Volume 39 Number 86
                 Produced: Mon Jun 23  4:52:58 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident
         [Russell Jay Hendel]
Acronyms / S"T
         [Joshua Hosseinof]
Ad Mea V'esrim (2)
         [Meir Possenheimer, <Minikar30@...>]
Ad Meah V'esrim (was superstition)
         [Shalom Ozarowski]
Chasash Mechallel Shabbos and Shilach Tzibur
         [Gil Student]
Ethical Behavior and Halakha
         [Warren Burstein]
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Kitniyot (2)
         [Danny Skaist, Leah Aharoni]
Sefardi Women's Prayer
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Shalosh Megilot with a berakha?
         [Dani Wassner]
Studying Chumash
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Superstition (2)
         [Stephen Phillips, Meir Possenheimer]


From: <rjhendel@...> (Russell Jay Hendel)
Date: Fri, 13 Jun 2003 03:02:43 GMT
Subject: The 2-People-1-Glass in the Desert Incident

Michael (v39n73) cites the famous episode of 2 people in a desert, one
of them possessing water, but only enough for himself. One Talmudic
opinion opts that he should share his water (even though he will thereby
endanger his life). Michael uses this to prove that that there are
positions that one must harm himself to help others.

I think the above Talmudic passage has an entirely different
interpretation. The issue is one of possession. Since their lives are in
danger and since they have the right to steal the water to save their
life one position is that they should split the water (Since the
"ownership" has been cancelled by the "danger to life" which overrides
the law of stealing) (The idea being that that they are now both taking
the risk of finding water later on before reaching civilization).

The alternative position (that the persoon who owns the water should
keep it) does not see danger to life cancelling the right to possession
if that cancellation endagers the other life.

In short I dont believe anyone would hold that one must harm himself to
help others. But the above controversy is whether the right to steal
granted by a danger to life holds even when that stealing will also
endanger the life of the water owner.

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Joshua Hosseinof <jh@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 21:38:41 -0400
Subject: Acronyms / S"T

J.H. Zimmels on page 286 of his book "Ashkenazim and Sefardim" gives
several possible explanations for the meaning of S"T.

The first possibility he gives is "Sofo Tov", "dating from the time when
the persecutions started in spain and people did not know whether they
would survive.  Because of this they used to write the words Sofo Tov,
i.e. may his end be good, after their name in letters to their friends."

Another possibility is that they stand for 'Sanct' denoting martyrdom (I
don't quite understand what he means here).

A third option is the commonly cited 'Sefardi Tahor', indicating a
non-Marrano descent.

He then goes on to write that none of these possibilties could be
correct.  It can't be related to the persection in Spain, because the
S"T acronym is found in texts even before the persecution in Spain
started in 1391.  Also he disputes the '"sefardi tahor" option because
"Haham Zevi Ashkenazi and his son R. Yakov Emden add these letters to
their names."

The source he cites for these statements is Meir Helprin's "Hasimanim
ve-Hakinnuyim" p. 188.

The back of the book where there are some additional notes by the author
brings a fourth possibility - "Sin Tin" the aramaic transslation of the
expression "rephesh va-tit" (mire and dirt) from Yeshayahu 57:20.
However he discounts this option as well because the actual translation
in Aramaic is "Sin ve-Tin" so the acronym would really be Sv"T if it
truly stood for Sin ve-Tin.

Joshua Hosseinof


From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 22:50:08 +0100
Subject: Re: Ad Mea V'esrim

> An interesting thread to start would be to address why we actually wish
> people to live until 120? Is it because Moshe Rabainu lived until then?
> I never understood why we aren't "shortchanging" the blessed. After
> all Ahron lived until 123.

Personally, I have long been convinced that this is based on a
misunderstanding of the Passuk in Bereishis 6:3 "Vehayu yamov meah
ve'esrim shana" which refers not to the life-span of people, but to the
years of grace allotted to the Dor Hamabul to allow them to
repent. Hence the building of the Teivah took that long.

