Volume 43 Number 73
                    Produced: Fri Jul 30  5:04:02 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alarm clock on Shabbat
         [Glenn Farber]
Aleph with shvo noch
         [Perets Mett]
Belief and disbelief of 'masses'
Dairy or Someone's Error
         [Sam Saal]
Kedeisha and covering face
         [Nathan Lamm]
Nokh a mol shtrayml
         [N Miller]
Other gematria such as this? (2)
         [David Prins, Michael Poppers]
Roshei vs Rashei
         [Jack Gross]
Tamar covering her Face
         [Batya Medad]
The wrong kind of kamats can be destructive
         [Martin Stern]


From: Glenn Farber <Farb@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 12:45:13 -0400
Subject: Alarm clock on Shabbat

Being nocturnal, I depend on my alarm clock to help me get up in the
morning.  I have a windup alarm clock for Shabbat, and I can often wind
it up and set the alarm before Shabbat.

However, the alarm does not distinguish between AM and PM, which
presents a problem during the winter.  If candle-lighting time is say,
4:30 pm, and I set the alarm to go off at 7:00, it will sound at 7 PM.
In order to have it go off at 7 AM, I would have to set the alarm after
7PM -- i.e., after Shabbat begins.  Is that permissible?

Glenn Farber


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 14:03:43 +0100
Subject: Aleph with shvo noch

Boruch Merzel wrote:
>  It is the consonant immediately following the short vowel (in this
> case the aleph) that is required to have a dagesh or sh'va nach and
> obviously the Aleph can receive neither.

Not at all obvious!
I know of no reason why an aleph cannot have a shvo noch.

For example, we say every day:

yagdil toiro veya-dir

in which the aleph has a shvo noch, closing the syllable, so that the
succeeding dalet has a dogesh

Perets Mett


From: <chips@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 22:02:10 -0700
Subject: Re: Belief and disbelief of 'masses'

>>> 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 it's actually the Rambam.
> KT

I think you mean the RambaN , in his debate before the king with the
converted priest.


[Actually, I think he means the RambaM - I believe it is in the
introduction to Perek Chelek, where the Rambam identifies three
approaches to how different people approach aggadic material. Mod.]


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 15:02:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Dairy or Someone's Error

I recently saw a bottle of "peaches and cream" flavored seltzer with a
mainstream hashgacha that claimed to be naturally flavored. The
ingredients list carbonated water and natural flavor. Very simple. There
is no dairy indication next to the hashgacha. It seems to me, either the
product is dairy or the flavor is not natural.

Can anyone think of another explanation?

Sam Saal

[I don't think natural need have anything to do with either peaches or
cream. It just means the flavoring is derived from "natural" sources as
opposed to directly from the lab. So no reason for the flavor to be
Dairy. Mod.]


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2004 10:39:57 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Kedeisha and covering face

I wrote the following response to Martin Stern's post before I read
Gershon Dubin's quote from the gemara, which, I think, reinforces my
last point:

My concern was more along the lines that Yehudah must have known what
his daughter-in-law looked like. Is it possible that the whole time they
were together, he never saw her face?

I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm just wondering.  And this may be
related: A few months back, someone forwarded me an article explaining
how until recently, people never actually took off all their clothes.
There are apparently many literary references to people, for example,
"lifting their smocks" or the like as a prelude to sexual activity, but
it seems that some article of clothing always stayed on. (I guess this
relates to the fact that people didn't bathe that often. And this is why
I refuse to ever be sentimental about, say, "The Age of Chivalry." Well,
that and the pogroms, l'havdil.) Perhaps in certain eras, keeping one's
face covered even at the most intimate of times was normal.

Finally, this may tie into the question of "sacred" prostitutes. Perhaps
they, as opposed to more "common" prostitutes, had a whole set of
"rules" about, for example, having their faces covered at all times.
Maybe- and I know I'm really reaching here- it was this that turned
Tamar from a "zonah" to a "kedeisha" in Yehudah's eyes.

