Volume 41 Number 97
                 Produced: Mon Jan 26  5:59:09 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adding to Store of Knowledge
         [Shalom Carmy]
capitalizing "rabbi"
         [Nadine Bonner]
Code Update
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Does potential spouses really have to tell everything
         [Akiva Miller]
More on Fish, Milk and Meat
         [Zev Sero]
obligation to tell
         [Tzvi Stein]
Order of Selichot
         [Martin Stern]
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Rabbi or rabbi
         [Perets Mett]
Swallowing Goldfish (3)
         [Josh Backon, Yehuda Landy, Zev Sero]
Walking into a church


From: Shalom Carmy <carmy@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 11:17:09 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Adding to Store of Knowledge

> I believe that one cannot honestly compare a Rabbinical degree and a PhD
>  ...  and that this is not in any way a reflection of their relative
> merits, simply of their philosophy.  A PhD (at least the kind with which
> I am familiar in science and engineering) involves researching,
> developing, and supporting a genuinely novel idea.  Examinations are a
> prerequisite for this degree, but the real test is the ability to defend
> the novelty and relevancy of your ideas in front of your peers.
> Rabbinical s'micha (ordination) shares the necessity for defending
> difficult ideas to your peers, but does not, and should not, require
> novelty of solution.  Though rabbinic novelty is useful in new,
> unforeseen circumstances, it is inappropriate and possibly
> counterproductive to require this for all rabbinic students.  Novelty in
> traditional halchic interpretation is the well-guarded exception rather
> than the norm.
> As such, it is more appropriate to compare a rabbinical degree to a
> J.D. or M.D.  degree - a degree with the same (or more?) respect as a
> Ph.D. but with a clear professional perspective that measures
> understanding of complicated professional ideas rather than the
> generation of novel ones.  
> Ari Trachtenberg, Boston University

This is a coherent, logical presentation. My impression is that in the
sciences and math, where novel contribution is measurable, a PhD
requires precisely that. I know brilliant mathematicians driven to
distraction by the fear that someone would solve their problem before
them and all their work would be for nought.

In other areas original work is also the standard. In practice, most
PhDs I am familiar with have not made any such contribution. One can
only imagine that PhDs who do not devote themselves to academe, but get
the degree for other purposes, are less anxious to make an original
contribution. Often, one suspects, the supervising professors and
institutions have rahamanut and let the candidates through.

There is serious discussion about an alternate degree for people who are
qualified to teach at colleges and universities but not interested in
pursuing research. There is also discussion about standards for people
who have original contributions (artists, writers and thinkers) but not
in standard academic form.

William James' "The PhD Octopus" was an early anticipation of this


From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 09:48:53 -0500
Subject: capitalizing "rabbi"

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

Actually there is no basis whatsoever. Hebrew does not have upper and
lower case letters. The Associated Press stylebook, used by most
newspapers and magazines, states: "Capitalize these titles (rabbi and
cantor) before an individual's full name."  The University of Chicago
Manual of Style concurs.

However, as a professional editor for over 20 years, I can report that
most people capitalize words according to their own judgement of the
importance of the words and never bother to check the rules of English
grammar. When those people have knowledgable editors, the errors never
see print.

Nadine Bonner


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 08:14:18 -0500
Subject: Code Update

Stan Tenen said: The first word of B'reshit is usually taken to be based
on the root "Rosh," meaning "head".  But in fact, there is an equally
valid root, "Reshet" -- Resh-Shin-Tov -- and it refers to a "woven
network".  Thus, B'reshit would mean "By means of a woven network".

In order for "B'reshit" to have the word root R-Sh-T you have to account
for the aleph in between the R and the Sh. What is your explanation? Do
you have any examples of other Hebrew words which have an "in-fix" of an
aleph? (The yud as an in-fix is seen in many Hebrew words)

Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jan 2004 13:29:51 -0500
Subject: Re: Does potential spouses really have to tell everything

Tzvi Stein wrote <<< Since being a Tay Sachs carrier has no effect on
the other spouse or the marriage (provided the other spouse is not also
a carrier), I had said that Tay Sachs status was something that did
*not* need to be discolosed. >>>

Let's name the spouses A and B. If A is a carrier but B is not, then
each child has a 50% chance of being a carrier. Suppose B wants to
insure that their child is not a carrier? Suppose B wants to insure that
their child never has to be in the position of breaking up a shidduch
because the other party is also a carrier?

I *do* understand that people tested by Dor Yesharim never know whether
they are carriers or not, but other testing services *do* make this
information available. I disagree with Mr. Stein when he says that this
information has no effect on the spouse. It *does* have an effect on the
spouse, and certainly on the potential children.

I admit that the effect is not a large one, but is small; my point is
that it's not zero.

Akiva Miller


From: Zev Sero <zev@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 06:43:35 -0500
Subject: Re: More on Fish, Milk and Meat

"Benschar, Tal S." <tbenschar@...> wrote:
> Dagim shealu be k'ara mootar leachlam bekutach.  Translated, it means:
> Fish which were placed on a [hot meat] platter may [still] be eaten with
> dairy foods.  [Kutach was a condiment made of milk, bread crumbs and
> salt]
> The point of that statement is that the fish remains pareve despite
> having been placed on a hot meat platter.  (The exact extent of this
> leniency is debated by the commentators; some would even permit it if
> the fish were COOKED in a meat pot.)  For our purposes, however, it
> seems to me a pretty clear statement that one may eat fish with dairy
> foods.  Why would the gemara chose fish as an example of a food
> remaining pareve when eating fish with milk is unhealthy?

