Volume 42 Number 17
                 Produced: Sat Feb 21 21:36:55 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Am Yisrael and influence of Christian belief
         [David Ziants]
Barukh shem kvod malkhuto in Shema
         [David Maslow]
Jewish Observer article, Disney, et al
         [Chana Luntz]
         [Michael ]
Reverse Marranos (2)
         [Michael Feldstein, <chips@...>]
Yiddish tape
         [Tzvi Stein]


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 00:31:41 +0200
Subject: Am Yisrael and influence of Christian belief

I wrote as part of the thread "What's Jesus?":
> >...as a result, learning the "meaning" of tefilla was learning a
> >literal translation to English - and no one really cared if you
> >understood or not. I do not know how this is dealt with in chutz
> >la'aretz these days, especially as much of Jewish philosophy may not
> >be considered "politically correct" in Western Society.

Another poster replied:
> Understanding the meaning of tfilos is unrelated to the issue of
> studying philosophy. The way understanding tfila is dealt with in chutz
> laaretz is that people study the Artscroll, Metsuda, or Iyun Tfila
> sidurim. Iyun Tfila was written by a charedi and has been translated
> into English. It is very popular. Many people in and out of yeshiva
> study the Gra's commentary on tfila. The list goes on. Baruch Hashem,
> understanding tfila is not a wedge issue that divides strains of
> Orthodoxy.

I followed onto the subject of tefilla and Jewish philosophy from the
context of bringing up children, and comparing the Jewish educational
level in the UK at the time I was growing up a generation ago, to now in
Israel where ay"h my children are growing up (having married later in
life, I am a bit behind on this).

The specific example that I should have added to my posting, and that
was going through my mind as I was writing, is appertaining to the
translation of the word "Am". Hopefully, readers of this list know that
"Am" means "nation". We were always taught the translation "people", and
this is the word used in the Siddur we had (Art-Scroll wasn't around at
the time). Although "people" is synonym for "nation", we were not really
taught what the Jewish Nation was, and were left to assume that "people"
here is plural of "person", or possibly a little bit collective as in
usage "people in the street".  Although I was taught the berachot,
tefillot and how to davern, basic laws of Shabbat and Kashrut, I was
unable to have an understanding of what "Am Yisrael" is from my
(Orthodox) United Synagogue cheder classes. When I was able to move on
to the religious school in NW London (and I am certainly gratified that
they accepted me, knowing that I wanted a religious environment), the
emphasis was on Chumash-Rashi and learning Mishna/Gemarra - but nothing
on machshevet yisrael (= Jewish thought) as Judaism is only the "4 amot"
of halacha.  The philosophy of the school was Hirshian, and the limits
on secular subjects were few (Latin and English Literature were both
options on the curriculum).  Thank G-d there was the local B'nei Akiva,
which I joined at a later stage, that was able to fill the picture for

The point is that we are a nation, and not just a religion. This is the
major dividing point between ourselves and the Christians who, are a
universal religion and refuse to see any religious significance to
national identity. (I understand that there are some groups who do, but
this was a minority who had little influence.)  They want the Jews to
think like they think, and to a great extent they unfortunately
succeeded. This is why my mother was unable to explain to me this
difference between us and our neighbours, but could only tell me about
the messianic belief issue.

Although I am pleased that the Art-Scroll siddur translates "am" as
"nation" rather than "people", their approach is to deal with our
nationhood as a nation still in galut.

For 2000 years, we had no choice in this issue, but now with the birth
of the State of Israel, - and moreover we will soon have the status of
"rov yisrael b'admato" (= the majority of Jews are living in the Land of
Israel) and all the halachic ramifications this brings - the concept
that we are a nation is no longer an abstract concept.

Hakadosh Baruch Hu (The Holy One Blessed Be He) did not intend for us to
keep the Torah in the Midbar but this is the Torah of the Land of

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: David Maslow <maslowd@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 15:58:36 -0500
Subject: Barukh shem kvod malkhuto in Shema

I would appreciate information on why (and when) Barukh Shem Kvod
Malkhuto was inserted into Shema. Also, why is it not considered an
interruption or hefseq in the recitation of the Sh'ma? And if it is
omitted, does one fulfill the mitzvah of kreyat shema?