Of course, we still have to wonder why he didn't recognize her
voice. And here may be the most logical point of all- perhaps back then,
fathers-in-law simply didn't have much to do with their
daughters-in-law.  Why should they? Perhaps "shadchanim" did the work of
setting up, and, at most, he just may have seen her at the wedding (and
maybe not then), and the rest of the time, "hinay ba'ohel."

Nachum Lamm


From: N Miller <nm1921@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 13:29:54 -0400
Subject: Nokh a mol shtrayml

Yossi Ginzberg writes:
> There cannot be any pictures of Polish kings wearing "shtreimels", only
> pictures of them wearing similar fur hats.  A similarity doesn't really
> serve as proof any more than my wearing sneakers means that I can play
> tennis.

It is probably true that the Polish nobility didn't call their
fur-trimmed hats shtraymlekh.  The logic of the next sentence escapes me

> The reason I say simultaneous is that the anti- chassidic literature of
> the Gra's era objects in general to all the trappings, and I have never
> seen any differentiation there between this or that Rebbe who had
> different customs.
> The vast literature of the many and varous disputes between different
> groups of chassidim leads me to believe that were it not a
> simultaneously-accepted custom, there would have been polemics written
> against it, as there were against the Shpolyer Zeide, Sadigerer Rebbe,
> and the Sanzer Rebbe, among others.  In all those cases differences far
> less visible than a large fur hat were major issues.

In short, there is no evidence at all that the practice was adopted
simultaneously.  Not that it makes the slightest difference.  It is
sufficient that various rebbeim adopted (in varying degrees to be sure)
such features as clothing and horses and --most interesting-- the
hierarchical model of the Polish nobility and dare I say it of the
Polish church.

> I beg to differ.  in fact, one of the major issues for those against the
> "litvishe" yeshiva world was that the litvitish boys, when outside the
> Bet Medrash, were not visibly different from the "maskilim".  Look at
> any old photo of the Mir or Chevron yeshivas, and you'll see bouffant
> hairstyles, spiffy modern suits, walking sticks, and white Panama hats.
> I am not saying that the Chasidic mode of dress is more authentically
> jewish, or that it somehow dates back to the Avos.  I am only saying
> that the derivation had to have been slower and far less direct than
> some Rebbe waking up one day and deciding to mimic his local "Poritz".
> The same would apply to the "authentic" litvish "rok" or long coat.

We've got our dates mixed up.  In the 18th C. it was the hasidim who
were the innovators as to a number of practices.  Panama hats at Mir are
20th C.  Nevertheless, it's an excellent additional example of how the
external world impinged on European Jewish culture.

This is no place for an extended discussion (besides, I'm working with
snowy mountains in the background and on a lousy connection) but I'd
like to throw out the observation that in a very general way hasidism
was a rural phenomenon (especially where the location of hasidic courts
was concerned) while misnagdim were more often found in larger cities.
18th C. hasidism was and still is strucured on the hierachical model of
pre-modern Europe.  Misnagdim mutatis mutandem were and remain committed
to urban bourgeois values.  Chaim Grade's novels are superb if somewhat
jaundiced witnesses.

A last word.  I hope no one interprets my remarks as an effort to
belittle or scorn any group.  But Jews are human and human beings
interact.  Were it otherwise there would never have been a period when
the Jewish mameloshn was Aramaic, Greek, Persian, Arabic, German or
English.  If language, why not clothing?  It's not a matter of
'mimicry'; it is a matter of accomodation to changing circumstances.

Noyekh Miller


From: David Prins <prins@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 08:56:07 +1000
Subject: Re: Other gematria such as this?

Shmuel Himelstein wrote (v43i61):

      In the Yerushalmi, Shabbat 34b in the edition I have, there
      is an interesting gematria. The Talmud there finds a hint at
      the 39 categories of work forbidden on Shabbat from the word
      "eileh" in Shemot 35:1, by taking the gematria as follows:
      Alef is 1; Lamed is 30, and Chet is 8, for a total of 39. How
      about the fact that the last letter is a Heh and not a Chet?
      The Talmud says that the two letters are interchangeable as
      they are close to one another.

