Volume 41 Number 92
                 Produced: Thu Jan 22  5:31:49 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Beta testers wanted for a Windows/ Pocket PC Niddah calculator
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
capitalizing "rabbi"
Chanukah Olive Oil
         [Daniel Stein]
Entering a Church
         [Perry Zamek]
Karaite Chanukiah?
         [Jack Gross]
         [Adam S. Ferziger]
Leningrad Codex - Karaite?
         [Leo Koppel]
         [Leah Aharoni]
Number Theory
         [Tobias Robison]
         [Stan Tenen]
Order of Service on Ta'anit
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
swallowing goldfish
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Terri & Ryans wedding


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 22:30:52 +0300
Subject: Beta testers wanted for a Windows/ Pocket PC Niddah calculator

A friend is looking for beta testers for a program he wrote that deals
with Niddah calculations.

The algorithm that was first used was one that is based on the Sephardic

The program has now been written to be in accordance with Ashkenazi

What he needs is people with Windows (95 through XP) or Pocket PCs, who
know enough of Hilchot Niddah to check out the program and see if it
performs in accordance with the Ashkenazi Minhagim.

I am basically a conduit, so I am really not up to answering specific

Many thanks,
Shmuel Himelstein


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 23:42:42 -0500
Subject: capitalizing "rabbi"

I've seen it other places, and I see it in the second line of the quoted
text below, the capitalization of the word "rabbi" when afaik it should
not be capitalized.

>I have before me a Weekly Portion sheet of a prominent Torah institution
>here in Israel.  It states that it trains "young Rabbis to take the

Here it is not used as a title, such as Rabbi Katz, Rabbi Cohen; and it
is not used as a term of address, "Hello, Rabbi", in which one
particular rabbi is addressed.  It's not part of a organization name,
like the Union of Orthodox Rabbis.

Terms like general, lieutenant, boss, governor, mayor, superintendant,
chairman, director, teacher, scholar, priest, minister, etc. etc. are
not capitalized unless used in one of the two ways I give above.  The
President is not capitalized unless it refers to *the* president of the
USA (or of the country being discussed), again, a specific person.

What basis is there in English or Hebrew for capitalizing rabbi or
rabbis when the word doesn't refer to a specific person whose identity
is explicit or understood?

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


From: Daniel Stein <daniel_stein@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 09:21:48 -0500
Subject: Chanukah Olive Oil

My inquiry is mainly for my Mother's purpose.   

    Before this past Chanukah, I went out to buy Olive oil for my
Chanukiah.  However, although it does have an "OU" it doesn't specify
wether or not it can be used for human consumption in foods,

  Are they considered safe?  Please advise.   
Daniel Stein   


From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 09:04:55 +0200
Subject: Re: Entering a Church

Gilad J. Gevaryahu wrote:

      Gad J. Frumkin, the only Jewish Supreme Court justice in Mandatory
      Palestine, tells of the event he attended in the early 1920s in
      Jerusalem (No year was stated):

      "On the day of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Ottoman yoke,
      on December 9, in the morning there was a prayer (1) in the St.
      George's church ... among the participants was the Rabbi Yaakov
      Meir (2) who came in his official dress with his many medals which
      he received from the Turkish Sultan, and the Greek and British
      Kings" Gad Frumkin, Darach Shofet biRushalayim, Tel-Aviv, 1955,
      p. 294. [my free translation - GJG]

      (1) I assume some kind of ceremony rather than a prayer
      service (GJG)

If the date was December 9, then the year would have been 1917. That was
the date on which the Turkish authorities in Jerusalem surrendered to
the British Army (actually, to Sergeants Hurcomb and Sedgewick, of the
London Regiment).

It's interesting that a service (thanksgiving service?) would have been
held on the same day. Is it possible that Judge Frumkin may have been in
error as to the exact date of the event in the church? (Perhaps it was
two day's later, when General Allenby entered Jerusalem?).

Perry Zamek


From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross2@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 15:32:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Karaite Chanukiah?

>From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
>"The Leningrad Codex is part of the Abraham Firkovich collection at the
>Russian National Library in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), where it
>has been for more than 130 years. Firkovich was a Jewish businessman, a
>devoted Karaite (Jews who follow only the Bible and reject oral or Talmudic
>tradition), an inveterate traveler and collector of Hebrew manuscripts. The
>Codex was acquired by Firkovich (who offered no details in his letters or in
>his autobiography as to where he got it) and then sold it to the then St.
>Petersburg Imperial Library."  -- 

Thus, the previous owner was a Karaite, but AFAIK, there is no evidence
that the scribe/artist was anything but a mainstream Jew.

-- Yaakov Gross


From: Adam S. Ferziger <ferziger@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 23:29:51 +0200
Subject: Re: Kollel

The thread on the community kollel has been quite illuminating for me.
Currently, I am preparing a study on the community kollel in America and
its role in confronting assimilation.  I would appreciate if any list
members would share anecdotes regarding this topic or examples of
conflicts between the activities of the kollel and of other exisiting
local Jewish institutions.  Please contact me off-list..


Adam S. Ferziger, Ph.D.
Gwendolyn & Joseph Straus Fellow in Jewish Studies
Senior Fellow, Rappaport Center for Assimilation Research
Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel 52900


From: Leo Koppel <wallyut@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 13:03:59 -0700
Subject: Leningrad Codex - Karaite?

>From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
> >Stan Tenen wrote : "The Leningrad Codex is about 1000 years old, and
> >was produced in Cairo. It is a Karaite codex. It has full Masoretic
> >notes and vowelization."
>IIRC, Karaite or not, that is a subject of a very major dispute. Aron
>Dotan's monograph (published by the IOMS - Int'l Organization for
>Massoretic Studies) I believe holds that it was, but many other
>Massoretic Scholars disagree, I dare say most hold otherwise, against
>Dotan. For instance, R Mordecai Breuer.

