Volume 43 Number 32
                    Produced: Wed Jun 30 23:14:05 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Abbreviations and Sources
         [Yehoshua Lovinger]
Another Birkat Kohanim Question
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Erev 17 Tammuz
         [Yehonatan Chipman]
Hazzan's Hat
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Kollel Voholin
         [Yisrael Medad]
         [Douglas Moran]
Reactions in Daf Kesher 970 to Rav Bazak and Rav Meidan
         [Joseph I. Lauer]
Source for ATBa"Sh
         [Stan Tenen]
An unidentified Rashi (2)
         [Joseph I. Lauer, Yehuda Landy]


From: <Shuanoach@...> (Yehoshua Lovinger)
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 20:30:14 EDT
Subject: Abbreviations and Sources

I've been having difficulty finding a number of sources and a was
wondering if anyone here could help.

1) At the beginning of Yoreh Deah siman 93 the pitchei teshuva cites a
merkevet ha-mishneh in the "kuntres birkat ha-cheshbon". In which
edition, volume, and page numbers (if possible) can this be found?

2) darkhei teshuva on siman 93 refers to a sefer, shoresh mi-yaakov, on
the beginning of yoreh deah siman 93. I have been unable to locate it.
Who wrote it? And where can one find a copy? (i couldnt find it at
gottesman [yu] or ny public libraries.)

3) what is the abbreviation in pitchewi teshuva yoreh deah 2:1 -
teshuvot B"Sh aharon? (i checked and could not find the teshuva in
either r.  sholomo kluger's binyan shelomo or r. yissachar eilenberg's
be'er sheva.  Who is this?)

Any help would be appreciated. (if possible, also e-mail me at

yehoshua lovinger


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 17:33:33 +0300
Subject: Re: Another Birkat Kohanim Question

Joshua Hosseinof <JHosseinof@...> stated the following:

      Actually, it is not the normative practice for sephardim for a
      Kohen shaliach tzibur to duchen, unless there is no other 13yr+
      Kohen present.

In fact, at least in Israel, this is indeed the practice for Ashkenazim.

As stated in the halakha, it's OK as long as the sheli'ah tzibbur will
not become confused and lose his place.  And today, when we all pray
from siddurim, this fear is no longer justified.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Yehonatan Chipman <yonarand@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2004 17:19:12 +0200
Subject: Re:  Erev 17 Tammuz

     Re the question as to when the three weeks begin: a very strong
argument to suggest that it begins the night before is a line of thought
i once heard in the name of Rav Soloveitchik ztz"l: namely, that on a
certain theoretical level all public fast days are based upon the
classic model of ta'anit tzibbur, i.e., like Tisha b'Av, both in terms
of their duration and in terms of what is forbidden.  It was only so as
not to unduly burden the public that, when the Sages took these fasts
upon Klal Yisrael, that certain leniencies were allowed.

There are several halakhot that reflect this: 

1.  Once a person goes to sleep, one is obligated to fast from the
    moment of waking, even if it is before dawn, unless one makes a
    specific tenai (condition) to the contrary (Orah Hayyim 564).  This
    suggests that there is what in halakhic langauge is called a "shem
    ta'anit" ("name" of it being a fast day) that is attached to the
    entire 24-hour period.

2.  Marital sex is forbidden on the night of a fast day, except on leil
    tevillah (mikveh night).

3.  One is not supposed to bathe oneself, at least fully, during a fast
    day, unless there is a compelling reason, e.g., that it is Erev
    Shabbat (as sometime happens with 10 be-Tevet). These last two
    halakhot appaer in O.H. 550.2; see there especaially Mishnah Berurah
    and Be'er Heitev.

  On the other hand, I remember once hearing that there was a mahloket
beteeen Rav Soloveitchik and Rav Feinstein ztz"l, about whether or not a
wedding could be held on the night of 10 Tevet.  I also seem to remember
being invited to a wedding held on the night of 17 Tammuz here in
Israel, which was registered with the Rabbinate, who prrsumably would
not have allowed it were it totally forbidden. (On the other hand,
Sephardim marry till Rosh Hodesh Av; on the third hand, the eve of a
fast should logically be stricter than the other days of the three weeks
till RH Av; on the fourth hand, maybe my memory is incorrect.  Has
anyone checked to see if Rav Moshe has a teshuvah on the subject?)