I am familiar with the midrashim connecting the sentence to the Shema
sentence, but not the implications for prayer.

David E. Maslow


From: Chana Luntz <chana@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 22:21:53 +0000
Subject: RE: Jewish Observer article, Disney, et al

In message <20040216105257.11641.qmail@...>,
R E Sternglantz writes
>The point about the imitation non-kosher food was very, very 
>specifically focused as well: it was about a sense of urgency and 
>excitement about getting kosher certification for a product touted as 
>"tasting exactly like pork."  It was about the Jew wanting the "exactly 
>like pork" experience more than anything else.

"Chullin 109b:

Yalta [his wife] said to Rav Nachman - let us see, everything that the
Torah forbad us, it permitted us something like it - it forbad us blood,
and permitted us liver, [it forbad us] dam nidah, [and permitted us] dam
tahor; [it forbad us] the fat of a domestic animal [and permitted us]
the fat of a wild animal, [it forbad us] pork (chazir) [and permitted
us[ brains of fish, [Rashi: which has the taste of pig] [it forbad us] a
tamei bird [and permitted us] the tongue of a fish {Rashi; which tastes
like the tamei bird]; {it forbad us] a married woman [and permitted us]
a divorcee in the lifetime of her husband, [it forbad us] the wife of a
brother [ and permitted us] a yevama [it prohibited us] a Kuti [and
permitted us] a yefat toar , bring for me to eat [the like of] basar
b'chalav, Rav Nachman said to his butchers, roast for her an udder."

Sounds to me like the Jew in question has good precedents!

And in a message dated 2/11/4, David I. Cohen writes:

>  Or another, what exotic locale we can
>find to vacation in on Pesach, while tangentially thinking about the
>quality of the seder (and Yom Tov) experience.

On the one hand, I can understand the criticism - and yet, on the other,
I wonder if searching for an exotic locale to vacation in on Pesach is
not far more likely to give an authentic and valuable Yom Tov experience
than what is customarily done.

After all, traditionally one is supposed to go away for Pesach (unless
one lives in Jerusalem) that is what aliyat haregel is all about.  And
while we cannot go up to the beis hamikdash, I wonder if the excitement
of going to an exotic locale is not a lot closer to the feeling of that
than staying at home.  In addition, aliyat haregel was all about going
away with other Jews (millions of them) and having each their own seder
cheek by jowl with the next family (all on har habayit).  Actually
sounds more like the kind of communal but family sedarim found in many
of these away vacations (so I gather, I have only ever been away for
pesach once, the realities of having a disabled child means any form of
vacation is basically impossible) than what usually happens at home.

Contrast to what happens for many, if not most families who stay at 
home. Firstly, at least a significant number of women completely dread 
Pesach. (Say the word pesach to them, and they say, oh know, I don't 
want to even think about that yet).  Contrast that to the anticipation 
of going away (whether created by an exotic locale or not) - where 
suddenly, one is genuinely and truly looking forward to pesach, not 
pushing oneself to do so.

Then, the women work themselves to the bone, and are so shattered that 
they do not enjoy, not the seder and not the whole yom tov (contrast 
that with the exotic locale, where they genuinely feel they have a 
holiday, and there is a real sense of escape and simcha).  And the kids 
are home, creating havoc, and the women are so bone tired that they 
cannot enjoy them or spend quality time with them (contrast the exotic 
locale, where childcare is laid on, and parents can genuinely have a bit 
of R&R).

Which of the two is a real simchas yom tov (even if indeed the quality
of the seder and the yom tov is tangential)?  In fact, in which
environment is it more likely that people (especially the women) will be
receptive to a high quality seder and a meaningful yom tov?

Chana Luntz


From: Michael  <b1ethh94@...>
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 11:34:50 -0500
Subject: Marranos

From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen) 
>Although, as did S. Wise, I would disagree with much of the content, the 
>JO and the Agudah world are not the only place where it is pointed out 
>that observant Jews spend too much time in trying to act like non-Jews 
>and stay within halachic confines. 
>Are we a community of "reverse Marranos'? 

