Volume 40 Number 85
                 Produced: Tue Oct 14  6:19:27 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ambulance Dedication in Memory of Joseph Muschel a'h,
Artscroll in Israel?
         [Batya Medad]
The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".
         [Immanuel Burton]
         [Ben Z. Katz]
What/whose history to write


From: <LMuschel@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 15:43:42 EDT
Subject: Ambulance Dedication in Memory of Joseph Muschel a'h,

For those readers who will be in Israel over Chol Hamoed Succot, the
Muschel family in conjunction with the Joseph N. Muschel Memorial
Foundation invites you to attend the ceremony dedicating a mobile ICU
ambulance to the community of Chashmonaim, in Binyamin, in memory of our
son and brother Joseph N. Muschel a'h. This ambulance will service the
greater Binyamin area.  The dedication ceremony will take place on
Thursday October 16th at 11 am at the Bait Knesset Modiin.  For more
information please contact Rabbi N. Muschel at cell # 067-397 365, or at
the King Solomon Hotel in Jerusalem 02 569 5555, or call Chana
Spiegelman 08-976-2605


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sat, 11 Oct 2003 18:31:32 +0200
Subject: Artscroll in Israel?

If I'm not mistaken the Art Scroll Succot/Simchat Torah Machzor doesn't
have Simchat Torah on Shabbat.  I have vague, unpleasant memories of
vainly searching last year.  Considering that the volume is almost as
thick as an unabridged dictionary, it's hard to believe.  That's why I'm
asking.  If everything's included, can you please let me know where,
otherwise, I'll use something else.

Chag Sameach,



From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 10:42:19 +0100
Subject: RE: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile".

In MJv40n71, Gilad Gevaryahu wrote:

>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 am not disputing this.  In fact, in my original posting (MJv40n59) I
had asked where the usage of the word "goy" as opposed to "nochri" had
come from.

>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".

According to Jastrow, the primary meaning of the word "goy" is a people
or nation, whereas the word "nochri" means a stranger or gentile.
Jastrow also says that in material published under a censor's
supervision the word "nochri" is changed to "goy", which is quite the
opposite of the above suggestion.

>I have shown that in Rabbinic Hebrew "goy" in the proper context means
>an individual Gentile.

I don't believe this to be the case, rather that in Rabbinic Hebrew, the
word "goy" is *sometimes* used to mean an individual non-Jew.

>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.

I sincerely hope that this statement is not suggesting that the Bible is
anachronistic.  As shown by Jastrow, the reasoning suggested is in any
case flawed.

>Using the argument that "goy" in the Bible means only "nation" (see
>later) and therefore Nochri is a better use is irrelevant.

Given Jastrow's statement that censors changed "nochri" to "goy", I do
not feel in any way that my argument is "irrelevant".  In fact, I
actually do object to the dismissal of a serious posting concerning the
origin of a nusach and the precise meanings of words and their origins
as "irrelevant" (and the dismissal of my original posting by referring
to its content as "facts", i.e. in inverted commas).  Furthermore, the
blessing recited immediately before that of "who has not made me a
non-Jew", i.e. that of "who has given the rooster understanding to
distinguish between day and night" uses the Biblical word "sechvi" for
rooster - should we change this to the Rabinnic word "tarnegol"?!

>Once we determine that the original and correct wording of this
>berakhah was "shelo asani goy,"

Have we?  See Jastrow's statement.  Playing devil's advocate for a
moment, how do we know that the Talmud wasn't changed by censors to show
a text of "goy" as opposed to "nochri" (based on Jastrow), and that this
nusach was then copied and perpetuated by Rambam et al?  (And yes, the
Talmud has been subject to censorship - see Chesronos Ha'Shas for more
details.)  Furthermore, even if one were to say that the usage of the
word "nochri" is incorrect (which I am not), it has nevertheless become
established as a nusach, and to declare that it should be abolished is

