Volume 42 Number 05
                 Produced: Tue Feb  3  5:44:00 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Divine Names in the zemiros
         [Richard Dine]
Divine Names in Zemirot
         [Mark Steiner]
Friends of Sharei Tzedek
         [Arieh Lebowitz]
Hashem in Zemirot
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Idol Worship in other Religions
         [Edward Ehrlich]
New Website: Bar / Bat Mitzvah Resource Center
         [Jacob Richman]
Perhaps Allah = G-d in Arabic
         [Art Werschulz]
Singing Hashem's name in  Zimrot
         [Robert Schoenfeld]
Thank G-d for Tupperware
         [Edward Ehrlich]
Translations, anyone?
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Tzur Mishelo - is this bentching?
         [Immanuel Burton]
What's Jesus?
         [Tzvi Stein]
Work In Hashkafa
         [Bill Bernstein]


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 09:02:45 -0500
Subject: RE: Divine Names in the zemiros

While not directly on point, I would note that one way I try to
encourage Kavanah for Zemirot is to have my children try to pick a zemer
for us to sing that has a relationship to the particular Shabbat.  It
makes them think about each zemer's meaning.  This past week, the links
were somewhat of a stretch:  Baruch K'eyl Elyon since it includes
"L'nafsheinu Pidyon" and also the song usually sung Saturday night "Al
Tirah Avdi Ya'akov" since it comes from the haftarah.  Nevertheless, I
think it has been a helpful exercise. 

Richard Dine


From: Mark Steiner <ms151@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 11:26:27 -0500
Subject: RE: Divine Names in Zemirot

I had not intended to post another remark on this topic, but I take
great exception to the idea that the zemiros are intended for
"entertainment."  It may indeed be true that entertainment is in the
minds of some who sing these songs of praise, but the correct response,
which I am taking the opportunity to urge here, is to LEARN the zemiros
just as you would learn any other text by R. Yehuda Halevi (Yom Shaboson
Ein Lishkoah), the great R. Boruch of Mayence (Boruch keyl elyon), Ibn
Ezra (Ki Eshmera), R. Israel Najara (Koh Ribbon, which must be sung with
great devotion), R. Shimon Hagadol, etc.  etc.

Many of the zemiros are intended to review the Laws of the Sabbath (Yom
Shabbos Kodesh Hu--this one covers an enormous amount of material).

And, to repeat a point I made earlier, the zemiros are not "prayers",
though they do occasionally contain prayers in them, but rather vehicles
to fulfill the mitzvos of Shabbos.  In the yeshiva world there is a
story they tell about a well known rosh yeshiva who "lost" a son to
Torah by not singing zemiros at the Shabbos table.  (The veracity of the
story is not the issue here.)

Mark Steiner


From: Arieh Lebowitz <AriehNYC@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jan 2004 00:15:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Friends of Sharei Tzedek

RE: Mordechai Horowitz's query of Thu, 01 Jan 2004, "Does anyone know of
a website or other contact information for the American fundraising
branch of sharei tzedek hospital?"  You should look at:

American Committee for Shaare Zedek
website: http://www.acsz.org/

Arieh Lebowitz


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2004 19:14:22 +0200
Subject: Hashem in Zemirot

Regarding whether the zemirot are "sing song" or true praise, I was
taught that the purpose of zemirot at the shabbat table was to fulfill
the requirement of divre torah at the table. ( A good example is mah
yedidut.)  A table without divre torah is equivalent to zivhe metim, an
altar to the dead, say our rabbis.  And historically, many of the pyutim
in the synagogue service were introduced during the time when it was
forbidden to preach divre torah ( as in the time of Justinian). It seems
logical then to say hashem's name. when singing these "divre torah" at
the table.


