Volume 43 Number 39
                    Produced: Fri Jul  9  6:42:13 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Ain Hekdesh Lavodat Kochavim
         [Yehuda Landy]
Child Determining Kashrut of a Sefer Torah
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Custom of naming after deceased family members
         [Yehuda Landy]
Erev 17 Tammuz
         [Jack Gross]
         [Martin Stern]
Naming Customs
         [Eli Delman]
Sex Education update
         [Janet Elise Rosenbaum]
"wonder" stories
         [Harlan Braude]
Wonder Stories
         [Joel Rich]


From: Yehuda Landy <nzion@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 12:14:34 +0200
Subject: Re: Ain Hekdesh Lavodat Kochavim 

Hi. The source for this Avoda Zorah 44b.

                                  Yehuda Landy

 > From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
 > Could Yehuda give a source for this assertion, I had always assumed that
 > verbal dedication to avodah zarah was effective.


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Jul 2004 22:31:57 +0200
Subject: Re: Child Determining Kashrut of a Sefer Torah

In response to what Y. Askotzky <sofer@...> wrote
>     One who has thoroughly studied the laws of the letters, such
  >   as from the Mishnas sofrim (Mishna Brura), yet has no or
  >   minimal shimush, practical training, would generally not be
  >   considered an expert to be able decide whether a child may be
  >   asked other than in clear cut cases such as the leg of the
  >   vav being in the middle between a yud and a proper vav and
  >   the like.

Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>  wrote       
>In other words, we must ask the child's opinion on what the letter is
>only if an expert in the "Laws of Letters" cannot decide.

Ira did not understand Y. Askotzky's statement. What the expert couldn't
decide is *whether or not to ask a child*, not what the letter itself

When do we ask a child to read a doubtful letter in a sefer Torah?

There are basically three categories of defects of a letter in a sefer

(1) Defects which clearly invalidate the sefer Torah; an essential
element of the letter is missing or rubbed out, the letter is split in a
certain way, parts which must be separate are connected, etc.

(2) Defects which clearly do not invalidate the sefer Torah; Tagim
(crowns) are connected to each other or missing, for example.

(3) The letter is misformed in a way that makes it look like another
letter (a vav is so short that it may be mistaken for a yod, or so long
that it may be mistaken for a final nun, for example).

A child is asked to read the letter *only in type 3 defects*.  In case 2
, a child *should not* be asked to read the letter, because some poskim
hold that if for some reason the child mis-reads the letter, the ST is
pasul; others disagee).

Well, how do we determine which category a given letter is in? That
requires, of course, considerable erudition and expertise. I believe
that l'halacha, in the absence of an authoritive opinion, a congregation
is permitted to *continue* to read from a doubtful ST (need not take out
another ST), but must get a reliable psak before using that ST again.
This is obviously a b'dieved situation; preferably someone in the minyan
should be qualified to provide an on-the-spot psak.

Most mJ readers probably have heard the story of the rosh yeshiva who
told his talmidim who wanted to take on a congregation "The halachot you
*must* know are those of Shabbat and sefer Torah. For everything else,
you can call me."

Saul Mashbaum


From: Yehuda Landy <nzion@...>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 12:20:04 +0200
Subject: Re: Custom of naming after deceased family members


    Nadav was named after Aron's father inlaw Aminadav.
    Yosef appears among the names of the meraglim. Yigal ben Yosef.

                                              Yehuda Landy


From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 2004 00:07:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Erev 17 Tammuz

Yehonatan Chipman wrote:
    "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 only operates if one _intended_ to wake up before dawn.  If one
simply said "If I wake up before daybreak I intend to eat" before going
to sleep, the fast begins immediately when one retires, and one may not
eat after that.

    "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."

-- In fact the original practice was to include Aneinu in all three of
the day's tefillos -- evening, morning and afternoon -- even though
fasting does not begin at sunset.  And that is why the kabbalas taanis,
where applicable, must be made the day before, since it designates the
entire following day as a "fast-day", although the fasting begins at
bedtime or in the morning.  (In the times of the Geonim, it was
restricted to the afternoon recitation for the individual, although
retained in the morning repetition by the Sha"tz.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2004 11:01:43 +0100
Subject: Re: Korbanot

on 8/7/04 10:25 am, Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...> wrote:

> Imagine a half-million or so men crowding into the Bet Mikdash on some
> (hopefully soon) erev Pesach, each with a korban Pesach, a Chagiga, and
> some additional "owed" sacrifices, and each of these animals has to be
> done in the name of the proper owner, with the correct intentions, and
> with the thought of when and where it may be eaten, all different for
> each type of sacrifice.  How can all this be tracked correctly?

