Volume 41 Number 12
                 Produced: Fri Nov  7  5:52:48 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile" (4)
         [Kenneth G Miller, Stephen Phillips, Richard Dine, Tzvi Briks]
Children in resteraunts
         [Menachem Petrushka]
Gas Timer
         [Aliza Berger]
Looking For "A Practical Manual On Megillath Esther".
         [Immanuel Burton]
Megillat Esther (4)
         [Joseph Tabory, Eitan Fiorino, Nathan Lamm, Alan Rubin]
A Plug for learning English
"Tam U-mu'ad"
         [Gil Student]


From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 10:53:52 -0500
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

The halacha is quite explicit that a convert does NOT say "Who has not
made me a gentile".

After the Shulchan Aruch (Rav Yosef Karo) list the three "Who has not
made me" brachos (Orach Chayim 46:4), the Rama notes: "And even a
convert can say these brachos, except for 'shelo asani akum', because he
*was* an akum at the beginning."

("Akum" is an acronym for "oved kochavim" -- idol-worshipper. It is not
clear to me whether those authorities held the actual text of the
blessing should have the words "akum" or "oved kochavim" or "goy" or
"nochri", but that is not our discussion. The question here is whether
the blessing is said at all, regardless of which synonym it uses.)

The Mishna Brurah (46:18) comments: "In other words, he should say
'she'asani ger' (Who has made me a convert), because it (conversion) can
be called 'making', as it is written (Gen. 12:5) 'the souls which they
*made* in Charan'. Others disagree on this (and say that the bracha must
be skipped entirely -A.M.), and their reason is that it is not relevant
to say 'Who has made me', because the conversion would not have happened
if not for his own good choice of the Jewish religion."

Several posters have pointed out that if we single out the convert to
say different prayers than others, it might violate the prohibition of
causing pain to converts. My guess is that since these brachos are said
quietly and individually, and by the person himself, this would not
apply. However, if one would offer a convert the opportunity to be
chazan for shacharis, in a shul where the chazan says these aloud, that
could be problematic, and I do not know how to solve that. (Obviously,
this problem could be solved by not asking him to be the chazan. But for
that to work, he'd have to publicize his convert status, and *that's*
the problem that I don't know how to solve.)

Akiva Miller

From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 12:07 +0000 (GMT)
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.

My practice is not to say "Shelo asani goy" in my private davening, but
when I am the shaliach tzibur I do say it. I recall reading somewhere
that this is what a Ger should do but I don't recall where.

Stephen Phillips.

From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 10:24:56 -0500
Subject: RE: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

>From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
>  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.)

Are you sure you should make the grammatical change when quoting a Pasuk
from the Torah?  The Kohanim said this in the Temple to a large
gathering of men and women and still presumably used the Pasuk exactly?
Are there sources on this question.

Richard Dine
email: <richard.dine@...>

From: <Brikspartzuf@...> (Tzvi Briks)
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 11:03:36 EST
Subject: Re: The Blessing Of "Who Has Not Made Me A Gentile"

According to the Ari'zal, the status of the ger/gioret is stellar.
There are 5 levels of the soul ( each containing 5 levels) Nefesh,
Ruach, Neshama, Chaya, and Yechidah.  Most people have a hard time
correcting even the lowest of the 5 levels called the Nefesh.  But Gerim
and Gerot reincarnate from a past to a present life already having
attained a full and complete soul level.  The soul returns to advance to
an even higher level.  The "inner voice" or "inner call" to become a Jew
is actually a striving to attain the higher level of the soul.
She'asani Yisrael is therefore very appropriate.

Tzvi Briks


From: Menachem Petrushka <menachem_petrushka@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 10:31:56 -0500
Subject: RE: Children in resteraunts

>From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
>I think that this concern is valid with regard to children.  The frum
>community demands such a low standard of restaurant establishments,
>that it is IMHO a chilul hashem to bring guests into most kosher
>restaurants that I have seen (outside of Manhattan and Israel).

I think that Mr. Trachtenberg and the other mail-Jewish correspondents
are being to harsh on frum children. Our kids behavior in restaurants is
certainly no worse and often is often much better that that of their
gentile and non frum cohorts.

We do not socialize with our non-Jewish neighbors at the family level.
We do not eat in the restaurants where they bring their kids to. Go to
any fast-food outlet in the burbs and you will see why the restaurants
build play areas to distract the children who eat there.

Yesterday, an irate letter writer to the NYT castigated a contributor to
the Times who insisted on bringing her child to fine restaurants. The
letter writer describes the many occasions when her visits to fancy
restaurants were turned into nightmares due to unruly children.

In worrying about our children's behavior, though, Mr. Trachtenberg and
the others show a special sensitivity to the issue of proper chinuch
that is completely lacking in the secular world, Mi Kiamacha Yisroel.

Menachem Petrushka


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Nov 2003 15:11:00 +0200
Subject: Gas Timer

Thanks to all who answered, on and off the list.  Would I be correct in
thinking that this product would be more used among those (in Israel)
who don't use electricity on yom tov? Or is the electricity only a
problem on shabbat?


Aliza Berger, PhD
Director, English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 13:02:01 +0000
Subject: Looking For "A Practical Manual On Megillath Esther".

I am looking for a copy of "A Practical Manual On Megillath Esther" by A
Weil, printed in London in 1961.  The title of the book as given on the
title page inside is "A Practical Manual On The Scroll Of Esther".

If anyone has a copy for sale (at a reasonable price), I should be
grateful if they would contact me.

Immanuel Burton.