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 20:35:01 +0200
Subject: Idol Worship in other Religions

Zvi Stein wrote:
>I used to think that it was universally accepted that Islam is not
>"idol worship", thus the allowance to daven there, but I recently heard
>a shiur by a prominent rabbi, who quoted a posek (which I don't
>remember) as holding that Islam *is* in fact idol worship.
>Interstingly, I also recently learned that some Christians consider
>Islam to be "idol worship" and Allah to not be eqivalent to G-d, but
>the successor of some pre-Islamic "moon god", which was co-opted by
>Mohommed to win converts to his new religion.

While Islam might very have been a successor to a pagan religion with a
"moon god" it clearly has been strongly monotheistic since its beginning
and shares with Judaism a theology accepting a single, incorporeal,
all-powerful Supreme Being.  My guess is that Christians labeling Islam
a form of "idol worship" are engaging in an anti-Islamic polemic.  I
would certainly be interested on what basis a Jewish source would
consider Islam idol worship.  There does not seem to be anything in
Islamic belief or practice that in any way supports such a claim.

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2004 05:12:14 +0200
Subject: New Website: Bar / Bat Mitzvah Resource Center

Hi Everyone!

This week I launched a new website that provides you with useful
resources to plan and have a successful Bar / Bat Mitzvah.

The site is called: My Bar Mitzvah

The address is: http://www.my-bar-mitzvah.com

Below is a brief description of the site features.

Who / What / Why 

A look at what it all means and why we celebrate this Jewish life cycle

Torah Portions 

All the Maftirs and Haftorahs with Nikud (vowels) and cantillation marks
for viewing and printing. All files are in graphic format. This means
that you do not need Hebrew installed to view or print the files.


One of the items that people spend hours preparing for the special day
is the invitation. We present you with many pointers on how to carefully
create the invitation and we provide dozens of examples to get ideas

Speeches / Stories 

This searchable database of speeches and stories will give you ideas for
preparing your own speech and activities.  We also provide a convenient
online form to submit your own story and speech to share with the online

Tips / Hints 

Helpful suggestions on how to make your event a success. 

Best Wishes

You just bought a present but can't think of what to write in the card?
This section will give you plenty of ideas on what to write.

We welcome feedback and we are planning additional sections in the

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, so they may
benefit from these new resources.

Have a good day,


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 10:00:21 -0500
Subject: Perhaps Allah = G-d in Arabic

Hello all.
Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...> writes:

> Interstingly, I also recently learned that some Christians consider
> Islam to be "idol worship" and Allah to not be eqivalent to G-d, but
> the successor of some pre-Islamic "moon god", which was co-opted by
> Mohommed to win converts to his new religion.

"The Scholar's Haggadah" has several different haggadot (in parallel) in
one volume.  The Yemenite text has a number of what appear to be
Judeo-Arabic piyuttim.  These selections use the name "Allah", which is
translated as "G-d".

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325


From: Robert Schoenfeld <frank_james@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Feb 2004 13:22:17 -0500
Subject: Singing Hashem's name in  Zimrot

Shabbos meals areholy and are an extension of benching and the singing 
increases the holiness of the meal and stops unnecesary talking 
including possibly loshan hora.Therefor we must pronounce Hashem's name 
as written and not substitute for it

Robert Schoenfeld


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 21:21:07 +0200
Subject: Thank G-d for Tupperware

Andy Goldfinger wrote:

>I have been learning the second perek (chapter) of Chullin (a tractate
>of the Talmud).  We are learning several sugyas (topics) that deal with
>tuma and tahara (impurity and purity).  It is extremenly complicated and
>non-intuitive.  Nowadays, the subject is largely academic, but when the
>Bais HaMikdosh (temple) is rebuilt these laws will have major practical
>importance. Our lives are going to change to a geat extent.
>For example, it will sometimes not be sufficient merely to know that
>something is tamei (impure), but also to keep track of how it became
>tamei.  Kosher kitchens will be much more difficult to manage.

It was my understanding - which could very well be mistaken - that
during the times of the First and Second Temples, most Jews were "tamei"
and only the Kohanim had to keep themselves "tahor". After the Temple is
rebuilt it will be necessary to work out arrangements for all meat to
pass through the Temple in order for the sacrifices to be correctly
performed, but once that is done and the meat is delivered from the
Temple for general distribution, there would no longer be any general
need to be concerned about "teumah".  Is my understanding correct,
partially correct or totally wrong?

