Volume 44 Number 04
                    Produced: Mon Aug  9 21:44:28 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alarm clocks on Shabbat
         [Joseph Ginzberg]
Big Wedding Bread
         [Michael Feldstein]
Font Size for Tachanun
         [Boruch Merzel]
Gematria/ Ktav Ivri
         [Nathan Lamm]
Homer and the wine red sea
         [Shlomo & Syma Spiro]
Political correctness
         [Martin Stern]
Rabbinic violations for pre-barmitzva
         [David Ziants]
RYB Soloveichik on the internet (was: trying to find a Rashi)
         [Saul Mashbaum]
Shiva for "Outmarriages" Is based on Error


From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 13:56:54 -0400
Subject: Alarm clocks on Shabbat

I just obtained a copy of the newer edition of the Shemirat Shabbat
K'Hilchata of R. Joshua Neuwirth, where he specifically now spells out
(Chapter 28/29) the heter of setting the alarm on Shabbat, but only for
a non-electric clock. He also adds in this edition that it is okay to
stop the ringing by pushing the button in.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: <chips@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 20:32:46 -0700
Subject: Big Wedding Bread

Is the very large braided bread at weddings in lieu of the wedding cake
or does it date back a couple of centuries?



From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Mon, 9 Aug 2004 07:22:27 EDT
Subject: Endangerment

>If my neighbor was beating their child perhaps to the point of
>endangerment, I might be caught in a real quandary ...

Although several posters have commented on this already, I think the
comment/analogy of Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb on the subject merits

"When yourt house is on fire, do you call your rabbi or the fire

Case closed.

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT


From: <BoJoM@...> (Boruch Merzel)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 13:03:27 EDT
Subject: Re:  Font Size for Tachanun

 In mj #96 Carl Singer  inquires:

>>I'm aware of the vagaries of font size in old (cut & paste?) siddurs --
but even in new siddurs that seem to be freshly typeset, I've noticed
that the introductory sentence (Vayomer David el Gad ....) is a smaller
font.  Does anyone have an explanation?<<

I believe it is because the GRA in his "D'yukim B'tfila" ( found in the
back of most editions of the Orach Chayim) suggests that the pasuk of
"Va-yomer David" not be said. It effectively is a request for
punishment, for which one cannot be truly sincere, and is a case of "Al
Tiftach Peh L'satan."  (King David had made this plea under unique
circumstances.  see 2 Samuel 24.)  Both the Aruch Hashulchan and the
Mishneh Brura rule that "our custom is to begin (tachnun) with Rachum
v'chanun", thus skipping the pasuk about which Carl is inquiring.

Boruch Merzel


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 10:14:33 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Gematria/ Ktav Ivri

Just a side note: As used in the Second Bayis era, Ktav Ivri seems to be
a "nationalistic" script. That is, it seems as if zealots and others
considered Ktav Ashuri a modern/foreign innovation, and used Ivri as a
reminder of the "good old days." It appears on coins of the revolt(s?),
for example. (There is similar usage of Ktav Ivri in the State of Israel

Another odd use of it is to write the four-lettered name of God in the
Dead Sea Scrolls. That is, the Scrolls are generally in Ktav Ashuri
(although some are in Ktav Ivri), but even when they are, Y-H-W-H is
written in Ivri. There are two possibilities:

1. The Name is considered too "kadosh" to write out, and so it's written
in a more "secular" alphabet.

2. Conversely, and more likely, the Scrolls are written in Ashuri
because that's what was commonly used, but the Name was considered too
"kadosh" to write in a "secular" alphabet, and so was written in what
was considered the more "holy" and "original" alphabet- a similar
attitude to the Zealots.

Of course, none of this points definitively to what the situation at the
time of Bayis Rishon was (there's other evidence for that), but it
points in a general direction.



