Volume 41 Number 14
                 Produced: Sun Nov  9 14:21:34 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abuse and Rabbinic responsibility
         [Batya Medad]
Changing text of Biblical verses (2)
         [Shalom Kohn, Ben Katz]
Children in Restaurants
         [Carl Singer]
Listening to a Rabbi
         [Simon Wanderer]
Modest Clothing
         [Rachel Swirsky]
Parve & Cholov Israel (2)
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Batya Medad]
question on parshat Noach
         [Harlan Braude]
Rav Vozner
         [Perets Mett]
Simchat Torah
         [Batya Medad]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 12:46:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Abuse and Rabbinic responsibility

      Maybe, the stories of abuse are actually wrong, and the man did
      not abuse his wife.  In this case, it would not be an issue of
      lashon hara ["evil" talk] but rather slander.  Giving the rabbi
      the benefit of the doubt, it would seem that the rabbi "telling
      everyone ... " would be because the rabbi was absolutely convinced
      [at the risk of phsyically harming this woman!]  that the abuse is
      untrue.  How a rabbi could

NCSY and the OU are trying hard to learn from and recover from a serious
case of not taking abuse and halachikly unacceptable behavior seriously.
One of the problems was that the abuser's superior was incapable of
believing that such a "wonderful Torah, youth leader" was capable of
such things and "addicted" (meaning that he couldn't just stop) to them.
Rabbis, among others, can be too naive to properly judge dangerous
behavior and problematic personalities.

You all must know what they say about "good intentions" being the road
to hell.



From: Shalom Kohn <skohn@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 08:50:46 -0600
Subject: Changing text of Biblical verses

Bill Bernstein wrote:
>>My understanding is that the blessing "yevarchecha" is a posuk from the
Torah.  As such one is not allowed to alter the wording of it.

Similarly, David I. Cohen wrote: 

> While it might be appropriate to change the
opening words "Yesimcha" to the feminine "Yesimaych" since it is only
paraphrasing the verse in Torah (there is no verse "yisimych k'sara,
rivka etc") it is not appropriate to change the text of the actual
Brikat Cohanim which is written in the Hebrew generic, which is the
masculine grammatical form.  For the same reason, when prayers quote an
actual verse, it is inappropriate to repeat the words.

The presumption that we are REQUIRED to recite posukim in the form of
the Torah is contrary to the principle and practice of some that verses
from the Torah are not to be recited aloud at all, but read from the
actual scroll (d'varim she-bichtav ain ata rashayi el-omrom ba'al peh)
(the prohibition of reciting written verses aloud) and the practice of
certain amoraim (sorry, I do not have access to sources here)
deliberately to vary the text when quoting posukim in correspondence
etc. in order not to include the actual verses.  Obviously, the
incorporation of a posuk by chazal in the prayers would be different,
but the birchat kohanim when recited at the table rather than in prayers
would not seem to have received that sanction, and thus potentially
could be varied from the original text.

Shalom L. Kohn
Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP, Bank One Plaza, 10 South Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60603
312-853-7756, 312-853-7036 (fax)

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 11:13:46 -0600
Subject: Re: Changing text of Biblical verses

[Note, I have combined a number of similar individual postings where Ben
has replied to each. Mod.]

>From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
>My understanding is that the blessing "yevarchecha" is a posuk from the
>Torah.  As such one is not allowed to alter the wording of it.
[Also responding to similar comment from David Cohen. Mod.]

         In the siddur, many pesukim are altered from the singular to
the plural, to make them more appropriate in the congregational setting.
Altering for the feminine to make it more appropriate for the setting
(to me at least) is no different. (As an aside, there are also pesukim
quoted in fragments, some of whose meanings are altered, eg, stopping
after "venakay" as oppossed to continuing "venakay lo yenake" as the
trope tells you to do, when we recite the 13 attributes on chagim).

(I knew this would elicit controversy).

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

The generic masculine singular can work for a crowd of people (everyone
will think they are getting a personal blessing) But in my (fortunate)
situation I am individually blessing 3 girls.  I can't say the masculine

>From: <Yisyis@...> (Ira Bauman)
>In the first volume of Minhagei Yisroel, Professor Sperber writes about
>a difference of opinion between the Rishonei Ashkenaz (Germany)
>influenced by the teachings of Rabbi Yehudah HaChasid and the Rishonei
>Tzarfat (France).  The topic there is the inappropriate use of the word
>Hayom (Today) near the end of the prayer Hayom Haras Olam.  The German
>Rabbis were deadset against changing the text since Rav Yehudah says
>that any change of the traditional text, especially in regard to the
>number of words or letters was forbiden. He refers to hidden meanings
>that are represented by the word or letter count.  Apparently there are
>limits placed upon how we can amend tefillah texts to fix the dikduk, or
>for that matter, any other good reason.

         Well, at least there are 2 sides to this debate.  Texts changed 
ALL THE TIME due to copyists' errors, local custom, outside pressures (eg 
censorship).  I wouldn't want to find too many hidden meanings in such texts.

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; Voicemail and Pager: 3034
e-mail: <bkatz@...> 


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 07 Nov 2003 06:51:19 -0500
Subject: Children in Restaurants

>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.

The behavior of children from gentile or non frum cohorts is irrelevant,
even if it is true -- which may be in doubt as we have only anecdotal

I take no comfort from such and in no way does it mitigate the behavior
of frum children (or their parents / supervisors) in restaurants.

