Volume 42 Number 67
                 Produced: Wed May 12 22:45:56 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax
         [Rabbi Nosson Slifkin]
Early Soviet Jewry Activism
Halacha and Standards (2)
         [Mike Gerver, Binyomin Segal]
Music in Jerusalem (2)
         [Eli Turkel, Martin Stern]
R' Moshe and Listening to Music (3)
         [Yehonatan Chipman, Jonathan Sperling, Joel Rich]
Rambam on Har Habayit (3)
         [Yehuda Landy, Zev Sero, Yisrael Medad]
Vocalization in Megilat Ruth 2:2
         [Jeremy Nussbaum]


From: Rabbi Nosson Slifkin <zoorabbi@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 15:54:45 +0200
Subject: The Camel, The Hare, And The Hyrax

The topic of the Torah's list of animals with one kosher sign has come
up on Mail-Jewish numerous times. Readers may be interested in a book
that I just published on this topic, entitled The Camel, The Hare, And
The Hyrax. For more details, and a free chapter for download, see

Rabbi Nosson Slifkin


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 23:53:34 -0400
Subject: Early Soviet Jewry Activism

My earliest exposure to the Soviet Jewry issue was ma'ariv first night
Rosh haShono of 1965. It was near the start of my second year at the
U. of Chicago, and I asked a girl in the first year class to go with me.
Jewish, but as I recall, she had never been to a shul before.  Because
of that, I was pleased that I got her to go.  I picked out the only
Conservative shul in Hyde Park, because my family and I were C.  The
"sermon" or whatever he called it was long.  The first half must have
been 15 or 20 minutes or more where the rabbi said that when he was
hired, he told the Board he would never ask for money on RH.  And he was
"going to keep that promise tonight", but then he went on and on about
all the things the congregation needed that cost money.  If he had just
asked for money, it would have been fine, but I was so embarrassed in
front of the girl.  Too much so to ever even find out if she had thought
his self-contradiction was bad.

The second half was just as long, and it was about Soviet Jews. He said
something** about how they were trapped in the Soviet Union, were
treated badly but couldn't leave, and I think that we had to help them.
I can't remember anymore where he said he got his information, or if he
had been to the USSR.  I would have been very interested, but his
presentation was incredibly maudlin and melodramatic, and I prefer a
straightforward approach, and often react with some disbelief to the
opposite, plus I was already annoyed at him.  And I was sure he was
continuing to make a bad impression on the girl.

But when I was at the Museum of Science and Industry some time in the
next 3 years, and I saw there was a Soviet expert speaking about
agriculture, I went and asked him why the SU wouldn't let people
emigrate who wanted to.  He admitted to the audience that I was talking
about Jews, and then gave a stupid answer.  That was all I did until I
got to NYC and walked in the Solidarity marches, that ended near the UN.
That wasn't much either.  But for all my complaints about his sermon, it
was a C rabbi in 1965 who introduced me and his congregation to the

**Over the years I have heard so much about Jews in the SU that what
part of that he said that night I can't really recall.


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


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 03:00:05 EDT
Subject: Halacha and Standards

Bernie Raab, in v42n66, says

      Maybe so, but I used to work with many Catholics who had to decide
      what to give up for Lent every spring and I always thought it made
      it a very meaningful religious experience, in contrast to what
      frequently becomes a rote observance of halachos in Judaism.

Many years ago, a (ovo-lacto-)vegetarian friend asked a shayla, whether
he should give up eating anything during the nine days. He was told that
it would be appropriate (maybe not required), to pick something he liked
and to give it up, like eggs, or cheese.

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel

From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 20:54:54 -0500
Subject: Re: Halacha and Standards

In a recent post, Bernard Raab pointed out that:
> Maybe so, but I used to work with many Catholics who had to decide what
> to give up for Lent every spring and I always thought it made it a very
> meaningful religious experience,

His suggestion that this is not part of standard Orthodox observance is,
while perhaps an accurate social observation, philosophically incorrect.

There has always been a distinction made between chumrah and halacha.
Halacha are those things that every person must do, chumrah are those
things that each person individually (and for the most part privately)
may choose to do.