From: Shlomo & Syma Spiro <spiro@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 16:55:07 +0200
Subject: Homer and the wine red sea

>From Jay Schachter

<I mean, I get it with the rosy-fingered dawn, but what's with the
wine-red sea?  Since when is the sea red?  I won't be at all surprised
if, in the afterlife, when we get to ask about such things, we find out
that the word in Homer that people think means "red" actually means some
completely different color.>

Of course the sea is wine red, in the evening when it reflects the red
to purple colours of the setting sun. It's most likely the time when
Homer wrote his poetry.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 13:11:32 +0100
Subject: Political correctness

on 5/8/04 2:02 pm, Avi Feldblum at <mljewish@...> wrote:

> The term SO - Significant Other - is a term in relatively common usage
> in America. It has no Jewish / non-Jewish implications. It is a generic
> term that includes spouses as well as non-married people living
> together, which could also include same gender as well as opposite
> gender couples. Thus, it has become a general term used to indicate a
> couple without having to deal with whether the couple is legally
> married. It does indicate a relationship that is different from simply
> two individuals dating, it indicates a committment of a level similar to
> legal marriage (whatever that level of committment may or may not
> be).

In UK English the equivalent politically correct term to SO is 'partner'
which I liked to think was derived from the term 'sleeping partner' used
in commercial parlance for someone who invests money in a business
without taking an active role in its running but I am sure that this
folk-etymology is incorrect.

Here one is no longer asked on official forms to name one's spouse but
rather one's partner. Whenever I am asked by some petty bureaucrat, I
first answer that I am now retired and do not have a business partner
and then enquire, in all innocence, why they should be interested in my
business dealings. This forces them to explain that they mean my
cohabittee to which I reply that I do have a wife if that is what they

I am, however, somewhat disturbed that such politically correct
whitewashing of what used to be called 'living in sin' has crept into
Orthodox parlance.  Why can't we call a spade, a spade (if that term has
not also been banned as racist)? Halachah states that kallah belo
berachah assurah - a bride is prohibited to her husband without the
wedding ceremony, so we should not be using language which appears to
justify breaches thereof.

Of course, I am not referring to those couples who have chuppah /
kiddushin but for various reasons do not register their relationship in
civil law which, in any case, does not prohibit extramarital
cohabitation; as far as I am concerned they are married.

Perhaps this could produce a new 'thread' for us on the limits of
political correctness in Orthodox Judaism.

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 00:03:04 +0300
Subject: Rabbinic violations for pre-barmitzva

Carl Singer <casinger@...> said on another subject:
> eating a hot meal on Shabbos might be close to impossible.  The
> community eruv allowed people to keep the chulent in the baker's oven
> (which would stay warm through Shabbos morning) and carry it home on
> Shabbos.  In this context, then, a ruling against the use of an eruv was
> tantamount to a ruling against chulent.  But then again, people may not
> have locked their doors -- so carrying keys was not an issue of the day.

I am digressing to another subject, because the example in the above
posting reminds of an issue, which I find problematic.

My grandfather told me that as children in the East End of London, UK,
they used to carry the chulent pot from the baker to home, as long as
they were not yet bar-mitzva. This was without an eruv.

There was, and never has been an eruv in this part of London, and
nowadays, only a small section of Anglo-Jewry are lucky enough to live
within the confines of the NW-London eruv. (The charedi community there,
doesn't rely on the eruv, but that is another topic for discussion.)

At the time he told me this, when I was a teenager, I felt
uncomfortable, because I felt it went against the principles of hinuch
(education). In later life, I was able to confirm, that this was in fact
halachicly permitted because: a) The streets are a "karmelit" (=
halachic "side streets") according to all opinions, thus carrying is
here a Rabbinic prohibition.  b) It is permitted to enable a boy below
bar-mitzva, or girl below bat-mitzva to do a Rabbinic prohibition, even
l'hatchila (on the outset), for the needs of a mitzva - and in this case
the mitzva is the Shabbat meal. The boy may be bar-mitzva (or girl
bat-mitzva) the next day and it is fine.