Jonathan Chipman


From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:36:57 +0200
Subject: Hazzan's Hat

bh, revi'i balak

Yes there was some confusion.  In the shul ( Litvishe) I grew up in the
hazzan during prayers wore a <hazanishe yarmulke> --that's what it was
called--.  Perhaps that's what the first inquiry was about. The
president and vice president wore <tzilinders> during services, and the
rabbi a venerable Litvishe rabbi , a musmakh from Slobodkah, wore a
<Litvishe yarmulke> ( a yarmulkeh with a stiff round band of about 2 or
three inches high with two buttons on the sides, and he wore a tzilinder
in the street on shabbat.  In old photographs of hazzanim, they often
also are shown wearing <tzilinders.>


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 00:11:30 +0200
Subject: Kollel Voholin

The question was asked:

      I have recently read about a Kollel Volin in Jerusalem.  Does
      anyone know if this kollel is still operational, and if so who
      runs it (i.e. is it affiliated with any group)?

one piece of information: they owned the land on which the first houses
were built on the slopes of Mt. of Olives a few years ago upon Dr.
Moshkowitz's initiative.  Seems the land was purchased over 100 years
ago or more and the wheat for Jerusalem's shmura matza was grown there.

My impression is that it is just a holding fund right now but I am not
sure.  They have a major educational institution just behind where
Mandelbaum Gate was.

Yisrael Medad


From: Douglas Moran <dougom@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 09:44:17 -0500
Subject: Re: Madonna

On Mon, 28 Jun 2004 19:48:15 +0200, Yisrael Medad wrote:

>       Seriously -- Even today's (New Jersey) Star Ledger had an article
>       by a Kathleen O'Brien entitled "Oy! Madonna's now a nice Jewish
>       girl" -- which starts off "Hold on to your yarmulke, Modonna's
>       going Jewish."
>Besides the obvious connection to Marilyn Monroe, who married a Jew, I
>don't understand what a possible name-change should have to do with
>On a more serious track, the fact that being connected with Judaism in
>some way at least, is now getting popular with celebrities is wonderful.
>Sign that the real moshicah is G-d willing getting closer.

While I agree with Yisrael in principle, my impression from the stories
I've read is that Esther/Madonna is merely treating Kabbalah as a
sort-of new (or old?!) version of Est or Esalen or some other hip,
celebrity-popular pop-psychological learning.  I am personally somewhat
concerned that these celebrities--and Esther is only the most
well-known--are doing what we often accuse the Reform movement of doing:
practicing "buffet Judaism," wherein they only take the parts that they
find interesting, in this case Kaballah

I personally find this interest in Kaballah on the part of non-Jews to
be irritating, merely because it is a fad.  I dislike my religion, or
portions thereof, being turned into a fad.  Of course, I am perfectly
happy for Esther or whoever who wants to follow the path I did, and go
on ahead and convert.  It's the best thing I've ever done, personally
(leaving aside for the sake of argument getting married and having

For me, the question breaks down into two areas:

1) What does Jewish law say about studying and teaching Kabbalah to
goyim?  (See?  There's the Jewish law portion, Yisrael!)  

2) What does Jewish law say about a person with two small children
studying Kabbalah?  My understanding is that young people (under 40) are
forbidden to study Kabbalah not because it is that difficult, but
because the study sometimes causes one to spend so much time thinking
cosmic thoughts (sorry) that they forget, say, to go to shul, or put on
tefillin, or whatever.  Similarly, would one want to study Kaballah when
one has small children?



From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 22:57:31 -0400
Subject: Reactions in Daf Kesher 970 to Rav Bazak and Rav Meidan

    Three "letters" are published in this week's Daf Kesher with regard
to the debate between Rav Amnon Bazak and Rav Yaakov Meidan.

    The first, by Rav Yisrael Rosen, is in reaction to Rav Bazak's
original essay.

    The second is Rav Bazak's response to Rav Rosen.

    The third, by Yair Shtadler, discusses the views of the right and
the left and of the religious and the secular camps.

