Volume 43 Number 94
                    Produced: Thu Aug  5 16:33:53 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aleph with Sh'va nach
         [Boruch Merzel]
Ashkenazi and Sephardi genes
         [Mike Gerver]
"Glimpse of Stocking"
         [William Friedman]
Kohanic "Choice"
         [Mike Gerver]
Lubavitch practices/ Outreach and the 70 facets of Torah
         [Mordechai Horowitz]
Most Unusual Halachic Query
         [Chaim Tabaskya]
Naming not an urban legend
         [Akiva Miller]


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 15:19:03 EDT
Subject: Re: Aleph with Sh'va nach

Perets Mett notes in #73

 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! (Perets Mett writes)
>>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<<

Mr. Mett is, of course, right and I appreciate his correcting the
inadvertent error caused by haste and sloppy proof-reading on my part.

My reply should have more properly read: 
"It is the consonant (in this case the aleph) immediately following the
short vowel that is required to have a Dagesh (which it cannot receive)
or a sh'va nach. Obviously the aleph has neither.

Indeed, Mr. Mett's case of "v'ya-dir" is an excellent example of what
happens when an aleph follows a short vowel: It takes a sh'va nach and
is followed by a letter with a dagesh.  Hence, in the word "Rashie", the
vowel under the raish would be a kametz gadol,

I am , however, having difficulty in understanding, Jack Gross' point when he 

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

I don't believe an aleph in such a case would be treated as being
absent, but rather strengthens the vowel sound preceeding it.  (See the
Rashi in Makos I had noted). The kamatz in the word "Rashei" is a long
vowel, not because the shin has no dagesh, but rather the shin has no
dagesh because the kamatz is long and therefore the Aleph is not
nach. (The rule being that Kamtez Gadol forms a long open syllable that
is followed neither by a dagesh Chazak nor a sh'va nach .

We seem to have arrived at the same conclusion as far "Rashei" is
concerned, but did we take different roads getting there?  Boruch Merzel

Boruch Merzel


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 15:15:25 EDT
Subject: Ashkenazi and Sephardi genes

Ben Katz, in discussing the Cohen Modal Haplotype in v43n88, writes

      i realize i am making some assumptions here and that no one really
      knows where the ashkenazi and sephardi branches of judaism
      originate from.  yet it seems to me that since sephardim look like
      they're from the middle east, that they must be genetically more
      ancient bearers of our sacred religion.

Actually (according to the same speaker who told me about the possible
Kazhar origin of Ashkenazi Leviim), there is very little difference
between the Y chromosomes of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Israelites (i.e. not
Kohanim and Leviim). Both of them are close to the Y chromosomes of
Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians, and have a distribution that
differs from Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians only about as much as
those groups differ from each other, and are very different from the Y
chromosome distribution of non-Jews in Europe. So it appears that, at
least among Ashkenazim, and among Sephardim in Spain, there have been
very few male converts, or genetic material introduced by raping
Crusaders, etc., during the years that Jews have lived in Europe. We
can't draw any conclusions about those Jews who lived in the Middle East
all along.

There are some exceptions. Dutch Jews have a significant admixture of Y
chromosomes from the non-Jewish Dutch population, which probably
reflects the relative tolerance toward Jews in the Netherlands, which,
unlike the rest of Europe, did not discourage people from converting to
Judaism. And I think the same is true of some of the Jews in India, I
forget which ones. But for the most part, the northern European features
found among some Ashkenazim must have been brought in by female
converts. And that's surely true among such populations as the Jews of
Kaifeng, whose founding population consisted mostly of male traveling
merchants, and the Lemba, whose mitochrondial (maternal line) DNA does
not differ appreciably from that of their non-Lemba southern African

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: William Friedman <williamf@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 13:24:34 -0400
Subject: "Glimpse of Stocking"

In response to the article in the JPost by Shira Leibowitz Schmidt
quoted by Martin Stern (incidentally, I couldn't find the article on
their website):

>Relegating a group to the back of a bus raises the specter of
>discrimination. However, a sizable segment of religious people view a
>voluntary "back of the bus" custom as positive.

