Volume 40 Number 71
                 Produced: Wed Sep 24  5:21:20 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".
         [Gilad Gevaryahu]
         [Barak Greenfield]
Indo-European word roots
         [Stan Tenen]
Is the airline food kosher?
         [Steven White]
Motion Sensors - A simple solution?
         [Ken Bloom]
Standards of non-Jews
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
Tehilim for unemployed
Where is our fidelity to Halocho?
         [Yakov Spil]
Women's Role Under Chuppah
         [Emmanuel Ifrah]


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad Gevaryahu)
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 17:44:49 EDT
Subject: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".

Original posting by Immanuel Burton (MJv40n59), Gilad Gevaryahu response
(MJv40n61), and rebuttal by Immanuel Burton (MJv40n65):

There are several issues to resolve the question of "shelo asani goy" vs.
"shelo asani nochri": relating to the original text of this berachah and
its current use

1. In what period were this berakhah written?
2. Was Biblical Hebrew (Leshon Mikra) of Rabbinic Hebrew (Leshon
Hakhamim) used?
3. What are the oldest extent texts (printed or MSS) tell us about the
4. If we determine that one particular text is the original, should we
restore our Siddurim to it?

I have shown that this berakhah "shelo asani goy" is mentioned in
Tana'itic literature, and subsequent literature such as Siddur Rav
Amram, Rambam etc, and it is the therefore Tana'itic in time, and
consequently the Hebrew is of Leshon Hakhamim. I have also suggested,
that there was a tendency among censors to change the word "goy" to
"Nochri" in Rabbinic texts, which explains the second version "shelo
asani nochri". I have shown that in Rabbinic Hebrew "goy" in the proper
context means an individual Gentile. The above tells us that the idea
that we should judge the wording of the text based on Biblical Hebrew is
whole inappropriate - it is anachronistic use. Using the argument that
"goy" in the Bible means only "nation" (see later) and therefore Nochri
is a better use is irrelevant.

Once we determine that the original and correct wording of this berakhah
was "shelo asani goy," we are left with a very important question,
specific to this case but of general importance to be discussed. If the
tefilah was changed, and as a result of censorship or for any other
reason a sentence or two were omitted, or an expression was altered, is
it our duty to go back to the original text? Two examples, that of
"aleinu leshabeach," and that of "velamalshinim al tehi tikvah" suggest
that many did come back to the original wording. An individual, of
course, should consult their LOR.

Of particular interest is a note by Joseph Heinemann (_Prayer in the
period of the Tanna'im and the Amora'im_ 2nd ed., Magness Press, Hebrew
University, Jerusalem, 1966, p. 104, n. 12) where he deals with this
berakhah. He notes that there are two traditions of it, "shelo asani
goy," and "she'asani Israel". He further speculate that both versions
are a genuine nosachim representing a double structure, from the
positive and from the negative. However, the nosach "shelo asani goy" is
not even mentioned by him, nor by Lieberman or others as it is clear to
all that "shelo asani nochri" was created by the censorship process. The
above is also supported by Isamar Elbogeb, _Toldot Hatefila_ Tel-Aviv,
1972, p.70, by Zeev Jawitz, _Mekor Haberachot_, Berlin, 1910, p.6, by
Eliezer Halevi, _Yesodot Hatefilah_, Tel-Aviv, 1952, p. 129.

As to the side issue of: Does the Bible have the meaning of a non-Jew to
the word goy? Eliezer Ben-Yehudah _Milon HaLashon HaIvrit_, Berlin,
1915, Vol. II, p. 718, n. 3 brings Targum Yonathan to Bereshit 20:4,
("Hagoy gam tzadik ta-harog") and Radak ad. loc.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Barak Greenfield <DocBJG@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 18:16:06 -0400
Subject: RE: Coverage

From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
> (I'm not sure of the exact rules
> for one looking at another of the same sex) This makes a great deal of
> sense: the basic idea is that when sayin Gd's Name a person should not
> be looking at things that remind him/her of sexuality.  For the person
> looking at himself (or touching those parts, even with his/her foot; see
> Rambam, Keriat Shema 3.16-19), it is only the genitalia themselves that
> are sexualized; the rest are just parts of one's own body.  But, e.g., a
> man looking at an attractive woman may find many places on her body to
> be sexualized.

