Volume 41 Number 06
                 Produced: Tue Nov  4  5:09:47 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile" (6)
         [Monica Cellio, Yehonatan Chipman, c.halevi, R. Adams, Ben
Katz, Douglas Moran]
Gas Clock for Shabbat?
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Parve & Cholov Israel
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Using water on Shabbat
         [David Maslow]
Using Water on Shabbat
         [Kenneth G Miller]
Water flowing uphill
         [Jeremy Rose]
Women's Clothing over Time
         [Janet Rosenbaum]


From: Monica Cellio <cellio@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 17:52:04 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

> I have seen it written that a convert says instead, "She'asani
> ger/giyoret" - Who has made me a convert. I don't remember which siddur
> I saw it in, though.

Wouldn't this interfere with the prohibition of calling attention to the
status of a convert (e.g. by the person standing next to the ger who
ovehears and asks about it)?  We shouldn't place a stumbling block
before the person who might instinctively ask about the altered text,
should we?  I realize that this case is fuzzy because the convert
himself is free to talk about his status, but I've always assumed that
meant doing so directly.

Since you're talking about changing text anyway, she'asani Yisrael is as
appropriate for a ger as it is for everyone else.


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 09:27:47 +0200
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

 IN MJ v40n99, Shari Hillman wrote: 

 <<I have seen it written that a convert says instead [of "shelo asani
goy"], "She'asani ger/giyoret" - Who has made me a convert. I don't
remember which siddur I saw it in, though.>>

  I am very surprised at this reading, and would very much like to know
the source.

  Rambam has a series of three responsa addressed to R. Obadiah the Ger,
a student of his from Baghdad, two of which have to do with issues
relaing to converts, in which he strongly lambasts those who in any
way remind a convert of his difference or cause him mental anguish
(ona'at devarim) by making him feel different or somehow inferior to
other Jews.  

  In one of these teshuvut (I don't know if they're available in Englsh
or on-line, but there are several editions of Iggeret ha-Rambam in
Hebrew; also, I once prepared a translation of these latters, which I'd
be happy to send to anyone interested) he relates to whether a
prosaelyte should change those phrases in the liturgy which refer to
Jews as descended from the patruiarchs, such as "Elokeinu velokei
avoteinu" at the beginning of the Amidah, the "Viduy Bikkurim" said when
bringing first fruits to the Temple, or the phrase "shehinhalta
lavoteinu" in Birkat Hamazon.  He explains that, through conversion, the
ger becomes a full-fledged memeber of the Jewish people, and particpates
spiritually in its lineage.  Hence, any change in wording would be
inappropriate and unnecessary.

She also wrote: 
  <<In a similar vein, are there sources for permitting a woman to use
"modah" instead of "modeh" in certain prayers (Modeh ani, or in the
neshama s'natata be t'horah he in birchot hashachar)? Are there other
places where individual circumstance may change the specific wording of
a prayer?>>

   OTOH, changes based upon gramamr, such as "modah" rather "modeh" seem
OK, and make sense.  But I have not examined this is any depth nor seen
any sources.  I know that my wife says "modah ani lefanekha," but
haven't seen it in print.  Try R. Ovadiah's "Siddur le-bat Yisreal."

    Jonathan Chipman

From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 08:38:48 -0600
Subject: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

Shalom, All:

Maybe it is very appropriate for a convert to bless God for "not making
me a Gentile." Some of the converts I know have told me they never felt
at home being a Gentile, and thus becoming a Jew was like coming home.

Alternatively, we know that the Halacha (Jewish religious law; lit. "the
path") treats a convert as being freshly born. (Example: in theory, a
convert could marry his/her brother/sister, because they aren't
"related" any more. In practice, such a union is forbidden.) Ergo, if
converts are "newborns" they can safely thank God for not being made a

Perhaps it is telling that the bracha (blessing) says, "Who has not
**made** me a Gentile," instead of "Who has not made me **born** a

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi

From: R. Adams <radams@...>
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 23:21:36 -0500
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

"She-asani ger/giyoret" sounds pretty modern to me.
I was told that a ger must leave "shelo asani goy" out.
For that reason also, a ger can't say the morning blessings.
For all practical purposes therefore, a ger won't be be a shaliach tzibur
until Yistabach.

Raphael Adams

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 10:54:52 -0600
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

  I don't see why one needs a "source" to speak Hebrew grammatically.
Of course, Renat Yisrael has "modah" for women in the morning.

  On a personal note, when I am in the house of an avalah or avelot I
will say the hamakom line grammatically.  Also, when I bless my 3 girls
Fri. night I use the feminine.  (I can't say "yevarechecha to a girl.)

From: Douglas Moran <dougom@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 09:47:54 -0600
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

Ot Sun, 26 Oct 2003 23:23:17 -0500, Russell J Hendel wrote:
>I think the proper perspective is that the word gentile refers to
>gentile CULTURE not gentile GENEALOGY.
>But if that is the case the real question is whether Jews should make
>the blessing---after all a convert was, by definition, in the gentile
>culture, and willfully left and surrendered to God. So indeed the
>blessing is very fitting for the convert.

Hm.  If we've left the realm of halacha and are talking about what may
or may not be fitting, I would have to disagree.  Converts, once they
convert, are fully Jewish, and are grafted (if you will) onto the
genealogical tree (ben Abraham v' Sarah).  Is it not minhag that a
convert's status is never mentioned?  And that no one is supposed to
bring up a convert's status?  And should not a convert decide for
himself whether or not a bracha that would point up that status should
be said over him?

