Volume 43 Number 60
                    Produced: Thu Jul 22  6:21:17 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bracha in any Language
         [Ruth E. Sternglantz]
Brachot Issues
         [Martin Stern]
Chassidic Garb
         [Bernard Raab]
Duchaning in Chutz La-Aretz
         [Y. Lovinger]
Kedeisha (2)
         [c.halevi, Nathan Lamm]
         [Perets Mett]
Origin of the "shtreimel"
         [Caela Kaplowitz]
Partial Pesukim
         [Shmuel Himelstein]
Pinchas and Some Broader issues in "sex" education
         [Bernard Raab]
Roshei vs Rashei
         [Martin Stern]
Sedra audios on 613.org
Terms for Christmas
         [Martin Stern]


From: Ruth E. Sternglantz <resternglantz@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 07:11:30 -0400
Subject: RE: Bracha in any Language

In response to a thread about making brachos without a printed source, a
MJ member posted:

>The issue is clear and the answer is use common sense. If you are going
>to eat or do something that requires a bracha, say it in any language.
>God understands. The point is, you ARE making a bracha. Duh.

And another member responded (actually, several posters expressed
similar sentiments):

>If this is true, you have negated all requirements to daven in Hebrew,
>or to actually wear tzitzis or tfilin, as long as you have the right
>thoughts, since of course God knows...

>Isn't this approach outside of Halachah, and thus outside of this
>forum?  If not, how does it differ from the classic "alternative"
>approaches to Judaism?

While obviously the original poster can well defend her own comments, I
really think that these responses are out of line.  Aside from the fact
that there is quite a clear lack of parallel between making a bracha
over food in a language other than Hebrew and not wearing Tzitzis but
"having the right thoughts," I do not think that she was advocating for
"alternative" approaches by any means.  She was approaching a very
specific situation: an adult needing to eat who finds himself unable to
make brachos in Hebrew because he is without a text.  While it's
certainly possible that her response was not the optimal halachic
approach (and I should note that she never presented her approach as
optimal), it does not seem to me beyond the pale.

It's the Nine Days.  Do you think we might manage to avoid accusing one
another of apikorsus on this list for that long?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 09:33:37 +0100
Subject: Re: Brachot Issues

on 20/7/04 1:27 am, Leah S. Gordon <leah@...> wrote:

>> This is a great question: Is it better to omit the bracha entirely, or
>> is it better to risk saying a messed-up blessing-in-vain
> I found the answer interesting wrt the benching...and it touches on a
> question of mine--suppose one is on an airplane or other such situation
> and realizes s/he needs to say Tefilat Haderech and doesn't remember it
> exactly...then what?

I have also wondered about such problems. There is a principle that one
should not change the traditional formulation of berachot. "matbeiach
shetav'u chachamim" but this would only apply to the Hebrew
text. Perhaps, in such circumstances, one would do better to extemporise
in one's native language, including the main ideas, rather than end up
saying a corrupted version of the Hebrew. What do others think?

Martin Stern


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 00:36:02 -0400
Subject: Chassidic Garb

>From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
       Fay Berger wrote:
       "When my mother AH saw the chasidim in their garb
       she exclaimed "Azai hoben di pritzim gegangen in Lita!"
       This is how the "lords" dressed in Lithuania!
>gegangen, i think, means "walked about".  there's another root for to be

It is idiomatic: "gegangen" used in this way means the way they dressed.


From: <Shuanoach@...> (Y. Lovinger)
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 20:25:24 EDT
Subject: Duchaning in Chutz La-Aretz

I recently looked in J. D. Eisenstein's Otzar ha-Minhagim under nesi'at
kapayim and noticed that as a source for not duchaning every day (in
chutz la-aretz?) he cites a "midrash yerushalmit" quoted in the sefer
minhagei yeshurun siman 105 which seeming provides an explicit
(talmudic) source for why there is no duchaning post-churban.

1) which sefer is this "minhagei yeshurun"? Abraham Eliezer Hirshovitz,
(b. 1859) has a yiddish sefer by this name. Is it there?--If so, where
did HE get it from?