I would question the use of the word "voluntary" -- unless the
implication is that women in those communities 1) have the option of not
sitting on the back of the bus if they so choose, or 2) have the option
of not staying in that community.  With regards to the former, even if
they technically do have that option, I imagine the communal pressure
and ostracization would nullify that choice in short order.  With regard
to the latter, again, the practical issues would outweigh the technical
feasibility of this "choice".

More generally, the article fails to weigh, or even address, the
competing values at play, the losses (societal and individual) caused by
the policies and practices advocated, and ignores other solutions to the
problems it presents.

For example, Ms. Schmidt states:
>The reason the men don't sit in the back of the bus is that men are much
>more subject to the visual stimuli of women, as the advertising industry
>well knows.

I very much doubt that that is _the_ reason.  What about issues of ego?
Power?  Fear of women?  After all, I can well imagine a set up in which
men sit in the back of the bus separated by a completely opaque curtain,
and yet none is set up like that.  I wonder why.  And what about the
effect on the women?  Everyone knows sitting at the front is a sign of
superiority (c.f. any number of gemaras about the rigid hierarchical
structure of Babylonia yeshivot and the importance of the row in which
one sat); surely the fact a woman never gets to set "up front" imparts
feelings of inferiority and lowered self-worth, if not individually,
then at least collectively.

>Thus sitting in the back of a bus, or synagogue - for practical reasons
>- does not impinge on the equality in status. It is simply a practical
>expression of the fact that men and women are differently wired.

Nature and natural "law" (i.e., "differently wired") are _descriptions_
of reality; for human beings, blessed with free will, they are NOT

My failure to address each of the author's points should not be taken as
sh'tika k'hoda'ah dami [silence equaling assent].  I found the article
generally polemical in tone and exhibiting a failure to truly engage the
issues that lie at the heart of the matter.

One last anecdote about the powerful effect of socialization and the
feasibility alternate models.  I was visiting a friend in a charedi BT
yeshiva for Americans -- all of them in their mid-20s and early 30s,
unmarried, having lived completely secular lifestyles, been educated in
secular schools, and working in white-collar fields in contemporary
America.  I revealed to them that I was learning at Pardes, a co-ed
halakhic yeshiva in Jerusalem.  Upon confirming that indeed men and
women learned Torah there together, one of the men jeered, "How do you
keep your mind on the learning?  I know what I'd be thinking about
. . ."  I am certain that he would not have said that about math, or
English, or any of the many subjects he'd learned co-educationally his
entire life, or about any of the jobs he'd had working with women.  This
was an attitude he'd been _taught_ to have by his new religious mentors.
I, and many of my peers (including a number of Orthodox men), never
thought twice about learning with women (indeed, my best chevrutot were
with Orthodox women, one of whom was the daughter of a well-known rav
and scholar of hasidut who had attended Stern), and we were all judged
based on one criteria, our ability to learn.  Viewing each other as sex
objects never once entered the picture.  I wonder which institution's
strategy fostered the healthier attitudes.



From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 15:30:26 EDT
Subject: Kohanic "Choice"

Several posters have pointed out that a kohen cannot, in general, decide
to give up his kahuna and marry a divorcee or a convert. However, there
is one case in which this can happen: If there is a safek [doubt] that
the kohen is really a kohen, and a safek that the woman he wants to
marry is really a convert or a divorcee. For example, perhaps her mother
was a convert to Judaism, and it is not known (and there is no way to
find out) whether she was a halachic convert or not. In this case,
because there is a double safek, the questionable kohen could choose not
to be a kohen, and marry the woman. CYLOR, of course, if you are ever in
this situation, but I have a heard of a case where this was the psak

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 17:56:40 -0400
Subject: Lubavitch practices/ Outreach and the 70 facets of Torah

> > Rabbis who make new Chabad houses are not there to influence people to
> > become Lubavitchers but to influence people to want to learn Torah and
> > do Mitzvos.