    These may be found at

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 10:26:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Source for ATBa"Sh

>From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
>The ATBASH acrostic appeats a few times in Tanach: Jeremiah 25:26 and
>51:41 (the word Sheshach is an ATBASH for Bavel) and in 51:1 (the words
>lev kamai are an ATBASH for Kasdim).

This is correct, but it's also unnecessary.

Atbash is real. Alef really is the "180-degree back-side" of Tav. Bet
really is the "180-degree back-side" of Shin, etc., for all the 11 pairs
of letters.

Generally, this cannot be seen. There are several reasons.

1) It's only true for the earliest forms (and the rabbinic forms -- but
not the Torah-scroll form) of the Meruba Ashuris letters. You can't see
this with modern Hebrew lettering, Mishnas Sofrim "squared-off"
Torah-scroll letters, and you certainly can't see it with the
"old-Hebrew" Canaanite-Phoenician "stick-figure" letters.

2) It's a 3-D effect, not a 2-D effect.

There's a single generating form in 3-D which I call "First Hand" that
is a kind of "ur-tefillin strap". It's formed by pairing the letters in
the first verse of B'reshit. When this entirely asymmetrical (it looks
different from different perspectives) specially shaped spiral
vortex-like "First Hand" "ur-tefillin strap" is worn (on the hand), and
gestures are made, the outline of each rabbinic Meruba Ashuris Hebrew
letter can be seen in a gesture whose natural and universal meaning
turns out to be the same as the meaning of the name of the letter.

To see the outline of a Pe, make the "megaphone-speaking" gesture (for

When this 3-dimensional "First Hand" makes the Bet gesture and displays
the letter Bet, rotating it 180-degrees displays the letter Shin.

All 22 letters fit on a 1/3 unit tetrahelical column. The column
consists of 11 tetrahedra, each one pointing in a different direction --
thus there are 11 axes. Each of these can be viewed from the front or
from the back.  This produces the 11-pairs of letters of the Atbash

Atbash is thus a means of recording, remembering, and reconstructing the
alphabet and of demonstration its intrinsic interrelationship with

Thus, in ancient times -- like, for example, when Sheshach = Bavel --
this would have been an obvious "code" for anyone who knew about, and
wore, tefillin. Thus, it would be transparent to Jews, and inscrutable
to others.

You can see a chart of the 11-pairs of letters at
<http://www.meru.org/Gestures/Atbashgest.html> . This is an old chart,
and it's part of a work in progress, which means that not all the
letters are correct (we have upgrades) and that some of the letter-pairs
may be hard to make out when viewed on a chart in 2-dimensions. In 3-D,
it's a lot easier to show -- but this has to be done in person,
one-on-one, because the viewing angle for the letters only works for the
wearer, and one viewer at a time. (This may be a simple technical reason
for the necessity of teaching parts of Sod and Kabbalah one-on-one only
-- see Ain Dorshin, Hagigah BT.)

If anyone would like to be walked through this, or has questions or 
comments, please respond on- or off-list.



From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 2004 21:54:09 -0400
Subject: An unidentified Rashi

    Yehonatan Chipman asked for the source in Rashi of the Sefat Emet's
comment: "Be-Rashi z"l: gavoah shenitga'eh ve-heit yashpil atzmo,"
etc. ("In Rashi obm: a haughty (or "high") person who became proud and
sinned should cast himself low").

    It is possible that the Sefat Emet was partially paraphrasing the
Rashi to Vayikra 14:4 (Parashat Metzora), which states that the Negaim
came because of Gasut ha-Ruach, and concludes with the words, "Mah
takanato v'yitrapei? Yashpil atzmo miga'avato ketola'at uch'ayzov."

    Joseph I. Lauer
    Brooklyn, New York

From: Yehuda Landy <nzion@...>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 2004 03:16:43 +0200
Subject: Re: An unidentified Rashi


    Rashi explains the parsha of the Parah Adumah with two approaches.
He finishes the Halahaic approach and then proceeds to explain it
according to a midrash starting at the beginning of the parsha, and
making his way through, again. Your quote can be found in the second
approach possuk 6.

         Yehuda Landy


End of Volume 43 Issue 32