Volume 39 Number 77
                 Produced: Wed Jun 11  6:15:21 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bracha on Tefila shel Rosh
         [Beth and David Cohen]
Gittin Question (2)
         [Janice Gelb, Martin D. Stern]
How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Name Origins
         [Mike Gerver]
Origin of Names
         [Boruch Merzel]
Publicizing tzedaka
         [Carl Singer]
Rabbi JB Soloveichik & Rabbi Shaul Lieberman
         [Chaim Wasserman]
Respect for P'sak
         [Carl Singer]
Ruth's conversion
         [Alex Heppenheimer]


From: Beth and David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 08:18:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Bracha on Tefila shel Rosh

<<<From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
> How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?

The most obvious answer is "with great difficulty"! but, to be more
serious, he can only do so if someone else to helps him; it is a good
thing that 'kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh' >>>>

A one armed man is exempt from putting on the shel yad. He should not
ask someone to help him.


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 08:57:09 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Gittin Question

Ephraim Rubinger <RebGer@...> wrote:
>  A fiance of a member of mine as been married twice to Jewish men. She
> did not receive a get from either. The second marriage was performed by
> a Reform rabbi.  My initial reaction is to say that she only needs a get
> from the first husband since the kiddishun were not tofsin in the second
> marriage. Am I correct in this?

Seems to me that the eidim at the second marriage matter more than the
fact that the wedding was "performed" by a Reform rabbi. (Of course, the
odds are good that the eidim weren't shomer mitzvot, but...) First of
all, kiddushin isn't like a conversion, which requires a qualified beit
din. And again, saying that the person who supervised the wedding is
"Reform" doesn't tell you anything about what actually went on. There
are lots of people on this list who could probably organize a Jewishly
legally binding marriage who have no claims to the title "rabbi" no
matter where it came from.


From: <MDSternM7@...> (Martin D. Stern)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 05:56:22 EDT
Subject: Re: Gittin Question

    In a message dated 10/6/03 Ephraim Rubinger writes:

<< A fiance of a member of mine as been married twice to Jewish men. She
did not receive a get from either. The second marriage was performed by
a Reform rabbi.  My initial reaction is to say that she only needs a get
from the first husband since the kiddishun were not tofsin in the second
marriage. Am I correct in this?>>

    If the first marriage had been performed kedat vadin (e.g. not under
non-Orthodox auspices) you would be 100% correct, and her children from
the second marriage would be mamzerim. Otherwise she should obtain a get
lechumra but the children could rely on R. Moshe Feinstein's psak that
they are kosher. If, for some reason, a get cannot be arranged, you will
have to consult a posek; mail-jewish is not a suitable forum for
discussing this problem further.

Martin D. Stern
7, Hanover Gardens, Salford M7 4FQ, England
( +44(1)61-740-2745
email <mdsternm7@...>


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 10:09:43 EDT
Subject: How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?

How does a one armed man put on tefillin shel YAD?

A one armed person may ask someone else to put the Tefilin on his arm,
as is done regularly to people who have only one functioning arm. With
one arm a person can don the Tefilin shel Rosh by himself. An
interesting question is who should recite the beracha on shel yad, the
person who own the yad, or the person who help put the Tefilin on the
yad. This is a Gavra vs. Heftza issue. The Mechaber says that he who
puts on only tefilin shel Rosh should recite only the beracha of "al
mitzvat tefilin" but the Rama says that such a person should recite both
berachot (OH 26:2) Therefore, the question of a person who has only one
functioning arm, and someone else puts on his shel yad for him, can
according to the Rama bless both berachot.

Another question is: Can a person switch hands if there is a reversal of
yad kehah? Is a person who was right handed had a stroke, and from now
on can no longer use his right arm, so his left arm becomes the only
functioning arm - should he put the tefilin himself on his nonfunctional
arm, or conversely ask someone else to put it on his left arm? According
to the Mechaber (OH 27:6) the definition is "yad she'tash kochah"
suggesting that the yad kehah can indeed change in such a case.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 17:48:30 +0200
Subject: Re: Kitniyot

> >>I accept this as firsthand testimony that such grains DO find their
> way into other grains even nowdays. I have seen similar comments over
> the years, posted by sefaradim who buy ordinary rice in the supermarket,
> check it grain by grain, and occasionally DO find a different sort of
> grain in there. <<
> Is this truly a general practice of sephardim?

I can testify that it is indeed the general practice of sephardim to
check all kitniyot, grain by grain before Pesach.

The checking is done on a white cloth.  My MIL says that they used to
check 7 times.

In any case you have to check kitniyot all year round b/c of bugs.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 16:33:40 EDT
Subject: Name Origins

Shmuel Himelstein, in v39n74, quotes Dr. Kor as saying:

> Yente - from "Gentile" (pronounced Zhaanteel) - I think a "refined
>  person."

I read somewhere that Yenta comes from Juanita.

Other Yiddish words that come from a Romance language, in this case
Italian, are bentsh, from "benedice" and cholent, from "caliente," or
maybe from French "chaud lent," ("hot, slow").

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 17:05:40 EDT
Subject: Re: Origin of Names

 Shmuel Himelstein wrote:
>>Perry Zamek mentioned Dr. Avshalom, a noted Israeli language expert. In
this context, three name origins which Dr. Kor discussed on the radio
may be of interest. All are from Spanish.

b) Yente - from "Gentile" (pronounced Zhaanteel) - I think a "refined

It seems much more likely to me that "Yenta" is a derivation, or
corruption, of the very popular Spanish name Juanita. The letter "J"
almost always is converted to a Yud or "Y" sound in such cases

Boruch Merzel


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 06:20:42 EDT
Subject: Publicizing tzedaka

      I heard at one time (no idea of the reference) that it is
      appropriate to publicize donations to tzedaka (as Eitan says, in
      the right context), in order to encourage others to become
      involved. I think this referred to the organization itself
      publicizing the gift. Naturally, the important thing is the gift
      itself, and not the associated publicity.