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Feb 2004 18:24:58 +0300
Subject: Translations, anyone?

Having worked for three software houses over the past 6 years - all of
which closed - I am back to my old and abiding love - translations. If
anyone needs or know of someone who needs a translation into English
from either Hebrew or Yiddish, I would be most happy to hear from you. I
specialize in larger projects: books or major articles, for example. My
expertise is in the entire Jewish field, plus pretty much anything in
the social sciences, etc.  Having translated and/or editing over 50
books for various publishers, I believe that I have the requisite

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Immanuel Burton <IBURTON@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 08:32:45 +0000
Subject: RE: Tzur Mishelo - is this bentching?

> I have several friends who have a minhag to sing Tzur Mishelo
> immediately after bentching, just so they can avoid this potential
> problem.

Does this solve the problem?  If one accepts that Tzur Mishelo is (or
may be) a form of bentching, then isn't one bentching twice if one does

I would like to float the following ideas to suggest that Tzur Mishelo
does not count as bentching:

Firstly, it is a shinui matbayah - a change of coinage - from the
standard form of bentching, and so one has not fulfilled one's
obligation to bentch by singing Tzur Mishelo.  (The Oxford English
Dictionary gives one definition of the word coinage as the devising of
words and phrases)

Secondly, do we not say that positive commandments require intention in
order to be fulfilled?  If one sings Tzur Mishelo with the intention of
NOT bentching, then wouldn't that circumvent any problem?

Immanuel Burton.


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: What's Jesus?

Maybe there are some other parents of elementery-age kids who have gone
through this...

One of my kids was practicing his reading by reading the comics in the
newspaper.  He particularly likes "Family Circus" because the writing is
usually accessible to his reading level, it's short, and he usually
"gets the joke" at least at some level.

Now, I realize that we live in a predominantly Christian culture and I
don't mind *so* much when some comics show scenes from church, funny
exchanges with the minister or Sunday school teacher, or with the
"angels" of dead grandparents, all of which Family Circus seems to do
with quite some frequency.  However, when they get into discussions of
Christian theology and New Testament verses mentioning Jesus, as they
did in this recent strip, I think it goes over the line.

So now I'm put into the position of having to answer the question
"What's 'Jesus'?".  How do I answer such a question?  Do I give him a
mini-seminar on the Christian concept of the Trinity then immediately
"unteach" it to him to make sure he doesn't incorporate it into his
developing personal theology?  Do I just dismiss it as "goyishe avodah
zara" and risk embarassment the next time he hears the word again in
public and immdidately spouts "goyishe avoda zara!"?  Is there some
middle ground?

And it's not just a question of "don't let them read the
paper... problem solved".  It *is* an issue they'll have to face sooner
or later, no matter what.


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Feb 2004 11:06:33 -0600
Subject: Work In Hashkafa

Those who subscribe to the American edition of the Yated maybe have
noticed a little sidebar/ad that has some tie-in with the works of Rabbi
Avigdor Miller zt'l.  The ad contains some kavvanahs before going off to
work.  In general they present work as necessary for performing certain
mitzvas (e.g. paying tuition) or an ancillary opportunity (e.g. to
demonstrate honesty in business dealings and thus make a kiddush
HaShem).  While I am happy for the reminder I am bothered somewhat by
the position implied that work itself has no intrinsic redeeming value.
I find it to be at odds with different statements in Chazal, which seem
on the contrary to maintain that work is ennobling and valuable in and
of itself.  This is unlike the rather rude meshulach who told my
grandmother a'h maybe 50 years ago "arbeit iz for pferd, vi du."

The exposition in Yehuda Levi's book "Torah Study" is very good.  I
wonder if other members have different sources they might mention.

Kol tuv,
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


End of Volume 42 Issue 5