>Two examples, that of "aleinu leshabeach," and that of "velamalshinim
>al tehi tikvah" suggest that many did come back to the original

With regards to the prayer of "Aleinu le'shabayach", I presume reference
is being made to the sentence of, "For they bow to vanity and emptiness
and pray to a god who helps not".  Artscroll comments that in the year
1400 a baptised Jew spread the slander that this sentence was meant as a
slur against Christianity.  He based this allegation on the coincidence
that the numeral value of "vo'rik" (emptiness) is 316, the same as as
the numerical value of Yeshu, the Hebrew name of the Christian messiah.
(This story is also reported in The Encyclopaedia Of Jewish Prayer by
Macy Nulman.)  This charge was refuted again and again, particularly by
Manasseh ben Israel in the 17th century, but repeated persecutions and
Church insistence caused this sentence to be dropped from Ashkenazi
siddurim.  While most congregations have not returned it to the Aleinu
prayer, some prominent authorities, among them Rabbi Yehoshua Leib
Diskin, insist that Aleinu be recited in its original form.  [End of

In their Rosh Hashanah Machzor, Artscroll says this sentence was part of
the text originally included by the Sages in the Rosh Hashanah Musaf
service.  Although it was later deleted from the siddurim by Christian
censors, Rabbu Yehoshua Leid Diskin and others insist that at least in
Mussaf it must be recited in its entirety.  [End of quote.]

These two comments from Artscroll do not seem to be entirely consistent
with each other, but both imply that this sentence has not been
universally re-accepted in Ashkenazi siddurim.  Even the Artscroll
siddur has this sentence in parentheses.  Furthermore, the phrase in
question does not include Moslems (who pray to the same God that we Jews
do) - unsurprising, given that Aleinu was written before the advent of
Islam.  Does this mean that this sentence is anachronistic and
irrelevant, even if it is from Isaiah 45:20?

With regards to the blessing of "ve'lamalshinim", various versions of
the text for this blessing seem to exist, some of which differ
fundamentaly in outlook.  For example, one version of this blessing
says, "ve'chol ho'rishoh ko'regga tovaid" ("and may all evil immediately
vanish"), whereas another version refers to "ve'chol ossai rishoh" ("and
all doers of evil") instead.  The first version asks for the evil to
vanish and thereby give the doers of evil opportunity to repent, whereas
the second version calls for the destruction of the doers of evil
without giving them the opportunity to repent.  There are also
differences as to whether the text is "oyevecho" or "oyevai amechoh",
and "ha'zaidim" or "u'malchus zoddon".  Given that various versions
exist and are in use nowadays, has this blessing indeed come back to its
original wording?

> He notes that there are two traditions of it, "shelo asani goy," and
>"she'asani Israel".

There are problems with saying "she'asani Yisroel", as saying this
blessing precludes one from then being able to say "who has not made me
a slave".  The reason why one makes a blessing for not having been made
a non-Jew is that as a Jew one has the opportunity to be able to fulfill
more of Hashem's commandments.  In the blessing for not having been made
a slave, this is referring to a Canaanite slave, who has more
obligations than a non-Jew but not as many as a Jew, so one thanks
Hashem for not having been created with a "halfway house" level of

Dayan Lerner in his book "The Minhag Of The United Synagogue" explains
that this blessing is recited in the negative form of "who has not made
me a non-Jew" as opposed to the positive form of "who has made me a Jew"
in deference to a unanimous decision of Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel
after an ongoing debate lasting two and a half years that "It would have
been better for man not to have been created" (Eruvin 13b).  It was
felt, therefore, that the positive form of the blessing would be
contrary to this decision.