2) i haven't seen this midrash yerushalmit cited by anyone else on
birkat kohanim, neither scholars, (E.g. Eric Zimmer in Olam ke-Minhago
Noheig [originally in Sinai article] or R. Getzel Ellinson in Encounter)
nor acharonim that i have looked at.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Y. Lovinger


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 20:14:11 -0500
Subject: Kedeisha

Shalom, All:

Nachum Lamm recently wrote in m-j that >>"Kedeisha" (or a masculine
equivalent) implies a prostitute used for religious purposes. Note that
when Yehuda first sees Tamar, he thinks she's a "zonah," but when
describing her to his messenger, he calls her a "kedeisha," almost as if
to lessen his sin, as if she wasn't a "common" prostitute.<<

Nachum is correct that a k'daysha is a temple prostitute. People gave
money to the idolatrous priests and got the services of the "sacred
prostitute". Besides income, k'dayshot -- usually dedicated to Baal or
Astarte -- were used to "ensure" a good crop.  This being the case, how
could Yehuda lessen his sin by referring to Tamar as a k'daysha?

Kol Tuv,

Charles Halevi

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 05:27:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Kedeisha

"c.halevi" <c.halevi@...> wrote:

> This being the case, how could Yehuda lessen his sin by referring to
> Tamar as a k'daysha?

I'm not saying he did- if anything, it might be worse.  However, we
don't know who he was talking to- in all likelihood, he was talking to a
Canaan native who saw nothing wrong, and something positive, with using
the services of a kedeisha. He might have been embarrased of the actual
story and looking to make it sound better to his messenger, at least, by
saying it was a kedeisha. We can also wonder how much foreign ideas were
influencing the Bnei Yisrael even in that generation- perhaps not as
much as the actual worship of Avoda Zara that would later appear, but
there may have been a subtle psychological influence.

Nachum Lamm


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 11:11:08 +0100
Subject: ofrif

1 The Yiddish language has been around for 800 years

2 The Yiddish word isn't aufruf anyway. It is spelt [khoylem-alef, fey,
reysh, mlupm, fey] and is pronounced variously as ofrif/ufruf/ifrif
depending on regional variations in pronunciation.

Perets Mett


From: Caela Kaplowitz <caelak@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 08:42:10 -0400
Subject: Origin of the "shtreimel"

Joseph Ginzberg wrote:

>I am a bit taken aback by the readiness to accept the concept that the 
>Rebbes and Chassidim
>appropriated noblemens dress, when the entire concept of Chassidus is to
>a large extent based on the preservation of old customs and styles.

I'm wondering if the wearing of the garb of the nobleman (if that's what
it is) has to do more, in this case, with not dressing like
non-Jews. We're commanded not to follow the ways of the other nations
(Vayikra 18:3-4). Can anyone attest to this garb being adopted *after*
it was no longer common for noblemen to wear it? Then the Chassidim
would be wearing, so to speak, an archaic garment which would clearly
set them off from the non-Jews around them since the garment styles
would have changed.

Caela Kaplowitz
Baltimore, MD


From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 14:34:08 +0300
Subject: Partial Pesukim

A classic example of the use (albeit in abbreviated form) of a partial
Pasuk is BILU, the name of a pre-World War I Chalutzic group intent on
moving to Eretz Yisrael.

The name BILU stood for the first letters of the Pasuk "Beit Yaakov
Lechu Veneilecha" ("House of Jacob, come and let us go"), which dropped
off the last two words of the Pasuk: "Be'or Hashem" - "In the Light of

Shmuel Himelstein


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 23:00:54 -0400
Subject: Pinchas and Some Broader issues in "sex" education

From: Matthew Pearlman:

>Russell Hendel's recent post reminded me of a conversation I had with
>my 5 year old recently about Pinchas.  Her weekly parasha quiz asked
>why Pinchas had been made a Cohen - answer: because he killed Zimri and
>Cozbi.  I then asked her why he killed them (not necessarily expecting
>an answer) but she certainly had one - "because Zimri married Cozbi and
>she was not Jewish".  Now, I know the story is very difficult to teach
>5 year olds, and I have no idea what I would have taught her, but it
>does raise certain questions, like what will she say next to some of
>our many relations who have married out?