From: Joseph Tabory <taborj@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 06:11:14 +0200
Subject: RE: Megillat Esther

The Greek translation of the Bible which we have today, known as the
Septuagint, does include many references to God. Its dating is based
mostly on internal evidence. As far as its date of composition is
concerned, in order to reconcile scholarly history with fundamentalistic
history, one could argue that the translation that we have is not the
one referred to by the Rabbis as being miraculously created. One might
notice, in addition, that, other than the Pentateuch and the book of
Esther, there is no mention by the Rabbis of a ny Greek translation by
the seventy of any other book of the Bible.

Joseph Tabory
13 Zerach Barnet St., Jerusalem 95404, Israel
tel: 02-6519575

From: Eitan Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 18:06:03 -0500
Subject: RE: Megillat Esther

The Septuagint version of Esther, not to mention other translations such
as the Vulgate, does not insert G-d into the megillat Esther as it is
found in Masoretic text, but rather contains additional chapters which
do make reference to G-d directly.  These additional chapters are
generally placed within the Apocrypha.  For these additional chapters,
see http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/apo/aes.htm.


Tony Fiorino, MD, PhD
Sands Point Partners, 280 Park Avenue, 39th Floor, New York, NY 10017
Phone: (212) 622-7879
Fax: (212) 622-7871

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 6 Nov 2003 09:28:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Megillat Esther

In response to R. Berkowitz' question:

First, the discrepancy in dates about the Septuagint- that's what's
under discussion here- isn't much of a problem: The Torah was done
first, followed by the rest of Tanakh over the next century or two.

The Greek text of Esther has about seven additions not in the Hebrew
version, plus a number of differences (especially names) throughout the
rest. Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians use the Greek, while
Protestants use the Hebrew (all translated, except for the Greek
Orthodox, of course).

The additions include a "backstory" telling how Mordechai had a dream he
couldn't understand; at the end of the story is an explanation of what
the dream meant in light of everything that happened. There's also the
texts of the various decrees, and among other things, most pertinent to
your question, the text of the tefilos of Mordechai and
Esther. Obviously, these mention Hashem's name. There's also a note at
the end from the person who did the translating into Greek, or at least
brought it to (then Greek) Egypt.

When preparing his Latin translation (the Vulgate), Jerome cut out all
the additions and stuck them at the back, renumbering them as Chapters
11 on. That's how they're known, so even if, as in some Bibles, they're
reincorporated, they keep the numbering- Chapter 13, say, stuck between
Chapters 2 and 3 (I don't have the exact numbers in front of
me). They're reincorporated now instead of standing alone in the
Apocrypha since, first, they make no sense on their own, and, second,
the book itself contains other differences in the Greek. The New Revised
Standard Version, for example, presents the book twice: Once in the
Hebrew version (translated) as part of the Old Testament, and once in
the Greek version (translated) as part of the Apocrypha.

There are other, older versions, by the way, but not as complete.

Of course, the big question is what came when. It seems that the
additions might be later- someone felt that Hashem had to be mentioned,
and so wrote these parts, or maybe incorporated older sections of the
story that hadn't made it in originally. Or these could be original, but
it's unlikely- Haman, for example, is in this version called a
"Macedonian," a clear anachronism. Of course, the book as a whole
presents numerous issues, but that's beyond the scope of this

I always wondered about the claim that Hashem isn't mentioned. Not by
name, maybe, but when everyone's praying and fasting, isn't it clearly
implying that they're doing it to Hashem? And doesn't Mordechai's claim
that Esther's becoming queen is part of a plan imply Hashem's actions?

Nachum Lamm

From: alan.rubin (Alan Rubin)
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 20:09 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
Subject: Megillat Esther

It seems more likely to me that he is actually referring to the 'Rest of 
Esther' which is found in the Apocrypha and indeed contains many references 
to God.

Alan Rubin


From: Anonymous
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 19:36:55 -0500
Subject: Re: A Plug for learning English

Russell Jay Hendel writes, "I suggest translating ACH as USUALLY / MOST

How does he understand "Ach baShem al timrodu" (ACH don't rebel against
Hashem), in Bmidbar 14:9?  Don't rebel against Hashem most of the time?

Or "Ach hinei ishtcha hee" (ACH behold she is your wife) in Breishit
26:9? Behold, she is usually your wife?

What of "Ach et zeh lo tochlu" (ACH these [impure animals] you shall not
eat) in Vayikra 11:4?  Do not eat pigs, camels, etc. most of the time?

Unless, of course, he means only that most of the time ACH means most of
the time.


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2003 14:41:13 -0500
Subject: Re: "Tam U-mu'ad"

I wrote:
>The book emanated from the persecuted European Jews in
>the high middle ages.

It was pointed out to me privately that this is incorrect.  At least an
early version of Toldos Yeshu was available in the Early Middle Ages.
However, it may have been only a subset of what we have from the High
Middle Ages.

I quote the following from Morris Goldstein, Jesus in the Jewish
Tradition (New York, Macmillan: 1950), p. 147:

"Earliest specific mention of elements of Toledoth Yeshu was made by
Agobard, Archbishop of Lyons, in the approximate year 826, in his
Epistola de Judaicis superstitionibus. His successor, Amulo, also called
attention in 846 to such a document in his Amulonis Epistola, seu Liber
contrad Judaeos, ad Carolum Regem.

"The earliest extant text in the Jewish literature are the six Aramaic
fragments found in the Genizah of the old Ezra Synagogue in Cairo,

"The Karaites, a dissident sect of Judaism, seem to have had theirown
Toledoth Yeshu in the first half of the ninth century."

Gil Student


End of Volume 41 Issue 12