As I said, Mr Raab's observation may be an accurate social observation.
In some communities, chumrah has become part of the mandated halacha,
while in other communities chumrah has become something to avoid at all
costs. The result is that few people understand their obligation (in the
"Duties of the Heart/Mind" sense) and opportunity to select chumras that
will best enhance their own personal spiritual growth.

Clearly this assertion regarding the place of chumras requires evidence.
And a proper examination of this evidence is beyond my time allowances
now (though I think I posted on this a number of years ago). Just to get
the ball rolling though, consider the siman in shulchan aruch 231: "All 
a person's kavana (intent/focus) should be for the sake of heaven". 
Choosing to sleep, or to eat, and when to do these things are the 
purview of PERSONAL spiritual decisions.

Hope this helps
binyomin segal


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 11:19:30 +0300
Subject: Music in Jerusalem

Matk Steiner wrote:

> I might mention, however, that in Jerusalem, instrumental music is
> forbidden even at weddings, and in weddings in Mea Shearim, there is
> only a singer, accompanied by a drum. Some allow a SINGLE instrument,
> but not an orchestra.  Some allow even a electronic keyboard device
> that SOUNDS like an orchestra.

It is not completely clear when and why the Jerusalem custom arose.  I
have heard stories that it started from a plague in the days of R.
Sonnenfeld. Others that it was to prevent excessive weddings.  It does
not seem to be connected with Churban HaBayit and is relatively late
(60-70 years old).

I have also heard that RSZA paskened that Jerusalem minhagim pertain
only to the old city (where R. Sonnenfeld lived) and not to the new city
of Jerusalem.

> As I stated before, however, the Rema derives the ban on music from a
> different principle from that of the Rambam, and thus the ban is
> limited to table music as in restaurants.  I believe that in the
> German kehillot, even the most strictly Orthodox listened to, and even
> played (hausmusik) instruments, in accordance with the Rema.

There are rumors that R. Kaminetsky encouraged the use of Jewish music
(eg Carlbach) as a way of keeping the youth away from secular modern
music.  In Bnei Brak one frequently sees signs against the various
"hassidic" concerts by Mordechai Ben David, Avraham Fried etc. but they
get sold old anyway. At least unofficially there seems to be a
distinction between chassidic and yeshivish attitudes towards music
besides the German one mentioned by Mark Steiner.

Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 5/11/2004
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 06:35:19 +0100
Subject: Re: Music in Jerusalem

on 11/5/04 3:47 am, Mark Steiner <marksa@...> wrote:

> I might mention, however, that in Jerusalem, instrumental music is
> forbidden even at weddings, and in weddings in Mea Shearim, there is
> only a singer, accompanied by a drum.  Some allow a SINGLE instrument,
> but not an orchestra.  Some allow even a electronic keyboard device
> that SOUNDS like an orchestra.  Etc.

The Jerusalem custom is not related to a general psak against
instrumental music but a ruling made about 150 years ago as a form of
public self-restraint and mourning in response to a particularly
virulent cholera epidemic.

Martin Stern


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 18:14:59 +0200
Subject: Re: R' Moshe and Listening to Music

 Two comments about the question of whether there is a blanket
prohibtion of listening to misic, even not during Sefirah or the Three

1.  About Rav Moshe Feinstein:  It doesn't seem logical that he would
prohibit music, unless it was a purely personal humra, for the following
In 1959 he wrote a teshuvah dealing with the question of whether or not
one could listen to or sing at the Shabbat table melodies composed by
Shlomo Carlebach (he does not refer to him by name, but it's quite clear
who he was talking about), because Shlomo was beginning to behave in
ways that were viewed as unacceptable by the frum world.  I don't have
the reference at hand, but it's in Vol. I of Iggerot Moshe Yoreh Deah.
He rules that it's permitted, and nowhere suggests that instrumental
music is assur.