I still feel uneasy about this heter (permission), because I am sure
that there are a lot of older "traditional" people who (don't live
within the NW-London eruv and) don't understand about the carrying
prohibition because from their childhood memories, they did carry.

Any thoughts on the subject...

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Saul Mashbaum <smash52@...>
Date: Sun, 08 Aug 2004 01:09:53 +0200
Subject: RYB Soloveichik on the internet (was: trying to find a Rashi)

Avi Feldblum wrote, in reponse to a question by   Neil Normand

> [A couple of notes: The "printed" version was not by the Rav
> (R. Soloveichik), but by someone who adapted his oral shiur to
> writting. There are at least two written versions of the "Rebellion of
> Korach" shiur that I have read, neither comes anywhere near the actual
> oral version, which I think is one of the best tapes of the Rav I have
> listened to.]

The tape may be listened to on real audio at http://613.org/rav5006.ram.
The shiur runs 120 minutes. The site notes that the tape has a hissing
sound, but is worth the effort.  The site http://613.org/rav has many
tapes of lectures of the Rav online, and a link to ordering tapes from
Rabbi M.Nordlicht.  I have spent many hours listening to tapes of the
Rav on this site, and do indeed find the considerable effort involved
most worthwhile.

Saul Mashbaum


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Aug 2004 00:52:39 -0500
Subject: Shiva for "Outmarriages" Is based on Error

Shalom, All:

A couple of m-j posters have raised the recurring issue of those who sit
Shiva for children who marry non-Jews. From what I've read on the
subject, they are basing their action upon error.

The following is taken from the Jewish Book Of Why, Vol. 2, by Rabbi
Alfred J. Kolatch. I have never seen anyone successfully refute his
point. Rabbi Kolatch wrote:

<<This custom [of sitting Shiva] is based on a misunderstanding that
dates back to the publication in the twelfth century of Or Zarua, by
Rabbi Isaac of Vienna.  In this book, Rabbi Isaac reported that the
great eleventh-century scholar Rabbenu Gershom ben Yehuda, known as the
Luminary of the Diaspora (Meor Ha'Gola), sat Shiva for his son who had
converted to Christianity.  Upon publication of the book, it became
widespread practice to sit Shiva for one's child who converts, despite
the fact that outstanding scholars, including Joseph Caro, author of the
Code of Jewish Law, insisted that doing so is not the law and hence is
not appropriate conduct.

<<Why, then, did Rabbenu Gershom sit Shiva for his son? Further delving
by scholars revealed that Rabbenu Gershom did not sit Shiva for his son
at the time of the young man's conversion.  He sat Shiva for him at a
later date, at the time of the son's death.  And the misunderstanding
grew out of the misreading of one word in Isaac of Vienna's work. Isaac
wrote that Rabbenu Gershom sat Shiva for his son and he used the Hebrew
word shenishtamed, meaning 'who had converted.' Some of the texts
erroneously added one letter to the word and spelled it k'shenishtamed,
meaning 'when he had converted.'  Because of the error, it was believed
that Rabbenu Gershom sat Shiva at the time of his son's conversion.

<<Sitting Shiva for a child who joins another faith has never been a
legal requirement for Jews, and authorities do not favor following the
practice.  Mourning a member of the family who has abandoned Judaism
runs counter to the basic Talmudic principle that one never loses his
Jewish identity and that he may return to the fold, unceremoniously,
when he decides to do so.  To sit Shiva for a family member who converts
is, in a sense, consigning him to death, thus precluding the possibility
of his ever returning to the faith of his ancestors.>>

If it is wrong to sit Shiva for one who formally converts out of
Judaism, I think I'm on safe grounds in saying that it's wrong to sit
Shiva over an intermarriage.

As for "outreach" to one who has intermarried, my personal opinion is
that it is preferable to alienating that person and his or her spouse
and children. As long as there is communication and no ostracism, we
have a chance of influencing people in a positive manner.

I do NOT say we should grant approval in any way to one who has
intermarried. I do say that expressing disapproval must not equal
cutting ties.

Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


End of Volume 44 Issue 4