>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 first line here may be a mistype, and should say that "shelo asani
nochri" is not even mentioned by him or Lieberman.)  I disagree with
this as the Ba'al Va'yetar Yitzchak gave his reasons for changing "goy"
to"nochri" on the grounds that "goy" refers to a nation and "nochri" to
an individual, and not on account of censorship.  (Or was his commentary
censored so that mention of being censored was censored out?!)  It is
therefore far from "clear to all" that the "nochri" usage was created by
the censorship process.  Furthermore, Rabbi Elie Munk in his book The
World Of Prayer doesn't even mention "she'lo osani goy".

> 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.

O contrair, and very much so.  The Targum Yonathan Ben Uziel translates
the word "goy" in this sentence as "ammamin".  Jastrow defines "ammom"
as either gentiles (and in particular the seven nations of Canaan), or
as an inidividual gentile.  However, the Targum Yonathan Ben Uziel has
in this sentence used the PLURAL form of "ammamin", thereby clearly
translating the occurence of the word "goy" in this sentence as a group
of more than one person, i.e.  NOT an individual.  Targum Onkelos
translates the word "goy" in this verse as "om", meaning a nation.
Rashi's commentary implies a meaning of nation.  Ditto Sforno.  The
Artscroll Sapperstein Edition of Chumash/Rashi has the following comment
on this verse: The word "goy" in Scripture refers to a nation, not an
individual.  Avimelech's use of the word indicates that he is referring
to the way that God treats nations.  (Bereishis Rabbah 52:6; Mizrachi;
Gur Aryeh.)  [End of quote.]

In MJ v40n68, Shmuel Himelstein wrote that when growing up in South
Africa they used the text of "she'lo osani nochri", and that the
Standard Siddur of the British Commonwealth (most likely the Singer's
Siddur) was used.  I coincidentally saw a South African Siddur (compiled
by Rabbi Dr M Romm, and complete with translation into Afrikaans) on the
second day of Rosh Hashanah , and the text in that Siddur was indeed
that of "she'lo osani nochri".

In MJ v40n72, Chana Luntz wrote:

> You may be interested to know that the Sde Chemed agrees at least in
> part:
> In Mareches beis (ois beis) he refers to his longer discussion in
> mareches chirufin ois heh and states "it is correct to say "shelo
> ashani goy k'goyei haaratzot" and so is my custom."

This text seems to satisfy those who seem adamant that "goy" is used and
not "nochri", and also uses a qualification of "ke'goyei ho'arotzos".  I
would like to suggest that the additional phrase "ke'goyei ho'arotzos"
(like the nations of the lands) means non- Jewish nations only and does
not include the Jewish nation, as the word "lands" refers to lands other
than Israel, which obviously belong to the other nations.  Likewise, if
one maintains that the word "nochri" means a foreigner and nothing else,
then seeing as foreigners come from outside one's country, and the only
country belonging to the Jews is Israel and that Jews should be living
exclusively in Israel, then foreigners are people from outside Israel,
and are non-Jews.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Ben Z. Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 09:18:13 -0500
Subject: Re: Slichot

>From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
>Is saying or not saying machnisei rachamim an individual or
>congregational choice?  What is the actual practice in the communities

	The latter is quite controversial.  Most authorities argue that
it is impermissible to pray to an intermediary, which appears to be what
this selicha is asking for.  Being the iconoclastand Maimonidean that I
am, I will never say it no matter what the congregation does.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
Ph 773-880-4187; Fax 773-880-8226


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 09:23:04 -0500
Subject: RE: What/whose history to write

Shalom, All:

Michael Kahn asks >>I am a history major and I'm interested in writing a
work of Jewish history. How would I begin such an undertaking? ... I was
considering translating the Chida's Shem Hagdolim. <<

A very interesting subject is unfolding in the pages of mail-jewish:
when, where, how and why did our concept of tzniyut (body modesty)
evolve? Judging from the points made while discussing this, while some
body parts have historically been labeled "don't see, don't tell,"
others have sometimes been acceptable and other times not.

I think this will be valuable as it can be a window into history,
theology and sociology.

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


End of Volume 40 Issue 85