One could easily extend any analogy of (our) group behavior to the
behavior of other groups -- with tragic consequences.  e.g.. We have
less abuse, drinking, etc.

Carl Singer


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 12:44:35 -0000
Subject: RE: Listening to a Rabbi

Various postings have responded to the position put forward several days
ago as to the ramifications of following a P'sak that was (subsequently
shown to be ) incorrect. I would suggest that this is in fact part of a
wider discussion about the nature of Halacha and distinguishing between
*spiritual reality* and *practical conduct*. A good example of this is
the topic of Bittul. In a simple case were one 'Treif' steak is mixed up
with two Kosher steaks, where (without getting into Halachic minutiae)
one may pick a steak from this mixture and eat it (it may be advisable
to cook it first, but hey).

There are (AFAIK) two broad approaches to what is happening in this
situation (see, for example, the early parts of R' Shimon Shkop's
Sha'arei Yosher):

1- the Halacha of Bittul means that the erstwhile treif steak *becomes*
kosher, therefore I'm eating kosher meat.
2- (this is the position advanced by R' Shimon Himself) nothing can
change the halachic reality of the steak being treif, but the Halacha of
Bittul means that I'm allowed to take the chance (likaneis el beis
hasafek). However, I may end up eating treif (albeit with a limited
degree of culpability for my action, as it was sanctioned by Halacha). 

A similar question may be raised with regard to following legitimate
P'sak. In short we could phrase the Chakira as follows: is the effect of
my actions determined by:

1- some objective ('spiritual') reality.
2- whether in taking that course of action I worked within the rules of
the Halachic system.

There are, I would imagine, many arguments either way, and various
opinions on the subject (like the R' Shimon above and the Shev Shmeitsa
(world's most dubious transliteration?), with whom he strongly takes
issue). I am also sure the two options could be further fine-tuned. We
should not easily dismiss either possibility as this is clearly a subtle
issue that has taxed the minds of some of our greatest thinkers. 



From: <swirskyr@...> (Rachel Swirsky)
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 10:31:52 -0500
Subject: RE: Modest Clothing

> Hashem commanded Kohanim to wear pants in the mishkan specifically for this
> reason.

Yes, but that was clearly under a tunic of sorts.



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <hsabbam@...>
Date: Tue, 4 Nov 2003 16:30:04 -0500
Subject: RE: Parve & Cholov Israel

>From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
>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?


  The "RCC" Community Kashrus Division of the Rabbinical Council of
  California Rabbi Nissim Davidi and Rabbi Avromon Union - Rabbinic
  Administrators Phone: (213) 489-8080; Fax: (213) 489-8077 Our Website

As far as the oxymoron, I have seen situations where the label is set as
a cut and paste.  That is, the label would have either Parve or Dairy on
one line and the remainder of the certification label would be
unchanged.  If that is the case, then the Cholov Yisrael part of the
labe would be meant to apply to those products under this certification
which are dairy.

Another example of this type of labeling would be "may contain peanuts"
or "contains peanuts or cashews".  That is, the manufacturer tries to
print a generic label to save money.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz

From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 20:39:40 +0200
Subject: Re: Parve & Cholov Israel

I wouldn't trust it. 

There's something very "fishy" about it, if you don't mind the phrase.
Anyone who knows so little about kashrut can give a hechsher.  Yes, I'd
say the same about those who use the term "glatt" with food that can't



From: Harlan Braude <h.braude@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 11:09:53 -0500
Subject: RE: question on parshat Noach

> out a Raven, and on three occasions a dove to see how dry the land has
> become.  Yet he did not exit the Ark until commanded so by G-D.  If so,
> what was the function of his sending out of the birds?
I can respond to part of your post...

Regarding the raven, the Or HaChaim references a midrash that says that
the raven was ejected from the ark not as a scout, but for violating one
of the "house rules" of the ark.

There, a "dialog" is described between Noah and the raven which explains
the more familiar portion of the midrash attributing the raven's
behavior outside of the ark to his suspicions of Noah's regarding his
(the Raven's) mate.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Nov 2003 01:17:10 +0000
Subject: Rav Vozner

> Then the discussion moves to bugs and worms and quotes from the Responsa
> of the Vazner Rav shlita (with whom I am not acquainted), the Shevet
> Haleivi

The Sheivet Haleivi contains the tshuvos of Rav Vozner shlito of Zichron
Meir, Bnei Brak

Perets Mett


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 04 Nov 2003 21:15:15 +0200
Subject: Re: Simchat Torah

> Atzeres.  The protracted dancing(?) and singing (shouting?) of both
> the evening and the following day mean that there is virtually no time
> left for a Yomtov Seudah with the family, to pick up a Sefer or simply
> to enjoy Yomtov and relax with the family.  But, other than leaving

Since when is relaxing and reading the definition of "Yomtov?"  Zman
simchateinu?  Every year, here in our little shul in Shiloh, I'm thrill
anew watching a new crop of youth singing and dancing with such devotion
and enthusiasm.  The little boys on their uncles who at the same time
are being held by the (grand)fathers, or the father with two sons, one
on the other's shoulders.  Many of our boys high school and up are in
yeshivot, mechinot and the army, so our recently bar mitzvahed can fully

Sometimes the females dance a bit; some, as I wrote earlier, dance/visit
the infirm, or I can talk with friends, go home for a bit, whatever.
But reading and relaxing... not on the menu.  Not on Simchat Torah.



End of Volume 41 Issue 14