Although Marranos is the commonly used term, I have been told that the
term Conversos is preferred, since Marrano in Spanish means pig, and was
the term the Spaniards used for the Conversos.



From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Tue, 17 Feb 2004 08:48:51 EST
Subject: Reverse Marranos

From: <bdcohen@...> (David I. Cohen)
>Although, as did S. Wise, I would disagree with much of the content, the
>JO and the Agudah world are not the only place where it is pointed out
>that observant Jews spend too much time in trying to act like non-Jews
>and stay within halachic confines.
>Are we a community of "reverse Marranos'?

I remember hearing Rabbi Riskin's speech about Jews becoming "reverse
Marranos," and I believe he was referring not to Western culture and
practices that can be integrated into halacha without a problem, but the
kind of secular practices that are not consistent with halacha--similar
to the practices in which the original Marranos publicly engaged.
Otherwise, why would people today hide these practices and do them
privately if they were not inconsistent with halacha?

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT  

From: <chips@...>
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 2004 22:27:29 -0800
Subject: Re: Reverse Marranos

Judaism does not say one should forego all earthly pleasures, it does
say one is not to pursue them all.

I find it interesting the reactions being posted to this issue. Aside
from distorting what the complaint of being "reverse Morranos" was and
is, I have the Shakesperean sense of "thous doeth protest too much".

I live in a community that boasts about the Kosher places there are to
eat and how well they are attended. Meanwhile, the Shul can not be
certain of getting 10 people for mincha and has less than 7 for the
"daf" .

I have no qualm or question of those who visit places like the Grand
Canyon or Niagra Falls.  I can understand going to Six Flags ,
Disneyland and the such. In its proper time and in its proper mental
place. The sense I got (and still get) is that people think that Chol
Hamoed was made in order to go to Disney.

While I always joke that going to Southern California and Arizona for
Pesach is perfect ( to quote the 2nd Dick VanDyke series - "What Jew
would not love the desert for Passover), I really do not get (or
understand) why people find it more fitting to go exotic locals for
Pesach (or any other Chag) than being at (someone's) home. In fact, in
our generations if one is not going to be at a home and decides to go to
an exotic locale like the Virgin Islands or Switzerland, than one is
spitting on our heritage for not going to Eretz Yisroel.



From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Subject: Yiddish tape

Steven White wrote:

>Brief ma'aseh:  My mother (who should live and be well) speaks fluent
>Yiddish, learned at her grandmother's elbow.  She has never much
>understood my becoming frum, but she thought she could participate a
>little by encouraging me to learn Yiddish.  So she bought me a tape.
>But the tape only repeated vocabulary words, and covered no language
>structure as well.  I found it frustrating, as if it were just gossamer,
>and eventually stopped.

Like everything, I'm sure there are good Yiddish tapes and bad Yiddish
tapes.  I'm pretty sure there are Yiddish tapes out there that use a
practical, accessible, conversational approach to learning the language.

Just by way of illustration and motivation... I remember about 2 weeks
before a vacation to Greece many years ago, I picked up a tape series
that was very converstaional oriented.  I just spent about a half-hour
to an hour every day listening to it and I picked up enough Greek that I
shocked every native I tried it out on.  They had never seen a tourist
speak Greek as well as me.  And I had a much much richer vacation
because of it, getting incredible access to ordinary Greek people and
saving a bundle on hotels by constantly being invited to stay at
people's houses, which is unheard of for a tourist.  I even went to a
real, live, "Greek wedding".... all in a 2-week low-budged vacation.

I urge you to go out and find a Yiddish tape like that.  It's well worth
it for both the cultural value and the fact that you'd be fulfilling a
Torah commandment and one of the Ten Commandments by honoring your
mother, who apparently wants you to learn Yiddish.  And who knows, she
might be so pleased that you learned it, she'll be more open to frumkeit
both in you and perhaps even herself.


End of Volume 42 Issue 17