Volume 43 Number 64
                    Produced: Sun Jul 25  9:04:50 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Belief and disbelief of 'maases'
         [Joel Rich]
Brachot Issues
         [Stephen Phillips]
Feminism - Wording Clarification
         [Leah S. Gordon]
The Kohen sign
         [Harold Greenberg]
Live Webcast of Tisha b'Av Kinot with Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
         [David Olivestone]
Origin of the "shtreimel"
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Question about Ribis (Interest)
         [Avi Feldblum]
Rachav the Zonah - further philological speculation
         [Martin Stern]
Roshei vs Rashei (2)
         [Martin Stern, Ira L. Jacobson]
         [Yisrael Medad]
Teaching about Pinchas and Zimri
         [Martin Stern]


From: <Joelirich@...> (Joel Rich)
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 09:09:39 EDT
Subject: Belief and disbelief of 'maases'

>>> Interestingly, there is a Hassidic saying that goes something like
>>> this - 'someone who believes all the stories about the BESHT
>>> (founder of
>>> Hassidism) is a fool ; however, someone who says that such stories are
>>> impossible, is an apikorus (heretic of sorts)'. Implicit in it is an
>> I think this was originally a statement concerning aggadic material in
>> the gemora.
> I believe I heard this in context of taking medrashim literally.

I believe it's actually the Rambam.

Joel Rich


From: Stephen Phillips <admin@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 11:50:29 +0100
Subject: Re: Brachot Issues

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> 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?

It seems to me that there is a difference between a prayer like Tefillas
HaDerech and a Berocho.

There is, as far as I am aware, no requirement that if one doesn't know
the wording in Hebrew of Tefillas HaDerech one shouldn't embark on a
journey. There is, however, a requirement to say the relevant Berocho
before (say) eating an apple. If one doesn't know it, then quite
possibly one would not be permitted to eat the apple.

Stephen Phillips


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 04:26:13 -0700
Subject: Feminism - Wording Clarification

>criticizing by pointing out that they - not me - consider that feminist
>issues can be ipso facto "pasul" and I was actually criticizing that
>position.  And, in fact, I later praised Yael's article in HaTzofeh (no
>URL yet.  seems their web site is not yet caught up to itself).

I have discussed this off-list with Mr. Medad, and thank you for the

>Since Leah herself wrote: "I ignored the previous bits of this thread",
>maybe that was the problem.

Perhaps this was not obvious from my own post, but I used 'ignore' in
the sense of 'don't let it bother you'--I certainly read every word.  I
believe that the original wording was unclear.

Interestingly, although I am by all definitions a card-carrying
feminist, the commemorations of that yahrzeit for the [female] rebbe,
seemed even to me to be a bit odd in its political emphases, but I'm
having trouble placing why that seemed to me.  It was a similar feeling
that I got when I read [with great hope/anticipation] the "Women's
Haggadah".  I dislike in general when my fellow feminists feel the need
to create 'parallels' of women with famous men if it doesn't match up



From: Harold Greenberg <harold.greenberg@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 14:09:09 +0200
Subject: The Kohen sign

"There is no reason why anyone would claim to be a Kohen if he was
not--and family and synagogue records would easily trip up any

A contributor to the mail.Jewish group would challenge this statement.
He writes "no kohen can really be sure if he is a kohen, unless he can
trace his ancestry back to an accepted family of kohanim (according to
the Vilna Gaon, only the Rappoport family falls into that
category). Other kohanim may in fact be the descendents of freed slaves
of kohanim, who claimed to be kohanim because they wanted to continue to
eat trumah, which they felt entitled to do."

My father-in-law tells me that it was not unheard of in Europe for a man
to move to a town where he was not known and claim to be a kohen - for
the prestige.  His sons and grandsons would think that they were real
kohanim, but were not.

If all known kohanim are really descendents of Aaron (Moses' brother)
then their DNA should show that they are from the same family, but that
is not the case.

Harold Hershel Zvi Greenberg
researching - GREENBERG, SHAPIRO (kohanim), ROSENTHAL - Vaslui, Romania
WIDAWSKY, SEROW - Klobuck, Czestochowa, Kielce, Poland 
HYMAN - Myegina, Piotrkow, Poland 


From: David Olivestone <davido@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 11:38:01 -0400
Subject: Live Webcast of Tisha b'Av Kinot with Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb

Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President of the Orthodox
Union, will again present a Live Webcast of Kinot on Tisha b'Av morning
this year. If you cannot be in shul all morning, join Rabbi Weinreb
online, with his fascinating and moving introductions and explanations,
beginning at 8:50 am and continuing until 1:15 pm (EDT).  Last year,
thousands of people participated, whether looking after children at
home, or because they needed to be at work, and many emailed their
thanks for this creative and much appreciated use of the internet.

Log on to www.ou.org at any time during the morning to be part of the
experience of Tisha B'Av and to enhance and deepen your understanding of
the day. You can also pre-register at any time on www.ou.org.

If you have any questions, please call 212.613.8154. For technical
support, call 212.613.8118.

David Olivestone
Director of Communications, Orthodox Union


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 12:28:54 +0300
Subject: Re: Origin of the "shtreimel"

N Miller <nmiller@...> stated the following on Wed, 21 Jul 2004
11:10:19 -0400

      I possess photographs of the last two Lubavitcher rebbeim, one in
      a Russian-style shtrayml,

Sorry, that was a spudik.

      the other in his famous fedora.  So much for old customs and

You are probably aware that each hassidut has its own customs and
styles.  Lubavitch is no exception.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 25 Jul 2004 08:49:19 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Question about Ribis (Interest)

The following question came up over shabbat, and I offered to send it
here, as it seemed of some general interest. If anyone has dealt with
this issue, spoken to a posek or has pointers to primary shu"t on this
issue, we would be interested.

