite form of the second person singular.

I'll bet her Grandmother came from Germany. My Grandmother from Polish
Galizia rebuked me for using the formal "ihr" when addressing her!  As a
child I was forever fearful of insulting someone by using the wrong form
and was so very grateful to be able to speak American to most people.


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: RE: Halchik reflections on Singles Groups

I'm not sure that "Singles Groups" per se are such a great idea,
especially if they turn into an end unto themselves.  But I challenge
anyone who's intimately involved in the traditional "shidduch system" to
deny that it has serious shortcomings.  It is not uncommon for perfectly
good girls to go 2 months or more between dates, while their parents go
through constant anguish.

There was a good article on this a few months back in the "Where What
When" (a weekly publication for the Baltimore Orthodox Community, and a
quite "frum" one at that).  The main solutions I got out of the article
was that (1) there needs to be a lot more shadchanim and (2) the
controversial notion that alternatives to the "shidduch system" need to
be seriously considered.  The authoress noted that the scene she
remembered from her childhood was less strict on absolute separation of
the sexes among youth at all times and at all costs.  She seemed to
think that today's extreme insistense on this absolute separation seems
to lock out the chance encounters that might very well be Hashem's way
of getting people together.  An example she gave was that in her day,
people would often meet for the first time at weddings.  The current
trend in absolute separateness at weddings would preclude this

I recently attended a wedding where the couple, both from very frum
families, did manage to meet "by chance", despite the prevailing culture
of separativeness prescribed to by both sets of parents.  To their
immense credit, the families involved, on discovering the budding
relationship, did not react by keeping the young people apart through
extreme measures as other parents may have done.  Instead they allowed
the relationship to develop and an engagement soon followed.

I think this pattern neeeds to be explored more.  It seems tragic for
people to use extreme methods and policies to make sure that it is
impossible for their child to ever encounter members of the opposite sex
of their own age and then suddenly find themselves despairing of their
child ever getting married, because the shadchan never calls them back.


From: Jack Gross <jbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 21:04:49 -0500
Subject: Re: Hashem

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
> I have seen some religious text use daled-apostrophe instead of
> heh-apostrophe.  If I'm not mistaken, the intent is to be one step
> removed from "hashem".

Heh-apostrophe is an abbreviation of "Hashem", which substitutes for Shem
Havaya (Y-H-V-H).  Dalet-apostrophe is an abbreviation for Shem Adnus.


From: <avirab@...> (Avi Rabinowitz)
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 15:17:28 -0500
Subject: Hashem: apostrophe vs apostasy

The use of apostrophe's in writing hashem to avoid blasphemy, and the
absudity in its evolution, was discussed previously: See eg MailJewish
Vol 25 # 40 (1996)"Double Yud" where I mention that Mauskopf showed
early writers used one heh with an apostrophe, then people added an
apostrophe to that, writing heh with two apostrophes, then some ms's
began to add an apostrophe to that! writing hashem as heh with three


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:43:54 -0500
Subject: Ibn Ezra and Rambam

<<From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Further to Gil_Student and Eli Turkel and "Who is a gadol" discussion.
RaMBaM advised his son to study chumash only with Rashi and Ibn
Ezra. To "strongly disagree" as to whether Ibn Ezra was a gadol or not is To 
render myopic judgement without realizing all ..>>

The existence of such advice is a matter of dispute, with some consensus 
that the ostensible Rambam letter was a forgery.  I do not know off hand if 
that appreciation is based on anything other than a lack of  internal 
credibility  I.e. the notion that Rambam would actually commend Ibn Ezra's
peirush can't quite pass the giggle test - as Rambam's contempt for 
astrological mongerers is well documented and Ibn Ezra's peirush is a prime 
purveyor of such understandings.

Mechy Frankel				W: (703) 845-2357
<michael.frankel@...>			H: (301) 593-3949


From: <avirab@...> (Avi Rabinowitz)
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 14:04:31 -0500
Subject: mibeis avicha: permission to leave Terach in Harran

Avram was commanded to leave his land and birthplace and father's house,
and he did, in that order, leaving Ur with his father and then later on
leaving his father's house in Harran. Given the sensitivity of the Torah
on this point (according to Chazal the Torah took the extreme step of
making the story deliberately misleading about Terach's death, implying
it was before Avram left) one can see the last part of the command re
"your father's house" as permission to continue on the journey even when
Terach decided to remain behind. And, one can see why the surface level
of the Torah implies that the command was given in Harran: since that is
where the permission to leave his father's house needed to be applied. 