2.  According to Minhag Yerushalayim, of the old Perushim community, no
instrumental music is to be used.  Even at weddings or Simhat Beit
Hashoeva they only use a drum.  l'm not sure whether in theory it's
understood as a universal restriction because of the Destruction of the
Temple, or whether it applies specifically in Yerushalyim, because of
the geographical proximity to the Temple site.  In any event, the
restriction is observed outside of the walls of the Old City (ie., in
Meah Shearim) as well as within, but only among certain very limited

Yehonatan Chipman

From: Jonathan Sperling <jsperling@...>
Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 23:34:40 -0400
Subject: R' Moshe and Listening to Music

Mark Steiner's memory (MJ vol. 2, no. 66) is to be commended.  The
teshuva that he recalls is Igrot Moshe, O'C 1, siman 166 (dated summer
1958).  This teshuva is devoted exclusively to the question of whether
it is permissible to listen to music following the destruction of the
Beit Hamikdash, and R' Moshe concludes that music with instruments is
forbidden, even by way of radio.  R' Moshe also writes that while
singing alone is not forbidden, it is appropriate for a "baal nefesh" to
be strict and to avoid even singing, as the Rambam paskans in one of his
teshuvot.  R' Moshe does indicate, however, that even instrumental music
is permissible "lidvar mitzva", such as at weddings.  Indeed, in Y'D 2,
siman 112, he writes that music with instruments is an obligation at
weddings, so much so that a groom who wishes to save money by dispensing
with music at the wedding can be forced to hire musical accompaniment.

The later teshuva that Mark recalls is O'C 3, siman 77, and was written
in spring 1961, just a few years after the earlier one.  The first
paragraph of the teshuva addresses the permissibility of learning to
play a musical instrument during sefira.  In the course of that
discussion, R' Moshe reiterates his p'sak that instrumental music is
forbidden year-round if for purposes of enjoyment rather than earning a
livelihood, but notes that one should not object to those who listen to
instrumental music since they have the Rema upon whom to rely.

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 05:49:50 EDT
Subject: R' Moshe and Listening to Music

Someone asked for a cite on this issue.

 The tshuva is in O"C 1:166

 Joel Rich


From: <nzion@...> (Yehuda Landy)
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 12:59:27 +0200
Subject: Re: Rambam on Har Habayit

> More significantly, the Rambam writes, in Hilchot Beit Habechira 7:7,
> that even with the Beit Hamikdash destroyed, it is still a mitzvah to
> go up to those portions of the Har HaBayit permitted to us (a very
> large area, even taking uncertainties into account) and pray. I
> imagine he took his own opinion into account when visiting
> Yerushalayim.  Nachum Lamm

The Rambam says no such thing. All he says is that the same laws of Mora
Mikdash apply nowadays as well, despite the fact that there is no Beit
Hamikdash. He mentions no mitzvah to go up and pray.

					Yehuda Landy

From: Zev Sero <zev@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 13:11:53 -0400
Subject: Rambam on Har Habayit

He writes no such thing.

Zev Sero

From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 20:32:20 +0200
Subject: Rambam on Har Habayit

Nathan Lamm surmises (actually he 'stretches') that since the Arabic
      name for the Har Habayit is Haram Es-Sharif, the Noble
      Sanctuary. This is usually agreed to be a translation, in spirit,
      at least, of "Beit Hamikdash." The Rambam may simply be
      retranslating the term back into Hebrew (I don't know the original
      language of the letter), and thus be referring to the Mount

The early Arabic name for Jerusalem was Bet Al-Makdass, i.e., Bet
HaMikdash, the House of the Holy Place.  That would have been the
appellation with which the Rambam would have been familiar. Haram
E-Shairf came much later.

Yisrael Medad


From: Jeremy Nussbaum <jeremynuss@...>
Date: Tue, 11 May 2004 19:36:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Vocalization in Megilat Ruth 2:2

I was asked about ruth 2:2, the word va'alaqeta.  It seems that it is
vocalized with a chataf kometz under the kuf in the Koren tanach, and
with a shva in many other editions.  Can someone explain why this is so
and how it should be pronounced?  This is the case as well with
Mordechai in megilat Esther, with a chataf kometz under the dalet.
Again, why is this so, and how should it be pronounced?

Jeremy Nussbaum


End of Volume 42 Issue 67