Another "custom" which IMHO is also based on a misunderstanding, is that
whereby those listening to the Megillah on Purim say the names of the
sons of Haman before the Ba'al Koreh. (cf Chaye Odom who decries the
custom). I can only imagine that when the Ba'al Koreh paused for breath
in order to read them all in a single breath, the tzibur got the
mistaken idea that he was waiting for them to read it first as is the
case with Ish Yehudi, Umordechai yotzo, LaYehudim, etc ..........

From: <Minikar30@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 09:22:47 EDT
Subject: Re: Ad Mea V'esrim

After Moshe's time, 120 is the maximum, so to speak.
Karen Cahn


From: <Shalomoz@...> (Shalom Ozarowski)
Date: Tue, 17 Jun 2003 18:38:41 EDT
Subject: Ad Meah V'esrim (was superstition)

> An interesting thread to start would be to address why we actually wish
> people to live until 120? Is it because Moshe Rabainu lived until then?
> I never understood why we aren't "shortchanging" the blessed. After all
> Ahron lived until 123.

while i cant offer historical details, my guess is that the practice
grew out of the drash of breishit 6:3 preceding the mabul, where G-d
declares that "My spirit shall not abide in man forever, for that he
also is flesh; therefore shall his days be a hundred and twenty years"
(jps translation of "Lo yadon ruchi ba'adam b'shagam hu basar, v'hayu
yamav me'ah v'esrim shana"- the hebrew is actually very difficult to
translate & subject to machloket).

IIRC (i have to double check a mikraot gedolot) rashi & most pshat
commentators consider this a deadline of sorts for humanity and that
they have 120 years to do teshuva before they are destroyed (hence the
calculation that noach built the teiva and attempted to convince the
people to repent over a 120 year period).  however, the gemara in
chullin 139b darshans the unusual word 'bshagam' as a hint to moshe
rabbeinu since the gematriaot of both words are equal (345) and of
course moshe lived for the 120 years mentioned in the pasuk.

a midrashic interpretation of this pasuk exists (i forget the source, if
in a midrash or similar, but it does read into the words) that G-d
decreed that the maximum 'regular' lifespan of humans should be 120
years ("v'hayu yamav..."- like moshe rabbeinu) and by saying ad meah
v'esrim (or amo"sh) we are wishing someone that they live to that 'max'
age.  i dont know how this idea squares with the obviousness of
characters, biblical and later, who lived past 120 (though i recall a
remark in the guiness book of world records a few years back that a
study determined exactly that number as some kind of maximally realistic
age in most world populations).  [on the other hand, compare typical
modern lifespans in our society to david hamelech's statement in
tehillim 90:10, "y'mei shnoteinu bahem shivim shana v'im bigvurot
shmonim shana"!]

is someone familiar with the source of this (presumed by me) midrash?

kol tuv,
shalom ozarowski


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 10:08:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Chasash Mechallel Shabbos and Shilach Tzibur

>Where in halacha does it say that a person must be Shomer Shabos to be
>Shiliach Tzibur?

Mishnah Berurah 53:14

See also Yabi Omer vol. 4, Yoreh Deah 1:3 whether someone whose wife
does not cover her hair can be a Shaliach Tzibur (his conclusion is yes,
but in the process brings a host of sources).

Gil Student


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 13:59:46 +0400
Subject: Re: Ethical Behavior and Halakha

 From the ensuing discussion, it seems that people got the impression
that I was asking how could the children not know their parents gave a
lot of tzedaka.  I was asking how could children of rich parents have
thought the family was poor.  While I wouldn't criticize someone living
modestly (and that wouldn't make the kids think they were poor), living
like a poor person when one is actually rich, what's the point there?