Similarly Igros Moshe OC 4:15(a)--the point is that it's inappropriate
to say shema while viewing ervah, not that the ervah is a turn-on
(that's a separate prohibition). Therefore, a woman mustn't say shema
while viewing the ervah of another woman.

On a related matter--what is the source for certain body regions being
considered absolute ervah? Is there a list in shas?

Barak Greenfield, MD


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 18:34:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Indo-European word roots

>From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
>Maybe these girls would dress more modestly if they knew that the "riff"
>in "midriff" (originally "mid-hriff") comes from the same Indo-European
>root as "corpse."

This is a serious question. Is it possible for a Torah-observant and
believing Jew to accept or even come to terms with the so-called
Indo-European origin of Western word-roots?

I have no formal background in linguistics (as is probably obvious)
although Meru Foundation's Board of Advisors (where I work) includes
professional linguists, who advise me from time to time.

I have also read and have been impressed by Isaac Mozeson's "The WORD,"
and in particular, his Introduction. Here is part of it. (I can send the
entire piece to anyone who asks.)

[removed by moderator, please contact Stan if you want a copy.]

My own 30 years of research into the Hebrew alphabet (not the Hebrew
language) has convinced me that Torah Hebrew roots must pre-date
Indo-European roots, and/or there has been so much cross-fertilization
as to make the source indistinct (at least to the scholars).

So, I'd like to know what rabbinic opinion tells us with regard to the
Indo-European language hypothesis. Is it accidentally or deliberately
anti-Torah, as Mozeson presents? Is the I.E. hypothesis consistent with
our traditional knowledge, or are the two views irreconcilable?

I'd like to learn a bit more before I go further out on a limb with my
own perspective.

Many thanks.


From: <StevenJ81@...> (Steven White)
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2003 16:02:34 -0400
Subject: Is the airline food kosher?

I have a fair amount of experience traveling on business, and when I fly
I always travel with provisions.  But about a year or so ago, I was
traveling to Europe, and the airline (SAS) did not have my meal, and my
provisions ran out fairly quickly.  I learned a few new things one can

First, the forward cabins of planes frequently have more fresh
ingredients in meals than coach cabins.  They also sometimes have extra
snacks available as class amenities.  If they have forgotten your food,
you may very well be able to get a piece of fruit or some pre-packaged
granola bars from First or Business Class.

Second, I happened to have a flight connection in Copenhagen.  The
airline crew actually sent a TELEX ahead to Copenhagen, where it was
arranged that a hot kosher airline meal would be brought to the Business
Class lounge for me to eat during the layover.  I will concede that (a)
I was flying Business Class, and (b) that CPH airport had some 3-4 hours
to get ready for me.  Still, one might be able to arrange something like
this, even in Coach, for a longer flight.

Finally, please keep in mind that while Europeans often don't publish
hechshers on their product packaging, this does not mean that kosher
provisions are not available in airports.  Often, a city's organized
Jewish community publishes lists of food considered kosher by the city's
rabbinate.  If one has that list from one's destination (or transfer)
city, one may be able to use it to shop in the airport.  For example, a
Geneva listing from about 6-7 years ago indicated that a variety of
Swiss chocolates, most without extra flavorings, could be considered
kosher-dairy (non-Chalav Yisrael).  I don't know if that particular
listing is still valid, but that's an item that one can find in almost
any Western European airport.

I hope MJ'ers find this helpful.

Steven White
Highland Park, NJ


From: Ken Bloom <kabloom@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Sep 2003 19:50:44 -0700
Subject: Re: Motion Sensors - A simple solution?

Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...> wrote:
> It is typically not so difficult to check if the sensors are off or not.
> On the other hand, if the sensor is still on but you don't know it (and
> have no way of checking it), then it's not clear to me that you would be
> violating Shabbat.

Yehudah Landy <nzion@...> wrote: 
> 	I also don't think that the average person can really tell the
> difference whether the sensors in his room are active or not.