The Bet Yosef's comment is on this very law (as quoted by the Tur).  The
law as quoted is that the fish may be eaten with milk, and on this the
BY says that that's true as regards the laws of kashrut, that the fish
remains parev, but it may not be eaten for another reason, one having
nothing to do with the laws of basar bechalav, i.e. health.

So the existence of this express statement is not news, and certainly
can't be used to refute the BY or the practise of those who follow him
in this!


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: Re: obligation to tell

>And if there is bi-polar disease, heart disease, breast cancer,
>schizophrenia, Down's Syndrome, Tay-Sachs and a criminal parent in the
>background, that too should be disclosed.

What is your reasoning with regard to the criminal parent?  Do you hold
that criminality is hereditary?  How does the criminal parent affect the
marriage or future spouse?  And what do you mean by "criminal"? Felony
conviction? Misdemeanor? Speeding ticket?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 11:34:32 +0000
Subject: Re: Order of Selichot

on 22/1/04, Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...> wrote:

> Jack Gross' reasoning for saying selihot right after hazarat ha'shatz
> sound very reasonable. Could he give us sources?

The original custom to include selichot in the sixth b'racha of the
shemonei esrei is mentioned in the Seder Rav Amram and, as I wrote to a
previous issue, was the custom among Jews from Germany, and those
following their custom. They are inserted after the first sentence
"Selach lanu, ki phasha'nu", after which the usual introduction to the
selichot "Selach lanu avinu ki berov ivalteinu shaginu" is said,
followed by "kel erekh apayim" and the appropriate selichot for the
particular day. The selichot terminate with the viddui and the paragraph
"meshiach tsdlekha, ki laShem Elokeinu harachamim vehaselichot", the
litanies "Keil rachum shmekha","anainu haShem aneinu", and "Mi sheana"
only being said during "free standing" selichot such as during the Yamim
Noraim. The shats then concludes "Ve'al y'akeiv cheit ve'avon et
tephilateinu, selach umechal lekhol avonoteinu, ki Kel tov vesalach
atah. Barukh atah hashem chanun hamarbeh lisloach" and continues the
shemonei esrei. (see The Authorised Selichot edited by A. Rosenfeld,
London (1962) and reprinted by Judaica Press). I have no idea why the
Eastern European communities changed the custom but it was probably
because of (unfounded) worries about making insertions in chazarat

Incidentally, Jews following the German minhag do not say Avinu Malkeinu on
a ta'anit tsibbur so the original question about the order, "Avinu Malkeinu,
selichot, tachanun", never arises.

Martin Stern


From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 09:24:52 EST
Subject: Pardes/Paradise

Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi (MJv41n91) says:

<<<    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.<<
    "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.">>>

Ibn Ezra to Shir ha-Shirim (4:13) reduces the meaning of the word, based
on Arabic, to an orchard of one kind of a plant ("gan [sh-]yesh bo min
echad"). I have asked an Arabic scholar to confirm this meaning in
Arabic, but he could not find this meaning in any Arabic lexicon.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 12:51:00 +0000
Subject: Rabbi or rabbi

Meir wrote:

> 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?

There is of course no basis in English for spelling rabbi with a 
capital R unless it refers to a particular rabbi.  But that is hardly 
the only grammatical or stylistic error in many of the circulated sedra 

As regards Hebrew, the question is meaningless, as Hebrew has no 

Perets Mett


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Thu,  22 Jan 2004 14:16 +0200
Subject: re: Swallowing Goldfish

Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> wrote:

> 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]?

Swallowing live fish is discussed in the Aruch haShulchan YOREH DEAH 13
# 2. Whereas the Rambam understands a Tosefta in Terumot (9th perek)
literally (that one *is* permitted to eat a live fish), other Rishonim
(Tosfot in Shabbat 90a and in Chullin 66a, and the Mordechai) prohibit
this as violating "baal teshaktzu" (don't do anything disgusting or
repulsive), and the Aruch haShulchan agrees.

Josh Backon

From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 14:00:00 +0200
Subject: Re: Swallowing Goldfish

	The prohibition of eiver min hachai applies only to animals and
birds which require shechitah.  Nonetheless eating live fish is a
voilation of Ba'l t'shaktzu (doing disgusting acts). See Shulchan Oruch
YD 13:a and Ramoh ibid.

	Yehuda Landy

From: Zev Sero <zev@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 05:59:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Swallowing Goldfish

No, that doesn't apply to fish  (YD 62:1, Rema YD 13:1).


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Thu, 22 Jan 2004 00:18:07 -0500
Subject: Walking into a church

>From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
>I recall when taking a guided walking tour of the Naval Academy in
>Annapolis, not paying much attention to which building was which, I
>found myself in the basement of the Naval Academy Chapel.  Good thing
>I'm not a Cohain -- as the body of John Paul Jones lies their repleat
>with Marine Honor Guard.  The Chapel, itself, is huge building in the
>shape of a cross.

Didn't know about John Paul Jones.  I had a tour of the Naval Academy,
arranged by some Jewish group, that took us to the small semi-interfaith
"chapel".  That is, it served Jews and xians, but not at the same time
and it did so by mounting the podium etc. up front on a big lazy susan.
The whole thing rotated and one side looked Jewish, the other side
didn't.  I thought the whole idea was pretty funny.  Is there any
problem for me or the other Jews entering that?

But they broke ground about 6 months ago for a multi-million dollar
Jewish building, not just a bais t'fila but I think a pretty big
building with a lot of other rooms.  Paid for by private contributions.
Ready in a couple years (unless it was finished 6 months ago. :) )

I once saw/met the Jewish Freshman class of the Naval Academy at the
Jewish Museum in Baltimore, and there were about 15 of them.

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


End of Volume 41 Issue 97