> Please cite Lubavitch policy sources.  The above statement although
> politically correct does not reflect apparent practice.
> Carl A. Singer

Do you have a source for your statement?

All outreach groups have a bias to their own derech.  Do we expect Ohr
Somayoch to turn out religous zionist Jews?  Does Machon Meir turn out
Satmar Chassidim?

I've found Chabad shlichim to be the most accepting of people who become
religous choosing other derechs.  When I learned at Charedi yeshiva X,
they kept preaching to me any derech but their own was treif.  Chabad
was nothing more than a bunch of goyim, modern Orthodoxy was reform


From: Chaim Tabaskya <tabafkc@...>
Date: Wed, 04 Aug 2004 23:40:02 +0200
Subject: Re: Most Unusual Halachic Query

>  Saul Mashbaum replied to Yisroel Medad:
>The Rambam holds that a structure without a door is not obligated in a
>mezuza. This opinion in quoted in YD 286:15 ("yesh mi shepoter").  The
>Shach sk 25 says that if a structure does not have a door, the mezuza
>should be affixed without a bracha.
>What if the mezuza was affixed when the structure had a door, and the
>door was removed? When the door is restored, does the mezuza have to be
>removed and reaffixed (with a bracha)? Although he quotes a dissenting
>opinion, the Derech HaChayim is emphatic that one does not. The
>temporary suspension of the obligation does *not* create a problem of
>"Taaseh velo min haasuy" when the obligation is restored. He compares
>this to a succah above which a canopy may be unfurled, covering the
>schach. When the canopy is rolled up, revealing the schach, the succah
>regains its kosher status automatically;the schach does not have to be
>placed again; this is explicitly stated in the Rama OH 625:3.

The cases may not be exactly parallel, though Saul's conclusion may be
correct. In the case of the Succah, the succah is intact while the p'sul
(disqualification) comes from the overhang which is outside the
succah. In that case when the canopy is removed, the succah retains its
original status. The entrance with no door is slightly different but
similar. The door frame is intact, but a condition of obligation (the
door) is removed and then restored. The Derech HaChayim assumes this is
like the first case.  In the case of the mobile home though, the
assumption may be that the status of bayit is totally annulled when off
the ground.

Once in Beit Eil a double mobile home was moved, i two pieces. The joint
was in the middle of a door frame which was taken apart, then
reconstructed when the home was set down. Here the ruling was that the
mezuzah should be re-affixed with a bracha (I believe it was Rav Min
HaHar ztz"l of Bayit v'Gan).  Yisroel's case may be in the middle,
though I am inclined to Saul's ruling.



From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 4 Aug 2004 19:51:28 -0400
Subject: Re: Naming not an urban legend

Edward Ehrlich wrote <<< In short, any name change took place before
embarkation in Europe or onboard when the names were entered onto the
ship's passenger list, or after immigration procedures were completed
and the immigrant was already living in the United States. >>>

I have no first-hand knowledge about the Europe/US immigrants, but when
I moved to Israel in 1977, my shaliach made it very clear that my teudat
oleh would have to have the same name as my passport. I asked about all
the Zionist stories about people who take a Hebrew name upon aliyah, and
he said that it has to be done either by an American court beforehand,
or an Israeli court afterward. "Otherwise, how can anyone know that
Kenneth and Akiva are the same person?", i.e., the potential for
criminal abuse is too high.

OTOH, I once had a job here in the US with a coworker from Taiwan. His
family name was Pang, and that's what he went by. But I knew that it is
very unlikely that his given name was really "Peter", so I asked him.
Indeed, his Chinese name was difficult for me to pronounce, and he
claimed that an American immigration official suggested that he take
"Peter" as his first name.

I never had the heart to tell him about the writings of James M. Barrie.
I hope he still hasn't heard.

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 43 Issue 94