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Fun

I remember what someone told me .... that the main message that parents
need to communicate to their kids is that "being frum is fun".  Such an
approach takes a lot of effort if taken seriously, but I think it's well
worth it.  Some examples of what I mean are...  when you build your
succah, you don't just put it up yourself in an hour one weekday night
after kids are in bed... you take a whole Sunday afternoon and do it
with all your kids "helping".  It means finding a Lag B'Omer bonfire and
taking the kids there.

It means making up parsha "plays" and acting them out.  It means
instead of picking up challah at the bakery, you spend much more time
and bake it with your kids.  It means going to a fabric show and looking
at the looms and spinning wheels in action and naming all the Shabbos
melachos that they see or going to a farm or agricultural show and
pointing out what a split hoof really looks like.

It would be interesting to see how many kids who had a childhood like
that would "drop out".


From: Danny Skaist <danny@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 14:00:37 +0200
Subject: Kitniyot

<<That luxury is not available to one who picks up a box of rice in the
store and does not know whether this rice had been in a "rice only"
barn, or only which handles many types of grain.
Akiva Miller >>

Due to the serious problems of allergy to peanuts, I have seen labels
that indicate that the product contains no peanuts But was processed in
a plant that also produces peanuts, and some peanut dust might have
contaminated it.  So the problem is real.


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 13:11:59 +0200
Subject: Kitniyot

Many Kosher for Passover hekhsherim on rice and other kitniyot warn the
consumers that the legumes must still be checked before Pesach.

Leah Aharoni
English/Hebrew/Russian Translator
Telefax 972-2-9971146, Mobile 972-56-852571
Email <leah25@...>


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:56:37 +0300
Subject: Sefardi Women's Prayer

R' Ovadya Yosef rules that many of the blessings said by men during
davening should be recited by women without the Shem UMalchut (i.e.,
leaving out Hashem's name and "Elokeinu Melech HaOlam").

In accordance with this ruling, I have seen Siddurim printed
specifically for women which leave these out of the Nusach.

If anyone can shed more light on this issue, it will be appreciated.

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Dani Wassner <dani@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:48:10 +0200
Subject: re: Shalosh Megilot with a berakha?

It seems to be the overwhelming custom of most shuls in Yerushalayim to
read the megillot from a klaf, with a beracha.

Dani Wassner,


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 14:56:44 +0200
Subject: Re: Studying Chumash

      in adult discussion that it is awkard to try and constantly
      identify what is textual and what is midrashic overlay, I do think
      this is a major problem in the education of children in Tanach,
      where there is no distinction made. I believe it is very important
      to know what is in the text, and what is a midrashic statement.

Very true.  The result is that many adults never manage to untangle the
stories, especially since male adult learning is usually gemara only, or
mostly.  Pshat is sometimes confusing, but midrashim sometimes
conflict/contradict each other.  There is an education method, gaining
popularity in Israel, that has the children learn the entire Chumash
pshat before learning any m'forshim and drash.



From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 12:54 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Re: Superstition

> From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
> > I've heard of this one. Our Rov will not blow out candles as,
> > apparently, the sound of the blowing creates "Mazikim" [damaging
> > forces]. That's definitely not superstition.
> Saying its not superstition doesn't mean it isn't.  Rambam definitely
> wouldn't agree.  What makes something superstition or not?

Superstition is an irrational belief arising from ignorance or fear. If
there is good reason for avoiding something (as I have suggested is the
case here) then I would submit that it is not superstition.

Stephen Phillips.

From: Meir Possenheimer <meir@...>
Date: Wed, 18 Jun 2003 09:49:42 +0100
Subject: Re: Superstition

>  >not to blow out a flame with your breath (wave it in the air instead)
> I saw this a couple of years ago. If I remember correctly, it is a
> persons soul is compared to candle as per the pasuk, Ner Elokim Nishmas
> Adam.

I, too, have been given this reason since childhood. But it has always
puzzled me as to why it should be worse to blow out a flame than to
extinguish it by any other means.


End of Volume 39 Issue 86