[With all that said, I am not averse to interpreting the whole story as
Terach's attempted aliya - I simply offer the above as a
possibility. Also, I don't feel strongly enough about it either way to
start a whole discussion/argument on the point so I probably won't
respond to other posts on this topic - if someone would like to continue
this thread with me specifically, they're welcome to e mail me]


From: Yehonatan and Randy Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 09 Feb 2003 22:21:00 +0200
Subject: Re: Naming Babies

In MJ v38 n24, Karen Cahn wrote:

>So who do you name after first? I'm not sure it matters, though many
>people weigh who they were closer to, who has no one named after them,
>etc. 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)

To which Immanuel Burton responded in v38n30:
<<I once heard that the wife has the deciding vote for the name of the
first child, the husband for the second, the wife for the third, and so
on.  Has anyone else heard this?  I'm afraid I have no idea where to
look this up.>>

   I've also heard both these things.  However, as the custom (at least
among Ashkenazim) is to name a child for a deceased relative, in
practice it often depends on which parent, has a deceased parent or
grandparent who has not yet had anyone named for him//her.  In such a
case, if the newborn is of the same sex as the deceased, that takes

    Sometimes names may even be adopted to fit the opposite sex baby.
Thus, a friend of mine whose father, Matityahu had died shortly before,
named his daughter born just thereafter Temima, a rather elaborate
juxtaposition of the father's name.

   Yehonatan Chipman


From: <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 12:45:59 EST
Subject: Nechama Leibovits zt'l

What I have found lacking in discussions of Nechama Leibovits zt'l is
mention of her great zidkus. I attended informal shiurim at her
apartment in 1973 and just from those few months I could see the
tremendous acts of chesed she did. A little boy from the nearby
Jerusalem House for the Blind used to come knocking at the door and even
if it was the middle of the shiur, she would insist that he come in and
have some candy. A number of guys from Mercaz HoRav attended the shiur,
and she was always asking them to set up chavrusos with blind
people. During the Yom Kippur War and its aftermath, she kept a radio at
the table and when the time came for the news, she turned it on to hear
what was happening.  Once, after the war, she turned on the radio a
couple of minutes before the news. and remarked how a couple of minutes
can seem so long. Then there was an announcement of the number of dead
in the war, and she sat there in stunned silence for several minutes.I
am sure that people who spent more time with her have countless stories
of her chesed and her great feeling for all of Klal Yisroel. This is
certainly part of her legacy, beyond the formal teaching that she did.


From: Yaakov Fogelman <top@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 2003 23:00:35 -0500
Subject: Secular names of God

I never understood the current custom of writing "G-d", instead of
"God", etc., based on the disputed notion that non-Jewish names for God
also bear innate sanctity. The meaning of the word stays the same, and
there is no more inherent holiness in an 'o', than in a dash; .  indeed,
some time after I concluded this and stopped writing G-d, I heard Rav
J. B. Soloveichik say so clearly, in Brookline; he then went over to a
nearby blackboard, wrote "God", and erased it, to make his point clear
In any event, if a large group, e.g. Orthodox Jews, adopts G- d as
meaning God, then it does so, and you are back to square one. Rav
Yitzchak Ginsberg tended to be strict about using secular names of God
too, but wouldn't buy the notion that G-d is somehow less sacred than
God, though he followed that convention in his printed works, where you
can use the name of God anyway, e.g. a chumash; but, in handwritten
notes, etc., he would simply substitute the numerical equivalent of the
name, e.g. 86 for elohim, which lacks an innate meaning of Divinity, or
simply leave a blank space in place of the Divine name.


From: Shlomo Pick <picksh@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 14:43:11 +0200
Subject: Shehecheyanu for New Child

In Volume 38 #50, Leah S. Gordon writes that she has taken it upon
herself to recite the blessing of "shehecheyanu" upon her adding candles
to her Friday night lighting upon the birth of a new child. She bases
this upon a logical a fortiori argument that if one recites shehecheyanu
on wearing a new garment, one should certainly do so for the birth of a

in principle, Leah is correct. however, the shehecheyanu should be made
upon seeing the new little girl. i made a shehecheyanu upon seeing each
of my five daughters, as paskened by the mishneh brurah. in eretz
yisrael, a shehecheyanu is made for the boy at the brit.  i agree with
David Cohen, that if the bracha was not made upon seeing the baby (or at
the brit) there is probably a problem on making it later.  would leah
make a bracha on a new dress or suit (i doubt if a blouse would merit a
shehechaynau nowadays) if she had forgotten and worn it a few times. as
you say in cyperspace: she should cylor.

shlomo pick


From: Elan Adler <eylry@...>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 17:41:16 +0000
Subject: Tuxedo

In response to Rabbi Carmy's declaration that the expense of a tuxedo
makes it something that a frum rav would not wear, let's be honest- the
chasan's family would surely pay for the rental, and nowadays, the cost
of a tuxedo is nominal (so fancy it doesn't have to be!). Honestly, why
don't we say it already: a tuxedo is a goyish looking article of
apparel.  I mean no disrespect for those who opt to wear one (I have one
myself), bit it doesn't seem to fit at a totally frum gathering. It's
another culture's ultimate choice of formality, not ours. While they are
worn by members of the dais at OU dinners and AJOP dinners, my guess is
that is done to raise the chashivus of the affair for the non-frum guest
and donors. If everyone at the UO dinner was frum, you would not see a
tux.  Besides, penguins do not have fins and scales.

Rabbi Elan Adler
Baltimore, MD


End of Volume 38 Issue 59