There is also a 3rd position, which is more consistent with the textual
sources.  1000 years ago outside of the Gaonic academies the boundary
between Karaite and Rabbinic Judaism simply had not fully crystalized.
Bringing the majority of pre-Rabbinic communities into the Rabbinic fold
was a large part of the life effort of Saadya Gaon.  While he for the
most part succeeded, even 100-200 years later there were still many
communities not clearly Rabbanite or Karaite.

We still have a living example of pre-Rabbinic Judaism in that of the
Beita Israil of Ethiopia.  After researching the issue -- i.e., learning
Ge`ez and learning their literature -- I believe they are a remnant of
Hellenistic Hebrew religion of the Greco-Roman period.  At some point
the Hellenistic learning of Axum in Ethiopia was translated into Ge`ez,
and the Hellenistic Hebrew communities of Ethiopia seem to have
transitioned as well.

Yonatan Mehaber


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 23:43:57 +0200
Subject: Mesora

>On the other hand, during the earlier era, most people who worshipped
>idols were otherwise Jewishly observant; to them, avodah zarah was no
>worse a sin than, say, lashon hara or talking in shul is to many people

Alex's point about the joint worship of Hashem and avoda zara is heard
loud and clear in Eliyahu's admonishing of the Jews, "Ad matai atem
poschim al shnei haseipim," which the JPS translates as "How long halt
ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him; but if Baal,
follow him."



From: Tobias Robison <trobison@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 11:11:14 -0500
Subject: Number Theory

One comment on the subject of the patriarch's factored ages was: "Not to
be a spoil sport, but I would posit that these numbers have no
significance whatsoever, just a cute coincidence."

Martin Gardner, who for many years wrote the math column for Scientific
American, revelled in showing how remarkable numeric coincidences can be
found everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, meaningful or (more likely)
not. He created a character, "Dr. Matrix", who regaled us with many
apparently portentous numeric surprises in history and everyday life.

Search the web for "Martin Gardner" and "Dr Matrix" to find several
delightful books of these made-up interviews.

- tobias robison


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 09:43:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Numbers

>From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
>In support of Carl Singer's comments on numbers, I remember when I was
>growing up in NY there was a "personality" around who was called "The
>Numbers Man."  I dont remember his name or other details.  I believe he
>died about 1980.  But his "shtick" so to speak was to connect disparate
>numbers to prove some point.  So, the number of seats in Yankee stadium,
>the number of steps in the Statue of Liberty and so were all grist for
>his theories.  One of his theories was that he was Moshiach (yes, of
>course he was Jewish).  After he died one radio show interviewed a
>mathematician and asked about the amazing coincidences that the Numbers
>Man came up with.  The mathematician responded that while it seems
>amazing there are in fact billions of numbers of different things in the
>universe so it is not surprising at all that some of them should
>correlate in one way or another.  I would think the same would hold true
>for many gematrias: it is no surprise that some of them work given the
>many many possibilities.

And I support what Bill Bernstein has posted here.

For those who have a hard time calibrating their sense of what's a
meaningful numerical association, and what's ad hoc or only a
coincidence, I highly recommend reading some of the very entertaining
Scientific American columns and follow-up books by Martin Gardner, about
his fictional number-magician, "Dr. Matrix." Dr. Matrix doesn't
exist. He's a device-character that Gardner uses to put forward any
number of extraordinary numerical coincidences and relationships. If you
enjoy playing with numbers, and would like to have a better sense of how
amazing numerical coincidences can appear -- while still being
essentially meaningless -- I highly recommend searching the Internet and
the bookstores for Gardner's "Dr. Matrix" materials.



From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 23:03:12 +0200
Subject: Order of Service on Ta'anit

Jack Gross' reasoning for saying selihot right after hazarat ha'shatz
sound very reasonable

>Selichos were originally part of the sixth b'racha of Tefilla (or
>perhaps _replaced_ the normal nasach thereof: the "S'lach lanu ..."
>intro line replacing the usual "S'lach lanu" that opens the beracha, and
>"v'al y'akkev chet v'avon..." [omitted from current editions] leading
>into the chasima).  When the practice developed to omit s'lichos from
>the body of Tefilla, they were given the next available slot.

Could he give us sources?


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 20:16:01 -0600
Subject: Pardes/Paradise

Shalom, All:

	Stan Tennen wrote that >> Pardes is reached by meditation.  The
word itself stands for the integration of the four levels of Torah:
Pshat, Remez, Drash, and Sod.<<
	Whoa! "Pardes" is a loan word, not an original Hebrew word. It
came into Hebrew much after such words as, say, "Sod. " It arrived from
the **Persian** word for "orchard." In its English incarnation it is
pronounced and means "Paradise."

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 22:28:39 +0200
Subject: Spoon

The Sefer HaMinhagim of Chabad, p. 76, in the section of wedding
customs, states the custom is to step on the silver spoon while going
into the Yihud room.  Why it doesn't say.


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 17:19:19 -0800
Subject: swallowing goldfish

Regarding the claim that one can eat fish even if alive (because we can
kill them in any manner), does this not violate 'ever min ha chai'
[taking a limb from a live animal]?

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Jan 2004 19:58:01 -0800
Subject: Terri & Ryans wedding

I have no idea who this couple is and why their wedding was
televised. But in the 3-4 minutes I did see , i saw that the crowd all
stood up for the bride.  So, I'm wondering now if standing for the bride
has nothing to do with minhag but simply a custom that osmosied from
outside in.



End of Volume 41 Issue 92