>Does anyone have any good solutions to offer here?  

I think the first problem we have here is explaining Pinchas to adults.
If you can succeed in that, then you might be able to explain it to a
child. How are we to understand the fact that a previously unknown (to
us) zealot named Pinchas takes the law into his own hands, commits
double murder without due process of law, and Gd rewards him for this
very generously. Rashi, from a passage in Sanhedrin, suggests that
Pinchas reminds Moshe of a halacha which allows zealotry in certain
circumstances which Moshe seems to have forgotten!

Next to Akeidat Yitzchok (binding of Isaac) this has to be one of the
most mysterious and difficult passages of the Torah. How do you explain
this to a child without seeming to endorse murder by a self-righteous
zealot? Judging by the reaction of certain of our co-religionists to the
murder of Yitchak Rabin, this is a lesson which many seem to have

I don't think there is anything wrong with telling a child that the
Torah is not a children's story book; that not every story in the Torah
can be understood by child; that many people spend their lives studying
the Torah trying to understand its mysteries; and that such a life can
be very rewarding!

b'shalom-Bernie R.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 06:57:35 +0100
Subject: Re: Roshei vs Rashei

on 20/7/04 12:14 pm, Sholom Parnes <merbe@...> wrote:

> The following are listed for mem vav heh in Ashkenazi & Yarden "Otzar
> Rashei Tevot" (1978 Rubin Mass, Jerusalem)

I am sorry to be pedantic but Sholom has made a serious mistake in his
transliteration of the Hebrew word for "Heads of" which should be
"Roshei" with a short kamats not "Rashei" with a long one. In this case
the kamats is a shortening of the cholam found in the base word "Rosh".

This particular error is so common in Israel that it is almost de rigeur
to use it. So people talk about "Rashei chadashim" for "New Moons"
without realising that it does not mean this at all but rather something
like "Destitute of [the] News"!

Another example of the way the Holy language is being debased by current

Martin Stern


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 18:07:12 -0700
Subject: Sedra audios on 613.org

Are these shiurim gone for good?


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 21 Jul 2004 09:16:33 +0100
Subject: Re: Terms for Christmas

on 20/7/04 1:27 am, Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...> wrote in response to
the comment from Rephael <raphi@...>:

>> The Mishna [Avoda Zara 1.1] uses "Eydehen shel goyim", which means
>> you can say "Yom eydam shel hagoyim".
> One trouble with your solution is that you a making a totally general
> reference, without specifying WHICH of their holidays you mean.
> That is hardly a sufficient term to use for Xmas, for example.  For all
> I know, you might be referring to Id el Fitr.

First, Rephael would have done better to suggest referring to a
non-Jewish as simply "Eid" (probably the same root as the Arabic Id) not
"Eydehen shel goyim" in the plural. Secondly, the Mishnah in Avodah
Zarah (1.3) refers to several pagan holidays by name, in particular
Setarnura which is obviously a corruption of the Latin Saturnalia from
whose date Xmas derives.

There seems, therefore, not to be any objection to calling the pagan
holidays by their name, possibly somewhat corrupted as a sign of our
dissociation from them, hence the name "Krotsnach". Since it is the
principal Christian festival, it was often called "chogge", a corruption
of "chag", i.e. festival par excellence.

The other common name "nital", a corruption of the Latin "[Dies] Natalis
- Birthday", as Nachum Lamm pointed out (43#47), was used because it
sounds like the Hebrew word for "hanged", just as J was often called
"Hatalui - the hanged one" (cf. Esth. 7,10).

Perhaps one could apply the dictum "Kol hayeter kenital dami", literally
"any supernumerary [organ in an animal] is considered as if [that organ]
were missing [making the animal treifah]", as a warning to us not to
celebrate new festivals in addition to those in our traditional

Martin Stern


End of Volume 43 Issue 60