Again, the halacha here is key.  But if this is a matter of opinion and
what we think should be the right thing, speaking as a convert myself, I
*never* want my status pointed out in shul, or indeed anywhere else
unless it is 1) halachically necessary, or 2) *I* decide it's
appropriate.  I have told friends, but I don't exactly go walking around
with a label on my forehead, if you see what I mean.

I might point out, too, that it seems not unlikely that there are Jews
out there who don't *know* that they're Jews for various reasons, and so
we should be somewhat cautious about being definitive with regard to
genealogy.  (My father's family crest--he was Irish--is three solid
yellow magens david on a dark blue background.  Definitive?  Absolutely
not.  But strange!)

No offense to Russell; none at all.  Just a different perspective.



From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 21:22:36 +0200
Subject: Re: Gas Clock for Shabbat?

    In MJ v40n99, Aliza Berger asked about a sign she saw in a store
window in Meah Shearim advertising a 'sha'on gaz,' which she translates
as 'gas clock' or 'gas watch.' and wonders what it's for.

  It's not for Shabbat, but for yomtov, when one can cook, but not
extinguish fires, not light them except from other, pre-existing fires.
It turns the gas off automatically after one's done cooking, so that the
gas doesn't remain on all yomtov.  This removes both the problem of heat
generated by the gas (don't forget that in Israel it's still warm, if
not hot, in Tishrei) and, especially, the dangers involved in leaving an
open flame on.  Yehonatan Chipman


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:03:31 EST
Subject: Parve & Cholov Israel

A recently purchased nuts in Los Angeles bore the kashrut sign which

Cholov Israel
Kasher (in Hebrew letters)
[Kashrut was given by A big letter] K [and within it three small letters]
The name of the company :"The Nut House"

I was about the dismiss it as a typo, since Parve and Cholov Israel is
an oxymoron. But on a second thought I started to suspect that maybe
"Cholov Israel" here means the equivalent of "Lemehadrin" or maybe
"Glatt." Am I on the right track? Is there in fact a new meaning to
Cholov Israel?

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 08:00:57 -0500
Subject: Using water on Shabbat

Ari Trachtenberg (vol 40, issue 99) raises some questions on the use of
"city water" on Shabbat.

I have often wondered about the transfer of "waste liquids" from homes
to the public water system on Shabbat.  Surely that is transfer from a
private domain to a public one that may, ultimately, be many miles and
even governmental units away.

David Maslow

From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 09:53:50 -0500
Subject: Re: Using Water on Shabbat

Ari Trachtenberg asked several questions about modern plumbing systems:
<<< 1) Opening a water faucet is akin to closing an electrical circuit in
that water is permitted to flow from higher potential to lower potential
through a conduit. (the final "hammer blow" on a creation, or
"building") >>>

I don't follow this at all. The "final hammer blow" refers to the final
step in a manufacturing process, or the repair/improvement of a damaged
item, and some hold the connection of wires in a switch to be in that
category. But I don't see what is happening here except water moving
from one place to another. Can I not pour water from a pitcher to my

<<< 2) Water can be used to make productive work, including fire,
through the use of a water wheel (for example), as can electricity
through the use of a resistor (in light bulbs). >>>

"Productive work" is not an issue, unless it causes one of the 39
categories occurring. I recall gemaras which specifically talk about
using a water wheel or windmill to grind wheat. This is forbidden
because of the grinding and because of the noise, but not because it was

<<< 3) In high-rise buildings, water is almost always delivered by
(electrical) pump to a higher elevation for use when the faucet is
opened [this causes water problems, for example, during power outages].
Protracted water usage will inevitably operate this pump. >>>

Notice your use of the word "protracted". This sounds similar to how the
motor of a refrigerator will go on if you leave to door open too long.
There are poskim on both sides of this issue; see Shemiras Shabbas
K'Hilchasa 10:12.

<<< 4) Water is almost always pumped in from outside locations.  If
there is no eruv, then opening a faucet could cause water to move from a
public domain into a private domain. >>>

Same problem with flushing a toilet. I recall (though I don't remember
where I saw this) that the Torah prohibition of carrying only applies
above ground, so this would at worst be a rabbinic violation which is
waived in cases of distress. Flushing a toilet is generally understood
to be in that category, but I don't know about using the sink, since one
could get the water and store it before Shabbos begins, and not pour
anything down the drain until after it is over.

<<< In addition, water will inevitably be heated as it enters a
household if the outside temperature is low (related to the problems of
heating on Shabbat). >>>

Warming something up to room temperature does not violate any laws of
cooking at all. If so, you couldn't take food out of the refrigerator

I look forward to seeing others' comments on these questions.

Akiva Miller


From: Jeremy Rose <jeremy@...>
Date: Thu, 30 Oct 2003 15:07:16 +0000
Subject: Water flowing uphill

Indeed, it is the siphon effect.  It was used in Masada (and elsewhere,
I'm sure) to get water from the highest point in the area, which drew
from a well, to other settlements on adjacent hills.

Jeremy L Rose                                             Tel:  +44 1727 832288
Communication Systems Limited                             Fax:  +44 1727 810194


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 2003 21:23:25 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Women's Clothing over Time

<MDSternM7@...> (Martin D Stern) writes:
>     I have been puzzled by the prevalence of otherwise frum married
> women who go out without covering their hair, considering that the
> Gemara considers it so serious an offense that she can be divorced and
> not receive her ketubah.  This is not just a recent problem and was so
> common by the end of the nineteenth century in Lithuania that the Aruch

Another possibility is that there is a legitimate halachic position that
hair covering depends on social norms, and that rabbis who hold this
position are afraid to say so publicly.  See the recent book _Hide and
Seek_ (terrific book, btw): the author said that she encountered a
number of rabbanim with this opinion who asked that she not publish
their names.



End of Volume 41 Issue 6