      Perry Zamek

Although are two hierarchies that I know of associated with giving
tzedaka.  One deals with priorities (for example, local before distant.)
The second deals with anonymity -- donor / recepient.

Perhaps someone can cite the specifics.

Carl Singer

BTW -- my original question re: ethics seems to have "morphed" to
discussion of tzedaka -- I'm still quite interested in former issue.


From: <Chaimwass@...> (Chaim Wasserman)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 12:22:04 EDT
Subject: Re: Rabbi JB Soloveichik & Rabbi Shaul Lieberman

Meir Shinnar's comments concerning the joint efforts of Rabbi JB
Soloveichik and Rabbi Shaul Lieberman in the 1950s, could leave those
who do not know these two individuals (the younger generation) with some

Rabbi JB soloveichik's semicha had the phrase in it "halacha kemoto
b'chol makom", this written by the Kovver Rav at the time.

As for R. Shaul Lieberman, he was in no shape or manner a conservative
rabbi.  He was an exquisite and thorough talmid chacham, and a shomer
Torah u'mitzvot who was beyond reproach. In addition to his position at
the Jewish Theological Seminary he was dean of The Harry Fischel
Institute in Yerushalayim.

Chaim Wasserman


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 06:44:52 EDT
Subject: Respect for P'sak

      Thus, on another email list, a student of rav Moshe told of the
      following case.  A ba'alat tshuva was the daughter of a woman from
      a second marriage, who had not received a get from the first
      marriage.  The first marriage was by a Conservative rav.  Rav
      Moshe told her she could get married.  The woman (against rav
      Moshe's advice) investigated further, and found out that that
      Conservative rav was shomer mitzvot, at which point rav Moshe told
      her he couldn't do anything for her.

This points to an interesting dynamic of a asking P'sak -- and in this
case not listening.  This applies to a Godol haDor and to a wet behind
the ears Rabbi who got smicha yesterday.

One cannot but consider that the issue with Rav Moshe not being able to
help her any more dealt not (only) with the status Conservative Rabbi,
but with the woman's not heeding his advice.

Similarly, a P'sak that's given without being asked is problematic.

Carl Singer


From: Alex Heppenheimer <aheppenh@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 2003 10:23:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Ruth's conversion

In MJ 39:73, Danny Skaist <danny@...> commented on a post of

<<On the other hand, Ibn Ezra (on 1:2 and 1:15) states that Ruth and
Orpah had, in fact, been converted. (Which raises a question: according
to this view, how could Naomi encourage two Jewish women to revert to
paganism?)  >>

> Conversion for the sake of marriage is not acceptable.  The "ceremony"
> was valid but the motivation cancels it.   (this is also relevent to 
> another thread here)

Not according to the Rambam, Issurei Biah 13:17 (based on Yevamos 47b):
provided that the milah and tevilah were administered by people who can
constitute a valid beis din (even if they are not knowledgeable, as long
they are not apikorsim, however that's to be defined - as is being
discussed in the concurrent thread you mention), then the conversion is
valid post facto, and the person is considered a Jew for all purposes,
even if they later abandon Judaism. So it seems to me that my question
still stands.

> Notice that Ezra did not give the "foreign" wives a chance to

I'm not sure I understand the relevance of this point. Of course a beis
din is not allowed to accept a prospective convert who is clearly
motivated by an ulterior motive, such as the wish to marry (or remain
married to) a Jew - and therefore Ezra didn't leave that option open to
them. But where a woman had already converted, even if it was for
improper motives, it's entirely possible that he would have allowed the
marriage to stand. [R' Isaac Halevi, in his Doros HaRishonim (vol. 2,
pp. 660-661), suggests that the reason the process of separating the
people from their non-Jewish wives took three months, and had to involve
batei din in each city (see Ezra 10:16-17), was that they had to
investigate each case carefully and decide what to do accordingly: was
the woman converted properly or not? If so, is there any other halachic
impediment to her marriage, such as that her husband is a kohen? If the
marriage produced children, were they born before or after their
mother's conversion? and so forth.]

In any case, with Ruth and Orpah, once their husbands were dead, this
consideration woul not have applied - they would be on par with any
other prospective convert.

> If Ruth converted after her husband died, then she was "reborn" and 
> had no relationship to Boaz or Tov or even Naomi.  There is 
> no "goel",  The whole story then makes no sense.

There's no actual requirement in halachah for anyone other than a
brother of the deceased to perform yibbum. So just as people in that era
voluntarily accepted the responsibility of yibbum for other relatives,
because of the spiritual benefits it confers on the deceased (see Ramban
on Gen. 38:9), they may also have voluntarily agreed, in view of Ruth's
later conversion, to retroactively consider her as Machlon's legitimate
wife (where this wouldn't impinge on halachah).

Incidentally, even if Ruth wasn't in the picture at all - suppose that
she had stayed in Moav with Orpah - Tov or Boaz would have still been
Elimelech's goel insofar as they would be responsible for repurchasing
his estates, because they were his closest blood relatives. So that
particular detail is irrelevant to the question of Ruth's status.

> Also, childless widows return to their father's house (Even to eating
> trumah, for a bat Cohen) The only reason that they would have 
> considered going to Israel with Naomi is that they were Jewish. 

Maybe their father was already dead? Or had disowned them? We could
construct a variety of situations that might have made them want to join
Naomi, that don't require us to postulate that they were already Jewish.

Kol tuv,


End of Volume 39 Issue 77