There is also a derash derivation of 39 from "eileh ha-devarim" from
"eileh" being 36, plus 2 for "devarim", plus 1 for the "heh" of
"ha-devarim".  See Rashi at the top of BT Shabbat 97b, and Baal Haturim
on Shemot 35:1.  Also quoted by Or HaChaim on 35:1.

From: <MPoppers@...> (Michael Poppers)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 01:40:12 -0400
Subject: Re: Other gematria such as this?

In M-J V43#65, STenen responded to SHimelstein:

> > In the Yerushalmi, Shabbat 34b in the edition I have, there is an
> > interesting gematria. The Talmud there finds a hint at the 39 categories of
> > work forbidden on Shabbat from the word "eileh" in Shemot 35:1, by taking
> > the gematria as follows: Alef is 1; Lamed is 30, and Chet is 8, for a total
> > of 39. How about the fact that the last letter is a Heh and not a Chet? The
> > Talmud says that the two letters are interchangeable as they are close to
> > one another.

> ...this is a very problematic statement, from the perspective of
> respect for Torah in the world....In any other context besides one of
> faith, statements like this that one letter is like another letter
> because they are close (in the alphabet, I presume, or possibly by
> shape or phonetic value), while still distinct letters, would be
> examples of "fudging"....If the Talmud has another explanation, then
> I'd like to hear it -- if only so as not to reduce my understanding of
> the issue to apologia.

In k'sav Ashuris (which I think Stan is familiar with, given that his
foundation's name comes from the term "Meruba Ashuris"), the letter haih
is actually composed of a daled and a yud, gematria 14, and the ches is
composed of two zayins, gematria 14.  I have no idea if that's what the
Talmud had in mind.

All the best from

-- Michael Poppers via RIM pager


From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross@...>
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 2004 19:14:25 -0400
Subject: Re: Roshei vs Rashei

> From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
> . .
 Jack Gross, while agreeing that the word is Rashei rather than Roshshei
> > " Were the kamatz of Rashei short, the Shin would be meduggeshes."

>I don't believe that is true .  It is the consonant immediately
>following the short vowel (in this case the aleph) that is required to
>have a dagesh or sh'va nach and obviously the Aleph can receive neither.

My point was: 

When aleph (or yod following segol or kamatz) appears in mid-word
without any vowel-point, that is to indicate that our reading is as if
it were absent.

Hence, in effect, the shin immediately follows the resh, and would be
d'gusha were the kamatz a short vowel.  Ergo, it's long.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2004 12:18:37 +0200
Subject: Re: Tamar covering her Face

> Perhaps the reference to Tamar covering her face was a euphemism, 'she
> covered her face but other more intimate parts she exposed', hence

Covering would mean hiding, or disguising her face.  Considering that
Yehuda's father Yaakov didn't realize that he had married Leah (Yehuda's
mother), instead of Rachel, I'd consider face covering to be the norm in
those times.

Yehuda repeated what his father did.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 2004 06:34:09 +0100
Subject: The wrong kind of kamats can be destructive

on 26/7/04 10:54 am,  <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel) wrote:

> Fortunately, for us Ashkenazim it makes little difference.  Kamatz katan
> or Kamatz gadol, either way we pronounce the word Roshei.

There is one situation where it can almost reverse the meaning: when the
letter bearing the kamats is followed by one bearing a sheva. If it is a
kamats gadol then it is followed by a sheva na, if it is a kamats katan
it is followed by a sheva nach. The word's meaning can be drastically
changed by using the wrong one. For example the word 'sham'rah' (kamats
gadol, sheva na) means 'she guarded', whereas 'shomrah' (kamats katan,
sheva nach) means 'Guard!' even when one uses the Ashkenazi
pronunciation of the kamats. This occurred to me on Tisha beAv when I
recalled the phrase in Mussaf on Shabbat Rosh Chodesh 'char'vah irenu -
our city was destroyed' which when mispronounced could be understood to
mean 'destroy our city' r"l!

Martin Stern


End of Volume 43 Issue 73