One can presumably easily tell whether or not the sensors are still
triggering the heating/cooling system by walking into the room and
listening to see whether the heating/cooling system is starting to run
again. The response would not be so instantanious that you would think
it had been running the whole time. (And presumably, you've been around
already at a time when the heating/cooling would be needed before
shabbat starts.)

As for the sensor itself, I know that alarm system sensors typically
have little LEDs on them, that turn on when the sensor detects motion. I
would imagine that the motion sensors on a heating/cooling system would
also have leds, because I can think of no other reason for their
presence than so a technician could debug the system seeing whether the
motion sensor was broken or whether the heater/AC/alarm was broken.

This begs the question: assuming you have turned off whatever the motion
sensor is controlling, is the assur involved in the motion sensor
itself, or is it involved in the LED it is turning on and off?


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Standards of non-Jews

>This was noted already by the Sefer Chassidim who writes that one
>should try to live in a place where the non-Jews live relatively morally
>because their standards always 'rub off' on us.

That may be true. But just as food for thought, I am reminded of a
comment I heard by a Jew living in Atlanta who had once lived in New
York.  To him there was no question that the non-Jews of the South had
much better middos than their Northern counterpoints, but he viewed that
as negative, because it facilitated intermarriage!  He said he
remembered from New York that the Jewish girls would in general be
turned off by the behavior of the non-Jewish boys, but in Atlanta since
the non-Jewish boys were so much more polite, they would more likely go
out with them.


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 06:57:16 EDT
Subject: Re: Tehilim for unemployed

<< Are there any specific Tehilim that people suffering from sudden and
recent, and prolonged unemployment should say. I am looking to start a
Chaburah of such people, and any supporters that would say these
Tehilim.  Please contact me with your comments.
Thanks, Frank >>

I don't know about tehillim, but you may want to consider, if you have not 
already done so, adding to Shame Tefila a short bakasha in most siddurim for 
parnassah, as well as saying Parashas Ha-Monn, which follows Shacharis in many 
siddurim. Also, if you do not do so now, you may want to be diligent in reciting 
V'yitain Lecha Motzei Shabbos with kavana



From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 2003 18:19:39 -0400
Subject: Where is our fidelity to Halocho?

I am quite shocked to see the posts of late regarding standards of
modesty which can depend on how desensitized he is as far as standards
of tzinius.  This desensitization is nothing more than atzas haYetzer,
in my opinion.  It is so sad that acheinu bnei Yisroel can write about
this so intellectually, and neglect to see the harm this does to our
neshomos which we were put here to protect.

Likewise is my reaction to the posts for an "equalized marriage
ceremony."  This is so outside of the bounds of our traditional sources
and if this is a list that discusses issues in the format of halacha-
this is not right.

Our sages never sanctioned a chupah to have an element of harei ata
mekudash li... This is what the conservative do, and they do not bat an
eye at it because they have no allegiance to halacha, so those of us who
are shomer mitzvos k'daas u'k'din- we should say very clearly- this is
not our way and we are proud of the tradition passed on to us, and it is
our job to protect it from outside forces, no matter how well meaning
they may appear to be.

Doesn't anybody realize that all this discussion waters down the mesora
to a point that it may not be recognizable for our children??  There are
consequences to all this "talk" that goes on here.  My wife and I
shudder to go to chasunas today because when the kalla comes over for
everyone to dance for the choson and the kalla- the women's side all
transfer to the men's side and I am left with nowhere to stand!  It
seems that the mechitza is nothing but a symbol. Has anyone else had
similar experience?

How sad, b'avonoseinu harabim,

Yakov Spil


From: Emmanuel Ifrah <emmanuel_ifrah@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Sep 2003 00:50:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Women's Role Under Chuppah

> Surely people who are using the services of a civil marriage celebrant
> are not going to also have a Huppah and Kiddushin. The usual reasons
> for Jews using a civil celebrant are based on some level of rejection
> of Jewish tradition...

In France, a couple cannot be married by the official rabbinical
authorities unless they went through a civil marriage first.  The
principle is the same for divorce. The Get ceremony cannot be performed
before the civil divorce.  If I am not mistaken, this agreement dates
back to the creation of the "Consistoire" at the time of Napoleon.


End of Volume 40 Issue 71