Speaking with a few people in the private business community, a fairly
common practice in some areas is that if the standard contract terms for
the listed price is net 60 days (i.e. you have 60 days from receipt of
product till you have to pay the vendor), the vendor may offer 2%
discount for immediate payment.

The question is: is this a form of ribis (interest) and would be
forbidden if both parties are Jewish, or is this just a negotiation of
price and terms and is permitted.

Avi Feldblum


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 11:23:49 +0100
Subject: Re: Rachav the Zonah - further philological speculation

on 23/7/04 10:15 am, Stuart Feldhamer <Stuart.Feldhamer@...> wrote:

>> 3.  Its adaptation as a technical term in hilchot issurei kehunah is
>> probably later and reflects the fact that prostitutes would have been
>> the majority of such zonot since they would not have been able to
>> guarantee that none of their clients were not halachically forbidden to
>> them (e.g.  non-Jews).
> What do you mean it was adapted later? Isn't the term used in this way
> in the Torah?

If one looks back to my original posting (43#59), one would see that I
wrote at the beginning of my discussion:

> There have been several objections to the translation of 'zonah' as
> 'innkeeper' so I think it is valuable to outline the probable semantic
> development of the word (all of which must have taken place before the
> Torah as we know it was given).

Doesn't the comment in brackets answer this objection?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 11:41:06 +0100
Subject: Re: Roshei vs Rashei

on 23/7/04 10:30 am, David E Cohen <ddcohen@...> wrote:

> The grammatical rule for kamatz katan is as follows:
> It appears in CLOSED, UNACCENTED syllables.

This is certainly true but the converse that a kamats that appears in
any other kind of syllable is ipso facto a kamats gadol is not. Where
other rules of grammar force one to shorten a long vowel, then a cholam
is replaced by a kamats katan.

> The word is RA-Shei. 2 syllables. Reish + kamatz. That's it. the ALeph
> has no vowel, and is therefore silent and doesn't count. Shin + tzerei +
> vowel yod. 2 syllables, the first one is OPEN. Therefore it CANNOT be
> kamatz katan.

I am not sure that this analysis is correct. I would suggest that the
unsounded alef is not completely irrelevant but has the effect of
closing the syllable in which case it is closed and unaccented. In any
case, the kamats here is a shortening of the cholam of the word 'rosh'
and it seems highly implausible that a long 'o' sound can be shortened
to a long 'a' sound.

on 23/7/04 10:30 am, Jack Gross <ibijbgross2@...> wrote:

> No. Were the kamatz of Rashei short, the Shin would be meduggeshes.
> It's Rashei Chodashim, not Roshshei.

This objection is also answered if the alef is considered as closing the
first syllable.

Lest anyone raise an objection that then the shin would have to be
meduggeshet as the beginning of a syllable, this rule is not always

on 23/7/04 10:30 am, David Feiler <dfeiler@...> wrote:

> These sources are the Siddur Rinat Yisrael (weekday leining at the
> back) and two separate editions of the new Tikkun Korim Simanim.

Tal has followed this rule, as he writes in his introduction, but I
think he is WRONG in this case. I suspect the Tikkun, with which I am
unfamiliar, is merely following his lead.

Martin Stern

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 13:01:11 +0300
Subject: Re: Roshei vs Rashei

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> stated the following on Thu, 22 Jul

      This is an error of overcorrection.  It's counterintuitive, but
      "Rashei" is correct.  The general rule is that a kamatz becomes a
      kamatz kattan (what Mr. Stern calls a "short kamatz") in an
      unaccented, closed syllable.

An interesting case is the other words spelled resh alef shin yod.  They
are both vocalized with a qamatz-resh and a hiriq-yod.

When the word means "main" or "principal," the qamatz is gadol (rashi).
When it means "my head," the qamatz is qatan (roshi).

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 23 Jul 2004 13:40:59 +0200
Subject: Sushi

The Ha'Aretz issue of July 21 carries a story relating that laboratory
tests indicate that sushi ingredients imported into Israel from Japan
may be problematic kashrut-wise.

A Rabbi Shneur Zalman Revach, of the Machon Mechkar L'Mitzvot Ha'Tlyuyot
Ba'aretz who (is that not of what we once knew as Poalei Eretz Yisrael
which founded Chafetz Chaim, etc.?)  lives at Beit Uziel, checked the
ingredients (I checked out a non-kosher site and they can include: nori,
seaweed, kombu (a pickled seaweed), dashi (a soup stock), kampyo (a
gourd), tobiko (flying fish roe), tamago (egg omlette), shoyu (a soy
sauce), wasabi (a horseraddish paste) among other things).  He found
shrimp and/or crab remains.

As a result, the OK Labs suspended their hechsher for the Mitoko concern
(couldn't locate that either) Of course, there is disagreement and the
Chief Rabbanut Kashrut division, as per the newspaper report I
emphasize, and they claim that there might have been a specific problem
with but one shipment.  Some difficulty with an "electronic eye".

Davka a "Nine Days" story.

Yisrael Medad
and now they are waiting for the Rishon Letziyon HaRav Slomo Amar


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2004 21:41:40 +0100
Subject: Teaching about Pinchas and Zimri

There has been a considerable discussion on this matter but nobody has
seen fit to point out that the main reason why Pinchas acted as he did
was because Zimri and Cozbi were doing something in public as an act of
rebellion against HaShem. If one emphasises this aspect, one need not
describe their act in any detail, let alone call it marrying, to
children of 5. Surely this is the best approach for people of all ages.

Martin Stern


End of Volume 43 Issue 64