> Bar codes, of course!

Not necessarily, the kohen, if he has any sense, would have intention to
perform the avodah 'stam', i.e. on behalf of the owner whoever he may
be. It would be almost impossible ever to have any specific person in
mind at such busy times. Look at the problems caused by trying to do
this for ladies after childbirth in Massekhet Kinnim!

Martin Stern


From: Eli Delman <eli.delman@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2004 12:22:41 -0400
Subject: RE: Naming Customs

>>>Interested in knowing when the custom of naming newborn children after
>>>deceased family members began.

>>The question is really the other way around. When did the Ashkenazi
>>minhag stop naming after the living and began naming only after the dead

>Actually the gemorrah in Berachos (Daf Zayin, Amud B) in a discussion.....

Midrash Rabbah (Gen. 37:7) tells of Eber naming his sons Peleg (because
the "dispersal" would occur in the year of his death) and Yoktan (who
would lead a humble life). R. Shimon ben Gamliel is cited: "In earlier
generations, when they possessed Ruach HaKodesh they would name their
children "lishem ha'me-ura" (according to the event/circumstance); we,
who no longer have Ruach HaKodesh, name for our forbearers".

Based on the Maharzav's comment there, even according to R. Yose, who
seems to differ with R. Shimon's statement, the reason people in those
times named for events was because there was no need to memorialize
their forbearers, due to the tremendous longevity they enjoyed.

Noheg Katzon Yosef (printed in 1718, a recognized authority on Ashkenaz
customs) says that naming for a living forbearer is disrespectful
because it appears that we are anticipating that person's demise.

Tiv Gittin (350:1:10) cites the Sefer Chassidim (460) not to name for
living people.



From: Janet Elise Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 2004 13:51:27 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Sex Education update

Hi.  I've been doing some academic work on sex education in general
American society, including the trend towards "abstinence education", so
began wondering about sex ed in day schools.

I found in the mail-jewish archives from 10 years ago a thread about sex
education both in day schools and chatan/kallah classes.  The conclusion
of the thread seemed to be that sex education is lacking and the
deficiencies lead to problems among children, but also among married
adults, due to the lack of a healthy and open discourse about sexual

How has sex education changed in the past decade, both for children and
the engaged?  Have there been any improvements in any of these respects?



From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 05:51:51 -0400
Subject: RE: "wonder" stories

> These stories are meant to inspire us. But too often they distort the
> Torah and ending up depressing us. In the worst cases, a person will

Sometimes, the affects of the old game 'telephone' come into play, as

I was a guest at the Shabbos table of a friend of mine a couple of years
ago and, as they did each Shabbos during the school year, they'd have
the children give the d'var Torah on the parsha they were taught that

The story that one of the children related was, in my opinion, really
over the top, but was delivered in such a matter of fact manner and with
such innocence that I had to work hard to stifle a laugh.

The story, as told, was about a couple who son was to have his bris one
particular day. The father of the baal bris was an extremely pious man
(with all the usual attributes for such a story), but also, nebech,
gravely ill.

As the story went, everything was ready for the bris to begin, but they
waited patiently for the pious man to expire so that they could name the
child after him.

While I understood what the story was meant to convey, I couldn't help
imagining the elderly man asking 'what's everybody waiting around for'?

From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 2004 05:36:43 EDT
Subject: Re: Wonder Stories

>> I've had quite a few experiences of being quite disturbed and "turned
>> off" by a story or dvar Torah I was not really ready to hear. >>>

> I agree, and would go even further. In my personal experience (everyone
> will vary, of course) the most damaging stories are the ones where a
> certain tzadik did a certain thing, and he is held up as a role model
> for us to emulate. So far, so good. But too often, the thing he did is
> not actually required of us. The tzadik went beyond the requirements of
> halacha, and we end up feeling inadequate because we're not strong
> enough to go that extra mile. >>

The defenders of this practice would argue "A man's reach should always
exceed his grasp" (R. Browning) and thiese stories set a standard to
reach for.  Another problem is "Rich's rule of unintended interpretation


1. Rabbi X is so frum he learns throughout chazarat hashatz.

 unintended interpretation consequence-it's ok for Rabbi X to do "his
thing" during chazarat hashatz, so it's ok for me to do mine(talk)

2.The Rogatchover loved learning so much(some give a halachik
explanation of why this was ok but some don't include it in the story)
learned certain subjects on Tisha Baav even though the halacha is one
shouldn't because he couldn't keep away from learning. He(someone else)
said I'd rather have the olam haba of one who learns on Tisha Baav...

unintended interpretation consequence-if I love something enough I can
ignore prohibition

Joel Rich


End of Volume 43 Issue 39